Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Leah Day's Explore Walking Foot Quilting: My "Rainbow Log Cabin" Part 2

Part 2 of the quilting adventure:

(I had estimated ten sewing sessions to finish the quilting on this top, but based on today it will take much longer...)


28 min - Applied painters tape to outline the outer center square and then sewed the square.

110 min - Applied painters tape to show initial line for all four blue areas.  New bobbin.  Applied tape to determine center of blue area.  Sewed two lines end to end.  Sewed third line but had to remove it as it was not going thru the center.  Marked half spokes and sewed 8 of them.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Leah Day's Explore Walking Foot Quilting: My "Rainbow Log Cabin"

Part One of the Quilting Adventure:

In Leah Day's Explore Walking Foot Quilting, she has folks begin with making a very pretty rainbow log cabin.  I have so many unquilted tops that I just couldn't make another one.  So I decided to use my quadruple Irish Chain for the first project in her class.  I think this was the second or third quilt top I finished.  I know it was the first I made without a pattern.  I had liked the Irish chains I had seen, but wanted more colors.  So I figured out how to make this one:

I can't really remember how I made it, but know it involved make strip sets and subcutting, then putting things together.  (I forgot to take a photo of the flip side of the full quilt, but even looking at the back it is difficult for both a quilting friend and for me to to figure out how I sewed the pieces together. We couldn't find the block lines.)  I remember when I was sewing it how I was shocked at how large the dark blue parts became, and how much more of the beige and rust were becoming the face of the quilt.  I didn't draw and color things out to scale, I just figured where the pieces would go to make the design.  In my mind this was going to be a blue quilt with rust, beige and lighter beige accents.  When I saw what it had become, I started adding more of the little light blue/dark blue center bits, instead of making more of the large dark blue areas.  I extended the ends into the first border because it made the design float and was, I thought, rather cool looking.  I added the extra blues in the corners to also try to have more blue.  Immediately on finishing the last border I remember thinking how I should have made that border wider as it would become very small once I put on the rust binding.  Fun problems.

In those days machine quilting was new.  No one around here was showing how to machine quilt things.  I didn't want to hand the project off to someone else to finish up.  So this project sat in a box for around 26 years.  Was that the right decision?  I'm not sure. Well, probably not.  It would have been nice for my son and husband - and for me -  to be in a house with quilts...  But I really wanted to do the entire quilt myself.  So now with Leah Day's help, I will be able to do that.  I have been practicing on charity quilts, and gift quilts. I will continue to do that, but now I'm starting to work on a quilt that will be used in this house!

I pulled it out now to repair a piece that had wax on it, and to use as my first practice quilt for Leah Day's Explore Walking Foot Quilting project.  I was planning to do the quilting she prescribed on that quilt on this quilt...  But now I may change things up.  I'm still thinking.

Her quilt is made so the log cabin blocks are arranged so the final quilt appears from a distance to be one large block.  Here is her quilt with the quilting.  She has just two quilting designs on this 80 x 80 inch quilt.  In the center there is what she calls a giant bright star, surrounded by several concentric squares, and then in the corners she has a variation of the bright star (each corner has a quarter of the bright star that begins in the corner and goes back to the concentric square).  It's completely doable with the book and the videos on her site.

I'm thinking that I perhaps should have a bright star in each of the four larger blue parts, surround each with a concentric square and then put a few concentric squares around all those and then continue as Leah has shown. Instead of changing thread colors, I'm planning to use my grey for the top and bobbin of the entire 60 inch square quilt.

So right now I have just sewn the initial X in the center. I used painters tape to do the marking.

And ta dah - here are the first two lines of quilting on the quilt!

(I spray basted this project, so that is why there are not many pins.)

I created this backing made of left over bits and fabric when it was not 'a thing' to do - also then it seemed solids were not a thing.  But I sure like them. When I was sewing the quilt I liked the back of the quilt more than the front.  Now I can appreciate both sides.

Sharing via Em's Scrapbag: Moving it Forward

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Google Art Palette

At first it seemed sort of the opposite of what we quilters would use. But then I could see it could be useful.

You find a photo or upload one and then see results of different art pieces made with that palette of colors.

So I uploaded a photo of my sample Walking Foot blocks, see the colors they pulled out of it at the top of the screen (useful) and then see the images they selected below.

