Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2012 - 90 Squares of a Curious Nature

Anyone who regularly visits my blog will already have seen and read all this but since Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival is going on, I'm telling the story for new visitors as part of the festival.

Amy's Creative Side

Category: Throw Quilt

This is one of two largish quilts I made this summer. In fact they are my FIRST largish solo quilts EVER!  I'm kind of new at this.

This quilt is for Uncle Reg (my mother-in-law's brother) who turned 90 this year. He's quite the inspiration with his good health, energy, humour, and attitude. He's had a really incredible life that has taken him from a modest Saskatchewan farm, through World War II as a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force (remarkably surviving several crashes), family life with three daughters, and now grandchildren. He still golfs and curls and both cheers and curses the Roughriders (our professional football team). He's also famous for his gardening expertise, roses in particular.

I won 6 one yard cuts of this fabric. It's Curious Nature designed by David Butler. When the fabric arrived I liked it so much that I bought fat quarters of the complete line. It's very masculine fabric and, for whatever reason and before I even realized it was Uncle Reg's 90th birthday this year, the fabric reminded me immediately of him. So ... good reason to make the man a lap quilt. I picked out the blue/oyster/cream/black toned fabrics from the line for this quilt. I envisioned photos on the quilt so I undertook figuring that out. It turned out to be challenging and time-sucking but, ultimately, I'm very happy with how the photos printed onto fabric. What I learned about that process is a whole blog post on its own.

Auntie Eileen volunteered to embroider the strip with the words, poppies and roses. She has a fancy embroidering machine.

I had the quilt longarm quilted by Lynette Hankewich of Ladybug Longarm Quilting. She just quilted in the ditch so as not to quilt over the photos. She did a great job considering "stitching in the ditch" is not so easy on a longarm quilting machine. Perhaps I could have quilted this by myself on my little Pfaff Tipmatic but I've never machine quilted before and I didn't want to start on this particular quilt.

I pieced the back of the quilt using what was left of the six 1 yard cuts that I won.

I used all the fabric scraps pieced together for the binding and I included a strip of red fabric with fleur de lis on it for a touch of red. I do like a touch of red. And this is Canada after all, so a nod to the French is always in order for we English Canadians.

The above photo (the one on the park bench) shows the colours in the quilt more realistically than in the other photos, which make the quilt look overall more "blueish" than it really is.

I was very lucky to have Sean stop by to hold the quilt up for me. Sean's Mom is a quilter, too. He and his brothers and his Dad are all closer to 7 feet tall so they are every quilter's "best friends". Prior to that I tried to take photos of it all by myself at various places at the University of Saskatchewan campus.

Quilt Stats:

Name: "90 Squares of a Curious Nature"
Size: 54" x 69"
Fabric: Curious Nature by Parson Gray (David Butler), one charm square in the middle of the quilt that has various synonyms for "home" on it and is from Sweetwater's Hometown fabric line, and Kona Pepper for sashing and borders.
Inspiration Quilt: Chrysalis by Heather D at the "Crafting ... Blog"
Longarm Quilting: Lynnette of Ladybug Longarm Quilting in Saskatoon
Particulars: The quilt has 90 squares representing 90 years. Photos were printed using an Epson laserjet printer and Epson ink and I used cotton inkjet sheets from Electric Quilt Company available at Periwinkle Quilt Shop in Saskatoon and PeachTree Quilt Shop in Regina.
Best Category: Throw Quilt

I didn't use a pattern but, after looking at the "inspiration quilt" and knowing charm packs were used to make it, I used 5 inch squares (a good choice because I could get two 5" square photos out of one cotton photo printer sheet), and 1.5 inch strips of Kona Pepper cut to 5" and 6" lengths. The squares have black borders on 2 sides only and then you just turn every 2nd square to get this jiggy look. If it hadn't been for struggles with my first attempt at printing on fabric, this would have been a very quick and easy quilt to put together. It's worth noting that if you decide to make a similar quilt, prepare all the fabric squares first and then lay the whole thing out and figure out where you're going to put your photo squares because that will determine where you put the two sashing pieces on those. You don't want to end up with upside down photos!

I like how Sean's sneakers peak out from under the quilt.

For the quilt label I used the corner of a handkerchief that features red roses since Uncle Reg is famous for his rose gardening.

The quilt was delivered and, with blessed happenstance, the quilt colours match Uncle Reg's decor perfectly! I'm so pleased about that.

Click on the photos if you want to see them full sized. 


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Such a Good Salad Recipe

I didn't get a photo of this salad so here's the photo from the recipe blog where I found it. Note that this doesn't look at all like the salad I made from this recipe, but that's okay. I think mine looked better and it was SO good. We had it 2 days in a row. The dressing was even better the second day. It had a little snap that I didn't notice the first day.

You can find the recipe at the blog, Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time. This is one of my favourite recipe blogs. The "Mom Chef" makes recipes from magazines and reviews them. She comments on the process, gives recipes a verdict, including the impressions of her husband and daughter, and writes about what she would do differently next time, if anything. If a recipe is a dud, she says so.

Kevin and I love this salad recipe and really like the dressing. And it's all SO EASY! You can follow the link to the recipe if you're interested. I'll just tell you what I did differently.

General ingredients are sliced tomatoes (a great use for all those fresh garden tomatoes - the recipe calls for 2 kinds of tomatoes but we just used the ones from our garden), sliced avocado, grilled corn (which I'd never done before but was easy and worth it - it's so easy to cut it off the cob), some bacon (I used bacon bits I already had on hand). We used 1 cob for 4 servings.

The dressing is so quick and easy, too. Just some buttermilk, which I usually have on hand, a little bit of mayo, fresh garlic, cider vinegar, fresh chives (I used green onion instead), fresh basil (I used dried), and fresh ground pepper.

I did what "The Mom Chef" said she would do differently next time and I thought the salad looked very attractive.  Instead of stacking, I just arranged the tomato and avocado slices on plates grinding some sea salt over all, I piled the corn in one place beside them, drizzled the dressing over all, topped with bits of bacon and then added some ground pepper.


We also enjoyed the Chicken with Honey-Beer Sauce from the same website. Very quick and easy and I'm surprised at how much flavour there was in the sauce for so few ingredients. The only thing I would do differently next time with this recipe is cut up the chicken into smaller pieces, especially when not using organic chicken breasts. Non-organic chicken breasts aren't so thick (with what I imagine to be added hormones that our human bodies don't need to absorb).

I'll try this one again, too.