Friday, December 30, 2011

Homemade Holidays (Part 2)

The other big finish for my Christmas gifts was the quilt I made for my mom.  Yellow is her favorite color and last year around November she mentioned to me how much she liked the Origins fabric line.  I ordered what I needed to make a quilt for her thinking maybe I would do it for her birthday in January.  Well then I saw this quilt and I thought it was amazing.  I emailed Kati and asked her how she did it and she told me she was writing a tutorial for her blog.  So I showed my mom two options and asked which she liked better.  Months later when I was ready to make the quilt she couldn't remember which she had chosen so I opted not to post about it here.  Of course those of you who are on flickr have seen the finished top before it was quilted.

I used Kati's tutorial which was so well written it couldn't have been any easier to make this quilt.  I used Kona Maize for the solid in place of white to give it more of a yellow factor.  I am a side seam presser and I figured out very quickly that if I ironed all of my seams towards the yellow on one side of the block and the patterned fabric on the other that I would have no troubles matching and locking my seams.  It made this quilt top come together very quickly.  And then of course I stalled.  Since I had ordered my fabrics based on the measurements of the other quilt I had to think about how to piece the back.  Once I figured it out I made a cutting mistake and then ended up needing to add a piece to the side of the back to make it large enough.  It worked out and hopefully no one but me would know this wasn't the plan for the back.  Sorry I didn't get a good picture of that.

I knew I wanted to have this one quilted on a long arm with a rose pattern since roses are my mom's favorite flower (yellow roses to be exact) so when I saw Nichol's post saying she was still taking quilts in time for Christmas I sent her an email.  Have you seen Nichol's work?  I know she is relatively knew to long arm quilting but she did an amazing job.  And get this, she even listened to what color thread I asked her to quilt it with.  You can see what Nichol had to say about my mom's quilt here.

All in all I am very happy with my mom's quilt and I hope she is too.  She texted me after on Christmas to ask me how I made her quilt smell so good so I thought I would share my secret with all of you too.  I used Downy Unstoppables in the wash with my quilts.  They are pretty pricey so I only get them when I have coupons and I only use them in loads like my sheets, towels, and quilts but they make the laundry smell fresh for a lot longer and really is there anything better than snuggling under a great smelling quilt on a cold day.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Homemade Holidays (Part 1)

Just in case you thought I forgot to share all of those holiday projects I has been working on here is the first part.  I bet you thought I was all talk back in August when I shared my plans to make Vanilla Extract as Christmas gifts but I actually did it.  It's so simple and it was a huge hit with the husbands family.  It made great last minute gifts for a few people I hadn't planed to gift give with but who I knew would be at family events and would be bringing gifts.  I actually received a cookbook wrapped in a kitchen towel with a cookie cutter holding it shut and thought that was so nifty I implemented the idea myself the next day with a bottle of vanilla inside.

I made the labels on my home computer and just printed them off on Avery Labels.  It was simple enough and the overall look though not everything I had hoped for turned out well enough I guess.  I hope that doesn't sound like too much of a cop out but the truth is I was sick right before Christmas and even bailed out on some family functions just to make sure I had enough energy to make it through the BIG day.

UNC Quilt
My big surprise present this year was a quilt for the husband.  See we aren't big on sports in our house but we both really enjoy college basketball for some reason.  I don't really know why I like it because being in the Marching Band in High School I always went to football games but it worked out that way and the fact that we both like UNC (University of North Carolina) is an added bonus.  So my husband wanted me to make him a quilt with all of his UNC t-shirts, he has a ton of them, even though he never went to school there.  I gathered them up and started making a plan which quickly fell by the wayside.  Then way back last August 2010 when it was my turn to send fabric in the Circuit Bee I sent out fabrics and asked for blocks inspired by this quilt.  It was a difficult task to say the least, using collegiate fabrics and making minimalist blocks at the same time but the ladies really pulled through for me.

It turned out better than I could have imagined.

I went to my mom's for a day of sewing and got the top and backing put together with the help of my mom.  Thanks again mom!  The finished quilt is about 44" wide by 68" long, it still amazes me how much they seem to shrink.  This one especially but I think that may have to do with the fabrics and knowing I didn't prewash them I can't complain.  I knew I wanted to have it quilted with something Tarheel related but not over the top.  I took it to a long arm quilter here locally because I was pressed for time.  Remember when I said I would never use this person again?  Turns out I did and now I really mean it!  It's not that I don't like the quilting I do and she was even nice enough to order the foot design special for me.  But sometimes it's the little things, like the fact I asked for it to be quilted in white that didn't happen obviously, but I do like it.  And there are some rather large spaces that don't have quilting if you ask me.  In the end I love the way it turned out though so I really shouldn't complain.

