Saturday, January 24, 2015

Friends, Family & Food

I love the blog Awkward Family Photos. The link has a cute story about grandma not being in the shot. The family even recreated the photo a couple of times over the years. Grandma got a kick about being published in their book and went along with the photo recreations with gusto. Fun, family memories. I've been meaning to go through my photo albums and scan in some of my fun family shots.

I found these videos so fascinating. I love watching our food stylists during restaurant photo shoots. This gal makes the tiniest little food. I kind of want her tea light stove.

My guild buddy Rene' knows me too well.

She also found me the cutest tea towel. I almost hate to use it! Bones, the house doxie is still kicking but is getting hard of hearing. The UPS guy slinks in silently now. And you can sneak up on Bones and scare him. Not that anyone does that.

I've had this Dill Pickle Soup recipe pinned for some time on Pinterest. I finally got around to making it. Yummy! Definitely a keeper. You could easily make it vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken broth. I'm making this Cream of Mushroom soup tonight. Or maybe this Hungarian Mushroom Soup. I love making soups and must crave mushroom soup often. My Pinterest soup board is filled with all kinds of mushroom soup recipes.

Happy eating!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Happy New Year!

Have you seen this quilt contest by the Quilt Alliance? Might be a fun little challenge once I get through the Quiltville mystery. I really loved how the Grand Illusion reveal turned out. You can see it here. I'm up to 16 main blocks (17 actually, because I forgot I had one done already.) So my quilt will be 4 blocks x 4 blocks with added sashing. I'm a bit nervous about fitting the sashing and cornerstones, but I think I can do it. The pieced border makes me want drink wine. ;) I'm not quite ready for that, but I'm going to work up to it.

We took a quickie cruise to the Bahamas in the new year. I really like cruising. It's relaxing. No phones or internet, fun people watching, endless food, entertainment, sunshine, etc. I had never been to the Bahamas. Nassau was crazy town, but it was fun to visit. And the water is so pretty and blue.

Look! Pirates! Just kidding. This boat guided us into port. I have trouble backing up a car in my driveway. I can't imagine backing a huge cruise ship into a slip. Our captain did it though. First try! Ha ha!

I did see a couple of pirates in town.

Hollywood cruises all the time. Here's the loot she brought me back from her last cruise to Mexico. Hot sauces and the Talavera pottery I collect. She and her boyfriend's family went with us to the Bahamas. We had a lot of fun.

I was surprised to find such nice tomatoes this winter. I'm going to go search for more today. They were delicious.

Artichoke spinach dip is my favorite. I made a huge vat of it basing it loosely on this recipe. College Boy gifted me P-Dub's two latest books for Christmas. I didn't have feta or pepper jack cheese, but I added in some pecorino romano, cheddar and a couple of slices of smoked Gouda. I was trying to make it healthy. Ha! It was really good. I like the heat of the cayenne pepper.

Today's cooking is bone broth or brodo. Bone broths are all the rage right now. I love making stocks and soups, so this isn't new to me, but I don't normally just sip the broth for health. Apparently it's filled with vitamins and minerals that are good for you. This one has seaweed, allspice, bay leaves, parsley, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper.

I roasted inexpensive beef neck bones and chicken wing tips. We eat a lot of chicken wings, and I save the tips. I also found some leftover carrots from a veggie tray in the freezer. You could easily use a rotisserie chicken carcass or even all vegetables to make a vegetarian broth.

I tossed a plum tomato in the pot at the last minute. Here's a step-by-step for making bone broth and the health benefits.Mine is simmering away on the stove this chilly day. I'll strain it this evening, so I'll get a good 10 hour cook time, but you really don't have to let it simmer that long. The recipe above says 48 hours for beef bones, 24 hours for chicken bones, but I'm never that patient.

Happy new year to you and yours! Let's get this year started!

Monday, December 29, 2014


And snap, just like that, the holidays are over. I found Mr. Elf while tidying up my studio. He had fallen from the wall clock and rolled under a stool. I guess Hollywood's "tick tock, tick tock" clue was quite literal. He hung with sock monkey for a few days and today I spotted him hanging from a small Christmas tree. The guy gets around.

I printed these paper pieced Santas out before the holidays, but never had time to whip one up. He's kind of cute, isn't he? To get the pattern, visit the talented Imagine Gnats. I used a sunny yellow background because it was 84 degrees for our holidays. It's still hot three days later. I could use some snow. For a day. At least it was nice out to grill the holiday ham and turkey. That's my idea of fun!

I'm all caught up with the lite version of Quiltville's Grand Illusion mystery. Linky party here. I'm only making half the pieces, so I'll end up with a smaller quilt. Bonnie suggested it as an option, so I'm sure it will work. I almost had enough spare time to go back and make all the units, but I came to my senses. I've enjoyed being with family, cooking, baking, and relaxing. My spice cabinet still didn't get cleaned.

During a cleaning spell, I dumped all the trimmed triangles in my triangle box. I'll deal with those later, or maybe that box will fall into the trash. It's a culmination of many binding miters, and stitch and flip units. Eight years in fact.

