Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New year to all...

here is hoping for lots of creativity and productivity...what a balancing act!  One I hope to do better in 2013!

I had to laugh at a couple comments on my 2013 "list" folks, these are not all my UFO's or Quilts in Progress....perhaps I'll do a post on the ones that didn't make the list.  A few are off to the "free" table at my next guild meeting.  Many were just boxed up and put out of sight. One or two are still in the living room where I am debating either adding them to the list now or perhaps adding one as one on the list is finished..

.some, like the Halloween quilt that is so close to being a top,

are hard to put away!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year Quilt List

When it comes to quilting it seems like I alternate between start-it years and finish-it years...this will be a finish it year.

So what is on the docket?  I picked out 12 quilts that are in various stages of work-in-process.  They range from just needing binding to a half pieced mystery quilt and every stage in between.  I thought that would keep me from getting bored and hopefully keep me from starting too many new projects.  I know I wrote too would be like telling a person on a diet they could not even sniff a bit of chocolate if you told me no new projects!

Drum-roll please....

1.  1930's scrappy trip around the world...this only needs binding.  It was on my 2011 list!  I need to dump my angst about what color to bind it with and just finish this one in January!  How old is this quilt?  I started it when I was living in England....ouch!

2.  Seaglass - quarter log cabin: All set to machine quilt.

3. Material Obsession - All set to machine quilt

4.  I plan to hand quilt the Charleston Basket using a perl cotton and a big stitch.  I still have to piece the backing....
                                                                 Ribbon Candy
5.  Ribbon Candy will be machine quilted.  I need to piece the backing and decide on the quilting design.
                                                           Russian Sunflower
6.  Russian Sunflower.  I plan on hand quilting this small quilt.  I have the quilting design all planned out and have it pressed and ready to mark.  The backing and the wool batt is ready!

7.  Last year's Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt, Orca Bay, is all ready to be machine quilted. (no photo)

8.  Crayon Rows...not sure if I am going to handquilt this small quilt using a big stitch or if I am going to machine quilt it....
                                                                      Carnival Corn
9.  Carnival Corn...think I am going to machine quilt this one...this was based on a vintage top I bought at auction up in South Carolina.  You can tell I pieced this one about the same time as Crayon Rows!
                                                          Easy Street
10.  Easy Street is the quilt in pieces on the cutting table....
                                                                                       Teddington Stars
11.  Teddington Stars was also made while I lived in England.  I want to put a border on it so it has languished in the "what next" pile of UFO's....sometimes you just have to start sewing!

12.  Guild Donation Quilt....this is in the very early stages so no photos yet!

So 12 projects made the list and there are 12 months in a year - great symmetry but somehow I doubt I will stick to finishing one a month...more likely I will finish one in the first 6 months and 6 in the month prior to my guild's show!  But I can hope....

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The quilt mystery that is 2012...

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  We are off to visit my father-in law today.  He is going to teach me his method for making turkey hash and his special spice cake.  Now that he has turned 80 he is willing to share recipes!
My Christmas Cactus bloomed this week!
I was starting my 2013 list when I realized the list I have posted on my blog sidebar is from 2011.  I'm thinking I don't pay too much attention to it since a) I didn't update it and b) I haven't finished any of the quilts listed!  Need to think about his...I could make a major push and at least get one off the list...or accept I didn't want to work on those and figure out just what I did accomplish with all that sewing time in 2012?
So before I make my list of sewing resolutions for next year I'm going to take a moment to breath and make a list of what I've done.  List to follow....

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday energy needed...

I think my holiday energy ran out cooking...

a bit of reading.  (I am definitely getting the next book in this series, Thomas Cromwell Trilogy!)

and opened a Christmas present early...

Today I am taking it slow...thought I would do some final clean up out front since is it nice and bright out.

But the little gecko's love to sit on the pumpkins out in my front garden....maybe I could paint the pumpkin's stem silver and pretend it is a big Christmas ornament?  I hate to take it away from the little lizards...besides these guys are great for keeping down bugs come spring!

I did cut out some of the next step for Bonnie's mystery.  I love the colors in this but I am missing pinks and reds...guess I know what my next quilt will have in it!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Flying reindeer...for real!

