Sunday, February 25, 2018

Pantry Cleaning plus recipes

I'm still making progress on cooking through my pantry and freezer.

I have been vegan (no animal products at all) and vegetarian (no meat) and am now an omnivore.  While I do eat meat, I still love some of my vegan and vegetarian recipes.  I keep a case of tofu in my pantry so one night we ate Curried Tofu over (leftover) rice with broccoli, because we finally made ourselves go to the green grocer after church on Sunday. 

I omitted the fresh cilantro in the tofu because ewwwww, cilantro!

I was feeling snack-ish so I grabbed a can of chickpeas from the pantry and made some chocolate chip cookie dough dip.  It is seriously awesome with Gala apple slices as a snack.  Seriously!

I found some cooked chicken in the freezer and made our family favorite chicken and rice soup based on this recipe.  And then we celebrated because I used up the rest of the rice in the refrigerator!  We also celebrated because I made fresh bread from my Artisan Bread cookbook.

I used more of the bread dough to make a fresh pizza with mozzarella from the freezer.  Tuesday is a great pizza day for us because it's something I can tolerate on my nauseous-from-medication day of the week.

Believe it or not, there was a not-dead avocado in my refrigerator.  I've never before had an avocado outlive my expectations!  I love to make vegan black bean enchiladas with avocado cream from Oh She Glows.   When recipes claim "So good you won't miss the cheese!" I always wonder "When is the last time you ate cheese?" because cheese is the reason I'm not a full-time vegan.  I can honestly tell you that I don't miss the cheese in these enchiladas.  Words I thought I would never say!  I didn't have any tortillas, so I used this recipe to make my own.

Mexican is my least favorite cuisine and I cut the spice in half.  This was still as spicy as I can possibly handle.  And the tortillas in here were FABULOUS!

Whenever boneless chicken thighs are on sale, I make this next dish and freeze a bunch.

Recipe:  Wrap a slice of raw bacon around a raw chicken thigh; secure with a toothpick.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake.  --  You are welcome.

What to do when the potatoes are getting old:

Potatoes and Carrots in Coconut Curry from The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker.

My final meal of the week was Eggplant casserole. 

Here's the recipe:
Slice, bread, and bake eggplant slices.  Layer in casserole with tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese.  Bake.  Easy Peasy.

To convince you that I'm completely crazy, check out this Vegan Chocolate Mousse recipe ' that I made for dessert.  I'vee adapted it a bit from the original recipe, and it's totally delicious!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Postcard Love

Debbie Grifka launched a fun 100 day applique postcard project.  Why didn't I know about this before???

Definitely check out her work and follow her on Instagram for daily photos.  Her postcards are ah-ma-zing!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


I dove into my bin of 1 1/2" scrap squares recently:

I saw some serious postcard potential in there.  Potential like In the Pinks

A sweet Ocean Breeze

Then I mellowed out with Mellow Yellows

How much fun is this?

Call me crazy, but little makes me happier than having a stack of postcards just waiting to be sent on their way to deliver a little love through the mail!

Sadly, I'm not at the bottom of my 1 1/2" scrap square bin.  Stay tuned for more postcards!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday Tutorial -- Starburst free-motion quilting pattern

My local weather has me seeing STARS!  We had a snowstorm on Sunday, it will be over 70*F tomorrow, and right back into the 20*Fs by Thursday night.  I think that Phil* is playing Bop-a-Mole!

This week's Tuesday tutorial is how to quilt starbursts on a crate quilt.

Products in video:
FabuLux Royal Robes thread
DecoBob thread
Steady Betty Bands

Watch all of the weekly tutorials HERE.

Have you made a crate quilt yet?  Which machine quilting pattern did you use?

*Punxatawney Phil is the groundhog who predicts 6 more weeks of winter or not.

Monday, February 19, 2018

An Epic Love Story

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.... I married my childhood sweetheart.  I wanted to give him something special for Valentine's Day and I joined our geeky passions (Star Wars + Quilting) yet again for the gift.

Since we spent Valentine's Day together on an airplane:

and since I didn't start sewing until we got home from our trip, his gift was a bit late.

I hit my favorite design source, Google Images, and printed out an alphabet:

Then I traced the letters on Heat 'n Bond and appliqued them to fabric:

I only had one pillow form, so these were two sides of the same pillow:

This pillow goes well with his Christmas gift:

If you are not a Star Wars fan and are totally confused, watch this:

and then watch every Star Wars movie.  And pretend that Jar Jar never happened.  We do.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Pantry Cleaning plus recipes

Once every year or two, I like to cook through all of the food stored in my house so that I know how old everything in the pantry and freezer are.  It also gives me a chance to give my pantry and refrigerator a good cleaning.

