Monday, January 31, 2011

Sewing Party Weekend Over

I enjoyed this weekend's Sewing Party with the "Charming Girls". It pushed me to finish a project I was falling behind on. I managed to get all the redwork blocks stitched up for 'Annie'.

And then I got all those set into their respective pieced settings. These are large blocks - large blocks make me nervous as it is difficult to keep them squared up and then you get the 'waves' in your work.

And then I managed to get my rows into a semi-completed quilt top. Now there is just the last three monthly blocks to set off on the bottom. I feel like so much was accomplished in the company of some wonderful ladies who had some fantastic projects going at the same time - an on-line sewing retreat for me and I loved it.

I had some difficulty with the bloggy world - so many referring to the weekend as the end of the month. I have enough trouble losing days of the week without others losing days for me. This is a person who lost days while in a coma - I get very frustrated when I lose days conscious.

I have been kicking around some ideas of things to add to my blog. I don't feel I'm qualified to do tutorials, there's enough of them out there. I do love to share what I do know and love, as many quilters do. So I approached some 'new quilters/sewers' who could offer the fresh ideas. Thus I have the beginnings of "Squared Up". Just simple sewing of squares - the basics of sewing/quilting. Some color play, fabrics, settings, where to look for inspiration on a simple level.

My inspiration is this lovely purple square paper plate. So simple in design, but so very striking. It leaves room for creative design. Coordinating shades of purple, maybe you think of lilacs, or maybe there's that little paisley print in your stash needing a home in a quilt.

My work with squares in progress. Lots of little (1.5") square colors being melded into a quilt. Some of you are participating in PS I Quilt's postage stamp quilt-a-long done with the strip method. I like to make mine with the individual squares as I get to pet each piece of fabric that goes into the quilt. I have another in progress using 2" squares.

I started blogging to share my journey and to keep me on task with the many projects I seem to 'scatter' off with. I have had some wonderful people support and help me along the journey. I don't watch the 'follower' listing, and get annoyed with give aways and ads with "need to follow, tweet, and like" - they just turn me away. But I suddenly noticed my lovely list due to all you ladies who comment on a regular basis and I do try to peek in on all of you too. So I am having a THANK YOU give away for my supporters. This is ONLY for those on my current list, so no new followers and don't post about a give away. This is for you ladies as a thank you.

I know you all like fabric, but I am gifting something that is close to me. I love cross stitching and combining it with quilting. This sampler is one of my 'house on the hill' versions and is 12" x 14". There will be some surprise goodies with it when mailed off to it's new home. So if you are interested in my THANK YOU, please leave me a note either on the blog or e-mail me. I will draw (names on a strip in the old hat) next Monday - Feb. 7th

Sewingly Yours,

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sewing Party Update

All the large blocks (16.5" unfinished) are framed and rows together. I don't have a large area to photo well and no one around to hold it outside for me. The next row is a series of piecing and 3 smaller stitched blocks that I need to do. That row is 8.5" (unfinished) high. Then that's followed by the yet to come 3 large blocks again.

Word Up Sewing Party


This is a pile of a few blocks of the Kaaren's (The Painted Quilt) Raggedie Annie and Andy BOM. I need to get more of the redwork blocks into the pieced blocks. I would like to get the completed blocks into rows, and since the sashing is part of the piecing they should go quickly.

And I have 2 more small redwork blocks to stitch. They didn't print out to scale and they were so light I could not get my program to recognize them so they could be resized. So I resorted to redrawing them.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snow Drops

"The Snow-drop, Winter's timid child,
Awakes to life, bedew'd with tears."
- Mary Robinson

SlowCooker Minestone

3 cups chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
2 bay leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
2 cups cooked ditalini pasta
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen spinach, defrosted
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In slow cooker, combine broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours. Thirty minutes before the soup is done cooking, add ditalini, zucchini and spinach. Cover and cook 30 more minutes. Remove bay leaves and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top

This is the newest block for the Layer Cake Block Quilt-A-Long. I'm not that happy with it, but I am working with leftover fat quarters and have to be 'creative' with what I have left. I'm not sure I will get all 12 blocks, so it may be a 9-block quilt.
I am a member of the Carol Doak Yahoo Group and this is the newest block for her BOM. This fabric does not take all the seams and points well when it comes to pressing. I have to get my dress makers mallet and pound seams to get them flat. And some of the blocks I have altered, taking this in account.
I got my fabric cards and post cards finished. These are a few of the cards. I make them all 4" x6" and make my own cardstock base cards and postcard backs. The only difference in the cards is I use a double sided fuse to attach the fabric finish to the card. If you try to stitch your cards, they will over perforate and tear the back off. Here is a great tutorial for postcards:

I finished my Mug Rugs for the Quilter's Gallery Swap and hope to get them out this Saturday. Yes, quite different - a very sedate and a little bit fun. The cross stitch is one of my mini versions of my huge house on the hill, our large spruce (we once ran a large tree farm and lumber mill), and the courthouse step block represents one of the buildings - the first court house in NY.

