A “Friday Finish”…on Wednesday!…….

I so love the sound of that!!! Backtracking a bit to the post here,, will bring you up to speed on this one. When I purchased this, last September in Kingsport, Tennessee, I just knew it would be a great fmq project!!!! I brought the unfinished cloth to Texas but forgot to bring the binding fabric, so a trek to the local Hobby Lobby produced just the perfect piece!!!!!IMG_7906    Gingham!!! Yes!!!!! And one with a bit of ‘poly’ in it…..how retro is that!!! The minimal shrinkage of that fabric will be ideal for this much-washed cloth. IMG_7906 IMG_7907

A peek at the back…….IMG_7904   It’s a piece of wide backing I had gotten from Connecting Threads and has a ribbon motif subtly running through it. IMG_7909     And a final ‘full shot’……..IMG_7908    “Clicking” on any of the photos will enlarge.

Thread: (top and bobbin) Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly (70wt). Batting: Hobbs Heirloom cotton/poly (80/20).

The outer border was fun and a great way to keep the stiffness away (no tight stippling, etc) and allow for a nice over-the-table-edge drape.

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Almost a UFO no longer…………..

This vintage kitchen cloth is so-o-o-o close to a finish and I’m really liking it!!!! (Story continued from this post)IMG_7897 IMG_7894 IMG_7900IMG_7901  Just 2 more sides to finish the border….IMG_7896IMG_7895   The last 2 photos are what I decided on for the outer white area/border. Initially, a diagonal grid was in my mind but there would have been a wee bit too much fullness to contend with. I wanted something less densely stitched to have a softer edge drape and chose to somewhat duplicate the cherry/leaf idea in the four corners, connected by a wavy line of leaves. I think this is really working well with the center motifs, don’t you??

Thread (top and bobbin) is Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly (70 wt) with Hobbs Heirloom cotton/poly (70/30) batting. And, of course, continuing to be stitched on my wonderful, all-purpose stitching/fmq machine: Juki 2010Q. IMG_7902

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I know I’m home when……….

The aroma of fresh baked bread is filling my little Texas “space”! Earlier today, I was trying to catch up with all my friends’ blog posts when I came upon friend Karen’s post (her blog: “Quilts…..etc”). She resides in NW Arkansas, an area that has also found itself in winter’s frigid grip. Her solution to such cold blasts is similar to mine. Aside from stitching, baking is the activity of choice. The results of her post is this yummy loaf……..IMG_7893    Her “Banana Walnut Bread” recipe (found here) is wonderful!! I made 1/2 the recipe using just shy of 3 cups of bread flour but kept the brown sugar amount the same. The bread is a very mild….very……banana flavor that is excellent! The other substitution I made was craisins for the dates (which I did not have!). After the first raise, I shaped it into an artisan loaf, place it on parchment on a pizza pan. Let raise again and baked it for 30 minutes at 350F. Thank you, Karen, for this fab addition to my bread baking repertoire!!!!!

I must get back to stitching!!!!………..

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From this……….

IMG_7837  Snowy Minnesota landscape (car and bike packed and ready to head South), to a , DH-suggested  quick stop……in Missouri……at a place/town that is on the map today, largely, because of the vision of one gal and her family. Any thoughts???? Maybe this “little” clue will help……..IMG_7838      Well, maybe this is a better clue……….IMG_7841   Could I say no??? Of course not!!! But, was I totally unprepared/without a plan or list??? Yes!!!! So, with only a few moments to grasp the whole idea, we were parking the car and heading out to………. Well, for those who have not kept up with the growth of Missouri Star Quilt Company and the impact on the little town of Hamilton (which is also the home of James Cash Penney….yup “J.C. Penney!), there are 12 (yes! count ‘em!) individual buildings that house various categories of what would comprise just one ordinary shop. IMG_7839    The first building we entered is a composite site of what each location has for a them……batiks, primitives/wools, children, animal/themed, etc.IMG_7840   Each place is well-lit, with signage that clearly marks each category of fabric. Shopping made very easy!!!! IMG_7842   I will admit, this was a “speed run” and purchases were extremely minimal!!!!!!IMG_7892    A few fat quarters and a ‘tumbler’ cutting template that works with charm/5” squares. We zipped in and out of most all the shops, except for the café, bakery and “man cave”, that were bypassed completely. A (better) planned stop in the future would probably be a good idea! Ha!

We were headed to Higginsville, MO, for an overnight with friends Celeste and twin sis, Celia. I had made a tie pillow for Celeste a year ago. I acquired her dear hubby’s fave ties upon his passing and wanted to give her a special remembrance………IMG_7843   A construction note…..using the narrow tie ends, I merely zig-zagged the appropriate lengths to a black denim piece of fabric which gave the pillow a very nice stability and smooth surface. Maybe a good item idea when a quilt is a tad too much???

