Blog Archive for 2011

foxy dress

08/24

One of my customers sent me photos yesterday of the adorable dress she made using the Foxy print from Anika. SO cute! Apparently, this is her first time sewing a dress, and I think she did a fabulous job. The pattern is an Amy Butler pattern, and the print is Foxy.

Every year our friends Steve and Damon hold what they call an “Italian scratch party” in honor of Steve’s Italian grandmother. Everyone brings an Italian dish that they’ve made from scratch, and then, once the party is underway, we all make handmade ravioli using Steve’s grandmother’s recipe and her beautiful antique ravioli tools. You can choose to make the filling, make the dough, roll it into long strips or assemble the little raviolis, crimping the edges with grandmother’s brass roller (or a fork, if you missed out on the fancy tools). It’s always a great time, and the food is absolutely divine!

This year, I signed up for dessert, and since I’ve been on a bit of a tiramisu kick lately, I decided to give it a try. Since the party can get large, I thought I should make a big one, so here’s the recipe for a giant (party sized) tiramisu:

TIRAMISU
10 egg yolks
1 1/2 cup sugar for yolks
4 cups mascarpone cheese
5 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar for whites
1 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
3 cups cooled espresso
1+ cup Kalhua
2 packages Savoiardi lady fingers
3 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 – 1 cup shaved chocolate

First whip the cream and return to the refrigerator until needed. With an electric hand mixer, whip the yolks and the sugar together until light in color and thick (ribbon stage). Add in the mascarpone until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until they form soft peaks. Then add in the sugar and beat until stiff. Fold the eggwhites into the mascarpone mixture, and then fold in the whip cream.

Pour the espresso and kalhua into a shallow bowl or pie plate. Soak the ladyfingers in the mixture, 1 at a time, being careful not to over-soak (I did 3 quick turns per cookie), and arrange in the bottom of a large serving dish (mine was about 10×15″). Then pour 1/2 of the whipped mixture over the ladyfingers and smooth with a spatula.

Dust the bottom layer with cocoa and sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

Then repeat the steps to create a second layer.

Chill until thoroughly cooled and serve!

I just noticed it’s been almost 2 months since we planted our garden, so I thought I’d post an update. It’s been growing like crazy, especially the tomatoes!

Here are the cucumbers making a home on their makeshift pallet trellis:
And the first grapes ripening on the arbor:
And remember that little “volunteer” squash plant? Well, it’s turned into the monster gourd that is taking over the yard:

Oh, my, it’s been so long since I posted! Sorry for the unplanned blog break! We just got back a few days ago from a family reunion down in Carmel Valley, and the preparation and recovery from said event has kept me very busy. It’s amazing how fast catching up after a vacation undoes the benefit of the vacation! We had such a good time, though, with lots of family and good food, and I got to enjoy some of my favorite California spots – the Big Sur coast, Nepenthe and Carmel-by-the-Sea, as well as some great hiking up in the hills.

Unfortunately, what I didn’t do was take any pictures of all those beautiful places. D’oh!

However, upon our return, I realized I had two days to get a press photo of Anika out, and no photo. SO, necessity being the mother of invention, I decided to finally sew the Oliver+S pattern that I bought for Anabelle using some of the Anika prints, and we organized a hasty photo shoot in the back yard. I never realized how handy children are as models in a pinch! So, instead of photos of the CA coast, here are a few photos of Belle sporting her new Anika outfit, the 2+2 blouse and pleated skirt from Oliver+S. Which, by the way, was divine to use! Such an elegant and well-made pattern! I am now on the hunt for more of their patterns… just need to find more excuses to sew!

I’m slowly getting the hang of my new website program, and am finally adding bundles to the site for all you quilters out there! It’s a bit piecemeal right now, but I got a couple of fat quarter bundles up yesterday, and am hoping to have 1/2 yard bundles, charm packs and layer cakes by the end of the week. If there are bundles you want before I get them up on the site, or if you have custom requests, you can always just email me an order.

My daughter Anabelle made her press debut in Living Crafts magazine this month! I knew that the magazine was planning to include Monaluna fabrics in an article they were running on organic cotton, and when I opened the front cover, there was Bella atop her Monaco quilt. Fun to see! The article, written by Fiona Duthie, is great, and covers a number of manufacturers, including Birch Fabrics, Cloud 9, Harmony Art, Spritex and Alabama Chanin, among others. You can see the summer issue and learn more about the magazine here.

from Living Crafts magazine
from Living Crafts magazine

The final strike-offs of the new Taali collection have arrived! They look really nice, and now I’m super excited to get the sample bolts in. It always feels like it takes forever, but I know they’ll be worth the wait. I’m now dreaming up new projects and patterns to use with these prints… do any of these prints speak to you? Do you have any project ideas for them? I’d love to hear them!

I was just perusing some of my favorite blogs while sipping my first cup of coffee, when I saw that one of my favorite quilters, Ashley from Film in the Fridge, posted a gorgeous quilt that she made with the Monaco fabrics! What a nice start to the morning! If you don’t know her work, Ashley makes gorgeous modern quilts that always make me want to buy fabric and do something worthy with it. In fact, she’s fueled more fabric-buying sprees than I care to think about, especially when I consider how little I’ve actually done with all that fabric. (Yet. I see good things in the future… ) Here’s a little peek, but check out the full post here.

Have a great weekend!

I picked the first fruits of our summer garden last night, and found out what our volunteer squash plant turned out to be…

They’re beautiful squashy-gourd thingies, but I have no idea what to do with them. Anybody have suggestions? Are they just like more common summer squash? I know I’ve seen them dried in the fall as decoration, but I’ve never tried to cook with them before. The skin doesn’t seem too tough, so maybe I’ll just try sautéing with onion and butter.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend!

A couple years ago when some good friends of ours had their first baby, I made them a simple patchwork quilt. The mama is a fabulous photographer, and she took beautiful photos of the babe on the quilt each month, to document her growth. Well, they just had a second daughter about a month ago, and I’m finally getting around to making a companion quilt for the new daughter.

I decided I wanted 6″ squares, so I started out with 56 7×7″ squares, enough to make a 42×48″ quilt, or 8 strips of 7 6″ squares, allowing for a 1/2″ seam.

I haven’t tried quilting since Anabelle’s been able to crawl, and I learned it’s now much harder! I eventually got the squares laid out in the pattern I wanted them, but between the cat and the baby, it took some doing.

Once I had the arrangement figured out, I sewed the squares together one strip at a time, from left to right.

Then I sewed each strip together, taking care to match the squares up at the corner, until the whole top was pieced.

I used the pillowcase method to join the layers, which is the easiest and most forgiving way I know to do it. To do this, you lay the batting on your work surface, lay the quilt backing face-up on top of the batting, and then lay the quilt top face-down on top of the backing. I then secure all three layers with safety pins, and sew around the edge, leaving a 12-18″ gap at the bottom for turning. Once the edges have been stitched, I trim off the excess down to 1/4″, and clip the corners.

After turning the quilt through the gap, I iron all edges and hand-stitch the opening closed. Then, for this quilt, I used embroidery floss to tie knots at each corner, rather than quilting.

And finally, it’s done! Now I just need to get it in the mail…