Sunday, December 6, 2015

Happy Holidays!

It's that time of year!  Holidays to celebrate, baking and cooking.  My favorite time of year.  Here is my Genny, who would like to taste test these espresso chocolate crinkles.  Of course, she cannot, but she likes to try.

I was raised in a Catholic family.  The whole time between Thanksgiving and Christmas was a time of preparation, or Advent.  My parents had a few tricks up their sleeves to keep us kids in check and not get crazy with anticipation.

The first was St. Nicholas day.  The evening of December 5th, we would put our shoes out on our steps by the front door.  In the morning, the shoes would be filled with small toys and goodies that St. Nick would leave for us.  It was a nice way to start things off.

Baking goodies would also be going on.  Making pizzelles and biscotti and favorite cookies.  Our parents would also get these absolutely huge apples and oranges from the produce market.  Just one could make a meal.

The next little holiday we would celebrate was St. Lucia Day.  We are Italian, so we celebrated this a little differently than the Swedes.  On December 13th, we would plant in a small pot some rye grass seeds.  Being the youngest, I helped to keep it watered and watched it grow a bit every day.  By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, it would be about 10 inches tall.  My cat used to love this grass, by the way.

Anyway, do you notice something missing from my nativity scene here?  Well, the baby did not appear until Christmas morning in our house.  When I found this nativity, it was just like the one we had when I was little, so I had to have it.

So, back to the grass.  On Christmas Eve, right before we went to bed, we would cut the grass and place it in the empty manger.  This was the coming baby would be comfortable and warm.  The baby Jesus was in the manger on Christmas morning.  This really helped us to remeber the real reason for the holiday.

Well, it is time to get back into the kitchen and continue this year's preparations.  I have a lot of baking to do.  Of course there will be pizzelles, both anise and chocolate.  The afore mentioned espresso crinkles, a couple kinds of biscotti, as well as traditional favorites of peanut blossoms and chocolate chip.  I also make peppermint patties and peanut butter cups.  Lots to do!

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season filled with love, laughter, and lots of goodies.
Buon Natale!

Birdie in Cucina

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I have been busy, really!

That's right.  I have been keeping busy.  That is why I haven't blogged in a while.

I have been doing pretty well at my part-time job, so I rewarded myself with a new machine - a serger!  Meet Sergio.  He is a Babylock Eclipse DX with jet air threading.  So it is easy to thread - just put the end of the thread in a hole and push a button and poof!  The thread shoots through all that it needs to so it is foolproof.  Trust me, this is important.  Threading a serger is a real bear.  I use a lot of HBO words when I have to thread the lesser sergers.

So, the first thing I did was make Sergio a cool cover so he won't get all dusty in between projects.  It needed to be badass because I think that sergers are pretty badass machines.

 One of the first projects I made with Sergio are these really cute gift bags.  Cuz the holidays are coming before we know it and having things to put gifts in is important.  They go together quickly and give your gift an extra special touch.
 Meanwhile, I had been working on this quilt for a long time.  It's called Salsa and Cheddar, designed by Debbie at The Little Shop in Haddonfield, NJ.  It is finished now and I got to put it on a long arm to quilt, which was fun!  I did my best to do a design that had chili peppers in it.  They looked like a three year old drew them, but I did it!  I like the way it turned out.
 This is a bigass bag that I made for my best friend.  She already wore out one version of this bag and it was time for a new one. 
 This is a small portion of my flannel stash.  I decided to put my serger to some good use and make us some flannel pillow cases.  I never seem to have enough pillow cases, so these will come in handy.  I know, it is a hodge podge of colors, but frankly, I don't care about my bed being matchy matchy.  These colors happen to be in the quilts we have, so they will work fine.
This is a bigass load of linen(like) fabric.  Most of it is destined to become a couple of table cloths.  My coworker gave me the idea that having a plain table cloth and putting table runners on the table is a really nice way to change up your table dressing.  I am in the process of also making two different table runners.  Hopefully they will be done by the holidays when we have our big open house.

So, I still have a lot of work to do!

Keep on the good work!
Until next time,
One Little Birdie

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Only 5 months until Christmas!

Well, it is mid August.  I know that it seems early, but it is about now that I start getting anxious about the holidays.  Because i prefer to make most of the gifts that we give, it means I need to plan and start prepping pretty early.

First comes inspiration - what to make?  It feels like we have made almost everything for everyone at this point.  But I got the idea of doing stockings for most folks and filling them with cute stuff.  Browsing Pinterest, I wanted ideas of what to put inside the stockings that would not just be junk.  I am always open to ideas to be more earth friendly too.  I came across this great idea for reusable snack bags at this blog.  The pattern is great and easy.  My variation, however, it to line the bags with fused recycled grocery bags.  It makes a kind of fabric and can be wiped off easily.

This are the first results and I must say that I am very pleased.  I think they could be put into the washer to clean, but I would air dry them instead of the dryer.   I wish I had white Velcro on hand, but I used what was in my stash.  I am going to use these bags myself and make more for others - sort of customize them.  I think people will like them.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Skulls on Top!

Hi everyone!  I recently did a black and white quilt challange with BadAss Quilters Society.  I decided to make two table toppers.  I purchased a special bundle of skully fabrics.  I had to use all of them, plus any black and white I had, but no color.

Here is how they turned out.  They just need binding.  I will likely do a solid black binding.

Thanks for stopping by!
One Little Birdie

Friday, February 20, 2015

Scrappy fun and the winter blues

I don't know about you, but this brutally cold winter is really getting to me.  I have been in a real funk creatively, both in the kitchen and the studio.  You would think I would be cooking and sewing my guts out.  Maybe I need more sunlight or something.

Anyway, I have been sewing and my challange is to work strictly from my stash.  I have been intrigued by the notion of a scrap quilt for quite a while.  I spent two days sorting and cutting all of my scraps into uniform sizes to do this.  I found a pattern that I liked.  It seems that it needed a constant background in order to please me.  I had purchased a bolt of muslin a while ago and so I decided to use that as the constant.

So, I decided on a Bonnie Hunter scrap quilt pattern I found on Pinterest.  Most people paper pieced this, but I just took my 2 x 3 inch scraps and strung them together.  Muslin triangles on each side.

Here are the blocks all squared up and ready to be put into rows.

Here some are on the design wall.  I decided I didn't need to plan this one out as mich as I usually do.  Just trust the scrappiness!

Here is the top, all finished!  Well, I need to swap around that one small section of the border that's going the wrong direction, but other than that...  Can't have the birdies flying upside down now, can we?

I even pieced the backing for this one from flannel scraps.  It isn't the most beautiful back in the world, but it works in the spirit of scrappiness and will be nice feeling when it's used.  This quilt is actually big enough for our bed!  Most of my projects tend to run smaller.

Now I need to sandwich this one and get it ready for quilting.  And this is the part where I always get stumped... How to quilt this...  I think something more complicated in the muslin areas is in order.  Leave the scrappy area pretty much alone.  What do you think?  Something will come to me, I am sure.

Until then, ciao!
One Little Birdie