Sunday, April 29, 2012

~ Avast! ~

In what might possibly be one of the greatest bargains of the year ...

I found these darling nautical beach totes.  They are lightweight, they are colorful and they were cheap.

Who cares that they do double duty as a walking advertisement?

They were $.99 a piece.
(Towels not included)

Let's just say I bought more than one.

If this were a contest ... would you vote for my bag as bargain of the year?
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

~ Thread Tutorial ~

After some time off, I am finally adding the borders to my Coral Singing quilt.

I doing a variation of the pattern I designed, seen here.  I just love these borders.

Having already applied the in-between-block borders, I cut my squares for the outer border.

Which bring us to the issue of ... thread.

For years and years I used whatever thread was handy ... and cheap.  Mostly I used threads from the sewing basket I inherited from my mother in the early 80's.  I'm pretty certain that some of the thread in there came from the 50's. 

Retro thread is not nearly as cool as you think.

In 2003 I went to work at The Bernina Connection in Phoenix, AZ.  The very first lesson I learned was that Thread Matters.  I was introduced to Aurifil thread, (seen here on the orange spools) and nearly 10 years later, I am still (possibly) their #1 fan. You see, although Aurifil is 50 wt, like other threads you would quilt with, it is only 2-ply rather than three.  This means that you can't see it in the seams like you do other threads.

I have a kajillion different colors, both solid and varigated because I use it not only for piecing, but for quilting and hand applique.  If I use a heavier thread on the top to quilt with, I still put Aurifil in the bobbin. 
However ... when I am piecing a quilt ... I almost exclusively use this varigated gray which has magical hiding powers.

I use so much of it, I buy it in bulk.  (The $10/spool is a smoking deal because one spool lasts forever ... again the 2-ply characteristic lends itself to more thread on that spool and more thread on your bobbin.)

Make note of this number: 4060.  You are going to want to get yourself some of that.

I pieced. In chains.
I smiled.

I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to be exposed to every new and wonderful thing in the world of quilting while I worked at BC for seven years before I moved. I have mentioned before that I'm a thrifty girl ... but sometimes thrifty isn't always best.

What's your favorite thread?
What made you smile today?

Linking to:
We did it Wednesday
Wow Us Wednesdays
Allie Makes It!
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Monday, April 23, 2012

~ Signs of Spring ~


Flowers in your hair.
(And Carousels.) 

Flowers on your dress. 

The need for shades. 

Spring Candy Corn.

Signs of Joy? These five fabulous grandkids that I claim as my own.

Happy Spring!

Linking to:
Creative ME!
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

~ Random Joy ~

Some random things that made me happy today:

{1} A friend gave me daffodils.  Beautiful yellow daffodils.  She split the bouquet up between several friends and we each received a small handful.

When I came home I (pulled out a ladder) and got a trio of vases down from the cupboard.

Suddenly, my little bouquet looked huge!
Even bigger when those blossoms opened up and smiled.

My vases came from IKEA.  This is the moment I purchased them for.

  {2} Then ... the mailman brought me a double magazine surprise!

I may or may not have mentioned in the past that I am a "magazineaholic".
And proud of it. 

{3} Then ... I found this (rather large) box on my porch.  I was actually expecting it.

You see ... after almost 35 years of a daily walk (or run, in the early days) ... I have been forced to find an alternate method of exercise. Apparently my hips and knees had no problem with the totally flat walk I took for the last 30 years on the totally flat streets of Arizona, but are miffed at the steepness of my walk here.  I'll let you know how it's going.  Now if I can just get that box up the first half flight of stairs, I'll be good to go.

{4} To top it all off ... I was featured (along with my lemon creme pie) on Country Momma Cooks!  I do believe this is the first time that I have been singled out for my cooking.  Take that, Mrs. Smiley! (My less than encouraging 11th grade Home-Ec teacher.)

What brought YOU joy today?

