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November 25, 2014

Have Yourself A Quilty Little Christmas

Last night, I managed to make another two blocks for Lori Holt's #haveyourselfaquiltylittlechristmas sew along.  This cute little courthouse steps block and the spools both went together quite quickly.

I also sewed the binding onto the back of one of the quilts I quilted over the weekend and have started sewing it into place this morning.  Hopefully I'll have a finish to share on Friday!!!  

What are y'all working on this week?  Come link up with Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday and  Live a Colorful Life for her Choose Your Own Block Sew Along.

November 24, 2014

Not Much Progress Last Week

My design wall hasn't changed much. Here's the pic from last week:

I did finish up two more blocks for Lori Holt's Have Yourself a Quilty Little Christmas sew along, the present and basket, and assembled the first section:

 Other than that, I spent my entire weekend doing this:

I quilted up three small quilts and the advent calendar which meant a ton of pin basting.  Man am I sore!!  Hopefully I can get them bound so I can show them to you soon.

Are y'all joining in on Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt starting Friday??  I have my fabrics set aside and ready to go.  Here's a pic of some of them:

Go take a look!  It should be a lot of fun!!

Grand Illusion

Linking up with Judy over at Patchwork Times.


November 21, 2014

Andes Mint Grinch Cookies

So I didn't get a ton of sewing done last night.  Instead, I got the first of MANY batches of cookies made.  These are called Andes Mint Grinch Cookies, or, as my kids always refer to them, simply the Grinch cookies.  I ran across this recipe last year around this time (over at Six Sister's Stuff) and they have become my most requested cookie this year.  I thought I'd share it with you.


2 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp mint extract
15-20 drops green food coloring
1 bag of Andes mints (chopped or broken apart)

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside. Unwrap the Andes Mints

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and mint extract. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients and add the green food coloring. Mix until even colored. Last fold in the chopped Andes mints.

Put in the refrigerator until the dough is cool.

Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls.  To make them more rounded when they come out, flatten the balls as you place them onto un-greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let stand on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before moving them to wire racks to cool.

That is the "official" recipe.  That being said, I bake mine at 350 for 8 minutes and they are perfect.  Hope y'all enjoy them!  I give tins of cookies as gifts to extended family and let the kids take them to school for teachers and their friends.  I usually start at the beginning of November.  However, since it is just Cassidy and I this year, I thought I may be able to delay that a bit.  But I'll be sharing cookie recipes with you for a while.  I'm hoping they can add a bit of variety and deliciousness to your holiday season!

After I finished up that batch of Grinch cookies, I sat down and got started on my next block for Lori Holt's Have Yourself a Quilty Little Christmas sew along.  I got this ornament block done...

I love that little piece of crochet trim!  Next up is a basket and I got it cut last night so it should get finished up tonight.  What have y'all been working on?  Can't wait to see!


November 20, 2014

Starlets Done!

I finally got back to my machine last night. I really hope this isn't a portent of weeks to come where I only get to sew a few times a week! I need my sewing time to stay sane, especially during the holidays!!!    But I did manage to get these little guys finished.

They are the starlets for the Zodiac Stars quilt.  You may remember their big brother, Sagittarius.

This quilt is for my niece's graduation.  There are (of course) twelve of the large blocks, one for each sign in the zodiac.  The small stars will have either two or three and I'm making them to match the larger stars.  I need 32 small stars so I'm trying to divide it out as best I can.  My niece is a huge Doctor Who fan (as am I) and so I'm going to throw in a few of my favorite Doctor Who things as well.  I'm saving those for last though as a kind of incentive to get through the rest of the blocks.  I estimate that this large zodiac block took me about 10 hours to complete.  Each of the quadrants had 5 sections to it, so a total of 20 paper segments for the one block.

Hopefully tonight I'll be able to catch up on my Christmas quilt.  Was working on the ornament block last night but I need to get some trim, which I'm hoping to do on the way home tonight.

What are y'all working on??

Linking up with My Quilt Infatuation.

November 19, 2014

What I'm Reading - The Bookmaker

I just finished reading a book called, "The Bookmaker" last night.  It has left me thinking quite a bit which, to me, is a sign of a good book.

Before I get into my thoughts on the book, I want to give you what Amazon says:

You were right to be suspicious…
It wasn’t Oswald in the book depository. It wasn’t Sirhan Sirhan in the Ambassador kitchen. It wasn’t a massive conspiracy or government cover-up. It was one man with one agenda. For small-time Huntington Beach bookmaker and wanna-be writer Trent Oster, it all started with a chance to collect a debt. Instead he’s offered an opportunity of a lifetime. Days later he finds himself on a sprawling southern estate in Oxford Mississippi, balancing the roles of houseguest and biographer for town legend Preston Walker—the man responsible for the most controversial murders in American history; and he’s finally ready to talk. 

