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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Evening Funny!


I’m packing for Nashville ---

And it is POURING and thundering outside ---woke me from my nap!

Why is this picture here?

Because I'm having a Give-Away!

TOMORROW!  Not right now.

You are going to have to come back for tomorrow morning's post --don't miss it!

But as for tonight....I thought this might give you a giggle!

I’m enjoying making these little placards with funny quilty sayings on them, and wanted to share this one here with you ----Hoping you have enjoyed your Easter with your family!

12step

I’ve got someone arranging me a loaner machine for hotel room stitching….I need to kit up what Wild & Goosey block quarters I have with some fabric for the sashings and cornerstone and start getting those assembled! 

Today I put on a binding and would love to sit and hand stitch that too!

But I’ve only got 3 more Sister’s Choice blocks to make and that top will be ready to assemble!

But I must pack my clothes, and be sure I have everything ready for my flight in the early early morning ----HEXIES!  Do I need to cut more hexies? And what about my Mp3 player with my audio books? Is it recharged?!

Oh goodness --- I’m running and rambling like the proverbial chicken who’s missing his head ---I better go find it!

Mashed Cauliflower!


So many have asked for the mashed cauliflower recipe I use that I'm posting it here for you to try.

This is something I’ve recently discovered that I really REALLY like….and it gives me that yummy mashed potato feeling without the starchy guilt!

Ingredients:
1 medium head cauliflower
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon straight chicken base or bullion (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon salt)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish
3 tablespoons  butter (adjust as needed)


Directions:

Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.
Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower very dry between several layers of paper towels.
((If you skip the drying part, the cauliflower will become watery! Ask me how I know!)) 
In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken base, and pepper until almost smooth.
Garnish with chives, bacon crumbles, shredded cheese or simply pats of butter.

Today I didn’t have cream cheese in the fridge, so I substituted sour cream, and it was equally good.

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Happy Easter!


Plans for us today include a non-traditional meal of steaks on the grill, baked sweet potatoes, mashed cauliflower, and a good salad, fruit with yogurt for dessert.

My first holiday meal of eating gluten-free ---and I’m really not out there trying to substitute bad breads and bad sweets with gluten free versions that are not all that healthy for me.

Of course, I bought rolls for the guys to have with their meal --- but as for me, if I eat bready things, I crave bready things no matter whether they are gluten free or not.

If I eat a gluten free pie – I’d want to eat the WHOLE PIE – which is not good for me either ---so I’m staying strict with myself here because I am FEELING BETTER!

This is Sadie, helping me keep the blocks down on the floor --- wishing you all a happy Easter full of family and friends and good memories!

I'm hoping to get the last 4 blocks done and get this top assembled today.

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I want to thank you all for the gift you gave of clean water ---the goal for Blood Water Mission has been met!  You went beyond the mark, and as of this posting we have raised $7,420.00 for a well in Africa! Thank you so much for jumping in and giving so freely.

The participation does not have to stop here.  If you feel led to give, you can still donate here!

Donating to this cause is  probably the BEST thing I’ve done this year.  It really is a gift that keeps on giving.

Pam will draw for the winner of the quilt at some point today, be watching --- I'll post the winner here!

Happy Easter, Everyone!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spring! YAY!!

Today we finally had a blue and sunny sky ---

I took this photo on the way home from the post office this morning ---

This yard has the most glorious bradford pears that are always my first showing of spring ----and I am glad I was able to capture them today because I know when I come home from Nashville in Friday – their blooming should just about be over and leaves will be pushing forth.

It’s been such a cold and delayed spring here that most of the bradford pears don’t seem to WANT to bloom…..as if they are being forced into it against their will.  “It’s not warm enough, please don’t make us do this….NNooooo!!”

But they are beautiful.

And I love the promise of beautiful weather soon to come!

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I’ve had a devil of a time with the quilting machine today.  There is NOTHING more difficult to pick out than perfect quilting stitches with just-right tension.  MISERABLE! 

And it’s amazing how long it takes to pull out something that took 3 minutes to put in!  I think I’m off and running now – but I was so discouraged at the time I had to take a time out and make this to express how I was feeling:

asyesew

Can I have an amen??

And some chocolate?

And an extra long soak in the hot tub tonight!

One More Push for the WELL!!

You all have been so helpful and open hearted in helping Pam Stahl reach her goal of raising $7,000.00 for a well providing clean water to those in need in Africa.

Pam’s email to me this morning was exhuberant and hopeful – could we post ONE MORE PUSH?

We are so close to the goal, right now only $1,300 away!

