Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflections and saying good-bye.... to 2012 :)

I'm sitting down to write my last post for the year. I decided to stay home  for New Years Eve (as we've done it more than going out the past 12 years). I blamed it on my now-gone cold and the fact that  both of us has to go back to work on Wednesday.

As I'm looking back to the past year my quilting life has changed tremendously. I started to blog at the end of January which inspired me to finish more stuff than I used to. I found  so much inspiration in other people's blogs that I let a lot of subscriptions elapse on my magazines. Instead I signed up to Pinterest which is a great place to gather my ideas and things that inspire me. Not even mentioning food!

I got my dream sewing machine at the moment  which helped me dig through some of my UFO-s which seemed impossible with my newer machine. I don't use it as much as I should because of the lack  of space,  but I piled up a few quilt tops to be finished. One more to go and I'm ready to get it  out and quilt away :) I think I'll name her Gracie.

Thanks to Gracie I made my first Free Motion Quilted quilt. Before her I only did straight lines without a walking foot.

Speaking of walking foot, I used my walking foot for the first time a few months ago. I was not able to use it the  way it was supposed to be used and I always thought I did something wrong. As it turned out part of the presser foot was missing and it couldn't push the fabric through properly. Live and learn, right? :)

I discovered some great new podcasts which I haven't listened to before.

I met some beautiful virtual friends who are very supportive of what I do.

I signed up to Twitter. In the back of my mind I knew what I'll be in for, but it actually blew my mind. I spend lots of hours chatting away  and feel even closer to my cyber friends. And because  of that I kind of fell behind on reading the blogs I want to follow. Occasionally I go back and catch up, leaving 5-6 comments at the time, please forgive me :)) 

I also ventured into the world of Craftsy which I'm really thankful for. I  always wanted to take classes, but when I had a place to go to my schedule was hectic. Now  I would have more time, but the  quilt shop closed down. I'm really happy with the Craftsy classes and have several in the queue to go through.

I started to make my first "pattern" quilt with the Craftsy BOM class.

And now before Christmas I started my first mystery quilt which I enjoy a lot and can't wait for the conclusion.

I made my first bag which was not a big deal, but I never tried bag making before.

I made my first zippered pouch using a  Youtube video. I never thought it was that easy.

I got to meet the wonderful Jennifer Paganelli who made me feel like no one before. I'm truly thankful, She's such a wonderful  person!

I made a collage of the things I made this year. I might've forgot some things, but that's OK.


Finally I made a paper pieced test star for the Lucky Stars BOM 2013 club this evening as the last thing for this year.


Tomorrow I will be working on my Easy Street project as much as I can since I'm almost out of black and white fabrics and the ones I ordered are not here yet. I wish everyone a Wonderful New Year and may all your resolutions be unbroken!

'Til we blog again! :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Walnut beigels recipe

As a few of you asked before Christmas I'm posting the walnut beigels recipe below. They're traditional Hungarian "cookies" for Christmas and Easter. There's also a version with poppy filling, but since we're not a fan of the poppy filling I only make the walnut ones every year. I took a few pictures with my phone just for myself  as I was making them so excuse the picture quality. If you make them please let me know how they turned out!

Dios Beigli (walnut beigels)

Ingredients:
For dough (4 rolls)
1 tsp sugar
½ cup milk
15 g fresh yeast
1/3 cup sugar
¾ cup flour
1 stick and 5 tbsp butter softened
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk for glazing
1 tsp grated lemon zest
pinch of salt
1 pack of vanilla sugar
For nut filling (4 rolls):
Scant 1 cup milk
1 cup superfine sugar
2 envelopes vanilla sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
6 tbsp raisins
pinch of cinnamon
6 cups ground walnuts
4-5 tbsp apricot jam or 6-8 tbsp honey

Yeast dough:
Activating yeast:
Dissolve 1 tsp sugar in a large cup of warm milk (blood hot). There should be no sugar left on the base of the cup. Crumble the fresh compressed yeast into the milk. Cover and leave it to work in a moderately warm place. After 8-10 minutes, the yeast should have frothed up to the rim of the cup.
Starter dough:
In a bowl, mix together the activated yeast and 1 heaping Tbsp flour to make a runny porridge. Cover with a dish towel and leave to rise in a warm place until bubbles form (about 15 minutes). It can then be worked.
Mixing the dough:
All the ingredients should be at room temperature. Sift the flour into a deep bowl and make a well in the center, then add the starter as well as the sugar, salt, butter and egg, vanilla sugar, and lemon zest. Knead until a smooth, moderately firm dough forms and comes away from the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle flour over the dough, then cover and leave to raise in a warm, but not hot place (max. 95 F) that is protected from drafts, until in has doubled in size (about 30 minutes-1 hr). While the dough is proofing you can make the filling.
Walnut filling:
Put the milk in a pan with the sugar and bring to a boil. Take it off the heat and add the vanilla sugar, lemon zest, raisins, cinnamon, walnuts and apricot jam. If your  raisins are a little dry you can put them in with the milk in the beginning to make them softer.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Divide the dough into four (this is only the last quarter)

