Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is it Monday or Tuesday?

Voting is open for the Blogger's Quilt Festival. What a festival it was. So many lovely quilts and loads of inspiration. I was smitten. Go check them out and vote for your favorites.

It's finally happened; the modern quilting movement has gone gangsta. I knew it was only a matter of time. Art Gallery Fabrics introduced the AGF Fat Quarterly Gang. Hardcore, I tell you. I can't wait to see what kind of mayhem ensues.

It was a fun and relaxing holiday weekend. We did a little boating before the rains moved in. There was plenty of wind though. It was rough out there. I donned some SPF 110 and threw caution to the wind. I could almost hear my dermatologist cheering me on.

I bring these little blocks to Sew Day every month and make a few. They're boring. I finally made enough to make a lap sized quilt. They're all sewn together willy nilly. I think a couple of borders and this flimsy will be done. Stick a fork in her. I bet she'll love hanging out with my other quilt tops that need quilting.

Since I shed a few pounds, I ate a couple of these egg, cheese, bacon muffins. And cheese grits. Not in one sitting, mind you, it is bikini season.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day. I hope you are enjoying the long weekend and perhaps a barbeque or two. A heartfelt thanks to those who served to keep our country safe and free. And to those who continue to do so. We are a lucky and grateful bunch.

Beth (aka, the fastest quilter in the land!) at Love Laugh Quilt gave a shout out for star quilt blocks. She is going to whip up a quilt or two for her Veteran's Hospital. Beth gave superb directions for an Ohio Star block, so I went with that, but any star in patriotic colors (red, white, blue yellow) would work. This gal is a serious quilter and so productive. If you have a chance to whip up a block, let her know.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Stash #50

From our monthly guild meeting at The Sewing Studio. I used a bit of restraint for a change. I'm hoping to attend our guild's field trip to a fabric shop that I haven't been to, so that restraint might just fly out the window. Plus, it will be my birthday weekend, so even more reasons to celebrate with fabric.

The winner for the charm pack and thread was Diane who blogs at Random Thoughts...Do or Di. Thanks to all who entered.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Graduate in the House

We have a graduate in da house. My baby graduated from high school. Sniff, sniff. Where did those years go? Like her older brother, she decided not to walk with her graduating class. She spent her senior year attending only one high school class and completing her freshman year of college with dual enrollment. We did a ghetto photo shoot with my bathrobe, her cords from the Law Magnet program and my Omnigrid cut and press tool as her mortarboard. Creative bunch, aren't we? Too bad we were both cracking up so much during the shoot.

Anyway, it's summer for the Smoothie girl. She'll be working, but I'm sure she'll find time to goof off and enjoy the summer before she starts her sophomore year. I may make her unload the dishwasher too. You know what fun that is. I couldn't be any prouder of this girl. She is smart, funny, and beautiful.

On another note, did you see all the giveaways for Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day? I may or may not have wasted an afternoon set aside for sewing to see all kinds of new blogs and enter a zillion giveaways. I don't usually win, but it has happened. Wish me luck. But in the meantime, I found a bunch of fun new blogs and inspiration galore. The quilting industry is bigger and better because of us.

You can enter my part of the giveaway here. Comments close Friday, May 25. I'll choose a winner after that date. I hope you win something if you've entered any of the giveaways. And keep your fingers crossed for me too.

Do you Zentangle? I first got into these drawings when I was active on Swap-bot. They're fun, relaxing and kind of remind me of quilting designs. You can find tons of ideas and instructions at Tangle Patterns.

Jackie at Canton Village Quilt Works had the opportunity to see Pat Ferguson who does Zentangle quilts. They are amazing! Go see.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Giveaway Day

To celebrate 500 posts and Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day, I'm giving away a charm pack and some colorful thread from Pick Your Plum. If you'd prefer something handmade, just let me know in the comments. I'll ship anywhere. Just leave a comment.
The charm pack is Flora and there are 10 spools of thread. Go check out the other giveaways for more swag.

Last night I made the worst pork roast. It was tasteless, dry, and awful. My cousin told me of a technique where you simmer the pork roast for a couple of hours and then roast it. I think the problem was that I chose a lean roast versus something with fat. Rookie mistake that I've made before. My braising liquid above had grapefruit and orange juices, cilantro, jalapeno, onion, garlic, and lime juice. It sure smelled good.

I made a new coaster for my drippy water glass. This quilt-as-you-go method is fun and easy, although I spaced out and forgot I was quilting as I was going.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Fun Day

Searched high and low for this issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. There was one block in particular I wanted to try.

So I scanned the pattern after cutting the large pieces to fit my scanner. Oops, there's also pattern on the back side. Duh moment followed by a taping session. I'll probably never use the other side, but you never know.

Lil' Matryoshka by Sonja at Artisania. Sonja creates the cutest paper piecing patterns. There's even some free ones on her site. Paper piecing keeps me on my toes. This one was no exception.

