Friday, December 31, 2010

Blueberries and Creamsicles

 I was inspired by this fabric peeking out from my stash (the one in the upper left corner).  It reminded me of blueberries. The lighter one below it does too, but the blue on blue was the inspiration.  I saw it and kept going back to it, so finally I just pulled it out and threw this together.
You can click to enlarge the photos if needed.

When I added this orange, which I felt it needed, it made me think of orange creamsicles that I hear people talk about.  I've never had one, but in my brain they are the equivalent of orange sherbet Flinstone push-pops, which in case you don't know are AWESOME!
This was made at the beginning of 2010, I just never posted it.  I really enjoy making little quilts like this, it's about 30" square.  But I think if someone looked in my closet and saw the stack of baby quilts I have they would think I'm a little off because there is no reason for me to hoard baby quilts when we don't have children.  I was actually embarrassed when my sister came over and saw them.  She got mad at me for hiding them away in a closet and told me to hang them on the wall.  haha.  Who knew...I can just call them wall hangings and suddenly it's not so weird.

Dresden Nine Patch

This was the second quilt I made...after Brown Garden Blocks.  Ambitious?....I didn't know it.  I just saw something I liked and decided to figure it out.  Everyone thought I was nuts, or at least that's the way it came across.  I'm proud of this, I think it turned out beautifully.  That striped border really was nuts, those are 2.5" half square triangles (HST).  That's tiny.  It's not reversible like the ones I make now are...but I'm still proud of it.  I just don't like looking at the back as much.  Oh, and no, this was not from a pattern.  I've only followed two patterns, the first one linked above, and one you'll see in another post called Christmas Pinwheels.

The one that started it all

This is the thing that started it all...sort of. 
Around the beginning of December 2009 my mom and I worked with a group of ladies on a quilt for someone in our church dealing with a cancer diagnosis.  My mom and I decided we liked it, so we went to the store and she found a pattern.  We bought fabric, mine were browns and pinks, hers were bright pinks, oranges, and yellows with some fun greens mixed in.  I was/am a little envious of the beautiful fabrics she pulled together.  I love what I've made, but I am in awe that she put such bright things together and they work so well.  Anyway, we got started, and my machine broke.  It was originally my mom's, left to her by the owner of her first house when she moved to Texas.  I think it was made in the 1950's or 60's.  Maybe earlier.  Anyway, my husband bought me a wonderful machine for Christmas that year, and I never knew I could be so excited about a Christmas gift, especially something I didn't ask for or even consider wanting.  It's been downhill from there.  So, as I'm putting together a year end post of all my completed quilts I realized I never posted a completed picture of this first quilt.  It isn't perfect, but we love it.  It's warm, it fits our bed, and it has memories.  Mom's is still in pieces on her sewing table, but she has resolved to make a real effort to work on it this year. 
Technically it isn't my first quilt.  I actually made one when I was in high school, and it's been all over the world with me, but I didn't actually 'quilt' the thing.  I'll tell that story later with a picture. 

Christmas Runner

 A small Christmas runner which could easily be used for a sideboard. Measures 45" x 9".

This was my special homemade gift for our Make-It Christmas this year!  My sister-in-law received it...and has the perfect place for it.

All Boy

 Please ignore the cluttered picture.  This is a twin sized quilt for my nephew.  Boys are always more difficult to shop for, and to make for.  At least for me.  I wanted something that was boyish, but that he can take with him...he's a teenager, so I didn't want it to look like a little boy's blanket.  Blues and grays with red quilting.

He was pretty happy about it.  And it's REALLY long, because he's almost 6' tall now...taller than my husband who stands 5'10". 

All Girl

 A Christmas Quilt for my youngest niece.  She's very girlie and pink is her favorite color.  She loves clothing and dolls and playing dress up.  Almost every time I see her she asks me if I'm going to make her a quilt.  I made a dress for her birthday and she said, now I need a blanket.  She's five.  So, I decided Christmas was the time to make her a quilt. We called it Flower Girl, it suits her.

It is quilted with flowers.
 It is pink and flowery and has little purple hearts for the binding.

Like I and flowery, with just enough contrast to grow with her...hopefully.
She had the MOST surprised and precious face when she opened this.   It was the scrunched kind of face that in pictures looks really upset because you are saying "awe, I love it!" and you have that kind of frowny mouth...does that make sense?  Well, I have a picture of me making that face opening gifts...and she did it too.  It was so cute.  She said, "I've always wanted a flower quilt!"

