Monday, June 29, 2009

Following Beauty by Design

Do you remember as a kid, being star-struck? I mean, did you ever really hope beyond hopes of actually seeing a real movie star, TV star, or singer in person? Come on now, be honest here!

I have always been star-struck. And you know what? I never out grew that. I am still searching for my one real life star meeting and can not wait for that to happen. What does this have to do with anything? Well I am so glad you asked.

About a month ago, I was visiting different blogs searching for quilting blogs. And I came across a brand new blog, called Dark Horse Farm Designs...Go Make Your Bed!

Boy, was this one beauty of a blog. I was immediately drawn to the pretty lady in the profile photo and the profile itself. To be more blunt the words "Past life super model, present life super-duper." I was intrigued, did this mean that the owner of this blog was a super model? . I read this entire blog from start to finish. The photos were amazing. The fabrics were so pretty and the colors so vibrant and inviting. But the one thing that really excited me was this post titled 17 again.

Now remember I told you I have always been on the look out for a real star? Well, when I saw this post, I almost could not believe my eyes. I had EVERY ONE of these magazines, and from the dusty corners of my memory, I so remembered this pretty girl on the covers of these magazines. I felt like I had stumbled upon a star from my youth. I was super excited, yea I know, I am weird. Once I read everything there was to read, and looked at every beautiful photo, I signed up to follow this blog. I did not want to miss a thing from this amazing blog.

Let me make it clear, that I did not know right away that Nancy was the famous face on the cover of my favorite magazine as a teen, until I had almost read her whole blog. Once I discovered that, it was just the icing on the cake so to speak.

Imagine my surprise when I got an email from Nancy herself, saying how excited she was, that I was her first follower and she would like to send me a little something in the mail as a thank you. I still can not believe it. Please take a look at these beautiful things that surprised me in the mail this past week.

This is an adorable pillow cover and I just love the vintage image in the center. This is just beautiful, and the fabrics are really wonderful. The pinks and browns and the embellishments really make this a wonderful addition to any room...but I am going to put this in my sewing room, I just love it.

Here is a up close image of the details. Nancy's blog Go Make your Bed has some very beautiful bedding and if you are looking for something custom, this is the place to look. I was most impressed with the Dorm on a drawstring line of bedding. Please check this out, if you have a loved one going off to college in the fall, what better way to send them off than with this beautiful bedding. I just love this idea.

Here is a look at the little sachet that was included in my package. This smells wonderful and I just love it.

Look at the cute little details of this bag, I tell you, wonderful quality and I just can not get over Nancy's generosity.

Thank you Nancy for my wonderful surprise, but most of all thank you so much for making me feel special and like I have actually met in person a real super model. You totally made my day. Not only are you a beautiful person on the outside, but you are even more beautiful on the inside and very talented at what you do. It is a pleasure to feel like I know you.

Please stop off and visit Nancy's beautiful blog, Dark Horse Farm Designs..Go Make Your Bed. (She has three, and they are listed under her profile) The photos are amazing, and you will love her work.
You can tell her the "nutty-star-struck" Coloradolady sent you over for a visit.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Beginner Quilting Class: Yes... I am that person.

Well, I survived another week. Thank goodness. If you are reading this crazy post and wonder what is going on, you might want to start at the beginning to get a better understanding of my Friday post about Beginning Quilting. I am really writing this as a journal to keep with my very first quilt as a record. If you find yourself chuckling at my shenanigans along the way, that's great. It is good to laugh and laugh at yourself.....luckily, I have the last part covered.

The highlight of my week was finally understanding about the pressing. I spoke with a lady named Judy on the phone, and she explained the art of pressing seams and how to never make a mistake. It was rather simple really. She told me to always make sure I knew which way I wanted the seam pressed, and make sure that fabric was always on top when I pressed. At more problems. That was a huge relief.

Here are my flying flocks....I mean flying geese.

If I tell you nothing went right in class this week, that would be an understatement. I felt really bad to begin with, and then, everything just did not go my way. From the sewing of the blocks, to the pressing to the construction of the blocks....boy was I upset.

