Sunday, March 29, 2009

Orange... one of my favorite colors.  Especially the beautiful blush on these fresh mangoes!  We are lucky to have them because it is very early in the year, but this woman's tree in Kihei has produced its first crop.  Can you believe we got these beauties for about a $1 apiece?  I've already eaten two.  These are destined for a mango shrimp recipe my mom sent me and, if I can eke out enough, for our favorite mango salsa recipe.  Delicious on grilled fish. 

One of my favorite kitchen pieces is my orange Le Creuset Dutch oven.  Bruce and his mom gave this to me for Christmas a few years ago and it gets A LOT of use.  From caramelizing onions to browning meat or making stew, this pot has see it all.  Last week I wasn't feeling too great, so I made an easy batch of homemade chicken soup:

Funny thing about the soup, though.  The recipe called for two cups of noodles.  I added the two cups, which didn't seem like enough, so I tossed in the whole bag.  Well, I was definitely out of it because I forgot how much they swell up - 10 minutes later I had a noodle casserole in my pot.  Nothing that adding a LOT more chicken stock wouldn't fix.  It made a ton of soup - enough for two dinners and two lunches.  I've had my fill of chicken soup for awhile.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lei Project

My art quilt group, Maui Art Quilters, is preparing for a special exhibit at PIQF in 2010.  Rather than make a signature quilt where everyone works on part, we are each making individual lei to hang together.  The vision was that the finished quilt would be reminiscent of the lei stands you see (although, sadly, less frequently) here in Hawaii.

After a couple of false starts with another idea, I decided to create my lei using a version of the "lokelani" or Maui rose.

I finally finished mine, which was due last week.  I just couldn't seem to find a chunk of time to work on it, but last weekend my time opened up.  Here is a close up of the finished piece:

The rest of the lei from the group are really stunning.  For a preview, visit the MAQs blog HERE.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Quilter's Spaghetti...

...or what my friend Keri and I call "shards."  The little trimmings from straightening up your cuts.  Most are 1/4" wide or so, some up to 1/2", all batiks, from Bruce's quilt below.  Can you use these?  I hate to throw such a pretty pile away.  If you can use these in a project, post a comment (make sure I can email you through a link or post your address).  If there is more than one person interested, I will do a drawing this Friday and will happily pop them in an envelope and send them off!

Loss of Commission = New Quilt for Bruce

"Loss" probably isn't the correct word...polite "decline" is more accurate.  I recently declined a commission when I felt that the persons vision didn't really match my style of quilting.  Rather than have a client who may be disappointed in the completed work, I suggested they contact someone whose work more closely matched what they wanted in a quilt.

A quilt in the colors I proposed was destined to be made, however, because Bruce really liked them.  SO - here is the initial palette of batiks (above), then I added a bunch more to fill things out:

All the pieces cut:

Have you ever used a June Tailor "Shape Cut?"  It is a big piece of plastic(?) used to cut strip and other unit multiples.  It saved me a TON of time cutting all of these 2X3.5 rectangles.  I think the pattern said I needed something like 1600 pieces(!!), but I didn't would have made me CRAZY.  So a tool like the Shape Cut is a wonder:

There are grooves at each measurement that guide your rotary cutter.  My friend Robin introduced this gadget to me years ago.  I hesitated for a long, long, time, but I find that I use it A LOT on the rare occasions that I make patchwork quilts.  After the monotony of cutting hundreds and hundreds of rectangles, I realize again why I like applique.

It takes me an hour to stitch four of these blocks, each with 18 rectangles:

Here are the 12 I made on Sunday:

By the way, the pattern I am using is from Successful Scrap Quilts from Simple Rectangles, by Judy Turner and Margaret Rolfe. 

Sorry about the picture quality.  The light in my "studio" is not that great and I was more interested in getting the pictures on the blog that going for quality.  I'll try to get some photos that are more true to color for the next progress pic!

Friday, March 13, 2009

In the Beginning…


It was just a pile of fabric.

Now, the background is finished and it’s time for the appliqué.

I’m getting back to work on “Sunday Morning” as soon as I’m done with the workshop I’m teaching this Sunday.


I can’t wait!