Sunday, June 21, 2020

#GIVEAWAY - Quilt Pattern and Fat Quarters


Oh my goodness, has it been that long since I have jumped on here to blog? I guess so. Life happens. 2020 and we're half way through. Well, let's start this out with something fun. We are giving away this beautiful pattern Homeward Bound by Cake Stand Quilts Designer Nicola Dodd from the United Kingdom along with 5 random fat quarters! Jump on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SisterOfTheDivide to enter. There is nothing to purchase ever, no gimmicks, no gotchas...this is just for fun and to encourage the love of quilting. Drawing will be held July 3rd and winner announced on our Facebook page on July 4th! Good Luck Quilters!

I will be cutting out the fabric for a Red, White and Blue version of this quilt and will post my progress here for you. These are the fabrics that I have selected from my stash:




I am off to the ironing board and then the cutting mat with these. They will be accompanied by Kona Cotton White for the background. Check back and let's see how this quilt developes!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Making Chocolate Truffles for Christmas and Homemade Vanilla Extract


It's that time of year when we are frantically putting together our cookie plates for friends and family. It doesn't need to be frantic. And, if you have children, this is a perfect activity for them to help with.

This year I made four different truffles. 

1. Peanut Butter covered in dark semi-sweet chocolate. 
2. Oreo covered in white chocolate.
3. Chocolate Orange covered in cocoa powder.
4. Irish Cream covered in dark chocolate.

For the Peanut Butter Truffles you will need the following:


2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/3 cups peanut butter (smooth or chunk, your preference)
2/3 cup rice krispies 
6 TBS butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (that big bottle in the photo is my vanilla, I                 will share the recipe with you later in this post)
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Place the ingredients in your mixing bowl and mix together until combined. I use a small teaspoon size cookie dough scoop to form mine, but you can simply roll rounded teaspoons of the mix into round balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you are going to dip in melted chocolate, put them in your freezer to firm up for about 30 minutes. If you are rolling in something else, just roll away. Then chill in your fridge until firm about 20-30 minutes. They are best served chilled.


You can choose to cover your truffles in a variety of coverings...some suggestions are:

simply roll them in cocoa powder or confectioners sugar
dip them in melted chocolate or roll them in crushed peanuts.
You can get fancy with some crushed nuts on top of your chocolate covered ones. Sprinkles are always pretty. Look through your cupboard and use your imagination. Sky is the limit.


Everyone will love these. Make sure the recipient knows they are peanut, we don't want any allergic episodes at Christmas time. 

                                              * * * 

The next one is the Oreo Cookie Truffles, covered in white chocolate. Only three ingredients!

You will need:

1 (14 oz) package of Oreo  Cookies
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups of white chocolate for dipping

Use your food processor to crush the cookies into fine crumbs. Reserve a spoonful of crumbs to decorate the tops later. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and mix until evenly combined.

Scoop the mixture and form small balls. Place them on a parchment or wax paper lined tray, and freeze until slightly hardened, about 30-40 minutes. 



Melt your white chocolate in a double boiler or in your microwave.
I use a double boiler that I make by placing a temperature safe bowl over a sauce pot of boiling water. I turn the water down to simmer and stir frequently until it is the consistency I want for dipping.  Then take your frozen truffles and one at a time, dip them with a fork and use the edge of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate from the bottom and place them back on the tray. While still warm, drop a pinch of the reserved crumbs on the top for decoration.

Back in the fridge to firm up. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to gift.

* * *                                       

Chocolate Orange Truffles are next.  You will need the following:

1/4 cup of butter
3 TBS of heavy cream
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chop if you are using a block of chocolate)
2 TBS orange liqueur 
1 tsp fresh grated orange zest

In a small sauce pan combine butter and cream, bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and still in 4 oz of chocolate, orange liqueur and the orange zest. Stir until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and chill in your refrigerator until firm, about 2-3 hours.

