Monday, May 31, 2010

Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband: Part II

I want to be a rock star and travel really far and buy me a big expensive car.
And make lots of money and find me a honey
And live in a nice big house where it's sunny
With a pool and I'll be cool
I'll always have a gig 'cause I'll be big
I'll have parties and friends and places to go
The only problem is
I play the banjo

-Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband, Banjo Boy

Remember when I posted about Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband? Well, the bass player, Ryan Tilby (pictured above on the far right), commented on my post! I'm not sure how he found me, because I'm mostly about quilting and Twilight and gardening with a bit of cooking and family stuff thrown in, but I was totally giddy! Fangirl giddy, I'm ashamed to admit. I'm glad that I didn't post bootleg RSRB stuff (except for the pictures, which I totally stole off their site). In the event that lightning strikes twice and Ryan Tilby comes back, I'm now begging for forgiveness for stealing your photos and requesting permission to leave them up (code for I'm leaving them so you might as well get on board).

I also thought I'd post a few things about RSRB that I didn't know how to fit in my first post. First, I mentioned that they are all seriously talented musicians. Each has been playing for years and most of them play more than one instrument. I mentioned that sometimes they play each others instruments. Here are all five guys playing one upright bass. Don't ask me how they figured this one out.

That isn't the most spectacular on-stage stunt they do, though. Sometimes they'll line up and have one hand on their own instrument and the other on the guy's next to them and amazingly music still comes out. That is one you have to see to believe.

Next, I just have to say that I think that it is really cool that a group of Utah Boys has made it to the big-time (see Banjo Boy). RSRB has songs on a couple of LDS genre movie soundtracks. Snow, which I referenced here, was featured on the 2000 film, God's Army. In 2001, they played a song called Go to Hell in a bar on-screen in the movie Brigham City. Here's a bit of random trivia about that movie, which is only remotely connected to RSRB. The bar where RSRB played is now a Mexican restaurant called Joe Bandito's. I live a stone's throw away from Joe Bandito's and they have the best Mexican food around. If you're ever in Utah, give me a ring and we can meet up for lunch at Bandito's. Also, there is a city called Brigham in Utah, but the filming of the movie Brigham City mostly took place in other locations across the state.

Back to RSRB. Of the two movies that RSRB has songs in, I would highly recommend Brigham City, because although is falls in the LDS film genre, it is mostly because the writer/director/producer, Richard Dutcher, is LDS and set his movie in a predominantly LDS community. You really don't have to know anything about the religion to understand what is going on in the film, so if you're interested, it is available on NetFlix.

And lastly, I'm not sure how to wrap up this post. So, I'll end by saying, Ryan Tilby, if you come back to visit (or send any of the other members of RSRB over here), I'd love some passes (four please) to see you guys at the Sandy Amphitheater on Friday.

Shameless. I know.

P.S. Having a world-famous musician comment on my blog twice (squee!!!) totally Makes My Monday, so I'm linking up over at Twinfatuation.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Sermons: Until We Meet Again

We know through the revealed word of God that the Spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body are taken home to that God who gave them life. -Thomas S. Monson, reference Alma 40:11

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband

I’ve been all over the rocky mountains
Splashed in England’s hyde park fountains
Seen denali rising up at three A.M.
Watched the wind blow through the red wood forest
Heard the tabernacle chorus
singing songs like angels do in heaven

but all I need is you, here, falling in my arms
and me, there, subject to your charms
and I don’t know if I have ever felt this way before
all I need is you
- Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband, All I Need

I have talked about music before, how it has to get inside me and resonate with my soul for me to like it. Very rarely do I accept a musician or band in its entirety. I pick and choose what I like across the genres with no regard for popularity or public opinion and no loyalty to any particular artist or group. One of the rare exceptions to this is Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband. This is one of the few groups whose music I enjoy in its entirety, that I have a collection of more than one or two of their songs. I don't know if it is just good music or if it is becaues I can say I knew Ryan way back when. We attended the same commuter school and were part of the same student ward on campus. His band even played for a ward social. But It wasn't until quite a few years later that I became a fan.

Ryan originally intended for his band to be hired out on a gig-by-gig basis, which is why he called it The Rubberband. The name he chose reflected the flexibility he wanted in his band. His plan was to avoid a messy band break-up and just hire other musicians to play with him on a contract basis. But as time passed, he eventually took on a regular crew of band members, forming a sort of brotherhood between them. Their original bass player (whose name I forget -- so sorry) left the band seven or eight years ago and their drummer recently moved on to new adventures as well. Still, their group continues to produce their own brand of spectacular music, which doesn't quite fit into any one genre.

