Monday, December 26, 2016

Quick Dog Sweater and Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays!

See the pillows that will be given to the homeless after the holidays under the tree?  Such a nice project that someone going to the same physical therapy place as me does each year...

Our son and his little dog, Buffy, are staying with us now.  The weather has turned cold so I wrapped her up a little for evening walks...  Buffy is such a good little friend, and stood still so she could get the little buffer for the cold.  This was a dish towel from the archives....

Then I remembered a sweater that I could no longer wear and fashioned this smart looking outfit for her!

Hope you are all having as nice a time with your families and friends.


My Gift Recipe for you!

I first had at my quilting group holiday party, but have already made two times for friends!
This last time I cooked some extra with 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar and before baking the mixture put in these silicon holders along with cut up marshmallows.  Once cooled I removed and wrapped each one up for special candies for my Godsister.  Yum!
But if you don't cook, surprise your family with these cute little heart waffles from IKEA...
Easy to heat on cookie sheet, or use toaster for a few at a time!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

Sewing isn't happening for me right now.  I do have some other posts with photos that I will share as soon as I can - but I did notice that it's time for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Days - so sharing that link now:

Always fun to see new blogs, and to enter for giveaways!

So just sharing the news.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Friendsgiving 2016

This year we had our third Friendsgiving, a great new tradition to add to our lives.

This year was extremely easy as we made it a potluck!

DH and I made a turkey breast, gravy, cranberry sauce and salad. We had cut up vegetables, dip, cheese, crackers and DH made stuffed baked mushrooms and wine ready when folks arrived.

I made cranberry sauce with some spiced rum, vanilla, and pumpkin spice, and the salad had cucumbers, tomatoes (on the side), dried apricots, nuts, avocado.

Others brought:

  • Added 12-18-16: Here is the actual recipe:  

    At the Friendsgiving, I promised June the recipe for the glazed potatoes. So here it is:

    1 kg small firm potatoes
    1 dl sugar
    25 g butter
    1. Clean the potatoes and cook them with the peel on in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes. They must not get too soft. Peel them and let the potatoes cool off before you proceed. 
    2. Pour the sugar into the cold pan in an even layer. 
    3. Let the sugar melt WITHOUT stirring - if you do it, it might get lumps. 
    4. When the sugar has melted you add the butter. Turn up the heat and add the potatoes.
    5. cook the potatoes at medium/high heat for about 5-6 minutes. Carefully stir once in a while. 
    6. When the potatoes have an even layer of sugar, they are done. 
  • Rustic Olive Bread served with both oil and vinegar and butter.
  • Fabulous Cheese Cake with a graham butter crust
  • Special homemade sake - (made with potatoes and yeast if I understood)

We invited our son and DIL but they couldn't make it, and also some other students from DH's classes.  Bet you can tell who came from Denmark!  Such a pretty blouse.

I didn't keep track of the time of things, but it was a great evening.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Only The Best Way

I'm attending a weekly quilting class.

I've taken several classes and workshops before, but for some reason though this class is calling out my inner-former teacher. I'm really seeing things that could/should be done differently in the class.

Although it good for the class to learn the history of the teacher, it's at least equally important for the teacher to do a needs assessment and to learn what experience the students have with quilting.  Lessons may need to be modified to meet the needs of the students.

Teachers should expect to have to do preparation for a class.  Even though they usually only get paid for the time they are in front of the class, they need to accept that they will need to devote additional time preparing the lesson.

Instead of just saying that there is only one way, the best way, presented in class.  A good teacher will also show variations.  Examples and non-examples!

The first lesson in the class was to make an X-block.  One way.  The best way.

In reality, there are so many variations to this block.  What fun it would be for the teacher to have the block prepared with different widths of strips, some the same for both parts and some different for the students to understand how she came to the conclusion that her one way is best.  To have the blocks make by slicing the square in half inserting a strip, then slicing it again and inserting the next strip, or to have an extra piece cut so there is a square in the center of the block. Putting two squares down and cutting them both at the same time, then rearranging the fabrics.  Not to mention different sizes of squares and angles for the cuts.

To press the seams in, to press the seams out, to open the seams, and to press the seams in the same direction. Perhaps showing how to make the block by sewing on paper, or even sewing raw edges down or using interfacing. (Perhaps it doesn't make any difference in the end, I'm not sure.  According to this current class teacher the best way is to press the seams toward the feature of the block, that way the feature stands out. It does look nice, but it seems to me once the block is quilted the pressing won't matter.)

Of course before setting us off to get fabrics, there is so much to be discussed.  A teacher could collect samples of many fabrics - perhaps squares or rectangles could be distributed to students.  Individually then in small groups they could arrange small collections by different criteria.  Quality of materials, colors, value, hue, tints, solid or prints, size of prints, and more.  Tricks of looking thru different lens using the camera on a phone, squinting eyes, looking from different distances and angles and touching.

