Thursday, December 31, 2009

Freestylin' Tuffets

Schnibbles Tuffets II
Originally uploaded by meganalayne
CONFESSION: One of my main problems in life = not following directions. As a quilter, that can lead to some, um, creative outcomes. I got really excited about making the Tuffets pincushions yesterday, then I looked at the directions AFTER I had already cut my fabric. Oops. So they don't look exactly like the ones on the pattern cover, but they're still pretty adorable, right?

I used a Nature's Notebook charm pack, from April Cornell. When I first saw this new collection on the Jolly Jabber a few months ago, I was oh so excited. I credit April Cornell's Sunshine collection for igniting my love affair with all things MODA a few years back, and this new collection coordinates perfectly with all that Sunshine yardage I haven't cut into yet. Seriously, now that I've started, I want a whole blue and yellow room using this stuff.

November Schnibbles update: See above about not following directions. I decided to make this Schnibbles into somewhat of a monstrous-sized Schnibbles quilt. Instead of making it a 4x4 quilt, I decided to make it 8x8. That makes for a crapola load of half-square triangles. I finished sewing them this weekend, now I just have to unpack my iron, ironing board, and find the "safe place" where I stashed the project for the ride home. I'll catch up eventually.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Deeeaaar Santa...

I know it's been awhile since I've written. Maybe I'm still a little peeved that you failed to deliver on the Holiday Barbie I wanted that one year, but I'm willing to forgive and forget if you'd take the time to consider the following Fat Quarter Shop items for my list this year...

Whatcha say, Santa? I've been too naughty this year to receive such generous gifts? In that case, here are a few other items I've been eyeing...

I'm pretty sure the girls who run the Jolly Jabber can vouch for my good behavior this year.

I'll be sure to leave the mint-flavored oreos for you this year!
- Megan

Okay, seriously. The folks from Fat Quarter Shop are hosting a giveaway. Compose a letter to Santa, indicating what in-stock item you'd like from FQS, blog it, then post it on THEIR blog, and they'll pick a lucky winner soon.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday + Schnibbles Confessions

I feel like I say this every time I actually post a menu plan, but it's going to be another busy week. We're still painting/de-wallpapering the house, and doing the work thing so we have $$ to buy our paint. Add a little holiday shopping in the mix, along with a trip home this next weekend to get a carload of stuff from the parents, and well, we're going to be busy again.

Sunday - Greek Hummus Salad + Homemade Pitas
Monday - Tortellini Spinach Toss + Green Beans
Tuesday - Tomato Soup + Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (using up the very last of the summer basil)
Wednesday - Vegetable Lasagna, Salad, Yeast Rolls
Thursday - Spinach-Stuffed Shells, Green Beans
Friday - Frozen Pizza

For more weekly menus, be sure to check out Org Junkie's website!

Okay, on to Schnibbles news. Just *yesterday*, I finally finished cutting out fabric for November's Schnibbles pattern. I gave it the old college try, but needless to say, unless some post-Thanksgiving miracle occurs, I'll be sitting the November parade (and possibly December parade) out. I hope to catch up on the Schnibbles tops sometime in January, once the house is painted to our liking, and I've unpacked the sewing supplies a little bit. In the meantime, don't expect to see a lot of Schnibbles productivity on my blog, but do check out the Schnibbles parades on Sinta's and Sherry's blogs tomorrow! The pattern for November is oh so cute, so you're in store for a real treat!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Merry & Bright Table Runner 2009

When Moda started their Moda Bakeshop, I was skeptical. I reasoned that it was just a big marketing ploy, and that I wouldn't be able to do any of the projects without buying the specific collection used in the tutorials. Kind of like the recipes they put in the Williams-Sonoma and King Arthur catalogs - you know the ones I mean, right? They look amazing and sound tasty, but you won't get the same results unless you have the company's super-secret (read: expensive) packet of ingredients or jar of the special sauce that makes the texture turn out *just* right. Or I was concerned that all the projects would require you to buy a lot of pre-cuts in one collection. And I just don't have the money for that right now.

Then I took a good look at my fabric closet and realized that I do kind of have lots of charm packs. What would it hurt to try just one little charm pack project? So I tried the first charm pack project eva - the table runner tutorial from Camille - and it was great! I finished the top in about an hour, used up an entire charm pack, and now I have something to adorn our small table for the holidays. I won't lie. Some of the tutorials DO require more than one pre-cut. But there are a good number of tutorials that can be done with just one charm pack, jelly roll, layer cake, or whatever your pre-cut of choice may be. If you've got lots of pre-cut fabric that you have no specific plans for, AND you're itching to start a new project, check out the Moda Bake Shop for some inspiration. A good number of those projects would make great Christmas gifts. Be on the lookout for another completed MBS project next month. And in the meantime, be sure to check out the Moda Bake Shop flickr pool - lots of neat variations and ideas in there!

Started: August 2009
Finished: November 2009
Machine-pieced, Machine-quilted

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Things

Things For Which I Am Thankful...

A la my friend, Merissa, I am coming up with a list of silly stuff I appreciate. Of course I'm thankful for my family, friends, dog, house, etc. But there's nothing like appreciating all the small things in life, right?

1) Mom buys fabric. Lots of it. And it's all "the good stuff." It makes me sad, really sad, that Mom and Dad are moving 16 hours away in a couple of months. But the fabric hoarder in me is thrilled that Mom's opening up her sewing room for me to devour this weekend so she doesn't have to pack/move/unpack so much fabric in the coming months. Anything that's not in a blue project bag or one of the rubbermaid bins is fair game. I've been awaiting this day ever since my first rotary cutter hit my first piece of fabric. So much potential in that room. It's only somewhat organized, but it's all so lovely. I'll report back on my looting adventures next week.

2) Law & Order & Its Ubiquitousness. I discovered, this past weekend, that I kind of traumatized my freshman-year roommate with all the L&O that I watched. She won't watch it now. Ever. She hears the gavel-dropping sound in her nightmares. Whereas, I will watch any time of night or day, regardless of how many times I've seen that particular episode and have a Pavlovian drool-inducing response to the gavel-dropping sound. Luckily, USA and TNT seem happy to appease my insatiable cravings for this show and often air the various versions of it in rapid succession, barely pausing for closing credits before beginning a new episode.

3) Google Reader. The other night, The Hubs and I were pondering deep thoughts over dinner, like what adult life was like before the Interwebz, which led me to think about my web-browsing habits. My Google Reader account has solidified my web addiction like nothing else, even Facebook (gasp!), and it has also entrenched me firmly in the Millennial Generation. I expect to be able to follow a conversation online without having to remember to click on a random website continuously, AND I expect to be able to search my archive of blog subscriptions to find the exact photo I saw on a quilt blog using the fabric collection that I just bought. If I come across a continuously updated page I like that DOESN'T have an RSS feed, I get mad. Well, okay, maybe just frustrated. But I'm supposed to be talking about things I appreciate. Moving along...

4) Libraries. Maybe this ought not be considered a "small thing", since well, I work at one. But over the past couple of years, I've discovered that any time I get the urge to shop, I can go to the library instead, walk out with a big stack of stuff for FREE, WITHOUT the inevitable buyers' remorse that accompanies all my other transactions. It doesn't even really matter whether or not I read them, since I didn't directly pay money for them. As long as I return them on time or remember to renew them before they're due, it's a fail-proof system.

