Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Quilt For My Son: In Progress...Again!

I owe my son an apology for abandoning his quilt for so long. I knew it had been quite awhile since I last worked on the quilt he wanted, but when I looked back into my archived posts I didn't realize it was THAT long. Apparently, I started this quilt in late April of 2013 (see post here) and last posted about the progress, which was minimal (as you can see here), in late May. For those of you who've started following or reading this blog since then, you can get the scoop on this quilt from my first two posts. But it's been awhile, so even I needed a refresher. After my last progress post, I ended up abandoning this quilt to start my Summer Spruce Up series since the weather was finally...well, not winter. I pulled out all the finished blocks and remaining bits and pieces and this is where I am at today.
You can see that he wanted it bright - Yikes! He's been patiently waiting, very patiently. And even when I told my kids they were both getting a quilt for Christmas (late), he still suggested that I make his sister's first. This kid melts my heart with his heart.

Can you tell I'm feeling guilty? I generally don't abandon projects...generally. There is that 3 yr. scarf for my dad, which I still didn't finish and if you saw my kitchen and dining room you'd see that I abandoned that painting project. Let's just call it on hold. I just can't stand having multiple unfinished projects around. What do people call them, UFOs? It's such a pain to have things laying around and I always have to figure out where I left off. Plus, when I'm in the groove, I just have to finish.

I'm curious, are you a "get it done" person or more of a "start and start something else" person? If you're the latter, how many projects do you work on at a time? What's the longest you've let a project sit before completing or abandoning it?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Purple and Turquoise Triangle Quilt: Finished ...and a Free Pattern

The purple and turquoise triangle quilt for my daughter is finished and thankfully she loves it. She doesn't always have the best track record when it comes to consistently liking things. What can I say, she's five. The one thing that I can count on is her love for purple (and blue) so I had a good feeling I was going to deliver on this one. You can read my prior posts on this quilt and her color obsession here and here. For today, I'm just going to share with you the finished quilt in pictures. And, because I found that triangle quilts can be tricky, and because some of you were curious on how I made this one, and because you all are just so awesome, I have a free pattern and tutorial available for you to download at the end of this post. I sincerely appreciate all the nice comments and encouraging words that I've received and I hope you all get to make this quilt or one similar with success!

Ok, now let's look at the finished product and my darling babe, shall we? The quilt measures 52" x 64" which is plenty big for her now and something she can use for many years to come.
I quilted it with straight stitching along the diagonal and horizontal seams in light purple thread.
For the back, I used super soft light purple minky. I think that is my daughter's favorite part. I decided to add a bit of pattern with the binding which is Mini Confetti Dot by Dear Stella Designs. You can see that it has already been washed and dried and has a lovely antique-like crinkle.
Here is my sweetie with her new quilt. I got a few shots in before nap time.
And I had to sneak in and take a couple of her sleeping with it too.
I'm telling you, with the amount of purple this girl has she will coordinate with her quilt on a daily basis. 

A couple notes on the quilt pattern and tutorial. I wrote it for a beginner, even though I don't know if this is really a beginner quilt. The methods I used are just what worked for me with the tools that I used. If you've had problems in the past with a triangle quilt or if this is your first time, you may have to make some adjustments depending on your equipment and materials. I encourage you to make a couple small samples before cutting all of your fabric (like I did) in case you aren't a fan of the results. 

Click the image below to access the PDF pattern.

I'd love to see your finished quilts using this pattern. If you have any questions, you can always email me at

Linked To:
Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday
Blossom Heart Quilts for Sew Cute Tuesday
I Have to Say... for Show and Tell Tuesday
My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday
Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Purple and Turquoise Triangle Quilt: In Progress

This triangle quilt has been slow-going, but I thought I'd share with you my progress. As much as I loved the gradient of colors that I showed in my first post here, I decided to go with a random pattern of colors. I'm not going to lie, triangles are tricky and it took me a few tries and quite a bit of seam ripping before I got the hang of it. I'll share more on my discoveries in my final post.
I told you my daughter loved purple and over the last few days, I'm really noticing how much purple she has.  This doesn't even scratch the surface, but I thought it would give you an idea. This is just from one day.

