Tuesday, February 26, 2008

One Word at a Time

Everybody's doing it . . . I copied this list from Amy.

1. Where is your cell phone? desk
2. Your significant other? insignificant
3. Your hair? straight
4. Your mother? creative
5. Your father? missed
6. Your favorite thing? learning
7. Your dream last night? forgotten
8. Your favorite drink? latté
9. Your dream/goal? heath
10. The room you’re in? living
11. Your ex? tall
12. Your fear? illness
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? warmer
14. Where were you last night? home
15. What you’re not? thin
16. Muffins? pass
17. One of your wish list items? skiing
18. Where you grew up? Michigan
19. The last thing you did? laundry
20. What are you wearing? fleece
21. Your TV? analog
22. Your pet? kitties
23. Your computer? mac
24. Your life? interesting
25. Your mood? calm
26. Missing someone? no
27 Your car? practical
28. Something you’re not wearing? lipstick
29. Favorite Store? ikea
30. Your summer? hiking
31. Like someone? yes
32. Your favorite color? lime
33. When is the last time you laughed? now
34. Last time you cried? yesterday

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Plan for Birthday Bear Paws

The third of nine anticipated Bear Paw blocks arrived last week; this one from Becca (on the left).

Another recent arrival was a new idea on how to use those 9 blocks. I'm thinking of an on-point setting with appliquéd Spinning Tulips (on the right) as the alternate block.

Becca's Bearpaw Block Whirling Tulips for Diane

I made Spinning Tulip block in the photo for Diane for a Birthday Block swap in 2002. I'm not sure what made me think about using this block with the bear paws but, once the idea hit, I had to find my photo so I could put them side by side . . . and consider it.

After some major computer excavation (which came with lots of distraction as old files and photos prompted a bit of nostalgia), I found it on a backup disk along with the rest of the blocks I made for the swap. I think they came from the period of time when I was finally confident about my appliqué skills because more than half the blocks I made for the birthday girls that year were needle-turned appliqué.

African Squiggle for Shaka Unicorn for Vicky Bird and Cat for Jessica

Morning Glory for Sue Ginko Leaves for Diana Kokopelli for Stacy

Coneflowers for Jeri Calico Tom for Deb

What a bit of synchronicity to find all these photos of appliqué blocks I while I'm thinking I need a meditative needle-turned project. The Spinning Tulips block could be a perfect fit for my mood and . . . for my quilt.

I added photos of all the blocks from this year to my Birthday Blocks set on Flickr. (There were a couple of cute pieced blocks from that year, too ;-)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mini Work in Progress

The work on my quilt for Doll Quilt Swap II often looks a lot like this.

Hint #3

These are some of 96 units which will finish at 1/2 inch by 1-1/2 inch.

There's been lots of cutting and counting and lots of chain piecing. It's an unusual feeling to be making a quilt from matching quilt blocks, cut from the same fabrics. I don't usually work that way. The batik fabrics are creating quite a bit of variation . . . I like the effect and hope the recipient will, too.

This is what my 12 pieced blocks look like . . . from a certain angle ;-)

Hint #3 - completed blocks

I'm also considering some of this pretty hand-dyed thread for the quilting . . . but first, I need to get busy with some itty bitty sashing and get the top assembled.

Hint #3 - quilting thread options

My best laid plans of making a second quilt has temporarily stalled–I'm hoping I love this one enough to motivate me to keep sewing in itty bitty land long enough to complete a second one of these for me. For the moment, I think it's going to take all the focus and concentration I can muster to finish this swap quilt on time.

Eat Your Colors!

Do you eat your colors or . . . is the most colorful thing about your meal the packaging? I'm not sure where I read the phrase "Eat your colors," but I realize that I'm doing it enough these days that my mind has made the connection that colorful equals good.

I was thinking about that when I was making lunch today and snapped a photo of this colorful Thai Carrot Soup, from Natalie Rose's book, The Raw Detox Diet.

Thai Carrot Soup

It contains carrots (obviously) and ginger, garlic, lemon grass and curry. Before I tried the recipe, I knew I was going to like it.

For four servings of Thai Carrot Soup, you'll need:

15 carrots, cut into 1 to 2-inch slices
32 ounces (1 quart) vegetable broth
2 tablespoons lemon grass
1 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons curry (or to taste)
3 tablespoons Spike
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 to 3 cloves garlic
Fresh cilantro

Place the carrots, broth, lemon grass and onion into a soup pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until the carrots are medium-soft (you should be able to pierce with a fork.) Let it cool. Put small batches into your blender and purée. Once it's all puréed, add the curry, Spike, ginger and garlic until it suits your taste. Serve with fresh cilantro.

I will tweak the ginger/garlic ratio next time, but I'll definitely be making this soup again.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Pause that Inspires?

You are a Comma

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.

You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.

You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.

(But with so many competing interests, your friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

FootstepsThis is my check-in for week 6 of Walking in This World.

The theme of this week was Discovering a Sense of Boundaries. One of the tasks was to Recall and Rescue of a project spoiled by indiscriminate input. I immediately thought of this quilt project in progress, how I asked for some input on one aspect early on and opened the door to asking for and receiving the opinions of others and how all that well-meaning collaboration stalled my work on this quilt. Can I rescue this project and complete the quilt? Only time will tell . . . but I'm committed to an attempt.

Morning Pages: 6 of 7 days.

Walk: I had hoped to get closer to the beautiful winter landscape at a nearby golf course, but there was just too much snow. I walked the length of the course along the street.

Golf Course under Snow

Artist's Date
Artist Date

I went to a thrift store in search of a quick project. The cold temperatures and frequent snow storms have me thinking hat these days . . . something warm and beautiful. I thought some wool fiber (or a hat that could be remade) would give me a head start on a new hat.

