Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Adventures in Fused Glass

Back in March/April I posted about a website that I had built for a friend. He owns a glass tile and custom art business called Northwest Glass Tiles. I am sharing this now as kind of a shout-out for him and several other businesses that will be featured at a local Holiday Art Show this weekend, at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Vancouver. The show runs from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

In exchange for the website, Hal made me some fused glass dinner plates and matching coasters. I would like to share those with you, as well as some of the other coasters that he is featuring at the show. If you totally love them, you can head over to the show this weekend and purchase some. If you want some of the dinner plates, give him a shout-out on his website (there is a 'contact us' screen) and let him know you are interested. He will contact you about colors, etc. He also does bowls, custom art... all kinds of fun stuff!

 These are the dinner plates that he made for me.

 I have a set of four plates, and four matching coasters!

 These are some other designs that he will be offering at the show. He has a wide variety of colors and patterns available. These make really great gifts, too. Each one is handmade, and an original.

 I like the colors and bold design on the red and black ones.

 These blue and green ones make me think of Monet's paintings, like the Lily Pond or the bridge...

Okay... enough looking at the pictures! If you love 'em, go to Hal's website and give him a shout-out, or just comment below and I will make sure he gets your note.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am thankful for creative and innovative friends who inspire me and keep my creativity flowing!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

HoHoHo - Holiday Season Is Upon Us!

I can't believe we are already half-way through November. I am rapidly running out of time to finish my Christmas gifts. Apparently I have spent my time making things for fun or for my Etsy shop instead of my gifts. Hm. Poor planning on my part.

Okay, one non-gift finish to share with you, and then I will get down to the serious job of making gifts... and probably some more stuff just for fun. :) Because that's how I roll.

So I completed a cute (if I do say so myself) Ho Ho Ho holiday wall-hanging.
 The finished size is about 6" x2.5", and it has brown felt backing and a wire hanger.

 The design is cross-stitch, with some back-stitching and half-stitching for details.

I think it looks pretty darn good on my red kitchen walls. What do you think?

This is available for sale on my Etsy Shop (SwissMissStitches) for $15.00.

And now... actually getting ready for the holidays! Talk to you all soon!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Potato Salad - Anti-Inflammatory Friendly!

This potato salad is pretty amazing, for several reasons. Number one, it tastes good. Really good. Number two, it has no dairy. None. It also has no egg. No mayo. Nothing creamy. Nothing that will go bad if this is sitting out on the table at a potluck. Number three, you can serve it hot, or at room temperature. It travels easy. It also has no soy, no gluten, no wheat, no citrus, no sugar... it's really a thing of beauty.

I made this recently for a couple of potluck events, and it was a big hit! People tend to be a bit skeptical about the mint, but once they try it, they are sold. It adds a bit of a sweeter finish to it.

 You start with the red potatoes. Now the actual recipe makes about enough to serve six as a side dish. I made enough to serve 24 since there were a couple of potlucks in the works. As a side note, it takes a bit longer to cook that many potatoes!

 This recipe uses shallots instead of onions, and I really like the flavor they add. You can sub onions if you don't have shallots, but they will have a bit of a sharper flavor.

 While the potatoes are cooking, you mix up the shallots with some white wine vinegar, some salt and some pepper.
 You tear up some fresh mint.

When your potatoes are done, the skin will be a little cracked, like you see here, and they will be fork tender. If they get over-cooked, they will be hard to chop and you may end up just mashing them. Which is perfectly acceptable, just not quite as pretty. :)

 Peas. I used the frozen kind because I needed 4 cups of fresh peas and I wasn't about to shell that many. Lazy...

Once the potatoes are cut up, add to the vinegar mixture while still warm. Toss to coat. Then add in the oil, peas and mint. You can add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it, but I thought it was perfect!

Potato Salad with Peas and Mint

Serves 6 as a side dish


2 lbs small Red Potatoes
2 Tbsp. White Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Shallot, minced
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Cup Peas
1/3 Cup Mint leaves, chopped or torn

Cover potatoes with cold, salted water and then simmer, covered, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together vinegar, shallot, salt, and pepper in your serving bowl.

When the potatoes are done, drain and halve or quarter, depending on the size of your potatoes. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the vinegar mixture while the potatoes are still warm, and toss to coat. Add the oil, mint, and peas, and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This can be served warm or at room temperature.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 216
Carbs: 31g
Fat: 7g
Protein: 7g

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Urban Sling Purse and T-Shirt Quilt = Finished!

It has been a busy couple of weeks since my last post. I had another quilt retreat, this one in Hood River, OR. I really enjoy this retreat. We rent a large house (6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms), and this year we crammed 14 people in! Two painters, 11 quilters, and a nurse (in case we got hurt). We did a lot of crafting, some wine tasting, and way too much laughing!

It was a pretty productive weekend for me, as I got two big finishes under my belt. The first is the urban sling purse that I have been working on (or as my friend Chris would say 'NOT working on') for the last three years.
 As you can see, I had some fun with the fabrics.  :) I really like the black and white sunflower print with the red rose accents on the flap straps and shoulder strap.

The inside fabric is a fun little red and white Hawaiian flower print. There are three pockets on one side, and two pockets on the other, and a magnetic snap closure for the top of the purse. It also has a cell phone pocket on one side.

The sides and bottom of the purse are reinforced so it holds shape well. The bottom also has four feet on it for stability.

 The strap is long and convertible, so you can hang it on a shoulder or across your body and it hangs at about hip level.

 You can also double it over and tuck the purse under your arm. I am going to sell these in my Etsy Shop (SwissMissStitches) for $50.00 each. They will be make to order (takes about 1 week or so to make and ship), so you can select color combos and make special requests for fabric.

I also finished a memory quilt made out of T-shirts. The T-shirts belonged to a close friend of mine, and the quilt is going to be a Christmas present for her daughter. She has no idea I have done this, so it will be a nice gift for her. The T-shirts are all Hawaiian themed (this was the same friend that received the Hawaiian quilt I made before... see that post). I used a light cotton batting just to make the quilt a little thicker/warmer.

 The finished quilt is about 36"x50", so it is a good lap quilt size.

When putting the pattern together, I had a couple of spots that needed filling, but no sufficient t-shirt material for them, so I supplemented with this beautiful butterfly print. Butterflies are kind of special in my family. When my Grandmother was losing her fight with stomach cancer, my nephew noticed the changes in her skin and told us that she was becoming a chrysalis, so that when she died, she could go to Heaven as a butterfly. That has stuck with all of us for a long time. So this memory quilt got butterflies.

I used a soft minky fabric for the backing, in a bright, happy pink with a fun pattern. Her favorite color was pink, so it seemed appropriate. Instead of actually quilting it, I used a pink embroidery floss to tie the quilt.

I used a slightly different technique for binding the quilt, using an ombre pink satin binding for the quilt. The thought was that it is supposed to be comforting, so the softer textures seemed like a better idea to me. I think this quilt will be quite a surprise, but will get (and give) a lot of love.

Now on to that table topper I have been working on...