Friday, August 18, 2017

Charlee's Quilt...

Baby Charlee's quilt is finished! Charlee is one of two granddaughter's born last spring. She's a beautiful little angel, and we're so grateful for her. Her "twin" cousin -- born just a few weeks before Charlee -- is getting a similar quilt, but I chose the white background for the bunnies for Charlee's.

Here's a sweet story about Charlee's name. My grandfather, Charles James Reed, was born in Wales in the late 1800's. He served in WWI for the Welsh Fusiliers, and after the war immediately immigrated to the United States. He married and had only one child, my mother, before he passed away (from conditions experienced in the war) when my mother was just a little girl. With only one child, you wouldn't think his legacy would continue much through the generations, but last count he had twelve grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or great-great grandchildren named after him. I think that's amazing. Of course by now, the g-g-grandchildren are also being named after their fathers or uncles, etc. Charlee, however, is only the second girl named after him. My mother was the first -- with the middle name of Charlene. I'm so proud that Charlee carries her father's and my grandfather's name.

I am absolutely in love with these fabrics. They are from a Riley Blake collection by Melissa Mortensen, called "Wonderland 2." I bought them on Etsy, and they are currently 20% off. They are such adorable fabrics. You can buy them here.

Again, I used a half-triangle pattern for the quilt, leaving big squares of the bunnies. Love those bunnies...

When my thirteen-year-old granddaughter was visiting a month ago, she suggested on Christmas morning my husband and I Facetiming our children's families so we could watch them open their quilts. Good suggestion. After all this work, it would be wonderful to see each one open their gift. 

The back of this quilt is simple...

Today I'll finish up Charlee's "twin" cousin's quilt who was born a few weeks before her.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Berkley's Quilt...

Our little granddaughter Berkley is a force to be reckoned with. She lives with determination and gusto, and we love her for it. She'll be turning nine next month. Her favorite colors are navy blue and coral, and the animal she's loved for as long as I can remember is the owl. I'm hoping I hit a home-run with this one...

I love the woodsy theme on this quilt -- mostly owls, with squirrels, bunnies, raccoons, and foxes and a colorful banner added for charm. Berkley lives in a beautiful rural, woodsy setting -- most of these animals probably reside in her backyard!

This quilt is a smidgen on the dark side for a little girl, but I fell in love with the owl fabrics. I just hope she falls in love with it too...

I use the same fabrics on the back -- lots of polka-dots and owls...

One more down! Quilting took a backseat in the month of July and it will for August too. I'm trying to finish some quilts before I spend more time with family next week. I'm hoping in September I'll be able to finish a bunch more quilts, because Christmas is only four months away. {YIKES!}


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Avery's Quilt...

Avery is our second oldest grandchild. She'll be turning 12 next month. We have a family story that shortly after she was born her mommy and daddy unwrapped her to check to see if she had all her fingers and toes and she took offense. Legend has it she cried constantly for the next six months. In some cases legends aren't based on truth... this one is. One time, when she was about three months old, my at-the-time teenage son and I babysat Avery while her parents went to a movie. She didn't take bottles, and she decided she was starved a half-hour after her parents left. What ensued was enough to make my teenage son swear off children for a good long time. (I didn't blame him.) Finally, in desperation I got a bottle out of the kitchen cupboard and tried to give her a little water. I figured she'd cried for a solid hour and was probably dehydrated, if nothing else. That little kiddo turned beet red and her furor measured a solid 10 on the Richter scale. Mind you, I was an experienced mother, but she scared me.

Fortunately, she's calmed down considerably since those early days and turned into a beautiful young woman. We love her so much. Her favorite colors are coral, gold, and mint.  I found some beautiful fabrics in those colors, so I'm hoping she'll love this quilt...

I love the touch of metallic that many fabrics have in them these days. It makes the fabrics a little more luxurious...

There is a metallic gold thread that winds itself through most of the fabrics in this quilt. There's no real "theme" to this quilt -- you'll find tee-pees, and flowers, and bees, and unicorns, and feathers, and arrows.

I think the theme is often created by the colors in the quilt...

I chose this fabric  that was mint and coral and built the quilt around it...

Here's the back...

I hope she likes it.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Daughter's Quilt...

I still haven't finished the binding on all the grandkid's quilts, but yesterday I had a few hours in the afternoon to bind this quilt. {Two Hallmark movies later I was done!} I'm not going to be identifying the quilts for my sons and daughters by name. If they see this post, they'll have to guess if it's theirs. When my 13-year-old granddaughter was visiting a few weeks ago, however, she was able to identify which aunt would get which quilt just by looking at them! That made me feel sooo good because it meant that their quilts "looked" like them!

This quilt is for one of my daughters. The thing I love about making these quilts, is the whole time I'm cutting it out, sewing it, and binding it, thoughts of the person I'm making the quilt for flows through my mind. It makes me so grateful for my family.

This quilt's intended recipient is an amazing young woman. She's kind, compassionate, passionate, hilarious, talented, and beautiful. She's who I want to be when I grow up.

Several of my daughters love coral, navy and turquoise...

I've used the same pattern on practically all of the quilts that I've made. They are variations of a half-triangle quilt. I love this variation with the white because it looks so crisp. Lots of cute fabrics comprise this quilt. There are banners, and arrows, and horses, and owls, and the great outdoor with mushrooms, trees and tents...

The back is kinda crazy...

