Saturday, March 23, 2013

Feeling Blue and Delighted About It!

Today I finished the medallion for a quilt that I am making for my husband.  The block that I am using for the medallion is called Blazing Star and it is from the book titled Quick-Strip Paper Piecing by Peggy Martin.  The block pattern in the book finishes to 12 inches.  As this is to be the centerpiece of this quilt, I enlarged the pattern so that it will finish out at 25 inches.

I am totally in love with the Kaffe Fassett Blue Wood Ear fabric that the medallion is "floating" on.   Last year, while making the Craftsy BOM quilt, I used this same fabric in red and fell in love with the effect then.  It's funny, because it wasn't a piece that I purchased, it was given to me in a swap and initially, I wasn't sure that I like it.  It kind of reminded me of camo.  But I forged ahead and used it in the block shown below.  It was one of the most commented on and after it was finished, I could see the dimensionality of the fabric. 

As I looked for the fabric in another colorway to make my husbands quilt, I came across the blue.  Oh My Gosh, I had to have it.  I called everywhere, I emailed everywhere,  finally I posted a picture of what I wanted with a plea on my Flickr site and sure enough someone came up with the answer I needed.  It was in Australia!  So, I emailed and ordered and a few weeks later...

I just wanted to roll in it!  I was the proud owner of 4 meters of this delicious fabric.  The feel of this is just amazing, so soft and wonderful. 

The first thing I did was to pull some fabric that would work with this and still have a masculine feel...or at least not a prominent feminine feel.  Then I scanned them into my computer and printed out color photos of each one.  I printed an extra copy of my pattern and did a mock up of two sections, using the photo copied "fabric".
After that was done, I scanned that into my computer and used a kaleidoscope program to get the effect.  Below were my two mock ups.

Now it was getting exciting.  Everyone was putting in feedback, the majority loved the second one and I can see why, but it has a very floral, feminine feel to it, like a flower.  I didn't want that, but I still wasn't exactly happy with the first one.  It needed some swap outs on some of the fabric choices to get the effect I was seeking.  You can see below the results of that swap.

If you can sew a straight line and follow basic directions you can make this medallion.  Everything is broken into components for you.  You can see that process below.

First you construct each segment

then you sew the segments to each other in pairs

When you have a nice stack like the one above, with all your seams pressed open, you start making quarter bits, pairing two of the finished segments together as shown below. You will have four of these.  Now you will sew two of these together to make one half and finish by sewing your halves together... 

Just for fun I wanted to see what it would look like if I did them all the same...and since I had half of them done, I put them up on my design wall...with this result.

This would be nice also, but there is so much more interest with alternating the fabrics.  Always fun to play with possibilities though.

So, I will continue to build on the center medallion for Johns quilt and more will be revealed as time goes along!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Breakfast Scones and All Is Right With The World!

The sun is shining through the bay windows, it's warm and delightful.  We should have scones for breakfast!

I love scones and so does my husband, especially if they have that hint of lemon or orange.  They are really so easy to make, they take only a few minutes to put together with little effort and great delight at the outcome.

Pre-heat your oven to 450F.  Place a bit of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set to the side.

In your food processor pulse together the following:

2 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS sugar
1 TBS lemon or orange zest

Next add 4 TBS COLD butter and pulse until it is like cornmeal.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and add 1 generous cup of raisins.

Finally, add 3/4 cup of whole milk and stir until it gathers.

Dump the mix out onto a very lightly floured board and gather it together into a flat disk.  With a rolling pin, roll out to 1/2 inch thick and then cut into rounds or squares or wedges...what ever you like.

Place on the parchment on your cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes in the middle of your oven.

Cool on a rack while you prepare your drizzle.  In a small bowl, take a few spoonfuls of powdered sugar and add a few drops of lemon juice at a time until you have the desired consistency.  I like to add zest too.  Mix it well and then drizzle over your scones while they are on the rack, put your cookie sheet underneath to catch the drips.  

