Sunday, 24 March 2013

Earth Hour

1 hour
60 minutes
I'm having difficulty writing this post today.  You see, I'm green.  Yup, through and through.  I recycle pretty much everything, think before buying new items, compost, support my local farmers by buying locally, eat seasonally, try to use local companies as much as possible, grow some veggies and fruits, cook at home, preserve the harvest, brown bag it to work, conserve energy, use natural cleaning products, reuse laundry wash water, and have rain barrels and an outdoors clothes line to install this spring and I'm sure lots more that have just become a part of our daily life.  So naturally I love green initiatives and Earth Hour is one of them.  It's fun, simple and really easy to do ... so ... why when I look out my window last night at my neighbourhood were lights on at most of the houses?  I'm confused, are we not in this together?  Does what we do not effect each other?  Inside my head there is a huge rant (yes more than has already leaked out) ready to burst out all over this post.  I don't really want to put all that negativity out there so I need some help (yes, probably that kind too).  What I can do next year for Earth Hour that might see more houses with the lights out.  Any ideas?  On a news report I saw how one family had a BBQ and invited all their neighbours and another couple had an Earth Hour cocktail type party in the dark.  Hmmm!  Food, drinks, friendly people, sounds good!  So please send me any and all of your ideas you very creative people or perhaps tell us how you spent your 1 hour in the dark. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Finished Baby Quilt - Baby in the Jungle

I am late posting this but things seem to happen and get in the way and then there is the crashing at the end of the day! I'm no spring chicken any more. :(
I was able to finish the quilting and get the binding done by the end of Sunday. I have to wrap it and get a card because my friend could have to leave work soon even though she's not due quite yet I'd like to be prepared incase.

I started quilting this with no plan, yikes! I started the border because I am comfortable with the paisley design but I didn't know how I was going to do the rest.
I'm learning to add pebbles in areas that won't fit a paisley.

 I started the inner borders making figure 8's (I did get stuck a few times when I had to do them upside down - boy you should have seen the concentration on my face, I actually traced it with my fingers until I could get my brain around it)

These are shots of the back so you can see the figure 8 design.

I decided to leave the larger block undone so they will pop up when the quilt is washed.

I put a 4 petal flower in the small block.
I took the completed quilt outside and lay it on the last clean patch of snow. I thought that was the end of the snow but we got more today and yesterday. Sharon helped me choose the binding colour. I didn't want yellow because it is a baby quilt and I thought it might show the dirt, so we went with red.

The completed quilt.

This is from the charm pack. I wrote on it with a thin Sharpie and set it with my iron.

 I have a question. Do you wash your quilts before giving them away? Where can I get colour catchers in Ontario, Canada? They aren't in my grocery store or Walmart any more. Do you give a colour catcher with your gift? (I only have 3 or 4 left)

A little picture of Poppy to sign off with...
Isn't she cute? She's a 20kg lap dog!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Where oh where has my ________ gone?

This is a conversation I have with myself weekly:  "I'm sure I had some __________."  "Now just where did I put ___________?"  "How did I end up with three of these?"  At work I hear lots of people saying they don't like to cook or bemoaning the fact that they have to go home and figure out what to make for dinner.  I'm sure lots of people don't like to cook meals each day but I'm not one of them.  I actually enjoy coming home to open the fridge and cupboards to see what I have or to try out a new recipe from one of my many inspirations (magazines, cook books, other blogs, etc.)  The only thing that slows me down is trying to find things!  I can't believe I'm sharing this photo - so messy!

Our pantry is what was suppose to be the "laundry closet" according to the builder but we put our full size washer/dryer in the basement and decided to use it as our pantry.  It's located across from the kitchen but when you open the door the contents can be seen from anywhere in the house - love those open concept house designs - there's no hiding anything!
What lies behind this door ...
Everything is crammed, stacked and hidden.  We also keep some household supplies and Poppy's food supplies in here.
Argh!  I'm so embarrassed!
So everything came out and got sorted, expiry dates checked and put back in some semblance of order! 
I like using glass bottles to store dry goods in.  You can see what is in them, how much you have and sometimes just seeing a food item can spark excitement to cook with it!

I saw this idea on a blog but can't remember which one.  If I come across it again I will give credit to the ingenious blogger!  If you have any other ideas for me I'd love to hear them!
Here's a close up!

Poppy is always close by.  I'm not sure if this was taken before and she just can't stand looking at the mess or after and she's really tired from all the hard work and confusion!?!

Now, what's for dinner?

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Flower Ring Pin Cushion

In celebration of International Quilting Day I thought I'd make a craft before going back to my quilt on the frame. I have seen lots of pin cushions out there and really love them.
Go to flossieblossoms site to see how she made this!
I want to make this, happy little cottage.
My inspiration, Lostlessness

I didn't have the time or energy to make one like this so I decided to make something small. I already have a pin cushion I use all the time but it stays beside my machine.

