what’s been going on in my world 

how is it mid march of 2017 already?  It’s just crazy.  
I haven’t been around much. The start of the year was quite tough for me.  Saving you all of the details, we had to put my beloved 13-year old, love of my life, Fenway down. 

It was truly one of the most heart breaking things that I’ve ever had to do. This girl was my world.  When everyone else left, she was there.  Day in, day out.. she loved her frisbee like crazy and loved to go for a ride in Zola with me. 
The void in my heart is real and raw.  I’m happy that she is in a better place and after months of watching her slowly decline, I’m finally at peace knowing that she is at peace.
That doesn’t mean that I’m not a hot mess, because that I most definatly am… but I’m slowly getting better 

During all of this, I’m mamanged to stay creative.  Sewing is very therapeutic for me.  Last year I finished a quilt called ‘City Sampler’ designed by Tula Pink.   I sandwiched it at the retreat last summer, then stared at it.  I was petrified to quilt it..  I made the descision to send it out to be professionally quilted.  Kathy Did the most beautiful job !

I am in love with how this quilt came out. It took me almost 2 years, and was worth every second that I put into it. 
I also worked on a wall hanging for my sewing room 


It took me a solid week to pick out my fabrics.  What was  great was that it was all scraps!    I decided to quilt this one myself. I practiced for days, then took a deep breath, and free formed it 


I honestly don’t think that I took a breath the entire time that I quilted this. 

I made a paper-pieced pillow 

 This was especially fun because it was all made from my stash! 

I’ve been working on some other things too, but I can’t share them because they are going to be gifts.
And lastly, I joined a weekly quilting challenge and have had fun using this fabric that I’ve been holding onto for awhile 

So that’s about it.. it’s been a rough start to the year, but there have been really good things that have happened as well.  That’s what they say, right?  It all about balance?

Be prepared to see a Lot of this baby in the upcoming months.  Once I put my mind to something….

Happy Sunday, friends..  coming out of the fog is very nice. 
Up next.. how to grow your own sprouts! 

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quilting retreat summer 2015

howdy folks!  Remember last year when I went on my quilting retreat? Whelp, I was lucky enough to do it again this past weekend. 

It was organized by the very talented Sandra Clemons and the founder of our guild, Liz. If  you are a crafter, you really should follow Sandra’s blog. She has some wonderful giveaways and is always teaching something new! 

We stayed at a lovely Inn, about 60 miles south of Denver. The inn is nestled in the woods and just being there was rejuvenating. 

  

They provide us with 3 meals a day, round the clock non- alcoholic beverages ( we provided those ourselves 😁), a designated room where we each set up our sewing areas and had round the clock access to sew as early or as late as our little hearts desired. 

There were about 20 of us that attended this year.  I was a bit intimidated by the talented women that were there, but really, that was silly. 

I had known a handful of them from meetings I’ve attended in the past. There’s always a bit of trepidation when you sign up to spend 4 days with people that you don’t know very well, or in the case of about 1/2 of the ladies, not at all. 

I had the very best weekend.  We checked in Thursday noon and I stayed until lunchtime on Sunday. I made many new friends, strengthened friendships with those who I didn’t know very well, and learned so much!!!

I cannot even begin to tell you how much this weekend rejuvenated me.  It was therapeutic in many ways and nourished my soul. 

We each brought along all of our own supplies and projects.  It took me a few days to get organized prior to the retreat.

  

I brought 3 projects with me.

Outdoor fabric to make cushions for our wicker set on our porch 

  

A scrap project ( yay! Free!) from a quilt challenge that I started 2 1/2 years ago!  (The dowel is just resting on the gate, that’s why the top looks a little funny) 

  

 

And a jelly roll that I had kicking around my sewing room for lord knows how long..  That I turned into this 

  

It’s always nice to get away from everyday life and just reconnect with yourself and others. We’ve already booked next years’ retreat and I’m seriously counting the days down ( 365 to be exact 😉) 

  

Here’s our group photo! 

