Tuesday, January 31, 2012

T@tT: Lasagna In Shifts

One of my favorite time of the day is when the four of us sit down together to eat dinner and luckily we still do at least five out of seven nights of the week.  With my older son playing club soccer some nights he is away playing until 8pm and would rather eat his dinner after he returns from practice - something I completely understand as who wants to eat a big meal just before you go run around?  The later meal for him does not require the rest of us to wait...we eat in shifts.  Last night's meal was perfect for a meal in shifts: Lasagna. 

I used the Three-Cheese Lasagna With Italian Sausage recipe from Epicurious.com.  You can find it here.
Three-Cheese Lasagna with Italian Sausage
Lasagna in Shifts Timeline:

6:00pm Lasagna out of the oven
6:10pm Focaccia out of the oven
~conversation between the husband and I~
"Susan, that smells and looks so good, let's eat it now and skip the gym tonight." 
"Are you sure you don't want to get a run in?" 
"No way - I'd rather eat that instead of run." 
6:15pm Serve dinner to younger son (he actually likes it - score one for me)
6:45pm Serve dinner to the husband and I after taking older son to soccer practice (both he and I like it - score another two points for me)
8:35ish pm Serve diner to the older son (Perfecto! he exclaims after his first bite....eats enough for three - another point for me)


Nothing like making people happy with the food you make - even eaten in shifts. 

Normally I would ask you to visit Debbie's Tuesday at the Table feature to see what other's are sharing this week and I still am....but I also want you to visit her One Year Blogiversary post - please visit to wish her a Happy Anniversary and to enter her giveaway.  We are all richer to not only have her around our table but also to have her in our quilting blog community. 

Enjoy your day!
Susan

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bill

My father turned 84 yesterday.


I love the above photo as it was taken on a waterski trip to Lake Shasta, CA sometime in the 1960's.  My father loved to waterski and before my younger brother and I came along, my parents would take many trips with my older brother to go water skiing all around California. The photo above is the perfect representation of my father - happy, fun-loving and always with a smile.

The following is a brief photo-collage of some of my favorite photos of my father:

The hair gets me every time - 1948
Wedding Day 1952

On board the USS Columbus  Pireus, Greece 1953
My father was in the Navy reserves by the time my younger brother and I came along and I remember the few weekends he would have to leave to go on his Navy Reserve duty. That's me in the middle.
Lake Oswego, OR  1973

Mom & Dad - 1976

The "perm" years...oy vey
Giving me away at my wedding

Always teasing his grandchildren
My father and I had a lovely dinner together last night - just the two of us enjoying take-out and conversation about the past.
Happy Birthday Dad,
Suz

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another Saturday in Pictures

The gorgeous weather we are having today pulled me out into the garden earlier this afternoon to see what I could find - I've added potato harvester to my resume. 
Potatoes & Tomatoes
I completed the Fireflies Block (block 6) of the Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL this morning.  So happy how this one came together.   
Fireflies Block  12" x 12"
 And here are all six together:
 Two weeks ago I gave a local long arm quilter my School Yard quilt top and the pieced back.  Guess who had not made the back wide enough?  
School Yard enjoying the 80 degree weather
 Thank goodness I had more of this fabric (it's blue&white pinstriped) so as I was about to sew on another panel to the side I thought to myself - I need to piece in a label and make this right.  I found some leftover binding fabric and set in a fun ticket label.   


My first pieced label!  
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, hope you are having a great day~
Susan

Friday, January 27, 2012

Road2CA Quilt Show in Photos

Last Friday I went to the Road to California Quilter's Conference and Showcase in Ontario, CA with my buddy Zina and something surprising happened - I did not purchase anything...well except for lunch.  I told Zina while we were on our way to the show NOT to let me buy any quilt kits and other than eyeing some really lovely Anna Maria Horner Velveteen for $22.95 a yard (ouch), I came home empty handed but with my camera full of photographs to share.

Before I begin I have to say that every single quilt we saw was truly a work of art and although we did not like everything we saw, all was appreciated for the skill and talent that went into each piece. Quilting is such an underrated art. 

First Zina and I viewed the faculty quilts - which I have to say I had no idea what that meant until I learned that the faculty were those whom were teaching the classes going on during the show.

