Friday, October 31, 2008

A Halloween Treat

Last night I stayed up late making a Halloween dessert to take into the office. Have you ever had dirt cups? It was kind of like that--Cool Whip, crushed up Oreo cookies, and chocolate pudding. The whole thing was supposed to look like a graveyard with pumpkins, grave stones, and ghosts.

To disguise the pan, I spent some time cutting out fence pieces from cardstock that I planned to tape to the outside of the pan.

To make the grave stones, I melted chocolate and then used a paint brush to apply it to the fronts of five chocolate fudge cookies. Once that dried, I made a small batch of white icing and carefully piped "RIP" on the five grave stones.

I mixed up the cemetary "dirt" and spooned it into the pan to chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Next, I unrolled and laid out a green fruit jelly roll to harden a little overnight, so today I could cut it into "grass" shapes to decorate my graveyard.

Finally, I set the five grave stones on a plate so the chocolate and piped icing could set up overnight. At 12:45 a.m., I had finished everything I could and I headed to bed.

This morning, I went out to the kitchen to fix a cup of coffee and found Hubby admiring my plate of clever grave stones. Here's what I told him:

"Those are the grave stones for the dessert I made for the office. It's supposed to be a graveyard. It's made like the filling for dirt cups--the pan is in the refrigerator. It looks like dirt and you stick the gravestones into it. Oh, and I had some leftover cookies that I put in the cookie jar--you can have some if you want."

I then carried the cookie jar over to the kitchen counter where he was fixing his lunch and set it down next to his lunch bag. Off I then went with my coffee.

Here's what HE heard:

"Blah, blah, blah, leftover cookies, blah, blah, blah."

When I went back out to the kitchen a half hour later to feed the cats, three of my grave stones were gone.

Every now and then, I'm completely convinced Black Widow spiders have it right when it comes to mates.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Peppermint, Anyone?

I finally finished the top tonight. I know it seems like I've finished this quickly, so you're probably wondering why I say "finally." The thing is, it's taken me a few days just to do the sashing and borders, and it seems like I've been working on that part much longer than I expected! Now I just need to get it pinned, quilted, and bound--and I think the quilting will go reasonably fast on this one since I won't do anything very fancy.

From the comments on my last post, it sounds like a lot of us are planning to stay home and quilt on Halloween. And, by the way, NancyNoBlog left a comment about Monica Lewinsky that's worth reading if you missed it--just make sure you aren't eating or drinking anything when you do!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Hubby and I were talking tonight about whether he wanted to answer the door to trick or treaters on Halloween or hide in the dark and pretend we're not home. I've never been one to feel like getting up and down, answering the door and handing out candy, but he's always enjoyed it--he loves seeing the little ones all dressed up in costume. Now, though, since he can't get up and down like he used to and would need his wheelchair, the idea of answering the door every few minutes isn't as appealing to him.

When our kids were young, I was always the one to walk around the neighborhood with them--there was something kind of magical about being out on Halloween night. Everyone at the houses we visited seemed so cheerful and pleasant, and the other parents out with their kids were more friendly and open than usual. I miss those days sometimes!

So, this Halloween, we'll probably pretend to not be home. I have big quilting and TV watching plans; in fact, I've added a widget to the bottom of my blog, counting down the time to the Ghost Hunters live broadcast. After that, maybe I can find a scary movie or program to watch while I sew. I may not be dressed in costume, collecting candy from the neighbors, but that doesn't mean I can't scare myself silly and enjoy the occasion!

Our office will have a party that day, and the dress up theme this year is political characters. Early on, I was thinking about dressing up as Monica Lewinsky, but the couple times I looked at Goodwill, I couldn't find a suitable blue dress. My friend Teri had the same idea, and she DID find the perfect dress today. Frankly, I'd rather spend my "off" time sewing and crafting than coming up with a costume anyway, and at this point, I'm just about sick to death of politics! If some idea strikes me that's simple and easy between now and then, maybe I'll "dress up." I'm such a party pooper, aren't I?! My alternate idea was to go as Osama bin Laden. Well, I guess "go" isn't quite the right word, since my idea was to just not show up for work at all and, just like bin Laden, no one would be able to find me!

