Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stuffing Balls
We like the crispy top of the stuffing that is cooked outside of the turkey. SO... I now use a scooper and put scoops of stuffing on a baking sheet (I use a Silpat) and pop em' in the oven. Yum!

A few of my turkeys. NO... not the pictures! I have an extensive collection of turkeys. Some of them might be valuable, but most are just garage sale and after TG bargains. I just like them. My favorites are the vintage salt and pepper turkeys.

When do you Quilt Poll

First of all, I'm really glad I ran the poll. I'm a new blogger and it showed me that people are actually reading my blog! (I'd love to know who you all are!).

I posted the poll asking when you like to quilt. Most of those who responded like to quilt in the evening- or at night when everyone else is asleep. When I was younger (kids at home) I was a night-quilter. But I have more control of my time now, and I like daylight. I especially like to do hand work, like hand stitching binding, in natural light. I guess it's my 50-something eyesight.

No matter when you quilt (or knit or scrap or bead or read...) take some time for yourself. Once a day or once a week- whatever you can work in. Just remember how important your outlets are. Nurturing others is much easier when our own cup is full.

It's the eve of Thanksgiving and I am going to do some cooking tonight in preparation for tomorrow. Our grown sons and their ladies and some other family will be filling our dining room tomorrow. I'm excited! I love to cook and I love even more to have friends and loved ones around. However you spend your Thanksgiving, I hope it's filled with gratitude and contentment (and pumpkin pie!).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fuchsias and Hummingbirds

I spent a lot of the day at the sewing machine. I have several quilts very close to being done so I decided to spend some time this week finishing them up. It's pretty cool to say I made 3 quilts this week! Never mind that they have been sitting there 98% done for months! This one is my fuchsia and hummingbird quilt. The fabric is Maywood Fuchsia and the pattern is Whirligig by Animas Quilts (I have the pattern for sale on my website). I quilted it on a Gamill with hummingbirds. The beaks were a bit of a challenge with my limited longarm skills, but it was a good learning experience.

We have SWARMS (honestly!) of hummingbirds right outside our kitchen in the spring and summer. We have several feeders hanging outside our kitchen window and when they are super thirsty, they go through a quart of sugar water in a day. Sometimes (especially if I have a red shirt on) I walk outside and get dive-bombed. I miss my little irridescent friends when they move on and look forward to seeing them again in the spring. When I saw this fabric, I knew I just had to do something with it. It's a big one- queen size, and the backing is VERY purple.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cape Meares Lighthouse

It was SOOOOOO beautiful yesterday! It was a rare autumn day- sunny and not too cool- one of those days you just can't enjoy from inside. We packed up the dogs (our own and Steve's dog- we were grandpuppy sitting for the weekend) and headed out. We really didn't care where we went- we just wanted to be outside. When I want to enjoy the outdoors, I generally gravitate toward the coast. We ended up at Cape Meares Lighthouse near Tillamook, Oregon. Gorgeous views in every direction. How lucky I am to live near such a beautiful place! I've spent the last 24 hrs trying to come up with a plan for a lighthouse quilt. I've made several sketches but I'm not in love with any of them. I guess I'll just have to keep playing. Someone asked me if my blog was about quilts or travel or recipes or what? My answer- ALL of it! Mostly, it's about quilts. But my whole life is inspiration for my quilting, so it all goes in here. Tomorrow I'll post a picture of a quilt- I promise.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mystery solved!

On the question of why covered bridges are covered... from "".... "What you're really trying to protect in a covered bridge are the structural members--the trusses. Made of heavy timber, these are the expensive part of the bridge, and if they fall apart due to exposure to the elements, so does the bridge. An unprotected wooden bridge will last maybe ten years. Put a cover over it, however, and it'll last for centuries." Who knew!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gallon House Covered bridge

