Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday in Safety Pin Studio

This may be the last photo I can do at home of this quilt. It is so huge that I won't have floor or wall space big enough to spread it out and photograph it after I add more. Above are rows one through four and you can really see the diagonal color rows now. The light today is strangely beautiful--a sort of bright, but definitely winter slanted sun.

Here's the basket that I've been keeping the extra pieces in as I cut them.

Separating out the lights and darks and the two piece sets from the three piece sets.

In minutes, new blocks are all ready to be sewn together.

The first four blocks of rows five and six are ready to be sewn together. I'm planning on doing row seven at the same time.

I'm back to Safety Pin Studio to sew once more. Boeuf Bourguignon is in the oven for tonight's dinner, so I will make the most of my time. Hope it's a pleasant and productive weekend for all.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wedding Bento: update on rows three and four

With so little available time in the evenings, I have to make a choice between blogging and sewing and this week, I went for sewing. Above is the last brown block for which I had to cut fabric. Now I will start composing from the fabric I've already cut and put in a little basket. (More on that this weekend.)

These are the final two orange and green blocks for which fabric was cut.

These are the four most recent blocks to go together for rows three and four.

This is a detail of one of the brown blocks. I try to contrast the fabric designs when I compose. Not only light and dark, but traditional with modern or geometric with floral. I think it adds a richness to the block.

Here's a detail of one of the green blocks. This quilt will have something like 96 different green fabrics, 56 different browns, and 48 different oranges. Coach Fisher is out for Battle of the Books practice.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wedding Bento: Rows One and Two Done

The first two rows are complete. The diagonal rows should show up a little better when rows three and four are added. Back to the studio to sew!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

New fabrics from a new quilt shop

Just a quick note and this picture of the new fabrics I bought at a great new quilt shop in our area called Ye Olde Forest Quilters.
In addition to the oranges, I also found a few light greens. Their fabric selection is wonderful and, one of the owners, Kelly, does fantastic machine quilting. He's machine quilting the One Million Books quilt for me. I'm off to Safety Pin Studio to work on more bento box blocks. Quilted Librarian is out.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wedding Bento progress: I still don't have enough orange fabric!

Most of Sunday was spent in Safety Pin Studio working on the wedding bento. Above a new section of blocks is pictured.

I also cleared everything else off my work table to make room for the fabrics. They are arranged in color families from light to dark values.

As I compose each block, I cut two sets of each fabric--one for the outside of a square and one for the inside. And even though each fabric will be used twice and there will be half as many orange blocks as green ones, I still don't have enough orange fabric! I suppose I shouldn't complain about needed to go fabric shopping.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fabric postcard thank you note

Look how cute this is! My friend Mary made a fabric postcard and sent me a thank you note. I love the way she used the selvage strips to create the diagonals.

And now that US postage stamps have adhesive on the back, they stick to fabric so much better!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Design problem solved: Wedding Bento quilt

After composing several bento box blocks on Saturday, I quickly realized that the same method I was using for the yellow, black and white quilt was not going to work for the wedding bento. The blocks were just blah. I decided to try the method I used with the baby bentos with color being the unifying factor and this seems to be working. I took the blocks apart and reconstructed them.

Here's an orange one...

and a green one...

and a brown one.

I'm doing diagonal rows with brown in the middle, green on each side of that, and then orange. That way the orange which is the strongest visually, will be the least represented in numbers of blocks.

Shoutout Sidebar

I made doorknob art for my friend Mary who blogs at Mary at Lake Pulaski and she put up a picture of it on her blog. So here's a "you're welcome" shoutout to her. I'm pleased that she liked it.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Jim and me: 33 years

Jim and I celebrate 33 years of marriage today. Appropriately enough, we are both off for a snow day today! We were married in the middle of an amazing winter storm in Ohio 33 years ago. It was a small ceremony in my parents' living room in front of a roaring fire, but most memorable. Happy anniversary to you, my darling. I look forward to many more.

"Sonnet 29"
When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
~William Shakespeare

Just to prove that I was not exaggerating about the snow, this is the next day when we started driving to New Jersey.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Snow Day Kitchen Activities

My dear husband observed last night that I always end up cooking and baking when I have a snow day and it's true that I spent a great deal of time moving between the kitchen and Safety Pin Studio the last two days. Since I had homemade chicken broth and cooked chicken in the freezer, I decided to make chicken and noodles. This is a recipe from Marcia Adams' great cook book, Cooking from Quilt Country, and could not be easier. (Warning:You have to use a heavy casserole with a lid to make this work.) Heat the broth and chicken to just on the point of boiling and add spaetzle or good Amish noodles. (Second warning: Don't use those regular commercial grocery store noodles because they will get overcooked.)

Give it a stir; put the lid on the casserole and bake in a 300 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Check the noodles for doneness. If you use homemade noodles, it may take longer, but do check after 25 minutes. This method cooks the noodles and leaves you with lots of broth.

I love chicken and noodles in a bowl. The Amish serve them over mashed potatoes. (I know, I know, but they are wonderful that way!)

I've also been experimenting with baking with Splenda© and Splenda Brown Sugar Blend© and I am happy to report that I've perfected a cookie recipe that we love. It's based on the "Everything" Cookie and comes from my friend Beverly Stockdale who is a member of Sugar Creek Quilters in Crawfordsville. For a fund raiser one year, we put together a cook book that's filled with great recipes.

Because this cookie has peanut butter and oatmeal in it, the fact that the Splenda only adds sweetness doesn't affect the consistency of the dough or the final product. Here they are ready to go into the oven.

The recipe as I've changed it:

The Everything Cookie
1 cup Splenda©
1 Cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend©
1 cup margarine (I use one stick of margarine and one stick of butter)
2 eggs
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup oatmeal (quick or old fashioned)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup raisins
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cut nuts

Cream the margarine/butter, then add Splendas©. Combine the other ingredients in the order given. Drop by large teaspoons onto cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minute. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool on baking sheet for several minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

These are not sugar free because the Splenda Brown Sugar Blend© has some refined sugar in it as do the chocolate chips, and raisins are 70% fructose, but the cookies are much lower in calories than if made with two cups of refined sugar. I use my Kitchen Aid mixer until I get to the last two ingredients, then I stir those in.

My friend, Diane Hammill, a master quilter, is also a trained calligrapher. She designed the cover of the cook book as well as our guild pins, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and tote bags. The pattern is called crossed canoes because Sugar Creek is a major canoeing venue. Sugar Creek Quilters doesn't have a website, but if you ever find yourself in Montgomery County, Indiana, be sure to take in a meeting.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Launching a new project: The Wedding Bento

With a wedding approaching on May 1st, I have launched into my next new project--a king-sized bento box quilt. This is for Anna's best friend, so she helped me choose fabric. Anna spotted the inspiration fabric (in the foreground above) on which the color scheme is based. It's from the Alhambra collection of Art Gallery Fabrics. Anna also found the beautiful brown fabric for the back. (See below.) It's called "Olive Rose" and was designed by Valori Wells for Free Spirit, Westminster Fibers. The blocks are 12 inches finished, so by doing 7 by 7, and adding a one-inch border and a six inch border, I can come up with 98 inches by 98 inches. That should be a good king-sized measurement.