Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Grinch Pills

Yesterday after school, the boys and I made "Grinch Pill Packs" for teacher gifts and whatnot. There's always someone that crosses our path that needs a little gift and it's great to be prepared! These are so cute and fun to make! Plus they don't require the obligatory dipping in chocolate mess, like our next project probably will...Oh yeah!
Brief instructions follow the pictures.



These are simple to make. It took us about an hour and a half to make a dozen, my kids are 11, 7 and 5 years old. Any age level appropriate embellishments can be used, we used stamps and stickers.

  1. Using standard card stock in green or red, cut in half vertically, into two pieces, 4 1/4" x 11". 
  2. Score them before folding to make crisp folds. Measuring from the left edge, score at 4" and 8 1/2" and then fold away from the score. This makes a nice envelope type fold, though the sides will be open.
  3. Trim the edges with fancy scissors.
  4. With the two flaps folded in, punch holes through the flaps, so the holes will match when you are threading the ribbon closure.
  5. Now decorate however you want, with stamps, stickers, glitter, markers, rick rack, ribbon, punches, whatever you have on hand.
  6. I found little zip bags in the craft jewelry and  beading department at Walmart and put in about a dozen green M & M style candies that I bought at Fresh Market. You can use any green candy, jelly beans or mints would be fine as well as any small bag for the candy.
  7. I taped the bags inside the pouch, though you could staple if you like.

The poem came from here, which was posted on Pinterest and I pinned to my Christmas board. Also from Pintrest, the idea for the pouch came from here, though I modified it to the size I wanted and changed how the ribbon was used.
You could make these in lots of ways, there's a poem out there for Snowman poop or other kinds of "pills." I thought about the winter blues and blue candies, and a poem like "Has winter got you down? Can't get to town? Just pop a pill or two and say goodbye to the blues!" Or some such thing...
I hope you try these!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Community & Homeschool Families EXPO & Used Curriculum Sale

I haven't had my Etsy shop, Bag & Baggage, active for a while, but this Saturday, I'm participating in this Expo as a quilter, crafter, sewist, beader, etc...I have a little of everything and the pics to show it...

Ever have trouble at the airport luggage carousel, trying to recognize your suitcase from everyone else's? Luggage tags measure 4"x3", with a strap to attach to the handle of the suitcase.

 Little bags, coin pouches, ID pouches to wear around the neck, cell phone pouches, etc...

Baby shoes, what more can I say but CUTE! 
 These thingies are the most handy items! They are microwave bowl or mug holders. Have you put something in the microwave to heat and then the bowl or mug is too hot to touch? Put one of these under the dish before heating and just pull out by the holder. No more burned fingers!

 Fun hats for young children! A Viking, a mohawk and of course a cow for wearing to Chick-Fil-A on free lunch day! Others include a bunny, cat and elf.

 This tea party set includes a handbag for the party goer, tea set and a tote to carry everything. Perfect for the little lady in your family!

Kindles, Nooks or other readers will fit nicely in these covers. They can be turned into an easel to make watching a movie or reading with no hands easier.
The small covers are for a phone or iPod and will turn into an easel as well.

These little beauties are knitting markers. I have several assortments of different beads. This one is purple glass beads, including an odd shaped one to mark the end of a row, the center or whatever special marking your pattern might need.

These are burpie and swaddler sets. 100% cotton flannel, double layers.
And of course, an assortment of handbags. I got into handbag making when the kids were really small and I needed quick to sew projects to feel like I was accomplishing something!

I hope you'll drop by my table at the Expo at Boones Creek Christian Church on Saturday, December 8, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. There will be lots of other vendors, including:
Kari's Heart Foundation
Gingerbread knick knacks
Tutoring Solutions
Eli & Zobella's Boutique
Everything Erin's Jewelry
Rodan & Fields skin care
The Sweet Tooth
Used Homeschool curriculum 
Cruise Consultant
Elizabethton co-op
Mary Kay
Visalus Rep
Gold Canyon
Tomboy Tools 
Baskets by Vickie
Organmi Owl
I got your back
Mystic Momma
Homemade Crafts
Crafts & Puppy Treats
Kreative Kristy 
Young Living Essentials Oils
Bags & Baggage
Initials Inc
Pet Friends Forever Daycare & Boarding
Al San Bella Treasure's
J Commons Photography
The Pampered Chef
Kreative Kristy Gifts & Jewelry 

See You There!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Craftsy Classes on Sale!