Be prepared for ooooohhhh and ahhhhhh!  Break out the soft butter, jam, honey, and if you are really lucky, some clotted cream...what ever you like and go to town!  I guarantee you will love these!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Remembering Harrogate and Betty's With Anne

Many years ago now, I was starting to work on my family history research and I had an amazing experience.  I have had several in the process but this one will always stick out in my mind as being extraordinary.  My sweet grandmother had given me all she had on the family and some stories that she had heard.
Kendal Parish Church Magazine from 1895 Announcing  my Great Grand Parents marriage.  I have the original.
I had a dream while I was napping one day and in the dream I was told that all the family research had already been done, it was in the file box, I only needed to look.  The dream was very elaborate and I recorded it, but will not bore you with those details here.  I woke from the dream and went over to my file cabinet next to my desk.  My grandmother had given me all of the family letters that she had. She could not recall if her father had any brothers or sisters.  In those letters were the names that I needed.  Well, I was very excited to say the least.
Luciana, The ship that my Grandmother and Great Grandmother immigrated to the US on.
Leonard Desmond, my Great Grandfather

Pondering the letters, I noticed they were from Leeds, England.  I wondered if there could be any relatives still residing there.  Nervously I dialed the phone to get the operator (yes it was a dial I asked her if there were any Desmonds in Leeds.  There was only one.  I called the number and a gentleman answered.  Feeling every bit the fool, I explained the purpose for the call.  He told me that Desmond was his wife's maiden name and that he thought I might be on to something.  She was the Head Mistress at a school and would be home soon, he would have her call.  
Emily Philipson Desmond, my Great Grandmother and Anne's  Grand Aunt.
Long story short...Her grandfather and my great grandfather were brothers!  We spent many hours on the phone back and forth, writing letters, putting all the pieces together.  It was an incredible experience.  AND  it was Anne's Birthday, the day that I called her.
Anne and Alan Clayton
It was another 19 years until we would meet in person.  It was so moving!  She and Alan took me to my great great grand parents homes and I stood in the door way weeping.  I walked into the church where my grandmother had been baptized.  It makes me tear up just to think about it all.  

I was fortunate to visit with them on two separate occasions and also to host them for a visit here to our home.  My last visit over to see Anne we enjoyed a tea at Betty's in Harrogate.  What a wonderful experience and memories that I will treasure.

So to honor that memory and to let her know that I am thinking about her, I have made her a couple little mug rugs and a little tea wallet to remind her of our time together.


Family, there is nothing more important than that.  So grateful for an amazing grandmother, for her unconditional love and support.  I know she is smiling!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

PPP BOM - March Blocks

March Blocks - New Bud above
and Star of Spring below

I will be uploading the patterns for both of these this weekend and you can get them simply by clicking on the link to the upper right, it will take you to a page with all of the patterns.

There are fun possibilities with both of these blocks:

This one above almost won me over.  

These are quarter blocks, you will be making four of them and when they are put together they will make a 12.5" block.

Check back tomorrow and I should have the patterns uploaded.

Twisting The Day Away!

Created by Shirley Statham

Big fun was had by all, with momentary frustration, beautiful creations developed!  Friday some of the gals from our little group got together for an "In Between" class on the Twister Tool.  For some it was a bit confusing at first.  How are you going to get that elaborate design from just cutting these squares?!  As the morning progressed, so did the ah factor.  The first time you make one of these can be a challenge.  The trick is to make sure that you keep your blocks in order.  Once you get the hang of it, you will be whipping them out like crazy!

Shirley Statham
Shirley was a bit concerned as we started out, she has a new machine and so her morning was a bit challenging, but she persevered and her beautiful piece, featured in the photo at the top, just makes me want to take a bite!  It's so fresh and bright!

Not much left when you're finished cutting!

Mavis Hilt

Mavis was just zipping along, she has made one before!  Her lovely batiks are making up into a beautiful table topper!  She is always so cheerful, I love her smile!  She was a big help to the others that were just learning.

Holly Sear

Holly is a new seamstress/quilter.  She is learning the ropes and having a ball.  Holly is so talented with paper crafting, she is just a natural at picking out fabrics and putting texture and color together.  Her paper trained eye is working well for her in the quilting arena.
Created by Holly Sear

Below is a photo of Brenda Allen, she is going to be a new grandmother for the first time!  She is so excited.  She has pieced a baby quilt using the Twister Tool and used the left over bits that are in between the blocks to make prairie points.  Here she is sewing those prairie points down with little buttons from her button box!  A sweet quilt for the new babe.
Brenda Allen

I finished up my little demo table runner by taking the left over strips on the outside and inserting them into the backing.  A simple meandering quilting of the center bit and now it's just waiting for the binding.  That will require another trip to the fabric store for some of the black with almond polka dots fabric.  Another day.

Our next regularly scheduled meeting will be on March 15th at 9:00 at the LDS Church.  Come join us.  We will be making two more blocks in our Perfect Paper Piecing series.  I will also announce at that time, our next "In Between" get together where we will be making some quick, easy, fun pouches!