One of my favorite blocks.  I can't believe how she made the symbol and everything.
My mom was nice enough to sew the binding on for me so I could keep it a secret.  And it was right up until we were about 1/2 way through opening presents on Christmas Eve with my side of the family.  The hubs admitted that he assumed since my mom received a quilt for Christmas (look for part ii for that quilt) that was the only one I was making.  He later admitted to me that after she opened it and my dad told him maybe next year he had the feeling his UNC quilt was in one of the boxes beside him yet to be opened.  Not too bad for a surprise present.  I say he didn't really know and doesn't want to admit I managed to surprise him.  Although for the life of me I don't know how I pulled it off because I am terrible with surprises and I almost told him about things that happened along the way about 100 times.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Step 1: Just Sew Something

After setting such a lofty goal for 2012 I knew that if I dragged my feet I would never be able to accomplish 12 quilts in only 12 short months.  So after giving Bertha a good cleaning and a fresh needle I changed the blades in my rotary cutters and got down to business.  Since I have almost everything I need for Sunny Trails and the pieces are small enough to cut in my tiny sewing space I thought I would start there.  For this quilt I am following Corey's Moda Bake Shop Tutorial.  So far things are going well.  I did a little rework of the math since Corey advised she had a lot of extra pieces left over.  After I took out the solids and duplicates as Corey suggested I had the same 37 layer cake squares left.  From this I figured out that I could cut three 2" by 10" inch strips from 18 of the squares and four 2" by 10" strips from the remaining 19 squares.  This left me with a larger piece left from some of the squares which I plan to incorporate into the back of this quilt. 

All of the pairs sewn together and cut back down.  Now time to sew the four patches.

I knew I wanted all of my words to go in the same direction so I took special care when sewing together the pairs and then separated out all of the pairs with words when cutting down the strips.  The next step is to sew all of the pairs into four patches which is where I am now.  I had to order some Bella White since none of the local stores carry Moda.  So once I get my four patches and sixteen patches done I will be putting this project on hold for just a little while until the White fabric arrives but have no fear I have Farmer's Wife Blocks to make to get back on track and ready to start with the group again at the end of January.  That means lots of sewing and lots of projects to share.

Almost done making four patches.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The List

I know I'm not the only one making list and thinking about crafty goals for 2012.  I'm interested to hear what you guys have in mind for the upcoming year.  My personal goal is to make 12 quilts in 2012.  It just seems like the thing to do, right?  Well I was sharing this with my mom and I think she thought I was a little bit crazy.  But she must have at least half believed me because she did sign up for 12 slots with the long arm quilter (we share) but that really got me thinking could I really do it?  could I afford to do it?  what about the fact I can't commit to a project?  what about all the new quilt alongs in 2012?  what about all the new inspiration?  what would I do with 12 more quilts?  So I made a list to help get me started on the right track.  Of course this list will be subject to change but you know what the heck I can put a rough draft of the list out here just to give you and idea, right.