Life on Holly Ridge by Nancy Prince. Nancy Prince is a quilter who thread paints her quilts.  According to her website, Life On Holly Ridge took her over 1,500 hours to complete.  It was so realistic - it looked like a photograph to me.
Nancy Prince - Life on Holly Ridge 75" x 54" 
Seeking Balance by Karen Eckmeier.  As soon as I rounded the corner of the faculty exhibit and saw this quilt I wanted to go here.  Red roofed buildings, swaying palm trees and the play of night versus day made this quilt very appealing to me.
Seeking Balance by Karen Eckmeier 44"x 44"
We then moved onto the judged quilts of many different styles and techniques.

This next photo is obviously not of a quilt in the traditional sense but is a sculpture that is "machine-collaged/quilted surface over armature of plastic board, polystyrene foam, steel and fiberfill".  The artist,  Susan Else - had a large showing of her pieces at Road2CA -  please visit her gallery page here to see more of her amazing creations.  This one was moving!
On the Boardwalk by Susan Else
Oh and then we saw a quilt map...I love maps. The quilt maker, Rachel Wetzler describes on her website that the inspiration for this quilt was antique maps.  
The World by Rachel Wetzler 
The next one I found very interesting as it reminded me of flags all lined up in a row but in this case it was individually made quilt panels that could stand on their own, but when brought together create a lovely image of Humbolt Bay.  The description of Eureka!, quilted by Pat Durbin, stated that it was a group planned piece but individually made with each artist using their own technique.  Go visit her gallery here for more stunning examples of picture quilts.  
Eureka! by Pat Durbin 104"x 45"
And then we were "Star Struck" by this amazing beauty that was made and quilted by Cheryl L See.  12,256 handpieced hexagons made up this quilt and she won first prize for the Innovative Mixed category.  Kinda felt like playing Chinese checkers after I walked away from this one.  It was gorgeous.  
Star Struck by Cheryl L See 
The Road2CA Quilters Conference and Showcase 2012 Best of Show winner was Everlasting Bouquet.  This beauty was made by Molly Y Hamilton-McNally and quilted by Cindy Seitz-Krug.  Those talented ladies won $3,000 for this quilt. The description stated that Ms. Seitz-Krug quilted it on her home machine.

Everlasting Beauty by Molly Y Hamilton-McNally and Cindy Seitz-Krug
And as a record to be preserved for posterity....
Standing in front of two $1,000 winners
The show was exactly what we wanted it to be - inspiring and encouraging as we both talked of how we couldn't wait to get to our machines to sew.

Happy Friday!
Susan

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

T@tT: Cast Iron Jambalaya

Sometimes a one-pot meal is what I want to put on my table.  Learning about dishes that can come together in one-pot is something I learned on my own in my adult years as my mother never cooked that way.  Her style of cooking was firmly entrenched in the three/four elements separated by space, presented on a plate.   It seemed a time when different foods were not allowed to touch either while cooking or on the plate.  I remember my brother's eating up those different elements one at a time whereas I would take bites of everything without worrying about flavors "marrying" together.  Jambalaya is one of those dishes where I get to taste everything together ~ no segregation of flavors or textures. 

Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp Jambalaya
Two reason's why Jambalaya is so versatile:  the entire meal is cooked in one dish and in my case it's a Cast Iron pan ~ my hand's down favorite pan/pot in my kitchen.  If I were banished to a deserted island, my Cast Iron pan would come with me. The other reason why Jambalaya is so versatile is although everything cooks together (some parts separately at first), if someone doesn't like any one of the proteins, let's say the shrimp, that portion is left out of their bowl.  Makes it easy to serve picky eaters...like my 13 year old.  

There are numerous iterations of Jambalaya all over the internet, mine being from American's Test Kitchen.  If you've never tried Jambalaya, go ahead and type it into your favorite search engine and start looking around.  

I've been sewing a lot the last week or so which has been wonderful - yesterday morning I made the 241 Tote by Anna Graham of Noodlehead that Toni had inspired me with back in early December.  It is a wonderful pattern and I am thrilled at how it turned out.  One bonus - it fits my iPad perfectly without lugging around a huge bag.  
241 Tote
I'm linking up with Debbie from A Quilter's Table for her Tuesday at the Table feature and 
 Fabric Tuesday  at Quilt Story.  

