Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Apple Walnut Salad

I know what you're thinking... how is this quilt related?  Ok, I can answer that!  I needed a quick, beautiful, light, healthy, tasty salad to take to a BBQ/potluck.  Quick is the key since I was in the middle of a quilt and needed to get back to my machine.  See?  Quilt-related!

Salad is much tastier than may appear in this poorly-photographed picture!


Healthy alternative to heavy fruit salads~
Very easy to make and looks very festive!

Source: unknown Maine Quilter
Makes 6 cups

3 large   Apples (red or green, your preference but pretty if you add both)
               Celery, chopped
1C          Ocean Spray Craisins® Sweetened Dried Cranberries
1C          Chopped walnuts
1-8 oz.   Plain (not French- ) vanilla yogurt

Using an apple slicer, core & slice apples into wedges (leaving the skins intact).  Dice wedges into bite-sized pieces.  Treat diced apples with lemon juice to prevent oxidation/discoloration.

Add chopped celery, cranberries, and walnuts.  Blend in yogurt and add cinnamon to taste. Transfer to a clear, glass bowl.

Chill until serving.  This salad will last a few days in the refrigerator, and this recipe divides easily for smaller servings. 

Makes 6 cups = 1 large glass mixing bowl.



Monday, June 27, 2011

Quilts for Kaaren

Did you notice the "Quilts for Kaaren" button on the left?  Allie-Oops and friends are organizing a signature block drive for Kaaren of the Painted Quilt.  Kaaren, undergoing some health problems, is a generous quilter - you may have seen her adorable (and free) Raggedy Ann & Andy BOM on her site.

If you'd like to donate a simple square-in-square signature block, click here to see Allie's tutorial.  Allie would like to receive your blocks by July 15th.

Be part of the amazing quilting community that always supports - always gives back!


P.s. While on Allie's site, make sure you download the pattern to the absolutely adorable embroidery, the Sheltering Tree.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Village Quilt Shoppe + Milestone

WOW!  Can you believe it?  100th post!  I wasn't sure when I started this in January if I'd have enough to say (my family would dispute this - they're sure I can't be stopped!).  To date, I've had 4,178 visits to my blog - wow!  Thank you to all my new friends and all my old friends who have stuck around :)

Today I wanted to share a little gem tucked away in Lake Orion, MI called The Village Quilt Shoppe.  It's 25 miles north of Detroit and prominently located in Canterbury Village.

Owned by Carolyn Vagts and opened in 2004, this store is as comfortable as the location is quaint.  It contains a variety of everything: Dr. Seuss, Orientals, batiks, reproduction fabrics, novelties, holiday (bought some great patriotic fabrics today!), retros, solids, polka dot, animal prints, silks, wools, Moda, Kauffman, Riley Blake.  Too much to list here!  It's the type of store that is great for starting new projects but also for locating just that one piece of fabric your quilt is missing.  Many of the fabrics I find here I don't see at other stores.

I especially like this store because everyone is so friendly and smiling - and not because they get paid for it!  As I was ogling their book display, I heard from behind me, "good thing about in here is that you're allowed to touch!"  They are also very community minded.  They are collecting handmade doll quilts, Christmas stockings and food donations for Lighthouse of Oakland County.

If you get a chance, stop in!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gadget Time - Rotary Blades

Shhhh..... I'm going to tell you a secret.... but you can't tell anyone, 'kay?  We can't let a good thing get out, can we?  Ok, here it is.... I bought 20 rotary cutting blades (+ outrageous shipping) for $23!  Uh huh! Let me introduce you to my new friend, Harbor Freight Tools*.

I belong to an online quilt guild called Quiltnet (been a proud member for over a dozen years), and, back in February, someone mentioned HFT.  Now, I was skeptical.... 2 - 45mm blades for $1.99 a package?  How good can they be?  Well, others spoke up and the secret was out!  Their "carpet cutter blades" fit our Olfas!  I ordered 10 packages (20 blades) and (with my coupon - they have coupons everywhere!) plus shipping paid less than $23.

Item #     Description

Someone said they thought these blades may dull faster than Olfa, but I haven't noticed that.  Hey, for a few bucks, it's worth a try, right?

While I'm at it, look what arrived in the mail this week.  This is Alexander Henry's line, The Ghastlies!*  From my understanding, it was released last year and they re-released it this year due to demand. This is my favorite one in the line:

Can't wait to see what trouble I can get into with this line!

Happy Stitching!

*I'm not affiliated with Harbor Freight Tools or Alexander Henry fabrics.  These are just my opinion!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Starting Monday night the Emancipation Proclamation was on display for 36 straight hours at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, MI.