5) Paint chips - they're FREE. Okay, their costs are probably factored in to the cost of the paint, brushes, etc. But I can walk out of Lowe's with a 1" stack of paint chips in my hand, and no one will say anything to me or ask for a receipt. It's fantastic.

6) Target. It doesn't really matter which section of the store I'm in. Something beckons me (and my wallet) from every shelf. Sigh. It's all so pretty. I'm going to do my best to stay away during the holidays. Inevitably, I buy something for myself every time I go in to buy something off someone else's registry/wishlist.

So there it is - my list of somewhat shallow/silly things that make me smile. Hope you find lots of thankful-inspiring things in your own life today!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nature's Chorus Table Topper

Back in February, I went to see my parents one weekend. And even in the thick of planning a wedding, I discovered that I cannot be without a project for a whole weekend, especially when Mom has a whole sewing room full of projects (potential, started, almost finished, etc.). I think I have project envy. That Saturday, after we had our obligatory wedding planning update and visited with a few wedding vendors, I "made" Mom take me to the quilt shop to pick up something I could work on while I was home. I walked away with a charm pack of Nature's Chorus from April Cornell and some complimentary yardage. A quick perusal of a few of Mom's magazines revealed a pattern for placemats that was easily expanded into a tabletopper.

After piecing the top, I discovered that it was a lot greener than I anticipated, but I persevered on, more concerned with having a finished project than getting the colors just right.

I won't lie. It's definitely not my favorite small project I've made thus far, but it served its purpose well. It gave me something constructive to work on while I was at home that weekend, and I got to play with a new collection. Well, it was new at the time.

Started: February 2009
Finished: November 2009
Machine-pieced, Machine-quilted

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Menu Plan Monday on Tuesday (as always)

I'm so grateful for a short week at work! We had a great weekend - went to a good friend's wedding up in Annapolis, then to Falls Church, VA to visit some other friends who just bought a house, too. Now we're both exhausted. Last night, we kept saying to each other, "At least we only have 3 days of work." Even the dog's exhausted. He stayed with the in-laws while we were gone, and once we got him home, he went straight to his crate and stayed there all night long. I think there's some kind of weird force field in our apartment that sucks all the energy out of the living creatures when they cross the threshold. Even the ladybugs that have been buzzing around our ceilings for the past few weeks seemed pretty lethargic last night . By the way, does anyone know how in the world to get rid of those things? They're cute and all, but I don't like them clustered in all corners of my living room.

In food news, we ate at a Gordon Biersch restaurant once we got to Annapolis. It was incredible. I had never been to a Gordon Biersch before. When she first came around, our waitress mentioned that they put garlic in everything, and I was thinking, "I have found my mecca." We ordered and split lots of food - Jalapeno Artichoke Spinach Dip and Chips, Greek Hummus Salad, Veggie Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Spinach, and Artichokes. It was the culinary highlight of my weekend, shortly followed by Betsy's amazing reception food - mac and cheese, green beans, and barbeque sandwiches. How can a bride go wrong with that kind of comfort food, I ask?

We're planning to go out to the house and work like whoa every night this week since we'll be in TN visiting my parents over the weekend. So this week's menu is blessedly low-maintenance.

Sunday - Leftover Potato-Kale Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Monday - Tortellini with Vodka Sauce, Broccoli
Tuesday - Spinach and Goat Cheese Risotto, Broccoli
Wednesday - Frozen Pizza + Salad
Thursday - THANKSGIVING with the fam (so excited!)
Friday - Kingsport gatherings
Saturday - Dinner with the fam - Dad probably cooks

For more menu plans this week, be sure to check out OrgJunkie.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Menu Plan Monday for a DIY Week

This is a short week, since we're going out of town for a wedding this weekend. Added to that, we're going to the new house each night to try and clear out the ugly, and that's been quite the ordeal. We're currently in the process of taking out wallpaper - TWO layers of it - in the master bathroom. We still have 2 wallpapered rooms to go after that, along with lots o' painting. Here's what we're eating/have been eating to sustain us through our diy work...

Sunday - Inside Out Ravioli (one of my childhood favorites), Asparagus
Monday - Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas
Tuesday - Foster's Market Macaroni and Cheese, Broccoli
Wednesday - Potato, Kale, and Gruyere Soup, Bread
Thursday - Frozen Pizza
Friday - Betsy and Will's Rehearsal Dinner in Annapolis
Saturday - Visit Natalia and David in DC!

For more of this week's menu plans, be sure to check out OrgJunkie!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November Goals

So last month was incredibly productive, according to my standards at least, but I'm not so sure about this month. Nevertheless, here are my goals for November:

I know it sounds ambitious, but I think if I can create 2 tops and quilt 2 tops each month, that should be a good mix of piecing/quilting in my creative life. Even if they are small tabletoppers or tablerunners, I'll be putting a slight dent in my stash, not just of fabric, but of batting. Oh, the leftover strips of batting that have slowly taken over all the corners of our apartment. Anything 7" or wider I keep, reasoning that I'll make potholders or coasters or something out of it someday. Never mind that I have coasters coming out of my ears, but someday, maybe I'll do something with it.

Here's to another productive month!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

October Accomplishments

For anyone who knows me kind of well, it's probably not a surprise that I keep a spreadsheet of all my quilting projects, complete with self-imposed deadlines and notes to myself. October's list of deadlines was what you might call ambitious, but I managed to almost finish all the projects. My goals included:

Finish the September Schnibbles top - DONE
Start/finish the October Schnibbles top - DONE
Finish the Merry & Bright table topper I started back in August - DONE, except for the binding (post + picture to follow as soon as the binding's done)
Finish the Nature's Chorus table topper I started back in February - DONE, except for the binding (post to + picture follow as soon as the binding's done)
Finish the Pumpkins Gone Wild quilt top I started about a couple of months ago - DONE (pictured)

When I first started quilting, I felt like I couldn't start one project until I had finished another, from pre-washing the fabrics to sewing down the binding, it had to be complete before I could even plan the next project. Obviously, my standards have loosened, as evidenced by the dozen or so quilt tops tucked away in a Rubbermaid bin under the bed. My enthusiasm for creating something with all the new yummy fabric that comes out has vastly eclipsed my need for closure. Nowadays, I tend to piece for a few months, then quilt for a few months to try and catch up. I'll also take a couple of nights off every few months to just sit on the floor with some fabric, a cutting mat, and a rotary cutter and watch a season of the West Wing while I cut up the next few projects. I'd like to think my pseudo-system has made me more efficient and productive. But I'm afraid it's made me slightly more frazzled to have so many projects in different stages.

What about you? Do you have a pseudo-system?

The quilt top pictured is what I would consider my most notable accomplishment for the month because:

1) I had doubts that I would be able to make a quilt of hexagon blocks without pulling all my hair out. But Heather Mulder Peterson's book, Sizzlin' Sixties, made the technique so easy. Added to that, all the quilts in there are adorable. I want to make them all. Twice.

