Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Homemade Catalina Dressing

Hi Kids! 

So, I was really hoping to have a pretty block to show you this morning, but that isn't going to happen. First, because it isn't morning around here anymore, and second my block didn't work. It is really pretty, though all the important points are going to get cut off if I trim it to the 12.5" that it should be. I'm hoping to get a quick nap in after I finish this post, so maybe after that my frustration will have eased and it won't hurt me so much to rip it all up. 

So instead of the block, how about some salad dressing? Anyone? 

I always have the best of intentions about making homemade salad dressing since it has to be so much better for you than the stuff from the store. But, I always forget until about 5 minutes before supper when I'm setting the table. So I hang my head in shame and get out the Hidden Valley Ranch instead. 

The other day during lunch I was glancing through my shelves of cookbooks looking for something to read when I remembered this gem:

I'm pretty sure I ordered it from a garden seed company a few years ago, but here is a link to it on Amazon. The recipes are organized by type of vegetable which are in chronological order based on when they are harvested. So basically the first recipes are for asparagus and peas since those are pretty much the first things harvested out of the garden. There are also interesting interviews with gardeners and growing tips for each vegetable. I haven't made too many things out of it yet, but I hope to use it more in the coming months when our garden starts producing again. 

In the chapter devoted to salad greens, I found several interesting recipes for dressings, but the one we made the other night was her Catalina dressing which was fabulous. I only very slightly modified the recipe, so I'll give you the original and add my modifications.

Catalina Dressing
source: Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman

1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup water
3 TB red wine vinegar
2 TB olive oil
2 TB finely chopped onion
2 TB sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced 
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve at once or store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. 
Yields 1 1/4 cups

**The only thing I changed was to only use 1 clove of garlic instead of two. I really like garlic, but I thought one was plenty. And, I didn't process it in the blender because I'm lazy. I just put it in a mason jar and shook it up. Much easier to clean.

*Of course I am linking up to Tuesdays at the Table with my friend Debbie*

Monday, March 26, 2012

DS Plus Quilt

I actually finished this quilt about a week ago, but hadn't gotten around to taking any pictures of it. Not that the ones I'll show you today are exceptional or anything, but it's better than nothing, right?

I used prints from (I think) three of the Denyse Schmidt lines for JoAnn's on the front and just made a simple pieced back using a few of the same prints. 

For the quilting, I just did wavy lines along the horizontal seams, much like what Holly shows in this tutorial. After quite a bit of deliberation I used Kona Chartreuse for the binding. At first it seems a little bright, but it is actually a really good match for the green in several of the prints. 

These two hooligans kept jumping in my pictures and demanding that I take one of them, so here you go...

In other news...

I'm officially halfway there. The first 20 weeks has flown by and I'm sure the next 20 will too. In about 4 weeks we will find out what this baby is, though my money is on another boy. 

I spent all morning making a shirt for myself that I was really excited about. It is awful, but at least I was smart enough this time to use fabric I didn't care about.  I think I am going to attempt to draft a pattern for myself from a very simple maternity top that I have had forever. Or not. Maybe I should just stick with quilting. 

And did you see the fabulous tutorial that Elizabeth did this morning? I had decided last night to go ahead with the Rolling Stones blocks, but perhaps with color placement more like the quilt from Red Pepper Quilts that I linked to, on a white or light grey background. Now I can just direct everyone to Don't Call Me Betsy when it is time to make the blocks. How cool is that timing?

Sunday, March 25, 2012


So, I spent a lot of time sewing this weekend. 
Do I have anything worthwhile to show for it? Not really.

My month as the "quilter" for our circle of do. Good Stitches is coming up (not until May, but I want to be ready as that is a pretty busy time around here) and I have been trying to decide what exactly to ask everyone to make. I have all kinds of inspirational quilts pinned, but the things I've been coming up with just aren't doing it for me.

From the top...I've seen many modern/liberated cross quilts going around that I really like (here, here, and here)  and I think this would be an easy one for the group. If I go this route, our colors would be orange, aqua, grey, and navy. I definitely think this is one of those blocks that you need to see several of together before it really starts looking good.

The middle row...I've also been seeing some fun string quilts lately, so I came up with this block, and was going to use orange, yellow, green, and aqua as the colors. I'm not so sure about this one, either. I kind of like it, but I think it might be better if the blocks had all the colors, not just one. Or if they were smaller...

