Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bits & Pieces

Hi there, everyone! Sorry, the blog is not getting much luv this week.... there is a lot going on, but I fear that it's nothing you'd be interested in seeing or hearing about! My husband and I have taken apart the guest room upstairs and we're getting ready to paint. There are boxes of Ikea furniture waiting to be assembled. It's not worth showing you the "before" photos without the "after" photos!

I have mentioned a couple of times that I am re-doing my website and blog. It is fun and exciting and nerve-wracking! I think it's going to look really great, but there's so much to do and it's a little overwhelming. Plus, I always have a fear that the minute I get something done, I will think of something I should have done differently. (Remember I mentioned that when I was talking about the pressure I was putting on myself regarding my book? Yeah....) Anyway, the new website will be up around the first week in May. And the book is nearing the finish line- I just have some technical stuff to do now.

There are some major changes coming to my business! There is a lot of stuff I have been thinking about since last fall.... I have talked to a couple of "smarties" in the creative and professional worlds, plus I have been driving my family crazy with questions.... Should I do this? Should I do that? Do you think this would work? Why do you think that isn't working???? And of course praying and meditating on it. I think I'm headed in the right direction.... but I guess I won't know for sure until I jump in, right? In a few days, I'll share some of my thoughts and new ideas with you...

Now for some fun news- I will once again be on Pat Sloan's American Patchwork & Quilting Radio Show. Tune in at 4 pm EST on Monday March 4 by clicking here.

If you've never listened to the show, you really should give it a try. The guests are always so interesting and come from so many different sides of the quilting and creative worlds- I think that even if you're not necessarily a quilter, but a person who enjoys creativity, you will get something out of it.

On March 4, I will be on the show with Quilts for Kids Founding President Linda Arye. Below is a picture of me and Linda taken at Quilt Market.

Finally, Mary on Lake Pulaski is giving away my Happy Town fabric- so click here to enter!

By the way, have you picked up your FREE pattern for the Happy Town fabric line? You can get the PDF by clicking here.

So what are you doing this week? Something fun and creative? Maybe some stuff around the house that just needs to get done?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Settler's Pride Wool BOM & Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks

I finally finished the main portion of the Settler's Pride wool quilt that I have been working on since 2009! (Last December I talked about "re-booting" this project- click here for that post and to see the individual blocks.)

(This is the same photo from when I had prepped the quilt- it looks exactly the same now that it's stitched, minus the pins.)

I spent last weekend prepping the top and bottom borders (cut out all the pieces and pinned them to the background). I really dislike the prepping part, but now that is ALL done! All that is left is stitching the borders (the fun part). I told my husband that after working on this quilt for over 3 years, I am limping toward the finish line! (One of the borders has the date on it- and I couldn't decide if I should use the year I started- 2009- or the year that I finished it. I ended up using 2013- so I definitely have to get it done this year ha ha. I'm committed!)

What keeps you from finishing a project? Do you lose interest? Do you have so many things going on at the same time that you forget about them? Do you have a certain part of the process where you get "stuck" and have a hard time moving forward? And what do you do to get yourself to finish up those UFO's (UnFinished Objects)??

Moving on.... Look what I got in the mail the other day- the Spring 2013 issue of Quilts from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. 

I have a quilt featured in this issue, called Tutti-Frutti. It was adapted from my Neapolitan block, which appeared in Volume 4 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. For the Neapolitan block, I used pinks, browns, and creams.

For the Tutti-Frutti quilt, I used "juicy" fabrics from my Fruitful Hands fabric line (available at Fat Quarter shop.)

Look for this issue on newsstands in the beginning of March! It's a really great issue- lots of pretty, colorful, cheerful springtime quilt ideas! The nice folks at Quiltmaker magazine sent me a couple of extra copies, so stop back soon for a giveaway :)

Daughter & I are starting to talk about the next issue of the newsletter. It will have a spring theme. I have a cute idea for a cookie recipe- do you have any ideas for craft or decorating projects? What would you like to see in the next issue?? Let us know!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I have been working (and working and working….) on my first e-book, called Child’s Play. In my newsletter, I advertised that it would be out “around February 21.” Boy, am I glad I wrote “around”! My daughter questioned me on that- “Shouldn’t we just say February 21?” 
“No,” I told her. “Trust me. ‘Around’ is fine, and it is appropriate….”

Actually my original goal date was February 7, but I thought, I’ll give myself 2 extra weeks, that should be fine. More than enough time.


I keep coming up with ideas to make it better. I keep thinking of things to add. I want it to be just right. I won’t say I want it to be perfect- because I know that as soon as I hit the send button I will think of something else I should have done differently.

The truth is…. It’s just not ready yet, and I don’t want to put it out there simply to stay on schedule. I want it to be great. I want it to be, like, the best book you’ve ever read! OK so it’s not Shakespeare and I’m not Martha Stewart, but you know what I mean.

