Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hello Betty Layer Cake--Please Inspire

About a month ago, I purchased a layer cake in Hello Betty by Moda. It is yummy--great retro patterns in orange, teal and brown. My plan was to make a big block quilt for my sister-in-law's birthday (I still have plenty of time). When I sat down with the 10" squares, they seemed to want more. If you have ideas or inspirations for me, please do share the links in your comments.

Friday, February 20, 2009

BOM--Something fun and new

Well friends, I've started something new. Gail Pan has a free embroidery pattern each month that ends in a Chrimstmas Quilt. It is a bit of a mystery, as each block is revealed monthly, but I love her simplicity. If you want to play, just click the image or her name and you'll find the free patterns. She also has a single, larger Christmas design available if you are interestred. Also listed below are some other BOM patterns. I'm not skilled enough for some of them (amazing appliques, etc.), but you probably are ready to tackle them. Happy stitching and sewing!

Twiddletails--Christmas Geese
Willowberry Deisgns--Verandah Views
Bunny Hill--Birdies in Baskets/Monthly Themes
Lynnette Anderson--Noah's Arc
Esther's Blog--Red Delicious (Applique)
Ellie's Quilt Place--Calendar Sampler
Harmony BOM--A sweet village

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This is one of my favorite photos of my sweet Valentine and me. I the middle of our vows, Bob tried to kiss me. Struck by the moment and my kind words, he did what he thought was the obvious. Of course, our minister had a different plan:). Bless my friend Marni for catching this moment on film for us. Of course it is one of those lovely, unplanned, indelible bits of life. I love that we can see it, too.

Happy Valentine's Day to all.

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Quilting Efforts to Date

Friends, I'm finally ready to share my first two quilted projects. Thanks to Last Minute Quilted Gifts, I made these birdies that hang above our boy's bed. I made it small in scale, since it was the first attempt. Like all of my quilting, it helped me deal with imperfection in my work and in myself (a little like parenting does, actually). I still love it, with it's imperfections.

The second quilting project I was lucky enough to embark upon with my mother. Yes, Cookie and I learned how to do a nine-patch together. She is a picky sewer. When I say picky, I really mean perfect. We used charm packs with vintage reproductions on them and it made it pretty easy. I love all of them, but the cherries are my favorite. It is lovely and we had it machine quilted in Luck, Wisconsin. It was ready when we brought out little girl home from the hospital.

These days I'm playing with some small items, to see how I do. I'm working on a scrap runner, a la project improv, a doll quilt to practice some skills and a little playmat for a friend's new baby boy with the guidance of http://www.sewmamasew.com/ and their fat-quarter four part tutorial. I may just envelope that one and not bind it. I haven't decided. I'll get photos when they are done. Why am I such a stickler for that? I see so many WIPs and love to see where things start and end. Perhaps it is my motivator--the reward for finishing projects. Hmm. I'll have to think about the why of it.

Valentine Love--My Mom's Cookies

My mother is a baker.
She is many other things, but she loves to bake. I'm sure I've mentioned before that my son doesn't call her Grandma; he calls her Cookie. He was rolling cookies in sugar for her in his high chair before he was a year old. He made the connection--and she will forever be Cookie, to us. Holidays are full of her baked traditions. Here is her recipe for sugar cookies. It may be the recipe everyone uses, for all I know.

Sugar Cookies, by Cookie Schmidt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cream the following ingredients using a mixer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Sift the following into the creamed mixture:
2 cups flower
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Mix until incorporated
Make two balls of dough and refridgerate them for 15 minutes.
Roll out and cut your hearts (or any other shapes you love). My mom makes x and o shapes, too. I bake mine on silicone pads in jelly roll pans. My mom uses parchment paper on cookie sheets.

Bake each pan for 10 minutes. Let sit for two minutes once removed from oven and then transfer to a cooling rack. You may want to check them--sometimes ovens run hot and then they get brown and too crispy.

Just a little simple Valentine love--a heart in cookie goodness. I love these plain, but you can frost them up (and she does) with lovely colors, sugars and other candy decorations. I hope you love them, too.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In Good Company--An Amazing Tutorial List

Thank you to Ellen at The Long Thread for including my 10-Minute Headband Tutorial in her list of 2008's top 100. The list of other makers is humbling. My little "cheater" headband doesn't measure up next to the wonderful work shared by so many others I've admired. Since I only just stumbled upon the list, I thought I'd share it with you so you might makes some more lovely things. Happy Crafting.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Finally, Some Quilted Bits

Somehow getting photos and actually getting them loaded has been harrowing. Perhaps the toddler who climbs higher than her brother ever conceived of is part of the slow-down. With the help of my sweet husband I finally have my first solo quilt to show. My mother and I made a nine-patch crib quilt, but this little number I did on my own. I know Christmas has passed, but I received these lovely charm packs and wanted it to be ready for next year. The sashing is a cotton velvet. I should have chosen something easier to work with for my first solo effort, but it is pretty and so cozy. It is not perfect, but I love it anyway. Of course, my kids enjoy playing with it, so it is still out in our living room.

The other photo is of my "Project Improv" block. I've been playing and trying to figure out what improvisation to do for myself, but for now, this is my contribution to the charity quilts. The free form was fun and much less stressful than I anticipated.