Also during the cleaning/organizing/put crap away, people are coming for Christmas preparations, I unearthed a chunk of fabric I can use for a backing. Buying scraps, fat quarters, and one-yard cuts can really bite you in the butt when you want to use your stash for a backing. I think someone gave me the light green floral print on the very right. It's cute and will work perfectly. Flowers go with pirate skulls and Peter Rabbit, right?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Quiche Love

I started my weekend with a quiche. I'm the only big fan of quiche around here, but a few eat it. I wish they'd just leave it all for me! This version had spinach, bacon, red onion, tomato and sharp cheddar. Egg and milk too!

I use the refrigerated pie crusts a lot. They're so convenient and for some reason, pie crusts seem so labor intensive. They're not, but for a quick pie or quiche, I like the refrigerated crusts. The best part about quiches is that you can add anything you like. Obviously, I like a lot of stuff.

I finished part two of the Quiltville mystery yesterday afternoon. Part three is already up and I plan to get my cutting done on those units this week. The part three units look like lots of fun! I can't wait to get them pieced!

These little triangles were waste from part two.

Hmmm...they're pretty cute, but I'll try to refrain for now.

Linking up with the other mystery quilters right here. Sometimes the best party about these mysteries is the "drama." Cracks me up every time. Quilters are passionate people! Ha!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery, Part Two

I finished up all 50 broken dish units for the Grand Illusion Mystery.

I have all the pieces cut for part two. Hoping to get these put together this weekend, since part three came out Friday. I've done a test unit to make sure my measuring and piecing work out. I only need 50 units for this step.

Hollywood gave me an Elf on the Shelf ornament for the tree. Cute! She also hid my elf somewhere when she cleaned the house this week. Wonder where he's hiding? She keeps saying "tick, tock, tick, tock," so I've looked at every clock in the house. Nothing. Anyone have any ideas?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Victoria from Bumble Beans!

Pay it Forward Quilt  by Victoria Findlay Wolfe
Bumble Beans was one of the first blogs I started following religiously when I began quilting in 2007. Victoria (V) is a talent to be reckoned with. She quilts with such speed that her projects are endless. Her use of scraps and color, ah-mazing! She has always been an inspiration to me. I've done 15 Minutes of Play, a fabric self portrait, block and quilt swaps, charity quilts, etc. with V. I even have a quilt she gifted to me years ago for a Pay it Forward act of kindness. That's it above and it hangs in my studio.

The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild was fortunate enough to snag V for a couple of classes this weekend. Yep, that's V's hand flying so fast my camera can't focus. She really does sew fast! No wonder she makes so many beautiful quilts. We took her "15 Minutes of Play" class which teaches you how to make fabric. You use your made fabric to make more things. It's a fun process. V had all kinds of tips and tricks to share along with some of her amazing quilts.

One of her Double Wedding Ring quilts won Best of Show at Quiltcon 2013. Th gorgeous DWR above is the cover of her latest book. Double Wedding Rings -- Traditions Made Modern is available for pre-order right here. After making a quilt for the Modern Quilt Guild's DWR challenge, I'm eager to get Victoria's book and make something bigger. She showed us how to handle those curves with precision.

My table at the workshop started out neat. Look, there's a wiener mascot! Judy brought me Frank. He's really cute. That neat pile of fabric to the right was a big pile of mess minutes later. Red, my Janome is now my travel machine. I still love her. I just realized she's seven years old.

Here's some of the fabric I made during our sewing time. Now to hack them up and make something else! I could make fabric all day long. It's really fun and relaxing.

A group of us went to dinner with Victoria. The restaurant was next door to a wig shop. Is it just me, or do these wig heads give you the creeps? My uncle owns a wig shop and I've never been inside it.
The restaurant was Greek and we had flaming cheese! Opa!  I've been wanting to try Saganaki forever! It was so delicious. I want more! Maybe I can make it at home.

Speaking of creepy, the elves have come out. That's my vintage one on the left and the new (and improved?) version available today. I think I like my vintage elf better. The new elf went off to live with Hollywood's charge who is kind of creeped out and thinks the elf will come alive and mess with him while he's sleeping. I love to give gifts that keep on giving. Ha!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery

My fabric pulls for Quiltville's Grand Illusion mystery quilt. Nice and scrappy like I like them! Love the bright colors, too!

Squaring up half square triangles is tedious, but it helps my wacky sewing. Some of them come out perfect and I only have to trim the dog ear off. Some need a little more work.

I'm only doing a half version of the mystery which will still yield a good sized quilt. The broken dish units are really cute. Linking up right here. Go see everyone's pretty units.

At Thanksgiving at my cousin's house, I got to see three of my gifted quilts. The oldest one was probably one of my very first quilts. I was so thrilled to see it worn out and loved, Their kids have newer quilts, but I need to replace the family couch quilt!

I made a mojo turkey the day after Thanksgiving. This was the turkey I stole the guts out of to make the stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner. I marinated it overnight in sour orange (oj and lime juices), cumin, oregano, and garlic. Look at all that garlic! You scrape it off to bake it. Here it is before I roasted it.

And roasted. It looks burnt, but it was delicious. I made black beans, yellow rice and collard greens to go along with it. The leftovers have been great for sandwiches. I'm going to make a turkey soup too. I love me some turkey. Turkey all day!

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