Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Still Here and Making Slow Progress!

Yes, I'm still here! Above you can see the new patio door installed in what will become the kitchen for the Mother-in-law suite downstairs. This opens under an overhang, so it will be protected from the weather. This is also the sidewalk to the patio. I will add pots of plants outside on the raised bed above the stone wall. The debris you can see through the door is a section of HEAVY stucco still attached to the metal "mesh" they put up to hold the cement. It was removed from the old entrance door, which has been sealed up. (below)

The subfloor in front of the door has been replaced. What you can't see if that we put up gutters. If there had been gutters before, the water damage that had been in this area would not have happened.

We have removed the bathroom that was between the kitchen and this room (which will become the media room). We added a window in this room and the old bathroom will become a closet. We're putting two new bathrooms on the other side of the downstairs space. 

While taking a break from the work, we chose to eat dinner at a local Thai restaurant. It was sunny and about 72 degrees, so we ate on the balcony overlooking the river park here in Kerrville. I couldn't quite capture the beautiful blue water and the pinkish tinge in the trees, but it was a beautiful sight!

Chiristmas was a blur! We hosted two gatherings. One with 12 friends from church and one with 25 family members on Christmas day! I had a lot of fun decorating the table to match the Christmas plates that were rescued from the fire.

The cactus is made of metal. A local man makes all types of things like this to be used in a yard or garden. I put it in the center of my table!

The buffet area was decorated Christmas cowboy style! I found the hat and wooden cowboy Santa in the thrift shop. 

 My daddy does woodwork. My sister and I were in his workshop and noticed the great shapes that were left over when he cut out pieces for the toys he made. We pulled them out of the trash bin and started playing with them, glueing them together and adding bits of wire. Here are two pieces I made. The wood scraps are just as they were pulled from the bin - no sawing was done. (Paint was added!)

(Notice the little fish under the "waves"? 

My "looney" bird!

One last thing. Compare the set of windows on the left with the ones on the right. Do you see how much clearer the ones on the right are? 
I have a friend who told me that during college she cleaned windows wtih "window wax". I had never heard of it, so I have been keeping my eyes out for window wax for quite a while now. Finally, I found some and tried it! It is amazing!! I can't wait for the cedar pollen count to come down so I can go outside and wash windows!

I HAVE done some sewing. In fact, I'm working on a couple of patterns. They are not in a stage yet to show, but hopefully, I will get back in the swing of things soon.
My husband's company has been in the process of lay offs, so that has interfered with life in several ways. He survived the lay offs, but has been cut to two days a week at work. That will slow the progress downstairs down some because we are NOT independently wealthy! On the other hand, perhaps it will be a good incentive for me to get serious again about selling my patterns. 
Thank you for your encouragement and for sticking by me! I've always felt change was exciting so I've had a couple of adventurous years now!! Life is good!


Monday, December 21, 2015

My Recipe Gift to You!

Merry Christmas!

This easy recipe is my Christmas gift to you! You can make it in about 15 minutes from start to finish, although it needs a little time to firm up. It has a fudge-like consistency when firm. You make it in your microwave. If you have an old microwave, you may need to extend the cook time. If your microwave is more powerful than the standard, you may need to drop a minute or two off cook time.

Easy Leche Quemada

  This recipe is simple and very quick. All you need is a large (8 cup) heat resistant  measuring cup or bowl and a microwave, apart form the ingredients.

In a large, heat resistant measuring cup or bowl put:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) (Use a good brand of real butter. The cheap stuff foams up and over the cup near the end of cooking!!!) Melt the butter and add:
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk (I use Eagle Brand)
Mix well and microwave on high for 7 minutes, stopping every 2 minutes to stir well. Watch the last half of the time to be sure it doesn't start foaming up out of the container. If it does, you will have to keep stopping and stirring it down. (I think cheaper butter has more water in it and the steam causes it to do this. That's only my theory, but I've found that the good stuff doesn't foam!)
While it is cooking, prepare a piece of aluminum foil (about 12" wide) by spraying with a little Pam and sprinkling cinnamon over it.
After cooking, remove from the microwave and place on a heat proof surface. Beat with a hand mixer until it cools a little. Add some vanilla (about a teaspoon) or a little rum (again, about a teaspoon) and 1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts. Beat these in well. Pour out onto the aluminum foil and spread it in a log. You can do this by pulling the sides of the foil together to form a channel for the candy to "flow" into, then crimp the foil together to hold it in a log shape. When hardened, cut into slices.

                This recipe is so easy, you can have candy in no time at all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I'm Still Around!!!

This is our downstairs two weeks ago! Our house is called a "hillside walkout". The main floor is at the top where the driveway ends and the downstairs was designed for bedrooms. Unfortunately for us, the previous owners had used the downstairs for 1500 sq. feet of closets! (It worked well for them, but not for us.) 

We had not done anything down there except for one closet that I painted and put a guest bed in for a makeshift bedroom. I can't wait to show you what we'll be doing here. We will end up with a nice "mother-in-law suite" complete with a small kitchen.

We installed the door panels on our refrigerator. (We 
 STILL haven't done the crown molding above the kitchen cabinets!) 

I am really getting "antsy" to have a sewing room again! I have my shelves picked out at IKEA and I have been busy winding fabric on cardboard "comic book boards". 
It will give them a uniform appearance on the shelves.
I've started decorating for Christmas!

 I put up my first Christmas tree since the fire two years ago. We bought it after Christmas at a substantial savings last year! (Yes, it's artificial. My allergies don't allow me to have a real one.)

Doug also bought me an LED tree from Lowe's to put in our bedroom.

I decorated it with a Mexican theme to fit the bedroom. I made Ojo de Dios to hang all over the tree. I used yarn scraps and "candy apple skewers".

