Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Quilting & Reading = Quilting Book Club

If you love quilting and reading then I have an adventure for you!
Shawna at 1 choice 4 quilting is starting an online book club for quilters. Every month we will be making a new quilt from a pattern in a quilt book. Here's the link for all the info
I just got my fabric for the first project starting in May. I can't wait to start. Why not join me on this fun adventure?

Sha :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Margarita Shrimp

The other day my son Bryan called and wanted to make his girlfriend dinner. He needs very simple recipes so we decided on shrimp scampi. After a few phone calls from the store he was home and ready to cook. That's when I remembered how easy most shrimp dishes are. Here's a recipe for one of my favorite ways to make shrimp. Since its getting  to be grilling weather this is a great recipe to try.

Margarita Shrimp with Mango Basil Sauce

Large shrimp, peeled and deveined, as much as you need to make
Margarita mix, without alcohol
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
1 mango
1 large basil leaves

1.  2 hours prior to cooking place the shrimp in a gallon size zipper bag.
2.  Pour enough maragrita mix over the shrimp just to cover it.
3.  Add the garlic and olive oil and mix it up in the bag, making sure the shrimp are coated well.
4.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.
5. Preheat the grill and skewer the shrimp.
6. Cook the shrimp till they are done, a few minutes per side. Shrimp should be pink all around.
7. While the shrimp is cooking peel the mango and cut into chunks. In a mini chop or food processor mix the mango and the basil leaves till smooth.
8. Serve the shrimp with the mango sauce.

Sha :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Sewing Curse

Today I had the task of making 5 makeup bags for gifts for family members on our upcoming trip.  They are pretty easy so I thought it would only take 1 day to make them. But my guardian angel was asleep or on a trip or something because I had a big sewing curse on me today. To start with I took a chuck off my fingertip with my rotary blade today. So off to the drug store I went to get supplies (don’t ask me how a chef is caught at home with no finger rubbers?). Dealing with that took an hour out of my sewing time. Then the hot iron fell and missed my foot by an inch or so followed by poking my fingers too many times to count with pins. So what’s a girl to do? I went to sleep and had a nice little nap, taking 2 more hours out of my sewing time. Luckily for me when I woke up the curse was gone and I was able to finish 2 of the 5 bags I need to make this week. The fabric I used for these is from Me and My Sisters fabric lines. I hope my neices like them.

Monday, April 18, 2011

New Online Quilting Book Club and a finished quilt top!

Have you heard about the fun new online quilting book club that Shawna from 1 Choice for Quilting is doing? Check it out and join me for this exciting new quilt adventure.

Thanks for the comments and all the tweets about what fabric I should use for the outer border of the Spring Quilt-a-long quilt. Here's my finished quilt top:

Till later...Sha :)

Spring Quilt-A-Long Progress and HELP NEEDED!

I finally have the blocks and inner border done for the Spring Quilt-A-Long. I'm using Sunkissed fabric and wanted to stay away from the greens and oranges to keep this quilt softer. And being me I had to have a rhyme and reason to the blocks. Can you see the pattern that I used? (The pattern is at the bottom of this post.)

Now I need your help. I can't decide which fabric to use for the outer border. Here are the contenders:
1. Solid yellow
2. Pink with white flowers
3. Grey with white and pink circles
Please help me decide!

The pattern of the blocks is that the square diagonally is an opposite square.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chef Sharon's Pasta Salad

Here's another very easy recipe. This pasta salad is so yummy, everyone asks for the recipe when I bring it places.

