Sunday, February 24, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Free Form #1

I am finished and it is hanging in my office at work! I am so excited. 

I attached the binding by machine last night. Not the best job on the back. Since I knew it would be a wall hanging I sewed the binding down from the front rather than catching it while sewing from the back.  It is perfect on the front and my corners look really good. Considering I have only bound 2 quilts before this, I am pleased with the results on the front. The back has red lines on the off-white muslin.

I don't mind, I will be more careful when I sew the binding on a quilt that is meant to be used--or sew it down by hand.

These modules with the windows are my favorite parts, although I like the checkerboard at the left and the black and white stripe at the top.

The fabric really worked out well too. Some of it actually looks like hand printed fabric and even though I purchased a collection, my addition of the red really gave it a pop that I love.

Still plodding along on the Rambling Rows blanket...

Although in this picture the colors are a little more true than the picture from my phone, they look better in person. These needles meant for children are the perfect length for this project.

Tomorrow I am taking a class at Cloth & Bobbin in Narberth. The class is Sliver Pillows and I hope to have a finished pillow by the end of the day. I really wish I had not signed up for it as I would rather just stay home and start my next quilt (a string quilt, which coincidentally was the last class I took at this shop--a UFO), but I always feel that way and then wind up learning something and am grateful I went.

Baci e abbracci...

Friday, February 15, 2013

PAFA Animal Drawing Class

I took this picture when I walked over to the Historic Landmark Building to get my lunch. As soon as you walk into the student entrance the floor is lined with cardboard to protect the floor from the horse's hooves.

When I used to go to that building more often (I work in our other building) I would see the cardboard on the floor and get excited because that was the sign that the horse was in the building. Other times I would see the trailer that brings the horse and go into see it.

One of the most beautiful sights is that of the freight elevator doors opening and the horse stepping off. Such a majestic animal!

The horse is in a studio for an Animal Drawing class. Imagine a horse inside a museum!

In the news this morning was the scandal about horse meat in Great Britain. People  have gotten very upset about this and with cause, however, why is it okay to eat a cow but not a horse? I am not a vegetarian at this time, but I was from 18 to about 36 years old, with much of that time being a vegan and I was very serious about it. Now I eat cows, chickens, turkeys and sometime pigs. I also eat fish, but have stopped eating crab and lobster because I actually have seen that animal suffering during its last days in some small tank or on its back on a pan, always with its claws tied with a rubber band. Imagine your hands tied until you are finally boiled to death? I have kept from viewing that suffering of the other animals I eat because as long as I don't see it, I can still allow myself to be in the dark and eat those things. I know it is wrong, but do it anyway.

I am certainly not advocating the slaughter of horses for meat; I am just making the point that people get upset when an animal they can identify with in some way is in their burger and don't really think about it when it is some "dumb" animal they have convinced themselves was put on earth as a source of food for humans.

When I am photographing the horse and it looks at me with those soulful eyes I connect with him/her. I imagine he/she sees a compassionate person and is pleading for help. I would see the same thing in the eyes of a cow.

Even though I love to see the horse when it comes to PAFA, I still am against the people who brought him/her to us. I hate the use of horses to pull carriages. There is absolutely no reason for that with the widespread use of automobiles. It is bad enough to have horses ridden as work animals and for pleasure let alone pulling the weight of the carriage and the people on it in center city traffic. I also know that some of the carriage companies and stables mistreat and abuse their horses.

I hope that when we retire to Italy I can have a little shelter for the stray dogs and cats with a small pasture for horses that are no longer wanted on our land in front of the house. It would take a bit of funding so I cannot really see it as a reality, but one can dream...

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Smartphone

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Rambling Rows Charity Blanket

Knitting during my lunch hour at work. Now I am anxious to get this done...

baci e abbraci

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Smartphone

Hitchhiker is Finished!

I have to tell you I was getting a little tired of this one, but it was worth it. Mr. R. is in love on this Valentine's Day--with Hitchhiker... 

He has never raved so much about a scarf. This one is a great design, and even though I used inexpensive sock yarn, it feels good (nice hand) and drapes nicely. And the ombre color is really pretty. I received many compliments while I was knitting it.

Patons Kroy Sock yarn is a real bargain these days at about $5.69 for a 50 gram ball. And with a coupon from A C Moore or Michael's it can be even less. The pattern used almost all of 3 balls. 

Baci e abbracci...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Forgot to Show You Something...

Here is another arrangement of my quilt:

 I took away many of the light colored units when I decided that this would be a wall hanging. It has changed again from this arrangement and is almost ready to quilt.

Happy Valentine's Day

Mr. R and I do not exchange Valentine’s Day presents or even celebrate that day any differently than any other. This year, however, I wanted to give a couple of gifts of chocolate (including Mr. R because how could I buy nice chocolate for others and none for him—and a lit bit for me). When it came time to wrap it I was stumped. How do you wrap a little cellophane bag of Valentine chocolate? I surfed the net and found some cute little muslin bags that were dyed in food coloring. I thought: I have food coloring, I can do this. But then I thought: I do not have muslin bags. Frankly, the bags shown in the tutorial are purchased from an A C Moore or Michaels and have a draw string at the very top that I could remove to cinch the bag lower with a ribbon, but I thought--I have muslin and I have made draw string bags so why not just make the bag? The bag takes literally 10 minutes to make and the dying process less than that. I used this tutorial for the bag.

