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Friday, October 29, 2010

Quilter's Blog Festival - Mighty Max's Quilt

I am really excited to have a very special quilt to share with you all for the Quilter's Blog Festival that's being hosted by Amy's Creative Side.   Well, I'm just really excited that I finally started quilting and that there are so many wonderful bloggers out there who are so talented and generous with sharing their tips and tutorials that help self-taught quilters, like myself.  :-)

The quilt that I am sharing with you was made for a very, very special little guy, who's mommy is a friend of mine from high school who I was lucky enough to reconnect with over a year ago.  And by little, I do mean little!  Max was 2 pounds 1 ounce when he was born almost six month premature.  This fact in itself just astounds me, because I am six months pregnant right now and I can't imagine having my own little guy enter the world this early.  But Little Max did and he had a very long and hard first 100 days.   He had several surgeries and many close calls and it wasn't long before friends and family started calling him, "Mighty Max".  A name that describes him perfectly!   

When Max was in the hospital and going through all of her terrible ups and downs, I started feeling my nesting phase hit and for some reason,  I decided that I wanted to start quilting.  I think part of it was just the idea of making something snuggly and comforting for others and my own family.   I have made a few very simple baby quilts many years ago, but that's it.  And by simple, I mean that the quilt was one gigantic Ohio Star made from one huge triangle template.  I never quilted them, I just tied them, but they were great baby gifts and fun to sew.  But, I hadn't quilted since then and I'd say it had been at least 12 years or longer since I had made one last.   

I knew that I just had to make a quilt for Max.  I found this great tutorial for The Road Trip Quilt at Click. Cluck. Sew.   I went to JoAnn's and found this super cute fabric with the zoo animals on it and that lion reminded me of sweet, little Might Max.   This is a great quilt for a beginner, because there aren't any seams to match up!  And, it came together really quickly.   If I ever make it again, I will make it longer, but this will be a great size to wrap Max up in this winter.  

This is the first quilt that I did any real machine quitting on, too.   I went out and bought a walking foot, because I was working on another quilt for a benefit and was going to machine quilt on it.   I guess the benefit quilt was my FIRST quilt to machine quilt on, but I only went around the strips and didn't do any more than that, because I was afraid to mess it up. lol    I was actually working on both of those quilts at the same time, because I needed to finish the benefit quilt before October and I worked on Max's quilt here and there at the same time.   I decided to quilt it like the quilt in the tutorial was done and I'm glad that I did, because it was a good learning experience and just plain practice in sewing straight lines.
For the back, I used some snuggly, polka dot flannel.  :-)

I really wanted the label to be special, so I sat down and drew a larger version of the lion from one of the zoo print fabrics.   I embroidered it with some DMC floss and then wrote the rest of the label with a permanent marker.

So, as you can see, this is a very special quilt!  It's for a totally amazing little man, who I'm happy to say that after almost 120 days in the hospital, he has been home now for almost two months now and he's doing fantastic!  He weighs over 10 pounds and is a happy and adorable guy!   And, I really learned A LOT while sewing this quilt.   Besides learning how to really make, sew and quilt a quilt, I learned something else......I am here by and officially addicted to fabric and quilting.  lol  I have another baby quilt sitting by patiently waiting to be quilted and I can't wait to get started on it.   And, a Christmas quilt for my table....and a lap quilt for the living  My husband has actually been hogging my sewing machine all week!   He's sewing a Matrix coat for my daughter for an Anime Convention.  She's a huge Kingdom Hearts fan (it's a video game. lol) and some of the characters wear coats that resemble those long coats from The Matrix.   That was a little much for me to tackle, but my husband has tailor blood running through his veins and he's a natural when it comes to sewing.  Yes, I'm jealous! lol    And, yes, there is a long list of other projects that I want to sew, mainly things for my own little man, who is due to arrive the first of February.   :-)

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Tidy Mom I'm Lovin It Fridays

Quilt Project Button

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I've linked up to The Blogger's Quilt FestivalTidy Mom and Fun to Craft and The Airing of the Quilts.   I can't wait to sit down and look at everyone's quilts and projects that they are sharing.   Please know that I am so grateful for everyone's sharing of their quilts, tips, hints, ideas, you name it!   It is what really got me wanting to quilt, has helped me learn to quilt and is what's keeping me inspired to learn more and make more!

