December 31, 2010

Happy New Year


"New York you say? No booze. Sub-freezing weather. People who show up 18 hours early to be crammed against barricades for a 60 second ball drop. That's not a party, my friends.

Las Vegas? Four miles of the most famous street in the world closed down for pedestrians to celebrate the new year in a neon glow like no other. For one night, you are in the worlds biggest nightclub, no cover charge, and a half-million dollars worth of fireworks going off over your head!

Ring out 2009 and ring in 2010 here at Las Vegas New Years Eve!"

OK... found that on the web. Yes it's true, but I can honestly say that I will always be in my warm house in the 'burbs of Vegas. I grew out of the fascination of all that and New Year's Eve long ago. Funny how 310,000 people are coming to Vegas for New Year's and all I can think is, "That's what we call a taxpayer out here."

So yes... I made resolutions and I did do some of them... I'll soon share what projects I finished the last few weeks and what yummy projects I'll be working on this next year.

Mostly I am enjoying the now- family, pajamas until noon, food, sewing a little, watching way too many classic trilogies on the TV and just hanging out. Keeping it real.

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

00821-Snow in Redrock Jan 2010-16
Red Rock Canyon
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas wherever you may be.

December 20, 2010

Zombie Sale

Found an excellent deal on Holiday Happy at the stockroom. I have a holiday quilt planned for the New Year with some of Monica's wonderful fabric mixed in. It's getting harder to find. So go and be tempted. My favorite is the red snowflakes and I wish I had more of that white. It's perfect.

Holiday Happy comes home to momma!
from Monica's flickr :)

December 19, 2010

More inchie goodness during FNSI

Just in case anyone was wondering what happened during FNSI, I was putting together some one-inch squares. My favorite is the Gnome Claus and the peppermint-like fabric. Here is to hoping for some bright winter sun tomorrow, instead of yucky rain clouds, so I can share my sewing efforts this month.

December 16, 2010

Just CrossStitch

I framed these last night. I used to cross-stitch before quilting. I gave it up since it was so expensive and hard to find the expertise to frame cross-stitch. I'll only make it now if the design fits a standard frame. These will go in my dining room against a nice sage colored paint. They have nice white frames along with the white mats. They were designed by Marie Barber for the magazine Just CrossStitch in 2002. I finished them in the Summer of 04 before Anna was born. Geeshh.

Woodruff

Woodruff

Catnip

Catnip

Soapwort

Soapwort

Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose

Mullein

Mullein

False Indigo

False Indigo


It feels good to get these framed. I will get them on the wall this weekend!

December 15, 2010

Domestic Goddess

Doesn't that sound so much better than 'Mom cooking in the kitchen all weekend with her flannel pajamas'? The cookies are off and done.  I was slightly annoyed that Mr. Happy cam home with the big tins from Walmart on Sunday. I think my jaw dropped when I saw them. I make them because I know how hard it is to make homemade stuff with a full-time job. It rarely happened for me so I hope his coworkers like the thought. I think I made 12 different batches. I'm too tired to actually list them.


I actually lost a couple of pounds because I forgot to eat lunch a few times. Too busy...must make cookies. Julie's pretzel tutorial at Jaybird Quilts and Hershey Kisses Peanut Blossoms are some of our favorites. Can't go wrong with chocolate and salty goodness.

I made more than a few from my treasured Williams-Sonoma cook books. Especially love the oatmeal cookies. They are the only cookbooks I want to have in my closet. I have two so far: Baking and Cookies. I like no-fail/idiot proof recipes and I haven't been disappointed.

They don't nearly get enough use! What more could a girl want? Ok just thought of another title- Desserts....
and.... Ebelskivers, Comfort Food, Kid's Parties, Donuts, Pizza, Breakfast and Lunch, Cupcakes, Cooking from the Farmer's Market... They even have a fun kids book called Cooking Together.

I love how each of the books are broken down into specific categories. These are worth the twenty dollars!

I always hate those ones you get at Barnes and Noble on the discount rack. They have a lame soft glowing light around some beautifully manicured food and like a fool we fall for it. Most of my Italian ones had beef and pork recipes that we don't eat anymore. Half  of the recipes were useless. (I don't eat those meats anymore because our cholesterol levels dropped significantly when we did and our tastes changed when we did.)

My other thought is go thrifting, buy some old cookbooks and take a peek at the slightly dirty recipe pages. Aren't those the favorite pages in your cookbooks? Never trust a clean recipe. My bread book's best page is the cinnamon rolls minus the icing marks!

