Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Days of Quilting, Friendship & Laughter!

From strips to four-patches -

Isn’t strip piecing just the best?  This was my morning yesterday.

I’m also happy to report that Operation Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs – Try number TWO was a complete success. 

I’m not sure what happened the first time around, it it was likely operator error, but we are well on our way now and I am excited about learning to make many of the recipes from the many places I’ve been directed to thanks to your comments.

I need something that can speed up the dinner process from time to time.  I get home from the Quiltville Post Office about 5pm, and if I don’t know what the plan is before I leave in the morning – dinner turns out to be “BREAKFAST” or even the “Let’s just go out” which is happening far too frequently in my book.  It’s not healthy for my body, it’s certainly not healthy for my wallet.

I’d love to know what your favorite recipes are – in fact, we could have a recipe share by posting your favorites in the comments section below!  Ready? Set? POST!  I’ll link this post to the recipes tab at the top of the blog so we can always go back and find new ones to try.

I shared with Jill how I speed cross-cut with the Accuquilt Studio!

I only needed a large handful of red/blue four-patches to use as cornerstones in my current Irish Courthouse Table Topper adventure.

She was amazed!  I love that I can share something this simple – that is such a game changer!

Sashings laid out, four-patches in place!

Oops…gotta rotate that one second up on the far right!

(And I did before sewing it together.)

Webbed and ready to cross-seam!

Things reconfirmed to me during this process:

I chose to make a double-strip sashing because of the four-patches just to make it look less like there was a sashing there at all.

IF you choose to spin the seams on the back of four-patches in a setting like this – just know that your sashing seam may nest on one end of the sashing, but the other end of the sashing will fight – because the seam on the sashing is pressed to one side.

You’d have to make 2 batches of four-patches, sew them in opposite directions so that half of the seams would spin left, the other half spin right – in order to make things nest all the way through the quilt assembly process.  What a pain!

Before you go spinning seams willy-nilly – know if they will work with the next unit you are joining them to or not.

The solutions?  Either don’t spin the four-patches at all, just press them to one side and deal with it as you are assembling, or press the seams on the sashings OPEN, and then pin to match.  

You can also just flip a seam in the sashing as needed and then press with a heavy hand to get that seam to lie flat – and I’ve done that with much success as well because it is a long seam, and I don’t plan on stitching anything in the ditch during the quilting process.

Jill and I talked quite a bit about open seams during our sewing time yesterday, and we both agree to feeling that a pressed open seam is a vulnerable seam as there are then only 2 threads of strength between the patches holding them together. When pressing to one side, that seam is protected by the double fabric strength of the seam allowance and stitches are less likely to pop while the quilt is in use.

Do open seams give flatter pressing?  Yes.  But what does that matter when you are going to wash and dry the quilt and use it? It won’t be flat ever again after quilting.

More than .02 cents, I know – and I have just broken my own rule of “Don’t discuss politics, religion, fabric washing, seam pressing (open or not), dry iron or steam iron, or just how many sewing machines do you REALLY own?!

And then we laughed and laughed some more!

Just what is IN that blue juice that you area always drinking, Jill??

Oh, but this is going to be so pretty!

Both of these blocks are Accuquilt dies.  The small block is 6’’, the large is 12’’.  Jill cut all of the pieces before coming down, and has been sewing up a storm.  I love it!

Meanwhile – I’m loving this!

I’m very excited to be welcoming the gals from the West Jefferson Quilters Guild to Quiltville Inn today, for a sew day full of fun, friendship and a pot luck lunch!

I get to sew as well, which will be fun – so this project will be coming along with me to finish up.  I have some ideas for borders – but haven’t gotten as far as cutting out yet.  So I’ll likely return to string blocks for more place mats with the row by row license plates.  I need 24 so that 12 can be in use, while 12 are in the laundry – and there are plenty of scraps where that all comes from!

The digital pattern for Irish Courthouse is still priced at 50% off in the digital pattern section of the Quiltville Store.  It’s only $4.00 and no coupon is required – there are only a couple of weeks left of this sale, so don’t miss out!  You can be sewing, right along with me. 

My quilt is aiming for table topper size, but Jill commented that it would also be just about baby quilt size by the time my borders are on.  What two colors would you like to be working with? Or would you go completely scrappy?

Jill is leaving me this morning, but I’ll hopefully be seeing her again in a few months.  She will say hi to the ladies as they arrive, and be on her way back up to Erie, PA.  We spent our last evening of stitching time looking like this:

We love our Craftoptics!

I’ve been using them for my close handwork for several years now.  Last spring my prescription in my glasses changed, and I simply sent my craftoptics back in and they updated the prescription in these as well – they were back to me in no time!

Go to Craftoptics.com for more info. These are great. they have my own glasses prescription in them (bifocals even!) and then the magnifiers flip down on top of the glasses. My prescription changed this year, and I sent them in to be updated with new lenses with the new prescrip - such quick service! When purchasing use coupon code QUILTVILLE100 when checking out (or over the phone) and that will save them $100 off a WOW Package.

