Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ripple Blanket Update

The ripple blanket I started a while back is still around and growing. I did take a break from it in summer (just not the type of weather that inspires blanket making.) But here it is so far, about halfway finished:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Felt Ornament

I made a little felt ornament for a friend who is expecting next year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mini Cheesecake Brownies

I saw these online and had to try them. I made a few modifications and baked them in mini muffin pan to control portion size. They were delicious!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One More Doll Quilt

Blues and browns, machine assembled, hand quilted.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More Charity Squares

This time it's for St. Dunstans. More information on the blankets for St. Dunstans at Michaela's Blog.
I will have to admit I loved the colors on the skein, but once they knitted up I'm a lot less keen on them. My apologies to Michaela! Next time I think I'll either work with self-striping yarn or solids.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fall Is Here

I love this time of year: the crisp air, the color, the golden light on the trees as the sun sets. Time seems to be moving at a more accelerated pace every year, it seems.

I also wanted to wish everyone a very warm and happy Thanksgiving. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sour Cream Apple Pie

I have been wanting to try making a sour cream apple pie for a while (how time flies!) and finally got the time to try it. It will become part of our holiday recipes from here on out! Creamy and tangy, with the apples still crisp, not too sweet. I cut back on the amount of sugar in the original recipe and substituted low fat sour cream. I also realized I do not own a pie dish, so I used a store bought crust until I remedy that situation. I used five large apples and it was piled really high going into the oven but got to a more reasonable level after it was done. Unfortunately it's not the best photo, but the pie was delicious!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Baby Gift

Here is a gift I made for a friend having a baby. It's gender neutral, but in a very cute sort of way. :) Both fabrics are 100% cotton flannel, and it's oversized in case it's used for swaddling.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Illustration Friday: Vacant

One of the first exercises that we did in painting class was a visit to blind contour drawing. We had to draw each other without looking at the paper, and of course that always has some rather interesting results. Then we had to take our drawing and transfer it to canvas and paint it. Our instructor actually encouraged us to push the boundaries even more and use strong colors, so I ended up wiping off the face and attempting to re-do it in our next session, but didn't get very far. I was originally not going to post this painting because it's really not the type of style I paint, but it was such a perfect illustration of Illustration Friday's "Vacant" theme that I decided to just get over it and post it. I've been thinking about adding a pair of eyes to the original painting and call it "Eyes Without A Face" after the Billy Idol song. It's painted in oils on canvas.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blue Ridge Parkway

This past weekend we traveled to Asheville to see the leaves change color. I took this off one of the stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The weather was perfect and the colors were gorgeous.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bebeh Squirrel

The weather was quite nice yesterday late afternoon and DH and I decided to spend a little time enjoying our yard. We heard a shrill noise coming from one of our trees and could not quite put a finger on whether it was a bird or what. Walking around we figured out what tree it was coming from, a large oak near the back of the house. We were standing under it looking up and an object dropped on the grass under the tree in front of us and a large owl flew away. It was a baby squirrel, and it was what was making that shrill noise. The poor thing. I wasn't sure it would survive such a large drop and we stood there not quite knowing what to do. We thought about it for a while and could see the little guy was still breathing. We stepped away a ways to see if his mom was coming to get him but after several minutes, nothing happened. After a while DH picked it up and I hit the internet to see what to do. I immediately found a local site with a number to call for volunteers who take care of the little guys and called them and left a message. Meanwhile another site said what to do. DH opted to warm up the little guy in his hands while I made some homemade pedialyte and looked for a dropper to rehydrate him. I fed him a few droppers full and he perked up considerably, though he started rooting around DH's hand nibbling him trying to nurse.

I microwaved some small towels and put them in a box and then lined them with a soft kitchen towel and tucked him in. He fell asleep right away.

An hour later we got a call from the place and they took our location, an hour after that we heard back from a volunteer a few miles away where we took the little guy. The volunteer wondered whether we wanted to raise him ourselves, but I'd need to go get one or two others to raise with him so he wouldn't get too tame. At the end, I knew my boss would likely kill me if I brought baby squirrels to the office to feed, so we opted to just leave the little guy with other ones at the care of the volunteer. I hope he makes it, the volunteer coordinator who took him said he looked pretty good. :)
So that was our good deed of the day for yesterday: baby squirrel rescue. Considering how much squirrels love to dig up and kill my potted plants, well... but how could anyone resist such a cute little guy?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Latest Doll Quilt

This one is called "Australian Dreams" and made for an exchange:

The recipient loves deep colors and aboriginal art, particularly from Australia. It is machine assembled, the kangaroo is hand embroidered and appliquéd (with a little wax colors added) and hand quilted, with traditional binding.

