Saturday, February 27, 2010

quilt along: week 5

Week 5: free motion machine quilting (full directions here, at I Have To Say)

This has been my favorite week. I liked the, well- the free motion, of the free motion quilting. I had to borrow a free motion foot while my fabric shop ordered one for me.

Not all my swirls and loops are great, but the thread color blends in for the most part. It's not detail that you really see unless you look for it. Overall, I am pleased with the quilting. I really have thought with each step, "I could ruin it all right here." Not a real positive way to look at it. Each step takes a good deal of time and is so important to the completed project. Since this is my first quilt, each step and was new, I was just so worried that this is where I could wreck it all.

Chloe helps me inspect. The front looks great...

but look what I find when I turn it over. There is a big gather at one edge. I spent yesterday evening ripping out stitches and smoothing things out. Today I am going to try to redo that area. I heard that the Amish women leave a error in their quilts so that they aren't perfect. I am one with the Amish gals right now.

Next week we work on the binding and then are DONE!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pioneer Woman Cooks and so am I

My great neighbors gave me the Pioneer Woman Cooks book for my birthday and I have been loving it and cooking a bunch of the recipes. the subtitle should be 'butter'. I love that some measurements are given by how much you want your rear to jiggle. Regardless, it's good food. really good food. This is why I go to the gym.
Chicken fried steak:

Marlboro man's favorite sandwich:

Sour cream pancakes:

Macaroni and Cheese:

It seems like there have been others, we just gobble them up before I can take a picture.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

mama dip vs daddy dip

Hubby and I each make a dip that we love. He doesn't love mine and certainly don't love his. To each their own. We each recently made our favorite dip to take to the same place. It was a dip challenge.

Here's mine (clearly the better of the two): I learned to make this dip from our family friend who I used to do a lot of babysitting for. Then my mom made it for awhile and experiment with low fat mayo, but it was determined by all that regular old mayo was the only way to go.

Artichoke Dip

1 c mayo (the real stuff)

1 c parm cheese

1 can artichoke hearts (drain and cut in pieces)

mix all ingredients. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy with thin crackers or other favorite cracker. (Spoon off oil after it starts to cool a little. That part can get a little yuck)

Here is hubby's dip: His dip is one that he and his cousin used to make when watching Michigan football games together in high school. They used to mix it all up and it was this awful creamy color.

Super Amazing Dip (seriously, that's what he just called it when I asked for it's official name)

8 oz. cream cheese

Hormel chili in a can

2 cups cheddar cheese

He also just informed me that sometimes it is called 'Heavenly Dip.' Silly daddy. Smear cream cheese in the bottom of a pan, add chili on top, and top with cheese on top of that. Bake in oven or melt in the microwave, which seems to be the preferred boy method. Serve with tortilla chips.

I'm not sure which was the winner. Both were eaten. I think the girls preferred my dip and the kids preferred his. Really, there were so many other good treats from other people, no one lack for appropriate munchies the whole evening. One thing that was a winner across the board though, were these chocolate cupcakes from pioneer woman. That makes it sound like she was there.... she wasn't, but her cupcake recipe was represented. (These particular ones aren't the prettiest, but the filling inside was delightful!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

mod tie pattern testing

I mentioned recently that I was testing a pattern for Happy Together... Well, today's the day that she releases her pattern for sale. It's called the Mod Tie Shirt and you can find it for sale in her shop. Here are the flicker photos for her patterns. I had to learn how to do the flicker thing so I could put some photos there for her. If you're here visiting from Jessica's site, welcome- pull up a chair and feel free to make yourself at home! If you're visiting from One Pretty Thing, where our tie-dye snowman shirts were shared this weekend- Welcome. thanks for popping in.

I had so much fun working with her pattern. I ended up making three shirts. I was determined to use fabric on hand. For the first shirt, I used flannel for the body and Jersey knit for the sleeves, tie, and waist band. The flannel is left over from sandwich wraps and the jersey knit was yardage from a friend who wasn't sure what to do with it. (Thanks Melissa! I've also used your fabric here for Bee's Thanksgiving dress and here for Lou's pirate costume)

Jessica's pattern was so easy to use. She included lots of details and great step by step pictures. She listened to our feedback and was so easy to work with.

I went with the long sleeve option for this one. It was 10 degrees when I made this. Spring seems no where in sight.

Bee is clearly getting into this modeling thing. I used to have to bribe her with jelly beans to get her to pose for me. This time she said she'd work for free.

