Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday mishaps?

You know how much we plan for our holiday gatherings? I was wondering if any of you have had mishaps during the preparations or the actual party.

As I was baking cookies most of the day on Sunday I was really working at a good clip. When I was baking the sugar cookies I noticed that they sure didn't look as smooth and golden as they usually do, but were rather lumpy and weird. So I tasted one as every good baker must do. Hmmmm, why did a sugar cookie taste like communion bread? It didn't take long for me to realize that I forgot to add in the sugar! Well, I kneaded two cups of sugar into the dough (a doubled recipe!) and baked them as usual. Still didn't look the way they should, but I figured that once icing and sprinkles were on top, no one would notice/care. And I was right...they turned out very tasty!

Luckily that was the worst that happened!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mixed Media Banners, Part 2

Here's the last two banners I made for our screened pool area. I'm really hoping the weather is nice so we can sit outside and leave the doors and windows open. So far our weather has been perfect. Gotta love Florida!

"I'll be Home for Christmas" is one of my most favorite Christmas songs. I grew up listening to my mom's huge stereo console with Glenn Campbell singing that song. Such great warm memories!  This banner is canvas, collaged maps, paint, fabric, cardstock letters, stitching, and a few 3-D items, like that wooden fence and three rows of trim at the bottom.

The graphic for the "Joy to the World" banner was drawn from a graphic from our church bulletin from a Christmas service years passed. I get so inspired from the visuals at church...whoever does the displays and images is realllllly good! So I did my version of that image here. Canvas, Christmas music paper, paint, stamped and hand lettering, glitter and a bit of cardstock. Mary and Joseph are holding Jesus in the center...I think I need to darken the outline of the baby's is in grey Pitt pen but I think it needs to be black for more detail to show.

If I have time I'll be making a few more paper wreath items....but baking Christmas cookies and cleaning the house comes first!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mixed Media Banners!

I get to host our large family's Christmas this year and have been decorating (and cleaning!) like a mad woman. I've made quite a few decorations and wanted to share some of the banners I'm adding to our screened porch/pool area.

I have four posts which will be graced by these mixed media banners. I'll photograph the next two tomorrow. Each of them are about 18" x 24". Canvas, gesso, paper, paint, and various other items.

"Hark the herald..." has music paper under the base coat of paint. "Over the river..." has old (1925!) newspaper ads. It's fun to look at them closeup.

 The angels' wings are made from fused Angeline fibers. Glitter tulle for the dress and wonderful pompom fringe for the bottom. Machine stitching.

This one has snow of dimensional paint and mica flakes. The bridge railing is 3-dimensional and stitched to the canvas.

I've had a lot of fun with these. It was interesting to watch my husband's face as he saw me work on each layer...I think he wasn't quite sure of what I was exactly doing until the very end. ;-)

More to come...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Crafting for Christmas!

Are you creating anything for Christmas? Maybe gifts or decorations? I sure am. We're hosting the family Christmas this year at our house and I am so thrilled! I've been decorating like a holiday fool! Here's a few things I've made so far:

I had these (ugly) framed pictures on the walls where my tree is. I just couldn't leave them as they were. So I cut up some paper, stitched it in quilt fashion and added a Cricut silhouette cut out from "A Child's Year" cartridge. I just glued it all on top of the glass so it can be changed out easily. I like it so much I may have to change it out seasonally!

The next item on the agenda was a quilted banner for the mantle:


For this banner I created it just like a quilt with fused raw-edge applique of the letters with zigzag stitch, added echo quilting around each letter, added the bindings and a little bead. I couldn't find any jingle bells so it was a bead at the bottom. I've since found a handful of bells, so I may have to add those instead. :-)
 What are you crafting? If you have a good idea or recipe, please share!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Love Stencils?

I love stencils...the effect they give to paper and fabric, scrapbooking, cardmaking and art journals. If you have an electronic die cutter, I bet you have loads of images that would make a great stencil. Got a Cricut or a Silhouette? Then you have loads of images that will make great stencils.

Sure, you could use plastic stencil material...and I love Cricut stencil cuts very well. But what about using a file folder or regular ol' cardstock?? Yes, these make great stencils, too, and are actually my favorite way to make a stencil.

