Thursday, January 30, 2014

A QUILT FROM THE PAST

Over lunch today I was cleaning out my photo files and came across this pic from the past that shows a couple of the papier mache dolls I made and one of the Jo's Little Women quilts I made several years ago. I almost had the quilt finished except for the quilting! If you look closely, you can see safety pins in it. It's inspired me to go back and try to finish it. We'll see if I'm successful. It was fun to see the photo of the dolls again, too. The little doll has long since sold and moved on to her new home. I decided to keep the bigger doll who is named Augusta after my mom's paternal grandmother.


In my previous post, I mentioned trying to carve out more time for fun things like getting together with friends. Well, last Friday I got together with my friends, Anne and MJ. Anne had invited us to her home for lunch where we enjoyed a wonderful buffet of baked fish, quinoa cups, veggies, and goat cheese—among many other goodies. Anne is a very talented cook who's won many a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair, so you know you're going to get a good meal when you go to her house! I especially loved her quinoa cups (pictured below alongside my baked breaded bluegill—yes, she was kind enough to let me take some home to enjoy and so I did with my bluegill feast over the weekend). I can't wait to try to make these quinoa cups myself!


For dessert, we were treated to Anne's homemade carrot cupcakes (pictured below). Anne has a knack for making recipes healthier WITHOUT sacrificing flavor. She does so by reducing the sugar and replacing things like it and vegetable oil with more healthful alternatives (She was kind enough to give me some pointers on that that I can hopefully apply to some of my own recipes), and her delicious carrot cupcakes are one such example. They were incredibly good! It was guilt-free eating with these delights, which have fewer calories than the typical carrot cupcakes.


Well, I just wanted to stop in and say hello! And now I must get back to work editing the Summer 2014 issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine! Plus, we have company coming for dinner. Have a good evening, everybody!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

GIVEAWAY WINNER!

I was pleasantly suprised by how many of you entered my giveaway for a year's subscription to Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine and a kit for my butterfly wool portrait, a companion piece to my Florabunda design pictured below. Thank you to those of you who took the time to email with such kind words about my project! The portraits are near and dear to my heart as they bring back many fond childhood memories of quilling with paper. I still have all the nifty little quilling tools I used back then. Thankfully, quilling with wool doesn't take any special tools! However, I do have some special tips and tricks that make the process smoother.


I always wish I had enough of a prize to give to everyone but alas, there could only be one winner and that lucky gal is Happy Cottage Quilter who wrote...

Wow Kimber, what a wonderful giveaway! I love these magazines. And I do love reading all about your quilting projects. Thanks!

She won by random draw...


Happy Cottage Quilter, you have until this Friday at 10 a.m. (central time) to email me your mailing address. I will get your wool kit in the mail to you this weekend!

I will have a small number of kits for both projects ready by February 1. I'm not making many since I never know how much interest there will be in kits. If you're interested, you can order now but you won't be charged until they're ready to ship. The kit for Florabunda is $25 plus shipping and includes the wool ONLY. Kits for the butterfly portrait (you can see a pic of it in the previous post) are $12 plus shipping and include the wool ONLY. All kits come with the wool strips pre-cut to the correct sizes—with the exception of the floral portrait's border strips, which you will need to pink yourself with pinking shears, then trim to the correct size (That's because they can vary in size slightly, depending on your frame). If you're interested in a kit, just email me by clicking the contact button under my profile picture.

Friday, January 17, 2014

PORTRAITS IN WOOL AND A GIVEAWAY FOR A QUILT MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION


THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

As I look out my window this morning at the snowy landscape, it seems like spring is so far away but the latest issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine definitely gets me in the mood to celebrate this season of new beginnings. And I’m so happy to share with you that my newest wool design, Florabunda, is among the many projects in the latest issue. As a kid, I loved to do quilling—a centuries-old art form of paper filigree that uses rolled strips of paper to create decorative designs. I thought why not apply that to my favorite fiber—wool?!  Florabunda is a fun twist on quilling. Its design sprouted from the floriferous still-life paintings of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish painters. I had so much fun designing this little wool portrait last year that I assembled and copyrighted a new little booklet on wool designs, including some of these fun wool portraits, that talks about how I was inspired by the paper quilling and describes the process I use to create the rolled flowers. 


Take a closer look and you will see that the wooly posies are all three-dimensional! These woolly portraits are a great way to add dimension to a design.


The latest issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects also includes a pattern for a simpler companion project for readers who aren’t ready to tackle such an abundant design like Florabunda. I was inspired by the many winged beauties that visit my flower garden and took my inspiration particularly from the Ohio Buckeye butterfly because its spotted wings lent itself so well to using my quilled wool circles. The four circular designs on its wings and the S-shape body are all made of three-dimensional rolled wool strips.


I will be offering kits for both of these projects and will be back later with more information about them in a future post. In the meantime, be sure to watch for our latest issue on newsstands or in your mailbox. It's packed with projects from some very talented designers—Laural Arestad, Karen Bates, Lisa Bongean, Lori Brechlin, Missie Carpenter, Deanne Eisenman, Kay Harmon, Julie Hendricksen, Catherine Hughes, Janice Minear, Nancy Moore, Vicki Olsen, Melanie Pinney, Tonya Robey, Jill Shaulis, and Joyce Weeks.


