Wednesday, August 31, 2011

W.i.P. Wednesday

W.i.P. Wednesday really snuck up on me this week! No exciting finishes, but I have made progress . . .

Ongoing projects
Cappuccino Bali Pop Quilt - All the strips are stitched together, cut per instructions, and in the block-piecing process! Yay!

4x5 modern Quilt Bee blocks - Done, and mailed! {see here} I confess, I'm so happy with how these turned out! The aqua and orange block block seems to be one of the flickr favs.

Dead Simple Quilt Along with Lily's Quilts - Due to start in September - I'm researching palettes.

100 Quilts for Kids Quilt Along - I cut my own DS print charm squares and plan on putting together a Storytime Squares quilt with Kate's quilt-along. 

For the Love of Solids - Oh dear. With all the other 'dates' swirling in my head, I messed up on the deadline for this project, but am on my way now. It's definitely in progress, but I'm drafting my own pattern, which is not necessarily in my comfort zone. I have a plan though - now just need to find the time to execute it! Here's a sneak peek.

Sibling quilt #1 - You may remember my Geese in the Park quilt made with Central Park. My brother and sister-in-law really like this quilt, and as soon as I can get a label made, I'll be shipping it off to them. Another yay!

Upcoming projects
* Stash quilt - zig zag quilt
Shades of Grey.
* Swoon quilt with Terrain!
* Quilts for siblings #2 and #3.
* Try making a pouch!

On hold
Block-a-palooza quilt along needs basted and quilted.

Let's go check out more w.i.p.s over at Freshly Pieced!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rainbow Charms and Winners

It was great fun to receive my rainbow charms back from the swap hosted by Ellison Lane Quilts! Jennifer sorted over 6000 charms!! Wow. They are beautiful.

And thank you to all of you who commented on the DS Charm Pack give-away. The winners are . . .
Diane of Life Scraps, and Heather of I'm Here. Might As Well Win. Congratulations! Have fun making your 100 Quilts for Kids quilts!

Tuesday at the Table

"Do you want to lick the bowl?" I've been yelling that for years. And just like usual, he came running. No, there's no kids in the house these days. That would be hubby racing to the kitchen.

Saturday was a beautiful summer day, but with house-guests due to arrive that evening, and a busy week ahead, I needed to start the process of making treats to take to a party later this week. Something easy to do ahead, but that would be really tasty. Sounded like time for cake balls.

If you haven't had Bakerella's Red Velvet Cake Balls, then seriously, you've been deprived. They've been a family fav in our house ever since daughter dear discovered and made them several years ago. YUM.

So they were on my agenda, as well as a new variation I'd found on Pinterest of all places - Espresso-Dipped Nutella Cake Balls with Sea Salt. Uh, talk about several of my favorite ingredients in one ball of deliciousness!

1. Bake up a box mix cake in a 9x13" pan, according to directions.
(Red Velvet for Red Velvet cake balls, obviously; any chocolate variety for the Nutella. The original Nutella recipe has a 'scratch' cake, though I'll try a box mix next time, with a bit of instant espresso powder stirred in.)

2. Let cake cool slightly, then crumble into a mixing bowl. 
(My favorite method is with a fork, but you can also put big hunks in your stand mixer and blend to crumbs.)

3. Mix in one tub of: cream cheese frosting (not whipped) for the Red Velvet; 16 oz. Nutella for the Nutella.

4. Use a cookie scoop to scoop mixture onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. 
(Size depends on you. I like small ones; daughter dear likes them bigger. I can fit the whole batch on one sheet by placing very closely together. Put the whole cookie sheet in the freezer for overnight.)

5. Melt 1 bag Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips.You'll probably need to add another bag half-way through the dipping process, depending on the size of your cake balls. For Nutella, stir in a bit of instant espresso powder.
(I do in the microwave - just watch carefully. Start with one minute, stir; they will probably need another minute. And I've tried other chips, including white. I, personally, have the best luck with these so they are all I use for cake balls.)

6. Dip frozen cake balls one at a time. 
(I use two forks. Toss a ball in, roll to cover, pick up with your fork and tap on side of bowl to remove excess, and place on cookie sheet. If you have a helper to do the tossing in, this step goes twice as fast.)

