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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Evening Edition: Free Kindle Cook Book!

Time to get your CHOCOLATE on!

Okay. I’ll have that chocolate cake – the one right there on the book cover, and a tall glass of ice cold milk please!

There are times when only chocolate will do, and only home baked chocolate aroma will do!

Grandma’s Best Chocolate Recipes by Marg Ruttan is free today from the Amazon Kindle store, and has received a perfect 5 out of 5 stars based on 13 customer reviews.

Category: Cooking

Book Description:

In tough economic times it’s comforting to reach back to a time when life was less stressful and the people in our lives were more relaxed. It’s also soothing to allow ourselves a small treat of some of the foods we love best, especially chocolate. It is from this perspective that this book was created.

From The Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies to Turtle Bars, this cookbook is brimming with chocolate recipes that will make your mouth water and satisfy your need for chocolate.

These recipes come from three generations of cooks and have been chosen for their flavor and the fact that they are easy and quick to make. You’ll love the recipe for Mom’s Fabulous Fudge and the decadent Death By Chocolate Dessert. It will be hard to pick which recipe you want to make first, but you can and will come back to this cookbook time and again for all your favorite chocolate recipes.

And before dismissing this as “all chocolate recipes are alike” I went and checked the reviews. This one caught my eye:

Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but chocolate is undoubtedly a very close second!--and I can wholeheartedly affirm that this collection of chocolate recipes will satisfy the cravings of any chocolate lover, gal or guy.

The book includes recipes to fix chocolate any way that you could possibly want it--chocolate cakes, pies, bars, brownies, cookies, and even muffins. The instructions are clear and you don't need to purchase an obscure list of expensive ingredients to make these wonderful chocolate goodies.

I often need recipes for luncheons and coffees at work and church. This book is my new resource for anything chocolate. I was lucky enough to receive the book as a gift, and I can't thank my friend enough for thinking of me and passing this resource on to me.

Download it now while it is still free, and go spoil your family, and yourself with something yummy!

Not a stitch has been sewn today in Quiltville. I spent the morning and early afternoon hours working on book stuff. I spent time running more books to the post office, another bank run – and then straight to my bliss – I took time out for a 90 minute massage. I slept! Why do I do that? I missed the whole thing because I slept through it! LOL!

After that it was 6pm, and I had arranged to meet up with DH and a co-worker for a dinner out at the Village Tavern. Have you ever had spaghetti squash spaghetti? This was SO good! It had roasted spaghetti squash, julienne zucchini, onions, pine nuts in a plum tomato sauce, and topped with shredded parmesan cheese. OY! I have half of it left for lunch for tomorrow there was so much, and it was completely guilt free! I’ll have to try to make this at home ----it was seriously yummy!

And here I am, winding up my day, passing this on to you, and getting things ready for tomorrow’s fun post from Pat and myself!

Have a great evening, everyone!

THINGS that drive me NUTS!


Just before my birthday Lisa and I turned a lunch date into an afternoon of joint running around which included copious amounts of Antique Mall browsing.

One of the things that has been at the back of my list for quite a long while was a request from DH to find a butter dish “With a handle on the top” so we could cover the butter without getting the lid OR our fingers IN the butter when putting the lid on or taking it off.

I found the butter dish. It’s fiesta ware, vintage – cute yellow.

Now look at this problem.

Who was the GOMER who put an extra chunk of butter at the END of the stick of butter…and how am I supposed to put this lid ON the butter?!

I’m shaking my head.

Oh yes, and just pretend you don’t see toast crumbs there on the dish as well.

A glimpse into what it’s like to come home after a week of leaving everything to the menfolk in my house!

Oh – on a side note --- you’ll be sure to want to come back tomorrow. My buddy Pat Sloan and I are cooking up a Give-Away to celebrate the extra day we have in February this year!

Stay Tuned!

Bring in the Sunshine!

Even a gloomy day can be forgotten when working with such a variety of florals and sun-shiny yellows! ((I’m back to ADDING words to the dictionary – it said “Florals” was not a word. WHAT?! It is NOW!! HA!))

I posed the question last night on Facebook if I should spend the evening with my feet up in the recliner, or spend some time kitting quilt parts for my next trip --- I’m driving up to Norfolk,VA on Sunday and want a project with me.

