Monday, December 27, 2010

Anniversaries of the Heart #10


Barb just finished the Anniversaries of the Heart #10. I love this one. It has a wonderful golden glow and the frame is just the right shade.

I've been working on the pattern cover today and thought I would show you a peek. I might rephotograph the piece....the winter sunlight is a bit harsh this afternoon and maybe I need to photograph it in the early morning light. It would give it a bit more dimension.

The pattern will go to the printer this week and then we will ship it out to the distributors Jan. 7th, 2011. We plan to get the next two patterns out quickly. We originally wanted them to be in book format, but have changed the plans due to lack of time. Market is quickly approaching and we need to move on to a couple more projects.

It's quiet around here now. A bit of time to rest and remember family fun. Hope you are sitting in your easy chairs reading, stitching, or just dreaming!

Until later,

Alma

Friday, December 24, 2010

Winners!!!


I wish I could give everyone the book by Richard Bertinet. Especially since finding out how nice this author is....he even took the time to write a comment on this blog. Can you believe it? Barb and I don't even know this man!
So glad you have been enjoying the book.
You can check out my technique and try a recipe from Dough at
http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough
Merry Christmas to Blackbird designs and all your followers.
Richard Bertinet
Barb watched the video and she said not only was it informative....but he's quite the "hunk." I'm sorry to be the one to dash Barb's fantasy...."Barb, not only does he live in England...but I saw a wedding ring on his finger as he worked the dough."

But if you happen to be the fantasizing type, he really is quite dashing. Watch the video, and when you hear his accent you will understand why Barb is thinking of baking bread too.

Ok....back to the entire reason for this post. We've got three winners. Send your shipping addresses to alma@blackbird-designs.com I have a wonderful book by Richard Bertinet to send to you.

#23 Phyllis
#55 Debra..Life is a Stitch
#132 Carmen Isaccs

Wishing all of you much happiness this Christmas season.

Until later,

Alma

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Life Transformed


I've been baking up a storm. My new thing is bread. I've just about purchased every bread cook book available. At night I look through the pages and read the recipes. I've even read the introductions and all the "before you begin to bake" information. (Usually I'm all about looking at the pictures.) The book pictured above has transformed my baking skills. Dough by Richard Bertinet. It's a must have.

My son Greg and I have learned how to make these baguettes. The dough is easy....make the dough, let it rise for an hour and shape the dough and then bake. Just kneading the dough is fun! Finally a bread you can make right before dinner. The past two nights we have sat down to warm baguettes with dinner and plan to continue to do so every night for the holidays. So tasty! My daughter Laura is going to make them next. I'm going to make sure all my kids are able to make bread before they leave after Christmas. (They are all rolling their eyes...but I don't care! Roll on baby....at least you will be able to make bread before you are 60 years old!)

I'm not even going to show you how to do this...the book comes with a DVD that you can watch. Richard Bertinet is a genius! Now I am beginning to feel confident and want to try all different kinds of bread.

I want your life transformed too!

There will be three winners....contest ends Thursday. I'm sorry but these books will ship from Amazon..so only enter if you live in the U. S. Leave a comment and it might be your lucky day!

Winners from our fabric contest part 2

#203 Valerie
#212 Kathy
#215 flop (Florence)
#232 Pajudie
#239 Gerta in Canada
#255 Catherine
#262 Kristin
#270 Anonymous (Trudy)
#282 Jill
#290 Becky K in OK
#298 Roslyn in Australia
#359 Anonymous (Miranda)
#364 Lovetoapplique Debbie
#380 Wysewoman
#395 Kathleen Brown
#400 Kaaren
#402 Tina
#404 SilkLover
#416 Barb
#420 Pam stitcher2009@gmail
#441 Kshackabq
#457 Janet
#461 Melva
#463 Tamera

Please send your addresses to alma@blackbird-designs.com

Conny from the Netherlands sent this picture today:

Yesterday I finished my Home Sweet Home quilt. Thought you would like seeing it. I loved working on this quilt!



Wishing you all time to enjoy the season!

Until later,

Alma

Monday, December 20, 2010

First Half of the winners



I'm trying to finalize a project for a magazine....I'm sending it off today and will have more time to blog after it's sent....but here are the first half of the winners.

I need to have the responses numbered. I haven't figured out how to do that yet....so I have to count them.

I spun the random number generator and here are the winners:

#2 Lizzie
#3 Staci
#9 Jenny
#15 Louise
#23 Viv
#35 Cornbreadandbeansquilting
#39 Jeannette
#47 Niina
#38 Pam 1228
#51 A.B.
#57 Melody
#73 Gretchen
#108 Patti
#111 Luned
#133 Conny's quilts
#155 Anonymous (Dec. 16 3:02pm)
#179 Cathy
#187 Carol

Will post the rest of the winners tonight!

Winners...e-mail your address to alma@blackbird-designs.com



And Anke sent this note to me today.

Read in your blog the other day and was taken by the antique sewing roll.
It’s fabric’s pattern, that has me intrigued; was it a piece left over and if so, what had been made? Or had it been salvaged from an item no longer needed or usable and if so what had that been? Like its slightly wavy/puckery looking sides.

Taken to such a degree that I tried and made one myself. Used some cotton fabric, a bit of calico, doctor’s flannel, some polyfibre fill, a bone button and a piece of twine. A fun little project and very happy with the the result.

