Monday, September 27, 2010

Quilt Shop Visit - Patrick's, Covington, GA

Remember last year when I was driving on a middle school field trip and found Sweet Home Quilt Shop?

I drove again for the same trip this year and decided to plan out my route a little better instead of just winging it. Sweet Home is closed on Mondays so I couldn't go back today, but I knew there was another shop called Patrick's not far off I-20 Sadly, they don't have a web presence that I can find, but they do participate in the Greater Atlanta Shop Hop every year, so you can grab the address and hours from that site if you're in the area. Or you can visit their Facebook page.*

Instead of having to spend two hours in the car with seven teenagers on my own, my mom decided to ride along with me so we could shop together.  Score!  A day with my momma!
The Blue Willow Inn, Social Circle, Georgia
 Once we got the kids dropped off, we decided that the first thing we needed was lunch.  We saw a sign for the Blue Willow Inn and made a beeline for the Social Circle exit.   It was just what the doctor ordered on a rainy day - fried chicken, mashed potatoes, fried green tomatoes, chicken and dumplings, and a table loaded with decadently delicious desserts!  It was a tough choice between the peanut butter pie, the peach cobbler, and the coconut cream pie...not to mention the brownies, the chocolate pie....and on and on!

Then we hit the road for Covington.  

Patrick's is a feed and seed general store, not just a quilt shop.  They sell everything from candy to boots, and bulbs to motor oil.

But there are quilts everywhere!  Even over the feed prices of the day.

I was pretty good and didn't spend too much.  I did buy a few yards of neutrals, which are noticeably absent from my stash.  I also got a fat quarter of red floral that I need for a group quilt.  Interestingly, I have lots of floral and plenty of red, but NO red floral.  Huh.

Hope you had some quilty goodness in your day today!

*updated 6/16/16 to add updated links!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Holiday Grand Plan Week 5 - Master Bath Week

I'm not doing so hot on my Holiday Grand Plan. I worked a few days last week, used another freezer dinner (so glad I made so much tomato sauce!), and didn't do anything to get my office or my bedroom cleaned up. Buying 1/8th of my gift list? Hahahaha! Good one!
Let's move along to Week 5:
  • Deep Clean the Master Bath and Linen Closet
  • Clean out toys for donation; make list of toy gift ideas.  
  • Check wardrobe.  What special occasions will your family need to dress for?  What items need to be purchased or borrowed?  
  • Don't forget your freezer meal, goodies to share, and buying 1/8 of your gift list.

Luckily we did a pretty good deep clean of the toys and kids' stuff this summer, and gave away a couple of carloads.  I try to do that before school starts each year, so it's looking pretty good.  As for our wardrobe, we are not fancy people when it comes to the holidays.  If my boys put on a shirt with a collar, I'm good.  Grace will need something for her winter piano recital and the Father/Daughter dance, so I will watch the sales.

Also, Mom and I usually shop every week together.  She's back in town, so I hope to get going this week.

How are you coming along with the Plan?  As far behind as me or on a roll?

Freezer Friendly Meal of the Week - Marinated Flank Steak
I don't know how many of you grill during the fall and winter, but we use our gas grill virtually year round here in GA.  I like having something that I can pull out on one of those bright, sunny fall days when all you want to do is be outside in the autumn beauty.
I look for flank steaks on sale and buy two or three at a time. 
  • 1 1/2 lb flank steak
  • 1 C vegetable oil
  • 1/2 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 C soy sauce
  • 1/4 C red wine
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger root OR 1 tsp ground ginger
Mix all ingredients except steak in a heavy duty Ziploc freezer bag and mix well.  Trim fat, if needed, and score both sides of the steak with criss-crossed lines. Put steak in bag, seal tightly pressing all of the excess air out, and freeze.

To cook and serve:  thaw steak and reserve marinade.  Preheat grill on medium, then cook steak about 6-8 minutes per side.  Baste as you flip with marinade.

This is also delicious served cold after it has been sliced thin.  It makes a nice appetizer to share for a party with little dinner rolls.  For dinner, it goes nicely with new potatoes and carrots.

