Friday, January 29, 2010

Magic Carpet Ride at A Whimsical Bohemian and other stuff

I confess I have been blog hopping. My little carpet has been on supersonic. I've visited almost all the sites and now I'm going back to the ones I really like and hang out for a while. There has been a plethora of scrapbooking/paper crafts, jewelry, glass work, paintings, doll makers, etc. Not a whole lot of quilting or stitching, and so far I'm the only one doing a genealogy feature (#536) :)
My photograph is to show you what I have been writing about at my hand stitching blog. It's still a work in progress but I am really pleased with it so far.
We have a snow day today and YES we do have snow happening :) Kris is working on her ceramics project and Nik is watching Scooby Doo and The Food Channel. He spent a good chunk of this past week building a model of the Globe Theatre for a school project.
My fabric postcard basic supplies are now replenished and swaps are in the process of being made. I'm going to try out one of Mrs. Moen's tutorials for some of them.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Scots Corner - Robert Burns

Don't anyone reach out and smack me from across the "big puddle" but I am not a huge lover of Robert Burns poetry. However it would be cheap of me not to acknowledge Burns Night (last night), which if you've ever participated in one can be a whoooole lot of fun (once the speeches are all taken care of).
If you want to try reading some of his poetry out loud here's the complete works don't forget to roooooollll your R's :)
The vintage postcard is courtesy of Wikipedia.
The Bard visited my home town of Stirling on a couple of occasions and this is what he had to say after his first visit in August of 1787 '..... just now, from Stirling Castle, I have seen by the setting sun the glorious prospect of the windings of Forth through the rich carse of Stirling, and skirting the equally rich carse of Falkirk.'

Monday, January 25, 2010

Blog(s) of the week - two for your delight and delectation :)

Recently I was talking with one of my girls about fish recipes which led me to look at cooking blogs. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.) I found this GORGEOUS one and got totally side tracked :) I'm also biased since it comes from Britain. Marie Alice Joan Rayner is a Canadian living in England who has gotten totally turned on to the cooking culture there. Her blog is a delight to look at and her enthusiasm is infectious. I love her "What's in Season" side bar feature. MAJ if you want a "clean up behind you person" I'll be happy to oblige :0

So spring will be here soon and those of you with gardens know what that means :) Planting time (in our case small). If you live state side,  what better way to create some of the dishes at The English Kitchen than to plant, grow and harvest your ingredients. (I heard some of you impatient ones out there saying ...... cann't wait that long). Chelsea has an interesting concept called Survival Seeds at their site I love the picture of the little red house/barn on their main page. Cute.

The very eagle eyed amongst you will notice a common link between the two sites. Hint - The Trumpet Shall Sound.

On a totally different subject. There is a major event going on at A Whimsical Bohemian. Click on the link on my side bar and go check out the world wide giveaway participants on her side bar. It's filling up VERY fast. Enjoy "The Magic Carpet Ride" as you visit many wonderful blogs and maybe make new friends from around the world :) (Hop on over to my other blog
to find out what I have decided to do.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tutorial - Origami Windmill Doll Cushion

A fun project that takes about 90 minutes. (This is my prototype so it will probably take less time next time round.)
I used scraps to make mine.
4, 3" cream tone on tone squares
4, 31/2" background fabric squares
11/2" strips of both fabrics to sew together for the back
Neutral color sewing thread.

For this project you are going to be using up some scrap fabric. (Most of us have scraps from other projects.)
Before we do any sewing we are going to play at the iron.
You will need your 4 small squares for this.
Step 1 - Fold square in half, diagonally and press flat.
Step 2 - Take left bottom corner to right bottom corner and press flat.
Repeat this for each windmill section.

This is a "precaution step". Lay all your windmill sections out to make sure you have them going in the right direction.

Lay the 4 "windmills" on top of your fabric squares. Make sure they are lined up properly along the sewing edges

Now you are going to sew your sections together using a 1/4" seam.
Sew the top section then press the seam out FLAT ( I did a regular iron to one side and it became too bulky.)
Now sew the bottom section together and press the seam out flat.

