Monday, December 28, 2009

Block Head!

This may be the most quilt block heavy post I've ever blogged...just call me Charlie Brown!

But, I do believe my sewing palate is officially cleansed and I am ready to move on to other projects! Before I do, here's just a few more of those wonky-scrappy blocks.
And what to do when you accidentally cut a wonky-scrappy too short? Make a coaster for your sewing table, of course!
And speaking of quilt is the one I got from Debbie in the Quilt Block Swap for December. My requests were any style of block done turquoise and/or aqua and red with some white thrown in. It's a cool pattern which looks too complicated for this block head to attempt! But some day...Debbie requested pink and brown for her block. It's showing black on my end, but I promise the dark fabrics are brown. Note the lack of triangles and matching points in the block I created. I hope she will like it! It's called crossing paths(or something like that) and is one of the patterns we used during the Block of the Month group I participated in last year through my local quilt shop.Yep. That's a lot of blocks. Now...for some apron talk!

I'm in Val's Cheap Hot Mama Apron Swap and it's gonna be a fun one! Cheap, because swappers are not allowed to purchase fabrics for their partner's apron. We MUST use fabric from our stash and we don't spend a dime on the little extras we send along. I love it!! We were given a couple of themes to choose from and my partner requested the theme "Old Man Winter". Luckily I have a couple different fabrics that fit that theme! My dilemma? Which to choose? I'm leaning toward the first set of fabrics pictured...only because the only matching fabric I had for the second was a solid and I never know what to do w/solids! What do y'all think?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Quiltspiration Stikes Again!

I realize two posts in one day is a bit obsessive compulsive of me, but I can't help myself. I'm so excited to have joined in on the Fresh Comfort Two Quilting Bee! My month is June, so I have a while to think about it, but basically, I'll get to pick out a quilt block pattern, mail it & the fabric to my twelve quilty cohorts, and they'll return the finished blocks to me, which I will then make into a quilt! Yay! During the rest of the year I'll be making blocks for them. I'm so excited to get started on it!

I've been searching Flickr looking for some ideas for my quilt. Other than the nine patch and the pinwheels, most of these wouldn't work in the Quilting Bee format...but aren't they fantastic!
1. Tree if Life , 2. ANNIE'S MODERN BLOCKS - Custom quilt by DLQ , 3. Hazel & quilt, 4. Nine-Patch Quilt-Along, 5. Vintage log cabin quilt by my mum, 6. Zak the Robot Quilt, 7. Scotties, 8. Snippets Quilt, 9. Zig Zag Quilt - 2008
I wonder if my partner bees would be willing to applique scotties to a block? I've always wanted a scotty quilt and the one pictured is adorable!

I've been making purses and aprons(and not one photo!) over the Holidays and I have a gazillion projects I want to start. But I feel the need for a palate cleansing of sorts before I start on something new. Wonky-Scrappy blocks are perfect for that. I've been working on them on and off whenever the mood hits, and the mood hit again last night! Here are a few of the first ones I made and here are my favorites from last night. They require very little thought(or skill) but turn out adorable. And some day, I'll have enough for a quilt! The original tutorial that I found for the Wonky Scrappy I Spy blocks is available here.

I think I'll get busy on more!

Let's do Lunch...Bag.

A while back, I decided to make a new lunch bag. It turned out to be big enough to hold a small apple and perhaps a very thin slice of cheese. It's blogged here.

On Wednesday, my sister came up and we had a girls sewing day. Besides having a great time hanging out with my sis, I managed to make another bag using the leftover fabrics from that teeny tiny Friendship Bag. This one is actually big enough for a sandwich and chips and I had plenty of fabric left to make a cute little matching napkin. I enjoyed this one because it gave me a little quilting practice to boot! I even tried some free motion quilting(don't look at it, it's weird) on the bottom portion.I'm not finished with lunch bags yet, though. I definitely want to make one using these fabrics.My sister used this FQ bundle to make hers and it was adorable. Besides, I still haven't perfected this lunch bag thing...the size is never quite right...and the lining??? HOW do you keep from having floppy linings? Stiff interfacing?Because Jackie and I sew in the kitchen when she comes over, I managed to get my sewing corner organized before I brought the machine back in. I love when it doesn't look like the fabric and craft store threw up! And I said I organized the corner...I never said I swept the floor!
That's it for now...ok, where did I leave that Swiffer?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some Christmas Sewing.

