Friday, June 29, 2007

Strawberries & Cream

I still don't have a sewing machine. But I do have a knitting project in the works...

Here's what happened to Jennifer's strawberry jam. Scones with strawberry jam and cream. Going back to some of my British roots. Thanks again, Jennifer!

After Josh discovered how wonderful this jam was, he promptly dug into it and, in true 14-year old fashion, there is now about 1/2" left in the bottom of the jar.

These scones are small, and more in the British style. They are very crumbly, but oh, so good!

Quick Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
about 1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit (250 degrees Celcius).
Grease a cookie sheet or cupcake pan.
Sift dry ingredients into a medium bowl, making sure to mix them properly.
Pour vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup. Add the egg. Fill the rest of the cup with milk.
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients without stirring and mix with a knife or spatula until it forms a soft dough. Do not overmix. Do not mix with a spoon.
Put spoonfuls of dough on the cookie sheet or in cupcake cups, or flatten slightly and cut or press into desired shapes (the rim of a glass works well).
Bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly brown.
Top with jam and cream and enjoy!

(On top of the lack of sewing machine, we're now having serious internet connection problems. I hate Verizon...)

Edited on 6/30 to add:
I nearly "coughed" up a lung when I reread my post. I, of course, meant "spoonfuls of dough" not "spoonfuls of cough". I fixed it, but thought this was a very good example of the shortcomings of spellcheckers, because Mozilla automatically spellchecks now (and "spellcheck" is NOT a word, but "spell check" sounds like something Harry Potter might do).
OK, this is now a post of its very own. I'll stop.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Summer...

One of my favorite things about our garden is that it came with eight wonderful blueberry bushes. Every summer we have a bounty of sweet, tasty, totally organic blueberries. This year they kind of snuck up on me...

April 7th:

May 31st:

This morning:


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I picked a pretty posy

No, the sewing machine is not back! In fact I got the horrible news yesterday that the light switch which is broken is out of stock and will only be in early next week. It looks like another 1-2 weeks without my baby. I'm making calls about borrowing one today. I won't last that long.

So, for today's post I picked a pretty little posy from my early summer garden. I wish you could smell the roses. Simply heavenly!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

No sewing machine - Day 8

Well, at least I don't have to come up with any cute titles for my posts...

Look what the mailman brought yesterday! Jennifer (Mama Urchin to most of us) sent this wonderful jar of homemade strawberry jam. I can't wait to make some biscuits to go with this. Yummy! Thanks Jennifer!

Monday, June 25, 2007

No sewing machine - Day 6&7

I feel like I'm letting everyone down with my lack of stuff to share. I do so hope my sewing machine makes its reappearance soon...

Today all I have are some garden photos...

I do love gardening and at least I can do that without a sewing machine...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

No sewing machine - Day 5

This is getting to be a l-o-o-o-o-n-g time and withdrawal symptoms are starting to set in. My head is swimming with ideas that I have no way of executing. Woe is me!

Anyway, I have been working diligently on granny's flower garden...

Friday, June 22, 2007

No sewing machine - Day 4

When all else fails, show pictures of old quilts...
This quilt is based on the same idea as Josh's frog quilt. The cat fabric was part of a bag of fabric for an ugly quilt challenge, but the other fabric was just too ugly to mix in with it, so I dumped it all and used the cat fabric and fabric left over from the frog quilt.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

No sewing machine - Day 3

Went "shop-hopping" with E today. Great fun! It's not really about Shop Hop itself, since I'm really not into the fabrics. It's a wonderful excuse to visit a whole bunch of quilt stores we wouldn't normally get to.

We started the day up north in Mount Vernon and worked our way back down to Seattle. I packed my camera to take wonderful photos to share, but after an enormous slice of quiche for breakfast my brain shut down and shopping was all I could think of.

I will therefore have to share after the fact.
The free stuff:

The "paid for" stuff:
a little off-season Valentine-ness,

happy chickens on green,

and my favorite - pink, of course.

Not a good day for the "Use what you have" challenge, that's for sure!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No sewing machine - Day 2

A couple of years ago I stumbled upon the 1961 version of the "Better Homes & Gardens Decorating Book". It is a binder filled with "over 300 full color illustrations" and wise tips for decorating your home. I thought I'd share with you some snippets from Chapter 1. (If you click on the pictures, the full size versions will provide more detail.)

"If you're a bit sentimental - plan a cozy room"
"The color scheme stems from the flowered pattern of the draperies and quilted upholstery..."
and "Look to Contemporary"
"Airy drapery fabric runs unbroken from wall to wall, ceiling to floor, makes ceilings look higher..."

"Traditional Dignity"
"Brown tones range from soft beige to the honey of wall paneling, vibrant red-brown of tables and chair frames..."
"Colonial charm mirrors informal living"
"Furniture is cozily arranged..."

"Are you a busy clubwoman - with an active family?"
"...paneled walls and woven blinds need only occasional dusting..."
"Or are you a homebody - with a fondness for snug comfort?"
"A brown and white print, accented by pink, inspires the room's handsome color scheme..."

...and my personal favorite
"Sparkling color defines a gay, informal spirit"
"Vibrant carpet makes the brilliant floral sofa pattern in rose-red and shades of pink, accented with splashes of yellow, more vivid..." (how much more vivid can you get???)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No sewing machine - Day 1

Yesterday was a crazy day containing, among other things, a burned down house (not mine), babysitting, and a doctor's visit. But it ended on a good note with a wonderful gettogether with my quilting buddies.

