Happy National Hot Tea Month!

Happy New Year and Happy National Hot Tea Month! It’s hard to believe that it’s 2020 already. Not only did 2019 zip past, but the last 20 years have zipped past as well. It seems like only yesterday that everyone was worried our computers would crash the minute midnight struck and we were propelled into not only a new year but also a new century. Everyone prepared for the worst, but thankfully it never happened. Life went on, didn’t even skip a beat, at least not in my little world.

Lots of changes though have happened in both your life and mine over the past twenty years. For my part, our children have grown up and flown the coop with the youngest having graduated college back in 2015. My hair has gotten whiter and my joints ache more now than then, that’s kind of the bad news. The good news is that I have developed a taste for hot tea. Still don’t care for sweet tea, and yes, I’m as southern as they come, but I have branched out where hot tea is concerned from that first taste of PG Tips gifted to me by a friend of a friend. If she only knew what a tea monster she created with her generosity. It’s because of this that I’m sure I’ll be able to share a different tea with you each day for the month of January. Some will be varieties that are always available, others may be limited editions or seasonal offerings. I’ll try not to include very many of those though since it might be impossible for you to purchase and indulge in them yourself should my description of them peak your interest.

So, without further ado, we’ll kick the New Year off with a green tea because green teas are very good for you as they are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. If you’d like to learn more about green tea you can read this very thorough article by Dr. Jockers. While you’re there, check out the rest of his website. He’s a proponent of the Ketogenic (Keto) lifestyle and has a lot of information that will help you get your New Year off to a healthy start.
This variety, Green Tea Pomegranate, is from English Tea Shop and is a fairtrade and organic tea. I purchased my tin of loose leaf tea from HomeGoods. It contains organic green tea (85%), organic rose petals (5%), organic pomegranate pieces (5%), and natural flavourings (5%). You know you’re in for a treat the minute you open the foil bag. The fragrance is most appealing and kind of reminds me for some reason of the bubble gum portion of the suckers I had as a kid. I think they were called Blow Pops. Loved those suckers!

This tea can stand on its own, but I add a bit of local honey and it’s even more delicious. It’s recommended to drink 2-3 cups of green tea per day. If you’re following Keto you won’t want to use honey though. Try monk fruit instead. I enjoy this flavour of green tea because it doesn’t set my teeth on edge as some green teas that I’ve had in the past have done. Some might label it a dessert tea, and it could definitely be used for that, but I tend to have it in the morning around 10:30 a.m. to tied me over until lunch time.

1D34675B-B58A-4574-89E9-F97D58264848If getting healthy in 2020 was one of your resolutions, then you need to add tea to your day in general and this variety in particular. If you don’t find it at HomeGoods be sure to check in one of their affiliate stores, TJMaxx or Marshall’s. Of course, once you look in any of these stores you’re probably going to find other teas that you can’t live without (which is a big part of why I have such a large selection). When you do, be sure to share with the rest of us. After all, what are friends for…

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. Links are given for reference and ease of use only.

Freebie Friday!

It’s been a while since I put together a list of freebies that I find as I cruise around the internet. I’m usually not looking for freebies; they just seem to pop up somehow. I’m not complaining mind you. It’s always nice to find free surprises. Even though we all have more on our to-do lists than we can possibly ever get done it never hurts to have options. The more the merrier I always think. Just click on the underlined words and you should be transported like magic on a wonderful adventure.

Be sure to check out Peck’s Pieces to get the last blocks of the Snowmen in the Pines wallhanging along with Miss Marjory’s newest offering, Chain of Love. If you get crackin’, I bet you can get that one finished for Valentine’s Day.

Do you like mysteries? I do if we’re talking in novel form. I’m not quite so keen on quilt mysteries but couldn’t resist following along with the New Year’s Day 2013 Mystery offered by Sheryl of Quilting Tizzy. All the clues are still there but she won’t leave them up forever. Just click on the link at the top of the page and you’ll find everything you need to get you going.

I’ve been following the Sentiments Sampler by Dawn Heese for Henry Glass Fabrics since October. It is a lovely 12 block sampler set on-point. I wish I could tell you that I have all the fabrics that were used to make that quilt, but I do not. There’s just so much room in the shop and so much room in our budget (yes, we kinda sorta do have one…such as it is). Be sure to save or print all the patterns for the blocks because there’s no guarantee how long they’ll be available.

