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Happy summer! Memorial Day weekend is the official kick off party to celebrate the good life that’s been given us and bring in summer. Time for homemade ice cream, burgers, beer, & watching the Cubs lose miserably.

Me & Paige thought it would be a great idea on Friday night to head out to Marengo Ridge With a few friends for a picnic and watch the sunset.

SewMod picnic

I’m sure guys actually hate doing all this girly crap. They’d rather stay home, catch the game and have us bring them beers!

Turkey wraps, grapes and homemade macaroni salad are on the menu tonight. And of course wine and dessert.

I made Dump Cake in mason jars. Three ingredients and jars and you’ve got yourself a perfect picnic dessert…White cake mix, pie filling, and melted butter. Fill the jars 3/4 full with filling, spoon dry cake mix on top, drizzle with melted butter and cook @350 till you have a bubbly, crispy goodness. Top the jars with cut fabric and tie with raffia for crafty effect.
Proceed to raffia everything now because it’s just so darn picnicky!

SewMod picnic

Paige’s basket is filled with goodies and obviously daisy thinks it’s hers!

SewMod picnic

About a 1/4 of a mile down the road road we figured out the trip was a colossal mistake. Fighting Chicago traffic…well, just plain sucks. At this rate we’d be there by sunrise…and nobody likes to wait to eat y’all. So we headed back to the house for a little indoor picnic.

SewMod picnic

Don’t fret. Make do with what ya got! Throw the quilt on the “picnic” table and pretend we’re at our destination and have a great time with friends, laughing, eating and playing cards. We even saw the sunset during our stroll after dinner.

So, my lack of blogging in the latter part of 2012 is embarrassing to say the least. I was busy though, I promise. I’d hate to think you guys thought I was just goofing off and being unproductive so I’ve gathered a few pics of some of the projects/fun things that we were up to.

Here we go… This is a commission quilt we made for a customer we met at Madison this year. Made for her granddaughter, Mimi. It’s a modified Sassafras. I tagged this one “I’m a Barbie girl”. It was so so very pink and girly!

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This

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Became a very popular one of these…

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Did a lot of daydreaming about one of these…

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All of those hexies I made became one of these…Is this the cutest place mat or what. Still workin’ on my 2nd one! This was a sample for when we were asked to vend at a local Modern Quilt Guild. We did a demo on hand and machine hexies.

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We made a commissioned breast cancer throw for someone’s Christmas gift.

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Started a spool quilt with Elsie’s Girl, Shelley, which we work on weekly. This is my progress so far…

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I had some life changing decisions thrown…definition(Pushed or forced violently and suddenly into a particular state.) upon me. Which caused this…

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And let’s just say this…you can’t hide from Karma peeps. At least I’m hoping anyway;) More on that subject at a later date.

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Spent a total of 3 weeks over the last 2 months like this. Which probably was a result from all of the stress caused by the above…

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Had a Christmas crafting party..

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And we made these cute button trees…This one’s mine.

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And this is Paige’s..

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New fabrics arrived at the shop. We now have all of the Oval ELements in stock and this great new line from Blend called Gabbie. You can find it here…

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Did some of this…

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But then ate a lot of this..

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We found a perfect cupcake stand for SewMod. So we ate even more of this deliciousness just to decorate the stand….

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Paige and I went shopping and found these SewMod Christmas decorations in our colors…

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That matched these trees! How could we possibly resist…It’s Christmas, SewMod Style!

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Spent some time catching up with the nephews in OKC…

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And finally made more progress on my December fun project, Rendezvous..

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Whew, 2 months of blogging done! Here’s to a great 2013! We made a lot of progress this year and we couldn’t have done it without all of your support. We made wonderful friends and met so many people thru social media and our experiences at the quilt shows and local guilds. Thank you everyone! We are looking forward to another exciting year!

Sorry for the lack of posting these days. We’ve been really busy trying to get ready for the Madison show coming up in just about 1 week! Yikes! It’s been a frenzy of assembling kits and cutting fabric. But I did want to sneak in a quick post for everyone…

I got a chance to relax and enjoy our monthly sew-in this last Sunday. We all went out to Pattie’s new home. It was fabulous! She has great taste in decor.

She had a chicken salad ready for us and Watermelon Mojitos…yummy.

Kelly worked on the binding for a Halloween quilt made from charm square scraps.

