Quilting and Baby Quilts

ast week I was talking with a dear friend of mine, Tamy, about quilting and trying my hand at making a baby quilt this spring. I wish she lived closer so she could help me. I'm a novice when it comes to sewing. I'd love to learn, but I'm always so worried that I'll ruin the fabrics so I always hesitate to just jump in. I made the button-up shade in the nursery with my mom's help. LOTS of my mom's help. Actually my mom made the button-up shade in the nursery with a little of my hindrance, that's probably more accurate. I did make a basket liner, but it's seriously a bit wonky inside. Thankfully it's not noticable when filled with toys, but I've hesitated to finish the rest. I have to get to it sooner or later.

So I'm planning to spend a few weekends finishing the basket liners, but I'd also like to make a quilt for the nursery. Tamy was sweet enough to write up a pretty detailed post about quilting and getting started with the process for me to reference. I asked her for some tips and she wrote me a novel about how she got started, the tools she recommends for beginners, picking colors, easy patterns to get started, and how to keep it all organized. She is also hosting a giveaway of a few quilting patterns and a book, so if you are interested head over and leave a comment to enter.

I love the idea of a quilt like this. A fairly simple pattern with a twist in the corner, I just have to keep the "twist" simple enough for me.

Just a Minute... In February

ust a simple reflection on February, I'm joining in with Just A Minute over at August Street.

Reading... through all my magazines, cookbooks and recipes, paring down and being ruthless about what to keep.

Making... a package to send to Florida with cute magnets, paper toys, doodling placemats and assorted goodies for my niece and nephew.

Watching... my favorite shows aren't on right now, so I've been watching American Idol and reruns of The Big Bang Theory

Listening... to Alison Krauss in the evenings to help me sleep, her voice is sooooo soothing.

Loving... tumblr, I finally decided to see what the big deal was... I love it... look there for a photo or two or three each day.

Dreaming... of a latte in a not so quiet cafe in downtown Charleston, SC, spending an hour perusing the selections in Manifest (which is probably no longer there, but hey, I'm dreaming), sitting on the steps of the Customs House watching the people milling around on Market St.

Baking... cream buns for Bolludagur, spring cut-out cookies for above mentioned package

Want to join in? Visit Jenaveve over at August Street

Bolludagur - Bun Day in Iceland

Imagine being a young child sneaking quietly along the hallway towards your parents room, giggling and trying so hard to keep quiet. Your parents are in their bed listening and smiling, but immediately close their eyes and pretend to be asleep as they hear you creeping towards their room. You are armed with a colorful tissue wrapped wand and will be rewarded with a cream bun for each spank given to your parents before they get out of bed. You shout "Bolla, bolla!" ("Bun, bun!") as you wake your parents. Afterwards you all go downstairs for bollur/cream puffs for breakfast.

Bolludagur is always the last Monday before lent, and was by far my favorite tradition when I was younger!

Recipe for the Bollur/Cream Buns
Bollur or Cream Buns - Bolludagur

I wanted to share the tradition with you, so I made bolla and a wand to give you an idea of the morning. The thing is my memories and the reality or making the wand are amazingly different! I can't believe how much time went into making it, and can't imagine the amount of patience my mother must have had to make these with three little kids every year!

Supplies to make the wands: Tissue paper, round stick about 18" long, Mod Podge, brush, scissors

Start by completely wrapping the wooden dowel with a strip of tissue, I wrapped with 3 layers.
Start Wrapping

Here is the completely wrapped wand with the first bit of fringe cut and ready to wrap
Wrapped First Wrap Ready

Start wrapping with fringe, cut each new bit of fringe a little longer until you finish the center, then cut them shorter again. This will make it more puffy towards the center and taper off at the fringe ends.
First Fringe Wrap

Here's a closeup of the completed wand, so you can see the decorative cuts, and get an idea of length.
Wand Closeup

Monday Musings {42} - Michaels

Monday Musings Image with Lady

"When life inspires our home, our home will inspire our life."
-Melissa Michaels

Melissa has a blog The Inspired Room, I wrote this quote out a while back and stuck it to my inspiration board in my office, thought I'd share it with you today.

Pretty Paper Magnets

s a follow-up to yesterday's glass marble magnets post, I spent today cutting little tiny circles to finish off the magnets I was making. These cuties are going into my office. I still haven't tried the thumbtack idea yet, but I still have plenty of marbles to try it later. I separated them out by paper background type to make it easier to see the different ones.

Magnets Pretty Paper

To make these I cut out circles of scrapbook paper that will work well in my office about the size of the back of the marble. I coated the back of the marble with Mod Podge, applied the circle to the Mod Podge. Then I applied another coat of ModPodge careful to apply it just a smidge over the edge of the paper as well to help it adhere. After it dried I glued a magnet to the back with LocTite super glue.

