Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hexagon Swap Goodness and a Few Other Random Things

First things first, you know Heather right? Well, many of you may know that Heather's birthday is this month (yesterday actually) and that she has been doing giveaways all month long to celebrate. Heather asked a bunch of her friends (including yours truly) to come along for the party and bring presents for all of her readers - well, today is my day! Would you like to see what you could win?

Here we have the most recent (Spring 2010) issue of Stitch magazine, which I picked up at Quilt Market directly from Interweave Press, and four fat quarters from Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley collection. Stitch is my absolute most favourite magazine and it was pretty lucky that I was able to get this copy from them since they were running pretty low and not handing them out for free anymore - but I convinced the nice lady working the booth that I had already bought my own copy (which I had) since it is my favourite, and I wanted one to giveaway.

The post is not up yet, but should be at some point today *the giveaway has now been posted* so head on over to Heather's blog and wish her a very happy birthday (also notice that if you are a follower of mine and leave a second comment saying so you will get another entry!); Happy Birthday Heather - you rock!

And actually, speaking of Heather, I recently participated in a swap that she arranged on Flickr called {Handsome} Hexies - The Swap where we each had to make our partner 25 paper pieced hexagons based on their likes. The fun part was while you knew who you were sending a package to, you didn't know who was sending you one - good times all around! The person I was sending to was Brioni of FlossyBlossy, we have very similar likes when it comes to fabric and so it was pretty easy to make choices for her. For the most part, the people who participate in these swaps also like to send along some extra goodies whether they be handmade, bought, or supplies. I sent along a little mini quilt as well as an assortment of buttons with my hexagons, would you like to see?

The 25 1" hexagons are a mix of Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy (oh yes, I finally cut into it), Heather Bailey Freshcut, Amy Butler Daisy Chain (in the pinks), and a few other random one offs from such designers as Tina Givens, Joel Dewberry, Tanya Whelan, and Fig Tree & Co. I hand quilted the mini quilt using perle cotton and included even more Freshcut hexies (which I have since found out is Brioni's favourite fabric line ever).

Here's the back of the mini quilt:

The backing fabric is Tina Givens' Silhouette Polka in Pink, and I made a little hexagon tag too, here's a close-up:

I just found out that Brioni received her package this morning and I'm happy to report that she loves everything I included and is thinking of using the hexagons to embellish a travel sewing bag.

I also received my package yesterday, and my partner was Kate of One Flew Over! Here's what I found inside:

Yes, that is some Flea Market Fancy in the front, and it just so happens to be one of the prints that I don't have! Wrapped up with it is some Heather Ross tennis players, yay! Inside that lovely little package were my hexagons and here they are:

All of the hexagons are Liberty of London, and Kate also sent along some extra hexagon templates and Liberty of London cuts so that I can make more! Thanks Kate, you rock!

On Monday night, while Alex was at Frisbee, I got a little bored and decided to make myself a dress! This is the first dress I've ever made and might actually be the first piece of clothing I've ever made too! I had spent Monday afternoon clearing out clothes to send to the thrift store and found a couple of tank tops that had holes around the bottom seams from rubbing against my pants and from me pulling them down; I decided to re-purpose them and used the tutorial found here.

The top is an old black tank top, and the bottom is some fabric from Ikea. Oh, and check out my shoes - I just bought them and am in love! The dress is a tad poofy right now, probably because I spray starched the fabric when I ironed it, I'm hoping it'll calm down a little when I wash it - right now it sticks out like a bell all around me, hehe!

Okay, so I want to wish everyone an early Happy Canada Day and an early Happy Independence Day! Alex and I are flying to Moncton, New Brunswick tomorrow for his brother's wedding and won't be back until Sunday. Hope you all have a lovely weekend and some good time off with family and friends, I'll be back with more quilty goodness soon!

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's a Rhubarb Kinda Day - Recipes Ahead!

This has been the week of cooking and baking - it's been great fun! I love to cook and bake when I have the time, and since I finished school last week and I can't go to work this week because they shut the University down due to the G20, I've had lots of time! I really wish I had more time for baking during the school year (I think it would be a great stress reliever) but then I wouldn't have time to sew and that would not be fun at all!

On Monday, I made a peach raspberry pie following the recipe found here, although I substituted in my own pie crust recipe and did a sugar sprinkle on the top crust instead of the egg and milk wash.

Please ignore the dreadful pic, it was taken with my Blackberry after the pie had already been hacked into - notice the saran wrap from having been in the fridge. It turned out really super yummy and is now all gone!