This is left over from my folk art days. I painted it for a sale but no one bought it so it came home with me.

I needed a portable one. I often put pins in my mouth especially when using the longarm so I thought I'd make myself a ring pin cushion. A ring brings the pins right to my hand so I can use both of my hands when spreading out the quilt top.

I dug into my scrap box and found some pieces then used a piece of cardboard and made a template for the petals. The fabric for the center was a square so I rounded the corners and sewed a running stitch around the edge and gathered it in then stuffed it before tying it off. I sewed the petals on the machine, trimmed them and clipped the curves. I turned then out, pressed them and tucked the raw edges in to the opening. I folded the edges of the petal like a W and tacked them in this position then sewed them all together in a circle.

Then I attached the center with some stitches through to the back, no one will see the back! I bought a ring at Michael's. It opens like a locket and the top had holes/filigree on it.
The filigree is quilt like!

It was perfect for sewing through to attach the flower.
It only holds a few pins but it's so cute.

Could I wear it to work?

There's room for leaves if I get motivated!
Happy quilting! I'm linking up with SewCalGal's Virtual Sew-cial

Spring? not just yet ...

Last summer we planted two hibiscus plants in our planters that frame our front door.  They were amazing, very hardy and bloomed all summer long.  In September, I took them to school to live in my classroom where they continued to bloom until late October - a few of my parents commented how realistic they looked for artificial flowers!  For the past month they have been growing small leaves and had flower buds develop but they just never seemed to bloom.  Of course, the day before March Break began this is what I came to work to find!  Beautiful and such colour!  Since there would be no one at work to enjoy them, or too look after them, I brought them home and hoped the shock of cold moving from school to car and car to house wouldn't make them drop their buds.  Whew!  They have continued to bloom and really help to bring some spring into the house. 

Although I might feel like spring is just around the corner our weather is not cooperating.  It was down right cold here this week!  And although I'm really craving fresh greens it was another soup day.  Beautiful potatoes from the farmers' market last week and with corn and leeks that we froze from last summers' harvest turned into this bright yellow potato leek soup.  I splurged and bought chives at the grocery store to add to a few meals this week (not local but better than candy).  They were just the right hint of spring to this very cozy soup. 

vegetable stock

In large pot melt the butter and sweat the leeks until tender.  Add the potatoes and vegetable stock until everything is covered.  Let simmer on the heat until the potatoes are fork tender.  Add the cumin and tumeric, stir, and then add salt and pepper to taste.  Let simmer again for 5 minutes to let the flavours develop.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Puree the soup with a hand blender if you have one or remove from heat and puree in small batches in a blender and then return soup to the pot.  Add milk until you get to the consistency you enjoy.  Add corn and heat through.  Chop fresh chives or what ever fresh herb you think would go well.  This soup actually freezes really well too.  The tumeric really gives the soup a beautiful bright yellow colour.  Enjoy!

I love reading signs displayed by businesses and churches.  We drove past this sign in the Town of Uxbridge this week on our way to a quilt shop and one of my favourite cooking shops.  Don't you just love the humour!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Baby in the Jungle

Oops! That's supposed to be Bungle in the Jungle baby quilt.
Bungle in the Jungle

My friend at work is having a baby and she loves blue (for the Toronto Maple Leafs) and green. I saw this charm pack and it had both colours in it so I thought it would be perfect for a baby quilt and it would go with the colours in her home. She's also having a boy so it seemed appropriate.

Now I like charm packs because you get all the fabric in the line, but, once I get them home I'm not always sure what to do with them. I didn't want to sew them in a patchwork square. I've already made 2 twister quilts, and I wanted to make something new but not toooooo difficult. I thought about doing a Disappearing 9 Patch, so I searched the internet and came across a Disappearing 4 Patch tutorial instead. I sewed 4 - 5" squares together in a block and I cut the strips 1 1/4" wide so I'd have more fabric showing in the alternating strips.
Here are some photos of how to put this together.
Plainer fabrics
Animal fabrics

After I had sewn everything and trimmed the blocks I sewed all the block together.
The blocks went together much better after I trimmed them!

Sharon (my colour consultant) came over and helped me arrange the blocks so that we didn't end up with too much yellow or red in one area. I decided to look up quilting videos and came across a video by the Missouri Star Quilt Co. Their quilt block is made of 2 of the same solid squares and 2 patterned squares. They move their block pieces differently and they also rotated the center block. I can see how rotating the center block would have moved some colour around the block but I'm okay with what I've made.

Sharon wanted me to put a border on it so we bought some Kona yellow for the border and the backing. I loaded it on my frame and I'm quilting it today and maybe tomorrow. It depends on how my back holds out.