Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Decision Made

Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time in my sewing room but didn't really get anything accomplished. I was still trying to decide what I want to work on. I looked at lots of photos, magazines, etc., and I saw a lot of wonderful quilts that I would like to make but nothing sparked me to get started on it. So, today I went back in and pulled out my bin of 2" x 3.5" rectangles. Surely I can get started on something scrappy using them?

The bin that holds these rectangles is overflowing and it is always being added to whenever I cut down scraps so I made a decision. Nothing fancy, just plain old simple rectangles. I think it will make a good quilt to use to practice my free motion long arm techniques (I can't really call them techniques...they really are bumblings at this point!).

I think I am going to make a single sized quilt and we will see what happens once I get there.

I have really enjoyed my Christmas break but it is back to work tomorrow. My quilty sister Cheryl is coming to visit me on Tuesday and Wednesday and she is bringing a couple quilt tops that she wants to quilt. I can assure you that there will be some fun antics going on in my sewing room while she is visiting!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Quilty Plans for 2016

This is the time of year for reflection on the happenings over the past year and for me it was quite lacking in the quilting department. I am not one for resolutions and I don't plan on making any this coming year, however, I do plan to make some changes. During this past year I spent quite a bit of time helping my Mom. Along with my siblings we got my Mom's house fixed up and sold and we got my Mom moved into her new apartment. That was a huge time and energy commitment and on top of that I started working during that time of chaos.

Things have settled down, my Mom is happy in her apartment and for at least the time being I will be working no more than 3 days per week and I hope it stays that way! That will leave me with time for quilting.

But what does that mean and how do I want to spend my time?

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - I have tons of scraps that I want to use up and move out and Angela offers some great ways to do just that.

I think that I would like to participate in the Block Lotto on a 'more regular' basis. It is really fun to be a participant but I think even more fun to win.

Of course, I also want to work on my Seven Sisters quilts too. I do love hand piecing and hand quilting. Kathy at Kathy's Quilts hosts Slow Sunday Stitching for all those that love hand work to connect and share.

I really enjoy working in a smaller scale so I hope to get back to it and my goal is to complete one Dear Jane and one Midget Block per week month but hopefully more.

More scraps and bits and pieces have been added to the bins since this picture was taken!
I have scraps, and strings and crumbs that are calling my name - quite loudly at that - so I want to work with them this year as well. I can't say that I will ever run out of these tidbits because the more quilts I make the more scraps and crumbs and strings I get. It will truly be a very sad day if those bins get completely emptied and never replenished.

I want to play more with my long arm and practice so that I feel more comfortable and confident with free hand quilting.

What about you have any quilty goals for the coming year?

Perogie Recipe

I have had a request for the recipe I use to make perogies and I am happy to oblige.

For this last batch of perogies I used about 8lbs of yellow potatoes and when I boiled them I added some chopped garlic to the cooking water as well as salt.

I chopped 3 or 4 large onions and fried them in butter with a dash of oil and some salt. I made sure the onions browned because that does add quite a bit of flavour to the potatoes.

When the potatoes were cooked I drained them (save the potato water) and mashed them. I added the fried onions and the butter they were fried in. I also added more salt to taste but you do need to add a little more salt than you think you might want because they will be wrapped in dough. The potatoes mashed up really well because I used yellow potatoes and I did not need to add any extra butter. Do not add milk when you mash them. If they are too dry add more butter. You do not want your mashed potatoes to be too soft but you don't want any lumps either.

The dough is made using the reserved potato water and if there is not enough you can also add milk. This recipe is for approximately 2lbs of potatoes but because I used 8lbs I just quadrupled the recipe.

2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup potato water
1 tsp of oil
1 egg

Mix/knead all of the ingredients together to make a stiff dough. You don't want it too dry but not too sticky either. I let it rest a bit before taking a chunk and rolling it out. You don't want the dough to be too thick or your perogies will be quite doughy but they need to be thick enough so that when you fill them they don't get holes from the dough stretching around the potatoes. I cut the dough using a round cookie cutter but you can use a glass or whatever you have at hand to get the size you want. To form the perogie, lay a cut piece of dough over your cupped fingers and thumb. Scoop up some potato using a teaspoon and put a blob in the center of the dough. Try to keep the potato away from the edges. As you can see in the photo, I  slightly press the potato into the center of the dough. Sometimes when you are forming the perogies the dough doesn't want to stick together when you are pinching them closed. I keep a small dish of water close to hand and just dip my fingertips in and moisten the inside edge of the perogies to help seal them if needed.

Simmer for 10 minutes in a large pot of boiling water or freeze on floured cookie sheets and store in freezer bags once frozen. They can be cooked from frozen and then sauted in butter and fried onions.

This is a basic dough recipe but sometimes you need to tweak it a bit. When I made my dough this time, I needed to add more flour than the recipe called for because we had high humidity in the house. We had been cleaning the carpets and it had been raining for a couple days previously and environment does have an effect on dough.

I hope you do try to make them - they are a bit time consuming to make but so good!

Monday, December 21, 2015

More Pillowcases

Pillowcases for Adam, Anna and Eric

I have not been sewing very much at all because of all of the Christmas preparations and cleaning....ughhhh. You would think that I would have started the major cleaning process a lot earlier in the month or even in November but I am a procrastinator when it comes to housework and I do pay for it in the end!

