Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Thursday, January 19, 2017

thursday's crafting ~ sewing with selvages***

My local quilting store, well- local as far as twenty-eight miles away, but close enough- Nuts and Boltz Needlework is a quaint, small, shop that not only has great choices in fabrics and supplies, but has classes for those such as myself that need to learn the trick of “quilting.” Remember my project with my scrub tops? You saw my sewing machine tote and too-tote for my sewing tools that I made for these classes. Sadly, last weekend it snowed too much that the class was cancelled until March. it’s okay, I have time.

Now for the heart of this posting- while at the shop last time I came across a book that gave me even more crafting ideas and projects to plan for the future. 
look...its a book case with selvage books

Save the Selvages

Creating treasures from the Selvages of fabrics- a new kind of quilting; many people consider selvages to be garbage, cutting them off and throwing them away without a second thought.  I know I did; but, after checking many of my left over fabrics I saved from my scrub tops... I still have the selvages on them- yippee. With this new insight I suddenly have noticed how pretty some of the selvages on fabrics are?  

love this! thread catcher
What is the selvage exactly?
A selvage is the finished edge of fabric, and it is tightly woven which means it does not fray. It runs the entire length of the fabric bolt. Selvages are very handy! Information is usually printed right along that edge. This can include the fabric designer, the company, and the name of the print or line; great if you need to order more yardages online. This makes it easy to identify the fabric. Sometimes the selvage also features a line of circles that include all of the colors in that fabric to help you choose coordinating colors- something which I use quite often.

So why is there even a selvage edge on your fabric?
It’s actually a by-product of the manufacturing process. Take a closer look at a piece of woven cotton printed fabric, and you will see threads running along the fabric in two directions; the warp threads run the length of the fabric, and the weft threads along the width. The selvage edge of the fabric is where the weft thread loops back at the end of each row during the manufacturing process.


 A  few tips I have found in my research for collecting and sewing with Selvages:
  • Before you start cutting into your fabric for your next project, cut your selvages off so that they are at least 1-2 inches wide. That way not only will you see your selvage, but also a bit of that pretty fabric.
  • Store them in a clear container in a visible place. A tall Mason jar on the shelf will remind you to save and sew with them!
  • Before sewing with your selvages, be sure to starch and press them well. They can be pretty wavy, but a good press should take care of it.
  • A fabric foundation base works perfectly when sewing selvages together. This allows the woven edge to remain fully exposed while keeping the selvage strips from distorting. Muslin works great for this, but you can also use whatever quilting cotton scraps that you may have lying around. Just be sure that the foundation fabric doesn’t show through the selvage strips.

A couple of great websites I found that you may be interested in. Of course look to Pinterest, it has oodles and oodles of ideas and how-to suggestions. Have fun and remember to Save those Selvages!

my favorite: Sew Mama~ Sewing with Selvages: Making Your Own Selvage Fabric  

The Sewing Loft~ 25 things to make with Selvages

Treadlequilts~ the Tread Catcher and more ideas

Pinterest board~ Karen Malio-Selvages-things-to-make

and we gotta have those books...  

okay my friendly crafters! If you are a sewing buff and buy or have lots of fabrics I highly recommend to start saving those Selvages.. why not? even if you don’t think it is something you would want to do- you might one day.... and then there is always that happy blogger who is saving them, maybe she would love to acquire your Selvages....ME! hehe-   have fun, and I will post my project- complete with “how I did it” when I can get enough saved for my first project... a Tread Holder. If you have some and don’t want them; I’ll take them off your hands.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

meal ideas ~ more winter stews & soups

I have stated many times that one of my great loves about wintertime is being able to make stews, soups, and all those other HOT TASTY recipes that warm the body and soothe the soul. And here are a couple of soul soothing, delicious, and healthy meals to try on a cold day.

