Sunday, May 31

Merry belated Christmas, Al!


IMG_3530Mom has just a little more to do:  hand-stitching the brown border down. And then clipping lots of extra thread. And then finding a washer big enough so it can gets its first washing. And then she’ll be bringing it along when she goes to visit you next week!


Every quilt needs a name. This one’s is Double Love. Borrowing from the tradition of using red squares at the center of “log cabin” quilts, symbolic of the “heart” of the cabin, we used red squares for all the centers on the ragged squares side. Al, we hope that Love is always at the center of your home! Then Double because it was made by two of us, therefore holds double the love. Plus, it’s a double-sided quilt.


Since putting a label on the “back” side of the quilt wasn’t possible, we decided to embroider the info on one of the tan border pieces on the structured/diamonds side. Fittingly for a Christmas gift, the piece had some holly leaves on it. Plus a guy with a dog. Except you’re so much manlier than that guy with the tree, Al.


And there would need to be two dogs of course. Both MUCH LARGER than the one pictured. (Ken shown below with Tucker and Sierra, missing being a dog owner!)


And see? You will get it before your birthday after all!


I love you, Little Brother!

(P.S. Above photo taken by my totally talented sis-in-law, Jen.)

Thursday, May 28

Fast Felt Board

Needed something to entertain Sophie while I worked on Al’s quilt this week during the quiet afternoon hours when Heidi’s at school and Lucy’s napping. (Something other than my easily over-used usual go-to solution: TV.)
Perfect timing: earlier this week, Suzanne gifted me with a felt board they weren’t using anymore. No pieces, just the board. And Sophie was willing to let me cut up the bear she made a few months ago. (It was the only felt I could find in the whole house!)
Just started cutting random pieces as fast as possible – I had a quilt I wanted to get to before the calm was gone. Amazing what a kid can do with a pile of felt that looks, frankly, quite ugly to a certain adult. 
I did finally remember the stuff that had made me want to make a felt board in the first place; a few months ago while I made purses, Heidi artfully arranged the scraps leftover from various monograms and embellishments. So I pulled out that bag o’ bits and was able to add a little more color variety to Sophie’s pile of orange, red and green.
Once her “town” was “done,” she needed a new setting idea. “Zoo,” I suggested. Can you identify all her animals? Bottom left triplets hint: think midwest, burrows… Oxbow exhibit, for those who are local. : )
Just like Flylady says “Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family,” I now say “Felt board done haphazardly still blesses your kid.”
But I still do want to make one along these lines someday. LiEr felt board
When Al’s quilt – and everything else on the list – is done. So, maybe someday.

Tuesday, May 26

Hamburger Cookies

IMG_3363 They look like little bite-sized burgers, but they taste like chocolate-y, coconut-y deliciousness!
I first saw these at a bake sale when I was in elementary school and still remember my glee at seeing such cute little cookies. And they are so easy to make…
vanilla wafers, chocolate frosting,
nilla waferschocolate frosting
sweetened shredded coconut, green & yellow food coloring
coconut flakesgreen coloryellow color
1) Pour out a pile of wafers and dust the crumbs off of them; otherwise the frosting doesn’t stick so well and is harder to spread.
2) Spread frosting on flat side of wafers, lots of frosting on half of them and just a dab on the rest.
3) Color coconut with food coloring until it looks like lettuce; using green is the obvious choice, but adding a touch of yellow makes it less day-glo, more realistic.
4) Sprinkle some coconut on the lots-of-frosting wafers. Make sure to get it around the edges; if it’s only in the middle, you won’t see it!
5) Put a dab-of-frosting wafer on top and press down slightly
6) Let sit for a while so frosting can crust over a little and won’t squish out the sides when someone bites into the burgers. Finished!
Additional Comments:
* Instead of chocolate frosting, you can substitute Nutella. Yum!
* Especially if you’re making this with small children, I suggest having a damp cloth nearby so people can wipe off the inevitable frosting that will end up on their fingers instead of licking it off. And then having to go wash their hands. Again.
* These look even cuter when they have sesame seeds stuck on their top wafer. I'd always heard of that being done by brushing on some egg whites first as “glue.” So I don’t usually do that because I figure some people don’t want raw egg on their desserts… Possible other options would be honey (maybe water down a bit) or corn syrup. Any other ideas?
* Added from the comments below: After being stored overnight in a ziploc bag, the moisture from the frosting has softened the wafers just a touch, so now they're wonderfully bite-able. (When they're freshly made, biting into the crunchy wafers causes the burger-frosting to squish out the sides, especially if you're using Nutella.)

Friday, May 22

Totes for Terrific Teachers

Not on the list, but they’re something I wanted to make because my middle kid has spent the year with two wonderful preschool teachers, both of whom my older child had as well, neither of whom received anything from me over the years (while other mothers piled on the gifts: at Christmas, end-of-year, some even on Valentine’s day too)...


So I decided I’d make totes for them this year, but hadn’t yet found my exact vision. That same day, I dropped by ikatbag. Lo and behold, she’d made totes for her child’s preschool teachers  and gave me just the inspiration I needed. Thanks, Lorraine! Like hers, these are reversible.


Here are a few more close-up photos, partly for you readers who like details but also so I can remember what I did for next time. I should probably jot down some notes too – dimensions, techniques, etc – while they’re all fresh in my mind...


P.S. In the interest of time, I didn’t take photos while I was working, which means I didn’t take photos of all my mess-ups before ripping them out and trying again.

But there were plenty of those. Crooked seams. Puckers. Fabric sewed on wrong side out. A tangle o’ thread on the underside of my fabric where the nice smooth beginning of my seam should have been.

Just in case you were beginning to think this stuff is effortless.

The pictures just might make it look that way, but no, there’s lots of seam-ripping effort involved! : )


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