Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

My friend Cindy Harris is a wonderful cook. I love everything she makes, and follow her cooking blog Everyday Insanity faithfully.
One of the things the Harris family is famous for is their cookies.
Her mother keeps cookie jar full of freshly baked delights right by the back kitchen door as an enticement for any family member coming over for a visit.
You can hear the continual clink, clink, clink of the jar lid as one person after another drops by her home, followed by a "Hi Grandma!"

Cindy recently shared a recipe with tutorial for Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies.
This is the perfect recipe if you like a mix of chocolate and peanut butter.
Chocolate outside with a gooey peanut butter filling.

My grandson overheard me describing the recipe to his mother and said "Grandma, would you make me some of those cookies?"
You can find the recipe for Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies over on Cindy's blog HERE.

Monday, July 30, 2012

20 Great Grannies!

With a feeling of bitter/sweet, I've now finished 20 Great Granny Blocks.
Sweet because these have been so fun to make, and I've had a wonderful time sewing the last few weeks.
It felt therapeutic to sort through my scrap baskets and wonder how the blocks would look as I played with various fabric combinations.
Kind of like watching a jig saw puzzle come together.

Bitter when #20 was complete, knowing that I won't be making any more blocks :(
Although I guess I could make a second Great Granny if I wanted!... hmmm... that's an idea!
Wouldn't it be fun to experiment with a black background, similar to the traditional crocheted granny squares?

Love these BIG 12-inch blocks
Now it's time to start sewing the Grannies together with sashings.

If you would like to join the Great Granny Along, visit Lori Holt ( Bee In My Bonnet), and Jodi Nelson (Pleasant Home)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Irish Garden Quilt

My friend Pat Peters, of St. George, Utah sent me a few pictures of her latest finish.
Pat is a very prolific and award winning quilter.
I always stare in awe at her detailed, and very intricate appliqued quilts, that are made to perfection.

Irish Garden

106" X 106"
Pat said this quilt took her 1 1/2 years to complete, with a year for the applique and 6 months for the hand quilting.
The center cross hatch is at 1/4th -inch, and the outer cross hatch is at 1/2 -inches!
Pat shared " I used all batiks and appliqued with Superior Threads silk thread, and their cotton quilting thread Treasure. I sound like a commercial for Superior Threads, but as long as I put so much time into a quilt, I might as well use the best. "
As a side note, I remember when I worked at Superior Threads and Treasure first came on the market. Heather Purcell explained to me that they had decided to create a coated hand quilting thread at the request of many well known hand quilters, Pat being one.
Pat received one of the first spools of Treasure, and was asked to give a review.
Not only does Pat create beautiful quilts, but she also helps inspire new products in the industry!

Pattern: Summer Garden designed by June Bradley and Carol Schaefer
Pat added "The quilt is actually called Summer Garden, but I put the Irish in it because it looked like an Irish Garden."
Which is very much like Pat, who is of Irish descent, and has traveled to Ireland at least 10 times.
I predict Irish Garden is going to be another award winner!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


In honor of the Summer Olympics being held in London, I've been brushing up on a little British lingo.
After all, if I plan on spending every available moment for the next 17 days glued to the Gogglebox, I'd really like to be Au fait.
I was Chuffed As Nuts (extremely pleased) with the Opening Ceremonies, and thought they were very Tickety-Boo (If something goes well).
What did you think?
Who would have guessed that added to the lengthy list of Titles for the Queen would be the words "Bond Girl".
From the news coverage, to in depth interviews with my favorite Olympic competitors, all things British are Rawther Lovely.
I have a hand applique project all prepped, and a comfy chair with good lighting at the ready.
This may be one of those times when a little bit of knowledge becomes a dangerous thing:
I'm normally a somewhat quiet spectator during sports competitions.
But for this event, you just may hear me shouting
"Put some welly into it!"