I'm in the process right now of cutting LOADS of stencils from the Cricut Paper Lace cartridge. If you have a Gypsy or Design Studio or are familiar with the Cricut Craft Room, you can weld images to make your own lacy papers for stencils. Use FIT TO PAGE so your stencil will the the largest theat your machine will cut and see what you can come up with.


To give your stencils a longer life, spray with a few coats of sealer on both sides.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Like scrapbook kit clubs? Check out Scrap Jammies!

Giving a shout out to two of my good friends, Ginger and Michelle, proud new owners of Scrap Jammies, a monthly scrapbooking kit club dedicated to to helping people preserve their memories quickly, affordably, and creatively. If you love scrapbooking kits, you've gotta go check them out.

Head on over to the Scrap Jammies Facebook page and "like" them. Make sure to tell them that I sent you. :-)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Great stitch education!

You know how I love education! I just received an email from The Quilt Show on a wonderful video you can view to get the most out of your sewing machine stitches. Stupendous Stitching featuring Carol Ann Waugh. You will probably need to log in and/or create an account, but it is worth it!!

Now you may not have a Bernina machine like they show in the video, but I bet your machine has stitches just like the ones they present. Find out how to actually use those utilitarian and fancy stitches. 

I'm off to watch more! :-)

Friday, October 5, 2012

The best thread education ever!!

You may know that I'm a big fan of Superior Threads. I was reading the most recent newsletter from The Quilt Show and through them you can get a free copy (just pay shipping) of Bob Purcell's Thread Education DVD, "Thread Therapy by Dr. Bob" ...yes, THAT Bob from Superior Threads.

Run, don't walk, to the link HERE to order your free copy of "Thread Therapy by Dr. Bob". You will be amazed at the impact your thread can have on your sewing and your future projects.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Add a bit of creativity

I love to add a bit of flair and creativity to premade a canvas tote. I like to use them as bases for projects in my online classes as they are versatile and easy to decorate. While creating a project for an upcoming online class I thought I'd share a tip.

Adding some trim to the top edge of a canvas bag can really make a big impact. But stitching through so many layers...the canvas, and in this case, two layers of strapping can often lead to skipped stitches. I changed the needle, but still it was difficult. Make sure to sew slowly and if you have a walking foot, use it. It is made for helping all the layers move into the needle at the same rate of speed. It worked great!

Monday, September 10, 2012

School is in session!

I love teaching. I love having someone's eyes light up with joy when they discover something new or finally feel like they can grasp something that's been evading them. Like finally being able to understand how to use their sewing machine. And really make something!

My online class, "Love Your Sewing Machine" starts today. This first week's lesson is all about learning all the basics about the parts, threading the machine and finally understanding all about tension...that all-elusive thing that everyone's afraid of. Trust me, if you are afraid to touch the tension dial or have no idea how to use your sewing machine, but would like to, you've got to join me in class. You will actually learn many "golden nuggets of goodness" and come to use your machine for more than a doorstop or dust collector!

You can do it!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Online Class update!

I've just updated my page listing all the online classes I'm teaching this fall at My Creative Classroom. Three are brand new! Make sure to check them out. Some even have a special early enrollment pricing if you register early. (Don't we all love a sale??)

What am I doing today? Needed a rest from working out, so this weekend it's all about printing and filming for one of my new classes, Mad for MonoPrinting with Catherine Scanlon. Registrations are not quite yet open as we're finalizing the supply list. But I'm working on my prints and projects. This will be a FABULOUS class!! I'm so excited about it.

It is a total blast working with Catherine. She is such a fun person and has such a great point of view with her art.  I tell her I'm her biggest fan. I actually had purchased both her books (Art from the Heart and Sewing on Paper) before I even "met" her online at MCC. So she's been a favorite of mine for quite a while.

So as I finish this post I'm off to make some more prints on fabric. Yummy visual texture coming up!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

A funny thing happened at the gym.....

I was at the gym with my trainer and she politely asked what I did this weekend. My eyes widened and I said I "painted cloth". She was puzzled as her mind tried to get a hold of exactly what I meant. I described a few things, but I don't think she "got it". I think she thinks I glue Popsicle sticks and do macrame(although there's nothing wrong with either of those). I'll have to send her some photos of my work.