This is a quilt Pattie had over a sofa in her living room. Stunning comes to mind. I think the kitty liked it too!

Pattie has four kitties. But Pete was our favorite. He insisted on helping us out at every turn. He happened to love the Cosmo floss. I’m pretty sure he thought I had brought it just for him:)

We decided to start a group project next year with all the SewMod girls. Each of us will make a 15″ to 18″ “house” block, whether it be pieced or applique. Anything goes. In January we will pass our block to one of the girls and she will add her own creativity to it, such as beads, applique, embroidery, buttons, etc. In February, it will go the next girl to embellish. I’m really excited about this project and I can’t wait to see the finished blocks. We really have a very talented and diverse group so the end results should be interesting.

So that’s what I worked on during our sew-in. I chose to do an embroidered gingerbread house from a pattern I purchased from an Etsy shop called BigBgd. Very cute stuff! I enlarged one of the designs and embroidered the outer lines so the girls could have fun with the landscape and “candy decor”.

I still have the side candy canes left to embroider but I made some pretty good progress this Sunday. Now gotta get back to embroidering the Witches Boot before another month sneaks by and it’s October.

Thanks Pattie for being a great hostess. We all had a great time and look forward to coming back.

I hope to post a couple of new quilts we’ve recently finished soon, so be sure to check back with us!

The food.

I thought you might enjoy some of the recipes we shared this weekend.

Paige made her yummy Cheese Tortellini with Pesto. I can’t get enough of this stuff. It’s delish hot or cold from the refrigerator the next day!

Frozen Cheese Tortellini
Pesto Sauce (or homemade)
Grape Tomatoes
Shredded Parmesan
Salt & Pepper to taste
Roasted Pine Nuts

Cook Tortellini, drain.
Mix in Pesto Sauce. Add a little at a time to Tortellini until coated then add a bit more to taste.
Toss in Tomatoes and Parmesan.
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Serve at room temperature.

I made Brownie Bottom Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

You must try this. It’s a no-fail cheesecake. And even if it does crack, you get to add a topping so no one will ever know:)

3-8oz cream cheese softened
14oz Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1Pkg of fudge brownie mix
3 eggs
2tsp vanilla
1/2 C. Mini chocolate chips
Cool Whip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of a 9″ springform pan. Prepare brownie mix according to pkg. directions. Spread evenly into springform pan. Bake 35 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Meanwhile in large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese till soft and gradually add in Eagle Brand. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in chips. Pour into pan. Reduce temp. to 300 and bake for 50 minutes or till center is set. Chill overnight. Remove sides and garnish with cool whip and sprinkle mini chips on top.

We had Chicken Enchiladas, Black Beans, & Rice one night. This is a recipe I’ve made twice now and it’s so good!! It’s Tyler Florence’s from the Food Network found here.

Ham or turkey and provolone Paninis, salad and veggies.

Are you drooling over the muffins in the pic? Those are Banana Muffins with Mascarpone Cream Cheese Icing for breakfast..or dessert:) …found here.

Margaret has some really good dip mixes that she makes from scratch and I can’t wait to get some of those. She made us a spicy mexican dip and also provided the homemade pesto for the tortellini…it was yum!

And if you have this salsa in your grocery store…buy it. If you live in Chicago, it was purchased at Caputo’s. It’s Chuck and Dave’s and it tasted so fresh. Look for it!

Thanks for sharing our retreat weekend with us. We hope you enjoyed it:)

Birdie Block #6, finished!

While, I thought Little Miss Shabby’s June block was cute, I wanted to stick to a June theme. And what better thing to do in June than go to the beach. Birdie loves to surf and soak up the sun.

I continued with the summer theme by whipping up some summer tea towels. Umbrellas in the sand, flip flops and palm trees.

But you wanna know where I really like my umbrellas? In my drinks:)

susan enjoying her drink

It’s time to relax on the patio now with a Lemon Drop Martini and some black bean salsa. I hope y’all enjoy your sunny summer day…talk to ya tomorrow friends!

LEMON DROP

1 part Absolut Citron

1 part Triple Sec

1 part fresh lemon juice

Mix ingredients, shake and strain into sugar rimmed glass

I’ve had a hard time coming up for dinners for one. Since Russell is always out and about it’s usually just me left to fend for myself. I’ve been trying to get better at taking the time to actually make something instead of running for fast food. I really do like to cook & I don’t like frozen dinners so that’s out for me also. So, I have to keep it small, but good. I thought you guy’s might like to see some of the small meals I’ve been preparing lately because I know some of y’all are in the same lunch/dinner boat I’m in.