My best solution to wasting money on cookbooks was a Food and Wine subscription. I think this is our fifth year. We eat mostly from scratch, not the picky kids, and you can print any recipe you want free off their site. You can enter random recipes like beets, remember this post, and get an awesome recipe. Staff picks are usually awesome.  Our Thanksgiving was nothing but recipes from their November issue a few years back.

Know of any great food sites? What are your favorite cookies this time of year?

Ok, back to eating what wasn't given away. I might make more after a couple of days of naps. Santa would be disappointed if we didn't have some waiting for him. :)

December 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Giveaway

Check this one out!

Giveaway!!!!

Wish Caitlyn a very Happy 1st Birthday for me!

Label Question

Do you have a favorite marking pen for quilt labels? I'm thinking about a sharpie fine point, but that just scares me. I need to mark my initials and the year. Any ideas? I would embroidery, but I am pressed for time. I can get to an evil chain store tonight.

The last few days I have had lots of practice with quilt bindings. Geesh, I might start to like it.

p.s. This weekend I've made so many cookies I might not eat chocolate and sweets for a month! Well maybe...

December 11, 2010

Sorry...

I'd like to say sorry if the last post messed up your blogroll. I will try to be more subtle next. I didn't think of that. Thanks for all the kind words and I hope it gave you a laugh at least.

Some better eye candy might help. I bought a new bit of fabric called Punctuation from Moda'a American Jane. It works very well with the Wee Play.


The jelly roll got defuzzed two seconds later. Andrew and Zoe had lots of fun chasing all the bits, *ahem* fairies, from those crimped edges as I shook it in the backyard. It works perfectly to add to the hexagon quilt I am making. I am doubling up colors for the flowers already and needed more variety to get the quilt size I want.  I hit 1000 hexies this week and they are bursting out of the Costco Spinach container I keep them in. I can't believe that many fit! I am going to start piecing them in groups in January.
 
I think this coming year may have to be a fabric diet year as I have too much fabric squirreled away for this project and that. Do you feel that way too? Plus I have a couple pesky BOMs to finish. Sigh... need to clean up those OFOs. I think I might break them up into BOMs, pieces finished monthly, so I have a set of finished quilts at the end of the year. Plus, by not buying fabric I will have money saved up to send them to a longarm quilter. Hmm...

Oh and I think I may have found a CindyLou Who.


I am going to make cookies, write Santa with the kiddos, and sew this weekend. What are you up to?

December 9, 2010

He peed on what??

OK, this is totally gross and I can see why you would second guess even following my blog. I need to rant! I promise I will blog for the 5 or so days it takes for it to not show up on my homepage. Well maybe...

My dog peed on our subwoofer when we dropped Anna off at school. He is out for two hours before this so he has no excuse. It, of course, had to be on that new shelf we just bought. It's now warped on the bottom shelf since we found it hours after the deed was done. I picked up the subwoofer and loveliness poured onto my new socks. He aimed right for the bullseye. Frack! Not to mention the other deposit that Zoe stepped in. Thank the Lord she was wearing socks. Both sets of socks are offically retired!

You love your dog, but then he has to totally mess up on you that 5% of the time. Am I the only one who has this problem? I love him, but I want to scream and yell at him too when he does things like this. No I wouldn't do that, but it took strength not to scream a stream of nonsensical words of anger at him. I saved it for the carpet. A bit of crying at the mess helped.

ON the other hand, Santa baby, we need a new subwoofer. Could it get any funnier than that?

December 6, 2010

No Peeking...

Ok, just one little peek my dear family...

one inch holiday goodness

There's more, but...

December 3, 2010

Stars And Christmas Trees

While watching the entire season of Firefly on Netflix, I quilted this wonky star with perle cotton. (Please tell me I am not the only fan. Do you have a favorite series that is no more too?)

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Hopefully this counts for Sew and Tell. I think I am getting faster at this type of big stitch quilting. I used a blue marking pen and marked quarter inch intervals for accuracy. Then I quilted every half inch. White is such a hard color for the camera to capture in the winter light. It's so much brighter than it looks.)

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The texture is amazing to feel after it was washed. So I'm wondering should this be a pillow or a wall hanging? It measures 18 inches. Should binding and at the same time a pillow opening be added? It could be both. Right? Either way it will be finished-finished tomorrow!

I busted out some of these hexagons last night. American Jane has to be loved so much due to their bright primary colors that go with everything. The series of fabrics is so bright and happy. ;)

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Some fabric is coming for Christmas fun and these were picked these out of my stash for Christmas trees.

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I think my wonky star quilt/pillow will look good with this tree.

I would love to hear from you. Make sure to visit Amy's Sew and Tell this week and be inspired.

December 1, 2010

906!

905!