Here’s Pam’s story bringing us up to date on this momentous project:
Hi Friends!
Tomorrow is the big day.  EASTER and the Living Water Quilt drawing. Bonnie Hunter really helped stir things up earlier this week.
Thanks Bonnie---You're a dear.
I've got lots more to chat with you about and many assorted updates brewing, but for now I need to push on with this primary mission.  WATER FOR AFRICA!!

African-water-pump-537x357

We are less than $1,300 away from hitting our $7,000 goal!!

Why $7,000?

When I was doing research on building a well, I found the cost of providing water to a community to range from $1,000 to $16,000 depending on what type of system would work for the situation and if there was already an infrastructure in place that just needed repairs.

Somehow $7,000 kept popping into my head, so I went with it....even though my doubting Thomas side said it wasn't possible.  My faithful side (always in some sort of conflict with the doubting Thomas in me) knew that if this goal was accomplished it would most definitely be by God's Mighty Hand and not of my own doing.  It gives me chills just writing that.

Please take some time to watch this video insight into the project and let your heart be led:

Please  donate towards the well.
Don't miss this opportunity to be a part of something wonderful.
many blessings,
Pam
We can do this.  It matters.  Clean water is life.  It’s as simple as that.  We can grow this remaining $1,300.00 quickly if you stretch yourself and donate $20 or more instead of $10, but of course, any amount you can give from your heart is worth so much to so many.

Happy Easter, Y’all --- after all, this is what it is all about.  What greater way to celebrate the season, than with a reason such as this.

Scrappy Trips Hits American Quilt Retailer!


A couple of months ago, Author Susan Fuquay contacted me about the wild and crazy thing going on with Instagram and Flickr – and how my Scrappy Trips pattern has taken the quilt world by storm, almost overnight!

If you have Istagram, you can simply type in #scrappytripalong and you will find 5,630 photos uploaded by scrap-saavy quilters all over the world. 

A TON of inspiration for digging into those 2-1/2” strips and sewing up a Scrappy Trip of your own.

The neatest thing ----is that American Quilt Retailer is a publication for shops!  They are letting the shops know that they can have some really fun Scrappy Trip Along days with their customers – bring the scraps, sew up a day of fun!

And this excites me ---Because we all know we have more fabric than we know what to do with.

And because sometimes workshops can be daunting ((And expensive)) and you don’t have much to show for a one day class at the end of the day.

And this focuses on forming friendships, lots of laughter, swapping of strips, and building a quilting community, as well as learning a fun technique and sewing up the scraps we’ve accumulated while supporting our quilt shops all along the way.

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The history of the Scrappy Trip in Print!

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Yay!! Huge shout-out!

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Gorgeous quilts made during the Scrappy Trip Along!

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Would you like a Scrappy Trip Along in your own town??  Contact your local shops.  See if they have received their issue of American Quilt Retailer.  Have them turn to these pages and talk to them about the possibility of having a low key high fun scrappy sew up day in their shops.  Let people bring their SCRAPS and play.

One of the things I personally find disheartening is when a shop demands that for any class ALL fabric must be purchased from their shop with in a certain time period.  This ties customer’s hands and makes them go elsewhere.  Shops need to understand that we have the vast stashes that we do because we have supported their industry all along the way ---and you know, as soon as you get people IN the shop to have a fun day like a Scrappy Trip Along ---we will SHOP once there!  It’s inevitable!

Shops could even benefit by kitting up the 2.5” X 18” strips for those who simply want to sew, and don’t want to have to cut down their own fabrics.

You can also check out the Flickr Group for the Scrappy Trip Along HERE:

flickr1
There are 1,715 photos in this Flickr Group! Inspiration Abounding!

Clue the shops in – encourage them!  And have fun!

After all, doesn’t this statement fit you too?

womanofmoods

Absolutely!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Back Home…


MESMERIZED by this water fall!

Our search today took us from Purlear, NC near Buck Mountain all the way over to Ferguson, NC ---and a few places in between.

After a while things start blending together and all the cabins start looking the same!

At this point I think…THINK…..we may have narrowed it down to two and are having a hard time deciding which is best!

I took a little video at the bottom of this lovely waterfall on Buck Mountain just so you could hear the burble of spring arriving.

I honestly COULD stand here and watch that water fall for hours --- just listening…..

This is where my soul finds peace.

Where do you find your peace?


And this view…..couldn’t you just….look out at this forever?

NC_Mts 055

Still not rushing into anything ---but I feel like every trip we are getting closer to where we want to be.

Tomorrow-- I'll share more pics of what we saw -- but tonight --I'm going to sew :)

iPhone-o-Gram! Live from Wilkesboro!

We've had another day of really fun cabin hunting.