  My days have been busy, but rewarding.  I am finally taking some time to prepare for having two of my sons here for the holidays.

I am hoping to blog more frequently as soon as the holidays are over. (I'm always optimistic about being less busy!) I will be posting my favorite "go to" Christmas candy recipe next week as my gift to you! I hope you have blessed days ahead!


Monday, November 2, 2015

International Quilt Festival

My sister and I were privileged to attend the 2015 International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas this last weekend. What an experience!  We came home with our brains bursting with inspiration and ideas!
Among my favorite vendors was Isabelle Biche of L'atelier D'Isabelle. 

Isabelle Biche of L'Atelier D'Isabelle

Her gorgeous, beautifully worked samples were very popular among shoppers. She uses linen and wool for charming little projects in colors that are light and cheerful. I bought the kit for the little "Poules Mouillees" in the center of the photo. (It is 30cm x 45cm or a little smaller than 12" x 18")

Isabelle graciously gave me permission to take a photo of her and of the little projects here.)
 She had some Christmas projects that were really gorgeous, but she had sold out there at the show. 
(I don't even pretend to speak French, but I tried to find the translations of the words around the border of the stitchery. It reads, "Pied de poule - lait de poule - chair de poule - poule mouillee - poule au pot - mere poule." Now I knew that "poule" was chicken because that is close to the Spanish "pollo" for chicken. The more literal translation of the words is  "chicken feet", "eggnog", "goosebumps", "wet hen or sissy chicken"(?), "chicken pie", "mother hen". Now I know some of you (I have a couple in mind!) are probably laughing at my attempt at translation! Is this a children's song? Just a play on words? It really doesn't matter to me because I think it's adorable! 
Check out some of her projects on her website here. 
We spent two days at the show and didn't have near enough time to really take it all in. 
Besides antique and traditional quilts, were
 the whimsical,

You Are My Sunshine by Bodil Gardner of Lystrup, Denmark
the pictorial,

Napa Valley Vineyard with Red Barn by Cathie Hoover

  and even the abstract!
The Patriots of Boston by Loris Bogue (this is actually a map of Boston showing the Freedom walk!)

 There were also dolls!
"Pinwheel" by Angela Jarecki
 There were so many, many more items that I would love to have shown you, but many could not be photographed and there were too many to show here! 

 This was a huge building, but there were nice places to rest.
I wonder how many of you I passed while walking along the aisles?


Monday, October 26, 2015


Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 
"The earth laughs in flowers."
 How true that is!  I consider myself a happy person. I want my home to reflect that. I was asked to show how I use plants and flowers in my home. They are certainly important to my decorating, but also to my creative process. I feel calmer with plants and flowers around. 
We had the contractor and an engineer out last weekend to let us know where we could move walls in the lower level of our house. So the drywall dust has "hit the fan" again!
 I am so excited about starting the next phase in this renovation. This is part of what will become my new sewing room. I am also a little stressed, so I came home with a bundle of fall flowers. (My husband didn't even raise an eyebrow!)

They looked a little"puny" for my big space.

The only other vase I have is a large rectangular vase. It was too big! So.....
I added some rocks (cleaned first) and filled in the flowers with cedar sprays (from my yard)  and a few wildflowers. 
Now I have a space to enjoy a little bit of "finished work"! Flowers can work wonders!

 Some of my restful spots are very small and almost hidden. This little vintage plant holder makes such a sweet little spot to rest your eyes. There is something so happy about him! His little wagon with the tiny succulent plant is going to be great in my sewing room (when it is finished!).

 In the living room, I have fresh greenery in a galvanized bucket beside the fireplace. It adds a fresh touch and a really nice cedar aroma!

I have an arrangement of brightly colored flowers on an end table in the living room. The galvanized watering can is a "hill country" touch.

 I even have plants on my coffee table. The little greenhouse has succulents. You can see that there is also a plant beside the chair in the background.

 My new sitting room, off the kitchen, has lamps with glass bases. You have seen these filled with sea shells, I'm sure. I decided to make little outdoor scenes in mine. 

One has a Longhorn because my husband is a University of Texas fan!

 One has a deer because that is what we see outside our window!
I have used real cedar, but you can use anything you can fit inside the lamp. (I also added a little silicone packet to absorb moisture!) I know the cedar will dry up because I can't water it, but it will hold its color for a long time. Then I can change the greenery or the scene! These don't scream out at you from across the room, but after you sit down and look around, you see them! (Like a little surprise!)

 If you find that your room is left "needing something" after you arrange it, try popping a plant in!

Here is a seasonal plant in my husband's office. 

Don't wait until a sad occasion like an illness to have fresh flowers around! Also, don't wait for some special person in your life to give you flowers!  Pick some up "just because" you want them around! See how it makes you feel! You can also order flowers easily from your computer!
Check out BloomNation,  an online marketplace that supports local florists, and get inspiration through their Pinterest board! 

You just might be inspired!


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dracula and A Little More Progress

I HAVE done a little sewing lately! I designed and made this Dracula doll that is on it's way to my son in Oregon.  This doll is fairly large. I made him just for fun!

On the home front, we installed the screen door to my pantry. It swings both in and out  and I LOVE it!!
We also did a little cosmetic work on the master bath. 

 We  painted the walls. You can see the old wallpaper on the left. We will change the countertop and sink  later. For now, this brightens it up quite a bit!
 Before... and after.
I will bring a lot more color in next.

 We bought a vintage Kilim rug and placed it under the dining room table. The cowhide has been moved to the new sitting area off the kitchen. We will pick up the furniture for that area Thursday, so I will show it next time.
I'm off to the hill country to enjoy this cooler fall weather!

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