Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's Time for the Year in Review

It's that time of the year again--the year in review.  This is intimidating for me because it forces me to do a reality check:  what I actually accomplished and critique my work.  Seeing others accomplishments and beautiful finishes inspires me, keeps my creative juices flowing and makes me want to stitch, quilt or hook everything I see!

Hooked Rugs:
Whale of a Tale and Hit or Miss
Thank you Jan for coming to my rescue on these projects.  (Jan finished the whale rug shortly after my eye surgery.  Wool and detached retinas do not play nice with each other).

 French Braid, Red, white, blue HST and Tumbler Flag

Whew!  All those HST, there were times it felt like I would never finish this quilt.  It started as a small quilt and grew and grew and grew because I seem to have a bottomless pit of a stash of red and blue fabric.  Will be so fun to decorate with this quilt during patriotic holidays--Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Veterans Day.  The flag quilt was made using the tumbler--a quick fun project and so enjoyable I am tempted to make another.  I'm not sure why I do not have a photo of the French Braid quilt.  It was made from my stash of French General fabrics and the binding tool.  Thank you Missouri Star for the YouTube Tutorial on making this quilt.  Susan, the long armed quilter did a fabulous job quilting each of these quilts--Susan says we make a great team.

Colonial Gatherings Club 2014
Colonial Bird, Strawberry House, Cotton Bird, Coverlet

My first Club--am so glad I joined, every kit was a delight.  I made a commitment to keep current with the kits and I did!  I am one of those people who need disciple and accountability or else nothing ever gets finished.  2014 got off to a rough start with a detached retina and two eye surgeries--I am very blessed and my eye doc says:  after every thing you have been through, you see surprisingly well.

Ornaments from Colonial Gathering Club--first stitch for 2015?  The white bird stitched with Oatmeal on R & R's Creek Bed Brown linen is going to pop when stitched. 

In between projects:
Coverlet Birds, Harry Tyler's Lion, Birdy Stitching Roll, Whaling Ship  In keeping with the Colonial theme, I dug into my stash and found designs which I though complimented the Colonial Gatherings kits and stitched them--more disciple.

Turkey Trot by Notforgotten Farm, Hannah Birdwell by Liberty House and The Sampler House

Each year I have these grandiose plans of accomplishing more--they rarely materialize.  AppleJack took one look at my list for 2015 and wanted to know when the Army or Band of Merry Men would be arriving because he said it might take both of these groups to accomplish everything on my 2015 list!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Emilia, Elizabeth

Stacy Nash
Emilia Poole
30 count Weeks Dye Works Dolphin
Substituted NPI silks for Gentle Arts
Emilia, Elizabeth or What I did for my Christmas vacation could have been the title for this post.  Stacy Nash released Emilia Poole at the Nashville Needlework Market 2014.  It was one of my favorite designs--sure took me long enough to get started stitching, it's almost time for the 2015 market.

There are no Emilia's in my family tree so Emilia will become Elizabeth Plemmons, my Great Great Grandmother.  The stitching on the sewing basket is completed.

The pins are holding the sewing basket together and waiting for the trademark Stacy Nash X's joining the inside and bottom.

The Weeks Dye Work Dolphin linen is a beautiful color.  It was challenging to locate the linen and worth the effort.

This is the cover of Emilia/Elizabeth's notebook.  Due to a misstep counting error she is missing one leg of her pantaloons.  With 2015 arriving in a few short days, I hope to finish this project during some marathon television or football mania.
I purchased some overdyed velveteen and am hoping to make a heart to add to the basket.  Stacy recently released another girl design called The Winter Beekeeper Thread Board, she would be a great companion piece. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Joining the Hexies

One of the items on my sewing bucket list is hexies.  For years, I have admired others making hexie quilts and marveled at their beautiful quilts.

I have watched UTube, tutorials, read how-to's and even set up my own hexie board on Pinterest.

With the encouragement of my partner in crime aka Carmen, I have begun my first hexie quilt.  One of my favorite quilting magazines is Primitive Quilts and Projects.  In the Spring 2013 issue there is a hexie quilt named Stars in the Garden.  Vicki Olsen the designer and maker of this quilt made her hexes quiet small 3/8."  Yikes!  Since this is my first hexie quilt I am making mine 1."  

