Monday, December 24, 2012
Classic Crème Brûleé
Sunday, December 23, 2012
In those days it occurred that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole Roman empire should be registered.
This was the first enrollment, and it was made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
And all the people were going to be registered, each to his own city or town.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
To be enrolled with Mary, his espoused (married) wife, who was about to become a mother.
And while they were there, the time came for her delivery,
And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn.
And in that vicinity there were shepherds living [out under the open sky] in the field, watching [in shifts] over their flock by night.
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened.
But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.
For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord!
And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find [after searching] a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
Then suddenly there appeared with the angel an army of the troops of heaven (a heavenly knighthood), praising God and saying,
Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor].
Luke 2:1-14 Amplified
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
A Scary Trip…
into the cellar.
So I was looking at photos of kitchens on Pinterest—always dangerous. When I came upon this one:
It made me sad. Confused yet? First I talk about a cellar. Then a picture of a beautiful sink makes me sad. Bear with me! I promise it will all come together. But first, let’s travel back in time.
I lived next to my grandparents growing up. Therefore, I spent A LOT of time there (understatement!). I wish I had had the wisdom to appreciate that place when I was young! There were chickens and rabbits. Sometimes there were goats or a horse. You could often find pigs. It really depended on whatever my grandfather decided to have around at the moment. He grew grapes. He had a couple of apple trees and a pear tree. Don’t even get me started on the gardens. Yes, gardens—plural! Massive gardens! Oh, how I wish that I had pictures to share. But back then we took pictures of family, not something we considered massive work…..and it was work for the entire extended family!
He was also a collector of much stuff. Some might call it junk. Get an episode of Hoarders out of your mind. He used his stuff to make other stuff. One of these items was a cast iron, porcelain coated sink. Well, it wasn’t in great shape. Just some discarded item. I must admit, I do not know where he got it. But I wouldn’t be shocked if it came from a dumpster. Yes, there was dumpster diving in my youth. Anyway—I sure can get easily side-tracked—he took that sink and made a little stand for it outside and my grandmother planted petunias in it. Most people at the time probably thought that it was rather tacky. I realize now that my grandfather was just ahead of his time! ;-)
After my grandfather died (when I was not quite 13), things just weren’t the same. He was definitely the glue that held everything together…how much so, no one realized until it was too late. No more gardening and canning. My grandmother stopped piddling with flowers. The sink grew only weeds. Now it really was just tacky lawn junk.
Fast forward to about 6 years ago. Pre-blog…so still no pictures. Use that imagination of yours! Picture in your mind’s eye a sink similar to the one above—but much larger--full of dirt and weeds, sitting in the elements for 25+ years (maybe a lot more…I can’t remember the sink NOT being in my grandparent’s yard). Man and I are starting to remodel our kitchen in our home in NC. I go to my grandmother and ask, “Memaw….you can say no if you want to…but can I have the sink that’s in the yard?”
Let’s just say, the look on Memaw’s face said that she was concerned for my sanity. It didn’t get any better when she asked me what I was going to do with it, and I told her I was going to put it in my kitchen.
Man was with my grandmother….He too thought that I had lost my” freakin’ mind”. Yet, he painstakingly refinished the sink. No money for a professional! Actually, he painstakingly refinished the sink about 3 times. He couldn’t get every single, microscopic “flaw” out of the finish! I had to remind him that I liked things to have “character”. He said things I can’t repeat!
The kitchen HAD to be designed around the sink. That sucker was HUGE! Many unrepeatable things were said during the cabinet build, rebuild, install, uninstall, adjust, etc, etc, etc. But it was finally in. The centerpiece of the kitchen. And yet NO PICTURES! Sorry. I had never even heard of a blog. I don’t even think we had a digital camera yet!
I got to use my sink for less than two years before we were moving to NY! We never even finished the entire kitchen remodel. A few upper cabinets needed to be replaced…so it was mostly done. Man got SUPER busy. My cabinets were designed by moi and built by Man and one of his friends. Believe me I LOOKED and LOOKED for cabinets like I wanted (now they are EVERYWHERE). Man finally told me to talk to a custom cabinet maker. But he told me this in front of aforementioned friend; who said, “We can build those.” That was the moment that I knew my kitchen would NEVER be finished! But I digress. Where was I? Are you even still here? If so please comment below! Oh yes….moving to NY. There was NEVER any question in my mind that my sink was coming with me. I did not care if all my other possessions were sold (okay, I exaggerate…but just a little), that sink was coming with me. Yep, I’m that person…the one that moves and leaves a huge gaping hole in the kitchen for someone else to figure out how to fix! Those people? My parents….but they were warned before papers were signed or money exchanged! My mother was more bothered that I was taking my kitchen island that Man and friend also built.
Look, I actually had a picture of the island. It was taken in this house when we first moved in about 3 1/2 years ago. Of course, the kitchen has been re-arranged since then—dozens of times—but it is a little too…umm…shall we say..in use at the moment for an update. What can I say…it’s Autumn…my serious cooking season.