Dijon Beef Stew
Enjoy simple home-style cooking at its best. The slow cooker makes it convenient, and the fresh and healthy ingredients keep carbs, calories, and fat low – just 164 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 14 grams of carb per serving.                                                                                            
2 cups frozen small whole onions
2 cups packaged peeled fresh baby carrots
1 pound beef stew meat, trimmed of fat
1 14 1/2 - ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 14 1/2 - ounce can lower-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley or tarragon

 Place onion and carrots in a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Top with stew meat. In a small bowl stir together the tomatoes, broth, mustard, garlic, thyme, tarragon, and pepper. Pour over beef in cooker.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle each serving with parsley.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 164 cal., 4 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 48 mg chol., 370 mg sodium, 14 g carb. (4 g fiber, 7 g sugars), 19 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Lean Meat (d.e): 2.5; Vegetables (d.e): 1; Starch (d.e): 0.5

German Potato-Sausage Soup
 This diabetic soup recipe proves you can enjoy a home-style meal without worrying about calorie or carb overload. It comes together with a few easy and healthy ingredients like mushrooms, broccoli, and cabbage, and is ready to serve in about 30 minutes.

12 ounces uncooked bulk turkey sausage
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 3/4 cups less-sodium beef stock
1/2 cup light beer or non-alcoholic beer
2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 cup small broccoli florets
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk (or favorite milk substitute)

 In a 4-quart Dutch oven, cook sausage, mushrooms, onion, and celery over medium heat until sausage is browned, stirring to break up sausage as it cooks. Drain off fat.

 Add caraway seeds and pepper to sausage mixture in Dutch oven. Add beef stock and beer; bring to boiling. Add potatoes. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add broccoli. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes more or until potatoes and broccoli are tender.

 Stir cabbage and milk into sausage-broccoli mixture. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or just until cabbage is tender and soup is heated through.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 179 cal., 5 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 44 mg chol., 522 mg sodium, 16 g carb. (3 g fiber, 6 g sugars), 17 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Lean Meat (d.e): 2; Starch (d.e): 1; Vegetables (d.e): 1

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

healthy living ~ winter skin defenses

My skin tends to be dry, due to my diabetes, but when weather hits...and especially here, in already “super dry Colorado” the air steals moisture away from the skin every second of every day. My dry skin then cracks and bleeds, and harsh winter wind makes the problem worse. Additional moisture helps, but you need to do more to actually counteract these effects and keep skin looking youthful and smooth. To reduce chapping, redness, itching, and keep skin more healthy and comfortable this season, try these tips I have found to help.

1. Wash in Lukewarm Water
Hot showers and baths always feel good in the winter, but when you can, particularly when just washing your face or hands, choose lukewarm water to avoid stripping as many oils away from the skin.

2. Exfoliate
We often forget to help the skin slough off dead cells in the winter, particularly on our hands. Yet moisture can’t get in if the dead cells are too plentiful. Find an exfoliating mask and use it on your face and your hands, as well as gently on your lips. **AVOID use of exfoliating body washes, cleansers that contain “beads or pearls” as they can embed into large pores and cause serious infections. A gentle “Buff Puff” or the like is perfect, just remember to rinse thoroughly to prevent bacteria buildup- I stick mine in the microwave for 30 seconds once a week to kill any bugs.  

3. Change Your Soaps
Cleansers can be extremely drying to the skin. If you’re used to using options that contain glycolic or salicylic acid, rotate with a more hydrating version that contains moisturizing ingredients. After cleansing, don’t leave the skin naked for more than 30 seconds, as this can dehydrate it, leading to increased dryness. Apply a hydrating toner and moisturizer to seal in moisture. I love Dove Sensitive Skin soap and it loves me.

4. Moisturize Immediately Afterwards
Your skin not only needs more moisture, but moisture right after you wash. Applying moisture to damp skin helps seal that dampness into the skin. Keep a bottle near the bathtub, shower stall, and at every sink and use liberally every time you wash. This is the most important, the purpose is not moisturize, but use the lotion to KEEP in the moisture with a protective barrier.