I also made a paper punch and paint version yesterday.

I submitted this post to Paper Craft Thursdays at Kelli's There is no place like home, go there to see more projects, she makes the cutest cards!

Glass marble magnet project idea from Traci at Amazing Mae

Glass Marble Magnets

raci at Amazing Mae shared this cute Glass Marble Magnet project earlier this month. She used pretty papers and I have plenty left to do some of those as well. For now though I wanted to make a couple to send in a package to Florida to my niece and nephew.

William Magnets

Katie Magnets

CHPF Magnets

All of them on the fridge:
All Magnets

I used paper punches with cardstock for the shapes, I applied with Matte Mod Podge. Then coated the back of the marbles with two layers of paint, an aqua with teddybears and a creamy yellow with flowers and hearts. I wanted to keep it simple to keep the focus on the shapes. I attached the magnets with Loctite Super Glue. I hope they like them.

Friday I'm In Love {15}

o many bloggers down south are starting to share their gardens and their budding flowers and it's making me ache for spring, green and warm days in the garden. I'm dreaming of secret hideaways and garden tea parties...

Secret Gardens

Photo courtesy of Country Living

Photo courtesy of Southern Accents

Photo courtesy Velvet & Linen, an absolutely gorgeous blog

Tea Parties

Photo courtesy of Country Living

Photo courtesy of Coastal Living

Photo courtesy of Country Living

Photo courtesy of Country Living

Photo courtesy of Homes & Gardens

Free Paper Toys

arilyn makes some absolutely adorable free paper toys that you can download, print out and assemble yourself. I found her site, The Toymaker, through OhDeeDoh, and plan to print out a few on a color laser printer to send as part of a gift package to my niece and nephew. Some of the toys use items you might have around your house like pennies or marbles to work their magic.

What child wouldn't be enchanted by some of these toys, like Bowling Bunnies, the Circus Book, Bear Wagon, Spinners, a Pop-up Unicorn Box, Otter Paper Dolls, A Pupper Theatre and even some cute blank toys you can color yourself, like this aeroplane.

I love the simplicity of the toys, the detail in the illustrations transports me to an enchanted land of make-believe and fantasy. I love that an older child can assemble these themselves with a little adult surpervision. Enjoy!

All images © Marilyn Scott-Waters

Menu Plan Monday {26}

Monday - Pepper, Onion and Ground Beef Casserole
Tuesday - Pork Tenderloin with Asparagus
Wednesday - Roasted Chicken, Risotto and Salad
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Dinner out at The Toasted Frog
Saturday - Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Hamburgers, Homemade Baked Beans and Coleslaw
Sunday - Pantry Cleanout

Edited: I have to move fish and chips to next week, I scheduled a meal for Friday when I have had plans to go out for the last two weeks. Not sure what I was thinking. I move Friday to Saturday instead.
Join Menu Plan Monday over at The Organizing Junkie

Awards - Passing The Torch {4}

h dear, I've received some lovely awards in the last couple of months and been tagged and am finally getting around to tagging and passing the torch. Some of these are from quite a while ago, I didn't realize how far behind I had gotten with tags and award acknowledgements. I really do appreciate that you like my blog and think I'm worthy of these awards. Some come with instructions to tag other bloggers, others come with additional instructions. I hate to leave anyone out, so pick an award and consider yourself tagged!

I received this award from Christy over at Motherhood Unscripted

For this award I'm supposed to list 6 things that make me happy:
1. My hubby
2. My puppies
3. Spring flowers budding
4. A clean house
5. Raindrops
6. Reading in my backyard in the summer

Tamy at 3 Sides of Crazy has gifted me with a few, she didn't go crazy and give me a ton of awards at once. It just shows you how bad I've been about acknowledging them.

For this award, I am supposed to list 5 things I am addicted to.
My hubby - I just can't get enough of him!
Magazines - I've even blogged about this addiction, which brings me to my next addiction:
Blogs/Blogging - I could spend hours perusing the blogs in my list (which desperately needs to be updated!)
Reading - If I could pull myself away from the blogs, my nose would be buried in a book!
Dark Chocolate - Of course it was coming... this is an addiction I need to break!

I'm worried I may have missed 1 or 2, if I did please let me know. It's definitely not because it wasn't appreciated!

Monday Musings {41} - Whedon

Monday Musings Image with Lady

"Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping... waiting... and though unwanted... unbidden... it will stir... open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us... guides us... passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love... the clarity of hatred... and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we'd know some kind of peace... but we would be hollow... Empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we'd be truly dead."
-Joss Whedon

Happy Valentine's Day!

