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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Today is LEON DAY!!

Hi everyone,

So do you know what Leon Day is?

Would it help if I write it like this: leoN day

Yup, if you read it backwards it is Noel! So... if you didn't know, here it is:

I will be completely honest here - I did not know this before!

Until, as always, I found it through the magic of social cyber space! Then I  decided to join the folks over at Patience Brewster in celebrating Leon Day! WOW! Another amazing place I didn't know about! Patience is an artist and designer of unique handcrafted ornaments and figurines. And when they say ORNAMENTS - my friends, they mean business! If you like whimsy, original, unique, funny, cute to no end - you need to go visit and see for yourself!! I was blown away and simply love, love, LOVE them! 

From whimsical Santas, like this Dash Away Nicholas Santa...
(photos used with permission!), YES, a most adorable pair: meet George & Janet, Christmas giraffes!!! 

How super-cute are they??

And just about any other fun animal and anything whimsical in between!
(and standard truth here: no I am not affiliated in any way, I just really LOVE them!)

So back to the Leon Day - LET'S CELEBRATE!! 

And just how would I celebrate? - by making something out of fabric of course! Surprise, surprise....
Hey, I always, always wanted to be one of those amazing people who start getting their presents or projects just about at this time of the year, quilters who start making presents... so HERE IS MY CHANCE!  And thanks to Leon Day, I did it - hooray!!!

At first I thought I will go to my stash of Christmas fabrics and start cutting something new...And while I still may do that is days to follow, this time I stumbled upon these leftover blocks and light bulb went ON - lets challenge myself and make something Christmas-y looking out of these!!

Hmmmm... challenge indeed!

 I started with pairing two of the same to make a Flying Geese looking block...

Then I paired them up and - TREES? Christmas Trees? Are you with me? :)

Well, it looked OK, but I think these little red birdies (inspiration from that teal fabric!) made it so much better - do you agree??


It's kind of a non-traditional, whimsical Christmas! Just like all those Patience Brewster ornaments that inspired it all!!

Decided it will be a pillow!

What do you think? YAY or NAY?

Of course I will continue tonight (after really gets in my way!) to celebrate Leon Day by giving these little trees and birds some life with some quilting!

How about you? Will you celebrate today? Will you start something new in your sewing room, some lovely handmade present? 

Hey, I might be able to help you there some more - long time ago I posted a whole bunch of tutorials for different (small and big) holiday fabric projects! Like this one:

You can find a complete tutorial HERE

Or this small one (ornament or a gift card holder):

Tutorial HERE

Or maybe a fun and VERY easy table runner?

You will find a tutorial HERE

And the rest of them are all under that "Tutorials" tab on the top of the page. Thanks to newly found inspiration of Leon Day - I might just go and post some more tutorials soon - stay tuned! :)

So, go ahead and celebrate Leon Day!
Today or any other day until...THIS comes along:

Vujcic family Christmas morning...

It will be here sooner than we all think - AS ALWAYS!!

Wishing you all HAPPY LEON DAY and peace and joy EVERY day,


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It's pita time!

...but not one you might think!

Hi everyone,
hope your summer is going well!

You see, in my motherland, Serbia, anything called pita is made with phyllo pastry sheets. It's used for either sweet (apples, cherries, pumpkin...) or savory (cheese, meat, spinach...) and any one of  them is really not hard to make!

Have you ever tried using phyllo pastry sheets?

I made a fruit one recently and took photos (I was actually Instagram-ing it as I made it!) so decided to share with you this easy recipe, that evokes childhood and nostalgia for me, but its also yummy and easy! Here is how it looks at the end:

Here is what you will need: (photo shows it all)
- package of Phyllo Pastry sheets (it's really helpful if you leave the box on room temperature before use! That way they don't moisten from condensation (once opened) and don't stick together)
- sugar
- oil (vegetable oil is fine)
- bread crumbs (non-seasoned)
- shredded apples, about 6-8 (I usually do it with apples but this time I used shredded quince that I had frozen and also sour cherries (also had them frozen from last year). Whatever fruit you use, put it in colander to drain, that is important!
- chopped walnuts (optional!)

