Sunday, September 30, 2012

This Week in 2012, Week 39

This has been such a rewarding week, the highlight of which was having my brother fly in from Ohio to surprise my mom. 

We were able to take him to The Ranch (dark photo) where we enjoyed a delicious dinner with lovely surprises sent out by chef Evan.  

Then we went into the Saloon to watch the country dancers. 

I wish we lived closer to each other.

I have really enjoyed spending time with him and getting caught up on his life. 7 years is way to long to let pass without seeing each other. I'm not going to let that happen again.

When I wasn't spending time with Rick I was making things with the apples we picked last week.
First was applesauce.

I also made apple pies to put in the freezer to bake later in the fall when Mr. Romance is craving his favorite pie.

Seven hours standing on my feet in the kitchen did a number on my back and I was down for the count after this all day apple cooking marathon. 

I picked fabrics for my Mouthy Stitches swap partner. She needs to let me know which pile of fabric she prefers. I think I got her tastes down pretty well. After I get a fabric approval, I will start designing the tote I am going to make her.

I am also making some Quilt Market samples and kits with my friend Brigitte's new fabric. You are going to love her new line called Comma for Moda. Here's a sneaky peek of a few of the fabrics.

And a little mommy bragging. Our son did a photo shoot for a clothing line and I think the photos are stunning.

I hope you have had a great week.

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, September 29, 2012

An Even Exchange

I looked up the definition of SWAP and here's what it says:
1. to give in trade
2. to make an exchange

A few weeks ago I totally butted in to a Twitter conversation between Dana {Old Red Barn Co} and Faith {Fresh Lemons}. They were talking about QuiltCon and then the conversation went on to bag making and how Dana wanted an Anna Maria Horner Multi-Tasker Tote. She even said what fabric she wanted it made in, but she doesn't make bags. What she does make are the most beautiful quilts. She is also a soap maker and a fantastic mom, gardener and cook. 

I told her I like making bags and I would make her the tote. I never said anything more about it and a few weeks later I had it all made and shipped it off to her.
In my excitement to get it in the mail to her I forgot to take any photos of it, so these photos are from Dana's blog post.

It is made using two prints from Anna Maria Horner's new Field Study line of fabrics. The pattern was easy to follow and fun to make. It is a large, roomy tote, with lots of pockets. I think I would like to make one for myself now.

I met Dana at Sewing Summit last year and have since come to admire her not only for her talents but also for her generosity and especially her mothering. I wish we lived closer, we would be great friends because we have so many of the same values and like so many of the same things.

I thought my little surprise ended there, but this week look what arrived in the mail for me from Dana.

There are 6 bars of Dana's homemade goat's milk soap and 2 jars of her sugar scrub for hands and body. I am going to be the softest, best smelling person around. She also made me two washcloths and a beeswax heart. That would have been plenty, but she also included a jar of her Black and Blue jam that she makes from blackberries and blueberries picked from her garden, {I'm planning on eating the whole jar with a spoon, who needs toast?}, her favorite tea and a jar of local North Carolina spring wildflower honey.

These little unexpected swaps are fun. I hope someday soon, that I can meet Dana in person again, but in the meantime we will stay in touch through social media...our blogs, Twitter and Instagram.

Thanks for stopping by,


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Glamorous Granny

Back in March I joined Old Red Barn Co.'s quilt-along to make a Granny Square quilt. Little did I know that I would become obsessed with these fun to make quilt blocks. Armed with a F8th bundle of Reunion by Sweetwater I set out to make a few squares to see if I would like making them. One grew to 10 which eventually grew to 56 squares. I had such a blast posting my progress and scanning each square into the computer to play with the layout. I decided to sash the squares with Kona Ash. You can read some of the progress posts here, here and here.

granny squares 1-56

When I started this quilt I did not have a recipient in mind but a few weeks into it I knew it would be a birthday gift for my friend, Debi. You see along with me turning 60 this year, so were three of my dearest and best friends. Renata was the recipient of this quilt and Kathy received this quilt. 
My mom and 4 of our grandkids posed with the quilt top on Easter Sunday.

This is a large quilt and I knew I wanted to do something besides straight line quilting on it. Debi's birthday was not until October, so I had plenty of time to learn some free motion quilt skills.

Well, I never learned any tricks or skills so 2 weeks ago I basted the quilt and decided to quilt it with straight lines.

I started with quilt lines on each side of the sashing seams.

It seemed like it was calling out for more than straight lines so I attempted to stipple it and ended up getting the entire quilt stippled (it took me 2 days) only to turn it over and see that the tension was all messed up on the back. Out came the seam ripper and three days later I was back to stippling again.

I finished the quilting and made the binding. One of my favorite parts of making a quilt is hand sewing the binding. I even made some nicely mitered corners {pats self on back}.

Then it was time for a photo shoot. I was having lunch last week with two of my friends in Corona del Mar. Perfect photo location. 
After I put this photo on my birthday post in July, Di {Quiltova} nicknamed us the "Glamorous Grannies". I kinda like that name for our little group. 

So I asked Jennifer and Kay to be my models with the quilt.

I like how it's blowing in the wind here.

