Thursday, March 29, 2012

I've Been Tagged

Marilyn of 4 You With Love blog tagged me in a blog questionnaire game of tag. The following questions are what I am to answer. Then I have to come with 11 questions and tag 11 people. I have never done this but am happy to give it a try to share a little about me and hopefully learn about others.

Here goes:

1.  What was your favorite childhood toy?
Barbie dolls and her house, van, and hand sewn clothes that my grandmother made for all my Barbie's.

2.  How many children were in your family and what is your birth order?
I am the oldest of two girls by three years.

3.  If you are married or seeing someone seriously, how did you meet them and what attracted you to them?

My husband, Stan, and I met in high school and we will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary in August.

4.  What do you do when you are not blogging? 
I don't work except at home, so I am generally cooking, cleaning, sewing, crafting or reading.

5.  Do  you  do any volunteering and if so what/where?
I spent 20 years volunteering at school, church, crisis pregnancy center, etc. Last year we had a tragedy in our family and I decided I needed time to regroup and focus on my family and friends. The free time has allowed me to help out friends in need and also to have a friend really give of her time to encourage me.

6.  What is your favorite activity that you blog about (cooking, sewing, knitting, painting, remodeling, etc)?
I enjoy all different activities but sewing/embroidery and cooking are my two favorites to blog about.

7.  What is your favorite childhood memory?
I loved vacations. On the morning that we would leave, my mom would pack a cooler with  
pistachio salad, strawberry dream salad and fried chicken. We would stop and picnic on the way to our destination. I always loved those picnics and the excitement of knowing we were headed someplace fun.

8.  Who is your (fantasy) dream guy?
Instead of who, I would say what makes a dream guy...honesty, faithfulness, kind, considerate, generous with his time, selfless, a man who loves God first and family second. 

9.  What is the "creating/crafting" skill your mom/grandmother taught you and you always think of them whenever you make something with this medium?
My grandmother taught me to cross-stitch, embroider and quilt. Anytime I engage in any of those activities, she is always on my mind.

10.  Where do you see your blog 12 months from today?
I hope active. I did well for a couple of years and then really let it slip away for two years. I started anew in January and really have a desire to continue blogging. I am hoping to meet new crafting friends, share new projects and enjoy the time I am online.

11.  Who is your idol?
My kids! I love them dearly and am so thankful they survived my parenting to grow into two wonderful, healthy, active adults. My son is 25 and my daughter just turned 23. My son told me last week that I was a Ball of Happy. I am choosing to take that as a compliment.  :)

Wild Olive Stitch Swap and a Helpful Tip

Check out this adorable package I received yesterday. It is my swap gift from the Wild Olive Stitch Swap. The only rules were that hand embroidery had to be used and the hoop had to be 4", you could or could not include any other goodies. That was totally open to the individual. I am so thrilled with my hoop, the embroidered tea towel and embroidery thread. My partner chose to use two of my favorite colors and my love for anything birds. I couldn't be happier over my package. 

Here is my package headed to Portugal. I am hoping she will be as thrilled with her swap gift as I am with mine. I included my hoop, a set of iron on embroidery pattern transfers and a set of homemade magnets. I used her 3 favorite colors and enjoyed making each item.

When I completed my embroidery, I removed it from the work hoop I had used and backed it with a piece of light broadcloth for added stability. I trimmed it evenly around.

I ran a gathering stitch close to the edge, finished it with a tight pull and knotted it.

Before adding the felt backing, I stamped my name info on the felt. This is the first time I have used the stamps on any fabric. I need lots of practice! 
I slip-stitched the felt to the gathered fabric for a finished back.

To dress up the hoop a bit, I hot glued flat ribbon and then layered ric-rac on top. I really like the finished look.

Helpful tip: I had used all the lotion out of the bottle, I thought. No more would come out of the pump but when I took the pump lid off, I could see lotion in the bottom. Usually I would just pitch the bottle in the recycle bin but this time I decided to check and see how much lotion was actually in the bottle. I tipped the bottle over a clean, empty jar and left it overnight. As you can see, the bottle a good deal of lotion left. I will use a spoon to scoop it out and will truly have an empty bottle to toss. By the time it had completely emptied, I had 2/3's of a jar of lotion.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Key West Grilled Chicken and Grilled Pineapple Recipes

While perusing Pinterest earlier in the week, I ran across two recipes I wanted to try and try them together. Key West Grilled Chicken and Grilled Pineapple. Both turned out to be delicious. I added Grilled Zucchini to the mix and a bag of baked Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Fries. The family declared it a keeper meal. The marinade for both the chicken and pineapple are so easy. The zucchini I washed, sliced, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with Trader Joe's 21 Spice Blend and grilled. 
Grilled pineapple recipe can be found here:
Key West Grilled Chicken recipe is here:

