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!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My Medallion in Progress.

{I'm linking up with the lovely Lee at Freshly Pieced for Wip Wednesday.  Did I mention that I got to meet her at Portland Sew Down in February? She is super sweet and fun, I recall we had a very risque conversation around the dinner table as we showed her how silly we Portlanders are!}

It's really exciting to see how my Medallion is taking shape! We're working about a month ahead of the rest of the guild so we have a few examples to present at each month's meeting. I posted a ways back about my Medallion Center, and wanted to show the progression of the quilt.

So, starting with the Center, a couple of my go-to favorite colors, turquoise (mystery fabric) and lime green (Bonnie and Camille) with some Platinum Painter's Canvas from Laura Gunn, which will be one of my neutral backgrounds I return to time and again.

February/Round 1: My chosen center block was a bit small so I added a narrow border in an Orchid Mystery Fabric to frame it out. Our first round was a simple border with cornerstones so that people could catch up if they hadn't made their medallion yet. The orange fabric is V and Co Simply Color and the cornerstones are Fly a Kite from the Noteworthy collection by Sweetwater.

March/Round 2: March was a lot of work, but I'm pleased with how it turned out. There was a more time consuming option of paper piecing the Xs, but I followed my motto of "Ain't Nobody Got Time for That" and used a slash and insert method instead. The aqua is from Kate and Birdie, the pink are Michael Miller ta-dots (one of my all time faves) and the green is more Noteworthy from Sweetwater. And I returned with that Platinum Painter's Canvas by Laura Gunn.

April/Round 3: This was a simpler round to take some of the pressure off the previous round that was more work. Simple strips with a thin strip of focus fabric and reverse appliqued cornerstone circles. Here I used some more V and Co (the gray in the strips), some Sweet as Honey floral print that I love in the circles and the thin strip, and some Carolyn Friedlander's crosshatch for the circle backgrounds.

May/Round 4: This was my month, so after completing round 4 of the guild medallion quilt, I turned to mine! Here I tried to add as many prints as my need for organization would let me. I included lots of fabrics from previous rounds, as well as added in some dice from Violet Craft and some beaded dots from Mo Bedell. I'm happy to stick with my aquas/turquoises, lime greens, purples, oranges, and yellow, always with a healthy dose of gray! I returned to the Platinum Painter's Canvas again this round.

We'll be adding 4 more rounds all together, ending with September's round. It's really fun to see how all of these different medallions are coming together, since everyone used a different medallion, chooses different options each month, and has wildly different color palettes!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Medallions and Metallics

My guild now has upwards of 184 members, and even though I'm really busy running the guild, this year I'm making an effort to do more of my own sewing (helps keep my sanity!). Last year as VP I think I missed doing a lot of the challenges and other sewing projects due to administrative duties. Here's a little bit of what I've been working on.

We're doing a Medallion Along this year instead of a Block of the Month, and each month we officers present a new round. This month was my month to work on it, so I had to sew my own as well as the guild one we are sewing together. This is the guild quilt, made of Botanics fabric by Carolyn Friedlander, donated by Robert Kaufman. This one we will raffle off to our members at the end of the year.

I'm going to post an update about my personal medallion quilt but decided to make it into its own post. It looks like I posted the center medallion awhile back and that is all so far!

Our guild also has a couple of quilt shows coming up for Quilt Knit Stitch! this summer. I used a fun method that is going around, we used it last month for the Faith circle of do.Good stitches. I offset the second row though for visual interest since it's so small. I don't think I have a finished one of my Michael Miller Glitz mini quilt (entitled Metallic Criss Cross) that will be in our PMQG exhibit, but here it is after quilting but before binding.

And the only pic I have of the back when I was hand sewing the binding (95% of my quilts I machine stitch the binding completely, so it was a rare moment!)

There is also a larger exhibit for Pacific Northwest Metallic quilts that lots of Modern Quilt Guilds in the area were invited to show in. I entered my quilt below, Metallic Offset Arrows, for the exhibit but didn't make it in. Robert Kaufman Metallic Linen, Metallic Burlap, and Metallic Tussah. Also some RK Carolyn Friedlander Botanics (the orange) and an RK Kona solid. I used gold metallic thread to hand quilt it, and randomly found some RK backing fabric in my stash that perfectly matched! I used a flange method of binding for that little pop of color around the front edges.

Sorry, this was a late night shot when I found this fabric for the back in my stash at 2 am!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Homemade Bananas and Cream Instant Oatmeal Packets

My brother recently mentioned that his favorite oatmeal, as well as that of my nephews,' is the Bananas and Cream flavor found only in the Fruit and Cream variety boxes of instant oatmeal. There are only 2 packets per box and this flavor isn't sold on its own, so they have to eat their way through a lot of other flavors in each box.  We can't be having that!

I found a recipe online for making your own instant oatmeal packets and ended up with this recipe. I tested it out on my youngest nephew last night when he was ready for his second or third dinner (growth spurt much?) I asked him if he liked it and if it was better than the kind that you could buy, but he was so busy frantically shoveling it into his mouth he could only give me a thumbs up. So I think that's good.

The recipe listed above is for making a big batch of the mix and then dishing it into smaller packets. That's a good idea, but I was experimenting with the ratios of the different ingredients to make it work for my nephew's preferences. Also, I initially bought some banana chips, but then changed my mind and decided that Freeze Dried Bananas (found at Trader Joe's) would probably be better in this due to their texture and lack of sugary/oily coating that banana chips have.

To start with I used my Magic Bullet mini blender to grind up some quick oats, and then I also ground up about 2/3 of the packet of the Freeze Dried Bananas. The rest of the bananas I roughly chopped after checking with kiddo to see if he wanted chunks of banana in his oatmeal.

 Per packet of oats:

1/8 cup quick oats

1/8 cup ground quick oats
1 teaspoon ground freeze dried banana
1 teaspoon vanilla flavored powdered creamer
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
a few pieces of chopped freeze dried banana
dash of salt

I cooked with about 1/2 a cup of milk, adding a bit more when it looked too thick.With the packet of freeze dried bananas I bought and the amounts I used I was able to make 14 servings of oatmeal.

I still have to see what my brother thinks of my new creation, but I'm happy the nephew likes it!

Pinterest Cooking

I'm super busy with guild stuff this year (planning our first guild retreat for this fall!) but I'm still trying to make more of an effort to make some projects and actually join in on our guild challenges. This weekend I tried a few new recipes off of Pinterest when boyfriend and I went to the beach. I always plan out our meals and take food to cook and he's not very picky, so it seemed like a great time to try out something new.

Sweet Potato and White Bean Burgers

I followed the recipe but halved it and used Cajun Seasoning. It was really good but I could have used more seasoning, I went light on it. The burger is pretty sweet overall so you might want to use condiments to balance it out. I used mustard along with tomato and lettuce, but I think onions/pickles would be good to top it off with too. And of course cheese, but cheese is a basically a given for me. These were really easy to patty up but were a bit soft. After coating in panko they were also a bit easier to handle. I made 4 from a half a batch, but I think if I had made 6 and they were thinner they wouldn't have been so soft (more crisp surface ratio to soft center?). They oozed out a bit when we ate them, but good flavor!

Overnight Oats

I did two containers of it, each quadrupled (ie, a cup of oats in each). One had strawberry jam with fresh strawberries and the other had apricot jam with frozen chopped peaches. I topped the strawberry with walnuts when I ate it and the peach with sliced almonds. Both were pretty good, but I like more oats in mine for a chewier texture. The boyfriend really liked it and called it "breakfast pudding." He's a big pudding fan, so that is actually a compliment. He wrote down the recipe so he can make it for himself!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Auntie and Grandma Baby Quilts

I decided to make a quilt for my best friend, Erin, who just became an auntie! I love being an auntie and am so excited for her to become one! This is a baby quilt she can keep at her house.

This pattern is a Dutch Pinwheel and I played around with the sizing before I started so I could make big 20 inch blocks. Since I used 4 prints in each block and needed 4 HSTs of each, starting out with the 4 at a time Half Square Triangle method was perfect! In this method you do the math for your finished block to find your starting square size' (If anyone wants the formula I can look it up, it's in a book in my room somewhere). Take your two different fabrics in the starting square size, put them right sides together and stitch around all four sides. Cut on the diagonals and you have 4 HSTs that you can then trim down to the exact size needed.

When I was finishing the quilt up I happened to find this argyle fabric in the clearance room at Fabric Depot that worked perfectly for the backing!

And I've been loving black and white stripes for binding lately, such a fun contrast to the bright colors I like to use!

I gifted this quilt to my friend a couple weeks ago, here it is all wrapped up in ribbon, ready to go!

Your keen eye may have noticed there are 2 quilts there. Well, while I was at it I made a quilt for the new Grandma as well! My mom received a few quilts and other baby blankets when she became a grandma and I know how special those are to her, so I thought Reggie should have one too.

I made a "new Grandma" quilt for my best friend's mom, who just became a grandma. I also made one for my best friend since she is a new aunt!

I just did some simple modern cross blocks and used an Essex Linen for the background. I really wanted the blocks offset and at first was going to add in some half sized blocks (rectangles) on the ends to make it an offset rectangular quilt, but I couldn't decide. I went to Instagram with my two designs and this one was overwhelmingly the winner. I love the partial pink blocks!

I did a fun free motion quilting pattern that my friend Rachel came up with that is like beads on a string. You sew straight for a few inches and then go around in a circle about 3 times and then continue a few more inches. Each row is slightly offset from the row before as to where the beads go. Not sure if you can see it at all though, my camera broke and I can't get any decent pics from my stupid phone.

I used one of my favorite Patty Young prints on the back. I've said it before, but you can definitely tell how much I like someone by which fabric I'm willing to use on them. I like Reggie quite a bit. Luckily, a few days after I used this up I found some more in the pink colorway on clearance.  Yay! Some yellow polka dots for binding and I was good to go.

And, in case you're like, um, how about making a quilt for the actual baby/Mom? I did do that, I promise! That was my Offset Arrows Quilt I did a while back (in time for the baby shower in fact, and that's always a feat to be proud of!)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lasagna French Bread and Mustard Green Beans with Walnuts

With the tomatoes made ahead of time and refrigerated, this easy meal comes together in just the time it takes to saute green beans!