Purple jacket, boots, hat and mittens...
Purple polka dot shirt...
Purple (and blue) slippers...
And of course, her purple heart blanket.
This one can't get enough. I never was a purple lover, but it's growing on me because of her. Do you have a child obsessed with a certain color? And on a quilting note, have you tried a triangle quilt like this? If so, what was your experience? I'll share more on mine soon.

Linked To:
Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday
Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday

Friday, January 17, 2014

Raisin Bran Muffins

It's my second Foodie Friday post. I can't promise one every Friday, but when I feel it's appropriate or I have a recipe to share, I'll do so. I just happened to make my recipe for raisin bran muffins yesterday, which are great for breakfast or just a snack. Often times, I find store bought bran muffins to be too oily or too sugary. On the flip side, other recipes can be dry. I've played around with this recipe to get the taste and texture that my family likes.


1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/4 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups bran buds (I use Kellogg's All Bran Buds)
3/4 cup raisins

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon. In a separate mixing bowl, combine milk, oil and egg. Pour the bran buds into the liquid mixture stir just to get them coated. Let buds soak for 5 minutes. Pour buds and liquid mixture into the dry mixture and stir only until combined. Fold in the raisins. 

Grease a regular sized 12-cup muffin tin. Pour batter equally into all the cups. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until muffins are done by doing a toothpick test. You don't want to over bake these.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Purple and Turquoise Triangle Quilt: Getting Started

Christmas is sort of long gone, but I promised both of my kids a quilt for the holiday. Needless to say, time got away from me and they didn't have finished quilts when Santa came. They understood that mom was busy and that I wouldn't forget about them, so they were fine waiting. Now that I have the elephant patchwork quilt finished I'm able to tackle their quilts. And because my son is such a sweetheart, he told me to make his sister's quilt first. My five year old daughter, lovingly nicknamed "Babe", loves herself some purple -- everything purple. She also loves turquoise blue. Not a pretty, soft or muted shade of each like her mother would like, but bright -- the brighter the better. I sort of cringe at the combination. So here's the deal. She wanted a quilt in her colors but I just had to add some shades of my liking for sanity purposes. Together, we came up with 13 different Kona cotton colors in a variety of purples and blues. I guess that is the color palette around here lately.
I've always wanted to make a triangle quilt and figured this would be the perfect opportunity. I bought myself a triangle acrylic ruler and went to town cutting.
My big stack of triangles is waiting to be arranged. I'll be sharing more soon. Again, If you want to get more picture updates in between posts, make sure to follow me on Instagram @freshlyhandmade.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Elephant Patchwork Quilt: Finished

The elephant patchwork quilt is finished and she sure is sweet. This quilt was made for a young girl named Rihana who really likes elephants. You can read my previous posts on this quilt here and here. And, if you follow me on Instagram @freshlyhandmade, you've probably already gotten a sneak peak at the elephants.
I started with a background patchwork made up of 4" squares in a variety of prints and shades of light blue, aqua and purple.
I then appliqued the elephants and the hearts on top using a little Wonder Under and black thread to stitch the outlines. I hand stitched her name in the top heart to personalize it.
For the back, I used a super soft minky in pink and white polka dots to coordinate with the elephants on the front. It is SO soft! The binding is a light blue and white polka dot print that was also used in the top.
Using light blue thread on top and dark pink on the bottom, I quilted the patchwork squares with straight lines echoing the vertical and horizontal seams, stopping and starting around the elephants and hearts.  I debated for quite some time whether or not to quilt on top of the elephants with a different stitch, but ultimately decided to let them be. To hold the layers together around the elephants, I stitched around each of the bodies and ears in coordinating colors so you really can't even tell from the front. You can see the stitch outline on the back here.
The finished size of this quilt is 56" x 68". I am happy to report that Rihana was very pleased with her new quilt. She told her mom that she was never leaving it. How sweet!

