Sunday, November 22, 2015

Winter Citrus Salad

Winter citrus salad - recipe will be on the blog tomorrow ������ #whole30

This is the perfect salad to brighten up a dreary winter day.  I was craving something fresh and bright yesterday and this fit the bill perfectly.  Something about being at birthday parties surrounded by coughing children leaves me with an urgent need to consume citrus.  Plus the plumello, kind of a less bitter or sweeter grapefruit, is my new favorite thing for looks and taste!

*Also, to make this Whole30 compliant, just leave out the honey in the dressing.  It still tastes great.

For the salad, you'll need:
Green lettuce leaves, one head
1-2 tangerines
2-3 navel oranges
1/2 C slivered or sliced almonds

For the dressing:
1/4C white balsamic vinegar
Juice of half a navel orange
juice from half a lime
1 teaspoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C of sunflower, almond, or other light oil (please no canola, read here!)
salt and pepper

Wash and dry the lettuce and all other fruits.  Cut the head of green lettuce in bite sized pieces and place in a large salad bowl.  Make 3-4 slices of the plumello and cut them in half to use as garnish around the bowl - so pretty with the lime green and hot pink! Cut one orange and the lime in half and juice half of each,  Reserve juice in a small jar for the dressing. Next, segment the remainder of the citrus fruit - I use this method.  Add the fruit to the bowl.  Dice the avocado and add to the bowl along with the almonds.  The last step is for the pomegranate arils.  You can buy these from the Pom brand or at Trader Joe's already removed from the fruit and ready to go, but it is quite easy (and cheaper) to do it yourself.  First, select a fruit that feels very heavy for its size.  Slice it in half and submerge in a bowl of water as your are releasing the arils from the membrane - this helps to avoid the red splatters on you and the kitchen and the bits of white membrane will float, making it easier to separate it from the arils.  Top your salad with these beautiful jewels of the food world!

Now for the dressing.  Add the white balsamic, honey and garlic to your jar of orange and lime juice.  Put the lid on and shake vigorously until homogeneous.  Add the oil, slowly, while swirling the jar around to help it emulsify.  Put the lid back on and give it a good shake.  I like to dress the salad with barely half of the jar immediately before eating and allow guests to add more to their liking.  There's nothing worse than an overdressed salad, in my opinion!

I hope you enjoy this recipe!  It certainly is a pretty dish to take to a holiday party.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Super Scrappy Quilt for DGS

I'm happy to share another quilt for the Haven Circle of do. Good Stitches!  This is our October quilt.  Unfortunately, we had a quilter go A.W.O.L.  I had just seen Diane's amazing scrappy quilt and thought this might be perfect for our circle; so I took up the challenge for the month.  Since we had a slow start this fit perfectly.  Send me your orphan blocks, send me your wonky blocks, send me crazy, scrappy, fun blocks!

October DGS

Pretty crazy? Hopefully, in kind of an awesome way!  Well, you should see the back:

October DGS

October DGS

This one will be packed up with the Courthouse Steps quilt and on it's way to bring some love and cheer to the women's shelter in Texas.  Hooray for crazy quilts!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Courthouse Steps Finished Quilt

Woohoo, I have two finishes to share for the Haven Circle of do. Good Stitches! I became a quilter for Haven Circle late last year and this is the third quilt I have put together for our circle.  I've been a sewer (making two blocks a month) for many years, but finally felt ready for the challenge of being a quilter recently.

Courthouse steps

You can find my tutorial for this Courthouse Steps block on point right here.

Courthouse steps

This quilt was built around this backing fabric - Michael Miller Gay Paris.  Then I got kind of hoard-y and decided not to use all of my yardage, finishing it up with a strip of the navy Lotta Jansdotter kite tails print.

Courthouse steps

I worked on expanding my free motion quilting design bank and did a weird loop/dahlia design that works great, especially if you don't zoom in this close, lol!

