adding the satin and jewels

modern medallion week 2

I've been plugging away at my satin and jewels embroidery for Handstitched class. Unfortunately, this undertaking happened to fall on my very busiest weeks! But it's been fun to work on when I have the time and luckily, if I don't have it all finished, I can continue to work on it as we add more rounds. 

I'm totally loving the effect, although I have been second guessing myself on the choice of linen (instead of white). Part of me loves seeing those white borders where the embroidery just pops! But the other part of me says that my overall look will me more subdued and relaxed and to just stick with the linen. 

I've been getting much better at stepping back from it instead of looking critically at each stitch. There is some charm to handstitched work, and that charm comes from the imperfections. If it looked as perfect as a machine stitch, it wouldn't have the same effect. 

But I can tell you, as much as I am enjoying hand stitching, I am so thankful for my machine.

last weekend

This past weekend was my husband's family reunion. We shipped ourselves to Texas and had ourselves a real good time. We hung out and caught up with family all weekend long, eating Tex-Mex and barbeque and drinking cold beer. Exactly what one should be doing in Texas. 

reunion

reunion

Our last night there, the whole family went out to Lures, a dive bar with a sense of humor. It's catch and release only and if you are female, make sure to use the "Bait" restroom - "Rods" is for the guys. With no A/C, it was a pretty warm and sticky night, but we had a blast.

reunion

We were lucky enough to have live entertainment - the Kevin Black band played for us and it was fantastic. Two of his sons play with him along with Floyd - the only non-relation - but a funny guy. I see why they keep him around.

The night reminded me how much I love small, live shows. In Vegas - the land of over the top entertainment- there must still be some small, local music scene, right? Making a mental note to check that out.

imitating improv

This month, for do.Good Stitches, Jacey had asked us to make citrus inspired improv blocks in squares and rectangles.

I had plenty of leftover scraps in those colors from recent projects (especially my orange quilt!). Unfortunately, I had never done improv piecing before and the "free-ness" of it all sort of scared me. Try telling a girl who's formative years were spent precisely drafting to scale to just draw free form - trust me, it's not comfortable.

citrus improv

But sometimes getting out of your comfort zone is just what you need. To wet my feet, I planned my first block. I know - it's totally not improv when you plan it but, I figured that it would imitate improv just enough that it could be convincing.

The second block, I planned more loosely. The third, I pieced by improv in the real sense! Just adding a bit here and there until it filled up the square.

citrus improv

I have to say my fear of improv piecing has not quite disappeared, but it's fading. I do like the look of other's improv blocks, so I hope to get better at it. Sadly, I still think that out of my three blocks, I like the one that I planned the most, so maybe I still need to use a bit of a crutch (planning) when doing improv, but at least I'm trying!

These babies are off in the mail to find Jacey! Hope you like them!

this summer {a list}

time flies when you're having fun.

grass  
or when you are procrastinating by watching entire seasons of shows on Netflix (hi there, Crossing Jordan).

Either way, here's a little list of what I'd like to accomplish this summer* (in no particular order):

  • graduate from Handstitched Class by completing the Modern Medallion quilt
  • finally get our house and move! 
  • make more ice cream
  • and orange sherbert
  • go camping with a fire and marshmallows
  • go hiking (Mt. Charleston!)
  • successfully hold handstand in the center of the room without falling over and/or swearing (swearing sort of kills the yoga-zen business)
  • make a jersey knit dress like the one I saw at JCrew but didn't want to spend money on
  • attempt a Retro Flowers quilt (even if it's just a mini)
  • label the quilts I've finished
  • try stenciling on fabric
  • go to a you-pick farm and load up on produce
  • can tomato sauce
Hopefully this keeps me on track for a productive and fun summer instead of just one where I stay inside and eat frozen desserts to avoid the intense summer heat. I totally reserve the right to edit and/or add to this list. It's a starting point, ya know. And not a list of goals, per se. As in, if I don't actually do any of these items, and instead, stay in my house and eat frozen desserts while watching another season of Crossing Jordan, that's ok too - but really unhealthy.

