Monday, December 31, 2012

A Last Minute Finish for 2012

Final quilt finish for 2012: 
Ocean Waves - front
Name: Ocean Waves 
For: younger son
Pattern:  Varsity by Jaybird Quilts 
Size: XL Twin 
Fabrics: Various Kona blues & Kona Steel
Quilting: Echo on each wave and in each diamond
Label:  pieced in of my own design

Ocean Waves - back
He loves the ocean, hence the name.  Wanted him to have a bit of "sand" so I used Kona Khaki for the label.  
Staged on his bed and fully aware this is the last time it will look this nice.  
Happy New Year's Eve everyone! 
Susan

Friday, December 28, 2012

My December Garden

Congratulations are in order to my Boxing Day 2012 Sew-In giveaway winner: Chiska! 

My favorite Christmas morning quote: "I got my very own [scotch] tape!"
I enjoyed everyone's comments and instead of picking my favorite, I attempted the Random Number Generator for like the 100th time and it worked.  Explanation: I was able to use the Snipping Tool in Windows 7 to capture the image and paste into the blog.  Yay!  (Another perk of a new computer.)

My December Garden: 

In my small garden plot in the back corner of my yard I have two tomato plants and herbs growing. What a huge treat to have red tomatoes in December.   

Stupice, Genovese and Roma Tomatoes
This is my larger garden plot which now has Cabbage, Cheddar Cauliflower, Romaine Lettuce, Carrots, two different kinds of Kale, Red and Yellow Onions, Scallions and a couple of different tomatoes.  The tallest tomato - a Roma is the tomato plant that just keeps on giving.  I planted it in July and as you can see from the photo above, it is still giving me red tomatoes.  Yea it looks a bit haggard but I'm not pulling it out until it stops producing.
Every few days I go "leaf picking" and spend a good 15 minutes or so hand picking all of the leaves out of the garden.  Probably only one more week of this left before the trees are done dropping their leaves.

Do you have anything growing in your December garden?  Please share as I would love to know.  
Enjoy your Friday~
Susan

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day 2012 Sew-In Giveaway

December 26th has a number of different meanings depending upon where you live on our planet and what you believe. It could be the day after Christmas, Boxing Day, the Feast of St. Stephen, Independence Day (Slovenia), Day of Goodwill (South Africa), a day of shopping deals or just a day off from work.  If you're a quilter and a listener of Sandy's Quilting...for the Rest of Us podcast, today is the Boxing Day Sew-In: a day of sewing/quilting, tweeting while you sew (I'll be tweeting) and entering quilting giveaways.  


Today my focus is finishing the quilting on Ocean Waves.  I am about 40% done and with the chunks of time I have today, I think I can power through and finish. 

I'm making the giveaway easy today - a $30.00 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop.  Leave a comment below with something interesting that you ate, heard, or experienced over Christmas.  The giveaway will be open until approximately 6:00am Pacific Time December 27, 2012 when I will select a winner.  



Don't forget to go visit Sandy's giveaway at Quilting... for the Rest of Us . She's hosting a giveaway link-up so check out what other's are giving away today.  

Happy December 26th wherever you are! 
Susan

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Easing Into Christmas

With school out I've been focusing most of my attention on getting ready for Christmas but I'll admit to not being all that excited about it.  A great motivator though is the excitement of my children on Christmas morning so I continue on...as I like to call my "easing into Christmas" phase.  I'm not done with shopping and last night I ran out of wrapping paper but as I'm taking it slow - I'm not worried.  The mall will be crowded but I'll just go with the flow as I know things will get done.  Some of what I traditionally do and enjoy will come after Christmas this year - I'll send out New Year's cards and make New Year's cookies to give to friends and family.  

Crafty wise, here is what I've been working on: 

I began quilting Ocean Waves yesterday.  This is the quilt for my younger son.  


My one handmade gift this year was a request from the MIL.  A Practical Bag by Grand Revival Designs.  
Made the older son a draft sock with camouflage fabric.  Funny - he knew I was making him one but didn't realize that it would be in his favorite fabric till I laid it down and pulled his gaze away from his computer screen.  He was pleased.  

 My Lego train I set up every year somewhere near the tree.  This year it is underneath.  It has this lovely clicking sound when running which reminds me of slower European trains.  Love it.  
Found Weck canning jars at Cost Plus World Market and made Salted Caramel Sauce for the first time.  Thanks to Debbie for her inspiration! I'll have more on this in another post. 

Enjoy your Saturday~
Susan

Saturday, December 8, 2012

An Unexpected Quilt Delivery

Yesterday at about 5pm my next door neighbor brought over a package they had signed for in the morning. It was large and not very heavy but when I saw it was from Jaye, the Artquiltmaker,(you should be reading her blog) I was intrigued.  I opened up the box and noticed two envelopes inside.  One was from Jaye which instructed me to read her envelope after I had uncovered what was inside, so I proceeded to open the second envelope.  Being a historian I quickly went to whom the card was from before I read the sentiment and was shocked to see it was from Melissa, Shanna and Jenna. They are:   

It's so interesting the connections that are made online via twitter, blogs,and facebook, etc.  I could go into the myriad of connections I have with these ladies but that would take awhile.  Primarily they are twitter buddies whom have been very supportive over the past ten months.  
So what was in the box?  
Those lovely ladies made me a quilt in honor of my father with a modified Navy Star block pattern.  
(I burst into tears at the words "Navy Star" on the card...my father was a very proud Navy man.)
They made ME a quilt!  

