Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm Off to a Wedding!

I'm excited to be flying to Northern California in the morning. Yippee!!! I haven't been away by myself for years and years. I can't even remember how long it's been. Too funny! Some of you may be wondering WHY!? Well, to put it simply my 9 year old daughter Kenna has Generalized Anxiety Disorder and she stresses when I leave ANYWHERE!!! She worries about my dying and I'm sure she'll stress until the flight lands and I call her telling her I'm okay!!!

As she's gotten older she's learned to deal with it better but some days I want to pull my hair out!!! She has a hard time going to sleep at night and then it's REALLY HARD to get her going in the morning. Some nights I've been known to make her sleep in her school clothes! LOL! So, school is especially difficult for Kenna. I'm really not looking forward to the upcoming school year!! I'm going to have to gear up for this!!! We did have fun this afternoon buying new school clothes, shoes, a backpack, underwear and socks. I got a new outfit to take with me for the wedding, too.

This is a picture of the tags I made to put on the wedding lunch bags that you see behind the tags. The wedding party is about 50 people and later that night more people will be in attendance at the outdoor wedding reception. If I know my friend her daughter's wedding will be beautiful. I will post a few pictures of the wedding when I return. Have a great rest of the week and I will talk with you on Monday.

Kisses for Cade is Done!

Today I finished putting on the binding and the quilt label on "Kisses for Cade." Don't look too closely because I had to machine bind the quilt and also sew on the label by machine. I didn't have ANY time left before Tracy arrived and I was still sewing on the label when she rang the doorbell this afternoon. What a crazy day for me!! I'm leaving out of town tomorrow and as of this very minute I have one more quilt to bind for the wedding I'm attending on Saturday. If I can at least sew on the binding I can hand sew it while I'm flying.

Just a bit of insight. I have learned two very important words in my older age and that's "OH WELL" Sometimes you just have to let go of the little details even though it killed me to send it off like that. I'm a real believer in hand sewing the binding and the label but, OH WELL!!! Tracy didn't care, she loved it and just sobbed and sobbed and looked at it in awe!! Her expression was wonderful to see! I told her I was making her something special but I wouldn't tell her what it was I just warned her that she was going to cry. I just didn't expect her to sob!!! It was very sweet and very touching. I'd give away all of my quilts if everyone reacted with such love and gratitude, it made me CRY! Even my daughter Kenna was crying she was so happy that her teacher was happy!

Kenna's Teacher Tracy. She just had hand surgery on Monday.

Here's the quilt. As seen in the previous post, In case you're wondering I used the block layout where the red squares kiss each other.

Here's a close-up of the label I made for the quilt.

Another picture of the quilt!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dear Jane Blocks

Well, I'm moving along like a very slow turtle or maybe I should say a sloth but, I am making some progress as you can see below. I sure hope I can do better once I get back from a friends daughters wedding and I get Kenna back into school August 18th. She starts fourth grade this year, I can't believe it. Maybe then I'll have some more free time.

Also, my two middle children move back to college toward the end of summer. I sure will miss them (not the messes though) and it will be pretty boring around here! It'll be down to Mark and I and our little sweet cream, McKenna. She's gonna miss her 3 older siblings. Luckily, she has a niece and nephew that come over and visit us 2-3 times a week.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kisses for Cade

Warning! This is a LONG post but WORTH IT if you stick to the end of it...Thanks!

This is a picture of Cade. He's the first horse that my youngest daughter McKenna fell in love with and she learned to ride horses on Cade. He's the sweetest horse around. Her first teacher, Tracy, owned and loved Cade. He was everyone's favorite! He had a special marking on his behind just below his tail. On each side of his bottom was half a heart and together they made a whole heart. Tracy would smile and giggle whenever she would show you his heart. Kade had a big heart. Cade also met an untimely death due to a quick onset of Colic. It took him down way too fast and the Vet couldn't save him. We were all saddened by this news and Kenna cried for days over the news of Cade's death. She kept saying she didn't get to say good-bye or give him a hug. She had just seen him at her riding lesson which was just a few days before he died. Here's a picture of Kenna with Choco, another one of her favorite horses. I thought you might like to see a picture of her.

