Sunday, September 30, 2012

UFO Sunday: 2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

As I try to get caught up on my UFO's (unfinished objects), I've been linking up lately with UFO Sunday over at Leah Day's blog, The Free Motion Quilting Project.  I'm happy to report that I did meet my goal of getting my 2 small quilts pin basted, and even finished quilting one of them (with "railroad tracks" from Leah's blog).  I'm hoping to get these 2 quilts finished this week.

As I've been chipping away at these projects, I've been feeling a stronger and stronger urge to start a new project.  I have been trying to satisfy the urge by making small projects (that get finished).  I've done a few of these the last few weeks, including a few postcards for a swap I'm in, and some new place mats and oven mitt.

But I finally caved and also started curtains for my son's room, and a new quilt (gulp).  Hmmm... Maybe that title should read 1 step forward, 2 steps back (blush).

How do you resit the urge to start something new?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Craft Book Month Link-Up

I've been seeing all sorts of craft book posts in blog land, and only discovered that there is a link up today (!).  When I read that your project doesn't have to be new, I decided to link up a blog post.  There's still a few more days to enter!!

Craft Book Month at Craft Buds

The pattern for this quilt is "Children's Delight", from the book "Quilts from The Quiltmaker's Gift", by Joanne Larsen Lin and Nancy Loving Tubesing.  This is one of the few craft books I own, and one of my favorite books.  I've made several quilts from this wonderful book, as well as its sequel, "More Quilts From the Quiltmaker's Gift".
That's the pattern, on the cover of the book!

I almost always get my craft and quilting books from our local library, which lets you check out books from all over the region. In fact, I just got these in yesterday!!  I've saved a ton of money this way, but every now and then I come across a book I just must buy.  The Quiltmaker's Quilts is one of them, and this "We Love Color" book may be another!!

Be sure to visit the link-up and see what others have made.  There are also all sorts of blog posts all about the craft book business, which I hope to read through soon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

80's Friendship Bracelet Quilt Along

I'm a big fan of bloggers Lee and Faith, and recently started following Megan, so when I saw their posts about "From Blank Pages" Friendship Bracelet inspired quilt along, I had to jump in!

I just put the finishing touch on my Friendship Bracelet inspired projects.  I couldn't resist making more than one!!  I finished up 2 place mats and an oven mitt that, yes, has a friendship bracelet around it!!

Here's the back of the place mats:
Once again, here's my favorite bracelets from my own collection, 2 of which inspired my designs:
Here's a few "in progress pictures" that I took to give you an idea of how I made them:

For the oven mitt, I used insulbright batting for the first time.  No problems at all!  I even used an old flannel pillowcase I got from Goodwill, for the lining of the mitt, so I even worked in a bit of up-cycling as well.

Finally, I tried and tried to find a picture of me in the 80's, but as I've mentioned before, almost all of our family pictures were destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.  I do have a few that I started taking back then, that I have moved with me since college, but most have other people's faces in them.  I'm afraid this is one of only a few that I found, but wanted to include it, as it screams "80's", right down to the "80's ipod" (cassette tape player), the 80's entertainment center (a book), and just check out that wall paper!  Yes, I had a canopy bed, and yes, I am wearing a Hall and Oats concert T-shirt!  I still get nostalgic when I hear "Sara Smile".  My favorite musician back then by far, was Billy Joel (I'm a piano player, and was back then too), but I didn't get to see him until much later.  Prince was another favorite, and I was lucky to see him play as well... what an amazing musician!!

If you're still with me, go click on the link above to see what others have made, and many thanks to Diane for hosting such a fun event!!

WIP Wed: New Projects, Friendship and Binary Code

After finishing up a few UFO's, I finally caved to the irresitable urge to start something new!  I'm aiming to keep the projects small and simple so I can keep finishing up my other UFO's at the same time.  I'm down to "just" 5 or 6 quilt tops, which is great!