2) These colors are definitely not my normal palette. I've always admired Sandy Gervais's collections in a "Hmm, that's a cute collection but I don't know that I would want lots of it" kind of way. Up to this point, I've contented myself with a few charm packs here and there. But sometime last year, Fat Quarter Shop put the Pumpkins Gone Wild jelly rolls on sale for $15 each. I can't resist a good deal, so it probably wouldn't have mattered what collection was on sale. It was worth it to have some jelly rolls to practice various techniques. Even with all the orange, I'm quite pleased with how the quilt top turned out.

I know the picture's not awesome or anything - I promise a better photo shoot once it's quilted. But be patient. That might not happen until next Halloween.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, 11/1-11/7

So, the husband keeps painstaking track of our monthly budget, and I'm sad to say that in the month of October, I dug us $67 in the hole on groceries - that's a whole extra weeks' worth of groceries. I'm really not sure how it happened. I mean, we only eat meatless meals, for crying out loud, and we buy our food as un-processed as possible. But this month will be better, I'm determined. With that in mind, here's our menu for this week...

Sunday - Tomato-Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Monday - Creamy Orzo with Broccoli [Note: I always double the amount of vegetables and halve the cream]
Tuesday - Spinach and Ricotta -Stuffed Shells
Wednesday - Potato Soup
Thursday - Black Bean Burrito Bake and Mexican Rice
Friday - Frozen Pizza
Saturday - Eat Out (the folks come in town!!)

For more weekly menus, check out Org Junkie!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

MORE Schnibbles Productivity

When I returned from the honeymoon, not only did I manage to finish off the September Schnibbles project, but I also got crackin' on the October Schnibbles project, Cindy Lou Who. I used a couple of Nostalgia charm packs, by April Cornell.

Since I had a set number of prints in each color, when I cut them into the small squares for the 9-patches, it kind of distorted the coloring on some of the bigger prints and made the top look pretty busy. But I'm okay with that. It enhances the scrappiness of the top, I suppose.

I know it's not a great photo, but I'll post it again once it's quilted and bound. No promises on when that will happen ;)

I'm on a piecing roll, so I'm eager to see what Schnibbles project is on tap for next month! I've got my fabric all ready for it...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday and Schnibbles Productivity

Schnibbles Winter White
Originally uploaded by meganalayne
I'm finally getting around to this little ol' blog to update some. October's been a busy month, for sure. I finally got it together and finished the top for my Schnibbles pattern from September. I'm always so surprised when I finish a quilt top. I think I'm still such an immature quilter that I can't really visualize what the end product will look like. I have a general game plan for the colors, but I have a tough time wrapping my head around what the end product will look like. I just pick my collection, cut it up according to the directions, and start piecing, and I'm usually surprised in the end at which colors are the most prominent. Maybe it's better that way?

Anyways, this quilt was that way. I knew the cream was going to be pretty prominent. I mean, the title of the pattern is Winter WHITE, and I guess setting it on point with cream as the setting triangles lightened it up even more.

One of my goals for this whole Schnibbles project is for me to have a better sense of how the colors I pick for each part of a block affect the overall look of a quilt. We'll see how my projects progress throughout the year.

On to Menu Plan Monday...

Sunday - Potato Soup
Monday - Breakfast for Dinner
Tuesday - Chipotle-Kissed Sweet Potato Chili and Cornbread
Wednesday - Butternut Squash Soup
Thursday - Macaroni and Cheese, Green Beans
Friday - Frozen Pizza
Saturday - Tortellini with Vodka Sauce, Broccoli

Be sure to check out other menus this week @ OrgJunkie!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Crafty Developments

My last post went on about life developments, but don't worry, I've had recent crafty developments too. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

1) It got lost in the flurry of wedding excitement a couple of weeks ago. Right before I left to go to TN and wrap up the last-minute wedding details, I discovered that I won my first giveaway EVER. I was too excited! Nicole from Sister's Choice Quilts was lucky enough to score a couple of Rouenneries pre-cuts from the French General herself and was kind enough to host a giveaway. She's a much more generous soul than I am. I admit, I probably would have hoarded them away for myself. I won the honey bun, and ever since I got back on Sunday, I've been pondering what to do with it. Of course, Moda Bake Shop has been extremely helpful in this endeavor - they have 20+ projects for honey buns, and I just can't decide which one I like the best. So far, the top contenders are: The Turning Corners Table Runner from John - who's a local, The Triple Flower Irish Quilt, or the Baby Blanket. I know what you're thinking... Do I really need to start yet anothe project?

2) When I returned from the wedding/honeymoon, I was delighted to see that Hancock's of Paducah had re-stocked their pre-cut sale pages. Check it out for some great deals! Charm packs for $3.98 each? Yes, please. I might or might not have splurged on a layer cake for a future Schnibbles project.

3) My September Schnibbles project is FINALLY coming together. I've decided that my quilting goes a lot like my reading - about three-quarters of the way through the book/quilt, I really hit my stride, pick up momentum, and press on to the finish. The blocks are sewn into rows. Now, I just need to sew the rows together to make the middle, add my borders, and I'll finally be done with the top. The goal: Finish the top by this weekend, so I can start on October's Schnibbles project. Which brings me to next month's project...

4) I was pretty excited to see that October's Schnibble's project involves not just 9-patches, but 9-patches AND snowballs, two of my favorite blocks. At this point, the project is just a twinkle in my eye, but I've chosen the fabric line. I'm planning to make a quick run to my favorite local quilt shop after work today to pick up the rest of the fabric I'll need to complete the project.

5) In other Schnibbles news (are you sick of hearing me talk about this Schnibbles stuff yet?), I created a flickr pool for anyone who cares to add pictures of their completed Schnibbles projects AND their Schnibbles works in progress. The group is also open to anyone who's not officially participating in the projects but just loves to make Schnibbles quilts. Appropriately, the group's name is A Year of Schnibbles.

Shangri-La Quilt - FINISHED

Have I mentioned how much I love this fabric?

I have big plans to make yet another quilt from this line similar to this one. I have the jelly roll and all the charm packs I need. Add a few yards for borders and hopefully, I'll be able to crank another one out soon, maybe for our guest room bed. (Side Note: Cottage Quilts has this collection on sale, but leave some for me, okay?)

But back to the quilt at hand. The pattern is called "Spiral Strips" from Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott. I know I've waxed poetic about this book before, but allow me to sing its praises again. For all but one or two patterns in this book, you only need one jelly roll and some yardage for borders/filler. Added to that, the directions are very clear, and the diagrams are easy to follow. I seriously want to make all the patterns in the book. Twice.

The fabric is Shangri-La by 3 Sisters for Moda, except for the border, which came from the Roman Holiday collection. The quilting is just an allover stippling.

Now that the date is safely past, I can say that this quilt was the final quilt for my bridesmaids' quilts. This one went to the Maid of Honor, Melissa. I picked out this fabric for her, hoping that it would coordinate with her living room colors, and about 2 days after I finished her quilt, I was slightly dismayed to discover that she's planning to completely change her living room setup. She assured me, however, that it will coordinate equally well with her bedroom colors. I eeked by with these quilts, finishing them about 3 weeks before the bridesmaids' luncheon.

Machine-pieced, machine-quilted
Started: February 2009
Finished: September 2009

Be sure to check out other super-cool quilts at Park City Girl's Quilt Festival Fall 2009!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Menu Plan Monday (on Tuesday as usual) and a Few Things...

1) First things first, here's what we're eating this week:

Monday: Venetian Macaroni and Cheese (I only kind of follow the recipe), Asparagus, Salad
Tuesday: Potato Soup, Salad, Bread
Wednesday: NACHOS
Thursday: Chik'n Pitas with homemade tzatziki sauce (Drew cooks!)
Friday: Frozen pizza, Salad or asparagus
Saturday: Baked Gnocchi, Broccoli
Sunday: Lentil Soup, Bread

For more menu plans this week, be sure to check out OrgJunkie's website!

2) I'm officially married now (eep!! - see the photographer's blog for the sneak peek photos they posted today!!), which means that...

3) I've been out of town for the past couple of weeks and didn't come close to finishing my first Schnibbles project, nor have I started on THIS month's Schnibbles project. I'm gonna try to at least get caught up on the tops, but don't hold your breath, k?

4) We're under contract on a house and supposed to close at the end of this month! (Again, don't hold your breath on the Schnibbles projects.) We're cautiously excited about the prospect of having a house to fix up and redecorate (and pay for). The Hubs got a few power tools off our wedding registry, so he's ready to tackle any home improvement project that comes our way. And I am anxious to go to Lowe's and start picking out paint chips to coordinate with my quilts.

5) I actually have new photos to post, but they're coming tomorrow because now I have to write thank-you notes. Stay tuned!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday for a Week O' Chaos

I'm briefly returning to blogland after a 3-4 week hiatus. I'm supposed to be devising the order of service for our wedding ceremony THIS Saturday, but I'm not. After that, I'm supposed to be coming up with 4-5 hours worth of playlists for the reception, but I'm not doing that either. I'm blogging instead.

I've skipped the past 3 or 4 weeks of menu plans, even though I've had menu plans for all of them, and I certainly didn't think I'd have a plan for this week, since I'm at Mom 'n' Dad's. Well, I can't take full credit for the plan. Mom, Granny, and I sat down last night and constructed a plan to keep us in line. Dad came in shortly after to talk about his grandiose plans for making dinner this week. Mom, who usually welcomes Dad into the kitchen (even though he dirties lots of dishes), cut him off and said, "No! We're sticking to the plan!" Here's the plan...

Monday - Slow Cooker Meatballs and Spaghetti, Asparagus, Bread (My night to cook)
Tuesday - Fried Chicken (from Bojangle's), Fried Cornbread, Broccoli Casserole, Fried Apples (Granny's night to cook)
Wednesday - Vegetable Beef Soup and Sweet Potato Biscuits (Mom's night to cook)
Thursday - Dinner out with Husband Elect's family
Friday - Rehearsal dinner
Saturday - Wedding/Drive back to Durham
Sunday - Cruise food

You might notice a lot more meat in my diet than what I usually eat. Since the Husband Elect is a vegetarian, I think the 'rents maybe feel like they should send me off with a few "last meals." When I got in on Saturday night, Dad had the grill fired up for burgers. Then today, Granny made pulled pork sandwiches from some leftover tenderloin.

Besides food, we're busy pulling together the last-minute details. We finished making fabric cones to hold flowers on the end of the pews last night, we've still gotta make bookmarks for the centerpieces. I've talked to just about all the vendors/contact people to clarify last-minute details. AND we've still gotta put together favor bags for the out of town guests at the hotel. The Husband Elect's mother became very ambitious over the weekend and made her own wine labels to go on the wine bottles in her bags. She sent me the PDF, but I don't know if I'll be up to it. We'll see. I'll keep you posted...

Mom's probably gonna get mad when she finds out, but I brought my Schnibbles project to work on. At this point, it's looking pretty doubtful that I'll even finish the top this month, but I'm going to try. That's partly due to the fact that I refuse to follow directions and make my life pretty high-maintenance, as a result. My plan (which deviates from the pattern): make the same block, but make 7 more of them to make the quilt a 4x4 grid, THEN turn it on point, and add an extra border.

Maybe I'll escape Mom's watchful gaze to blog a little more tomorrow. In the meantime, here are a few pictures to tide you over...

p.s. - For more menu plans, see OrgJunkie's mammoth list for the week!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

As if I need another project right now...

But I couldn't help myself. Sinta and Sherry are teaming up with Carrie Nelson (THE Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's fame) to bring the quilting world A Year of Schnibbles. I don't know if you've seen these patterns, but if not, they are *adorable.* If you don't believe me, look here, here, and here.

I just picked up a couple of the patterns (X-Rated and Dulcinea) at the AQS Expo in Knoxville last month, so I figured it has to be fate that a month after I buy a couple of patterns, there's a year-long event celebrating these miniature quilts.

So, if like me, you have enough charm squares to outfit a California King bed (twice), hop over to Sinta or Sherry's blogs to read more and sign up. Registration is free but hurry - it ends September 1, when they announce the first pattern. (eep! I'm probably way too excited about this, considering all the other junque that has to be taken care of.)

In news un-related to quilting or anything crafty, the photographers posted the online gallery for our engagement pictures this week! We're so excited but also slightly unnerved to see SO MANY photos of just the two of us. We're hoping we won't be quite so self-conscious about our wedding photos, since there are going to be lots of other folks in those pictures. Here's a sneak peek of the session on the photographers' blog. They're amazing to work with, and we've been so incredibly pleased with the results of their arduous labor so far!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Roman Woven Stars Quilt

Roman Woven Stars Quilt
Originally uploaded by meganalayne
Mom says this one is her favorite out of all of the quilts I've made thus far. I almost agree with her. I think there are others I like more - like this one or maybe this one. But anyways, the pattern for this quilt came off the Moda website. Sadly enough, they only keep up so many free patterns at a time, but if you're interested, I can send you a PDF of my black and white copy with all my scribbles on it.

My favorite thing about this pattern didn't come to light until I was about half-way done with the piecing - since the stars are smaller than the blocks themselves, I DIDN'T HAVE TO WORRY about all those points coming together. Genius, pure genius.

The centers of the stars came from a few charm packs of Roman Holiday wovens. the background of the blocks and the star points came from various Moda collections, and the polka dot border came from Peace on Earth from 3 Sisters. (I <3 3Sisters!)

Started: February 2009
Finished: June 2009
Machine-pieced, machine-quilted

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1974 quilt!

1974 quilt!
Originally uploaded by meganalayne
I had so much fun pulling this quilt together. Pinwheels are my absolute favorite block, and each year, I have a quilt that has at least one pinwheel somewhere in it. This pattern came together so quickly and easily, I might just have to run out and get another layer cake and make quilt again, well I might have to wait until next month when the Fabric Allowance rolls over and starts again. I admit, I do have a couple of un-cut layer cakes sitting in my closet, but I've got big plans for them.

The fabric is 1974 from Urban Chicks, and it was a lot bluer than it looked in its layer cake stack. For the quilting patterns in the blocks, I used a template from Follow the Line Quilting Designs (, and then for the big green border, I traced around the medallions and stippled inside them.

Started: May 2009
Finished: August 2009
Machine-pieced, machine-quilted

It seems like so many folks are having giveaways these days, and I haven't really participated in any of them due to the busy life (see previous post). But there's one going on right now that's just too exciting to ignore. Heather's giving away two whole stinkin' quilts that she herself made AND a stack of charm squares to 3 lucky winners. She does all her own quilting for the sample quilts in her books, and she is a-mazing. Be sure to go check it out -

Monday, August 24, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, 8/24-8/28

Monday - "Chicken", Spinach, and Goat Cheese Pasta
Tuesday - Creamy Orzo and Broccoli
Wednesday - Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas
Thursday - Potato Soup
Friday - Frozen Pizza
Saturday - Macaroni and Cheese, Green Beans

For more weekly menus, check out OrgJunkie!