I got my embroidery blocks done, but didn't get to setting them into the pieced blocks so they look a little bare for photos. Plus when I pull the scrap bin out I just get going in other directions.

I am so delighted that you girls have enjoyed the soup recipes, but remember my cooking was for the National Soup month of January. February will hold new beginnings.

Sewingly Yours,

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chillin' With the Chill

3 c. chopped potatoes ( I used left over baked)
1 c. water
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. shredded carrots
1/4 c. chopped scallions
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. milk
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 lb. American cheese, diced
In a large saucepan combine potatoes, water, celery, carrots, onion, parsley flakes, bouillon cube and seasoning. Mix well, cover; simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add flour to milk, mixing until well blended. Add milk mixture to vegetables; cook until thickened. Add cheese and stir until melted.
Top with bacon bits, shredded cheese , and chopped scallions
I made this wallhanging using the small pre-printed house block I received as a participant in the 'build a neighborhood' house block project hosted by Beth at LOVE,LAUGH,QUILT. I had 3 small paperpieced house blocks in my orphan box, each house block was framed with a log-cabin design. Then I decided to use a star center with info written in center as a momento of the project. All fabric came from my scrap bin, backing was an 'ugly frabric', batting was pieced leftovers, and I used different leftover binding to keep the scrap look.

Remember I pulled my scrap drawers from the tower? Well, this flimsy came about using up some blues and reds (my those reds look pink in this photo). The pattern is from Quilter's Cache - Marcia Hohn - Wishing Ring #2. A pattern with y-seams that was a new technique to learn on Cyberquilters (which I am a member of). I think I will use a wide red border and then a scrappy blue binding to finish. This will make for a nice quilt to add to the charity tote.

Actually I came across the patterns first and then I had to hunt for these. This was a free BOM by Ria Lanser when she had the GrandmasKitchen site - now defunct. It's called Odd Socks - which we can all relate, too. Why is there always that one odd sock when you do the laundry? I just have to figure how I am going to set these - and if a wallhanging or into a lap quilt. I think I have some 'sock' print fabric and some 'shoes' print fabric.

I have a lot of embroidery to catch up on thru the week as I want to have my table clear for the Charming Girls Saturday Sew-in. Maybe by then I will have figured out what to do with those Odd Socks and that will be my project.

Some people have been asking me about the Village pattern. It is from Sulky International and is their 2004 BOM. Just google Sulky International and the year BOM - they have from 2001 - 2011. Their earlier BOMs are in German, but most are in English.

Sewingly Yours,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January Thaw

I use that title with a chuckle. My SIL and I were laughing about this today. We actually got to almost 30 today! Now we are to have another 2 weeks of sub zero weather. Heaters and oil tanks checked, generator primed in case, and wood piled handy.

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup
You need:
2 cups chopped sweet potato
2 cups chopped butternut squash
4 cups of chicken stock
1 medium onion - chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups milk OR half and half
1 teaspoon crushed ginger (or ginger powder)
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan or boiler, melt the butter. Add Chopped onion, garlic and ginger - cook till onion is clear. Add other vegetables, mix, cook a few minutes. Then add chicken stock, salt, pepper, bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer 20 minutes. Cool (a bit) blend. Add in milk (or half and half), return to heat, bring to nearly boiling.
Serve topped with seasoned croutons and bacon bits.

I used squash and sweet potato already cubed and stored in freezer. Any fall squash or pumpkin will work in this soup too. Canned pumpkin can be used - add with chicken stock.
I finished another UFO and so glad it's done. I wanted to handquilt this, but after a good finger poke thru my leather thimble, a broken needle and stitches not looking neat; I unstitched the thing and put it on the machine. Using non-quilty fabric is a leason learned. They are good quality cottons, and given me when I just started. The border and backing are Thimbleberries fabrics - but what a struggle. Even the binding gave a few finger pricks. I broke a needle trying to tie on the buttons!
I haven't shown these yet - love Kaaren's (Painted Quilt) Raggedy Ann and Andy BOM. I pulled the tote to have things ready for the next block. I need to find a larger box to store them as they are wrinkling badly in the tote. This is going to be a beautiful quilt. I'm not an Annie fan, but this is for my BFF who just loves them. Maybe I'll get ambitious and make a doll to go with it - I have until Christmas anyway
I pulled all my drawers to fold and re-sort fabric scraps to be ready for the Moda Bake Shop Progressive Dinner (see button). I need some new little projects that finish in a day. But I must admit, I started some blocks, too. What can I say - I get carried away when I play with scraps.

