Archive for March, 2010

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Come On Baby Light My Fire

March 31, 2010

I feel like I have nothing of substance to talk about today. I made chicken shawarmas last night. They were tasty. I got a good night’s sleep. I fed my cats this morning. See? All boring.

Sooo….. how about a teaser? I have nothing to show for it yet, but I am super excited!

Ready? Go!

Guess what I bought yesterday from Maker Shed!

CSTL1-2[1]

I have been toying with the idea of adding LED lights to an art quilt I made. I was having trouble finding yellow ones and also, let’s be honest, terrified of adding conductive thread to make circuits and whatnot in my art quilt…. because I would hate to ruin the little quilt.. or do something wrong and have the whole thing catch fire. It probably wouldn’t (catch fire, that is) because it’s only running off a tiny battery… but I suppose if there were a freak incident – it would definitely be with mine.

The LED sewing kit should come early next week.. so hopefully I’ll be able to post my finished art quilt shortly after that.

And now I expect you to wait in suspense until I post the finished art quilt. Please? It’s worth the wait, if I do say so myself. Promise.

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Project Vinegar: We Have Mother!

March 29, 2010

Mother of Vinegar

There’s our Mother in all her slimy, pungent glory!

A while ago, I emailed the Gang of Pour about places around Metro Detroit that sell Mother of Vinegar. Dave and I had 80+ bottles of wine that weren’t great… so we thought homemade vinegar would mean they wouldn’t go to waste. We tried looking at a couple home bewing stores around us, but they told us they couldn’t sell Mother of Vinegar because of the FDA.

It turns out that Kim, of Gang of Pour, and her husband live pretty close to us and they were so kind as to BRING SOME OVER on Saturday. Seriously, how cool is that?

Mother of Vinegar Unfolded

Kim gave us a large circle of Mother. Dave and I got two two-gallon glass jars and put half of the Mother in each. Then we poured in six bottles of Amarone into one and six bottles of Cab into the other. The hope is that in three months, we’ll have some pretty tasty vinegar.

And the Mother?

Holding the Mother

It felt just like you would expect from a compound of bacteria that turns the alcohol from wine or cider into vinegar…. sorta fleshy, slimy, and not unlike raw liver.

And now I must just remember to be patient.

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Stoney Creek

March 27, 2010

Luci @ Stoney Creek

My mom and I took her dog, Luci, to Stoney Creek a few nights ago for a picnic dinner after work. It was a little bit chilly, but that didn’t stop Luci from running around the hill we were on like a crazy fool 🙂

Also, I won’t talk your ear off about it, but we had to put my cat, Buster, to sleep on Thursday afternoon. He was 18 years old and although he had been relatively healthy his whole life, it was just his time. I still remember getting him as a tiny kitten when I was 9. He was always a good cat and I can’t help but to think that the world is a little worse without him in it.

Buster

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Cooking and Crafting

March 24, 2010

A while ago, I started reading the blog Dinner with Julie. Her writing is great, her pictures are vivid.. and really, all of her recipes sound incredible. With Dave and my class schedule, I haven’t really had a lot of time to play around with new recipes….. that being said I’ve really tried to push myself to do more cooking this week.. and the result? I’ve turned into a Dinner with Julie groupie.

Dave loves lamb. It goes along with his theory that the cuter the animal, the more delicious it must be. So on Sunday, I tried Julie’s Leg of Lamb in the Slow Cooker recipe. It was so easy and such a success! I, however, am not the biggest fan of lamb, so while the lamb was finishing up in the slow cooker I roasted a chicken. And yes, it was another Dinner with Julie recipe: Roast Lemon Chicken. Delicious!

So, we’ve been eating leftovers since Sunday. And last night we made Julie’s Tzatziki and Naan for homemade gyros. These were by far Dave’s favorite. The naan turned out exactly like the grilled pita you can get at the Coney Island restaurants around us… which in my opinion is the best thing at Coneys.

Anyway, I haven’t just been eating. I’ve been crafting, too! Promise. I finished the first four blocks for the Another Brick in the Wall by Carolina Patchworks.

Four finished blocks - finally!

The blocks are about 20″ x 20″ (but need to be trimmed and better ironed). Basically, the idea is to cut a jelly roll up and sew it back together with a neutral background fabric. I really like how it turned out and I know that I will love the finished quilt.. but there is just so much cutting and sewing of skinny strips! And I still have 8 more blocks to go. 8 more to go!