God Bless,

p.s. Oh, I forgot to tell you.......if by some twist you actually know who Might Max is (the world is smaller than we think sometimes and the internet world connects us all together!) please don't share this with Max's mom.   We are taking a little road trip soon so that we can hand-deliever this quilt to Max and I sure want to keep it a surprise!   I'm pretty sure, well hoping, that she doesn't read my blog......but I really wanted to share this quilt with you all for the Quilter's Blog Festival, because it is so special! :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Family Favorite Recipes- Breakfast for Dinner - Biscuits and Gravy

We had our first cold and rainy evening a couple of days ago and I was so glad that biscuits and gravy was on the menu that night.  This is one of those total comfort meals for us and a lot of times if the following conversation comes up in our house, this is what we make.

"What sounds good for dinner?"
"Oh, I don't know. What sounds good to you?"
(several minutes of silence as we stand and stare at each other)
"How about biscuits and gravy?"


Needless to say, this is something that I have made A LOT in our 17 years of marriage and I've actually been making a different version of this since I was a kid.....I'll share that with you, too. ;-)  The gravy is made with a basic white sauce recipe.   This is what my mom taught me ages ago and I've never looked in a real cookbook so see if they are the same.   You can double, triple, quadruple this gravy recipe to make as much as you need.  When I made this for my self, I used a single recipe.  Now, when I was feeding 2 adults and 3 teenagers, I quadrupled the batch.   It's super easy to do and I've never had a problem making a big batch of gravy.   The other thing that I have to do different now is with the sausage.  I do not eat chicken, red meat or pork and fish every now and then.  My husband and son love meat. lol  So, my husband cooks up some real sausage and I cook up some Morningstar Farms veggie sausage links for me and my daughter.   I use the links, because me and my daughter always snack on a couple while the gravy is cooking, but they also make 'sausage crumbles' that work great, too.  Then, at the table, you put whatever sausage you want on your biscuits and top with the gravy.  I used to mix the vegetarian sausage into the gravy while still on the stovetop, but now that my husband has been fixing it with real sausage, we have to assemble at the table. :-)   The SOS version is after the biscuits and gravy recipe.

Biscuits and Gravy:

basic white gravy recipe for one, hearty serving (double, triple, make as much as you need)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk

sausage of your choice, cooked and crumbled
baked biscuits - homemade or store-bought (I uses store-bought, because biscuits are just one thing I can't make!  :-(  Unless they are drop biscuits. lol)

In a saucepan, melt the butter.  Whisk in the flour and cook for one minute.  Whisk in the milk and cook over medium heat until the gravy comes to a boil and thickens.  Reduce heat to low and let sit until you're ready.   If you are using just one kind of sausage, you can add the cooked sausage to the gravy as it simmers on the stove.  Use as much as you like!  :-)  Sorry, no exact measurements again.

Split your biscuits on your plate and top with some sausage and gravy.  Add salt and pepper to taste..  As you can see from the picture above, I like a lot of pepper. lol   Since I have a wide-range of eaters and tastes, I let them put their salt/pepper on their own and I don't put it in the gravy before it's served.

SOS version: (a.k.a. S**t on a Shingle - sorry, my dad was a Navy cook and this is what they called it!)

Make the gravy as above, but while it is thickening, cut up pieces of dried beef and stir into the gravy.   The gravy softens up the dried beef and adds a good amount of salt, too.  Serve on toast.

Now, I haven't had red meat in almost 17 years and I must tell you, if there is anything that I miss and might even possibly consider ever eating that had meat in it, this is it. lol  I used to make this for breakfast almost every morning when I was in high school.  Nothing makes me think of home more than SOS!

I hope you're all having a good is cold here and even at 11 a.m. it's still in the 30's!  Burr....

God Bless,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Family Favorite Recipes - Quesadillas

I should call these "Game Day 'Dillas" because we almost always make these on Monday for Monday Night Football, Saturday for Saturday's college football games, or Sunday for Sunday Night Football.  Yep.  We're football junkies. lol   This is one of those recipes that just kind of came together and is something that we've been making for years.  You can make these any way that you want to really, just cheese and beans or chicken, or fully loaded like I like mine!  The amount of ingredients really depends on how many people you're feeding and who likes what, so if you have a lot of tomato eaters, you will need more, if no one likes tomatoes but you, then you won't need as much. :-)  So, no amounts are given here....


burrito-sized flour tortillas

for the inside:
cooked chicken breast - sliced into thin strips
black beans - drained and rinsed
chopped onions, green bell pepper, garlic and mushrooms that have been sautéed until soft
chopped tomatoes
chopped green onion
sliced black olives
shredded Colby/Jack cheese

condiments on the side:
sour cream

We use a griddle to cook our quesadillas on, but if you don't have one, a large skillet should do the job.

