Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Flimsy

Guess I better blow the dust off the blog and show you this flimsy I finished recently.

This is one of two 16-patch and X-block quilts I've worked on in the past couple months, often known as a "Goodnight Irene" pattern.  This one used a scrappy bundle of beautiful hand-dyed fabrics from Vicki Welsh.

It's about 65 inches square, a nice size for a lap quilt or throw.  I still need to come up with a backing for it.

The other day, I started to pull fabrics for a Scrappy Mountain Majesties quilt, a Bonnie Hunter free pattern I've had my eye on making ever since forever, it seems.

You need lights and darks for this quilt.  My light stash is pretty sketchy.  I really dug to the bottom of the bins to come up with what I have here, and I'm on the fence about more than a few of them.  There are two vintage fabrics in the light stack, including a feed sack.  Quite the eclectic group—this ought to be interesting!

I made a sample from one of the light/dark combinations.  Truly used scraps here, just had enough to squeak out a 8.5-inch square from each piece.  

In a recent post at Quiltville, Bonnie talked about not pressing the seams until you had all the blocks made and laid out and ready to sew into rows.  That way you can align and butt the seams the direction they need to go.  Makes sense and I get it—but it's likely to drive me nuts.  (FYI, the sample block seams are pressed.)

There are a lot of things I have no problem procrastinating on, but pressing blocks isn't one of them!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cookie Recipe

I've been asked about the recipe for the big chunky peanut butter chocolate chip cookie I made on Pi Day.  Here it is!
This recipe is gluten-free.  It is also sweet but not overly so.  If you want a little bit sweeter cookie, feel free to add another tablespoon of sugar to the dough or sprinkle it over the top of the cookie before baking.  
(Cookie dough before baking)
This recipe makes one 10-inch cookie.  Alternatively, you could just spoon the dough out the way you usually do for cookies, in which case it makes about a dozen.  If you do that, you may want to lightly press down the top of each cookie before baking using the flat bottom of a glass.  



CHUNKY PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural Super Chunk)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (I used Nativas Natural Raw Cacao Powder)
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons granulated sugar (add 1 T. more, if you like a sweeter cookie)
3 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Scant 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional, helps texture in gluten-free baking)
1 egg
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Dump all ingredients except the chocolate chips into a medium bowl and mix by hand with a wooden spoon until well combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Plop the dough onto the center of the parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Using a spatula, shape cookie dough into approximately a 10-inch circle on the parchment paper lined baking sheet, flattening to about 1/4-inch.  Lightly score into 8 wedges with flat edge of knife.  Bake for 11 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes before cutting along score lines.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Fire and Pi

We went from zero to sixty degrees in the space of a week here in southeastern Wisconsin.  If I could summarize what that feels like to get so springlike, so fast, in a part of the country where winter can and does tend to hang around like the smell of a ripe Limburger, well, there aren't enough exclamation marks to capture our collective joy.  And being a fairly stoic lot, we don't like to lose our minds in public like that, Packer or Badger games notwithstanding.

So we do things like crack a couple windows, wash the salt off the car, break out the Harley, and smile more. 

Norm and I went for a walk yesterday on a favorite nature trail along the northern edge of the marsh, as I've blogged about several times in the past five years.  (I know, right?  Five years doing this blogging thing, whodathunk?)

It's not lush and colorful in the early spring, and the wildlife is fairly sparse yet, although we heard some returning geese and sand hill cranes overhead.  

Gulls were congregating on the remaining ice in this pond.

But the main visual attraction on this day turned out to be a prescribed burn just getting underway as we started our walk.  

First one fire, then two, three...

Pretty soon, a whole line was ignited.  It was pretty impressive.

The wind was blowing away from the nature trail, so there was no risk of anything coming our way.  We could not even smell it.

I was enjoying the various gradients of gray contained in the ever-changing billows of smoke superimposed on a blue sky. 

If you think of hand-dyed fabric when you watch a brush fire...you might be a quilter!

Back home, I was feeling a little peckish, and remembering it was Pi Day, I shaped my cookie dough batter into one big, pie-shaped cookie.  This was a chunky peanut butter chocolate chip recipe, gluten-free and easy as, well, pie.

I scored it into wedges with the dull edge of a knife before baking.  After it came out of the oven but was still warm, I cut it all the way through with the edge of the spatula. Yum!

Did you celebrate the special, once-a-century PI Day yesterday, with pie or otherwise?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Little Things

I just Googled "how to remove a deep sliver."  Do you say sliver or splinter?  Google wanted to autocomplete the search with the word splinter, which had me wondering whether sliver was maybe a regional thing.  You know, like we Wisconsinites have our bubblers while the rest of the world has drinking fountains or water fountains.  To me, water fountains are those impressive things outside the Bellagio in Las Vegas, meant to take your mind off things like the sliver in your right middle finger.

Anyway, I'm going to try the Epsom salts and Band-aid poultice approach per Dr. Google.  I did self-surgery this morning with a sewing needle and thought I got all of it, but now I see there is still a small piece deeply embedded, further than I care to go poking around with sharp implements using my non-dominant hand.

A few days ago, however, utilizing my sewing supplies for their intended purposes, I finished a little quilt top.  Since I had leftover 2-1/2 inch strips from the last 16-patch quilt, I sewed them together in sets of three intending to make a scrappy rail fence quilt.

