Saturday, March 31, 2012

History Quilter Podcast Episode 24 & A Podcast Anniversary Giveaway

It's not my's Sandy's!
Sandy from Quilting For The Rest of Us is celebrating her 2nd Podcast Anniversary and has designated April as a month of giveaways on her blog and she has invited her fellow podcasters (like me!) to help celebrate in this first week.  Please go visit her blog here to see what she and the other quilting podcasters are giving away this week.  If you have not yet discovered the wonderfulness that is Sandy and Quilting For The Rest of Us, please check her out.  She makes me laugh, reminds me we are all human and teaches me something in every episode.

Podcast episode notes giveaway below:

I visited the Glendale Quilt Show with my friend Zina - here are a few of the quilts we saw:
"Picnic Blanket" by Aviva Nizani

 "Triangles Galore" by Patti Sparks 

"Once Upon A Time" by Vicki Chase
I made Butternut Squash and Kale Bread Pudding recently - recipe here at  
Butternut Squash and Kale Bread Pudding
I visited the Venice Canals in Venice, CA this past week: 
Venice Canals at low tide

I purchased the Aurifil Thread Card I spoke about at The Pacific Rim Quilt Company which you can find here.

The French Bull plates, serving platters and home dec products I spoke about you can find at  Quilters - you will love these products!

Now on to the giveaway:

In honor of Sandy's 2nd Podcast Anniversary I am giving away a $50 gift certificate to Fabricworm, a wonderful online quilting fabric shop that also has a brick&mortar shop in Paso Robles, CA which I always make time to visit when I'm in the area.  My giveaway begins now and will close on April 6th at 6pm Pacific Time.  I will announce the winner on Saturday, April 7th.
To enter the giveaway please comment with a future suggestion for a quilt history topic for my podcast but if you really can't come up with something then talk about food.  Food always works with me.  Good luck! 

Happy Saturday everyone!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Teacups

First up my Work In Progress: 

I finished up the two remaining blocks of the Sew Happy Quilt QAL on Sunday and although I already gave you a photograph of all of the blocks together, here is another one. Decided to get a bit creative and pin them to my north facing fence for a different look.  

My favorite block is the QST Pinwheel - the first on the left in the second row but my proudest accomplishment is the Foundation/Paper Pieced Quatra Star block (second on the left, second row) as I tried this new approach to piecing a block and it worked.  Jenna of Sew Happy Geek posted a very helpful video about the construction of the Foundation/Paper Pieced Quatra Star block on YouTube which I watched over and over again on my iPad while working on this block.  Probably took me two hours to make this block but it was worth it when I opened up the block after that last seam was sewn....and the points matched.  Success!

Still working on:
T-Shirt Quilt
March Modern Blocks Bee
Magazine bags for the boys

Now onto the Teacups: 

One of the hardest things about my father passing away is missing my mother all over again and as we work to get his house ready for sale I am having to take items that I've looked at my entire life and decide where they go.  Yesterday I brought the Teacups into my own home and for me it was bittersweet.

The Teacups were my grandmother's and they have been displayed in my parent's home for as long as I can remember.  Apparently my grandfather would purchase a teacup for my grandmother when he traveled away from home, delighting her upon his and the teacup's arrival.  The historian in me would love to know where he went but that's a search for another time.  I've loved these Teacups since I was a little girl and now they are mine.

Strange thing about life: when you are told practically all of your life that something will be yours someday...and you just put it out of your head because you know what it means when it becomes yours....and then it is's truly bittersweet.  

Someday soon I plan on having my girlfriends over for tea while using the Teacups and toasting my mother and my grandmother.

