Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Soapbox time! ILL Van!!

Good morning, friends!

I don't jump up on my soapbox very often, but after a stop at my local library yesterday afternoon and a quick conversation with my lovely lady friends there, I NEED to speak directly to ANYONE living in New Hampshire!

Do you read?  Do you ever need a book that your local library doesn't have on the shelves?  The librarians are such wonderful resources and have created a system called "Inter Library Loan" whereby THEY can get you a book from any town or college library in the state!!  The trick is that a funny little blue van drives from place to place picking up and delivering.  It is a wonderful system and works FABULOUSLY!  From fiction to non-fiction research, Leslie can get me just about ANY book I could possibly want or need, usually within a week!  No kidding!

Well, someone has decided to "save the state money" that they should eliminate the ILL van!!  NO MORE SHARING!  No more working together!  No more getting books from libraries we can not access any other way!  WHAT?!?!?!?!

Go to your local library today, tomorrow, the next day it is open and SIGN the petition!  Time is short - get there quick!!

Okay.... off to work... :o)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day... What is it now? Ah: #142

As I was looking to name this post, I realized I lost track of my initial goal, to be creative everyday and record the process.  Like a good friend, we're just picking up where we left off!

So, Day #142 is about donuts.  Actually, it's about continuing a legacy giving to me by my grandmother, mother and mother-in-law.  Donuts!  Not the kind from Dunkin', but the rib sticking, cooked in Crisco ones that you only have a couple times a year because, well, they aren't particularly good for you, but they are amazing going down!

As a matter of fact, I made them at our Harvesting History Day at the Historical Society, with the help of my wonderful daughter and her boyfriend.  We we making them ON THE SPOT, which, if you've ever had homemade donuts, is the only way to go!  Warm... soft... covered in sugar?  Brings you directly back to your childhood! 

Growing up they were a Halloween treat!  My parents weren't fans of us going out trick or treating as kids (70's, bad stuff in apples and all) so we had a family Halloween party every year.  One of the activities was trying to eat donuts on a string - always a bit of hilarity there!  Mom would make them special for that night and we'd gobble them up - along with any candy left after trick or treaters came by!  My mother-in-law used to make them in the winter as well - so we both grew up with the yummies!

We had a spot of bad weather (understatement there... 2 feet of snow in October) and we needed some comfort food in Whitt-World this weekend, so, I fired up the stove and whipped up a batch.  Of course, they were amazing!  Here they are and a recipe for you, as well! 

*NOTE: These are NOT healthy, in any way, shape or form!  Just wicked good!  :o)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp melted shortening
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon AND 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Shortening to cook in (I use a full container of Crisco = cheaper works, but Crisco just tastes better and they are not as greasy!)
Preheat shortening to 370 degrees.
Beat the eggs.  Then slowly add the sugar.
Once mixed, stir in milk and melted shortening.
Sift flour before measuring and resift with baking powder, spices and salt.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients.
Flour your cutting board and roll out the dough to about 1/4" (thicker the dough, thicker the donuts!).
Cut out the donuts.  (I have a vintage donut cutter from my memere.  It cuts the donut and hole at the same time.  I have also done it with a glass and an apple corer.  You can ALSO shape them by hand.)
Once the shortening is up to 370, drop donuts in one at a time.  I do 3-4 at once. ** BE CAREFUL of the hot fat...yup...even after all these years I tend to get burned...  I drop mine in by hand and turn them with a long handled wooden spoon.  I use that to remove them, as well.
When you remove them, place them on a paper bag to absorb excess shortening.
Once they cool a wee bit, you can drop them in a bag of sugar, shake and EAT!!!  Or, like my hubby, eat them right off the plate!

Create some memories with your family over donuts!  It's yummy!

Have a wonderful day,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2011 Holiday Challenge

Perhaps it's because we got 2 feet of snow for Halloween this year (a history making event, according to the Weather Channel).  Or maybe because I need to stretch the holiday dollar farther this year.  Whatever the reason, I am (for one of the first times) looking at planning out the holiday season and seeing what we can do to enjoy more on less.

