Monday, June 28, 2010

My Name Is Michele and I'm a Fabriholic

Well, I did it. I took over our formal dining room. The table and china cabinet are still there, but lookie what the hubs bought me at Ikea yesterday. Shelves! I managed to fill them up nicely, didn't I? Egad, I have a lot of fabric. Somebody stop me! Keep in mind I've only been quilting three and a half years. I need to make bigger quilts obviously. Or maybe quit buying fabric. Maybe now I'll be able to get to my fabrics easier. They've been stored in tubs in the guest room (and sometimes on the bed). Now someone can actually use the guest room!

My graphic design studio has lived in my formal living room since we moved here 12 years ago and the dining room is attached. We've used the dining table maybe six times since we moved in. Most of the friend and family get-together's gravitate toward the kitchen, family room and back porch. We're not a formal bunch. The living and dining area can be shut off from the rest of the house, which is sometimes a good thing with loud teenagers and their friends.

Now I'm afraid to sew anything! I might mess up my neat stacks. I found lots of fun fabrics yesterday, so I'm sure I'll be back in the groove soon.

I did get a good start on my doll quilt for DQS9. I've added some embroidery since this photo. I'm trying to decide how to quilt it now. I'm way ahead of schedule, so there's plenty of time.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. It was hot, hot, hot here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I Love Summer

Summer in Florida is hot, hot, hot. And did I mention humid? But as long as you have air conditioning and access to water (pool, lake, ocean, rain, shower), it's not all that bad. The best part about summer is the abundant supply of fruits and veggies. I swoon every time I'm at the produce market. Even the grocery stores retire the plastic tomatoes during the summer. Yay!

Last night I tried another Pioneer Woman recipe for a Summer Stir-Fry. I can't print out her recipes and leave them laying around or the family complains. They don't like her stuff. At all. Period. I, on the other hand, love her stuff. I tried the Chicken with Green Olives last week and it was heaven. The picky people picked out the olives. Something about hot olives. The stir-fry was also out of this world. The picky people picked out the zucchini. I haven't had fresh corn in years (it's a Sugar Busters thing). Yum! I'm glad I cheat every now and then. This dish was definitely worth it.

Along with a simple salad and some rice and bread for my carb lovers, dinner was served. Do you guys make your own salad dressings? My family makes a mean vinaigrette. Everyone's version is different, but they're all good. The base recipe follows. I'd love to get some different dressings to try out, so send me some of your favorites. We eat salad every night and it's nice to have some variety.

Traditional French Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
This salad dressing is perfect for any type of salad greens. It is also great used as a marinade for beef, seafood, poultry and pork. My family enjoys dipping fresh, hot bread into the dressing!

The basic recipe...

2 Tablespoons Vinegar (Red Wine or Cider)*
4-5 Tablespoons Oil (Olive or Vegetable)
1 clove of crushed garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

I normally make a fresh dressing each night and tailor it to the evening meal. (i.e. I add Italian herbs if we’re eating Italian; a dash of Sesame oil if we’re having something Asian). If you add something different each night, it’s a nice variety.

Start with the vinegar in the bottom of an empty salad bowl. I whisk in the crushed garlic, kosher salt and pepper. At this point you can add:

Chopped Scallions
Italian Seasonings (dry herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary)
Sliced Red Onion
Chopped Green Olives
Fresh Herbs (parsley, chives, basil, thyme)
Dried Red Pepper Flakes 

Mustard (prepared or dry)

Once you’ve added your “secret” ingredient or left the dressing as is, start drizzling the oil into the vinegar mixture. You can get fancy and whisk with a whisk, or simply use a fork. Top the dressing with salad greens and fresh veggies and keep refrigerated. Toss to coat everything when you’re ready to serve.

*You can substitute Balsamic vinegar, lemon or lime juice for the acid.

To make bigger batches of this dressing, use the measurements on a salad dressing container that comes with packaged Italian dressings. ADD NO WATER! Otherwise, use half vinegar and a little bit more than half oil and adjust the spices for the quantity. You can make a big batch and store it in a shaker container.

I received a cute little paper pieced ice cream cone quilt from my Quilting Board doll quilt swap partner. She also sent me a lobster key chain. She lives in New England so the key chain is the perfect souvenir!

Not much to show on the quilting front, but I am working on some stuff today and will hopefully get some time to sew this weekend. Have fun ya'll!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Awkward Photos

I'm trying to sell some old cross stitch pattern books and I ran across this doozy. Who do you think got a hold of the scissors? Or did mom mess up with the scotch tape bang trimming? Did your mom ever use scotch tape to trim your bangs? Or how about give you a Toni home perm when you were five? Or was I the only child being experimented on? Want some close-ups of these cuties? They really are darling even with the haircuts. I sure wish I knew who they are. The booklet is copyright 1981, so they're probably in their twenties now. They might want these shots for their Faceplace pages. For more crafty and odd photos, check out this old blog. Go pee first.