To make matters worse, everyone else's work came out perfect. No problems. Even the ladies whom had never sewn before had no problems. Again, the instructor said that the machine I have will not keep up with the seamstress. Once again, he suggested I use one of their Bernina machines. Nope. Not going for it. By the end of class, I had a really bad attitude. And to make matters worse, one of the ladies who used her old machine like mine, quit class. Just quit, said it was too stressful.

This gadget according to Leo, our instructor is a life saver. This is called a seam finder - the ultimate seam guide for quilters. He told us how it would save lots of time by not having to draw lines on the backs of the squares that needed to be sewn on a diagonal. He even most graciously said if we purchased one, he would set it up for each of us and we would be set....How many people do you think purchased one? Everyone! There was just one small problem.....for me that is.....

Do you see how there is nothing under the seam finder to hold it up? yea...small problem. You see I do not have a fancy shamancy machines like the other ladies, and they all have one of these....

It is a sewing machine table extender...I think that is what it is called. See with this, it allows for neat little gadgets like this must have seam finder. I had to use a box....literally in class, and it was a pain in the rear. Nothing came out right, lined up right, and I was having a hard time. Nothing a new machine would not fix! I was so discouraged.

I only got two blocks completed during class. I had such a frustrating time, I did not even try and sew when I got home that evening. I just put everything up and did not touch it. I was ready to quiet if I am being honest with myself.

I did a whole lot of thinking and talking to myself....I was not going to quit. I knew if others can sew on machines that are not top of the line, than I am just stubborn enough to think I can too. After all, I am a firm believer that I have the sewing gene running in my blood. My grandmother was a master seamstress and I like to believe I take after her in many ways....and she never had a fancy-shamancy machine. Ever.

After much debate in my mind, I settled on a plan. I found a piece of foam board in the shed, took my trusty quilting ruler and a knife and went to work. I bet you are wondering what foam board has to do with quilting...well, nothing unless you are one of those types of people who are going to try and figure out how to improvise on the cheap...Yes, I am that person.

I cute five pieces of foam board, stacked them up, and took a roll of tape and started covering the foam board.

I covered every square inch..... now, can you guess where this is going?

Right up under my new gadget...the seam finder. It fits perfectly, serves my purpose and cost me nothing but about 10 minutes of my time.

And guess what? It worked. Once I had something more stable, I was able to whip out those blocks all in an afternoon. I hope they turned out correct, but they all look the same, so if they are not right, I need to figure out what I did wrong on all of them....but you can be sure, it was not that the sewing surface was not level or secure. I fixed that problem.

Here are a few of my flying geese. I have them all done and pressed for the next class. All I have to do now, is cut the friendship stars and the log cabin fabrics and I will be ready for the next class.

When Steve came home he asked me what my homemade contraption was....I told him. His next question was, "Surely, you are not going to take that to class and use it there, are you?"

I smiled and replied, "You bet I am." In fact, I just have a feeling that once I pull this little baby out, that will be the end of trying to sell me one of their high dollar sewing machines. Yep, I just bet that will be the end of that. I am really looking forward to seeing Leo's face....I hope I can contain a chuckle.

Steve looked mortified....asked me again how much the machine cost Leo was trying to sell me. I told him to forget it, and guess what....I meant it. If I can sew on the machine I have, I can sew this quilt together and quilt it. I am set on reaching this goal no matter what, even if I have to buy some more foam board and make a bigger surface, I am going to do it......on the cheap....because I am that person.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

VINTAGE THINGIES THURSDAY: Vintage Home Economics Book

Hello Everyone! Welcome to this weeks segment of Vintage Thingies Thursday.

Thursday is the day to showcase your vintage treasures and to share your special things with everyone.

If you are visiting and would like to join us, please do. It is very easy!
All you have to do is:
(1) do a post about something vintage.
(2) Visit all the participates and leave a comment.
(3) Link in with the Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post, please use a perma-link to link in with, that way, anyone can refer back to your post if they can not get to it on Thursday.
(4) Be sure to refer back to my blog so everyone can see who is participating today, and if you like include the VTT button in your post. Please be sure to have your post up before linking in. Thanks so much.