They wanted to hide behind the quilt, but then we couldn't call it the Glamorous Granny could we?

One more shot with the ocean in the background.

Have you ever made a quilt with the intention of giving it away and then you fall head over heels in love with it and just don't know if you can part with it? Well, that is how I felt about this one. But then seeing the joy on Debi's face made it all worth it. We celebrated her birthday last Saturday, a few weeks early.

Debi is a quilter. In fact she is the reason why I wanted to learn how to quilt. She and her 4 sisters and their mom would quilt while we were teens growing up and I always wanted to be one of her sisters so I could learn too. I knew if I gave Debi this quilt she would appreciate the love and hard work that goes into making a quilt of this size. 

I know she'll take good care of it and use it often. 

Quilt stats
Fabric Reunion by Sweetwater
background fabric Kona Bone
Sashing Kona Ash
Binding Ava's Apron in Cherry
Backing Dottie extra wide in grey
pieced and quilted with Aurifil thread in light grey 2600
final measurements after washing 87"x77"

Thanks for stopping by,


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pin It to Win It!

This contest is closed
Freshly Squeezed Fabrics has a fun contest going on now until Thursday September 27.  You can read all about it here but all you need to do is head over to the etsy shop, pick your favourite FQ bundle, pin it on Pinterest and if you get an equal amount of repins to the value of your bundle, you win it.  I want these Ombre Dots. Aren't they fun?

If you play along, let me know and I will repin your favorite fabric bundle too.

Thanks for stopping by,


Sunday, September 23, 2012

This Week in 2012, Week 38

This was a busy week and I did not have much time to blog.
We ended our week with a fun day of apple picking in Julian.

a delicious picnic lunch

some wine tasting

and we got to do all these fun things with good friends.

Now, I have all these apples that need to be made into applesauce and pies.
So you know what I'll be doing this week in between spending time with my brother.

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tomato Tarts are so Yummy

Tomato season is over in my garden. I have made oven dried tomatoes, tomato jam, pasta sauce, and roasted tomato spread for bread. These are just the ways I have prepared tomatoes to use later in the winter. We have also been eating fresh tomatoes in salads, on sandwiches and Caprese style salad. But one of my absolute favorite tomato recipes are these cheese and tomato tarts.

The recipe says to make one big tart, but I like to double (or in this case quadruple) the recipe and make individual 4" tarts. They can be frozen and reheated for later use. So gather up some tart pans.

I made the dough in the morning and then let it chill for a few hours in the refrigerator. 

Gather the rest of the ingredients...Dijon mustard

fresh thyme

I like to use a variety of tomatoes with different colors

slice them and allow to drain while you assemble the tarts.

French sea salt is a must.

My favorite olive oil

Press the dough into the tart pans, no need to roll out the dough like the recipe says. Spread mustard on the dough.

Load them up with cheese.

Arrange the tomatoes on top of the cheese.

They are not only delicious, but oh so pretty. 

By quadrupling the recipe I ended up with 30 tarts. We are having friends over tonight for another birthday celebration (you know what that means, a finished quilt post is coming soon), tomorrow we are going apple picking and on a picnic with friends and next week a celebration BBQ with my brother in town. These tarts will be on the menu for all these events. I have also made them for bridal showers and girl's night out parties. They are a hit no matter when you serve them and the nice thing is they can be made ahead and re-heated or served at room temperature.

Loch Arthur Cheese & Tomato Tart
6-8 servings
Donni’s note: allow 3 hours for this, due to chilling time.
1 1⁄2 c all purpose flour 
1⁄2 c chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2 inch cubes 
1/3 c finely grated Parmesan cheese 
1⁄2 t salt 
1 large egg 
2 t (or more) ice water 
3 1⁄2 T Dijon mustard 
4 1⁄2 oz Fontina cheese (1 generous cup) cut into 1/3-inch cubes {I grate mine in the food processor}
4 1⁄2 oz coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (1 generous cup) 
1 1⁄2 lbs tomatoes (about 5 medium), cored, cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch thick slices, patted dry 
1 1⁄2 T extra-virgin olive oil 
2 t minced fresh thyme 
Fine sea salt 
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine flour, butter, Parmesan and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat egg and 2 t ice water in small bowl to blend; add to dry ingredients. Using on/off turns, blend until dough comes together in moist clumps, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap and chill 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Trim excess dough to 1/3 inch above rim (let overhang remain). Spread mustard evenly over bottom of crust. Toss Fontina cheese and cheddar cheese in medium bowl to blend. Spread cheeses over mustard. Arrange tomatoes, slightly overlapping, in 2 concentric circles atop cheese. Drizzle tomatoes with oil; sprinkle with thyme and lightly with salt and pepper.
Bake tart until crust is deep brown, cheeses are melted, and tomatoes are slightly charred and soft, about 45 minutes {the mini tarts take about 35 minutes in my oven}. Transfer tart to rack. Let tart stand until cheese sets up slightly, about 30 minutes. Push up pan bottom, releasing tart. Cut into wedges and serve.

*One recipe will make about 6-8 4" mini tarts.
*Recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine May 2004

Thanks for stopping by,