So... here's what I've been cooking:

My first day home from vacation, we decided to eat but we didn't want to go grocery shopping.  Fortunately I have a reasonably well-stocked pantry and was able to pull dinner together completely without facing the lines at the market:

Do you use a rice cooker?  I've had this one for nearly 20 years (and it shows)!  I'm toying with upgrading to an Instant Pot and am looking for yes/no testimonials.

So, what was for dinner?  Vegan Kung Pao Chick Peas, rice, and sesame garlic green beans.

The next night, I pulled some shrimp from the freezer and some 'not dead yet' mushrooms from the fridge and pulled together a quick dinner of Shrimp Gruyere from a 30 year old Weight Watchers cookbook that I don't even own anymore and Crock Pot Mushroom Risotto adapted from a recipe in The Gourmet Slow Cooker.

Don't judge me for the peas and carrots from the freezer; we still haven't been to the market for fresh produce.

Next meal from the freezer was Country Ribs, buttered noodles, and corn.  All of my food was the same color, but I still haven't visited the market.

I've been popping popcorn from the pantry for snacks and experimented with a mug cake last night.  Mug cake isn't cake with a "C" and this one didn't have any leavening agent in it, but I might try to tweak it at some point to make it more "C"ake-like.

I've made no progress on depleting my fabric collection, but we've definitely eaten from the food stash.  Hopefully I can make progress on both collections next week!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tuesday Tutorial -- Hearts and Vines

This week's machine quilting pattern is timely -- hearts and vines for Valentine's Day!  See how I stitched it on a crate quilt:

Materials used in the video:

Steady Betty Bands

FabuLux In The Pinks thread

DecoBob thread in the bobbin

Quilter's Dream Green batting

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you enjoy a sweet day with your sewing machine!

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Tuesday Tutorial -- Pumpkin Seed Quilting with a Ruler

I'm so excited about this week's tutorial.  I love to stitch pumpkin seeds in all sizes in blocks, backgrounds, borders, or all over a quilt!

Supplies Used:

Quilter's Dream Green batting

HQ Multi Clamshell ruler

Handi Grip

Quilter's 1/4- tape

Steady Betty Bands

FabuLux Majestic Sunrise thread

Check out my other machine quilting tutorials HERE.

Friday, February 02, 2018

The Force is Strong in this Marriage

My husband and I freely admit our freaky-geeky ways.  We are absolutely passionate about diverse subjects that might seem weird to others.

Me:  Quilting
Him:  Video gaming
Me:  Hello Kitty
Him:  Star Wars
Me:  Chocolate cake
Him:  Heavy Metal music

I decided to combine two of our passions and have been gifting him with Star Wars quilted items.  I finally finished his Christmas present:

"I can't see anything in this helmet!"

It's the mask from a Storm Trooper.  None of this furniture lives where it is shown in this photo and the pillow will really live on the sofa:

I like having a "glamour shot" of my projects, but now you know the behind-the-scenes truth.

Making the pillow was terribly simple.  I sketched out the face, fused it to white fabric, and appliqued it down:

"Aren't you a little short for a Storm Trooper?"

I added batting so the flange would stand up, but there is no quilting in this pillow.  So quick and easy!

This isn't the first Star Wars quilted item in Super Hubby's collection; I sent him a Death Star postcard when I was out of town earlier this month:

"That's not a moon; it's a space station!"

Apparently, this lives above his desk at work.

I have plans for more geeky quilting.  Some of it is Star Wars, some from other geeky obsessions, and some are just family inside jokes!

Do you have fun with your quilting?  What geeky interests have you merged with quilting?

Thursday, February 01, 2018

February's Bullet Journal

My eyeglasses.  My hearing aids.  My cell phone.  My Bullet Journal.  These are all things I couldn't possibly leave at home when I leave the house.

I set up my Miquelrius notebook for the month of February.  Want to see what I did?

I'm playing a little bit with fancier writing.  I'm really, Really, REALLY bad at it, so I am doing only the simplest of lettering.  Every so often, I search online for new styles of writing that don't look too scary for me to try.

I'm using Sharpie Pens currently and am very happy with them, but I'm always on the lookout for an additional fun pen.

I'm keeping track of books read and movies watched.

Do you track any other things?  Do you keep track of finished quilts or anything else?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tuesday Tutorial -- Technical Difficulties

I filmed a great tutorial for you for today.  Sadly, I had technical difficulties* with my new microphone and there is no Tuesday tutorial this week.

I was able to piece together a behind-the-scenes look at the fun side of filming (with lousy audio from my secondary camera).

