Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sewing with Denyse

I have a massive stash of Denyse Schmidt fabrics. I used over 150 different prints in the Clam Bake quilt and that stash that has been cut into produced 100's of smaller pieces and extra clamshells, quarter circles, strips and squares.

Clam Bake Quilt
I made a pillow with some of those extras as a gift for my Sew South Secret Sister.
Denyse Schmidt fabric quilted Pillow
I've been madly piecing a Lazy Girl Quilt (Single Girl paper pieced version) for weeks now.
The single girl is ready for basting and quilting, but meanwhile I still have all the DS fabric.

So today I made a perfectly imperfect throw pillow. I just randomly grabbed some of the off cut squares and rectangles and sewed them together. Then I squared them up into 3.5" wide rows and sewed them together. I didn't match seams and basically just sewed them together until I had a 21" square. Then I quilted it with straight lines and popped a zipper into the bottom seam. This will be thrown onto our bed to go with the Clam Bake quilt and the gorgeous pillow I received from my friend, Jennifer, in the Post Sew South Swap.

That brings me to these leftover clamshells cut for the original Clam Bake quilt. This will be my last DS fabric project and then I am going to destash. I'm thinking a smaller clamshell quilt to donate to 100 Quilts for Kids.

I need to move on to another project and some new fabric. Did someone say Cotton and Steel? Yes, I bought the entire line. many hours are in each day? Because I'm sure there aren't enough to sew all the things I want to make with my ever growing stash.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fig Gelato

Gardening is a lot of work. Most of the work is not in planting or maintaining the garden, but comes after the harvest, when you must do something with the massive amounts of fruits and vegetables that it yields.
Our fig tree produces 100's of figs every year. Most are picked and eaten fresh or passed on to friends who enjoy them. I also make fig jam, fig cookies and dried figs. 
This year, I decided to make Fig Gelato using this recipe I found on Pinterest. I used the first recipe listed in the blog post and it is delicious. I tripled the recipe and had to freeze it in three batches, because my ice cream freezer is a small capacity machine.
The color is so pretty, but the taste is even better.

Does anyone have a favorite fig recipe? I'll be picking another 5-6 pounds of figs this evening.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Spread the Love

What do you get when you mix 30 pounds of rhubarb

and 30 pounds of strawberries
with 24 pounds of sugar and the juice from 36 lemon?

You cook it all up in copper jam pots
and you end up with 900 ounces of Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.
The 3.75 ounce jars will be the table favor at our son's September wedding.
We kind of over estimated how much we needed {after the 180 jars we need for the wedding}, so we ended up with another 22 jars, of various sizes, to share with family and friends. I used every canning jar I had, smaller than a quart. So there are jars of jam from 4 ounces to 24 ounces. It will last a long while in my "jam closet".
For the large jars I used chalk board contact paper to make the labels. I love these labels. They are so easy to make. You just buy chalk friendly contact paper and a fancy punch (think scrapbook punch) and then you can write on them with a chalk pen.

We still need to shine up the wedding favor jars and add a label. I don't know if it's our hard water or the reaction of the jars in the canning pot, but I get a dusty deposit on the jars. It's nothing that a little elbow grease can't remove. That's our job for another day.
This was a fun day with my son and future daughter-in-law. Evan, who is an Executive Sous Chef at a fine dining restaurant, helped us to get started by chopping most of the rhubarb. Then he went to hit golf balls while Lauren and I stirred and chopped some more. Lauren helped with the rhubarb, while I cleaned all the strawberries. We spent 7 hours prepping and making the jam. I was able to get about 60 jars canned after they left. The next day I spent another 3 hours canning the rest of the jam. Only 51 more days until the wedding!
 "Spread the Love"

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sarah's Birthday Gift

handmade birthday club

foldover clutch with leather

foldover clutch with leather

The second Handmade Birthday Club gift that I sent out this month has been received by the lovely Sarah of Stitching and Bacon. Sarah's job requires her to be outside, a lot, so I thought this Timber and Leaf fold over clutch would be a nice dress up change from her work boots but still incorporate the outdoors. The shiny silver leather gives it the bling I was hoping for, to jazz up a simple clutch. Lined with a print from Bijou by Bari J and a metal zipper, this pouch finishes at approximately 11" square.
I also made her a cat pin cushion and added some little extras like chalk board stickers, cute little clothespins, and an American Quilting and Patchwork magazine, etc.