I should have several things to show you that I whipped up for Christmas gifts, but I don't. What I do have is this purse.
I actually made two of these this week. They have both been gifted...the recipients, my sister in law and one of my best friends, seemed to really like them! I am a bit disappointed in my handmade gift-giving this year. I just ran out of ideas. Although, I did make caramels for my girlfriends @ work, so I guess that counts as handmade. Next year I'll do better!

I have so much to do before Christmas, yet somehow, I don't want to do any of it. Anyone else feeling that way?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Can I say this here?

As you may have noticed, there's a big brouhaha about greetings this year. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas are fighting a battle to the death. Actually, I think this whole thing got started because of Target or some other retailer last year(didn't it?).

For the last two years, I've searched ebay in order to find and then mail out vintage Christmas cards. I love them...the sentiment, the illustrations and the graphics of the vintage cards are appealing to me. I love sending them and happily did so.

So this morning I noticed another of my friends/family joined an anti Happy Holidays group on FaceBook and it got me to thinking about those vintage Christmas cards. I was a bit nervous when I remembered some of the cards I mailed said Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings and not Merry Christmas(but some did). When I was addressing them, I wasn't thinking about anything other than how cool the cards were and how fun it would be for me to open a Christmas card from 50 years ago.

Anyhow, I got a little worried that I might unintentionally offend some of my friends/family with those cards.

OK, I worry about things too much...often things that don't amount to a heck of a lot. I won't argue with that, it's just me.

Anyhow....I remembered, Jesus doesn't love me any less(nor I Him) when I wish you Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings than He does when I say Merry Christmas.

Perhaps, instead of getting tangled up in words, we Christians should concentrate on thanking God for the gift of love and salvation that He gave to us that day in Bethlehem.

And if our Christmas card offends you, I am truly, truly sorry.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Caramel Snack Mix

I make this Caramel Snack Mix often--especially when Holiday time rolls around. It never fails to please. I wanted to share it since it's the perfect time of year for all things sweet and snack-y and because Patty asked about it! So, from my cookbook, here's the Caramel Snack Mix recipe, which is really just a different (and sweet) spin on Chex Mix

Caramel Snack Mix

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white corn syrup
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup almonds
1 (12 ounce) package crispy corn and rice cereal

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Spray a large roasting
pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium-size microwave safe bowl, mix butter, white corn syrup
and brown sugar. Place the mixture in the microwave and cook 2
minutes, or until butter melts.

Place the cereal, pecans and almonds into the prepared roasting pan.
Pour the melted butter mixture over the cereal and nuts and mix gently
until the cereal and nuts are coated.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

As the snack mix is cooling, be sure to continue to stir so that the mix
will not harden in one big lump.

Notes: I change up the kind of nuts I use and I usually use a little more than just one cup each...I like it w/peanuts, cashews & pecans. You can add another couple cups of cereal to keep it from ending up quite as sticky. It's also good with some microwave popcorn added to the mix.

It travels well too...My BIL Scott after opening a bag I mailed to him and Jackie in Poland one Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cheap Hot Mama Apron Swap!

Hey Ya'll! Interested in joining in on a fun apron swap? Check out the Hot Mamas Apron Swap Blog hosted by my buddy Val.

The theme this time around is Cheap Hot Mamas! Head on over for more information!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

And She Quilts (well, sorta)

I came across the Block Party! blog just the other day and I immediately knew I had to join in! The gals over at the Block Party are starting a very free-to-go-with-the-flow-do-your-own-thing quilt along. They're posting quarterly blocks and variations on those blocks. Those playing along post their interpretation of these blocks in the Block Party Flickr page. It's going to be fun to follow along and I love how relaxed the whole thing is! The first block is a friendship star, and there's plenty of time for you to jump in. So jump already!

While I was on the Block Party Flickr page I discovered there was a quilting bee going on as well, so I've signed up for that! The brave hostess of this (plus another) quilting bee resides sure and check out her adorable Four Square Bag tutorial.

Speaking of quilting, I'm also still plugging along in the swap I joined here. I never heard back from my Oct. partner, so I guess she was less than thrilled with her log cabin blocks. Or perhaps she just has a gazillion other things going on and quilt blocks are the least of her worries. This is from my Nov. partner and it is really cool, so it kinda makes up for not getting a block in Oct.
And this is the block I made for my December partner. She requested blue, purple and green batiks. I could find no FQs that fit the bill locally, so I decided on one piece of batik that had each of those colors in it. I think it turned out quite nicely. I hope she liked it.

I think the combination of these three groups may just be the push I need in the creativity/quilty direction! I miss being crafty and regret starting to quilt, slacking off, restarting and slacking off once more. I needed this little kick in the pants! Bring it on!

