Monday, October 31, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2011

Hello again!  There is a blogger's Quilt Festival going on over at Amy's, and I must be living under a rock, because I just heard about it and there is only four days left to enter!  So here goes.
A few years ago I got really bored with my quilting.  I know.  I couldn't believe it either.  I had tried everything out there, Thimbleberries club, Little Quilts, Blended Quilts, Appliqued quilts, Civil War reproduction and more.  I was spinning around trying out different things, but keeping focused on "the pattern" and of course it had to match the living room, bedspread, or kitchen.
Then someone told me about on-line fabric shops, blogs and new modern fabric designers. YES!  This was the breath of fresh air I needed.  Authors Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston showed me how to let go of the pattern and go for the color.  The Material Obsession girls Sarah Fielke and Kathy Doughty were an Australian Inspiration.  I threw all sewing inhibitions out the window and made a liberated log cabin quilt.  I grabbed every wild scrap I had and ran to buy more fat quarters.  Suddenly I was charged up.
I learned about "wonky" blocks and "organic" quilting.  I was anything but bored.
I have it hanging up on my banister in the middle of my living room.  When I look at it , it reminds me to let go and have fun.  I just love it.  And it doesn't match a darn thing :)
Thank you to Amy and all the great sponsors for this fun opportunity.  Go check out all the beautiful quilts and their stories here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday breakfast and a book review

If you like to bake, you need to put this book on your Christmas list.  Kim Boyce has opened my eyes to a whole new world of grains that I didn't even know existed!  This isn't a book full of dainty petit fours or Martha Stewart decorated cookies.  You wont find food coloring or low fat ingredients.  There are big chunky chocolate chip cookies that fill the palm of your hand, rustic tarts and spiced cakes.

She breaks the book into sections depending on the different flour being used.  Besides the usual whole wheat, there is rye, spelt, amaranth, corn, barley, teff(??) , quinoa, kamut and buckwheat.  A brief history of the grain is given at the beginning of each chapter.   Suprisingly most of these are available in my local supermarket.  Regular all purpose flour is always added to the recipes to balance out the texture and flavor.  I was truly amazed at the different flavors of these grains as they are used in baking.  I would never have made a whole wheat chocolate chip cookie, (too heavy?), but these are now my favorite.  A good quality dark chocolate bar, which is roughly chopped, is used instead of the usual milk chocolate chips.  With the wheat flour?  What a difference!  Don't be afraid to use real butter and cream, or even olive oil in a cake.  This is real, whole food!
I love the scones in this book.  They are made with spelt and all purpose flour. And cream.  And currants. And they are rustic and full of warm crumbly goodness.
Some things I learned from this book......always sift your dry ingredients, rotate your  pans halfway through baking, and don't be afraid to try something new!
Have a great weekend xx

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mary Engelbreit meets Denyse Schmidt

Finished up my Dresden block quilt
The first time I saw the Denyse Schmidt line at Joann's, I knew I wanted to make it into a dresden quilt.  But I didn't want to make a traditional dresden with lattice and posts, so I went for a strippy quilt instead.  The red polka dot on front and the cherry print on back reminds me of Mary Engelbreit.
I machine appliqued the blocks with a tiny buttonhole stitch.  Then I hand stitched inside each red circle with white perle cotton, and machine stitched the binding.  LOVE the machine binding method.  It saves a ton of time.   I would still be sitting on the couch sewing it down with raw fingers instead of posting about it, if I hadn't done it that way.  The quilt measures about 55x70.
I think it looks fresh and modern and kind of vintage all at the same time.  Does that make sense?
Yesterday my daughter and I went thrift store shopping and I brought home a few goodies.  As soon as I'm done fighting with the glue gun, I will show you my little makeover.  Meanwhile, these were perfect, just as I found them, and are full of the fall season.
 Pyrex.  It just never gets old. You can bet these will be on my Thanksgiving table next month.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Big girl toys