I thought it might be fun, informative and a good way to garner more ideas by sharing thoughts with you all and asking for yours in return!  To that end, I thought we'd do a bit of a Holiday Challenge!  The coach/athlete in me enjoys such things...

Every day (God willing and the creek don't rise, or snow fall, or power go off!) I will share thoughts and ideas for holiday fun!  Some days will just be things for you to consider, other days I'll be looking for your input - "linky party-like" or just good recipes, fun ideas, great gifts... you get the drift!  I would also like to offer a prize a week.  Remember BEFORE field hockey?  I had that idea?  Fell flat on my face - couldn't get out of my own way to make it happen...so, as the saying goes: it's not how many times you fall, it's getting up just one more! So I have lots of goodies in need of a new home.. how about YOURS?

Let's start this ball rolling by brainstorming ideas for what we can look into from now till ... well... we are done!  I would like to consider the following:
  • Christmas cards ... hand-made... how about ones using photos, scrapbooking, or fabric?
  • Food (wait, should that have been first?) This is a good one as it would touch on several food related events over the next 2 months... recipes for meals, recipes for goodie giveaways for gifts, candy...yum!!
  • Decorations - again a good one over the 2 months as we've got LOTS to work with!  Nature-based will be a definite as, well, I live in the woods!!  That is assuming the snow melts a bit and I can GET AT the woods!  I was thinking wreaths, ornaments, lighting, table-scapes (as that woman on tv calls them...), and anything else we can come up with!
  • Giving - the idea of the season?  Where can we put our time and the money we do have?
  • Gifts ... ah... a homemade Christmas?  We shall see!
So, what do you guys think?  Are you with me?  Ready to enjoy a FUN season?  I know I am!  Off to start plotting (oh... I mean planning)!!
Quilty hugs!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Back in the saddle again....

Good morning, Internet friends far and wide!

My high school field hockey season has come to a close - it was a wonderful one!  We didn't get as far in the post season as we might have liked, but life is like that!  I am tying up loose ends, collecting a couple of odd uniforms, creating a slide show and then designing awards for our banquet.  I am sure I'll have a bit more to say in a week or two about that bittersweet night, but for now, suffice to say the pictures and music are already choking me up and I haven't put them together yet! 

My creative focus for the next few days will be on designing the awards (from "Lil' Miss Hustle" to "Jabberwoky") and organizing them for the banquet.  I am also working on a little something for the seniors (of which there are 9 this year - the most I've EVER had!!) which includes various pictures for each of them.  Finally, my favorite part, but the bane of my existence till it's done: the slide show!  I have hundreds of photos (from thousands we took) organized are ready to insert into the program.  Put a bit of good music with it, bring a box of tissues and viola!  Everyone loves it!! 

The process makes for a wonderful closure to a great time with a group of young ladies.  Ever work with 16 & 17 year old girls?  The are the BEST!!  What makes it even better is watching them after they leave and where they go/what they do.  It's like have oodles of daughters!!  The highs, the lows... watching them grow from shy, hesitant freshman to confident seniors?  Truly, the best!

That is why I try to make the slide show touch their hearts and help them to remember a time in their lives that is so fleeting.  That being said, guess I'd better get back to work!

Hope everyone has a wonderful, creative day!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The lesson I've learned of late...

...is that you can't do it all.  Wow... only took 51 years to learn it!

It was my plan to continue blogging and creating everyday, but the reality is that, as you might have noticed, I haven't.  Not for lack of wanting to, but because I decided/realized/accepted the fact I can't do it all and be happy, relaxed, enjoy my life.

So, I will be back ... in a month or so, for a good 10 month stretch!  "Why is that, Carrie?" you might ask.

For 17 girls - who's fall season of field hockey must come first.  My wonderful group of young ladies is in a very special place right now - a place we have never been: the top of our division!!

As I am teaching them about being a good teammate, I need to focus on them (and my family...and my job) to be a good teammate as well ... so... hugs to you all, wish us luck and send us good karma!  I'll see you in late October (VERY LATE, if things go well!!!) and, like good friends do, we'll pick up where we left off!

