Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air

Make that two breaths.
If not for Clarice Fox-Hughes's lovely and charming blog, 
Storybook Woods, I don't know when I might 
have heard the enchanting music & voice of
Ingrid Michaelson.

"Shoot for the moon.
Even if you miss it you will land among the stars."

- Les Brown

Monday, March 28, 2011

For a Good Time...

L to R: Marjorie, Steph, Vickie, Tina (in front)

Our Grown-Up Slumber Party rocked!

So much laughter. So much talent.
New friends & adventures, midnight spinning,
savoring chocolate & chai,
hot tubbing under a starry sky, 
gorgeous handspun yarns,

Daisy Lamont Natural Soap Company!
(Website coming soon)

The ever-generous Vickie surprised our
out-of-town special guest by bringing
all the fixin's so Tina could make her very own,
individual, signature scented
"Sugar Mama Emulsified Scrub."

Ok, I made a scrub too. 
 Petitgrain & Myrtle (above.)
It made the kitchen smell
like a divine woodland.

Thank you Daisy Lamont.
Wait, what about all the yarn, you ask?
Get ready because the show is about to begin:

This is one of the many new, irresistable,
hand dyed yarns offered by Tina Martinez
through her company, Bittersweet. 
When I leaned in for a closer look at Tina's goodies,
this oceany light turquoise, 80-20 merino-silk blend
jumped into my hands. Darn my luck!
Lace shawlette pattern suggestions, any one?

Next up: meet the incredibly sweet, energetic, 
funny, artistic Renee!

When I need joyful spinning
I reach for SpunRightRound art batts (above.)
They're a party unto themselves!
So, wasn't I lucky this weekend to spin up
SRR batts while sitting right next to Renee?!
Double the joy and happiness.

There's yet another fabulous woman to meet:
genuine, heart-of-gold, quick witted,
compassionate, talented Stephanie VanHamlin 
of Valley Spun.

Because I spun up my only remaining
Valley Spun batt this weekend (below,)
I simply had to order another one (above.)
Stephanie's sumptuous fibers are
the epitome of richness, sparkle and magic.
Spinning any of her batts is a voyage into
a fantastical land of mystery, surprise and delight.

Some of the sparkle I spun up Friday night. In person, a soft
purple shows against the gray and white. It's lovely.

Making good on Friday's promise, here's the
"company-worthy" recipe:

 French Toast Casserole

1 loaf unsliced cinnamon bread
5 large eggs plus 3 yolks
3 cups milk
1 cup half and half
5 Tbsp. B&B liquer (optional)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup melted butter
Confectioners' sugar

~    ~    ~    ~    ~
 Lightly butter 2- 9" baking dishes.
Cut and discard bread ends,
then cut the remaining loaf into 8 equal slices.
Arrange 4 on the bottom of each dish.

Whisk eggs & yolks, then whisk in the milk,
half and half, B&B, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Pour evenly over the bread.
Cover with foil. Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, remove foil and drizzle
with the melted butter.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees
for 55-60 minutes, until
golden brown and the custard is set. 

Dust with sugar and serve immediately. 

Make this. You won't be disappointed.

Steph got behind the lens so I could say hello! (center)

 I spun so much fiber this weekend that by Sunday
my head might have been spinning more than my wheel.
Being with these talented girls for 3 days straight was
a BLAST! Reconnecting with Tina was wonderful,
especially after not having seen her since
her annual August spinning retreat, WOOL.
Thanks for making the 3 hour drive Tina!

It's safe to say a good time was had by all.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Finally Friday!

Welcome Tina and Vickie!

 The Grown-Up Slumber Party (that's what my
visiting friend Tina Martinez coined it)
starts any minute, so I've got to make this fast!
Some of my Ravelry friends are coming over tonight 
for Veggie Lasagna dinner, followed by
and our spinning wheels gathered round the fireplace.

Introducing tonight's Ravelry gang: Tina (RowsRed),
Vickie (Victoria227), Marjorie and Steph (ValleySpun)

Vickie & Tina are spending the night, awesome!