Amish yarn swift and Royal yarn winder, bought with a birthday gift card from my sister Cathy during an online sale at Joann's .  How did I live without these before?  Sometimes it's the little things that make your day.
When I'm done here, I'm off to pin my Dresden quilt.  Have a great week!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Just call me Alice

Just when I was determined to remain focused on my big projects, I spied a white rabbit and took off down an internet rabbit hole.  My journey began  here, looking at the Sorbetto(free pattern) tank top that I have been wanting to make for ages.  Figures I want to make a tank now that summer is over (however, it's still 80 degrees here, or 80 degrees somewhere).  Her clothing patterns are great, and she posts about people who have made her patterns, so you get to see things made up in all shapes, sizes and fabric.  She has a new book coming out (I pre-ordered on Amazon), and you can view the garments from the book already made up and modeled on her website. Yay!   Anyway I made a Sobretto in a quilting cotton from my stash.  Also, go here, for 7 different versions of this same top.
No, that's not a pile of laundry on the floor.  There was no one home to take a picture of me, so I styled the hardwood.  Gee my floors are kinda dirty.
Anyway, this got me thinking about other garments I want to make so I got this out...
And this......
So now I'm busy making muslins, because apparently my family hails from the Shire, and us Hobbit types need to adjust every flippin' pattern unless it's marked Petite.
Further down the Wonderland/Blog hole, I found this scarf.  Oh lovely. And easy.  Ladies, if you can sew a straight seam, you can make this. Look at this one too!  So I made a colorblock scarf with some leftover Kaffe Fasset shot cotton, which is light as air.  I had just enough baby pom trim in my basket to add to the ends.  Don't skimp on the trim.  It really makes this special.
I want to make this again and again.  Maybe out of voile with a bigger trim.  Oh the possibilities! Ok I need to climb out of my hole and back to reality.  Those floors need washing!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Awesome October

It's been so pretty outside in the early morning, I just had to get some pictures today. So I grabbed the camera and went for a little walk around the property.

There was a light mist hovering just above the ground, and I could hear quail in the tall grass, as well as meadowlarks, mockingbirds, sparrows and a large hawk in the Oak tree.  I must have looked like a complete dork crouching around in my pajamas with camera in hand and my binoculars banging against my chest.  I was trying not to scare the birds.  The grass was damp and the air smelled like dry oak leaves.  Then, just like that the sun was up and the magic was gone!  What a great way to start my day!

Not much to report on my crafty side, just keeping my head down, trying not to get distracted from my big stuff.  So far these two are running neck and neck......
I'm calling this one "granny wears linen", and I will post more about it later with the particulars.

I'm also appliqueing my Dresden Plate blocks, which is being done by machine, but still taking forever.  Not sure about the red dot sashing, still playing around at this point.
Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

All stash, No cash

I made a deal with myself a while back, that in between projects made with newly purchased fabric, I would have to make at least one or two things from my stash only.  Or at least 80% stash fabric.  Sometimes it's more like 50%.  I'm so bad about deals with myself.  After all who's gonna know?  Just me, and I win either way!  Anyway, this weekend I threw all my other projects under the bus to make this table runner with nothing but stash.
There were two new things I wanted to try, and this was just the right project.  First I used a new product (well new to me anyway) called Fusiboo.  It's fusible bamboo batting.  That's right, no pinning or basting!  Just make your quilt sandwich and then press with an iron.  The resin in the batting gets activated by the heat of the iron and sticks to your fabric.  This worked ok I guess, but I had to keep going over it with the iron as I went along.  The instructions are for small craft projects, wall hangings etc. , and I can see why.  A bigger quilt may not hold together.  I had a few places on the back that folded and I had to pick out, something I don't usually get when I pin.  By the way, the resin washes out when you launder your quilt.  Check out this pretty blue quilt, made with fusible batting.

