Tuesday, February 28, 2012

W.i.P. Wednesday

W.i.P. Wednesday is here again already. A busy week has left little time for sewing, but I've made a bit of progress . . .

Completed projects
Sparkle QAL - Pictures of this one have been floating around blogland (and facebook!). It happily resides at my mom's house now.

For the Love of Solids small project - see it here.

And a little redesign of the blog! Very fun!

Ongoing projects
Scrappy Depression Blocks - Two more done, 13 to go.


Modern Mini Challenge quilt - binding in progress! Can't resist showing a little sneak peek!

4x5 modern Quilt Bee blocks - My test block is done {here}, so now I need to get started on blocks for my hive-members!

Upcoming projects  
* scrappy Metrolink
a zip pouch w/o zipper tabs - want to know this way too
* Modern Crosses mini quilt
* A Christmas quilt to coordinate with my tree skirt
* "On a Whim
* Table runner for my cousin
* Pattern for Mango 
* A light box
* Quilts for siblings #2 and #3


Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday . . .

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday at the Table

I grew up in a home that was health-conscious in a 1960's sort of way. We ate a variety of vegetables, had milk at every meal, included fish in our diet . . . but we also loved our treats. Though there was alot of baking done in our home, we were also enamoured by the convenience of pre-made snacks. Dad packed a Hostess fruit pie in his lunch every day (introduced in 1965, they were a new-fangled item!), and mom would let my brother and I choose from the huge Hostess bin at our grocery store. Nine times out of 10, I'd choose Twinkies. And yup, I took a twin-pack in my sack lunch almost every day of my childhood. Occasionally - you know, for a change of pace - I'd choose their filled cupcakes. Random: Created in 1919, Hostess CupCakes® are the best selling snack cakes in history. It wasn’t until over 30 years later that a baker added the signature squiggles and vanilla-crème filling. 

Which brings us to today.
This weekend I baked up a memory.

For some reason, I'd had this monstrosity on my mind lately, something I baked up for my coworker's birthday a while back . . .
Yeah, that would be a Hostess Cupcake Cake. {recipe found here} It was a big hit, so when I saw the 'regular' size home-made, I just couldn't resist. I made them this time as a fun experiment. I'll make them next time because they're so good! Note to self: pour a tall glass of milk!

Chocolate “Squiggle” Cupcakes (adapted from The Food Network)
Makes 12 cupcakes
Cupcakes
12 cupcakes from 1 recipe Betty Crocker's Devil's Food Cakemix
Filling
1 tablespoon softened butter
¾ cup marshmallow creme
Ganache Topping
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup heavy cream, warmed in a saucepan
Squiggle Topping
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
milk
Prepare cupcakes according to directions, using a ¼ cup of batter for each cupcake. (You’ll have some leftover plain cupcakes.)
For the filling, combine the marshmallow and butter in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk until well combined and transfer to a pastry bag  fitted with a wide tip. When the cupcakes are completely cooled gently press the tip into the top of each cupcake. Gently squeeze to inject the cupcake with about 1 tablespoon of the filling. Set aside.
For the ganache, place chocolate chips in a bowl and cover with warm cream. Allow to sit for 3 to 4 minutes and then whisk until melted and smooth. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the chocolate mixture over each cupcake and spread out using the back of a spoon to cover the top. Allow the ganache  to cool and set for at least 10 minutes.
Finally for the swiggles, whisk confectioners sugar with milk (The original recipe called for 2 to 3 Tb., but start with alot less. You don't want your drizzle too runny.) Use a pastry bag with a thin tip to decorate the top of each cupcake. (I used a zip-lock freezer bag with a tiny hole cut in one corner.) 
You know next time I'll be trying THESE!

Monday, February 27, 2012

52 lists in 52 weeks//week 38 and A Tiny Bag


Since making the largest drawstring bag from Jeni's pattern, I've been wanting to try some of the other sizes. (You can purchase the pattern here, though one size is offered as a tutorial here.) I decided to do double duty, and make it in all solids as my small project for my partner in the For the Love of Solids swap. Funny thing, with the pieced front, it took as long to make as the big bag {here}! And I realized after I finished that the cute ties aren't really solid, now are they?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Who, Me?

