Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone! Hope you all had a great one! Thought I'd share a few pics from mine with you...

We baked cookies (gotta love those paste food colors, right??)....
We carved pumpkins.....

Mine and my son's (so mine again, he's only 3 and can't carve one)

My husband's

My daughter's

We Trick or Treated! We had fun! Hope you all did, too!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Frosty Pumpkins and Chilly Plants

So the "frost is on the pumpkin", as they say, and quite literally here in upstate, NY. Last night it got down to the 30's, I understand. It's about time, we've had the oddest summerlike weather lately. I'm thrilled that when I now go outside it smells like Fall instead of Spring. Again, it's about time. Of course, it means that turning on the heat isn't too far behind, a fact I don't relish because of the ridiculous oil prices, but it is going to happen anyway. Time to bundle up and hunker down. I love this time of year.

I was so busy this weekend! My cold seems to have gone away (mostly), so I was feeling so much better yesterday. I still have a bit of a cough, but the other unpleasantries of being sick seem to have subsided for now. Saturday I camped out in my studio and did not come out until dinner. It is so nice to have a day like that now and again. I worked on my son's costume and finished it. He wants to be a telephone (I may have mentioned that before). So I made one up for him. He will be a purple (his choice) cell phone, made of felt, fleece, and puff paint. No pattern, no complicated instructions, just me and a sewing machine and my imagination. Exactly my speed. I'm very happy with how it came out and he LOVES the costume. So it's win-win. I will take a picture soon. My camera seems to have run out of batteries, and I don't know how to charge it, but when I do, I'll post one for you.

As for my daughter's infamous fairy costume, I did pass it along to my mother, who determined that the reason I couldn't figure out how the sleeves go onto the bodice was because I had sewn them upside down. No surprise there. She "un"stitched them for me, joined them correctly, and finished the costume likety-split (I did say she could sew circles around me in the clothing area, right??). It came out very cute. My daughter looks like a little flower. She is very excited about wearing it, and of course the irony of all of this is that now that the costume is done (and correctly), it's too cold to wear it, so she'll be wearing that turtleneck after all. Ah, the best laid plans.....

Sunday I spent the day cleaning the house. I do like cleaning the house, as strange as that may seem, because I like to take care of it. However, with me, my husband, and two kids, it gets cluttered up fast, and I don't get much chance to declutter. So Sunday I decluttered. Massively. The first floor of the house is now nice and tidy and dusted and whatnot. It is good. Right now we are clutter free and I am happy. I give it until Thursday until it's cluttered again.

I did manage to get a bunch of stitching done as well. The little Christmas trees are from the 2007 Just Cross Stitch Ornament mag. I made it twice because it was so quick and cute and why not? I'm going to finish them this week. They still need a couple of beads, and then I need to mount them onto their forms. No big deal. Little things like that are fun.

The little fairy on the right is a freebie from CyberStitchers. I made it for my daughter for her upcoming birthday. I'm going to finish it into an ornament type-thing, for her to hang in her room. It's really cute, and since she's learning to read, it's perfect for her. I hope she will like it.

I also got the winter edition of the Hancock's of Paducah catalog. I like that shop, it's not my favorite, but the catalog is so big, it's equivalent to getting the Big Toy Book from Toy's R'Us. For me, the catalog is really hit or miss. Either I don't like ANYTHING in it, or I like TOO MUCH in it. This time I liked quite a lot. Just a few examples of things I saw that I said "hmmmm" about (and can't line up nicely on this post). Could I be MORE random? Probably.

Thank you all again for your comments! I appreciate your taking the time to stop by!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


So, I am having the most frustrating day. I woke up and I STILL have this damn cold thing, and I have 0 energy, and I am going slowly and it is so annoying doing so. GRRRR!!!! I am not a person who likes to be slowed down. And now my kids both seem to have the cold, so they coughing and rubbing their snotty noses on everything (including me-mom, the walking tissue), and they are cranky and stir-crazy, and fighting, and it's raining out, and ugh!!

However, I figure I could be a little productive and work on my daughter's Halloween costume (she wants to be a fairy), because it doesn't require that much energy. Sitting, cutting, sewing, no big deal. So I get all the fabric and the pattern, sit on the floor, cut out the pattern, pin it to the fabric, cut out the fabric, go up to my studio, look at the directions....

and proceed not to know what the heck they are talking about.

not at all

no clue

I don't even know what this says

Is it in English?

