Interview With My Dad Episode #79

Can you believe it? We finally have a guest!
My dad joins us to chat about Frankie!

Yes, this was how they sat together.

Too cute!

One of Dori’s little stitching projects. So adorable!

My brain!

This is my AVID wall in my room. It’s slowly coming together!

And my husband is proudly sporting a new look this fall. He is wearing his handmade Friendship Quilt! Only took me 2 years to finish this bad boy (the quilt, not the husband)!

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Oh Look, SHINY!! Episode #65

Happy Anniversary to us!!!

We’ve loved every episode and sharing it with all of our wonderful listeners. Thanks for hanging in there with us through sickness and health, till death do us part!

AMEN!

While I’ve been battling every illness known to man (exaggerate, much?) my mom has been cuddling up with the newest family member. I’m jealous!

Even Jake got in on the action! Thank goodness for FaceTime so I could at least see him hold his baby cousin for the first time.

While we may not be breaking any records in quilting, Dori has definitely been busy working on a few projects like a nursing cover for my sister.

Thanks for modeling for us, Dad.

Even though I may have been down and out with no voice, the hubs and I got some MAJOR spring cleaning done around our place. That included hanging his Star Wars pictures and finally building his new furniture.

Doesn’t it look so nice?

And when we were done with that, sat down and unboxed our first Loot Crate box.

We’ve got a lot of boxes to share with our viewers so definitely keep an eye on our YouTube channel for upcoming new videos!

We also did an update on some of our fitness goals and we shared some of our activities we’re adding into our healthy lifestyle.

Dori is really enjoying this new walking video to include some exercise that’s a good fit for her.

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Comeback Quilters Episode #60

We’ve had a rocky start to the year but we’re finally back and ready to podcast!

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2017 has started off with quite a bang! With two new babies joining the clan and now a new sister-in-law to add to the bunch, we’ve been busy planning showers and weddings and gatherings. Very little quilting has been happening but we’ve managed to sneak a few crafty things in here or there.

I’m participating in Alida’s Growing Up QAL and I’ve finished the first month’s block. I also attempted (poorly I might add) an Instagram fitness and QAL called the Sweat and Sew.

Dori has been cranking out baby blankets left and right to prepare for the new grandbabies about to make their appearances in a few months. Her knitted blanket is done and she’s moved on to a cute whale quilt. Pictures are on Instagram!

We went to our first guild meeting! We got to see a wonderful presentation by Thom Atkins (not Atkinson) and we enjoyed our first meeting so much we’re planning on going to this month’s!

Dori enjoyed her 2nd trip to Road to California, even with it’s bumps and issues. Even with the rain and her cold, she came home with some wonderful items from Carol’s Zoo and Golden Thread Silks.

coffee chat

A few shout outs to our friends around the web.

  • To all those going to Quilt Con this month! We are anxiously awaiting your pictures and posts of your experiences so we can live vicariously through you!
  • Thanks Kati for the book recommendation you left us on Episode #56.
  • Congrats to Francis and all the other quilter’s who have a quilt being displayed in Quilt Con this year!

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What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’

Not too long ago I wrote about a change in our habits. We were going from a general meal prep household (where a whole day was spent preparing meals for the whole week) to a meal a night. At first I didn’t want to make the switch. Preparing meals was much, much easier at one time then having to get up the energy to cook a full dinner throughout the week.

I had some great suggestions to keep with preparing certain things on Sunday but adding the prepared foods to new meals every other night. I took all the suggestions and starting figuring out how I wanted to go about feeding my family. Since I’m the one responsible for cooking and the shopping, it’s a big weight on my shoulders and after a long day of teaching, I’m not always ready to get in the kitchen and make a full meal.

My shopping list stayed the same but I did freeze a few items that I wasn;t going to need right away. This has been a problem in the past. I’ll intend to make dinner but will forget to set out the meat or some other important item so that it will be thawed by the time I’m ready to cook. So I’m going to have to adjust my brain there and remember to set everything up before work.

The first meal I made last week were turkey burgers! Using my skillets, I sauteed some peppers with garlic in one and cooked the turkey burgers in the other. My turkey burgers were a mix of turkey meat, panko crumbs, seasonings, and a little salt. I pressed each patty in my handy dandy hamburger press so that they would all be the same size and thickness. It was the first time using them and I’m glad I have it. It made cooking the meat much easier.

The burgers were a hit! My son loved them, my brother in law loved them, and my husband did too. I made enough to have left overs for a night or two and there were a few ways to eat it. It could be eaten like usual, on a bun with all the fixings. Or if you wanted a lighter meal you could skip the bun and eat it wrapped in some lettuce. Another option would be to crumble the burger over some rice or lettuce, too!