I had finished all the Florabunda blocks while in Florida --- well---all but THREE----how did I miscount that? But that project just isn’t travel-able anymore. And as happens to all of us, I got sidetracked and instead of feet-up-in-the-recliner or kitting up ANOTHER project, I decided to kit up the 3 missing blocks instead.

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And then I sat down to sew them.

And then I laid out the missing blocks, spending the next long while moving things around.

You know how it goes, as soon as you move one thing and think you like it there, you see something else that shouldn’t be too close to the one you just placed, and on it goes. Finally I gave up. I mean, this is supposed to look like random placement!

I tried to separate the light light ones with the darker ones…it’s not quite a checker board look, but I liked it better than all the other ways I tried.

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I’ve got blocks set 8 X 9. I know it’s an uneven setting top to bottom, but that never bothers me. As long as it is an even setting set side to side – it’s going on a bed, so if it fits the bed, it’s good enough. I didn’t want to make one more row, I don’t like quilts that are too long and skinny –the corners may be symmetrical, but the scale looks off to me if I do that. This way it is one row longer than square ---works for me!

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And so much for feet up in the recliner OR kitting up something to take to Norfolk ---I sat down and started sewing blocks together into rows!

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The rows are now chained together….assembly line style. Thanks to this, I can NOT get blocks out of order and turning the wrong way -----and I can clip each row off one at a time to press before joining rows to rows. The best part? It is off my floor in a quick amount of time this way.

Maybe this evening I’ll get the rows sewn together and start thinking about borders. BORDERS! Do I really want to spend time putting MORE time into this quilt? The one that inspired it, the antique one from Florida had no borders, just a simple binding --- but you see --- there is more fabric, and I’d rather see it go into THIS project than hang on to it for another project that just might use it --- some day. If you want to know more about “Webbing The Top” click HERE!

All the pattern section re-edit’s for the next book are done! Today I tackle the re-edits on the front matter ---while trying to ignore the bright sunshine outside of my window. I’d like to be out in it, but there is work to be done.

Happy "ALMOST" Last-Day-Of-February, Everyone! I was just told it's Leap Year, so we get one extra day!

What are you going to do with your extra February day this year? Make It Count!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Evening Edition: Free Kindle Book!

First off --- you might notice there is a new widget in my side bar --- right there, on the right side, below where it says “Never Miss A Post”. This is where you can subscribe to this blog via email and – as it says – Never Miss A Post!

I had been getting requests from those who have me in google reader, but they keep forgetting to check it, or, they aren’t on facebook so they don’t get my links there. They wanted to know if there was a way to subscribe and thanks to another fellow blogger, I discovered that yes, I can offer you this as well!

Click where it says "Subscribe."

When you put your email address in the form, you’ll get a word verification ((Hate those)) asking you to confirm that you do want to be notified of new blog posts. As I post at least once a day, many times more if I have something to say and can’t wait to get it out --- you will get a “digest” each evening with links and summaries of the posts from that day. At the bottom of each digest is a link where you can unsubscribe if you ever want to. This is all to make it easier for you, so I hope you will try it out!

Second off –I bit the bullet and treated myself to a newly refurbished Kindle Fire today --- I found where they were on sale for $169.00, and I was tired of waiting. My old kindle is over 2 years old now. It isn’t backlit like the new kindle fire is, so I have to be in good lighting to read it. I don’t use the keyboard thing that the old kindle 2 has so it actually makes my screen smaller. I suppose I can list many many reasons, but let’s just say it’s a great cure for bunion pain!

Third off --- this book sounded really interesting when I found it on a search today:

The Silence of Trees by Valya Dudycz Lupescu is free today from the Amazon Kindle store, and has received an average user rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 116 customer reviews.

Category: Historical Fiction

Book Description:

In Chicago’s Ukrainian Village, Nadya Lysenko has built her life on a foundation of secrets. When she was sixteen, Nadya snuck out of her house in Western Ukraine to meet a fortuneteller in the woods. She never expected it to be the last time she would see her family.

