Monday, March 29, 2010

Podcast 014 - Happy Easter!

Total length of this podcast: 48:29

CLICK HERE to listen to Podcast 014. Right-click on the link to save it to your hard drive, or better yet, so you don't miss future podcasts, subscribe via iTunes or PodBean using one of the links on the right side of my blog.

You can skip to whatever segment interests you -- check the minute markers for each segment.


The bumper music for this podcast is the traditional Latin Easter hymn, O Filii et Filae.

Spring has sprung!

For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land. [Song of Songs 2:11-12]

This is a real spring peeper. They are TINY! (About 1 inch long!)

And this is my Spring Peeper quilt

Here is a cool African quilt that was at the quilt show at the Belleville Historical Museum this month. It had all sorts of found objects sewn to it, such as shells and beads. Unfortunately I neglected to get the quilter's name and information.

Here is a display of three of my quilts that were in the show. I am amused that the left one was hung wrong, but the display works!

CLICK HERE to join all of us quilty podcasters under the Big Tent! What is Big Tent? It's a large discussion forum where we can share ideas, and generally have a lot of fun. Once there, you can join any and all of the subgroups (such as Mirkwood Designs).

THE FIBER ARTS SEGMENT [Podcast minute marker: 10:16]

Japanese Knot Purses

CLICK HERE to visit The Material Girls (Dearborn, Michigan) online sashiko supplies store.

Click the image below to open the Japanese Knot Purse tutorial.

Click the image below to open the very basic sashiko tutorial.

Click the image below to view the photo sequence of making the sashiko purse.

Click the image below to view the photo sequence of making the round-bottomed purse.

THE PAPER ARTS SEGMENT [Podcast minute marker: 24:59]

Traditional Japanese washi eggs

CLICK HERE to check out Hollander’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan

CLICK HERE for Style of Japan.

I got a little carried away! That's a real ostrich egg among the chicken eggs!

 Teddy and two of his geometric origami pieces. Hmmm, I wonder where these two pieces are now?

Click the image below to open the washi egg tutorial.

Click the image below to look at the photographic process of making a washi egg.

THE RECIPE SEGMENT [Podcast minute marker: 39:00]

Shirred Eggs

Click the image below for the Shirred Egg recipe.

Click the image below to look at the photographic process of making shirred eggs.

THE GRAB BAG [Podcast minute marker: 44:44]

Graphic created with Wordle []

And remember
creativity isn’t a race
it’s an adventure!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Big News - Big Tent!

I alluded to this Big News in my last podcast. A whole bunch of us quilty/crafty podcasters have joined forces and have created a super discussion group called "Quiltcast Supergroup" on a site hosted by Big Tent. Once you join the supergroup, you can also join various subgroups, including Mirkwood Designs.

CLICK HERE to check out the Quiltcast Supergroup -- once there, I hope you join, and then check out all the really terrific subgroups. You know what's really cool? While we're all quilters (or crafters), each of us has a different viewpoint. There's something for everyone, all under one Big Tent!

Please come join the fun!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bonus Recipe: Tortilla Soup!

Yeah, I know it's between podcasts, but today I developed a scrumptious soup that I couldn't wait to share with you: Tortilla Soup.

OK, truth be told, I've never had tortilla soup, nor have I ever seen a recipe for it (until today). The other day I made pork enchiladas, and I had some leftover filling, and I had a brainstorm that it would be the basis for a great soup.

When I started thinking about the spices I would use, I realized that it was most likely a form of Tortilla Soup (I thought of using corn tortillas as the thickener). And so I arrived at my recipe.

It's really delicious (as Ted will attest -- I saw him eat three bowls!).

After developing the recipe, I decided to check out "real" tortilla soup recipes on the Web, and I discovered that mine is fairly similar. So I was on the right track.

CLICK HERE to download the PDF of my recipe. If you try it, let me know how you like it!

Oh, a side note: If you don't eat pork, you can use chicken. I recommend using thighs because I like their texture and I think they're more flavorful. But hey, it's up to you!

As Julia would say, "Bon appetit!"


Monday, March 22, 2010

Commission for a Birthday Rosary

I've made rosaries (Catholic prayer beads) for years. I usually use Swarovski crystals, but sometimes use precious or semiprecious stones. I made my own rosary with real pearls (pearl is my birthstone).

At church Sunday a fellow choir member asked whether she could commission one for her husband's birthday, which is this Thursday. I'm glad I had all of the supplies on hand -- I usually buy the crucifixes and centerpieces as needed because they're expensive (I use only sterling silver).

Here is the rosary I made for Paul today. Most of the beads are onyx, but the Lord's Prayer beads are aquamarine Swarovski crystal with sterling bead caps -- aquamarine is the birthstone for March. The chain and wire are also sterling.

So, happy birthday, Paul! And, since you are Polish, I will sing, "Sto lat, sto lat, niech żyje, żyje nam!"


Sunday, March 21, 2010

First Sign of Spring!

It's fitting that the first sign of spring appeared just two days before the first day of spring. Thursday I heard the wonderful chorus of spring peepers from down in our meadow. That is one of the happiest sounds to me -- it means that warmer weather is on its way!

This year the first day of spring fell on National Quilting Day, so to honor both occasions, I designed and made this quilt that I call "pseudacris crucifer," which is the Latin name for the spring peeper. The quilt is raw-edge applique using batiks. The frog itself is made of 14 separate pieces. I added shadows to the frog with Prismacolor pencils, and I spatter painted him using acrylic paint. The glint in the eye is also acrylic paint. I added a piano key border and did free-motion quilting.

At right is a close-up of the frog. 

Below is a close-up of the center section. You can see words on the background fabric. I ironed a piece of batik to freezer paper and ran it through the printer. I printed "pseudacris crucifer" and "peep" onto the fabric, making just the perfect background. 

