Friday, September 27

Sketchy Math & Rice

Mama J sent me a link to this Wild Rice Risotto recipe and I decided to try it last night... Yum! My family keeps me well stocked with wild rice, and I usually default to making wild rice bread or a soup. Last night, I made this risotto and substituted green onion. I also used some precooked, frozen rice that I made probably a month ago, so I omitted most of the water and added some chicken bouillon. I cooked up a couple spicy sausages and sautéed a yellow squash to put on the side. Tonight, hubby even asked if we had any leftover rice and was disappointed we didn't. SUCCESS! If you have some wild rice in need of a recipe, give it a try!

Today, I spent some much needed time on the newest chevron quilt. I did some math before I started and counted up my squares... Here they are:

There are 16 different fabrics for the zigzags, and 14 rectangles per color. With 2 rectangles sewn together to make the squares, that gives me 7 squares per row. 7 x 16 = 112 squares on the windowsill!

After some TLC, there are now 15 diagonal strips.

I was thinking there were more aquas until I looked at it all laid out again, but I think it's still going to be really fun. Perhaps it will get some aqua backing... It will all come together eventually!

Wednesday, September 25

Slow Progress

I have done ZERO quilting in the past two weeks. I do have a couple projects in the works that I haven't shared, though. First, I am working on another Chevron quilt for a good friend. Remember Lacey's quilt? Same concept, but bigger. A lot of these strips in the pic are actually the backs of the fabrics. (Can't show too much in case she's reading!) There are lots of blues, aquas, whites, and a splash of dark coral. This is slowly working into the quilt I envisioned.

Next on my list of quilts to finish is the infamous Double Wedding Ring quilt. This is my first, and possibly only, DWR. Sooo many curves! I'm trying not to show too much until I finish it, so here is a little peek.

I also need to finish Princess' quilt. I started quilting it a couple weeks ago, but my machine and I had a huge fight. I wanted to free-motion quilt it, but the machine wanted to create a giant jumbled mess. I was so excited my design was working, until I realized something had gone horribly wrong on the back. My trusty seam-ripper got quite a workout. Here is the front in all its safety-pinned-glory.

All it needs now is some quilting, a binding, and some puppy loving. Here is my rough sketch of what the quilting design will be. It will be my first attempt at free-motion! Well... Second if you count the disaster...

Despite having 3 works in progress, I still can't stop my brain from plotting new quilts that must be made. Towards the top of my wish list is a Big Hexie Quilt with adorable prints in yellows, greens, neutrals, and a hint of leftover pinks. I also sketched out a Valentine Quilt that I'm just itching to try, but that can wait a few months. I suppose I should work on that vintage breadbox at some point too...
What's on your project wish list?

Sunday, September 22

Mandarin Orange Jello Cheesecake

If you're looking for a good, fairly low fat dessert then try this! If you prefer other fruits to mandarin oranges, just switch out the fruit and flavored gelatin. One great alternative is raspberries with raspberry flavored gelatin. Mmm...

1 graham cracker crust
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges
3/4 cup cottage cheese
2 boxes (3 oz each) orange flavored gelatin


1. Blend 3/4 cups cottage cheese in food processor or blender till smooth-ish.

2. Prepare 1 package of orange gelatin/jello according to box instructions, but only using 1/2 cup boiling water and 1/2 cup cold water. Once gelatin is dissolved, mix in cottage cheese until well blended. Pour mixture into a graham cracker crust. (I keep cheating and using store bought crusts.)

3. Refrigerate and let set. Once set, drain your can of mandarin oranges and place the pieces on top of jello mixture like this:

4. Make second box of orange jello the same way (minus the cottage cheese). If you are using a homemade crust that is larger, you might need to add more water. Use a ladle or spoon to transfer the liquid jello on top of mandarin oranges. You might have extra jello.

5. Refrigerate and let it set. It's best when you let it chill for at least an hour to really solidify as much as possible, but if you can't wait then its still edible! :)

6. Top off your slices of Mandarin Orange Jello Cheesecake with some whipped topping, sit back, and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 17

Patriotic... Bread Boxes?