Somehow I feel better about the progress of my hexagon quilt by counting the hexies. They are in groups of 6 and 25. Since Sept 1 of this year, I have made 906! Only 300 or so to go. Hah hah...only. They went into the box again after Delores the T-Rex arrived.

I am going to stitch them together in "blocks" beginning in the New Year. An especially enthusiastic Thank You to that special person who sent me some special 5 inch-ish charms! They will be in hexagon form by the weekend! I am in awe of her American Jane collection!

The Scaredy quilt is being quilted and should be finished in a week or so. I have not forgotten my Dresden plate quilt. It is looking more like a top lately. I'm not going to feel guilty about ignoring the sewing machine and having unfinished Christmas goodies.  I'm going to go take some Dayquil and get some rest. A sinus cold seems to be the other Thanksgiving tradition here. We dropped from the high 70s last week to freezing temps. I should have expected it. Such is life...

November 23, 2010

Something Low in Calories But Still Yummy!

Soul Blossoms is shipping as we speak at Quilt Home. I want all of them, but that is not going to happen anytime soon.



Or this... a design named after my blog...



Sew Happy by Kaufman Fabrics

Just kidding. How did I miss these and I'm not sure how long they have been out.  I don't usually like novelty prints, but I like these aqua and red fabrics with pins and sewing machines.

Are you dreaming of any lovelies after the Fall Market?

November 22, 2010

Wonkiness and Sweetness

Just discovered wonky stars... I played around last night and came up with this. Oh my! These are fun to make when you don't want to worry about pins! I used this tutorial from The Silly BooDilly.



I made some cranberry sauces this morning and ate way too much of it already! I sweetened them a little more for the kids. Zoe saw it and immediately repeated in her cute voice, "Try? Try? Try? Pleazzze?" How's your Monday?

November 21, 2010

Turkey Day Dinner Plans

I usually get asked if I am going to a buffet, Vegas style, every year. I did it once with friends and enjoyed the company, but it wasn't the same. So I have complied a list of recipes that I look forward to every year. My taste buds have a yummy homemade dinner to look forward to. While they are decadent, the holiday comes once a year. Here is my Food and Wine menu.

Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce

image from the gracious bowl
I think this is why we planted that Pomegranate tree in the back yard!

Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce


I make two different kinds. Yes, they are that good! If you can stick the ingredients in a pot and simmer them, then you can make this!! No cran in a can here in this family!


Broiled Ricotta With Olives And Sun Dried Tomato Relish


Rose Sangria with Cranberries and Apples


Angel Biscuits

image from the bakewells


Creamed Spinach and Parsnips Potatoes
I omit Parsnips and use potatoes. I've never been able to eat the former.


Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Topping


 Double-Crust Apple Pie


Don't forget the turkey and cranberry stuffing with gravy! What's on your holiday menu this season? Do you want to come over?

November 20, 2010

Wake up. Eat a nut. Look at a view. Eat a nut...

Same old Saturday that slipped away with the same old Saturday stuff. Busy and so no FNSI pictures until 8ish o'clock.

The quilt back was finished Friday night.


I used all the scraps leftover from the top to make the backing since it measures 47" wide. I needed about 5 inches more for the width so I have a happy strip just like Amanda Jean did! It is starched, ironed and ready to become a quilty sandwich.


As you can see no squirrels were harmed in the making of this quilt back. I am sure Scaredy will be relieved! I love this Scaredy Squirrel inspired quilt.


Meet Scaredy here

November 19, 2010

"Same old place. Same old nuts."

My zig-zag quilt top was completed in record time.


Last weekend, while Mr. Happy was away in Washington DC on a school trip, I spent long nights occupying myself by starting and finishing a quilt top. My kids are fans of the neurotic squirrel Scaredy.

Meet Scaredy here
The idea was to make a quilt to read books under this quilt during those cold winter nights. The kids call it the Scaredy Squirrel quilt. By the way, if you get one book for them this December, buy this book. Hilarious. Besides that he is the only squirrel I know that crafts and knits. Uh... and he came up with the title. Clever little creature.

The zig zag pattern is absolutely perfect for a beginning, no triangles just rectangles, and free at crazy mom quilts. I felt like a crazy mom finishing this top so quick! Wendy Slotboom Frolic line was used and PJs are going to be made with the leftover fabric for Christmas.


I recommend a spot where you can lay it out until it is done. I used the seam ripper more than once! She uses a solid in between rows so that will make it easier if you can't.

I also took a board dude cork board and covered it for Anna. Pottery Barn carries them for much more and this board at Walmart was $8. She picked the fabric and ribbon out of the stash. I added ribbon and sewed it down. Pictures or tickets can be slid behind it and little Zo-Zo won't get push pins in her mouth.  To make a plain one, without the ribbon, pick your favorite fat quarter and staple gun it behind the board.  Easy and useful fabric art.