The rest of our southern trek was wonderfully uneventful. I wish I could say that we are having fab warm south Texas weather but the “cold snap” has even this area in its grasp for a few days. Lows at 31F will be found throughout the Rio Grande Valley at some point with “wind chill” readings that are most unpleasant. Now, for my Northern friends…….yes, this is a bit of a ‘whine’….sorry…………….

Back to quilting….and warm thoughts…….soon………………….

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I know I’m back in Texas when……..

Meals begin to have a certain theme!!! Yup….seafood! A quick fish taco is always good, topped with a bit of guacamole, and served with a “side” of sliced jicama (sprinkled with a bit of Adobo seasoning)……..IMG_7851    And there must always be shrimp!!! IMG_7849   This is a super easy fix that Pinterest provided last year! You say you’re curious about the recipe?? OK, let me give you the very quick run-down……….

1.5 pounds of raw/uncooked shrimp (these were deveined only)             

1 stick salted butter

1 med/large lemon…sliced thinly

1 package dry Italian dressing mix

Melt the butter in a 9”x 13” edged pan and place the lemon slices in a single layer on the bottom. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the package of Italian dressing mix over. Place the shrimp on top of these layers and sprinkle the rest of the seasoning mix on top of the shrimp. Bake @ 350F for 15 to 17 minutes (til the shrimp are bright pink). Enjoy!!!! A great no-fuss way to fix perfectly cooked shrimp. Served with a side of rice……….wonderful!!!!IMG_7850    Stay tuned for more happenings of the quilty variety shortly…………

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My prayer for you…………………..

Snoopy-New-Year-Wishes               Is for you to have a Joy and Peace filled New Year!!! As we come to the close of another year, I, again, give thanks for all of you, my dear “Bloggy Friends”, who stop by for a visit and leave sweet words of encouragement, inspiration and friendship. I wonder what’s in store these coming days??!!! Let’s explore together and open this new chapter. And, as always, sending hugs……….

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“Change”…………..

From this………IMG_7837    to this………..IMG_7846 with the bonus of 76F and palm trees!!!! Cleaning-mostly completed. Cable and wifi hooked up (yes, I need certain things!), barn square up and a few tasks left that will wait til…….well, will wait a bit………….

To be continued……………

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More “Reveals”…………….

And I do hope I don’t forget any!!!! The beginnings of these gifts actually go back to last May and the purchase of 2 bottles (“fifths”) of vodka and many vanilla beans. Madagascar beans, grade B, are the best for making your own vanilla extract. Yup……those are the ingredients! Some people will add a bit of water but I did not resulting in a (close to) 80 proof vanilla. Be careful around an open flame!!!! Seriously! The extracting continued til a few weeks ago when I bottled, labeled and utilized the neat bags I had made with this fabric. So, now I have these………IMG_7768 IMG_7770    See those beautiful beans???? As the vanilla is used, it’s possible to add more vodka or even water to make more!!!!!  IMG_7769        This was really an interesting project and one that I will repeat in the future, I’m sure. Pure vanilla, like this, will keep indefinitely on the shelf at room temp without special processing because of the significant alcohol percentage. Decreasing the alcohol to a level below 35% (70 proof) will shorten the keeping ‘life’.

Til next time, I think I’ll go look to see if I’ve forgotten any projects!

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A cute Christmas “post script”……………

To the little star table topper gifted yesterday. Although it had GDs name on the tag, the secondary recipients might find it an interesting “I Spy” finish. The evening was quite exciting for the little ones….I mean, although pretty packages were just waiting under the tree in the very next room….they were in “no touch” mode til after supper! Oh my!!   IMG_7821 And supper was something that just was not that important. I did get a photo of the gals trying to finish their plates and somewhat oblivious to the topper!!!! IMG_7825 They are really sweet, well mannered little ones (Paige, left, age 3 and Payten, right, age 5). I wonder when they settled in to sleep that night!!!!!!! IMG_7831IMG_7833    And the really BIG surprise…………….IMG_7834   There will be many hours of happy play time with this one!!

And….may I also mention that my “obsession” (maybe a tad ‘strong’) with the series “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” continues even though, with the change in cable TV providers, we no longer get the PBS station that carries this awesome program (insert huge UNhappy face!!-MINE!!!!) so, I put out a request this year. Very specific.  I would reeeeeeally like the complete DVD series of the 3 seasons of the mysteries. Now, to add to this anticipation, a friend had gifted me a coffee mug featuring Miss Phryne Fisher prominently! And…………….IMG_7836  DH even included a book, I had requested, that we had heard about while on our East Coast trek……yay!! Guess what little DVD package is headed for TX with us??!!!!!

OK……time to call it a night…………….

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Now that the gifts are gifted…………..

