Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quilting apps for my iPhone

My stash is in danger of growing and it's all because of my iPhone!  Who has an iPhone and if you do, do you know why?

Well, for all of you who already know and for those that don't, there are these applications (apps) you can download to the iPhone. Some are free, some cost a couple bucks and most don't require any paymet after that.

A fee apps:
Quiltfab which "will help you answer that question for some common backing, binding, and border fabric choices and construction methods."  Just enter the size of the quilt and it will tell you how much fabric needed, etc.

Quiltref is a handy resource for amount of fabric for triangle blocks, measurement conversion and quilt sizes (I can nevere remember the bed size in inches so this is a great tool.)

Quilting contains You Tube videos on a variety of topics.

FabricStash is a tool that holds pics of your stash and information about it as well as helps you organize, for example,  by color so when you are out, your stash is at your fingertips for finding the rigth fabric. How great is that? If you are like me and don't want to buy more than necessary because you cannot stand clutter, well, it's fabritastic!

So, if you have an iPhone and haven't done a search on "quilt" or "Fabric", get to it and see if there are any you like.

Cheers! Beck

Monday, March 29, 2010

Is the weekend over?

The best laid plans and all. My plans, to sew. A lot. My last free weekend for a while. My last weekend with my machine for a while and what happens? No sewing Friday. Fought with the hubs instead. (We are dealing with some major life changing issues and feel we should take out our stress on one another ever so often.)

No sewing Sat. started with a good morning with hubs then we apparently decided to fight again. Took the kid to soccor mid-day, came home, hubs and I went to get our new iPhones (yeah -and yes, fight was over by then). Then picked other kids up from airport. My day was done.

Sunday, got up, did a little garage sale hopping with hubs for niece and nephew clothes, had lunch out with the hubs and let kids fend for themselves for meals.   After lunch, watched basketball games and sewed.

I finished weeks 5 & 6 for the pinwheel quilt along.  It's getting harder to do with my original plan of only using these five fabrics. However, I'm determined and I do like the look. I'm purposely not putting them all together with each of the other weeks so I can be surprised good or bad, in the overall look.

I made a reversible apron.

I put the green border on my "Come on Spring" quilt (that's what I might call it).  I think it was a good decision.
I created a tutorial for remaking a koozie. I'll post that seperately this week.

Hope your weekend was much more productive than mine.  I think next time I won't plan to sew and I might actually get to it faster! hehe

Cheers! Beck

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Receipe: Salmon w/ Champagne orange cream sauce

I took a page from Pioneer Woman and documented the process through the recipe.
Here we go, the ingredients.
1/4 vidalia onion
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup champagne (brut)
1 cup buttermilk (I used milk once too, it was okay to substitute)
1/2 can mandarin oranges with some of the syrup
4, 4-oz salmon filets (not pictured)

1 tsp nutmeg
1-2 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1 -2 Tbsp cajun seasoning (how much heat do you like? Add more or less as you desire)
1 tsp sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
1) heat pan, add olive oil and onions and saute to desired doneness. Key is soft and slightly transulcent onions, not browned or burned onions. Saute at a lower heat if you see them getting too dark.

2) add butter, let melt and add flour. mix flour well into butter and cook for a minute or two.

3) add champagne then about a minute later add the buttermilk. Reduce heat and stir occasionally cooking out alcohol and thickening the sauce. About 5-10 minutes dependig on heat level.
4) Add salt, cajun seasoning, nutmeg, stir in and simmer for 1-2 min. more.

5) Add approx. 1/2 can mandarin oranges, using some juice as well.

6) about 5 min. more, or cooked until desired thickness ( I like the consistancy of a thin cream soup), add basil.

7) spray a baking dish with butter spray to avoid salmon sticking. Place the salmon in the dish (I only had 2 so I saved 1/2 the sauce for another day and for some haddock I have. I will try it within the week but I think it will be good, too.)
cover with the sauce
then cover dish with foil. Bake 15-20 min. at 425 degrees. Salmon is done when it flakes easily.

Serve over brown rice with a veggie of your choice on the side. There's a touch of heat in this dish so plan the side accordingly. I initially planned a warm spinach with golden raisins and pine nuts but decided to eat some broccoli slaw in my fridge instead.

