Monday, August 30, 2010

Mini Quilt Monday

It measures 12.5 inches square and will be joining the others on my quilt wall.

I'm working on a big version, too...
Inspiration came from Country Living Magazine.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I entered some of my quilts in a quilt show...

I got brave and entered some of my quilts in my town's local quilt show. No judging or anything, just showing. I live in a small town so I wasn't expecting much...

(This picture pretty much shows the whole thing!)

But imagine my surprise when the whole show consisted of about 10 big quilts (3 of which were mine) and 20 little quilts. It's kind of funny to me! I should've known.

Oh, well... I'm happy I did it anyway. Next year I'll try and convince my quilt club ladies to display some of their works, too. We could take over the whole show and call it "The Old Ladies and Emily Quilt Show!"

So, have you ever entered a quilt in a show? How did it go? I'd love to hear...

Can you spot my quilts? They are:
Scrappy Makes Me Happy
Cherry Chocolate Bento Box
Alumni Plain Spoken (aka Matt's Aggie Quilt)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

17 Down 39 To Go...

I have plenty of other projects that need to be finished, but here I go again starting something new...

It's actually quite therapeutic to sew all those tiny strings together. Who would've ever guessed.
It's going to be a bright one!
EDITED: Here is a great tutorial if you want to make your own string blocks. I am doing mine 8.5 inches --which means I am squaring off all my kids' school papers that were destined for the trash. My little way of recycling! :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Love the Smell of Salsa in the Morning

This past week I've been canning salsa like crazy. We ran out of our last jar of home canned salsa sometime in March and really, nothing we've bought since then has measured up in any way, shape, or form. We'd be open to suggestions--as of yet we've found nothing we like as much as our own canned salsa.

All these recipes can be found in the Ball® Complete Book to Home Preserving. Here are the 3 recipes I used for these batches.

Carrot Pepper Salsa (left), pg. 211

It appears this salsa will have a more mild flavor based on the recipe. This is my first year to try this one. We'll see how it goes. My kids think it is CRAZY to put carrots into a salsa, but I keep reminding them that you don't know if you'll like it unless you try it. It could be our new favorite, who knows. This recipe had you cook down the salsa for an hour, and even though I did that I still ended up with more jars than they said it would yield.

Note: I did try a bit that was leftover in the pan and it has a sweet taste to it--the brown sugar in it--but I liked it.

Jalapeño Salsa (middle), pg. 209

This recipe can also be found in the Ball Blue Book.

This is the recipe that I use most often--it has some serious KICK!! which is the way the majority of us like it. Equal ratio of tomatoes to jalapeños. Oh yeah! Normally when I double the recipe I do not double the jalapeños, however. Instead I double it by going 1/2 jalapeños and 1/2 green peppers. (i.e. 3 c. each instead of 6 c. jalapeños.)

Fresh Vegetable Salsa (right), pg. 203

I'm guessing that this one will be a middle of the road salsa as far as the "kick" factor goes. This one you cook down for 30 minutes before canning. Also my first year to try this recipe.

The book recommends:
For optimum flavor let your jars sit 3-4 weeks before opening them to allow the salsa flavors to "mellow and blend".

O.K. I don't know if we can realistically wait that long....but, I guess we'll eat this fresh salsa in the meantime.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hanging Quilts

I have this little wall space between my banister and the entrance to my kitchen. It has remained empty/blank since we bought our house last summer. It's not real big, so I was having a hard time deciding what to put there.

Finally I came up with this...

I thought this would be a great way to a) put something colorful on my walls cheaply and b) showcase some of my quilts

Of course, the best part is that I can rotate the quilts as my mood/the seasons change.

