Friday, November 18, 2011

Finish it up Friday!

Don't have a quilt to show for this week - actually, between now and Christmas it's going to be like that. Lots and lots of Christmas sewing projects to finish up.

But I'm so glad this dress is finished, and just in time. Laurel's baptism is Sunday afternoon. She looks lovely in it, and it has her little touch of purple.

Now, to finish baby Caroline's blessing gown and Laurel's new scripture bag. Good thing my parents are coming to town today. I'll be sewing all day tomorrow!

Linking up with Amanda Jean's Finish It Up Friday!

Have a great weekend - we woke up to snow, finally, so my kids are quite giddy this morning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

If I Were Queen

How do you like my tiara? Harry Winston dear. As it is snowing outside, I went with the snowflake tiara tonight.

Oh, I was going to tell you what I would decree if I were queen. Just feeling royal tonight, or wishing I was.

If I were queen, everyone would learn to properly load a dishwasher. As in, efficiently and neatly. I am married to a man who, though his mother is British, did not teach him proper dishwasher loading technique. I cannot let him near it. It is disastrous and there are usually dishes left over because his inefficiency and sloppy loading did not allow room.

Unacceptable. This must be taught. I decree it, whilst wearing my diamond snowflake tiara.

Okay, admittedly, I really just wanted to use the word "whilst" - how was it? Did I sound royal enough?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fabric Tuesday

I'm playing along in the Quilt Story Fabric Tuesday again today. Yes, I'm working on dresses for my girls when I get a moment, but I thought I'd play around with these blocks a little too.

I'm making this quilt, using Riley Blake's Indian Summer. Loving how it's coming together.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Because it's Monday

Because it's Monday, and my children (including Caroline) are being cooperative, I'm making cupcakes for FHE tonight. What is FHE? Find out here, if you're curious.

I've had this page bookmarked in the Flour Bakery and Cafe cookbook, the recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with Crispy Magic Frosting. I'll admit that I was lured in by that frosting. I can't wait. I'll be sure to let y'all know how they turn out. There's an interesting process - the recipe tells you to let the batter sit for an hour at room temperature. We'll see if it makes a difference.

Have a lovely Monday. We're expecting snow again, but it keeps melting before my kids get a chance to go play in it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christmas Sewing

We woke up to snowfall this morning, and I have been known to listen to Christmas music while crafting, so I thought I'd share some of the crafting I'd like to get done for this Christmas.

And yes, my mother will think I'm crazy, given that I've got a one-month-old and four other rowdies running around. But I enjoy being ambitious! All links will take you to the tutorial or the pattern.

Okay, first, a little tissue holder for those I know who carry tissues in their purse. If I had a matchy matchy one with my bag, I just might be responsible enough to carry some myself. These are super easy and super cute.

For Miss Caroline (and maybe my nephew Jackson), I found these cute little stuffed turtles. Might I add that I can get Laurel and William to enthusiastically stuff things for me so I don't have to? I'm shameless, but resourceful!
I bought this pattern for stockings last year just after Christmas. I've got them cut out, mostly, but I'm struggling with how to get their names on them.
This is a two part gift. I thought Jackson would like to have something to throw a ball into, and these round nesting baskets were just the thing.
A mug rug (not this one - just an example for those who don't know what a mug rug is) for a special person. I've got it all designed and the fabric chosen. Just have to sew it up and ship it off.
Fabric beach balls, to throw into those round nesting baskets.
Stuffed dinosaurs for all my crazies, because I know they'd love them.
A crochet hook clutch for Laurel, who is learning to crochet at Activity Day and loving it. So far, she's made the world's longest and skinniest scarf for her stuffed flamingo. Hopefully she'll learn some more stitches this week.
An art bag for Laurel - I've searched high and low and this one is perfect for her. But complicated. We'll see if it gets done or not.

I've got other, top secret ideas, but these are just a few. They won't all get done, but I'll have fun trying.

I'm also creating my first tree skirt. This is uncharted territory for me because I can't find what I want anywhere, be it finished product or pattern, so I'm having to design it myself. Easy-peasy for some of you, but I'm challenged that way. Here's hoping it turns out, because the picture in my head is awesome!

Happy sewing (back to making little white dresses for me!).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Soup is ON!

Yes, I'm sewing dresses. Every spare minute I have. Which means I need some easy-ish dinners, preferably involving my dreamy slow cooker. And I do understand that easy-ish to me might be intimidating to others - long lists of ingredients don't frighten me away. Love them.

So here's what is going into the slow cooker at lunch time, and into bowls at dinner time, and into the freezer after that (because it makes a boatload!). I confess the minestrone bug bit me hard after a trip to Olive Garden back in August. I promise, this soup is a bazillion times better. I made a few changes to the original recipe - I cook the sausage right in the slow cooker (because I can do that in mine) so that later I'm cooking the veg in the fat from the sausage rather than a drizzle of olive oil. I know olive oil is better for you, but it's about layering flavor. Why waste that sausage fat? Not this girl. Course, I've been known to use bacon fat at times. That's my Southern heritage there, y'all!

