Friday, May 31, 2013

Where's the Plug?

I joined a Thangles BOM that was hosted at Bella's Quilt Works (LQS) to complete a civil war fabric quilt. My sister went with me and saw the batik option and loved it, so I agreed to complete the project for her.  I figured it was good practice, and I enjoyed doing it.

As I completed the blocks, we began discussing what size she wanted and what type of sashing she might want. It would be the biggest quilt I have quilted on my machine so far at queen size. It was also the brightest!  She went with me to pick out fabric for the sashing and she picked out very bright batiks with wild patterns.  I wasn't sure how it would look, but I thought, why not? It's supposed to be a scrappy quilt, right?

The blocks look a little funny in the sashing, but not too bad.  I like how it finished. It's totally my sister! We chose a pale yellow flannel for the back so it was a little warmer. As for the quilting, I used a template for the blocks and then did swirls and then a meander with flowers in the sashing.  For the border I quilted a meander and outlined the dragonflies on the fabric.

Nice weight, happy colors.  Turned out great! I called it "Where's the Plug" because when I first finished it, we were joking it was so bright it looked like it should be plugged in. Maybe I should make some bags with the leftovers; I'll never loose those ;)

As for the civil war fabric quilt I was making, well, I finished the top and the backing, but I made a king size and haven't been able to afford the quilting yet.  There's no way I can do that on my machine. So, some day I will get it completed, and what a finish that will be! It's so beautiful; I can't wait to see it on my bed.

I am linking up today with Crazy Mom Quilts! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Maybe Finish Today?

I started a couple of basket quilts almost a year ago.  I am not sure why I made 2 instead of one large one, but I am kind of regretting that now. They are too small to be used as picnic blankets, which was my original intent, and too large to be tabletop decor, so I am just not sure what I am going to do with them. I suppose if nothing else, they are really good for color identification practice with my kiddos :).

I had blogged about this one before here, and I have been making slow progress since then.

I finished the first one months ago, and I am finally finishing the second one. I have had to manually run my quilting foot, rather than enjoying the BSR that comes with my machine; I guess it doesn't like black fabric.  I am practicing more of the stencil quilting on the blocks, and I feel like it's going better and better.  I am getting more comfortable with following lines and patterns. That being said, I am still very critical of my work and wish it was coming out a little better. I am going to finish the borders with some simple straight line stitching; nothing fancy. We'll see how it looks when it's finished.  I'm looking forward to getting this done and posted. Hopefully Friday will be the day. Cross my fingers.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Mealtime

Since I started cooking for my husband, he has had a die-hard, from-the-box insistence when it comes to mac'n'cheese. I have tried all sorts of recipes and none of them seemed to be right. It has been years since  I have tried a new recipe; and then I came across Mel's Kitchen Cafe and her fantastic mac'n'cheese recipe. I thought it was great, and the kids agreed.  My husband was a tougher sell, though, and I made some very small changes to the recipe to get him on board.
This recipe is actually very similar to the one from America's Test Kitchen as well, but even easier.  The leftovers re-heat pretty well, too.  My kids are happy to eat them. Easy, quick, one pot, what could be better.  Thanks, Mel!

Easy Stove Top Mac 'n' Cheese
3 1/2 cups water
1 can evaporated milk
3 cups pasta (my son prefers shells, but you could use elbow or mini penne, etc)
1 tsp salt (less if preferred)
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp hot sauce
6 oz (1 1/2 c) Monteray Jack Cheese, shredded
6oz (1 1/2 c) Cheddar Cheese, shredded
4 Tbs butter, cut up
Ground black pepper to taste

In a large pot on the stove top, bring water, 1 cup of evaporated milk, and salt to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 11-13 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the cheese, and mix 1/2 cup of evaporated milk with the cornstarch, dry mustard, and hot sauce.
When the noodles are ready, add the milk mix and stir for about 1 minute to allow it to thicken a bit. Take the pasta off the heat and add the cheese, one handful at a time. Allow the cheese to melt completely and add the butter chunks. Add salt and pepper to taste and it's ready to serve.
I like to serve this dish with broccoli and sometimes with skillet chicken.  I am also curious to try mixing some vegetables into it, like cooked squash.  I think that will be my next venture with this recipe.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

So Much Fabric

After my trip to the PNW, I came home and found a fabric order I had been waiting for as well as a surprise box from a quilting friend.  She was cleaning out her stash and was kind enough to pass some along.