In all the commotion the sewing machine did not get to the "hospital" yesterday, but she's packed up and ready to go this morning.

I had to make a plan for the unknown period without automated sewing assistance. Last week Katie started a hexagon quilt, all hand pieced. This struck me as a great idea. And a "Use what you have" project.

I'm making "Grandmother's Flower Garden".

Here's what I have after 3 hours of quilt meeting sewing...

I'm planning on using all bright colors, with every "flower" having a yellow center. The background will be all white to show off the individual little flowers.

I'm so excited that I'm (almost) not concerned about how long the sewing machine will be gone for.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pink! Not Red!

My garden is pink and purple. Very deliberately pink and purple. Until mid-June, that is. Then the dahlias start rearing their pretty little heads. All in red, orange and yellow. The previous owners filled the back garden with dahlias. There was not a bare patch of soil to be seen. I've thinned out the dahlia invasion through the years, but could not bear to get rid of all of them. I love dahlias for the fact that they're such wonderfully resilient cut flowers. If only they were pink and purple...

Remember the Note Taker pattern I was testing for Kathy of Pink Chalk Studio?
I now have my very own copy of the real thing! Thanks Kathy! With Christmas fast approaching, I'd better get my you-know-what in gear and start pumping these out.
Photos of the one I made can be found here.
If you're interested in buying a pattern, visit Kathy's shop.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cinnamon-y Goodness!

Father's Day breakfast...

Sweet Cinnamon Biscuits

2 c all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 c canola oil
¾ c buttermilk
4 tbsp butter
1/3 c granulated sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a 9”-round baking pan lightly.

Soften butter to almost melted, but do not allow to bubble. Set aside to cool.

Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl and mix well. Stir in oil. Add buttermilk and stir until just blended.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll dough into a 15x8” rectangle.

Spread butter over the dough. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Roll up rectangle, jelly roll fashion, starting from one long side. Pinch seam to seal.

Cut the roll into 1 1/2 –inch slices. Arrange the slices, cut side up, in prepared baking pan. Bake until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven. Serve hot.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saying Saturday

Since I normally don't have much to post on Saturdays, I thought I would institute "Saying Saturday" and post a saying or quote that inspires or amuses me and might do the same for you.

A while back I was tagged to list 7 things about myself.
My no. 5 was:"I feel like I never have an original thought, but I'm REALLY good at copying other people's ideas.".

So imagine my glee at discovering the following quote by Albert Einstein:

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Take Two

After a couple of hours of walking back and forth past the bag with the skew handle, and shuddering each time, I had to do something about it. Moving the handle would have involved undoing basically the whole thing, including the zipper. This was NOT going to happen. I was not quite that desperate. So I took my sharp little scissors and lopped off the handle, resewing it onto the top of the bag. I checked - this is what my current toiletry bag's handle looks like, so it's not too weird. And it is now smack dab in the center of the lid!

After all the bag drama, I needed a quick fix. Erin had made a cute little tissue holder and I figured that sounded simple enough. True to the spirit of the day, however, this turned into a complicated affair too. I followed the tutorial step by step (instead of looking at Erin's version) and ended up with a gaping opening. So more brainpower was called for...

I was absolutely pooped last night, but a little bunco and wine quickly took care of that problem.
Feeling rejuvenated, I quickly whipped up a tote using the daisy pillowcase this morning.

My sewing machine is off to do its penance today and will probably be gone for about a week, which will give me some time to recover from all the recent sewing stress.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Like pulling teeth!

I should have known the minute I started making mental notes (about 10 minutes into the project) on what to do differently next time, that this was TROUBLE!

First, I broke 4 needles in less than 15 minutes. Is there a Guinness World Record for that? It all went downhill from there, right down to the measurements for the pattern pieces being COMPLETELY off - as in 1.5" on a 15" piece.

Anyway, here's the result. Everything's skew and the handle is not in the center (because I had to chop off a piece of fabric due to those 1.5").

I'm not sure there will be a next time. And I'm totally scared to make anything else out of this book now.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bad girl!

I am trying SO hard to stick with the "Use what you have" challenge and clean out my stash, but... the thrift store, the most inspirational pillowcases hopped right into my arms.

I'd been wanting to make a pillowcase tote, and here the opportunity lent itself to me in multiple ways!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WIP Tuesday

Remember what the mailman brought way back in March? I've been so sidetracked by all the other fun stuff to do that the poor Spice Market Quilt has been languishing all alone. This morning I dusted it off. I was inspired by Amanda's industriousness (is that a word?) to try and finish the quilt top (just the top!) by Sunday.

I also have a few other little things in the works:

Sock attempt no. 2,

strawberries galore,

and a frenzy of french knots.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Creamy beige with a touch of pink

The weekend was quite productive.

Inspired by Katie's "Use what you have" challenge, and a longtime need for a "WIP bag", I rummaged around in my stash and made MY FIRST TOTE! Not having a pattern and having to figure everything out by trial and error, it was quite an undertaking, but I'm rather pleased.

I finally finished the ten pound ripple! Woohoo! I weighed it - it actually weighs "only" 7lbs, but, considering the fact that it's a lap sized afghan, that is a LOT! It is very warm and cuddly, but will now have to go spend the summer in the linen closet with the other winter warmies.

Fatcat was very confused by this thing that had suddenly appeared on her patio...

And that brings me to another one of my weekend activities...
I cleaned out the linen closet. I feel like leaving the door permanently open for everyone to behold this achievement.

What a great start to the week!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Wonder of Nature

May 31st, 2007

June 4th, 2007