Modeled in front of the Pyramid at CSULB by a sleepy older son at 9am.
I love how each of the blocks is four blocks brought together.  There is a lot going on in each block.  I'm guessing that Melissa or Shanna did the echo-quilting.  At 57" x 57" it is the perfect size.

Tickertape binding - a personal favorite!  

I did open Jaye's envelope and she explained how she became the intermediary postage fairy.  Melissa was visiting family in Northern California and went to a recent Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild meeting that Jaye attends.  Melissa knew Jaye and I had a connection and the two of them facilitated the quilt delivery to me.  Thanks Jaye!

I'm humbled and feel so fortunate to have this connection with these ladies.
I've named it the Navy Quilt and will cherish it always.


Six more days of the semester and I'm home free - sewing, quilting, reading, researching, podcasting, blogging, Christmas shopping, etc., here I come...
Have a wonderful and safe Saturday,
Susan

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

T@tT Asparagus Saved Me From Leftovers

I bought a boatload of Asparagus on Thanksgiving morning with the intention of roasting it and serving it to my guests that afternoon...but I didn't.  I completely forgot all about the Asparagus resting quietly in the vegetable drawer out of sight as I my refrigerator was already jam packed with preparations for all of my other dishes.  

By Saturday I knew I had to do something with it but with only two in the house who will touch anything green, I knew soup would be my best bet.  I pulled out The Silver Spoon cookbook and made Cream of Asparagus  Soup.  It tasted especially good as by Saturday I was already (way) over eating Thanksgiving leftovers and wanted something different.
Leeks and onions simmering in butter

Added in Asparagus Stems

Asparagus tips ready for parboil

Leeks, onions and asparagus pureed

Added in some cream with some S&P

Parboiled Asparagus tips go in...should have been shorter. 

With some toasted wheat bread, lunch was served.  
Did you save yourself from Thanksgiving leftovers this past weekend with something else in your kitchen?  Did you create something new with your Thanksgiving leftovers?  Tell me...and after you do, please go visit Debbie at her Tuesday at the Table feature as she shares a great stuffing idea her mother had...go read it!

I'm linking up here with Debbie for November's Tuesday at the Table:


Enjoy your Tuesday!
Susan

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner #1 in Photos & #BFSI

If you're not too full from your Thanksgiving meal yesterday, take a look at what I served yesterday for Thanksgiving Dinner #1.  Most of the photos are courtesy of my older son who wanted evidence to show at school on Monday how his Thanksgiving Dinner was the best - love that boy.

Appetizer Loaf prep tempting me

Prosciutto and Mozzarella Loaf 

Prosciutto and Mozzarella Loaf: A new recipe which went over very well with the crowd, 

Artichoke Dip: I add in Tabasco Sauce to make it spicy. Oh so good.  

Garlic Mashed Potatoes. 

Uncle brought and carved the Turkey - best deal ever.  

Standing Rib roast - cut in thirds to maximize ends.  

Butternut Squash and Kale Bread Pudding.  Major crowd pleaser. 

Sausage Gratin - first time making this. Good but not great.  

Pumpkin Cheesecake in production - about to go in the oven

Pumpkin Cheesecake - my favorite.  

So good - think I'll have a slice for breakfast.  Ahh maybe not as I'm still full from yesterday.  

My boys and I.  
Thanksgiving Dinner #2 commences today in the afternoon but this one will be a lot less work.  I'll be serving pizza, salad and dessert and will spend most of my time playing with my nieces and nephews. Can't wait to see them all.

Wondering what #BFSI is in my blogpost title?  Sandy from the Quilting for the Rest of Us blog and podcast  is hosting a Black Friday Sew In giveaway for those of us whom are choosing to sew instead of shop today.  Her giveaway is live today only so go check it out ASAP. Other quilting podcasters are linking up to her blogpost to offer giveaways too - please go check them out.   Lastly, if you are on Twitter, those of us whom are participating in #BFSI are using the #BFSI hash-tag to keep track of what others are working on today.  Come join in the fun.

Off to go sew!  Hope you all have a wonderful Friday,
Susan

Sunday, November 18, 2012

History Quilter Podcast Episode 33 100 Wishes Quilts

Happy Sunday to you all,

I'll be headed out to my local farmer's market shortly to stock up on vegetables and fruits for my Thanksgiving "meals" but before that I wanted to share that I recorded History Quilter Podcast Episode 33 where I talk about 100 Wishes Quilts, and it is now available on Podbean, Stitcher Radio and hopefully up on iTunes by this afternoon.  

