August 27, 2010
This week, we finally saw a break in the summer heat. I have been through enough 100+ degree days to last me a lifetime. It was 106 at the beginning of the week, but Wednesday brought rain, and with that, thankfully, some cooler temperatures.
I always seem to struggle a bit with meal plans in the warmer months. I can always come up with tasty warm and hearty meals, but light and cool fare is a bit more elusive to me. My hubby is not a fan of cold soups, and while summer seems to be a season to get some use out of the grill, I just can’t hang out outdoors in this crazy heat we’ve been having, cooking over an open flame. So, one of our favorite summer stand-by suppers is the Fruit, Nut and Cheese Plate.
Every time I go to a reception of some sort, I’m always hovering over the fruit tray and the cheese cube tray, and that’s what gave me the idea for this dinner. It is so easy, and everyone can pick out the parts they like the best!
“Plate” is a term I used loosely, since we just pick out of the bowls. Believe it or not, this is just for the two of us, though we did end up with a little bit of leftovers. In the front, we have mango and spiced nuts, followed by a plate of pears and black grapes, and a bowl of raspberries and blueberries, and finished up on top with cheese and toast points. We don’t usually do the toast, but this time I tried out making homemade cheese, and it was the consistency of feta, so we spooned it onto the toast. YUM!
What is so great about this is that you can customize it to your taste preferences, use your favorite fruits (I definitely prefer pears to apples) and cheeses, or score what’s on special at the grocery store (black seedless grapes, 99 cents/lb!). And, if you choose to purchase your spiced nuts instead of making them yourself, you don’t have even have to turn on the oven.
So, what are your favorite cool summertime suppers?
August 26, 2010
I can safely say that I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with this project. My goal is to finish it up this weekend… which is a lofty goal, I admit, but one I am going to strive for anyway. Here’s where I stand so far:
The front is complete!
I have it laying over my guest bed, so that’s the red you see peeking out from under it. I like the length that it hangs down the sides of the bed, just a bit longer than a comforter. I went to the store yesterday and purchased some low loft batting (on sale for 40% off!) and the fabric for the backing (on SALE for $1.99/yd!). I’m not ashamed to say that I am always on the lookout for a great deal.
That brings me to a few mentionable notes:
~ Keep tabs on your quilt measurements when you go to purchase the batting. I bought pre-cut batting in a bag, but opted for the king size, even though this is a queen size quilt, because the queen size pre-cut was just a few inches short.
~ If you are going to use denim in your project, like I did, know that you are going to wind up with a heavy quilt, which will make maneuvering and getting it through a sewing machine a little more difficult.
And for today’s question: How am I going to go about finishing this quilt since I don’t have a large enough area of empty floor space on which to lay it out flat? Suggestions would be helpful.
August 20, 2010
I am so excited to have put a big dent in my tee shirt quilt this past week! I had an extra day off of work (today), so that has helped out a lot.
Here’s where I stand so far:
All tee shirts have had interfacing applied, and all quilt pieces have been cut and all vertical columns have been sewn together.
I have the first two columns on the left side sewn to each other. Here’s a pic of them folded over so you can see a bit of the back as well.
Here are a few notes at this point in the process:
~Pay attention to the stretchiness of your denim fabric. Some of my jeans had more stretch in them than other pairs.
~Don’t forget to swap out your sewing machine needle for one made to handle heavy duty fabric. I’m using a 16, and it seems to be doing very well.
~I sewed back and forth a few times across areas where four pieces of fabric meet, just to add a little more strength in those seams.
~Don’t forget to press out the seams.
That’s all for now. Hopefully, I’ll finish up in the next week, and we’ll get to see the finished product!
This past Monday was my dear hubby’s birthday! He is such a a wonderful husband and friend, and daddy (to our puppies!). He’s a good son, a hard worker, a man of God, and I am proud to be his “missus”. 🙂
August 12, 2010
Here’s a little idea about what kind of materials you might be looking at if you decide to tackle a tee shirt quilt yourself.
The dimensions of a queen sized comforter, according to this page from Bed Bath and Beyond, is 86″ x 94″.
I have ironed approximately 7.5 yards of interfacing onto the back of my tee shirt pieces, each measuring 14″sq.
After dismantling four pairs of jeans, and turning them into some of my denim pieces, I have purchased two more yards of denim fabric (30% off at Jo-Ann!) to make up the difference.
I still have to purchase the batting and fabric for the back of the quilt.
I have been cutting denim for the past three days, and I see the end in sight! Hopefully, I’ll finish up cutting the denim tomorrow, and then I’ll be ready to start piecing together the front. Pics to come!
