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I am a wife, mama and grandmama getting through life by hanging on to a needle and thread.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Fancy Fabric

Look at this beautiful yard of sunny yellow Flea Market Fancy fabric that arrived in my mailbox over the weekend!  It came courtesy of Riel from The Q and the U via the Creating for a Cure Challenge that Rene' Creates held in January.  Beth of Love Laugh Quilt and I were the only ones who participated, so we each received prizes!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Silk, Sharpies And Alcohol

I just love this idea...it's such a simple process that uses readily available materials and has beautiful results!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Think Phil Might Have Been Wrong

It was 65 degrees on Friday when we left for Philadelphia.  The snow was melting and there were even spots in our yard where the grass was showing through!  I thought sure that spring was certainly coming early, just as Phil predicted.  Spring was definitely on our minds when we were dyeing yarn over the weekend as well!  As you can see, the first skein is reminiscent of fresh honeydew and cantaloupe.  The lil' cowboy chose the color of the middle skein, a sunny orange gradation.  The last skein is a self-striping yarn of bright yellow, spring green and bits of white appropriately named, "Dandelion".  Unfortunately it looks these yarn colors are as close as we are going to get to an early spring.  We came home last night to find a foot of new snow on the ground and temperatures in the low teens.  I think Phil and I need to have a serious talk about his prediction! 

These yarns were dyed with ordinary food coloring and then heat set in the microwave.  There is a very good tutorial that outlines the whole process at BeatleWear.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quilted Dish Mats

What happens when you add Liberated Quiltmaking II to Scraps & Shirttails and then multiply the answer by Hippos and Dinosaurs?  You get two liberated log cabin dish mats made from thrifted shirts!  I'm not sure that this project is exactly what Gwen Marston or Bonnie Hunter had in mind when they wrote their books, but I'm very happy with what happened when I paired the two together!

Friday, February 18, 2011

A New Book!

I am a sucker for a good "how to" book, so when I saw, Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece by Gail Callahan, I couldn't resist!  It's the perfect guide for anyone who might be interested in dyeing their own wool yarn or fleece.  It has easy to follow step-by-step directions for many different dyeing techniques including hand-painting, dip-dyeing, self-striping and several others.  I can hardly wait to try them all!  I have all of the supplies ready and this weekend I'm going to pack them up along with a few other things (including Papa) and we're going to the lil' cowboy's house for a visit!  The plan is for the men to do some lil' cowboy wranglin' while we women folk hang out in the kitchen dyeing yarn...it should be a fun weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolate

When a friend showed me the Box of Chocolates wall hanging that she made to showcase an old button collection, my mind immediately went to Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts and Forrest Gump. In the movie, Forrest Gump, Forrest's mother tells him, "Life is like a box of chocolates...you never know what you're gonna get."  That statement couldn't be more true, we don't know what life has in store for us...could Alzheimer's Disease be lurking right around the corner?  None of us are immune to Alzheimer's and any one of us could be stricken with this horrible disease at any moment, which is why it is so important that we all do everything that we possibly can to help find a cure.  My small contribution to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative for this month is this 7 1/4" x 7 1/4" inch quilt entitled, "Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolate" and although I don't know what I'm going to get, I'm going to hope and pray for a cure! 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Knitted Dish Scrubbie

I do love hand knit dishcloths, so when I found this tutorial for a knitted dish scrubbie I wanted to try it right away.  The only problem was that I didn't have any tulle on hand and the nearest Joann Fabrics is over an hour drive from here, so the project would have to wait...or would it?  I started to think of something that I could use as a substitute and  it occurred to me that an onion bag is made from something similar to tulle, so why not try that?  I started cutting the bag at one end, around and around, which created a long strip of mesh about an inch wide.  One onion bag made just enough "mesh yarn" to knit this 3" x 3" scrubbie.  No waiting, no two hour drive, no additional cost, one less onion bag in the landfill, and sparkling clean dishes besides...what a great deal!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Grandma's Icebox Cookies

My grandma always put big chunks of walnuts in her icebox cookies and with a cold glass of milk...there wasn't a better treat!  Unfortunately my family refuses to eat breads, cakes or cookies that contain nuts, so I usually choose to omit them when I am baking.  That strategy works fine with most recipes, but these cookies were just a little too bland without the nuts and needed something extra...toffee bits were the answer!

Grandma's Icebox Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or Heath toffee bits)

Cream shortening and brown sugar thoroughly; add egg and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar.  Add chopped walnuts (or toffee bits if your family refuses to eat nuts like mine does). Turn dough onto lightly floured board and shape into oblong roll about 3 inches in diameter. Wrap the roll with waxed paper and put in icebox overnight, or until thoroughly chilled. When ready to bake, slice cookies 1/4 inch thick, and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Little Dishcloths

My daughter-in-law mentioned that she would like some smaller sized dishcloths similar to Messy Karen's Wavy Wipers.  I really enjoy making dishcloths, so I pulled out some self striping green cotton yarn and started knitting. The cable cloth on the right is a smaller version of the Cable Spa/Dishcloth that I made a couple of weeks ago.  The cloth in the center is knit in a simple basket weave pattern.  The cloth on the right actually started out as a wavy wiper, but I used larger needles than the pattern calls for, so I only made two waves instead of three.  All of these dishcloths are about 5 inches square...just the right size for wiping up little spills!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Holy Homespuns, Batman!

When Jocelyn of Happy Cottage Quilter sent me an email telling me that I had won a collection of homespun fabrics in her One Day Giveaway, I never expected to receive yards and yards of fabric, but that's exactly what arrived on my doorstep yesterday!  This box is positively overflowing with homespun plaids in all of my favorite colors.  I can hardly wait to put these fabrics together in a quilt, in fact I think I'll start looking for the perfect  pattern for them right now!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Knitting With Kool-Aid

Knitting with kool-aid dyed yarn is almost as much fun as dyeing the yarn itself!  I started knitting a pair of Kids Socks with the Lucky Charms yarn that I dyed after Christmas and I can't tell you how much fun it is to watch the pattern develop as I'm knitting!  I love the tiny green and pink stripes with the little flecks of creamy yellow mixed in and Miss Two agrees...she has already laid claim to this pair of socks!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day!

I normally look forward to Groundhog Day because it means that winter is half over and Spring is "just around the corner".  However this Groundhog Day, Old Man Winter is dumping yet another round of snow and ice on Pennsylvania, leading me to believe that, "It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be gray, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life."

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