Ok linking up to Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Enjoy your Wednesday,

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Moments In My Weekend

Nephew playing catcher

Gondolas in Venice Mosaic

Rialto Bridge Mosaic
QAL Block 11 - first foundation pieced block

Biscuits in process for the sleepover crowd

Yoga Mat Bag finished

QAL Block 12 - first machine applique

And then there were 12
More detail on another post about the QAL Blocks and the Yoga Mat Bag.
Enjoy your Sunday,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Work-In-Progress Wednesday: T-Shirt Chronicles Part III

In my post last Saturday about my latest podcast, I slipped in that I was going to take a break from the T-Shirt quilt.  I intended to fold it up neatly and hang it in my closet along with my other WIP's but it never made it.  I did fold it up neatly but then it sat in front of the TV, taunting me with comments such as, "You're going to let pieces of fabric beat you?" and "Susan....get your butt in gear and finish me, I want to be finished!".  I listened:
T-Shirt Quilt 96 x 71
Why not a sideways shot? 
After some helpful motivation and advice from my quilting buddy Zina, I decided to finish this quilt top up.  We were both working on projects which we were dreading so we kind of goaded each other into getting those things done so we could feel better.  As for the advice, she suggested using the walking foot for piecing as sewing the Kona Cotton to the interfacing backed jersey fabric was making me crazy. The fabrics didn't like each other and were bunching up  - by switching to the walking foot my problem was solved.

Other Projects in Production:
Block 11 of Sew Happy Quilt QAL 
Yoga Mat Bag fabric washed, cut and ready to go
I made the Chopped Salad with Bacon and Fried Garbanzo Bean recipe that Debbie from A Quilter's Table showcased yesterday on her blog.  Let me say that fried Garbanzo Beans are amazing - crunchy, creamy, salty and spicy - wonderfulness all wrapped up in a tiny package.  Try them!  
Chopped Salad with Bacon and Fried Garbanzo Beans
I'm linking up (a little late...busy at school) to WIP Wednesday with Lee from Freshly Pieced today. Please go visit and see what she's been working on - you must see her New York Beauty QA quilt block.- stunning!

Did you know it was National French Bread Day?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

T@tT: Double-Chocolate Espresso Walnut Cookies

I love to read the newspaper in the morning while drinking my tea as the sun streams in my front windows.  I don't usually have time to read the entire paper in depth but there are days in which a favorite section or two must be read.  Thursdays for as far back as I can remember has been the Food section and I've been reading, cutting and cooking from that section for years.  This is my stack of Food sections from the past month or so.....need to get recipe cutting and organized into my recipe binder.  
Well the Thursday Food section is no longer as The Los Angeles Times has moved their food coverage to a new Saturday section.  Without getting off topic, I was looking forward to this new section thinking it would have expanded coverage as the Pulitzer Prize winning food writer Jonathan Gold has just joined the Times, but no luck so far - the food portion is now a measly 4 pages.  Bummer. 

But there is a sweet ending to my story:  Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies!  In the March 17, 2012 Saturday section there was a Culinary SOS column in which Double-Chocolate Espresso Walnut Cookies were featured from a restaurant here in the greater Los Angeles area called Julienne ~ which after checking out their website, I need to go there for lunch someday.  They caught my eye as they were made with chocolate (which I love) and espresso (which people I love, love) so I thought I would give them a try.  I omitted the walnuts as nobody around here likes them but followed the reminder of the recipe exactly.  My were they ever good.  (I had to have a little nibble...)   
Double-Chocolate Espresso Cookies

I'm linking up with Debbie with her Tuesday at the Table feature today - she's posted about a salad that I'm dying to try....go check it out!  
Happy First Day of Spring!  
Enjoy your Tuesday,

Saturday, March 17, 2012

History Quilter Podcast Episode 23 Two Color Quilts

Forget about St. Patrick's Day, it's National Quilting Day! Oh I jest...just pulling your leg about forgetting about St. Patrick's Day - cause I'm 1/2 Irish!  I'll be attending a St. Patrick's Day Block Party tonight and am looking forward to a great time with my wonderful neighbors.  I need to bring an appetizer so I think I'll make a crab/cheese dip my mother used to make - it's served hot so I'll bring it in my little fondue pot.

Yesterday I recorded my latest podcast (Episode 23) about Two Color Quilts, a topic suggested to me by my fellow quilting podcaster, Daisy of Lazy Daisy Quilts.  Thank you Daisy!

I talked about making Italian Sausage and zucchini pasta from Sunset Magazine.  You can find the recipe here.  Very light and super flavorful. Easily adapted with more vegetables or a different pasta.
Italian sausage and zucchini pasta from Sunset Magazine
What I am working on:
The T-Shirt Quilt and I are taking a little break from each other.  Although I did not speak of that in the podcast, I looked at it last night as I was taking it off my bed and decided that I should be working on fun things right now.  I'll be back at work on the Sew Happy Quilt today in honor of National Quilting Day.  Go check out Sandy's blog at Quilting...for the rest of us as she is hosting a Giveaway in honor of today's festivities.

