Wednesday, February 26, 2014

While I'm Waiting...

I finished the Curious George top (Yeah!) and now I'm awaiting the arrival of the backing I ordered. Until then, I had a stack of fabric sitting on my sewing table, and it's literally been there for months. Before that, it was in my 'potential projects' bin for a few years. I feel so lazy/backlogged/distracted. It's all good. I've had an idea kicking around in my head about what to do with the fabric and had to get something going so I won't forget; I hate when that happens.

I wanted to fussy-cut some barn and farm scenes and had the red fabric that matched perfectly with the country theme. This particular block measures about 14inches, so I am debating whether to make some smaller ones as well as a few more big ones. I'll have to play with it a little.

Unfortunately, I don't have much fabric to play with, and like I mentioned I've had this fabric for years. I'm pretty sure there's no finding more of this. That's okay. I'm really thinking this will make a great wall hanging or baby quilt. Just kicking around some ideas.

While I think about that, I will get back to work on the t-shirt quilt until the backing arrives. What would I do if I didn't have a few irons on the fire? Just keepin' myself busy, I suppose. Hope everyone's having a great week! I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday. Can't wait to see what everyone's working on this week.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Almost-to-the-Border Guacamole

Here's a little secret about me; I love dip! I mean, I really love dip! Any kind of dip; ranch, onion, spinach, artichoke, and of course, guacamole. They are all so wonderful, and they can be helpful when trying to get otherwise reluctant kids to eat some veggies.
I don't know why I haven't tried making my own guacamole before now. Like so many other recipes, I was afraid to try it because I thought it would be difficult; silly me. I have been buying fancy guac all this time, and finally thought maybe, just maybe, I can do this myself. Well, what do you know...
I actually didn't really look at recipes when making this. I thought about what I like in guac, and I like a little spice and kick. I also like guac that's not totally pureed, but is still creamy enough to be considered a dip. After some fine-tuning, I finally got it just right. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Almost-to-the-Border Guacamole

3 lg avocado’s (or 4 med)
¼ c fresh finely chopped cilantro
2 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like spicy)
¾ tsp garlic salt (more if desired)

Remove the flesh from the avocado skin and put them in a bowl, reserving 1/2 of one large avocado or 1 whole avocado for later. Mash them to your desired consistency (I prefer using a potato masher and doing it by hand so I have more control over consistency, but the hand-wand mixer works well, too, if you like a more pureed texture).  
Chop the reserved avocado and add it, the cilantro, and the lemon juice in and mix together. Add the seasonings, adjusting to your own personal preference.  Mix together and let ‘rest’ in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. For a thinner consistency, you can add water, or mash more. Also, you can add chopped tomato for some more color, and a little added health and taste benefit. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Clearing out some Stamps

I haven't done as much stamping/scrapbooking/cardmaking as I would like to.  It is such a quick, easy, fun thing to do I would have thought I could do more. I have just been so distracted with quilting, cooking, and kids that I haven't been able to do as much as I would like.

That being said, I thought I would see if someone else out there might have some use for a few of the stamp sets I have and haven't been able to use.

The first set is called Sprinkled Expressions by Stampin' Up. I haven't tried the acrylic-mounted stamps from Stampin' Up yet; again, no time. :( It's a beautiful and fun set that looks so versatile.

The second set is called All I Have Seen by Stampin' Up. It has a lot of different applications; it can be used individually or the pictures can create a watermark and you can stamp the sentiment on top in a darker ink. So much fun! Great for cards, but also really useful in scrapbooking.

The third set is called Good Sport by Stampin' Up. Often times I feel like I don't have enough 'boy' stamps. I have so many flowers and hearts and things that look a bit, well, girly. This was an effort to fill that gap. So versatile; you can use it layered or individually. Great set!

I hope all these sets can find new homes where they will be used and loved. I invite you all to come check out my Etsy site! Spread the word! Thanks so much for stopping by.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Adding to my Shop

Exciting! I've added another item to my Etsy shop, and this one is a project lovers dream!

I have this beautiful, and extremely hard to find, Curious George panel. I purchased it for a project that it turns out I will not be doing and would like to share it with someone who will be able to do something fabulous with it.

You can see all the details, and purchase it yourself if you'd like, on my Etsy site. Have a great weekend! I'm hoping to get some more sewing and quilting done next week.  Maybe even have some exciting projects to show.  Yeah! Love when those things happen. ;)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Back to Work

Oh, it feels so good to start getting this done again! I can't believe how long it has taken to get myself and the kids resettled from our recent trip. Right before the trip I had a couple of people ask for specific quilts, and it's bothering me that I haven't made better progress on them. No more.  It's time to get to work; start cracking the whip on myself!
Last week I made some crazy good progress on my SIL's t-shirt quilt. It's the first I've made, but I love the idea and she was kind/brave enough to let me use some of her t-shirts to 'experiment'. I am so excited about how this is going to look. I've done a bunch of research to figure out the best layouts and what interfacing to use, etc.