Bottom row...I love this block that Penny made for her Farmer's Wife quilt. It is called the Single Wedding Star, but after doing a bit of research I found out that it is also called the Rolling Stone block. Amanda Jean just used it in a quilt and there is another similar example by Rita from Red Pepper Quilts here. My plan was to still go with the orange, yellow, green, aqua color scheme, using solids as the background, but that might be a bit too colorful. Since everyone in this bee uses their stash, I didn't want to name a specific solid color for us to use, though I am tempted to try white as I really love how Rita's quilt looks.

So yes, indecision is the name of the game around here this weekend. That, and frustration. Any words of wisdom?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Becky Home-Ecky

This morning I seem to be on a bit of a cleaning bend. No complaints here, though. It was much needed! The windows are thrown open and two out of three kids are outside playing, which leaves me some peaceful time to mix up some potions and get to work. 

I have been meaning to try making our own laundry detergent again for the last couple of months, but hadn't gotten to it yet. 

So this morning I mixed up a batch using the first recipe from here. I only made a quarter of the recipe so I can see how it reacts with our water before making a full batch.

I also mixed up another bottle of all-purpose cleaner, just half vinegar and half water, along with some grapefruit essential oil. Smells great! It had been a little while since I had gone through my little collection of essential oils. I have some interesting ones in there. Not sure what I was thinking when I bought Sweet Birch, but it smells kind of like wintergreen. The bergamot smells wonderful, though a little weak. I think I may be a bit more adventurous when I make the next batch of cleaner. I've got rosemary, fir needle, peppermint, sweet orange, and lavender as well to try. What combination sounds good to you?

I also mixed up a bubble solution for the kids. When we were growing up I'm pretty sure my mom just mixed up some dish soap and water for us to use, but I found several "recipes" that included corn syrup, claiming that it helped make larger, stronger bubbles. We'll see about that. Now I just need to figure out some kind of wands for them to use.

And one last thing...

This is what you find in your washer when your husband decides to do a load of laundry and forgets to check his pockets. Along with a couple of shirts and pairs of pants that are completely covered in the tiny bits of paper and cardboard that used to be this notebook. That was a fun one to clean up...

What is on your agenda for the weekend?

Thursday, March 22, 2012


 I'm sure you all have seen many of these taggings going around lately. Well, the lovely Laura of Needles, Pins, and Baking Tins caught me and forced me to answer 11 questions about myself and I in turn must tag 11 others.

Random pictures thrown in for a little color...

1. Do you have a favourite colour? If so, why are you drawn to it? Well, it is hard to pick just one favorite, but I would have to go with orange. Surprised? It is so fresh and fun it is hard not to be drawn to it. Though growing up in Tennessee it is easy to get an orange overdose, so it's a little surprising to me that I like it so much. Football is huge in Tennessee and the University of Tennessee Vols' colors are orange and white so orange is everywhere and sometimes it's a little much. But maybe that's why I like it so much now...it reminds me of home? Deep thoughts with Hoosier Toni...

2. Are you an animal lover? Any pets? Well, I have my Master's Degree in Animal Science so you would think that I would be an animal lover. Not so much. I like farm animals, but I have never had a burning desire to have a real "pet". Cows, chickens, even sheep, but dogs and cats...not really. Sorry to all you pet lovers!

3. If money was no object, what's your dream holiday? Oh, that's a tough one. I love traveling! I would have to say a trip to New Zealand and Australia though I'm not looking forward to that plane ride. Coming in a close second would be a very long RV trip around North America. So many places to see!

4. Do you have any weird eating habits? I don't think so...

5. Whats the worst injury you've ever had? A couple of bad sprains from soccer are about all I can think of. The only time I've had stitches was childbirth, so overall I'd say I've been pretty lucky about this one so far.

6. How many houses have you lived in throughout your life? 20.

7. How did you meet your current partner/ love interest? Okay, this is going to sound awful, but I was his teacher. While I was in grad school I was a TA and Roger was in one of the classes I helped teach, though we didn't start dating until at least a year later.

8. What's your favourite movie? Another tough one. I wish I could say some kind of Oscar-winning drama, but I'm more into cheesy comedies. I love Footloose, The Proposal, and I am completely ashamed to admit this, but I really like Super Troopers and quote it way too much.

