Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's Cooler Here!

We are back in the Colorado mountains for a couple of weeks where it's in the 40's at night, sooo nice and the days are great too, a whole lot better than 120degrees which is what is predicted for Saturday in Phoenix. Yuck.
My CO. Huggy Bunch meets on Wednesdays and it was so lovely to see all those dear quilting ladies.

This was my accomplishment for Wednesday, a scrappy backing ............

for this red, white and black quilt top made from orphan blocks left from other projects- you can tell that I am working at using up all those left over fabrics from my grandson's quilts.

As of today this top is also ready for quilting which makes eleven quilt tops I have stacked up now awaiting their turn on the longarm! This one was a kit and there was insufficient fabric for the border so I had to "punt"! First I added a little one inch "stop" border then I took four left over blocks and sewed them to the corners to make the rest of the fabric fit and would you believe those wee blocks were exactly the size needed to complete the borders, simply amazing! This not even the border fabric the kit showed so go figure!
However my dilemma does not end there-the kit was supposed to include binding and backing but there's no way enough fabric for that. I don't understand what happened but I will need to purchase a backing and decide which of the left over fabrics will do for binding.

Now about the QOV's, I had thought that I was falling behind in my plan to quilt at least one or more a month, until I remembered that I had delivered four more to Bernina Connection earlier in the year. So now I find that I am way ahead of schedule, yippee!
This last one was finished up on Monday before we left for CO. but I have two more just like it back in Phx. as yet unquilted! My CO.Huggy Bunch ladies just love making these scrappy beauties and it definitely helps to keep their scrap bins low!

Baby Chloe

Baby Chloe's quilt pic was posted here, but now I have a pic of baby with her quilt. It is always a special treat to get a pic. of a baby with the quilt I have made. This was sent via phone so the quality is not the best!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Surfeit Of Lemons

This post might alternately be entitled "For all lemon curd afficionadas!"

My friend's home in Surprise has a couple of enormous citrus trees and I was invited to take as much fruit as I wanted, it is falling off the trees and rotting away on the ground.
Three large bags full seemed all that I could possibly use/distribute and after donating as many as I was able to I have been looking for ways to use the rest before they too deteriorate.
Several batches of lemon bars later there were still too many lemons in the fruit drawer so I pulled out the lemon curd recipe and decided that it was [as I remembered] a lot of work!
A little internet searching brought up a plethora of "best lemon curd recipes", and one in particular caught my eye because it intimated that there was a simpler/easier method to replace the traditional double boiler recipe.
Disclaimer: here is where I state that for me recipes and quilt patterns are mere suggestions, ideas, jumping off points for my own imagination to take flight!
These are the suggested recipe ingredients/amounts at the URL above:

3ozs. [6 tbs.] soft unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

The first time I followed the recipe amounts fairly closely other than adding all the zest from the lemons I used for the juice, after all that's the part of the fruit that has the most intense flavor.
The second time around I tinkered with the ingredients and also doubled the recipe, those two small jars were simply not enough!
My adaptation:

12 tbs. soft butter
2 cups sugar
6 whole eggs
1 1/3 cups lemon juice
zest of all above lemons
The major difference here is the inclusion of all the egg whites. The left over whites seem to sit around and spoil so I usually try to use the entire egg in cooking, I can never find ways to use the whites alone that make up food we will actually eat! Unless of course I am planning to make Pavlovas.......but that recipe has already been done in a previous post!
Now for the secret to this lemon curd recipe, the method.
Beat butter and sugar until creamy as you would for a recipe for baked goods. Beat in the eggs one at a time until nicely incorporated, then add the lemon zest and juice while mixing until combined. The original recipe says that the mixture will normally curdle at this point and then reconstitute as it cooks, but it never did curdle for me!

Pour into a heavy-bottom saucepan and cook over medium heat until the temp reaches 170 degrees F stirring constantly, and making sure to scrape the entire base of the pan as you stir. It may take up to 15 minutes, I found it was less than that. Don't go beyond 170 and remove the pan from the heat immediately or the mixture may separate and then you won't get this beautiful silky smooth result.

Pour into clean containers and you may refrigerate two weeks or freeze up to two months. The above recipe filled these four eight ounce containers and a baby food jar.

This is great spread on bread, toast, English muffins, bagels etc but also good for filling pre-baked tart shells, as a filling for a cake, with angel food cake, or even over vanilla ice cream or frozen yoghurt [the addition of fresh blueberries is extra nice] or if you happen to have those pesky egg whites you could make meringue cases and fill them with lemon curd!
Either way, it may not last long enough to freeze!

As Margaret would say "Bon appettit"!

Friday, June 24, 2011

QOV #5 for 2011

This scrappy quilt is for a Wounded Warrior, the quilting ladies in my Wednesday Huggy Bunch in CO. make these all the time.

