Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Handmade Holiday ...

calicodaisy handmade ornaments

... preparations have begun!  Due to my lean year of steady work, the little elves and I plan to make the most of my studio this month.  It's truly all about the handmade holiday here.  Of course, with the kids older and the fact that we have everything we need, nearly any gift shopping this year could be placed in the luxury category -- outside, of course, any shopping my husband and children do for me -- that's definitely in my family's "need to do" category!  

Monogrammed Holiday Door Ornament

My greatest personal crafting desire is to sit down with Sew Pretty Christmas Homestyle and work my way through that book.  Last year, I bought up a number of peices of red, pink, and white fabrics to do that very thing.  Alas, the year has nearly passed me by with nary a project made.  However, there is still time ...  

Sweet Bird

Those little ornaments at the top of the post are some of my favorite things to make.  Yo-yos with buttons and embroidered feltwork.  I adore the birds, too.  I keep meaning to make a flock of those. 

Love the redwork here.  I've used this design in a number of ways but do love the simplicity of the little house stuffed.  Jacquie used some pieces I sent her last year in quilted pillow covers and this year made the button for her "Joy In The New Year" whip-up challenge with her pillow's photo.  You know how happy that makes me! 

My studio secrets this year include binding the quilt I finally backed and had long-arm quilted earlier this year for my daughter and make two throw-sized quilts for my husband and son.  I've collected a number of more modern, manly prints lately, and it occured to me that my guys would like quilts, too.  In the book Quilting For Peace, there are a number of easy blocks to create.  There is one block created from sewing long strips of three fabrics, slicing into squares, and arranging them this way and that, back and forth, to create a sort of L-shape zigzag throughout.  I'm thinking that should go pretty quick.  I'll have to quilt them myself, though, and plan to defer to my modern-quilt-guru, Jacquie, again!   She just posted some straight line quilting tips the other day that I believe I can follow. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mish's Cheezy Green Bean Casserole!

I wanted to share some of our favorite Thanksgiving/Christmas recipes with you this month, and now we are nigh on the big day!  I'm working today (yay!) and have to log in soon, so this is a quickie!  I hope you enjoy the recipe; it is SOOOO GOOOODDDD!  It's not your grandmamma's green bean casserole, that's for sure! 

(Disclaimer:  The photo above is actually a photo of my recipe for Auntie Lynda's Comfort Chicken Casserole that I sent to Lollychops earlier this year.  However, the two casseroles actually look the same before breaking into due to the crushed Ritz cracker and butter topping, and I wanted to have a visual for you!  The photo was mine but enhanced by LC with my name on the side.) 

Mish's Cheezy Green Bean Casserole

4 large cans (~29 ounces) of green beans, drained   

1 Family Size can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom

1 (10.75) ounce can of Cream of Celery

2 (16 ounce) tubs of Sour Cream (Use brand name sour cream to ensure good taste.) 

1 block of Velveeta Cheese

4 sleeves of Ritz Crackers 

3 sticks of butter 

Salt, pepper, garlic -- shake, shake, shake to season well. 

Oven to 350 degrees.  Have two 10 x 13 casserole dishes ready. 

In large bowl, combine Cream of Mushroom soup, Cream of Celery soup, and both tubs of sour cream.  Drain all four cans of green beans and discard liquid.  Mix in all the green beans to the soup and sour cream mix.  Season well with the salt, pepper, garlic.  Pour half of the recipe into each casserole pan. 

Place medium sauce pan on burner and turn to low heat to melt all three sticks of butter. 

While the butter is melting, cut the Velveeta into cubes.  I usually start with about four to five half-inch slices of the cheese and then cube.  Cube more as needed.  Just poke the cubes into the casseroles.  I generally put them in rows about an inch apart all throughout the pan.  The melted Velveeta is the best part to me, and I like to make it cheesy. 

Next, crush the four sleeves of Ritz crackers.  I used to put them in a zip-lock bag and crush, but my husband showed me a better way.  Over the saucepan of melted butter (so you don't make a big mess) hold the bag end to end in your hands and squeeze hard.  This instantly begins the crushing.  Generally, the paper pops and crumbs start coming out, so direct those into the pan.  Squish the bags until the crackers are all finely crushed and pour into the melted butter.  With a fork, toss the crumbs and butter together for a lush topping.  Spread the topping generously over the two casseroles. 

Bake in a preheated, 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes.  Enjoy! 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Finally! One Yard Wonders Is Here!

Yesterday my mail lady came up the walkway bringing a package, and I squealed when I read the sender's label.  

We ripped it open and hurried to the most important page to me - page 118!  Now I can rest and stop calling Barnes & Noble everyday to see if they've received the book -- which they haven't. 

Look!  My name in print and spelled correctly.  What a lovely sight! 

The book is great.  I know you'll like it, and there is something for everyone.  I mean, 101 projects:  Nearly every area of sewing/crafting is covered, and pattern sheets are included.  However, there is just one photo devoted to each project.  The photo is lovely, but I'm not sure anyone will know that my Beach-Time Towel Tote is anything other than a beach bag if one doesn't read through the introduction. 

