Friday, December 28, 2012

Family Christmas Time

I'll be attending my extended Family Christmas tomorrow and most of my presents are wrapped (or bagged) :)  Each family brings a dish, I bring French Pork Pie.  We always have too much food, delicious!!!  Each family also brings homemade Christmas Cookies.  I made three different kinds this year: cherry chocolate cookies with frosting, chocolate walnut bars, and crescents made with finely chopped pecans.  The crescent recipe is from my grandmother's church cookbook and it's her recipe.   Each year I open that little church cookbook to the well worn page, covered in grease spots and I think of her as I prepare and bake these melt in your mouth cookies.  She lived in Boston and she stayed with my folks over the holidays. We had a large extended family celebration with grandparents, aunts, uncles, greats aunts, cousins, my brothers and sister.  Then years later we added  husbands, wives, nieces and nephews.  My grandmother, Nana, played Christmas songs and we would sing along.  So many wonderful memories come up this time of the year.  I am reminded of all my relatives who have left us.  I miss them.  But the new generation of family members is special and carry on the tradition of our Family Christmas.

 For me Christmas is about family and friends.  This year our Family Christmas party is going to be a little smaller for us. Some family members are no longer with us, some of our friends are unable to come because of medical (good news, kidney transplant) reasons, my granddaughter had her wisdom teeth out today and isn't feeling up to celebrating.  But many of us will be there and we will have a good time together, laughing and making new memories.

Our gifts to each other usually consist of homemade goodies along with maybe a dish towel or wooden utensil.  Jelly,Jam, Bread, Chex Mix, Fudge are just a few of the goodies.

This year I'm giving a wooden stir-fry utensil, handmade by Ronnie, along with kitchen towels and some spiced oyster crackers.  I got the cute Santa bags at the grocery store for 1/2 price because Christmas is over for most.  Another year is upon us, Best to All!

Check out All if you're interested in making some Spiced Crackers for the New Year.  Easy to make using: oyster crackers, some cooking oil, dill weed, package of dry ranch dressing, and a couple of other things.  Bake in the oven on a cookie sheet and there you go!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's A Good Day/Weekend!

My dear friend Eleanor (Muffie) has been waiting for a kidney transplant for three years.  Last night she got the call she has been waiting for.  She went to Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital his afternoon and she has a new kidney.  She is doing well after surgery and I'm going to seen her tomorrow!

I had my Christmas celebration with my children and grandchildren last night.  We had a very good time even with so many people in my small living room.  Joy All Around!

We will have an extended, large family celebration next Saturday at my niece's house.  Probably about twenty five family and friends!  We all miss my brother so much and this holiday will be our first without him.  But it will be good to get together and see everyone.

Because our children are all adults and have children and in-laws, we work out our celebrations to try and accommodate everyone.  It's worked out for us for several years and we look forward to it each Christmas.  So many wonderful memories from years past, now on to make more!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Dinner with Friends

Each year I have a few friends over for dinner and a Craft.  This year we enjoyed each other's company, they watched me cook as they visited and after we ate we made some Heart House Ornaments.  They seemed happy with their finished ornament and some plan to make more.

I'm looking forward to having my adult children and grandchildren join me for our Christmas Celebration early this year, Sat. 23rd.  Everyone has commitments and this works out for us.  Then later in December we will have the "big" family Christmas with siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and close friends, usually around 30 people.  This has been a tradition in my family since I was a small child and it has continued beautifully through the years.

Tomorrow is present wrapping time!!

Blessings to all the children, teachers and families in Ct.

Peace, Diane

Friday, December 14, 2012

Carpenter's Gone, Now I Must Paint

The carpenter has come and gone.  Now all I need to do is paint, paint, paint!
Then have carpet put down.  All my sewing supplies and fabric will have their own place and I'll have a peaceful place to work and play!  The new year is looking good so far.

I'm hosting my annual Dinner at Diane's for a few of my close friends.  It's a nice addition to my holiday celebrations.  After dinner we have "craft time" and this year we will be making the House and Heart ornaments.  I've made templates, gathered scissors and glue sticks so the craft time is all set.  The menu has finally been decided will be Roast Pork Loin with herbs, red potatoes and fresh string beans.  One of my friends is bringing a salad and another a cranberry sauce.

