Friday, July 29, 2011

Food Friday - On the grill

I love these

My mom made these stuffed jalapenos last weekend. She makes them for most family gatherings. I have a hard time not consuming the entire plate. They are so easy to make and always delicious.

Then, last Saturday, Elliott and I made Chicken Souvlaki using this recipe.

Chicken Souvlaki

It, and the accompanying grilled veggies were perfect for a hot summer day, along with the homemade Tzatziki sauce.

What's your favorite grilling recipe?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A yarny giveaway - Project Spectrum style

As part of my efforts to reduce stash, I have decided to share some items with you. So, in August, I will have three giveaways. Each will be related to a different craft, so hopefully, there will be something for everyone!

Giveaway one is all about the knitting.

For you: a giveaway

One winner will receive this skein of Malabrigo Sock in Eggplant (here's where Project Spectrum comes to light, since August's color focus is pink and purple). The winner will also receive an electronic sock or shawl pattern of his or her choosing.
I think the easiest way to do this will be a gift on ravelry for the pattern. If the winner doesn't have a ravelry account, we'll work something out to make it fair.

How does that sound? Any takers? I've sung the praises of Malabrigo before. It's lovely, squishy stuff.

International entries are welcome.
One entry per person.

I'll take entries until Monday, August 1st, 8:00 PM CST.
If you are a no-reply blogger, PLEASE leave your email address so I can contact you.

ETA: Comments are now closed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

FO: Wonky Bee Quilt

FO: Wonky Bee Quilt

I'm so pleased with my Wonky Bee quilt. The coolest part is that five other crafters contributed to it. Now, it's this fun collaborative quilt that I get to enjoy in my home. Each time I look it, I can remember the process, and the people behind it. Sara really deserves the biggest thanks, since she came up with the Wonky Bee group over on flickr. She, along with Carrie, Melissa, Nicke, and Jessica, are all part of this finished quilt.
They each sent me two spiral log cabin blocks, based on the amazing Julie Frick creation found here, which is the ultimate inspiration behind this quilt.
To make this type of block, you use the same process as a log cabin, but you start with a five-sided piece of fabric in the middle, rather than a square.

I sent a bundle of fabric strips to each member, which consisted mostly of the Moda Sugar Pop line, as well as some coordinating prints and solids (Kona Tangerine, Kona Eggplant, Hope Valley Canyon Stripe in Fiesta, Mendocino orange Kelp Forest, etc.).

FO: Wonky Bee Quilt

I decided not to sash the blocks, and I really like to craziness going on here. I used two borders to give the quilt a better size.

Selvage block

For the back, I took some inspiration from my good friend Jules, and made a selvage block. The back makes me very happy.

The back

Again, I give heartfelt thanks to my fellow bee members!

FO: Wonky Bee Quilt

You can read previous entries about the Wonky Bee Quilt here and here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

For the Love of Solids

I joined another swap. I only have two monthly commitments on-going (do.Good Stitches and the Wonky Bee), and when I saw Sara joined in on this, I thought, why not?

For the Love of Solids
Please click through the photo for sources!

I'm hoping for a mini-quilt or a laptop cover, and some half-square triangles or other strong geometrics would really make me happy.

It should be a fun challenge to only use solids for this project, and I have plenty in the stash, thanks to the PCF Solids Club.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

New camera strap!

Thanks to the lovely Gabrielle, I have a new camera strap!

Swap with Gabrielle

It's awesome. She used some beautiful fabrics to craft this for me, and I couldn't be more thrilled. She also sent me some scraps, consisting of Mendocino, Joel Dewberry and Echino. I have coveted the blue Mendocino, which is the most difficult to track down, so that alone was worth the swap we made!

I first noticed her camera straps during the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day in May. I didn't win, but then Gabrielle loved the Buttercup Bag I made for Jenny. I offered to make her one in exchange for a camera strap, so here I am, with my very own!

Thanks, Gabrielle. I love it lots!

P.S. Check out the bag she made for the Goodie Bag Swap. It has rivets!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

FO: Pips Baby Blanket

When I first started playing with my charm pack of Sherbet Pips fabric, I didn't know what I would do with the finished project. Then Weezalana posted that she was pregnant. I knew it would be a good gift for her, so I volunteered to send her something homemade. I just got word that she has received the quilt, so it's safe to blog about it now.

