Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Back from the holiday-vortex

I am back and alive from the final-exams-and-holiday-vortex! Excuse my long absence, but I have been busy making several things (some of which were special holiday gifts). So, on to the catch-up show and tell!

I finished this lovely mini quilt in December for My Favorite Little Quilt Swap on flickr. It was a wonderful swap to participate in, because participants have total freedom to create whatever strikes you! I used Elizabeth Hartman (Oh Fransson!)'s Favorite Songs pattern to make this orange and green quilt. The sashing is a kona grey (but I can't remember the exact shade name).

close up

And the best part was that I received a fabulous mini quilt in return! It was exciting waiting to see which quilt I ended up receiving, since it was a kind of blind swap. I received this gorgeous "Plus One" quilt from Lynda (littleloops). I love the back especially, where you can see the quilting in pink. 
Plus One front

Plus One back

The deadline for round 2 is January 31, and I am planning to use one of my new books to make the next one. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sneak Peek!

Just a little sneak peek of a project I've been working on for a secret swap. I'm pretty proud of this one - it came together beautifully!

After the next two weekends I hope to have several projects to share! 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Finished Mug Rug Swap

I finished (and mailed) my mug rug for round two of the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap this week! I did the remaining hand sewing in the car on the way home from Orlando, and am happy with how it turned out. Put it in the mail to my partner on Tuesday, so hopefully it will arrive safely soon. Sending mine off makes me so excited to receive one from my secret partner!

mug rug in action
It is a simple design, but I really liked the way it showcased each of the fabrics I chose for the nine-patch block. 

mug rug back
I love the fabric I used on the back. Bright and vivid.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! We are headed up to visit both of our families and I am packing some sewing projects I hope to make some progress on over the long weekend (some of which are secret projects!). Cheers, everyone!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Coasters from Kaelin & Cookies

I have been reading The Plaid Scottie, a lovely and inspiring quilting blog, for a few months now. I am always excited to see new posts from Kaelin! She recently had a giveaway, and I won! I shared my favorite fall recipe with her (Brown Butter Shortbread), and I received my wonderful package yesterday. 

I've been sick all week with strep throat, and between being in bed and studying for school, I haven't gotten any sewing done recently! My to do list is long (and getting longer) so hopefully over Thanksgiving week I can knock out some projects. 

So first, pictures of the wonderful coasters from Kaelin. She also sent a starbucks gift card, which was so sweet and thoughtful. I love everything about them - the colors and fabrics are so perfect and just my taste! 

The fronts

and the backs

So thank you, Kaelin, for such a wonderful giveaway! 

And second, I want to share the Brown Butter Shortbread recipe. I do not know where it originally comes from, as my best friend Laura made these cookies for me and shared her recipe last year. These are so good you will have to hide them from yourself - plan on sharing! Let me know if you make these cookies - I want to know if anyone loves them as much as I do...

Brown Butter Shortbread

1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Lightly grease a 9 1/2-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.  (I used a round cake pan with tin foil, leaving an overhang of foil, so you can easily lift the cookies out.)  

In a small saucepan over medium, melt the butter and continue to cook until it caramelizes and emits a nutty, butterscotch aroma.  You will notice brownflecks in the bottom of the pan as the butter deepens in color.  Be careful not to burn the butter.  Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter with the sugar, vanilla and salt.  Add the flour and mix until incorporated.  Spread the dough evenly in the prepared pan.  Let stand for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.  Do not refrigerate.  (I left it overnight, and it was awesome.)

Preheat over to 300 degrees F.

Bake the shortbread for 45 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven but leave the oven on.  Lightly sprinkle the surface of the shortbread with the sugar.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

Very carefully remove the sides of the tart pan.  (Or carefully remove the shortbread from the pan using the aluminum foil as a sling.)  Use a very sharp and thin knife to cut it into 12 wedges.  Carefully place the slices slightly apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment and return them to the oven for 15 minutes to toast lightly.  Cool on a wire rack.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I am a member of a virtual quilt bee called PBee&J, that started in September. The basic premise of a bee is that there are 12 members and it takes place over one calendar year. Each member is responsible for coordinating one month - preparing packages of fabric and instructions to send to the other participants. With this package the participants create one or more blocks, which are returned to the sender. At the end of your month, you should have 12+ blocks - enough for an entire quilt! 

It's lots of fun to be part of a virtual group like this. Not only have I "met" 11 new people, but I've also gained 11 new sources of inspiration and feedback. Making a different style block each month gives me the opportunity to try new sewing styles and techniques. So far, all three months have been blocks that I had no experience with and used skills that were new to me. So, lots of learning going on! 

September's blocks were for Patricia in Portugal. These blocks were a brand new concept for me, but were fun to make! I was very proud they turned out nicely. (I loved the bright fabrics!)

October's blocks were for Liz in Canada. They were christmas-themed wonky log cabin blocks - my first wonky blocks. 

I received November's fabric and instructions from Ashley over the weekend. We are making Little Miss Shabby's Scrapbuster #2 block, one I've been admiring. I love the look of scrappy blocks and quilts. Lots of little squares, and I am looking forward to getting started! 

Hopefully this month will be busy with sewing - I have several projects I want to complete before the holidays! 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

3x6 Bee, Third Quarter

I'm a member of  the [3 x 6] Sampler Quilt Mini Bee on Flickr, which is an inspirational and fun group! It's a variation on a traditional quilt bee (that usually lasts 12 months) - you make a 12.5" block for the other 6 members of your hive using their color selection and likes/dislikes and use the same block pattern for all six blocks.

For the third quarter (July-September), I made Broken Dishes blocks. I wanted to do something simple, but with some chance to be creative with fabrics, and this block was perfect!  

The 6 blocks I made for Beehive 11

The colors I requested were "make it a rainbow" and green. I received a variety of blocks back - I love them! Don't yet know what I'm going to do with them, though! Suggestions welcome .... table runner? pillow(s)? I'm just not sure! 

My received blocks - they're all so bright & vibrant! 

I love this swap group, and we're already into the fourth quarter! I've been working diligently on my fourth quarter blocks, and completed a trial block I'm happy with. I focused my color selections for this quarter and requested orange, aqua and white, and am hoping to use them in a quilt. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Birthday Gifts

A dear, sweet friend has had a birthday - and I wanted to make something special for her! Of course, my gifts are about a week late. I have a bit of a problem with buying and saving fabric for that perfect project. This was a great opportunity to use some of those fabrics - Amy Butler's Daisy Chain mosaic in kiwi and Pretty Please by Jennifer Paganelli in pink/orange. 

My most favorite bag pattern is the Practical Bag from Tanya Whelan and Grand Revival Designs. I've made many, and use several in my everyday life.Can't get enough of them! (In fact, I'm making another for myself as we speak.) 

And so, I made a practical bag and a coffee sleeve. I can't wait to give them as a gift! 

bag & sleeve together

sleeve with pink button

Bonjour, blog!

As you can see, I've started a new blog! I hope to document and share my sewing, quilting, and crafting adventures here. I also will hopefully share some other shenanigans - cooking, reading, and other life happenings!

Getting everything in order is tricky, so hold your horses while I get comfortable in this new format. I'll leave you today with a photo of the last quilt I finished. I'll be back soon, I promise!