9. Who are you listening to right now? Well, the only time I really get to listen to music is in the car, and even then it is over the noise of three small children. Right now in the CD player in my car I think there are Eric Church, Cross Canadian Ragweed, the Indigo Girls, Shooter Jennings and  a random mixed CD a friend made me that is mostly Journey and Fleetwood Mac.

10. If you had to pick one favourite blog, who's would it be? Impossible.

11. If you had to pick one favourite quilt, who's/which one would it be? Why all the hard questions? My favorites change all the time, but here are a few awesome ones...Natalie's Flea Market Fancy, Lantana Sorbet by chickenjulie, Crossroads Quilt by Red Pepper Quilts

Alright, that boring enough for you? Now for my 11 questions, many of which I will steal from other people:

1. What is your least favorite color?
2. What is your dream vacation, and would you take anyone with you?
3. What was your first car?
4. How did you meet your current partner/ love interest?
5. What is the worst injury you've ever had?
6. What is your favorite snack?
7. Besides quilting, do you have any other hobbies?
8. What is your least favorite household chore?
9. How close do you live to the place you grew up?
10. If you had to pick a favorite quilt, which one would it be?
11. Do you have any pet peeves that you don't mind sharing?

And now on to those unlucky ones being tagged...I'm sorry, but my memory is a bit vague right now as to who has been tagged since this has been going around for a while, so if you've already done this, feel free to ignore it!

1. Katie at Katie's Corner
2. Debbie at A Quilter's Table
3. Heather at Crafting...
4. Susan at The History Quilter
 6. Jeanette at Stamp*Stitch*Create
8. Sana at Sana-Saroti
9. Jenelle at Echinops and Aster
10. Hadley at Flying Blind
11. Erin at Why Not Sew?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Random Monday

So... I made a quilt this weekend. Okay, just the front and back, I haven't actually basted and quilted it yet. I have been in a bit of a quilting funk lately. Not sure why, but I just haven't really wanted to jump in and make one. For some reason I always feel like quilts need to be big and I just really don't think I have the patience for that right now.

I have also been completely indecisive on any type of color/fabric schemes so I've been hesitant to really cut into anything. But Saturday morning I decided the only way to get out of my funk was to just do something. So I decided to just get out my stack of DS prints from JoAnn's and start cutting. I used the same measurements as the green/yellow plus quilt I made for Roger, so I didn't even need to think too hard about that. Two 4.5" squares and one 4.5" by 12.5" rectangle of each fabric were cut and thrown on the design wall. I filled in some of the blank spots with a few of the more fun prints and away I went. I honestly didn't think I would like it that much, but it is really growing on me. I have never made a quilt with only fabric from one designer before and it was kind of hard. I kept opening the door to my fabric cabinet and looking for other prints to throw in there, but I decided to just keep it simple and stick with the Denyse Schmidt. It will be about 40" by 44" when I'm done, though I suppose it will shrink a bit in the wash, too. What do you think? Too busy?

In mostly unrelated but fun news, look what showed up in my mailbox...

The fabulous Erin from Billy Button Designs sent me this bundle of FQs for winning her recent giveaway. Erin and I have been blogging friends pretty much since the beginning of time. Well, last summer anyway. We were both one of the earliest followers on each others' blogs, so it was fun to help her celebrate surpassing 100 followers. And she must have know that I am in dire need of a new pincushion because she sent this cute Matryoshka doll along with the fabric. Thank you so much, Erin!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

For the Love of Solids

I'm very excited to be able to say that my part in the FTLOS is complete. My partner received her package yesterday and I got mine in Thursday's mail, so now you get to see the goods!

The most fun part, what I received...
My partner was Ella from Throw A Wench in the Works. She did an amazing job despite me not commenting very much during the swap. Choosing to do these swaps during my early stages of pregnancy and our vacation was not the best idea. But she did so well in spite of my silence! Look at this awesome messenger bag:

Can you believe the piecing she did on this? She is a pro. There are several pockets inside that I couldn't really get good pictures of. She also made a cute zip pouch to go along with the bag, and stuffed it with scraps from the project. 

Not only that, but she sent a set of cute buttons, a pack of those new Frixion pens everyone has been raving about, a mini notebook, and a delicious looking chocolate bar. It is going to be hard to wait until Easter to eat that! She was so generous with all the extras she sent and of course I adore the sewn projects. Completely great swap! 