I was a little taken aback when I got an email from Marcia at Marcia's Crafty Sewing & Quilting Blog a few days ago. She told me that she'd just awarded me The Versatile Blogger award. Apparently, "when you consider nominating a fellow blogger for the Versatile Blogger Award, consider the quality of the writing, the uniqueness of the subjects covered, the level of love displayed in the words on the virtual page. Or, of course, the quality of the photographs and the level of love displayed in the taking of them. Honor those bloggers who bring something special to your life whether every day or only now and then."

Well, to be acknowledged for any of those reasons is pretty cool, so Marcia, thank you.

There are actually rules involved in this Versatile Blogger award business:
  • Thank the person who gave you this award and include a link to their blog. 
  • Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. 
  • Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.
Well then . . . surprise, surprise, thanks to January of Sew Sew Go, I was awarded the Liebster Blog award yesterday! The Liebster showcases deserving blogs that have less than 200 followers. (Cutting it a little close there, but it was January's call!) Each recipient then passes the award on to five other bloggers.

As honored as I was to be acknowledged, I have a character trait that makes this difficult . . . I worry about hurting people's feelings. There are so many of you that I enjoy chatting with regularly and I truly appreciate EVERY one of my followers and visitors - even those without blogs! But I don't want to be a party-pooper either. So, in the spirit of affirmation and all, I select the following as recipients of The Versatile Blogger award.
  1. a little gray - Jessica has such a great eye for color and pattern - I love what she creates.
  2. Blue is Bleu - Audrie makes such beautiful things! And I totally enjoy her 'conversations with the Hubs' posts!
  3. Charm About You - Lucy lives in the United Kingdom and shares such a variety of fun stuff on her blog.
  4. City House Studio - Michelle and I seem to have similar tastes and I enjoy seeing her take on things.
  5. Crafting... - Heather just plain makes lovely quilts. I love that the first recipe she ever posted on her blog was for my Tuesday at the Table.
  6. Felicity Quilts - I get alot of inspiration from Felicity's creations. Lovely stuff.
  7. gemini stitches - Kirsten lives in Australia, links up with Tuesday at the Table sometimes, and always has several projects in the works!
  8. Grace and Favour - Carla has a fun feature where she shares from her Moda club, and just creates lovely quilts.
  9. HoosierToni - I love how Toni shares about her life on the farm. She's a Tuesday at the Table regular, and I enjoy how she tells tales about her boys - so sweet. She's a mighty fine quilter too!
  10. kiss kiss......Quilt - I'm fairly new to Nicke's blog. I love her photography, and how she shares about her family and her quilts.
  11. Mama Love Quilts - I 'met' Nicole fairly recently, but I've learned alot from her and been so inspired by her work!
  12. Quiltycat - I confess I adore Nichi's blog name, her occassional cat pictures, and that she lives in Italy. All that aside, I really like her stuff!
  13. Sew Sew Go - I enjoy January's matter of fact way of writing, and she's really good at sharing process.
  14. she can quilt - Leanne inspires me with her work! She goes above and beyond every time.
  15. The History Quilter - I love how Susan shares about daily life and cooking, as well as her quilting. Plus I enjoy her podcast. Plus she's a regular contributor and encourager at the table.
And as recipients of the Liebster Blog award: 
  1. Billy Button Design - I'm one of Erin's newer followers. I really like her style.
  2. Jeliquilts - Kelly is a fairly new blogger - I love her header(!) and all the other projects she's stitched up!
  3. Katie Mae Quilts - Kate keeps me chuckling with her sense of humor. I love it.
  4. Modern Cozy - Darcy is a foodie too, and I love that about her. She also does some awesome quilting!
  5. Unconventional Katie - Katie is working towards a degree in art and textiles, so she shares a bit of both on her blog.