  1. Twisted Fandango- Remember these post.  Well I have everything I need to finish this quilt.  Reality is I'm just working on getting the boarders sewn on and then I'll have a finished quilt top.  I have my backing and binding already so this should be a pretty easy finish if I can just pick it up and then stay on task.
  2. Sunny Trails-When Corey first introduced this quilt on Moda Bake Shop I knew I had to make it and I had been waiting for the perfect project to make with Sunkissed.  I ordered all the materials then and it has been sitting waiting for it's chance at the machine.
  3. Swell-I was telling Mary (my online buddy) once about how much I liked swell and how I had gotten on board too late to find any.  Well she tracked down a Jelly Roll and sent it to me and then with the help of another online friend and a swap I now have everything I need to make this quilt.  Right now I am leaning towards a quilt from Camille's Book.
  4. Farmer's Wife Quilt Along-This quilt along is on holiday right now but when we pick back up the end of January we will be at the half way point.  If I can stay on track or make up a few extra blocks between now and then I should finish in plenty of time to call this one a finish in 2012.  I am still really excited about this quilt and how it will turn out.
  5. Anchors Away-Yes the Neptune Quilt.  It scares me a little because the fabric is out of print, it's hard to find, and I have just enough to make this quilt.  It also involves circles and applique neither of which I am happy about but I find that after spending a year on the hunt for everything I need to make this quilt that it has to happen!  Lucky for me my dad has volunteered to help with the cutting.  He might say he was volunteered but either way I'm happy to have him on board for this project.
  6. Loulouthi Tiles-Rachel hosted this quilt on her blog and I loved it.  My parents got me the kit for my birthday back in October (thanks again Mom and Dad) and my dad helped me cut it all out.  I will admit it is a little tricky to get those large tiles cut out, luckily there is enough room in the fabric provided in the kits.  I still need to cut my sashing for this one before I can get started on it but I think it will be another fun quilt to put together.
  7. Swoon-Santa (or rather my amazing parents) brought me the swoon quilt kit for Christmas this year.  I love the Ruby fabric and the pattern for this one and I am excited to put it together.  I've seen tons of these quilts in blog land made from all sorts of different fabrics and I am excited about having the chance to make one of my own.
  8. Multicolored Stars-One of the bees I participated in (and hosted) back in 2010 made these amazing blocks for me and I have yet to put together the quilt top.  The truth is I'm not really sure how I want it to go together and I am at a total loss for quilting it so it has been sitting in my sewing room for a long time.  I am committed to seeing it finished in 2012 it deserves a chance to sparkle.
  9. Summer Sampler Quilt Along-This is one of those projects I was late getting started on.  I really wanted to participate but I didn't have what I needed.  Then one of my amazing blog friends hooked me up with this amazing kit to get started.  I jumped in right away and finished the first 3 blocks, then we got to paper piecing.  I've mentioned before I am no good at this.  I really wish I had it in me but I get it all wrong all the time.  So I stalled but I would really like to see this one finished up.
  10. Max and Whiskers-This one may be a little bit of a cheater since this quilt is finished and back from being quilted but it still needs binding so technically speaking it isn't finished just yet.  Hopefully those stitches will wait another week or so.  This one may also be a little bit of a cheat because it is one that my mom and I made together.  So I only 1/2 made it.  Do you think that counts?
  11. Postcards-When Ashley first made this quilt I loved it and I wanted to make one for myself.  I thought that Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow line (that's how long I've been planning) teamed up with gray for the "grout" would look great.  I've had the bricks cut out for a long time but have yet to get sashing and make this quilt top.
  12. Dueling Flurry-My husband and I have matching Christmas Quilts that my mom and I made.  I thought she and I were going to have quilts made to match but in the end she gifted hers to me and now the hubs has mine.  This year we decided to make matching quilts for my brother and SIL.  I'm going to call this dueling flurry for now because I will be making one and so will my mom.  Hopefully they will like them both.
  13. Just in case you guys rule out the Max and Whiskers quilt I'll give you a bakers dozen.  Spring Weekends-This quilt top is all put together and about 1/2 quilted.  I just need to order more yellow thread to see this one completed.  Funny how it would be so easy and yet I still procrastinate.
So there you have it a tentative list of hopeful quilts for 2012.  But reality is I have a ton of things in my sewing room I still didn't mention.  Like my chasing chevrons quilt and a few other quilts tops that are hanging in my closet waiting to be quilted.  Then of course there are things like quilt alongs.  Have you seen the one coming up in January.  I'm thinking of making that in child size to either donate in 2012 or have on standby for one of the babies I know that are coming soon :)

Stay tuned because I have plenty of Christmas projects to show you in the next week or so and then hopefully we will be spending more time together in 2012 learning new things and accomplishing new goals together.  So go ahead throw it out there.  What are your quilting plans for 2012?  I'd love to hear all about them.  Who knows you might just throw my list completely off track :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sometimes It's Just Hard

I've been meaning to update my blog for a while in fact I have even sat down and started writing out blog post only to leave them unattended until they are no longer relevant.  Things here have just been hard lately.  It doesn't seem possible that Christmas is just a few short days away.  Don't panic it's not here yet but I am sure I will be putting the finishing touches on presents on Christmas Eve.  A few of those gifts are actually surprise gifts that I am very excited to be gifting.  Not that I don't always put a lot of thought into my gift giving but this year there are a few that are pretty sentimental and I'm hoping the recipients will love them as much as I do.  Plus this is the first Christmas with my nephew so I am super excited to see the joy through a little ones eyes this year.