1 pound cooked pasta, cooled
3 - 4 cup vegetables, use your favorite veggies. I used cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.
1 cup pearl size fresh mozzarella balls
1 package DRY Italian seasoning mix
1 12 oz bottle Italian dressing
Parmesan cheese

1. Mix the pasta, veggie and cheese in a big bowl.
2. Sprinkle with the dry Italian dressing mix and stir.
3. Pour in the Italian dressing a little at a time and mix well. Be careful of how much you use, the salad should not be drenched in the salad dressing. If it’s a little dry you can always add more later.
4. Chill until ready to serve. Mix well before serving and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Friday, April 15, 2011


My adventure into the world of quilting is getting more and more fun. I found these great tweeples on twitter (people + twitter = tweeples) who share my love of quilting and fabric. Thru the new tweeple friends I found out a lot about quilting and myself as a quilter. For instance I realized that my style leans much more towards modern than traditional. Not to mention seeing tons of pics of quilts and finding a bunch of great quilting blogs. Yes they are out there, but I never went looking before. So to all my tweeples, thank you for turning me into a quilting junkie :)

This week I worked on a lot of different projects. The Spring Quilt-a-long at Above All Fabric started. Here’s a pic of the 4 squares I made for the project so far.
I am totally in love with this fabric line, it's Sunkissed by Sweetwater. Shawna from 1 Choice 4 Quilting hooked me up with a bunch of fabric and even sent some nice goodies to me.

Doing these 4 blocks made me decide that it is time to do a soduku quilt. I am using my Sherbert Pips (thanks Shawna :) ) to make that quilt. As soon as my Hubby finished the soduku I gave him I can begin. I thought it would be fun to make the quilt according to a puzzle he solved, although the man is a whiz with numbers so it won't be challenging for him, just getting him to do it will be the hard part.

I also did 2 more blocks in the Patchwork Squared Modern Quilt-a-long. This is so educational for me. I have done blocks with 9 squares, but not more than they yet. Sewing 36 was more of a challenge than I had thought and great way to practice getting corners just right. If you are a beginner quilter I highly recommend making this type of block. The other block is a rail fence. I like this block so much I am planning on doing one for my Mom. It’s still not too late to join either of these for activities. 

All in all I had a great qulting week. I continue to learn and grow as a somewhat new quilter. I'd love to see your blocks and hear your stories of your qulting adventures. And I promise to have a healthy recipe next week.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pesto Chicken and Pasta

You’ll be amazed at how fast this dish comes together.

4 chicken breasts, boneless skinless
Garlic salt – I use Lowry’s Garlic Salt with Parsley
1 pound bowtie pasta
½ cup pesto (see below for recipe or use packaged)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4T butter
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1.      Sprinkle the garlic salt over the chicken and grill. 
2.      While Chicken is grilling cook the pasta
3.      Pour the cream and butter in a sauce pot and heat over medium heat till the butter melts, stirring frequently. When the butter is melted add the pesto and stir to combine. Lower the heat to low to just keep warm.
4.      When the pasta is ready and the chicken is done remove the pot from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese.
5.      Mix the pasta and ¾ of the sauce in a bowl.
6.      Serve the remainder of the sauce over the chicken.

1 cup packed basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup olive oil (best quality you have)
¼ cup walnuts or pine nuts
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1T -  2T grated parmesan cheese

1.      Combine the basil, garlic, walnuts, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a mini chop or food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.
2.      Stream the olive oil in slowly; there is usually a little hole to stream fluids into the bowl of the processor/mini chop. Keep an eye on the mixture. Stop when it forms a paste.

**Note – this pesto is made specifically for this recipe. If you want to make regular pesto for another use, stream more olive oil into the mixture until it is a loose paste.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Half Square Triangle Sampler Quilt

Now that I have the hang of making half square triangles I decided to make lots of different blocks using them. I am not sure but I think I have now entered the realm of intermediate level quilter! So as I continue on my quilting journey and am knee deep in half square triangles. I set some parameters for this sampler quilt.
1. I am only going to use 2 different fabrics.
2. I am only going to make 9 patch blocks.
3. The finished block size will be 9 1/2"

Armed with the 'rules' I began my research. It wasn't hard to find lots of blocks that fit my requirements and I made quite a few of them, but then something happened. I started seeing lots of patterns and shapes on my own. While I know none of what I have come up with is a first it still was lots of fun playing around with the patterns.