Thanks to the publisher, I'm giving away a year’s subscription to the magazine to one lucky reader! To sweeten this already generous offer, I’m also including a wool kit to make the butterfly portrait (includes the wool only, no frame). Just leave a comment telling me what topics you enjoy reading most on my blog. Quilting? Antiques? Gardening? Something else? I'm always curious as to what draws visitors to my site and even more, what keeps them coming back. You do NOT need to be an official Google follower of mine to enter. If you are, though, I’m giving you an extra entry to thank you for your support—to get it, you just need to enter a separate comment telling me you’re an official follower. Since I’ll be drawing the name via Random Generator, I need you to make a separate entry for that. This giveaway will end next Wednesday, January 22nd, at 10:00 a.m. (central time). I’ll randomly draw a name and announce the winner that Wednesday evening. The winner will have until Friday, January 25, at 10:00 a.m. (central time) to claim her/his prize by emailing me. 

And last but not least, I just wanted to share a photo of our latest fish dinner. After my previous post, I received a few emails from readers asking about all the fish I've been eating and how to prepare it. Recently, my husband and I received a wonderful surprise from my father-in-law. He has been ice fishing and caught some fresh bluegill for us! I lightly breaded them in the whole-wheat breadcrumbs before baking them. It's such a treat of have fresh fish in the middle of winter! Yum!

Friday, January 10, 2014

A NEW YEAR AND NEW GOALS

It doesn't seem possible that a new year has begun. Where did 2013 go?! I started 2013 with a modest resolution to improve my health in some small way after ending the previous year with multiple health issues. I was able to meet that goal by lowering my blood pressure to the point that my doctor allowed me to get off my blood pressure medication. I just went to a check-up at my doctor's for it this week and it was 110/72 without any medication! I can't remember it ever being that low. In 2013, I also met another health goal to lower my cholesterol. Last June, my bad cholesterol level went down 40 points to put me back in the ideal range (without medication, exercise, or going on a diet). I simply take leisurely strolls of no more than 30 minutes when I feel like it. I know resolutions don't have a good reputation for actually sticking but nonetheless, I have made some for myself again this year. I find I need to set goals for myself or I tend to get stuck in a rut. I started cooking more often last year and that's definitely something I want to continue to do. One of my favorite dishes since childhood has been salmon patties. Since fresh wild fish is a rarity during the winter months in the Midwest, I thought this dish that uses canned wild-caught Sockeye salmon would be a good way for me to keep incorporating some fish into my diet. Because of my kidney stone history, I can't have fried food much any more (and Mom's patties were fried in vegetable oil!), so I found a recipe for healthy baked salmon patties and a companion dill sauce. Here's how they turned out...


My husband and I also enjoy baked chicken. I soaked these breasts in buttermilk overnight before coating them with a mixture of parmesan cheese and Panko breadcrumbs. They make an easy dinner paired with brown rice cooked in chicken broth.


To get the crumb coating a golden brown, I sprayed it with olive oil from my handy new Misto sprayer that I got for Christmas. Have any of you used these? I wish I'd gotten one sooner! They're perfect for things like the breaded chicken breasts where you want to evenly coat the surface without disturbing it. You can fill it with your favorite cooking oils. Mine is olive oil.


Also on this year's list of resolutions is to do more things that feed the soul—like learning more about the history of ballet. I became interested in this topic as a high school student in Academic Decathlon, where we were required to learn about the prolific 20th-century ballet choreographer George Balanchine as well as the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky's compositions for ballets such as The Rite of Spring, Firebird, and Petrushka. Like many young girls, I wanted to be a ballerina and Mom enrolled my sister and I in a class for it, but unfortunately, it was cancelled before it ever started. So we ended up doing gymnastics for a few years instead. That's me as a kid below practicing my splits in our kitchen!


Ever since then, I've enjoyed reading about ballet history as well as memoirs of the great ballerinas like Suzanne Farrell and Margot Fonteyn, but it had been years since I'd actually done that. So in an attempt to change course, I recently treated myself to this DVD on Balanchine ballerinas and a book on the history of ballet. 


I also want to carve out time to be more creative, which has taken a back burner to work and other obligations. My mantra has always been to get my work done first, before playing and unfortunately, I haven't had much time to play lately. Fabric is always a source of inspiration and I recently found some fun prints at Home Ec Workshop in Iowa City while visiting my friend Anne over Christmas break. Aren't these fabrics fun?


I couldn't resist this cute little elephant fabric from Japan! Now to decide what to make with it!


These new wools from Weeks Dye Works are igniting the imagination. I have a couple ideas in the works and hope they turn out well. The second wool from the left is called "Hippo". In a previous post, I'd mentioned how much the color gray was growing on me and now I can't seem to stop myself from using it. In 2012, it was a pink and gray ladybug pincushion, last year it was a pink and gray owl portrait, and now it's something else!


I hope that your new year is off to a great start and that you find time to do the things that matter most to you! It's a shame that the hubbub of daily life gets in the way of such things. I hope I have better luck not letting it get in the way this year than I have in the past! I look forward to another year of blogging and connecting with all my wonderful blogging friends.