Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Imitation is the Best Form of Flattery

When I first saw Laura Jane's Churn Dash quilt I knew I had to make this pattern. I love everything about this quilt. The use of black, the text prints, the bright colors, the modern/retro feel to the block design.  Perfection!
Churn Dash - A Brit Bee Quilt
photo from Flickr

Then I saw that Chris @frecklemama was posting about a Pezzy Churn Dash quilt on Instagram. She even drew a few sketches with the cutting instructions and posted them to Instagram. Thanks Chris!
photo from @frecklemama on Instagram

Apparently she had seen Amanda Jean's Pezzy Churn Dash

photo from www.crazymomquilts.blogspot.com

 and Amanda Jean had copied Tara's quilt

Pezzy Dash
photo from www.tinkerfrog.blogspot.com

and I thought, "I have a layer cake of Pezzy prints".
And so it begins.
A new project.
A work in progress.

I cut up my layer cake and chain pieced my half-square triangles and rectangles to make half-squares.

You'll notice that each of the quilts I showed you is a bit different. Everyone threw in one little change up. I decided to make a few squares with background colors to match the Pezzy print.

I started sewing the squares together. I might have created a new block when I got going too fast. OOPS!

So far I have made 16 of the 42 blocks needed. This one will be a baby shower gift. Do you think it's a good gender neutral quilt? There are a lot more colors in the stack and they are all great colors. 

I am linking to Lee at Freshly Pieced WiP Wednesday.

Triple Zip Along

Debbie, who blogs at A Quilter's Table, has come up with a brilliant tutorial for a triple zipper pouch. 
She's having a little Triple Zip Along on Flickr so pop over there and join if you'd like. 

These are the fabrics and zips I pulled from my stash.

Triple zipper pouch.

And an hour later I had this little pouch made. The instructions are clear and easy to understand, providing you read them (unlike me, who usually just looks at the pictures). Let's just say my trusty seam ripper came out a few times, but it was because I am a lazy instruction/pattern reader, not anything to do with the instructions.
I have big ideas to make this pattern in a multitude of sizes. This one finished at 6.5" x 7.5".

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Flower Girl Quilt

My second finish for 2013 is the Flower Girl Quilt. It was a kit with fabrics (Marmalade by Bonnie and Camille) and pattern designed by Camille Roskelley. I loved making this quilt, especially since it will be a gift for our granddaughter's second birthday. It's been raining off and on all weekend, so I don't dare take this one out to risk getting mud on it.

It was a super easy pattern to cut out. Camille's cutting drawings are the best. The piecing of each block was pretty easy too. The directional prints were a little tricky, but nothing that takes too many brain cells.

I had my long arm quilter quilt this one with an all over flower pattern, which suits the flower girl theme of the quilt.

It's backed with the aqua dot pattern from the Marmalade line

and bound with the red and white stripe from the line. 

I can't wait to take a photo of Olivia and this quilt.

Quilt Stats:

Name: Flower Girl Quilt
Fabric: Marmalade by Bonnie and Camille for Moda
Backing: Marmalade
Binding: Red/White strip from Marmalade
Batting: Warm and Natural
Quilted by:Susie Peterson with a pale pink Superior thread
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt.
Measures: 71.5" x 89"

Let's hope she doesn't get into her mom's make-up again, at least not while she's near her quilt.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Scrappy Trip Goes Fishing

I am so excited to show you my Scrappy Trip-Along quilt.  I succumbed to this Instagram quilt-along on December 30th and worked like a mad woman to get it finished. The blocks were so addicting and it was such a great scrap buster, I was like a woman possessed! It was so fun to see how quickly this quilt grew and grew. Each block is 12-1/2" square, unfinished. I made 42 blocks in just a few days. It really was a fun and easy quilt and I think I'll make another with stash fabrics.

This quilt is very special to me because it represents so many of the quilts I have made in the past 10 years. I guess it was special to Mr. Romance too, because he asked if it could be his. He just kept saying how much he liked it, so, of course, it is his. To make it more special for my husband, I backed it with a fish fabric. How fun is that? He has recently discovered that he really enjoys fly fishing, so when I saw this fabric on the Fabric Shack website, it just called my name and said it needed to be on the backside of this quilt.

I quilted it with straight lines on either side of every third square in both directions and then diagonally down the middle of every third row. I tried to do a lazy version of what Rita did on her quilt and the every third row idea didn't make for evenly distributed lines (Rita did every second row), but I like the way it looks and that's all that matters.
I bound it with a black and white houndstooth and I think it is just the frame that this quilt needed.
This is the first quilt I have attached one of my new labels. Thanks to LauraJane for allowing me to use the template she created. I had these labels printed at Spoonflower.

I think Paul likes his quilt.

Quilt Stats
Name:Scrappy Trip-Along Gone Fishing
Fabric:scraps from the last 10 years with a few strips cut from stash
Backing:Freshwater Fish by Benartex
Binding: Houndstooth in Black and White by Benartex for Kanvas
Batting:Warm and White
Quilted: by me
Thread:Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt. and quilted with Aurifil #2000 50 wt.

