Friday, February 29, 2008

Sewing Weekend

My bags are packed, and I'm ready to go to the beach for the weekend with a wonderful group of ladies. I'm looking forward to building stronger relationships. I'm also looking forward to our projects. We are bring our sewing machines, rulers, pins, scissors, and fabrics. We will be making baby quilts and burp cloths for girls who need extra love in this time of their lives, and help for their coming babies. It's a hard road for these girls, and we want to encourage, mentor, and be there for them. I look forward to a beautiful weekend in spring, when new life is blooming and celebrated.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

No plastic

I finally did it! I made it home from grocery shopping without adding to the plastic bag collection (except for the bread bags). I've been working on this for quite some time. First, I replaced all the big bags. I would have my bags with me for a couple of weeks then the next time forget them. I don't know how many times I've had to go running back to the car to get the bags, praying that my cart would not disappear. Then I started getting mesh bags for produce. I finally started carrying other bags for others kinds of shopping - like for fabric. Grocery stores are use to this, and are encouraging us bring bags. Other stores are still surprised to see someone with their own bag.
My favorites are the New Seasons bag, because it is so roomy. The red and black Trader Joe's bag is insulated and works great for juices and ice cream. Then the cloth bag from Germany. That was my first bag. People there have been using their own bags for years. My first time in a store there, the checker looked at me and wondered why I didn't have my own bag. What took me so long to practice this behavior?
I love the idea of a sustainable life. I also realize how difficult it is to change how we have grown use to doing things. I pray that I will be willing to acknowledge the things that still need to change in my life in that area and be willing to do what needs to happen to put it into practice.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Creating More Apron Memories

A while ago I showed you my grandmothers apron
Katherine saw the apron and asked if I would make one for her.
I've been reading about her life for a while on the farm. She wears aprons while working with the lavender, the sheep, the chickens, and the little donkeys. She has a big heart, helping people with her art and her other resources. Katherine makes pies. She takes one of her little donkeys, Pino and delivers the pies to someone in need of cheer. She is encouraging others to make pies, and give one to someone you see that needs encouragement.

In making the apron, I first laid it out to make a pattern. I just drew it onto an old newspaper.

Then cut it out.

Sew. Finished!

I like the scallops on the hem.

With the memory of my grandmother's apron, I pass this apron on to create new memories. Hopefully some of those memories will include pie.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Goodwill goodies

Went To Goodwill Sat. I don't go that often. I was looking for a black leather skirt or jacket for a project. I found just what I was looking for immediately, so decided to browse a bit. Dangerous thing to do. It was a good day at Goodwill. I saw a lady walk by with a cute small table.......just a little paint.....another lady with a neat! great basket........Look at that fabric!!!!! Retro 70's. Right out of high school.

This fabric would look awful in my home, so I have to think of something fun to do with it. I just couldn't resist. The flowers are so huge!! The colors vibrant. Maybe a potting apron? Or big market bag? Pillows for the porch? It's a medium weight polished cotton.

Then I saw these fence finals sitting on the shelf. When I brought them home my daughter wanted to know if I had bought spear heads, and wondered if she could use them on her brother. No, No, No, blood lusting girl! Although.......... No. Really, I thought I could attach them to short pieces of pipe, put them into the ground and use them as hose guides.

Now, Finally,......The reason I went to find black leather. The other day I was reading this blog. In her Jan 10 post she had made a bag and gave a link for this pattern.

I thought the bag would look great made from black leather.

I found a long Gap skirt. It was rather sad to cut it up, was on to a better life.
Some of the instructions were a little unclear, but I worked it out.
This is it!
I bought the D-loops, toggle-clips, and chain at the ACE.
I like the option of using the hole to hold it on my shoulder, or the long strap. The long tassel hanging by the chain is just fun. The bag has three inside pockets. One large zippered pocket, one medium open pocket, and a pleated pocket for my cell phone.

The skirt was $4.99. The hardware was under $5.00. So my afternoon project was under $10.00. I had an afternoon of fun, and a great bag.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Old and New

I found this old drying rack.
It was in a thrift store,
under some unidentified stuff
all dusty and forlorn. I loved the look of it,
all old worn wood. Now its hanging
in the upper corner of the sitting nook,
in the kitchen. Old tea towels from my grandmothers, with delicate embroidery, and laces. Hanging with dried flowers.
Much the same as they might have hung 100 years ago.

I'm sure you've noticed,
I tend to collect old things.
It's not to live in a museum. I like the time worn feel, the connection to people and the sustainable way of life they lived each day. I live with these old things that are useful, and do use them.
Not everything is old.
Sometimes, Gerry and I make something, like the step back cupboard in the right of the picture.

