Feline Friday is hosted every friday and HELP for Hexie-aholics is hosted on the 17th of each month. We hope you'll join us!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Feline Friday - 3/30/12

This is our nightly ritual...I'm under the quilt and Midgie is holding me down.
As Martha would say, it's a good thing !!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

UFO Thursday

Yup, it's the end of another month and I should be reporting on my NewFO's and UFO's. I worked on a UFO this month, altho not the designated project. I also started a couple NewFO's that I forgot to take updated photos of so we'll post those next week.

I think you will remember that I finished my Kangaroo Walkabout top last month.

Well, this week I also cut the batting and pieced the back. I wasn't interested in trying to match the pattern of the kangaroo fabric or in having a seam down the middle so I had planned to cut one length of the kangaroos and then make a strip of pieced black fabrics to get it wide enough.

I'm sure you all know to "measure twice and cut once". I suggest you also read your notes twice about what size to cut! I had remeasured the quilt top to make sure my measurements were correct and that is apparently what stuck in my head because I did measure out 72" twice but it should have been cut to 76."  Luckily I also had some WOF black left that I could add to the bottom of the kangaroos. Not what I had originally planned but it works :)

Oh hey, I still have more kangaroo fabric left - I think it should become binding...

I need to make some quillows as birthday gifts for the boys and then their party is Saturday. I hope to get Kangaroo Walkabout spray basted in there sometime.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday

I can't wait for tomorrow's last basket block at Temecula Quilt Company...

Last weeks basket is at the bottom of this picture.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sarah's Simple Swag Tutorial

Remember the St. Patty's Day swag I made a couple of weeks ago?

Well I stocked up on bias tape and made a few more this weekend. I think picking only 7 fabrics is harder than the whole rest of the process :)

You'll need the following:

(1) 3-yard package 1/2" extra wide double fold bias tape

(7) FQs to cut charm squares from...scraps or leftover charms from charm packs also work great and I know you have some lying around!

Cut fourteen charm (5") squares from your fabrics, cutting 2 from each. You could also go wild and use 14 different fabrics. Go WILD - you know you wanna!

No, I do not have a crock obsession. I dont!
One holds oft-used rulers, one is for trash and the third is for CHOCOLATE!
Place two charm squares with right sides together and sew a 1/4" seam around all four sides. I didn't photograph this step but trust me, it has to be 4 sides. Give each of the 7 sewn pairs a light press and move back to the cutting board.

Cut the 7 square pairs into 14 half square triangles by cutting once, from corner to opposite corner.

Trim the points off your triangles and turn them inside out. Be sure to trim the corners first...ask me how I know this! Use a bone folder or stilletto to push out the points and press your triangles flat. I have yet to trim the dog ears in this next photo. This is also a good time to open your tape and give it a good press. Be careful while pressing that you don't stretch the bias tape out of whack.

We are now back to the sewing machine. For my Bernina I am using my stitch in the ditch foot because the bar you see in front will run along the edge of the bias tape. My needle is then moved to the farthest left position.

Find the middle of your bias tape and tuck the first triangle inside the tape with the triangle tip at the mid-point of the tape. Topstitch along the edge of the tape until the edge of the first triangle. Tuck the second triangle into the tape. I don't overlap the triangle tips to eliminate bulk - they just touch within the tape. Continue sewing 7 triangles into this half of the tape and continue topstitching the remaining ~12" of the tape. Move back to the center of the tape and sew the remaining 7 triangles into the other half of the tape.

Admire the pretty colors and shake your head at the white cat fur attached to everything even tho your sniffly QCO didn't even snoopervise this project.

I also used these Black/White/Red fabrics to create another swag. I decided to add an extra red traingle to the center for a total of three red triangles per side and a more symetrical design.

Next up is an Easter swag - I have bunny and egg fabrics to use :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Design Wall Monday and Squishies!!!!

First off - the design wall. I've been a busy hexie-a-holic and decided to lay out the diamonds I've finished so far to see what colors I need to add. I can't wait to see this with the black sashings added - the black just makes the colors pop.

I don't have much left to do, relatively speaking...I have another diamond almost done and 3 more kits made. I need to actually stitch 10 full and 12 partial diamonds, plus sashings. I think I will be pretty close to getting the top done by my goal of April 30th. The colored diamonds in this EQ7 rendition are what is done already...I still need to do the white areas.

Saturday I went to the PO expecting one squishie…but I found 3!!!

The Tortilla Stuffers were a freebie from General Mills that I had completely forgotten about. I have tried a beef flavor and while they are not the most authentic meal in the world, they make for quick meals and I’m excited about this garlic chili flavor. I can see quesadillas on the menu this week :)

This “Tea Deck” is a prize that I won a week or so ago from Angela at Tea With Friends. It’s a deck of 50 cards with recipes for tea foods and brewing different kinds of teas. There is a lot of info there that I can’t wait to peruse. Mom has already picked a few recipes for us to try out…

This last package is from Janet at Rogue Quilter for my selvage quilt(s). Look at the polk-a-dot fabrics...those little flower “dots” are adorable. Thanks Janet – It’s always fun to see what fabrics you are working with.