From The Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Arizona

Friday, July 27, 2012

Finding Your Value Quilt

I wanted to share with you the last few Show and Tell quilts from the Nimble Thimbles this month.
There are always so many fun ideas to be gathered from viewing others work.

Signature Quilt blocks signed by members of the guild, and then placed in a setting.
Such a nice way to preserve memories.

This is a great pattern, and one that works so well with a smaller guild.

Wonky Log Cabin

I really liked this Triangle Purse. Even the handle is a combination of triangles!

A wonderful Red, White and Black quilt, where the "value" is the striking feature, rather than the colors.

Great use of light and dark.
I have heard the suggestion of using the the black and white setting on your camera to make sure there is enough contrast between the light and dark fabrics when sewing a block.
Others suggest looking through a View finder/ Peephole (the kind installed in front doors), which can be purchased at a hard ware store for about $15.
Both of these give you "perspective", as if you were looking from far away.
I've even heard the idea of placing your fabrics together in a copy machine to see if they read light and dark.
What do you do to find contrast when selecting fabrics for your blocks?

Even though most of this quilt has geometric blocks, the appliqued kitty smelling a flower, fits right in.
In a way, this is another example of contrast, which gives the eye a place to rest.

Someday I would like to make a black and white value quilt, just for the artistic practice.
And when I do, I already know the title.
Don't you think "Finding Your Value" would fit just right?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vintage Double Wedding Ring Quilt

The Nimble Thimbles brought some wonderful Show and Tell in July.

Kim went on vacation and came home with a vintage Double Wedding Ring Quilt made by her grandmother.

What a treasure to have this quilt in the hands of a grand daughter who appreciates and keeps the art of quilting alive through the next generation.

Kim estimates her grandmother made the Double Wedding Ring sometime during the 1920's- 1930's.
All hand quilted.

Ruth has been busy with her embroidery machine, and has already completed a table runner for Christmas.

Ruth also made a cute apron for her niece, with matching pot holders. (my camera was not quick enough to catch a picture of the accessories)

I'll share more Show and Tell from the Nimble Thimbles tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


This one really made me laugh.

Especially because I had to go out yesterday and buy a new iron.
The THIRD one in the last year and a half.

They just don't make them like they used to.
I now buy "el cheapo's" so I won't become emotionally attached or require counseling when forced to dump them in the garbage can AGAIN.
Deep breaths :)
Visualize happy places :)

Time to count your blessings :)
I did just get my sewing machine back.
It's been in the hospital for nearly a month now.
True confessions.
I am VERY emotionally attached to this baby.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Phoenix Modern July / Part 2

Here are a few more Show and Tell from The Phoenix Modern Quilt Guild meeting on Saturday.
As I mentioned in yesterday's post we were asked to bring a quilt that represented our personal style, and then another quilt that has provided a challenge.

Patty has really enjoyed fusible applique, and had a lot of fun putting together this tulip wall hanging.

Patty also asked for suggestions on the best way to quilt a fusible applique.
There are so many new things to learn with quilting, even for those who have been sewing for years.

One visitor said this is her second quilt she has made.
We hope she joins us again, and keeps trying new things.
A tee shirt quilt is a gift for her son.

Cute Alyssa (Pile O' Fabric) is a young mom who is making so many fun things. She has only been a quilter for a few years, but I can see she has a real eye for color.
Alyssa is a web designer by profession, and has volunteered to be the web designer for our guild.

Her first few quilts are baby quilts for her children.
She even machine quilts her own quilts.

As a web designer, Alyssa is familiar with using Photo Shop and designed the lettering for her son's quilt.
So wonderful to see these young women jump right into the industry and use their creative talents to start designing, plus bring fresh ideas to the quilting world.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Phoenix Modern Quilt Guild July Meeting

It's so wonderful to be part of the Phoenix Modern Quilt Guild, and to know that we are now going to meet on a regular basis each month.
On Saturday we organized ourselves a little bit more, spending the first part of our meeting brainstorming and voting on policies to move our guild forward.
The 2nd part of our meeting was Show and Tell.
We were asked to bring a quilt we had made that demonstrates "our style", and another that we needed help on or pushed us outside our comfort zone.