My hubby discovered this gem in an antique mall on an outing with my parents. Isn't it great? I see so much potential! I don't think we would have considered this vintage bread box if it didn't have the stars and eagle. 

Honestly, I was a bit shocked when he pointed it out. We have a small apartment, and my kitchen "necessities" are already bursting out of the cupboards despite my attempts at downsizing. 
The lighter wood in the bottom slot of the bread box is supposed to be a cutting board, but its pretty dry, cracked, and just plain nasty looking. Thankfully, Dad offered to create a new one that would fit perfectly...

Isn't this just gorgeous?? It's a mixture of oak, cherry, walnut, purple heart, and yellow heart. I wish the picture showed the colors better! I am still so impressed that he made this by hand. It's so pretty that I'm nervous to cut on it! My grandfather was an amazing wood carver, so being able to make chunks of wood into beautiful objects must be a male trait in the family. Hopefully I can just pull off a little restoration work on the bread box.

P.S. More quilty updates coming soon!

Wednesday, September 11

Puppy Bandannas

Ever wanted to make a bandanna for the puppy-friend in your life? Not really? Well, here is a simple guide that gives you a new bandanna in just 2-3 steps. This size fits Princess, who is approximately 50 pounds. I measured an old, store-bought bandanna first, then applied those measurements to my guide. You may need to adjust the size depending on your dog.

1. Cut a 20 inch square out of the fabric of your choice. 
2. Fold your square in half so it makes a triangle, or line it up on your cutting mat so that a 90 degree angle extends from one corner to the opposite corner. Cut on this angle/fold. This gives you two large triangles. You can stop here or finish the edges. 
3. To finish the edges, just fold or iron them under. Sew around the perimeter, and you're done!

You'll never have to buy one again!

It looks like there is too much fabric on top, but that excess usually just bunches up as she moves. It doesn't really matter. You need the extra on that side so that it can be tied comfortably. 

If you find a really cute puppy bandanna that you just have to buy, they often come as a square that you fold in half before placing on your pal. If you want to make it two, just follow these steps and cut what you have. Voila! Two new bandannas! 

Thursday, September 5

Sneak Peeks

I haven't done much quilting yet this week. I did, however, take advantage of a Labor Day sale... Pretty threads and notions and fabric all on sale, you say? Well, I don't mind if I do! I even bought my sewing machine a little present: a new foot. Had I not been blinded by the baskets overflowing with new fat quarters, I would have remembered to snag some batting too. Here's a peek at some new fabrics that I will be starting a quilt with very soon...

I love the irregular circles and animal print thrown together. I also got this fancy metallic thread for an ongoing project, which I'm not sharing yet, and a plain thread for the bobbin.

Oh fine, here's a peek at one of the three fabrics that will go with that metallic thread... But that's it!

Fun, right? I guess I'm a sucker for animal prints. I got it on clearance and I can't find it anymore! *sigh*
Here is another look at part of the back to Princess' quilt. This needs some TLC before I move onto the next project.

Puppy princess! I couldn't resist. :)

Sunday, September 1

Chicks and Umbrellas

It was stormy yesterday so I finally finished the chicks and their umbrellas. I needed to practice sewing curves before attempting a Double Wedding Ring quilt, so this was born and became a side project for the last couple months. Its probably going to be tucked away in the closet until I need a quick gift. Sorry about the poor lighting in the pics...

I used leftovers again. Its nice to see them put to good use! I still had a few squares from a charm pack that I made a sewing machine cover with, and the rest was from my stash. I love the chicks!

And a peek at the back and binding...

Can you see the faces?

Now I just need to finish a few other projects... Too bad I can't control myself and keep starting new ones! I also realized I had a lot of leftover ingredients from the Get Well Soup, so I made a Soup Revamp with noodles and a little kick.

It feels good to use so many leftovers in one day. My fabric stash and fridge are a little happier now.