"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away?"

Author: Unknown

Thursday, March 27, 2014

That Awful Four Letter Word.......DIET!

         Yep.......I am on a diet again. However this is the first time I have ever posted about it. First off, I must say I eat a pretty well balanced diet. The only thing I might lack in is enough protein. I am not much of a meat eater. Usually the only time I eat meat is the 1 day a week when we go out to a restaurant. While in middle school I was a vegetarian for 2 years. I love veggies. These make up most of my diet and I snack on nuts, and too much sweets.
        Last week I watched Dr. Oz . I liked him in the beginning, but then it seemed he pushed suppliments too much. But this day was different. he was discussing the results of his 2 Week Rapid Weight Loss Diet. He made a good sense by allowing unlimited quantities of low glycemic vegetables. It also eliminates foods that can make you sick or be toxic to the body. Such as wheat,gluten, diet sweeteners sugar,and dairy. It does however allow 1/2 cup greek yogurt and 1 cup almond milk. The video of this show can be found HERE. He showed scans of the brain of a person using wheat, carbs, gluten and sugar and one without. The brain on these things seemed to be inflamed and he said along with other problems, it caused one to crave more food.The people in his audience lost an average 9 lbs in 2 weeks. Some were losing 26 lbs in 2 weeks.
        I started on Monday. The first day was a breeze,The second day I had to take my son to the hospital for a test so was gone half of the day. So I didnt get my breakfast smoothie. For lunch I then had the Bourbon Chicken Skillet but subbed out the red potatoes for more of the broccoli. Then chicken stir fry for supper with cashews. On the first day I lost 2.6 lbs. A total of 4.6 lbs in 3 days. I am thrilled. I just hope this continues and that I can stick to it. Here is a printable sheet on the diet

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My First Needle Book Completed

   Remember is THIS post I showed you the pages I created or my needle book. This is a special project for me for a few reasons. One, this is my very first needle book. Now i have a place to keep all my needles together and they are labeled. Two, This is the first time I used my nicer supplies for myself instead of gifts. Three, the idea for this project was brought up to me by an online friend. She has generously given me some pieces of very pretty fabrics, ribbons, etc. The crushed velvet cover was one of her gifts, plus the beautiful button and hand dyed ribbons.
     I lightly padded the cover and used a piece of acid free board to slip into the covers to stiffen them some. The pages were then opened up and stitched into the binding one at a time. One stacked on top of the other. There is also a narrow pocket running up the edge of the inside covers to hold needle threaders etc. Some of the roses were embroidered. The two large dusty plum colored ones were done using a folded technique. The large leaves were wire edged silk ribbon. The cream colored hand crocheted lace trim running along the edge of the front was made by me a few months ago when I was practicing a new stitch. This was an after thought and not initially made for this project but i loved the look. My roses still need a lot of work. I have been practicing my hand embroidery off and on for a few months now, but have done very little ribbon embroidery.

I noticed that flower that shows up as a bright true blue really isnt. It has a color range from dark blue thru some deep purple.The flowers that look brown, are more a deep copper color, and the crochet lace is more a cream.
Here is the inside:

The inside pocket is a horizontal one running up the left side and inside right side of cover.
This might be a little more accurate representation of the color:
The wonderful teacher helping me develop my embroidery skills advised me to add some greenery to my cover. So here is the updated pic.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Needle Book Update

         I sent my friend the picture of my needle book page. She gave me several good ideas to make it look better. Here is how it is now:
I have to admit my bullion's are getting better. I think I might have preferred to have made the inch worm head to be the same green as the body. I may still change that.

Needle Book......What The Heck Is That?

