Monday, July 28, 2014

Creating in the Kitchen-- Summer Bounty


Welcome to summer. I've gotten a late start on my home canning this year. I was so busy last year I didn't even get around to it, but that was okay, I had enough to last for two years from the year before that. I love canning. It captures the absolute freshness of the season, plus it allows you to precisely know whats going into your food. That's important to me. 

Never shop hungry, I say. I know that causes trouble. Well, I got myself into trouble, so to speak. LOL! Yep, I shopped hungry this time. And $70 later I bought home a huge box of produce. 

The local produce stand had tons of options. The nice Yakima beefsteak tomatoes are in. Those are big meaty tomatoes. They make awesome tomato salads and BLTs. I need to get some good bacon. We'll be living high on the hog... literally. I feel a tomato canning marathon coming for the weekend. 

Walla Walla onions are Washington's answer to Vidalias. Sweet and oniony. Perfect for salads, sandwiches, and killer on a burger. 

Gravenstein apples, grown in Washington's apple country, have a very short season. This heirloom variety makes awesome pies. Really awesome pies. Just the perfect balance of sweet and tart. If they come to your area, try them. They're worth the tiny bit extra. 

The peaches out the Wenatchee area as good as the Georgia and Alabama peaches out east. Hells bells, many of the orchard stone fruits from that area rock. It's the perfect weather for growing fruit. (I'm hoping to make some jam from mine). I'm also dying to grill a few with some chicken. Add in some grilled slices of those sweet onions and I think that would be an awesome dinner entree. Great pairing for a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris.


And I feel a serious jam session coming on because of this. I found an awesome recipe that makes Blueberry butter and blueberry syrup for the blueberries. I think instead of the syrup, I'll make some jelly with the leftover juice. Double the pleasure. Double the deliciousness.

Raspberry jam. One of my favorites. Who knows, I might even sneak in a few peaches to make it a peach melba jam. We'll see... and don't mind that a few are missing. That's called quality control. ;)

Rebel Quilting

You know I've been lamenting that I've been feeling boxed in with my sewing. I think I'm finally unstuck. Yay! I'm so encouraged and excited about applying what I learned over this past weekend.

Big huge thanks go to four people in particular --

  1. Stephanie from Kwiltz by Stephanie, who planned this quilting event
  2. Jamie Fingal, our teacher
  3. The folks at Calico Creations in Mt. Vernon, WA who lent us some wonderful classroom space
  4. National Nonwovens Company -- for donating the felt (35% wool/65% rayon) used in our classroom.



Stephanie did a beautiful job of planning this weekend event. I say event, as it was more than just a class. She booked a wonderful, inspiring teacher, arranged us to learn in a spacious well-appointed classroom, brought in lunches, and made each and every one of us feel at home. I knew when I saw the cute goodie bag at my seat that I was in for a treat. Stephanie made these from some of Jamie's fabric. I love love love my little bag. And do you know why this little bag was so meant for me?

Yep, you guessed it... the itty bitty travel trailer on the tag. Pure preciousness!

A pic of Jamie and I 
I purposely posed with my quilt upside down to be a rebel. 
(Yes, I was very geeked out!)

Jamie was a wonderful teacher. Just the right hands on amount, and she allowed us to do our own thing. She spoke with us about Rebel Quilting, which breaks all the rules we learned over the years. I knew the moment she started talking about this process that I'd like it.




We took our fabric pieces and first fused on some Mistyfuse. You know how much I already love Mistyfuse.  to me it's the bee's knees of fusible materials. Then we grabbed stencils and fabric paint and had a blast. Here's where honesty comes in. I have some fabric paint upstairs in my studio that I was ready to give away. Not anymore! I'm keeping it. Hell, I even bought a couple of stencils for future fun.

We arranged our glorious messes onto a large piece of felt, fused it all down, and then added a second piece of felt to the back (slightly larger). After that, we let our sewing machines do the rest. When it was considered "done" with the quilting, we could further embellish it with whatever goodies we had around. Not everyone got finished with the quilting part, but at least you can see what everyone created! Then when it's all said and done, we trim off a bit of the felt backing so it just "shows" a tiny bit. At this point you can zig zag down the edges or leave it alone. I will leave mine alone.

Yes, it's that easy. I really loved the felt product we used. It's firm and stable, yet pliable enough to work with. The colors were rich and consistent on the substrate. I highly recommend this product. It stitches up well, and combined with the mistyfuse, it doesn't gum up your sewing machine or needle with excess adhesive and crap!

For day two we started on making double-sided house triptychs. I've got a head start on my double-sided panel of three houses. I'm nowhere finished. This also uses the same technique mentioned above. Right now I have three of the six house fronts started.

I highly recommend that if Jamie Fingal is teaching in your area that you take her class. She said she limits her teaching engagements to just a few per year, but let me tell you, those classes are worth every penny. And if you're in our area of Washington State, Stephanie arranges best quilting events hand  down!

Oh, and the sale section of Calico Creations? Lets just say that some of it (ahem!) made it home with me. NO comment. :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Looking Forward to Weekend Fun with Jamie Fingal

Today and tomorrow I'll be packing up for two classes with Jamie Fingal of "Twisted Sister" fame. No, not the 1980's hair band fame... but of art quilting and design fame. LOL! I'm looking forward to my two classes.

