Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WiP - The Bride

My cousin is getting married in October and I wanted to come up with something for her bridal shower that is a little more personal, a little more individual, little more creative and a lot less "standard gift registry". And of course, since I'm going through post-quilt show "NEED TO CREATE!!!" mania, I started this...

The Bride

What I actually started was based on a Robin Wood drawing in an old copy of Scott Cunningham's Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic (which is frought with Wood's amazing art - check the link and you'll see a few examples as you scroll through).

As I worked, though, she developed into this playful bride, complete with 3 dimensional skirt (bedecked with tulle underlay) and a lacey ribbon at her waist.

I fussy cut flowers from a funky fabric and played with variegated green thread for grass

Her top is painted in white with a hint of grey to simulate folds and her hair is a brown fabric base with browns, reds, golds and black painted over it (it needs to be touched up)

I'm very pleased with how she is turning out...considering she went in a completely different direction than originally planned. I still need to paint in some clouds, paint her skirt so it flows with the bodice and quilt around her with invisible thread.

My plan is to cut it down to size, fit it into a shadowbox, then to the bottom of the shadowbox, add a mini bouquet of fake flowers tied with ribbon, some mini wedding rings, a little poem about weddings or brides or something and her wedding invitation (or save the date card as it has a picture of her and her fiancé) reduced down to mini and propped up. I hope she likes it!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Maine Quilts 2008

Quilt Show Mosaic

Just a smattering of quilts from the show, click on the mosaic to bring you to the rest.

Maine Quilts 2008 always...amazing, awe-inspiring, creatively inspiring and just plain old fantastic! Mum and I got there just a little after 9 on opening day and immediately hit the vendors! I found some really great fabric...

and then spent 3 hours wandering through the quilts (though the last 4 rows we skimmed through in 15 minutes because it was getting on to lunch time and I was starved! Next year, I'll bring snacks).

Every year, I am in awe of the talent and the creativity and the effort that these people put into their quilts. So many go beyond the traditional, but even the traditional are so well done, so intricate in pattern...I just can't get over it! There were so many three dimensional made me itch to do a picture quilt again (something I haven't done in a while!), something with lots of detail and embellishments (and yes, I've already started something! No pictures yet, but soon).

After the quilt show, we headed out for some crazy-inspired fabric shopping. At first, I went after always, but I put them back. They really weren't saying much to me. But then...then I found these and I just had to get a yard of each.

Not sure what I'll use them for, but there's definitely an apron in there!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Can Bread Be Beautiful?

Just look at that bread! Isn't it beautiful? I made it yesterday...

after I tried using a non-bread machine recipe with the bread machine. I think I nearly burned the motor out of it - it was smelling funny and my brother saw a bit of smoke! Oops! So I went with a classic white bread (machine) recipe and man did it come out good.

I'm on a quest to find the perfect recipe to mimic the white bread my Gram used to make. I don't think any of the women in my family have ever been able to duplicate her bread. I don't know what she did to make it as yummy as it was, to rise as high as it did or cook as thoroughly, maybe it was the pans...or the oven...more than likely it was the recipe, but it sure was the best bread! It sucked in gravy for open faced turkey sandwiches like there was no tomorrow and nothing tasted better the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas than that first turkey sandwich: two slabs of Gram's bread slathered in mayo and cranberry sauce, heaped with stuffing, carrots and turkey (maybe a boiled onion or two and a little sweet potato). Man, I'm drooling! Unfortunately, Gram took her Newfie bread secrets with her when she passed.

Who knows, maybe one day I will track down a recipe that will work. Until then, I'll just have to enjoy the trial and error! :^)

Nym's favorite way to be carried - what a weirdo!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

2 more days

Just 2 more days until the start of...


3 days and over 650 quilts in all shapes, sizes, colors, textures and creative imaginings!

Here are just a few amazing and awe inspiring works that appeared at the last two quilt shows...

More can be seen here:

I can't wait to use the new camera at the show and see just what I get for colors and detail! And as always, a fabric shopping trip to follow to fuel the creative fires that the quilt show always inspires (I know, it rhymes...poet...didn't know...yeah yeah, whatever).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Did I tell you about my bread machine?

Okay, so I have maintained a traditionalist's attitude for making bread for least ten years now. My Ma taught me to make it the old fashioned way and I poo-pooed my sister for succombing to the bread machine fad when she bought hers. I was convinced that homemade the traditional way was soooooo much better. Well, I'm here today to tell you...I was wrong. There, I said it (and yes, I apologized to my sister). I don't think I've ever been so wrong about something in all my life.