Holiday Treat of the Week - Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This coffee cake freezes beautifully and will make you look like the "hostess with the most-est" when you pull it out for unexpected company or drop it off to a new neighbor or a friend who is under the weather.
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
For Topping
Mix together:
  • 1/2 C chopped nuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sugar
Bring all ingredients to room temperature.  Mix sugar, butter, eggs, salt, and vanilla.  Add sour cream and blend together.  In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder; add slowly to sugar/butter mixture.  Pour about 1/2 of the batter into a well greased Bundt pan (I use Baker's Joy).  Sprinkle half of the topping on top.  Add the rest of the batter, then the remaining topping.  Bake at 350 degrees for 65-70 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.  To freeze, cool completely and wrap well in plastic wrap, then foil.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

What are you reading?

I've been sucked in to all of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo books.  They lived up to the hype.  I can't believe there won't be another one! In a way it's a relief, though, because now I've read them and can get back to my life.  You know a book is good when you are reading it every possible minute - while brushing your teeth or stirring the sauce.  Warning:  they are graphically violent.  As a true crime and crime fiction junkie, I'm not usually bothered by such, but these left an impression on even my jaded brain.

I also caught up with Phillippa Gregory and The Red Queen.   It told the same story from the opposite perspective from her last one, The White Queen, about the Wars of the Roses.  It makes me want to read more about the history behind the princes in the tower.  I love these books, love how the history comes alive and the characters seem so real.  I've learned more about the history of England this way than in all of my schooling.  I'm sure there are points that have been fictionalized to the point of inaccuracy, but the basic order of things and how certain parts of our own nation's laws came about are fascinating in this style. 

Speaking of books, Sara Gruen, the author of Water for Elephants, has a new book out called Ape House.  I haven't gotten my hands on this one yet, but you can win a signed copy on Joshilyn Jackson's blog (which you should be reading anyway.  She's a scream.)  I absolutely loved Water for Elephants, and read it when my Gram was in her decline.  It gave me a new perspective on her life and the people who cared for her.  I can't wait to read this new story!

What are you reading?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Orange Crush - DONE!

So, by now you must be looking at all of these posts and wondering what exactly my contribution to the show was.

I submitted two quilts.  One was my quilt, The Dance, which was also my submission to the Bloggers Quilt Festival.

I also worked right up to the very last minute (I know, you're stunned) to finish Gracie's quilt, my Orange Crush!  Can you believe it?  It was worth every minute to see it hanging in the show.

After all of the mistakes, all my stress with free motion quilting, and two and a half years, it is DONE. Done done...with a label!

In case you haven't been keeping pace with the many, many mistakes on this quilt, here's a retrospective.
And some I didn't even tell you about.  I guess I mentioned that Ben was going to hand dye a back for me.  That took awhile in itself because the weather this spring refused to cooperate (can you believe we were complaining about the long, cold winter?).  Once I finally got it, basted the quilt, and quilted the middle, I decided I didn't want to waste an inch of that beautiful fabric and I would bind the quilt with the leftovers.

Silly me...I decided to rip instead of cut so I'd get the straightest strips possible.  Yeah, I didn't count on the fact that I hadn't basted it perfectly straight, so I ended up ripping a slim strip off the edge of the quilt back.  It took me awhile to figure out how to go back and piece that!

Then, when I washed it, two small spots of color ran.  Luckily the quilt is so busy that you'd never even notice...except, of course, I do.

And when I washed it, I noticed one small place where the binding pulled away a little.  I still have to go back and fix that.

I did learn several things from all of my mistakes, and I think I also managed to figure out my free motion quilting issue.  I stalked the blog/website of my latest quilt crush, Leah Day, trying all of her tips, until I stumbled upon the one about thread.  She doesn't use cotton thread!  Whodathunkit?

I didn't use the Isacord that she suggests, because I was running out of time to order something online, but I did have great luck with the Gutermann machine embroidery thread (can't find a link, but it is 100% viscose, which is apparently a euphemism for rayon).  I also took the suggestion of one of the WannaBees to try an embroidery needle.  I did both of these things at once, so I don't know if it was one or the other, or the combination of the two that worked.  All I can say is that I had NO thread breakage for the entire border, and no messy bobbin thread nests on the back.  It was a beautiful thing!

Thanks to Leah, I was able to get my FMQ groove back, and used her Beaded Curtain design for my borders.  Just one more sign that this quilt was meant for my girl, because guess what one of her favorite birthday presents was?

It's a sign, I tell you.

But now it's done and I love it.  Gracie loves it.  And did I mention it's done?  So it's all good!

Monday, September 20, 2010

We Have A Winner!

Actually, we have several winners, but the big news is...

Drum roll please...

