Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, December 31, 2010

A Whole New Bag

Well yesterdays appointment went well. I was told that they had too many bags and that one customer was asked to take some back. Then she looked at my bags and "Ooooed" and said "these are so unique, we should have No problems selling these". I personally think it's that Fabulous fabric! That fabric could make this simplest of bags look fantastic.
Speaking of ... I made my first prototype of a new bag. Or a bucket, as my Husband calls it. We'll compromise and call it a bucket tote.
It's 12 1/2 inches tall and stands up on it's own. The straps can still go over your shoulder and feel good either in your hand or on your shoulder.
But I made a mistake. I cut out 2 pieces of this beautiful toile fabric. Instead of having a wasted piece of upside down toile, I put it in the inside. So now when someone says "it's upside down", I'll say "no, I meant it to be that way. Now you can see the beautiful fabric without looking at it and turning your head". What do you think? Can I pull that one off?
I quilted the bottom to give it a little cushion (ignore the lint).
So I cut out more of that Fabulous fabric and hopefully get a couple made before you see me next.
And just maybe I'll have a extra to give away, as long as you all like them...
Take care, Brandie

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Bags

Sorry I'm late today. I've been finishing up a new bag.
I've had this upholstery fabric for a couple of months and am just now getting to it. I bought it with the intention of make it into bags and this is my first. I tried really hard not to butch the fabric, but I wanted some of the flowers to be whole. I have another pattern up my sleeve for a tote.
I am in kind of a rush because I have an appointment with a local shop to sell my wares. I had taken in my leftover diaper bags and have sold some. So I wanted to bring in something different.

At the same time I bought the other fabric, I bought this one too. I had already made myself a bag out of this fabric because the colors are so me and go with almost all my clothes. But that other bag is looking good too!
I finished up the little girl quilt and because I had a bigger border, I quilted "What are girls made of?" Then I had a fancy heart stencil and used that on two sides.
The scrap quilt is just quilted in a grid. Nothing fancy, but I love the simple look of this one.
Ok, I'm off. I need to get ready and calm my nerves. These things get me all in a tizzy.
So take care and I'll be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quilters Block

I think I've beat quilters block. For the past month or so, I've felt like all sewing has been a chore and I've fought going to the machine. But I think I have it beat! Yesterday I started cutting up more scraps. I put them together last night and I even started quilting them. Don't get excited, I just quilted in a grind.
I get a great sense of accomplishment using scraps. It's almost the same feeling I get when I get a really dirty pan clean or finish all the house work. A sense of pride and accomplishment, nothing beats it!
Yesterday I also meet up with my friend Gail and we spent hours sewing and talking. It has been awhile since I went to sew with her as I was without wheels. She was ever brave enough to seat in my car and take a ride to one of the quilt shops. She's still breathing and didn't get whiplash, so all is well!
She has been working on these applique, sashiko blocks. She was prepping a new block. The next block is a lily. Last year we both took a class from the author. Gail has done half of her blocks and I haven't even finished my one. What was I saying about quilters block?
Gail also showed up with some scraps (that I "borrowed") and a charm pack. I quickly whipped that pack into a small quilt and added borders.
Tomorrow you'll see how I quilted this one. It's too cute! Hopefully some little girl will love it.
That's all for now, I need to get back to that machine!
Take care, Brandie

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Just a silly post

A couple of years ago I came across these cute little guys on line. At that time, my Son and I were taking a ceramics class and I was doing research. They are Carlton Walking Ware. I thought they were too cute and tried to make some of my own. As you can see, these are not them.
So I happened to be on Ebay and I found these little guys. So I bid and I won! The larger mugs I found on Etsy of all place. The big mugs are not Carlton, but I think they are just as cute!
So I have officially started my collection and hopefully I can add to this small family over time. They are a little expensive as they are an English china and most of them come from the UK. They are just so whimsical and cute, I smile every time I see them.
So have a laugh and put a smile on your face!
Take care, Brandie

