Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thoughts on Scraps

Today we're talking scraps...

My string quilt is coming along.  I think I've changed the layout no less than 10 times since laying it on the floor.   I keep seeing fabrics that are too close together, but when I move them around they are too close to something else.  It's enough to make me crazy. But, I've decided that I'm over thinking it and need to leave it be. (Duh!)

Currently I have 54 blocks finished, but since I've decided to make it bigger I'm going to need another 26.  That means I am officially only 2/3 of the way finished.  Bummer!  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed but I'm positive that I will love it better in the bigger size.  So, I shall persevere...albeit slowly!

image by im a ginger monkey

Though I've done lots of sewing for my string quilt this past week it isn't the only scrap project I've been thinking about.  A few weeks ago I ran across this quilt along.  I really want to do it, though I have mixed emotions about the whole thing.  One side of me says, "What a great way to use up all those tiny scraps!"  The other side of me says, "Are you crazy?! Those are TINY scraps!"   Right now I'm just in the cutting phase.  I need between 900-1300(!) 2.5 inch squares to make a throw.  I find myself feeling a bit wacky about the large amount of work and all those tiny squares, but there's only one way to eat an elephant, right?  Quite honestly I probably won't join in until next year, but my tiny squares pile has begun none the less. 

(If anyone is interested here are the links for block construction:  Block A and Block B)

Speaking of scraps here is a picture of the batting I used for a quilt that I'm working on.  Yep, I pieced the whole thing with small/skinny leftovers.  I was feeling pretty proud of myself after getting all the right sized pieces to line up.  I love when I can use things that would otherwise be thrown away.

Lastly, a few weeks ago Jodi @ Pleasant Home posted some scrap projects that I loved.  She makes a quilt each year with her scraps from the previous year.  So smart if you ask me.  (I"ll probably steal this idea...) Here is her 2008, 2009 and 2010 quilts. Go check them out!

Is anyone else working on scrap or quilt along projects?  Leave a link so we can see them!

Happy Scrap Sewing!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Recycled Stairstep Quilt

The last time we did a big dejunking at our house my #2 daughter decided that she didn't need this bag anymore. Well, she had barely used it and once you opened up the bag flat it was slightly larger than a fat quarter. So I took it all apart and cut those 4 fabric pieces (about 23" square) into 3" x 6" rectangles and made this cute quilt.

I love it!

I didn't have enough to make it be a zigzag quilt (I didn't want to waste ANYTHING--and I wanted it as big as possible). So instead I stairstepped it.
Quilted just inside each step the width of the presser foot, and backed it with linen. It wrinkled up pretty good after washing (this pic is pre-wash), but I still like it. Finished size: 41" square.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WIP Wednesday

I'm linking up over at Freshly Pieced today.
Here is a run down of my current WIP list.  (It's a doozy!)

1.  My Pinwheel Sampler is off to the quilter as we speak, getting the royal treatment from someone other than me.  Should be awesome when it's done in a few weeks.

2.  This week the only sewing I did involved finishing the remaining blocks for my String Quilt.  (42 Blocks Done) Now I am trying to decide if I want to make it bigger.  I think I do... So, it won't get finished until 2011.

3.  The Sheets and Shirts HST Top is finished, but will most likely NOT get quilted until after the first of the year--too many other things that HAVE to get done before it.

4.  The Star Wars Quilt  for my 11yr old isn't even started, unless you count cutting out as started.  It is supposed to be a gift for Christmas. I still have hope that I can get it done.  We'll see...

5.  My 6yr olds Busy Town Quilt Top is done.  The quilting shouldn't take me very long.  It's tops on my list along with the Star Wars one.  Maybe this week I can make some progress on both.

New projects this week: 0  (That's got to be a first!)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kids' Craft for Thanksgiving

We are making THESE this week while visiting the family down in Nebraska. (weather permitting--I soooooo need to get out of town.)

Can't wait!

Thanks, Nancy, for finding and posting this link.

