Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Custom Dog Quilt

Well it sure has been a long time since I finished a quilt, hasn't it? This one was a custom order-- my sister-in-law requested a primary colored dog quilt for my nephew. He happens to be 6 months old already so you can imagine how long I've been stalling on this one! I had the quilt top pieced a long long time ago but just wasn't confident in my plan for quilting it so I let it sit. and sit. and sit. I really wanted to try free-motion quilting but I knew I didn't have enough practice. I ended up doing a number of difference techniques. I did some straight-line quilting in the dog squares to accentuate them and then wavy lines with my walking foot on all the black sashing (that's where I chickened out by not using free-motion there). I finally put my new free-motion skills to work with the solid colored pieces. In the photo-strip edge I free-handed a single star in each colored square. For the large solid colored blocks I really went to town and did swirls and stars. it was fun, really fast and it turns out that you can't really see the "mistakes." Everything looks like it's supposed to be that way.

I always wanted to try free-motion quilting but thought there must be some sort of trick to it. I finally took a class this winter and learned the trick. The trick is-- there is no trick. You just have to do it. So far, stars and swirls is about all I can handle but I'm excited to try some other techniques and I think I have the confidence to free-motion an entire quilt. I'll start with something small- a baby quilt I'm sure.

It feels great to have this project wrapped up. A huge weight is lifted off my shoulders. Now I'm working on little clothing projects for the kids and designing a big big big project for my brother's wedding! Only 5 months for that one... Must get to work!
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Cute shorts and scraped knees

Alex requested some shorts this morning. Since I finished a long-standing, major quilting project yesterday I'm feeling the freedom of being between projects. I didn't prewash this fabric so it might just be a one time only pair of shorts. That would be a shame cause they're super cute.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Vermicomposting, my newest endeavor

I have a compost bin (the Earth Machine) in the backyard but I'm not finding it very satisfying. I can't use it in the winter because I can't get to it through the snow and it freezes shut. Plus I don't take care of it very well (Ron says it's not a compost heap, just a heap of rotting vegetables) and therefore don't exactly get compost from it. We don't have a lot of "brown" material (dried leaves, newspaper, grass clippings) to add to it along with all of the vegetables and it really needs a mix of carbon rich and nitrogen rich materials to thrive.

I have wanted a worm composting bin for a long long time. I haven't gotten one because it seems like a lot of work, I'm slightly creeped out by worms and worry about the kids getting in there. Well screw all that because I have jumped right in! I got my Worm Factory 360, the worms arrived yesterday and I am ready to go. I absolutely hate putting my food scraps in a landfill and now I won't have to. I'm happy to report that so far all is well. There were a few escapees last night but in general it seems very healthy in there. The worms have spread out and pretty much disappeared from view, down into the carefully prepared bedding I provided for them. I have some food scraps in the corners and if they have started eating them within three days I can start putting more scraps in there. With the right conditions it can be fully operational - meaning 5 trays high with the bottom one full of fresh, worm-made compost within 4 months.

I currently have to hold myself back from checking the bin (the worms like their privacy) more than once a day. I am constantly checking the thermometer to make sure it's not too cold (below 40) or too hot (about 80). I worry that even fully operational they won't be able to handle the large amount of vegetable scraps that we have. I guess that's what the big compost bin (aka the rotting vegetable heap) is for. I will keep you updated!
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

OMG Panko Crusted Soy Ginger Asparagus

This was phenomenal. The recipe is found here at Dana Treat. Go now. Why are you still looking at my blog? Go make this asparagus!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 Garden

The theme this year is simplicity. Tomatoes and herbs, just like I promised myself. Talia took half the garden for flowers. We left a space unplanted so the kids (Shayna) can dig around. It was so hard to pass up all the other plants and seeds at the market- peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, carrots, peas etc. but I really wanted to try it this way and see if the garden can be a joyful place instead of a stressor. If I miss growing all those other veggies I'll know for next time!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Ravioli with Harissa Oil

I recently got the Super Natural Every Day cookbook by Heidi Swanson. This is the second recipe I've tried and it's another great success. I love that this is extremely quick- cook some ravioli, add broccolini into the ravioli water at the end. Serve with toasted nuts (she suggests pepita or pine), feta and black olives. Drizzle with Harissa oil which is basically lemon juice, garlic, salt, two tablespoons of Harissa and 4 tablespoons of oil. Great taste + very few prep dishes = a winner.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day

Sitting on the porch
Putting the binding on our family quilt
One kid sleeping
One kid playing outside
One kid snuggled right next to me, reading.

Monday, May 02, 2011


My sweet Alex is FOUR today! We had an awesome party yesterday at our local pet store. The kids got to see and touch lizards, mice, a snake, snails, puppies, a kitty and a bunny. I let all the children "adopt" a kitten stuffed animal and we filled out adoption certificates. We served snacks (dog bone shaped graham crackers and goldfish) and ice cream in pet bowls that the kids could keep. We all had a great time!
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