Monday, October 31, 2011

52 lists in 52 weeks//week 22 and A Pumpkin Finish

Aha! Just in the nick of time, I have my pumpkin table runner done!

Inspired by the Pumpkin Patch Table Runner by the plaid scottie {here}, I decided to shorten mine up some.
For the pumpkin fabric, I dug around in my scrap basket. I thought the background called for something a little rustic, and I decided to use some osnaburg. An artist quilty friend had told me about this coarse, loosely-woven fabric, which happens to have an interesting history {thanks, wikipedia}. It, along with some random straight-line quilting, and an occasional rusty-orange thread gave it the look I was doing for.
Thanks for the encouragement to get this done, when I claimed to have lost interest. It was a fun distraction from quilting Swoon. And next year, I'll be able to enjoy it for the whole month of October!

Linking up with {Sew} Modern Monday and Fabric Tuesday!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mango Revisited

After much thought about which project to enter in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival, I decided on my "Mango" quilt. It was a challenge in many ways, and was created specifically for my secret partner in the For the Love of Solids swap. We were all given our partner's favorite color, and an inspirational mosaic. We were able to cruise through their blog, and snoop around their flickr photostream. And then, we were to create something special, backed by all that quilty knowledge. Talk about pressure!

Besides the color mango, my partner liked circles, and had somewhat modern tastes. Thankfully, her answer to "Likes" being "whatever you enjoy" gave me some relief and a sense of freedom.

An idea developed in my  mind, and when I couldn't find a pattern that was just right, I went to my cutting table, surrounded by my tools of the trade and drew, cut, sewed, recut, resewed, etc., and finally came up with a small block I liked.
I tweaked one more time to enlarge the arches, and finally set to work making the little blocks.
I distributed three shades of orange evenly through the blocks, both in the rings, and in the "pinwheels." Four shades of gray went into each block center, then were used to frame the blocks somewhat arbitrarily. 
Finally, it was time to quilt. I chose to use variegated thread for the first time to tie all the oranges together, with a wavy quilting stitch to enhance the curves in the blocks.
Bound up in medium gray, off it went to my partner, Tina of Seaside Stitches
Though the process of making this quilt was nerve-wracking at times and filled with indecision, it stretched me in good ways. Using only solids and creating my own design were gratifying steps forward in my quilting journey.

Fabric is KONA cotton; batt is Warm and White Cotton Batting. Finished size approx. 42" square. If you would like to see my original post about this quilt, including a look at the back, see here. Thanks!

Linking up to the Bloggers' Quilt Festival! Hope to see you there!


Well, today is the start of the Bloggers' Quilt Festival! This is a big deal, people! There are 90(!) entries all ready this morning, and I've barely woken up yet! The festival goes through November 4, so you have plenty of time to write a new post about one of your quilts. All the rules are here. Hope you can join in the fun! I know I will be.

And speaking of fun, I was thrilled to see September Swoon, the completed quilt made by the Faith Circle of do.Good Stitches. This was the first month I participated in the circle - my block is the one in the lower right corner - and I am pleased to have had even a small part in creating this quilt. Rachel was our quilter this month, and did a lovely job putting it all together! {see here}

Thanks to Marci, I was reminded that Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from Your Favorite Designers was now released!
My daughter and I both snatched up a copy, and we agreed with Marci - it makes you want to drop all those w.i.p.s and make some blocks! This book is going to be a great reference and inspiration - just fyi!

Lastly, if you have the time, there's a good/sweet/helpful article over on Generation Q about dealing with your stash. {see here}

Have a good day - and I hope to see you at the festival!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Next Step

The good news: the Swoon top is pieced. The not so good news: basting comes next!

As I was thinking about basting this behemoth, it dawned on me there was no space in the house that was possibly big enough, and the rain outside precluded using the deck. Thankfully, hubby had the bright idea to move the table out of the dining room. Never done before for this purpose, it proved to be an admirable solution. I was reminded that 50-something knees don't like to crawl around on the floor for an hour, but at least the (spray) basting is done.
And while I was down there on the floor, I decided to take a close up for those of you who are declaring that center block your favorite . . .
Now. On to the quilting.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

W.i.P. Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

W.i.P. Wednesday came a tad too fast for me this week! If you missed out on my full reveal for the Pretty {little} Pouch Swap, see here.

Ongoing projects
Swoon quilt - The top is finished, and the backing is being pieced. It'll be another couple of days before I get to basting and then quilting. Progress has been slow but sure . . .

Wrenly HST quilt - no progress here, unfortunately.

Pumpkin Patch Table Topper - no progress here, either. I may have lost interest for now . . .

