Monday, October 31, 2011


One of my friends' church is sponsoring a young woman who is homeless and pregnant. I don't know her story on how she got to where she is today, but do know she needs all the support she can get to learn how to cope with her current situation and the strength to make the necessary changes to bring herself to a better place... and Hope.

A group of women in the church put on a baby shower for her and I was asked if I wanted to contribute anything. So, I began working as I had one week before the shower.

I think the heirloom stitched footprints are perfect for a baby gift. Don't you?

I just love the pink and brown color combination. I'm going to have to buy more of these prints as I'm sure there will be another request for a baby gift.

Although I know there are many people who give of themselves for others, I believe those who knit, sew, and quilt are some of the most generous and thoughtful people I've ever met. 

Do you have a favorite charity you contribute to?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Birthday Swap Block - Blackford's Beauty

I have another Birthday Swap block to share today.

This block is called Blackford's Beauty and is for my friend Mary. Mary's request was for any 12" block in a purple and green palette which are two of her favorite colors. This is such a fun color combination. Above is my version of the block. I really like how this one turned out and think I'm going to be making more of this block. For me, this is a more challenging block because there are a lot of pieces requiring a lot of seams to be matched.

This block was found at the Quilters Cache site. Are you familiar with Marcia Hohn's site? It is a great site with tons of free block patterns as well as reference tools. If you haven't browsed her site, please click on the link and scroll to the bottom of the page where there are several useful links to choose from.

So tell me, what have you done lately?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Homemade Granola

I love granola but I have to be careful because most granola contains coconut and I'm allergic to coconut. So I make my own, which is probably better for me since I can control the amount of fat and sugar I add to it.

Dena's Granola

4 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3 cups raw nuts (I use a combination of almonds, pecans, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds)
1/2 Tbsp wheat germ
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup honey (I use local flavored honey)
1/3 cup brown rice syrup (found in the natural health food section at the store)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups dried fruit (I like cranberries, apricots, raisins, and figs)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees with oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Spray two baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray. I line my baking sheets with parchment paper because it is easier to scoop the granola into a container after it bakes and has cooled down.

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine applesauce, oil, honey, brown rice syrup, and brown sugar. Stir well to dissolve brown sugar. Combine liquids with dry ingredients and stir well making sure the dry ingredients are well coated.

Divide the granola evenly onto the two baking sheets and bake for about 35 - 40 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your granola. I like mine a light golden brown because I find it is too crunchy after it cools.  I stir mine about every 10 minutes to ensure it browns evenly.

Remove the granola from the oven and place onto cooling racks. Using my hands, I stir the granola periodically as it cools to keep it from sticking. Once it is cooled, place into an air tight container (I use ziploc bags) and store in the refrigerator. Mine doesn't last very long, but it will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of months.

A note about brown rice syrup... This has a mild sweetness and is an excellent substitute for sugar because it it doesn't cause your blood sugar level to spike and it is allergen free.

We use ours in yogurt, as a topping on ice cream, and as a breakfast cereal. Hope you like my version of Granola.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Birthday Swap - Twist Block

I thought I'd share another one of the blocks I made for the Birthday Swap I participated in last year.

This block was made from my friend Diane who chose the Twist Block featured on the Delaware Quilts site. This is a great site which features several free BOM patterns. The Twist Block was an easy block to assemble and I like the color palette of red, white, and blue which Diane selected for her block. I finished this block about a year ago and I'm disappointed I have not yet delivered it to my friend. Although I could mail it to her, I would rather deliver it in person since I haven't seen her for so long.

So what have you been working on?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Finding Time For Me

I suppose we all have an activity or hobby we would like to spend more time with. Reading, family time, or sewing and quilting are but a few which come to mind. In my quest to rearrange my schedule to find a few minutes to use for my time for me, I find myself feeling like I do during the holidays when I'm setting New Year's resolutions. Hopefully, I'll be more successful in this venture...

In my last post I mentioned I am looking to find ways of finding time for me and below are some of the ways I have come with: (10 Ways to Find Time to Sew, Sew News Summer 2004)
  1. Get Up Early - I suppose I could set my alarm earlier. Currently, I'm up at 4:00am but I could just as easily get up at 3:00am. Right?
  2. Take It With You - Great idea for small projects. I'm sure I can find a couple of small projects to start.
  3. Cook Less Often - This is a great way to come up with extra time. I often spend a weekend make large batches of soups, stews, spaghetti sauce, and chili to freeze for later.
  4. Get Help Around The House - Where are the kids when I need them? Probably trying to find time to clean their own homes.
  5. Lower Your Standards - In this step, the author states not every meal needs to homemade and not every bed needs to be made every day. This one would be hard for me.
  6. Schedule Sewing Time - I use my Outlook Calendar for most everything so why not use it to schedule an appointment for me? Problem is I'm not on the computer enough at home for those pop up reminders to remind me it's me time. hmmmm...
  7. Keep Track of Your Progress - Maintaining a record of your completed projects is a great motivator to finish projects. It is really an eye opener to see to see the amount of progress you can make by just setting aside 30 minutes each day... Or even two or three times a week.
  8. Identify Time Stealers - Along with cooking and housekeeping, the author mentions television and Internet surfing as the biggest time stealers in our lives. Facebook anyone? LOL
  9. Designate A Space Just For Sewing - Of course, you still have to keep this area organized and clean so there are no deterrents keeping you from utilizing the space. 
  10. Keep It In Perspective - One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to make time for the things we enjoy. The things we enjoy should not become another chore on our to-do list. 
With these tips in mind, my end-of-the-year resolution is to make time for me. To do the things I enjoy doing while sharing them with those close to me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hello.... Its Me

Has it really been nine months since my last post? I know I've been busy, but hadn't realized how busy until a couple weeks ago when I looked at my blog and saw how long it had been since posting. Why does it seem as though time passes at lightning speed as we grow older?

I haven't had a lot of sewing time, which really is disappointing and frustrating for me. I've always enjoyed my time in my sewing / quilting studio. Not only is my sewing / quilting time a means of expressing my creativity, but it is a stress release as well which is a great way to end a stressful day. The combination of singing and dancing to my favorite music while brainstorming creative quilting designs is so uplifting... OK, I have to admit that I've gotten a few chuckles from some of my friends and family who have caught me dancing and singing. Some have even threatened me with photos showing me in my vulnerable moments. I guess I should remember to lock the doors and close the blinds before I start to rock out. LOL

In an effort to rearrange my tight schedule I've been trying to find a way of squeezing regularly scheduled sewing, quilting, dancing, and singing for me time. Care to join me as work on rediscovering my passion?