7. Place dipped balls on fresh parchment-covered cookie sheet. 
(Don't place so closely together for this step. I use two sheets for a whole batch. For Nutella cake balls, sprinkle with coarse or flaked salt immediately after dipping. For Red Velvet, freeze tray for a few minutes, then drizzle with chocolate, using your fork and refreeze.)

8. Now your cakeballs are basically done and will be fine in the freezer for a few days, until you need them. If storing longer, you can toss them into a gallon-size freezer bag. 
(I warn you, though, from my experience, they are not necessarily safe left alone.)

Cake balls are fun to make, easy to do ahead in steps, and folks always seem to love them. I hope you do too!

Original Red Velvet Cake Ball recipe here.
Original Espresso-Dipped Nutella Cake Balls with Sea Salt recipe here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

For Kids

You know about 100 QUILTS for kids, 
Swim, Bike, Quilt
and I've told you about the 100 Quilts for Kids Quilt Along.
Swim, Bike, Quilt
Well, the Storytime Squares quilt Kate made using Rae Hoekstra's pattern {see here} looks darling, and I decided I'd like to try to make one to donate to Project Linus. I don't have any charms packs on hand that seem quite right, but I do have some new (and older) DS prints, so why not use them, following Kate's lead? As I was cutting out my own charm squares, it dawned on me that some of my followers might have the same idea, and since I was cutting, I might as well cut extra and share.
SO, a give-away is the obvious result! I have two extra "home-cut" charm packs made of the fabrics you see above, each with at least 48 five-inch charms. Most of the fabric is from the new DS Sugar Creek line, but there's also some from Fairgrounds and Picnic. If you're interested, leave a comment on this post, and I'll choose two random winners sometime Tuesday.
Of course, I'm hoping you'll join the fun of the 100 Quilts for Kids Quilt Along and make a quilt to donate to a children's charity near you. Remember, the quilt drive runs September 15 to October 15, 2011. You can find out all the details from Kate at swimbikequilt.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

100 Quilts for Kids

100 QUILTS for kids is an annual charity event that I heard about from Kate at swimbikequilt. It's an  opportunity to join other quilters and donate our quilts to local children's charities. The quilt drive runs September 15 to October 15, 2011. You can find out all the details from Kate.
Swim, Bike, Quilt
I'll be donating my Comic Strip Quilt made from Sherbet Pips, with the thought that the darling characters will appeal especially to a little girl.

I plan on donating my quilt to Project Linus, a National organization with a local chapter in my area. Operating since 1995, their mission is to "provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer "blanketeers." In South Snohomish County, where I live, fellow sewists can drop off quilts at the Everett Pacific Fabrics store, or The Needle & I. Let me know if you need more information about these locations or our local chapter.

I hope you consider joining your fellow quilters in this effort to help children!

Seconds after publishing, I saw Kate's post about 100 Quilts for Kids Quilt Along! Check it out! {here}
Swim, Bike, Quilt

Friday, August 26, 2011


I’ve been thinking a lot about color lately. Maybe too much.

Yesterday, when my coworker walked into the office, rather than kindly saying, “Good Morning,” I blurted out, “I love your shirt! It’s KONA Kiwi!” {duh. True story.} Thankfully, he’s a very good sport and just laughed. And in all honesty, when I got home and checked my KONA Color Card, his shirt was actually Pistachio. Ha.

I suppose it all started with the Rainbow Charm Swap, followed by the Color Wheel Charm Swap. I just finished up my Summer Sampler, chock full of solid, citrusy color. And then I’ve been working on my 4x5 bee blocks, and agonizing over what ‘lime’ really means, and ‘cardinal red’, and ‘pomegranate.’ And on top of that, I’ve had my for the love of solids swap partner’s favorite color stuck in my head, wondering what other colors would go great with it. I’ve also joined up with the Dead Simple QA with Lily's Quilts, which basically will be focusing more on a chosen color palette than the pattern. All of that adds up to a lot of color!
Dead Simple Quiltalong

Imagine my surprise when I opened my google reader yesterday and saw the announcement of Celebrate Color with Stitched in Color and friends. Celebrate Color is an event that "celebrate(s) the colors of fall with inspiration tutorials, contests and prizes during the months of September, October, and November. Because color inspires us all, Celebrate Color is for fiber artists of all kinds." Very cool, don't you think?
Celebrate Color

