Friday, September 30, 2011

A Journey in Time

Once upon a time, daughter dear was a little girl. She was about 11 when I decided I must make her the Sunbonnet Sue quilt I had seen in my local quilt shop. It was being offered as a class, and Rachel and I spent alot of time together debating fabrics I should use. Somewhere along the line, it was decided (Rachel's decision, I'm sure!) that there should be a cat in (almost) every block. So those little kitties are all our creation. A couple of the months we didn't like the pattern, so we created our own. Here's a glance at each block, in calendar order.

I happened to have this quilt at my house this month, as Rachel had asked me to sew a casing on it so she could hang it in baby's room. Interesting timing, as Susan of The History Quilter did a podcast that included history about Sunbonnet Sue quilts.

Bertha Corbett Melcher, an illustrator for the Minneapolis Journal, is credited as creator of the original Sunbonnet Sue image at the turn of the century.One of their first appearances was in children's primers. The first quilt pattern was published in 1911 in The Ladies' Home Journal. Listen to Susan's podcast to learn more about Sue's history and how she was popularized.

Here is our quilt, completed in 1995. Note that in addition to the 'monthly' blocks, the four borders reflect the changing seasons of the year. It was fun to take a little journey back in time and remember the fun Rachel and I had making this quilt together.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

52 lists in 52 weeks//week 17 and A Giveaway

This week's list assignment is all about ways to stay creative and inspired. I was pretty surprised at all the ways I came up with for myself. (click on image)

And I'm wondering about you. Not that you need to make a comprehensive list like I did, but would you be willing to share one way you stay creative and inspired? Would a giveaway help?

I ordered this pretty cool fat quarter pack just for the occasion.
It's "Juicy Blossoms" by Simon + Kabuki for Quilting Treasures. 15(!) fat quarters, and all you have to do for a chance to win is answer the question, "What's one way you stay creative and inspired?" Share your secret, and I'll choose a random winner next Tuesday. And thanks for the many ways you inspire me!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

W.i.P. Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

It's been a good week of sewing, and here is is, W.i.P. Wednesday already!

Completed projects
Improv Windows table runner - This was a spur-of-the-moment project, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out, plus it was fun. Here it is again, for you W.i.P. Wednesday readers. If you'd like to hear more about it, see here.

Ongoing projects
Shades of Grey - Top and backing are pieced and basted; binding cut. It's busier than I expected - I'm kind of wishing I'd used less of the contrasting solid, but oh well. Hope to be quilting this tonight and have ready to share by Monday.

Cappuccino Bali Pop Quilt - Yay! I finished piecing this top, binding is cut, and backing discovered in my stash. I'm hoping to get it basted tonight.

Swoon quilt with Terrain - Two blocks down, seven to go!

Dead Simple Quilt Along with Lily's Quilts - No progress here. Trying to finish a couple of the above before I get started.

Upcoming projects
* Pretty {little} Pouch Swap project. NEW
* Wrenly HST quilt started in Katie's class.
* Stash quilt - zig zag quilt
* Quilts for siblings #2 and #3.

Head on over to Freshly Pieced to see lots of other great w.i.p.s! It really is inspiring! Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday at the Table

On Saturday, I was a tad obsessed. With this.
photo courtesy of
In the back of my mind, I was thinking about my first table post {here}, the fact that someone special would definitely be missed at our family table that night, and that it was high time that the newest family member properly join us. The fact that son was home for the weekend from the midwest, and mom was soon to be heading out on a cross-country trip herself . . . well it was the perfect time (in my mind) to have precious one up and come to the table.

So hubby and I had gone out the day before and bought a high chair. The plan was set; hubby put the chair together and set it up against the dining room table. My heart was happy.

Except that 10 minutes before the call to dinner, precious one fell asleep. sigh. Thankfully, on this occasion anyway, she's a short napper, and was soon ready to join us mid-meal. To me, the whole essence of the table was right there in plain sight. Seven of us joined by blood and love, gathered around the table for a too-brief time, but cherished nonetheless. It really didn't matter to me, foodie that I am, that the sausages had been over-flamed, and the cheesy bread was kind of weird. That moment in time, few and far between these days, fed me in a fundamental way.

