Dutch Garden

Last year we purchase a new hard side camper and I made both mini steams quilts for their bunk beds. But I never got around to making one for our bed. The space where our bed is very dark, so I wanted something to lighten up and cheer up the space. But at the same time it couldn’t be too light because, well, we’d be camping and it’s going to get dirty.

I knew the quilt would have to use stars. Star blocks are by far my favorite block. But I am not a fan of quilts where every block in the quilt is the same block. I like sampler quilts and quilts that mix it up some.

I also really wanted to be able to do the whole quilt top from stash. No fabric purchased. But quite a while ago I had bought 1/2 yard cuts of about a dozen or more blue and yellow floral fabrics. That should do it. I just would need to find some solid(ish) fabrics to fill in.

And as with almost every quilt that I do I want to try something new. I have never done a dresden plate quilt before and I love them. This seemed like a good place to try them out.

Finally it had to have applique. I love love love applique.

After looking for a patern and hunting thru the internet, I couldn’t find anything that fit the bill. So I started playing around in EQ7. After several (dozens? Hundreds?) attempts, this is what I came up with.

Dutch Garden Layout

I still haven’t decided what I am going to do in the last outer border. I’d love to have solid fabric and then just mimic the applique in the quilting, but I don’t have enough fabric that reads solid to be able to pull that off. So I am going to wait and see what I have left from my yellow and blue stash and figure it out as I go.

 

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Stepping into a Mothers Day Gift!

Uggggg! Mother’s Day totally snuck up on my this year. I was planning on taking the kids to a diy pottery place to make a gift for their Grandma. Alas! They wouldn’t be able to put anything we made into the kiln until next week.

Drat!

So now I need a functional homemade gift the kids could do and have it ready in one day.

To the rescue…….Pinterest!

Luckily I had a board made with fun gift ideas. One of those ideas were stepping stones. So last night we went shopping for supplies. Instead of buying a kit for $20 per stone (YIKES!), we bought just the supplies.

  • 60 lbs of quick set concrete (enough for 6ish stones) – $6
  • 2 hexagon forms – $9
  • Assorted glass and marbles – $15

So for less than 2 kids we bought supplies that should make about 6 stones!!! Sa-weet!

This morning we divided up the decorations and got all our supplies organized.

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones! Supplies all set up.

The tutorials I found on line suggested using either Vaseline or cooking spray as a mold release. You can probably tell we are using cooking spray.  It was quite the challenge to stir the concrete. Poor N was trying valiantly to hold the bucket while I stirred. He was laughing because the stirring was moving him around too.  With an impeccable sense of timing, Mr. Steam showed up right when I finished mixing the concrete. But he did help pour it into the molds.

The kids were a wee bit excited about the project. It cracks me up because N refuses to get his picture taken. But if he can photo bomb a picture then he’s all in. Goof!

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones! Excited to start decorating.

 

Then the kids got started decorating.

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones! Getting started.

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones! Getting started.

Both kids decided to do flowers. It made perfect sense as these are a gift for Grandma Garden.

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones!

N’s creation was all his own. He has a blue sky with white clouds and flowers.

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones!

Poor Ms M had a playground incident earlier this week where she fell face first onto a piece of equipment. She has been quite the sport about it and even has been wearing outfits to match the changing color of her nose. The missing teeth were not a result of the incident (thank goodness!).

She also wanted flowers, but we built here stone together. She did the grass, sky, and rain. I did the flowers and stems.

Last minute Mothers Day present! Stepping stones!

 

They were both very proud of their creations and can’t wait to give them to Grandma Garden.

 

 

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QOV #2 for 2016 – Stars and Feathers

Remember how this year I was trying to pick out QOV quilts to that I could practice some edge to edge and all over quilting? When I picked up this quilt it was still in its bag and I was sure that this quilt was going to be a great candidate for an all over.

1 Quilt top

Not. Even. Close.

All that big wide open blue background. I had to do feathers. I just had to!

The border I decided to do some piano keys coming off 1/2 circle arcs. That fabric was way too patterned for anything to be seen.  On the corners I rayed out the keys. I knew I would never remember how to measure them out when I got to the bottom so I made myself a cheat sheet.

1 remembering border measurements

Even though I was very excited to put some feathers in that big blue space it took me MANY tries to figure out what would work. This drawing was about my 4th or 5th try.

2 Feather design

For as dark as the fabric was it was VERY hard to see the chalk lines. Those white lines on the fabric really proved to be a challenge. I had to concentrate REALLY hard to see.

