Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Let's Talk About Cheese and Other Fresh Ingredients!

I'm not a great chef by any means. I can however, make up some really yummy meals, and am known to make a mean Brownie M&M Trifle.

Let's face it, if you have a good recipe, and can measure properly, you can cook. What separates the good cooks from the "creative" and perhaps "exceptional" cooks, is your choice of ingredients, accuracy in measuring, and not being afraid to experiment. To this day, I don't think I have ever followed a recipe exactly. We'll get into more of those things later, but today we are going to focus on fresh and high quality ingredients.

I learned years ago that you can't use margarine in baking because butter is just so much better tasting. Along with that little tidbit, I won't use imitation vanilla anymore. My daughter made me the real stuff for Christmas one year, and since then, that's all I'll use. The same goes for apple sauce. There is absolutely no comparison between canned apple sauce and freshly made apple sauce.

Now, onto my most recent discovery...cheese! I'm a busy girl these days. Between running my business and my busy everyday life, sometimes it's too easy to cut corners to save time. Last night I made our favorite Mexican casserole (recipe will come soon) only to discover, I only had about half the amount of cheese that was needed for this recipe. Fortunately, I always have brick cheese in the fridge because we love our cheese. I decided to shred the other half from the brick myself. It took less than two minutes with a hand grater. Two minutes!!! It also took less time than that to wash the grater.

The first thing I noticed was the look of it. The cheese that I shredded was so fresh and soft looking. When I put the shredded cheese next to it, I couldn't help but notice the "powdered stuff" that was covering it. I'm sure it's perfectly safe to eat but, ewwww! After researching, I discovered that this was an additive to prevent the cheese from clumping in the package. It's on all shredded cheeses. I also noticed the feel of the cheese. My freshly shredded cheese was soft, and moist, while the bagged cheese was hard and very dry. 

It was clear that the look and feel was like day and night. What about taste? Well, I'm sure you can imagine that difference. I did a little taste test before and after baking. Yep, no comparison! The freshly shredded cheese was delicious and yummy, while the bagged cheese was dry and hard, just as it looked and felt. As for the finished product, wow! So rich and delicious! That would be the freshly shredded part, not the bagged.

So, if you want to do some experimenting, the first place I would start is to do away with the convenience or cheaper items, and go with pure and fresh. You won't be disappointed.

For more cooking tips click HERE
Looking for some yummy recipes, click HERE

Friday, June 14, 2019

From Simple Mug Rugs to Magnificent!

As I've said before, I absolutely love it when you send me pictures of the projects you've made using my patterns. I especially love it when you add your own touches or embellishments that really make it your own. 

Linda took that "added touch" to a whole new level! I can't tell you how excited I was when I opened my email to find the photos of the quilt and pillow shams she made with some of my camping mug rug designs. She has made something so special that she and her family will be able to enjoy for years and years to come. And she did a beautiful job! 

The colors and fabrics she chose are so perfect and fun. It looks like she increased the size of the appliques a little. I've included a link at the end of this post showing you exactly how to do that if you ever need to.

Keep the photos coming! 

The above patterns are from the PDF Pattern Shop.

Instructions for adjusting the size of your appliques can be found HERE.

Thank you again Linda for sharing this beautiful quilt with me, and allowing me to share it with my readers.

Monday, February 11, 2019

NEW - Instructional Video Channel!

In the Hoop by Sher now has a YouTube channel where I'll be sharing some instructional videos to go along with my designs.

I just published my first video and am working on the second (zipper bags).

Please stop by and check it out! It's a new video so right now I can use all the love you can give!!! After you watch it, share, like, subscribe, or comment. 

Here's the link! Sher's Channel

Can't wait to see how you like it!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Inspiration - When Creations Tell the Story

As every creative person knows, it not only takes talent to create, it also takes inspiration. Some times you can be inspired by something common and obvious, but sometimes you can be taken completely by surprise. Did you know that some of my patterns and designs were inspired by special things? Some of them even have little stories behind them. I thought it would be fun to fill you in on what's behind some of my favorite and most popular patterns.

Working so many years at an animal clinic, I've been lucky to be a part of treating wildlife as well as cats and dogs. One of the greatest experiences of my work there was raising and rehabbing owls. Howard was a special owl and the only one we named because he was so awesome. You can read about him here. If you want to see what a barn owl looks like from baby to adult, Click here, and trust me, it will be worth it. The transformation is amazing!

You will also notice that you will see a lot of cats in my designs, and many of them are black. That's because my "assistant" who has been with me for eighteen years is a black cat. 

Then there is Bubba. We had a little Yorkie who has since passed. He was such a special little guy, but he had so many medical problems. He was a little trooper. He was a little guy with a HUGE personality, and a lot of love to give. He is the inspiration behind the dog that is a part of my new logo, and the Fluffy Dog Key Fob Design and Fluffy Dog Mini Zipper Bag. I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot more of Fluffy Dog in patterns down the road.

My obsession love of tea has inspired many of my tea designs. Must be the British blood running through my veins! 

I can't forget about the Hot Air Balloons and the Camping Collection. My husband and I love to take long weekends away. One of our favorite places to go is to Battle Creek, Michigan for their Hot Air Balloon and Air Show. If you ever get the chance to go to one, I highly suggest it. As for the camping collection, it was inspired by my new found fascination with camping. I was never really a camper, but hey, I am a Nana, and my granddaughter loves it, so I will love it too!

There are so many things that inspire me. It can be something as simple as a color. Many times it's something that I truly love and want to share with you in my creations. If I put them all here, you would be bored and probably fall asleep reading. 

What inspires you to create the things you create?  

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Wow! Sher's Creative Space Made the Top 100!

