May 31, 2011

Thread Rainbow

I found these in an old container while cleaning up my sewing room.


These 70s/early80s 100% polyester darning spools were mixed in with old name tag ribbons my mom sewed into my clothes for Girl Scout camp. ...and towels ...and undies ....and whatever else they could be sewn into. :)

I almost threw them away, but the spools are so cute. They are shorter than the width of a quarter and some do not seem used. These spools may have a purpose with the purchase of a glue gun. I am thinking something color wheelish. They need to be put to good use soon or I might have to check into crazy mom quilts' 12 step program...

May 29, 2011

Stick A Fork In Me Sunday

I thought I might share the recipes I am making on Sundays when I have more time and the week has slowed down. Realize that I take the recipes I find and I mess with them so much that they are unrecognizable from the original recipe. Maybe that's why Nana-made recipes are so hard to duplicate?

picture from myrecipes.com
I am a salad dropout! It is hard for me to think beyond a little bunch of greens, tomato and onion. Don't even ask me to make my salad dressing... So I am trying to branch out and find tasty options.

While making this I discovered that Cobb salad was the invention of a restaurant manager, Bob Cobb, at The Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles in 1937.
". . . its origin was quite by accident. One evening the original owner, Robert H. Cobb, went to the icebox and found an avocado, which he chopped with lettuce, celery, tomatoes, and strips of bacon. Later he embellished it with breast of chicken, chives, hard-boiled egg, watercress, and a wedge of Roquefort cheese for dressing, and the salad was on its way to earning an international reputation."

Silly me, somehow I thought the name had something to do with corn on the cob rather than leftovers! I adapted it from Ivy Manning's recipe in Cooking Light. I wonder if it is a Cobb salad if it doesn't have cheese? Thinking back, shredded cheddar cheese might have made a welcome addition to my adaption of the salad!

Southwestern Cobb Salad

Ingredients

Vinaigrette:
* 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 1 teaspoon honey
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
* 2 tablespoons olive oil

Salad:
* 4 slices center-cut bacon
* 8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 8 cups greens (various types of lettuce, spinach)
* 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
* 1/2 cup grape tomatoes sliced in half
* 1/2 cup diced avocado (I used the whole avocado)
* 1/4 cup chopped green onions
* 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

Preparation
1. To prepare salad, cook bacon on a foil cover cookie pan in oven at 350  until crispy. Cool and crumble to add to salad.
2. To prepare vinaigrette, combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk; set aside.
3. Arrange 2 cups lettuce on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with about 2 teaspoons bacon, 5 tablespoons chicken, grape tomatoes, 2 tablespoons avocado, 1 tablespoon onions, and about 1/3 cup beans. Drizzle vinaigrette evenly over salads.


I decide to not use all the beans on the salad since there was a yummy looking recipe on the Kroger can.

picture from grouprecipes.com
Corn And Black Bean Salad
1 15 oz can black beans
1 12 oz can whole kernel corn
1 medium tomato, finely diced
3 green onions, finely diced - use red onions instead (1/4 cup)
1/4 c lime juice
1 t cumin powder - use fresh cilantro instead (2 Tablespoons chopped)

I used 12 oz of organic frozen corn and replaced the cumin powder with fresh cilantro! I also used red onions instead of green. I don't usually like bean salad of any kind, but this was very yummy.

It's was nice to have so many fresh veggies on my plate. Any favorites on yours?

May 28, 2011

A Morning at the Farm

I am thoroughly enjoying farm fresh produce!


I went to the local farm with a friend who had never been there before. This is what I ended up with! Well almost...The spinach/lettuce and the smaller apricots on the right are from my backyard. The type of apricots I like for jam are just not ready yet so I found some others at the farm for the kids to devour with their PBJs. I'll check next Saturday for sure.


I am still not convinced my mystery plant, aka Walmart Watermelon, from the compost will produce anything. A few blossoms fell off and did nothing. Anybody know what could be going on? There are plenty of ants and such ending up in the blossoms so they are getting pollinated. I think I need to wait. Is anyone sure these are watermelon? I do have some rogue tomato plants growing here from last year so I can always make room for those instead after enjoying these pretty yellow flowers.

Being in the middle of projects, I'll show you how I feel about my postage stamp quilt.


Doesn't it look like it goes on forever? - block number 3 out of 16 done.



I also basted my Cathedral Window blocks. That was boring, but worth it since I can just pull them out and have fun...play...applique.

