Category Archives: Uncategorized

Golden Glow

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Love the glow of the evening sun streaming in the french doors providing the backlighting for this quilt-nearly-done. I think this is my favorite one.

 

Spring Joy

 

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Time to layout the blocks

Time to layout the blocks

These 16 blocks make a 32 x 32 inch quilt. Once I have decided on the placement of the blocks, it’s a quick weekend’s sewing to quilt it.

Pressing Matters

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Getting up early on Saturday mornings when there are no cartoons to watch has never been my favorite thing to do, but for special reasons I will. Yesterday, I went to Calico Station for a Demo Day presentation. Lots of great tips and intriguing rulers that I will be back investigate further. Marsha had a lot of helpful tips and pointed out that pressing seams open is coming back into vogue. When I remember the first quilts I made, scorched fingertips come to mind.

Pressing is the true key to having neatly finished blocks. Heavy irons make weekly ironing a chore, I prefer a lighter weight for blouses, etc. And at first I thought an iron is an iron, but the weight of the iron is important in pressing quilt blocks. I found a Rowenta iron at a big box discount store and treated myself to a birthday present (Not a Me kind of present, my friend is the one who likes to receive appliances and I probably would have passed on it had my birthday not been coming up in two weeks). My quilt blocks looked sharper using the heavy Rowenta. Who knew?

It took less effort to get a crisp  seam with the new iron. Quilt classes taught me to Press to the Dark Side and that has served me fairly well over the years. It didn’t work in every situation because if you are making a star block like this one, it was sometimes difficult to have the seams interlocking in the right direction. And if it was a triangle heavy block that had four sets of seams intersecting, perfect corners could be hard to achieve. There has to be a way…

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The block I am working on is from a pattern called Lucky Stars. It’s a fairly traditional, no triangles method of sewing a flying goose block. Red square in corner of white rectangle, sew seam, cut off extra part of the block with 1/4 inch seam allowance and press to the dark. Yesterday I took it one step farther and pressed open the seam. When I added the other square, trimmed it, and pressed the second seam open, I realized this was a flatter seam than I usually have.

And there was an added bonus. I could see the white point so that when I sewed the next seam, I could watch the needle move just a stitch into the dark fabric at the point. Perfectly lined up when I pressed. In fact, when I surveyed the back of the finished block, I could hear my grandma telling me that the back looks good. That was a big deal when I was learning to embroider. She checked the back before she admired the top.

All in all, a joyous quilting weekend!

From UFO to snack mats

From UFO to snack mats

About a year ago I started these 6 blocks with the idea of making a baby quilt. The heart pattern is one of my favorites, but I got bored with the fussiness of the paper piecing this time and the project was abandoned. A couple of weeks ago I saw them in my sewing box and decided to give them new life as snack mats. The 6 1/2 inch blocks are the perfect size for a mug and cookies or other small snacks.

You might find these in The Mermaid’s Walk in the not-to-distant future. I am working on some aprons and other small needlework projects to sell there. If you are in Fernandina Beach, you should stop in. The jewelry is gorgeous and there are some great shabby chic style furniture and decorating pieces.

Spring flowers

Spring flowers

Navigator Wanted! Lost looking for Quilts by the Sea

Saturday was a great day for a drive and I was a girl on a mission. Emails from quilt shops and friends made sure I knew that the Amelia Island Quilt Guild was having a show.

I printed my Google maps directions, grabbed my digital camera, and hit the road. Window down and singing along to the radio (yes, I still listen to the radio in the car), I cruised onto the island. The Google directions were easy enough to follow. I turned at the proper corner and slowly headed down the street. Nothing that looked like the right number of cars for a quilt show. I went a few more blocks down the street — I arrived at the water, so I know I missed it somehow.

Pulled into a parking lot and got out my iPhone. Time to find the right place. OK, the new directions said that I turned left when I needed to turn right. Nope. This is a park, not a quilt show. Maybe it’s back the other way and I missed it? I went back to the first location and still didn’t see the Peck Center. Maybe I need to ask someone. I saw a cute yellow needlework shop and went in to ask directions.

