Christmas Day

My husband and I have had a nice quiet day this Christmas day.  We attended a short Christmas Eve service last night and then came home.  This morning we slept in, then I fixed us a breakfast of orange juice, homemade biscuits and gravy, and bacon.  Sorry, no pictures of that.

In the past, our Christmas season has consisted of running to and fro between the homes of his family and my family and hoping for good weather.  I miss being with the kids this year, but we did talk to them on the phone.  They were pretty much on the run today too it sounded like.  But this year we stayed home, and it has been pretty luxurious, I must say.  We have been quite lazy, watching a movie and eating Christmas shrimp and nachos with chili-cheese sauce along with a nice glass of rose wine.  The movie was a bit bizarre, Will Smith in I Am Legend.  But we have another one lined up, the new Narnia movie.  I think I am enjoying this staying home idea.


Has Anyone Seen One of These Lately?


Have you seen one of these lately?  My husband and I went on a little drive back in September, before he got busy in harvest.  We came across this telephone booth out in the middle of nowhere.  I was struck by the fact that you don’t see these any more and so I had to photograph it for posterity’s sake.  It has gone the way of the rotary phone, old farming implements, and other things that our modern economy doesn’t use any more due to massive improvements.  It is now a memento of a different era.  With these pictures, I can explain to my nieces and nephew that, before there were cell phones, there were pay phones and phone booths scattered all over the place so that people could use the phone when they were away from home.  That should be a good story.  Ahhh…the times, they are a’changing.

Catching Up…

Too many things scheduled for the weekend…and now I’m glad it’s  over!  My cookie exchange was Saturday morning.  Here is what remains of the oh, so delicious, chocolate mint brownines…no, I didn’t eat all of them.  This is what is left after sharing them around…and, well, eating a few.

dsc04161To update you on my sugar cookie dilemma…no one gave me any advice on my post, so I did a Google search.  It seems that once you ice sugar cookies, you have to leave them out at least 24 hours so that the icing dries thoroughly.  Do not pack them in anything.  One suggestion was also to pop them in a hot oven for a minute after they have set to make sure they are good and dry.  I also learned about Royal icing from watching a Martha Stewart video. (oh, how I love hi speed internet) I made the sugar cookies on Monday just to try out the recipe.  I figured I could make some more later in the week if needed.  On Thursday I iced them with a basic powdered sugar/water icing.  On Friday I had some of those little icing-in-the-tubes in different colors, so I then did some decorating and let them sit.  My husband kept eating them off the tray on Friday night.  On Saturday my guests remarked how good they were, so I tried one.  They were very delicious; the cookie was nice and crisp/tender, and the icing was just the right touch.  I was very pleased.  I forgot to get pictures of them all decorated and now most of them have gone to new homes.  I have two  left over sitting on top of the pretzels.  I like to have something pretty  for cookie trays at Christmas, so I know I will be making these again.


After the cookie exchange was over, I left and drove about an hour and 20 minutes to go meet up with my friend SuznQuilts .  We ate lunch and she gave me my birthday presents.  Now I have new stamps in my collection.  She has kept a good eye out at yard sales and the like. The thing on the right is very old and we are not sure what it is exactly. However I do know what to do with it.


The next item is very interesting.  It is an old wooden stamp and it  is Chinese.  Pretty cool, huh?!  We think it must be a chicken.


Merry Christmas to all.  I hope your holidays are filled with peace and joy and love as we head into the new year of 2009.

Friday This ‘N That…

I didn’t get to follow through with my plans for my birthday yesterday.  The plans were that my friend from the St. Louis area would meet me approximately half way, we would do some shopping, some antiqueing, exchange gifts and have lunch.  But due to the weather reports….we didn’t meet up…and you know what?  The weatherman was WRONG again!  They’ve been wrong all week.  So frustrating, especially when you are trying to make important plans, like a birthday meet-up.

So instead of that, I did the other things I would have to do today, like go get some groceries.  I decided to have some Birthday Shrimp for my birthday.  I love shrimp cocktail, so I bought a bag of big shrimp and that was my celebration…as well as  the wonderfully flowery, mushy, big, wordy card my sweetie hid for me in the morning.  It’s  a game we play.  He gets up early to leave for work and leaves the card for me on the kitchen table.  Unfortunately, I frustrated his usual plan, because I got up before him…couldn’t sleep…had to blog…so he had to leave the card on the couch where I would find it later, all nicely topped with a miniature peanut butter cup…it’s like a message, you know.  (I was wondering where that card was.)

