Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Let's Go Traveling" Mystery Quilt

Here are pictures of the beautiful mystery quilts that the gals in our Foothills Quilters guild group made over the summer.  Just a little background - over the summer quite a few of our group leave the heat of the desert to summer in another state.  Our program chair asked me to lead a mystery quilt done in installments over the 4 summer months.  I decided on a pattern for a trip around the world variation and called it "Let's Go Traveling".   About 15 ladies participated, some even did it from out of state.  Here are the pictures of the quilt tops that have been shared so far:

Here's mine.............
Here's Viola's..............
 Here's Patty's...........
 Here's RuthB's..............
 Here's RuthAnn's..................
 Here's Carolyn's.....................
 Here's BobbiC's.................
 Here's BobbiL-D's..............
 Here's JanH's.................
 Here's Louise's................

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More pictures of our "new" house

I mentioned that I'd post pictures of the last two areas I needed to settle.  The dining room looks much, much different with all those boxes out of there, doesn't it!  I still need to do the touch-up painting so that I can hang my quilts and pictures.  This room will have my Baltimore Album Quilt on the wall. 

Here's my sewing room.  I unpacked in there on Tuesday and got a lot done.  Not all, but a lot.  I took the pictures in such a way that the remaining boxes don't show too was a trickie picture to take but you can barely see the boxes that are still in there.  The first view is of the end where I have my sewing machine, big board ironong boad, cutting table, and stash.

This second shot is of the other end of the room where my longarm is located.  I still need to do some organizing, but I'm started, and that makes me happy.

Here's a picture of Rick's office/guest room.  I couldn't get a very good shot in there but here's what I could fit into the frame....

Monday, October 4, 2010

We're Moved!

We finally got possession of our "new" house on Thursday, Sept. 30th at around 3pm.  I had time to run in and quickly vacuum some of the the carpet before the movers came to unload.  It was so frustrating that we were not allowed to do all the cleaning in the house before our stuff was brought in.  The seller absolutely refused to let us get in in advance and the house had been vacant for 9 months.  Boy was/is it dusty dirty!   I'm still working at getting it cleaned up since now I'm working around furniture and boxes.

Actually the unpacking is going fairly well.  We were able to sleep in our bed the first night.  Since the movers were here unloading and placing furniture until about 10:30pm, that sure was great because we were pooped.

Friday my wonderful mover, Mark, from Mark's Quality Moving, came back and set-up my longarm first thing in the morning. I was also able to finish settling the family room and master bedroom that day.

Saturday, I started unpacking the kitchen and got snagged into helping Rick with the garage in the morning before it got too hot.  I couldn't believe I actually got persuaded to work on the garage before finishing the kitchen.  I guess it needed to be that way though, because I was having Rick take furnishing we thought were going to fit in this house and didn't and stuffing all that around the boxes sitting in the garage.  He said he couldn't fit one more thing out there until we got stuff onto shelves.  So there you go - it made sense.  At least in the afternoon I was able to get back to unpacking the kitchen and pantry.

Sunday morning I couldn't sleep so started upacking the laundry room and breakfast room at about 3am.  The breakfast room was no easy task because I had all the boxes unloaded into only 4 locations, one was the breakfast room, and it was stacked floor to ceiling with boxes.  You'd never know it now though...............

After finishing that I started placing my good dishes and glasses in the built-in cupboards just before lunch.  Then we had our first visitors to our new home, my granddaughter Lacey who was here from CA for her birthday.  We had lunch here for her and her friend and visited the afternoon away.  Her friend brought his guitar and seranaded us in our new home.  Cool!

Somewhere along the way I got the screen porch organized and also the patio and back yard fountain area.  I'm beginning to loose track of when because I find myself starting something in one area and then jumping over to something else.  Short attention span, I guess, especially with so much that needs to be done and I wish it could all be done at once.

Today I've been working in the dining room, one of the other 4 areas where I had the majority of boxes placed.  I hope to make good progress in there because the handyman comes tomorrow and one of the things on his list is to hang the chandelier. 

