Monday, December 30, 2013

In A Bind

I was cutting bias binding strips for a quilt several weeks ago and decided to try to match the striped pattern so that it wouldn't be so obvious where the seams were. Not perfect, but close enough. Do I really need to spend my time doing this? Probably not, but I know it would bug me if I didn't do it.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Multiplying Scraps

This is all that's left from 16 fat quarters and 2 1/2 yards of flannel that I used for my BFF's quilt (see the finished quilt here). I told my friend that I may make a scrappy pillow to go along with the quilt, but she'll probably have to wait until next Christmas to get it! OK, maybe I'll make it in time for her birthday in May, but no promises.

Although my plastic totes of fat quarters and yardage are a bit emptier, I'm afraid my scrap piles keep getting bigger!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Present

I got a new sewing machine for Christmas!

When my son was home from college during Thanksgiving, I told him that all I wanted for Christmas was a Lego sewing machine. What you see in the photo is what he came up with using Legos from his ginormous collection of pieces. He didn't have any curved pieces that were white, so he improvised with what he had. 

If you have a Lego builder in your house, he/she can make one for you, too, using this tutorial.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From Me To You

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and Best Wishes for a healthy, happy, and fun-filled 2014 to all!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Moosewood Monday (not)

I haven't blogged much about Moosewood Restaurant recipes lately because I haven't made anything new. I've just re-made several of our favorite Moosewood dishes in the last few months, so there aren't any new recipes to share.

But I am showing something new -- a recipe that I made up a few years ago for Chunky Creamy Tomato Soup. It's been popular with family and friends, so I thought I'd share it here.

1 24-26 oz jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes, Italian style
1 pound Italian sausage or ground beef, browned
1 cup beef broth
2 Tablespoons sugar (or sugar substitute)
handful of fresh basil, chopped
oregano, pepper to taste
12 ounces evaporated milk or half-and-half
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
some cooked small pasta (I use ditalini)

In large soup pot, combine spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, browned meat, beef broth, sugar, basil, oregano, and pepper. Simmer for about an hour. Add evaporated milk or half-and-half and mozzarella cheese. Add some water or more half-and-half if too thick. Cook for an additional 10 minutes or so or until cheese has melted. Add cooked pasta and heat for a couple more minutes. you can experiment with other meat if you like -- my last batch had sliced Hillshire Farm Cheddarwurst sausages (no need to brown).

I've also made this in a crockpot. Just combine all the ingredients except for cheese and pasta and cook on low for several hours until hot. Add the cheese and pasta about ten minutes before serving.

For some crunch, I made Parmesan Ranch Chex Mix as a topping (click here for the recipe).

This has been a keeper recipe of mine for a number of years. Yum!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


This is the finished  flannel quilt for my BFF that I've been blogging about in a couple of recent posts. It's approximately 54" x 70" -- a perfect size for watching TV.

And here's the pieced backing -- a mish mash of red and green yardage and leftovers from the front.

I did a large meander stitch all over the whole thing...nothing fancy, I just wanted to get it finished quickly...

And all of the fabrics came from my pre-2013 stash (and at yard sale prices, too!). That's at least another 6.5 yards used up!

It's all washed and dried and now on the way to its new owner. Boy, does that feel good!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Another Deadline

I've given myself a deadline of getting this quilt in the mail to my BFF on Thursday of this week. It's the quilt that I started a little more than a week ago (read my blog post about it here). There's a lot of binding to sew on by hand, so I've got a long list of shows to watch on Netflix all planned.

I think deadlines are good for me...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I Met The Deadline...

...but it didn't matter, after all.

The trunk show that I was supposed to participate in was held, but I couldn't go due to nasty winter weather in the forecast.

This is the quilt that I rushed to finish in time...(indoor light doesn't do the quilt justice, I'm afraid)...

I made these twelve blocks during a modern quilt block-of-the-month series on the Sew, Mama, Sew blog a few years ago (July 2011 through June 2012), using red, black, and white fabrics left over from a quilt that I had made for my son as a high school graduation/going off to college quilt in the summer of 2010 (I blogged about that quilt here and you can see the fabrics I used here).

The twelve blocks sat around for quite a while, but I finally decided on a layout and put the top together earlier this fall. Technically, I didn't use a pattern, but just figured it out -- it's basically the BQ2 pattern from Maple Island Quilts. My main blocks were 12 inches finished, so I just did the math and figured out what size to cut the gray and white fabrics around each block, based on pictures I found online.

Here's a closeup look at the randomly-spaced straight-line quilting...

And here's a photo of my son's's now in its fourth year of use! (Yikes, where does the time go?) I like to think that my son will take this with him wherever he winds up after graduation, and now I'll have my own quilt that will remind me of him when he's far from home. But I'm not going to think about that right now.

Monday, December 9, 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade

Oh, well, the trunk show that I was supposed to be a part of yesterday took place without me  : (

The weather forecast called for a messy drive home, with a good part of it in the dark, so my friends and I decided we'd rather be safe than sorry, and we stayed home. But at least that gave us time to sew! Like I said, make lemonade.

I started a new project that just popped into my head on Saturday. A dear friend of mine is having some health issues, and in an email I received from her that day, she said that one of the side effects of her new medication is that she gets cold a lot more quickly than she used to. This is quite a turnaround from when she and I were roommates in college....she was the one opening windows and running around in pajama shorts all winter, while I was freezing! Anyway, she said she has to get a flannel blanket or something for watching TV...Well, you know what happens when someone says that to a quilter....

We get out our fabric stash and see what we can come up with! 

I found 16 flannel fat quarters and some flannel yardage that will work for the top and the backing of a quick quilt. And look at the empty space that leaves in my fat quarter tote!

