Monday, November 29, 2010

Let It Snow - It's Finished!

I had plenty of time for sewing over the Thanksgiving weekend and finished up Let It Snow, one of my Christmas In July projects.

I'm happy with the way it came out.  It's pretty cute and something a little different for me.  The carrot noses are wool and the eyes and mouths are wool, buttons, and snaps.  Here's a close-up of one of the faces.

This quilt is pretty easy; I'd say it's suitable for a beginner.  The hardest part for me was taking care not to nip off the tips of the flying geese as I attached the binding. 

A special thanks to Thelma of Cupcakes N Daisies; I won the Let It Snow pattern in a giveaway on Thelma's blog and without that win, I would probably never have stumbled across this pattern or made this wallhanging.  Let It Snow will be my January quilt for my kitchen.  For Christmas, I've hung up Strippy Trees, a quilt I made several years ago from a Possibilites pattern.

So far, my Christmas decorating consists of a few quilts about the house.  But I'll be doing more over the next week.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Apricot Citrus Cranberry Compote Recipe

Karen at Sew Many Ways is having a linky party to share favorite family recipes.  I've got lots of those, including dozens for cookies.  But I thought I'd share this fruit dish because it is a little bit different and it is certainly one of our favorites.  It is a nice side dish for a big brunch.

Apricot Citrus Cranberry Compote

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup picked over cranberries
6 ounces dried apricots
1 grapefruit
2 navel oranges

In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of water, bring mixture to a boil, stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add cranberries and simmer 5 minutes or until they have barely popped.  Transfer mixture to a small bowl and let cool or chill in refrigerator, covered.  In the saucepan, combine the remaining sugar with 1/3 cup of water, bring to boil, stir until sugar is dissolved, and add apricots.  Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.  Transfer apricots and syrup to another small bowl and let cool.

Working over a bowl, cut away the rinds and piths from grapefruit and oranges with a serrated knife and cut the fruit into sections.  Chill.  Everything may be prepared in advance up to this point.  Mix the citrus sections, cranberries, and apricots with their syrup together and serve. 

Serves 6 to 8.

We have this fruit compote for brunch on Christmas day with quiche, bagels, and scones or cinnamon rolls.  On the "big food" holidays, we usually have just two meals, brunch and dinner, with maybe a little something to nibble inbetween.

If you would like to add more family favorite recipes to your collection, head over to Sew Many Ways.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Over The River And Through The Woods

Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go...

Okay, so it was really over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and along the Long Island Expressway.. but to grandmother's house we did go for Thanksgiving.  I hope you are having a happy day, full of love and turkey!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You've Got Mail!

Fat Quarter Shop was having a sale on Halloween fabrics so I placed an order.  And as long as I was ordering some fabric, I threw a few other things into the cart. 

Joseph's Coat is on my lifetime quilt bucket list; I've been following the quilt-along on Don't Look Now (following, not participating).  I'll get to it someday.  So when I saw this Australian Patchwork & Quilting cover, I thought I should pick it up.  Kellie on Don't Look Now is teaching a mostly applique method of making this quilt but the magazine instructions are for curved seam piecing.  Well, I have plenty of time to figure out which method I want to try.

And I threw in a couple of patterns.  I saw this basket quilt calle Petit Fours by Fig Tree in blog photos of the Fall Quilt Market.  A basket quilt is also on my list.  I'm thinking of making this using my hoarded stash of Paris Flea Market, a Moda fabric collection from six or seven years ago.  After seeing all the Paganinis in the La Petite parade of projects, well, it had to go on my list too.

And the real purpose of my purchase, a good deal on some Halloween fabric.  This will be the back of my spider web quilt.  

I'm pretty excited about the spider web quilt and would like to start it now. But it doesn't seem quite right to be working on a Halloween project in December.  Anyway, must finish the Christmasy projects then get the room straightened out.  So this wil be a 2011 project.  I just hope I don't lose the love.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's Happening?