The other thing I tried this time around was machine binding.   I first read about it here, and then I found a great tutorial over at Red Pepper Quilts.  Usually you machine sew the binding to the quilt top, then fold to the back and finish by hand.  Love that part.  Right up there with weaving in 1 million ends on a crochet blanket.  But ladies this worked!  
This was a HUGE time saver.  I am glad to have tried it out on a small table runner, because I did miss here and there, but as with anything else, it just takes some practice.
De-stashing.  Kind of like hair removal.  Has to be done once in a while : )

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fabulous Friday

Today has to be one of the most be-u-ti-ful days I have seen in a long time.  Big blue sky, light breeze and plenty of sunshine! Soon as I'm done with this post, I'm going out on the porch for some hooky time.  But first.... a few people have asked about the recipe for the pumpkin muffins I posted about a couple of weekends ago.  So here it is.  This was handed out by my son's kindergarten teacher around Halloween over ten years ago.  I've made it many different ways, adding ingredients ( like oatmeal or raisins) or topping them with sour creme frosting etc., but this is the basic recipe, and I think it was originally printed in Country Living or Country Home magazine.


Wet ingredients:
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
2 cups canned pumpkin (or 1 15oz can) do not buy the kind with spices in the ingredients
1 1/2 cups sugar ( ok so it's not a wet ingredient, but it goes here, trust me)

Beat the eggs.  Add sugar and oil to the eggs.  Then add your pumpkin to this mixture.  Stir to combine.  Now hang on while I tell you about the dry stuff.

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Combine all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add this to your eggy pumpkin mixture.
Stir to moisten.  Put a cute paper liner in your muffin tins and fill them up half way.  Here is where I usually sprinkle the tops with crunchy raw sugar and a spiced walnut or pecan. Bake for 15 to 20 min. in a 350 degree oven.   Realize that your kitchen hasn't smelled this good all summer and make a pot of tea. Then call me and I will come and help you eat them : )

Now onto other news... I WON!  I won a giveaway from Erin at Dutch Girl Diary!  Look at all the goodies I got this week.  Woooo Hooooo!
This was quite a haul! Not only was there some yarn and cute crochet hooks, but Anna Maria Horner fat quarters!! Awesome!  Check out her blog to see the beautiful shawl she just made. So pretty!
Here is what's been going on at my house this week........

Quilting ( I know. shocking)

And crocheting (Duh)
Also cleaning, washing clothes, dusting, dentist appointments, grocery shopping, yard work, dog grooming and bill paying.  But nobody wants to see pictures of that crap.  Enjoy your weekend!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Moving along....

 I started making a blanket for my bedroom a while back out of some soft pale colors .  About 20 squares into it, I laid it out and... nothing.  It looked boring to me.  The colors looked nice as a few sample blocks, but all together as a blanket, just wasn't cutting it.  I decided to stash the yarn (so that's how a stash is born!) and move on.  Now it's a scarf and I'm still not sure about the colors.  This jacket was about the only thing I could find in my closet to go with it.
 The linen color looks like a dirty off white.  Blah.  Oh well, now I have time to move on to something else I'm not very excited about.......
With all the blanket making going on around here , my son asked me if I could "knit" him one.  While I explained to him that his mother is very talented in areas such as making his meals, washing his clothes, and a bit of sewing and crocheting thrown in, she has not yet mastered the art of knitting.  "Whatever" says he, doing the eye roll thing, and points to my giant granny just finished a few weeks earlier, "how about something like that?"  I have a hard time saying no to this boy of mine, so despite the fact that I'm up to my eyeballs in WIPs, I agreed.  Uggggh.
He had attended a baseball clinic this summer at Sonoma State University and brought home a tee shirt.  The school colors were his color choices.  Yay.  Too bad you can't get yarn to match everything.  This is as good as it's going to get, so another giant granny is in the works. And he has turned into the yarn police.  Everyday after school I hear "How's my blanket?  Did you work on it today?  Is it done yet?"  Hah! Whatever.