Sunday, August 24, 2008

Blog Carnival: A Childhood Memory I'll Never Forget

There were a couple of memories that immediately came to my head when I thought about my childhood, like constantly drawing with crayons, playing baseball on an all-boy team (I was the only girl) and going to Orioles games with my dad, BUT one event that impacted my life for several years to come was a particular bike ride when I was seven...
It all started with my sister and I heading up a big hill on our bikes. I asked my nine-year-old sister if we were allowed to go up this hill -- a hill that I might mention was, up to this point, off limits. She said, "Yeah. Mommy said we could." So, I pushed to the top of the hill and was looking forward to the fast and easy ride down.

About halfway down the hill, my handlebars started to wobble and I was going too fast to control my bike. I hit a gravel pit at the bottom of the hill, flew over the handle bars, landed on my face, lost two teeth (one was a front tooth) and got a nasty booboo on my arm. Not good. I was carried home by a complete stanger and handed over to my mom, who was nine months pregnant!

For the next several years, my two front teeth grew in as buck-toothed as one could get. So, I was left a red-headed, freckled, buck-toothed little girl. I got braces later and my teeth are fine now, but that is a memory that my whole family laughs at today. My sister still feels a little guilty about lying and telling me that were allowed to go down the big hill.
Even to this day, I think about that wobbly trip down the hill! I did two triathlons in the last year and I have to admit, there were some hills that brought me back to that infamous hill!

I guess the moral of the story is: never trust your big sister. And if you do, never let her live it down! Right, Jenny!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Amy and Heather and Anna Maria, Oh My!

I just created this block this afternoon and it ended up featuring some of my FAV designers, Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, Anna Maria and Jennifer Paganelli. Fresh colors and great graphics by each designer make pairing them together easy! I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this block. Something is telling me to make a center medallion quilt out of it -- kind of round robin. We'll see!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pillow Talk

For quilters, making a pillow out of a block can be a form of instant gratification that often escapes us during the usual long quilting process. I made a Dresden Plate block a few weeks ago for a long-term quilt project. Not wanting to take away from that project, I made an almost identical block to make into a quilt pillow and put on my etsy page. The pom pom trim really solidifies the look I was going for: happy, colorful, cheerful!

Another pillow that I made is a "tooth fairy pillow." This was made from a vintage apron with a really great pattern on the fabric. I fussy cut the pocket portion of the apron and made that the center of the pillow--a place for all those precious lost teeth. Some frilly trim finished off the look.

Pillow Tip: For both of these pillows and most of the ones I have made this year, I have made a back flap for easy insert and removal of the pillow form. To me, this is a more finished look than hand sewing the two sides together at the end of the process. Take a look at this pic of the purple pillow to see what I mean...

Thanks for tuning in to pillow talk!

Friday, August 15, 2008

What a doll! Matching Dresses!

Here's an idea for all you crafty people with little girls who love their American Girl dolls or other dolls of choice. Go to your craft store and buy about a yard of the pre-smocked fabric. Measure your daughter's chest size and cut the fabric to that size. Sew a seam up the back, add some straps and repeat for the doll (Cut about 4" out of the smocking for the doll so her dress isn't "all smocked"). Taa-daaa! You have matching doll sundresses for about $14 total and in about 1/2 hour! Love it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Big Game and Big Sale!

So, today is the start of the Etsybloggers Team Sale, which last for five days from 8/13 to 8/17 and features many sales from many of the shops that are a member of this cool group. Click on the graphic on the right for a list of all of the shops' sales.

AND, today my little brother, Josh Banks, pitches for the San Diego Padres against the Milwaukee Brewers' CC Sabathia! The game starts at 7:05 p.m. PT. Keep your fingers crossed for my little bro'! Check out the press on Josh if you're a baseball fan!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Quilt Block as Self Portrait

If ever there were a quilt block that I could say is "me," my newest one would be it. I used some of my FAVORITE scraps to create this Dresden Plate block:

This block is just like me: organized...and also crazy. I love it for that reason. It's also BRIGHT! Another reason I love it!

I also created this other block within a few days:

It also makes me happy. I've now become addicted to using scraps. Check out more images on my flickR page!

Etsyblogger Carnival: Grilling Recipe

Hey everybody!
My recipes is for the most awesome grilled potatoes you will ever taste. The recipe comes from a cookbook that is (for some crazy reason) out of print. It's the Vera Bradley cookbook: Cooking with Friends. This is my all-time favorite cookbook. The recipes are tried and true! I've made about 20 recipes in this cookbook (so far) and continually pick a new one to try! So my recipe is called "Chips Grilled Potatoes" and the book states that this was submitted by Stefanie Chevillet.

6 medium pototoes, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 slices of bacon, chopped

1.2 cup oil
2 tablespoons of cornstarch (although I use flour)
rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

The directions state: "Prepare the grill. Combine the potatoes, onion, celery and bacon in a medium bowl and toss to mix well. Place on a large piece of foil coated with nonstick spray.

Whisk the oil, cornstarch [or flour], rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper together. Drizzle over the potato mixture. Top with another piece of foil sprayed with nonstick spray. Seal edges to form a packet.

Place on the grill [second rack is what I use]. Grill over hot coals for one hour. The potatoes will cook evenly, so there is no need to turn the packet over."

It's awesome. Try it at your next cookout!

Featured Etsyblogger for August 2008

I'm a proud member of etsybloggers, an amazing group of artisans and lovers of hand-crafted items who have blogs, in addition to etsy storefronts. This month's featured etsyblogger is talented jewelry designer "TuLips Treasure Box."

TuLips Treasure Box uses nature materials, natural gemstones, crystals, tiny beads, glass and silver to create wonderful handmade pieces like this one:

I hope you will check out this talented artist at her etsy page and her blog!