Jill brought a very modern blue quilt that we all fell in love with.
I wish I had taken some close up shots of her quilting, because it was so well done.

Andee's Anita's Arrowhead designed by Anita Grossman
Great way to use up scraps and learn a fun new technique for putting blocks together.

I found a free PDF file pattern that can be downloaded from Quiltmaker Magazine HERE.

Andee brought a quilt she has had some challenges with, asking for suggestions on how to machine piece the top.

We have such a wide variety of talent and experience in this group, and there were several idea that made Andee say "I now like this quilt again!"

Another scrap buster by Andee

Martha loves to work with batiks, and bright happy colors.

The back of her quilt was as interesting as the front.
Tomorrow I will share with you more Show and Tell from the group.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

When It Rains It Pours

Even though we now live in Arizona, we still own our home in St. George, Utah.
Last Sunday we received an emergency call that the largest storm in over 100 years had pummeled across the red rock mountain side behind our home, dropping record breaking rain.
Within 45 minutes the dry desert had received 4 inches of water.
The average rainfall per year in St. George is 8 inches, and the earthen floor was unprepared for such a deluge.

Within minutes large washes of mud cascaded down the mountainside and into our back yard, filling our pool to overflow.
With the neighbor's call, Mr. Cactus was out the door and made the 6 hour drive back to Utah as quickly as he could.
Our kind brother Gary and his wife Lori immediately went over to the house and began draining the pool and mopping up water that had sloshed into the back of the house.

When Mr. Cactus arrived at 2:00 a.m. he was in for quite a sight.
By sunrise, members of our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) began arriving in droves.
Their kindness and generosity brought us to tears.
Many arrived with shovels and wheel barrels.
Men took off work for the day.
The women brought in food.
Children worked beside their parents without complaint.

By the time the water had drained all the way, we became more aware of exactly how much mud had filled the pool.
The shallow end had parts up to 3 1/2 feet.
The deep end that drops down 10 feet had a pile over 2 feet thick.

Friends and neighbors worked all day clear until the evening.

The deep end of the pool was the most difficult to clear.
The heavy mud was shoveled into buckets, that were in turn hoisted by ropes to the pool deck.

Our nephew Tanner may only be 12 years old, but he worked like a man all day long.

Once the buckets of mud reached the pool deck, others dumped the piles into wheel barrels and transferred the muck to the street in front of our house.
Within a few days the town of St. George came to collect the mud.
With a back hoe they scooped up enough mud to fill 2 dump trucks!

Our Bishop, Ralph Armstrong, and his counselors not only helped clean our yard, but the next day went down the street and helped other families clean out their pools.
These men have full time jobs and families, and yet donate many hours of service when ever where ever they are needed.

We cannot even express how grateful we are for all the kindness and immediate action that was shown to us.
When you read the news, and hear all the sad stories that take place in our world, remember there are good people who quietly go about doing good every day, with no recognition or accolades.
People who show up when needed, and make you feel like it's a pleasure to just be together.

Our deepest gratitude goes to Mr. Cactus' brother Gary, and our Sister In Law Lori, who were on the spot with in minutes, gave up sleep that first night, worked long hours, and check on our home constantly while we live out of state.
Little did they know that being related to us they would sign up for such a chore.
When words cannot even begin to express our appreciation, they immediately wave off any compliments and say "Oh, it's no problem at all. We haven't done much."
Thank you, thank you, thank you Gary and Lori (and Tanner!)

The good news is that the pool is now filled with clear, blue water.
A landscape crew has put the yard back in order.
We will need to replace some carpets inside the house, but because of Gary and Lori's fast action the rest of our home is fine.
And we hope to have a swim party like this one very soon, and invite all of our neighbors, friends and church members over as a BIG THANK YOU.