A fun fact about Sarah...her job requires her to be in a hotel a lot, so she takes her sewing machine and quilt projects with her. Now that's a dedicated quilter!

Monday, July 21, 2014

July Birthday Gifts

A few weeks ago my friend, Angela, {Cut to Pieces}, posted a photo on Instagram and said her birthday was coming up in July. She loves birthday gifts almost as much as me and she was envious of all the Handmade Birthday Club posts going through Instagram, so I asked her if she wanted to do a private swap. She said YES, and also started her own birthday club. July is the month of Me and Angela, so here is what I sent off to her.

Her main gift was a Date Night Clutch, made with my pattern available on Craftsy. I made her clutch exactly like one I have made myself. I love the matchstick quilting on the denim and the Juggling Summer lining. It's amazing how well this clutch goes with everything.

I know that another gift has been received but Sarah is out of town for work so hasn't opened it yet. 
Meanwhile, my gifts have started to arrive, but I think I will wait and do a seperate post about all the lovely things I have been receiving.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bees, Baptisms and Birthdays

I'm doing a really quick catch up post here. We are off again this weekend to visit our family in Arizona. Our grandson will be celebrating his eighth birthday and getting baptized in the LDS church. I made him a tie for part of his baptism gift. I followed this tutorial from the Purl Bee blog. It's almost all finished by hand. I did sew the little lining bits by machine. For the next one, I am going to try sewing the entire tie by machine. I used to make ties many moons ago and I think there was a certain interfacing that I used instead of just a "sew in" interfacing as suggested in the tutorial. A certain son has requested some handmade ties, now that he knows mom can make them. I'll have to look up what that interfacing was that I used to use. 

little boy's tie
The Modern Stitching Bee only has a few months left and July is Sarah's month. She requested "that blocks", a tutorial by Mary that you can see here. They are really easy to stitch up once you get the strips sorted and cut. I used the glue basting technique to achieve more accurate piecing and I am sold on glue basting now. This is a great bee block because they are time consuming to make. If your bee mates make them it really helps to achieve a beautiful result with lots of different fabrics in each block and the work is divided up so you don't go crazy.

that block

that block
Next up is Katy in the Stitch Tease Bee. Katy has something big up her sleeve but was not able to get permission to share a pattern with us so she made it very easy on her bee mates this month and asked for simple nine patch blocks. Each block has a navy blue center and low volume squares with a combination of fuchsia, lime green, yellow and teal corners. We each had an assigned combination. I wonder how she will be using these blocks.

I'll be back next week to share more birthday gifts. I sent off two Handmade Birthday Club gifts today. As soon as they are received I can show you what I made.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Perfect Day

My cactus bloomed! That was a nice surprise.

My granddaughter spent the night earlier this week. I was looking forward to this time with her for several reasons. A few weeks ago she took an interest in the socks I was knitting, so I told her they could be hers. I finished them while on vacation so I was excited to give them to her. She makes the perfect model.
The socks match the cactus garden so perfectly, we had to use it as a backdrop for the photo shoot.

I love spending one on one time with the grand kids. We get to talk and catch up with what is going on in their lives. Makenzie will soon be twelve and going to junior high school. I worry about all the changes that are going to happen in her life and get a little teary when I see her turning into such a lovely young lady. Why do kids have to grow up so fast? But on the other hand, I love talking with her and learning about her hopes and dreams. She wants to be an architect. How cool is that? 
We had a fun swim workout with Papa before we set down to do what she really came over to do...SEW!

We have been working on her first quilt for two years now. Between her schedule and mine we never remember to make it a priority. But this is the summer we will finish this quilt. 
I taught her my new favorite short cut...glue basting. It really made sense to her and she didn't have to fiddle with each pair of squares as she was chain piecing her border fabrics.
This is as far as we got this day. Next week we will sash the larger squares and get this quilt top finished.

