Friday, February 28, 2014

Yummy Recipe!

My neighbor is a phenomenal cook and shares her talent with friends once a month at her house, baking bread all day and letting us come sample, then giving us the recipes.  I have received many great recipes from her, but I am not known for my great bread making skills so I have tried very few.  A couple of weeks ago, however, we sampled this health bread and I just had to try making some. The recipe makes three loaves and today was fourth time I've made it!  No, my hubby and I aren't eating ALL of it.  I have given quite a few loaves away :)
So following is the delicious recipe.  If I can make this, with my 50/50 success rate in bread making, then anyone can!  I'm four for four on this recipe so far!

Health Bread
6 to 6 1/2 cups unsifted white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 packages dry yeast
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal, uncooked
1 cup whole bran ready to eat feral (I used Kellog's All-Bran Buds)
1 cup raisins or craisins (optional - I did not add these)
2 1/2 cups boiling water
5.3 oz. Greek Chobani yogurt
2 Tablespoons butter
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup sunflower seeds OR toasted walnuts

In mixing bowl combine 2 1/2 cups of the white flour, all of the whole wheat flour and yeast.  Mix well.  In saucepan, combine boiling water, oatmeal, bran cereal, raisins, yogurt, butter and salt.  Mix until shortening melts on low heat.  Add honey and sugar, stirring on low heat until sugar dissolves.  Let this mixture cool 5-10 minutes until warm, then add to yeast mixture.  Beat about 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping sides of bowl.  Beat about three minutes on high speed.  Add cinnamon, sunflower seeds and enough of the remaining white flour to make a moderately stiff dough.  Knead for about eight minutes either by hand or with dough hook in mixer.  Divide dough into three portions and shape each portion into an oval.  Place each portion into a greased loaf pan and cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise in a warm place until double in size.  Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on cooling racks.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, February 27, 2014


It has been a busy week! I haven't really been in the sewing room for any significant amount of time for about a week and a half.  
Today however I had time to go in there and I finished sewing together my two - Month 2 -blocks for The Quilt Show block of the month.  Each block corresponds to the letter.  The B is the Basket block, the C is Colorado Beauty and D is Ducks and Ducklings.  I hand appliquéd the letters using the back-basting method.

The star and leaves are appliquéd with wool to give them a little texture.

This whole section only measures about 7"x10". These pieces are pretty tiny!  It's fun and challenging to be working small again.  It is helping me get ready and motivated to pull out my Dear Jane blocks and work on those again!

After finished those two blocks, I pulled out my Zentangle piece and added a little bit more to it.  I find this very relaxing - just what I needed!

A friend of mine sent me a picture today of a quilt she saw at the MANifestations exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden.  It had a lot of Sashiko in it and looked amazing in the picture.  I hope to make it over to Golden before April 29th to see the exhibit.  Following is more information from the museum's website.

                                            January 31 through April 29, 2014
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum's Twelfth Biennial Exhibit
of Quilts Made By Men

Juried by Bill Gardner, Editor in Chief of Quilters Newsletter
When the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum presented “Man Made,”
the first exhibit of quilts made exclusively by men, in 1992,museum visitors were surprised.
Were there really men working in what was traditionally thought of as a woman’s art form?
The novelty has long since worn off, and the RMQM biennial showcase of quilts made by men continues
to be one of its most anticipated and popular exhibits.
Male artists in increasing numbers are choosing fiber as a means of expression,
and you will find them as individuals as varied and diverse a group as the quilts in the exhibit.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Courage to Be Creative

In the current issue of American Quilter, there is a great article called "The Courage to Be Creative" by Betsey Langford.  She talks about picking up a pencil and paper and just doodling designs for machine quilting.  She says once we've practiced this we have "worked with all the magic you have in your head.  We've not been copying patterns, we've not been trying to recreate something someone else created, we've not been following a set of guidelines or rules.  We've let our minds play  When you play, you let yourself get out of your way and just create.  Creating is taking from what is inside you and putting it outside you in some tangible way... Whether it be a line on paper made with a pencil or a line of stitches across a quilt, it is all really the same."
I have been more adventurous in my machine quilting and I am starting to be more adventurous in my designing and piecing quilts too.  It is very satisfying to create something.  I better get back to it!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jacob's Ladder Quilt

Yesterday at Sew Savvy Kari shared some great tips for making four-patche and half square triangle units, which can then be put together to make this Jacob's Ladder quilt.

I had never made four patches this way, so I found it fascinating.  First she put two five inch squares right sides together and sewed a quarter inch seam down two opposing sides.  then she cut this in half (at 2 1/2 inches), NOT cutting through the seams, cutting parallel to the seams.  Now you have two small strip sets basically.
You then place these right sides together, butting the seams (which were pressed towards the dark fabric) and having the light on dark and dark on light.  Again, sew a quarter inch down two opposing sides, and again cut in half parallel to the seams.  You end up with two four-patch units!  I was so impressed!