Yesterday I made rhubarb syrup and vegetable lasagna - there are no pictures of the vegetable lasagna and really you don't need me to pull the leftovers out of the fridge; I think one picture of a half-eaten pie should suffice! The rhubarb syrup is excellent and is basically just a simple syrup with rhubarb thrown in during the cooking stage.

So far we have mixed the rhubarb syrup with soda water for a nice fizzy, refreshing drink (please ignore the Toronto Maple Leafs glass, and yes those are my glasses, not Alex's! I should get some pretty glasses for pictures like this!), but we have plans to spoon some over ice cream and we did end up mixing it with a little vodka later on in the night (after already consuming some chardonnay with our lasagna). Would you like the recipe? Yes? Okay!

Rhubarb Syrup

1 cup rhubarb (washed and dried) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup sugar

-Put all ingredients into a saucepan and stir. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
-Once mixture has boiled, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes until the rhubarb is soft and the red colour has bled in.
-Strain liquid out using either a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Discard leftover rhubarb mash (unless you want to make my next recipe), and allow liquid to cool.
-Pour liquid into resealable airtight container. Will keep in the fridge for one to two weeks.

In the picture you see above I have actually doubled the recipe (i.e. 2 cups rhubarb, 2 1/2 cups water, 2 cups sugar) and ended up with syrup enough to fill the mason jar with a bit left over to make my first drink.

Today I made Blueberry (and a little bit of) Rhubarb Muffins - this is where the left over rhubarb mash comes in! The extra rhubarb mash can be used here, but I have been told it is also good eaten on its own or over ice cream (which I will try since I still have some left).

No word of a lie, these are probably the best muffins I have ever made! Alex is very happy since blueberry muffins are his favourite and he liked the rhubarb too - win win!

Blueberry (and a little bit of) Rhubarb Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt 
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup salted butter (if using unsalted, up the salt in the earlier mention), melted
1/4 cup rhubarb mash
1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 pint (about 2 cups) fresh blueberries

-Heat oven to 400F (making sure rack is in the middle) and line 12 muffin wells. 
-In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt being sure to break up any lumps.
-In a medium bowl mix together sugar, melted butter, rhubarb mash, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.
-Throw blueberries into flour mixture and toss to coat. Add wet mixture to the flour-blueberry mixture and stir until just mixed (there may still be some lumps, but do not overmix).
-Fill each muffin well completely (it will seem like a lot, but trust me it works) and sprinkle tops with extra sugar.
-Bake for about 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let muffins cool and enjoy!

Mmmm, yummy! Okay, I've got to get back to sewing now so let me know if you make any of these recipes and enjoy!

Monday, June 21, 2010

"The Garden Path" Revealed!

Ach! I have been remiss in posting pictures of the quilts I designed to show at Quilt Market last month, but I'm showing another now. In case you missed it, I showed the first pattern (which is now rechristened just "Euclid") in this post.

I just finished up classes for the Summer on Thursday and so you can be expecting to see me around these parts more often (gosh, I only just realized it's been over a week since my last post)! This Summer I'll be working, have a wedding to attend in just over a week, and will be quilting up a storm for some exciting projects I have coming up.

Alright, so you wanna see the quilt right? Here she is (click on the picture to get a better view)...

Her name is "The Garden Path"; she's pretty, right? With the exception of the white cotton, and the blue print (from the Paulina collection by Pat Sloan for P&B) in the border and binding, all of the prints are from the Verna collection by Kate Spain. Do I really need to say again how much I love Kate? She rocks and is super nice and sweet!

I absolutely adore the sort of "double windmill" design that comes out in this pattern. It might be a little difficult to see in this picture since the colours seem to be something a little wonky, but if you look closely you'll notice that in the centre of each set of four white "windmills" there is another squatter "windmill" done in one of the pink/red prints from the collection (geez, that one in the bottom left hand corner really sticks out, doesn't it?).

Oh wait! Would you like to see some process pics?

Here's a pic from when I was trying to decide which fabric to use for the border...

And here's a pic from when I was quilting (the first round...I figured I must have jinxed myself when I ended up having to pull the quilting out of the whole thing and so didn't take pictures the second time).

This quilt, along with Euclid, will be living with me and are actually the first two quilts that I've made that I'll actually be keeping - very exciting stuff! I don't have any pictures of it right now, but this quilt also had a pieced back (with a vertical stripe of blocks) using Verna and unbleached cotton muslin.

If there's enough interest, I may post a tutorial for making the blocks in this quilt (with all the math figured out for you and everything)! So go ahead and comment away and I'll see what I can do!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Quilt Market Report: The Goodies

Bad Blogger (me, not Google...although recently...)! I totally meant to blog all about the goodies I picked up at Market earlier in the week but then said week just got away from me! But here I am and here are some awesome goodies!

Up first, we have the awesome loot that I picked up at sample spree...

