Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Sewing Room - A Little Redo

My crafted "Welcome" sign, just inside the door to my sewing room

Recently my husband and I decided to swap pieces of furniture. He wanted my workbench for his office/man cave, and I wanted two of his bookcase units for my sewing room. This trade precipitated a frenzy of reorganization for both of us. Over the weekend we sorted everything out, with my husband moving furniture, adding shelves, patching walls, and painting. Although the switch mainly involved the area around my cutting table (pictured below as "Before"), I "found" many things that had been tucked away since 2013, my tools are now more easily accessible, and I am very pleased with my new arrangement.



I dream about having a bright, cheery room with gorgeous furniture like this one at Maple and Magnolia - love it! But I love all of my thrift and resale items and little trinkets, knick-knacks, photos, and linens I've inherited from my parents and Grandmothers. I try to mix useful things with things I love, and it works for me. This is my happy place!

The iPhone pictures aren't the best quality but here is the (photo-heavy) tour, with an explanation below each photo. (Click on any photo for a larger view.)

Entering from the hallway (my husband's office is on the opposite end of the hallway)

Looking straight ahead

Looking to the middle of the room

Looking to the left

Looking to the right, behind the door, to my big design board

The adjustable light and pegboard above the cutting table are two of my favorite things

Between the cutting table and door to the room - one of my "new" bookcases

Granny Mitchell's quilts

Crafty stuff

Cutting table/craft surface

My husband attached a shelf to hold my glue guns and Ranger craft dryer

In 2012 I spent $40 for a used kitchen table at Goodwill and purchased bed risers to elevate it to the correct height. My husband painted them white so they aren't as noticeable! Under-the-table bookshelf holds cutting mats, current projects, binders, and a hard case toolbox

Left of the cutting table a wall shelf containing stamps, inks, glues, Mod Podge. The Twenty Third Psalm hanging above the bookcase was embroidered by my Mother

I need to recover my craft stool, but in the meantime I've covered it with a doll quilt made by Granny Lawhorn when I was eight

This bookcase holds my tools, hammers, nails, and screws, as well as my light box and P-Touch, plugged in and ready to use

Looking over my left shoulder from the cutting table

My view from my sewing table

Beyond the waterfall and firepit is an arbor planted with star jasmine, 3 active bird feeders, a bird bath, and flower garden. An 8-foot fence surrounding our back yard and a heavily forested creek separating us from our back door neighbor provides privacy!

Nightstand left of my sewing table contains sewing box, collection of embroidery scissors, and sewing machine attachments. Above is an old spice shelf for my threads

The Lord's Prayer was embroidered for my Mother by her best friend

Wire rack for magazines and quilting books

Antique shelf with treasures

To the right of the magazine rack is a small design board

Bookcase for quilting, embroidery, and crochet books

Top of bookcase - a framed poem from my daughter and treasured family items

Guest bed and corner

Trinket shelves and closet

Closet contains fabric, batting, yarn, embroidery thread, and more crafting supplies

Beside the guest bed

Hats and gloves from Granny Mitchell and her wedding picture from the late 1800s.

My Mother's favorite print

Katy napping amidst the chaos - she thought this was going to be her bed

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lazy Summer Morning Nectarine Streusel Muffins

A few years ago I started a small catering business, and one of my clients was a coffee shop in Edmond, Oklahoma. Each week they ordered jumbo muffins, jumbo cinnamon rolls, and scones, as well as huge peach or apple cobblers, cherry pies, and cupcakes. My go-to muffin recipe was adapted from Marcy Goldman's Blueberries and Cream Mall Muffins from one of my favorite cookbooks, and it was a winner.

Until 2002, my experience with muffins was Duncan Hines Blueberry Muffin mix. Then one morning I had no muffin mix and tried an Allrecipes muffin recipe and never bought the box again. I do love muffins for breakfast, and this morning I had nectarines begging to be used. I wanted to try something different than my old tried-and-true recipe, so I adapted a peach muffin recipe I found online - it was delicious!

Although I love to eat nectarines out of hand, I think peaches are actually better suited for baking. But nectarines worked in these, and they were moist with little bits of nectarine, tender and tangy from the addition of yogurt, and fragrant with nutmeg and cinnamon - perfect summer comfort food.

You can bet I ate that softly crunchy bit of streusel on the right side first!

This recipe reflects what I had on hand and my preferences for flour (unbleached), coconut oil (unrefined), butter (salted), nutmeg (freshly grated), and baking (convection oven) but they are not requirements for success. You can view the original recipe and instructions (with much better photos!) here.

Nectarine Streusel Muffins
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

6 tablespoons salted butter, softened
2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-3/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 peeled and chopped nectarines or peaches

2/3 cup unbleached flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup salted butter

Prepare 12-portion muffin tin with shortening or baking spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine streusel ingredients and cut in butter with pastry blender (or briefly pulse ingredients in food processor) until size of large crumbs. Set aside.

Combine butter, oil, and sugars and mix until smooth. Whisk together eggs, yogurt, milk, and vanilla and add to sugar mixture; mix until well incorporated and smooth. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt, and slowly mix into batter. Gently fold in nectarines or peaches. (I did all the mixing by hand because I was too lazy to use the KitchenAid!)

Spoon batter into muffin tin. Sprinkle streusel over top of each muffin. Bake at 375 degrees (I used convection oven) until toothpick inserted in middle comes out with a few crumbs attached - about 20 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes; carefully loosen muffins and remove to wire rack.

Friday, July 24, 2015

BRB - I'm Re-Organizing!

BRB (be right back) best describes my status right now - my sewing/crafting room is a mess! Eeeeek!

My husband and I decided to trade pieces of furniture (this is what happens when you are retired - you have nothing better to do!) I had a craft bench that he wanted in his office, and he had two white shelving units in his closet that he wasn't using. So we unloaded everything onto the guest bed while we redo things.

An old photo showing the craft bench

My husband is doing a little painting on my cutting table and a wood storage shelf but I hope to put everything back into place this weekend.

I am about to catch up on Farm Girl Vintage blocks. I have to share with you what happened when I got in a hurry on the Gingham Block:


Hope all of you have a wonderful weekend - I know what I'll be doing!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Little Joys Quilt-Along

Even though I'm behind in the Farm Girl Vintage blocks as well as the Oh Scrap! blocks, I decided to join another quilt-along!

Fat Quarter Shop is hosting this event, and they have a perfectly lovely quilt kit, but I am hoping to use my orphan Christmas fabrics in a scrappy variation.

FQS blog has information about the first block, which is the Trim the Tree block, so I will add that block to my catch-up list for the week!

Click here for the free PDF!