Hope you enjoy, cheers!  Beck

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This is not quilt related but seeing as how I work from home and have very little adult interaction you get to be the recipient of my thoughts. That said, I've got Ellen on in the background and Gerard Butler is on and I just need to say I love me a rugged looking man! Growing up, the Marlboro Man on the billboards were more yummy than the Brad Pitt's and Johnny Depp's of the world.

So, aside from my rugged, sexy husband... yum, Mr. Butler!   (And he has an accent... he might be my new favorite human eye candy.)

(btw, this might be the first time I noticed him b/c I really don't follow the tabloids or watch a bunch of movies, et.c so bear with me.)  Someone tell me to get back to work!

But I have to ask first, who's your favorite human eye candy? (hey boys, I want your answer too!)


ps- sewing took a hiatus the last couple days as I battled the aches and sores of being under the weather. Maybe tonight but work is wiping me out so you get misc. posts. -evil grin-

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bento Box Top complete. Maybe.

Yes, I did it! In one day, I cut and pieced a bento box top. I like it but the jury is still out as to whether I will add a border or two. The pattern doesn't call for it and I need a night to sleep on it and look at it again to see if I am good with that or feel it needs a finish. I'm leaning towards being good with it for laziness sake. :)

What do you think? It's definately a lot more yellow than I've ever used!

ETA: I slept on it and woke up feeling it needed a border and the green fabric that was going to be the backing and binding is going to be it. Maybe a simple 3" strip all the way around or maybe this border pattern which Judy Laquirada so kindly posted a tuturial for. I could intersperse it with leftover whites if I have enough. 

Next goal, have quilted by Friday. A bold goal considering there's something else on the frame now that hasn't even been started.

yesterday and today

Yesterday was Nat'l Quilt Day. I didn't sew one damn thing. I awoke to a doggie's bad reaction to a tranquilizer and vaccines and spent 1.5 hrs first thing in the am cleaning said doggie and carpet and kennel, etc.  Then the day went about it's usual business where kid stuff became more important than mom stuff. 

After taking 2 kids to the airport to get out of here and go visit with their dad, I decided to stop at my LQS. I found I had the urge to see bright and pretty fabrics, maybe buy one. After 30 min. browsing, I felt I had to buy more than one. It was time to do something quick for me. I browsed 30 min. more. And then decided what to do. A lap quilt, in bright, sunny colors. Whimsical but not outrageous.

I'm drawn to bright colors with white but I always back off from getting them b/c they go with nothing in the house. Today I decided to hell with it. Eventually I will get my sewing room and it will be a mish-mash of all things I love and inspire me for quilting. I realized that would mean quite a bit of unmatched things.

I also justified the purchase out of my normal comfort zone with the bright idea I would also be able to use this new quilt on my porch when I sit outside, read and drink my bottles and bottles of wine. (Because, not even the wine can keep me from getting a chill on a cool Spring night!) :)

Here are the fabrics. The green will be for backing and maybe the binding. The quilt will be a 4-color bento box pattern and my goal is to have the top (lap size) done by the end of the day.  Wish me luck!

Friday, March 19, 2010

If I have to hem my pants, it means I need a diet.

Did I get your attention with that one? Well, thought I might. I was going to post only a link to AmyLouWho's Sew-n-Tell with a note that I hadn't sewed much since the pinwheels already posted about.  However, I realized, I did sew something today and well, I would count that and tell about it, becuase there is, of course, a story.

A brief disclaimer: For those here to see what I sewed, it's nothing exciting or even inspiring. I literally only hemmed 2 pr of yoga pants. That's it. Scroll past all the text to the shot of legs clad in black if you really feel the need. No, this post is more about why hemming = dieting. Better yet, stop by my pinwheel post from earlier this week if you want to see something slightly creative. :)

First order of business. This is me and DH a few years ago.  Notice my legs. At the time these photos were taken, I was about 5 pounds heavier than when I met DH. It didn't really bother me even though I thought the legs were a little chubby.

I know I was right. I wanted to be less than my 140-145 at the time, I thought 135 would be a respectable weight for the 5'2" mother of two in her mid-late 20s.

