Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Hug is in the Mail :: On Brave Wings

I mailed a hug yesterday to an amazing family member, a woman I greatly admire who has been through some stuff and still manages to show up and do it all with grace! I believe that shawls are hugs and sometimes you just need a good hug to remind you that you can do it and people are thinking about you and cheering you on!

This is the "On Brave Wings" shawl, with my hand-drawn design first hand embroidered, then layered with batting and backing, quilted by hand, machine quilted and, finally, binding attached by machine and finished by hand. A lot of prayer for good health and happiness has gone into the making of this hug.

Although this was designed with breast cancer in mind, wouldn't it be lovely for a young woman going off to college -- maybe in school colors, or for someone starting a new business or career or moving to a new city or country?

I also got to use one of my new Lilla Lotta custom labels on it ...

I'll be putting a post together with the specifics on making On Brave Wings, along with the pattern for the embroidered design. Soon!

So many projects, never enough time ...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lilla Lotta Love :: Custom Labels for Handiworking

I was very fortunate to get in on a limited production run of custom labels by Lilla Lotta recently. After a few messages back and forth, my artwork and payment were sent and voilĂ ...

Beautifully printed cotton tape with my logo was received ...

I love that I can use them flat or folded in half. Now I just need to get a quilt or bag or something made to put one on.

Thanks, Lilla Lotta, for my wonderful custom labels. I am so happy with them!

So many projects, never enough time ...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Baking Biscotti

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I'm finally in the mood for holiday baking, ahem, now that the holidays are over. The retail frenzy that is my day (and night and weekend) job is slowing to a mild roar as we roll into January. With a Saturday morning off and cool weather in Phoenix, I actually baked for no reason ... a pumpkin pie and biscotti.

One of the lovely ladies I work with gifted me with the "best biscotti I've ever had!" This is a direct quote from my hubby and I definitely agree with him. I was eager to find out if the recipe is a family secret or one she could share - yay - it's Giada's Holiday Biscotti. Here's the link.

Super easy to make, not too many ingredients, and just plain delicious. This is my idea of baking. And dunking. And eating!

Happy belated holidays and happy baking!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

A show of hands, please, for a cookie that qualifies as breakfast and tastes great with a cup of coffee or tea or a glass of milk! These are by far my favorite cookies to bake and eat, plus they feature bananas and oatmeal (yep, breakfast food). I've been making them for over 30 years and they never get old. I love a cakey cookie and these are soft, moist and so delicious. 

A few tips on making them even easier …

Mash the bananas in a small bowl with a potato masher. Over-ripe bananas are the best for this recipe and this is the perfect way to use up bananas that have hit that too ripe to eat stage.

Although they can be mixed by hand, I use my KitchenAid stand mixer, letting it run continuously on a low to medium speed as each ingredient is added. Then scrape the bowl down and let 'er rip for a really good mixing before you add the chocolate chips (which should probably be folded in by hand, but you can just mix them in on a low speed).

Back in the day, I used a couple of spoons to scoop and slide the dough off onto the cookie sheet. Now I go straight for a fairly large cookie scoop -- mine is a 3 tablespoon scoop, which usually takes a little longer to bake but makes a great size cookie for eating. And depending on the size you choose to make, you should end up with 2 to 4 dozen or so.

Every time I take them somewhere, I am asked for the recipe. Enjoy and ...

Happy Baking!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Babies and Big Siblings

Seems like all I've done for the last few months is make bibs, burp cloths, baskets and blankies. First, a shout out to Anna at Noodlehead for her wonderful Divided Basket pattern. (Anna, your basket pattern Rocks!)

I made it in baby boy colors and prints for a family member and loaded it up with diapers and wipes …

And also made my favorite combo of personalized bib and burp cloth to include …

Couldn't leave out Logan's big sister, so I made her a doll blanket and sent a baby doll to feed, dress and bathe while mom is taking care of Logan. I quilted Madison's blanket with a layer of flannel in the middle ...


Our great-niece Molly that was born in August and inspired the Unsinkable Quilt, also has a big sister, Melody. Made her a doll blanket from Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric …

The day she opened her present, her outfit matched the blanket ...

Another burp cloth and bib for Addison, new daughter of Hubby's co-worker, out of the sweet heart fabric …

And a bib for another Molly who is the new granddaughter of my co-worker …

Baby projects are pretty satisfying … fast and easy and it makes me happy knowing they'll get a lot of good use.

So many projects, never enough time ...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Happy Little Sewing Project - Sewitgirl's Tea Wallet

Finding exactly the right gift for someone is total bliss for me. My middle sister is a good ol' Lipton Tea drinker who carries tea bags around in her purse. She was whipping out tea bags everywhere we went when we were visiting our baby sister in Oregon last year. So when I saw the Tea Wallet Tutorial by Zoe at, I had to make it for her birthday gift.

Here is the dramatic unfolding of the finished tea wallet ...

Is this not the cutest thing for traveling tea drinkers? I did make some adjustments to the cutting measurements and directions after reading comments on the post and found this to be most helpful …

Great design, Zoe, and thanks so much for sharing it!

I am also very happy with the KAMsnaps pliers kit I got from Amazon. The sweet plastic orange snap was the perfect finish to this tea wallet.

So many projects, never enough time ...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Unsinkable Quilt

Baby quilts are just plain fun to make! With a new great-niece expected to make an appearance in August, a few months ago I started planning a special quilt for her. And with Molly Brown as the name of the baby-to-be, I just had to design an Unsinkable Quilt.

Starting with some sweet charm squares -- Bartholo-meow's Reef by Tim and Beck for Moda -- I laid out a simple design. The charm squares are nautical in theme with the cutest anchors, fish, stars and waves. I added bright white sashing to make the colors pop and decided to embroider the year, baby's name and Unsinkable in the three panels.

A few years ago, Hubby mounted a curtain rod over the closet door in my crafting studio and I hung a flannel-backed tablecloth from it to use as a design wall. It's pretty handy because I can take it down or slide it to the side when necessary. 

Sewing each row together is easy when it's all laid out on the wall. And even though I was still fussing with and rearranging the charm squares until the last minute, it helps keep everything in the proper order. I also like to take pictures of the layout to reference just in case I get turned around.

I've tried spray basting but I really find the process of pin basting the quilt layers together to be soothing and satisfying. It's a zen place for me.

The actual machine quilting, not so much. 

Another part of the process I really enjoy, though, is making quilt binding. I could cut, press and roll binding all day long. Makes me happy!

I love the way the backing and outer border fabric resemble water. I found this fabric and the orange dot binding at Jo-Ann's.

One last thing was putting a label on the quilt. In keeping with the Unsinkable theme, I embroidered a boat on the label and "With Love from Aunt Janie." I like to use scraps of the leftover quilt fabric to frame the label. Here is my method for making quilt labels. 

The quilt reached the Browns exactly one week before Molly's appearance.

Welcome to the world, baby girl … we're so pleased to meet you!

Molly's Unsinkable Quilt pattern is a free download on my Craftsy page.

So many projects, never enough time ...