Is it a Cookie? or a Candy?

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When Stefanie (best daughter ever!) was still my itty bitty princess, she loved to help me bake Christmas cookies and  in those days we made lots.  There were cookies for teachers, cookies for classmates, cookies for figure skating, cookies for the Christmas concert, cookies for girl guides etc., etc. Our list was humungous.    I remember years when we made and distributed more than 40 dozen cookies in the week before Christmas Eve.  Stefanie is of course grown and flown from the nest a long time ago and now she and Jessica (best grand-daughter ever) are continuing their own cookie baking tradition out in Calgary, Alberta.   We still FaceTime every day in December to share their cookie successes and the occasional cookie disaster!  And every year we try to come up with some new receipes to go along with the old favourites. So, naturally  I am delighted to take part in this virtual cookie exchange and share your recipes with my girls.

Here is the list of folks who are participating this year.  If you haven’t already done so, you should go see all the delicious, beautiful cookies on display in their kitchens. But don’t forget to come back and get my recipe.

December 5

Just Let Me Quilt – Giveaway

Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

Kris Loves Fabric

December 6

Creatin’ in the Sticks

Brenda’s Quilting Blog

Bumbleberry Stitches

December 7

What’s Up With Kim

Granny Can Quilt – yippee that’s me

Rosemary’s Recipe – posted at Just Let Me Quilt

December 8

Deb’s Rustic Quilting

Treasured Nest

Just Let Me Quilt

I’m so glad you’re back.  Is this month absolutely crazy busy at your house?  Holy Heck Hermione, I often wonder how we get it all done in time for Santa to make it down the chimney.  One thing I decided to do was to forego my mix master and measuring cups this winter and make simple no bake goodies whenever possible.

So here is a recipe for Pretzel Hugs. I think it would be perfect to make with the kids/grandkids, or perhaps let the kids make themselves…with just a tiny bit of help from you getting the baking sheet into and out of the oven.

These things are so EZeePZee to make and they look adorable on a plate of Christmas dainties (if they even make it to the plate).  Ingredients are square pretzels, M&Ms (peanut or regular), and Hershey’s Hugs.

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You’ll also need a cookie sheet and parchment paper (I used aluminum foil because there was only a tiny little piece of parchment paper left on the roll).  Either one will work just fine.

Cover the cookie sheet with the foil and place single layer of pretzels on top.  Noboby will notice or hold it against you if you nibble on the broken bits as you go along.  Top each pretzel with one (unwrapped) Hershey Hug.  Check them out…Aren’t they adorable already?  Wait, they get even cuter!

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Pop them into an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees for a few minutes.  Four minutes should be perfect.  All you are doing is warming the Hugs.

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When they are warmed up, take them out of the oven and press an M&M into the centre of each one to flatten it. And that my friends is it.  They are done.

 

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OMG they are just cute as a button and took no more than 10 minutes to make….and most of that was unwrapping the Hugs!  So there you have it, salty sweet perfection.

Oh yeah you should probably put them in the fridge for a few minutes to harden them up again and then put them away in the freezer so your husband cannot get into them until a few days closer to Christmas. Just Sayin.

Thanks for dropping by.  Let me know if your family loves them as much as we do.

 

I wish I’d said that….

There are at least twelve gazillion bloggers out there in the cyber-universe and a whole whack of them are amazingly gifted writers. Multiple multitudes of them have ginormous audiences who hang on their every word, but only occasionally do I read a blog that speaks to ME!

November is my month  to do “Blog, Book and Bundle” for our PEIMQG meeting and I don’t want to lead anyone astray.  FYI, this is a segment of the meeting where each month one of us takes a turn talking about a blog that inspires us; a book that changes the way we think about piecing or planning a quilt; and fabric that makes our eyes sparkle and our imaginations soar.

So I have been surfing, poking around, reading and then re-reading the blogs I follow on Bloglovin to find one to share with my fellow Guild members.  Because we are in eastern Canada, my first notion was to find a Maritime Canadian blogger to write about.  Yikes…there is a very small pond of bloggers in the Maritimes…we’d fit into a puddle probably.  Did I find anyone? Nope I did not.  But…while searching I did have a mini-epiphany.  Here goes…

“The blogosphere has no borders, no boundaries and no barriers.  We are free to love, hate or say “meh” about or to any blog, or its writer,  anywhere in the world.”

so having given myself permission to search wherever I wanted,  I gleefully set off to find a blog that was a bit out in left field, a smidge hardcore and above all else, WILDLY ENTERTAINING.