My next attempt was a chicken Parmesan skillet meal. I browned some chicken tenders in butter with garlic and onions for flavor. Once the chicken was properly cooked through, I poured a jar of marinara sauce over the whole meal and let it simmer on low for a few minutes. When it was almost time to serve I sprinkled some hand-shredded Parmesan and Romano cheese over the top.

It was a lot of cheesy goodness and made the house smell amazing! We served over some whole wheat penne pasta and have enjoyed the leftovers served with rice or pasta.

We had a craving for ravioli during the week, too, so I grabbed some to heat up and serve to the guys. This was a simple meal and required nothing more than heating and serving but it gave us a great meal and enough leftovers for lunch or dinner for an extra day or two. Plus it helped that they were heart shaped and super cute!

Our little Moo Cow loved the raviolis too!

This week I’m going to attempt the turkey burgers again and this time pay attention to my measurements and the process so I can post a recipe for my fellow kitchen hobbyist!

I’ll share any of my successful meals!

Hobbies Up To Here Episode #28

Hey hobbyist and crafters! It’s once again podcast time!!

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Do you have a creative family? Did you grow up in a home that was always making something?

Today we chatted about our thoughts on the topic of creative DNA. Can you inherit your creativity? And if you didn’t, can it blossom on its own?

Also, we’re making February the month of finishes! We have a few quilts ready to be done so check back to see what we’ve accomplished this month.

The Twisted Pinwheel 5

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Basting the Friendship Quilt

 Don’t forget to link-up to our QuiltCon 2016 post where we’re gathering friends’ Facebook pages, Instagram accounts and blogs of those who will be attending QuiltCon in Pasadena. Link yourself up and checkout who will be there!

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Meal Prep Monday: Lemon and Garlic Marinated Chicken 

It’s been a while since I had something new to post from my kitchen. I’ve been sticking to the same things and haven’t really changed it up much. You could say I’m in a bit of a rut.

This weekend we had company over so I searched Pinterest for recipes that I could make to feed my guests. I figured anything I made could turn into food for the week, that is if anything was left over.  I started out with this recipe for a Lemon and Garlic grilled chicken. It sounded really tasty. But I noticed the pin I shared with this recipe said that they used Italian seasonings instead. So I did a quick check of my spice cabinet and realized I had something different although, my Italian salad dressing mix. These packets come in handy fairly often so I keep a few on hand. Before I had even started cooking, I was already making adjustments to the recipe.
I ended up tweaking the recipe to my own liking. First I let the breasts marinate for over 24 hours. And every once in a while I’d go into the refrigerator and flip the bags around, moving the chicken inside the bags and giving them a good toss.

Also I didn’t flatten the chicken and I made two baggies with three breasts in each. Pounding out each breast sounds like a great way to relieve tension but I didn’t have the tools nor the time to do so.  I think separating them into two bags and letting the sit over night worked out perfectly.I decided, after the whole thing, that I would use less oil. I’m a fan of olive oil but sometimes it can be too strong. In this case it was a bit too much and I would rather taste all the other ingredients rather than the oil. Just a note for the next time I make this.

Even the little guy got into the mixing action. Once the chicken made it into the baggies, we gave them a good shake, rattle, and roll. I may not have flatten them out with a mallet but I did massage those seasonings into them through the bags.

CHICKEN!

Now for the recipe I ended up using. I doubled this recipe and divided it into two baggies.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3 breasts per baggie)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic cloves, minced
1 packet of Italian salad seasonings mix
salt and pepper to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, from one lemon

In the end these chicken breasts came out moist, juicy, and super flavorful. That lemon zest really comes out in the flavors.

We had more than chicken on the grill so we had a lot left over to eat the rest of the week. I’m curious how this recipe would turn out in the oven so I mat attempt it again this time with thinner chicken tender pieces.

 

Ahhhh, the smell of the grill! We made chicken, sausages, and some carne asada. Carne is a must at every barbecue. Even though I cooked and prepped for a get together, in the end  we have enough food already made that I turned out to be a meal prep for the week!

And we all had a great time. Lots of laughs, great food,a nd great people all together just because.

Quilting Is In The Blood

The past couple of years my parents have been on a real organizing kick. They’ve invited me and my siblings over at different times to go through the garage and the closets so that we can take what is ours and donate or throw away anything we no longer need or want.

That’s how my son came to have so many Nerf guns (thanks Uncle Mike).

There hasn’t been too many of my own items but during my last visit I did find a quilt I forgot I had.

