Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Avery's Quilt...


Avery is our second oldest grandchild. She'll be turning 12 next month. We have a family story that shortly after she was born her mommy and daddy unwrapped her to check to see if she had all her fingers and toes and she took offense. Legend has it she cried constantly for the next six months. In some cases legends aren't based on truth... this one is. One time, when she was about three months old, my at-the-time teenage son and I babysat Avery while her parents went to a movie. She didn't take bottles, and she decided she was starved a half-hour after her parents left. What ensued was enough to make my teenage son swear off children for a good long time. (I didn't blame him.) Finally, in desperation I got a bottle out of the kitchen cupboard and tried to give her a little water. I figured she'd cried for a solid hour and was probably dehydrated, if nothing else. That little kiddo turned beet red and her furor measured a solid 10 on the Richter scale. Mind you, I was an experienced mother, but she scared me.


Fortunately, she's calmed down considerably since those early days and turned into a beautiful young woman. We love her so much. Her favorite colors are coral, gold, and mint.  I found some beautiful fabrics in those colors, so I'm hoping she'll love this quilt...


I love the touch of metallic that many fabrics have in them these days. It makes the fabrics a little more luxurious...


There is a metallic gold thread that winds itself through most of the fabrics in this quilt. There's no real "theme" to this quilt -- you'll find tee-pees, and flowers, and bees, and unicorns, and feathers, and arrows.


I think the theme is often created by the colors in the quilt...


I chose this fabric  that was mint and coral and built the quilt around it...


Here's the back...



I hope she likes it.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Daughter's Quilt...


I still haven't finished the binding on all the grandkid's quilts, but yesterday I had a few hours in the afternoon to bind this quilt. {Two Hallmark movies later I was done!} I'm not going to be identifying the quilts for my sons and daughters by name. If they see this post, they'll have to guess if it's theirs. When my 13-year-old granddaughter was visiting a few weeks ago, however, she was able to identify which aunt would get which quilt just by looking at them! That made me feel sooo good because it meant that their quilts "looked" like them!


This quilt is for one of my daughters. The thing I love about making these quilts, is the whole time I'm cutting it out, sewing it, and binding it, thoughts of the person I'm making the quilt for flows through my mind. It makes me so grateful for my family.


This quilt's intended recipient is an amazing young woman. She's kind, compassionate, passionate, hilarious, talented, and beautiful. She's who I want to be when I grow up.


Several of my daughters love coral, navy and turquoise...


I've used the same pattern on practically all of the quilts that I've made. They are variations of a half-triangle quilt. I love this variation with the white because it looks so crisp. Lots of cute fabrics comprise this quilt. There are banners, and arrows, and horses, and owls, and the great outdoor with mushrooms, trees and tents...




The back is kinda crazy...


You are going to see the same fabrics used in different ways on the quilts for our sons and daughters. When you have a few people who like owls and you find an owl fabrics you like, you tend to use it for a few of them!


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Mushroom Bolognese with Summer Squash


My favorite meals in the summer come straight out of our veggie garden, and this recipe in particular -- using fresh summer squash, tomatoes, basil, and oregano from our bounty -- is heavenly...


I love to combine a thick, meaty Bolognese sauce with zucchini and yellow crooked-neck squash. So good! Over the years, I've tweaked and {in my not-so-humble opinion} ultimately perfected this Bolognese recipe. My husband has labeled it "the best," not that he's particularly impartial, mind you, but I do think this recipe is worth sharing...



Ingredients for Bolognese (Meat Sauce):

8 ounces of fresh white mushrooms 
1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
2 Tbsp. milk
Salt & pepper
1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 heaping Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes (set aside 2 Tbsp. of juice) -- sometimes I use fresh tomatoes out of my garden
2 tsp. dried oregano or 1 tsp. fresh oregano
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 beef bouillon cubes 
1 rounded Tbsp. granulated sugar
Basil - fresh, about 10 leaves, sliced thin
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

1. Pulse mushrooms in food processor until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
2. Add bread, milk, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper to now-empty food processor and pulse until paste forms. Fold this paste (Panade) into beef and sausage and set aside this meat mixture.
3. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat and add onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are browned and dark bits form on saucepan bottom, about 6 to 12 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and ground red pepper; cook until fragrant and tomato paste starts to brown, about 1 minute. Add reserved 2 Tbsp. of tomato juice (from can of diced tomatoes), and oregano, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add meat mixture and cook, breaking the ground beef and sausage into small pieces, until it loses its raw color -- 2 to 4 minutes, making sure the beef does not brown. 
4. Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, beef bouillon cubes, basil, and sugar; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer until sauce has thickened and flavors have blended -- about an hour on very low heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. 


