Thursday, March 31, 2005

It is so exciting to come home from work and find a UPS delivery. Last week I ordered a new KitchenAid mixer and 2 pans from Amazon. About a month ago my little hand mixer died. I spent a few weeks debating whether to order the Professional Viking (which I really wanted, but it is very expensive) or this smaller KitchenAid. I decided that spending $400 to whip up a .99 cent cake mix was foolish, so I got this one instead. Compared to the little hand mixer, this is a Cadillac! I haven't tried it out yet. The cookware is Calphalon, which I like. This is my 4th piece and the 5th should arrive tomorrow. All in all, they are two nice pieces to come home to.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Blogger Breakdown

As I surf through the blogs today, I noticed we are all complaining about the Blogger breakdown yesterday. Yes, I was frustrated, but we need to remember that this is a FREE service and I, for one, am very grateful that it is provided for us.

Monday, March 28, 2005

And I wonder why I am not losing weight? This was dinner tonight--leftover lemon cream cheese pie topped with lemon curd. (DH was not home so I did not cook). I really wanted to eat two pieces, but came in here and blogged instead. Hmmmmmm, I might have something here--The Blogging Diet--whenever you get the urge to overeat, you must post to your blog instead.

Some Blogs I Read

I wish I knew how to add links to other blogs on my sidebar. If anyone can explain how to do this, I would be forever indebted. Maybe for now I can just put a link or two in my post. Like so many others, I have become totally addicted to reading blogs—I can’t even tell you how many I put in my favorites (dozens). I am always clicking on other’s links to find new ones. I get up very early (4:45am) and I check out blogs before I leave for work at about 6:15 a.m. It is amazing that I have never met any of these people, yet I feel like I am visiting a friend when I enter their cyber homes. I hope I do not need to ask permission before I post a site (I am not too sure of blog etiquette). I am assuming that if the blog is public, they are happy to have more visitors. If I mention your blog and you are not happy, please let me know and I will remove it.

One of my daily visits is Brit’s blog, Running Stitch.
Everything I know about Brit, I have gleaned from her blog. She is an energetic mom to “Mr. Moo” (her adorable baby boy) & wife to “The Man”, she quilts, she runs, she always has some project in the works (I do believe she and “The Man” are renovating their home). My take on Brit is that she is very fun-loving, creative, has a good sense of humor, and is a dedicated mom & wife. Her blog is a good read with a lot of pictures and she posts almost daily.
On Feb. 25, Dallas posted a pic of a very nice denim tote bag that she made. I loved it and took a moment to post a comment – I believe it was the first blog comment I ever made. I had just finished my denim quilt and her pic inspired a use for my left over squares. (I have not made it yet, but am still planning to). She is just learning to quilt and drives a very neat blue 1971 VW bus. She also posts frequently with pictures.

Cheating Doesn't Pay

I hope everyone had a nice Easter. We went to my inlaws for brunch and had a very nice time. Everyone in DH's family enjoys cooking, so it is always fun to sample the new dishes. I made a lemon cream cheese pie, a new recipe for me from an old issue of Taste of Home magazine. I embellished it a bit by adding a topping of lemon curd, and it was quite tasty. I wish I had taken a pic of it to post for you. I do not consider myself a good pie crust maker, so I tried to "cheat" by using one of those rolled pie crusts in the refrigerator section. You just open the package and roll it into your own pie plate. It unrolled very easily (no tears). I put two into the oven (crusts were blind baked for this pie). Ten minutes later I opened the oven door and much to my surprise, the edges of both crusts had fallen down right on top of the bottom crust. (I did take a pic of this, but I am not posting from my home computer so can't show it). There I was with two FLAT pie crusts. I ended up having to make my own after all, which turned out O.K. (I could have used a bit more crust on the edges to cover the shrinkage).

I did not do much quilting this weekend--just one block on the log cabin. I am down to only 3 more blocks to quilt and then I have to make the binding. I am considering a multi-fabric binding using many of the fabrics in the quilt. Of course joining the different fabrics would result in a lot of seams, so I may have to rethink this. Do you all make your own binding? I have to admit that in the past, I have mostly purchased quilt binding. The colors are very limiting though, so I will probably make it this time. For those of you who make your own, do you cut it on the bias?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

I made these French Country curtain valances for my kitchen. At least they seem "french country" to me. (Butterick #3323). Have you noticed there are so many interesting valance option these days? I keep buying patterns (whenever JoAnne's has their .99 sale, I stock up). I am planning to make new living room valances as soon as I find the right fabric.
Since the calendar says spring is here, I thought it was time to replace my winter quilt. This pattern is "Jacobs Ladder". I made it a few years ago.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Selfish Quilter?