After that the last major area of boxes will be my sewing room.

Rick has made his office in the second bedroom/guest room.  It's quite a large room and looks like it's going to work out well with both his office stuff and the king-sized guest bed in there.  He's been teasing that he can work for awhile and then lay down and nap for awhile and no one will even know it - so he seems to like the set-up.  He's been working on settling his office and trying to keep his business going at the same time.  I've not had to do too much in there.  Yeah!

So two out of the four areas where we had boxes placed are unpacked - the garage and the breakfast room.  We still have two more to go - the dining room and sewing room.  But we're getting there and it's starting to feel like home.

Friday, September 17, 2010

DaChintzy Code Mystery Quilt

Now that our guild's mystery quilt project is winding up, I decided to join the mystery quilt they're doing on the quilting forum.  Did I mention I love mystery quilts and have trouble resisting them?  The lady who's leading this one calls it the DaChintzy Cody Mystery - a take-off on the DaVinchy Code movie......clever.  She'll be giving out clues every two weeks and we'll be working on our quilts until January. 

The ladies on the Forum helped me with my fabric selection.  Here are the two sets I was deciding between:

Some of the ladies liked one set and some liked the other.  Several of the ladies who are doing 2 quilts suggested I do both since they think it's not going to take much longer to do 2 than 1 if you're doing them at the same time (Enabler's aren't they?  or maybe it's  Misery Loves Company ???).  I decided that since the clues each time are so easy and we have months to do this, I'd jump in and make both of them.  Using up some of my stash sounded good to me at the time.  Time will tell if that was a wise decision or not.

Now that my fabric is selected and cut.  I hope to get to the first part of the sewing before we move.  I may miss doing a clue or two on time because the clues come out on the 1st & 15th and we move in on September 30th, but they are really easy, so I don't think I'll have any trouble catching up with what I miss due to our move.

If you want to join in or read more about it, here's a link to the quilting forum:

Let's Go Traveling Mystery Quilt

Now that the last clue is out, I can post about the mystery quilt we did this summer at our guild chapter.  Over the summer months, many of our ladies go to cooler climates, so our program chair thought it would be fun for those of us toughing out the hot AZ weather to have a project to work on together.  She asked me if I'd lead a mystery quilt.  I think I've done a dozen or so mystery quilts in the past, and really enjoy them, so it seemed like a good fit.  I called this one, "Let's Go Traveling" since it's a variation of a trip around the world setting.  There were about 10 ladies here who joined me in making this quilt plus 5 who are making it from other states.  A clue was given each month and those of us here worked on it at our monthly sewing meeting.  Fabric choices were all really nice yet each different than the other.  I could hardly wait to see the finished tops.  At this month's meeting there were 3 ladies who had finished their tops and brought them for show & tell.  Here are the finished tops so far (Patty's, Ruth's & Viola's)

Aren't they pretty?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pictures of our houses

Several people have asked if I'd post pictures of the house we're selling and the house we're moving into.  If I'm going to do that, I guess I better before they pull the pictures off (since they're both going under contract). 

Oops - they've been pulled off now.  Sorry.

We've loved our current house but our knees are beginning to rebell at climbing the stairs.  
Here's a quick snap of the view from our balcony at sunset and during the day.  Gonna miss that view!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Appraisal Finished - Inspection Next

Good news!  The house appraised for the contract price.  What a relief!  We did all kinds of touch-up painting, polishing, and just generally spiffing things up.  It looks like all our effort and elbow grease may have helped some.  The appraiser said he was also impressed that we went to a website that listed what paperwork should be ready to give to an appraiser.  We had it all copied and ready for him.  He said that waiting for the homeowner to gather up all that information is what usually takes him the longest on an appraisal.  So now that step is finished and we're on to the next step.