There are so many tempting quilt alongs in blog land right now.  I decided to make a small project for the Friendship Bracelet Quilt Along.  The 2 strips above are already sewn into 2 place mats that I hope to finish today!

Here's a few pictures of how I made them:
I also started a long-overdue set of closet curtains for my younger son.  My kids have small bedrooms, and the closet doors are/were bi-fold, which take up a lot of space, so we've removed them, but need curtains to hide what's in the closet.  We decide that we're going to spell out his name in binary code with this fabric!  All of the ones and zeros are done.  I can't wait to finish it up!!  It's going to be very geeky!
As usual, I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.  Come share what you're working on!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday at the Table: Last of the summer Chili Relleno

Last week, I showed you how I roast and freeze my chili peppers.  Tonight I used some of them in my favorite recipe with them, Chili Relleno Casserole.

I use this recipe, but substitute my roasted peppers and whatever cheese I have on hand.

My husband made a 2 gallon batch of fresh salsa over the week-end, using the green tomatoes we picked that have been s l o w l y ripening in our kitchen over the last few weeks.  I like to heat up salsa and pour it over the top of each serving too.  YUM!

As usual, I forgot to get that "last" picture of food on the plate (I'm always too hungry), but got a picture of it right out of the oven.  As usual, I'm linking up with Deb at A Quilter's Table Tues at the Table!  Come join us!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

UFO Sunday: No more binding

Since I last posted at UFO Sunday, over at Leah Day's Blog, I finished binding all of the quilts that I had ready, including my New Orleans house, the Log Cabin Cat Quilt, and the "Yellow" Quilt.  A big "YEA!!"  3 finishes!

My next 2 quilts are above, and over the week-end I've got the backs ready and the fronts and backs all ironed and ready.  I hope to get them pin basted and hopefully start quilting them in the next week or 2.  One is a small baby quilt for Project Linus, and the other is my "Low Volume Quilt" that I'm not sure what I'll do with.

Unfortunately this is how far I got with my Modern Granny Quilt, before experiencing much frustration.  The only thread that seems to work on my machine is Isacord, but the nearest dealer is an hour away, and I don't have the right color.  As soon as I tried sewing with cotton, my machine started skipping and breaking thread (again).  It only happens with I go backwards.  I think I've finally decided that it's more important for me to be able to quilt with thread I can get locally than to keep this machine, so I'm trying to figure what my next step is...  For now, Modern Granny is going back in the UFO pile...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WIP Wed: Another Finish, and a Pencil Pouch

I just finished up the last of my quilts that needed binding!!  It feels great!  This (nameless) quilt was started about 3 years ago.  The yellow print is fabric that I bought so long ago, that I don't even want to guess at its age!  It's a very "art nouveau" style, which I adore.  Originally I didn't finish the quilt, because I didn't have enough of the yellow to make it as big as I had planned, and of course couldn't buy more. 

So I added the "leftover" blocks to the back of a smaller quilt!  It then took me a very long time to find a border fabric that matched.  Sometimes I find that these old stash fabrics have colors in them that are no longer even used anymore, at least in the fabric world.  That green and the peach flower, for instance.  I gave up trying to find a binding fabric that "matched", and just used some solid black. Tomorrow I plan to mail it off, to a special person.  It's 54 by 65 inches, a nice lap sized quilt!

Instead of starting a new quilt, I decided to start a fast and easy project.  My son asked my to BUY him a pencil pouch.  Ha!  Buy?  Me?  A pouch?  I used some of my Japanese echino fabric, and some old scraps of blue jeans as the liner, and he now has a pouch that he decided he didn't like.  Sigh...  So I've already adopted it.  I think it'll make a great place to store my colored pencils, or pens, or sewing notions, or???  I LOVE the way the old jeans "play" with the echino fabric, and may have to use this combination again!!

As usual, I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced WIP Wed.  The next WIP's I hope to finish are my Modern Granny Quilt and the Low Volume Quilt that I just finished up! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday at the Table: Building My Freezer Stash

Tuesday at the Table is a great place for me to post today, because I've been busy trying to preserve our garden bounty, and haven't had as much time to sew.  That's one of our freezers right now.  It's not as full as last year, but every little bit helps, especially with my teen/tween boys and food prices predicted to go up.