According to her blog entry, I get to get in touch with my inner child and get messy with pain! I can't wait! Most of you know I have difficulty "letting go" in the design department, so getting down and dirty with stencils and paint may be just the ticket for moving my mojo around a bit. Yes, my style is a bit restrained (ok, a lot restrained!), I'm looking at this as a chance to explore in a non-threatening environment.

I'm really looking forward to this!

I've only worked with stencils and paint sticks. That was fun! This will use fabric paint and all sorts of coloring media. I have a stack of assorted "near solids" to play with. A veritable rainbow. Also some cute hand dyed fabrics.

I'll also be taking a class on funky folded houses. Kind of like a triptych panel of houses. Something perfect for tucking into a corner of my living room or studio. I'll have to go through my FQs to find some goodies to play with. I think I've got some with people and animals so I can have an audience in my house window and doors.

Dang, I wish I was a real "Jeanie" and blink my whole studio of goodies into the classroom!

So please send me creative vibes. I want to be as loose as a goose for this duo of classes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On the Cutting Board: Modern Urest


Ok, you've followed me through the Civil Unrest top assembly. Now I'm starting the more modern version of the exact same pattern. Just a refresher, It's the cover quilt pattern from the Martingale Book, The Blue and the Gray: Quilt Patterns Using Civil War Fabrics by Connie Tesene, Mary Etherington.

In this version I'll be using various black and white text fabrics and monochromatic modern prints. I'm still kind of working bits and pieces out (really more trying to remember what I was planning with the fabrics I pulled). I need to check back on my EQ7 plan to see how I worked the modern stuff out. I had a particular plan I was working on. That's one good thing about being OCD and working it out on computer first. You can refer back to your notes.

I at least got myself started by cutting some small workable pieces for my Flying geese borders. Since those seem to take up most of the time/energy, I wanted to get a good head start on that. Who knows, I may work backward and do my ninepatches first. We'll see.


Anyway... I found myself with a cute handful of 3" squares today in all the monochromatic prints I chose. I love how they all look together. Like fabric skittles!

This time around I sprung for the Carol Doak foundation piecing paper. My paper-piecing friends tell me that these will tear more easily than the other paper I used. While I didn't have any issues tearing out the paper. I'll give them a try. I'm lazy and will try to choose easy over complicated.

I'll keep Civil Unrest hanging in my studio until I get this one done, then I'll go on a quilting rampage. I need to commune with this top a bit more to know how to quilt it.

My mojo is back and I'm dying to start several projects. So you may see come more things pop up on your radar. I need to commit myself to do more sewing. That's why I bought my big fancy machines.

Feet first and the head will follow...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Projects in Progress -- Civil Unrest


I finally got the top pieced. Just needs a good stay-stitch on the edges to keep it from getting wobbly. Then I can start on the modern version. I'll start cutting that out tomorrow.  Then after I get the modern top done, I'll go ahead and quilt them both.

I just sat down and pushed myself to finish it. Got out of my rut. Hopefully. Just a few "busy" things this week going on then life will return to normal (for me).

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shameless Plug


Just a heads up that there's a good sale going on at I Have a Notion. Kelly is having a HUGE Christmas in July sale!!!!!!! I don't know about you, but I'm headed over to see what she's got.

See what's on sale here!!!!!!

JUst helpin g out a friend and spreading the word...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Behind the scenes -- It's too dang hot!

It looks like another hot summer up here near Seattle. it's in the high 80s today and my "chilly pad" is working overtime. We have just about every fan in the house runnings, as we don't have AC.

It's just too dang hot!

I got another row completed on my diamonds in the sky project. Row Six is done! Yay! Now to start Row Seven. I'm starting to think about the quilting part. As of right now I want to hand-quilt the piece. That means I need to practice up. I sense some smaller pieces coming in the near future. Maybe I need to finish up those squares from my Gwen Marston class. Those "sketches" would be perfect for practice!


Have you seen those adorable nested churn dash blocks everyone's doing online? Those are so stinkin' cute! I broke down and bought the pattern last night. I don't know why but this block just makes me smile... Big huge kudos to the designer! You created a winner!!!!!

I did some shopping yesterday with some friends and came back with a stack of FQs for an upcoming weekend with Jamie Fingal, a well-known art quilter. She was also a participant in the Power Suit Challenge I was in. I'm excited about meeting her and soaking in some inspiration. We will be using stencils on fabric and creating house triptychs. I'm hoping this will kick my butt hard enough to get me back into the sewing room. Pretty please?

Blogger Stephanie of Kwiltz by Stephanie arranged the class. I'm so excited to get on her mailing list now. This way I can get the "skinny" on who's coming to town!  She books some pretty good names.

I also signed up for a Freddy Moran Class coming up in October at Island Quilter on Vashon Island.

Then I'm also on the waiting list for a class with another well-known quilter in November.

Sew excited!

Things are busy with the Guild. I'm toying about stepping down from my committee post. I'm a firm believer in keeping things rotated so it reminas fresh. Hence a self-imposed term limit. I may pick up another chairmanship, not sure. I'm aslo thinking about starting a quarterly discussion group on "wired" quilting -- about using computer and internet resources. Just another thought.

What's going on in your part of the planet?