Two Color Quilts:
Here is the HGTV link to the Simply Quilts segment hosted by Alex Anderson called Two-Color Quilt Show.  It's a six minute segment about an exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles called Take 2: Quilts in Two Colors. Check it out here.

Here's a link to a very modern black & white quilt called Vortex in Variation by Nora Ronningen.  Her mother blogged at Collector With A Needle about the experience of having her daughter's quilt shown at the International Quilt Market in Houston last year.
Vortex in Variation by Nora Ronningen
Here is the PR flyer for the Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts show that was hosted by the American Folk Art Museum in March of 2011.  They even have a free iPhone App to view all 651 Red & White Quilts in the exhibit.  Check it out here.

Martha Stewart blogged about the Infinite Variety show here and has numerous photos.

Here is the Green & White Modified Bento Box quilt which is made by Anya who blogs at Hills Creek Quilter.  I just love how she used different shades of green. She blogged about it here.

Time for me to make breakfast for the's definitely a pancake morning and mine will have more blueberries than pancake batter.  hehe
Take care, stay safe and have fun.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Community Cookbook Recipe

Community cookbooks are fascinating food history as they document what groups are eating in specific geographic locations within exact time frames. It would appear that with any gathering of women who belong to a group (church, school, crafting, musical, etc.) eventually they will gather together their combined favorite recipes, have them published and sell them as a fundraiser. The PTA at my children's elementary school did just that in 2006 with a few recipes of my own included.  When cooking from a Community Cookbook that has recipes from people you know, it adds another layer of community - I enjoy contacting the people whose recipes I use to tell them that I was thinking of them while cooking along with their wonderful recipe.

Wondering when they began? Would you be surprised to learn that here in the United States we've been producing Community Cookbooks since the Civil War?  Just like the Signature Quilts I spoke about in Episode 21 where a few women made Signature Quilts during the Civil War to raise funds for uniforms and supplies for the soldiers, Community Cookbooks also had their beginnings during the Civil War as a way to fund raise for the Northern cause.  By the time World War I came around, approximately 6,000 had been published (go here to read Michelle Green's Food & Wine Dec '02 article for more).

Last night for dinner I made Chicken Avocado Tortilla Soup from my local Community Cookbook. Not only a light soup, but it's a real time saver as the chicken is cooked in the broth. Start to finish this recipe took me about 40 minutes to prepare. It's also a very adaptable recipe based on your tastes as you can make it as spicy as you like, add in more tomatoes or chicken, omit the cheese or avocado, etc.
Chicken Avocado Tortilla Soup
Chicken Avocado Tortilla Soup
 4 T. Olive oil
1/4 c red or white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
3/4 t. ground cumin
3/4 t. dried oregano leaves
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. pepper
8 cups chicken broth
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes - or use fresh
1 4 oz can diced green chile's - any strength you prefer
1 1/2 lbs. boneless & skinless chicken breasts
4-6 corn or flour tortillas - cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 or more ripe avocado - cut into slices
2 T. fresh cilantro
Salt to taste
1/2 cup cheddar cheese shredded

In a large pot suitable for soup, heat up the olive oil and add in the onion and garlic and gently cook for about 5 minutes.  Add in the cumin, oregano, cayenne and pepper and let cook about 1 more minute until fragrant.  Add in the broth, tomatoes and green chilies. Bring to a boil  and then let simmer for about 10 minutes.  While broth is simmering, cut up the chicken into small 1/2 inch slices.  Remember this is a soup in which you want the chicken to fit in your spoon.  
Meanwhile heat up a pan (I used my cast iron) on your stove top and add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom.  Add in the tortilla slices and fry just until both sides are crisp.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate for later.  
Tortilla slices frying up in the cast iron pan. 
After the broth had it's 10 minute simmer period add in the chicken and let cook about five minutes.  Because the slices are so small and the broth so hot, it will cook to the necessary temperature very fast.  This is not something you want to let simmer on your stove for long as the chicken will get tough.  Tough chicken is not good.  
Now you are ready to plate.  
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the tortilla slices, avocado slices, cheese and cilantro to your taste. 

