Taco (and Quilt) Tuesday

This post may contain affiliate links; however, this post is solely based on my honest opinions about services and products that I wholeheartedly already use, endorse, and enjoy.

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Georgia and Daisy Mae

This dog feels the need to sit on every block or quilt I lay down to photograph!

I don’t always have the time or energy to go to a quilt shop for an evening or weekend skill class, but I always want to learn and grow.  Craftsy was kind enough to give me access to one class of my choice for free.  I am pretty excited for the opportunity.  The wonderful thing about signing up for classes on Craftsy is that I can watch them when I want to, and there is no expiration date for access to the classes I have purchased.  They also offer quite a few classes for free.

Choosing what class to enroll in was the hardest part.  I already have purchased several classes since April 2014, but I have a huge wishlist of the classes that I want to take.  They also keep adding more and more classes that have piqued my interest.  So, I think I am hooked for good.  I didn’t even get away with just signing up for the free class…I jumped at the chance to enroll in another one from my wishlist that was currently on sale.  I now have about 21 classes available to watch and learn anytime I want to!

So what did I choose????

Maybe it was that aroma of taco soup simmering on the stove all afternoon on Monday, but I chose…

Tacos and quilts!

I enrolled in Mexican Street Food: Tacos and Salsas with Deborah Schneider for my class that I was kindly gifted.  The class I chose and purchased from my wishlist was 3 Blocks 30 Quilts with Kate Colleran.  It was too hard to decide on just one class with all the wonderful teachers and classes offered.

In my cookbook hoard collection, I have one of Deborah Schneider’s books, The Mexican Slow Cooker: Recipes for Mole, Enchiladas, Carnitas, Chile Verde Pork, and More Favorites  This book has some great recipes to add to your slow cooker meal planning.  I have pages that are dog-eared and highlighted in my copy.  It is a well-loved book in my collection.

(via Amazon)

Kate Colleran, from Seams Like A Dream Quilt Designs, has an upcoming book that I already added to my Amazon wishlist.  I’ve been thinking about pre-ordering this one.  My fabric stash is mostly yardage and not precut, but I bet this book will have some great ideas.

(via Amazon)

I’ve enjoyed watching Kate Colleran’s class.  I’ve already picked up some great tips for my quilting projects and for finding inspiration.  The 3 quilt blocks that are highlighted in this class are Daisy Mae, Huey Louie, and Sasha.  These blocks are definitely versatile and I am excited to see what I can do with these patterns and my fabric stash.

I tried using some of my fabric stash to make some Daisy Mae blocks in pink, grey, and a little pop of green.  I liked the ease of preparing the block, but I didn’t plan my color placement as well as I would have liked.  Kate’s class materials include coloring and planning sheets, but I just skipped that and hopped over to my sewing machine to see what would happen.

Daisy Mae in pink, grey, green colorway

Daisy Mae block

I put four blocks together and came up with this:

Daisy Mae

With these fabrics, I would have been happier without the lightest pink fabric all clustered in the center.  I might make friends with my trusty seam-ripper, but I might just call it a learning experience and plan ahead next time.  I have learned at least 10 more ways I could place this block, each resulting in a totally different quilt.

I might try following the directions next time…maybe.

…but probably not!

Have you taken any Craftsy classes?  What did you think?  I would love to hear about the ones that you have tried!

Happy Tuesday!

~Joy

This week I am linking up with Randi at i have to say.  Please go take a look at all the wonderful things being posted for Show and Tell Tuesday!

{Make it! Monday} A Bowl of Comfort Food #1

I can hardly believe that September went by so quickly and October is almost here.  I am getting excited to start my 31-day series, Making My Home a Haven, in just a couple more days.

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I believe that we are all called to create a life of order, peace, and joy.

In our busyness, it is hard to maintain order.  In relationships and interpersonal interactions, misunderstandings, strife, and discontent try to sneak in and steal our peace.  The stress of the world and the challenges we face often replace joy with other emotions.

When our homes manifests order, peace, and joy, we create a haven for our families.  We create safety and security, and a place of rest.  We create sanctuaries for our families to grow and develop.  We nourish our families physically and emotionally through the work of our hands and the love in our hearts.

***

Because fall is in the air, my focus naturally turns to creating comfort…quilting, cooking, baking, and finding quiet time for reading and relaxing.  I also love having my orange Le Creuset oven simmering away through the days, filled with soups, chili, or stews.  It just makes me smile.

So today, I would like to share with you a recipe for a bowl full of comfort…the first of many to come throughout the fall and winter.