This is what my tree currently looks like, it's only about 1/2 decorate because I just wasn't really feeling it this year.  Like I said it's been hard.  I had the tree about 1/4 of the way done when we had to take our bulldog to the emergency vet.  Unfortunately she never got to come home with us and so like I said it's been hard around here lately.  After that I managed to get enough ornaments on the tree for it to not look too sad and I've managed to wrap the two gifts you see there.  I guess I better get busy and wrap some more since Christmas is almost here.

Denali Snowberry Boyd July 21, 2005-December 5, 2011
I have been making some progress on a few projects.  I started slowly sewing together my hexagon charm quilt.  I decided to just go with an all over scrappy look.  It's very slow going and I'm not very good at it so I'm just hoping and praying the darn thing will stay together when it's finished.

Hexagon Quilt
I also managed to make a few of the blocks for my chasing chevrons quilt along quilt.  The quilt along is actually wrapping up but I'm still working away at it making blocks.  I've been sidetracked some by projects I can't share here just yet but as soon as the presents are opened I promise to write about them here.

Chasing Chevrons

Wishing you and yours a very     

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Departure from the Norm

 How is it that about this time every year I get quilting ADD. Okay so I know I have it all year but right now I should be putting finishing touches on Christmas gifts and making sure everything is ready to go.  Instead I'm busy starting new projects.  I told you if I could eek out some time I was going to join in with Jennifer on her newest quilt along.  Immediately I thought it would be a good chance to use some of the Garden Party I have slowly been collecting.  But when I pulled out my collection I realized it was a lot smaller than I thought.  I actually have a pretty good mix when I add my Garden Party and Good Folks together and since I know I will never manage to collect all of the pieces to either collection I decided to mix them together and use them for this quilt along and then swap out anything I have left when I'm done.  If your looking for either one let me know and I'll put you at the top of my list.  Be warned though I'm not sure when I will actually be done with this project.

Okay so I went into the store planning to be just plain jane and pick up some Kona Snow.  It's a safe choice and I use it in just about everything and since I couldn't remember exactly how much I needed if I bought a little too much it would be okay.  And then I saw this really pretty hand dyed fabric in this deep burgundy purple.  Then I saw the price tag and though hum my rough guess was 4 yards and this stuff is almost $15 bucks a yard.  Needless to say I didn't buy the hand dyed fabric.  I probably would have invested if it was a quilt that I had a plan for and new for sure it would work but I wasn't totally sold on the fact that it would look good with the fabrics and I don't really have a plan for this quilt it just looked like it might be fun.  Instead I took the hand dyed fabric back over to the Kona wall and settled on Kona Garnet.  Now this is such a departure from the white, off white, and gray that I've used in past quilts where a solid was required.  I made up a few blocks tonight when I should have been making pot holders.  I'm going to let them sit on the wall for a few days and see if I still like them.  But I'd love your feedback.  Is it too much?  Do you like it?  Do you not like it?  Would you scrap it and go back to Kona Snow?  Is there another color you would suggest?

To all of my US Friends I hope you all have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving and stay safe if are going to brave the crowds on Black Friday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Little Farming (Week 25)

Pretty little stack of blocks

My love hate relationship with the farmer is continuing.  I haven't been making a whole lot of progress on this one lately and it's already week 25 which means I should have 50 blocks completed and be just about half way done.  But I only have 40 blocks finished.  In reality I'm not as far behind as I thought I was.  Just ten blocks really isn't too bad and really I have one that just needs a little fixing and two that could be finished if I wasn't remaking them because I don't like the fabric choices.  But when all is said and done and all things are accounted for I have a strong 40 blocks and I'm okay with that.  Here's a look at what I worked on this past week.

Block # 5 Bat Wing
Block # 8 Bouquet
Block # 44 Gentleman's Fancy
I think Bouquet is my favorite out of this group.  I like them all but that one is just so cute.  Sorry for the bad lighting but my sewing space doesn't have great light.  I keep wanting to get one of those daylight lamps for my room but haven't yet.  Maybe Santa will bring me one (wink wink).

