Sunday, February 26, 2012

Watermelon Salad

I decided to post this recipe today because I've had quite a few friends ask me for this recipe the past few days. Watermelon is coming into season and this is HANDS down one of my top favorite salads. When watermelon is good, I eat this salad ALL the time! I don't buy the big watermelons, but medium size, seedless ones. The redder, the sweeter!
I came across a salad a few years back that had arugula and watermelon, i'm not a huge fan of arugula (little too bitter for my liking) but I always have a big container of organic spinach in my fridge, so I decided to substitute. it makes an amazing salad which is healthy too! There is no measuring with this salad, I only 'eye ball' it each time. Its very quick and easy to make.

You will need:
*Fresh spinach
*fresh mozzarella cheese (in a pinch, I've used string cheese before too)
*pecans or walnuts (I've also used almonds and cashews before, but pecans and walnuts are best)
*balsamic vinegar
*extra virgin olive oil

first, get out a small saucepan, pour 1 cup of BV, bring to a boil and let it reduce down. turn your oven on to 350* and toast your pecans or walnuts for 5-7 minutes. You don't have to toast them (there's many times where I just throw them in the salad chopped up, not toasted) but i think toasting the nuts makes it so much better!
Chop up your watermelon to bite sized pieces and throw into a big bowl. Same with the spinach. chop up the nuts and cheese. there are no measurements here, add more if you're making for a group of people, or less if just for you.
for the dressing- when I make just a bowl for myself, I drizzle about 1 tbsp of the BV reduction and maybe 1-2 tsp of EVOO. I made a huge salad (for about 20 people) last week for friends at work and used 3/4 cup of the BV reduction and maybe 1/3 cup of EVOO. you don't need much of the dressing, once it's mixed with the salad, especially the watermelon, it goes a long way! Toss the salad really good and enjoy my all time favorite salad!
During the summertime especially, I will make a large portion of the BV reduction and keep it in my fridge, as it keeps really well.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Christmas gifts!

It's never too late to blog about homemade gifts, right? every year I make 2 quilts for family members; well this year I made them for my husbands younger cousins who I am close with. I first met them when they were 1 & 3 years old- now they are 12 & 14 years old! they live out of state so when they are here over the holidays & summer we have tons of fun!

Kathryn's quilt

Fabric is Moda's it's a hoot

Keira's quilt

Fabric is Amy butler love (charm pack)

Sweet cousins & their quilts

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

2nd Annual DMQG Retreat

I just got home yesterday from our 2nd annual Dallas Modern Quilt Guild Retreat- We stayed at the Compass Center again and had a great time! I stayed all 3 nights this time and feel like I got so much accomplished! Mount Calm, Texas is such a quiet country town (which i LOVE), so of course I had to scope out some good photo op spots- and THAT i just did! Not only do I love to quilt & sew, but also explore my surroundings!

I took a break on Friday afternoon and went for a drive to scout out some places. Come to find out, this area has much more history than I thought. It was established in the 1880's, was a fairly populated area up until the depression and has basically stopped advancing since then. It is really neat to see something that is almost caught in time since the depression. (considering that was 70 years ago!)

anyway, enough of my love of seeing history- just a few minutes down FM 339 there were 2 abandoned farm houses. The first is a Queen Anne style farm house which dates from the 1880's to 1890's (not sure that this house is specifically that old, but matches the time frame and established era) and it sure looks that old!

The 2nd house seemed in worse shape, but not sure if it is older or newer. None the less, just as cool! Sure wish I wasn't so chicken, would have LOVED to explore inside, but the tiniest sound would make me jump just standing outside! Not very brave, am I!

So back to quilting! I arrived just after dinner on Thursday night, settled in and got straight to quilting my fall quilt not only did I quilt it, but I finished the binding all before turning in for the night! LOVE how it turned out!


my 2nd quilt I completed is a gift I'll be giving away to someone in a few weeks. I used Moda's French General Falalalala (maybe another lalala in there? ha!) line, which I just absolutely love!

The quilt pattern I used is this 10 minute block pattern (which half way thru I promptly named, "10 minute my ASS block"!) haha, i do believe my very LAST block took me only 10 minutes. I used a Falalalalala layer cake, very little ivory (for the border) and some yardage from the same line for the outer border, and backing. None the less, the quilt came out great, I really love everything about it, NOT to mention I pieced (both front and back!), basted, quilted and bound all in 1 day! (granted it was a very long day, but its DONE!) I can't wait to give it to it's recipient soon :)

Saturday, I worked ALL stinkin' day long on 1 quilt top and never finished it (and I even worked on Sunday until noon) there was just THAT much cutting and piecing. Hoping I'll have it completed soon.
I had such a great time sewing, hanging out with some great ladies, laughing ( A LOT!!!!), and not much relaxing! I just need a good night sleep and I'll be ready for the next retreat!

Friday, October 14, 2011

DMQG October challenge

Last night was our monthly meeting & our challenge was to make a fall inspired mug rug. then we also swapped our finished mug rugs. I love these type of challenges!
I knew i wanted a scrap buster, and so I turned to flicker for some inspiration & also tried reverse appliqué (shown at our August meeting) and this is what I came up with:
my mug rug being shown off by Robin, who picked mine first (but then was stolen by Angie 2 minutes later lol)

Dont worry, I actually took pictures of my process while I played around making this mug rug so I'll post a tutorial this weekend!
I picked this BEAUTIFUL mug rug made by a new member Charlotte- what talent!

I also splurged & bought a few new quilting books

*10 minute blocks
*Pieces of Pie (a la mode)
Excited to try these quilt patterns!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Coming up for air ! (with a quilt!)