The answer is "not much!"  Not much of a quilty nature, anyway. 

I did manage to finish all the turquoise blocks - 30 of them.  The next step is to put them together with white sashing. 

But that step will have to wait until January.  I'm loving this project but need to put it aside to do some Christmasy and gifty things.  Then I need to clean up the sewing room and transform it back to the guest room in time for my mother's arrival on Dec. 22.  Better get cracking!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Relaxing with Sew Scrappy

I saved the best for last.  Sew Scrappy is a Better Homes and Gardens publication, from the same company as American Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  If you've been looking for something to do with your scraps, you will find ideas here!

Star quilts are my favorites and I found two drool-worthy examples in this magazine.  The first is called Five-Star Tribute.  If you follow the directions, you end up with a twin-bed size quilt (but why follow directions...?).  This one is going on my to-do list, though maybe with a background color other than pink.

Then I saw Star Tracks.  Wow, another one for the to-do list!  Cream scraps, red scraps, and black scraps.  (In my photo all the black stars look the same but they are actually scrappy.)

Here's a bigger picture of the full quilt.  It is a lap size.  Of course, you could make it bigger or smaller.  The directions don't mention it but I've seen a special Hunter's Star ruler that I think might be a helpful tool for this project.

Then for something fun and different, I found Lots of Dots, designed by Gwen Sinclair. This is a small applique project that uses wool scraps.  Not that I have any, except for a small bit of orange left over from the carrot noses in Let It Snow.  But now I have an excuse to look for wool..

Lots of Dots would make a good gift too (for Christmas 2011).  Better get to work!

I'll be back later in the week with some progress on my actual projects.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Relaxing with McCall's America Quilts for Christmas

America Quilts for Christmas is a McCall's Quilting publication. As I began reading it, I thought it seemed familiar. Sure enough, I had another copy in my magazine pile. I think I bought it a couple of months ago.

But that's okay because there are several eye-catching projects in this issue, including a star block sampler quilt. But the one that really speaks to me is Lumiere Waltz, designed by Gerri Robinson.

Lumiere Waltz is a full bed size quilt though I am thinking of reducing the block size to make a smaller quilt.  This might well become next year's Christmas project!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Relaxing with Easy Quilts Magazine

Last week I bought some magazines with the intention of getting some time to relax with my feet up, and take in a dose of quilting inspiration.

First up was Easy Quilts, a publication of Fons & Porter.  It bills itself as "Official Publication of the Quilters Club of America."" I had not previously heard of the Quilters Club of America.  And I think this is my first issue of Easy Quilts

Initially, I was a little disappointed.  When I quickly browsed through the magazine on the newstand, my eye was caught by an apron shown on page 48.  I was expecting the magazine to have the pattern and directions for the apron.  It does not; turns out it is a purchased apron that they embellished with rickrack and ribbon.  But then I saw this:

This quilt is called Groovy Petals and was made from the Origins collection of fabric from Moda.  Really groovy in my opinion and going on my to-do list (or lifetime quilt project list), to eventually make in a different color scheme.  All the directions and patterns for the applique shapes for this one are included in the magazine.

So the purchase of this magazine turned out to be worthwhile.  I'll be back soon with another magazine review.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Find - Pumpkin Butter

When I first saw this pumpkin butter in Trader Joe's, I was not enthusiastic.  I can't remember why I bought my first jar but now I am a major fan.  It tastes like pumpkin pie without the crust.

I mix a rounded teaspoon of the pumpkin butter in my morning oatmeal, along with a few chopped walnuts.  Yummy, yummy!  It is also good on an english muffin.  And there are probably other brands, in case you don't shop at Trader Joe's.  But if you do shop at Trader Joe's you better stock up now because this is a seasonal item and they won't have it come January.