I've been to see them play several times. Their music is awesome on its own. But to see them play live is an experience you'll never forget. You never know what you'll get. They play each others instruments while still holding their own. They completely switch instruments. They switch songs mid-way through and then switch back again. They tell jokes. They improvise. They are seriously skilled musicians. This video, from their YouTube channel, shows an impromptu duel between band leader, Ryan Shupe, on the mandolin and bass player, Ryan Tilby.

If you're interested in seeing them play, check out their tour schedule.

Here are a few of their songs on my favorites list. I've linked them to the RSRB Facebook page, where you can listen to them in their entirety (I hope -- I did this while logged out, so I think it is accessible to non-Facebookers). You can also see their complete album list here.

All I Need
Banjo Boy (Capitol Records music video on YouTube)
Rain Falls Down
Even Superman
Oh How I Miss You
10,000 Lakes
Hey Hey Hey
Would You Love Me
Be The One
The Devil Went Down to Georgia

. . . and in a category all its own . . .
Corn Dogs

Friday, May 28, 2010

Glass Serving Dishes

As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity.
The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber
Burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning.
So one generation of men will grow while another dies.

-Homer, Iliad

I've been reminiscing about my maternal grandparents in the last few weeks. I showed you their house and the china that was my Grandma's and is now mine. And I gave you her meatloaf recipe (which I've tinkered with and made my own) and gave away a set of her old milk glass relish plates.

Today I want to show you a set of serving dishes I picked up for myself when I was at their house helping clean things out a little bit. I have absolutely no idea where they came from, who they were made by or how old they are. They could be as new as 7 or 8 years old and have come from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Or they could be 30 or 40 years old. Whatever the case, I thought that the design in them was pretty and glass goes with everything. I don't have very many serving dishes because I like everything to match. My everyday dishes didn't have a matching serving set available, and I didn't want to mix it up, so I make due with the bowls and plates from the set for serving dishes. But now I have a pretty set of larger dishes for serving.

We were invited to a little barbecue tonight. I thought this would be the perfect time to use my new serving dishes because it would be very poor manners indeed to show up empty handed. So LadyBug and I donned our aprons and spent a couple of hours in the kitchen. We baked a Texas Brownie Sheet Cake, adding the little nonpareils sprinkles at her suggestion and then we put together a really fun fruit salad.

LadyBug and I had so much fun in the kitchen today. Unfortunately, no one was around to photograph our fun. I would have loved to show you the two of us together at work because it was a nice afternoon. We worked at her pace and she was so interested in learning new things, like how to use the can opener or how to peel the kiwi {hint: use a potato peeler} or how to remove the stems from the strawberries. She commented on what we were doing and asked questions as we went along and was so eager to help. She is a very restful person to be around, observant, clever, never impatient and always willing to do her best. She is pretty amazing and I love it when she helps.

I love this fruit salad for taking places because it is cool and refreshing and always gets such compliments. Until now, though, I never had a pretty bowl to show it off in. I always used a large, opaque Tupperware Thatsa™ Bowl because I'm always taking the fruit for a large crowd {have I mentioned? Mr. Bug has seven siblings, all married with kids. Lots of kids}. But tonight's party was smaller and so I decided to use my pretty glass bowl.

Layered Fruit Salad
In a large bowl layer:
• Seedless grapes, washed and stems removed
• 1 large (29 oz.) can sliced peaches, drained or two fresh peaches, peeled and sliced or two fresh nectarines, peeled and sliced or two fresh mangoes, peeled and cubed
• 1 container fresh strawberries, washed, stems removed and quartered
• 2 large (20 oz.) cans pineapple chunks, drained (save juice and soak banana slices in it) or 1 fresh pineapple, cored and cut into cubes
• 3 medium bananas, sliced and soaked (a minute or two is plenty, but more doesn't hurt) in pineapple juice or other citrus juice (lemon or orange)
• 2 large (15 oz.) cans mandarin oranges, drained or four small (8 oz.) cans mandarin oranges, drained
• 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
• 1 cup raspberries, washed

Cover and refrigerate two or three hours (overnight is OK) before serving.

