Baby Quilts

In the first series of quilting classes I took we made this baby quilt design. 3 columns of 16 rectangles, a “coin” quilt. It was taught by modern quilter extraordinaire, Alyssa Haight Carlton at my fave fabric shop and sewing studio, Sew Modern. As soon as I got home from the first session with my quilt top, I took the extra fabric and made a second one.

The hardest part is selecting the fabric. The problem is that there are so many beautiful designs and colors, it is almost impossible to choose. I figured these are good baby colors, nice and soothing, not your typical blue and pink. In the next two classes we learned how to do the actual quilting, and then finally the binding. Here are a couple action shots of the finshed quilts. First we have little Ripley, also modeling the cute Pearl Jam onesie I got her:

And the lovely Maya during playtime on her quilt:

I just completed another one, but I will wait to post the pic until after the baby shower!

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Quilt Top – The First Hurdle

Here is a shot of my latest quilt top. This is my first big quilt, it will be almost 5’x5′. My previous quilts all have been baby quilts, which are much more manageable. I have been slowly working on each square (25 in total) for the last two months. I just pieced together the quilt back, and will take it to my mom’s (hardwood floors are necessary) to make the quilt “sandwich.” That will be the backing, the batting, and the top. More action shots to come.

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Modern Circle Pillow

This has been the most tedious, complicated quilt project I have worked on so far. I was attracted to it for the mid-century modern look of the pillow, I thought it would look good on my couch (which it does). The pattern is from my quilting instructor, Alissa, posted on the Janome sewing site. Look at the pattern and scroll down and see how many little pieces of different sizes that need to be cut and sewn together! I was amazed at how nicely it turned out – I thought for sure I would goof it up somewhere along the line, like I have on simpler projects.

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Christmas Skirt

Everyone needs a new outfit for the season of holiday parties, and for this last one, I made this red skirt. It is a pattern from The Colette Sewing Handbook, a fantastic sewing manual from Colette Patterns. They design and sell wonderful unique sewing patterns, with easy to follow directions. Their designs are cute and modern, with a vintage feel. This skirt is called the Meringue Skirt, and has a side zipper and a scalloped hem.

This is the first project in which I have made a muslin first. Muslin is a simple, cheap fabric often used in making a practice/mock-up of a pattern (“making a muslin”). You can use this practice run to make adjustments on the pattern, learn new techniques and make mistakes before cutting into your more expensive, final fabric. I am glad I did this – I made two major mistakes that would of cost me all new fabric had I not practiced with a muslin first.

I still need  practice installing a zipper perfectly, and some major practice in patience. As satisfying it is to wear something you have made, when I look at it, I see flaws and things I would do differently next time, but I will not point those out to you (don’t look at the spot on the carpet).

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It’s Been a While…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog. Let me catch you up.

Charlie got a Lion Cut for the summer (and an ingrown toenail):

Luis and I visited one of my all time favorite cities, New Orleans. We ate, we saw, we conquered. And ate some more.

During the fall I discovered a new fabric shop on Pico called Sew Modern. All the beautiful fabric renewed my interest in sewing. I took a beginning quilting class from modern quilt master Alissa Haight Carlton, and was hooked. I learned that making a quilt is a lot easier that it looks (well, certain quilts)! I tricked out our office into a sewing studio and taken over the dining room table as a workbench. As I’ve been getting into my new hobby, I have discovered many inspiring, talented, obsessive sewing bloggers that have encouraged me to return to blogging and to hopefully turn my readers and friends onto the wonderful world of sewing. I will be posting more sewing photos and stories very soon.

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Summer Pasta

Pasta is the world’s best dish. It is so wonderful to whip up a tasty dinner in the time it takes to boil water and cook pasta. My tomato plants have given me a couple of ripe tomatoes (with many little green ones waiting in the wings) and my basil plant has been going strong, so I decided to whip up a nice summer pasta with them. Just start by warming up some olive oil in the sauce pan (while the pasta water is coming to a boil), add some sliced garlic cloves, black pepper and red pepper flakes and cook them slowly over med-low heat, so the garlic does not brown and get bitter.

After 2-3 minutes, add the chopped tomatoes (seeds OK) and raise the heat a bit and let them cook a minute or two.

If the pasta is not ready (cook two minutes less then the package indicates, and test for doneness) then remove saute pan from heat.  When pasta is ready (remember al dente pasta has a lower glycemic index rating and tastes a lot better than pasta totally cooked through) return pan to the heat and toss in pasta, along with the chopped basil.

Plate up the pasta and top with parmesan cheese. I really, really love my parmesan and I added a lot more to my pasta then this – I’m just too embarrassed to show you. Enjoy.

Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Italian, Look n' Cook | 2 Comments

¡Mountain of Churros!

During our most recent trip to Spain, Luis accidentally deleted all of the photos he took in Granada. Luckily, we learned that they can be recovered form the disk (thank you, DJ!). I would like to share with everyone the greatest churros in the world! We arrived in Granada early in the morning, fresh from the overnight train. We dropped off our suitcases at the apartment and hotel, and hit the ground running. We made a beeline to Luis’ favorite churrería, Alhambra in La Plaza de Bib-Rambla. He said the magic words, “churros para cinco, con chocolate, por favor.”

Aaaaahhh…a mountain of hot, crisp, airy, chewy churros. I dig mine plain, but you may dunk them into the hot chocolate. We did this a few times in Granada, and you should too.

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