The next step is the inspection and that's scheduled for tomorrow.  Since this is not new construction there are a few things that aren't perfect but as far as we know they are all cosmetic.  We've already corrected all that we could and things are looking pretty good.  Please keep those good thoughts and prayers coming. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

We're in process of moving

I haven't posted to my blog for a few weeks.  I've temorarily been sidetracked.  We've decided to downsize and have been preparing to move. We finished staging the house, felt like we priced it right, and put it on the market. We were kind of amazed when we received an offer on the 3rd day after listing. Next is the appraisal process. We're hoping and praying that the appraisal price will support the contract price. If you're a praying person, please say a few for us. Due to the state of the economy, we're a little bit concerned in this market because our realtor told us that the new regulations now require appraisers to factor in foreclosures, short sales, and bank owned properties when determining the appraisal price. We've found that those are all quite a bit lower than regular sales (and there are so many of them compared to regular sales). There are a few things we'll be working on before the appraiser gets here on Monday and then within a week or so there'll be the inspection. 

We've been shopping for a house in Sun City and think we've found a place that will suit us.  Again, prayers and good thoughts requested that all goes smoothly on the purchasing end.  Rick & I are both pretty tuckered out already.  Can't wait to get settled and back to calm days and stitching.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Block #8, Fruit (Civil War Bride Quilt)

Here is my next block.  I really enjoyed making all the fruit.  It seems like a happy block to me - maybe because of the yellow.

Count down:  8 finished - 12 more to go

Monday, July 12, 2010

Block #4, Grapes (Civil War Bride Quilt)

Here's the next block I've been working on - the block with several bunches of grapes.  I finshed this block last week but discovered my camera was broken.  I was so disappointed, I really liked that camera.  My husband lent me his so I was able to get a picture.

I made extra grapes so I'd have them ready for block #8.  Guess I'll do that one, with all the fruit, next.

Count down:  7 finished - 13 more to go

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Block #14, Peahen (Civil War Bride Quilt)

My little peahen is finished and is busy strutting around under the wild rose bush.  I sure am captivated by this charming quilt - can't seem to put it down.   I hope I can keep the enthusiasm going because this is only the 6th block I've made.  There are still 14 blocks to go.  It feels a little daunting when I think of it that way and of all the little pieces that go into each block.   But, one stitch at a time and it will eventually be a quilt.  :-)

Count Down:  6 finished - 14 more to go

Berry Sour Cream Pie Recipe

I tried a new recipe over the weekend for a Berry Sour Cream Pie.  I had planned to take it to a sewing get-together.  I didn't feel well Saturday morning and had to miss the get-together.  So you guessed it, my husband and I have had to eat up the pie all by ourselves.  Pure bliss.  Reminds me of a really delicate cheesecake with berries in the middle.  Yum!  Here's the recipe if you want to try it, I even was able to make a low-fat version and sure couldn't tell it was low anything.

Berry Sour Cream Pie
1 egg, beaten
1 container (16 oz) sour cream (I used lite sour cream)
3 TB flour
1 Keebler Ready Graham Pie Curst (I made a homemade crust using Smart Balance)
1 cup mixed berries (I used frozen mixed berries [strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, & blackberries])
1 recipe of berry sauce (recipe below) 
(Canned blueberry pie filling could be substituted for the mixed berries and berry sauce.  That's usually too sweet for me - I  prefer to make my own sauce so I can control the amount of sugar and salt.)

To make Berry Sauce to mix in with the berries:  2 TB cornstarch, 2/3 cup water, 1/3 cup sugar, pinch of salt - combine sauce ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved and sauce is thickened and glossy.  Let cool slightly before mixing in berries.  Then mix in the berries.

