E is for Energy

Stitching Saturday Week Five
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Energy - #3781 dark brown
Dots - # 3777 red - #3820 yellow - #926 blue
Letters #3790 medium brown
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How to Make a Fringed Christmas Tree Centerpiece 2014 Ideas

Create a snow-covered Christmas tree centerpiece using white burlap or a loose-weave linen. Decorate the tree with accents to match your holiday color palette.

Winter White Meets Festive Color

We cut white burlap (you could use linen or another loose-weave fabric) into long strips then glued them around a cone-shaped form to make these textured mantel decorations or centerpieces. Use any color fabric to match your decor and dress it up with your favorite color palette.

Cut the Burlap Into Strips

Cut strips of fabric about 2 inches wide. Pull out the threads lengthwise to fringe one side of the strips.

Attach Fabric to the Cone

Add double-stick tape around the entire bottom of the cone, about a 1/2 inch up from the edge. Add a strip of fringed burlap (fringe-side on the bottom) and press into the tape. Trim off the excess where the two edges meet and overlap. 

Fluff the Fringe

Continue to wrap layers of fabric around the cone until you get to the top. Using your fingers, fluff the burlap fringe so it curves up slightly. 

Finish and Add to Tabletop or Mantel

Place the trees on medium-sized mercury-glass jars as the stumps. Add mason jars filled halfway with faux snow and sprinkle extra snow around the tabletop or mantel. Add a few pinecones or ornaments.

Fresh Christmas Colors Ideas from HGTV

Try something new this season! Decorate your home with haute holiday hues that are anything but conventional.

 By : Brian Patrick Flynn

Kelly Green + Baby Blue + White 
While kelly green is often paired with red for holiday flair, it works surprisingly well in a seasonal sense when paired with baby blue and white. The key to successfully using this color combination is the proper balance of white. With a strong white backdrop, such as a white tree or tablecloth, the color scheme often seen on beach blankets and sailboats can take on a wintry appearance.

Green + Brown 
Colors seen together in nature always work well in decorating, so don't be afraid to take a cue from Mother Nature. This is especially true when pairing brown and green, two of the most-popular earth tones used in home decor. For sophisticated simplicity, try decorating a green tree using only brown ornaments. Consider using several different shades of green for a layered, multi-toned look when decorating walls and hallways.

Violet + Brown + Bronze + White 
Make it masculine! A color combination of violet, brown, bronze and white is a great way to add manly appeal to your home this holiday season. For proper balance, stick with brown and bronze as the dominant colors, with sprinkles of violet for accent, and set it all against a white tree.

White + Brown 
White and brown is simple, elegant and gender neutral. This combination is also incredibly versatile; add a few accents of blue or red to make it masculine, or add pink for a feminine touch.

Hot Pink + Lime Green + White + Red 
During the past few years, hot pink has become a haute hue for modernist holiday decor and is often paired with silver or gold. To add a little more Yuletide pop, pair hot pink with lime green, red and white.

Turquoise + White + Parchment 
Beige as an accent color? Yep! While turquoise is often paired with jewel tones and metallics in holiday decor, pairing the jewel tone with a muted, neutral tone such as parchment is much less expected. 
This is an excellent way for colorphobes to introduce more saturated hues into their holiday decor without being overwhelmed.

White + Gold 
Since the days when frankincense and myrrh were acceptable holiday gifts, gold has been commonly paired with silver and/or violet. To put a contemporary spin on this classic color, consider pairing gold with white. The juxtaposition of gold's warm undertones and white's coolness strikes the perfect balance.

Bubblegum Pink + Purple 
Bubblegum can be used for something other than a dentist's worst nightmare of a stocking stuffer. 
Lovers of retro and kitsch can put a regal spin on the nostalgic 1950s tone by using bubblegum pink as the dominant color toned down with the dark richness of purple.

Robin's-Egg Blue + Red + White 
Midcentury modernists can add vintage flair this holiday season with a color scheme of robin's-egg blue, red and white. In the 1950s, decorators paired robin's-egg blue with olive green and/or red orange. 
By pairing the hue with red and white, the beloved color takes on an entirely new identity as a contemporary holiday classic.