Bunny Hill Designs is one of my favorites so I was thrilled when Anne posted a pattern for a heart to make on her blog January 5. She didn’t just make one heart she made a bunch of them! Go over and look at the different styles she made and the different ways she displayed them. I’ve got my pattern printed out and have been looking over my fabric options. Decisions, decisions…

January tends to be the month when we make resolutions to do many things. One such thing is oftentimes getting organized. I ran across these free storage labels when looking for something else…imagine that! There are round labels, square labels, and rectangular labels. Laminate them and they’ll last for a very long time. BHG has made the patterns in multiple colors so you could even color-code some things around the house. How clever is that! Thankfully, they give you the correct size of label that you’ll need to purchase if you don’t have them on hand already. So, if you want to organize your pantry, laundry room, sewing room, wherever, you now have the perfect labels for the task.

Speaking of labels, I think I may have shared this link before but couldn’t find it quickly when I went back through older posts so I’ll include it here for your convenience. I’ve had so much fun changing up the clip art on these labels. I made some for Victoria to put on gifts this past Christmas. I used the regular mailing label size template but deleted whatever the little picture was on the left hand side. I then put a harp clip art in that space making unique labels that left no doubt in anyone’s mind who was giving them a gift. I used them for the generic “From: The Andersons” as well as for our local guild since I’m now the secretary and have to mail out the newsletter to some of our members. I have a little mouse sitting on a pink spool of thread on those labels. Too cute! Give these a try. If you prefer unique address labels this is the way to go.

In looking to see whether or not I had given you the last label information or not, I discovered that there were ads at the bottom of my blog pages. Since I rarely read my own blog I didn’t realize these were there. I apologize for them being there and will look into how to get rid of them. I think I probably have to pay WordPress some amount in order to have them removed. Rest assured that I’m not making any money off the ads, but I do believe that they are in an effort to cover the cost of the FREE blog site they offer. Maybe it’s only in our beloved Quiltland that things offered for free really are.

Freebie Friday!

Here it is, Friday yet again. While it’s the first Friday in December I bet the last Friday in December will be here before we know it, and definitely before we want it to be. Being that it’s Friday I thought I’d share a few more freebies that I’ve found either through e-mails that I’ve received or while surfing the internet. It’s true that surfing the net can be fun and entertaining, but it’s equally true that it is one of the biggest time sinks now known to man, or woman as the case may be. Sit yourself down in front of the computer and before you know it that hour that you were going to spend sewing just got spent on surfing instead. If you’d spent that time sewing you’d probably have more to show for it, but then again, on occasion, you do have something to show for surfing. Like the following…

I’ve already shared Peck’s Pieces with you before, but when I went there today to get the last of the Halloween blocks (are you surprised that I’m behind on that? Didn’t think so…) I found that Miss Marjory is offering a new free project called Santa in the Pines. This is a four block wallhanging that should go together fairly quickly. You’ll need to scroll down to November 13 to get the beginning instructions and first block. If you scroll down to October 16 she shows you a mug rug that she made using one of the blocks. That would make a great, quick gift for the coffee or tea drinking fan on your list. Pair it with a mug, a half-dozen cookies, and some coffee or tea samples and you’re all set.

Speaking of cookies, I got an e-mail from Better Homes & Gardens with a link to lots of cookie ideas and recipes. Of course, the chocolate ones grabbed my attention immediately. I kept thinking, if only I had another cup of tea (yes, I’ve already had three cups of Barry’s Gold this morning) and some of those chocolate cookies. What a grand lunch that would make! I am definitely a cookie-holic, and I’ve always blamed it on my great-grandmother who would give me cookies and a glass of water when I walked next door to her house. Oh, the memories…

Anyhow, I was thinking that a body could spend every day of December baking cookies just from this one website and never get through all those recipes, but wouldn’t it be fun to have the time and energy to try. Maybe one of these years we’ll spend the whole month of December baking cookies here at the shop. We could have a giant cookie exchange! Think you’d be interested? We’d have to diet all year long before and after in order to do it relatively guilt free. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever felt guilty when eating cookies, only satisfied and comforted, so maybe I wouldn’t have to diet after all. As they say, any excuse will do when you don’t want to loan out your mule…

Last, but not least, I thought I’d share another quick and easy project that would have the added bonus of allowing you to practice your machine quilting while making something for your own holiday table or to give as a gift. This pattern comes from Linda Visnaw by way of Fabri-Quilt’s blog. Click on the link and you’ll be able to download a PDF file for the pattern. It would be a great way to use up scraps of fabrics for the backgrounds, the stars, the binding, and backing. Oh yes, let’s not forget to mention batting scraps as well. Shrink the idea down and you could make mug rugs to match. Get those creative juices flowing and see what you can come up with. For instance, how about a feather tree design. I can see it, can you?

