Monday, February 4, 2008

Dancing Hearts and Other Stuff

While my husband and my sister-in-law watched the Superbowl on Sunday, I worked on my dancing hearts quilt top and managed to get the top done before bed. The next hurdle will be to get it quilted in time for Valentine's Day! It turned out a little larger than I had initially thought it would be, but that's because I decided to add 8" borders to showcase the Valentine fabric I found at Bearpaws & Hollyhocks.

I used a couple charm packs for the hearts and added about a yard of background fabric, a yard of the black polkadot sashing fabric, and then the border fabric. Because of the directional print in the border fabric, I purchased a yard and a half, but I have plenty leftover for another use.

To make the hearts "dance," I used Sharyn Craig's method from her book Twist 'n Turn. I like this book quite a lot because with her method, you can set blocks that don't quite seem to go together colorwise or that aren't precisely the same size as one another--in fact, I bought the book as a solution to setting some swapped blocks that varied a little in size.

I took a few breaks from sewing to watch bits of the Superbowl and cook up a pot of clam chowder soup. Did you watch the game? My husband and Kath were cheering on the Patriots, but I kind of wanted to see the Giants win. Not that I have anything against the Patriots--in fact, I very rarely watch football at all, so I really didn't care WHO won the game, but I always like to see the underdog win. I think the Giants had to overcome quite a bit mentally just to have a chance, since the Patriots were so heavily favored and were expected to walk all over the Giants. I guess my biorhythms must still be peaking, because the Giants won--yep, it's ALL about me! LOL!

The clam chowder turned out to be just the thing to eat while watching the game. The recipe I have is an old favorite and isn't really a classic clam chowder. It's another one of my simple soup recipes, so I'll share it with you. Be warned, though, that my measurements are a little sketchy--I'm one of those cooks who just tosses stuff in and keeps tossing until it tastes "right," but this should get you a pretty good pot of soup as long as the uncertainty of my measurements doesn't scare you off! Here's what you'll need:

3 potatoes

Carrots (I use the peeled baby carrots in a bag)--enough for about a cup or so when sliced

3 cans of minced clams

About 2-3 cups of milk

1 can of cream of celery soup

1/2 pound Swiss cheese


And here's what you do:

Peel and dice three potatoes--dice to about 3/4".

Slice/dice carrots to roughly the same size.

Put potatoes and carrots in a soup pot. Add the juice from three cans of minced clams and possibly a bit of water to not quite cover the veggies. Add seasonings--I usually toss in some salt, pepper, rosemary, and a bit of garlic. Sometimes I also add in some sauteed chopped onions and crispy cooked bacon--it just depends on what I have on hand and what I'm in the mood for. Cover veggies and cook on medium-low heat until tender.

Stir in cream of celery soup. Now here's the tricky part--add milk until the soup is still a bit thick but not too thick. You don't want a thin milky broth but you don't want it too heavy either. It's not rocket science, so just use your best judgment. If you're in doubt, remember you can add more milk later.

Heat the soup and add in the minced clams and the shredded Swiss cheese. I use about 1/3 to 1/2 pound of cheese, which is maybe about a cup or two of shredded cheese. Stir and continue heating until the cheese is melted. That's it! Now EAT! Yummmmm!


Eileen said...

That quilt isn't anything like I pictured. as usual. Cute, different with the black and that border fabric is just right.

Now that clam chowder is much like the seafood chowder that Roben makes. Ymm.

Kristie said...

The clam chowder sounds so good! I love how your quilt turned out! I love the border fabric, it's pefect for the quilt.

Darlene said...

I love that quilt, Kim! It's truly adorable!

The recipe sounds great - might have to give that one a try very soon.

Sherry said...

I just love that Valentine quilt Kim. I think the sashing fabric you chose is perfect. Hope you can get it finished by Valentine's Day.

Idaho Quilter said...

Quilt is yummy and the clam chowder sounds yummy too.

debijeanm said...

You did a great job with your Dancing Hearts quilt, Kim! Sometimes a border like that will overwhelm a quilt, but between your happy color choices and the "dancing" of the hearts your focus stays on the hearts! Love it!

Sharyn Craig taught me how to make my quilts dance, too. Years ago I took a scrappy quilt workshop with her and one of the secrets she shared was to do one block wrong. The brain, she said, will try to process the pattern as a routine but keep bumping up against that wrong block. It won't really seem "wrong" but will just make the quilt more exciting. 3/4 of the way through the day I had finished a dozen or so blocks and put them on the wall. Blah. I took one down and re-did it wrong. POW! It made such a difference. (Hmmm, I never did finish that quilt. Wonder where it is?)

Lisa D. said...

Super cute Valentine's quilt! I love the way the blocks dance!

Karen said...

What a cute, cute Valentine quilt!

DPUTiger said...

::sigh:: I miss clam chowder. I used to eat it all winter, then I started having an allergic reaction to the clams. BUMMER!!! It's still one of my favorite special treats, but now I can only eat it in smaller quantities once every few years. :(

Red Geranium Cottage said...

Love that new heart quilt. You are something else. When will you move onto Easter quilts? Better get hopin. Get it, hopin???? ROFLOL
The soup sounds yummy. I may just have to make that. Maybe while I'm working on Hometown Christmas. Hmmm what do ya think? Never mind. I dont want to know.

Carol said...

Kim, very nice quilt, as usual. You do great work. I love checking your blog to see what's new with you. The hearts look great tilted, what a great idea. You sure get a lot of sewing projects done. Thanks for sharing with us. I can always count on you for inspiration.

Carol Lewis

quiltmom said...

Hi Kim
I love your heart quilt- it reminds me that I need to take down my snowmen and put up some hearts before Valentine's Day has come and gone-
Your soup sounds wonderful - I shall have to try it.
Regards from a Western Canadian quilter,

Tamara said...

OH Kim I just love your Dancing Hearts. Wow I wished I had all your time to sew. You seem to get so much acomplished in such a short time. Wow

Nan said...

The dancing hearts! You did it and I LOVE IT! You did such a wonderful job once again, Kim! It's absolutely gorgeous! I am also glad the Giants won - nothing against the Patriots, mind you, I just like to root for the underdog. It was the best Super Bowl game I have seen in a very long time. I couldn't sew during the game - it was just too exciting!!
I will have to make that soup, too - thank you so much for the recipe.

Carole said...

Your dancing heart came out beautiful! I've got to get that book! I can see how useful it would be. Thanks for the chowder recipe! I loe chowder! What time do you want me over? lol Have a great evening!

Ginger Patches said...

Cute valentine's quilt--love that border fabric! That soup recipe is making me hungry :)