Hey, don't forget to follow the link on the right to see the selection of classes on Craftsy. They're on sale this weekend for only $19.99. Do you want to learn to sew, decorate cakes, knit or something else? There are quality classes available 24/7 for you to watch the videos anytime. No deadlines, no expiration dates, watch over and over or whenever!
Check them out!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New Pattern Available

Becky's Little Garden is not exactly a new pattern, but it is new in my Craftsy shop. I designed this a few years ago when my mom's new fabric line, "Fete de Fleurs, Poppies" was coming out. The pattern has been on her website for quite a while, but now I will be selling it from my shop.

The pattern is pretty simple, the best fabric choices are a large print for the big blocks and a smaller scale print for the smaller squares, then something that reads as a solid for the corner squares and triangles. Play with some ideas and see what you come up with.
I hope you are inspired!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Craftsy Links

You can see that I have added a couple of badges over on the right. One is because I think Craftsy's classes are high class and I recommend them. You can watch the videos anytime and as many times as you want and they are good quality, in depth and have easy navigation if you want to watch another segment of the lessons.  The other is because I have a pattern shop on Craftsy and I would love it if you would visit!

If you visit Craftsy from my links, you will give me credit for your visit, which would be nice. Just sayin'. Thanks!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Weekly Contest at the Quilting Gallery

I hope you remember the lovely Pond Challenge quilt that my friends on the Love of Art Quilts group on the Connecting Threads Quilt with Us community helped me to make. You can see the original post here.

Weekly Themed Quilt ContestsAnyway, this weekend, the quilt is entered in the Weekly Contest over at Quilting Gallery. Voting is open Friday through Sunday, so hurry on over and vote for your favorite...hope that it is my quilt!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Have you ever completed a large project and when done, you just don't want to start another large one yet? I've been in that frame of mind for about a month, since I finished Secret Identity (see previous post). So, while cleaning up Secret Identity's mess, I ran across several things. (Amazing, I finished four projects in less than two weeks!)

Years ago, I read an article in Quilting Arts magazine in the Fall 2004 issue called Art Quilting Made Easy that caught my imagination. It incorporated vintage photographs, vintage looking fabrics and embellishments into small wall quilts, measuring 9"x14" or so. Of course, I scanned the article and paid no attention to the actual instructions, but ran with the look of them and made my own.

Here are my efforts. I really like them. They were very easy to complete, the hardest thing to do is figure out the best embellishments to use. (Sorry that the photos make them look misshapen, they really are correctly proportioned!)

 Ancestors I, 8"x10", fused applique onto stiff, thick stabilizer (like Timtex). Lace, buttons, couched pearl cotton, photo transfer onto Electric Quilt's Printable Fabric. Vintage photo of my husband's grandmother.

 Ancestors II, 10"x14", fused applique onto stiff, thick stabilizer (like Timtex). Lace, beads, my handmade tatting, photo transfer onto Electric Quilt's Printable Fabric. Vintage photo of my husband's great grandmother.
So, after I made those, I was rummaging around in a bag of things my friend Shirlee had given me. This bag originally came from another friend, Betty Bryant's stash. After Betty had passed away, her husband gave permission for her friends to go through her things and most of her fabric was sold by our guild as a fund raiser. Shirlee had taken this bag of unfinished items home and recently found it when rearranging her studio. She offered it to me, knowing that I like to make art quilts, as Betty did.

In the bag, I found many fun things, but all would take more effort than I was willing to put in at the moment. I dug deeper until I ran across a sample block that Betty had made for her quilt Confusion. Confusion was made for a Loose Threads (art quilting group) challenge, in which each participant was given an emotion to use to create a quilt. 
I recognized it right away. Betty had used this block to test her quilting idea. She did random lines of stitching, interspersed with a couple of decorative machine stitches with a varigated thread in primary colors. There were scraps from her borders, a black and white and primary colored narrow inner border. I used the scraps to piece a new back, since she had used muslin for the sample and the back is just about as confused as the front! I added a primary colored stripe from my stash for the front border and bound it in black. I love how it turned out, I didn't have to work hard to do it either!