Step 1:
Take phyllo sheets, open the package and lay them out flat. They are very thin and can dry out fast (and crumble!) so I cover mine with piece of plastic foil. Lay a piece of aluminum foil out (as big as sheets) as your work surface. Take one phyllo sheet, brush with oil, lay another on top, brush with oil and third too, brush with oil (photo above) - that is your phyllo stack for every roll you make. And that is really the basis for ANY type of phyllo you want to make.
Sprinkle a good heaping tablespoon of bread crumbs all over (they serve to absorb moisture from fruit, otherwise it would all be too soggy!)

Step 2: After you sprinkled bread crumbs, lay out (sprinkle) your shredded fruit. NOTE: if its apples, grab about a handful, SQUEEZE OUT EXCESS MOISTURE and then sprinkle all over. Same if its cherries too. Here, I also sprinkled some chopped walnuts, since I like them! :)
 Amount of fruit is up to you, you can see below how much I used.

Step 3: After laying down the fruit and nuts, sprinkle with sugar - I use about a tablespoon and a half (since quince and cherries are tart), you can use more or less! Here you can also use some other spices, like cinnamon or nutmeg? I also like to use vanilla SUGAR (yes, sold in small pouches, Dr. Oetker brand. Maybe sprinkling some vanilla extract is OK too, I just love my vanilla sugar! :)  )

Rolling it up : Once you have all that - time to roll it up! This requires a bit of patience and gentleness since phyllo is thin (but having 3 layers does help a lot!). First fold the short sides, about an inch (to prevent leakage etc.)

And then gently roll it up along the longer side and place into a pre-oiled, large cookie sheet (ones with short sides, not just a sheet)

Here is how they all look rolled up and snug together! I can fit about 12 rolls into the large cookie sheet, they can be really snug together, they do separate once baked.
Once they are all in, brush them all with oil (cover all surfaces!) sprinkle some brown sugar and maybe even some leftover nuts (for a nice crunch!)

It goes in the oven, 350 -375 F, for about 35-45 minutes (until it is all golden brown)
And... VOILA!!

Once it cools down a bit, cut pieces with serrated knife, arrange on the plate and if desired, dust lightly with powder sugar ! (yes, I mix a bit of vanilla sugar into this one too)

So there you go! I hope you might be a game to try something new?

 I really LOVE adding a bit of sour cherries into the apples, it just adds so much flavor! My mom makes it with sour cherries ONLY (she looooves sour cherries!) and that is yummy too, although a bit more soggy if you ask me. That is why I prefer to combine them with apples.
Let me know what you think and definitely if you try it!

Otherwise, summer (official one) started lovely with a fabulous Father's Day spent with family! I wish my dad is still with us - he would LOVE these celebrations... Miss him so much.
But on the other side - watching our son, Stefan become a wonderful, loving father to our sweet Juliana - it is just the most wonderful, amazing, heart-filling thing!!
This is a chance photo my husband took the other day:

 JUST. PURE. LOVE.  My heart sings every time I see it!

In my quilting life -  I am excited to start teaching in yet another lovely local quilt shop, Aurora Sewing Center! They have a lovely, large classroom and everything in it that you might want!

We started last night with Woven Whispers!
I know its silly, but I just got so excited seeing my pattern hanging among all others on the wall!

And if you wondered what's new with my lovely boy, Marley - he got a royal beauty treatment on Sunday - a bath complete with conditioner (new, all natural stuff mom got for him!) and brushing after! He was such a good boy too (you guessed - bath is NOT his favorite thing, but done by his favorite guy, our son Vuk and his lovely girlfriend Leah - it was OK!). Marley's bath and a complete, detailed car wash for OUR car, was part of the Father's Day gift from our son and his girlfriend - JUST AWESOME! 

So here we are again - rolling in the grass and playing! This photo was taken by my husband, who I am soooo happy to say is starting to remember that he has that great camera in his brand new iPhone 6 - hoorayyyy!!!

I just love this picture!

Off I go to try and sew some tonight.

What are you doing these days? What is on your cutting table or in your sewing machine?