I am free to share the delightful finishes……..

First, granddaughter’s table topper. Total fun and becomes an “I Spy” quilt for the 2 sweet great grands….IMG_7754IMG_7756      This is a great topper to use all those 5” charm packs we all have stashed away!!!!! The beginning of this little story, and the pattern, may be found here. A look at the back……IMG_7760   I added borders to give it a bit more size.

The next topper, same pattern, (for DIL)  has a definite theme….froggies!IMG_7761IMG_7762   IMG_7762     See this link for its beginnings.    This one has a smaller border just to tie all the colors together. The back…IMG_7765IMG_7767   Piecing the backing is always a delight, especially when I’m able to continue the theme!!!!!!

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My prayer for you is……………..

That you may know His……..

Image result for Christian peace free clip art

now and throughout the coming days. Blessings and hugs coming at ya…….

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A Christmas memory……………….

Of oh so long ago…………….IMG_7819     Sweet…..

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Let’s talk gift cards……….

Do you give them?? Birthdays, Christmas?? We (DH) never gave them years ago. We felt that shopping for that special gift was part of the giving experience. I have to say, that has definitely changed with the reality that all those we gift to are wonderfully blessed and giving has become a bit of a challenge. Enter the appropriate gift card, one that is paired with the interest of the one receiving it. OK, that’s settled. Now…..how to wrap/present it?!? Cards really don’t make much of a statement regardless of the amount ‘loaded’ on them. IMG_7773        I searched out my (much neglected) felted wool pieces, raffia and glistening metallic thread. Cutting a piece 4” wide by 9” allowed me to fold it in half for the perfect size. Pinking the edges made for a very nice finish. Before stitching up the sides, I embellished a bit using Sulky’s “Holloshimmer”………..IMG_7776   In order to have a horizontal thread feed (oh so necessary for this flat strand configuration), I always have to get a bit creative with Ms Juki!! A clamp and large cone stand solved that!!!! I stitched the raffia “handle” on as I stitched the sides.IMG_7774 The felt has enough loft so any decorative motif looks great on the single layer. It didn’t take long and all 3 needed gifties were completed!……IMG_7775    Again, the top thread is Sulky’s “Holoshimmer” and the bobbin is Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly 70wt.

A small note…….I stitched the sides using the fmq setting I had going. Perhaps, this idea would work for some “problem” gift presentation that you may have???? Now…..back to “elf-ish” tasks………………….

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Please………..

Take a moment for thought. The reason for the season is found within its very name……Christmas.

This is good.:

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It’s A Beachy Friday Wrap……………

Ahhhhhh…..the gentle sound of waves washing onto a sandy beach, sun-drenched children building sandcastles, starfish, lighthouses, sparkling blue waters and…..well, you get the picture, hmmmmm????? (continuing the story from here) this ‘finish’ will be traveling to Texas with us when we leave later this month. Some warm pieces and parts…………..IMG_7746IMG_7747IMG_7752IMG_7736IMG_7737IMG_7731  That outer border was first stitched in a vine motif, using matching blue thread, in order to have it well “anchored” (sad pun…………) and then I changed to a neon green Glide thread and over-stitched a larger motif. Had I not done that, there would have been a serious “waviness”issue with the change in stitching density in a space that large on an outer edge. Trust me……wall quilts are touchy that way!!!!! Another border photo………IMG_7734   And the back……………..IMG_7741IMG_7742IMG_7739IMG_7745  And, finally, the big picture………….IMG_7751      Thanks for following along on this most enjoyable journey.

Til next we get together I do hope you are enjoying these Advent/He Is Coming days. Now, I think, there’s some wrapping in my future!!!!!!

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Reveal……………….(First of several…..)

Way back in July I posted a bit about a “paint chip challenge” (you need to scroll down a bit on that post link to get to the explanation) that was presented to my local quilt group. I posted a peek at my project here. The resulting creations would become this year’s gift exchange and, now, that has transpired. I did not get photos of everyone’s project but I have the wonderfully lovely, hand-quilted table topper that Joan made……The 3 color chips she got are “spot on” with the fabric!!!!!!…………….IMG_7726   Happy, sunny, WARM and perfect for my blue/white kitchen (which is much more red/green at the moment!!!!!!). IMG_7724   That lovely flowered print is, also, the backing……..reversible is always a good thing!!!!  BUT……let me move on to what I worked on this summer………..OK….these are my chips/colors that I worked with…..IMG_6321   and the finish………IMG_7620   The linen was the “grey”, thread (fmq on the linen) was the “Cocoon” chip and the purple…well, thread (Glide) as well, used on the black.IMG_7617   I deconstructed some silk flowers and stitched those on along with seed beads of various colors on both the flowers and linen.IMG_7616 Do you spy some purple?? Yes, I had the perfect piece of dupioni silk for the binding…..yay!!!!IMG_7613 IMG_7618     It was a fun challenge and one that created some heightened enthusiasm to press forward on the hunt for just that ‘right’ color!!! There are already “noises” that next year’s gift exchange could go the same direction (MINUS the pinks that some felt were a tad too prevalent in the chip bag!!!!!! hmmmmmmmmm)

On to more “secret” stuff…..how ‘bout you????????

