Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lentil Salad

Whenever I make Moroccan Lentil Salad, I always think of the story of Stone Soup.

Sure, there are healthy lentils in there, but after you add the green, red and yellow bell peppers, chick peas (cook your own--so much tastier than canned), tomato, chili peppers, cilantro, lime, olive oil and sea salt . . . I'm not sure the lentils are the first things a diner notices.

Moroccan Lentil Salad

You'll find the recipe here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A New Family in the Neighborhood

A new family has moved into the neighborhood, with the most adorable kids.

New Family on the Pond

Whenever they stop by to munch on the treats under my next door neighbor's bird feeder (or help themselves–the adults, not the kids–to the herbs in the planters on my patio), both watchful parents are always in attendance, hissing at anyone or anything that comes near.

Mom and Dad are always both in attendance

Baby Goose The little ones are the littlest ones on the pond--they seem unbelievably soft and fluffy. This photo just doesn't do them justice.

And they are irresistable. Everyone comes by to see them (and the duckies and other goslings, too), with cell phones and other cameras in hand. And they bring TREATS. It's a regular Memorial weekend party around the pond.

Neighbors come by with welcome gifts

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Farmer's Market

Since moving from Saline, one of the things that I really miss us is the Saturday morning Farmer's market that was in in the city parking lot next door. This morning I ventured out to a neighboring town for their market to check it out. The weather was just perfect for it.

Dewitt Farmer's Market

Of course, in Michigan at this time of year, there's not a lot of farmer's produce to be found yet . . . but there were baked goods and other prepared foods, plants, local organizations . . .

Delta Gardens Friends of the Library

The Friends of the Library were selling T-shirts that said Some of My Best Friends are Fictional. I had to have one. . . have to support our libraries, right?

Sweetie Pie PantryThe Sweetie Pie Pantry is in the same block as the Farmer's Market. Had to check it out.

Also in the neighborhood is a great quilt/yarn shop, Lavender & Peonies. I just took a quick peek, but I know I'll be back for florals to finish my Churndash quilt later this summer . . . and if Diane chooses a cowboy theme for her birthday blocks, I saw some great possible fabrics there.

Fabric inside Lavender & Peonies Yarns inside Lavender & Peonies

I probably would have shopped more, but I had to get back to send out the SNEEK PEEK for the block lotto.

So I picked up a Carmel Marvel (grande, decaf, made with soy milk, please) on the way home, enjoyed my blackberry muffin from the Sweetie Pie Pantry on the patio in the sun and then got down to the business of sharing the secret of next month's lotto block. I think it's going to be a good one. I hope everyone else agrees.

Home from the Farmer's Market

I'll plant the geraniums later this weekend . . . and hope the geese find them less tasty than my herbs (which are moving to the front porch).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Synchronicity and May Flower Blocks

When Diane saw this quilt on the cover of Quick Quilts, she sent email asking if anyone on the Quilting Forum was planning to organize a swap of the color-rich floral churn dash blocks. The same magazine sat on Terri's coffee table calling her name . . . so she organized the swap.

I thought my niece Hillary would really love the quilt, so I joined. I finished my blocks today. Here are my fabric combinations.

Set #1 Set #8 (split set) Set #2
Set #8 (split set) Set #3 Set #5
Set #4 Set #6 Set #7

As I was putting the blocks for the swap together, they charmed me, so I made some extras for a second quilt, with a different setting for me. I can't wait for the swapped out blocks to come back to me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tea(se) for Two

I'm working on two Doll quilts to swap with friends.

One is part of Kate's Another Little Quilt Swap. The other is for (blogless) Terri. Without saying which is which, here are the sets of fabrics I think I'll be using.

Civil War Repro Fabrics for a Doll Quilt Handdyes for a Doll Quilt

One will be foundation pieced using an original design; the other will be a very traditional miniature. I'm looking forward to working on them both . . . and the deadlines loom on the horizon.

The other work-in-progress around here is the that the great bedroom-sewing room switch which is now more finished than not. I still need to put up design walls and peg boards and move and organize my fabrics and clothes, but I am sleeping in the new bedroom and and sewing in the new sewing room, where I can enjoy the view of the pond.

Heron on the Pond

Even on an ugly, rainy day, the view can be pretty entertaining. There are ducklings on the pond and today, a gaggle of Canadian geese faced off with this heron in some sort of dispute over territory on my little pond.

The cats weren't allowed in the old sewing space. I'm not sure if I can deprive them of the prime upstairs pond view . . . but I'm not sure if they can learn not to be so helpful.

