Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bread story

I love bread.  I bet you do too.  In an effort to shed a few pounds (even before Christmas), I was laying off the carbs and sticking to fruit, veggies and protein.  I didn't miss the pasta or the sweets so much, but I sure missed my bread.  Now it's winter and every blogging minute someone is putting up pictures of their mouthwatering, carb loading, gluten filled puffy pillows of goodness.  Get in my belly.
I have a Zojirushi bread machine that is amazing, and I usually just put it on the "dough only" setting, then take the dough out after the first rise, let it rise again, and bake in the oven.  This is the ultimate comfort food for me, because a fresh warm slice always brings me back to the same memory .
Especially if jam is involved.  There has to be jam.  I'll tell you why.  When I was very little (4 years old) and we still lived in Canada, there was a brand of jam that came in a tin, I think it was called Empress and there was a crown on the label somewhere.  Anyway, one of my favorite snacks was warm fresh baked bread with strawberry jam smeared all over it.  My grandmother was always making fresh bread.  I think she used to have it ready to go before she even went to work in the morning(she could have used my bread maker).  One day my mother, sister and I were at grandma's, and she had bread in the oven.  My sister and I decided to go out for a walk.  Without telling anyone.  To the river. You know like the folk song "over the river and through the woods..."  Specifically to the dam, where the water poured through the gates with an incredible roaring noise and you could see the fish flying through the air, as they landed in the water on the other side.   Total kid magnet.  We were only 3 and 4 years old.
Across the street we went, through the bush (that's what we called the forest) and up onto the dam for some fish viewing.  I don't know how we knew which way to go, but we made it.  I remember it was very loud, with lots of water spray, all very exciting.  My mother was pretty excited too when she caught up to us.  Mad as hell excited.   I bet when she was coming after us her mother's heart was in her throat, not sure what she would find when she reached the river.  Boy, did we ever get in trouble.
I still remember sitting at the bottom of the stairs in my grandma's kitchen, with a tear streaked face, taking big gulps of air in between crying.  My grandma, feeling sorry for us, sliced the warm bread, loaded it up with jam and gave us each a piece to help calm us down.  It worked.
I feel very calm right now.  And full.  Thank you for listening to my bread story.  The clover leaf rolls are going in next.  Today's bread recipe was the everyday oat bread from this blog.  Yummy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Two for Tuesday

Number One: Finished my Modern Crosses quilt.  Finally.
Because I screwed up in the beginning, this thing spent more time under the seam ripper than the sewing machine.
But I used up scraps, and made something from my new book  Modern Log Cabin Quilting (love the book), and that was the point.  So why do I feel like I just got finished paying the bills or emptying out the dishwasher? 
It was machine tied in the center of each block.   That's all the quilting there is!!!  Then your supposed to sew a button over the stitching.  I still have 30 more buttons to sew on.  Sigh.   Since the quilt is bound and washed,  I'm going to take my time on this last part.  But it's done.  Technically.  The End.

Number two: I either need to stop eating/baking/cleaning or start wearing more aprons, because I'm ruining my clothes.  Almost every shirt I own has a souvenir from the sink, oven, plate or chicken coop, and I need to get into the habit of covering up.  So I made a new apron.
It's reversible, so you can change with your mood, or if The Food Network comes to your door with a camera crew,  flip it around, fluff your hair and you look like Nigella.  Or Giada.  I would look like Emeril.  Anyway, I just made a pattern from an old butcher style apron that I had, shortened it a bit, (story of my life) and rounded out the bottom corners.
I didn't want to mess with bias tape edging, or hemming the whole thing, so I made two, sewed them right sides together with the little ties tucked in between, and left an opening for turning.  A good pressing, some top stitching, aaaaand done.   Now I'm going out to get the eggs in my new apron.   I'll look so spiffy I bet the chickens won't even recognize me. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Let's talk paper

I have a lot of yarn and fabric to play with, but I haven't any scrap book paper at all.  Not one piece.  So when I saw these cute origami globes on Pinterest made out of maps,  I was in.  Maps we have.  My husband has a whole drawer of them, even though nowadays you can look on your phone app for directions or refer to a GPS in your car.  Never mind that.  We have maps.  I had 2 maps for the Santa Cruz area in my car, from the last time we went there on vacation, so I used it for this project.
Little origami map globe garland.  Oh I sure do love these.  I've always admired origami from afar, and am smitten with the tiny little figures, so precise, yet so magical.  Who thinks of these things?  Did someone long ago feel bored out of their mind and just decide "I'm going to fold this paper over and over again until it looks like a crane".  What patience and imagination they must have had.
And really sore fingers.  Even though I used a wooden skewer to help with the folding, I'm typing with my fingernails right now.
I made these with a 5 inch piece of paper, but I also tried one in a 7 inch which was a bit easier. Then I threaded a large tapestry needle with jute twine and loaded them on, with knots in between.  The instructions can be found here.

Then I found these little paper heart markers,  just in time for some Valentine fun.