Teal + Red + White 
Thanks in part to candy canes and Kriss Kringle's wardrobe, red and white is one of the most iconic holiday color combinations; depending on how you pair it, though, the classic combo can be totally fresh and fun. Consider using teal as your dominant color this holiday season, with traces of red and white as accents.

Parchment + White 
Neutrals are a safe bet in interior design, and they can work just as well for holiday decorating. 
For understated elegance, consider pairing white with parchment. 
This less is more approach is timeless and easily adaptable.

Parchment + White 
Design tip: For greater dimension, throw a metallic into the mix whether it's silver, gold or bronze. 
The introduction of the metallic will help break up the tone on tone appeal and add layered depth to the overall color scheme.

2014 Thanksgiving Table Setting and Centerpiece Ideas

Designer Erinn Valencich shares tips for setting a Thanksgiving table that balances natural elements with the gleam of metallics.  

By H. Camille Smith

Add a Touch of Glitz

For a sophisticated but not over-the-top look, balance the sparkle of metallics with natural elements, like fall branches or fresh fruit. 
Erinn's Tip: Metallics add a great modern touch to a fall tablescape. Deep copper and bright bronze are a lovely additional to a traditional table. I prefer to bring in natural, textured elements like these seed-beaded placemats so the table doesn't get too glitzy.

Play With Scale

Diminutive pears contrast with elongated stemware for a look that is elegant and playful. 
Erinn's Tip: Slender amber stemware adds height and drama to a simple table while gold pillar candles and votives sparkle as the centerpiece. 

Opt for an Aromatic Centerpiece

Who said a centerpiece needed to time-consuming, expensive or even floral? Erinn created this arrangement by grouping scented candles with an earthy potpourri. 
Erinn's Tip: During the fall, natural elements are the best decorations. This potpourri creates a lovely centerpiece and its subtle fragrance is a great addition to the table. Look for large, chunky potpourris and add elements from your own backyard, like pinecones and seed pods, to the mix.

Gleaming Glass Accents

Golds and ambers pair beautifully with the traditional browns and oranges of fall.
  Erinn's Tip: Glass vases can be found very inexpensively in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes at your local housewares store. They're fantastic for adding a splash of luminescent color to the room. So go wild! Bring a bunch home, try them out and return what you don't use.

Simple Sophistication

This place setting layers basic elements to achieve an extraordinary effect. 
Erinn's Tip: A set of white plates is a great standard to have for your year round table. You don't have to get something special out just for the season. It's all in the presentation a crisp linen napkin folded into thirds and laid under a bronze glass plate topped with a miniature pear sets each guests' plate off with style for very little money, time or fuss. 

Bountiful Centerpiece

Set the stage for an unforgettable Thanksgiving feast with a centerpiece that exemplifies bounty. A ghost white pumpkin, chunky pillar candles and metallic painted gourds add sparkle. 
Erinn's Tip: Create a table that's casual and warm with a modern twist. Play with colors of chocolate, taupe and birch contrasted with crisp white.

Contrast Materials

A humble pinecone adds an organic touch to each place setting. 
Erinn's Tip: Have fun with materials; contrast ceramic with glass, wood and gleaming metal. Forgo the old standby tablecloth and opt for glamorous, polished silver chargers and chocolate-brown linen napkins.

Decorate the Whole Room

This buffet sparkles with candles and glassware in shades of amber and gold. Natural elements like wood grain candles and a rustic, hand-carved bowl filled with fall apples complete the look.  Erinn's Tip: "When decorating for Thanksgiving guests, don't stop at setting the table. The buffet, side tables and coffee table will benefit from a few fall touches as well. Bring in large branches of fall foliage and place in a tall vase for a seasonal decoration that is chic and free the best of both worlds. 

Healthy Holidays: A letter from your on-site septic system

Dear Harold Homeowner,

I’m Oscar, your on-site septic system, and I’m writing you this letter to save both of us from big headaches this holiday season.

With the holidays upon us, I know that I am going to be working harder than usual. I am prepared to be functioning at my very best. But, I can’t do that alone.

I need your help ensuring that no one sends me waste that could make it more difficult to do my job. Do you know how important my work is to you?  Do you really think about my well-being at all?  If I receive any wastes other than those from bathrooms, laundry rooms, the kitchen sink and the dishwasher, I might just go on strike. Trust me, you don’t want to pay for a replacement! 

