Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Who says bean bags have to be square?

As a last minute Christmas gift for some nephews I made these beanbags: a shark for a 3 year old boy and a killer whale for a 1 year old boy and an extra killer whale for my kids since I had just that much of that fabric left.

They are pretty good sized. Probably about 10" long, a fun size to play with. I make them with an extra layer of batting for padding and poly pellets. I love poly pellets because it makes bean bags that are childproof -- washable and suckable. Don't know about other people's children, but my children like to put the corners of beanbags (and other such toys) in their mouths and suck on them. You obviously don't want them eating poly pellets, but it allows the beanbags to be able to get wet without worry.

Also, they are sitting on a big tv pillow that I covered with super soft fuzzy fabric for another nephew.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Baking

First off, I am soooooo glad that quilting requires no cooking experience! I know lots of quilters are also good cooks. I am not one of those quilters. At Christmas I always feel inclined to try baking.

This year I tried:

Caramels. First batch (licorice caramels) were a little too hard, good flavor though. It gets extra points for taking out my daughters loose tooth. Second batch (the sweetened condensed milk and cream type) were -- you guessed it -- too soft. They also had good flavor so I wrapped them in parchment paper so they wouldn't stick to the wrapper. Third batch (the evaporated milk and cream type) did turn out just about right, but by now I was done wrapping (and the first batch just got cracked not wrapped) so they just got cut. Why did I keep trying? Because if the three bears could get it right on the third try, then so could I!

Rice Crispy Treats. These have become a standby because I have figured them out now. Before you laugh too much, I make them with half regular Rice Crispies, half Cocoa Pebbles, and some M&Ms so they are pretty good.

Cake Balls. My youngest sister tries to keep me up to speed on what is "cool." She told me about cake balls. In my Christmas zeal, I decided to give them a try. They turned out to be a hit. I never have a "hit" in cooking so I was very excited. I got the recipe from Bakerella. Here is a picture from her website:

Mine didn't look too much like that. Mine were mostly round, but they were edible and that's the main part. Also I could only find a lemon cake mix and since I made these at the last minute, that's what I went with. So I used a lemon cake mix, cream cheese frosting, and half were covered in white almond bark and the other half with melted Hershey's milk chocolate chips. (I only recently discovered the secret to working with dipping chocolates is using 50% power on my microwave.)

If I can make them, you can make them. AND they are really good so people actually think you can cook. Bakerella had some good tips on her website that helped a lot. I may even try them again this week because I only got to eat a couple of them, and now they sound really good. I bought a chocolate cake mix this time because it's hard to go wrong with chocolate.

Good luck! I hope your Holiday baking was as successful as mine! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Crazy Star Patch Runner Tutorial

Merry Christmas!

I wrote up this tutorial for a fun star runner table runner. Flag Day Farms by Minick and Simpson is one of my all time favorite fabric lines so I had to make my runner with it. It would make fun Christmas or Winter Stars as well.

It is similar to other off kilter stars blocks online with a couple exceptions. First I, of course, used a charm pack to make mine. Second, I make my stars just a little differently because, well, just because I'm funny like that.

I love how the narrow red border sets off the blocks. The finished size is 27" x 53-1/2." It is a 13-1/2" finished block.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Moda Mail

One of my favorite things to see on my doorstep is a brown cardboard box with a return address that says United Notions & Fabrics. Today I got 3 sets of charm packs.

Attitude Girls by Mary Engelbreit

Eden by Lila Tueller

and Spring Fever by Me and My Sister.
I am getting spring fever just looking at these fabrics. I need to get all my Christmas quilts done so I can start playing. I have to tell myself the same thing I tell my kids, "You need to get your work done so you can play." Ick! I like hearing it from myself probably about as much as my kids like hearing it from me.
Fortunately, most days my work feels like play. I feel very blessed to be able to have a job doing something that I LOVE -- especially when it means I get a brown box from Moda!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Adventures

Moose on the Porch Quilts will soon be entering new territory. Until now, I have only published pattern books, but soon I will also be offering single patterns.

This has come about in collaboration with Northcott Fabrics. My first pattern, Sweet Baby Kate, is designed using their fabric collection called Little Darlings Flannel by Ro Gregg.

This fabric will be in stores in February. I think it is a really sweet collection -- hence the name of the pattern. I just sent the pattern to the printer so I should have it in a week or so.

Check back next week. I will give away a couple patterns when I get them from the printer in celebration!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Computer Themed Quilt

I found some fun computer fabric online and made this version of "Five and Dime" from Simply Charming Fun. I substituted the four patch with a plain block to make room for the large print fabric (that shows animals on the internet).

This quilt was inspired by Kim Komando. She has a computer talk show on Saturdays that we love to listen to. She is doing a big giveaway on her show for the holidays. I am offering this quilt to her as a giveaway. So call in to her show with a digital question and maybe you could win this quilt or some other cool giveaway.