Saturday, July 28, 2012

Union Jack Block (with edit)

Last night I watched the opening ceremony of the Olympic games and decided I had to make me a Union Jack block.  I had seen many tutorials on blogs so I thought it would be easy to find those tutorials again and make me a block.  After 30 minutes of searching the blogs I finally found a tutorial that made sense and was simple to follow.  I didn't want to make the traditional flag so I chose my colors and fabrics so it would not have a traditional flag appearance or would be considered a part of any country.  I wanted a "neutral" modern look to this block.  Since the tutorial had three different fabrics plus the white, I also went with three fabrics.  Here is my block:

In making this block, sewing the white strips to the fabric takes the longest time, but that could also have been because I cut two strips of each color and 8 of the white strips (which is what I thought the directions said to do) Now, since it only took one strip of each of the stripe colors, I have two strips left and I am going to make another block or two.  I think I will change up the background color a little or maybe make one exactly like this and then make two blocks different from this and set them in an AB/BA pattern.  Who knows what will come out of it.  I am also working on my 16 patch quilt that needed a few more sashing strips.  After sewing the star points onto the strips last night I started sashing the remaining blocks I have and they are a bit off.  I am not sure what I have done wrong, but I am totally frustrated with this quilt and can't wait to finish it off so I can donate it to our Hope house. 

(they have asked for quilt donations and I really was excited about making some quilts for them until one of the directors said they would be giving them away to anyone that wanted to take one.  I thought we would be giving them quilts to be used in the house.  It makes it really hard to donate a quilt when the people you donate to really don't value them the way you think they should be valued and just haphazardly give them to anyone.  Makes me wonder why I should make a $200 or more quilt for them to just throw away like that and then expect me to make them another one.  Some people just don't understand the time and energy, much less the money that goes into making a homemade quilt.  I may have to go to a thrift shop or Wal-mart and buy them a quilt or two.  It will be cheaper and then I don't care if they just give it away.  They will be happy to get some quilts and I will be happy that my creation isn't just thrown away)

Sorry about the rant.  Just stating my opinion and my opinion only. 

for those of you wanting to know where I got my tutorial - here it is:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Words to Ponder

Back in January, the crew over a Modern 8 Create had a challenge to come up with their word for the year.  I always have great intentions to challenge myself and do their projects, but I have yet to complete on of their challenges.  However, I still want to do this one.  (and I will finish the April Challenge since it just needs borders and quilting)  So, my thinking is that I could have a word for this upcoming school year.  The problem is, I can't think of or decide on the right word.  You know the feeling when you hear the word and it just feels right?  Well, I haven't had that feeling yet.  Of course as a teacher I want there to be "LEARNING" (Nope, doesn't feel right) and in my class there will always be something "COOKING" or "STEWING"  hopefully nothing will be "BURNING"  ha ha!!  I don't think I want an "ing" word at all even though it is an "ing" type of classroom.  Maybe I don't want a "classroom" word, but a life word, hmmm.  Maybe a word for thought.  Looking at the words that were chosen by the 8 women:  "TRUST", "FINISH", "TRY".  The only one that sorta fits is "try", but it's just not right.  My favorite one that would be totally appropriate for this situation is Glen's word:  "ALBONDIGAS".  It's a Spanish word for meatballs!  So, maybe my word could just be a random word that can be shouted when things don't go our way or something burns or is just not right!!  Let me know what you think and send me some words to ponder . . .

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thunder, Bangs and Sleep

It's that time of year again for Thunder in the Desert.  It's not what you would think.  We aren't getting major thunder and rain storms - which we would welcome just as much - however, drum corp international is here this weekend for another showing.  Do you know how I know it's that time of year again?  They are rehearsing and staying at the junior high and elementary schools surrounding my home.  (one a couple blocks to the north and one a block to the west)  I can hear them practice over and over and it's not helping my headache at all!!

