Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Love

What a lovely wedding. Everyone looked so beautiful and handsome. I hope the couple have fun at the parties today, and that they know they have plenty of happy wishes from around the world.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Royal Mess

Like many, I'm excited about the upcoming Royal Wedding. I've enjoyed watching all the media and biographical coverage and you can bet I'll be glued to the television early Friday morning in these shoes....

Ha! All that salty ham and potato salad has made roomy flip flops my footwear of choice necessity. My cankles have cankles. So Monday, I decided I wanted to make a Union Jack to commemorate the big day. I attempted this paper-pieced pattern.
And failed miserably. I cut the first part wrong on three of the four pieces. Brilliant. Not to be discouraged, I decided to wing a Union Jack. It looked pretty easy.
Or not. My next thought was to make it wonky. I can do wonky. I haven't tried it yet, but I will.
Although my first attempts are in the crapper (not literally, we're on septic), I will keep a stiff upper lip.

With no help from the dog. What a nut.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Musings

Happy Monday! I hope everyone who celebrates Easter had a fun one. There were no baskets for my "little ones," but the Easter Bunny did put a package of these in the fridge for each of the teens. I kind of missed coloring eggs and baskets. The littles don't stay little for long. At least there's leftover potato salad for breakfast. And ham. That's practically like ham, eggs and home fries, right? One of my more normal breakfasts. I had sardines one day last week.

I saw this in the coupon section. It's the Hamilton Collection's best guess on Kate Middleton's wedding gown. I hope not. She looks 10 months pregnant in this dress. I am very excited for the Royal Wedding. Having seen Princess Diana's wedding and Prince William growing up, it's like seeing a dear family friend being wed. And I don't even have to send a gift. Plus, I can "attend" the nuptials in my PJs! Has everyone seen this hilarious T-Mobile video of the royal wedding?

I did squeeze in a little sewing during the holiday weekend. This little mini is going to be an AAQI quilt. I borrowed the idea from one of my doll quilt swappers

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's Tamale Time!

I don't know why, but I've been wanting to make tamales for a long time. While I love Mexican food, I don't believe I've ever had authentic tamales. I remember my mom telling the story of when I was a baby, she went to her ceramics class and left me with my dad to figure out dinner. He fed me canned tamales, so I guess I've eaten some sort of tamale! It's no wonder I have such an odd palate.

A couple of weeks ago, I made a tamale pie, which was basically slow cooked, Mexican-flavored, shredded pork with a baked cornbread topping. It was pretty good, but no tamale.

So after I finally found corn husks and masa, I was ready to go.

Firstly, the chili sauce. I used this recipe but went all lazy Rambo and didn't remove the seeds. There were three different types of dried peppers in my pantry: ancho, arbol, and one I can't identify. My cousin gave them to me. Once the oven roasted peppers soaked, I used my blender to break them down. The resulting sauce is hot! Might remove those seeds next time, or figure out which pepper was the hot one and leave it out. ;)

The pork is just simmered with veggies and spices until it's tender enough to shred. I strained the broth and saved it. The recipe I used is this one and there's a fun Tamale Making 101 class as well.
Doesn't the broth look like blood in my jack-o-lantern bowl? I used some of the chili sauce in the braising liquid for the pork and it turned the broth red. When the pork was tender, I shredded it and added some of the chili sauce. Time to soak the corn husks and make the masa.

The masa is mixed with the braising broth, smeared on a corn husk and then you can add whatever filling you like. I saw one lady using beans and cheese, which sounds delicious.

Here are all the bundles tied up and ready to steam. My steamer is small, so I had to steam them in batches. I was able to sample them before dinner just in case they were awful. They were okay, but kind of a lot of work. I'd definitely prefer the bean and cheese filling next time. The masa part was delicious. That was the part I didn't think I'd care for.

I served the tamales with more of the chili sauce, salsa, cheddar cheese and sour cream. Next time I serve them, I'll make a red enchilada sauce to pour on them. My side dish was a Mexican vegetable soup, just in case the tamales were a bust. There were enough tamales leftover to freeze for a second meal. I cut the recipe in half by the way. It must make tons of them. Making tamales is now out of my system. Now I need to figure out what to do with all those leftover corn husks...

Corn husk dolls borrowed from the Glitter Gone Bad blog.
I don't think so.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Stash #24

The buzz in blogland is that Jo-Anns is carrying a line of Denyse Schmidt fabrics. I found a use for my 50% off coupon and bought some of the dots in the blue colorway. The entire collection is adorable.

Two little minis finished. I may have paper piecing out of my system now. For a while anyway. I've been practicing single fold bindings on these little pieces.

The hedgehog got a mushroom added to his 'hood.

Watching Bizarre Foods episodes early this morning moved me to cook something. We didn't have any tripe, intestines, or sea urchin, so I opted to bake these strawberry streusel muffins.

