Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cactus Flower for Jessica

Jessica, here is the Cactus Flower block.  It measures 9 1/4" before the sashing.  You can trim off however much you need to to make it work for you.  I added the floral fabric from my own stash to match the lighter blue in the "diamond" fabric.
On point.

If it's too blue for you, let me know and I can finagle it a bit.

Here's the test block

Pinks, purples, white, yellows and greens.
Let me know what you think.
If you like it, I'll send it along asap!
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sunflower Block for Jessica

finished block for Shrinking Quilters virtual quilting bee

I can't believe I forgot to photograph it "on point"(!), but it works equally well in the correct orientation. It's kind of on point in this photo:

blocksPractice block

The block pattern is from "5,500 Quilt Block Designs" by Maggie Malone. Measurements are not given, so I worked out the math and tested it on my own fabric. The challenge for me, was finding a design that didn't use too much negative space since I had so little light fabric (and no white on white fabric in my own stash) to work with and figuring out how to incorporate all 4 fabrics into the design. Challenges are what stretch us creatively though and this was a fun project.

chosen design

[NOTE: could someone please edit my post to center my photos? Also the first photo is chopped off, and I don't know how to correct it.]

Monday, December 28, 2009

Why the Man Who Invented Chocolate Needs to be Shot!

I think it's an evil plot to thwart my stupid honest intentions to trim down this year.

Some well meaning, loving relative got all three boys lovely, large boxes of these deliciously wrapped, yummy galore candies.
Only...the boys don't like mint all that much.
Now, I applaud their kind and caring concern that the boyos have something treaty and chocolatey...but, um.

I've been eyeballing them all day.
Breaking news:
Javi, the oldest, just saw this post and dug into the laundry basket pulling double duty as gift transport, and pulled his box out to take up to his room.
Thank you, God.
One down, two to go!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Heavens A'Blaze for Jessica

This afternoon I mailed my block to Jessica. Like Madeline, I got my pattern (Heavens A'Blaze) from, and I think the two of ours are rather complimentary. The only tricks to the pattern were to cut and place the fabric on the paper foundation such that the outer edges of the final block wouldn't be bias, and to tear away some of the paper before assembling the 9 squares into the large block. I also posted a picture of my test block, in case you're interested in seeing this in another colourway. It's from the Moda 3 Sisters Simplicity or Serenity line.

(Apologies to Jesssica, who didn't receive the block before I posted this picture. I thought that given the similarity to Madeline's block, I'd post now.)


Baby steps

I thought I would share with you guys a few minor victories along the Road to Reducing.  Two things that always trip me up:  habit and opportunity.  So I'm trying to take steps to fortify myself against both of these, and here are some of my early victories.
Inside the Summer Office
You see in the photo above my habit: a cranberry tea biscuit.  Normally, I have one of these everyday around 10.30, just from habit.  I like it that the staff at my local know my standing order and bring it to me at the right time without my having to ask for it.  It's rich and yummy.  But no more.  I've stopped having them.  And I'm just about at the point where I don't miss them anymore.
I don't like these
Opportunity is also a problem.  If there's something yummy around, I'll eat it!  My family tends to complain when I go all draconian on them and stop stocking all deliciousness entirely.  So my challenge is to buy the ones I don't like, and not feel tempted.  As far as sweets go, both my husband and daughter seem to have the moderation gene.  Lucky them!  My daughter has a friend visiting from Montreal for a few days and she had certain expectations for the cupboard supplies.  I bought these faux Peak Freans cookies that I don't like very much and so far I've not been tempted.
I don't like this
It turns out that it is really hard to find ice cream that I don't like.  I spent ten minutes at the grocery store scrutinizing all the ice cream varieties before I decided on cookie dough.  I never eat cookie dough unless it's cooked - and then it doesn't qualify as dough.  I never understood why they made ice cream out of it.

So, yay!  Every little step counts.  Mind you, I have no photos of all the latkes I ate during Chanukah.  Our local supermarket stopped carrying the frozen ones we usually buy, so someone brought us a whole whack of latkes from Montreal.  Not frozen.  Delicious.  I indulged with gusto and sour cream!  But all that's behind me now (no kidding on the "behind")!  Bring on 2010!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jessica's Block is done!