I have been crashing out since I got back home from teaching a class in Andrews.  The class was awesome and I think the ladies really enjoyed it.  I taught my funky stars quilt and threw in a couple of other things, also.  Anyway, about 7 that night I was nodding off watching television so I made myself get up and go to bed!  That is how tired I was!!  SEVEN O'CLOCK!!!!!  I slept until about 11:30, played on the computer for a bit and went back to sleep until 11.  Needless to say, I have slept a lot in the last couple of days.  My body really took me at my word that it could crash after Saturdays class and it did!!  I have been trying to fight off a sinus infection for over a week now and it may just now be clearing up after all the sleeping I have done (and taking NyQuil) for the past couple of days.  Now I am ready to sew.  I have a couple of quilts on the wall that need just a bit more to finish up.  Once the tops are done I will photograph and post them.  So, here is the list of quilty things to work on in the next couple of days:

1.  Olive garden quilt - add a couple of borders
2.  16 patch quilt - finish sashings for last row and add borders
3.  Blogger's BOM - make blocks 10 and 11 (due out tomorrow)
4.  catch up and make all the blocks with the color challenge from 15 minutes play
5.  decide on a layout for the color challenge blocks.

Now the squirrels are adding to the banging and noise by throwing down the green pine cones from the tree next door onto my porch roof which in turn causes McCallum to bark like someone is attacking the house.  Which, if you think about it, is what the little squirrels are doing with their pine cone bombs. 

Taking some Tylenol and moving on to the sewing room to block out all the excess noise with the sounds of sewing and a movie. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Business Cards

I used to teach Coop or Career Preparation and I was out in the community checking on my students that were working and always had a business card to hand out or to introduce myself.  I did this for about 8 years.  Whenever I would make a change in classrooms or course titles I would change up my business card and really enjoyed making the changes in style from time to time.  I think I had three or four different cards in those 8 years.   I wish I had kept at least one of each of them, but didn't want to keep old information around  so when it was time for a change, I would tear up or shred the old cards and move on.  When I started teaching Culinary Arts two years ago, I knew I needed business cards for this new venture in my life.  I would go to meetings or meet someone new and they would say, "do you have a card?"  and I would have to say, "No, sorry, I don't."  They would hand me one of theirs and look at me pitying the poor teacher that didn't have a card to hand out.  I would leave that encounter embarrassed and depressed that I hadn't gotten around to making new cards for myself.  WELL, NO LONGER!!!!

I just got my cards in from VistaPrint.  If you haven't used them before, give it a try.  I have gotten business cards from them for the last 10 years!!  They are wonderful quality and I really enjoy being able to get on there and arrange my cards just the way I want!  Also, they are really, really reasonably priced considering I paid almost $70 for my first set of cards from a local shop and I paid $10 for 250/one side printed cards and $22.50 for 500/two side printed cards.  Below are my new cards for Culinary Arts.  The front has my name and all my information and the back, has the name of our student run restaurant.  I just love these!!  The colors are the same as the walls in our restaurant.  A perfect match.  I can't wait to start handing these out to everyone.  I may even have to mail some to friends I made at Culinary Educators school a couple of weeks ago.  I want to be like Maxwell,the pig, and yell, "Whee, Whee, Whee" out the window.  : )

 While I was ordering cards for me at school, I decided I needed cards for my life as a quilter, teacher and designer.  I needed contact cards for students in my classes to have that included my blog address - I know it's weird and long, but it really fits my life.  So, I ordered some cards for me.  I saw the pink background and knew right away that this is what I wanted my cards to be.  I debated about using the fun font on my name, but when I would put it back to the original font, I couldn't do it.  I needed my name to be in a totally different font and to stand out.  I put a slight rush on the the printing so these cards would be here for next weekend when I teach a class for the Andrews quilt guild.  I now have professional cards to pass out to everyone in my class.  Just what I wanted!! 

P.S. This is not an advertisement for VistaPrint.  They have no idea who I am, I just love their products and can totally recommend using them the next time you need business cards, postcards, etc.  Check them out

Monday, July 9, 2012


Have you seen this yet?  I just saw it on Alissa's site:  Handmade by Alissa.  I WANT TO GO!!!!  The good thing is it's in Texas so not too far (only 5 or 6 hours away) and I have already looked at the class selections and have made my choices.  Of course, I can't register until August 30th, but I still know what I want to take.  Now, I just have to suck it up the next two weeks of summer league and earn that money so I can go have some fun come February!

Screen shot 2012-07-09 at 9.29.08 AM

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Things I Love - in my Kitchen

I know I haven't been blogging in awhile.  I have already been yelled at by my mom.  (not really yelled, but she did ask what I was doing since I was NOT blogging! ) This Summer League Volleyball just turns my days upside down.  I am thinking that this might just have to be my last year to do this.  It lasts for 6 weeks, the pay is good and the job is easy, but I become extremely lazy when I am not working. 

