Friday, May 17, 2013

Hawaiian Quilt

I finished the final touches on the Hawaiian Quilt last night. After many hours, lots of finger pricks that resulted in blood, and more than my fair share of cussing, the quilt is completed... and I LOVE the way it turned out.

You might remember this quilt from my manic weekend of quilting post. This back was pieced from Hawaiian fabric that a friend of mine had from back when she used to make her own hula dresses. She has been diagnosed with cancer and gave me a huge box of the fabrics because she decided that she wasn't going to be able to do hula much more. So I used the fabrics to make her a quilt.

The other side of the quilt features more of the colorful Hawaiian fabrics, but pieced into some very calming white-on-white blocks. So one side is bright and colorful, and the other is a little more soothing.

The binding was hand-stitched (hence the cussing and bloody fingers), and the quilting is a simple stitch-in-the-ditch between the white blocks. I used pure white batting of a medium loft in the quilt so it will be light weight but fluffy. This will be a birthday present for her this weekend (she turns 80 on Sunday)! So happy birthday to Beverly... I hope this Hawaiian Quilt brings you happy memories and a lot of comfort.

*Special thanks to Mike who was my quilt model.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

One UFO down...

 I am very excited to share that I finally get to cross something off the UFO list! Last night I finally finished, and I mean COMPLETELY finished one of my projects. A friend had given me some beautiful fabric for my birthday and while I was at the quilt retreat last weekend I made a table runner out of it. I got the top done, the backing, batting, and quilting finished while I was at the retreat. And last night at Craft Night (aka "Bitch 'n Stitch") with the ladies, I did the binding. The runner is for my dresser top, and the colors of the fabric match my room perfectly, so that is great!

It's the perfect length for the dresser, fitting right in front of the mirror.

The quilting is very simple - stitch in the ditch for the border, and basic channel quilting in the center.

This is my first hand-stitched binding.

Thank you for letting me share!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Manic Weekend of Quilting!

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a safe and delicious Cinco de Mayo. I wanted to share with you the wonderful weekend that I had. I was given the opportunity to join the North End Quilters at their annual retreat in Orting, WA. This was my first time at this retreat, and it was amazing! The facility is really quite awesome - you have to check it out! The retreat facility has a six foot table and outlets for each person, cutting tables, color-corrected lights and natural skylights, a full kitchen, five bedrooms with two twin beds each, ironing stations, and my favorite part: a quilt shop down below, just in case you run out of fabric, thread, batting, ideas...

And the little town of Orting was very cool, too! It is nestled at the base of Mt. Rainier, and you just can't ask for a better view!

So armed with my six foot table, my trusty Janome, my rotary cutter, and several projects, I spent the weekend quilting like a maniac. None of these are 100% finished, as they still need backing, batting, quilting and binding, but the tops are on. So not quite ready to be crossed off the UFO (Unfinished Objects) list, but getting closer! I apologize for the low resolution photos, but these were taken with my phone.
Runner for my dresser - needs the binding finished.

Hawaiian quilt - this needs batting, backing, quilting and binding.

Red and White quilt - this needs batting, backing, quilting and binding.

I will share more when they are finalized. I hope you all had as much fun as I did this weekend!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chicken Paprikash - a little on the lighter side

Back in ancient times, also known as the early days of Mike and my relationship, Mike did the majority of the cooking. This mostly went very well for me, as Mike is a great cook, but back in those days he was not known for eating the wide variety of food that he does now. So when I was craving some variety in the meal plan I would occasionally step up and cook something. And even back in those days I  liked to experiment in the kitchen. Yes, there is a point to this brief family history. Please be patient and try to keep up.

So one day I found a recipe for Chicken Paprikash in a Cooking Light magazine. This was a completely new recipe for me, and I am pretty sure it was a dish I had never tasted before, homemade or in a restaurant. I was pretty excited about the new recipe and I made it for dinner. It was pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. Mike ate all of his, which I took to be a pretty good sign. So I asked how he liked it. The response: 'It's not bad, but my Mom's is better'. Yup. You heard correctly. Needless to say, I was marginally annoyed. Well, slightly more than marginally, but I am not one to hold a grudge. For long.

So I didn't bother to make the recipe again. Some things you just can't compete with. And eventually the memory slipped to the back of my brain and got put in cold storage. Until one day, over a year later, when we went to Mike's Mom's house for dinner... where she served Chicken Paprikash. And you know what? His Mom's was better. WAY better. This could be due to the pound of butter she used (slight exaggeration), but whatever the reason, her's was definitely better. And amazingly, this didn't bother me at all. In fact, I might just ask her to make it again one of these days!

In any case, the recipe I am sharing today is NOT her recipe. It is also NOT the Cooking Light version. This is adapted from a recipe that I found on I changed it quite a bit to make it slightly healthier. The reason that I am happy to make this version is that it is NOTHING like Mike's Mom's version, and therefore cannot be compared (and subsequently deemed 'not as good'). So I hope you enjoy this lighter version of Chicken Paprikash.

Chopped onion, because I put onion in everything.

Onion and garlic sauteed with the butter and spices. Yup... all that red stuff is paprika!

Added the water and started cooking.

One hour later...

This is the mixture from the sour cream (I used light), reserved juices from the can of tomatoes, and the flour.

Stirred in the sour cream mixture and the tomatoes, and voila!

Delicious Chicken Paprikash served over noodles.

Chicken Paprikash

Serves 6-8


2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
1 (8 oz) Container light or fat-free Sour Cream


Heat butter in a dutch oven (or you could use a LARGE skillet) over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and paprika. Stir together and saute until onion is translucent. Add chicken pieces and pour water over all. Cook over medium heat for 1 hour, adding more water if necessary.

Stir in tomatoes, reserving liquid. Stir liquid into a medium bowl with flour and sour cream; mix until well blended, then slowly add mixture to chicken, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture is thick.

Serve with pasta or rice.