I hope you all are crafting up a storm and ready for fun when I'm back!

Till then, quilty hugs!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Oh, what the heck...let's just start!! #1 = VINTAGE POSTCARD DOWNLOAD!

Good morning, friends!

As the saying goes, "The greatest plans of mice and men..." things don't always go the way you want them to!  I made a conscience decision to NOT try to "do it all" and maintain some level of sanity in my world!  Wow...I must be maturing!?!?!?!

Those of you that know me personally (IE: we bump into each other in "real life") know that I have a bit of a tendency to do more than I should - I am one of those Type A personalities.  Currently I am coaching field hockey (double sessions 8-10 am and 5-7 pm), working at the Historical Society in between, keeping my business going, helping my youngest DD get around to colleges and work on applications, help older DD who is now an assistant field hockey coach at a local college, watch my absolutely adorable grandsons when needed and or possible and being the wife and mother with all that entails.

So, that means that something had to give and it was blogging and the time I was giving myself to create!  Waaaaaa!  But, unlike my attempts at losing weight (you know, falling off the "wagon" over donuts or something?) I will get back on, starting today!  The blogging posts may not be as regular for another week or so as I would like (still have the hockey in the AM...) but I will prevail!  :o)

Today's challenge is to get myself to JoAnn's and IParty (oh, poor me!) to pick up goodies and such to help my girls with teal treats!  We are participating in a Cancer Fundraiser on Wednesday all centered around field hockey!  Our team's cancer is cervical and so I am off to look for "all things teal."   I am thinking some fabric headbands and treat bags and perhaps some beads... muahahaaha - who knows!

Now, as to the "Oh heck" above... we just can't seem to hit the 1,000 I was hoping for on Facebook, so, no worries... let's just get started, shall we?

The first goodie I have for you all is a vintage postcard I have that you can use in a multitude of ways!  Stop by this post to see!

Would you like it?  All you have to do is comment below and/or send me an email address and I will get it right out to you!  EVERYONE wins!!!  It will come as a high rez file for you to have fun with!

Thanks so much for following the blog and for being a part of my life! 
Quilty hugs to all!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day #141 - "Crafty Corner" Interview!!

Good morning, everyone!

Been a bit quiet with some things I needed and continue to need to do here.  But, all that aside, it's time to meet another creative person!

Today, we are going to meet Erin!   Enjoy!

Some pillowcases Erin made!  Cute, eh?

How did you start your business in the first place?

I sort of got thrown into it.  I made myself a diaper bag, and a friend of mine liked it so much that she asked me to make one for her, too.  Then it snowballed from there.  I have a Facebook page for my little sewing business, and that attracted a boutique owner in Canada who wanted my stuff for her store.  Last fall, the smallest member of the Rowdy Bunch (my 3 sons – lol) had some medical issues come up, and I had to stop sewing.  I am getting back to it as much as I can though.

How did you come up with your company name and what does it mean to you?

Mama Cubed Creations was all my mom’s doing.  When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, my mom started calling me “Mama,” like I have with her all my life.  Then when our second was on the way, it turned to “Mama Mama.”  With our third, who was a HUGE surprise, she decided that “Mama Mama Mama” was just a bit too much, and she shortened it to Mama Cubed.  When I needed a name for my business, she suggested Mama Cubed Creations.  It was perfect.

How long have you been in business?

January of 2010 was when I started, so about 18 months.

How has what you do changed over time?

I design a lot more than I used to.  I need something new all the time, so I am constantly coming up with things that I want to make.  I have a few notebooks full of things “to do,” but sadly I haven’t figured out how to get more than 24 hours out of everyday.  (When you do, Erin, let us know!!)

One of her felted pincushions!  Soooo sweet!

Tell us about what you make and how you got started.

I make all kinds of things; bags, blankets, key fobs, lanyards, laptop cases, aprons, etc.

How long have you been creating ?

About as long as I can remember, though my mom recently found a report card of mine from 4th grade where it said I needed improvement in my creativity.  Ha!  I wish I could go back and show that teacher where I am now.