WannaBee at the Ocean won 2 blue ribbons!  One for Best Group Quilt and one for Best Original Design.  It was very exciting!

My momma was right.  If you hang out with winners, people will think you are one!  To show you what great company I was in, Ben won several additional ribbons.  He took second place in the Small Applique category and first in the Mixed Technique category.

Ben with Show Chair, Melissa Sheppard, in front of our donation quilt.

Caroline is clearly a winner since the two group quilts in which she participated won first and second place in that category:
Caroline (far left) with the Nimble Thimble Bee and Melissa

Lene won two blue ribbons for Best Small Pieced Quilt and Best Small Applique Quilt.  She was being shy and had to be practically dragged into the picture.

But the best part of the evening was that Jackie was able to "bee" with us for the ribbon ceremony and a group photo.   It was awesome to have all eight of us together to celebrate.

Congratulations to my fellow WannaBees and all of the winners!  Voting was tough with so much quilty goodness to choose from. 

Tomorrow:  I'll show you the quilts I entered...and explain why they didn't win!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Holiday Grand Plan Week 4 - Master Bedroom Week

So, how was Week 3?
  • I did get my entryway clean and my fall quilts out.  I had hoped to catch up on my office.  Hope being the key word.
  • No meal made this week - in fact, I used a freezer meal.  Getting ready for the show on top of a raging sinus infection made this a less than perfect week for cooking, cleaning, and general usefulness.  But that's what those freezer meals are there for!
    Now it's time to move on to So onward to Week 4!  The main goals for this week are:
    • Deep clean the Master Bedroom.  Is your room a sanctuary, clean and free of all of the children's things, or is it like mine, the last place that gets cleaned and the dumping ground for anything that doesn't have home?  It will be a tough call to see if this is a bigger challenge than my office!
    • Make a freezer meal and a batch of goodies.
    • This is the week that we start shopping!  Look at the lists of gifts to buy that we made back at the beginning.  Buy 1/8 of them this week.  Wrap them, tag them, and put them in a safe place.  Don't forget to check it off your list so you know you are done!  I don't always do exactly an eighth, but by starting now you save yourself a lot of stress and cushion the shock of opening January's bills.
    • As always, there's much more at the link, plus great tips and ideas.  
      Freezer Friendly Meal of the Week -  Chicken Pot Pie
      Okay, I know I promised you a lasagna recipe, but I wanted to make it and double check my quantities first and I didn't get around to that with the show.  Instead of giving you the estimates in my head - always a recipe for disaster - get it? - I will give you an easy way to use your crock pot and freeze ahead.
      In the crockpot
      • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts - 1 pckg. will do for this recipe, but I usually do 2-3 packages at a time to freeze for other recipes.
      • Seasonings (I use a bay leaf, salt & pepper, but use whatever you like best)
      • I also toss in some onion, celery, carrots, or whatever I have on hand in the fridge
      Put chicken in crockpot with seasonings and cover with water.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Let cool and shred.  I freeze in about 1 lb increments, but don't bother measuring.  I just divide it up by how many packages I put in to begin with.

      You can also strain the broth into a separate container.  I let it chill in the fridge overnight, skim the fat, strain again, and freeze in 1 1/2 C increments for this and another recipe.  Way cheaper than store bought chicken broth, and you know exactly what's in it.

       Sauce (per batch of chicken pot pie)
      •  1/4 C butter
      • 1/4 C flour
      • 1 C milk
      • 1 1/2 C chicken broth
      • salt & pepper to taste
      Melt butter in a small saucepan, blend in flour, then pour milk in slowly, stirring constantly.  Add broth and salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer 5 minutes.  Cool and freeze, if desired.  

      In the freezer
      • chicken 
      • 2 pie crusts - make your own and freeze them or buy them on sale
      • Sauce
      • chicken, thawed
      • pie crusts, thawed
      • sauce, thawed
      • Your choice of veggies.  I used diced (raw) carrots and a can of LeSeur peas, but it is also good with green beans.
      Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line pie plate with one crust.  Add chicken and vegetables.  Top with sauce and then second crust.  Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Let stand 5 minutes before cutting!

      Enjoy!  This is one of my family's favorite meals, but can be too labor intensive for a weeknight if you try to do it all in one day.