Wayne and I wanted to get out and take a little drive today. We wanted to go some place different- some place interesting, and we didn't want food or shopping to be the focus. He came up with the bright idea that we should find a covered bridge. There are quite a few covered bridges in Oregon, but we've never looked for them. So.... we got onto the internet and found that a the Gallon House covered bridge is a little more than an hour away (or longer if you take back roads like we did today). The Gallon House covered bridge is on Gallon House Road (brilliant!) somewhere between Mt. Angel and Silverton, Oregon. It's probably in one of those cities but we couldn't figure it out because it was pretty rural. It bridges a little creek, with farm land on both sides- mostly hops. The original bridge was built in 1916, and some restoration work was done in recent years. The story goes that there was a house somewhere near the bridge where you could get alcohol during prohibition- and it was sold by the gallon. I'm not sure that's true- but that's the story. Very cool! I think I can get into this! I want to find another one the next time we want to take a drive. I might even end up with a covered bridge quilt one of these days. I have done some searching and every covered bridge that I found has lots of history. But I still have one question- why covered bridges? Can anyone tell me the purpose of covering a bridge? They look cool, but I don't get it. Any covered bridge experts out there?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New York Beauty

FINALLY! I've been working on this thing for years! I actually pieced it in a few months- several years ago. Then it sat there because I was afraid to quilt it. I finally took a deep breath and just stabilized it by quilting in the ditch with monfilament thread. Then I wanted to embellish it and do fancy things with pretty threads and beads and findings. So you guessed it-- it sat again for a few years. I then decided to just put a binding on it and call it "done" and go back to embellish it when the mood strikes me. Even though it's not really done- I plan to mess with it more- I'm calling it done and getting ready to hang it in my dining room. This is Karen Stone's New York Beauty paper piece pattern. I reduced it by 50% because it was bed-size and I wanted a wall quilt. I used about 600 fabrics in it- using it as an excuse to increase my stash back when I was piecing it. I tried not to use one fabric for more than 2 blocks or spikes. for the most part, a fabric is in one of the blocks and is also one of the border spikes.

The cool part is that this quilt inspired a customer to learn to paper piece. (Yea, Joanne!). She's starting smal but wants to do this quilt (or one like it). The funny thing is that I am teaching her to paper piece over the internet. I feel a little like I am playing charades with my eyes closed, but she's a quick study and learning fast.

Has anyone else out there done any Karen Stone patterns? Karen is one of my favorite designers and I think I'm going to have to tackle another one of her patterns. I also like that she has her design pack on EQ6. TOO much FUN!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nanaimo Bars

I first tasted these incredibly rich goodies in Nanaimo, BC. Nanaimo is west of Victoria, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I got this recipe off the Nanaimo Tourism Bureau website a few years back. The comments in parenthesis are mine. They need to be refrigerated but they are best served a little closer to room temperature so the center will be gooey (In my humble opinion). To my knowledge, they have no calories. LOL

Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer
1/2 Cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp cocoa
1 egg, beaten
1 3/4 cups crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

1. Melt first 3 ingredients in top of a double bolier
2. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken.
3. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in crumbs, coconut and nuts.
5. Press firmly into an ungreased 8" x 8" (or 9X9) pan.

Middle Layer
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp heavy cream
2 tbsp vanilla custard powder (since this recipe originated in Canada and I'm in the US, I wasn't sure what this was. I assume it's pudding mix. I use the boxed pudding mix- not the instant kind- and it works great.)
2 cups icing (confectioners) sugar

1. Cream together butter, cream, and custard powder.
2. Beat until light.
3. Spread over bottom layer.

Top Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz each)
2 tbsp unsalted butter

1. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat (I use the double boiler- I wouldn't attempt using a microwave).
2. Cool (stir it a lot and it will cool quickly- especially if you transfer it to a cool bowl- don't forget about it because you don't want it to get hard)
3. When cool but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

It's fixed!

My Gallery (on the Alderwood Quilts website) is fixed! My brilliant webmaster pointed out the error of my ways and I was able to get the photos back on. I have more to load, but at least it's up and working. Whew!

I went to my monthly stamp club meeting last night. Stamping and scrapping don't get a lot of time in my life, but I still love paper crafting. One night a month I meet with friends at the home of our Stampin' Up! representative and we get our monthly "paper fix". I brought the muchies this month and several ladies asked me for the recipe. I'll post it after I'm done with this.