What made me get a bread machine in the first place? Uh...I don't know. For some weird reason I got it into my head one day that I needed a bread machine, like a little voice saying, "Trust me on this one, you need a bread machine" and being someone who is beginning to really follow her gut instincts (and apparently the voices in her head), I mentioned to my uncle in Maryland (who is terribly addicted to auctions) that if he ever found a new bread machine in his auction travels, and it was reasonably priced, to pick it up and I would pay him for it. Within a week, he found one - FOR $5!!! Can you believe it? Oh, I was so psyched! I was hooked after the first loaf; never again would I take that über-long traditional route again (...unless something happened to the world and we were left completely without power, plunging us back into the dark ages).

Saturday morning, I made cinnamon roll dough (recipe below - try it, you'll love it!) at 5:30 and in an hour and 30 minutes, I had the best looking dough, ready to be rolled out and spread w/ cinnamon roll topping goodness (otherwise known as butter, cinnamon and brown sugar). By 8:00, I had ooey, gooey, warm and tasty cinnamon rolls. It's the fact that the machine does all the work and I don't get super messy that makes me the happiest!


• 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
• 2 eggs, room temperature
• 1/3 cup margarine, melted
• 4 1/2 cups bread flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
* * * * * * * *
(to spread inside before the dough is rolled)
• 1 cup brown sugar, packed
• 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
• 1/3 cup butter, softened
* * * * * * * *
(for frosting)
• 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 cup butter, softened
• 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
2. After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
3. Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture (Side-note: make sure you really coat the ends of the dough with the brown sugar/butter/cinnamon mixture, as I kinda overlooked that and ended up with two rolls that didn't have a lot of cinnamon roll flavor, so I coated them with extra frosting). Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
4. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes (side-note: depending on your oven...if it's old like mine, it may be more like 20 or 25 minutes). While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Next on the list of things to bake:
* Cheesy Beer Bread
* Focaccia
* Dinner Rolls
* Pizza Dough
* Banana Bread

Sunday, July 20, 2008

And the survey says...


I got my test results on Friday. Guess who's doing the happy happy dance of joy right now? And in celebration, I went to Old Hallowell Day yesterday and left my camera at home. Can we say, "DUH!" I kicked myself all afternoon, especially in the morning after getting coffee at Slate's Bakery to go with the MARVELOUS "Clone of a Cinnabon" cinnamon rolls that I made using my handy dandy new bread machine (must remember to take a picture next time and share the recipe - you want to talk about heavenly! YUM!!). My friend Nicky came along and we ended up sitting outside, out back between the bakery store and the actual bakery itself. There's a little garden area (where they had the Slate's Rising Grill before the renovations were complete). It's so sweet and pretty and there is this monsterous tree out there that I really wanted to get a picture of...but being the twit that I obviously was yesterday, I didn't have my camera. So my mission this week is to take a moment out of my day, head to Slate's bakery...WITH MY CAMERA...get something yummy to enjoy it out back in the garden and TAKE SOME FLIPPIN' PICTURES!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And Today is Tuesday...

Okay, that glucose drink that I had to take yesterday...SUCKED! After a half hour, I felt light headed and dizzy and had major heartburn. By the time I got home (3 hours later), I couldn't keep my eyes open! I had intended to go to work after the test, but I was just so tired that I decided to take a nap before heading in, and ended up sleeping for hours! And really, to describe it as "sleep" doesn't do it justice - it was more like dropping out of existence for a few hours, sleeping the sleep of the comatose, DEAD. TO. THE. WORLD!

Marcia called me just after 1:00 to see if I was coming in. I rolled over to look at the clock and couldn't believe what time it was! Marcia thinks I had a sugar crash. It was sooooo weird!

But I'm good today and even went to Cardio Kickboxing, something I never thought I would enjoy, but really do! It's part of my "Get Your Ass to the Gym and Suck It Up!" program (self-administered and applying solely to myself and my gym partner, Tabetha). The goal is to tone up and get healthier, now that she and I are losing weight. I never thought I would say this about the gym, but I look forward to it...the cardio kick, the elliptical machine and we're going to try a full body workout class, too. I know it's going to kick my ass - cardio did after the first class; it took me 4 days to recover - but it will be worth it!

Oh, and no test results yet from the Glucose Tolerance Test...but I do have some lovely bruises on my inner elbow where they had to root around to find a vein. I try not to extend my arm, so as not to show off what look like junky track marks! You would think that lab techs at a hospital who do this day in and day out would be able to find a vein zip bang boom, take it and you're done with no fuss, no muss...kinda like the lab tech at my local doctor's office - she rocks; she leaves no bruises and takes the blood so quickly that you don't even realize she's taken it till she says "Okay, we're done!"...but no and I have the bruises to show for it!

Well that's all from my little world - hope all is well in your little world!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Yuck

Road to Nowhere, Maine

Can I just say "ugh!"? I have to go to the hospital for tests this morning.

During my physical last week, I mentioned to the doctor how thirsty I had been despite drinking TONS of water, how my lips felt chapped and dry constantly (even though they don't look it) and how I was getting up more often in the middle of the night. So of course, she looks at my family history of diabetes and orders a GTT (glucose tolerance test) for this morning. Just how I wanted to spend my Monday morning, giving blood and peeing in a cup for 2 hours!