The corbels are salvaged with a newer piece of distressed wood for the shelf. The bowls were from Gerry's grandmother.

The lamp is above the sink. Sometimes in the early morning, I'll light it, and several others around, and fix the kids lunches and breakfast by lamplight.

One Christmas, Krista gave me this pewter.
I loved it! Where to put it????
I had seen shelves like this, but never the right size, or the right color. I wondered, "How hard can it be to make?"
Gerry had found these boards (already green) at the beach. They were just sitting "around".
So I figured our measurements, and made a pattern for the curves on the sides.
We had it cut out, put together, and on the wall above the stove that afternoon.

So I incorporate old and new, making a time worn look, but living in today's world.
How do your incorporate the old and new?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Welcome Spring Crocus

I am amazed each spring with these little heirloom crocus. They are the second flower to bloom, after the snowdrops. Their color is so vibrant. They are a sturdy little flower, withstanding frost and snow, yet they appear delicate.

They grow in profusion under the cedar trees, a carpet of green, lavender, and purple. Each year there are more. I never know where a new plant may appear. They grow in the grass, in walkways, between rocks and bricks, but mostly under the cedar trees.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fabulous Bread

I love bread! I make loaves,
rounds, white, wheat,
mixed grains, muffins,
scones, coffee cakes.
I love the whole process. I wouldn't dream of using a bread machine,
and don't knock those who do.
There is something so wonderful about fresh bread. The aroma, the taste, mmmmm!
I start out mixing in my kitchen aid,
then turn it out onto a board to knead.
I just love getting my hands
into the dough and feel it go
from sticky to soft and elastic.

A while back I found this book . It's fabulous!
This last weekend, I made the Mixed Garden Sandwich Loaf. Halfway through the process I thought about taking pictures and sharing with you.
Here it is all rolled out with saute`ed veggies, fresh spinach, and jack cheeses on top.

Then I rolled it up like a log and baked it.

out of the oven.
It smells sooooo

Cut open, the cheese is soft and warm. It's already a sandwich, fresh garden veggies all baked inside.

Next, I try the Cranberry, Currants, and Cream Cheese Bread, or maybe Peanut Butter-Choc0late fudge bread, or Concord Grape Bread, or........ I'm sure I'll try them all soon.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

For Baby

We had a house full this weekend. Most of the family gathered here to have a baby shower. Sadly the parents of the baby live 3000 miles away. So we gathered to show what we were giving to the new one, wrapped the presents together and sent them off.
Several people are very handy with their hands, yarn, thread and fabric.

Krista travels with her bag of yarn . The beautiful bag was made and given to her by her mother-in-law. She has several projects under construction.

Krista made this sweater for the baby boy who is coming soon. The pink yarn in the bag is for a sweater for a baby girl.

Wendy made this darling hat.
She is also working on another sweater.

Such craftiness! Just love it.

While they were knitting, I was sewing.
I used a McCall's 3063 pattern. I have always
loved baby formal wear.

There were other very cute outfits, sorry , no pictures.
It was a fun family time. the food was great too. More about that tomorrow.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I like bags. It's a good way to organize things for me. Put things in a bag, it doesn't even have to be in an organized way, close it, everything is neat. So I have lots of bags of various kinds around.
In the pantry, things are organized in jars, baskets, and bags.
Yesterday I focused in on the cookie cutter bag, getting ready to make valentine cookies. Cookie cutters are sooo unorganized. This is a good way to keep them together, and not have to paw through them in a drawer.
A while back we were camping. I had tossed in muslin, needle, and floss, but no pattern. Nothing was prepped. I wanted to sit by the river (after a swim) and stitch mindlessly. What to make? No sewing machine. No cute pattern for a towel, and nothing to draw it with.
I decided to make a homely bag for the cookie cutters. I free handed (or is it free stitched) the words in a back stitch. Then folded the bottom and sides in and used a blanket stitch and and x stitch.

Then folded the top edge down
and used a straight running stitch
to form a casing. Then braided several strands
of crochet thread together for the tie.
I've made lots of different kinds of bags, from homely to very elegant, with beads and tassels, but this bag is a favorite.
Maybe because whenever my eye is caught by the cookie cutter bag, I smile and remember a wonderful family time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Tomorrow is Valentine's Day,
as usual I have procrastinated.
Several years ago I made this heart.
The pattern is from Kindred Spirits.
I love there designs. They do a lot in wool.
I made this heart from re purposed wool
and vintage buttons.
I really like the wool eyelet trim.
I will do some valentines based on this design.