Now sew across the center seam.
Iron all the seams flat.
Trim any outside edges that are not even.

This is how the front now looks after the edges have been squared up.
Be aware that where everything meets in the middle has a lot of layers. If I was to do it over I would choose a thinner fabric for the pinwheels.

The back was created using 11/2" wide strips.
Put the front and back right sides together.
Sew 1/4" seams all round, leaving an opening on one of the sides with no fabric seams.
Snip the corners at 45 degree angle and turn right sides out.
Optional - iron edges flat.
Stuff and hand stitch the opening shut.

So now you have a basic origami pinwheel cushion.
You can add to it in whatever way suit you e.g. buttons, ribbon, hangers etc.
Put some squares together and make a small wall-hanging.
Dolly come back with the cushion !!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Local Life - Operation Smile

Yesterday about 35 of us (many with babies and small children in tow) showed up.
We folded and admired all the fabric, we cut patterns and fabric, we ironed, we sewed, we chatted, we met new people, we ate good food but above all else we created bags, gowns and dolls for a good cause.
Thanks to the BWC for organizing this.
People were creating in the gym, hallways, classrooms and kitchen. Families came and went all day. Some stayed for an hour, some worked away all day.
I sat in a corner of the gym sewing away on dolls, along with about 5 others. We had a circle of ladies chatting and turning. Stuffing would be done later. Thanks to the ladies who took turns in the nursery. Their contribution was much appreciated.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fall Quilt Swap

My fall wall hanging is somewhere between here and there, probably needing the use of dog sleds if the snow is still as bad as I heard about :) It's in waterproof packaging just as a precaution.
(Just checked and wouldn't you know it the weather is now lovely in her part of the planet.)
This is my variation of the disappearing nine-patch concept. I took my original piece, studied it, and created one that did not have quite so many seams. I used the fall patterned fabric for the back.
I have a collection of stencils and used some of them for the hand quilting designs.
I'm planning on finishing up the other fall wall hanging in a different way.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scots Corner - John Muir

We are currently watching a PBS 6 part series called The National Parks - America's Best Idea. They are breathtaking and I have to say the scenery leaves Scotland's majesty in the dust !!!!!!
Sorry folks.
Any hoo the brain and and one of the driving forces behind the creation of the parks was a Scotsman, John Muir, who hailed from Dunbar, East Lothian. His parents moved the family to Wisconsin in 1849. An accident in 1867 became the catalyst for what was to become a life long worship, and dedication to the preservation of nature. He greatly influenced President Roosevelt in his conservation pursuits.

Yosemite was one of Muir's stomping ground and he was the first to suggest that the area had been shaped by glaciers. He co-founded The Sierra Club in 1892 and it is considered one of the leading conservation groups of present day USA. John Muir Day is April 21.
We all owe this Scotsman a great debt for his dedication to help preserve such wonderful natural beauties - Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, Mount Rainier and other areas like The Petrified Forest.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Blog of the week - Attic 24

I've visited Attic 24 a number of times because I am soooooo envious of her ability. She crochets (Happy Hookyness) some wonderful pieces and the colors are scrumptious. Add to that her fabulous flower photographs and monthly mosaics. So on this currently rather foggy, grey day what better place to visit for a shot of bright color and fun.
If you go into her archives to April of 2009 you'll see what got me interested in her blog in the first place. Clue -  large wheels and a guerilla.
Note to self - learn to crochet properly. I can knit no problem, and have taught my girls how to,  so you would think it would not be difficult. Not so. The most I've ever accomplished is about 3 rows and a circle that would not lie flat.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Local Life - Operation Smile