Other fun activities - check out Paula's Challenge button and maybe get ready for the BlockAPalooza quilt along.
Sewingly Yours,
Support a new quilting blogger - Pauline at

Sunday, January 16, 2011

O' Winter

With below 0 and single diget temperatures, I was suddenly remembering being one of the brave (fool hardy) leaders who would winter camp with the Boy Scout Troop. This soup was their favorite - had to have venison hamburg, if not it became known as Humbug Soup.
Hamburger Soup
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 white onion, peeled and diced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
1 (1 1/2 ounce) envelope onion soup mix
6 cups water
1 (8 ounce) can tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained
1 cup celery, sliced
1/4 cup celery leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh carrot, sliced
1 cup white potato, peeled and cut into small cubes

Brown ground beef and onion in a large pot. Drain if needed. Add spices and onion soup mix. Stir in water, tomato paste and soy sauce. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring back to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer uncovered until potatoes and carrots are tender about 30 minutes. (Add more water if needed). Serve with shredded parmesan cheese and butter crackers.

I felt guilty not completing the Roll Roll Cotton Boll (Bonnie Hunter), so pulled all my pieces and blocks - decided to at least assemble one quilt. I like this smaller version and will keep her border setting for this one. The second one I will change the border on, but I like the lap quilt size. I will still have blocks and pieces left over, but they will most certainly get used in another quilt or maybe a wallhanging.
I decided I needed to at least get another UFO finished with the long cold days, so I pulled this very early paperpiecing project. I got tired of just square in a square and tried to change up the blocks, some are 'oops', some are original, some are planned. I think that is why it sat, plus I got caught up in NEW projects. I found some scrap border left from another project - I would have loved to show you the checkerboard back fabric, but my camera is limping with duct tape - yes, duct tape, thank you miss furry. This 'I SPY' will be saved for my new grandson's 1st birthday.
And I took time to have some fun sewing into the mix. I really enjoyed the week long Be Mine Blog Tour. Some very easy projects with excellent tutorials. This needlekeep worked up so quickly, that I actually made one for my Mom, my daughter and my SIL. And when I can add buttons to something, it is the perfect project - I love old buttons. Digging in those old tins from my greatgram brings back so many memories. But you can't share those memories if you don't take them out and use them.
This is another old UFO, a free pattern still on the Carol Doak website. I did these blocks when I first started and someone gave be a bag of scrap, not so quilty fabric. But they deserve to be a finished quilt, so they have been done up and some Thimbleberries fabric borders and backing. I am handquilting this one as it needs a little more love. It will make for a loving gift to the Battered Women's Shelter with those baskets of flowers.

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."
Edith Sitwell

Sewingly Yours

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicken Soup and Soupy Sales

We just had a new cable channel added locally - a lot of oldies and I never laughed so hard to see the Soupy Sales show. Don't know Soupy Sales? Do I date myself?
Soupy Sales (January 8, 1926 – October 22, 2009) was an American comedian, actor, radio-TV personality and host, and jazz aficionado. He was best known for his local and network children’s television show, Lunch with Soupy Sales; a series of comedy sketches frequently ending with Sales receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark.