I really wanted to use what may be the year’s last fresh jalapenos, tomatoes (gift from my neighbor) and green onions from my garden, because it might be their final push before the weather gets too cold outside.  So I clipped some green onions to use as a garnish on the soup later tonight.

Here is the perfect recipe to showcase their flavors (and satisfy my picky teenage son):

bowl of taco soup

Taco Soup

Makes 8-10 servings (enough for leftovers or lunches throughout the week)

In a pan, brown 2 pounds of lean ground beef over medium-high heat.  Drain, if needed.  Put the browned ground beef into a large stockpot or Dutch oven.  Set aside.

In a pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive or canola oil and add the following:

1 large red onion, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 or 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced (optional)

Saute vegetables and peppers for about 5 or 6 minutes, until softened and fragrant.

To the pan, add 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon oregano.  Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until fragrant.  Stir in 2 teaspoons of chili powder.

Add vegetable mixture to the ground beef already in the Dutch oven.

Add:

2 cans (14.5oz each) diced tomatoes with their juices (I prefer Muir Glen Organic Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Medium Green Chiles) or, if you are using fresh tomatoes, you can substitute about 5 chopped fresh tomatoes

2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 (32-oz) container reduced-sodium chicken broth.

Bring soup mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and let the taco soup simmer on the stove for at least 20 minutes, or as long as you like.  I normally start this around lunchtime.  I like to leave it simmering throughout chilly days so that it is ready when my son gets home from school. 

For garnish/serving (optional):  chopped green onions; jalapeno slices; sour cream; shredded cheddar cheese

This soup is a bit on the spicier side.  If your family doesn’t like spicy food, feel free to omit the jalapenos, and you can use regular diced tomatoes, rather than those with chiles added.

Taco SoupWithout a doubt, I need a larger Le Creuset enameled cast iron pot.

This recipe also works well substituting Thrive premium freeze-dried onions, carrots, and celery for the fresh veggies.  It cuts down on the prep/clean-up time, too.  I forgot to add celery to my grocery list, so I used Thrive in this recipe today!

I will serve tonight’s soup with hot-from-the-oven cornbread, salted butter, and honey.

Creating comfort and nourishing my family is the meal plan of the day.

And if you ever see one of these larger enameled cast iron pots go on sale or clearance somewhere…please let me know!   I won’t be holding my breath…but maybe I will be saving all my little pennies, just in case…someday…

9-quart Le Creuset French oven in Palm (via Chef’s Catalog)

 

From my table to yours,

~Joy

I am linking up today with Rachel at Southern Fairytale.  She hosts Mouthwatering Mondays.  Be sure to stop by and check out some wonderful looking recipes.  I am also linking up with Marelize at Stitch by Stitch.  She hosts Anything Goes Mondays.  There are way too many great posts and sites to explore on her link-up this week.

stitch by stitch

Also, please note:  You can search for other 31-day writers throughout the month of October using #write31days on Twitter, or by clicking on the link-up that will be available at Write 31 Days.

 

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{Sunday Stash #2} Seahawks Bright Sky Quilt

stash sneak peek #2

stash sneak peek #2

I’ve used quite a bit of fabric from my stash this week, and I also added in some fabric!

I’m still working on this queen-sized quilt for my daughter, but I think I need to machine quilt it in sections to get it done.  Someday, I will have a long-arm quilter, but until then, I am bound and determined to use my sewing machines to their full potential.

Alice's quilt

I also pulled from my stash to make a sample of the Bright Sky quilt before the October Bright Sky quilt along begins.

green and brown fabricsHowever, someone with four legs thinks the quilt top is just her size!

Georgia and the Bright Sky quiltSo that leads me to telling you about, and showing you, what fabrics I added to my stash (though they won’t be in the stash for long…)

fabric for Matt's quiltI decided to order my brother the Seahawks Tervis tumbler for his birthday, but was stumped for what else I could add to his present.  While I was working on the other Bright Sky Quilt, I remembered that I had some Seahawks logo fabric in my stash.  I grabbed that, and then used my quilt store gift card to add a few more fabrics.