So, to give my mom, and the rest of you, something to read I have come up with some of the things I love.  They are not in any particular order so number one is not my most favorite thing, etc.  Just a few items for this first "things I love" posting. 

1.  Fiesta Bakeware

A couple of years ago, I was looking in my cabinet at my choices for an  8 X 8 inch pan.  I realized that my pans were in bad shape and the best one I had was one I inherited from my grandmother's kitchen that had a pin hole in the bottom.  It had that pin hole in it when it was in her kitchen so I wasn't afraid to use it or anything, I just had to be careful that the batter wasn't too thin and might leak out.  I started looking around at my bakeware and realized my choices were limited and not in the best condition.  So I decided to splurge on some Fiestaware and purchase an 8 inch square pan (in tangerine)

and a 9 X 13 pan (in turquoise)


(pictures taken from dinnerwareusa)

I had been wanting to get one of these for awhile, but just didn't want to spend the money.  (about $40-$60 dollars, depending on where you purchase your dishwares)  I highly recommend these pans.  Not only do they do a great job of cooking evenly, but clean up is a breeze!  I made a blackberry dump cake in my 9 X 13 pan on Wednesday.   I cleaned out the pan today thinking I would just put it in the sink to soak for a bit since that blackberry pie filling is uber sticky, but I didn't have to do that.  I just ran some water (wasn't even hot) and lightly brushed at the blackberry and voila!  it was all cleaned in less than a minute!  This is a totally awesome bakeware and worth every little extra penny.  So, save up and get you some.

2.  Bubble and Brown

Here is another stoneware that I just happened to run across and since it was on clearance at QVC, I thought I would order it and try it.  One good thing about QVC is that if you don't like it, you can return it.  Not that I have ever had to return anything.  I have liked everything I have gotten from there.  Anyway, we all love Rachel for her made up words (Yum-O and Sammies) and bubbly personality, but now you can love her for her bubble and brown cookware.  I purchased her bakeware set of an oval covered baker (picture taken from Amazon), an oval open baker and 4 gratin bakers in green (wished they had this purple then and I would have gotten it!!)  I was worried about things coming out the sides of the handles, but the pan is deep enough that you don't have to worry about that and the handles really help get things in and out of the oven.  (or fridge)

Product Details

I baked a roast in mine on Wednesday with some potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic.  Clean up, just like on the Fiestaware, was a breeze.  Just run a little water, swipe it with the scrub brush and done!  Ready for the dishwasher.  I love the fact that these first two items can go in the oven, fridge, freezer, microwave and they are all dishwasher safe!!  You can find these products at QVC, Amazon and even at Target.  Just google it, there might be a store near you - but I really like when it comes to my front door : )

3.  Pampered Chef Stoneware

I love Pampered Chef products.  I even sold these several years ago, but didn't like having to schedule the shows or feeling like I had to get in a certain amount of shows each month.  I just wanted to sell the products because I truly believe in the quality you are getting when you purchase a pampered chef product.   Needless to say, I have a LOT of items in my kitchen that are pampered chef.  None get used as much as my stoneware.  Yes, you read that right.  I have more than one piece of stoneware.  My pizza stone gets used the most, but I also like my small bar pan for re-heating leftover items that might get lost on that large of a pan or for making one or two chocolate cookies from store bought cookie dough.  

 Now, you are asking why didn't I get the rectangular baker and the square baker instead of the Fiestaware and that is a good question.  I could have gotten those, but when  you really use and season your stoneware, it turns brown and is not as pretty to look at as my Fiestaware.  And besides,  I just don't like the cranberry color they now have on the outside.  I have a couple of older pieces that have white or blue on the outside, but they are smaller bakeware. (I love them, also!!)  So, what do I recommend in the stoneware?  If you can only afford one piece, get the round stone.  Mine is old and doesn't have those handles on it, so if you don't like the look of the handles, get the rectangle stone.  (I have that one, also)  If you really like to cook and can afford it, I can highly recommend:  the muffin stone, the fluted pan, the mini loaf pan and if you make pies or quiche, the pie plate.(mine is blue) I use my muffin stone all the time for making my pumpkin muffns. 

One thing you need to remember about these pans - DO NOT EVER wash them with soap.  These are a natural product and they will just absorb the soap and your food will end up tasting like your soap. I just use hot water and the plastic scrubber it comes with to wash it off.  The more you use it, the more it seasons and the darker it turns.  The darker it turns, the better it is.  -Sorry, couldn't get a picture to post.  Click on the title and it will take you to the site. 