Roses from Dried Flowers Direct

I hope you all have a lovely Valentine's day.

Kristin share this link yesterday, so I was playing with it a bit... Have fun making your own messages!

Recipe Organization

s I mentioned in my Good Things book post this week, I desperately need to go through and organize my recipes. I have a terrible habit of bookmarking a ton of recipes to try and never getting to them, that doesn't even include all the recipes I've collected from books, magazines, friends, and family. Just based on the number of recipes I've bookmarked or saved from the internet alone I could make a new recipe everyday for the next 5 years and still have more to tackle.

Good Things - Organizing Recipes

New Recipes or Old Favorites?

They say variety is the spice of life, but really, if you are like me, you have favorite recipes... your family has favorite recipes... and you tend to make those same recipes. We sprinkle in some variety here and there, but our favorites tend to keep making their appearance.

So, I know I'm not going to try a new recipe every day for the next 5 years. It's time to purge.

My Current System Isn't Working

My current system for clippings and tiny recipe booklets is a magazine file box covered in contact paper. It doesn't work! I can never find anything... they are all contained, but I don't use it because there is no filing system or index to it at all. There are only a few sheets I reference in it and they are at the very front. I've been holding on to most of them because they came from my great-aunt when she passed. I need to be honest with myself though about whether I really need to keep all of it. She was famous for her fudge, it's a recipe I will treasure forever, but a lot of them are clippings from articles of recipes I don't ever remember trying. I'm guessing she had the same unhealthy addiction to recipe clipping as I do. Instead I'll go through them and offer them up to anyone who wants them and then part with the bits of paper.

Now, what to do with what I keep?

Food Magazine Clutter?

I do have a few food magazines, but how often do I really reference them. Not very. I'll make a few recipes the first month, and then it just sits. Plus most of the magazines have their recipes online, so I'll be checking the website before I decide to keep the magazine. If that particular recipe is not online, I need to scan or clip it rather than keep the entire magazine. It seems like more than 50% of a magazine is ads, so I'm wasting a lot of space storing ads for 1-5 recipes per magazine.

Some sites to check to name a few (let me know of others in the comments and I'll add them to the list):
Taste of Home
Recipes from the following Magazines: Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Cottage Living, Health, Oxmoor House, All You, Real Simple, Southern Living, and Sunset

Other Recipe Sites

Other options for finding recipes online so you can throw away the paper (let me know of others in the comments and I'll add them to the list):

Food Blogs

I also couldn't even begin to touch on the numerous food blog options out there (I have 29 in my feed reader 'Cooking' category, so I'll limit this to the ones I've made recipes from):
Baking Bites
Chocolate & Zucchini
Full bellies, happy kids
Seriously Good
The Kitchn
The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Wild Yeast

There are also countless other bloggers that intermingle recipes with personal or crafty posts that I've made recipes from:
3 Sides of Crazy
Angry Chicken
Curly Pops
Foxgloves, Fabrics and Folly
Jane Brocket
Posie Gets Cozy

Magazine and Paper Archiving

I like the idea of typing in recipes and having the clutter free digital copy, but you run the risk of transcribing errors: Missing an ingredient, incorrect amounts, tsp instead of tbsp would be a very easy mistake. So, how about scanning in the recipes? I do like the idea of Scanalog, but I don't see anywhere that indicates you can search on text. I think you are stuck searching based on whatever keywords you assign when you scan the item. Please correct me if you use the software and I am incorrect in stating this. Scanalog has no free trial to download so I can't make any recommendation either way.

I'd actually rather use something like Evernote or OneNote that will not only find any keywords or notes typed in the software itself, but also in scanned images (Scanalog doesn't seem to have this feature either). As a quick example I typed Mishmash in photoshop, saved it as a .jpg file and pasted it into OneNote, then searched for Mishmash (yes it's an odd word, but I had to think of a made up word with no possibility of already existing).

OneNote Example:

Note: Remember Mishmash is not text, but an image.

Now that is convenient, but Evernote has a much better text recognition engine. My opinion, but the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

EverNote Example:

See those extra handwritten looking fonts? The only one that Evernote didn't recognize clearly was the 2nd. It recognized that as JunkandMishmash, with no spaces, so it wasn't found. The other two it recognized just fine. They aren't in the OneNote example, because OneNote didn't recognize them at all so I left them out.

OneNote is $100, EverNote is free/$45 per year depending on how you use it. Want to use this for recipes and never sync to the web or another computer, you can turn off syncing and it's free? I know it will be a bit of a project, but I'm leaning towards scanning my recipes.