My realization for myself is that if I can justify the cost of a computerized long arm quilting machine, and I can justify all the cost of all of my quilting tools, machines, fabric, everything that goes with it – I can also justify the cost of Craftoptics that enable me to continue doing what I love to be doing – while actually seeing what I am doing CLEARLY in the process.  Forget the looking silly while wearing them. Do I want to see to do what I love to do?

The answer is a resounding YES!  And I’ll never regret it.

The Waggy Quilters have chosen the weekend of November 12th to hold their retreat at Quiltville Inn!  They are even adding some extra days to their stay, and adding in a workshop.  I am so excited!

Which means that we only have these available dates left:

Mar 5-8
Apr 2 -5
Nov 19-22

And the random number generator chooses:

Entry 22, Nola Hartman & The Bonniacs!

Nola, I’ve sent you an email.  Chat it out with your ladies, choose your weekend from the 3 listed, and get back to me so I can make the other two weekends available to others.

We are down to the nitty gritty of filling 2020, folks!

Those March/April dates are fairly close around the corner, so I hope that there are a couple of groups that can pull themselves together quickly enough to grab them!

If we get to a point where a drawn group is unable to use any of the remaining available weekends, the group will remain on the waiting list and we will continue to draw groups until the dates are filled.

Quiltville Quote of the Day

The first time I learned about Helen Keller I was about 11. And I couldn't fathom a life without sight nor sound.

Anytime I am feeling the slightest bit down, I remember that I have eyes to see and ears to hear and quilting to keep my hands busy.

Life is indeed a daring adventure! If we choose to look at it as one!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!


  1. So glad you’ve enjoyed some stitching time with Jill! As for the instant pot, mine is new to me as well, but I tried this recipe for wild rice soup (https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/cozy-autumn-wild-rice-soup/) and it turned out fantastic! I love that she has directions for stove, instant pot, and crock pot preparation for this one. Enjoy your day group with time to sew with them today - thanks for everything you do for us!

  2. Great recipe: Instant Pot Chicken & "Rice" Soup from 40aprons.com and on Pinterest. The rice is cauliflower rice so low carb, whole 30, paleo and dairy free. It was my first recipe in my new Instant Pot. A winner

  3. I do bar barbequed spare ribs in mine and do baked potatoes at the same time. One pot simple meal.

  4. Recipe: I make Budda bowls. If you can, in your instant pot, cook up lots of beans ahead of time and put them in the freezer. Chop up veggies put on your beans and whatever you have on hand. Google Budda bowls and look at the image. Easy and fast and nutritious.

  5. helen keller is a hero of mine as well...though without hearing or seeing, she was not handicapped as these did not hamper her joy or fulfillment of a well used life..

  6. Last night I made two pork chops in my Air Fryer (I just have a 2.5 qt. fryer). I used 400 degrees and approximately 20 minutes (I turned over once during the cooking process.) I cooked them to an internal temp of 165 degrees. I did add my own seasoning but that was it. They turned out great. I also cooked some frozen broccoli in under 10 minutes at 400 degrees. You could also do the same with cauliflower or brussel sprouts. Baked potatoes are great in the air fryer, but take about 40 minutes. I'm trying to use my air fryer more often in 2020. I feel if it's going to take up counter space, it needs to be used. Good luck in your cooking endeavors.

  7. Bonnie, I’d love to see you demo crosscutting on the AccuQuilt during a Quilt Cam sometime.

  8. Fast way to make stuffed peppers. Cut bell pepper long ways. Stuff with frozen meatballs. Fill with seasoned spaghetti sauce. Cover and bake until peppers are tender. Serve with rice.

  9. Any meatloaf recipe made with 1 1/2 lbs of ground meat. Potatoes and carrots on the bottom. High pressure 35 minutes. I use a 6 inch bundt pan. Turn broiler on, flip meatloaf onto a baking dish. Put your glaze on top and broil for a few minutes.

  10. I forgot to put water in with my eggs one time. Didn't cook at all!!

  11. I use my Instant Pot all the time. When I got started I joined the instant pot Facebook group. They were life savers. I got off the group after a few months because of post overload. Now I just fill my IP with one of my regular recipes and then go online to determine cooking time. In my opinion, IP makes the BEST soups. Something about the pressure melds all those flavors into deliciousness.

  12. There are lots of free recipes on this site, but this posole soup is one of my favorites. https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/pork-and-hominy-stew/

  13. I tried instant pot twice, once I just returned it the next a few years later, I sold. To me it is so counter intuitive, it takes the pleasure and creativity out of cooking. I love my crockpot and use it a lot.

  14. one of my favorites is deli roast beef from This Old Gal. All her recipes are fabulous but this one gets nice tender done just as you like it eye of round with little fuss.

  15. For easy fail proof home cooked recipes.. Check out the files at www.rootitoot.com. I have both cookbooks and use the file recipes. I cook for my dad and he loves the meals!

