Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bird Tag

I like to cut and paste. I think it reminds me of the fun I had as a child using scissors and construction paper and white paste. I don't think kids do that much any more. I see that many of my students have poor cutting skills. (But they are much more skilled on the computer than I am, that's for sure!)

This wedding shower gift is a cute colander filled with a variety of kitchen items- a small microplane, some cloth napkins, a jarred candle, etc. (It's so easy to spend a lot more on little items than I mean to! But it's so fun to put gift baskets together, so I keep doing it…)

The bird tag was very loosely inspired by the colors and fabrics of the napkins. I free-hand cut out all the shapes in the interest of time, but I also think it helps keep the design more spontaneous. The size of the bird determined the size of the card, so that's what I mean by spontaneous. I avoid measuring whenever possible…I have a crate of file folders with scrap card stock sorted by color, just for making tags and cards like this one. 

(My organized hoard of supplies come in handy!)

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Quilt for Theo

This is a quilt for Theo.

His mom is a close childhood friend of our daughter. Theo isn't here yet, but we look forward to meeting him when he arrives.

(Terry did the long arm quilting)
The quilt is made from some 9 patches I made a while back, matted in a dot fabric. A simple quilt with a modern feel.

Have a wonderful day!

PS. This is my 500th post, a milestone of sorts! I thought it right to have it be about a quilt, since I started this blog with a quilt tutorial. :D 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Russian Thrifting and Other Finds

We really enjoyed watching the Olympics. Did you find yourself leaning with the downhill skiers and swaying with the speed skaters? Or holding your breath when the ice skaters did their jumps? (For me, watching the mogul skiers just made my knees scream with empathy.)

A few months ago, I came across these Matryoska while browsing at a thrift store. (Value Village) Someone must have been getting rid of their whole collection. (During the Olympics, they had a short segment on how these are carved on a lathe and then hand painted. Very fun to watch.)

I passed on a few that were in poor condition, but brought these home with me. They aren't all complete, but I don't think my grands will mind that. Now if I can just get them to come visit…It's not easy having them live so far away. :(

Oh, and here's another little piece I've had for years, also thrifted. (Value Village) 

It's a hinged box that holds doll house furnishings currently. But in the past I've used in to hold embroidery thread and other sewing notions.

This large dollhouse was a fabulous thrifted find! (Also from Value Village) 

Made by Ryan's Room, it was marked $15- and I got a discount on top of that, so I could not pass it up. I might let the grands paint it the next time they visit, just for fun. Yes, I like it the way it is, but wouldn't they have fun painting it however they wanted?? (I just found the same selling online for $159! Wow, I really did get a GREAT deal on this! Maybe I won't have the grands paint it after all…) 

The cool wooden dolls were not thrifted. I paid full price for them over at Land of Nod. I know. Not cheap. But I love them and rationalized that the grands would love them too. (I saw a couple of negative reviews for these having to do with quality, but our set is just great- no problems at all.)

 Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Very Special Quilt

No, I didn't make this. But some very wonderful women made it for me and for my son, Ryan.

Ryan serves as a 1st Lieutenant, US Army, now deployed in Afghanistan. I'm not a military person to say the least. I can't understand how we humans have been on the planet this long and haven't figured out how to get along. But there you have it. Ryan chose this path to serve his country, and I love his desire to do good in the world. He explained to me that he isn't in the fight because he's angry at the world, mad at the bad guys, etc. He loves peace, and wants others to have a chance at that. Who am I to argue with peace?

Anyway, it's not easy having a loved one in harm's way, regardless of their motives. So my quilt group could see I was sad about this (did the tears give me away?), so they took it upon themselves to make me a quilt.

We've made many a quilt for American Hero Quilts. These are given to the returning wounded soldiers. It's a small way to remember that war is suffering that doesn't go away. I think it's important for the costs of war to be on our hearts and minds, and stitching a quilt is one way to let someone who is suffering know they are not forgotten.

Ryan has not been injured, and I hope and pray that he and the soldiers with him remain safe. But my quilting friends wanted to honor Ryan's service, and they knew a quilt was a good way to express their love and support to our family. And when Ryan comes home, the quilt can be his. For now, it's mine.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Heart Fruit & Nut Balls

These are a heart-healthy sweet for your sweetheart. Or make some just for you!

Yummy dried fruits, nuts, and a bit of zip from some candied ginger. 

These are quick to make in your food processor. No baking required.

Fruit and Nut Balls
(inspired by these)

1/2 Cup each: dried cherries, blueberries, raisins, dates, cranberries (Unsweetened)
1/2 Cup each: toasted walnuts and pecans, coarsely chopped (toasting the nuts adds so much flavor!)
1 Tablespoon candied ginger, coarsely chopped
1/4 Cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon orange juice
1 Tablespoon honey

Place fruit, nuts, ginger, and powdered sugar in food processor bowl. Pulse until evenly chopped. Add juice and honey. Pulse until mixture begins to clump together. Shape into bite-sized balls and place into 1-inch fluted cups. (I think these are best as small bites- they pack a lot of flavor!)
Store in a cool, dry place.

Happy Heart Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Quick Heart Cards

Here's a very quick card, just in time for Valentine's Day. You can make two at a time- one for your Valentine, and one for your other Valentine.  It plays with the idea of positive and negative space. 
But only positive thoughts of love, right? 

 You'll need: One piece of pink card stock(8 1/2x11-inches) cut in half, one 4x5-inch red card stock, scissors, gluestick, metallic silver ink pen. (I used a Silver Sharpie)

 Fold each of the pink halves in half to make the two cards. Fold the red piece in half the LONG way.

 Cut out half a heart, keeping the fold to the center and cutting through both layers.

Open up your heart, keeping both the heart and the outside piece.

Cut each of those in half.

For each card, glue half of the positive and half of the negative shapes to the pink cards. Add dots with the silver pen.

You can add a row of dots to the inside edge of the card if you'd like.

 Happy Valentine's Day!