Olias and the Pips

This was my first time working with half square triangles. They're pretty versatile. I loved rotating the triangles around, trying to pick a layout. I like the Kona Medium Gray with the bright Pips fabrics. It provides a little balance, I think.

FO: Pips Quilt

To keep things simple, I decided to do some diagonal quilting in just one direction.

I had one difficulty when I was quilting (a little bit of bunched up backing), and the unfinished project sat in time out for a couple of weeks. After unpicking a few rows of quilting, I got back on track.

Binding

For the binding, I chose this Paula Prass print that I've had in the stash for a few years. I think it's a great binding choice (dots always work!).

FO: Pips Baby Quilt

I don't have a picture of the entire back, but it's mostly Kona Medium Gray with some of this Amy Butler Honeycomb print, which I used up making this backing.

FO: Pips Baby Quilt

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with this quilt, and I hope Christine and her new little girl enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jam and yarn

If you're not already familiar with Elizabeth's blog, you might not know that she is a talented knitter, quilter, and jam-making woman. I've been reading her blog for quite some time, and she's always so personable in her responses. Over the months, I've grown quite fond of her, and when she recently posted about her Strawberry Balsamic Jam, I emailed her asking if she'd be interested in a trade. When I opened my package of goodies, I couldn't believe it.

Swap from Elizabeth

Elizabeth sent me SIX jars of jam.
Six. Different flavors.
Peach with pineapple sage.
Triple Berry.
Strawberry Lemon Basil.

I die.

Jam and handspun

And then, to top it off, she sends me an amazing skein of her own handspun. The colors are gorgeous, the yarn is so soft. It took all of my willpower not to immediately cast on with this yarn.

I cannot say thank you enough, Elizabeth. You're an awesome friend. Sometimes the blog world makes me a very happy girl!

If you'd like to see what I sent Elizabeth, here's her post.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Stashy Stash and some links

I've been bad about posting stash pictures, so here's a few recent enhancements.

New stash: Hope Valley

I picked up a FQ stack of Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley line. It wasn't a line that grabbed me right away, but now I love it! Perhaps it's all the amazing finished quilts that made me think twice!

New stash: AMH

I also picked up these three AMH prints last week. The two on the right are from Good Folks, an out of print line, and the left is a favorite from Innocent Crush.

It's a Hoot Stash

I love the whimsical It's a Hoot! line by Momo for Moda. Rumor has it, my one and only sister likes it too, so this might become a quilt for her someday soon!

And a few random flickr faves for you:
Laff cat
Amazing quilt by Summersville with her hand-printed fabrics
I love this birdie mug rug
Lindsay's finished Bottled Rainbows quilt is beautiful!
The ever-inspiring Chawne is spinning some beautiful handspun lately!
I love this zig zag solids quilt

Have a great weekend, all!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kitties!

The Fourth of July marks my family's annual gathering. This year, it was held at my grandparents' farm, a place that holds millions of happy memories for me.

There are some new kittens at the farm right now.

Lizzy Liz

My mom rescued one who got abandoned in a pigeon coop. Liz is considerably smaller than the other kittens, but is gaining strength and eating plenty.

Liz, the wonder kitty

I texted Elliott while I was there to say, "I'm bringing home some kittens!".
He did not acknowledge my comment.
He knows me well.

Golden Boy

This is Golden Boy. I wish I could have captured the cuteness of these two playing together, but all I got was some blurry shots. They are quick!

I recently finished up my do.Good Stitches July blocks.

July "Comfort" blocks

Spiderweb blocks are so beautiful, but they are definitely time consuming. This is a perfect bee block, because it takes a lot of patience to make just one block, let alone enough for an entire quilt.

New project: Scrappy Spiderwebs

That reminds me. I'd like to do something with these blocks I started back in January.

By the way, I finished my Wonky Bee Quilt. However, this is a crazy work week, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to post pictures. I can't wait to show you!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pour le weekend

Even though my weekend plans include some work time tomorrow (and possibly Sunday, depending on how productive my Saturday time is), I also have some fun things planned.

I want to start this small project for a gift. I've already picked out my fabrics and started ironing. I think the cutting will be the most time-consuming part.
I'll be quilting my Wonky Bee Quilt.

Basting!

