Monday, April 29, 2013

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 7 Blog Hop!

It's the very first day of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 7 Blog Hop! Yippee! Read to the end of this post to see how to win a copy of your own....

Please check out Quilty Pleasures blog, by the wonderful folks at Quiltmaker Magazine, to see other features regarding this issue and blog hop.

This is the block that I designed for this issue, called Candy Stripe:

For the sample block for the magazine, I used my Fruitful Hands fabric line (shown above). But I also tried making a block using my Oh Holy Night fabric line:

I got the name for the block because it kind of reminded me of a wrapped candy for some reason

and also because, it is obviously striped.

You could arrange these blocks in a couple of different ways:

 All blocks going in same direction.

 Rotating alternating blocks 90 degrees creates a cool pattern.

Adding sashing really looks neat.

Blocks set on point.

Blocks set on point with the addition of sashing.

All of the above designs were done with the Christmas fabric. Here is one done with Fruitful Hands, which is more Spring-y/ Summer-y:

Speaking of Spring-y/ Summer-y things... what did everyone think of our latest e-magazine which went out last week? I hope you tried the cookie recipe- they were so good :)
 Haven't seen it yet?? Click here.

(What? You don't have your free subscription yet? Click here to sign up.)

OK... so I know this is the moment you've been waiting for....

Quiltmaker is giving away a copy of their magazine! You can enter up to 3 times.

  • Comment on this post and answer this question-

When do you normally start working on your Christmas/holiday projects:

A) I'm an over-achiever. I start working on them on December 26 and have them finished by June.
B) Slow and steady wins the race. I work on them all year round and pretty much have them done by Christmas week.
C) I start on December 15 and fuel myself with espresso, Red Bull and dark chocolate, baby!! Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!!

  • For one more extra chance to win, post a direct link to this post on your blog and leave the link to your post in the comments here.

You must comment by 11:59 pm EDT on Sunday, May 5. Winner will be drawn at random.
I MUST BE ABLE TO CONTACT YOU THROUGH AN EMAIL ADDRESS OR GOOGLE ACCOUNT. If I draw your name and you are a "no-reply blogger" and there is no email address in your comment, I will choose another winner.

Good luck!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day will be upon us, very soon.... (I can't believe it's almost May- I just got used to it being April. I'm afraid that I'm going to turn around and it will be Labor Day and I will have missed the whole summer!)
Anyway.... Have you seen the wool pins on my website? Making these wool pins is actually how my whole business got started... I haven't mentioned them here on my blog in quite a while, but we just added some new pins to our online-store and I thought I'd let you know in case you are kind of new here....

I make all of the pins by hand- cut out the wool by hand, make the yo-yo's and message buttons for the center, embroider the veins on the leaves, sew them together by hand.... I have even hand-dyed much of the wool myself...

Here is what's really cool about these pins- all of the profits are donated to charity! The money goes to purchasing sheep for poor families all around the world! Families can become self-sustaining by selling wool and milk from the sheep at market. As the sheep have lambs, the lambs can also be sold. As the flock gets larger, some families are able to employ other people from their village- thereby not just helping their own family, but the whole community....

(You can read a little more about my story here and here.)

So far, we have been able to donate almost 100 sheep! We have also been able to use some of our profits to purchase sewing machines for girls and widows in the country of Benin, in Africa. I am in touch with some missionaries there who run a school for girls who have run away from abusive marriages or abusive family situations, or to avoid arranged-marriages to much older men. They also help widows who can not support themselves. The girls and women are taught sewing, business skills, and life skills. The girls receive a sewing machine when they graduate from the program, so that they can start a sewing business. The widows are able to receive micro-loans to start businesses.

If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a day. 
If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for his whole life.

Will you please consider purchasing a wool pin or two from our website- they make wonderful Mother's Day gifts. The packaging card has a story about how the money is donated to charity. Each pin is one of a kind- so if you see one you like, buy it quickly because there will not be another like it :)

Please order no later than May 3 for delivery by Mother's Day.

Thanks for your support and have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Photos of Spring: Yellow

In the latest issue of our beautiful e-magazine, which was sent out last week, we celebrated Purple:

Today, a little mini-celebration of another favorite color....

Seen on a recent walk on my street, Yellow is popping all around:

 wild rabe



street in front of my house

Happy Spring :)

P.S. We are still working on the new website and blog and we are nearing the finish line! Stay tuned....

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Happy Town Happenings

A GIGANTIC THANK YOU to everyone who participated in our quilt contest for Quilts for Kids. The contest required that the quilts be made with my Happy Town fabric- all of my profits from this fabric line will be donated to Quilts for Kids. I will be heading up to the Quilts for Kids headquarters in a couple of weeks to see the wonderful quilts that were submitted into the contest. The winning quilts will be displayed at International Quilt Market in May. ALL of the quilts will be distributed to seriously ill children by the Quilts for Kids organization.

Speaking of Happy Town fabric.... I also wanted to show you some fabulous projects that folks have been making with my Happy Town fabric.

Needled Mom

Mary On Lake Pulaski

Barb at Bejeweled Quilts

Also by Barb at Bejeweled Quilts

Connie at Free Motion by the River

Snoodles at Lilypad Quilting made this great quilt with the panel from the fabric line.

(Make sure you click on the links to see more photos of the projects.) 
I think these projects will inspire you to get into your sewing room- I know they have inspired me!!! 
Now let's go make something :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cute Baby Animals & "Poodles" that aren't what they seem.....

