Friday, February 25, 2011

Airplanes & Babies - Oh My!

How cute is this quilt!

This pattern is one of the reasons I purchased Warm Welcome: Cozy Quilts for Baby. With my husband's love of airplanes I figured it would come in handy. When our dear friends, the F's, called to tell us they were pregnant and they had just purchased a small plane - I knew I had to make this quilt for them!

While I was back in Atlanta I spent an evening at Whipstitch, a great little fabric store in-town, looking for the perfect fabric. (I had a Groupon!) After pulling most of their inventory off the shelf I found this space themed backing - and then the rest of the fabrics jumped out at me. You can't see the back very well in the picture, but there are little rockets and space guys flying jets - awesome!

The Cozy Quilts pattern calls for the airplanes to all be the same color - but I like brights and wanted to pull from the colors on the space backing. When I went to lay out the quilt I changed the direction the planes were facing - but since all the blocks are the same size that is easy enough to do.

When I got back from Atlanta on Tuesday my husband told me that the F's would be visiting us for this weekend - and then asked if there was any way I could finish the quilt before they got here! Luckily the quilt was very simple to piece and came together in no time. My machine quilting is getting better and due to the quilts small size it went quickly.

My only hesitation is that the F's don't know the sex of their baby yet - and this quilt is very blue if it turns out to be a girl. Since they are on their way here from Colorado as I type this we are obviously going to give it to them anyway. I just hope they don't have a little girl who is always wondering why we gave her a blue quilt!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Playing Catch Up

I spent last week traveling to Atlanta for a friend's wedding shower - I had a great visit to my hometown and got to catch up with many of my friends. With all the traveling I didn't get much done on my projects, so today it was back to work.

B and I are working on the same quilt - Charming Stars from the Moda Bake Shop. I've pieced all the stars together with relative success and now just need to add the border and start quilting. You can see B's progress over on Creative Outlet.

My friend C in Atlanta asked for a quilt with reds and browns - I was initially worried that these fabrics were too peachy - but now that it is all together the reds really stand out.

On A Completely Different Note...

I love getting mail! While I was gone my quilt labels from Green Beans N' Strings arrived. They are so cute! I sewed them into the quilts I have sitting around here and now I can finally get those out in the mail.

Counting by Fives

My sister is graduating this summer - the perfect excuse to make her a little quilt for her apartment. I turned to the Moda Bake Shop for some pattern suggestions and as usual it did not disappoint.

The pattern is Counting by Fives and the fabric is Punctuation! by American Jane for Moda. I added an additional border to quilt to bring out the red. This was also my first attempt at machine free quilting. I found it hard to keep moving in circles while moving the weight of the quilt through the machine. I watched several You-Tube videos on how to do the free quilting and I think it just takes practice. The end result turned out fine - the fabric puckered perfectly after being washed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Death by Chocolate

Saturday evening I attended the Chocolate Workshop at the Central Market in Fort Worth. Gwin Grogan Grimes, owner of Artisan Bakery Company and cookbook author taught us all about working with chocolate. Then for several hours we rotated through stations making all sorts of delectable treats (and a giant mess.) Here is a peak at the treats we made in class:

Enrobing: (pictured left) the fancy professional name for "I just dipped something in chocolate." In all seriousness, I will never again just melt chocolate chips willy-nilly in the microwave and then dip things in them. The proper chocolate (meaning the right amount of cacao) and the right tempering technique make all the difference. In class we enrobed pretzels, strawberries and dried fruit. We even practiced making those fancy tuxedo strawberries... although I could clearly use more practice!

Nutty Bark: this was the easiest of the tasks - basically you take your favorite nuts and dried fruits and make a little pile and then pour on properly tempered chocolate. When your done you can break them apart for some nutty bark.

Hand -Rolled Truffles: If you have ever wondered why hand rolled truffles are expensive make a batch and then you will know why. They are time intensive. First a simple ganache needs to be made and refrigerated - once it is firm you can start rolling it out into small balls, which have to dry out before you coat them. Once they are dry you hand dip each one into chocolate and then let sit. The chocolate actually seals the ganache and keeps it moist so you have to make sure it is completely covered. Once this chocolate sets - you coat it again and add a topping. I coated my milk chocolate truffles with milk chocolate and then coated them in powered sugar, the dark chocolate truffles are coated in dark chocolate and then coated in coco powder. (I really felt staying simple was in my best interest.)

With a little holiday packaging these treats would be a perfect addition to a pretty Valentine's note.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Little Quilt

My seven year-old niece loves American Girl Dolls and the color pink. This Christmas, Santa brought her doll (Molly) a new bed. Unforutantly the bed did not have a mattress or any covers. They live up north so poor Molly has been sleeping on the metal bed without any covers.

My niece has a February birthday - the perfect excuse to use some scrap material to make a tiny doll quilt. Using the scraps from the previous pink baby quilt I was able to piece together a smaller, similar quit for Molly's bed. I'm still having some trouble with the binding - it annoys me that its not perfect - but its alright for a little doll quilt.

I still need to put together a small mattress and probably a little pillow (but that requires a trip to the fabric store and since we are iced in that won't happen today.) It just needs a quilt tag and then a cute pink bow before I send it on its way to Erie, PA!

A Baby Quilt for A Baby Girl

It's a Texas Snow Day! That means lots of time to finish up a few lingering projects.

One of Jeff's best friends from Erie just found out that his wife and he are having a baby girl in May. The quilt pattern is from Warm Welcome: Cozy Quilts for Baby. The fabrics are all from Jo-Ann Fabrics and were picked out with Bethany's help back in California.

This little quilt makes me so happy - I think its the bright colors. I'm just waiting for my quilt tags to arrive and then I can ship this little lady out!