This last one is a project done for a group on Quilt With Us by Connecting Threads. It is a fun community of quilters, who share their work and their lives with others, whom we may never meet in person, but who are friendly and giving. 

There are many small groups to fit anyone's taste. I belong to several and recently a new group called UFO Swap was formed. Diane, the group leader, assigned partners and we were to trade UFO blocks and each create something new and return it to the original owner. 

Gwen sent me these (I had already partially dismantled the left block before I remembered to take a pic): 

And I created this: 

It is 4" wide and about 28" long. The poem says, 
Apple Pie
Sweet, tart apples 
and cinnamon spice,
with love and sugar, 

Secret Identity

Every other year, Tennessee Quilts in Jonesborough, Tennessee issues a challenge called Mountain Messages with a theme to inspire the creation of a quilt. This year the challenge was Outside the Box. Our Blue Ridge Quilter's Guild also uses this theme when the challenge is issued, in order not to conflict and make quilters choose one or the other.
This is my entry:

Mysterious and exotic, this girl is peeking out from the foliage. Is it her hair or the leaves that caress her face? Secret Identity is a study in transparent camouflage using batiks. Raw edge appliqué and seemingly careless free motion quilting add character and texture to the hair and grasses.

For me, Outside the Box meant trying something new, so I challenged myself with making an opaque fabric look transparent. Using two copyright free photographs, I placed the flower over the face in Photoshop and reduced the opacity of the flower to create a transparency and then traced a pattern. The hair and grasses were all cut freeform and placed for a pleasing effect.

Here we are, Secret Identity, her ribbon and me!

I am so thrilled to have won Best of Show in my guild's challenge!
It is a viewer's choice, so to be honored by my peers was really great! 

A couple of weeks later, she was entered in the TN Quilts challenge. I was so excited to see her hanging with a lot of other wonderful quilts.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Avacado Smoothie??

Have you seen all the pretty pictures on Pinterest? From A to Z, there is something for everyone. This morning, I was looking for a breakfast recipe that I pinned a while back and ran across a green smoothie pic that caught my eye instead. I had a package of spinach that needed to get out of my fridge or turn to slime...

I tried to follow the link to the recipe, but somehow that didn't work. So, I just winged it, throwing things into the blender and I think it turned out pretty good! I'm not a stylist, so the photo has wrinkled towels for a background, otherwise you would be looking at my 70's orange counter top and other cooking paraphenalia that always sits by my stove. It was the only open counter space. Oh well.

Anyway, a recipe like this can be adjusted according to taste or what you have on hand, but I think the basic ingredients are what made this taste good.

Green Smoothie
2 servings

1 frozen banana
1/2 avacado (peeled)
2 cups loose spinach
1 tablespoon cashew butter (or nut butter or your choice)
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tablespoon agave syrup (or honey)
1/2 cup orange juice

Run that blender on high until smooth. Stir down as needed. Mine came out with the texture of yogurt or pudding and I ate it with a spoon, but if you want to drink it from a straw, you will need more juice. I'm thinking of adding frozen strawberries or peaches next time. I'm saying this is 2 servings, but if you are hungry, one could eat the whole thing!
The flavor is delicious, neither the spinach, avacado or banana take over the flavor, but you can taste each. The nut butter is optional, I'm sure I can't taste it, but you might want the protein and possibly peanut butter would have a stronger flavor. I can't eat that, so I tried cashew. I think I'll leave it out next time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pond Challenge

I just finished a great project with the help of my friends on Quilt With Us, Love of Quilt Arts Group. I challenged 11 other friends to make a section of this photo:

I divided the photo into twelve 10"x10" sections and randomly drew names for each section and sent them to each woman. No one saw the entire photo until the end. 
Rules were simple, they could use any form of fabric plus embellishments, such as beads, angelina fibers or thread painting that they desired. They had to add 1/2" seam allowance on all sides, to allow for fudging adjustments when I put it together. They had to keep 3 dimensional adjustments away from the seam allowances to make sure I could sew it together.
One woman used caboshons for the bubbles, another used Inktense pencils to enhance her block. Several used angelina fibers, beads and fancy thread painting.