I am, if nothing else, persistent, which paid off big time when I found myself tee-heeing, snorting and sniggling away at  The Bitchy Stitcher.  This is a blog that’s laugh-out-loud funny, cynical, and edgy; and inside every snarky post Megan Doherty makes, there is a nugget of something very insightful, which is always a bonus for me…be warned though, this blog is NOT always ladylike…you will find the “f” word, along with other very creative and descriptive words.  You’ve been warned.

Here are a couple quick links to some of her posts, in no particular order.

This bit was taken from her recent post, A pep talk in case you need it.. And it sums up everything anybody who ever questioned his/her quilty ability must remember.

“…I have one last point. If you make ANYTHING, you are a magician. A quilt, a table runner, a placemat, a block, even just two pieces of fabric sewn together and dropped on the floor—hell, even one piece of fabric cut out of a larger one—none of these things existed in that form until you brought them into being. You are Minerva freaking McGonagall, transmogrifying fabric and thread until it becomes something new, something that, no matter what it looks like or how skillfully it was constructed, is greater than what its parts were before you brought them together. That’s magic. That’s art.”

Aww shit, I wish I’d said that…

and here for my fellow guild members are a pic or two of the book and bundle that I shared with you last night.

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A big bundle of ahhhhsome!
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love love love those zombie couples!

Einey Meanie Miney Mo…

I am taking part in a QAL with a bunch of awesome quilty folk from all across Canada. We are 14 quilt mavens, and each of us is putting together a version of a quilt found in Elizabeth Hartman’s “Patchwork City” book.  If you want to see it, you can find it on Amazon;, or go to her blog “Oh Fransson”; or perhaps you’d rather just click here.  I decided to take on the “Metro Area” quilt and am using the colour scheme found in the Downtown version, which is primarily green and orange with big chunks of black and gray, smaller bits of other colours, and some really adorable/strange/unique/modern focus fabrics thrown into the mix.  I love it!

Our hosts (Jean and Laila) provide us with two sets of blocks each month…that’s two (2) each 8.5 x 8.5 blocks; 5.5 x 8.5 blocks and 5.5 x 14.15 blocks.  So six blocks per month and we are currently on month 3.  For your viewing pleasure, here is a photo of where I’m at right now

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Below are the FQ’s that I’ve chosen as the primary colours.

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and

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so…not a whole lot of choices really considering that I am committed to completing all 75 blocks….oops,  you should also know that I am allowing myself free reign of my scrap basket (see above)  and I guess I should say I have OCD/linear tendencies, so in my head, each month I plan to make one set of blocks primarily green and the other primarily orange… so nope I’m not gonna make this easy on myself.  Sigh…

While all of the above is absolutely fascinating I know (LOL),  you are probably wondering what or where is the question in all this?  So here it is.  Within this limited colour palette, how do I make a fabulously fabulous, interesting and awesome quilt?

Its so bizarre, sometimes I just go to the shelf, pull out a FQ and immediately know what fabrics I’m going to pair with it.  Other times, I spend literally hours trying to figure out what should go where and then I second guess myself a few thousand times before I finally put together a block.

Here is a good example of a block that came together really quickly.  I purchased a fabulous FQ of Esperenza in parchment from Bobby Lou’s Fabric Factory in the southern USA.  The collection is called Folklorico and the designer is Alexander Henry.  Check it out here.  I gotta say I haven’t seen anything yet in this collection that I didn’t love.  Anyway, as you can see, this fabric features pretty doll like characters, most of who are holding onto skulls and/or other hideous things…what’s not to love?

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This block is called “Donut Shop”.  Although the focus fabric is not actually orange, it does have coral/gold tones and is funky/fun which allowed me to think orange polka dots, narrow stripes and arrowheads would work together. And, IMHO, it does.  I think I put this one together (not counting sewing of course) in less than 10 minutes.

But, this one  was a whole ‘nuther story altogether.

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It’s called “Meow” and I made it the very next day.  Let me say this little block caused me a whole lot of grief and caused me to say some very bad words, several times.  First of all, this is not the block I was supposed to make, but my printer was broken which meant I couldn’t print off the template for the proper one, so I chose another block, which would not require a template for piecing.  Things went rapidly downhill from there.   This block was supposed to be primarily green, and is supposed to look like a cat–I think– but I wasn’t really paying attention to that little fact when I was auditioning fabric, which is why after cutting and sewing, then discarding, and re-sewing about 100 green strip pairs together, any of which would have been perfectly satisfactory, I ended up completely overwhelmed, which led to me selecting the same fabrics in two of the three sections and then reusing the same fabrics in the border Holy Heck, WHY DID I DO THAT? And why didn’t I notice until I was pressing the finished block.  Oh and also what on earth is that dark grey strip doing in there.  Clearly I was distracted and distraught!