Chicken Tortellini Soup - My sister-in-law brought me a roaster chicken carcass the other day as she knows I love to make soup. I start with 7 1/2 cups water and place chicken in to boil, lower heat and let cook for about 1/2 hr. While chicken is doing it's thing, I take a skillet, add 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, go nuts with the seasonings - sea salt, cracked pepper, cyan, and minced garlic (one clove). I let the seasonings warm (infusing) while chopping 2 stalks celery, one onion, I had some pre-cut carrots for salad fixings so used them-chopped smaller. Oh, there's a tomato and half a zucchini left in the fridge - chop. Add to skillet and let warm until onions are just "sweating" (translucent) as everything will cook more in the soup. Remove skillet from heat. I then strained the chicken stock - let bones cool and then 'pick-em-clean'. Now if this doesn't appeal to you, you could use a canned chicken broth and cubed chicken (use up some leftovers) and let warm. Add seasoned vegies, chicken to the stock and let simmer until vegies are done. You can add rice, macaroni, egg noodles, but I like to add cheese tortellini (thaw frozen package in microwave) and heat thru. Serve with a hearty crusty bread or whole wheat rolls.
I won some scrap fabric and challenged myself to make something with it. I saw a unique bag and set to work. The bag is finished - you can tell it is part of a vest and kept that as the bag shape. Keeping the inset pockets - added velcro so they could be closed - and 2 inset zipper pockets in the lining. It was claimed as I was cutting, and she only wanted one strap. Had more fabric left so made a little clutch that can be used with the bag or by itself. Used some antique wood buttons from greatgram's tin and TA-DA! I love it. What have you challenged yourself with lately?
This little scrappy heart wallhanging was made using the pattern/tutorial during the Be Mine Blog Tour. She offered a pillow, but I'm not a pillow decor person. My decor is very country, and I like little wall art, so my plaid heart evolved. It goes so well with my North/South quilt I just finished.
And I made this cute table runner with another of the Be Mine Blog Tour pattern/tutorials. Again, being creative with my scraps and just enjoying sewing for fun. After all, what do you do when it is accuming 2 feet of snow outside? The Be Mine button is on the side - take some time for fun sewing.
'Boxes in Boxes' - I just love this pattern and colors of bits of fabric. I used 2.5" squares, 1.5" sashing, and 1.5" cornerstones. It is machine and hand quilted - love to use color when quilting. This quilt is on it's way for 'Happy Chemo" donation. I found this thru another quilting blogger asking for donations. You can check the founding site:
'Simple Boxes' - This is a very easy donation quilt pattern. I just hit the scraps again. I love blue, birds, and bird houses - can't you tell? The blocks are just simple 'patches' and sashed. This quilt has a ticking and pieced back. It is another quilt on it's way to "Happy Chemo".
Emily is the blogger who's so graciously collecting for her area and I just had to send these to her.

I'm sew excited! Even in a snow storm, UPS delivers. My thread is here. Just had to share all these wonderful colors. I'm not affilliated with Connecting Threads, but I love their thread. Their Egyptian Cotton with Silk finish is great for machine quilting. I'm panting to use their new line of Essential Pro, cotton,poly - designed for longarm. But I don't have a long arm, it should work just as well on my domestic and I can't wait to give it a whirl. That's my schedule thru the weekend - how many UFOs can I get done? I'm going to have fun trying - like Soupy, with a pie in the face.

Sewingly Yours,

Monday, January 10, 2011

Princess and the Pea

2 cups dried split peas (rinsed and sorted)
8 cups water
2 chopped onions (or 1/2 cup dried)
6 chopped carrots (in bite size pieces)
6 celery stalks (sliced)
bay leaf (remove after cooking)
2 tsp salt - Pepper to taste
Cook on low for 8-10 hrs -until peas are tender (you can put in at night and it may be done when you wake up!). I like to ladle out 1/2 into blender to puree as I like some whole peas/vegs; or you could use a hand blender and puree the entire soup. If in a hurry, you can cook soup on stove top and it will take about 1- 1/2 hrs. for peas to be tender. If you eat meat, add shredded or chunks of ham, but add after you have blended and warm thru.
I like to serve with a Keiser roll.

I feel like a "princess" as I have been so fortunate to have received some wonderful wins thru so many bloggers and quilt sites for the short amount of time I have been in 'blogland'. Lovely fabrics from Charming Girls Quilt Club, Aunt Spicy - 100 Quilts for X-mas, and Stash Manicure.
Sidewinder from the Simplicity Creative Group - Quilt Gallery, the patterns and quilt puzzle I won as door prize at local quilt shop, 100 Quilt Blocks from Quiltmaker, and some 'play' fabric (tomorrows project) from One More Quilt, and I just found out I won a pattern-Spin City by Daniela Stouts-SewCalGal giveaway.
I used my Charming Girls Quilt Club word - perserverance - in completing my first UFOs for 2011. This is "All Points North and South" - Susan-PatchKat-'Life on the Bayou'. She used brights, but I am a scrap quilter so used re-purposed shirts, skirts, etc.. from my family. Backing from my MOM (flannel from PJs and robes when we were kids), leftover batt from another quilt, scrap muslin from past projects, and binding was a maternity jumper - gosh 27yrs ago! It's soft, cuddly, and full of memories.
I did this Sulky International 2004 BOM as a Christmas Village - So this one is a Country Village setting. It is machine and handquilted, embroidered, beaded, charms and buttons. The buildings are labeled with a generic sign: bakery, post office, church, library, school, quilt shop, salon, row houses, flower shop. It could represent any village. It will be donated to our community library fundraiser as an auction piece.

