Saturday, May 23, 2015

Progress, and My Sweet Tooth

I'm in a bit of a groove with piecing tiny four-patches for Danuta's Garden and happily so. It's taken a while to feel like there's any traction with this one, but I think I might be over the hump. All credit is going to having everything collected and in one place rather than helter skelter around the house.

It doesn't look like much but this little bundle of joy is my latest bit of progress. They need some quality time with the iron right now to press those seams open, and after that it's full steam ahead on the sashing.

Out of the blue today I decided that I needed some chocolate chip cookies - chewy, nutty, chocolate chip cookies. My go-to recipe has rolled oats, dried cherries and nuts with cinnamon and nutmeg thrown in for good measure, but this time around all I wanted was nuts & chocolate. And I found the perfect recipe in Butter Baked Goods by Rosie Daykin that Stephanie gave me for Christmas a year ago.

They are loaded with nuts, both pecans and walnuts, and are fabulous. Baking the nuts for about 8 minutes before adding them to the dough really helps their flavour really shine through (I always roast my nuts when baking). I have to confess that there was a bit of dough sampling happening and it was as good as the final product.

I used a scoop to drop them onto the pan but I think it's smaller than the one used by Rosie because I ended up with probably double the 30 cookies that the recipe said it would yield. Tough problem to have :).

The recipe suggested freezing some of the dough balls instead of baking them all at once so that they are ready to bake and be enjoyed fresh from the oven, so I did. I've not done this before but I think I'll do it more often. Right now though, I have a date with the iron....M

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Work On

I'm continuing to putter at hand stitching the sashing strips for Danuta's Garden and I've now got the first of seven 29-block four-patch strips finished.

For whatever reason, parts of this quilt were strewn across three different rooms - and that doesn't include the sewing room (!) - so it was time to collect everything and try and get a little more organized.

In the process I started getting subliminal messages. See the 'work on' in this pic?  Looks like a sign to keep going on this one. :)

Still loving how these little gems look when they are all strung together.

Over the weekend the Official Cookie Tester's sweet tooth kicked in so I tried a new recipe - Banana Sour Cream Coffee Cake. I never would have thought of putting banana into a coffee cake, but man, it was good. And the sour cream kept it nice and moist til the last crumb was eaten. I almost didn't make the glaze (you know - maybe cut back a bit on the sugar - ha!) but it was the perfect ending to the strata of pecans and cinnamon that ran through the cake. Yum!...M

Monday, May 18, 2015

Going Modern For The Blogger's Quilt Festival

As Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival rolls around each Spring and Fall I find myself wondering if I will have anything to submit (it has something to do with making all kinds of quilt tops but not quilting them...). Well, this time around I seemed spoiled for choice because I had three that I considered entering. How did that happen?

I've decided on Sea Glass. It is probably the one that challenged me the most because the colour selection is not in my traditional wheelhouse. That said, by the time it reached the finish line, I was smitten. Which category to enter it into was a bit of a toss up - it could easily be Scrappy (but it wasn't from scraps) so the colours and prints tipped it into the Modern category for me.

This was a commission for my friend Jean - a wedding gift for a very special niece - the only request was that it be in soft blues and greys with a little cream or white. After that, I could do as I liked.

Seemed easy enough. That was until I tried to find fabrics. Oh, and then decide on the pattern. "I trust you totally", was all the direction that I got. Gulp. It's hard enough picking a pattern and fabrics for someone you know, but for someone that you've never met??? A little pressure started settling in.

Needless to say, as I bought fabrics I was all over the map and I ended up not using many of the greys - it just need to be brighter. I tend towards a more colourful palette so there was lots of second guessing as this one came together. I also played with lots of alternative layouts but ended up with the square on the point that I had started out with and it was a good decision.

It was beautifully machine quilted with a delicate blue thread in a great feathered swirling pattern by the talented Roberta at Cocoa and Quilts; the swirls soften the geometric design perfectly.

And the light grey and cream print that it is backed and bound with was a contribution from my friend Linda's stash. It seemed made for it - something borrowed, something blue....

At 56" x 70" it was a good size as it was intended to be draped over the back of a sofa. Start to finish it took about four months which, for me, is pretty amazing (gotta love a deadline). It totally helped that it was machine quilted, otherwise the newlyweds would be celebrating their silver anniversary and still wouldn't have it if they were waiting for me to hand quilt it.

But enough about me. Make sure to check out all of this Spring's entries for your fill of eye candy and to vote for your faves...M

Friday, May 15, 2015

Hidden Talents

Every now and then you see a quilting project from my friend Linda, but I'm here to tell you that she's talented in more ways than one. For years she and Jane have been making pretty cards and now she's taking it to a whole new level.

There's an artists co-op nearby that runs through the summer and she has been accepted to sell her cards there - quite exciting. So, she's been busy making samples to present and more recently, creating an inventory that she can take to the shop. She dropped by Jane's cottage with a beautiful box of show and tell as Jane and I were putting up a new kitchen backsplash.

She has such a knack for this! There's cards for all different occasions...

and darling little gift tags...

and another.

She also stamped and embossed these cute little tags for food gifts.

I know that she'll do well with them and thought you'd enjoy seeing them too.

And that's not all. She's a whiz at making jewelry, earrings in particular. She made me this lovely custom pair of 'Quiltbee' earrings and I've been wearing them ever since. Aren't they great?? How many bloggers have earrings to match?! :) Such a talented gal!....M