Thursday, April 24, 2014

Creating in the Kitchen -- Spring Has Sprung

I'm loving it now that the produce stand in our area is open. Soon the farmer markets will follow suit as well. I'm looking forward to strolling our local markets for garden veggies. It's when our daily diet relies less on canned/frozen stuff and more on fresh.

Today I stopped by the stand for this bunch of stuff (above). I'm looking forward to having some veggie-packed side salads. I like to fill my salads with bits and pieces of things like dried or fresh fruit, protein (cheese, egg, or bacon), onion, peppers, radishes, legumes, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, crutons... you name it! Each bite is a virtual party in the mouth.

This time of year also means our meals change. Dinner consists of a baked, grilled, or broiled meat/fish, a good salad, side veggie, and sometimes a starch (multi-grain bread from the farmer market, potato, rice, etc.). No stews, no casseroles. Nothing complicated. Just simple. Dinner on the go in under an hour.

I totally splurged on the lemons and the pineapple. I've been craving Rita May's lemon brownies, and the pineapples just smelled utterly divine. Try that brownie recipe. They are really good. This is my go-to recipe for lemony goodness.

I've got a lot of eggs in the fridge. So I'm going to play around with making a quiche next week. Hubby's out of town, and this will allow me some time to play around in the kitchen. I might also try to make a coconut curry chicken, since he doesn't like curry (even though Thai curry isn't like the Indian curry he doesn't like. Long story).

So don't be surprised if a foodie post pops in here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Wow... I just read an awesome, loaded post which got my brain in a tizzy... Don't worry, it's a good kind of tizzy.

Here is the post:

In essence, Molli, the author, talks about being totally honest when commenting about a quilt. If you don't like something or totally don't get it, say so. And do it constructively. "I'd rather a big dose of realness than silence or generic, unsubstantiated positivity.."

I love this blogger for his candor!

I totally get his message. We are all here to learn from each other. And that includes the good, the bad, and yes -- the ugly.

I'll be honest, I'm one of those "say nothing at all" commenters... But I need to be better at saying WHY I like/don't like something rather than simply saying "it's great", "wow", or "awesome". And if I don't like something, offer a constructive reason or suggestion. Ya know. It's just my point of view. Nothing more. Not malice or any ulterior motive. It simply means that the project didn't work out to meet my expectations. It doesn't mean the project is awful or not worthy of praise, it just didn't "do it" for me. It says nothing about me as a person. It's about a project. Plain and simple.

This got me to over-thinking... Which I am prone to do... Am I an artist or a technician/hobbyist?

Me? I'm a technician. My talent hasn't hit the "artist" stage yet. And honestly, I doubt it ever will. Not a lot of us are artists. Frankly most of us are technicians/hobbyists. And ya know what... It's okay!!!!!!!!

And that includes learning from our mistakes and shortcomings. It's all part of that journey.

Molli Sparkles
Button courtesy of Molli

So let's make a pact... And keep pouring some of that honest-tea.

P.S. If you've never read Molli's blog you are in for a treat. He has a fun perspective on quilting.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Machine Lust No More

I need to thank two people today -- Patsy and my friend Linda. They were able to talk me down from the edge... I forget all the features I have with my Quattro and need to educate myself on what I have to work with.

Thank you. And I mean that with all my heart (and pocketbook, too!)

So my machine lust is over. I will, however, try out the FMQing with the machine head head-on to see if that works better for me. I think it will be good. When I do, I'll report back to y'all on how it went.

Hopefully I'll get that Emma top sandwiched and ready for a sew-in with Judy Irish this weekend. I'm really looking forward to that time with Judy. Judy is one of the quilters for many of the Kaffe Fassett quilts you see in his books, as well as for other quilters like Freddy Moran. And if you've never met Judy, you're in for a treat. I adore that woman and her spirit.

I intend to soak it on in like a sponge.

Now here is where I get all sappy. Today was my usual sewing day at Ben Franklin. At lunch I was sitting at the table looking around and smiled. I felt so blessed at the moment knowing that all these incredible women who create beautiful things are a part of my life.

And you, my readers and friends, are among that blessing as well. My heart swells when I think about love that the quilting community has to share. How information and learning flows freely. How friendships can be born with the common bond of something simple like needle and thread.

So blessed... Sew blessed.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Aha! Moment

Okay, y'all know I've been obsessed with getting a sit-down longarm machine. Late last night I had an AHA! moment. Don't you love those?

I think what attracted me to the sit down longarm machine was the ability move from side to side. That is where I have the most challenges when FMQing. The quilt sandwich always hits the harp.


I try my machine using the sewing head "head on" like the longarms and leaving the sides open???

I may be onto something... I need to try this out before I jump... When I do, I'll definitely report back.

Overthinking? Maybe... but this may pay off.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thinking Out Loud (Again)

I've been thinking about my machine set up lately. Toying with the idea of trading one of my machines in for a 16" sit-down "longarm" (or is that technically a mid-arm?). Just tweaking a wild hair that I've got. Right now I'm in the research phase. I've joined a knowledge-based yahoo group for the models I'm investigating (just lurking), and have an active thread going on Reddit.

Toying with either the Babylock Tiara or the HQ Sweet Sixteen. Both are basically the same machine. They are tabletop quilter versions of longarm machines. They have a 16" neck and and you work with them facing the front of the machine (leaving the sides open for moving the quilt around). You sit down and use them (versus standing up with a longarm).

What I'm thinking about is trading in Tim Gunn Quattro (my big machine) for this with the hopes I can also qualify for a little credit toward a small classroom machine.

(no decisions yet, just thinking out loud!)

On a side note, Yesterday I went to a local fabric chain's discussion on Modern Quilting. The lecture leader did an awesome job of presenting several wonderful modern projects. She went over some tools and patterns, as well as discussed what makes a quilt "modern." It was a lot of fun!