And for those of you also traveling try this free download from RadRoadtrips.com. 24 pages of activities to keep the smaller people in your car occupied. It could also be used while prepping on Thanksgiving day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meatball Minestrone Soup

This recipe is based on our mom's minestrone soup. I just tweaked it a bit here today based on what I had and how quickly I could throw it together. Mondays are crazy afternoons/evenings for us with 2 different kids at 2 different schools, during exactly the same time, for orchestra practices. And between the drop-off and pick-up the others get home from school.

Minestrone is basically a name for a variety of thick Italian soups made with veggies, and added pasta or rice. Common ingredients include beans, onions, carrots, stock, and tomatoes. There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. So just use this recipe as a basis and play around with any combination that you or your family like.
Combine together:
  • 1 lb. browned ground hamburger (or diced ham or stew meat chunked, or even vegetarian) (Tonight I used a 24 oz. bag of meatballs.)
  • 1 onion, chopped (1/4 c. rehydrated diced onion)
  • 1 - 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained (2 pints home canned stewed tomatoes)
  • 3 c. water
  • 2 - 8 oz. cans tomato sauce (Oops! forgot to add this. It still tasted delicious, but I think the added liquid would've helped.)
  • 1 Tbs. parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
Simmer all above for 15 minutes. Then add:
  • 1 - 16 oz. can diced carrots, undrained (1 pint home canned carrots)
  • 1 - 16 oz. can green beans, undrained
  • 1 - 16 oz. can kidney beans, undrained (1 pint home canned--any kind bean--I used great northerns tonight)
  • 1 1/2 c. uncooked pasta (I used elbow macaroni)
Simmer for 10-15 minutes more or until pasta is cooked. Serves 12. (This easily fed my family of 7, with seconds for some, and leftovers for tomorrow too.)
NOTE: To Pressure Can this recipe
3x this recipe will yield 15 qts. of soup
I would not add the pasta until opening to heat and serve--otherwise it ends ups being really mushy when you reheat. Yuck!
You could easily use fresh carrots and green beans, along with soaked beans overnight, instead of already canned veggies. Just add a bit more water to your soup. Heat it all up a bit before putting in the jars.
Can at 10 lbs. pressure for 90 minutes (because of the meat and beans). Adjust pressure for your altitude.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Letter E

A matching pillow for this quilt...a year later.
I am still loving that red gingham!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Squash {Part 2}

So in Squash {Part 1} we gave you some info on winter squashes and how to can them, along with a couple recipes for Squash soup. It seems that Tiffany and I are not the only squash obsessed people around based on some of the responses we received.

Here are a few more ways to use your squash once you've got it canned (or cooked and pureed).
Mayan Hot Chocolate
1 sm. Butternut squash or (1 pint bottled squash, drained)
2 ½ C. milk divided
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
½ tsp.Cinnamon
Large pinch of Nutmeg
Large pinch of Cardamon

If using bottled squash, puree squash with ½ C. milk until smooth.
If using fresh, cook squash 'til soft.
In large sauce pan mix remaining 2 C. milk, chocolate & spices.
Stir 'til melted and creamy, add squash.

Heat through.
Serves 4
Pumpkin Smoothie
from Better Homes & Gardens Nov. 2010

In a blender combine:
1/4 c. canned pumpkin
Low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 Banana
A spoonful of peanut butter
Handful of ice cubes
Milk to thin as desired
Top with a little whip cream and cinnamon.

**Update Nov. 11, 2010
Tried the above recipe and it tasted like a peanut butter smoothie---eh, so-so.
Therefore, if you are looking for a pumpkin pie smoothie this won't be it. To adjust it and get that flavor, don't add the peanut butter (but maybe add more pumpkin) and instead add either pumpkin pie spice to taste, or a combo of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger to taste to get that pumpkin pie flavor.

