Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Star Surround QAL

I joined a quilt along over at happy quilting. We're making the star surround quilt, and there are so many options! First, decide how big you want to make it - a pillow? a picnic size or a queen? She's got it all figured out for you! And Julie at the Intrepid Thread has some cool scrappy fabric kits selected for this QAL. Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake, anyone?

Trying to convince myself to cut into this stack for the happyquilting star surround QAL. So far I'm too chicken. 

I want to start a queen size one for our bedroom, but I was too nervous to cut into my precious FMF right off the bat.

Fabrics cut for happyquilting star surround QAL. 

Instead, I chose some solids that will match, and I am making a 24" block for a matching pillow. If it turns out OK, I will feel better about chopping up all those pretties! So far so good.

I really like the solids version too. I pulled a few more colors, and I may decide to make it an all solids quilt! Christa Quilts has some fun solids kits made up as well! I love the dandelion grey kit.

Want to play along? There's plenty of time to join in, and prizes for completing each week's assignment! Go check out all the details at happy quilting.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Seems like July is all about the fairs. We have our town fair, and then back to back county fairs. (we live on the county line, so we usually try to go to events in both)

Our town fair is always so much fun. They do such a great job! The library and church run concession booths, the Ruritans have game booths for the kids, and every day they have races and events for the kids and grown ups! Things like an egg toss, pie eating, mutton busting, and greased pig contests. And let's not forget the frog and turtle races. The kids love going. Next year they want to enter some of our chickens!

Emma with my 1st place quilt in our town fair :)

I entered two of my quilts I made this past year. There weren't as many entered this year, and I won two blue ribbons! Of course, they were the only quilts in each category, but let's gloss over that, shall we? :)

3rd place :)

Last week was the Anderson County Fair. I entered the same two quilts, and got a third place ribbon on my Sparkle Road quilt! It was nice to get a critique form, it shows I need to work on improving my binding corners. Anyone have a good trick for making perfectly mitered corners?

Into the oven. If all goes well, it'll go in the pie contest at the fair tonight!

And I entered the pie baking contest for the first time, I took 2nd place! I made this apple pie, it's really good. You fill the shell with apples and then cover with a lattice top, and then you pour a caramel syrup all over it, so it soaks into the pie and makes the top crust extra yummy. )Be sure to put it on a cookie sheet with a lip, the syrup can leak out and make a small fire on the bottom of the oven. I used an airbake with no sides, and found this out the hard way) Like a ninny, I forgot to take a picture once it was baked, but I sprinkled a little sanding sugar over the top to make it sparkle.

 I took 2nd! And the pie auctioned for $60! Woo hoo!

After the contest, they auction off the pies to raise money for 4H. There were 25 pies, and they all sold for quite a lot. My pie sold for $60! Such a fun way to raise money!

And because the kids were upset I was giving away a pie, I made them a strawberry pie. Everyone was happy. The end.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


we have lots of family who give us huge amounts of home grown veggies.

I love all this fresh picked yumminess, but... I'd rather be sewing! Many, many loaves of zucchini bread coming up.

which is awesome! but it also means unplanned kitchen duty, as I never know when they're going to stop by with a bag full of tomatoes, or 25 ears of corn. I put my big girl apron on tonight and froze 4 bags of corn (blanched and cut off the cob), shredded 10 cups of zucchini, and made quick pickles. The tomatoes will have to wait until tomorrow. :)

Four loaves and one batch of cookies. And I still have zucchini left over...

Then I made 4 loaves of zucchini bread. I really like this recipe - I even made some with m&ms in them, which the kids gobbled up for dessert! heehee, I feel so sneaky when they eat veggies that way. I've tried a few recipes for zucchini but the kids always turn up their noses. At least this way they eat it without a fight. I tried a recipe for zucchini cookies tonight too - they taste ok but the texture is weird, and they never would brown in the oven. I'll see if the kids like them tomorrow.

What about you? Do you have a garden, or have a neighbor who is generous with their fresh grown goodies?

by the way - I'd rather be sewing :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

catching up

on bee blocks! I got a little behind, which is never a good thing. But I'm all caught up and ready for something new.

First up, do. good stitches blocks for June. Wonky low volume stars. I thought I had a good selection of LV prints but I think I definitely need to keep adding to it. I love the low volume quilts that Rita at Red Pepper Quilts comes up - like this one, this one, and this one!

The fun thing about making these stars was that each point was a different print, which let me go through my 5 inch charm stash. Which meant I found lots of charms I forgot I had. Which means I need to reorganize again!

Anyways, Kelly asked for one star with a bright center and one with a LV center.

Wonky stars #dogoodstitches #inspire @scrapstudio

Wonky lv stars for #dogoodstitches #inspire @scrapstudio

Next up were blocks for the 3x6 bee. I was in hive B - starlets. I made a modified Florida Star for each bee member in their colors. Yay, paper piecing!

