Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Wishing all the dads out there a wonderful Father's Day.

I am so grateful for the dads in my life. My wonderful dad and brother and my uncles and cousins...

...and especially my husband, the father of my children. When I see him with our kids I fall in love with him all over again.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Batik with Kids - Cheap Summer Fun

Gracie and I have been looking for cheap summer fun, especially indoors activities for those Code Orange smog alert/100 degree weather days.  Her camp for this week was canceled while both boys were gone, so we took advantage of some girl time.

Thanks so much to Skip to My Lou's Craft Camp blog series.  I follow them on facebook, and saw this great post about batiking with kids by That Artist Woman.

On Tuesday, we used the Elmer's Blue Glue to outline our designs.

On Wednesday, we filled in with watered down acrylic paints. (On sale this week at Michael's for 50 cents apiece!)

On Thursday, we soaked the fabric in the tub to get the hot water out.

And today, we sewed it into a pillow and stuffed it.

Voila!  What kind of summer fun have you been up to?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes

Every so often I read a blog post, click on the links, click on one of those links and...before you know it I'm reading about something completely different than where I started.  Also, I frequently can't find that blog ever again!

But about two weeks ago I came across this blogger who is participating in the HBin5 Challenge at Big Black Dogs.  They are baking their way through the book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, the authors of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.   

Searching Amazon, I found the book and this great video that shows the technique perfectly.  After trying out the Master Recipe, I had to check out the other ones. 

I bought the book and have made several of the recipes.  It is amazing how little time it takes, how successful each batch has been, and how simple the process is.  Even more amazing because I come from good Italian stock, and I have been tutored extensively on the "right" way to knead bread with no success. 

Once I bragged about the bread enough, my friend decided she needed a lesson.  Today we baked the Master Recipe and some Soft Honey Wheat together. 

Anyone else ever heard of these books or participating in the challenge?  I love seeing the reviews (and potential pitfalls) before trying it myself.

And is there anything better than the smell of fresh baked bread?

Hope you are having a productive and delicious week.  Stay cool!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Anniversary Tryptich

This Saturday will be my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary.  My cousins were pretty adamant about no gifts, but I wanted something more than the standard gold foil embossed card.

I keep having ideas about incorporating photos and crazy quilt style patchwork.  I thought a small, postcard sized piece might be a good chance to try it out.  My machine does so many cool stitches that it went really quickly and easily.

I thought about adding more pictures, but in the end I just chose the wedding photo and dates.  My aunt loved it.  What do you think about this combination?  What would you use it for?

Happy Anniversary Aunt Terri and Uncle Jim!  I love you!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Going to Guild - Maxine Moore

Another great guild night with Maxine Moore from Intown Quilters.  Love love love her bright colors, fabulous borders, and BIG quilts!

Maxine brought her daughter to help carry and show all of her big bright beautiful quilts and tell the story of her creative journey.  I love when this happens.  The expressions and nods and smiles of the family member behind the one presenting tell a whole other side of the story! 

Maxine makes big quilts.  She says it's because she doesn't have wall space to hang little quilts, so she puts big quilts on her bed.  Someone asked how many she keeps on the bed at once, and she started hedging..."One or two...or sometimes three in the winter..." while behind her, her daughter held up four fingers and tried not to break out laughing with the audience. 
I have always loved this Blooming Nine Patch pattern, but have seen some that don't "work" for me due to the color choices.  I would like to make one, but fear that I won't get it right.  Maxine's may be my favorite one ever - and it's certainly big enough for any bed in the house!

Maxine makes some inspired color choices.  She was asked if she always pre-washes her vibrant fabrics.  She said that she didn't always, but if she didn't wash she tested a small strip by putting it in water in the microwave for a few minutes.  If it doesn't bleed into the water, it shouldn't bleed in the wash.  However, she often uses flannel on the back, and always washes that because of shrinkage.

The borders on Maxine's quilts are fascinating.  I love how this border takes a very simple quilt made out of two oriental prints and gives it a touch of elegance and another layer of complexity. 

Thanks, Maxine, for a great program full of wonderful stories, inspiration, and lots of quilty goodness!

PS...our guild just announced a new rule about Show and Tell - limit of 2-3 quilts per month. It doesn't affect me because I'm lucky if I finish that many a year!

How does your guild run Show and Tell to keep it moving along? Would that limit be a problem for you? Hurt your feelings? Annoy you? Let me know.
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