5. Choose Moisturizer Carefully
Some over-the-counter moisturizers have petroleum-based ingredients that can actually further dry your skin in the winter months. Be sure to choose a smart formula that has natural, nourishing ingredients. AND, remember the less chemicals in the product the better it is for you- beware of products that say “Natural Ingredients.” !! look at the label !! Go for oil-based rather than a water-based solution, it’s more likely to help your skin retain moisture. For me: I have found that a particular Gold Bond lotion for Diabetic Skin is awesome!!! I was amazed after just 15 minutes my hands felt and were better!

6. Drink
We tend to drink less water in the winter because we turn to hot drinks like cocoa and tea, but don’t forget that your skin needs hydration from the inside, out. A little warm water with lemon can be very refreshing and hydrating at the same time.

7. Hydrate From the Inside Out
Eating foods high in water content can help hydrate your skin from the inside out. Try watermelon, cantaloupe, apples, oranges, kiwi, and watery veggies like celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and carrots. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C and zinc to support the healthy production of collagen and elastin. Also consider an omega-3 supplement, or consume more fatty fish and flaxseed to give your skin the building blocks it needs to appear supple and smooth.

8. Protect
Get used to wearing gloves and scarves to protect skin from cold winds, rain, and snow. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen. Winter sun can be just as damaging as summer sun, so apply a safe option like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to any exposed areas. My favorite gloves are mittens, mainly because you can slip them on and off quickly. But the advantage to mittens over gloves is that the fingers keep each other warm and cozy, like cuddling.

Hope these tips help, I know most of them you know and already do, but maybe something is new. If you have any suggestions yourself, please leave me a comment, I love comments. And you do not have to join anything; just post your comments as “anonymous” leaving your name in the comments does help me know who you are.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Wintering in Aspen Willow ~ the cold is not old, yet

It’s been cold, have had a few--ok, a lot, of negative number days. Nevertheless, I still say that I would rather be cold than be hot. And, in my opinion, anything over 98 degrees is simply hot- really doesn’t feel just feels hot!  As well, all temperatures under 10 degrees are simply COLD.

There was one day I ‘needed’ to plow the driveway and it was very cold and wet. WOW! My fingers and toes got frozen! Frost Nip cold, that kind of cold that isn’t painful when cold, but when you are heating things back up it hurts like the devil. Fortunately I had my rice-flax heating pads and was able to be back to normal in a jiffy. But getting there reminded me that there is line which my “it’s okay to be cold” can be drawn. Also, as I sat there toes and fingers bundled I thought of those mountaineers that climb mountains like thank you. Okay that is too cold!

So, how do I stay warm?

Besides my little heating rice-flax bundles when body parts get too cold, I do dress warmly, but in layers, and many times throughout the day put this one over that and then take it off again only to put it back on.... haha!  Layered clothing is nice. Also, there have been many days the I have stayed in my nightclothes all day, until the next, because I didn’t want to put “chilly” clothes on- “the warm ones I am wearing will do just fine thank you.” It works for me, and living in solitude, works very well.

At night I have taken to sleeping under a full set of covers; spread, blanket, sheet. As a rule my sleeping preference is just a lightweight blanket on top of me...on top of the bed- thus I don’t feel so trapped, I can poke feet and hands out at my desire. BUT, when the MC night temperature is 57/58...snuggling under some covers is nice.

Gypsy, bless her heart, keeps me warm. Almost every night she gets up on the bed before me; thus, heating the bed before I get under the covers. The trick is getting her to move off her warm spot to allow me under there. Electric blankets, I keep looking at them, but I just can’t get myself to purchase one- I would not sleep under it all night and it only takes a couple of minutes for me to warm the bed myself. (rather hot blooded, I am) No, no electric blankets for me, not yet at least.

Lots of hot tea, coffee, other beverages (hot coco and spiced cider have to be limited due to my diabetes- so, they are rare treats) and cooking lots of hot soups, stews, chowders. Those comfort foods you loved as a child being able to play out in the winter’s day and come inside to a tummy warming meal.

