Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Free Motion Quilting Challenge - July

Okay I know it's the last day of the month again and here I am posting this month's FMQC! First I will show you the disaster I created with my poor Husqvarna Lily. I was trying last month's tutorial. I forgot how to set the machine up for free motion. Then I think my body memory has disappeared too! Don't forget I bought an HQ Avante to quilt on so now I can't get the motion with my hands. Look at this mess!!!

So I switched to the Avante to try Angela Walters tutorial. I started out pretty good, then I broke a thread, figured out the thread had wound itself around the thread guide twice ( huh, how'd it do that?) ran out of bobbin and didn't have any So Fine wound. Then remembered I had some of the sample bobbin left so I put that in. I did check the tension but - oh well - I'm still learning. :( I still get eyelashes now and then.
It looks better from a distance. The colour is better in this photo. maybe I can make a pouch out of it?
I quilted the borders with my ruler first then I went back in and filled in.

I think the wider borders look better.

I have a lesson coming up next week so I hope I learn more then, especially about the mechanics of the frame and machine. I'm driving to Fonthill, Ontario where I bought my machine. I hope to stock up on thread and needles as well as a bobbin tension gauge and maybe a top tension gauge.

I haven't posted for a while because I have been working on a project to submit to the Dresden Challenge. I have been having "fun" ripping out seams and resewing them. Due to the angle of the wedge it is hard to make the corners match. I'll show more when it gets closer to the entry date.

Have a great day. Enjoy the sun!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Driving the back roads

Just passing by!
We are told we both take after our Grandad Ted in that we like to go for long drives and basically get lost!  We can spend hours driving around not looking for anything in particular but enjoying the scenery and finding the most unexpected places and people.  This is one way that we contacted most of the farmers we now buy from.  Last summer on one of our drives we found a farm that was selling their produce (fruit, veggies and eggs) in a most unusual manner.  The had a farm stand with all their produce set out just like any other stand but there was no one overseeing it.  I wish I could find the photos we had taken to show you.  It ran on the honour system with a sign asking visitors to pay what they could for the food they took and place the money in a cash box.  I've used stands like this to buy honey, pumpkins, eggs and small containers of veggies but never a whole stand, although I have read about them in books I've read recently.   So this weekend we were very sad to discover that the stand has changed and now has one of the farm hands overseeing the sale of items.  We did discover something new though!

Quail eggs!  Neither of us has ever had quail eggs before.  They were so tiny, speckled and very cute. Yes food can be cute!  Have you ever seen baby zucchinis, champagne grapes, baby peas, baby pumpkins?  I can go on, but I won't!   We talked with the farm hand and he said they taste just like chicken eggs just much smaller.  We asked about the birds and how they were raised - free range running all around the farmyard, eating whatever they fancy and were told we could go and look if we wanted.  Of course we bought the basket which held 18 eggs.

I put two chicken eggs beside them to show their size.
I love the brown speckles!
Cracking the eggs was a little difficult.  They are so tiny and the shells are actually quite hard and I was afraid to smash them.  The inside of the eggs are pale blue!

I added one chicken egg so you could see the size again.

So I gently fried our quail eggs but you have to be quick, these little guys cook fast and in my cast iron pan, which I had cooked some left over potatoes and onions, it was probably too hot.  They were delicious though - just like fresh from the farm chicken eggs!  We really couldn't tell the difference.

My only question is how many quail eggs should one person eat? 
(We had four each and split the chicken egg!) 

Eat well!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Foto Fridays

Bees and Blooms

During the school year we tend to crash on Friday evenings, have take out for dinner and fall asleep in our chairs.  So in order to not miss making a post on Fridays we are going to begin Foto Fridays.  Our photos will be from places we have been, favourite things, our gardens, quilting and quilts, things that inspire us or make us smile.  Hope you enjoy them!

Can you find the honey bees in the first two photos?  We have a Beekeeper nearby and his bees visit our garden all summer long.  They are actually very gentle and will let me weed amongst the flowers and don't sting!  Yeah! 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Blueberries are bursting!

So this morning I woke up (because my neighbour came home from holidays and decided to power wash his deck - loudly!)  ready for coffee and breakfast but of course - we have no bread, had cereal for dinner last night, what to do, what to do?  Waffles!  My friend Roslin introduced me to waffle making a few years ago.  We've both cooked a lot with the kids in our classes over the past years and Roz is known for her waffles!  She incorporates different ingredients in to her waffles like applesauce, pureed pumpkin and has even made chocolate brownie waffles!  Last year she received a larger waffle maker as a gift from her husband so she passed her small round PC one to me which is perfect for just Barb and I, and I use it for school too.  Thanks Roslin!