Everyone that I have spoken with, who has taken this, assures me that the glucose drink tastes like flat orange soda and it's not that bad, but I'm getting mixed reviews on the sickness afterward. Some people say they didn't get sick and others say that they did because you have to fast for 10 hours and then drink the stuff over the course of 2 hours, so 12 hours of nothing but water and flat orange soda in your stomach has the potential for a queasiness factor.

I'm not giving it much thought until the tests are done, the results are in and I've spoken to my doctor, though she didn't seem too worried - she said that even if I did have diabetes, I'm already on my way to controlling it because I've lost weight (since joining Weight Watchers in March), started exercising on a regular basis and am eating healthy. My Gram had it, controlled it with diet and lived to be 82...and she was still living in her own house until she passed and she mowed her lawn on a regular basis, aaaaand she didn't die because of a diabetes related issue, it was her heart...but her sister died in a diabetic coma...and my uncle has Type 2.

So I guess at the moment, since I'm trying not to give it any thought, I'm of the mindset that if I have diabetes, I'll deal with it. If I don't, guess who will be doing the happy happy dance of joy?

Wish me luck!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Quiet Friday Joy

In summer, the song sings itself ~William Carlos Williams

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What've You Read Lately?

Cathy over at Homestretching blogged about the National Endowment for the Arts "The Big Read" and how of the top 100 books, most adults have only read 6!

The top 100 list is a bit speculative, but interesting, nevertheless. These are Cathy's directions:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you started but did not finish.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them. :^)

The List:
1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare (well maybe not the complete works but quite a few)
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife- Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha- Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
Animal Farm - George Orwell
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale- Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones- ALice Sebold
65. The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

It's funny, when you start thinking back to what you read in high school and college and on your own just for fun...I'm kind of suprised by how many I have read and by how many I haven't! I was very very pleased that A.S. Byatt's Possession was in there - god, I devoured that book! 3 TIMES! It was assigned reading for a Modern Lit. class in University and I loved every minute we discussed this book! Of course, on the flip side there was Ulysses, which I had to read for my Irish Lit. class - oh dear god this book dragged on and on and on! I liked Joyce...I read Portrait, and Dubliners, and enjoyed them both, but Ulysses...ugh!

One thing about this list, it made me realize that I don't read as much now as I used to. I was a readin' fiend - had to be, I was working on a degree in literature. I think it's time to renew my library card, make time to actually go down there (they don't have the best of hours for anyone who works 8 to 5!) and start picking up some of these books that I've never heard of. A Town Like Alice? Could be interesting! Who knows?

Windy Sunny Day on Damariscotta Lake

Just a snippet from my vacation - thought you might enjoy a bit of the waves, a bit of the sun on the lake...

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Inside a Glass Gazing Ball

View slideshow

What happens when you're sitting outside on your vacation on a particularly lazy day with your camera in your hand and a blue/green glass gazing ball beside your chair...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Jack's Quilt

A friend just adopted a baby from Ethiopia and Thursday is her baby shower This is my contribution to Baby Jack - entitled "Welcome Jack", done in super soft cottons in a rail fence pattern...just one more thing I did while lazin' the days away on my vacation. :^)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Ho-hum, back to work...

So it's back to work I go, my vacation has come and gone. But I really can't complain; I just spent the last 10 days doing only what I wanted, when I wanted!

* spent time at the Lake
* made a baby quilt
* hung out with my sister and her family and friends at Lake Pemaquid Campground
* puttered in the garden
* rearranged my bedroom
* went to a farmer's market (found fingerling potatoes, squash, homemade donuts and splurged on some Maine maple syrup - won't eat anything but the real stuff now!)
* read
* walked
* relaxed
aaaaaaaand....I went strawberry picking, on the perfect day, where the berries were so big and bountiful that it only took Mum & I a half hour to pick over 20lbs!

These beauties went right into strawberry rhubarb tarts last night (with fresh cut rhubarb from my garden!) - I used this recipe that I shared last year just before strawberry pickin' time. If you click on the pictures, they should open up to a larger picture where you can actually read the recipe - oh, if you do use it, in the plain pastry recipe where it says to cut the butter and the lard together (I use butter flavored crisco and I add two pinches of sugar to make the dough less floury), melt the butter ever so slightly to soften it and you really won't need the ice water (AND the crust comes out super flaky)!

Okay, there's my baking tip for the Hmmm, I almost never add baking tips here, do I? I may just have to start! I'm thinking of making some of SouleMama's strawberry rhubarb jam soon and who knows what else!

Enjoy your day all, it's back to work I go, hi ho hi ho! :^)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Did I mention that I'm on vacation this week?

sunset rays
Originally uploaded by faerytreecreations
So I'm really not around much...obviously. No great plans, just playing it by ear.