Every year, I have nightmares when I think about you pouring your leftover used cooking oil from the holiday bird down the drain in the kitchen sink. Isn’t it bad enough that you use your garbage disposal to grind up the turkey carcass and other holiday leftovers, and send it all down the drain? The fats, greases and oils coat the inside of all the pipes that flow into me, and create big globs of materials that I just can’t get rid of. 

You just had me pumped out last year, and I’m getting full of scum and solids already. I am baffled that you think that lots of hot water and soaps will clear out any blobs and globs – that only makes me warmer and full of bubbles!!

This mistreatment needs to stop now!

Here are some better ways to dispose of your holiday leftovers:

  • Use curbside organics composting services to recycle large amounts of food wastes. 
  •  Never use kitchen sink garbage disposals to get rid of food, fats, oils, and greases. Scrape or wipe excess food residues off cookware and dishes before washing.

Please share this message with your friends and family, even those folks that don’t have a septic system. My city cousin, the sewer system, is even busier during the holiday season, and shares horror stories with me about the things he sees every day. 

If you want to ring in the New Year with peace and joy, please show some goodwill to all sewer and on-site septic systems.

Happy Holidays!

Countdown To Christmas

Are you ready to put all those little pieces together.
If you missed anything you can find all the details here

Use the photos and the diagram below to layout your quilt top. 
It is a little tricky to follow the pattern but once 
you get started it will all fall into place.
Quilt as desired, bind and sit back and enjoy the holidays
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You should have the following:
56 double 4-patch blocks - 4" finished
20 4-patch/star blocks - 4" finished
1 double 4-patch/star block - 8" finished

Join Us

Take a step back in time and join us for an
Olde Fashioned Christmas Bed Turning.
Saturday, December 7 2013
Turning Times 11:00 am and 2:30 pm
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You can read more about a bed tuning here
If you have a Christmas Quilt that you would like to share
 please bring it by the shop before Friday, December 6.

Odd Choice of Picture That

I happened across this picture this morning, at the McCannfiles I add, not at the "Official Find Madeleine Campaign" whatever that may be.

Given I had used something similar in the past, an odd choice indeed. I have no idea who composed the thing, but I suppose I must credit the composer, that the symbolism employed within, was deliberate and not accidental; as indeed was the symbolism employed in my own composition.

But any similarity in the use of that symbolism, ends right there, the "light at the end of the tunnel" representing as it does, two entirely different messages. And it is this that prompts me to say a few words.

On two occasions during this twelve months past, I have noticed that my efforts over the years, to show this farce for what it is, has come into question. Or perhaps I should say, my motives have come into question.

On the first occasion, and one I find somewhat of a betrayal, given that emitted from within confines of these shores and came from someone who is equally as sceptical as myself. The other mention came from across the pond, but I suppose that in itself is reason enough not to take too much umbrage with the writer.

The opinion of both writers it seems, is that I shouldn't "make fun" of the McCanns. Is that what it is, making fun? And described that way, apologetically I add, by our domestic opinion giver, to, of all people, Jim Gamble, then of the CEOP   Shame on you.

As for our second opinion giver, the one from across the pond, I could say a lot of things. Such as, where were you during all those dark years when this abomination, led by the odious Clarence Mitchell, was playing out daily in the shameful British media?

Where were you all those years, when, except for the dedicated few, we had no voice against the injustice playing out daily before our eyes? Where were you, as we were enduring constant bombardment via the media, of material so offensive to anyone who still held on to the concept, that justice actually still had some meaning in this country?

Making fun of the McCanns! Is that what I gave over four years of my life to, making fun of the McCanns?

Do you think, to use an American expression, that I pulled all this stuff out of my ass, that it was all a bit of fun?

Well let me tell you something, seeing such injustice play out before my very eyes, wasn't fun, it was a travesty, and it was totally unacceptable.

And here's the point, something detractors cannot, or refuse to see.

Ninety five percent of what I produced over the years, wasn't fun, nor was it pulled out of my ass. Ninety five percent of what I produced was inspired by, and in direct reaction to, le plat du jour de merde de taureau. A daily dish of bullshit if you will, fed to us, not only by the press, but by the police, child protection "experts" official or self appointed, by spin doctors, shyster lawyers and every other piece of detritus with an agenda, that latched on to this ridiculous but tragic circus.