So I am seriously looking for input from anyone who cares to answer.  Is it better to choose a focus fabric for each block and then build from there? or should I try to get a variety of colors/patterns into each block? What would you do?  Einey Meeny Miney Mo, leave me a note and let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

In my humble opinion….

Our PEIMQG is attempting to build a library for members use and part of the responsibility that goes along with that, is to offer insight into the books available for loan.  Naturally this is a huge job and we are a very new Guild, so the other night our blog author, *Cathy* asked for volunteers to write a book review on one of the books in our library.  Since I have no personal self control at all, I took the plunge and agreed to give a report/review on one book on the list.

So here goes.

It was long long ago, and far far away in my Grade 12 literature class, when I last wrote a book review so it goes without saying that I completely forgot how to do it and a reminder was in order.   It turns out I am not the first to wonder about writing interesting and informative book reviews.  There are approximately 1.2 gazillion sites that will tell you how to go about it.  But for the most part, all agree with step one.

Introduce the Book… so with no further ado, please meet

ModBlock – Missouri Star Quilt Co.  – The Color Issue.  

Click here to go to the Missouri Star Quilt Co. (MSQC) website to get all details such as: place, publisher, publication date, edition, pages, special features, price etc.

I have to say right here at the get-go, this is not an old-fashioned beginning to end book written by one author, explaining the one technique that made him/her famous and then giving examples of his/her work; this is the first edition in a series of books by MSQC to feature some really well known and respected quilters/bloggers, talking about what they do best.

Are you a “new-ish” quilter? or perhaps you are new to the whole idea of “modern” quilting. Then, you, my friend, are the person who this book is written for.  Let me quote what ModBlock has to say,

“There is a new found freedom that you feel when making a modern quilt.  You can follow the pattern or break free and choose you own design path.  There are no rules, just great ideas to help you get started….”

So, there are no quilt police, no rigid rules to follow, no right or wrong, no matchy-match match monkey business.  Anything goes.  Sounds like a great place to start doesn’t it? (or alternatively, absolutely terrifying and the stuff of your worst nightmares…. but that’s a subject for another day and another book review)

The contributors in this edition are Molli Sparkles, Shea Henderson, Amy Ellis, Natalie Earnheart, Lisa Hirsch, Alexia Abegg, Vanessa Vargas Wilson and of course, Jennny Doan, founder of MSQC.  Each of them tackles a part of the quilt making process and explains what they think about and how they approach building a cohesive, modern block/quilt.

Themes discussed are tone/color play, colour placement,  improv piecing, twists on old-fashioned/traditional blocks, use of negative space and new and exciting tools of the trade.  There is even a section for someone who wants to really break out of their box and make a tote bag! Holy Heck Hermione!

Each chapter is presented by a contributor in his/her own words so you can get a really clear picture of how they interpret a particular aspect of quilt making and IMHO should make sense to even the newest newbie who ever picked up a rotary cutter. And bonus, there are tons of photos in every section.  Naturally each presenter provides great examples of projects and provides a pattern for you, should you be inclined to try out the technique.  All told, there are 10 great projects included in this book.

In terms of which author provided content that was most meaningful to me AND which project I want to try, there was absolutely no contest,  my favourite contributor was Natalie Earnheart.  I absolutely fell in love with her “Dapper Dan” quilt.  The section discusses “negative space” and how to make it interesting (which is something that I always struggle with).  It also touches on composition and making opportunities for interesting movement in quilt design (another thing which I grapple with every times I pick up my rotary cutter).  O yeah,  there are also templates involved in this pattern….Yikes.  So am I going to make this quilt…You betcha, but I’m gonna need help from my friends at PEIMQG to make it happen.

If you are a somewhat cautious or new “modern” quilt artisan, you will enjoy this book because it is simply written, with tons of great features such as supply lists for projects and tips to help guide you through construction 0f each project while making it as easy peasy as it naturally should be. The frosting on the cake are the great pictures (sorry folks, there no cake pics).

If you are a well established modern quilter, you will identify with the ideas presented and enjoy the opportunity to get a better perspective of what some of your favourite quilt designers/bloggers are doing and how they go about doing it. In my opinion thats a win/win. 

All told this is a very good book, with information that both new and more experienced modern quilters will appreciate.   It’s well worth a read! 