*Summer in this case is going to be from June - end of September

modern medallion - week one

This week I finished up my Modern Medallion center block, the dogwood blossom. The Modern Medallion quilt is one I'm making as part of Handstitched Class and this past week the lesson was reverse applique. I learned how to do this on felt and with quilting cottons. Both techniques are very different from one another, but offer a similar effect. We also leaned a couple basic hand stitches.

dogwood blossom
from center: Flea Market Fancy Red Bouquet/ Kaffe Fassett shot cotton in Aqua 77/ Reunion Ava's Apron in Lime/ Robert Kaufman Yarn Dyed Essex Linen in Flax/ Lucy's Crab Shack Ocean and Green Apple Beach Blanket


There were some struggles for sure, but that only means that I'm learning. Plus, a little challenge keeps it fun and exciting and makes the reward of finally finishing that much sweeter.

The linen portion will get some embroidery added to it next week when we learn all about embroidery - a week I have been so excited for! 

Linking this up to The Handmade Parade at There and Back - check it out for more hand stitched projects! 


it's not delivery

Husband came to me last week after he had been researching and asked if over the weekend we could set out to make a "real" pizza. With the dairy allergy, I can't order in Dominoes or pop in a DiGiorno and when we make pizza at home, we normally substitute some goat or sheep's milk cheese for traditional mozzarella, much to husband's dismay apparently.

Craving "real" pizza, he had researched tutorials online on how to make all the necessary components - the perfect crust, a killer marinara sauce and of course, mozzarella. I know at Whole Foods I had seen cheese making kits so I figured I'd indulge and see how this turned out. We, of course, had to make it with goat's milk so I was concerned about it working and if, in fact, it did work having to taste too goat like.

So, we started with high hopes, but real skepticism.

cutting the rennet tablet
Cutting and crushing the rennet tablet. I totally felt like a drug dealer at this point.


things are looking good.
Looks like something's happening....

cheese making collage
Husband cuts the cheese.

cheese making collage
our improvised heat resistant glove/ our cut cheese/ it's a ball!/ streeeetch


excitement is building

At this point, when we cut it up and it started to look like real, honest to goodness cheese we started to think this could actually work out. Still worried about flavor, mind you, but feeling more sure of ourselves and our cheese making abilities.

Husband did the pulling and stretching and ball forming, because we only had one pair of not easy-on/off gloves. He stretched it a little bit more to dry it some because we had intentions of grating this and didn't want it too soft.

mozzarella
our first mozzarella

Once we had officially formed out first little ball of cheese, we placed it in a brine solution with some ice cubes so that it would set up quickly. A little bit later, we grated it and placed it on top of the amazing sauce and dough he had made the day before.

We went easy with the toppings - just pepperoni and sausage - so that we could really taste the cheese.

making the pizza
waiting for the oven

Once we took it out of the oven, we were quite happy with how the cheese melted evenly and didn't appear too greasy (for pizza, anyway). Once we cut it we were pleased with the overall stretch of the cheese - something my husband tells me was lacking on our previous sub-par pizzas.

But the flavor was amazing - best pizza ever. And the husband even said it tastes like "real" mozzarella - something I wouldn't know, but he assures me of.

pizza 1
better than delivery

Here are the recipes we used to construct this pie:

crochet coozies

a weekend or so ago, I made these little coozies for the mason jars that I keep by my sewing table. It wasn't something planned, but husband got a Redbox movie and I needed something to keep my hands busy while we sat on the couch. I didn't have any sewing work at the moment that could be taken to the couch, so I grabbed a few balls of yarn that were laying around and stitched these up.

crochet coozies

I like that they cover up all the messy stuff in the jars that otherwise isn't so pretty - butts of pencils and scissors, pins and needles, rotary blades....