This week, I would like to show you a rather unusual book. might not think it is unusual, but I do. I have never seen one like this book in all of my treasure hunting rounds.

My mom's very dear friend, Latrell gave me this book a few months ago. I was so pleased with this gift and I have enjoyed reading and looking through this little book. It is a real treasure. Little did Latrell know, but my childhood dream was to become a home economics teacher....that never did transpire, but I have a great book to remind me of my dreams. This is one book I will always keep and treasure, it is most special, given by a very special lady, who I am happy to call my friend too.

This is a vintage Home Economics book,titled The Family's Food, dated and copyright 1937.

I could not tell if this was used in High Schools or College, none the less, it is a wealth of information...even for someone who is a fairly decent cook!

Once you look through the sections, read the material, then plan your own are sure to be a success.

I bookmarked this recipe. I tend to shy away from things that have yeast as an ingredient. I was super excited to see that this doughnut recipe does not call for yeast. I am going to try this out in the near future.

Here are some great pictures in the section about setting your table. Just look at all the glassware, and descriptions of each.

How about a section on choosing fine china and descriptions of patterns and colors. I could not believe this was in this little book.

And if that is not enough, how about everyday dishes? A wealth of information. I sure don't have any trouble finding pleasing designs in fact, I tend to find too many that please my eye, so this subject was a little amusing to me.

There are even pictures showing wonderful places to have your meals other than the kitchen table. Does this not look inviting on a summer morning? I loved this photo. Remember this book was issued in 1937!

Here is the back page of the book. Look at the price. That is most definitely a vintage price for sure!

I just could not leave this post without a little bit of color. Here is my sweet little book with a couple of vintage tea towels. I just love the little dog in the flowers, and the red with the red birds is a favorite too. I purchased these at an antique store, and I think I only paid a couple of bucks for them.

Yes, this picture does belong in this post! I just love all my Vintage Thingies Thursdays gals. This post had something to do with cooking, and well, the other night I was slicing onions and this fits in with cooking.....See the heart???? I know I am a bit strange, but I thought that was cute and had to get the camera. Let it serve as a reminder to look closely at everyday never know when a surprise might pop up when you least expect it.

Have a great week everyone! Thanks for showing up every week to share your vintage treasures with us.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Garden Bounty: Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Our garden this year has produced more cucumbers than we could possibly eat...and all at once. I don't know if it has anything to do with the large amount of rain we have had this spring or the cooler temperatures we have had up until recently that caused this surplus of cucumbers. Needless to say, I was not about to let them go to waste. In a day or two, all the ones I used for the following recipe will be replaced when I pick the new batch that will be ready for picking......

Today, I made refrigerator pickles. With a little slicing, mixing and pouring, I was able to make 10 quarts of pickles. Below, is a short tutorial and believe me when I say it was easy-peasy.

You will need these guys: fresh cucumbers, onion, minced garlic, mustard seeds, ground Turmeric, Celery seed, sugar, vinegar, sea salt, crushed red pepper optional.

I boiled my clean jars and lids to sterilize them, set aside.

Next, thinly slice cucumbers and onions.

Pack jars with cucumbers and onion in a layering pattern, alternating veggies. Add your minced garlic to each jar. If you would like to add crushed red pepper flakes, add to jars now.

Look how pretty these guys look. Just waiting for the good stuff to be poured in.

You can use less onion if you are not a fan of the onions. I would however, not omit them all together. They add a wonderful flavor to the pickles.

In a large pan, mix vinegar, sugar, salt and spices and bring to a boil. Make sure all the sugars dissolve well. Turn off stove and let sit a few minutes.

Pour hot mixture into jars. I do not fill them all the way up, a little over 3/4 full is good. You can turn upside down in the refrigerator if need be.

Look how pretty these look. I put about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes in a few of the jars. The one above shows ones with the pepper. It does not make them too hot, just kicked up a bit. Good. Trust me. Steve likes his kicked up a bit...makes him feel special.

Wipe off all lids, and jars with a damp towel. They are now ready to transfer to the refrigerator.