Happy summertime,


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Oh Summertime....

Hi everyone,

not sure about you, but here in western NY we waited for the summer for a while and after that long and cold winter - enjoying every day of summer is a must!
We got to do that in a big way by  visiting our daughter and her fiancee at their home in Surf City NC. For four amazing days - what can I say? - a complete beach life indulgence!!!
As soon as we got up we had to go to the beach of course (just a walk over the sand dunes from their home!)
A favorite photo of hubby and me...

...and a silly one of my girl and me! :)

And just standing there and listening to the sound of the ocean...I don't know why, but if you would hear any sound over and over, all the time, it would drive you crazy, right? Yet listening to the ocean all the time just feels like coming home... (and no, I have never lived by the ocean!)

Oh but fear not - we did work on the wedding dress too!! Finalized the choices of lace, choices of actual fabric from swatches...all ordered!!

I am sooo excited to make this wedding dress for my amazing girl!!

I simply can't believe how much we did and saw and yet it felt so relaxing and just...wonderful! We collected a whole bunch of these beautiful, BIG seashells that just might find their way onto decorations for this beach wedding...

Oh and every chance we got, we were in the most charming, beautiful local bakery, called Sugar Island bakery! OOOOH my goodness!!! If you ever have a chance to visit Surf City (or close), make sure you go there!!! Not only do they have most heavenly, home made bake goods of any kind, amazing coffee and tea - they also champion all local artist and hand-made art and bakery is full of them! Just when you enter, yummy stuff greets you (both baked and otherwise - spot that set of vintage bowls!!)

My favorite little corner,,,
Oh and YES - proud mom simply can not skip showing you hand-made goodies by my baby-girl!! Table runners...
Little girl's aprons (very popular!)...
And some cute baby quilts too...

Did I mention - PROUD?? Yeah... :)

We also visited an amazing place - Karen Beasely Sea Turtle hospital!! What an amazing place, doing amazing work, taking care of this planet's treasures!! Seeing these beauties from close distance, learning of their story and all the things that we humans can do (sometimes unknowingly) to hurt them, and of course many happy endings of rehab and release - it was just great!
This is October - and she was released back into the ocean just days after!!

As I said, we had such wonderful, wonderful time enjoying so many things - most of all, being with Jelena and Steve! I simply can't wait for the wedding at the end of August!!

I just LOVE this photo.... :) (big ice-creams and gorgeous sunset = big smiles! )

Came home to a garden in full bloom and even some fruits that started growing!!

I am so excited for these little peaches - it is THE tree hubby planted in honor of our little granddaughter Juliana, when she was born! (and who we lovingly all called Peaches, before she was born). She even touched them the other day when we walked through the garden! :)

Finally delivered a quilt I quilted for my friend Lori - I had so much fun being inspired by each friendship block, as I went!

Some swirls here...

Some McThavishing here...

...and some leaves in the pinwheel block... and in the sashing.

...or curly plumes...

Love how this one turned too (quite proud of my "straight" lines done free-motion! but they can be better of course... :)  )

Here is all of it from the back:

And then I saw THIS!!

I missed the spot!!! UGH!
And of course I noticed that ONLY in the photo, AFTER I already gave the quilt to Lori! Hope I can correct it, she lives close by! :)

And as always - my trusty Italians did the job - 50wt Aurifil - this beautiful, subtly variegated one is one of my favorites!! I can't believe how perfect it was for this quilt!!

And the deep gold-brown one for the back:

As always - perfect colors, no breaks, no problems!! Total #AuriLOVE .

And next on the table is a whole bunch of new fabrics - trying to make some of my older patterns in new, fresh fabric!

I am excited to try linen as the background (left part of the photo)!

So stay tuned, I will post my progress and also - did some baking the other day! - step by step tutorial how to make this Serbian-style sweet treat is coming! (fruits and nuts in phyllo sheet pastry!)

I hope you all are enjoying summertime as much as possible!

What are you up to? What is in your sewing machine or cutting table? In your garden or kitchen? Nosy me would love to know! :)

 Wishing you wonderful days ahead,