We're very lucky to have dependable electricity here.  I'm afraid I've become very dependent on freezing produce rather than canning it, but did spend many years canning all sorts of vegetables.  I still got to admit that canned tomatoes are better than frozen, but if they're in a soup or stew, or beans, I really can't tell the difference.  In a pinch (as you can see), I even freeze tomatoes whole if I'm unable to get to them before they go bad (I rarely throw any food away).

My favorite method for many things is to prepare them for freezing, then spread them out on a sheet pan with parchment paper underneath and freeze them in a single layer.  I then just put them in a freezer bag.  Those are roasted peppers from our garden on the sheet above.  I blogged about them here and here, as well as roasted tomatoes.  I do let them "sweat" after roasting, but don't peel them.  When they're frozen this way, I just pull the number I need out of the freezer and put them under running water, and the skin slips right off!

I use these sheet pans to freeze blueberries, sliced peaches, strawberries, raspberries, roasted peppers, (blanched) green beans, etc...  For zucchini, I grate it and freeze in 2 cup batches for bread and muffins.  I roast, puree and freeze winter squash also in 2 cup batches for breads, and pies.  I've even sauteed and frozen hardy greens, like chard and spinach to use in egg dishes or Greek food.

Now is the time to take advantage of produce at it's best, and cheapest, even if you don't grow it yourself.  We rarely eat out, and I make our meals almost always from scratch, and I bet it saves us much more money than any "extreme couponing" technique.  If my husband or son shoots a deer or elk this fall, we'll be in really good shape!!

Sadly, we spent the week-end pulling up all of our frost-killed vegetable plants in our garden, and "putting it to sleep" for the winter.  I hope to have the produce we salvaged all "put up" in the next few days.  Then I can get back to sewing!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

From the Mailbox

Look what came this week!!  It's my Polaroid swap blocks!  I now have over 100 of these little beauties (mine and the ones from the swap).  Thanks again to Debbie for organizing this!!

And yes, those are the last of the tomatoes from our garden.  We put it to bed for the winter today :(.  Here's what we brought in after the frost.  Some of it was frost damaged, but most of it was OK.

One last rodeo picture!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WIP Wed: An Actual Finish (Log Cabin Cat Quilt)!

I'm on a roll!  I just finished putting on the binding on my long-time UFO/WIP, my Log Cabin Cat Quilt!  It feels so good to have this one finished, as I started it 3 years ago!  It was the first time I made a top using scraps.  It's about 70 by 90 inches, and I had help from Marlene of Kissed Quilts, who quilted it on her long arm!
The pattern is out of a book I own, "The Cat's Meow", by Janet Kime.
For the back, I decided to use a few cat print panels that I bought on clearance last year for $2 a yard!  I figured why not?  I still hadn't made them into a quilt top, and thought they'd be fun to use for the back of this one.  I even got the label on it this time.  I decided to mass produce some labels, and am keeping them right by my sewing machine to remind me to be better at labeling my quilts!
I just ironed on freezer paper to some white fabric, then use a fabric marker to fill in the details for the quilt before stitching it on with the binding.  I've also dedicated a spool of white thread and a needle to do the hand stitching as soon as I take it off the machine.  I'm hoping that a system like this will help me get better at labeling my quilts.

This week is a big week here, as it's the big Pendleton Round-Up Rodeo.  We also had a killing frost last night in our garden, I'm afraid, so no more fresh garden veggies, but maybe a bit more time to sew...

As to my other WIP's, I'm hoping to finish binding another almost done quilt this week, and start quilting my "Modern Granny".  I'd LOVE to hear any quilting suggestion!!  I have another quilt all ready to pin baste after the pins come out of "granny", so plenty to keep me busy.  As usual, I'm linking up to WIP Wed at Lee's place!  Come join us!