So today when I saw the picture on Pinterest, I decided to take you down to visit my sink…in my cellar. Yes, that is why the picture made me sad. See once we got here, we decided that renting was a better option than buying---we don’t consider ourselves permanent NY residents. So my sink was placed in the cellar.
I hate the cellar. First you have to go down these:
Then you find this:
Man’s attempt at growing one of his favorite foods—cucumbers—during an Upstate NY winter. I’ll let you know how that turns out!
And then I turn the corner to find my sink buried under boxes and other stuff. So still no pictures….Sorry. I tried. I really did.
My poor, poor sink! Oh…I forgot to tell you…EVERY time my grandmother came to my house after the sink was installed, she asked for it back. Sorry, Memaw! I told you that you could say “no”!
Until next time….
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Another Adventure with….
drop cloths, Citra-solv, and The Graphics Fairy—my favorite trio! Today’s feature is the tea towel/kitchen towel/napkin. Call it what you want. Use it how you will. I have bought some fancy-smancy (spelling???) tea toweling in the past. It was nice stuff…a little expensive (not overly so). It had a nice French Country feel to it. However, it just doesn’t do it for me when it comes to everyday use. I wash my kitchen linens in HOT water. It just makes me feel better about the kitchen culture. Anyway…the toweling kind of crinkles and just doesn’t look so great when washed in hot water (the care instructions said cold, but….). Plus my image transfers just didn’t take as well as I would have liked, and they faded quickly with washing---like two washes and you could barely see the image. What’s a girl to do? Go back to her favorite stand-by, of course. Yes, that humble drop cloth. With each wash a towel/napkin made from a drop cloth gets more absorbent and softer. Images transfer well using the Citra-solv method. I can usually wash them over and over and over—sometimes using bleach—and the image hangs tight. Note the “usually” in that sentence---I have used drop cloths that don’t take a transfer as well or whose images faded in the wash, but that has been the exception in my case. Who knows what the difference was…same brand, different results.
Anyway…here are a few of my latest creations:
Farm Animal Versions
Remember my machine sampler from last time? It was useful for deciding on some decorative detail for the towels.
Here is a close up of the pig towel detail:
It is actually four rows of stitches—two different styles combined. Remember: NO RULES!
Here is the detail on the chicken towel (it reminded me of chicken feet):
And finally, the detail from the skull towel:
It just looked Halloween-ish. Kind of like Frankenstein’s stitches.
Oh…one last detail….
a twill tape hanger sewn into the seams across one of the top corners. Hang your towel from a hook or from the pull on a drawer or cabinet door. Definitely not necessary, but a nice touch.
Okay, that’s it for now. So until next time…..
Saturday, October 13, 2012
I think the creative part of my brain has taken a vacation. I’ve scanned my idea books. I’ve checked out a few of my favorite blogs. I’ve done the Pinterest scan. Nothing! I decided I needed a little sewing therapy. I scanned my patterns. Made a mess of my fabric stash. Still….Nothing! I told myself: “Self, just do something. ANYTHING! “ So I decided to make a “Machine Sampler”. What is a machine sampler?
It is a sample of your sewing machine’s stitches.* I wrote the stitch number next to the sample. Very handy reference for when you are sewing…especially when you want to add some decorative stitching. And don’t think that you only have to use the stitches classified as “decorative” to add a little something extra to your projects. Experiment. Have fun. There are no rules.
*If you decide to make your own machine sampler, choose a piece of fabric larger than you think you will need. I completely underestimated the amount of space needed. Therefore, part of my stitches had to go on another piece of fabric!
Unfortunately, even trying to jumpstart my creativity with the sampler project didn’t work. So I decided to stick with an oldie, but goodie. I started working on some tea towels with ink transfers. Pictures coming soon.
While my creative part of my brain has been on vacation, the domestic goddess has made an appearance. So I’m off to do some cleaning and cooking (maybe that will induce some creativity???).
Until next time,
Monday, October 8, 2012
Tote with Image Transfer
So here is the transfer medium for today’s project:
I was just going to transfer the image to a panel of canvas fabric, but decided instead to put it onto the body of a canvas tote. I’m in the process of replacing all those ugly grocery store totes. Yes, they were only 99 cents, but….they look like they cost 99 cents. Anyway…two projects in one.
Now this WILL NOT surprise you. I headed over to The Graphics Fairy to look for an image. This was my choice….
I cut out my tote bag and got ready to transfer the image. First you need to brush a generous amount of gel medium onto the image:
Then you forget to take pictures of the next step. You KNOW that I am THAT blogger! Stop acting surprised…Really though, the next step is easy. Wet the paper….some people use a spray bottle. Personally, I just get a small paper cup of water and dip my fingers in and wet them and use them to wet the paper. You can be pretty generous with the water. The point is to wet the paper so you can remove it from the image. I just rub the paper with my fingers or an old cloth to remove it. Actually I got pretty aggressive. My finished image is NOT perfect (it usually won’t be with this method). But even with my aggressive rubbing of the paper, very little of the image came off the fabric.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
French-style Fabric Coasters
Just thought I would drop by and say “HI!”. It has been a wee bit busy around here…can you say squash, squash and more squash! I’ve also been doing some de-cluttering. How does one accumulate so much stuff in such a little time? I mean, we had a huge de-cluttering session before we moved from NC 4 years ago. Anyway…here is a little project I worked on when I NEEDED some sewing therapy a few days ago.