It's a good thing he's cute.  It's an even better thing that I had to scrap the entire video due to poor audio quality so this didn't matter at all.

Did you know that the audio and video in that clip are from different cameras and I edited them together without looking like a badly dubbed Godzilla movie?  Let's all take a second to be properly impressed.

I film in my dining room and have wires running to the sewing machine, cameras, lights, and who knows what else.  I may or may not trip over those wires when I stand up to stop the camera between takes.

My middle name is not Grace.

Since I work at home and all 24 hours of the day are mine, I film whenever I get a chance.  This next clip was filmed just before 11pm.

I'm so glad that Windows called me to let me know that there was a problem with my computer.  I gladly gave them my passwords so they could fix it.  ;-)

I'm off on a super-secret adventure today so I can't film a replacement tutorial for you.  Maybe I'll have a chance to film again later this week.  Re-watch all of my 2018 weekly tutorials while you wait!
*I plugged it in incorrectly 'cause I'm smart like that.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Sweetness and Bright!

I'm trying something new this year -- starting a project and then staying with it until it is completed.  Weird, right? 

I dove head-first into my bin of 2 1/2" squares and grabbed anything that was bright and cheery.  I took the scraps to the sewing machine when the weather and I were both dark and gray.  I put on my headphones and stitched the gray away:

I asked for help in picking the quilting thread:

I picked pink, by the way:

Then began the fun job of quilting this beauty:

Because you will ask:  It's a Multi Clamshell ruler and a Steady Betty Band.

Want to see how I did the quilting?

After I finished the ridiculously fun machine quilting, it was time to grab my Binding Baby:

This 36"x42" quilt is quilted, bound, and ready to bring some warmth and happiness to a senior in a nursing home:

Come back tomorrow where I plan to post a full tutorial on how to quilt this pumpkin seed design on a Crate Quilt.

Time to find another quilt to finish!  Should I be responsible and finish one already started?  Or should I start something new and exciting?  Or should I delay this decision by working on some postcards?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tuesday Tutorial: Walking Foot Quilting (offset angles)

Happy Tuesday!  It's time for another Crate Quilt tutorial using the walking foot on your home machine!

I used Paradise FabuLux thread in the needle, DecoBob in the bobbin, and Quilter's Dream Green batting (made from recycled soda pop bottles!).  I am almost finished piecing wheelchair quilt for a senior at church and I just might use this pattern to quilt it.

Stay tuned!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Perfect Timing

Last year, I decided to be honest with you about my rare autoimmune disease.  To continue with that honesty, I must admit that I'm having a lousy week.  I had another infusion on Tuesday and since then I've been asleep all but about 8 hours and didn't enjoy those 8 hours at all.  Yesterday was rather awful; I was either unconscious or miserable and weepy.  Then I got a package in the mail and everything changed.

Lucy Fazely is THE BEST!  I first met her when she interviewed me for a magazine article and she's been nothing but kind to me ever since, sending periodic treats through the mail.  I have no idea what I've done to inspire such generosity on her part but her package yesterday was truly heaven-sent.

She made me a tote bag!

I burst out in tears, happy ones, when I saw it.  It took a while for me to notice that the gift didn't end there.

It was FULL of love!

Thank you a million times over, Lucy, for brightening an incredibly dark day.

I hope the darkest days of this round of infusions are over but even if they aren't, love from my quilting friends will carry me through.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday Tuturial: Machine Quilting with Rulers (Clamshells)

Have you made a Crate Quilt for a shelter animal yet?  Hopefully this week's tutorial has you jumping into your scrap pile so you can practice making clamshells!

Supply List:

HQ Multi Clamshell ruler

Handi Grip

Steady Betty Bands

FabuLux In The Pinks thread

quarter-inch masking tape

My stack of Crate Quilts for the shelter is growing.  Is yours?
*1.  Believe it or not, this cover photo was the best of the ones that they offered me.

2.  I have no idea why this 12 minute video is over an hour long.  Please don't watch a blank screen for an hour!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Quilting Therapy

I was away all of last week with my Handi Quilter buddies.  We looked at quilts, talked about quilts, and made some wonderful memories and plans for the coming year.

Yesterday, I chained myself to Errol because I missed him so much!  At the end of the evening, I had a charity quilt for the veteran's home.  The guidelines say 36"x42" and patriotic colors.  I made my quilt from red, white, blue, black, gold, and brown fabrics.  Who knew that my huge box of scrappy 2-1/2" squares only had 5 blue squares in it?

I basted the quilt last night:

It's small enough to easily baste on my kitchen table!  I rolled the batting and top on old cardboard tubes to keep it contained while basting.

