Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tiny Tote for Isabell

Once a week I volunteer at the local elementary school in their lunch buddy program.  It is a great way to be a mentor to one local child in the community.  My lunch buddy, Isabell, and I have so much fun together, eating lunch and chatting, working on a craft and playing board games.  Isabell is having her birthday next week and I sewed up this cute little bag for her.  The pattern is from Sew What! Bags although I did enlarge the size a bit and added a little name tag that I embroidered.  It turned out really cute that now I want one for myself!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A New Friend

My husband gifted me with a new Bernina 440QE for Valentine's Day!  The machine was actually on a quilting cruise at the time he bought it so I had to wait for awhile.  To let me know what my gift was he wrapped up some new bobbins for the new machine I'd be getting.  When I opened them I thought that he'd tried to buy me a set of bobbins for my current machine at the time, which took plastic bobbins.  My response was, "Wow, thanks but these won't work in my machine."  He then said, "What machine would they work in?"  I immediately started crying and realized he gotten me a new Bernina! 

This picture does not do my new friend justice as it was taken from my husband's phone when it arrived while I was out of town. I've been trying to take a better picture of my Bernina but its home is still on the dining room table and it’s hard to snap a good picture of it there. We're hoping to convert our office into a shared workspace of an office/sewing room.  I'll post pictures once that happens but don't hold your breath it might be awhile! 

I've had a ton of fun sewing with my new friend. My first project was some silly patchwork Easter eggs that I got off the Purl Bee website. Patching up two pairs of jeans for my husband was the least I could do for such an amazing gift.  My latest project was these set of coasters from I Heart Patchwork. It was great to be able to try out the walking foot and do a mini quilting project! At first I wasn't going to make the little coaster holder but I'm so glad I did because as it’s so cute, easy, and practical.

The Bernina 440QE is amazing. My favorite features so far: the foot pedal which accurately sews the speed I want and immediately stops when I want! My old machine was all over the place.  I love how I can press with the heel of my foot and take a half stitch at a time. The needle stop down feature is also great and came in very handy while creating the zigzags on the coasters. I took a class on using the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) which I'm so excited to try out more free motion quilting using that handy tool!

Yep, I'm pretty blessed to have a man who supports and encourages me in the things I love to do. Thank you, Patrick! I love you! (And not just because you bought me a Bernina but that helped!)

Monday, April 19, 2010


Somehow John Mayer's songs always seem to pop up and speak to something that I am struggling with or figuring out in my own life. Right now I need to vocalize my feelings and not always be holding them in; otherwise they collide inside and burst out in one fell swoop.

Have no fear for givin' in
Have no fear for givin' over
You better know that in the end
It's better to say too much
Than to never to say what you need to say again

Even if your hands are shakin'
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closin'
Do it with a heart wide open

Say what you need to say.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My new favorite lunch: Fried Egg and Kale Sandwich!

On Tuesday my husband was having a big interview for a new position and needed a quick lunch that would stay with him.  Honestly our cupboards and refrigerator have been looking pretty bare of late.  The first thing that popped into my head was oatmeal because it seems to stick with me during the day but I thought it wasn't lunch food enough and more protein was needed.  I saw the eggs in the refrigerator and the wheels in my head started turning. I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled this wonderful sandwich together for him.  I ended up making one for myself later since I wasn't too hungry at the time he was eating. It was DELICIOUS!!!!

Fried Egg and Kale Sandwich

2 eggs
3-4 leaves of kale
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
paprika to taste
slice of bread toasted

Set out two pans on medium heat, one for the eggs and one for the kale.  You'll be working both the kale and the eggs sort of at the same time so the sandwich can pull nicely together.  If you'd prefer to do one at a time I'm sure that's okay too.  For the kale: Put about 1/2 tablespoon of butter into the pan until its nicely melted then add in the kale and sauté, turning occasionally for 3-5 minutes.  I got my method of frying eggs from this wonderful book, The Culinary Institute of America: Breakfasts and BrunchesBefore this book I was always terrified of frying eggs but they make it very simple and flawless to make.  Put about 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan, crack two eggs into a bowl and once the olive oil is hot slide the eggs onto the pan.  Cook for about two minutes.  (While they were cooking I sprinkled on some paprika.)  Tilt the pan slightly and with a pastry brush, brush a little oil over the egg yolks to help set them.  I prefer my eggs over medium so I usually flip the eggs and allow them to set for another minute. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on some toasted bread with the kale on top.  I had this great Tomato Mozzarella bread from Great Harvest Bread Company that was perfect.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Garden Visitor

Last weekend was beautiful in Redmond which led us out of doors to work in the garden.  Most of the time was spent raking up all the moss that is covering our front side yard.  A tireless job that makes the yard actually look worse but it will hopefully rebound with some beautiful new grasses this summer.  In all of our tilling of the earth we discovered this lovely little guy playing the moss.  Fortunately for him he was found before he made his way into the yard waste bin with all the other dead moss and relocated to a different area of the yard.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tulip Festival

Last Friday my friend Pauline and I drove up to the Skagit Valley area to view the beautiful tulips.  Each year in April Skagit Valley plays host to fields and fields of colorful tulips.  After walking through the tulips we headed over to La Conner for lunch and then visited the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum.  On display was an exhibit entitled "Hardware" that really stretched my views on what a quilt is and can be.  Some quilters used unique materials ranging from wire to plastic bread caps.  If you are in the area I encourage you to check both of these events out.  The tulip festival runs every day through the end of April and the "Hardware" exhibit is on display through June 27th.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Book Review: Winter Garden

My mom suggested I read this lovely book, Winter Garden, so we could discuss during on our upcoming trip to Oklahoma City.  We've wanted to start a little book club ever since I moved to the Pacific Northwest from Colorado.  This is our first book we've tried, it only took three years!

Kristin Hannah's writing is captivating and flows easily from the page.  I was able to finish the book in just a few days.  She is able to paint beautiful images of place, unique and relatable characters, and dynamic and truthful relationships.  Winter Garden is a story of a mother and her grown daughters learning to understand each other and themselves.

One quote that really stuck me from this book was when Meredith, the eldest daughter, speaks of her deteriorating relationship with her husband to her mother.  

"I don't know what's going to happen," Meredith said a last. "I think love can just... dissolve."
"No, it does not," her mother said.
"So how do --"
"You hang on," her mother said. "Until your hands are bleeding, and still you do not let go."

Something about that image of hanging on until your hands are bleeding, that you never, ever give up on love was very powerful for me.  So often we are quick to give up on things, circumstances, people because the challenges seem to hard to face.  But love is different, its worth all the pain and struggle to hang on to.