Saturday, July 31, 2010

"If You Were A Quilt, What Would You Look Like?"

Yeah, that's actually the name of a challenge going on over at Quilter's Muse.  I'm already inspired!

The skinny (copy/pasted from Quilter's Muse):

If you were a quilt what would you look like? Would all your points match? Or is your style a little off-beat? Are you a classic traditional quilt or a quilt with surprises? Or maybe a bit of both. It's something to think about! Make a quilt that represents your answer to this question.
Here are the details:
  1. Your quilt may be any size, any techniques, any materials. If you can photograph it, you can enter it.
  2. This Challenge is open to all quilters; you don't need to have your own Gallery at the OQM. One entry per quilter. No fees.
  3. Email 2 photos of your quilt by midnight on October 31, 2010. One photo will show the whole quilt, the other photo will show a detail that you like.
  4. Include your name and the state or country you're from. Include the title of your quilt, and if necessary a few words or a sentence about why the quilt is like you.
  5. Include your email address. (It will be kept confidential, but I may have to notify you if you win the Challenge!)
  6. The quilt photo entries will be displayed in an Exhibit at, so you agree that it's okay for me to put your quilt photos and name on the Internet.
  7. By entering, you certify that you did, in fact, have fun making this challenge quilt.
  8. Three winners will be chosen by a panel of impartial judges. Prize packages will be full of quilty delights.
  9. So take a look at your stash and start thinking! If you were a quilt, what would you look like? Tell your guilds and quilting buddies about this Challenge! Quilters, wind your bobbins, get out a new rotary blade, have fun!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Love...

...when my sandwich goes from being three distinct layers to being a quilt.
It's practically magical for me to feel that floppy trio of layers take on that newly quilted feeling.  It's the feeling that I look forward to the most.  There's nothing like feeling the bite of the rotary blade into a bright, new fabric, but nothing tops the effect of stitching top, batting, and backing together.

Almost as good is that satisfying little 'clink' of the safety pins hitting the bottom of the bowl.  It's the sound of progress.
Life is good right about now...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

OMG! So Good!

I've recently discovered an awesome food blog, Smitten Kitchen.  And, I'm totally in love.  There's an emphasis on vegetable-based dishes, which is totally awesome, considering my re-affirmed dedication to eating better.

Well, a bit of poking around led me to a recipe for a Zucchini and Ricotta Galette.  "What the heck is a galette?" you might ask.  (I know I did!)  Well, apparently, galette is a general term used in French to designate various types of flat, round or freeform crusty cakes.  

Sounds yummy already, doesn't it?


'Cause it IS!  

Now, I know: crust and ricotta cheese don't exactly make for a super healthy meal. But, DAMN, is it delicious!  Particularly when combined with a deliciously leafy salad.  And, yes, I ate the salad first, thus limiting myself to ONE small slice of this galette.  I was even super good with the dressing, and used only one tablespoon of Sasha's Sweet & Dill-icious on the leafy green yumminess.  (Which is a whole 'nother taste party in my mouth, particularly on chunks of cucumber.)

Anyway, the galette was so good, my son Zebediah kept asking for more.  I call that a 'win' in my book.  This is going onto regular meal rotations.  The zucchini and ricotta balance each other nicely, totally melting in your mouth.  And the crust...  Oh, the crust!  Truly an experience, and so, so easy!  (I'm baking challenged, so if I can do it, anyone can!)

And now, just to tantalize you into making this meal, this is what my plate looked like before I demolished it:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One Thing, One Week Challenge

Amy over at Amy's Creative Side is hosting a weekly challenge, the One Thing, One Week Challenge.  To participate, all one has to do is decide on ONE goal to accomplish in a week's time.  This first week ended on Tuesday, July 27, 2010.

My goal, as stated in the comments for that post, is:

" finish up the top for my newest flying geese wall-hanging. I've been having weird issues with it, and the thing seems to have a mind of its own. I had an over-all plan, but then it decided it wants to be something else."

I worked on this top while at the most recent meeting of the Milwaukee-Madison Modern Quilt Guild, and had the vertical rows all done.  I thought I was done, until I set a row of geese that I was going to discard along the top of the thing, running horizontally.  

Well, nothing else would do until I got enough fabric to add two more strips of geese along the top and bottom.  A chance comment from Kait, a guild member, convinced me that 'Flying Geese III' needed to undergo a name change.

But without any further ado...

Say 'hello' to 'Escapees'!  (Those silver dots?  I have this baby pin-basted already!!)
I'm quite happy to be able to say that I completed my goal, well before today's deadline.  It took an emergency trip to Tea & Textiles in Jefferson, WI, but I did it!  See, I had originally started this quilt using some purchased acrylic templates.  Well, lo and behold, the acrylic templates were not accurate.  My geese started flying in arcs instead of orderly rows.  

That's what I get for not doing my own math.  

So, anyway, I finished the vertical stripes, and realized that I needed a half yard each of the blue and burnt umber solids.  The shop still had them in stock, though my burnt umbers look to be out of two different dye batches, as there's a small variation in the shade.  While buying the fabric to do the geese over again, I decided to use the burnt umber solid for the backing.  I also picked up Aurifil in two coordinating shades:
I have a quilting plan in mind, and I'm intrigued to see how my machine likes the Aurifil.  But anyway, let's see how long it takes me to get it quilted and bound.

