Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Catching Up + TNG

You know when you have so many things to catch up on you don't know where to start? Chronologically sounds like a reasonable place to start, but instead I'm just going with what I have pictures for.

Also maybe a brief recap of the last few months~guild quilt retreat, beach mini quilt retreat with friends, Holiday beach trip with the boyfriend's family, lots of baby-sitting the nephs, retiring from being President of the guild, taking on guild Workshop and Retreat Coordinator duties with a friend and successfully organizing our first workshop, and so many projects!

Project recap!~(aka, outline for blog posts to catch up on?) Made Christmas present pillows with the nephews, a Boxcar Tote Bag, charity quilt, Ocean quilt, in progress Fair Isle quilt, PMQG 2014 Medallion Quilt, and successful hand stitched binding!

Waaaay back in the summer I started a Star Trek TNG cross stitch for the boyfriend's August 1st birthday. Now, while I technically finished the cross stitch in time for his birthday, I didn't frame it or gift it until Christmas. I know. Total slacker. But he loved it, I enjoyed making it, and when I posted it to Craftster it was chosen as a Featured Project. Triple score!

And my favorite in progress shot:

And a couple more:

And what do I have planned for the upcoming year? Vacation-wise I've got another guild retreat next month and another in October, a family trip to Tucson, and a family trip to Maui for Thanksgiving! 

Project commitment-wise I have to finish the Ocean quilt for my aunt, a crochet hat for my cousin, I'm still part of the Faith Circle of do.Good stitches (2 blocks a month),  and I joined the Challenge Accepted Bee on IG for advanced paper piecing blocks (1 block a month), and I promised to run another round of the Mini Art Quilt Swap on Craftster. 

And organization-wise besides the two retreats we also have 3 workshops in the works for this year, plus I need to get back to my sadly neglected moderator and blogging duties on Craftster.

Whew! Besides all of that I should probably also, you know, get a job.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Avant Garden On the Go Bag

At this summer's Quilt Knit Stitch show, I was introduced to Patterns by Annie, a very cool pattern company and the makers of Soft and Stable, which is a kind of foam/batting hybrid to give structure to bags. I ended up buying the Patterns, Soft and Stable, and Hardware for two different patterns. This is the smaller of the two I bought patterns for, the On the Go bag.

I love having a smaller purse when I travel (my everyday purse is huge) so my goal was to finish this before I went on vacation. Mission accomplished! I hadn't done much purse sewing in a while, but my good friend Kim is an amazing bag maker and teacher and she said she'd help, so I figured I could figure it out with her help!

I used some of my birthday fabric from one of my favorite designers--Avant Garden by Momo and the purple linen Mochi dot binding is also by Momo. After cutting out the main pieces of the bag, you sandwich the Soft and Stable between the front fabric and the back fabric and then quilt that, then you cut more pieces from that. Very cool way to get your quilted fabric in!

The front flap has a zippered pocket with slots inside, as well as a vinyl pocket.

Slots inside the front flap zipper

A slip pocket on the back

Another vinyl pocket when you lift the flap up

Inside of flap

Credit card slots inside main body of bag (inside zipper)

Overall this pattern was really well written and although some of the pieces were difficult to bind because of going through so many thicknesses of Soft and Stable + fabric, I am pretty pleased with my results!

I'm excited to work on the next pattern and kit I have from Patterns by Annie--Mini Organizer. I'm going to try to adjust it to add an additional zipper across the top of the bag, I like my bags securely closed!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Easy Enchiladas and Black Bean Salad

I love making these enchiladas, change up the meat or use veggies/tofu/beans as you like!

Chicken Enchiladas with Green Sauce

Makes 8 enchiladas

Canned Green Enchilada Sauce (medium heat), at least 20 ounces (large can or buy two smaller cans**)
1 Package large corn tortillas
1/2 package taco seasoning, or 1-2 Tablespoons
Finely shredded mozzarella cheese, 8 ounces
1 small can fire roasted green chiles
2 cups cooked chicken breast*, chopped or shredded (rotisserie chicken works great for this)

Mix taco seasoning, fire roasted green chiles, and 1/3 of the enchilada sauce into the cooked chicken. On a griddle/pan heat each side of the tortillas for about 30 seconds, not enough to brown but so they become pliable. Spray a large casserole dish with Pam and then spread about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish. On a cutting board lat out a warmed tortilla, add about 3 Tablespoon cheese e and about 1/4 cup of the chicken/chile mixture. Roll up and place seam side down into pan. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with a little more cheese. Cover with foil and bake in a 350* oven for 20-25 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5-10 minutes to fully melt cheese.

Serve with sour cream, chopped lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives, and chopped cilantro.

*If you don't have any cooked chicken on hand, poaching a couple chicken breasts in just enough simmering water to cover with a little salt, garlic powder, and onion garlic for about 10-15 minutes results in nice moist chicken.
**Extra enchilada sauce? Freeze it in a ziplock bag to use another time. Be sure to label it!

Ground Turkey Enchiladas with Red Sauce

Make as above, substituting 12-16 oz ground turkey for the chicken and using Medium Red Enchilada Sauce instead of the green.

Cook the ground turkey in a frying pan over medium heat with 1/2 package of taco seasoning. Drain if needed (depends on how lean your turkey is). Add in 1/3 of the can of red sauce and a can of fire roasted chiles. Continue as above.