That reminds me, oatmeal is my breakfast staple in the winter and I make it the Hungry Girl way, using almond milk, steel cut oats, and a crock pot.  Put 4 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or use sweetened if you prefer) and 1 cup of steel cut oats in the crock pot and heat on warm for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  Stir once or twice during cooking.  Turns out yummy with a creamy texture.  Good for you and low in calories.  I didn't really care for oatmeal until I tried it made this way.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When I Get A Moment To Relax...

I've got some magazines to read savor.

Between the school play, the school concert, and real-world work, I've been very busy.  However, I nipped into Barnes & Noble today and picked up a little something for Friday night.  I'll be back with a book report.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Can You Recommend A Good Digital Camera?

I am thinking about getting a new camera.  I was in Best Buy the other day and noticed digital cameras have gotten a lot smaller and less expensive since I bought mine about seven years ago.  That, coupled with the occasional grainy or blurred picture, got me thinking maybe I could request an upgrade for my birthday or Christmas.

The only difficulty is that there are so many to choose from!  I need easy to use and easy to download.  My current model is a Kodak Easyshare.  It is very easy and I use the Kodak Easyshare software to download and store the pictures I take.

What are you using and would you recommend it to a friend?

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Sneak Peek At What's To Come

A while back, I sent two quilt tops off to a new-to-me longarm quilter for custom quilting.  Kari just emailed to let me know she finished the quilting and the quilts will be back to me soon.  And she sent me a sneak peek photo.

Doesn't it look fantastic!  I'm so excited to be getting this back.  I called this quilt Cider Mill, because the colors reminded me of the Franklin Cider Mill, a place near my childhood home in suburban Detroit.  You can see the finished flimsy here

Also on its way back is Christmas Day, which you can see here.  I'll show you more when they're back in my hands and bound.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I stuck the Followers Gadget over there in the column to your right, just in case that is the way you keep track of the blogs you like to read.  Even if that is not how you keep track, please become a follower if you are a regular reader because I am very curious about who is reading my ramblings.  You can become a follower even if you are only an occasional reader!

I'm planning a celebration for next month and there might be something special in it for followers.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What To Do With My Fig Tree Fabric?

The reason I was looking through my inspiration box was to answer the question of what to do with all my Fig Tree fabric.   I bought a layer cake (Mill House Inn) at a quilt show back in September...

...then got some more in a sale from Jaybird Quilts.  In addition, I have quite a collection of scraps and leftovers from various projects that used older lines. 

I do like the pattern in the photo at the top, Paper Roses, but honestly, it will use only a fraction of the fabric I have.  So here are some other ideas.  I've been meaning to make Confetti Cake for a long time and saw the quilt Sherri made, which got me wanting to make it even more.  But I think I'd prefer to make that pattern with brighter colors.  Ruffles is a good possibility because it is a layer cake pattern.

I love this Abby Lane pattern called Magical Mystery Tour but again, it might be better in brighter colors and also lends itself to big prints.  And it is not ideal for layer cakes.  Rosettes would be a better choice because it is designed for layer cakes and would work well with the scale of the prints I have too.  I meant to make this one for Christmas last year but didn't get around to it. 

Oh well, I still have some time to ponder it.  What would you do?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Inspiration Box

I haven't finished the turquoise quilt yet but I'm already thinking about the next project.  That's how I work and it gives me something to ponder during the more mindless bits, like pressing.  I spent some time over the weekend going through my books and patterns...and my Inspiration Box.

The box is something I bought a few years ago in Borders.  It is about 9" by 12" and might have been intended as a gift box.  It came with a handy elastic band that fits around the box with the top on. 

My inspiration box holds clippings from magazines, photos I've taken here and there, downloads from the internet, etc.  Sometimes my attention is caught by a whole quilt but other times it is a block I like or a border treatment or color combination.  And many items I've saved aren't quilts per se but have something about them that led me to a thought about quilting.  For example, I have several photos I took of iron fencing because I thought I'd like to recreate the pattern in the quilting on a quilt.

How do you save and organize your inspiration?