Monthly Archives: March 2011

You are browsing the site archives by month.

Drowning

Arrrrgh! Sorry I’ve been gone for a few extra days there. There’s just so much going on around here, I’m having trouble keeping my head above water. I’m way overdue on choosing the winner of The Quilter’s Bible Book, although that hasn’t seemed to disturb many of you. Apparently you’re all busy too!

Lego Man

So, The Random ManofTheHouse Generator came up with Becky as our big winner. Becky mentioned in her comment that she’s fairly new to quilting and this book is perfect for a beginner, so I’m really happy that she’s won. Congratulations Becky!

Lego Man

Not a stitch of sewing going on around here. Lots of appointments for cabinets, floors, appliances, drainage people (that’s for outside, not the kitchen!) etc. It’s hard to keep it all straight. We’re slowly making some headway though.

Lego Man

Appliances have been ordered and cabinet changes worked out. Still need to choose flooring and the countertop decision is probably going to kill me. I just can’t seem to figure it out. There are too many choices and they all have their pros and cons. I think the best thing to do is put them all up on a wall and throw a dart.

Lego Man

Hopefully, I’ll be able to sew or crochet or do some little thing with a needle this weekend — I can tell I’m having needle withdrawal and I’m getting cranky. As you can see, I’ve been reduced to playing with LegoMan. I guess if you’re going to drown, doing it in buttons is a pretty good way to go!

XOXO,
Anna

Better Late Than Never

Well, how did the week go?  It was a stressful one in ThimbleannaLand.  Big layoffs at work yesterday and it was very sad to see some of my friends lose their jobs.  Especially in this economic climate where it will be hard to find a new one.

So, it’s in that frame of mind that I’ve read several posts on several different blogs about the “Dumbing Down of Quilting”.  I’m too lazy to look up the links, but I’ll bet a google search will get you there.  I think both sides of the argument have valid points.  I get that a lot of what we see on blogs seems simple and without challenge.  I even roll my eyes when I see another “pattern” pop up for a square-in-a-square quilt.  And I get really frustrated when something appears with the idea that it’s a new concept.  There’s really very little that’s new in quilting.  Our grandmothers nailed most of the geometric shapes out there, a long time ago.  (Although part of the original complaint may have included “art” quilts, that’s not what I’m talking about here.)

Giggle

On the other hand, someone, somewhere made the statement that we need to push ourselves and do something more challenging.  If we’ve made tons of quilts with half-square triangles, we need to move on to applique, or something like that.  Really?  Do I NEED to do that?  I love a good challenge….I like to make different quilts….but is it required that I do that?  If I’m perfectly happy to just make big ol’ one-patch quilts for the next three years then shouldn’t that be ok?  (The simple quilts are still some of my very favorites.)  I’ve been sewing a long time — I’m pretty sure I have the skills to make most of the more “challenging” quilts.  So, I hope if I make an “easy” quilt that it will be ok.  Or if I make a quilt with a fat quarter stack, that that’s acceptable.  It’s not that I don’ t enjoy picking my own fabrics.  I LOVE scrappy quilts and almost all of my quilts have been scrappy. I do understand that using precuts seems lazy and dumbed down — I’ve even complained about it before.   But sometimes, a collection comes along that I love so much, I just want to have fun playing with that collection and only that collection (re: Bliss.  And if I could come up with something, The. Pips.)

Giggle

Well, that’s my two cents worth.  I could ramble on, but in the big picture, I think we’re all just taking ourselves a bit too seriously.  Quilting should be whatever you want it to be, but most of all FUN.  If you can sell a pattern for something that I can draw up with a little graph paper, then more power to you.  I might roll my eyes, but you go girl LOL!