• I like to make this salad the night before I'm taking it somewhere if we're going early in the day. That way it has time to chill. The bananas aren't a problem as long as they've been soaked in pineapple juice and you put them down towards the bottom of the salad (they are between the pineapple and mandarin oranges on purpose).
• This salad is obviously best when fresh fruit is in season, but it is delicious year-round. Some of the ingredients may not be available fresh, but frozen or canned fruits work well. When using frozen fruits, make sure to get the fruit only and not fruit frozen in juice or syrup.
• To make a really large salad (like in the 32-cup Tupperware bowl), start with watermelon cubes at the bottom of the bowl. I usually just get a small (bowling ball sized) watermelon and use about half of that.
• Use whatever color of grapes you want. I happen to like red grapes best, but when I make a large salad, I use green and red for added color.
• When using canned peaches, cut the slices in half length-wise making two slices from each one. I do this because they are too big to be nice bite-size pieces how they come in the can.
• When doing a larger salad, increase the strawberries, bananas, mandarin oranges, kiwi fruit and raspberries by a factor of one.
• When raspberries are not in season, put the strawberries on top of the mandarin oranges instead of lower down in the salad. The red looks pretty with the green kiwi fruit on top.

And for those of you who insist that it isn't fruit salad unless there is a little fluff to go with it, you can serve this fruit dip on the side (but you really don't need it).

Fruit Dip
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 container (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
2 tablespoons orange juice

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, marshmallow creme and orange juice with a hand mixer until smooth. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve with fresh fruit.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Snowball Night

What makes resisting temptation difficult for many people is they don't want to discourage it completely. -Franklin P. Jones

The temptation of something new and shiny and a little peer pressure has once again melted my resolve not to start any new projects until I finish a few of the old ones. What can I say? I've totally got Obsessive Creative Disorder (as well as Obsessive Cullen Disorder, but that is another post). If you're interested in working on a pretty snowball quilt a bit at a time, then head on over to Sew Many Ways and check it out. Karen suggested working on a few snowball blocks one night a week and then posted pictures of some of the possibilities for the finished blocks. This layout really caught my eye and I decided that I'm going to work with my stash to make something bright and cheerful. I'm also looking forward to having a quilt to work on my free-motion technique and do an all-over stipple pattern on when I'm finished. I haven't worked out when my snowball night will be, but think it sounds like a really fun project to work on.

The Virtues of Fairy Frost

Fairy Frost is a fabric line by Michael Miller and is a favorite of mine because it is shiny and sometimes even sparkly. I have a little obsession with a series of books about sparkly teenage vampires. I'm even making a quilt (or two) about the sparkly vampires. {Comments with the words real vampires don't sparkle, or any combination thereof, will be immediately deleted. It is not up for debate, but next time you meet a real vampire, you can ask him and then we'll discuss.} Fairy Frost is a great pick for quilt blocks about sparkly vampires. As a matter of fact, I've been named the Queen :queen: of the Fairy Frost because of my large stash {50 colors and counting, pictured in part above} and frequent use of Fairy Frost in my Twilight quilt blocks. I named Angie {a fellow TwilightMOM} the Fairy Frost :princess: Princess. See why here.

Fairy Frost comes in a rainbow of colors, each with a really cool name. Generally the color is tonal and splotchy with a pearlescent or metallic overlay. These have a really nice shimmer to them. Sometimes the overlay is pearlescent and metallic, which gives it a kind of shimmery marbled effect {Natural Fairy Frost}. There are a few colors like Aqua, Diamond, Evergreen, Garland, Glimmer, Holly Berry, Platinum and Twinkle which have a glitter overlay.

Fairy Frost is a pretty rare find in the quilt shops around here. I have to import most of mine. The least expensive place I've found is MaryJo's, a fabric mecca in North Carolina with mountains of fabrics at thimble-sized prices {just in case you thought I was clever enough to come up with that terrific, albeit slightly mixed metaphor, it's their tag-line. I totally stole it off their site}. Unlike most other on-line fabric stores, their shipping is flat-rate and so sometimes that makes up for the great discount on their fabrics when you factor that into the total cost. However, they do have a great selection. If you are looking for a certain color of Fairy Frost {or other fabrics as well} and MaryJo's doesn't have it, is a great tool because you can search by name and then comparison shop for the best price.

If you're not sold on Fairy Frost yet, and Twilight and quilting about vampires isn't your cup of tea how'd you end up here? you can add a little shimmer to more traditional quilting. Check out this amazing quilt that Angie is working on for her neighbor. The turquoise and olive checkers are Fairy Frost as is the coral. They really make this quilt.

Here's a bigger shot of the quilt, called Autumn in New England, and you can read about how this quilt came to be on Angie's blog.