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Peppermint One Bowl Brownies Recipe — Grandbaby Cakes ……….Yes! Chocolate!!!!!! (with a wine pairing??)

Peppermint One Bowl Brownies Recipe- A delicious and easy holiday spin on a classic and decadent one bowl brownies recipe filled with chocolate flavor and topped with delicious McCormick peppermint frosting. My kitchen has literally exploded now that December has arrived. There’s frosting in my hair, and I’m covered in flour and sugar most of…

via Peppermint One Bowl Brownies Recipe — Grandbaby Cakes

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Thinking warm thoughts………

As the snow is moving in from the West. 6” to 8” possible BUT it’s supposed to be a very fluffy snow!!!! Hmmmmm……….well, lots goin’ on this weekend and the driving will be very interesting!!! Meanwhile, in my little quilty world, it’s “all things beachy”……. We have some snails…………IMG_7718      Some footprints in the sand..with pebbles…………IMG_7719   A seahorse (awwww, c’mon, use your imagination!!!!)…….   IMG_7720     And lovely warm waves………….IMG_7721     For those who are experiencing what “winter” means, let these photos help to warm you a bit………… Now, to get “out there” and on with the day. Have an awesome weekend…………………………..

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Poster art showcases Faribault’s historic architecture

Check out this post and approach your town with “fresh eyes” to see what’s really there! These often overlooked details may disappear if we don’t treasure them!!!!!

Minnesota Prairie Roots

TRAVEL WEST ACROSS the Highway 60 viaduct toward downtown Faribault and you likely will notice the steeples and towers poking above the landscape. Just like on the eastern side of my Minnesota community, these punctuating structures mark numerous historic buildings.

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Now Jeff Jarvis, a local historian and artist who works as the City of Faribault’s community enrichment coordinator, has created Steeples & Towers, a photo montage. For a donation to the Concerts in the Park fund, you can purchase this 12 x 18-inch poster featuring 18 spires on educational, religious and residential structures. Places like the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour, the Hutchinson House, Buckham Memorial Library.

Buckham Memorial Library, Faribault, was built in 1929 with a Greek theme. Interior features include a Charles Connick stained glass window and Greek murals. Buckham Memorial Library, Faribault, was built in 1929 with a Greek theme. Interior features include a Charles Connick stained glass window and Greek murals. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

I’ve long valued the detailed architecture that defines so many…

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Busy, busy…….

Closing in on another finish. Very cold, overcast snowy day here. The perfect time to bake….but not seasonal goodies. Nope……how ‘bout my usual, good ‘ole standby Craisin Pecan Sourdough bread???? Yup….. IMG_7717   I think I could make this in my sleep!!!! Not really a good thing for this “carb-a-holic”, though!!!!! The original recipe is found here. To make the above 2 loaves you need to make these adjustments. First off….these are sourdough, so the liquid in the recipe becomes 3/4 cup starter and 3/4 cup water. The flour amount becomes 3.5 cups flour. I mix the dough in my bread maker then bake in small round stone bakers for 30 min at 350F.

   For the quilting part of my day, I continued on my beachy client quilt. The first 2 photos show just what a little stitching/texture can achieve. First……without…….IMG_7713   Nice but very flat and lacking movement!!! BUT…………now, we have this…………………….IMG_7716     The sails puff with those winds and the feel totally changes. Really gotta love it!!!!! Of course we need some light houses…………………….IMG_7707IMG_7704IMG_7706 

It’s coming along nicely. Threads have been a variety.. Isacord, Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly, Glide, Essence nylon monofil (top threads) and bobbin thread is Connecting Threads Essential Pro poly, 70 wt, as usual. The backing is a batik, which always presents some type of issue with thread stitch balance!!!! Now…..I think there’s a lovely cranberry wine (or is it raspberry??) just calling my name!!!! Til next time……..

‘Click’ on photos to enlarge.

 

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Thinking “warm”………….

With this next client quilt. In fact, it’s all things “beachy” with star fish, gentle waves, sand and kelp(!)………..IMG_7696IMG_7697   and a sneaky peek at the inspiration/front…….IMG_7698  For all those in the same/similar wintry climate as I am…………Spring IS coming……………(of course, so is Christmas!!!!!)……………..

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One word Wednesday……WONDERMENT………..

Paige        (The face of my youngest great-granddaughter when viewing the Hollidazzle fireworks!!)

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