Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's 7:25...

It's 7:25 a.m. and the house is still quiet.  It has been a wonderful week of celebration, visiting, eating, and fun.  Soon I'll hear the bedroom doors open and will want to get that coffee pot going, but first I'll send along a quick post of gift projects made this Christmas season.  They were simple, but fun.
Pillow cases for Mom, and...
a pair of furry-lined slippers. (NOT so simple!)
Pillow cases for my mom-in-law.  I made a set for Auntie as well, but I haven't been able to download those pictures yet.
A bag, given to my harp instructor.  Thank you, J., for unlimited amounts of patience!
A pair of pillow cases I kept for the guest bedroom.  :)
I hear a bedroom door opening, so time to get that coffee made!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Let the baking begin!

The smells of cookies have begun to waft through the house.  So far I've made Russian Tea Cakes, Bizcochitos (Anise cookies), and Chocolate Krinkles.  In between the baking, I've been finally getting to some Christmas sewing projects, wrapping, and doing laundry.  What a great way to begin the Christmas holiday vacation.  The next cookie on my list is Peppernuts.  My mom and siblings reading this will most likely remember the peppernuts we received every Christmas in packages from both of our Grandmas.  Grandma K always made the cinnamon spiced kind, cut into small nuggets.  They were hard and crunchy, and oh, so yummy!  Grandma S made a lighter colored peppernut with more of a pepper spice.  These were a bit larger, and not quite as crunchy.  These were good, too, but my favorite, and the ones I like to make, are the Grandma K peppernuts.  What is your favorite Christmas cookie to make -- or eat!?
Chocolate Krinkles

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cardamom Almond Biscotti

The other evening I made Biscotti.  Yum!  In my opinion, the best way to eat Biscotti is to dip it in hot coffee.  After sending some off to our Faculty Follies fundraiser, and taking some to school today, there are just a few left here at home.  ... a perfect treat for tomorrow's morning coffee!  I promised the recipe to some friends, so here it is (taken from Taste of Home's Treasury of Christmas Recipes, p. 233).

Cardamom Almond Biscotti
1 cup butter,softened
1-3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 t. almond extract
5-1/4 cups flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cardamom
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream (I substituted plain yogurt -- the Greek kind sold at Costco)
1 c. chopped almonds

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in extract. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cardamom; add to creamed mixture alternating with sour cream. Fold in almonds.

Divide dough into fourths.  Shape each into a ball.  Roll each ball into a 15 in. log on 2 greased cookie sheets (2 per pan).  Bake at 350 for 30 min.  Transfer to a cutting board, and cut diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Place with cut side down on greased baking sheets.  Bake for 10-12 min. or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.  Makes about 7 dozen.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A start back to sewing

I really need to get back to sewing.  Christmas is coming, and I have a few projects to finish off.  A snow day would be just the thing to help that along!  In the meantime, I tried to motivate myself for Christmas sewing by making a seasonal pin cushion.  It's very basic, very "rough" (i.e. I did not take my time on it!), but very functional. :)
Sew three different triangle sections -- layering felt, backing, batting, and stuffing.

Stitch the three triangles together, leaving the bottom open.

Add a star on top, pins, and slip it over an old spool. 
What projects have you been working on?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

We're home

Just a quicky this evening to say we are home, after a great visit with our kids in the midwest.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Harp

Here it is -- The Harp!  I still can't believe I'm taking harp lessons!  It's an instrument I've always admired, but never once thought I would actually learn to play.  Sewing has taken "second stage" for a while as I enjoy and get acquainted with the harp.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Heidi Bag

The Heidi Bag is the latest pattern I've tested for  It was an easy pattern to follow, but in the end I didn't feel it was a bag I would want to use for myself.  In my opinion it has a younger "cute" look.  Maybe if I added a larger, more elegant flower, it would change the look.  Anyway... this may be one I will use for the school auction.  Here it is...

I used a heavy interfacing to help give shape to the bag body.

The outside fabric feels like a wool blend. I'm really not sure, though, since I found it at the thrift store.

It has a long handle...

The "flower" was my first attempt, and I kind of did my own thing.  I wanted to use this red and white button to match the lining, so kind of changed from what the pattern showed.

...the lining.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Looking forward...

Today was Thursday, but in many ways it was like a "bonus" Friday!  No school for students tomorrow! I truly love teaching, and the students are what makes the job exciting -- but there is just something about having a teacher work day that I look forward to.  I always have dreams the night before work days of accomplishing great things -- writing plans that are creative and will challenge the students to greater thinking, clearing the ever present pile of papers in my bin, entering grades, writing reports, long-term planning, and on and on...  So, when morning comes I'll have my tennis shoes on, and ready -- set -- GO!

Ah, but everything is not all work and no play.  Here's "looking forward" to my next sewing project.  A new purse...
Stay tuned to see the finished project.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shooing a cold out the door!

I've had a cold virus, including all the "frills" -- fever, achy body, coughing, and tiredness.  Fortunately, each day is getting better, and I'm "shooing" this thing out the door ... and posting a sign that "reads" -- COLD NOT WELCOME HERE!  Ah well, we all go through this.  Last week I had been saying to Mystery Man (that would be my husband!) that a day off to do some sewing would be great.  I did end up being home from school for two days, but no energy whatsoever could be found for sewing!  Mom, I did play Scrabble your style -- one person for both moves!  I didn't get very far, but it entertained me for a few moves.  I also managed to read a little of The Help -- really enjoying the book!  Now in case you think I have spelled quean wrong -- go take a look in the dictionary.  Today I was back to work and enjoyed being there.  Being sick renews a thankful spirit!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A quick project

I haven't gotten to my sewing machine for a few days, but here is a quick and easy project.  Some time ago, as I was cleaning out my kitchen cabinets, I came across a large spice container from Costco.  It was just the right size to hold some ribbons.  A quick cut of decorative paper and glue turned it into something pretty.