*I still am amazed at how much quilts shrink in their first wash. But I guess that's what makes them so snuggly and wrinkled. Luckily, at 76" tall, Mr. R got a quilt big enough to keep him warm.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday

I don't know when the last time I linked to Lee's WiP Wednesday, but I do know it has been a long time. I have so many quilts and projects in different stages but these are the two I am working to finish this week.
The x and plus along, another quilt along taking Instagram by storm.
I have to admit, I already had about 65 blocks collected from various swaps and bees so I only needed to make another 15 or so to give me 80 blocks. I originally thought I wanted 100 blocks, but truth be told, I am tired of cutting the scrappy strips and squares needed for this block. At 80 blocks, it measures 60"x75".

I'm going to add some borders. Thanks to my Instagram friends, the border opinions are split 50/50 for the plain black or the text fabric, but in the end I think I am going plain. I like the idea of keeping the focus on the x and plus blocks and framing the quilt with the plain black.
I had a little run in with a rotary cutter. I literally ran my finger into the blade, not vice-versa, which would have been much worse. Thanks to my sister for reminding me to "glue" the cut, I was able to remove the bandage and it makes it much easier to sew.

I attached the last bit of binding to the scrappytripalong quilt last night and as soon as I get the label sewn on I will get some photos and reveal it to you.

Can You Smell the Aroma?

If for no other reason than to fill your house with the most delicious aroma, make this granola!
Pumpkin Granola

It makes your house smell like spices and pumpkin pie. Oh, and it is really delicious and Paleo friendly.

I like to eat it with fresh blueberries, no milk. In fact, I think I will have some right now for my breakfast.

I finished the #scrappytripalong quilt. I just need to add the label and take some photos. I can't wait to show you. It might be my new favorite quilt.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Paleo Perfect

Almost 3 weeks into the Whole 30, we are doing pretty well staying within the boundaries of the diet. I had a little meltdown last week and rebelled and decided we just had to eat out. The thought of cooking just made me crazy, so we went to the safest restaurant I could think of, the one where our son works, and we made good choices based on the Whole 30 list of acceptable foods.
The following day we were invited to a friend's home and they were so sweet to plan a delicious dinne based on a Paleo diet.
So two days of no-cooking gave me a new start and I made this delicious dinner last night.
Marinated and grilled skirt steak, cauliflower "fried rice", a green mixed salad and some olives.

I thought I would share the recipe I made up for the Faux Fried Rice based on one I saw on the Nom Nom Paleo blog. 

Cauliflower Faux Rice

I head cauliflower, run through the food processor to achieve the texture of rice
5 strips bacon, sliced
4 spring onions, sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tablespoon Ghee
sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat a fry pan and when hot add the bacon and cook until almost crisp.
Add celery and green onions and cook a few minutes until vegetables are soft.
Add cauliflower and stir. Cover and cook on low until cauliflower is almost done.
Clear the center of the pan, pushing the cauliflower to the sides and add the ghee to the pan. When melted, add the beaten eggs. Once the eggs start to set up, start stirring the mixture around to mix all the eggs into the dish. Season with Sea salt and pepper.

This was a good side dish and one I will make again.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Prepping for my Teaching Position

I have been working on samples for the Framed Clutch Purse class I will be teaching at Sew South in March.  Although I have written the instructions with the suggested batting and interfacing I am playing with a few others to show my students a variety of weights and textures that some different interfacing will give to the clutch.

This one was made as I wrote the instructions, using a bit of quilting on the outside of the fabric with Thermolam Plus fused on the backside before quilting. This fabric is a little heavier than quilt weight cotton. I received it in a swap and don't know what it is {help?}

I lined it with a Lotta Jansdotter Echo print.

For this one I used a piece of a cute quilt weight fabric. I know, you're asking  WHY WHITE?
I  sprayed Scotch Guard on the fabric before making the clutch. I fused Pellon Craft Fuse 808 to the outer fabric before fusing Thermalam to the backside of the outer fabric.

framed clutch

I also fused Shape Flex to the lining fabric. This makes for a very firm clutch, but it holds up well and doesn't look squishy. Since I did not do any quilting on this clutch, I think using the extra interfacing makes it look better. I also placed an inset zipper pocket into the lining.

I need to make a few more samples in different stages so I can demonstrate techniques for the Framed Clutch newbie.
You can purchase my pattern for the clutch on Craftsy.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sewing Plans

Yesterday I made the bindings for the #scrappytripalong and the Flower Girl quilts and sewed them to the quilts. My nights this week will be spent watching TV and sewing the binding down by hand. I love this part of making a quilt.

Today, Mr. R is at a continuing education class, so I will be making more plus and X blocks. I think I need to make about 30 more to bring me to an even 100.

I hope you have {or had} a great Sunday!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Oops! I did it Again!