I’m always asking… What am I going to fix for dinner?

We are blessed in Chicago with the best pizza. But when I prefer to make my own, the premade dough can be bought at our local Italian grocer. All I have to do is bring it home and roll it out. It’s so good and if you split the dough, you can freeze the other portion for a different lunch. Susan came over to help. We used Martha Stewart’s Veggie Pizza recipe. We topped it with whatever veggie & cheese I had at the time… artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes, Romano & Gruyere cheeses.

This turned out to be the best homemade pizza I’ve made yet! We ate both pizzas!

I made a nice lunch for the guys when they were painting the studio. Paula’s recipe for Pinto Beans in the slow cooker, cornbread, and a salad made with raw Vidalia onion, zucchini, and Roma tomatoes, sprinkled with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar. I love this summer salad. I make these pinto beans all the time. Although, when I was back home we had them jalapeno cornbread instead…yummy!

I think they liked it. It was almost gone:)

Veggie sandwich on sub rolls. If you can get the Gonnella, it’s the best bread for this. I used guacamole instead of mayo, cut fresh red & green peppers, zucchini, lettuce, Vidalia onion, provolone cheese, Roma tomatoes. This was super tasty on a hot day. The guac really made this one stand out.

Paige came over for dinner the other night and we used some of the fresh herbs I’ve been growing. Fresh lemon thyme chicken with what our neighborhood calls…garbage potatoes.It’s just whatever veggie you have left in the fridge. Slice potatoes really thin, I like to soften them in the microwave first just to get them cooking, chop red, green, & yellow peppers, asparagus, onion, and a can of Summer Corn. Sprinkle generously with Season -All and a bit of olive oil. Wrap them in foil and place on the grill. These are a crowd pleaser and it makes a lot of veggies. The best thing about these is the leftovers. I scramble eggs for breakfast and reheat the veggies in a pan on the stove. Mix together and you’ve got yourself an amazing little breakfast to feel good about!

This was a pretty healthy post. Now, the one I have planned for Thursday, not so much:) I hope you enjoyed & feel free to share some one/two serving meals with us also. We’d love some new ideas!

It’s embarrassing to admit, but I watch reality TV. The Bachelor, can’t get enough America’s Next Top Model, and I’m absolutely glued to the Real Housewives on Bravo. I seriously wanna be a housewife in the O.C.

So it’s no surprise that Monday nights around here have become girls night.  Susan and I get together and have a little wine, a little food, and a little gossip. Now that Dancing with the Stars is almost over, we can get to the good stuff..The Bachelorette. With The bachelor being such a disappointment last season for letting Brad have a second chance at it, we’ve been jonesing for the Bachelorette to start. Ugh…Brad…Seriously? What did he say all season…”can I ask you a question?” and was constantly consulting his therapist? …ugh again.

Now, we don’t take these things too seriously. We mostly get together to hang. We tend to provide the comic relief because some of the things these people do are just plain whack-a -doodle and I find it necessary to point it out and poke fun. For instance, that guy wearing the mask on tonights show…enough said.  We’re kinda like that show Mystery Science Theater, where that guy and his robot are constantly wise cracking through the show. Hey Susan, we could be on cable!

It’s our little reality break. So, we started our little break at noon with some strawberry waffles and homemade whipped cream.

We met back up at 7:oo for the Dancing finale part 1. I made us some Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. No wine tonight, just Chocolate Martinis, after all it is a special occasion:)

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1C shortening

1C brown sugar

1C sugar

2eggs

1tsp each of vanilla, salt and soda

1-1/2C flour

3C oats

1C raisins or cranberries

Mix all ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, 10-12 minutes.

Easy peasy goodness!

What?  You’d rather have the martini recipe? OK, me too:) I found it at drinksmixer.com.

1- 1/2 shots Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
1- 1/2 shots creme de cacao
1/2 shot vodka
2- 1/2 shots 1/2 & 1/2
Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and pour into a chilled cocktail glass drizzled with chocolate syrup.

After watching tonights show, I gotta tell ya, if this is the dating pool right now, I think I’ll stay single!
So please, tell me, what are your guilty pleasures on TV right now? I promise, I won’t judge:)
And who do you think will be the  next dancing Star? My vote’s for Kym & Hines.

