Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Friend Yumi

My friend Yumi lives in Japan. We met on The Quilting Board a couple of years ago and became fast friends. She is one of the funniest, sweetest and smartest people I know. We talk about all kinds of things. From cooking and aliens to cultures and child rearing. Plus, we both love quilting and fabric, so those are always popular subjects.

Yumi is also one of the most talented quilters and designers I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. She loves using kimono scraps and embellishments in her quilts and her hand quilting makes me swoon. We send each other care packages from time to time. I send Yumi items from America that were made in Japan and she sends me Cheeza crackers, which I'm seriously addicted to. Kidding. I try to find unique items to send her and she always spoils me with various goodies. But I am kind of addicted to Cheezas. They're great with brie.

Cathedral Windows

Mini Kimono

Japanese Goldfish
Yumi's latest package arrived and she has created three more mini quilts for AAQI. I'm her pusher for AAQI. I talked her into making a quilt years ago and she's made several since then. These three will be available on the AAQI site once I get them registered. Here's a link to her last batch.

Yumi also sent these adorable little macaroon zippered pouches. They're very tiny, so of course they're cute. What is it about tiny things being so cute? Yumi knows how to hand sew beautifully and has tried to teach me her techniques. I'm always in awe of hand sewing and hand quilting. I can barely hold a needle without poking myself.
I'm sharing this cute little pink macaroon to anyone who leaves a comment. It's even cuter in person and it could come to your house.

More Flat Out bread roll ups for lunch fare. The top one is mine. Laughing Cow Blue Cheese, avocado and fresh tomato. Messy, but good. College boy got mustard, pastrami, Swiss cheese, romaine and dill pickles.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Garden Riches

Remember the garden at the end of June? Especially the basil plant rescued from the trash.

The jalapeno pepper plant hasn't grown much, but the habanero and basil are thriving. There are numerous peppers on both plants. It's been great having fresh basil right outside versus killing a grocery store plant on the way home. I think I may be ready for a tomato plant. Cough. cough. The tomatoes have been wonderful this summer. I could eat them for every meal. Luckily they're cheap and plentiful everywhere. We've eaten platter after platter of salad caprese.
Lunch is served. A different take on salad caprese. Flat out bread with mozzarella, tomatoes, capers and fresh basil. Drizzled with extra virgin oil, salt and pepper. Delicious.

I'm coming off a Food Network marathon and I have so many recipes I want to try. A trip to the grocery store may be in order. Maybe I should watch the Yoga Network.

Kheema: Indian Ground Beef with Peas
Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy
Chicken Enchiladas
Garlic Lime Spinach
Roasted Tomato Soup

Friday, August 26, 2011

Swap Out Friday

They call it Beefaroni. Remember that jingle? I loved this stuff as a teen. My mom wasn't a big fan of prepackaged foods, so getting a TV dinner or a can of Beefaroni was a real treat. A trip to McDonald's would bring me to my knees. On a whim, I bought a can of Beefaroni thinking one of my skinny kids would scarf it down. Not a chance. I don't get it. It's like low-maintenance Hamburger Helper. Pop the top and nuke the contents. They love Hamburger, ick, Helper. Now I'm going to have to eat the stuff.

But first, I'll eat the fresh stuff. It is hurricane season, so having canned goods on hand is probably a good thing. If our power goes, I'll be eating delicious Beefaroni warmed on the grill. The kids can split a can of chick peas. Anyway, I love making Tuna Salad Nicoise, but Inspector Gadget is not a big fish fan. I had leftover chicken breast, so I offered a salad bar for dinner last night. I put everything but the chicken on my version. Peppery arugula, tomato, red potatoes, hard boiled egg, avocado, red and green bell peppers, radishes, cucumbers tossed with a fresh basil and lime creamy vinaigrette. There was enough leftover for lunch too.

This lily zentangle is for a swap. I haven't done zentangles in a long time. They're very relaxing. I still need to trim it down, so most of the art on the edges will bleed off.

More swap items. Spool quilt blocks and pink coasters. These small projects are just what I need between boring work projects and paper work.

My first pull for The Love of Solids swap. I think I may edit a few of these shades out of here, but I really need to start something, time's a wasting. That top color is really a maroon. It looks like a plum in the photo. I think I like that. I'll have to find a plum and audition that. I need to chop chop and quit messing around.

Here's Dotty's latest selvage quilt creation. She sends me on of these beauties every month! They're really fun and they always remind me to play with my selvages. I plan on doing that tomorrow! Happy weekend.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

C'mon Irene

You'd think we were hurricane deprived or something here in central Florida. Or maybe everyone is ready for a party? I've heard a few people say they are looking forward to this storm. Those 2004 storms were plenty for me. But I am going to enjoy the breeze and rain and use the weather as an excuse to stay inside.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Because it's Tuesday...

My Love Shack top is all pieced together. Now to add some colorful borders. Or maybe a funky black and white print. I'm still noodling border ideas. I think this will be a colorful little baby quilt.

I was going to make these tiny courthouse step blocks into Artist Trading Cards, but I decided to take another direction for the cards. Into the orphan block they go until I can figure out something to do with them.

Finally got this mini finished. Meh. I had grand ideas of decorating the machine some way, but ended up just adding a button and some silver bugle beads for the needle. I did practice my free motion quilting on the busy background print. Now it's off to my swap partner.

I have a container of old buttons that are fun to look at. Love that red one. It looks like white candies suspended in red gelatin. I wonder what era(s) they're from?