3 Marking

In addition the pattern made it even harder to get  a picture of how the feathers turned out. Luckily, the quilt was sent with a solid background. Awesome!!!

Feathers

The setting triangles also proved to be a challenge to layout a spine that I liked. After MANY tries I ended up with this. So elegant.

5 marking setting triangles

And then I added feathers. Oh yeah! This quilt could take flight!

6 setting triangle feathers

Here’s a shot of the back. You can see it even better here. Plus you can see how I did the outer and inner borders.

7 border and triangles back

The fabric was really too busy to show up the feathers very well. But, it sure gave GREAT texture. And since the backing is solid, the recipient will get a really cool whole cloth. Two quilts in one. You can’t beat that!

8 texture

 

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Spooktacular Fun!

A friend of mine participated in a round robin. I don’t know how you feel about round robins, but they are nerve wracking for me. From my experience you either end up with a quilt that is greater than the sum of its quilters, or you end up with a disaster.

I think my friend’s round robin fell into the earlier. But you judge. (I promise the floor was very clean, we had just vacuumed before I put the top down.)

Halloween Round robin (2)

When I saw this top I asked my friend if I could quilt it for her. I knew the second I saw it how I wanted to quilt it. I was so excited when she said YES!!!!

I knew I wanted to treat each border a little bit differently. And I was going to be so much fun because both the black and green borders were solid fabrics and they were BIG! So there was going to be lots of room to play.

The outer most border was a very busy print, and it had a bit of fullness. So I used a 1″ piano key. It’s a quick and easy border and it great at eating up extra fabric.

In the black border was my first chance to play. I did a mix of pebbles, swirls and paisleys.

black border (2)

The broom got some variegated yellow thread to make it look more like straw.

black border (1)

I did all swirls off the back of the broom. That thing needed to look like it was flying after all.

black border (3)

The blocks were a lot of fun. The crazy log cabin blocks got a spiderweb. That was super quick to quilt up and required no marking or rulers. The characters got diagonal lines.

Blocks (1)

The green border had TONS and TONS of room to play. First I cut out some Halloween shapes from card stock.

green border (1)

green border (2)

Then I traced those with blue water erase marker. And quilted them.

green border

green border (5)

I just love how they look! Then I filled around them with McTavishing and pebbles.

green border (6)

I thought it would be fun to quilt in some steam and bubbles on the top of the cauldron.

green border (10)

The words got either echos or pebbles to help them pop.

green border (4)

The green was by far my favorite.

green border (11)

green border (80)

green border (82)

There wasn’t much room in the purple border, and there were some pretty tight spots around the ghosts. Pebbles are great for getting into tight spots and you can vary the size to make them more interesting.

Purple border

The most inner border had some interesting round flowers. I wanted to do some 1/2 circles, but I didn’t have a circle template. But I was REALLY REALLY determined to find a way. I had remembered reading about quilters using lids from pots. THAT’S IT! I went thru my craft supplies of small jars and found a spice jar lid that was just the perfect size!

circle template

The center panel I did some cross hatching, but of course I forgot to get pictures of that. -Sigh-.

I sent the quilt back to my friend and it was a hit! The cat even likes it!

Halloween Round robin

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QOV #1 for 2015 – Jelly Roll Race

Normally when I pick out the QOV quilts to work on I pick out ones that have lots of room to play and that I can do fancy custom quilting on because that is what I enjoy so much. However, I almost never get a chance to do all over designs on quilts and I really want to make sure I practice that skill too. So this time when I picked out quilts I tried to pick out ones that were too busy to really see the custom work.

The first one I picked was a variation of a jelly roll race. It was a very cool quilt and really needed an all over pattern. I sampled several different all over designs, and ended up with a loop and star pattern.

005

However for the border I really wanted to do something different. I found a pin from “A Few Scraps” that are a no mark continuous line star that are PERFECT for borders.

004

From the previous pictures you really can see that the quilt is to busy to see the quilting. But… Fear not! The backing was solid red!

QOV Jelly Roll Race - Loops and stars

It was amazing to me how much faster this went than fancy quilting! It was only a few hours to finish the whole quilt. Its good to know I can to simple quilting in case I ever need to.

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Floral Cabin – Part 4 Finished and Delivered!

I just realized that I never showed you all the finished and delivered Floral Cabin! Shame on me!

Once I got the quilting done on this beauty, I met up with my cousin and her kids camping and she took it home to do the binding. The husbands held up the top so my cousin and I could take the pictures. I tell ya, there is nothing like natural light to show off the quilting.