So what about you? Do you have any Halloween plans?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yum Yum and Woo-Woo

Kinda sounds like the title for a children's book about Pandas, doesn't it?! So what the heck am I talking about tonight?

First, the yum yum. Some of you wanted the recipe for the apple dumplings, and you know I always try to keep you happy, right? Right! So here it is, together with my notes in parentheses about what I might do differently next time--take them or leave them, but just know that my ideas, at this point, are completely untested and may not work out.


Prepare pastry for a 10" two-crust pie. Set it aside for a bit while you do the rest of this stuff.

Peel, core, and chop about ten apples. (I think I probably only used maybe 7 or 8 large apples.)

Prepare cinnamon sauce: In a saucepan, combine 3 cups of water, 1-1/2 cups of sugar, a dash of salt, 1/4 cup of butter, and 1-1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. (I followed the recipe and ended up with about twice as much sauce as I needed. It also seemed a bit watery but cooked up fine in the dumplings. I was thinking about reducing the water/sugar ratio, but I'm not sure how this would work out once it bakes down--if you reduce the water too much, I think the sugar might burn. But what am I going to do with the leftover buttery, watery sugar syrup? Maybe I should try thickening just the leftover sauce by adding more sugar and cooking it awhile--it might be good on pancakes!)

Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer at very low heat while you assemble the dumplings as follows.

Divide pastry into four equal portions. Roll each portion so you will get three triangles out of each. (Triangles? Maybe I just don't have the experience to fill and gather these triangles nicely, but I was thinking next time I might just divide the pastry into 12 portions and roll each into a nice circle or square.) On each triangle (circle/square?!), place about 3/4 cup chopped apple and sprinkle with sugar and a little cinnamon. (I think I was only able to fit about 1/2 cup of filling in each. And I added sugar and cinnamon to the apples just before I started filling.) Bring edges of dough up to the center and crimp the edges together. (This is where I had the problem with the triangle shape. The dough refused to crimp and left gaps.) Place dumplings in 9x13x2 pan. Twelve dumplings fit just about right. Pour sauce over the dumplings generously. (What's generously? Especially when you have made so much sauce that if you used it all, you'd drown the dumplings! I poured enough that the sauce came about 3/4" to 1" up the sides.) Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Eat.

Now the woo-woo part of this post. I find unexplainable supernatural stories kind of fun, and since Halloween is later this week, I thought I'd share with you. If you also enjoy this sort of thing, check out Somewhere on the Masthead's October Moments. He has a couple new ones this year, and if you enjoy those, click on his October Moments category in the sidebar on the left. I linked to him last year around this time, but if you weren't reading my blog then, he may be new to you. And if you're not one to enjoy having a chill run up your spine and the hairs stand up on the back of your neck? Well, he's an excellent writer and writes about much more than "October Moments."

Have you had any October Moments in your life? I'd love to hear about them! Go ahead: Try and scare me!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Slaving Away in the Kitchen . . .

Here it is, Sunday night, and another weekend is coming to a close. Today has been a much more productive day than yesterday, although I didn't get nearly as much sewing time. That's okay, though. Some days are like that.

Our local grocery store has $5 Friday Family nights where they have something or other to feed a family for only $5. I like to try to get my grocery shopping done on the way home from work on Fridays so I don't have to do it over the weekend, and if the grocery store has something decent for $5, I usually pick it up. This past Friday it was whole roasted chickens. From that chicken, Hubby and I had chicken for dinner Friday, chicken Caesar salads for dinner tonight, and I made a big pot of chicken/veggie/noodle soup. Not a bad deal!

It was also about time I used those apples I bought at Apple Hill a few weeks ago. So, I made an Apple Hill Cake to take to the office tomorrow--Boy Boss saw it on my blog and has been hinting that he'd like to try it.

A dozen Ten apple dumplings (a recipe from the Apple Hill cookbook--there WAS a dozen, but we needed to taste test them just to make sure they were okay). Not as pretty as I would have liked, but this was my first effort at making dumplings and they are tasty!

A Dutch apple pie for the freezer.

And two regular apple pies for the freezer. One is low fat. Why? Because--as it seems I do about half the time--I forgot to put the butter in before I put the top crust on. ARGH!

