Friday, January 22, 2010

Beware - I'm going to be all over the place with this one.

This is way past due, but look what the owners of Just Sew gave me for Christmas!  A travel iron & pad!  I finally broke it open a few days ago and have been so thrilled with both of them!  They had these beautiful pads quilted and then bound each of them by hand for all of the employees.  I know that must have taken a lot of time, and so - a big thanks Linda & Alice! :)

Some of you that have been following me, know that I don't really have a "craft room" per say.  I fixed up my tiny laundry room so that it would be bearable to sew in there.  But, it's really tight.  And it's really cold, because the floor is tile.  And basically I just need a little entertainment when I'm sewing away, so sometimes I move down to my kitchen table so that I can be in the "mix" of things.  Well, are any of you like me that have a really ugly ironing board that had brown stains all over it (I'm guessing from starch?)  Well.  They're big and mine's ugly.  So I was really loving to iron (in style) with my new gear.  Now I just need to actually "travel" to get the full effect (do I sense a quilting retreat coming on?  I wish!)

Anyways, I love the fabric line they used to make the ironing pads. Rouenneries by French General is so gorgeous, I think!  Speaking of Rouenneries, check out this little number that my sweet Sister-in-law made recently.  Isn't it beautiful?  It's the Madeline pattern by Fig Tree. 

(Doesn't my nephew look thrilled to be holding up the quilt? My husband would be the same way! :) 

Anyways, I had to post the picture of this wall hanging she made for her craft room.  Isn't it beautiful?  Seriously, I think that was her first time appliqueing.  She's awesome.  You should check out her blog for some crafty goodness.  Right now she's got the cutest little dresden plate posted that you ever did see! 

Well, I just had to take a picture of the progress of this quilt, because I am really loving the softness of these fabrics! 

All of these rows are pieced together now, but finishing the rest of it will be on hold for a little while because I need to get some ric rac to match and probably some fabric for the outer border.  It was a good feeling to get the inside of this top done though, just using stuff I had in my stash.  Slowly, but surely I am going to get these projects done.  PLUS, I have a few more I want to start.  I've been so excited about them that I haven't been sleeping well this week.  A few of my own ideas...mmm.  So excited.  Maybe these will be the next three patterns...

O.K.  I'll shut up.  I'm off to sew.  Bye.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Charming

I've had 2 Dandelion Girl charm packs [from Fig Tree] for a while now.  I finally got a chance to play with them the other night. 


For some reason, I am a little short on the amount of charms the Wild Thing pattern called for so I had to pull a few more fabrics from my stash.  Hopefully the florals and polka dots will make a nice addition to the plaids, checks and stripes that came in the charm packs.  What do you think?
Camille just did a fun post on her blog showing lots of different versions of her Wild Thing Quilt.  I love her blog.  It's one of my favorites!   

I've actually made a lot of progress with these blocks.  Chain piecing makes it pretty speedy.  I should be done with all the blocks tonight. 
This is a really fun pattern.  I can't decide if I will give this quilt to a special family when it's done or be selfish and keep it for myself.  We'll see.  Maybe I'll just enjoy it for a little while and then pass it on. 

Aren't the colors in it so soft and sweet?  They are so calming to me.  I think I know just the right family that might like this.  They might have to pry it out of my hands, but I think they'll like it:)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wagon Wheel Quilt. Done.


I finished it last night and this morning I threw it in the wash for a quick rinse/spin cycle and then into the dryer it went.  You can't help but want to curl up with these things when they're all warm and fluffy and wrinkly, right out of the dryer!  Mmm...there's nothin' better.  I can't though.  It's kind of a secret quilt.  I'm trying not to draw too much attention to it.

The inspiration for this quilt came from here.


This is my first quilt that I made completely by myself.  No longarmer.  Just me and my little machine.  I've quilted some smaller runners before, but this was a pretty big project for me [65x44].  It went really well.  I think I only got one tiny little tuck as I quilted it.  Like one little stitch accidently caught a little extra fabric that it shouldn't have.  I'm feeling pretty good right now though.  Dare I say even a little proud of myself?  Just because I didn't spend any money on the quilting part of it and it turned out fairly well.  That makes me feel good inside.

Q. Katie said, "You should be so proud! This turned out beautifully. Did you draw your lines for the quilting? How did you get them so straight?"