Decades later, Nadya continues to be haunted by the death of her parents and sisters. The myths and magic of her childhood are still a part of her reality: dreams unite friends across time and space, house spirits misplace keys and glasses, and a fortuneteller’s cards predict the future.

Nadya’s beloved dead insist on being heard through dreams and whispers in the night. They want the truth to come out. Nadya needs to face her past and confront the secrets she buried–in The Silence of Trees.

It sounded kind of like a fantasy type of story, and I usually don’t do those, and it didn’t seem to jive with the category of the book so I went looking further. This was one of the reviews:

Nearly three years ago, I read the first 5000 words of this story for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Ms. Lupescu left me in a Ukranian forest full of German soldiers bent on rape with sixteen year old Nadya seeking her fortune from a clan of gypsies.

I've wondered what happened ever since.

I bought "The Silence of Trees" as soon as the book was available via Amazon and even paid extra for second day delivery. I sat down with the book and a cup of tea expecting to finish in one sitting.

Normally, I'm a serial devourer of books, but "The Silence of Trees" was entirely too rich for that. I paused at 75 pages and dreamed that night of the gypsy camp. Music, counterpointed by the jangle of tambourines rang in my ears. I even saw the raven-haired dancer clad in red and gold.

I followed Nadya through fifty years of her life, learning what it was like to lose family during World War II, to live in a German work camp, and to finally immigrate to a new land where you do not speak the language and begin anew. Each step is full of the same vivid detail as the initial scenes. Nadya and her family grow and become as real as next-door neighbors.

Ms. Lupescu's prose truly is the stuff that dreams are made of. The narrative voice of her protagonist Nadya remains strong throughout nearly fifty years of her life. You can almost taste the kolachi and feel the willow switches on your backside on Palm Sunday. The best of literature transports you to places you have never been. While some of the locales of "Silence" are places you may not have wished to be, there's heart and hope in every page.

Rebecca Kyle, October 2010

It was the book review that made me want to read the book more than the book description itself. But you decide! The book is free now as I type this, it might not be come morning, so check to be sure it’s still free for you before clicking to purchase.

Have a great Monday evening, everyone!

That “Used Clothing” Odor!

One of the questions that came my way when I asked if there was anything you wanted me to write about came in the form of “How do you remove funky odors from recycled clothing?”

I have always washed recyclable clothing that I plan on using in quilts in hot water with my regular detergent, and that usually solves the problem for me, but sometimes there is a shirt with a “questionable pedigree” and no matter what you try, the smell just doesn’t come “clean.”

Maybe it lived it’s previous life with a smoker, or a home with pets – or someone who loved to cook Greek food with copious amounts of garlic!

Whatever the case, I have a hint just for all of you sent in by Ms Anonymous J!

((If you read all the way to the bottom of her hint, you'll find out WHY she wants to remain anonymous!))

She writes:

Hi Bonnie:

Had to share this info with you. Hope you will pass it along to anyone who needs it.

My husband is one of the cleanest humans alive, neat too! lolol.

But his tshirts and our bed linens get terribly yellowed and become geniunely sticky! Having done everything possible to get rid of this mess---folk rmedies, commerical amd home products ... nothing at all worked.

Somehow I stumbled upon a stain, odor and smell webpage online. Voila! Prayers (literally) were answered.

White-Vinegar Morton Salt current

SALT AND WHITE VINEGAR! To see if this worked, I put hot water on the lowest filling for my washer. Add 1/2 cup salt and 1 cup vinegar, let 4 tees and 1 pillowcase soak for 30 minutes. Then washed in regular detergent! BRIGHT CLEAN AND NO SMELL Hurrah!

The explanation is that our sweat contains acetone, among other chemicals. Putting bleach etc. with the acetone causes the problem to get worse! I was about dissolving tees in BLEACH trying to clean things up, not knowing it made them worse!

Of course there is more to the explaination than I can remember. lol.

But now I presoak (and rinse once) all underwear and bed linens in hot water full setting with 1 cups salt and 2 cups vinegar. Since both products are cheap and work --- what a win win.

Thought perhaps when you pick up used plaids etc., they might have an off odor, try it.

Please feel free to offer this suggestion online or off. But please do not use my name...or I will become the lady who has the stinky hubby!