In medium bowl whisk together egg, sour cream, sugar, and flour.  Place crust on a baking sheet.  Spread half of sour cream mixture into the crust.  Top with berry/sauce mixture.  Spread remaining sour cream mixture over filling.  Bake on baking sheet at 375 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set and the pie gets golden around the edges.  It will split a little when it's set, just like cheesecake does.  Cool for 1 hour on a rack.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Serve cold.  Store in refrigerator.  Good recipe to make ahead and serve the next day.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Block #7, Peacocks (Civil War Bride Quilt)

I really enjoyed making this block.  I love to look at peacocks.  The ones I made, using civil war fabrics, aren't quite as brightly hued as a real peacock but I'm pleased with how they turned out.  I embroidered the feet as someone on the Civil War Blog suggested and was much happier doing them this way rather than appliqueing them out of fabric.  I'm discovering that the finishing details in a block are what captivate my attention and excite me.  This block was one that got me excited because there were lots of details to play around with............couldn't wait to see what the peacocks would look like when they were finished.   I just love seeing how a block evolves itself (anyway it seems like it takes on a life of it's own and creates itself the way it wants to be sometimes, if you know what I mean. I don't really know how to explain it but I just love that part.)  So here are my peacocks:

Count Down:  5 finished - 15 more to go

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Block #6, Red, White, & Blue Flowers (Civil War Bride Quilt)

Another block is finished.  I feel like I'm beginning to make some progress on this quilt - this is the fourth block I've made.  Since there are 20 blocks, it will be quite an investment of time and effort.  I found I enjoyed making this block a lot.  I thought of my grandson, who is in the military, as I was making it what with the red, white, and blue flowers.  If I counted right, there are 46 leaves in this block.  It actually felt like it went faster than the last leafy block I made.........and the last one had a few less leaves.  I think I may be getting into a groove here.  :-)

Count Down:  4 finished - 16 more to go

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Block #2, White Flowers (Civil War Bride Quilt)

When I originally saw the CWB pattern my first impression was that there were an awful lot of leaves.  I thought that if I ever made it, I'd cut back on the number of leaves I put in each block.  Then I decided to make the quilt and wouldn't you know it, I put every last leaf on this very leafy block.  I guess the charm of the quilt got to me and I just couldn't help myself.  So here is my block #2 with leaves galore.

Count Down:  3 finished - 17 more to go

Friday, June 11, 2010

Red, White, & Green Lasagna Recipe

This week I made what is now our new favorite lasagna and thought I'd share the recipe just in case you're craving lasagna.  This recipe is pretty easy for a dish that usually takes quite a bit of time to prep.

Red, White, & Green Lasagna

12 lasagna noodles (cooked according to package directions - 10 minutes)
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese (or half ricotta and half cottage cheese)
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, partially thawed so clumps can be broken up
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 eggs
1 lb bulk Italian sausage or ground beef, cooked & drained
1 onion, chopped (cooked in with the sausage)
1 (26 oz, approx) jar marinara pasta sauce (we like Prego with mushrooms in this)
1 (16 oz, approx) jar alfredo pasta sauce
chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley
¼ tsp Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, spinach, half the mozzarella cheese, 2 TB of the Parmesan cheese, and the eggs. Mix well. Spray a 15 x 9” baking dish, spread 1 cup marinara sauce, layer 4 lasagna noodles over sauce. Top with half the cheese mixture, 1 cup marinara sauce, and all the cooked sausage. Layer 4 more lasagna noodles, remaining cheese mixture, and remaining marinara sauce. Top with 4 remaining lasagna noodles. Spread Alfredo sauce evenly on top. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning. Cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Serves 10-12.

If this recipe looks familiar, it's a take off on the recipe I found on the back of American Beauty Lasagna Noodles.  I made some minor adjustments and we just loved it.  It would also be good without the turkey Italian sausage and even the eggs as a vegetarian dish.  

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Drawing" Faces Tutorial

I'll try as best I can to expain how to put a face on your applique lady (in this case the Civil War Bride Quilt - Bride Block).  If you can't freehand draw, like me, do a search at:   Google, Images, and type in free coloring pages faces or something similar.  Then find a line drawing of a face that appeals to you (such as on  Under most of the images during your search you'll see the phrase "find similar images".  That can also bring up some good results.

