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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

When Life Gives You...

Nectarines? Can them. And looky here, the pictures work today.
Between bouts of couch surfing, I got a bit of canning done. I love, love, love white nectarines! But you can't eat all that you buy before they go bad. So I decided can them for all year consumption.
Another of my favorites is apricot jam. So I did that too. And what goes better with jam than anything else? BREAD
So you all know what I'm having for breakfast, toast and jam, yum!

This here is yesterdays picture of a totally decadent cream cheese pound cake. I made it to take along to a meeting for all my Ladies. I took a plate full and I only had 4 pieces left. So it must have been good.
I tried to fancy it up with a glaze and a pearl. A mock petite four if you will.

Off to start my day... hopefully it will involve the sewing machine, but we'll see. I also need to remember to wish my bestest cousin a Happy Birthday. Please don't let me forget. I just don't want to disturb her slumber, in case she is actually getting an extra hour of sleep during summer vacation. Does this happen? Do kids really let you sleep in? I'll have to ask her when I remember to call her...

Take care, Brandie

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Slacker Day

Well Ladies, I've tried Six different times to down-load or up-load pictures for you and blogger won't let me. I've even tried to down-load yesterdays pics and it won't let me, so it's not me it's definitely blogger.
But anyway ( it's that a horrible way to start a sentence? My teachers would be already marking that with a red pen), I've really been a slacker and I don't have anything to show you. The only thing I did yesterday was yoga. Then I came home and curly up with a book. Oh and there was a cream cheese pound cake somewhere in there. Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to show you that.

So good-bye for now. Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Take care, Brandie

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Foods

This morning has been a bit unusually. We are having a summer shower. So for us that means a frantic rush to make sure there is nothing left out in the rain. I won't complain though, this just means I won't have to water the plants. And it will remove some of the dirt from my car and hopefully some of the pollen from the trees, hopefully.

Yesterday I slow cooked a pork shoulder in my oven. It was so easy! First I broiled it on all sides then I just pressed a button. Six hours later, I had a lovely roast.
That means today, we get to enjoy some yummy pulled pork sandwiches.
I probably shouldn't post pictures of food when I haven't even had breakfast!
And a lovely summer salad of cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.
Today I really, really need to tame this pile of blue. I sent a couple of hours finding and cutting up these blues. Now it's time to sew them into something.
I'm putting the baskets aside so I could get to this.

Have a wonderful day!
Take care, Brandie

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fan Handles

Over the weekend I came to a conclusion, there was no way I was going to do all those little white squares in this quilting pattern. I liked it, really I did. But there was so much stop and go and realigning of the quilt, just to do one square was tiring. So I changed things up, with some help from a friend.
This is the after shot of the new quilting. Lois suggested a fan shape to compliment the handles. I tried it and I liked it. So off I went on a fan weekend. This is so much easier on the back! It's all free-motion and so much less stressful. And my favorite trick, wash and dry the quilt afterwards and it hides so many sins. Line get a little wavy? No problem, just wash it.
It's kind of hard to see, but most of these squares are done. Another thing I figured out, I didn't like the King Tut thread in the first block, so I went with a lighter thread, So Fine. I think this helps the thread blend in better.
Just a subtle crinkle of the quilting.
I also used more of my oven. I hadn't tried all the settings (still haven't) and I needed bread, so...
It was a little cool that day and I needed to raise the dough. First thing set the oven to proofing. It works great! Now I know come winter I can still bake bread in a timely fashion.
Here it is, this oven's first loaf of bread. What a beauty, and it tasted good too!
It even made great grilled cheese sandwiches. There is something about homemade bread that makes the best grilled sandwiches. They get all crispy, not soggy like other bread.
And of course I had to try pancakes out on the griddle too. Guess what? They were perfect too.
I haven't had any complaints about this oven. I am really happy with it and I would recommend it to anyone else in the market for an oven. Just be aware, special ordering it in white may cause a delay!

Now back to busy-ness.
Take care, Brandie

Friday, June 24, 2011


Yesterday I did a total of two squares and I don't like either one of them. Well that's a little lie. I like the square on the left, I just don't want to quilt all 64 of them. There are a lot of lines in this quilting. Which means a lot of turning the quilt under the machine, what a pain!
The square on the right, just doesn't have any punch. Also I did it free motion, so as not to have to turn the quilt. It just looks bad.
So it's back to the drawing board. I may just add fewer lines to the left block.

In other news, I'm an Aunt again! My niece had her second child last night, Cameron. And you all know what this means, more baby quilts. I still need to get one more done for Cameron. I'm a slacker, I know.
So I'll be busy this weekend, quilting or cutting up some blues for Cameron, but busy as a B.