These three squishies reminded me of the other selvages I received last week. The 2 bags were from members of my guild, The Yorketown Quilters, and the loose selvages were from my co-worker Val.

I’ve been cutting up my 1930’s fabrics to use a pattern my friend Michelle at Daisy Hill Quilts sent me. I don’t think I’ve ever trimmed the selvages from this box full of fabrics and there are 145 fabrics to go thru! Yeh, I’m a loser and I counted them…

Swag tutorial coming tomorrow...cya then :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Feline Friday - 3/23/12

Squeaky here...

This is me in our prisoner transport unit. You see, we went on a little road trip Wednesday. Momma was so worried about me that she forgot her camera AND her cell phone so there is no proof of what a good girl I was at the v-e-t.

I cried the whole way there but Momma described the hills and the birdies and even the river we had to cross. Momma wasn’t very happy with the new vet’s office at first. We got there early and still had to wait for the lady in a white coat. Total we waited 45 minutes. I took the time to explore the room and look out the window before settling on Momma’s lap...she's a good cuddler. The white coat lady says I have an upper respiratory infection. Well, duh! Lady even said I am a carrier, whatever that means. Oh...I suggested Lady needs a bird feeder outside her window.

When it was *finally* time to go home I walked right back into the PTU, silly, I know, but I still cried the whole way home. As soon as we got in the house, Momma stuck this yucky banana flavored stuff down my throat – and she wonders why I hid so well for the rest of the day! It’s not my fault she couldn’t find me. I eventually came out of hiding but when I realized she was having an actual party, and *without* me, I decided to go hide again. I sent my scaredy-cat brother down later to check on the party but they were still there.
Yup, Momma tucked me in last night

She’s made me eat that yucky banana stuff again yesterday and today but I make sure I shake my head to get it everywhere first. Calicos rule and I want Momma to know it!

PS – it’s good to start feeling better and be sociable with Momma, brother and sissy. I even slept on the bed again last night instead of holed up in the closet  :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nothing going on...

Sorry peeps - nothing quilty or even a photograph today.
Tuesday night Noel and I were co-chairs for a Quilter's Game Night at Guild which was a blast and I had yesterday off to prepare for a dinner meeting at my house. 16 people came for soup and grilled sandwiches - hence the daffodil centerpieces. It was an awesome day to be home because this early in the season the house still stays cool even tho it was >80F outside. I had every window and door open to let the sun and breeze inside and I ate lunch out on the porch while working on my skin cancer suntan. I am glaringly pale as an Irish Yankee emerging from a non-winter. I sooooo didn't want to come to work today where I can't prop open a door or window.

With my EMT class Monday night (and I skipped it last night) I haven't sewn anything since last Saturday. I seriously want to skip Zumba class tonight to go home and sew but if I'm home should I do yard work?  It's supposed to be yucky this weekend. Aren't you glad you got to hear this conversation with myself?!

Sorry nothing exciting has happened here at CasaGrande like making those fruit hand pies or even the swag tutorial I promised. Be sure you check in tomorrow where Squeaky will tell you about a little road trip she took.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Granola Bars

I had hoped to make those fruit hand pies to show off today but you know that when it rains, it pours and I didn't get any made...I did however get these granola bars made. This is a recipe I have modified from something I saw on the internet and they are one of my favorite breakfasts. No two batches come out alike because you can customize them so much. Shall we?!

Ohh - I just had a thought - Mom has a food dehydrator...I could make my own dried fruit this summer! Can't wait for the farmer's market to open.

In a medium to large sized bowl, mix the dry ingredients.

Add in dried fruit and nuts. I generally use about 2 cups total making sure to *always* include chocolate chips. This time I used mangos, raisins, choc chips and walnuts.

In a microwavable dish, melt the butter. Whisk in the water and the honey. Gotta love local honey!
I like to use this Pyrex measuring cup because the honey sinks to the bottom and it's easy to measure.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Adding peanut butter is optional but without the pb, I have found the bars very dry. I don't even measure the pb anymore, just adding a couple spatula fulls.

The original recipe called for lining the 9" Pyrex with parchment paper, not having any, I just spray it with the Pam spray that has flour in it. Press your moist mix into the Pyrex. It doesn't tend to spread at all so make sure the mix is even in the Pyrex. Bake at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes until the edges brown. The center will appear soft but it will firm up when it cools.

