Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Baby quilt: The Tag as label

The binding is nearly complete--just have to finish hand sewing it down on the back side. This is the label for the baby quilt. It's like a clothing tag.  Washing instructions are on the back side. Labeling personalizes the gift. Quilted Librarian is out to meet with the Battle of the Books team. Happy mid-week to everyone.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Potpourri

A little bit of everything today, hence the title. On the kitchen front, I decided to make onion soup for dinner. (Julia Child's recipe, of course.) It makes enough that we can have it again later in the week with quiche lorraine.

The hyacinth is blooming and is very fragrant when you walk into the house. It makes me very impatient for spring. The rain today should green things up and at least it's warmer than it has been.

Prepping to make a little doorknob art for a friend. Previous post about these small art objects can be found here. They were thus christened by my dear husband, Jim, when he saw one displayed on a friend's doorknob.

Here's the finished product.

Tags always accompanying these little presents. My dear friend, Chris Schaefer, introduced me to the joys of collecting and playing with rubber stamps.

Yet another doorknob art project begins.

One final thing: there's a new version of Jane Austen's "Emma" beginning on PBS tonight. As a comfirmed Janeite, I'm very excited. The timing is wonderful as I'm actually rereading it right now. As we see January out, I hope you all have a happy and productive week.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Rounding on third": baby quilt progress

I'm getting ready to quilt the third corner of the baby quilt and now using the half quilting hoop. Jim was kind enough to take a few photos as I was pinning the next side down.

Marking is my least favorite part of quilting, put I do like the little chalk rollers because the marks are easy to remove.

Mugging for the photographer and a peak at Safety Pin Studio.

All pinned and ready to start quilting again. I'm hoping to finish today and get the binding on tomorrow. Updates to follow. Have a wonderful Saturday.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Starting spring a little early field mice need apply


I am in love with him
To whom a hyacinth is dearer
Than I shall ever be dear.

On nights when the field-mice
Are abroad, he cannot sleep.
He hears their narrow teeth
At the bulbs of his hyacinths.

But the gnawing at my heart...
He does not hear.

--Edna St. Vincent Millay

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Quilting update on the baby quilt

All the blocks are quilted and I just about have the first corner finished. Long weekends are wonderful for working on projects.

Our friend Ed Simpson has gotten financing to do a movie of his play, "Elephant Sighs" here in the Triad area. He asked me to do a small role and yesterday I filmed the scene. The story centers around an informal men's support group and I play the wife of one of the members. Ed Asner plays the lead and Jack Kehler plays my husband. I'll keep you updated on the film's progress.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Julie and Julia": The Foodie's/Blogger's Movie -- a ragoût post

One of my Christmas presents from my dear husband was the DVD of "Julie and Julia." Last night we watched it and I must say, I loved this movie on many levels--performances, food, and blogging to name a few. What follows is a ragoût of a post. Enjoy and bon appétit!

Meryl Streep is my acting god and has been for years. Her Julia Child is larger than life--both physically and in characterization. She embodies Child's passion for life. Amy Adams is adorable, but I think she also has the acting chops. She has definitely cornered the market for cute comic characters and I hope someone gives her a great dramatic role soon. Stanley Tucci would be great reading the telephone book and Jane Lynch is just remarkable in everything she does. Each performance is a delicious little morsel. Nora Ephron proves once again that she can direct one hell of a movie.

My two volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking predate my marriage (33 years on February 5). In the early 1970's, my brother, Dan, and I lived in an apartment on Newbury Street in Boston. I was a working girl and he was going to Berklee School of Music and we shared the cooking. My wonderful friend, Schroeder (who is also the person responsible for inspiring me to quilt), lived near Boston and we spent lots of time at her house where one night she made Çoq au Vin for us from Julia Child's wonderful recipe. I was totally sold and these were the first two cookbooks I ever purchased. My brother and I worked on learning several recipes and even made French bread from her recipe--a daylong process and why the French buy their bread!

In "Julie and Julia" the Boeuf Bourguignon recipe is the center of a very important scene and it looked so wonderful that I decided I have to make it for dinner tonight. All the food in the film is glorious and you definitely don't want to watch this one if you are hungry.

Julie Powell's blog, "the Julie/Julia project" is something with which anyone who blogs will strongly identify. It's all in the film, that sense of sending your words out into a black void, then the first comment from someone to whom you are not related, feeling like you live to blog, letting the blog take over your life and neglecting your loved ones for strangers who might be reading what you write and caring about what you are doing, and finally the big time. Very few bloggers get to that level, but it certainly gives us all something to shot for. While the project blog is in archives now, Julie Powell still blogs at "What Could Happen?"

The Boeuf Bourguignon is ready, the fingerling potatoes are roasting, and I'm getting ready to blanche the haricots verts. Chocolate Mousse is chilling for dessert. Oh, yum!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Baby quilt: Coming together

It's Saturday night and I'm ready to quilt. Last night I finished string piecing the squares. I'm loving the green-orange combination.

Here are the borders. I wish I had yards and yards of that Mary Ellen Hopkins circular design fabric in every colorway.

I always make my bias binding before I start quilting so I'm ready to complete the quilt after the quilting is done. Generally I make three-inch wide tape and then fold it in half to sew it on the quilt.

After pressing the tape in half, I have 150 inches of tape to go around the entire quilt.

The pin basting is completed. While this is really a basting technique for machine quilting, I love it for these small quilts because it speeds up the basting process so much. The batting is Warm and Natural. I machine wash and dry these baby quilts before I give them because they are meant to be used.

The hoop is on and I'm ready to start hand quilting.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another baby quilt

I spent some of the weekend working on both the One Million Books quilt (all titles now are written on the border strips) and cutting out a new Kaffe Fassett African stripe baby quilt.

Baby jungle animals for the back, polka dots for the border, and plaid fabric for the bias tape. I'm chain piecing and have about three rows completed. More pictures soon. I've posted about making this quilt pattern before. These are the posts on chain piecing, adding borders, pin basting, quilting, and adding bias binding.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

One Million Books Quilt : The Book titles border

I got titles on the border of one side and am starting the second side. I'm glad I didn't go any darker with the border fabrics.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

One Million Books Quilt top

This is the pile of scraps I started with when I began cutting border pieces for the One Million Books quilt top. I love using up scraps!

Here's side one sewn on after I'd cut four piles of pieces.

String piecing is a real time saver, so I made "twosies" and then pressed and cut them apart.

Here are the "twosies" going together.

Here's side three being seamed.

Three sides sewn on, one to go.

The sewing on the top is finished and yesterday I got most of the list of books done. Today, I will begin writing titles on the borders and having my students sign the back.

Friday, January 01, 2010

One Million Books: The Quilt

First, I have to show off my new ironing board designed by Michael Graves for Target. It was a little present I got for myself with some Christmas money.

Our superintendent has challenged the students of our corporation to read one million books this year. The unofficial start for the project was October 1st and I challenged the students in my building to make a strong start by offering to let them sign the back of this quilt once they've finished a book.

The center design for the quilt is based on the poster designed for the One Million Books Challenge. I fused the fabric for the letters and the open book motif.

The border will represent stacks of books. I will write the titles of books my students have read on them and they will sign the back.

My goal is to get the top all pieced, take the back to school so the students can sign it, and then have it quilted on a longarm before the official kickoff at the end of January.

1 January 2010: Happy New Year!

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

From "In Memoriam" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson