Monday, March 17, 2014

Celebrating St Patrick's Day!

St Patrick's Day Fun! 

Here at Clover Quilts, I am definitely celebrating St Patrick's Day. Complete with four leaf clover mug o' tea, four leaf clover block (just for fun), and super girly Lucky Carebear t-shirt. And these are just a few of the four leaf clover things scattered around my house year round. :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Made It Monday: Cycling T-Shirt Quilt

A friend of mine from college asked if I could make him a t-shirt quilt from some of his old cycling club/race shirts. While I'm not a big fan of t-shirt quilts (since they lack in the creativity area), I do like making them for my friends. Plus, I needed a break from quilting the giant purple quilt. :)

Anyway, my friend now lives in Arizona....a long ways away from the midwest where we went to college (Purdue University). He is in the Cycling Club there, just like when he was at Purdue. I always knew he participated in a ton of cycling races, but I had no idea just how many. Apparently, he has travelled all over the place racing, as seen by his many shirts.

Cycling T-Shirt Quilt Front

He shipped a giant box of 25 or so t-shirts to me, and I did my best to use them all. While I had my favorites *ahem, Purdue Cycling*, I didn't know his favorites, so thats why I wanted to use them all. Plus, more shirts = a bigger quilt = more awesomeness. No need to double check my math. :)

Cycling T-Shirt Quilt Back

For the back of the quilt, I used the back of the t-shirts (and the leftover fronts that wouldn't fit on the front of the quilt). It seemed fitting since most of the backs where made up of sponsors for all the different races. Plus it keeps the cost down since I didn't have to buy fabric for the backing.

Cycling T-Shirt Quilt Close up

For the quilting I used a simply cross-hatch type pattern. I wanted to keep the focus on the shirts, and not the quilting for this one. Also, I'll be honest. Hubs had this awesome idea of quilting the shapes of bike tires with big circles and spokes radiating from a center circle....but that just wasn't happening. Circles are hard, slow, and annoying to quilt. Plus, it was just too heavy to lug around my machine. Maybe next time. ;)

Cycling T-Shirt Quilt Purdue

I had to get a close up of my favorite shirt. :) And the one above it is pretty funny as well. For all you quilty people out there wondering, I used Quilters Grid 820 as a stabilizer for the shirts. I knew I would have to use some sort of interfacing, since t-shirt material is super stretchy. It worked out ok, though it got kind of bulky towards the end, and the grid wasn't all that helpful. But more on that later, I think I might do a separate blog review of the stabilizer.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pinterest Weekend: Short and Snowy Edition

We haven't had the chance to do a Pinterest Weekend since before the holidays. Eek it's been way too long! This past weekend we finally had a free weekend to do all things Pinterest-y. But alas, the shi....I mean *snowy* weather cut the weekend short. We had some sort of freezing rain/slush/snow thing going on Friday that prevented Shannon from driving to my house. So we only got to make a few things on Saturday before she had to brave the snow again to drive home.

One Skillet LasagnaIn any case, we did make a few new things. For dinner we tried one of the many "One Skillet, 30 Minute Meals" that have been floating around Pinterest. Appropriately titled, One Skillet Lasagna, because it has all the fixings for a traditional lasagna, without the lengthy, multi-dish baking time. Click on the recipe title for the complete list of ingredients and instructions.

While this dinner was a *Pinterest Success*, I do have a few modifications to add, should I make it again. (which will probably happen since Hubs really enjoyed it)

First of all, the recipe calls for canned whole tomatoes. But then in the directions, it says to use kitchen shears to cut up the tomatoes while still in the can. Shannon and I quickly decided that canned diced tomatoes would suffice just fine. I mean really, this is a meal created for its quick and easy factors....cutting up tomatoes from a can is not quick and easy. :)

Second, it was a little soupy. I'm guessing we did something wrong, or measured something wrong, but it was not "thick" like the recipe suggested. Even letting it set for a few minutes did not thicken the sauce as suggested in the recipe. So in the future, I plan on adding way less chicken broth and hope that it thickens the sauce a little.

Next up is dessert. We made two desserts....because you can never have just one on Pinterest Weekend. :) Originally we had intended to make the first dessert on Friday for Valentine's Day...but alas, the weather and its craziness postponed dessert. It was just as delicious the day after Valentine's Day though.

Red Velvet Molten Lava CupcakesMy apologies for the dark photo. This is a Red Velvet Molten Lava Cupcake, with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Again, click on the title for the full list of ingredients and direction.