I hope to spend some time at my machine tomorrow. I have 3 quilt tops in process and I want to finish them up so I can start more!

For those of you who are reading this- what are you working on? Quilts? Other stuff? Tell me about it. Better yet- show me a picture! I'll take a picture of what I work on tomorrow and post it tomorrow night.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Gallery problems

I was entering some photos onto the "Gallery" on my website tonight and somehow managed to delete most of the gallery. I have no idea what I did and my website designer is working on it. I hope he can work some magic because I'm not a happy camper right now. In addition to getting all the pictures back on that I somehow lost, I have new ones to add. So-- pretty soon (I hope) the gallery will have lots to look at.

I also put some new products on the website. I did THAT without any losing anything! I put some great new pins on. They're called "Forked Pins". I just LOVE these things! They're so great for matching seams. You nestle seams nice and tight and then put one of these pins in so the seam in between the 2 pins. The nice UPS man brought me 2 boxes of fabric from Robert Kaufman today. Most of it was reorders of Boy Scout fabric that I was running low on but there are also some Asian prints and a batik in there. They should make it onto the website in a couple of days.

I spent some time over the weekend in the lavender field. We have a small lavender farm and I planted 24 new plants. It's a little late in the fall, but the mild weather is holding so far. Pretty soon it will be time to dig my dahlias. I left them in too long last year and the "critters" got hungry and munched on them. I'm always competing with moles, voles, field mice and deer for my flowers and veggies.

I think I'll go make some Nanaimo Bars to take my mind off my broken photo gallery. I'll let you know when it's fixed and all the new photos are on!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Birmingham Quilter's Guild Car Cozy

Another car cozy! This one was made by the Birmingham Quilter's Guild to share the news about their upcoming show. I, for one, would want to attend the show if I saw this car driving around MY town!

Santiam Scrapper's Quilt Guild Car Cozy

Members of the SSQG donated "orphan blocks" to create this cover for guild president Peggy Christopherson's van. Not many vehicles are so fortunate as to be this well dressed!!!

To reply to a posting....

If you want to reply to a posting on this blog, click on the title of the post you are reading-- then down at the end of the post, you will be able to click on "comment".

Welcome to the Alderwood Quilts BLOG!

WOW! A BLOG! How exciting! I've wanted to start a blog for a long time and this is my first post. One of my favorite things to do is chat with customers on the phone or email. I've even been lucky enough to meet a few in person. When a customer wrote to me to tell me she liked a quilt made by another customer that I posted in the "Gallery" section of my website, I realized that I HAD to get a blog going so this chatting can go public. I'll still be putting photos on my website in the Gallery, but we can put even more photos on here- and you can all comment on them.

There's a lot going on around here this fall. Wayne and I traveled to 2 shows and set up Alderwood Quilts booths in their vending area. It was SOOOOO fun! I got to talk to customers all day! I showed them new things, gave them tips, and learned when they shared ideas with me. If you have ideas of shows that would be good for us to vend at, please let me know. For now, I'd like to stick to the Pacific Northwest.... mainly in the Portland area.

The first show we vended at was in Hillsboro, OR at the First Baptist Church. The ladies there are so nice, and they do a lot of charity quilts- loving gifts to those who would benefit by their talents. They showed quilts in the church sanctuary, draped over the pews. VERY cool!

We also vended at the Santiam Scrapper's Quilt Guild show in Lebanon, OR. The quilts were amazing, and I even ran into some friends there that I didn't even know lived in the area! I made new friends among the other vendors and I hope to have an ongoing relationship with this wonderful guild. One of the highlights was the "Quilt Cozy" they made for guild president Peggy Christopherson's van! I'm not kidding- they took orphan blocks and stitched them together to cover Peggy's van. You haven't lived until you've seen a custom car quilt! The guild in Birmingham, AL also has a car cozy. I have photos of both of these cars in my gallery- are there more out there that you know of? Let me see them!

Today, I'm getting the November newsletter ready to send out. If you haven't signed up to receive it, you can do that on the website. Click on the "For You" tab and select "Newsletter".

I'll be posting often. Let me hear from you and lets get some ideas flowing!