Thursday, December 22, 2011

NEWBY Quilting Bee - Quilting 101 Start To Finish!

Well, here we go together!  An exciting and creative adventure, learning and sharing.  For those of you just thinking about joining us, the classes are FREE, we will be learning the basics of quilting and completing a new quilt block each month for 9 months, in month 10 we will be putting it all together and finishing our quilts!  Each block that you make, you will learn and master something new that will take you on your quilting journey.

Meetings will be held the second Friday of each month, starting in January with our first meeting on:

Friday, January 13, 2012
From 9am to Noon
At the LDS Church Cultural Hall
20895 Todd Valley Road, Foresthill, CA  95631

Before we get started with the materials list, I would like to suggest that you get a binder and some plastic inserts.  As we go along you will have printouts with patterns and valuable information on them, if you will put them in your binder in the plastic inserts you will always have them handy as a resource for you after our class.

You will need to bring the following:

Your sewing machine, including bobbins, electrical cords, foot peddle.  (I know that sounds funny, but people forget simple things and we don't want you to be sitting on the sidelines not having any fun)
Scissors, Rotary Cutter, Rotary Cutting Mat, Rotary Cutting Ruler (size 6" x 18" will serve you well, see below), thread, pins, a chalk marking pencil and sharpener or a "mark-b-gone" double sided pen and if you have an extension cord that would be a good thing to bring as well.  We will have irons and ironing boards set up at each meeting.

For the first block, you will need 2-3 fat quarters of fabric.  Don't know what a fat quarter is?  It is a piece of fabric that is cut 18" x 22".  Here is a link that will help you understand fabric dimensions and "quilting speak". What is a Fat Quarter?  (print out the link pages and put them in your binder) Don't freak out if you don't have a fat quarter...bring what you have and I will teach you how to work around it.  Fat Quarters will just make this block go fast and easy, which is what you want when you are learning.  Where can you get fat quarters?  Most all fabric stores carry them.  If you are not by a fabric store, like those of us who live out here in the mountains, there are plenty of online opportunities to select your fabric and have it delivered right to your door.  Two companies, Keepsake Quilting and Connecting Threads, have been gracious enough to provide their fabric catalogs for our first meeting and I will distribute those on January 13th.  If you want to go check out their websites before hand, here are a couple links:  and  . Make sure you put in your e-mail address and get on their mailing list for their's fun to look at all the new fabrics and they are chock full of fun ideas and interesting color combinations for your inspiration.   The thing to remember when you are selecting fabric...get 100% cotton.  Mixing fibers when you are quilting is not a good idea.  Polyester fibers will cut through your cotton and over time you will have a stringy mess on your hands.  If you are going to take the time and effort to make something want it to last a long time.

If you don't have a rotary cutting mat, rotary cutter or rotary cutting ruler...there are several places online to get one, they also have them available at Beverly's in Penryn and Joann's in Roseville.  The cheapest way to get started here is to get a kit, it comes with a mat, cutter and ruler.  If you sign up online with Joann's they will e-mail you 50% off coupons and you can purchase your kit at half will cost you about $25. +/-  You can also use your coupons in their store, so either way it's a win/win.  Now here is my suggestion...Fiskars Rotary Cutting Set  it comes with a ruler, mat and cutter all the right size to get started!

For those of you who cannot physically attend the classes, we invite you to join us here online each month.  All lessons and tips will be posted and you can quilt right along with us.  There will be plenty of photos to show you step by step how to proceed and if you get stuck, just drop me an e-mail and I will try to help you out.  As an added incentive to attend the meetings, those in attendance will receive a "bonus" pattern each not only will you have your quilt finished before the holidays, but you may even have some of your stocking stuffers completed as well!

Again, tutorials will be posted online after the meeting, complete with how to photos, photos of our meeting, participants quilt blocks and more!  Finished quilts will be displayed at the Fall Harvest Party!  And I have set up a link at the top of this blog to link to our "Flickr" site to display your blocks and quilts.

Charity Opportunity:  If you would like to join us and make one extra block each month, we will put those together for charity quilts.  Drop me an e-mail if you are interested in participating

Here's to a Happy New Year with Lots of Quilting Fun!