No it wasn't fun, it still isn't. And it's even less fun now the Metropolitan Police, with all their ridiculous theories, are involved. Theories I add, that take farce to a new level, to the, gor bleedin' blimey, you cannot be fucking serious, level.

But I will say to all those people, and that includes Prime Ministers and Home Secretaries that have nailed their colours to the McCann mast.

And I will say it without fear of contradiction; I shall be proved right before you are. It cannot be otherwise, there is only one truth, as well you know. Something you might wish to reflect on.

The symbolism explained, perhaps obvious to some, but there are others, ever growing in number, (Facebook acc reqd)) that are relatively new to the case, who might not be aware of what has passed previously.

This was a "commission" from that stalwart, lone Portuguese voice, Joana Morais. For which particular post I cannot recall.

There was talk at the time, more so after it was revealed that Smith  had spotted Gerry McCann carrying the body of Madeleine towards the beach, of the tunnels that abound around Praia da Luz.

The McCanns out running, (within the week) as all parents of little girls abducted by predatory paedophiles do.

The light at the end of the tunnel, representing in this case, and universally accepted, not of hope but of truth.

The far from accidental direction, of the running McCanns.

Public Health Thank You Day is Nov. 25

Before settling down to enjoy Thanksgiving, take a few minutes to thank some of those people who make it possible for us to celebrate.
Sometimes it can be easy to take things for granted, such as the fact that community flu clinics are held every year, or that shelters are available after a storm. But without public health professionals on the job, these things wouldn’t come so easily. Public Health Thank You Day, observed Nov. 25, is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the people who make things safe for us.
Public health professionals work hard every day to protect and improve the health of others, including promoting preparedness. From encouraging people to get vaccinated for the flu to educating communities about how to prepare for a natural disaster, public health professionals make it happen. Without their efforts, Americans would be much less likely to be prepared for emergencies, so the Get Ready campaign is showing them our thanks.
Research!America, along with APHA and other public health organizations, recognize these public health professionals every year on the Monday before Thanksgiving. They are asking you to give special thanks to your local public health heroes today. Thank these individuals for what they do, and honor their work by being prepared to further improve the health of your community.
Check out the work these public health professionals are doing across the country and visit Research!America’s Public Health Thank You Day Toolkit for ways to be involved.
Thank you, public health workers!

Countdown to Christmas

Now that all your stars are done. Make 20 blocks like this.
I will post all the finishing instructions later this week..

Beans, Lentils, and the Paleo Diet

As we continue to explore the foods our ancestors relied on during our evolutionary history, and what foods work best for us today, we come to legumes such as beans and lentils.  These are controversial foods within the Paleolithic diet community, while the broader nutrition community tends to view legumes as healthy.

Beans and lentils have a lot going for them.  They're one of the few foods that are simultaneously rich in protein and fiber, making them highly satiating and potentially good for the critters in our colon.  They're also relatively nutritious, delivering a hefty dose of vitamins and minerals.  The minerals are partially bound by the anti-nutrient phytic acid, but simply soaking and cooking beans and lentils typically degrades 30-70 percent of it, making the minerals more available for absorption (Food Phytates. Reddy and Sathe. 2002).  Omitting the soaking step greatly reduces the degradation of phytic acid (Food Phytates. Reddy and Sathe. 2002).

The only tangible downside to beans I can think of, from a nutritional standpoint, is that some people have a hard time with the large quantity of fermentable fiber they provide, particularly people who are sensitive to FODMAPs.  Thorough soaking prior to cooking can increase the digestibility of the "musical fruit" by activating the sprouting program and leaching out tannins and indigestible saccharides.  I soak all beans and lentils for 12-24 hours.

The canonical Paleolithic diet approach excludes legumes because they were supposedly not part of our ancestral dietary pattern.  I'm going to argue here that there is good evidence of widespread legume consumption by hunter-gatherers and archaic humans, and that beans and lentils are therefore an "ancestral" food that falls within the Paleo diet rubric.  Many species of edible legumes are common around the globe, including in Africa, and the high calorie and protein content of legume seeds would have made them prime targets for exploitation by ancestral humans after the development of cooking.  Below, I've compiled a few examples of legume consumption by hunter-gatherers and extinct archaic humans.  I didn't have to look very hard to find these, and there are probably many other examples available.  If you know of any, please share them in the comments.