For the half square triangle units, she ironed a crease on the diagonal of one of the five inch square pieces (rather than marking with a pencil), then sewed a quarter inch on both sides of the crease.  Cut on the crease and you end up with two half square triangle units.
 I had done that method before, but Kari also showed another method for making half square triangle units which I had not tried before.  She put the two five inch squares right sides together and sewed a quarter inch on all four sides, then cut twice, on both diagonals and ended up with four half square triangle units!  These were smaller so would not have worked with this quilt, but still a great way to make HST units!

I love going to classes or meetings and learning new things :)

Here is the finished quilt, which is very cool and complex looking, even though it is only made up of HST units and four-patch units!  I may just have to give this a try :)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sew Savvy

Today I went to Sew Savvy at Hi Fashion.  It's a club and they hold meetings quarterly.  They show off new product and demonstrate tips and techniques or specialized feet for the sewing machines.  It's always fun and informative.  They also show us what is coming up in the way of classes.  This quilt is one that Trista made and will be teaching.

This quilt is from Tula Pink's Modern Quilt Blocks book (made by Kari).  I bought this book awhile ago and I've signed up for this class.  It starts in April and I'm really excited about it.  It will almost be more like a Block of the Month than a class.  I plan to use inspiration from this book to make a modern miniature quilt too.  We'll see how that goes :)

Trista paper pieced this quilt top and will be offering this as a class too.  This pattern came from the Modern Quilt magazine.

One of the best parts of Sew Savvy is Show and Tell!  We get to see all of the fun stuff the members are working on.  I thought this was interesting.  One woman in the group bought the Sashiko machine - which is a machine that just does the Sashiko running stitch!  But she quilted this quilt with it and it gives it a hand quilted look!  Fascinating!

Cute table topper.  Makes you hungry to look at it :)

Somebody used their design software to create this beautiful piece.

Another pretty quilt with interesting borders.

Fun times!  I'm excited to get busy working on something - just need to find the time :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Nine and Ten!

Today I went to the Monthly Mini class at Hi Fashion to work on the mini quilts for my daughters.  Trista, the instructor had designed this cute St. Patrick's Day quilt and gave us the pattern in case we wanted to add this one to the others. I'll have to think about it.  It's really cute, but I am going to do the twelve I signed up for first!

This is the one we did this month.  You could either put EASTER or SPRING.  Both of my girls wanted SPRING on theirs.  I think they turned out cute.  I just love these little quilts!

Jeff put the grommets in my Foot Book too, and I added some fancy ribbons.  So this part of it is done anyway - just waiting to add more pages in future classes!

He also installed an update in my Bernina 710 while I was there, and I took a cookbook and a quilt book to the print place next door to get spiral bindings put on them.  It was quite a productive three hours for me!

Here are the Spring minis with the cute hangers.  All done and ready to gift!

This makes numbers nine and ten finished in 2014 :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Bernina Foot Book

 I finished up the "foot book" pages that I started in class last week.  It has been a great way to get to know my Bernina machines and what all they can do better.  I took the small Bernina 350 to class and then finished the pages up on the 710 at home.
Tomorrow I will take it in and get the grommets put in and it will be ready to add some more pages next class!  I think we will be exploring pin tucks or something like that.... We'll see!  Always something new to learn which keeps life interesting :)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Third Time's a Charm!

One of my friends from my Little Bits Miniature Quilt Group has been battling cancer for several months.  This woman is a go-getter and cancer has not slowed her down in the least - well maybe just a little bit.  She belongs to several guilds in the valley and was a founding member of most of them.  She belongs to several other types of groups as well and volunteers her time and talents in ways too numerous to count.  In all of her service to others and her busy, busy life, she has made many, many friends - also too numerous to count.  So when she became ill, she called in the troops, and her army of quilting buddies has been helping her finish up some of her nearly done projects.  Quilts and projects have been flowing in and out of her house, some to be quilted, some to have bindings put on, one friend even finished piecing a beautiful Bargello quilt for her.  I got to see the finished top at the "party" at Mary's house on Valentine's Day.  It was quite the Show and Tell!
Mary and I share a common interest in Brazilian Embroidery, so she asked me to take some hexagons that she had embroidered and put them together into a wall hanging for her daughter.  This quilt and I had issues with one another from the start, but it finally worked out.  The reason I say "third time's a charm" is because I ended up putting the quilt top together three times!  The first time, I ended up coming home with only six of the seven blocks.  I kept thinking how great it would be if only there were seven blocks and not six.  When I called Mary's house, her daughter told me there were seven blocks, that one fell on the couch on my way out!

