Wednesday, November 15, 2017



"I am Hazel's daughter."

I wish I could count how many times I've introduced myself to people saying this.

My  mom was fairly well known in town. She raised 8 kids and that alone would make you well known. Having the name "Hazel" makes one pretty unique too!

I've wanted to change the name of this blog for quite a while. I wanted to get rid of the "crap" part and since the "sparkles and sprinkles" didn't mean that much to me, I threw it all out. 

No more "Sparkles, Sprinkles and Everyday Crap". Well, once in a while some of any of it might fly around here. No promises, but you've been warned!



I am the little lady with curls on the right.
I am the second youngest of eight kids. 



I lost my dear mom 8 years ago today. Not a day goes by without thinking of her so fondly.
The older I get, the more I realize I am so like her. She would smile with me admitting that!

Mom loved to cook, and especially bake. Check.

Mom sewed a lot, but mostly out of necessity. Check, but not the necessity part, unless you consider "sanity" a necessity. Double check.

Mom loved to read, but usually non-fiction. Check, but I prefer fiction.

Mom was frugal and knew how to save money. Check.

Mom loved to garden. Check, but my gardens are full of flowers, not veggies.

Mom loved Jesus. Check!!!

So, it is with so many memories and great pride in having Hazel as my mom, I dedicate this blog to her.

For so many people, I will always be known as "Hazel's Daughter".

Until the day I see you again on those streets of gold in Heaven, I love you, Mom!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Esssential Instant Pot Cookbook


Fact: I truly love my Instant Pot. 
Fact: Using my Instant Pot has completely refreshed my interest in cooking.

When I saw The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook by Coco Morante, I knew I had to have it.
I needed some hands-on, hard-copy recipes to try that included step-by-step directions to help me use my new machine correctly.

Yep, that blowing-up-the-house image was stuck in my head.
This was a pressure cooker after all!

The first recipe I made was Brown Butter Steel Cut Oatmeal. I love steel cut oatmeal and if I could make it faster and simpler than my usual stove-top method, this would be a seller for me! With the simple step-by-step directions telling me what buttons to push and when to add ingredients, I was completely impressed. In truth, I have made this recipe several times since I got this cookbook. It makes enough to last me a whole week. I scoop out what I need and warm it in the microwave, add a teaspoon of brown sugar with some walnuts, spill on some almond milk and I'm set!

Brown Butter Steel Cut Oatmeal
*used the Porridge setting
(Oatmeal doesn't make such a pretty picture, but don't let that fool ya!)



Next I  made a side dish called Barley With Mushrooms and Sage. I served this along side a roast chicken, then the next day added some of the shredded chicken to the dish for my work lunch. Delicious!

Barley With Mushrooms and Sage
*used the Beans & Grains setting



Once the weather cools down here in Iowa, it's Soup Time! This Minestrone did not disappoint at all! Full of fresh vegetables and seasonings, it is hearty and warming. I added the optional pasta which was cooked separately. 

Minestrone
*used the Soups/Broth setting



My husband is a rhubarb lover, so I had to make the Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote! Even though the recipe calls for fresh rhubarb, I used the frozen kind I had cut up from the garden earlier this year. Never fear, it came out perfect! My husband loves to eat this straight from a bowl, but I prefer it over vanilla ice cream. Yummy!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote
*used the Low Pressure setting

There are still so many recipes in this cookbook that I will try.
Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cake
Spicy Beef and Bean Chili
Classic Meatloaf
Salisbury Steak

Also included in the book are ways to convert recipes for the Instant Pot; must-have tools; how to use the operation keys and lots of awesome, mouth-watering photos!

If you are considering buying an Instant Pot, or already have one, I would highly recommend this cookbook! The recipes and directions are outstanding! 

More info about this cookbook can be found here: The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook
Read more about the cookbook's author here: Coco Morante

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.





Friday, August 18, 2017

My Improv Stripes Mini Quilt


Oh, how I love improv! It takes me out of my box, out of the constraints of being "perfect", and straight into a place where my creativity can dip its toes into new waters. 

At the end of July, Debbie at A Quilter's Table hosted a QAL using another of her great ideas.

