Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Work on it Wednesday

It's been awhile since I worked on a big project. Today I'm heading into my children's bedroom to do some much needed purging. They have clothes that are too small or that they just that don't wear that are taking up valuable space. I've really been on a kick to let go of stuff. I'm going to take the stuff directly to the local thrift store so that someone else can start enjoying them right away. Wish me luck! It's a dirty job but someone has to do it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quilt Blocks for swapping

I'm having such fun participating in a few flickr virtual bee block swaps. I'm learning a ton. I'm trying things I'd never try if left to my own devices. I'm also learning more about the concept of the scant 1/4" seam allowance since I've had a couple blocks come out a tad smaller than they should have, lol. No worries though, it's all part of the process. Here's some of the latest blocks I've worked on. I have a couple more I'll be working on in the next few weeks so stay tuned for those pictures. I honestly never thought I'd enjoy the quilting process as much as I do, it's nice to be wrong.
I really liked doing the wonky star block and will probably use that as the inspiration for one of my bee blocks when it's my turn.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday's Meal

I've been thinking lately about some of the things my mom used to make growing up that I rarely cook myself. I dug through my recipes and found this one to share. I really like them and need to add them to the rotation. Now that the farmer's market is kicking off it's a great time to try out all varieties of peppers. Let me know what you think.

Stuffed Peppers
4 medium green bell peppers
1 pound ground beef, turkey or pork
2 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce, divided
1/2 cup uncooked instant rice
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 small chopped onion
1 tsp of minced garlic
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut tops off peppers and discard; seed them. Blanch peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water; set aside. In a large bowl, combine your meat, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, rice, half of the cheese, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and eggs; mix well. Stuff the peppers; place in an ungreased baking dish. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over peppers. Cover and bake for 45-60 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and peppers are tender. Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese; return to the oven uncovered for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Almost a quilt

I've been hard at work making numerous blocks for my own lap size quilt. I'm modifying a pattern that came in a sampler tin of my all time favorite fabric collection "Summer in the city by Urban Chicks for Moda" . It's basically a square in square block which is becoming my favorite block for it's simplicity and versatility. Anyways. I will probably make a few more blocks before I start putting things together. I think I will probably have some kind of border between the blocks to help them pop. I'm trying to decide what color to use. I have to use something that will make everything pop but not compete. I was thinking of a light gray or a lime green. I'll have to see how that looks with the brown which is rather dark. Or if I could find the right color fuschia that would be cool. I'm having a bit of trouble finding the moda bella solids locally and the RK's aren't exactly a perfect match. In between all this block making I've still been working to finish up my dd's preschool teacher's quilt too. I'm participating in a couple of block swaps so I have to finish a couple blocks this week too. Oh and I need to get some garment sewing done too. I have a growing list of projects running around in my head. I need to really get cracking.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday's Meal

My children love milkshakes. As the weather is warming up they've been asking for them a lot lately. I thought I'd share how I mix up a homemade delicious milk shakes for them in a jiff.

Vanilla milk shake
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
1 cup half-and-half cream
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a blender, combine ice cream and vanilla extract. Add the half and half slower to obtain your desired thickness. Blend until smooth. Pour into glass and serve.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fear of paint

What is it all about? In many ways I approach my life with fearlessness, but lately I've been suffering from some strange case of indecision I call "Fear of Paint". I want desperately to redecorate the master bedroom. I finally found the fabric I want to use to make a quilt from. I'm going to make curtains. I'm going to paint and refinish some furniture. I mean I want to generally spiff the place up. And yet, for many months I've been stalled by my inability to pick a paint color for the walls. What's the big deal? It's just paint. Yet, I can't seem to make a choice. I have decided that it would be some shade of light blue. I think that's part of my issue. I'm more of an autumnal color person and I keep trying to find a blue that is warm enough...does it exist? Yesterday I went and got yet more paint samples from Benjamin Moore to slap on the wall. This time I got In Your Eyes (actually that's a Royal Ace Color), Stormy and Wedgewood Grey. I already have Tropical Lagoon (Glidden), Sapphire # 2 (Laura Ashley for Lowes) and Bottle Glass (Kilz). I also have Bird Egg Blue (Benjamin Moore) and Porcelain Blue (Walmart). I also like the color Parma Grey (Farrow & Ball) that I saw in a magazine but don't have a local place to get a tester pot, so I'd have to get at least a quart custom mixed. All this paint testing is getting expensive. I need to make a decision already. Today, now...right this minute. Wait, let me think about it just a little longer. By the way, if you know of a fantastic blue that is not too cool, let me know. I've got my paint brush ready.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More quilt blocks

I'm getting into the grove of this block thing. I'm learning a lot and getting outside of my comfort zone which is the point, right. I just finished these two blocks and will get them into the mail to Andrea. I didn't have quite enough to make two 12.5" square blocks, so I dipped a bit into my own stash, so I hope she doesn't mind. I think the blocks came out pretty nicely though. She said she wanted right angles. I did a pieced square and sashed it with Kona snow and then I did a pieced log cabin. I love the fabrics she picked. Very fun and vibrant.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday's Meal

I can feel it in the air. Summer is on the way. I'm ready to fire up the grill and get to grilling! Here's an easy peasy way to grill a succulent bird. Use your favorite bbq. sauce to add a bit of zing.