Happy crafting and cooking!  

Ps…  I have a pretty tasty giveaway coming up in the next day or two, so stay tuned! 

Smooches- shel 👣👣👣

blooming nine-patch quilt

Happy new year and a month.

I go through spurts of being wordy, and I feel one about to start .

So here I go!

About 7-8 years ago I really wanted to learn how to quilt.  I had dabbled a little up until then, mostly self- taught with many, many mistakes and even more projects just tossed in the trash in frustration.

At the time, I had just met a neighbor of mine who had been a quilter for many years, and an absolutely wonderful woman.

She he had taken me to her home to show her quilt studio to me and I was blown away with how beautiful it was and even more stunning were her collection of quilts throughout her home.

She showed me this one quilt that she had made, Blooming  Nine-patch.  I was in love.  She convinced me that I could make it ( and I reaaally doubted her)

she he offered to go with me to help pick out my fabrics and she lent me her book with the pattern in it.

I had never attempted something this big and found myself overwhelmed, though I did keep working on it, often struggling to remember where I was in the whole quilt- making process.

Once I thought I had a good idea of what I was doing, my eldest son got married and I pushed my  quilt aside to make he and my daughter-in-law their wedding  quilt .

I’ve since made many lap quilts, and over the years I would go back and work on my quilt ( now dubbed Scott’s quilt because he was sure I’d never finish it abd it seemed to him like I made one for everyone but him. ). I would often get frustrated, work on it for a short time, then move on to something more  ‘instant-er’ gratification.

This past year has had life change direction dramatically for me and part of that includes my own sewing room and  a new years’ resolution to organize  Everything in it.

I fell shortly before Christmas while skiing with my family and had a lot of downtime while waiting for diagnosis and treatment plan ( trying to organize tests during Christmas week is not easy ) so I started on organizing my stash

( because it required a lot of sitting and that, my friends , was something that I could do )

image

( my big helper, miss Fenway )

( more on that later, I did a lot of research on how to organize, and took bits and pieces of what I learned and applied it to my personal stash)

I found myself moving ‘Scott’s’ quilt, now about 90% done, from space to space! trying to move it out of my way.

And just like a lightening bolt from above, I decided that finishing this would be one of my new years’ resolutions .

After my surgery, I set the sewing machine up for free- motion, arranged the quilt in my machine and would hobble over with my crutches for about 10 minutes at a time, and slowly progressed …  And as of last night…

image

..Completed.  When I talked to Ali on the phone this morning her response was, ” which quilt? Not THE quilt? Are you kidding ? Does dad know? ”  I won’t even get started woth the comments from my sister….

here are a few more photos of it.  I’m in love.

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I’m very proud of myself :). I know this blog has been about food, but I think it’s kind of taken a different turn.  Since I’ve become an empty-nester, my creativity feels like its exploded ( in a good way )

While going through my stash, I’ve come across fabrics left over from projects that I’ve made over the last few years and realize hoe few photos I’ve taken of finished projects, many of which I’ve given away as gifts

the tote bags that I made for my mother-in-law and grandmother- in law for Christmas a few years ago

the jeweler bags that I made my sister in laws and niece for Christmas this year

many of the quilts that I’ve made

the hooded towel that I made for my nephew’s little girl

I just never thought to take pictures and coming across the fabrics that I chose for the gifts made me smile and remember why I bought them

( Scott’s grandmother loves lighthouses and I searched for the perfect lighthouse print for her bag …  I found one little square of the print left in my stash )

sooo, 2014 will have me sharing my finished projects. And since blowing up my Facebook wall most likely has my non- crafter friends bored as a board, I’ll be sharing here !

I still love food, but a significant weight gain in the last year, combine with still healing from surgery is not very kitchen- friendly for me , so until then allow me to indulge in my out of control crafty side !

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I’ve spent 27 years being proud of my childrens’ accomplishments, today, I’m proud of mine 🙂

ricotta.

I can’t seem to get Dexy’s midnight runners’ out of my head today. Anyone else??