Yesterday was my first day working on the quilt, the first of the five large stars is started and I have begun basting the hexagons to the papers.  So far so good, no meltdowns. 

Hexies make an excellent traveling project, waiting room project, stitch a few during lunch project.  With the long winter months ahead, am hoping to stitch these as I watch evening television and before bedtime.  

For accountability purposes, my partner in crime and I have scheduled hexie work days to keep us motivated.  There will be super fun stuff in conjunction with the project:  trips to the quilt store, stopping at some antique shops, exchanging baked goods, and sharing other projects.  Hexie life is good.

Since this is my first hexie, please share tips and advice.  This novice is willing to listen.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tombstone Angel

One of my on-going goals is to reduce my stash: fabric, wool and linen.  

After my recent visit to one of the old Franklin cemeteries

and some browsing on Pinterest

my next stash reduction project is going to be a hooked rug--tombstone angel.  She should be great fun for next Halloween.  Hope I have started in time to get her hooked by then!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tennessee Treasures

AppleJack and I visited the Governor's home on December 6.  The home and decorations were lovely.  As an added bonus, Conservation Hall which is adjacent to the home was also open and decorated.  A section of Conservation Hall showcases Tennessee craftsmen.  Below are examples of their work.

When I first saw these, I thought they were shells in a bowl.  Upon closer examination I realized they are tiny pottery bowls.  Some of the bowls were as big as a quarter some were as small as a dime.  They were amazing!

Cannon County Tennessee is famous for their white oak baskets.  To make a good basket, you need good wood.  It often takes several hours to select the correct white oak tree for the ribs of the basket.  After the tree has been selected it is cut down and split using an axe, wedge and a maul.  The basket making process is done entirely by hand using a few simple tools:  a knife, a fro and a maul.  The tree is processed into the basis of the basket:  ribs, splints and handle.  It takes several hours to make a good basket by best estimates twenty or more hours depending on the size and complexity.  Residents of Cannon County started making these baskets during the depression and used them for every day purposes:  eggs, market, cotton.  These baskets are highly prized and are a true work of art.

Andy Roderick, a 62 year old diorama artist  lives life on a small scale.  He has built about 60 dioramas in 1:18 scale. His dioramas sell for $200-$3,000 and can take anywhere from one day to 200 hours to complete.  He considers his masterpiece to be an abandoned filling station from Route 66.  No detail in his replicas is overlooked.

Some people see junk and trash, others see art.  The flag was made from the copper gutters of the mansion.  The governor's home was renovated in 2010 and the governor's wife saved the gutters and had them made into this flag.  The boat was made from a tree which had fallen during a thunder storm. 

Oh to be gifted with such talent!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Colonial Gatherings Ornaments

Colonial Gatherings
Kit #5

Oh boy, that bird stitched with that fiber is going to pop when stitched on that linen!  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Remember Hannah

Of course, you remember Hannah.  She is one of the lovely Liberty Hill painted boxes. 

It was a difficult choice on stitching Hannah's sampler in black or red.  I finally decided on the black--it's Glorianna Indigo.

I wanted to keep Hannah's sampler with her sewing box and decided to do a hem stitch.  The finished sampler is 5 x 5.5   Hannah looks like she is being tortured--she's not.  The clips are holding the linen in place while I complete the hemstitch.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Motifs and Borders

While enroute to a new to me shop on Saturday, I made a visit to one of Franklin's older cemeteries.  This fence caught my eye--I thought it had some wonderful elements for a border or motifs in a sampler.

Maybe a tombstone angel sampler someday?

Interesting Ionic column

Old cemeteries, kinda sad, sometimes neglected but full of artistic elements.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

882 Curtiswood Lane

Today we went to Bill and Crissy's house to look at their decorations.  Who are Bill and Crissy you ask, they are the governor and first lady of Tennessee.  They have no idea who we are.