Life has been so hectic lately, I feel like I've barely had time to stop and relax. Last week, work was pretty busy, and I had absolutely no energy to do anything except fall in bed after I made dinner and cleaned up. We went to the parents' house this weekend to start our marriage counseling and for a church ladies' shower.

The final wedding countdown is officially on: 33 days, well 32 1/2 days, I suppose. We're getting excited, but it's become glaringly obvious that we still have quite a bit of last-minute tasks to take care of: marriage license, final headcount to caterer, DECIDING ON CAKES, and not losing/gaining any weight so my wedding dress still fits, (I'm relying on my FitDay account to keep me in line.), etc. etc. etc.

In the midst of all this, I've finished quilts. I know, I just whined about all the stuff I have left to do, but I'm still finding time to quilt and keep myself sane. Be on the lookout this week for photos.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Menu Plan Monday and Mini-Quilt Parade LAST Day

So this should be the final quilt for this parade. The fabric came from an assortment I had in my stash, and the pattern came from Donna Kinsey's Strip Happy: Quilting on a Roll.

Started: May 2008
Finished: November 2008
Machine-pieced, Machine-quilted

Food for this week...

Monday: Spinach-Stuffed Shells, Broccoli
Tuesday: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup
Wednesday: Bean Burritos, Salad
Thursday: Tortellini Salad and Chilled Avocado Soup
Friday: Frozen Pizza, Salad
Saturday: Green Curry
Sunday: Macaroni and Cheese, Green Beans, Sweet Potato Biscuits

I might have to shake this up a bit, since the heat's supposed to be in the triple digits at the beginning of the week. Odds are, I'm going to go out of my way NOT to turn on the oven if I can help it.

For more menu plans, check out Org Junkie's website.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mini-Quilt Parade, Day 5

And the parade drudges on...

Today's quilt was made in honor of my brother, who is a pretty big fan of LSU sports. Notice I didn't say I made it for him. I thought I would make it for him, but after he saw the top, he decided that his favorite team had some pretty girly colors. About the time I started putting this quilt together, Mom was kind enough to pass along her Pfaff Grand Quilter, which is/was blazin' fast compared to my other machine. I was shocked, shocked I tell you, at how quickly I could piece and quilt my quilts.

For the quilting, I did a loose all-over stippling pattern. I was still getting the feel of the new machine.

Started: April 2008
Finished: November 2008
Machine-pieced, machine-quilted

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mini-Quilt Parade, Day 4

This is another one of my favorite quilts I've made. I always think I don't like orange in my quilts, but every fall, I end up buying a collection with orange in it. With the exception of the red sashing around the blocks, all this fabric came from April Cornell's Sonnet collection a few years ago.

The pattern was one of Block Central's BOMs - Nine-Patch Nirvana - back in 2006. This has been my first and only BOM quilt I've done thus far. It was fun to have a variety of blocks to work on, but I kind of missed seeing the patterns emerge from one or two repeating blocks. On the other hand, I got a chance to make lots of neat blocks that I would love to make again as their own quilts.

Started: June 2008
Finished: October 2008 (about 2 weeks before I had to turn it in for the DOQ quilt show)
Machine-pieced, Machine-quilted

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mini Quilt Parade, Day 3

Today's quilt was my first "leftover quilt." I had so many blocks leftover from yesterday's Roman Holiday quilt that I had plenty to make yet another one from the same collection.

Taking a lesson from Sharyn Craig, I took the leftover blocks, turned them on point to make a bigger quilt, and used a Roman Holiday print I found on super-sale at one of the local quilt shops, Plain & Simple Quilt Shop (that place is adorable!).

I'm especially fond of the borders. For the inner border, I pieced a bunch of itty-bitty rail fence blocks from the leftover nine-patch sashings. Then I cut my remaining fat quarter scraps into charm squares to use as an outer border.

Started: April 2008
Finished: August 2008
Machine-pieced; Machine-quilted

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mini Quilt Parade, Day 2

Today's quilt is one of my favorites I've made so far. When I first started getting serious about quilting, Mom was so excited that she bought me a little something from any collection I mentioned to her, even in passing. When I told her how much I loved the Roman Holiday collection from 3 Sisters, she picked up something from the collection every time she wandered into a quilt shop. I ended up with 3 charm packs, 1 jelly roll, and a half-dozen or so fat quarters.

I used it on my twin bed when I lived in the tiny apartment, but I think I could get away with putting it on a double bed, also.

A close-up of my less than stellar overall stippling. But I love the fabric and the scrappiness of the quilt so much that I can handle some less than show-quality quilting.

Started: March 2008
Finished: July 2008
Machine-pieced, Machine-quilted

Monday, August 3, 2009

Menu Plan Monday and a Mini Quilt Parade

We hit the Tomato Festival at the University Mall Farmer's Market this past weekend. I'll admit, it wasn't all that festive, except for the Russian guys playing the accordian and mandolin on a makeshift stage on one end of the market. But they didn't really have much to do with tomatoes. We DID buy lots of fresh tomatoes and bell peppers, so I'm trying out new recipes (Wednesday and Thursday) to use up the fresh produce.

Monday - Spinach Lasagna and Asparagus
Tuesday - Green Risotto and Salad
Wednesday - Tomato and Feta Sandwich, Broccoli
Thursday - Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas (except we'll substitute cut peppers for the mushrooms - bleh); Green Beans
Friday - Frozen Pizza
Saturday - B-Day Party

Another tasty recipe - Roasted Red Pepper Spread Sandwiches

For more menu plans, see Toni's website.

In quilting news, when I was straightening up the extra bedroom, I discovered that I've slacked off in posting about finished quilts, which was the whole point of this blog in the first place. So I've decided to have a mini quilt parade of sorts this week to display all my finished quilts from the past, oh, year or so. Enjoy!!

Today's quilt was made from a charm pack of Simplicity (3 Sisters) fabric, along with some yardage from the same collection. This is a pattern I've made 3 or 4 times already, using charm packs. It uses up almost all the squares in the charm pack, and I usually buy 1.5 yards of a few of my favorite prints from the collection to frame the charm squares and as a border.

This was the first quilt where I used tracing paper to quilt the design, instead of directly drawing the design on the quilt top.
Ignore the couch, please. Yes, the photo needs to be tilted, but since it's a square quilt, I'm hoping it doesn't matter too much.

Started: September 2008
Finished: January 2009
Machine-pieced; Machine-quilted

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quilting Funk and a Giveaway to Enter!

Let's be honest. I'm not getting much quilting done these days. Moving into the new apartment and the final push of wedding planning has really thrown me for a loop, and I've only logged maybe 5-6 hours at the sewing machine in the past month. It's embarrassing but true. The dearth of sewing isn't for lack of inspiration. There's plenty of inspiration to be found online, especially now that I've joined a few flickr groups that revolve around Moda in particular (See below for a list). I think part of the problem is that I haven't fully adjusted to my new quilting space. The room is slightly, er, cramped, you might say, with stuff, and every time I sit down at the sewing machine, I feel like I barely have enough room to stretch out my elbows. It's only for about 5 more months, and then hopefully I'll be married. In a house. With my sewing machine/supplies in a room that's not claustrophobically small and where I don't have to sit on the floor to cut out my fabric.

