Monday, August 17

The Pets on Quilts Show with "Serenity Now!" (Free Block Pattern too)

Today is the beginning of one of my favorite Blogland events...
the Pets on Quilts Show over at Lily Pad Quilting.  The show runs all this week and into the next: the 17th to the 27th.  Many thanks to Jacque, she works hard to line up some wonderful sponsors and prizes!  This is one of the most social and fun linky parties out there, so be sure not to miss it.  There are categories that include every kind of pet.  Hamsters, hedgehogs, and horses - Oh My!  There is even a category for pet themed quilts too.  So cuddle Buckbeak and Norbert up on your favorite quilts and snap a few photos!  

Penny & Pip hope you come and join in the fun!  Here they are for their Pups on Quilts photo shoot:

Penny & Pip with Serenity Now! They somehow look American Gothic

Pip with the Serenity Now! flimsy. 
She thought the process of ripping off the paper backing was thrilling.

Pip and Penny were both adopted from rescues.  We adopted Pip in April of 2010, on the same weekend we adopted Kaitie's dog, Olive, who was my star for last year's Pets on Quilts Show.  Then a year later, we adopted Penny, and she and Pip became instant buddies.  We found all our dogs through Petfinder.com, an organization that showcases pets in shelters and rescue groups.  All three of these dogs had tragic pasts.  It took a bit of understanding to work through their troubles, but now you could not wish for more loving and devoted companions.  I really can identify with the question "Who rescued who?" 


Serenity Now! A Modern Quilt for Sam

A lot of you have been asking slowpoke me how Sam's "Serenity Now!" quilt was going.  Well... It is finally finished and just in time for Sam to take it back to New Hampshire after his visit last week.  The quilt turned out pretty nice and Sam was happy with it!

It looks different in every kind of lighting, I suspect this is more so than usual because all the fabrics are shimmery shot cottons from the Oakshott and Pepper Cory collections. The photo below is the one I think looks closest to the true colors.

Sam & Gonzo, holding up Serenity Now!
This is the only photo I have of Sam with his quilt; shame on me.  I wish so much I had thought to catch Sam and Gonzo peeking out from behind, which they did a lot.  The camera was on a tripod, set with a timer, and somehow I didn't get one shot of them.  To give you an idea of size: the quilt flimsy measured 80"h x 60"w, but by the time it was quilted and washed, it had shrunk to 76"h x 57"w.  Even though I had prewashed the fabric before sewing, it shrank a bit more while washing the finished quilt.  I am super glad that I did not skip the prewashing.    

Awhile back, I showed you all the painting, by Emma Biggs and Matthew Collings, that inspired this quilt.  Sam found the painting on Pinterest and asked me to make a quilt like it, much to my delight
If you'd like, you can read about the start of that here:
A Change of Plans & Prewashing Shot Cottons
and here:
Halfway to Serenity Now!
You might remember that I decided to paper piece these blocks.  I found that the long, narrow shape of the 2.5" x 10" half rectangle triangles (HRT) made it quite difficult for me to sew accurate 5" x 20" blocks.  Paper piecing solved that problem nicely.  With this pattern, pulling off the paper afterwards was not too bad.  Pip thought it was a lot of fun and did a lot of pouncing.

In case anyone would like it, I'm sharing the HRT Half Diamond paper-piecing pattern that I made, along with the HRT fabric pre-cutting templates, and an EQ7 mock up of the quilt in pdf files.  Print them in auto portrait/landscape setting at actual size. (they will be oriented to portrait)  I have not written a paper piecing tutorial, but did write some brief instructions on the pattern.  And don't forget; you can print this pattern on the other side of the paper too, which makes paper piecing so much easier.

Serenity Now! - EQ7 Mockup
HRT Half Diamond 5 x 10 inch paper-piecing pattern
HRT Fabric pre-cutting templates

I'm going to just jump right into showing you more photos, at various stages.   

