Sunday, October 30, 2022

Table Scraps Challenge - October 2022

This month's Table Scraps Challenge prompts were lime/light green and joy, however you may wish to interpret that. 

I had some pieces of pinkish-purple and green batik fabrics which had already been sewn together into strips (see them in the middle of the left-hand side of the photo below).  These were part of the thrift store haul of batik fabrics a few months back.

I had enough of the strip sets to make something small.  I followed a fun tutorial from Connie Kresin's blog, Freemotion by the River, called Hidden Wells.  By sewing a couple of strip sets together and cutting them into squares, then sewing those together per the tutorial, I made this cute little table topper.

Mine turned out about 20-1/2 inches square (my starting squares were a bit smaller than 8-1/2 inches, more like 8-1/4). I had juuust enough strips to squeak this out, which was great!  

The joy part is the fun of making things like this; also, I'm finding a lot of joy in the fall season and the beautiful colors we've enjoyed over the past few weeks. 


We found these cool ginkgo leaves on a walk through the park. I loved watching them turn from lime green to greenish-yellow-brown in the space of a few days. 

I was tempted to try to applique some ginkgo shaped leaves onto this table topper but decided to save that idea for another time.

The back (above) is pieced from more batik strip scraps and another piece of fabric. That side maybe looks more fall-like.  Flip a coin—or flip sides—I like both! 

Linking to:  The Joyful Quilter-Table Scraps Challenge


Sunday, October 16, 2022

Jelly Roll Race with Thrifted Batiks

 Back in June, I stopped at a local thrift store I hadn't visited in a while.  I can't remember now if I had something in mind to look for; maybe it was junk journal ideas or supplies.  Whatever the reason (and there doesn't need to be much of one for me to go), I made my usual pass through the sewing and crafting aisles and spied a couple bags of fabric.  They were both sealed and taped, but I could see they were stuffed with batik fabric, including what looked like a good chunk of a jelly roll.  For around three dollars total, it was a no-brainer.  Into the cart they went!

When I got home and opened the bags, OH MY GOODNESS!  There was at least 5 or 6 yards of batik fabric, from scraps to fat quarter size to half-yard cuts and half a jelly roll.  On top of that, there were 10 meticulously pieced 8.5-inch blocks and multiple strip sets sewn together.  Wow!

A couple weeks ago, I decided it was time to do something with those batiks.  The starting point, I thought, would be to utilize the remaining jelly roll strips, and then I'd cut additional strips from the other pieces to make something.  But what, exactly?  I started looking around for inspiration and soon found a video for a jelly roll race quilt with a twist (free downloadable pattern HERE).  Perfect!

I know the jelly roll race quilt has been around for a long, long time, but I'd never made one.  This particular idea had a little three-piece section inserted at the end of each strip, which supposedly would make an interesting secondary pattern due to the way those would fall when piecing it.  Okay, cool!

But here is where I tell you there was more fiddling involved than you might imagine.  Now this is probably, in part, because the extra batik strips I cut were perhaps not the exact same length as the ones in the jelly roll.  Some may have been a bit longer, some a bit shorter by a couple inches.  Hence the fiddling.  Also, by the time I got all the strips sewn together vertically, the right side was a full one inch longer than the left side, so there was a bit more fiddling and trimming to even it up.  I also removed a strip that didn't look right among the rest of them and replaced it with another.

For the backing, I went rooting around in the sewing room and found one I had pieced a few years ago but didn't use.  It had a section in the middle pieced from hand-dyed fabric scraps, but they were too dark for this quilt.  I ripped that section out, rejiggered the other large pieces from the original backing, and then sewed in a replacement section using some of those batik strip sets from the thrift store bag, as well as scraps from the jelly roll race quilt.

After quilting, this was the final result.  I'm happy with it!

And here's the back.

The scrappy binding is from three different purple batiks that seemed to play well together.

I don't normally wash finished quilts right away, but I am going to with this one since I didn't prewash all the bits and pieces from the thrift store.  I'll throw in a couple of color catchers, cross my fingers, and hope those deeply saturated batiks don't bleed too badly.  I also used a different brand of 80/20 batting than I normally do (Pellon), which quilted beautifully but seemed to have a stiffer hand.  Hopefully washing will soften that up bit too.