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Copy Paper Pouch Tutorial

This is a tutorial for a simple little pouch, your pattern is a piece of copy paper 8.5" x 11"

To get started, you will need a sheet of paper 8.5 x 11", standard copy paper.
Some fabric for your lining and your feature fabric.
A zipper at least 10 inches long or longer (you can cut it down to size)
Thread and your sewing machine
A six inch quilting ruler
A marking pen with erasable ink.
Your rotary cutter, scissors and your rotary cutting mat.
A small piece of ribbon to loop through the zipper as a pull.

Now using your copy paper as your pattern, cut 2 lining pieces, 2 batting pieces and 2 exterior fabric pieces.

Lay your exterior fabric over your batting and press lightly.

Using your ruler and your erasable pen, mark one inch lines on which you will quilt.

When you are finished quilting, your piece should look like this...

Do the same thing to the other piece, you should now have a front and back that are alike.

Take one of the pieces and measure from the top down 3 inches and cut.  Only do this with one piece!

Do the same thing with one of the lining pieces, measure down 3 inches from the top and cut.

Now you are ready to put in your zipper!  First let's get the zipper prepared.
Cut a little piece of fabric 2" x 3.5", fold it in half and press.  

Carefully pin your zipper to the folded edge of the fabric with the zipper pull facing down as shown.

Stitch across the zipper catching the ends.

Measure your zipper to your fabric and do the same thing with the opposite end, cutting off any excess zipper.

Okay, here we go...take the larger piece of your cut exterior fabric and lay the zipper with the pull facing down at the top, place your lining fabric over that, pin in place and stitch 1/4 inch along the zipper edge.

Trim off your excess fabric, fold your lining over and press...should look like so...

Take the smaller piece of the facing fabric and lay it in front of you, again, placing the zipper with the pull size down facing your short piece, line up the edges

 and put your lining fabric on top

...stitch as above, clip, turn and press.  Top stitch on the front side of your fabric, both sides of the zipper.

lining side should look like this....

Whew...well that was the hard are almost done with your pouch!
This is very important!  OPEN YOUR ZIPPER COMPLETELY!!! Before you proceed.
Put right sides of exterior fabric facing each other, pin the four corners to hold in place.
OPEN YOUR ZIPPER COMPLETELY!!! Before you proceed.

Now, simply stitch all the way around, using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Double stitch your corners.

Trim your seams to 1/4 inch...if you have a serger, this would be a great finish on the inside, but if not, don't stress...just trim to 1/4 inch.

Trim your corners

Now it's time to birth your pouch, turn it inside out and use a blunt pointed a knitting needle to push out the corners.  See why you needed to have the zipper open?  You'll only make the mistake once, I guarantee it.

Run a little piece of ribbon through the zipper tab for a pull, give the whole thing a press and you are finished!

There are a million variations you can make with this...put the zipper at the top instead of in the middle and you have something that looks like this...

Box the corners and you have something that looks like this...


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Friday, December 9, 2011

More Bags, More Fun...Great Stocking Stuffers

This little Ruched Happy Bag was made with the pattern by Amy Friend at
I have been having so much fun making these...I fear I may not be able to stop!
For the bag above I used Joel Dewberry Heirloom fabric.

Since everyone seems to be using selvages these days, I decided that my little Happy Bag needed to have a little clipping from the selvage for a "label" just above the pocket.

Here's another little Happy Bag made with Kaffe Fassett fabric...

For the lining on this one I used a fabric from the French Journal Collection...and of course a little clipping of the selvage for a "label".  This way, I can always remember what fabric that was!

The next little pouch I made is also from the French Journal Collection.  I quilted the butterflies individually and inserted a 2.5" piece of contrasting fabric and a fussy cut butterfly to match.  The pattern for this bag is an 8.5 x 11" piece of paper.  Insert a zipper and stitch up the're done!  You could box the corners if you wanted to or add a little strap.  I just kept this one simple.

The inside is what I love...Lemon Yellow!  A little bit of sunshine with a zip!

Off to sew some more little bags for stocking stuffers!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Little Black Bag

Starting on Christmas presents today.  This is a special Little Black Bag for a co-worker.  She loves black so I hope she will enjoy it, it's very festive and suitable for holiday parties as a strappy little bag or great to just tuck into a purse to hold goodies neatly.  

The bottom corners are boxed to give some additional room.  The strap is detachable and can be stored inside the pouch.  

The interior is lined with a pale butter yellow dotted with gold.  There is a small pocket on the interior lining.