It turned out so wonderful!

Here are some detail photos:

I printed the label on Electric Quilt's printable fabric, using the original photo and placing each woman's name over the section they designed. It measures about 7"x9".

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Chicken

Here is a recipe that I modified from Moms With Crock Pots. I first found this while looking at Pinterest. Someone had pinned that recipe and it looked so good, but I can't eat canned soup. So, I decided I could make this without gluten. I forgot to take pictures and it wasn't too beautiful to look at either, so here is the recipe without a lot of fanfare!

GF Slow Cooker Chicken

4 Chicken breasts, bone-in or boneless
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup gluten free flour blend (Carol Fenster’s: sorghum, potato & tapioca starches)
1 cup sour cream
½ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup sliced black olives (optional I didn’t have these this time, but they would be really good!)

1 pkg gluten free pasta of choice. (I used spaghetti, because it was what was in the cupboard, but any shape would do.)

Place chicken breasts in bottom of crock pot, drop bacon evenly over top. In medium sauce pan, bring 1 ½ cups of chicken broth to a simmer. Remove from heat temporarily. Blend ½ cup of chicken broth with gf flour until smooth and whisk into broth. Replace on medium heat and stir until thickened (It should be very thick, like canned soup). Remove from heat and whisk in sour cream.  Pour mixture over chicken in crock pot, don’t stir. (The sauce formed a kind of seal over my chicken and kept it moist) Turn pot on high and cook for 2-3 hours, depending on how hot your pot gets.

When chicken is almost done, cook pasta until almost done. Remove chicken from crock pot. Drain cooked pasta and pour into sauce in crock pot and stir. Replace chicken for 10 minutes and prepare other side dishes (broccoli or green beans go well with this). Serve!

The thickened chicken broth seemed strange and gummy to me, but after it cooked with the chicken, the chicken put out more juice and the sauce got a lot thinner.
Putting the almost cooked pasta into the sauce lets it absorb the flavors and finish cooking. I use corn/rice pasta, I think it is good (my family had no idea it was different), but you can use whatever works for you.
I used the leftover pasta and sauce for soup by adding more chicken broth and milk, leftover chicken and leftover or frozen vegetables. Peas, corn and green beans went in, but broccoli or carrots would have been great too.
Leftover chicken can be used in casseroles or whatever. 

Let me know if you try it and how you like it!

Friday, February 10, 2012


This week, I finally finished my Elephants quilt. I had it on the design wall for a long time, throughout the process of working on it, I was constantly intimidated by the project I had taken on. From beginning to end, it was a challenge to get the right fabrics in the right places and then get it all tacked down with the quilting.
I am so pleased with it!
I know that elephants are not purple, but these ones wanted to be purple. I incorporated many colors, but the purple seems to be dominant, which is fine by me. I even impressed myself with the quilting as it shows on the back of the quilt. I used a burnt orange thread that just glows on the black backing fabric. It is a similar shade to the background on the front of the quilt. It is still obvious that I don't have a stitch regulator, since some stitches are too long and some are too short, but I am getting more consistent and overall, it looks really good, if I do say so myself.
Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gluten Free Scones

I have a recipe that my mom brought back from England, back in the eighties (read: before Starbucks), when not many Americans knew what scones were. I love to make it, because the scones come out light, tender and delicious. But since avoiding gluten, I have also had to avoid my favorite breads and that includes these yummy scones.
Now, I was doing the GF thing okay for several months until it came to Christmas. All those traditional goodies were wearing me down! I didn't cheat, because I really have resolved to avoid gluten as best as I can, since I feel so much better. I can't believe that I put up with all these digestive difficulties for so long and that going gluten free has changed it so drastically. But I was really fighting it for a while, until I began searching the internet for some good recipes.
Something I have been unable to understand about GF recipes is that the reviews will say it is wonderful, but when I make it, it is tasteless and the texture is disgusting. And why in the world, don't they put salt in the baked goods, when the starchy flours have no taste of their own?
OK, enough of my fussing about others' recipes.
After Christmas, I was craving some kind of treat. Everyone else was eating cookies, etc so I made a recipe from here for Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins that uses sorghum and oats and it was yummy. The muffins were moist and edible for days after baking, which was amazing to me.
Since the muffins were successful, I decided to give the scones a try using the GF flour mix by Carol Fenster. She uses sorghum flour and other starches in her mix. 
I didn't alter the recipe, though I did cut it in half, so I didn't have too many to eat, let alone the temptation to eat the whole batch in the first place! I added a bit of xanthan gum to keep the scones from being too crumbly and a bit of flaxseed meal to up the fiber and nutrition.
They turned out really well! Now that I made it from the standard recipe, I am going to attempt the pumpkin cranberry scones that I was making before I went GF.