I use Bob's Red Mill 10 grain Pancake and Waffle mix as my base and then I add to it.  Ingredients like vanilla, cinnamon, frozen or fresh fruit.  Quick and easy especially when you have nothing else in the cupboard!

Today it's beautiful, plump and juicy blueberries!

You can never have too many blueberries!

Two minutes and poof - breakfast!

What did you have for breakfast today?

Eat well!

Monday, 23 July 2012

So Why Do I Use a Startie/Stoppie?

While I've been ripping out stitches, or un-quilting my border on my latest quilt and the pile of thread is getting higher, I wonder, if I am going to rip out this much thread what's the point of using a Startie/Stoppie? (You know that little piece of fabric that starts your chain stitch and end the chain stitch) I was told to use it to save thread, I really use it to stop that snarl of thread at the beginning of a seam. If I'm going to keep unsewing, (more on that later), how am I going to save thread?
Well I finally un-quilted my border and re-quilted the border and trimmed the extra material off.
My original border design, small circle inside large circle. I forgot to keep to the pattern of up, down.

I know awful picture, but to be honest they were awful feathers so they had to go too.

Yeah there is enough material in the extra backing to do the binding, whew!
I even trimmed the corners of the quilt round, so all I have left to do is make binding and sew it on.
Quilt waiting for borders.

Round corners. I am not showing the quilting from the back. Yikes! This will be a wall hanging so no one will know what the stitching looks like except me!!!
Feathers, I tried to get then to mirror each other in the adjacent blocks.

okay I am happy that it is done with the feathers and how they look.
 Wait I forgot, what does the new red border look like? I'll be back - forgot to take a picture. (need coffee!!!)
I added a grid/lattice to match the squares in the blocks.

I made half circles that overlapped.

I used the clam shell ruler that came with my LA package. Ruler work is hard. Now I know why custom work can be so expensive.

While browsing through several quilting blogs I see that many people join swaps, bees... so I thought I would make a quilt for the Dresden Challenge. I'm not a big fan of the Dresden Plate but there are some pretty creative people out there and some beautiful fabrics. I thought, mmmmm, I'll try something for the innovative section. It's a small quilt so I can do that and have it ready on time. Well either I'm not rested yet or I'm not getting enough coffee (I really have cut back since going on holiday) but I have had nothing but problems. I sewed a whole section, good, looks like I want it to. Then the next day I sewed the next section, good, looks like I want it to, wait a minute the two sections will not fit together. I eased them in but now it bulges weirdly in places. So out comes the seam ripper, did I tell you that my thumb falls asleep when I use my seam ripper? I tried to sew it a different way. Then it hit me I forgot to change the seam allowance on my machine. So one whole section is smaller than the other. (insert tears and bad language here)

Luckily I caught this before I did too many more rows.

So I went and had lunch and I'm having a coffee, once I write this, and I will try again. :(

Oh yeah, I said I would show you what I bought on my shopping trip. I also bought a pattern for something really cool. I am going to try to make it and if it works I will make one for a give away for our 100th post! Keep an eye out to see if I am successful.

The 2 orange fabrics are for a special project I have been saving a variety of FQ's for. The turquoise and brown fabric was buy 2 and get 2 for free. This will be a great backing, border, who knows?              

Friday, 20 July 2012

Squash Blossoms!

Today is Friday so it's Farmer's Market day!  We still have lots of fruits and veggies in the fridge from last week (too many lunches out while on holiday!) so it would be a quick visit this week.  I can't believe how early everything is - peaches in July? sweet carrots? red currants? sweet corn? -  all so early due to the hot weather.

After picking up our few items and chatting with the farmers we picked up our iced coffee even though it was spitting rain and wait for it . . .  a little chilly!  Yes!  The humidity has broken and we have had two wonderful summer days without the A/C.  We strolled the last aisle and saw the most beautiful orange squash blossoms!  I have always wanted to try cooking with squash blossoms so here was my chance.

Squash blossoms after cutting off the stem, removing the pistil and rinsing in cool water.