In happier news that doesn't revolve around my poor self-discipline when it comes to quilting, Rachel from P.S. I Quilt is having an uber-generous giveaway. Be sure to check out her blog for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop (a.k.a. A Quilter's Mecca). Good luck!

Inspirational Flickr Groups:
What do you look at for inspiration?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday/Tuesday and Quilting Update

Alas again, I post a day late. I really do plan these things in advance. I'm just not too conscientious about the posting. Luckily, no one's grading me on my blogging.

Monday - Spinach Tortellini Toss, Asparagus
Tuesday - Baked Potato Soup, Apple & Cheddar Quesadillas
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday - Breakfast for Dinner = Hashbrown Casserole, Eggs, Toast, Fruit
Friday - Frozen Pizza, Asparagus
Saturday - White Bean Soup and Paninis

With the end of the month and the food budget running pretty low, I decided to use up as much food in the pantry/refrigerator as possible. Overall, I think I did alright.

For more menu inspiration, be sure to take a look at Org Junkie's website.

In quilting news, Mom and I went to the AQS Expo in Knoxville last weekend and had a GREAT time, once I finally got there. As usual, I got lost in Knoxville (I'll never understand that place), and I had to pull into a Kroger parking lot, call my brother, and listen to his harrassment while he pulled up my location on Google Maps and kindly told me how to get back downtown.

I was surprised at how big the vendor mall was - much bigger than what I saw at the Mid-Atlantic show in Virginia a few months ago, but Mom and I both showed restraint and didn't buy too much. I was most impressed with these people, who were peddling fabric organizing sheaths. Compared to lots of quilters, I don't have that much fabric, but Mom does, and we were both totally sold on this product for a few reasons:
  • They're acid free, so you don't have to worry about the product damaging or fading your fabric
  • They're versatile enough that you can store them vertically or horizontally on a shelf, OR you can even tuck them in filing cabinets
  • They come in regular and fat quarter sizes
  • You can wrap a whole project's worth of fabric on these mini-bolts
  • They're re-usable
I promise you, these women aren't paying me (like they would gain big bucks from my 4 readers), but I was totally impressed with their product. If you have an uncontrollable stash, check out their website. The photos are particularly persuasive, I think.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ambitious Weekend Plans

This is the first weekend since May that we haven't had to do anything or be anywhere, so what am I doing? I'm packing in the stuff to do, but I'm so happy that I actually get to choose what to do, instead of having it chosen for me.

On the weekend crafty agenda:
  • Finish piecing the Wee Play quilt top (such adorable fabric - pictured below)
  • Put borders on the Shangri-La quilt top
  • Sandwich and baste the 1974 quilt (pictured above - my least favorite crafty task)
  • And get tracing paper designs ready to quilt the 1974 quilt
  • Hit the Christmas in July sale at Wish Upon a Quilt??

On the weekend non-crafty agenda:
  • Make dinner for tonight - it's an easy one
  • Get appetizers, dinner, dessert, ready for Sunday (did I mention the Husband Elect's parents are coming over? eep!)
  • Make vegetable broth
  • Plan out food for next week + grocery list
  • Grocery Store
  • Clean apt
  • Finish Thank-You cards (only 6 more left, as of 10am!)
  • 2 loads of laundry (1 today, 1 tomorrow), and I should finally be caught up
I'm optimistic that I can at least finish the crafty tasks and get dinner on the table. We'll see how the cleaning goes...

So Close I Can Taste It

I'm oh so excited about starting some new projects this fall, but I'm making myself wrap up a few other coals I've already got in the fire this summer. I've got 3 quilt tops completed, and I'd like to finish at least two of them before I start anything else. Oh, and I started piecing yet another quilt top when I moved into the new apartment last week. The next step in finishing my next top is to layer and baste the backing, batting, and top, and THAT is my absolute least favorite part of the quilting process.

My motivation to plow through and get to the next projects is to have the projects packaged up prettily in the plastic boxes, stacked on my closet shelves. What's in the boxes? The top box has lots of Peace on Earth fabric and a layer cake. I'd like to make a quilt for the queen-size bed I'll soon share with the husband-elect, using this pattern from the Moda website (grab it before they take it off to make way for more patterns!). In the bottom box - a Merry & Bright layer cake and some yardage from the same collection. I saw a photo of someone who had created a bowtie quilt from a Peace on Earth layer cake, and I decided I'd like to make one also. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Crafty Blog to Follow

Have I been in the dark for 99 posts? I just discovered Judi at Green Fairy Quilts via Camille, and may I say, that her quilting is AMAZING. AND she owns an online quilt shop that has great deals on Moda pre-cuts. AND she's having an uber-generous giveaway to celebrate her 100th post! Head over to her blog and leave a comment to enter.

And just so y'all have some fabric to drool over, I've included a photo I took at my parents' place over 4th of July. Mom's been cleaning up her sewing room and unearthed all this Folklorique pre-cuts from Fig Tree. She says she has plans for it, but I'm doubtful. I told her I could take it off her hands to relieve her of the paralysis of indecision :) Fabric lust, anyone?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My First Quilt

Camille and Carrie and teamed up to sponsor a quilt parade of sorts for all you quilt bloggers out there - simply post a photo of your first quilt in all of its splendor and glory, then post a photo of your most recently completed quilty project. So, here goes...

My First Quilt - Red Pinwheels

You might say I made this quilt on a whim, sort of. Mom taught me how to sew and quilt when I was pretty young, but I didn't really start venturing out on my own until spring semester of my senior year of college. One night, after I had finished all my reading, essays, book reviews, etc., I decided I would make a quilt. Seeing as how it was about 10pm, the only open venue hawking fabric was WalMart, so I trekked over, picked up all the fabric and supplies I would need, then clumsily started cutting out all my fabric, according to the directions (sort of). Over the next few weeks, I stitched by hand all the little half-square triangles, then a few weeks later, I started basting all the layers together and quilting by hand. Let's be honest, the WalMart fabric probably isn't going to hold up so well over the years, but I'm still proud of it because it's my first independently completed quilt, mis-matched points and all.

Latest Quilt - Woven Roman Stars

I think this quilt is my favorite so far, but I say that about almost all my quilts when I finish them. The pattern is one of the freebies from the Moda website, and I didn't realize how great it was until I got to sewing the blocks together - since the stars are smaller than the blocks, you don't have to worry about all those points matching up. [Insert sigh of relief here.] The middle of the squares are charm squares from Moda's Roman Holiday wovens, and the other fabrics are from various Moda collections. I had a great time quilting this one also. It was my first adventure using tissue paper instead of drawing the design directly on the quilt top, and I loved it! Well, except that now I have to pick out all the itty bitty pieces of tissue paper from the quilting. Does that come out in the wash? Does anyone know? [Sorry there's no link for the quilt pattern. I just checked the Moda website, and it's NOT THERE ANYMORE. If you're interested, email me, and I can scan it and send it off to you.]