The flimsy phase of Serenity Now! on the design wall

Serenity Now! Finished - At the barn (I eventually pinned it to the door)

Quilting diagram
View of the Quilting from the back of Serenity Now

I was happy with how the piecing turned out, but not so much with my quilting.   I machine quilted it with my walking foot, following the great suggestion a few of you made about echoing offset diamonds.  It was a good plan, but my execution of it was so-so.  It is minimally quilted, but will hold up fine because of the batting I used: Quilter's Dream Orient - a rayon / bamboo / cotton / silk batting that has wonderful drape and that can be quilted as far as 8 inches apart.  Basically my problem was that a person should not try to accomplish nice straight lines when having problems with vertigo... you can see I was a bit wobbly.  Sam loved it anyway.  He said it made it all the more valuable to him!  Squishy Mom Moment...Awwwww.   

Also, I thought you would like to see the quilting lines closer.  I used King Tut variegated threads in two colors.  For the binding I sewed it onto the front and stitched in the ditch to secure it to the back, then added another line of stitching to make sure I got it all. It gave it kind of a neat, piped effect. 

Close up of my wobbly job of echo quilting and binding
The finished quilt, after washing.  The left side in the photo has not been ironed yet.  The whole quilt needed a good pressing again, but it was not so difficult to get the wrinkles out this time.  That was good, because I was not going to use starch and stiffen up the softness of these fabrics.  In fact, ironing it made it feel even softer.  
Serenity Now! viewed in incandescent light at night, quilted and bound.

Sam sent me this photo in a text message the first night he was back home.  He told me today that he uses his quilt every night.  :)  I kind of wish I made it bigger then.  When we started this he said he didn't want a bed sized quilt, but more like couch napping size.

Serenity Now! in Sam's room

And where were Pip & Penny during our photographic expedition at the park?
Right alongside us and having a happy doggy day!

Pip, watching all the goings on
Pip is a fairly tidy dog, which is good, considering that she loves to press her cheeks to your lips so you will give her kisses.

Penny, may look adorable, but that little bugger is often quite disgusting.  If she finds a nasty, odiferous thing, she will rub her body all over it and she does this in the blink of an eye.  She did it again that day at the park.  To borrow a phrase from Dana: "Deja-Poo".  

Penny is not too happy here, because Sam washed off her "Eau de Colon".


Just one more thing I want to share today, about another great upcoming event.  

On September 18th - 20th, Cyndy, of Quilting is More Fun Than Housework, is holding another Quilty Orphan Adoption Event.  This event is a linky party, where you link up a post about a project you would like to give away.  Basically you offer a quilt, blocks, or fabrics (at any stage of non-completion) that you no longer want to finish.  It's a wonderful way to pass along that Quilt that only brings you Guilt.  The relief of releasing yourself from a burden and at the same time making someone else quite happy is a heady combination!  So prowl through your bins and bags and UFOs and see if you have anything you would like to give away! The last time Cyndy held this event it was a lot of fun!    

Thanks for visiting, because...

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If you are also a blogger, she is highly likely to follow you home!

Thursday, August 13

Cindy's Pasta Salad

Today's post is brought to you by my wonderful sister-in-law Cindy.  
She makes a pasta salad that the entire family is crazy about and we all beg her to bring for every summertime (and autumn and spring) gathering.  Sam has been known on many occasions to have it instead of dessert.

Here are Cindy's recipe and photos, just as she wrote and sent them to me, so that I could share them here with you:

Pasta Salad from the Garden

"My family loves this salad.  It is best when you can pick the herbs right out of the garden.  You can use dried herbs too but it’s not as much fun or as pretty. 
There are no hard and fast rules for this.  You can add or leave out any of the veggies.  On occasion I’ve added radishes too.  While it’s a family favorite, there is always somebody that doesn’t like some ingredient.  One doesn’t like the cucumbers. The next one says the cucumbers are their favorite but they don’t like the peppers, and on and on.  
Well, too bad!  I like it all.

12 oz package of tri-color rotini pasta
1/3 to ½ cup Olive oil
1/3 to ½ cup Red wine vinegar
Fresh Garden herbs –basil, chives, parsley, summer savory, dill
1 tsp Mustard
1 Cucumber
1 Red pepper
Small can of Chopped Black Olives
Sharp provolone cheese to taste
Stick of pepperoni – about a 4 inch piece
Grated cheese – about 2 tablespoons

