Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Crafting Projects

On Friday, I was able to purchase a new camera!  Mine was broken back in June and I've been borrowing to just keep my shop listings current.  I wanted to share with you some of the projects that I finished this weekend, and a few that I had not yet taken pictures of.   Some of these are already listed , some will be listed in the next few days.  I love making fun pillows like these, they are all unique.  I also worked on a patchwork table cloth, but I am not finished with it yet.  

How was your weekend, profitable in the crafting department? 

Friday, January 28, 2011

February is Heart Health Month
February is Heart Health Month.  I am always concerned about my heart health, because many in my family were plagued with heart problems.  I may be predisposed to inherited heart problems, but I am taking precautions none-the-less!  I do try to eat healthy, with lots of veggies, which I love and watch my fat intake with lean meats and no fatty pastries!  (Although I love pastries.)  Here is one of the recipes that I use for heart health, since it uses fish! I serve this with a green veggie, like baby Chinese broccoli or regular broccoli.  It was originally published in a Prevention Magazine Guide to Outsmart Diabetes.  Keeping your blood sugar down will also help heart health!
Tangerine Sesame Noodles with Seared Scallops

1/4 cup fresh tangerine juice (or orange)
3 T. reduced-sodium soy sauce (the only kind that I buy!)
3 T. creamy peanut butter
2 T. toasted sesame oil
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp tangerine peel
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 cup snow peas
8 oz whole wheat spaghetti
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
16 sea scallops (1 lb.) patted dry
    (although I do not use this many for the two of us, usually 6-8)
Pinch of salt
1 T canola oil (I use olive)
3 scallions, cut into thin diagonal slices

Combine the first six ingredients and 1/8 tsp of the ground red pepper in a large bowl and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add peas and cook 1 minute.  Remove with slotted spoon and plunge into bowl of cold water (save the pot of hot water for spaghetti.) Drain peas and set aside.

Bring reserved water back to boiling.  Cook spaghetti according to package directions, omitting salt.  Drain and transfer to bowl with peanut butter mixture.  Add carrots and reserved peas.  Toss to mix. Set aside.

Season scallops with salt and remaining 1/8 tsp pepper.  In large skillet, (don't forget your skillet mitt) heat canola oil over high heat.  Cook scallops in two batches, without touching each other, 3-4 ,minutes on each side, or until golden brown and opaque  in center. 

Arrange pasta on  serving plates.  Top with scallops and sprinkle with scallions. 

This is literally one of my favorites; hubby and I enjoy it often!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yesteryear - Birds!

I found a pattern for a bird quilt from an old (September 1977) Quilter's Newsletter Magazine.  I love it and want to try it on a small quilt.  The design is by Vera Crutter, an award winning needleworker.  The birds are ingeniously constructed of bias tape appliqued and embroidered on to a 12 inch block!  She originally had nine different patterns.  These patterns sold  for 35 CENTS each or $2 for the set!  WOW!  What a  bargain from today's standards!

I would like to try this, only I would not use bias tape, but strips of fabrics!  Hope this inspires you to try something new!  any ideas?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fun Fabric!

I found this fun fabric at an estate sale!  It's  a Robert Kaufman fabric.  I just love the kids saying what they want to be.  This might make a great children's apron!  (It's now for sale in my shop.)
So you ever shop estate sales?  Tell us about one of your favorite finds!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Sketches - Dandelion

It's Sunday Sketches time again!  This sketch goes with a "small Stone"  that I wrote yesterday:

Tiny seeds flying from their source. 
Floating, flirting, riding the thermals. 
Where will the landing be? 
Arbitrarily random?

Then, check out the other Sunday Sketches participants found in Sophia's BlueChairDiary.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Yesteryear--Vintage Doilies

If you love vintage, you probably have/and-or love doilies!  I have a sentimental place in my heart for doilies, because I watched my aunt crochet them and my grandmother used them in her home.  They were originally used  as toppers for a chest of drawers,  and sometimes even used to cover the divan arms to keep them from soiling or to cover a worn area.  I find myself admiring them, still, in the second hand store.  This one I couldn't resist and is available in my shop.

They are lovely, with all the intricate stitching and designs.  But, what do we do with them?  If your home decor style is not romantic or early traditional, you probably don't have a place to use them.   I recently ran across a pattern for showcasing and using them in a  crib size quilt. 

This quilt was made up of 10 to 12 inch squares, each with a doily attached in the center.  Instead of the traditional three layers of a quilt the patchwork top, the batting and the backing, this quilt called for a fourth layer of organdy.  It was laid over the top of the doilies, then the whole thing was quilted with the quilting circling the doilies.   I'd like to try this!  It's a neat way to preserve the past with a creative future!

Monday, January 17, 2011

" . . . Use it up! Or do without!"

Ok, Let's talk about a word that we all avoid . . . "Broke!"

What do you do creatively when your broke . . . . busted . . . . no money!??? Can't go to the local supply store and get supplies!