You would think I was getting paid to advertise Fairy Frost. But I'm not. Michael Miller, if you're out there trolling blogs for people who think Fairy Frost is fabulous, I'm your № 1 fan {and I wouldn't mind if you sent something fabulous and shiny my way}!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Little Red Dress

They resemble us just enough to make all their differences confusing, and no matter what we choose to make of this, we are cast in relation to them our whole lives long. -Susan Scarf Merrell

While cleaning out my grandparent's house with my mom, my youngest brother went through all the old pictures and separated out  the pictures of me. He called this little collection of history the many hair-do's of Elizabeth. But I'm not quite sure that I'm ready to show you the progression of me in big hair through the 80's, culminating in what can only be described as a blonde afro ala Vanessa Huxtable. Maybe I'll show you when my hairstyles come back around and are vintage cool.

Foregoing the big hair show does not mean you don't get embarrassing old photos of me. I did find some pictures of some little girls in a little red gingham dress, and I'm willing to share because it totally takes the focus off me and you get to see photos of my sisters. I'm the oldest, so the dress was new for me. That picture was taken in 1975-ish.

I'd say that this is somewhere in 1977. This is my sister, Julie. We slept in pink sponge rollers the night before this was taken to achieve those fabulous ringlets. The dress I'm wearing is floor-length and has Sesame Street characters on the skirt. You can see Big Bird under my elbow. Pretty cute, huh? I wish we'd saved this one to inflict upon for LadyBug. I'm pretty sure that we went to the JCPenny portrait studio to have this picture taken.

And here we are sometime around 1985. There is a brother and a five-year gap between this cutie pie, Jill, and Julie. We used to dress my brother up in frilly dresses and a curly wig, so I'm not sure why we don't have a picture from 1980 of him in this dress as well. Jill is my twin-ten-years-younger. She is the shortest of the sisters, barely hitting 5'1" and 100 lbs. when soaking wet and has the darkest hair. She also slept in pink sponge rollers to get her curly 'do.

This is Robin and it is now 1988. She's got the same hair-do I had in 1975, but it looks like her pink sponge rollers fell out in the night. Either that or there weren't enough pink rollers to go around and since she was the youngest she couldn't stick up for herself.

I wonder what ever happened to the little red gingham dress? If we'd have been thinking properly about it, Julie's oldest daughter would have had her picture take in it in 2002 and LadyBug could have done a photo shoot in 2004. This dress vintage-y cool now.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Aprons № 96, 97 & 98: Apples & Pears Remixed

I'd rather be stitchin' than in the kitchen.

But if I have to be in the kitchen, then I really love to wear a fun apron -- that I stitched. And I love to share fun aprons too. I've finished three more aprons and am creeping ever closer to 100 aprons since I started making them in July of 2008.

This set of aprons is for Iris, my fun Twilight Quilters Coven friend and her two girls. Her birthday was at the beginning of the month, only I had in my head that it was closer to the middle, so I was totally late getting them to her. I bought the apples and pears fabric at JoAnn's last fall and some pink for the ruffle and pocket. But as I was cutting the aprons, I remembered that Iris isn't really a pink kind of girl. Her favorite color is green. So, I found a really great green to bring out the apples in the fabrics and love the result.

Iris got the aprons in the mail yesterday and already snapped a photo with her girls. Aren't they beautiful (the girls, I mean, not the aprons)? She said (about the aprons), Couldn't have been prettier if I'd gone and shopped for the fabric myself! They are so perfect! And they fit great!

This apples and pears fabric is so awesome. I put a pink ruffle with it in an apron for another friend. I can't decide which combination I like best because I love pink, but the green is so beautiful too. And I'm still having visions of ironing board covers made from the apples and pears fabric -- but I'm resisting because I have about a hundred other projects I'm in the middle of.

I've linked up over at Sew & Tell Fridays and Lit & Laundry's Finished for Friday. It is a fun way to share your finishes and see lots of other neat projects. Check it out!

Sale at Piece N Quilt

Natalia at Piece N Quilt is having a sale. A really huge sale! Click on the button below to check out her awesome selection and while you're there, tell Natalia that Elizabeth sent you!

Piece N Quilt

Oh, and if you love the aprons I've been showing off lately, Natalia has the patterns for both the adult and children's aprons on sale right now and I think that you can add the extra discount at check-out.!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Blues and Wedding Rings

I've got the blues again. This time it's the Metro Blues by Michele D'Amore for Marcus Brothers (I love to mess with you in my post titles). Isn't this fabric fabulous -- even though it is mis-named? The fabric line should be called Metro Teals & Browns or maybe something a little more creative like Metro Mud & Peacocks because the colors aren't really blue. Nevertheless, they are fabulous and I have a cut of each of the six prints pictured here (the two solids aren't from the line but I included them because they are relevant to this post).