As I've mulled over color palettes for the solids swap and the Dead Simple Quilt QA, I've been posting ideas on my "Color Inspiration" Pinterest board {here}. You already know that one of my favorite sources of color palettes is Design Seeds. Besides their frequents posts on facebook, it's great that you can search for palettes by topic, season, or color. I thought I'd share a sampling of my favs . . .
hens & chicks from

color crave from

door hues

autumn macaron - tasty in any season!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The 4x5

There is, admittedly, relief today. As I mentioned on W.i.P. Wednesday, the 4x5 modern Quilt Bee has intimidated me since Day 1, and I am more than happy to have finished my blocks last night. I confess, I was in a quandary for weeks over which block to make, but when I came across "Planetarium" by Elizabeth Hartman, I was smitten. The decision was made. And once I got started, I really enjoyed putting together the colors and fabrics for each of my fellow bee members. Let's hear it for Beehive 10!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

W.i.P. Wednesday

Time for a W.i.P. Wednesday report!

Completed projects
I had a fun finish this week - my Summer Sampler.
{complete post with pics here}

Ongoing projects
Charm squares for the Color Wheel Charm Swap were sent off!

Cappuccino Bali Pop Quilt - still piecing the bali pop strips.

4x5 modern Quilt Bee blocks - in progress! This 'project with a deadline' has been giving me some anxiety - the hardest part is deciding on a block! Seeing what's going up in the flickr group can be very intimidating! But, thankfully, I decided on a block last weekend and started sewing! Five blocks are done {love them!} - hope to have the sixth done yet this week and all in the mail this weekend. The block I finally settled on was an adaptation of "Planetarium" from Elizabeth Hartman's book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork. This is a great book, and I am glad for the inspiration I found in it for the 4x5. (You'll also find plenty of inspiration on Elizabeth's blog, Oh, Fransson!
sample block in my colors

Upcoming projects
* For the Love of Solids project.
* Stash quilt - zig zag quilt
Shades of Grey.
* Quilts for our siblings.

On hold for a while
Block-a-palooza quilt along needs basted and quilted.

Don't forget - there's more w.i.p.s to see over at Freshly Pieced!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday at the Table

Considering fall is yet five weeks away, I'm hoping it's not too late to tout the pleasures of iced coffee. I started seeing it in my google-reader earlier this summer from Katie {see here} and Ree {see here} and Shanna {see here}. Finally, I determined I would try it for myself.

Beings I'm a Northwest girl, I started with a blue bag of Starbucks Iced Coffee Blend, ground for a French press.
I put half in a big ice tea jug with four quarts of cold water and let it set on the counter overnight. Then I strained it through a paper towel-lined mesh strainer, considering I had no cheesecloth, eventually storing it back in the spigoted ice tea jug in the fridge.

Though curious at the onset {what's she trying now?}, hubby really liked the drink I handed him the next day - an iced coffee sweetened per Shanna's suggestion (a mixture of half sweetened condensed milk and half evaporated skim milk) and a bit of vanilla syrup. He said it reminded him of the drink we'd had at Dunn Bros Coffee the first time we visited Minneapolis. As Dunn advertises the Vanilla Iced Nirvana - "Infinite Black™ cold press coffee with vanilla and cream." Uh - pretty similar.
In fact, I emailed Dunn's and have had a nice exchange about the recipe for the Nirvana, and they do use vanilla syrup and half-and-half, so we've switched to using that with our current (3rd) batch of cold-brewed coffee. Of course, they insist the secret to the Nirvana's awesomeness is the cold-pressed Infinite Black. I may just ask son to bring us a pound when he comes to visit next - you know, for the sake of the cause.

Anyway, if you like coffee at all, I'd suggest you try it. There's still time.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Summer Sampler

Little did I know when I chose sunny, citrus colors for my Summer Sampler that this little bit of summer would be so deeply appreciated. Honestly, I've found more summer in the making of this quilt than in the weather outside my home.
After piecing the backs of my last few quilts, I decided to finish this one with a simple lime-and-white dot. That and a KONA Chartreuse binding complete the summery look.
Overall, this quilt was a bit of a challenge. I had done very little paper-piecing before, so for most of the blocks to have at least some paper-piecing required some serious determination. This is also just the second quilt I have done totally in solids, so I was always second-guessing my color placement. And, my blocks didn't all finish at the same size, so I worried about that for a while. But framing them in white and then trimming them turned out to be a perfect solution. I debated over colored cornerstones, and again over adding a border, but I really like how the blocks seem to 'float' on the white background. All in all, a very fun summer quilt-along.

