Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A Dreamy Quilt

Oh for the love of the needle and thread...... And just in time for Christmas!

Look at these colors! I'm so ecstatic to share with all of you my latest quilt!

Originally, I wanted a block that would repeat multiple times. But after playing around with colors, layout and more fabrics, I realized the potential for something more mesmerizing was happening. Slowly an awesome quilt pattern was taking place before my eyes.

What's even greater? You can make one too!
So, I'm going to try real hard to break down the way this quilt was created, so that it flows for all of you the same way it did for me.

When you look at this quilt, there are a couple things that pop at first: the different shapes, colors, and contrasts that are taking place.

The focal point ~ those awesome three diamond blocks surrounded by simple rectangles. Should you decide to give this quilt a try, my most important recommendation is to pick your ooooomph ~ "contrasty" fabric choices for those 3 main blocks.

Let's get to measurements and cutting! 

Starting from the outside and working inwards:

For the side (white) panels, you will need 3 yards of fabric. 
From the 3 yards, cut 2 ~ 3 x 44 inch pieces. Set them aside.
These will be for the top and bottom of your quilt. 
For the rest of the solid fabric, use the natural fold as a cutting guide. Cut the fabric into 2 pieces. These will become your side panels lengthwise.
Guess what? Half the quilt is cut out!

For the red triangles, which really started off as squares, cut 38 - 3 inch squares.

For the black fabric, cut  42 - 3 inch squares,
(6 of them will be used to create the arrows on the sides.)
~cut 14- 5.5 inch squares
~cut 6- 3x5.5 rectangles

Onto the half square triangles: 
I love using Fat Quarter Shop's Triangles on a Roll for this part. It gets the job done super quick!

 Pick 4 contrasting fabrics that you can pair up.

80 half square triangles of 2 fabric choices
84 half square triangles of another 2 fabric choices. 

Using a 3rd set of fabric choices, cut 30 -  3 inch squares of each fabric.
Combine them to create 15 - 5 inch blocks like the one pictured below.

Now time for fillers!
The goal is to create this piece below which will provide the slanted angles on each side of the quilt.

 Using gradation fabrics would be pretty nice!

Here, you will need

 12 - 3x3 squares (these are the bright red squares on my quilt)

8 - 3x8.5 rectangles


8 - 3x10 rectangles

 ~ Don't forget the black 3 inch squares and rectangles will be making up the arrows in this section!

Believe it or not,
time to lay out your quilt!
The easiest way is to line up the black and red blocks first.
Because everything is on an angle, sew this in sections like the pictures below.

When you're all finished up, using a straight edge, trim away any excess fabric LEAVING a 1/4 of an inch.

Sew the white top and bottom strips first.
Last attach the side panels.
You will need to trim excess white fabric at the very end off your side panels.
 It may sound strange, but I love when extra fabric hangs.
Just in case my quilt, "shifted" during stitching, the excess fabric allows me to straighten things out.
That's it! Your quilt top is all done and ready for batting!

And that backing? Sew Hope Full is packed with positive words. It's just the perfect thing to wrap around your body and snuggle with.

This truly is a fun project for using up scraps!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Xmas and bright and shiny New Year!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Blueberry Cake & November

Oh November.... I should really be doing a post about pumpkins or squash, but this blueberry cake came out so freakin' good!!!

 Take it from me, this is the BEST cake batter ever! And I'm definitely not a cake girl

The Recipe for Blueberry Cake:

3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup sour milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups of blueberries (fresh or wilted)

Start by preheating your oven to 350.

Combine the butter and sugar till it is fluffy and whipped. I actually used salted margarine and am wondering if that's why this cake is not too sweet, even though it calls for quite a bit of sugar. 
Add 1 egg in at a time.

Add the the 2 cups of flour and sour milk.

If you do not have sour milk, place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into your cup and add the milk till you get to your 1 cup measurement.

Add the baking soda.

I baked the cake in a 9 x 13 glass pan. I sprayed it with non-stick spray and added half of my cake batter. I dropped in the blueberries and covered them with the rest of the batter. Obviously, the pictures speak for themselves. The blueberries still sunk but who cares! This cake is awesome!!

Bake it for 45 minutes to 1 hour... or until the top gets golden brown.
That's it! Enjoy it for days and share with someone you adore!
Use this cake batter as your main "go to" for cupcakes and other fruit cakes.
It's perfect for the upcoming holidays!

What else is going on at the homestead?

The garden is officially ready for next spring.... The indoor plants have made their way back indoors... The leaves have been let go of and snow season is just a second away. I kinda love it.  

