Thursday, October 28, 2010

{ a handmade holiday giveaway }


It's been awhile since I've had a giveaway on my blog, so it's about time, right?! is sponsoring this giveaway. The prize is a $100 pre-selected gift bundle of e-patterns from their website. They offer patterns and instructions for any time of handmade gift imaginable. From quilts, to clothing to jewelry, they have it all!

The gift patterns in this bundle are pre-selected but will all be appropriate for gift-giving ideas. There are several ways to enter. Please leave a separate comment for each entry!

1. Simply leave a comment on this post.

2. Mention my blog in your blog post (with a link to my blog, please). Leave a comment here so I can check out your blog post.

3. Add my button to your blog sidebar (it's over there on the left and only takes a couple seconds to add).

4. Make me the purse shown above for a million extra entries.... and the necklace for a million and two. :)

The winner will be randomly selected by on November 1, 2010.

You Can Make This!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

{ new addition }


Look what just arrived at my door! It's a Cuisinart Pro Classic Food Processor 7 Cup from (a CSN store) - so exciting! In a couple weeks I'll let you know what I think of this awesome appliance, once I've had a chance to use it. Hmm... what should I make with it first? I used to use a Kitchen Aid food processor that my husband purchased at a local liquidation store. There was nothing wrong with it when we got it, but now it has a couple of small broken bits that make the entire thing inoperable. 

When I was recently given the opportunity to review another product for CSN Stores, I debated about getting curtains, a bookcase, a brad nailer, or an end table. There were just so many choices and things we could really use, but I finally settled on a food processor since I would rather not grate and slice my own food by hand! The reason I chose the Cuisinart brand is quite simple; that's what the Pioneer Woman uses!!


Craft Racks!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

{ still knitting away }


Here's my current take along project; a cable toque I am knitting for my daughter. She saw one at Blue Notes that she liked and, of course, I said, "I can make that!". So, off we went to the Chilliwack Wool & Craft Shop for yarn and a pattern. I prefer to use circular needles whenever possible, but unfortunately this pattern was written for regular needles. I hate having a seam up the back of a toque, so I rebelled against the pattern and used circulars anyway. Does anyone know of a simple way to convert a pattern from regular needles to circular? I think I am doing it the hard way!

My next project will be a green scarf for my daughter to go with this toque. I told her to browse my favorite knitting website to find one she liked. She chose the Reversible Plaited Scarf from Ravelry. If you knit or crochet, you have got to check out this site!


* Note to self: use this method from Knitting Daily next time!

Craft Racks!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Church Craft Day :: Thread. Paper. Scissors


Yesterday was our second annual (soon to be bi-annual!) Thread. Paper. Scissors. 12 hour craft marathon at our church. Everyone had a great time and enjoyed the fun, fellowship and good food Michelle and I prepared for them. Most of us were sewing and quilting, while others worked on scrapbook pages, cards and watercolour painting.

I worked on a "Mystery Quilt" that I had started on a couple years ago. I got to month 5 on that and am now inspired to get it done! Sarah completed a whole pile of gorgeous cards, a pair of very bright plaid shorts, a quilted purse, started on a flannel rag quilt and got a Phoebe purse almost done.


Andrea tried machine applique for the first time and did a great job on a cute little table runner then worked on a flannel rag quilt. 

Rhonda attached binding to a quilt(s?) and then started on a new quilt from a fancy book that I am sure was just a disappearing 9 patch quilt published under a different name. (it's beautiful, though!)

It's neat seeing how much we can accomplish when there are very few interruptions. (other than the occasional cell phone beeping, tweeting or buzzing)

Ruth worked on a beautiful zigzag flannel quilt for her yet-to-be-born granddaughter in between two rounds of golf and a walk.

Alex, Michelle's Mom, Heather (the, seriously, youngest looking 49 year old I have ever seen), and Melanie did scrapbooking, Melissa painted some beautiful works of art that I think she needs to frame and hang on her wall! Maria made and then modeled some Ninja halloween costumes for her grandsons. I wish I would've gotten a pic of that, or even a video so you could see her moves. Annie worked on a fun blue and brown patchwork quilt for her son (I think?). Michelle worked on a cute quilt in between making everyone feel welcome and doing all the other work involved in hosting an event!

Audrey kept everyone entertained and also made cute hat pin cushions for a few of us. Audrey's daughter worked on scrapbook pages.

Now onto the important stuff... the menu and recipes! One of the most enjoyable parts of hosting an event like this is planning the menu and preparing the food. So, here's what Michelle and I made for everyone... and they all seemed to enjoy it!