Last night I got run over by a reindeer.  We.., not so much run over as knocked me into the car and rolled me down the driveway.  No, I have not been hitting the spiked eggnog early...we had a really bad storm and during what I thought was a lull in the wind and rain I went out to my car to get some books.  Unfortunately just as I opened the door of the car the winds came back up with a vengeance.   The seven foot plastic-blow-up-Rudolph in my neighbors yard decided to fly....

My DH wanted to know if I needed to go to the Emergency Room...for a nose bleed?  No way...besides, who wants to admit they were mugged by a flying reindeer....add to that, my nose is all scraped and red...the jokes would be just too much....

As I've been sewing on this year's mystery I've also had a leader and ender project going.

This is based on another Bonnie H. design. (don't have the book handy right now...sorry)  I'm not making string blocks for the side but instead am using an assortment of grey fabrics...I want to highlight the fabric in the center and all the tiny 4-patches...Anyway, I think all the leader and ender may be slowing down my mystery quilt...I'm not nearly ready for today's next step!

                                                               Scituate, MA lighthouse

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ribbon Candy!

I sewed the final border on my Ribbon Candy Top last night!  A finish!!!  This is my version of Bonnie Hunter's Smith Mountain.  I used a few more colors (hers is brown and blue) and I changed up the border so I could use the mountain of half square triangles that I had made (over-made?)  The quilt still needs a good pressing but that will have to wait until after the holidays.  (I ordered backing fabric for it from Hancock's of Paducah who is having a great sale right now!  Good time to get backings....)

Today I also picked up a box of the ribbon candy!  I think I by I buy these more for the memory than the candy itself.  Don't get me wrong they taste good but they are a bit edged candy.  Who thought that was a good idea?!

I can remember Sister Rudolph (yes that was her name!) my 3rd grade teacher, kept a box in her desk for days when students did really well or just needed a pick-me-up.  She would break off a small piece of ribbon and we would eat them very carefully! I thought they box of ribbons was beautiful.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pillowcases and poor Mac

Had a bit of a scare this morning.  Macbeth is having problems with his back legs and couldn't get up.  We have a really great vet and he told me to come in right away...the office is only about a mile from the house.  Of course when we got there Macbeth insisted on walking (all be it with a limp and a wimper.)  Dr. G thinks it isn't too serious (old dog syndrome) and has given Mac some anti-inflammatory pills.  Maybe Mac is too old to be tunneling under the fence after all....

Yesterday I did a bit more baking...

And between batches made a couple of pillowcases for the children in Connecticut impacted by the school shooting.

You may have seen the request for pillowcases on some of the blogs.  They are being collected by Quilter's Corner in New Milford, CT.  There is a U-tube video on how to make a pillowcase using the "tube" method.  I had to watch it twice...first I thought, "no problem."

Then I cut out the fabrics and went to sew...had to watch it a second time.  Once you do it once though it really is "no problem!"  It takes longer to pick out the fabrics than it does to actually cut and sew the pillowcase together...

I have four to put in the mail today...a seaside, a dog-show, dolphins, and space travel....I hope the kids enjoy them.  Sewing helps me feel as if I'm doing something to help.  Also helps me stay away from the new (yes, as a former journalist I am a news junkie!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Redwork Santa

With all the projects I have going on you would think the last thing I would want to do is start another one! see I found this redwork santa that I hand-stitched at least 6 years ago in with the Christmas decorations.  I still had out some of the vintage blocks and bits that I used to make those Christmas pillows...I guess I still have pillows/cushions on the brain!

I think I'll try and make on of these up over the holidays.  I'm debating appliqueing the Santa block down on top of the ring or appliqueing the ring down on the santa?  Decisions....

First I have to decide which ring to use and select a background fabric....ah, playing in the fabric favorite part of quilting!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Easy Street...slow walk.

With all the holiday obligations this past weekend I didn't get too much done on Bonnie's Mystery Quilt, Easy Street.

I knew I would fall behind this week but I scheduled 30 minutes on Saturday and Sunday to stitch.  Amazing how much you can get done when you know you are racing the oven timer!

  It also helped that I had cut too many of the purple pieces for the last flying geese step so I was halfway there for this one!  (lesson learned - do not clean off the cutting table until the mystery is over!)