I also went to my local library and found a couple books that had some recipes that I would actually try. I am not a fancy cook. So recipes with things like goat cheese, or other things that I don't even know what they are or where to even look for them, I don't make. It's not that I wouldn't be game to try, because really I'll try anything. It's just that my family is not as daring as I am, AND I don't want to be stuck with ingredients I can't use again.

These books had some good basic recipes that you could make using almost any kind of winter squash. Some I've tried and others are on my list to try. But I feel these are realistic recipes for my family. Both books have summer and winter squash recipes, but I just listed some of the winter squash recipes.

Zucchini, Pumpkins & Squash by Kathleen Desmond Stang

  • Pumpkin Ice Cream Sundaes pg. 59
  • Spaghetti Squash Hashbrowns pg. 22 (My kids love spaghetti squash and normally just eat it cooked with Parmesan cheese over it--like noodles--but I think they would love this recipe)
  • Creamy Winter Squash Soup with Spices pg. 28
  • Golden Pumpkin-Orange Pancakes with Orange Butter pg. 23
  • Two-Way Pumpkin Yeast Dough pg. 18

So I just have to make a comment about making pancakes and adding squash. I experimented on my family recently and added cooked Acorn squash to our waffle recipe (Krusteaz--you know the bag of mix you can pick up at Sam's club). I doubled the waffle recipe and added about 1/2 c. cooked, smashed butternut squash. Not one person noticed or said anything. I couldn't tell, and I knew. You don't necessarily need a recipe for this. Make up pancakes as you always do and add about 1/2 c. of squash puree.

James McNair's Squash Cookbook

  • Golden Yeast Rolls pg. 79--these were delicious!! And once again nobody knew I had added anything.
  • Creamy Winter Squash Soup pg. 63
  • Fried Winter Squash Chips pg. 60
  • Squash Pancakes pg. 81
  • Winter Squash Ice Cream pg. 88
  • Spiced Squash Cake with Caramel Icing pg. 91

I'm seriously thinking that Squash Ice Cream needs to be added to the Thanksgiving menu this year.

I have not yet tried a Squash soup recipe. My kids caught wind of that and declared it "disgusting" already. However, I made a crockpot Cheesy Potato Soup the other night and did about 1/3 of the potatoes as butternut squash. They didn't know otherwise. (insert evil laugh) My food science friend Kevin said that any recipe that calls for mashed potatoes in it can be substituted with smashed squash, i.e. potato rolls.

So go ahead and experiment and enjoy. If we come up with anything else fabulously squash we'll let you know.

Note: This site has good info about picking squash, squash equivalents, and pics of all varieties of squashes along with a list of squash recipes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2010

This is my most recent finish: A quilt for my 8yr old daughter that will be given to her for Christmas.  It is made with Heather Ross' Mendocino Line (and a few other prints thrown in for good measure).

 It's a simple design, with simple quilting, but I love that it really shows off the fabrics. 
We are big-time snugglers when it comes to TV and movies, so this will be super soft and cozy for my daughter to curl up in. 

I love to whip up mini versions of the kids quilts I make so the recipient can wrap up a favorite doll or stuffed animal in a "matching" quilt.  It's also a great way for me to use up the small odd sized/shaped scraps that accumulate after a project is finished.  I enjoy the challenge!  Here is my daughter's mini next to it's full size version .  It measures 15" by 19".
For me the process of quilting is about  a)creating something beautiful  b)giving a piece of myself to someone I love  c)learning new things and  d)preserving a place/time/event in life.  I enjoy every aspect of the process.

You can read more about this quilt Here.
Check out the rest of the beautiful Quilt Festival entries Here or on Flickr.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ann's Latest T-shirt Quilt

Remember our friend Ann T. who posted for us last year about making t-shirt quilts?

Well, here are pictures of her latest one (and hopefully last one, at least for her own kids). She said she finished up the handsewing en route to Utah this Fall to drop her "baby" off at college. And she says this is her best one yet, ...but don't tell her other kids.

Ready for dorm life...


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