Please don't mind the mess I ripped my sheets off my bed to snap this photo.
Here is a look at them all laid out together in no particular order.  I pulled the sheets off my bed and threw them all out there together and snapped a quick picture.  I don't have a design wall and I have these all put in a plastic tub as I finish them so I was hoping to get a feel for balance of color.  Funny even in this photo Farmer's Puzzle and the Snowball block stick out as my favorites.  Do you have a favorite block yet?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sometimes It's Just Life

I got to work and open my lunchbox only to find that the milk for my cereal that morning had spilled in the bottom of the bag.  I cleaned up the mess and contemplated what I would eat without milk for my cereal.  As I loaded the rest of my lunch back in the bag my peach that was way too soft already and should have probably been thrown out hit my water bottle and exploded.  Yes exploded!  It was a mess and I was angry.  I grumbled under my breath about what a great day it was going to be.  Yup that pretty much sums up the way my days have been going as of late. 

I haven't been sewing very much and the few things I have been sewing are for Christmas presents so I haven't been able to blog about them just yet either.  Now no excuses, it annoys me when people don't blog for a while and then apologize and promise they will do better so I'm not going to do that because reality is with it this close to the Holidays and less than 1/2 of the items on my Holiday Sewing List complete I probably won't have much time for sewing things I can share in this space so it would just be an empty promise anyway.

If I do find some time to sew just for fun I fully intend to participate in this quilt along.  It looks like a lot of fun and having used Jennifer's last quilt along to sew up my Spring Weekends quilt I know her instructions will be easy to follow.  I even picked out my fabrics already.  I'm planning to make use of my Garden Party fabrics with a lovely gray I think.  Of course I may change my mind twenty times between now and then.

Also over at the Old Red Barn Quilt Along Group we are just gearing up to make Dresden's.  I am considering making a few of these blocks for some Holiday Throw Pillows.  Or I might just make some everyday throw pillows for my living room.  It's pretty plain right now and the place could use a little jazzing up. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 20

So here we are at week 20 of the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along.  I am still loving working on these little blocks at my leisure without the rush of needing to finish something.  Since I made so many blocks early on I gave myself some time off to work on other projects (like those must finish holiday gifts) and then I sort of just slacked off for a while in the sewing room to.  Do you ever feel like that?  Like you love sewing but every time you go into your space to sew you just get distracted or can't decide what to work on and before you know it the time is gone and you haven't made anything.  I get that way sometimes and usually the distraction is reading blocks and looking at flickr which just leads to more must make projects.

This week though I made six blocks.  This brings my "official" block total to 36 which is still two blocks behind schedule.  Well I have 3 more blocks that are basically done.  Whirlwind which still has a corner turned the wrong way.  It will be easy enough to fix I just need to take the seam ripper to it.  I also made Blocks 1 &2 Attic Windows and Autumn Tints early on using a solid fabric.  Well I decided I didn't like the solid even if it is just Kona Snow and haven't used it in any blocks since so I need to take the seam ripper to those as well or just remake the blocks.  Those two luckily will be pretty easy.

Block # 14 Butterfly at the Crossroads
Block # 33 Farmer's Puzzle    
Farmer's Puzzle is my new favorite block.  I used Lori from Bee in My Bonnet's tutorial on easy corners and this one went together really well.  I love how impactful it looks in person.  It's not as bold in the picture but hanging on my design wall (piece of batting taped to the wall) it looks 3D.

Block # 46 Hill & Valley
Another trick I figured out this week (I know I can hear you guys laughing now, but yes it just occurred to me) is that if I spray all my fabrics will Best Press and iron them before cutting any pieces I have less stretch and pull at the end with the final block.  This was especially helpful with block 46 Hill & Valley although it still isn't perfect it is a lot better than I expected it to be.

Block # 54 Kitchen Woodbox

Block # 58 Mother's Dream

Block # 77 Seasons

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Funny things happen around the internet when so many sewers meet in one place at the same time.  Flickr has been strangely quiet, blogs haven't been updated, and the online quilting community is like a ghost town.  Funny, right?  I wasn't able to attend sewing summit this year but I can't wait to hear how it went and all about the adventures I know so many of my online friends are having this weekend.