Scoop your chilled truffle mixture by the teaspoonful and roll into balls, place on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet, and chill until firm. Roll in sifted cocoa powder. Keep chilled until serving, may wish to roll in cocoa powder again, just before serving.

* * *

Irish Cream Truffles are just as easy to make. You will need:

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 TBS Irish Cream
1 TBS butter
pinch of salt
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate.

Bring your cream to a boil, add the Irish cream, butter, salt and chocolate. Mix until smooth. Again, pour into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator until firm, 2-3 hours. 

Scoop your chilled truffle mixture by the teaspoonful and roll into balls, place on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet, and chill until firm. Roll in sifted cocoa powder. Keep chilled until serving, may wish to roll in cocoa powder again, just before serving.

You can also coat them in melted dark chocolate or white chocolate, or roll in nuts or confectioner sugar.  The options are endless.

* * *

MAKING VANILLA EXTRACT



A few facts about vanilla to begin with.Vanilla extract has the same alcohol by volume that vodka does. It is required by law that vanilla extract have at least 35% alcohol by volume.You pay an exorbitant price for those tiny bottles. Orange extract is 80% alcohol by volume! You don't drink Vanilla Extract, you cook with it, just like any other extract, the alcohol cooks out. It does not violate the Word of Wisdom.

Okay, with that cleared up for all my Sister's out there, here is how you make your own vanilla.

Buy the cheapest vodka that you can find. It will say 80 proof, 40% alcohol by volume right on the label.  I purchase two bottles and use one for my vanilla and the other to refill the vanilla as I use it. Of course you can get yourself a simple mason jar to make your vanilla in or a fancy one that you think it pretty. Doesn't matter.

I get my Vanilla beans online through Ebay. I purchase grade B Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla beans. They work just fine and they are cheaper. Cut your vanilla bean pod long ways, you want to slit it right in half.  Use a sharp pointy knife insert in one end and just cut right down the length of it. You don't have to be neat.  The little black vanilla seeds are inside the pod. It's not necessary to scrape the seeds out. Put the two pieces you have just cut into your bottle of vodka...continue like this until you have inserted about 12-15 
pods. That's it. Now, put it on the counter where you will see it everyday. Everytime you walk by it, give the bottle a good shake. Do this for 30 days. You will have the most amazing vanilla to bake with at a fraction of the price.  You can experiment with different types of vanilla beans, they are all different. For baking I like the Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean as it has that pungent vanilla aroma that I love.  

Don't toss out your used vanilla beans, just keep topping it off and add more beans if you like. It only gets better with age!

If you want to give your vanilla as gifts, you can find inexpensive bottles through your Pharmacist.  YES! that's right!  Who'd a thunk it? Or you can purchase them in bulk online. Add a pretty label and you have a really lovely present for anytime!

*****

I hope you have enjoyed these recipes! John and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Remember the reason for the season.





Monday, September 23, 2019

Star Table Topper Tutorial Featuring The Brimfield Block



My apologies for not having blogged for so long. My husband was diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer and he has been my focus this year. He has successfully completed his radiation therapy and is undergoing chemo which is administered once every 3 months for the next year and a half. Currently he is in remission, so we are very grateful to all our friends, family and many of you here, that have offered up prayers on our behalf. Those prayers have been answered! So back to Quilting!!!

If you have followed my blog for a while, you know that I love to make Star Table Toppers. For this particular one, I am using the Brimfield Block as my focal piece. The Brimfield Block is paper pieced in the English Paper Piecing style and hand stitched together. Don't freak out, it's easy and enjoyable. I'll share some tips in this tutorial to help you out.

SIDE NOTE: you can make this Star Table Topper with ANY random or orphan quilt block you like. 