I made these from pages of an old quilt magazine, and also some construction paper.
The magazine paper made a sharp fold, but was thin and I had to be careful not to rip it.  The construction paper was too soft, and didn't give a sharp enough fold.  I bet scrap book paper would have been juuuust right.  
This heart was so easy, I bet even your little ones would enjoy making some.  Go to this blog to find out how.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekend Warrior

This weekend, I took a break from this.....
And did a little of this....
And watched some of this. Go 49r's!!!!
There was a big platter of bacon wrapped shrimp and hot wings too, but it was gone before I could "stage" a nice photo. It's o k though, because I also ate too much of it, and if I had to look at it again, I might get sick.
My girls came by, and we lounged around in our sweatpants watching TV and drinking lemon drops.
And just so you don't think I'm a total lemon drop drinking, football watching, sweatpants wearing sloth, here's what I did earlier that day.
We have been enjoying beautiful weather.  The bright sun and blue sky are glorious, and make for interesting winter shadows.
There have been some mountain lion sitings in the area, so my sister and I made sure to make lots of noise crossing the savanna.  We are pretty noisy anyway, so it wasn't hard to do.
Valley oaks.  So majestic and old.
I wonder what the pioneers thought when they came over the Sierra mountain range and into this valley?  In the spring it would have been carpeted with wildflowers and native grasses.  Now it has been scraped dry in the name of progress, with only a few Nature Preserves left, like this one, where you can enjoy the natural surroundings.
I tried to get better pictures of these ducks, but they were feeding, so all I kept getting were pictures of duck butts.
Anyway, hope you are enjoying the weekend too!  A special thank you to Kristen at Cozy Things, for passing on the Liebster Award to me!  I have been a fan of hers back before I was a proper follower, and her blog never disappoints!  I will be back at a later post to pass it on to someone else. (Blogger won't let me make a link!!!!Sorry)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Not sew pieceful

I'm still working away on my scrappy Modern Crosses quilt.  There should be more to show, but I ran into a little snag, called my brain.
As I mentioned before, these blocks are strip pieced.  Sew your blocks to a strip, cut apart, press and sew onto the next strip.  Easy.  Right.   I had about 10 blocks completed.   I was on a roll.  It was like driving on the Autobahn.  Foot pedal to the floor , my Husqvarna purring like a Maserati, I was just starting a new group of 17, had them pressed and ready for the next strip.  They looked like this.
One print, and two white ones.  Except there's a slight problem.  It should look like this.....
One white, and two prints. Aaaaaaagh!  64 of them wrong!  All sewn to the white strip, not the print. Way. To Go. Lynne.  Meet my new best friend......
I turned off my sports car sewing machine, unplugged the iron and left the room.  Back to that later. 

O k, let's look at something fun now.  I just found this when I was going through my crap scrap bins.  It was a Christmas present from a couple years back.
It's a Moda Bakeshop sampler of 12 different fabric lines.  In cute little 2.5 inch charm packs!!
Finding it was like getting a present all over again!
Should I sew them together like a postage stamp quilt?  Or use one of the patterns from the book
that came with it?
They look so pretty nestled in their little box, I almost hate to take them apart.  I think that's why I never made anything with them.  Maybe this is the year.  Or maybe I'll just stare at them a while longer.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Internet hangover

 I'm still amazed at how one can get on the Internet, find a pattern, buy it on etsy, learn by tutorial on a blog, make it, blog about it, and pin it on Pinterest, within 48 hours.  Whew!  Last night I was on my laptop till almost midnight, looking through blogs and Pinterest.  I was really tired, but it was like being a kid again, not wanting to go to bed because you're having fun with your toys, and you might just miss something.  There is always so much to see, so many talented bloggers.  Talk about sensory overload!  This morning I felt hungover, (I really must be getting old if I can feel hungover without drinking) but eager to get to my sewing room.  Here are a couple of patterns I found.
241 Tote pattern by Anna Graham
This is a great pattern.  It has another pocket option with zippers, but I went with this one.

It came together without a hitch.  The instructions were clear and well written, the planets were aligned and I had coffee (always good for a hangover).   I also learned how to put in a magnetic snap (easy), and cut into my new owl linen.

Then I found some cute little business card/gift card holders on Pinterest with a link to this blog and tutorial.  I love these!  I wish I could have made some this Christmas, but next year I will be ready, because I made a few. . . .
And one more.......

I don't remember hangovers being this fun.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Scraptastic New Year

I am so happy to be back at my sewing machine again!  Since I learned how to crochet last year, I've barely turned on my machine, and only entered into the sewing room for more yarn and a different size hook.  It's been so fun, making scarves and blankets, playing with different fibers, but it's time to spread the quilting love again.  Especially since I went through all my fabric, and reorganized my room.  Oh boy.  Do I have fabric.  And bags of scraps.  It's almost overwhelming!  So I'm going to start the new year with a scrap quilt.  This one is from Susan Beal.  It's called Modern Crosses.
It's made up of 4 small log cabin blocks sewn together to make this cross block.  Her instructions use a chain piecing method that sews up quickly.  I love log cabin blocks.  They are the Granny square of quilting!  However, the pattern only calls for one 2x35 inch of printed fabric for each block.  At that rate I will never get through my stash!  So a quick search around some of my favorite blogs revealed 2 scrap quilt-a-longs.  Check out the sparkle quilt at Oh Fransson! (I love this idea of "nesting" the stars together), and a postage stamp quilt (always wanted to make one of these) at Pleasant Home.   Both look equally fun, and use up gobs of scraps.  I don't know that I will "quilt along" at this time, but they are bookmarked for the future.And just so you don't think I've given up the hook, here are two scarves I finished over the holidays. . .
This is the Queen Anne's lace scarf on Ravelry.  I have been wearing it with everything.  The pattern was fun, and I liked it so much I made another one in cream (Berroco Vintage).
Oh yeah, and I started another blanket.
Quilting?  What?