Melt some butter on the griddle and place on flour tortilla on the melted butter.  Sprinkle on some of the shredded cheese.  Now add whatever ingredients you want in the inside.  Then top with another good sprinkle of cheese.   Top with another flour tortilla.  Cook until it is lightly browned on one side and then push the quesadilla as far to the side of the griddle that you can and melt some more butter in the open space on the griddle.  Then, with a large spatula (I use our big, wooden pizza spatula) turn the quesadilla.  If you are cooking these in a skillet, I would remove the quesadilla onto a plate or cutting board, melt the butter in the skillet and then return the quesadilla to the skillet, laying it on the uncooked side.   Cook a few more minutes until lightly brown.  Transfer to a cutting board and let it sit for a couple of minutes, then slice with a large knife, like a Chef's knife, or cut with a pizza roller knife (which works really well actually!)   Put on your plate and pile on some of your favorite condiments and enjoy!

This is one of those recipes that I haven't written down ever, so I'm trying to remember how to make them as I type this out.  So, if you have any questions, please ask!  They are really easy and oh-so good! I just had some leftovers..... ;-)

God Bless,

Meal Plan uh... Tuesday - Oct. 25th-31st

Last night the winds and rain hit and our pretty trees in our front yard went from being full of orange/yellow leaves to being totally bare.  Today it really feels like October!  It is cold, cloudy and very windy.  I hope it decided to warm up a bit by Sunday, because it's no fun to go Trick-or-Treating covered from heat to toe in winter weather gear!

This seems to be my life lately......a day late and a dollar   So, here's my Tuesday version of Meal Plan Monday.  I feel like changing this to a weekly My Life Plan List or something like that.  I'm trying to think of a catchy name, but it's just not coming to me!   I would really like to plan and share several things that I'd like to do each week, not just what to we're going to eat for dinner.  I'm talking about sewing projects to work on, crafts to make, and yummy things to cook, just for fun, etc.

We had a couple of days where we didn't make what we planned, because of my just feeling too tired to do serious cooking, so there are a couple of repeats we had planned for last week but are now having this week.  ;-)

Menus for October 25th-31st:

Monday:  Quesadillas w/ homemade guacamole and chips
Tuesday: Biscuits & Sausage Gravy, fruit salad
Wednesday:  Salmon Rice Patties w/ Green Sauce, sautéed new potatoes, salad
Thursday:  Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole (w/ fresh broccoli instead of frozen veggies), sweet potato fries, salad
Friday:  carry-out pizza!  -we've planned to carve our pumpkins this night
Saturday:  Veggie stir fry w/ fried rice
Sunday:  waiting for the sales add to see what meat is on sale that weekend.....hoping for a roast :-)

Just for Fun Goodies:
The first two are new recipes I'm trying:

-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds from Simply Recipes
-Peter Peter Pumpkin Bars from Taste of Home
-Spiced Pumpkin Fudge - I was pretty iffy on this last year because it just didn't sound good for some reason, but kept hearing tons of oooh's and ahhh's about it, so I finally tried making some.  Oh wow!  It is so good!  I can't wait to make some this week!

Pretty Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns from Taste of Home - I made these this past Friday and they are so yummy!  This recipe makes A LOT!  I cooked one pan of buns on Friday and put the other pan of uncooked buns in the fridge covered w/ plastic wrap.  Then, on Sunday, I sat the pan out for awhile and then cooked them up and they were still super yummy.

Things to do:
-Start pinning together my quilt sandwich for this quilt and hopefully start quilting it this week
-Buy two plastic, 12"x12" boxes to store quilt work-in-progress in - I got the idea from the Sew Scraps Along at Pleasant Home
-Start cutting my charm packs for this quilt that I'm making to put on our dinner table during Christmas
-Sew the Velcro onto Mr. Peanuts snuggler (You can find the free pattern here.  I went ahead and bought the book!)

I hope you are all having a great beginning to a new week.  I can't believe that it's almost November!!!!! Wow, before I know it, I'll be trying to plan what to have for Thanksgiving!  And then Christmas!!!

Take care and I'd love to hear what you have planned for this week. :-)
God Bless,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday's Sewing......the benefit quilt

Wow, I have been quiet all week.    I feel like I've been going non-stop since Saturday!   Lots have been going on and I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend, finally.  lol   I spent all weekend helping w/ a charity benefit, had an OB appointment on Monday, an ultra sound appointment on Tuesday and since then I've been stuck in Girl Scout Fall Product paper land. lol   Our big and exciting news is that we found out on Tuesday that we're having a little boy!   We are SO excited!  Even my older children wanted a boy.   I have 3 girls and one boy, so we were due for another one.  lol  So, now the hard part......figuring out a name and the fun part, I can start sewing for him!   I actually made something for Mr. Peanut last night and I'll share that in another post. :-)

For Friday's sewing, I can finally share a quilt that I made last month.   I made it for a benefit and I didn't want to share it until the benefit was over this past Sunday.   This is my first "real" quilt.  I had made three other quilts before this one I'm going to share but they were all the same pattern, a HUGE Ohio Star baby quilt.  So, even though it is a quilt, it didn't feel like a "real" quilt because it used one gigantic triangle.  Plus, I tied them all because I was too afraid to machine quilt. lol   So, this is my first quilt that I actually pieced together lots of fabric and machine quilted on it.   

I used the Stacked Coins Baby quilt tutorial at Moda Bake Shop.   I am so thrilled at how this one turned out and I think I might make one for my little guy.   My 13 old daughter wants one, too!

I used the Spirit Charm Pack by Lila Tueller, which I absolutely love the mixture of colors in it!  Pinks, blues, browns, pretty!

And here's the back.....I'm loving how designers are adding quilted elements to the back of quilts!  It really makes both sides so much fun.   I used some pink gingham flannel that I found at JoAnn Fabrics for the backing.   Which, it was very frustrating, because the printing on the selvage edge was very big!   I'd say it was at least an inch thick and the backing was just wide enough, so there is a small part in the back where you can see part of the words, because I couldn't even get it covered up w/ the binding.  

I went back and forth with putting a label on this quilt.  Since it was being donated, I didn't it to seem like I was bragging or something by having my name on it.   But, I asked several of my quilting friends and they all told me to put a label on it, so I did.   I embroidered all of it w/ DMC floss and chose a rainbow, because the decorating theme for the benefit was rainbows.   Ever since the accident,  almost everyone close to Colby, including Colby, have seen rainbows, so rainbows are very special to them all now.  

As far as the quilting goes on this.......I went out and bought a walking foot (the best thing in the ENTIRE world that I have EVER bought!!!!! lol) and just did some simple machine quilting 1/4-inch around the outside of each pieced strip.   Since this was the first quilt that I was machine quilting, I was afraid to try anything more than that.   The original quilt in the tutorial has free-motion quilting on it and I might try that the next time that I make this quilt.  

So, most importantly, the benefit was wonderful.   There were so many people there showing support and it was very touching to be a part of it.   I also did all of the decorations for the benefit, so I spent a couple of weeks painting rainbows. lol  

I'm nice and new to linking to amylouwho's "Sew & Tell Friday's" and Lit and Laundry's "Finished for Friday". I am so grateful and appreciative of everyone who visited me for my first share last Friday.   I haven't been able to sit down and thank you each personally yet, but please know that I am so thankful for all of your kind words about my Autumn Table Topper Quilt.   I plan on thanking each of you this weekend!  I'm looking forward to sitting down tomorrow and looking at everyone's wonderful creations that they have finished up this week!

Take care and God Bless!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Meal Plan Monday- Oct 18th-24th

Well, it's been forever since I've planned my meal and it's really been hurting our grocery budget.   I hasn't helped that I'm pregnant and a fussy eater myself. lol   But, I've got to get it back into gear!   I've got 3 months before little Peanut is born and if I don't start getting into a real routine again, I'm going to be in serious trouble.   It's also been hard because my husband has been working late some evenings and my 16 year old son has also been working more evenings during the week.   That leaves me w/ my 13  year old daughter, who is extremely picky and my 3 year old daughter, who is pretty picky, too.  So, planning a meal around them is almost impossible.