And it was okay.  I like random and all, but something about this first layout (below) had my brain working too hard to make sense of things or something.  I shared the in-progress photo with fellow quilter Marei, who offered a suggestion.  

So I tried her idea, liked it, let it sit overnight to marinate, and then sewed it together the next day.

I really like the streak of lightning effect with the red fabric. The rest of it is still random enough, although I did indulge in a little OCD-like orientation of all the bright turquoise strips to the horizontal and the darker teals vertical, which was totally unnecessary but made me happy.

This will either become part of the backing for the 16-patch, or a baby quilt on its own.  Haven't made up my mind quite yet.

The doorbell rang yesterday with my Amazon order of pearl cotton via the mail lady.  The colors were so pretty, I piled them all in the vintage strainer (found at Goodwill last weekend).  

How's that for an Easter basket?  It's Marshmallow Peep approved!


Monday, March 2, 2015

Flimsy and Flotsam

First up, a flimsy.  This is for the Sweet 16 Quilt Along, and it will eventually be donated in the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge to Happy Chemo.

This was a fun one to put together, although it didn't use nearly as much of the pink stash as I thought it would.  I seem to have a lot of that, for some reason.

As I made the bed today, I thought I'd capture another 16-patch quilt that I made last summer.  This one has brightened my room for a couple months, a very welcome thing this winter.

Then I went rummaging in the closet for the St. Patrick's Day mug rug (by the way, there's a tutorial for that HERE).  Ended up having to drag out the whole cache of mug rugs and minis in the process, because it's never the one right on top when you go looking.  

I could use a better system for storing quilts and wall hangings and smaller things than piled willy-nilly on the shelf of the closet or stacked on the cedar chest (on top of some quilt books on the right, I see; so that's where they went...).

Do you have a system for storing quilts, etc.?

Since the light was decent at that time of the morning, I laid the minis out on the bed.  Now there's a bright bunch, huh?

If that hasn't given you a headache, let me tell you about a dream I had the other night...

Razor Brain
I dreamed I had a routine medical test of some sort, and in the process it was discovered I had a razor blade embedded in the center of my brain!  Now, I know of no "routine" test that includes an x-ray of the head, but just go with me here. 

(Oh, Homer...Not my brain)
The weird thing is I felt perfectly normal.  In my dream, I was back at the medical facility to get more imaging studies done, and I could not wait to find out how it got there!

Which isn't something anyone could tell me, I realized, as the dream became somewhat lucid.  They would look to me for that answer, and I had absolutely no clue!  It's not like you can snort a razor blade up your nose like I snorted that rolled up Flintstones Colorform back in the day.  Even that didn't end up in my brain, but rather went through my sinus, and with a couple more vigorous and somewhat panicked sniffs, I swallowed it.  So it ended up further south, presumably.

These are the things you never tell your parents, by the way, at least not right away.  Fifty years later, maybe (hi, Dad!).  All's well that ends well.  Except for Fred Flintstone, the Colorform.  

Do you remember that heady vinyl smell of Colorforms?  Or the taste of Play-Doh?  Elmer's Glue?  Chapstick?  Just wonderin'...

Anyway, the dream ended without any resolution, unfortunately.  The weird thing is, I'm still curious!

No mystery with this guy, though.

(Sharp mind you got there.)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sweet 16 QAL Update

After Sarah showed the quilt she made last week using Crazy Mom's tutorial, I was inspired to start another 16-patch. 


I pulled several different red, pink, and aqua fabrics from the stash, plus a couple others.  I put these together the same way as the previous one, sewing 2-1/2 inch WOF strips into sets of four and sub-cutting those into 2-1/2 strips, then selecting four at random (more or less) and sewing those together into a 16-patch.


In one of the tutorial pictures, the 16-patches were shown on the design wall with the outer setting triangles but the middle part was still open, showing the white design wall beneath.  That gave me the idea to use a lighter colored fabric in the center of the quilt.  I used two DS Quilts fabrics (one a 2011 print and another a 2012), and they seemed to work pretty well together.


It is on the design wall now, ready to be sewn together.  I think it has kind of a vintage vibe, no? 


I may add a stop border in one of the red fabrics, and then an outer border in the darker fabric, same as the setting triangles, to make the quilt a little bigger.  If I don't, though, it's a nice lap quilt size as is.  It will be donated as part of the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge.


Linking to the Sweet 16 Quilt-Along.

Friday, February 20, 2015

General Silliness

Did I ever mention that the name of this blog was, at least in my own mind, a play on the words the way I SEE it?  (Also SEW, of course, which happens now and again.)

Case in point re the way I see it: 

My little flower bed in winter has two dried up lily branches on one end.  But to me, they could be—dunh-dunh-dunh—two skeletal arms reaching out of the frozen ground! 

Do you see them?  The frazzled arms and gnarly finger bones stretching toward the sky?

Here, maybe this will help:

Reaching for what, though?  Certainly not the warmth of the sun.  It's undoubtedly cozier under the snow blanket than the air temperature of minus whatever it is.

Oh, I bet I know...


[Disclaimer:  The author hereby acknowledges the possibility that she may be suffering from cabin fever, the side effects of which may include hallucinations, delusions of artistic ability, bouts of sewing-related euphoria, inappropriate snorting laughter, and general silliness...]