Quilting from the Beginning

I somehow lucked out in the genetic lottery. I inherited my grandmother’s love of sewing and textiles. I inherited my mother’s love of mathematical problem solving. This makes me a potentially inspired and exacting quilter. 

I’ve learned a thing or two quilting alongside my grandmother. The grandmother that enters her creations in quilt shows. She has said, after teaching me any technique, “But not everyone does it this way. You should learn from someone else and see how you like to do it. They may have a way you like better.” 

 

So taking her advice, I joined up with the local library quilt group. I’m sure they thought I was lost, the first time I joined their ranks. I was so new at this. Some of the ladies have been quilting longer than I’ve been alive! And they have expertise and amazing beautiful quilts to show for it. But somehow I convinced them to keep me on, and I’ve learned so much. And as we grow together in our little community, I like to think I’m inheriting their creative genetics, as well.  

I’m having to take a break from quilt group because of a new full time job. Which means: Yay! I can afford more fabric! But boo! I’m at work every Thursday afternoon instead of quilt group. Maybe this is a good place to start. A good time to start sharing here. 

So where am I? I’ve kinda stumbled along, taking on projects because they look wonderfully beautiful in a magazine or on pinterest. But I didn’t have the skills I need to get the results I am looking for. I can follow a well written pattern, but cannot tell a well written one from an ill written one. Things don’t end up like they’re supposed to. 

 

 So I took advice from a wonderful library quilter who has taken me under her wing. She introduced me to the books of Harriet Hargrave. The great thing about Harriet’s books are that they go into extreme detail, down to the thread and all the other teeny tiny details. 

 The book is setup like no other quilt book. It’s actually setup more like a math textbook. Harriet will introduce you to a concept, walk you through a short example, and then give you a project where you practice your new skill. And then on to the next lesson that introduces a slightly more complicated skill and builds off of what you just learned. 

It’s an engaging way of learning, and I have already seen amazing progress in my quilts! My quilt tops are turning out exactly like they’re supposed to. I haven’t got into complicated techniques yet, but any quilter knows how thrilling it is to see the simplest of seams lined up in steady straight rows!  

 

From the beginning, starting again. I’m learning the basics of materials and technique. I’m piecing simple quilt tops with the exactness needed for complex patterns. I’m making fun baby quilts and simple holiday quilts. I’m being inspired by fabrics and colors, and methodically building my skill set. 

I’m loving this process and hope to be able share more with you along the journey!

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stuffed squash

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For dinner on Monday we had one of Carson’s favorite dishes. It was perfect for the cold wintery evening.

Stuffed Squash Recipe

ingredients

1 acorn squash

2 strips of bacon, diced

1 shallot, diced

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 or 2 slices of stale toast, cut into small cubes or croutons

3/4 cup gruyere cheese, grated, plus more for sprinkling on at the end

1/4 cup heavy cream

 

instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice just enough off the bottom of the acorn squash so that it sits without wobbling. Then cut around the stem of the squash to create a lid. Remove the lid, and hollow out the seeds and membranes with a spoon. Season the inside with salt and pepper. Create a crumpled “foil donut” to use as a “stand” for your acorn squash inside a round cake pan.

In a skillet, brown the bacon, then add the diced shallots and sliced garlic until just soft. Add the chopped rosemary, smoked paprika, and nutmeg and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat and let cool.

Combine bread, and grated cheese in a bowl. Add the skillet contents to the bowl, including all the brown bits and grease. Stir to combine.

Carefully spoon the mixture into the prepared squash. It may require some slightly firm stuffing to get as much as possible into the squash. Return the squash to its “stand” on the round cake pan.

Slowly pour the heavy cream into the acorn squash cavity. Go slowly, as the breadcrumbs will soak up the cream and to prevent spilling. Put the lid on the acorn squash.

Bake for 80 minutes, or until the squash is tender when poked with a fork.

Remove the squash lid and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the stuffing. Place the lid upside down on the pan next to the squash and cook for 15 more minutes, or until the cheese is browned and bubbling.

Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Slice in half and serve.

Perfectly paired with a fall kale salad and citrus cake for dessert. Enjoy!

Adapted from Georgia Pellegrini’s stuffed pumpkin.

budgeting a family

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Feeding the two of us for the week. With less than $25. This is awesome.

 

The Menu

Breakfast

Oatmeal loaded with nuts & fruit, yogurt

 

Lunch

Baked sweet potato with greens and white beans

Salad with nuts, cheese, berries and carrots

Tuna salad on greens with avocado

 

Dinner

Monday: Stuffed Squash & Yogurt Cake

Tuesday: Roast Chicken & Broiled Asparagus

Wednesday: Spiced Shrimp & Rice & Carrots

Thursday: Freezer Soup & Leftover Veggies

Friday: Out @ Friends’

Saturday: Birthday Celebration Out

Sunday: Leftover Magical Creation

 

Snack

Carrots & Ranch

Popcorn

Crackers, Goat Cheese, Nuts & Honey