Now that I'm happy to have some pieces finished, I can do some "play-for fun" pieces, my favorite. A couple of bags, a child's quilt with the cute kitty fabrics my grandson gave me for Christmas, and a little cross stitching. Remember to treat yourself as a "princess"; and have some fun with your sewing.
Sewingly Yours,

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Soup for the Soul

Slow-Cooker Bean and Barley Soup

1 cup dried multibean mix or Great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed
6 cups water
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes, with juice
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 bay leaf
1 Tsp salt
2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend
1 Tsp black pepper
3 cups cleaned baby spinach leaves (about 3 ounces)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Put beans, water, tomatoes and their juices, garlic, celery, carrots, onion, barley, bay leaf, and seasonings in slow cooker; cover and cook on LOW until the beans are quite tender and the soup is thick, about 8 hours.
Stir in the spinach, cheese, and vinegar, cover, and let the soup cook until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes. Serves 6 - I like to serve those flakey biscuits with this.
Our challenge for the year of Charming Girls is to select one word to base our year. I chose 'perserverance' as my word. I have a lot of UFO's in a short amount of time that really need to be addressed. This will, also, help in trying to get my MOM to pull out those boxes and finish some things instead of telling me that I will get them to finish. I would rather people enjoy her finished work while she is still with us - so I should really practic what I preach.
And I am still sewing fun things as they strike me. I love working with small bits and the 2" squares are over-flowing, so I am working on another postage stamp quilt. As my work table shows, I do tend to jump from project to project but I think it keeps it all fresh. And I hate to put things back in place until I'm sure I am done with it.
I have this little quilt in the Quilt Gallery theme contest - favorite quilt of 2010. Jezebel is a Red Rooster pattern and I fell in love with it when I saw it. I had so many similar fabrics that it all came from my stash. But it is a memory quilt for me as my DAD loved Bettie Davis (Jezebel was his favorite name - thankfully none of us got blessed with it) and always told me as a child that I had Bettie Davis eyes. Dad passed in Jan 2010.
I'm ready for Spring, but Mother Nature isn't cooperating. So I'll keep warming the soul with some hot, homemade soup until then.
Sewingly Yours,

Monday, January 3, 2011

Keeping Warm

January is National Soup Month. I can't bake, but I can cook and there is nothing better during the cold month of January in the Northeast than a piping hot bowl of homemade soup.

Slow Cooker Lentil and Ham Soup

1 1/2 cup dried lentils
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
32 ounces chicken broth
1 1/2 cup water
Small can diced tomatoes
In a 3 1/2 quart or larger slow cooker combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on Low for 11 hours. Discard the bay leaf before serving. Serve with corn bread muffins. Serves 6 Options: could slow cook overnight and re-heat for dinner or will cook on stove top 45-60 mins. (until lentils are done)

And I am mixing it up with sewing new, finishing old, and a little cross stitch surprise.
I love these saw-toothed blocks in the Bonnie Hunter 'Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll' mystery. But after seeing the final layout, I am thinking of making 2 quilts instead. Maybe like the original, maybe mixing them up with something else. Since the project is now 2 new quilts, it will go on the back burner as I want to get some finishes under my belt.
I am on the final leg of handquilting my version of Sue's (Life on the Bayou) 'All Points North and South'. I just have to stitch around the edge of the border and the do the binding. This I'm keeping and guarding as everyone of my kid's want this one, too.
I machine stitched the grass sections and now shadow handquilting houses and trees. My fingers are getting a workout and find my leather thimbles work well with this, not only to push the needle thru but to grip and pulling out. I have some 'shop' signs made to add to each building as well as other embellishments. I'll add applique' hearts where the Christmas version had stars.
This is a little cross stitch piece I'm designing for a special surprise project. This is a "small" version of my huge 21 room house. I've done a few different pieces of our house on the hill, but only in the shortened version. It may be a while before you get to see it in it's finished state. I know, TEASE!

We are expecting a week of light snow, so I better get out this morning to lay in supplies - light could be who knows what lately. But it's a great time to put on my favorite opera, pull out the threads and needles, and stitch away while the crock pot does all the work.
Sewingly Yours,