So I think we're set for apple desserts for awhile. Except I still have some apples left--the ones in that basket behind the pies in that last photo. Maybe once the dumplings are gone, I'll make another pie. I'm guessing that might be next weekend. And I'm hoping that by next weekend, I'll feel like standing around in the kitchen again.

I hope you also had a great weekend! Thanks for stopping in for a visit.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Lazy Sort of Day

More and more I find I spend my Saturdays being lazy and recovering from my busy work weeks, and today was no exception. I have all kinds of things I want to do this weekend, but if they don't get done, it won't really matter in the overall cosmic scheme of things.

My quilting assistant, Spike, spent her day being as lazy as I was. She had a somewhat active burst mid-afternoon when she sat on the dresser in the bedroom and "talked" to the birds and the squirrels, but the rest of the day was spent laying around.

I didn't do much today besides sleeping and reading except to work on piecing the peppermint blocks. A couple of you asked if the pattern was paperpieced. Nope! It's the same basic technique used in many of the Buggy Barn patterns, and I took a couple photos to show you how these work in case you've never seen them.

Each pattern comes with a sheet that looks something like this:

You trace the pattern onto freezer paper, and you usually need to trace the pattern two or three times. You collect, press, and stack fat quarters in whatever configuration the pattern recommends--it seems that the Pieces From My Heart patterns often separate them out by color whereas the Buggy Barn patterns usually have you mix them up in certain ways--like light, dark, light, dark . . . or by stacking colors in a particular pattern. You then iron the freezer paper onto the top of a stack of fat quarters and cut along the pattern lines. Once you have your pieces cut, the directions tell you how to rotate the fabrics, and you end up with something like this (except you'd have a whole stack piled up--this was just the last of the blocks):

The pattern is often marked by numbers and/or letters so you can identify which sections should be switched and in what order to sew the pieces back together.

The effect looks something like paperpiecing but there's no paper to remove. Here's how the peppermint blocks look--

I still need to move them around a bit and pick out sashing and border fabrics, but I've finished all 12 blocks. Now that I think about it, I guess I did get something done today, even if it felt like I was just being lazy and doing nothing but playing!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

In The News . . .

The economy is taking a nose dive (despite my best efforts!) and the presidential election is only about a week and a half away. Lots of news to capture our attention these days, right? So, with all that's going on in the world, I was afraid you might miss this very important story:

Yep, turns out scientists have found that the ability to produce stinky gas seems to lower blood pressure. Who knew? And, more importantly, who thought up these studies?!

It's just in the lab mice stage at this point but scientists figure the same conditions will apply to humans, and this will open up a whole new area of treatment for high blood pressure. Rather than the long established blood pressure medications, a person could be induced to produce stinky gas, thereby lowering his or her blood pressure. We've been hearing for years that high fiber foods like beans and other foods such as garlic have beneficial health effects--now I guess maybe it's not really the FOODS themselves but rather the effect they have on us.

Of course, you kinda gotta wonder how this new breakthrough might affect blood pressure levels of the family members and friends of those being treated. I'll tell you one thing though: I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be hanging around people with high blood pressure anymore--not by choice, anyway.

And all this brings me back to the other big news stories of the day. If you have stock in Beano, SELL! Instead, put your money in stock in S. C. Johnson, the company that makes Glade air freshners. And how does this relate to politics? Well, politicians are apparently a lot smarter than I gave them credit for. After all, when it comes to stinky gas, most of them are experts!

Friday, October 24, 2008

You Know It's Been A Long Work Week When . . .

Candy Making

Two down, ten to go! Here's a picture of what it will grow up to be someday:

Peppermint Twist by Pieces From My Heart.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stuff to Make

A couple of you sent me PDF files for projects, and I've added the links to the Wee Gifties list. To do this, I've uploaded the PDF files for the Quilted Card Wallet and the Wine Bottle Vests to a public storage site, so if you click on those links, it should take you to a place where you can open either PDF file and print it. I hope! This was something different for me, but I couldn't figure out how else to do this and Blogger didn't want me to add the files as I would a photo or video. If any of you have a tip on how to do this an easier way, please let me know.

