An owl quilt and a Dr. Seuss purse

Amazingly, I’ve managed to finish two projects this week (the three- (er, make that four, since I took yesterday off for a medical appointment) day weekend really helped)!

I decided to do some non-garment sewing, just so I could have some quick satisfaction, requiring no fittings!  (And no fussing to get the just-right wearing-the-garment photos.) Last year, I went on a kick of making coin purses and make-up bags.  I made one such coin purse for my mom, which she loved.  A couple of months ago, she asked me for a new one, and I finally complied.  So, here we have the coin purse (made up in Dr. Seuss fabrics, of course, because what grown woman does not need a Dr. Seuss coin purse?). DSC_0202 The fabric was from my local Pacific Fabrics.

Next, I finally finished a quilt that I had started months ago.  I had gotten the blocks assembled, but needed to do the borders and then decide what to do for the backing and binding.  This weekend I finally got around to doing that.DSC_0210All of the fabric came from my local Joann Fabrics.  The fabric for the squares mostly came from a fat quarter pack that I found, and then I added the browns and the purple used for the border.  I just loved the owl fabric and thought it would make a cute quilt. For the backing, I found a nice teal chevron fabric which highlighted the teals on the front. DSC_0213To quilt it, I just used basic straight-line quilting.  I haven’t tried out free-motion quilting on my new sewing machine yet, and decided this quilt probably wasn’t the best place to start experimenting!  I’ll have to make up some small quilts to do some practicing.

DSC_0227Overall, I’m pretty happy with it.  I do tend to prefer more low volume quilts, but this one is bright and happy, which is a nice change from the dull and dreary winter we’ve been having lately.  I don’t know what I’ll do with it yet, but one can never have too make blankets, right?

And in other exciting news, I received the fabric I ordered from Mood for the Style Arc Ziggi Sew Along being hosted by SewMaris and Stacy Sews.  Very exciting!

DSC_0218I haven’t decided yet whether to make the body mostly black with the colorful fabric used as accents on the sleeves or vice versa.  I ordered enough of both fabrics so I could do either.  I will have to do some playing and imagining to figure out which way to make the jacket.

And finally, I leave you with this face:

DSC_0239editAfter all the recent vet trips I’ve had to make because of this little guy being up to no good, it’s a darn good thing he’s cute.  And utterly loveable.

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I could probably survive a zombie apocalypse

Last week, I started reminiscing about living in France and I realized that the thing I miss the most was the availability of freshly baked bread and organic meats and vegetables.  I loved going to the farmer’s market every Sunday to purchase fruit, veggies, eggs, bread and a roasted chicken. all organic and all locally produced.  Those days were the very best.  While reminiscing, I realized that I may no longer be in France, but there is no reason that I can’t have the same delicious foods.  I decided I should get back to baking and focus on making and eating more organic foods with less preservatives.

So, first up – bread!  I found this very simple recipe for no-knead artisan bread on Simply So Good and decided to give it a try.  I whipped up the dough on Friday evening around 6:30pm, and let it rise until Saturday around 5pm before popping it in the oven.  It was so easy and turned out so well!

bread(That loaf lasted until yesterday evening, and I actually baked another loaf this morning before work!)

I didn’t want to eat the same old processed butter on such a delicious loaf of bread, so I whipped up some homemade cultured butter to accompany it.  I used this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.  It required a little time (set up the cream and yogurt on Friday evening and actually turned it into butter on Monday morning) and a fair amount of effort (mixing the cream into butter/buttermilk mixture, squeezing out the buttermilk in cheesecloth and then washing the butter six times to get the rest of the buttermilk out before rolling it into a log), but it turned out so well!  I’m not sure that the cost and effort is really worth it to consume only homemade butter, but it’s definitely doable for a special treat.

butterAlso, the act of making butter made me really study the butters on the shelves at the nearby grocery stores, and I’ll probably be a lot more picky about which butters I buy in the future.

I also purchased a wonderful new cookbook, The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila (available from Amazon here), which has recipes for tons of basics, like granola, nut butters, ricotta, mozzarella, pop tarts, etc.  I can’t wait to give some of those recipes a try.  I think I’ll start with the granola first.  Guys, I’m on a roll with the healthy eating/organic cooking thing!

Mixed in with all the cooking (I also made a huge batch of red beans and rice yesterday!), we also took Gordy on his first foray into the ocean yesterday!  He’s still not entirely sure about water, but he loved the barnacles.

photo Between this weather and the Seahawks making it to the Super Bowl, this was a fantastic weekend in the Emerald City!