Unfortunately, none of the 'new' recipes we tried that night are worth sharing. And I really do want to share something with you. So how about a recipe we enjoyed with friends the week before? It's one of my favorite apps, easy and best done ahead, full of flavor, a tad unusual. The best kind!

Marinated Feta and Olives
adapted from Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes by Jeanne Kelley; also see her website Jeanne Kelley Kitchen

1 Tb. cumin seeds
2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. grated orange
1 1/2 to 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups (about 10 oz.) mixed Greek olives, rinsed & drained
8 oz. feta cheese, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup total mixed minced fresh basil, oregano, and parsley

Place seeds and pepper flakes in a small pan over medium-high heat. Shake gently until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and add garlic, zest, and 1 1/2 cups olive oil; stir to combine. Mix in olives. Gently stir in feta. If needed, add additional oil to cover the olives and cheese. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 week. When ready to serve, bring to room temp and stir in herbs. Serve with toothpicks alongside.
If you are fortunate enough to have a Trader Joes nearby, they have a great Greek olive medley, as well as a chunk of Greek feta that comes in water.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Giving Improv a Go

I was recently invited to a wedding shower and was pondering a gift. About a week before, I decided to make a table runner. You know, in my spare time! For better or for worse, I decided to try a pattern by Malka Dubrawsky, who blogs at a stitch in dye, and has an inspiring new book out, fresh*quilting. (Sad but true: I bought her book several weeks ago and forgot until I wrote this post. Apparently it got lost in the pile by my bed. I've got it now, thank goodness!)

The bright, modern style of Malka's "Windows Improv" table runner called to me, so I pulled out KONA cottons similar to the colors on the bride's registry. According to the pattern directions, you don't use your ruler when cutting strips and squares, but estimated sizes are given. With my restrained timeline, I couldn't resist serious error, so I had my ruler, um, very near by. So yes, this is a beginner's sort of improv, not true improv.
The blocks were fun and quick. A little complication set in as I was arranging them on my design wall. But I kind of just went for it, and am pretty pleased with the distribution of colors. Here's the back . . .
And the finished quilt . . .
I would say I was able to complete the runner in about half a day, which felt pretty good. Then I just rolled it up and tied it with a fabric bow, and headed off to the shower. A fun finish!

Linking up with {Sew} Modern Mondaymini Quilt mondays, and Quilt Story - check them out!
{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge CreationsFresh Lemons Quilts 
Fresh Poppy Design

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Somewhere, A Rainbow

I know my w.i.p. list is growing (again), and several projects are in the queue first, but at some point, a multicolored quilt is in my future. Look at this splendid rainbow of color!
Color Wheel Swap Fabris 2

These are all the charms from the Color Wheel Charm Swap hosted by Kati of from the blue chair, and I now have one of each! Not quite sure what project I'll use my pack for, but along with the charms from the Rainbow Fabric Charm Swap with Ellison Lane Quilts last month, I have quite a few charms to work with!
this is just a sampling from the rainbow swap!

I'm starting to collect rainbow-inspired quilts on Pinterest {here}, so if you have any favorite ideas that would work with charm squares, be sure and let me know. And if you've made a rainbow quilt, I'd love to hear about it! Here's what I have so far!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Featured - Modern Day Quilts

Modern Day Quilts
Well, I didn't expect to have this banner posted on my blog this week! It feels great to have my first original quilt acknowledged as an awesome example of modern quilting. Wow. Check it out by clicking HERE!

A Swoon Song

Projects? What projects? After seeing Camille Roskelley's Swoonery post yesterday {see here}, I had but one choice. Put all the w.i.p.s aside and face reality. I want to make a Swoon quilt of my own. Here's block ONE.
And yes, that's Terrain. I have had my pairs set out for these blocks since last week. You know, waiting to finish up some of those w.i.p.s first. Whatever. Last night when I decided to dive in, I was so excited, I had to cover my eyes and have hubby pick which set to cut into first! (I'd like to say, "Just kidding," but I'm not.) 

This is a fun pattern to put together - simple blocks come together to make a striking whole. Do be sure and check out Camille's post for some pure quilty beauty. No matter what fabric it's sewn with, Swoon is stunning.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Zip Beyond

Just two short weeks ago, I was facing the challenge of making my first zip pouch, more than a little awed about putting in that zipper! The pattern I used was this one by Pink Sand Beach Designs. Encouraged by my blogging buddies and this easy-to-follow pattern, I had success in no time - and it was fun!