Yesterday Miya asked me if I always make large quilts. The answer is yes and the reason why has me wondering if I am different than most other quilters. I make them king-size because that is the size bed I have and I make quilts only for myself. In most of the blogs I read the quilters are making them to give as gifts to everyone from family members to co-workers. So I am trying to evaluate why I never give them away. I have determined that I don't really know anyone who truly appreciates quilts. No one in my family quilts and neither of my sisters seem to have any great desire to own a quilt. Even a relatively "easy" quilt takes many, many hours to make. Take the log cabin I am working on now--I started hand quilting it in November and will have over 100 hours into JUST the quilting. I have no idea how many hours I spent machine-piecing those 1.5" logs--I just know I have dedicated a significant portion of the time I have left on this earth to that quilt! It is certainly no blue ribbon award winning piece of art--it is just a simple quilt. Still, if I were giving it as a gift it certainly would have to be to someone VERY near and dear to me. Call me selfish, but if a person does not know a log cabin from an Ohio star, then my conclusion is that a Martha Stewart Kmart Quilt would have the same meaning to them. Am I the only person who feels this way?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Scrap Buster is finished! That is, the piecing is done. I just finished putting the prairie points on. Now I need to sandwich her all together, roll her up and let her await her place in the quilting line up. You don't see the pinwheels here because they are behind the pillows (just in case your wondering if I removed them). I am off to cook dinner now and then I plan to settle into a nice relaxing evening of blog hopping.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Boy, oh, boy, do I need a LOT of these little triangles! I keep running out of the color fabric I need (see, Brit, I have the same problem with scrap quilts--never having quite enough of the fabric I want). For those who have never heard of prairie points, that is what these little triangles are. They are very easy to do--just cut a square and fold and press a few times. I like to sew mine into a long chain before putting on to the quilt. When I get it finished I will post a pic.
While searching for some fabric to finish making the prairie points for Scrap Buster, I found 2 of these blocks. I vaguely remember making them years ago. I can't remember why I made them (a pillow?). They are 18" -- much larger than I would make for a quilt. I much prefer blocks that are less than 10" and I like them to make an all over pattern when joined. On the other hand, I don't like waste and since these are already made, there must be SOMETHING I can do with them...maybe it could become the center for a medallion type quilt???????? Ah, the old brain is chugging along now...LOL...another quilt is the last thing I need to start right now!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Scrap Buster

I added my final borders to the Scrap Buster (which I have decided to name this one in honor of using up most of my remaining scraps). The pinwheel blocks I originally rejected have found their home in the quilt after all.
I quilted 8 blocks on the log cabin this weekend...only 5 more to go! As you can see I am heavily quilting this one --not more than an inch anyplace without quilting. I spent a very relaxing Saturday watching taped episodes of Simply Quilts and Rebecca's Garden while I quilted. So relaxing, in fact, that when my eyes got heavy, I took the quilt out of the hoop, layed on the sofa, wrapped it around me and took a little nap.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Decorating Your Entrance Door

This site is having some sort of contest for having a welcoming entrance door. Readers have sent in photos and they have them nicely arranged by season. Worth a glance if you enjoy decorating your entrance area.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Easter Table Setting

Full Table View

Vintage Hydrangea Tablecloth

Can you believe it is almost Easter? I thought I would post a pic of an Easter table setting. One of my hobbies is collecting dishes and this table is set with old pyrex dishes and Capri glassware (the blue). The vintage tablecloth is probably from the 50's. It is one of my favorites (I have just a handful of these old tablecloths--maybe 4 or 5). The centerpiece is just a bowl full of artificial flowers and Easter eggs. You can't see the eggs very well, but they are real eggs that I have decoupaged. I did the eggs years ago and they have held up well. Many of them have quilting motifs.

Need some Quilting Inspiration?
Wow! These quilts are just stunning. There are about 200 in this gallery with 6 or 7 pictures of each quilt beginning with a view of the quilt on the bed right up to a close up of the quilting. This is a site that sells quilts, but if you just browse, I guarantee the creative juices will begin to flow. I am almost embarrassed to post the pics of my quilts after viewing these.