        That's exactly what i said to an internet friend a couple of months ago. I have been a sewer most of my life. Many years ago I bought an embroidery machine, so I havent done much hand embroidery, but I enjoy learning new skills. Last year by chance,  a wonderfully talented lady contacted me about a crochet project, and we have been friends ever since. She is very knowledgeable and skilled when it comes to sewing, embroidery, and other skills. I have been learning a lot from her. She is an excellent teacher. A few months ago she mentioned about needle books. I have never heard of them or even seen one before. She explained how it was used to store all your needles in one safe place. I usually tended to just stick them in my projects, stick them in pin cushions to be lost among my straight pins etc. We are at opposite ends of the spectrum. I tend to just rush into things headlong, and figure it out as i go. I am also very disorganized. She is extremely organized and plans about making plans for a project.  She is slowly rubbing off on me. Maybe one of these days when I go looking for a certain tool or pattern, I will know exactly where its at,lol.
       She suggested I should make a needle book. At first I wasnt real enthused about the idea. I wasnt sure I would even use one. so I started researching these online. Looking through pinterest and Google at all the beautiful books created by others. It wasnt long before I was hooked. I had to have one. Another thing she has taught me is that when I plan a project for myself  dont be afraid to use your nice materials. I have always saved the good things for when I was working on something for someone else. Sadly to say my pin cushion is one I threw together using a plastic  container and padded the lid. I used old scraps that werent very attractive. So now its time to take car of ME.
       I saw cute needle books online that were pieced from cute prints, and had easy felt pages. Some had hand embroidery on the covers, and ribbon embroidery. Some were shaped like apples. My  teacher/friend sent me some beautiful ,purple  crushed velvet. I decided I was going to use this for my book cover. I also plan on some ribbon embroidery on the cover. She discussed using wool felt or flannel for the pages. I liked the simplicity and ease of using the felt, but when she showed me a pic of how she stitches around the edges of her flannel pages, I was in love. I tried linen, but just didnt get the look I wanted. So I used some white felt. I cut my pages 4.5" x 6". These will then be folded in half to a 4.5" x 3".I found some cute little trim in my storage and decided to use it rather than hand embroidery the flowers, but it could certainly be done either way. I used dark purple embroidery floss to make a french knot in the center of each flower to hold the trim in place.
Then I found some purple rick rack. I thought this would look pretty and add some color in the center of the page. I will stick the needles in under this. I used some cream color floss to couch it to my flannel page. i also took some matching thread to stitch the ends down and prevent raveling.  I wanted some labels on the pages to try and keep me a little more organized. I tried free-handing them on ribbon. Like I said "no plans", just "jump in" and go for it.....Didnt work. The letters were all different sizes. I didnt want to fool with the embroidery machine. I also didnt want to print them out on my printer. So I remembered I had some cross stitch fabric. So I first embroidered the letters on then cut it out. I took some more matching thread and whipped stitched the edges down to my flannel. I liked this look. I think i am done with these, and now on to the cover. Check back here for more pics and instructions on putting this whole thing together.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Vintage Strawberry Shortcake Baby Quilt

         My niece who is now about 8 months pregnant, asked if I could make her quilt with the vintage/original Strawberry Shortcake girl. I made her sister a baby quilt a yr ago, and now its her turn.  I had a time finding the original strawberry though. Even online. Then she told me she saw it at our local Walmart. I bought it and 3 other fabrics I thought would go. I really struggled over this one tho. I wanted some soft looking. Not too bright, but the colors I chose just didnt work when I started making the blocks. So with the help of my daughter we found a print from Michael Miller Strawberry Teatime line, and another dusty green. So I started over again.
       Since the Strawberry print was small, and I wanted a focal point in the center. I decided to hand embroidery the girl on a large block in the center. I used a coloring book image and traced her onto my white block.