So, I put together a little mosaic (shown below) to show that the towel tote is more than a bag -- it's a lawn chair slipcover as well.  There is a self-lined zippered pocket in the design where you can stow your keys, wallet, and essentials, so they keep out of the sand and hidden away.  I hadn't made this bag in years before sewing it up for the book, thus, the very hum-drum fabrics shown here from photos taken ages ago.  If you make one, please let me know what you think about the pattern and the final product!   
Beach-Time Towel Tote Mosaic

1. mish's Beach-Time Towel Tote, 2. Beach-Time Towel Tote, 3. Beach-Time Towel Tote - On the go., 4. Beach-Time Towel Tote Zippered Pocket, 5. Beach-Time Towel Tote Zippered Pocket, 6. Beach-Time Towel Tote - Wide Open, 7. Beach-Time Towel Tote - Lawn Chair Slipcover, 8. one yard wonders

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Fresh Stack of Cozy Warmth!

We are still under the clouds of old Hurricane Ida!  The winds picked up yesterday, and I thought it was going to blow out and bring us clear skies and sunshine, but not so.  It's chilly and wet, and the traffic was crazy this morning.
However, here is a bit of coziness from my calicodaisy shop, as shown above:  A fresh, new stack of plush throws. The colors are beautiful, and the blankets are very soft and plushy, nicely hemmed all around, and wash very well.  If you are thinking of early holiday shopping and/or are in the mood to order a new treat for your home, the throws are ready for monogramming, personalization, and/or embroidery designs of your choice.  If you check out my flickr catalog - calicodaisy handmade holidays - you'll find some ideas from these finished products. 

My favorite is the spring green blanket at the bottom of the stack.  However, I think the pink and brown zebra print will be popular.  I tried to get a close up to show the softness of the colors, but the poor weather didn't help me out with lighting.  This weekend, I'll get some individual shots to put with the shop listings.  

If you are interested in ordering one and would like to plan and design a throw, just convo me through the shop or e-mail me.  Remember, I have a large library of designs, so it doesn't have to be just a monogram.  You could go with a theme or holiday embroidery (extra charges may apply depending on the extent of your design).  Sooner is better, as I have a holiday show next weekend, and the throws are probably the most popular item this time of year.  Lucky for me, as the throw is a ready-made item.  You'll find two blankets already listed, a lovely blue and chocolate brown.    

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cozy Morning

The large, backside remnant of Hurricane Ida has been passing through the South, and we've been drenched since yesterday.  Look out, Mid-Atlantic and New England!  You're next.  It's been raining steady and hard here for nearly 24 hours. 

After running around all morning to the grocery and then the high school, I stopped by my local Bruegger's and picked up my "bottomless" cup of my favorite drink and a bagel sandwich.  I decided to purchase the pre-paid drinks for a year program and actually got 14 months because my card is good until December 2010.  I'm really just interested in Diet Coke, however, today I found out I can get any drink for "free." That includes specialty coffee drinks, hot chocolate, teas, coffee .... So, now I'll be able to give some new flavors a try without wasting my DC dollars! 

Back at home, I wanted to do a photo session of some new products, but the lighting isn't great due to the rain and clouds.  These quilt squares came out fine, though.  I'm participating in Jacquie's UFO Challenge, and my first project is to get a backing together for my Turning 20 quilt top so I can send it to Margaret at The Q4 to quilt for me. 

My plan is to arrange these log cabin blocks in a row on the back side with this gray Kona cloth as the solid.  This quilt will be for me!  The quilt top is all shabby florals.  The "Turning 20" is a very easy, big block pattern to follow.  You should try it.  Just google the name to find the pattern (the name might actually be "Turning Twenty"). 

By the way, I can't find the spell check on the new blogger editor.  Do you know where they put it?  I do like how I can arrange photos now, though.  The top photo off to the left of the wording was a happy error while inserting the picture.  That should make planning a post with photos more interesting. 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Thankful Heart

11.09.2009:  All my Giving Thanks posts have been moved to my other blog, clubbmish, a more appropriate place for me to delve so deep! 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Monogram Swapping

Monogram Swap Set frame
A few months ago, I found a whole new world of bloggers. These aren't necessarily crafty bloggers, but the ladies are loads of fun to read. Some of them take me back to my college and early career days! What to wear, who to date, where to go, shopping, wedding plans, home dec, kids ... One gal of Jewish Girl in WASP'S Clothing is quite fun to follow. She lives in NYC and journals her escapades and shopping finds. She sponsored a Monogram Swap. Now, there's something I can participate in!
My swap partner is a teacher in Tennessee. She is crazy for all things monogrammed, pink, and polkadots, so it wasn't too hard to know what to send. She noticed the embroidered sorority pillow covers I had just sent out and let me know her sorority is Kappa Kappa Gamma.

My surprise was this pretty mirrored compact. Perfect for me, as I always like to make sure the lips are covered nicely. Great color combination, too.

Sorority Monogrammed Pillow
It was nice to work on this wool blend suiting. I bought a number of different plaids and have been anxious to make scarves, bags, and pillow covers with it.
Monogrammed Scarf
I have a few of these ready-made scarves to go in my calicodaisy etsy shop, 1 more brown and 2 red, and plan to pick up more. A great price for a ready-made can't beat the sewing effort in this case, and, with a holiday show coming up two weeks from today, these will help boost my tablescape of products available.