Some simple French-style fabric coasters made from scraps of canvas drop cloths. Of course the images came from The Graphics Fairy and were transferred to the canvas via the Citra-solv method.
Here are their close-ups:
This is a simple project. For each coaster you need 4 squares of fabric—mine are approximately 4 1/2 inches. Transfer your image onto one piece of fabric. Stack the squares—make sure your image is on top—and sew a tight zig-zag stitch all the way around, approximately 1/4 inch form the edge. The settings that I used for my stitch were width = 1.4; length = 0.9. My machine is a Kenmore/Jenome. Once you’ve sewn your square together, clip the strings and fringe the edges, and—Voila!
I’ve been working on other projects that I REALLY want to share with you…but my computer has been a bit temperamental this past week (or twelve)…I’m afraid it is time for a new one. I really like the all-in-one machines. Anyone own one? Any suggestions?
Well…the garden beckons….
Until next time,
Monday, July 9, 2012
Stormy Hen Happenings
I LOVE summer! I’m busy….but a good busy.
Last week I started working on the rocking chair that I bought at the community yard sale.
This little guy snuck into the garage while I was painting. He couldn’t resist…with the door wide open and all…..
I’ve piddled around the garden….
Enjoyed the flowers….
and the first tomatoes of the season….
You can find the recipe for the buttermilk biscuits shown above here or the recipe for cream biscuits here.
Until next time,
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Do any of you that have your own blogs ever read your blog and wonder to yourself, “WHO is the person who wrote THIS?” I mean, obviously, you know that YOU did. However, it just doesn’t feel like the true you is coming through the screen. That is where I have been with my blog for some time now. My “voice” just doesn’t feel like the real me. Not just that…my blog didn’t look like it reflected me. I hope to move my blog toward being more me-like. If any of you have been around my blog the last 24 hrs., you’ve probably notices LOTS of changes…template changes, layout changes. Yeah, it’s been ALL over the place. This morning I sat down to change the background once again. I went to my FAVORITE graphics/background source. Any guesses? Yep, Karen over at The Graphics Fairy. And as much as I love all her sites, I just wasn’t feeling it. Nothing was ME! Then it hit me…a big smack on the side of the head. “Make your own background!” Duh!! Yeah, I’m a little slow sometimes.
So I did! And here is my “scenic route” to making my blog authentically MOI!
First of all I thought of going to The Graphics Fairy (yep…I’m a Graphics Fairy stalker) to grab some images to make a digital collage. Which was really a great idea—if I do say so myself! But I suddenly realized that I already had a near perfect collage. It wasn’t digital, but I soon remedied that!
Here is the original “collage”:
A wood tissue box cover that I had covered with images from The Graphics Fairy several months ago using the Mod Podge transfer method. That is one of those projects that never got blogged about due to my lack of organization. Anyway…it is sitting on the other tool needed for this background project. My scanner! Yep…that simple. I scanned the image into my computer, and voila:
I had my digital collage. (Hint: I threw a piece of fabric over the tissue box before scanning it, since OBVIOUSLY the lid of the scanner wouldn’t close.) But the fun was only beginning! Next I uploaded the image to PicMonkey and played with it until I had this:
Which I used as my new blog background. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Oh yeah…as stated above: I’m sometimes a little slow.
But I didn’t stop there…I was on a roll. I also updated my blog button.
Let me know what you think!
Until next time,
Join the Party:
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Quick Scrappy Sewing
First I started with this:
Basically I cut out a square with a lip where the opening will be once for turning the potholder right-side out. It makes it easier to stitch the opening up all nice and neat.
Then I started getting a little creative…
with some little scrappy pieces and The Graphics Fairy (shocked, aren’t ya?).
I even tried out some of those decorative stitches on the ol’ machine.
Here are some finished ones:
I added 1 layer of cotton batting in these potholders. I also made a trivet with the same technique, but used 2 layers of batting. It is already in full-time use in the kitchen…so it missed the photo shoot.
And here is a close-up of the back of one of them…
On it I sewed lines of loopy stitches. I think it is some special quilting stitch…but a quilter I ain’t! I just thought it looked neat.
AND their little sisters…
Scrappy Lil’ Fabric Coasters. These are made by putting one creatively scrappy square on top of 3 other plain layers (in case you are wondering, the natural “base” fabric that I used is the humble canvas drop cloth.), then I just stitch them together, leaving the raw edges. Couldn’t get easier! Just let your imagination go wild!
Yep…I got a little carried away. That’s okay. Now I have some scrappy little gifts stashed away.
Hope your weather is as nice as ours here in Upstate NY…and you’re enjoying it!