Halleluja! I went and picked up the block, picked apart the quilt and put it together again with plain white hexagons in between.  That second attempt is pictured above.  It just looked like a vast amount of white, with these tiny, beautiful Brazilian embroidered blocks that got lost in that sea of white.  Plus there were many puckers due to my inadequate inset-seam piecing skills.
So apart it came again!  I watched a couple of episodes of Downton Abbey which made the seam ripping go by faster :)
I remembered reading an article in American Quilter recently, that I was so impressed with I cut it out and saved it.  I dug that article out, made sure I trimmed the hexagons to exactly the same size and began again, armed with these great instructions.
The finished result is pictured above.  I quilted it with feathers and it has a batik binding.  Mary and her daughter wanted an all white background, but I think the smaller size shows off the embroidered pieces much better.  So it was delivered on Valentine's Day along with several other quilts from several other friends.  Like I said there was quite a party going on!

Here is a picture of Mary and I at one of our famous Little Bit's birthday luncheons several months ago :)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Colorado Quilt Close-ups

Here are some more pictures of Ruth Feild's Colorado quilt that I had taken at the Denver National Quilt Show a couple of years ago.  Her stitching and embroidery is all done free-hand - no digitizing!  She is a very talented
woman :)

I am looking forward to going to the Denver Quilt Show again this year - the first weekend in May!

Friday, February 14, 2014

It's Sew Ruth!

As I mentioned yesterday, my friend Ruth Feild gave a presentation to the CO West Quilt Guild on Wednesday night entitled "It's Sew Ruth!"  She is an amazing quilt artist and it was so much fun to see not only more of her work, but also some of her fun collections of antiques.  She really went the extra mile to share with the group and make this program special.

Here she is standing next to a quilt she made for the GJ Symphony called Monumental Memories.  The quilt celebrates 100 years of the Colorado National Monument.  It features photographs by a well known photographer and stories (in the muslin squares) written by locals about their favorite memories of the Monument.

I love this Yo-Yo quilt that was part of her display.  She did not talk about this one, so I am not sure if she made it, or if it one of her antiques.  It is beautiful.

Ruth collects little antique sewing machines that are so cute!  She said her daughter learned to sew on one of these hand crank little machines.  She said the nice part about that was that the stitching was easy to remove so her daughter could use the same thread over and over!

She also has a Raggedy Ann and Andy doll collection.  I know at least one of these she made herself, for her daughter.

I remember when she made this vest several years ago.  There is a picture of her daughter on the right side as you're looking at it.

Ruth's kids and my kids went to school together and often were in the same classes.  I must say I worked with her many times as "room mothers" for parties etc. and she was amazing - very creative and fun.  The kids were always in a for a real treat!

I love how Ruth puts history in every one of her quilts.  All quilts "tell a story", but Ruth's quilts really, literally tell a story.  There are so many things to see and look at in each one.  She told us she puts a picture of herself in each one too - so that gives you something else to look for!

This is her quilt portraying the Lions Club Parade that happens every year.  She said she took this quilt to the Lions Club to show them and several members recognized themselves in her quilt!

She said she loves to collect Santa mugs and I believe she has over 100!

She showed a couple of the stockings she made for her kids.  Her daughter's has a Raggedy Ann on it.  She is also holding her Snow Angel quilt that portrays her kids making snow angels.  The hair on the kids is really her children's hair!

A couple of pieces shown here also commemorate history of the Grand Valley.  You could take a little field trip around town and see many of Ruth's pieces hanging at the Justice Center, the Marillac Clinic etc.  She has donated countless hours of her time and skills to our community.

Here is a larger picture of the Monument quilt.

I remember when she made this "I Spy" quilt many years ago and I have wanted to make one myself, ever since!  But I haven't yet....   This one is really well done and very personal to her family - quite a treasure.

She is showing off the Lions Club Parade quilt and said she met the person who was driving that little white car.

Ruth's quilts are very three dimensional!  This one portrays her son reading in bed, with a Smokey the Bear stuffed animal next to him.  She actually took a mold of her son's face to get it just right.  She also has a Smokey the Bear collection and told us some funny stories about that.
This is her amazing Colorado quilt.  There is SO much to this quilt that you really have to hear it all from her own lips.  I cannot even begin to remember all the detail.  I think she said this one is going to be auctioned off.  I think it should hang in the Capitol Building on permanent display.  All of the counties are represented, all fifty four 14'ers are depicted, the CO flag.   It's really something
Thank you Ruth for all you do for our community and for the quilting community in particular!  You are amazing!

And Happy Valentine's Day to Everyone!

My hubby gave me flowers and chocolates, even though he already gave me a GO! cutter!  He's a sweetie.  He read somewhere this week that the lamest Valentine's gift to get your wife is a dozen red roses with baby's breath.  He made sure to point out that these roses do NOT have baby's breath :)  He also read that the best gift to give your wife for Valentine's Day is to donate to their favorite charity in their honor.  I told him he does that all the time!  It's called "Fabric Store"!

Hope you have a GREAT day!!