You know what else happens when you aren't spending all of your sewing time reading about what everyone else is being creative and making?  You actually get some sewing done.  I spend my sewing time this weekend working on a quilt I can't show you just yet (Christmas present) and some Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Blocks.  I was so excited that I had made extras early on that I gave myself some time off to work on my quilts for 100 Quilts for Kids but realized this weekend that I was starting to get behind so I made a few blocks.
Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Blocks

I may or may not have made even more since snapping this picture earlier this afternoon.  Okay I'll give you a clue I did but more on those on Tuesday.  Other than that it has been a pretty normal weekend.  The hubs had to work so I spent my time "playing house," (my mom is still trying to convince me it sounds less like work when you call it play) sewing, and making a mall run.

Target Goodie Bag.  Samples and Coupons make for a good day!

I went to the mall to get some new clothes for work.  I need some more options but I got distracted in Target and ended up getting groceries and coming home instead.  Are the Target's near you remolding?  Ours just added a fresh foods section.  Just when I was ready to give up on Target they woo me back in.  Check out this goodie bag they were passing out today.  And the prices on their new grocery options are comparable to any grocery store.  Plus they carry Panera Bread products.  I almost stocked up on soup (broccoli and cheese) for work lunches but decided against it since I have homemade soups in the fridge and freezer already.  Remember that bug I got to cook?  It hasn't gone away which is great because we've been enjoying some tasty homemade (or at least semi-homemade) around here as of late.  I'll share more on that soon.  Promise!

Hope you all had a great weekend and if you went to the sewing summit I'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Things I Wish I had Learned from My Mother (Part 1)

My mother is one of the best cooks I have ever met.  Growing up she always made our meals and she was even creative about food.  You know what I'm talking about preschool parties with little dogs made out of hot dogs with olives for the eyes and smaller hot dogs for the legs.  Cupcakes for class birthday parties with multiplication problems written in icing on top that had to be solved before you could eat them.  I'm sure there were plenty of things my mom cooked that I complained about at the time but I really only remember one dish that I truly truly hated.  When I was younger I was in a church group called GA's (girls in action) and at one of our slumber parties the teachers thought it would be a good idea if we ate ethnic foods from the country we were studying.  I can't remember the country but I can still remember the peanut butter stew.  Needless to say there were a bunch of hungry kids that night.  I'm not a very good cook, I tend to get busy doing other things and I burn a lot of stuff.  I do okay with recipes but leave out a lot of ingredients because I just don't have them.  I wish I would have spent more time when I was younger learning from my mom how to be a good cook.  I'm sure she would have taught me if I had been willing but I was difficult and didn't want to back then.  Now I wish I would have taken the time to learn.

Every once in a while despite the fact that I know I'm not a very good cook I get the wild urge to cook something.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I made pumpkin bread which is very delicious when served hot with butter.  Then I put my crock pot to work with a white bean chicken chili.  Both turned out surprisingly well.  The hubs and I enjoyed the chili with homemade cornbread today for lunch (I froze the rest which means I can look forward to at least one good meal sometime soon).  I was so amazed with my sudden culinary success that I have Black Bean and Lime Soup in the crock pot as we speak.

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp backing powder
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, really soft (I melted mine in the microwave)
3 large eggs
1 16oz can of pure pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 2 medium loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.

3, In the bowl of a mixer (or large bowl) cream together the sugar, butter, and eggs until fluffy (about 2 minutes)  add pumpkin and combine well.

4.  Slowly add the dry ingredients mixing well until blended.

5.  Pour 1/2 the batter into one of the prepared pans.  Add nuts to remaining batter and mix then pour into prepared pan.  Bake for about one hour or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted come out clean.

Notes: I only have one loaf pan so I cut this recipe in half (told you I do crazy things like this)  I also omitted the cloves because I didn't have any and couldn't see spending almost eight dollars for some at the store for one recipe (told you I leave stuff out all the time). 

Monday, September 19, 2011

What are you making?

I had a lot of fun sewing together quilt tops this weekend to make into quilts for 100 Quilts for Kids.  I was lucky enough to have blocks from quilt bees and swaps to use to make up into three tops that I hope will make some child happy.  I love that these quilts are small enough I can quilt them on my own machine and that they will give me a chance to practice my quilting skills.  Most of my larger quilts (okay all of them) have been sent out to be quilted by a long arm quilter.  I've only done one or two myself on my home machine but I've been wanting to do some more.  This is a great project to use up some of those abandoned quilt blocks from projects that you just gave up on.  Or blocks from bees that you might have loved when you picked them out but now realize that your taste have changed.  No shame in that put all of that hard work into a gift a child will love.  Once these three quilts are quilted and finished I'm planning on trying to squeeze in at least one more.  See while I love these quilts they all say girl to me and I want to send along something sweet for a little boy too because little boys need soft cuddly quilts too.  So how about you?  What are you making?  I'd love to hear where you are planning to donate your quilts to as well since I am still trying to decide.  Don't forget apart from the joy I know all quilters feel from giving from their heart you can also win some great prizes.  Check out the information on 100 Quilts for Kids Here.

