Saturday, March 31, 2007

Chirp, Chirp

New little chickie in an old little frame.
Little Chickie

I might add something on the other side, but I kind of like it empty too.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Something's Hatching

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but it's going to be Easter soon and I'm feeling a little festive.
lil' chickie in progress

Normally, I'd be excited for spring, but it's feeling more like summer than anything. While embroidering last night, I was watching An Inconvenient Truth. If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend it. Either way, please visit and see what you can do to help.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Someone Please Teach Me How To Sew

Maybe I do need lessons. I'm really decent at sewing straight lines, it's the curves that throw me off. After making a little cozy for my machine to sit on, I thought, I'd give her a blanket too. It started off good, with the uncut (un-ruined) fabric.

But once I started putting things together, it was bad. The front looks not as bad.

But, the side frightens me.

I might be having fun with my seam-ripper and Netflix tonight.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Quilt #2 Finished

It's true, I finished my huge quilt. Well, actually it was supposed to be huge (90" x 110"), but somehow shrunk to 71" x 97.5". Not sure how that happened, but it's still big! I guess that's what happens when you don't use a pattern and you're a self taught quilter! I'm really happy with my tag too. Not bad for my first real crack at embroidery!
Finished Tag

I originally wanted to quilt for my bed, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen anymore. I love the quilt, but it's just too many colors for my room.
Finished Quilt
Ever since I've moved in (about 1.5 years ago), I haven't figured out what I want to do with my bedroom. I like so many different styles, I just can't pick one and stick with it. I want to say this is the year that I figure it out, but I'm just not sure that I'll mean it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Last Step

Before I can get cozy in my new quilt, I just have to finish embroidering the tag.
Embroidering the border

The detail. It's a bit messy, but it doesn't bother me!
Detail on my messy embroidery skills

Tonight I hope to finish the embroidery, do some laundry, and hopefully get a start on some spring cleaning.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Viking Quilt

I got a new-vintage sewing desk this week (which will be pictured later, as soon as I'm done decorating). It's in surprisingly good condition considering how old it is. In order to keep it looking new, I decided to make a little quilted cozy to put my little Viking on.
Sewing the cozy

This is what it looked like when it was all finished.
Mini cozy for my little Viking

I tried to make something with a little fluff, so I can also use it as a pincushion.
My little Viking with her new cozy

Here are the pins close up. It's a lot handier than having to scramble around for my other pincushion too!
Pincushion close up

Sunday, March 25, 2007

One Last Step

I just finished the borders. All I have left is to sew on the tag!

Almost Finished

Soon to come: Pillow cases and sewing machine rest/pincushion

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Busy Kitchen Makes For A Happy Birthday

A busy night for my kitchen, indeed. For dinner, I made some miso soup. Making miso is so easy, all you need is: Tofu, Wakame (dried seaweed), Miso paste (I use the one that already includes fish flakes - if you get the kind that doesn't, you will need to add fish flakes separately), chives, and water.
Ingredients for Miso Soup
Bring water to a boil and add the tofu. Let it cook for a little while, then turn off heat. Add the wakame and the miso. When adding the miso, use a sieve spoon and let the miso dissolve in the hot water. At the end, add the chives.
Tofu and Wakame
All the measurements of the ingredients vary to taste. My tasted good!
Finished miso

My kitchen adventures didn't end with Miso. Today is the birthday of one of one of my most favorite co-workers, Tom, and I wanted to make him a special cake. I know he loves Angel Food Cake and he loves strawberries/blueberries, so I decided to make an Angel Food Cake Trifle.
A lot of egg whites in Angel Food Cake.
Lots of egg whites in Angel Food Cake

Straight out of the oven.
After the oven

I let the cake cool for about 2 hours, and it cake out of the pan pretty easily.
Out of the pan

I had to cut it into slices to make the trifle. The inside was perfect. I snuck in a taste and I was really shocked of how good it was. I've never tasted such a good Angel Food Cake, it was the perfect moistness and flavor. I don't think I've ever made anything that good. After tasting it, I'm a little nervous about turning it into a trifle. I hope it doesn't ruin the cake.
The inside

The last step I did last night was making a lemon glaze. Fresh lemons, sugar, and water boiled, then chilled to make a glaze to put on the cake slices. When I took it out of the refrigerator this morning, it was still a little big watery, instead of glazey, but I still used a little bit.
Fresh Lemons for a lemon glaze

I woke up at 5am this morning to cut the strawberries, make the cream, and do the final layering. Layer one is cake (with a little bit of the lemon mix on top).
Angel Food Cake Layer

Layer two has the strawberries and blueberries.
Fruit Layer

Layer three is the cream.
Creme Layer

I ended up with about 3-4 layers. The tasting will be begin at 4pm, I hope the layers don't get soggy!
The top
Side View of the layers

Angel Food Cake
Recipe by Alton Brown, Food Network
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour, sifted
12 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better)
1/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon orange extract, or extract of your choice
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the salt the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.
In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, water, orange extract, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer. Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.
Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).
Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.
Cook's Note: Since they're easier to separate use the freshest eggs you can get.

Lemon Glaze
Recipe by Martha Stewart
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup water
In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, and 1/2 cup water to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let cool completely, then brush over both sides of cake slices. Quarter each slice.