 

My Rising Star…

This amazingly easy star patterned quilt block was inspired by the Rising Star block.  Here is a link to the  Missouri Star Quilt Co. website, where you can watch a video on how to make the original block, or you could also go directly to YouTube and watch it there.

I love this block.  I mean it…I really do love this block.  Its so simple and looks so fabulous in modern fabrics and colorways.  One of my PEIMQG friends (Helen)  chose this block when she was Queen Bee in July.  Here is a picture of the block segments I made for her. They are not sewn together as per her wishes.

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Essentially the block is made up of four 8.5″ squares of background fabric.  Each 8.5″ square looks like this after the wedges are sewn on and before it is joined to the others.

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This is a lovely big 16.5″ block when its sewn; with lots of negative space to show off your awesome quilting skills (if you are lucky enough to have quilting skills).

The minute I saw the block, I knew I wanted to make the same one when my turn came around to be Queen Bee in October, but I thought I’d tweak it a bit.  So here is what I did.

I cut:

  • four 5.5″ blocks of grey background fabric
  • one 2″ x 5″ rectangle of white-on-black fabric
  • one 2″ x 5″ rectangle of bright small print fabric
  • one 1.5″ x 4″ rectangle of black-on-white fabric
  • one 1.5″ x 4″ rectangle of bright small print fabric

Step 1

Right sides together, place one 2″x5″ rectangle of white-on-black fabric on the background square approx 1.50 to 1.75 inches from the top left corner of the background fabric;  and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left side of the background fabric.  Sew using a quarter inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim the star overhang to the size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

Step 2

Turn the block one quarter turn, so the blade you added lays across the top of the background fabric square.  Then, with right sides together, place one 2″x5″ rectangle of colourful fabric on the background square approx 1.50 to 1.75 inches from the top left corner of the background fabric (same as you did before); and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left edge of the background fabric.  Sew using a quarter-inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim to size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

Congratulations, you are half done.

Turn your fabric background square two quarter turns, so that the blades of the star are on the right side and across the bottom of the background square.

Step 3

Right sides together, place one 1.5″ x 4″ rectangle of black-on-white fabric on the background square approx. 1.25 inches from the top left corner of the background fabric; and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left edge of the background fabric.   Sew using a quarter-inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim to size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

Step 4

Turn the block one quarter turn, so the blade you just added is across the top of the background fabric square.  Then, right sides together, place one 1.5″x 4″ rectangle of colourful fabric on the background square approx. 1.25″ from the top left corner of the background fabric and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left edge of the background fabric.  Sew using a quarter inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim to size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

Woo Hoo, you have finished one quarter of the block.  Now follow the above instructions and do everything all over again 3 more times.

Sew the four segments together with the larger star in the centre.  When you are finished the block should like like this.

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The block should measure 10 1/2″ square.  PLEASE DO NOT TRIM THE BLOCK AFTER YOU SEW IT.

For all you PEIMQG members who are sewing these blocks with me in October/November each of you received a baggy with

  • 4 – 5.5 inch background squares
  • 2 – 2 x 5″ rectangles of white on black fabric
  • 2 – 1.5 x 4″ rectangles of black on white fabric

Please raid your stash and use:

  • two 2×5″ rectangles of bright coloured, small print or tone-on-tone fabric
  • two 1.5×4″ rectangles of contrasting bright coloured small print, or tone-on-tone fabric (use whatever you have in your stash, please stay away from fabrics with a lot of white in them if possible)

I will trim the blocks when I get them after the November PEIMQG meeting. If you have any questions, please email me at grannycanquilt@gmail.com, or leave a comment below.

Thanks for participating. I’m so excited to see how this quilt will look when its finished!

 

 

I think We can…I think We can…I think We can.

Long long ago and far far away in a quieter gentler time–February 2016 I think it was, I, along with my good friends, Joyce, Nancy, Selina and Judy (we call ourselves The Pansys) decided to go out on a limb for our Guild. We agreed to take charge of the Fund Raising Raffle Quilt for the Kindred Spirits Quilt Guild. Now when we did this – to the best of my knowledge – none of us, had ever undertaken a thing of this magnitude before. We knew we were under the gun to get this done.  We had to get a fabulous quilt out into the world…it had to be cut, pieced, sewn, quilted and bound…within two months we figured… so we could start selling raffle tickets.  But on top of that we also had to purchase a raffle ticket license, make and print the tickets, distribute and keep track of tickets and ticket sales, find venues to sell those tickets, find people to man the ticket booths and a whole host of other things. It was gonna be a lot of work. Here is a pic of the gorgeous quilt that my cohort, Joyce offered up for sale to use as our raffle quilt.  Thank you Joyce.  It is a beautiful thing.