HUGS

J inTN

Salt and Vinegar! I have to admit when I first read her subject line it had me thinking of Salt & Vinegar potato chips and I was ready to run for the nearest bag in the cupboard --- but this sounds like it just might be the ticket for those of you wondering how to remove smells from older mustier fabrics, and those articles of clothing we want to repurpose into quilts. Anyone want to try to see if it will remove cat pee smells? Would love an update on that because sometimes I get gifts of fabric and or blocks that smell like “Bad Kitty”. :cD If the fabric can be saved, I’d rather save it than toss it out!

Are You “On Track!”?? ((Give-Away!))

I got home after 9pm last night --- falling into bed about 9:30pm and sleeping through the night until 7:30am! I think I needed it.

Travel might have you just sitting there while someone ELSE does the driving, or the flying, but it is just exhausting! And yes, I worked on hexagons. I haven’t shown a picture of progress for a while, so I’ll have to get that out and show you how far that border section has come.

This morning I looked at a HUGE stack of mail that had accumulated on the kitchen counter while I’ve been gone, and there was one big envelope I’d been waiting for!

I have a featured article in “ON TRACK!”, the official magazine of the International Machine Quilters Association.

Membership in IMQA includes the informative longarm quilter's magazine ON TRACK! 4 (four) times a year, optional business listing on the IMQA web site, discounted quilt entry fees for Machine Quilters Showcase (MQS®), discount cards for supply purchases and regional group support.

Within this publication you can find some of the most beautifully machine quilted quilts imaginable --- interviews from well known long arm quilters, tools, techniques and tips to help you hone your quilting skills.

ontrack

I have THREE extra copies to offer as a Give-Away! If you’d like to win a copy of On Track Magazine, Winter 2012 issue --- just leave me a comment below!

Remember if you are commenting without a blogger-visible email address or as "anonymous" that you need to leave me your name and your email address so I have a way to contact you.

All I'm asking is that if you leave a comment, you tell one friend ((Or one group of friends)) by passing on the link to this post so they can enter too! Feel free to post this give-away link to your fb friends, email lists, message boards, wherever quilters gather ---get the word out and let the fun begin!

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We’ll draw the winners on Friday morning.

Remember that this coming SATURDAY is the first Saturday in MARCH!, which means it’s Yard Sale Saturday! Be getting those items that you want to sell ready, write your post, and be ready to come link it to mine. Mine will go live at 7am Eastern time.

The rest of today for me? Laundry is running! Book edits await, this huge stack of snail mail needs taken care of, there are book orders to mail out that have come in while I’ve been gone, and I’ve got to do things like make a bank run, and find myself a podiatrist ---

Can anyone relate to BUNION PAIN!? OH, is this ever going to slow me down Sad smile

Sunday, February 26, 2012

iPhone-O-gram! The quilt bag edition!

Sitting on the plane in Charlotte, I occupied myself watching the bag handlers load the luggage from the truck to the belt.

And there were my quilt bags! It's always a relief to know they made my last connection on my way home.

However, one had to wonder what the comments are from the bag handlers discussing just what might be in these extra heavy bags!!

Consider The Postage Stamp!


I love this quote! I’m a quote junky, but this one applies to me so much and helps me push things through even when I might be feeling a bit bored, and am getting antsy to move on to the next thing.

A recent discussion revealed that many quilters have "so many" projects in various stages, yet can't seem to make progress on any of them.

When asked how I get so much done, I realize I limit myself and mostly stick to one main piecing project at a time --unless it is something that is a leader/ender project like the cheddar bow-ties or little sampler blocks that are released only a couple times a month.

I like to see big amounts of progress and stay mainly focused on ONE THING in the machine piecing department---and of course having deadlines helps with that. I don’t have time to dawdle or be distracted!

I have ONE hand travel project --- the hexagons.

I had one machine travel project -- the Florabunda blocks --simply because I finished the Midnight Flight quilt last week and haven't cut anything else out yet. ;cD

I have two hand quilting projects that are basted and have some hand quilting in them, but am only pushing through on one of them until it’s done – the pink and brown Jane Stickle variation. I’m not switching back and forth. The other one will simply be “next” in line.

I have two quilts needing the binding stitched down – That’s for TV watching time as well.