But, I honestly didn't bother with it. Just tried to stay healthy and live life. I did well but too many glasses of wine...

led to this:

It may not look like much difference, but it is. I'll be honest. 156 on my 5'2" frame is not looking so good and this is my fess up.

You see, these yoga pants are a 12/14 size. If I have to wear that size for my thighs and hips (and I do) then they are 8-10 inches too long. Today, I had to hem my pants. I did, see?

It also means it's time to focus on losing the fat and toning up again. I want to be the hot chick riding in the mid-life indulgence my hubby got last summer (okay, I mean the hotTER chick).


So, like any self respecting person with new found energy to get healthy, I ate some ice cream and decided a veggie pizza for dinner would be the right time to start in earnest.

Cheers! Beck

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day -sob-

Are you Irish? I'm not but I get to pretend I am on this day, usually.

My husband is Irish. Very Irish... I think he has a famous relative in Ireland kind of Irish! :)
My ex-husband is a bit Irish, too, so all the kids in our house have some Irish blood.

However, today I am sobbing. Me, the only one who is not Irish, only German and Slovak blood here, is the only one who likes corned beef and cabbage! What is WRONG with my family?!

Look at this:

Doesn't this look fantastic? -sigh-  Tonight, we are eating something else. I don't know what, but I think Sat. this house is going to smell divine b/c I am going to get my corned beef and cabbage. And i'm going to drink beer, and I'm going to watch basketball all day.  And dang it! I'm going to pretend I'm Irish 3 days late. The family will just have to deal. You can't please everyone all the time.

If anyone is near me, you have an open invitation to join me! I'll even put you up for the night if you drink too much beer.  :)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Cheers, Beck  (ps - tomorrow I have a recipe to post if anyone is interested. Salmon Filet w/a creamy orange champagne sauce. It's pretty interesting and simple.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ask yourself, who am I in blogland?

I read this post by my friend at Quliting in My Pyjamas the other day and have been quietly pondering it since.  Today, I'm posting about it and challenge you to ask yourself the question above and post honestly about the answer. 

Are you really you in blogland? Do you let only a part of you out or all of you or do you sanitize it to make it more politically correct or "likeable"?

Here's my answer:

I am 90% me. I do sanitize my posts a bit b/c I can be a sailor some days. For instance, I wrote about being a black cloud the other day. If I wrote what I was really thinking, I might have had some police at my door!  I can't write all my cuss words when they are flowing through my brain on days like that... I can't write about how fucking pissed I am that people can't just leave me alone to wallow in my own self-pity and moroseness until it goes away. 


If I did that, it would just be rude. Mama taught me that. Mama also might happen upon my blog, read that and then show up at my door. I love my mama and I don't want any visit from her to start with a slap across the face (or hands) as it may be. -wink- 

Then again, it could also be because I know that while I can/do have a tendency some days to swear like a sailor, I know I don't enjoy hearing it or reading it much so I try to sanitize and refrain myself.

How else? I sanitize what I say about family. Mostly, this is for security reasons (with the hubs being in a leadership position and now a public leadership position, I know to be careful) but also, in part, because I think if I'm going to write regularly about family and friends, good or bad, it might best be in a blog dedicated to that subject instead of my quilting adventures. However, because 90% of this is me, I do mention them and introduce them to those of you willing to meet them. 

Sometimes, I catch myself after a post wondering, "What do people think?"  For example, after I pray to the quilting goddesses. I really wonder, "am I the only one?" I was born and raised Roman Catholic. I'm raising my kids this way. I do believe in one God but really, I don't talk about that. I post my tongue-in-cheek posts to the quilting goddesses and wonder, does anyone think I really believe I think they are messing with or helping me? Then, those 2 seconds of thought are replaced with something more important, like, what can I get for a snack, and I forget about it until the next prayer.  But those posts never have too many comments so I never know...

I've learned alot about myself in my quilting adventures through blogging and that is, I like talking about quilting and I really, really enjoy meeting others and seeing their creative streaks. I can't get to guild meetings and such so this is an awesome alternative for me.  There are those I follow because they always have good ideas or a great eye. Good projects. There are those I follow b/c they are great teachers.  Then there are others I follow b/c their personality speaks to mine. So I feel it's necessary for me to present an accurate picture of myself (regardless of who comes back) so expectations of who/what I'm about don't disappoint me or anyone who reads.