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Normal Day, Hurray

Did everyone have a Wonderful weekend? Did you overeat? I know I did! But That's OK, because the sun is out and I'm going on a walk, very soon. Of course I should be walking to Arizona to walk off that Christmas dinner. I can honestly say that I've had my fill of ham. I'm now looking for that perfect combo of meat and veggies, again. I love hamburgers. I'm really not a steak kind of a girl, but grind it up and shape it into a patty, Yum!
One of our local bars, yes I said bar, they have an old-fashioned kind of burger. Everything about it is homemade and delicious. After a weekend of ham, ham sandwiches, ham soup, this was extra delicious.
I didn't even know that this place served food till my Son told me. I guess this is were he and his friends go for lunch. I'm just glad he found it, because it's a great substitute for dinner!
I'm so glad the Christmas is over. Now I feel like I can get back on track and back to a regular everyday routine. And maybe now I will not feel pressured to finish up my village quilt. Or not.
Back to the grind stone, but I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully my sewing block has been lifted. Now I can focus on just my goals. Like that list of UFO's still waiting to be finished.
Have a happy day and I hope you have sun where ever you are!
Take care, Brandie

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas colors

I slaved over a hot stove yesterday. I was trying to capture the feel, look and smell of Christmas. I started off with a batch of Jalapeno Jelly. I just love the color! The way the light from the window hit the jars, Fabulous!
Next I brewed up a batch of Spiced Peaches. Just a little Holiday flavoring. Cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, allspice and a little red pepper flakes, Yummy!
What do you do with too many lemons? Why make Lemon Curd of course!
Beautiful yellow curd that just puckers the month and makes your taste buds sing.

Back to the stove again this morning. I have visions of gingerbread and sticky toffee pudding dancing in my head.

Have a Wonderful Christmas Eve, and to all a GOOD NIGHT!

Merry Christmas to everyone, see you next week.
Take care, Brandie

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home and Hearth

There is something so beautiful about just baked bread. The smell that radiates around the room, oh so yummy! It's so hard not to cut into that loaf while it's hot.
We all know that patience is a virtue.
I'm still using up those leftover mashed potatoes, but just so you know, they have been frozen! I have to tell you that they are the best leftovers! How many times have you had leftover and they totally change their look? Last month they were mashed potatoes and now they are turned in it lovely loafs of bread.
Each slice is soft and smooth. Makes perfect sandwiches and toast. I think this has become my favorite bread recipe, I've more or less given up on the others. I tried a sourdough starter, and well, the flavor is good but the bread was too dry. All around this recipe fits our household better.

This time of year there are very few outdoor pics that are worth taking. In our neck of the woods, there are no flowers and there are very few leaves. So not much to take a pic of. But if you get up early enough, you just might see...
My view across the street into my neighbors yard (he likes a very manicured look).
His view into my yard ( I LOVE the overgrown look). He must hate to look this way!
No really, this is my yard. My house would be to the right of this pic, but you still wouldn't be able to see it. The is a row of cedar trees the grow along the road and offer us some privacy. The ivy as you can see, has taken over. The ivy is on the fence and growing up the tree trunks.
I know many of you are probably groaning about that ivy, but I love the forest look. Have I mentioned before that I live in a very rural area? Now do you believe me?

Still working on gifts, either at the machine or the stove. I love making gifts for the people I love. I just hope they like them as much as I love to make them.
2 more days to complete our projects. Are you done? Or are you like me and procrastinating till the last moment?
Take care, Brandie

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Small Projects

Last week I did actually sit down at the sewing machine and accomplish something. Nothing fancy, just another way to use up scraps. I had these leftover yellow blocks already pre-cut so all I had to do was pair up some reds and greens. I needed a small quilt to cover my messy area. All my threads and extra bundles of fat-quarters, live behind this quilt. If you look closely you can see how messy it really is (I only seems to clean this area when I can't find the right thread).
I used yet another yard stick to hang it and I made ribbon loops to hang it from the stick.