I'm giving myself a deadline to get a finished quilt in the mail to her before Christmas!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nothing Like a Deadline

I have a deadline to finish this quilt for a trunk show by Sunday morning. I just started the quilting last night, finished it before lunch today, and now there are 250+ inches of binding to sew on, first by machine, then by hand.

I guess housecleaning will have to wait, yet again....Darn.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Day Late?

Not necessarily...Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all my U.S. readers who celebrate. Yes, many of you had your big meal yesterday, but I know there are many who have family celebrations scheduled for the next several days. For various reasons, we don't all sit down to the Thanksgiving table on Thanksgiving itself.  And some do it for more than one day (mine included this year). The important thing to remember is that we all should spend time with those we love and those who love us. It doesn't matter when that is, as long as it happens. And please, please, please, don't make anyone feel guilty if they spend a holiday meal with their spouse's family. No one can be in more than one place at a time, so let's just be thankful that we see our loved ones whenever possible. I have been very fortunate that both my family and my husband's family don't feel that they "own" us for a holiday. We consider any family gathering to be a holiday, no matter the date.

And Happy Hanukkah to my readers who celebrate the Festival of Lights!

(The turkey chair in the photo was in the window of a wonderful quilt shop in Hammondsport, NY -- Lake Country Patchwork -- alas, it's closing soon after 18 years in business).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Easily Distracted

I was going to clean my house, but I was distracted by making this table topper....

Actually, it's just the top and hasn't been quilted and bound yet. But I don't think I will do too much quilting on it. Perhaps just some stitching in the ditch around the triangles; I'm not sure yet.

I'm afraid a few of the matryoshka dolls are a bit deformed where the triangle seams are, but the rest of it lines up well enough for me to be happy with it.

Here's what the fabric looked like before it was cut....

There are a couple of strips that remain with the troikas and they'll go back into my stash until I figure out what to do with them.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hard at Work

This in quilt top #4 that I've quilted since I made a vow to quilt two of my tops before starting the piecing of another one. It feels good to have surpassed my goal.

The pattern is a free one from Moda Bake Shop -- Marmalade Squares (Two!) -- you can find it on their website by clicking here. Note that there were errors in the original pattern, and the blog post now indicates that corrections have been made on the website but not on their PDF download. The initial directions called for one charm pack of 40 squares, but you really need a bit more than that. And some of the other cutting directions of the larger pieces initially had incorrect measurements.

Just free-motion waves as the quilting...

Here's the scrappy backing....

And my favorite part...striped bias binding....

The quilt measures about 44 inches x 48 inches and used up two yards of my pre-2013 stash (the lime green and darker pink were bought in 2013, but at thrift store and yard sale prices!). Oh yes, and the batting is pieced from three leftover pieces.

Now I give myself permission to start piecing another top!

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Trip Down Memory Lane

While I was visiting my parents recently, I asked my mother if I could take a look at the sewing machine that she has had since at least the early 1970s, perhaps even the late 1960s. Although my mother is not a quilter, she still sews on it once in a while. It's a Singer Fashion Mate 237.

I spent many happy hours at this machine while learning to sew in the early 1970s. The quilting bug hadn't hit me yet, but I loved going to fabric shops (they used to have them in the mall!) and making a few of my own clothes. I don't make clothes now, but I still love going to fabric shops!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Yes! Another Finish!

Started on Christmas Day finished about a week later...and I had the backing, batting, and binding cut and ready at the same time....

But then it hung around for almost two years before I finally loaded it on my mid-arm a couple of weeks ago and got it quilted. Nothing special, just some loopy meandering...

Candy-cane stripe for the binding...Perfect, right?

This uses up about six yards of pre-2013 stash and my pile of quilt tops to be quilted is getting quite a bit lower....which means I can start piecing another quilt top!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Still On Track

I'm still on track with quilting more of my quilt tops and not piecing new least for now.

approximately 50" x 66"

This was an experiment with making large half-square triangle blocks using a nine-patch block and a plain white square. I'm pleased with how it turned out; however, this technique cuts off corners of some of the squares and then seams don't always line up. It's not a big deal, since this is not a quilt that I made to be judged or hung in a show or to be given to an expert quilter. You can see some of the cut-off corners in the photo below (the corners are "neatly tucked away") as well as some of my wobbly "straight-line" quilting.

And here's a look at the backing and binding fabrics...

Although this quilt is now completed, I can't count it as using up any of my pre-2013 stash. The gingham fabrics on the front were from a fabric thrift store this year, and both the backing and binding fabrics were from a couple of quilt guild yard sales, also this year. I don't count white fabric as being used up because I buy it periodically just to have on hand and I have no clue how much of it I buy in any particular year.

Anyway, not counting the white, the fabrics for this quilt cost me a grand total of about $7. Not bad, huh?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I Have The Bestest Friends (Part 2)

My good friend Peggi recently gifted me with this...

It's the foot pedal from an old treadle sewing machine. She had seen a picture that I had taken in the Bennington Museum of a machine with this kind of pedal, so she thought I might like one for myself...and she was right! I'll have to find just the right place to hang this in my quilting studio.

Thank you, I said, I have the bestest friends!

Monday, November 11, 2013

I Have The Bestest Friends (Part 1)

My good friend Susan recently gifted me with these lovelies....

She made them to replace these lovelies that she gave me four years ago...

The reason she had to give me new socks is because of this...

I guess I loved my socks a little too much...

I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful friend....(she still hasn't figured out that the reason I don't want to learn how to knit is because I want my knitting friends to keep gifting me with lovelies like this)...

Thanks again, Susan!