Place jars in refrigerator. You can eat these as quickly as 24 hours after they sit up in the refrigerator, but I like to wait about a week. Store in refrigerator for up to six months. But,I am here to tell you this...... I promise you, they won't last that long.

I made 10 quarts of pickles and made six batches of the syrup to accommodate the amount of cucumbers I had. You can make as little or as large a batch of pickles you would like, just adjust the recipe accordingly. This recipe was adapted from a vintage refrigerator pickle recipe I found in a vintage cookbook.

Easy Refrigerator Pickles:

6 cups thinly sliced cucumbers

2 cups thinly sliced onions

1 1/2 cups sugar,

1 1/2 cups vinegar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp mustard seed

1/2 tsp celery seed

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

3/4 tsp. of minced garlic

crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

2 quart sized jars

In a glass quart jar alternate layers of sliced cucumbers and onions. Add minced garlic to each jar, if using crushed red pepper, add also. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard seed, celery seed and ground turmeric. Bring to a boil, stirring just till sugar is dissolved. Pour vinegar mixture on top of cucumbers/onion mixture, cool slightly. Cover tightly shaking jar to incorporate the mixture, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. Store up to 6 months in refrigerator.

If your garden has taken off this year, with lots of veggies to harvest, why not make a couple of batches of these easy pickles. Keep them for yourself, or give some away....I am sure you would have not trouble finding takers on homemade fresh, crisp, yummy pickles straight from your kitchen. I know it is not difficult around here to find a taker or two, they will be lined up at my door as soon as they read pickles were me!! What do you think? Care to give it a try??

Friday, June 19, 2009

Beginner Quilting Class: Stress & Sweets

If I could say week three went off without a hitch in my quilting class that would make me so happy. Unfortunately, that is not the case. It has been an interesting week to say the least.

I have cut more fabric than I could even begin to tell you. First, it was the strips for the nine patch blocks. No problem. Next, the snowball blocks, which was relatively easy, except it was time consuming. Mostly, because I had to draw lines on the diagonal on the backsides of each of the corner squares.

In class, we sewed some of the nine patch blocks and did more pressing. Of course, I still had a major problem with that. In fact, I pressed all of my strips the wrong way....AGAIN. UGHHH.

We really did not get a lot done during class. Why is that? you ask. Well for one thing, it seems Leo, our instructor likes to throw topics out in the wind for discussion. This week out of the clear blue he asks if anyone believed in ghost. After a brief narration from him about the shop being haunted, and everyone had to talk about that, the next topic was Aliens. And did we believe in men from outer space.

Truthfully, I like things to be quiet when I am sewing, and this was a major distraction. MAJOR. I really did not even care to listen and kept on sewing over the chatter. I could hardly hear a word anyone was saying. But everyone else was busy in conversation of said topics and did not get much done. The result of not getting much done during class is a result of having lots of homework....and I thought I was so over that.....lots of homework.

So, needless to say, I have had lots to do. Finish all the cutting for this weeks sewing. Then all the squares of the nine blocks had to be sewn. It seems that after I finished with these blocks, I discovered I had a few more than what I needed.

Remember I told you about the men at the shop like to insist you can not sew the way you really are capable of doing without a Bernina. Well, this is my clunker......compared to everyone Else's machine. I don't really care. I like how it sews.

This week, when I arrived, Leo had a Bernina set up for me to sew with. I refused. He said, "Well, you really should try it and see how wonderful it is before you buy one." Huh......I am not buying one, not today, not next week, not at the end of the class. Seriously. In this way. I'm not saying I will NEVER buy one, but this is not the time.

Did you happen to notice in the last photo what is sitting on the side of my of my bone know, it makes a great pin holder while I am sewing. Oh, and speaking of pins....I hate pinning....anything. I would rather just straight sew, no pinning. But I am trying to do what he says, and pin...still don't like it. This week all the pinning drove me was a lot.

Here is a photo of the blocks....I like the colors. It took me a few minutes before I realized something.......

....I realized that this is the center of the quilt. I like how it looks, and love the fabrics.

Here is a closeup of one of the fabrics for the flying geese blocks. Now...that was the rest of our homework to cut the fabric for these blocks to be sewn next week. Being the out of the box thinker I am, I decided I wanted to do one green, and the one on top orange. The example quilt had both geese the same color.