 and roll out each piece into a floured surface, shaping a rectangle measuring about 12x14 inches. Spread the dough with the nut filling


and roll up lengthwise, ensuring that the rolls remain firm. Close ends by pushing the dough together. 


Grease a baking sheet and carefully transfer the rolls onto the sheet and brush with egg yolk. (You can also use parchment paper, in that case no greasing is necessary.)


Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown for about 35 minutes.


 Only remove from the oven when completely cool. If kept covered and stored in a cool, dry place the beigels will stay fresh for a long time. (I packed them  in saran wrap and then into aluminum foil)  Do not slice until just before serving, arranging the slices like roof tiles on a plate.



'Til we blog  again! :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Easy Street Part 4 and Part 5 finished

Hello again to all my friends!
I'm glad you're here. Hope everyone had  a  wonderful Christmas and got lots of presents!
My Santa came early this year  and brought me gifts from my Amazon wishlist. I told my Fiance to just pick randomly because I wanted to still be  surprised.

I ended up with a cut resistant glove and some books:

I was really excited to get them and flipped through them to see what's inside. I haven't had the opportunity to read them thoroughly yet. Unfortunately as some of you know our Christmas wasn't as planned. I got sick in the beginning of the week and was down until after Christmas. Boxing Day was the first day I could get out of bed  for the full day. I'm better now and last night was the first time I didn't wake up coughing.
Yesterday morning I did all the cutting for Easy Street Part 5 and had all my patches prepared for sewing from Part 4, and also  Part 5.
Today I sewed everything together and trimmed the blocks down and have them finally finished just in time to link up to Bonnie's linky party for Easy Street.

Part 4 blocks finished:

The units are sewn together and guarded by Mr. Sleepy's bunny feet:

Part 5 was also finished and trimmed:



And Mr. helper cat, Sleepy with  my half-finished ornament:

I'm glad to be all done before the new clue comes out  tomorrow morning!

'Til we blog again! :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas cards

I've been getting ready for Christmas in the past week and it included the making of some Christmas cards for my friends. Tonight I finally finished the tree trunks on the few that was left and took a picture of them. One is missing since I sent that one away already and I'm not sure they got it...
My quilting-blogging friend Chrissie told me about a tutorial at Stitched in Color which  I really loved and it even had the downloadable tree pattern. Not that I can't draw my own, but it was a lot more convenient :))

I made a few of her versions,


then decided to make my own and those are the ones where the scraps go horizontally.


The fabrics are not necessarily Christmas fabrics, just pulled whatever scraps I though would look good.

The 2 "odd-balls" are my own design, one from scraps and the other one is just a sawtooth star.


The fabrics are all sewn  on the cards by machine.

I promised myself that I won't do the next part of Easy Street until I get my Christmas list done. It's kind of long at this point.
  • I have to finish the monkey quilt (Haha, RIGHT! the back is not even pieced at this point!)
  • Make a Sunshine pillow cover, possibly with zipper for my friend's daughter (the one with the Dresden Plate quilt from the same fabrics)
  • Folded fabric Christmas ornaments x4 (5?)
  • Make a Christmas tree skirt (If I still have time)
  • Christmas cookie baking (that will have to get done for sure!)
Soo, keep your fingers crossed for me and wish me good luck! :)

P.S. I  really want to cut up the fabrics for Easy Street Part 4 at least so I'm not THAT much behind! But I was thinking I could use them as leaders and enders while piecing the back for monkey. I'll be away next weekend so everything has to be done before that. Yeah. I know! 

'Til we blog again! :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Easy Street Part 3 Finished!

