Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Twin Quilts

I made these two quilts for family this Christmas. I tried out some new quilting, but forgot to take pictures of the quilting itself -- we had to hurry and snap these pictures before they got shipped off for the holidays.

Each quilt was about 68" square. I made it using the fabric line Snippets by American Jane.
I started the centers well over a year ago. I loved them, but didn't know what to do for the borders. It took months until I found the right combination of movement without too much distraction from the center. When I started the border I had no idea how much work it would take -- there are a lot of squares in that thing! I really think it works though.
I doubled up the batting for the first time as well. It made the blankets much heavier, each one weighed about 5 pounds when finished. I really like using 100% cotton batting because it breathes so well. And, I can't deny that the crinkles from the cotton just make me smile!
But, over time the blankets get pretty thin. I'm hoping that by doubling it up, they will stay much thicker.
Overall, I was very pleased with the final result. Hopefully they will be loved by their new owners.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thank you!

During the Blogger's Quilt Festival, I was fortunate enough to win a fat quarter pack of Thistledown from Jillily Studios. What luck! This is the first prize I have won in years!

Thank you Jill! I really appreciate your generous gift -- I'll always remember your kindness and the extra effort you put into my gift! Thanks!

I've been in love with this fabric ever since Jill showed it on her blog in September. The colors are just beautiful! I can't wait to put something together with it. Right now I'm leaning toward the design Twin Stars featured in the original Jelly Roll Quilts book. I haven't cut any fabric yet, I'm still making sure it's what I want to do.

Monday, November 8, 2010

100 blocks blog tour -- come see!

I'm always searching for new ideas and inspiration. This month, Quiltmakers 100 blocks volume 2 comes out -- what a great way to spice up my quilting life. As part of the celebration, there is a great giveaway series and fun blogs to visit. Come join the Quilty Pleasures blog tour and get some great ideas.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mama Bear Quilt

Mama Bear Quilt

about 78" square
made with Hoffman and batik fabrics

Thanks to Amy for hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival -- what a great event! Here's my entry this fall -- my Mama Bear Quilt.

Several years ago, my sister's life was suddenly changed forever by a brain aneurysm and a previously undetected AVM. It was devastating to our whole family to have her struggle on the brink of death. We powerless to do anything. I was thousands of miles away -- with nothing I could do to help. Some days she was so sick, she couldn't even talk on the phone.

So, I did the only thing I could think to do -- I made her a quilt. As she faced months of surgery and struggles, I packaged all my love into this quilt for her. Every cut, stitch, and seam was made with her in mind. I made it long enough to cover her from head to toe -- at that point it was the largest quilt I'd made. It took some time, but I was finally able to send it to her.

My sister made it through. Today, you'd never know she ever faced such a physical challenge. Every day I'm grateful she's here and healthy. Words cannot convey how important she is to me.

Years later, long after my sister had recovered, she had it on her daughter's bed. It reminds me now that even when we think life is at it's worst, it can always get better and brighter.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Schnibbles progress

I've been out and about on vacation with my family for the last month. In the midst of all the fun, the Plan C quilt from Schnibbles is progressing nicely. As I've been putting it together, I'm perplexed at how I'm going to quilt it.
I want to improve my free motion skills, so I think I'll try something difficult. I just haven't decided how to do that yet. The quilt has such large spacing, but I want to highlight the stars at the same time. It's such a pretty quilt, I'd like to emphasize the design with quilting that will enhance the overall picture. I'm toying with the idea of trying feathered loops, inside each square with outline quilting and repeats inside the stars, but it doesn't seem exciting enough.
More thinking to come....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Schnibbles Plan C

I recently purchased the book Schnibbles Times Two and I'm in love!
The first pattern I decided to complete was called "Plan C". I've wanted a blue and yellow quilt to snuggle with on my bed, so this was a perfect pattern for April Cornell's Nature's Notebook by Moda. It incorporated stars as well as bright spots of blue and yellow to catch the eye.
I'm starting to see the potential for the quilt, but it's still got a way to go.


Our tomatoes are finally turning red! I picked some decent sized Early Girls today -- I love it when you're cutting up a tomato warm from the summer sun. It just makes them taste better somehow. We've had a bug eating our basil this year, but I was able to get a few leaves to use for homemade Bruschetta. Usually meant as an appetizer, our family eats Bruschetta as a meal on Sunday afternoons in the summer. When the tomatoes are ripe, I just can't get enough! The recipe says 16 servings, but my family of four usually eats about two-thirds of a batch when we serve it up as the meal.