Two great black dogs met me at the door of The Bristly Thistle. They sniffed hello and moved on. The rows of threads on display had just caught my eye when I felt a soft brush of fur on my flip-flopped foot. One of the dogs had plopped down beside me and looked up as if to say “you’re going nowhere.” I got directions from the shop owner, promised the dog at my feet that I’d be back one day soon and started for the door. Nope. Not going anywhere. The other one was stretched out across the doorway. More patting and promising I’d be back before I was allowed to leave. I’m not sure which was Morgan and which was Gracie, but they are about the sweetest shop dogs I have met.

Back in the car. A customer said  I should be looking for a sign that says Quilt Show. Found it. How did I miss this big banner over the street before? I drove on looking for the sign pointing to the Peck Center. I found the port, but no sign. This time when I turned around, I decided to find 10th Street and drive until I found it. Success at Last!

The quilts are wonderful. This red and white one has an interesting setting – the pinwheels move around the quilt like the snowflakes.

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Winter Fun by Deborah Dunman and Mary Eagan
First Place, Collaborative Quilts

I love the vintage prints and patterns. The arrangement seems to make bouquets.

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Treasured Blocks by Barbara Tucker
First Place Mid Pieced – Machine Quilted

I love redwork. I did not manage to capture the name and maker of this quilt, but I love the way the Bible verses are worked in the design. After studying the program, this one might be “1905 Signature Quilt” by Kirsten Campbell in the Non Judged Category. What a personal quilt!

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After the show, I visited a new shop, The Mermaid’s Walk. More about this shop soon.

Cooking my way out of a breakfast rut

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I get into food ruts. It’s easy to do since I have a lot of food allergies that make menu planning difficult. Breakfasts are the most difficult for us non-morning people. I need something to grab and go that won’t take longer than making a smoothie. I love cooking on Sunday and then it’s grab-and-go all week.

I found Irish Cooking in a sale bin at my favorite bookstore. Paging through I found several recipes that sounded wonderful for breakfast. I played around with the ingredients a bit to eliminate the wheat and tried the muffins out on my friends at a tea. They were a hit. The recipe is simple and reheating in the microwave makes them just right with a cup of tea in the morning.

Even though I was careful to not overmix the dough, they didn’t rise much. I think that is a result of the heavy nature of bread mix flour.

Bacon-Cheddar Muffins

 2 cups flour (I substituted 1 cup Red Mill Rice Flour and 1 cup Red Mill Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix)

¾ cup sugar (didn’t have granulated sugar, so I used turbinado. The large crystals didn’t dissolve completely and are a great addition)

2 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. milk

1/3 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 egg

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

6 slices of bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 12 standard muffin cups.

Combine dry ingredients in bowl. Combine milk, butter and egg in small bowl; mix well. Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients stir until blended. Gently stir in bacon and cheese. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling ¾ full.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 2 minutes and remove to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp.

Note: You could substitute the milk, egg and bacon with healthier choices, but I don’t think that the cheese would be a good swap — the rice milk cheeses don’t seem to be as satisfying in this recipe.

Mojo-A-Go-Go

So there I was, quietly typing at my desk, when a CD dropped down beside the phone. Mojo-A-Go-Go  was written on the flap of the envelope. Hmmm. Interesting.

After four days of saying, no I haven’t listened to it yet, I have just one question for my music loving friend — yes, you –you know who you are — where is the scramble board? My feet can’t keep still and solving the puzzles on the scramble board would give me a break now and then.

Definitely reminiscent of the music blaring out of my friend Carmen’s bedroom window while we played kickball in the alley. Hey, what can I say? That summer it was our thing and we were doing what we wanted to.

Oh, and that cleaning I was going to do tonight? Curtis Mayfield’s moved me on up.

Cha Dooky Do!

Summertime Bravura

Palm fronds shimmering harp strings

Fountain splashing Zen notes

Chimes blowing warm greetings

Ligustrum leaves depressing piano keys

Staccato drops hitting air conditioner

Bright flashing Conductor’s baton

Cymbals introducing capriccio