So there are a few quilt projects in different stages that are perfect to grab and stitch no matter what I’m doing, but it is not so overwhelming that I feel buried or paralyzed by a list of 100 UFOs.

Just what is it that takes a project from the front line, and puts it back on the shelf for you?

What makes us give up and run after the next new shiny thing instead of persevering in completing that project?

Sometimes life requires that we stop and do something else, whether it’s a baby quilt for a new arrival, a wedding quilt for someone special, a comfort quilt for a friend in need – I know these kinds of things can stop us in our tracks and make us shift gears to make a specific project in a limited amount of time ---but what else happens that makes us such distracted quilters?

I was told about a lady who had 87 KITS purchased and on shelves in her quilting room closet. Complete kits! Was she sewing any of them up? Nope. Just kits. For some day. That would feel like a life sentence to me! LOL!

I think if I had a list of 92 UFOs on a spreadsheet I’d go NUTS! It would feel like I couldn't ever get to the end of it. And I know for some people, it helps to list them all out ---but how do you stop yourself from starting new things and getting more and more side tracked with a list that long?

At home I have a white board on the wall in my basement studio. I list a few projects, including those for up coming deadlines --- and now that Midnight Flight is pieced and quilted ((That’s one of the ones waiting for binding to be sewn down now)) I’ll be picking one of those ideas off the list and working it through until the piecing is done and it moves to the next stage. I’m working on the quilts for book 5. I have about 1.5 years to get them done. And I know I work best one at a time.

And there is enough variety for me to be happy when you throw in the leaders & Enders, the hand quilting, the binding, and of course, those traveling hexagons. I am NEVER bored with these projects!

Are you buried in UFOs? Do you find that you are happy with that many, or are you panicky when you consider all it will take to complete them ---start a discussion in the comments section! I have a lot of airport time today, help keep me entertained, won't you? :cD

Just random thoughts from a road weary quilter as I make my long Sunday journey home to NC ---

Smith Mountain Morning in Naples!

Some workshops are a free-for-all, piece-until-you-drop day ---seam allowances aren’t crucial when you are string piecing as we were with Virginia Bound, and there are only a few steps that once learned, simply repeat to make the quilt as big or as small and as easy as you want it. The main objective? USE THE FABRIC!

Yesterday’s Smith Mountain Morning workshop was the complete opposite. A piecing challenge, and a skill builder in learning to use specialty rulers that work well not only in this particular quilt, but anywhere these traditional and oft repeated units are found.

We worked with half square triangles in 2 sizes using the Easy Angle Ruler.

We worked with quarter square triangles using the Companion Angle ruler.

We used Tri-Rec rulers to make long spikey star points with ease and precision, even if it felt like you were awkwardly rubbing your belly with one hand and patting your head with the other ---it feels odd sometimes to use new tools until you get used to them.

I was most encouraged when one quilter, who confessed to preferring to sew all of her half square triangles extra big, and sliver-trimming them all down to size ----was over the moon at the fact that her triangle units using the Easy Angle Ruler turned out “JUST RIGHT” and the only thing that needed trimming was to remove that one dog ear. That makes me feel so good!

I also had the privilege of meeting a long time email friend, Pati, and it was a big surprise to see her here! We met “back in the day” on Interquilt – a paid quilter’s email list serve that existed long before there were free “yahoo groups” and long before blogs ever existed. We figured it had to be about 1996 when we met via email, and this was the first time we saw each other face to face for real! Thanks for coming and sharing in the fun, Pati!

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This was Pati’s big hint to share. She likes the Faultless MAXX spray starch. It’s got a non-clog spray bottle, gives a nice firm finish, and comes in vanilla lavender scent --- yummy!

Because this was such a skill builder class, we broke it down into chapters, and spent an hour or so working on each unit --- by the end of the day, several had one of each block done….and everyone had several units that were ready to piece into stars or alternate blocks, but they wanted to build up more variety in their fabrics within the units before they started sewing them together –take a look below and see what we got up to!

It’s a travel home day for me today ----can’t wait to get home and sleep in my own bed! I also finished up the Florabunda blocks….there wasn’t enough room to lay them out in the hotel room, so I’m looking forward to doing that at home!