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More than a couple of times I wish we had thought a bit longer and harder about that commitment on that cold dark February evening, because that was not all we volunteered for that night. Not by a long shot, Nope, nosiree Bob, it was not. We–Joyce and I–(okay I confess,  I stood up and dragged Joyce up with me) said that we would take on the job of chairing the entire 13th biennial Kindred Spirits Quilt Guild Quilt Show.  OMG Holy Heck Hermione, etc.  Yikes.

Well let me tell you, we have had quite a year.  Our quilt show did come together successfully, and was held on October 14, 15, and 16 in Charlottetown PEI.  Now that its over, we are all, amazingly, still the best of friends, and to all accounts, our show was a fine success.

Over the past 8 months, we have all acquired a whole schwack of new skill sets and brushed up on ones we already had.  We now know how to: acquire and renew a lottery license; choose a venue to suit our event and negotiate pricing for it;  pin down and then bully (kindly) volunteers into doing way more than they signed up for;  search out and encourage vendors to attend our event even though its last minute; plan and publicize the entire event… both on line and in print media (oh and how to be charming TV stars – right Vanna/Selena) and much much more.  And, all the while we were juggling our own lives…together we coped with children leaving the nest; downsizing our homes; parenting our parents; losing a much loved pet family member; taking on new and greater job responsibilities; and so much more.  Yay us!

I want to take this moment to say, from the bottom of my heart,  I’m proud of all of you who worked so hard to make Joyce and I look great.  IMHO, you did a spectacular job. It was such an honour to work with all of you.   Thank you, thank you, thank you.

There is so much more that I should be saying right now, and so many people I should be seeking out and offering up my personal and profound thanks (and I will do that soon) but for now, I think I’ll end this post with….I knew we could, I knew we could, I knew we could.

Here for your viewing pleasure are just a few pics of the gorgeous items displayed at the show.  We are so lucky to have so many astonishingly talented, humble folks here on the Island.

 

There is nothing wrong that a chunk of chocolate the size of my head cannot fix!

Perhaps that seems a bit outrageous to you…but you are not having the day I’m having, are you?  I thought not!

BTW. I think this chocolate picture looks amazingly tasty. How about you?
I may or may not have mentioned at some point in the last year, that I am Co-Chair of our Kindred Spirits Quilt Guild 13th biennial quilt show. I am very excited about this opportunity and know we are going to have a wonderful show.  We have oodles of excellent volunteers, all who have stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park in true Islander fashion…we have advertised our Show in both our major Island newspapers and various community newspapers and newsletters…we have lots of quilty entries to awe and amaze those who attend the show…we have arranged for tea and cookies to be served to our guests…we have done almost everything that we can do to ensure a spectacular event.  Holy Heck Hermioine, we even have a car quilt ready to drape over someone’s car to showcase the outstanding talents of our group….Why then am I having such a bad day?

Well its all because my dang printer won’t print.  It will scan, it will copy, but it will not print from a document.  Sheeeuks,  I’m about to blow a gasket. The quilt show is only two and one half weeks away and I have yet to print off the database/spreadsheet for our decorating/hanging committee, our admissions committee and/or any other group who needs it.  I have reset the printer twice, checked and rechecked the ink levels, said a prayer or two, a time or two and even slapped it (the printer) up side the head…and it just won’t work, so  I am about to a) curl up into a ball;  b) throw a temper tantrum; or c) mutter a mouthful of really bad, terrible, awful, unladylike, not nice, unkind words.

In case I’m being unclear, I need something to happen which gets my printer up and running very very soon.

And lets also say that you should put these dates on your calendar for the 13th biennial Kindred Spirits Quilt Guild Show.

  • Date:  October 14, 15, and 16, 2016
  • Place:  Jack Blanchard Family Centre, 7 Pond St., Charlottetown, PE
  • Time:  Fri., 10 a.m. to 8 p.m, Sat. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. & Sun., Noon to 4 p.m.

There is lots of parking available and you will have an opportunity to drool over all the beautiful quilty items being showcased; vote for your favourite quilt, browse in the merchant mall for all the newest and best fabrics from local shops; purchase a raffle ticket on an awesome king sized bed quilt; and finally — stop in the tea room to enjoy a coffee or tea with friends.I’ll see you there…I’ll be the grey haired granny, running around with a hunk of hair missing from the top of her head…and chocolate on my fingers.