The theme for this year was Tennessee landscapes  show casting  Tennessee's fifty-six (56) State Parks.  Some stats on the parks:  200,000 acres, 2,100 campsites, 1,000 miles of hiking trails and host to more than 35 million visitors each year.  In Tennessee there is a state park within an hour's drive of just about anywhere in the state.

This tree (which I thought was a little weird) represents the water basins in Middle Tennessee.  Middle Tennessee is one of the most cave rich areas in America.  National Geographic hailed the Duck River, one of the many rivers in Tennessee as one of four most biologically diverse rivers in the world.  

These acorns were made from yard and pine cones--very cool.

The skirt of this dress was made from willow branches.  

The parks are full of wild life and the Haslam's home was also full of wild life.


Wild turkeys

Davy Crockett left his coon skin hat behind.

I was all into nature and appreciating the natural beauty of the state until I came across the tree using shed snake skin as garland.  Yikes!  Needless to say, being super afraid of snakes, I was out of there.

My favorite tree was the one decorated with corn shuck angels made by area school children.

This year, three of the four Haslam grandchildren were born.  Mrs Haslam asked for four small trees to be decorated and placed under the grand stairwell.  The taller tree is for their oldest grandson, the pink tree is for their grand daughter and the two smaller blue and green trees are for the two grandsons born this year.  The sentimental part of me thought this was a very special touch by a Grandmother for her grandchildren.

Thanks for the tour!  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Breakfast Casseroles

From November through March AppleJack and I participate in Room In the Inn.  The Room in the Inn program in Nashville started in 1986 when people from four different churches began to provide shelter and food for the homeless.  The four participating churches grew to more than 180 churches and more than 6,000 volunteers! 

Each Friday evening/Saturday morning AppleJack picks up fourteen men at the Campus for Human Development and drives them to and from church.  A delicious meal is waiting for them, a hot shower, and a warm safe bed.  In the morning they are served breakfast and given a sack lunch before they are returned to the Campus.  As my schedule allows--I sometimes prepare breakfast. 

Speedy Breakfast Casserole

4 to 6 hash brown patties, slightly thawed
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of cooked crumbled sausage or cooked diced ham
1 tablespoon of finely diced yellow onion
2 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
1 1/2 cups of milk
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.  Remove the hash brown patties from the freezer to allow them to begin to thaw, while you prep the remaining ingredients.

Spray a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.  If using raw sausage and bacon, cook both until browned.  chop up the bacon and set aide.  Layer the baking dish starting with the hash brown patties.  On top of that, add the shredded cheese, then the sausage onion and bacon.  Beat together the milk, eggs, Cajun seasoning salt and pepper and slowly pour over the entire dish.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to one hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to set about 5 minutes before slicing.  Double for a 9 x 13 inch casserole. 

As there are fourteen men plus the Room in the Inn volunteers, I usually make two double the recipe casseroles.  This is a hearty stick to your ribs kind of dish.  A very speedy recipe and while it is baking, I stitch, hook, quilt or read--great early morning quiet time.   

While looking for a good, quick, easy, hearty, delicious breakfast recipe, I easily found dozens.  I'm always on the lookout for recipes so. . . if you have a good breakfast recipe for Christmas morning now would be a great time to share.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Merry, Merry, Merry Chrisymas

Christmas is such a special time of the year! The decorating, the baking, the hustle and bustle.

The white angel tree is in the guest bed room. 

The sheep are keeping watch (the shepherds are taking a break).  The whitework runner was purchased a few years ago at a local craft fair.  Sadly the lady who made the runner lost her son in a traffic accident shortly after the craft fair.   

The needlepunch angel is a Hands to Work design and the Merry Christmas is a Goode Huswife design (I think). 
We like to keep the lights on and the home fires burning.

Whoops!  This furry helper has run out of decorating steam and is taking a badly needed rest break and nap.  We can learn a lot from cats.
I still have goodies to made and bake to share with the neighbors, Christmas Cantata to attend, fresh greens to pick up at the nursery, Holly to cut from the garden, ivy to gather, and. . . Christmas is a very busy time of the year.