This meal made me want to throw on a bathing suit and flip flops and sit by an ocean. Okay...truth is, I want that any day!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Black Apple Doll Named Baby

I made my first Black Apple Doll yesterday. The pattern is a freebie found There is a tutorial video. It is best to watch before cutting your pieces. The pattern is printable and needs to be enlarged 150%. No problem. The problem is not realizing that the pattern pieces for the arms and legs needed a seam allowance added. Yes, I had to redo and sew them twice. My doll went to a sweet friend's 16 month old. Taking that into consideration, I didn't paint the face but instead embroidered it. I also added ribbon around the neckline for a necklace/collar and another ribbon for a belt. I chose a bright color for the legs for a tights look. I wanted Baby to be bright and cheerful. 

I gave Kenna her Baby on our ride home from the airport. She is here with her momma, my sweet friend, Jill. Kenna hugged and kissed and yes, chewed, on Baby immediately. :)

This was a fun project and I plan to make a few more for gifts. The possibilities for variety are endless. And of course, the older the child the more accessories can be added. Has anyone else tried this pattern and if so, what did you think? Share your link with me so I can check it out. 

linking up to:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

I am participating in the Wild Olive Stitch Swap ( The requirements are for one 4" hoop in hand embroidery. 4 inches is not very big when trying to decide on an embroidery pattern. My swap partner didn't give any type of suggestions except color. I decided to use the corner of a free pattern from Jenny of Elephantz, in the colors requested. I have completed the embroidery and now have to decide how to finish the back. I think this little blue bird is adorable, don't you?

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Day At The Georgia Aquarium

Our daughter lives in GA in a suburb of  Atlanta. She turned 23 on the 13th. My husband, son and I traveled there yesterday to spend the day with Hanna and Rob. We let her plan our day of activities. We ate at Egg Harbor Cafe for lunch. We then went to the GA Aquarium in downtown Atlanta. If you have not been, it is well worth the visit and money for attendance. My family teased me that I was like a 7 year old with eyes wide and exclamations of amazement. Go to  to check out the aquarium site.

Our son, Cody, and our daughter the birthday girl, Hanna. 
Whale shark!
Hanna and Rob
Proud daddy!
Jelly Fish

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Felt and Embroidery Hoop Project

I completed my first felt and embroidery hoop project. It is for a friend who is having a precious boy in May. I completed the back off by doing a running stitch around the extra linen fabric, pulled it tight and knotted it off. I then cut a piece of felt to fit the back and sewed it to the linen for a finished look. To dress the hoop up a little bit, I glued on ric-rac around the hoops edge.  I think it turned out well for a first try. :)

My inspiration to even try felt and embroidery together came from Lime Riot. This tutorial link was my first introduction,

The Trouble with Crafting,,  showed me how to finish off the back with felt. Of course, both of these ladies have a much more professional look. But, hey, it's my first try! :) I'm happy with it. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bean Dip Recipe

My entire family loves Mexican food. We have a favorite restaurant,, that serves the most wonderful Bean Dip as a free appetizer instead of the customary salsa. After some research and pondering, I came up with my own version of Bean Dip. It is not exact but my husband and son thinks it is great. 

Bean Dip

1 (16oz) can pinto beans, drained 
1 cup picante or salsa sauce 
2 cups shredded Fiesta blend cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
1 T. chili powder 
1/4 t. cumin 

Put all ingredients in to a bowl, mix until beans are smashed and all is mixed well.

Pour in to a greased casserole dish and bake on 350* for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with warm tortilla chips.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

WIP This Week

I have always loved needlework,whether it was cross-stitch, embroidery, etc. Viewing Pinterest has given me a renewed desire to embroider. I am an organized person, maybe a bit OCD about some things, and can't stand to have things a mess where I am trying to work. I am the same in the kitchen. It has to be completely clean before I can start dinner. I digress...This is my embroidery thread box. A jumbled mess. Yes, all the thread is sorted by number in to small plastic bags. The problem I have is that I like things by color. So when choosing threads for a project without a thread guide list, with the way this is stashed, it is nearly impossible to find all of one color to choose variances. So, this weekend I started winding the thread on to cards. I am writing the DMC number on each one so it can be replaced as needed but I am sorting by color. Ahhh... all will be good for easy embroidering after it is completed.

I am just getting started but isn't this much better?

have a baby boy shower for a friend this Saturday. I have worked on a felt and embroidery name design and a monogram tag toy design.
Today I went through my children's fabric stash and pulled out a few to choose from for the shower gifts. I love the Japanese prints.

As you can see, I need to have busy hands this week. I am thinking it would be a good time to start watching the series Downton Abbey. I keep hearing about it and I can watch while I stitch. We have it on our Instant Queue with Netflix.  Anyone else a fan?

