C’mon Get Happy

I’ve had that goofy song by Pharrell Williams running through my head all week. The Happy Song — it’s so, … um … happy haha. (Did you know they call that an earworm when a song gets stuck in your head like that?)  Google the Happy Song if you need an earworm too — it’s fun!

Anyway, the reason for all this Happy is the arrival of Surprise!, the fun line of fabric from Riley Blake.  I ordered it way back in February and I was really excited to see it at spring quilt market. And now it’s here and I’ve been having fun playing and making some gifts — because a fabric that says Happy Birthday on it is perfect for gifts.

Thimbleanna: Happy Birthday Pillowcase

I started with pillow cases. Sooo easy! And I included a little Happy Birthday Tag-It in the seamline. Next up, I want to make You Go Girl’s cute crochet-edged pillowcases with the pink Happy Birthday print. 

Thimbleanna: Happy Birthday Pillowcase

Then, I decided I wanted to make some little giftbags.  (I might be a little obsessed.  Like many of you, I love fabrics with words on them and the colors in these prints sent me over the edge LOL.)

Thimbleanna: Happy Birthday Giftbag

Each gift bag took a basically a fat quarter (split between a cute print and the Happy Birthday print) for the bag and a fat quarter for the lining, with a scrap for the binding.

Thimbleanna: Happy Birthday Giftbag

I threw in a little Happy Birthday Tag-it on the gift bag too (’cause they’re like Lay’s potato chips — you can’t stop!).

Thimbleanna: Happy Birthday Giftbag

Anyway, it’s been fun playing and I have a ton of other ideas for this fabric too.  Wouldn’t a pincushion or sewing accessories for your sewing buddies be cute on their birthday?  You’ve probably already guessed that I have fat quarter packs and some yardage in my little shop.  You can make a LOT of those gift bags with a fat quarter pack (free pdf pattern comes with the fat quarter pack). 

Thimbleanna: Surprise by Bo Bunny

(And speaking of the shop, if you missed the first order of the little Better Buddy Sewing Cases, they’re restocked and lime green is even an option now too.)

Ok, off to fondle happy fabric.  Have a great weekend — it’s almost here!
XOXO,
Anna

A Trip Around the World

How do you like that post title?  Are you thinking travel?  Or Quilt?  While I’d love to be on a real trip around the world, this trip is quilt related only.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

I’ve been a huge fan of Jan at Be*mused for many years.  She was one of the first blogs I ever read and she has a quiet sophistication that I love.  Years ago, I was pinning so many of her projects on my pinterest boards, I even joked that I should have a board dedicated to all things Be*mused!  So, when she posted about an online Trip Around the World Challenge a few weeks ago, the pictures of her beautiful start made me sit up and take notice.

After reading about this challenge, there were several red flags for me.  First of all, I really didn’t need another start.  I just started Phebe and I’m going to start the Aunt’s Quilt in the fall.  I don’t usually join challenges for fear of not being able to keep up (still a very real danger, but, oh well.)  I’ve never really liked mystery type challenges either — I like to be a little more in control of my project.  And the biggest red flag — this quilt is all hand-pieced.  I’ve never really understood the point of hand-piecing in this sewing machine world — except, maybe for intricate or curved little pieces.  Why on earth would you ever hand piece a quilt that would be so easy to machine piece???  You’d be crazy to do something like that, right?

But.  If Jan was doing it, maybe there’s something to it?  So, I timidly requested to join the group, and after a bit of wavering, I jumped in.  And, oh.my.gosh, I’ve been having so much fun!

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

The hardest part has been choosing the fabrics.  I love most all fabric and color combinations, and I really have no idea how these fell out of the mix.  I’m really trying to get more of a blue/green vibe going on, but, as Jan pointed out in her post, this quilt sort of has a mind of it’s own.  I’m sure I’ll try to work harder on the blue/green — I hope I don’t ruin it by fighting with the quilt.

