Crazy for Yo-Yos!

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This week I took a trip a few miles south of Charlotte to meet Aimee, the owner of Overall Quilter. Aimee, like most quilt shop owners, is very knowledgeable about the industry and was a big help to me when I was deciding which fabric company to work with.
Overall Quilter is a fun shop with an energetic vibe and some lovely projects and patterns.

Don’t you love the circular, vertical quilt pictured above?

While there I picked up some Yo-Yo makers.

Together, my eleven-year-old and I whipped up several while we watched “Emma” on PBS. (The boys found other ways to entertain themselves as they were not enthusiastic about either activity.) Caitrin, if you are reading this, you are truly a YO-YO-MASTER!

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My First Quilt

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Today we were cleaning out linens and uncovered my first quilt.

It is a simple 9-patch class that I took at Keep Me in Stitches when we were living in Tampa, FL. (I had the idea that choosing a big, vibrant patterns would hide my lack of technical skill. I think it worked! And I still love bold patterns.) The binding makes me laugh. Coming from a needlework background I clearly didn’t understand that binding stitches are not actually supposed to show – mine travel right over the top of the fabric.

I am a big believer in trying new things. When we push ourselves out of our comfort zone, either artistically or technically, we grow as individuals and so does our work. I have enjoyed parlaying many of the technical skills that I have picked up from others into my personal sewing and artwork, sometimes in ways that I least expect.

Many students come into classes a bit nervous and unsure of their skills; they are usually the most enthusiastic and excited when they take a risk and dive into a project. So, if there is a project or skill that you have been wanting to master jump in! Life is short and fabric forgiving.

In the years following this quilt’s creation I took additional quilting classes, the majority of which were taught by the staff of Quilter’s Gallery in Charlotte. Still unsure of my ability to piece, I decided to sign up a block-of-the-month project from Keepsake Quilting. It was more like a block-every-three-or-four-months for me. But I’ll save that for another day…

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Cooking Up/In a Storm

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Snowboarders get hungry.
This weekend we also baked… and baked… and baked.

We’ve discovered that, especially when you are dealing with gluten-free recipes, it is better to bake in large quantities and freeze. We’ve tinkered around with lots of gluten-free recipes in this house, but for Christmas we got a cookbook called “Baby-Cakes”, written by the owner, Erin McKenna, of a gluten-free bakery in NYC that goes by the same name. This book is AMAZING! For any family out there that might have members with dietary restrictions I would highly recommend it. No… wait… I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of dietary restrictions. All the recipes we’ve tried so far have been fabulous – just as good, if not better, than the real thing, without all the processed ingredients. This weekend we made Red Velvet Cupcakes and Apple Cinnamon Muffins. Mmmmm.
We also made homemade applesauce. (Our kids – and my brother – love this and it is SOOO easy.)

Here’s how you make it:
4 Granny Smith apples
4 Golden Delicious or Pink Lady Apples
1 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves

Peel and chop up apples into different sizes. Put into a Dutch oven with water. Cook over medium heat until the apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. cinnamon, and cloves.

While everything was cooking, we made heart bookmarks.

We got the idea from It is a fun craft for any holiday.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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