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It’s Hot!

Hello! We are in the midst of a heat wave here. Temperatures in the 90’s with dew points near or above 70. Very hot and humid. Not typical weather for central Wisconsin, but sometimes we get these periods of intense heat. I’m so glad we have air conditioning!

I thought I’d share a few photos of my flower beds as the blooms have been so pretty.

A friend of mine calls these ‘swamp iris’. I love the deep purple color. These are no longer blooming, but they put on quite a show this year.

A white rose that I get repeat blooms from, if I prune away the spent flowers. It starts blooming about the same time as the iris and will continue to bloom throughout the summer.

This is a wild columbine against one of my hosts. The columbine has self-seeded in many spots in the garden. I don’t have any luck with the cultivated varieties, so I’m happy this one seems to like it here!

This is a true geranium variety. The color is lovely. I saw a blue variety last year at a local garden shop and wish I had purchased it as it was such an intense blue color, but at the time I felt it was a bit pricey. I keep thinking about it and haven’t seen it again. If I ever do see it again I’ll have to buy it.

My calla lilies have just started to bloom. I have maybe a dozen pots of these that I plant every spring. In the winter, I keep the bulbs  in my basement since we are borderline zone 3 and these would not survive in the ground during our cold winters.

The day lilies have just started to bloom. This is a common variety that grows wild along the roadsides here, but I like the shot of orange in my garden beds.

I have a few more pages from my Covid-Journal to share today. Just a few empty pages left to fill.

I worked on the page (above) after the demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.

 

Stay safe!

 

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Journal – Day 1

I started working in my junk journal two days ago, but today is the actual first day of the videos.

I thought I’d share what I have already done.

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Collage work from Saturday. The image is from Paper Whimsy. Layered with a tea filter, joss paper, text with some stamping added.

Today’s work:

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The finished collage measures 2 3/4 by 8 1/2 inches.

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Before

I layered a painted tea bag and some origami paper with half of a paper doily painted a dark rose color. The face is from Paper Whimsy.  The arms and legs are from Catherine Moore’s Character Constructions. The dress I made from a piece of heavy card stock.I cut out a dress shape and colored it with several shades of Gellatos which I blended with my finger.

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Close-up views

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Enjoy!

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Something New

It’s starting to look like spring around here. My crocuses are blooming; always a happy sight!

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I finished a small accordion book that I started a few weeks ago.

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And the second side.

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And a bit of progress on the quilt.

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I’m not sure of my last border choice, so I might rethink that and possibly rip it off.

I received an email this week detailing a free workshop that sounded interesting. You can find the details here.

I’ve worked on the first project which is a junk journal.

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I liked the binding detail on this journal.

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I’ve done a bit of work on two of the pages and my goal is to work on at least one page a day.

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Today’s collage.

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The inside front cover.

Art is helping me in these trying times.

Stay safe!

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Sewing and Baking

Progress has been made on the little quilt (soon to be much bigger)!

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I’ve finished border 9. There are perhaps 11 more to go. My goal is to finish one border each week and some weeks I finish two, but the borders are getting longer so it is taking longer with each border. I’ll keep at it and soon it will be finished.

The blue border makes everything else pop. I’m really happy with the way it’s turning out.

I put together a quick baby quilt this past week.

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I used a panel and applied some borders, so using the panel meant a lot of the work was already done for me. The sawtooth border was made using Gwen Marston’s technique as outlined in her Liberated Quiltmaking book. I’m a huge fan! I have both of her books and use them often.

I’ll take the quilt with me after the baby is born and I return to Washington for a visit; I’m hoping sometime in April.

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And after seeing a video on You-Tube I made this panel which will become the front of a bag. It’s made from scraps of fabric and was lots of fun to work on.

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Last Saturday we had our Baking for Ballerinas fundraiser. Hard to believe we’ve been doing this for over 19 years now. A colleague and I started the program and most of our early students were Hmong. It was meant to be a free program so all families could afford to send their children to classical ballet classes without financial burden.

I spent the week leading up to the fundraiser baking.

A sampling of some of the desserts I made: Mini nut tarts, French Apple Tarts, and Ottolenghi’s chocolate bites.

I also made several recipes from Cristina Tosi’s cookbook .

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Crack Pie (also called Milk Bar Pie) from Cristina Tosi’s cookbook Milk

In addition to the Crack Pie I made her Chocolate Chip Cake and the Compost Cookies. You can find some of these recipes on her website.

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Always the favorite: Pavlova with whipped cream and berries

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Three of our current students attended the party.

