Saturday, June 28, 2008

Almost Swapped Out

I just need to whip-stitch the binding, and my year of Four Season's Quilt Swapping is done. I am pleased with the results. I quilted this one like mad, with small white curlique quilting in the applique panel, wavy rays radiating from the sun, green leaves in the grass, and hot pink flowers in the side borders. I did make a judgment call not to blanket stitch the main stems on the flowers as it seemed too overpowering. I did one and actually took it out. Here's the nearly final product:

I got to finish the top and quilt most of it last night while my children had their first sleep-overs with friends, while they danced, watched movies, and committed general mayhem about the house, I sewed. One of the fathers came over to hang out with my husband for a while, too, so the family was engaged on many fronts!

I've also started the Book Awards Challenge 2; for full details, see my newly revived "Getting My Read On" blog. Should be fun!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Clafouti Weekend

My husband pointed out yesterday that we had "two perfectly good tins of raspberries" in the fridge and asked what I was going to do with them. I shrugged; then later in the day, for some reason, the word "clafouti" popped in my head. I quickly googled several clafouti recipes and whipped together some yummy, custardy goodness (so yummy that a bite immediately disappeared):

So this weekend, we've been eating Clafouti and hamburgers, which I began craving after watching Camp Rock. If you've seen any of the eight billion showings of CR since Friday night, you'll know there's a scene in which Connie and Mitchie make what seems like hundreds of hamburger patties. So, I felt compelled to have barbequed hamburgers this weekend. If you have children of a certain age, you know that CR is a summer cultural milestone slightly below HSM1&2 and slightly above iCarly Saves TV. My children actually went to a Camp Rock party Friday night, complete with swimming, popcorn, and s'mores. We're already planning the Cheetah Girls One World party for late August, complete with an international buffet!

I've also grown kinda weary of blanket stitching my swap quilt (too much turning), so I decided to design a quilt to repay a longstanding quilt debt (hard to explain). I decided to use a Sanctuary Jelly Roll I've had for a while. I cut 24 of the strips into three chunks: 20, 15, and 8 inches; then sewed these back into 42 inch long strips in three varieties, mixing the order and fabrics. I sewed these strips together so that all of the seams were staggered and saved the remaining strips for random pieced borders and binding. It went together quickly and turned out lovely (IMHO)--soft and cottage-y, with enough variety to add movement and character, and a nicely popping red:

I'll quilt it before summer ends so that "my debt is settled" (it really helps if you say the part in quotes with the Scottish brogue of Davy Jones from the Pirates movies, a la my son).

On to the remainder of my Sunday chores . . . the gymnastics trials will make such perfect cleaning tv.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Back to Work

I spent most of last week in Austin, Texas, one of my absolute favorite cities. I was running around like mad the week before the trip, preparing for end of year school events for both liddle kiddles, packing, making arrangements, and trying to pre-catchup on work and the statewide meeting I'm leading this coming week. So, I didn't really pay attention when my thumb started to ache a bit the day before we left. By the time we got to the airport, it was thobbing with pain (which is great when you're jostling with two car seats and a princess backpack through security). My husband suggested we stop by an ER when we landed, but I voted for dinner first, knowing that two of our party needed some food and running around time after the flight. So, after some burgers and Amy's at Phil's Ice House, we finally went to the ER. Sure enough, I had an abscess. I don't know what hurt more, the infection or the cure! But, within a day, my thumb was good as new--if a little icky looking--and certainly nothing that a yummy room service breakfast couldn't cure.

I love going to places where I know enough about the terrain that I can navigate around and not get lost. While my husband conferenced at the lovely Driskill, the kids and I roamed the town--shopping, site seeing, and eating!! This was bliss, as it's usually me stuck in the hotel or conference center for days while my husband gets to play tourist with the children. The kids' godparents even flew out from LA to join us. Here are a few iPhone (best phone ever!) photos of our trip:

The first, a breezy night at Shady Grove.

The second, the Austin bats making their way out from under the Congress bridge. The bats are the blurry specks just above the tree line (gobs of them!). In this picture, my son can pick out the exact bat he says "looked him in the eye."

And, third, Barton Springs--no better place to go when it's 100 degrees!

This weekend, it was back to our routine. Cleaning, laundry, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and--oh yeah--cleaning. I picked up some carrot/onion bread at the farmer's market outside my daughter's dance studio--and made little egg muffins this morning with the remnants of the loaf:

They were cute and delicious for brunch with chicken/apple sausage. I went baking mad today. In addition to the little egg baskets, I made mini cheese/garlic muffins (for guild tomorrow), mini corn muffins (to go with the Mexican lime soup we had for dinner), and am about to put two jalapeno/cheddar bread breakfast casseroles in the oven as office surprises for our respective returns to work tomorrow.

I also spent some time last night and today working on my Four Seasons Summer Swap. My partner had very broad likes and no clear dislikes, so from the list she provided, I went with 30s repro. I paged through some books and found a nice sun and flowers combo in an old Teri Christopherson book, but I didn't like the setting. So, here's my thinking now (it's in process and not completely blanket stitched):

I think I'm going with three borders of unequal width to amplify the feedsack-ish look. I like the pink prints running up the side borders to pick up the reds/pinks in the flowers and the seafoam green to ground it--almost like grass. My goal is to finish it next weekend.

Oh, and go see Kung Fu Panda--way cute!!