I love quiche. Inspector Gadget will tolerate it if there's nothing else to eat. The kids wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole. My basic recipe for the egg custard is four eggs and 1-1/2 cups half and half or milk. From there add in anything. This one had pancetta, tomato, green onion and cheddar cheese. I use refrigerated pie crusts most of the time, so it's a quick and easy meal. Bake at 325 degrees until puffy (45 minutes to an hour).

Saturday, May 19, 2012

500 Posts

I gave this easy crusty bread recipe a try. Three ingredients, people. Flour, salt, and yeast. Water too, but I don't count that as an ingredient. I used 1 cup of rye flour and 2 cups of bread flour just because I had some rye flour I needed to use. I totally flaked out and forgot the caraway seeds. Getting the loaf into a pre-heated 450 degree dutch oven is a little tricky, but I didn't burn myself. Progress for me, but be careful if you try it. I'm usually sporting a burn or three from cooking. Luckily, I'm not as klutzy with knives. I hate knife wounds. They freak me out. Paper cuts freak me out too. I don't like cuts. I'll never be a candidate for plastic surgery even if I could afford a face lift.

Yummy batch of hummus made on Hummus Day, which was May 15. I flavored it with sun-dried tomatoes and green olives. Then I burnt the pita chips. We had to go all healthy and dip vegetables in it. Bummer.

I also made a simple potato salad to share at Sew Day. I used boiled tiny new potatoes sliced in half, scallions, diced red pepper, Italian parsley, buttermilk blue cheese (any blue would work, but I'm addicted to this buttermilk blue) and a vinaigrette made with lemon juice, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Easy. I was afraid the blue cheese would overpower everything, so I added in the crumbles after the other ingredients had sat in the fridge overnight. Try to get the vinaigrette over your taters while they're still warm, so they soak up the flavors.

So today marks my 500th post. Wow. Thanks to any and all of you that read my ramblings. If I can swing it, I'll hitch up a giveaway with Sew Mama Sew's Giveway Day which starts Monday. I have lots of stuff to share or if you'd prefer a handmade item, I'll get to sewing something just for you. Leave a comment here or there for a chance. Catch you on the flip side.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Amy at Amy's Creative Side hosts a Blogger's Quilt Festival each spring and fall. I've participated a few times and I always enjoy seeing everyone's quilts. There is tons of variety and creativity to inspire you. And prizes. Did I mention prizes? Today, I'm sharing an oldie. Go get your sunglasses, you're going to need them.

When I started quilting in 2007, my family teased me and called me grandma and worse. Little did they know that there was a whole new world of quilters out there. Quilting was a popular hobby. Blogland inspired me and I pretty much cut my quilting teeth using online pictorial tutorials. I didn't realize you could actually take a class. With a teacher. My family finally accepted that I had been bitten by the quilting bug. Maybe the piles of fabric gave it away.

After I had quilted a year or so, my then 15-year-old son asked for a quilt. I asked him what type of quilt he wanted and in all his snarkiness, he replied "I want it to be tacky." So after thinking about it, I decided to create a quilt using all the cartoon characters from his childhood. I fussy cut some of the characters and framed them log cabin style.

There's Barney, the purple dinosaur. Barney was a big deal around here when my kids were little. I think he has since passed away. Just kidding, he's still around and kicking.

Pink haired Troll doll, anyone? I don't know if he had one of these, but I probably did. There are Power Rangers and Pokemon characters as well. And if only I could have found some Lego fabric. That kid was a big Lego fan. He could have gone to an Ivy League college for all that money we wasted spent on Legos.

Spongebob was a favorite. I remember trying to tune out that "Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea..." theme song many, many times. Still, it was a cute show. I loved Patrick. Patrick is also featured on the quilt somewhere. Patrick always wanted to hear "The Muffin Man" song which would then get stuck in my head all day. Super, now it's stuck in my head by just writing about it.

The My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake are a family joke. One Christmas I had wrapped toys for the poor kids and used them as props under the Christmas tree until it was time to deliver them to the church. I left one behind by mistake and College Boy thought it was for him. He was about six or so. I told him he could have it. He was thrilled ticked to find out it was a My Little Pony toy. Ha. Every year after that, I've bought him a My Little Pony toy and put it under the tree or in his stocking. It always gets a laugh. I'd like to think that if he ever mars his body with a tattoo it will be a cartoon pony with the word "Mom." 

So now I've blogged about the "Attack of the Cartoon Characters" quilt. I really should label it.

College Boy circa, I have no idea, because I never date pictures. I can't believe he grew up so quickly. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

National Chocolate Chip Day

My obsession with soup continues. I've been wanting to try this Weight Watchers Spinach and Artichoke soup. I absolutely love spinach and artichoke dip, so I thought this soup would be a lower calorie option. Less cheese, no tortilla chips. I modified it slightly and it turned out really good. It tastes exactly like the dip. Now I'll be able to fit in that bikini. I crack myself up.