This is my sister and nephew waiting patiently (Dad and sister-in-law know to duck the camera!).  Only took us 5 hours 15 minutes to reach that famed document! Even with 30 seconds to view it (at 2am!), it was worth it!

Big shout-out to my fellow 12,000+ Michiganders for waiting so patiently, laughing in the lines, saving places for strangers, sharing a moment of history.  They really showed their mettle.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Tis the Season Block 9

Wow! Can't believe I've completed 9 already! I'm all caught up for June in my Tis The Season QAL. If you get a chance, click the sidebar and visit the incredible work completed by the rest of the group!

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

May Birdie Stitches

Ok, I'm catching up! Here's May, and I'll start June's tonight. Just have to add my sashing for June's Tis the Season!

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Embroidery Kits

Have I mentioned how much I'm loving my BOMs? That is one of the most fabulous surprises when I started to follow quilt blogs - BOM groups and free patterns! Luckily I decided early on that I can't participate in everything (even though I really, really want to join that Farmer's Wife Flickr group - control, girlfriend!)
I have been saving patterns for one day... And have joined in a few. I really do feel they've enriched my life and made me re-think my methods. I've learned SO much and they've really motivated me to finish some projects for myself!
A friend asked me how I keep track of all the different embroidery BOMs (I have several embroidery samplers in progress and I'm LOVING my Tis the Season and Birdie Stitches!) and I told her I have a kit for each project.
For each project, I have a Ziploc bag with floss, needles (note those wonderful Bohin #7 embroidery needles I bought from Raspberry Rabbit), scissors, tea tin (for thread snips) and index card. That index card is most important:
Each card contains the project name, start and end date (on back), motif, number of strands, stitch type, and floss number. It will also note floss source, sashing measurement, embellishments ("fill apples with French knots"), make/color of background fabrics, etc. For my Tis the Season, one card will last the entire project. For Birdie Stitches, where motifs/colors change monthly, I'll make a new one each month.
This way, I can pick up and work on any kit at any time without worrying about accidentally deviating from my original game plan. At the end of the project, I'll file away the card; if I decide later to make a stand-alone project, I can pull out my card for later reference.
If you get a chance, visit Tis and Birdie and see all the fabulous work these ladies have already completed! I'm hoping to post my June blocks this weekend.
Happy Stitching!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hoping With My Fingers Crossed

I may have some good news - seems like there might be a temporary reprieve at the closing of my part-time job.  I'm remaining cautious but hope to hear more soon!

Took this photo on my lunch break today with my Hipstamatic app.  It reminds me of my mood - hopeful!

I'm hoping to have some completed stitching to share with you this weekend.  I'm actually catching up!

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Roll Call - Summer Edition

I love the internet because I’ve seen so many cool things recently.  If you haven’t visited yet, you should stop by Quilters Blog, which is a roll call of 1600+ quilt blogs daily.
In the last few months, I’ve seen some exceptional tutorials and fabulous freebies.   So in today’s post I wanted to take a few moments to share my favorites with you!  P.s. I have no tried all of these but I’m intrigued!
Postage Stamp Quilt Along – I’m doing this!
Scrappy Bunny and Chick dolls – quick and simple for Easter
Witch’s Feet - Applique Tutorial with pattern  

This list is not all-inclusive and doesn’t include many of the amazing blocks-of-the-months out there.  Maybe I’ll do a BOM Roll Call another day!  If you missed my last Roll Call, you can see it here. 
Happy quilting!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Another Bump in the Road....

... Or just a chance at another scenic view?

I have both a full- and a part-time job (at both of them for 10+ years). Just heard that my part-time position is in the process of being closed due to corporate bankruptcy (fancy way of saying "we're getting the boot"). I'm not going to disclose the company - they've treated me well for a decade. It was the choice of their creditors. But, any way you look at it, it hurts.

What do YOU do during economic uncertainty? I think I'm the average quilter - I went into my quilt room and sat amidst my stash :) Kind of like Opus (of Bloom County fame) sitting in his dandelion patch -LOL. Can you envision it?

My brother sent an email reminding me that I've gone through life changes before and always landed safely on my feet (at ages 11, 21, 31, and 41 - what's up with that?!?) I wanted to reply, "yes, but the knees weren't so old!" Ok, now that I've stopped moping in the muslin and put on my 'big girl panties', I've got my second wind.

