Saturday, February 18, 2017

ProjectQUILTING 8.4: Love is Love

When I read the theme for week 4 of ProjectQUILTING, I knew I had to participate. I have had an idea to make some quilted art featuring the outlinr of Indiana using rainbow colors. I had plenty of brightly colored scraps, and did the whole project in anout 3 hours broken up into increments when my kids were asleep!

The quilt is approx. 11"x17".

There is a fine line between "perfectly imperfect" and "downright sloppy," but I am going to go with the former on this, as I am making an effort to be kind to myself. In grad school, a professor told me, "done is better than perfect," and so I'm sticking with that!

The piece features some scraps of treasured Tula Pink and Lily Asbury. If you look closely, you will see "love is love" free motion quilted using rainbow colored varigated Aurifil thread. It is a tribute to all LGBTQIA Hoosiers. It was designed, pieced, and quilted in Bloomington, Indiana.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Project QUILTING Season 7: A Goose in the Monkey Wrench


Today I am writing about my second time participating in one of the Project QUILTING weekly challenges. The theme for this challenge was "A Goose in the Monkey Wrench." Participants had to incorporate at least one monkey wrench (aka churn dash) block and at least one flying geese (or singular goose?) block.

I present to you: It's a Goose, It's a Monkey, No...It's QUILT GIRL! This finished project measured 24" x 24" and is double sided. Well, kind of. The back is not as cool as I had imagined in my mind. Partially because I am not good at math. Here is a shot of the back:



The upside to this piece is that I finally got to use the Quilt Girl by Whistler Studios fabric I had impulse bought during a 24 hour sale on www.fatquartershop.com. Also, I put to use the awesome book, Farm Girl Vintage by Lori Holt, that I purchased from my local fabric shop, Ginger Threads. You see, I had never actually made a monkey wrench block or flying geese, so this book had patterns for each. Except they were called "Churn Dash," and "Furrows Block," FYI.

This is really only probably the fourth thing I have quilted, unless you count an oven mitt and some casserole carriers I made as Christmas gifts, so all of this is new to me. Here is what I learned:

1. I stink at spacial relationships and math. Multiple times the blocks I made were off because of some mystery reason, and a few times they were off because I didn't take the time to draft an actual pattern or blueprint for this project and miscalculated.

2. In the future, I should actually make a rough draft or pattern of my design before starting. I am impatient, and I get excited about my ideas, so I didn't want to take the time to actually plan out what I was doing on paper. It ended up hurting me several times.

3. I REALLY need to take a free motion quilt class. Even if it's online. Or read a book. I don't know what I am doing, but I will pretend that the haphazard quilting and varying stitch lengths are because of my artistic license and free spirit.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my project.  I hope you might join me the next time these challenges come around. This was the final challenge for this particular series of Project QUILTING. To learn more about it, visit http://persimondreams.blogspot.com/p/project-quilting.html.  I liked these quick challenges because I was able to stop procrastinating about sewing due to the short deadlines, and I was motivated because of the chances to win cool prizes. Thanks so much to Kim at http://persimondreams.blogspot.com/ for putting these fun challenges together!



I intended for this quilt to be a wall hanging for my artist/sewist/quilting studio, but it will probably end up being a drool soaked baby blanket.

I thought these mini blocks were going to be so cool...but they ended up all wonky. PS. 6 inch blocks are super tedious.




Saturday, March 5, 2016

Project Quilting Season 7: Through the Eyes of a Child MY FIRST CHALLENGE!







My 8 year old daughter (and dog lover) is always begging me to teach her to sew. Normally, I am too impatient and too much of a control freak to give her a chance...however, I happened to stumble across a post on Facebook from Persimon Dreams about a quilting challenge that was happening called Through The Eyes of a Child. The wheels started turning. I had the idea to combine my daughter's love of dogs, drawing, and her desire to learn to sew into a fun project we could do together! I hope you enjoy this piece of work from Bloomington, Indiana. I am thankful to Persimon Dreams for giving me the motivation to quit procrastinating about quilting (the whole process took me 24 hours!) and the opportunity to bond with my beautiful daughter.








First, I had her decide on something to draw for me to to turn into a quilted piece of fabric art. Of course she chose our dog, Tessa, for the subject matter.

I found a charm pack from Free Spirit Fabrics which I purchased a few years back from Fat Quarter shop and hadn't used yet to piece some brown fabric together to be the form for Tessa's head and body.

Then, I had Molly redraw Tessa on top of the squares I had pieced together, and I cut it out. Next, I used some fusible interfacing underneath to make a 3d effect.

After that came my least favorite part: applique. Applique was a requirement for the challenge, which is unfortunate, because I am not very good at it at all. Nevertheless, I ended up with this:

After I had appliqued the fabric Tessa onto a fat quarter I had purchased from Ginger Threads, my favorite local quilt shop, located in Bedford, Indiana, I basted and quilted the top using free motion quilting. Again, not really skilled at FMQ, but my daughter wanted me to do it that way. It actually went fairly quickly.
Next, I added binding using my machine. I was really liking how it looked.