More Grown Up

First...please forgive these pictures.  For some reason I didn't spread this one out on the floor like I usually do, and it's no longer in my possession.  This is called Stick Straight.  It was made for my oldest niece who is super trendy and really loves girly things, but not openly.  :)  Weren't we all that way for a while?  Yeah, she's 17, so I wanted to make something that wasn't so little girl, but that would still be cool when she goes off to college in a year or two.
One side is pink and green stripes that match her and her sister's bedroom.  The other side is dark blue grey with HUGE flowers....I liked that it was super dark, but somehow very fresh and feminine.
Close up of the straight line quilting.  I just followed some of the lines in the fabric, all at different widths.

Generations Quilt

We call this Stained Glass.  It's a very special quilt top my grandma made for my mom nearly two years ago.  My mom had it on the spare bed for a long time, but it never got quilted.  She asked me to quilt it shortly after I started quilting this time last year.  I surprised her with it for Christmas this year...she didn't know I'd been working on it.
The top is comprised of Psalms blocks and stained glass panels in many colors as you can see.  The stained glass blocks have really beautiful gold patterns running through them, but getting a picture of it is nearly impossible.
Here is one of the verse blocks, and you can see my stitching...very random patterns, in lots of thread colors.
See.....lots of colors.  We went from red to orange, pink to yellow, blue, green and even some violet and gray made it in.  But, I'm okay with it.
It came out wonderfully crinkly after the wash.  It was pretty awesome watching her surprise opening this.  It took me a long time to complete because it's almost a queen size quilt...and that is A LOT of fabric to push through my little machine.  It was worth it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Jalapeno Corn

Jalapeno Corn

2-6 cans shoepeg corn or 1 bag frozen corn
1/4 cup milk
1 stick butter (1/4 lb)
2 small bars cream cheese(start with one)
2 dashes garlic salt or powder
1/4 cup water
2-4 Jalapenos minced
In medium sauce pot, melt butter and add cream cheese. Melt well. When melted, mix in dashes of garlic, 1/4 cup of milk, 1/4 cup water and corn; mix well.  If mixture is too thick ad water or milk to thin down, if too thin add second bar of cream cheese.
Mince jalapenos and add to taste. The more jalapenos, the hotter the mixture. Pour into a baking dish and bake at 350F until very light brown and bubbly. Serve hot.
Serves 6-12

*Can also add 1 Tbsp. minced onion and garlic instead of powder.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crafting in the Kitchen and Christmas Tradition

This is my husband...back in November as you can see on the calendar.  He was working on his Christmas project.  You see that 2 feet of counter top he's using?  Yeah, that's 3/4 of the usable counter space in the kitchen.  We finally worked out a system for him to work on his project and me to have enough room to cook involves a lot of moving things around. But, it's working.  And, I can't show the full picture because I don't want to give away what he's making.  And if you think you know, just keep it to yourself until after December 26th because that's when we'll find out.

About the Make-It Christmas;  For the last 15 years or so we've had this tradition in my family.  Every other year we have a Make-It Christmas.  Each person makes one gift instead of buying something for everyone.  But they only make one item.  Then, on Christmas Eve, or the day after Christmas we all come together with our super secret handmade gifts wrapped up.  We each draw a number and do a gift exchange.  Each gift must be opened after it has been chosen, and it can be 'stolen' up to three times during the course of the night, but after that third steal it can no longer be taken away.  Whoever has their gift stolen gets to open another gift, but that does not include stealing someone else' item.  At the end of everything the person with #1 can choose to trade his/her gift since they did not have any steal opportunities...and then everyone has received something very cherished and lovingly made.  It is always an incredibly fun time, and there is always a lot of guessing about what everyone will make or has made.  My mom always tries to get everyone to tell her before the game...even though that is cheating...and we all give her a really hard time about it. :)  She doesn't like not knowing.  Once a gift is opened and several guesses have been made, the maker identifies themselves. We always learn something about each other, and about ourselves in the process.  We still give regular gifts to children under 18, but encourage the ones over 15 to join us in the Make-It game because it is so much fun.  This is certainly a tradition I love and will continue as long as possible.  We've even gotten my husband's family to join in.  It works out well because essentially you have 2 years to make your item, though I think everyone starts on it just a month or two ahead of time.  Some of the items over the years include...a horseshoe coat rack, a barbecue utensil tree, a beautifully painted Texas flag on sheet metal, handmade crosses of many varieties, quilts, recipe books, poems, calendars, dishwasher magnets to determine clean/dirty, shelves, pottery, a record mobile, food items, picture collages or albums, a cd of nature sounds my uncle recorded, napkins, dishtowels, a beautifully crafted box to hold nuts(and tools to crack them), picture frames, framed mirrors, and a myriad of other things.  These are the things we hold dear, because they hold a memory of the people we love.  It is not just that we received something, or that it was made with much thought and care put into it, but that it was made by someone we love, and we know they made these things out of love to share with us.  It is the most beautiful and cherished tradition we have.