So the fabrics that I purchased for this quilt top are (left to right):

Smoky Quartz Gentle Flowers Black Watercolor Starflower by Quilt Gate Fabrics

Seahawks NFL-licensed fabric from my stash (similar)

Monkey Mischief Green Texture by Marie Cole for Henry Glass Fabrics

Town and Country Blue by Studio e Fabrics

Quilters Basics Speckled by Stof

Herb Garden Dots-olive by Angela Anderson for Quilting Treasures

Sweet Pea Squiggle Tone by Moda

I am ready to get to work on this project because my brother’s birthday is less than two weeks away…I definitely come up with some crazy ideas about what I can get done in my limited free time…but I am certain that this quilt will come together quickly and be a fabulous birthday present for my brother.  If it is really cool, I might just have to make one to keep at my house, too!

What have you added to your fabric stash this week?

~Joy

 

 

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{Simply Saturday} Catching Up

I haven’t missed a Husky home game for the last four seasons…until today. I really wanted to just get some quilting done and see progress. I’ve got my Bright Sky quilt layered with backing and batting.

Unfortunately, my walking foot has wandered off, so I did a bit of stitch in the ditch just to keep some momentum going today.

Here are a few pictures of the progress:

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I think the dog really believes that this is a work in progress for her!

Happy Saturday!!

~Joy

{Fabric Love Friday} Quilting the Stash

So I know that I already posted a fabric-related post this morning…but it wasn’t planned.  It was just out of my sheer excitement for waking up early and buying quilt kits.

I would love to link up with the ladies who have glorious quilts completed for “finished Fridays…”  But alas, I am not finished with a single thing today…except a venti decaf pumpkin spice latte (Did I ever mention how much I love fall…and pumpkin…and coffee…?).

So since I have yet to finish a quilt since I started this blog, my love of fabric is my Friday focus.

Yesterday, I started a quilt using the Bright Sky pattern from Blossom Heart Quilts.  I wanted to work through the process at least once because Blossom Heart Quilts is having a Bright Sky Quilt Along using the pattern in October.  (Really, that just means that I wanted to try out the pattern and make sure I can follow directions…)

Oops…Last night I sewed my way right through back-to-school night, and my son didn’t even mention it.

The version that I am working on right now has brown and green fabrics from my stash.

green and brown fabricsIf you look closely here, I’ve added in another green that wasn’t shown above.  My fat quarter was just shy of the necessary fabric allowance for the project.  That leaves me a good portion to add to my scrap basket, but frustrating when I was cutting out the pieces for this quilt.

Bright Sky in progressSpeaking of cutting…maybe I should turn the television off when I am cutting fabric.  I cut one square a 1/4-inch too small.  Since I am sewing on the bias, I am hoping that there will be just a little extra give/stretch to make it work out.

I knew I needed to run through this pattern once to see if I could follow directions…turns out, rushing and cutting wasn’t in my favor.  I know it is a simple pattern, but that doesn’t mean that I can multitask and complete it the correct way!

So far it is turning out great and going together rather quickly.  Nearly instant gratification!

The pattern is available on Craftsy for $6.95 until October 8th.  After that, the price goes back to regular cost of $9.95.  It is also available at from Alyce’s shop at Blossom Heart Quilts.

I haven’t decided what fabrics I would like to use during the quilt along, but I was definitely thinking about purple, gold and black to make a Husky tailgate worthy lap quilt for a friend.

Since I am indecisive, I might have to do some quilt store browsing to see if something else jumps at me before the quilt along starts.

I better hurry…October is sneaking up quickly!

Are you joining in the Bright Sky Quilt Along?  If so, have you decided what fabrics you are going to use?

~Joy

 

I am linking up with Fort Worth Fabric Studio and the wonderful Fabric Frenzy Friday!  Be sure to take a moment and visit some of the great blogs.

Fort Worth Fabric Studio Blog

 

 

{Fabric Love Friday} I Love Quilty Sales

I woke up and remembered an email about Craftsy’s upcoming sale on their kits and fabric.  I was probably a little more enthusiastic than most people would be on a Friday morning at 4:30am, but I need to work on some projects for Christmas.  I was pretty excited because I found 6 quilt kits that I really liked that were all 50% or more off.  Score!  I really like it when I feel like I have made a great purchase.  Shipping was free, but now I have to wait impatiently for my fabric to arrive at my doorstep.

I just wanted to let you all in on this little tidbit, because the sale lasts through the weekend, and is while supplies last.
I was pretty excited to find the Downton Abbey Double Wedding Ring Quilt Kit on sale.  I have some charm packs of the Downton Abbey fabrics and I absolutely adore them.

Downton Abbey® Double Wedding Ring Quilt Kit

So that is just one of the 6 kits that I purchased.  Fabric is on sale, too, but sometimes I love the ease of having a kit ready for me to just sew without too much thought!

