Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Figgy Goodness

My best girlfriend, sweetheart that she is, gave me a bag of fresh figs about a month ago. And I, smart girl that I am, pureed and froze them knowing that I wouldn't quite get around to using them right away.

I watched those sweet little gems as they swirled around my food processor and wondered just how in the heck I was going to use them in a recipe.

Then it hit me: fig newtons. What could be better than a homemade version of that chewy cookie bar I grew up adoring?

After a little Googling, I decided on a recipe I found on The Boastful Baker. To be perfectly honest, the photos of the cookies are what sold me... Oh yeah, and the recipe seemed pretty easy too.

Grocery shopping complete and pantry full, I decided on Friday that this was going to be the weekend of the fig newton. I made the cookie dough that afternoon and the filling that night. The cookies came together Saturday night and were, well simply delicious.

It's not just that they're better than store bought. They're different.

Oh, and The Boastful Baker was right... something magical happens to them overnight turning a once delicious cookie bar into something divine.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quilt 2

I must have been feeling rather zestful when cutting fabric for Quilt 1 because once I had a quite a bit left over by the time I was finished piecing the quilt top.

I did end up dipping into my stash again for a few new fabrics to round out the quilt, but I think the end result was quite fetching.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Project: Destash

I used scraps from my stash to create the top and binding on Quilt 1.
A few months back I found myself staring at the overflowing baskets of fabric in my craft room. How in the heck it got so out of control?

I could tell you that it's not my fault. That I'm not a sucker for the remnant bin. That I didn't squeal with delight every time my mom gave me a bag of scraps and yardage leftover from school projects. I'd be lying, course.

Sure, my fabric collection started out innocently enough. It used to consist of a small pile of scraps left over from various completed projects. Over the years that small pile has steadily grown and multiplied, slowly taking over my craft space. What used to be contained in a few baskets on a bookshelf now spills over onto my desk and into bins below. 

I was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed by it. Deep down, I knew I'd never use it all on projects for myself or my children but I just couldn't bring myself to give it away. What if – *gasp!* – I needed it for something?

My mom and I picked out this bright pink print for the backing.
A week or so later, I was sitting in Sunday Mass listening to Fr. George's homily about using our gifts to help others. I remember thinking that as a mother of two small children I'd be hard pressed to find time to volunteer. 

But then I realized something: I can sew. And I have this huge (at least by my standards) stash of fabric just waiting to be turned into something special.

That night, I googled charities and sorted through a mountain of fabric. Most of my stash is made up of juvenile prints, so baby blankets seemed like a good place to start.

That's all fine and good, but why not make things a bit more... interesting? So, I decided to add a few rules to spice things up a bit:

  1. Every blanket must be a quilt. Of course, I just recently fell in love with quilting so this should be fun!
  2. Every quilt must include fabric from my stash, but can be augmented by new fabric if necessary. I can't wait to use up all of those itty bitty scraps I've been saving for who-knows-when!
  3. Every blanket must be machine quilted by – *gulp* – me. Okay, so this is going to take some practice!
  4. At least one blanket must be hand quilted. This is more of a long term goal of mine. I've always wanted to learn how to hand quilt, so I'm looking forward to this one.

I finished the first two quilts a few weeks ago and sent them off to a local charity. Future posts will include a bit more about the charity, as well as photos of finished baby quilts.