For the next shirt, I tried linen for the body and tie. Gifted Jersey knit again for the sleeves and waist. I made this one a little smaller and went with the mid length sleeve option.

Yes, Bee is sporting a tat on her arm. She's cool like that.

Since I'd already made up the two shirts that I told Jessica I was going to make, I went for a third with some variations. A girl can only have so many identical shirts. I added cuffs to the sleeves (I just used the same directions for adding the waist band). I made the waist band a little thinner than the other shirts and brought up the front cut of the shirt for a more 'sailor' look. Bee says this anchor makes it a boy shirt. I, on the other hand, am in love with this shirt. In love. The applique was easy to do (I've talked about it a time or two before). I bought a thrifted jean skirt and added some of the fabric to it too. It's all just too cute.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

quilt along: week 4

I got a bit behind on my quilt, but just by a few days. Thankfully week 4 was a little less time consuming. Here was my finished sewn quilt top from week 3- which I finished late.

And the back, which was not supposed to be pieced together at all, but I am playing nurse to too many this week (if you aren't recovering from surgery at our house, you have a cold) to run out to the fabric shop. I liked that this didn't have to be exact.

week four: assembling your quilt sandwich (full details here at I have to say)

this part really just took an hour or so to get together. The backing was laid down first, then the quilt batting (warm and natural 100% cotton), and finally the top.

My quilt is now peppered in safety pins. Having a helper is important. Mine is our cat Ellis.

This week's assignment is to quilt the quilt. With each step, I feel like It's getting so close to being done, and then I realize there is still a lot of work.

Here are my other weeks:
Week 1: choosing and preparing fabrics
Week 2: cutting your fabrics
Week 3: sewing the quilt top

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How to ruin dinner- method 17 and 42

So, you want to ruin dinner. Are you looking for an excuse to order pizza? Here we go...

method 17: Place a pork tenderloin in a 9x13 glass Pyrex pan. Make sure it's a nice tenderloin that you've been saving for the perfect pork tenderloin night. It's best to use your favorite 9x13, you know the one with the nice lid and travel case. Add the last of your favorite barbecue sauce- preferably the barbecue sauce that you can only find out of state... make sure to use every last drop. Place in the oven at 350 degrees. Leave in the oven for just a few minutes, then remember that you wanted to add just a little water to the bottom of the pan. Carefully open the oven door, pour in the water, and BOOM!

Exploded glass will fill your kitchen and the bottom of your oven. The messy barbecue sauce adds to the fun clean up. It's best not to warn your family. The look on their faces as they run (wobble- should they be recovering from surgery) to the kitchen to see the emergency is priceless.

Method 42: Don't worry about ruining the tenderloin, you have homemade chicken noodles in the freezer. You used pioneer woman's recipe and they are delish; homemade chicken stock and tender noodles, yum. Wait! After retrieving the jar from the freezer (which was placed in a freezer safe glass jar) is cracked all through out. You may think about trying to save what you can but then you remember home ec. class in junior high and you are pretty sure there are shards of glass all in your noodles. Mrs. Harvey wouldn't lie, although she might have told you inappropriate things about why she liked to wear spandex. Shudder.

This method takes some prep time before hand. Make sure that you leave lots of head room when placing the chicken noodles in the freezer, so the jar won't crack that way. However, you must place it in the freezer before it is 100% cooled. This ensures that the top layer of liquid will freeze much faster than the bottom middle of the liquid, causing the big, full jar cracks.

Your children will be impressed.

Congratulations, you have ruined dinner twice. It's pizza for you!

(If you are an early morning reader, tomorrows post may be a little late, I can't post it until another blogger posts something on her site. It will be there though. no worries.)

edit to fix a number of spelling errors my editors missed. There could be more.... geesh.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

big ideas

Bee has been thinking through some big ideas. She struggles with some ideas about death and Jesus. Who can blame her.