A. Well, I used blue "painters tape" to mark my lines. Each piece of tape would stay sticky for 2 or 3 rows and then I would get a new piece of tape. I started in the middle of my quilt and then put a piece of tape on either side of that first line so I could do two lines without having to get up and reposition the tape again.  Plus, it didn't sound too fun to me to spend a half an hour [at least] marking my lines, so I just did it as I went.  Like I said, this was my first time, so this is what appealed to me.  I often just make do with what I have.  Plenty of painters tape.  No water soluble marker.  Go figure.


I used Amy Butler's Sun Spots in Mint for the binding.  I chose to do it on the bias so that the dots were a little more staggered.  I love the colors of it!



Here's the back: 

It's Nicey Jane's Hop Dot in Cream.  I was just barely shy on my width, so I decided to use up some more scraps for a pieced strip going down the middle of it.  I wanted a light back so that my white thread would blend a little more, just in case my quilting job wasn't pretty:)

At the last minute, I decided I better put a label on this baby so I did a quick stitch of some important info about this quilt right onto the back.  Blake's baptism isn't until October, so for once, I'm ahead of schedule.  I wanted to put our city and state, but ran out of room so this will have to do. 

This one brought a big sense of accomplishment.  Thanks for all of your support and tips.  Maybe next time, I'll get myself some basting pins.  Then it won't be physically scary.  Maybe just a little emotionally scary.  It actually wasn't too bad though:)

***P.S. Today I'm going to the printer for the final proof of my patterns.  I'm so excited!!!***

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So far, so good

So I got a good start on this last night.  I got it all stretched out, pinned and even got some rows sewn.  It's going pretty good.  Just trying not to get poked by all of these pins!  As far as the quilting goes, I really need a stitch regulator, but I'm doing the best I can without it.  This won't be perfect, but I think it will still be cute for my little guy.


(Sorry about the dark pictures.  Not sure what I could have done differently at 10:30 at night in my basement.)

I had to bring in a little back up.  This is all a little tedious!

I'm trying to whip this baby out so that I can move on to 1 of the 10 other quilts I've got lined up.  Maybe it's a little motivation so that I can start something new one of these days...a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!

I'm going to the printer today to approve the last picture that needed to be lightened.  Two of the three cover pictures looked light enough, so after this I will just need to send them over all of the updated files and they should be ready to print in the next couple days!?!  I have been debating about whether to use another blog for my patterns or just use this one.  I am thinking I would just like to use this one, but am hesitant because it doesn't have "Gigi's Thimble" in the address.  Do you think it would be a problem if I just put this blog address on my patterns? 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For a special little guy in my life

As I've been working on this Wagon Wheel quilt I have not been able to stop thinking about my little boy.  Well, he's not that little anymore.  He's going to be eight soon - October 6th to be exact.  While stitching away, I had an idea that I would give him this quilt [in blues, greens, browns and lots of white] as a baptism/confirmation present.  The quilt will be a reminder of how the Holy Ghost can be a comforter and a protection to him.  I hope he likes it and that it will be a special gift to him.  It's been laying out on my floor for the last week or two as I've tried to finish all of the blocks and get the whole thing pieced together.  He doesn't suspect that it's for him and I think that by October he'll have forgetten all about it. 


What is up with the strips not meeting up, you might ask?  Well, I was trying to embrace the scrappy look of this quilt.  I think mine is a tad more scrappy though, but oh well!  I'm going to try not to let it bother me...(it kind of is though.)  I mean, I meant to do it.  I knew it was going to be like this, but now, I'm kind of regretting it.  Hopefully it will be just as fun and funky as Nettie's quilt was though.  I'm planning on quilting it on my own machine, which is huge for me!  It is a pretty good sized quilt [65"x44"], so this should be interesting.  Wish me luck!



I'm excited about what I got for the binding and back.  Amy Butler's Sun Spots in Mint will be the binding (~ love it!) and Heather Bailey's Hop Dot in Cream will be the back.  Aren't they cute?


So I'll be stitching away for the next few days.  Just straight lines (as that is all that me and my machine can handle I think) but I'm scared.  Please, no puckers!  I'll probably be stopping back in blogworld for a few breaks, so you may hear from me again before this project is done.  Bye!