Since my partner received her package yesterday I'll refresh your memory a bit about what I made for her...
I was so happy when my partner, Shawn of Creative Inspiraciones said that she loved the color orange! The other colors she mentioned are some of my favorites, too, so it was easy to jump right into making her projects. I knew fairly early on that I would be making her a large bag and a zip pouch. The design on the bag was inspired by this quilt from Katy Jones who made it using the Firecracker pattern by Jaybird Quilts. I'm a little stubborn and like to figure things out on my own, so I didn't use the pattern and just started putting things together how I thought they should be. Thankfully it is a pretty easy design to figure out and I'm sure I'll be trying it again, though probably on a larger scale. I totally winged the zippered pouch, but I did use this template for the flying geese.

Overall, I had a great time with this swap and am very glad I joined this round. I'm not sure when the next round is but it's likely that I won't be able to join as I'll probably have a newborn and I would hate to subject my partner to even less commenting! But if you are looking to join a swap this is definitely a fun one!

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Modern Muse

I'm being featured today at Annabella's beautiful blog, Life's Rich Pattern, where I am rambling a bit about what inspires me....

And this has nothing to do with anything, but I love this picture and wanted to share. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

WIP Wednesday

It seems like it has been a while since I've done WIP Wednesday post, so I thought an update would be in order. 

New ironing board cover using Randi's tutorial

Bee blocks, details here.

In Progress:
I have all four I-spy placemats quilted and one has the binding complete. The other three would have been done, but I stitched the binding to the front instead of the back and have to redo that. I am entirely machine stitching the binding, so I like to first sew it to the back, then to the front. But apparently I'm an idiot and sewed the last three to the front first. Hopefully these will be done today. 

After I realized my mistake, I decided to push that project aside and make something that I actually like.
 Not sure what I am going to do with it yet, but I made a block using Katy's template from her Foundation Paper Piecing for the Terrified Series. I actually made a second one after I took this picture, but I don't like my fabric choices so you may not see that one. 

No Progress:
Hometown Road to Tennessee
Wyatt's blanket

**Linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced**

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Recipes

Last week I skipped out on Tuesdays at the Table because of the stomach plague, but thankfully it didn't last too long. It didn't keep me out of the kitchen for long, either. Too many hungry mouths around here!

I tried several new recipes last week, and am glad to say that I can highly recommend all of them. So if you are looking for something new to try, how about one of these?

Baked Oatmeal with Fruit from Annie's Eats
Herb Focaccia Bread from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Homemade Maple Syrup from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Today my trusty helpers and I made Soft Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread from Kitchen Simplicity. I just took it out of the oven and I'm trying to exercise a little restraint. It really needs to cool off a bit before I cut it, but the heavenly smell coming from my kitchen may overtake me.

Hop on over to A Quilter's Table to see what everyone else is sharing around their tables. And while you are there, check out Debbie's great new Modern Crosses mini quilt.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cover Me

Friday afternoon as my Mom was putting the finishing touches on the bathroom trim, I decided that I needed a new ironing board cover.
 I had made one last summer but ended up getting it messy with fusible interfacing goo, and it was kinda ugly anyway so it needed to go. 

I used Randi's excellent tutorial modified to fit my board which was just slightly bigger. I also ended up piecing the green and yellow fabrics because I didn't have quite the width that I needed, but you can hardly tell. 

Only after taking this picture did I realize how crooked the yellow fabric is. Oh well, it is one of my favorites and I don't think it will bother me too much. Do you like the Pearl Bracelet prints by Lizzy House? I love them and want to own them all! 

**Linking up with Megan at Canoe Ridge Creations for {Sew} Modern Monday**

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bee Blocks and Other Doings

Thank you so much for all the well wishes on Baby #4! Hopefully in about another 6 weeks we'll find out what we are having so I can start sewing for the newest babe.

This month's bee blocks are officially done.
First up, Jessica had our Imagine circle of do.Good Stitches making the ever-popular Japanese x and + blocks. She wanted them scrappy and vibrant, so that is what she will get.

The original tutorial for this block was by Amy Gunson of Badskirt, but Jessica worked out the math to make the blocks a little larger than the original 8". Her enlarged dimensions can be found here if you are interested in making some in the larger size. 

For the Modern Blocks bee, Krista sent us two fabrics, one black and one blue, and asked us to choose whichever block we wanted to make from the book. She also suggested that we could use any greys, blues, or other fabrics that fit with her mosaic. 