We're waking up Saturday to French Toast Casserole -
it's so good that it's company worthy. 
I promise to share the recipe on Sunday!
After breakfast, we're heading out to our local
Spinning Group's monthly gathering. Tina came a long way
 just to spin with us - pretty nice, huh?
After a solid day of very social spinning,
Vickie & I are showing Tina some of the local color.

I'd better plump the pillows and make room for the wheels!

Tune in Sunday for the details and the recipes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Excitement In the Air

Silver Trumpet's putting a special parcel in the mail.
This crib quilt, Blue Diamonds, is being sent off
to our nearest chapter of

Thousands of tots to teens have received
blankets and quilts from caring sewers,
knitters & crocheters. The donated blankets are
collected, labelled and distributed to local
agencies & shelters by generous volunteers.

Silver Trumpet is committed to donating one blanket or quilt to
Project Linus for each Silver Trumpet quilt sold.


Red Diamonds sold, so Blue Diamonds is being donated.

 If you're interested in donating, contact your local chapter.
They accept handmade blankets and quilts of all sizes;
knitted, crocheted, quilted, knotted fleece -
you get the idea. Handmade & machine washable are key.
Materials and monetary donations are also welcome.

 Just imagine.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

Bundles of Joy!

I've been itching for this weekend to get here.
The shop is now open. It's a start.
There's much more to come, like these Bundles of Joy!

What makes a Bundle of Joy?
A soft, reversible travel blankie with satin tabs,
a friend from the "clutch collection", and a hand
printed onesie.

An example of a Girl Bundle...

and a Boy Bundle.

Designing, choosing fabrics & ribbons, cutting, sewing - 
the entire process is fun.
I love how cute and cuddly every thing is.
I hope they make parents & babies just as happy
as they make me. Or, happier!

They'll be available in the shop very soon.
Thanks for stopping by the Studio today!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Finally Friday...

Fine feathered friends.

Believe it or not, I've never before made these
simple pine cone bird feeders.
Turns out they're as easy as 1-2-3 to whip up
and hang in nearby trees.
Give the birds a day or so to find the feeders,
then stand back as the flurry of activity begins!

Materials to round up:

Pine cones, any bird seed poured into a shallow bowl
(birds in our neighborhood seem to like this mix,)
cheap peanut butter (or suet) and a knife or spatula,
20" lengths of string (yarn, twine, fabric strips,) scissors
and an extra bowl to hold all of the feeders.

No drilling required. Simply weave one end of the
string tightly around the core of the pine cone.
Tie a square knot as close to the pine cone as possible.

(Not shown,) at the other end of the string
Make a generous 3" loop for hanging, and tie a slip knot
at the bottom of the 3" loop. Pull to tighten.

Scoop out some peanut butter and slather it on!
No need to be fussy, just have fun.

Coat as much of the surface of the pine cone
as you can. Roll in seed (below.)

Holding the feeder by its string,
lift it out of the seed and place it in the empty bowl.
Make a few more feeders, and collect
them in your bowl for easy transportation
to the trees.

Black capped chickadees were first to
arrive at the party.
Mr. Cardinal, a few finches and junkos were
waiting in the wings.

And so was Stanley.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Special Delivery

If you've ever known the surprise of  
finding a special package on your doorstep, then
you'll know exactly how I felt when I recently
discovered a canvas tote bag stuffed
full of these lovely antique gems.

Only a very dear friend would leave such a gift,
would so freely hand down treasures
from her own collection, would know that these 
speak volumes to me.

My imagination is flooded with possibilities.
My heart is warmed at her generosity, care 
and thoughtfulness.
Thank you, my Very Dear Friend.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

Giggles, and more giggles.

Freshly printed onesies to stock the shop,
accompanied by a coordinating collection
of embroidery designs. Sweet!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Finally Friday...

Spring is near.

And this festive little booklet is a cinch to make. 
It's so easy that you might have a pile of them
before you can turn your clock ahead tomorrow night!

Rummage through your paper scraps, magazines,
bits of wrapping paper, old note cards,
anything you have on hand.

