Monday, December 29, 2014


And snap, just like that, the holidays are over. I found Mr. Elf while tidying up my studio. He had fallen from the wall clock and rolled under a stool. I guess Hollywood's "tick tock, tick tock" clue was quite literal. He hung with sock monkey for a few days and today I spotted him hanging from a small Christmas tree. The guy gets around.

I printed these paper pieced Santas out before the holidays, but never had time to whip one up. He's kind of cute, isn't he? To get the pattern, visit the talented Imagine Gnats. I used a sunny yellow background because it was 84 degrees for our holidays. It's still hot three days later. I could use some snow. For a day. At least it was nice out to grill the holiday ham and turkey. That's my idea of fun!

I'm all caught up with the lite version of Quiltville's Grand Illusion mystery. Linky party here. I'm only making half the pieces, so I'll end up with a smaller quilt. Bonnie suggested it as an option, so I'm sure it will work. I almost had enough spare time to go back and make all the units, but I came to my senses. I've enjoyed being with family, cooking, baking, and relaxing. My spice cabinet still didn't get cleaned.

During a cleaning spell, I dumped all the trimmed triangles in my triangle box. I'll deal with those later, or maybe that box will fall into the trash. It's a culmination of many binding miters, and stitch and flip units. Eight years in fact.

Also during the cleaning/organizing/put crap away, people are coming for Christmas preparations, I unearthed a chunk of fabric I can use for a backing. Buying scraps, fat quarters, and one-yard cuts can really bite you in the butt when you want to use your stash for a backing. I think someone gave me the light green floral print on the very right. It's cute and will work perfectly. Flowers go with pirate skulls and Peter Rabbit, right?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Quiche Love

I started my weekend with a quiche. I'm the only big fan of quiche around here, but a few eat it. I wish they'd just leave it all for me! This version had spinach, bacon, red onion, tomato and sharp cheddar. Egg and milk too!

I use the refrigerated pie crusts a lot. They're so convenient and for some reason, pie crusts seem so labor intensive. They're not, but for a quick pie or quiche, I like the refrigerated crusts. The best part about quiches is that you can add anything you like. Obviously, I like a lot of stuff.

I finished part two of the Quiltville mystery yesterday afternoon. Part three is already up and I plan to get my cutting done on those units this week. The part three units look like lots of fun! I can't wait to get them pieced!

These little triangles were waste from part two.

Hmmm...they're pretty cute, but I'll try to refrain for now.

Linking up with the other mystery quilters right here. Sometimes the best party about these mysteries is the "drama." Cracks me up every time. Quilters are passionate people! Ha!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery, Part Two

I finished up all 50 broken dish units for the Grand Illusion Mystery.

I have all the pieces cut for part two. Hoping to get these put together this weekend, since part three came out Friday. I've done a test unit to make sure my measuring and piecing work out. I only need 50 units for this step.

Hollywood gave me an Elf on the Shelf ornament for the tree. Cute! She also hid my elf somewhere when she cleaned the house this week. Wonder where he's hiding? She keeps saying "tick, tock, tick, tock," so I've looked at every clock in the house. Nothing. Anyone have any ideas?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Victoria from Bumble Beans!

Pay it Forward Quilt  by Victoria Findlay Wolfe
Bumble Beans was one of the first blogs I started following religiously when I began quilting in 2007. Victoria (V) is a talent to be reckoned with. She quilts with such speed that her projects are endless. Her use of scraps and color, ah-mazing! She has always been an inspiration to me. I've done 15 Minutes of Play, a fabric self portrait, block and quilt swaps, charity quilts, etc. with V. I even have a quilt she gifted to me years ago for a Pay it Forward act of kindness. That's it above and it hangs in my studio.

The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild was fortunate enough to snag V for a couple of classes this weekend. Yep, that's V's hand flying so fast my camera can't focus. She really does sew fast! No wonder she makes so many beautiful quilts. We took her "15 Minutes of Play" class which teaches you how to make fabric. You use your made fabric to make more things. It's a fun process. V had all kinds of tips and tricks to share along with some of her amazing quilts.

One of her Double Wedding Ring quilts won Best of Show at Quiltcon 2013. Th gorgeous DWR above is the cover of her latest book. Double Wedding Rings -- Traditions Made Modern is available for pre-order right here. After making a quilt for the Modern Quilt Guild's DWR challenge, I'm eager to get Victoria's book and make something bigger. She showed us how to handle those curves with precision.

My table at the workshop started out neat. Look, there's a wiener mascot! Judy brought me Frank. He's really cute. That neat pile of fabric to the right was a big pile of mess minutes later. Red, my Janome is now my travel machine. I still love her. I just realized she's seven years old.

Here's some of the fabric I made during our sewing time. Now to hack them up and make something else! I could make fabric all day long. It's really fun and relaxing.

A group of us went to dinner with Victoria. The restaurant was next door to a wig shop. Is it just me, or do these wig heads give you the creeps? My uncle owns a wig shop and I've never been inside it.
The restaurant was Greek and we had flaming cheese! Opa!  I've been wanting to try Saganaki forever! It was so delicious. I want more! Maybe I can make it at home.

Speaking of creepy, the elves have come out. That's my vintage one on the left and the new (and improved?) version available today. I think I like my vintage elf better. The new elf went off to live with Hollywood's charge who is kind of creeped out and thinks the elf will come alive and mess with him while he's sleeping. I love to give gifts that keep on giving. Ha!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery

My fabric pulls for Quiltville's Grand Illusion mystery quilt. Nice and scrappy like I like them! Love the bright colors, too!

Squaring up half square triangles is tedious, but it helps my wacky sewing. Some of them come out perfect and I only have to trim the dog ear off. Some need a little more work.

I'm only doing a half version of the mystery which will still yield a good sized quilt. The broken dish units are really cute. Linking up right here. Go see everyone's pretty units.

At Thanksgiving at my cousin's house, I got to see three of my gifted quilts. The oldest one was probably one of my very first quilts. I was so thrilled to see it worn out and loved, Their kids have newer quilts, but I need to replace the family couch quilt!

I made a mojo turkey the day after Thanksgiving. This was the turkey I stole the guts out of to make the stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner. I marinated it overnight in sour orange (oj and lime juices), cumin, oregano, and garlic. Look at all that garlic! You scrape it off to bake it. Here it is before I roasted it.

And roasted. It looks burnt, but it was delicious. I made black beans, yellow rice and collard greens to go along with it. The leftovers have been great for sandwiches. I'm going to make a turkey soup too. I love me some turkey. Turkey all day!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday

My cousin hosted Thanksgiving dinner for our family, I made stuffing, which is a family favorite. There's a "don't ask, don't tell" policy for the squeamish. Neck meat, chopped heart and gizzard, and liver. You know, the stuff that's in the bag. I remember watching my grandmother whacking at that liver when I was a child. I usually whir it in a food processor, but I grabbed my knife and did it grandma's way.

Here it is before I baked it off. It was delicious, and I gave the leftovers away. The Inspector was sad I left the green bean casserole too.

I did a little pillowcase sewing last weekend. Hollywood, her charge, and the Inspector all get fun pillowcases for Christmas. Can you guess which cases belong to which person?

Here's an easy appetizer to try. Brick of cream cheese topped with jalapeno pepper jelly. I also saw a recipe that topped the cheese with salsa verde. I'm trying that one next. I've been steady eating since Monday. We had a huge potluck at work which resulted in two additional days of leftovers. Then turkey day yesterday. Today I'm making a mojo turkey.

Look what the UPS man brought me! Merry Christmas to me. I haven't figured out the needle threader, but I'm sure I will eventually. I started Quiltville's annual mystery quilt this morning. I think this might be my fifth Quiltville mystery. They're really a lot of fun. Sometimes I even finish them!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Stash #85

College Boy is trying to kill me. Like I don't worry enough as it is.

Tried a little curved piecing with Sew Take a Hike's undies block. I need to make more of these.

I think I got my fill of the pineapple block. Fun, but not all that exciting. Maybe I'll come back to them.

I had a little fun at my LQS. They always have the best sales.

Happy November! Turkey Day is coming up. I made a turkey breast last week to have sandwich meat. I brined it first and then roasted it. It was really good. Our favorite sandwich is turkey, cranberry sauce, and mayo on toast. We call them "Uncle Eddie" sandwiches because guess who told us about them?

Have a great week! I'm off to sew!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Weird Weekend

Never a dull moment around here.

Saturday, Inspector Gadget saw a hawk dive bombing something across the street in our new neighbor's yard. Turned out it was a Green Amazon Parrot. He called me out and we spent 20 minutes trying to scare off the hawk as he swooped down and tried to attack the parrot repeatedly. The crows were up above cheering on the death match. The hawk was not very afraid of us. During one swoop, I was close enough to feel the air move from his wings. Aaack! I hate birds about as much as I hate snakes. And that hawk was huge and relentless. Apparently parrots are a delicacy.

I brought Bones' crate out to see if we could lure the bird inside so the hawk would go away. I brought crackers too, but the parrot didn't seem to be in the mood for a snack. The hawk did get a poke at the poor parrot at some point. Finally, the parrot hopped on the crate and we dragged it across the street to our house.

That's the Inspector with his snake stick and crate riding parrot. Note the hawk gloves. I think the Inspector is afraid of birds like I am. I played parrot decoy while we transported birdy to our covered pool deck.

She hung out by the pool until we located her owner (our new neighbor). Apparently, he thought the bird would be fine in this backyard while he ran an errand. Guess he hasn't seen all the birds of prey around here. The parrot is only six months old and says "hello" and "uh oh." Uh oh, is right! It had a gash in its leg, but wasn't bleeding a lot. I think she'll make it.

And then this morning, we're drinking coffee at 6 am and a car alarm goes off. A band of idiot thieves hit our neighborhood and robbed several cars. The Inspector's truck window was smashed and they snatched his GPS before they took off. We ran out just as they were pulling away. I guess our local law enforcement is on the case as these idiots have been making the rounds. We think they left their cell phone in one of the cars they robbed. Dumbos.

I made the Inspector herbed buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy after the car break in, but I had a healthier breakfast yesterday. I'm going to continue the sausage theme and try this sausage, squash, and kale soup tonight. Squash and kale aren't big favorites with the peanut gallery, but I'm serving it anyway. I'm also going to try this fraudulent easy sourdough bread recipe. The haters can have ramen if they poo poo my soup.

I've been working on a pineapple block using Crazy Mom Quilt's pineapple block tutorial. I'll add a few more rounds to get it to 16" square. Fun and easy! Let's hope the rest of the weekend calms down. Hope yours is going along swimmingly!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sleepy Sunday

Just flew back from the west coast. It was my first visit to California. Too bad it was for work and I didn't get to sight see. We did walk to the Lure Fish House the first night we were there. The seafood was some of the best I've ever eaten and ceviche to die for.

I enjoyed seeing all miles of desert on the way to LA. Beautiful. Not a bit of green anywhere. So interesting. Now I know why my lips were chapped the entire time.

If I had to work all week, at least it was at the Four Seasons hotel in Westlake Village. Here's the view from my room. The hotel was gorgeous and they took such good care of us. Great food, pampering, and luxurious accommodations. There was a chandelier in my room and a telephone and TV in my huge bathroom. I could definitely get used to someone tidying up my room during the day and turn down service at bedtime. I spotted Katie Holmes in the hotel lobby (we made eye contact and smiled, then I privately freaked out in the elevator). Yeah, I'm cool. And I heard that Britney Spears, a Kardashian, and someone from the Bachelor were also in residence, but I didn't see them.

One of the only other times I ventured off property was for an event at Ventura Farms. Ventura Farms is a private, 2,000 acre farm specializing in horse breeding, botanical gardens, and exquisite monolithic boulders found at the River Kwai and transported to the property. Our company hosted a "Night on the Lawn" one evening and we were able to stroll the grounds, eat a delicious dinner, and end the night with a spectacular, musical light show among the boulders and orchid house. Amazing.

While I was off gallivanting working, I added one more toy sewing machine to my collection. This one came in the original box with all the bells and whistles. I really love this one!

Instructions booklet, needles, and I have no idea what that metal thing on the right is? Screwdriver thingy? Maybe I figured it out!

It also came with this pre-printed fabric for making doll clothes. Look at the fox collar at the top center! Too bad dolls scare me or I'd have to whip up some clothes for them. Hmm...wonder if they would fit Bones? Halloween is coming up.

Just a little baked goat cheese, roasted red pepper and garlic I whipped up for lunch. It really couldn't be easier. I didn't have fresh thyme, but it was still delicious. I used a dried Mediterranean spice mixture in place of the thyme.

The best part about this dish? These garlic gloves roasted in olive oil. Not only mild and yummy, but a wonderful air freshener for your home. Yankee Candle, call me. I have lots of ideas.

Lunch is served. Pretty sure the parsley counts as a vegetable. Right?

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