The Brentwood Woman's Club is sponsoring a day of service to make Therapy Bags, Smile Dolls and Hospital Gowns for Operation Smile.
When - Wednesday 20th January
Time - 10.00 a.m. till 2.00 p.m.
Location - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4303 Hillsboro Road, Green Hills.
Goal - 100 dolls, 30 gowns, 50 totes.
If you can sew, cut fabric, stuff dolls please come.
If you have a sewing machine, scissors, iron, ironing board, extension cords etc. please bring them.
Supervised Nursery facilities will be available from 10.00 till 12.00.
Lunch will be provided but the organizers need a head count so contact Liz Allman at

To find out more about Operation Smile and how it has helped change and enrich the lives of thousands of children go to

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fall Quilt Swap - received :)

I received a lovely package in the mail on Monday from Krista at This is the first swap she has participated in and I felt totally spoiled by her generosity. Not only the gorgeous wall hanging but a Lindsay tartan scarf all the way from Scotland and a copy of "Return to Elm Creek". First three pictures are close ups of different parts of the quilt. The back is actually a much nicer and darker green than the picture indicates.
Thanks Krista.
My own wall  hanging will be in the mail soon. There was a sudden change to my partner assignment so I am contemplating whether to send the one I have already made, do some personalizing alterations to it,  or make a brand new one.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Scots Corner - Curling

Okay so I'm sending you to to see some fun pictures of curling on the Lake of Mentieth which is not too far from where I grew up.

So what is Curling? I do not want any pithy comments about something to do with hair thank you very much :)

Curling is a skilled game usually performed by 2 teams of 4 on ice involving a target (house), polished granite stones (that weigh a considerable amount), and brooms. The basic idea is to skillfully hurl/slide the stone down the sheet with the proper curl to the house with sweeping being done if necessary. It helps to learn how not to hurt yourself in the process of contorting your body into an elegant swan dive. The "properly avoiding the knee to chin bit" can be particularly hazardous when you are learning that art.

The game was originally played on frozen lochs and ponds in Medieval Scotland and progressed from there. The World Curling Federation is located in Perth. (I wonder if they will have a curling tournament to celebrate the town's 8ooth. birthday this year.) We Scots are a fairly mobile race of people and have taken Curling too many countries. Canada has a really strong curling history and I am always torn if I ever get to see a good game between them and Scotland. The US is fairly decent as well and if I forget to mention New Zealand my cousin might reach out and smack me down the ice :)

I love the game and played it badly on a few occasions in my youth, so all I can say is "Roll on the Winter Olympics." I will be glued to the set if any of the competition gets televised here. It is also a Paralympic wheelchair sport and Canada beat out Britain for gold in 2006 :(

If you want a really long read about the history and intricacies go to The short form can be found at which is where I found the Olympic photograph.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

'Tis a gift - one from Christmas

Every Christmas the Hansen side of the family rotates through the siblings for family gifts. This year we received from John's oldest sister and her family. My brother-in-law decided to do wood burning and this is what we received. Everyone that received one of his plaques was in awe.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Scots Corner - Buchanan Castle

Scotland is famous for its castles and old mansions. Unfortunately not all of these historical buildings are in good repair.

This is Buchanan Castle (a mansion) on the outskirts of Drymen, Stirlingshire. "Tis a shame that such a pretty place has become so neglected. The roof was removed in the 1950's to avoid paying local taxes.
The original building burned down in 1852 and a new one was built by the 4th Duke of Montrose in 1854 on a different part of the estate. It was sold in 1925 after the death of the 5th Duke. During part of the 30's it was used as a hotel and for a while during WWII was used as a hospital.
The black and white photo is from about 1890.
When I still lived in the area I visited the grounds and areas of the building that were considered "safe". It was an interested place to explore and it saddened me to see the neglect of what had once been such a vibrant place.
Having said all that there is an up side. A golf course was suggested in 1935, designed in 1936, and then built on the site of the old mansion. Some of the surviving walls were incorporated into the clubhouse. My great grandfather was a member of the golf club and lived "down the street" from the mansion.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to each of you. I hope this new decade brings much good into your lives.