Now for a biggie…how about a FREE week in France?! Paris to be exact! If you win, I get to go too! Thank heavens I took two years of French in high school… How do you win such a wonderful trip? All you have to do is share your needlework story in 250 words or less between now and January 31, 2013. DMC will be collecting submissions and a panel of judges will select the winner. All you need to do is fill out this DMC Memories Contest Form. In order for me to join you, and play interpreter (please quit laughing…), you’ll need to mention the name of the shop on your form. In addition to getting to go to Paris we’ll get to tour the DMC factory. Can you just imagine all the wonderful colors we’ll get to see! I’ve heard Paris in springtime is lovely, maybe that’s when we’ll get to go. Start writing!!!
Holiday Lane Rooftop
Before I leave you I want to share a little more of my Holiday Lane project from last week that I’m still working on. It’s always challenging to me to decide just how to finish the edges of a raw-edge appliqué project. I can blanket stitch the edges, but that’s not always the best way to finisheverything. In this case, I started with the rooftops of my houses. I wanted them to look a bit more interesting than what plain old blanket stitching could do, so I borrowed and idea from Stacy and did this instead. I used the Ricky Tims Stable Stuff on the back because I shrank the stitch down to as small as it would go. I tried one rooftop without it and while it did all right it seemed to pucker just a bit whereas the ones with the Stable Stuff stayed nice and flat.Holiday Lane Roof Close Up

It takes a bit longer to do this type of stitch of course, but I think the end results are so much better. If you have a good imagination you canHoliday Lane - Snow on sill just see the snow piled up on the roof of each of those houses. I did the snow on the window sill as well. It gives it a 3-D effect. Now to decide what to do with the tree and window. I have a new stitch that I’ve not used before that I want to try on the houses. I’ll show you that in a future post. Since I’ve never done it before I need to practice a bit first before I try it on my project. Taking out decorative stitches is not always easy and rarely fun. Trust me on this one…

Freebie Friday

In the aftermath of our Shop Hop, it has emerged that next to the discounts the thing our hoppers liked most about the hop was the freebies. Everyone seemed to be looking for the freebies. So, in my blog during the shop hop days in addition to sharing who won our door prizes I also shared several links to freebies that were available to you on the World Wide Web. Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to check those out and are ready for a new freebie.

“What kind of freebie?” I hear you asking. How about a free magazine? How about two or three free magazines? It seems that e-magazines are popping up all over, and I even subscribed to the McCall’s Quilting online version myself. But, to be honest with you, I’d still rather have the old-fashioned paper version in my hands to flip through over and over (and over) again. That means that each time I visit one of the bookstores in Huntsville I look through a copy of McCall’s Quilting knowing full well that I have the same thing sitting on my computer at home…unopened. Yes, the file that I’m sent for each new issue sits unopened and waiting for when I feel like I have a few spare minutes that I want to sit in front of the computer and stare at it just a little while longer. The plus to having a hard copy is I can sit in my favorite easy chair with my feet up, have my tall glass of ice water and my favorite Dove chocolates by my side. Much, much, much more relaxing I think than sitting in front of the computer screen. So, when my online subscription runs out it is very unlikely that I will re-subscribe. I’ll go back to getting my hard copy through the mail and hope that it doesn’t sustain too much damage as it travels to my mailbox.

OK…enough of that. You’ve shown so much patience in waiting for me to get off my soapbox and share the links to those free magazines I mentioned earlier. Here they are! The first is for Kona Bay’s Asian Fabric magazine that was originally available only in print. Issues 26 and 27 are now free for viewing online. When I first started reading the magazine online I didn’t realize that you could make the type larger but you can in the event that your eyesight is failing like mine. There are several patterns in each issue that you’ll want to look over as well as several interesting articles that will take you to places many of us will never get to see in person. At the end of the publication there are some delicious looking recipes, several of which I bet you’ll want to try. If nothing else, learning to make carrot flowers and cucumber barrels will help to make your next entertaining effort special, not to mention unique.

The second online magazine that I wish to share with you is an Australian one whose name just happens to be Online Quilt Magazine. Between these two online magazines you’ll be well traveled once you’ve read through them. The September issue has an interesting mystery quilt article beginning on page 15 which has you cutting whole blocks into two pieces and sewing them back together again into a different block all together. I can see myself making different blocks than the ones shown, cutting them into two parts, and sewing them back together again just to see what I get. I’m more than a bit intrigued by this idea I’m afraid.

Here’s the August issue for you to enjoy as well. That should help keep you busy for a while. I’d so hate for you to run out of things to do.

Now, how’s that for being frugal!? All you need to spend here is a little of your time. You just never know what you might end up with once you’ve spent a little time with a good magazine.

Shop Hop – Day 6!

