Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sewing on my mind?

Well, that was a bust! At this moment I was suppose to be hanging out with friends and enjoying all the beautiful quilts at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival. Instead, I'm hanging out at home. A long story, that I'd rather not revisit. However to console myself I think I'm going to take myself fabric shopping and then treat myself to several hours of uninterrupted sewing. I need to work on the blocks for the flickr virtual bee I'm a part of. I also just cut out 160+ rectangles to start on E.'s fence rail quilt. I finally found a pattern that spoke to me. I got it off Allpeoplequilt. I just love that site. There are tons of freebies on there. I think his quilt should be pretty straightforward. I hope to have it done by his birthday. I'm also going to get my fabric together for my local bees "Bag Day". I think I'm going to make O. a backpack. I actually already have everything, I'm just going to precut it so that I don't waste valuable sewing time cutting out my pattern. I have several backpack patterns, but I think I'm going to make the one from "Greenpepper patterns". I like that it has a drawstring on top rather than a zipper. I think it will be quicker and easier for her to handle. The other one I was looking at is one from a Japanese craft book I own. I think it's similar to the one Made by Rae makes.
I still haven't found the perfect fabric to make my DS single girl's quilt. I keep going back and forth. I think it would be better if I could just find an entire collection of something. Maybe today I'll come across something at Wish Upon a Quilt. I've also decided that I want to buy an accuquilt go, so I need to destash a ton of fabric and patterns. If I can earn 1/2 of the money (about $250 since I want the go and the mix & match die starter set) I think I can convince dh that it would make the perfect Mother's day gift.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Work on it Wednesday

Are you tired of hearing about my niece's quilt yet? Well it's almost done. It would have been done already, but I had a little mishap when I was trying to square it up to attach the binding. I accidentally cut into one of the blocks on the edge and the backing. To say the least, I was devastated. All that work! Well, I made a couple of frantic phone calls and got some great advice from Linda. She suggest I satin stitch it. I also replaced the backing. Now I just have to reattach the binding. I would say the end is near. We leave on Friday and I'm taking this thing with me come hell or high water. It will be nice to cross this quilt off my list.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Big Chop!!!!

Black hair is beautiful, but it has it's woes. It's fragile as heck and we as black women spend a good deal of time and money treating it cruelly. Recently, I decided to stop treating my hair like I hated it and go back to my natural roots. I got the big chop. I went for the TWA (teeny weeny afro) and I love the freedom of it. Now for some it might have been scary, but I'm very philosophical about my hair. It's just hair, it grows even. I've had every length of hair from down my back to shorter than short.
Black hair is political. If you wear it braided or natural what statement are you sending to society? What does it mean when you go out into world without a processed do? Choosing to go natural can involve a level of self acceptance that many AA women find difficult to make. Growing up we can all remember wrapping a towel around our heads pretending it was a luscious mane of hair and swinging it back and forth. How many times have I heard the expression "Your hair is your crowning glory". I'm more than my hair and how it's styled. My beauty and even identity aren't defined by my hair. And yet I want to take care of it. I want to take care of myself. That's one of the reasons I exercise too. I want to embrace a healthy lifestyle on all levels.
I've embarked on a quest to learn (even at my advanced age, lol) how to care for my hair properly using products that protect and nurture my hair. The internet is a vast and wonderful resource. I've also found quite a few books on the subject on amazon. I've learned that my hair is mostly likely a combo of 4a/4b, which means it's kinky, tends to shrink, prone to dryness and has a "s" shape curl pattern. O. is mostly a 3c. She has clearly defined spirally curls, it can be frizzy, needs lots of moisture. My goal is to learn to care properly for O.'s hair. You've seen it, it's gorgeous. However, her hair's texture is vastly different from mine. She's also extremely tenderheaded which poses it's own challenges. I own a nice wide tooth detangling comb and have recently ordered a kakakiki kombbrush to try out. I'll let you know how that works out. I want O. to always take pride in her natural hair and not have any of the issues related to the whole black woman hair thang!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday's Meal

Well, the weather has been cold and wet lately and I'm longing for warm spring days. That got me thinking about picnicking, which lead me to think about deviled eggs. So here you go, a classic deviled egg recipe.