I managed to get my hands on a half-metre bundle of Heather Ross's Far Far Away II (which is a linen-cotton blend), a fat quarter bundle of Oliver + S' debut collection, City Weekend (with Moda), and 3 fat quarter bundles (one in each colourway) of Lizzy House's Castle Peeps.

I sent a piece pf each of the Heather Ross fabrics off to the lovely Heather (because I knew that if anyone would appreciate getting some of this early, she would!) - you can see the parcel I sent her here, here, here and here (you can get a good view of each print in this picture)...and you can see the first thing that she made with her fabrics here.

Next up, we have the books!

All three of these books are signed by the writers and I love them! Handmade Beginnings is absolutely sweet and I just loved meeting Anna Maria - she is beyond awesome! Sewing Bits and Pieces has soooo many great ideas for using up scraps and Sandi Henderson is just so nice! I really like Piecing the Past because it shares some lovely stories about different vintage blocks and quilts.

The tote bags - the Moda one is huge!

Here's all the awesome swag I got from Amy Butler! The tote is pretty cool and it came with two free patterns, and brochures about Amy's new collection (Soul Blossoms), her new line of wallpaper, her new line of threads, and her awesome new line of organic yarn from Rowan.

Here's some awesomness from Melissa Averinos to celebrate the launch of her book, Small Stash Sewing. Check out the unicorns - love!

Here's the last of it! To celebrate the launch of their books, all of the ladies (Anna Maria Horner, Sandi Henderson, and Melissa Averinos) who were publishing with Wiley had these awesome little notepads to give away - they're too cute and of course they'll come in handy! Along with the notepad, Anna Maria was also giving away a free copy of one of the patterns from her book (full size pattern pieces included); it's for the cute little shoes there on the cover! I also picked up a paper copy of Monica's Glow Happy quilt pattern (available online for free here) which features her debut fabric collection, Holiday Happy, for Lecien.

I also picked up a whole bunch of brochures and little leaflets etc. from people along the way, but all of this is definitely the best of the bunch! I hope you liked seeing all of these awesome goodies; I'll be back soon to show another one of my Market quilts!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Quilt Market Report: The Personal Experience

Hey all, I'm back with the my second last Spring Quilt Market report (in the next one I'll show all of the awesome goodies I picked up)! In case you missed it, in my last post I shared the first of the designs that I took with me to Market - check it out if you missed it! I decided to write this little post because I wanted to share the more personal side of what it was like to be a (young) first time Quilt Market attendee... and also, I have more pictures that I haven't been able to share with you all!

Let's start from the beginning... (I'll skip over the part where my plane was delayed) I landed in Minneapolis and found my way to the (not-so-) Super Shuttle. A bunch of other ladies got on the shuttle and it only took me about two minutes to realize that EVERY lady on the shuttle had come to Minneapolis for Market - we had quite a nice time on our little ride chatting and wondering what the weekend would bring us.

I was greeted at the hotel by the sight of Jennifer and Doe waiting for me; I jumped out of the shuttle and was immediately embraced by the two of them - let me tell you, it felt great! It was so cute, they wouldn't even let me carry my bags and I'm pretty sure the garment luggage (which has no wheels) was bigger than Doe! When I got up to the room I found presents from the two of them - Jennifer made me the pillow case which can be seen in this post, and a cute little kawaii bag (the tutorial for which can be found on her blog), and Doe gave me three new outfits for Alice Kate... there was a also a whole bunch of chocolate!

After a bit we headed out for lunch to The News Room with Stef and ended up running into Monica and Pam - the six of us all headed to giant Target together for my first experience; it was great! At about 4pm we went over the convention centre and got into line to wait for Sample Spree to open - I was the first person in line in the third line and it was awesome! Lots of people stopped by and visited with us including John and Jennifer so the four hour wait went pretty fast! I didn't get everything I wanted at Sample Spree, but it was so fun and I had a great time looking at all of the wonderful goodies that were up for sale.

That night we headed to Fabric 2.0 where I got to meet and hang out with some very cool peeps including Angela and her super-awesome mum Karen. Alright, I'm going to "re-share" a picture, but only because it's the only one I have from that night. Here, once again, are John and I, yay!

The next day (Friday) was the first official day of Market. Jennifer, Doe and I walked the entire convention centre and were very tired by the end of it, but we did meet some pretty awesome people, including Anna Maria Horner, that day. Anna Maria complimented me on my dress and I was able to tell her that Kensie (a company which Juliana apparently loves) is Canadian.

The two photos above were taken by the lovely Doe, and I'm so glad she was there being all "camera happy" because she got some great shots! I love that second picture of us both laughing/smiling at each other, but I can't for the life of me remember what we were talking about - it's all such a blur!