(The pattern for the needleroll is in Garden Club our latest quilting book.)

Until tonight!

Alma

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A bit of Christmas Cheer


A bit of an update on Sarah's visit. We baked up a storm, started a quilt and saved time for shopping. (always a favorite!)

The picture above illustrates the finished candle (from our last posting) wrapped up and ready to give. Sarah picked couple of boxwood branches, a sprig of tallow berries, white ribbon and a cellophane bag to gave an elegant finish. It was all I could do to resist from keeping one for myself!!!




We kept the cooking projects simple. She filled this tin with goodies made for her Grandmother. Homemade marshmallows and a couple of packets of hot chocolate mix, toffee and a pretzel recipe that I will share with you tomorrow. (A quick and tasty discovery of mine! Of course, Sarah already knew about this recipe and actually showed me how she made them.)

She began a quilt. I purchased a kit at a local shop several years ago. It's Tula Pink's fabric by Moda. Here's the first block. Sarah and I have to get together again to finish this. She did great for her first sewing project.

And now, for a bit of cheer to share with you, I have 36 prizes to give out. To celebrate our new fabric line shown at fall market, we will give 4 each of these mini-cuts per winner.


Leave a comment and you could be a winner. Will announce the winners on Saturday.

Until later,

Alma



Friday, December 10, 2010

Bring a bit of light to the holidays


My niece Sarah is here for a visit. When she visits during the holiday season we try to do some seasonal baking and crafts. (I'm all about torturing my relatives!) This morning we worked on some candles we welcome you to "Sarah's candle shop."

We used soy wax flakes. You can purchase a 2lb. bag at Hobby Lobby or any craft store. I like soy based wax as it's easy to use and burns clean in the candle holder.

The first step is to pour the flakes into a pyrex measuring cup. Place the cup into the microwave and give it 45 sec. to a minute on high power. Take out the cup and stir the wax flakes. Microwave the flakes again until no flakes are in the liquid wax.


We purchased wick and the metal holders at the craft store too. I like the zinc lined wicks. Thread the wick through the metal holder as shown above.




Pinch the opening in the metal holder to secure the wick. (Note Sarah's cute nail treatment! She is learning how to paint motifs on her nails. I might need her to do mine.)



Place the wick into the container of your choice. Trim the wick about an inch longer than you will need.

Add a bit of hot glue on the base of the metal holder. It helps to secure it into place and keep the wick centered.

Position the wick in the base of the container. We are using some glass sheberts I picked up at an antique shop.


The zinc in the wick helps the wick stand upright. It's now ready for the wax!



The wax is melted and Sarah is adding a bit of fragrance. We chose "sugar cookie." Stir to blend the scent into the wax.


This is really easy and fun to do with teens and younger kids....all you have to do now is pour the wax.


Make several! They will be so cute with a bow and a bit of greenery around the stem. Just right for a teacher or a house warming gift....or just to bring a bit of light into the long dark evenings.


I filled a couple of empty votives from last year too. See how the wax is beginning to cool in the glass sheberts? We didn't add color to the wax. You can purchase color chips at the craft store and make your candles any color you choose. Don't forget to trim the wick after the wax has cooled.

While the wax cools, Sarah and I are heading out to Crown Center to see the Gingerbread House exhibit. Local chefs have been busy and we want to see the results!

Until later,

Alma and Sarah

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Out of the recliner




Ok....I know it's been a long time since my last post. I was in the recliner for about a week, but I did eventually get out.

I took some cooking classes at the local Culinary Center of Kansas City. What a fun and relaxing way to spend a day or a couple of hours. Someone demonstrates how to make the food....you watch them cook and get to taste everything.

I've learned how to make toffee, cinnamon rolls, pasta and some sauces. After watching the chefs cook, I came home and began to experiment. I've made toffee a couple of times, and now I'm claiming to be the queen of cinnamon rolls. (After baking them one morning my family even let me win at scrabble....because now I'm the queen.) Can you believe I've never made them from scratch before?



The bread at the beginning of the post is a rustic olive bread I found in a baking cookbook. Now that I'm not too afraid of yeast I'm daring to try something new. I even experimented with cutting the bread to make a motif on top. Next time I will try a leaf or something a bit more imaginative.

One evening, when all the kids were home for Thanksgiving, I made Bolognese sauce and pasta dough. I demonstrated how to use the pasta machine to the kids and had them make the noodles. It really made a fun meal for all of us.

Mostly, I've been cleaning and getting things in order here. I had to work for about a week to get the house ready for Thanksgiving and now I'm getting my studio ready so I can work again.

My niece is coming for a visit this weekend to work on some projects. We will take pictures and share.

My big project for the next week is shown on Curious Sofa's blog. Take a look at her post for November 17. Debbie took one of her 6-7 feet metal trees and wrapped it in yarn. She's selling the one she made, along with the vintage ornaments decorating it. Believe me, if I had the money I would buy it....because it's the most whimsical tree I've seen in a long time.

The picture was taken by Debbie Dusenberry, the creative force behind Curious Sofa and used with her permission. Take a look at her site for more pictures.

The staff at Curious Sofa is the best! After helping me with instructions, I bought one of the black wire trees and now have the yarn to wrap the thing up. Will show pictures when I start and finish. I've got some vintage ornaments that will look great on this tree.

I'm back to work and will post more often!

Until later!

Alma