I made some of batgirl's Oven Roasted Tomatoes a few days ago and am so in love! I've seriously been eating this stuff with a spoon. Which is kinda nuts, since in general I'm not a fan of cooked tomatoes. I'll eat them raw all day long, but hate chunks of cooked tomatoes in soup and pasta sauce. But these tomatoes are nom! For the tomatoes I used overripe grape tomatoes, smashed garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, fresh chopped Italian parsley, and dried oregano.

For the Lasagna French Bread:

Oven roasted tomatoes, re-heated if made ahead of time (see link above)
French bread, sliced and toasted or broiled
Ricotta cheese (mix with garlic and/or parmesan if you're fancy)
Parmesan or Mozzarella, shredded, (optional)

Toast or broil bread, top each slice with a couple Tablespoons of Ricotta and a generous helping of roasted tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add some shredded cheese, if desired.

For the Mustard Green Beans with Walnuts:

Lately I've been pretty obsessed with Jennifer Prince's book Eat Like a Farmgirl: 3 Ingredient Plant Based Meals. This is my take on an idea from the book.

Fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
Olive oil
salt and pepper
garlic powder
walnuts (about 2 T per 2 cups of beans, or whatever looks like a nice amount)
Grainy mustard, I like Plochman's (about 1 T per 2 cups of green beans)

Saute your green beans over medium high heat in a little olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add your walnuts and cook until tender-crisp, or to your liking. If you get impatient you can throw in a few tablespoons of water, place a lid on the pan and let steam for a few minutes. When they are done, stir in the grainy mustard.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Medallion Center

Did I mention that I decided to stay on as a guild officer this year? I actually stepped up as President...a little bit scary but I guess being VP last year helped me prepare for it! It's really exciting to be working with another fabulous group of officers! We have a lot of fun things in store for the year, but we're super excited about doing a Medallion Along!

Medallion quilts are muy caliente lately so we are joining the trend and doing a Medallion Along instead of the Block of the Month program we did last year. You can see the PMQG blog for introductory details, but basically a Medallion Quilt starts with a beautiful focal block and then adds various borders until the quilt is the size you like! We will be introducing a new border every month.

I found a paper pieced block I liked, called Birthday Star Block, and started working on it.

If you want to create Birthday Star Block, click the link, then click the picture of the paper pieced pattern to be taken to Photobucket. While there, download the picture to your computer with the "dowload" option. Print the picture out (I used Windows Gallery to view it first) and choose "full page" option. this printed the sections at 8.5 inches exactly for me, so I ended up with a 15 inch block. You'll need 4 of them to make the block (I always print extra in case I biff it up!)  I'll either adjust the first border to fit (make it an extra inch bigger), or put a separate, 1 inch border on my block before I do the first official border.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2013 Quilting Finishes

Here's what I made in 2013 as far as quilting goes! I suppose there were a few more projects of the soaping, cooking/baking, and crochet variety. Here are my 5 mini quilts, 2 quilted pillows, 10 baby quilts and 4 lap quilts I finished this year! This counts finishes, some may have been pieced last year. It does not count in progress, ie the tops I have sitting around right now!

I need to work on my list for 2014, but I have a good amount of projects on my 2014 list already! If you would like to join my "14 Projects in 2014 QuiltAlong" on Craftster, now in its fourth year, it's a really fun way to keep track of your projects and discuss them with quilty people throughout the year!

Aiming for Accuracy Quilt Christmas Present

I joined the Aiming for Accuracy Quilt Along earlier this year and was working on two sets of blocks. One was this colorway of purple, aqua/turquoise, yellow, pink, and gray with a medium gray sashing. I didn't really have plans for either one, but was having fun working on them. I got behind in the QAL at the end of the summer though. A month or two ago I decided that this one would be a nice Christmas present for my boyfriend's parents, so I started working on it!

I had some problems with the borders and ended up just doing a single border. Also, the quilt is upside down in all the pics. D'oh! Not that it matters that much, but since I was following a pattern I've been used to seeing it the other way!



Close-up of Crossword puzzle fabric on the back and quilting:

The quilt is about 52" x 77" which is a little bit bigger than I care to quilt on my machine at home, so I quilted it on the quilting frame at a local shop. It was my second time quilting a quilt on the frame and my first time doing so by myself (my friend who teaches there was alongside me last time!) My boyfriend paid for my time on the frame, and the batting) so the quilt was from both of us.

A couple close-ups of the blocks:

This was my first time using a flange binding and although it was more work than my regular binding, I do like the little pop of color. You make it by stitching two strips of fabric together lengthwise for the binding, the part you want to be the flange should be wider than the other strip by about 1/4-1/2 inch. After folding in half to make the binding the flange side will pop out just a tiny bit! It's machine sewn to the back of the quilt and folded to the front and machine sewed down just like my regular binding method.

The quilt was a big hit and his mom cried a little bit when she opened it!

I still have another one in bright pink, bright blue, black, lime green, orange and white. Not sure when I'll finish it but I think that one will be for me.