And I'm working on something really fun. You see, a woman in the ward (that is LDS-speak for parish) called me wondering what kind of interesting project I could come up with for the leftover ivory Duponi Silk and brown crepe-back satin from a reception dress (the bride is wearing a simple white dress for the ceremony) and sash she is making for a girl in the ward who is getting married at the end of June. She told me that the wedding colors are turquoise and brown and wondered if I could make something that this bride could hang on her wall as a reminder of her wedding.

So, I started thinking. The colors are very modern (I think that is a quilter's term for 'so ugly it is cute') but the ivory silk is very old-fashioned. It took me a couple of days to come up with a plan, but eventually I got an idea. I thought that I would try combining the very old-fashioned silk and the absolutely fantastically fabulously modern Metro Blues fabrics within the frame-work of a wedding ring quilt to create a little memento for this new bride.

Wanna know the best part? I got a new toy out of it (hooray for 50% off coupons). I've always wanted to try a wedding ring quilt, but just didn't know where to start. I looked for patterns on-line, but couldn't find anything that was free and fabulous (I think I use the word fabulous too much. Note to self: use on-line thesaurus more frequently). I saw this set of templates with instructions in the store and decided to go for it because I had a 50% off coupon (and we all know how much I love to get a great deal!). So far, so good. The templates were fabulous to use and there are lots of pictures in the booklet so where the instructions are hard to follow, the pictures fill in.

Hopefully you are all on the edge of your seats and waiting for more. That'll give you a reason to come back and read through all the uninteresting stuff I post about until I get this fabulous (dang! That's seven fabulouses in one post . . . got to remember that thesaurus) project finished, photographed and blogged. Until then, may your bobbins always be full.

(I thought about saying, 'have a fabulous day,' but decided that was overkill.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Sermons: God's Words Never Cease

In our heartfelt devotion to Jesus of Nazareth as the very Son of God, the Savior of the world, we invite all to examine what we have received of Him. -Jeffrey R. Holland.

You can request a free copy of the Book of Mormon here. Digital and MP3 files are also available.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Continuous Bias Binding Tutorial

Binding is one of my favorite parts of quilting. I'm not sure why. I just like to. And it can't be just any old binding, I like to do bias binding. It seems extra fancy to me. So, I thought I'd show you how I like to do it — two seams and then you cut — one long continuous strip of bias binding. Then we'll sew it on, join the ends and hand stitch it to the back. It is so fun! There is also a downloadable, printable PDF version available.

I like to make my bias binding 2½” wide, but 2¼” also works nicely for a quilt. The chart at right is a guide for how much fabric you'll need using a square, but you can use a rectangle as well. To get a rough estimate of how much binding any given piece of fabric will produce, divide the length of the fabric by either 2.5 {for 2½” binding} or 2.25 {for 2¼” binding}, multiply that number by the width of your fabric and then divide by 36 to see how many yards. For example, if your fabric is 22” in length and 35” wide and you are making 2½” binding your equation would be:
22 ÷ 2.5 = 8.8
8.8 x 35 = 308
308 ÷ 36 = 8.5 yards

Note: Whether using a square or a rectangle, make sure that the width of your fabric {which would also be the length in the case of a square} is evenly divisible by 3.5 and then add ½” to that measurement in order to avoid waste.

• Begin with a piece of washed, pressed and starched fabric.
• Lay the fabric, right side up, on your cutting mat. Use the grid markings on your ruler to find the 45˚ angle.
• If you are right handed, cut diagonally from the top left corner to the bottom right. If you are left handed, make your diagonal cut from the top right corner to the bottom left.
• Flip one triangle piece over, placing it right sides together with the other triangle, lining up the straight {non-bias cut} edges.
• If you started with a rectangle, make sure the bottom corner lines up. If you started with a square, you need to adjust the fabric for proper sewing. The easiest way to do this is use a ruler and pencil and mark the ¼" seam allowance along the straight {non-bias cut} edge on the wrong side of the fabric. With the fabrics right sides together, slide the fabric so the end of the pencil line matches up with the edge of the fabric opposite it and you have dog ears at both the top and bottom of the seam.
• Sew a ¼” seam and press it open.

• Mark the cutting lines using a ruler and pencil. Begin at the bias cut edge {the edge cut at a 45˚ angle} working left to right for right handers and right to left for left handers and mark the first line 2½” in from the bias edge and continue marking every 2½” inches until you reach the opposite side of your prepared fabric. {Note: if you are making 2¼” binding, adjust your measurements and markings accordingly.}
• When you reach the opposite side of the fabric, cut off any excess fabric that is less than 2½” from the last line you marked. If the width of your fabric was divisible by 3.5 plus ½”, you should not have any left over fabric.