Then there is my cast iron fireplace- made a fire my last full snow day. It not only kept the MC warm- in the 70’s- all day but long into the night as well. I even had a few coals left the next morning which I could have used to build another fire if needed. So, friends, moral of this tale is... if you have a cabin in the mountains get a cast iron stove and not a fireplace. Ahh, the fireplace... it does have a nice ambiance, but it does not heat for a “long” period of time, if heat is what you need, a cast iron stove is what is prescribed.

What do I use when no fire? Propane Heaters, two, one at each end of the MC, their thermostats usually set to around 60 degrees. There have been a couple of times I just wanted more...and raised it for a short time. And then... there are those, more often, times when I get my book, tea, and sit on a little stool in front of my propane heater... happy as a camper in the desert in July. :)

And my “place of happiness” in the afternoon...the MC’s sun-room- which I have taken to calling the Solar; like days of old in a castle, where they would sit, sew, relax, chat, but mainly stayed warm. Actually all three of us: Samantha, Gypsy and I, head there in the middle of the day after being outside in the cold- nap, read, sew and relish in the warm sun shining through the windows... ahhhh, nice.

I know there will be a day, maybe even several moments where I’ll say “ok, I am done with the cold!” but that day hasn’t come yet. And when I do feel a little tired of being “chilled” I remind myself what it feels like to be so hot that you are covered in sweat, it dribbles down your body in rivers of disgust; you step out of the shower, dry off....ten times because you just can’t get fully dry. I have lived in Arizona...egads, that was a nightmare! I consider those years as training years for my “rather be cold” memories I now use. And more recently I have lived in Southern California, where it has its fair share of above 100 hot humid days.        

NO, give me Cold or give me “more Cold”....

I am a penguin and I am proud of it!  

 Gypsy and Samantha .... Wintertime Eskimo Kisses

Thursday, January 12, 2017

thursday's crafting ~ have sewing will travel

  I use to make my own scrub tops, it is simple pattern and if able to purchase fabrics on sale you could have an adorable and unique scrub top for less than $5.00 in some cases. One day, thinking about all the crafts I was going to do when I retired, I suddenly thought of making a quilt from my tops.  With that, I began saving all my tops.

Then I saw this idea, it was perfect. I love books, (my financial downfall- ha) and what a fun piece to have in my keep me warm while I curl up and read. 

Now, my problem was... I know how to sew, but know nothing about making quilts. And this one is going to be a challenging task to be sure.

I was excited to find a Quilting Shop way up here in the mountains—yea! Nuts and Bolts in Woodland Park. And they have quilting classes, which will teach me the basic and help me figure out just how best to make my BookCase Quilt.

Needing a sewing project while I waited for the class date I found an adorable Sewing Tool Case and thought it would be fun to use to take what supplies I needed for the class. And I needed a travel case for my machine. I debated purchasing one, but thought “what fun would that be” so also set about making a tote for my machine.

Here are my results:           

The tote is a simple tote pattern with a wooden, removable, bottom. It is extremely sturdy and can be used for a lot of different sewing needs.  I made a pocket of my “kitty sewing room” fabric that matches the cover for my machine. 

the next is what I am very proud of. I found the pattern on Craftsy, the instructions are Metric measurements, but easily converted. I actually used my own size and then followed the instructions from there. I am sorry I don’t have photos of the “step-by-step” process. I went too slow and was too intense not to make a mistake, didn’t want the distraction. Usually in these kinds of cases I turn things around and have to undo a lot of seams....not this time! yea, it came out perfectly. There was one moment of panic when I thought I had something backwards but just hadn’t turned everything--- I was elated. 
This was also made using my "kitty sewing room" fabric... love it!

This was fun, now I am thinking about one for my Embroidery tools-
 here is a link for the pattern:  Craftsy: Tooly Tool Holder Easel