You are going to see the same fabrics used in different ways on the quilts for our sons and daughters. When you have a few people who like owls and you find an owl fabrics you like, you tend to use it for a few of them!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Mushroom Bolognese with Summer Squash

My favorite meals in the summer come straight out of our veggie garden, and this recipe in particular -- using fresh summer squash, tomatoes, basil, and oregano from our bounty -- is heavenly...

I love to combine a thick, meaty Bolognese sauce with zucchini and yellow crooked-neck squash. So good! Over the years, I've tweaked and {in my not-so-humble opinion} ultimately perfected this Bolognese recipe. My husband has labeled it "the best," not that he's particularly impartial, mind you, but I do think this recipe is worth sharing...

Ingredients for Bolognese (Meat Sauce):

8 ounces of fresh white mushrooms 
1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
2 Tbsp. milk
Salt & pepper
1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 heaping Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes (set aside 2 Tbsp. of juice) -- sometimes I use fresh tomatoes out of my garden
2 tsp. dried oregano or 1 tsp. fresh oregano
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 beef bouillon cubes 
1 rounded Tbsp. granulated sugar
Basil - fresh, about 10 leaves, sliced thin
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

1. Pulse mushrooms in food processor until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
2. Add bread, milk, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper to now-empty food processor and pulse until paste forms. Fold this paste (Panade) into beef and sausage and set aside this meat mixture.
3. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat and add onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are browned and dark bits form on saucepan bottom, about 6 to 12 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and ground red pepper; cook until fragrant and tomato paste starts to brown, about 1 minute. Add reserved 2 Tbsp. of tomato juice (from can of diced tomatoes), and oregano, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add meat mixture and cook, breaking the ground beef and sausage into small pieces, until it loses its raw color -- 2 to 4 minutes, making sure the beef does not brown. 
4. Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, beef bouillon cubes, basil, and sugar; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer until sauce has thickened and flavors have blended -- about an hour on very low heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. 

Zucchini and Yellow Crooked-Neck Squash

Wash and cut 1/4" rounds of zucchini and squash. Line a cookie sheet with foil, put a little olive oil on the foil and spread it around. Place your squash rounds on the cookie sheet. Spray rounds with Pam and salt and pepper. Broil in 450 degree oven for about 8 - 10 minutes. I test after about 8 minutes and if they are slightly soft, they're done!

Layer cooked squash in bottom of bowl. Spoon yummy Bolognese sauce over squash and top with fresh Parmesan or Feta cheese. It tastes heavenly and it's good for you. What's not to love?

{During colder months you can always enjoy the Bolognese sauce over pasta!}

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mt. Rushmore and more...

Well, folks, this last week quilting, sewing, or otherwise crafting has been the furthest thing from my mind. We were fortunate enough to have three of our amazing grandkids visit us for the last week. There were days at the pool, a children's museum, a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park, and a quick weekend trip to Mt. Rushmore and the surrounding area.

Mt. Rushmore was amazing. The Black Hills are beautiful and Mt. Rushmore is magical.

It's very kid-friendly, and the "Presidential Trail" around the base of Mt. Rushmore lets you get close to the magnificent carvings. One of my grandsons did a report on Gutson Borglum and Mt. Rushmore last year in school, so he filled us in on specifics as we traveled around the site.

We also took advantage of a water park in Rapid City and the next day went to Bear Country USA, which was really amazing. Bear Country is a park where you can observe black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions, buffalo and more from the comfort of your car. In other words the animals roam free and the people are the ones that are caged. We literally had bears walk right next to our car. One even came up to the front of our car, sat down, and scratched his back on our front bumper. So funny. The kids loved it, and so did we!

They also have a well-kept, clean area where you can view park offspring -- particularly bear cubs.They entertain young and old alike!

I had no idea that the Rushmore area was so incredibly family-friendly and that it has sooo much to do. We could have easily spent four days there and left without seeing everything. So much fun!

Today the grandkids leave, and I'm left to my own devices. That is until another bunch of grandkids descend on us this Sunday for a week. Yay!

As for quilting, sewing, or crafting -- I could care less about that stuff when I've got family visiting!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fabric choices...

Yesterday I featured some fabric choices for quilts with a more masculine bent. Today I'm showing you some beautiful fabrics from Hawthorne Threads that are definitely more feminine. I'm not sure I've ever met a collection from Hawthorn Threads that I didn't love. Here's a couple of collages from their Nectar collection, but check out Autumn Fawn, Thumbelina, Blackbird, and more. They are on the pricey side, but oh so worth it for their lusciousness...

Friday, July 14, 2017


All the grandchildren's quilt tops have been completed, so the last couple of weeks, I've begun to make my kid's quilts. This has proved to be a little more challenging -- especially for the men. As I was discussing with the ladies at the quilt store today, it's hard to find manly-man fabric. There are many options for children and women, but for men... not so much. Here's a sneak peek at some of the fabrics I've chosen for the men in my life.

The fabrics below have a coastal vibe. Lots of manly colors and an "anchors away" kind of feel with ships, anchors, and maps!
  {Hobby Lobby fabrics}

I've found "things that move" and "travel" can be a good themes for a man's lap quilt. I'm making one quilt out of this combination...
  {Theory of Aviation by Windham Fabrics}

And, I'm using one of those same fabrics, and building another one around these fabrics...

A couple of our boys have "desk jobs," so here's an option for them...

{Windham Fabrics Desk Job}

And there's always the "camping/wildlife/woodland" themes...

{Trail Mix & Foxtail Forest by Dear Stella}

{Woodie Winterland line by Stof Fabrics}

Hopefully these quilts will work up to be more masculine. That's the goal anyway.  I'm using a lot of gray and taupe in accent fabrics, so I think that will help. We will see!