A Break From the Usual...

I made the mistake of getting on a scale about a week or so ago.  It wasn't pretty.

I mean, it wasn't bad...

I just have never lost the weight I gained in my last trimester.  Zeb is now two and half...  That's how long I've been carrying extra weight around.

So, I'm now on a mission to change my eating habits.  For all of my quilting, I'm actually pretty active.  The problem is the fact that I like food, a lot.  And, it likes me right back.

Anyway, I'm going to start making better food choices.  I can still like food - I just have to be better about what I eat.  And you, my lucky blog readers, are along for the ride.

Last night, I decided on stuffed bell peppers, based on my trip to the farmer's market Sunday morning.  I totally winged this, based on my previous experiences with stuffed bell pepppers.
1 lb. ground turkey
1 medium onion
1 zucchini
3 tomatoes (or 1 - 16 oz can of petite diced tomatoes) - I actually used half of one small can of diced tomatoes, two fresh tomatoes, and several yellow cherry tomatoes
two cups cooked white or brown rice - I used brown
3 tablespoons minced garlic - I like garlic, okay?  I'd have garlic babies if I could.
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon black ground pepper
Several green peppers - I had six on hand, but there was enough filling for 8, easily.  
Shredded mozzarella cheese

First of all, brown the ground turkey.  While that's cooking, dice all of your vegetables, starting with the onion and throw them in according to cooking time length.  So, onion, zucchini, and tomatoes.  Toss in the seasonings.  You could add salt at this point if you wanted to.  However, I felt that the mozzarella cheese would take care of that, and it did.  Cook everything together until flavors marry.  Turn off heat and let cool.

Take your green peppers and slice the tops off.  This will allow you to remove the seed core easily.  Rinse out to get rid of all loose seeds.  Stuff with the turkey/vegetable mixture and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.  (I used a roasting pan sprayed with no-stick stuff.)  Pull peppers out, top with mozzarella cheese, and pop back in the oven for 10 minutes.

The peppers themselves will come out with some of their fresh crisp to them.  I don't like my green peppers thoroughly cooked.  I find that they take on a sharp flavor.  If you prefer your peppers to be more cooked, lengthen the cooking time, OR boil the peppers for 7-10 minutes before cooling and stuffing.

The bonus to this recipe is that it's easily alterable to include whatever vegetables are currently in season, or even eliminating the turkey to make it entirely vegetarian.  I think I might put eggplant and fresh mushrooms in the next time I make this.   I'm even playing with the idea of substituting tofu for the turkey.  If you don't want to make a ton of peppers for one meal, you could even freeze these.  Your peppers will go a little mushier after freezing and re-heating, so I'd recommend not precooking the peppers you'll be freezing.

Even better?  This is a really cheap meal.  I'd estimate that it cost about $10 to prepare eight servings.  That's $1.25 per serving!  I fed myself, my mother-in-law, Zeb, a friend of JohnPaul's and had enough to put up for lunch the next couple of days.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Baskets Galore!!

I've been sewing like a woman possessed for the last week!  I started Monday night, with Basket Block 12:
From there, the sewing machine and I were pretty inseparable.  Weirdly enough, I've taken to calling my sewing machine "Bessie" in my head.  Is that weird?  Anyway, barring a small incident where Bessie decided to hork up a lint ball 1/4" in diameter and I had to clean out the lint and oil her moving parts, things moved pretty quickly.

This was where I stopped Wednesday night.  Thursday night left off with the nine patch blocks finished, and the top partially done.  Friday night, at about 1 AM, I was left with this:

I got into a determined frame of mind, and by 1:30 AM I had the 1" red and black border pieced and added.  I debated staying up later to add the last border, but I had Stitch'n'Bitch in the morning.  I held off finishing up until after show and tell, then got that bit done:

That's it!  One week of sewing like crazy, and I have a top done!  I'm so excited.  I've already got the binding decided on.  Now just to cut the binding and piece the backing.  I'm hoping to be able to pick up batting next week, but we'll see if I get around to Joann's.  I might not, since we're stopping at a quilt shop Saturday morning, and I think I'd rather buy fabric. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Follower Friday Over at Gen X Quilters!

I meant to do this earlier today, but life happened and I ended up swamped...

I'm the Featured Follower at Gen X Quilters (& Y too!)!!  In order to facilitate conversation and forge connections in our vast community, AnneMarie is doing little write-ups on the followers of that blog.  It's just getting off its feet, so stop by and join in on the fun!

In other news, I've been sewing like a mad woman this last week.  I'd show pictures, but it would give away the surprise and I want to save it for Show and Tell tomorrow.  Once sewing day tomorrow is done, I'll post pics, I promise!  Suffice to say that my floor has been covered with blocks the last couple of days, thrilling the cats to no end.

Besides.. I can't post pictures at the moment.  My memory card has gone AWOL, which is actually causing me some consternation.  I took pics of my lay out, so that I wouldn't have to try and remember what I wanted to do.  *sighs* So much for that plan.

Back to the salt mines for me.