I am struggling to not put pressure on myself. Most of the stress that I feel every day is self-induced, based on expectations that I place on myself. I think of everything that I want to do and everything that I think I should do and everything I could do if only there were 10 more of me….. and I get so overwhelmed. Last night I was making a list of things that I “needed” to do by the end of the week, and I started to hyperventilate a little. How in the world was it all going to get done??? And then I stopped and asked myself- what will happen if you don’t get any of it done? Will the world end? Probably not. Will you get fired? (Only if I fire myself, which, trust me, has crossed my mind on occasion….) Will God or your family or friends stop loving you? Absolutely not.

Now, I do have things that would be prudent to take care of- for example, I have paid someone a rather large sum of money to help me build a new website. So I should work on that, so I don’t throw that money down the toilet. And I probably should try to get this book done in a reasonable amount of time…. But the world won’t stop spinning if I don’t.  (And of course there’s the pressure of: once it’s done, will anybody actually buy it?? But that is angst for another day….)

So today I am taking myself out for lunch at a cute café with lovely salads and free wi-fi and I will probably just hang out. And I will probably get myself one of those fancy 4,000 calorie drinks (with whipped cream, thank you very much.)

And I won’t feel bad about it. Not one little bit. (OK, honestly, maybe I’ll feel a little guilty about it, but I’m working on that.)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bacon & Mushroom Breakfast Casserole

When daughter had her birthday party last week, I knew the girls would wake up starving (all that giggling works up an appetite, you know.) For breakfast I wanted to make something that could be done ahead, and a breakfast casserole was the perfect solution. I actually made it 2 days ahead, popped it in the fridge, and just put it in the oven in the morning. I served it with fresh fruit and a box of purchases mini-danish.

The great thing about this is that you can take the basic recipe and substitute your favorite ingredients. (Remember what fun we had coming up with ideas for the Stromboli-Like Thing last week???) You could substitute peppers or artichokes or spinach for the mushroom, maybe use canned chilies and tomatoes and cheddar cheese for a Mexican theme, substitute cubed ham or cooked sausage for the bacon..... Just use anything you have on hand.

Here is the recipe for this version:

1 pound bacon
1 onion, chopped
10 package sliced mushrooms
1 large loaf Italian bread, cubed
12 eggs, lightly beaten
3 T. milk or cream
8 oz. package shredded Italian cheese blend (Provolone, Mozzarella & Asiago), or any other cheese

In large skillet, cook bacon until crisp and crumble. Place bacon in large bowl.
Drain fat from pan but do not wipe pan clean. Saute onion until translucent; transfer to bowl with bacon.
Saute mushrooms until tender; add to bowl with bacon and onions.

Spray a large shallow casserole dish (about 9 x 14) with cooking spray. Add bread cubes.
Mix together bacon, onions, mushrooms, eggs and milk. Pour evenly over bread cubes. Sprinkle with cheese. At this point casserole may be covered and refrigerated.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole for 50 minutes, covered. Remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes until center is done and cheese is browned.

Makes 8-10 servings.

We got so many yummy ideas for our Stromboli-Like Thing last week- has anyone made a breakfast casserole similar to this? Any other suggestions?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wonky House Quilt Block Tutorial

wonky  (ˈwɒŋkɪ) 
— adj  , -kier -kiest
1.shaky or unsteady
2.not in correct alignment; askew

Happy Valentine's Day!

(OK, now that we've gotten that out of the way...) I have wanted to make a "Wonky House" block for quite a while- I think they are so cute and fun!  I have made just two blocks so far- I just LOVE how they came out! I would love to make a whole pile for a quilt. But if I don't have time, I think this would make a really cute pillow or wall hanging.

I like the extra scrappiness that the Log Cabin block adds to my little house. The Log Cabin Block can be just a little wonky, or super-wonky, whichever you prefer.

This tutorial will show you how to make the Wonky Log Cabin, and then how to turn it into a house block. Let's get started!

This will make a 12 1/2" block (12" finished size.) You will need various scraps of fabric. I used fabric from my Happy Town fabric line. You will also need fabric for the background- I used white but you can use any solid or tonal.

  • Scraps- strips should about 2-3" wide. (You can cut the strips ahead of time, or just cut them as you go.)
  • Background- 2 pieces 3 1/2 x 7 1/2"
  •                       1 piece 7 x 15"
  • Roof fabric- 4 1/2 x 8 1/2"

Start with a square about 2 1/2" big- it doesn't even have to be a perfect square. Trim one side off on an angle. (The bigger the angle, the "wonkier" the block will be.)

Sew a strip of fabric to the angled side. Press and then trim excess fabric.

Turn block 90 degrees and sew another strip to the side.

Trim excess fabric, following the edge of the existing block.

I wanted the yellow strip to be a little narrower, and I wanted my block to be a little more wonky, so I trimmed it off at an angle.

Continue turning the block 90 degrees and sewing on strips, cutting edges at an angle as desired.

Continue until block is at least 7 x 8" big. When you get to this point, don't worry about the excess fabric because we will be trimming the block anyway. (At this point- you could just trim it to the desired size and use it as a Log Cabin block, or continue to make the House block.)

Trim the block to 6 1/2 x 7 1/2".

Sew background fabric (3 1/2 x 7 1/2") to either side of the block.