I had heard/read that fried squash blossoms were made with ricotta cheese which isn't one of my favourites and I never have it on hand.  At the market though we sampled, and of course bought, some goats cheese with green and red peppercorns so I thought I would substitute it for the ricotta.  If you've read any of my other posts you will have noticed that I really don't follow recipes very well and I kinda just go with what I have, what I like and what I think will go well together.  So that's how I made my filling.  I had green and red peppercorn goats cheese,  a couple big spoons of plain yoghurt to help thin it out a bit, basil (because it was in the kitchen window), salt, dehydrated lemon crystals and just because ... some sunflower seeds!  I used red fife flour (because that's what I always have on hand for bread making) and added some Panko bread crumbs for crunch and two eggs.

Cheese mixture!
Stuffed blossoms!

 Stuffing the blossoms was a little messy and my first few have too much filling but I was able to fill them all and laid them on a plate until I was ready to "fry" them altogether.  I don't deep fry anything because I can usually get the same results from pan frying with much less oil and less waste.  I beat my eggs in a bowl, put my flour and Panko in a shallow pie plate and heated my large cast iron frying pan so I could make them all at the same time.
Here they are getting cozy!

Resting on paper towel to dry off a little.
I can't tell you how delicious these were!  They were crunchy on the outside, ooey, cheesey and oh so lovely on the inside.  Barb is working on a quilt behind me and she is still going on about them.  I think they're a hit!

Just so you can see the yummy insides - I wish I could send everyone a sample!

They don't need a dipping sauce but this went along really well - sweet and a little bit spicy, just like Guy (I love his hair)!

Shh! we're going Squash Blossom hunting this weekend!  The season is so short but we have two more farmer's markets this weekend to visit in order to find some more blossoms because they just might not be available next Friday.  When you eat in season and the season is this short you eat and enjoy because a year is a very long wait for things to come around again!  But so worth the wait in my opnion :)

Eat well!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

A Visual Homage to the Seam Ripper!

So part way through my quilt I changed my mind about how to quilt the red border. Twice! I know I know but I really wasn't happy with the way it was looking. So as I advanced my quilt on the frame I left that part for later. While I was out shopping in Uxbridge I saw a sample quilt on the wall and now I know what I want to quilt in the borders. I am going to finish all the squares and feathers and the outside border, then I will come back and do the inner red border. I'm sure this is not how it is supposed to be done and I may make a mistake but I need to fix that border. So on a whim I looked at Google images for how many different seam rippers were out there! Wow! There are a lot and some beautiful ones too.

Look at this one from Idaho Beauty's Creative Journey: Additions. It is beautiful.
 Or this one from, Amy's husband at During Quiet Time. I'd love to have one of these.
 This gentleman at Turned Out Great, uses wood and turns it on a lathe then insets a seam ripper.
Well I will be using my seam ripper tomorrow but it doesn't look as nice as any of these. Oh well, enough procrastinating off I go to bed,  I have a lot of work to complete tomorrow.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Trying out a new app!

What's On the Quilting Frame this week?

Do you ever have one of those projects that you know you have to get done but you don't really like it so you drag your feet? I have a quilt on my frame that doesn't excite me and I'm not enjoying some of the work on it. I do have a big section to unsew :( because I tried something and Sharon and I both agreed it has to come off.
Yes the walls are painted navy!

This is a mystery quilt I did in a class. I didn't want to do the mystery class because I don't like not having that control over my project. I like to know which fabrics will be going where. So I picked Valentine-ish fabrics cause I figured I could always hang it in the Library on Valentine's Day.

I'm not much of a pink person. I quilted hearts in the outer border. Red border is not done yet.

When I got to see the teacher's finished quilt I really wished I had picked other fabric colours. Oh well it was a learning experience. It is not ugly just not what I would have made on my own.

I have decided I have to try feathers, so this is the quilt to do it on (since it's not a favourite and if I screw up oh well). I actually like the feathers and I'm glad it's white on white!

I used my ruler to do cross hatching on the squares. It reminds my of a trellis.

Today we are going to Uxbridge to see one of my favourite quilt stores. It is lovely there and so cozy. It is a house converted into a shop, they are very friendly there and have a wide variety of materials and tools.

I went on a Shop Hop organized by the owner of the shop. I don't neeeeed any fabric but I do like to go and look around and see what's there. I'll let you know if I buy anything. I haven't been able to leave without something. We are also going to a cooking store while we are there. Sharon likes to look at all the gadgets they have so she can try things out in the kitchen. I love her cooking!