August 9, 2010
**Quick follow-up to my last post**
Along with his love for coaching football and playing video games, my hubby also has a passion for directing and editing videos, which is a good thing, since it also happens to be what he does for a living. He has recently combined these three areas of expertise, and begun a You Tube video series called “Anatomy of the Game”, where he uses the Backbreaker video game to coach football technique. At this moment he has three videos up, and is working on the fourth as I type. It’s really neat, and he does a wonderful job! Check him out at http://www.youtube.com/user/newberry94005. And just to whet your appetite, here’s his trailer.
Now, on to the crafting!
I have finally begun work on my theatre tee shirt quilt. My sister’s first attempt at this project turned out so well, that I have been inspired enough to once and for all begin work on my own. (You can check out her finished project in my post Keeping The Memories.)
Instead of doing a How To for this project once I have completed it, I have decided to chronicle my progress as I go, since it is such a large project. We will all find out together if it turns out well in the end!
For starters, I came up with a design. As I said in Keeping The Memories, I liked Julee’s design so much I used it as inspiration. After printing out a few pages of graph paper, and taping them together, I drew up my design using queen size comforter dimensions as a general guideline.
Once I had all of my piece measurements worked out, and not forgetting to add a bit for seam allowances, I measured and cut out some cardboard templates to use for the multitude of pieces that will have same dimensions.
After washing and drying my tee shirts and blue jeans, I ironed on some interfacing to the insides of the front and back of the tee shirts before using one of my templates to cut out 14″ x 14″ squares from each side.
Some of my older pairs of jeans that have also mysteriously gotten too small to wear will supply the rest of the fabric in the pattern. Included with these jeans is a pair that I wore as part of my costume in “Godspell”, my first college production. These jeans have a an awesome embroidered design all the way down the outside of both legs, from the hip to the ankle, and they’re going to make a great addition to the quilt.
Yay for good memories! And what a great way to preserve them. Thanks to Julee for putting a bit of fire under my bottom to get the project going. I’ll have more updates as things progress. 🙂
August 6, 2010
In my most recent Features Fridays post, I alluded to an exciting request that was made of my husband. At the time, I was not at liberty to share with you the specifics of that request, however, the time has now come to reveal the particulars.
My hubby is an avid video gamer. He is also a wealth of football knowledge, having played the game from the time he was a little boy, all the way through college. So, whenever a new football video game is announced, he gets all giddy with excitement and the hope that this game will finally be the one that plays like the real thing, and never more so than five years ago when it was announced that a new football game was in development that would utilize real world physics and reactions rendered “on the fly” rather than canned animations. The name of this game is Backbreaker.
For five years he followed the progress Backbreaker, being very active on the forums, and savoring every morsel of information that was announced, up until the game release date. However, like any true fan, he didn’t stop there. Having already made the acquaintance of one of the game’s developers, he began offering feedback about the gameplay, and details about the game of football that needed to be incorporated, or perhaps even fixed, in the video game.
He has been such a big help that he has now officially been credited in the “Special Thanks” portion of the game credits! That’s right, if you play Backbreaker and view the credits, you’ll see my hubby’s name scroll right up the screen.
But, for those of you who aren’t gamers, or have no intention of going out and purchasing this game, here’s a little screen shot I grabbed today.
How neat is that?!
August 4, 2010
Many thanks to all of you who are still hanging in there with me as I try to get back onto a regular posting schedule. The lack of internet connectivity is still causing a bit of a problem, but I’m hoping it will be taken care of soon.
In the meantime, I need to ask for your help.
My mother-in-law came up for a visit again this weekend. We had a great time yard sale-ing and thrift store treasure hunting on Saturday morning, and then new shoe shopping for me that afternoon. Catti-brie has decided, at one year-old, that shoe chewing is a great idea. I discovered and disposed of three pairs of ruined shoes when I was cleaning out my closet last week. The little stinker.
At any rate, that evening, my mother-in-law went out to her car and retrieved a particularly good yard sale find that she had purchased a few weeks ago. She walked in with a stack of fabric sample books.
These books are filled with multi-purpose fabric samples in all types of blends and textures. I was so excited as I flipped through each book, studying the different patterns and color combinations. My husband pointed out that these fabric samples, which are all identically cut, would be easy to piece into a quilt of some sort.
But, other than that, what can I do with all of these?
I would love any project ideas that you may have for these little rectangles. They are all fastened together into a book, but the usable portion that is not stapled or altered measures approximately 8.25 x 5.75.