Monday, September 15, 2014

Stitch A Little Love Patchwork Loves Embroidery SAL

For this week's Patchwork Loves Embroidery Sew-Along I choose to make Stitch A Little Love Sewing Folder. This folder finished at about 7 x 10 inches, although the pattern is for 8 x 10-1/2 inches. For the main fabric I used pieces cut from a pillowcase I found at Goodwill. The remainder was from my stash.

The inside has pockets, and it is tied with a cord. If I make it again, I might add some lightweight fusible fleece to give it a little more body.

I plan to put add notions such as an embroidery hoop, scissors, embroidery thread, and a pattern before I give it to our church fall market to sell.

My stitching was improved this time by adding fusible interfacing before I worked the embroidery stitches. Amazing what works when I actually follow the instructions. I chose to add fabric hearts instead of stem-stitched hearts. My needle turn applique skills are not geared toward such small objects, so I used fabric glue to secure them and added a quilting stitch.

I enjoyed making this little folder so much I plan to make one of the other folder patterns included in Gale Pan's Patchwork Loves Embroidery for our next link-up in two weeks.

Katy right before she pounced on the folder

Be sure and visit some of the other blogs that are joining me in the link-up today.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Garden Gate Patchwork

I recently discovered the blog of Christine at Patchwork Allsorts and am drawn to her pretty embroidery. When I saw this beautiful stichery I decided I had to buy one of the double stitch patterns from Mountain Patchwork. During the month of September they have free shipping!

Christine has a stash of Tilda fabrics, which are gorgeous fabrics not readily available here in the States. I have to admit I'm envious of her stash. I started to buy a few pieces on Etsy, but in the end I decided to use some of the "unloved fabrics" that had been weeded out of my stash during The Purge a few weeks ago. They are batiks which attracted me initially, but I didn't love them anymore. However once they were cut and sewn together I loved them again.

I haven't hand sewn for a long time, and my stitches show it. Sewing a straight line is not as easy as it used to be, and my embroidery stitches look spidery to me. But I decided it adds to the charm. For the double stitch thread I used variegated Superior Rainbows with shades of lavender, sage green, and pink, and for embroidering the flowers, ribbons, and stems I used Cosmo thread.

I am working on re-purposing/refinishing a frame for it and will post a final picture. Thanks to Christine for answering my numerous questions about this project!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Asiago Cheese Bread

My husband recently stopped at HEB (local grocery)and brought home a delicious loaf of fresh-baked Asiago bread. We enjoyed it so much, but it was pricey at $4.50 for a small loaf. I decided to try my hand at it and found a promising recipe on This one is made with milk, which I believe produces a softer middle.

I had to laugh at the title - the author of the recipe named it "Asiago Cheese Bread, Excellent!" But excellent it is! With a couple of minor changes I followed the recipe to a tee, and it produced two beautiful loaves of tender, fragrant, tangy bread. It made my kitchen smell like a restaurant - my husband was nearly driven crazy with the aroma while it was baking.

Asiago Cheese Bread
Very slightly adapted from

1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in cubes
3-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1-1/4 cups asiago cheese, shredded
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

Melt butter in milk and water in small saucepan. Heat to 120 degrees and cool slightly. Whisk together one cup flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and pepper and add to mixing bowl. Slowly add warm liquid, mixing on low speed. Add 1 cup cheese and mix briefly. Switch to dough hook and add remaining 2 cups flour, kneading until soft dough forms. Place dough in greased mixing bowl, cover with dish towel, and let rise in warm place until doubled.

Remove dough and form into two loaves, place on pan lightly sprinkled with corn meal. Cover with towel and let rise in warm place until doubled.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Slash dough lightly with serrated knife. Whisk egg and water and brush loaves lightly. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake until nicely browned, about 20-25 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cinnamon Delights Bag - Patchwork Loves Embroidery SAL

I recently purchased the Kindle version of Gale Pan's Patchwork Loves Embroidery so that I could join a Sew-Along for the book. Martina at Sunshine Quilting is hosting, and today is the first link-up for completed projects.

I chose the Cinnamon Delights Bag and was able to use fabric from my "de-stash" purge that was in my "unloved" pile. The blue is a batik, and for some reason when I first started collecting fabric, I was fascinated with batiks. Now, not so much. However, the fabrics took on new life as they were transformed into a bag!

