Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Really Drunk Paths

I stumbled upon this gorgeous improv circles quilt over the weekend and I can't get it out of my head. The tutorial to make the blocks works like a charm. You can always count on the blogging community for inspiration and guidance. I used some scraps to try the technique. It's fun! I think I may make some blocks for our guild's Madrona Road challenge.

I turned the practice block into a potholder. Now on to make some more. I've always loved the Drunkard's Path quilt block and although sewing curves is scary at first, the blocks have a striking appearance when put together.

Don't forget the Peace Quilt pattern giveaway. It's been so much fun seeing Rene's pattern interpreted by so many talented quilters.

This little drawstring pouch was my relaxation yesterday morning. I made it to hold a menagerie of finger puppets I scored for $2. They're super cute and should provide some entertainment to a little one. I love the yellow duck the best.

We practiced Super Bowl Sunday last night for dinner. I've been seeing all kinds of delicious recipes for appetizers. My family doesn't follow football, but I usually put the Super Bowl on if just to catch the funny commercials and the halftime show. Plus, it's an excuse to eat appetizers for dinner. Yeah, like I need an excuse... Last night's dinner included a vegetable platter with goat cheese stuffed peppers, Buffalo chicken dip, and salad caprese with sourdough French bread. Tonight I'm grilling chicken wings. You gotta love Florida in January. The high is 83 today.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Again

This Creamy Spinach and Sausage Pasta was really easy to make and delicious. It's like Hamburger Helper for foodies. And you can't beat the simplicity of one pot meals. I served it for dinner with a tossed salad. For lunch leftovers, I added a fruit salad. Easy. Go look at her photograph, this is the leftover version. It was much prettier the night we ate it.

And since I saved so much time preparing dinner, I decided to farm a little. Ha! I'll be harvesting scallions and celery in no time. I've tried this before and only ended up with moldy roots. This time I'm changing the water out every day or so.

I finally made myself a potholder. The tutorial was really easy. I used some Monaluna retro blenders and other scraps. The hardest part is trimming the seam allowance and flipping the thing right side out through the small opening. My man hands hate scissors. Stinking thumb joint still hurts.

I also tried this Greek Pork Spinach Lemon Egg Sauce recipe from Rachel. Delicious and very easy. I made my own yellow rice as I didn't have any yellow rice in the house. Now I don't have any white rice in the house. The natives will have to eat the brown stuff next time we have rice. I can hear them moaning now. As Rachel said, the lemon and egg sauce (avgolemono) would be delicious on all kinds of stuff. It made a tangy and rich sauce when mixed with the braising liquid. Yum!

I took Hollywood's charge fishing while she completed an online test for one of her college courses. Humanities. Yawn. The Gregorian chants were freaking me out. So the little and I meandered down to my favorite fishing hole four houses away. I've taught many a kid to fish down there. You catch fish one after the other with bread ball bait and a tiny hook. He was so excited and laughed hysterically at me trying to unhook our catches and flick them back into the pond with my flip flop.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Stick a Salad Fork In It

Ta da! Scrappy Trips is done. Well, the top and backing are done. I think I messed up the top section layout, but I'm leaving it. It's a scrappy quilt. Hopefully by the time this posts, Scrappy Trips and several other quilt tops and backings are headed over to Eagle Mountain Quilting. I've used this quilting service for years and highly recommend them. They are super fast and very economical. Even with shipping costs, I can't get local quilting done for the price and turnaround. Not to mention they are spectacular quilters. They're having a 15% off special through February if you send them two tops. And, if you spend over $50, they'll ship your quilts back to you free.

So here's my stack of tops and backs ready to roll to Utah. Lucky ducks. I wouldn't mind a bit of downhill skiing in Utah. Eagle Mountain is only about 90 minutes from Park City and they're getting fresh powder today. I usually struggle with quilt backs, but only one had to be pieced. Love those baby quilts and just one hunk of fabric for the back. I unearthed some 54" wide cotton that worked like a charm.

Another finish for AAQI. There are only a few more months to make quilts for this organization. One of Yumi's quilts is going to be in their auction. I'll link it up when it goes live. Go Yumi! I have an idea for another quilt that I plan to start today.

In my huge tote of tops and orphan blocks are pieces of old T-shirts. One day these might turn into a T-shirt quilt. I researched yesterday how to accomplish this and it seemed pretty easy. Now to see if I have enough pieces to make a quilt. I also found some fun heart blocks that I may do something with for Valentine's Day. Never a dull moment around here. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Random Little Things

Quilts for Kids is an organization that provides quilts to comfort children. Founded in 2000, this organization has distributed over 100,000 quilts worldwide. The quilts are distributed in hospitals, shelters, disaster areas, and any place where the warmth and charm of a quilt might comfort a child. They are currently in need of lap size quilts (38" x 45") for teenage boys. For more information and a selection of easy patterns, click here. I'm going to see if I can find something suitable for teenage boys in my stash.