      Holiday Treat of the Week - Russian Tea Cakes
      • 1 C butter
      • 1/2 C powdered sugar, plus some for dusting
      • 1 tsp vanilla
      • 2 1/4 C flour
      • 3/4 C finely chopped nuts
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla.  Stir in flour, nuts, and salt.  Shape into 1" balls and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8-9 minutes.  Immediately roll in more powdered sugar.  Cool and roll again.
      These freeze beautifully!  Mom makes several dozen every year for our holiday tea, and they are always a hit.  Plus they're so pretty and easy, that they make an attractive addition to any gift tin or basket of cookies.


      Saturday, September 18, 2010

      It's Showtime, Baby!

      Amazing how an empty gym turns into a quilt show in just a few hours!

      Watch this space Monday for more pictures and a BIG announcement about some winners!

      Friday, September 17, 2010

      Show Minus 1! Storybook Quilts

      Show Minus 1 Day!

      In addition to the over 200 quilts on display and fourteen vendors (see the latest show newsletter for a list), we will also have a special collection of last year's guild challenge, the Storybook Quilts.

      Remember this quilt?  Well, there were 35 more of them, all inspired by a book with a quilt in it, and they will all be together for the show.  I'm hoping I can finally get a better picture of my entry, since the one in that blog post was taken before I got my new camera.
      Storybook Quilts will be introduced and launched at this event. If you have ever shared a story with children, you will love this display of stories and their accompanying quilts, made by the members of the guild for a challenge. The goal of Storybook Quilts is to introduce children of all ages to the love of quilting and its influence in our history. This display of quilts is intended for use in children's educational programs and will be available for individual or group use in the future. Storybook Quilts, a dream of Janie Stokes, is a unique approach to multigenerational and tactile learning.

      We will have "story time" to share the books and quilts on Saturday at 10, 12, and 2, and on Sunday at 12:30 and 2:30.

      Tomorrow I hope to share more "process" photos of the amazing team as they transform a gym into a marvelous maze of quilts.

      Thursday, September 16, 2010

      Show Minus 2! Star Wares

      We're getting down to the wire now, folks, and I'm busily adding sleeves and labels to my show quilts.

      One of the new features at this show is the Star Wares table, where items handmade by guild members will be for sale - everything from pin cushions to patchwork Santas made from old quilts, thread catchers to a sashiko purse!

      In my amazing ability to procrastinate, I have come up with a few little things to donate.  First, Melinda was so kind as to give me permission to use her travel tissue cover tutorial.  Aren't they cute?  This is a good time to remind everyone about asking permission whenever you use someone else's pattern - they usually say yes, but it is good manners (and sometimes a legal issue) to ask first.  Thanks, Melinda!

      I also made a few fabric postcards.  I love this fabric, and was never sure what to do with it.  I think it will be a hit!

      Then I wanted to make another Kindle cover, but I needed them fast.  I didn't want to fiddle with binding, and didn't even quilt them.  I also wanted a more rounded edge for the flap.  So the pattern I like to use for friends and family wasn't going to work.

      I made mine with two complementary fabrics.  Cut a 10" x 18" rectangle from each.  Layer them right sides together with a piece of batting the same size and stitch around the edge, leaving an opening for turning.

      Trim the excess batting.  Then I folded it in half lengthwise, laid a circle template (I used an embroidery hoop) on one edge and trimmed around it.

      Stitch that new curved edge...

      ...and turn.  Press well.

      Now is a good time to figure out your Velcro or button placement and add it.  Fold the square edge up a little less than a third of the way and stitch all the way around the arch (I didn't stitch over the fold at the bottom, but you could.)

      Find the right placement for the Velcro or button hole on the flap and Voila!

      I hope the locals will come see us at the show on Saturday or Sunday. 

      Tuesday, September 14, 2010

      Going to Guild - War Room

      It's Show Minus 4 Days, folks, and we are bustin' it to get ready.

      Last night we didn't have a speaker for the guild meeting, or even much of a meeting.  Just snacks, updates, and lots of quilts!

      I helped check in the quilts, so I got first peek at some of the over 200 quilts that will be hanging this weekend at Old Milton High School in Alpharetta, Georgia

      I hope you'll come see us if you're close enough.  This is our third  fourth show (thanks, Melissa!), and the first time we haven't been worried about having enough quilts to fill the space.

      We also have some great vendors, as always, plus our special display of the Storybook Quilts.  For all the latest quilt show news, check out this new page!

      Let me know if you think you might make it to see us.  I'd love to meet any readers while I'm helping out on Sunday!

      Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...