For Melissa #3x6bee

For Sue #3x6bee

For Lis #3x6bee

For Wendy #3x6bee

Kona white, black, & candy blue #3x6bee

2nd qtr 2013 Hive B Starlets #3x6bee

Whew. That's a lot of photos.  I actually have a few more blocks but I will save those for tomorrow! But yay for getting caught up! Now, on to organizing that charm stash by color...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

holy summer.

july is half over, the kids start school next month, it's just flying by!

I had a baby shower to go to two weeks ago, and at the last minute I decided to whip up some baby burp cloths. I wish I'd planned ahead, I could have picked some fabrics to match the nursery but I just grabbed some from my stash.

They are super simple, backed with a hand towel. You can get two from one towel, making it an inexpensive gift too! I used the tutorial at prudent baby.  What's your favorite baby gift to make?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

winter wonderland

today is my day for the patchwork posse winter wonderland round robin!

In the fall and early winter, we have lots of geese on our lake. From my sewing nook window, I can see and hear them as they fly overhead, honking away! So I adapted my quiltcon block to make a row of flying geese.

I used a directional print, and in order to keep all of them going the same direction, you have to pay careful attention to how you put the blocks together. it's still easy, but just something to keep in mind! and of course, there are many methods for making flying geese. This just seems to be the one I always use.

have you been following along? there are some really fun rows, and most you could adapt to be a single block, so don't feel like you have to complete the whole quilt! check out the flickr pool and see what people have been making!

Monday, July 8, 2013

playing with paper

Remember last month, when I took Penny Layman's paper piecing class? I feel so much more confident with this technique now! I made the sunny pitcher block up in my blog header in her class. So fun! I saw a fun ice cream cone block I want to try next. 

I've been working on star blocks for hive B in the 3x6 bee, doing a variation of the Florida Star. I like the original too, it makes a cool secondary pattern, but for the group sampler I thought the corner triangles would be too much.  here's the 1st one I finished.

Kind of fun, right? I love how you get such nice points using the paper.

Have you ever tried paper piecing? If so, what did you think? I definitely think it takes some practice to get comfortable with it. And it's hard to get over the idea that you're wasting fabric, I still cringe a little when I cut off all those scraps. But in the long run, it's worth it!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Happy 4th!

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday! We spent ours at Lake Okoboji, Iowa. My dad is from Estherville, and every summer they have a 4th of July reunion at the Sandbar cabins on the lake. We had so much fun!

We broke up the long drive with a stop at the Omaha Zoo.  The kids loved it, and it was perfect - not too crowded, not too hot.

Then we made it to the lake, and had a good time fishing, boating, drinking - I even went to my first winery along with my older brother Tom, my 2 SIL Tricia and Jen, and our cousin Katie. Great memories.

At the winery with my family the other day. #winos

Got to see lots of family at the lake, and made grande and firecrackers for our potluck party on the 4th! Everyone loved them, so be sure to try them out sometime!

I also stopped in at the two quilt shops in Estherville! The first, Homespun Quilt Shop, carried very traditional fabrics, with lots of beautiful miniature piecing & applique in the shop samples. I found some American Jane Look & Learn orange dot in their sale section, along with scrap bags, and you know how I love scraps! The 2nd, The Wooden Thimble, had a larger selection of prints and carried Moda fabrics. They also had these little dollar gems, a brilliant idea if you ask me!

Visited some Iowa quilt shops on vacay. Love this idea, perfect for scrappy projects!

anyways, it was a fabulous vacation, but I'm glad to be home to our chickens and my machine.  I am itching to make something. I need to get started on my KCMQG challenge quilt - the reveal is in September!

Monday, July 1, 2013


here's another guy friendly recipe that troy brought home from work.
chili con queso, or as they have named it, GRANDE

he emailed me the ingredient list and i said "seriously? i'm not eating that."
"trust me," he said.

then i made it, and kept asking him "are you SURE that's everything? it doesn't look like it's going to melt. there's not enough cheese."
he said "just wait for the grande magic."

and then i ate the entire crock pot with two bags of tortilla chips. it was so yummy. totally horrible for you. i ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, because i have no self control.

i assume you could dull it down and use mild salsa, mild rotel, etc. but where's the fun in that?! our kids are strange and they actually like it, but i admit this one will make a bead of sweat form on your lip. it's hot.

so there you go. another keeper recipe from honey's work - i swear, they pay them a lot of money to sit around and eat. just kidding. sort of.

grande (chili con queso)

1.5 lbs hamburger (not pictured but essential!)
1 small onion, diced
1 block of velveeta
1 large jar of pace hot picante sauce
1 can of hot rotel
1 small can of chopped black olives
1 can Hormel chili, no beans

brown hamburger with onions. drain off fat. add all ingredients to a crock pot on low (you can use high if you watch it and stir often). stir occasionally, and worry that it's too thick and there's not enough cheese. then, suddenly, it all comes together. it will burn if left on hot, so once it's melted, turn the heat down.

we like to eat this with on the border cantina thins tortilla chips - do you have a favorite kind of tortilla chip?


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