I joined another scrappy quilt-along on Instagram. This one has the hash tag #xplusalong and it is perfect for me. I have about 65 of these blocks from different swaps and bees and I want a large quilt made of them. So here are my next six blocks. Thanks to my friend, Danny, who gifted me some pre-cut blocks, I am on my way to making the last 30-35 blocks. This will be a fun and fast finish!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Another quilt top finish for 2013

The Flower Girl quilt top is finished and will be going to the long arm quilter today. I just loved making this quilt. Camille Roskelley's pattern and fabrics are so easy to work with. I have to say starching the fabrics before cutting played a huge part in making this quilt a breeze to sew together. Hopefully I'll get it back next week and will have it bound and ready for O's birthday next month.

Another quick finish for the weekend was this house block. Jennifer, who has put together the Sew South Retreat, has asked those attending to make a house block that will be sewn into a quilt for the  Ronald McDonald House. This 10" finished block will join all the others and be sewn together by Jennifer to be hung in the lobby at the Charlotte, North Carolina location.

My list is long for this week. I am working on finishing up my instructions for the clutch purse class I will be teaching at Sew South and I might have joined another quilt-along...I still have that pile of 4 quilts waiting to be quilted, so I better get going.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Long Overdue Show and Tell

I have been stalking the Pillow Talk Swap on Flickr for some time and finally got brave enough to participate in round 9 last year. You might remember that I sent this pillow to Lara in New Zealand.

Pillow Talk Swap 9

I patiently anxiously waited for the post man to bring my pillow and when it arrived in December, I was up to my ears in Christmas preparations, celebrations and sick with a sinus infection and forgot to show you what Aylin sent me, all the way from Germany. She certainly got the color and fabrics picked just perfectly for my tastes. I love this pillow! I need to try making this block soon.

Pillow talk swap received

She also made me the cutest little zippered coin purse.

I would say my first experience in the Pillow Talk swap was a really good one and I look forward to participating in another round.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Not a Sewing Video

Some of you know #4 son makes a music video as his gift to the nieces and nephews for their Christmas gift. I think it's pretty darn cool, so as a proud mom I am sharing it with you here.

Share it with your kids...it's got a pretty catchy tune.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Paleo Check-in

The transition to the Paleo way of eating has been so easy, I can't even believe it! Who wouldn't love all the fresh fruits and vegetables with delicious fish, meats and chicken that we have been eating.
Here are photos of our first 4 of the 5 meals I made. Two nights we ate leftovers.
Fish stew, roasted broccoli and fruit salad; Shepherd's Pie topped with mashed cauliflower and green beans on the side; French inspired braised chicken with roasted butternut squash and sauteed spinach; and lettuce cup tacos with fruit salad.  I forgot to take a photo of the pork chop dish I made. It was really good!  I have been lucky finding recipes online and some of my readers (Thanks Bianca and Lulu) have really been helpful sending me different resources.

Most mornings are some sort of egg dish with bacon or sausage, fruit and coffee.

The downside of this eating plan is that it's so new to me, I am spending a lot of my sewing time going to the grocery store and following recipes. I am hoping after another week I will be more organized and not need to spend so much time going from store to store to find the fresh ingredients and good fats and oils that I need to make our meals. I have become so accustomed to just cooking from recipes in my head that the time it takes to plan meals and actually follow a recipe is making me cranky.

I am not doing real good on the plank a day thing. I have been doing it but my time is staying about the same, even getting worse than other days. But, I know this is strengthening my back and I'm hoping my times will consistently start to improve.

My over-all opinion of the first week is a positive one. On day #3 I had a horrible headache but since then my energy has improved and I feel great. And for those interested in the weight loss, I'm down 3 pounds!

I have been able to finish 8 more Flower Girl blocks. That means only 3 more and then I can sew these blocks together. This is going to be such a big, happy quilt for my granddaughter.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Q1 Finish-Along

she can quilt

There are lots of people linking up with Leanne, our new hostess for the finish -along. Rhonda did a great job hosting it last year. I wish I would have linked up more, but decided to start the first quarter with high hopes of finishing some easy projects.

Most of my finishes this quarter will be quilting the tops that have stacked up the last few months.

1. HST BOM...this top needs borders first and then needs to be quilted and bound. I have the borders and binding, but need to decide on the backing.


2. Flower Girl quilt for my granddaughter. This one will be top priority because it needs to be finished by the first week in February. I still need to make 11 10 more (I made one since the photo was taken) blocks, sew them together with sashing and borders. This one is going to my longarm quilter, so I need the top finished by next week.

Flower Girl quilt

3. Ah, the #scrapptripalong. How I have enjoyed making this scrappy quilt. It needs to be quilted and bound. I need to order fabric for the backing.

Scrappy trip along

4. A few months ago I made two of Jeni's Giant Star quilts with my lovely stack of Art Gallery Indie fabrics. This quilt top has been completed since this photo was taken, so it just needs quilting and binding.

5. And so does this one.

6. Probably the second most important thing I need to finish is to write the instructions and make a few sample clutches for the class I will be teaching at the Sew South Retreat in March.

7. I think this is a doable list, but I also have to make 2 Stitch Tease giant blocks/strips (which are still a secret) and keep up with my other bee, The Modern Stitching Bee.

Wish me luck.