Anyway, my point of this post is a QUILT that I wanted to make for Tracy to thank her for being an Angel in our lives and to help give her some comfort since Cade's passing. Also, I wanted it to be a special tribute to Cade. Sob! Sob! Sometimes, it takes me a long time to figure out what I want to do. Infact, I had the strips cut out for months and then recently I decided to change the pattern while I was on the Quilt Shop Hop in June. My friend Diana had told me about a split nine-patch that someone had shown her using the popular "Charm Packs." What you do is you take the number of squares in a charm pack and divide it by nine and that will give you how many blocks you'll get out of a charm pack.

For example, "It's Snowing" Charm Pack comes with 37 squares, so, take that number and divide it by 9 (that's how many squares you need for each 9-patch). You will get a total of Four Split Nine-Patch Blocks out of each charm pack (see the picture below). So to make a quilt with Twelve Split Nine-Patch Blocks you would need to buy three Charm Packs. You'll understand more as I give you the instructions below. If you have any questions you can email me or leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible. It's pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

Well, I decided that I would make a split nine-patch quilt for Cade from the 3 1/4" strips I already had cut and since he's black and white with a heart on his buttocks I thought I would throw in a touch of red for love and kisses. Hence, Kisses for Cade is the name of this quilt.

Kisses for Cade
Designed by Kimberly Walus

Please note: I would have used an even number like 3" if I hadn't already had the fabric cut to 3 1/4" but I was lazy and didn't want to cut down every single strip. You can make your squares 2, 3, 4, or 5 inches but, I wouldn't go bigger than 5 inches. The 5" charm packs make a 13 1/2" block, unfinished.

Here's what I had previously cut for the quilt I was making before I changed my mind:
  • Twenty 3 1/4" strips of a variety of black on white fabrics.
  • Twenty 3 1/4" strips of a variety of white on black fabrics
In addition to the above strips I cut:
  • Five 3 1/4" strips of a variety of red fabrics. These are the centers of my nine-patch blocks.
  • Then I took each strip and sub-cut twelve 3 1/4" x 3 1/4" squares from each of the 45 strips of Black, White, and Red fabrics.
  • Then I arranged them into groups of 4 blacks, 4 whites, and a red center (see the nine-patch photo below).
This is the picture of the Nine-patch block before you split (cut) it into four squares. Measure 1/2 way and cut down the middle horizontally and vertically. See below.

This is a picture of the split nine-patch that will be turned into a four-patch.

After you cut apart the nine patch block, keep two red squares kissing in the middle and the other two red squares are turned out toward the outside corners. See picture above.

Sew the four squares together as pictured above.

Here are four of the five piles of blocks I've made so far. Each pile has 12 blocks so when I'm done I'll have 60 blocks. I'm not sure how big I'll make the quilt but I'm going to divide up the 60 blocks and make 2-3 quilts. One for her teacher Tracy, one for Kenna, and one for my grand daughter, Kora Belle. Anything Black, White, and Red provides great visual stimulation for babies so I thought I'll make her one too while I'm at it. Anyway, I'm thinking the quilt with be 4 blocks across by 5 rows down which would be 20 blocks per quilt. I've included pictures of the two possible block patterns. When I sew them all together and add borders I will post more pictures of the finished quilt. I will also post pictures of the Christmas split nine-patch blocks when I make them into a quilt too. I hope you enjoy this fun and easy block.

Once you have the blocks done you can lay them out in two ways.

The first way is with the red squares and the black squares meeting in a group of four. This pattern creates more of a X and O pattern or hugs and kisses.

Here is another way of putting the blocks together.

Each block is placed in the same direction with the outer red corners touching a black square and then repeated the same way each time. This creates more of a random feel and all of the red squares kiss each other rather than creating a four-patch of red as in the layout above.

My problem is: "I can't decide which block layout I like better!!!!" Help! Which layout do you like better? Also, If you decide to make this block into a quilt I'd love to see pictures!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie. . .Oh My!