Print out the face you have chosen.  If it's not the size that you need, you may have to reduce or enlarge it.

Then take skin colored fabric (I used the reverse side of some peach colored fabric I had in my stash - beige fabric would also have been a good candidate for the way I wanted my Bride to look) and iron freezer paper to the reverse side.

Put your chosen face on a lightbox.  Put your fabric with the freezer paper on the back on top and secure both pieces down to your lightbox with painters tape or similar so they won't slip around.

Now draw the face lightly with a mechanical pencil.  Check your work, and if you're not happy with it, do a little bit of light erasing, and try again.  If you're happy with it, go over the pencil lines with a brown or black Micron pen (use one that has a fairly fine point such as an 01).

Now take some colored pencils (the inexpensive Crayola brand are fine or whatever you have) and give her color to her lips, cheeks, and hair.  A good rule of thumb is to use 3 different colors on her hair including a yellow to show as hightlights so it won't look flat. 

Her eye needs 3 colors, the white part of the eye you'll just leave your plain fabric, then you'll have a colored part, and a black center.  To make her come to life she needs a little sparkle to her eyes. To do that, take a toothpick and dip the end into some white acrylic paint. Put just a dot on the black part of her eye.

I then took a peachy colored or ochre colored pencil and add some shading to her face.  It would be all around the outside of the face, under the chin, etc.  If you're at a loss, look in the mirror and see where the shadows show up on your face and put the same ones on your drawing.

When you're happy with the results, cut out your drawing, leaving your turn-under allowance all around the outside edge.  Applique her down and you're finished.

This is a technique I learned in a class from ArleneS at the Quilted Apple in Phoenix, AZ.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Block #3, The Bride Block (Civil War Bride Quilt)

The other block I worked on for this month is the Bride.  I decided to put her in a wedding dress and give her a bridal bouquet instead of a second apple as shown in the pattern.  Her head is done using permanent micron pens and then is shaded with colored pencils.

Here's a close-up of the Bride.  You can double click on the picture if you want to see more detail.

Block #9, The Bird of Paradise Block (Civil War Bride Quilt)

I've logged a lot of hours working on two of the blocks for "The Civil War Bride Quilt".  The first block I made is Block #9, the Bird of Paradise Block.  The main fabric line I'm using is a Moda fabric called Rouenneries designed by one of their newest designers, French General.  This fabric is in shades of Turkey Red, grays, and oysters.  It was inspired by French textiles of the 18th century so fits in with the era of the Civil War.  I'm also using some Thimbleberries fabric and some reproduction fabric from my stash, and am using muslin for my background in a tea dyed color.  I've been longing to use the beautiful Rouenneries fabric that I got last year for a special quilt for my front room.  I wanted something with gray and red in it for in there.  This should work out great.

Here's a picture of the Bird of Paradise that I made.  He's kind of handsome, isn't he?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Civil War Bride Quilt

Now that the Baltimore Album class I took at the Quilted Apple is finished we've started on a new series of classes to begin making the "Civil War Bride Quilt" (also sometimes called the "Bird of Paradise Quilt").  It looks like we'll be aiming to get two blocks finished per month. It's a 20 block quilt so at that pace plus one class for the border it will take us nearly a year.  When the instructor, ArleneS, told us about the next project, I didn't realize it was the same quilt that the ladies on the Baltimore site I follow ( have been so excited about.  I was doing an internet search for some pictures and history when it dawned on me that it was one and the same quilt.  I already thought it was a beautiful quilt but this made me even more excited.

Since there were so many of the ladies in the Yahoo Baltimore group that were planning to make this quilt, one of them decided to start a separate blog ( so that those interested in making the quilt using the pattern from Threadbear out of Australia ( can all encourage each other.  Can you feel my excitement ramp up another notch..........I think it would be so much fun to do a quilt along with both a blog group, and a class, and be able to share ideas.

