Monday, October 31, 2011

Tricks on Trees

Happy Halloween (sort of)

We'll we survived Snowmagedon 2011. Just when the trees were starting to look pretty here in Northern NJ, Snowmagedon hit on Saturday.

We heard the first "Crack" of falling branches in the early afternoon and were hit with a power outage about 3pm.  Our neighborhood was hit very hard.  Luckily we have a wood burning fireplace, so were able to keep the Living Room somewhat warm.  Power resumed Sunday afternoon (thank goodness).

This morning we restocked the fridge and bought a chain saw.

The Lumberjacks, my son and his best friend.

Poor trees

This is about a third of the tree you see standing on left.

Big Daddy came out to show the boys how it's done.  They are really happy with the new toy.

the carnage

It's been a long standing tradition for me to make Sue's Stew and Tom's bread on Halloween.  When the kids were little it was an easy and quick way to get some dinner in while answering the bell and before they were totally sugar loaded.

The boys were very happy to sit down to a hot meal after the lumber hauling was over.

Happy Halloween! Back soon with Quilting.

Here are my recipes - they take about the same amount of time, so it works out great.  Enjoy!

Sue's Stew (Sue is my sister-in-law)

1 lb stew meat
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper
1 onion, wedged
2 cans beef broth
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
4-6 red skinned potatoes, cut into chunks
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2" slices.
1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, cut into 1" pieces.

Dredge stew pieces in seasoned flour.  Brown in a dutch oven with a little olive oil and butter.
Add onion, beef broth, bay leaves and tomato sauce.  Simmer 90 minutes.
Add  potatoes and carrots and simmer 30 minutes.
Add green beans and simmer until beans are done, about 30 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

This is a basic recipe and you can add corn, peas, sweet potato or other root vegetables. 

Tom's Bread (Tom was a family friend who did the cooking on Rich's family boat)

1 Package dry yeast
2 cups hot water
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 - 3/4 cup honey
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs butter
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups white flour

Combine hot water, oats, honey, butter and salt and let cool slightly.

Proof yeast according to the package directions.
(1/4 cup warm water, 1 tsp sugar and yeast, until foamy)

Add yeast and whole wheat flour to the oats mixture.  Add and knead in remaining 3 cups flour.  Knead about 5 mins.

Spray large bowl with Pam and add dough and cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (at least an hour) in a warm place.
Punch down and let rise again 1 hour.
Divide dough into 2 loaves and put into bread pans sprayed with pam.  Let rise 30-40 minutes.
Bake at 305 degrees for about 45 minutes or until its done and gold brown.

We like it best with butter and honey - yum!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sweet Little Baskets

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments on my Remembering Abe quilt.  I so appreciate it when you take the time to leave me a comment!

Here is a quilt I made in 2005, Sweet Little Baskets.

Jan of Be*mused showed a photo of my friend, Sheila's, quilt on her blog and hinted that I had made one too.

A few of use traded 3" baskets for awhile and each made a quilt.  Sheila made a large one.  Mine is quite small, only a throw.  As you can see, I made it larger with gigantic borders.

Here are some baskets blocks closer up.

I organized my baskets in a similar color groups.  It was fun!

This will give you an idea of scale and size, thanks coco.

On the back I used this large scale print of roosters.   It was around this time that I started using "statement" backings.

Simple cross hatch machine quilting and a nice label.

I had forgotten to share this on my Abe post.  I used Superior Kimono Silk #100 thread to machine quilt Abe.  It was wonderful to quilt with and the drape is lovely.

I treated myself to the color card available at Superior Threads.  

Here are a few things that really changed the quality of my machine quilting (and it's still not where I want it to be yet)....

I have shortened my stitch length (on the vicking it's  2 1/2.

I have slowed down - so hard!

I'm using silk in the top and the bobbin.

I'm using a good quality, new sharp needle, 70/10

I'm using a self threading needle to bury the starting and stopping stitches.

I watch Mad Men, Oh, Donald Draper you are a bad boy.

And lastly, I've put a book under my feet and raised my sewing chair so I have a better downward view.

I'm hoping to figure out a better solution, but this working for now.

Do you have any great machine quilting tips?  I'd love to hear them.

Have a fun week!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Man Abe

Finally, I have finished my Abe Lincoln Quilt!

This was a challenge with my friends Jill and Susan.  It was commemorating his 200th Birthday in 2009.  Sorry for the duplicate showing to my guild friends....

A couple of close ups so you can see the quilting.

 Here is the back.

Kind of funny, on the back one side of the script is upside down.  I wanted to use the smooth cut edge to piece and it and didn't even think about the print - then when hurrying to make the sleeve, I attached the toile' upside down to the other printed fabric.

I accepted my personal foibles with a laugh a long time ago and anyway, I am what I am.....but it is pretty funny.

Coco had her first day at camp last week.  She had to have a behavior interview (you can imagine my nerves in the waiting area).  She had a great time with the other dogs.

This is the best shot of her trying to sit by her certificate, lol.

She got so frustrated with the whole thing, she sat and sulked.

