Friday, November 30, 2012

iPad Cover with Handles

My sweet friend, Mim, asked me to make her an iPad case with handles. She likes red, so I used some of my Juggling Summer stash and made her one.
I fused Thermolam to both the lining and the outer fabrics and when I got it all sewn together the iPad would not fit. So once again the un-picker was my best friend. I took out the side seams and added a strip of Madrona Road text print and I actually like it even better. The black really sets off the red print.
This iPad case was mailed off to my friend on Monday so I think she will receive it by today. I hope I haven't ruined the surprise, but she is going through a death in the family so I doubt she is doing any blog reading right now.

Laptop case with handles

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Papers and Pillows

It's time to link up your English Paper Piecing finish to the Travellin' Pic Stitch Blog Hop that Katy and Laura put together. It has been two months of inspirational photos, color palettes and block styles. I can hardly wait to see all the finished projects.

Here is the photo {taken in Cartegena, Columbia} that inspired my color palette.
I chose three fabrics from Amy Butler's Cameo line and used Katy's Spring Carnival template set.

This is the backside of my finished English Paper Pieced project ready to be turned into something special. See all those papers around the outside edge...I'll talk about them in a minute.

This was my first ever completed EPP project. I'm still working on my Hexie MF quilt but that won't be finished for a while. I also have a few Rose Stars that I started a while back but have dropped the ball put on the back burner for a while. So let's just say this was a learning project for me.

I decided to make this into a pillow for a friend and got it all stitched to a beautiful piece of Essex linen in the steel color. Then came the decision of how to quilt it. I decided to sew a few circles in each circle created by the pattern. I couldn't figure out why my machine was making a funny noise every once and a while when sewing through the outer edge. After getting about half of the quilting completed I realized I had left those papers in the outside row! So dumb! But, I was too lazy to get out my seam ripper, so those papers are left in. I remember reading one of Jennifer Chiaverini's quilt based novels that had this same topic as a theme in the story. Some day in the very far future someone will find a tattered, old pillow and might ask, "why did the maker of this pillow leave the papers in the outside row?".  Should I put a letter in the pillow explaining why the papers were left in?

I quilted some swirls and loops in the linen and bound it with Running Stitch in teal. Except for the  big oops, I am pretty happy with the way this pillow finished.

Do you think those circles look like alien faces?

I'm linking to the America's linky party at Laura's blog. If you decide to link a project make sure you link to the correct continent!

Voting will begin on December 6, but don't worry, I'll remind you to go vote!

Monday, November 26, 2012's a secret

First, I want to thank everyone for their kind and compassionate comments regarding my friend's death. Your kind words and expressions of love and prayers have helped a lot.

At this time of year there are so many secrets to keep and secret projects to make and mail. Today I mailed 4 packages and I can't show you a single one because they are either Secret Santa Swap gifts for Stitch Tease bee, an iPad case for a friend's special request, Hadley's Stitch Tease block and also a gift for a blogging buddy, just because.

But, I have been working on my pillow for the Travellin' Pic Stitch linky party. I made such a huge error on this project but I decided to leave it and I'll tell you about it on Friday.

I pulled out all my Hexie flowers to start piecing them together. This project was started in May. My guess is it won't be finished until next May.

Yesterday, after the family left to drive home to Arizona, I pulled out the Hurricane Sandy Help blocks and got them all pieced together. I need to get my Bernina back from the fixer before I can quilt it.

It's only 4 weeks to Christmas so everyday will be jam packed with projects, baking and shopping.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Remembering Darlene

My longtime friend died  this morning from complications due to Alzheimer's disease.
You might remember these  posts I wrote about the quilt I made her last year.
Hexagon Park

I also wrote about Darlene in this post. She was my dearest friend and confidant while Paul was in school when we lived in Chicago from 1972-1976. She and her husband adopted us as their family, since ours was 2000 miles away. We chose Darlene and Silvio to be Godparents to our oldest son. She was a dear, sweet friend and I have missed her these last few years as her illness progressed.

I am so grateful to have the memories I do of our time together.
It is a very sad day for Paul and I .

our last visit with both Silvio and Darlene, 2009

Rest in Peace my friend!

This Week in 2012,Week 47 {part 2}

This week had so much going on it needed two posts.

The tangerine harvest is coming to a close. Mr. R picked over 400 tangerines this week. After giving a big bag to each of our kids and eating them 5 at a time, everyday,  I will be making some tangerine marmalade next week and searching Pinterest and the internet for tangerine recipes.

When picking more tangerines, on Saturday, he had a little helper by his side.

Our eldest son and his family arrived from Arizona on Wednesday. Brent had planned a 20th Reunion Water Polo game and picnic with his high school team. It was great fun to see all the guys from his team, all grown up and with families of their own.