My husband loves to search the internet and find fun and interesting things to cook. I like to do that too and have found some great recipes from my blogging friends. Tonight we have two recipes from my husband that he made for dinner and I provided the dessert thanks to Bakerella whose blog I found on a blog of a blog of a quilting friends blog.

I'm pretty sure it was from Thimbleanna's friend Melly's blog that I went on to a link to Bakerella's blog, very very complicated, I know. The name of the dessert is Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie. . .Oh My! It's a recipe from the Nestles Classic Recipe Book printed in 2003.

It gets complicated when you start looking at everyone's blog. You almost forgot where you found something if you don't at least bookmark it. Bakerella has a wonderful website with lots of inspiring pictures and recipes. Go have a look, her pictures are beautiful. You can just about smell it cooking in the oven. Here's the recipe. The one thing I changed was I sprinkled chocolate chips and pecans on the top. Don't they look pretty?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Serve with ice cream (optional)
Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Beat eggs in large mixer bowl on high until foamy.
Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter.
Stir in morsels and nuts and spoon into pie shell.
Bake for 55-60 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm.
Recipe is from Nestle Classic Recipes printed in 2003

* If using a frozen pie shell, use deep dish style and thaw completely. Bake on baking sheet and increase baking time slightly.

Dinner deserves it's own blog post so I'll end it here and start anew. Hope you enjoyed tonight's dessert.

Tortilla Crusted Chicken & Mexican Rice

This was Sunday's dinner compliments of Chef Mark who loves to search the internet for fun and interesting food. That's what I love about my husband, he's not afraid to cook and has become quite a good chef. Infact, some of our favorite shows are Hell's Kitchen, Iron Chef, Kitchen Nightmares and the Next Food Network Star.

I'm pretty sure that the Iron Chef Judges would give Chef Mark the highest points for plating, flavor, and originality. The mexican rice was the best I've ever had and it had remarkable flavor. I loved it!!! So did the kids!!! The Tortilla Crusted Chicken was moist and tasty!! Chef Mark also made homemade guacamole to go with it along with sour cream and salsa, too. Excellent meal!!!

My kids like to tease me when I take pictures of the food but it just looked so great when Mark set it down on the table to start eating. He was very patient as I took three pictures just to make sure I got the best one. I'm sure you'll all appreciate my efforts!! Right?

Here's the website he got the recipes from:

Mexican Rice

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white rice, rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 1/2 cups water or chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 jalapeno chiles, chopped
Fresh cilantro sprigs


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan until hot. Add the rice, stirring constantly, until slightly browned, or, as old Mexican cooks like to say, it sounds like tissue being crushed. Strain the rice and return it to the saucepan.

Combine the tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a blender until smooth. Pour the mixture over the rice and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spatula, for about 5 minutes. Add the water and salt, stir, then put the chiles and cilantro on top. Lower the heat, Cover, and simmer for approximately 25 minutes or until the rice is tender but firm.

For a popular variation to this recipe, add 1/3 cup each cubed potatoes, carrots, and peas with the water.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.

Ortega Tortilla Crusted Chicken

2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 ounces tortilla chips, finely crumbled
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup Ortega Salsa - Roasted Garlic (Medium)
1/2 cup guacamole, (optional)
1/2 cup sour cream, (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

Whisk together eggs and milk in a shallow dish. Dip chicken into egg mixture, then into crumbled tortilla chips. Place in prepared baking pan.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center and chips are golden brown. Top with cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, salsa, guacamole and sour cream.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Ortega®. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What Kind of Sewing Machine Do You OWN?

I was visiting Freda's Hive the other day and she was talking about her Bernina so, I thought it would be fun to do a survey amongst the quilters that visit my blog. Take the survey on my sidebar and vote for which machine you have and leave a comment. You can mark ANY or ALL of the machines that apply to you.

