Monday, February 23, 2015

Sewing machine debate...featherweight thoughts?

Why yes it did snow again this weekend...
however it got up to 40 degrees yesterday which was wonderful.  Our problem hasn't been so much the snow but the frigid temperatures.  The chatter everywhere focuses on frozen pipes, burst pipes, preventative measures--and yes, we are all a bit on edge because of it.  As if all this wasn't enough, our temps have dropped 10 degrees this morning already (it's 8:30 a.m.) and we are in for another spell of below zero temps.  The tv is reporting school closings due to water main breaks.

I'm doing what I have to and keeping busy with sewing and organizing.  I just said to my girlfriends the other day that I would be interested in getting a featherweight machine for my first floor and voila, an affordable one was offered to me yesterday.  I had repaired my grandmother's sewing machine but it doesn't work as smoothly as I had hoped.  I'm still pondering--do you have a featherweight and do you like it?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Thank you Martha!!!

I spent most of yesterday doing paperwork and awaiting the snow and cold to descend.  Imagine how delighted I was when I discovered a package for me in the evening mail!

My apron from Martha had arrived!!!  It was too dark to take a photo of it last night but here it is:
Martha does an apron give away every month and this month, I won!!!  All through the year she cleans up vintage and antique patterns and shares them.  I wish I had her technical and sewing skills.  

Doesn't this make your heart go pitter-pat with delight?  It does mine and I was hoping to have little Gracie model it today but the weather has even churches closed today (not the snow amounts but the temp of 7 F with windchills making it feel like negative 26 here). Martha's workmanship is impeccable and this embroidery makes me hopeful for spring.  
Of course the puppies on this make me super happy as well.  Thank you Martha for warming me up on the coldest day of the winter!!!  Make sure to check out Martha's website at  it's one of my favorite places on the internet!!!  Hugs and stay warm today!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

37 days until Spring!

Today is a sunny day and it is already (at 11 a.m.) up to 28 degrees.  I'm getting restless.  Between injuries and the weather, it feels as if springtime and some freedom will never get here.  Of course Seamus feels it much more than I do.  I was photographing a recent purchase for my inventory and Seamus pulled his usual stunt:
"Don't pay attention to that quilt, pay attention to ME! ME! ME!"

Life will eventually get back to normal.  For now, we are just making it through.  I did buy some new bedding yesterday and that made it feel somewhat like spring.  I really don't like to start the hardcore cleaning until I can open the windows but new pillows and sheets do help.
Hope you are faring well through the winter!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Snowflake update...

Don't slip on the ice!!!  We have a lot of it here in the Northeast!

An update regarding the snowflake quilt I posted a photo of yesterday.  Martha looked over it and it is NOT the Nancy Page version.  In fact, it is a paragon kit quilt, a very similar version is here on the quilt index.  It's post-war (WW2) which makes a lot of sense since grey was a fashionable color after the war.  Thanks Martha!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Snow Days...

Like a lot of bloggers, we've had a number of snow days here.   Although my foot is healing nicely, my ability to walk Seamus is thwarted by the weather.  Whenever possible, we are walking at least down to the terrace:
Good things continue to happen.  Yesterday I found out that I won the Martha's apron of the month!!!  I am ga-ga over this apron and can't believe I actually won it!  You can see it here.  I think that it will fit Helena when she is over and am going to hang it as art when the kids aren't here.  I am just over the moon about it!
Since I am talking about Martha (and snow) thought I would post a photo of my Nancy Page snowflake quilt (the block from the top of this post is part of it).
 There are a variety of snowflakes in this quilt and Martha has the pattern posted (for free) on her blog (here).  I also have a friend with an embroidered version and I will try to get a photo of that as well.  I'd like to do an embroidered miniature version to hang during the winter months.

Have a safe and happy week!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WIP, January 21

I haven't done a "Work In Progress Wednesday" post in a long LONG time.  I know I need to blog more but I'm busy sewing.  Beth and I are working on a new program that celebrates the quilt designer, Ruby Short McKim.  This program is heavy on sewing/light on research---so it is quite a change for me. Today and tomorrow I'll be making oriental poppies:
This poppy pattern is probably one of McKim's most famous.  I'm finding it fascinating the range of her work and how that can be adapted to modern quilting.   What are you working on?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

First snow day of 2015!

This morning I was awakened by Seamus barking:  "The world is white! The world is white!"  
Later my brother Jim telephoned to call "dibs" on shoveling for me (I'm still recovering in the boot).  You may wonder why people call for dibs on shoveling?  Simple:
I bake cookies for shovelers.  
Which brings me to the whole reason for this post.  I have had a variety of people ask me this past month why my cookies are so delicious and why the texture and height is so good.  My first reason is that anyone else's cookies taste great because you didn't have to bake them.   I learned this first hand when Jessica did the cookie baking this year.  It was a sad day for me when her gingerbread cookies were all gone:

 But there are other reasons why my cookies turn out the way they do.  Here are some things I thought of today as I assembled the dough:
1- BUTTER:  my great-grandmother and grandmother swore that you bake with butter.  In stating this, I also have to make an important suggestion.  Let the butter soften naturally.  I could go on about this because I think we as a society are used to cooking/baking "FAST and EASY!" but cookies--like a lot of good things-- requires some forethought and preparation.  Melt your butter in a microwave and your cookies will be flat.  That's just the way it goes.
2--MEASURE properly.  Baking isn't a creative outlet, it's chemistry.  
3- Don't---DO NOT--over mix your dough once you add your flour.  A few turns with the mixer or spoon and then be done with it.  Over mix and your cookies become crumbly.  
4-COOL IT!  Refrigerate your dough before you bake so they don't spread out and get flat.  Once you are baking, be sure your tray is cooled before dropping your dough again.  
So there are my big suggestions for baking cookies.  As my dough refrigerates and gets cool, I'm working on my calendar and schedule for the next year.  Be safe and have a nice cuppa tea or coffee on this cold snowy day!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

Here in Pennsylvania Dutch country, we eat pork, sauerkraut and potatoes to ring in the New Year.  According to my mother, the pig roots forward which is why it is a good thing to eat pork on the first day of the year.  May you all have a wonderful year to look forward to--full of health, peace, and creativity!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Stars over Bethlehem...

I was born and mostly raised in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, the "Christmas City."  In our region, stars are pretty important to us.  One is alight over the city:
Seriously, this is one of the most comforting sights from my childhood because I always knew we were almost home when I saw the star.  Although our family was Irish American, we enjoyed the local culture including things like the Moravian star.
The Kemerer Museum in Bethlehem has an exhibit of star quilts on display right now so if you are in the area, check it out!
Here are some close-ups of a few of my star quilts:

The one above, I can't seem to capture on film well.  It is an autumn purchase and I am in love with it and use it every night.  It is bright and cheerful and makes me smile when I first wake up.
Hope your holiday remains happy and bright!