Let me know if you make Chicken Avocado Tortilla Soup and what you thought of it.  I will be calling my friend who added this recipe to our Community Cookbook to let her know I made it last night.  I haven't spoken to her in ages so I'm looking forward to connecting again over food.  
Enjoy your Friday - be productive and eat some good food.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Birthday

Sixteen years ago today I gave birth to my first child. For many who read this sixteen may seem trivial but to me this is an important time - he's completely in teenager mode but mindful of his future with his eye on college.  He's a young man just two short years away from jumping into the rest of his life.  No doubt he will go away to college, which I guess at some point will sadden me, but for now I cannot help but help guide him and cheer him on while he makes wise choices and plans for his college years.

Once I could carry him:
so hard to believe he was once that little
Not anymore:
he could easily carry me now
I love this boy with every piece of my being.  He opened my world, taught me how to be a good mother and is my biggest fan.  Oh and he loves my food.   Having celebrations and milestones like today are a great reminder of the wonderful things in life which help to even out the challenges. 

I'm working on a couple of big projects for school but thankfully have had a bit of time at the sewing machine to keep myself from completely going crazy with a little progress on the t-shirt quilt for my cousin.  Sewing up those four-squares was maddening as I kept having to rip out seams and sew them again to get the center points to line up.  So maybe it made me a little crazier?  hehe - just kidding.
each square is 24"x 24"
I'm doing good ~ healing a bit I believe.  Getting used to my new normal.  With the really tough jobs behind me and a bit of closure yesterday I'm looking toward the future with a positive lens - even have a script started for my next podcast which I plan to record on Wednesday.  For me, the fact that I have the yearning to record feels very good.  

Time for me to get back to my schoolwork ~ hope you are all having a great weekend,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

T@tT: Chocolate Ganache

I love hot fudge sundaes: A scoop or two of vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, nuts, whipped cream and yes, the cherry.  My favorite part is the combination of the vanilla ice cream wedded with the hot fudge - love the contrast as it seems to bring out the chocolaty hot fudge flavor even more.  After I began reading labels on cans/jars years ago I stopped purchasing favorite items such as hot fudge sauce and began making it myself.

I've tried various hot fudge/chocolate sauce recipes over the years and have settled on this simple chocolate ganache recipe which I can whip up in about three minutes with the aid of my microwave and careful/patient stirring.

Three minute Chocolate Ganache
about 3/4 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (use any kind you like)
1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Microwave safe bowl  (I use a 6 oz ramekin - holds about 3/4 cup)

I start with the chocolate chips in the bowl:

Then add in the cream just to about the height of the chocolate chips:

Then put in your microwave for 1 minute - it will look like this when it comes out:
Let that sit about a minute to let the hot cream do it's magic on the chocolate chips, then begin stirring - slowly.  It will seem like it will never emulsify together but trust me, it will.
After about 30 seconds it will look like this:
Almost there...
And at about the one minute mark of stirring you should have a glossy unctuous looking Chocolate Ganache, just waiting for me to put on my vanilla ice cream: 

Nope not for me...have about five weeks to go before I can enjoy this treat.  Instead the rest of the house enjoyed this:
Brownie Sundae 
What's nice about the Chocolate Ganache is that whatever is left can go in the fridge and can be heated up for another day.

I'm linking up with Debbie from A Quilter's Table today for her Tuesday at the Table Feature - love her new button!

Enjoy your Tuesday,

Saturday, March 3, 2012

History Quilter Podcast Episode 22 Life Changes

Happy Saturday to all,

I've just uploaded History Quilter Podcast Episode 22 Life Changes to Podbean and hopefully iTunes will have it shortly.

Here are a few photos of things I spoke about:
My garden - about to plant cauliflower, cabbage, more tomatoes, lettuce and spinach.
My "back 40" - approximately 15' x 20'
Block 10 of the Sew Happy Quilt QAL
HST Diamond 12"x 12"
One last photo of School Yard held up by younger son.  Silly boy. 

If you are interested in how I cooked the fish tacos I spoke about let me know and I'll either write a blogpost or send you an email.

Felt good to record this podcast - hope you enjoy,