I'll start off by telling you I own three different Viking Husqavarna Sewing Machines, a White Portable Sewing Machine and a Babylock Pro-line Serger. I've had a few other machines over the years but, none have worked as well and as consistently as my Vikings. My first sewing machine was a Sears Kenmore that I bought from a neighbor and the next sewing machine was also a Kenmore with lots of different cams that you would insert into a designated spot and that would generate your different sewing stitches. It was way too cumbersome of a method to change from one decorative stitch to another especially with how easy it is on today's sewing machines.

This is my newest baby and is the 5th sewing machine I've owned. It's a Viking Sapphire 850 and has lots of great features and an extra large sewing area which also has an added light. It's great having all of that extra area to sew when I'm machine quilting. My dear husband bought me this sewing machine a year ago Mother's Day when I was having trouble with my Viking Rose that was 11 years old at the time.

My Rose was my 4th and my very first brand new sewing machine. It hadn't given me any trouble in all the years I've had her until one day it just wouldn't turn over when you turned on the switch. My first thought was it had to be related to the computer and I saw dollar signs in my head. I took it in to the repairman and waited for an estimate. While we were at the store we looked around at the latest greatest sewing machines. It was so fun. I was really excited about a new sewing machine knowing that my Rose might cost a lot of money to fix and then I could just get a new one. I had it all figured out in my head ; )

Well, it turns out that my Rose was just fine, all it needed was a new fuse, a loose wire that needed tightening and a regular service cleaning. I was happy and sad that it only cost $79 to fix it. I thought I wouldn't be able to get a new machine but my husband spoiled me and got the Sapphire anyway. My daughter Natalie was especially happy because she knew that I would let her have my Rose. So, we both got a new sewing machine.

Here's a close-up of some of the stitches and the bobbin winder.

Here's a close-up of the foot that Nanette mentioned on her post that has the metal guide attached to the foot that helps keep your 1/4" seams more accurate. I'm not sure about Bernina but I've had this foot for over 12 years now on my Vikings and I wouldn't use any other method unless I had too. If you don't have this kind of foot for your machine I would check to see if it's available for your sewing machine. You'll love it!!!

This was my 3rd sewing machine that I acquired from my mother when she passed away. I remember the day my dad bought her that machine from ZCMI. I was married by then so I never got to use it. I learned to sew when I was 14 years old. My best friend Andrea loved to sew and together we made lots of clothes and I remember the time we made teddy bears together. As you can see from the pictures I still love teddy bears and have too many of them. They live in my sewing room because they don't fit anywhere else in my house, according to my husband (smile) especially since our remodel.

This is a White "Quilter's Machine" that I bought for my youngest daughter to sew on (since I didn't want her sewing on mine) and I thought it would be handy to take to classes, etc. It's small, portable, and has some really good features. I especially love the table extension. Kenna loves to sew blocks together and has even made her own little quilt.

This is my other WORK HORSE that my husband bought me over 20 years ago when my kids were just little. I made a lot of my kids clothes and Halloween costumes over the years and I have lots of great memories of the times spent sewing for my kids. Now let me tell you about this serger. It's been the best and most reliable serger I've ever had and it's been the only one I've ever had and I use it quite a bit. I had to have it fixed once because a friend that I loaned it too somehow broke it! I got it fixed and serviced and it still works great. I wish it would break so I could get one of these new Babylock Evolves that have jet air threading. That's my next investment.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Shop Hop Mystery Prize Revealed

So, here's the BIG Mystery Prize from the Quilt Shop Hop Give Away that was mailed off today to Anita, I hope you enjoy the "Stash & Dash Bag" I made you and the little goodies inside. You should receive it by the end of the week. I mailed it by USPS Priority Mail and for those that won the patterns I mailed them out yesterday by first class mail.

Stash & Dash Bag by Amy Butler
You can find the pattern at most any quilt shop or at the link above. The bag can be used to hold your make-up, jewelry, personal items, hand sewing items, or maybe even as a small purse, you decide.
The Ric Rac is attached to the zipper as a zipper pull.

This is a picture of what's inside the "Stash & Dash Bag"
Two Fat Quarter's
Shop Hop Pencil
YoYo Maker
Needle Case
4" Square Omnigrid Ruler

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth of July

Every year we celebrate the 4th of July with a neighborhood parade and breakfast. It's been a lot of fun over the years with lots of great memories. This year was bigger and better than last year with lots of family and extended family. I can't believe how all the neighborhood kids have grown up, married, and have their own children now.