Find a ruler, sewing needle, pencil, scissors, (awl, optional),
and embroidery floss or thread, twine, ribbon, etc.
Cover a work surface with a few layers of
newsprint or an old magazine.

I chose an old calendar as my booklet cover. 
Once you select your cover, use a ruler to mark the
length and width of the finished size of your booklet.
Cut (photo above.)

Next, select the papers for the interior of the booklet,
and using the cover as a guide, mark the length and width
of the papers. For this simple booklet, I cut a total of
4 interior pages.

Fold your cover in half. Using a bone folder or your finger tip, 
press a nice crease. This is the spine.

Fold each of your 4 pages in half, then nest them
one inside the other. With a bone folder or your finger tip,
press along the fold making a nice crease.

Lay the interior pages flat, stack them on your work
surface and keep the pages aligned. Lay the cover on top
of the pages, still keeping every thing aligned.
With your ruler and a pencil, mark the center
of the spine, then mark about 1/2" in from
the top edge and from the bottom edge
of the booklet (photo above.)

Using your awl or a needle, carfeully and firmly press
straight down through all the layers.
Gingerly check to see that you did.
If you did not, just repeat the step until you do.

Choose a coordinating color of floss, thread, ribbon, etc..
This will be seen on the inside and the outside of
the book. Cut approximately 18" of floss
and thread your needle.

Time to stitch the binding. I started from the outside,
but you can certainly start inside the book.
Personal preference.
Either way, the stitch pattern is identical.

This was tough to photograph in action, so here goes:

Starting at the middle hole, the needle goes down
through all layers, then move your needle to the lower hole
and bring it up through all layers. The needle should
be back on the outside of the booklet. Next, move your needle
to the top hole and send it down through all the layers,
then bring the needle back to the center hole and
push it up through all the layers.

The outside (or inside) of your booklet should look like this.
Place one thread tail to the left of the center stitch,
and the other tail to the right of it.
Using the tails, tie a knot so that you're essentially
keeping that center thread in place. Trim tail ends.

Give me a shout if this becomes confusing to you.
 I'll do my best to get you back on track.
It's a good binding to know!

And here is my sweet, simple booklet
to welcome Spring.
I probably spend more time choosing
papers than I do actually constructing the booklet.
  Make some. They'll put a smile on your face & will
definitely come in handy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Marshmallow Revolt

Make these and you'll likely join me
in the revolt against store-bought.

5 easy steps gives you delectable morsels perfect for 
toasting at the campfire, melting in your next hot chocolate,
or as my husband prefers, eating right out of the container.

A close-up of the 24 reasons why I became 
a store-bought renegade. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

Rainy and gray outside, warm and cozy inside.
Early this morning, I was having a ball at the drawing table 
coming up with fun & easy embroidery designs.
(Pictures and more on this soon!)
Hand work is so satisfying, and it just makes me smile.
It's that simple.

What crafts make you feel that way? I'd love to hear.

Waxed linen thread for eyes & a sweet little nose.
Complete with cottontail, he makes a wonderful friend 
and is easily held in small hands.
Quite a while ago, I sewed this bunny from
a free pattern in Living Crafts magazine.

They now have a terrific blog:

Well, I needed a break from the pen & ink bit, 
so I picked up my needles.
 I'm designing this soft, swingy girl's dress, size 2.
It's my first dress combining knit and fabric, and I'm really
excited as it takes on a life of its own.
It's a lesson in letting go and seeing where the materials take me.

Can you let go in your creative process, too? 

I love polka dots.
Preparing for my afternoon, I just finished cutting these
binding strips for the boy's quilt in the background. 
With the recipient due to arrive in just a few weeks,
I'd better get a move on!

Designing for boys is a welcome process.
Because I don't have boys of my own, I don't have personalities,
likes or dislikes to influence me. There's a certain freedom with that.

What do you enjoy making for the boys in your life? 

What about the girls, you ask?
Perfect timing: here's the purse that was being worked on 
in last Sunday's Open Studio.

Instructions, complete with photos, will be available
in my shop, as promised. Currently under construction, the shop is almost ready. You'll be the first to know when the OPEN light is on.

I said constant, right?