6 hard boiled eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt

Slice eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks and set whites aside. In a small bowl, mash yolks with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, mustard and salt; mix well. Spoon the mixture back into you egg white halves. Sprinkle with paprika. If not serving immediately, refrigerate.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Work on it Wednesday

Heading off to my sis's in VA. in a week and am determined to finish my niece's quilt. All that is left is the binding. Today I will sew the strips together and square up my quilt. I have my sewing bee tomorrow so I will work on getting the binding attached while I'm there. Then all that is left is a label. I'm excited to get rid of this UFO! I've been working hard to get rid of my UFO projects. I think I just have 3 more. I need to sew buttons on a fleece jacket I made dd, finish a top for me and jeans for E. I have a whole list of projects to start after those are finished so I should stay busy sewing from now till eternity.

Stay tuned for a finished project picture. I have a ton of pictures waiting to be shared, just need to upload them to the computer.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday's Meal

I've got a lot going on this week (let's face it, there's never a dull moment in my household). I thought I'd use my crock pot this week to make sure dinner got on the table without much stress. Something easy and delicious is always welcome. If I forget to defrost my chicken sometimes I use frozen seasoned chicken breast I buy from Aldi's. They are super tasty and you can just toss them in the crock pot without defrosting.

Crock pot Chicken Stroganoff

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed
1/8 cup butter
1 package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
1 package cream cheese, softened
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

Put chicken, butter and dressing mix in slow cooker; mix together and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. In the last 30 minutes of cooking add cream cheese and soups, mix together and cook on high for another 30 mins until cream cheese is melted. Mix thoroughly. Serve over egg noodles or rice.

Friday, February 12, 2010

From my heart to yours

So, a few weeks ago I took a quilting techniques class at the LQS. I learned a lot. We did a simple sampler where we did appliques, machine quilting, mitered border and binding. I turned mine into a pillow. It's been claimed by O. for her very own. I think it came out pretty cute. Just wanted to share it with you all. I'm wishing you lots of romance and love for Valentine's Day with that special someone in your life.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Work on it Wednesday

Well, today I won't be working on anything as I will be away from home most of the day attending a class for work. But, I have tons of projects in the hopper that I'm super excited about. I've recently joined my local quilting guild and through it a local bee with a group of wonderful ladies. I've also discovered and joined The Triangle Modern Quilting Guild and hope to meet some local quilters who share my love of modern things and less traditionally executed quilts. Never one to stop when the glass is half full I'm also participating in two virtual bees on flickr. Now, don't forget I'm still planning to work on the Denyse Schmidt SGQ this year. In fact I was just chatting online with another quilt along pal, Stephanie and she's way ahead of the game, she's already cutting out blocks. I better get my tail in gear. I'm excited to get stitching. E. has already requested a quilt and I'm trying to find a pattern and fabric that is fun and age appropriate for a little boy, who's not so little anymore.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday's Meal

I love a good fruit bread. Here's a recipe for a delicious apple bread. Enjoy!!!

Yummy Apple Nut bread

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup of your favorite apple, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a greased 9" loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at time, add vanilla. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; stir into the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Fold in apple and nuts. Pour into your prepared loaf pan. For topping, combine the first four ingredients; cut in butter until crumbly. Set it aside. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes, remove and add the topping. Return to oven and bake for another 30 minutes or until bread tests done. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


photo by hrschwartz

This week has been wild. Here on the eastern seaboard we got a major storm. It's caused lots of changes in the routine. I've been at home with 4 stir crazy kids so little blogging has gotten done. I'm still here though. I have been stitching and knitting away to past the time. I'm very excited because tonight I'm taking a quilting techniques class at a local quilting shop. I think it will be helpful as I embark on my massive single girl's quilt project. I'll have to let you know what I learn. Speaking of sewing, I made a dress for O. where the pattern called for hand pleating. I reluctantly embarked on learning a techniques I had long avoided and while my results were fine, I don't think I'll be retiring my ruffler/pleater any time soon in favor of pleating by hand. Anyway, that's what I've been up to.
BTW, still working on my slipcover. I got the initial fitting done, but am working on doing more tailoring. I haven't been able to work on them much with the weather and the kids all home...too many little helpers, lol. It's coming along though.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday's Meal

In the winter I love to use my crockpot (ok, let's face it I love using my crockpot all year long). My friend Brandy is always talking about the delicious roast she cooks up in her crockpot. A pot roast always makes me think of home. My mom would frequently make one on Sundays. It would have potatoes, onions and carrots simmering in it's own gravy. Delish! Here's a crockpot version. You can add vegetables to it as you like to make it a one pot feast.

Crockpot pot roast.
2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup (or golden mushroom)
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 1/4 cups water
5 1/2 pounds pot roast

In a slow cooker, mix the mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture. Cook on low setting for 8 to 9 hours (or on high for 3-4 hours).