I'm glad to report that I finished the shaded  4 patch blocks for Easy Street! They're not as scrappy as the other blocks I made, as a matter of fact not scrappy at all. I swapped one color from Bonnie's and I used pink/yellow instead of the aqua. Hope it'll still work at the end, I'll keep my fingers crossed!
I was participating in the Google hangout yesterday afternoon and messed up the cutting. I forgot to cut from different fabrics and instead I only used one. Mistakes happen, right? And what was a girl to do? Just kept going.
It was the hardest step so far since I had to do a lot of un-sewing and re-sewing to get the points close. They're not perfect, but good enough. For me at least. :)I'm thrilled to be done in time to link up to the linky party here.
I still have some Christmas cards to make, write and mail and also have to work on some gifts too. I better get my act together, I'm gonna have to make a plan! Do you have a strategy to get last minute things done? Let me know in the comment section!

Here's what they look like:

Stacked up with helper Sleepy taking a nap in the background:

And a close-up of the beloved helper:

You can find my earlier  blog posts for Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

I'll be back hopefully later this week with Christmas craft updates.

'Til we blog again! :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Flying geese finished for Easy Street Part 2

Hello and welcome back!

Just a quick post to show off that my geese are flying now! :)

All neatly stacked up (yes, the oranges underneath are the 4 patches from last week):


And in formation:



'Til we blog again! :)

Shaded 4 patch tutorial for Easy Street Part3

So  this week we have to make shaded 4 patch units for Easy Street Part 3. I don't have the Easy Angle ruler so I tried to find some different methods to make the units without the special ruler. I was searching and found this fantastic video by Billie Lauder  on Youtube.
She's making her blocks larger so I had to do a little bit of math to figure out what size strips to cut for this step.

To make 2 units you'll need to cut:
  • 2- 2" squares from purple fabric

  • 2- 2" x 3" rectangles from black&white background fabric
  • 1- 3.5" x 4.5" rectangle from aqua fabric (I'll use pink/yellow)
1. Sew the squares and the 2"x 3" rectangles right sides together, press. I pressed the   seams open.

2. Sew them together with the squares in opposite ends, press. I pressed the seams open again.


3. Put the 3.5" x 4.5" rectangle right side down possibly on a piece of fine sandpaper and draw a 45 degree line starting in the right bottom corner going up to the left by placing the 45 degree angle on your ruler on the bottom edge of the rectangle.



4. Sew on the folded lines. Check to make sure the corner of the squares are not cut off. If something is off, rip the stitches and repeat the folding until you get the corners lined up. You can see I had to do some un-sewing too.



5. When everything looks good, cut apart between the 2 sewing lines.


6. Press and trim to a 3.5" square making sure you have the 45 degree line on your ruler lined up with the half square triangle. I pressed to the pink fabric because there was too much bulk to press open.

Ta-daaa! 2 blocks are done! Only 62 to go :))) (I forgot to trim mine before I took the picture so the dog ears are sticking out on the right)

Shaded 4 patch block tutorial



'Til  we blog again! :)


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Hungarian Cheese biscuits recipe

So the promised cheese sticks recipe. They're really yummy and dangerous we usually can't stop eating them.
Pictures are in this blog post. Enjoy!

Sajtos rúd (Cheese biscuits)

Ingredients:
  • Generous 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 200 ml milk
  • 1/3 of (2oz.) fresh cake yeast, or 1 - 0.25 oz pk. dry yeast
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • scant ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 egg for glaze
  • 1 package (8 oz.) shredded cheese (provolone, mexican blend, mozzarella, any will do)
Warm up the milk until just warm, and put the sugar to dissolve. Put yeast, cover and let it stand in a warm place for a few minutes until yeast starts to bubble.
Sift the flour. Add the remaining ingredients including the milk-yeast mixture and work together to form a smooth dough. If it's too sticky add some flour until the dough separates from the bowl. Roll out and fold across and up, so that the dough is four layers thick rectangle. Wrap it in saran wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Repeat the process twice more. Then roll out the pastry to a thickness of just under ¼ inch and spread a beaten egg and shredded cheese on top. Cut into strips with a pizza cutter, then cut them up to sticks. Place these on a baking pan lined with parchment paper, and bake in a preheated 375 F oven for 22-25 minutes until golden.

'Til we blog again! :)

Easy Street part 1 done!

As some of you know I'm doing the Easy Street Mystery Quilt Along  hosted by Bonnie Hunter. She had part 1 posted last week and with a lot of things going on I kind of fell behind.  I had the fabrics cut and in one of the evenings I've sewn the strips together. I had a little hick-up in the beginning as I forgot to check if I had a 1/4 inch seam allowance so had to re-sew about 15-20 strips :)


I had to do some cooking for someone which involved baking cheese  biscuits. Here are before and after pictures:


Recipe is in a different blog post here.

