Friday, October 26, 2018

The Usual Not Much

It's been a full week of the usual activities, along with a routine doctor visit. Good new there. The doc said, "You're healthy." Bloodwork numbers look good too. Thanks to God for this renewed good health chapter in my life!

Sewing-wise, it has been good to pull out a not-too-old WIP (work in progress) that I started in a workshop with Amanda Jean Nyberg (CrazyMomQuilts). I've continued to make "Ring Me" blocks from her book "No Scrap Left Behind."

I now have 50 of these blocks, but I still have way more solid scraps! This is Amanda Jean's suggested layout.

I've been playing with different layouts to use more solid scraps. This is the one I've landed on that I like best, though I'll probably add one more colored square to the center of where those single strips are "aimed."

The quilt will still use lots of white background fabric. I just think this layout is a little more interesting - only my opinion, of course!

I'm still making and eating smoothie bowls, but I've found a new-to-me, healthy (healthier?) treat that satisfies my sweet tooth. Here's what I've been making...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding It's called "breakfast." (Really?) I'm making it as follows:

1 cup almond milk (or coconut milk)
1/4 cup chia seeds
3 T cacao powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 T peanut butter
1-1/2 T agave
Optional: 1 T peanut butter powder (to add protein)

Measure dry ingredients into a small mason jar, cover, and shake to mix. Then add wet ingredients, cover, and shake well. Place it in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes, then shake again. Shake again later. Leave overnight, or at least three hours.

To serve:
Scoop half the pudding into a bowl. Top with:

sliced banana
cacao nibs
1 tablespoon of warm, melted peanut butter

Eat, enjoy, and feel completely full! Those chia seeds are so filling.

(I hope you like this, Becky!)

I have no clue how many calories this might be, but I do know that I feel so stuffed afterward that I don't eat anything for hours. To me - one who adores chocolate and sweets - this seems more healthy than a bowl of chocolate pudding. I'll eat an entire box of the Jello brand cook 'n serve pudding when it's served warm!

This is a picture I took today of our dear Hogan who is now 15 years old. Even missing an eye, and being more white-haired than ever, he still has a cute face. He's really cuddly too.

After fixing a recent intestinal problem with four different prescriptions, one of which was prescription dog food, we've seen a marked improvement in his digestion. Green beans are out the of picture now. Too much fiber. However, he's no longer taking a steroid for his allergies, so we're noticing how stiff he is when laying down and getting up. His energy level is down too, and that means shorter walks and longer naps. And he has a chronic cough. We hope to learn more at his vet appointment next Friday. We love our sweet boy. Linda

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Finished Two-Color Challenge

At each QuiltCon (annual quilt show of the Modern Quilt Guild), usually two challenges are offered to members. One is a challenge using a particular fabric line, this year from Michael Miller, and the second is a challenge presented by American Patchwork and Quilting. Ironically, I once worked briefly as an editor for American Patchwork and Quilting magazine (2001-2002). Though that's not why I decided to participate in this year's AP&Q's challenge. I just liked the concept of creating a quilt with only two colors, which I've never done. The colors could be two solids. Or, print(s) could be used, but prints with only two colors. Fabrics such as Moda Grunge wouldn't work.

I know I've already blogged quite a bit about this quilt, but now it's finished.

Gosh, I had no idea how difficult it would be to capture the "right" color of that burnt orange! I had to use the manual settings of my Canon S100 camera to get the correct color.
O-O Orange, 34" X 45"
"O-O-Orange" was totally inspired by the circle print and my desire to use different sizes of Clover bias tape makers. The size is small size, 34" X 45", because that's the quantity of fabric I had to work with. Remember, 2018 is my year of no fabric-buying.

Solid fabrics are Painter's Palette Solids - white and burnt orange. The print is Kaufman's Spot On, with #8 DMC pearl/perle cotton used for hand quilting all of it. There's no domestic machine quilting in this, and I loved every moment of big stitch quilting by hand.

I ghost-quilted a few circles.

This is my favorite circle.

I hand quilted the binding too!

First I machine-sewed binding to the quilt front as I usually do, trimmed the edges, and hand-sewed it to the back of the quilt. Then, I added the decorative hand stitching!

So, the binding isn't really secured by the hand quilting, though that's originally what I thought I would do. What I realized is that to hand quilt the binding in place on the front, I would need to machine sew binding to the quilt back first! Since I never trim the quilt edges first, I didn't have any way to guide where to attach binding from the back.

Every binding stitch was taken... One. At. A. Time. The good 'ole poke-stab hand quilting method.

QuiltCon is so competitive that having ONE quilt accepted is a big deal. At least, it is for me. So, for QuiltCon 2019 I'm hedging my bets and entering six quilts into the show, hoping one of them is accepted. As I have experienced in the past, it's more meaningful to attend a popular quilt show knowing I have a quilt on display.

