Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Everything’s Coming Up Squash

The summer squash and zucchini in our garden are multiplying like rabbits every night, and I can’t keep up. We’ve had Tomato-Zucchini Tart and Italian Roasted Veggies. I’ve made bread for the freezer (which barely fit in there as we still have soup made with zucchini in there from last year, along with too much ice cream, frozen strawberries, veggie broth, and icy chunks of leftover tomato paste because the larger can is cheaper). We’ve eaten zucchini muffins (actually summer squash muffins, but they are totally interchangeable). Tomorrow, I’ll be whipping up a Sausage and Zucchini casserole for dinner.

Today, I air-fried an entire summer squash as a side for my lunch. (Slice 1/8″ to 1/4″ slices, coat with a bit of olive oil and Parmesan Cheese, and air-fry for approximately 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Super simple. Super tasty. I tossed it in a bowl with quinoa, garden peas, grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and a drizzle of herbed olive oil, added a bowl of honeyrock melon, and finished my meal with a square of dark chocolate. Do I feel healthy? Yes, I do.)

Approximately one week of harvest

And the really crazy thing about all that squashy goodness?

Most of the plants that have produced veggies thus far weren’t plants we actually planted. I did plant one packet of zucchini seeds and one packet of summer squash seeds, but they haven’t done much yet. The plants that have been thriving for weeks now came up from seeds that were in our compost pile. And what’s even crazier is that we seem to have some strange zucchini/summer squash/spaghetti squash hybrids sprouting from the ground.

I also did not plant tomato plants, but we have those too, and we seem to have some sort of watermelon/pumpkin that’s coming along nicely. (No one is quite sure yet what it is. It’s getting big, though.) I may even have a butternut squash.

It’s a plant free-for-all out there, and nothing is neat and orderly, and it makes me just a teeny bit sad that my lovely row of beets is hidden and shaded by massive squash plant leaves. But I shouldn’t complain. Food is growing and it’s tasty and basically free.

Clearly, with this Great Squash Uprising that’s going on (along with taking time to enjoy the few summer weekends we get in northern Michigan), I have been spending minimal time in the sewing room. Thus, I have nothing new to share. What I do have is an older project that I don’t think I’ve shared before.

This is the Ice Cream Social wallhanging fom the Spring 2012 issue of Quilts and More magazine. The sample in the magazine was a little “busier” than I liked, with a dotted background, an inner stripey border of many colors (kind of like my outer pieced border, though the stripes were printed on the fabric), and an outer border that had various ice cream novelties printed on it. The corner blocks on the sample were pinwheels. It was a bit much for me. So I opted for an inner border that matched my more muted background fabric, another narrow border in pink (to match my binding), and an outer pieced border made of various width strips that matched what I had used for the ice cream and popsicles. (One great thing about this project is that you could make most of it with fabric scraps.)

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Fancy Flowers

Modern Flowers Skinny Quilt

It was supposed to be a table runner. Then I used white fabric for the background. As a person who squirts blueberry juice everywhere when cutting up waffles topped with them and thus has a selection of purple-dotted table runners, it seemed ill-advised to lay anything comprised of white fabric on any surface where I might be dining.

So now it will be a wall-hanging. The bad news is, I’m running out of walls to hang things upon. The good news is, the house is incredibly well-insulted with all of the quilts covering the walls. The question is, how many quilts would I need to hang for the house to be so well-insulated that we wouldn’t need to purchase propane or firewood in the winter?

This past week I finished cutting out the flowers and dots and stems and ironed them all in place. I found that a Teflon pressing sheet worked well for ironing on the bits that hung over the edges of the hanging so they didn’t stick to the ironing board. Those overhanging bits were later trimmed off.

Next week I hope to do the blanket stitching around the edges.

The pattern is Modern Flowers Skinny Quilt by Jennifer Jangles. There were options for three different sizes given. The wall quilt measured 54″x14.” The table runner was clearly designed for a table the size of which is only seen in lavish dining rooms in Jane Austen-esque movies/television shows. It finishes at a whopping 72″ x14.” If it were a little wider, I could totally hide under the thing. Finally, there is a bed runner measuring 108″ x 14.” I’ve never really understood bed runners. They seem to be all the rage in hotels these days where they spend more time sliding off the bed and onto the floor than they spend actually decorating the foot of the bed.

As I wanted to use up fabric from my stash, I was limited in the length I could make the hanging, The largest piece of background fabric that I liked in my stash was just over a yard long, so that’s what I went with.

crafts · Quilting · Quilts · sewing

Dolphins in the Bathroom

Shortly after we moved into our house I decorated the kids’ bathroom with an underwater theme. I painted the walls light blue, then sponged a darker blue on top.

(Sponging paint on or off was quite the rage there for a while in the early 2000s. I must have sponged, ragged, and even plastic-wrapped paint on over half the walls in the house. Looking back, while I liked it at the time, it was a pretty weird fad. The plastic-wrap technique involved painting the walls with a base color, then adding a darker color. While the darker paint was still wet, you put a layer of plastic wrap on top then pulled it off. This removed part of the dark paint, leaving behind interesting lines in the remaining paint.)