Friday night I started to sub-cut the 2-sies continuing on Saturday while listening to The History Quilter podcast.

Finally I got to the point to be able to chain piece them. Even though I made sure  I  make it totally scrappy, meaning not to put the same kinds of fabrics together I had to pay attention while piecing. And it happened. I managed to sew 3-4 units of the same fabrics. Un-sewing :)


I worked up until about midnight to get all of them cut apart and finger pressed:


I'm glad I started this project even though it sounds like "back-to-basics". I learned that I don't always have to pin religiously. I became an anti-pinner :) I was sewing a lot faster without pins and still managed to sew the patches together pretty nicely. AND the points are matching :)
Next step: flying geese. Yay! :) I'll be using my purple fabrics for those. Hoping to cut the fabrics at least and test out the method Daisy is using. I want  to cut my squares a little larger and trim it back to size. We'll see what happens :)

My helpers for this part were Sleepy  and Smoky:


Sleepy:



'Til we blog again! :)

Blue/white baby quilts progress

It's been a while since my last blog post. Unfortunately during Thanksgiving my laptop fan died. R.I.P. Got the new one in Yesterday and it's all up and running again. Looking at my blog posts I realized that I never posted the pictures I edited due to lack of time. I was editing the new pictures I took and those will be posted in a different blog post. While doing that I found the photos I wanted to blog about during Thanksgiving.
So I finished sashing the top of the second quilt and also pieced the back. Those of you who follow me on Twitter saw the pics already, but here they are for the "regular" readers :)


Back:

My boys were sleeping while I was taking the pictures:


'Til we blog again! :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

WIP Craftsy baby quilts

As I promised in my last post I took some pictures of my works in progress blue&white baby quilts I'm making with the Craftsy block  of the month  blocks.
Quilt #1 (doesn't have a name yet) is sashed and the top is assembled. 


I finished piecing the squares for the backing on Wednesday night. I didn't have enough fabric left from the ones I used in the blocks so I had to improvise :)



Quilt #2 is in the to be sashed status. I laid out the blocks on the bed because of the lack of a design wall. :) Here's what they look like, with one of the helpers on the side:


I'm home today so I'll be working on the sashing (it'll be the same as #1) and then I have no idea what's gonna be on the back... I have some blue  squares cut for another quilt and I might just use those. Who knows? :)
Also, any suggestions for names? I am totally stuck and  have no imagination in naming my quilts. It's good I don't have any children, we're having a hard time even naming our kitties :)
Hope you have a lovely weekend and thank you for visiting! Come again soon! :)

Linking up to
Thursday Think Tank

'Til we blog again! :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Easy Street fabric choices & Chopsticks paper piecing

Some of you who follow me on Twitter might know that I decided to do Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street mystery quilt this year. I've never participated anything like this and would like to have it under my belt.  I'm pretty sure it'll be fun since I lot of people I keep in touch with are doing it. It'll be my largest quilt made so I'm looking forward to that too!
I was too lazy to take pictures of my fabric choices blaming the sun for not shining, but  now I got over myself and took some photos. I picked pink, orange, purple, and lime green for the colors, and haven't decided if I'll do black &white or just plain white for the background. Probably b&w, but I didn't have enough so I ordered some and they're not here yet.

Here they are all together:

Pretty pinks:

Fiery oranges:

Pretty purples (the one on the right is my very favorite):

And the greens:

 Helper of the day, Sleepy:


My cyber friend, Kristy @Quiet Play is into paper piecing and selling her patterns on  Craftsy. She asked for volunteers for pattern testing and I'm glad to help. She had 4  new ones coming out, I got the Choptsicks pattern to be tested. I think it turned out pretty nice despite the fact that I messed up the colors, but  oh, well :) Please visit her Craftsy shop, She has  some pretty cute patterns for paper piecing. I particularly loved the last one  She posted in her blog here about her  dream sewing room.

Here's how my chopsticks pattern came out:


Since it's only a test piece, I didn't pay attention to have enough of the same white background so it looks kind of scrappy. It served the purpose so  I'm not stressing about it.
I'm still working on the blue  and white baby quilts, one of the top is assembled and just finished piecing the backing last night. Pictures will be in my next post so stay tuned!

'Til we blog again! :)