Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Roller Derby Love a.k.a. The Get Up Kwilt

Done and done! Roller Derby Love has been bound and washed. I always fear and love washing a quilt for the first time. You never really know how much the change will be. It's always going to be small, certainly, but just how will that 3% shrinkage affect the overall character?

In this quilt, I love it. The small amount of puckering really compliments the lived-in tshirts. A brand-new looking fresh-off-the-shelf quilt just would have looked wrong. Have you noticed yet that I love my hyphens? I also love semi-colons; however, they require more though on placement and I usually blog too quickly to use them.

I ended up using the flannel backing for binding and think it's just perfect.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Very Nearly Finished

So excited here! The Get Up Quilt is 90% completed. All that's left is the binding and thread snipping.

Here are the update photos (it was MEGA windy outside, hard to get the quilt to hold still):

 I am a little sad that the quilting doesn't pop better, but with the dark and busy fabrics, I didn't think that it would.
The outer border is meandering stars, the sashing is straight-line and the actual blocks vary depending on the subject on the tshirt. My next post (with finished photos!) will have close-ups of the block designs.

My next project is a family tree memory quilt. The fabric comes in next Monday for that one and I'll be starting right away so as to finish before Christmas. It'll be tight since we're going on a mini-vacation to Boston next week, too.

It's really good that A will sleep through just about anything. The next door neighbors are having a cement walkway poured and between the workers laughing, banging tools and the actual cement truck itself I think I'm getting a headache.

Off to bind!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Worth the Wait

Here are the raw materials for my current memory quilt project.
The fabric took for.e.ver to come in, but as you can see, it was totally worth the wait!

There's a tshirt in there with panda bears that A was ga-ga over. Actually, she (and I) is ga-ga over any of the character shirts.

I have to admit that I've never heard of The Get Up Kids. A quick youtube search and I've found a band to add to my favorites. Give them a listen if you like alt rock. They have a very smooth way of changing keys and measures that I like. A likes them, too.

So today is shirt cutting and stabilizing day.

Monday, 14 November 2011

And What Did I Do Today?

Finished a stinkin' cute outfit for A! I made her wear it all day long, too. Mostly she didn't mind it but the skirt came up over her head a few times.

She is now the kooky cat baby.

Old Formal to Toddler Holiday Dress

So as you can see from my last post, the holiday dress I first tried to make for A came out a little small. Like newborn sized when I need 18 months. I wracked my brain for two whole days and remembered that there was a very old formal dress hanging in my closet. Here is the "before" photo...
I thought about scanning the photo from when I actually wore the dress, and then thought better of it. Suffice it to say, even with ballet flats on (waaaaay before they were fashionable I might add) I was still three inches taller than my date. Who I understand prefers dates of the same gender now.

The after photos are much better. Not only is the model cuter, the dress is, too. The only thing I had (have still) to do to the dress when I photographed A in it is add the button on the back. So that's why it gaps a bit in the back and front.

I was able to save a lot of the seams from the dress, so reconstruction only took one nap (or two hours). 

Did you happen to notice the bright orange construction sign on that first photo? That sign just got updated the other day. Our bridge to the other side of the highway is under construction and has been since mid-summer. It was supposed to have been completed mid-September. That date was pushed back to late-September, to late-October, to mid-November and is now sitting at November 28th. I have a funny feeling that it will not be open before Christmas. 

Monday, 7 November 2011

Favorite Fall Foods

I thought it would be a nice idea to put up a few of my favorite recipes to use in the fall time. 

A note about my recipes: most of them are adapted from ones people have given me. I am terrible about following directions and I tweak everything. One cup of butter becomes two, 1/2 cup of sugar morphs into 2 cups, etc., etc.  None of the ingredients need to be exact, but try to keep them within a couple of tablespoons.

The first recipe is for Spiced Pumpkin Loaf. This is an incredibly easy recipe that tastes incredibly good. 

Prep time: around 1/2 hour
Baking time: around 1 hour


3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice 
        (or 1 tablespoon each ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground cloves)

1 small can (16oz) 100% pumpkin puree
1-1/2 cup butter (yes, you can sub in oil or margarine, but why would you want to??)
3 eggs (room-temperature)
1 tablespoon vanilla

A few tablespoons of white sugar 
2 tablespoons cooking oil

Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare the loaf pans. To do this pour the cooking oil onto a paper towel and coat both pans. Add a couple of tablespoons of white sugar into the pan and swirl it around to coat the bottom and sides. This is going to make a nice crust on the loafs. If you don't want a crust, don't add the sugar.

Brown the butter. The larger the pan the easier this is to do. The larger the pan the easier it is to burn, also.
 I brown butter in my small sauce pan. I put the butter in the pan, turn the heat on medium and stir the melting/melted butter until it begins to turn brown and starts to smell nice and nutty.

Stir the sugar into the melted butter and transfer into a large mixing bowl. Allow the butter&sugar to cool while mixing the dry ingredients.

Sift together the remaining dry ingredients. I do this by first mixing them roughly with a spoon in a very large mixing bowl, and then sifting from that bowl into another bowl a few times. Probably overkill, but I like to be thorough.

Stir the eggs into the butter&sugar. This is easier to do one at a time, but you won't ruin it by going all-in.

Add the vanilla and pumpkin into the eggs&butter&sugar. Again, this is easier to do slowly.

Slowly stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until just moist. You don't want to overbeat it, but you don't want any clumps either.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Bake at 350F for approximately 60 minutes. The actual cooking time is going to depend on your oven and the humidity and the check the loafs every 10 minutes starting at around 50 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the middle of each loaf. If it comes out clean the loafs are ready. If not, try again in 10 minutes.

Try to let the loaf cool down before eating. I burned my tongue on the last loaf.  
Here's a picture about five minutes after removing from the oven:

And now for a sewing update

Tip: don't use cabbage patch dolls to model newborn-sized clothing. While the clothes fit (in this case, a dress) the dolls are creepy looking. It might be the funny hands, toothy smile, or just the bald head; I'm not sure, but this photo is almost frightening.