Upcoming projects
Autumn Lap Quilt NEW
* Flannel Christmas quilt - Still need to decide on a pattern - Christmas stars?
* Hometown "Wild Thing" NEW
* Stash quilt zig zag quilt
* Quilts for siblings #2 and #3.

Be sure and check in at Freshly Pieced to see lots of other great w.i.p.s!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday at the Table

"Is this homemade?"

We had some young people over for dinner this weekend - young as in they are our children's age - twenty-somethings. And they raved over the apps, and scarfed down the main course and salad, but it was at the dessert that the question came. It was over the simple pie-pan cheesecake, topped with fresh berries and shaved white chocolate that he asked, "Is this homemade?"

I really wish I would have quizzed him. Why did it matter? Why did he want to know? Next time I see him, I think I will ask.

But the answer was, "Yes."

I don't know why I do most things "homemade," except it's what I know and what I like. My brother does it too. And it's not as if we didn't grow up in a house that knew cake mixes, canned tamales, and Dream Whip. But somewhere along the line, our working mom turned the big, orange Betty Crocker's cookbook over to us and left us in charge of meal time. Not that we weren't agreeable. We took turns choosing what to make, often heading off to the grocery store together to get supplies. It was a great adventure, and we owe thanks to our mom, who gave us free reign in the kitchen.

You know the old adage, "If you're not going to do it right, don't do it at all?" Well, that translated to an unspoken rule in our kitchen too. "If you don't cook like you care, don't bother." It was a life lesson reinforced when I worked at a bakery many years later. The owner told us all - often - to "bake with love - they'll be able to taste the difference."

I hope my young friend could taste the difference. I do know he cleaned his plate, and the last of the cheesecake left when he did.

from The Joy of Cheesecake, by Dana Bovbjerg & Jeremy Iggers

Basic Crumb Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (9 double crackers)
6 Tb. butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Place crumbs in mixing bowl, add melted butter and sugar. Blend well. 
Press crumb mixture onto bottom and partly up sides of a greased 9" pie pan. Smooth the crumb mixture along the bottom to an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool slightly before filling.

3/4 pound cream cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tb. vanilla
Preheat oven to 357-degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Pour mixture into prepared crust and bake for 20 minutes.

Sour Cream Topping
1 cup sugar
2 Tb. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Gently stir ingredients together. Spread over top of warm cheesecake and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven and allow to cool, then chill.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

52 lists in 52 weeks//week 21

The list assignment for this week is "my Halloween to-do list", and honestly, I don't have one. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed it when the kids were small and at home - I made almost all of their costumes, baked them fun treats, and did the whole pumpkin-carving-seed-roasting routine with them. But with an empty next located in a neighborhood that gets ZERO(!) trick-or-treaters . . . well, we kind of ignore it these days.

So rather than a Halloween list, I hunted down some pretty amazing decorations, projects, food, and quilts that would be great for the Halloween season. I hope you like them!

courtesy of Pinterest

Saturday, October 22, 2011

So Far, So Good

Well, last night was Friday Night Sew-In, and I really pushed to get my last two Swoon blocks done.

When I realized there was no way all nine blocks would fit on my design wall, it began to dawn on me how big this quilt is going to be! I glanced at the pattern - 80" X 80"! Yikes. I was really wanting to quilt this one myself, but what you don't know is I have written on my sewing room white board: "68X72 TOO BIG." Meaning.....I have really struggled with quilting that size of quilt. I'm hoping, since it's been a while, that I can manage quilting my Swoon, as I actually have a quilting plan.

Meanwhile, I laid the blocks on the floor to get an idea how they'll look together. First tentative layout:
I'll probably be playing with the layout, but till then, I'll just celebrate Swoon blocks: Complete.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bee Blocks and Swoons a Plenty

I was pretty pleased to join the do.Good Stitches Faith Circle in September! Making a Swoon block for our circle's quilt was a real treat, but I confess, I was breathless when I saw the top our quilter, Rachel put together. {see her post here}
1. Swoon with do. Good Stitches

I can't wait to see the back and how she finishes the quilt. I am really proud to be a part of this project!

My own Swoon quilt is coming along - blocks 6 and 7 are now done!

It has also been great fun being a part of Beehive 10 in the 4x5 modern Quilt Bee. Yesterday I got my last block in the mail for this round. I think they all look great together, and can't wait to get started on the next quarter!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pretty {little} Pouch Swap - Given and Received

Swaps are great fun, but a tad nerve-wracking, at least to me. It was only at the encouragement of blog buddies that I was somehow brave enough to join the Pretty {little} Pouch Swap after making just three zip pouches. But I did.