QuiltCon entrants will find out in mid- to late December whether their quilts (including challenge quilt entries) have been accepted... or not. Quilters who have quilts that are not accepted usually repost Instagram pictures of them with the hashtag #quiltconrejects.

Receiving that "sorry" email, learning that a quilt isn't accepted in the show is tough to accept. I don't like to remember how I know the way that feels. Linda

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

I Presented! And I'm Quilting.

The past several days were fairly busy. On Saturday, I helped members of our Central Florida MQG make badge holders. That was fun, and kept me on my toes too!

On Monday I went to Ormond Beach, about 1 hour 45 minutes east of us - Atlantic side of Florida - to Racing Fingers Quilt Guild. Their 60-plus members requested a program on modern quilting, and I was happy to fill the bill. Plans were made back in February.

"What is Modern Quilting?" is a 93-slide presentation that begins with how the modern quilting movement began, from social media, and fabrics to aesthetics and techniques seen in modern quilts. Of course, I talked about QuiltCon too, and what a great show it is. Gosh, it's easy to share with quilters what I'm enthused about.

Following my presentation, I gave a trunk show with 12 of my modern quilts. I could have taken along a lot more quilts, but I was cognizant of staying within my allotted one-hour time frame!

It was nice to have a reason to see some of these quilts again. They are usually stored in pillowcases the top of our closet!

This is "Ad Libbing," made by Lora Douglas and me in 2014. It was juried into QuiltCon 2015 in Austin, Texas, and received third place at the Daytona Beach AQS show in 2016.

"Shapes" is a favorite, made for the QuiltCon 2015 Bias Tape Challenge. It too was juried into the show. Both "Ad Libbing" and "Shapes" are double-batted with Quilter's Dream polyester and wool. They're both domestic machine quilted by me.

It was nice to share several of my most recent finishes too. This one is "Spin Art," inspired by Christina Cameli, and made with Painter's Palette Solids using a 9 degree ruler.

What better audience to see my Florida quilt?!  By the way, see how the photographer captured me in this photo? The halo? (It's probably an air vent.) Proof that I really am an angel!

It's a lot of work to prep for a program, but definitely worth it! I talked with several quilters who were very interested in modern and asked many questions. One of them later commented on my Instagram feed, "Thanks for coming. I think I'm a modern quilter and I didn't even know it!" Ahhh... that's music to my ears.

At home, I've continued to hand quilt. The timing of this quilt has worked out well as my Bernina was picked up Tuesday for servicing. Yes you heard that right. A tech comes to my house to pick up my Bernina, and then delivers it when it's done!

So this is progress over the past few days. All the circles are hand quilted now.

Currently I'm finishing-up straight line quilting in the vertical strips of the background.

The quilt will end up about 36" X 48". A nice size for a baby gift. I've begun to ponder a name for all those burnt orange and white circles. I've come up with "O-O Orange."

Once the binding is machine-sewn to the quilt top, I plan to do this (below). See the hand-stitched binding? Hand quilting to secure the binding seems appropriate for this particular quilt, don't ya think?

CREDIT: The above picture is from ShannonFraserDesigns Instagram feed, and am sharing it with her permission. She has some pretty stuff if you'd like to check out her blog too

Now I want to leave you with a funny. One of my students shared this with me a long time ago, and I came across it again. It's a classic, to share with your quilt-y sew-y friends.
I said to him:
"I don't ever want to be kept alive, dependent on a machine and fluids from a bottle."
He got up, unplugged my Bernina, and poured out all my wine.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Wedge Quilts

Since watching Christina Cameli's "Wedge Quilts Go Modern" Modern Quilt Guild Webinar in July 2015 (MQG members can watch it here), I have been intrigued by the variety of designs that are possible with wedges, whether they're 9-degree or 10-degree angles.

When Christina's Wedge Quilt Workshop book came out early this year, I was the first to get a copy and start imagining what I might do with wedges.

I already owned a 9-degree ruler, purchased back in the 1980s and used to make one wedge quilt that has since been donated (and for which I have no photo), and I started playing around with solids.

In March I blog-posted about my first experimentations. So many possibilities! And then recently posted about this 52" X 69" quilt finish: "Roulette." 
"Roulette," 52" X 69"
My "Spin Art" quilt started back in March, during Painter's Palette's "Inspired by Fabric: Mad for Solids." I blogged about quilting Spin Art here, but haven't shared finished pictures until now. 
Spin Art, 66" X 66"

I'm grateful to have a quilt-y neighbor-friend, Becky, who will drop just about everything to hold a quilt so I can take a styled shot. 