This year for breakfast we had scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, fruit, pastries, cinnamon rolls, and orange juice, along with water. I loved all of the fruit but never got back for seconds. Oh well, it was yummy!

I enjoyed having all of my kids and grandkids together. A Grandma lives for days like these when everyone gathers and celebrates the holidays. After the big neighborhood party everyone scattered. Nick & Natalie took the kids home for a nap. Mark and Mark Jr. went to play tennis. Ariel and Kenna went swimming at the neighbors and I was left to blog. Hope you enjoy my efforts!

Have a Wonderful 4th of July Celebration with Friends and Family!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Red, White, & Blue Quilts

Happy Independence Day!!!

This first picture is one taken July 4th in 2007. It's me with 3 of my 4 children and my SIL Nick. Baby Ben was sleeping in the stroller. Notice the quilt we're sitting on. It's the Buggy Barn Heart Quilt that was originally done in Red, Black, and Gold. I think the Red, White, and Blue is a FUN combination and makes this quilt so much brighter than the original.

In this post I've included some of the other 4th of July Quilts I've made over the years. I'm not sure which fabrics I have the most of but Red, White, and Blue, are right up there with Christmas, Halloween, Valentines, Spring, Civil War, Shirtings, Aunt Grace, Brights, Novelties, and Fall Fabric.

This is the most recently completed 4th of July Quilt although I haven't done the binding yet, maybe I ought'a do that today so I can use it at the neighborhood parade and breakfast tomorrow. I will also post pictures of our Neighborhood 4th of July Celebration tomorrow.
It should be lots of FUN!! I know the kids look forward to it every year!!!

I made this quilt like maybe 7-8 years ago and my daughter Natalie is now the proud owner of this Patriotic Quilt. It was one of her favorites at the time.

I used the leftover blocks and made this table runner to go with the quilt above.

This Patriotic Star wall hanging I made using the freezer paper method that we've been recently using to make our Dear Jane Blocks. I really enjoyed making this quilt.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Winner's ARE?

I've been busy this morning getting things put together for the Shop Hop Give Away and I finally caught my husband off the phone so I could have him pick the winner's names. I decided that I would give one big prize and six patterns of the quilt you see on my Sidebar and in the Blog Header. I originally taught this class in September 2007 and it's a reproduction of a quilt I bought at an antique store years and years ago now.

I'm having trouble posting pictures today so I'll try to get a picture uploaded of the prize as soon as I can. Thanks for your understanding.

So, On to the drawing. . .

Drum Roll Please. . .

The Suspense is as thick as the humidity on a hot day. . .

Ha! Ha! Ha! (just providing some tension and excitement)

Well, here goes. . .

And the BIG WINNER is. . . Anita

AND the other 6 lucky winners will recieve . .

The Vintage Patchwork Quilt Patterns:

1. Infinity Quilter

2. Tarab

3. Rhonda

4. JoAnne

5. Sox

6. Jana

If you would all send me your home address at my email listed on the sidebar I will get your prizes sent to you. Remember, the sooner you send me your address the sooner I can send off your prize. ;)

I hope you all had as much fun as I did and I'm sure I'll be doing this again so check back from time to time and I'll keep blurking around everyone's quilt blogs too!

Congratulations to EVERYONE!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

One Day Left

Tomorrow's the day I'll be picking the winner of the "Shop Hop Give Away" so check back to see if you've won. I'll also post a picture of what you've won. Then I will need you to email me your home address so I can mail you your prize!!

Thanks to everyone who left comments, I loved all of the attention too! It's been so fun for me to be involved in the blogging world and see all of the great things each of you are doing!! Keep Quilting, Sewing, Crocheting, Knitting, Scrapbooking, Stamping, Cooking and Creating of any kind!!! I'll be surfing the blog world for the inspiration you each provide!!

Good Luck Everyone!