To be clear, I would eat beans and lentils even if they weren't part of ancestral hunter-gatherer diets, because they're inexpensive, nutritious, I like the taste, and they were safely consumed by many traditional agricultural populations probably including my own ancestors.

Extensive "bean" consumption by the !Kung San of the Kalahari desert

Read more »

D is for Dress

Stitching Saturday Week Four
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Dress - #3777 red
Buttons - # 598 blue-green
Letters #3790 medium brown
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Healthy Holidays: A safe home for visitors young and old

The holiday season brings friends and family together. Many of us look forward to the little visitors – kids! If you don’t have children over to your home regularly, but are expecting them for the holidays, consider the following steps to ensure their safety in your home.

Lock up household hazardous products. Any products that say Danger, Poison, Warning and Caution should be completely locked up and out of reach of children. Remember that kids are great climbers, so even if they are up high – lock them up! If you are ready to get rid of some unused household hazardous products, take them to HazoHouse for free, safe disposal.

 Watch for hazards in visitors’ suitcases and purses. Kids can make their way into a bedroom searching bags and purses for treasures while you are still heating up the cider. Anything dangerous such as personal care products, medications, and shaving razors, should always be kept out of the reach of children. 

Check the bathrooms for hazards. It may seem like daily bathroom items are safe enough – but aerosol and pump sprays, perfumes, medications, and shaving razors can be dangerous to children. 

Look for tripping hazards. The very young and the very old may have some difficulties walking. Tidy up any tripping hazards such as cords and knickknacks. Consider removing small slippery throw rugs that might bunch up and trip someone. Don’t forget to do this outside where people will be walking. 

Clean the floors before small children come over. Little kids spend a lot of time on or near the ground. For deep carpet vacuuming, pass the vacuum over the same area 25 times. For hard surface floors, vacuum or sweep and then dust it with a water-dampened cloth. 

Look for choking hazards. Check for small items that  children might try to put in their mouths. It may not look appealing to you, but children see things differently. You’d be surprised what can look like candy. 

Make sure any firearms, lighters, knives, and other dangers are safely stored. It may seem like a child is old enough to know not to touch certain things, but it is better to be safe than sorry. 

Have the phone number for Poison Control handy: 1-800-222-1222 

Accidents happen, but let’s do what we can to prevent them. Happy safe and healthy holidays to all!

Lizard Love

If you are wondering why the lizard pic, well it's simple. It's to avoid being grossed out every time I open the blog. See below.

Better still. I've moved it down the page a little.

‘Tis the season to get ready!

Flat Stella and Flat Stanley visit Queens, NY.
FEMA/Andre R Aragon
As you’re preparing for the holiday season, the Get Ready campaign reminds you to be safe while traveling. Whether you plan to visit the grandparents or take a winter ski trip, it’s important to be prepared for emergencies, disasters and infectious diseases.
Through all of the holiday hustle and bustle, let’s not forget how important it is to stay safe from infections and bacteria. The holiday season coincides with flu season, so it’s important to get your flu vaccine before you travel to see family and friends. The last thing you want to do is spread germs while at the Thanksgiving dinner table or unwrapping gifts. Whether you travel by train, airplane or car, you’re sure to come in contact with many people, some of whom may already be sick. Remember to wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and make sure to clean surfaces that could have germs on them.
While you may be prepared at home and have an emergency kit stowed away, emergency preparedness doesn’t end simply because you leave home. Make sure to pack a kit to keep in your car if you are taking a road trip, or to take along with you on that family ski trip. Also, know the risks of the places you are visiting. Is grandma’s house in an area at risk of earthquakes? Could a blizzard strike while you are on your ski trip? Update your communication plan before you leave home so that everyone knows what to do and who to contact in case of an emergency.
The Get Ready team wants your holiday season to be full of joy and cheer, and safe. Enjoy time with family and friends and update your emergency preparedness plans for your upcoming travels!

Countdown to Christmas

We are just a few days away from the end of this project.
Using a few of your star blocks, 4 patches and light
squares make one block like this.