Here I am with two rows done!

I happened to meet someone working on the very same english paper piecing project I'm working on -- the Diamonds in the Sky project. (Hello!) I'm a bit farther along than she is, but I want to give her hope that this can be done.

Leslie (if I remember correctly?), I take it with me whenever I have to wait somewhere. In fact, right now It's sitting in the back seat of my car. How's that for ready? I need to get back to it, as I had a six row goal by easter. I think I just started my fifth or sixth row -- can't remember which.

I had an order in through a friend for three more bolts of the American Made Brand fabric. I now have an awesome assortment of neutral backgrounds -- White, Cream, Light Cream, Black, Light Gray, and Light Khaki. I need to cut my chunk of light gray for the Aviatrix project, then I'll have that kit ready to go. She also took orders for five-yard and ten-yard cuts of the colors. I have several other colors on order in 5-yard cuts. This way I'll have tons of beautiful solids on hand .

Today I stopped by the local shop, Gathering Fabric in Woodinville, and Susan the owner was telling me about a fabric swap she's hosting for Quiltmania Issue 100's "Steampunk" quilt. I signed up for that. The issue contains the popular steampunk curved block designed by Jen Kingwell. Love the block. Curved piecing scares me and I think this will be a good way to get some practice in. And a fabric swap? That will make the quilt fun and scrappy!

By the way, I looooove Quiltmania magazine. It is pure 100% unadulterated quilt porn! The projects in this magazine are not for the faint at heart, but it are so beautifully presented. I would say that this magazine caters to a more intermediate crowd. This is a very yummy, high-quality publication! I have several issues of this magazine, and yes, Issue 100 did make it home with me. (grin)

I need to spend sometime in my studio tonight cleaning things up, straightening my stash. It's a creative storm (sounds better than a mess) in there.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Schmonday

I'm really trying to make an attempt to work on my projects each day. Today I spent some time in the studio pulling fabric for yet another quilt project. I'm excited about this one as it's an online quilt along. The quilt is the Aviatrix Quilt by Elizabeth over at Oh, Fransson! If you would like to join along, you can purchase the pattern here.

I'm still waiting for some gray fabric to come in, but these are the prints I will be using. I'm loving this pattern as it's VERY fat quarter friendly. Plus, it's an awesome stash-buster (25 FQs!) I decided to go the print route to use up my stash and have some fun with it. And it's Spring. I need an infusion of color!!!!!!

I also spent some time cutting and ironing some scraps I was given for the Civil Unrest project. I got a handful of wrinkly stuff that required some pressing and cutting. While it wasn't sewing, it was constructive activity.

Then I headed off to Target to look around. Bad move. I came home with a wallet, two maxi skirts, a very light cardigan and three tank tees. Great for the spring/summer season! A lipstick (Revlon lip butter in Berry Smoothie -- love it!) and skin stuff (Loreal Miracle Blur skin smoother) also jumped into my cart, along with a foundation brush and brush container. Bad girl.

Feeling guilty I decided to take the rest of the sunny day and clean out the garage. Got one side done.  I feel accomplished, but still guilty about the Target thing.

And then I have this huge craving for a chocolate marshamallow Easter Bunny. What's a girl to do?

I guess will do some work tonight to counteract my craving... LOL. Busy hands don't have time to eat. Plus I have a jar of spiced jelly beans in the studio (brain food?). That's my story and I'm sticking to it. LOL!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fabric Friday

Let's face it. We all love fabric. If there's one thing I learned, is that when you see a print fabric you like, buy it. Things sell out quickly and fabric lines usually don't get re-released. 

Things are humming along behind the scenes here. I am up to fifteen of those flying geese units completed. That means I have nine more to go. I'm so glad I chose to paper-piece those.

Last night I had a guild committee meeting and I picked up the backing for Civil Unrest (Traditional) for $1. That's the perk for being on the committee that handles the guild's flea market bin! I just picked two random one-yard cuts and will decide from there which one I'll use. It's a backing, after all. I could honestly care less about the back (I know... bad girl!). Both are red traditional prints, so it'll be a toss-up.

I also scored these cute country french prints from the guild flea market bin. These prints will be perfect for some hot pads. Dontcha think? Love the paisleys and the roosters! This was 50 cents. Love that!

And we won't say what I bought at Gathering Fabric in Woodinville today when I paid them a visit. I went a little crazy with some one one-yard cuts. Love thsoe bias plaids! These prints are soooo stashable! Aren't they yummy? I know, I know... That resolution is down the drain! I also bought two Quiltmania magazines to read drool over this weekend. This part of the purchase will be our secret, okay?

Oh, and the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild is participating in the Michael Miller Modern Challenge. Time to put on my modern hat and design a project using these beauties (thanks to the folks at Michael Miller!). I know that my friend Lisa over at My Modern Quilt Shop some of this line in her shop. So if you are doing the challenge and need more, check with her!

I ran into a friend/guildmate at the Gathering Fabric. She and I both happened to stop in at the same time. (Great minds think alike) She's getting ready to head out on a life adventure. She's had a rough couple of years. She has an opportunity to get away for a while on the other side of the US and stay with family. I'm excited for her and proud that she's taking this step. It's a huge leap of faith. Please keep her in your thoughts next week as she prepares to leave. I'm sad that I'll miss a new friend, but doubly excited about her new adventure. It's like I told her today, "Just plug your nose, dive on in, and enjoy the waters..."

I also may have signed up for two shop hops trips coming up. I'm a shop hop virgin. I'll be going for the camaraderie... I won't buy anything... (please step aside in case I get struck by lightning! LOL!) We know that's a lie...

Next week is meeting free (I think). So that means a lot of catching up on my audio book, podcast list, and sewing.