Spring semester begins today so I'll be filling up my backpack, queing up my iPod and walking to campus in a few hours to attend my first class.  I've got two methods class this semester - a lot to sink my teeth into but I'm more than ready for the challenge.  

Happy Tuesday to you all~
Susan

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Saturday Morning in Pictures

Happy Saturday to you all,
My visit to the Road to California Quilt Show yesterday with my friend Zina was wonderful and I'll have photos to share tomorrow.  For now just a few photos of my Saturday morning.

Template Star Block
Finished up the 1/2 quilt top project for a friend: 
36" x 70" 1/2 Quilt Top
Winter sky after the rain clouds have gone:


Tomatoes in my garden:
Yellow Pear Tomatoes 
Enjoy the rest of your Saturday~
Susan

Thursday, January 19, 2012

History Quilter Podcast Episode 20 The Rajah Quilt

Yesterday was the 1st year anniversary of The History Quilter Podcast and it seems impossible how fast a year can go by.  My first episode took me about 10 hours to record, edit and upload but once done, I was thrilled at what I had created.  Those first few episodes are pretty rusty but were great learning experiences - I guess each episode is a photo of myself taken at a different angle, each worthy of a view.  Enough with the introspection....Episode 20 is now available on iTunes and Podbean.

My quilt history topic was inspired by Coral, a listener from Australia who email me about two weeks ago with her suggestion of researching the myth of convict women who were making quilts while on ships bound for Australia from England.  With limited time to search I did find The Rajah Quilt:
The Rajah Quilt 10'x11' housed at the National Gallery of Australia
Here's a brief history of The Rajah Quilt if you're not a podcast listener: The Rajah Quilt was made by convict women whom were on board The Rajah in 1841 as it traveled from Woolwich, England to Hobart, Tasmania. A group called the British Ladies Society for Promoting the Reformation of Female Prisoners (began by Elizabeth Fry) supplied the convict women on the ship with the following provisions for their travels: tape, pins, 100 needles, four balls of white sewing cotton thread, a ball each of black, red and blue thread, black wool, 24 hanks of colored thread, a thimble (only one?) scissors and two pounds of patchwork pieces  - almost 10 meters.  The quilt finished at 10' x 11' and apparently the individual kinds of stitches based on the level of proficiency with sewing can be seen especially with those with blood stains due to pricked fingers.

Once the ship arrived in Hobart, Tasmania the quilt was given to the the Lieutenant Governor's wife, Lady Jane Franklin but is now housed at The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

Links to the recipes I spoke about:

Thank you to everyone who has been listening along this past year and I look forward to what the next year brings to The History Quilter Podcast. If you have any suggestions about future quilt history topics please comment or send me an email at historyquilter@gmail.com.

Please come back here on Saturday to see a wrap up of the Road to California Quilt Show I will be attending  tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to both walking the vendor isles looking for fabric/goodies but also to see the quilts on display - the Showcase sections include Art Quilts, Traditional Quilts, Innovative Quilts, Pieced, Applique, Mixed, Other and Wearable Art and I hope to post a number of photos here with examples of each.

Enjoy your Thursday~
Susan

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

T@tT: Pull Out Your Crock Pot

If I've got a crazy busy day ahead of me and know I will not have time during the 4 o'clock hour to start preparing dinner, I pull out my crock pot for support.  I don't have a huge repertoire of crock pot recipes but this one is a favorite by far.
Shredded Pork Wraps with Lemon Coleslaw
Although I made these yesterday...today is one of those crazy busy days so although the photos are mine, the recipe is all Epicurious.com.  The recipe was originally published in Bon Appetit Magazine in June 2002.