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Story of Keep Calm and Carry On

Did you ever wonder where the Keep Calm poster mania started? I had no idea of the rich history from the 1930's the poster entailed. This short YouTube video tells the story. And this bookstore has put me in to a stupor!  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

DIY Memo Board

I found this cork and magnetic board on clearance at Target last week for just over $4.00. I have been wanting a memo/inspiration board for above my sewing machine. For $4.00 I could definitely see potential. 

Next stop was to Hobby Lobby. I walked up on this new fabric. I love birds, cages and this color green. A great find for my little project.

I ironed the fabric then measured and cut the correct amount to cover enough to full across the edge on the back and have enough fabric to tack against the edge. I used regular, old-fashioned tacks. They were so easy to use and worked like a charm.

On the corners I folded as if I was wrapping a gift, made sure to pull snug and even on both sides.

When I finished covering it, I added at the bottom to strips of ric-rac, It still looked a bit plain. I went to my scrap bin and pulled out strips of color-coordinating fabric. I made shabby chic rosettes for the first time. I have been wanting to try them. I love the outcome.

After making three different fabric rosettes, using this tutorial by Craftaholics Anonymous as an example, I hot glued them on to the board in a cluster on the bottom left side. The rosette tutorial can be found here:

The completed memo board. What do you think? 
I am thrilled with the results!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Personal Family Eye-chart

I am looking for decorating ideas for Stan's and my shared space in the now office/sewing combo room. (See photos in prior post.) I am trying to find ideas that will not be too frou-frou for hubby but also something I will like. I went to and made our personal eyechart. I love it. The MS is the state we were married in during the year of 1982. Clever, right? Anyway, this has a perfect spot by the door hanging over the light switch. I would show a photo with it hanging in place but it is a dreary day and I just couldn't get a good shot.

But, take a close look. Notice anything different in the two unframed eye-charts? Yes! I typed our anniversary date wrong twice! The first was 1987, the year our son was born. The second 1983! My husband noticed the first mistake as he had hammer in hand to hang the framed chart. We laugh. I go back to the website and print the second mistake. Once again, Stan notices the mistake! Where was my mind??? Evidently,I left it at Target yesterday afternoon! But...third times a charm. Then I chose to not work on anything else for the evening. I am in that special time of life and so I am calling this one of my "mental-pause" moments.

Linking up here:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WIP - My House

I am having a week of work-in-progress projects except the projects are not of the crafty kind, I am sad to say. Stan and I have been sorting, organizing, throwing away, and prepping for painting. Our office took 3 days to get it organized and cleaned but now we have a multi-functional room with our desk and home laptop and my sewing desk. 

The bookshelf works great to hold my pattern crates, thread boxes, sewing magazines, button jar and ribbon. The top two shelves hold Stan's remote control helicopter and his M&M dispensers and collectibles.

The closet has been organized in to my fabric and craft and sewing supplies home and I am oh so happy to have a crafty place to work. Now, if the house will stay clean, cooking not be needed and laundry will take care of itself, I can play in my new space! 
I couldn't bear to take the stickers off the inside of the closet door. Our daughter will be 23 next week and she placed this stickers on the door when she was very young. You can tell she was small because the height of the stickers only goes half way up the door.

It is a small space but still plenty big enough for both desks. The window has a glare but just outside the window is a cedar evergreen. I can sit at the desk  and watch birds fly in and out while listening to their beautiful melody.

Stan worked at home for several years and this room was his total domain. We painted not too long ago but had not really decorated. I am now in the process of planning what and where I want to hang photos, crafts, etc. I love having a blank slate. I will post updated pictures as soon as I begin. 

Our yard is getting a nice and much-needed sprucing. We have a new yard man and crew that have already trimmed and shaped the trees and shrubs in the back and are working today on our front yard.  Our yard is way too large and Stan works too many long hours and I am too allergic to do the work. I am so thankful to have found someone dependable and who has done a great job so far. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hearty Chili Recipe

A friend shared this recipe several years ago. It is our go-to chili recipe. It is hearty filled with 3 kinds of beans and mushrooms with a wonderful spicy flavor.

2 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained
1 medium onion, diced
28 oz. whole tomatoes, drained (I sub diced tomatoes)
15 oz. tomato sauce
15 1/2 oz. kidney beans, drained
15 1/2 oz. chili beans
16 oz. baked beans
12 oz. mushrooms, drained (I prefer to use fresh mushrooms and slice 2 cups)
1 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 - 1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. red pepper

Mix together, heat and simmer. I love to slow simmer for several hours but it is ready as soon as it is thoroughly heated.

Top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of your favorite cheese. We like the Fiesta blend. 

It is also wonderful with a side of Mexican cornbread.

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