Sunday, January 25, 2015

Reverse Rainbow Starburst Progress - Sweet 16 QAL 2015

For me, a quilt-along is either a great incentive to finish a project or a big fat guilt-inducer. In this case I am enjoying the process and looking forward to the completion of my quilt for the Sweet 16 Quiltalong 2015 on Sarah's blog.


My choice of a 16-patch pattern is adapted from the 25-patch reverse rainbow featured in this tutorial.


The saw-toothed stars are randomly placed; I placed one to span two of the color blocks. I like it so much that I will also do that on the last row.


I have completed three out of the four rows, which are as follows:
  • Top Row = Purple, Magenta/Hot Pink, Light Pink
  • 2nd Row = Red, Coral, Orange
  • 3rd Row = Dark Green, Light Green, Yellow
  • 4th (and last) Row will be shades of Dark Blue, Teal, and Light Blue


I have started choosing fabrics for the blue row. Whether or not to add a border is still up in the air, but I am certain that I will not add sashing, as I love the intensity of the colors without separation.


Katy just wishes I would hurry up and clear off her favorite sleeping spot.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cinnamon Streusel Banana Muffins

This is the usual "I had some bananas going bad and I found this on Pinterest" post, so I'll just say that's exactly what happened.

The recipe results in 10 tender, nicely banana-flavored, cinnamon-y muffins with a nice little crunch from the streusel. I only had 2 bananas, so I added a heaping tablespoon of Greek yogurt to sub for that third banana, but I encourage you to make the recipe exactly as written. I still prefer my go-to recipe that I used in my catering business and when I baked for Java Dave's Coffee Shop, but this one is easy, simple, and delicious. I ate two for breakfast and am having to restrain myself from eating another.

The recipe is from blog of Shari, who has prettier photos than mine, so go look.


Cinnamon Streusel Banana Muffins
ever so slightly adapted from the blog of Shari Blogs

1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup salted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Streusel:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375°. Line 10 muffin cups with muffin liners or lightly grease muffin pan.

In large bowl, whisk together 1-1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.

In another bowl, beat bananas, sugars, egg, vanilla, and melted butter.

Add banana mixture to flour mixture and blend just until moistened. Divide batter between 10 muffin cups (each cup will be about 1/2 full).

In small bowl, mix streusel ingredients. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; sprinkle over muffins. Bake 18-20 minutes (mine were perfect at 18 minutes) or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Reverse Rainbow Starburst - Sweet Sixteen Quiltalong 2015

After some trial and error, I was able to complete my first block for a Reverse Rainbow Starburst which I am making as a 16-patch for Sarah's Sweet Sixteen Quilt-along.


Flutter Kat's reverse rainbow starburst quilt
My searches for 16-patch patterns kept turning up a 25-patch tutorial for the Reverse Rainbow Starburst. The photo sold me so decided to convert it to a 16-patch.


The tutorial for Reverse Rainbow Starburst is on the blog of Kat at Flutter Kat. She shows how to do wonky sawtooth stars which are randomly placed on each block, but I chose to stitch a uniformly shaped star. Although I adore Kat's quilt,"wonky" is not my thing.


I had hoped to use only scraps, but I didn't have enough in the 2-1/2 inch size I need so I supplemented with a few fat quarters and charms. My scrap organization revealed that I don't have the "tubs of scraps" that more prolific quilters have, but I have my tubs ready to accumulate more scraps.


Katy assumed I laid the squares out for her pleasure.

The first block is deep purples and my next block is deep pinks. I can't wait to finish this one!

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015 Plans and Dreams

My husband and I used to talk about retirement and dream about how we could slow things down and just enjoy life. Well we are definitely enjoying life, but regretfully time has not slowed down. Time flies when you're having a good time!

My goals for 2015 are simple:
1) Have plans and dreams instead of "goals"
1) Enjoy what I'm doing with no pressure on myself
2) Refrain from buying new fabric, yarn, or patterns and utilize my storehouse of goodies

Quilts In Progress (WIPs)

My niece's grandmother's quilt top (you can read about it in this post) is now sandwiched and ready to quilt. I've "only" had it 3 years, so this is the year to get it done!


The Jingle Bell Rock quilt is sandwiched and quilting is about 1/3 done.


The very first quilt I planned to finish, started in 2011 and still in the designing stages, will be for my daughter (you can read about it here.)


This Math Class quilt will also be for my daughter. I have six blocks completed.


This Winterlude table runner is cut and will be ready to sew after I sort out all the pieces I dropped on the floor.


New Quilt Projects

My Christmas gift to myself was fabric for this gorgeous quilt. I have the pattern, which is found in Fat Quarter Style.

I love the fabrics, which are Moda's Atelier by 3 Sisters and Autumn Lily by Blackbird Designs.

Scrappy Quilt Challenges

In the spirit of not buying new patterns or fabric, I am learning how to recreate patterns I like and would like to eventually design my own patterns. I love these ideas for scrappy projects:

I am planning to join Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict in her Sweet Sixteen Quiltalong 2015, a scrappy 16-patch challenge. I'd like to try something like the Reverse Rainbow shown above in a 16-patch instead of the 25-patch shown. I found the above picture online. I'm not a big fan of the wonky stars so I'll determine how to make them as standard stars.