 

I know that the song is about  EILEEN  but in my head I’ve been singing IRENE. I know, I can be twisted.

Kay.. enough of that. who likes Cheesecake?

Lasagna?

Cheese ravioli?

yeah. me too. and three.

Ok.. guilty, when it comes to cheese I eat one and a half my portion of a serving. Sometimes more.

I must have som kind of mis guided genetic mutation. Yeah, that sounds good. It couldn’t POSSIBLY be my lack of self control??

nah.. didn’t think so.

 

I like super-dee-duperly love cheese

 

It is the sole reason that I could never become vegan.

Cheese. I love ricotta cheese. I used to be able to buy an imported one that I just LOVED. Then the store stopped carrying it. That one cheese ruined me for any other ricotta. Ruined. I swear I could always taste the careseaguem gum ( or whatever it was called) in most grocery store brands.

I’ve seen fresh ricotta in the gourmet cheese section, but just could not stomach the price.

Imagine my surprise when I came across a recipe for freshly made home made ricotta. made at home! (hmm. probably why it is called home made?)

If you are ready to walk away right now, thinking ” no way. she might be able to do it, but I never will.” then STOP. right in your tracks. You CAN do this, you  SHOULD do this & you will not believe the results! ( and never ever need to recycle a plastic ricotta container that the ricotta had started sucking the plastic container taste into.)

adapted from epicurious

you will need.

1 quart ( 32 ounces) of milk ( I used 1 %)

1 Cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

juice of 2 lemons.

cheesecloth-lind strainer over a bowl

In a large pot over high heat, bring milk, cream & salt to a rolling boil, stirring often so that it doesn’t scorch.

Then add the lemon juice, again stirring often until it curdles. ( don’t be grossed out, we WANT it to curdle) Cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

Slowly pur mixture ( be careful. it’s hot *sizzle*) into cheese cloth lined strainer

*FULL disclosure*

Ryan came up while I was making this today just as I was pouring it into the strainer. I SWEAR to you.. It hit me at that moment why it is called cheesecloth!  HE said, “mom, you are kidding me!!” sadly. no.

 

and let it drain. Once curd is separated from the whey, place in the refrigerator to chill (keep a bowl underneath because it will continue to drain) .

Now when I made it yesterday, I through out the whey. But I have been reading about ways to use it AND got to thinking about how much we pay for whey protein in the store.  HMMM???

 

so today I drained it into a mason jar. I will find a use for it.

Muhawww!

so here is the final product

what? you want a closer look?

cool. buckets. I’m yer girl 🙂

this was amazing on our pizza last night.. and will somehow be a part on tonights’ dinner. Please try to make this. I can only compare it to….

jarred store- bought sauce vs. home made marinara

 

chocolate flavored candy disks vs. Godvia Chocolate.

giant jug of wine to Vintage cabernet.

Easter peeps to.. well, really?… anything……

ok.. one last bit of news .. My half-sister gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl today!

welcome to the world, Kalli Grace… I will embroider your quilt & send it on you way!

I made it for you with much love 🙂

~aunty shel 🙂

 

girls’ night out & garlic party

Busy weekend ’round here. My talk at the breast cancer walker

information session was quite easy. No one showed 😦

I was able to meet my ‘walker buddy’,  Jennifer & got some of the behind -the-scences information. She mentioned that during the winter she has info sessions with upwards of 30 people, and wanted to know if I felt comfortable coming to one of those.
She asked me if I could bring some of  my quilts that I’ve raffled

‘raffle quilt 2009’

pink breast cancer raffle quilt

which means that I need to start to think of what kind of quilt I will make for 2011…

Then Scott & I went to Plato\’s Harvest Organic Farm for our CSA

the turkeys are getting BIG!!!

shel picking herbs at the farm

Sat night there was a surprise 40th birthday party for a friend that included a Limo trip into  Boston & an award-winning broadway show Rock of Ages ..