The Community Ballet Program is on Facebook. We have a short performance in the spring which is free of charge and open to the public.

Spring is on the way! It might reach into the 40’s today. We still have lots of snow on the ground so it will take a while for it all to melt, but we are hopefully on the way to spring!

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Little Tins

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I had some time last week to work on some tins. This one was a candy tin, not particularly old, but I had saved it with the thought that some day I’d do something with it. And some day came last week!

I painted the top with Lumiere paint in Violet Gold. I liked the way the paint gave the illusion of an older object with the perfect patina for this project.

I adhered various papers to the top keeping in mind the focal would be the woman’s face. Additional elements include a recycled earring, a rhinestone strand and several buttons.

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The interior

I used alcohol inks in cranberry and stream to color the interior of the tin. The color seemed too intense for me so I covered that with scraps of Tim Holtz idea-ology Tissue Wrap- Melange. I overlaid that with elements from my paper scraps and added another beautiful face from Paper Whimsy.

You could use the tin as storage for mementos or jewelry, or any number of small keepsakes.

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Another tin

This tin was much older and had a lovely worn and aged patina. I chose a beautiful face  in colors that coordinated with the tin and added the small butterfly, some buttons and a strand of rhinestones.

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the interior of the tin

I made a small journal to fit inside this tin. The background pages are from Tim Holtz idea-ology Paper Stash – Wallflower. The papers in the back of the paper pad were the perfect size to fit inside of this tin. I cut 3 rectangular pieces, so when they are folded they’ll form the pages. I added an additional page made from a recycled tea bag. I added papers and images, some of which are stamped, to each page.

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More images of the small book.

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This tin was originally a pencil box. I adhered papers, added a beautiful face, and embellished with rhinestones and buttons.

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Pencil tin interior

I have made some progress on the quilt. Will share photos in my next post.

Stay warm!

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to spring.

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3 Things

It’s been a little while since my last post due to some Sickness at our house. All is better once again, thankfully!

Thing 1: This winter weather has me cooking more soups and stews. This one has been on the menu more than once. It’s quick to make and so delicious. Of course I changed it up a bit;  I browned the sweet potato in the cooking pot, in batches. Simply slice into bite-sized pieces and brown on both sides in a bit of olive oil. Set aside after browning, adding to the stew when the recipe calls for it. I also only used 1 can of chickpeas and 1 can of diced tomato. I omitted the spinach and it was fine. Delicious!

Thing 2: The baby quilt is almost finished!

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I love the soft colors and hope mom and dad do too.

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Here’s a close-up view of the quilting. Perfect for a little girl!

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The quilt back is a fun sheep print. I just need to find time to make and apply the binding.

Thing 3: I carved out a little art time yesterday to make this Valentine card. It’s always nice when these projects come together so quickly.

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Hope everyone is healthy at your house. Stay warm!

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Holiday Baking

I enjoy baking a variety of Christmas cookies. I like to share them with some of my neighbors and friends and my husband distributes a few plates of cookies as well.

I usually start with something easy, which only has 4 ingredients. I have misplaced the cookbook where I first saw the recipe, but it’s a ‘fake toffee’.

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‘Fake Toffee’

Ingredients

  1. 40 saltines (use the original, salted variety)
  2. 1 cup butter
  3. 1 cup light brown sugar
  4. 12 ounces chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil. Place the saltine crackers on the foil lined pan in a single layer. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the brown sugar, bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Pour mixture over the saltines.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and top with chocolate chips. Wait 5 minutes until chips have melted and spread the chocolate over the toffee layer.
  5. Cool in the refrigerator. Remove from pan, peel away the foil. Cut or break into pieces when cool.

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Cut Out Cookies

I like to make the cut out cookies early in the baking process since they are so labor intensive. I have a large collection of cookie cutters and like to sift through them to decide which ones I’ll use each year. I think they are fun to make and I enjoy the decorating process.

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Danish Salted-Butter Cookies

These Danish Salted-Butter Cookies are also a cut-out cookie, something a bit fancy because of the dusting of sanding sugar. The cookie cutter I used to cut the outer shape was discovered at an antique show, but you could use a star shape or a plain round if you want to try these. The centers are cutout using a 1.5 inch round.

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Ottolenghi’s simply sweet: Mint and pistachio chocolate fridge cake 

This bar cookie was a new one for me and I liked it for several reasons. Not only was it quite easy to put together, but I thought  it tasted fabulous! Here is a link if you want to try it: Mint  and pistachio chocolate fridge cake.