This stuff is a great adhesive for paper projects!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Birthday fun...

Saturday was my birthday.  I like birthdays -- even birthdays in the over 50 range!  A few birthday fun memories ... cards made by my students on Friday  ... a gift of fabric and pattern from a co-worker...
The finished product!

Thanks, T!  You may be seeing this soon! :)

A pretty drive.
... and a beautiful handmade card from my Mom.
Thank you, Mom.  What a special card.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Time to replace hot pads!

I don't know about you, but I tend to use hot pads way too long.  Yesterday I threw my hot pads into the wash basket.  They were so bad that when I took them out of the wash they really didn't look any different!   This afternoon I quickly sewed a few new ones.  As soon as they were finished, the well-used -- ok... over-used -- hot pads were thrown away.  Who would have thought grabbing a hot pan with a clean, new hot pad could bring such cheer! ;)

Machine stitching, my friends, NOT hand embroidery!

Fabric I found for an upcoming project... not exactly sure what yet, but I have an idea.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another pair...

This week I tested another pattern for  The pattern is called Radella Moccasins, and was easy to follow. I've been wearing my first pair almost every evening, (I'm surprised -- I don't usually wear slippers) and will see how I like these new ones.   How many room shoes does a girl need?  If I get more shoe patterns to try I might need some shoe sizes from volunteers to wear them! :) (hint, hint)...
Sewing the shoe body to sole lining.

Going around the toe curve is the trickiest part of the project -- to keep the fabric smooth, without tucks.

Opps -- pictures out of order.  Cutting the fabric.

Half way there!

Paper clips come in handy for holding the leather sole in place.

Ready to attach the shoe top piece with a blanket stitch.

This is my very unorganized stash of embroidery thread.  I used a cream color to add the blanket stitch on the shoe top.

Here they are!  

Leather soles are great for hardwood floors.

Ahh... time to get those feet comfy!  

I can't get comfy for too long, though.  It's Monday morning.  Time to get that coffee on and get ready for school.  A whole new day of challenges awaits!
Have a great one!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A new pattern

I've received my second pattern to test for   These are for a pair of cloth moccasins -- again for indoor wear.  I'm really kind of surprised, but I've been wearing the shoes from my first attempt almost every day.  I'm really liking them.  They are not too hot on my feet (like many slippers I've tried), and because there is not much padding it is almost like going bare-footed.  The new shoe will be posted in a few days.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, September 5, 2011

One, Two, Sew a Shoe...

Wait a minute!  Isn't that "one, two, buckle my shoe?"  Not today!

One, Two, Sew a Shoe...
     (I've become a pattern tester for patterns, and the first pattern they asked me to sew was a pair of shoes!)
Three, four, shut the door...
     (That's right for these women's "room shoes" you will want to shut the door.  They are for inside wear!)
Five, six, make them quick...
     (One of the steps was a bit tricky, but for the most part they went together quickly.)
Seven, eight, aren't they great!
     (There were great fun to make, and they are an interesting shoe/slipper, to be sure!)
I used a silky decorator fabric for a more elegant look.

These have a leather sole.

Ahh... now time to put my feet up!
Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Reading Motivation

School is off to a great start.  One of our school-wide goals this year is to motivate reluctant readers to enjoy reading.  In one of my reading groups I asked the students to complete a reading inventory.  My heart sank when I saw one boy's response to the question, "How many books do you have in your home?"  His response was, "none!"  None?  Is that even possible?  I look around my house and there are books in every room.  Lots of books ... many kinds of books ... children's books ... picture books ... biographies ... Bibles ... cookbooks ... dictionaries ... novels ... song books ... and on and on.  I love to read-- especially a great historical novel -- but really do enjoy reading all kinds of books.  I most recently finished a book titled, The Bookseller of Kabul, by Asne Seierstad.  It was a fascinating description of an Afghan family as observed by a western journalist.  In reading this book I felt as if I had traveled to an unknown place, and learned of ways and traditions that are so different to my own way of thinking.  When this same student told me he really didn't like to read, my challenge was set before me -- do whatever I can to draw him into books. I see an exciting year ahead.  Let's see what happens!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

And the winner is...

Drum roll please!

No 1 -- Chris G said...

Oooohhh...Pic me, Mrs. S!!! I would love to have one of these. I choose Number 3. I'm thinking I might use it in my office to hold CDs/DVDs.

Wow!  No. 1.  How often does that happen?  I used the very scientific method of putting all the numbers in a jar and having my husband pull out the ticket.  Chris, your basket will be delivered to you hopefully within a week.  This being the first week of school, though, I'm not going to promise!  Thanks to all who entered.  I'll do it again sometime.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer is Fading

Summer is fading ... much like the petals on this sunflower.  After seeing the children at Back To School Night this evening, though, I don't mind the fading so much.  They were so excited to be there, to see their classrooms, and to talk to their teachers --both from last year and the new ones they will yet get to know.  There is nothing like smiles, hugs, and faces full of excitement to get a teacher focused on their purpose in teaching.  What a privilege, and yes, opportunity we have been given. In my corner of the world, the students arrive on Tuesday, and what an exciting day that will be!

Don't forget the give-away.  If you haven't already signed up for it, it's not too late.  I'll choose a winner on Sunday evening.  To enter, go to