And last, but funnest, my friend and reader, MB in Illinois made 2 coffin needle books!!  Aren't they terrific?  She told me she didn't have halloween fabric, so she painted the skeleton and made the spiderweb - super talented!!

Have a Fun Week!

p.s. help! How do I get the "things you might like" thing to work??

Friday, October 14, 2011

No Trick - Just Treats


Rich picked two random numbers and the winner are:

Melinda won the Swatch Buddies kit

Rachaeldaisey won the Coffin Needle Book

Please email me your home address and I'll get your prized to you right away!  Thanks to everyone for entering.  The coffin pattern is on a tab at the top of the blog.

Thought I'd share some of my Halloween decorations this year.

These are glittery wall sticky bats that I got at Pier I Imports this year.

Love these folk arty looking skeletons (Homegoods a few years ago).

This is a Martha Stewart mantel skirt, that I hung in my entry way to the Living Room.  I bought it at Party City a couple of years ago.

Here is a little quilt wallhanging that I made in 1993.

My Living Room mantel.  I used a minimal approach this year, and didn't unpack 2 of my tubs.

Unrelated to Halloween, my pineapple quilt looks like it was made to match my chintzy chair.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and find time to sew.  I'll be back next week with my Abe quilt - finished~

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Great" Little Pumpkins!

You still have time to enter my double giveaway on my last post.  Just leave a comment on that post and I'll draw 2 names on Friday morning - good luck.

I hosted a little sewing day last week and we made these cute little wool pumpkins.

From the left is Pauline's (love the white pumpkin!), then mine (which I enlarged slightly) and Susan's.

Nothing I love more than a table full of sewing supplies -

The Pattern came from the bo0k, Pumpkin Patch, that I won on Kelly's blog, Pinkadot Quilts.  She always has something fun going on there!

Here is a close up of Susan's.

Of course we made a little time for lunch and a slice of green apple pie.  I love to bake apple pie because it makes the whole house smell good this time of year.

Here are the 2 that I completed.

I have added a tab under my header for a free pattern of the coffin needle book.  It is about the same size as the pattern I drafted, but it changed slightly when we added it to blogger.

You can print it and make it any size you wish, or I can send you a pdf file by email.

I'd love to see photos if you make one these fun needle books.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Tisket a Tasket a Fun And Spooky Casket

So Fun it's Scarey!  I'm hosting a double giveaway!

My friends at Swatch Buddies have generously supplied me with a Swatch Buddies kit to offer my friends as a give away!  Thanks Swatch Buddies!

Check out their website:  Swatch Buddies To learn more about this great product.  They have a link to my blog under their Press section, thanks guys!

The cupcakers got together to make this funny little coffin needle book.  We had more fun picking different fabric combinations.

Here are the cardboard inserts.  We had to do a little adjusting here and there, but we got it together in the end.

My workstation, what a scream, right?

And here is a display of our little coffins.
The fronts-

The fronts and backs opened and face down so you can see the combinations.

The inside, with 2 little leaves of batting for needles.

Here are the three that I made.

My second give away is this coffin needle case.

He's a jolly skeleton!

To me the back looks a little like a coffin out house, he he.

To enter just leave a comment on this post.  I'll draw 2 names next Friday, October 14th.

I am hoping when my son comes home for dinner this weekend to have him help me make a pdf page with the templates so you can make some for yourself or for your gobblin friends.

I was the luckiest ever last week! I received 3 prizes in the mail and want to say thank you to:

Christine (Once Upon a Quilt) for the lovely pattern -

Beth (Love Laugh Quilt)  for the fun license plate cover -

And to Kelly (Pinkadot Quilts) for the halloween giveaway.  I love that fabric!  Stay tuned to see what me and friends make.

Good Luck in the giveaway~

p.s. I know these aren't caskets, I just couldn't rhyme coffin :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Doll Quilt Tryst

Did you ever just want to take a little break from your work a day quilting life?

Well, last week I did.  I made 3 little quilts.

This first doll quilt I'm calling "Butterscotch Beauty".  It's very simple, but I added the elegant urn fabric to make it more of what I call an "elevated doll quilt".

I machine quilted it in a one direction, double then single line pattern.

Here is the back - sorry for the weird shadow effect and the crooked hanging job.

This one is made from leftovers given me by my guild friend, Sally, who sat near me at the retreat last spring.  I admired her batik scraps and she gave them to me!

I am donating this to the guild for the mini-auction at our quilt show in November.

Here is a close of up the quilting.

I made this doodle in January of 2010 and I finally put it into a quilt.  I really love it and intend to use it more in the future on my more modern quilts.

Here I've practiced it on a scrap.

For the back I used this fun folk art print.

With the leftovers from this one, I made a little sister mini, which I intend to gift to a guild friend.  (hint)

I've grouped them around my feather weight, so you could get an idea of the size and scale of them.

I found this beautiful empty nest after the hurricane and feeling a kinship to it I brought it home and dried it out.  These birds made such a nice home which included a piece of balloon ribbon, cassette tape, and white bundling twine.

And lastly, poor coco.  She is having some major adjustment issues with the kids gone and me sewing so much.  I'm going to look into a doggie day care so she can spend time with her own kind once a week.

Have a great day!