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