Beer Can Chicken

1 3lb whole chicken
24 oz. cola
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can of beer

Marinate your chicken in the cola overnight (or for at least 2-3 hours) in the fridge. Fire up the grill. You'll be using indirect heat so whether using coal or gas create an area that's cooler to cook on.
Remove the chicken from the marinade. Pat dry and rub with salt and pepper. Open the beer and pour out (or drink) half of it. Place the chicken on top of the beer can through the cavity, lodging securely so that it stands on it's own. Place chicken on the cooler side of the grill. Cook until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees (about 1.5 hours of grilling). You can baste with bbq. sauce the last hour of cooking if you like.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Gosh, I haven't been doing much blogging lately. But, I have been staying pretty busy. I'm currently participating in a block exchange on flickr and it's teaching me tons. I just finished my 2nd set of blocks. I've also been doing a good bit of personal sewing and quilting. I'm almost finished with the quilt for O's preschool teacher. In fact I'm quilting it now, I should have pictures to share soon. I'm getting ready to sew up a bunch of tshirts for the boys and sundresses for O. in preparations for the summer. I also have been busy keeping the boys entertained during their track out.Oh and general mom duties of course, cooking, cleaning, playing nursemaid. All in all, not idle. Here's a bit of what I've been up to. I'm trying to be better about taking pictures. I realize I need to photograph a few things I've sewn for O. I'll have to do that later. I'm also working on her backpack for school and actually doing some sewing for me.

My summer carry all for the pool made from a charm pack of Santorini by Lila Tueller
Big and roomy with tons of pocket. It has bamboo handles which I'm still on the fence about.

Geometric block for Rachel for the Bee Lovely Flickr group. It's an raw edge applique. I may have to reposition the circle though. As I was stitching it, it seemed to have migrated and looks a bit wonky...although wonky is good too.

Another block for Rachel. I was so proud of this block since the curves were a bit of a challenge to a newish quilter like me. Everything was going great until I was squaring it. It's suppose to be 9.5 x 9.5 but I think it's more like 9.5 X 9.25. Ugh!!! Ah well, like Tim Gunn says, I'm sure Rachel can make it work!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday's Meal

This recipe was shared with me from Joyce, a very talented member of the quilting guild/bee I belong to. I'm sharing it with just as I received in my email (Joyce said it was okay to share). It's a twofer. You can either make a lemon cake or a chocolate cake, you decide. I hope you enjoy and if you have any questions about how to make it, let me know and I'll ask Joyce.

Lemon/chocolate cake mix
Lemon/chocolate instant pudding mix (smaller size)
4 eggs
Combine cake mix and pudding mix. Follow directions on package adding your water and oil but using 4 eggs instead. Bake in a half sheet pan, or 2 rounds if you want a round cake. Cut cake in half and then slice horizontally, half making your 4 layers. Spread a layer of filling of your choice between each layer and use topping of your choice. At the Relief Society’s “An Intimate Evening” dinner the lemon cake had 4 layers of cake with seedless raspberry jam mixed with a little raspberry coulis between each layer and was topped with lemon curd mousse; the chocolate cake had three layers of cake with one layer of chocolate mousse and one layer of the raspberry jam & coulis mix and had chocolate ganache poured over top and garnished with fresh raspberry, chocolate hearts, squirts of lemon curd and raspberry coulis on the plates under the cake.

Lemon Curd Mousse
Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate Mousse
Seedless Raspberry jam
Raspberry Coulis

Lemon Curd
4 oz butter (1 stick)
3 lemons (zest & juice—about ½ c.)
4 eggs
1 ¾ c granulated sugar
In top of double boiler melt butter. Add sugar, lemon juice & zest, stir to combine. Beat eggs until very smooth. Slowly add to lemon mixture with whisk. Cook slowly, stirring constantly until mixture thickens – about 15 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into container(s), cool, refrigerate. Can be used for pies, tarts, cakes or just spread on toast like jam.

Raspberry Coulis
12 oz. or about 2 c. fresh or frozen raspberries
½ c fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup simple syrup
1 ½ Tablespoons lemon juice
½ Tablespoon cornstarch
Make a simple syrup by putting ½ c sugar and ½ c water in a saucepan, bring to boil for about 3 minutes. Add fruit and lemon juice. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Dissolve cornstarch in about 2 tsp of cold water and add to fruit mixture. Cook about 3 minutes more or until thickened, stirring frequently. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and discard seeds. Cool, refrigerate.

Lemon Mousse
Heavy whipping cream, whipped until very stiff. Gently fold in a small of amount of lemon curd. Add more lemon curd according to your taste of how lemony you want your mousse to be. Gently folding each amount into whipped cream until you’re satisfied with taste. Refrigerate to set.

Chocolate Ganache
1 cup heavy whipping cream, brought to simmer. Add about 2 cups chocolate chips, whisk to blend until chocolate is melted and mixture is thickened and shiny. This can be made thinner by using more cream.

Chocolate Mousse
Heavy whipping cream, whipped until very stiff. Gently fold in a small amount of ganache. Add more chocolate ganache according to your taste of how chocolatey you want your mousse to be. Gently folding each amount into whipped cream until you’re satisfied with taste. Refrigerate to set.