For instance, that friend I mentioned at the beginning of this post. If I were to go to Australia one day, I'd be asking her where she was so I could try to get around to visit with her. To meet her live. She's one of those few I feel I'd love to know in real life and through some email exchanges, for my part, I feel we've gone from acquaintance to blog friends to friends.  (It could have been my awesome personality but really, I think it was when she discovered the fabulous Bakerella from me and realized we had an affinity for all things sweet and shared a common "that bitch" mentality. lol -that was just for you Ms. P!)

Still, I feel pretty good that aside from the beginning hiccups about what to write about and getting comfortable doing it, I think I'm as much "me" to the blogland public as I am to the public in front of me.  I've never cared too much if someone didn't like me and I've never felt the need to build my popularity through political correctness or false pretenses. 

There is one life possibility I keep a hold of, though, which does dictate my need to at least be somewhat polite and courteous. If I ever want to open my own business after the kids are grown, I won't have anything behind me or attached to my moniker which could cause me embarrassment.  If I can't be me, though, in all my sarcastic glory, then I can't be happy and I want my communications now, to pave the way for that possible future if that's what I want then.

Oh, and to answer a couple of questions my gal-pal asked in her post? No, not everyone homeschools. I'd kill my kids if I did this (see? no sanitization there today but normally I might have said that a bit less abruptly since tone cannot come across as well written instead of spoken). No, not everyone goes to church every week. My kids were never breastfed, slept in my bed, and were left to cry-it-out (horror of horrors!). I slapped my teenage daughter once for looking me in the face and lying to me while knowing I knew she was lying and doing it anyway (sanitization note: this was not a hard soap-opera slap. It was a get her attention don't think about doing that crap again, slap).  Never thought I'd do that, but I did.  I've told my husband to shut up. I've had petulant tantrums myself and frankly, still think I'm right, I don't care what we are talking about!  So, we aren't all perfect, we just don't advertise the faults. If I were to let the hubs on here one week to post about me... well, the world of our home would look very different.  Rose colored glasses and all...

Bottom line, omission in my view doesn't limit me from being me on this blog and thanks for those of you who enjoy my writings enough to come around repeatedly. I use it to tell my hubby how important I am! -wink-

Now, answer that question yourself. It may be an affirmation or an eye opener. It may be something you want to leave as is or maybe change. I don't know but I do want to say, thanks to Ms. P for being courageous enough to bring this up the other day and to make me ponder.

For me, I've got to go. I'm off to get some leftover chocolate to the third (chocolate, chocolate chip with chocolate frosting) birthday cake and milk. It's just something I have to do.

(Edited to add, per a question posed in the comments: What is my pet peeve when browsing blogs?  I think the phrase pet peeve is too strong but in general, blogs with lots of blinking notes or sidebar items, with snow or leaves falling and mouse trailers, or with difficult to find or read text I do find annoying. I stick to annoying instead of peeve b/c I susbcribe to the theory that if I find it difficult to read or unenjoyable, I leave. The blogger likes it and that's all that matters. Of course, I was never one to draw on my notebooks in school, either so there you have it.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I am in a quilt along

Did you notice?  I had it on the sidebar but never posted any information or links.  It was because I was 3 weeks behind and handn't done anything yet.

However, I fixed that this weekend. I was forced to be outside in the cold for 3 soccer games yesterday, which I noticed started to put a chink in my mood.  I was done with it but being so cold, I expended a lot of energy. I also took the birthday boy, 2 friends, our other 2 kids and hubby to get pizza.  Then home to let the kids play Wii, games, hang out. I was very tired at 10pm but found I wanted to do some sewing.

I went to bed instead. ;)  Today, I caught up on all 3 of my blocks, making 2 of each pattern. 

I also started making the block that was posted this week. I promised said birthday boy a dinner with just me tonight and was looking forward to going but needed to finish that last block.  I screwed it up, not once but twice, I made the same mistake. This is the mistake...