Zucchini and Yellow Crooked-Neck Squash

Wash and cut 1/4" rounds of zucchini and squash. Line a cookie sheet with foil, put a little olive oil on the foil and spread it around. Place your squash rounds on the cookie sheet. Spray rounds with Pam and salt and pepper. Broil in 450 degree oven for about 8 - 10 minutes. I test after about 8 minutes and if they are slightly soft, they're done!


Layer cooked squash in bottom of bowl. Spoon yummy Bolognese sauce over squash and top with fresh Parmesan or Feta cheese. It tastes heavenly and it's good for you. What's not to love?

{During colder months you can always enjoy the Bolognese sauce over pasta!}

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mt. Rushmore and more...


Well, folks, this last week quilting, sewing, or otherwise crafting has been the furthest thing from my mind. We were fortunate enough to have three of our amazing grandkids visit us for the last week. There were days at the pool, a children's museum, a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park, and a quick weekend trip to Mt. Rushmore and the surrounding area.


Mt. Rushmore was amazing. The Black Hills are beautiful and Mt. Rushmore is magical.


It's very kid-friendly, and the "Presidential Trail" around the base of Mt. Rushmore lets you get close to the magnificent carvings. One of my grandsons did a report on Gutson Borglum and Mt. Rushmore last year in school, so he filled us in on specifics as we traveled around the site.


We also took advantage of a water park in Rapid City and the next day went to Bear Country USA, which was really amazing. Bear Country is a park where you can observe black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions, buffalo and more from the comfort of your car. In other words the animals roam free and the people are the ones that are caged. We literally had bears walk right next to our car. One even came up to the front of our car, sat down, and scratched his back on our front bumper. So funny. The kids loved it, and so did we!



They also have a well-kept, clean area where you can view park offspring -- particularly bear cubs.They entertain young and old alike!



I had no idea that the Rushmore area was so incredibly family-friendly and that it has sooo much to do. We could have easily spent four days there and left without seeing everything. So much fun!

Today the grandkids leave, and I'm left to my own devices. That is until another bunch of grandkids descend on us this Sunday for a week. Yay!

As for quilting, sewing, or crafting -- I could care less about that stuff when I've got family visiting!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fabric choices...


Yesterday I featured some fabric choices for quilts with a more masculine bent. Today I'm showing you some beautiful fabrics from Hawthorne Threads that are definitely more feminine. I'm not sure I've ever met a collection from Hawthorn Threads that I didn't love. Here's a couple of collages from their Nectar collection, but check out Autumn Fawn, Thumbelina, Blackbird, and more. They are on the pricey side, but oh so worth it for their lusciousness...


Friday, July 14, 2017

Challenges...


All the grandchildren's quilt tops have been completed, so the last couple of weeks, I've begun to make my kid's quilts. This has proved to be a little more challenging -- especially for the men. As I was discussing with the ladies at the quilt store today, it's hard to find manly-man fabric. There are many options for children and women, but for men... not so much. Here's a sneak peek at some of the fabrics I've chosen for the men in my life.

The fabrics below have a coastal vibe. Lots of manly colors and an "anchors away" kind of feel with ships, anchors, and maps!
  {Hobby Lobby fabrics}


I've found "things that move" and "travel" can be a good themes for a man's lap quilt. I'm making one quilt out of this combination...
  {Theory of Aviation by Windham Fabrics}


And, I'm using one of those same fabrics, and building another one around these fabrics...


A couple of our boys have "desk jobs," so here's an option for them...

{Windham Fabrics Desk Job}


And there's always the "camping/wildlife/woodland" themes...

{Trail Mix & Foxtail Forest by Dear Stella}


{Woodie Winterland line by Stof Fabrics}


Hopefully these quilts will work up to be more masculine. That's the goal anyway.  I'm using a lot of gray and taupe in accent fabrics, so I think that will help. We will see!

Friday, July 07, 2017

Dallin's Quilt...