Well, yes, it is in English. And I understand how to construct the BOTTOM part of the costume--the skirt. No problem. So if she wants to walk around with a turtleneck and a fairy skirt, I have got her covered. I'll just elasticize the waist, and off she goes. But no self-respecting fairy wears turtlenecks, so that's just not going to fly. Try imagining wings on a striped shirt......em, no. Ok, So I have to figure this out. I break it down by word. it, I know what that is. Hem... got it, know what that is. Stitch.....ok, no problem, can do that. I am also ok with the words is, sew, pin, and, the, sleeve, bodice, with, and elastic. So I've got all the words down. But then I put them together, and I STILL don't know what the heck this pattern is saying to me. They want me to sew the sleeve together, but then not sew it all the way, and attach it to the bodice, but leave an opening???????? WHA?????

I know I'm in trouble when I know all the words, but when I read them, they look like gibberish. So I put the thing down and look at it a couple of hours later. It still makes no sense. So I give up. Maybe a skirt with a turtleneck will be ok? The smart fairy's wardrobe for fall? No? I break down and call my mom, who sews rings around me when it comes to clothing. That's my dirty secret for today. I can sew anything--anything--except clothing. I do not understand the patterns and I don't know why. I think it's a mental block for some reason, and because I don't understand the patterns, I don't like making clothes. So I almost never do. Halloween is the exception. I always feel like I want to make the kids costumes at Halloween. And I always regret it, because of those dang patterns. Bleh.

So anyway, mom laughs (very helpful) because she KNOWS she can sew any piece of clothing with her eyes closed, and promises to help me next time I see her. So that'll have to be soon, 'cause Halloween's next week. I thank her profusely, hang up, and proceed to try to prove to myself that I am not a complete dummy and actually CAN figure out the pattern on my own, so I pick it up, read it again and still....

I don't know what they are talking about

not a clue

not at all

am I SURE this is English???

Well, yes, it still is, and no I still can't do it, so I put it aside and look out the window, and the mail is here, so I figure I'll go and get it and look what was in there!!

Wowee, huh?? I had placed a order 2 weeks ago with Needle in a Haystack, my new favorite online needlework store. I seem to live in a place with no local needlework store (very unlike the last place I lived that also had no local needlework store), so I have to shop online. I don't remember how I found Needle, but I love it. They are great with communications about orders, and quick to ship. I am a big fan. Anyway, I had wanted to "stock up" a bit on some nice linens and threads to do a bunch of monochromes for the wall in the living room, so I ordered. What you see above is Dirty Linen (on the bottom), Light Mocha Linen (middle), and Flax Linen (top), with my absolute favorite silk thread of all time--Soie Paris, made by Au Ver A Soie. If you like silk thread, you have GOT to try this stuff. I discovered it while looking for a shiny silk thread. It's actually shiny. Most silks are not. But this stuff is, and it's beautiful. It doesn't come in too many colors, so that would be it's drawback, but otherwise, oh, it's just gorgeous. I am so thrilled. And I'm even more thrilled with the colors, because finding a color chart is near impossible for this stuff, and the snippets they show you online are tiny, so it's so hard to see what the color actually is. But these colors are gorgeous, so much better than online. And they are perfect for what I wanted them for. So I am happy. I think I will need to try some out tonight. for my daughter's costume, well, I still have a week, right? And mom promised to help. It'll get done. And if not, I think the fall forcast for fairies is turtlenecks. They are all the rage.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Quilt me in the Fall

Firstly, I just want to thank all of you for the lovely comments you've left about the pumpkins. I am thrilled with them too, and because the pattern is my own, and you all like them, I am just so happy! Sewing is my favorite thing to do, next to stitching. Mostly, I sew quilts and tabletoppers and runners and such, and make up new patterns (I'm developing my own line for next year when I launch it). The pumpkins are a bit of an expansion for me because they're sewn and not quilted. I'm trying to branch out with the patterns I write. I'm really glad to hear that it's working. Thank you all so much for the feedback.