I finally settled down, put it together right and here's the 2 of the latest block.  I am pleased.  My goal here is to use only these 5 fabrics for this quilt along. So far, so good.

Now I'm off to respond to some emails. Have a good evening and thanks for trying to help me get the gloomies away. It's been working. :)

Cheers! Beck

Friday, March 12, 2010

A break in the cloud

Just for a moment, I decided I had best do something that would normally be fun and different. Just to lighten my mood. Umm... it didn't. Not even a chink. I promise, though, that's the last of the complaining you will hear. The cloud will disappear eventually.

Anyway, I figured, with Sew & Tell Friday being here and all, I'd get something done to post about so I took this:

and turned it into this.

A learning experience but it turned out okay and so when they hand out those free koozies at the store, I won't hesitate to grab one because it only took about 20 minutes to do.

Go check out the rest of everyone's accomplishments this week by clicking here.

Black Cloud - NQR

Me. I am the black cloud today. It was gloomy/rainy outside but now I see the sun peeking through. My mood has not changed.

I am in a foul mood. I am angry. Just sour. Perhaps self-pitying, tired of having patience and getting kicked for it. I'm ready to fight, take on the beast and just get things done but I know that would only make it worse and so because I cannot do anything and because I do not see when this situation will end (I know it will someday, I just don't know if it's going to be 3 months or 6 month), I am in a foul mood.

Honest to God, if this were the movies and I was a witch, I'd have the dark backdrop. The dark clothes, the don't f-ing look at me lest I strike you dead with the heat of my eyes and sneering twist of my lips aura.

I am a black cloud today but even so, I have been productive. Getting work done through my anger and frustration. Paid bills (yipee), am blogging today (which was my goal) even if it's not about quilting, and haven't killed the only other living things with me at the moment, my dogs - so it can't be all bad, right?

Ugh. I'm just mad.

Enough said.

Please wish for sun for tomorrow's soccer games so I can get out of doors and physically brighten myself.  This mood has been coming on for the last couple of days and my body needs a physical jolt out of it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Did I say I liked paper-piecing?

I do. I love it. Most of the time I don't mind cutting for it but this past weekend, I cut.

and cut...

and cut....

and cut. This

will soon turn into a king-sized version of this.

Lord help me, it was a lot of cutting and I still have 2 more colors to go.

And just so you know, a year long project, with months in between and a two-state move, leave nicely cut strips looking like this.

It's a good thing that I am paper-piecing because even with some of the fray not trimmed off, the block still comes out looking sharp.

I really need to get moving to finish the pineapple quilt before June! 

Still, aside from all the cutting, I love the sharp, crisp look paper-piecing gives me at the end of the day, especially when I use easy tearing tracing paper! 

My next 1.5 weeks will be spent sewing as many paper-pieced blocks as I can because March Madness is about to commence and frankly, it's hard to keep me away from a television.  Woo-hoo!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

aww, THIS is what gifting a quilt is about

Good news, Momma and baby love the quilt. To summarize momma, 'it's so beautiful I don't think I can let him use it but he loves it so much, he's always reaching for it.' 

SCORE!!!  He's so cute and happy. :D

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I've been thinking

which, invariably, leads to drinking and then moves to crazy ideas.  I am definately not the college student anymore, 2 bottles of Mike's Hard Apple Cider over the space of 4.5 hours (I'm a sipper) and I'm ready to sleep.  Just call me "Sleepy" tonight. :)

Anyway, my family has some changes coming up and some planning to do. We've sold our home in VA while living in TN (hooray!) but, come May, we need to find a new place to live. It looks like we will be going from one rental to another for a couple months or so until we can find a permanent residence. Unfortunately, finances and timing won't work for us to move just once instead of twice. That's stressful enough, but now we have decided it's a good time to plan vacations before hubby retires (Feb) from the military.

In June, we want to take a family vacation and then later this summer, if I can find someone to take my kids (grandma, you there?) the hubs and I are taking a long overdue vacation. We haven't had more than a weekend in over 5 years.  Then we went to Ireland. This time, I'm thinking Tuscany. My goal, to come back sated and inebriated. -wink- (sense a theme tonight?)