So, if you have stuck with me through all the explanation, here is the recipe:

Gluten Free Scones
makes 4 scones

1 cup flour mix (Carol Fenster' sorghum mix)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (optional)
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 tablespoons milk (adding a bit more if necessary)
sugar & cinnamon blend for garnish

Prepare baking sheet by spraying with cooking spray. Blend all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut in butter, using a pastry blender or fork, until butter is down to tiny pieces. Add milk and blend into a thick biscuit-like dough, mixing in more milk if it is too dry. (Be very careful here, it will get too wet very quickly. I added about 2 teaspoons more.) Put a bit of oil on your hands and gather up dough, patting into a circle about 6 inches across and 1 inch thick on the baking sheet. Sprinkle sugar & cinnamon over the top as desired.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Tap top of scones, if top is crisp and springs back, they are done. Do not overbake, they will be dry.

I really hope someone likes these besides me. Personal tastes are different, so not everyone will like them, but I put them out there for the adventurous GF bakers to try.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas Gift

I'd like you to meet my grandpa, Jack Cooke. 
I made this portrait of him for my mom and stepdad for Christmas from a photograph I took of him years ago. When I completed it and hung it up to see how it turned out, I was so happy to see my grandpa looking back at me. I am especially thrilled with his overalls. I searched our local fabric store for something appropriate and was about to give up when I saw some seersucker, stuffed on a low shelf. I resigned myself to buy it, but wasn't sure it was going to work. Then I decided to over-dye it with gray, to create some shadow areas and it all fell into place. The crinkles in the seersucker actually work to look more like worn denim and the stripes are the correct scale for the size of the portrait. Happy accident!

How did I do this you ask?
I took a class at Quilt University online last fall. It was called "Realistic Portraits" by Marilyn Belford and I highly recommend it! She is a wonderful quilt artist and teacher. She was patient and very helpful with her comments and generous with her skills. Be sure to visit her website and see her fabulous quilts!

Dragon Star

This quilt was finished in August 2011, in time to give it as a gift to my son, to commemorate a special date of his. I began working on it over 10 years ago and for various reasons, it was never finished. I designed myself into a problem, when I couldn't figure out what borders to put on and I gave up and put it away. It was originally meant to be a bed quilt, but I discovered that it was only going to be a wall quilt when I pulled it out to finish it this year.
The dragon was painted on fabric by my mom, using a design that she had drawn into a painting for my son. It had two dragons, a castle and some other things, all done with colored pencil. It's very cool.
I fused and machine appliqued the dragon and then thread painted the details.
The design was adapted from Judy Dale's "Coriolus" and Judy Mathieson's "Mariner's Compass Quilts" book.

Zentangle Quilt

"A Tangled Adventure" is my foray into Zentangle drawing, combined with my love of quilting.  This quilt was actually finished last May, but I never got around to posting it. 
The drawings were done on white muslin with a Sharpie Pen (the new ultra fine point) and a Pigma Micron pen. I fused the fabric to freezer paper and began drawing. One drawing turned into all of these, I enjoyed the creation so much. There are three little hands in the blocks, one of each of the D's!
I entered the quilt in the Blue Ridge Quilter's 2011 Challenge, "Groovy Geometry". The requirements were to fit within a certain size and to include a 3D element, either in the piecing or as embellishment. 
I set these drawings into the attic windows style block and each drawing has some three-dimensional look to it. I intentionally picked fabric prints for the borders that looked like the zentangle drawings. The quilt is much straighter than it looks in the picture, it wasn't hanging very well. 
Detail photos below show the upper left corner and part of the label. I found the cutest font online, printed the words onto printable fabric and then drew other tangles around the edges. I really love how this turned out!