Leah Day's Explore Walking Foot Quilting: Desert Sand

Leah's new design is called Desert Sand.  She has words and video on her website @

Took a couple of looks at the video, and the book to plan out my initial quilting line.  Although mine looks different than Leah's, I'm really pleased with it.

It took me longer as I misplaced the fabric I had cut to make the backing so I had to get out other fabric and make up a few blocks.  In the process I straightened up my sewing room a bit so that was good I guess.

I used some new-to-me basting spray to put together these sandwiches, and didn't notice until I was about half done with the stitching that the places where I double sprayed have a different color.  You can see in the photo below...

Doesn't show on the back as far as I can see...

I had prepared two sandwiches at the same time, so I removed the fabric from the unquilted one and put it in the wash with some towels. (thinking the heat and/or soap might melt it away)

But the stain did not go away.  I used 409 to remove the over spray from the counter so I sprayed the fabric and was able to get most of the glue off the back fabric with a  toothbrush, and washed again but there is still some color.  With work I could remove all the glue.

409 won't help the desert sand sample I finished up unfortunately.  That glue will always be in the quilted sandwich. : (

HDX Multi-Purpose Spray Adhesive - Purchased at Home Depot

This is the spray I used for the basting.  A friend uses it and recommended it.  (It's less expensive than the stuff one buys at quilting or fabric store.)  But probably she sprayed the batting instead of the fabric too so there is no problem then.  Also she sprays outside on a piece of plywood that she doesn't care about over spraying, so guess she doesn't double up on the spray.  And she perhaps has only used with dark fabric.  So I still think there is a chance of using this for quilt basting.  

Added: I blogged about my friend's spray basting when she helped in 2016 - in rereading that see that she usually used an unknown to me 3M product.  She sprayed on the backing, applied the batting, then sprayed the batting and applied the top - and the top she was helping me with was all dark fabric.

But I will use Dritz or 505 Quilting Spray Adhesive again for real quilt tops.  I'm glad this was just a block that was wrecked. 

** I just searched for "Quilting Spray Adhesive" and see there are several other brands to try too...

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Prep+Pared Truffle Steak

After the Pie Day pie was in the oven my son and I made the Prep+Pared Truffle Steak dinner.

The steak was easy.

I had already roasted some asparagus, so we decide to use that instead of the broccoli that came with the meal. (I hadn't looked in the box so didn't know there was already a green vegetable.

The other vegetable was yam, cut like french fries.  The bad said it was already cooked.  So I thought we could put in the over with the pie and and it would be okay.  But the yam was not cooked, it was hard we discovered after putting it on our plates.

Still the steak with the onions and truffle butter was very nice, as was the asparagus.

But we won't be getting this meal again...

But did you notice I wrote my son and I made this together?  I'm really liking this time together!

Pie Day 2018: Baklava Pie

We did it!  Our first Pie Day Pie.

The recipe was a compilation of several that I found online...

Pie Filling (Son and I prepared this)
Mix together: 1/2 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
~ 2 T honey
1 t vanilla
5 T melted butter
Then add 3 eggs - mix well so they do not scramble
And add 2 1/2 c roughly cut walnuts, almonds, pecans and about 5 dates.

Crust (Husband worked on this)
Defrost phyllo dough
Melt 12 T butter
Combine 1/3 c sugar and 1 T cinnamon
On parchment paper, put a sheet of phyllo dough and brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture.
Repeat about 10 to 12 times, rotating some of the sheets so they are in different directions.
Put a pie plate on the top and flip over using the parchment paper so the crust is in the pie plate!

Put the pie filling in the pie and fold the ends of the crust so it hugs the pie. The center will not be covered.

Put on a parchment covered pan and into 375 degree oven  for 45 minutes, or  until the crust is crispy.

During the 45 minutes of baking make a syrup of:
~1/4 c water, ~1/4 sugar, ~2 T honey, juice from one half of lemon
Cook until it foams and boils, take off heat and cool

When the pie is done, spoon the syrup on the pie and let the pie cool to room temp.

Serve with whipped cream.

If we were to make this again, I think we would add more phyllo dough sheets!

