Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quilter's Choice for May Schnibbles


Can you believe it? I've actually finished my Schnibbles top for May with days to spare. I chose to make the x-rated pattern in Cotton Blossoms from Bonnie & Camille. I set aside the red, green, and brown squares for the border, and I have a whole charm pack and a half left over if I ever want to make the pattern again, with the orange and aqua squares in the border.


Some words about this pattern: It was different from other Schnibbles quilts I've made thus far, in that you don't construct small-ish blocks, then piece them together in rows. Instead, you cut out stacks of teeny-tiny squares, line them up on point to make the X's, then sew the rows together. This ended up being a little bit more tedious than I anticipated. More words: If you're someone who's likely to have an aneurysm every time your points don't line up, this pattern might not be for you. Even though there aren't any triangles to cause angst, all the background squares' corners are supposed to line up with the corners on the print squares. After the first row or two, I just took a deep breath and let it go. Not all my corners lined up, but I'm learning to be okay with that and enjoy the process.


Gunther was tired, too, after trying to make all the points line up.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Best Of My World This Week

CRAFTINESS
  • Wonky Star Tutorial - I just used this tutorial for one of my Triangle Modern Quilt Guild swap blocks, and it was much fun! I recommend it as a great way to use up the stash. I'm thinking about using it as my block when it comes to be my month for Sew Bee It. Then again, my month isn't until December, so I have plenty of time to change my mind.
  • Half-Square Triangle Tutorial - Karrie explains how to make half-square triangles from jelly roll strips withOUT buying a new special ruler.
  • Raw Edge Applique Tutorial - Allison posted this quilt as part of the Blogger's Quilt Festival, and I was reminded of how much I want to try out this quilt pattern - maybe as a scrappy drunkard's path?

FOOD
LIFE

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Spring 2010 Edition


Amy is graciously hosting the 3rd Blogger's Quilt Festival for the next week. Be sure to check out the list of participants, and if you have a quilt you'd like to enter, be sure to add your post to the list (there are great sponsors providing the goods for giveaways!)


Anyways, moving along to my quilt...


If you've been reading my blog for awhile or know me outside of quiltland, you know that I got married in the fall, which means I needed some bridesmaids gifts. So I decided I would make quilts for the bridesmaids + the groomsmaid (groomswoman? We never did really decide what to call her).




When it comes to friends and quilts, I hate to play favorites. And I loved all the quilts I made for my bridesmaids, honestly, I did. But I loved them all for different reasons. I won't wax poetic about how much I love the other quilts and enjoyed making them. I'll save that for another post.


This particular quilt I love for many reasons.



#1 - Pinwheels. When I was pondering the idea of my first quilt and rummaging through all of Mom's books, I kept coming back to the quilts with pinwheels. Mom didn't exactly discourage me from the pinwheel patterns, but she did encourage the patterns without triangles, with long, wide rows of sashing, etc. A few months later, when I finally got around to secretly starting my first quilt, I completely ignored her and made a pinwheel quilt. I've always loved pinwheels. [Note to self: Get crackin' on The Pinwheel Sampler Quilt from Rachel!]


#2 - The quilting. It's kind of hard to tell from the photos, but to this day, I still think that I did a much better job of choosing a complementary quilting pattern on this quilt than I've ever done before or after. This was also the first quilt where my quilting followed the pattern printed on the fabric (see border close-up).



#3 - The fabric. This quilt represents my first foray into the world of modern quilting. Up to this point, I was strictly a 3 Sisters floral and paisley kind of gal. While I still love the traditional prints and tones of more traditional designers, I'm much more willing to experiment with modern designs and prints than I was a year or so ago.



#4 - The recipient. Before the Hubz and I got engaged, I think I had met Merissa all of twice, maybe three times. So, when the Hubz asked if I would make her a quilt for the gift, I won't lie. I was a little nervous. I didn't know her that well, but from the few times we met, I could tell that she has pretty impeccable taste and fashion sense. Luckily, she's also a fellow crafter who appreciates the resources (time, $$, love, tears, etc.) that go into handmade items. Now, due to the wonders of instant messaging and facebook, I've been able to get to know her much better and understand more than ever why the Hubz had to have her up there with us on The Big Day.

Anyways, thanks for checking out my entry in the festival! Don't forget to check out the other bloggers' quilts!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Roundabout completely finished!


Full disclosure: I had a tough time following the original pattern for Roundabout. Life's just too short for partial seams, y'all. So I modified the pattern slightly to use up a jelly roll that Mom passed along a few months back. Similar to the Nostalgia top, I was a little bit half-hearted about this top, but once I started quilting it, I liked it much better.



In the "roundabouts," I quilted daisies, most likely inspired by all the flowers that started blooming about the time I finished the top. The whole time I quilted it, I was humming this song to myself.




Vital stats:
Started - April 2010
Finished - April 2010
Machine-pieced, machine-quilted
Collection: Spring Meadow by Cheri Strole for Moda

Now it's time for me to get crackin' on the April AND May Schnibbles. Eep.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Best of My World This Week, through 5/16


CRAFTINESS
  • Coming Soon: Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Mark your calendars now! If you have a blog, be thinking about which quilt you'd like to link up later this week.
  • Christmas Packages - Even though this pattern is designed with Christmas fabric, it would look a-dorable in lots of other collections.
  • Happy Stacker - Not a free pattern, but I saw some of these done up on flickr, and they're just so cute, I had to link to them.
  • Avignon Picnic - Andrea's in my Sew Bee It swap, and the pattern she's designed comes together pretty easily and would look great in just about any fabric.

FOOD
  • Potato Frittata - It's not so often I have all the ingredients for any recipe on hand.