She turned out pretty wel. I havent done much hand embroidery in my life. Most of its been with the machine, but I thought this gave it more of a vintage look. I was enjoying the hand work so much, that I made another block with freehand drawn cupcakes topped with a strawberry in the corners. 
      Here is the block that its all tying into:
Not wanting to stop all the fun just yet, I decided to embroider a block on the top with the words "Berry Sweet", and added some flowery vines, a teeny little butterfly, and a strawberry.
Here is the final product minus the binding. I just finished machine quilting it. Talk about instant gratification.
Now I need to decide on a binding color.  I auditions a few different colors in the pic below. Got any recommendations to help me out ?  :)

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Handmade Ric Rac

      Well it snowed all day yesterday, and was bitterly cold. Much colder this morning tho. News said it was -5 degrees but feels like -22 degrees. Too cold for me. I got bored yesterday, and thinking about my planned crazy quilted pillow. I started thinking about the samples I have seen done that used the wide ric rac then embroidered over it. Couching, I believe its called. I dont have any large ric rac on hand.  My crochet hook ,however was handy. So I got to work on my version of ric rac. I think it worked out pretty well. It will however require a little guesswork for length. I think I crocheted a chain about double the length I wanted finished.
I used a size 6 crochet hook and size 10 crochet thread. It is slightly less than 1/4" wide. About 1/2" overall.
I simply made my chain. Then turn, and sc in second chain from hook. Then sc in next 2 chains. Now do 2 more sc in the same space as that third sc. You will have 3 sc in same chain.
Now sc in next 2 chains.  Then skip next 2 chains, and sc in next.  Sc in next 2 chains. Now for the top peak again, do 2 more sc in same space as last sc.
Basically, to form your peaks you will have 3 sc in one chain, then to form the valleys you skip two chains and sc in the next. Cute Huh?

Monday, January 06, 2014

Pretty Crochet Heart & Crazy Quilitng

        I have decided to finally give crazy quilting a try. I thought about it many times in the past, but always shied away because it seemed like to much work for a quilt. All the beautiful hand stitches people put on these are just stunning. I love doing handwork in front of the TV of an evening, but this just seemed like way too much work.
         I dont know why I didnt think of it before, Looking back on it, I was "crazy" for not thinking of it. Yea, pun intended. I was emailing back and forth with an internet friend who is extremely talented. She is the one that mentioned trying crazy quilting on a small pillow. Duh! I should have thought of that. This was about a month ago. Since then she has frequently been sending me emails with wonderful tips. I have been saving those, and hitting Pinterest, pinning all the beautiful pieces I seen, embroidery stitches, and ribbon embroidery. Check out my pins HERE. For ideas check out  my boards titled Crochet, Crazy Quilting and Embroidery, and Ribbon Embroidery.
         Now that the holidays is over, I have buckled down and started thinking of things I want to add to my pillow block. During one of my many pinning sessions I found this pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/chalklegs/heart-in-crochet
You may have to sign into ravelry to get it. However its simply the pattern found here:  http://www.freecraftunlimited.com/heart-crochet-hot-pad.html
With a different border. The lady on ravelry has you sc, ch 2, sc in each loop around the edge. I wanted a little more ruffled look so I chained 3. Here is my cute little block. It measures about 3" wide by 4" high. It was done is crochet thread that was size 12 I think.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Handmade Country Apple Kitchen Towel

       Right after Christmas, I got in the mood to do some hand stitching. I didnt want to use my embroidery machine. I kind of wanted a country, or vintage look to my new towel. I bought a piece of fabric from a store in Berlin, Ohio. I believe this is the largest Amish area in the nation. This fabric had a nice stiff weight, so I hope it wont bunch up in the wash as my Joann fabric does.
      I cut out 3 apples from some country looking fabric, and turned the edge under and placed them in the center of the towel. Then I slipped the stem pieces under the apples, and the leaves in place. Then I hand stitched the pieces in place. For the apples and leaves I decided to do a blanket stitch with 3 strands of embroidery floss. I then sewed on the border fabric. I cut it  5 inches wide by the length of the towel. I stitched the back side of this border on the towel, then folded it to the front, turned the other edge under and top stitched in down from the front side.
     For the embroidered trim between these two pieces, I used the tutorial found HERE. For the crochet border I used the tutorial HERE. Here is the results: