Saturday, April 30, 2011

Le Petite and Pillow Talk

It's the last day of the month and I almost forgot to post my Le Petite project.  This is the first time I've been able to participate in Le Petite.  Since I had the charm packs and the pattern already, when I read on Sinta and Sherri's blogs that April's Le Petite was Brocante, I was in!  I had hoped to get it quilted by the end of April, but at least the top is done...
 It was pretty easy to put together, except for having to do the flying geese around the border the "old fashioned" way.  Ugh.  I really, really like my Quilt-in-a-Day flying geese rulers and I wish they worked for every size.  But these geese were a really weird size, plus I was using charm packs, so it just wasn't going to happen.
Our Philly Modern Quilt Guild challenge for April was a pillow swap.  I found a photo of a great pillow design somewhere on the internet and decided to recreate it.  This was my offering:
 [thanks for the photo Andrew!]

At the meeting we had a show and tell of the pillows (see them all here).  Honestly, they were all fabulous, some with zippers and fancy piping and ruffles - I would have loved to have "won" any one of them (and I felt very "amateur" after seeing them - LOL!).  I won this beauty from Candi (the photo does not do it justice):

 Our next swap (for June) is pincushions - and I've already got something in mind!

Another recipe - we had this for dinner last night and it was so good I just have to share.  I wanted to keep the British theme going through dinner and since we had steak the night before I didn't want to do red meat.  So I hunted around for some British chicken recipes and came across this Chicken with Tarragon Mayonnaise.  I didn't have high hopes when I started out - the recipe it looked like it was going to basically be boiled chicken.  I was skeptical, but I was very pleasantly surprised.  I think they might have meant it to be served cold, but I didn't.  I just took the chicken from the saute pan when it was done, reduced the marinade and mixed it into the mayo mixture and poured it all over the chicken.  I served it with buttered rice and brussels sprouts.  I'll be making this again soon!

Recipe courtesy of All British Food website

It is important to use fresh tarragon in this dish: dried tarragon is a poor substitute.


6 chicken breast fillets, skinned
2 celery sticks, trimmed and sliced
200 ml (7 fl oz) dry white wine
30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh tarragon
salt and pepper
300 ml (1/2 pint) lemon mayonnaise
fresh tarragon sprigs, to garnish

1. Put the chicken breasts in a large frying pan. Add the celery, wine, tarragon, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes until tender. Leave to cool.

2. When cool, strain the juices into a pan and boil rapidly until reduced to 90 ml (6 tbsp) . Leave to cool.

3. Arrange the chicken on a serving plate. Stir the reduced marinade into the mayonnaise and spoon over the chicken.

4. Serve, garnished with tarragon.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Sewing Day

Is someone getting married today?????

I'll admit to being an Anglophile from an early age (hey, I even married a Brit - no, that's not why I married him but it didn't hurt - LOL!)  So of course, I was front and center (in front of my TV that is) this morning for the Royal Wedding.  What fun!  Although I did timeshift my viewing with my DVR by a couple of hours!

I've watched all the royals weddings televised during my lifetime, I sadly watched Princess Diana's funeral and we happened to be in London for the Queen Mother's funeral.  It was so nice to see such a happy occasion for a few hours this morning.

I spent last night preparing....

Of course, I needed some tea sandwiches - cucumber and egg salad...

And my favorite scones....
Of course, I'm using this day off to sew while I watch....
I'm working on this, but it's still kind of a secret so this is all I'll show for now...

And if I don't start on this it won't be ready for Mother's Day....
So, this has been a lovely day off so far...

[yes, I have a tiara - long story]

Long life and happiness to the Newlyweds!  Maybe I should have made them a quilt?!

My very favorite and very easy scone recipe:
2 cups flour
1 tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dried fruit or chocolate chips (optional)
1-1/4 cup heavy cream

Glaze - melted butter, 2 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Use ungreased baking sheet.  Combined first four ingredients and stir until mixed well.  Stir in dried fruit or chips if using.  Stir in heavy cream and mix until dough holds together in a rough mass.  Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface.  Knead 8-9 times (or do it in a stand mixer on slow speed).  Pat into 10" circle - cut into wedges or roll dough and cut into circle.  Brush melted butter on top of scones and sprinkle with some sugar.  Bake 12-15 minutes until brown.  Yummy!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

PMQG Sew Day

On Saturday, I was able to attend my first Sew Day hosted by the Philly Modern Quilt Guild.  I had such a good time and got a lot done to boot!  Those girls and guys are a lot of fun.  There was a lot of laughter, inspiration and fabric and quilt envy (on my part - LOL).  I am so inspired when I see what these folks are doing and I'm so very glad I joined the guild.

I know I have a list a mile long of things I "have to get done", but I wanted something semi-mindless to sew. I knew I would probably be doing more chatting than sewing, but I managed to get all of my blocks for my Max & Whiskers quilt finished.  They are all ready to put together, but I have to get back on the ball and finished the deadline quilts.  