Every morning since my "31" crisis, I think of a "Happy Thought" that gets me through my day. Here's this week's quilt-related list:

  • I have enough fabric to get me to 51 or 61
  • Heaven help us - I may try appliqué again
  • I may find time to work off some of those fat quarters, honey buns and layer cakes!
  • I may actually finish some UFO's and and try those tutorials
  • My cats don't care if money's tight - they get to see more of me

So, I'll let you know how it goes. Luckily I have an AMAZING family behind me (gently shoving me in the direction I need to go!) This may also be the opening I've needed to enjoy some new adventures!

With the potential of 20% of my income going bye-bye, I may have to re-think some things. For the rest of the year, with batting & backing so expensive, I'm going to count a "finished" top as a FINISH and check it off my sidebar.

As I tell my Dad, at least I have stitching to keep me sane and out of trouble!

Take care and count your blessings,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It Was a Dark and Humid Night

Snoopy would be so proud of this reference -LOL!

I live in Fabulous, Fashionable Ferndale, Michigan (a quick two-step from the northern Detroit border). It seems like myself and most of my fellow Michiganians (or, Michiganders, depending) are running their a.c. tonight. There's not alot of power to go around. I've already blown several fuses (yes, I still have those) and the lights are not at full brilliance. So, I unplugged my TV, my a.c., my computer, and my sewing machine.

Luckily, minutes before I plugged in my last spare fuse, I was able to transfer my May Birdie Stitches embroidery, my June Birdie Stitches embroidery, and my second June Tis The Season Stitch-Along embroidery. They are stating that we'll have another heat advisory tomorrow so at least I'll stay on track with my BOM's.

Nothing like returning to our roots, eh? How're you surviving this heat?

Take care, Elisa

Monday, June 6, 2011

Oh, The Joy of Swapped Blocks!

I love scrap quilts - they make my heart go pitter patter. I think that's why I'm enamored with swap blocks. So many glorious fabrics all in one place. Blocks made with fabrics I don't have. Combinations of colors, patterns, styles, expertise gloriously blended together. I also enjoy the surprise in every mailed package.

Several years ago I participated in a Courthouse Steps swap all made in repro Civil War fabrics. The instructions were pretty fabulous - take 3 fat quarters and, by following the techniques and cutting instructions, you make 8 swap blocks (7 to swap and 1 to keep). As this is the Sesquicentennial of the start of the Civil War, I decided I need to put these blocks together this summer.

When I made my blocks, I was very focused on making sure they were exactly 8.5" square, seams aligned, blocks totally flat, and the best-quality fabric perfectly coordinated. Now that I'm piecing my swap blocks together, I'm smiling at all the not-so-perfect blocks I've received through the years!
> The log cabin blocks 1/2" too small with a note to steam iron it.
> The nine patch with the corner blocks 1/4" to 3/8" larger than the center squares.
> Block squares sewn on backwards.
> Selvedges peaking out of seams.
> Gaping holes where the blocks weren't joined.
> Grape juice splattered on white backgrounds.
> The time my swap partner ran out of time and mailed me the cut squares... Missing a piece!
Don't get me wrong - I've received MANY stunning blocks, but you do have to go into swapping hoping to be pleasantly surprised. What about you? Have you ever received a not-so-fab block? Did you use it? Fix it? Do share!

Let's swap stories!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Forced Quilting Hiatus

Does this thing look beautiful?  It sure does to me!

Nothing like getting a little cocky in life to have a boomerang thrown at you!  Very late on our very hot, very humid Memorial Day, I went to get some ice cream only to find it melted in the freezer.  Uh oh!

The refrigerator finally died.  On the plus side, I'm currently renting and the landlord paid for a replacement.  On the negative side, it wasn't delivered until Saturday.  Have I mentioned how hot & humid it has been lately?

The broken monster is actually housed in a little alcove blocked by a gas dryer so... had to drag everything out, unload the spoiled food, prep the room for the exchange, do the exchange (who knew they delivered at 7am?!?), and clean it all up.  Add to that my two jobs, additional work while my boss is traveling, selling books at the Chelsea Handler event at the Fox Theater, family as well as life in general.  

Well, the only one who enjoyed my quilt room this week was Ginger (she loved napping on Kate Spain's gorgeous fabric, Central Park).  Ginger has good taste!  These fabrics are for the Postage Stamp Quilt Along on p.s. i quilt's blog.  Have you seen this pattern yet?  The images & fabrics used are yummy (sorry, normally not a word you hear from my mouth but the only way I can describe it) and the technique is brilliant in its simplicity!  This is my favorite one on Flickr.

Hopefully, life will slow enough for me to get back to my 104 Civil War Courthouse Steps swapped blocks.  They're pinned - just need to move the cat from her chair to start putting it all together!

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

How many quilts does a Patchwork Princess need????

Think there's a pea in there?