I still have quite a bit of pieces left over, so I'm sure there will be another scrappy something or other from those batik goody bags in the future.


Saturday, September 24, 2022

Table Scraps Challenge - September 2022

I'm back with a Table Scraps Challenge item, after having missed July and August's challenges.  

September's prompt was PUMPKIN along with LIGHT BLUE as the RSC color of the month.

I've been working on some secret holiday gift sewing that I can't talk about without spoiling the surprise.  However, from working on that came an idea for this month's Table Scraps Challenge.

I took a light blue gingham check fabric and cut a tea towel from it, which I then edged in a scrap of fabric left over from a fat quarter.  I had to piece the edge strip together, but it blends in.

Then I cut some applique shapes from other scraps for the pumpkin and fused those pieces down and then zigzagged around them.

Finished with a loopy vine in a running stitch with dark green pearl cotton thread.

Quick and easy!

Linking to:  The Joyful Quilter: September 2022 Table Scraps Challenge Link Party


Saturday, September 17, 2022

Making Mock Apple Pie

Here in the Upper Midwest, September means apple season and all the good things that go along with it.  Apple pie, turnovers, caramel apples, apple crisp—the list goes on and on.  My favorite variety has always been Cortland, followed in close second place by Macintosh, and then anything else that's a bit more tart than sweet. 

So with all the ripe, authentic bounty of the apple orchard, why in the world would I want to make a mock apple pie?  Well, it all comes down to my sensitive digestion (darn it).  I love apples, but they no longer love me. 

You see, apples are a big source of FODMAPs, an acronym for certain types of carbohydrates that IBS sufferers like me have trouble digesting.  I won't bore you with the entire list of delicious foods I've had to break up with, but if you ever need a good cry and want something to tip you over the edge, do an internet search on FODMAPs.

Anyway, as I passed by a loaded apple tree on my walk the other day, I wondered if there was a recipe for mock apple pie that I could eat.  Not the old RITZ cracker mock apple pie (no thanks, gluten) that I remember printed on every box in my youth.  But maybe something made with, say, zucchini?  Zucchini is a low-FODMAP vegetable that I tolerate well and, given its basic blandness, might be amenable to the ruse.  It also happens to be that lucky time of year when gardener friends are desperate to share their overgrown zucchini, the ones that look  like baseball bats.

So I sat down to Google "mock apple pie recipes with zucchini" and's definitely a thing!  

After scanning the ingredient list of a half dozen such recipes, I finally settled on one that had a lower amount of sugar (see the above preference for tart over sweet).  It was this recipe for Zapple Pie.  You're going to want to click that link and save it.  Trust me.

Then I got down to business.  First order of business:  Procure a big-ass zucchini.  Luckily, my sister had just been gifted one and let me have it.  Literally, that is; she didn't bop me with it, although it did resemble a small club.

I substituted my own gluten-free pie crust in this recipe.  I mixed that together and put the pie dough in the refrigerator to chill.

Then I peeled and de-seeded the zucchini and cut it into slices.  The recipe called for 6 cups, but I used 8, thinking it'd cook down (it did somewhat, but surprisingly not that much).  Also, I just like more pie filling.

Next, I simmered the zucchini in lemon juice for 5 minutes, then added in the sugar, spices, and tapioca.  I used tapioca flour in place of the Minute tapioca because that's what I had on hand.  After simmering another 5 minutes or so, it had thickened up nicely and totally looked like apple pie filling!

As that was set aside to cool a bit, I pressed half my gluten-free pie crust into a square glass pan.  My gluten-free crust recipe tends to be crumbly and doesn't always roll out as well as a regular flour crust does, but I've learned that patting it in the pan works out fine.  I patted it in the bottom and about an inch up the sides of the pan.

After the filling was added to the bottom crust, I flattened out the other half of the crust as best I could, then lifted sections of it with a spatula onto the top of the filling.  I proceeded like that, adding sections of crust and fitting them together until the top was covered.

Let's call it rustic.  It sounds nicer than "cobbled together."  By the way, this is the first time I've baked a two-crust pie in a square pan.  I normally use a round pie plate, but I decided to try a slab pie this time.  I may make more pies this way from now on.  Not very pretty, but easier and just as good.