I also made up a few place mats. One of my Aunts works for a local organization that provides meals to the elderly, kind of like "Meals on Wheels".
She had a donation of 13 place mats and needed 18 more for the home deliveries. Again, another great way to use up scraps and fabric you no longer like.
Of course after I made up those rooster mats, I thought, "I like this fabric". But it will have a better home than sitting in a box waiting for the perfect project, this was the prefect project.

I ventured out on my own yesterday (so far I've always had a co-pilot). I needed to go to my local quilt shop (Hello Girls!). The only problem was that the shop is in the low point between 2 hills. I was a little nervous but I really needed some fabric! Long story short, it was no problem. But still, give me a little room if you come up behind me.

Take care, Brandie

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Flour, Sugar and Butter, Oh my!

Oh the Holiday Season! We over eat, over spend and over enjoy. I think I have already gone though 2 bags of flour and used up at least 1 bag of powdered sugar. I made of a batch of some of the softest, smoothest shortbread dough, then rolled it out into these Cranberry Cutouts.
The recipe came from the box of cornstarch and this was the one my Grandmother always used. Want it? It's very simple.

1/2 cup cornstarch 1/2 powdered sugar 1 cup flour 3/4 cup soft butter
Mix together, chill dough. Roll out and stamp or roll into 1" balls. Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes. They will look golden around the edges.
As you can see, some of mine look more golden than others. I figured out too late that I wasn't getting them get golden enough. But they still tasted great. Hubby thinks they are pretty close to those Chessman cookies in the bag, made by petridge farms?
I also took a can of jellied cranberry sauce and added 1/2 sugar and 1/2 ts cinnamon and let it melt together in a saucepan. Let it chill and than frosted the bottom cookie with it. Yummy!
Have any of you ever had Sticky Toffee ice cream? It is good! So I made a Sticky Toffee Pudding to test it out and see if it was as good. Talk about Yummy!
This was after one bad day and my niece told me to eat some cake to get in a better mood. After thinking "yeah give the fatty more sugar" and woke up the next morning ready to bake. I have to tell you, this cake has healing powers! It really did lift my bad mood and boy is it good while warm! So I guess I'm still learning from the young. Those whipper snappers are sometimes wise beyond their years!
Take care, Brandie

Monday, December 20, 2010


I'm Back! After a brief illness, lack of energy and BAD mood, I'm back. I caught the grumpies and didn't want to do anything, which is exactly what I did! I know that part of the grumpies came from being cooped up and not getting out of my house. I also didn't have any decorations up, so there was no cheer to be seen.
Then I rummaged through my scraps and made up some new coasters.
This helped bring in some Christmas cheer. Very simple and they used up more fabric. I love that! I'm becoming a very scrappy girl.
But the best stress reliever, my early gift. I'M MOBILE AGAIN!
Nothing fancy, just a little Ford Focus. But it runs and it goings in all the gears so I can get out of my driveway. It has a couple of problems... 1: it's white (I said "anything but another white car" 2: it's a manual, so if you see me driving around, give me a little room so that I don't roll into you.
Funny thing is, 21 years ago I learned to drive a stick while my son was a toddler in a car seat. This last weekend, my little boy re-taught me to drive a stick. Ain't that sweet?

My wish to you all, is no grumpies and no more stress during this season. I was down in the dumps and yet you still talked to me. I just love the blogging community! So keep up your spirits and Thank you all for caring. Thank you Lori for the card, it came when I needed it.
Take care (I mean it), Brandie

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Just a little update. I'm feeling almost back to normal, which is good. My computer is not. Hubby says it needs a new video card. So for the last few days, I've been lurking out here in blog land by using the Wii. Not a very effiecnt way to surf the web or to replay, but we got to do what we got to do. Today, Hubby set up his extra computer, the itty-bitty Mac. This little guy makes my old tower look like the sears tower, compared to a Honda Civic. But boy is the keyboard a dream and it's such a cute and pretty little thing!

