Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Christmas in October?!

Busy weekend here in Vaasa! Before I get to Christmas, Happy Halloween! I had a little pumpkin carving party this evening. Freshly roasted pumpkin seeds are so good!

A friend was here from Helsinki for the weekend in order to learn how to quilt! Here she is with her very first project - a gift for friends' one-year-old.

Now onto Christmas in October. I started to work on a few Christmas projects this past week and I couldn't wait to give this little bag (6"x4"x10") to a friend here, so we celebrated Christmas in October! I found this great zipper at the Marimekko outlet in June.

I know my brother doesn't read my blog, so it's safe to post a photo of some progress on his gift here, too. I started these blocks in the summer of 2005 and am determined to finish before Christmas this year. I made my very first quilt for him 20 years ago this month. I hope he doesn't have to wait another 20 years for his next quilt!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sneak Peek

It's getting close to the holidays (I just got my tickets for the USA for December!), so there will be some projects I can't post about in the weeks ahead. I'm sure I'm not alone! Here's a peek at one project - photos of the whole little project in January.

I also did the bindings on these little doll quilts I started back in June. I'm really getting into these little projects - the sense of completion comes so quickly! There are some larger projects I need to get back to, though!

Of course, I'm not listening to myself about getting back to the bigger projects and tried a few little postcards, too!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Red & White Houses

Had a conference here in Vaasa this weekend, so I didn't find much time for sewing. A few days ago I made a few houses using Tonya's tutorial and added them to the envelope for Clare.

I did find a little time in the evenings to quilt and bind this tiny piece I started at the beginning of September. I did a messy little flower pattern in the red stripes and a diagonal across each of the coins in between. It's about 16"x 17".

Just another little bit of color - last week I tried out this delicious cake recipe from my favorite food blog. I must admit, there's nothing left of the cake. Veggie cake is healthy, right? (No mention of the butter, of course.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Red & White

In September Clare issued a free-pieced challenge for Quilts for Leukemia. I finally have a couple to send her way. If you haven't checked out her site, please do!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Quick and Easy

A quick and easy little quilt made by cutting up this fabric and sewing it back together. It's about 14"x14".

A quick and easy dinner:

Veggie Chili

1-2 onions - chopped
1-2 green peppers - chopped into chunks
1 red pepper - chopped into chunks
saute in a little olive oil.

add a can of chopped tomatoes (or two) with juice.
add a can of black beans (drained and rinsed).
simmer about 20 minutes.

add a jar of salsa (as hot as you'd like).
simmer a little longer.

add a bag of frozen corn.
serve when the corn is warmed through.

that's a little sour cream on top.
freezes well, too!

I also learned a more difficult recipe this weekend from a friend - can't post it here because it's full of measurements like a 'loose wrist movement of cardamom' - but it was my first attempt at making Finnish pulla!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lappvärk Log Cabins

Lappvärk here in Vaasa has been working on a few donation projects, including this blue log cabin to a local women's shelter (hej, Lilian!). Everyone made a few blocks, then took home enough blocks to sew them into a row, and I volunteered to sew the rows together.

I realized that I never posted photos of our Lappvärk exhibition back in May, so here's my first attempt at embedding a photo album in my blog. The last one is mine and is now hanging on my mom's office wall.

(Lappvärk is the name of the Swedish-speaking quilt group here in Vaasa. A lapp is a patch and värk is an ache - it's a play on the word lappverk, meaning patchwork.)

Thanks to everyone who commented about my red and yellow string quilt and for the tips about safe pens/markers to use for labels. I really appreciate it!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Baby Bird

This project has taken me a little longer to finish than I'd hoped, but it's finally ready! Baby Bird (hence the little chick fabric - it's also the backing) was born August 29th in Hong Kong and this quilt is finally on its way to him!

The quilt is 36"x48". I had a little trouble quilting it - very bulky seams in some places were one issue, my limited free-motion abilities were another. Ripped it out twice and started again. I foundation-pieced on muslin, making it a bit heavier. I wasn't really thinking that this kid doesn't need warmth in a quilt living in Hong Kong!! Oh well, quilts aren't just for keeping warm - they're for having picnics on, too.

I'm a little frustrated because the ink I used on the label bled a bit in the wash. Can anyone out there recommend a good, reliable fabric-safe fine-tipped pen that I can buy in the US over the holidays? Thanks!

Mary kindly posted a link to my instructions for this quilt on the HeartStrings site.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Well, I didn't get the three day weekend I was hoping for, but I did bake some pumpkin bread last night for my 8am class this morning. It was a peace offering since I stood them up last week after having been bumped from my flight back from Stockholm and was also in honor of Canadian Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so why not celebrate it twice?

1 15oz can (I used 2 cups frozen) pumpkin
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
(I used cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom last night)

1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (or pecans)

Combine wet ingredients, combine dry ingredients, combine wet and dry. Easy. Original recipe says to let it bake one hour, but it always takes longer. 350F/175C. Makes three medium loaves.

No quilting news today - trying to finish up the red and yellow strings - hope to have photos soon!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A Few More Places

Elmira, NY (8th grade), Hebron, ME (first teaching job), Berlin (study abroad)

Making these places is just too much fun - although the longer place names are still ahead of me. I'd love to find some map fabric for the back. I so wish I had a three-day weekend this weekend. (Too bad Columbus didn't "discover" Finland.)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Bits and Pieces

It's been a busy week getting back into the swing of things after my trip, but I did manage to do a little sewing this evening. I spent a few months in London in 1997 and then lived there for a year in 2001/2, so this is for the Places quilt.

Thanks to a friend, I got some more water fabric while I was in Barcelona, so here are my first attempts at some free-pieced fish to go along with all my fish words. Hope to find a little more time in the sewing room this weekend!

Monday, October 01, 2007

I Love Barcelona!

I took lots of letter photos to inspire me for Tonya's class - took lots of other photos, too! I put a few in a Picasa album here:

I was in Barcelona for work, but also found time for some fun. Sangria, tapas, siesta... The Spaniards really know how to live. Loved the Gaudí, Picasso, and Miró, too. The city is one big quilt inspiration! Can't wait to get back into my sewing room.


Inspired by this little cat, I made this small wall-hanging for a cat-loving friend and colleague who I met up with in Barcelona to do some workshops last week. (As if I needed to start something new. At least I finished it.) It's approx. 11"x23". I stitched in the ditch around the green border and the letters and then did some sort of squiggly thing on the white background. The back is a cute cat word fabric.

Barcelona was fabulous. Talk about quilt inspirations. I'll have to do a post about it - once I catch my breath! Went straight from the airport to my lecture this morning!