Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Comfort Comfort Comfort

Soft Quilt For A Hard Time top is finished! yeah
It has 644 strips or strings of fabric.  I like the back too to be honest.
Lots of strip sorting from various scrap bins.
 This was a real favorite on instagram.  So cute.  It was part of a cute striped fabric that I had only a little piece of.
This was very meditative sewing.
You can see over my shoulder that I decided to add extra length.  A little unsewing and adding did the trick.
I love the clean vertical line here.
Wee!  there have been 2 quarantini quilts on Instagram.  This one by @srquilts (beautiful crocks here!)
and this one by @susanlorettasquirrel
My pets are finding comfort where they can
Nutmeg (in a box of photos?)
I've been cooking comfort food that makes good leftovers.
 Remember recipes cards?  This one is handwritten by my mother probably in the 60s or 70s.  Can you tell it was used?
I also made these two salads:
Classic Three Bean Salad

 A recipe from my childhood friend.  I fudged it on some of the vinegars because I was out of some of them.  It is a very forgiving recipe.
Lemony Orzo Salad
This one was really well received!  Recipe is at the end of the post.
I have started another string quilt.  Still enjoying this zen kind of sewing.
Blue and Cheddar - better together.
I'm trying a new comment form, please be sure you click "google profile" otherwise it will come in as non-reply.  It is so hard to get blogger to get this right.

Stay Well Friends!

Lemon Orzo Salad
12 oz orzo pasta
2 large hand-fulls of spinach, torn
1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 English cucumber chopped (I like chunks myself)
1/2 red onion diced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (or goat or feta)

Dressing:  Whisk ingredients in a small bowl
1-2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/4 olive oil
sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste

Cook pasta al dente with lots of salted water.  Drain and rinse in cold water to stop cooking process.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and combine.  Add dressing and chill.  Lasts for 3 days in the refrigerator.

Monday, April 20, 2020

serenity sewing

Soft Quilt for a Hard Time.  This is what I'm making at the moment because I can't seem to concentrate and stay focused.
It started by just making string sets and trimming them into squares.  Neutrals are what I have the most of for some reason.
I made a little tape marker on my sewing machine for cutting longer strips to the right length, which is about 1 1/2" inches longer before trimming.
This was my first layout.  NOPE.  I just didn't love it.  It is not calming, and I am craving calm.
This speaks to me much more.  I like the columns and after a few neutrals I made a red one.
This spot in a red string was bothering me so I added fixed it.  You who know me know I usually don't "fix" things.  But I want order at the moment.  (these columns are not sewn together yet by the way.)
I started in on brown strings when a really funny thing happened.  I realized (late as usual) that I didn't need to cut the the top and bottom of the sets, just make a straight edge.   But I cut the first group at 5 1/2" wide instead of 6 1/2"  OOOOPS.   I used a different ruler and just sort of blew it. 
Now it is a "creative expression"  yeah, that's right it is now a design choice.
I think I'll finish this brown column and then add one more neutral column.
In other news; I cleaned out my book cases.  These are from Ikea and I love them.  I also moved a chair from my bedroom down the hall to my sewing room.  It's nice to have lunch and watch my TV from a rocking soft chair.
I'm currently watching West World from the beginning while simultaneously watching season 3.  Anyone else watching?
Here is  few things that made me happy this week.  This little display at Hammonasset State Beach at the Long Island Sound where I walk with coco.
 I am so grateful to have this wide open space to enjoy the fresh air.
I invited Hanna to my sewing room for Happy Hour and to watch the new "Making the Cut" fashion design show on Amazon.  Are you watching?  What do you think?  Sometimes it is fun to move the party to a different room.
 Luna and her house guest Momo watching the birds on a rainy morning.  They are getting along so well!
I hope are all doing okay.  This is a very extraordinary time in our world.  I am not one who tends to feel depressed or hopeless, but I have had my bouts with it recently.  

Stay Well everyone!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Quarantini Quilt: Olive Again

My April Modern Mini.  I'm sharing it early and offering a tutorial after receiving several pattern requests.
 Finished size is about 12" square.
Let me start by saying these are the measurements that I used.  Your quilt can be your measurements.  You can make them smaller, larger or use different colors.

This is basic technique for all my lollipop quilts too.  It all started with this quilt:  Lollipop Garden  which I made in 2010.
Lincoln Comes to Dinner - table runner
Trick or Sweet workshop sample.

Cut a background blocks 4 3/4". I used Moda Grunge White.
Prepare the circles.   I like to use laser cut circles, but I use a lot of circles.
Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles work very well too if you have them.
You can also cut your own.  I use the subscription cards in magazines and trace the circles.
The olive is 2 1/2" and the pimento is 1".
You need 9 of each size circle.

Cut your fabric circles about 1/4"larger all the way around the finished circle size.  A smaller on the red one will work better.  I used 3 different olive greens and a couple of different reds.   The variations make it more interesting.
Sew a running stitch all around the circle.  The smaller the berry the smaller the stitch length to get an even gather.  You want to try to sew about 1/8" from the outside edge.
When finished it should look like this.  Gently Gather and knot off near where you started stitching.
I would recommend you start with the larger circle.
Smooth your gather around the paper circle.
With a hot dry iron, starch your circles on both sides.  Get a good sharp pressed edge.
You can make all the circles, or work as you go.  Everyone works differently.  
Now glue baste your pimento onto your olive.  The method that I've developed is using a tiny line of white school glue about an 1/8" away from the edge. 
Press it to set it wherever you like on the green circle.  I made mine random and in different areas with one being almost in the center.
The thing I love the best about glue basting is NO PINS which is better for your machine and the berries stay nice and flat with no distortion.

Use matching thread on top and in bobbin, and lower your stitch length to achieve a smooth circle of stitching.
Top Stitch it all around going slowly and turning often.  This takes a little practice, but going slow is the key.  I pivot about every 2-3 stitches.
I received these white chocolate covered almonds in my stocking last Christmas.  It is extra fun to have matching candy to your project.  Or make a little of real olives to snack on.
Repeat this same process for all olives. 
Use the same glue technique to baste your olive on the background square.  
Press it to set it.
Top stitch again.
Aren't they fun?
I made my little quilt with nine blocks.
I machine quilted it with matchstick quilting using my walking foot.
I like to use a single fold binding on small quilts.  Here is a tutorial for that process on my blog.
I decided to use a black and white stripe for one side of the binding.  Why you ask?  Just seemed to add a little glamour to it.  After all Martinis are glamorous aren't they?
Please send me a photo or post your quilt on my Facebook page or instagram using the hashtag #quarantiniquilt

A few people asked for the recipe of the Orange Crunch Cake that I made Andrew.  Click here to get it.   I use homemade buttercream frosting instead of the can and coolwhip.
I hope you had a nice Easter during this Strange time of Covid.
I had my annual Ten Commandments watch in my sewing room.
Have a great week and stay home and stay safe.