The title of the post is because I don't quilt in the summer. Does anyone? It is just too darn hot, and personally, I can't get my brain to engage enough to figure out patterns and piecing. I just feel so lazy in the summer. So I guess it's like a two or three month vacation, depending on the weather. But I am a fall person. Totally and utterly. And when fall rolls around (and then winter and spring, for the most part), I can be found in my studio sewing away. For this reason, I guess, I have more quilts than I can store. I've not bothered to count them--I'm guessing that if I counted finished quilts, I'd have 30 or so, and if I counted finished quilts and also pieced but not quilted quilts, I'd have 40 or so. Storing them has gotten to be a bit of an issue. As of now, I have confiscated my son's trundle, which is a huge removable drawer, stored it under my bed, and rolled all my quilts and put them in it. Of course, he's going to need/want his trundle back eventually, and then I'm up a creek. :)

I do display the quilts, and I definitely use them, except for the ones I made as models for the pattern line. But the others are out and used and loved, especially in the fall and winter, when it's cold! What's the use of having a quilt if you can't use it, right?
This is a picture of the boys using one of the quilts. They look so nice on the quilt, which looks so nice with the pillows on the couch, which all looks so nice against the window with the pretty Maple tree mapling (new word--you like?)away outside. So I snapped a pic to capture it. It is just so peaceful, I think.

The quilt the kitties are laying on is called "Flea Market A Francais". This is what it looks like when there are no kitties on it:

This is a closeup of the patchwork.

This is a closeup of the quilting on the border.

This "pattern" is my own--it's nothing fancy--I made it because I loved the fabric line and wanted a quilt made out of it that I could use all the time. If you are a fabric fanatic like me, you might remember this fabric line. It is Moda's Chocolat that came out last year. It is so pretty! I bought a few of the charm square packets and a couple yards of the red for the border and brown for the binding, and just sewed the squares together, added the border, voila! It was easy--too easy. So I decided that heck--it needs something, so I bought a whole lot of nice brown thread (Mettler--nice stuff, by the by) and went to town with the different stitch features on my sewing machine. It was a lot of fun. Then I thought I'd really go crazy, and I quilted a very elaborate pattern into the border, just for kicks. I think it really works. And when it was done, it spoke to me and kind of said "flea market". And the fabric being Chocolat, well, is French, so "Flea Market A Francais". Ta da!! It is a great quilt to warm up under.

This is another quilt that we use in the fall:
This one is not my pattern. It is Thimbleberries' "Harvest Time". I almost never buy patterns, because I make my own. However, I really liked this one and was going to buy it, but my mother bought it instead. She was going to make the quilt, so I figured I would just wait until she was done and borrow it, but I got impatient. I photocopied the picture from the front and figured it out on my own. When she finally gave me the pattern my quilt was already done, and it turned out that I had made my version bigger than the pattern did. I also think I turned some of the leaves a different direction for symmetry. But otherwise, it's a good match. I love this quilt. I think it is just beautiful.

I can think of a whole bunch more quilts to fit fall, but I can't find the time to make them right now. I promised to make my daughter a costume, so if I'm quiet on this blog for a little while, that's why! But I did want to say thank you again for all your kind words. Thank you all for taking time to read my blog. I truly do appreciate it!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bleh. I feel terrrible. I haven't posted this week because I have been down with what was first a stomach virus, which turned into a sort of cold, which has now turned into a full blown head cold, complete with exhaustion and major headache (and an upset stomach to boot!). Bleh, I say again. I need a nap.

Before I take one, I thought I'd just post a pic of the cat I finished earlier this week, when I was feeling bad, but not terrible.
Most of it I had sewn up last week. This week, I just made the wings and antennae. This is a close up of his face.
I think he's a cutie. I intended for him to be another vampire kitty, being as though my husband took the one I made to work, but I just wasn't feeling it, so I made a butterfly instead. I like the way he came out, but I think he's lacking something. I don't really know what else you could do with a butterfly, but I think there must be something. I will have to give it some thought as soon as my head drains a bit.

For right now, I'm just working on my stitching, and when I'm too tired for that, working on this, which is a crocheted scarf for my son. It is so nothing facy, because honestly I really can't crochet, and I only ever drag the "skill" out once a year, to make scarves. I have no idea what "stitch" I'm doing, if it even is a stitch at all. I tend to make it up as I go. I'm not even sure why I am making him a scarf this year. With all the scarves out there that cost $1.95, I should have just bought him one. But as my husband says, I "can't not" make something. I guess that's true. I think it goes back to at least giving him a little part of me that he can take with him, whether he realizes it or not. Maybe that's what it is. I know I'll be making one for my daughter, too, just for the same reason. At least they are little, so they like them. I'm sure when they get older, they'll be asking me for the fancier $1.95 scarves. :)

I will post again when I feel better. I want to thank you all for your wonderful comments so far. I truly appreciate that you all take the time to come and read my blog. Have a great day!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Houston, we have cats...