The printing plate on the left is for my great grandmother's hymn. I don't know when the song was published, but I always admired the plate when it resided at my grandma's house. My dad gave it to me to hold. My great grandmother was a great lady. She made a beautiful quilt for President Roosevelt that now hangs in the West Virginia Cultural Center. You can read more about her quilts here.

These tissue package covers looked like a fun little project. I hope I didn't jinx myself into a cold or heaven forbid, the flu. The media is scaring me to death with all this flu epidemic talk. I'm using rubbing alcohol as a body spritzer. I guess I could get a flu shot, but don't I have to go out in public for one of those? I think I'll take my chances. I used my hoarded Little Red Riding Hood fabric that has a waffle texture.

I made it to 16 Scrappy Trip blocks. Yawn. I think I'm done. I'll add some borders and this will be a cute baby quilt or play mat. I've seen some lovely versions of these blocks, but mine aren't really doing much for me. Too scrappy or something.

These blocks can be positioned different ways to achieve a different look. I think I like this second layout better. Too bad I can't leave them on my design floor until I decide.

I made a pecan pie Monday. It's my favorite pie. Since I mostly avoid sugar these days, I won't be enjoying a slice. I just ask Inspector Gadget for a pecan with some of the goo on it when he has a slice. Delicious. I dreamed about eating an entire slice for breakfast. That would get you going wouldn't it? Here's the recipe if you're a fan of pecan pie. And did I mention it's the easiest pie to make?

I made this meme for Hollywood. She called me at 10 pm while she was babysitting and was freaking out over a big palmetto bug. After I finished laughing, I talked her through some solutions to get rid of the roach. It's a Florida right of passage.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Peace, Baby

Feeling Groovy by Rene' of Rene' Creates, 2010.
I had the lucky opportunity to test my friend Rene's very first quilt pattern. I first saw this quilt while Rene' was putting it together during one of our guild's Sew Days. She pretty much had me at batiks, but you know those rainbow pinwheels and purple background had me swooning too. It's hard to believe she gave this to her children's school to auction off.

Peace, Love, and Happiness by Rene' of Rene' Creates, 2012.
Not only is Rene' an accomplished quilter, she is quite the photographer. I love seeing the "beauty shots" of her quilts. Doesn't she make them shine? Seems kind of excessive to travel 2,500 to get a shot like this, but that's Rene'! ;)

Peace Baby by Rene' of Rene' Creates, 2012.
I really loved the baby version of this quilt pattern. Rene' made this for her darling little Leo, her very first (and really adorable) grandson. I call him Kirk because he has the cutest dimple on his chin. Okay, back to the quilt, I could talk cute babies all day long. But just look at all that dense quilting. You know Leo Kirk loves the bright colors, bold prints, and texture. Just perfect for a baby.

I Spy Peace, Baby by Michele of Nostalgic Cafe, 2012
Those three quilts are a hard act to follow, but here's my version of Peace Baby. I call it I Spy Peace, Baby. It's still in flimsy form until I get up the nerve to quilt it or buy some quilting for it. I used my I Spy charm squares I've been collecting for years. The baby size is perfect for charm squares because you can get four squares from one 5" square.

The pattern is beautifully written and gives detailed instruction, diagrams, and tips. The quilts can be made with solid squares or pinwheels. It works up quite quickly and the design options are endless. I added a border just so the peace sign would stand out. I thought once the baby gets older, he or she could find the similar prints a la the matching game.

Check out the blog hop to see even more versions of Rene's inaugural quilt.

Rene' has graciously offered a free pattern to one lucky commenter on this post. If you can't wait to see if you're a winner, you can purchase the pattern here. I'll draw a winner this weekend. Good luck! Congratulations on your fun first pattern, Rene'!

P.S. If you're a "No Reply" or "Anonymous" commenter, please include your e-mail address so I can contact you if you're the winner. :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cleaning Up

Inspector Gadget was out of town last week for work, so I had grand ideas of cooking things I love but he merely tolerates. There was salmon, sun-dried tomato risotto, spinach salad, and a peanut butter sandwich on the dinner menu. One afternoon, I threw some turkey legs into the crockpot. There's white wine, onion, carrot, and celery propping those legs up and I sprinkled the legs with seasoned salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, and anything else I could find in the spice cabinet.

Four or five delicious-smelling hours later, I had two very tender and flavorful turkey legs. The juices and veggies made a flavorful pan sauce. I strained out the solids and let the sauce cook on high while I did the final preparations. The turkey fell off the bone after resting a bit. Bones was my new best friend.