I was cleaning out my photo files and found a few more. This chicken one probably isn't awkward to anyone but me, but I must have been bored enough to take a picture. Note I only paid $3.31 for that chicken. But still.

The happy couple at my cousin's wedding. Kidding.

My friend Kathy getting wiggy. Hi Kath! I'll buy lunch next time. She is usually a dead ringer for a young Martha Stewart.

Okay, okay, I'll play too. My kindergarten picture. See, my hair wasn't much better then the little gals above. Wish I had the perm rods photo scanned in. Yes, mom took a picture too. It's no wonder I'm odd. If you want to see some real awkward photos, check out Awkward Family Photos.

I'll get back to quilts soon. I've been busy with work and summer festivities and have been thinking of ideas for Doll Quilt Swap #9. Hope everyone is staying cool.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Stash

I've been bad! The fabric deals are just too hard to refuse. It's my birthday month, right? Happy birthday to me! I still have 11 days left.
Kaffe Fassett goodness. These will be hard to chop.
I've always loved Little Golden Books. Look at that Saggy Baggy Elephant and Poky Little Puppy. The bowling balls are fun too!
I'm always a sucker for gingham. So summery and kitchen-ey.
How about some Anna Maria Horner Little Folks voile? I bought this to find out what voile was! I think I'm going to make a scarf today out one of these.

I made this Dresden flower for a 1930's mini quilt swap. I still love working with 1930's fabrics and have quite a collection. I would have thought I'd tire of them by now, but I still think the prints are so adorable. Sure wish they still packaged food in feedsacks! It would be very green too. The grits I get are in cotton bags, but no neat designs.

The bookmarks are thank you gifts for quilters that send me their selvages. It's so fun to see the fabrics everyone works with.

Happy Father's Day to my hubby, Inspector Gadget, who is the best dad. He'll be dragging a boat full of teenagers around the lake later like he does every weekend. I'll feed them all when they get back. Ah, life is good.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

They Weren't Turtle Eggs

Hubby was tinkering with the sprinkler system after dinner last night. Some of the controls are buried in the ground. Look what he found when he opened the lid to the controls! Of course I was called to witness. The raccoon was eating the same type of eggs Saturday morning. And now there's more. Ick. Ick. Triple ick. I had to see what was inside of these eggs. Messing with Mother Nature is probably what got me in this mess in the first place. But do I learn? No.
Doesn't look like a turtle to me! The little baby snake is curled up, but stretched out he would be about 10-12". Him and his six siblings! Egad. My silly snake(s) think my yard is a nursery. Thank goodness for raccoons and teenagers who will hum said eggs into the lake. Sorry I messed with nature, but hey nature, "leave me alone!"

Summer vacation has started. My home has been filled with hungry teenagers. My daughter has tons of friends that like my cooking. It's nice having lots of people to feed. The only problem is that they want to play Scrabble with me until 2 am. Some of us are not on summer break. At least I'm keeping them off the streets, right? Tonight I might sell them to gypsies! I'm tired.

I made pillow covers for our couch pillows. Hopefully it will cut down on the feather leakage that drives me nuts.

The end.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

More Nature in the Neighborhood

Spotted a critter in my backyard early Saturday morning. I thought it was a cat. When I went out to the pool deck it ran to tree. Then it came back to dig under my gardenia bush. It was a raccoon. Hubby and I watched it dig and find eggs. I'm not sure if the eggs were turtle or snake eggs, but I'm hoping they were snake eggs. Do snakes even lay eggs? The raccoon wasn't afraid of us even when hubby sprayed him with the hose. Guess hunger beat out timidness. He ate about 10 eggs while we watched him.
I rescued this guy out of the chlorine while we watched the raccoon eat breakfast.
Some siggy blocks I made for a college student's quilt. Someone else is putting it together, thank goodness.
Ladybug ATC. I haven't made artist trading cards in a while. Kind of a fun diversion.

More hexagons! The finishing directions from the quilt along are posted, so maybe I can finish a couple of quilts. Thanks Jaybird Quilts for the awesome instruction and inspiration! The top pile is the original project, which spiraled into a smaller version using some Flea Market Fancy I unearthed. Did you know there is a site for Flea Market Fancy Freaks? I think I bought a jelly roll of it before I knew it was such a popular fabric line. I may play with some other settings as I haven't sewn any of those together. The bottom mini was the English Paper Piecing hand sewn project I've been working on forever. I do love the look hand sewn hexies, but I am so slow at making them.

Threw together some four patches during a fit of boredom.
I found these blocks in a pile of UFO's and put them together. I don't remember working on them. I remember the original project I cut the strips for, but I don't remember making these little blocks.

I absolutely adore the OZ fabric line by Sanae. Moda makes it. I bought some charm squares and made two Dresden Plate blocks. I think I'll do some funky piecing with the rest of the squares and turn this into a table runner or something. After cutting the blades, I used the scraps to make a little coin quilt for a friend.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

School's Out For Summer!