The quilt measures 14 x 16 inches.

Quilting Fame at Last!

. . . well, at least locally.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I have six quilts in the Belleville Historical Museum's quilt show, which runs throughout the month of March. There was an article in the March 11 issue of The View, a local newspaper, and one of my quilts was prominently featured. The photo at right is a scan of one page of the nicely written article.

And here's the quilt, Funky Button Love. I made this quilt using scraps from another project, and the buttons were a little collection I had amassed just because they are so colorful.

This quilt show allows quilters to put prices on quilts they want to sell, and I decided I'd part with Funky Button Love, not thinking that someone would actually purchase it. Well, now that it's famous it might sell! And the spot on my kitchen wall will be bare until I'm inspired to make another "masterpiece."
Isn't it neat that something made with scraps ended up being successful? Before you discard those scraps from your next project, see if you can find a creative way to use them.

Have a quilty day!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy National Quilting Day!

Tomorrow (Saturday, March 20) is National Quilting Day. The third Saturday in March has been designated National Quilting Day. I believe that the National Quilting Association started the tradition in 1991 -- if I'm wrong, please correct me!

My quilt guild, Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild has its bi-monthly meeting tomorrow, so I'll definitely be celebrating. How will you celebrate? If nothing else, if you're a quilter make sure to take at least a few stitches in honor of the occasion.

Here is an original Baltimore Album-style block for you. It's called Lilac Time, and was inspired by my huge lilac bushes in my yard. It's from a quilt I'm making that will eventually belong to my son Teddy. If you are familiar with the fabulous books on Baltimore Album quilts by Elly Sienkiewicz, you'll recognize the format -- the pattern is the same size as her blocks.

CLICK HERE for the free downloadable PDF. Enjoy!



Monday, March 15, 2010

My Amazon Bookstore

To help defray the cost of my podcast and blog, and the supplies for all of the projects I create, I decided to become an Amazon Associate. If you're in the market for a book, check my bookstore. I've separated it into categories (fiber arts, paper arts, and cooking), and will add a miscellaneous category soon. Click on a book you want and purchase directly through Amazon. (I'll receive a small commission.)

Also, if you have book, movie, CD, or other recommendations, please let me know and I'll add them!

Edited: My little store can sell anything that Amazon carries. In the market for a Rolex watch? Let me know and I can hook you up! (just kidding -- or not!)

[I don't want to get really commercial, but I realized that the costs are starting to pile up little by little.]

Thanks so much!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Podcast 013 - Happy Saint Patrick's Day! ♣

Total length of this podcast: 44:16

CLICK HERE to listen to Podcast 013. Right-click on the link to save it to your hard drive, or better yet, so you don't miss future podcasts, subscribe via iTunes or PodBean using one of the links on the right side of my blog.

You can skip to whatever segment interests you -- check the minute markers for each segment.


In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, the bumper music for today’s podcast is the traditional Irish tune The Lark in the Clear Air.

CLICK HERE for a link to Loreena McKennitt's Web site. She's long been a favorite musician of mine.

I love M.A.C eye shadows and always order directly from their Web site [CLICK HERE to visit M.A.C Cosmetics]. The cool thing is, they package their stuff really well in fabulous black tissue paper and a thicker black paper. I like to iron it and save it for projects. Here's a photo of the latest packing material (with a piece from some other package, too). Don't toss those wrappings away--surely you can find a crafty purpose for them!

CLICK HERE for a link to Cindy Ferguson's scherenschnitte (papercutting) blog. She offers a free downloadable papercut template each Tuesday, and her work is stunning. CLICK HERE to purchase the book Paper Cuts (in which some of Cindy's papercuts are featured) from Amazon.

This is the papercut I did using one of Cindy's free papercutting template. Pretty cool!
This is the last of my Alice in Wonderland redwork series. You can use it as a centerpiece in a quilt,
and use the others in the series to surround it.
CLICK HERE to download the last of my free Alice in Wonderland redwork patterns. What's next? Who knows? I'll be just as surprised as you!

THE FIBER ARTS SEGMENT [Podcast minute marker: 12:45]

Fabric Postcard

Make sure you take your fabric postcard to your post office to verify postage. I really think it depends on the mood of the clerk what he or she will charge you. I ended up having to pay the same amount of postage as I would an envelope, almost twice the cost of mailing a postcard, even though the post card is the right size and was light enough and thin enough to meet postal regulations according to the United States Post Office Web site. (CLICK HERE to go to the USPS site.) Ah well.

Click the Issuu viewer below to view the tutorial. You can also save it to your hard drive and print it just like a regular PDF file.

If you'd like to see photos of the process, click the viewer below to see the photos.

THE PAPER ARTS SEGMENT [Podcast minute marker: 22:44]

Artist Trading Cards and Envelope

Here are some of my early ATCs. All use my own carved images.

CLICK HERE for a link to a great ATC Web site called ATCs for All. You'll find lots of great information there, and will find many opportunities to swap your ATCs.

CLICK HERE for the Carving Consortium if you'd like to join a soft-block carving group.

Click the Issuu viewer below to view the tutorial. You can also save it to your hard drive and print it just like a regular PDF file.

Note that there is no photographic process for the ACT tutorial because you need to use your own creativity to design your cards!

THE RECIPE SEGMENT [Podcast minute marker: 27:05]

Traditional Irish Coffee (with an origami sculpture by Teddy)


History of Irish Coffee

CLICK HERE for the recipe.

Click the viewer below for photos of the process.

THE GRAB BAG [Podcast minute marker: 39:10]

The above image of the Irish Blessing was made using the free online resource Wordle.
CLICK HERE to create your own Wordle.

Traditional Irish Blessing
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

And remember
Creativity isn't a race...
it's an adventure!