Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WIP Wednesday: An Inventory

My creative juices have been running very low lately with most of my brain power going toward bookkeeping audit work (which is most thankfully, almost done) so I thought I would take a photographic inventory of my quilting works in progress to jump start my plan to finish these up before the summer ends.  

Fat Quarter Shop 2010 Designer Mystery BOM - seven blocks completed, five to go.
FQS 2010 Designer Mystery BOM
Sliced Coins Quilt Along with Elizabeth from Don't Call Me Betsy.  Needs backing, binding and quilting.

Sliced Coins
School Yard made from Square One pattern in Camille Roskelly's Simplify  Have backing and binding, needs to be basted, quilted and bound.
School Yard
Italian Sorbetto made with the Block -a- palooza Quilt Along.  Needs backing, binding and to be basted, quilted and bound.
Italian Sorbetto
Supernova Quilt Along from Lee From Freshly Pieced.  Five blocks completed, one in progress with three more to go.  My favorite of the whole to get this one done.  

Summer Sampler Series hosted by Faith, Katie and Lee.  Finished Block 4 yesterday morning and am so happy with the results.  Katie had suggested that we cut our fabric into 3 inch blocks and then once we pieced the HST's, cut them down to 2.5 inch blocks.  That method worked well for me as this block came out almost perfect - a first for me!  

Summer Sampler Series Block 4
Off to do some obvious quilt back/binding shopping, a wonderful lunch date and an evening spent sewing away while my people are off playing soccer and sailing.  

Go see what other's have on their WIP's list for this week with Lee at Freshly Pieced.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bonfires and Supernovas

After an intense but highly rewarding Accounting/Audit meeting yesterday morning and then a wonderful lunch, I was motivated to get back to the Supernova Quilt.  I allowed myself an afternoon of sewing as I knew I would be on the computer most of the day today.
Supernova  - five down, three to go
Last night my younger son and I attended a bonfire at Bolsa Chica State Beach  with a wonderful group of friends. We are connected by our boys, most of them friends since Kindergarten or slowly collected during their elementary years and are now enjoying the summer before eighth grade begins. All throughout the four hours we were at the beach these thirteen year old boys acted like supernovas - stellar explosions that light up our lives.   It was windy and relatively cold but these crazy boys raced around playing Frisbee, getting wet and playing hide n seek.  We even had to order them to come in for S'mores.  
Of course they act goofy...

Pelicans flying home for the evening.
At one point while in conversation with my girlfriends, I turned and spied a quilt...of course I had to ask about it.  I had an amusing moment when I first arrived at the bonfire as most of my girlfriends asked me about what kind of quilt I was currently working.  This really surprised me as I did not realized how much quilting was becoming attached to how those in my daily life think of me.

My son and I had a great time and arrived home exhausted and ready for sleep.  Wonder if he dreamed of supernovas last night.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

History Quilter Podcast Episode 11 Dowry Quilts, Trousseaus and Hope Chests

I joined Twitter!  Come by and follow me at HQSuz so I can follow you back.  

A very happy Tuesday to you those of you sweltering in the heat I feel for you.  I apologize in advance for telling you that here in Southern California we are enjoying perfect weather - it's about 65 degrees with bluebird skies at  8am.  I have a movie date with my boys this afternoon to see HP 7.2  but am compelled to admit that I've not seen HP 7.1.  Now that my boys are older I rarely see movies with my boys anymore so HP 7.1 just passed me by.  A movie I won't be missing in the theater is Coyboys and Aliens - I never pass up a chance to see Daniel Craig on the big screen.
Who's with me ladies?  
I finally recorded HQ Episode 11 last night at about 7pm while the house was quiet -well my house was quiet but the dog next door would not stop barking!  Hopefully the barking doesn't come through.   In episode 11 talk about Dowry Quilts, Trousseaus and Hope Chests and I added in what I've been cooking and reading and a whole lot of other quilty goodness.

Here are the details:
My Little Glam Bag - pattern by Pink Sand Beach Designs.

My Little Glam Bag
Summer Sampler Series hosted by Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts, Lee of Freshly Pieced and Katie of Swim Bike Quilt.  

My progress so far.  
The winner for my 100th blogpost giveway was Debbie from A Quilter's Table.  Not only is she a very talented quilter but she blogs about food.  Her Tuesdays at the Table feature is a favorite of mine.  Please go check out her blog at

Gloria from Escondido e-mailed me about the "1800's Club" she belongs to.  They meet at The Crazy 9 Patch Quilt Shop in Ramona, CA.  The club gets together to share and sew about the history of quilts with a focus on the Civil War Era.  Wished I lived closer to Ramona as I would love to be a part of this group. 

The San Diego Quilt Show is coming up - September 8-10, 2011.  I will be going to this show and would love to meet with any listeners on Saturday, September 10th in the morning.  Send me an e-mail or comment if you want to meet up.  