I also wanted to tell you about Su Bee's punkins tutorial. Fall is here and these punkins will last much longer than the "real" ones! Here's a photo of a whole pile of these babies!

Su Bee also said she used real leaves but you could use silk ones and they'd last longer. Also, check THIS out for another option--several methods for preserving real fall leaves--maybe one would work well for this project!

Seeing these reminded me that a year or two ago, I purchased a kit for making needle felted wool pumpkins. I wonder where I put that? Well, if I can't find it, at least I know where my FABRIC is, so I can whip up a few Su Bee Punkins!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Economic Stimulus Package

Tracey stopped by my little Blogland "home" to visit and expressed a bit of concern that perhaps I was no longer doing my part to stimulate the economy, thereby causing the world-wide financial crisis. Never fear, Tracey! I've been soldiering on! And since it's apparently the patriotic thing to do (rather than something you smuggle into the house in the dark of night so the Hubby doesn't find out!), I'll share my latest shopping purchases with all of you and consider it a badge of honor to do so!

I'd been trying to rein in my spending habits a bit, but then those darn chickens came along! Well, of course, the chickens were so much fun, I needed--NEEDED!!!--a couple more Buggy Barn books. Completely understandable, right?

And then, also quite understandably, I needed (yes, "needed!") backing fabric for the chickens. This was before I decided to hold off on quilting them until after the holidays. So I popped on over to Thousands of Bolts . . . Only One Nut and browsed his black and white selections. The fabric on the left is chicken backing. The fabric on the right is just because a girl needs polka dots . . .

. . . and the fabric above is because it's cute Halloween fabric, it's inexpensive, and darn it, I'm worth it! Which reminds me--

Have you heard of 401(F) plans? This is something new I just recently learned about from my friend Cynthia. They're a little like 401(K) plans where you put money away for retirement, but with a 401(F), you put FABRIC ("F") away for retirement! So, as my 401(K) is dwindling, at least my 401(F) is healthy!

Anyway, back to helping the economy. Then I got an email from Connecting Threads telling me all their books are 40% off. Can I resist that? At least I should look, right?! Well, I couldn't resist buying either. (Sigh!)

The book My Autumn has a couple patterns in it that I was looking at when I was at Cabin Fever with Hubby while on vacation, and the Dressed to Chill--well, it has some cute snowmen. Cute books, both of them!

And do you know that shipping's free at Connecting Threads if your order is $50 or more? So, in order to save money, I also got this:

What a smart shopper I am! It's almost like they're paying ME! Well, almost. Except different. But I needed thread. Maybe just not quite that much.

And then remember those chickens again and how much fun I had making them? I wanted to check the Pieces From My Heart website because I have a couple patterns that use their technique that's similar to Buggy Barn's. And while I was there, I found these: Peppermints, hats, and pumpkins.

And the patterns I already had? Here are three I'd like to make--soon! And these I didn't buy (recently)--they were already in my 401(P) ("P" for Pattern) fund:

I guess I'd better check my stash to see if I have the fabric I'll need. Because if I don't, I'll need to do a little shopping. But, you know--it's the patriotic thing to do! Besides, it's not my fault. I'm telling you, it's those darn CHICKENS!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scrappy Stars Correction

I just wanted to alert everyone who was interested in making this quilt that there was a typo in one of the measurements--I had typed 4-1/4" when it should have been 4-1/2". I've edited the post, but if you printed it out earlier, please make that correction. Thanks you Donna D. for noticing the error!

P.S.: If you've already cut your pieces 4-1/4", then make the other parts of the main block 4-1/4" rather than 4-1/2"--it will end up being a little smaller but the nice thing about this block is that you won't lose the star points. I think the only other thing that would change would be the length of your sashing--you'd need to cut that at 11-3/4" instead of 12-1/2". Sorry for the error--I don't know how many times I read over the directions and didn't notice it!

Wee Gifties

Around this time of year, I start thinking about things I might want to make to give as Christmas gifts, and I'm always on the lookout for good, quick gifts. I've started a little link list on my sidebar for just this type of thing. If you have any "how-to" links that I can add, please let me know. I'm mainly looking for items that are NOT quilts or food items but rather cute and useful things that might be made and given to friends and acquaintances during the holidays.