Here’s the first 8 squares:

I am planning on using this quilt for the Naked Bed Challenge being run by Sarah of The Last Piece and Cara of Cara Quilts. You can get info from their sites and the flickr group at Flickr Neked Bed Challenge. My biggest challenge for this quilt is to decide what color sashing or cornerstone to use. I'm sure I will find a solid to match really nice.

I also just finished a quilt top using batiks. If I don't finish this sampler quilt in time this will be my Naked Bed Challenge Quilt. It was super easy and fast to put together. I used the Yellow Brick Road pattern by Atkinsons.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Using a half square triangle ruler

After attending a quilter’s weekend event at Berry Patch Fabrics I realized how much I truly had to learn about quilting and went back to the basics. So I started last week with a simple 4 patch quilt, it’s amazing how a new machine and taking my time helped make my corners much better. Then I moved onto a 9 patch design (Tossed Nine Patch by Eleanor Burns), again doing much better.

4 patch quilt
Then the Patchwork Squared Quilt-a-long started and I was brave enough to foray into half square triangles, which luckily is what I learned at the quilt weekend. I had made squares like this before using the ‘draw a line on the back of 1 square’ method. At the class I learned how much easier these are to make using a ruler. And my finished block came out better than ever before. For those of you that haven’t tried this method here’s a tutorial.

I find the nifty notions ruler the best.

1. Cut 2 strips of fabric, right sides together, 1/2” bigger than what you want the finished square size to be. I needed 3 1/2” squares so I cut my strip 4”. It is important to place them right sides together for this method to work. You will be cutting both strips at the same time so it's important that the strips be even.

2. Trim the edges of the strips to even them up and remove any selvage. Then place the ruler on the fabric, face up (so you can read the writing) with the 4” mark lined up at the top of your strip and the left edge of the strip. Cut along the diagonal line.

3. Holding the pointed edge of the ruler, flip it over so that the diagonal edge lines up with the cut edge and the top edge lines up with the 4” mark. You will have a ¼” point hanging over the bottom, this is normal. Cut along the straight edge of the ruler.

4.  Now you will both parts of the square cut together perfect. Sew along the diagonal edge using a ¼” seam. Press and trim to 3 1/2". There you go 2 perfect easy squares.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sewing Sunday

I am finishing my first week with a sewing machine that actually works. Today I finished a wallet that is really cute. I used the Atkinson Designs Cash and Carry pattern. I find the patterns they publish are very easy to follow. I am giving a wallet away to a lucky follower next Sunday. See below for details on this fun give-a-way.

I also got some work done on a lap quilt top that I have been working on. It's funny how I decided on my color placement, but didn't envision the finished top like this at all. Turns out I love the color pattern that this ended up being.
Now for the fun stuff:
To win the wallet I am giving away follow me on this blog and post a comment below. I would love to hear from y'all. The drawing will be held Sunday April 12 th 6 p.m. CST.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Slipper Cuties Pattern Give Away

Don't you love giveaways? Seriously who doesn't love getting a special treat once in a while?
Here's a fun one
Mauby's March Pattern Giveaway
The slippers are super cute, I know I will be making a few sets.
Better hurry...the pattern drawing is tomorrow, April 3rd.

Friday, April 1, 2011


I am super excited about 2 quilt-a-longs that I am participating in this month. One is the Spring Quilt-a-long hosted by Chris of Frecklemama at Above All Fabric. We'll be making an adorable quilt and a bag. Heres the fabric I am going to use

The second quilt-a-long is Patchwork Squared Modern Soldis Quilt-a-long. This is my first foray into the world of modern quilting and I am very excited about it. I chose browns, rose and slate blue for this quilt.

If you are participating in either of these quilt-a-longs or if you are in other ones, I would love to hear from you. You can leave me a comment below.

Giveaway from the UK

I was surfing the web and found the most adorable blog 
Theres so many links to fun things like different quilt-a-longs and such there too.
Hurry there's still time to enter the giveaway for the next issue of