I am loving making these little quilts. I would love to do a little hexagon quilt, a little cathedral windows one, and a few other ideas using the scraps in my stash.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Illustration Friday: Clique

The fruit theme continues! Here is the latest oil on canvas (8x6"):

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Yogurt Herb Loaf

I borrowed a copy of the Enchanted Broccoli Forest from the library and baked a loaf of their yogurt herb quick bread.

It turned out great! Tender and tangy, simply perfect! I must make this one again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mmmm, Chocolate

The most popular cake I make shouldn't even be called a cake, because it's incredibly dense and moist, more like a torte than a cake. It's chocolate cake with chocolate chips and chocolate icing, and has just made an appearance at the office potluck by request.

It's the Darn Good Chocolate Cake from the Cake Mix Doctor, except I usually substitute fat free sour cream (or yogurt), and add more chocolate chips than the recipe calls for and drizzle with melted chocolate icing, because you can never have too much chocolate. It's not completely made from scratch, but no one ever complains.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another Doll Quilt!

I made this little doll quilt for another friend I was exchanging handmade things with. It's made from leftover scraps from a larger quilt I'd cut out a year an a half ago. I called it Hydrangea because the palette is based on the colors of hydrangeas.

It's machine assembled and hand quilted (stitch in the ditch) with traditional binding.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back to Fruit

I'm back to my comfort zone and it shows! I was much happier painting yesterday's piece.

Oil painting, 8x8" canvas.

Monday, August 11, 2008

No Need to Knead

So I tried my hand as this no-knead bread thing and it worked! I of course substituted whole wheat flour for the regular flour it called for, but it turned out better than I expected!

Perfect with a little brie and a glass of wine!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Maybe I Should Stick to Fruit

Had a frustrating landscape painting day. I have admitted that landscape painting is not my forte, and this week's painting definitely shows it.

I told my instructor I'm taking a break from landscapes for now and going back to fruit next week.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Colorful Chickies

I am not into chickens or roosters, though I inherited a few hens and a rooster when I bought my first home years ago - the sellers even put them in the contract! It was quite the adventure figuring out how to care for them and watching all the chicken drama they got into. They each had their own personality. I wasn't all that good at country living and the chickens were left with the house's new owners when it was sold. I can't believe I actually miss having chickens sometimes, particularly after having been so dead set against them when I got that house.

I couldn't help but smile when I saw these little guys in the store. They were so colorful that I couldn't resist them, and I don't even like knickknacks or figurines (due to a strong aversion to dusting.) A lady walked by as I was picking them out (still surprised at myself that I liked them so much) and exclaimed, "Those chickens! I couldn't resist them either and had to get some last time I was here!" Well, at least I wasn't the only one!

Now they roost on the studio windowsill and make me smile every time I see them.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Palette Knife Love Continues Unabated

This week's painting was a little hair-raising because I didn't feel I was having the same beginner's luck I had the previous week, but I finished it regardless. I liked the way the sky turned out, it captured the fluffiness of the clouds the way they were.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Teeny Tiny Quilt

I haven't had much time to quilt lately, but I made this doll quilt for an exchange with a friend. I called it "Rain or Shine" because that is just the type of friend she is, there through it all.

It's made in her favorite colors. It's my first try at more traditional quilt binding, and only my second quilt (my first one was all hand stitched and hand quilted) this one is machine assembled, hand quilted, and the embroidery patches and yo-yo are hand appliquéd. I had never made a yo-yo but decided to give the heart-shaped one a try and it worked!

I am now a little bit hooked on these small quilts! I've already got a few others planned.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

She's Here!

A new arrival was waiting in the mailbox after work yesterday!

Welcome home Rosalie!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Illustration Friday - Enough - Palette Knife Painting

Sometimes the shade of a tree on a hillside in a sunny day is enough.

One of the things I struggled with when I last painted oils was getting enough paint on the canvas. I preferred to paint in thin layers and build up color slowly. I always marveled at artists that could use impasto and expressive brush strokes, and wondered how they could get so much paint on the canvas with a brush. Turns out they were using palette knives all along.

We tried palette knife painting in the last painting session and I was fairly satisfied with my painting at the end of the day. I never thought I could paint like that! I think I'll be trying this technique again!

Enough, Oil on canvas, 8x6 inches.