Last year I made a few microwave potato bags and tucked them into gift baskets with other goodies. The directions for those are in the Wee Giftie list in the sidebar. Several months ago, I also came across a tutorial for making foot/bed warmers, and I've included that, although I haven't made them yet. So what else? Any ideas to share? I was thinking about making some homemade soap balls and I noticed a few weeks ago that Libby had a photo and link to a recipe. I haven't tried it, but I'd like to, so I'll add that one too.

In other words, I'd like to develop a little bit of a link reference "library" for this kind of thing for all of us to share, and I'd greatly appreciate your suggestions for additions to the "library"! What have you tried or want to try that others may also be interested in?

Why Women Need Catalogues

It's getting to be that time of the year when our mailboxes fill up with nice, big catalogues! A friend sent this to me, and I thought I'd share:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekends Go Too Fast!

Doesn't it seem like it was just Friday? And now Sunday's nearly over and it's back to work tomorrow.

If you stopped by looking for the rest of the Scrappy Stars tutorial, just scroll down to the next post. I had a few things I wanted to chat about, so I'm posting separately. And, if you're not looking for Scrappy Stars directions, I bet this post will probably be a little more interesting anyway!

A few days ago, I stopped by to visit Mama Spark and found this interesting--and thought-provoking--post about blogging and bloggers. Some of us had so much to say we commented twice! Hop on over there and take a look if you haven't visited already. Just click HERE. Don't forget to read the comments too. I'll stop by there later to see if any of you had something to say.

And, on the subject of Blogland friends, I had an email from Su Bee who was checking in from a quilting retreat. I had mentioned to her a couple weeks ago that "her" retreat might possibly be the same retreat my "real life" friend Liz was attending, and sure 'nuf, they met and were having a great time sewing and shopping together. That sure made me envious, but I'm glad they were having fun!

On the quilting front, I made the "flimsies" for two pillow shams to go with the Scrappy Stars quilt, but I haven't quilted them yet. I'd show you a picture except I forgot to take one and right now, my lower back's killing me and I don't feel like getting up--lazy, aren't I?! LOL! Today I cleaned house and then did a fair amount of cooking, and I think all the bending and standing did me in. A couple Tylenol PM ought to have me right as rain by the morning though.

A few days ago, someone commented about making apple butter in the crockpot, so I found a RECIPE online and made a batch--it was really pretty easy and turned out great! I started it just before bed on Saturday night and by Sunday noon, this was the result:

I'm telling you, that crockpot got a lot of use this weekend! On Saturday I made a big batch of chili--I thought it was about time to use some of the cans of beans and tomatoes in the cupboard and some of the partial bags of corn in the freezer. Today I made a meatloaf from the rest of the hamburger I bought for the chili. With a refrigerator full of chili and meatloaf, I'm pretty well set for meals this week--and it's so nice to know I can come home from work and not spend much time in the kitchen!

I even filled the cookie jar today.

Last week--I think it may have been Wednesday or Thursday--was Boss's Day. I know I'm a little late, but tonight I put together little gifts for the Boy Boss and the Girl Boss, so they'll get these tomorrow:

There were a couple things I wanted to do this weekend but didn't manage to fit in. For instance, I still have to applique the words on the witch quilt and add a little embroidery, not to mention actually QUILTING it. Well, if it's not finished for THIS Halloween, I'm sure it will be done for the next!

I DID manage to sleep in on Saturday--and took a nap later in the afternoon. That's what I call quality weekend time! And tonight? Well, I'm writing this early but will set it to post later. In the meantime, I'm going to bed with a good book, an ice pack, and some Tylenol PM--but that's not necessarily a bad thing; it's just one of those getting-older things we put up with. All in all, it was a very nice weekend. I hope you enjoyed your weekend too!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Scrappy Stars, Part 2

Are you ready for the sashing? This part will probably be a little harder for me to explain, so please bear with me and let me know if you have questions. Also, read through all the directions first--you'll be cutting in two different steps, so you may want to calculate what you'll need up front and get all the cutting done first.

First, though, before we get started, someone asked me about the masking tape on my sewing table. Right now, I have two pieces on there--one was for a project I did awhile back and I just haven't removed it yet. But the other piece is always there, and I use it all the time when I'm sewing small squares on the diagonal, as we're doing with the star points for this project. Here's what I'm talking about:

For the smaller pieces, this allows me to sew without drawing a diagonal line first. I just line up the point I'm heading toward on the edge of the masking tape. If this looks like something that would come in handy for you, just line up the edge of your ruler with your stitch line, using the needle hole in your plate as a guide. Lower your foot to hold the ruler in place, and apply the masking tape at the edge of the ruler.

Now, on to the SASHING.

If you're making a four-block quilt, you'll need to cut 12 pieces of sashing. From medium/dark fabrics, cut each sashing strip 12-1/2" by 2-1/2". If you're making a larger quilt, put your blocks on a design wall or the floor and count to see how many pieces you'll need to go between each block and around the outside of the quilt. For each piece of sashing fabric, cut four (4) neutral squares at 1-1/2". Sew a square on each corner of the sashing--this is the same method we used for the Happy Jacks sashing. Just click HERE and scroll down a little to the black and yellow fabric for more complete directions.

You'll also need a cornerstone for each sashing intersection. For a four block quilt, this means cutting nine (9) cornerstone pieces. From neutral fabric cut the cornerstones to measure 2-1/2". My photo above shows the sashing without the star points but with the cornerstones in place. I'm making two pillow shams, so don't be confused by the extra sashing you see.

At this point, you can sew your blocks and sashing together or hold off until the last steps are done. This next step is similar to a pieced border but will complete the secondary star pattern. For this part, we'll need to make a few more block pieces and sashings. Take a look at this photo to see what I'm talking about--see that bottom section?

For a four block quilt, you'll need to cut 12 more pieces of what I'll call "half sashing" since it's shorter than the others. From the medium/dark fabrics, cut these sashing pieces at 2-1/2" by 4-1/2". You'll also need to cut two (2) 1-1/2" neutral squares for each sashing piece to form the star points. These will be added to ONE end of the sashing only and will complete the stars around the outside of the quilt.

To complete the block portion--the part between the half sashings--you'll need to make the same half square triangles you made in the first step of the main blocks. For a four block quilt, you'll need ten (10) 5" squares of medium/dark fabrics and ten (10) 5" squares of neutral fabrics. Make the half square triangles as before and trim them to 4-1/2". [Note--if you're making a larger quilt and calculating how many you'll need, for each half block section, you'll need one neutral square and one medium/dark square. You'll also need to make four additional half square triangles (2 squares of each fabric) for the corners of the quilt.)

In addition to the half square triangles, for a four-block quilt, cut eight (8) neutral squares at 4-1/2"--these go between the half square triangles. Or, if you'd prefer to use up some of your smaller neutral pieces, cut squares to 2-1/2" and make them into four-patch blocks. I think this photo shows you what those half blocks should look like--I used the four-patch idea here:

So, that's it! Sew everything together and add a plain border if you'd like--that's up to you.

It's About TIME!

I bet you thought I'd never get around to doing a tutorial on the Scrappy Stars quilt, did you? Well, SURPRISE! Here it is--the first half, at least!

This part of the pattern was given to us--my online Thimbleberries group--by my friend Kairle as a mystery quilt. Today I'm going to give you directions for making the main blocks. Tomorrow I'll talk about the sashing that forms the secondary pattern--that part of the quilt was something I came up with.

The original directions Kairle gave us were for making four blocks, which makes a nice size tabletopper. For the quilt I made pictured above, I used 16 blocks, and that made a bed-sized quilt for a twin or double bed. Today I worked on making only four blocks, so that's what I'm going to give you as far as cutting directions--you'll need to increase that accordingly if you want a larger quilt. Make sense?

This is a scrappy quilt, so I'll just refer to "neutral" fabrics and "medium/dark" fabrics. If you want a more controlled look to your quilt, this would be a pretty good pattern for a two color quilt.


