Saturday, April 30, 2011

Napa Valley

playing along with Hey Harriet's Shadow Shot Sunday

Geri's Quilt

Next in my journal is a quilt I made for my sister on the occasion of her 50th birthday.
...a few years ago.
There, Geri, I did not say what year but if people are keeping track of my journal they know I have been journaling in chronological order and I am almost finished with 2004.
Oops! Did I just say my sister is 56 years old?
oh yeah, back to the quilt...

The photo is not too clear for some reason.
It is called Spice Market and it is a pattern from the book Batiks and Beyond by Laurie J. Shifrin.
Geri's birthday is in November, so the colors of  fall were screaming to me.
She acted really surprised when she opened it but then told me she was secretly wishing I would make her a quilt.
Glad I was able to grant her birthday wish that year.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Garden at Three Weeks

It has almost been three weeks since we planted our vegetable garden. Things are progressing great and I am amazed at how much some of the plants have already grown. The tomatoes, potatoes, green beans and peppers are doing the best right now. The squash and beans are a little slower to grow, but our weather has been weird. 60'F and drizzling on Easter, hot, 95'F yesterday, and this weekend it is expected to be cool again.
I love going out and checking on the garden every day. So far no bugs or pests, although I have seen mouse poop, so I will keep an eye out for the little critters. We are going to have a great garden this year.

the netting keeps the grasshoppers from chewing on the bean seedlings

the fig tree has such healthy leaves

these little chives are growing from seeds I harvested from last years chive blossoms

I love roasted beets in a summer salad. Hopefully these little babies will thrive


a beautiful tomato blossom

the mint grows wild under the fig tree

the potatoes

This One is For The Duchess of Cambridge

In honor of the royal wedding and after I heard that one of Kate's favorite breakfasts is "Eggy Bread" (French Toast) I decided to post my recipe for making a yummy version.
W*A*R*N*I*N*G***this recipe is not gluten free, fat free or sugar free, but just plain delicious!

The Duchess of Cambridge's Eggy Bread

1 large loaf of egg bread with raisins, cut into 1" slices
4 large eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons yellow cake mix (my dad's secret ingredient for French toast)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
maple syrup

Mix all the batter ingredients in a 9"x13" casserole dish.

Lay the bread slices in the batter and allow to soak for about 30 seconds, flip and repeat.
Heat a large griddle to medium heat, slather with a large piece of butter. Lay the bread on the griddle and allow to cook slowly until well browned on both sides.

Remove the eggy bread to a serving platter and serve with butter and syrup. Or you can allow to cool and then reheat in the oven,  350'F, on a sheet pan, until heated through. This is the method I prefer because it gets a little bit more crisp. This can also be frozen in a single layer, and wrapped tightly until ready to reheat and serve.  Bake in a 350'F oven as above until hot (do not defrost before reheating).

We are watching 4 of our grandkids this will be breakfast for all of us tomorrow morning.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happy Anniversary Michael and Jenny

Ten years ago it started like this. Our son married his high school sweetheart.
(I videoed this video from the tv with my camera phone so the quality is poor, but you get the idea)

Look what happened in the last 10 years.
So much has happened that of course I cannot put it all in one collage.
Michael and Jenny, you have been a great example of love, marriage and family to all who know and love you.
Wishing you many, many more years of love and laughter.
We love you!

Photo Challenge

They are having a photo contest over at Life is Too Short Not To Wear Red Shoes and I am entering these two portraits. You can win prizes and also see some lovely photos. Check out the link in my side bar and enter your photos, too. Thanks to Annabella for spreading the word about this contest.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Making Raggy Flowers

Today I had a birth-month celebration lunch with two friends ( we girls tend to celebrate the entire month we were born). I gave my friend the purse I made yesterday and she was very excited and happy to receive it. She really liked it.

After lunch, I did some more work on my H2H quilt for charity. I am making a pretty simple quilt of 6x6 eight inch blocks, with a 6" border. To jazz it up a little I wanted to do some raw edge appliqued flowers on top but decided to do raggy flowers instead.
Here's a quick tutorial for making them. You probably already know how but just in case there are some novice quilters out there, this is a quick and easy way to make a simple quilt a little bit more fun.
I started by making three templates  finding three plates to trace onto paper. I used an 8" plate, a 5 1/2" bowl and a 2 1/2" espesso cup. Then I cut out 6 circles of each size in different fabrics.
and 6 circles of each size using natural colored Osnaburg fabric. If you are not familiar with Osnaburg, it is a wonderful fabric for making raggy quilts. It frays really well and the natural color went well with this quilt. If your local store does not carry it you can find it for sale here.

Then you sandwich two layers of Osnaburg between two different color circles and stitch 1/2" from the outer edge. I used a neutral colored thread for this part. And no I did not plan for my nail polish to match the thread, but don't they look pretty?

After stitching all the little round sandwiched pieces then cut about every 1/2 inch or so up to but not through the stitching.

After all the circles are cut decide on their placements and then lay your stems down and raw edge applique them to the quilt top. I used 1 1/2 inch strips of fabric for the stems.

Then stitch the circles to your quilt top. I used a zigzag stitch with green thread, stitching over the original neutral colored thread, one at a time starting with the largest circle first.

I stippled in the center of the smallest circle.
They don't look super raggy until after washing, but you get the basic idea.

Now I have to sandwich, baste and quilt this baby. Any help with machine quilting with my own machine is greatly appreciated. I have only quilted a few small quilts in the past. All ideas and suggestions are appreciated. I can tell you will be straight lines!