Jamie Oliver was the online author I found with the syrup idea.  He also had his recipe written so the filling was prepared first, then the crust.  Made so much sense. He had his on a baking tray instead of a pie pan. Erin McDowell's recipe amounts were in cups so I used them for the amounts of things, instead of trying convert metric.  Ann Clark made her pie using regular pie crust. Erin McDonald added allspice, but I didn't have any so skipped that. Giada made hers in a little muffin tins, which sounded great until I saw the date was March 14, Pie Day, and then looked for baklava pie. (In the comments people said they didn't like the cloves in her ingredients.)  and the first recipe I found, by Renu Jain Chandarana was also using little muffin pans, sounded delicious, but I decided on the pie format.

Did you make pie today?

Prep+Pared Hoisen Braised Tofu

We are lucky to have nearby store (Ralph's) selling meal prep kits.  No subscription needed, just take your pick from the selection and bring it home.  I've been experimenting and getting them just to try them out.  I like that (unlike Dream Dinners) they include the recipe so it could be recreated or easily increased for more people later. Supposed to be for two people, but by adding a vegetable (or in this case a protein - shrimp) has been perfect for three!

We have had, let's see if I can remember what was added to each of the meals.  I think:
Carne Asada x 2 - added rice
Hoisen Braised Tofu x 2 - added chicken then added shrimp and grilled broccoli
Black Bean Street Cakes - added onion
Pan-Seared Salmon - served with salad and squash
Hummas Baked Chicken - served with salad and fruit
Coconut Curry Chicken - Added more string beans

A funny thing has been happening!  My husband and son are helping in the kitchen! They are offering to help!

Last night our son made the dinner himself!  We chatted while he cooked!  I pulled the tools out that he needed while he was busy following the directions!

So this (plus 12 shrimp from a Costco shrimp cocktail tray) became our dinner.  He added the shrimp to the vegetables just for the final minute to bring the temperature up.

Scroll down to see the photo finish!

Ta da!  : )

Very yummy. 

Fabulous to start to have family cook together too!

Modern Plus Signs Blog Hop

Beautiful designs.

This interpretation especially caught my eye!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Leah Day's Explore Walking Foot Quilting: Super Star


This was pretty easy to finish up!

Leah was thinking this would be good in an open space on a quilt, and I guess it could be.

TIP:  I cut two pieces of fabric the width of space between the stitches and put them on the fabric when I neared the point so I could mark where to sew. (So the fabric was my small ruler template.)

Link to Leah Day's menu link about Walking Foot Quilting in 2018:
My blocks so far!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Birthday Cake: Royal Walnut Cake

I've written before how each year for my birthday my husband and son make my Burnt Almond Cake...  My son has finally picked out a cake for us to make for his birthday each year.  Russian Walnut Cake.  We had it one time last year at a restaurant and it stood out for him.  So we found a recipe and made it for the first time this year.

The recipe we used is from Natasha's Kitchen.

We watched the video one time, then worked off the printed recipe.

There are four parts to the cake.

1.  The cake itself.  I hadn't used the food processor in a few years, so it was good that it worked to grind the walnuts.  We weren't sure if the batter was thick enough so after 12 minutes called time and proceeded with the preparation.  I hadn't just used parchment for the bottom of a cake pan before, but it really released the sticky cake once it was baked. Next year we may experiment with putting more walnuts in the batter.  The one in the restaurant had many layers, our recipe only called for two.  Next year we may experiment with cutting things to make more layers.  Usually the parchment paper is pulled away after decorating the cake, this clear cake plate had a lip and the cake was pretty heavy too, so next year need to remember to use 4 or 5 pieces of parchment and a flat cake plate.

2.  The frosting.  This is a cooked buttercream.  I was a little worried about beating the ingredients in the initial step in the pan, perhaps I need to get one with no coating on the inside of the pan...  I still have 1/4 cup of condensed milk.  I'll have to figure something to do with it!  The mixture did not thicken as a cooled.  We carried on with the procedure.  Our gut told us that one cup would not be enough to frost the cake, but we followed directions and it was!  We could experiment with more sugar or walnuts in the frosting next year.

3.  The syrup.  Amazing that the cake would hold the cup of water, 3 T rum and little sugar that we spooned on each layer when we put it on the plate.  Made it very yummy.

4.  The Ganache.  I've not made before.  It was fun.  We probably let ours get a little too firm before applying, but it was delicious.