How exciting! Look how far Sher's Creative Space has come! I was so excited when I received an email from All Free Sewing. One of my patterns has been their reader's favorite and made their top 100 list for 2017. With thousands of patterns at their website, this is very exciting for me. My Foldable Tote Bag tutorial is what made their list.

If you haven't checked them out, then it's time you did. They have thousands of patterns to choose from and they are all free! They have everything from clothing, to bags, to softies. They also have a lot of beginner patterns and great articles to get you started.

Stop by and take a look at all the fun things you could be creating right now....for free!

All Free Sewing

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Look Back at 2017 with Sher's Creative Space

What a year it was! So many exciting things happened at Sher's Creative Space this past year. The first thing I want to say is THANK YOU! My customers and my followers are my kind and creative friends. Thank you for all those who have sent me photos of the finished items that started out with one of my patterns. Keep them coming because I do love to see them! I've met a lot of great people at the creative facebook groups. You are all so talented and amazing. And of course, I must thank my testers. You ladies have been a lifesaver! Some of you started with me when I first started the embroidery business, thank you for sticking with me. When I think of the very first patterns I sent you, uggh! But you are all so patient and honest. And there are those testers that have helped me in a pinch at the last minute. I have the best testers anywhere! Thank you!

I learned a lot this year. I even added digitizing to my business. That was a huge step for me, but well worth it. And I love, love, love it! It took a lot of time and energy, but now that it's up and running, I can create that balance between embroidery and the PDF pattern business. My only regret is why did it take me so long to get into embroidery? It's so much fun!

Last fall I started my weekend feebies and you guys love it! I have given away thousands and thousands of patterns since starting it. Since you love it so much, I will keep it going! If you aren't a regular follower of this blog or my newsletter, you might want to sign up because that's where you will find info on when and where to grab these freebies.

Another thing that happened is that my facebook following and newsletter following has increased immensely! I will continue to work really hard so I don't disappoint you.

In my personal and professional life, I have just become quite fond of the idea of going mostly paperless. I started in July with my business receipts. They are all now in JPEG or PDF format. No more printing them at the end of the month! What a huge waste that was! I like that idea so much that I'm gradually working that effort into my personal life. I have become quite the scanner maniac, and I'm not even close to getting it all done.

PHOTO ABOVE: For the past twenty-five years it has been a Christmas tradition to give everyone at my house (during our Christmas celebration) lottery scratch off tickets. This year I added a new twist. I filled the above scratch off  holders (pattern available at In the Hoop by Sher website) and passed them out. I told everyone that if they want them refilled next year, they had to put them back into the basket. Well, they didn't want to give up their little holder ornaments, and they wanted to take them home. So it looks like I have to design more for next year!

I have so many great things planned for next year, but that will be another blog post.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Sher's Creative Space!

Wishing all my friends out there a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy this time with friends and family. And do eat dessert, after all, it's Christmas!

Most importantly, love one another, and be safe.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas Tutorials for Last Minute Gift Ideas

For my new readers, you may not know that there are some really fun and fast tutorials all organized, nice and neat on a Pinterest board. The little baking mix bags would make a great hostess gift. The wine glass shades take just minutes. You can add festive touches to any room!

Here's a little tip about the wine glass lamps....I painted the stems with enamel paint, then washed it off after Christmas! You have to do it within a few days of painting, and you can't bake the glasses or you'll never get it off. Also, it's important to use flameless tealight candles in them. And if you ever wondered if the "flickering flameless" tealights look real, check out the video at the bottom of that page.

Here are the links to the tutorials pictured above.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Little Spike and My New Images

As many of you have probably already noticed, I have fresh new images to represent my embroidery business and my PDF pattern business. What made it most difficult is that I wanted to tie in the two different businesses with very similar images. My social media sites such as Google Plus, Facebook,  Instagram, Pinterest, and this blog represent both of my businesses. So, how to make them each work alone, and together has been a challenge for me. I have it figured out! 

What ties it all together are two different elements, colors and Little Spike (the dog). 

Yes, the dog has a name! This past January I lost my little Yorkie due to serious medical reasons. I'm getting closer and closer to being ready for another one. All I know for sure is I would love another small dog, fluffy, and we will get him or her from a local rescue or the humane society. So when referring to my future dog, I call him Little Spike. On another note, this dog in my logo also resembles my sweet Bubba that passed away. So, adding Little Spike to my logo has a very special meaning to me.

Let me know what you think about my new images!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

How About Creating A New Christmas Tradition This Year!

Our family is big on Christmas traditions and has always been. Now that we have a granddaughter, I thought it would be fun to start some new ones that she will always remember. Last year we started the tradition of opening our gifts while skyping with our daughter who lives 2,000 miles away. It was so much fun, I wonder why we never thought of it before. After the gift opening, and before we say goodbye, we all have a toast to celebrate the upcoming year. Those of us who don't drink, have a glass of sparkling wine.

We also have traditions the we are still carrying on from years ago, but this year I'm adding another tradition for Christmas Eve. We are going to have a hot cocoa bar. The cocoa will be cooking in the slow cooker. The house will smell fabulous! I have a beautiful wooden tray that I got from my mother. I'll place a red napkin inside along with colorful (battery operated) lights wrapped with a piece of evergreen garland cut to fit the inside edges. I'll use mason jars to hold things such as candy canes, marshmallows, rolled wafers, and chocolate chips. And we must not forget the Christmas sprinkles! This tray will be in our bay window, in the dining room, where our granddaughter can reach it herself. Many years down the road, she will always remember the hot cocoa bar at Nana's on Christmas Eve. I'll share a picture after the holidays.

Have you thought about starting a new Christmas tradition? They don't have to be elaborate or expensive, just something that will be memorable and fun. If you need some ideas, a lot can be found right here.
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