Jelly on a block

I joke that a quilt isn’t finished until it’s “cat-approved” because no matter what, one of the cats will come and sit on whatever quilt I’m working on, usually while I am working on it. This one has Jelly’s approval already – she is a great many things, but photogenic.. maybe not.

And finally….

Tiny Leaves!

I’m very much in love with this fabric! Look at all the tiny leaves!

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Blue House

March 20, 2010

Happy National Quilting Day!

Blue House

Today Dave, Nat, and I went to Blue House in Ann Arbor. They were having a craft fair and even though we weren’t sure what to expect, we decided it would be fun to check out. I’m really glad we did!

Blue House is literally… a blue house. Apparently they offer craft classes and today was their first craft show. Although the space was small, they used it really well to fit a bunch of great vendors who were selling everything from tamari balls to sterling silver jewelry.

I got some beautiful fabric cards from Mains de Fees, some cute/nerdy buttons and magnets from Barrel of Monkeys, and the most beautiful copper earrings from Courtney Fischer Jewelry.

Sadly, I haven’t actually quilted anything for National Quilting Day. There is still plenty of daylight left to fix that though!

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Project: Vinegar

March 16, 2010

Dave and I have been making wine for almost a year now. We have had some really successful batches (pomegranate zinfandel, australian shiraz, merlot) and some questionable ones (blackberry merlot that tastes just like Robitussin cough syrup) and some that just plain didn’t turn out (wine from Farmer’s Market fruit that may have been sprayed with something).

Over the summer we started three batches from grape juice, two of which were directly from Italy. We’re not a hundred percent sure, but we think that one batch was infected by a fruit fly and then when we bottled the three batches at the same time, the infection spread to the other two… which caused about 90 bottles of undrinkable wine. The bottles have been sitting in our basement for about two months now because neither one of us could bring ourselves to pour them out and they certainly couldn’t be consumed as is…. but then yesterday inspiration struck and Project: Vinegar was born.

I spent more time that I want to admit looking up how to make vinegar on the Web yesterday and although the information was somewhat conflicting, I was able to deduce that yes, you can make delicious vinegar from gross wine. It goes something like (extremely simplified): wine + oxygen + bacteria = vinegar. So last night, we poured three bottles of undrinkable wine (which already smelled a little vinegary) into glass jars, added a splash of red wine vinegar, and covered them with linen towels.

Vinegar

(Amarone, Pinot Grigio, and Cabernet Sauvignon)

The hope is that if we put them in a dark, warm place that Mother of Vinegar will form and we’ll be on our way to having delicious, homemade vinegars. Basically Mother of Vinegar is a somewhat slimy compound of bacteria that turns alcohol from wine or cider into vinegar.

Fingers are crossed that in a couple months we’ll have some Mother!

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A New Beginning

March 15, 2010

Once every few years, I tell myself that I’m going to start blogging and come on here, write maybe three blogs, and then fizzle out. Thus, I say I’m back here for good – but the true test will be that fourth blog entry.

I suppose the best way to start out is to set some goals…. what I hope to accomplish or use this blog for. I think that my main goal is keep track of my projects. I am a quilter with countless WIPs and very little organization… and even less motivation to finish some of them. If I can post the finished project here though, I’m thinking that it might just give me that little boost. We’ll see though….

So far this year, I have completed the following quilts:

Abstract Squares Quilt
I made this quilt for a coworker and friend’s birthday.

Owl Quilt
And this is Jelly on the quilt that caused me a trip to the emergency room. It was the first quilt where I was stippling the whole thing… and one thing led to another and my hand slipped…. I knew immediately that I had broken a needle, I just didn’t know that the needle had stitched twice through my finger and bone… and broken off in the finger, until I looked down and saw the point of the needle sticking out of my left index finger. It’s been a month and a half now and I’m completely ok, but it was not a fun experience.

Little Squares Quilt
This is a quilt that I made for a friend on Swap-bot.com. It was also the first time I tried pebbling quilting and I really like how it turned out. Here’s a close up of the pebbling:
Pebbling

That’s it for now. I have a couple WIPs that I’m really excited about. Hopefully I will have them done and ready to post soon!