As for those 7 things to tell you about myself . . . I feel like you know alot about me already, so the following may seem somewhat random!
  1. I have a home-ec degree (that's what they called it back then!), but my first job out of college was as a computer programmer in the aerospace industry. Go figure.
  2. We've delved into Enneagram where I work (personality types). I'm a 7 with a 6 wing. Confusing stuff.
  3. When I started quilting, I had a goal of a quilt on every bed in the house. Met that. The other day, daughter dear counted up how many quilted items are in our house. Kind of funny, but yikes.
  4. I love capri and sandle season. Opening Day is April 17 according to my co-workers.
  5. Allergies prevent our home having a cat, and that is truly unfortunate, IMHO.
  6. The Pacific NW gets a bad rap due to the rain, but personally, I don't mind it. I go without a coat if I think I can survive, and I never use an umbrella.
  7. I used to bribe hubby, daughter, and son with Starbucks cards to get them to help write the family Christmas letter. Bad mom, huh?
Ok, there's more than you probably wanted to know! But do know that I really enjoy being in this quilting/blogging community with you. Versatile? Liebster? Whatever, you're a winner to me!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Charms and Other Charming Things

I waited until after the mail came today to write this post, hoping against hope that my mini quilt from the Little Quilt - Sew, Vote, Swap Group would arrive. Alas, it did not. But I do have a stack of charms from the 4x5 modern Quilt Bee fabric swap to show you.
It's hard to even describe what a fun array of fabrics these are - all colors commonly used in the modern block swap. I plan on putting them to use right away in this round's bee blocks.

Anyway, on to the photos I promised you this morning . . . I'm not one to yell from the rooftops, "It's my birthday!" But that doesn't mean yesterday wasn't. And I went to sleep last night feeling very pampered. An afternoon of shopping with my mom, a homey meal with our family, and a skype exchange with my son left me feeling quite content. There were lovely gifts, too, of course, but I'm pretty sure you are most interested in those of the quilty variety, yes?

First was a jaw-dropping beautiful "Cinch It Tote Bag" made by my friend Sharon. I was so shocked when I saw it, as I had pinned this pattern to my Pinterest board just this week! And to top it off, it was made in some of my favorite fabrics! (Remember this?) Awesome.
There was also a coordinating zip pouch inside. More awesomeness.
Side note - Sharon's been accepted into the do.Good Stitches charity bee, and is waiting to be placed in a circle. I'm secretly hoping she's placed with one of you! That would be so fun to have that connection!

Needless to say, I was pleased when my daughter walked into the house last night with a fabric gift bag. It's not that I hadn't received one before - she's been making them for a while now (see herehere, and here). But this one was different. Adapted from Pink Penguin's Reversible Patchwork Bag tutorial, it had a fun green chevron star on the side from thought & found. Darling.
And of course, there was something very cool inside - a St. Patrick's Day mini quilt!
I love that it has some blue in it, as dictated by the darling focus fabric.
Oh, and did I mention it was hand-quilted? Yup, that's my girl!

All in all a fine day indeed.

Gratitude

I hope to be back later today with some pictures I think you'll enjoy, but I really wanted to start the day by expressing my thanks to Dan Newsom of danjnewsom. My niece's husband, and a graphic designer based in Nashville, he was kind enough to create my new logo, which I am delighted to add to my blog today. Thanks so much, Dan. I really appreciate you sharing your talents with me!
Random fact that my family will enjoy - I initiated the logo conversation with Dan on his wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, and we completed the project on my birthday! Fun.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cool

Today was an awesome day, starting off with a sweet shout-out from Carla over at Grace and Favour! We've enjoyed comparing projects and all for a while now, and I'm glad I've been able to provide some encouragement. Do head over and see her amazing Farmer's Wife blocks - some of my favorite ones out there, using lots of Terrain! Thanks, Carla!

I do have a little block to share - my test-block for the 4x5 modern Quilt Bee.
"Three Wishes"
It's called "Three Wishes" and is by Jamie Moilanen from 99 Modern Blocks. I think it's a keeper, and hope my hive-members do too.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Sparkle or Six