I served the turkey with baked sweet potato, French lentils, and sauteed beet greens. It was the first time I've ever had beet greens. I bought the beets because the greens were so pretty. I almost put them in a vase. Now I need to roast the beets. I've never had roasted beets either. I really need to get out more.

I welcomed Inspector Gadget home with deviled eggs. And bleu cheese burgers. Still feeling cocky, I used sliced olives as a garnish. Olives are only tolerated atop deviled eggs.

It was a busy week and weekend, but I did manage to sew four more Scrappy Trip blocks. Today I'm going to tackle this messy studio. I'm in an organization/throw out mood. Ha! I wonder how long that will last? Happy Monday.

Linking here with hundreds of fun things.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Stash #65

Thursday, January 24 is Visit Your Local Quilt Shop day. Our guild got a jump start on Saturday by visiting three somewhat local quilt shops. We took a fun road trip and visited the Sewing Centre, Accent on Quilting, and the Quilt Shop of Deland. Lunch was at the Mainstreet Grill in historic downtown Deland.

I joined my first Shop Hop even though I only made it to two shops. I received lovely gifties and two cute block kits. Some of the quilters in the shops had traveled quite far dragging along husbands and fellow quilters. Even the husbands were having a good time.

I couldn't pass up these mid-century inspired prints. Those orange grills are my favorite. I may have to paint my Weber orange.

Jackie was collecting food prints to make a canning jar quilt, which has been on my to-do list for years. I couldn't pass up these tomatoes. I'm still searching for a particular tomato print I used on a table runner years ago. It had cut tomatoes and I used it for a friend's table runner.

These were all on sale. Big hunks, too. Love them all. No idea what I'll make with them.

Richard Scarry print. The pickle car does it to me every time.

And who can resist a grab bag? Not me.

The restaurant has a beautiful mosaic mural fountain. And the food was good too. It was a great day for a road trip and the bonus of new fabric sure didn't hurt either.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Say It Ain't So

Yumi and I are wearing our black armbands today. We were very sad to hear that the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative will cease operation at the end of this year. Sniff, sniff. I know how hard Ami and her wonderful group of volunteers work to promote and manage the initiative. And with the help of thousands of quilters worldwide, and more than 13,000 quilts, they've raised over $883,000 for Alzheimer's research. How about them apples?

I sure had fun creating these little mini quilts over the years. I also enjoyed encouraging other quilters to create quilts for this organization. Yumi got the fever bad, girl was unstoppable! It sure was fun to see everyone's quilts online and see the enthusiasm build.

1. Polka Dot Owl, 2. Mini Quilt, 3. Ladybug Mini Quilt, 4. Hearts on a Wire, 5. Wavy & Straight, 6. Red Tulips Mini, 7. Mushroom and Hedgehog, 8. Apple and Orange, 9. Poppies, 10. Lady Buggy, 11. AAQI Mini, 12. Pear Mini, 13. Purple Power, 14. AAQI Solids Quilt, 15. Untitled, 16. AAQI Mini

But as sad as I am to see the AAQI end their great accomplishments, I plan on sticking around to help them make their $1,000,000 final goal. That's a million clams, peeps. Tell me quilters aren't the most giving folks in the world. Even if you aren't a quilter, there are many ways to support this organization.

Thanks Ami and friends for your heartfelt dedication and service. Congratulations on a job well done.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sayonara Monday

Tomato, spinach, ham, red onion, blue cheese quiche. I think that's everything I put in it! That's the great thing about quiche, you can put what you want in it. Buy those refrigerated pie crusts and it's really simple and quick. The custard is 4 beaten eggs mixed with 1-1/4 cups milk. I put a little buttermilk in too. Add the ingredients you like to the egg mixure, and pour into a pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Warning: men do not like quiche. They whine. They love eggs, pie crust, ham, bacon, cheese, etc., but I'm afraid society has turned quiche girly.

Hollywood and I did some retail therapy over the weekend. I've always loved stationery and office supplies. I was the geeky kid who preferred playing office or school over Barbies. My friend and I once had a library set up complete with old school checkout cards and a coveted date stamp. Choosing a new calendar makes me completely giddy, so I'm still smitten with paper products.

Hollywood needed a 3-hole punch, so we went to Staples to use my $10 off $20 coupon. Hollywood inherited my love of stationery, so we had no trouble racking up $20. I wonder if kids born now will even know the joy of fresh paper and fancy pens? The electronic age is going to ruin them.

Our guild's February BOM was designer's choice in Pantone's color of the year and neutrals. Pantone's color of the year is emerald green. This block is called Follow the Leader and is from the book Modern Blocks. I've made quite a few of the blocks from this book. There are some fun ones.

And while practicing making four flying geese at a time, I got the colors backward, so I made a bonus block. Yep, it was Monday yesterday. Happy Tuesday!

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