This past Monday evening I shared a "Wedges Go Modern" presentation with members of Central Florida MQG. I gave all credit to Christina for expanding the wedges concept. I used photos from the MQG webinar and Christina's blog to accompany my own photos as I reviewed the wedge-sewing process. My program was well-received, and I was tickled to get a few comments and follow-up emails about it. I hope to see some of our members trying a quilt design with wedges. We have Christina's book in our chapter library, so hopefully it will be put to good use. 

As for me, I'm not "over" wedges yet. Linda

Monday, October 8, 2018

Exciting Times Two

In the past week I received two pieces of exciting news.

First, this new book arrived. 

My English paper pieced "Hexagon Pillow," with instructions, appears on pages 20-25.

Second, I have been invited by quilter Pat Sloan to be on "American Patchwork and Quilting Talk Show/Podcast!" Goodness gracious!

I've signed the contract, submitted answers to Pat's questions about my quiltmaking/quilting, and sent a couple photos for their website. On November 8, I'll be interviewed for 12 minutes. Then on a Monday in December, at 4 pm Eastern time, the podcast will be broadcast

What quilt-y things to chat about may be challenging. Chatting will be effortless!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Two-Color Quilt

I've been working on a mental list (I'm not a paper-and-pen list-writer) of quilts that I wanted to complete by particular dates. Several are QuiltCon entries.

So, having recently completed those to-dos, I was time to decide whether or not to enter the MQG's American Patchwork and Quilting Two-Color Challenge. All QuiltCon entries are due November 30.

Maintaining my resolve to NOT purchase fabric in 2018, I limited myself to choosing fabrics on hand. I have a decent stash to work with, but don't have enough yardage of any particular pieces to make a large quilt.

I narrowed the two colors to orange ("Always add orange," right?) and white (I bought a 10-yard bolt of white earlier this year, and it's more than half gone), and proceeded to do a little designing. You'd think that I'd open EQ8 to design, but I had an idea in my head, and didn't have a clue how to go about using EQ8 to implement it! I am more familiar with Pages software, the Mac equivalent of Microsoft Word, so that's what I used to design this.

Having recently purchased all five widths of Clover Bias Tape makers, I thought to use all the sizes in a design. Of course, after cutting out fabrics, and putting them on my design wall, I moved around around strips and bias tapes to end up with this. It's about 36" X 48". I wasn't able to use the widest bias tape - 2" wide - because I couldn't get it to lay flat around a circle. 

The background is pieced, of course. Circles and bias tape are machine appliquéd on top using a straight stitch and Mettler Transfil Monofilament (invisible) thread. After appliquéing, I cut away the excess layers on the back, including the background behind the bias tape.

Fabrics are a Kaufman print, "Spot On Wide" that perfectly matches white and burnt orange Painter's Palette Solids. Batting is Quilter's Dream Select Cotton. 

I'm big stitch hand quilting with DMC #8 perle cotton. But because I had only white DMC on hand, that's all I've been able to quilt so far. After checking at three local stores for DMC burnt orange (color 946), I had to place an online order ( that will arrive Tuesday. 

These circle templates have been invaluable for marking circles for quilting. I use a Hera marker to make the marked crease. 

Not sure yet if I'll quilt the bias tape. If I do, I'm thinking about stitching little "x's" on them. 

This is such relaxing handwork as I'm listening to audiobooks. Recent finishes were: The Wife by Meg Wolitzer, and The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox. Out of 5 stars, I'd give each of them 3.

I'm also reading a print book (not while I quilt though!) The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain, a story about Ernest Hemingway, and his wife.

Bet you can tell I've been doing my favorite happy things. Linda

Friday, October 5, 2018

Smoothie Bowls

After recently overindulging, I've been back on smoothie bowls. One new combination is this.

In a food processor, blend:
  • sweet potato cubes - steamed then frozen
  • cauliflower pieces - steamed then frozen
  • banana pieces - frozen
  • fresh papaya pieces
  • coconut milk
  • 1 T agave
  • 1 t goji berry powder
  • 1 t hemp seeds
Top with (R-L):
  • fresh banana
  • fresh papaya
  • homemade granola
  • chia seeds
  • wheat germ
Even better was this smoothie bowl, made following a recipe posted on Instagram. It was such an interesting flavor combination with mint.

 In a food processor, blend:
  • frozen banana pieces
  • half of an avocado
  • handful of fresh spinach
  • fresh mint leaves
  • almond milk
  • cacao nibs
Top with (R-L):
  • chia seeds
  • homemade granola
  • walnuts
  • flax seed meal
  • and a few more cacao nibs
It was sweet and tasted like mint chocolate!

Below is a tropical bowl with papaya, mango, coconut and bananas.

And this bowl was a pure chocolate delight with cacao powder, cacao nibs, along with peanuts... in the smoothie! I think you're getting the picture! 

I'm happily hooked - healthy eating, and maintaining weight loss - and still coming up with new combinations. And it doesn't hurt a bit that I love the color combos in my favorite Fiestaware. Linda


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