As of September 4, I have finished 726 hexagons and counting. I hope putting them together is as fast! The Kona Colors for the background will be a off-white called Bone and I'll be using solids for the flower centers.  Does anyone have 2.5 inch squares of the the solid Pez? I need two or three of each for the border.


I finally finished quilting these coasters from last Christmas.



Umm... yeah... I need to get started on that. Any good ideas?

I would love to hear from you. Make sure to visit Amy's Sew and Tell this week and be inspired.

November 18, 2010

Project In Process and Random Stuff

Don't you love this cute fabric?  The kids immediately called it the Scaredy Squirrel fabric. It's part of my current zig-zag quilt project.


It must get finished during the Friday Night Sew-In. What are you working on?




I am also currently drooling over this hexagon quilt.

Hexagon Quilt by Isabelle Etienne-Bugnot

Is it as amazing as I think it is? The hexagons are appliqued on a border of linen.

This came in the mail too! I am going to make an Irish chain with it in the spring!! :) Thanks Patty!


It just a generic picture, and not mine, but I hide the camera's memory card from the kids. Apparently I can't remember that special hiding place either! Don't you love that! It's why I have two of everything like my seam rippers.

November 14, 2010

Advice For New Quilters

Have you read the advice on Rossie's blog post for Newbie quilters? Looove it! I spent some time peeking through it. I think everyone, 665 of you,  entered her giveaway for Elizabeth's book tour except for me.  :(  It's been a busy three weeks...


Rossie's question was the following: what is one thing every new quilter needs to know?


My advice? Breathe. They will love it anyway. Perfectionism is highly overrated. Trust me. I tell myself this a lot.

This line of thinking brought me to my question: What is the worst mistake or mishap you have made while making a quilt?


Mine? Well shucks... I don't make any! I make lots of them. All the time. Err. I think you all remember the coffee incident? Coffee all over scraps, my Bernina and the fabric cushions. I hope the tech didn't find any when they cleaned it last week!

Or... Recently I been finding holes in my casual knit shirts and have been wondering why. I kept blaming inferior knit from Target, but realized I have been using some super sharp Gingher scissors that literally slice everything they touch!! Look what happened when they fell from the kitchen table. Lovely evil handles of slicing power. Poor poor linoleum... It was only on shirt number five I realized this fact. Please forgive me Target for blaming you!

Or... How about running out of binding so you have to search online for that beloved fabric only to find out it is OOP. A couple inches of Kona will do fine. It looks modern.

Or...  How about sewing, for who knows how long, with ratty tension on the bottom.

Or... My favorite story, not mine, has been a basting pin left inside a completely quilted, bound and washed quilt!

So... Inquiring minds want to know. Got any good ones!? Ones you do all the time and don't care if the quilt police will come after you. Any evil cover ups? The juicier the better! You can leave anonymous comments, but that won't be any fun! Or leave comments about your friends... You have the right to remain silent, but I'd love a laugh. I also have an idea- I'll explain later... Help me out.

November 12, 2010

Autumn Pinwheel Quilt / Zion National Park

I actually finished my pinwheel quilt top. It was more traditional fabric that had been kept around way too long. I didn't like them and had to use them. I flipped back on forth on whether I was going to like the result. Now I realized why lots of these quilts have solid blocks in between. Lining up the points on those rows between pinwheels is too much fun! I had tell myself to stop worrying about cutting off corners.  Finished is definitely better. Mr. Happy loves it and so it will have a dark blue solid mixed in with yellow and chocolate brown for the backing. It originally was part of a quilt along, but I decided I can't ever quilt along. It usually becomes a lag along... so no more. I will quilt at my own pace and love it.  This was started this in January.  My five year old took this picture! So any bets on how long it will take to quilt and bind?? I am so not a one project girl!!

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I am adding this to Amy's Sew and Tell this week. Be sure to stop by and enjoy the creativity. Now... why the autumn quilt?

This was finished the weekend before we went on a family vacation.

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We go for a weekend at Zion National Park every fall. The weather makes the park different each time. We usually hike Weeping Rock, the Emerald Pools and the Riverside Walk. Anna and Andrew both walked all of these and were amazing- little gazelles. On the day we left, Andrew said we should stay and hike some more. Yes! Instill love of nature and hiking into the little ones. Done.

I love all that color. Surprisingly, the yellow color of the quilt top was the dominant color of the trees. Mixed with that sky and rock... Now I love that quilt too because it reminds me of our annual autumn trip. These pictures pale in comparison to the vibrant colors we saw.

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