For the roof, start from the bottom corner and cut up to top, then make another cut from remaining bottom corner. (The angle doesn't matter as long as your cuts go from the bottom corners to the top edge.)

Place 7 x 15" piece of background fabric right side up on table. Place roof triangle right side up on background fabric.

Cut the background fabric, using the roof as a guide.

Discard the background triangle under the roof fabric.
Place shape A right sides together with roof triangle and sew together.

Press. Sew shape B to other side of roof.

Press. Trim bottom edge so it is even with roof bottom.

Sew roof to block. Trim block to 12 1/2".

PS Please stop by A Quilt & A Prayer blog- Teresa is giving away Happy Town Fabric- and look what she's been making (didn't it come out cute??):

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Wonky Cakes & Wonky Quilt Blocks

Daughter celebrated her 18th birthday over the weekend (18! She's 18, folks! How did that happen??)
She had a party for some of her friends- it was very fun, and very loud. She made a birthday cake, but when she frosted it, it just started to collapse. I guess the icing was too heavy (cream cheese....) We watched it just crack and start to fall, powerless to stop its imminent demise: 
We tried putting skewers in it to hold it together but that seemed to make it worse! 

So we had just an hour till the party was to start... What were we to do?
We picked it up and plopped it into a large trifle bowl, sprinkled it with chocolate chips and sprinkles, and stuck a candle in it. Voila! Cake bowl!
To be honest, I think it was even better this way because the icing mixed in with the cake... We might do this again some time- on purpose!

Today I am working on a Wonky Log Cabin Block. This is what I have so far:
I have never made a wonky block before (well, not on purpose!), but I've been wanting to give it a try for a long time. I'm going to keep on working on it... I have special plans for the block when I'm done, so stop back later this week to see how it turns out.

I tend to be a Type A, driven perfectionist- I like things to be a certain way, and I like everything to go as planned. But Life isn't perfect, is it? Sometimes you have to embrace the wonkiness and just go with it.... And sometimes it's fun to be wonky on purpose, just for fun. What have been some of your best "mistakes"?? Was it a project in the sewing room? A recipe that "failed" but still came out great?

PS Barb at Bejeweled Quilts is giving away some of my fabric- please stop by and say Hi and enter to win, and see the cute projects she has been working on.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Un-Recipe : A Stromboli-Like Thing

I remember when I was a kid, my grandmother would always make Pepperoni Bread for special occasions and it would get gobbled up... She never showed me how to make it, but I think it was basically frozen dough, provolone cheese and sliced pepperoni all rolled up and baked, kind of like a stromboli. Last week I had some pizza dough in the freezer, but no provolone or pepperoni. Hmmm..... what to do, what to do.....

I scrounged around in the fridge and found some cheddar cheese and turkey... but it needed something for flavor because turkey is a little blah compared to pepperoni... How about some hot pepper relish? Yeah, that's the ticket.... And some cream cheese to hold it all together....

So this is what I did:

  • Defrosted frozen pizza dough according to the package directions.
  • Mixed the cream cheese with the pepper relish.
  • Rolled the dough into a rectangular-ish/oval-ish shape.
  • Spread cream cheese pepper mixture over dough. Placed turkey slices on top, then sprinkled the whole thing with shredded cheddar cheese.

  • Rolled it up and tucked the ends over the seam.

  • Placed on greased foil with seam down and cut a few slits in the top.

  • Baked at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  • Cut into slices.
  • Devoured.
If you have pizza dough in your freezer, you can roll it up and bake it with whatever you have on hand... I laid in bed last night and thought of some other combinations (yes, these things do keep me awake at night)....

  • Dijon mustard spread over dough, Swiss cheese, ham
  • Marinara sauce and mozzarella
  • Cooked ground beef or turkey, canned chilies or powdered taco seasoning mixed with cream cheese, cheddar cheese
  • Cream cheese mixed with chutney or cranberry relish, sliced turkey or chicken, maybe even some leftover stuffing?? (oooh that sounds good....)
  • Of course.... pepperoni and provolone

Do you have any other ideas for fillings? Do you have an ingredient or two that you always keep in your freezer or pantry??

PS Don't forget about our Fabulously Stupendous Giveaway going on this week.... click here to enter.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Throwback Post: A Romantic Idea

This post originally appeared on my blog in February of 2012.

Daughter and her fiance were many miles apart on Valentine's Day, and she had a really cute, romantic idea. I could not show the idea before Valentine's Day, because I didn't want to ruin the surprise for her fiance. But you could use this idea for a birthday or any other special occasion. 

Daughter found a simple recipe that both she and her fiance could make on Valentine's Day. She typed up the recipe and made it into a pretty booklet using scrapbook paper, ribbon, etc. She mailed it to her fiance with directions not to open it until the morning of Valentine's Day.

She also arranged for the delivery of the required groceries to him on Valentine's Day. Then they cooked and ate dinner "together" via Skype on Valentine's Day.

Isn't that cute??

PS Don't for the giveaway going on this week! Great prize :)  Click here to enter.
Also, visit Lily Pad Quilting to see what Snoodles has made with my Fruitful Hands fabric :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails