Friday, April 29, 2011

Clamshell Update

I've picked it up again!

Thanks to a few questions from Jan at the latest Prairie Quilt Guild meeting about my clamshell progress, I've started hand piecing it again. The middle diamond block is my latest finish which makes it block #10. I was sure it was block #11 but after a fruitless search in my sewing room for an errant block, I've decided that was wishful thinking!

Here are all the blocks I've finished so far on my design wall. Ten blocks finished, only 8 more full blocks, 10 half blocks and 4 quarter blocks to go. After that there's a narrow sashing to hand stitch between the blocks and finally borders to add.

In other words, this is a long term project. As I see it, I have two choices. Either I can decide to make it a wall hanging instead of a queen size quilt or I can persevere but I may have to take it to the nursing home when I move there! Just kidding, I hope to have it done much sooner.

Other news: I have finished the wolf! He is generating a little bit of a love/hate relationship with everyone who sees him. I'm afraid the sentiment is running to the "spooky" side. Pictures coming soon!

Monday, April 18, 2011

No such thing as just one bunny!

These paper mache Easter bunnies have seen a little wear and tear but I wanted to show them to you because they hold so many happy memories for me!

This is an Easter tradition my family had when I was growing up and even on into our adult years. After the traditional ham dinner and waiting for our moms to do some initial dinner clean up, we cousins were cautioned to stay away from the windows and not to peek while our grandparents and perhaps some of the aunts hid our Easter bunnies. Instead of looking for Easter eggs, we roamed the farm searching for the bunny with our name on it. Each held candy in the basket on their backs and hollow bodies.

There were always one or two of us cousins who couldn't find theirs but after some cryptic hints, we were all happily eating our Easter candy. Then came the fun part for us kids, we got to hide our grandparents' bunnies! Some years we made it easy but other years it was a challenge.

This tradition repeated itself at my parents' house. One year I remember hiding my dad's Easter bunny on top of the basketball goal which took him a really long time to find. The silo, of course, was off limits but that would have been a really good hiding place!

Do you see the silver box in the wheelbarrow? A few nights ago, I went to our church's Ladies' Late Night meeting and this is the craft we made. I'm used to working with fabric so folding my own paper box was new for me. Inside are some tiny cards and envelopes we also made. The silver box represents the words we say to each other and our families - hopefully an encouraging gift!

I'm always looking for new recipes for delicious desserts and snacks so here's what I took as a snack for the Ladies' meeting - Chocolate Dipped Brownies.

Chocolate Dipped Brownies

Bake your favorite recipe of brownies and allow to cool completely.

In fact, it might be better to bake them a day ahead of time.

After they are completely cooled, cut them into small cubes and place them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Mine were about one inch square. Freeze for approximately one hour. This is to help the brownie cubes keep its shape and also to minimize crumbs.

Melt chocolate dipping candy using whichever technique you prefer - stovetop or microwave. Using two plastic forks with the middle tines broken out, dip each frozen brownie cube into the melted chocolate completely coating it. Try to shake off any excess chocolate. Place chocolate dipped brownie cubes back on the wax paper lined cookie sheet to dry.

Decorate tops with candies, nuts, chocolate chips, coffee beans or whatever you'd like. You could also swirl melted white chocolate on the top to dress up the brownie cubes even more!

These were really good!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Is it really "finished"?!?

That's what I'm asking myself. Am I sure its really "done"???

It seems like so long ago when I started with this stack of scrap fabrics. I believe it was only back in December but it seems like much, much longer.

This was the beginning of my version of Bonnie Hunter's 2010 mystery quilt, Roll, Roll Cotton Boll! (AKA Peppermint Hot Fudge Brownie Delight and today I feel like I really need one of those even though its chilly out!)

I sure went through a lot of learning experiences working on this quilt. Let's just say that my new seam ripper got a good work out. I remember nearly giving up when I found out shortly before Christmas that the quilt needed 600 HSTs! When I finally had it all pieced together, I didn't think it was big enough for our bed so I added another narrow green border and a brown border too. I was concerned there'd be some shrinkage because of the machine quilting but I don't think it would have been a problem.
Here's the quilt on our extra bed. My bed has a taller mattress so the quilt won't seem quite so large on it. So ... I thought my version of Bonnie Hunter's RRCB was finished. I even made a quilt label for it and hand stitched it on. I should have known that it couldn't have really been over. Unfortunately, the quilt had to go back to the machine quilter for some touch ups. These were done quite quickly and now ...

I'm happy (very) to say that RRCB/AKA Peppermint Hot Fudge Browne Delight is done, done and done! Time to move on to some of my Works In Progress of which there are many.