Let's get ready to make a Brimfield Block. You will need the following: The Brimfield Block paper pieces, which you can obtain here: https: https://brimfieldawakening.com/product/brimfield-block-epp-paper-pieces-for-one-block/ 

If you want to fussy cut your fabric pieces for your block, which is totally fun! You will want to get the acrylic templates Here: https://brimfieldawakening.com/product/brimfield-block-acrylic-templates-1-4-seam-allowance/ (if you don't want to invest in the acrylic templates, get some template plastic from your local quilt shop and trace the paper pieces, then add a 1/4" seam allowance. Cut on the outside edge and then you can slide your plastic pieces around on your fabric till you find what you like. Watch the video below and it will show you how to use a template effectively.)



Other items you will need for the paper piecing portion of this table topper: Washable glue sticks or the Sewline water soluble glue pen, fabric of your choice, rotary cutter, rotary cutting mat, needle, thread, some scissor or snips and a good light to stitch by.


Now to paper piece your block. Decide which fabrics you want to go where and cut them with your acrylic templates. To affix them to your paper pieces, use your glue stick to run a small strip of glue along the edge of the paper and fold your fabric selvage to adhere to the glue. Sometimes, if I am really being fussy about placement, I will put a small dot of glue in the center of the paper piece and line my fabric up pressing it to the dot of glue, then I can fold and glue the backside without having the front side move on me.


Here is a little video by Brimfield Awakening to show you how to use their templates. They really are so much fun. Take a moment to visit their website and look at all the fun paper piecing blocks you can make!


Here is a little video by me to show you how to use a glue stick for EPP. 



You should have all your pieces for your block created, now to stitch them together. I like to use Superior Thread, 60 weight. This color does not show, it's like a little piece of silky goodness that disappears into your fabric. 



Using a little painter's tape, you can lay out your pieces and tape them in place, this will help keep things organized when you are stitching them together. The flat back stitch is your key...watch this tutorial by Kim from Brimfield Awakening.



View this post on Instagram

Our EPP video series continues with our absolute favorite stitch: the FLAT BACK STITCH. This stitch is a GAME CHANGER whether your tackling curves or simply want invisible stitches ❤️ . For those of you new to Brimfield Awakening or trying to figure out EPP (English Paper Piecing), this set of videos will cover the basics. We original made them for @52quilters , but thought they should live on our feed, too❤️ . We thought you’d like a 15% coupon code to get your EPP supplies at ••••••www.brimfieldawakening.com•••••• so we created one! Just enter “52QUILTERS” at the checkout on our website. It will be valid until April 30th 2019. . ✂️Happy Stitching!✂️ xx-Kim + Nisha . . #FlatBackStitch #EPPbasics #babybrimnfield #babybrimfieldstar #tutorial #englishpaperpiecing #paperpiecesepp #brimfieldawakening #agaura #artgalleryfabrics #epp #quilting #sewing #sew #quilt #handsewn #handmade #timetosew #eppobsessed #modernquilting #modernpatchwork #patchwork #lovesewing #sewingpattern #getstitchywithit #makersgonnamake #sewsewsew #crashbangcolor #sewingisfun #handstitched
A post shared by Kim + Nisha ✂️ Brimfield EPP (@brimfieldawakening) on


Once you have your pieces put together you will want to lay them out and stitch them to your background fabric. Again, I have used the thread above in my sewing machine. You can use a straight stitch, a blind stitch (which is what I did) or a simple zig zag to attach your piece to your background. I measured my background to extend 2 inches beyond the green points in my block.

For directions to complete your star table topper click on the link here: https://sisterofthedivide.blogspot.com/2013/12/christmas-table-toppers.html



I hope you will experiment with these blocks from Brimfield. You don't have to make a star table topper if you feel unsure, you can keep it simple and just add a little border and make it a square if you wish.  

Friday, February 1, 2019

#GIVEAWAY Signed Copy of "Stitched So Sweet" by Tracy Souza UPDATE!


