Sunday, January 29, 2012

Another Year of Schnibbles - Full House

I finished my first month of Another Year of Schnibbles.   The pattern for January was Full House. 

I'd seen Carrie Nelson's version as a pillow using Countdown to Christmas fabrics.  Great idea!  I had lots of leftovers from making my CtC twister quilt...
And thought the pillow version of Full House would make a perfect companion.  Except I had to take some liberties.  My leftovers were not a "charm square" 5 inches, but 4-1/2 inches.  No problem, I just worked with what I had.  And, then I forgot to cut a square of the "house" fabric to put on top of the "door" fabric, so my houses look more like barns.  But, it's all good, and I love the pillow....

I used that great Merry Christmas fabric I had for the back...
I decided not to stuff it yet, since I won't be needing it for almost a year, to save space.  So, I'll put it away as is, hope I remember I have it next December, and stuff it then.

AYOS - one month down, 11 to go!

Sinta and Sherri will have the AYOS Parade on the 1st so you can check out all of the other Full House entries!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Swoon-a-Long Block 2

Second block completed!  These blocks are so satisfying to make.  I guess because they are so big.  These are the fabrics I chose..
From the stack...
And, ta-da!  Here it is...
And I only had to rip out one section that I had sewed backward.  That's an improvement!

This block was similar to my first in its color scheme.  Next block, I'm picking totally different colors - got to mix it up a bit!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Breaking News! ... I'm going to MQX!!

I'm just about to bust.  After months of waffling, I bit the bullet and made my reservations to attend the Machine Quilter's Exposition in Providence, RI, in April.   Hubby convinced me I really should do it (and since there's a B.I.G. birthday coming up soon, it will be a b-day present). 

I went to MQX  a few years ago when it was still in New Hampshire and had the best time.  The classes were wonderful, I loved being immersed in the whole atmosphere of the show and I met friends there, new and old!  To cap it all off, after I got home I found out I won the prize Shopper's Basket.  I was overwhelmed at the box of goodies that came in the mail.  In fact, I saved founder, Janet-Lee Santeusanio's voice mail telling me I'd won (because I'm a real nerd like that).
 [photos of the 2009 banquet]
[these ladies were sweet enough to let me join their dinner table - you're never a stranger with quilters!]

Since I waited so long to make up my mind, the class I really wanted to take (Mastering the Art of McTavishing) was already full, but I'm wait listed and I've signed up for a pantograph class and a "what do I quilt on that" class by Karen McT.  I'm also going to the banquet again.  So, I'm sure I'll have a blast and I'll have to pack an empty bag for the goodies I'm sure I'll find!

Back to reality...
Last weekend (love those long weekends!), besides working on my quilt-a-longs,  I managed to finish my Hope Valley string quilt top...

 Still have to decide how to quilt this one.  And, there's a ton of paper to rip off the back!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Christmas Pillows (forgot to post this!)

(Found this post I wrote last month and obviously forgot to publish, but I'm so darn proud of these pillows - I'm always amazed when something I make other than a quilt comes out well - I wanted to show them off!)

A couple of my girlfriends at work and I get together for a Christmas lunch at a local restaurant every year and exchange holiday-themed gifts.  We have a cafeteria at work, so we don't often go out to lunch, so it's something we really look forward to.

I love to take the opportunity to make them something every year and they seem to love my creations.

As soon as I saw the pillows in Camille Roskelly's Simplify (one of my favorites - I want to make just about everything in it and I have poured over this book repeatedly), I knew I wanted to make Christmas pillows for Sandy and Chris.

 The fabrics were all from stash.  Including the pillow forms and backing.  I had this fun Merry Christmas fabric...
I don't have a lot of experience making pillows, and I should have cut the backing pieces a bit bigger so there would be more overlap.  I'll know for next time.

After I finished the tops, I put a piece of batting on the back and quilted straight lines in white thread - I think they look really nice.