Spinach and Artichoke Soup 

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 10 oz. box frozen chopped spinach
1 9 oz. box frozen artichoke hearts
32 oz. of low sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until vegetables are soft. Defrost spinach and artichoke hearts slightly in microwave and add to onions and garlic. Add chicken broth, season with salt and pepper and let simmer 20 minutes to an hour. Add Parmesan cheese and yogurt and continue to cook 15-20 minutes over low heat. Leave chunky or blend with an immersion blender to desired consistency.

My neighborhood map quilt is finished. I just need to add a label. I really enjoyed Valerie Goodwin's workshop. The best part about having a hobby like quilting is that there is so much to try. My to-do list is a mile long and growing.
This guy (or gal) has been hanging out in my yard all day. They usually travel in pairs, so it's odd to see one rolling solo. Maybe his partner didn't get the text message about meeting up in my yard.

I zoomed to get this shot, but when I went back out later the silly thing tried to come right up to me. Yep, that was me you heard whooping and hollering. He almost followed me into the garage. Maybe the neighbors are feeding them. Bones like to chase them out of the yard.

Hollywood has always called me Mama. Still melts my heart 18 years later. I hope all you moms (and mom types) had a wonderful Mother's Day.

Aren't those espadrilles adorable on my newest cousin? I have a feeling this girl will be quite the fashionista. Her mama is having a wonderful time playing dress up.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On Learning

One of the nice things about joining a quilt guild is attending workshops. In our short two years, the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild has had a machine quilting workshop with Juanita Yeager, an Unruly workshop led by the talented Tonya Ricucci, and a needle turn applique class taught by Mary Sorensen. Mary liked us so much, she joined the guild.

Yesterday's workshop was all about cartographic or map art quilts and was taught by Valerie Goodwin. Valerie demonstrated many interesting techniques including emotional and color inspiration, composition, fabric collage, and mixed media. We all chose a favorite place and sketched a rough idea of what we wanted on our quilts.

I chose the neighborhood I grew up in. It was a classic mid-century subdivision with neat rows of houses and plenty of young children for afternoon football games, bike riding, and other shenanigans. Ever play that game where you blindfold your friend and feed them odd condiments from your fridge? They have to guess what they were eating. My poor friends. We had some odd condiments.

I wanted to use some of the kimono scraps Yumi sent me to add color and interest. The piece is approximately 19" x 12" and is comprised of cotton fabrics, fused silk organza, and acrylic paints. We sewed the initial background pieces to crinoline. I still need to stitch everything down and quilt it.

I made the Red Lobster bread again. We need this like another hole in our head. It's really good toasted with a poached egg on top.

Veggies (and lots of garlic!) for turkey noodle soup. That turkey recipe was a keeper. Even the stock was super flavorful.

I watched We Bought A Zoo and cried my eye makeup off. I thought it was going to be a funny movie. It's really good and I didn't mind the Matt Damon eye candy either. The little girl was particularly cute.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Foodie Friday

The kiddos were working one night, so I made meatloaf. They hate meatloaf. I love it. Well, I especially love the cold meatloaf sandwiches on toast the next day. I add oats to my meatloaf, so it's heart healthy. Ha.

Last night, I threw together some cheese tortellini and a sauce made from tomatoes, spinach, onion, and garlic. To replace the heavy cream I used Greek yogurt, and half and half. There's Parmesan cheese too. The dish was inspired by this one, but I added onion and garlic and tried to cut calories with the yogurt and half and half. The sauce can be made in the time it takes to boil water and cook the pasta. I'll definitely make it again. Delicious and quick.

Today, I smeared a turkey with an onion, garlic, Worcestershire, and mustard marinade. I'm off to the grocery store to find some Malta, which you're supposed to baste with as the bird cooks. I don't believe I've ever had Malta, which is a malt beverage. The recipe is Ingrid Hoffmann's mama's recipe.

I'm also dying to try this spinach and artichoke soup. That might be up tomorrow along with leftover turkey sandwiches. Do you put cranberry sauce on your turkey sandwiches? We call them "Uncle Eddie" sandwiches because Uncle Eddie turned us on to them.

I spend entirely too much time pinning recipes (and other stuff) on Pinterest, but I'm looking forward to a weekend of cooking and eating my new found foods. Might even throw caution to the wind and do a load of laundry or seven. Do I know how to party or what?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy May Day

I found a pair of jeans to upcycle into one of these Denim Do-it-All Bins. You should have seen the wide legs on those puppies. Out of style much? Poor Red was getting a workout sewing through all those layers. I could almost hear her sighing. I made the large version and it's pretty huge. Not sure what I'll find to put in it.

I finished the little Cake Stand mini. It turned out too large for AAQI (9.25" x 9.25"). Poop. Guess I didn't think that through. It was still fun to make. Yumi and I have challenged each other to create an AAQI quilt using half square triangles. I have ideas brewing.

My mini art collection. I wish I could read the artist's name on the piece on the left. I'd love to see what he's up to now. If anyone knows this artist, I'd love to know his name.

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