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Monday, November 29, 2010

Marie Antoinette Quilt Block 3

I mentioned in my post earlier today, that I wasn't feeling great for a few days so I was taking it easy.  I did some small projects and started on Block #3 of my Marie Antoinette Quilt.  This is the block before I did any stitching on it:





And this is what it looks like at the moment:
I was in my Cedar Chest over the weekend and found some pieces of vintage jewelry that belonged to my grandmothers.  I decided that I could enjoy having them more if they were on this quilt rather than hidden away in my Cedar Chest so I added the blue floral piece to the left of Marie.  That one belonged to my paternal grandmother.  The snowflake looking brooch belonged to my maternal grandmother.  I'm going to add some silk ribbon roses on either side of that piece.

I have a few other pieces of my grandmothers jewelry that I'll be adding to the other blocks.  Might as well enjoy them!

And these are the recent ornaments that mom and I made.  Mom made the Santas and I made the angels:




Speaking of my mom, her gallbladder surgery is scheduled for December 14th.  The surgeon was trying to hold off until after the holidays but mom has been in so much pain these last few months, they just can't hold out any longer.

And in other news, my Simba kitty seems to be doing much better.  After some research, my vet diagnosed him with Colitis and that was putting the strain on the kidneys.  He's now on special food for Intestinal health and a 3 month regimen of Prednesone.

He's still using my floor from time to time, just for good measure I guess, but 98 % of the time, he's using the litter box.  And, he's looking like he's bulking up a bit.  Not so frail and thin now.  Kathi picked him up to maul him yesterday and she said he feels a little heavier.  He was a 15 pound cat all his life and dropped down to 8 pounds.  He was so tiny but hopefully, is on his way to feeling better.  He actually pounced Lucy the other day so that's a good sign!

A New YouTube Video

Hello Ladies!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!  By Friday, I was feeling very burned out.  I know now to pay attention to the warning signs so I've been stitching and taking it easy.  I'll have an update on Block 3 of my Marie Antoinette Crazy Quilt soon.  In the meantime, I thought you would enjoy seeing my newest YouTube commercial.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing everyone a very happy & safe Thanksgiving weekend!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vintage Gingerbread Cake Recipe

First, I'd like say thank you to everyone who left a comment for mom yesterday.  I'll help her reply to your messages tomorrow.

I tried a new Gingerbread recipe yesterday and thought I'd share it here.  The recipe is from my grandmothers 1945 cookbook called, "The American Women's Cookbook":

There are 3 recipes for Gingerbread Cake in this book.  I just love the way Gingerbread makes my house smell!
SUGAR & MOLASSES GINGERBREAD CAKE

1/2 cup Molasses
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Shortening (melted)
1/2 cup Sour Milk (to make sour milk, add 1 Tablespoon Vinegar to 1/2 cup milk)
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Ginger
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

Mix all ingredients in order given.  Bake in a 350 degree oven in a shallow pan or muffin tins.

The recipe doesn't say how long to bake this but I made mine into cupcakes and baked for about 18 minutes.

This is a very sweet gingerbread cake.  I made a double recipe and ended up with 24 cupcakes.  I added sprinkes and cinnamon sugar to the top before baking.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

And The Winner Is........With A Surprise!

First, I'll tell you the surprise.  I actually have 2 extra copies of the JCS Ornament issue!  So, we drew 2 names!!!

And the winner's are:

Melinda & Sheri!

Please drop me an email Ladies and I will get your magazines out to you in Monday's mail!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pam's "Twist & Tack" Silk Ribbon Rose Tutorial

I was asked if I would share how I do the Silk Ribbon Roses on my crazy quilt projects.  Gladly!  I just had to wait to write it up until I could take photos.  Speaking of which, I apologize for the fuzzy ones.  They looked fine on the camera when I took them but when I loaded them into the computer, I was quite disappointed.

Still, I think the photos are good enough for you to see how to do this.  It's a really easy way to do silk ribbon roses and please keep in mind, they do not need to be perfect!  Roses in nature are not perfect so try to keep that in mind while stitching.

You will need 7 MM silk ribbon and a spool of sewing thread.  I usually use white but you can use a coordinating color if you choose.