Sock Stats:
Pattern: A plain stockinette stitch with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Yarn: Jawbreaker hand dyed fingering weight yarn from Susannah Kate 
Needles:Addi Turbo Sock Rockets, 40" circular, US Size 1 (2.5mm)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Finish-a-Long Q3

The reality that we are half-way through 2014 is exciting and scary all at the same time. Exciting, because it means we are closer to our youngest two son's weddings {September and November}; scary because that means that another year is flying by way faster than I can keep up with.
I hope to finish 4 projects by October. They are:
1. My selvage block quilt. This is a carry over from the last quarter. Only 12 more blocks to go, but I keep putting it aside for other projects.
2. The Single Girl quilt. Two block are finished, 10 more to go. They are all cut and ready to sew. I am paper piecing this project.
3. I started the Monkey Socks in Vancouver last week. I am using the Wonder Sock yarn in Graffiti and Asphalt colorway from Gale's Art on Etsy. I am not a fan of patterned socks. I love the way they look but find I make too many mistakes when knitting them. I am over half-way finished with one sock so far.
4. Quilt the Pack Patch Mini from Chase's QAL. It's all ready for basting and quilting.

With the upcoming weddings and a bridal shower for a friend's daughter {I am helping with}, I think this is more than enough. Three bees and the Handmade Birthday Club makes will add plenty to my to-do list, too.

Another thank you to Katy for hosting and running this fun linky party. I still have not visited all the finishes from the last quarter. I better get organized.
Finish Along 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Vancouver Was...

In a word...beautiful. We had such a great time and enjoyed the less hot weather, although it was still quite warm and humid. We had a wonderful rainstorm the first full day there and then the weather remained beautiful until the last day when we had a drizzle again. 
The skies were so Blue and everything was GREEN.
This was just the change these two California kids were looking for.
We enjoyed A Midsummer Night's Dream at the annual Bard on the Beach Festival with Krista, Felicity and their husbands and then a yummy dinner at Kit's Beach. As always, it is so fun to meet bloggy friends and actually talk in person. After one day together, we felt like old friends.
We watched the annual Canada Day parade and enjoyed the Fly Over Canada ride at Canada Place. This is a ride developed by Disney. There is one at Disneyland called Fly Over California, too. It is a beautifully photographed show that makes you feel like you are flying over all the provinces of Canada, complete with wind and mist in your face. I loved it!
Cactus Club Cafe quickly became our favorite hangout. We enjoyed watching the World Cup soccer games in their bar, grabbing a drink or a bite to eat and watching the sunset. Vancouver had some beautiful sunsets while we were there. Another highlight was sharing a table with a couple and realizing we had so much in common. She was a Vancouver Island dentist and he was from Orange County. We talked for 2.5 hours and hope we can meet up with them again. It's not totally out of the realm of possibilities since there is a possibility they will be making a permanent move to Orange County.
We visited Granville Island where the market was the highlight for me. The fresh food and flowers, cheeses and ready to eat food was all so beautifully displayed. Next time we'd like to do a food tour at the market.
We went on a walking food tour of Vancouver where we were able to visit 5 restaurants and taste their specialties.
We biked all around Stanley Park, taking in the coastline and the majestic forests. There were some really pretty gardens along the route, too.
We tasted beer at Granville Island Brewery and some new to us drinks, like sangria with a bellini in it.We ate street food. The Japadog was so delicious. It is a sausage made from the "Kobe beef" of pork, Korobuta, topped with onions fried in butter, a special sauce and seaweed. It really was outstanding. 
Our final day was spent at Grouse Mountain, where we rode the gondola to the mountain and then a chair lift to the top. It was another beautiful view, but this was when the weather was not quite as clear as earlier in the week, so we had to imagine it on a day with blue skies. They keep two orphaned grizzly bears there in a habitat, and we saw one of them sleeping. I wish they would have been walking about.
We spent our last night in GasTown and look forward to returning to Vancouver and discovering even more of what the area has to offer.