Oh, ok, these are not the cats I meant. But, aren't they cute anyway?? The black and white is Samwise (Sam), and the black one is Percival (Percy). They are our fairly newly adopted kitties from the local animal shelter. They are brothers and love/hate each other. Here, you see the love part. When they "hate" each other, they are a very fast moving blur of black/black/white I can't take a picture of because they are just playing too hard. But they are always around one another. They are almost never found apart. They are too funny.

But I digress. These are the cats I was talking about.

Are they not cute as well? I think they are HILARIOUS. If you'll remember, I bought the pattern a little while ago. It was just for the cats themselves and I think a little Christmas something or other getup. Well, it's not Christmas, so I -um- improvised a bit. And opened up a Pandora's Box, I have to say. Not only do I have a TRILLION ideas for these little guys, but anyone who's seen one, wants one. It's insane. I think I have 10 requests for them right now. It's crazy. I think they are great. And I can't stop myself from wanting to make more of all different types, different holidays, different situations and such. It's wild, really it is. I guess I'm going to give in and just make more. I have too many ideas for them not to be made. So, stay tuned. There will be others. That is a promise.
Thank you all for your kind comments on the pumpkins. I truly appreciate it. And thank you also for visiting my blog! It's great to see you all here!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pumpkins and Comments

So, still plugging away at Three for Tea for my daugher. It's been slow going, so there's nothing more to post--for now. Just more pink. I am hoping to make AMAZING progress on it all of a sudden and then put something up to show all of you. That hasn't happened yet, but I'm working on it. That's the truth. There will be progress pictures in the future, I promise!

I have been sewing again. This cold weather makes me want to go up into my studio and stay there all day. Come to think of it, that's what I did yesterday. I stayed there all--day--long (pauses are in between for dramatic emphasis). Yes, I enjoyed it. A whole lot, as a matter of fact. And I was pretty productive, too. I pumpkined in a big way. I went pumpkin crazy, as a matter of fact. Here's the proof!!
Ok, why so many pumpkins, you may ask? Well, if you'll recall I had a bit of bad stashing a little while back, when my $10 presser foot turned into $60 of fabric and presser foot. Very evil. I felt very bad about it, and I was determined not to hoard my fabric like I normally would, putting it on my shelves and just fondling it from time to time. So, I guess to work off my guilt, I decided to be productive about it and use it for what it was intended for--pumpkins. I could not find a suitable pattern for these things, let me tell you. I looked on the internet, in pattern books, etc, but none were making me happy. So I made the pattern up. First I made the small pumpkin pattern (which I posted the other day all by its lonesome self), and I was happy with it. It actually looked quite large-until I put it in place. And then it was too small. So, back to the drawing board. I made a larger one-better, but still, maybe it could be bigger?? So I made a bigger one, which was definitely big enough (I know this because my 3 year old son used it as a soccer ball before throwing it at his sister. Very helpful.). So, three sizes. And I had enough fabric to make a couple of the mediums and a few of the smalls, so I did. And I still have a little fabric left over to fondle. I am a happy girl!

I also worked on those cats from that McCalls pattern I bought at the JoAnn's when I was supposed to be buying costume fabric for my daughter. I got two of them worked up, but they're not totally done. I will post them soon, though. They are very cute!

About comments on this blog: Here I am thinking, gosh, this blog is so quiet, am I writing to myself? But Cheryl let me know that my comments weren't turned on. And I was wondering why I never got any! Geez, go me! Aren't I clever? Anway, I have (hopefully) turned them on at this point, so comment away! I'd love to hear what you have to say. And thank you very much Cheryl. I appreciate your letting me know. I had not figured out why it wasn't working. I am also very glad you are feeling better. Colds are no fun at all. Thank you also for your words. You are too kind!

I hope you all have a great day! Thank you for stopping to read my blog. I always appreciate it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

You gotta know when to fold 'em...

Ok, love that song. Kenny Rogers is a genius.