First, my finds while traveling. I visited a little store called Keepsake Cottage, which was just the cutest little store you've ever seen! Inside was wall-to-wall fabric; everything you could imagine! I wish I had a better list of what I was looking for because I am sure I could have found it here.

I already had Honey, Honey for a strippers club quilt I hope to start soon.  I knew I wanted a little more of some of my favorite pieces, and took the opportunity.  I also bought more of the Vintage Modern line as I prepare to do something with that. I might end up ordering some of that as well.  I want to make some stars with it, so I need to get to work to see if I need more.

I ordered the Enchanted Garden collection from the Little Fabric Shop.  Oh, this line is so beautiful, and totally different than ANYTHING I have gotten before.  I struggle with orange, but this line incorporates it in a way that was irresistible! Can't wait to find a pattern for this great batch.

Finally, the wonderful box that showed up.  So many options.  Of course, I am going to jump right on the Dr. Seuss fat quarter set.  I am already envisioning fussy-cutting the panel and using the fat quarters along with sashing to create a boxed look.

The Cat fabric is amazing and I think I am going to need some time to think about what pattern will work for it.  As for the other cat fabric set in lime green, blue, and black; it's so different than anything I would normally select, and I am thinking it would make a perfect bag.  For some reason, I love, love, love the line and feel like it's asking to be part of a bag.  We'll see.

So many ideas and possibilities! Through all this, I have also been working on using up the scraps I had from my beach quilt. The scraps quilt might end up larger than the original quilt the fabric was purchased for. I have never been good at figuring out how much to get for a project. I think I am getting better, though.

Okay, very wordy, sorry.  Any ideas you might have for the fabrics, feel free to drop them off in the comments! I know I need them :)

I am linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Take Three...

I had a bunch of scraps from my beach quilt and I have been playing with them to see what I could do with them.  For some reason, everything I come up with, I was not happy with. I have now tried two different patterns and am on my 3rd. I think I have figured it out now! Yeah!

This was the first attempt. There was just something about the layout that I didn't like.  I actually picked it all apart so I could start over.  The second attempt was short-lived.  I thought about doing a log cabin type of thing, but when I drew it up, it wasn't what I'd hoped.

So, moving on to my third attempt.  I decided to use the sea shell fabric as a center and frame 5" squares. A whitish color fabric will be cornerstones for each square, and I am already happy with how it's looking.  Pictures to come.  Yeah!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Baby B's Quilt

My sister's little girl turned 5 yesterday! I can't believe it! She's getting so big and grown up; starting kindergarten next fall and really looking forward to it. When I found out my sister was expecting, I wanted to make a special quilt for her and the baby. I wanted to make something that could grow up with her, rather than a traditional baby quilt that becomes a keepsake in the closet. 

I actually can't remember the name of this pattern, but it's a twist on pinwheels. I like how the background color creates another set of pinwheels.

I chose pastel colors to go with a baby theme, but my sister loves batiks so that's why it's a batik quilt.  The fabric choice worked out nicely with good complimentary and contrasting colors.

I used fleece for the backing, and quilted pinwheels on the blocks with a meander on the border to finish it off. The back looked so cool because the fleece lets the stitching really pop out.  Love that look!

When I was finished, I had all of the little HST squares leftover, so I decided to make a table runner with them.  I love these colors, they are so springy and happy.  I wish I used batiks more often. I think I need to change that.

I am linking up today with Finished Friday on Crazy Mom Quilts. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Honey, Honey WIP

One of our local quilt shops, Quilters Market, has a group called the Strippers Club. Basically, they have a pattern that works with a jelly roll and some supplementary fabric like charm packs or fat eighth's. I haven't participated before because of time restrictions, but I am in love with the Honey, Honey fabric line and couldn't resist when they came out with this one.

I haven't started yet, but had to share a picture of the fabric.  All I need to get is the white that the blocks are set in. I am so excited! Now that I am back home, it's time to get to work! Yeah!

So pretty! I love how jelly rolls look when they are all packages up. It can really help you get an idea what colors you are working with; you're not distracted by the patterns.