Fast forward to this week, and I've made two more zippys since, ordered a rainbow of lovely zips,
and took the obvious leap of joining in the Pretty {little} Pouch Swap. What? I know. Here goes!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

W.i.P. Wednesday

Having a staycation last week allowed for a little extra sewing time and a good report for W.i.P. Wednesday!

Completed projects
For the Love of Solids - The swap is over, and what a fun one it was! Challenging as it was, my partner loved what I made her, so that's all that matters. Please go take a glance at my sharing of the process {see here}.

100 Quilts for Kids Quilt Along - I also posted about this quilt last week {see here}, and was able to drop my donations off with Project Linus. (FYI, they also take completed quilt tops, if you have any you aren't interested in finishing and would like to see go to a good cause!)

do.Good Stitches {a Charity Bee} - Swoon block mailed off {see here}.

Here's a quick glance at those three projects, in case you haven't seen them along the way.

Windows Improv table runner - This hopped on the list since last week - a wedding shower gift, that I need to get photos of.

Zip-pouch for mom - Mom's traveling soon and needed a new little pouch. It's the first time I've cut into a bit of Terrain - yum.

Ongoing projects
Cappuccino Bali Pop Quilt - I got all the blocks pieced! Now there's a fair bit of trimming to be done before I can actually sew them together. 

Dead Simple Quilt Along with Lily's Quilts - I showed my palette a few days ago {see here}, but here's a glance at the actual fabrics. Ie. I'm ready to go!

Shades of Grey - Finally have started on these and got 8/12 done. They are quick and fun. These blocks look much better in person - not sure how I'm going to finish this mini-quilt off, so if you have ideas, please share them!

Swoon quilt with Terrain - Fabrics are chosen and paired, but no cutting yet. . . soon, I hope.

Upcoming projects
* Wrenly HST quilt started in Katie's class.
* Stash quilt - zig zag quilt
* Quilts for siblings #2 and #3.
On hold
Block-a-palooza quilt along donated to Project Linus.

There's no W.i.P. Wednesday link-up today, as Lee's overwhelmed by the looming deadline for her fabric design. Feel free to check in and encourage her on over at Freshly Pieced! Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday at the Table

One of my goals when I became a parent, was to raise children who were adventuresome eaters. Of course, we had a period where chicken mcnuggets and Kraft macaroni and cheese were their meals of choice, but it's been our routine to try new ingredients, learning as we go, and by the time they were in their teens, they counted among their favorite foods polenta, hummus, and risotto.

You Southerners may laugh at this, but growing up in my neck of the woods, I seriously never knew anyone who had eaten kale. And honestly, it had never occurred to me to try it. Like, why? Well, a year or so ago, I was challenged to try a new vegetable every time I went grocery shopping. So I did, and discovered (yes, for the first time) parsnips and baby bok choy and broccolini. And kale. It was Aarti Sequeira who took the hesitation away. Being a winner of The Next Food Network Star in 2010, I began watching her show. And lo and behold, one day, she made this Massaged Kale Salad. She raved on it, and to me, it sounded strangely enticing. Since I was in the middle of my 'try a new vegetable' stage, I tried it. And using Aarti's recipe, it was amazing.

Kale, by the way, is considered a superfood, containing all sorts of things I can't pronounce and don't understand, but the bottom line is it's really good for you. Since finding this recipe and realizing what a powerhouse veg kale is, I've tried to use it more often, by making this recipe, and adding it to soups, etc. (So, ok, the kale chips were so-so, but interesting, yes.)

Anyway, you can find the recipe {here}. I have subbed peach for the mango with great results, and I've heard of others substituting mandarin oranges and dried cranberries, as well as switching out the kind of seed/nut, though I really love pepitas in this salad, as the recipe calls for. Be brave! Give it a try!

And as an added quilty bonus, I thought you might like to see that my For the Love of Solids zippy is two-sided! So fun!

Monday, September 19, 2011

For the Love of Solids - **Received**

You can't even imagine how thrilled I am! After impatiently waiting to receive my For the Love of Solids swap projects, there was a box on the doorstep tonight! I was so excited! Then I looked at the return address. Hey, I knew that name! I seriously thought it must be something else I wasn't expecting. I mean there was no.way Elizabeth from don't call me betsy could have had my name! But, in fact, yes she did! What an amazing surprise to receive this beautiful mini-quilt and zip pouch from Elizabeth!! It is perfect! Both pieces are exquisite, just so lovely. I am sooo pleased! Thank you, Elizabeth!