One more is finished.The other day someone at the quilt store where I buy some of my fabrics asked how many quilts I had completed. I still haven't bothered to count. All I know is that I'm making steady progress.


This particular quilt is for our second oldest grandson. He's nine years old. {I just had a "moment" when I realized if Dallin is 9, we have 16 more grandkids under nine. And, let's not forget the "one on the way." That's a lot of little ones -- whew. Sometimes it surprises even me.} Anyway, Dallin is growing up, so I wanted to make him a quilt that reflected his life right now and maybe a few years in the future.


Dallin started Cub Scouts last year, so I thought I'd make him a quilt about the great outdoors. I'm sure that will be a big part of his life in the years to come. I used some of the same fabrics on his brother's quilt, but changed out the predominant color in Dallin's to be navy blue.


The fabrics I used were primarily from Dear Stella and Riley Blake lines. They all have a woodsy vibe that I adore for little boys and the fabrics compliment each other beautifully...


I chose a swirly pattern for the quilting. Love it...


I'm finished with making all the quilt tops and backs for all the grandkids (that's 24 quilts), so I'm currently working on our kid's and kids-in-law's quilts now. I have to admit, I'm a little more anxious about their quilts. I find myself second-guessing fabric choices and designs. I have found some fabulous fabrics however, so I'm looking forward to putting them together!


Dallin's finished quilt measures 50" x 60". The half square triangle blocks are 9.5 inches (trimmed down from a 10.5" block)  and there is a 2.5" boarder around the quilt.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Hazel's Quilt...


I hope {those of you in the U.S.} had a wonderful Independence Day weekend. We certainly had a wonderful day celebrating with my niece and nephew's families!

I just finished a quilt that could only be described as "happy!" This is appropriate because it is for our one-year-old grandchild who has a perfectly sweet and happy disposition.


We met up with Hazel and her parents about a month ago. We hadn't seen Hazel since Thanksgiving, but we Facetime with her and her parents every week. When we walked in the room Hazel and my eyes met, and she immediately recognized me. While most little ones her age are a little cautious with "strangers," I put my arms out and she immediately lunged for me. {That makes a grandma's heart melt on the spot!} She is such a delightful and happy little girl, and I adore her.


This quilt has a lot of color and a lot of different fabric designs. Here's a photo of the fabrics, up close. We've got a floral, polka-dots, and other cute colors and designs...


For the back I used a coordinating polka-dot with a strip of fabrics used on the front of the quilt...


Again, I used a cute bee and flower design for the quilting...


I can picture our little Hazel snuggled up with this colorful quilt that matches her personality!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ellie's Quilt...


Guess what? I only have 13 more quilt tops & bottoms to make. I already have 15 quilts totally done, 7 quilts at the quilter's home waiting to be professionally quilted, two quilts waiting for binding, and four quilt tops and bottoms in the closet waiting to be transported to the quilter's home for quilting.  So... that leaves a total of 13 left to make. I'm cautiously optimistic that I will finish them all by November.

Today I realized I'd counted one quilt for two grandkids. {That's not going to work.} I was going to make two very similar quilts for those two and ended up making one and counting it for both. Geesh. This is complicated. Anyway, I'm plugging away at these quilts that I'm making for grandkids and kids for Christmas 2017. This week I made four adult size throw/lap quilts {at least 55" x 65"}. Doing that many in that amount of time almost did me in. I'm taking next week off.

Today I completed Miss Ellie's quilt. I love it. Ellie's favorite colors are pink and purple, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping she likes this red and pink quilt. When I saw this adorable floral fabric, it screamed "Ellie"...


That little floral print is seriously one of my favorite fabrics ever. I just love it. Ellie is a girl {almost 6 years old} who knows her own mind and is full of personality. She has three brothers, so this little one has learned to stand up for herself and be counted. I think this vibrant quilt has her name stamped all over it...


These quilts look small compared to the fence, but the fence is actually eight feet tall, so this one is plenty big for a six-year-old. It measure 45" x 55" finished.

I love this "Just Another Walk in the Woods" fabric that I built the quilt around...


The quilt also has sprinkles and lots of polka-dots.


For the back of the quilt I used more pink with a strip of the same fabrics I used on the front...



One more completed, and I'm loving this little quilt for my spunky granddaughter Ellie.