Cut, iron, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. You get the idea. It's going well though.  I have a lot of great pieces to work with, and am looking forward to figuring out how to lay everything out.

The other piece I'm working on is a Curious George quilt.  This one was held up because of the difficulty I had finding fabric. Now that I've gotten to work on it, I'm so excited about how it's going to look.

I'm taking an approach similar to how I did my Dr. Seuss quilt. I have a basic pattern/idea that I want it to look like, but I'm kind of going with some of it also.

I am loving the colors, especially the green.  I think I'm going to add some yellow as well, but just a little to break up the medium tones a little. I'm so excited just talking about it! I'm ready to get back to work!

Hope everyone is having a nice week. I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday. I'm hoping these will turn into Finished Friday's soon enough.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Missing the Food

I think after Christmas I was just exhausted when it comes to meal planning and creation. I have had a few ideas spinning around in my head, and on paper. It's time to get that part of my blog going again. My mission this week is to get back to making some more meals, and getting some of those posted on here.
It seems my biggest obstacle is sunlight/timing of the day, and dealing with hungry people while I'm snapping shots of our meal to post. Sometimes 2 year olds forget manners when they're ready to eat. I have literally had pictures with her hand in the shot as she's snatching food off of the plate; such a silly girl.
So, by next week this time I will have a meal for you to enjoy, or at least a recipe. Mmm, my mouth is watering thinking about the possibilities. Let's get to work!

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Heart Breaker Quilt

Yes, that's right.  This is called the Heart Breaker Quilt.  This is the quilt that I was working on when I began having all the horrible problems with my sewing machine. It felt like nothing could go right with this one. When it was all finished, actually really liked the end product but it was a hard road.

I had been collecting red and pink fabrics for a while with this pattern in mind. I wasn't sure what size I wanted the blocks to be, but I did want a scrappy look. This was long before I was aware of the wonderful resource the internet could be. A few years ago, I decided I had collected enough and I was ready to piece things together. Math has never been my strength and the blocks ended up bigger than I'd envisioned. I had too much of some fabrics and not enough of others. But, it's all good because I was able to finish the top.

For the backing, I decided to piece together leftovers from the front, some of which never made it into the front. I had no set idea and simply worked to maximize the pieces I had to work with. In some ways, I like the back better. It's more random than the front; fits into the scrappy idea better than the front does.

Once that was together, I began planning out the quilting. I knew I wanted to practice my feathering, and I chose the heart pattern for obvious reasons.  I was starting to get kind of down on this quilt, and even though I had purchased a variegated red thread, I totally blanked out and went right to work with my white thread. Not the end of the world; the white looks nice. It really sticks out, though, and for a first attempt with feathering it wasn't the best selection.

All in all, I am actually happy with the quilting.  I think it turned out pretty nice, especially on the white blocks, lol. The binding was simply a pick of the leftovers; one of my favorites with the different color hearts overlapping each other. Adds good dimension to the binding. Huge sigh of relief that this one is done!

I would like to try this pattern again, but maybe on a smaller scale and with more mediums or different colors like a rainbow theme or something. I am glad ideas are still swirling for me about this quilt, and pattern. I thought it was going to ruin me. I can't even remember the number of times my machine went down while working on this; maybe 3 or 4? I think it messed with my mojo. I couldn't get a good rhythm. I wouldn't say my machine is 100% again. It's like when a car gets into an accident and goes in for repairs; it never seems the same. We're getting along again, though, and seem to have an understanding. Hopefully that will keep up as I have quite a list of projects I want to tackle this year.

I'm sharing my finish on Crazy Mom Quilts today. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Etsy, Here I Come

I am so excited to announce that I am, once again, making a go at a store on Etsy.  I tried to do this a couple of years ago, you know, right before I had baby #2? When my life was calm and simple? Well, things have finally settled down enough, and I have gotten a groove for what I want to try and make and sell.

I still have lots of ideas, too, but let's see how well these go.  I really enjoy making all my fun crafts so I hope this works so I have an excuse to keep doing it.

Please visit my shop, Crooked Tail Crafts, and take a peek at what I've got up there.

(Insert picture here of a brick-and-mortar shop; oh wait, I don't have that... yet... :P)

And, if you see something on my blog you think would do well on Etsy (or that you might be interested in) let me know. I am rolling things out slowly, for my own sanity, and it might be something that's on "the list" for posting.

I really appreciate all the support and well-wishers. Now, it's time to get back to crafting. :)