Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Update again

Can you tell I'm excited!!! Two posts in one day?!? New kitchen!! HA!

While I was busy wrapping presents (and drinking wine) in front of the fire ....

DH was installing the double oven. WOW!! No doors on it yet, but ... WOW!!

Re: the presents, I'm re-using the monogram tags I made last year. While the kids were opening presents, I asked them to return all the tags. I like the way they look and will probably continue using them for awhile. Below is the info from last Christmas (since I don't know how to do that "HERE" thing and I don't have time to learn it right now ... did I say I'm BUSY?!).

"Since our kids come here for Christmas, any gift we put under the tree is obviously from us, so there's no need to say To: (child's name) From: Mom & Dad over and over again. Just the To information is important. As a result, I decided to do a real simple design. I cut some circles from red cardstock and used white paint (the kind that comes in a bottle with a teensy tip) and I put white dots all around the outer edge of the circle. Then I printed a monogram that I got from Martha here http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/article/click-print-monogram-labels?backto=true and printed them on white cardstock. I cut out the white circles and glued them to the red circles. You can see how imperfect the circle and dots are."

But .... I think they look classy on the packages. Last year ....

This year ...

Christmas blessings to you all.

Kitchen Update

Just a really quick update on the changes in our kitchen. DH and I have been busting our behinds to get everything ready for our new appliances. Poor DH worked late last night to get the cabinets ready. We're about to leave for our second trip (today) to the hardware store. That's a bigger deal than it might seem. The closest hardware store (because we choose to live in the quiet, unpopulated countryside) is almost 45 minutes away. So a trip to town takes awhile.

Anywhoo, here's the project update. My just-delivered appliances currently reside in the dining room. HA! I'm sure it will only take a little while to get them all in place. RIGHT! HA!

Quick note. Check out the eat sign in the upper right corner of the picture. My sister, Nancy (aka TexNan aka Sump'n Sassy) made that for me. It's made of white buttons on a checked background that matches my curtains PERFECTLY.

I am sooooo blessed!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Well … we’ve started work on the cabinets. Our plan was to get the oven space prepared by noon and then start on the cabinet changes (for the refrigerator) after lunch. Then tomorrow afternoon we can concentrate on the space for the microwave.

First there was the oven removal.

Then the microwave removal.

Cutting the new space to size. I
really should have removed those platters and bowls before DH started cutting!! Hello-o-o-o!! Sawdust!!

DH is doing all this work with me just handing him tools, shop vac, etc. I’m in the supporting role during this part of it. But when he doesn't need me so much, I've been preparing for the changes in the cabinets. I remove everything from the kitchen cabinets. EVERYTHING.

And I numbered the doors just in case we have to remove them.

We moved the dining table next to the wall, stored the chairs out of the way, I loaded the table with dishes. I couldn’t help but notice some things about which I had forgotten.

Some are keepers. Good coffee cup ... cheerful.

This little silver creamer needs a good polish, but it has really good lines.
This little mid-centuty cup is perfect for tea.

And some things I found are definitely not keepers. A frog on the rim of my cup is not my taste. Totally. Not. My. Taste. I promise I didn't buy this. We received two of them as a gift. This is a really good time to PURGE.

Well, it’s after 2PM and … having worked straight thru lunch … we’ve almost finished with the oven part of the day. I’m still hopeful we won’t be up at midnight finishing the second part of our day.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I’ve been out-of-pocket for quite a while! And what have I been doing??

Well … I’ve been volunteering as a secretary at church. I’ve had to brush up on a program I used about 17 years ago (Gee, I wonder if there’ve been any changes?? HA!) and learning a totally new “presenter” program. I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’ve certainly been having fun with the graphics for the bulletins. I’m especially proud of this one I made for Christ the King Sunday. I prepared it in Photoshop and used some tools I’d never used before. I took two different photos, modified them and then combined them. Not easy when you’ve never done it before and you’re using the Help index to figure it out. BUT! I mastered a new skill and that’s a really good thing, cause now I OWN that skill. Woohoo!