Today has been pretty productive too.  I started and finished quilting my daughter-in-law's wallhanging (I want to give it to her at Easter).  You can't see the quilting too well in this photos, I just did some free-hand flowers and loops in the borders, straight line Vs in the small border and framed each "photo" with straight lines and stippled in the white area.  It looks pretty good.  I know Raqhel will enjoy hanging it in her office.  

I added something else to the "must do" list.   Since this month's Le Petite project is the Brocante Schnibbles and I had the pattern and my charm packs all ready to go I thought I'd join in.  All the blocks are done and it's starting to come together. 

Wish I had some more weekend, but at least it's only a four-day work week!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Week in Review

I spent my quilting time this week trying to get some things finished up so I could devote the weekend to the Carnival wallhanging.  Well, that didn't happen today (due to a flood in our downstairs having something to do with a new washing machine - I'm still traumatized from all the cleanup today, so I don't want to talk about it anymore!  Linda, if you're reading this - yes, again!!)

Some of the this and that I got done this week....

First of all, I got the middle of my Seaside Cotillion finished (thank goodness!).  While very pretty, this is quite the tedious quilt...

But, at least the middle is done.  There is some applique on the border, but it doesn't look too difficult.  But, for now, it's back in the box, while I finish some deadline pieces.

I also got the top of my daughter-in-law's Spring wallhanging done.  I was going to do a large one-block Dresden plate.  I pulled out a bag of Spring-y scraps to find fabrics for the Dresden and found a beautiful panel of butterflies and a pansy.  Just enough, with some coordinating scraps, to do this...

Very sweet, and I used up some scraps!

I found a my stash of batik blocks of the month that have been sitting in a basket for a few years that I completely forgot about.  I promised myself to do one pack a week and I've stuck to it.  I think I've got 5 "months" done's a sampling...

Each set of three blocks takes about two hours to complete - from cutting to finishing.

I also am apparently still on my "winning streak".  Last week I won Sarah's (of Stash Resolution - a wonderful podcast and blog) giveaway of a 6 fat quarter set of the new Kumari Garden...
Lovely!  I think I'll have to buy some yardage from Sarah's on-line shop, Swell Cloth, to go with this set.  Thanks Sarah!

Last night was the Cherri House lecture sponsored by the Philly Modern Quilt Guild.  Of course I picked up my very own signed copy of Cherri's book, City Quilts.  What a wonderful lecture. Cherri was funny and moving and informative.  The photos of the quilts are great, but nothing like seeing them in person and hearing the stories behind them.  I don't use solids much, but I learned some great tips for working with them from Cherri and I'm intrigued.  We had a great turnout and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

So, that was my week.  Hopefully, I can devote most of tomorrow to working on Carnival...I'm itching to start this quilt!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

On Track!

When I got this little stack of fabrics from my husband for my birthday a couple of weeks ago
and my daughter fell in love with it, I knew I wanted to make her a quilt for her upcoming birthday.  Since it's coming up very quickly, the pattern had to be easy and I really wanted to show of these fabrics

I knew immediately I wanted to use the Take 5 pattern.
I've used this pattern a few times.  The first was when I wanted to make myself a "winter" quilt a few years ago - using frosty blues and whites.  I love this quilt.  You can't tell in this picture but the fabrics are "glittery".
Since that one little pack of fabrics wasn't going to do it I collected AC Moore coupons and stopped everday for 3 days to pick up two more fabric packs and a couple of half yards (because you can only use one coupon per day you know!).  I started the quilt on a Tuesday night.  Got all the blocks made by Thursday.  This has got to be one of the fastest quilts in the world!
Then by Saturday I was arranging and rearranging the blocks on the design wall....
I had the top all put together on Saturday and put the black inner border on.  Since AC Moore doesn't sell yardage I couldn't just use one fabric for the border, so I decided to use 4-1/2 by 6-1/2 blocks.  I had planned to get the quilt on the frame on Saturday but ran out of fabrics!  I really didn't feel like going back to the store and was going to send my hubby out on Sunday to get me another pack of fabrics.  Meantime, I was looking at the leftovers and decided to do what our quilting foremothers (is that a word?)  did and piece my leftovers and lo and behold, I had enough to finish the border!  I finished the top on Sunday and got it on the frame in the afternoon and have been quilting on it all week.  It will be done today (has to be because daughter is coming for dinner tomorrow night and I don't want her to see it!)
I'm using my new pantograph Effervesence.  I'm using a pale lavender thread and will bind it in the Kona black that I used for the inner border.  I was going to use the black/silver fabric you see here, but hubby and I both decided the plain black was better.

I found this great fabric for the back.  Gotta love  Not only was it on sale, but I got free shipping and I usually have a coupon code for 15% off! 
It matches the purply shades in the quilt top perfectly.

And, with my little bit of scraps leftover, I made three Schnibbles Tuffets!
 The back:
I just need to get "stuffing" for these.  I'm going to get some lavender buds and will make them into sachets.  I'll keep one and give one each to the girls.  Ariel will get one with her birthday quilt and daughter-in-law Raqhel will get one too.

So, once the is off the frame, it's on to my Mom's wallhanging which I'm doing with the Lazy Angle ruler!  I'll do a review of that next.