On another note.... I am totally frustrated on another quilt! I have to pull out and take apart a crap load of HSTs going the wrong way. I almost cried about having to redo the points. I don't have a lot of HSTs in my quilts because I am too picky. The annoying part is was suppose to be the-easy-quilt, the-timeout-from-crazy-projects-quilt and now it has become I'm-not-showing-pictures-until-it's-done-quilt. Oh well! I think today I am going to take a break and actually read a book! Anybody know some good Sci-Fi books?

May 25, 2011

WIP #1 - Cathedral Window Quilt

This is my first Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday so here goes... :)

I have made very good progress on my Cathedral Window quilt. It felt good to lay it all out on the floor instead of agonizing over each block and its window fabric individually. The most difficult part of this quilt is finding the time to make all the white background units on the machine.

IMG_1657

I made 81 units into 9 blocks, and I am working on the temporary basting by thread part.

IMG_1667

I don't use pins. I hope to baste all 9 by Friday to start the hand applique part. It will be nice to have a prepped block to instantly pull out and work on. The pieces between the blocks, the ones hanging off the block, will be added at a later time when the blocks are sewn together.

block1

I am debating adding units of Kona green all around the edges as a border. Any ideas on what your favorite color of green is with Meadowsweet?

Hopefully this quarter of the quilt will be done by summer. You can check out the tutorial for my method here if you're interested in this type of quilt.

I think I am suppose to make a list of my WIPs here. Yikes!

This week's stats:
New projects - 0
Completed projects - 0
Currently in progress - hmm... lots, but these are actively being worked on and you can see them on my new WIP page above!

Postage Stamp
American Jane Hexagons
Cathedral Window
Dresden Plate
Concrete Log Cabin- my goal is for this to be a top next week

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I'll hopefully be more organized for WIP Wednesday next week. Thanks for visiting.

May 24, 2011

Help out a little bit...?

I would like to direct you to go out and check out Dana's blog over at Old Red Barn Co. She is holding a quilt fundraiser for the tornado ravaged town of Joplin, Mo.

A residential neighborhood in Joplin, Mo., is seen Monday, May 23, 2011 after it was leveled by a tornado that destroyed nearly 30 percent of the town on Sunday afternoon. The twister cut a six-mile path through the city. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Adam Wisneski)
Every little bit can help.

May 21, 2011

FNSI and a giveaway

I didn't get to finish the block last night, but it went from the last post to this. I'll finish it by the end of the weekend.


Anna 'graduation' went well. She says she is now a first grader even though there is 12 more days of school! She is very proud of her new graduation necklace.


Just thought you might like a heads up on a giveaway too.


Yup, I'm kinda into those fabrics. Can you tell!? My favorites are these aquas with a bit of fuchsia!




May 20, 2011

A Cute Gift Bag

I made this yesterday using my crafty powers.

IMG_1619

Seriously... I needed to make something and actually finish it! It is for a child's birthday this weekend. It will hold an opened birthday gift with all those tiny fairy pieces and accessories. I am hoping it helps to not lose all those pieces. Isn't so unfair there isn't a simple carrying case included with all that super tiny stuff?

It uses my simple fabric gift bag with a few changes. I used one longer piece to have the lining fabric peek out at the top and added a flat tube of fabric on each side to add some ribbon ties. My pieces were 10.5 by 16.5 (polka dot fabric) and 10.5 by 18.5 inches (swirly fabric).

I found my hexagon template. Whoohoo! I also have my pieces for another postage stamp block laid out for Friday Night Sew In.

IMG_1621

I will have to fit it in after kindergarten graduation tonight! Super exciting night!

Sharing this here with some friends.

May 18, 2011

Distractions

I been enjoying being distracted by the Blogger's Quilt Festival and I have been thoroughly distracted from any sewing these days. I have been finding inspiration everywhere, but in my sewing room. I really love this quilt or this quilt or this quilt. However, here are the piles on my sewing desk.
IMG_1616


Like the runner that is currently like my blog header, I have some hexagons that need to be sewn up into a quilt. I lost the hexagon template and need to cut a few more hexagons out of some fat quarters. I want to blame it on the three kids, but I am sure it was put in the safe place that is hiding from me for the moment. 

I also sewed and folded some Cathedral Window units. Nine units will make a 15 inch block. I'll baste the fabric into 10 blocks this week. Then the hand applique will go fast. It's having large blocks of time to sew that seem to be the problem around here.
 
At least what I consider the boring parts are done on these quilts and the fun can begin.

On another note, have you noticed the after Market sales! I am holding back, but I really am crushing on some older Anna Maria Horner voile.  I also am in love with this sweet line too.  Any new lines of fabric or old that you are crushing on lately?

