Sunday, May 25, 2014

a new tool

I tested out a new (new to me) gadget a couple days ago.  It is the Hot Hemmer, made by Clover, sold at Bear Patch.  It was an item featured last December on our 12 Days of Christmas event.  So a bunch of customers purchased it, and I hope they like it as much as I do.  I needed to press a double folded edge 1" deep on a pillow back that I was making.  I wanted it to be really nice and straight for a professional-looking finish.  I used the longest straight side inside the fold, bringing the raw edge right over to the 1" line.  The surface of the Hot Hemer is sort of fuzzy and really helps hold the fabric in the right spot so there is no slipping while I run the iron across the fold.  After that first fold was all pressed in place, I again used the Press Perfect on the inside of the fold while I brought my first folded edge up to the 1" mark.  I really worked well!  I had a real nice crease to topstitch down.

I have been spending some time on some designs that incorporate the Quilt MN 2014 fabrics.  Here is a sample of something I am putting together--

Still a lot of work to do, but we are headed in the right direction!

Last weekend we had a fun anniversary getaway up to the North Shore of Lake Superior.  We stayed at a place with a view right on the lakeside--

There was still some ice floating around on the lake in some spots, like little icebergs.  And snow along the hiking path in the trees.  There was a lot of water in the streams, actually over the banks of some streams.  We stopped at some of the falls near the highway to get a good view.  The woods are so lush and thick, until we traveled up the Gunflint Trail north of Grand Marais.

This is a large area of the forest that looks like another world!  Several years ago a severe storm blew down almost every single tree for miles and miles.  Then maybe 2 years later, all that dead wood ignited in a huge forest fire.  Now it looks like this--

 with some new growth started, but starting over from scratch will take a long, long time to get back to what it used to be.  Maybe my grandsons will see the re-growth when they are adults and canoeing and camping up there.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Well, what little normalcy I had in my makeshift kitchen is now gone!
Here's the corner that housed my Grandma's old buffet and dining room table.

 Today we had to remove all the furniture from the dining room/living room so those original wood floors can be sanded and refinished along with the new.
Here's the kitchen on the right and the bathroom that is under construction is that dark doorway on the left.  The hallway running to the bathroom is all new wood, the kitchen floor was changed to wood several years ago.  So now it is all getting the same treatment.
Sheet rock taping was done today, and big fans are running all night to get it dried.
Messy stuff!

Here's a corner where the original wood is sanded down but still not sanded right next to the wall.  I like all of that light wood!  I hope we can get a really light stain on it.

Now here's a picture from another kitchen, in Sioux Falls, around 1983.  Brita was always a good helper, and that day we were making cut-out cookies.  Brita stood on a chair and the rolling pin got away from her!  There she dangled, not sure what to do next!  She doesn't have that problem anymore, but someday one of her little boys might find himself in a similar predicament!

I don't do this very often, but tonight I took a picture of my dinner!  We were eating at Perkins', and ordered their special stir fry chicken with strawberries.  I have never thought about adding strawberries to stir fry, but it was delicious!

Looks awfully healthy, don't you think?

Friday, May 9, 2014

happenings around here

The continuing story of the renovation includes our makeshift kitchen:

every important element of my culinary success is accounted for!  Coffee pot, microwave, paper towels,  a few utensils and coffee cups--not so bad!  And the dining room table/counter top/office/receptacle of odds 'n ends is the perfect central command post!  I even managed to make a batch of no-bake bars yesterday to share with people over at the store.  This recipe came from via pinterest:

Butterscotch Pretzel Bars
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups crushed pretzels
1 11 oz. package butterscotch-flavored chips (about 2 cups)
¼ cup whipping cream
½ cup coarsely crushed pretzels
½ cup chopped peanuts
Line a 9x13 pan with foil.  Spray foil with cooking spray.  
Combine the powdered sugar, peanut butter and melted butter in a bowl.  
Add the 2 cups crushed pretzels.  Pour into the cake pan and spread out evenly.
Over low heat, melt the butterscotch chips and cream together.  
Pour mixture over the 1st layer in the cake pan.  
Sprinkle the ½ cup pretzels and peanuts evenly over the top.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Actually, they were kind of sticky so I put them in the freezer instead.

And I bet you are wondering how my little guys are doing.  Well, let me just say, I wish we could all wear 
Cookie Monster shoes!  Getting a good picture of Ian is a bit of a challenge, and his favorite pose involves sticking out his tongue!  So I thought I would capture it for posterity! 

So precious!  And so fun!  He loves to play all sorts of games, sing songs, run around, cuddle up with a book, and give hugs and kisses.  We are so glad for nice times outdoors again, so we can go for walks and play in the yard.  Looks like a good summer comin' up!