I've had that Alice Cooper song in my head all day. Today was the last day of school. My son got out of school a couple of weeks ago, but my daughter was still attending the high school. Apparently it was an exciting last day. Several freshman boys decided to fight, cops were called, kids were maced and arrested, someone pulled the fire alarm, etc. That poor principal. The joys of high school. My kids normally go to a nice, A-rated school, but I guess the excitement of the day got to a few. Maybe they shouldn't have served Rocky Mountain Oysters* for lunch! My daughter was not impressed. I guess she was downwind of one of the mace clouds. Like any child, she's forgotten all about it and is at a theme park with a friend.

I whipped up this purse this morning. It's called the Phoebe Bag and the pattern is so easy. I'm going to make a few more of these! Thank you Artsy-Crafty Babe!

A package arrived from my friend Yumi in Japan! She sent these colorful scraps that may be from kimonos.  Aren't they fun? I could just frame the package as is!

And look at the cute monkey fabric! They remind me of that game, Barrel of Monkeys. A few of the monkeys are sporting pink bow ties!
And check out these little pouches made from zippers and twill tape. Could they be any cuter?

Yumi also made me this chic bag. It's beautiful! The patchwork continues on the other side too. And it's lined with a pretty floral fabric. The design is very unique.

She was only supposed to send this little donation quilt for AAQI, but she always spoils me! Isn't this quilt great? It's 9.5" x 9.5"! She calls it "Sunrise." Gorgeous! I've already eaten some of the fun Japanese snacks she sent! I'm such a lucky gal. The birthday celebration continues and it's only day nine!

I finished this small quilt based on this pattern by one of my favorite bloggers, Red Pepper Quilts. The pattern is perfect for leftover honey bun strips.

I'm off to make summer rolls. I've had Vietnamese food on the brain. I'm meeting my friend Tina on Friday to have an authentic Vietnamese lunch, but I can start with some summer rolls tonight!

*Not for the squeamish. I warned you! Rocky Mountain Oysters

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sew Day!

I take the worst pictures, but hopefully you can see the eye candy a bit. Julie makes me drool with her Kaffe Fassett creations. She uses Kaffe's fabrics, but the composition is all her own. Wow! She even brought me Kaffe squares today. The birthday celebration continues! Think I can milk this a month?! Thank you so much Julie, if you're reading. And thanks for bringing Margaret. I have a feeling we're all going to be having a lot of fun.

Another fun friend sent me this quilt. The center says "Some days all I do is run around in circles!" I know you all can relate. She sent me this quilt while I was trying to track down a rogue doll quilters. I burst out laughing when it arrived. Thanks Tammy!

A tote I made from a kit. The fabrics are okay, but I was intrigued by the pattern. It was very well written and illustrated. You have to admire that. I'm pattern challenged, so if you can get it through my thick head then you are the pattern Goddess. I'm getting better. I may even attempt a clothing pattern tomorrow. Or that could be the wine talking! ;)

Rene's daughter helped me "plant" my Toy Society toy at the library we use at Sew Day. She was so sweet to assist me and she had to move it a couple of times before someone took it. I think that girl has a future in marketing. I'll be her agent! She sews and plays the harp too. Did I mention she's 11? And very smart? And can do funky things with her arm?!

It was a wonderful day and the celebration continues!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Very Happy Birthday To Me

Tuesday was my birthday. The family showered me with gifts, flowers, and food. I plan to continue the celebration all week. Our guild meeting was Wednesday and I received beautiful fat quarters and the movie "Up" from Rene'. I can't wait to watch it. I haven't seen it yet. I don't get out much!

Our guild meetings are held at a fabric shop that I don't get to shop at normally. Dangerous, huh? I'll have you know I walked out of there without buying a thing last month. Not the case yesterday. These little guys just jumped into my hands. I think the blah, blah, blah fabric just about sums up my blog most days! And I'm always a sucker for funky polka dots and food prints. Pink grapefruit are my favorite. Florida has great pink grapefruit. The coral with the white trees just caught my eye and it was on sale.

My Secret Quilt Angel sent me a load of fun fabrics for my birthday. These repros are so darling. I've been itching to work with 1930's repros again. Maybe I'll chop into some on our Saturday Sew Day. Yep, the celebration continues with a full day of sewing and laughter at our monthly Sew Day. Today I'll celebrate with a visit from my mom.

I'll try to find a place to drop off the little matryoshka doll for The Toy Society. She's been hanging out in my studio, but I'm sure she'll enjoy a change of space.

I made this little mini quilt for a fun swap. I still don't get the whole Twilight fascination, but I did buy the book, so perhaps I'll learn what the hype is all about. That Rob Pattison is pretty easy on the eyes, but I think Grandpa Munster gives him a run for the money. I used vintage and modern fabrics to border the iron-on I made. The print on the right side of the quilt is a coveted print I only use for particular projects. I'm bad, right?

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