A Dead Simple {Revised} Plan

I had a plan for the Dead Simple Quilt-Along {see here}, but things have changed slightly. This was my chosen palette:
KONA wheat, sweet pea, olive, tan, lupine

Well, when the fabric came, I realized that in reality, olive wasn't the right green for this palette, so I've substituted KONA artichoke.
KONA wheat, sweet pea, artichoke, tan, lupine

It may be hard to tell from these swatches. In fact the swatch for sweet pea really isn't as dusky as it is in person. But artichoke seems a better fit.

If I were to follow Lynne's layout, mine would look something like this:

I may be tweaking it a bit, but there is my tentative dead simple plan.
Dead Simple Quiltalong

Sunday, September 18, 2011

52 lists in 52 weeks//week 16

"My life to do list (to be completed in the near future) . . ."

DO.good stitches {September}

For my first month as a stitcher for the FAITH Circle of DO.good stitches {a modern charity bee}, our quilter is Rachel of Stitched in Color. She asked us to make one beautiful, big (24") Swoon block. The quilt we are making is blue, red, gray, and snow, and each block uses just two prints - two fat quarters. After a bit of discussion amongst the circle about fabric choices, I finally came up with this block.
You know I love Swoon, so this block was a pleasure to make, and I am happy to be sending it off for a good cause. So the swooning continues. . .

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In

What do you do when you have a list of projects that you really need to get done, maybe even by a certain date? If you're like me, you start something new that's not on the list! Actually, the new project I chose to work on last night is on my list - just not the short-list that needs to be completed in the next several days.

But, in celebration of completing all the blocks for one project (Cappuccino), delivering my quilts for 100 Quilts for Kids to Project Linus, and hearing that Sibling Quilt #1 arrived at its destination {project detail here}, I decided to do exactly as I pleased. Which was to cut into Shades of Grey.

I was so thrilled when I won this FQ pack from a Daisy Janie giveaway in May. Wow. Obviously, it sat around a while, waiting in the project line-up. But I've known for a while what I wanted to do with it - "Sister Pairs", a block designed by Jan DiCintio herself. Though Jan made her original blocks with 5" charms, I wanted to use the whole stack in this one project, and make bigger blocks. So I've cut four 9" squares out of each fat quarter, and I'll end up with 12 rectangular blocks.

A few days ago, I asked opinions about which solid to use with my greys. The commenters pretty much tied - Spearmint (my original thought) or Curry. While I was debating, I got a text from daughter dear - "I think you should use the Spearmint!" Thanks for the tie-breaker, Rachel! So Spearmint it is!

The blocks are different than anything I've done before. You make random cuts, piece and trim, and put back together. Once they are all pieced, I'll need to trim them all to the same final dimension. So, I was able to make five blocks! Kinda fun.

Linking up with Friday Night Sew-In!

Handmade by Heidi

Friday, September 16, 2011

100 Quilts for Kids Postscript

It was fun to be included in Kate's 100 Quilts for Kids flickr mosaic (see here). My sherbet pips quilt is all washed up and ready to go.

I just finished up a Storytime Squares quilt too. What a fun and quick little pattern by Rae Hoekstra of made by RAE! {find tutorial here} Most of the print fabrics I used are from Denyse Schmidt's new "Sugar Creek" line, but you'll see some "Fairgrounds" and other miscellaneous goodies in there too.

And, since Project Linus welcomes finished quilt tops, I am taking my finished Block-a-palooza quilt top, along with the backing I have pieced, and binding that's ready to adhere. Though this top is from my very first quilt-along (what fun!), it's just too big for me to quilt on my machine, and I think someone else might appreciate it more.
Revised to add this last-minute picture of Block-a-palooza

Lastly, I gathered up the charms I'd gotten in a recent Spoonflower swap, made a fun pouch for them, and have offered them to Kate as a prize for the 100 Quilts effort. Hope someone really enjoys them.

I've appreciated being able to support this good cause, while helping children in my own community. The quilt drive goes through October 15, so there's still plenty of time if you want to join in.
Swim, Bike, Quilt