Anything that has to do with the Kennedy assassination always catches my attention.  This promised to be an interesting look at that, another take on what "might" have happened.  So I snatched it up.

Let me start by saying that this book deals with a lot of moral issues.  You have our hero who is a bookmaker and goes into detail on the sports booking world.  His roommate and best friend sells pot.  And then you have our antagonist, Preston Walker, who claims to be a serial killer.  I was almost put off on the book when I ran into the first two; the last thing I wanted to do was read a book about a couple of guys who make their living outside of the law.  But the promised plot had me pushing on and I'm pretty glad I did.

I don't want to give much away, however, the entire book, from the first to the last page, is all about moral issues and how you would handle them.  If you're okay with sports betting and pot, how many laws would you be willing to overlook?  Is murder okay if there was a good reason behind it?  Would you overlook a murder to keep your happiness, to maintain the status quo? 

I finished this book late last night and have been thinking about it ever since.  The Bookmaker is really a good book.  You have to be ready to deal with issues that most of us aren't comfortable with, however, the glimpses into the history of the Kennedy family and the overall theme of the book make it worthwhile to me.  If you decide to give it a try, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

November 18, 2014

Our First Leader/Ender Linky Party!

Welcome to our first leader/ender linky party!! We'll be doing this one a month on the third Tuesday as a way see different leader/ender projects for inspiration, as well as giving us a glimpse of how much progress we're making (as with leaders/enders you can lose sight of that!).

You may remember that I sketched out a design for my new leader/ender project.

 I'm making the 36-patches out of my 1-1/2" squares/strips and the pinwheels are out of my 3-1/2" strips.  I'm trying to keep it in a controlled palette.  Here's my progress so far:

 I can't wait to see what everyone is working on!!!  Grab a button and come join the fun!

A Quilting Chick



November 17, 2014

Design Wall ADD Continued

Yes my friends, my design wall ADD continues (if not worsens!).  Here's a pic of what's on my wall right now.

This weekend, I worked on all sorts of things.  First up, I finished up a couple of blocks on my Austen Family Album block of the week.  Here's King's Crown...

And Home Comfort...

I also made these blocks for Lori Holt's Have Yourself a Quilty Little Christmas sew along.  We have the twinkly Christmas star, a string of vintage lights (string to be added later), a candle, and we added a peppermint stick to the cup of cocoa...

And I finished up the Sagittarius block for my zodiac stars quilt...
And after that very intricate, paper-pieced block, I wanted a bit of mindless, easy sewing.  So I pulled out this advent calendar and got it put together and ready for quilting...

That's it!  Hopefully will finish up the purple starlets for the zodiac star quilt tonight as well as the ornament block Lori put out yesterday for the Christmas quilt.  Go see what everyone else is working on over at Patchwork Times.

And!  Don't forget to stop back by tomorrow for our first leader/ender linky party where everyone can share what they are working on for their current leader/ender project!

A Quilting Chick

Sunday Stash - My Oliso Came In!

I actually have stuff to share for Sunday Stash this week.  First up...my Oliso!!!  It came in this week and I have had so much fun with it.

 I've wanted one for a long time and when Massdrop had it last month and the price was $106.99 I jumped on it.  Let me tell you, I love this iron!  I did have a bit of fun with it.  I was sitting at my machine sewing and my daughter was over next to my pressing area.  I asked her to touch the iron for me, you know, to get it hot so I could press when I was done.  She thought I was nuts but reached over and touched it.  Well, the iron moved, of course.  Cassidy shrieked, jumped, then yelled at me, "It moved!  You did that on purpose!"  I just busted out laughing.

I also picked up a bit of fabric.  I fell in love with these cute bikes by Timeless Treasures.

Bikes must have been the theme of the day because I also snatched these up.  The pastels are from Fancy Free by Riley Blake.  Not sure about the other as my fat quarter doesn't have a selvedge (sorry!).

I also love these low volume prints.  The dress forms are from Vintage Couturier by Robert Kaufman.  Not sure about the other two.
And that's it for me this week!  Don't forget about our new leader/ender linky party starting on Turesday, right here.  Grab a button and join us!!

A Quilting Chick

Go check out what everyone picked up this week over at Molli Sparkles!

Molli Sparkles

November 14, 2014

This Week's Progress...Gingerbread Man

I finished up the irons on Tuesday and then on Wednesday, dove right back into the #haveyourselfaquiltylittlechristmas quilt along being hosted by Lori Holt on Instagram.  She added in this sweet little gingerbread man.