Ok, at the risk of dumbing down our cooking, I have my late entry for Randi’s Recipe Box Swap.  I love a challenge in the kitchen, but after a long day at work, I want something simple.  My good buddy Gurney (who is a fabulous cook — I’m so  lucky that all my quilty peeps  are awesome in the kitchen) gave me this recipe years ago and it’s become a family favorite.  It’s unbelievably easy and in about 30 minutes(during which time, you can be watching tv or whatever), you can have a delicious dinner.  (Btw, Randi requested main dishes, but this recipe is the whole dish — main and sides.  Also, Disclaimer #1: This recipe calls for frozen green beans and I didn’t have any, so I didn’t add them to this recipe. We still ate green beans, but they were canned. So….this is a case of “do as I say, not as I do!” ;-) )

Pork Chops

Skillet Pork Chops and Rice

4 to 6 lean pork chops
1 – 6 oz. package Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice mix
9 oz. frozen, cut green beans

In large skillet, over medium high heat, brown pork chops on both sides; remove and set aside. In same skillet, combine rice mix ingredients and water according to package directions; bring to boil.
Place pork chops on rice mixture.

Pork Chops

(Disclaimer #2: Your pork chops sitting in the wild rice mixture won’t look exactly like this — I inadvertently added too much water. Not to worry though, I siphoned the excess off, and as you can see in the first picture, it all turned out just fine.)

Reduce heat; simmer covered 20 to 25 minutes or until pork chops are tender. Arrange green beans around edge of skillet. Cover; simmer an additional 7 to 10 minutes until water is absorbed and beans are crisp tender.

Thanks for a great recipe Gurney!

Have a good weekend …
XOXO,
Anna

Happy Birthday Billy Collins!

Well . . . I had perfectly good intentions of posting a recipe for Randi’s Recipe Box Swap tonight, but this morning, The Writer’s Almanac arrived in my inbox and promptly announced that today is Billy Collin’s birthday.  If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know what a huge Billy Collins fan I am, so, being that this is practically a national holiday and all, I just couldn’t let the day pass without a big Billy Collins Happy Birthday Wish.  And I certainly couldn’t ask Dear Billy to share billing with my paltry pork chops, now could I?

BillyCollins

No. that would NEVER do.  So, the pork chops will have to wait a day or two, while we pause a moment or two to revel in all the beauty that is Billy Collins.

I’ve written about Billy Collins before, HERE and HERE.  He’s written so many poems that I love that it’s hard to mention only a few. (My top two are noted on the previous posts).  If you really want to reward yourself after a long, hard day, spend a few moments with a book of Billy Collins poetry.  Preferably in a nice, hot, bubbly bath.

The Writer’s Almanac for today tells a bit about Billy Collin’s background.  Here’s my favorite part: “He was an only child. Before he even knew how to read he would page through books and pretend that he was reading whenever his parents had company. He said, “I would say it was a fairly happy childhood. But they say he who says that is just better at repressing things.”"  He has such a wonderful sense of humor, which is certainly why I love his poetry.

BillyCollins

The Writer’s Almanac also included his poem Forgetfulness, which you can listen to him read here:

If you happen to live in or near Long Beach, you’re a lucky duck.  The Carpenter Center will be hosting an evening with Billy Collins on May 21st, 2011.  The cost is a meager $35 and based on past experience,  it will be worth every. single. penny!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BILLY COLLINS!!! May we never forget your name!
XOXO,
Anna

P.S.  If you’re interested in The Quilter’s Bible, don’t forget to sign up for the drawing HERE.  I also forgot to mention that the book was originally published in the U.K., so, if you’re in the U.K., even though you’re not eligible for this drawing, you should easily be able to find the book.

The Quilter’s Bible

Hi there — have you all had a good weekend?  It’s been beautiful weather here — a teaser for spring and I think I might be over my snow fever.  I’m still not ready for yardwork though!

A few weeks ago, the nice people at FSB Media asked if I would review a copy of The Quilter’s Bible and I said yes.  I’d seen pictures of this beautiful cover, so I couldn’t resist.  (I love that cover quilt!)