All ready for Christmas!  Now to make a small covered notebook (Little Black Book) to match and I think we can call this one good.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Easy Thick Crust Pizza Recipe

If you LOVE thick crust pizza but don't like the prices at the local pizzeria...this is your answer.  Quick and easy, the dough for each pizza cost about 50 cents.  You can top it with left overs, vegetables out of your garden, even the expensive toppings (you will more than save money over the store bought stuff)  And the taste is amazing.  This recipe is so easy, your kids could make this up while you're sleeping in on Saturday morning and you'll have pizza for lunch!  This will make 3 large pizzas, 6 small pizzas or 9 individual personal pizzas!

3 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tablespoons dry yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt 
(if you use table salt only use 1 tablespoon)
6 1/2 cups of UNBLEACHED all purpose flour

Unbleached is important.

You will need to use a large bowl.  I like my glass bread bowl because I fill it with hot water and let it sit till it's toasty before I start my recipe...that way, the bowl is warm and the yeast gets a little boost.

It does not matter what ingredient you add first.  I start with warm water, add my yeast and salt, stir and then add my husband does just the opposite...he starts with the flour, adds the yeast and salt and then the warm comes out the same either don't stress.

Add all your flour at once and then stir until all the flour is moistened.  You are done.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for two hours.

To make the pizza:

Liberally flour your hands before you handle the dough, this is a wet dough.

Tear off a piece of parchment the size you want, sprinkle with cornmeal flour and grab a large grapefruit size chunk of dough to roll out.

Flour the top of the dough and your rolling pin and roll out your dough to the size you want.  Placing a towel under the parchment will make rolling easier.

Top with sauce, cheese, toppings and bake in a 475-500 F oven for 18 minutes or until done.  You will need to monitor your oven the first time you make it and check your temperature and time carefully.  Everyone's oven is different.  To bake...make sure you preheat your oven, use a cookie sheet to transfer your pizza on the parchment to your oven rack and then slide the cookie sheet out so the parchment is resting right on the oven rack.  No you will not start a fire.  The parchment will brown, your pizza will have a crusty bottom and all will be right with the world!  To remove, just grab a tip of the parchment and slide your pizza, parchment and all right back onto your cookie sheet to transfer to your counter to cut.

Drizzle dough with olive oil, top with carmelized onions and herbs for a thick focaccia. 
Spread with bar-b-que sauce, top with left over chicken and red onions for a bbq pizza.
Roll into long strips and then roll in herbs, or cheese, or kosher salt and seeds, bake for bread sticks.
Roll into a log and slice the top on a slant with a wet knife, mist with water, bake in the over for a crusty french loaf.
Roll out and flatten, make sure it's floured well and bake off for a chibatta loaf.
Grab your local pizzeria menu and use their same topping ingredients to make your own much less expensive version.  You can easily spend $25- $50 or more going out for pizza when you could make this at home, hot and ready in minutes for pennies on the dollar.


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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pie Glorious Pie - John's Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie

Kudos to my husband John, who makes the BEST lemon meringue pie in the whole world!  (I may be partial)  I know his secrets, but if I told you, well, you know the rest.  One bite of this and you are hooked!  Your mouth waters with every bite and you just can't seem to get enough.  It's lemon pie on steroids, I kid you not.

We had fun yesterday making our pies together.  I made pumpkin (well, what's Thanksgiving without pumpkin and whipping cream, right?)  His secret lemon recipe and my secret pie crust...a match made in heaven.

Now mind you, there are only two of us home here for Thanksgiving...but, hey, you have to make two of everything don't you?  I mean, we will eat half that pumpkin pie for breakfast tomorrow easy!

I made a special herb rub for my turkey this year, I ground up the following in my mortar and rubbed it liberally over the bird inside and out and then loosely stuff it with onion, celery and orange, both cavities.
For the rub I used, thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, pepper corns, ginger, celery seed, oregano and coarse kosher salt.  I placed coarse chopped veggies in the bottom of the roasting pan, sprinkled liberally with the rub as well and dotted with butter before placing my turkey on top.  Roasted the bird and made gravy from the drippings...OMNerves....that gravy was to die for.  The bird is wonderful too, but oh man, that gravy...yummmmmmmm!  

So we have already feasted....mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean cassarole...all the usual suspects...yata, yata.  Now, I am thinking about pie, glorious pie!  See you!