Anyway, my thinking is about that family vacation. I want to do something we don't normally get to do but what? What for the teen/tweens that is fun but toucehes on something unique to the US/North America? A few days sightseeing around the Grand Canyon or maybe a trip to Niagra Falls. We will be starting from the No. VA areas for this trip so what to do? Throw ideas at me ladies and gents. I need to get researching costs.

I think renting an RV will cost too much and driving any distance would really stink but... why not fly to a region of the US like hubby and I did in Ireland, then rent a care and drive every couple days to another part of the region to see it? Hmm...

Any other ideas?  I'm sorry I've rambled a bit but well, 9pm now and hard cider, okay?

Cheers! Beck

Friday, March 5, 2010

No more babies in the house

It's official. I no longer have any babies in the house. The youngest is 10. The oldest 14 in July.

The middle child (in the photo and age) will be 13 in one week.  Wow!

Here's the thing... he wants to invite a few friends to CiCi's for the pizza buffet. Cool, cheap and easy. I like it.  What else to do, though? Maybe a movie marathon at the house after? No good movies in the theatre.

PErhaps a murder-mystery game at home but if there are only 5 kids total, that might be a bust.  Anyone have any tried and true ideas? This middle child is extremely shy and it's only this year he's opened up enough to really want to invite friends to an actual celebration. I want it to be low-key but successful and it's such a tough age. 

Good news, he and his friends are all easy going so really, I just need "host" ideas. :D

Thanks in advance!  Beck

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Speaking of Quilting Errors, have you heard the one

about the person who can't think in "math terms"?  No? Well, let me tell you. What happened is this person designed the following tablerunner for the OWOH giveaway winner (who didn't sew or quilt so we agreed I'd create a runner for her).


Looks pretty cool, doesn't it? My winner thought so as well. Final size was to be somewhere around 14" square which means roughly 3" blocks.

Think about that for a minute.

Do you see the dilemma I failed to realize until I started printing the foundation pattern for the fans?

3" is teeny-tiny, my friends! I tried, I did but it wasn't just awful looking, it was like I had never sewed a stitch at all in my life then decided to try paperpiecing AND curves all at once.  

Awful. So awful I couldn't share a picture and I knew there was no way I could create the lovely design. I got another bright idea so off I went... just random piecing. 

I always said I'd never make a crazy quilt because I just didn't like the look with all the random piecing. Until I actually looked at the following, I didn't realize what I just did.  -sigh- I disliked it, and yet didn't, almost immediately.

No matter, I knew I didn't want to continue and send this to my winner.   Instead, I realized one of you might want it. So, the first person to comment saying they want this wonky block (and please email me your address) gets it, as is, to do what you want with it.

Instead, I opted for a bargello with appliqued flowers. I like the look, I hope my winner does as well.

Just goes to show, third time is the charm.

Monday, March 1, 2010


First, thank you all for participating. I had fun reading everyone's guesses. Especially since most of you gave me much more credit than I deserve and that's because you don't realize just how lazy I can be! If this weren't a rush job for the holiday in our house (since we are renting for a year, I left all holiday decs. in storage), if this weren't made with fabric/colors I really don't like, if this were for any other persone and finalyl, if my kids didn't enjoy looking for screw ups (hey, I have teens, I entertain how I can), then I probably would have fixed most of these errors. Instead, well, here are the answers:

1) B - not a darn thing
2) A - fixed it

3) B - not a darn thing

4) B - nothing at all, the kids liked it that way.

5) C - removed the flanking hearts so there were none

BONUS: Black!  Here's the final product.
Three people had 4 correct answers: Nanbon, Sherry H, and Carmi.  I drew a name out of those three and

CONGRATULATIONS TO SHERRY  H.! You won the gift certificate to Hancock's of Paducah.

For the second prize, accounting for all comments including the airplane post, the followers and the blog notes, there were 29 entries and the magic random generator chose #20 who is:

KEEP SEWING!  I will mail you the pattern soon.

Aw, thank you again everyone for playing along. I really enjoyed it!

ps- here's the sister table runner I did for this square one. This one doesn't have the quilting mistakes the other did (probably b/c it was first done and I wasn't "over it" when I started the quilting! lol)