Leo, already knew I was going to do that, and he said something about it in class. Well, all of a sudden EVERYONE wanted to do that same thing and it was a major ordeal for the rest of the girls to choose their fabrics.....can you say annoying.

Late last night, I was trying to cut the flying geese, and I was really tired, but wanted to finish. Guess what happened? I cute DOUBLE what I needed. I could have just died. I called Leo today and told him that he could forget flying geese, I had flying flocks....tons of them! I am going to finish these extras and maybe at the end, we can make my quilt bigger. I already have them cut and Leo said to stitch them up next week.

If you remember, there are no women who work in this shop. That really rings true each week because it seems Leo and the rest of the guys really have a sweet tooth. Everyone is instructed to bring desserts to stuff our faces with each week....just like a man I tell ya. It is annoying to me, I am not there to eat...I am there to sew and learn something....maybe I am a bit too serious.

I took this......Dump Cake....look how pretty it is on my Dump Dishes.

I call this recipe, Brenda's Dump Cake. I have had this very recipe for about 37 years. My cousin Brenda, is the best cook and I can remember at a young age being impressed with her cooking skills.

Once, long ago we went to visit them and see their new house they had built. It is so funny how things stick with you over the years. I remember her beautiful stained glass windows and this incredible dessert. I had never had anything like it. It was wonderful. I have kept that recipe all of these years and I always think of that day each and every time I make it.

So when looking for a recipe for the heavily suggested dessert to bring, I decided upon this. Let me tell you something, the men were in heaven. Seriously. They said they had never had anything like that and raved about how delicious it was. Hardly any was left and I made a large cake. I was shocked at how many people had never heard of this cake.

I am going to post the recipe below....minus pictures....this post has stretched out long now, most of you have most likely clicked off my blog. Besides, I need to be sewing the snowball blocks and I still have lots to do. I tend to want to get everything out of the way for the next week so I don't have to stress all week about getting it done.

Yes, I have been stressed. For some reason, I never associated stress with sewing....or sweets with sewing for that matter. I've had lots to do, and really, I don't have time to eat or even need any more sweets.....I wonder if the women teachers are like this...somehow, I don't think so. Don't get me wrong, Leo is an excellent teacher, smart, on the ball....just wish he would lose the sweet tooth.

Here is the recipe for the cake. Thank you Brenda for taking to time long ago to give me this recipe, it has been enjoyed over the years and I always like the memories associated with making the cake.

Brenda's Dump Cake

Use 9X13 dish, layer each ingredient in the order listed:

1/2 stick butter - melt in pan add

1 large can crushed pineapple (drain part of the juice off) spread in pan

1 can cherry pie filling - pour and spread over pineapple.

1 yellow cake mix. Spread 3/4 of mix over pineapple (just cake mix strait out of the box)

Melt one stick of butter and pour over all.

sprinkle 1 cup chopped pecans and remaining 1/4 of the cake mix on top.

Bake at 375 for 1 hour or until brown.

This is super easy to make and super delicious. Enjoy.

See ya next Friday...for another saga of the "Beginner Quilt Class".....I know you can hardly wait...Ha Ha!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

VINTAGE THINGIES THURSDAY: Vintage Ironstone and More

Hello Everyone! Welcome to this weeks segment of Vintage Thingies Thursday.

Thursday is the day to showcase your vintage treasures and to share your special things with everyone.

If you are visiting and would like to join us, please do. It is very easy!
All you have to do is:
(1) do a post about something vintage.
(2) Visit all the participates and leave a comment.
(3) Link in with the Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post, please use a perma-link to link in with, that way, anyone can refer back to your post if they can not get to it on Thursday.
(4) Be sure to refer back to my blog so everyone can see who is participating today, and if you like include the VTT button in your post. Please be sure to have your post up before linking in. Thanks so much.

This week, I have a few goodies to sh0w you. But first, I want you all to know that part of this post is all Keetha's fault. You see, a couple of weeks ago, Keetha showed us her Bone Dishes in her post. Well, the set she showed for an example really got my attention. I wanted a set for myself. For what you ask? I have no idea. Just one of those things that I decided I had to now...I do. It's a sickness, I swear.