For this technique, we are not pulling the ribbon through the fabric.  We are tacking it onto the fabric.

Step 1:  Thread your needle with sewing thread and knot the end as usual.  Tack your 7 MM silk ribbon and fold over the end 1/4 of an inch.  Then fold that 1/4 inch in half so you have a 1/8 inch double fold.


Fold that 1/8 inch over 3 more times.  This makes the center of the rose.

Pull your threaded needle up through your fabric/quilt block where you want the center of your rose to be.  Take a stitch at the bottom of the rose center and attach to your fabric/block.




Once you have it attached to your block, you can take an extra stitch to make sure it's secure.

Step 2:  To make the petals, you're going to twist your ribbon twice and tack it down with your thread.



Twist twice again, and tack it under the center of the rose.



Twist 2 times again and tack.



Continue to do twist and tack until your rose is about the size of a dime.



Cut your ribbon off and tuck the end under the nearest petal.  Tack with 1 or 2 stitches.



And there you have it!  A very easy Silk Ribbon Rose.  Enjoy!






Marie Antoinette Quilt Block 2 Completed

After taking Simba to the vet yesterday for another blood test (I'll have the results later today), I actually sat still and finished up on Block #2 of my Marie Antoinette Quilt:






And this is Block #1:




This is what they look like together:

Sorry that last photo is a twinge dark.  I really try to take good photos and I usually do okay but every now and then....

I pulled the 3rd block out and have it all ready in the hoop.  I have a few little things I'd like to finish up before starting on Block 3 so I'll wait to share that photo until I'm ready to start stitching on it.

If you're new to my blog, this crazy quilt is a Winter Project.  The theme is Marie Antoinette.  There will be 9 blocks, each featuring an image of Marie.  The blocks are 9 inches square.  I plan to have it completed by March at which time, I will assemble it and hang it in my Living Room.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2010 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue Drawing

I have an extra copy of the 2010 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue here.  This is the last issue that any of my cross stitch ornament designs will appear in.  As many of my long time readers know, I have retired from designing counted cross stitch.  I want to pursue other avenues with my creativity.


I thought it would be fun to have a little drawing for this magazine.  The rules are easy, just leave a comment on this post and I will add your name to a basket.  On Saturday morning, November 20th, Scott will draw a name and I will post the winner here later that afternoon.

I'll autograph this issue for the winner!!!  Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Update On Marie Antionette Quilt Block 2

I thought you would all enjoy seeing an update on Block #2 of my Marie Antoinette Crazy Quilt:

I'm getting ready to work on this for an hour before getting ready to go over to mom's.

In other news, it really hit me hard yesterday that my Simba won't be with me real long.  Although he seems to be doing better, I'm smart enough to know that Kidney Failure is pretty much a death sentence.  I lost my Francis to Kidney Failure back in 96.

Honestly, I feel like I just keep getting kicked in the head, over and over and over.  It's like there's this perpetual dark cloud hanging over me that just won't go away.

I'm have to take Simba for another blood test tomorrow and am eager to see what that shows.  I'll keep you posted.

I've added a few new things to the shop:


I need to stitch now.  I expect to have my Marie block done in the next day or so.  Have a good day everyone!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkin & Cream Cheese Muffins

Ladies, I have a real treat for you today!  Not only do I have the most awesome Pumpkin Muffin recipe ever, but my sweet sister Kathi agreed to write up a post to go with it as this is a recipe that she created herself!

Enjoy!




Hello Friends:

As a child I remember sitting by my mother while she was in the kitchen cooking and baking.  The smells were marvelous and I sat in awe as she added a little of this and a little of that and made something out of nothing.  She was always such a good cook and still is.

Naturally, I carried the cooking that I learned from my mother into my own family.  It truly is one of my favorite past times and since my son, daughter and husband are especially fond of eating….a lot, I find myself in the kitchen quite often.  I also suffer from a great deal of food allergies so everything I cook or bake must be from scratch.

This time of year I make quite a few quick breads, cakes and muffins but I get bored with making the same thing.  I read cookbooks like most people read novels.  You can go just about anywhere in my house and find a cookbook or cooking magazine out with sticky flags marking all the pages of recipes that sound interesting.