Shredded Pork Wraps with Lemon Coleslaw

1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons ketchup-style chili sauce (ok to omit if you don’t have)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (12-oz) pork tenderloin, sliced into three inch chunks
2 (10- by 9-inch) sheets Middle Eastern–style soft flatbread such as lavash, halved crosswise, or 4 (8- to 9-inch) flour tortillas
Shredded cabbage
Mayonnaise
Lemons

Put the first 11 ingredients into the crock pot and stir well.  Add in the pork chunks, cover and cook on the low setting on your crock pot for 6-8 hours.  Take pork chunks out and with a knife and fork, and shred on a cutting board.  Add shredded pork back into the crock pot to soak up the juices. 

Make lemon sauce with mayonnaise and lemon juice to your taste.

Take the lavash bread or tortillas and spread a little lemon sauce on.  Then add a little pile of shredded pork to fit the lavash/tortilla. Top with shredded cabbage (or not) and then roll up. I also serve it buffet style where each element is on the plate and one can make their own roll up.
For more details visit here for a more detailed version of this recipe. 


I'm linking up with Debbie at her Tuesday at the Table feature - please visit to see what others are serving at their table.


I'm off to continue on with my day but first  ~  The warmest of wishes for two special friends who have birthday’s today- Buon Compleanno!
Susan

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tiramisu Cake & QAL Blocks

If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed that I've been talking about Tiramisu for the last week or so.  Well I confess that sometimes I have a thought about something and cannot get it out of my brain no matter what I do....so I gave in. Instead of the traditional dessert I decided to change things up a bit and make Tiramisu Cake from Dorrie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours.  Love this cookbook - she makes me a better baker.  If you want an excellent photographic tutorial and the recipe go here to smittenkitchen.com.   
Tiramisu Cake - Dorie Greenspan
Usually the weekends are so busy around here that the opportunity to sew is almost non-existent but yesterday was different - I started and got caught up with the blocks for the Sew Happy Geek Quilt Along that I am now participating in.  Yea!   

Friendship Star Block 12 x 12

Snowball Block 12 x 12

Woven Block 12 x 12

QST Pinwheel Block  12 x 12  (my favorite so far)
Jenna from Sew Happy Geek just posted a video on YouTube about hand quilting (go here) which after watching it (love your voice Jenna!) I got inspired to actually think about hand quilting this quilt when it is done.  This was my first introduction to hand quilting and after watching Jenna's excellent video, I think it is something I need to try - I love the look of hand quilting and the fabrics I'm working with in this quilt feel so nice that I want to elevate my final product.

I'm linking up with Jenna's Manic Monday Linky Party at Sew Happy Geek and Megan's {sew}Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations today - please visit to see what others are working on.

We finally had some rain here in Southern California last night and now that the clouds have moved on, the sun is shining....putting a smile on my face.  Hope you all are smiling too.
Susan

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Infatuation Pillows

Thank you all so much for your kind comments and thoughts in regards to my last post about my Birth mother.  I had an enjoyable birthday with components of most of the things that I love part of my day:  I took a yoga class, saw War Horse, did a little sewing, a little schoolwork (unavoidable), went to the Quilters by the Sea Guild meeting with Zina and enjoyed my favorite cupcakes (Frosted Cupcakery on 2nd Street if you're a local) with my family when I returned.  

Due to schoolwork I have not done a great deal of sewing this week but I was able to finish a project and deliver it yesterday to my niece.  She had seen these pillows while In-Process and wanted to take them home an evening a few months back when my brother and family were over for dinner.  When I saw her excitement about the pillows I knew right away that I would give them to her.  These pillows are a kit that I purchased at the Long Beach International Quilt Show that I attended in 2010 while in my "infatuation" phase of quilting...when I just purchased anything I saw without regards to what the project would be for or whom it would be for.  

So I give you the Infatuation Pillows: 
18 x 18 & 16 x 16 Pillows - Anna Maria Horner fabrics
Side note about the buttons on the pillows; button on the left is a fabric button which went on without any trouble.  Button on the right pillow was not so helpful...original fabric button broke, then second fabric button broke (annoyed at this point), then I poked myself with the upholstery needle I was using...damn blood on the fabric.  Finally had to raid my large bag of buttons I inherited from my mother as I was out of fabric buttons and was determined to get this project done.  Was not so infatuated with these pillows in the end.  

Enjoy your Saturday~
Susan

Thursday, January 12, 2012

43 Years Ago Today...

she gave birth to me.