Here's my finished block for Jessica. I hope you like it. (Looks like preparing the photo for the web clipped off the points on a few of the star arms but they are fine in real life.) It's called Teresa's Guamin Star and I chose it from the quilter's cache link that Jessica sent us. I picked this one since Jessica asked for a pattern that could be used on point. I have a little bit of fabric to return with the finished block.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weight Watchers

Does anyone else get the Weight Watchers emails?

this recipe was in this morning's email so I thought I'd share:

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
POINTS® Value: 2
Servings: 12
Preparation Time: 8 min
Cooking Time: 120 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

These cookies are the perfect combination of vanilla and chocolate. If you prefer chewy meringues, make them the day before you plan to eat them.


1 spray(s) cooking spray, flour-variety recommended
1 tsp all-purpose flour
4 large egg white(s)
1 cup(s) sugar
1/2 cup(s) mini chocolate chips, semi-sweet
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 200ºF.
Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray and coat with a light dusting of flour; shake off excess flour and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form; gently fold in chocolate and vanilla.
Drop mixture by heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart, making 24 cookies.
Bake until lightly golden and no longer sticky on the surface, about 1 hour. Turn oven off and let cookies sit in oven for 1 hour. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Yields 2 cookies per serving.

You can make these cookies mini if you prefer. Just use heaping teaspoons of batter; not tablespoons.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Coffee & Brown Sugar Quilt

Hello Shrinking Quilters!
I put my fabric in the mail today so go get yourself a big glass of water and get ready to start a new quilt with me~
Here's the situation...

I have an addiction to coffee.  Since the pregnancy (and now I'm still nursing) it's been 2-3 cups a day of decaf.  before that it was 4 cups to the whole pot of regular.  But it's not just the coffee.  For me, coffee is a vehicle for the cream and sugar.  In the past year there have been times that I've gone through a pound of brown sugar in a week, in my coffees alone.  (yeah, i bake too, but we'll save the brownie addiction for another quilt).
the thicker, the creamier the better.  bigger mugs give more pleasure-- my go-to mug at home is blue glass and holds about 16 ozs.  For this weight loss quilting bee (all of 2010?) I have decided to give up coffee and pour it all into a quilt instead.

Here's what we're making:

(I did this work up in EQ5, I haven't upgraded my software-- spent the $ on fabric instead.  So the fabrics will be different, of course, this is just to give you the general idea..)

I sent out a selection of beige, cream, and/or brown fabrics with a smaller piece of a deep turquoisey blue.  Please make one 9 x 9" finished (9.5" unfinished) block of your choice.  Any traditional or slightly wonky (think maverick stars) pieced or appliqued block is fine, but please chose something that works on point (i.e. don't applique your scene without rotating the foundation first!) Please use the blue in or towards the center, if possible.  The blocks in my EQ5 version are just examples, I can't even say they're blocks I like, I just needed something to fill the space for the preview quilt.  You do not have to chose one of those!  I'll make double nine-patch setting blocks.  When finished, the quilt will go in my family room.

Since this is the first quilt in our bee, use it as an opportunity to share a part of your personality with the group.  If you need more direction, below are a few quilt blocks that I like, but you are not limited to these examples at all!

I like Baltimore Album blocks and Hawaiian applique..but piecing is great too:
lots more 9" blocks over at quilter's cache!
Of course if you want to peak into my cozy haven of quilt-beauty, just check out my flickr favs.
 If you want to add fabrics from your stash, go ahead, but please stick with my color scheme.   It's ok to mix it up and combine modern designers, repros, batiks.  Solids are fine, but NO black or white fabrics please!

Alright ladies, this is not supposed to be hard!  If I've scared you with too many options, ignore them.  Just choose a block that you'll enjoy making.  When you're done, sign it with an archival safe permanent marker (iron a piece of freezer paper to the back first so you get a nice writing surface)-- name and location please, then send it back to me by January 31st. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I can't wait to see them!