It was made for me by my great grandma, Grandma Emily. She was a tall, loud, imposing woman who only remembered the dirty words in Portuguese and liked to greet you at the door without her teeth in. This is how I remember her in her later days.

When we were younger, we would go away with my Grandma and Grandpa to visit my great-grandparents in Yucaipa, what I remember as a flat, dry desert. My Grandpa Joe said very little and I remember him as a stern, quiet man that sat and watched a lot of TV. My Grandma Emily, on the other hand, she was always making something. Bread, jam, pies, quilts or something knitted.

I think she hand made my baptismal outfit that I have stored away in a hope chest.

The quilt I found is a small crib sized log cabin quilt made of browns and yellows, very reminiscent of the times. It was a quilt I always used in my tent and fort making and I knew it was mine. I don’t remember receiving it or if it was for a christmas or birthday.

I was told, as I got older, that it was once bigger but there was a house fire. The house burned down and this quilt along with a family Bible with a log of births and deaths for generations, survived the fire mostly intact.

That little burn mark there on the back is a left over singe mark from that devastating fire.

I hadn’t seen the quilt in years and after finding it and washing it, I took some time to look it over with my quilters eyes for the first time. That’s when I realized the perfection of the handmade and HAND STITCHED quilt!

My Grandma Emily was a quilting Bad-Ass!

I mean look at that square! The colors are dated but so beautiful together. It really reminds me fondly of my childhood in a very 80’s home.

 The binding is secured with an cross stitch while the rest looks all hand stitches in perfect little lines.

I’m very impressed with the longevity of this quilt. I’m almost 35 and this was made when I was very little so that puts it over 30 years old. Other than a small rip in the fabric no more than 2 inches long (and easily fixed) it’s held up amazingly well.

I’m so happy to have this blanket to remember where my family came from. We are a family of crafters who take pride in the things we make. My dad crochets and makes delicate lace doilies. My mom hand quilts and knits beautiful projects that look professional. Before our generations my grandmothers made their own clothing and knitted socks. Their stories are still alive with them when they share with us.

And before even them, my great grandmother quilted, baked, jarred, and knitted with a perfection that astounds me. I never got to quilt with her due to her death years ago and I regret that I didn’t realize what I had when she was here. I wish I had a chance to learn with her but I’m glad I get to carry on her legacy.

Fresh Poppy Design

Feeling The Itch To Stitch

Life goes in cycles. You go through a phase and then something else comes up and you latch onto that. Around and around you go, sometimes back to the things you once enjoyed or something new catches your eyes.

Lately, my life cycle has been focused on my family. They’ve come first in a multitude of ways. From my cooking and meal planning to how our workout schedules are arranged. Even my running has become mostly about pleasing my family rather than running to enjoy it for myself. While I enjoy running and I know in the end it’s a healthy option for me to keep me fit, I was really doing it mostly for others.

As I made these realizations, how so much of my life has become more about others than myself, I decided it was time to do a little more for me. What does that end up meaning? Well, it means taking a little of my energy and making time to do things I enjoy for me. It means taking back running to be something fun and enjoyable for myself. It also means picking up where I’ve left off on a number of projects and finishing them.

Like this quilt. This thing needs to be finished! With all it’s uneven edges and it’s screwy lines (I mean look at that bottom row…ugh), it’s been a work in progress for years. And literally, I mean years! I started sewing the layers together in 2012!! That’s already been 2 years just for the layering alone.

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We’ve had all the material to finish this quilt for a long time and I think I need to just sit and get it done. But I tend to encounter a problem. It’s draining to think of the mess I’m about to create when I start working on a quilt. All the scraps and string and pieces everywhere. It’s overwhelming. And it doesn’t help that I don’t have a dedicated sewing space that is only mine. My sewing corner is also our master bedroom so laundry and other bits are sharing that space.

Backing and Binding

Backing and Binding

All the material and pieces are assembled and ready to be used. The binding still needs to be made (ugh) and the top has about 8 more squares to be sewn down. It all seems so overwhelming but there is a part of me that desperately wants this finished so I can mark it off my list of unfinished big projects because the moment I do, I can start something fresh.

If I really want to take some time for myself and make it so that I have a creative outlet for just me, it seems that I just have to buckle down, carve out the space I need, and get to it! Make a date with myself to sit and enjoy the peaceful hum of my sewing machine. The only thing holding me back would seem to be needing the space my sewing area is in to be clean and tidy before starting, and that is not something I’m looking forward to. Who wants to clean their room BEFORE they play in it and make a mess? It seems silly but it looks to be the only way I’ll get in there and get this quilt done.

 

Teaching My Son To Sew!

