Saturday, April 23, 2011

Feather their nest with flair

Joy ,oh, joy! The sun is shining and my magnolias are beginning to bloom! I adore magnolia trees. Their sweet aroma makes me smile and linger in the garden just a little longer. I also love watching all of the cheerful little birds that find their way to my back yard. For years I have saved the snippets from my knitting, sewing, stitching and quilting projects through out the winter in an old Ball canning jar.  When nesting season begins, I place some dryer lint along with tidbits of yarn and string in a small wire bird feeder and hang it out for my new feathered neighbors to use in their homes.Even the birds seem to have a flair for the domestic! It is so much fun to find empty nests later in the season that have been adorned with the bits of brightly colored fibers my resourceful little friends have used from my "snippet stash"! This is a fun and simple project that provides a way to recycle and repurpose. It is fun to do with children as a spring activity. Try it! You will like it and so will the birds that take up residency in your own back yard! What garden ideas do you have to welcome spring?

Monday, April 18, 2011

home made laundry soap

Today is one of those days. According to my to-do list I should be cleaning up the house. I don't want to.
Instead, I am enjoying a cup of coffee while flipping through the pages of the April addition of Southern Living Magazine. All of the delicious recipes and pictures of cottage gardens make me think of planning my garden. This inspires me to look at my to-do list again. No garden planning listed. Then I decide it would be fun to put together the college care package I was planning to send to my youngest in Colorado. Ahhhh---mountains, fresh air, fresh smells--- Oh! one of the care package items is the cutest laundry bag---I know, I'll make a little bag of great smelling homemade laundry soap to tuck into the package. Of course, I'll need to make some cute little tags to adorn that little bag of soap. Oh how the mind wanders.
Here is my recipe for powdered laundry soap. It is easy, economical, safe for the environment and a lot more fun to make than cleaning house! I use this in my front load HE machine and it works great.
Lavender - Orange Laundry Soap
1 cup  20 Mule Team Borax
1 cup  Washing Soda ( not baking soda! You can find it on the laundry detergent isle)
2/3 bar Fels Naptha or plain Ivory soap - heck, just throw in the whole bar--who wants a 1/3 bar of soap hanging around!
5-10 drops lavender essential oil
5-8 drops sweet orange essential oil
Cut up bar soap into course chunks with a knife. Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend.

That is all there is to it. Now that I have thoroughly distracted myself from doing what I should be doing, I'll go give that list another look!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

White Chocolate Snack Mix

White Chocolate Snack Mix
A few years ago I discovered this sweet addiction at a Holiday Open House.

 I made up a batch and sent it off with The Mister to his holiday pot luck at work. It was a hit! The next year the ladies he works with requested that he bring back another batch as his pot luck contribution. These women are truely such special people so I happily whipped up enough for each shift to munch on. Since then, this salty/sweet confection has brightened parties, pot lucks and college care packages. I enjoy making it because I know folks are going to enjoy eating it! It is super easy and quick to make. In the past, I have made batch after batch to celebrate the winter holidays.
I can't wait until winter. 

I'm thinking--spring is a holiday! 
I'll just substitute pastel colored M&M's and, PRESTO, Spring White Chocolate Snack Mix
Try it!
You will love it and so will the lucky special someones that you make it for.
   Here is the recipe:
White Chocolate Snack Mix
1 10 oz. pkg. mini twist pretzels broken up a bit
5 cups Cheerios
5 cups Corn or Rice Chex
2 cups salted cashews
1 14 0z. pkg. M&Ms
2  12 oz. pkg. white chocolate chips
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
 1. Combine pretzels, cereals, nuts, and M&Ms in a large bowl. I 
     use a big turkey roaster.
2. Melt white chocolate chips and oil in pan over low heat until 
    smooth and creamy.
3.Pour melted white chocolate over cereal mixture and stir.
4. Spread onto 2 baking sheets that have been lined with 
    parchment or wax paper. 
    Allow to cool, then, break apart into course clumps of 
    taste bud happiness!
    Store in an air tight container.
                           How easy is that?

Monday, April 11, 2011

International Quilt Festival 2011

2011 Best in Show
The 2011 Quilt Festival did not disappoint! There were so many amazing works of art---many could not be photographed but here are a few that did allow.

"Grace" was done completely in fabric yo-yos

Below is a 130 year old quilt that was hand cut, pieced and tied! Mrs. Sell created this 84"x 72" quilt in the 1800s using 14,898  3/4"-5/8" squares! Amazing

The bus trip itself was over the top. Kori from Olive Grace Studios and her mom, Cathy, really out did themselves to make this the best bus trip ever! We were treated to homemade gourmet breakfast and lunch that you just don't expect on a bus. I wonder when these remarkable women slept because not only did they make food, they also made the cutest aprons and wallets for us to keep our festival necessaries in. There were even bedtime snacks delivered to our door each evening. Here is a pic of the sewing project we received for the bus---it will be a project bag when it is done.

I love it! Sign me up for the next trip!  Thank you Ladies!

I am headed to my sewing machine to start cranking out some of those projects that have been waiting for me to get motivated----that means a snack is in order. Stay tuned this week when I share a really tasty snack recipe that I love to eat as well pass along for special occasions----I always have requests for more so you won't want to miss it!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

All my bags are packed!

Joy, oh joy! In just two days I will be loading up on a bus with a lovely lot of excited ladies to be transported to a magical marvelous place-----the Spring International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati,Ohio.
I love bus trips because:
*There will be no driving by me. This will make most folks on the road happy.
*There will be laughing.
*There will be a bus sewing project. My supplies are packed---I feel a little giddy.
*There will be bus snacks.

The festival itself is a quilter's carnival extraordinaire.  Inspiring. Breathtaking. Shopping. More snacks.

Okay, I might as well just confess. "Hello, my name is Lisa and I am a quiltoholic." Now that we have that settled, I will share two of my favorite retail therapy destinations:

Here I am with some of my support group visiting  Olive Grace Studios. Notice how tightly I have my shopping bag clutched to my heart.

Kori has a most decadent shop located in an old one room school house. It may look small from the outside but when you walk in you may have to have some one remove your jaw from the floor! Bright and cheerful with way too many fun ideas and projects to go home with!

Kim and Randy own Shaker Tree  in Garretsville,Ohio.

If beautiful fabric isn't enough, this sweet shop has an abundance of cozy home dec temptations, jewelry, purses, and kitchen gifts.
Oops, here I am stocking up on more projects and home dec goodies---I am writing a check.
 I am smiling.

See you all next week when I return from my big adventure in the Queen City--Cincinnati!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

These are darn cute and fun to make

Do you knit? If you do, you will love these darling and very useful Ballband Dishcloths! They are so cheerful and nice to use that you may not even mind wiping up a mess here or there. Maybe wash a dish or two. You can knit them up in a snap to grace your own sink or to give to some lucky someone as a little present. They are a fantastic addition to a house warming gift! These sweeties are thick, absorbent and suds up in the most satisfying way. The pattern can be found in a book called Mason-Dixon Knitting by Kay Gardner and Ann Shayne. These two women are a riot and, I must warn you, more time may be spent laughing at the delightful humor in this book than knitting. Check the library. Even if you just go to the book store and thumb through the pages ---you will find yourself smiling,possibly giggling out loud and most likely yearning to knit a dishcloth or two! Check out mason dixon knitting.
I made the Ballband Dishcloth with Sugar and Cream 100% cotton yarn that can be found at Walmart or just about any store that carries crafts. Happy knitting!