June 30, 2015

Butter Churn Block - Farm Girl Vintage

Don't you just love the names for vintage quilt blocks?
That's part of the appeal of Lori Holt's

Today's block has a charming name...Butter Churn.
The design is so clever, with a pinwheel center.
The one from the book had a pretty green palette,
with a navy pinwheel.

For my block I wanted a broader color palette...
I used primary colors, reminding me of a new box of crayons.
My bundle of Fresh Air prints by American Jane
really inspires me.

I love that center pinwheel, framed in butter yellow.

A funny thing happened when I was laying out the pieces
for assembly, on my design board.
Before I added the HST corner pieces,
I snapped this photo, so I could remember the alternate block
that appears if you were to use
just plain background squares in the corners.

{Note to self: try this someday!}

But for today...the butter churn block was completed.

I must say I was thrilled with the way I executed
this block. I made my HST's a bit larger and trimmed them
to the perfect size.
My flying geese units came out perfectly,
using the method described in the book.

Come back soon...I can't stop making these sweet blocks!
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June 28, 2015

Baking Day - Farm Girl Vintage

I've always enjoyed baking,
so I'm really excited that it's Baking Day with my
Farm Girl Vintage book.

I enjoyed using some fabrics from Fresh Air
by American Jane,
along with some favorites from Bake Sale
by Lori Holt herself.

{Those teeny spatulas melt my heart!}

This was a really fun and easy block to assemble.

I decided to try the technique shown on this video
to use the backing as the binding for my quilted block.
I did some grid quilting and finished it with a green border.

I have to admit that my mitered corners
did not meet my self-imposed personal standards for excellence.

{There will be no closeups of the corners shown. 
You'll just have to trust me.}

Because this block was so much fun to stitch,
I hope to make some more of these
little Baking Day minis.
I'll probably use my own tutorial for Machine Binding next time.

They would be sweet in any kitchen,
and it would be a great way to commemorate the
100th birthday of Pyrex.

For all of you Pyrex fans out there...
be sure to visit my Pyrex-omania post here and find out
how these bowls ended up in my kitchen.

{Thanks, Mom!}

Stop back soon to see more blocks from Farm Girl Vintage.

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June 23, 2015

Farm Girl Fever!

I've caught Farm Girl fever...
I treated  myself to a copy of Lori Holt's
and now I've actually started to sew some blocks!

I have owned my book for about a month,
and I've been looking at the beautiful photos,
dreaming of making some of my own blocks soon.

The time has come...and now I'll share my versions with you!

The first block in the book seemed like
a logical place to begin.
I love the name as much as the design...
Apron Strings.

I made two blocks...
because I didn't pay close enough attention
to the cutting instructions,
and my first block wasn't very scrappy.

That's okay - I love both of these.

I think I'll make one into a pot holder...

and the other into a mug rug.

Then last night, I spent 2 hours
making the adorable Autumn Star block.
I paid for that all day today...yawn...
because I was up so late sewing.

{I think it's worth it!}

What took me so long?
Well, the little pieces are really...little!
I had to make those 
blasted little yellow HST's twice.

From now on, I am NOT following the directions
in this lovely book, for half-square triangles.
I admit it...mine come out too small.

I'm going to round up the cutting directions
to the nearest inch, stitch them, and trim them
to the perfect size.

Because...when the little pieces are all the right size...
the little blocks are really cute!

For these blocks, I've used Kona "Off White"
for my background,
and an assortment of American Jane
prints from Fresh Air.

They remind me of the 30s quilts that made all of us
first fall in love with quilting.
For my next blocks,
I'll be adding in some other feedsack-inspired fabrics,
plus lots of polka dots and other favorites.

Stop by again soon...
and follow me on Instagram as eamylove.

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May 13, 2015

Spring Petals Table Topper QAL - Color Me Retro

Hello, Friends!
Have you been quilting along

This quilt along came along at just the right time for me!
I was ready for a new table topper for my kitchen table,
and I had just the right stash of fabrics on hand.

The Crafty Quilter did such a great job planning this
quilt along. The pace was just right - a new lesson each week,
with extra time to add linky photos at the end.
All fun...no stress!

I took this opportunity to use my fat quarters of
Color Me Retro fabrics by Jeni Baker for Art Gallery.

{They have adorable names...Florette, Kitchenette, and Dulcette.}

I've had these prints since they were first released,
and it's about time I used them to brighten my kitchen.
I had some fun positioning the background prints
in a directional design.
For the triangle edges, I chose the violet floral stripe.

Here's how my table topper looked
with the background stitched and petals fused into place.
I think my favorite step in this project
was deciding how to place the petals!

Next I appliqued my petals using my Pfaff's blanket stitch.
I love that stitch, and it's the reason I chose my machine 14 years ago.
After all of the petals were stitched, I added the petal centers.

What a difference those centers made...they brought out the lime.
This was such a pleasant surprise, because I'd already
planned to use a lime polka dot for the binding.

For the quilting, I decided to go lightly.
I stitched around each petal,
plus added a right angle to echo the violet triangle shapes.

{I forgot to take this shot before the project was finished.} 

{You can see the overall design best on the back.}

Let's do a bit of time traveling...back in time from the photo above!
After the quilting was completed, I carefully trimmed the table topper.

So, what about binding all of those corners, including the inverted ones?

Oh, The Crafty Quilter has a tutorial for that!
I'm not gonna lie...it was a bit tricky,
and it took like.for.ever to handstitch the binding
to the back, but it was really worth it!

I love my finished table topper...it's something I'm keeping,
just for myself. It will make me think of my friend Julie,
The Crafty Quilter, and all of my friends who quilted along.

