Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sorting .....

I spent the morning sorting through 3 bins of fabric, etc.  and now have three empty bins and know exactly what I have in my stash  and all the fat quarters are sorted by colour - what a relief.  One of the bins was filled with assorted yarns - I used to crochet and do plastic canvas.  I  didn't discard the yarns but sorted them and made them fit into a smaller box that is well labeled so a future decision will be easy.  lol  In the box of yarn was a crocheted something or other and whilst I knew what it was for I wasn't sure if the second piece had been made ... sure enough there it was along with the pattern - Eureka!   This mystery item was a crocheted cover for a plastic hanger; the two pieces slip over each end of the hanger and are stitched together at the centre; I stitched them together and now have another fancy hanger .... why  it didn't  get stitched together years ago is beyond me. 
There was a sense of accomplishment today and that's a good thing.


Monday, February 27, 2012

The tomato can

Just last week I was whining mentioning to my husband that I was making all this stuff and it was just accumulating.   But I don't want to stop making stuff cause I like making stuff and what would I do instead of.   This weekend I stitched and sewed a cover for a 796ml (28 oz) tomato can .... and exactly what am I going to do with it?  You see my dilemma.  Anyway, he suggested I made some of this stuff just for the challenge and that's not all bad - isn't he a sweetie!

Here is a pic of my tomato can complete with lid. I can see myself making more of these, without the stitchery,  for storing various items in the bathroom, for example .... have you ever seen a q-tip or cotton ball holder this cute?  Since this one has a wee pincushion on top I think it will be used elsewhere.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My vices ....

I must admit that Coronation Street is one of my vices.  Doc Martin and Vicar of Dibley are favourites, too.  Unfortunately, we no longer receive many British programs.  We started watching Downton Abbey this week and the network started off with Episode 1 of Series 1, thank goodness. 

 My paternal Grandmother turned 19 in October of 1912, which is the year when the Downton Abbey tale begins.  She was in service so we're having a glimpse of what life might have been like for her.  Since she was a nanny I suspect she didn't spend much time "downstairs" and I know she didn't work for a family anywhere near as wealthy as these folks.  Grandma came to Canada in May of 1912 and I can't help but think of the fear she and the other passengers must have felt knowing that the ship (Titanic) that sailed a few weeks earlier sunk with so many passengers losing their lives.  I cannot imagine leaving my family behind knowing that I'd likely never see them again and taking up residence in another country like she did.  I'm glad she was adventurous.  This is the ship she sailed on.

I was most fortunate to know all my grandparents and especially Grandma Mac as we affectionately called her - she was a sweetheart and spoiled us (my bro and I) rotten, apparently.  All my grandparents had passed away when my sisters were born....it's hard to imagine growing up without knowing a grandparent. 

My project in the sewing room this weekend  involves a tomato can - watch for updates. 

Another vice of mine is to read the news online first thing every morning, which of course means  checking  my email inbox as well.  Yesterday and today there was an email from our son who lives in France ... what a great way to start a day!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sugar scrub

I painted some trim and shelves today, which  prompted me to mention my sugar scrub.  I use it when I'm gardening - it removes the grime and moistens my hands but I also discovered that it removes the sticking bits of paint on one's hands. 

 If you're interested here's how to make some:  white sugar, olive oil, essential oil (optional).  Take a small jar and fill no more than 3/4 full of sugar (need some room for stirring), add a  small amount of olive oil at a time and stir - you'll have to use your own judgement whether you have too much or too little oil - if you added too much oil, just add some more sugar.  I always add a few drops of lavender essential oil simply because I like it. The sugar needs to be moistened right through but not dripping with oil .. keep in mind Goldilocks and her "just right".  Some folks use brown sugar and different oils.  Use what you have on hand.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


We make bread quite regularly and most often it's focaccia although not always made to resemble flat bread. The one showing is filled focaccia.
1.5 cups of warm water
1 tablespoon oil (I use canola)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour (in the US I'd recommend using bread flour)
1 tablespoon instant/bread machine yeast