Waiting for Summer

join in the fun and play along with us. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A New Fabric Store and a Bag

I wasn't sure what I was going to write about today. 
I didn't know if I would have time to sew.
I went out this morning to do a few errands and ended up at a great fabric shop  called Fresh Picked Fabrics in Placentia, Ca. Let me back track a bit to tell you how I ended up there to buy this beautiful array of fabrics.

Most of the fabrics are for my Hands2Help quilt, one is for a bag I am making and the others are "just because".
The other day I commented on Nicole's blog, which was new to me and discovered that we live a few miles from each other. Then MaryAnn, who lives locally, too, commented on  my comment and we struck up an email conversation. She recommended Fresh Picked Fabrics and now my GPS has a new "marked place"! This store is huge. They have lots of fresh, modern fabrics, a huge assortment of notions, patterns and that really cute, big rickrack. I think I might go back again this week. The staff is so helpful and super nice. I met the owner, Gina, and we started talking about blogging and she gave me some great pointers to improve my blog, how to get sponsors and page views, etc. I'm so glad I went there today. Thanks, MaryAnn!
I did get in a little sewing today and got my bag completed.
I started with this

and three hours later I ended up with this.

Shhh! It's a surprise for someone special.
I used a tutorial I found on a blog I discovered the other day. There are 45 free patterns for bags on this blog. Pretty cool, huh? You really should check it out if you are looking for a bag pattern.
Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Featured and Flattered

I was so excited to get a shout out from The Adventures of The Arrogant Frog and The Smug Beef's blog .
I write this blog as a chronicle of our life as it is happening and to try and connect with others with similar interests. It's fun when I find out that there are people in blogland who appreciate my adventures. So to the Frog and the Beef I say Happy Birthday and thanks for following me. Once again I am humbled and flattered and encouraged to keep blogging.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hands2Help Charity Quilt Along

My fabric arrived yesterday from my swap partner, Mary Lou.
Here's what I got...

There are 8 fat quarters of yummy Fig Tree prints. I added another couple of pieces from my stash and will look for border fabric next week. I couldn't sleep last night until I sketched something I think will be appropriate for a child but yet something really cute that I want to make. I have already started on the construction. Since we had our Easter celebration yesterday, I spent some part of the afternoon sewing today.
Sarah, who organized this charity quilt fest has asked us to tell something about ourselves so we can all get to know each other. I couldn't think of one thing so I took the lead from Helen who posted a fun ABC's of Me on her blog. 

Age: 58
Bed Size: King
Chore You Hate: Dusting
Dogs: Madeline, a Bulldog and Cujo, a Toy Fox Terrier
Essential Start of Your Day: Watching Good Morning America with a cup of coffee
Favorite Color: Orange or Red, depending on my mood and the seasons.
Gold or Silver: Gold
Height: 5’5″ 
Instruments You Play(ed): I am completely unmusical!
Job Title: Wife, Mom, Grandmother (Bubbi) and sometimes assistant office manager
Kids: 4 boys
Live: California
Mom’s Name: Genevieve...her friends call her Jean and her grandchildren and Great-grandchildren call her Nani
Nicknames: "di"
Overnight Hospital Stays: 4 for baby deliveries, one for severe morning sickness
Pet Peeve: People who leave their grocery cart in the parking lot.
Quote From a Movie: "I want what she's having", after Meg Ryan's famous scene in When Harry Met Sally.
Right- or Left-Handed: Right
Siblings: 1 sister, 1 brother both younger
Time You Wake Up: between 6:30-7:30 am
Underwear: Comfortable and sporty
Veggie You Dislike: Green Peppers...they have to be red, orange or yellow
What Makes You Run Late: staying on the computer too long
X-Rays You Have Had: Dental, foot, back, shoulder...and many more.
Yummy Food You Make: if you ask my boys they will each have a different answer. I'm going to say Swedish Meatballs, but I love making cakes too.
Zoo Animal You Like Best:  Giraffe
Happy ABC'ing!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter on Saturday

We celebrated Easter today instead of tomorrow because our son Michael has to work on Easter Sunday. With half our family present we had a nice afternoon and a yummy meal. 
But let's start with dessert first. I made The Whiteout Cake from one of my favorite baking books, BAKED by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. I'm entering my photo in Julia Parson's Easter Cake Bake. You can click on the icon to see her blog and enter your Easter cake too. To make the cake look more "Eastery" I colored each of the three layers; one pink, one lavender and one yellow.
I used Rosie's recipe for Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and added a few Easter sprinkles to the top. The cake was delicious but we are not a buttercream family. A lighter frosting would have been better for us. But, I must say if you like buttercream, this one is so easy and spreads and pipes beautifully on the cake.


We decided to have the kids come over for a late lunch/early dinner...better known as "Linner". First the kids found their Easter baskets and then hunted for the eggs Papa had hidden for them in the yard.

We always have pretty much the same menu for Easter with a few additions or changes.
Ham, Kielbasa and Easter "cheese" (I really think it was my grandmother's easy version of a Russian Paskha), and horseradish with beets. Usually I take a basket of food to the Polish Catholic church we attend to have the food blessed, but since we were celebrating today I didn't make it to the blessing of the baskets this morning.

We also had hard boiled eggs, jello salad, broccoli salad, scalloped potatoes (thanks Jenny, they were yummy), strawberries and sweet egg bread with raisins and Irish butter.

Mr. Romance bought me a few dozen tulips so I put them in jelly jars to decorate the table simply. We were pretty casual today.

I love seeing my mom and the grandkids interact. She is so patient with them.

Brent, Molly, Jack, Sam, Davis and Olivia, Kyle and Julia