What is your favorite project to work on? 

I don’t really have a favorite.  A lot of it depends on my mood.  Sometimes I want to get down and dirty and paint, and others the hum of my sewing machine is therapy for me.  I get the most joy out of making things for my kids and family.  Plus, I know they aren’t as critical as I am, so they won’t notice the flaws that stick out like a sore thumb to me.

How do you get your ideas? Do you start with a fabric, yarn, or fabrics or a concept in mind first?

I usually start with a concept, and go from there.  Since most of my business is custom order, I tailor my fabric selection to my customer’s style and preference.  

What other type of crafting to do you?

I paint, bake, decorate cakes, sew, and crochet.  I’d like to learn how to make soap, both melt and mold and cold process, do stained glass and a few other things.  I am always creating.

Describe your crafting/studio space to us.

We have a spiral staircase in our house that leads to an attic/bunkroom of sorts.  I’ve taken over one side of that for my crafting.  I have a sewing table, lots of book cases and BOXES full of fabric.  Most of my sewing is done at our kitchen table though, as I like to be near my hubby so we can watch movies while I sew.
For Fun…

What is something that makes you laugh out loud?

My youngest is very dramatic, and he can usually do something that makes me giggle.  I can’t wait to see what he, and his big brothers, turns out to be.

What is absolutely the best cookie you’ve ever had?

There was a bakery at the mall when we lived in Washington state that was divine.  They had these cookies that were chocolate that they would cover with a marshmallow crème type of frosting, and then cover with chocolate butter cream.  I’ve been trying to replicate them for years, and while I’ve come close, nothing is as sweet as my memory!

What is your best “stress buster”?

Sewing is wonderful, but when that’s not possible, I plug my iPod in, turn on Pandora Radio, and blast it and sing and dance with my boys.

What are your lifelong dreams?  
I’d love to open a café/bakery and gift store.  Somewhere where I could have all the things I love together in one place.  A place where I would be able to create all the time.  It would be a friendly place where the coffee was always on, and the company would be good. (So would the coffee.)

What three character traits would your friends use to describe you? 

Since I had to ask them, this is what a few of them said – “Industrious” (that made me giggle), “Generous” and “REAL.”  I love my friends.

If you could visit anywhere on Earth, where would it be and why?

Ah, so many places… if I had to pick just one it would be Ireland.  I am in awe of the landscapes and lifestyle there. 

How many hats OR shoes to do own?

I have 10 pairs of shoes, unless some are hiding somewhere.  And I only own 1 hat.  Not much of a fashionista, huh?

Do you have a favorite author? Who is it and which of their works do you enjoy the most?

J.K. Rowling is my absolute favorite.  I had to get the Harry Potter books in hardback  because I was wearing them out.

I f you have a blog, how do you decide what to write about?

I mostly write about my sewing projects and the boys.  I don’t have enough time to blog consistently, but the nice thing about my blog is that it’s always there when I need it.

If you could meet anyone, who would it be, why?

This is a tough one.   There are so many people I’d like to meet… most of them creative – Kate Spain, Deb Strain, Patty Young, the Pioneer Woman, the Whisk Kid, Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts… the list is endless!

If you could choose one superhero power, what would it be and why? 

I would be able to fly.  I love the idea of being able to pick up and leave and go somewhere completely new at the drop of a hat.  And all the things you’d be able to see that you miss from on the ground.  It would be amazing!

Some adorable bags she made for the boys!
Thanks so much, Erin, for sharing your world with us!  Check out her blog at Mama Cubed Creations!
Enjoy the day!
Quilty hugs,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day #140 - "We're baaaack!"

Good morning friends!

We spent the last 5 days on a 2,400 mile trip out to St. Louis on a college visit for our youngest DD. Can you say "L-O-N-G"? We did 17 hours the first night (9pm Thursday to about 3pm on Friday... breaks and such extended it) and I hope not to have to make the trip that way again! Though I must say, the traffic was easy peasy!