Take care, and have a wonderful weekend, Brandie

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Random Chaos

I sat down at my machine and I counted out 10 baskets. Found that each row had 9. So then I made another deal with myself and that deal was to do two rows than take a break. So I did and than I came back. There really wasn't must to do on my breaks, as I had just cleaned the entire house for crown molding to base boards, all because I didn't want a delivery man to know I was a slob. So I came back and did two more rows. Than another two. Than I might as well finished because there are just tree rows left. And I did. I finished all the baskets. But really, all I did was stitch around each handle on both sides. Not really that taxing.
But I discover something while doing this. In my random order, I have chaos. I have more than a couple of blocks that are like the other, too close together.
These two blocks of the same pattern, these were the only ones I "know" about. But this was my last couple of rows and I decided that it wouldn't be noticeable. Well now I see these others and those I didn't know about till now.
It's so hard to do random!
Two plaids neighbors
two jelly bean neighbor and these two are almost the same color!
I must have had a hard time placing these two plaids, I put them together twice!
But I just going to live with it. There are more important thing to worry about. Like do I have enough chocolate chips in the freezer. Or is there enough flour to make cookies. You know, important things.
So now I'll just have to get back to the quilting and do the white squares. These many take more time. So I'm totally planning one... row... a... a... time.

Take care, Brandie

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Quilting has Begun

What a day yesterday was. First off I had put the kitchen back to rights after the big move. Than I had to find all the fans to keep the air circulating. Fun thing is, I have a drafty house in the winter and a stuffy house in the summer. And let me tell you, summer has hit! Yesterdays temp was 96 outside and 81 in the house. I know there is a better way to cool down this house and move the air, I just can't remember how we did it last year. So now I feel like I'm starting from scratch.
Than I took bio-mom to another non-existent appointment. This one was suppose to be Friday. You know, we never did have to repeat that early morning appointment. Sure don't know what that was about.
Than I went to meet with Gail and we sewed. She was cutting out a baby quilt before a trip down south and I just quilted lines. Pretty boring, do you still want to see?
Every one of the sashing stripes, both sides. But it's done now and now it's time to get to the next step.
Hey, this picture also allows you to see a close-up of that dotted border. I love it!

This is one of my favorite books and I think I found a couple of patterns that I may use.
Also, these are from the Civil War era, so it couldn't be more perfect.
Now to just find the energy to quilt all those squares! I think I'll set a goal for myself of 10 squares a day. I think this is achievable, don't you?

Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Take care, Brandie

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A New Helpmate

So here it is, my birthday present. Have waiting for over two months, it is finally here. This is the before shot. Can you guess what it is?
This is the after shot. Do you know what it is now?
A brand new oven!
Back in December, the week after Christmas, my oven stopped working. At first the boys were going to fix it. Then Hubby said that maybe we should look for a new one. Then I put it off for a while because I was trying to be frugal and really what do you need a oven for? Well it seems that I needed an oven almost every other night! I thought that no oven would mean No baking, and maybe some lose weight.
Wrong! It was needed but again I just couldn't bring myself to spend the money.
Finally Hubby got involved. We where down at Lowes and he made me look.
Now the decision was buy the cheapest and make do? Which let me tell you, that would be an oven with no window and no timer or clock, but the up side is that is was under $300.
Next choice, buy what you love. "Really honey? I can buy and industrial Wolfe range?"
So I decided on second best, for me.
Old reverse new
And one of the best features, blue interior! Ain't it pretty?!
Of course this was no easy decision. I looked at the ovens again and again. Really liked this Kitchenaid, but didn't want to spend so much. But it has two ovens! And a convention! But the thing that sold me on this oven was the "bread proofing" feature. That means that in my old drafty house, I can still get my bread dough to rise in the winter.

So after the two hour installation, I got busy and tested everything.
Blueberry pie.
See that stripe on the pie? Apparently there is a heating element right where I put the pie. Lesson learned.
Than I had to make some pumpkin muffins, because I've been many, many months without them.

And I tested out some pizza dough.
And made 4 pizzas. This first one is a local favorite. Called the "garbage can". After it's cooked, you put on chilled tomato slices. Yum!
And our favorite, ham and pineapple.
The other pizzas were whatever the kids added. It was all good!

I don't plan to baked today. I made way too much! I'm going to be spending my day delivering goodies to friends.
So now that I've stretched some unused muscles, I'll slow down and try to get back to my regular patterns. Time to start quilting those baskets.
So good bye for now.
Take care, Brandie

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekend Report

Just a quick "Hello" to let you know I'm still here. I planned to post many hours ago, but I locked myself out of the computer, Hubby's Mac. So I had to wait till he was around to get the password. Don't you hate when things don't go your way?
Also I've been dusting base boards and mopping floors, Because I'm finally getting my birthday present! Sure it's over a month late and I ordered it almost two months ago. But hopefully the wait is worth it. More on that tomorrow.

This weekend I was at machine (my birthday gift will keep me from it for a while). I actually remembered to add the three extra baskets to the backing of the basket quilt.
It's kind of funny that two of these baskets are the same fabric. Guess I didn't like them in the front. Either way, I used up all the baskets and didn't waste a single bit of fabric.