UPDATE: The WINNER of Tracy Souza's new book, "Stitched So Sweet" is Caitlin Taylor Braun of Philadelphia. Congratulations Caitlin! Be sure to check back frequently, we will have another giveaway soon!


I had the pleasure of meeting Tracy Souza of Plumcute Designs a couple months ago at a get together hosted by Fabric Garden in Sacramento. Tracy is a talented designer who has been creating lovely embroidery designs for years. Her new book published by Martingale has just dropped and she has kindly given us an autographed copy to give away to one lucky person.


Tracy offers simple to stitch, season designs in quick to sew projects that you will absolutely love!


Her designs are whimsical and sweet.They capture the essence of the seasons with springtime flowers and buzzing bees to fall pumpkins and frosty snowmen.


You will find a wealth of ideas for quick projects to pretty up your home decor, to give as gifts and to keep as cherished keepsakes of your handwork. 


Create Mix and Match Pillows, Framed Embroideries, Needle books, A Four Season Quilt, Table Topper or Wall Hanging. Her book will offer you lots of creative ways to display your handwork.



TO ENTER: 


LIKE OUR PAGE



#2. Leave a COMMENT on the post telling me how you have incorporate embroidery into your quilting or sewing projects.

#3. Tag one of your friends in the comments or Share the post to your Facebook Page. 

There! That was EASY! Nothing to purchase ever. Our giveaways are strictly for fun designed to encourage your creativity and the joy of quilting. I hope you will join us and Good Luck!

The drawing for the winner will be held on February 28, 2019 and the winner will be announced both on our Facebook page and here on our blog, on March 1, 2019. 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

#GIVEAWAY Tracy Souza Plumcute Designs


UPDATE: Winner of the patterns by designer Tracy Souza of Plumcute Designs was Michele Peckham of Missouri. 

Last month I was able to take a little class by embroidery designer Tracy Souza of Plumcute Designs which she gave at FabricGarden located at 2654 Marconi Avenue, Sacramento, CA.

Tracy has been so kind to provide us with four of her patterns for this month's giveaway! That's right 4! You will win "A Stitcher's Stocking", "Snowman Sparkle", "Winter Welcome" and " Hang With Care".

Tracy has a new book coming out in February 2019. Be sure to get on the list at Martingale books to be notified when it goes on sale! 


Anyway, back to the class, it was lots of fun, great gals all sitting around stitching and gabbing. Tracy has lots of good tips for improving your embroidery.

Designer/Teacher Tracy Souza

Many of her designs were on display...




TO ENTER:  
1). Leave a comment on this post and tell me if you know how to embroider or would like to learn and if you incorporate embroidery in your quilts.

2). If you are on Facebook, like our page www.facebook.com/SisterOfTheDivide

3). Share this post with your friends, you can Share on Facebook or Tag your friends on Facebook.

4). For an extra entry, go to our Facebook page and post a Christmas picture in the comments section under the Giveaway post. It can be a picture of your table, your tree, your favorite ornament, whatever you wish.

Good Luck Quilters!

Drawing will be held on December 20th and the Winner will be announced on December 21st both here and on our Facebook page.

There is no fine print, there is nothing to purchase ever, this is just for fun and to encourage quilting and creativity.












Saturday, September 8, 2018

Jellyroll Baby Quilt - Quick and Easy!



Sometimes you need a quick quilt for a little one, or maybe you are wanting to work up some quilts for a local charity. This is perfect! You will not use up your entire jellyroll...unless you choose to make several. You could get your friends together and have a little sewing retreat for the afternoon and whip these out!

The jellyroll that I have used for these quilt tops was gifted to me by a very sweet woman who lost her home in a fire. Many folks came together to provide her with fabric to sew on to help replace the irreplaceable. She did not have any little ones to sew for and so she passed this along to me. In the spirit that it was gifted to her, I feel that it should be continued on and gifted to others, therefore I am making several quilts from this one jellyroll and they will be donated locally. 

Sew let's get started!