Here's a few of the huge amounts of prints I've made as I'm preparing for "Mad for Monoprinting" a joint class with Catherine Scanlon to open this fall at My Creative Classroom.

Just wait till I make the projects!! Class enrollments begin soon!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Help for sore fingers!

Ever had to pin a "quilt sandwich" together and end up with sore, pin-pricked fingers? There's a tool to help with that called Kwik Klip, but I've found that with a little thinking, you may have something in your house that will do the same job. In the photo below I'm using a wooden point turner. You may also try a clothes pin, a thin wooden dowel or a chopstick.

HTH! (Hope that helps!)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Vacation highlights!

Back from a very long weekend in North Carolina/Tennessee camping. Yes, I said camping...that's tent camping!  If you know me you know that I can sweat folding clothes (no lie!) and to go camping in the summer is not my idea of fun. But hubby really wanted to go so I literally prayed for a week before we left so I would have a good attitude. (picture me with a halo and wings!!)

Well, how about some of the highlights?
  • Traveling on I-75 in Atlanta, losing one of the sleeping pads that were tied to the roof of the car (don't's a long story!!) We heard from my sister traveling a few hours behind us that it ended up in the HOV lane! Oh lordy, I sure hope no one was injured!
  • Setting up camp in the sweltering heat.
  • not just rain, but serious thunder and lightning the first night. But, ours was the only tent that was dry inside! Yay for hubby who insisted on tarping the inside of the tent and the roof. ...and to think I doubted him ;-)
  • My neice who slept in her backpacking hammock...yes, in the rain, but she ended up in the car that first night!
  • My brother-in-law who is a serious cook and brought his microwave and toaster oven. Yes, we had electrical hookups and water...which was a total blessing as we were able to bring a few fans!
  • Hiking along the Ocoee River, home of the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Competition. It was another blessing to have a place to dunk our feet and/or jump in the water when we got hot.
  • Rafting on the Ocoee River with Ocoee Adventure Center on a day-long trip. Serious fun that you must do at least once in your life. We've done it three times now.

Check out our camping "village"!

Time to cool off!



Saturday, June 16, 2012

They might not be pretty...

...but I do love my new cycle shoes! I figured doing a one-hour class twice a week warrants getting proper shoes with clips.  I kinda wish they were a little cuter, though....  ;-)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer online classes!

Can you believe it's summer already.  OK, I know not "officially" summer, but here in Florida it's in the 90's, so I call that summer!

At My Creative Classroom it's almost time for summer semester. Beginning June 25th and lasting over 4 weeks, summer semester is bigger than ever. We're offering more classes, we have our annual "Christmas in July" week (hence the blinkie above!) and many of our classes have an Early Enrollment Special. You must check it out!

Want to know what I've got offered during the summer? Check it out here!


P.S. I've been working on a new quilting class I'll be teaching in the fall...but first I had to fix my old ironing board. The cover was pretty trashed and I covered it with muslin. Gotta love it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Take care of your body!

The older I get the more concerned about health I am. And the more thankful I am for my health. Just have your back go out and you know what I mean. I have been exercising heavily now for well over a year and I've never been in better shape, literally.  But, twice during that time I've had my lower back go out.

That's what happened recently. I was in pain...most likely from doing dead lifts (you bend forward from the waist holding weights). I moaned around for almost three weeks. I kept saying, "It's not that bad" or "It feels a little better than yesterday"...but I continued to be in pain and, of course, you can't sleep well when your back hurts. :-( Finally, I headed out to my chiropractor and he got me back in line. I hope it doesn't take me that long again to do the right thing.  And yes, I've stopped doing dead lifts!

Some of the best money I ever spent on my health??
  • Lumbar support pillow - great for me as I'm always sitting at the computer for work. What a difference that makes. It keeps me sitting properly and it's all about posture! 
  • Water-filled pillow - no more stiff neck when I wake up. I felt the difference immediately!!
  • Gym membership!! Go to a place that offers the types of classes you like. Maybe it's a Tai Chi clinic...maybe your thing is yoga...just do something. Get moving!!
I may get back on my soapbox you've been forewarned!! ;-)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Graduation Day!

Yesterday my "baby", Garrett, graduated from high school. It's official...I have no more children in the (free) public school system. Now we get to pay for education!