Linked To:
Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday
Blossom Heart Quilts for Sew Cute Tuesday
I Have to Say... for Show and Tell Tuesday
Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday

Friday, January 10, 2014

Whole Wheat Lasagna

Happy Foodie Friday! I'm starting something new here on the blog. For quite some time I've been meaning to share with you some of my favorite recipes. I enjoy cooking, but I like to bake even more. My family and I are pretty healthy eaters so I like to come up with ways to make recipes lighter and more nutritious. Don't get me wrong, I like my sugar at times too so I'll be sharing with you some delicious sweet treats as well.

Today, I'm sharing one of my favorite comfort foods, lasagna. To make it healthier, I always use whole wheat lasagna noodles, ground turkey instead of beef, chopped spinach and fat free cottage cheese. You could probably take it one step further and use low fat mozzarella, but I stick with the "real" stuff just because it melts better. Try it out this weekend and see what you think. It really is quite delicious.

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
3 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. dry parsley flakes
1 Tbsp. fresh basil
1 can Italian diced tomatoes (14 oz.)
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz.)
1 can tomato paste (6 oz.)
9-12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 container fat free cottage cheese (24 oz.)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. oregano
1 box frozen chopped spinach (9 oz.), thawed and squeezed to drain.
1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown and drain ground turkey in a skillet. Stir in onions, garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, basil, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Simmer on medium low heat for 10-15 minutes. At the same time, cook the lasagna noodles according to the package, typically around 10 minutes. Drain when done. In a separate bowl, mix the cottage cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, oregano and spinach.

Spread some of the sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Create the lasagna layers in the following order: noodles, meat sauce, cottage cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese. You should have enough to repeat the layers a total of three times. On the top layer, sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and back at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Then, broil on high until the outer edges of the top get  golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Elephant Patchwork Quilt: In Progress

I've been plugging away at the elephant patchwork quilt I first posted about here. I started by cutting 4.5" squares from all the fabric.
Then, I started arranging the blocks randomly on the floor to see how it would all come together. This step is one of my favorites, and it is clearly one of my daughter's as well. She always asks if she can help.
A lot of the times, even though she's asked to help, she jumps in and starts telling me where the blocks need to go. I have to reign her in and tell her that this is mommy's fun time and she's stealing it. No, just kidding. I am hogging her play area floor so it was only fair to let her help. This time, I let her arrange the blocks toward the end all by herself and I would come and check each row as she went. It actually became a teaching moment.
The best part of it all, the reason why I love this little spunky, hilarious five year old, was when she completed a row or liked what she had done, she threw her hands up in the air and exclaimed, "Perfection!". Oh, the things that come out of this child's mouth.
The top is all sewn together and I love it just as it is. I want to keep it for myself honestly.
Making and applying the appliques is the next step. I'm a tad nervous about this part knowing that this could make or break the final result.  More to come...
Blossom Heart Quilts for Sew Cute Tuesday
I Have to Say... for Show and Tell Tuesday
Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Elephant Patchwork Quilt: Getting Started

The Christmas decorations are put away and I am ready to start on a new project. I've been asked to make a quilt for a young girl who likes elephants so I've been working with her mom to design something she'll like. I was pretty much given free reign to come up with the concept but she had a few criteria. She requested it include light blue and purple with dark pink elephants. Oh, and it should be girly. With a general concept in mind, I went to my stash and started pulling fabrics that I thought would work well for this quilt.
My idea was to make a simple square patchwork quilt using a variation of light blue, aqua, periwinkle and lavender fabrics for the top. And I made sure to include some fun girly prints like florals and polka dots.
I plan to applique a couple elephants in these pink fabrics down in one of the corners. I might still need to find a couple more dark pink prints to use. I'll see when I get further along.
Here is a very loose idea of where I plan to go with it. The blues and purples will be randomly pieced on the front.
This is not my typical quilt, other than I would totally use these colors for a sweet girly quilt, but I don't generally put applique on my quilts. I wanted the elephants to be a subtle element and not overpower all the prints and colors behind it. I hope it ends up as pretty as it is in my head. Stay tuned.