Another thing I did yesterday (see prior post) was to start on a piece for a show coming up.  I went ahead and painted the Lumiere paints on it, and either used too much paint, and/or didn’t realize just how opaque those paints are, because I totally covered up the quilt blocks, except for the puckery places in the seams.  Not sure I like that, but I did like the ability to make a new design with color on those quilt blocks.  But the white places bug me a bit.  I think if the background was black, perhaps the Lumiere paints would look good on that.


Ok, back to the idea of the transparency provided by gesso on the blocks…and another idea.  Here’s what the original blocks look like with nothing on them.


Now with white gesso.  With this piece I am thinking of layering with transparent paints, fusible web, dryer sheets, etc.  Hopefully, I can keep some of the original design showing.


This section I flipped over and used black gesso on the BACK, thinking it might be nice to be able to see the orginal blocks on the back side of the quilt.  I will be painting this with the Lumiere paints to see how they look on the black gesso.


Now I have three different pieces to work with…if they work out, I may put them all in the show.  This is all I got done today as the gesso takes time to dry and I am cleaning house and finishing cookies.  My neighbors are coming over tomorrow for my annual cookie exchange.

The Kreativ Blogger Award

I just read on Gerrie’s blog, a comment by someone that the word “Kreativ” is not a misspell, it’s German.  I’m glad to have that cleared up, because there was talk going around about that “misspell” and what it might mean.

I also agree with Terry that the logo is quite ugly (pink and blue are not my favorite colors), so I have designed a new one.  It’s quite simple and if I could ever figure out how to upload it to get it on a post I would show it.  But I probably won’t spend time on it today.  Sorry.  Maybe later.  I have other things I’d rather do today.

Today, my art project is a recycling one for an upcoming exhibit at the Rend Lake visitor’s center.  I am a member of the Illinois Artisan’s program and usually have some things for sale in their art shop.  This exhibit will take place starting in February, 2009 and run til the end of April.  The Paducah AQS show is in April and Rend Lake gets lots of visitors on their way from and to the quilt show, so they always plan something special for that time.  The exhibit is entitled “Repurposed, Renewed, and Reborn”.  For this project we are to buy nothing new, but to use what we have by recycling, reusing and reinventing.  At the moment I have cut a section of a very tattered old quilt and I put gesso on it.  I plan to paint and embellish it for my entry.  This is the starting point.


I would like to keep some of the background colors peeking through and want to definitely tone down the pink feedsack.  I can’t wait to start painting and will be using some Lumiere paints.

Hey, if I like it enough, maybe I’ll start a “series”.  I have plenty of that quilt left!

Christmas Baking and Other Items…

Last week I did work on the commission proposal like I said I would.  I also spoke to the bank about a time limit on getting it in.  They said if I got it in after the first of the year that would be fine.  Sigh of relief.  So now I can put it aside to work on Christmas gifts and cookies…

Ok, I need some input on sugar cookies.  I have never liked to make sugar cookies with icing on them, because althought they are so pretty, the icing makes the cookie absorb moisture and go limp.  I see all these pretty decorated sugar cookies and they look so inviting.  So how does one go about keeping the cookie  nice after decorating it?  I have never had any luck with them.  Also, does anyone know if sugar cookies can be frozen and then thawed to decorate without them going limp?  That’s why, as of now, these sugar cookies are not decorated.  I wanted to try out the recipe.  I like this one very much.  It was on the bag of flour.


Then I stood for a couple of hours to make these coated pretzels.  I always like to make pretzels as a nice change of pace on a cookie tray. You know…the salty/sweet thing…


I still have chocolate ones to make (my favorite), but didn’t have any fresh bark  last week.

My neighborhood cookie exchange is this weekend.  My neighbors come over with cookies, we exchange a dozen to each person, we eat a few, and I serve a holiday punch, homemade eggnog,  or special coffee, and we chat.  The past couple of years I have made a hot cranberry tea with cinnamon sticks.  They love it.

There is not very much art making going on.  Every now and then I sit down and quilt on a stack and slash crazy quilt just because I would like to finish it.  I started a meandering job on it several years ago and was not happy with how that was going(I am ripping it out), so now I am using a 12 weight black cotton thread and just quilting around the shapes that are in the blocks.  It’s the worst quilting job I have ever done…and I love it.  How many of you know that you cannot free form quilt a straight line?  At least not without a ruler or something and even then, it would not be easy.  I am free form stitching “lines”;  they are not straight, but it is ok.  It looks like stones and sort of offsets the straight lines of the piecing.  It takes your eye away from that.  I am liking it. It also gave me the idea of how to quilt the inner border…with stone shapes of course.


