Tuesday, July 29, 2014

There's no place like home

Remember that line? from The Wizard of Oz? Well, it's true. Grandma Coco's been on The Grand World Tour for a few months now, but she's thrilled to be back home in the Kingdom where life is good again. (And they know how to make a decent cup of tea.)

So, let's get started with a bang, shall we? We've been busy working on mittens. Stranded mittens. Fair Isle mittens. And especially, EMBROIDERED mittens. We've been working up to something. We had that feeling you get sometimes when you let yourself just follow your nose and you're sure something good's going to come of it but you don't know exactly what.....just that it's going to be GOOD.

Well, we finally got to the good part. (Pardon our modesty, or lack thereof.....you all know Grandma Coco's not above tooting her own horn.)


We LOVE, love, LOVE these mittens with their green-eyed cat. We love, LOVE, love the sculptural face. We've put these mittens up for sale on Gift-it with all the proceeds going to the Gananoque and District Humane Society. Here's the link, if you're in need of a pair of mittens, or you just want to help out. The Gananoque and District Humane Society is a no-kill shelter run entirely by volunteers.

The mittens and the embroidery motif are original designs, handmade by us. Sized to fit a child. 5 1/4 in. from wrist to tip plus 3 inches of snug ribbing to keep the snow out. 7 in. around the palm.

Let's do some good in the world.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ready, set, go!

Finally ready to assemble the quilt. It's quilt-as-you-go, remember, so all the components are appliquéed/embroidered  (as required), layered, quilted, and trimmed to the precise and exact sizes needed. Even the borders. It's an engineering feat as much as an artistic endeavour.

Say "Cheese"!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

So you wanna decorate cookies?

Boy, do we have the book for you! Judging from the reaction we get when we post photos of our cookies, there are lots of you out there who are just dying to jump into the cookie decorating pool. When we first got interested in cookie decorating, we spent a lot of frustrating hours searching the internet for how-to's and information. There are a lot of great cookiers around, and lots of info shared, but it's pretty hit and miss. Now, we're excited to share with you that we have found the perfect book for anyone who'd like to get started.

Julie Anne Hession has written 100 Best Decorated Cookies, and it is loaded with all the info you need. The good folks at Robert Rose sent us our very own copy to review. It was a bitter/sweet experience reading it, because we really could have used this book a couple of years ago when we were starting out.

This book starts at the beginning (as any good book should!) and tells you all about the equipment you'll need, and the basic techniques. There's a dynamite selection of cookie recipes that goes beyond the basic sugar cookie......  Peanut Butter Sugar Cookies..... Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies.....even Vegan Sugar Cookies....to name just a few. And lots of info on getting the icing just right. That's probably one of the most important factors in successful cookie decorating, and Julie's got that covered. Did we mention there are photographs? Lots of 'em. She shows you step-by-step how to achieve her designs. She says she's a 'type A' personality, and since we are, too, we appreciate that she even shares tips like 'create a timeline', so you know what you're doing and when. That was one thing we found difficult at the beginning.....figuring out the order of the icing, and how to end up with finished cookies on the day you need them. :)

There are a couple of techniques that Julie uses that caught our attention. One is that she uses fondant in addition to Royal Icing on some of her cookies. You can see an example in the straps on the flip-flops in the cover photo above. Genius!! We never thought of that before, but we're dying to try it out. The second is marbling. She uses marbling to simulate knitted fabric, and you all know how that would thrill us! Cookies + knitting = teaming up 2 of our most favourite things in this world. Julie uses marbling and its cousin feathering, to make some really beautiful cookies. Here's an actual spread from the book, where she shows how to marble the wings of the butterfly:

Excerpted from 100 Best Decorated Cookies by Julie Anne Hession © 2013 Robert Rose Inc.
www.robertrose.ca   Reprinted with publisher permission.
Isn't that gorgeous!! Notice that on the left is a list of what you need to make this cookie, like which colours of gel paste, etc. are required. Then there's a list of the techniques she's using and the page in the book where you'll find them described. There's a 'Getting Started' section that tells you how to divide the icing and what colours to mix up. Then, over on the right there are a few tips and suggestions. Add to all that, the step-by-step photos and it's all there.....everything anyone would need to know.

But more importantly, like all good teachers, Julie hasn't just given us the info to make this one cookie design (or even the 100 cookie designs that make up this book!), she's given us tools (in this case, it's marbling) to use in our own designs. We've said it before.... the mark of a good teacher or book is that they inspire the student/reader to use their info as a jumping off point. We can hardly wait to incorporate marbling in our next cookie decorating session.

Apart from being an excellent primer on cookie decorating, this book is full of inspiration.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Some things never get old

Pretty? Our hand quilting isn't perfect, but with the brilliant October sun shining on it, we think it's quite alright. We see more quilting in our future.....and maybe even some cookies!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

More bracelets

Last week was so hot and sticky, that nothing much got done around the Kingdom. It was too hot to even move, let alone cook. This week's cooler, drier temperatures are a welcome change. We've even begun to think about creative pursuits again.

Today, we have 2 new micro macramé bracelets to show. The first is called Black Currant. All purples to match a polymer clay bead we made ourself. It's definitely an imperfect offering because you can see our finger print in the surface. (No extra charge for that!)  Exactly 8 3/8 inches long from the loop to the inside of the button.

Edited to add: SOLD! Thank you. This one went fast.

The second bracelet is a lovely combination of pale green and coral. The closure is a lampwork bead made by Nikki of http://www.bastillebleu.com/  The bracelet measures exactly 7 1/2 inches from the inside of the loop to the closure bead. Please note that this is intended for a slender wrist. Very dainty. Very pretty.

As always, these bracelets are for the benefit of the kennel kitties at the Gananoque Humane Society. $22. each, including postage. Payment by Paypal. Of that, we'll donate $20. for each bracelet sold. The bracelets will be mailed via Canada Post. Thanks to everyone who's helping us in this endeavour.