Merry Christmas from our house to yours.  May you truly be blessed.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Progress Shock

I've counted my quilts.  I'm more than surprised.  New post about it soon...but I don't want to spoil a Christmas surprise, so it will be posted with links after Christmas.  I've also found some things that never got posted, so you might see those soon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Basting. The end.

 Are you a crazy baster like me?

When I baste I use a LOT of pins.  Over 200 for this twin-ish sized gift, and that was really taking it easy and trying to space them out so I'd have enough to finish.  I always run out of big pins about 3/4 the way through and moan and groan about using medium size pins.  Then when those run out...I just stare at the project and fight myself about using the small, i.e. tiny and made for dolls fingers.  My husband who loves me very much bought me 150 new shiny Giant Safety Pins!!!!  I told him he didn't need to because they were almost $10.  He did it anyway.  I was giddy.  They are so smooth to use, and I'm so thrilled that I won't have to even think about using those horrible tiny pins anymore.  The mediums are still waiting in the wings just in case I have an overflow project that needs something, but...well, that will be okay.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cheap Sheets, and a Bible Cover

 A pile of fabric from Goodwill...$10 worth.  I think they were sheets, but they will become quilts...eventually. It may not look like much in the picture, but that pile was up to my knees!

A work in was supposed to be done before Christmas, it's close, but it needs to be basted and quilted.  And really, it looks different than this now because I added sashing between the blocks.

More potholders that have been gifted.

This is a bible cover made for my grandmother using a Dresden Plate for either side and braided handles.

As I said before....I've been REALLY busy.  Even little projects take time.  And soon you'll get to see the big projects that have taken most of my time.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sneak Peek

 Here is a sneak peek at some Christmas gifts.  You'll get to see the final projects after they've been gifted.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just for Me!

This is a quilt I made all for me.  It's a footie quilt.  Single person size, just tall enough for me to use when I want to snuggle on the sofa, or in the recliner, and keep my feet warm.  When I don't want to use the footie pocket, there are snaps to keep it closed.  I love it's simplicity and it's beautifully colorful holiday fabrics.
The line of printed fabrics are where the pocket snaps closed.  The white fabric is super snuggly flannel.  I just quilted 1/4 inch on either side of the seaming.  This was a very quick project I did back in October to get ready for the cooler weather.  It is slightly smaller than a twin size quilt, but large enough to tuck under myself when sitting in a chair.  It has been well loved.

Christmas -Pot Holders

Tuna Salad

I know everyone has their own tried and true recipe for tuna salad, but have always loved the way my dad makes it, so I thought I'd share our recipe with you. 
2 large cans tuna in water(drained)
2 Tbs. finely chopped sweet or purple onions
1-2 roma tomatoes diced
2-3 Tbs. sweet relish
2 Tbs. (10-20 slices)dill pickle slices(finely chopped)
1 tsp. celery salt
3 Tbs. mayonaise
2-3 tsp. yellow mustard
2-3 tsp. ranch dressing
3-4 hard boiled eggs chopped

Mix all ingredients together, chill, and serve on your favorite bread as sandwiches. Serves 4-6.  Adjust mayo, mustard, and ranch according to taste.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

No more posts....well nevermind

Every time I've started to write a new post over the last few days, I see the number of posts I've written and suddenly hear a small band of brothers loudly chanting in my ear " no more posts!, no more posts!, no more posts!!" over and over and over. Today I break it, and even as I write this I hear a collective, "awe man!" in my head.  Oh well.