I'll definitely be making more of these!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Scrappy Dresden Plate Quilt-A-Long Week One

After getting started on my Dresden Plate for Anne Sutton's quilt-a-along, I'm not sure I can say I'm doing a "scrappy" Dresden Plate.  I'm only using 8 fabrics for the plates.  But I've had my EZ Dresden Ruler...
And my yummy Flower Sugar fabrics by Lecien for a while now...

Here are my plates pieces all cut and ready to go...
And the pieces stitched at the top to make the "spokes" (I guess that's what you call them)...
I was surprised at how quickly my plate went together...
This is what I'm using for the background and the center will be the red fabric shown at the top of the stack in the first photo.

I'm still deciding whether to hand or machine applique these down.  I'm leaning towards hand applique right now, but I'll probably do half of one and change my mind - LOL!  Besides, I've just gotten myself involved in a huge embroidery project, so that's probably enough hand work for a while.  More to come on that!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pincushion Parade!

I saw that Beth at Love Laugh Quilt was hosting a Pincushion Parade and thought I'd join in. 

I don't too many fancy pincushions.  I have my super old tomato which is just about falling apart (if you take the pins out of the top, the green part falls off - maybe it's better to retire this one) and it's baby...
Since the old red tomato had seen better days, I went wild and got a purple tomato a couple of months ago...
I know I didn't make this one, I must have gotten it as a gift or swap of some's been around actually just sits on my shelf looking pretty.  I don't think it's ever seen a pin...
I think this cute little basket pin cushion came as a favor at a quilt banquet many years ago...
This ceramic shoe pin cushion was a gift from my aunt back when I first started quilting.  I put the fancy pins in this one!
This cute silver Scottish sewing "kit" was a Christmas gift from my husband a couple of years ago.  The cushion is more of a needle holder I think.. I love the kilt and the bagpipes on it...
And, this has to be my favorite - one of my Quilting Angel gifts this past Christmas from my guild friend Tamsin.   It is awesome and makes me smile every time I see it!
That's it.  That's all I've got.  I guess I haven't been bitten by the pin cushion collecting bug.  (At least not yet.)

Check out Beth's blog to see the rest of the Pincushion Parade!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Swoon-a-Long Week 1

I've had the Swoon pattern and these mostly-Meadowsweet fabrics for it for about six months now.  The Swoon-a-Long hosted by Katy kicked me into gear to make my version.
These are the two FQs I chose for my first block.
 And here it is...and I only had to rip out 2 or 3 times.   I'm on a mission to have no rip outs on my next block!
I looked at my post about the pattern and fabrics from back in July and noticed I was planning on using Moda Bella Gray for the background.  Oops, guess I forgot, because I'm using Kona snow.  I really need to put notes on my patterns!  Guess I'll have to use the Moda Bella Gray for something else.

If you are using FQs, you really need to be careful in your cutting as Camille suggests in the pattern.  There isn't a whole lot of room for error.  Some of my green geese rectangles I had to fudge because they were a little shy of the 6.5" rectangle needed - and I thought I was very careful in my cutting!  It all worked in the end though. 

This Swoon-A-Long thing is on fire!  Last time I looked, the Flickr group had 428 members.  I'm in good company!

Next up in the quilt-a-long marathon - my first Dresden plate!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bargello Quilt-A-Long Week 1

I've been toying with the idea of making a bargello quilt for years.  Then when I saw Andrew's amazing bargello quilt last year (I think it was something like his 3rd or 4th quilt, which makes it even more amazing), I was even more anxious to make one.  When I saw that Katie was hosting the Bargello Place Mat/Tablerunner quilt-a-long I knew it was time to get my feet wet.  If I decide it's not too hard, I'll go for a larger quilt.

So, here we go.

First - choosing the fabrics.  The placemat calls for 1/4 yard of of 6 fabrics.   I pulled out this bundle I bought years ago and chose my 6 from it...
First, I sorted them this way...