Courthouse steps

This one will be headed to Texas this week (with another one I will share tomorrow) to a battered women's shelter.  Hopefully it will be a bright spot in a dark period of someone's life. It's very sad to think of the women in the situation.  But also, hopeful that they can feel the love our little circle put into this.  It reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite books, by Mary Doria Russell, "no matter how dark the tapestry of life that God weaves for you is, there is always a thread of grace."
Looking for the grace, being the grace, that's what we strive for.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Forest Floor Tote

Hmmm.... guess I haven't blogged since July!  I didn't mean to be gone for so long, but now I have lots to share.  First up is this awesome paper pieced pattern by the super talented Nicole at Lillyella.  This pattern is now available!

Forest floor

As soon as I saw her sample, I knew I wanted to make one!  Specifically, I wanted to make something for Sean to go in his woodland room.  When I started making the block I wasn't entirely sure what that would be - the kid has plenty of pillows and artwork for the walls.  What he did need was a tote for going to the library.  His brothers have them, but I had not yet made one for him.  I thought it would be pretty cute hanging on a hook in his room, too.

If you're going to make a toadstool �� you have to #putagnomeonit pattern testing for he amazing @lillyellasworld

As you can see, this pattern is made up of a few pieces, so it is appropriately labeled "intermediate,"  but I think that even if you have not yet tackled paper piecing, Nicole's pattern is so well written you could get through it with a little determination!  

Finished my #forestfloorpattern test block and hoping to have time to turn it into Sean's library tote bag tomorrow!  #paperpiecing

I added a little applique at the bottom to make it look more natural and to add some interest (all those solids are so unlike me!).  I stole this idea from Tiffany, who was also pattern testing! The fabric is from Heather Ross' newest Tiger Lily line.

For the other side of the tote, I used that Books for Baby block pattern from Ayumi's Patchwork, Please! book.  I thought it was fitting for a library tote.

Forest floor

To make this tote, I used my Tote Bag 101 tutorial.  I added borders to size the blocks up to 12.5" wide by 13" tall, added some batting and did just a little quilting.

Forest floor

To make a little closure I simply used a hair elastic (basted on before I sewed the exterior and lining together) and a covered button.

Forest floor

I think the recipient even likes it (once he was reassured that the lining was not his blanket cut up as he first thought upon seeing it).  Now, we have to put it to use at the library tomorrow!

Have a wonderful weekend and I'll be back with some more posts very soon.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Courthouse Steps on Point {A Quilt Block Tutorial}

Several months ago I ran across a photo of a vintage quilt that had Courthouse Steps blocks and I fell in love.  The blocks appear to be on point and after a quick search came back empty I took the easy route and made up my own measurements.  Having the blocks on point makes them easier to square up and faster to sew than having a few more layers of strips, so this makes a great bee block.

My plan for August #havendgs quilt block and backing fabric.  I'll be mailing out the green squares (Juliana Horner from Joann's) this week so you just need navy and white fabric.  #dogoodstitches tutorial for block will be on the blog soon

It's my turn to be quilter for Haven Do. Good Stitches in August, and this block fell perfectly into my plan to make a Kate Spade-esque quilt with this awesome Michael Miller backing fabric.

Here's what you need to make your own 12.5" (unfinished) block:

Haven DGS August

Fabric A - a pair of 1.5" strips in each size (3.5", 5.5" and 7.5") and one 8" square, cut on the diagonal
Fabric B - a pair of 1.5" strips in each size (5.5", 7.5" and 9.5") and one 8" square, cut on the diagonal
Fabric C - One 3.5" square for center

Haven DGS August

Begin by attaching the strips to your center block, starting with the shortest strips (3.5x1.5").  Unlike in a Log Cabin Block, where you move clockwise around the central block, you attach the strips on opposite sides. I found it helpful to press seams out from the center.

Haven DGS August

Now it's time to attache the triangles and put this baby on point.  Start with the triangles in fabric A (the navy hearts in the photo). line them up so the point is centered on the central square. Pin, sew, press and repeat on the opposite side.

Haven DGS August

Now we will trim the points off so that there is a clean line to sew on for the remaining two sides.  Sew the triangles on in the same manner as the first two.

Haven DGS August

All finished with the sewing, now we just need to square it up and trim.

Haven DGS August

Place a 12.5" square ruler over the block.  The center of the green square should intersect the 6.25" vertical and horizontal lines on the ruler (you can use washi tape on your ruler if you need a more defined line).  Can you see the spot I am pointing to above?  The ruler should also line up with this point on all four sides, or pretty close.  Hold your ruler down firmly so that it does not shift as you trim the four sides.