First I started with this pile. It seem like I always start with a pile of things, adding to and taking away, as the project progresses.

Then created a design, based on the
Kindred Spirits

Then cut it out, and create the eyelet edges and trim. I just cut out a scalloped edge, then used two sizes of hole punch. The punches don't go all the way through the wool, so I had to turn it over and cut off the little tags.

Then sewed the pockets on with pearl cotton floss. I used a running stitch, and French knots at the three corners.

Finished Product! Ready to fill with wonderful goodies. Hope the kids don't peek!
Have a wonderful day with you loved ones!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Instant Messageing

An old cupboard door,
some chalkboard paint,
add a little whimsical painting,
= instant message board.
I put it up next to the frig.
The natural meeting place on our home
(if not in my work room).
Do you instant message?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Repourposed Door - Weekend Project

For years I have really wanted a hall tree. You know one of those old things that would sit close to the front door, hold jackets, hats, gloves, and umbrellas. There is not a closet close to the front door, so this has been an ongoing problem. Well, getting a hall tree is still not happening. So with that in the back of mind, (as a make do person), I've been collecting a few hanging things for a while, not really sure what I was going to do.

This weekend I was going to do something. I walked around the house look for inspiration. I walked around the yard, maybe there was something I could use. I looked in the shed, where I have a small stash of old boards of many kinds. Hmmmm......

That's it!! In the yard, leaning against the fence,
was an old door. I had used it in a hard scape
in the garden, but it had fallen over in the wind this year.
I knew I would not be putting it back up this year.
The door was begging to be used again.

I brought it up on the porch and washed it off.
It's rather bright, but my home is shadowy, and can use bright spots.

Out come the tools. My husband has bought saws, drills, and sanders for me, knowing that they are almost as important as a sewing machine.

I called my sister to come over to help decide where to put the hangers and to hold things. Thanks Laura!

In a very short time, we had it together.

When Gerry came home, it was ready for hanging.
It's right behind the front door. It's a rather shadowed spot despite the window, so the red brightens things up some. The hooks and things don't show up well in the picture, but you get the idea. I'll put hats and wooden boxes on the shelf. Maybe add some fun molding to the edge. It's a fun piece.

Just in time for company coming with all their coats the weekend.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

5 Step Hem

Narrow Rolled Hem Tutorial

It's not hard. It doesn't take long. That narrow roll looks intimidating. Don't let it fool you! It's just five (yes 5) simple steps.
I've been altering formal clothing for over 20 years. This is how it's done outside the factory. Yes, you could use the narrow rolled hem foot. But there is a problem with that. It works great on straight of grain. Most dress or skirt hems have some bias. When bias is present the fabric does not want to roll easily. The garment will bunch up on the foot. This process is a winner every time!

STEP 1: Mark your fabric 1/16" longer than your finished hem length.

Step 2: Fold you garment on your marked line and sew close to the edge. If you want you can press this but it's not needed.

Step 3: Cut off the excess fabric close to your stitching. Be careful. Large scissors work better. The closer you cut to your stitching the narrower you hem will be.

Step 4: Fold your narrow hem up. Your fabric will fold right where you made your cut. Then sew right on top of your first sewing line. So it will look like one line of sewing when you are done.

Step 5: Press. It's just that easy. Look at your beautiful hem!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cookie Legacy

I like to cook. I love to bake.... too much. It's a good thing I have lots of family around to eat the goodies. Soon when the nest is empty friends will receive "Debbie's bakery deliveries". These cookies are a favorite. They are soft and chewy, with lot of good stuff in them. I change the recipe depending on what flavor I want or what I have on hand.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter or more butter
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tes. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 cup cereal, whatever you have
raisins, chocolate chips, dries cranberries, nuts
Drop small walnut size drops on your cookie sheet, and bake for 10 min. in a preheated oven, 350 degrees. Yummy!
I usually double this and it makes a little over 4 doz.
Perfect for lunches.

This is what they look like cooling in the
kitchen. Usually a dozen are eaten before they are put away.
I remember my mom making cookies for us. She still keeps a jar full. My kids, especially my son, love to "steal" cookies from her kitchen. She gets a smug smile when that happens.

This is my kitchen. It reminds my of what I think our grandmothers kitchens might have looked like, although my grandmother had a more modern kitchen. I look at this and smell the wonderful aromas from my memory. I think this is partly where my love of baking came from. I love combining all the senses; visual, smell, touch and doing.
I know the cookie memories that I have will be some of the same ones my children and grandchildren will have.
Cookies are a legacy, from one generation to the next.
What is your favorite cookie recipe?