Last minute me, I'm setting up my Christmas tree, decorating it and cleaning up the house a bit.  I have a few more decorations I'd like to set up.

Here are a coupe of photos of the other wall in my sewing room.  New storage in the knee wall!  Love it!

Happy Day!


 It is finished off more than this now, when they took a lunch break I went up a took a few pics.
I'll post an updated photo of the room soon.  Have a good day!

Friday, December 7, 2012

How To--Heart House Ornament

I can't take full credit for the design of this ornament.  I found the instructions for this ornament on another Blog: This is an excellent Blog with instructions to make so many things!  She ran a series of holiday ornaments and this was her final installment last year. Thanks Michele!

 I have a lot of old Christmas cards and I liked the look of this ornament so I gave it a try!

I made a few changes to her directions, but not many.

l.  Supplies you'll need:   Old Christmas cards, scissors, permanent glue stick, clothes pins or clips, string, beads and template paper.  I used water color paper but any would work.

2.  Make the template for the heart house.  Mine is approximately 3 1/2".  Fold the template paper in half and draw half of the house.  Each side of the house must be exactly the same, ie. mirror image.

3. Using your template, trace and cut out 12 heart houses. I choose cards with similar colors.  (Keep the little heart cut-outs for another project.)

4. Take a house and turn it over to the back and apply glue to the left side only. ( * Always apply glue to left side back of each card.)  

5. Apply glue to the second card.

Turn over one house and place it on to the other, putting the glue free side on to the glued side of the first card.  It sounds confusing I know, but once you get going, it's easy.

6.  I glued up four houses at a time, 3 sets.  Then I glued them all together to make the ornament. 

7. Clamp and let dry.

8. Gather your sting and beads.
 Thread both ends of the string up through the center of the heart houses.  Pull to the top and add another bead on the string.  Tie the ends to make a hanger.  Apply some glue to the peak of the house to secure the top bead. (I use white craft glue for this.)

*An alternative to this process, is to put a knot in the end of the string, add a wooden bead, put the string up through the center of the houses, add another bead, glue to secure and tie off the string making a loop for hanging the ornament.

You're Done, your Heat House Ornament is ready to hang!
I hope you enjoy your hand made ornament using "re-claimed" Christmas cards!

Happy Holidays to All!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sewing Room Re-do & Bud Vase

The carpenter got in touch with me this week.  He had told me that he wouldn't be able to work  on the other side of my sewing room until December.  I called to give him a little reminder as I'm anxious to finish up the room and start enjoying it!  He'll be here a week from this Monday and I'm so happy!!!  More storage and a sunny room to work in!

We did a fair in New London, NH today.  Very nice fair with quite a few booths.  This was our first year and we definately plan to return next year.  Ronnie did very well selling his hand crafted wooden utensils and shawl/hair pins and disks sets.  He also sold one of the new small bud vases that he's made.  We'll be giving larger ones to family for Christmas.

It snowed out today but the weather is warming up over the next few days so it will all be gone by tomorrow afternoon.  I like having snow in December, gets me in the spirit of the holidays.  But we don't need too much snow! : )

Here's a photo of one of the bud vases made from cherry wood.  They are nice for dried flowers or fresh.  You can also put small beads in the clear holder or maybe colored sand when you use dried flowers or weeds for a different look.  Lots of options.

Have a great week!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas Craft Fair Time!

Here we go into the Christmas Time Craft Fairs!  Ronnie and I will be very busy for the next few weeks.  Friday we set up a display of his utensils at the Rey Center in Watervalley, NH.  They invited him to be part of their Christmas Artisan Fair!  The fair runs from November 23rd to December 16th, 2012.  Regular open hours are Wednesdays thru Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Two popular events will be taking place in Town Square during this time which should help draw people to the fair.  We plan on being there on December 16th and look forward to meeting and talking with some of the shoppers.

Saturday we were at the Mascoma High School Craft Fair.  It was very enjoyable and busy!  Love that fair!!

This coming Saturday we'll be in New London, NH selling our wares, then on to the Bristol Community Center the next weekend for two days!  Maybe a rest after that??

Here are a few photos from the fairs.

