Thursday, May 30, 2013

Back to Fabric

Finally, back to working with fabric. I finished up this bag (a present for me!) earlier this week. The outside and handles are made from a charm pack I bought a couple of months ago, but the lining and inner pockets were made using some of my pre-2013 stash, so I can add another 1/2 yard to the list of used up fabric in 2013. That brings the total up to about 50 yards for the first five months of 2013. Not bad, because I don't think I've bought more than 10-12 yards of new fabric.

The pattern for the bag is Charm Party Tote. I can practically make it in my sleep since this is bag #10 at least from the same pattern. I'm way too predictable.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Oh, My!

I made this yesterday and just have to share the is sooooo good...!

Brownie Delight

1 package brownie mix (for a 9 x 13 pan) or your own brownies from scratch
1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1 3-oz package cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
16 oz Cool Whip, thawed
2 cups cold milk
1 small package instant chocolate pudding mix
2 tablespoons chocolate chips or chopped walnuts or toffee baking bits

Prepare brownies as directed. Cool completely.
In a large mixing bowl, beat all the cream cheese and sugar for 2 minutes.
Fold in 2 cups of Cool Whip. Spread over the brownies.
In another bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix; beat until smooth, about two minutes. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes or until thickened a bit. Spread the pudding over the cream cheese.
Top with chocolate chips, walnuts, or toffee bits.
Serve with a dollop of Cool Whip.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Moosewood Monday

Not as pretty a picture as usual for my Moosewood Monday posts, but I wanted to show that my latest creation, Jamaican Tomato Soup, was a big hit. I first made this for dinner at home (thumbs up), and then took the leftovers to share with my quilting friends. As you can probably tell from the photo, it was a hit there as well.

The recipe for Jamaican Tomato Soup was this one, which says it was adapted from a Moosewood Restaurant recipe. I just made a few minor changes. Instead of mixing steps 5 and 6 in a blender, I just removed about 2 cups of the vegetables and used my immersion blender to mix the rest. Then I added the vegetables back in and continued with the recipe. Oh, and I added a little bit of ditalini pasta (any small pasta will do) because I think most tomato soups benefit from an addition of pasta. The next time I make this, I may reduce the orange juice by 1/4 cup.

Definitely a keeper of a recipe in my kitchen!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lucky Me!

Last fall, my guild's president challenged members to work on six UFO's, one each month for six months. For every UFO that we completed and showed at guild meetings during those six months, we got one chance to win a prize at this month's meeting. I was the lucky winner of the prize -- five gorgeous fat quarters from The City Quilter, as well as a zipper pull/key chain glass bead ornament from Joyful Adornments by Bonnie.

I think I'm just going to admire these fabrics for a while before using them in a project.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Present For Me!

When I was organizing my fabric stash the other day, I got really depressed and told myself that I really need to stop buying fabric because I probably have enough to make 50 good-sized quilts! So, I decided to take advantage of my Barnes & Noble membership, plus a coupon and gift card to buy myself a new book.

Now all I have to do is stop looking through the book and make a quilt or two! (or fifty!)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Guest Speaker

My local quilt guild, the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild, welcomed national quilting lecturer/teacher Gyleen Fitzgerald last week for a very informative program on "The Art of Color Blending".

Here she begins the lecture by showing her very first quilt -- three fabrics, three colors, all solids, same block repeated over and over.

Gyleen continued with the trunk show of the lovely quilts she made as she continued to grow as a quilt artist, using more color and more fabrics to make the quilts a lot more interesting. To paraphrase what she said, her goal was to "make the judges spend more time on my quilt so that they won't move on to yours".

You can see more photos of the trunk show and workshop from the following day on my guild's blog here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Quilter in Space

I think my fellow scrap quilters will appreciate this.

OK, how do we get our hands on some discarded fabric from the International Space Station?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

And Another May Finish

This one is not from my pre-2013 stash, so I won't add it to the total yardage used up, but it will be counted as a finished quilt for 2013.

I made this one after I once commented on my Facebook page that I was running out of friends, family, and charities to give my quilts to, and a friend/fellow quilter mentioned that she was making chemo quilts for the facility where the owner of our LQS was having her treatments. My friend said that my bright and cheery quilts are the type that work well for that, so I decided to get some fabric and whip one up. The front is flannel from Joann's (bought at a great price of $2.25/yard!) and the backing is fleece (again, bought at a great price after the winter). No batting, and just a large meander for the quilting.