To make a long story short, I received my pattern from Threadbear last month and finally pulled fabric this week.  Yesterday I made some design changes (I want a groom for my bride plus a house and.............) and also prepped the blocks.  In class Arlene decided we'd try block #9 (Bird of Paradise block) and block #3 (Bride block) first.  I'll likely be making them in the order the class is making them.  Today I started on block #9 and also sent an email to the blog coordinator to see about joining in the discussion on the blog. 

Here's a picture of the Civil War Bride Quilt that was developed by Corliss of Threadbear that I'll be working on:

Floral Belle's Quilt

This week I finally got busy on my Floral Belle's Quilt.  I've been taking a class at the Quilted Apple from ArleneS.  Her patterns are all so wonderful it makes me wish I could make them all.  I pulled fabric and started on the first block.  There are only 4 blocks in this quilt but they're huge - 19 x 22".   It's going to be an adorable quilt but, like I said, I want to do them all and end up having so many projects going at once, that it takes half of forever to finish one.  Here is my progress so far on block one - she'll be holding a cute little teddy bear when she's finished.

Simple Sticheries from the Heart Quilt

I've started working on the blocks for a darling embroidery quilt called "Simple Sticheries from the Heart".  This is turning out to be a great handwork project to take when I go to my sewing groups.  There's not much to carry, and it doesn't take too much concentration, so I can talk while I work on it - yeah!  I finished block number two last week for the quilt.  Then I decided I wanted to try hoopless handquilting and thought I'd make another of these cute blocks for a wallhanging as a practice piece for my handquilting lark.  I was totally surprised to find out I'm now "in  love" with handquilting.  I guess I won't know for sure though until I try it on a larger quilt.  It does take a huge chunk of time to do it and my underneath finger is still pretty chewed up.  Sure would love a handquilted Baltimore quilt though.

Here are pictures of the handquilted wallhanging and also the first two blocks I finished.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Baked Egg Cups

I decided to make my husband a special breakfast this morning so I made him Baked Egg Cups.  He's been moving his commercial insurance business office to our home.  What a time of it he's had.  Both his computer and his business email wouldn't work.  It's taken him days and days and several hundred dollars to the geeks to finally get everything up and running.  So, needless to say, he's been stressed,  I thought he ought to have a special breakfast as a celebration, now that everything's finally working.  Here's a picture and the recipe I used for the Baked Egg Cups.

Baked Egg Cups
6 slices bread (any type-I used whole wheat)
Butter (I used Smart Balance)
6 TB ham, diced
6 eggs
6 TB cheese (I used grated mild cheddar)
Butter both sides of bread.  Remove crusts.  Cut a small slit in each corner.  Spray muffin tins with Pam and arrange bread in 6 of the cups.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes to crisp the bread.  Remove. Place 1Tb of diced ham on the bread in the bottom of each cup, top with an egg, sprinkle 1 TB of cheese on top of each filled cup.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes. 

Rick said the special breakfast made his day. 

Since my muffin tin is a 12 cupper - I mixed up a box of Jiffy cornbread mix and filled the other 6 cups for tonight's dinner.  Wouldn't want those extra 6 muffin cups to just sit there unfilled, would I?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Am I Really a Baltimore?

Here it completed Baltimore Album Quilt.  I call it "Am I Really A Baltimore?"  I'm so happy to have it all quilted, bound, and ready to hang.  I was intimidated to begin a project of this magnitude but am so pleased that I stuck with it and got it finished.  I didn't keep track of how long it took me to make all of the blocks, the border, and to assemble the top, but I did keep track of how long it took to quilt it - 92 hours.  Whew!  Truly though, I really did enjoy making this quilt.  I spent many contented hours doing the needle-turn applique and the dimensional flowers on the blocks.  The inkwork was scary but once I got started on it, it was kind of fun too.  It was so rewarding to see the personality developing in each block.  There is so much special meaning in this quilt for me and for my family.

Here's a close-up of the center block:

And here are pictures of the individual blocks:

Here's a close-up of the border: