May 25, 2012

We're Having A "Block Party"

So, I've wanted to start or join a quilting group for quite a while, but haven't really known how to do it.  I'm not really in love with the idea of getting together with a group of people and each doing your own thing.  I like everyone getting together around a particular project, or goal.  I, like many others, think of this when I hear the phrase "quilting bee"

Now that's old school!

I've seen online block swaps and that was interesting to me but not exactly what I was looking for either.  So I am thinking of a hybrid group.  A little bit quilty, a little bit Bunco-y, but hopefully lots of fun.  More like this:

Well, maybe not quite, but you get the picture. The idea is this: get a group of 6 and get together once a month at a hostesses' house for a "block party."  The hostess chooses a theme (e.g. all pinks, all florals, purple/orange, stripes/dots - the sky is the limit) and a block.  Each attendee brings 2 fat quarters of the theme fabric.  The hostess will provide any solids that are needed to complete the block and a couple extra fat quarters just in case there are mistakes (with me there always are).

The hostess then picks a block (it would be a good idea to practice said block ahead of time so she can assist anyone who needs help and answer questions).  The hostess provides instructions to the ladies to make 2 blocks during the time allotted.  I'm thinking the evening would go like this:

6:30 - 7:30 - socialize & snack (because who can get together without snacks and a glass of wine)
7:30-8:00 - get block instructions, cut fabric and get machines set up
8:00 - 9:30 - SEW (make 2 blocks).

At the end of the night, everyone gives their blocks to the hostess. And, there is no pressure - if you need to take your blocks home and finish them, no worries! Just get it to the hostess some time in the next week or so.

Then, the hostess can take the blocks and add more blocks if she wants to, add sashing, borders, whatever she likes and finish up a cute quilt.  She can do whatever she wants with the quilt - keep it, gift it, donate it - it's hers to keep.


I am certain I am not the only girl in the world who's come up with this idea - so does anyone do this already? Suggestions?

We're going to get together the second Tuesday of the month - for June that is the 12th.   Tara, my quilty partner in crime is in. We've got the lovely Boyce/McDaniel ladies in too - can I get any other takers??

Where: My House
When: June 12th, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
The theme is going to be: aqua and red!

This is my latest favorite color combination.  As inspiration (you do NOT have to pick from this line, be creative!) you can look at Vintage Modern for what I have in mind.

The block we are going to do is a simple granny square block. Here's an online tutorial from Blue Elephant Stitches that I'll use as a guide.

OK, so that's the concept - let's do it!

May 9, 2012

My Joshie Lies Over the Ocean - Part II

I have been slaving away at this cute little quilt for the last few weeks and I'm proud to report as of last night, it's pieced, basted and ready to quilt.   Here was the last picture I took of it a few nights ago - super  cute, right? This was a great quilt for me to tackle - lots of half-square triangles and very important to keep your 1/4 inch seam on the money. I absolutely love it and Josh is beside himself with excitement!

Unfortunately for my son (but very fortunately for me), my hubby and I are headed to California this weekend for a vacay sans kids! So, this won't get any attention for a few weeks. Anyone know of any fun quilt shops in Napa???

I need some time anyway to plan how I'm going to quilt this one - I'd love to do some waves or something nautical looking to go with the theme, but it will require I get a little outside my comfort zone.

I talked about this quilt pattern and fabric a few weeks ago, but here are the stats again:

Pattern: Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jocelyn Lai for Its Sew Emma
Fabric: Anchors Away by Dear Stella

Here's what the finished product should look like:

Linking up to Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday - check out the amazing projects out there!

May 4, 2012

Mandarin Orange Cake

Sometime recipes evoke memories of your childhood.  A few years ago, a coworker made this for an office event and the minute I took a bite of it, I was 10 years old again at one of our family gatherings where all of my aunts brought various amazing desserts, most covered with some form of Cool-Whip.

This is the perfect dessert to take to  a friend's house for any summer get-together.  It is light, moist, cool and dreamy!  Not only that, it is super easy to make and only has a few ingredients.

Don't let the fact that it's an "orange" cake scare you away. Canned mandarin oranges are very mild and sweet.  This cake is best if it sits overnight in the fridge, so make it ahead and forget about it until you have to start giving out the recipe.

I've seen several versions of this online, but none exactly like this one, so here we go.

The Cake:

 1 box Duncan Hines Butter Cake Mix
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 11-oz can mandarin oranges with juice

The Frosting:
12 oz. cool whip (you can always upsize that to the next largest size)
1 small box vanilla instant pudding
8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1 11-oz can mandarin oranges, drained

For the cake, mix all of the ingredients together and pour into a greased 9x13 pan.  Bake 350 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

For the frosting, mix all frosting ingredients together with a whisk and spread over the cake.  Place in refrigerator overnight, if you can.  I like to leave some chunks of orange in the frosting, but break up most of them by vigorously whisking.

I promise, you won't be disappointed with this cake!

Enjoy :)

p.s. Yes, I know this is a quilting blog, but I felt like posting a recipe today!

May 1, 2012

"Hoo" Loves This Quilt?

I finished my quilt for little Charlotte!  How much do I love this quilt - let me see...
(1)  The colors are so fun and bright and hoo doesn't love owls?

(2) Even though it was based on a pattern, I rearranged the blocks and made it into a completely unique creation.  It's a big one - big enough for a double size bed. 

(3) The mitered binding worked out really well and shows off the color contrasts perfectly.

 (4) I long-armed it myself at the Cotton Cupboard in Lakeway so I got to play with some new quilting designs.

 (5) It looks nice and square - lays down flat, no wonky edges :)

I love love love it!  I can't wait to deliver it to her for her first big girl bed.  Quilting rocks!