The tutorial shows how to make a pretty ombré dyed bag. I couldn’t quite manage that so I went for a more tie-dyed look.

I used liquid food coloring that came in a box of red, blue, yellow and green. I squeezed about 5 drops into a small bowl of water (temperature of water is not important) and dunked the dry muslin bag into the bath. Keep dunking and squeezing until you feel the fabric is saturated and the color is rich. Then I laid the bag on top of the bowl and squeezed food coloring directly onto the bag like polka dots. I let it sit that way for maybe 3 minutes while the dots spread on the wet fabric and then dunked and squeezed the bag into the bath again. Then I squeezed the excess water from the bag by rolling it in paper towels (which also came out very pretty and I will save with my other ephemera for some other project that has not come to mind as of yet). Lay flat to dry on a cooling rack from your baking supplies (remember this is food coloring-not dye so it is safe to use in the bowls and racks you cook with). When dry, iron and thread a pretty ribbon through the bag.

The tag was made with a rubber stamp and tied on with string.

This is a really cute bag for any small gift and could be used for Easter candy and gifts when a basket is too much. This is also a good project to do with children since you are using food coloring rather than toxic dye. It is the same concept as Kool-Aid dying.

The little green bag is for Mr. R.

Baci e abbracci

Friday, February 8, 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hesh's Bakery

Although I am certainly not a foodie, I thought I would write a little review of a local bakery that deserves to be in the spotlight. In the haze of new upscale and boutique style bakeries this one is a stand out for the quality and pricing of its baked goods.

Hesh’s Bakery, aka Hesh's Eclair Bake Shoppe, at 7721 Castor Avenue is an absolute find. It has been in business since 1959 and has all of the treats I remember as a girl, the little cookies with jam or chocolate drop centers, cinnamon twists, elephant ears, cupcakes with icing and jimmies, and brownies with chocolate icing.  They are an old-fashioned bakery without all of the hype of the one-hit wonders that are currently popular with their flavored cupcakes and red velvet everything.

Hesh’s Bakery has the best birthday cake in the city. It comes in plain or their famous chocolate chip pound cake with regular or butter cream icing. I always get butter cream because that is my number one favorite sweet. The cake is great, but the icing is the deal breaker because they have gotten it just right, dense and sweet, but not too sweet. If you do not need a whole birthday cake, which by the way is very reasonably priced, you can get a chocolate chip loaf iced. If you need just a little fix try a High Hat—a little piece of regular pound cake with a high dollop of butter cream icing all dipped in chocolate. Another instant fix is Hesh’s new cupcake made from their plain or chocolate chip pound cake with either vanilla or chocolate butter cream icing.  They also make cakes that have a layer of chocolate and a layer of vanilla cake with butter cream icing that is about $10. Now that I have probably sold you on the cakes, let’s move on to my next favorite sweet—the Almond Cup.

The what, you say? The Almond Cup. This is not a little piece of cake and some pieces of almond and sticky bun syrup. In fact, there is not one almond in the whole thing, but lots of yummy almond paste! It looks like a muffin but is actually a pastry. The almond paste is swirled on the middle and on top with sugar and a few raisins. Lately, I have been escaping into almond cup heaven every morning with a cup of coffee. It is a little habit that I have gotten into, that I unfortunately need to get out of if I want to fit into my clothes. But they are truly irresistible. I buy them six at a time and keep them in the fridge for the week. My mom freezes them.

Now I could be wrong, but I have never seen an almond cup anywhere else, so this alone is worth the trip to Northeast Philadelphia. I have never given an almond cup to anyone who has not just loved it.

Hesh’s also makes other great pastries, breads and cakes so whatever you have a sweet tooth craving for, Hesh’s can fulfill it. The bakery probably has not changed much over the last 20 or more years so don’t expect any fancy little bake shop with cute tables and coffee service. Just expect a nice person to wait on you and a great sweet treat!

P.S. They are prepared for Donut Day and are open at 6:00 a.m. They make fabulous cream donuts like little sandwiches and what else? Icing in the middle! And they also have jelly filled and chocolate cake donuts.

P.S.S. This is an unpaid endorsement, just because I felt like it. I get a little bugged with all of the she-she-la-la bakeries that are popping up and the never ending cupcake rage about cupcakes that don't taste as good as the old fashioned bakery stuff. I will say that there is one chic bakery that is all the rage in Philly and has really good tasting cupcakes, and that is Whipped Bakeshop. Zoe Lukas bakes up really original, creative cookies, cakes and cupcakes that are great tasting as well. (Another unpaid endorsement, just because I felt like it.)

I will try to get some photos of goodies from Hesh's and you can find Zoe's work at Whipped Bakeshop.

Baci e abbracci...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Working the Free-Form method using a jelly roll and various other fabrics this is a first try on the design wall. I am just placing the modules as I make them so this photo is really just a record of one option. I will be making more monotone modules and then some more black and white strips (a la Missoni).

Making progress on the Hitchhiker shawlette as well, but a little slower than I would like.

The charity blanket (Rambling Rows) is also slow-going.

More later...

Baci e abbracci