A couple of weeks ago I had been looking at recipes and decided I needed to create my own.  With it being the season for pumpkins, I pulled out a can of pumpkin and said, ok…..lets create.
The general principal for muffins is easy and having made so many I knew mostly what I needed.  I knew I wanted a muffin more the consistency of a cupcake; so light that it almost floats away.  I also knew I wanted something different.  As I’m adding the ingredients I remembered that Pam always adds chocolate chips to everything….yes, I do mean everything.
Couldn’t add chocolate; everyone adds raisins or nuts; I needed something different.  Therefore, I added cream cheese chunks.  I previously tried cream cheese chunks in quick breads and that was very good so I knew I could make that work.

Batter mixed, cream cheese added, cupcake papers ready to go, oven warming and the cinnamon smell was wafting through the air.

After baking the muffins, I placed them on the cooling rack and my husband couldn’t stand it.  He showed up in the kitchen plate in hand and asked me if it was time yet…in case you haven’t figured it out; my husband is the biggest of my children and probably the worse one.
I watched as my husband gobbled down one, two, four, six gone in one sitting.  As much as he likes to eat, this was a bit unusual.  He then proceeded to tell my son that he had better get one while there are still some available.  The label was given as  the best muffins he had ever eaten and told me to write down the recipe right away before I forget how I made them.  So I did.  Now you can make them and be the judge yourself.


Have a great day!


Kathi

Here's the recipe:

PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE MUFFINS

2  1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Self-Rising Flour
1 cup Sugar
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 can Pumpkin
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Melted Butter
3 tablespoons Canola Oil
2 Eggs
4 oz Cream Cheese Cubed into 1/2 inch cubes

Heat over to 400 degrees  Mix all ingredients in order.  Fold in Cream Cheese cubes.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.  Sprinkle with Cinnamon Sugar.  Bake 15-20 minutes.  Remove from pan to cool.

This recipe is light, fluffy and oh so yummy!

Note:  if you don't have any Self-Rising Flour on hand, you can make it yourself.

1 cup Self-Rising Flour = 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder + 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Flea Market Treaures!

Scott & I went to the Flea Market in Grayslake, Illinois yesterday.  It's only about a 35 minute drive for us.  It was so nice!  Lots of new vendors, lots of vintage Christmas things....so many pretties to see!

I found some nice things to add to my collections.  First are these 2 vintage hats with silk and velvet flowers:





I sat here last night for about 30 minutes taking the flowers off to use on other things.  I think I'm going to start collecting a few really nice vintage floral hats to display in my Guest Room when I get it re-painted.  It's going to be pink (are you surprised?) with stenciled roses and lots of shabby cottage charm.  Some old floral hats would be a perfect addition!  But these are for crafting.  If you'd like to see how to take the flowers off these old hats, click here.

I also found a few pieces of old jewelry that I intend to use in my crazy quilting:




I've decided to use that little heart on my current Marie Antoinette quilt block:



This block is ready for some Silk Ribbon Embroidery and beading!

My final treasure is this wonderful old apron:






Bubba found this piece and thought I could cut it up and make it into something else.  No way can I cut this one up!  It's in very good condition.

This was a pre-printed, pre-tinted apron kit by Vogart.  Whoever made it, did a very nice job stitching and sewing it together.  And although it looks like it's been washed quite a few times, it's held up very well over the years!

I'm going to hand wash it and press it and find some way to display it.  I only paid $5.00 for it.  That's a steal! 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Glitter Houses Are Here!

Just a quick little update for this evening everyone.  I managed to list all of our Glitter Houses in the shop today:







And here's my latest video:

New Additions To The Shop & Quick Newsbrief

As much as I love blogging and love to blog everyday, there are days when I just can't squeeze one more thing in!  I'm in the process of getting caught up on adding our newest Christmas items to the shop.  I expect to have everything we have at the moment in there by the end of the weekend.  It's an extremely time consuming and tedious process.  Anyway, I'll start by sharing our latest additions.