I am a little late to the Swoon Quilt party, but I love Camille Roskelley's remake of the Carpenter's Wheel. Yesterday I used graph paper to recreate her pattern and will start cutting from scraps today.


Needlework

I've recently become interested in Sashiko, a traditional Japanese embroidery technique and am excited about the ways it can be incorporated into quilting. The photo is from the blog of Jess of Elven Garden Quilts, and she has a nice tutorial here.

Purses

I want to make more coin purses like the one I made for my granddaughter and get started on the pattern I bought for these little see-through bags.

Crochet

I have plenty of yarn in my stash!

I learned to crochet in 1972 and was a crocheting fool for many years. I have not picked up a crochet needle for too long and have a deep desire to get back to it this year. I want to make these cute boot cuffs, and these beautiful Nordic Wrist Warmers, a pattern I purchased from Annette of My Rose Valley.

I have my eye on a couple of crochet patterns - Tunisian Crochet Entrelac throw and Log Cabin Arrow throw.

And while I love crochet, knitted items have a more polished look to me and knitting seems to be more a more versatile stitching method, so I am determined to learn to knit this year. I would love to learn to make the gorgeous drop stitch scarf pictured above with this pattern.

Home and Garden

Outside of quilty/crafty things, I also have a few homey projects in mind:

Last spring and summer we planted a modest vegetable/herb garden, and our moderate success led me to add a bit more space for this coming spring.

In a rush of excited anticipation I purchased a bunch of seeds from Pinetree Seeds.

We also have plans to re-stain our master bathroom cabinets and rearrange the dishes, glasses, and trinkets in my china cabinet. What doesn't fit gets sold!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Cinnamon Sugar Bread

Sadly this is the last piece of this wonderful bread. Normally I would toss the last lonely piece of bread, but we are loving it, so it will be breakfast tomorrow. The author of this recipe calls it The Amazing Amish Cinnamon Bread Alternative and likens the flavor to the labor-intensive Amish Friendship Bread.

I found the recipe on Pinterest and decided it would make great breakfast muffins. The recipe makes two loaves, so I made a dozen muffins and a loaf. We loved it both as muffins and as bread. It is moist and tender, not too sweet, and fragrant with the warm spices of winter.

Cinnamon Sugar Bread
Adapted from the original

1 cup salted butter, softened
1-3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk (I used full-fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher flake salt

Cinnamon-sugar topping
2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Prepare muffin tin or loaf pans with baking spray. (I have a lot of "sticking" problems with my loaf pans, so I greased the pan with shortening and laid a strip of parchment in the bottom and up the sides for easier removal.)

Mix together topping ingredients; set aside.

Cream together butter and 2 cups sugar till fluffy; add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. On low speed add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk just until flour is no longer visible.

For muffins: Fill prepared muffin cups about 2/3 full; sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. Bake at 350 degrees about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes, loosen edges, and cool on wire rack.

For one loaf: Pour 1/2 of batter into prepared loaf pan; sprinkle with half of cinnamon mixture. Add remaining batter, carefully spreading over cinnamon-sugar mixture, and sprinkle with remaining topping. Can swirl with a knife at this point. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. or until toothpick tester come clean. Cool in pan 20 minutes before removing to wire rack.

For two loaves: Pour 1/4 of batter into each prepared loaf pan; sprinkle with 1/4 of cinnamon mixture. Add half of remaining batter into each, carefully spreading over cinnamon-sugar mixture, and sprinkle half of remaining topping over each. Follow above instructions for baking.

I made a dozen muffins and one loaf of bread. Freezes very well.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - A Few Non-Quilting Highlights

In October, Randy and I attended a charity function and decided to really
go all out with a long dress and a tux. It was fun to play dress-up.

Our beautiful baby girl married her wonderful guy in January. In the second photo,
Randy and I try valiantly not to cry as they dance their first dance.

Early summer we enjoyed the fruits of a fairly successful vegetable and herb garden.

We vacationed with our son, daughter-in-law, three grandchildren ages 15, 13, and 11, and our daughter and son-in-law at a really neat vacation rental house in Bulverde, TX and had our picture made at a nearby Mexican restaurant.

I am a trained storm spotter and self-declared weather nerd, so during spring and summer I can't wait to see storm clouds rolling across the horizon.

In October and November we traveled to see our daughter near Dallas and Randy's family near Tulsa, Oklahoma. We stayed in hotels instead of with our families which surprisingly made our visits more fun!

Top photo: Dallas skyline - we used to live near Dallas, and this sight is always a thrill for us. In the next photos are quick car shots of my beloved Oklahoma - beautiful skies, rolling hills, gorgeous fall trees.

December has been very happy. Randy retired,
so we bought a red Ford F150 to celebrate!

Christmas was so much fun. Even Buddy and Katy celebrated. We went to our son's house early Christmas morning, then came home to our cozy house.

It was a great year! I am looking forward to 2015 and will have my resolutions in hand by tomorrow.