• Mark the ¼” seam intersections on both the upper and lower edges of the fabric.
• Fold the fabric in half right sides together along the width, bringing together the edges where the pencil markings begin and end.
• Slide the bias cut edge to the first marked line.
• Using the pencil markings, line up the bias edge on the fabric closest to you with the pencil line on the opposite edge of the fabric and pin in place.
• Continue lining up the pencil markings at the ¼” seam intersections along the width of the fabric. The fabric should lay flat along the seam you are preparing, but will not lay flat along the fold.
• After each pencil mark has been lined up at the ¼” seam intersection, sew the seam and then press flat.

• This is the fun part. Using a nice pair of scissors cut the binding along the pencil lines. Just keep on cutting — you'll know when to stop. Trust me.
• What you end up with is a lovely piece of bias binding — in two seams!
• Press the binding flat. This is the only pressing I do.

• Trim the triangle off one end of your binding so that it is straight {I forgot this step, but you'll see it later}.
• Fold the binding in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.
• Place the raw edges even with the outer edge of the quilt. Place the start of the binding about the half-way down a long side of the quilt. Leave about 6” from the beginning of the binding and stitch the binding to the quilt using a ¼” seam.

• To make a crisp corner, stop stitching ¼” from the corner.
• Turn the quilt 90˚, so that you are ready to start sewing down the next side. Lift the presser foot and pull the quilt towards you, but leave the thread attached.
• Pull the binding back and away from you, forming a 45˚ angle fold coming in towards the middle of the quilt from the corner.
• Fold the binding towards yourself, covering up the 45˚ fold and lay the binding down, raw edges even with the quilt.
• Start at the corner and continue sewing the binding down.

• When you get back around to where you started the binding, stop stitching about 6” from where the two ends will meet, leaving about 12” between where you started stitching and where you stopped.
• Mark the exact point where the end of the binding meets the start. I just use a pin, but you can mark it however it is most convenient for you.
• If your binding is 2½” wide, mark the binding 2⅜” beyond the point where the binding meets. If your binding is 2¼” mark the binding 2⅛” beyond the point where the binding meets.
• Cut away the excess binding.

• Pull the loose ends of the binding away from the quilt and open them up so right sides are up and wrong sides are down.
• Flip the binding on the right over onto the binding on the left, putting right sides together and rotating the right side binding 90˚ so that it is vertical on the left side binding. The left binding should remain right side up and horizontal, but the corners should match.
• Fold the top right corner of the right side binding down and finger press a 45˚ angle across the binding.
• Mark the 45˚ angle with a pencil.
• Pin the binding back in place and sew along the line.

• Open out the binding to make sure it lays flat and there are no twists in it.
• When you're sure the ends of the binding have been joined correctly, cut away the triangle of fabric on the seam.
• Finger press the seam open.
• Place the binding, right sides together, even with the edge of the quilt and sew the gap closed.

• Fold the binding over the seam allowance and raw edges and wrap it around to the back of the quilt.
• Smooth the binding over and pin the folded edge of the binding so that it covers the seam allowance. To avoid being poked by a pin tuck the ends back into the quilt, keeping the tip of the pin between the layers of binding and quilt.
• When you come to a corner, turn the binding over, extending out past the corner.
• Fold the next side down, creating a mitered corner and pin in place.

• To hand stitch the binding to the back of the quilt, bury your thread in the seam allowance and come up just on the outside of the seam. Push the needle through the binding at the fold and come out ½” away. Put the needle down into the quilt, again, just outside of the seam and push it through ½”. Pull the thread through and continue moving up and down through the binding and the quilt at ½” intervals. When you run out of thread, tie off in the seam allowance and begin again.
• When you come to a corner, make sure to come up through the quilt and out into the corner of the binding that meets the opposite edge.
• Go back down through the binding nearly back from where you came out and push the needle through the quilt ½”.
• Push the needle through the binding back towards the corner, catching the opposite binding in the stitch.
• Go back down through the binding nearly back from where you came out and push the needle through the quilt towards the unstitched edge. Come out of the quilt just beyond where you came out before and continue tacking the quilt down at ¼”—½” intervals until you've gone all the way around.

Enjoy your completed quilt.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival: High School Musical Quilt

I'm so excited to be participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy's Creative Side. The Blogger's Quilt Festival is an on-line tour of quilters in action. It is open to everyone with a blog and a love of quilting. If you'd like to participate, you can find more information here.

And now, without further ado, my Festival Quilt. Click on the image for a closer look.