One a side note, one of my fall projects will be to paint that clock. I'm thinking something is this color palette, maybe even a shade of turquoise. Wouldn't that be awesome?!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Canned Vegetable Soup

Last week I picked a bunch of orange colored, cherry-sized tomatoes from my neighbor's garden. She was letting them rot on the vine since they weren't what she thought she had planted and she didn't really like the flavor. We thought they tasted just fine, so she let me take what wasn't already rotten and fermented and used them to can this soup. (Unfortunately most were already beyond hope of using. That just makes me crazy!)

This is one of my favorite soup recipes out of the Ball Blue Book (or it is also in the Ball® Complete Book of Home Preserving, pg. 402)

My kids are not as thrilled with this soup as hubby and I are, but that is fine with me. You can eat this as is--as a vegetarian soup, or I also like to add cooked chicken chunks to it. It is great to have on cold days. Open up the jar, dump it in the pan, heat and eat. So easy! Add some homemade bread and even better.

Click on Vegetable Soup to get the recipe and canning directions.

Thanks, Vicki, for the tomatoes. I'll bring you a jar of soup.

NOTE: The only change I make is that I can it with fresh green beans instead of using cooked lima beans. Personal preference.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Marinated Cucumbers

I don't like pickles, but I do like marinated cucumbers. Go figure!

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes for cucumbers--if they are homegrown, even better.

It comes from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (the red and white checked one) which is my personal favorite basic cookbook.

Marinated Cucumbers
For marinade combine in a covered container:
1/4 c. vinegar or lemon juice (I use white vinegar)
1 - 2 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. celery seed

1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (3 c. worth)
1 small onion, thinly sliced and separted into rings

Toss to coat with marinade.
Cover and chill for 2 hrs. or up to 5 days.
You can also add a little diced tomato to it, which is quite delicious also.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Me and My Quilt Club

Six months ago I was invited to join a quilting group.
To tell you the truth I wasn't sure how it would work out.
But, I'm happy to say that it has been such a great experience for me.
It's a time for me to get out and talk all things fabric and quilts with a group of very talented and supportive women.
But unlike the Modern Quilt Guilds that are popping up all over the country, my quilt club is...well, not so much.

There are 12 of us in the group.
Here are some of us on a recent Quilt Show outing.
See, not so modern.
(Which one of these things is not like the other? That would be me!)

When we meet each month we always have show and tell.
I bring things like this and this.
They don't quite know what to say...
But, of course, they are always so sweet and kind and say things like, "pretty colors."

So why do I go?
Because these ladies are talented!
As in, years of experience.
And they do everything by hand.
In fact the youngest lady there (not me), who is still a grandma, is the only one out of the whole group who machine quilts.
And only one or two other ladies gets patterns and ideas off the internet.

So I go each month and listen, and learn, and admire all their creations.
And while some of it is not my taste or style (I'm sure they say the same about me!)
I can still see the beauty and enjoy learning from each and every one of them.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Make Your Own Eyelet Extender Slip

I've gotten several requests for directions on how to make an eyelet extender slip lately. I'll first apologize for not writing them up sooner but summer has gotten in the way of all things productive around here.

I made my own slip over two years ago, so I don't have any cool pictures of the process or anything like that, but I can at least give you some basic directions. You'll laugh when you figure out how easy it is, though.

First you will need to decide how long you want your finished slip to be. To avoid making your slip too long or too short, have someone else measure for you while you stand up straight. Since I mostly wear my slip with a dress I measured from my natural waist to below my knee. For me that means 26 inches finished. If you're going to wear it under a skirt you will probably want to start measuring more in your hip region.

I had a straight silky half slip I purchased for $7-$9 from Wal-Mart to use for the top portion. The length you need will depend on your height. I used the top 14 inches of a 24 inch slip. (I am a cheapskate so I didn't actually purchase a new slip. I had one that was needing to be retired so I had no problem cutting it up. You can always save money by making your own top "slip" portion using any basic elastic waisted skirt pattern and some cotton or silky fabric.)