Being lifelong New Englanders, it's always fun to get out and see the world! So we were the car taking pictures of road signs and buildings! I WISH I had gotten a picture of the first billboard we saw when we crossed over into Indiana: "Pre-Planning is FUN!" and showed a man JUMPING out of a casket! Honest!!

Here are a couple of shots I thought you might enjoy:

We were taking pictures of all sorts of signs, particularly for places we'd never been!

The Arch was AMAZING!  Did I mention I have a fear of heights and am claustrophobic?   Yup, but I survived!

This was taken from one of the tiny windows INSIDE the top of the Arch, looking down on the river.
Forced my family to go through the Museum of Western Movement.  I LOVED it!  Lol...they were good enough to wander through!

We had lots of laughs, good food and fun!  Back to my world again!
Enjoy the day,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day #139 - End of summer approaching - need ideas for kids?

Good morning!
We got caught in a torrential downpour yesterday at camp, which included some hail, but after about 45 minutes, they were able to finish out the afternoon session, a bit wet, but...so it goes!

This time of year brings about field hockey for me, but it also brings about the end of the summer and trying to think up a few last things to do with the kids before school starts.  The website I am sharing the morning has LOADS of fresh ideas if you need any.  Personally, I want to make one of the business cards holders below BEFORE my next market day to hold my cards!  What do you think? 

I can't WAIT to play with this idea!
Quilty hugs and have a great day,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day #138 - Capturing those creative ideas... here's one for you!

Good morning!
Field hockey is my other world and that piece begins this morning at Kangaroo Camp (8 years running) up in Keene this week!  Yay!  The weather might not be too cooperative, but, we'll see what Mother Nature has in mind!  It does have a tendency to capture my attention, but I'll do my best, folks!

That and the fact we are the parents of one last high school senior - how did that happen, eh?  That means college visits and so that will tug not only at my heart strings, but my time, again, I will do my best!  Both are BIG factors in the upcoming week.

That aside, I have been thinking about cleaning and organization.  I ran across this blog the other day that I thought some of you might find interesting.

(If you happen to be online right now, you find that I got distracted and hit "Publish Post" rather than "Preview" and the following thoughts were not there!  Lol....  Hopefully you weren't up to early and will get the rest!!)  Can't talk to hubby and blog at the same time!!

Anyway, I love the idea of the organization she writes about!  Her comment about "piles of unorganized chaos" basically explains my office!  Sooooo.... think I may give this a try!

How about you?  How do YOU organize your world?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Quilty hugs and enjoy the day,

Friday, July 29, 2011

#137 - Whitty Crafters uses for a BUNCH of header fabric!!

Good morning, friends!

Today it's time to toss around ideas for what to do with some header fabric.  Headers, for those of you who've been wondering this, are manufacturer's samplers.  A line of fabric in it's "colorway" is attached to a cardboard "header" in such a way that the fabrics cascade down so you can see them all.  Buyers use the header to select fabric their business will carry and we can use it to look at what fabrics are in a line and how they go together.

A sample of header fabric that will go to a wonderful fabric loving fan!
This "prize" will be a flat rate Priority Mail envelope filled/stuffed/packed with as many headers as I can fit inside!

So, what could one possibly DO with such a selection?  Ah.... so many things!
Okay....hope that gets the creative juices flowing!

Have a GREAT day, friends and happy creating!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day #136 - Whitty Crafters uses for quilt labels

Good morning!

A gorgeous day here in NH - hoping everyone has a LOVELY day where ever you are!

 Today I thought we could consider what to do with quilt labels. 

This set is winter/Christmas/holiday themed. 