Forget the Template Help Plea

Well, when in doubt, just change templates. That brought my archives, etc. back to the top. I still need to know whey the profile has all zeroes????????????????

Profile User Stats

Newbie Blogger Question #2: Why are the user stats on my profile all zeroes?
I sure hope someone out there knows the answers to these questions. It has been driving me nearly crazy trying to figure it out!

Template Help Please

How did my archives, etc. move way down to the bottom? Does anyone know how I can get them back up to the top section?

This blogging can be very complicated!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Last Border is Finished

The fourth border is on. I am beginning to like this quilt--and to think I was going to abandon the entire project just a few days ago. I just keep adding things as I think of them. I have decided to finish it with prairie points. I have always wanted to finish a quilt with them, but have never done so. I did make a shower curtain last year with p. points and I like it.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Oatmeal Cookies
I made Paula Dean's Loaded Oatmeal Cookies today. They were very good. If you are a butter lover like I am, you will especially love the browned butter icing. I think they are called "loaded" because they have more spices than the normal oatmeal cookie--cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, ground cloves. I did not have any ginger, so I just left it out. You can find the recipe on the Food TV website,1977,FOOD_9936_25193,00.html
They also have ratings from many people who tried the recipe. It has a 5-star rating.

Paula's Loaded Oatmeal Cookies Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
1 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Brown Butter Icing, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease 1 or more cookie sheets. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until mixture is light in color. Add buttermilk. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice; stir into creamed mixture. Fold in oatmeal, raisins, walnuts, and vanilla, blending well. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Drizzle with Brown Butter Icing.

Brown Butter Icing:
1/2 cup butter
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons water
In a small saucepan heat the butter over medium heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in 3 cups sifted powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in enough water (3 to 4 tablespoons) to make an icing of drizzling consistency. Drizzle on warm cookies.

Yield: enough to ice 5 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Ease of preparation: Easy

Decision on the Double Nine

This is what I ultimately decided to do. I put the bottom border on three sides today. I still need to make 11 more blocks for the top border. I wish I had NOT put the single nine-patch in the corner of the second border. I considered taking it all apart and removing it, but decided life is too short to worry about such a trivial thing!
As promised here are some pictures of the double nine patch and some of the border ideas I tried.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Google Fight

If you are a bit bored, here is a place to waste of few minutes of time. You pit two words against each other (example: male/female). Google gives results of how many times each word is in their data base. For the record, "male" is the winner with 89,300,000 to "female"'s 79,200,000.

Progress (or lack of) Report

I have not worked on the log cabin in a week, so I am still at 17 blocks left to quilt. The denim quilt has been sitting neatly folded awaiting its turn in the quilting lineup. Last week I started another quilt. Having many leftover 1-1/2” strips from the log cabin, I decided to use them to make a double nine-patch. I pieced 22 blocks and began playing with the setting possibilities. Nothing really excited me. A number of the blocks were not quite square, which was very frustrating. I decided not to waste any more time and abandon the project. The next day, I exercised my female right and I changed my mind. I added a blank block between each double nine, I added two borders, I made some pieced 1”inch strips for another 5” border, I made a few pinwheel blocks (just to see if I wanted to put a border of pinwheels—current thought is “no” as the blocks are too big). I am still not sure what I am going to do, but I think I will keep adding borders until it ends up as my normal king-size covering. I will post pictures when I get time to take some.

My goal in making these scrap quilts was to use up my stash. I was heading in the right direction until this past weekend when I went to JoAnne’s “40% off already on clearance fabric” sale. For over an hour and a half I drifted through the marked down aisles in a daze, grabbing bolt after bolt of formerly $5.99 - $7.99/yard fabric, now going for a mere $1.20 - $1.80/yard. I bought a number of 2 or 3 yard parcels, ending up with about 31 yards of new stash. I bought nothing that was destined for any particular project…just stuff I would have-- if I ever needed it. So once again I am overloaded with stash. Ah, life is good.

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Vocabulary Test

I like to take vocabulary tests and just found a new one at . I scored "advanced", but did not do as well as I would have liked on the "expert" questions. I believe it was 54%. At the end of the test it gives you your score on beginner to advanced questions. (I was 86% beginner, 93% intermediate and 93% advanced). Odd that I scored less on beginner than on advanced! It was fun--a nice break from my quilting-- and I will probably go back to try again later. I MUST IMPROVE on that 54%!

Speaking of quilting, I have only 17 more blocks to hand quilt on my log cabin! The end is within sight now.
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