Also, Thanksgiving was wonderful with family and friends!  Blessings All Around!

See you Soon!  Diane

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Organized and Improved Craft/Mixed Media Space!

I've been busy with more cleaning up, organizing and fun times!  My craft room is all set.  My wonderful organization lady (Karen of Tranquil Spaces), and I were busy last week finishing up that room.  My sewing room is on hold for the moment until the carpenter can make it back to put in storage on the other side of the room.  My friend Kathleen came over this past week and we "christened" the Craft Room!  Here are some things that were done to get this room organized:
  • Cleaned out anything in the room that wasn't craft related.
  • Plastic storage drawers I had been using in the sewing room are now used for craft supplies.
  • Organized the drawers with labels ie. nature stamps, background stamps, collage paper, tissue paper, tools, stamp pads and so forth.
  • Re-arranged the tables and added one more long table. 
  • Got a larger wastepaper basket!
  • Cleaned off my computer desk and stored the paper I use when printing in a small cupboard next to my computer desk.
  • Another waste basket for under the computer desk!
  • The closet is organized with bookcases and bins that hold extra paper, cd's, floppy disks, cords to various machines, a bin marked "Memories" where those things that I just can't let go of right now end up.
  • A bin of photographs (I have too many to go through) so it's good to have them all in one area and I can go through them when I want to. 
So all my craft/mixed media supplies are organized and waiting for me to "Play".  I'll have more time for that after the holidays and I'm looking forward to getting my sewing room done next.

Here are a couple of picture of my craft room.  I took a "before" picture and it's somewhere on my computer, yet to find it!  So these are "After" photos.

My friend Kathleen in the new, improved workspace.

Oh yes, almost forgot!  Here is a picture of my Sewing Room Storage.  I know I posted a photo of the dresser I had built in but here's a good picture of all the storage.  Now to get that built in on the other side of the room and the floor done... WOW!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Harvest and Christmas Fairs for DSigns

During the summer months Ronnie and I sell our wares at the Newfound Farmers Market in Bristol most every Saturday morning.  We enjoy talking with the people and hearing their positive comments about our work, Ronnie: woodworking and I sell photo insert note cards and photographs in several sizes suitable for framing
Now the colder weather is upon us, we look forward to some indoor craft fairs.  We were vendors at the Bristol Applefest Craft Fair and the Franklin High School Chem Free Prom Craft Fair that was held at the Middle School.  We did okay at both fairs but we were disappointed in the attendance.  I think there is just so much going on every weekend that fairs may be at the bottom of folks lists.  But fun things do happen.  This last weekend a woman ran up to our booth as we were packing up to leave.  She said she was so glad she caught us because she wanted to buy two large spoons from Ronnie!  GREAT!  It's rewarding to know when someone appreciates the hand crafted work done by a NH Craftsman.  I sold some of my photographs and had some lovely conversations with old friends and new customers.  We will be vendors at some upcoming local fairs and here's a list:

The Christmas Craft Fair- November 24th -Mascoma Valley Regional High School in West Canaan, NH.

WCA Holiday Craft Fair-December 1st- New London Outing Club Indoor Center (former middle school gym).

2012 Annual- Christmas Craft Fair to Benefit the TTCC-Dec. 7th & 8th, Bristol, NH Community Center.  On Friday the 7th the fair hours will be 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM-Sat. hours-1:30 to 5:30 PM

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Quilt Display at Shelburn and More on the Room Re-do

I was checking out what was new at Shelburne Museum in Vt. and look at what I found! Check this out!

 I'm still busy painting my sewing/quilt studio and it's coming along nicely.  I've chosen a new ceiling light and I might pick it up tomorrow.  I've purchased two Ott Lights from JoAnn's at a great sale price purchased on line. One is a floor lamp with a matching table lamp. First time I purchased from them this way and it was a very quick delivery.  I'd do it again.

I've taken the legs off my old sewing table and taken a leaf out from the center to make it a little smaller.  This might sound crazy, but I don't want a lot of clutter on the table I'm sewing on and I know me, if there's room on there, I'll fill it!  I'm going to paint it white like everything else in the room and then go from there.  Maybe blue will be the accent color, not sure yet.  I'm not doing the floor right now, waiting to get this room and the other one completed before spending cash on the floor.  My professional organizer (i.e.: lifesaver) will be returning to help me out in a couple of weeks.
Her company is called "Tranquil Spaces" and that's what I'm looking for.