 This cake was delicious!  And so much fun to make with all the new procedures.

I wasn't quick enough to get a photo of our son blowing out his candles...

Starry Bright Sky QAL: Pattern 3b Fabric Folding, Origami

This month we are challenged to fold fabric to make the origami star!

I picked the second block to make first this month. The resulting star is lighter so it will work in a bed quilt as that is how I think these blocks will be used in the end.

I used a walking foot to first tack down the inner seams, then the J foot for the blanket stitch.  After I finished then I went back and added the blanket stitching on the center section. I think having different stitches accents the 3-d-ness of the piece.

I first did the star with paper, then used a lot of starch so the fabric was as stiff as paper when I did the folding.  I removed the fold lines from making the pentagon before doing the star folding.

I felt more confident doing the blanket stitch for this block, but still need to figure out exactly when the needle should be turned!

I tied off each end by knotted the thread, then hiding it using Leah Day's method of doing this.

Memory: This procedure reminded me of the wax paper window stars we made when our son was in preschool and first grade at Waldorf School.. It was so much fun to see the design thru the window, and fun to make with and for him.  What a hoot now to see so many sites with images of them and tips on how to make them... Guess the sites are for the parents as the kids were not supposed to use computers or watch TV as it impacted their development of imagination.  It made it nice for us to not have TV as part of his early childhood.

Sharing with Alida and the other folks doing the challenges:
Click to see what others are doing!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Leah Day's Explore Walking Foot Quilting: Jagged Plain

 Another walking foot design from Leah!

Jagged Plain

This one builds on the practice we have already done.  It's important to keep sharp corners and to keep the lines the same distance apart.

Here is my practice block.

I messed up in the corners of the first two lines of stitching, after the foundation line, so decided to mark the stitching lines instead of using the guide bar for the stitching.  When I wasn't at the correct ending point I found it was best to turn and just keep going.  My earlier mess ups were because I didn't realign correctly to the earlier line.  I think the corners being crisp is more important than the lines being absolutely consistent. My lines are one inch apart. When I was marking I was surprised sometimes at where the lines intersected, so marking is good with this design.

So this is what I did for quilting today. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

RSC18 - March Bright and Light Greens

I took my scrap box and went thru it looking for light and bright greens.  Most of the bright greens were set in dark backgrounds so I stayed away from them for now.

The remaining greens had a lot of other colors included, but I decided to just go with it.  This set of fabrics started as cut offs from long ago projects that I don't even remember now.  I'm guessing some Block Lotto blocks - but who knows?

Trimmed as the others have been to 12.5 inch square.

2018 Blocks
2016 and 2018 Blocks

Linking up to The Rainbow Scrap Challenge page - please click to see the fabulous projects people are working on and sharing!

It's always an inspiration to click and see what the others in The Rainbow Scrap Challenge have shared...


Have you seen the Postcards from Sweden QAL?  Louise from the QuiltOdyssey is doing it and it looks like such a pretty project.  Guess I'll be adding it to my list of things to do...  But I know that I'm also going to need to be working on gathering things for the tax preparer so it will be my reward to myself to work on the the Postcards from Sweden quilt /after/ I have found and recorded what needs to be done for that first.
Last week I online attended a demo by the Emily Tayler AKA The Collage Quilter about the technique she teaches.  Amazingly appealing.... The Felicity Quilt is so beautiful...

And Teresa from TeresaDownUnder has a very nice tutorial on attaching quilted blocks together with two inch (or any size) quilt as you go sashing.

It's been colder than usual here and I'm finding it difficult to keep to plans for doing paperwork.  Today I did manage to eat a bunch of peanut butter and watch a few episodes of "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend".  It's silly/sweet/sad but it's fun to hear the mentions of streets and things in West Covina - where I was raised! I'm up to Year 1 #11 - "That Text Was Not Meant for Josh!".  And I did sew the one block for the RSC...

And this weekend, I hope to have lots of time to take advantage of Craftsy's free weekend!  Found out about this from Carole Carter of My Carolina Home  Her affiliate link to the event is:
Special Deal this weekend – Craftsy is offering a Free Weekend, all their classes, so try it out today through Sunday.  Click on Craftsy Free Weekend!  If you like it, a special deal is coming next week.