You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

And now that the song is stuck in your head, I'll tell you why it's stuck in mine. A couple of months ago, I started a Band Sampler by Long Dog that was in The Gift Of Stitching magazine. The only picture available was a computer generated image of the finished piece. I thought it was lovely, so I got together the colors and some lovely Ivory linen (love the ivory--such a pretty color), and started it. It went great until I got to the last two colors of the first band. Then the colors got all weird. Firstly, it started off with these pretty, soft colors, and then all of a sudden, there was this bright weird pink and then BLACK. It was so odd.

I finished the first band anyway, and started the second, but those colors still bothered me. So I put it aside. I went back and looked at it from time to time, but no matter what, those colors are just odd to me. I posted a query on the Wagon BB about it, and the extremely helpful ladies there sent me this link:

This is a picture of the finished piece that someone did. She did a lovely job, that's a definite, but those colors just don't "sit well" with me, so I give up on this piece. That's why I know when to fold 'em. I am folding on this piece. It's not a total loss, though, I don't like the bands I did, but I do happen to like the 5th, 6th, and 9th bands, so I may at some time stitch them and make them into something. And I may find use for that 1st band somewhere, too. But the rest I won't do. I will take my lovely Ivory linen and use it elsewhere.

In other news, I've been sewing up a storm. It's gotten cool here (finally), and it makes me just want to sit down in front of my sewing machine and sew and sew. I have gotten two things done: one is SB Wish, which I stitched a while ago, but I finally made into something. I chose a pillow, and here it is:

I think it came out really nicely. It's just a simple pillow, but the fabrics work really nicely together. I am very pleased with it.

And other things I am very pleased with, I used some of those homespuns I bought to make some pumpkins.

Ok, that's just one pumpkin, photographed twice. But I made three, they are all a little different, and I am very pleased with them. They made up very quickly. I think I may make some more today. I am going to try to figure out how to make a tall one, for some variety. If I do figure it out, I will post a picture. I was also going to make a cat from that pattern I bought the other day. I'll post a picture of that, too! Well, better get crackin'.

In closing, is there anything better than a warm kitten on your lap on a cold, rainy day? I don't think so.

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog. I always appreciate it so much!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Making Progress and Bad, bad stashing

Hello everyone!
So, just to start off and prove that I do indeed stitch and that I am making progress, I have a picture of Three for Tea with that green dress finished and one of the pink dresses underway. Here it is!! So I do stitch. But I am just itching to put this piece aside, I really am. I have a whole bunch of monochromes and smalls like scissor fobs and ornaments on my mind, and I am really wanting to start them. But I can't put this aside until I make more progress. Sigh. I will perservere. I am determined to get this done for my daughter.

As to other progress, I did finish my Halloween quilt completely, as in bound and everything. I have a couple pictures of details, but no overall, because I haven't hung it outside for photographing yet. I hope to do so soon.

These are the borders.

This is one of the blocks

Now, I didn't share with you, but at the time I was quilting this quilt, I had a minor "catastrophe" with my sewing machine. The darning foot that is used for free motion quilting broke.

Picture of the offending presser foot----->>>

(evil presser foot!)

I have NEVER had a presser foot break on me before. This was a first. If you can see in the picture where I circled (I know it's not easy to see), the plastic dojammer that holds the circle foot guider-thingy broke right in half, causing the broken half of the dojammer to fly away through my studio, and then of course the circle foot guider-thingy to come off and be sewn into the quilt. Very useful. Well, luckily, there is a sewing store about 20 ish miles from me that carries the make of machine I have (Janome), so I took off to get a new foot.

No problem, they had the foot for all of $10. But could I just get the foot and go home? No, of course not. I had to look around first. I figured, I drove the 20ish miles, there were no kids with me, so why not? And see what followed me home:

On the left is a stack of half yards, partially calicos, partially homespuns, and on the right is a yard and a half of a Moda fabric that I love! It's not a great picture of the Moda. The color is really like a subtle chartreuse, if there is any such thing. It's not as mossy a green as the picture shows. The calicos and homespuns wanted to come home with me to be made into pumpkins and fall things. It was a brilliant idea that occurred to me as I was looking at them, of course. And the Moda, well, I just really like it. I know I'll find a use for it eventually. So, moral of the story, went in for a $10 presser foot, spent $60 instead. I am bad.