We still have a bit of winter preparing to do, but as my husband says, "I think we can get it done in an afternoon." On that note, here's to the toasty fireplace nights that lay ahead!

Hope you all stay warm in the November air and welcome old man winter with a smile. 
After all, it's then that we enjoy our cozy homes the most!

Happy Trails till next time!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Mushroom Hunting

Mushroom hunting has interested me ever since I spotted a smurf's like, little, red, rounded mushroom in the park! Add a ring of mushrooms on our lawn and a giant puffball .... that's all it took. One of the very first posts I ever did on this blog was about the giant puffball! Little did we know, we could've delighted in some fun and unusual cuisine.

For starters, there are some basics everyone should know.  Hence, the parts of a mushroom from top to bottom. They are the cap, gills, ring, stem, & volva (the sac it emerged out of if visible).

Next, let's say you find an awesome mushroom and aren't too sure if it's edible. Create a spore print for proper identification! All you have to do is remove the cap from the stem. Get a white sheet of paper. Place the gills part against the paper. Do not press. Place a drop or a couple of drops of water on the cap depending on its size. Cover it with a glass. You can leave it covered 3-18 hours. When you remove the cap, the spore print will be left on your paper and can last about a year.  Grab a handy manual much like the one pictured above and you'll be able to identify the little guy in no time!

Now, the hubs and I really enjoy our long walks in the woods. This particular day, we decided to veer off the trail and see what we could find!

Check out some of the amazing mushrooms popping about!

I call this one The Fairy Steps. They were huge!

A little family of mushrooms growing out of decomposing wood.

A pretty neat thing we noticed is that the mushrooms were mostly growing where there were bursts of sunlight through the trees.

Just an fyi... no, we didn't end up harvesting any mushrooms for food. Foraging is fun, but I definitely ONLY stick to those things I'm sure are edible. But I will say... after reading the guide, I'm blown away by how many mushrooms were once thought to be edible and are now considered toxic. Simply astonishing!

Happy Trails to finding fungus!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Geodes and Aprons

Before I get started on this rock/apron thing, I gotta give you all an update on the this bar soap shampoo I've been using.  One word... Awesome! It takes a little of getting used to. At first, you feel kinda odd, like you're doing the wrong thing in the shower, rubbing a bar soap against your hair, but I've seen the results and it's so worth it. My hair is shinier, silkier and surprise... not as frizzy! Another thing, having natural curls, I notice they are more defined. If you decide to try the hair bar for yourself, there's only one bit of advice I suggest. Start by lathering your ends first and then work towards the scalp. You really don't need to put the bar against your head because it is essentially soap and soap spreads.

Moving on... I've been missing my sewing time dearly. If you follow on Instagram, you may have noticed, I'm just m-i-a. But there was one day, one day when..... I realized I was all caught up with laundry, the girls were in school, the hubs at work and my crockpot was cooking dinner for us. Voila! I could sew! I ended up piecing together these two little lovelies in just about 2 hours. It was fabulous!

Aren't they adorable?! I love combining fabrics into one statement pieces!

There are so many projects I want to start. Fabrics have all been 'grouped' for future quilts, bags, pillows, and aprons. One problem. Finding some more time to do them🤔


On another note... the rock thing. I'm a rock girl, my daughters are into the crystal thing, and the hubs loves landscaping with stones. So yes, we love our rocks! But do you know how exciting it is to crack open a geode? If you don't know, let me tell you. Geodes are round rocks, sometimes hollow in the middle. They take thousands of years to form and often, their center consists of crystals. They kinda resemble eggs and they are lightweight. If you suspect you've found a geode, give it a shake. If you hear rattling inside, it's got crystals!

I flipped when I saw these getting sold at the Country Living Fair by the plant tent!
I had to have them!

We had a blast cracking these open! The girls have added some new crystals to the collection!

If you decide to take a try at rock hunting, there are a few rules you should stick to. 
1. Dora said it best... "Backpack, backpack 🎶" ~ Always bring your backpack.
2. Wear protective glasses if your planning on cracking your finds.
3. Do a double take, if you think it's a cool looking rock, make sure it's not the head of a snake.
No joke. 
4. Have fun in the sun. When the sun shines on the ground, you notice the shiny stuff better!

Up and coming.....
Mushroom hunting is in full effect. The garden is cleaned out. And all I want to do is decorate for Halloween. Let's hope you see some new creations on your next visit.

Happy Trails to treasuring free time!