Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tuesday Tidings

I thought this sunglasses case was really cute. It's fun finding fabric to match the zipper. I think you're supposed to do it the other way around, but I often buy random zippers to keep on hand. I also have some vintage zippers. Fun to see the prices on vintage sewing notions.

My first loaf of French boule from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes book. The master recipe is very easy and versatile. I used half for this loaf and half for pizza dough. Both were delicious. I don't have a pizza peel to get the dough on my baking stone, so I used parchment paper. It worked like a charm.

I was able to quilt my Peace, Baby quilt at Sew Day on Saturday. I opted for simple straight line quilting because I still stink at free motion quilting. Rene's fun Peace pattern is available here. You can make it in three different sizes.

I ran into a little trouble after quilting. Oops, the backing isn't long enough. Believe it or not, I had help sandwiching my top, but I just cut the backing a bit too small and things shifted when I quilted.

A label helped hide my oopsie. Since I rarely label my quilts (bad), maybe I should mess up more.

The Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild is hosting a collaborative effort of makers to bring peace and love to Boston from far and wide. They are collecting small flags to be used in a public exhibition. The world could use a little more peace and love. I'm all for that.

Here's my contribution. You can see more of the sweet flags on Flickr. As I type this post, there is breaking news of four different bomb threats near me. Four. Is it a full moon or something? What is wrong with people?  I'm hoping the threats turn out to be nothing, but at least there was warning and time to evacuate people just in case.

Look who's back. Or is it a new snake? I thought he died last year. We found an injured snake at the end of the season. This booger has already scared me twice. Did you hear my snake scream? This is right outside my studio window. Lovely.

The Snake Magnet

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Stash #70

Uh oh. Someone got caught up in some Internet shopping. This is what I get working in front of a computer all day long. During my work breaks, I can only goof off on Faceplace or blogs so long. Then the online fabric shops start calling my name. Check out the fancy packaging from Form and Fabric. And always $2.99 flat shipping. You can't beat it!

It was these Kaffe Fassett shot cottons I really wanted. They're so pretty. I love how the color changes subtly throughout the woven fabrics. Shot cottons are made by using two different dyed colors of warp and weft yarns woven together to create a special depth, a “shot” of color.

And I just love these Japanese novelty prints. They get me every time, especially when they're on sale.

More adorable novelty prints. Those animal heads on the orange background are really cute.

Random fabrics that caught my eye.

Black and white prints are always fun. Especially if they have numbers or words on them.

It's a small stack, but I'm thrilled with it. What shall I make?

My guild buddy, Judy made me this adorable felt house pincushion. I put it near my Fisher Price girl with her sewing machine.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Whee! It's Wednesday!

I found a new pouch tutorial on the DaWanda Blog. The video is in German, but I work best with a visual guide anyway. Plus, she has a gorgeous studio. I love seeing where everyone creates. It makes me want to straighten up my messy studio, but only for about five minutes. Then I see something shiny.

Inspector Gadget bought a gigantic ham and I'm trying to think of clever ways to use the leftovers. This ham and cheese strata was dinner one night. And breakfast the next morning. I believe I'm hammed out.

My last teenager in the house. Bones turned 13 last week. That's 91 in dog years! Love how he finds the sun whenever he can. He's such a funny dog. Just three years ago his back went out and we thought he was a goner. He swaggers when he walks (or runs!) but at least he's no longer paralyzed. A month under a laundry basket healed him.

I made this tiny pouch yesterday and didn't quite catch the pocket under the ribbon handle. I was getting ready to trash it, but I found a cute little patch to cover up my error. Crisis averted. Sewing is serious stuff. Ha ha!

The Flying Farfalle baby quilt is complete. Those little 3" x 4.5" blocks I made over a period of time. After 60 blocks, I got sick of them. Eagle Mountain Quilting did the quilting. I used the backing to self bind. The top jelled in my big tub o' tops for over a year. I'm slowly getting the tops quilted. It's preparing the backing that freaks me out. And quilting them myself? Absolutely terrifying.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

It's the Weekend!

Look, I made a shirt! Garment sewing scares me to death, but I had this easy pattern and clearance fabric laying around. It turned out kind of cute. And it fits! It looks better on, but I couldn't figure out how to get a picture of it on me when I'm the only one here. And it might have involved cleaning a mirror...we can't have that. It's the weekend!

I made homemade sofrito for a Cuban dish. I've bought it jarred before, but never tried making it myself. Fresh is definitely better. I whizzed everything but the bay leaf in the food processor and let it simmer a while.

The Cuban dish was this pork in wine sauce. You let it cook low and slow with onions, garlic, chicken broth, and white wine. When the pork is tender you stir the sofrito into the pan drippings. Outstanding. It makes a killer sauce. I served it with black beans and rice and asparagus with feta vinaigrette. Leave it to me to make vegetables more caloric. Plus, I can get the picky one to eat exotic vegetables if I make a tasty sauce for them. And by exotic, I mean anything other than frozen peas.

My favorite Cuban cookbook is Cuba Concina. I've had it for years and every recipe I try is a winner.

Woo hoo! My Penzeys Spices order arrived. I bought the wrong peppercorns, but that's okay. I was tired of buying small little bottles at the grocery store. I go through a lot of pepper. They sent two free gifts too. Lemon pepper and Berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend.

Okay, let's go goof off!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

No One Is Going Hungry Around Here

Work has been busy, so not much time to sew. But we still gotta eat. I used my leftover roasted chicken and chicken stock to make a green chicken chili. It was spicy, but really good. I plopped some sour cream, cilantro, scallions, and parsley on top hoping to cool it off. I served it with cheese quesadillas and fruit.