And it's getting harder and harder to make a decision!

We were shown one today that is actually closer to home than the others that we really liked.

Some features of the other I like better, and some aspects of this house we like better! It's a rough decision!

We know we don't need to decide right away – and if one of these should be snatched out from under us, it's not the end of the world – there will be more to look at another time.

It sure is fun to look, hope, to dream –

The view of the front porch with all of those inviting rockers looks like a scene from Cracker Barrel! :-)





Math Tricks with Specialty Rulers!

I received an email from Vicki in Australia asking for some math help with figuring the sizes of strips she can use with the Easy Angle Ruler and Companion Angle Ruler while making the Lazy Sunday mystery that is currently running in Quiltmaker Magazine.

She writes:
Hi Bonnie
I have a question about Part 2. For the  4  1/4 inch squares what size would I cut them into triangles with using the ruler? I am having a mental blank. I have started doing the large completed units.

Vicki
 We’ve all had those mental blanks before!
 
Before I go any further – this photo has NOTHING to do with the mystery currently running!  It’s just a photo from my archives of Quarter Square Triangles.  I wanted a photo that would be a grabber enough for you to stay and read this post ;c)
 
When working with specialty rulers like the Easy Angle and Companion Angle rulers, the first place you need to start is to find the FINISHED size of the unit you are making.  Sometimes a pattern with "regular rotary cutting directions" will list that, sometimes it won’t. Sometimes you can look at the finished size of the whole block and deduce what size each unit in the block should measure.
 
Because this is a mystery, and I haven’t received my issue yet, I’m not sure of how Quiltmaker has broken the steps down ---But with a bit of reverse algebra –let’s assume the following.
 
quartersquaretriangles
 
The magazine lists the cut square size as 4-1/4”.  If this is the unit I am thinking of – the finished size of the unit is 3”, so likely we are making quarter square triangles here.
 
Remember the math formula for Quarter Square Triangles?  Take the FINISHED size of the unit, and add 1-1/4” to give you the size of the square you need.  From here you proceed to cut that square with an X from corner to corner to give you four quarter-square triangles from each cut square.
 
EasyStreet 002
 
To use the companion angle ruler for these units, instead of cutting 4-1/4" squares, find the "FINISHED SIZE" of the quarter-square unit.  In this case I believe it is 3" (Again I don't have a copy of the magazine yet so I don't know how they broke the steps down)  Divide 3" in half = 1.5" (Because an hour glass unit is two triangles high!) Now add the seam allowance to that bringing it up to 2".  You will use a 2" strip and the companion angle ruler instead of cutting a 4 1/4" square with an X.
 
companionangle
 
And it’s even easier than that – do you see those LARGE Numbers on the outsides of the Companion Angle Ruler?  Those are the finished “Hour Glass” sizes.  The numbers down the CENTER of the ruler tell you the size of strip to cut in order to get that size of finished unit.
 
It’s easier than you think to find out what sizes of strips you need --- but you need to start by finding the finished UNIT size before you can figure out the rest!
 
Something else to consider when finding what sizes of strips to cut for the quarter-square triangles in Flying Geese units:
 
The height of a flying goose unit is only HALF the height of an hour-glass unit….so if you know that your goose is going to finish at 2” X 4”  Add 1/2” to the 2” side to give you 2-1/2” and you’ll be cutting your goose triangles from a 2-1/2" strip.

OR:


Follow the large numbers on the outside of the ruler and take the FINISHED SIZE of the LONGEST EDGE of the flying goose unit --which will be 4".  ((It's 2" X 4" finished, right?))


Now  find the corresponding small number down the center -- see?? 2.5"! This way also tells you to cut 2.5" strips for flying geese units that finish at 2" X 4".
 
What about Half square Triangles?  How do you know which size of strip to cut for using the Easy Angle Ruler?
 
halfsquaretrianglesimage
 
 
 
The “regular” rotary cutting method is to add 7/8” to the finished size of the unit to give you the size of strip or square you need to cut to get your unit to finish at the size you need.
 
Half square triangles that finish on the even INCH will have a measurement that says “Something + 7/8”.
Half square triangles that finish on the HALF INCH will have a measurement that says “Something + 3/8”.
easyangle6
There are two ways to figure out what size of strip to cut to use the Easy Angle Ruler.
 
Find the finished size of the unit and add 1/2”. (regular seam allowance) As in –the units finish at 2”, therefore I’m going to start with a 2-1/2” strip.
 
OR:
 
Take the cut measurement given, and subtract 3/8”.  That will tell you right off what size you are going to cut.  If the pattern calls for a 2- 7/8” strip – I know I can subtract 3/8” and have 2-4/8” which is 2-1/2”.
 