Monday, January 11, 2010

One more recipe

So I don't have a picture for this recipe, but my friend Emily sent this to me today.  She was going to come to our girls night last week, but didn't end up making it.  These are the cookies she was going to bring that night.  She is an awesome cook and I always love the fabulous treats she brings to our get-togethers, so without even trying this, I am going to post it because (from my past experiences with Emily) I'm sure these are to die for. 

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
1 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Brown Butter Icing, recipe follows


Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease 1 or more cookie sheets. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until mixture is light in color. Add buttermilk. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice; stir into creamed mixture. Fold in oatmeal, raisins, walnuts, and vanilla, blending well. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Drizzle with Brown Butter Icing.


Brown Butter Icing:
1/2 cup butter
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons water

In a small saucepan heat the butter over medium heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in 3 cups sifted powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in enough water (3 to 4 tablespoons) to make an icing of drizzling consistency. Drizzle on warm cookies.

Doesn't that Brown Butter Icing sound fabulous?  Thanks, Emily!  I'll have to try them soon.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Girls Night

Recipe exchange/game night thingy.  My house.  Good friends.  Good times. 

                

My family loves games.  One of our favorites is Loaded Questions.  It's a great one to play with people you know pretty well.  You'll get to know people EVEN better and you're sure to have lots of laughs with this one.


Kate, Heather, Lyndsey & Keri

Connie & Kate

Brittany and me

Kellie, Misty & Sabrina

We had SO much food.  And it was all REALLY good.  Want the recipes?  Here are the one's I have:

Lyndsey's Chocolate Dipped Macaroons


Mix:
5 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Add:
2 c. powdered sugar
14 oz. bag coconut 
4 oz. almonds (optional)

Roll into balls & dip in chocolate* or spoon it over the top
*It's best to use good quality chocolate.  Lyndsey uses dark.


Kellie's Chex Mix
(This is so addictive!)


Mix together in a large mixing bowl:
1/2 pkg. Rice Chex

1/2 pkg. Golden Grahams
1/2 c. coconut
1 c. cashew halves

In a small sauce pan melt:
1 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
3/4 c. butter

Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.  Pour over the chex mixture and stir.  Add m&m's when cooled.


Keri's Lettuce Wraps
2 lbs. steak, cubed
1/2 c. or more grated carrot & veggies (whatever you like)
3 green onions
4-6 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. pepper

Saute all together.  Serve inside bibs of lettuce.


Misty's Artichoke Dip
8 oz. cream cheese
1 can artichoke hearts, diced
1 1/2 c. parmesan
1 1/2 c. mayo
1 can green chilis

Bake @ 325 for 1/2 hour.  Serve with chips.



Connie's Chocolate Lover's Bundt Cake


1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 (3.9 oz.) pkg. instant chocolate pudding
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
3/4 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. water
4 eggs
1 c. MINI semisweet chocolate chips
6 (1 oz.)squares white baking chocolate

In a mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix, pudding mix and sugar.  Add the sour cream, oil and water; mix well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Pour into a well-greased and floured 12-cup fluted tube pan.  Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.  In a microwave or double boiler, melt the white chocolate and drizzle over cake.  Yield: 12-16 servings.


Here's what I served.  Sorry no picture (I mean, can meatloaf REALLY ever look good in a picture?:)
Grant House Meatloaf with Barbecue Sauce







Barbecue Sauce:
 
1 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

¾ tsp. mild chili powder

¼ tsp. black pepper

¼ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground allspice

1 tsp. garlic powder

½ c. ketchup

¼ c. Dijon mustard

3 Tbsp. molasses

¼ c. honey

3 Tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar

1 tsp. Tabasco sauce

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and grated




Meatloaf:


1 medium onion, chopped

1 small celery rib, diced

1 ½ c. shredded sweet potato (about ½ of a small sweet potato)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ tsp. minced garlic

¾ tsp. fresh thyme leaves

1 ¼ lbs. lean ground beef

1 ¼ lbs. ground pork

1/3 c. uncooked oatmeal (plus more if needed – I add another 1/3 c. to equal 2/3 c. total)

¼ c. finely chopped parsley

1 ½ tsp. salt

¾ tsp. black pepper

2 eggs, beaten

4 slices lean bacon



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the sauce: In a medium sauté pan, combine the cayenne, chili powder, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, allspice and garlic powder. Over medium-high heat, heat the spices until aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not let burn. Stir in the ketchup, mustard, molasses, honey, brown sugar, Tabasco sauce and grated apple and cook over medium heat until blended and heated through. Set aside to cool.


