Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another Dinner

Yet another recipe from The Healthy Slow Cooker!
Mushroom & chickpea stew with roasted pepper coulis
This is mushroom and chickpea stew with roasted red pepper coulis. It came out a bit spicier than I was expecting. I guess from the turmeric. I hadn't realized turmeric was spicy - I thought it was just, well, yellow! The vinegar in the coulis is a nice contrast to the spiciness, though.
I love chickpeas. I can eat them plain, right out of the can. So it's nice to find a recipe to put them in. Too bad it used up the whole can and there were no leftover chickpeas for me... ;)

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Moroccan-style chicken with prunes & quinoa
This is Moroccan-style chicken with prunes & quinoa, another recipe from The Healthy Slow Cooker. The chicken & prunes are also flavored with lemon zest and some other spices. It's especially tasty if you get a bite with chicken, prunes, & quinoa all together. I also think it's a little better leftover, when the flavors have blended together more.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Fabric

New fabric
I finally got this fabric, which I had preordered from Heather Bailey when she launched her new store. It's all from the Pop Garden collection. I had a vague idea in mind of making a quilt from it - with some fussy cutting to highlight the fabric design - but now I'm not so sure if that's what I'll do. I think I bought the fabric in a sort of fugue state induced by the bright colors. Well, there are worse things to have lying about the place than cheerful fabric.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Making Things

This video of a man making vacuum tubes is like a grownup version of the unforgettable Sesame Street orange crayon sequence. I love these kinds of mellow, self-explanatory videos - they inspire me to keep making things with my hands, and not just sit at my desk writing software.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Our little Aerogarden is still alive, and successful so far:
The garden has grown
The basil has really taken off. I've pinched it off at the top - once it gets bushier I plan to try to keep it closer to the height of the rest of the plants. This latest trimming was the first where we were able to harvest more than just a couple leaves at once:
The harvest
We had this on top of green salad with dinner. Yum!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Quilt Plans

I planned out the little demo quilt I made pretty carefully. Once I knew which 20 patches from the book I was going to use, I drew scale versions of each patch and decided how they would be colored - which sections would be the dark, medium, or light fabric. Then I tried different arrangements of the patches, then taped it together once I was satisfied. I arranged it so that the light, medium, and dark fabric would be distributed evenly. I also made sure the more complicated squares were on the inside, and the simpler ones on the edge.

Then, since you quilt from the inside to the edges, I did simple quilting patterns in the middle and more complicated ones at the edge. Basically, as a way to learn more and get better as I went. I drew out the quilting before I started it as well:
Quilting plan

Since the marbled print was somewhat directional and the handwritten print was very directional, I was careful when I cut out the pieces so that the prints would go the way I wanted.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

First Quilt

First pieced quilt
This is the first quilt I ever made. It's 2' by 3' - it could be a wall hanging, I suppose? I made it verrrrry slowly over the course of a couple of years. The individual patches were made as I read through Quilter's Complete Guide and did the tutorials. It's a great book - I highly recommend it for anyone thinking of taking up patchwork and quilting, but not sure how to start.
Here are close-ups of the three fabrics I used:
Fabric for pieced quilt
Here's what the back looks like, though you can't see the quilting any more clearly this way due to the print:
Back of quilt

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Little Decorative Project

Here's a little thing I sewed from a project in an old craft book, some years back. The project was for a pillow, but as is my wont I scaled it down quite small.
Appliqué project
The fabrics are all scraps. In fact, some of them are from free swatches. One weekend while I was still in college I decided to see how many free swatches I could get over the internet. Quite a few, in fact! I have about a half of a shoebox full. The light blue on the bird's breast is from a satin swatch, and the green is from a linen swatch. The bird's eye is embroidered with wool yarn.
Here's the back - the quilting is quite simple:
Back of quilting
I actually rather like it - I may put it in a little frame and hang it up. There's a bit of inertia around that though - Mr. Mongie and I currently don't have ANYTHING hung up on our walls.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another Starting Quilting Project

Here's the second thing I ever quilted:
Second quilted project
This time, I actually read some directions on binding first. Here's the back:
Back of quilting
Again, quite easy to do due to the small size. The hearts are appliqued to the front. I used a paper template to quilt the smaller hearts at the corners.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

First-ever Quilting

Here's the first quilting I ever did, four or five years ago:
First quilted project
It's a little...coaster? I made it out of fabric scraps. The geometric print is apparently not washable, as it bled when I ironed down the seams. But, I didn't pay attention to the directionality of the print, so it's messed up by that anyway. Here's what the back looks like:
Back of quilting
I had never learned anything about how to do a binding, and so just made it up as I went, as you can most likely tell. I'm pretty pleased with how the quilting itself turned out (it was through very low-loft polyester batting), but of course it's quite easy to quilt such a small square since you can flip it over to the back.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day

Here are my nephew and my brother-in-law celebrating in their own way.