Here is a conversation about giving this past week: [words in the brackets were of course not said]
Bee: MOM! Lou threw all my piggy bank money in the air. It's ALL over my room
me: (hiding in the bathroom) I've told you not to leave your piggy bank on your bed. LOU- get in here [seriously people!]
Lou: I just throwed money to God [I love throwing her money!]
Bee: God doesn't need our money [you stupid boy]
Me: Well, God does ask for our money [great, I have to pick up $9.00 in pennies.... again] He asks us to give our money at church and to help other people with our money.
Bee: We can't give all our money away or we wouldn't have any money to buy the stuff we need.
Me: (I gave a nice little talk about how we give money, and trust that God will provide all our needs. Went on to discuss how some of the things we think we need aren't really needs..... [They get it, I taught them something, I made a difference]
Bee: (after a thoughtful minute) If I gave all my money to God, do you think I'd have enough for him to give me a flying pegasus?
Me: (sigh)

Here's this week's discussion about lent:
(note: I clearly do not expect my 2 and 4 year old to 'get' giving something up for lent)
Bee: I want to give up something for lent too.
Me: ok, what are you thinking about?
Bee: the circus
Me: You've never been to the circus.
Bee: I was thinking about going.
Me: It's supposed to be something that will be a sacrifice for you to give up.
Bee: ok, what about makeup?
Me: You're not going to play with makeup- that's pretty good
Bee: no, I'm not going to buy makeup
Me: ok, you're not going to buy makeup
Bee: well, lipstick. I'm not going to buy lipstick
Me: what a sacrifice
Bee: I might buy lipstick, but only if we go to Target, ok?
unrelated photo: The kids are so enjoying having daddy home all day. He's feeling so much better. Not super, but so much better. Everybody loves the extra cuddle time.

Shhh... pretend we're sleeping

My grandma made this quilt, at least several years before I was born. It's on my bed now. I wonder if as she made it she ever thought her great grandchildren would be cuddling under it. I certainly haven't thought about that while making my quilt.

Friday, February 19, 2010

tie dye snowman shirt

This has since been featured in Family Fun Magazine!
Back in January, I wrote about Lou's tie-dye snowman shirt. Lou's was a gift from our Florida friend, Korin. I called Korin and she gave me all the directions we needed. We finally made Bee one and I took lots of pictures. Here's how to make your own.

Make up dye according to the package you buy. I tried this brand which is available lots of places, craft stores and big box places alike.

Find a white shirt. We used one that we had stained up a little. And when I say we, I mean, a shirt that Bee- the messiest gal ever has stained. Three different sized balls are needed. It would be best if the balls didn't have holes in them. Our golf ball had a little hole and ended up filling with the dye water and had to be thrown away.

Place the largest ball under the material and gather around it. Tie with a yarn, rubber band, or other string like thing. Next, use the medium ball and put it right above the large ball. Really try to push it right up against the first one. Tie up in the same way. Repeat with the smallest ball on top. (You can see in the next picture how the balls don't lay in line at this point. It should still be ok.)

Place the shirt in the dye as per your directions. Mine had me soak the shirt for 45 minutes then rinse in cold water. I rinsed as well as I could with the balls still tied in. Then I remove the balls and rinsed a little more.

Admire your snowman. hopefully.

Continue to follow the directions on your dye package. Mine had me line dry next. I also threw in some other shirts at this point. It didn't turn out quiet as 'tulip red' as I hoped. Lou has a nice bright pink shirt now. I have one too.

Here's Lou's shirt. There are many options here for decorating your shirt. I wanted Bee's to match Lou's so I kept it simple. This one has three sewn on buttons and puffy paint for the face, arms, and hat.

Bee's looks good too. You could also use fabric appliques for the hat, beads for the eyes and mouth. I considered a ribbon for a scarf.

Then, just take lots of pictures of your snow people.

I don't know what he did, but she's blaming him!

Break time for Lou- union rules.

Lou's shirt has some personalization on the sleeve. That sounds easy too, Korin told me all about it. That's another post. Maybe after I get all the dye washed off my hands.

This idea has since also been featured at:

Fun Family Crafts:

Fun Family Crafts

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I forget

I forgot a lot last week. I forgot about the Valentine's party at Bee's school- I forgot to send her in her heart shirt, forgot to send her with her valentines, and forgot that we started special cards for her teachers and didn't finish. I also forgot that I melted whole bunch of crayons in the oven and turned it back on the next day and then had a smokey house (thick, heavy smoke!) and a small oven fire.

But, sometimes forgetting things isn't that bad. Sometimes I forget that I hate birds. Look at what my new feeder attracted in just the first day.

Mr. Wren. That's Mr. Carolina Wren to you.

It must be Mr. and Mrs. Wren.


Tufted Titmouse: That name is only funny if you are in 7th grade or you are a very bored 30 something guy, home recovering from back surgery.

The next day we had several inches of snow and the cardinals came out:

These two are never far from each other.

Here's a mystery bird. I know the perfect person to ask though at the nature center, I'm sure I'll have this mystery solved by Friday.

What else did I forget? It's hard to say.