Johnny helps layout blocks

These are some 30's repros triangle square blocks like those I sent to Becca this week for her swap. I'm thinking a scrappy broken dishes quilt could be fun . . . and Johnny B. seems to like the idea, too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Catching up on Birthdays

. . . and Birthday Swap Blocks.

First, I owe a long overdue thank you for the last four blocks I received, from Lucey (Jeanne), Becca, Faye and Peggy. My set of nine is now complete and only alternate blocks and consideration of settings and borders stands between me and a beautiful traditional quilt.

Bear Paw from Lucey (Jeanne) Bear Paw from Becca
Bear Paw from Faye Bear Paw from Peggy

This week I have been playing catch-up on the blocks I owe some of the other birthday girls. Here's the block I made for Becca and an extra I made to make up for one of the swappers who went missing in our group. She asked for stars in chocolate-covered cherry colors--I know the star in the Stepping Stones block is subtle, but after making my Baby Steps doll quilt, that block really charmed me.

Stepping Stones Block for Becca Union Squares Star for Becca

I signed up to make two more make up blocks for group 3. Another one for Becca--this one a star in Halloween and coordinating brights on a black-on-black background and another bright star floated on black for Bonnie (which I mailed along with the Baby Steps doll quilt--see how everything is connected ;-)

Halloween Star for Becca Laced Star for Bonnie

My last catch-up effort was a house block for Jeanne (Lucey). I confess to a serious What was I thinking? moment after I printed the foundations for the Farmhouse PFP pattern and cut the units apart. It's been a while since I did any paper pieced blocks made from moer than a few units. Ultimately, I think it was worth the slightly head-spinning, crazy making effort. Here's a look at before and after.

What was I thinking? House for Lucey

I actually even have a block ready for Kate--the last birthday girl in my group, though I am also second-guessing myself for the umpteenth time in this swap . . . it has been a fun year of making friends and interesting blocks. I can't wait to see the quilts that come from the swap.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Seduced by Basil

Pesto wasn't my plan for dinner, but when I stopped at the produce store on the way home to pick up some tomatoes and a bunch of fresh basil, the aroma was so wonderful, it demanded to become the main ingredient tonight.

Pesto Sauce


  • 2/3 cup packed, coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled


In a blender, combine all the ingredients. Makes 4 servings.

Toss with cooked pasta–I've become a fan of Barilla Plus angel hair pasta–and save the rest for something yummy later in the week.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Sauder Village Quilt Fair

I was able to spend a couple hours at the Sauder Village Quilt Fair in Archbold, Ohio over the weekend.

Most of the 400 plus quilts were of the beautiful traditional variety . . but there were a few surprises.

I was surprised to find that the organizers had chosen to display many of the wall quilts on point, like this.

Four Quilts

I wondered what the quiltmakers thought about that. My friend Linda's quilt, Good Morning, was one of those wrapped around a wall.

Good Morning

Congrats on the ribbon, Linda.

This second place art quilt, Beginning Band, also won a special award for innovation. It was one of my favorites. The quiltmaker, Marie Moore, is a Music Teacher who began by taking close-up photos of musical instruments.

Beginning Band

Another fun quilt reminded me that quilters also have all kinds of other interests. Here's a detail photo of Joyce Ann Smith's Star Trek themed quilt.

Detail from Joyce Ann Smith's Star Trek Quilt

Beam me up, Scottie!

This One Block Wonder quilt, by Donna L. Beuhrer, reminded me . . . I have some yardage of that fabric in my stash. Maybe I ought to try this technique and create some more interesting yardage . . .

Hexagon One Block Wonder

Even though I don't usually gravitate toward the traditional, it was hard not to be awed by many of the quilts in the show. Here's a detail photo from a beautiful red and white quilt with a wonderful combination of single, double and triple feathered stars by Pauline Warren.

Detail from Feathered Stars: Single Double Triple

I'm not the only one who was impressed. I saw on the web site today that it was the viewer's choice. You can see my photo of the whole quilt here.

You can check out all my photos from the show in my Flickr set Sauder Village Quilt Fair.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

What's a Swapaholic to Do?

When I found out that Sharyn Craig was teaching a day-long workshop The Joy of Sets a few hours away and that there was still space available, it seemed like the perfect way for this swapaholic to spend the day. So I packed up some well aged swap blocks and watched Sharyn work her magic with them.

I loved the idea of using my chicken blocks as a border.

Spending the day with Sharyn sparked so many setting ideas, color ideas, border ideas . . . it was well worth the trip. Everyone else's blocks sparked more ideas--for quilts, color-ways, future swaps. Spark, spark, spark. The day was electric.
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