Yes, we’re still on comfort food here. Yesterday I woke up to a white ground. Sure it melted by noon but still, it’s the middle of April!

Last Sunday, neighbor Susan cooked dinner. She makes a really good chicken pot pie. We had some pink lemonade to go along with it.

And I made Paula’s Strawberry Cake.

It turned out pretty, didn’t it? At least this piece did. I had a cake malfunction when I removed the wax paper from the bottom after icing it. The paper pulled the bottom of the cake off:(

It was an ugly, lopsided, tasty mess !! I wouldn’t take ugly to a party but I sure will eat it:) Here’s the link for the recipe if you wanna give it a try. It has 5 stars & you won’t be disappointed.

And if you do decide to make this, I did make a few changes to the recipe though.

It definitely only needs 4-1/2-5 C powdered sugar for the icing and one 16oz. tub of the frozen strawberries in syrup from Target.  Use 10 oz for the cake and 1/4 C for the icing. Using 15 will make the batter too runny.

Also use parchment paper in the pans to get the cakes out easily without them sticking.

And it takes about 30 min. instead of the 20 to bake.

Give it a try y’all. As I’m writing this it’s already 1/2 gone. And no, I didn’t eat it all:) We share in this neighborhood. Don’t worry Paige…I’m saving you a piece!

Saturday, Kelly coordinated an awesome pasta making class over at Cooking Fools in Chicago. She happens to be friends with the owner, Nick, who we were very lucky to have teach the class!

We learned how to prepare pasta dough, fill raviolis, cut pappardelle noodles and make two sauces -Vodka and a walnut Pesto —YUM YUM YUM!

There were 30 eager pasta makers in the class but Nick gave us the VIP treatment with front row work stations and refreshments -want a workout…knead pasta dough for 8-10 minutes! Those refreshments sure quenched the thirst! ;)

Here on the left – Shelley, Vicki and Andrea are manuevering their pasta sheets and Vicki’s friend Emily on the right was filling her raviolis.

Loved the label on this wine bottle, which by the way was a nice tasty red to start the afternoon off…the flowing design looked just like the pasta dough swirling around everywhere!

Check out Shelley’s wrist action…her pasta sheet ended up longer than her work table. 

Here’s our group from left to right -Emily, Vicki, Andrea, Kelly, Paige (me), and Shelley…my sister, Wendy, was taking the picture.

Here’s Wendy, she helped Nick make the walnut pesto…first time for her using a food processor!

Once everything was prepared we dusted off the flour and headed over to the dinner tables and filled our tummies with salad, Pappardelle with Vodka sauce and the ricotta/mushroom/garlic Raviolis with walnut pesto sauce.

And to finish off the evening we heading over to Kelly’s house for more wine and make-your-own sundaes! Great party, girls!  …we definitely missed you Lorrie!

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And since those were so fun and easy ...a couple more for her friends❤@cheerautty #zipperpouch #skittles #tastetherainbow #candywrapperbags #starburst #sewingwithkids #summersewing #heatnbondvinyl @thermoweb Our @cheerautty finished her #zipperpouch ❤so proud of her!! #lifesavergummies #candywrapperbags #teachingkidstosew #summersewing #heatnbondvinyl @thermoweb Moving on from yo-yo defeat to teaching tween 2 how to make a zipper pouch from her candy wrapper🍬 and that zippers are nothing to fear!! #heatnbond #heatnbondvinyl #zipperpouch #teachingkidstosew #summersewing #lifesavergummies Ok what's the secret to yo-yo's!?! I spent 45 minutes trying to get these babies perfect and I'm still not happy😖These are going on an important quilt. My last 2 gathers are always poking out. I've made these as a kid but not recently and I'm sure my standard for what is 'acceptable' work has changed...Suggestions??? Do I just need more practice? #practicemakesbetter Finished a quilt today AND baked cookies🍪👍🏻...and yes I'm pooped😴#luckystarsquilt #atkinsondesigns #strawberrybiscuitfabric #pennyrosefabrics 🐶You've made me get my hair cut, now let's play ball!! 🏀 This is one of my favorite quilts made from a @ankastreasures books called Pretty in Pink! @paigealaine @robertkaufman #pickabunchfabric #pupsofinstagram #havachon #cutepuppies #quiltsofinstagram

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