She didn't get to name me, feed me or hold me but she loved me.

She loved me so much she gave me up.

She gave me to them. I was so lucky.

I always wondered about her and one day a long time ago I got to meet her.


I never got the chance to know her well but it was enough for me to learn what a wonderful human being I came from.

Someday, a very long time from now, I will see her again.

Happy Birth Day to my Birthmother.
Susan

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

T@tT: Delicata Squash

In the winter months when my own personal garden is slowly growing/sleeping, I subscribe to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for local organic vegetables to be delivered to my door every other week. Its a fun treat for me as I so enjoy of array of vegetable/fruit goodness that surprises me when I open the box.  Last week I received a new squash that had never seen or tried - Delicata Squash.
Delicata Squash
Last night I wanted to try something new for dinner so I looked at those cute new-to-me squashes and went searching on Google to find out what to do with them.  To my delight I found a new (to me) food blog called summertomato.com  where Darya had posted about Delicata Squash back in October.  Please visit Darya's post here to see the recipe I used and let me just say that I second everything Darya says in her post about Delicata squash. It's delicious and very easy to prepare.
Delicata Squash/Olive Oil/Kosher Salt - roast in 425 degree oven

Roast on both sides for a crispy crust but a creamy interior. 
Although I couldn't bribe my boys into trying the squash both my husband and I loved it. Truly a wonderful new surprise vegetable for me that I will be serving at my table for years go come.

I'm linking up with Debbie from A Quilter't Table for her Tuesday at the Table post today. Please go visit to read her inspiring story.

I also made Granola last night and I'm trying to stay away from it as I'm going to a much anticipated brunch shortly...want to enjoy the food!
Enjoy your Tuesday~
Susan

Sunday, January 8, 2012

History Quilter Podcast Episode 19 Bargello Quilts


If you saw me on Twitter yesterday you saw that it was the day of tests for me..the CSET for Preliminary Technology (that was a fun two+ hours of writing along with mind-numbing multiple choice questions) and three online quizzes for my Teaching the Exceptional Individual online class I am taking now.  This class is moving along so quickly  - seems impossible that I'm already a 1/3 of the way through.  All of the studying has kept me away from blog reading and blog posting but that will be remedied once my boys go back to school - tomorrow.

Before I jump into the episode notes let me show you my first sewing finish for 2012 - the Quatrefoil (meaning: four leaves) block for the Modern Blocks Bee for January 2012.  I just love this block and although spooked when I first cut into Alisha's fabric that she sent me (did not want to mess up), I pushed through and was happy with my result.  It's my very first Bee block!
Modern Blocks Bee - Quatrefoil 12"x 12"
In Episode 19 I talked about Bargello Quilts with my inspiration for the episode coming from Katie of Katie's Quilting Corner.  She is currently hosting a Bargello Placemat/Tablerunner Quilt Along on her blog which I will be participating in soon.  Katie has been posting a few photos up on Twitter this past week of her prototype Bargello Table Runner and it caught my eye for its flowing “wave” design.  I was curious about both how the design is created and where the original design originated from so I went searching and what I found surprised me.  
I'll start with the original needlework that possibly began in Florence, Italy (with Hungarian influences) and then was brought to other parts of Europe through trade and travel.  
Flame Stitch Pattern which began the Bargello  Movement
Chastleton House, Oxfordshire England
Walls are decorated with a flame stitch textile. 17th Century. 
Next is a classic Bargello style quilt from 1994 which brings the Bargello needlework design to fabric.  
Lindahl, Signe. Bargello. 1994.  From Michigan State University Museum, Michigan Quilt Project.  
A very modern Bargello - and gorgeous.  Please visit Briana's blog at http://briana-arlene.blogspot.com/
Bargello Windows Quilt - Briana Arlene of Briana-Arlene.blogspot.com
Lastly, I am participating in the Sew Happy Geek Quilt Along hosted by Jenna that began last week.

Thank you to Julie from The Intrepid Thread for helping me choose these wonderful fabrics for the Quilt Along.  
Moroccan Mirage by Khristian A. Howell for Anthology Fabrics

Alright that's it for me today.  
Enjoy your Sunday~
Susan