I bet I'll make another one someday!

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May 11, 2015

Welcome, Summertime!...Strawberry Cheesecake Pie Recipe

Hello, Friends!
Who's ready to welcome summertime with
a delicious homemade dessert?

{How about some strawberry pie?}

I thought it would be fun to share my own recipe
for Strawberry Cheesecake Pie.
It's got a pie crust on the bottom,
a layer of creamy cheesecake filling,
and it's all topped off with fresh glazed strawberries.

Mmmmmmm....here we go.
First I'll show you how I made mine, with photos. 
The entire recipe is available in the PDF link,
and also at the end of this post.

First make your pie crust.
I just used a refrigerated pie crust,
but you could make one from scratch if you prefer.
Once it's in the pie pan, make the edges as pretty as you can.
Then poke holes in the crust with a fork, to reduce shrinkage.
Bake it at 450 for about 9 to 11 minutes.

The crust should be very lightly browned. Put it aside to cool.

For the creamy cheesecake layer,
blend cream cheese with powdered sugar and vanilla.
{To keep the mixture white, you could use clear vanilla.}
Fold in the Cool Whip, then spoon the filling into the pie crust.
While the pie chills, prepare the berries and glaze.

Clean the strawberries. Choose some of the ripest ones
to use in making the glaze. You can leave the rest whole,
or cut them in half.

Mash enough berries to make about 1/2 cup.
I like to add the sugar now, and let the berries soften.
Then put the pureed berries and sugar into a small saucepan.
Add the cornstarch and a pinch of baking powder.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.

After the mixture thickens and turns clear,
add a little dab of butter and the vanilla.
Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Arrange the berries over the cheesecake layer.
This step can be as plain or fancy as you like.
I kind of wish I'd taken time to make a fanned design,
but it's still very pretty.

Oh, boy...the last step really glams it up.
Spoon the glaze over all the berries and cream.

Strawberry Cheesecake Pie

1 9" pie crust, from a box or from scratch

Cheesecake layer:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 cup Cool Whip, thawed

Strawberry layer:
3 cups fresh strawberries, cleaned
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
pinch of baking powder
1/2 tsp.vanilla
small dab of butter

Prepare the pie crust first. Lay the unbaked crust in a 9" pie pan.
Pinch the upper edges of the crust to make an attractive design.
Prick the crust with a fork to prevent shrinking.
Bake the crust at 450 degrees for about 9 - 11 minutes,
until just delicately browned.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Prepare the cheesecake layer.  In a small bowl, blend the cream cheese,
powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Fold in the Cool Whip.
Spread evenly over the baked crust and chill.

Prepare the strawberry glaze. Puree enough berries to make 1/2 cup.
In a small saucepan combine berry puree, sugar cornstarch and baking powder.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened and clear. Add butter and vanilla. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.

Arrange remaining berries on top of the cream cheese layer.
Keep the berries whole or in large pieces.
Spoon the glaze over all and chill the pie well before serving.

Serves 6

A picture is worth a thousand words...

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April 26, 2015

Do You Want to Build A Snowball Block?

Hello, Friends!

Buds are blooming,
birds are singing,
but I'm in the mood for making
SNOWBALL blocks!

You know what I'm talking about, right?
When you take a quilt block
and round off the corners a bit,
by adding half-square-triangles,
it becomes a "Snowball" block.

It's a fun design element that is seen
all over quiltland.

These are some blocks I've made,

If you're short on sewing time,
like I am, you might enjoy some tips
for sewing snowball blocks.

I love to precut my precuts...
if you follow me...so that I've got a couple of blocks
ready for sewing.

{I've been able to stitch 2 of these Jump Ring blocks in less than 30 minutes.}

As you can see from the off-white pieces above,
as well as the tiny squares below,
I like to use an iron to "mark" the sewing lines.
I just press the pieces diagonally,
right sides out.
They are ready for stitching in no time.

When I begin my stitching,
I always use a fabric scrap at the beginning
and again at the end,
stopping with the needle down.
This eliminates loose threads that need trimming later!

{It also makes the stitching nice and even, start to finish.}

Another time-saver is chain-piecing.
Just keep the needle down between pieces,
and butt the next set up against the last one.

For snowball blocks,
it helps to alternate the direction of each block.
See the photo below.
I've started stitching the corners
from a different direction each time.
The pieces line up perfectly this way.

I like to snowball all four corners,
before trimming and pressing the finished block.

{Because I've already pressed the sewing line,
there's less distortion of the block.}

Have you ever made "bonus" half-square triangles...
a.k.a. HST's...
from your snowball blocks???

If your corner squares are at least 2 1/2" square,
this is a really cool tip to try!

BEFORE trimming away the layers
that are not needed for the finished block:

You can use a ruler to mark 
a SECOND line of stitching parallel to the first,
in the part of the square that will be cut away.
I make my second stitch line about 3/8" from the first,
to maximize the size of my bonus HST's.

Stitch this second line along all of the corners of the block.
I usually "eye-ball" the 3/8", to save even more time.
Just be sure the seam is parallel to the first stitchline.

NOW it's time to trim away the excess,
cutting in the space between the two stitchlines.

Take those formerly wasted edges to the ironing board,
and now you have a set of little bonus HST's!

Trim them to size,
and you've got a headstart on a new project.

I trimmed these to 1 3/4",
but you could make them into 1 1/2" HST's if you like.

I hope you'll stop by again soon
for more sewing tips and projects.
Wouldn't you like to see what I'm making
with all of those snowballs?

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