This mens wool sweater caught my eye and only cost two dollars.

Men's Wool Sweater

Which, after a trip through the washer, looked like this.

After a trip through the washer

The resulting felted sweater is much thicker (and much smaller) than I expected, which required a revision in my design idea . . . I'm now headed in a completely different direction.

The Rest: I have been afraid that our group decision to take a week off will kill my momentum. What an interesting bit of synchronicity to find that the title of the reading for next week is Discovering a Sense of Momentum ;-)

My plan for our extra week is to review some of the tasks I didn't complete in weeks 1-6 and to get a headstart on week 7, since the theme seems to have my name written all over it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Kitchen Window Meme

Lulu's Bay asked bloggers to share the view from their kitchen window.

View from my Kitchen Window

The view from the window in the kitchen in my townhouse at this time of year is usually one of snow plows and snow blowers and neighbors scraping ice from the windows of their cars in the parking lot. But, between here and the parking lot, the snow is deep and crisp and quite pretty. It has been so cold that there are ice crystals in the snow that sparkle like diamonds when the sun is shining.

To be honest, my "view" more often looks more like the one below. Yesterday, there were birds singing and hopping in the bushes under the window. Johnny and Grace Hopper heard them, too, and came to investigate and frightened the birds before I could take a photo of them.)

The cats enjoying the view

For more kitchen views, check out the list in the side bar of Lulu's Bay. Almost everyone on the list has a much more beautiful view than mine ;-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Yes, miscellanies is really a word.

I haven't blogged much of my progress on Amy's Project Runway-inspired challenges, but I have been inspired by her twist on the challenges the designers on the show face each week and got as far as starting projects for most of them . . . until last week when the designers created garments for the WWE Divas.

Cheetah and Brown Suede FabricsEven Amy's broad interpretation didn't help. I confess I had nothing and was almost ready to concede defeat with this one. Then . . . inspiration struck at the oddest moment, while I was picking up some produce and miscellaneous other stuff at Walmart. So I headed over to the fabric department and found some animal prints for my project. I was thinking leopard fleece and a cozy warm earflap hat, but I found this pair of faux suedes . . . and probably something a little more refined.

In the lull between the storms yesterday, I also made a post office run and picked up more string squares lotto blocks--these are from Hilda, Laurie and Sandy.

String Squares from Hilda, Laurie and Sandy

And another birthday block, this one from Deb.

Bear Paw from Deb

Mmm Mmm Good

This is my new favorite lentil soup recipe.

Spicy Lentil Tomato Soup


(based on this recipe on allrecipes.com)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can peeled and diced roasted tomatoes (mine had garlic in them)
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, for topping (optional)
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Lightly brown the onions in the oil.
  2. Add the tomatoes, pepper, lentils, cumin and basil to the pan along with the broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  3. When the lentils have softened, puree half the soup in a blender and return to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. For a special touch, put sour cream in a squirt bottle, and squeeze a spiral onto the top of each bowl of soup, and garnish with a sprig of fresh basil.
It's thick and spicy, warming and filling. I failed at making the sour cream spiral, but it tasted good, anyway and was a nice cool, creamy counterpoint to the soup.

Monday, February 11, 2008

48 Down, 96 To Go

Here are the first 48 units for my quilt for Doll Quilt Swap II.

Hint #2

The photo is only a bit smaller than actual size; each one will finish at 1-1/2 inches square. The next set of 96 units will be even smaller. What was I thinking?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hearts & Sparks

It was probably because I had recently made these sweet 6-inch heart blocks for the February block lotto. (The pattern is here.)

Heart #1 Heart #2 Heart #3
Heart #6 Heart #4 Heart #5
Heart #7 Heart #8 Heart #9

Yesterday in a forum discussion on quilting.about.com, about what someone might make from a stack of 6-inch squares, people starting talking about the Disappearing 9-Patch and Christine suggested including 6-inch quilt blocks into the mix. The idea sparked for me. I immediately thought of the heart blocks.

I woke up thinking about the idea. I had to try it. But first I had to make more heart blocks.

Red Heart Blue Heart
Green Heart Purple Heart

As soon as the blocks were made, the rest was easy peasy.

Disappearing 9-Patch with Pieced Blocks.

Step-by-step photos and directions blogged here.

Until Christine mentioned it, I had never considered the D9P as a setting. She sparked all kinds of ideas for me now. But first I think I'll do some floral stash busting and make a colorful little hearts & flowers quilt that I know a little girl will love.

Disappearing 9-Patch

When Christine mentioned using pieced blocks in the Disappearing 9-Patch pattern on the Quilting Forum, I thought it was brilliant. I immediately thought of the 6 inch patchwork heart blocks we're making this month for the block lotto and what a great setting this could be for them.

I had to try it . . . and then, I liked the results so much I had to share.

1. Start with 4 pieced blocks. (If you like these hearts, you'll find the pattern here.)

Red Heart Blue Heart
Green Heart Purple Heart

2. Add 5 squares of fabric the same size as the pieced blocks and make a 9-Patch with the pieced blocks in the corners. If your blocks have a right-side-up AND you want all the blocks to be right-side-up in the finished quilt, start with two of them, in diagonally opposite corners, upside down.

Make  A 9-Patch

3. Press your 9-patch block, then cut into 4 equal quarters.

Quarter the Block

4. Rotate the two upside down blocks (or any opposite corners if they are non-directional) and sew the 4-patch together.

Rotate 2 Opposite Corners

5. All done!

Disappearing 9-Patch with Pieced Blocks.
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