Quilt Bible

The Quilter’s Bible is 256 pages full of most everything you’d like to know about quilting.  It’s divided into 5 sections: Getting Started, Patchwork, Applique, Quilting, and Finishing Off.

The Getting Started section contains lots of good information about tools, fabric, templates — mostly everything you need to be a quilter. There’s even a two-page spread on using technology in quilting, which is something you won’t find in older quilt books LOL!

As you might expect, the Patchwork section is the largest section. There are lots of pages showing different block types (I found a few new blocks I’d like to make.)

Quilt Bible

There are also many technique pages that show you how to construct blocks. Obviously every block can’t be covered, but the instructions vary from the more basic to even some tricky blocks.

Quilt Bible

A lone star quilt is on my someday list.

Quilt Bible

The cathedral window is on that list too.

Quilt Bible

There’s lots of good information for putting the blocks together.  All the details are explained — from block settings to the proper way to measure borders before cutting your fabric.

Quilt Bible

I forgot to take a picture of a sample page from the applique section, but the format is the same as the other sections.  All of the “standard” applique methods are discussed, along with some not-so-common methods like Hawaiian, Applique Perse (known as Broderie Perse here in the U.S. — which I always thought was Broderie Purse, so I learned something!), and Shisha.

The quilting section is comprehensive too.  Techniques include hand, big stitch, sashiko, long-arm, and many more.  Not only does the book explain how to do the actual quilting, there are also sections on choosing quilting designs that flatter your quilt.

Quilt Bible

Here’s the page on whole cloth quilting — another technique on my someday list.

Quilt Bible

The finishing off section contains fun ideas for binding and finishing quilts, to include techniques for hanging sleeve placement.  There’s also a page of useful information like half-square triangle formulas, diagonal measurements of squares, etc.

There are lots of  “Make It Now” projects throughout the book too,  to give you practice on a technique that has just been taught.  Shoot, I can’t possibly tell you all of the pop-outs and techniques and projects.  This is a really nice book — all of the pages are color and the paper is heavy.  It’s a wonderful resource for all quilters — and especially if you’re a beginning quilter.  One thing this book is not though — it’s not a pattern book  for making a specific quilts.  And, imho, that’s a great thing!  This book contains all the info you need to go off and create a quilt of your own, which is just how I like it.   And, as a bonus, there’s some really pretty photography.  I love this quilt (see previous lone-star mention!)

Quilt Bible

So the verdict?  Highly Recommended!

Aaannnnddd, the good news is that the nice people at FSB Media said that if I pick a winner, they’ll send one of you a copy of this book! (The bad news is that you must be in the U.S. or Canada to enter — sorry.)  Please leave a comment if you’d like to win your own copy of The Quilter’s Bible and I’ll draw a name on Saturday, March 26th.

XOXO,
Anna

Giving

If you read many blogs, I’m sure you’ve seen the “For Japan With Love” disaster relief posts popping up all over. Like Gina , I’m not usually one for public displays of giving – or of grieving, for that matter. There’s enough sadness in the world, and I like to try to keep things light and happy around here. But, the events in Japan this week make it hard to remain peppy.

Tomorrow marks one week since the devastating earthquake and many bloggers will be “observing a moment of silence”. They will be silent, in hopes that we’ll all think about the disaster and be moved to donate to the relief efforts. The charity chosen for “For Japan With Love” is Shelter Box. They provide emergency shelters and lifesaving supplies for those in need. You can read more about this organization HERE. I also found an interesting, up-to-the-date article about Shelter Box HERE.

QuiltBlock

I’m not a charity expert, and don’t know the good ones from the bad ones. But, the shelter concept seems to target the greatest need for so many people who have lost their homes. Tomorrow (March 18th), I hope we can all take a moment to realize how fortunate we are and maybe do a little bit to help. If you choose Shelter Box, you can donate HERE.

XOXO,
Anna

P. S. If you have an embroidery machine, Embroidables is donating 100% of their sales tomorrow (March 18th) to the earthquake disaster relief.