I purchased this bureau at the Davisville Flea Market for a very low price.  I painted it white and added new handles.  I had it built-in to the wall with other shelves and cubbies. Here are the "Before" and "After" pictures.
Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Some Improvements and Work Ahead

Room Re-Do

It's been about a month since I last posted.  Work on one of my rooms upstairs is progressing!
The carpenters came and added some much needed storage.  I purchased a second hand bureau and they built that in as a wall unit.  Now I'm busy priming and painting! The weather is beautiful and I have added storage! Yippee!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Studio Clean UP

I'm fortunate to have two upstairs bedrooms that are now used as my workspaces for sewing, quilting and mixed media art.  Over the years I have collected too much stuff, fabric especially, and of course notions.  When I took over the bedrooms from my grown children at first the rooms were quite orderly and comfortable.  Then it happened!  I went upstairs to sew and there was no room on the table to lay out my work, to cut out or to sew, very discouraging.  I brought my fabric and sewing machine down to the kitchen table and set up there.  How silly is that??  Two perfectly good rooms upstairs and they were so overloaded and disorganized that I couldn't stand to work in them.  What a shame!!

It's happened, now I'm in the process of cleaning out those rooms, starting with the sewing room.  I hired a wonderful professional organizer and it's the best decision I've made in years.  She lugged 12+ large trash bags downstairs to be thrown out as well as boxes of items to be donated.  She helped me organize the fabric I want to keep and I'm on my way!  I'm excited to have new flooring installed, paint the walls and have storage built in.  I'll keep you posted (this is really for me..journal of progress. : ) 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vintage Sign

This week I decided to try a technique I saw on Pinterest.  I repinned it to my DIY board knowing I'd want to give it a try sometime.

I bought some sticker letters and placed them on a piece of wooden slat that I had already painted with white crackle paint.  I brushed on some umber glaze and thought I'd leave it at that.  When I pulled off one of the letters to check, I didn't get the result I was looking for. So, I took out my blue acrylic paint and brushed that on with a sponge brush.  I wiped a paper towel across it to remove some of the paint.  Let it dry and it was just what I had hoped for!  Here are some photos of my process.  This was fun and easy, I'll be doing more of these.

Wood with crackle paint
Stickers on wood with glaze
Wood painted blue with stickers removed.
Final sign.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Disappearing Hollyhocks

JULY: It's been hot around here but worse in some parts of the country.  I feel badly for those without electricity and they have scortching heat!  I'd be sitting in water somewhere if that happened here.

Years ago I was on my way to a quilt documentation in Washington, NH.  I drove by a farm and there it was, an outstanding garden full of hollyhocks!  Amazing, so I had to stop and take some photos.  I guess I wasn't paying much attention and I didn't have my camera set to Large so photos weren't very good to use as enlargements.  I was always planning to return.  We drove over this past week, beautiful country roads and a nice ride.  But when we reached our destination, the flowers were gone!  What a disappointment : (   So we came home and I took some shots of my own hollyhocks. But I'll always remember coming upon that wonderous garden in my travels.  I hope you all find what you are looking for.  Have a good month, enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fiber Art Discharge Paste, fun, fun, fun!!

I tried some of the discharge paste I bought some time ago on line from ProChemical Co., and it was Fun!  I'll be doing more.  I just learned they have the product in a mist too so I'll give that a try.
I took a piece of dark commercial fabric and ironed on a stencil of two trees.  I had previously done some bleach discharge on this fabric and it turned orange.  I thought the trees would remain black and the background would become orange but that didn't happen with this product.
I traced the pattern onto freezer paper, cut it out and ironed it onto the fabric shiney side down.
Be sure and iron all the edges so the stencil will work as a mask and no paste will get under the stencil.
Paint the paste all over the fabric where you want it to discharge. Not too thick but make sure to cover well.  When the paste is DRY, iron with a hot steam iron and you will see the magic happen.  Warning:  use this product in a well ventilated area!  Wash out fabric, dry and press.