I plan to chain myself to Hedwig today and machine quilt the day away.  Which thread would you use?  I think I like Midas Touch (it's my go-to thread on the left), but I also considered Blue Heaven (middle) to add the blue that this quilt is missing.  I pulled out Mudpies (right) just because.

Once you choose my thread for me, I plan to quilt it the same way I quilted the last Crate Quilt.

I still have enough squares to make another veteran's quilt.  

I'll make that quilt the next time I'm in quilting withdrawal.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Geek Streak Quilting -- That's no moon

I have a Geek Streak a mile wide!  I'm a bit of a Star Wars fan and I'm married to an even bigger Star Wars fan.

I miss that man I'm married to this week since I'm at Handi Quilter headquarters in Salt Lake City all week.  I made a postcard just for my husband and sent it to him as I left for the airport.

That's no moon; it's a space station!

He mentioned it when we talked on the phone last night, so I guess he was pleased.

I have more Geek Streak quilting projects in the works.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Tuesday Tutorial: Walking Foot Crate Quilt

One of my greatest joys in life is teaching people to machine quilt.  I see students in person in my classes and know that they take my Craftsy classes and watch my YouTube videos.  I hope that my classes help, but nothing replaces practice.

I know many quilters won't sit and practice machine quilting on practice pieces but would rather just get quilting.  This year, I am suggesting that quilters make small crate quilts for animal shelters and practice their machine quilting while doing good!

Raid your scraps, make a crate quilt, and practice using your walking foot.  Sew together a few mini charm packs for a color co-ordinated crate quilt.

Have you tried to quilt a quilt using your walking foot?  You can quilt many different patterns using your walking foot, but start with this simple pattern if you've never tried it before.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Cutie Quilt: Share and Share Alike

I have been playing with my walking foot on my home machine lately so I pulled out some In Bloom fabrics from Sandra Clemons (affiliate link*) and pieced a Share and Share Alike Cutie Quilt just so I could quilt it.  That's perfectly normal, right?  Lie to me.

The orange butterflies on the pink fabric are insanely adorable and I need 18 bolts of this fabric!

The pattern calls for fat eighths and border fabric, but I had fat quarters and yardage.  I cut the blocks as instructed and pieced binding from the rest of the fat quarter pack.

I've always been intrigued by quilting spirals.  Fortunately, the fabulous Pat Sloan taught me how to quilt a spiral with my walking foot in her Teach Me to Machine Quilt book! (affiliate link*)

I threaded Hedwig, my HQ Stitch 710 machine, with my FabuLux Hint of Lime Thread

and started quilting my spiral.  This thread color is my favorite neutral.  Isn't lime green everyone's neutral?

This quilt was given to a baby born during the hurricane.  OK, 3 days after the hurricane but my story is better.
*If you purchase something using an affiliate link I may, at no additional cost to you, receive a small commission to help keep the quilty love flowing.

Friday, January 05, 2018

A Month of Birthdays!

Most of the people in my life are used to accepting IOUs in lieu of gifts or cards, trusting that I'll eventually make good on the note.  I'm a week into January, and I finally made the rest of my January birthday cards using the cupcake from my latest machine quilting tutorial.

Starring FabuLux Ocean Breeze:

Starring FabuLux Paradise:

Starring FabuLux Cabana:

Starring FabuLux Aquarium:

Starring FabuLux Springtime:

They look good enough to eat!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Not Exactly Quilting, but...

Last week I re-started a (more than a) decade old handwork project to see if my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad fingers could handle it:

The good news is that they can!  The bad news is that this is a bedspread and I will have YEARS of evening handwork.

As I was looking for a long-term home for this project formerly housed in a large Ziploc bag, I thought I needed something tall and skinny to live between my sofa and the table.  I remembered that I received a cool new project case* as a Christmas gift:

It's stupidly cold in New York and I'm living in my basement in front of the woodstove, so my photographs are all dark.  My apologies.

I store my separated threads in the top zippered pockets, the scissors tied with a ribbon, and my Tulip embroidery needles* in an elastic all on the lid of this tote:

In the bottom of the tote, I have enough room for my embroidery hoop and current project:

These are 18-inch blocks.  I apparently covered the edges in masking tape in the last millennium.  Do they still make masking tape?  I only have blue painter's tape in the house now:

Under my current block, I have my one completed block:

Only 17 to go!

There is a mesh compartment to hold my embroidery floss and my pattern:

When I lift the mesh pocket, there's a room to store all of the eleventy million 16 unfinished squares:

I can't believe that someone bought me the perfect tote for this ridiculously old project, but I'm so glad they did.  This will be perfect at home and for light hotel room sewing.
*Affiliate link.  If you purchase something through one of these links I may, at no additional cost to you, receive a small commission.