1 2/3 cup quick rolled oats
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar ( I tend to use about 2/3 cup, only because I keep a 1/3 cup in the sugar container)
1/3 cup oat flour (I just use all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I always add more!)
2 to 3 cups dried fruits & nuts

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey (maple syrup and corn syrup also work)
1 Tablespoon water

Add wet ingredients plus 1/3 cup peanut butter (I use crunchy)

Prehet oven to 350F.
Line square Pyrex with parchment paper in one direction
Spray paper and exposed Pyrex with Pam
Press mix into Pyrex
Bake 30-40 minutes until edges brown and there is a little color on top. It's soft but will firm when cool.
Cool completely and remove with parchment sling. Cut into 9 servings.

Freezes quite well.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Design Wall Monday - 3/19/12

Other than some pressing and cutting scraps into strips, this was about all the sewing I accomplished this weeekend. Aren't they just adorable? Each block finishes at just 4" and I converted all the directions to use with my Easy Angle and scraps. Hmm...that would be a good quilt name: "Scrap Baskets."

The blocks are part of a 5 week sew along at Temecula Quilt Co - a new block is posted each Thursday in March and I am guessing the final layout will be revealed at the end of the month. Looks like it will be doll quilt sized and I plan to use this for my March doll quilt.

Thanks Janet for telling me about the SAL! I think I'll be making more of these...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Feline Friday - 3/16/12

Remember the macaroni salad I made Tuesday?

With tuna fish?

That meant there was tuna flavored water and I had three pussycats who were eager to partake!

PS - I am thinking one of my cats is (partially) deaf due to some things that happened this week and that could explain some of her "normal" actions.

I've tried calling her name and snapping finger behind her head but clapping my hands was inconclusive. Any suggestions on how to test for deafness? She responds when I talk to her face to face but not necessarily when I call her from across the room.  TIA.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I bought a kit to make this neato St Patty's Day swag at my LQS - it was the perfect solution to having a variety of fabrics. Now I kinda wish I had bought 2 kits so I could have decorated both door frames...

Taken from studio, looking across living room into dining room.

This weekend I am looking to buy supplies to make one for Easter and YOU can too!

You'll need a package of bias tape (I think they are 3 yards long) and 14 charm squares. The kit had two of each fabric but anything goes here people! I hope to make more for other holidays but my imagination is running wild with other ideas too.

I'll be back next week with a tutorial. It really is simple enough to not need a formal tutorial but I tried to explain it in words-only to a couple people and confused them to pieces. I'm great at that so we will defer until I can get some pictures.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Spurred by great weather, I pulled out my favorite grilling book ...

...and grilled Mediterranean chicken breasts. And what is grilled chicken without macaroni salad? We Ballinger's like our salad with green grapes, tuna fish, onions and hard boiled eggs.

This was followed by hand pies (pastry filled with boysenberry jam). I would be happy to share this easy recipe in another post if anyone is interested.

Yes - I used every bit of my "new" counter space but I did *not* take any pictures of the mess I had fun making :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's the little things that make a difference...

So obviously the kitchen in my old house is very outdated but it's just not in the budget to make major changes at this time. You know how you look at something every day and don't notice it until you see a picture? Yeh, we *really* need some updates but for now I'm thrilled with 3 small changes Dad helped me with over the weekend.

When I moved into this house (sorry forgot those pictures at home) there was a nasty old microwave over the stove top and the fridge was in the middle of the cupboards. The microwave was quickly removed and the fridge was eventually switched with a cupboard - both of which really opened up the kitchen. Unfortunately, the cupboards were water/steam stained or covered in layers of grease that I still can't get off completely. They are otherwise in great shape so I'll paint them some day down the line. BUT - there were now empty spaces where we had (re)moved appliances and I thought two shelves would be great to take advantage of the space and get things off the counter. For the last 2 days I just walk into the kitchen and sing because I love all the free space created by two simple shelves.

See those 2 small cupboard doors over the wall ovens? Not the top and impossible to reach ones but the ones in the middle? Dad took out the shelf and doctored the doors a little so that I could stand muffin pans and cookies sheets on end. Another brilliant use of space that was once empty for it's inconvenience.

Next project is to add more shelves to the utility closet (one of only 3 closets in the house) to make it more like a pantry than a kinda useless utility closet. As it is now, half the closet was for storing the ironing board that is only used (rarely) for ironing clothes. That monster will be moved to the upstairs bathroom where it might actually get used. Oh, who am I kidding, I just don't want it wasting precious closet space.

I was going to list my wish list for the kitchen but you don't wanna read that...maybe I'll just go buy a lotto ticket. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Design Wall Monday - 3/12/12

I've managed to get the center of my batik quilt together! It feels really small compared to some of the other quilts I've worked on recently. I know it still needs the borders (and I had planned 3  which would make it 48" x 57") but I'm actually considering adding another border of HST to make it bigger.