There are guidelines for this quilt, and it’s interesting to me how they can be interpreted differently.  I’ve read and re-read several parts, wondering how to proceed.  And in reading over Jan’s post again this morning, I’ve realized that she and I interpreted the instruction to “eyeball the seamline” differently.  For, some reason, that didn’t jump out at me as a “rule” but rather a suggestion.  Jan had mentioned to me that if you cut your fabrics on the grainline, you can follow a thread as you stitch.  I painstakingly cut out my first six rounds on the grain — by pulling a thread through the fat quarter (how time-consuming!), but when it came time to stitch and have my eyes follow the thread — not happening!  My eyesight just isn’t that good.  So, I’ve been drawing 1/4″ seams on every other round.  Ooops!  What should I do now?  Try and eyeball?  Might not be pretty!  It’s funny that I didn’t connect the dots between the instructions and Jan’s comment about following the grain (even having read Jan’s post) before now.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

And there was mention of not pressing the seams as you go.  That’s driving me crazy!  Is that a “rule”?  I need to read over the guidelines LOL.  I’ve been finger pressing like crazy, just to get my big square to behave.  Like Jan pointed out, I love how you can pinwheel the seams — revealing a little 4-patch of sorts at each intersection.

For the next month, we’ll be working on rounds 10 through 18.  The rounds are really starting to take some time now, so I’m a little worried that I might not make the deadline.  I’ll try my best though, and enjoy every minute of the stitching.  It helps that I’ve found a fun little sewing buddy.  Do you like my new little Better Buddy sewing case?  I’ve been wanting one of these for a long time and I finally got one.  It’s perfect for this little project.  I throw the quilt and my better buddy in my bag and it’s a great take-along project!  (The sides are magnetized, so they hold pins and needles — even that whole box of pins.  I love that I can just toss my needle in there and not worry about finding it the next time.)

Thimbleanna: Better Buddy Case

Ok. Back to stitching. There’s a new round to be discovered!

XOXO,
Anna

Meatballs and a Chipmunk

Hi There.  I was a little surprised when I checked the blog and realized it’s been over a week since my last post.  Time goes by so quickly and I just can’t keep up!  There’s been a little sewing around here, but it’s not very exciting yet, so I’ll wait to show it to you next time.

In the meantime, I’ve been cooking over at MeMum and BigDaddy’s a lot more lately and I really love it when I can just get one of my recipes from my blog, rather than having to bring it from home.  So, I thought I’d add another one here, since I have it on their menu in a week or two.

Back in the dark ages when TheManoftheHouse and I were newlyweds, I subscribed to one of those recipe clubs where you could get a pack of recipe cards each month for some paltry sum.  The first month, they sent a recipe box along with the subscription and by the time I was done I had a box full of recipes.  I’ve long since thrown the box and it’s mostly worthless recipes away, but I did find one recipe that we’ve loved over the years.

Thimbleanna: Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Waikiki Meatballs.  Or as we call them Sweet and Sour Meatballs.  You can see I’ve spilled a lot of sauce on this card and used this recipe a lot.  These are quick and easy to make on a weeknight — especially if you use frozen meatballs or you’ve made your meatballs ahead of time.

Thimbleanna: Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Waikiki Meatballs

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2/3 cup cracker crumbs
1/3 cup minced onion
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon shortening
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 large can pineapple chunks, drained (reserve syrup)
1/3 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/3 cup chopped green pepper

Mix meat, crumbs, onion, egg, salt, ginger and milk. Shape mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls into balls. Melt shortening in large skillet; brown and cook meatballs. Remove meatballs; keep warm. Pour fat from skillet.

Mix cornstarch and sugar. Stir in reserved pineapple syrup, vinegar and soy sauce until smooth. Pour into skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Add meatballs, pineapple chunks and green pepper; heat through.
6 servings

I’ll leave you with a shot of a local culprit we found this weekend. This is why our bird feeders are usually empty. I watched this little stinker climb the pole on the right side of the picture, and just before he reached the squirrel baffle, he leaped over to the seed tray. Look at those cheeks! You’d think the little pig was getting ready for winter.

Thimbleanna: Fat Little Chipmunk

Have a Chipmunk Bountiful week!

XOXO,
Anna

June?

June Junie June.  Can you believe it’s June already?  My spring has just disappeared in the mist and it feels like we just jumped from winter to summer.  It feels that way weather-wise too — it was cold for so long and now it’s pretty darn warm.  We’ll take it though, won’t we?  It’s been beautiful out there!