No problem, we're all into recycling and upcycling, aren't we?  First things first--instead of taking your lunch at the kitchen table and wallowing in pity, pack it up and head out to the river bank to eat it!  That's what I do.  Nothing inspires and rejuvenates me more than a look at the water and wildlife.  No river?  Well, how about a park, or the local garden on their free day?  Anyway, back home I begin looking through my unfinished projects, my stash, and my library.  If that doesn't work to spark creativity, I then take a look at what hasn't sold and see if I can "recycle" it!  Kinda like us girls who occasionally want a 're-do' or an 'up-do' for our own good looks, so maybe a few of our products could use a re-do too! 

If you're stuck creatively, try one of these little tips and see what you can come up with that's NEW!  

Here's my new project.  I didn't sell these pillow covers, although they're really cute, so I will be using the tops for squares of a quilt about air balloons! I have the basis of the quilt and can use my fabric stash for the rest! How fun is that?  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pine Sprigs Near and Far

My sketch is a part of Sunday Sketches put on by BlueChairDiary.  Enjoy my sketch and check out the other Sunday participants listed on her blog.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Musings

Usually in this blog, I do a post on Saturday, called Saturday Musings.  With my new emphasis, (see previous post),  I will be moving this weekly post  to my new blog   And in keeping with the theme of this blog, instead of a Saturday post, I will be doing a Sunday post--Sunday Sketches hosted by Sophia of Blue Chair Diary.  I have done these before, but not on a regular basis.  Looking forward to expanding my creativity with the exercise and discipline of sketching.  Hoping you enjoy  my sketches, as well as those who also participate in this exercise.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I have decided!

If you read my previous post on my business Goals for 2011, I posed a few questions to myself about the future.  So . . . I have decided, in part, what I want to do.  The 'decided part' is to start a new blog with an emphasis on writing, not handcrafting.  I love writing, and don't do enough of it. 

So, My new blog is called Abigail's Attic.  Here's my first post about my best friends!  Although the URL address for Abigail's Attic was already taken, you can find me at

I hope you will want to join me on this little journey!  I will be moving my river of stones posts to this site and, very soon, will be moving my Abby's story posts there too!  Yes, I will be finishing the story, for those of you who were following it last year. Yay!

Ambitious!  Maybe, but it will be fun!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dew Drops of Life

I was cruising the blogs, yesterday, when I found one that had a challenge to write little short passages about a  polished moment of paying proper attention, called 'small stones'.  Reason for the exercise was to choose something to write about every day, to help you to connect, to help you to love everything you see - the light and the dark, the happy and the sad, the beautiful and the ugly.  The PROCESS of paying attention is what's important.

So, I have elected to write about the above picture for today.

Blades . . . emerald blades . . . arbitrarily random . . . soft, velvety and verdant . . . with the weight of the morning.  Weight not hard to bear,  not a millstone but life's vitality "a vapor that appeareth for a little while and then vanishes away".

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Business Goal for 2011

I've been on a short hiatus from blogging lately, but it is time to resume.  I will do it with this:

I belong to an awesome team--The Estybloggers.  We have a writing carnival every two weeks. The current question is:  Now that it's the beginning of a new year, what goal do you have for your business that you hope to achieve in 2011?

Before I reveal my goal, you--my reader--need some background material.  Well, it can be somewhat like debris, the "stuff "of my essence but it has a point. 

I started blogging in November of 08.  It's been a good experience, although it has it's ups and downs.  I originally started on this journey for two reasons:
1)  I wanted to have an excuse to make myself  write something everyday, as I would eventually like to write a book or two.  It was an exercise in staying in the writing craft. (I did do a little bit of creative writing with my Abby story in the blog last year.)
2) Also, because I love creativity, I wanted to have a platform to showcase my own craft business handiwork and the handiwork of other obviously talented artists.   

Over the last two years, I find that I have languished and stagnated, in my writing here on the blog and in my creativity in my business. So,  I took a little hiatus from it all during the holidays thinking about what I wanted to do for the next part of this journey. I needed to focus----I was not clear on anything! Everything had become just so much routine! The spark and crackle was gone!

During my break, I  tossed around several ideas; a possible new emphasis for my blog; OR starting an additional blog, either for the purpose of introducing a concept for a new brick and mortar business within the next year; OR starting a new blog and separating my creative writing from the craft business stuff; AND closing one of my three shops and starting again with an new product--not jewelry. I guess you could say that I have bandied about my creativity like I would a little hacky sack ball. 

I started going thru all my blog posts, re-reading and looking with a new eye. (Actually, I am still in this process--there's a lot of reading material there!) To my surprise, I found that I had been true to my purpose--"writing about creativity, inspiration and family". Although true to mission, I had lost my vision, my passion, because I had been running down the same grooves in the road for an extended period of time.  I had been lulled into an unconcerned mode of operation.  Everyday was more of the same which stifles creativity!

I could go on, but I need to finish this post and get back to the blog carnival question.  What goal do I have for this next portion of the journey?  I will finish my introspection, it can't be rushed.  I do intend to bring into focus all the little details of my essence, create a new vision and decide which areas to keep and which to wave goodbye.  Success must be specific and have determined focus, and  . . . . I want to be successful!  I will continue to write about this little journey, I hope you will stay with me  ("not lulled into an unconcerned mode") and enjoy the details of the journey!
Happy Creating!