As for eyelet, there are a million different designs. The two main designs usually comes in an all over design or an edge-only design. I used an edge-only design because I wanted the finished scallop portion on the bottom. Since I wanted the extender part to be kind of full, I cut my eyelet to measure 12 inches tall by 72 inches wide (2 yards). (Again, I am cheap, so I used some eyelet that my mother-in-law had given me years ago!)

So, now that everything is figured out, all you do is this:

Cut the top portion of your slip to length (Mine was 14.5")
Cut your eyelet to length and sew the side seems -- right sides together (Mine was 12.5" by 2 yards)
Gather the top edge of your eyelet using a basting stitch
Sew gathered eyelet edge to the bottom portion of slip -- right sides together
Serge to finish off raw edge


It will look a little something like this:

Hope this helps. If you have any questions or need some clarifications feel free to ask in the comments or email me.

FYI-Renae sewed her slip directly into the waistband of this skirt rather than making it a separate slip.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Quilt Fix

This was not on my list of things to do at all, but sometimes you have to take care of life's little emergencies. I really hope that I don't have to do this ever again, because I do NOT enjoy picking out and repairing. I can do it...I just don't like it.

Earlier this Spring for my son's 9th b-day I made him a Crazy 9 patch quilt, per his request. He was thrilled with it and has used it every day since, taken it on sleep-overs, campouts, and is so happy to have it. Well a sad day occurred the other day when he was cutting up a big box to make some craft thing, but was doing it while his pillow and blanket were inside. Yeah, NOT a good idea....
He came crying and showed me this:
Yep, right thru ALL the layers of the quilt.Backside view
He asked me if I could fix it and when I told him "no" the wailing really started up. So then I amended that and told him I probably could, but it wouldn't look very good. He insisted I try and fix it up. He didn't care how it would look.

It really would've been easier to repair, I think, had he not cut all the way through the quilt. Then I could've just zigzagged it some. And I'm not sure what I did was the best way to go about it, but, oh well, it was what I could come up with in hurry since the boy was desperate.

Looking at the top I figured it wouldn't be too bad to repair. I had to undo about a foot of the binding and more of the quilting than I had anticipated in order to get to that section. Lucky for him it was a 9 patch that was right next to the outer sashing. (see top photo bottom right)
I replaced the little orange plaid square and also a little section of the sashing. I decided not to replace anything on the backing. The backing is one solid entire piece (I had bought 102" wide fabric specifically for it). So instead of cutting out the ruined section and putting in a new piece, I found an extra piece of the backing and then used Wonder-Under® to fuse the patch inside the quilt to the backside of the backing. Then I added some Fray Check™ for good measure. Once that was done I redid the quilting and reattached the section of binding. Almost as good as new.
It doesn't look as great on the back as on the front. And I'm not sure what else I could have done except cut out a section and then sew something back in, but the boy is happy to have it to use again and as Hubby said, "Maybe seeing that will help him remember to think a bit more before doing something the next time."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In the Corner Quilt

This is the first quilt that I've made that I actually followed a specific pattern, directions, layout, yardage recommendations, etc. (Although I found the yardage was much more than I actually needed: almost 1 yd. TOO much on the reddish piece and 2/3 yd. TOO much on the blue. For the backing I figured it out beforehand and bought less than recommended there also.)

I found this pattern in the book, Fresh and Fabulous Quilts, by Cheryl Brown. "In The Corner" is the name of this pattern and it is found on pgs. 38-41. This was really an easy, straightforward pattern.

I worked on this quilt over the course of a month as a surprise b-day present for a friend of mine (which still ended up given as a slightly belated gift).

Back View Finished Size: 58" X 76"
I just did a 2" wide apart cross hatch quilt pattern. I'm not a "fancy" design quilter.

Machine binding. I had intended to handstitch it until it became a belated birthday gift.

Here are a couple others quilts from that book that I really liked too:
Every Blooming Thing
Flower Power
Fruit Basket

I don't anticipate making any of the above quilts anytime soon, but I sure thought they were great patterns and fun ideas to mull over.


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