Last summer my daughter, who was seven at the time, asked me to make a High School Musical quilt for her. I had her draw up a design of the quilt she wanted and we worked together to pick fabrics and put the quilt together. This is my first time participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival so I wasn't sure how much to include in my post. I'm going for less is more so I've included links to all of the pictures at the bottom of this post and you can also check out my original post. I'll leave you with my LadyBug and her finished quilt. She picked the checkered fabric for the pillowcase because she said that it would 'coordinate' with the checkerboard in the quilt. Quilter in training? Judge for yourself. She's already picking up the lingo.

We're All in This Together
-High School Musical

We're all in this together / Once we know / That we are / We're all stars / And we see that / We're all in this together / And it shows / When we stand / Hand in hand / Make our dreams come true

We're all in this together / When we reach / We can fly / Know inside / We can make it / We're all in this together / Once we see / There's a chance / That we have / And we take it

LadyBug's Design
Sashing & Border Fabrics
Checkerboard Fabrics
East High School applique letters
Finished Quilt Top
Quilting Details:
Getcha' head in the game
We're all in this together
Musical Score
Music notes quilting detail
Basketballs, hoops and loops quilting detail

Thursday, May 20, 2010


And thanks also to my favorite band, the very aptly named Muse, for providing a saga's worth of inspriation. -Stephenie Meyer, excerpt from the dedication in Breaking Dawn

Muse is one of Stephenie Meyer's favorite bands, as referenced above. Music inspired her writing and she put playlists up on her site that contained all of the songs that inspired her writing. Muse is featured prominently on those lists. Muse is also featured on both the Twilight and New Moon movie soundtracks. They will again be featured on the upcoming Eclipse soundtrack. The first song released from the album is Neutron Star Collision (Love is Forever).

In the weeks shortly after reading the Twilight books I was completely obsessed with Twilight, hungry for anything I could find that related to it, so I listened to each Stephenie's playlists (she used to have acutal playlists available for listening, now has since changed to just an index of the songs) and wrote down my favorites. Although her playlists were filled with songs from the band, I only really fell in love with a couple of the Muse songs on the book playlists. Music has to really speak to me, it has to get inside my head and find a place in my soul for me to really love it and the Muse songs on her lists didn't do that for me. I'm thinking that I maybe need to go back and listen to those songs again because I've since found some other music by Muse that does really speak to me and wanted to share those favorites with you. They are listed in order of preference (although I had a hard time placing the top three and it might be a tie between them for first place) and are linked to the corresponding official Muse videos. I've left the song from the New Moon soundtrack off because I couldn't find an official video. That song is called I Belong to You (New Moon Remix).

Undisclosed Desires
Supermassive Black Hole (from the Twilight Soundtrack)
Sing for Absolution (from the New Moon book playlist)
Unintended (alternate on the New Moon book playlist)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

No Place Like It

There's no place like home, except Grandma's. -Unknown
This is where my grandparents lived. For a really long time. They built the house, or had it built. See the red maple behind the house on the left? That's a pretty tall tree. I'd guess it's been there about 30 years.

Remember I showed you pictures of them when they were young? This picture, taken in 1996 for their 50th wedding anniversary, is the way I remember my grandma, and my grandpa looks much the same now as he did in this picture. They are so grandparent-ish. Grandma hated to have her picture taken. And Grandpa had red hair and a mustache in the old days. Grandma went down to get her hair done every Saturday morning. She did that for as long as I can remember. When she died, her hairdresser did her hair one last time instead of the mortuary beautician. I thought that was really sweet of him.

Well, on with the memories. Please ignore the mess on the counter behind me. My grandma's house was always clean, but everything has been pulled out of everywhere so it can be gone through and distributed and gotten rid of.
This is me, sitting in my usual spot at the dinner table. Whenever we had dinner together I had to sit between Grandpa and Grandma. Grandpa's spot was at the head of the table (on the right in the picture) and Grandma sat along the side. And I always had to sit between them.

This is a funny one. Why are LadyBug and I upside down?

Maybe this picture of LadyBug by herself will help.
Did you guess yet? Grandma and Grandpa had a mirror on the ceiling above the table. At dinner, sitting in my spot between Grandma and Grandpa, I'd look up into the mirror and see who I could spot. You could see different things sitting in different spots, but most of my memories are from the same vantage, right there between Grandma and Grandpa.

