June 24, 2011

Under The Needle

Enjoying some quilting time...

Playing with these...

I may have something finished to show you soon...

June 22, 2011

Sew and Tell/ WIP #4: I Love A Good Deadline!

Here is the damage on my BOM-14 blocks since Sunday the 12th. Now I can dig into my pile of DS Fairgrounds and not feel guilty starting my Kaleidoscope Quilt. I am so thankful for the extra time to plan for this Quilt Along. I looove deadlines.  These two quilts are not going to be my all-time favorites, but I love the challenge that each block brought. Three more blocks in each colorway need to be finished. I'll actually try that as Blocks of the Month and I'll have this finished by the end of summer. My favorite block is the one in the center.

Warm Colorway:

Warm Colorway

Cool Colorway:

Cool Colorway

Names of blocks: 1. Spyglass  2. Ballroom Dance  3.???  4. Jacob's Stepladder  5. Oh My Star  6. Spinner  7. Tulip  8. Grandstand  9. Rosette

After this, I decided  that the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along is not for me right now. I think in January I will enjoy doing it a little more. I have a Cathedral Window Quilt, a Postage Stamp Quilt (true 1 inch version), Dresden Plate Quilt, and a Hexagon Quilt that are begging for my attention and that's plenty of a challenge for me. That's 4 precision quilts enough for me. I'll be insanely jealous until the end of the year. Trust me.

June 20, 2011

On To More Blocks...

I finished a couple more...

I think I did this one twice, considering all the seam ripping that went on.

Tulip Star Block c 1108

I like how a block design is on point within another frame or outer block.

Oh My Star Block C 109

I am losing steam fast, but I am enjoying all those empty plastic bags. It feels like exercise. You hate to start each time, but it feels fantastic when you are done. Too bad this doesn't burn calories! I also am glad I was able to figure out which fabric goes with which block pattern! Whoo-hoo!

So if I made a list...
3 blocks- finished at an unknown time
10 blocks- finished since last Saturday (previously cut out)
3 blocks- halfway pieced in some form or another
2 blocks- cut out ready to be pieced
6 blocks- need to be cut out and pieced.

My goal is to make 5 more blocks at the end of the week. Then I can get going on those QALs.

Thanks for all the wonderful comments this last week. Comments like yours make my world a little more warm and fuzzy. I have been overwhelmed with the kids on vacation. I am being terrible with the email. Forgive me. I'll be better... Pinky swear, K?

June 19, 2011

Stick A Fork In Me Sunday #3: Apricot Jam

I had a long week in the cooking department too. Thirty pints of apricot jam just got preserved for the year. It's the favorite of the kids and I like the fact it only has three ingredients and I know what they are. They keep on the shelf  for up to a year.

I bought the Complete Book of Home Preserving this last week. It's got some great recipes in it. I am going to try making some plum jam  for a friend since her tree is producing more than she know what to do with. My husband and I also bought a pressure canner for preserving tomatoes. We want to make our own salsa and can tomatoes so I am hoping this will allay any our fears about canning vegetables.

Here is how you make apricot jam and I hope you can enjoy that amazing off the tree taste like we do all year long.

Apricot Jam
1.5 kg of apricots
1.25 kg of sugar
3 Tbl. of lemon juice

Wash and then cut in half apricots.

Measure out 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1.25 kg of sugar.

Place all of the apricots in a large saucepan with about one-fourth of the sugar, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and a 1/4 cup of water. Stir until sugar is dissolved . Boil on medium high until the apricots are soft and add the remainder of the sugar.

Boil over low heat for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. The jam should darken in color.

Check to see if the jam is done by doing a jell test. Put a spoonful on a plate let it cool in the fridge. If it jells, wrinkles when the plate is put on its side, it is ready to put in your pint jars. This recipe makes five pints.

Use a Water Bath Canning Process to preserve the jam for a year or refrigerate cooled sealed jars and eat within a few weeks.

In preserving any type of food for long periods of time, I would check the National Center for Home Food Preservation and Pick Your Own as great sites to get started and see if this is for you and get additional canning information.

Also, to all those father's out there, Happy Father's Day!! I thought this would give you a chuckle even though it has been out for a while on YouTube.

June 18, 2011

Trying To Play Catch Up

I bought it. The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt seems pretty popular right now. Something to do with a Quilt Along with Andrea and Amanda?