Morning Coffee/Breakfast:

-Fruit platter with dip (strawberry yogurt mixed with cool whip)

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups pumpkin
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together all ingredients until smooth. Pour into bundt pan or 9" x 13". Bake at 350° for 40 - 60 minutes depending on the cake pan. Start testing at 40 minutes with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, it is done! Cool completely.

Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup real butter, softened
1 1/3 cups icing sugar

Beat together adding small amounts of milk to moisten.


-Homemade Mushroom Soup

Freshly baked Chive and Mozzarella Biscuits (Michelle's recipe)

2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/4 cup cold margarine
1 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in margarine until fine crumbs. Add milk, and mix with fork until JUST mixed. Knead until JUST all ingredients are together. Put on a well floured surface, and press down with floured hand until about 1" high. Cut out with small drinking glass. Place on greased and floured cookie sheet, and bake at 400' for about 13-15 minutes (until starting to lightly brown on top). You can also stack them 2 high and bake the same way, that's what I usually do, but if you freeze them first like I did, keep them one layer high...the texture changes after you freeze them...

(If you want to add any extras, like grated cheese (1 cup), and/or chives (1/3 cup chopped), and/or cooked bacon (1/3 cup), add before the milk, and make sure that they are miked in evenly through the flour mix before adding milk. Enjoy!!) 


Bruschetta (Michelle's recipe)

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 Roma tomatoes, pitted and de-slimed, and chopped
1/4 cup olives, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp bruschetta spice from Epicure (or 2 tsp oregano)
4 cloves garlic, minced (or more!)
1 baguette, sliced in 3/4" slices, and buttered

Mix first 8 ingredients. Put approximately 2 Tbsp of mix onto each slice, place on ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 15 minutes at 350°. Can make the day before, keeps well...leftovers are good on a slice of bread in the toaster oven! Enjoy! 

-Caesar Salad

Evening Snack:

-Veggies and Dip

Surprise Spread (Michelle's recipe)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 jar seafood cocktail sauce
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 green pepper, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 tomato, de-slimed, pitted, and chopped

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise. Spread over a 12" pizza pan (or equivalent). Spoon seafood cocktail sauce over mixture. Add cheese and then green pepper, onions, and lastly tomato evenly over top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

See you again in April when we do the next Thread. Paper. Scissors.!!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Baking :: Apple Pie Squares


Today my daughter and I are making apple pie squares for care group. Mmmm... nothing smells better than apple pie baking in the oven!

Here's our secret family recipe:

Apple Pie Squares

1. Make pastry using the recipe on the package of Tenderflake lard.

2. Roll out pastry and line a jelly roll pan with it.

3. Peel and slice granny smith apples using an apple peeler corer slicer.

4. Keep apples in a bowl of cold water with a squirt of lime juice until ready to use.

5. Dry apples on a tea towel, then place into pastry lined jelly roll pan.

6. Use a cheese grater to grate cold, hard butter over the apples.

7. Sprinkle apples with granulated sugar, cinnamon and just a pinch of ginger.

8. Top with pastry. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

9. Bake at 400° for approx. 25 minutes, just until slightly golden brown.

10. Drizzle with glaze after it cools a bit. (icing sugar mixed with milk). Use a fork to mix and drizzle.

These are delicious warm, room temperature or even frozen solid. Don't ask me how I know.

For the picture I drizzled with caramel ice cream topping, but we don't normally do this.

Bake some apple pie squares for your family, and enjoy!

If you've enjoyed what you just read, make sure you don't miss a post by subscribing to my blog's feed! I'd also love it if you'd follow along with Google Friend Connect... over there on the right!  Any questions? Please leave me a comment! Thanks so much.

Craft Racks!
Do you need help organizing your craft supplies?
Craft Racks can do the job!

{ fabric giveaway }

Head on over to Green Fairy Quilts to enter their fabric giveaway, or don't - so I can win. lol

Craft Racks!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

{ in the oven }


Yesterday was meant to be a comfort food in the crockpot kind of day (ie. I had an evening client and didn't want to make the evening any busier by having to cook at supper time). However, things don't always go exactly how I plan! So, I never got around to making supper in the morning, but I still wanted that cooked-all-day tenderness and flavor in my stew so I opted to make it in my beautiful Kitchen Aid cast iron dutch oven that I received from CSN. The 4.5 quart size was perfect to make stew for the 4 of us.

Here's the step-by-step to make the best stew in a hurry (and tastes like it took all day to make)!

1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat.