May 13, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival Spring 2011

I am excited to participate in the Quilt Blogger’s Quilt Festival again.
Amy's Creative Side | Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Being a busy mom of three, it makes it difficult to find the time to sew, let alone blog. I sew at night and, when I can, during naptime! You can see my WIP page if you care to check out my current projects. If you comment, I will be sure to visit your blog’s quilt this weekend!
 
My quilt for this weekend’s quilt festival is a Single Girl quilt. I whined in January about not having one from Pottery Barn as designed by Denyse Schmidt.  I came upon the Single Girl Quilt Along on Katy’s blog, I am a ginger monkey, and began to cut into my Garden Party and Katie Jump Rope fabrics.

Finished Single Girl Top

Along the way I was scared of the curves and constantly confused, but I learned so much!! The support group was fantastic on flickr and I would suggest to join a quilt along to anyone who is tentative about a quilting making project!

Before making the queen sized top, I made a baby sized version of it inspired by the quilt along button.


I didn’t think I was going to finish the quilting in time for the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, but I have a thing for self-imposed deadlines. I am so happy to be able to share it with you. Two weeks ago I basted this quilt and began to hand quilt it in DMC perle cotton 8 in color 718. Or what I like to call 'In Your Face Fuchsia'!


It measures 42 by 49 inches and uses Kona Coal and Anna Marie Horner’s Garden Party. I love the big stitches and it went along super fast using this pick-stitch method. If you haven’t tried hand quilting have a go with it and embellish your machine quilting!

Thanks for visiting!

May 6, 2011

Amm yum yum yum...

I don't know about you, but I love breakfast. It must be my favorite meal of the day. I think it might be the fact that you can pour sugar onto everything and get away with it!! My favorite is waffles. Waffles with strawberries, jam, syrup, whip cream... but on a weekday it is too hard to do this and make it to school with the kids on time. My husband usually makes the waffles every Saturday before the kids go to their tennis lesson and I get to sew with Zoe. He has the recipe memorized! Last week our waffle maker broke and we  had to buy a new Belgium one. It had one of those recipe booklets that you look at once and stick into the cabinet and let gather dust. We did get two very yummy ideas out of it- waffle french toast and chocolate waffles. I'm kindly requesting the later for Mother's Day.

Here is the result this Friday...!!

...amm yum yum yum!!

Easy, super fast and much better than my usual french toast. (I usually use a recipe of 1 egg per piece of bread and add some milk to soak the bread.) Mine are usually soggy and burnt and these were crispy and perfectly cooked on the inside. Get out your abandoned waffle makers and enjoy the next best thing!


My Single Girl will be done soon.

 
I have been looking at the pictures and have been finding the color is always off. The colors look neon sometimes.


The aquas are too bright and the green yellow isn't that garish. Any ideas why? Is the background of coal colored fabric messing with the camera's automatic settings?

After I get the arc in the hoop finished today, I will feel like I am on the home stretch.


Sharing the sewing week with friends here ...

May 3, 2011

My Hand Quilting Project: Day 3

This has to be quick since I have a half hour of naptime left and I need to use it!

I did however finish a lot these last few days and 'In Your Face Fuchsia' colored perle cotton is growing on me!


I basted alot and I am not regretting that. It really holds the layers together. If I had used pins I would have more shifting than I have now. I do not like having to stab stitch where the rings meet. That is the most difficult part of the process. Pushing the needle through 6 layers is not too fun. The negative space is the most relaxing part of the quilting.

I have been using a nifty tip to avoid lots of knotting and beginning threads. Double the thread length and bring the thread halfway through the fabric. I come back to the loose threads and continue in the opposite direction. It cuts down on the wear and tear on the perle cotton and saves time for quilting, not knotting.

Here's a link to a tutorial that describes how to hand quilt. I use the same method.


Anyway I though you might know what I was up to. Thanks for the encouraging words! Catch up with you later.

May 1, 2011

My Hand Quilting Project

I am just slightly intimidated by the colors I am using for this baby sized Single Girl. The fabric is very bold and I want to bring out the color explosion I see. The camera seems to magnify it. Scared me says, 'I really want to use a safe gray matching thread that won't show all the errors that I think I am going to see.' Instead,  I will be using perle cotton 8 in DMC thread 718, also known as "In Your Face Fuchsia"! (no...not really...) What am I thinking?


I also want this done in two weeks time for Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival.

Amy's Creative Side | Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Can I do it? One block took two days... so 4 blocks equals 8 days + 2 for binding and washing.... maybe... maybe?