These are the guys that showed up to play.

and here they are with all their kids

All our boys played water polo in high school and played in this game so we had to get a brother photo. 

and to be fair, Michael's team won CIF 2 years later. Those were the glory years of the Stanley water polo dynasty {Ha! Ha!}

One high school sport reunion was not enough for this holiday weekend. Brent also played in the basketball team alumni game while here. It goes without saying that he had a lot of fun seeing old friends and playing two sports that were such a big part of his life.

you can see the next generation has basketball in their blood, too

I finished the piece I was working on from the curved piecing class at Sewing Summit. I made it into a pillow for a special friend and will be mailing it off next week.

Curved Pieced Pillow

I combined some straight line machine quilting on the corners and then added some hand quilting for definition,

straight line machine quilting

some hand quilting
backing the pillow with an envelope finish made with Summerville.
Backed with Summerville

The house is now quiet, as our son and his family have headed home to Arizona. It won't be long and they will be back again for an early Christmas celebration. I better get busy.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Week in 2012, Week 47 {part 1}

This week had so much going on.
Besides the pie baking

and lots of other cooking.

There were flowers to be arranged

 and tables to be set.

There were new place mats to be colored {ordered from this Etsy seller}. I don't know who had more fun coloring these, the kids or the adults.

There were lots of family members gathered together
and a few that could not attend because of work, illness or other commitments.

A great Thanksgiving was had by all. We have so much for which to be thankful, including these two November birthday girls.

to be continued...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing all my friends in the US a Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pierogi Party

Pierogies have been a part of my family's Christmas Eve tradition for generations. I have fond memories of my mom making them on Christmas Eve for as far back as I can remember. She would spend hours rolling the dough and forming perfect little triangles.
mom, 1967

I also remember my dad telling the story over and over again of when his mom would make them every Friday night when he was playing High School Football. One week Grandma didn't make pierogies and they lost the game. So for us, pierogies are not just a food, but a great reminder of stories from long ago.

For the last ten years or so I have gotten lazy and most years I either ordered the pierogies from an online source or bought them at our local Polish deli. But they were never as good as I remembered so this year I promised my daughter-in-law to teach her how to make them and invited a few others.

This past weekend I gathered friends and family and together we made 24 dozen pierogies. I made the dough {with this new to me recipe which is fantastic}, cooked the prunes, and made the cabbage and mushroom filling a day ahead.

The potato/cheese filling was made the morning of the party and allowed to cool.

The counter before it gets covered in flour.

 The Players

my sister, Geri

Jessa, my nephew's wife

BFF's daughters Lindsay and Shelby
my daughter-in-law, Jenny
me and my mom

I made 13 recipes of the dough and it was enough for 24 dozen pierogi. 
The potato/cheese were folded into triangles. the prune were formed into circles and the mushroom/cabbage formed into rectangles. This way we will know what the filling is inside by the shape. {I know, brilliant idea, right?}
We had a good time and a lot of laughs and turned a tedious process into a fun afternoon. 

Potato Cheese Filling

2.5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until very tender. Drain well. Add cheese and mash the potatoes. Do not add any milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper and cool to room temperature before filling pierogi. Best if used the same day. 
Makes enough to fill approx. 5 dozen pierogies.
{I used 7 pounds of potatoes and 1.25 pounds of cheese which made enough to fill 14 dozen}

Cabbage and Mushroom Filling

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, shaved in very thin slices
1 head cabbage, sliced in very thin shreds
1.5 pounds sliced and finely chopped mushrooms (I used Baby Bella and white button)
1 ounce dried mushrooms (I used Chanterelle, but Polish wild mushrooms would be even better) soaked for 30 minutes in 1 cup boiling water. Drain, reserve mushroom liquid for another use. Chop into very small pieces.

Heat a large saute pan to medium high and add oil. Add onions and saute until soft. Add cabbage in two batches, saute until wilted before adding second batch. When cabbage is soft add  mushrooms and continue to cook until everything is soft and flavors have melded and all liquid has cooked out of the mixture. Do not allow mixture to brown.  Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool completely before using. Can be made one day ahead. Keep refrigerated.
Makes enough to fill approx. 5 dozen pierogies

Prune Filling

4 dozen pitted prunes

Put prunes in a pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover. Allow prunes to cool in water. Drain well before using. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Pierogies are cooked in a large pot of boiling water, not too crowded, until they float to the top, then cooked an additional minute.
Drain well and then :
I serve the prune filled with sauteed bread crumbs and brown butter, with a sprinkle of sugar.
The others are topped with onions slowly sauteed in brown butter.

not the most photogenic food, but your tummy will thank me.