I used to make this salad all the time and then I kinda forgot about it. Not sure why it has lapsed, but I'm glad I made it again today and will do so again soon!

Black Bean Salad

1 can black beans
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 small sweet onion, diced (or 4 green onions, chopped)
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 can fire roasted green chiles
1 avocado, diced
juice from 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper (optional)
1/2 cup canned corn, drained (optional)

Mix together all ingredients through the fire roasted green chiles. In a small bowl, place the diced avocado and pour the lime juice over, mix well (but gently). Pour the avocado and lime juice into the dish with the rest of the salad. Gently mix and add seasonings to taste. Store in the fridge to chill for at least an hour before eating (if you can wait that long!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Scrap Boxes Charity Quilt

I'm linking up with the always fun Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday!

I got a little bit behind in my do.Good stitches quilting. I'm on time every month with sending blocks in, but for the quilts I'm assembling I had two to work on at once. My Scrap Box quilt has been sitting around, basted for well over a month and I finally got around to quilting it this week. This quilt idea came from Squares and Triangles.

I asked for different colored boxes, any color except black and brown. For the backing I was finally able to use some Kona Steel that Kristin of Sew Mama Sew had given out to my guild when she stopped selling fabric. The strip that is showing on the back is a Brandon Mably print, and farther down I have a little bit of solid pink pieced into the flower print.

 I took to Instagram and FB yesterday to ask what I should use for binding. Lots of ideas but I think I have it narrowed down to either a solid aqua/turquoise or a solid pink. There were way more votes for the solid turquoise, but I like the idea of the pink since this is going to a girl and I have so much pink on the back.

And the other do.Good stitches top I had  I passed on to my friend Rachel to quilt. She's an amazing long armer and quilted my very first do.Good stitches quilt!

Friday, August 08, 2014

Quilty Flashback Friday: Pinwheels and Prairie Points

I'm linking up with Elizabeth at Don't Call Me Betsy for Quilty Flashback Friday! What a fun idea!

I made my first quilt 5 years ago this month. I'd been toying with the idea of making a quilt and my friend Kim was encouraging me to. When I found out one of my mom's co-workers was having a baby, and another co-worker gave me a charm set of Moda Oh-Cherry-Oh fabric by Me and My Sisters Designs, well that sealed the deal and I jumped in!

Kim found a Moda Bake Shop pattern for me and I went to it. I'd been sewing apparel and other projects since junior high, so the hardest part about quilting was that a 1/4 inch seam seemed so incredibly small!

It's kind of amazing how much I learned from the mistakes in this quilt. You can see that I reversed a few of the pinwheels, so you can bet I am very careful when I make them now. I did pretty well on the prairie points but haven't made them since then. And the quilting? Oh the quilting! I went to Montavilla Sewing Center and asked for a quilting foot. They sold me a walking foot. I assumed it was a free motion foot and attempted to do some meandering. Hilarity ensued. I didn't realize until much later that I had the wrong foot. Ha!

This is what a first time quilter trying to free motion with a walking foot looks like!

I'm still not sure that I've recovered from that mistake and rarely free motion now, but I do have the proper foot for it!

I made a fairly wide binding and chose to not make it continuous or mitered. I think that was a good choice, it's ok to do some things the easy way when you're learning! Overloading on trying to do everything "right" is a good way to burn out.

So, here I am a few years later. I'm not a master quilter, but I've improved so much, and I'm even President of the largest Modern Quilt Guild. Not bad for someone who free motioned a quilt with a walking foot five years ago!

Monday, August 04, 2014

My Medallion in Progress, Part 2

Here's an update on my Portland Modern Quilt Guild Medallion. This year our guild decided to do a Medallion Along, introducing a new round to the medallion each month, rather than a Block of the Month like we did last year. I wrote about the center and the first four rounds here.

This is what my medallion looked like at the end of Round 4/May:

June we did a simple border for some breathing space. I got slightly behind that month so don't have a pic of it on its own, but I used a fun orchid colored Kona cotton with some lime/turquoise MM Ta Dots for the conerstones.

For most of my background fabric I'm using Laura Gunn's Painter's Canvas in Platinum. I love her fabrics so much!  July's round consisted of 48 4.5 inch Square in a Square blocks. I actually made this round twice, since I was also working on the to-be-raffled guild medallion made out of Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics fabric! I'm really happy with this quilt, the colors are bright and happy, tempered with my favorite neutral--gray!

I'm typically a month ahead as we officers are making the quilt before we introduce it to our guild each month. I'll be adding August on soon! We only have August and September to go and then are giving people a few months to finish it up. Ultimately we want to have a really fun mini quilt show with these at our December meeting and then some of them will hang at Modern Domestic in the new year!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Yellow Brings it all Together

I love when Stitched in Color does Mosaic Contests. It's really fun to play around with virtual swatches and make a palette online.  Of course, picking out fabrics is one of  my favorite stages of making a quilt anyways, so it just seems like pure play! This is what I came up with after looking around on Fabric Spot with today's theme: Yellow! 

I love yellow and there were so many options, I chose a few prints with only yellow and white, a few that brought in aqua, pink, red, and periwinkle, and then rounded it out with a couple neutrals, a solid aqua, and as always with me, a dose of gray!

I'm really excited to buy some of the new Momo Collection, Avant Garden, and chose two of them for this pallette!