Linking to:
Freckled Laundry
Inspiration Friday
Common Ground
Country Momma Cooks
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Monday, April 16, 2012

~ Sea Notes ~

I am a bargain shopper.  I seldom pay full price for anything.   
I love shopping in discounted stores.
My latest aquisition -- the coastal salt and pepper shakers seen above -- were purchased at Tuesday MorningOn Friday afternoon.  I paid less that $5 for the two of them.
That got me to thinking about some of my other coastal purchases, specifically ... note cards.  I am a sucker
for coastal notecards.  I have WAY more than I will ever need.
That is beside the point.

These ones were also purchased at Tuesday Morning ... about a year ago.


Michaels.  (These anchors above were actually a gift so they were really inexpensive.)

Marshalls.  About a week ago.  About 3 bucks for 32 of them. 

These are the beauties that started my collection.  These were purchased at Marshalls also, but it's important to note that they are from Crane.  I bought them in the middle of a 115 degree day in Arizona.  I needed to know that somewhere a breeze was blowing on someone sitting on the beach.

I now live a short drive from the beach and have three Adirondak chairs sitting on my front porch, inspired in part by these cards.  They still make me sigh.
As do bargains.
What are some of your favorite bargain haunts?

Linking to:
Creative Me!
Masterpiece Monday
Coastal Charm
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

~ A Basket Case ~

This little quilt ... I named the pattern "hangin' in there" ... is screaming "Spring."

This is actually the second quilt I made using this same pattern, because I couldn't really be satisfied until I spruced her up with these fun colors.

Each basket switches around the fabrics ...

... and yet those polk-dot green leaves stay the same.

My favorite fabric was a little fat quarter I picked up who-knows-where that I used in the corner squares ...

 ... and then fussy-cut, for petals here ...

... there ...

... and everywhere.

There may be a little rain in my future this weekend, but I have officially declared spring ... sprung.

Any bright colors in your neck of the woods?

Linking to:
Making it with Allie
Pearls & Lace Thursdays
Feathered Nest Friday
Inspiration Friday
Common Ground

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Monday, April 9, 2012

~ Eggs-Quisite ~

I am still giddy from the Easter weekend ... and that it why you must forgive the title of my post. 

I loved setting the table with pretty Spring pastel ... melamine.  All of my china is blue and white, but I have begun a collection of inexpensive melamine to add some variety.  I just started pulling linens out of my armoire to see who played well together ... and they did!

I brought in my new pot from the front porch and put an azalea in it that I plan to re-pot and put back onto the front porch.

This is my favorite color of Pink.   

These are my favorite flavors of jelly beans.  Starburst.  And yes, the beans/stars were removed from the table before dinner so as to not provide an appetizer for the little ones.

After dinner?  Egg dying of course.  

My grandson was initially ecstatic about this egg.  Don't you love that turquoise plaid?
And that smile? 

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was making this lemon creme pie.  I really enjoy making pie.  I made it on Saturday ...

 ... and we ate it on Sunday.

And Monday.

Here's the recipe that I got off of  I have tried a lot of different lemon pie recipes and this one is my favorite.  Usually I do meringue on top, but I opted for whipped cream this time.  All right ... Cool Whip.  Trust me, no one complained.

* 9-inch baked pie shell (I always make my own, but you don't have to.)
* 1/3 C + 1 Tbsp cornstarch
* 1 1/2 C sugar
* 1/2 C lemon juice
* 1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
* 3 eggs, separated
* 1 1/2 C water
* 3 Tbsp butter

Combine cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice and rind.  Beat egg yolks.  Add to cornstarch mixture.  Gradually add water.  Heat to boiling over direct heat and gently boil 4 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in butter.  Pour into pie shell.  Add meringue.

Meringue: Beat egg white until stiff buy not too dry.  Gradually beat in 6 tablespoons sugar.  Spread meringue over top of pie, carefully sealing in all the filling Bake at 425 degrees for 4 to 5 minutes or until light brown.  Serve cold.

I hope your Easter was Joyful.

I'm SO proud that my little pie was featured at The Southern Insititute ... my Creative Me! Monday link.

Linking to:
Creative Me!
Masterpiece Monday
The Girl Creative
Tuesday's Treasures
Country Momma Cooks
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