From Neutral Fabrics:

Eight (8) 5" squares
Sixteen (16) 4-1/2" squares

From Medium/Dark Fabrics:

Eight (8) 5" squares
Forty-Eight (48) 2-1/2" squares


On the back of each of the eight 5" neutral squares, draw a diagonal line. Pair up a neutral square with a colored square, "right" sides together. For each pair, sew a seam 1/4" on either side of the center drawn line.

Cut on the line and press open. You'll end up with 16 half square triangles. Trim each of the 16 blocks to measure 4-1/2". Set aside.

Using 16 of the 2-1/2" colored squares, make four 4-patch center blocks. Set aside.

You should have left 16 4-1/2" neutral squares and 32 2-1/2" colored squares. Place a colored square on the corner of a neutral square and sew on the diagonal like this:

Trim under layer(s) and press up. Repeat with the "neighboring" corner (see picture below). Again, trim and press up into place. Now it should look like this (except less blurry! LOL!):

You now have all the "parts" that form the blocks. I find it helpful to place the pieces on my design wall in their correct positions and work from the wall to sew them all together.

When you've sewn your pieces together, your unfinished blocks will measure 12-1/2". Now you've finished the first part!

To be continued . . . .

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's Friday!

Finally the weekend is here, and I have BIG plans to sleep in tomorrow! It's surprising how much more tired I am on Friday nights when I work all week than I am when I'm on vacation. Okay, maybe it's not toooooo surprising!

First, thank you all for the comments you left about the chicken quilt. This has been so much fun to make! I put the borders on tonight and I have a photo for you, but it's really so large that it's hard to get a good photo. Still . . .

I thought I'd keep the borders somewhat simple and somewhat small--the chickens are pretty overpowering and--quite rightfully--take center stage!

During our lunch hour today, my friends and I went to the quilt show and I took a few photos to share with you. Some of them came out rather dark, but I'll post them anyway. I didn't get very much information about the quilts or the quilt makers because my time was limited and I was mostly running around and taking photos of the quilts that appealed to me, but here's what I got. First I'll show you a few more traditional/country quilts. This first one was made by Lindy, the owner of Bear Paws & Hollyhocks.

This next one was kind of interesting, I thought. It's a memorial quilt for the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Wild Child won an essay or speech contest in school once when she was young, and she and I were invited to attend one of their meetings; the Wild Child gave her presentation to the group. Seeing this quilt brings back some memories! I had forgotten all about that until I saw it.

This next quilt was fun! I love houses and barns, and this quilt was three-dimensional--some of the pieces lifted up. Kind of a neat idea, huh?!

Now a couple more "arty" quilts. I wish I could tell you who did this one. I love the colors and the arrangement, don't you? I think that even if you're not "into" arty quilts, you probably appreciate this.

I thought this little one was neat and different because it's mostly "thread play" and crayon drawing. If you click and make it larger, I think you can read what the quilt maker said about it.

And, of course, this last one--the colors and the applique were just gorgeous! And it looks like a few of the judges agreed!

And no visit to a quilt show would be complete without a visit to the vendors, right?! I was really looking mostly for fat quarters to use in the Pieces From My Heart Christmas quilts I want to make, and I was disappointed to find very few of the vendors had fat quarters this time. There was also an overabundance of fall colors and fall kits and very little for Christmas. Last year, someone had a whole basket full of red and white fat quarters, and I was hoping to find that again, but you know--whenever you have something specific in mind, you never can find what you're looking for.

One of the local vendors, The Pincushion, specializes in what they call "Sweet Treats" which are packets of 8 coordinated fat quarters, and I found one I liked--mostly from Minick and Simpson, I think. For some reason, these photos came out a little blurry--sorry!

Then I found a couple other red and green fat quarters that will do. The tones look much brighter than the Sweet Treat packet here in the photos, but in person, they aren't too far off.

And, finally, a few more fat quarters and half yard cuts that just appealed to me--I'm sure I can use them in some project or another, and the price was good.

Unfortunately, one of my friends got a call from the office and needed to get back to take care of an "emergency," which meant cutting our excursion a little short, but really, by the time the call came, we were pretty much done anyway.

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of the quilt show. Now it's time for me to get started on my main priority--sleeping in on Saturday morning!