Only two more days to hop from shop to shop and save! What are you waiting for?! There’s no time like the present, and if you put it off too much longer you’ll miss out on the savings, the freebies, and the door prizes! I know you don’t want to do that. I’m absolutely sure you don’t want to miss out on anything at all.

Speaking of door prizes…I forgot to post who our winner was yesterday, but I’ll catch you up right now with both yesterday’s winner and today’s winner. Believe it or not, they are both long time members of our Thimbleberries Club. Yep, I drew a clubber yesterday and yet another clubber from the basket today for a total of three winning club members. What are the odds of that happening?! Wouldn’t it be something if the next two names drawn are also clubbers? I’d have to put that in a record book somewhere I think.

Before you shake your head in disbelief, nope, I’m not cheating. I count to 60 while swishing the little papers around and around in our basket and whichever piece of paper my hand hits when I reach 60 is the one I pull out. Absolutely no peeking or anything like that. I guess it just pays to be in our Thimbleberries Club in more ways than one.

OK…the winner for Wednesday was Marilyn Haendel, who lives just down the road, and the winner for today is Deb Saska who visited from Alabama. Getting Miss Marilyn’s surprise to her won’t be hard at all, but I’ll have to mail Deb’s surprise as she doesn’t get to visit very often unfortunately. Congratulations ladies!

We’ve enjoyed the shop hop on this end because we get to see folks that haven’t visited in a while. It’s always fun as well to have folks who’ve never been here before drop by without even knowing about the hop. Can you think of a better bonus than finding yet another quilt shop in your travels that…SURPRISE! is having a sale and giving away prizes? I bet it’s like hitting a double jackpot on the Wheel of Fortune. Not only do our visitors go away with great fabric, book, and pattern finds, but they go away with a little gift and the opportunity to win something else. I’d say that puts the icing on the vacation for a quilty person…wouldn’t you?

Have you had a chance yet to check out the new AQS mystery BOM I mentioned in the previous blog? Well don’t forget to do that, and while you’re at it here’s another freebie for you. I ran across this one while looking for something else (happens all the time to you too I bet). We don’t do Halloween, but we do do pumpkins and cats so this BOM still works for me. Go to Peck’s Pieces and scroll all the way down to June 30 to get to the beginning of the BOM. Of course, in the scrolling process you’re going to run into some other patterns that I bet you just might want to save. I did! There’s a cute Pound Puppy style pincushion on August 31 and a pirate hat pincushion that was posted for International Talk Like a Pirate Day which was yesterday. Did you know that? I knew it was coming up but missed it myself. Alex Anderson didn’t miss it though. She likes talking like a pirate. You can watch her and The Quilt Show crew do just that. Go to the Daily Blog and scroll down until you find yesterday’s date. After you watch the crew keep scrolling or you’ll miss the lesson on how to talk like a pirate from Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy. It’s a hoot!

If you’re not a member of The Quilt Show you need to be. It’s well worth the cost, which is minimal considering all you get out of it. You can’t believe all that you’ll learn from this one website. Yes, you can get brain overload if you’re not careful. Plus, there’s always a great BOM for members which would cost much more by itself than what you’ll pay for the membership. Who knows, you just might meet someone, or lots of someones, on the site who becomes near and dear to you. Now that’s priceless!

The Grinch – Don’t Miss It!

Get your date book out because you don’t want to miss this performance!  On Saturday, November 20, at 2:00 p.m., Ballet Huntsville and the Academy of Classic Arts will present “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” in The New Building at Trinity United Methodist Church on Airport Road in Huntsville.

Don't Miss It!

Tickets are $15.00 for general seating and $12.00 for children ages 4 through 12 years. Children 3 years old and under are FREE but do need a ticket. To order your tickets please contact Michelle Bendickson via e-mail, michelle.bendickson@knology.net or call her at (256) 325-4787.

This is a great ballet, newly choreographed for the 2009 Christmas season by Clinton and Carrie Rothwell. The kids who danced in it last year had a blast. The coveted part for this ballet seems to be that of the little dog that the Grinch used so badly. Victoria will be a Who again this year, a part she greatly enjoyed dancing last year.

This is only the second time that this ballet has been performed in Huntsville, and as far as I know right now it will be the last. Do not put off going because you think you can see it next year. Sadly, the Rothwells are moving back to California and Ballet Huntsville/ACA will no longer exist. That means that you’ll need to take something else off your calendar that you know will happen again next year and come watch this lively and fun performance in the wonderful facility at Trinity. You’ll laugh quite a bit, and you might just cry a little, and you’ll be so glad you made this one of the to-dos on your list this holiday season.

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