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Sunday, May 27, 2012

To Quilt or Tie?

I just learned the recipient of this quilt's graduation party is two weeks before the graduation ceremony - giving me all of 6 days to complete it.  YIKES!

SO - to quilt or tie?  Gotta make a decision and go to town!  :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Out With the Old....

...and in with the new - into the ground that is!

Just in time too - pictured at top is the last container from the 2011 harvest.

This year's garden will contain Early Girl, Better Boy, Mr. Stripey, Yellow Pear and Husky Cherry Tomatoes.  In the Pepper Department I have Green, Yellow and Sweet Banana Peppers - with some garden space to spare.  Will pick up a couple Sweet Reds and whatever else strikes my fancy.  Too bad I don't eat hot peppers - there are so many interesting varieties available. 

If these plants do well this year, next year I'll consider other veggies and/or expansion.   It'll be harder to photograph once the fence is up, but this year my garden will be rabbit and DOG proof!  :) 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

GF Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

Here's a wonderful recipe with a sweet/salty crust.  The original recipe doesn't call for GF pretzels, but using them is a simple substitution.

  1 1/3 c. crushed gluten free pretzels
  1/2 c. granulated sugar
  1/2 c. melted butter

  8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
  12 oz. pkg Cool Whip, thawed
  1 c. powdered sugar

  6 oz. pkg Strawberry Jello
  2 c. boiling water
  16 oz. frozen strawberries

1.  Combine pretzels, sugar and melted butter, pat into 9 x 13" pan.  Bake about 15 min.  Allow to cool completely before filling.

2.  Combine cream cheese, Cool Whip and powdered sugar.  Spread over cooled crust.  Chill until firm.

3.  Bring water to simmer and stir in Jello.  Gently stir in frozen strawberries.  Pour topping over filling.  Refrigerate until well set.

Cut 4 x 6.  Garnish with whipped topping or fruit as desired.  Makes 24 servings.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Keeping Gluten Free Gluten Free

A variety of non-quilty endeavors are interfering with quilting and here is but one.  Did you ever try taking a gluten free treat to a potluck, label it as such and watch in horror as people push the gluten free sign aside and hold their (gluten-containing) plate over your lovingly cut and decorated tray of GF cookies - sprinkling it with gluten-containing crumbs - thereby rendering it inedible to the very people you made it for?  Or worse, making someone very, very sick?

Putting cookies in individual snack bags is the only solution I've come up with so far.  People with food sensitivities shouldn't have to sit out every occasion that involves food.  If we did, we'd have no social lives at all.   Eating gluten free is not depressing.  But being unsafe or having to exclude yourself is.  So this is my solution to date.  If anyone can suggest a better way, I'm all ears. :)

BTW - I used the Betty Crocker mix at right.  Where I shop, it's in the regular baking aisle, so if you only cook GF now and then for a particular friend or family member, you don't have to hunt all over town, and then all over an unfamiliar store to find a nice familiar treat!  :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Silly Robins!

To keep or destroy???

Just discovered this robin's nest in the making.  Been hearing LOTS of noisy activity on the deck.  I know birds usually build more than one nest so taking it down probably wouldn't do them any harm.  But then again it seems kinda mean.  I AM a bird lover, after all...but I don't want to be divebombed by Mr. & Mrs. Robin and all their friends every time I want to sit on the deck...What to do?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Antoinette's Quilt Shop - Portage, WI!/pages/Antoinettes-Quilt-Shop-LLC/210584975644312

Visited Antoinette's Quilt Shop a few weeks back.  They're a new business - so new, in fact, that they don't have a website just yet.  So I'll show you their wares, and hope you'll contact them if you see something you like.  Every new business can use some good PR and a few follow up sales! 

So take a tour with me...
They have much to offer, large and small.  I loved the fish wall hanging and thought it would make a great Dad's Day gift for any fisherman.  BTW - the fish had button eyes.  You probably can't see the quilt-themed Christmas cards, but they're charming!
Ain't this a beauty?  All those HRTs would take me forever - but some folks claim they're a piece of cake.  In that case, this quilt is for you!
I bought this pattern.  I may use different colors, but it's a long way down my To-Do List, so there'll be plenty of time to think about it.
Lots of beautiful batiks.  Its often hard to find light batiks, but there's no shortage here.
A variety of nifty quilt hangers too, both wire and wooden.

For those of us without an Accuquilt Go! Cutter, rest assured,
you can buy these beautiful, perfectly accurate cut outs from Antoinette's. 
If you're not sure what to do with them, there are some striking red/black examples on the wall.  Pillows like this would spice up any couch or boudoir!  N'est pa?
Wisconsinites - take a good look at these. 
Antoinette's has the panel displayed at right, with corresponding sample fabrics at left.
I do like the blue lattice.  Blue for our many lakes!
Here's the panel by itself.
And another treatment.  I'm gonna hafta purchase the panel.  Am kicking myself for not buying it at the time.  Blame it on jet lag (even though I traveled by car).
Here are some of those attractive wooden quilt hangers I mentioned earlier.
Nifty stuff for little kids.  This one's called Turtle Town.

AND fun stuff for big kids.  Love, love, love the bleeding hearts!

Seen enough?  Good!  Call or email Antoinette's to place an order - or even better - stop by and see it for yourself.  :)

Garden Report Number One

Hey - Lookie here!

In LATE May 2010 I had a single bloom. 

Early May 2012 netted lots of blooms and more buds to open.

We also have April Showers and June Bugs in May.  Funny year!

To clematis growers, I did something different with my clematis over the winter.  My plant always seems to bloom much later than those of my neighbors - who have older, more established plants and DON'T have a neighboring black walnut tree - which I suspect hinders its growth. 

So I decided to see what would happen if I didn't trim back the woody portion of the vine for the winter.  It looked very scraggly and unattractive all winter.  But this Spring, the result: Lots of early buds.  I actually had to cover the plant on many nights when the temps got down to freezing.  But it has paid off!  Hooray!

Now if it would only stop raining so we can mow the lawn!  :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Next Project - Fleece Blanket

This project has caused discord in the family. 
My son wants a Packers/Brewers/Bucks/Badger blanket.  We learned the only Brewers fabric to be had is fleece, so we went that route.  Above is how MOM wants the quilt to look (or some other variation of Trip Around the World).
THIS is how my son wants it.  Awful, in my opinion.  But beautiful to his eye.  Since every fiber of my being screams "No, no, a thousand times no!" to this arrangement, I ordered extra fabric so I can make one side his way and one side my way.  I can only hope he will grow tired of the four patch version.  Either way, we both get what we want. 

Will play with the Trip Around the World a bit more on EQ6 to get the optimal color arrangement.  That's a whole lot easier on the back than rearranging it on the floor umpteen times!  :)

Fern Hill Quilts & Gifts - South Amana, Iowa

We visited Fern Hill Gifts & Quilts on a trip to Iowa in March.  Doesn't look much like March weather, does it?

If you ask me, it should be called Fern Hill Quilts & Gifts.  Granted, I'm a quilter, so I'm biased (pun intended).  But LOOK at these quilts!
Here is the same room, viewed from a different angle.  All of the quilts on the rack and shelves are for sale.  Kinda overwhelming!
Here is another style of quilt.  Fern Hill prides itself on the fabrics designed and sold only for this shop.  The fabrics with large bold flowers really were impressive!
This quilt features some of their landscape and nature fabrics.  Love the blues!
Speaking of blues, check out these batiks. 
Fern Hill has one of the largest collections I've ever seen.
More batiks and some colorful fall table toppers.
A few more of the bold quilts made from colorful batiks and prints.
I enjoyed the gifts and home decor items, but what could be sweeter than finding quilts and fudge together in one place?  Num!  DO stop by if you get the chance.  :)