 2. Dredge beef cubes in flour, salt and freshly ground pepper (I always use freshly ground! So much more flavor.)
3. Brown the meat in the dutch oven evenly on all sides.

4. Mince 3-4 cloves of garlic.

5. Dice an onion, 3 carrots, 2 celery stalks.

6. Remove meat from dutch oven. I placed it on the upside down lid. Why dirty another dish if you don't have to?? 
7. Throw the carrots, onion, celery and garlic into the dutch oven. Using a wooden spoon, scrape all the tasty bits off the bottom of the pot. Cook until veggies are nicely softened and slightly browned.

8. Add 2 cups of beef broth (I used Epicure Selections), a peeled, diced turnip, 7 small peeled, diced potatoes, a bay leaf (and whoever finds it in their bowl has to do the dishes), a tsp turmeric, more pepper. Put the meat back in the pot.

9. Place in the oven with the lid on for about an hour at 350°. The entire dutch oven, including the lid is oven proof, and the entire thing gets very hot so be sure to use pot holders, or in my case a clean dish cloth.

Because of the lovely enamelware coating, this pot is very easy to clean. I just soak it for awhile in warm water with a bit of dish soap and all of the food just wipes right off. I love having a dutch oven that coordinates with my kitchen and would like to get the larger size as well as it would be better for when we have people over for dinner.

Have a great Tuesday!


Craft Racks!

Monday, October 18, 2010

{ house number giveaway }

I just entered A Design Story’s giveaway and hope to win a Ramsign house number!

Craft Racks!

{ blog button! }

If you enjoy this blog, please mention us in your post or link to this blog by copying and pasting this HTML code into your own blog or web template. Likewise, if you have a blog button, please let me know and I'll add it here. Thanks! - Cindy

imagine. dream. create.

Craft Racks!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

{ living room }

So, I love decorating. There. I said it. I didn't say I am good at it or that I even have a decorating style, but I could spend hours browsing home decorating blogs and magazines and dream about having a beautifully decorated home. Currently in our living room I do not have even one end table, but I recently set up this cute vignette using a sofa table. Almost everything you see here was either a gift or thrifted or made by me. Maybe that is not a good thing?

The idea with the empty frames was a project I did with a friend awhile ago after seeing empty a similar idea on The Nester's blog. The quilt is a disappearing 9 patch I made to hang over our bed. The washboard is one my Mom actually used to scrub my baby clothes. The table came from my Mother-in-law when she downsized.

So, although it's a very slow process getting my house how I want it, it is a fun journey. Maybe a review for CSN Stores will help! Perhaps a new lamp this time?

Have you done a review for CSN on your blog? What did you order? When I go to their website I want everything! There are so many choices.

Have a great day!

Craft Racks! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Laura Ashley Limited Edition Sewing Machine

As I'm sure you've noticed, I have had the privilege of hosting the new Laura Ashley (by Brother) sewing machine in my home. I've had a fun week and was able to accomplish a lot of sewing and quilting! I used one Moda Layer Cake (shown here) to put together hourglass blocks, which are being made into throw cushions, a long table runner, and a coffee table topper. I also completed 16 flower applique blocks using one of the many gorgeous blanket stitches available on this machine. It was hard to decide which stitch to choose as there are just so many! I also did a lot of experimenting on scraps with free motion quilting and many of the 460 stitches, just to try them out! The end result? Me wishing I owned this machine! Seriously. It's that amazing.

The Good:

  1. This sewing machine was very straightforward/easy to plug in and immediately start using. Although, I could have avoided one broken needle if I'd read the manual before beginning to sew.
  2. I love that the machine threads itself at the push of a button. 
  3. I love that the machine cuts its own thread at the push of a button.
  4. This sewing machine is pretty to look at. It's nice that it has decorative flower decals on it.
  5. The touch screen is large, clear and easy to read and it works well with either your finger or the stylus that comes with it.
  6. I enjoyed the huge variety of stitches and can only imagine all of the possibilities and ways of using them in sewing and quilting projects.
  7. It's awesome that the Laura Ashley Limited Edition Brother Sewing Machine comes with, basically, everything you need. I am impressed that you even get a top notch walking foot, and a foot for free motion quilting, an attachment for sewing circles and many other feet that I did not have time to experiment with.
  8. This machine sews very well. I had no problems with tension, thread breakage or anything like that. 
  9. The 1/4" foot with guide is very accurate, which is really important when piecing a quilt!
  10. This machine quilts very well! It had no problem going through several layers or fabric and batting with ease.
  11. This machine sews quietly!
  12. The bottom line is: this sewing machine was by far the best sewing machine I have ever used and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is in the market for a high quality, innovative and reliable machine.
The Could Be Better:
  1. DVD - I think it would be beneficial to a new sewing machine owner to receive with her machine an educational DVD.  When you first open the magnificent, large box containing your brand new, state of the art, top of the line sewing machine it would be extremely helpful to see a DVD just inside the flap of the box. You could instantly watch it to learn how to set up and start using your machine.
  2. It would be neat to have a laminated stitch guide that you could keep close by as a handy reference tool. Yes, there is a very well laid out stitch guide in the back of the manual, but it would be nice to have it on laminated card stock.
  3. It would be amazing if the machine refused to sew if you had selected a stitch that did not work with the presser foot currently attached to the machine. It would prevent broken needles!
  4. It would be totally fun if you could connect your machine to the internet (wirelessly). Then you could look up quilting websites, online manuals and tutorials at, sewing patterns, download new stitches, etc.
Thank you, Brother, for the opportunity to give your new sewing machine a test run! Sadly, I will now be packaging it up and getting it ready to send back to you.