Long Beach Quilt Festival
The Long Beach Quilt Festival is just around the corner!  I'll be meeting up with listener Ann from Santa Barbara on Saturday, July 30th at 12:45pm just before the 1:00pm showing of Stitched - the quilting documentary.  Send me an e-mail or comment if you want to join us.  

I met Eileen Wintermute, a local Southern California quilter during the Southern California Quilt Run a few weeks ago.  She will have a quilt on display in the Bridges exhibit at the Long Beach Quilt Festival.  Please visit her blog at and view her gorgeous mixed media and art quilts.  

Last up for the podcast was food - Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Garlic Ciabatta Bread both recipes from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook by Ina Garten.  

Cooking a whole chicken on the grill intrigued me as we had never tried it before.  I bought a 4 pound chicken, cut down the backbone and flattened it.  After cutting out the breastbone, I placed it in the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, rosemary and S&P marinade for about four hours.  The chicken was very good and I will make it again although it took quite a bit longer on the grill than is explained in the recipe.  Recipe said 12-15 minutes per side but it really took about 45 minutes total.  Lemons on the grill - very tasty!  
It's a well used grill.  
Garlic Ciabatta Bread - to die for. 

Dinner is served.
Saturday night's dinner was a hit with two new recipes that I'll make again.  Tuscan Lemon Chicken, Garlic Ciabatta Bread, grilled lemon halves, assorted grilled veggies and orzo and paired with a glass of Sangiovese, made for a great meal.  

What are you cooking for dinner tonight?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Giveaway Winner & Summer Sampler Series Blocks

First up the giveaway winner:

Debbie who said:

A kindergarten memory I have is of me with a nose in my book on the way to the bus to go home. I ran into a post & pretty much knocked myself out & they had to call my mom! hahaha. Silly but true!
By Debbie on 100th Post and a Giveaway on 7/14/11

Debbie, I'll have that in the mail to you tomorrow.  Thank you all for stopping by and leaving a comment.  

Last night I cut out the fabric for Blocks 2 & 3 for the Summer Sampler Series and sewed them up this morning before heading off to watch the USA-Japan game with some fellow soccer friends.  It was a very exciting game which had all of us groaning at every missed shot on goal.  Wish the USA women could have come home with the Cup this year, but not at all sad to lose it to Japan - a team that plays a very classy game of soccer.  
Greek Cross
All three together:

I'm off to record HQ Episode #11 ~

Thursday, July 14, 2011

100th Post and a Giveaway

Before I get to a discussion about my 100th post, I need to make a confession...

I caved and joined the Summer Sampler Series hosted by Faith from Fresh Lemons Quilts, Katie from Swim, Bike, Quilt and Lee from Freshly Pieced.   I'm so glad I did!
Summer Sampler Series Block 1
When I think of the number 100, the first thing that pops into my head is memories of my children in Kindergarten: learning 100 site words, counting to 100 and the 100th day of school.  On that 100th day of school the students were required to bring to school a bag full of 100 items.  My older son brought in 100 tiny balls of aluminum foil that he (mostly I) had rolled up.  My younger son went a easier road and chose 100 beads that I had in a craft box - phew!

When I realized that my 100th post was rapidly approaching I remembered back to when my boys were in Kindergarten and how much I enjoyed volunteering in the classrooms, helping out the teachers and being part of a community of other Mother's (and one token Dad!) who had a shared interest in their childrens' schooling.

Blogging in the quilting community feels the same way as those Kindergarten days: a shared interest in something we care about, helping and teaching others.  For my 100th post I am giving away to you, my fellow bloggers and readers in the quilting community plus any new readers/bloggers that stop by:

Eight Fat Quarters of Riley Blake Designs Colorful Christmas Flannels


A 36" x 21" Panel of Petal Pushers by Pearl Louse Designs

and a few other goodies I will add at my discretion ~ because I can.

Four chances to win:

  • Leave me a comment on any Kindergarten memory.
  • Follow!  Leave a comment telling me that you are already a follower or a new one.  
  • Tell the world!  Blog, Twitter or FB about this giveaway and leave a comment telling me that you did with the details.  Only one entry for this chance.  
  • Listen to my podcast, The History Quilter on iTunes or Podbean and leave a relevant comment about a an episode.  
The giveaway will be open until Sunday, July 17th at 2pm Pacific Time.  

Good luck and thanks for stopping by,

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Little Glam Bag for a Vacation

I recently purchased the Little Glam Bag pattern made by Pink Sand Beach Designs at a local quilt shop (Cranberry Quiltworks in Yorba Linda, CA) while on the Southern California Quilter's Run back in June.