   Put all ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed.  Set the machine to dough cycle (2 hours).  When it's ready, turn out onto a floured board, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.
    For filled focaccia, after it's rested divide the dough into two and press with fingers to fit in an oiled cast iron skillet.  Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes, till lightly browned on top, remove from pan.  If you're lucky enough to have two skillets pop the second one in the oven now.  If not,  re-use the first one.
   Once cool enough to handle cut in half so that you have a top and bottom.  Now the fun begins.  On the bottom half layer whatever you'd like .... thinly sliced meat, spinach, veggies, cheese, olives, etc. - use only a thin layer of filling.  If you want to add romaine I'd suggest you add that when you remove the focaccia from the oven. Put the top back on, place the filled focaccia on a baking sheet, and bake at 450 for about 10 minutes.  Cool slightly before cutting and enjoying - you'll be amazed at how crispy both the top and bottom are and it's absolutely delicious!!!!!!!  Mr. B and I can only consume 3/4 of one of these so we wrap the sliver left over and refrigerate it, and my goodness, it tastes totally different and is delicious in a different way although it loses it's crispiness.
   By the way, the one in the photograph has thinly sliced summer sausage, pepperoncini, onion, feta and romaine;  another favourite is thinly sliced ham, onions, mozzarella, spinach.  We use whatever is available in the fridge.

   For focaccia, after letting the dough rest I shape it and move to a baking sheet, cover, and let rise for an hour.  Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes depending on the shape of your 'loaf'.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012


    This is a heart I made for my kid sister - she's brilliant at sewing and quilting but doesn't do embroidery so it seemed appropriate to give her something she wouldn't make for herself. The pattern came from one of the Australian magazines ... either Homespun or Creating Country Stitches.
    Today is going so well that I feel rather guilty about grumbling about yesterday's interruptions, lol. My handbag is finished - it really did only take about 2 hours to make but it's a very simple handbag. 
    We're having off and on snow showers and it's quite warm. We took the doggies for their run and with the disappearing snow the doggie newspaper was more interesting to them than chasing the ball.
   Blogger is  letting me access the blogs that I follow for only a few hours a day  - anyone else having this problem?  It's quite annoying and making it difficult to keep up.   And, if someone would like to leave me a comment telling me whether or not "captcha" is turned off on my blog.  I'm discovering that Blogger has a mind of it's own and doesn't necessarily do what I tell it to do, lol - I've turned captcha OFF twice already.
    Here's a tip for anyone making a quilt ... make a matching pillowcase. When/if you store the quilt you will know which one it is by the pillowcase and we shouldn't be storing quilts in plastic.

Life is tough
And it's even tougher
If you're stupid - John Wayne
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Can you believe that February is nearly over? Perhaps the mild winter we've been having is making the days/weeks fly by. Soon it will be spring and I know that the list of things I planned to make over the winter will still be a long one, lol. Before I put away my February basket of hearts I wanted to show off share some of the individual hearts. I've enjoyed making all of these and they've kept me busy on  long winter evenings. The pansy heart in the bottom right I made for my mom when she was in personal care and when she passed away my sisters returned it to me - it's special.  In case you're wondering, it says "Joy comes from simple and natural things".
This past weekend was our first long weekend of the year and it was a mild one - woohoo!!!  Yesterday I had planned to make a handbag in the morning, which should have been about a two hour job ..... here I am this morning with it still in pieces on the ironing board - ever have those days when you have non-stop interruptions?  I also had planned to write and publish this post yesterday, alas.  C'est la vie!
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Before and after

This was an oversize pullover that wasn't being worn and had been set aside for the donation box or for some re-fashioning.   Always ready for a challenge I chose to try re-fashioning it into a cardigan.  I cut the sweater up the centre front and added a band of fabric on each side, and to balance it I added the same striped fabric to the cuffs.  For accent I stitched a row of 'fagoting' along one side of each front band and on each cuff.  This stitch is my favourite and used quite often.  I had fun and am pleased with the results.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count is being conducted February 17-20.  If you'd like to participate or see the results check here.  Some of these fine fellows have shown up for the count here.