On one hand I would just like to just get it done as is but on the other hand I would like something usable. Mom says the current size is great for a lap quilt, which is true but not really my style as I want to be *covered* by a couch quilt, or I could use it instead of the cream afghan to cover the ottoman, a fav pussycat hangout. Washing a quilt or afghan is much easier than cleaning the upholstered ottoman. What do you think - finish it as planned or make it bigger?

Ooh ooh – almost forgot I took this next picture. I think this loud striped fabric would make a fun border or even the binding. The colors are spot on!

I also wanted to tell you about 2 squishies I’ve received in the last week. Bonnie had Yard Sale Saturday back on 3/3/12 and I purchased this great neutral with roosters from Julie. She even included the cutest quilt label for me.

Back on Leap Day I entered several give-aways on a Leap Day Linky Party. I actually won one of them from Jen at Quilter’s Daughter !! It did kinda throw me for a loop when I picked up the package at the post office this weekend as Quilter's Daughter is the name of our LQS (my next stop after the PO) and I had to think for a minute what would be in the squishy.

Midgie and I were bummed that the post office clerk crossed out the stamps
when they hadn't been properly postmarked.

I won 5 green FQs and a spool of green silk thread for hand quilting. Thanks Jen!!

Friday, March 09, 2012

Feline Friday - 3/9/12

Ok - maybe I'm the only one that will find these funny...

Wednesday morning at 5:11am I awoke suddenly to a heavy thud. Something had hit the floor in the bedroom (I recognized the sound since the floor boards are still loose - bedroom is the next room up for rehab)! I looked over the side of the bed and there was poor little Squeaky who must have rolled off the bed. Poor thing was a little dazed but she eventually jumped back up on the bed and came over for a little snuggle time with Momma. She's slept a little more towards the middle of the bed the last couple of nights...

Does this pose make you think of someone on the guillotine or in the stocks? It's really a very generous cutout for a cat head and Squeaky did it the following day...it just looks like a punishment to me.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Spring !!

I don't think the town where I work got over 65F yesterday altho Rochester was 68F and beat a 120+ year old record. So what's a girl to do when it's that warm?

Dust off the cobwebs and fire up the barby of course!!!
Looks like I'm going to need some new bricks along with a new grill cover...

I also walked around the yard looking for spring plants. There was lots of *little* bits of green popping up (day lillies, sedum, phlox, weeds, etc) but all were too small except these little snow drops. Haven't found the crocuses yet.

Today will "only" be 57 but I did see my first robin of the year so Spring is on it's way!

Speaking of spring - Don't forget to Spring Forward an hour this Sunday and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. I'll finally be installing my new smoke detectors.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday

After (obviously) choosing to quilt over housework last night, I'm thrilled to say that my Kindle cover is 99.9% finished!!! I just need to add this old button culled from Mom's collection many moons ago. The Kindle fits snugly inside it's case thanks to two layers of batting and some fun quilting designs.

 I really should have taken some "process" pictures but since I plan to make more for holiday craft sales I can do that later. I should point out that the sale items will not be made from hexies - too time consuming for what most people will be willing to pay.
I just had to get my third fav color in there somewhere  :)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Hexie update and a rant or three


Why doens't EMS dispatch automatically dispatch the ice rescue team for a patient ON THE ICE??? How rediculous that we need to request the team be dispatched. Why does the sheriff, actually two of them, think it's ok to walk out on the (thin) ice without a flotation device when we refuse to do so and advise him not to? Why are there more fisherman going out on the ice when there are 5 sheriffs and 2 fire departments on the scene? Are fisherman so desparate to get one more day in before it's 60F tomorrow? Word is that 3 men fell thru the ice while we were across the lake practicing Sunday morning, at this very site, altho they were able to save themselves.

And if that wasn't enough, I'm trying to get to work after the call and I can see the woman on the other side of the road looking in her lap (at a cell phone?) coming into my lane. I was about to blast my horn when she looked up and ever-so-gradually returned to her lane.

Why does the Chinese food place (ahhh comfort food!) say my food will be ready in 10 minutes when it really took 25 and then they forgot my fortune cookie.

Oi, I have a headache...and now my cell battery is about to die, again!
I became very cranky after 8:18am...this is going to require chocolate, lots of chocolate...


Any chance you remember the Kindle cover I started making back in January? The last time I posted about the cover I had finally decided to add more hexies so that I could do proper seams...I just hadn't gotten back to the project until this weekend. It was one of the projects I worked on at Noel's.

I need to find one more purple (or I could add a yellow since the cover would then have all 3 of my fav colors) and the hexies are done. Then I can quilt it. I have purple thread picked out, even the quilting pattern altho I forgot to take a picture of it this morning. I forgot to bring my Zumba workout clothes to work today so I'll have extra time after work. Hmmm...quilt or do the housework I didn't do last weekend? I'm leaning towards the former :)