Update (November 28, 2010) Well, the machine has traveled across Canada and is now spending a couple weeks in Gail Mitchell's dining room! You can read all about her experience here, here, and here

If you're looking for a more affordable Computerized Brother sewing machine, there's a great one over at CSN.


Brother Computerized Lightweight Sewing Machine

Brother Free-Arm Sewing Machine with 10 Stitches

Brother Free-Arm Sewing Machine with 26 Stitches

{ fall brunch }


Today I had the pleasure of hosting a few of my lovely friends for our first annual Fall Brunch! We often get together for lunch (usually at Apeldoorns in Chilliwack - love that place!). Once in awhile we get together for dinner to celebrate a birthday or two. The last time we brunched together was at Sarah's last Christmas.

For brunch we had:

 Thank you for the lovely card and napkins, Sarah!

Next time I hope Madelyn & Andrea can come as well!

Thank you for the beautiful book and card, Rhonda!

    { quilted table runner }

    Happy Wednesday!

    This morning I am having a few lovely ladies over for Fall Brunch and sewing! (I am writing this post on Tuesday). I'll post about the brunch tonight.

    Whenever I'm about to quilt a quilt I always get a little nervous because I am afraid the quilting will ruin the quilt. Well, I am happy to say this was not the case with this table runner I quilted on the Laura Ashley Brother. I used the walking foot that comes with the machine (I can't believe all the different feet that come with it!! You really wouldn't need to buy any additional accessories). I love how much space there is in between the needle and the touch screen. I'm sure you could quilt a bed size quilt with this machine quite easily.

    Instead of making one lap or table quilt with my hourglass blocks, I decided to make 3 throw cushions for my couch, a long table runner for my dining table and a table topper for my coffee table. Hopefully it won't look too matchy matchy since I used a Moda Layer Cake, which has many different fabrics in it.

    (all that's left to do is hand stitch the binding)

    Today is my last day with this amazingly smart and innovative sewing machine. Tomorrow I'll be sending it across the country on UPS. Meanwhile, I am still hoping to get the rest of my hourglass projects quilted and also the rest of the applique for the flower quilt.

    Talk to you later,


    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Machine Applique

    Ok, I must say, I am getting rather attached to this lovely Brother sewing machine! After I had pieced together all of my Peace on Earth hourglass blocks the other day, I set that project aside and dug out this quilt to work. on. I have had all of the pieces cut out for well over a year and thought I might as well applique them now when I have this wonderful machine at my disposal! The Brother NX-2000 has several different blanket stitches in many sizes - almost too many to choose from! I decided to go with Q-12 for this cute flower quilt and am using a nice bright green cotton thread.

    Next up: quilting the hourglass blocks! I am planning to use straight line quilting with the walking foot.

    I'm going to be really sad to see this machine go back to Brother on Thursday, but I'm really enjoying the time I do have to play with it!


    Monday, October 11, 2010

    { turkey pizza recipe }

    Turkey Pizza

    To make this pizza I used the pizza crust recipe from the Pioneer Woman cookbook and then added the following toppings:

    -pizza sauce from a can
    -leftover turkey, cubed
    -thinly sliced onion, red pepper, orange pepper
    -3 cloves garlic, minced
    -fresh oregano from the neighbor's garden
    -thinly sliced mozzarella (at Safeway I just took a block of mozza to the deli counter and asked them to slice it thinly.... much more efficient than bringing it home and grating it myself!)

    Bake for 10-15 minutes at 500°.