But, it's time to jump back into the saddle and there's no better time than the present!  So, I sat down this morning and wrote up our menu for the week.   It was really easy, because I have meals organized by days (Monday-Pasta, Tuesday-Breakdast, etc.) and I also have a card file full of menus organized the same way.  So, I flip through my file cards and pull out a recipe that corresponds w/ each days meal.   I'll try to get some pics of that and explain in better detail soon.  :-)

Menu for October 18th - 24th :
Monday - Spaghetti w/ tomato sauce, Corn, French Bread
Tuesday- Hashbrown Quiche, Fruit Salad
Wednesday- Crock Pot Vegetable Curry, Rice
Thursday- Toasted Veggie Subs, Pasta Salad, Chips
Friday - Salmon-Rice Patties w/ Green Sauce, Provincial Potatoes, Salad
Saturday- Quesadillas w/ Guacamole
Sunday- Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole, Sweet Potato Fries, Salad

I'm going to try to get some pics of some of the meals that I don't have links for I can share the recipes soon!

I'm linking up to "I'm and Organizing Junkies - Meal Plan Mondays"!

Take care and God Bless!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pumpkin Banana Bread

A good friend of mine gave me a large can of pumpkin last weekend and I have been having lots of fun finding new recipes to make with it.   I had a few banana's on my kitchen countertop that needed to be turned into banana bread, so I went searching for a pumpkin-banana bread recipe and I found this one at the Taste of Home website.  It had great reviews, but I still made a little change to the recipe.  I'm not a big fan of baking w/ shortening, unless it's for pastry, so I substituted butter for the shortening.   I also cooked my bread in a bundt pan.  I started doing this a few months ago, when my little "I can do it myself" 3-year old wanted to cut her own bread from the loaf pan.   Having it in a bundt shape is a lot easier for her to slice (with a butter knife, don't worry!) and it has also solved my problem that I was sometimes having of my bread not being totally cooked in the very middle.   I also had to add 10-15 minutes to the cooking time, because the original recipe is baked in mini loaf pans.

This bread is really yummy, but I wish it had a bit more pumpkin flavor to it.  I might add some pumpkin pie spice next time.   But, I will definitely be making it again!

Pumpkin Banana Bread-

1/2 cup butter
1 - 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 - 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and beat well.  Beat in the bananas, pumpkin and vanilla.  Combine the flour baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradual add to creamed mixture.  Fold in the nuts.

Pour into a greased bundt pan.  Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool before removing from the pan.

I hope you're having a wonderful day sure is a beautiful Autumn day here!

God Bless,

Show & Tell Fridays - Autumn table top quilt

I am so excited today, because I finished up the Autumn table top quilt that I've been working on the past few weeks.  I used a great tutorial that I found at the Moda Bake Shop and changed it to Autumn fabric, instead of Christmas.   You can read about my adventures in learning how to do free-motion quilting on this quilt here. 

And here it is on my table.......I adore it!

Now I need to find one to make with a Christmas theme!  This is a nice size, too, and would be great for a lap quilt.... more ideas....more to add to my ever-growing "to sew" list..... ;-)

I just recently found a wonderful quilting blog called, Amylouwho, and she is the hostess of "Sew and Tell Fridays".  It's a place for sewers to share what they have been working on and get feedback, share what they have completed, and for inspiration.  I'm so excited to be sharing my finished quilt there and look forward to visiting all of the wonderful blogs to see everyone's beautiful creations!

I'm also linking up to Lit and Laundry and her "Finished for Friday" link party.  It's another great site and there are lots of talented people sharing some great projects!

Take care and God Bless!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Apples, apples, apples - a day spent canning

I was so lucky this month to receive a very large tub of apples from a friends apple tree!    Last year, I made regular apple jelly and it was quite an undertaking, so this year I decided to try something a bit easier.    I chose two recipes that I hadn't tried yet from my Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving:  Maple Apple Jam and Cranapple Butter.   I must admit that they both turned out really yummy!  And, after spending the morning making the jam, I went ahead and made the apple butter that afternoon.  It was a crazy idea and I sure did regret it by that evening, but it takes a good 3 hours for my canning pot to come to a boil and I figured that since I had had that pot all ready to go, I might as well can up all of the apples that I had.  Wow.  What a day.  I stood and peeled, cored and chopped over 12 pounds of apples!  My hands and feet were killing me, but I'm still glad that I went ahead and made everything in one day.  I also had my little 3-year old helper, so it took me longer than normal.  She was helping me put the cut up pieces of apple in the bowl and I came to the conclusion that she puts apples in a bowl the same way I put blueberries in my bucket when I'm at the blueberry piece in the bowl...3 pieces in her