Since I mentioned it, now I have to show you the photos.

OK, so I mentioned a certain World Tour concert in my last post. It was freakin' incredible people! U2 is an amazing band. I'd never seen them live before, but they have been one of my favorites since the first time I saw the video Sunday Bloody Sunday on MTV. That was, of course, when they still showed music videos on MTV.

This was a stadium tour...and I've been to several concerts before but never anything on such a large scale! Every minute of it was exciting! And singing along with nearly 70,000 other was so much fun. I have a whole new appreciation for the band and their music now.

There's a video posted that shows some highlights from the tour.

And now for the photo sharing portion of today's post.

These are from an afternoon spent in Napierville IL. the day before the concert, our day in Chi-town, followed by the awesomeness that was U2:

My brother and me at Giodorno's in Napierville. Best pizza I've ever had. Ever.
My sis and her husband Scott.
There was a guy playing showtunes on the bells at the top of this tower in Napierville. It was creepy-cool.

Italian Beef Sandwiches


I fear there may in fact be an echo since it's been such a long time since I have done any blogging. Between the dog, work, and time wasted on facebook I haven't been much of a blogger and I'm sorry to say I haven't been reading many blogs either. I also haven't been crafting, reading or doing anything productive much, but I plan to get back to it...I miss it.

In an attempt at getting this blog back on track I am going to post my latest cooking victory. After all, this started as a recipe blog once upon a time.

When I was in Chicago visiting with my sister and attending U2's 360 World Tour a while back I had my first taste of an Italian Beef sandwich. Now this was ballpark Italian beef from a cart, so probably not the best to be had in the city, but it was delicious! I knew I had to attempt to recreate it when I made it home.

And I did.

And it was FANTASTIC!

Here's a recipe that I found on


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
  • 1 (5 pound) rump roast


  1. Combine water with salt, ground black pepper, oregano, basil, onion salt, parsley, garlic powder, bay leaf, and salad dressing mix in a saucepan. Stir well, and bring to a boil.
  2. Place roast in slow cooker, and pour salad dressing mixture over the meat.
  3. Cover, and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours, or on High for 4 to 5 hours. When done, remove bay leaf, and shred meat with a fork.
I actually made this twice, and the second time was's what I did on the 2nd round:
  • 2 cans beef broth instead of water
  • 2 packages of the Itialian dressing mix
  • added a little less than a quarter juice from a jar of pepperoncini
  • cut up a few of the pepperoncinis and added those as well.
  • Used an eye of round instead of a rump roast
  • Cooked it overnight on low

When I got ready to serve it, I buttered and toasted some Italian rolls, piled on the beef, topped w/a slice of provolone and broiled it till the cheese melted. Then we used some of the left over juice for dipping. Man! Good stuff!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Fantastic Bloggy Giveaway!

So the two of you who read this blog are going to be soooo excited that you dropped by! My friends over at Sibling Craftery are celebrating a one year bloggy anniversary! And to celebrate, they are giving away some really great prizes...among them a book by the awesome Jenny Hart!

While you're there be sure to check out all thecrafty goodness and free patterns to be had! I'm totally diggin' the Robots in Spring design and hope to eventually put them on some tea towels...perhaps the ones in the giveaway!

Alright, make your way to Sibling Craftery, sign up for the giveaway and get your craft on!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Whew! October Swap Blocks Done!

And not a moment too soon. My deadline was....TODAY! Finished them up last night.

Given my procrastinate-y nature, it came as no surprise that I finshed these the night before the deadline. However, in my defense, I was a bit scared to get going, because:
  • My partner asked for log cabin type blocks and I'd never tried one before.
  • She requested a combination of florals and solids and I didn't have much of either.
So I made up two very different floral and solid blocks using the log cabin style pattern and ended up w/these.OK, so the brown/pink combo didn't look at all like a log cabin, even though I used a log cabin tutorial to go by . Still, I thought it was funky and cute and had decided to send it anyway. Or so I thought...

When I opened my email to get her mailing info, I discovered that I had misread it. My partner requested any print(not specifically floral) w/solids and she likes red, green, purple and yellow. Oops. SO, back to the drawing board for me.

These were the final finished blocks. The colors aren't showing true at all here due to crappy lighting conditions...however, I am pretty satisfied w/the way they came out and was happy that I was able to incorporate all four colors into one block. I hope my partner will be happy with them.This (above) is actually a dark purple, not navy, solid with a lavender/dark purple print. The gray looking dot print, is really a nice soft vintagey green.
Best thing...I've got this log cabin block down...I see a log cabin quilt in my future.