SO. MUCH. FUN.

erika and I

my best buddy, Erika & I prior to the limo arriving.

ok.. you’d think that I’d have more pictures of this night.. and trust me, there are pictures, but none that should be shared on the internet 😉

I’ll try to see if I can scrounge some respectable pics up from someones else’s camera to add….

While the girls were in the city.. the boys were making ‘man food’

bacon cheeseburger on glazed donut

Bacon cheese burgers on…. wait for it…

grilled glazed donuts.

This would never happen if I were actually home.

Poor Ali, stuck here with the two of them….

She had Ice cream for dinner 😉

I know, I know… mom of the year, right?

Then Saturday morning we were up early *yawn* to head back to the farm to participate in the annual garlic planting party!!

and it was held in conjunction with the 350 mission

garlic

 

photo courtesy of Shasha Purpura

 

we began with separating the garlic heads  into cloves

this took us almost 2 hours…. we’re talking LOTS of garlic!!

then Farmer Dave prepped the one of the fields for planting

with a couple of cuties along for the ride…

we planted.. and planted. and planted.then we had lunch!!

quite possibly the best lunch that I’ve EVER had.  Everyone’s addition to this pot luck was over-the-top!!

Then we dug for some taters…

My contribution for the day- (food wise) was my

Cranberry-Cashew Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

cranberry-cashew quinoa salad

1 cup quinoa , rinsed

1 cup chicken stock

3 cups h2O

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup cashews, toasted

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 bunch parsley, chopped

1 bunch mint, chopped

1 small carrot, grated

1 whole lemon, zested & juiced

1/4 cup  canola oil

a few splashes of Raspberry wine vinegar

Kosher salt & pepper

what to do:

In a large saucepan, bring rinsed quinoa, stock, a dash of salt & water to a boil; Reduce to a simmer & let cook for 20 minutes.

if there is any excess liquid, drain it, but don’t rinse.

Add remaining ingredients & toss to combine. Season with salt & pepper.

This is one of those fhb dishes that is delicious hot or cold or even room temperature ( which is wonderful for a pot-luck)

I let the quinoa come to room temp before I wrapped it for the party…..

yum!

what a great weekend!!

 

photo courtesy of Sasha Purpura

 

a walk to remember

It’s been awhile since I posted and I really don’t have a good excuse. Actually I have many, but none that I will bore you with 😉

Thanks to all who supported me by buying raffle tickets for the quilt to benefit my walk. The winner was Blaine Schnare .. I am currently working on the label & will ship it soon. Congratulations!!

ali &I at the end of 40 miles!

best cheerleader.. EVER!

I will be making another next year to raffle.. possibly 2, since my daughter, Alison will be walking with me as she will  finally be  old enough 🙂

Some of you may already know, but I am scheduled for a long- awaited surgery at the end of this month that will have me incapacitated for the majority of the summer. Since I do not sit still well at all, I have been busy trying to find projects to help me occupy my 6 weeks of recovery.

One of my projects is learning to English Paper Piece.

My friends at Tumbleweed Quilts have helped me get started on this process.  What a great group of  ladies!!!!
Making hexagons is something that  I believe can only be done by hand, so it is the perfect  project for me to try this summer.

Here is the beginnings of my hexagons

hexagons

I found this quilt online  and the pattern is Grandmother’s flower garden.  I am trying to find what website that I found this on, but cannot. I will continue to try and in the meantime give credit to whomever made this beautiful quilt!

Given the nature of the quilt, I wanted to make mine with ‘antiquey’  types of fabrics.  The ladies at Tumbleweed Quilts assisted me in picking out circa 1930’s reproduction prints..

1930’s reproduction fabrics

With this print being the center of each flower!!

I am so excited about making this quilt. From the little bit that I have done while learning using my stash, I can tell you that these are VERY addicting.

I have other projects planned as well & will keep up to date with my progress on my blog 🙂

Thanks for reading & stayed tuned for my very next project… decorating my crutches.. I get them tomorrow.

(you didn’t think that I would have boring crutches, did you? )

xoxox

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