Momo Wonderland Story time Quilt.
Arkansas Crossroads Quilt.  Made from blocks received in the Modern Tradition Bee.
Made form Bento Blocks I received in a Swap.  Lots of great fabrics.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Scrappy Goodness

I had planed to make up a back and quilt the Momo Quilt today but as luck would have it I didn't have enough fabric for that.  Don't you hate it when you lack like 3 inches of fabric to finish something up.  Well that was me this morning and of course since it is Sunday the quilt stores in my area are closed.  No worries, I can just run out at lunch tomorrow and pick up something.  So instead I decided that I would make up another little quilt to donate.

Right now this measures about 46 inches square.
I have a whole box of bee blocks from last year a long with a few blocks from swaps that are just sitting waiting to be made into quilts.  My husband made the comment the other day that we have a lot of quilts (that's a story for another day) so I thought really these bee blocks have been sitting and why not share the love.  So I pulled out the blocks from the Modern Tradition Bee and sewed up a few of them into this quilt top that is full of scrappy goodness.  There are so many amazing fabrics in the blocks.  Everything from Amy Butler to Heather Ross to Flea Market Fancy.

Smaller squares sent by bee members
Before you think I lost my mind, I started the morning with blocks that looked like this.  Each of the larger blocks is just four of these squares sewn together and in fact one of my bee members had even sent her four smaller squares back sewn into the one large block.  It made putting the quilt top together pretty easy.  I pieced one more of the larger blocks for the back.  Now I just need to find the right fabric to surround the larger square and then I can baste, quilt, and bind this little bit of scrappy goodness in time for 100 Quilts for Kids.  What are you working on this weekend?

So many fun fabrics!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

100 Quilts for Kids

I've been thinking about joining in on this project for a while now.  I love homemade gifts and there is just something about wrapping up in a quilt that is like wrapping an extra hug around yourself.  Last night as I snuggled down under two quilts I thought about all the time and effort that went into creating them and how much I hope that the few individuals I've made quilts for could feel that love in their quilts even if they are seldom (never) used.  So today I went digging through my sewing room looking for materials I could use to make a child size quilt.

See More Details Here

I've had this tin of Summer in the City for a while now and haven't attempted to make the project inside yet.  I read through the instructions and realized that it only uses about 1/2 of the charms and only makes a 16 1/2 by 16 1/2 inch quilt.  What would you even do with that?  I thought I could expand it and make it bigger but my brain is still recovering from a migraine and I couldn't think that hard.  The tin includes a full charm pack plus extra squares of this dark brown fabric.  Of course I have no idea what color brown it is so buying more is probably not an option.  I do have a few ideas floating around in my head and so I still may end up making a quilt from this to donate.

Next up I found this pack of 6 fat quarters.  When I found this pack at a quilt show it had been made into the cutest bag but of course they were out of the bag patterns by the time I decided I had to make it.  So I picked up the fat quarters anyway thinking I could go online and purchase the pattern.  That was almost 4 years ago and I've never found the purse pattern (I probably wouldn't remember what it looked like now) and I haven't used the fabric so I thought it would work.

The DC Modern Quilt Guild did a Quilt Along based on this pattern.  Once I saw that I figured I could turn this tomato red/orange fat quarter set into a children's quilt pretty easily.  I had some Moda Champagne that I bought to make my Greek Cross quilt with.  I didn't like the way it looked with the Joel Dewberry Heirloom so it was sitting in my sewing room on the table.  I thought it looked pretty good at first with the Wonderland.