Photo courtesy of cooks-catering.com


2 tomatoes, diced
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
two 16-inch-long French-style baguettes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Stir everything but the baguettes and oil in a small glass or ceramic bowl, and let the mixture rest for at least 10 minutes at room temperature.

2. Slice the baguettes about 3/4-inch thick, on the diagonal. Brush one side of each slice with additional olive oil.

3. Place slices oil-side-up on a baking sheet, and broil (carefully!) just until the slices are lightly browned. Remove them from the broiler and place in a serving dish so that the bottoms don't get soggy.

4. When ready to serve, place about 2 to 3 teaspoons of the tomato mixture on top of each slice of bread.

Servings: 16

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/16 of a recipe (1.8 ounces).
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 108.86
Total Fat: 3.63g
Saturated Fat: 0.61g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 191.17mg
Potassium: 85.34mg
Total Carbohydrates: 16.13g

Friday, July 16, 2010

Square Foot Garden Progress

Our garden is doing remarkably well since it gets little or no attention from us. OK, that's not entirely true -- Maddie's new job is to water every day and she's been very responsible.

Here's our first few harvests:
The plants are growing tall and taller. Last year our zucchini and cucumbers just withered and died by mid-July. This year they've gone nuts! I'm worried that they're going to choke the tomatoes to the point that we don't get the bounty of red tomatoes I'd hoped for this year.

So, I decided to smoosh the zucchini down a bit in the hopes that the tomatoes could have a chance. Hopefully I haven't killed the plants:

I'm still stuck on what to do with the cucumbers. They're blocking all the sunlight on the right half of the garden.

We planted a few zucchini in normal dirt to see what would happen. So far, they are about 12 inches high and just have a few flowers. I think something has been nibbling on them, but I'm not sure.

Here's some of the hundreds of tomatoes that are just hanging out green and tiny on the vine. I'm hoping they turn red soon...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bloggers Quilt Festival Entry Spring 2010

I love the bloggers quilt festival! It's so much fun to look at every quilt and get ideas for the coming six months.

Here's my entry:

I made this quilt for a friend having a baby boy. It was a really good project to try out new stuff. This was the first time I've quilted shapes using my machine. I was astonished at how easy it was to do--
  • First I found clip art online.
  • I printed it out and then cut out the shape.
  • Using a water-soluble marker, I traced the pattern onto the fabric.
  • Then I quilted the pattern using free motion quilting
  • The stippling helps to give each design added depth
  • Then I sprayed the markings with water to make them disappear
The quilt was pretty easy to put together, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Friday, April 30, 2010

In to win!

So, I heard about this blog contest today, and I just can't resist -- I'm desperate for help!

Help me Wilsonart -- you're my only hope!

My family used to spend about 30% of our life in our basement. We love this room, I sew, the kids play, we watch movies. Most of our family time together is spent in our wonderful basement. At least until March 30, 2010.

I went down that morning to turn on a video for my son and my foot stepped in 3 inches of water. I suddenly realized that all of our treasures were floating. It didn't stop -- about six hours later we had about 10 inches of water.

Pictured here is only about 3-4 inches. It was flooding so fast we tried to get all the valuable things out before they were ruined.

Because we were so distraught, we forgot to take a picture at full water depth. Just imagine the couch resting on large food cans to try to keep it above water.

After the waters finally receded four days later, we had to move everything from the basement so that it could dry outside.

All of the family treasures(toys, fabric, sewing machine, tv, stereo, etc) are now waiting in the garage for our all-purpose basement to get fixed.

We've cleaned, replaced the ruined drywall, painted and are preparing to finish the walls with wainscoting. In the next two weeks I hope to have the carpet back in too. Here's to hoping!

But, I still have all of this stuff to organize and put back downstairs for my family to use. Oh, how I would love to have a wonderful organization system to store all the toys, games, crafts, and electronics! Please help us!

Can't you just imagine a beautiful storage system for

toys, sewing/crafting and games?

Even though I really want to win I'll be good and share all the contest information so that you can try too:

The contest runs through April 30th (so hurry over!), and one winner will receive expert design advice, as well as a customized cabinet/counter top organization utopia for your room valued up to $5,000!

Take a photo of your family room, craft room, or basement. Whatever you think needs some organization love.

Post the photo on a blog post and tell us more about the room. Who uses it, what takes place in that room, etc. Also include what you’d like the design team at Wilsonart to help you accomplish with the Spring Clean.