When I finished ironing the fabric I decided to add some interest to it.  I stenciled a bird on top of one of the trees with a blue paint stick and I stamped "Inspire" with a stamp and pad ink.  Now on to machine quilting.  I'll post the finished product soon.  If you'd like to try this technique, I'd be happy to answer any questions.  Thanks to Linda and Laura Kemshell for the tree pattern (that I altered.)  This was fun!  Make a little joy each day!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Pinning" Chicken Salad

Have you heard of "pinning" yet?  I've been Pinning on Pinterest and enjoy checking out what others have pinned as well.  Of course I have a Board featuring food that I'm calling "Daily Bread".  I found this recipe and re-pinned it to my board.  I thought I'd share it with you here on my blog just in case you don't "Pin".  Check out Jenna's Blog too, I've included the address for you.  Thanks Jenna for sharing
“My mom's friend Teresa used to be a caterer and this is her recipe. I got it from her several years ago and every time I make it everyone wants the recipe! It is SO yummy, but you have to make sure you use the right ingredients! It doesn't taste right if you don't use the mesquite chicken!”
Parmesan Chicken Salad
Source: Jenna's Journey Recipes via Teresa

1 Bag Sam's Club Mesquite Grilled Chicken (pre-cooked)
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Pre minced jarred garlic
1 bunch parsley
Lots of grated Parmesan

Defrost the chicken and chop it into very small cubes. Put into a large mixing bowl and add the garlic. Add mayo, olive oil and lemon juice as follows:

1 cup of mayo + 1 T olive oil + 1 t lemon juice.
I usually use between 1.5 - 2 cups of mayo for the entire bag of chicken and adjust the OO and lemon juice as needed.

Once mixed to desired consistency chop one whole bunch of parsley and add. Add as much cheese as desired - I usually use about 1.5 cups.
* NOTE: If you don't have access to Sam's Club brand mesquite chicken, I would marinade 5-6 chicken breasts in mesquite marinade for 5-6 hours, then grill and there you have it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Some New Photographs for Note Cards !

I have taken some pictures and made a few more into Note Cards to sell at upcoming Farmer's Markets and Fairs.  I especially like this one of my garden shed with the wreath.  My most popular photograph has been the Pink Truck and Camper with Bicycles.  I took that one a few years ago as the Castle In The Clouds Car Show.  I've sold many of them and I'm happy people like it enough to purchase one from me.  There are so many things on Etsy and many, many cards to choose from.  I'm always pleased when I get an order.  Recently a woman from Beverly Mass. purchased 12 cards and my two other recent sales were also 10 or more cards so I'm feeling pretty good about my shop right now.

Here's another favorite I took while visiting my daughter at her house.  She loves vintage and rusty things.  This rusty star is waiting to be put somewhere, but for now it's leaning against this moss covered tree and I thought I would make a good subject for a note card!  Let me know what you think.

Most of my note card photographs are also available in several size prints up to 16x20.  If you want a photo larger than that, just email me, I'll let you know the price and I'll set up a special order for you.  Canvas, Metallic and other prints are also available.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It is May But We've Had April Showers!

Yes, it's finally May, but here in NH we've had so much rain it still feels like April.  Ball games have had to be canceled and gardening put off until it warms up.

 I had a wonderful Mother's Day.  My children and grandchildren joined me at my home and we did some yard work.  I've weeded out some terrible grass in my herb garden with the help of my daughters.  I'm in the process of adding new herb plants but I'm waiting for it to get a bit warmer to add more.  Possibility of frost tonight!

Today my sister Dot and I went to the coast to visit our oldest brother, Dick, who is recovering from a stroke he had a week ago Wed.  He is still hospitalized and it may be another week before he can go to rehab.  He has good movement and he can talk thankfully!  He seems to have some trouble finding words, especially right after he naps.  But we did have a good conversation and he was very happy to see us.  I'll be going back some day next week.

After our visit I brought my sister home and stopped by my friend Kathleen's house.  She lives on a lake shore and she was on her porch spinning.  She noticed a very large loon in the cove and I had my camera with me so took a few pictures.  I'm not that pleased with the results, maybe I need to consider getting a larger telescope lens!  I'll post a couple of photos anyway. 

A busy time coming up with graduations and parties.  Have a good week!