Pick a jelly roll to work from...



You will need 8 strips. Mix and match or stay in one colorway, the beauty of a Jellyroll is all of the fabrics are already coordinated, you can't go wrong! (if you don't have a spare jellyroll laying around or you don't want to purchase one, you can work from your stash by cutting 8 - 2.5" x WOF strips)

Once you have selected your strips, you will also need enough background fabric to make a 4.5" strip by WOF (width of fabric)
and a 2.5" x WOF strip.

You can add border to the quilt center to make it any size you wish. The quilt center will finish at 24.5" square. As I finish my quilts, I will add onto this post and give you dimensions for my finish.

We are ready to sub cut our strips as shown in the photo below.
From your jellyroll strips cut 

16 - 2.5" squares
8 -   4.5 x 2.5" strips
24 - 6.5 x 2.5" strips



From your background fabric cut:

8 -   4.5" squares
24 - 2.5" squares

This will make one quilt center.

Let's work on the easy block first. For this block you will use 16 of your 6.5" strips,16 of your jellyroll 2.5" squares, 8 of your background fabric 2.5" squares.  I like to lay them out as shown so I can see if I like the way the fabrics look together and to avoid repeats. 



Stitch the center 2.5" squares together first. I like to chain stitch them as it goes faster, so I pick up the top two squares and stitch them together for each set. Clip them apart and finger press them open, pick up the remaining 2.5" square and stitch it to the background fabric. Press your seams to the colored fabric.

Once that is done, chain stitch one of the side pieces to the block, clip apart, chain stitch the other side to the block and press to the colored fabric. You should have 8 blocks when you are finished.


MAKE 8 BLOCKS


That was easy, right? Okay, lets move onto the next block.

For this block you will lay out the remaining fabric that you have cut to correspond with the photo below.


You can use a removable marking pen or pencil to mark your remaining 2.5" background fabric squares on the diagonal as shown. If you don't want to mark them, you can fold them in half and make a finger crease. For new quilters, I recommend that you mark your diagonal. Make sure you are using something that is erasable to mark with. I like the Frixion pens, they iron right out, be sure to test on a piece of scrap first. They also come in a multitude of colors.

Pay particular attention to how the diagonal is laid out in the photo above. If you rotate your background squares as you stitch them, you will not have the result you want.

Again, I like to chain piece. starting with the smaller of the strips (the one at the bottom in the photo above). Stitch right on your line. TIP; to avoid stuffing the tip of your corner into your machine and getting a balled up mess of thread...start your seam as shown below from the long edge of your fabric rather than the tip.



Once you have done this, do the same for the longer piece that is to the left in the layout photo...remember, don't turn your pieces around or you'll have a mess.

Now, trim the corners as shown in the photo below, trim 1/4" past the line that you have marked for the diagonal. Finger press open first pressing to the dark fabric, then give a quick press with your iron. Put your pieces back in the layout show in the earlier photo above.


Taking the short piece first, stitch that to one of your 4.5" squares. Again, I chain piece all of these so it goes fast. Press them open, pressing them to the background fabric this time.

Grab your long piece and stitch to the other side. Again pressing your seam to the 4.5" background fabric. You should now have 8 blocks that look like the photo below.

MAKE 8 BLOCKS

Now assemble your quilt. Lay your blocks out as shown below. Start with four center blocks and four corner blocks then fill in with your secondary block. Don't be afraid to move things around until you have something that pleases you. Also, don't be so critical, baby won't care.

LAY OUT YOUR BLOCKS AS SHOWN

I like to stitch across in rows and press my seams in one direction for the first row and the opposite direction for the second and so forth. This will let you "nest" your seams for perfect intersections.