I'm alive! Not only did I survive that insane weekend of weddings, but my BFF's baby shower (with completed baby bedding & a quilt!) and also moving 2 days later!
we've now been in our new house 1 week & sadly I haven't touched my machine since moving it in. My craft room is still in boxes. Boy am I anxious to quilt my fall quilt ! I've got a few more boxes & rooms to set up before I can get to that though.

enough of that- I must show off a very special quilt! my BFF is due later this month with a baby girl (who I am hoping will be my future daughter in law- I'm a mom of 2 boys- I can hope right??) I have been eagerly waiting for this little blessing for our sweet friends for the last 5 years & she'll now be here shortly. so making her bedding & such a sweet quilt really meant something special to me! and what a quilt to finish off the 2011 baby quilts with !

A fairly simple quilt, but wow do the colors pop with this simple design!

I really racked my brain on quilt designs... For Jes' birthday last year I made this vintage kitchen inspired quilt - I knew I had to make another stacked stripe quilt, but for Kinsley. I know how much jes cherishes my quilt, I was hoping Jes would get the connection with the pattern ;)

Quilting on this quilt was such a breeze, I think I'm really mastering stippling & meandering. I've always done my own quilting but sometimes I get a hiccup in the process, but I'm proud to say- the last 4 quilts I've mastered my technique- what a great feeling that is! I did a very tight stipple design on this quilt.

Mommy to be & Kinsley's quilt

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Procrastinatitis- it's an illness...

My best friend's baby shower is this coming weekend....of course I'm doing her baby bedding, which is not finished .... yet. Bumper is complete. Quilt top is complete. so I have to do the skirt & finish the quilt. yikes. It's 1 week away. I know I can get it done...however the next 9 days will be complete chaos in my mind although I might not show it. I have my regular work this week, as well as my freelance work, so a VERY busy week for me, and 2 days after Jes' shower - we move! yikes! Needless to say my plate is full. and about to spill!
OH did I mention I'm also HOSTING her shower?? ha, I can hear you laughing now.... well thankfully Jes has some wonderful friends who offered to help host as well, and these girls are really pulling through for me.
So wouldn't you know it, Friday night I hit a creative wall...well really i just couldn't decide how i wanted to design her darn crib skirt. I know i'm being picky & just need to do it already, but I just want it to be perfect. of course. I have the fabrics & all. It'll come to me in my sleep, i just know it! ;-)
So just keep laughing....I haven't bought any new fabrics in quite a while as I wanted to finish some unfinished projects before splurging anymore. I've done SO great...until yesterday... stopped by my LQS and I've always wanted a fall themed quilt that I could leave out all season long, well i came across a great combination I paired together (didn't even have a quilt design in mind yet)
I really love the precuts that Moda designs, but sadly this LQS doesn't carry many, so I just paired what I thought would make a great combination.

home elements in orange by mark limpinski for northcott fabrics

Joel Dewberry Woodgrain in Green

Four All Seasons- Fall by Andover Fabrics (Kim Schaefer)

Yellow diagonal check by Moda Lily & Will

Halloween Night Dot Black/Orange by Minick & Simpson for Moda

Just enough fall tones, the colors are out of my normal range (I am not an orange kinda girl!) but the Black & orange polka dots give it just enough for halloween too :)

So i really expected it'd sit on my shelf & not get done until the very end of fall- well....sadly last night, I was so inspired by these new fabrics and procrastinated so much- what did I do???? i finished my quilt top. and just to make it I pieced the back! This is awful, procrastinating..... almost like a sickness...I mean who is this productive when they procrastinate?? I'm not going to allow myself to baste it until after I finish Jes' quilt. girl scouts honor!
I am proud of myself however, for actually using a quilt pattern out of a book I bought a few months ago- Camille Roskelley's book 'Simplify' I used the "Little Man" pattern. But I've just doubled the pattern really..and added an extra border too.

Now I'm really motivated to finish that baby bedding so I can quilt this new baby! I've decided it's going to be a housewarming gift.....FOR MYSELF! it'll be the 1st quilt I finish in our new house. I'm excited to get to snuggle up under it soon with my 3 guys with some cooler weather soon!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A quilt for Silas!

My sweet friend Elizabeth had her 2nd boy last week (baby #3 for her- she's a pro!) Her & her husband decided to not decide on a name for the little guy until he arrived (complete inconvenience to gals like myself who like to personalize every gift! lol)

But today Silas got a personalized gift, a sweet baby quilt. I made it pretty large for a baby quilt 50" x 50" is the finished size.

I really loved the fabrics we used- I did some baby bedding for Elizabeth earlier in the summer using some fun Ikea fabrics, gold cottons & navy blue as well. I've really been into gold & yellows this summer so I loved working on her bedding & quilt.

I broke out of my box & tried something new- i have attempted to quilt with minky a few times- not a huge fan of it, but I have managed. Call me crazy but I much prefer to free motion quilt over straight line quilting with my walking foot. I really wanted to attempt to free motion quilt with the minky on this quilt. I googled some tips on FMQ'ing with minky & found the best tips are in basting (don't pull it tight) and make the quilting a little more 'loose' than normal. I have to say I was impressed- it moved fairly easy with the machine, and I didn't get a single pucker on the backside. I had really debated about quilting the border which I normally would be consistent in my quilting across the whole quilt, but I really felt by only FMQ'ing in the middle it helped the border stand out even more. I think it would have looked great with just the simple quilting too, but to be honest I basted it late at night & had to use 2 pieces of batting.... So another reason for the free motion quilting was to insure that the batting stayed right where it's supposed to be! ;)

so again, another reason why I love quilting- it's always teaching me something I didn't know I could do :)
Even more- I love giving to such sweet friends like my friend Elizabeth. We spent so much time together this summer & her friendship has blessed me so greatly.... My only problem now is that I want to make a quilt for both of her other kids too, only because I love them so much!

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