You may remember my Cross Cut Quilt from last summer.
I had followed Debbie's QAL then and that quilt is one of my all-time favorites that I've made.

My Cross Cut Quilt 2016

Debbie's latest improv project was the Improv Stripes technique. 
The idea was to use fabrics with contrast, cut them into strips, sew them together and make stripes!
Blocks of various sizes would be made, then later trimmed to be sewn together. 

I decided to pull out my stash of Halloween fabrics.
Not having a particular size or shape in mind, I just dug in!

Above are some of my untrimmed blocks of stripes.

It started growing!


Fitting the blocks together was the hardest part...but still fun!
Strips and stripes were added, blocks were cut in 2 or 3 pieces and then reattached just to fit. 

I quilted using a spiral design.
I liked the idea of the curves against all of the sharp edges and corners of the stripes and blocks. 


I backed this piece with gold polka dots on black fabric. 



Finished size is 28" x 30". A nice size for a table topper.
It will look so cool with my collection of Halloween props of witches, pumpkins and ghosts.

I think I have a new favorite!

Linking up with:


















Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I Wish You A Merry Christmas QAL--Block One


 



I'm one of those people who always have such good intentions to get my holiday projects done (or at least started) early. It rarely happens. I end up cramming it all in and get done just under the wire. 

I am a procrastinator. One of the "leaders of tomorrow" sort of people. 




Well, this year, I am kicking that old habit to the curb! I am joining the quilt along named "I Wish You A Merry Christmas". The first block is introduced with the tutorial by Vanda at  Quilt In Peace. It's a pretty snowflake applique on a 13" block of fabric.
Of course, you choose your fabrics and favorite technique for applique. 


I chose a red with gold star background fabric.
My snowflake fabric is fussy cut from gold and white snowflake fabric
and also a gold micro-mini polka dot.
After setting the applique pieces with Heat & Bond Lite, 
I stitched each piece down with a looser zig zag stitch using gold thread. 

Of course, there are prizes offered for each block completed! That's always a plus, right?

Linking up to: Quilt In Peace


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

More Hand-Made Cards & a Winner!

If your name is.....



Cheryl from Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting, you've won the prize of a personalized hand-made card! 

I'm anxious to see what number, colors and symbols Cheryl wants on her card.
I know it will be fun to make it for her!


Since my last post, I've made a few more cards.


The above card is going to my best friend for her birthday. She loves blue! I just happened to have some fabric with words and text on it, so the Celebrate word was cut from it.
The blue matched almost perfectly!




The next card went to a sweet friend who just moved to Minnesota. A group of friends decided to send cards all on August 1st to shower her with our blessings. 


Along with her card, I sent this framed machine embroidery sentiment:


She's taking on a different PE position near her new home. I wish her the best!


I'm hoping to find some time this week to do some sewing (along with Chery's card). 
There's a few quilt alongs that sound like a lot of fun!






Sunday, July 30, 2017

One-of-a-Kind Birthday Cards


July is a popular month for birthdays in my crowd. 
What better way to make a birthday person feel loved than make them a unique card?

The card ideas in this post aren't entirely mine, unfortunately. I found similar cards on Pinterest, so I tweaked the idea to work for me.

Making cards with fabric also helps me find a use for those 
fabric scraps that seem to pile up! Yeah!

So, ---28-- above was sent to my husband's niece in Utah.
With 2 youngsters and a long way from home, I figured she needed a special card.
I hardly remember turning 28. (That was a long time ago.)





Then I made a --70-- card for my dear friend, Joan. She threw herself an incredible party with catered food, a band, and flowing wine bottles! She deserved a special card. 



The last card I made was for my incredible friend, Carolyn, who turned 55 right after returning from a trip to Africa. She has a doctorate degree and teaches at a local college. She took a group of students to Kenya on a mission trip to build a school library.
She certainly deserved a special card!

I love making these cards, especially when I have the urge to be creative. I
t's a quick fix for me. 

OK, so if you've made this far, I'm about to tell you that one commenter will win a card of their choosing! You choose the number and color palette (my scraps may define that) and I'll make you a card to send to someone who deserves it! 