While cooking the pasta, chop the garden herbs and put them in a small bowl.  Add ½ cup of Olive oil and ½ cup red wine vinegar and let that marinate.  Stir in a teaspoon of mustard.
Cook the pasta al dente.  Drain and rinse in cold water.  In a large bowl, add the pasta, and then stir in the oil and vinegar mixture.  Drain the can of olives and add to the pasta.
Now prepare and add the following to the pasta mixture:
·        Peel the cucumber.  Cut in half, then quarters lengthwise and chop into ¼ inch slices.
·        Core the pepper and chop into small pieces. (Remove as much of the inside white membrane as possible).
·        Thickly slice the pepperoni then chop the slices into small bits. 
·        Slice the provolone cheese into small pieces. 
Mix everything together with about 2 tablespoons of grated cheese. 
If it is too dry, add more oil and vinegar to taste. 
This is best if made ahead of time to give all the flavors a chance to blend. 

Notes:  If you don’t have fresh basil, you can add a teaspoon or 2 of pesto instead. 
I usually start with a 1/3 cup of the oil and vinegar and add the rest if needed.  As it sits, it will absorb some of the oil and vinegar."

Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum...


Thanks for sharing your recipe Cindy!
And thank you all for stopping by, because...

Sunday, August 9

Ramona's Giveaway and Deana's Americana Row Quilt Along

Hello Everybody!  I'm mostly sharing news and counting blessings today, but hope to get back into the swing of blog hopping as the week progresses.

Ramona's Wonderful Giveaway - a spool quilt with booty & booties!

To celebrate receiving the One Lovely Blog Award, Ramona, of Doodlebugs and Rosebuds, held a giveaway for this beautiful spool quilt in Kaffe and text print fabrics and I was the super lucky winner!  She then surprised me even more by hand knitting a darling pair of booties and including sweet flower market fabrics and ribbon, along with a lovely note.  Ramona is an uber talented and productive quilter, a gifted knitter, and a whole lot of fun to get to know!    

To say that I was thrilled is an understatement!  The quilt looks so perfect on our kitchen table.  Thank you, thank you Ramona - you are a sweetie pie!


Deana, of Dreamworthy Quilts (aka Daughters of Dorinda) and the DOD Mystery Blog, has begun two free quilt alongs: The Spring Row Quilt and the Americana Row Quilt.  You can find out more by clicking the link on my left sidebar.  Both QALs are still close enough to the beginning that it is not too late to join in the fun.  Deana does an amazing job with her quilt alongs!  I've admired her Americana Quilt for a long time and could not resist it when she offered the chance to sew it along with a group.  Last month I completed the blocks for row one: Firework Stars.  They look complicated, but Deana explains her paper piecing very well and they are not difficult to make at all.    

Firework Star blocks - Americana Row QAL


Oh Baby!

We've had a lot of excitement this last month, and that is mainly because Jim & I are going to become grandparents for the very first time!!!  Our daughter Kaitie and her boyfriend Zak are expecting a baby girl in early January.  Our whole family looks forward to knowing Eden James Ward and we already love her, even though she has not made her appearance yet.  

Jim is Italian and for a long time now has looked forward to being called "Poppa" someday.  The kids were asking what I would want to be called for Grandma, so I told them I could be "Lolli".  That way together, Jim and I can be "Lolli-Poppa".  Hee hee.

Kaitie sent us one of her ultrasound photos and added a little something below it.  I don't know... do you think we may be a little too much into Harry Potter?   Bwah hahahahahah! 


Calling all pet lovers!  

Don't forget that next Monday (August 17th) is the beginning of the Pets on Quilts Show!  So make sure you've snapped some pics of your furry or finny friends and your quilts together.  

I've finally finished Sam's "Serenity Now!" modern quilt (Previous posts here and here) and will be entering it in the Pets on Quilts Show. My mind needs rearranging.  I was so focused on getting cute shots of the quilt with the pups that I forgot to take a picture of Sam with his quilt!  :o  :(   I am hanging my head with shame over that blunder.  I'm going to have to ask him to get his roommate to take a picture for me.  

Anyway, I hope to see you all at the show next week!  This is one of the most social and friendly linky parties out there and it only comes along once each year.  I met a whole lot of wonderful people last year who have now become friends.  Jacque has lined up oodles of wonderful prizes too.  Every kind of pet counts and there is even a category for pet themed quilts, so everyone can join in the fun! 

Pets on Quilts 2015

I know that it's been awhile, so thanks for stopping by, because...

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