To make the meatloaf: In a large sauté pan, sauté the onion, celery and potato in olive oil over medium-high heat until limp, stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and continue to sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef, ground pork, sautéed vegetables, ½ c. of the barbecue sauce, oatmeal, parsley, salt and black pepper. With two forks, rake and toss the mixture until combined. Add the beaten eggs and blend again (if too moist, add up to 1/3 cup more oatmeal). Gently form into a rectangular shape and transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Place the bacon on top, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the meat from the oven and coat the top and sides with barbecue sauce. Return to oven, and continue to bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until meat thermometer inserted in the middle reads 160 degrees F. Using 2 spatulas, lift the meatloaf out of the pan and onto the serving platter. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before serving. **Makes 8 to 10 servings.

It was a good time, but I'm still missing our good drink, the s'more bars, the yummy fruit salad and the brocolli salad recipes.  If you're reading this ladies, send me the recipes!

As far as quilting goes, I've been working on my dresden plate blocks and my wagon wheel quilt lately.  The wagon wheels top is almost done and I am so excited about my dresden plates!  Think funky with lots of black and white polka dots!  RJ is traveling a lot in the next couple of weeks so expect lots of sewing pictures coming soon! :) Bye!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cinnamon Stars Quilt

Good-bye Peppermint Fancy.  Hello Cinnamon Stars.  After putting away some Christmas decorations today I decided to pull out this old thing and hang it behind my couch.  It's about 5 years old.  I don't think I had it on my list of finished quilts so I thought I'd give it a post of it's very own. 

A scrappy saw-tooth border:

I picked out some of the rusty reds, blacks and the background fabric many years ago, while shopping with my Grandma at Quilts, etc.  Then I decided to throw in some other colors to make kind of a fall-ish type quilt.  Although it's not fall right now, it still kind of works with the colors in my house. 

I think "Cinnamon Stars" is the original name of this quilt, but I'm not sure who the designer is.  The quilt measures about 48x65.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Front Porch Blooms Quilt

Well.  It's done.  Fresh out of the dryer.  All soft and snuggly.  And really wrinkly.  THAT is a really good sign. 


I got a call Saturday afternoon from my quilter saying that my Fig Tree quilt was FINALLY done.  I asked her if she loved it and she said, "Well, it's not like the picture you gave me, but I absolutely love it!"  I had given her a picture from the book I got this pattern from and asked her to do it exactly like the picture.  I guess it wasn't working out so good [she had to unpick twice], so she ended up making an executive decision and did it a completely different way.  My husband kind of got me psyched out when I told him what she said.  I was so worried the whole 15 minute drive over to her house.  I thought FOR SURE I would not be happy [I am very picky].  I was getting prepared to have some "words" about how she didn't do what I specifically asked her to do, but I was so shocked when I saw it!  It was absolutely beautiful - tight quilting, beautiful scroll work, everything.  It took me a few minutes to take it all in.  I was so relieved that I gave her a big hug!  When I walked into my house a little while later everyone saw my big smile and knew that all was well.

 






I knew I wanted a really amazing quilting design that would make the back be just as beautiful as the front.  That's why I opted for a basic cream solid for the backing.  It really shows off the quilting. 



I chose this green/cream polka dot by Fig Tree for the binding - it wasn't too dark but still had some contrast.



I've always loved Joana's designs and fabrics, but this is the first quilt that I've done using them.  I think it turned out really sweet and so I'm a little sad that it will be at Just Sew for a while [Kits are available there & they do ship if you're interested?!?].


Also, I am happy to inform some of you that I am back in the saddle as far as printing my patterns goes.  Over the last couple of months I have run into some problems with my cover sheets.  It was so frustrating that I started thinking that maybe it wasn't worth it so I had sort of mentally gave up.  I think with this first Monday of the New Year I am feeling recharged.  I sent some newly edited pictures to the printer and if they aren't light enough then they will just have to fix them for me.  Either way, I am hoping to print them with my next pay check so look for some giveaways in the next couple of weeks.  [I am kind of embarrassed to even say that again, because I know I have been saying that for forever, but I really think this is it!]