Now that the quilt top is together I'm second guessing it.  I don't think the palette is exactly what I would think of for a child's quilt.  I'm hoping the dark colors will make it usable to some mother out there and that the whimsical flowers and polka dots will win over the child.  I haven't found a place here to donate too so I'm hoping to do some research tomorrow to find a local charity that accepts quilts that I know will put them to good use.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WIP Wednesday #10

I haven't been spending much time in the sewing room lately.  It just seems as though there are a million things competing for my time and attention.  This weekend I got to experience what it was like to have a hot water heater dump itself in my laundry room/pantry floor.  Luckily there was no damage other than the tank that had to be replaced.  Which was a two day very expensive venture but in the end it turned out just fine but left little time for sewing.  Here's a look at what's going on in my sewing space.

I'm working on this quilt still for my mother's Christmas present.  She knows I am making it so that's not a surprise but unfortunately I can't share more details because I really don't want her to know much more than that.  Luckily for me I previously gave her a few options for the layout but she doesn't remember which one she picked so that should amp up the surprise factor just a little bit.

I'm still married, to the farmer that is.  We haven't been spending a lot of time together lately but I'm hoping to make up for my neglect in farm wife duties this week by making a few extra blocks.  Last week I only made one new block and then I took Whirlwind apart for the umpteenth time because my mom pointed out one of the squares was turned the wrong way.  I still can't believe no one else here or on flickr pointed it out to me.

Do you see it now?
I wish I would have used fabrics with more contrast here.

And then of course I am still debating joining in on the dead simple quilt along.  I thought I knew what palette I was leaning towards until I saw another picture on Corey's blog today of her fabrics and her palette.  I'm going to try and only work with materials from my stash and since that is incredibly lacking in solids and diversity at the moment I may need to rethink the palettes all together and go with what I know.

After seeing this bag this week I have ideas to make one of my own.  I have a Fossil Bag that I LOVE that my brother and sister in law gave me last year for Christmas.  I'm thinking a mix of the quilted solid and corduroy for the top and straps will be just dreamy.  Do any of you have a bag pattern that you just love?  I'd like to avoid zippers because well I'm lazy and I don't know how they work.  Someday maybe I'll tackle them.  And I need a large size bag because I'm always carrying around a ton of stuff.

 Check out what everyone else is up to by stopping by Lee's.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Lynn is hosting a new quilt along called the Dead Simple Quilt Along.  The purpose is to explore colors outside of your normal palette while sewing a very simple quilt.  In other words the challenge is in the fabric selections and not the concept of the quilt.  I've been avoiding this quilt along because honestly I just don't need another project right now.  I'm already feeling more than a little overwhelmed with all the things in my sewing room already and adding something else just doesn't feel like a good idea.  But today my good friend Corey posted about the quilt along and I was struck by her choices of inspiration and the solids she pulled to go with them.  I could see some of my favorite prints playing nicely in that palette as well.  And of course her inspiration made me go start looking at colors and inspiration.  I was immediately drawn to this photo with the cool blues and warm browns.

But then I started thinking about the fact that if I was going to commit to making another project that while this is lovely it would be just another project.  BUT Rachel is also hosting Celebrate Color right now and I've been toying with the idea of making something which incorporates purples for this.  I rarely ever use purple in anything.  It's just not a color I am very comfortable with.  But since Rachel posted such a great set of inspiration photos for Celebrate Color in eggplants, figs, and rich purples I though it must be okay to use purple as a fall color and why not mix the two things together into one project and knock out two personal goals in one.  I can always donate the quilt to a worthy cause when I'm done.  Kate is hosting 100 Quilts for Kids so maybe if I make something in purple hues it will be like checking three things off the quilting goal list.  I saw this inspiration photo and I really dig it.  I'm not sold on the tan and green in the photo but after all it is just inspiration so I could go with something a little richer if I wanted, right?

 But when I think of fall colors I don't really think of the cooler colors of fall like the silvers and purples.  I think of the rich warm colors.  I was telling Corey about my ideas and she sent me this inspiration photo which I love!  So my quandary is really this, do I go with something I'm comfortable with and make something I know I will love?  Do I go with inspiration that I like that just because I like it?  Or do I go with something that will push my normal limits and allow me to check a few things off the quilting list?

These last two are just some inspiration that I love and are really just for fun.  Although I have to be honest the more I look at the oranges, peaches, and grays in this one the more I am drawn to it.  Can't you just see that as an amazing little quilt.  I'm thinking some nice solids with a little Fresh Cuts thrown in, Dreamy!


But then again this last one does work well as a inspired palette for boys.  And of course if I'm going to be donating it we all know there aren't that many quilts for boys out there.  It's just so easy and fun to make something pink and frilly.