The inside lining is a tiny bit bulky, so next time I make this I will cut the lining just a smidge smaller.

The bag combines hand quilting with machine stitching, and in spite of a few minor hitches (and hidden mistakes) I thoroughly enjoyed making it. Now I am eager to choose my next project.

I am linking to Sunshine Quilting's Patchwork Loves Embroidery Sew Along 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Christmas Table Topper Finished

My Christmas table topper is finally completed. I blogged about it in this post - how it was my first real project and how it got set aside and how almost four years later I rediscovered it and decided to finish it.

Besides moving twice in those four years, there were a couple other reasons I didn't finish it. Although I really liked the teacher of the beginning quilting class I took in 2010, she was a member of the "points police" and made us redo any blocks that had less than perfect points. . I never had to redo any of my piecing, because I spent hours making sure my points were perfect (although now I see some errors on my blocks). I am grateful to my teacher for instilling good "points ethics", but it created a kind of dread when I thought about finishing. And I was very nervous about quilting it, since the class did not include any quilting instruction. So it sat in a basket.

It wasn't until I started examining pictures on the blogs of experienced quilters that I realized my points did not have to be perfect and my quilting was going to look good to a non-quilter no matter how elementary it looked to me. The tide began to turn, and now I love every part of making a quilt.

I quilted with no plan, but I am pleased with the way it turned out. Each block has its own quilting pattern. The only thing I would do differently now would be to rearrange the blocks to help balance the two lighter blocks with the two darker blocks. It finished at 26-1/2 inches square.


Simple flowers and leaves and mazes

Each block quilted with different pattern

My version of the Christian symbol of the fish on the sashing

Binding is one of Moda's Fruitcake line

I toyed with the idea of donating this to our church fall market, but I think I would rather keep it as a reminder of my first class and use it for Christmas. I am linking it to Rachel's Purge-Along and to Lily's Quilts Small Blog Meet.

the Purge

Small Blog Meet

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread

We recently ate at Macaroni Grill and enjoyed their bread with our salad. It was one of the best restaurant breads we've had. The crust was crisp without being too crunchy and the interior was pillow soft.

I found a few versions online and tried this one from To achieve a softer bread I added 2 tablespoons of milk and I ended up adding another 1/2 cup of flour to overcome stickiness. I picked fresh rosemary from my garden and snipped it right into the dough - so good.

The interior was just what I hoped it would be - tender and fluffy, but the surface was not crisp, probably because I set my convection oven a bit lower to keep the loaves from browning too fast. And after all the years I've been baking bread, I didn't pull the dough tight enough when I formed the loaves, so the crust "wrinkled" after I brushed it with butter. We didn't care and devoured one of the loaves for dinner.

Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread

1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons milk
2-1/2 to 3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons butter

Place yeast, sugar, and water in large bowl and allow mixture to become bubbly. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and add to mixture with salt and 2 cups flour. Add one tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary. Knead 10 minutes by hand or with dough hook 5 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if necessary.

Place dough in lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise in one hour, or until doubled.

Punch dough down and divide in half, then let rest about 5 minutes. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Shape dough into 2 loaves. If desired, sprinkle another 1 tablespoon rosemary over loaves and press lightly into surface.

Let loaves rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and brush with remaining butter; sprinkle lightly with kosher salt if desired.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Patchwork Loves Embroidery Sew-Along 2014

This is my first Sew-Along, and I am excited to add another dimension to my quilting experience. Ever since I saw the redwork quilt (see below) in American Patchwork & Quilting August 2004 issue (I saved the issue!), I have had in the back of my mind that "someday" I would add embroidery to my quilts.

Peekaboo Redwork Quilt

I saw on Christina's blog that Martina at Sunshine Quilting is hosting a Sew-Along based on the book Patchwork Loves Embroidery by Australian author Gail Pan. Although I didn't own the book, I already loved it and wanted to participate, so I purchased the Kindle version.

The SAL starts September 1 and continues until the end of October. You can make as many projects as you like and link up your blog post on Martina's blog.

Cinnamon Delights Bag

I have chosen the Cinnamon Delights Bag as my first project, using the materials in the first picture above. I hope to fill it with cinnamon chunks from Penzey's and give it to my church to sell at our Fall Market in October.

Join us - it's a chance to meet new bloggers who share your passion (addiction?)