My daughter loved it. Even my husband was impressed. Before she went to bed, my daughter actually hugged it!
My two helpers


The inspiration, the artist, and the finished project.




Friday, November 14, 2014

An Open Letter to Parenting Bloggers Who Write Open Letter to Moms They Don't Even Know

Dear Parenting Blogger Who Writes Helpful Open Letters to Other Moms:
Please mind your own business.
Best Regards,
Erin

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The War on Pumpkin Spice

Even though I tend to be an opinionated person with strong views, I often keep those opinions and views to myself in order not to offend certain friends and family members. I worry all the time about ruffling people's feathers so much that they won't like me anymore. I've kept my mouth shut about this for a while, but I feel the time has come for me to speak up about an issue I hold near and dear to my heart.

It seems, folks, that 2014 has become the year of hating on pumpkin spice.  I can't tell you how many times I have heard people exclaim, "This pumpkin spice fad needs to go!"  I have seen Buzzfeed articles poking fun at products that shouldn't be flavored with pumpkin spice. In general, it seems the fun thing to do is make jokes about or condemn pumpkin spice. What is the deal? Was President Obama drinking pumpkin spiced coffee when he saluted those marines? Do the descendants of the creator of pumpkin pie spice oppose gay marriage? Or are they in favor of it? Are ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and clove really that detestable? Why did we not hate on citrus or cucumber melon so much in the days when they were so ubiquitous?

I have seen all kinds of posts being shared all over social media about why you shouldn't drink #PSL because it is not, in fact, a health beverage. Is it not okay just to drink it because it tastes awesome? Or, the outcry among the world when Starbucks brought #PSL "too early" for their liking. What's with that? Autumn, my friends, is one of the most beautiful times of the year.  The air gets cooler, the leaves turn amazing colors, and caramel apples are readily available.  Hayrides are fun. Jumping in leaf piles is fun. Where is your sense of childlike wonder, people? Can't we just hold on to that feeling a little longer by starting, say, in August?

I really hope all this hating on pumpkin spice dies down. I don't like having to order pumpkin spiced drinks at the coffee counter in a hushed voice. I don't appreciate having to watch over my shoulder to see if anyone is looking, and then picking out the least assuming-looking cashier when I buy pumpkin spiced items in the same manner I do when buying feminine products.

Can't we just get huffy about things that really matter in the fall, like being forced to buy pasteurized apple cider?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Yooper food


 If you, like me, grew up in Michigan, maybe your parents were like mine and thought it was unnecessary to go anywhere on vacation but northern Michigan. (No, Mom, I am not complaining about that!)
If you have been in northern Michigan, perhaps you have ventured across the Mighty Mac to the vast wilderness known as the Upper Peninsula. There you will find the culinary treasure known as the pasty. (pass-tee, not paste-ee...those are something else. The pasty is thought to have originated in Cornwall, according to Wikipedia, but can only be referred to as a Cornish pasty, it must meed several requirements including being made in Cornwall, according to the Cornish Pasty Association.
Because 2014 was the first year that I can remember that I wasn't able to make the journey north, I decided to make my own, and was happy to find that the end product did not fail miserably, and my husband and daughter actually said it tasted good. (that is a big deal)

My version of the pasty commonly found in the Upper Peninsula was inspired by the pasties my family has enjoyed for years from Lehto's, a little hole in the wall place you should check out should you ever find yourself in Saint Ignace, MI. It's a few minutes outside of town, but worth the drive. While you're out there, stop along US-2 for miles and miles of wonderful, sandy Lake Michigan beach.The recipe I came up with was quite simple:

  • 1 lb. skirt steak (I chopped this up and then put it in my food processor)
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin
  • 1 smallish rutabaga, also sliced very thin
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 pkg Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (I know, I know, not authentic, but I didn't want to deal with the time and mess of making my own pastry dough.
I heated my oven to 350 degrees, and cut each pie crust in two. I filled each half of the crust with the above ingredients, folded it over, and crimped the edges. I put the pasties on parchment paper on a baking sheet and baked them for about 45 min. Keep in mind that these should cool on a wire rack for quite some time. Back in the day, miners would keep these in their pockets to eat during their lunch time, because they would stay nice and warm.

Was the end result perfect? Not quite. Was it as good as Lehto's? Not even close. But it did taste pretty darn good. It was enough to satisfy my craving without spending hours in the car and hundreds of dollars on gas. It invoked fond childhood memories and gave me a small taste of Michigan, my beloved home state. Next time, I might attempt the made-from-scratch crust, but why mess with a pretty good thing? Happy baking! And if you are looking for a memorable family trip full of natural beauty and lots of fun, visit the coasts of Michigan's peninsulas.