Teddy Bear stitching

Karen at Sew Many Ways recently had a post on her blog about likes and dislikes about blogs and she invited readers to comment with their own likes and dislikes ..... I've read a few of the comments and there seems to be a general theme - pop over and check it out yourself.  The good news is that I'm possibly not offending too many readers, lol. 

I've been working on some blue work stitchery - same as red work but using blue floss (DMC 312) - making some teddy bear squares that will become a baby quilt top.  This a.m. I moved the latest completed block to the sewing room, planning to take some pix of the ones that are done to show off share.  Somewhere along the way the stitchery disappeared and I was left holding the paper pattern .... this was a short trip from living room to sewing room.  I retraced my steps 3 times even getting down on the floor to look under furniture (not an easy exercise first thing in the morning at my age) - nope, no stitchery .... what the heck?  I gave up and mentioned to Mr. B that if he came across it would he pick it up and he says, "do you mean this?" Guess I'd walked right by it every time and I had even turned on the light .... maybe it's going to be one of those days, lol.  Anyway, the lost is found so that's a good thing. 

A few days ago I deleted thought I had deleted the date from our camera but when I downloaded the pix today there it was - my regrets.  I think I now have it deleted, lol.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Just babbling .....

Yesterday we made a trip to town.  It was like spring and the stores are starting to display seeds, pots, soil, etc.  -  felt like a kid in a candy shop! My few houseplants are telling me that spring is on the way ... it fascinates me to see the plants changing at this time of year - they seem to come alive!

 Interestingly, there were so many people, mostly  with a certain colour of hair, carrying out bird related products that I just knew there were lots of birds showing up at feeders .... surely a sign of spring.  We, too, had nearly run out of black oil sunflower seeds and were rationing the birds for a few days earlier this week.  As soon as we arrived home yesterday the bird feeders were filled to the top and I'm pleased to say that the red polls and pine grosbeaks are dining!  Mr. Downy Woodpecker has tried out our suet log a couple of times but I think it's too close to the house so it will be moved further away today in the hopes of enticing him to be a regular visitor.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

One month ago

It was one month ago that I managed to create a blog.  I started one  for the challenge - just wanted to see if I could do it.  I never intended to actually blog .... after all, what would I blog about and who would read it? The biggest challenge was coming up with a name that Blogger would accept.  As a last resort and just for the heck of it I typed in "by the babbling brooke", which Blogger liked and the rest is history.

On this my one month blogaversary I don't have a giveaway... but, I am offering my gratitude to the ladies who offered assistance, guidance, and encouragement in creating this blog, to my followers for their support,  to all of you who  have left comments, and to everyone who has actually read one of my posts - what a great bunch you are!!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Prim bunny, my version

Since I've been admiring all the cute prim bunnies that abound on the internet I decided to attempt one of my own.  First, I needed a pattern but I'm no artist so I folded some paper in half and cut out the shape that I wanted (#1).   Then I drew it out on muslin and sewed two pieces together following the line that I drew (#2) leaving the bottom open for stuffing and turning right side out.  Before proceeding any further I aged the bunny (#3) with a mixture made up of strong coffee, vanilla, and cinnamon - ummmm, smells delicious. Once that dried, I embroidered the eyes with French knots and the mouth in stem stitch, stuffed her, and added a jute ribbon.  Oh yes, I added a bit of blush to her ears and  cheeks, which is how I know she's a lady.   Now I have a prim bunny  (#4) to add to my spring basket! 

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! 

This is an origami fabric pouch filled with love.
I found the idea here.
I used a stray quilt block.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Back to the sewing room .....