This dessert was another *Pinterest Success* Of course, Hubs favorite kind of cake is red velvet, so I'm guessing it would be an automatic win anyway. Haha. The only difficulties we had with this recipe (aside from the time it took to find vanilla bean ice cream. seriously people, only ONE brand of ice cream sells it anymore!) was the "molten lava" portion.

Our chocolate-y goodness on the inside was more like lava a few weeks after the volcano erupts rather than flowing during the eruption. :) Although we followed the recipe exactly, I suspect we cooled the chocolate too long, therefore letting it set too hard. We then had to microwave it again to be able to scoop it into the cupcakes. But oh well, we aren't professionals and it still tasted delicious. :)

Snickerdoodle BrowniesThe second dessert was Snickerdoodle Brownies. Oh my goodness, these are awesome! We had absolutely NO problems with this recipe at all. They taste exactly like Snickerdoodles, but have a soft texture like a brownie. It's been 4 days since we made these and they are still just as soft! I swear I am never making the cookie version again! Definitely a *Pinterest Success*

The Angry CubanTo cap off the night, we made an "adult" drink. :) Titled The Angry Cuban (although I'm not sure why) it was also a *Pinterest Success*. Although I do have to warn any future drinkers, when it says "big" splash of grenadine, don't make it too big. We found that out the hard way when I was a little too heavy handed with the grenadine. Let's just say, the second round was tastier. :)

The recipe was perfect for two people though. It called for  1.5 oz. Rum, 2.5 oz. Pineapple Juice, Splash of Grenadine, and Fill with Angry Orchard. Both Shannon and I were drinking these, so it was super easy to measure out the juice and cider, as we just split it in half.

Overall I'd say it was a successful Pinterest Weekend. While we didn't have time for crafts, and the weather wasn't that great, the food recipes we tried all turned out great. Plus, now that Shannon is newly engaged, we have another "victim" to taste our recipes...meaning we can try more since that's another mouth to feed. :D

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WiP Wednesday: Squish and Shove Quilting

purple quilt_top full

Last week I started quilting this massive (96 x 96) queen sized quilt I blogged about here. I did indeed end up using a Sulky variegated purple thread. For some reason, my machine loves quilting with Sulky way more than any other thread.

This quilt has been a challenge since the top was put together. It was too large to try to pin baste in my home as I have no flat surfaces big enough for that monster of a quilt. :) Luckily, I had the time and space to do it on a weekend quilt trip a few weeks ago.

After the basting was finished, it was time to make sure I could actually fit the whole thing under my machine. After much deliberation, I decided against free motion quilting (which was the original plan). At first I assumed it would be easier to free motion the quilting working with each block individually.

However, after testing the machine under my needle, it would have been much to heavy to rotate under the needle. So I switched to straight line quilting with a walking foot. Since I still wanted a pretty pattern, I did a different design each in the black/white parts and purple parts. (Detailed photo of the pattern to follow when the quilting is complete)

Purple Quilt-quilting in progress

For those of you wondering how I'm physically quilting this beast. I'm a big fan of the "Squish and Shove" method. :) Rather than rolling the quilt as some quilters prefer, I simply squish the quilt into the throat space of the machine until I get to the part I need to quilt. 

With this particular quilt, I pre-marked the straight lines (since I wanted it to be in a specific pattern). Pre-marking the lines is fairly tedious, but totally worth it. Envision the entire quilt laid out on our pool table before being moved to the machine. **shhh, don't tell Hubby! He has a strict "no objects on the pool table rule"** My pre-marked lines make it easier to know where I'm going next without having to straighten out the entire thing to look at it.

Hopefully I will be able to finish the quilting soon. I'm about a quarter of the way through, but the Superbowl and large of amount of snow shoveling has slowed my progress tremendously. I mean seriously, you try quilting a queen sized quilt after shoveling the driveway covered in 7 inches of snow! LOL

Linking up with Lee from Freshly Pieced for WiP Wednesday!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Riley Blake Fabric Challenge Finish

Riley Blake_Finished 2

Remember awhile back I posted a photo of the stack of Riley Blake Fabric I received for the Modern Quilt Guild fabric challenge?

RB_challenge bundleWell I finally finished that project! To be fair, I did take a break to work on homemade Christmas presents after receiving the Riley Blake. And I also scrapped the first project and started a new one a few weeks ago.

I also managed to tackle my fear of Cathedral Windows during this challenge. So not only was it a challenge to use the fabric, but also to learn a new skill/pattern!