I brushed the top with some almond milk and sprinkled on about a tablespoon or so of coarse granulated sugar, and popped it into the oven.  Pretty soon, the house smelled wonderful!

After it had baked per the directions, I took it out to cool.  I could hardly wait to try it, but I knew it had to cool almost completely before I cut into it.  I went for a long walk.  When I came back it was still a bit warm, but my patience had given out.  I cut a piece and took a bite.

Ding-ding-ding!  It tasted JUST LIKE APPLE PIE!!  Had I not made it myself, I would not believe it wasn't real apple pie!  It hit all the marks for taste, texture, and just the right amount of tangy sweetness.

Yes, yes, yes!  I will definitely make Zapple Pie again!  I know I'm using way too many exclamation points, but I am so stoked that this pie turned out so well.  It's the little things that make me happy!  Except it feels like a BIG win to enjoy a piece of what tastes like real apple pie!

So tell me, have you ever made or eaten mock apple pie?  If you like apples, do you have a favorite kind?


Sunday, September 11, 2022

A Triple Finish

While I love the whole process of making quilts, there's just something wonderful about getting them D-O-N-E, done!  

Maybe it's the space it opens for other ideas to enter, or maybe it's the sense of accomplishment, that I shepherded something through to completion, that I followed through with an intention.

You've seen these quilts in various stages in prior posts.  The first two were sent to the longarm quilter a few months ago and returned several weeks ago, and have waited patiently to be trimmed and bound.  I finally finished them last week.

This is a scrappy, stringy Hole In The Barn Door (or Churn Dash) quilt.  I was inspired by the blocks Chantal was making last fall.

I'm glad I went for the scrappy inset border rather than settling for just the gray.

The backing was a vintage cotton sheet found at the thrift store.  It adds such a nice softness to the feel of the quilt.  You can see Sandy's pretty quilting from the back side.

The second finish was this scrappy Trip Around the World quilt that was fun to put together with an eclectic mix of strips.

I love the riotous look of this one.  The backing is one I found at an estate sale of a quilter, yards and yards of a perfume bottle print.

This will be my new fall TV-watching quilt.  Bring on the popcorn and Netflix!

Last, but not least, is my Positivity 2022 quilt.  I raided the box of batik scraps for this one, and I really like how it turned out.  

The back is a pretty floral cotton shower curtain I found at the thrift store, brand new in the package.  I want to say it was $2.99 or something like that, which is fantastic for four yards of fabric. 

I quilted it in an overall meander and made the binding from leftover batik strips.  This will be on its way to Mercyful Quilts this week.

Whew, that feels good!  Three quilts what's next?  For starters, I might make some fall crafty stuff with a kit a friend gifted me earlier in the year.  How about you?


Monday, August 29, 2022

Positivity Quilt Top and Summer Highlights

I missed the link-up for the Positivity QAL finishes, but rather than listing my excuses, none of which are good, let's focus on the positive.  I have a top done!

This is pretty much the sum total of the summer sewing around here, so woo-hoo! :)

I thought I might have a fully finished quilt to show you, but no dice.  I did piece a backing and Franken-sewed a batting together for it this past weekend, but then realized this baby is kind of big to baste in the usual spot on my kitchen floor.  I think it's doable, but I'm going to have to make a plan, move some things, mop, etc., so it's going to have to wait a little bit longer.

Tomorrow I'm checking into a nice hotel in preparation for a colonoscopy the following day.  Flushing a couple hundred bucks down the toilet for the privilege, but at least I won't have to drive an hour to the hospital in morning traffic the day of the procedure, which seemed a bit too risky, if you know what I mean.  The procedure is a routine thing (mostly), since it's been over 10 years since the last one.  Suffice it to say, I'll be glad when it's, uh, behind me.

The summer has really flown by, but I've enjoyed it.  Reading, walking, putzing, biking, spending time with friends, crafting, etc.  

A friend and I got together a couple weeks ago to make cork fabric wreaths.  We missed the class at Sallie Tomato last fall due to unforeseen circumstances, so we held our own on one "craft-ernoon" and put them together.  They turned out very cute!

On a little day trip this summer, hubby and I stopped at an antique shop where I admired this vintage quilt.  

The price was reasonable, but I didn't take it home, just took pictures.  Love all the sweet fabrics and hand quilting.