This is a "cheater" post, folks. That's right- just a bunch of cute and/or strange photos shamelessly parading as actual content for a blog post.

First, just to get the ball rolling, baby porcupines:

(everyone all together: awwwwwwe!!!)

Next, a dwarf miniature pony. That's right, as if miniature ponies weren't cute enough, Koda also happened to be born as a dwarf:

Finally, this story was recently in the news: a man in Argentina was duped into paying $150 each for what he thought were poodles, but were actually ferrets pumped up on steroids and groomed to look like poodles (or not- you decide.)

Have a happy week :)

PS The newsletter will be coming out this week. To see our previous issue, click here. To see a preview of the next issue, click here.
To get your FREE subscription, sign up in the top right sidebar of this blog. You will love it, guaranteed. (OK since it's free we really can't guarantee it- but you will. Honest.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April/May Newsletter Preview! New Fabric Line Preview!!

Hi there! I hope everyone is doing well. The weather here has been crazy- just 2 weeks ago, my daughter was home from school due to a late-season snow storm, and today it is going all the way to 85 degrees! And while we are basking in the sun and heat here on the East Coast of the U.S., I hear that some parts of the country are having record snow and ice right now!! But I do love the warm weather, I have all the windows open and I'm enjoying the heat. I am a little disappointed that tomorrow it is going to be seasonably cooler, with highs only in the 60's...

My daughter, husband, and I are working feverishly to get the next issue of the newsletter done... I am *hoping* it will go out next week. Here is just some of what you will find in this issue:

Plus, be the very first to see my newest fabric line which will debut at Spring International Quilt Market in May! (That's right- you can see it even before the shop owners will be able to order it at the  trade show....)

If you would like a FREE subscription to the newsletter, please sign up at the top right sidebar of this blog. To see previous issues of the newsletter, click here.

Are you already a subscriber to the newsletter? Tell us what is your favorite thing about it!

Many of you know, because I've mentioned it a few times, that I am redoing my blog and website. For the most part, the fun part (i.e. the colors, design, etc.) is done, and now it's time for the hard part- getting together all of the copy (text), photos, etc. It will take up a good amount of my time over the next week or so, so I will be "recycling" some older blog posts (hey, recycling is good for the environment, right??) So please stick with me as we get the new site up and running....

Monday, April 8, 2013

"Making Do" in the Kitchen: 101 Uses for Your Ice Cube Trays

{Okay, so it's really more like, 8 Uses for Your Ice Cube Trays... but still... I bet you will find an idea or two here that you hadn't thought of ....}

When we moved into our house about 10 1/2 years ago, we were lucky to find that the refrigerator/freezer that came with it had an automatic ice maker, so these guys got thrown to the back of a cabinet.

Fast forward all those years later... I pulled those trays out of the cabinet, ran them through the dishwasher (yeah, all those years in the back of the cabinet had left them pretty dusty), and started of thinking of all the things I could use them for, besides making ice cubes with standard H2O.

The little "compartment" of an ice cube tray will hold about 1 tablespoon. For all of these ideas, place the food in the tray, freeze, pop them out, then store in plastic bags in your freezer.

Don't you hate it when you need just a tablespoon of tomato paste, and then the rest of the can goes to waste before you get a chance to use it? Simply put the leftovers into cube trays & freeze. Now you can use a tablespoon or 2 of tomato paste whenever you need it, without worrying about how to use up what's leftover. (I have bought the tomato paste in a tube before, and while it's convenient when you need just a small amount, it's quite a bit more expensive than buying the cans when they are on sale.)

That bunch of cilantro in the above photo was hanging out in the fridge, too, with nowhere to go. I had bought a bunch of cilantro to make salsa, but only used about half of it. A great way to use up fresh herbs is to make a "pesto" (traditionally made with basil, but it's the same idea.) Put the herbs in a blender or food processor with a little water and/or oil and make a paste. Spoon into the trays and freeze. Voila- a freezer stocked with "fresh" herbs (which taste a whole lot better than the jars of dried herbs, anyway.)

Making a recipe which calls for egg whites or egg yolks only, and don't want to throw the rest out? Place the leftover whites or yolks in the trays and freeze. Each compartment in the ice cube tray will fit one yolk perfectly, or the white of a medium egg. I found that they didn't just pop right out of the tray, so I ran the bottom of the tray under a little warm water and used a knife to loosen the edges.

If milk or cream is about to turn, place in ice cube trays and freeze- then pop one into your morning coffee or tea. (You may want to fill the trays only about 1/3 - 1/2 full if you don't use a full tablespoon of milk or cream in your coffee.)

Here is a trick I picked up from Trader Joe's- I purchased their frozen mashed potatoes and found that the potatoes in the bag were frozen little squares or nuggets. Place your leftover mashed potatoes in ice cube trays to freeze, and then you can take out exactly as many portions as you need. Great for single servings!

Make juice cubes instead of regular ice cubes for your summer iced teas and cocktails- it will flavor rather than dilute your beverage as it melts. Try the same idea with leftover coffee and make cubes for your iced coffee.

Freeze leftover broth, stock, or wine and place a cube or two in sauces and gravies or other favorite recipes as they cook.

I'm sure there are many other things to use your ice cube trays for- Please share your ideas and tips with us in the comments!


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