Green Chicken Chili

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Saute onion, garlic and peppers in olive oil until soft.

4 cups low sodium or homemade chicken broth
1/4 cup red salsa
1/2 cup salsa verde (green salsa)

Add broth and salsas to vegetables. Let simmer 30 minutes to an hour.

2 cups cooked chicken
masa flour to thicken (if needed)
1 small package yellow rice

Add chicken and yellow rice to pot and let simmer until rice is done. You can add masa flour to thicken if needed. Garnish with toppings of your choice: cheese, sour cream, cilantro, scallions, parsley.

I needed a quickie project to sneak in and stumbled across this Red Herring paper pieced block. I trashed my sewing area, but it was worth it.

I also needed another container to hold fabric scraps and threads. This little fabric box should fit the bill. And it matches my sewing machine. I have tons of buttons but couldn't find four that matched.

Poached egg fever around these parts. Poaching eggs is sometimes tricky and messy, but then I remembered the trick about soft boiling. Five minutes in boiling water, run under cool water, and then peel. I served it atop some grits and bacon pieces.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tackling Tuesday

Lucky Stars of the Month for April. I decided to go with scraps and make the 6" version. Challenging to say the least. I think I'll go back to the 12" size. And maybe use some coordinated prints.

Scrappy Trip Along made with 2" strips. I got bored with these blocks really quickly, but I think this pattern is something I'll tackle again someday. With 2.5" strips! I love how everyone's quilts have turned out. I did a self binding with the backing fabric.

I made a 20 lb. spinach lasagna yesterday. My kids hate lasagna, so I never make it. Something about the ricotta cheese (best part in my opinion). They were both out, and I was craving lasagna. Plus, I had leftover bolognese sauce I needed to use up. It will be up to Inspector Gadget and I to consume this monster. I froze half of it, but there's still plenty. It made a good breakfast this morning.

Don't forget about the Mondo Mushroom Pincushion pattern giveway.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mondo Mushroom Pincushion Giveaway

I had the awesome opportunity to test drive one of La Todera's new patterns. Julie creates the cutest patterns. They're all very unique and always colorful. Julie and I both have a thing for toadstools, so I was thrilled when she asked if I would like to test the Mondo Mushroom Pincushion. Mondo, indeed!

I took the pincushion outside to try for some beauty shots. Here it is on the rocks. This baby will hold lots and lots of pins. It measures approximately 7" across. Or how about using it for threaded embroidery needles? I'd like to practice my hand embroidery skills and having the needles pre-loaded with different colored threads would be convenient. 

I used some eyelet lace I had, but the pattern shows you how to make your own sassy ruffle. La Todera patterns include lots of photographs and step-by-step instruction. Even I can't mess them up. I got to fire up the glue gun for this one. Fun!

Julie has given me a Mondo Mushroom Pincushion pattern to give away. Just leave a comment below and I'll put you in the running. It's a fun pattern, I know you'll love it.

Cruising Pinterest again. Too bad it doesn't pay. These blackberry pie bars were really good. I used frozen blackberries, but fresh would be even better. Most of the fresh berries are still pricey around these parts, but you can always find them frozen.

I tried Hollandaise sauce for the first time last week. Sheltered life, right? How did I miss out? We were eating breakfast out and they served the English muffins and poached eggs on top of fresh spinach and avocado. Then they drizzled hollandaise sauce all over the dish. Oh my. After that delicious breakfast, I came home and obsessed thought about hollandaise all week. So yesterday's brunch I whipped up a batch. Uh oh, that stuff is really good. Now I want it on asparagus and artichokes. 

Log Cabin Baby is quilted, bound, washed and then tossed in the grass for a picture. I used a hunk of starry, starry night batik to back it. I think it will make a fun outdoor baby quilt and not show dirt. I've been doing machine binding on these baby quilts so they're more durable and can be washed a couple times a week.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Stash #69

I may have shown this fabric before. Big, bold flowers. I unearthed it this week. Maybe I pulled it out for a special project? It's always fun to see what's under some of my piles.

Pretty batik fat quarters I found on sale. Love the aquas with the black. I'm starting to like batiks again.  Good thing, I have a slew of them.

Orange floral and pirates. Not on sale. Couldn't resist. Inspector Gadget is a pirate. Did you know that? We fly the jolly roger on our boat. And swig rum if we're not towing kids behind the boat.

Polka dots. I may collect spotted fabric. I really like it.

My pal Yumi from Japan sent me this one. Pretty interesting. Want to see what else she sent? I love her care packages!

My favorite Japan snack cracker -- Cheeza! Looks like the orange bag is a new flavor. Cheddar and red wine? Oh, yum. One of the bags has already disappeared.

Candies for the "kids." Some of these are kits where you grow your own candies. College Boy and his girlfriend had a blast making them last time.

Smart rice and the funny face fabric again. This is Yumi's favorite rice. We both love to cook. She likes to cook American food and I like to cook Asian food. Go figure. We tried the rice last night with banh mi bowls. Delicious.

The little man charm is so funny. I have no idea what he's doing with his hand in the waistband of his pants, but just look at his face. Translate, Yumi? But I do love that she translated the item on the right. With drawn pictures and everything! It's a brooch vase you can fill with water and keep small flowers fresh. I'll have to go steal some flowers from one of my neighbors. All I can grow is celery.
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