This quilt is a MONSTER! The guys had a hard time holding it straight.

Floral Cabin

I just love how the quilting on the blocks turned out.

whole quilt (7)

The borders were so much fun to quilt. And I soooooo love feathers (can ya tell?)

whole quilt (5)

The back is just as much fun as the front. You can really see the two inner borders easier here. I wish I had been able to find a sold color for the back, then my Aunt could have had both a log cabin and a whole cloth quilt.

whole quilt (1)

Late last summer we had a family reunion and I got to see the quilt delivered to my Aunt. She was thrilled!

delivery (1)

Now in case you lost track, this quilt was made by 4 people and traveled to 4 different states. It started in Alabama where my Aunt and two cousins pieced it. Then it traveled to Wisconsin where I quilted it. After that the quilt made it’s way to Minnesota to get bound. Next, on to Tennessee to be delivered. And, finally back to it’s home in Alabama. That poor quilt must be tired. Good thing it gets to live on a bed!!!!

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Valentines from the store is crafty too

So every year I try to find something that we can have for a special valentine for the whole family. And every year I try to find special valentines that really represent each of the mini steam’s personalities. And every year the minis and I make a specifically designed valentines box just for that child.

That is until this year.

The kids and I hunted in Pinterest until we found just the right box. Something that was just what each child wanted. N picked out a Pokemon box and Ms M picked out a Paw Patrol box.

We scanned Pinterest pages and pages and pages and found just the right cards that made each child clap. Unsurprisingly, each child wanted cards that matched their box.

And then…

well….

my craft mojo left. Don’t know where it went. Things have been crazy here at the Steam house for a while. And I just couldn’t figure out how I was going to get all of everything don that needed to be done.

So……

The three of us went on a mission and picked out store. bought. cards. (Well technically they picked out store bought sticker packs, but still). And while we were there, I saw that they had prepackaged do it yourself boxes! And guess what?! The kids picked on of those out too!

And you know what? The kids had just as much fun assembling their own kit box as they did making their box from scratch. And they had just as much fun putting their friends name on the store bought cards. And it was still a craft that we sat down and did together.


 And really, in the end, it doesn’t mater if its from scratch. We all need to stay sane. The kids were happy. I was happy. So it’s all good.


And next year, if the kids want to make their cards and boxes from scratch, that will be fine. And if they want to buy kids, that will be fine too.

 

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52 Pie Challenge is in the Books!

Holly cow! I can’t believe that it’s been this long since I have posted on the blog. Ok, check that, yes, I can believe. Things are always crazy here, but they got really crazy between October and the end of the year. There was a trip to Mexico, a Halloween party, a gingerbread decorating party, a bunch of Christmas presents to make, and there were 14 pies to be made!

Yep, 14 pies. Because, back in March I thought it would be a good idea to see if I could make 52 different pies by the end of the year. The problem was in August I lost my pie mojo and quit. But, I am a sucker for a challenge, even if it is self imposed.

So in December I made 14 pies. Yep, 14 pies in one month. That’s just shy of one pie every other day. Frankly, I think the family will be happy if they don’t see another pie crust for a while.

It was a fun challenge though. And it was quite interesting to come up with pies that the whole family (or at least the majority of the family) wanted to eat. And I was pretty proud that 40 of the recipes were ones I have never tried before.

Here’s the breakdown:

Savory Pies:

  1. Pizza
  2. Broccoli cheese quiche
  3. Ham Cheese quiche
  4. Pasty
  5. Chicken Pot Pie
  6. Spinach Pie
  7. Spaghetti and meatball pie (recipe)
  8. Shepard’s Pie (recipe)
  9. Mini Hashbrown quiche
  10. Asparagus tart
  11. Pizza pudgie pie
  12. Meatball sub pudgie pie
  13. Chicken parmesan pudgie pie
  14. Ham and cheese pudgie pie
  15. Cheese pudgie pie
  16. Caprese pudgie pie
  17. Sausage, potato, spinach and green chili pie
  18. Tomato pie
  19. Chicken and corn pie
  20. Cheeseburger pie
  21. Taco Pie
  22. Steak and mushroom pie
  23. Potato and onion pie
  24. Mushroom and parmesan mini pies
  25. Pulled pork tart
  26. French onion soup tart
  27. Spinach and potato breakfast pie

Dessert Pies:

  1. Banana cream pie
  2. Ice cream pie
  3. Raspberry pie
  4. Lemon meringue pie
  5. Blueberry pie
  6. Chocolate covered strawberry pie
  7. Strawberry rhubarb pie
  8. Chocolate silk pie
  9. Strawberry cream pie
  10. Blueberry and black raspberry crostata
  11. Plum crostata
  12. Lemon meringue pudgie pie
  13. Banana bread and jelly meringue pudgie pie
  14. Blueberry pudgie pie
  15. Cherry pudgie pie
  16. Peach and blueberry pie
  17. Strawberry and Nutella pudgie pie
  18. Cream cheese and jelly (raspberry / rhubarb) pudgie pie
  19. Cherry limeade pie (recipe)
  20. Peppermint ice cream pie with chocolate ganache topping
  21. Mini apple pie
  22. Lemon and raspberry min pies
  23. S’mores Pie
  24. Chocolate mascarpone raspberry pie (recipe)
  25. Whoopie pie

Phew! That was a LOT of pies! And when I told several of my friends that I made it by the skin of my teeth, as the last pie was made on December 31!!! Were they impressed? Nooooo*! They just wanted to know what my challenge was for this year!

*Ok, they probably were impressed. Or just laughing on the inside. I am ok with either.

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Lego Party – Part 5 Games

The last, but to the kids THE most important part of the party… the GAMES!

Sometimes I feel bad about having so many structured games for the party. Because, I know often the kids just want to go and play. I try to make sure that at least 1/2 the party time is free play time. But this year, when the games were all over, one of the kids came up to me and said “What’s the next game???!!!!!” It was so sweet she was really disappointed when I told here there were no more. But, that disappointment didn’t last long as the kids ran off and made up their own games.

1. Build a Lego car

Lego Party Games - Build a Car

I always start the party with a craft. It lets the kids warm up to each other. Gives all the kids time to get to the party. And they have some kind of project to take home with them.

Building Legos was a natural for this party. Each kid got to pick a race car, tractor, or space rover. They were given a tray to help contain the Legos and keep from losing pieces.

I was worried about the younger kids. But everyone did a great job getting their vehicle put together.

2. Race your Lego car

My plan for the race was to use Hot Wheels race track. But, DUH! they were too narrow. But I still used them turned upside down as the lane divider. I just used some duck tape and mounted them to a board we had laying around. We propped it up a little and let the kids race!

Lego Party Games - Car race

Lego Party Games - Car race

All the kids LOVED it. There was much conversation about who’s car raced the best. Which lane was the best. Which style of vehicle was better for racing. Several rounds of racing ensued.

3. Build the tallest tower

Lego Party Games - Tallest Tower

I knew I wanted to have a build the tallest tower game. I had planned on doing it with regular Legos. But after building the decorations there were enough Duplos left for three towers. The good thing about Duplos is because of their size they can build a taller tower with less blocks. The awesome part of these Duplos is they are left from when my sister and I were kids and built Legos all the time!!!

The kids were split into three teams. They picked the teams themselves without any disagreements. Each team was given a box of Duplos with the exact same number and shape of blocks.

I told them it was not a race. They weren’t building for speed. The challenge was to build the tallest tower. They could use as many or as few blocks as they wanted.

Lego Party Games - Tallest Tower

The boys had some trouble. They put a very small piece as their base. And every time they got about 20 blocks up it would topple. Of course, they groaned and laughed, but they never changed their base. The best part was the help from the peanut gallery (i.e. the parents). With several mechanics and several engineers in the crowd there was lots of coaching. Of course, the kids ignored all of it!

Lego Party Games - Tallest Tower

The little kids did pretty good. They had the right idea with a wider base. Their team work was impressive. Lots of different ideas were shared and acted on.

Lego Party Games - Tallest Tower

But, the winner by far, were the girls (and little brother). Their tower NEVER fell. It just kept getting taller and taller. I think they used every block in their bin except two.

After picking up all the Legos on the floor it was time for the final game.

4. Lego mini fig scavenger hunt

Lego Party Games - Minifig hunt

I love scavenger hunts. I have them in some form or fashion for most parties. In the past though the kids got some clue and then there was some type of gift for each kid in one spot. This year, however, I thought the kids were old enough to find their OWN item. I wanted to hid the mini figs, but was worried about them getting lost in the yard. The pieces are so dang small!

I needed something to make the mini fig pieces BIGGER. I could just put the heads in a basket, the bodies in a different basket, the legs in a third basket. And give clues to where the baskets were hidden. But, frankly I couldn’t think of good clues. And I wanted a REAL hunt.