Recipe Organization Plan

My plan for organizing starting with scraps of paper, then booklets, then magazines and finally infrequently used cookbooks:
  1. Letting go: I'm going to toss and pass on any recipes that I know I will never make.
  2. Scan recipes and let software catalog them: I'm going to try both EverNote and OneNote and see which wins. I already use OneNote for other stuff, so it might make more sense to keep everything together. However, if EverNote does the better job with scanned text images, I will use EverNote.
  3. Honor an expiration date: EverNote and OneNote both date items. I'll keep untried recipes in one notebook and tried ones in another, if it hasn't been tried within a year and I didn't clip it for a particular occassion coming soon, it should go.
  4. Keep the favorites: There is no need to keep 15 chocolate chip cookie recipes, pick a favorite cakey, crispy, and chewy recipe. As I find a new favorite, I'll replace the existing favorite, don't keep both.
  5. Keep a recipe index: I plan on keeping a running list of the recipes that I try and what my thoughts were on them. I'll also keep a tally of how often I make it, once I've made it 5 or more times I'll transcribe it onto a recipe card for a permanent home in my kitchen. My computer is in the next room and I don't care to bring it in the kitchen where it could get spilled on or worse.

This needs to be cleaned out, so I can fit my favorites and not just every random recipe scrap.

Download a Free Recipe Organization Pack

I thought I'd provide a little free download for anyone who wants to use it. You can buy blank recipe cards from Avery and print your own, here are some recipe cards, recipe labels and a recipe notes worksheet for your home manual. I hope you like them. They are in Word 2007 format, if you'd like another format, let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to accomodate you. You can view Word 2007 in earlier versions of Word with this converter.

Download Recipe Organization Pack

Related Posts:
Want to create your own home manual?

Good Things - Beautiful Books

his book is almost an "obvious" choice since it's a Martha Stewart Living publication. Although, with all the books she's put out I only have 4. Can you guess which ones? I actually think the choices tell a lot about me, and not necessarily who I am, but who I want to be.

Kiy, a dear friend of mine, made a comment earlier today, which made me realize that she thinks my house is spotless and I'm perfectly organized. My dear Kiy, my house is not spotless... and I'm not perfectly organized. I will even share proof! My office looks closer to the before than to the after right now. Shhhhh, it's a secret! Now that I've shared it, I'm motivated to clear the desktop this week. Besides, I have a few projects for this month to share and I have to get going if I plan on finishing them.

My trick is to never let it get to the point where you just give up. Yes, life gets busy, rooms get cluttered... and even dirty. Creativity breeds messes... snippets of thread or paper, light layers of flour, stacks of books and post-it's. If I cleaned it all up every time I was done for the day until I had time to get back to it, I'd never finish a project. I'd spend too much time in setting everything up and getting comfortable! So I leave it, until I finish... sometimes this is a matter of a day, sometimes it's a few weeks. It all depends on how detailed the project and how busy my life is at the time. Eventually it all gets picked up and put away, but you can ask my hubby. A clear surface is just begging to be covered with a new project in this house! Especially a clear kitchen counter, it's just begging for a light dusting of flour.

What does all this have to do with beautiful books you wonder? Well, Good Things keeps me inspired to cover every surface with projects, as opposed to getting them put away!

Good Things - Cover

I love books that are not only beautiful, but also serve a purpose and are practical. I do have some that are simply beautiful, but they don't get pulled out and looked through nearly as often as ones that inspire me to action of some sort.

Good Things is a "best of" compilation categorized into seven overall topics: entertaining, cooking, celebrating, giving, gardening, decorating, and homekeeping. Given the content of my blog, this is perfect.

Good Things - Contents

Each section is filled with little projects and things you can do, and the basic instructions needed to accomplish each project.

Good Things - Cooking

One of my favorite ideas is the dinner kit from the Little Luxuries page in the Giving section.

Next time you're a weekend guest, give your host one less meal to worry about. Line a galvanized-steel pail with a dish towel, then fill it with everything needed to make dinner: spaghetti, tomatoes, fresh basil, crusty bread, mozzarella, and Parmesan, and flowers for the table.

Good Things - Little Luxuries

I absolutely love this gorgeous hanging bouquet of roses and think it would be lovely hanging from the door of the guest bedroom when company is coming to visit. You will need to nestle a container of water in the base of the cone for the flowers.

Roll a piece of fine-mesh brass screen into a cone shape and secure the seam with straight pins. Add a loop of wire for the handle.

Good Things - Roses

I will be working on organizing recipes next week, which is why I have the book out in my peruse pile this week.

Good Things - Organizing Recipes

There are so many ideas and projects in this book, I'd never be able to do everything that I want to try, but it's great to have around, bookmarked for a rainy day.

Oh, the four Martha Stewart books I currently have... Let's see... a book on organizing, a homemaking bible, a cookbook, and a book of pretty projects... that about sums it up! (Back to the question)