I did manage to make 6 more pillowcases though. These pillowcases will go to my two sons, Adam and Eric and also to Adam's girlfriend Anna. The pillowcases for Anna match the quilt she will be receiving and I hope she will be happily surprised with both gifts.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Perogie Making Day

On Christmas Eve I will be serving a meal consisting of yummy Polish food and today my husband and I are making the perogies.

I peeled the potatoes and chopped the onion last night in preparation and got them started cooking this morning.

I have trouble getting the dough rolled thin so that is my husband's job and I get to stuff and pinch...pinch....pinch.

These perogies will be frozen on the cookie sheets and then transferred to freezer bags. There will be plenty for dinner on Christmas Eve and there will also be plenty of leftovers for our guests to take home.  We love these little nuggets of deliciousness....YUM!!

I am not Polish but my husband is of Polish descent and that means my sons are too so I do try to incorporate Polish food in our celebrations. When I was engaged to my husband, his mother invited me over to learn how to make perogies. Honestly, I think she wanted to see if I could make them successfully because after they were boiled she proclaimed that I would be 'a good wife' because my perogies did not fall apart during the cooking process. Funny how you remember things :). She would have been 100 years old this past October.

I had never even tasted perogies until I met my husband and then I realized that I was missing out. There is nothing like homemade perogies and store bought ones just don't seem to cut it, although, Costco does sell one brand that does taste pretty good.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Anna's Quilt is Finished

Even though I worked Saturday, Sunday and today I was still able to get Anna's quilt finished. I spent time each day/evening hand stitching the binding and the label to the back of the quilt. I worked from 11 to 7 today but before I left this morning I finished tying off the thread tails and got them tucked away into the quilt and then I took some photos.

I am so relieved that I got the quilt finished in time for Christmas and I am thrilled with the way it turned out because it really is quite pretty!

The quilt top was 76" x 76" before quilting but finished at 74" x 74". I used the same fabric for the binding and the backing. I have decided to call this quilt Summer Dreams.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hopes of a Sewing Day...!

2 pairs and a single flannel

Yesterday, I was up bright and early or should I say dark and early. I was anxious to get my day going and planned to do a full day of sewing and quilting. Well, we all know that plans get changed whether we like it or not!

I did manage to make seven pillowcases for Christmas gifts. From the time I met my husband, we have celebrated Christmas Eve at his Mom's place and when she moved with us we continued the practice. When she passed away we decided to carry on the tradition.

On Christmas Eve we have friends over and we have our Christmas dinner. We do exchange token gifts with each other but save our family gift opening until Christmas morning. This year we have two couples and a 9 year old child over for the celebrations. I have made Christmas pillowcases as gifts for them and I will include some Lego for the child and some chocolates for the adults. I had some fabric left over and made one pillowcase each in red and green that we will keep for ourselves.

I used the method that I found on YouTube - Missouri Star Quilt Company and it was a very easy method and gave very good results.  Even though I have a serger I made mine with French seams because it is such a nice finishing touch.

singles for me to keep
I actually made two of the green pillowcases in November and they are hanging as part of the Christmas display at work and they turned out really well. I will get them back sometime after Christmas so I won't be able to use them until next year.

I still have more pillowcases to make for my sons and a couple other people but my plans were interrupted with the 'h' word. You know, the dreaded 'housework' word. My son has invited a group of friends over to play a Warhammer game today and will need to use my dining room table. The house was in a shambles so chores became important and they had to be done.

While they are all hanging out on the main floor of the house today, I hope to be puttering away in my sewing room.  :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Finished Quilting

When I posted on Monday evening I thought that I was done quilting for the day...I really had only intended to get the quilt loaded and everything prepared for me to start quilting it today.  After seeing the first row of quilting completed, my excitement got the better of me and I went ahead and quilted the whole thing. I didn't finish until just about 11 pm and I was pooped out! I had to work yesterday but the late evening didn't bother me because I had the 1 to 9 pm shift at the store so thank goodness I didn't have to get up too early.

I am very happy with the way the quilt looks so far. I used such a pretty aqua thread and even though it was darker than the front and lighter than the back it turned out great. I am always a little hesitant to use a thread that doesn't blend in completely because every little detail shows up whether you want it to or not. ;)

I had loaded 10 bobbins thinking it would surely be enough for the quilt but just as I got to the last row I ran out of bobbin thread half way through...wouldn't you know it. It didn't take too long to load another bobbin and finish the quilting but it always seems like such a chore. The quilting design is called Whipped Cream and it is a somewhat dense pantograph and it gives such a wonderful texture.
I still need to make and attach the binding and I am leaning towards using the same fabric as the backing. I am not working today so I plan on having a very fun and busy sewing day!!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Quilting In Progress

I have been working on Anna's quilt every day - a little bit here and a lot there - and I have made wonderful progress. When I first started this quilt I said that it was such a quick and easy design but that was before the rounds started getting bigger and bigger :). I got through it though and today I made the backing and loaded everything onto the quilt frame. The photo shows the first row of quilting...I think it looks pretty good.

I love the colour of the thread I have chosen for this quilt and that is a good thing because I had to make a special trip to Toronto to get it. Well, I should say that my husband drove me there on Friday to pick up my order from my thread supplier. Happily, it also gave me a good excuse to add several other colours of thread to my collection.:))  I was scheduled to start work at 1 pm last Friday and my husband got me back with plenty of time to spare. I am so fortunate that my husband is such a great guy!