Hmmmm. What to do. What to do.

Well, I could put each piece in an envelope. Yea, that would work. And I could even put the kids name on the envelope. PERFECT!

So I got colored envelopes,  red, yellow, blue. And printed out labels with each child’s name. Each kid got a yellow (head and hat/helmet), a blue (body & tool), and a red (legs) envelope.

Before the party I hid the envelopes in the garden, in the branches of bushes, or stuck to lower limbs of the evergreen trees. It was a fairly wind free day, so all the envelopes stayed in place. I had thought about using some ribbon or yarn to tie them in placce, but it wasn’t needed.

Lego Party Games - Minifig hunt

It worked great. Everyone was running all over using up some energy. The envelopes had just enough color that you could just see them peeking out of their various hiding spots.

And the part I loved was more than one of the little ones came up to me and said “I saw XX’s envelope, but I didn’t take it, because that wasn’t my name. (then the whisper) And I didn’t tell him where it was either!”

All in all a MOST enjoyable party!

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Lego Party – Part 4 Food

This was by far the hardest part of the party to keep themed. Usually I am able to find food that can be built into the party theme. Sometimes both the appetizers and the dinner get themed. But this time I was at a complete loss.

There were tons of ideas for making individual crackers with cheese cut in circles to make Lego crackers. Or ideas to cut peperioni into mini pieces put them on pizza then cut the pizza into little Legos. Or make sugar cookies and use little candies to make Lego blocks. But there were 20 people coming to this party (including adults). There was no way I was going to make that much little Lego food!

So, I settled with using food that was either round or block shaped. And then serving the food bowls that were Lego colors.

Appetizers

Lego Party Food

  • Round slices of summer sausage
  • Cheese cut into rectangular cubes
  • Crackers both round and rectangular
  • Mellon ball salad, bonus they were round AND Lego colored
  • Cheese puff balls, seriously these things look like Lego heads
  • Veggies & dip, ok these were neither round or cubed, but they were Lego colors!
  • Ham and cheese rolls. This was the first time I made these, but I WILL make them again! They were AWESOME! You can find the recipe here. I made 2 modifications. 1) I used crescent roll sheets rather than pizza dough 2) I skipped the poppy seeds, I thought the black dots would creep out the kids.

Drinks

Lego Party Food

Of course we had the Steam family standard punch –

  • 1 large container HiC punch (what ever color you need)
  • 4 liters Squirt
  • Ice

And then, erm, a few adult beverages.

I made the cups by cutting out vinyl with the same faces I used for the Lego heads. I am so glad I took the time to make them.

Dinner

Lego Party Food

I usually make the kids favorite food. But this time N wanted pizza. Sa-weet! Less work for me!!! And considering all the decorations that went into this party, a break on the food was a welcome respite! Besides the pizza was round and some of it had round peperoni on it. So that counts. Right?!

Dessert

I love making cupcakes for the kids party. They are easy to decorate. Easy to match the theme. And are SUPER easy to serve! No cutting required!

And do you know how many awesome Lego cupcake ideas there are out there?! TONS! Awesome!

But, for some reason, N wanted a cake! No cupcakes. GROAN!

And he wanted the cake to look like a Lego block. MAN! Do you know how hard that was going to be to frost?!!!

Actually….

It wasn’t that bad.

Seriously, it wasn’t. There’s 3 tricks.

Lego Party Food

Here’s how it goes…

  1. Make two cakes using a 1/2 sheet pan
  2. Cut 1 cake in 1/2 to make the 4 x 3 Lego
  3. Cut the 2nd cake into 1/4s to make the 2 2 x 3 Legos
  4. Frost the 4×3 Lego cake first on the edge of the cake board. Frost all 4 sides and the top.
  5. The 1st trick – OREOS! Frost Oreos for the pips on the Lego. I frosted just the edge of one Oreo. Then I placed it on the cake and frosted the top of the Oreo. I kept going until all the pips for that cake were done.
  6. The 2nd trick – Place the cake in the fridge to harden the frosting. Once it has been in the fridge for about 1/2 hr you can start the next step.
  7. Frost the sides and top of one of the 2×3 Lego cakes on some wax paper or freezer paper. Then I used two big spatulas to pick the cake up off the paper and move it to the cake board. It was very helpful to have a second person to hold down the paper.
  8. Add the frosted oreos.
  9. Repeat for the 3rd cake.

Add in some Lego candles and VIOLA! Food for a Lego party!

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