Curiously, the cake decorating classes I took came in handy when trying this new technique!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ripple Blanket - Coming Along

I am really enjoying watching the crocheted ripple blanket grow. I had originally planned on deciding the color sequence ahead of time but now I'm just adding whatever I think will look best. The pattern is easy and relaxing. I can't wait to see how it turns out!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tuscan Countryside

Here is my latest painting. I haven't had much success with landscapes (looks like that is still the case...), so I'll need to practice as much as I can. I can't believe there are parts of the world that look like that - it's almost like a dream.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Strawberries have been in season for a while here. I hadn't had much success with my previous attempt at chocolate dipped strawberries. Rather than some fancy recipe, this time I just melted some Ghirardelli chocolate chips and dipped the berries in the melted chocolate, then melted a little white chocolate chips for the decorations. They are not perfect, but they sure were tasty - and doesn't practice make perfect?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Illustration Friday: Sour

When life gives you lemons... paint them!

Oil painting on canvas, 6x6".

Monday, July 7, 2008

More Gifts!

A friend's birthday last month had me at my sewing machine again, this time making a small bag. It's my second one ever and my first without a pattern (totally winged it!) It's made of linen with cotton and a layer of flannel in between.

I added a pocket on the inside. I hope she likes it!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lonely Pear

I've been wanting to paint some pears for quite a while, and this time we got to paint fruit, so I took the opportunity and did this monochromatic piece. I tend to use very little paint on the canvas, so this is my most painterly one yet! I want to paint some green pears soon.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Chocolate 40th

A co-worker recently turned 40. Upon discovering the imminent milestone, I asked what her favorite cake was and she immediately replied: Chocolate! So I made these the day of to celebrate. I love cupcakes, I make some with sprinkles, some without, regular size and mini ones (which are much appreciated by people on diets who can still have a treat.) Now quite Saturday Pudding, but close!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Than Two!

I have finished my third painting. I decided to go with a landscape this time. I had painted one landscape years ago, and I was not happy with it at all so I had avoided them ever since. Looks like a few years have helped a little bit! I am thrilled to be back to painting with oils again.

Monday, June 23, 2008


A friend has a sunny yellow kitchen, along with smiley face dishes for leisurely, cheery Saturday morning breakfasts. I made these placemats and matching napkins as a gift to go with those Saturday morning breakfasts. They are made of linen and cotton with flannel in the middle. I embroidered their initials on the napkins before mailing them off.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Back to Painting

For a variety of reasons, I haven't painted in over 12 years. I've been meaning to get back to it but the past few years I have been riddled with fear that I've forgotten how to paint, a real shame considering how many years I'd spent painting and drawing before the painting hiatus. So I finally signed up for an oil painting class, and although not extremely pleased with my work so far, at least it's better than nothing. Here's my second painting (the first was absolutely hideous and it's not going online...)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back to Sewing!

I have been absent from the ol' blog, but that means I've been busy with lots of projects!

I made an apron as a gift for a friend. She loves to bake and loves lime green and frogs, so when I saw this fabric, I knew it'd be perfect for her!
It's brown linen and cotton fabrics. I made the neck adjustable with D rings.

I couldn't decide if all frogs or just a frog detail, so I made it fully reversible with pockets on both sides so she'd do whichever one works best for her.

I hope she likes it! I'm just happy to be back to sewing, it has been a while!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I love weekends: I actually have time to cook and eat more leisurely breakfasts, like this Dutch Baby I baked recently.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Busy lately

But the garden is doing well and I'm full of ideas. I hope to post some of my progress soon! :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day

Virtual strawberry cupcakes, chocolate-dipped strawberries and marshmallows for you! :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Ripples Galore

I've been wanting to work on a ripple blanket for a while, but am a beginner at this crochet thing (all I've done so far is a bathroom rug in single and double crochet...) but I'd already done my homework and had the necessary pattern for the ripple blanket and even some yarn to get started stashed away since before my move. So I dug out my instructions and got started with two ripples and once I figured out what I was doing, I got started on the real deal. I did have to rip out a few times (probably due to my lack of experience, not the instructions) but finally got it and am making progress.

I decided to go with warm colors to match my new family room and am randomly attaching colors as I feel like it rather than planning it all ahead of time (I hope I don't regret this later!) and am so happy to see the ripples come together. It's a fairly relaxing pattern and I'm enjoying it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Well, I feel as though the move and holidays ate the past couple of months (is this what the "dog ate my homework" excuses sound like?) but life is finally starting to get back to normal - I hope to post here a bit more often. I have a ton of projects that I want to work on this year.

The oven at my new place is working and I've baked a few things, here are last night's strawberry bran muffins (original recipe from Farmgirl Fare) I of course tweaked the recipe to use what I had and ended up making several substitutions. This recipe is like a wonderful blank canvas, and I've several ideas already for future batches. I had one for breakfast this morning and have to agree with Farmgirl that they taste better the next day.