They look nice on top of the bookcase next to my pincushions and fabric bowl.

sew and tell: a handstitched needlebook

Week one of handstitched class has come and gone. This week, we learned about reverse applique. I am still so excited by all the ways that this technique could be used. And all the new skills I'm learning.

needlebook

One of the projects we worked on was this needlebook, which used reverse applique surrounded by a blanket stitch to show off little peeks of the inside fabric. I love how mine turned out! My running stitches are a little uneven and shaky, but it was hard going through all those layers! Practice makes perfect, though, and I feel pretty good about my first completed class project.

needlebook

Halfway through, after doing the reverse applique and decorative blanket stitch, I switched my inside fabric as the Domestic Bliss print I was using just didn't show through as well. I had some of this Flea Market Fancy on hand and I sure do love it in this project. The bubbles in the fabric coordinate pretty perfectly with the applique shapes (and floss, which I had picked to go with the other fabric!). I'm sure the husband is happy I have some place for my needles now so that I stop cursing every time I loose one.

I'm linking this up to The Handmade Parade at There and Back!Check it out to see other handstitched projects!

P.S. I would have liked homework much more if this was the stuff we learned in school!

journal cover swap

We had a journal cover swap at my local quilt guild this past month and there were definitely some beautiful creations presented. We each selected a fat quarter last month and then drew our partners fabric from a bag at random.

journal swip swap

My partner selected the purple Kate Spain fabric. I added in the green fabric as a nice contrast and to break up the larger scale of the purple print. I also added just a touch of quilting stitches to the cover (it is for a quilt guild member after all) and a green ribbon as a bookmark.

My inspiration fabric was the block print on the inside cover. My partner made the outside cover with other prints from the Domestic Bliss line. I love how she pieced it all and that she used other fabrics from this collection. It was one of those lines that I loved but knew I would never make a full quilt from, so I'm happy to have a little bit of this line living at my house in a fabulously useful journal. I've already started making lists inside. (I love lists). 

journal swap

I hope my partner likes hers as much as I like mine!

color choices: fabrics for handstitched class

Handstitched class officially kicks today, June 4th! All of us students have been busy preparing by ordering our class supplies and choosing our fabrics. Ordering supplies was easy, but choosing fabrics, talk about a lesson in difficult.

Initially I thought about what quilt fabrics I wanted to use, or what I wanted the quilt to look like. Since this class is spanning the summer months, I wanted the fabrics to be bright, light and airy. For the solids, I selected shot cottons. I had heard a bit about them online about their appearance of depth and texture as well as their light and breezy feel. This made them a perfect candidate for a summer quilt. It didn't hurt that they come in a wide variety of colors that are a bit more muted than your typical solids. Lends an easy breezy, relaxing vibe I think.

kaffe fassett shot cottons
kaffe fassett shot cottons
prints

The prints are where I fell short. See, I'm really drawn to solid color quilts. Love em. And I can't help but look at each specific print individually which means I typically love it or hate it. Never mind that they tend to look nothing like that when cut up and pieced, I just can't get past it. This leaves my mini-stash full of large scale prints, or white+one color prints, but I have very few small scale prints - I think I have two - maybe.

Anyway, I did have some Flea Market Fancy. I never purchased the entire line, but had enough that I could build off of them. I ended up also adding in a few prints by Sweetwater -the plaids and dot from Lucy's Crab Shack, some blenders from Sunkissed and one from the Reunion line. Sweetwater definitely has a good grip on making bright and breezy summer lines. I threw in the bright Outfoxed print as well and may add a few more bold prints if needed, but we'll see how it all ends up coming together.

modern medallion fabrics

I was also quite excited to see that my local quilt shop ended up having pearl cotton! I had already selected embroidery floss, but was having a hard time finding pearl cotton locally and was nervous to take a gamble color matching online. I brought them home and busted out my floss and was thrilled to see that they matched beautifully even though they were bought separately and were by two different manufacturers! Lucky, lucky me.

This week, we're learning reverse applique and I'll be making both the center medallion for my quilt, the Dogwood Blossom block, and the needle book which will surely come in handy with all this upcoming handstitching. Can't wait to get started!