I couldn't get it online anywhere! The person at the register at Joanne's and I had an exchange like this:

Register lady: Are you actually going to do this?
Me: ah... Yes.
Register lady: (gasps) Oh my gosh... really?
Me: Yup. I am going to work on it since there's a FWQAL online.
Register lady: Wow. I don't know how you could do this... (strange suspicious befuddled look)
Me: (Shrugs. Smiles politely.)

I am going to try to use the Marti Mitchell template sets, not the templates on the included CD. On her website, she says she has a list of what templates she used for what block. I am hoping I hear back about my emailed request in the next week or so. I have been using the templates in my other 12.5 inch blocks. They are really accurate to an eighth of an inch or less. I don't usually use templates, but they seem to work well.

I finished one more UFO block last night during the FNSI. The other three are all in some form or another halfway done. 

Spinner Block C 209

I am going to find some caffeine now and finish them!  I have the Kaleidoscope Quilt Along and this Farmer's Wife Quilt Along to plan for and I am going to this UFO done!

June 17, 2011

The Mini Blockapalooza Continues

I have finished a few more block. Tonight, if I finish what I start, I will have 16 blocks done.  I am going to make good use of the Friday Night Sew In.  I can't believe that will make 12 blocks this week. I'll have to spend the weekend cutting out the others, but the fabric is so mixed up. It's sitting in a pile in a draw in some kind of order I forgot. So much for putting aside something for just a moment.

Here's the project in pieces.

In pieces last night!

Here is the result of the last two days.

Spinner Block W 209

Sigh... they make pinwheels look like child's play.

Center Spinner Block W 209

Ballroom Dance Block W 609 Center

Ballroom Dance Block W 609

There are pros and cons about having to do two blocks in different colorways. They are great for experimenting with pressing and getting the points right. At the same time when you are finished with one, you have to make that block twice!

Ballroom Dance Block W 609

Anna and I also made a 'quilt' for her princesses. The original pillow, glued onto cardboard(?), and the fabric for the bed was kinda yucky. I had her try a 1/4 inch seam. That was hard. I wanted to say I can do it, but that's not the point, right? She did a great job holding the fabric and even used the foot pedal. We sewed a rectangle and then turned the backing and linen inside out. We made a pillow and added some stylish ribbon perfect for a princess.

New linens for the princess dolls!

I have been working during naptime, but even a sneaky 'sleepy' noodle can wake up, unbeknownst to mom and dad downstairs, tiptoe into her sleeping brother's room and have a little fun.

She removed her shirt and found herself a canvas. 'Look mommy. Look!" After we talked about where you draw with markers, my husband and I were giggling as we washed her little face and belly! "Look mommy, daddy. My belly. My belly clean." Ohh, my sweet one... please stay little.

June 15, 2011

WIP Wednesday #3

It has been a mini blockapalooza around here. Before I start  more projects, I want to get to a few UFOs done that are making me feel guilty this summer.  Bags of cut blocks, ready to be pieced, were dumped out onto the dining room table. They were made with templates that have mean learning curves, but yield nice points and 12.5 blocks that are only 1/16 off versus the usual arbitrary quarter to half inch inaccuracies. Five were finished since this last Sunday. I am so serious about finishing this! I also have a pile of fabric from this BOM that needs to be cut, but I have to do some detective work to see which fabric goes with which block.

Cool colorway:




Warm colorway:






I realized that my piecing skills have improved so much over the last two years so these blocks were a lot easier than I thought. Some of these blocks were cut out in '08. Ouch. However my machine completely died in the middle of it and I had to wait a year before I bought my new machine. I collected the blocks, month by month, cut, bagged and tagged them for later, and promptly forgot about them.  Soo... now is later. Not withstanding the fact that my fabric tastes have completely changed, I like them. Moreover, I like the challenge of finding the perfect 1/4 inch scant seam and making all the those points line up.

This leads me to the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along. I have been working on these thinking it would be nice to work on some piecing skills over time. I am feeling the urge to go traditional with my block designs and make a scrap happy modern fabric quilt. I also found out that the plastic Marti Michell templates will help me with the blocks in this quilt too. I hope it will improve my quilting skills. A couple of 6 inch blocks a week doesn't seem very hard.

Maybe I should start with the hardest ones now that I am motivated and finish with the easy ones? Either that or instead of a Farmer's Wife I'll end up a mistress. And yes there is a flickr support subgroup for those of you mistresses who want to make a smaller version.

Also... Here's my six year olds WIP! This is her first attempt at stitching and I told her to stay on the marked lines and make the stitches small.


Give Anna some love!! :)) I am so stinkin proud of her.  We have been having some artsy-craftsy time together while the other two nap. She wants to learn how to quilt and blog this summer. I squeezed and hugged her more than a few times hearing that.