All you need to do is tell me what birthday has been most special to you
....and what made it special.

Example: My 19th birthday was most special to me because I met my husband-to-be! 

I'll randomly choose a winner on the evening of Tuesday, August 1st.
Edited: This contest has ended and the winner has been contacted!

Linking up with MmmQuilts DrEAMi Linky #6

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Busy Girl!

Hey there friends!
It's been a while since I've stopped by here to blog.
One good reason is that it's summer and I'd rather be outside soaking up the warm
weather while I can. Winter will come soon enough.

Anyway, I have spent a bit of time in the sewing room.

I've made a bib for Grace:



I've embroidered a towel for a wine-loving friend who's recently had a birthday: 


I've completed a blouse for myself...yeah, it's been a while since I've made a garment!
Bernie at Needle and Foot had a sew-along earlier this summer, so I hopped on.
I enjoyed making myself something to wear so much that I will be doing this again soon!



I've also gotten distracted with painting rocks. 
There are so many designs rolling around in my head to paint!
I'm always on the look out for smooth rocks.




My husband and I also took a trip to Glacier National Park in June.
Oh, the beauty! With very limited internet and no TV for a week,
it was an extra special break. 
Lots of fresh (cool) air, nature, and bears (oh my)!

 
We stayed here at Many Glacier Lodge for 4 nights.

Reading a few good books is always a favorite summer activity.
Right  now, I'm reading The Turning Point by Freya North.
I won this book on Instagram and am really loving it!



Of course, I've been gardening and tending to my flowers.
I can't take credit for these little pretties since they re-seed in the sidewalk cracks.



I'll end with sweet Miss Sophie who turned 4 on July 9th. 


So, what's kept you busy this summer?












Sunday, April 23, 2017

Quilt Top Assembly for Postcard From Sweden quilt


I am just so pleased tickled with this project!

This weekend I finished getting all of my blocks, then rows sewn together for the
Postcard From Sweden quilt along.

Nope, not every corner seam is perfect, but most of them are.

This will be my baby.
It doesn't have to be perfect.


Isn't she pretty?

I've questioned myself a million times over what I'll use as backing fabric.

I've questioned myself TWO million times over how I'll quilt this!

I've always adored Kaffe Fassett's fabric designs,
so I splurged on a piece I found in the sale section on Craftsy.


I knew it had to be purple cuz that's what makes me happy!

The next step to the link-up will be the finished quilt.
My life is extremely busy right now with the end of school in sight,
so I'm not sure I'll get this done in time.

Keep those fingers crossed!

Linking up to BusyHandsQuilts



Sunday, April 9, 2017

All Presssed & Trimmed!


I am finally on track and getting linked up to Busy Hands Quilts for the 3rd step
of the Postcard From Sweden quilt along!
I feel like I've been chasing my tail lately!

Above is the pile of trimmings from 144 blocks. Aren't they pretty?
(I must be a nut to think of shards of fabric as "pretty".)
Call me a nut. I don't care.


Here is the "before" trimming photo.

And several hours later....


Here they are all gussied up and waiting their turn to be stitched together.

Oh, what a beauty they will be!!!

Linking up to Busy Hands Quilts



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pieced HSTs for Postcard From Sweden quilt




One of my goals for 2017 is to  make the Postcard From Sweden quilt. It's a quilt I've long admired since I first saw it on Pinterest. When Myra from Busy Hands Quilts posted about a quilt along late last year, I knew I had to hop aboard!

Life was a bit busy at the beginning of March when she started the quilt along, so I was behind for the first link-up. That meant double-duty for me to catch up!


I had plenty of solids to choose from in my stash.
Most are Bella and Kona solids with a few orphans thrown in.



I narrowed it down to what I  needed.


Always, always wishing I had a few more purples. Sigh.


Here are my HSTs after cutting.




Each color pile was assigned a number and was set in formation like pointy little soldiers
awaiting their call of duty. Soon, they'd get assigned their partners!



All stitched into blocks and labeled according to rows.




These are my leftover triangles. I know they'll make a pretty project...someday.


edited to add: I was late to the link-up! Shoot!