I hopped on board with the Sparkle QAL back in early January, got my blocks cut out with the rest of the group, and then promptly lagged behind. I confess it sat like this on my sewing table for a full month.
Fabrics cut for Sparkle QAL
And then last week I was reminded that the link up of finished quilts was going to be today! Yikes. Considering I had planned on a mini Sparkle with just six blocks, I got to work piecing up the blocks - which I really enjoyed - and then an afternoon sewing with daughter dear provided just the right incentive to get the blocks sashed, a back pieced, and binding picked out. Oh, and I decided to try contrasting sashing, using the Northcott Colorworks in Pearl that I had picked up at Over the Rainbow. For me, it added just the right something extra to set the blocks off.
For quilting, I decided to use my hera maker to make a sweeping curve across the quilt, and then echo that throughout. My curve's sharpness on one side made it a little hard to replicate over and over, but in the end, I'm ok with it.
Predictably, the weather was down right stormy yesterday afternoon when I wanted to get pictures. Though the wind did provide a quick peek of the back - simply pieced with some Kona Artichoke and a wonderful piece of Kate Spain's Verna I found in my stash. I was pleased to discover it, considering how nicely it pairs with Terrain.
Anyway, I was patient. And eventually the lively Sparkle was still.
Linking up on the Sparkle QAL Finish posts at In Color Order and Canoe Ridge Creations, at Thank Goodness It's Finally Finished over at Quilter in the Gap, and also on Happy Quilting's T.N.T. Thursdays with my try at contrasting sashing and curvy quilting . . .and also with Finish It Up Friday{sew} Modern Monday, and Fabric Tuesday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

W.i.P. Wednesday

There are lots of odds and ends to report on for this W.i.P. Wednesday.

Completed projects
Hometown "Wild Thing" - This comfy cozy took longer than it should have, but finally it's done!

Solstice Stars Series - My five blocks are done and they were each so fun to do. I loved Faith's post about quilt top layouts, and am now debating what direction to go next. 

Little Quilt - Sew, Vote, Swap project - Loooved working on this little one that is now winging its way to its new home. 

Ongoing projects
Sparkle QAL - Hand-stitching of binding IN progress!

Scrappy Depression Blocks - Three down, 13 to go.

Modern Mini Challenge quilt - let's just say I've started.

4x5 modern Quilt Bee blocks NEW - I've chosen a block, now to get sewing!

Upcoming projects  
* For the Love of Solids small project 
* scrappy Metrolink 
a zip pouch w/o zipper tabs - want to know this way too 
* Modern Crosses mini quilt
* A Christmas quilt to coordinate with my tree skirt
* "On a Whim
* Table runner for my cousin - starting with this bundle.
* Pattern for Mango 
* A light box
* Quilts for siblings #2 and #3


Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday . . .

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Comfy Cozy Wild Thing

Wild Thing is done. For some reason, it was one that asked to be washed and crinkled up right away, so it is comfy cozy.
I quilted in-the-ditch around the pinwheels, with some straight-line in the borders.
The gray in the Hometown fabric was echoed for the borders and backing, and one of the word prints was my obvious choice to bind it up.
In the end, my wild thing has become quite domesticated, as was proven yesterday, as my little granddaughter grabbed it from my sewing table, wrapped herself in it, and proceeded to drag it around the house. Clearly docile, just the way I like it.

Update 1/29/12: The first quarter of Quilter in the Gap's Finish-A-Long is over! My original post about it is here, and the First Quarter Linky Party is here!

Tuesday at the Table

After a hectic and long work week, hubby and I headed out last Friday afternoon for one of our favorite close-to-home get-aways - Seattle's Pike Place Market.
Usually we just wander through, beginning with the hand-crafts, on through the flower, fish, and vegetable stands, and then usually to the Italian grocery. Sometimes we stop in at Market Spice or the original Starbucks, always at Sur La Table, and occasionally at The Crumpet Shop, never really knowing what we'll end up bringing home when we start out. For some odd reason, this visit turned out being all about cheese.
For one, there was a brand new "tasting room" for local Mt. Townsend Creamery. We'd had some of their cheeses before, and for that reason alone, we knew we had to stop. In reality, it was a very small store-front, but there was a healthy array of cheeses available for tasting.
We settled on two we'd never tried before - Off-Kilter, a scotch ale washed cheese that we had on burgers last night, per Mt. Townsend's website recipe (yum!); and New Moon, that we'll try in chicken quesadillas later this week.

Well after that tasty stop, we decided to head on over to Beecher's Handmade Cheese, a cheese-making facility and shop right there in the market.