How about a giveaway? My fellow Kaffe lover Julie designs the cutest sewing and craft patterns. Her company is La Todera and you can find her fun patterns here. Julie also makes some of the coolest quilts I have ever seen. Her newest pattern features these darling Cream Puff Christmas Trees. Aren't they cute with the Snow Babies? These fabric trees would make great holiday pin cushions for all your crafty friends.
Julie was kind enough to give me a pattern for a giveaway. Just leave a comment if you'd like a chance to win it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Let Me Entertain You

Or not. I'll be the first to admit it. I enjoy odd movies and television. Never let me handle the remote or choose what movie were watching. Rich college boy pays for NetFlix here at the casa and I take advantage of the television series, movies and documentaries available. I've "Jimmy Rigged" my studio television to play NetFlix while I work sew, so I'm always in search of entertainment.

By the way, Jimmy is my younger cousin. As a child, he dismantled every appliance in my aunt's house. When auntie needed her hand mixer back, Jimmy had to rig it because invariably there were missing pieces and parts. This is further proof that my son got his genes fair and square. I can't tell you how many destroyed items we've found in his room over the years. When he was a little guy and our toaster broke, I gave it to him to take apart. I know, mother of the year. I told him he could play with it as long as he didn't plug it in or drip crumbs everywhere. Come to think of it, this is probably how bomb makers get their start. Sorry world. Jimmy turned out splendidly so maybe there's hope.

Okay, so back to entertainment. Have you ever seen A Clockwork Orange? Oh. my. goodness. I have to admit, I was only half catching it, but man, what an odd movie. I think I'm ready to tackle The Wizard of Oz in it's entirety after that little jewel. I'm still looking away when those flying monkeys come on screen. Those guys are just frightening. The wicked witch is bad enough. Still, I should see this classic. I also need to put Gone with the Wind on my list. If anyone wants to explain A Clockwork Orange to me, I'm all ears.

I can recommend Jim Gaffigan: Beyond the Pale. Mr. Gaffigan is a wonderful comedian and pretty clean as comedians go. He pokes fun at every day topics. I guarantee you'll laugh.

Here's a little funny for us quilters. And I'm going to freak you out again, but I've never seen a Star Wars movie. Not even the first one. Wasn't I sheltered? Someone let me watch Hitchcock's The Birds when I was about five. I'm still afraid of birds.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Stash #31

We had our monthly guild sew day yesterday at the library. Here are the gals opening boxes and boxes of donated fabric and patterns. Sara, who lost her mother to cancer, contacted us to see if we could use her mom's fabric to make something pretty. Naomi's fun stash is in very good hands. We all plan on making charity quilts and a quilt for the daughter with her mom's fabric. I bet Naomi would have gotten a kick seeing how much fun we had crawling around on the floor and oohing and aahing over her lovely stash. Plus, we get to play with all that lovely fabric! It will be nice to see a quilter's legacy live on with a little help from her fellow quilters. Thank you Sara and Naomi! This fabric stash will wrap plenty of people in quilty love.

1930's Repros

Interesting texture and cacti.

Loved the joke bubbles and crabs.

Coolest purples I've ever seen.

The holidays are right around the corner.

Gorgeous spring floral.


Colorful rainbow
As you can see, I snagged some beauties. Happy Sunday ya'll!

Monday, August 15, 2011

All Dolled Up

Look at this beauty I received from my July Doll Quilt Swap partner! Love the colors and the quilting is so fun. My partner did the quilting on a circa 1950s Husqvarna Viking machine.

Here's the doll quilt I'm working on for August. I sorta drafted a sewing machine. I wish the spool of thread would have been a bit more contrasty, but maybe the quilting will help. I've begun the quilting process, but that step always stumps me. Wish I could quilt like the gal above.

The weekend was such fun. Pool day on Sunday and lots of barbecuing and cooking all weekend long. I didn't fit in enough laundry, but I'll get to it. I made this tomato sauce last week and flavored it with a bit of lamb. Gigantic meatballs baked in my filthy oven was dinner the first night. The leftovers made awesome calzones another night and I smushed the last bit of sauce and meatballs for spaghetti bolognese for a quickie dinner. I think I've conquered my red sauce fix for the time being.

I've tried this chicken roasting recipe several times and it's always delicious. I could drink the sauce and I'm usually a Southern gravy girl. The leftover chicken is great for sandwiches, soups, quesadillas, and salad. Then I use the carcass to make stock. The lemon addition is wonderful in the stock.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Stash #30

Really? $72.50 a yard? Starting bid? It didn't sell, but I saw a yard go for $50. Crazytown. It's adorable, but way too rich for my blood.

Our guild meeting is held at a fabric shop once a month. I know, it's a real hardship. ;) I always check the sale rack and I found some real cuties this month. Look at these lovely Kite Tails from Kaffe Fassett.
The guitar fat quarter wasn't on sale, but I needed it. The pink grapefruit and black and white print I think I already have, but they were on sale!
There was a whole line of these graphic veggies. I wish I had bought some of the other prints, but I stuck with a ratatouille theme. Now I want ratatouille. This recipe in particular. The produce market is on the errand list. My mom and I were laughing at all the fruit we've been buying this summer. It's all so good and plentiful. The veggies have been good too, but my fridge is filled with seven different kinds of fruit. I'm going to dust off the ice cream maker and make some sorbet this weekend. It's got to be a little less caloric than the peach cobbler I whipped up yesterday.
And last but not least, this cute little ladybug print. Love those selvage dots! Happy Sunday everyone!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reading is FUNdamental.

I've been reading. My cousin blew into town and gave me two books. The Help  The Hunger Games I was curious about The Help, but I knew nothing about The Hunger Games. They're both very good if you need a good summer read.

College boy was reading a book his girlfriend gave him and it made my heart soar. My kids didn't get the reading bug I caught early on, so it makes me so happy to see them read and enjoy a book. They both loved books as babies and toddlers and I read them novels later on. Their elementary school practically shoved books down the kids' throats and made reading more of a chore than entertainment. I've never forgiven them for that.
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