Welcome Back

So while it may seem that I vanished into the abyss I assure that I have been here. Not doing quite as much quilting/sewing/baking as I would like, but still here. And speaking of here, here is a new place. For those of you looking for me at Food Fabric & Paper you were redirected here, to this lovely spot in the internet configured with much patience and Boulevard Wheat by Matt.

Among the things I have been doing and failing to share with you has been my foray into the retail business of downtown Lawrence. An adorable shop opened a few months ago called Made. It’s filled with 100% handmade things, a brick and mortar Etsy if you will. A friend of mine convinced me to take some of my wears down a few weeks ago and today I dropped off my first order of iPad2 and Kindle sleeves! I’ve been selling things online for a few years, but somehow the idea of them being a an actual store makes me giddy.

latest adventure

So if you happen to be in the Lawrence area take a stroll downtown, not a long one though you might collapse from heat exhaustion, and pop into Made, I’m sure you’ll find at least 4 things you can’t possibly live without.

Hello there…

I suppose we could move through the pleasantries of ‘how are you’ and ‘where in the world did you go for a good portion of 2010′ but I think it’s best to just jump right back in.

That being said Santa was especially impressed by my behavior this year as evidenced by this beauty…

In its proper place

A Viking 6440.

For those keeping track at home I have sewn my way through three previous machines. They were great little machines but seemed to only last a year before I was headed back to Target for another. I was in the market for a better machine but was unimpressed with the current variety on the market. I knew I didn’t want a plastic, I didn’t want a bunch of computerized nonsense and it couldn’t cost a fortune. Which led me to the world of refurbished machines. And with a little collaboration and some impressive eBay maneuvering this 26lb work of art was tucked under the tree for me on Christmas morning. Yes I did say twenty-six pounds, I am considering a pulley system for when I need to move it.

I have yet to try out all the bells and whistles but I have managed to find my way to a straight stitch. Which is handy because some nice boy gave me a Kindle for Christmas, which fits nicely in my purse but it was in desperate need of a barrier between it and the things that live in the bottom of my purse. (On a semi related note how does all that stuff make its way into my purse? I swear there are receipts from five years ago and enough crumbs to live on for a month, even though I cleaned it out last week.) So after a little pep talk I plugged it in. And it was amazing. I was able to whip of this adorable sleeve and a few others for the etsy shop in an afternoon, with not one tear shed or exasperated sigh released.

Hippo Kindle SleevePolka Dot Kindle Sleeve


I was also able to finish a quilt for an adorable little girl who may have been born back in April. I have decided to call it an early birthday present.

Baby Mario Quilt

Banana Muffins & Quilts Quilts Quilts!

I have been waiting for today since Monday, at about 8:32am. Not for any reason in particular, just for the weekend and its lack of expectations.

Today began with muffins. Warm and sweet with the perfect crumb and a burst of tart blueberry. I started with a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, one that she readily admits tinkering with and added a few of my own alterations. The original recipe was for bread, but as we all know ‘quick breads’ just don’t cut it in the morning when you have a hankering for warm homemade bread, now. So I took the recipe found here, added a handful of fresh blueberries dusted in flour so they wouldn’t sink to the bottom, and topped them with a toasted pecan streusel.

Saturday muffins

I knew the baking time and temperature would need to be different for muffins and because I like instant gratification if at all possible I opted to bake them at 450 degrees for 8 minutes and then 400 degrees for 5. They turned out a little dry around the edges and stuck to the paper liners a bit, but they were pretty darn wonderful. Especially when paired with a warm cup of coffee! Which I have recently learned is amazing black, sans a drop cream or grain sugar.

Streusel

1 T cold butter
1 T flour
1/4 cup-ish of brown sugar
some cinnamon
some toasted, chopped pecans or not
This made enough to top a dozen muffins, but I could have used a little more top the last few muffins

In other news I did finish the Jungle Circles quilt AND the Spider-web quilt, and put them in my Etsy shop. But then they sold. Within a day of being there. I admit I was sad to see them go so quickly but they are off to a good home. And it means I should really get working on all those WIPS (works in progress) that are stacked on the shelves in varying states of completion.

Jungle Circles 2
RobotsRecent purchase




One of those WIPS features robots and space, which makes me think I might have to tear if from Matts hands when it’s finished. I hope to add it to the shop by Monday, but we’ll see, there is Jayhawk basketball on today! When I was debating on fabric for the back of the robot quilt I came across this WONDERFUL Denise Schmidt stripe. Which was sitting right next to these little green sprouts from Jessica Levitt. They screamed spring to me, which for anyone else in the midwest or the eastern seaboard for that matter can’t come soon enough!

Circles!

CIRCLES!

So I have been playing around with the idea of curves for awhile. But they are scary. After an in depth discussion weighing the merits of hand appliquéing versus piecing I decided to give appliquéing a try. I even did a trial run, with ugly fabric so I didn’t waste any of my pretty prints! It came together pretty quickly, I had the top done in a weekend. I have not quilted it yet. Something about thread, you know the stuff they always ask you if you need when you are settling up your bill. If all goes well it should be done and in the etsy shop this weekend.

Jungle Circle Detail

The Alexander Henry 2D Zoo print was my jumping off point but I think my favorite is the backing. I found it hiding on a bottom shelf and the colors could not be a better match! I love when you can pull fabrics from multiple designers, lines and possibly decades and create a beautiful one of a kind quilt!

Krause Dining

It was perfect, memorable, delectable.