Again, we chose a cheese new to us, their Flagship Reserve. Not sure how we'll be enjoying it, but maybe I'll try a recipe from Beecher's Pure Flavor, which is where I got the soup shared below. 
Buying locally produced products like these cheeses is really satisfying. What's local to you that you enjoy? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Tomato-Cheddar Soup
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium onions, diced
1 28-ounce can + 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree

10 ounces white cheddar or other semihard cheese, grated (2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft, but not brown, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cheese and cream and stir until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Serve hot.
When served at the market, this soup is topped with fresh cheese curds, with a fresh breadstick alongside. Next time I make it, I think I'll top it with croutons.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Table Tidbit

I was reminded today that the table can be a shopping cart at the grocery store. With a latte for me and the smallest Starbucks cup - with a straw and filled with milk - for my granddaughter, the two of us started off on our first grocery shopping trip together. A quick stop at the bakery provided what was still, thankfully, grocery store tradition - a free cookie for the little one.

I had forgotten how much I must have taught my children at the grocery store. As my granddaughter pointed out veggies, I named them for her. As we passed by the dog food, she "woof-woofed", and then we wheeled slowly by the cat food, examining the kitty on each package. As we checked out, I thanked her for her help as she reached from her seat in the cart to put items on the conveyor belt.

What we shared at the grocery store today wasn't a meal, but it was certainly a time of refreshment, of sharing, of encouraging growth - many of the best qualities of time around the table. And boy, did I feel fed.


A Little Quilt

Perseverance is a good attribute to have if you are a quilter. So, I have discovered, is being able to keep a secret.

A month ago, I made a mini quilt I'm very fond of, but have been obliged to keep it under wraps for a bit. It was a creation for the Little Quilt - Sew, Vote, Swap Group. When I came across this flickr group before Christmas, I was intrigued. Basically, you make a mini quilt, do not post in flickr (or blog about it, for that matter), but send a pic to the swap mama who posts everybody's projects. THEN everyone votes on their favorite entries. The person whose quilt gets the most votes gets to pick which one they want, and down the line it goes. The secret continues for a bit as we are all FM'd who to send our quilt to. Talk about suspense at every turn!

Anyway, my mini is winging its way to its new owner today. I'll let you know what quilt I get (and believe me, I have my fingers crossed!!). In the meantime, here is my entry:
It happens to be one of my favorite things I've made, and honestly, I was kind of sad to send it off. I love the color combo, and it contains some of my favorite fabrics. Wonky isn't something I've done alot of, but I thoroughly enjoyed it on this small scale. And I confess, I am most proud of the quilting.
I tried this wavy line on a previous project, and it just didn't turn out the way I'd hoped. But with my little hera marker, I was able to mark in the curves to my liking, and I love the result.
Backed with a stash find, it measures about 24" square.

So the secret's out on this little one. Very fun indeed.

Linking up with {sew} Modern Mondaylittle quilt monday & Slash the Stash!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Randomness

I keep meaning to share a little postscript from my quilting retreat {here and here} . . . our visit to Over the Rainbow - an online quilt shop near where we stayed.
They open by appointment, which was pretty cool. We opened the door to the 'shop' and saw this:
And everywhere we turned, there was another row of this:
Talk about overwhelming! All the bolts were arranged by manufacturer, many still wrapped in plastic or very high up! Ie. we just walked up and down the aisles seeing what we could see. Where my friends found a new pattern and chose fabrics for their projects, I just looked for some stash basics. Think Benartex Word Play and Michael Miller Quatrefoils. Plus I found a new solid that looked fun to try - Northcott Colorworks in Pearl - a gray a tad lighter than Kona's Ash.

Anyway - fun times, which actually got even funner after check-out! We were each told we could pick five 'scraps' from their large bin pile. That's where I found this:
and this(!):
Since the 'remnants' of Outfoxed were a yard each, I ended up paying $5 total for them and the Heather Ross. I thought that was a good find and a good deal.

Anyway - more randomness - I read about a technique for finishing binding corners that was new to me {here} and a thought-provoking post about 'too much inspiration' {here}. Thoughts??

Lastly, last night was Friday Night Sew-In, and I was able to finish up my blocks for the Sparkle QAL. I had lost track of time on these, until Megan of Canoe Ridge Creations mentioned the link-up for finished quilts is next week! yikes.