This weekend I also got around to getting some projects done for a friend. Last year, she gave me a box of her Mother's saris. They are sentimental to her and she gave me carte blanche to do with them as I pleased.
Boy what a problem! I've been afraid to cut into them!
But I did and this is what I came up with. Here is a before of the sari in it's original form.
This is the after, shot one.
Shot two.
This is a wrap that has 12 different ways to tie. I absolutely love this and have plans to make one in every color and maybe even one for everyone I know.

Sari two, was a beautiful gossamer wrap . Sorry, I forgot to flip these picture for you.
Sari two became a drawstring purse.
So why did I suddenly get around to doing this? I had a great motive, her wedding! Saturday was her bridal shower and I knew that I could offer something no one else could. Memories of her Mother.
Now to just get to the other saris!

Well time to get back to the grind stone. I'm on the look out for hidden dirt and a delivery truck. Can't wait one more day!

Take care, Brandie

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dotted Border

I finished the borders and I couldn't be happier! How could you not love this quilt!?
I added a French General dot and I think the colors are a perfect match. Now my plan is to get it pinned and quilted before our quilt show in October.
This is now my favorite quilt. Do you do that too? Is the quilt you are working on your favorite?

I also found the time to add the binding on the two baby quilts.
This first one is a quick quilt I threw together with the blocks I received at guild. I will give this to our community service lady who will find a good home for it.
And then there is the dresden garden. I like how you can see the the butterfly is 3-D in this picture. I wanted the butterfly to be able to move it's wings. I think it will add more interest to the child who receives it.
Well that's all I did yesterday. Today is another day, maybe I'll get more done, maybe.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Take care, Brandie

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Some Good Ugly

Yesterday I quickly quilted up two baby quilts. I added half the borders to the baskets. But I never did get my schoolhouses pinned. I'll try again next week.
So today I'll put on two bindings, finish the borders and maybe see if I can pin the baskets, maybe.

The last two months or so, our small group has been working on this leaf quilt. Most of you who know me, know that I'm color challenged. So I know you will understand how helpful I was in the making of this quilt. Some of these fabrics are really ugly, and I'm not the only one to think so! It was a mutual consensus. These were ugly blocks!
But look at it now. It works and it's not as ugly. Click on it to make it bigger.
We ended up making two of these for community service. After they are quilted up these quilts will be given to someone in need.
I love that, I love to be able to give back and to help someone stay warm. Our guild is always receiving letters from groups who have received our quilts. Everyone of those letters are tear jerkers. The recipients are always amazed and awed that people would give away a handmade gift and they all love the quilts. I remember hearing somewhere that the recipient loved her quilt so much that she wrapped herself in the quilt so tight, she heard some threads pop. Now that made me cringe but it also made me smile, that's love!

Take care, Brandie

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Three-Quartets of a Finish

Hurray! After a long day of running around, I actually finished putting my baskets together. They are so happy and just looking at them makes me happy. That's pretty good for a quilt, don't you think? As I worked on this, I really started to like, maybe even love it. Now that it is done, I really, really Love it! I couldn't have finished it without all you good vibes, thanks for sending them my way.
The only thing left to do, is one, add some borders? Two, name it. Three, cuddle under it!
It measures 50 X 50 as we speak. Not a bad size for two charm packs, minus three baskets.
I even got it ironed. I was ashamed of myself that I didn't iron as I went. I started out that way and then just plumb forgot. I really don't recommend iron afterwards, it's a pain, specially with that tiny sashing!
These two are just a few of my favorite baskets, if I had to choose.
I ran out of red again, so some of the strips are a touch off. But you won't tell and nobody can see that, right?
(just ignore all the loose threads. I finished the ironing at 10 pm last night, then rolled into bed. There are some things that I will never perfect, loose threads is one. I don't clean those up till I get it quilted)

Yesterday Hubby was cleaning up a ivy chocked tree. Inside a tree elbow, he found a nest. So the good man took it down and brought it to me. Why? When he trimmed away the ivy, it was going to fall anyway, otherwise we would have left it there. Here it is inside the elbow.
After it came down, we found that it was two nests, not just one. This is the little nest was built inside the bigger nest. No that's not an egg. It's actually an egg shaped rock that I found. I swear!
Nest two, the big guy. Sorry this is such a bad pic. If you look really hard, you can see my turquoise shirt and arms reflected in the glass, as I took the picture.
These nests now live on the un-used fireplace in a garden vignette. I just had to show you my gorgeous orchid. I just love this color. Every other day a new bloom opens, Love it!
An overhead view, yet I still couldn't capture the orchid.
Last week I quickly quilted up this dresser scarf. Nothing fancy, just a simply grid. At some point, I may quilt in our last name. But not today, I'm tired!
Later today I'm going to go sew with Gail and meet up with our small group. I plan on pinning my schoolhouses. Pinning is another thing I put off, but in this case, it's because the quilt is way too big to pin in my living room!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Take care, Brandie