Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Randy and I love Chris and could not be happier that they are so much in love. They make each other laugh, and that is so important in a marriage.
Of course they do have their differences, but they seem to have a way of resolving them.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Thanks to a mention of it on Jennifer's blog Seams Crazy, I am joining my first Another Year of Schnibbles (AYOS), a quilt-along co-hosted by blog authors Sinta Renee and Amy Smart. Read about it on their blogs, Pink Pincushion and A Quilting Life.
The pattern for this month's Schnibble quilt is Hat Trick, which I purchased from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co and downloaded a few minutes later - I love downloadable patterns!
Ruby by Moda, which I described in this post, was my fabric of choice.
The pattern suggested using two charm packs and additional fabric, but since I only had one charm pack, I decided to go with the option of Amy Butler's Lark (Souvenir in Persimmon) for the center square and for the binding as well. I featured a green fabric with a light yellow dot (can't remember the name of it!) for the other solids and also for the inner border.
I will hang the little quilt in my sewing room, which doubles as a guest bedroom. On the bed are two of my Mom's old pillowcases. I pulled one of the pillows off the bed to show how beautifully the Ruby fabric blends.
I had fun with this one and definitely want to join in for next month!
Sunday, April 28, 2013
The quilt for my oldest granddaughter was finished one day before her 12th birthday. I love to cut it close! Her Papaw and I joined her and the rest of the family for an early celebration at Saltgrass, and she seemed very happy, not only with her quilt but also her birthday cash.
Since her bedspread is a black and white zebra print, and her current color love is mint, I purchased a fat eighth bundle and a jelly roll of a collection I love - Moda's Juggling Summer, which blended well with all of that. I chose a mint print from Moda's Noteworthy line and a coordinating Juggling Summer print for the backing, and the neutral fabric is White Out, a white dot on white pattern. I pieced the binding from all the black prints of the collection, and it may be my favorite part of the quilt. Black really made all the colors pop.
I named her quilt "Dream in Color", which is my wish for her.
My son snapped this shot of her enjoying her quilt at home.
I employed my walking foot to quilt mainly large zig-zags, straight lines, and squares, with the only curves being in the inner border.
Here are more Things I've Learned during the creation of this quilt:
I learned that pattern instructions are not always clearly written.
I am not criticizing the person from whom I purchased the pattern. I am guessing that it is difficult to write a quilt pattern! In my inexperience, my first glance at the downloaded instructions indicated they would be easy to follow, but I discovered that there were too few illustrations, and many of the directions were vague. It is possible that a more competent quilter would not notice the lack of details. Either as a result of the pattern itself or my cutting errors, I had trouble with the inner border, and I had to add pieces to make everything fit. I loved the pattern, and I was able to figure it out, so all was well in the end.
I learned that I need to slow down and pay attention.
I noticed that as my time ran out, my mistakes became more numerous. I even put my bobbin in the wrong direction once and quilted an entire area before I noticed the funky look of the quilting.
I learned that I am getting more relaxed with machine quilting.
I am not as critical as I was with my imperfect quilting, and I am learning to look at the big picture. People who don't quilt don't see these imperfections. They see the quilt and think you are amazing for making it.
I learned that I love every step of quilt-making.
There are parts of it that I like better than others. For instance, cutting the pieces is not my favorite part, but using a rotary cutter is actually fun for me. There is no part of making a quilt that I don't enjoy. And the sense of accomplishment is, for me, indescribably fulfilling.
Katy the kitty, whose tail is lower left, and Buddy the dog had to see why my husband was holding a quilt on the staircase.
Friday, April 19, 2013
My oldest granddaughter has birthday #12 coming up in a couple weeks, and I am determined to supply her with a quilt!
My choice of fabric was Juggling Summer by Zen Chic for Moda. I had a jelly roll and a fat eighths bundle; plus I purchased a few yards of one of the prints for border interest as well as a coordinating fabric for the back. I just finished sewing the rows of blocks together, and I am loving the way it looks.
The quilt pattern I chose is "Pickup Sticks" by Little Louise Designs on Etsy. It involves setting the blocks on point and adding setting triangles and corners. I have had a few problems with the pattern, but I am still new to quilting and not familiar with setting corners. I found a very useful tutorial at McCallsQuilting.com on Setting Blocks on Point and found the information I needed.
This will be a lap quilt for her. She has a "zebra" theme in her room and loves "mint" colors, so this quilt should fit right in.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
The idea for this pillow came from the blog of Crazy Mom Quilts She made giant pillows for her sons, and I liked them so much I decided to make one for my grandson's 14th birthday. His parents are both graduates of Texas A&M, and he is an avid Aggie fan, so the choice of colors was easy - maroon and white, with accents of gray. Did you know Pantone created a custom "Aggie Maroon" in 2007?