August #havendgs #dogoodstitches

I love how they look together!  I can't wait until the bee blocks start to  arrive from my Haven Hivemates. 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and if you make something from it, I'd love to see it in my flickr group.  Thanks!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Pretty Perfect Pinwheels {Tutorial for My Small World QAL}

 If you're following along with the My Small World QAL from Jen Kingwell's amazing pattern, you've had to make a lot of teeny, tiny pinwheels!  These can be really, really fun and addictive to make.  Here's how I've been making mine.

*Makes 1 2.5" Pinwheel (2" finished)*

First I cut (2) 2.5" squares from 2 fabrics.  You can technically use smaller, 2" squares, but I tend to cut scraps into 2.5" squares so I have them available, and you have more room for fussy cutting.

I make two sets of the squares with right sides facing and then I mark on the diagonal with this awesome ruler from Fons & Porter for Omnigrid that I got at JoAnn's.  I make my marks with a Pilot Frixion marker.  I know people have had problems with these, but this isn't a mark you will see later if the ink comes back.


Now you simply sew on each diagonal line and cut the block down the middle.


Press with seams going toward the darker side.


Now I get out my next favorite tool, the trusty bloc loc!  


The block loc locks into your fabric with the ridge on the diagonal.  You simply trim the top and right and then flip it around to get the other two sides at 1.5"  A rotating cutting mat makes this step even faster if you are making more than a few.  Repeat for all of your HST blocks.


Now arrange your four pieces of the pinwheel.  The nice thing about having the seams going toward the darker edges is that they nest nicely when you pair up squares.  Here's the tricky part, you want to leave 1/4" of your seam open where they will join in the center.  Simply begin sewing your top pair of blocks as usual and then stop, needle down when you reach the 1/4" mark before the bottom and back tack, no need to mark it's right where the diagonal seam line is.  On the bottom pair of blocks, you start at this point and sew all the way to the bottom.


Finger press the top seams going to the right and the bottom seams going to the left and then sew all the way across to join them.  When you press them with your iron you just move it in a circular motion so the seams open like so:

#mysmallworldqal wee little pinwheels with #spunseams

This spun seam really reduces the bulk you would get in the center if you pressed seams open or just to one side.  Flat is good!

Before you know it, you'll have a pretty little collection of pinwheels.


I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial!  If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them.  Thanks, Courtney

My Small World QAL {Panels 3 and 4}

Amazingly, I am still keeping up with the My Small World QAL.  If you missed my first two posts, this is from the Jen Kingwell pattern in Quiltmania.

All finished with panel 4! #mysmallworldqal

Sections 3 and 4 came together pretty quickly, although I do feel like I am spending half my life cutting low volume 1.5" squares.  I probably should have cut all 800 I needed before I started the whole project.  But, I wanted a really big variety and then I probably never would have started!

Getting a little better at these orange peels, but still a lot of room for improvement! #mysmallworldqal

Here's a detail of one of the orange peel blocks from section 4.  I was thinking I am getting better at these, but then the photograph always shows little mistakes you didn't notice in real life.  I do love the fabrics in this one.  They are from a random charm pack of Amy Butler fabrics, no idea which line, but something fairly recent. Oh, and one random petal of Anna Maria Horner's Misguided Gingham.

The cutest part of tonight's #mysmallworldqal work #wildandcrazysaturdaynight

I'm still continuing to draft little paper piecing patterns for these itty bitty blocks.  Below is a picture of how I do it, using my cutting mats and rulers.

This is how I draw my paper piecing templates @flourishingpalms I use my cutting mat and grid rulers to measure everything

I'll be writing a post soon on making those little 2.5" pinwheel blocks with spun seams.  This helps reduce the bulk in the seam allowances greatly.

#mysmallworldqal wee little pinwheels with #spunseams

How's your summer going?  We have some kind of bug travelling through our household.  First Sean got it, then me, and now Will.  Hopefully it ends there.  Sean and I are still coughing, but feeling a lot better than we were last week.  

Panel 3 finished! #mysmallworldqal
My Small World, Sections 1-3