Learn more about the contest here. Submit the link to your blog post
here and you’ll be entered to win the $5,000 Spring Cleaning Room Makeover!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Party in Pink

I just saw this recipe in the April issue of Traditional Home Magazine and I didn't want to forget it. I think it would be great served at a baby shower or backyard party.

You could freeze half and mix the two in a blender with fresh raspberries for a pink margarita too.

I'm a teetotaler, so this mine is the alcohol free version:

The Pink Drink

7 cups Raspberry Lemonade
1 cup Pomegranate juice
mint to garnish

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chili Cook-off

I'm off to our church's annual Chili Cook-off contest with two of my favorite stand-by recipes -- Black Bean Soup and Cheese Bread. Technically, neither one is chili. I learned last year that I'm not really a big fan of chili. Also, I'm such a picky eater, for pot-luck stuff I usually bring food that will make me happy. I really have a hard time eating food when I don't know the standards by which it was prepared. I guess I'm admitting several neurosis here. But, don't judge. I bring enough to share. Generally I don't boil the soup this high, but I needed to cook the celery quickly. I realized I started the soup with only one hour until it was time to go -- by boiling the heck out of it, I'm hoping the celery will be soft by the time we make it to the church. UGH! I just realized my jeans are in the washer -- I'm off to throw them in the dryer in the hopes that they'll make it in time! Wish me luck on all counts!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Take Note

Ruth -- Thanks! You're the only reader who even tried to guess my ambiguous movie quote! You will be getting something lovely in the mail. Let me know if you have a color preference or two. Ummm. I'm not sure of your address. I'll go through back channels to get it though :)

For the rest of you, I have a wonderful website to offer to you -- there are many classical piano pieces with free MP3 files. Definitely worth the few moments to download some of these beautiful pieces!

Some of my favorites that I have played in the past are(hopefully these links will let you download them directly):

Chopin's Waltz
Fur Elise
Minuet in G

I often ask my piano students to learn these songs, and now I have free MP3's to send them! I love free!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Delusions of grandeur

Do you ever have "delusions of grandeur"?

(OK, just to make it interesting, I'll give a purse out of my pre-made stash to anyone who can name the movie I just quoted.)

I've been home, sick, lying on my couch for three days. In those three days, I've decided that I can do amazing things. Now, keep in mind, I haven't moved a muscle. I've not picked up a hammer and nail or any such thing. I've just been reading the best blog I've ever read -- Knock Off Wood.


I think I'm going to make these for the entry way:
And these for the basement:

And this bed for my daughter's room:

with this on the side:
And this for me and my sewing room:

And, maybe if I have some time left I'll whip up this dining room table:Did I mention that I'm the kid who cut the top of her thumb off in shop class? Watch out world! Here I come!

What's in store...

Now that I finished the Whirlygiggle quilt, I can start on new projects to use up my fabric stash! I can't wait to see how these babies turn out!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Stocking the Freezer

I love a yummy breakfast each and every day. But, I HATE cooking that yummy breakfast every morning. In fact, if I have to cook the breakfast, usually I just don't eat. Not eating is not good for my disposition. I become mean when I haven't had good breakfast.

To help combat an ugly situation, I have created this wonderful plan -- freezing breakfast. About once every three weeks I bake up a batch of Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes. These are the best -- packed with nutrition and tastiness, they make the perfect freezer food.
So, I whip up a double batch, fire up my most treasured griddle and put a good movie or TV show on the computer. It takes about an hour to griddle up 80 pancakes(I use about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake).
I let them cool on parchment paper for at least an hour. Then -- this is the important part -- I cut up that same parchment paper and stick it between layers of pancakes in a Ziploc bag. If you don't put the parchment paper between them, they stick together and just become a messy, unmanageable situation.
After loading two Ziploc, I stick them in the freezer. Now -- instant breakfast. I take out as many as I need and warm them up in the microwave each morning.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Whirlygiggle repeat is finished and it's fantastic!

This baby is 72 inches by 66 inches and absolutely vibrant! It's so much more dramatic in person than in a picture. I love it! It'll be perfect in my basement to help lighten and brighten the room without windows. I always love my quilts when they are finished, but I'm really enamored with this one. It just makes me feel happy inside to look at it. Yum!