Do you have any first and latest projects to show? If so, be sure to sign up in the comments section on Camille's blog post by Monday!!

True confession: When I was younger, I thought my mom was a little nutty for being so obsessed with fabric, quilting, thread, etc. Now, I totally get it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Menu Plan Monday (on Tuesday again) 7/6/2009-

Monday - Frozen pizza
Tuesday - Whole Wheat Linguine with Green Beans, Tomatoes, and Ricotta, Salad
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday - The Husband Elect cooks Green Curry (I do the dishes in my fancy pink gloves)
Friday - Slow Cooker Lasagna (with the fake beef crumbles), Salad
Saturday - Cheesy Baked Tortellini, Zucchini
Sunday - Tortilla Black Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Biscuits

Whenever we go out of town on the weekend, I always feel like I spend the rest of the week catching up. This week was no exception - hence the frozen pizza at the beginning of the week. Now that all the food is planned and purchased, I have to keep unpacking and writing thank you notes for the shower we had last weekend.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday (on Tuesday) 6/22/2009-6/28/2009

So, a day late and a dollar short, here's my food plan for the rest of the week.

Monday - Frozen pizza
Tuesday - Macaroni and cheese & green beans
Wednesday - Breakfast for dinner (by the way, I'm sticking with my original Cooking Light hashbrown casserole recipe. The crockpot recipe I tried a couple of weeks ago was on the less good side.)
Thursday - Box of Thai food stuff and noodles
Friday - Eat out? Or Taco Night with company? I still haven't decided.
Saturday - Wedding shower
Sunday - Foster's Market Macaroni and Cheese - I never got around to making it last week, what with all the moving. We'll try for it again this week.

It's a little heavy on the processed food this week. I moved into the new apartment this past weekend, and I LOVE it (especially all the counter and cabinet space in the kitchen), but I'm moving at a glacial pace when it comes to unpacking. I just finished unpacking the kitchen stuff last night, so I'm making some low-maintenance meals this week. Some folks from the Husband Elect's family are hosting a shower for us on Saturday, so that should take care of dinner that night. A bunch of out of town folks are going to be crashing at the new place, so I'm in a hurry to get enough space cleared out to throw down some air mattresses and pull out the couch bed.

Wish me luck!!

For more of this week's menu plans, check out Organizing Junkie.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In the interest of full disclosure...

I think you should know that I:

1) hardly EVER use a seam-ripper and re-do seams, hence the blog name. It stays where it lays, ladies.

2) buy way too many groceries each week because I just can't resist a "good deal" and love to see how much money I "save" at the bottom of my receipts.

3) watch the Bachelor(ette). Don't judge. We all have our guilty pleasures on TV.

4) don't ever buy my backings from the local quilt shops. $9/yard for fabric most people won't ever see? I don't think so. Thousands of Bolts is my BFF.

5) lick cookie dough off my finger and sometimes (read: pretty much always) stick it back in the bowl for another bite.

6) have only read about 15% of the books on my bookshelves. I got really paranoid a couple of years ago that in order to get a librarian job, I was going to end up in a teeny-tiny library in the middle of nowhere Alaska (where we discovered last year that some books are subject to abject censorship), so I started stockpiling books from the local library booksales I would read in such a situation (We're talking 20-30 books acquired at a time, 4 times a year). Luckily, I have a librarian job at a library with a GREAT collection, surrounded by lots of fantastic public library collections, and between all those options, I can pretty much get whatever I want. I'm gradually de-accessioning many of those books from my collection and donating them back to the public library, so the Friends of the Library can hopefully make money on them. again.

7) don't like batik fabrics. I know they're uber-nice and mega-expensive, but I just don't get it. I'll take a paisley over a batik any day of the week.

8) hoard magazines, any title, any topic. I blame my mother. She would never let me subscribe to anything when I was growing up except Highlights, so now I can't get enough of them. Even the old lady magazines and TV Guide. But don't worry. I harbor no grudge against Mom. She's offered to set up 3 magazine subscriptions each for me and the Husband Elect (of our choice) once we get a permanent residence.

9) eat some form of macaroni and cheese at least once a week. I have a whole tag devoted to it on my page and buy the blue boxes 6 at a time (or as many as the grocery store will let me) when they go on sale for $0.50 or less at the grocery store.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, 6/15/2009-6/20/2009

I'm moving to a new apartment Friday, so I'm doing my best to use up as much food from my fridge and pantry as possible without getting new food from the grocery store. We'll see how I do...

Monday - Bean and Cheese Burritos
Tuesday - Foster's Market Upscale Macaroni and Cheese (I cannot say enough good things about this recipe. It's, hands-down, one of my favorites of all time.)
Wednesday - Black Bean Soup (crockpot) and Cornbread
Thursday - Tortellini Salad
Friday - Frozen Pizza
Saturday - Carrburrito's!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, 6/8/2009-6/12/2009

I'm not going to be very adventurous over the next couple of weeks. I'm getting ready to move into a new apartment, so I'm sticking with tried and true recipes as I sort through and pack up all my stuff.

Monday - Spinach-Stuffed Shells, Asparagus, and French Bread
Tuesday - Not Your Mama's Nachos
Wednesday - Breakfast for Dinner - English Muffins, Scrambled Eggs, and CrockPot Hashbrown Casserole
Thursday - Cheesy Baked Tortellini and Broccoli
Friday - Frozen Pizza
Saturday - @ Mom's and Dad's
Sunday - Macaroni and cheese, Green Beans, Mashed potatoes

Monday, June 1, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, 6/1/2009

The past couple of weeks, I've been making an effort to use my cookbooks and try new recipes more often. The Husband Elect bought me Bon Appetit's Fast Easy Fresh for Christmas this past year, and it's become my new go-to book for planning tasty weeknight meals. This week is pretty pasta-heavy, but I'm trying to use up food in my pantry so I don't have to throw out or move lots of food when I move out at the end of the month.

Monday - Cheese Tortellini with Pesto Cream Sauce (Fast Easy Fresh, p. 220)
Tuesday - Thai Noodle Soup (another food the Husband Elect bequeathed when he moved out of his apartment a couple of weeks ago)
Wednesday - CONFERENCE
Thursday - Frozen Pizza
Saturday - Orzo with Tomatoes, Feta, and Green Onions

For more menu plans, visit OrgJunkie.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Giveaway Bonanza!!

Two lovely bloggers came home from Quilt Market with some loot last week and are being generous enough to pass along the crafty love. Be sure to check out their giveaways before they close!

The fabulous and oh so generous Camille is giving away 2 Simple Abundance honey buns to 2 lucky winners! Just pick your favorite Moda designer and your favorite product from that designer, let Camille know in the comments section, and she'll add you to the pot. She must have some crazy spreadsheets - the comments were taking up half the page last time I checked.

Jane, who owns the Lanie Jane shop, is giving away pre-cuts from the aforementioned Camille's latest collection. She had to put up a real fight against a feisty grandma to get the goods, so leave some encouragement for her in the comments section, and let her know how you'd use the fabric.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Best of ...

Best of the Week

A round of up links I liked this week, categorized.