Linking up with {Sew} Modern Monday . . .
{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In

Last night was Friday Night Sew-In, and it was all about my Summer Sampler! First off, she needed to be basted, and thankfully, it was a lovely evening, which allowed me to baste yet another quilt on the deck!
And then, of course, it was on to quilting.
Spray out the bobbin case.
Wind a couple of bobbins with my new Aurifil thread.
Install a new needle.
Screw on that walking foot.
And begin.

Friday, August 19, 2011

DS Found

There has been quite a bit of discussion on flickr the last couple of weeks about the new Denyse Schmidt collection, Sugar Creek. Seems like the distribution has been very uneven, as to which stores get what, but I was able to find several bolts today. Here is all the DS my local JoAnn's had  - some of which is the new Sugar Creek, some the previous lines of Picnic and Fairgrounds. (My recent Kaleidoscope quilt was mostly Fairgrounds - see here.)
I was drawn to the cool colors again, and decided to get a bit of each of these:
 So a nice little stash addition for today.
L-R: Daisy Chain Cornflower, Floral Meadow, Gingham Nut Meadow, 
Kitchsy Stripe Cornflower, Diamonds Blue, Wavy Check Meadow, 
Retro Plaid Cornflower, Infinity Meadow

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

W.i.P. Wednesday

Here it is - W.i.P. Wednesday already!

Completed projects
Yay for a small finish - the Afternoon Snack table runner for my mom. {see here}

Ongoing projects
I finished my top for the Summer Sampler Series Quilt Along!

I am really loving it, and am anxious to baste it (I know!) and get quilting. The back is pieced - a simple lime with white dot; binding will be KONA Chartreuse. Hope to have a completed quilt to show you before long!

Cappuccino Bali Pop "Light & Shadow" - progress! I started piecing the bali pop strips (basically 2 1/2" jelly roll strips) - this step will take a while, but at least I've started!

Upcoming projects
* 4x5 modern Quilt Bee blocks.
* For the Love of Solids project.
* Charm squares for the Color Wheel Charm Swap.
* Stash quilt - zig zag quilt
* Quilts for our siblings.

On hold for a while
Block-a-palooza quilt along needs basted and quilted.

Head over to Freshly Pieced to see this week's w.i.p.s!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday at the Table

Every once in a while, two of my favorite things about summer collide. Hubby likes to grow herbs. Though he doesn't really like to cook, there is one herby recipe he really enjoys making.  Last night, I lucked out.

Me: "Is it ok if I post your mojito recipe on my blog?"
Hubby: "Sure."
90 seconds pass . . .
Hubby: "Does that mean you want one tonight?"
Me: "Do you feel like one?"
Hubby: "I'll go pick some mint."

Hubby's Mojitos
Tear 15 or so mint leaves into a cocktail shaker.
Add 2 oz. simple syrup.
Cut 1 lime into 1/8's - squeeze juice into shaker and then toss in lime wedges. Muddle together.
Pour 4 oz. rum into shaker; fill 1/2 full with ice and shake vigorously until shaker is very cold.
Divide into two glasses; top off with Sprite.
Add float of 1/4 oz. dark rum to each glass.
Makes two servings.

Summer in a glass. Enjoy!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Finish it Up! ~ The Finale

When Meg of Fashioned by Meg began the Finish it Up! challenge in June, I had high hopes of finishing the three projects on my list - three sounded pretty reasonable. I promptly joined two quilt-alongs and several swaps. Nothing like complicating things from the get-go! 

So here's the list I've been working on:
1. Dream Big Finished!*

2. Light and Shadow Bali pop quilt Cut out*
3. Gentlemen Caller Finished!*
4. Kaleidoscope Finished!
5. Summer Sampler Series Top in progress
6. Afternoon Snack table runner Finished!
(*indicates my original Finish it Up! list*)

But at least I have four finishes to show for myself:

and a near-finish.
Summer Sampler blocks framed and ready to stitch into rows!

So all in all, it's been a productive summer! Thanks, Meg, and everyone in the flickr group for all the encouragement and inspiration!