Sausage Minestrone Soup with Orzo
adapted from The New England Soup Factory Cookbook

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 pound hot Italian sausage
3 T. olive oil (if you must)
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, sliced
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
12 cups chicken stock (no kidding!)
4 cups tomato juice
2 bay leaves
1 can (16 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can (16 oz.) dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (16 oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 zucchini, diced
1-2 summer squash, diced
1/2 c. dried orzo
3 T. chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

First, cook your sausage. If you are lucky enough to have a slow cooker that lets you brown your meat first, do this. If you are using a pot on the stove, you can do the same thing. I'm not sure how this would work in a regular crockpot or slow cooker. I'd just go with the pot on the stove.

So cook your sausage and then set it aside. If you're the healthy sort, drain off the sausage fat and add the olive oil. If you're the healthy but like more flavor sort, just keep your sausage fat and add your onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Saute for 8 minutes.

Add tomatoes, stock, tomato juice, bay leaves, chickpeas, kidney beans, cannellini beans and cooked sausage. Bring to a boil. If using a slow cooker, transfer it and cook on low for about four hours. If using a pot, reduce heat to medium and simmer 40 minutes, adding more stock if too much liquid evaporates (not a problem with the slow cooker).

Remove and discard the bay leaves (or leave them in and then assign dishes to whomever gets them in their bowl).

Add the zucchini, squash and orzo. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Stir in the basil, salt and pepper.

This freezes beautifully.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

To Do Tuesday

Yeah, that sums it up. I'd rather be quilting. I'd rather be making a huge dent in that WIPs list, not to mention actually finishing a quilt or two.

One small problem. Well, one small, Caroline-size problem and one bigger, Laurel-size problem. In the form of these:

We have a baptism/baby blessing on the 20th. We have family and friends coming in to town. As these are my girls, I am making the dresses. I bought a ton o' white fabric, spent August and September cutting it out and now I MUST sew it into dresses. Here's hoping they will be as pretty as my girls are.

After this is done, then I'm on to Christmas sewing, and won't that be fun? Dinosaurs for the kids, quilts for the boys (I might be burning the midnight oil to get those done!), a tool clutch for Aaron and a few other gifts. I love Christmas sewing, but I need to get started on it sooner next year. Right. Like that will happen!

Have a lovely, productive week. Pictures of these finished dresses will follow, I promise!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I may have mentioned before how much I like lists. I like them a lot. I have to do lists and Christmas card lists and birthday presents lists.

My two most current, and most often referred to lists, are these two. One is a "Quilts Ready to be Quilted" list. It has *gulp* 14 quilts on it. Yeah, I've got to get to it, I know.

The other is my WIPs list. This one should not be getting longer. But I can't help myself. If I didn't have access to other blogs and Moda Bake Shop and Fat Quarter Shop, I might be able to slog my way through this one and add these *big gulp* 30 quilts to my other list.

See those Postage Stamp quilt blocks in the background? I'm almost done with them! Then I put the top together and piece the back and it moves to my other list. Yikes!

What's funny about me is that I'm not intimidated by any of this. I'm more embarrassed to admit it, but not intimidated. I've got the quilting planned for several of those "readies," so I'm more steps ahead than you might think.

My goal is this: while I'd be stupid to say I won't purchase and plan more projects, I will at least not start any new ones until I've got more space.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fabric Tuesday

After I joined in on Amy's Bloggers' Quilt Festival last week, I browsed around the other blogs, bookmarking and following as I went. One of the first sites I visited was Quilt Story. Every Tuesday, they host a "Fabric Tuesday." Now, I've been doing "To Do Tuesdays" on my own, but sometimes my to do list isn't so exciting. Now fabric? That's exciting.

So today I join in on the Fabric Tuesday fun.

And just in time for Fabric Tuesday, a box o' lovelies arrived from the best online quilt shop EVER a.k.a. Fat Quarter Shop. Seriously. I heart them. A lot.

I've been needing to make some "boy" quilts. While my guys are tough guys and have no problems cuddling up in a pink/green quilt, or something with lots of flowers and butterflies, they deserve something a bit manlier. We are huge Richard Scarry fans in this house (seriously - check out "Busytown Mysteries" on Netflix - so much fun!) and when I saw this fabric at FQS, I knew it would make some great quilts for my little men.

So I ordered two FQ bundles - each comes with a panel with different vehicles, which I'm going to fussy cut and use as individual blocks. The colors are great - orange, green, blues, some reds and yellows.

I picked out some coordinating fabrics in orange, red, green and blue. I'm going to use this quilt pattern - it will be bright and fun and they'll love it. I'll have to border them differently so we can tell the difference. William's will be red, James' will be orange and Henry's will be blue.

Can't wait for my pattern to arrive so I can get started. Want these done by Christmas - can she do it?
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