Then today I went to Joann for fabric for my daughter and son's Halloween costumes, and found these patterns:

And I thought, how cute? I can use some of those fabrics I bought the other day! Plus, I can make those pumpkins as planned, and use up all of that fabric, and won't that be productive of me? And the patterns were on sale for $1.99 each. What a bargain on top of it all. Ah yes, the way we reason with ourselves...

I also saw this pattern at Joann's. At first, I thought, how cute! And then I noticed that the scissors these animals are holding are stuck into their backs. And the frogs have them stuck into their mouths. Does that seem wrong to anyone else? I don't think I could create something like that just to stab it in the back with scissors. It's just wrong on so many levels. So, needless to say, I passed it up.

And that's my evil stashing story. I hope you all have a great day! Thank you for stopping by!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Accomplishments and New Starts

Yesterday I finished the quilting on my Halloween quilt! Yeay! I am so happy, because Halloween is just around the corner, and I really wanted to be able to use it this year. I am about to go and put the binding on, and hopefully I will be able to post pictures tomorrow of the finished product. I am very happy with how it came out. It took quite a while to quilt, but it was worth it. On to the next project....

...which is a blue and white quilt that I've had planned for some time. Here you can see the fabrics I am going to use in it. The quilt design itself is another original. I like the colors, because I like blue, and I think I'm going to really like the quilt when it's put together. It's hard to say, though, because right now all I have are a bunch of fabrics and a computer drawing of a quilt. It's definitely no replacement for having the real thing. The computer can only give a general idea of the quilt, not really the true feel for it. Sometimes I can really see the quilt in my head and I get so excited about it, and other times I really can't see it, and I feel like I'll have to "wait and see" what it will really look like. This time is one of the latter. I am hoping it will turn out better in real life than I am imagining.
What you see above are the fabrics for the main block on the left, and then two fabrics to add into the border on the right. This is a better pic of the block fabrics:

The white is a tone on tone, not a solid. It doesn't show in the picture, though. I've actually been gathering these fabrics for years. In fact, when I pulled them off of my "to make" shelf in my studio, I realized I've had two of the fabrics for 3 years. The others were added later, found in different shops and at different shows. I love the hunt, that's for sure.

Last night, I also finished the green dress of the center fairy in Three for Tea, which I am making for my daughter. That was a very happy moment, I can tell you. This was a big accomplishment because that was probably the largest part of the piece. And I have to say, that dress was confusing. I don't really understand what all the billowing it's doing is actually doing. It doesn't make sense to me. And I guess because although I could follow the symbols without a problem, I couldn't really say, "Oh, this part is the waist, this part is the bodice", because I had no real idea some of the time. So that made it go more slowly for me. I am glad to be done. The other fairies' dresses are much more clear cut. Hopefully I will make much faster progress now, and then I'll share a picture!

Thank you for reading my blog today. Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Apple Apple Apple Apple

Yup, it's that time up here. Apple time! I like apple time because there are so many things you can do with apples, and picking them is a lot of fun. One of the benefits to living here is that there are farms all around us, and plenty with apples. But even though we are surrounded by apples here, we still went further upstate to do the picking--Rensselaer County, near Troy--to visit my brother who lives up there and go to an orchard. It was a great day, the trees were FULL of large, beautiful apples. We got completely carried away, and picked 86 pounds. Yeah, I know, it's crazy. But we split them with my parents and brother, so we took home maybe 50 pounds of apples for ourselves. A good haul overall.

You are probably wondering what I would do with 50 pounds of apples. Well, I can them. Or really, jar them. I have spent the last two days jarring different apple concoctions that we can all enjoy for the next year, because that's how long they will keep. It took me about 8 hours over the two days to do it all. Not too bad a time investment, I don't think. I like it up here because it is easier to find the canning supplies I need. On Long Island, forget it, you were lucky if you could find the jars themselves. But here the jars are in almost every supermarket, and Wal-Mart has them as well as lids and pectin and I've even seen the canning pot there once or twice. My mother gave me my canning pot and the Ball Blue Book (which has the recipies in it and directions) a few years ago. I bought the magnetic lid picker-upper thingy and the jar lifter. There are a few things you need to can, that's for sure. And it takes up the whole stove top too, but still I like doing it. It must be that nesting thing. The whole idea of storing food makes me happy!

A pretty bowl of apples, ready for cooking

A mess of peels, after peeling and coring all the apples I was going to use!