The binding is made by bringing the backing to the front and then machine-stitching down with a zigzag stitch. I usually hate this method of attaching binding (I really prefer hand stitching it to the back), but it works for this because the fleece edge doesn't fray. I even managed to miter the corners.

The tutorial I used for the binding can be found on Vicki Welsh's blog here. And while you're visiting Vicki's blog, check out her gorgeous hand-dyed fabrics on Etsy.

Monday, May 13, 2013

First May Finish

Finally, another quilt finished using my pre-2013-purchased fabric. This is one of my all-time favorite patterns from Mary (Mollie) Johnson of It's such an easy quilt to make, but apparently, very impressive. I've made this quilt many times for gifts, and the mother of one of the recipients told me that she couldn't believe that someone could sew such straight seams! I accepted the compliment and didn't tell her that it's curved seams that drive quilters nuts!

Here's a closeup of the quilting...

And a view of the backing fabric....

That's another four yards of fabric used up in 2013 of pre-2013 fabric!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Have Fun and Help My Son Get an "A"

My Facebook friends have already seen this, but I thought I'd share with my blog readers as well...

My son has an interesting "final exam" coming up tomorrow. Check this link for an explanation. His team's game is the second from the top, "Casino Heist". If any of my local readers are looking for something to do on Saturday afternoon (kids of all ages are welcome to play the games), go enjoy the game showcase at Cornell and help Nick get an "A". Free parking on campus on the weekends and lots to do in Ithaca as well, including the Friends of the Tompkins County Library book sale, Migration Celebration at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and of course, lots of wonderful restaurants! And there's a great quilt shop in Ithaca -- Quilters Corner as well as a fabric/yarn/fiber thrift store, SewGreen. Oh, yes, and a new Joann's.

I'll have to show up in disguise in order to not embarrass Nick while I attempt to play and rave about the game -- a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Other Hobby

I haven't been doing too much quilting or sewing lately because of two many other things that are occupying my time. Besides the chores related to spring cleaning and yard work (yuck!), the fun chores have been related to cooking. I've been spending many hours looking through some of my favorite cookbooks and surfing the internet for all sorts of interesting recipes. And boy, have I found some.

Here's what we had for dinner last night...

Gingered Salmon in a Packet from the Moosewood and Pan-Fried Potato Hash with Indian Spices. With a nice glass of wine, my husband said it was like a meal prepared in a five-star restaurant.

Other recipes I've made recently (and will make again) include Easy Mulligatawny by the Pioneer Woman, Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup by the Pioneer Woman, Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew, Chicken Country Captain by Wegmans, Tomato Basil with Orzo Soup by Wegmans, Sweet Potato and Sausage Bisque, Grilled Lemon Salmon by my blogging friend/fellow guild member Kathy of Cotton Cellar blog, Creole Beans and Rice by Moosewood, and Indian Spinach and Chickpeas, just to name a few.

And I have so many more I want to try. At this rate, even though all of these recipes (and all of the others I've posted on my blog in the past) are definitely keepers, it may be a while before I make them again.

Just like quilting...too many recipes and not enough days to make them. And that doesn't count the desserts I want to make!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Latest Challenge

My art quilt challenge group met yesterday to reveal our latest project (a piece inspired by a living creature, real or imaginary, any technique, any size) and what you see here is mine. It's approximately 10 inches by 14 inches. (the colors are lousy in the photos)

Here's a closeup --

The creature that I used as my inspiration first started out to be an inchworm, but then it evolved into worms in general...basically, the worms that appear on my driveway after a rain.

I started with a pieced background of several white fabrics covered with a hairy ribbon that I had in my supplies...

At first, I was planning on couching the ribbon, but decided that that would be too much work, so I found some round pieces of green tulle and arranged them like so...

I pressed some Mistyfuse onto the tulle...

And then fused the tulle onto the top of the ribbon and fabric base...using my applique pressing sheet for all the steps in which I used the Mistyfuse...

Then I added some beads and secured the tulle with some machine stitching in green thread (you can see that in the closeup photo earlier on in this post). I searched high and low in my quilting studio for a small vial of beads in various shades of green that I had used in a previous project, but couldn't find it anywhere, so I settled for some other beads that I could find...The hot pink and red beads were the wrong colors to use, but there were enough white/pale pink/sparkly beads in the pack that worked just fine.

I think I'll call my piece "Kindergarten Art Project" because it looks just like something a five-year-old might bring home for parents to proudly display on a refrigerator. "Look Mommy and Daddy, I'm an artist!"