Friday, March 16, 2018

Tuesday Tutorial -- Curvy Cross-Hatching with a Walking Foot

This week's Tuesday Tutorial is on a Friday.  It's been a rough week and Friday is just as good as Tuesday, right?  Lie to me.

I had some fun today with my walking foot:

Winter is lingering so I chose a bright Neon Lemon for today's thread.

Do you have any quilt tops at home that you can finish this weekend with curvy cross-hatching?

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Browns took Manhattan

Next week is our 30th wedding anniversary.  How can I possibly be married for 30 years when I'm only 29???  It's a question for the ages.

We scheduled the trip for this past weekend and also next weekend to allow for a weather cancellation.  That would sound silly if the New York hadn't just been slammed with two major Nor'Easters within five days and another one skirting us tomorrow night.  Spring, please come soon!

While we never (and I mean NEVER) go out to eat when we're home, we go to New York City to eat.  And eat we did!

We have a wide range of tastes in food, but we only ate sushi, udon, ramen, and dim sum.  Not even a slice of pizza.  Sacrilege!  I didn't take photos of our food but I did get a video of the dim sum restaurant. 

If you've never experienced steam carts in a large restaurant, you haven't lived.  Seriously!  Dim sum is my absolutely favorite meal in the whole wide world and we had an absolutely delicious lunch yesterday at Jing Fong.

In addition to restaurants, we managed to find a few (cough*three*cough) bakeries.  I did take photos there.

We visited Dominique Ansel bakery, home of the Cronut.  We arrived in the city too late for cronuts, but what we had was delish!

After eating ramen, I told super-hubby that I wanted a cookie.  I may have mentioned it more than once (or 6 or 8 times...) We left the restaurant and BOOM!  There was a cookie bakery on the corner!

Schmackerys was Ah-Ma-Zing!

Chocolate chip and Cookies & Cream, because you are wondering.

After dim sum, we stopped at TaiPan Bakery on Canal Street and bought a bag of Chinese pastry because Oh. My. Heck!  It is so amazing and wonderful and I couldn't possibly make it and I can't buy it locally and


They make Hello Kitty cakes JUST FOR ME!!!

The problem with having a bag of pastries in the house is even though you intend to eat them throughout the week, your more rational self reminds you that the pastries are so much better when fresh and that they will never taste better than they do RIGHT NOW!  I'm so grateful that my more rational self spoke up.

We did more than just eat while in the city, though.  We went to see Kinky Boots.

My daughter and I used to watch Drew Carey's Whose Line Is It Anyway? when we had a television.  We are still tickled when we can find YouTube clips of the show.  We loved Wayne Brady so I was beyond excited to see him in the starring role.  He was wonderful and the show was perfect and the music was perfect and the seats were perfect and everything was perfect.  Just perfect.

In between the eating, we walked just a little.

See?  I EARNED those pastries!!!

We returned home and are back to our real lives.  I'm sad that we only had a weekend, but I am enjoying every minute of the memories.

And the pastries.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Bonus Quilt!

One of my Cutie Quilts has a secret:  If you save the triangle trimmings, you can make a second quilt!  How cool is that?

The first quilt is Due North:

The flying geese in this quilt are BIG so the leftover triangles are big, too.  If you sew together all of the leftover triangle pairs, you can make this quilt:

The blocks are made entirely from leftovers; I added a simple 6" border to make this 42"x48" quilt.

Here's the block:

There are enough triangles to make 32 blocks and but I only used 30 of them.

The quilt is pieced in straight rows, but I quilted it on point using my walking foot, echoing the diagonal seams:

Surprising no one, I filled in the stitched lines with ribbon candy.

As one does.

I found the PERFECT thread for this quilt:  FabuLux Cuddle.

I don't want to rush anyone, but I need more babies so I can give away all of the baby quilts that are stacking up in my studio!

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Scrappy Postcards

Sometimes the littlest bits of fabric combine to make something beautiful.  In this case, four beautiful postcards!

Rocking Horse thread and creamy 1" squares:

Giggle thread and peachy 1" squares:

Olive Trees thread and green 1" squares:

Meditation thread and earthy 1" squares:

I'm thrilled with this postcard set!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Learn to Machine Quilt -- Walking Foot Ribbons

This week's machine quilting tutorial uses the walking foot to stitch ribbons.  I am so incredibly in love with my walking foot and it is so much more than stitch-in-the-ditch.

Do you use fabric grippers when you stitch on the walking foot?  I find my Steady Betty bands so incredibly helpful!

A hint I didn't mention in the video:  Use a size 90 needle when stitching with FabuLux thread.

Some quick homework:  Search through your stack of unquilted tops and see if this ribbon pattern would work on any of them!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Tuesday Tutorial -- Walking Foot Chevrons

Happy Tuesday!  This week's Tuesday Tutorial is about quilting chevrons using your walking foot on your home sewing machine.

Wasn't that Cuddle thread gorgeous?  Do you have a roll of 1/4" Quilters Tape at home?  Here's where to find the Laser Marker.

I have so many ideas to quilt on Crate Quilts.  What shall I film next?

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?