Alice Munro wins the 2009 Man Booker prize

Erin attempted to shop for 2 weeks worth of groceries - I've often wondered how much money I would save if I shopped for more than a weeks worth of groceries. I typically plan a week in advance, using the circulars to get "good deals" at the grocery store. I'm intrigued by folks who do the Once a Month Cooking, but I'm not sure if it's practical when I'm usually cooking dinner for just me and the Husband Elect.
Thirty Bucks a Week - This couple continually amazes me because they only spend $30/week on food, and they eat well. Admittedly, they hardly ever buy processed foods and make lots of their staples - pitas, bread, etc - from scratch. In contrast, my goal is to keep the grocery bill at or below $50/week.

Kath Eats Real Food - I stumbled across Kath's blog courtesy of the lovely ladies at Cheap Healthy Good. I've enjoyed exploring the site so much this week for a few reasons: 1) This chica has worked hard to lose those pesky college pounds we all seem to gain. She's not shy about the fact that losing weight can be hard work, but it sounds like she had a fun time and has learned a lot in the process. 2) Her recipes sound a-mazing. 3) This girl has done some crazy-good things with oatmeal.
Fast Food Folk Song at the Taco Bell Drive-Through - Usually, I find these commercials to be kind of silly, and I minimize the tab before the songs are over. This time, however, these fellas successfully captivated my attention. Enjoy!

Blueberry Corn Muffins - From the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook
Ultimate Mac and Cheese Guide - 'nuff said
Blueberry Muffins - From Cooks Illustrated
Potato Sour Cream and Chive Bread - Because the Husband Elect's mother gave me a big pot of herbs with chives in there, and I need to find something to use them.
Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes - I'm still warming up to this idea.
Lentil Soup You'll Absolutely Love - Because I think I have all these ingredients on hand
Garden Pesto Tortellini - I will bookmark pretty much any recipe that uses tortellini. Pasta stuffed with cheese - how can you go wrong?
Raspberry and Jam Muffins - Everything's a little better with some streudel on top.
Nutella Pinwheel Cookies - This stuff has captured my heart, arteries and all. I'm always looking for fun new things to do with it.
Italian Bread with Gorgonzola - Scroll down to the bottom of the post, the recipe's there. So dangerously simple.

First of all, let me warn that Sew Mama Sew! is sponsoring a ginormous giveaway bonanza, along the order of 400 participants, many of whom will give you bonus entries if you blog about their giveaway. So I'm going to devote an entirely different post for all those giveaways. In other crafty news, I stumbled across a few other amazing links this week. - Nicole at Sister's Choice Quilts mentioned this online site earlier in the week. Similar to the Fab Shop Hop's FabSearch, this site searches inventories for hundreds of quilt shops around the country, but it seems to consistently return a greater number of hits than the FabSearch application. It was fantastic. Even when I searched for Mistletoe Manor, a 3 Sisters holiday collection from 2005, the site pulled up a couple of pages worth of results. No longer will I worry about not having enough of something. I'm sure to find something workable from the same fabric collection if I run out mid-project.

Margot's Applique Technique
- Margot of The Pattern Basket, provides a straight-forward tutorial on how she goes about appliquing. Make no mistake, applique scares me. I've done it once, because I was being paid to do it, and it was a free-form art-type quilt, so there was some latitude for mistakes. Traditional applique doesn't really have much latitude, and it makes me nervous. This tutorial makes it less intimidating.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

GTD or WSD? - @ Life

Anyone ever read David Allen's Getting Things Done? Well, I read it about a year ago, and it was inspiring but way too intimidating for me to ever implement successfully. (The ever ubiquitous Wikipedia actually did a pretty good job summarizing Allen's philosophies here. It's just too much for me, I can't take it all.) Instead, I follow the WSD - "Write stuff down" philosophy of life, and while it can lead to some pretty intimidating lists at the end of the day (especially after a long weekend out of town), it feels oh so satisfying to cross stuff off the list.

By the time I left work today, my "@ Life" list (i.e. - the ToDo list that doesn't involve work at all) was a little bit out of control. The husband to be recently moved out of his apartment to stay with his parents for a few months until we get married in September. I inherited all his non-perishable food items, which seemed like a great idea at the time. But now, my kitchen is overflowing with a random assortment of food - spices, dried herbs, baking supplies out the wazoo, so my ToDo lists invariably include some kind of baking/cooking/anything to use up the extra food I've stumbled into. Added to that, we went out of town over the weekend, so I didn't have the weekend to take care of miscellaneous errands, tasks, and baking.

Today's List:
  • Deposit check (the state finally sent my refund check, and I forgot to deposit it for the 10th day in a row)
  • (Done) Grocery Store
  • Watch Netflix movie
  • (Done) Soak beans and cook beans in crockpot overnight - lunch tomorrow
  • (Done) Dry tomatoes in the oven (times are lean, and I just can't justify the expense of sun-dried tomatoes)
  • (Done) Make bread dough
  • (Done) Clean out fridge
  • Get vegetables chopped for marinara sauce (to go in crockpot tomorrow)
  • Make cookie dough
  • Finish stippling 2 rows on quilt
Okay, I'm off to see if I can knock the last few items on the todo list. What was on your life list for today?

Tops to Finish

Over the past couple of years, I've tended to finish quilts in an assembly-line fashion - I cut the fabric for about 3 or 4 quilts, then I piece the blocks for each quilt, then I sew the rows together, cut and sew the borders, then they tend to sit there for a few months, while I gradually quilt them, one by one. That way, when it's time to quilt them, I can pick and choose which quilt to work on next. One of the reasons I like this assembly line method so much is that I get to use up lots of fabric fairly quickly, which means that I get to go out and buy more, right? (Sssshhh, don't tell the future husband that. He thinks I'm churning out the quilts, so that I can give them away, and I'll have less fabric to pack/unpack/organize when we move at the end of the year. If he only knew.) Another reason that I let the quilt tops pile up is because I hate sandwiching and pinning all the quilt layers together. Hate it. Some quilters pay the long-arm quilters to quilt their quilts. I would probably pay someone to pin mine. Here are some sneak peeks of the tops I've finished this spring and winter.

I made this quilt for a friend of mine who finished up med school this year. It's since been quilted and bound (send me pictures, Katie Ann!!), and her malti-poo dog now gets to enjoy it every night while they curl up on the couch.
From ToBlog

This next quilt top is made from a layer cake I got for my birthday last year (Thanks, Mom!) in a modified rail fence - There are 5 strips in each block instead of 3. I don't have any big plans to use this quilt for anything or give it to anyone, so it might percolate in my closet for awhile. Or maybe I'll set it up as a hand-quilting project.
From ToBlog

This quilt top is made from a charm pack of Roman Holiday wovens and some fabric from a couple of other moda collections. It's currently sandwiched, pinned, and sitting at my machine for me to finish quilting (hopefully by the end of this week!!)
From ToBlog

This quilt was no doubt, the most difficult quilt I've ever pieced. It's actually been quilted, bound, AND washed, but I'm a very bad blogger who hasn't taken and photos and left it at my parents' place in TN. More details and pictures to follow after I go home in a couple of weeks.
From ToBlog

I had way too much fun making this quilt top - the fabric is Shangri-La - an older 3 Sisters collection, made from a jelly roll. And the pattern came from Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott. This book is my new favorite pattern book. Seriously, I want to make every pattern in there. Twice. AND they have a new book coming out next month that includes patterns for layer cakes. So stinkin' excited.
From ToBlog