The aftermath of quilt block making.

***5 min. after typing this, I had a thought***

UMMM......ARE these log cabins? I mean, I put them together following a log cabin pattern I found here....but should they have been dark side/light side and if so, are these courthouse steps...I think they are! CRAP.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Friendship Bag

Our first Material Girls get together was last month. I wanted to take a project that I could finish in the 2 hour time frame. I've been somewhat obsessed with lunch bags lately. I scoured online sites looking for the perfect pattern/tutorial. And settled on the Friendship bag. In the photos it looked adorable...and lunch sized. Of course, once I started cutting it out, I realized that looks can be deceiving! It's TINY! ...but it is, in fact, ADORABLE! I'll be using some of these as gift bags this Christmas!
The next Material Girls is this week. I've adjusted the instructions for the friendship bag into what I hope will make a lunch sized bag and am going to give it a whirl.

The tutorial for the adorable, Lilliputian bag is here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A New Development!

SO, there's a group of gals at work who are at various levels in our sewing skills as well as some who don't sew but want to learn. We've decided to start a monthly group to sew and snack and shoot the breeze! Those who are skilled seamstresses will mentor those of us who are still getting started and those of us who have at least a few skills will be able to help the utterly clueless. Lots of sharing of knowledge and experiences! I am SOOO excited about it!

I have a lot sewing projects in mind for our "Material Girls" club...aprons, bags, Christmas gifts, Toy Society projects and the like. I may also use this time to do some quilting too! I'm suddenly feeling more sewing motivation than I have in months!

want to make this:
(I have the kit, fabrics and all, ready...and waiting)

Or this...
I've been hanging on to some 30's repro prints that I think would be perfect for this quilt.


a quilt using the wonky log cabin scrap blocks that I've been making here and there. Note to self: Make more wonky log cabin blocks so you'll have enough for an actual quilt rather than a throw pillow.

Did I mention I'm excited?!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In a quilting slump

Anyone remember when I said this was going to be my Quilty Year? Well folks here were are at September and I hate to admit it, but it hasn't been a quilty year yet. I've finished three quilt tops...and that's it. This one, this one, and this one(which I LOVE). I've yet to quilt or have any of them quilted. Sigh.

The BOTM meetings that I was attending with my mother and sister got canceled when the local quilt shop went out of business. Boo! Then they re-opened, so at least I can still buy fabric and sign up for NEW classes.

So here I sit in a quilty slump before I ever really got a good start at making a quilty year of it.

I blame my recent lack of productivity on three things: Grease, adopting a goat disguised as a dog who requires more of my attention than I ever imagined, and starting back to school.

Any suggestions for how to get my quilting groove on?

However, despite the lack of any ACTUAL quilting, I have been reading quilt magazines, DVRing the Fonz & Porter show on PBS, buying fabric, and searching online for quilty inspiration. That counts for something right?

...and speaking of quilty inspiration...
1. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, 2. the whirly pinwheel~ finished!, 3. Flying Geese Quilt, 4. AppliqueEmbroideredCentre AntiqueSciFi a, 5. circus in central park quilt top, 6. Baby Irish Chain Front Completed, 7. Ginger's Quilt - Quilted!, 8. amelie horse quilt, 9. Mini Quilt in a Bag Swap from lucysquilts, 10. child., 11. front of baby quilt, 12. For the Birds, 13. Love the points, 14. Log Cabin Baby Quilt, 15. baby quilt: "Adelaide's birds"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vote for My Dog! Vote for My Dog!!

...cause she is stinkin' cute!
Vote for my DogSponsored by All American Pet Brands makers of premium dog food.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Goat-Dog Unleashes Wrath Upon Unsuspecting Teddy Bear

Mark and I have come to terms with the fact that we've adopted not a puppy, but a goat-dog hybrid. This dog will eat anything and everything that she can get into her mouth.

Here's a sampling of a few things she's managed to annihilate...
  1. My New Balance sneakers
  2. My only pair of nice brown sandals
  3. TWO leashes
  4. TWO harnesses
  5. A pillow
  6. Countless dog toys
  7. Socks galore
  8. A mouse in Rural King that may or may not have already been dead when she found it.

This afternoon, I leave her alone for 5 minutes. When I find her, she was chomping on this teddy bear(my first and only effort @ making a teddy).
Sadly, I didn't come to his rescue in time. Sorry, Ted.

I scolded her and pried Ted from her mouth, replacing him w/a pig ear. But I don't think Mya was terribly upset over what she'd done to the poor guy...she gave me one of her usual looks ....which was kinda like this...