Trifle Cream
Recipe by Martha Stewart
2 (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 Cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese with sugar on high speed until lightened. With mixer on medium speed, gradually add heavy cream in a steady stream; continue beating until mixture is light and airy (mixture will be like a very soft whipped cream).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pinning The Border

Last night I cut, ironed and pinned the border. Seems like the quilt shrunk a considerable amount when I trimmed the edges, which makes me a little sad. It's still big though. If I have time between grocery shopping and baking an Angel Food cake tonight, I might sew the borders on and possibly (but probably not) finish it tonight (most probably in the next couple of days).
pinning the border

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Almost Finished

The quilt has been quilted and only a border is left to do. After quilting, I trimmed away all the excess.
Trimming the excess

And here it is. I almost don't want to do the border now, because I'll be a little sad when it's over. I always rush to the end of projects and hardly get to enjoy the process. I'm really looking forward to cuddling up in my new quilt though!
All quilted away

Tomorrow I will make my first Angel Food Cake and turn it into a parfait! Should be fun, tasty, and a little healthy!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Full Time In The Fall Time

After 2.5 weeks of sunny days, California got a little gloomy when Junko left. A lot of great adventures were had and some big news to share. I've been accepted to UCLA for graduate school in Information and Library science. Hopefully there will be enough hours in the day to fit in a full time work, student, and crafter schedule. In the meantime, I plan to craft as much as I can. I did manage to get some new thread this weekend.
the new thread

I accidentally left my fabric at home when I went shopping, but I think I came pretty close. It blended in perfectly once I started sewing.
sewing it up

I managed to finish half of the quilting last night. It's not easy sewing such a huge quilt! Lots of folding and pinning! It also took me about 6 hours to safely take out the 4 rows of quilting I did with the old, light brown, thread.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Thread About Thread

I started stitching the quilt last night, when I decided the yellow thread just wasn't going to do. I'm a beginner quilter and I'm not the most detail oriented sewer, so I rather go with a thread that blends into the background rather then highlighting all my mistakes.
a stitch

This is the closest color I had and it wasn't even the right color, or enough thread to finish an entire quilt. So, after I take Junko to the airport on Saturday, I might make a detour and go to the Sewing Arts Center and pick up some thread.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Basting the Quilt

I didn't realize how challenging it was to baste a quilt this size (90"x110"). I used the same technique with my last quilt, which was only about 28"x35" or so. First, I lined up my sandwich of bottom, batting, and top. After straightening it all out, I pinned a line through the middle, using safety pins, attaching all layers.
Pinning the quilt to all it's layers

The bottom layer went first. I pulled the top 2 layers back (pinning the bottom layer to the ground, so it stays put). I sprayed a layer of basting spray over the batting and slowly rolled it over the bottom and continued until the entire quilt was done. Quilting will start tonight.
Basting the Quilt

Time to start thinking about my next project.

Monday, March 12, 2007


It's been a crazy week and an even crazier morning. My first day back at work in about 4 days, but I feel like I've been gone forever (mostly since I've been taking lots of days off for Junko's visit). Somehow I managed to finish the quilt top, bottom, and tag, so I might start quilting today! I might put it off another week and just wait until Junko leaves, but it all depends on my mood later tonight.

All sewn up and ready to sandwich

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tofu Tikka Masala And Quilt Back Progress

I felt like cooking last night. So I made a mix of brown and white rice.


Then I topped it with Tofu Tikka Masala.
Tofu and Rice

Not bad at all. Next time, I will let the tofu marinade for a little longer though (maybe 1 hour, instead of the 30 minutes I did last night). I also got a little busy on the back of the quilt.

The Quilt Back

The big brown panels are sewn together, but nothing else is. I might mix things around before I commit to a final pattern. I tried to arrange it so that none of the fabric on the edges will match what's on opposite side of it. Also, I have no idea where to put the tag I embroidered. Any ideas?
Tonight, Junko and Nicole will be coming over and staying with me for the rest of the week, so getting craft work done might be difficult. I don't know how good I feel about moving my quilt around until all the pieces are sewn together though, so tonight should be interesting.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Project Quiltaway

After I washed the quilt fabric and all the pieces, I folded the top and put it in a corner. I didn't want to think of the ironing that had to be done, because it's such a large piece. So I decided to put on my Project Runway DVDs and get to work.

Ironing the Quilt top

After ironing it out, I sat down and sketched ideas for the back, doing all the math (ex. If I stitch 2 44" panels together for the back, should I stitch every 5" or ever 10" so that the seams on the front and back are where the quilting stiches happen? Should I include patterned fabric as a border on the back or just go with the brown? If I do have patterned fabric, how wide/long should the pieces be? Will they also meet with the seams while quilting? etc...)

Starting the quilt back

I came up with a tentative plan, that I think will work. I have 2 panels of brown (see above) and as far as right now, I'm going to border the panels with 20" long rectangles (the length of 4 little blocks) and I might stitch my quilt at every 10 inches. I did have to take math 3 times over in college, so this all might change, depending on how many mathematical errors I make.

Monday, March 05, 2007

A Day Without Junko

I think most of the embroidery is finished. I might add the date (probably just the year) with the green thread.

Most of the embroidering is done

I think I might tackle the quilt back next.

Friday, March 02, 2007

A Little Here, A Little There

Just a quick update, I've started the flower...

some progress

And I'm off to have lunch with Junko and Brian!