I had a busy weekend.  SweetiePie dropped in for a short visit.  We went shopping for CuteNiece1′s upcoming birthday but I forgot to buy wrapping paper.  Pinterest to the rescue  !  I found a cute gift wrap that would use the little flower loom that I’ve saved since I was a little girl.

Thimbleanna: Yarn Flowers

SweetiePie and I played with the loom and I was surprised that I remembered how to make these little flowers.  I used leftover yarn from this fun bag.  It pays to be a hoarder!

Thimbleanna: Yarn Flowers

I also managed to do a teeny bit of applique this weekend.  I’m working on the center block from Phebe in the book Primarily Quilts by Di Ford.  I love using that green and white stripe for flower stems — but you already know that from my last post.  I had some of the green stripe from Bonnie and Camille’s Scrumptious line in my stash and I figured I’d use that because the stripe that I ordered at market wasn’t scheduled to be here until the end of summer.

Thimbleanna: Phebe

But yesterday, the vendor called and said the stripe I ordered is no longer available.  I’m distraught!  I REALLY wanted that stripe to use on The Aunt’s Quilt!!!  What are WE going to DO???

If it’s any consolation (I don’t think it is?) guess who’s here????

Thimbleanna: Ghastlies

The Ghastlies* arrived on Friday and they’ve already found a friend among my fabric bolts. That’s the 1/8″ black and white stripe from Timeless Treasures. If you’re a fan of Red Pepper Quilts, you recognize this stripe as one of her favorites for quilt bindings. If you need some of either fabric, they’re in my little shop. ;-D

Have a Good Week!
XOXO,
Anna

*As I mentioned when I returned from market, this is rumored to be the last of the Ghastlies line!

Spring Quilt Market: A Few Quilts

Hi There.  One more little market post and we’re done.  I thought I’d show you just a few of the quilts that I liked.  At each market, they always have a small display area of some pretty quilts.  Here are a few that I liked.

Thimbleanna: Market Quilts

This is the Gorsuch Family Quilt Circa 1840 Revisited by Margo Hardie from Australia.  The Australia part comes as no surprise — Australians have the beautiful applique gene!  I’m really taken with applique and all the work that it takes.  SO pretty.  I love the little squirrel block — it reminds me of a squirrel block that MeMum made once for her Baltimore Album quilt.

Thimbleanna: Market Quilts

This quilt is I Have Many Faces by Natalie Carlton.  It’s such an interesting technique.  The faces are all done with raw edge applique with solid fabrics and then there is some threadplay on top of the fabric.

Thimbleanna: Market Quilts

Look at the detail!  Aren’t they cool?  And who doesn’t love an Einstein?

Thimbleanna: Market Quilts

This gorgeous Baltimore Album quilt is called Baltimore Classic by Rhonda Pearce from … wait for it … yes!  Australia!

Thimbleanna: Market Quilts

Isn’t it beautiful?  I love everything about this quilt — the colors, the setting and the applique border.

Thimbleanna: Market Quilts

Those were my three favorites from the display area.  And then there was this quilt — possibly my favorite quilt at market.  I’m not sure why really,  I just love it!

Thimbleanna: Market Quilts

I LOVE quilts that have applique AND pieced blocks together.  This is The Aunt’s Quilt by Gina Gregory from …. Australia!  Jen Kingwell will be distributing the pattern and it will be out in June.  I had a long talk with Jen about this quilt.  She said they had a quilt-along for this quilt at Amitie, her quilt shop in Australia.  When I mentioned how much I loved those striped stems and wreaths, Jen said they had a terrible time getting that fabric.  They were begging customers to bring it in from their stashes!  After that conversation, I went on a mission to find a green stripe like that, and I think I found one that’s pretty darn close.  Naturally, I had to order some LOL.

Thimbleanna: Market Quilts

I’m planning on making this quilt in the fall after the fabric and pattern are here.  I think it would be super fun to make it together — anyone want to join me? We could make it a quilt-along, even though I have no idea how to make it a quilt-along LOL.  Maybe a little research is in order!  We could make an applique block and a pieced block each month.  And take breaks.  And eat chocolate.  LOTS of chocolate!!!

Anyway, something to think about.  In the meantime, I started a new project and after I take a picture or two, I’ll show you.

XOXO,
Anna