Sunday, January 31, 2016

Quilting Class!

My best friend has been doing a lot of sewing lately and was saying that she wanted to learn some quilt technique.  So I gave her a gift certificate for a class at a really wonderful quilt shop near by.  We have been excited about going together for weeks.  This weekend was the class.  It ran 10am to 3:30 pm both days.  The instructor is a highly respected designer and is a truly great teacher.   We learned some great techniques and tips.  The best tip I got all weekend was to not just "stitch in the ditch" with a straight stitch.  Instead, use those decorative stitches on your sewing machine, playing with the stitch length and width.  My Brother machine has 75 stitches to explore.  While my large table runner isn't by any means perfect,  the decorative stitch gives it some visual interest.   I still have to put the binding on.  I am thinking that is a next weekend project and will share when I have it completed.

The second cool tip I got was for this cool needle threader by Clover.  You put the sharp needle in the top in the number 1 spot, then lay thread cross the unit in that groove in the middle, then press that lever and voila!  The needle is threaded.  It is a must have!
I have to say I am exhausted.  I was so tired when I got home yesterday afternoon.  I was ready to go to bed at 7:30 pm.  You are so focused through these classes that you are exhausted.  It is so fun and I am so glad we went.
I came home to dinner in the oven and the house cleaned, and was greeted by puppy kisses.  I feel so blessed today!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Semi Productive Day

You get to a point when you look in your kitchen cabinets in  an unsuccessful search for a can of chicken noodle soup, finding instead way too many cans of beans and tomatoes.  This happens because I pick up an extra can just in case, and then it goes into the abyss that is my kitchen organization.  I am trying to make a big pot of soup on the weekends, which will turn into meals on a weeknight when neither one of us has an iota of energy to spare after work.  So I turned to one of my favorite blogs, Stephanie O'Dea's " A Year of Slow Cooking."  I found this super yummy Taco Soup Crockpot Recipe .  It used up a ton of cans and turned out super delicious.  It was not so much soupy.  It was more of a chili consistency, and was so delicious.  We have a ton for lunches and dinner.  Yay!
I also made a lasagna sauce so that I can quickly put together a lasagna, maybe for Friday night.  The best find in the bottomless pit of a cupboard was a can of pumpkin and a can of evaporate milk.  I thought, "Yay, PIE!"  Then I thought, "Oh, no, I have a serious lack of pie crust."  After my initial panic, I remembered that I used to make pie crust all the time in the 80's and 90's.  So I got out my favorite cookbook ever, "Good Housekeeping's Illustrated Cookbook." (circa 1980) I found my tried and true pie crust recipe and whipped it together.  My edge is not so cute, but it was not for a festive event, so it's all good.  It tasted fantastic and my sweet baboo has been walking around today in thinking I am awesome, saying, "I can't believe you made your own pie crust." 
It was fun to have a day of cooking.  It is such a fun, creative outlet when I have time.  I also truly believe that food cooked with love is the healthiest!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Stormy Weather

We are most thankful here in California that rain has returned!  It has been quite stormy here and we are grateful for every drop of water!
With winter storms come what is referred as King Tides here.  We can have waves of 15-20 feet that crash with ferocity.  I attended a luncheon yesterday in Pebble Beach but thought I would snap a photo of the angry sea there.  Those waves in the background were pretty tall and the wind was knocking me all a kilter.  My little seagull friend in the foreground there seemed totally unaffected by the storm activity and my presence, although it does appear that he is giving me the stink eye.
Here is a photo of Carmel Beach today that my sweet baboo took.  Actually Carmel Beach was a bit of a misnomer as there was actually no beach and the 20 foot waves were crashing into the wall below the path way we were on. 
 Other than walking Miss Liesl in Carmel today, we stayed home.  My honey made me risotto for dinner and we are having a quiet evening.  We are both so busy with our professions so it is really nice when we can have a peaceful evening.  My stitching and my coloring books are calling me now.  I am not sure which will win in this moment.  However, I know I need to play with color and creativity for a while to stay centered.  I hope you are playing with color and creativity, too, and are enjoying peace.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Four Day Weekend Over

Four days just absolutely flew by.  It as been a very cold few days so it was nice to be inside with Miss Liesl.  My sweet baboo was away for the past week, visiting his granddaughter and was delayed for a couple of days trying to return home.  So it was just Liesie and me, taking naps, reading books and having stitchy evenings until late Friday evening.  She was pretty excited to have her daddy home.
All of the Christmas trimmings and hall deckings have been put away for another year.   I was better organized while I packed them, so hopefully next year will go a bit smoother.  I will be vacuuming pine needles for months, little reminders of a happy family time. 
I pulled my multi year WIP, Teresa Wentzer's Fruit Bell Pull out this weekend.  I made good progress over the past few days.  I did not know that so many shades of green existed in DMC.  This piece uses all of them.  Oy vey!  There is also a lot of tweeding.  Not my favorite.  Particularly with all of that green.  The grape leaves are becoming more defined though. Yay!  Just four more panels of fruit after this.
I have decided to try something new since there is so much tweeding in this piece.  I have ordered one of those Pako Needle Organizers so that I can keep needles loaded and at the ready.  It should arrive this week.  I am hopeful this will offset some of the slow nature of the threading and rethreading of needles.  There is so much confetti stitching in this piece, that the rethreading is stealing some of the joy of the stitching.
I am very excited about the year ahead!  I think 2016 is going to be a fabulous year!  I wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, too!