Another thing I've been busy with is organizing my "studio". I've been turning the office into a studio and organizing the fabric. I'm beginning to feel like I'm walking into JoAnne's fabric when I walk into the room, but at least I can locate all my fabric now. I've even made room on one shelf for my felted wool stash. I used foam core from the Dollar Tree. I cut them into four strips and then wound the fabric around the strip, securing it with a straight pin.

And I cut the strips into smaller sizes for my fat quarters and large-ish remnants.

Then, of course we celebrated Thanksgiving with 4 of our kids. It’s been years since they’ve all been here, so I was especially THANKFUL.

This was our morning-after breakfast… poached eggs over turkey on English muffins with reheated hollandaise, a little cranberry sauce, and (of course) cranberry juice. Tasty!

On Saturday after Thanksgiving, DH and I went to Home Depot to get a gallon of paint and some nails and we walked out the proud owners of … TA-DAH!

A new LG double oven (convection).

It's cobalt blue inside!! GORGEOUS!!

And a new LG refrigerator.

Some things I love about this frig are (1) the freezer is more efficient (and has more room in it) than the side by side we currently have (2) the filter for the water line is easily accessible (3) an adjustable shelf allows you to store short stuff OR (switch-o-chang-o) tall stuff (4) a long flat drawer that's perfect for trays (5) the space behind the ice/water access is not useless space ... it has some shallow shelves and (6) last, but not least, this particular stainless steel doesn't show fingerprints.

Then we did some serious measuring for our new appliances after we got home and found we’ll have to remove the microwave in order to make room for the new double oven! Sooooo, we ordered (from Home Depot online) an over-the-stove LG microwave/ventihood which will be delivered and installed the same day as the other appliances.

A couple of things I like about this model (1) it has a warming feature which is great if you need to keep a plate warm for your sweet husband when he's late and (2) it has a rising feature for us bread-bakers. (I must make an admission here. I use a recipe for pizza dough that allows a quick 15 minutes of rise time. What I currently do is wrap the dough in a piece of plastic wrap and put it on top of my ventihood with the stove light turned on. That makes it warm enough to have the dough rising at just the right rate. True story ... a couple of times I've been busy with other stuff in the kitchen and the dough has burst the wrap open and jumped right off the ventihood. HA!)

LATER THAT SAME SATURDAY, DH ordered an LG dishwasher.

Pretty, isn't it? And it has a steam feature.

Something I love about this model is the silverware tray. Look at that! Instead of standing the flatware up with them all leaning on each other, this has a slot for each fork, spoon, etc. WAY DOGGIES COOL!

And the controls are on the skinny topside of the door. HA!

As a result of all this (pre-Christmas) spending, we’ll have to do some work this next weekend to remove existing stuff and prepare for the new things. We’ll even have to reconfigure a couple of cabinets, but surely that will be an easy thing to do … surely it won't take long!.?!
Anyway, when it’s all done, we’ll have a new kitchen for Christmas.

Yippee!! Yahoo!!! Whoop, whoop, whoop!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August Challenge

Recently .... somewhere in blogland (sorry I can't remember where) ... I ran across a challenge to have a different dinner each day in August ... no repeat meals during the month. Since it's only August 3rd, I can still take the challenge. As a result, not only will my menus be more interesting (being under public scrutiny), but it will make me more conscious of healthy choices AND I'll make more frequent post entries. WIN WIN WIN

Sooooo ...... every few days I'll give you an update on the dinner scene and some pictures of what's going on in my life.


August 1st
Pecan crusted tilapia with sweet potato chipotle sauce
Baked sweet potato half with a teensy bit of butter
Rice "pilaf" (long grain, brown & wild rice with onion & capers)
Honey sunflower seed whole grain bread
Pears and cherries

The tilapia is Kroger brand in the freezer aisle and it's goooooood. The only sad thing about this dinner challenge is going another whole month without having this fish again. Ah, well! Life is full of compromises.