RB_work in progress

Luckily, I had heard rumors that cathedral windows were a slow going process, so I never had grand aspirations to make an entire quilt. Instead I settled on a pillow, albeit a decent size (20 inches x 20 inches).

RB_almost finishedIt seemed to work best sewing in "chunks' rather than rows. The chunks (meaning 3 x 3 squares) helped minimize the number of points to match. And let me tell you, those points were tricky!

RB_angleAs for fabric choices, I used all 6 colors sent to me through the Guild. Then I added in the pink, red, and green from the Hipster line, and the purple dots, and purple chevron. Riley Blake fabric is amazing in terms of color saturation and brightness. I was going for the rainbow effect with this pillow, radiating out from the center in a symmetrical pattern. Though the pattern may not be noticeable to anyone but a crazy person like me. :P

RB_close up 3
One thing difficult about this pillow was the photography! I had no idea how hard it would be to photograph a white cathedral windows pillow. I could either get the colors to look fantastic (which is important because oh-my-goodness Riley Blake fabric colors are amazing!), or I could get the white on white "windows" to pop. But not both. Boo! I believe the close-ups are the best representation of the colors and windows (though that dark square next to the purple is blue! I swear!)

And finally, as if I didn't take enough pictures already, I just had to get a full shot in my off-white rocking chair. I inherited this chair when my grandmother passed away last year. She recovered it herself (her favorite color was blue), and it seemed the perfect opportunity to photograph it and my pillow. Maybe the pillow will even live in the chair from now on.

Riley Blake_Finished

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Year, New Logo, New Sewing Projects!

I'm super pumped for 2014! I have no idea how January got away from me (perhaps it was all the sewing), but I'm really excited for the rest of 2014.

CloverLogoProfilePic-FINAL-640x640-01First of all, I'm happy to debut a new blog logo! Woohoo! Check out the header at the top of my page.

And is that logo to the right not the coolest? Even Hubby noticed the needles and stitches in the center of the leaves on the clover.

Of course, I am pretty partial to four leaf clovers. :) But now all of my social media outlets will match, so hopefully my sites will be easier to navigate.

Just in case you get the wrong idea and think that I made that logo, I must point you in the right direction My good friend Rick DeSutter designed it for me. You can find him HERE, which includes his design portfolio and contact information. I've been eyeing his work for years, all the way back to the local band show posters he used to staple around town. I was super excited when he opened his work to freelance, paying gigs. :)

I know I can't be the only quilter/blogger out there frustrated over creating the perfect logo to stretch across all the social media sites. So if any of you are in need of help with Logo Design/Graphic Design/Print should give Rick a shout (or email as he probably can't hear if you literally shout). I'm sure he'd be more than happy to help. :)

Other than the awesome changes to the blog, I also plan on growing and changing with my sewing as well. I want to try new techniques and make sewing/crafting/creating an every day habit. Even if I don't have time/get the chance to sew every day, I would still like do try something new or do something creative. For example, try a new recipe for dinner or put together a crazy outfit I wouldn't normally wear. No creative act is too small, and I feel like it could be beneficial in the long run. :) I'm off to a good start already, so stay tuned for my post on tackling my fear of Cathedral Windows. You won't want to miss that one!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Riley Blake Designs Fabric Challenge

Whew, it has been awhile. I guess I’ll skip the excuses and get right to the juicy details. J

Riley Blake Challenge!!! Woohoo!!! I love Riley Blake fabrics, love, love, love! When the Modern Quilt Guild announced that the next fabric challenge would be Riley Blake I was super pumped.

With that said, I finally received my bundle in the mail. It’s small, but a good start to my goals with this project.
RB_challenge bundle

Lucky for me, I already had some Riley Blake in my stash just waiting to be used. Recently, Hubs and I purchased our first home (excuse one of my unannounced hiatus), and with the new home we also upgraded our full size bed to a queen. Obviously I now have to make a brand new quilt for our bed. Teehee.

Awhile back when the Hipster line came out for Riley Blake Designs, I fell in love immediately and quickly bought up a large (well, large for me) bundle. I also snatched up some Stars and Small Dots fat quarter bundles as well. These three lines should coordinate well with the MQG bundle I received for the fabric challenge…in theory. J

RB_dots and stars bundles

So, don’t worry, I’m still sewing. I’ve got a few other projects in the works that I want to keep surprises for people (excuse two for the unannounced hiatus). I also have recently come into possession of some old quilts, and when I say old, I mean over 100 years old. They were just hiding away in my late grandmother’s closet (excuse three for the unannounced hiatus). As soon as I convince Hubs to hold them all up for pictures, I shall be sharing those as well.