4.  Kuhn Rikon Can Opener

Once again, thanks to QVC I have a can opener that I love.  These were also clearance priced so I grabbed up a couple and I am really glad that I did.  I keep one of these in my desk drawer at school and it has come in handy when we need to open those smaller cans or when someone needs to borrow an opener. 

Auto Safety Master OpenerThese are the Auto Safety Master Openers.  I borrowed the picture from the Kuhn Rikon website.  Mine is in turquoise and I also have one in the lime green.   As you can see, it will open almost any bottle or can.  I have taken it up to summer league this past week because we were having such a hard time using the can opener up there and after breaking a pair of scissors (don't ask) I brought up my handy dandy Kuhn and everyone has loved it and asked where to get one.  I have linked to their website, but if you google, you might be able to find it in the states.  I am not sure if QVC has them in stock now or not.  These open the can from the side (like the pampered chef one - yes, I have a pampered chef one at my house, but this one does more)

5.  Keurig Coffee Machine

Keurig® Elite Brewing System

I love my coffee maker!!  I have this exact same Keurig Elite machine (picture taken from Keurig website).  Did I say I loved it?  I do, I really do.  Whenever I want a cup of coffee or hot chocolate or even a fresh brewed glass of iced tea - yes, it does that, too - I can have one in just a minute!  I can have a cup of Gingerbread and then a cup of Golden French Toast.  I love being able to try all the different flavors or just being able to use my own coffee (that I get at Eggemeyer's in San Angelo) in a special K-cup container.  It is perfect for me since I may only want one cup in the morning.  I don't have to dump and clean the coffee pot out and no coffee is wasted.  I got mine after seeing my sister use just the hot water to make instant oatmeal for one of the boys.  They could even do it themselves, if they were old enough or awake enough.   It  was one of those - "no, I am not getting one of those, we have one at school" - items that I had a complete change of heart about and now, I don't think I can do without it.  I even take my k-cups up to school and use the one up there for a morning pick me up coffee in my own flavor.  I might have to break down and purchase another one for my classroom so I don't have to go all the way to the break room.  Maybe a mini one in red?  Cute, isn't it? 


Well, that is it for now.  Hope you enjoyed these 5 items I love from my kitchen.  I am not a sales person and these companies do not know me or have anything to do with me.  I just wanted to share with you some of my favorite things.  Okay, do you find it weird that spell check clicked on sammies, but not on Yum-o?  Oh, well, until next time. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July Stocking Swap

We are halfway through our Stocking Swap for 2012 and you only have 4 more things to make.  This months project is a stocking.  You can make this any way you want.  You could purchase a pre-printed stocking and quilt it up, you can create your own or you can even purchase a pre-made stocking.  Whatever your heart desires.  Here is a link on Moda Bakeshop for one stocking pattern.   There is no need to make an oversized stocking that will hold every item we are making this year.  Just make a regular sized stocking.  Like I said once before, my bicycle never fit in my stocking, so not all of our gifts will fit, either.  I have made a couple of stockings over the years, but don't have pictures of them to post.  Bummer.  Of course, the stockings I made were made long before we started blogging and taking pictures of everything.  Even before digital cameras!!  I do know that I used either a Thimbleberries or Debbie Mumm pattern from one of their earlier books.  I found this wonderful snowman stocking on clearance at Tuesday Morning and want to make a couple of these in modern fabrics. 

This one is made of wool.  Sorry it's all wrinkled and laying over a stack of  finished projects, but you get the idea of the size, shape and character of the snowman(snowlady?).  I can't wait to get started on this project this month!  Hope all of you are finishing up your previous swap projects and getting ready for the downhill slide into December. 

We only have the following items to make:
August - ornament, September - journal cover and pen, October - potholder
And then November and December we add in a book, some candy and nuts and we are ready to ship off our packages!! 

The only item I have to go back and re-make are the matching pillow cases.  I gave away the ones I made for the swap and now I have to make some more.  I will make several pillow cases since I really enjoy giving them for gifts and I don't have any in my gift closet ready to give.  I love sleeping on my made pillow cases so much more than on the store bought ones. 

Now that I have the month of July with virtually nothing on my list except three more weeks of volleyball and a couple of quilt classes, I can sit and sew most mornings cranking out some items for this swap and Christmas gifting.