I chose the "Garden Terrace" block by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. This was a fun block to put together, but it really helps to pay attention to the book, not just wing it or else you'll have a bit of seam ripping to do. 

Since I still had a lot of her fabric left, I decided to make Krista another block. 

This one is the "Pathways" block, also by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. I don't think I have ever used my seam ripper on one block as much as I did with this one. And it is such an easy block! Usually when I sew I move my needle over to where the edge of the foot makes a 1/4" seam guide, then  move it over one more click to make the seam fairly scant. Generally this works well for me, but in blocks like this it doesn't. I had to go back and do some adjusting on those two columns that don't have black in them so that everything would look right. Then I just kept sewing them back together wrong. For some reason my camera refuses to take an accurate picture of the colors in this block. This one is a little more true...

The darker solid is Kona Emerald and the other solid is a light, icy blue, not sure what it is exactly. Then the print is from Domestic Bliss by Liz Scott. I just love that line, though I think I only have two of the prints. 

And now a picture to show what got pushed out of the way so I could take these pictures on one end of our dining room table...

Once the kids went to sleep this afternoon, I decided it was time to start making their I-Spy placemats. I've been putting it off because I really wasn't that impressed with the charms I got in the I-Spy swap I participated in last fall. Several of them are cute, but I don't like the fabric and well, I didn't want to take the time to cut up other fabrics to use when I knew I had that massive stack of charms from the swap. It took no time at all to cut them up and I pieced one of the placemat tops just to see how it looked. 

Not as bad as I thought it would be. Sure it is busy and loud, but so are my kids, right? I will say that my machine did not like sewing these fabrics. At first I thought I just needed to change my needle, so I did, but even with the new needle the fabrics kept almost getting pushed down into the needle plate and the needle was noisy going through them. I almost changed my needle again, but then I grabbed two of my usual fabrics and the needle went through them perfectly. Weird. Maybe I should have used a 90 instead of an 80?

So what did you get accomplished today, friends?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mouthy Stitches...done!

I know, Tuesdays are generally reserved for Tuesdays at the Table, but honestly, I have some kind of stomach virus right now and that along with being pregnant again (#4 on the way in August!) has me not wanting anything to do with food right now! Hopefully I'll be back at it next week. 

But you know what has totally brightened up my day? 

My pouch from the Mouthy Stitches swap arrived! Made by the incredibly talented Charlotte of Lawson and Lotti, I loved it when she added the sneak peeks to the flickr pool and was seriously hoping it would be for me. How lucky am I? 

Look at the incredible piecing she used for the front...

She even has a tutorial for this Katherine Wheel Block on her blog. Along with the zippy pouch, we were to send about a FQ worth of scraps, and she sent some fun ones!

Thank you so much, Charlotte! 

Here is a look at the finished pouch I sent my partner, Sarah from Fairy Face Designs...

I have loved this swap and can't wait to see what the next round holds!

Monday, March 5, 2012


Hello, Friends! 
Did you have a good weekend? 

Just thought I would pop in for a minute to share the winner of the Fat Quarter Shop giveaway...

#93...Cathy Jo

Congratulations, Cathy Jo! I'll email you with your coupon code for the gift certificate.

I hope you all have a fabulous week! My mom will be here this week helping me paint the bathrooms. So excited!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I'm Back... And Fresh Sewing Day

Hello, Strangers!

After a fabulous vacation to the beach and returning home to warm weather, it is safe to say that spring fever is in full swing around here. It is a beautiful day here today so I hope to spend much of it outside getting my garden in shape for planting next month. I pretty much neglected it last fall, so there is quite a bit of work to be done. 

I won't bore you with too many details of our trip, but we had a great time despite the cool and windy conditions NW Florida offered us. Even so, it was better than the sleet and freezing temps that were here in Indiana!

Onto the sewing...

Top: Mouthy Stitches Pouch...more on this later
Middle: Travel Sewing 
Bottom: Mullet Bag for FTLOS Swap

And the bee blocks:

Top: Quilting for Kids Asterisk Blocks
Bottom: Imagine Circle's Modern BOM

"Boxed In" for Modern Blocks Bee

So now you've seen my February sewing accomplishments. Let's hope there are as many for March!

**Linking up to Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts**

***AND, I've extended my giveaway until Saturday evening, so if you haven't entered there is still time!***