Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Loosing Steam

Man, I was on a roll! I took a few days off (aka life got in the way and sewing wasn't happening) and I've lost my steam. I mean, I have this beautiful alphabet fabric all cut and ready to go...

I found the red at the LQS and just need to cut the sashing and sew it all together. I even have border fabrics and a backing ready for this one. I'm not sure what it is that's holding me up, other than my fractured time windows and regular distractions. You know, the usual. I am hoping I can get to it tomorrow, but we'll see. Or maybe I need to be more confident...I will be working on this tomorrow.

Until then I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday. Looking forward to browsing thru everyones projects in hopes of being motivated myself. Here's to blog-world encouragement! Sometimes it's just the extra push I need.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

BlockBusters 8

I know, I know. I said the last block-of-the-month was going to be my last for a while. But they sucked me in. At our last meeting, they revealed the new fabric for the upcoming BOM. It was too much! I couldn't resist! They are using Ombre fabric gradients for this round. Such a cool idea to get a collection of different blocks using the shades of the fabrics.

It took me a while to complete this first block because I was trying to select my common theme fabric. After much thought I decided black will make the most bold blocks and that's what I'm looking with this round. I want to find a way to make the blocks look like they're bursting from the center.

How'd I do? Does it look like it's bursting from the center? I can't wait to see what next month's color is. This should be a lot of fun.

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday. Come on by and check out what everyone's been working on.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Cochlear Implant Tethers

This weekend I committed to beefing up my inventory in my Etsy Shop. I still feel like I've barely scratched the surface, but I've definitely made some good progress.

Though I have put a lot of different things on my site, I have really focused on handmade fabric products including quilts, bags, and fabric toys. Something I've been thinking about doing for a long time is selling the clips I use to help keep track of my daughters cochlear implants. Anyone who has these or knows someone who does, knows they can fall off easily and children aren't so concerned.

They are held on by a magnet that's part of the implant and will stick to all sorts of things. I once took my children to a kids workshop at a local hardware store and my daughter called for help. I look to see her implant magnet stuck to the hammer. It was tethered to her so when she tried to use the hammer it pulled her shirt. Without the tether, it probably would have become a very expensive flower box we were making.

After making them for her for a couple years now I have mastered the design and jumped in. Here's what I was able to add this weekend...

I am using the stash of ribbons I have right now but have discovered I don't have much "boyish" ribbon. I need to change that. I searched a bit last night, but it seems there's a lot more "girlish" picks out there.

While I continue my hunt, I will also continue to add more inventory. I am also hoping to add some storage bags that are super helpful for keeping track of all this stuff. Anyone who has travelled with cochlear implants or a child who wears cochlear implants or hearing aids knows there's a bunch of support equipment necessary. I have used my fabric bags to organize it all and I'm hoping to get a few sets on my site that others will find useful as well.

I encourage you to come by and see what's new in the Crooked Tail Crafts Shop. Maybe you'll find just what you're looking for. ;)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Two Sorta Finishes

I have some really bad pictures of a couple super fun quilt tops I have finished. I am so excited about these two and they are going to be on hold for a while until I can get some more batting. It took 1 1/2 years but I finally ran out of my roll. I wasn't ready.

The first is a quilt top that was inspired by the name of the fabric line, Around the Neighborhood. I picked up the green and blue pieces at my LQS in the sale section. Not sure what to do with them, they were put in my stash. As I have been working thru my stash, I found them and was ready to try something new.

I thought about fussy-cutting the blue but decided it would be fun to see what I got in each block, and they are all different. That was fun! I feel like the white creates little pathways around the "neighborhood". Can't wait to see this one all finished. It will make a cute baby quilt.

The second one was also a set of fabric I had in my stash that I finally pulled out. I've actually blogged about it here and here, and I finally got the top finished. Notice the sashing is all in the right place now. It was a pretty easy fix, thank goodness.

I based the block measurements off a pattern from a magazine called "Aromatherapy". In the final post about this quilt (when it's all done) I'll go into more detail about all this. For now, I am in love with the top. The colors are so different than what I normally pick, and the pattern gives it a fun modern feel.

That's what I've been working on. I feel like I haven't been able to share much because we've been so busy with life. I really have been getting things done in between. Without batting though, my quilt production has really been slowed down. I need to change that. Time to get some more.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday. Come on by and see what everyone's been working on. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Why Not?