This aft, without Leonard Cohen's company, I made another shoulder dust cover with a few modifications. There's no lining in this one - instead, I added 2" to the bottom for a double fold hem, made it slightly narrower through the width, serged the seams, and added a ruffled flower with a button centre for embellishment. It easily covers 2 blouses.
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a morning in the sewing room

I was able to spend the morning in the sewing room and whilst listening to Leonard Cohen's newest cd, Old Ideas, made this shoulder dust cover from here .  It's intent is to replace the longer garment bag ... I like the idea since it keeps dust off the shoulders whilst letting me easily see what is under it; I used to modify pillowcases to use as garment bags but much prefer this. I didn't embellish the cover because I thought the fabric was busy enough but you surely could let your imagination run wild :-)!   As you can see it is roomy enough to cover a few garments. When I make another one I shall make a few changes. I think I need several more of these plus a few for gifts.
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Before and after ...

I've had this 'jacket' for ages. I love the colour and the design but the length just wasn't right for me - too short to wear as a dress and too long to wear as a jacket. So yesterday I decided to attempt to shorten it and I am delighted with the results. Now I can wear it with jeans, dress trousers and/or skirts .... talk about versatility. It looks quite fab teamed up with a black turtleneck pullover. Those spots you see are not spots on the garment but courtesy of the camera .... guess I'd better do a better cleaning of the lens. I overedged and pinked the hem before hand stitching with the 'catch stitch'. My late mother-in-law, a talented dressmaker, taught me how to do this stitch and it's the one I've always used for hemming. It's also an enjoyable stitch to do. 
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dresden Plates

I've noticed that Dresden Plates are quite popular this winter.  This is one I made a few years ago with some charm squares.  The centre motif is a design from Jenny.  I'd like to try another one but it'll have to wait.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What a week

What a week it's been!  For a couple of days I've been trying to download a few pix from the camera - should just take a few minutes, right?  Wrong - two days later I finally have them downloaded - sheesh!  Too many other guys hogging the computer ... you know, all those automatic downloads and installations that give themselves top priority, then our virus scanner, which slows things down,  went amok and was scanning for hours at a time; plus there's been a lot of interruptions.  
  I didn't manage to get anything done in the sewing room this week, not even a tidy-up.  But the week wasn't a total loss because I did some spring cleaning .... washed blankets and quilts, cleaned out the linen closet and pantry, and sorted through the blanket box.  On the plus side I uttered a few "oh, that's where that is" or "oh, I didn't know I still had that", or "oh, I've been looking for that" - I'm sure you know how it is.  Whilst it's not spring our weather has been so spring-like that I felt the urge and will have lots of other things to do and want to be outdoors when spring actually arrives.  Fortunately, I've been able to do some stitching in the evenings. 
Every day we take our doggies out into the country for a run.  We have a chuck-it and they love to fetch the ball.  It's a pleasant outing for us especially if it's a cold day and we'd rather stay indoors.

The brown dog is Mike (a girl) who is 13; and the black dog is Abby, age 8.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


First thing this morning we loaded the doggies into the vehicle and headed to town (an hour away) to pick up our new eyeglasses.  Of course, a trip to town always entails a long list of items to pick up including dog food. 

Today we had some really good coupons for dog biscuits so "our girls" were treated to quite an assortment ... their pantry is full; I just love it when I open the pantry door and there is little dog sniffing out all the treats along with a longing look in her eyes for just one sample; old dog will come to check it out if she thinks a treat will be handed out.  They are such fun.  We were able to find everything that was on our list along with some things that weren't.  The weather this week is incredibly mild and puts everyone in such a good frame of mind ... talk about happy people everywhere!  Always, on the way home from town we stop at a wee hamlet with lots of green space to let "our girls" have a run and a bathroom break (yes, I'm a pooper scooper) if needed.  Today little dog was on full alert as we neared this hamlet but Mr. BB drove right by - it was priceless watching her reaction and I'm sure if she could speak she'd have said, "Dad, you missed the turn!".  Just to fool them Mr. BB took the next entrance into the hamlet and that raised ears and wagged tails. 

Top of my list was to pick up Leonard Cohen's new CD 'Old Ideas'; we had the privilege of listening to it on-line and knew it was one we had to have but it wasn't in the stores until January 31.  Today at Walmart they had one copy left - woohoo!!!!!!  We listened to it over and over all the way home.