There will be updates to this post as I finish the quilt tops...so check back. You should be able to get at least 6 baby quilts from your jellyroll.  I used a combination of 2.5" strips of the white kona cotton around the center block as the first border and the outside border can be any combination of strips that will give you a width of 4.5" This will have your little baby quilt finishing out at a nice 36" square. On the purple quilt below I used a combination of a 1.5" strip of a pretty word fabric and a 3.5" strip of a purple floral. Whatever works for you is fine. You will get 6 quilts out of the one jellyroll by adding an equal amount of Kona Cotton Strips. All have been donated to Project Linus in Grass Valley, CA.  I will be making more of these, they are quick and fun!







Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Quilt Giveaway! UPDATE Winner Announced


UPDATE: The Winner of the Quilt Giveaway is Ramona Dunihoo. Congratulations!!!

Last month, John and I were in Idaho visiting our friends the Morrows, who live in Rigby. I had to visit my favorite little quilt shop in Idaho Falls, Daydreams Quilt N Sew!  

Annalee Leonard was kind enough to host me for a couple of great days sewing in her shop, lots of folks came out to say hello, it was really fun to see everyone. I love Annalee's shop and since we are planning to move out that direction in a year or two...well, I want to do everything I can to support her little quilt shop. There is something wonderful about being able to walk into your local quilt shop and touch the fabric, to spend time browsing through the patterns and notions and to enjoy the camaraderie that exists between fellow quilters. We recently lost 3 very good local quilt shops near our home in Foresthill, California and so I think I am probably more acutely aware of how important it is to support local businesses.
Last Months Winner, Sue Whiteley

You will remember last month we gave away the Brother Project Runway sewing machine that I had shipped out to the shop to sew on for a couple days. The Winner was Sue Whiteley. Well, this month we are giving away the quilt that I worked on in Annalee's shop! 

The fabric used to make the quilt is Woof Woof Meow designed by Stacy lest Hsu for Moda. Such a sweet jelly roll filled with kitties and puppies, paw prints and balls of yarn. Perfect for anyone who has an affinity for fur babies.


The quilt pattern is called Keyhole from Missouri Star Quilt Company. It's a fun and easy quilt to make, perfect for a beginner and great for a seasoned quilter who wants to do some "no thinking" quilting. The video by Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company will teach you how to make this quilt.  The type of fabric you select will dictate the "style" of your quilt. This quilt fabric is whimsical and yet the color palette and the design of the quilt lends it to a multitude of styles. 



I decided to take a few of the remaining blocks and make a standard pillow sham. The quilt finishes at about 65" by 73".



There are so many cute motifs in the fabric designs on this quilt, it really was great fun to put together and I'm hoping that you (the winner) will love it! I used the stripped fabric shown in the photo above to bind the quilt and also you will find it in the pillow sham as well. The quilt will be on display at Daydreams Quilt N Sew, 802 Pancheri Drive, Idaho Falls, Idaho. Be sure to drop in and say hello to Annalee and check out her wonderful shop.


Daydreams Quilt N Sew located at 802 Pancheri Drive, Idaho Falls, Idaho

HOW TO ENTER: 

1. LIKE the following Facebook pages
www.Facebook.com/SisterOfTheDivide and www.Facebook.com/Daydreamsquilts

2.  TAG a friend in the comments below the giveaway post.

3. LEAVE A COMMENT on this blog.

4. EXTRA CHANCES: 
Go into Daydreams Quilt N Sew located at 802 Pancheri Drive, Idaho Falls, Idaho and you will be given an entry. Or you can request a free entry by sending a post card with your name and address clearly printed on it to the address of the store above and you will be entered. Limit one per day. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

Purchase anything in the store up to $20.00 and you will receive 5 extra chances.

Purchase anything in the store $20.00 - $50.00 and you will receive 10 extra chances.

Purchase anything in the store $50.00 or over and you will receive 20 extra chances.

Online purchases will count as well if you cannot go in person.

DRAWING WILL BE HELD ON AUGUST 22ND, 2018.
THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON AUGUST 23RD, 2018


GOOD LUCK QUILTERS!