I also found the October Mystery Quilting Workshop featuring the Moda Miss Kate Collection.  I might not receive it before the quilting workshop starts on October 1st, but I am certain I will be able to catch up and get it done.  I am certain that you will know all about this one, as soon as it arrives!  I want to get started on this one.

I am getting a jump on my Christmas projects thanks to this wonderful sale.  I will keep you up to date on the progress of those as the days quickly tick down.

There are only 89 more quilting days until Christmas! 

If you are curious just what I found on sale and added to my quilty to-do list, you can see a list here.

If you find some wonderful fabric this weekend, feel free to share!

~Joy

 

Online Quilting Class

Style Me Pretty Challenge-Fall 2014

Fall Style Challenge - Banner Image

So fashion might not be such a quilty topic, but since this blog is all about quilting, homemaking, and just living a content life, feeling pretty can fit in there somehow.

Stylish is not ever a word that I hear used to describe me.  But a few months ago, I stumbled across Alison Lumbatis and her website, Get Your Pretty On.  Alison offers such great advice on comfortable and stylish clothing and accessories.  I was hooked after the Work Your Work Wear Challenge in August and early-September.

I just submitted my “early bird” registration yesterday for the Get Your Pretty On Fall 2014 Style Me Pretty Challenge.  I can’t hardly wait for the shopping list and all the wonderful outfits that Alison styles.  I had so much fun during the Work Your Work Wear Challenge, that I am excited to see what is in store for fall.

Registration opens today, and Alison will send out the shopping list on October 3.  That is only a week away!

I’m determined to spend less time in hoodies and yoga pants, and more time in clothes that make me feel confident and, well, pretty.  I received so many compliments during the Work Your Work Wear Challenge.  It was also a lot of fun to interact with other challenge participants on the Facebook group page, as well.  Everyone was encouraging, uplifting, and I looked forward to seeing how each one of us styled the recommended pieces.

One of the things I appreciated most about Alison’s shopping list was the various price points for recommended items.  Even better, I had many classic pieces in my closet that worked perfectly, though a shopping spree would have been fun.  Working with what I had, and picking the items I truly loved helped my budget…and allowed me to splurge on a couple of items (like my Boden blouse).

For just $24.99, Alison will send the shopping list, and style outfits for 21 days.  I love this because I need a little incentive to break out of my clothing rut.

If you are feeling adventurous, join along in the fun as Alison styles 21 fall outfits to brighten up your wardrobe.

~Joy

Fall Style Challenge - Banner Image 2

 

{Things I Love Thursday} Quilting Memories

crochet angels

There are so many things that I love, and not all of them are tangible.  The reasons that I love quilting begin with sewing and quilting lessons from my mama.

I remember that old Singer and the musty smell of the box.

I remember watching my mom cut perfect templates out of old cornflakes cereal boxes.

I remember that she could create beauty out of even the simplest of things, even thread.

Mama's crochet hooks

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I am starting today with hundreds of 4-inch squares cut and ready to turn into half square triangle (HST) units.  Some days, I enjoy the monotony that comes from chain piecing, and others, I wonder just what I was thinking deciding that today was the day I wanted to make progress on 960 HST units.

But I do want to make progress, because I want to see that quilt top finished.

And so, I remember that I love the monotony and the repetition.

The process will eventually be complete and I will have something that I created with my own hands.

This something I will give to someone I love and they will be wrapped in warmth.

So today, I enjoy the method.

I tirelessly layer these squares, sew them together, and separate them.

I press them and think how lovely they will be when the blocks begin to come together.

in progress HST

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I remember my mama every time I pick up a needle and thread, or stand at my ironing board.

I remember the sounds of old-time gospel music and my mama’s voice filling the house with praise and worship to God, all while taking on the tasks and chores of the day and raising five children.

Today, the things I love most are memories of a time gone by, but never forgotten.

My memories are the building blocks of the person I am today.

~Joy

What are your favorite quilting memories?

Linking up with Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation.  Hop on over there to see her fantastic quilts, tutorials, and others linking up today.My Quilt Infatuation

 

My 10 Quilty Little Secrets

13 Spools

Amy, at 13 Spools, aired her quilty secrets, and I thought it was such a fun topic.  I definitely have my own quilty little secrets, and I assume most every quilter does.  I might as well share mine with you.

1.  My mama taught me to quilt when I was four.  I made a very simple quilt top tied with yarn.  I still have it and I am very proud of it.  She said I was very offended when the kindergarten teacher didn’t believe me that I made it when I brought it in for show-and-tell.