I had not expected to finish the quilt this week. We are so packed with things that I thought I'd have to wait until next week to sew. Wouldn't you know it -- my daughter got the stomach flu and I had to cancel everything on Monday and Tuesday. Well, stuck at home means sewing time for mom! Yeah! But, I'll always remember this as the quilt I finished when my daughter was devastatingly ill. (She wasn't sick when I staged this photo, so there are no germs on the quilt)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's gone to a better place

I finally gave away the Whirlygiggle quilt. I was sad to see it go, but the big one is almost finished! It's beautiful!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stuck in my mind

Do you remember the band They Might Be Giants from high school? I loved them! Some of my most favorite memories of my sophomore year include driving my mother's suburban loaded with 20 or so of my most treasured friends. (These were the days before seat belt laws) Sometimes my friend Jenny would play the guitar and sing. Most of the time it was They Might Be Giants that led us on our adventures. We'd often play the song "Cow Town" and fly a kite out the back window. Oh, what sweet memories!

Well, They Might Be Giants has released a new CD/DVD recently, and it's really been stuck in my mind. We've been playing it as a family and loving the music. Not only that, but it's educational and the videos are really cute. We've been watching them on YouTube for a couple of months now. So that I don't have to keep hunting for them every time we want to watch, I thought I'd put our favorites here, and that way you can join in the fun too! Yeah! It's just like the good old days!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Whirlygiggle repeat

I've had a hard time parting with the Whirlygiggle quilt. So, in order to make it easier to give away the baby quilt (which has no real use in my house right now and thus no real reason to keep anyway) I'm making a BIG couch quilt.
It's going to be about 64"x74" when it's finished. Yahoo! A quilt to snuggle with that reaches all the way to my toes! The best part -- every single scrap of fabric came from my stash downstairs. I didn't buy a single thing for this baby! I even had the batting! I LOVE FREE QUILTS! (OK, so I did at one time pay for all this stuff, but it was for another project, so it's like getting it for free since it's leftovers)
I'm hoping to quilt and bind it this weekend -- I've got some new purse patterns I'm dying to try! This time I promised myself I had to finish my current project before starting a new one.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Crock-Pot Cafe Rio Beef -- Spicy Beef

This is one of my most favorite dishes. You can use this beef in tacos, on a salad, burritos, chimmichangas, almost anything Mexican will work. I've even used it to make empanadas. Yummy!

For those of you familiar with Cafe Rio, this is my adaptation of their recipe:

Spicy Mexican Beef (Cafe Rio Beef)

3 lb Chuck Roast
2 cups salsa
1 cup beef broth
1 can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon cumin
3 cloves garlic
1 onion, cut into rings

1. Put the roast in the crock pot.
2. Mix salsa, broth, tomato sauce, cumin and garlic in the blender or food processor until smooth.
3. Pour mix over the beef.
4. Top with onion rings.
5. Cook for 7-8 hours on low.
6. Remove the onion and shred the meat, removing any visible fat.
7. Return to crock-pot juice and simmer for about an hour.

Serve as tacos with cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, and beans.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Grandma's Quilt

I made this quilt in stages. I started piecing the log cabin blocks back in 2003 with the great intention of giving my family each a Christmas quilt for the holiday season that year. I worked on it quite a bit, but just when the blocks were almost finished I gave up for some unknown reason. I picked it up again in the spring of 2009 and finally finished the job. It took me forever to decide how to make the borders. I just couldn't wrap my head around it, but in the end, I like what I chose.
We gave the quilt to my husband's grandma this year for Christmas.

Whirlygiggle complete!

Whirlygiggle -- 40"x40"
I really love this quilt! I think it turned out so cute! I debated whether to stipple it or quilt some swirls my friend has been trying out, but the stippling won because it would be faster. I'm so glad I did -- now the pieces have a kind of puzzle look to them. It adds a great dimension to the design.

Now I just have to force my kids(and me) to part with it so that we can give it away. Does anyone else have a hard time giving away their projects? Am I the only greedy quilter? It's so sad to see my little babies go to someone else!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Whirlygigle ideas

I fell in love with the whirlygigle quilt from Crazy Mom Quilts that is pictured above. I'm so sad she has left the blogging world, but I still find her quilts inspirational. So I decided to imitate her whirlygiggle pattern. I really tried to find out where the pattern comes from, but it seems that most people refer back to Crazy Mom Quilts at some point. My blocks are 8" square, for a total quilt size of about 42" -- a perfect size for a baby quilt. I cut all the colors out to make 75 squares -- enough for three baby quilts.

Now I just have to decide which design I like most. Our friend had a baby last Friday and I'm a little slow on getting her a present. I figure that one of these should go together fairly quickly. We have a big snow storm coming and I have all the supplies here at home.

YEAH! Let's sew! Oh and make homemade doughnuts and oatmeal cookie pancakes. Bring on the party!