Little Glam Bag by Pink Sand Beach Designs
While on the shop hop I was looking for a bag pattern that was small enough to hold just what I needed for an upcoming quick trip: cell phone, chap-stick, cash and the necessary identification cards we all need.  This bag was perfect.  It used two fat quarters, a 1/4 yard of fusible fleece (enough to make three of four bags) and a seven inch zipper.  I added a ribbon and a charm to "glam" it up.  It took me about three hours to sew this bag up and when done I was very happy with the results.  The optional wrist strap was the right addition as I was walking busy streets and wanted that added protection to prevent myself from dropping the bag or having it taken out of my hand.

The bag finishes up at 81/2" wide and 5 1/4 tall - a perfect little glam bag size!  It was so easy to carry around while on my short trip and now I have the added benefit of having a visual reminder of a wonderful time.

Little Glam Bag

a fun pop of yellow on the inside
I'm linking up with Megan at Canoe Ridge Creations for Sew Modern Monday today and Quiltstory for Fabric Tuesday so go check out what other's have created - I've already peeked and there are some gorgeous creations to view!
Enjoy your Monday,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Highs and Lows: finding the balance

Highs and lows
Penthouses and basements
Winning and losing
Hills and valleys

Who does not prefer the highs in life?

Don't we all want to be in the penthouse (or the 8th floor) instead of the basement?
Hotel Solamar - San Diego, CA

Don't we all want to win?    If you missed the USA v. Brazil in the Women's World Cup game today make sure you check out the highlights as the game was an excellent example of great women's soccer.
USA Women's Soccer Team celebrates after victory over Brazil
What army of ages past and present would not prefer to be on top of a hill where they can defend themselves?  The American Continental Army in June of 1775 decided to thwart the plans of the British by working all night in the dark and in silence to fortify Breed's Hill (original plan was to fortify Bunker Hill, but the fighting occurred at Breed's Hill) in an effort to stop the British from moving through Boston to Charleston.
American fortifications on Breed's Hill in Boston, MA
We need the highs in life to balance out the lows that come with being human.  We all have stressors: family that drives us crazy, children that don't understand that what we have already experienced in life is legitimate, struggling to keep a job, challenging work relationships and the effort to make ends meet, just to name a few brings us lows - the basement, the loss and the valley.

Enjoy those highs, cherish them and keep them close in your memory to balance out the lows.
We deserve it. 


Back to quilting goodness tomorrow!

Friday, July 1, 2011

A favorite online recipe source: Williams-Sonoma

For me, cookbooks are culinary history just waiting for me to read about and re-create the past.  I used to purchase a lot of cookbooks and then face the problem of having to justify the minimal shelf space for that cookbook so I started a policy that for every new cookbook I purchased I would give one away.  That policy has worked well for me as I give those cookbooks that I have no room for, but still have a lingering interest in, to my local library.  My local library has become my own personal cookbook repository and I infrequently check out my old donated cookbooks.  

I still love cookbooks but now online cooking blogs and websites have caught and kept my eye for a number of years.  One of my favorite cooking sites for consistently excellent recipes is Last night I made one of my go-to recipes from Williams Sonoma, Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce (Enchiladas Verdes).  

Here is the finished product:  
Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce (Enchiladas Verdes)
On the stove you begin with gently poaching chicken breasts in water with garlic, a little onion and some salt.  Boiling the chicken until it barely resembles chicken and is as tough as shoe leather is not the goal - what you want is perfectly cooked chicken that shreds easily and is very moist. The resulting poached chicken can be used in many different ways such as chicken salad sandwiches or a topping for a salad or a pizza.  This is chicken with flavor but without fat and with minimal effort. 

While the chicken is poaching, the Tomatillo sauce should be started.  The Tomatillos, along with Serrano Chilies (I use JalapeƱos too) and water are brought to a boil on the stove and simmered until the Tomatillos are tender.  Once tender,  the drained Tomatillos/Peppers are placed into a blender or food processor along with garlic and blended until the mixture is smooth.  
Tomatillos, peppers and garlic. 

Tomatillo Sauce - one more step
I use my blender for this step as apposed to a food processor as I inevitably make a huge mess with the food processor when working with liquids.  This batch of Tomatillo Sauce was only for dinner last night so it was small but sometimes I have to process in batches as I make a lot for future use.  The Tomatillo Sauce is also a great Salsa for chips.  

After blending, the Tomatillo Sauce goes back into a saucepan with some added Canola Oil and salt and cooked for about 5 minutes or until it thickens up.  

Now it's time to assemble the enchiladas:
Shredded Chicken, Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
A quick assembly of a lightly fried flour tortilla (I was out of corn), shredded chicken, pepper jack cheese  and some Tomatillo sauce:

And they are ready for the oven:

A few necessary condiments:  Fresh tomatoes, remaining Tomatillo Salsa and Greek Yogurt.  I am slowly weaning my family off of Sour Cream as Greek Yogurt (if you have a taste for yogurt) is healthier but gives you the same mouth feel as Sour Cream. 
Fresh Tomatoes, Tomatillo Salsa & Greek Yogurt
Dinner is served: 
Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa with Beans and Rice

Have a safe and fun Holiday Weekend everybody,