2.  I think the only thing missing from my sewing machine is a television screen so that I can catch up on all the shows I want to watch while I am piecing quilt tops.

3.  I once made my daughter a small quilt, when she was about two or three, using inexpensive (aka cheap) cotton fabric from a big box store…even though I knew better.  I needed to save money, but that quilt didn’t make it through even a few washes before it was better off being tossed in the trash.  I swore my allegiance to high quality cotton after that project.

4.  Hi, my name is Joy…I am a Best Press addict.  Please send me a case of gallon-sized refill jugs.  Any scent will do.

5.  I would rather have a long-arm quilter than a new car.  Buying one is my #1 long-term quilting goal.

6.  I adore sets of thread in containers with every color of the rainbow in its proper place.  I get really sad when a spool runs out and the box is incomplete.  It just breaks my heart.

7.  I hide all my expensive scissors in a cosmetic bag, because I am certain that Ray and Tim won’t ever feel the need to look for scissors, or anything else, in a cosmetic bag.  So far, I haven’t lost a pair, and I haven’t seen my precious scissors cutting paper.  I chalk that one up to a fully successful secret. (I am fairly certain they don’t follow quilty blogs, including mine, so I don’t fear spilling the beans on this one.)

8.  I  finished hand sewing binding on the way to a birthday party.  I actually made Ray pull the car over so that I had more time to finish it up.  Thankfully, we were just on time.  I think there might still be a couple of needles and a spool of thread on the dashboard of my car.

9.  I always make quilts for other people, but when my mama was in hospice, I would sit with her and show her quilt patterns I wanted to make.  I showed her one, and she told me I should make it for myself but thought I was crazy because the blocks were so tiny.  One night, I couldn’t sleep, so I started working on that quilt top and just worked through most of the night.  One moment during the night, I stopped and I just knew something was very different.  I found out just a little while later that was nearly the moment when my mom passed away.  I haven’t worked on that quilt top to this day.  It has been nearly four years, and I am thinking about working on that quilt and making it just for me.

10.  Thanks to MS, I haven’t operated a car with my feet since about 2008, and use hand controls to drive.  I often use my sewing machine pedal, just give myself a little “test”, and ALWAYS remember just why my license is restricted to hand controls only.  I love sewing machines that have a button to start and stop so I can sew as feet-free as I drive!

So these are just a few of my quilty secrets.  I can’t spill them all!

Definitely check out some of the other quilty secrets.  Thanks to Amy over at 13 Spools for starting such a great topic!

{WIP Wednesday} “That’s Love” quilt

I’m in need of a trip to the fabric store for some batting.  I have my daughter’s quilt top pieced, but a rainy day and a flat tire are keeping me from finishing that up…that and my tendency to procrastinate, as well as my love of starting new projects even when I have others in the works.  Tell me I’m not the only one…

So today I started working on a new quilt top that is quickly pieced using entirely half-square triangles.

I love quilts made with half-square triangles.

In all reality, I just love quilts.

That's Love quilt kit

So the pattern that I am using is “That’s Love” which was designed by Whistler Studios, featuring the That’s A Moire Collection from Windham Fabrics.

That's a Moire by Windham

This fabric is wonderful and how so much texture.  I wish I had bolts of every color in my fabric stash!

I found this pattern and fabric at Keep Sake Quilt Kits when it was on sale.  (They have great sales/clearance prices on kits.)  I have a stack of quilt kits that I need to work on, because I bought so many when the price was right!

quilt kit stash

quilt kit stash

Unfortunately, the kit is no longer available, but a free .pdf file of the pattern is available here on the Windham Fabrics website, as well as links for many others.  Who doesn’t love free quilt patterns?

When I was searching on Keepsake Quilting for the link to the quilt kit, I did find this one that I am falling in love with.

My wishlist of quilty and non-quilty things keeps growing.  Maybe I should work some overtime to replenish my hobby funds…Or perhaps, write a list for Santa.

Anyway…for today my world is full of cutting 4-inch squares for my blocks.  This should keep me busy for a while.

01b16ebd94a28a9c861a2e8c0752b93042e535831b

It really is quilting season in Washington because it is so rainy and grey today.  I am glad that I have colorful fabrics to brighten my day.

Rainy Day

Wondering how summer disappeared so quickly…and how my yard has more weeds growing than grass!

 

So grey

Quilting makes for a much better view.

Has fall arrived and made itself known in your neck of the woods?

~Joy

 

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