My son is 8 years old. He’s growing like a weed and venturing out into new and unexplored territory. This Spring he played baseball for the first time and he’s reading more and more.

It’s hard to believe that this baby…

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Is now this boy…

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And after all the years of watching me sew, he’s now interested in it himself. After I brought my sewing machine home from the repair shop, he’s been very curious about the story behind it and what I use it for. He’s watched me repair his costumes and create mug rugs and now he’s ready to learn how to sew!

My favorite part of being crafty with him is watching how his mind works. Seeing how he picks his patterns and colors amazes me. Even without knowing much, he’s got a great eye for color. The end of the school year is upon us and as a gift to his teacher, we plan to make her a bag and a matching mug rug. So together we walked to the craft store and bought some fabric to make her an adorable reservable bag.

He’s a little antsy to get the whole thing started but I had to explain how we had to clean the fabric first and get all the prep work done. He wasn’t thrilled. When everything was ready and it was time to cut, he was STILL frustrated that he couldn’t sew yet. So we sat down to cut our strips for the mug rug.

I’m keeping that pattern simple. Just 2 inch strips sewn together with a simple border and binding and solid backing. I taught Jake how to hold the rotary cutter and how to measure out the strips using the clear ruler and our green rotary pad beneath. Math is a WONDERFUL thing to learn when doing a hands on project. Makes it much more easily understood plus it makes fractions fun.

My lefty

My lefty

At first I couldn’t figure out why the rotary cutter wasn’t working for him then I realized my lefty was angled wrong. He was cutting from the wrong side of the blade so I had him switch his position. Much better!

He did get frustrated more than once with the cutting. He would roll it along the ruler and it would skip across the fabric, only cutting here or there. I explained to him it takes pressure against both the ruler and the cutting pad to cut through the fabric from one end to the other. And then I explained that the time it will take to become good at all this won’t be in a matter of minutes but over a longer period of time. That for some it takes years. This seemed to ease his frustrations and he continued to work on it.

After cutting enough strips we pinned two together and set to work on the machine. He threaded the needle (!!) and took his time to sew a straight simple line. I was soooo proud!!!

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And here he is with his first piece! It came together great and he did a fantastic job sewing and cutting. I plan to work a bit with him each day and to remind him that sewing isn’t an overnight project. It takes time and patience, something I hope he will learn to have more of. The side benefit, this project will hopefully strengthen his hand and eye coordination AND build his fine motor skills, an area in which he’s always struggled.

He may not be interested in sewing for long as all 8 year olds tend to jump from interest to interest but I’m thrilled to have someone to share my love of sewing with, even if it is only for the time being.

This mama is super proud!

Still Unfinished: Jake’s Quilt

A while ago I got this great idea to match my son’s bear’s quilt and make a bigger version for my son using the same bright, sassy material that I did when I made this favorite bear a small lap quilt.

Little man!

Ahhh…look how little he was! Well, he’s not so little any more. He’s in first grade and learning to read. He runs races and loves to play air drums. He’s now lost 3 teeth and is pretty darn tall.

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Still silly…

Yea….he’s a ham alright.

He’s been patiently waiting for me to get off my duff and get this quilt finished. In April of 2011, I got the rest of the material needed to finish the project but you know how life is. You promise yourself to finish something and then POOF! You have a million and one things to do that take priority.

Since then my boyfriend and elementary school best friend moved in with us. The addition of his things to our already busy household meant that my sewing machine was unplugged and covered up for storage. I haven’t sat down to quilt in ages.

But last month we decided to take a trip up to our family cabin and spend some time in the simplistic, slow pace of Big Bear . I took up my sewing machine, determined to get some more work done on that damn quilt top.

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Low and behold, the machine came out and I got down to sewing.

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But that didn’t last long. As I was settling into my routine and sewing down the quilt top to the batting and the backing, I heard The Guy call to me. He wanted me to join him. Of course, just when I am on a roll!

And then this happened…

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Ok so I can’t complain about being interrupted from my sewing when I get surprised with an engagement! The Guy had been super sneaky and jumpy that morning. Little did I know he was planning to propose to me that weekend. He did a fine job and we’re happily trudging through the beginning steps of the planning a wedding for June.

This also means that the quilt has gone back into storage to be finished another time. Maybe when we have more space or when I have a craft room all to myself I’ll be able to pull my machine back out to finish this darn thing. Or maybe when I’m so stressed out over invitations and seating charts for the Big Day, I’ll just whip out the machine and sew away my frustrations.

But I plan to finish this quilt in 2013. My son deserves it and I want him to have it before it’s too cool to have a quilt that matches one his teddy bear has.

Bear's Quilt

Bear’s Quilt