I am linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.  Hope everyone is having a great week!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Leap Frog, Leap Frog

Many years ago, while my sister was in college, she really wanted some new curtains for the bedroom at the house she was living in. So, we went to the fabric store and she picked out some fabric.  Let's just say my sister likes bold, bright, and electric type of colors.  She also likes whimsical, which is why she picked out frogs leaping around to go with the rainbow tye-dye fabric. I love it!

So we weren't the best with measurements and we ended up with WAY more fabric than we needed.  So, what to do...

I guess we'll make a quilt! Looking back, I would have added way more to it.  It needs a lot more black to break up all the bright colors. Fortunately, I still have more of the fabric to try again. We'll see how the next ones turns out.

For the quilting, I stitched swirls on the frog part as lily pads and then for the border I did some FMQ of leaves with swirls.  I had fun with the quilting on this one, and it was definitely the bright quilt my sister was hoping for.

While visiting her in the PNW I decided to pull it out and take advantage of how photogenic her place is.  Couldn't get enough of this rustic fence. Just awesome!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Secret Garden Quilt

I made a quilt for a friend many years ago that was just charm-pack squares sewn together in a rainbow pattern.  I really liked the look, but decided I wanted it to be brighter.  So, I picked out some really SPRING colors that really popped and created the rainbow look.

So, then it came to the border.  What to do, what to do.  I was discussing it with my Mom who suggested I do a picket fence. I  thought that sounded pretty cool and went for it.  It was a lot of very small triangles, but I was super happy with how it looked and it made it totally worth it.

When she saw it, she explained to me what she meant by 'picket fence'.  Another quilting term I hadn't learned yet (I am sure there are still many more to come).  It didn't matter, though.  I loved how it turned out and would totally do it again if I had the chance.

I was trying to use up leftover fabric, so I pieced some of the larger pieces together to make the backing.  The orange from this quilt appears again in at least one other quilt (and I still have more).  I have had to learn about fabric moderation when purchasing so I don't end up with so much.

For the quilting, I thought I would practice some of my FMQ of flowers and vines. I used a rainbow-colored variegated thread, which I like the idea of, but I don't always like the final look of.  In the end, I am very pleased with this quilt.  It was just for me; just for fun.  Good practice, and a great quilt to crawl around on or hang on the wall.

I am linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finished Friday! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

WIP-Wednesday; On the Road

I am currently enjoying an absolutely fabulous trip to the pacific northwest to visit my sister and her family.  The kiddos are non-stop, and having a blast! So, I haven't gotten anything done lately.  Before we left for the trip, though, I wanted to make some tethers for my daughter.  I know, that sounds bad. But, picture this: a 15-month who's on the move and not interested in slowing down for anything that is wearing a cochlear implant processor on her head that falls off with the slightest bump. I began to picture tracing my steps through stores, museums, and playgrounds looking for a small white processor in complete panic.

For the most part, she's really good about wearing her processor.  Add the tether and she's still pretty good, although it must add just enough weight or annoyance that she is ready to take it off a little quicker. Totally worth the insurance policy the tether offers right now.

I ordered the clear plastic clips from and picked some fun ribbons that would match her clothing well. I got the snaps from JoAnn's, and used my sewing machine to put it all together.

I thought the design was pretty good, and I still do, but apparently the ribbon I used isn't quite what I'd hoped, or I didn't sew it well, or something.  When my daughter pulls on it (or my son does to try and 'help') it comes unstitched. I need to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to make it stronger. I have some ideas swirling about that I will have to try when I get home. Until then, I need to keep a close eye on that processor. :)

I am linking with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday. Hope everyone has lots of great work going on!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Hidden Garden

I have been working super-hard to get this top done before I leave town, but it looks like it's not going to happen. Oh well, something to look forward to when I get home, right? :)

I am trying so hard to stick to the fabric I have, and at this point it would be really hard to incorporate a new color. I am thinking about abandoning an attempt at borders at binding it as is, but I am trying to figure out what to do in the corners.

I could put green with the green-framed blocks and pink with the pink-framed blocks, or I could do switch them and put green with the pink-framed blocks and pink with the green-framed blocks.

Or, maybe they should all be green? Input would be helpful! Too many choices; it's making my head dizzy.  I'm going to link up with Freshly Pieced today for WIP Wednesday and hope other's eye's will help me figure out what to do. Thanks!