It's a good idea to have students test a procedure for a block and their measurement and cutting skills, by making a testing/example block.  A teacher could make arrangements with a charity to donate fabric and the students pick from that fabric to each make a block or two before using their own fabric.  (This way the students are practicing skills and creating blocks that can be used as practice later to learn adding sashing, quilting as you go, basting, etc.)

Each student could be tasked with cutting donated fabric in different sizes, then they could pick pieces to make a block - to be made and contributed to a charity quilt.  A terrific lesson to see how to see how different fabrics change the look of a block, then a variety of sashings and borders could be shown and tested.

Class projects should be designed so they can be completed using a limited number of fabrics. Some of the students would not have any stash collected.  (It's almost unkind I think to ask students to make a class project that starts with 34 different 8 inch squares.)  I'm sure a nice project could be made with charm squares or with fewer fabrics!

I have a lot more to learn about quilting, but I'm afraid the instructor of this class so far is not really teaching. This isn't a workshop, it supposed to be an ongoing quilting class.


To be honest, the main reason I'm attending is to meet local quilters.

I have now met a few ladies who now say hello to me and text messages before or after class, so I appreciate that and hope we will become friends.  I'm perhaps really hoping eventually to be invited to join the subgroup of quilters that seem to meet at each others homes and make margaritas and dinner together - and sew too! : )


What ideas do you have for good class exercises?

Published 2-15-17.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

OMG 2016 11: Bind the Charity 9 Patch Quilt

Elm Street Quilts


Okay - this month I'm going to bind the charity nine-patch quilt
that has been haunting me for a month or two!

Linking up to

Elm Street Quilts

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Quilt Beginning: Picasso Tic Tac Toe

I'm attending a quilt class, and have been working on my interpretation of the project.

The assignment to have blocks and then quarter double circle blocks. Completing the actual quilt as the teacher has designed it results in a 45" x 54" quilt made up of 30 blocks. There is one background fabric and, get this 35 other fabrics! It's all too much I think to have to buy or even organize for a quilt that I'm not really in love with to begin with. I didn't want to cut 8.5" squares out of 20 different fabrics when I already had some squares, nor did I want to cut 2.5" strips out of 15 different fabrics when I already had some cut in 2" strips.

So I'm making it smaller, and using fabric I had precut as part of the preparation for a Gwen Marston workshop a few years back.

After putting the potential fabrics on my design wall, I started making the X blocks.

Most of my precut strips in these colors were just 2 inches, the pattern asked for 2.5 inch strips.  I was determined to use the fabric I had so I decided to make just a 3 x 3 quilt for the assignment.

Putting the strips in the X block made the blocks over an inch larger, so I decided to use some solid fabric and to cut new squares out of that so the X blocks would not have to be trimmed.

The teacher wanted us to press so the X would have the seams facing in.  She said that would make them pop more in the quilt. 

Added 10-20-16:  My husband gave me the name of the quilt: Picasso Tic Tac Toe.  I think it's a perfect name for this combination of blocks and much better than naming it Variation of ....

Some of the blocks are pressed toward the X, some are not.  Four of the blocks are made with 2 inch strips and a center square, only the upper right one with the black background is made exactly as the teacher instructed.  I'm not sure the pressing really makes any difference, will see after it's quilted.

The thinner quarter O block was made using the pattern from the Block Lotto.  The thicker quarter O is made exactly with the teacher's templates.

The teacher had wanted the fabrics in the X blocks to show much more contrast than the fabrics I had already cut into strips and squares.  Another reason to make it smaller and get it done.  

I've now had to miss three of the weekly classes so I'm a little behind.  She wants us to baste and bind the project, then to do the FMQing.  If I can get that done before Thursday then I'm back on her timeline.


After missing two of my weekly Friday walks, I did walk last Friday with my friend.  We went in the Zoo and looked at animals and people as we walked.

San Diego Zoo

Beautiful tigers

There were several types of birds and ducks with rich deep brown, grey, black and white.

We cut our walking time short this time as my husband needed the car to take his students to Chicano Park for a photography run.


The students had an assignment, I just took random photos as I walked around.

My husband with the students (from Taiwan and Denmark).

Neighborhood Grocery Store across the street

Notices Posted on Grocery Door

Afterwards we took them to Salud's for taco dinner. Very good, nice place.  We will return.

When we were looking at the art, we certainly knew we were under off and on ramps, but we could NOT hear or see cars so after a while it was just an art gallery to us where we were looking at the different ways themes were depicted.

I've been there before, but hadn't taken time to really walk around and enjoy the area.  I'm glad I was able to do this again the day we did.  The day after was the DUI accident where people enjoying the park were killed.  Horrible.