I was unaware of what a 100 Wishes Quilt was until Darla from the Scientific Quilter Podcast and blog tweeted me about it a couple of months back.  (Thank you Darla!)   According to Dr. Dolly of the Travelling With Baby blog, 100 Wishes Quilts are a northern Chinese tradition given to new babies when they are born.  She says, "friends and family shower the beautiful new life with pieces of cloth and their hopes, wishes, and prayers for blessings of prosperity, longevity, and happiness".   How wonderful is that?

Here in the United States this tradition is crossing cultures and technology by being picked up in the International Adoption community and online.  Adoptive families here in the United States have been collecting fabric and wishes from friends and relatives for quilts to make for their newly adopted children for many years.  I found the earliest reference to 100 Wishes Quilts online as of 2005.  Dr. Dolly, whom I mentioned above, is currently asking for "good wishes" from anybody in the blogging community. If you are intrigued, as I am, please visit Dr. Dolly at Traveling With Baby to see how far she has come with receiving fabric and wishes for her newest addition to her family.

Darla was asked to participate in a 100 Wishes Quilt by sending a piece of fabric along with a wish/blessing for the new baby.  I mistakenly said on the podcast that the 100 Wishes Quilt Darla had participated in, did not have a completed quilt posted online.  I was viewing a different website at that time and have no idea if Darla ever saw the quilt she participated in.  Darla?

There are many 100 Wishes Quilts images online to view, here is one that I especially enjoyed because I read through the entire history of the adoption process of this family.  What a wonderful gift baby Addison will read and understand someday about how her parents wanted her, went to get her and brought her home.  Read the journey to Addison here...it's just lovely.
the journey to Addison 100 Wishes Quilt

Gardening:
Newly planted Cauliflower (Cheddar variety) and Cabbage.  Yea, I'm going to be picking up leaves every day for the next month or so.

Food:
I talked about what I will be serving for my two different Thanksgiving meals.  No links today - I'll have posts about what I make and serve later in the week.

Quilting:
Ocean Waves quilt top made it to yoga class with me yesterday.
Ocean Waves quilt top in shavasana

Bag of goodies I received from Kate Spain after being chosen as a November Newsletter reader of the month.  What a treat!  Go here to sign up for her newsletter.  http://katespaindesigns.blogspot.com/

Kate Spain's Cuzco: jelly roll strips and scraps
It's 8am and time for me to head for the farmer's market.  Hope you all have an enjoyable day,
Susan 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ocean Waves: Quilt Top In Progress

Hello everyone, 
My days have been very full lately with a great deal of school responsibilities and some life challenges.  The crafty part of me has been rather silent lately but recently I had a few chances to get out the sewing machine and flex my crafty side.  

I've been working on the Varsity Quilt by Julie Herman from Jaybird Quilts for my younger son.  I've got all of the rows sewn up and hope to sew them together and square off the edges sometime this weekend.  I've got a few projects I would like to begin soon so finishing up this one for my son is the priority.  

I'm now calling it "Ocean Waves" as my son loves the ocean.  I plan to incorporate some sand on the back in some form or another.  I attempted a photograph in my hallway, but my hallway wasn't wide enough.  I attempted a photograph outside but it's so windy out right now, none of the rows would stay down.  So back into my living room - not great for color but it's the best I can do.  The background color is Kona Cotton Steel, which is grey...I know it looks a bit pinkish here but I promise you it is not.  
Ocean Waves  - XL Twin Size

I saw a wonderful quote today that went something like this: "When I walk into my kitchen, I am not alone - I bring my mother and my father and every table I've ever sat at to enjoy a meal."  Brought a couple of tears to the eyes in a heartwarming way - today would have been my mother's 81st birthday.  Miss her.  

In honor of my mother here is the painting my father had done of her way back in 1953 when he was stationed on the USS Columbus in the Mediterranean Sea for six months.  At one point during his tour of duty, the ship docked in Istanbul, Turkey and he took the photograph of my mother to a painter.  Two days later my father picked up this painting of my mother and it hung in my family home until earlier this year.  Now it is mine and I love it.   


Have a safe and fun weekend,
Susan

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless WIP Wednesday

Parisian Star from Modern Blocks by Susanne Woods
My October Block
Go visit Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP  Wednesday

Ciao,
Susan

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Teaching My Boy to Cut Fabric

Three nights ago, my youngest son and I finally began working on his quilt. (I'm making him the Varsity quilt from Jaybird Quilts) As he is a great participant in the kitchen, I figured he could learn how to cut fabric for his own quilt.  

It wasn't half as trying as I thought it might be - or take as long.  

 A success overall:  No cuts (a 14 year old with a rotary cutter makes me nervous) and now he knows how to place fabric on a cutting mat, line up a ruler and correctly place his hands.  Well, at least I hope so.  

 Two nights of cutting produced this: 

He doesn't know that I began sewing yesterday and have all of the large pieces sewn together.  

Next up is ironing, and sewing the "V"'s together into the seven rows for his quilt.  Will I teach him how to iron?  Maybe when he's 15. 

I'm linking up with Lee of Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.  She's off to Sewing Summit in Utah - happy for all of you lucky gals (like Debbie!) whom are going. 

Off to school for me!
Susan