While we're in the kitchen, here is a better view of the cabinets.
This is the second complete remodel of the kitchen. I don't remember the original kitchen, but I do remember when it was under construction for the first remodel. I was just a kid. My Grandma had some interesting tastes. The formica countertops were orange. As in orange peel orange. The cabinets were all dark walnut wood. The wall where the stove and these cabinets and counter are now was bare. The kitchen was all on the opposite wall, with a little bar that wrapped around forming a three-sided sort of island and cutting the kitchen off from where the table sits. They did this second remodel in 1996 as part of their year-long 50th anniversary celebration. The went on six trips that year, including Hawaii and New York. My Grandma picked out the cabinet styles. She really liked that 'blonde' wood and had the table custom made to match. It is round, but has two leaves that fit in it and it extends to a very large oval. My Grandpa added the granite countertops, backsplash tile work and laminate flooring a few years ago. Up until that time, they always had carpet in their kitchen. Don't ask me how she kept it clean.

I have lots of fond memories of this house. I loved to come here and just enjoy the quiet. When I was there last, I wandered around wondering what to photograph and what might be of interest. They had some pretty custom tile work done in the shower in their master bath. And it was fun to play 'under the house.' But I think I'll just show you one last memory of the house itself.
They had me make this window topper, and another like it for the room next to this, 22 years ago. They picked out the fabrics and told me the style they wanted, gave me all the measurements and I went to town. The other topper was replaced, but these stayed up.

I wish that the house didn't have to be sold now. I wish that we were in a position to buy the house. It holds so many wonderful memories of childhood for me. For a while, I imagined buying the house and raising my children there. Wouldn't that be nice? But I think that window treatment would have to go.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Believe I Ordered the Large . . .

Excuse me miss . . . there seems to be a mistake. I believe I ordered the large cappuccino.


HELLO! Look at the size of this thing.

-Mike Meyers as Charlie Mackenzie, So I Married an Axe Murderer, 1993

Mr. Bug and I seem to have adopted this as our philosophy in life . . . Excuse me, I believe I ordered the large.

Take, for example, our preferences for Mexican Food condiments. On the right is the normal 5 oz. bottle of Cholula hot sauce that you find on the table in restaurants and most homes. On the left is the industrial size 12 oz. bottle. It is a full 240% larger than the original size. And that is what we buy. It has a special place on the counter because it is too tall to fit into any of the cupboards. The first time I brought home a gigantic bottle of Cholula and handed it to Mr. Bug, his eyes lit up like it was Christmas and he did a little happy dance right there in the middle of the kitchen. When he brings it to the table, he shows me its impressive size and then we laugh and say, excuse me, I believe I ordered the large.

Not to be out-done by Mr. Bug and his gigantic bottle of hot sauce, I have taken to buying Tostidos Salsa Con Queso in industrial size as well. The everyday jar (on the right) contains 15 oz. But if you get the big jar, you get a full 23 oz. (that is 153% more) of cheesy delicious goodness. Unfortunately, I have not yet found a bag of chips that is proportional to the large jar of cheese.

Our couches are about 8" deeper than a normal couch (we had to remove a window to get them in and out of the apartment we lived in because they were too big to fit through the door). The kitchen in our current home is roughly 270 square feet. When you consider that the house itself is only just over 1400 square feet, the kitchen is really large, taking up almost 20% of the total area. We like large electronics as well. Our computer screens are 17" or larger (Mr. Bug's is 24" -- that is really large). Our TV is a 52" flat screen. It is the epitome of excuse me, I believe I ordered the large.

This is our bedroom set. This isn't our actual bedroom because, let's face it, I never make the bed.
I stole this picture off the furniture web-site. The bed shown here is a double (larger than twin, smaller than queen). The headboard is really pretty at this size. But just try to fit two average-sized humans into a double bed. There's barely room to breathe. Mr. Bug and I have the king-size bed and headboard. It is roughly four times the size of the bed shown here. I can lay in it and extend my arms straight out and not touch the edge of the bed on my side or Mr. Bug on the other. The entire population of Switzerland could sleep comfortably in this bed.  Excuse me, I believe I ordered the large.

There is a little problem with living so large, though. Our furniture is too big for our bedroom. I insisted that we get two night stands (because it is silly for one person to go without). But because of the way our room is laid out there is only one possible configuration for the furniture, so with the night stands on either side of the bed, and the dresser against the far wall, two of the drawers on the dresser are blocked shut by the nightstand.

Besides this, I can not find bedding big enough for our planetoid of a bed. Mr. Bug has been complaining for years that he's been short-sheeted (one April Fools Day, I really might just short sheet his bed for fun). The packaging all says 'king' but when you get it home, it barely extends over the edges of the bed. When you add two humans to the mix, the bedding barely covers us. As I was making the bed last night, I pondered the dilemma. I've almost decided to get two twin-size sheets and blankets and sew them together down the center in order to have enough bedding to cover the both of us.

Excuse me miss . . . There seems to be a mistake. I believe I ordered the large.