Monday, January 28, 2013

Design Wall Monday, January 28, 2013

2013... I've been mulling it over, for a while now.

Night before last, I sat down and really focused on what I'd like to get accomplished this year, craft-wise.  Mostly, I'll be making gifts, many gifts (HUGE family!)  One item I want to give is a Christmas/ birthday present to my son in August.  I knit 7 modern red/green/off-white stockings for their family, and I want to give them a tree-skirt & table runner to match.... but NO WAY would I put something knit in wool under a LIVE tree... so I'm sewing it.

Two of ten panels
Hmm... photo is a bit fuzzy & deep forest green appears black.  My sewing room is a hard place to get accurate photos.  At any rate, I've sewn all 10 panels; I have sewn panel one to two and panel three to panel 4.  Last night I cut the freezer paper templates to sew the rest of the panels into pairs.  I love how it looks in person, not so much in the photo.  This pattern (mentioned before) is included in the book: French Braid Obsession by Jane Hardy Miller.  If you look at customer images, I think there are a couple examples of what the whole pattern will look like.

See what others are working on over at Judy's Patchwork Times.
Thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stash Report Week 4 2013

I have fabric... not sure what I was thinking when I bought most of it.  It's getting old, my tastes have changed.  I see scrappy quilts in my future... but 2013 is planned.

In an effort to "stop the madness" I'm tracking 2013's ins & outs.  I'm following Judy Laquidara's system in 2013.  So there's no attempt to record beginning stash, the numbers will be increased by purchases and decreased by COMPLETED projects. This is my first post, so I'll chat about year to date activity.

Used this week: 0
Used year to date: 0
Added this week: 0
Added year to date: 3.7 yards
Net increase in 2013: 3.7 yards

I am in two blocks of the month, so I included those fabrics (completed the blocks too, but as the quilts are not completed, they don't count as used yet.)  I purchased a little over a half a yard to complete the star backgrounds in the quilt I posted about a couple of weeks ago.

The bulk of my additions are these:

In a moment of weakness, I bought a grab bag from Homestead Hearth.  I learned of it from Kathie at Inspired by Antique Quilts.  The service from Homestead was great.  I feel I got a good value; there were numerous fabrics at least 3 inches by the width of fabric.  In the photos the fabrics are folded to show the variety.  I love that there were so many neutrals. I've already used 4 pieces in an applique project and am glad to have the variety.  I also imagine using them in a "leader-ender" tumbler block project using my reproduction fabrics.  I have plenty!

At the risk of becoming an enabler, they also have other categories of grab bag fabrics.  It was funny though that after Kathie posted about the grab bags expected delivery went from a couple of days to a couple of weeks!

In an effort to estimate how much fabric was included, I weighed a one yard piece of quilt shop quality fabric from my stash.  I also weighed my new fabric... using this methodology I figure I added just over 2.75 yards.  

Hmm... now I do have quilts in progress to complete and I have a plan, but if I don't get those buggers completed, I'll add a net of 48 yards in 2013; best get to sewing!

Thanks for stopping by and happy stitching.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Design Wall Monday 2013 Jan 14

Judy, over at Patchwork Times has a great link-up for folks to show what they are working on.

As part of my 2013 goals, I want to complete projects from the past... aka UFO's, WIP etc... whatever, they are not completed.  I've noted the biggest source of my UFO's began as classes or local(ish) stores' Blocks of the Month (BoM) programs.  I'm in two that began in 2012.  One at Sew Original in Winston-Salem, NC and one at Sew Much Fun Quilt shop which is technically in Lowell, NC, about 1.75 hours away. (For those who know NC, it is about 2 miles from Mary Jo's Fabric Shop in Gastonia. It is also very close to Ikea etc in the BIG city of Charlotte, NC... lots of reasons to go there...)

Saturday, I drove down to pick up the patterns and fabrics.  Sunday, I worked on them.  (Hmm, photo has weird angle.  I was standing on a chair in my office.  It's too dark in my room at home for photos since it's rained all day.)  At any rate, this photo includes one of each months' patterns through month 9; we make two blocks a month. I've chosen to use the same fabric for all the star points Robert Kaufman's Picnic Basics.  Boy I do love this fabric.  Then I'm using red or blue for scrappy backgrounds; they'll finish at 12" square.  I plan on making a large solid star for the center block and adding sashing and cornerstones. I'll end up with a 25 block square picnic quilt. (Hmm, that's a LOT of white for a picnic quilt!)

The shop provides 2.5" WOF strips for the solid center red and white fabrics, plus the first month we purchased Thangles to  use.  Frankly, I'm not a fan; seems like your accuracy should be great, but mine is better not using Thangles... plus, it feels like extra work.  The 2.5# strips from the shop have to be perfect (some have not been) and the paper complicates pinning and sewing for me.  I think I'll start cutting the half square triangle parts using Bonnie Hunter's method  Video tutorial for using Easy Angle rulers.  Tho her tutorial is for flying Geese, the cutting directions work with half square triangle cutting too.

At any rate, one of my January 2013 goals is to get caught up with and complete the quilt made in this block of the month.  I didn't make the trip to Gastonia in December, so I was behind, blocks 9 were December.  I hope to complete blocks 10 this week, which will give me 20 blocks.  That will mean I am caught up.  I plan to visit my grand-daughter who is in college at UNC-Charlotte the last week-end of the month, so I'll pick up February's blocks then.  This month, I may even complete all the back-ground piecing for the last four blocks in the series as well as begin on the sashing and cornerstones. 

Thanks for stopping by... I love to see what others are working on, so follow the link above.  And THANKS to Judy who finds so many ways to keep us motivated & on track.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What's Cooking with Judy? Sweet Potatoes

One of our in-laws once said of our family "When most families go on vacation, they take their fancy clothes... the Duggers take their kitchens!"  Yep, it's true.  We all love to cook, share food and fun.  However, I am not a big fan of cooking for one.  Still, one of my 2013 resolutions is to cook more at home, so I signed right up with the "What's Cooking 2013" plan developed by Judy over at Patchwork Times (that link takes you to her post as we set up a practice run.) 

Our pre 2013 challenge ingredient was "Sweet Potatoes."  A fabulously versatile (and I fear under utilized powerhouse of a vege.)  So here's my go:
First, Sam's Club had a special, but they are quite small for Sweet Potatoes, about half sized (see the nickle?) 
I decided to adapt a recipe that is ubiquitous on the net:  a 2005 Epicurious Thyme Sweet Potatoes.  Many reviews and my own experience indicate the potatoes often burn on the bottom.

So I changed it... I peeled 2 of the 3 potatoes and cut them into wedges.  I only used 1 Tablespoon of Olive oil, but greased my pan with butter (next time I'll cut back on the oil.)  2 large cloves of garlic very thinly sliced; in winter the cloves are usually older so I always remove the sprouts from the centers.  See the sprout on the blade of my knife?

For seasonings:  @ 1/2 tsp each: crushed red pepper and ground Chipotle Chili pepper; @ 1/4 tsp Cumin, a couple of generous pinches of sea salt, and @ half a Tablespoon of fresh Thyme leaves.

This is how it looked before putting it in a preheated 425 degree oven for about half an hour (middle shelf.)  I thought my stone casserole dish would make them brown better, but no.  Next time, I'll just spread out on a large flat pan.  I ended up having to broil for a minute or so at the end to crisp them up some.

Here's how they looked after cooking.... yummy, yummy!

Definitely will cook these again.  The original recipe says they can be eaten warm or at room temperature; even with my changes this is still true.

To find other great Sweet Potato recipes... check out Judy's link up!