Tuesday, March 03, 2015

cooking & crafting...

Cooking and crafting, that's how I am managing to get through our 'long, cold winter'.  It's been over a month since we were above freezing.  Many days, in fact, have begun at below 0 degrees F or in the single digits; wind chills of -20 or -30; snow, snow, and more snow.  On a bright note, I saw two flocks of Canadian geese fly over today while I was walking the dogs--maybe they know something about a sudden thaw...?

Before Ash Wednesday I made up a batch of Paczki, which are a traditional Polish pastry.  I used this recipe, and although it was my first try, they didn't come out too badly.  Keeping the oil at a constant temperature was a challenge, and quite a few ended up a little burnt--we did suffer and eat them anyway, filled with cherry filling and glazed.

When we moved, I realized just how many fabric scraps I have accumulated over the years.  I was considering donating them, but then decided it was just time to start quilting.  Looking through Pinterest has been fun and I am filled with ideas, which you can see on my sewing board.  Thanks to Leila's recommendation, I am reading The quilters: Women and domestic art, which 'chronicles the lives and quilts of pioneer women of Texas and New Mexico at the turn of the twentieth century.' It is a wonderful look into the part that quilting played in their lives.  I think it would be almost impossible to read this book and not be inspired to quilt something. It has been added to my list of favorite reads.

So, I am now working on a crib quilt--my first really-from-scratch quilt, as the only others I've made were a 'cheater' quilt and one from a pre-cut kit long ago.  I am using this tutorial for improvisational quilt blocks using scraps of fabric.  It is amazing how fast these came together! I now have the top done, need to come up with a backing fabric, and am trying to decide whether to quilt by hand or machine--by hand would be nice, though I am not sure how long that may take me.  

I received a new order of leather, which I would like to use for some totes.  I've sewed one up and am excited to test it out for myself; if all goes well, maybe some can be added to the shop. Sewing with leather has been a real learning experience, and I continue to try and perfect my methods; my motivation--I just love leather bags!

Hope you are keeping warm, or maybe even enjoying Spring,



  1. I always love your photos - so lovely. Sorry for the long winter that you're having to endure. Winter always seems long to me too here in Central Illinois, and even though we didn't get as much snow as last year, it has been long and cold. However, after reading your post, I'm thankful because at least we have been above freezing lots and today it's in the low 40s with rain. Our forecast next week shows 50s even, so it looks like things are improving and hopefully it will be that way where you are soon as well.

    We have Canadian Geese year round here, so much so that they are a nuisance issue however I still love to hear them fly over. : )

    I also used to love Paczkis - every year my husband would bring them from a Polish bakery near Chicago, in honor of my very Polish roots. However, this year is different - we made a drastic change to only healthy eating as of December 31st, and it's now March and I've lost 30 lbs and ongoing and beyond that I just feel happier. So, alas, all of my baking days (or baking with butter and rich ingredients rather) are over with. I have made some lovely Skinnytaste dessert recipes though and am learning a whole new way of cooking.

    Hope you get some sun and warmth soon!

  2. I'm excited about your quilting "venture." My Mom is a master quilter, but at 91 she doesn't do the big quilts any more - just sweet little lap quilts. She helped me hand piece and hand quilt a sample quilt. It came out much better than I had dared hope. I haven't done much since - still am a bit intimidated by the whole business. Perhaps you'll inspire me to get going again. I did find the hand quilting so relaxing - sitting on the couch stitching while watching tv. I'd like to learn to machine quilt so that I could save time, but I really did like stitching by hand. Have fun! There's something so special about quilts.

  3. Like you I am definitely ready for spring to arrive seems like the winter has been inordinately long this year. So much snow in places and so very, very, cold here.

    I do love the quilt.

    God bless.

  4. we're expecting 8-10" of the white stuff tomorrow.....and we don't even live in the NE!!! What a winter!
    stay warm....quilts sound just right for this nesting part of the year.

  5. Your paczkis look delicious. Much nicer than any I've seen in any of the grocery stores. That looks like a fun quilt. Can wait to see how it will look when you finish.

  6. Deb I can't begin to imagine 0F and a month of it? Wow. I am so glad you have found so many wonderful things to do during the long winter, you always have been resourceful.

  7. What a lovely quilt you're working on!

    We have had some winter, but with no noteworthy cold or snow. Maybe late in March or April, but for now? Would love to have a good reason for nesting.. ;o)

  8. Your crib quilt looks so wonderful! You'll love being able to use scraps on so many different kids of quilts. I like to do log cabin quilting. Question....what type of fabric is under the dough?

  9. Your crib quilt looks so wonderful! You'll love being able to use scraps on so many different kids of quilts. I like to do log cabin quilting. Question....what type of fabric is under the dough?

  10. Yum. That pastry looks delicious! And your crib quilt is going to be wonderful! I love those fabrics!

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  12. Anonymous8:55 AM

    I always come and admire your handbags...but I have to admit, this time your paczki are really making me hungry! They look so good and fresh; thanks for the recipe link! The glaze (instead of just sugared) looks really delicious.

    I'm sure leather is not easy to work with. You must have a good motor in your sewing machine just to make all you do make! I think you are smart to have this "specialty"! Andrea

  13. Busy girl. Looks like you are making the most of your new home. Love the fabric in your quilt !!! Clarice


Thank you for taking time to leave a comment--I love reading each and every one! I will try to answer any questions you have in the comment section. Due to the amount of spam, I am sadly no longer able to accept Anonymous comments....Kindly, Deb


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