I did alter the recipe a bit. The recipe calls for mint-flavored dark chocolate, which I could not find so I simply used 300 grams of dark chocolate. I also substituted light corn syrup for the golden syrup the recipe specified. And instead of sultanas or raisins I used some dried cherries I had in my cupboard. It all worked!

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Starlight Mint Surprise Cookies

The Starlight Mint Surprise cookie was a favorite of my mother-in-law. I made them this year in her honor. It’s a bit of a sticky dough, even after I chilled the dough in the refrigerator, so I put the dough in the freezer for about 15 minutes and it seemed to solve the problem.

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Pinwheels

Pinwheel cookies are a favorite of my husband.These are usually the last cookie I bake . All the hard work has been done the night before; the next morning I take the dough out of the fridge, slice and bake the cookies. They turned out especially pretty this year.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas (or Kwanza or Hanukkah) holiday. I’ll be in touch in the New Year!

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving

This year we spent Thanksgiving with my sister-in-law and her spouse and family. There were lots of nieces and nephews and their children. It was so nice to see all the kids and be around all that energy.

We had a turkey with stuffing and mashed potatoes. I brought a large pan of lasagna, French bread and a fancy cranberry sauce.

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This was the first time I made French bread with this recipe. The recipe is easy to follow and I had great results. I don’t bake bread often, but when I can get such good results with a fairly simple recipe I know the recipe should get all the credit! If you plan to try this recipe keep in mind that you have to start 3 days before you plan to bake. Most of the time the dough is resting. To bake the bread on Thanksgiving day I started it Tuesday.

The cranberry sauce turned out great. This was a new recipe for me.

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I will definitely make this again.

I also brought two pies: pumpkin and chocolate pecan.

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I found this set of pie crust cookie cutters which I used to decorate the edge of the pie. I really liked the way it dressed up the pie.

I found time to add two more borders to the scrappy quilt I’ve been working on.

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I’m not sure how much time I’ll find for sewing these next few weeks leading up to Christmas. There are packages to mail and a tree to decorate and lots of cookies to bake!

I hope you enjoy your holiday preparations!

 

 

 

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2019 Calendar

The 2019 Calendar is finished and I think it’s the best we’ve ever done! I love the artwork and hope you do as well.

I again collaborated with Teresa Gifford of The Assemblage Studio in Green Bay. I’ve added a link to her Facebook page, but she also has a website that you can visit. Our styles are different, but by repeating certain themes we’ve come up with a cohesive calendar.

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This is the cover and I’m sharing a few of the pages here and glimpses of some of the other months.

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From the month of March. Artwork by Teresa Gifford.

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April, by Chris Capista. The watermark only appears in this digital photograph.

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A glimpse of May, by Teresa.

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June, artwork by myself.

I am only offering a limited number of these for sale. If you are interested send me a private message through my Facebook page, or leave a comment here and I’ll get back to you. I am not putting this in my ETSY shop at this time.

An update on the quilt project I shared last time:

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Three of the borders have been added. I only have ten more to go! It’s fun to work on and I’m trying to reserve this for the weekends. Hopefully next week I’ll have added at least one more border.

Winter is settling in here with temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s already. Snow showers are in the forecast for today. Stay warm!

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New Recipes and a New Quilt

I’ve tried a few new recipes that turned out great and thought I’d share, in case you might be inclined to try them too.

Over the weekend I made this chili. I changed the recipe up a bit, omitting the sweet potato altogether. I added about 1 1/2 cups water flavored with Better Than Boullion and I used Parmesan cheese instead of what the recipe called for. It was delicious and I’ll make it again.

Last night I made these Parmesan Roasted Carrot Fries.

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They were a huge hit. The only change I made to the recipe was to cook the carrot fries in boiling water for 4 minutes before roasting as called for in the recipe.

And since I finished the Scrap Happy quilt I’ve started another! It’s the over quilt on Quilt Mania magazine (July/August 2019).

This link will take you to the cover photo.

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These are the hourglass units which are the focal point of the quilt.

I think it’s the scrappy nature of the quilt that I find appealing. I’ll be doing my own thing as I add the rows that make up the borders, but I’ll try to stay true to the original design aesthetic and colors combinations.

I’ve already pulled lots of neutrals and plaids and shirtings from my scrap bags, but have chosen many fabrics from my stash to add as well. I think it will be a lot of fun to work on this winter. I hope to share photos as I make progress.

As the fall weather turns cooler I’m looking forward to many hours in the sewing room!