This year I made a lot. I made:

6 half pints of apple preserves

3 pints of brandied apples (well, rummed apples I guess, because I had rum and not brandy)

2 pints of caramel apple butter (which is so good, it should almost be illegal)

4 pints of sweet cider apple butter (also ridiculously good)

4 quarts and 2 pints of applesauce

And I baked and made:

apple pudding cake

apple crisp


Yeah, I know brownies do not contain apples. :) My daughter requested some for snack, and since I had the oven on anyway, I whipped up a batch. I also made lemon-mint vinegar, because I was using a lemon minus the peel for the apple preserves, and I didn't want to throw the peel away. That, plus the proliferation of mint in my garden, just lent itself to the vinegar. So that's what I did. I like using everything I can!

The final product!

Today, I am looking forward to not canning. :) Hopefully I will be able to rip out some of the quilting on my halloween quilt. I had this great motif to use on the border, I quilted it, and discovered...I can't see it. The fabric is too "busy", and it disappears. Kind of puts a damper on the whole great motif thing. So, I'll rip out the quilting I did (luckily only one side), and then I will quilt some straight lines or something instead. Something to give texture, but not really be seen (because it won't be, most likely). I hope to post some pics of the quilt later this week or weekend, because that will mean I am done!!

Thank you for stopping by! Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Hello and Welcome!

Hi there!

Welcome to my blog! Thank you for stopping by. This is my first post, and I'm pretty new to this, so I guess I'll just tell you about me. I am a 30 something mom of two small kids. I live in upstate New York, which I like much better than where I used to live (Long Island). My family and I have 2 cats, Percy and Sam, and we live in a nice house that needs a little TLC, which my husband and I have been doing gradually. When I'm not taking care of my kids, or cleaning the house, (or painting/fixing the house), I love to cross stitch and quilt. It's pretty much an obsession for me--in fact, I can't just sit in front of the TV anymore and do nothing. I am always keeping my hands busy.

I have been cross stitching for 18 years, and quilting for half that time. I design my own quilt patterns, and am hoping someday to get them published or find some way to sell them. I quilt as much as I can, and I have a MAJOR fabric obsession! Everywhere I go, fabric just "calls" out to me to be made into something. It's a great way to be creative, but UGH, it can cost so much money, so I am trying to be good. I'm only slightly less obsessed with cross stitch patterns. I like many designers, and the styles range all over the map. Currently, I'm obsessed with monochrome French patterns and "old time" samplers. But I know that will change!

It's fall up here in New York, and the leaves are turning beautifully. The air is gettting crisper during the day, and chilly at night. I love the fall. It is totally "my time" of year. I think that's because I am a "nester". Or, that's what my mother calls me. I guess it is true, though, I love to have things around me like warm quilts and I love to can fruits and vegetables so I have them for later. Autumn just lends itself to that. Quilts for when you get cold, comforting things to eat like casseroles and homemade apple butter. The days are getting shorter and it's almost time for fires in the fireplace. Definitely my time of year.

Well, since this is a stitching blog, I think I should show you some stitching! I have a lot of pieces in progress, but currently I have a Mirabilia, Three for Tea, which is my focus piece. Reason being, my daughter saw it at the Mirabilia BB and fell in love with it-surprising the heck out of me, because she never really gives any sort of stitching a second look. She's only 5. But when she saw this piece, she asked if I would make it for her. I answered that I would "some day", and of course, promptly ordered the pattern and beads and fabric and whatnot, so I could make it for her. I am working on it on the sly--I mean it to be a present for Christmas. I started it September 1st, so you're seeing about a month's worth of work, done in bits and pieces. I am not as far as I would have liked, because I was working on some embroidery for a designer, but now that project is done, I can work on this piece all the more. So, without further ado, here's what I have so far:

Actually, this piece is teaching me a lesson of sorts. The fabric it's on is called "Forget Me Knots" by Sugar Maple Fabrics. It's the fabric my daughter fell in love with. It is not something I would have ever picked--it's blue and pink and splotchy, and I'm more of a tonal, subtle, not pink kind of person. But it just makes the thread sing, and the colors are SO vibrant on it, so the lesson I learned is try new things, and go for things out of your comfort zone that you may not love because they just may be the perfect choice! I will post a picture of it again when I get a little further.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I really appreciate it!