I have been working on some quilting, but slowly. The first day I felt a little better, I made new coasters for the coffee table, but that was about all I could handle. I also made a little quilt to cover my messy shelf, that took me 2 days to make a 34 X 32 quilt. Ridiculous!

So why aren't I showing these things to you? Well the Mac hasn't been introduced to my hard disk and that is where all my pics are. Hopefully this weekend we will sort out my computer problems and maybe my car...
Not have my car work is the most difficult thing to get use to! My list to santa is a biggy this year!

So take care you all, and just remember, I may still be out there lurking so watch what you say!

Monday, December 6, 2010


Whatever I caught, I seem to have given my computer. So until it sees the computer Dr, I'm out of commission.
On the plus side, I'm feeling much better, but still have no voice.
Take care, Brandie

Friday, December 3, 2010

Brown Bag Show

I woke up today still without a voice and I think I need to admit, I'm sick. I'm as weak as a kitten, tried as a dog and really don't have the will to go on.
On with the show...

My quilt... stupid blogger!

Broken dishes, Marley and me.
Shipping news, cant' remember, can't remember, No pocket Katy.
My friend Gail's quilt
Some others, I think you can guess some of them.

Ok, too tired, off the die on the couch.
Take care, brandie

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kitchen Goodies

Today I've woken up with out a voice. This happens about once a year and there isn't anything I can do about it. It's very frustrating not being able to make a noise above a squeak, hopefully it will clear up by tonight, before our Guild meeting. Oh well!
I'm also a little late today, because I was trying to get some light to my jam. I wanted you all to see how wonderful the color is to this jam. Since daylight savings, I keep waking up in the dark and we all know the you can't take as good of pics in the dark.
Then I put said jam on my bread and Voila! Isn't this the most beautiful color? Bet you'll never guess what kind of jam it is?
I slaved away in the kitchen all day yesterday. I made a pot of jam, several loafs of bread and gallons and gallons of turkey soup, which hasn't given me a voice. Hmmm, myth?
I had a HUGE and I mean Huge bowl of leftover mashed potatoes (which is unheard of?!). We had been eating them with every meal. Pork chops... and mashed potatoes. Stuffing, gravy... and mashed potatoes. Just mashed potatoes. And something that I'm not proud of, hamburger mixed with cream of mushroom soup, over green beans and topped with creamed... mashed potatoes!
It was getting ridiculous! Then I had an epiphany. Potato Bread! So I have made about 2 loafs each day and have frozen 13 cups of mashed potatoes! Each loaf uses 1 cup of potatoes so in no time I'll have used up those potatoes.
Now don't laugh at my loaf, this was the best looking one. I feel asleep while they were rising on the mantel. The worst one had grown up and over the sides and left a groove that made it very difficult to remove for it's pan. We eat that one with our turkey soup and it still tasted great, just looked funny.
If I had turned this loaf over, you'd see the pan rim also. I think I may have bouced it into the oven and that's why it is a little deflated in the middle.
Back the that jam. Figured out what kind yet? Carrot!
That's right, carrot. It was a french confiture. It also has lemon zest and juice which makes it taste a little more lemony than of carrots.
I like it and so does my dog and that's all that's important to me!
I know that sounded a little like sour grapes, but I really do think it is good. Hubby said "Its' OK". Great way to crush my spirit! And he even liked my white trash shepherds pie. I think I need to retrain him to like the french food not the WT food!
Take care, Brandie

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Something New

Thank you all for your well wishes about yesterdays post. Life is difficult enough without the thought of something happening to our children. Car accident happen so fast and can cause so much damage. I will forever be Thankful that this accident was minor. And the sad thing is that this is not an isolated incident. Many of us have gone through the same thing lately.
They say things happen is 3's. I'm hoping that the quota is filled for us all!