  16. I used our InstaPot/multicooker to make butternut squash soup for Christmas (and since I got sick right after, it was a soothing meal when I didn't want to eat much). Butternu Squash Soup: 2-3# butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1" cubes; two carrots - cut in 1" pieces; 1 med onion - diced; 3 T butter; 6 cups good chicken stock (I make my own with no salt); nutmeg, salt, and pepper - to taste. Using the browning setting, melt butter and add onion; cook until translucent (do not let brown). Add squash, carrot, and stock. Turn to the soup simmer setting and simmer for about 3 hours - the more you simmer , the more flavor you build (you can use slow cook low setting if letting it cook all day). Once squash is tender (a knife slides easily in and out), pull the cooking pan out and puree with an immersion blender. You can also use a regular blender, but do it in batches with the center of the top removed (cover with a towel) so that the steam can release. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Serve. I swirled a small spoonful of creme fraiche onto the top.

  17. Had a great time today! Got a lot done for the marathon quilt!

  18. I am also new to this Instant Pot business. I think it’s a great idea to do a “recipe swap!” Unfortunately I don’t have any recipes to share, but looking forward to seeing more. Beautiful quilts going, ladies! Happy Quilting! ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿงต

  19. Sewing vs cooking? Ahhh, the age old quilter's dilemma! Instant pot 'crack' chicken is one of my absolute favorite recipes. As odd as it feels to only cook something for 12 minutes, that's all it takes for this recipe to be done (of course the timing doesn't start until the pressure has reached the correct level-which doesn't take long at all). The chicken breasts can actually still be frozen when you put them in the pot! Will put a link to one version within this post, but know I don't always use bacon when I make it. Made this once without bacon but added frozen peas and carrots and used the leftover results as chicken pot pie 'stuffing', got rave reviews for it! https://www.adventuresofanurse.com/instant-pot-crack-chicken/

  20. Ooops, just realized that by simply sending that link folks would have to read the entire blog entry to reach the recipe. Sooo, I went back and cut just the recipe and will attach it now:
    6-8 slices cooked bacon
    2 pounds boneless chicken breast
    1 packet ranch seasoning
    8 oz cream cheese
    1/2 cup water
    1 cup cheddar cheese
    Place chicken and cream cheese in the IP.
    Sprinkle the packet of ranch seasoning over the top.
    Add half cup water.
    Place your IP on Manual high pressure for 15 minutes. Do a quick release.
    Remove chicken only and shred I used my kitchen aid to shred my chicken.
    Keep your IP on low Add chicken back in. Add cheese and stir. Stir in bacon and enjoy.
    Directions for slow cooker: Place chicken cream cheese and ranch seasonings in crock pot cook on low for 6 hours. Remove chicken and shred. Place back in the pot
    and stir in bacon. bacon and enjoy.

  21. How wonderful! I hope to visit someday. Looks like you had a blast together!

  22. I make roasts a lot - for a smallish roast beef 45 min on Meat with 2 c broth, wait 10 min, release steam, add potatoes, carrots, whatever, 10 min on Manual, wait 10 min, release steam. Pour off the broth into a fat separator and make gravy if desired. Also spare ribs for 20-22 min, then finish with sauce on the barbeque. Roast lamb comes out wonderfully tender (55-65 min). Basically I use the timing in the book that came with it for meat, rice, etc. I also use as a crock pot but it takes a little longer than my old slow cooker.

  23. Instant pot. You must make sure that the pressure release value is "pushed" all the way back. If it is left in the release position (to the front). The pot will NOT come to pressure and therefore the timer will not start. I made this mistake a few times when I started (if was frustrating). ENJOY.

  24. Do you have a pattern name for Jill's quilt blocks? Love them and would like to do some if I could. Wish I could come to the Inn but alas - too far away for me. (I am in snowy and very cold British Columbia, Canada).

  25. Chicken Marbella is delicious. Marinade the ingredients in the morning and bake later. I use the recipe from the blog “Gonna Want Seconds” (1/4 of her original recipe, which serves 10). This smells wonderful as it’s baking!

    Chicken Marbella
    Serves 2-4
    1 whole chicken (2 1/2 lbs), quartered
    3 T. Red wine vinegar
    3 T. Olive oil
    1/2 head garlic, peeled and minced
    1 T. Dried oregano
    1 tsp. Salt
    1/2 tsp. Pepper
    1/4 c. Prunes
    1/4 c. Pitted Spanish green olives
    2 T. Capers
    1 T. Caper juice
    2 bay leaves
    1/4 c. Brown sugar
    1/4 c. White wine
    Whisk together the wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Place in a large ziplock bag. Add chicken pieces, prunes, olives, capers, caper juice, and bay leaves. Close bag and marinade overnight or for 8-10 hours.
    Oven: Preheated to 350 degrees
    Place chicken and marinade on a rimmed baking sheet or 13x9 pan. Sprinkle chicken with brown sugar and pour white wine around the pieces.
    Bake in preheated oven for about 1 1/2 hours, until chicken registers 165 degrees.
    Serve with hot fluffy rice.

  26. Easy & fast Turkey breast.
    7-1/2# turkey breast
    onions & celery
    salt & pepper
    1-1/2 cups water
    In the instant pot for about 60 minutes (8 minutes/pound). Moist & Delicious.
    What can't you do with turkey?

  27. I make this recipe in my IP. It freezes well, is even good if you replace the rice with riced cauliflower and is just so tasty!



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