His Grandpa and I had the pillow waiting for him (along with a card with cash) when he arrived with his family to celebrate. He was very happy!
Fabric choices were very limited at both Hobby Lobby and Joann's, which surprised me since I live in Texas. If I had planned ahead, I probably could have ordered fabric online. I used a maroon print and a maroon and gray print with A&M logos, and a maroon Kona cotton and gray solid cotton. I had a pillow case from IKEA in a gray and white print that I incorporated with some solid white.
I used gray fleece on the back to make it extra comfy in the winter.
I quilted the top, sandwiching it with a piece of muslin. For the quilting, I used my walking foot and chose "stairs" as illustrated on Petit Design Co's blog - a great resource for machine quilting with a walking foot. I sandwiched the fleece with a maroon backing (although it won't show) and quilted it in a simple grid.
To make it easy to remove for washing, I installed a separating jacket zipper. For the facing surrounding it, I pretty much winged it, leaving the teeth visible because I liked the look. I found a pillow form at Joann's and it fit beautifully.
The next photo gives an indication of the size, which turned out to be about 27" by 27". Katy couldn't look at the camera because she was busy bathing.
For the pattern I simply cut out 6 blocks each of the 6 fabrics, placed the 5-inch blocks on my display board, and shuffled them until I found a pattern I liked. I pieced the alternating blocks together, then sewed the rows together. I'm not sure there is a name for this pattern - it looks a little like Trip Around the World, but I am open to correction.
One of my next projects will involve Moda's Ruby by Bonnie and Camille. I was attracted to this fabric, not only because I love the mix of reds, aquas, corals, grays, and greens, but also because Ruby was my Mom's name, and I want to make something in her memory.
I purchased my first two pieces as end-of-bolts from Lonestar Quilting. When I received them, I immediately fell in love and started looking for more pieces of the line. I found them at Sweet Pea's Quilt Co, which is in Sand Springs, OK. Since I grew up about 30 miles from Sand Springs, and I have relatives living there, that made my purchase all the more special. Sweet Pea's shipping was very fast, the fabric was wrapped in paper closed with a lovely wax seal with the initials "SP", and coupon for $5.00 off my next purchase was included!
Friday, March 22, 2013
My husband loves my old-fashioned potato soup, which is very simple and satisfying, but every once in awhile I like to shake things up and serve something similar to the baked potato soups I love to order at restaurants. I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com and adapted it to what I had on hand.
For this soup I chose new potatoes. I really crave their hearty, edible-skin-goodness this time of year. Preparing them is so easy - just scrub them and pop them into boiling water - no peeling necessary. I had some leftover deli ham, and it gave the soup a very nice hint of smokiness. For the cheese I used Velveeta Shreds in the Queso Blanco flavor, and it melted easily and made the soup extra creamy, yet didn't overpower the flavor of those awesome potatoes.
New Potato Soup with Ham and Queso Blanco
adapted from Allrecipes.com
9 new potatoes, scrubbed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 cup salted butter, cut into slices
1-1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1-1/2 cups Velveeta Queso Blanco Shreds
1 cup minced ham
Minced green onions to garnish
Place new potatoes and onion in a soup pot with salted water to cover; bring to boil. When potatoes are tender, drain all but about 1/2 cup water and place pot back on stove with heat set at low. Season with salt and pepper, add parsley, butter, and chicken broth. At this point take a pastry cutter or potato masher and smash the potatoes to desired consistency - I like small to medium-sized chunks of potato. In a measuring cup, whisk flour and milk until smooth; add to soup mixture, turn heat to low, and cook until soup becomes thickened. Stir in cheese and ham and stir until cheese is melted. Top with green onions and serve immediately.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
My hubby had a few days off last week, so I decided to celebrate with a little cake. Allrecipes has a good recipe for a pecan pound cake that I made for his birthday a few years ago, so I halved it, left out the pecans, and used lowfat Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream. Sprinkling the prepared pan with sugar lent a sweet crunchy crust, and with some fragrant strawberries from the local HEB and light Cool Whip, it made for a simple and delectable dessert.
Here is my halved and lower fat version of the recipe, with a link to the original.
Sugar-Crusted Greek Yogurt Pound Cake
adapted from Allrecipes.com
1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lowfat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 8 or 9-inch Bundt pan. Sprinkle sugar into pan and shake to evenly distribute; set aside. Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. In measuring cup, whisk together Greek yogurt and vanilla; set aside.
With hand-held or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture alternately with Greek yogurt mixture. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
Bake 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.