Isn't he adorable??  For those of you that may want to join in, three of the blocks so far have come from Lori's book,  Quilty Fun: Lessons in Scrappy Patchwork.  I just recently got my copy, and just a few weeks later this quilt along started and it was like, "fate"!!! 

Here are my blocks together, thus far...


I just love it!  Can't wait to see where she's going with it.  I have a feeling I'll be making up more of these blocks to make the quilt more "my size" but we'll see.  Cassidy is bound and determined that I make a reindeer to go with it and I really want to add a nutcracker.  I'll let you know what I decide.

I started piecing the next zodiac block but it isn't finished yet.  Hoping to get it done tonight.  What are y'all working on this week??


November 13, 2014

What I'm Reading: Haunted Cemeteries

Do you really love a good ghost story?  I sure do, so when I stumbled across Haunted Cemeteries: Creepy Crypts, Spine-Tingling Spirits, and Midnight Mayhem I grabbed it up.

The author breaks down the chapters by cemetery, giving a bit of history about the cemetery or region, then telling a ghost story related to it.  It was really interesting reading.

Here's what Amazon has to say about it:

Haunted Cemeteries exhumes more than two dozen stories of some of the most actively haunted graveyards from around the world—including the sordid account of a Florida grave robber, accusations of witchcraft and voodoo, and reports of a vampire or two.  Tom Ogden, author of four other books in the Haunted series, also includes a “Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Graveyards” providing information for readers who wish to visit the haunted cemeteries and other sites . . . if they dare.

If you enjoy a bit of history thrown into a good ghost story, this book is for you.  I always love finding out about different "haunted" locations and love the possibility of visiting them so I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I hope you do too!


Scraptastic Tuesday (a little late) - Leader/Ender Challenge

A few weeks ago, I finished up my leader/ender project for the last year or so. It's a split nine-patch and I absolutely love it!!  Here's a pic of the finished top.  (Nelson says Hi!!)

I love it!!  It is huge, finishing at about 90 x 96.  I really want to back it in a lightweight denim and use it as a picnic quilt.  

But.....that meant I needed another leader/ender project.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of leaders/enders,  I'll try to explain.  When you sew, and you come to the end of what you're working on, you have to stop the sewing, pull the project out, and cut the threads.  When you use a leader/ender, you keep a stack of fabric next to the machine.  When you come to the end of what you are sewing, instead of pulling the project out and cutting the threads, you follow through your project with a couple of the pieces you've kept next to the machine to "end" the chain piecing, leaving the "ender" under the needle, then trim the threads between the main project and the "ender."  The "ender" becomes the "leader" when you come back to the machine to start working on your project again.  This is a slow process, however, after some time, you've got a "free" quilt made completely out of your leader/enders.

I sat down and started playing with a design idea.  I love pinwheels, but I also have an overflowing box of 1-1/2" pieces/strips.  So this is what I came up with...

I love it.  I'm calling it patches and pinwheels.  It's very basic.  The "patches" are made out of 1-1/2" squares and the "pinwheels" are made using my 3-1/2" strips.  I want it to be a controlled palette so I'm going to use blues/greens/yellows with my neutrals.  Here is the first set of blocks...
I'm really enjoying this process for my leaders/enders.  I'm laying out one set at a time and making quite a bit of progress so far.  The pinwheels block is cut using the EZ Quilting Easy Angle Ruler Sharon Hultgren 6.5 Inch.  I love this tool because it's easy to know what size strip to start with.  I needed my HST's to be 3-1/2" so I know I start with 3-1/2" strips.  For those of you unfamiliar with this tool, I thought I'd share a quick picture tutorial.

First, you take your two strips (in my case a neutral and a blue) and place them on your cutting mat, right sides together.

I even out the edge...

Next, you take your easy angle ruler and line up the edge of the fabric with the marking on the ruler for the size of strip/HST's you're using, in this case, 3-1/2".
Then you cut along the edge of the ruler.  As you can see, the tail is already cut off so there is no fabric waste.  

Then you flip the ruler over, and line it up again.  As you can see, we are still using the 3-1/2" line, but at the bottom, we're lining up the edge of the black triangle with the bottom edge of the fabric.  Then we cut again.

It's a very simple tool to use and makes working with scraps so easy.

Now you may have noticed that I called this post a leader/ender challenge.  So let's get to the challenge part.  I would love to get more people taking advantage of leaders/enders.  I think they are such a great tool and a fun way to use up scraps.  So I'm thinking that a monthly linky party would be fun.  We'll start next Tuesday and do the third Tuesday of the month.  If you don't have a current leader/ender, you are welcome to use the same one I'm doing. 

A Quilting Chick

So grab a button and play along!  It will be so much fun to see what everyone else is working on!!

Linking up with She Can Quilt.