Anyway, I digress.

Where were we?

Ah, yes. Underwater bathroom.

After painting, I added an undersea-themed wallpaper border up near the ceiling. (Borders were “in” at the time also. Had I known how difficult this one would be to remove years later, I never would have put it up there.) We then hung a fishing net and blue tulle from corner to corner over the bathtub and put a couple starfish inside. That, I think, did look pretty neat.

As a final touch, I added this small dolphin wall hanging:

The dolphin block, a paper-piecing pattern, was from A Quilter’s Ark by Margaret Rolfe. Each dolphin block finishes at just 4″ x 4.” This little wall hanging was just the right size to fit between two medicine cabinets.

Several years after painting the bathroom, we decided to give it a bit of a freshening up. The netting and tulle were dusty, the kids had outgrown the underwater theme, and I just like to have painting projects. We didn’t put a lot of thought into the paint color, instead choosing to be frugal by using leftover paint from when I painted our oldest daughter’s room. She’d chosen a pale blue for her walls and a strange pinkish-purple for a tiny angled wall where her bedroom door is located. We had nearly a gallon of that strange pinkish-purple color left, and so that’s what ended up in the bathroom.

I hated that color.

And the dolphin wall hanging didn’t quite match the room anymore. But we left it there anyway.

We tolerated the paint color for several years until it came time to paint our son’s bedroom. He chose a lovely grey paint for his walls, and, since there was leftover paint, I was able to redo the bathroom. Now, the dolphins once again look like they belong.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Tis the Season

Thanksgiving and Christmas collided at our home this year. I was tempted to greet our guests with a Merry Thankmas or a Happy Christgiving. Actual Turkey day was spent prepping for our guests who would be arriving throughout the day on Friday and dealing with the after-effects of jab #3. (While they weren’t as severe as what I experienced post-Pfizer #2, the muscle aches, small bit of chills, and swollen lymph nodes were still unpleasant.) I pushed through the aches and prepped everything except for the traditional green bean casserole and the turkey. When our guests arrived on Friday, the turkey was already in the oven and everything else was ready to go save for a quick mix-up of the casserole and a bit of a heat-up of all the sides while the turkey was “resting.” Prepping pretty much everything in advance meant I was able to sit down, put my feet up, and actually visit with our family.

We chose to dole out Christmas presents at our gathering, knowing it would be sometime after Christmas before we would be able to have everyone all in one place again. Thus is life now that our oldest lives and works downstate and our other two kids are in college.

As the holiday season is upon us, I’ve changed out all of our Thanksgiving wall hangings for Christmas ones and thought I’d take the next few posts to share them.

This whimsical wall-hanging is a personal favorite. The pattern, which was originally intended to be used in a table runner, came from the September/October 2013 issue of Quiltmaker magazine. I enjoy doing these simple embroidery projects. Minus a pattern, one could, as I have mentioned before, use a cute, basic coloring page as a pattern.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Cardinals in Winter

Brrrr. It’s a cold, snowy day in northern Michigan. It’s 21 degrees out with a forecasted low of 10 for tonight. Not the coldest weather we’ve suffered through (one year we had what seemed like weeks in the negatives), but it’s still not the kind of weather I enjoy being out in. I prefer the 30s if I’m going to do anything outside in the winter. I didn’t even go outside to snap a picture of the snow but rather took it through the back slider. The flakes have been both tiny and sporadic today, as well as clumped together and coming down fiercely. The sky is a gloomy shade of grey. I’m so glad we have colorfully painted rooms in our home. There’s no way I could handle grey walls all around and a grey sky above and white snow everywhere! Thankfully next week’s weather looks like it’s going to be a little nicer.

I thought I would share an older project today as I’m still hip deep in scraps and haven’t completed my latest scrap quilt top yet.

Let’s travel back to, I think, 1999 or 2000. I know my eldest was just a baby when I completed this project. My mom and I worked on these hangings together. Way back then I would schlep my sewing machine over to my parents’ house and we would work together on projects while my dad and the baby would nap away in the Lazy Boy.

The pattern was Cardinals by Connie D. Roys of Pine Meadows Designs. There were three patterns provided that included cardinals in either summer, winter, or fall. Now you might think that we’d be all about the bright summer option or the equally colorful fall option since we get plenty of winter and see plenty of snow, but you’d be wrong. We chose to sew cardinals in a winter scene. (Speaking of cardinals, I can’t think of the last time I saw one in the winter or any other season.)

An interesting trick we learned from a woman at the quilt shop where we purchased our fabric was to use the same fabric for the red bird’s body and wings but to use the reverse/wrong side of the fabric for the body portion. I’d never considered using the wrong side of the fabric before and haven’t done so since, but it worked for this project.

I like to bring this hanging out after Christmas and leave it up until it’s time for Easter decorations.

(In case you’re interested, we used a stick for hanging it that my husband painted with polyurethane. Sticks make cute hangers, though with their natural curves it can be interesting to get the project to hang straight on the wall!)