Another recent highlight was spending a day with my great-niece and my sister (her grandmother).  We took a long walk, toward the end of which I offered a little horsey-back ride.  

Eight years old is a magical age of enthusiasm, spark, humor, and curiosity—and it's contagious in the best way!


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Junk Journal July - Days 21 to 31

This is a summary of the final 10 days of Junk Journal July hosted by @megjournals.  If you missed the two previous posts about this junk journaling challenge and are curious, you can catch up here and here.

During this last stretch, I skipped around, and some days I skipped completely but then caught up by combining a couple of prompts in one layout.  For simplicity's sake, though, I'm going to arrange this summary in chronological order.

Day 21 - FOCUS was the prompt.  I used bits of what I hesitate to call junk mail, as it was very useful and inspirational.  I was worried my Venn diagram would be lost on the page, so the big circle was an afterthought, but it does pull the whole thing into better focus, I think.  This one was fun!

Day 22 - BLENDED. I used a blend of fabric and paper in this one, and there is a nice blend of bathing suit imagery across several decades of the 20th century. I found these images in an old photo album from the 1910s.  I love the handwritten captions on them!  Can you imagine swimming in that garb now?  The photos were small black and white ones, but on the morning I made this page, I had the idea to upload and run them through the colorize process on Turned out pretty interesting, and it's one of my favorite pages!

Day 23 - MAXIMALISM. If you say "go big or go home," most of the time I'll happily do the latter. Anyway, I tried, lol.  This one's got gold mylar, junk mail, dried flower book images, butterfly transfers, and a really old picture of my hometown's main bridge from 100+ years ago.

Days 24-26 - PAINT SPLATTERS, PEACEFUL, and MEMENTO.  I didn't plan it this way, but it happened that this page ticked the boxes for three days' worth of prompts.  Black and red tempera paint splatters and doodles made the background interesting.  Then I collaged on some graphics from a magazine recipe page from the 1990s over some fabric squares.  Cooking and baking (and fabric) are very peaceful things for me, my happy place.  

The memento is my mom's recipe card for one of her favorite old-time cookies.  I made the pocket for it from the cellophane wrapper from a package of stickers.

Day 27 - STRIPPED BACK. This was a nice change from the maximalism page. The circled words are my attempt to create a poem from this random vintage book page.  It reads:


she had decided

(you hafta go for more)

to walk

with considerable wind,


Days 28-29 - STENCILING and GEOMETRIC.  I made an easy scissor-cut stencil of diamond and heart shapes and stenciled that onto a brown paper bag. My geometric interpretation was pretty broad, but you can identify circles, squares, rectangles, etc. I used a vintage pattern again, the inside of a junk mail return envelope, a Mary Engelbreit greeting card a friend sent me recently, and I folded some of the pattern tissue into a gathered skirt and gave it a "Sew Easy" waistband. A fussy-cut fabric flower adds the final embellishment.  Another one of my favorite pages!

Day 30 - FAVORITE QUOTE.  I don't know why, but I went into this day thinking the prompt was favorite poem (not quote) which was a tossup between Mary Oliver's Wild Geese and Wendell Berry's The Peace of Wild Things.  Oops, my mistake.  I pasted those onto a page anyway but did little else to really embellish the page (no picture).  I did, however, have a couple of quotes already pulled for the final page, so I went ahead and worked on that.

Day 31 - FAREWELL.  My farewell quotes were applied to either side of a tag covered with pattern tissue paper and a little golden butterfly.  A throwback to Day 1's theme of beginning, these quotes were about ending, and that felt like a good way to tie things together to wrap up Junk Journal July.

On the back of the page, which originally came from an old cookbook, I pasted a cookie recipe in my mom's handwriting, which she had jotted on the back of a deposit slip.  She must have needed a quick piece of paper to copy a recipe someone was sharing, and that made me smile.  I don't remember her making these cookies, so I tested out the recipe myself.  The cookies were just okay, but I had to substitute ingredients to make them gluten- and dairy-free, so that may have been where they fell short.  Anyway, a good place to scrapbook the recipe, and maybe I'll try it again sometime.

Whew!  That was a good creative challenge.  I am happy for it to conclude, at least the daily obligation of it, and move on to sewing-related things again.  Glad I spent some time in the junk journal world, though.  It was a nice vacation!