Living in Orlando does have quite a few advantages. One of which is being able to use the Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic NBA team. Very nice!

Had to take some photos as inspiration. The oldest son has requested an "Orlando Magic" quilt and I'll be using this basketball swoosh as the design. Now to find the time to do it ;-)

Yes, back to graduation...

All the speeches by the honors students were fabulous. The best, though, was the valedictorian. You would never guess he is a "brain". His speech was hilarious and he took the opportunity to sing his version of Katy Perry's "Baby You're a Firework". The photo below shows the standing ovation and rousing applause he received form is peers...and the audience!

So here he is, folks, my baby, Garrett! (Yes, that's some gorgeous long hair and he's very proud of it!)

Son #2 Nick, Garrett and Howard (#1 son had to work!)

The whole(well part) family
(Can't believe my dad "cut off" our legs! UGH!)

He looks so nice in his dress clothes. We HAD to take a photo as we've never seen him looking like this before and it may be our last chance until he gets married!

Now onto the next chapter of! OK, we'll let him relax for the summer ;-)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happy Sunday morning

Marking fabric hexagons for stitching, sipping coffee, listening to country music...a lovely Sunday morning. :-)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

No more High School!

Yesterday was my "baby's" last day of high school! Next week he graduates, then it's onto college in the fall. He'll stay in town for college, so it won't be too much of an emotoinal strain...for him or us! It's hard to believe I now have no children in elementary, middle or high school....time sure flies!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day flowers

Had a great Mother's Day this past Sunday with my family. My boys gave me a card with wonderful words and this little pot of flowers:

We went to my sister's house along with my two brothers and another sister and my parents. (I have three sisters and two brothers!) Add in a few cousins and it was quite a house-ful. What I really want to know is... since when did Mother's Day become a "food" holiday? We had soooo much food and sweets at the house...crazy! And of course you have to try a bit of everything....really? Good thing I work out like a beast!

My siblings, parents and I had quite the political conversation, which is not necessarily the norm at family gatherings.  Thankfully it was not an argument as we are all on the "same side". I was very impressed with my youngest brother who is very knowledgeable about the various candidates. He's a grown man, so I don't know why that is so amazing to me...I guess I still see him as the little baby that we used to dress up like a doll! Please don't tell him I told you! ;-)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

the shape of things to come....

Just a few photos of some fabrics I purchased at the sale at Joann's this weekend. These cool hexagons came in a pack and were on clearance. I love these shapes!!

I do wish I would have thought of this before today as I would have given this quilt to my mother on Mother's Day, which is today! Well, her birthday is only a few months away...maybe it'll be done by then? Fingers crossed!!

I love you mom!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weekend at the beach!

Howard and I spent the weekend away on the west coast (of Florida). It was such a relaxing time. All we did was sit at the beach and read...nothing strenuous, nothing planned. It was fabulous.

We stayed at the Doubletree in Redington Beach, which was magnificent! The best part? It was free. Yeah, we use our American Express "Hilton Honors"card throughout the year (for everything!) and pay off the balance each month. Therefore, we never pay interest...EVER! But we reap all the points and benefits. Result? Many a free trip. Yes, we had to pay for food, but that is minimal when it's just the two of us. We got a free breakfast buffet each morning because we are "gold members" or whatever they call it. Gotta love it!

Our view from the upgraded hotel room

Some fishermen were casting off the shore and one caught a HUGE stingray which attracted much attention. He let it go before I could snap a photo.

We also saw a manatee but I didn't have my camera with me. It was floating along the shore line in the "swimming area" and would come up for air now and then. I was surprised that it was in the gulf. I'd only seen them in the fresh water springs. We got in the water and followed it for about half a mile. At one point I was three feet from it and could touch it if I wanted to. I wasn't afraid, but think Manatee are still endangered, so I didn't want to mess with it. I could see the spots on it's back and it's mermaid-like tail. Quite an experience.

This guy kept trying to get a bite of our food...

Got some photos of creative inspiration from the most unlikely things...

the underside of the umbrella...

a tote bag...

a beach towel...

While I was away I brought loads of books to begin planning for my fall online classes. I have TONS of ideas! :-)

A great time was had by all...