I hope everyone had a fun weekend. I took a nice bike ride in between seven loads of laundry and normal weekend chores. And either the pollen has blown away or I'm finally getting used to it. Yay!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Look Up at the Sky Day

Whipped me up a little laptop sleeve the other day for my "new" laptop. Actually, since it's a couple months old, it's probably my obsolete/outdated laptop. I bought this One-Yard Wonders book a while ago and it has some really cute projects in it. 101 of them to be exact. One down, 100 to go. What a great way to deplete the stash of 100 yards of fabric!

The 12" x 12" challenge quilt is finished. It's ready to go to my partner. I'm eager to see what quilt arrives on my doorstep. There's so much talent in that 15 Minutes Play group. I'll show you when I get it.

I felt like some paper piecing yesterday. I think I'll make these 4" blocks into a little AAQI donation quilt.

These red and white stacked blocks are for our guild. They didn't quite turn out the exact size needed because I can't master a scant quarter inch. I did learn my quarter inch foot sews an exact quarter inch. Exact, baby, which is good to know! I might be able to fudge here and there to get these 10" tall.

Here are some cute Easter projects if you need to avoid taxes, housework, exercise or laundry. Happy Look Up at the Sky Day everyone! Tomorrow is Rubber Eraser Day, so plan accordingly. ;)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Another Challenge

It started innocently enough. Victoria at Bumble Beans, challenged us to make a 12" x 12" mini quilt to swap. V's 15 Minutes Play site has inspired many. We started with scary portraits of ourselves. Okay, maybe just mine was scary. You should have seen the progress pictures! ;) For this challenge I started with a tiny little Carol Doak paper pieced block that measured four inches.

My bags of scraps were raring and ready to play. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to dump them all together again, but dang it took a long time to color coordinate them. Plus, it would make me sneeze and I'm already sneezing plenty during this lovely allergy season. Some dumping did occur. It was messy. It was fun.

I used the little paper pieced block as a starting point and tried my best to get loose and funky after all that precision. Everyone makes it look so easy. I usually adopt the random technique and find pieces to fit. Call me thrifty or lazy!

Here's the finished piece. It will trim to 12" x 12". I hope my partner likes brights. Time to quilt it now. That might be a challenge itself!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

I couldn't resist this cute bunny pattern by the Quilted Cupcake. I thought he needed a little quilt too. I used Carol's single fold binding tutorial, which is just perfect for little quilts.

I finished this little quilt for my swap partner. The roofs of the houses are prairie points. I might add some buttons or other embellishments to jazz it up a little.

I'm hoping to find some time for those April UFOs this week if I can recover from last week's massive to-do list. It's only 9 am, but I need a nap.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I'm Cooking with Earl!

Yeah, yeah, did I really announce April would be UFO month? Are ya'll still laughing, because I am! I'm such a short attention span quilter, that I move on to new projects when I get bored or see something shiny. I'm also still learning, so I consider it part of the education. Still it would be nice to finish stuff! I worked on a new house mini quilt and used a gnome block for a mini quilt for a friend.

I have been cooking up a storm. The "Earl" reference is from a co-worker who pronounced oil as Earl. I always thought of a guy named Earl helping her get through her design projects. She was our resident cartographer and made beautiful maps and was always "cooking with Earl."

My husband's techs had training last week and he catered much of the grub. Welcome to 2011. Remember those big corporate budgets with "real" caterers? Yep, those big budgets are gone. At least for the company my husband works for. We had a busy week making olive cheese bread, cupcakes, grilling brats. Not to mention all the other things I felt the need to cook for the family. Like breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. This family likes food. Or maybe it's me.

Tomato, prosciutto, spinach, scallion, blue cheese quiche

Red onion, butternut squash tart
I've made two Key Lime pies (college boy ate the first one himself and is working on the second); a killer tomato-butternut squash soup with curry (I had to eat all this myself); stuffed mushrooms with chorizo; spinach salad with bacon and eggs; squash, red onion and goat cheese tart. This morning I was in a quiche mood.

And just in case I get sick of cooking, my husband was given these MRE's. Yummy! College boy's friends are making cracks about an apocalypse and/or zombie uprising. We're going to open one and check it out. Does our family know how to have fun or what?!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Modern Relief

Go check out the first installment of wonderful quilts our fellow quilters have made to contribute to Modern Relief. You could win one of these beauties! Raffle tickets are only $10 each and proceeds will be given Mercy Corps to help with relief to our neighbors in Japan.
Edit 4/10/11: The raffle has been canceled. I forget how many rules there are for raffles and sweepstakes.

I don't know about you, but I am loving the red and white quilt fever this spring. From the Infinite Variety show in New York, to stunning examples in blogland, these striking quilts are everywhere. Check out these red and white doll quilt (miniature) quilts from my swap on the Quilting Board. The ladies did an awesome job with the optional red and white theme.
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