Handmade Christmas gifts: A friend made an embroidered patch for me for my niece.  Katelyn had requested a sweatshirt with a panda eating bamboo on it, so….it’s a great story, but Katelyn will be getting a sweatshirt with a panda eating bamboo on it! The only gift I have left to make is a fleece blanket for another niece.  There are plenty of cookies and candy to make as I will make up cookie trays for a couple of households.

And then there’s the dreaded Birthday.  Born just a week before Christmas, I have  a birthday when I’m just too busy to have one or to actually enjoy it.  Why couldn’t I have been born in September?  Some years I have gone somewhere to shop and just enjoy the day by myself, but I am still shopping for Christmas.  I try to just take the day for me and do something different on that day, like… whatever I want that I probably wouldn’t do some other day.  But I don’t do things like bungee jumping or the like.  At least not yet.

What’s Going On Now…

The Christmas artisan’s fair is over again.  I didn’t have a lot of sales, not enough actually, but it’s funny how one thing you do leads to another….I was asked to do a solo exhibit in a gallery…in 2011.  I think I can get ready in time!

So this week, I have a goal.  I am planning and writing up a proposal for a commercial commission job.  I had started it a couple of weeks ago, but then other things got in the way and took my attention and time.  Now it’s time to get dreadfully serious about it.  I’m not one to sit still and do a lot of paperwork and all the thinking that goes along with it.  Perhaps I need this exercise.  If nothing else, I am sure I will learn a lot.  So that is my plan for this week…after I go teach (that got cancelled)…and go to the dentist…and bake a cake for Jesus’ birthday party with my 3-5 year olds class at church…and make my nieces’ Christmas presents…and the list can go on and on.  It’s the holidays, right?  If you are already busy, the holidays just doubles or triples it for you.

My scarves are selling pretty well this season.  I’ve sold 4 out of my etsy shop in the past couple of weeks.  And I got a check from the shop I consigned a dozen to…she is selling them too.  I keep them pretty simple with what I do to them, because I am not sure that my current market will support higher priced work.  But when I do the exhibit, I think I will do some that are very special with more surface design on them.

Here is a rose pink silk crepe that I decided to do more to.  I was wanting to experiment with it a bit. It was going to be my play scarf.  I screened some words on it with a Thermofax screen.  Since the scarf was still a bit damp, the words blurred just a bit, not bad.  Not being satisfied with that, I came back with the discharge paste and a sea sponge and stamped it.  Perfect.  I wasn’t sure I even wanted to sell this scarf…but sadly (or happily, depending on your view) a girl wanted to buy it, so I “let” her.  Sigh.  Maybe I can duplicate it.  I really did like this one.

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Kreativ Blogger Award


I have been nominated by Patty Van Huis-Cox with a Kreativ Blogger Award. Thanks Patty! Now I have to nominate 5 other bloggers that I like. So, since I am sitting here waiting for silk scarves to dry before I do some dye painting, I can give this some thought. I want to nominate people that don’t get nominated very much for things.

The rules of the award are:
1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2. Put a link to the person you got the award from in your blog.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.
I think first I will nominate Beverly Hart at Fiber Hart. She has been dying fabrics and silk scarves and there’s even some good looking food pictures on her blog. She lives in Utah and blogs regularly about fun stuff she is doing.
Next I think I will nominate Rayna Gillman at Studio78notes. She might be too busy to “play” but I do love following her blogging adventures in dyeing and painting with dye and surface design.
Carol Sloan’s blog has all sorts of different creative stuff on it, drawings, paintings, and other fun kreative ideas. She is from South Carolina.
Then there’s Denise Aumick at Wild Thread Studio. This gal is so prolific, I’m green with envy! She is always doing something kreative, painting and dyeing. layering and stitching collages. Check out her blog for lots of inspiration. Denise is from New York.
Liz Plummer at Dreaming Spirals is from South Wales in the U.K. She is another very prolific gal! She creates surface design by using the gocco printer to make screens as well as other fiber art. There is lots going on on her blog and she posts often.
So, if you are a creative blogger or other creative type person, check out these blogs for inspiration!

More Silk Scarves…

I dyed a bunch of silk scarves two days ago and re-dyed a couple yesterday. Nothing fancy or really that artistic…just the basic dyeing. Today I will discharge some of those and then work on some “artistic” ones. I haven’t dyed on 8mm silk habatoi for awhile because I was trying out all the other beautiful silks, but I ordered a few in this last order. I am amazed at the drama you can get with them, a real “scrunch-dyed” look with lots of texture and movement. It’s a look you don’t get on the other types of silk.  I love the way they came out with multiple colors on them.

dsc04028 …and draped…dsc04030

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These are for sale at $16 each plus shipping. Contact me if you are interested.

UPDATE 12/6/08 –These two scarves are SOLD. (Woohoo!)