First, however, I want to talk about this wonderful platter. My son went shopping for my birthday in March to the local flea market. He knows his mom pretty well, and when he decides on what he wants to buy for gifts, he will search until he finds the right thing. He does not settle on the first thing he sees, he is patient, and searches. He is a real treasure in my life and I am glad he takes after me in some ways.... My friends, I was beyond thrilled with this platter. THRILLED.

This is a white ironstone platter. (I know the photo looks pink, I have no idea why) But I wanted you to see the character in this piece. This is super heavy, as ironstone is, and it is just a wonderful old platter.

Oh, how I wish this platter could tell stories of its past. I wish it would tell us what foods were presented to tables under its care. I wish we knew the families and their traditions. Were they like our family, or much different?

This Ironstone platter is made by H. Meakin. Now upon research when I first got this in March, I was able to find more information on the maker than I could find this week. I don't know what happened to the original links, but I did find most of the information I had seen in the past. I am reluctant to say, there really is not too much information out there.

What I did learn, was the H. Meakin is the stamp used at the Abby Pottery in Cobridge from 1873 - 1879. Only six years of production bears this stamp. Can you just imagine that this platter is well over 130 years old, maybe older. I wonder where it has been for all of these many years.

Here are my Bone Dishes, which are similar to the ones Keetha showed us. They have much crazing, and staining, but you know me, that only adds to the charm. I purchased four in this set. My son asked what in the heck these were for. When I explained to him how they were used, he politely said,"just what you need, more dishes to wash." "Would a napkin not do just as well?" How sweet, he was worried about me having too many dishes to wash up after cooking a big meal. HA!

Here is the stamp on the back of the Bone Dishes. It is a Meakin stamp too, only a newer stamp than the one on my platter.

I love the green leaves and small flowers. I thought they were very delicate looking. My husband seemed to think they would make great condiment serving dishes. We will see....right now they are sitting on my buffet so I can just look at them and enjoy them.

Keetha, it took your post to break me out of my "not seeking" mode every week on Vintage Thingies Thursday as I visit all the, I may just be in trouble.

Since I had my pretty vintage white rose tablecloth out for the pictures today, I thought I would show you these plates. I think they match rather well with my tablecloth. My neighbor a few years ago was selling everything that was left in his house that belonged to his grandparents. I walked over, and he had these plates, a set of four. I think I paid $2.00 for the four plates. They are made by Taylor Swift Taylor.

I love the white roses. But I really love these plates because they belonged to his grandmother. She was such a sweet lady, and such a good neighbor for years. I am glad I have these and think of her every time I look at them. For the life of me, I can not understand how people can just sell their loved ones things like they meant nothing.

Have a great week, I hope you enjoyed my Ironstone today, and all of my must have treasures. Happy Treasure Hunting....get out of the house, hit a few yard sales, estate sales or flea never know what wonderful things you will find lurking in and among the junk!

Vintage Thingie Thursday Participants
1. Heather
2. Red Apple Junction (donna)
3. postcard
4. Joan@anythinggoeshere:The lowly clothespin
5. Vicky
6. marian
7. Corgidogmama
8. i luv retro things
9. Miri
10. Brenda@Cozy Little House
11. Elizabeth
12. Jeanne
13. Fiona
14. SueLovesCherries
15. fitty
16. Carol @ Old Glory Cottage
17. Susan
18. Keepie DaNiece
19. Lee
20. Dawn
21. Paige @ Simply Paige
22. Barbara Jean
23. Ulla
24. Theresa
25. Marie@vintage postcards
26. mub
27. mannequin
28. Just Jingle
29. Kellie
30. Charlene @ A Virtuous Woman
31. Ruby
32. ClassyChassy
33. Viridian
34. Bea
35. Becky
36. Little Pink Houses
38. KateinNJ
39. Marjorie...Molly
40. Rosie
41. farmlady
42. Becky
43. Carrie - Oak Rise Cottage
44. Kelly

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