After examining my secret partner's mosaic, there were several words I clung to - "shot cotton", "Heather Ross", and "improv". I didn't even know what shot cotton was, only had two small pieces of Heather Ross fabric - thanks to a friend, and had done improv just a couple of times. But I kind of thought I could pull all those components together. And I came up with this:

I was really pleased with how the pouch turned out and shipped it off on Monday. I just heard tonight that my partner - Vanesa of New Nest Designs - received it - yay!

Funny, but on Monday, I also received the pouch that Melissa of A Child of the Wild Blue Yonder had made for me!
It is so sweet, with my favorite blues, greens, and gray. I really like it alot, as well as the cool handmade soap Melissa included! Thanks so much, Mama Missa!
So the Pretty {little} Pouch Swap comes to a close for now. I 'met' shot cotton ("like!"), dabbled in improv, tried a new quilting pattern, and met a challenge, all with some good fun thrown in!

Linking up to Celebrate Color, Finish it up Friday, {Sew} Modern Mondayand at the new T.N.T. Thursdays at Happy Quilting!
Celebrate Color

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

W.i.P. Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

W.i.P. Wednesday comes around quick, doesn't it?! Thankfully, I've been able to make good progress on a variety of projects.

Completed projects
My Dead Simple Quilt Along project is complete! It was super fun, and I'm so glad I made the design decision I did! {see here}

My Pretty {little} Pouch Swap project is finished and on its way to my partner! I'm post more about it, once it reaches its new home!

Ongoing projects
Swoon quilt - blocks 4 and 5 are finished! Every one I make is my new favorite!

Wrenly HST quilt - I decided to go lap-size with my first zig-zag quilt (the blocks are 6 1/2" unfinished). I was able to finish the top and piece the back (no pic yet), so this one needs basted so I can quilt it up.

Pumpkin Patch Table Topper from the plaid scottie - Doesn't look like much yet, but pumpkins are pieced; now need to add the background.

Upcoming projects
* Flannel Christmas quilt 
* Stash quilt - zig zag quilt
* Quilts for siblings #2 and #3.

Be sure and check in at Freshly Pieced to see lots of other great w.i.p.s! It's always inspiring!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday at the Table

There's a new shop in town! It's called Book Larder, "a community cookbook store", and just opened October 12.

Well, you know me and cookbooks! There was an event on their schedule that interested me right away, so I booked us tickets, and hubby and I went last night!

Greg Atkinson "measures meals by how memorably they bring people together." He is a Northwest chef, a commentator, and an author, and we had the pleasure to hear him read from his newest book. He read about the time he cooked for Martha Stewart, about cooking with his aging mama, and about a casual meal with friends that transformed a moment in time - all amusing and heart-felt.
Greg Atkinson: At the Kitchen Table

One thing that characterizes our culture, he said, is that we "go out, get food, bring it home, and tell stories about it." I can't speak for most of you, of course, but Greg's statement certainly fits our family. Any meal, any time, there is discussion about the food. It's like it's an essential component of how it nourishes us.

I wanted to share a recipe today that seriously comes from my kitchen - one of those "family favorites" that has been made again and again. I actually got the recipe in a demonstration techniques class in college, so I've been baking these up for a long time. They are simple to make, but yummy . . . I hope you enjoy them.


Mix together:
4 eggs
¾ c. melted butter
2 c. pumpkin,
2c. sugar

2 t. baking powder
1 t. soda
½ t. cinnamon
2c. flour
Pour batter into greased & floured jelly-roll pan (10X15"). Bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes.

For frosting, blend together 3 oz. cream cheese, 3 c. powdered sugar, 6 Tb. butter, 1 t. vanilla, & 1 Tb. milk.Spread over cake; sprinkle with chopped nuts if you like. Chill slightly before cutting into bars.

Monday, October 17, 2011


If you read my post on Saturday, you know I had a sewing weekend planned. And sew I did! It was at my niece's suggestion, and she traveled several hours to spend the weekend and we sewed as much as we could squeeze in!

One of my favorite moments was seeing my daughter teach my niece how to do hexagons.

Another was when I was struggling with my Pretty {little} Pouch Swap project, fussing over this detail and that. Rachel finally blurted out, "It's improv, Mom!" Love that girl!

Sunday, we went to church, and wouldn't you know, it was "Quilt Sunday." We all thought that was a nice coincidence! Twice a year, the quilts made by the quilting group are blessed before being shipped out as an encourage to others.
156 quilts were draped across the room. We went on a mini tour before heading home.

After the girls left, I was inspired to finish up the P{l}PS pouch, and was able to ship it to my partner today.

And I kept sewing and got another Swoon block done!
All in all, it was a great girls' weekend, and a productive time of sewing. Now back to reality, sigh.