I have been thinking all week about how I could best describe our dinner at Krause Dining. We tried new things and some very unfamiliar things. We laughed and talked and lingered over our four hour meal. It was certainly an evening I’ll remember for a long time. But I will admit I had some fears as bundled up to leave the apartment, would I order the wrong drink? Would I offend the chef in some way? And of coarse the cliched though real fear of using the wrong fork! Fortunately no great faux-pas were committed, if they were the waitstaff was gracious enough to move right along.

I could list out each of our seven courses, though that might be a little tiresome and I admit I am a little fuzzy on some of the details, there were seven after all! So I’ll just run down some of the highlights.

1. The evening started with the most exquisite Hibiscus martini. I’m not generally a martini girl, but the waiters description left me with no other choice. It was crisp and not too sweet.

2. The fish course was truly perfection. Light flakey Atlantic chard atop a puree of roasted cauliflower, topped with avocado and caviar.

3. Without equivocation I can now say that I am not a fan of foie gras. There is no doubt in my mind that it was prepared impeccably, but the texture didn’t work for me.

4. I love pre-dessert! Imagine a tall flute layered with panna-cotta, a whisper of wasabi and a granny-smith and celery slushy on top. So it sounds odd, but it was amazing. The slushy was tart and a salty, the wasabi was hot and the panna cotta was a smooth and decadent vanilla cream.

5. I have decided that morning coffee should be served al la Krause Dining. You are presented with small chocolate cups that can be filled with either cream or Kahlua and placed in the bottom of your cup. Top with freshly roasted coffee and enjoy. Repeat. And repeat.

The best part? When we sat down the place settings consisted of A knife, A fork and A spoon! My silverware drawer is more complex than that! Additionally you were free to keep your utensils after each course OR relinquish them with your plate, a kind gentleman would simply come by before the next course and distribute replacements.

For those who have been you know it’s a hard experience to place into words and for those who haven’t been you have sadly missed your chance as tonight was the last dinner served. The upside is that they, the Krauses who opened the BurgerStand about a year ago, are opening a more traditional restaurant downtown. While it may not be seven courses I am sure that it will result in equally memorable outings.

Tuesday nights dinner? Oatmeal.

Good Intentions

You would think that since I haven’t posted to awhile “ahem” that I would be brimming with new sewing projects, failed cooking attempts and anecdotes but it’s been fairly quiet around here. There was the predictable pandemonium with cake project and the usual chaos that accompanies the holidays but now were’re getting our ducks back in a row. And hunting through drawers and cabinets for all the long-underwear and down blankets we can find as the temperatures this week are not supposed to break 20 degrees. Yes I said TWENTY and no we did not move to the Yukon a since we last spoke.

the happy couple

Ben & Martha’s wedding was wonderful and uniquely them. Who else would think to have a sing a-long? But I was bad and didn’t drag out the camera to photograph the fruits of my labor. Luckily the photographer, Jennifer Wetzel, came to the rescue and snapped a couple shots, I hope she got a cupcake before she left!

ringbear pillowCakes!

Wedding cupcakesHandmade cupcake labels

Christmas was wonderful. Lots of family and lovely gifts and some good ole’ wood cuttin’. I received the cookbook All Cakes Considered and am pouring over it every chance I get. Its author is a producer on NPR and her quips and tips As to be expected of a book authored by an NPR producer the writing rivals the recipes. I did manage to get one handmade gift delivered on time this year. Which for those keeping track is progress. My dear Aunt Lulu needed a lap quilt and Sarah’s just happened to have some fabrics right up her alley! I think it will be put to good use this week.

Aunt Lulu Front

Aunt Lulu Back

Aunt Lulu

Matt & I are experiencing the last bit of Christmas tomorrow night at Krause Dining. But more about that after we have indulged our palettes.

All’s pretty quiet around here. Trying to get back into a groove and maybe even be a little productive!

Wedding Cake : Part 3

In keeping with the season it was agreed that one cake should be fallish in nature. We debated on a carrot cake, but there are sooooo may variations and people have pretty distinctive opinions so we opted for a spice cake instead. And I could not be happier with the results! I think you’ll agree, it’s mouthwatering!

Conveniently Matt & I had a trip to Field Stone Orchard planned. And we came home with half a bushel of apples and a snazzy new apple peeler, corer and slicer that needed to be put to good use. There might have been apple cider slushies involved too…

Half a bushel

I started with an Apple Spice Cake recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, which included homemade applesauce, and topped it off with a Brown Sugar Cream Cheese frosting found on Smitten Kitchen. Yep, it was heavenly and melted it your mouth.

Apple spice cake

Hut Two Three Four

In the midst of wedding cake baking and fall festivities I managed to whip out a little quilt for an old friend.

Marching Elephants Quilt

I have known Brooke since the days of tutus and sequins. We have commiserated over horrendous dance numbers and waited in the wings nervously marking our steps. And while I couldn’t find any photos to post I can remember those days vividly.

Marching Elephants Quilt

When I found out she was expecting a little boy I set to work trying to find the right fabrics. In combing through my stash I came across some Alexander Henry elephants that I had purchased some time back. It’s whimsical and childlike without being too kitchy. Coupled with some coordinating blues and greens and the obligatory polka dots I was set. Of coarse there was a hasty trip to the store with fingers crossed to get just a little more fabric. One of these days I might plan ahead, but what fun would that be?

In piecing the back the elephants reminded me of the marching elephants in Jungle Book. Which, if you will allow a slight rant, makes me ask why Disney no longer makes good animated movies? I am sure I am not the only one who sang along to Part of My World until she was hoarse or wore out the Beauty & The Beast soundtrack, on tape. I just can’t get excited out Cinderella 2.5, though maybe that is because I am not the target audience…

Marching Elephants Quilt