LIFE

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Completely Finished Cindy Lou Who Schnibbles


Finally, some pictures of a finished project. This particular Schnibbles is near and dear to my heart - I won a couple of Happy Campers jelly rolls from Carrie with this flimsy waaay back in October. I'm telling y'all, it pays to actually finish your Schnibbles quilts (tops) - there are lots of prizes up for grabs each month!



At first, I wasn't exactly wild about this particular top. The prints were so large, they got lost once I cut them into the small squares for the small 9-patches. But when I pulled it out to quilt last month, I was surprised at how more I liked it. Maybe I was just in the mood to see some spring-like colors after the "frigid" weather North Carolinians experienced this winter. Now that it's quilted and bound, I'm absolutely in love!



Vital stats:
Started: October 2009
Finished: April 2010
Collection: Nostalgia by April Cornell
Machine-pieced, machine-quilted


On a happy note, be sure to check out Honey Run Quilter's giveaway - a charm pack AND a jelly roll of Tweet Tweet by Keiki! Run over there, before the giveaway closes on Thursday!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday, 5/10-5/16


In no particular order:

Spinach-Ravioli Lasagna, Oven-Roasted Asparagus
Tacos
Black Bean Burgers, Vegetables and Hummus
Frozen Pizza

For more menus, be sure to check out OrgJunkie!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Best of My World - Month-Long Edition

Aren't you glad I'm finally posting about something other than my weekly menu plans? I've had this Best Of post in my drafts section for a few weeks now. I just kept adding and adding and adding to it because it didn't really seem that long to me. I was wrong, it's gotten a little long. Sorry y'all. So, I'm finally ripping off the band-aid and hitting the publish button.





CRAFTINESS
  • Funky Quilted Binder Cover - My LQS linked to this old-ish tutorial this week, when they posted about spring cleaning. I'm planning to use the pattern to create a cover for my recipes binder.
  • Verna's Quilt Tutorial - Natalia posts the best tutorials. I want to make this out of all my favorite collections. Twice. The fact that she made it in Verna definitely makes it more appealing.
  • Nursing Cover Tutorial - For those situations in new mothers' lives when they'd prefer not to whip out their boobs in public.
  • Patience Corners - Quilt Blocks Galore is a great resource for swap/bee blocks, especially if you're into traditional piecing. I tagged this particular block because I think it would make a great pattern for all those jelly rolls you/I might have sitting around.
  • Oh, Fransonn! Makes a Quilt Sandwich - Is this how everyone else has been making quilt sandwiches all along, and I'm the odd one out? I tried out this method a few weeks ago, it was oh! so much easier.
  • Homemade Heating Pad - Because everyone wants a heating pad to match their throw pillows.
  • Quilt Yardage Calculator - Is there an iphone app like this? If so, I'm totally going to buy it (app and iphone) It would save me so many headaches and pieces of scrap paper when I'm buying fabric.
  • Zig Zag Quilt Along - All the links. In one place. Why haven't I started on this precious quilt already?



FOOD




LIFE
  • 10 Yard-Sale Entertaining Essentials - You could easily tote this list to the thrift store on your next trip. There's other stuff that I'd add (picture frames - anything can be spray-painted)/omit (chairs - the last thing we need in our house right now = more chairs) from the list, but it at least gets your creative juices flowing.
  • 36 Ways to Organize Your Food/Meals - I realize that not everyone is as nutty as I am when it comes to food, but in case you are, or would like to become nuttier, take a gander at some of these planners (all free for download!).
  • Ultimate Personal Growth Guide - I would rather die than be caught buying a self-help book, but I could probably spend hours reading the same content in blog format. Why is that? Does anyone else have this problem? If so, click on!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I'll come clean. We hardly ever eat dinners on the nights I assign them at the beginning of the week. We're wild and crazy like that. It's how we roll. Well, except for pizza. That almost always happens on Friday night, followed by a movie provided by Netflix. So here's a list of meals I've planned out for the week.


Creamy Spinach and Chevre Soup (recipe below!), Bread, and Salad
Tortellini and Marinara Sauce, Roasted Cauliflower
Tortilla Black Bean Casserole, Avocado
Frozen Pizza
Baked Pastina and Asparagus



I'm very happy to introduce you to my Schnibbles top from March. That's right, March. Let's say I've fallen off the Schnibbles wagon. I've picked out my fabric for the April AND May Schnibbles quilts, but other than that, not much productivity has been going on for new Schnibbles projects. Other folks have definitely been productive, though. Be sure to check out Sinta's and Sherry's parades for April for inspiration!


Creamy Spinach and Chevre Soup (a la Foster's Market - one of our favorites!)
Ingredients:
  • 3 leeks, trimmed and split lengthwise
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, cored, and sliced to 1/8" thick
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried tarragon
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t black peper
  • 8 c fresh spinach, washed, drained, stems removed
  • 1 c (4 oz) crumbled chevre

Directions:
  • Soak leeks in a large bowl for 10 minutes. Rinse, drain, and slice into 1/4" rounds
  • Heat butter and olive oil in large saucepan. Add onion and leeks. Saute for 10 minutes.
  • Add celery and fennel, and cook 5 minutes longer. Then add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
  • Add broth, potato, and spices and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 35-40 minutes.
  • Add spinach and cook 3-4 minutes, until spinach is wilted.
  • Blend with an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor.
  • Add the cheese and blend one last time.
  • Soup can be served warm or chilled


Like most Foster's Market recipes, this one is fairly labor-intensive and generates lots of dishes. But like all the other Foster's Market recipes we've tried, it's amazing and totally worth the effort!