Oh look! A better picture of me in the Amy Butler booth (again taken by Doe) and I don't think I mentioned in the post where I was originally talking about her booth that the little purse I'm holding is from Amy's new book, Style Stitches, which will be available in October.

After a long first day at Quilt Market I'll admit I was feeling a little homesick and a little down. I left Jennifer and Doe at the convention centre and headed back to our hotel for a little alone time and so I could call Alex. Alex (of course) made me feel a bit better and so I got dressed to go to the Moda party. Jennifer and Doe decided not to accompany me, but John saved me a seat and we ended up at a table with the awesome ladies from Fat Quarter Shop and Vickie from Spun Sugar Quilts. The dinner was pretty good - we had chicken (there was a vegetarian option too), grilled zucchini, and mushroom risotto and for dessert we had sort of a deconstructed apple crumble. There was also an open bar and I'll admit that, on the recommendation of John, I did enjoy my share of sangria.

I met so many wonderful people at the Moda party and got to meet some peeps that I've talked to over the Internet but hadn't met in real life including Kate Spain and Vanessa Christenson.

(photo courtesy of Vanessa Christenson)

After some dancing with my girls Vanessa and Angela, I headed back to the hotel where Jennifer, Doe and I had a bit of a slumber party; we ordered pasta (which we ate on Jennifer's bed) and watched the first Sex & the City movie - pretty great way to end the night if I do say so myself!

The next two days were spent in a whirlwind of Market walking, picture taking, and cake eating at Lizzy House's cake party (I think Lizzy might have been the only person there younger than me)! 

 (Julie, Kari and I at Cake Party. Photo by John Adams)

On Saturday night Jennifer, John, and I decided that a trip to the Mall of America was in order but first we needed to find the infamous burger joint we had heard so much about, Ike's (which John mistakingly thought was called Art's when we had tried to find it earlier) and boy was it worth the wait! I think I had quite possibly the best burger of my life there; it was amazing (and just in case you ever find yourself with a layover in Minneapolis, there are actually two Ike's in the airport). I can't remember whether it was John or Jennifer who came up with the nickname, but eventually Jennifer and I became John's Fly Girls... so here's a picture of the Fly Girls at Ike's for you...
(photo by John Adams)

At the Mall, Jennifer and I found a shark cage and John kindly indulged us by taking pictures with each of our phones.

Gosh, I can't even remember what Jennifer and I did on the Saturday night, but I can tell you what we did on Sunday! After stopping by and saying hi to Melissa and getting in some last minute pictures of some booths I'd missed when I forgot my camera on Saturday, we headed to Crafty Planet! Crafty Planet is a wonderful little shop located in NE Minneapolis that is owned by one of the ladies behind One Yard Wonders. It is such a lovely place and I had a great time helping two girls who were picking out quilt fabric for the twins that one of them was having. Back at out hotel Jennifer and I packed, ordered pizza, and watched Miss Marple on PBS - it was such a fun relaxing night! I was up early the next morning to head to the airport and I'll admit that I teared up a little when I saw Toronto out the window of the plane; I had a great time in Minneapolis but it was so wonderful to be home! Alex was waiting for me at the airport and it was so wonderful that he could be there considering the fact that on Saturday while I was gone he ended up having to have emergency dental surgery (root canal, boo!).

Okay, so I've talked about all of the good times that me and my awesome peeps had but what I haven't mentioned yet are some of the bad/kind of heart breaking things. I'll name no names since I don't think that's cool, but there were a few people who were quite nasty to some of us younger people. I heard a few times that we "didn't belong there", that "younger people think they can just come in here and take whatever they want", etc. It was pretty disheartening to hear those things since I've always found such a nice community among other quilters, but I guess that happens everywhere. There were even personal attacks made on people because of their Internet presence (blogs, twitter, etc) and some quite slanderous gossip was circulated by some of the more ill-intentioned women.  More often than not, it became evident, that you were just ignored if the person didn't think you should be there.

Lucky for me I met quite a few lovely ladies who thought that it was wonderful that "younger people" were there, including Connie who is just an amazing lady and paid me a great compliment when she told me that my handshake reminded her of Eunice Kennedy's. What strikes me as odd about the way that those women who didn't think we should be there acted is that we are the next generation of quilters (and as such are the customers of some of these women) and at one time or another they themselves were probably us. Oh well, even with the negativity that we received from some people, there were some really great people who made up for it and all in all I had a great time!

Here's one last picture I want to share with you and I think it really speaks volumes about the end of Quilt Market. To me this statue of Mary Tyler Moore seems to be saying so long, good luck, I had a great time!