My goal is to quilt one top/month for QOV, and as you see I am a little behind but hoping to catch up in the next couple of days! Maybe get one more done before we go to CO. next week, then I can take these latest quilts to my Montrose guild for binding.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dolphin House Quilt

This sampler quilt will go to Dolphin House in Montrose for a child recovering from an abusive situation. My Guild in CO. supports this center with a constant supply of quilts to comfort kids in need of loving care.
This is one of five tops I was given by my Guild members to quilt and originally I had thought it would be a QOV but it's just a bit too small, long enough at 70" but not wide enough for an adult at only 40". QOV's need to be at least 50" wide for the soldiers, I make them usually closer to 60" or so minimum but I quilt quite a few that come in closer to 50" wide.

My personal favorite freehand method, the peacock feathers quilted this up very speedily.

Because I realized that this quilt would be for a child I pulled this particular fabric from stash for the backing- it has bunnies on it and needed to go bye bye, been in my stash for some years and was a perfect fit for the back and makes the quilt nicely reversible.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Finished For Friday

Two more quilts finished this week.
This is Hannah's......
a close up of the freehand loopy feather meander.....
and the backing.

This is Andee's Carolina Crossroads, still my favorite Bonnie Hunter mystery.
I loved mine, gave it to a friend in crisis right after I finished it.
Detail of the freehand peacock feather quilting on Andee's..........
and the backing...........

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Matthew's Sleep Mat Quilt

This cute pattern was irresistible, I purchased it a while back along with some alphabet fabric with the intent of sewing it up for young Matthew.
Meantime I found some other cute fabric at Lady Bugz Quilt Shop in Montrose, CO. The shop is very new so no website yet - I need to do a blog on them, I have a lot of pics I took when I went to the spring retreat.
The mat is designed to have velcro straps to roll it up for transporting to another location but I skipped that because I plan that Matthew will use it here.

Here is the finished item- I lined the top with Minkee- because Matthew loves it- both of his baby quilts are backed with this same kind of fabric.

The green fabrics for the top and base of the nap roll came from stash, and I made a scrappy binding I had so little of these fabrics left! The base is padded with a thick layer of batting.
I did make a couple of changes to the pattern, enlarging it considerably, Matthew is in 97 percentile for height already.

I also made a separate removable pillow to slip in and out of the striped pillow cover that is attached to the base of the nap roll, making laundering much easier and drying faster.
I hope that Matthew likes it, he will have an opportunity to use it on Friday so if he sleeps on it I will try to get a picture.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Esperanza's Quilt

We have lovely neighbors. Those on the east side just received their US citizenship on Thursday, hooray for them!
Sweet little Esperanza has a type of debilitating cystic lung disease, she is so very frail and needs a lung transplant. The good news is that she is #1 on the list and leaves for LA this week.
I really wanted her to have something to take along to remind her of those here who love her and are praying for her recovery, both speedy and complete!
So of course I needed to give her a quilt. I looked over what I had that is completed but nothing was the right size [mostly too large for a very petite lady] or just not the right colors. Not having time to make one from scratch I searched through my unquilted tops and this 2010 NYE mystery quilt top, 60"x72", jumped out at me and said "give me to Esperanza"! You know that quilts do that sometimes..........

Off to the LA machine and I quilted it up with a leafy freehand to go with the organic elements of the batik print with the lemons.
I was so sure I had set aside some fabric for binding but thorough searching of my studio failed to bring it to light so I actually purchased a half yard of blue from "Quiltz" to bind it. So now all these fabrics are gone from my stash, justification for the five yards I purchased this week, The cheerful backing too came from stash but I still have a few yards of it, must have bought the whole bolt on sale, LOL!

I will be sad to see my neighbors leaving but our prayers go with them and they hope to return in about three months with a newer, healthier Esperanza!
God bless my friends!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Joe Cool

We were doing flash cards when his Daddy put his sunnies on the little chap, he looked so cute I ran for the camera and here are the results!
When I saw the card he was holding at the time it kind of reminded me of Al Pacino in the movie "Scent Of A Woman"!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Long- Arming Again

Apart from processing the jet lag from seventeen time zones, I have been trying to get back to my "normal" life here. So many things to catch up on and take care of but I think finally after almost a week, all the "stuff" that was waiting for me when I returned is now settled. Whew, you know how it is when you leave home for a bit!
This is another of Hannah's quilts and it came off the LA last night. Strangely, I did not even notice the secondary shading effect until I hung it up and took this picture!
I love the back of this quilt, Hannah frequently pieces her backings and this one has a nice modern look to it.
Here's a close-up of the freehand quilting.

Last Saturday BJ came to sew with me and in spite of a giant jet-lag hangover [only 24 hours after arriving back in the northern hemisphere] I decided to sew. And guess what, I didn't even sew any body parts either but I was fairly brain fogged and we [BJ and I] decided that I should only sew something that took no actual thought process!
So I pulled out all of my pink scrappy strips and began to make more of those "Log Cabin With Attitude" blocks and this is what I accomplished, beats sitting around in a jet-lag fog, right? They will make another baby girl quilt for the next female infant among my family and friends - and add to the stack of tops I need to quilt for myself!
Sigh, it is always "the cobbler's son who needs new shoes", isn't it?!