August 2nd
Chicken tortilla soup

This was a throw-together-soup made from the last of the rotisserie chicken, some homemade broth, black beans, garbanzos, corn, carrots, onion, red bell pepper, chipotle in adobo, cumin, salt and pepper. This is the first time I've used Fritos and I find they disintegrate pretty quickly in broth. Next time I'll go back to baked tortilla chips.

I've temporarily closed my busiest etsy shop till I can get myself back on track. The doctor put me on new meds and I've had a hard time getting used to them. They make me t-i-i-i-r-e-d. I hate tired. I really, really HATE tired. Whine whine whine, whimper ... okay, pity party is over now.

As a result of previously referred to (SIGH) tiredness, I've only been doing small projects. Small, really small projects so I can see some results and feel I've accomplished something.

I made a new "quilt" for the teeny bed. It doesn't really have stuffing in it -- it's just a fat velveteen-ish fabric on bottom and cotton batiste on top that's been "quilted". I thought a white quilt would create a good background for displaying various colored linens and rugs.

A new white crochet tablecloth for the teeny table.

A new bedside lamp. I found a tutorial at this site. http://schifka.vuodatus.net/page/oillamp (I used Google Translate to make sure I understood the directions, but it's pretty self explanatory.)
These are the bits and parts I used -- 2 beads, some jewelry findings and I made a tube of clear tape for the top glass part.

And this is the completed oil lamp. I think it's kinda cute.

Some time back, I made a needlepoint cover for this chair and painted matching floral accents on the back.

The bedskirt here is actually a handkerchief that's been folded under. I thought I'd try it out before I actually cut it up. Looks pretty good, but maybe I need to sew it to a white background to display it better?

Right now I'm now working on a filet crochet bedspread in ivory. I'll show those pictures when I'm finished.

Exciting, huh? Oh, the whirlwind life we live in the country!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Idle Hands

Sorry it's been so long.

First I was busy busy busy, then I caught a bad cold, but I'm better ... not good, but better. I'm the type of person (some would say A-type) who can't just sit and vegetate, but I still don't feel well enough to do anything really energetic. What to do about those IDLE HANDS?!?

Some time back I ordered a miniature double bed (about 5 ½ by 6 ½ inches) and it arrived while I was still feeling awful.. When I began to feel better I decided to some hand stitching for my little bed.

I made sheets and pillowcases with hand embroidery. A little crude, but not bad as a first draft.

Then I crocheted a blanket from some petitpoint wool I had in my stash.

Later on I crocheted a little table topper using all-purpose sewing thread for a bedside table. I didnt' do this from a pattern, I just sort of played around with it until I got it the size I wanted. I've got some ideas about refining this pattern.

Then, for a bedskirt, I digitized a design using French lace as an example. A couple of days later, I stitched it out. Although I think it's not bad as a first attempt, I'll play around with the design a little bit and use a paler thread next time.

Yesterday I made a round bedside table. I used an empty thread spool and a big bolt (for weight), (I have to say a big THANK YOU to DH for allowing me to raid his hardware stash). Then I glued a couple of cardboard rounds together and hot-glued them to the top. Thank God for hot glue! Then I made a long tablecloth by hemming a round of batiste and added the crocheted topper.

I also made another set of teensy sheets (using my sewing machine this time) to put in my etsy shop.

All in all, I'm pleased with the end result.

I think my miniature bedroom is coming together pretty well.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Gift Bags and Gardening

Gift bags. Some of them are absolutely gorgeous. You can re-use them for gift-giving or even as a temporary tote, but what do you do if the bag is especially beautiful and you want to keep it? And has your name on it … literally has your name on it? You HAVE to keep it if it has your name on it! But what do you do with it?

You cover a gardening book.