Like I said, both of these recipes were really yummy and I hope you enjoy them!  Oh, and just as a quick disclaimer.....I am not a pro at canning. lol  I definitely don't know it all, so please go to the Ball Canning website for all information about canning and help with any questions you might have.  I only know what I know from standing in our tiny, hot kitchen every summer watching my parents can tomatoes, pickles and

Maple-Apple Jam-

makes about 8 half-pints

3 quarts chopped, peeled, cored apples (about 6 pounds)
6 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot.  Bring slowly to a boil.  Cook rapidly to gelling point.  (I had to add one package of pectin to my pot because I couldn't get mine to gel.  I think this is because I don't have a big enough pot to cook jelly in and couldn't bring the heat up high enough w/o it boiling over.)  As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking.   Remove from heat.  Skim foam if necessary.  Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Cranapple Butter-
makes about 6 pints

6 pounds apples (about 24 medium)
2 quarts cranberry juice cocktail
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

To prepare pulp:  Wash apples.  core, peel and quarter apples.  Combine apples and cranberry juice cocktail in a large sauce pot.  Simmer until apples are soft.  Puree using a food processor or food mill, being careful not to liquefy.

To make butter:  Combine apple pulp, sugar and spices in a large sauce pot.  Cook until thick enough to round up on a spoon.  As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking.  Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling-wtaer canner.

I hope you enjoy and God Bless!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

sewing - Autumn quilt WIP

I have really had the quilting bug these past few months.....I'm not sure why, maybe it's because I'm nesting or something & the idea of cozy quilts laying around is really appealing to me right now.   I finished two baby quilts last month along with the top of another baby quilt and I've almost finished a quilt to put on my dinner table in celebration of Autumn.   I found this beautiful Christmas quilt at the Moda Bake Shop (which has amazing FREE sewing/quilting ideas all of the time!  I LOVE this site!)   It is a Christmas quilt in the example, but I really wanted an Autumn-themed quilt for my dinner table, so I used the Awesome charm pack by Sandy Gervais for Moda.

I've been quilting up a storm on this one, because I want to have it done in time to have on our table throughout October and November.  Plus, my husband is waiting to use my sewing machine to work on my daughter's Halloween costume.  He's much better at making adjustments and additions to patterns than I am, so he gets to sew up her costume! ;-)

Here's the embarrassing part.  I tried doing free-motion quilting for the first time.  Let's just say that I started with WAY too big of a project to learn this technique!  And, I should have been smart enough to read my instruction manual before starting on this new venture.   

So, I went out and bought a darning foot, made up a quick quilt sandwich and started sewing.  It looked great on the top side and I was pretty excited at how easy it was to actually meander around and sew.  Here's what the top looked like....

It looks pretty good, huh?  Well.......then I tuned it over and saw this:

EEK! lol  What in the world is going on?  My thread has eyelashes!

Well, after a lot of heartache tweaking all of the buttons on my machine (which is only a few because I have an old Viking!), Googling, and hair pulling.........I got out my sewing machine manual.  Wow.  I should have done that first!  Turns out I was turning a knob that I thought was the upper thread tension and it actually adjusted the height of the feed dogs.  I NEVER knew I had that option! lol  Plus, I forgot to put the stitch length to zero.  So, after I used the correct knob for the feed dogs and set my stitch length to zero, things started working pretty well.  I am still having some minor issues with tension.  If you look closely at the back of my quilt, you can see my upper thread pulled through a bit and there are a few places where I have very, small eyelash action going on.  But, I prevailed and did free-motion quilting in all of the blocks of the quilt.  I decided to not attempt to do it on the entire quilt....I'm not ready for that! lol  So, I stitched 1/4" around the outside of each block and I think it looks pretty good!

There are lots of great video tutorials out there on free-motion quilting and this helped me out a lot, because I am a very visual learner.   I also found this great blog called "Sew Inspired" that was extremely helpful, because she uses a regular, ole' sewing machine like I have, has lots of pictures and great advice.

Here it is so far.....all quilted and waiting for the binding (which I hope to work on tonight):

and here is a close-up of  my attempt at free-motion quilting:

Hopefully this quilt will be finished in the next day or so!  Then it's on to my next project.......finishing this one up which will be a gift for a dear friend!

Take care and God Bless,