I am now on twitter too. If you care to follow there @sohappytosew. Let me know if you are too. I got over the obligatory lame first tweet yesterday. Make me a less lonely tree in the forest. K?

June 10, 2011

I'm a Happy Camper

The Happy Camper top is finished. Here's a sneak peak. I have to make a creative back since I have a back two inches too short for the width. So much for me messing with the pattern. I have a cool idea for the back, but it may take a couple of weeks. I will say the idea makes me smile every time I think about it.

Here is the Scrap Basket Sensations book, making today a good mail day. I won this from Sinta at the Pink Pincushion. I am going curl up on the couch and have a good read. I see two quilts already that interest me!

I also won a yard of fabric at Pink Chalk fabrics at their 50 yards of fabric blog giveaway. They are working through the book One Yard Wonders. It is in their 23rd week and it a great jump into sewing with soo many fun projects that need only a yard! It is interesting to see how each project turns out. I think I may buy a pattern or book with the certificate. Any advice?

So yup... this is a great Friday!

June 8, 2011

WIP Wednesday #2

New Projects:

I've got out my DS fabrics for the kaleidoscope quilt along. I hope Elizabeth doesn't mind. When I first saw them, I thought they were begging to be put into a summery picnic quilt. This is perfect. I thought of making a mini quilt, but I want to jump all in.

I also got out some Japanese linen for an iPad cover.  I'm leaning towards the green Red Riding Hood. I really want red polka dots, but I think that would stand out at Starbucks.

Works in Progress Currently:

All of the Cathedral Windows are basted and ready to go. As you can see I have started another project with some American Jane Happy Camper fabrics. I whipped up 40 nine patches from a jelly roll yesterday using a Moda Bake Shop tutorial. It's moving along very fast. I love nine patches. Those will make a border around a solid so I should be able to show a top very soon.

My American Jane Wee Play hexagon flowers are almost done too! I started these hexagons in September. All 1000 hexies were cut and basted by December, that's the addicting part, and now all the flowers are pieced. Almost... The pile on the left has centers to be sewn in, but hopefully that will be by the end of this month??

I won a book from Sinta at Pink Pincushion, sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop, and now I think I can bust through some jelly rolls that have been abandoned in the closet.

picture from pink pincushion
 I ended up buying a fat quarter pack of solid fabrics to go with Kate Spain's Flurry here.

I have a jelly roll of 12 Days of Christmas, from another giveaway last year, and I thought they would match. The blues are a little different, but not that noticeable. The solids were of different varieties and I thought the Free Spirit solids felt so much smoother and softer. I may have to rethink what solids I buy.

Completed tops awaiting quilting:
Pinwheel Quilt- this summer
Single Girl Quilt- this fall
HST Quilt- this month

This week's stats:
New projects - 2
Completed projects - 0
Currently in progress - 11

I am enjoying the Las Vegas 70 degree weather in the mornings. The park is a delightful place to induce those afternoon naps, err... quilting time!

June 7, 2011

Kaleidoscope Quilt Along

Go check out the fun at Don't Call Me Betsy.

I'm in. Are you? I am going to start with a mini, but you know how that ended last time!

June 5, 2011

Stick A Fork In Me Sunday #2

This weekend has been filled with the children enjoying the company of Poppy. They were thrilled to spend time with him. I think Anna said that she was having her 'most favoritist time' with him. :)

fabric: Gypsy- Pillow and Maxfield
I had some very ripe apricots from our backyard tree that needed some attention. Yesterday, I made some apricot jam with them. The name of the recipe is Apricot Honey and that name certainly fits since the results are more like a very thick syrup than jam. I halved the the recipe. Our tree is a Royal Apricot so perhaps there is a higher water content. I had to sneak a picture before it was all gone. By the end of this week or next, it will be placed on waffles, PBJs, fruit tarts, and whatever I can enjoy it on or in!

I did not process the jam since it will be gone very, very soon! I am also trying to wait patiently for our local farm's apricot crop to be ripe. We make enough of another apricot jam for the year. I will share the entire process soon.

On another note, I am getting closer to finding out what our mystery plant in the backyard is.

I am betting on watermelons. I think there are female and male blossoms with the larger blossoms having a green globe under the flower.  Here it is with the flower not opened yet.

I think they may be too round for squash? We will see.

Enjoy the jam. It takes 20 minutes and you have some fresh fruit spread for the week. I will be making my favorite fresh bread, which can be found here, and enjoying that picnic style outside. Yumm!