((Oh, I wish my 7th grade math teacher could see that I DID learn my fractions after all, but it took Quilting to make me understand it!))
 
IMG_20121129_094700
This comes in handy when you need a unit that finishes on the half-inch in a quilt.  The pattern will tell you for a  half-square triangle unit that finishes at 1-1/2” to cut a 2-3/8” strip, cutting that strip into 2 3/8” squares. 
 
Subtract that 3/8” to use the Easy Angle – and you’ll be cutting your units from a 2” strip.
 
Easy Peasy, RIGHT?!
 
And do you know what that extra 3/8” is anyway?? Whether the measurement is 7/8” or 3/8” – that extra 3/8” is simply a DOG EAR.
 
dog-ear
 
You are going to remove that Dog Ear  before sewing your units into the quilt anyway – so why not remove them before you even sew and get more units out of less fabric in the long run using the Easy Angle and Companion Angle rulers!
 
No more Triangle Trouble – it’s all smooth stitching from here!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How Grow The Hexies?!


One at a time!

And this thing is taking on a life of it’s own…but first I have to tell you a funny story. ((Yes, I have lots of those!))

Sitting on the plane in Chicago on my return trip from Portland, Oregon –we are all buckled in at the gate, ready to go ---

The cabin door is closed.

All cell phones and electronic devices are turned off and safely stowed away ((But I swear I could still hear a distinct text beeping in the pocket of a guy a few rows up…sheeesh!))

Lo and behold--

((Don’t you love "Lo and Behold.."? It makes you listen harder, doesn’t it?!? ANTICIPATION!))

The voice of our captain comes over the loud speaker telling us they are waiting for some paperwork and it will be about 15 minutes before we can back away from the gate.

While I hear other passengers sigh and moan -- I smile to myself and OUT COME THE HEXIES!

And there to the seat to the left of me…..coming out of HER bag – I see:

home 030

SMOCKING!!

She was SMOCKING!!

We looked at each other and laughed, both agreeing that we had chosen the right section of the plane to sit.

We had a delightful conversation all the way from Chicago to Greensboro ---and I felt like I had crossed paths with a kindred spirit.

home 033

Of course, these were Easter dresses ---and she was actually helping her sister out who was running behind schedule on getting the dresses done –and like a good auntie she was pitching in. Sweet!

Three cheers for random-acts-of-public-stitching!

So this is how the hexies grew this trip – amazing what you can get done while sitting in airports and on planes:

portlandOR_mar2013 007

While waiting for my first flight out of Greensboro on my way to Portland

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The morning AFTER arriving in Portland
((That was a long long travel day!  And yes, this is the hotel  room bathroom floor!))

hexies 004

After returning from Portland and spending today waiting at the car dealership!
Shamu had an oil change and tires rotated for our trip tomorrow.

And because I was there in the dealership and couldn’t resist:

hexies 001

Now THIS is what I call a Hood Ornament!


hexies 002

Close Up and Personal!

It will go in the car with me for more property searching tomorrow – the next task is to put a row of neutral all the way around this center medallion to separate it from the next round…I’ll be spending some time this evening cutting some more neutral hexies as my variety is really low after finishing the last hexie top.

And just for fun ---

asknot1

Wild & Goosey Time with Quiltmaker!


The May/June issue of Quiltmaker Magazine with my Wild & Goosey paper pieced blocks is just about to hit the news stands!

And don't forget that this issue includes Part 2 of my Lazy Sunday mystery!

I know you’ve been waiting for it ---and so have I.

I started piecing these little  "Wild & Goosey" gems while on the road a few years ago – and slowly my collection of blocks is growing.

It was a lot of  fun to include the cut off triangles and crumbs from students projects, gathered and gleaned at the end of class -- to include their scraps with mine!

I went through the archives to see just WHEN I started piecing them…and I found this photo of my beloved Magenta Featherweight, may she rest in pieces:

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WAHHHHH!

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This was the stack I was trimming up when we were first renting a cabin in the Western North Carolina Mountains to see if that is where we wanted to end up ---My stack has sat since the leader/ender spools took over!

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My basket is full!  It’s time to remove some papers and make a quilt!

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Here is the block I sent into Quiltmaker!

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Sample quilt layout!  Whoowhoo!

Be watching for the magazine – that is where you are going to find the foundation piecing template.  You can find the directions for the sample layout on the Quiltmaker Magazine site HERE!

And I’ve linked everything to the Addicted To Scraps tab at the top of the blog for future reference!

Happy Goose-ing! And as we all know very well:


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