Recently I received a beautiful gift bag full of wonderful gifts. I REALLY love this bag and wanted to keep it – more than just keep it, I wanted to make it a part of daily life. So I decided to upcycle it, using the design as a pretty cover on a plain composition notebook --- a full size notebook, not the teensy books I use as freebies.

DH and I are in the middle of landscaping projects and I wanted a gardening book for recording info – name of the plant, when and where we planted as well as pictures. Basically it’s a record of our gardening efforts. This wonderful gift bag was perfect for the cover.

Here’s the front.

Here’s the back.

I chose the placement of the design, cut it out a little larger than I needed, glued it to the front and back and trimmed to fit. I left the original black binding on the spine and I think it looks great.

I’m loving my new gardening book. Thanks Kirsten & Erika. Getting this bag was like getting an extra gift!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Adventures in Miniature Tablecloths

For awhile now I’ve been thinking of adding tablecloths to my Etsy miniature shop. I’ve tried a few embroidery designs to determine which will look most realistic in a miniature setting. And I’ve tried patterns on different media (tulle, organza and water soluble stabilizer) to see which is best. This is a lacy design on organza – I used water soluble stabilizer while embroidering. Then I trimmed the fabric close to the stitching, overcast the edges and washed out the stabilizer. It’s .... okay ……. . but not exactly what I was hoping for. And of course the size and shape of the design will have to be altered for it to be a tablecloth.

A while back I bought the smallest crochet hook I’ve ever seen and I set it aside to try out during some downtime. We-e-e-ll, over the weekend I must have wrenched my back just a leeettle bit (DOH!) because it was making itself known this morning. So I decided this was the perfect time to give my new crochet hook a try. I pulled out the hook, a spool of cotton thread and a pattern I've been saving.

The hardest part of crocheting with a hook this small is to get the pattern started. “Chain 10 stitches and join with a slip stitch.”

Right! What the heck do I hold onto?
Thankfully I have fingernails right now (you never know when I'm gonna break them during one of my projects) because I wouldn’t be able to grasp this work without them.

After I got started, it wasn’t as difficult to hold onto. By the time I was nearing the end of row 4, I was thinking, “Okay! This is going pretty well! I'll just finish this row and then get another cup of coffee.”

About that time the phone rang and I jumped up to get it, holding the teeny crochet project in my hand. But I got my foot caught on the hanging thread and as I moved to the phone I could feel something going BDDDDTT. I looked down and realized what I had done.

DURN!! Now I’m back at the beginning of row 4!

In spite of the hiccup in production, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s going.

And look how small the hook is! You can hardly see the little bump-out that comprises the hook.

Gotta get back to it. I think this is may take awhile.

Friday, May 28, 2010

May update

General update: Although I've been staying very, very busy, I haven't taken many pictures lately of my sewing and crafts. However, I have a couple of things to share.

This is a tissue cozy I made for my son Andy's girlfriend. (Sorry for the poor picture -- I took this while we were at the bus station and so the quality stinks.) I love the turquoise pique with white embroidery. I think it looks fresh. I forgot to take a picture of the back, but I used some of the fancy stitches on my sewing machine to decorate it. Andy helped me select the stitches. I thought it was really nice and it's a shame I can't truly share it.

On a different note, I've started taking these little (3 ½ x 4 ¼) notebooks I buy from the dollar store (4 for $1.00):

And (with a little scrapbooking magic) turning them into these:

I use them as a little surprise freebie with any order from my etsy shops. It's nothing very special or expensive, but I feel any unexpected freebie is a fun freebie. LUV me some freebies!

Family update: I know I've neglected my other blog for a long, long. long time -- I found it difficult to write on the personal level for awhile, but now I'll be posting family pictures, etc on http://daisyj222.blogspot.com/ again. And I've added the shortcut to my blog list for your convenience. Sister's Weekend (WOOHOOOOO) pictures will be on that blog sometime this weekend.