On the quilting front, I have been madly finishing up that "Brown Bag Challenge". As the head of the project, I would feel ridiculous not having my own quilt done. Especially when I started so early and then got side tracked on something else. Tomorrow is or mini show at our regular meeting. We are going to hang all the quilts that come back and have the viewers choose several winners. It has been a fun experience and I hope everyone else had fun too. I'll try to remember to take pics to show you all on Friday morning.
I did break down and I started something new. But it was a small something, so I don't feel too bad. I needed something to do to calm my nerves and this foot the bill.
Over a the It was a free download and a quick finish. They are doing a four mouth quilt starting in November and finishing in February. I looked this morning, but they don't seem to have block 2 up yet, so keep checking.
I'm also debating about Christmas decorating. I love to see everyone's displays but I'm in a ho-hum mood. With all that has been happening in this household, Christmas will be very low keyed. Then I remind myself the Christmas is not about gifts, it's about family and friends. So we will be going back to old-fashion ways and make all our gifts. And you know me, that will involve a lot of sugar, flour and love!
Wishing you all a Wonderful Wednesday!
Take care, Brandie

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reason for my absence

I know, you are probably tired of seeing dog pics, but this one is too cute. Little Maximus in PugsLee's bed, actually looking well behaved. He is a little rocket. He runs from here to there and then he is suddenly in your face licking up your nose-holes! And poor PugsLee can't take a nap without fear that this little rascal will jump on her and pull her tail. For a 11 year old dog, she is doing quite well to keep up with Max. They run around and around the coffee table, till she start coughing too much and then we have to put Max in a timeout. Then he's back for more and it starts all over again. He is learning from PugsLee though. He has learned to follow her to the door to be let out and he always goes potty at the same time, because he has learned that there is a treat after going! So less accidents at grandma's.

And speaking of accidents, I had to take a break for this reason. I was too emotional and wasn't looking for sympathy, just time to deal with the after math.
On the 13 of November, my Daughter had an accident coming to meet us for her Brother's birthday dinner. She was just leaving the twins after spending the weekend babysitting. She had just called to tell us she was leaving. Then 15 minutes later she called again and I could hear it in her voice that something was wrong.
The car in front of her had stop suddenly to look at an accident beside them and she stomped on her brakes, the brakes locked and she slid right into the rear bumper of the car in front of her. Because that car was a bigger car, they were able to drive away. She had to be towed and rescued. She was alright, except for a sprained wrist, which we had to get a splint for.
My entire drive to rescue her was a prayer of Thanksgiving...Well, you know. Sorry, getting emotional again.
I'm ever so Thankful that I still have her and that no one was hurt, her wrist will heal with time.

So she begged rides from co-workers for a couple of weeks, then regained her courage to drive again and borrowed my car. She left after spending another weekend with us and drove my car home, then drove to work. Then went out to drive to lunch.
She called me crying that she broke my car. Apparently, my clunker, which she has driven many times, decided that it was time for the steering column to go out. So my boys had to mickey mouse with it to get it home and here I still sit! I couldn't leave unless someone pushes me and the car out of the driveway! Hey but the key is still in it, so I hoping someone will steal it!

So on Black Friday, we all drove about 3 hours away for my Daughter to purchase a newer car.
And here she is. Isn't this a beauty? Wait...there's more to the story.
So after driving this pretty little car home, at least another 3 hours, we all stopped in at the house for left-overs. 2 hours later, Hubby and Daughter went back out to drive around ... and... the check engine light came on...and they could only drive 4 miles pre-hour.
Soooo, we parked the thing, called the Honda dealership and asked what to do. They said "sometimes when they detail the car, they blow water in the spark-plugs and that will cause these problems". Hubby went out to check them and to dry them off, nothing changed. Good thing she has a certified warranty! So she spend another night and we thought we'd try agin in the morning.
Nothing changed. Here was her beautiful new car, just sitting there unable to keep the engine turned on. Long story short, it spent the weekend doing nothing.
Monday morning we had it towed to the localish dealership. Guess what they said? "You have a latch on your air filter and it wasn't attached, so we latched it up and you're good to go".
I'm hoping this is the end, as I'm sure you are!
Cross your fingers that I'm next in the car lottery!
Take care, Brandie