I looked in my project box and saw this set of fabric called dashing roses...

And I thought...why not? Why have I had this fabric for years and not done something with it? I have had plans in mind; a couple actually (I forgot the first one so I came up with a new one; so bad) and still nothing happening.

So, I pulled it out in a burst of energy and frantically began cutting and sewing so as not to loose steam again.

The pattern I am doing called for a little more fabric than I had, so I am improvising. It's what I do best; I've mentioned before that I don't like patterns, right?

So, in my haste to get this together and not loose my steam, I made a mistake...

Can you see it? I was trying to ensure the sashing matched up easily, but bulk sewing always gets me in trouble.

I now have some rows that don't have sashing and some rows that have double sashing. Guess I'll be doing some picking tonight so I can keep sewing tomorrow. Maybe get the top done? We'll see.

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday. Time to go check out what others are working on right now. Come on by.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I don't know about you, but I find meatballs to be a handy little protein addition to a meal. They go with all sorts of things, they can be dressed up in all sorts of different ways, they keep well in the crockpot or can be cooked up quickly in a 30-minute meal. The other great thing about them is I can use ground beef, ground chicken, or ground turkey.

I inherited several older cookbooks from my grandmother many years ago and one of my favorite go-to recipes is called Sweet and Sour Meatballs from the 1978 version of the Betty Crocker's Cookbook. Other than some very small adjustments to the meatball recipe, I've kept this one pretty true to the original.

Best served with rice, but I think it would rock with quinoa or even orzo pasta if it's in your pantry. Also, I used green pepper as the original recipe calls for but I think it would taste awesome with red pepper or even a stir fry veggie mix in a pinch. I can see myself doing that in the future; this is definitely a meal that needs to go into the regular rotation.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
1 lb ground meat
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 egg

1/2c brown sugar
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 can (13 1/4 oz) pineapple chunks and juice (I used a pint jar of home-canned pineapple)
1/3 c vinegar
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 green pepper, coarsely chopped

Mix together the first 5 ingredients and roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Heat about 1 Tbs of oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs. Meanwhile, mix together the brown sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, soy sauce, and the juice from the can of pineapple in a bowl.
Once the meatballs have browned, but not cooked thru, drain off any excess fat. Add the liquid mix and bring it to a simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to keep a simmer and add the pineapple and green pepper and let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serves 4.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Quarterly Goal Check

Well, it's been three months since I wrote my goals for the year and I figured it's probably time to check and see where I'm at with them. So...

10 Things I want to Accomplish in 2015:

1. Finish my Vintage Stars Quilt - quilting and binding 
***Update: I pinned this and tried to quilt it, but my machine is so frustrating I had to stop. I love this quilt so much I don't want to mess it up and I've already picked twice. I have been practicing with manual quilting vs. BSR, so I might try one more time.

2. Finish my son's Pirate Quilt 
***Complete!! Yeah! I even got a wall hanging done to match.

3. Finish the Alaska Stars Quilt - order more fabric to accomplish this 
***Not yet, but I did complete another Alaska quilt in the meantime, if that counts at all.

4. Make at least one Alphabet Quilt 
***Not yet

5. Complete a quilt from something pinned on Pinterest 
***Not yet, but I have done some recipes from Pinterest

6. Add at least one tutorial to the blog 
***Not yet, but I have some ideas

7. Complete a quilt pattern to post on Etsy 
***Not yet

8. Complete the BOM quilt top 
***So close. I've finished all the blocks and am in search of sashing and borders.

9. Make a quilt for the sofa for hubby
***Not yet. On the fabric hunt

10. Minimize fabric purchases to only necessities/work thru stash 
***On-going, but I feel like I've been doing well with this, especially when it comes to backings.

So far I'vc only been able to cross one off the list. I feel like I'm getting close on some of them though. At least three of them are on their way. Hopefully at the next check I'll be able to cross more off. I am on a mission to get the BOM quilt done quickly, unfortunately it means I'll need to buy fabric, which goes against #10. 

The sofa quilt for hubby also goes against #10. He asked why I don't use what's in my stash and then he looked at it. There's a lot of pink, yellow, and blue. Not really his colors. I have ideas, it's just a matter of finding the right fabric for the right price. Meanwhile, I'm continuing to work thru my stash and try to use as much of it as possible without buying too many new pieces. Let's see where I am at the end of June. Until then, it's back to work.