 Then, I pulled out my ruby beholder to check that the order went from lightest to darkest...

I found the orange actually read lighter than the yellow and gold...

Then, I decided I didn't like the orange in there at all and swapped it out for a brown fabric instead
I sewed them all together in order and then sewed the long ends together to make the tube...
And there we are, all caught up on week 1.

Next up, my first Swoon block is done!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I Caved Too....or How Many Quilt-a-Longs Have I Joined Already This Year?!

I think I have join-itis.  It's only what, January 8th, and I've already joined no less than FOUR quilt-a-longs.  I laughed out loud when I read Diane's "I Caved" post.  I had already decided to do the same two she did, plus I'm two up on her.

But, wait!  I can justify this! All four a)  are quilts I've wanted to make and b) I have the fabric for.

So, it's actually a good thing, right?  I'm getting stuff done that I actually planned on making! 

Here's my list...drum roll please.....

Katie's Quilting Corner's Bargello Placemat Quilt-A-Long (but I'm making the table runner)

Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill's Scrappy Plate Quilt-A-Long
 Katy at I'm a Ginger Monkey's Swoon-A-Long

And, I'm going to attempt Another Year of Schnibbles with Sinta and Sherri...(I did A Year of Schnibbles in 2010, but I joined late)...
I've already started on a couple of these - details on all to follow!

Hot Tamale!

For a few years now I've been wanting to make tamales.  Ever since I read about tamale-making on Kim's blog.  I love trying new culinary techniques and I've not met many foods I don't like, so I was all over this tamale thing.  In fact, earlier this year I bought a tamale-making kit from  Then, earlier this fall I bought a huge pork shoulder.  Luckily I froze it because I never got around to making the tamales.

On my long New Year's weekend I finally got around to it.  And it was a success!

On Saturday, I simmered the pork shoulder with an onion, some garlic and salt for a few hours until it was falling off the bone.  I let it cool and shredded the meat and put it in the frig.  Whew, that was enough of that for one day - back to quilting!

On Sunday, I got the meat out and simmered it for about an hour with a jar of green tamale sauce, some cumin and garlic powder - and I probably threw some other stuff in there.  Back into the frig and I was back to quilting.

Then, on Monday - tamale-making day - I gathered all of the tamale-making paraphernalia below: 
 First up - soaking the corn husks:
 while I was making the Masa:
 I mixed the Masa Harina with some paprika, cumin, chili and garlic powders.  I basically followed these instructions.

Then it was time to actually put the tamales together and I got nervous.  I Googled all sorts of tamale-making videos to make sure I was doing it right.  First, you shake the water off the corn husks and spread some of the masa mixture on the husk.  Tip - don't make it too thick!  Then, spread your filling on top and roll them up.  Repeat 50 times.  (This is a very time consuming process - good thing they taste so darn good!)

 Here they are in all their glory!

I guess I stopped taking pictures after that, but on Monday, I put them in the steamer pot around 4pm.  The kids were supposed to be coming for dinner around 5 pm.  Good thing they were late, because the first recipe I read said to steam them for 40 minutes.  The other 5 or 6 recipes I checked (unfortunately, too late) said to steam them at LEAST 2 hours!! Yikes!  But, they didn't come until 6pm and we had to have margaritas and guacamole and chips first so it all worked out (but I was ready to send someone to Taco Bell just in case!) 

I served the tamales with my coconut rice (I cook my rice with a mixture of a can of coconut milk and water.  I also put in some chopped red pepper and a bit of salt).   The dinner was a hit and I've been eating tamales all week!

To cap off my Mexican theme of the last week, I made huevos rancheros for breakfast this morning.  Well, my version of it anyway.  Yum!

(I'm sure the bacon is SO wrong with this meal!)

Tonight, we're going Italian.  I've got sauce on for a lasagna tonight!  Now, I have to go quilt.  o:)