An Irish Blessing!

As you probably know, Boston is home to people of many nationalities and cultures. But as an old Irishman once said, “On St. Paddy’s Day there are two kinds of people: the Irish and those that wish they were!”

Perhaps not the most “politically correct” statement to be made, but in the spirit of celebration- everyone can enjoy a good time, regardless of your ethnicity or beliefs.

If you live in Suffolk County, March 17 is also a legal holiday- Evacuation Day, marking the day in 1776 when the British left Boston Harbor during the Revolutionary War.

The big South Boston parade (which I have never attended) was on the 16th, but the St. Patrick’s celebrating apparently started early on the week-end.!  We had tickets for the Boston Ballet performance of Cinderella (which was awesome, btw) on Saturday night so decided to have dinner at Quincy Market before the show. Already,there were many revelers dressed in all shades of green gathering in groups or standing in lines to enter the various restaurants and bars. Lots of spirit and fun was evident, and the evening had not yet begun!

A few hours later, on our train ride home we seemed to be in the “party car” with some “celebrants” singing and attempting to dance ??? at 60mph???  They were enjoying themselves!

Now, onto other things!  How about this table runner made from San Francisco Stitch  Company?  Irish table runnerThis was such a fun project and I’m thrilled with how it turned out.  All of the embroidery and quilting is done “in the hoop” by machine.Irish Runner

I think this table runner will be lingering on my table for a while longer, too.Irish Blessing

Christmas Ornament Exchange

You may have noticed that some of the sewing bloggers you read have been exchanging handmade Christmas ornaments and posting tutorials demonstrating how to make them too!

Well, thanks to Kelli of True Bias, more bloggers (like myself) were given the opportunity to sign-up to participate in this activity as well.

I submitted my name as a participant, and decided that my handmade ornament would be to make lace snowflakes!  The bonus here is that you can either hang them on your Christmas tree, or enjoy them in a window throughout the winter season!

if you are not familiar with machine embroidery, these snowflakes are known as FSL, or Freestanding Lace.  I purchased these particular designs from Snowlady Designs but there are many other vendors of lace designs.

After downloading the design to my computer software, I duplicated the design as many times as I could fit into my hoop and then transferred that to my machine.

Here is a print-out of the snowflakes as they will be stitched.

Next, I hooped a thick water-soluble stabilizer, pressed the “start” button and watched them stitch!

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Once they are done, unhoop and trim around each snowflake before soaking the snowflakes in water to dissolve the stabilizer.

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When they are dry, I like to give them just a touch of white glitter paint! (Sometimes a little more than a touch!)

Here are the finished snowflakes I made for the exchange:

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And here are three different ones that I just made from the same designer.

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My mailbox has brought me some delightful handcrafted Christmas ornaments over the past few days and introduced me to some talented and creative bloggers whom I might otherwise not found.

I hope you have a moment to stop by and enjoy these lovely blogs too!

http://nutta.typepad.com/

http://seemore-dreammore.blogspot.com

http://bonnechanceblogspot.blogspot.com

http://www.dandeliondrift.com

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Pattern Pyramid Craft Edition Winner!

Crafty Patterns

Congratulations Craftbinder!

You are the lucky winner of the Crafty Pattern Pyramid.  There are lots of patterns here for holiday gift-giving and beyond!

If you would be kind enough to contact me and provide a mailing address, these patterns will be arriving at your doorstep in no time!

My e-mail can be found by clicking the “About” tab page. I’m so excited to see where this pyramid travels!

Talk soon,

~ Ellen

Cranberry Creativity

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I have just completed these additions to a set of dinner napkins I made as a Christmas gift last year.

Cranberry wreath- Dancing Threads

Cranberry wreath Dancing Threads

This cranberry wreath design is one I fortunately picked up  from a site which is no longer available.  The digitizer, Dancing Threads now markets her designs here, but this design is not among her current collection.  I keep checking back, hoping to see any other “cranberry inspired” designs as they are perfect for gift-giving to friends involved in the cranberry industry!

And while we’re on the subject of cranberries and Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share a “traditional” favorite:

Cranberry nut bread

Classic Cranberry Nut Bread

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 tablespoons shortening
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 cups Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, shortening and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan.

Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Wrap and store overnight. Makes 1 loaf (16 slices).

PER SERVING (1 slice): Cal. 211, Fat Cal. 54, Protein 3grams, Carb. 37grams, Fat 6grams, Chol. 18mg., Sodium 313mg.

The recipe can be found here, along with many others…

Before I forget, you still have time to leave a comment on my last post if you would like to win some “crafty patterns” in the Craft Pattern Pyramid!