These are mom's Gift Card Or Money Pockets:








Are these beautiful or what!  I can't believe how awesome my mom is at Mixed Media art.  She's always been so traditional but she really has a knack for this!

And here are Mom's Mixed Media Art Gift Tags:





Again, I'm so taken with how great Mom is at Mixed Media art.  These are so beautiful in person and seeing them, makes me want to make some!

This is my newest addition to the shop:




I have 2 of these little Gingerbread Man brooches in the shop.

I doubt I have to give anyone the link to our shop as I'm always shoving it down everyone's throat but just in case, here it is again:  Kitty & Me Designs.

I certainly hope I don't bore anyone with my "shop talk" but it's a huge part of what I do and I really, really enjoy it so much.  It's given my mom a sense of purpose and over all, I can see where it's helped keep her Bi Polar Disorder at a tolerable level.  For the most part, I can see that the ups & downs are not as extreme as they were.

For Kathi, it gives her an outlet for her creativity.  She has a stressful job as an insurance agent and making things for the shop helps to relieve her stress.

For me, it keeps my ADD mind occupied.  I always say, when the hands are occupied, the mind is occupied.  It helps to take my mind off the depression which I know is still there although I have noticed another twinge of improvement but the Seasonal Affective Disorder is loud and clear at the moment and may I say that hormone changes do not help!!!  I can really live without the night sweats!

Ok, so enough of all that.  I plug my shop constantly and I don't care.  I love making things and I love being able to give my mom and my sister an outlet for their creativity.

And speaking of my sister Kathi, I have a treat coming for you all!  She shared an original recipe with me and she wrote up a nice blog post to go with it.  I'll be making her recipe either later today or tomorrow, taking photos and sharing Kathi's post with you here.

In other news, I've been stitching on block #2 of my Marie Antoinette quilt.  I made some changes to the lace that I chose.  Just decided to go with something else.  I'll share an update on that in the next day or so.

For now, I'll leave you with a sneak peek of what's coming to the shop next:

Glitterhouse 5


Glitterhouse Gingerbread


Glitterhouse 6


Yes, Mom and I made some Putz style Glitter Houses!  These are not the actual houses that I'll be listing.  These photos are of the ones that Mom and I made last year.  I'll be adding 6 traditional glitter houses and 4 gingerbread glitter houses to the shop this weekend.  I'd like to get them all in the shop today but that's quite a bit of work so I may have to break it down and do some today and some tomorrow.

I don't think mom and I will be able to do anymore this season if any one wants them, keep your eye on the shop.  I've been asked several times if we'll be doing some this year so get them while you can.

On a final note, I am still planning on writing more Crazy Quilt tutorials and my article on Creatively Coping with the Holidays.  Lots of new things coming to the blog so please stop by often!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Crazy Quilt Mystery Announced!

Are you ready ladies?  Here it is:




Yes, it's a tree!  And my photos just don't do it justice!  As good as I've gotten with my camera, I haven't gotten good enough to capture the true beauty of crazy quilting.

The first thing I did was to make a template from the cone.  Then I pieced my block the same way I do all my blocks, with a 1 inch allowance border.  I stitched the block, cut the piece "inside" lines and using my glue gun, glued it to the cone.  I added a piece of cardstock to the bottom of the cone and glued trim over the seam and around the bottom.  I added a glittered glass Christmas ornament to the top and then glued trim over the edge.  Voila!  It looks like a blizzard doesn't it?  As I said, it's much prettier in person than it looks in the photos.  It's very glittery and was fun to do!

So before I do anything else, I need to do something for myself.  I will be starting on Block 2 of my Winter project, my Marie Antoinette quilt:





I'll be starting on this later today.  I need to add some new things to the shop first.  Well, after I run and get some groceries.

As a quick refresher, here is Block #1:




There will be 9 blocks altogether.  My goal is to have all 9 blocks stitched by March and then I will put the quilt together and hang it in my living room.

Before I head out for now, I thought I would ask my crazy quilt followers if there are any techniques that I do that you would like to learn?  Please leave a message for me here or send me an email and I will gladly write up tutorials on how I do things.  I just need to know what you would like to learn.
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