Yesterday I finished making 8 dozen biscotti and made the batter for mint chocolate and molasses cookies.  Those I bake today.  If I have time I will also make some Kouremmbiethes (Greek Butter Cookie.)  If not I'll make them on Christmas.

This little kitten is our new neighbor.  Macbeth, my scottish terrier, loves kittens and we are having a difficult time keeping him in the yard.  It has been years since he has dug under the fence!  To be honest I didn't think he had it in him (he turns 13 next month!)...but surprise!

So I've had to get more dog toys and bones to keep him active and distracted.  He doesn't really chew on bones...he just carries them around debating where to hide can take hours!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chips....

Baking this week got me wondering where folks go now for recipes?
                                       Block for a table runner I am working on but doubt I'll have ready for Christmas!
It used to be they were traded on little cards.  You would get them from friends or relatives.

Who most likely got them from friends, relatives, coworkers, newspapers, magazines or cookbooks.

Now I think most folks go to the internet.  I know I use Land-O'Lakes butter's site often and Pintrest occasionally.  To be honest I still like to use the old recipes best.  Last night I tried two new cupcake recipes, both from the internet, and only liked one.  The banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from came out really good.  Only down side was lots of extra frosting but that is partly due to my not liking lots of frosting on my cakes.  The second "experiment" was a mini-chocolate chip cupcake from Ghirardelli...don't think I'll make them again.  They weren't so bad I didn't send them into work with my DH but not my best....

So for the rest of the season I will stick with the tried and my Chocolate Mint Snowtops (recipe to follow.)  This recipe is in my family's cookbook that we put together a few years ago.  We attributed it to my cousin Barbara.  When she saw it was she surprised!  "Are they any good?" she asked.  When we told her they were a favorite she said "then of course they are mine!"  In reality she doesn't ever remember making them!  It may be that the Barbara on the recipe card was a friend of on of my sisters...we'll never know!

Chocolate Mint Snowtops 

1-1/2 cups flour
1 10-ounce package mint chocolate chips (I use Hershey's)
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
6 Tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
confectionery sugar

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt then set aside.

Over hot water, melt 1 cup of mint morsels.  Stir until smooth.  In a large blow, beat sugar and butter until creamy.  Add melted mint morsels and vanilla.  Beat in eggs then gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in remaining 1/2 cup mint morsels.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll in confectionery sugar.  Place on un-greased cookie sheet (I use parchment since it make cleaning so much easier!)  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes on cookie sheet.  Cool.  Makes 4-5 dozen

Store in an airtight container.  If the cookies get hard put a piece of bread in the container for a few hours and they will soften up.  (Do not store these cookies with other cookies...the mint flavor will transfer!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas baking - or Why I Will Fall behind on Quilting this week

Today officially starts my Christmas baking marathon...

My husband's office party is tomorrow so he needs a couple dozen cupcakes and three dozen biscotti...

Thursday is my Quilt Guild party...Ellie's chocolate Cake and a Stollen (we have a couple of members from Germany!)  I haven't made my Aunt Ellie's chocolate cake in years.  A few of you asked for the recipe earlier this week...let me to a trial run since the ink has blurred on the directions.
                          Last year's stollen (photo reminded me I need to find that platter.....)
Friday night a friend is having a large Christmas Party.  Instead of baking I making Spanakopeta, tzadziki, Keftethakia, and Fattouch.  So why is this Irish American making all this Greek food...the recipes come from  my husband's first mother-in-law!    (I do make a great Irish bread but that is for March....)  Also, amazingly enough, we do not have a Greek restaurant within 40 miles so I've had to learn to cook it myself.
                                                   One of last year's cookie trays....
Saturday and Sunday is cookie baking days.  Mint Snow-tops  Molasses  Christmas Biscotti, Coconut Biscotti, Chocolate Chip and a cookie to be named later.  (I like to try a new recipe every year and haven't made the final selection yet!)  These go to neighbors, work, and church.  It will keep me busy!

                                            Coconut biscotti....recipe from Cooking Light

I know this is generally a quilting blog and so far no quilts!  So here is a little quilt I made a few years ago.  It is a reproduction of a doll quilt circa 1880.  15 inches by 15 inches, had pieced and hand quilted. The madder fabrics I used came out in the early 1990's.  I wish I had bought yards of them!

The quilt now hangs in my sewing room.