  • The obvious starter is, to label your quilts!  With the holiday season "just around the corner" these would be perfect to go on a holiday gift quilt!  Do you label your quilts?  If not, you should!  As someone who works in a historical society, adding your name and date is VERY important!  It may seem like a little thing now, but in the future (FAR into the future) that information maybe important to someone in your family!  It might seem hard for us to imagine, but put yourself in your great-great-grandchildren's shoes!  Okay...that might be hard to consider...but you get my point!
  • Use to create your Christmas cards this season!  Cut these out and either glue or stitch them onto cardstock, add a greeting and they are ready to pop in the mail!
  • On the same vein - use these to create postcards.  Once again, attach to cardstock and viola!
  • How about tags for your gift-giving?  Some are a bit big, but trim them and use for the "To/From" on your gifts.
  • Sew a pair together, or use one and a coordinating fabric from your stash to create a pin cushion.  Cut them out, sew wrong sides together leaving a space for filling and then add your choice of "insides".  
  • Collect some coordinating fabrics and create some holiday pot holders.  You could use one as a center in a Log Cabin block and build out from there or some other such design...oh...actually...you may see ME try this one!!
  • Applique a design or two on a sweatshirt for the holidays!  My mom loves this sort of thing!
  • Go "mixed media" with your embroidery machine and design a wall hanging!  Oh dear....may have to try THAT one, too!
As you can see, there are LOTS of directions to take this prize!  I LOVE thinking of fun ideas! 
Enjoy the day everyone!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day #135 - Whitty Crafters Quilt Pattern Choices!

Good morning everyone!

Looks like the clouds and rain of the last few days has moved out and a wee bit cooler and drier (a girl can hope?) weather is moving in!  Yay! 

Before heading out to work today I thought I'd toss out some of the patterns you can chose from if YOU win a pattern from my Etsy store!
Do you have lots of scraps?  THIS would be the perfect one!  The kit I put together for this one on eBay has 50 ,8 x10"ALL different blocks of Thimbleberries to cut up!
Have you played with rag quilts?  Here's a fun one!

I love anything that is simple and fun to work with - this one qualifies!  Coordinate, coordinate, coordinate!  Love it!
Gotta go!  Quilty hugs and creative thoughts to all!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Send a friend!

Okay folks... we hit the 100 we needed for the blog but we are stalled at about 920 for Facebook!  If each of us brings 1 friend over, we should do it!  My thought is that most of you LOVE the headers, soooooooooooo.... invite your friends to "like" our Facebook page and be sure they say that YOU sent them (IE: "Carrie sent me") and for each new friend you send YOUR name goes into a drawing for a flat rate full of headers!

The drawing will be on the day we hit 1,000!  (Unless I am out in Missouri and don't have a computer handy...)  That also means that day is the day I will draw for ALL the goodies on the blog, as well!  Directions for that will be posted as soon as we get closer!  It will be easy peasy, I promise! 

Quilty hugs,

Day #134 - Whitty Crafters Uses for Scrapbooking Goodies!

Good morning, friends!
Phew... got a bit waylaid with things around here, but I think I am back on track!

This morning I would like to consider ideas for using the scrapbooking goodies I have up for offer to my fans and followers in the upcoming drawing.

First, here they are:

This is a selection of Jolee's by You with a garden theme - unless you want to call the white pieces at the bottom boats, which would change the whole concept! 

Here's some thoughts...
  • First, of course, would be accents to a scrapbooking page - say, something to your garden?  Some gorgeous, enlarged flowers tucked in the white "beds"?  Accent them with the little floral treats that are included?  Ones like these?  Trimmed and tucked in?

  • Another easy peasy would be turning them into a card, actually, several cards with the number of goodies included!  OH.... wait!  How about 4-6 of them, all with a garden theme and then wrapped up together and given as a gift!!  Ha!!  
If you like that idea, here are some quotes you could use that I found at Wishafriend.com.

The earth laughs in flowers. - E. E. Cummings

Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul. - The Koran

With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures and some books, I live without envy. - Lope de Vega

Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. - Georgia O'Keeffe

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful, they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. - Luther Burbank

  • How about adding them as decoration to a decoupage project?  Most of the flowers would be flat enough - a dot of glue and a bit of ModPodge!
  • I used some of the tiny ones as accents on my project back a few months ago - you can see them sewed on on the bottom left.  It's not something you could wash, but it does make a sweet decoration!

  • Glue as trim to a bulletin board, either on the border or to the cork.  Same thing on a small white board!
  • Decorate the outside of a flower pot.
  • Trim a picture frame.
Lot's of options!  Anyone else?

Have a great day, all!
Quilty hugs,