Saturday, December 19, 2015

Ready to Stitch: Borders & Motifs

Here is another book review of a great book that I purchased for myself.

Borders & Motifs by Michaela Learner ISBN 9781844489091 Published by Search Press 2014 UK, Printed in China. 96 pages of text with color photographs of completed work and diagrams for color use, plus 32 pages of 84 iron on embroidery transfers. Softcover Book. From the Ready to Stitch Series.

This book has many lovely designs that are classic in that they should be as lovely now as in 20+ years if someone wants to use them. One thing I really did like about this book is that many of the samples were stitched in two ways with different colored threads and different stitches so you can get ideas for how you might want to use the designs themselves. I don't recall ever seeing this in an embroidery book before and I do think I would like to see it more often. The only designs which I'm not sure I personally like, are the ones with fairies in them as they look like a cross between cherubs and fairies. Just a bit strange to me. Please note that in this book there are no fonts to embroider.

One of the designs in this book I have seen the UK magazine Stitch, October/November 2015 Issue 97 page 20 being used as a design on a tote bag. Before purchasing this book, I had already flagged this project as a possibility to do. I could flag just about every design in this book as possibilities to make as well. If only my hands could hold up for the job!

If you like to embroider, are looking for project ideas, or just like to read and look at needlework books, this is a very good embroidery book. Seeing the designs embroidered in two sets of colors and stitches makes it even more likely that you will come up with more ideas of how to use the designs.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Baking

Well I won't claim to be the champion cookie baker this year like in many years past, but I did make one batch with the help of a mix. I did get to try out some new great products that I got sent via Amazon Vine. I just love it when I get stuff for the kitchen the office or sewing room. Lately it has been the kitchen. So here is the review I wrote for Tovolo Mats. I used my new set of Kitchen Aid Bowls that were also from Amazon Vine. The cookie mix and candy mix ins courtesy of Betty Crocker and M&M's.


As someone that grew up and learned to cook and bake in the pre-microwave era, it has always been hard for me to get past my reluctance to use rubber when cooking or baking. Not so my husband. Ask me what has happened to my rubber spatula for use when using the mixer? He honestly thought it was silicone! So anyhow I am faced with silicon baking sheets to put in my pans. They were a little to big and as they said they can be cut to size, I might try that next time. I haven't been up to baking Christmas cookies in a very long while, so by 'cheating' (using a Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix and some Christmas M & M's) I mixed up the dough in my NEW Kitchen Aid bowls. They are lightweight to use and I didn't have trouble with them scooting around or holding on to them. I put the cookie dough onto the pans on top of the Tovolo Mat and then popped one pan at a time into the oven, which I have found is best to not have unbaked or over baked cookies. When done I took the cookies off the pan and they slid right off onto the spatula, and some did try to scoot around on the mat, but I think that was because of me taking them off of the pan as soon as I got them out of the oven when the recipe said to wait 2 minutes. All in all I think these will be a great asset in anyone's kitchen that bakes. Since nothing sticks to them you also, if you lack sufficient quantity of pans, won't have to clean off the baked on crumbs off of the pans in between batches.  My taste test of the cookies showed them to be yummy!

It was only when turning the big oven on that I realized just how dependent we have gotten on our little toaster oven that I got about a year ago from the Amazon vine program as well. We use it all the time and big oven isn't using up lot of electricity and is rarely used anymore other than the burners. I have really appreciated the things I have been sent to review.