I've actually already started the quilting and I'm so excited to finish this project! It will definitely be happening soon-ish.
I hope to knit more on my new sock.
I get to see an amazing concert tomorrow night with Jiller.

Also, thanks for sharing your favorite cast-ons in my last post. I'm definitely going to have to give Judy's Magic Cast-on a try, as it seems to be a favorite.

Have a great weekend, all!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

One sock on, one sock off...

Sometimes, you just have to admit defeat (or defeet, if you're super corny). After months of languishing on the needles, I decided to frog my Marlene sock progress.

Frogged: Marlene in Madeline Tosh Sock

I had concerns about how saggy this sock was on my foot, and I finally frogged it last week. The lovely MadelineTosh Sock yarn will go back into the stash, and I'll try again. It might have been the needle size, or maybe I'll try casting on with less stitches, but it just didn't work out.

It was pretty calming to rip this baby apart and rewind the yarn cake. I would rather destroy progress than be unhappy with the finished sock.

I also cast on for a new sock on the 4th of July. While my boyfriend watched some soccer, I worked on this beauty.

This yarn is amazing

This yarn is The Plucky Knitter's MCN Fingering in Nautical Mile, a perfect way to start July's Project Spectrum focus on blue. It's the perfect blue and just slightly semi-solid. I'm using a pattern from Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toe Up called the Trilobite Sock. Kind of a perfect match, I think. [Side note: It's hard to get your hands on Plucky Knitter yarn, but damn, is it ever worth it. It's so soft and vibrant.]

I can trust Bella

The stitch pattern is really lovely so far. I'm hoping to get an actual sock completed before the end of July. Whoa. That would be amazing for me. If you're new to sock knitting, Wendy's book is a great resource. There is a section at the front dedicated to explaining the various cast on and bind off methods for socks, as well as some variations on the heel.

I love the Turkish Cast-on best, and that's what I'm using here.

If you knit socks, what's your favorite cast on for a toe-up sock, or do you prefer knitting from the cuff-down?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Finished!

I mailed out my embroider-bee blocks last week, and I haven't sat down long enough to share the final block with you.

Final embroider-bee block

I'm not sure of the designer of this pattern, as it was something I found online a few years ago. If anyone knows, please tell me, so I can give credit where it's due! This little squirrel is so cute, and I enjoyed stitching him.

Embroider-bee blocks

Here are the four blocks I made before they were mailed off to their new homes. I really enjoyed the embroider-bee!

I haven't received my blocks yet, but I know they're on their way to me! Here are links to the blocks made for me:
by ams2010
by TinyAcorn
by LittleLoops
by Scruffycat1970

Thanks, ladies!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A huge thank you

I recently had a string of good luck with winning some blog contests. I still can't believe it!

First up, (and I must admit, I'm painfully late in getting around to posting this first one), I won a beautiful knitting pattern book from the lovely Nova!

The winnings, part one

As part of her annual Novakkah celebration, she gave away this Rowan Purelife pattern book. I just love Nova's blog, and she's so generous to turn her birthday into an event of giving!
Thanks, Nova!

More recently, I won a fun new pouch from McIntyre Girl.

The winnings, part two

She let me pick any pouch I wanted from her shop, and I chose this Aviary 2 version. I love the pleats, and Aviary 2 is definitely a favorite!

Thanks, Caitlin!

Finally, I won a new photography book from the Sometimes Crafter!

The winnings, part three

I cannot wait to peruse this, although I'm going to have to prevent my sister from stealing it! You can read Christina's review of the book here if you'd like more information.

Thank you again to Nova, Caitlin and Christina!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Food Friday

This is what's for dinner

Sunday night, I made this seared tilapia for myself. Elliott doesn't really enjoy fish, but when it's just me for dinner, it's a favorite. I added some of my recently made tomato jam to the fish as it finished cooking. I love roasted broccoli, but since I didn't have any fresh, I just used steamed broccoli to go with it, along with some couscous. Man, I love couscous. I grated a little fresh parmesan over everything, because, yeah, why not?

I recommend giving the tomato jam recipe a try. It's the perfect way to use up a giant pile of tomatoes. It's a smoky, sort of sweet thickened sauce, and is also delicious on ciabatta.

One of the many uses for homemade tomato jam

I will definitely make more before the summer ends.

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