Thursday, August 21, 2014

Original Sewing & Quilting Expo

Last Saturday, my family and I made a quick day trip to Pittsburgh. The boys visited the super cool science center and I was finally able to attend my second quilt show. I went to my first show a month after I started sewing and much of what I saw flew over my head. I have been wanting to attend another show for months because I have a much better appreciation for the work that goes into a quilt. Also, I've been saving my pennies so I can upgrade to a new machine, but wanted to test drive a few before making a decision. 

It finally worked in our schedule to attend the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Pittsburgh. The first thing I noticed was that it was MUCH smaller than the same show in Cleveland, but it was just the right size for me to see everything before the boys picked me up. And I was able to spend a lot of time with the machine dealers, which made me feel better about my decision. I'll post more about my new addition in a future post, but here are some photos of quilts that inspired me. 

Edith's Sewing Bee. 
G-mother's Flower Garden top circa 1930
Quilted by Jackie Herbert of Milton, DE

As an avid fan of Settlers of Catan, I love hexies. I like this quilt because it's not the typical flower petal pattern. One of my goals for the coming year is to make a hexie quilt. This quilt and the next were part of the Quilt as Desired exhibit

Close up of quilting.

Laissez les Bons Tempes Rouler  
G-mother's Flower Garden top circa 1930
Quilted by Sue Patton of Simcoe, Ontario

This is a more typical hexie pattern, but I like the two layers of  "petals." I also like the colors.

The next several photos were taken at the Appliques, Quilts, and More booth. I was inspired by the way their appliques were incorporated into quilts. This  quilts shows off their Native American appliques.

Several of their quilt kits featured hand-dyed fabric that looked like sunsets.

The flag quilt kit uses staggers strips of square blocks to give the impression of movement.

I took this photo at the Martelli Enterprises booth. I am thinking I was to make some little people for a quilt for our son's school auction this spring. Isn't it adorable? 

Close up of a block.

At first, I thought the show was a little light on quilts. Then I saw that the back of the conference center was an area about as big as the entire show floor with rows and rows of quilt. Here are just a few of my favorites. 

I am in awe of art quilts like this one, "The Old Codger by Barbara Yates Beasley. I just stared at it for awhile trying to figure out how she made it! 

The same artist also made this quilt, The Illiamna, which I like even better, I think. You can see more of her incredible fiber art on her website. 

It pains me to saw that the photo I thought I took of the artist info on this quilt did not turn out at all. It has such incredible detail. All I can make out is that I think it was part of the South Carolina/Georgia SAQA Region Quilt Entries. If anyone knows more, please let me know.

Talk about the perfect summer quilt! This is "Hot, Hot Summer" by Linda Marcangelo.

This one is maybe my favorite one of all. It's called "Dolly at the Beach" by Karen Backman-Kells. I am so in awe of art quilts in general, but as a mom only days away from sending her one and only to kindergarten, my heart strings couldn't help be tugged by this image. I found her website and was happy to learn she's a midwife, too.

If you are fan of the quilting magazine Fon's & Porter's Love of Quilting, you've likely heard of Liz Porter, the quilter of this quilt aptly named, Liz's Irish Chain. I think the solid background is stunning, and the tiny squares are a great use of scraps. This quilt was featured in the Jan/Feb issue of Love of Quilting and was hand quilted by the Troyer Family.

Another favorite, this one is called Star Flowers. It was pieced by Diane Tomlinson and machine quilted by LuAnn Downs. It was published in the March/April 2014 issue of Love of Quilting

This next quilt is a fun scrappy quilt by Marianne Fons called "Rock Island Campfires." It was machine quilted by Debbie Treusch and featured in the July/August 2013 issue of Love of Quilting

I love the modern look of this quilt, called "Focus on Fun." It's by Keepsake Quilting, and was published in the Summer 2014 issue of Quilting Quickly. (My apologies for the blurry photo. All picture were taken with my phone).

What I love about this "Crazy Eights" quilt is that it would be a really fun swap project. I'm currently doing a red/black/white block swap and it's been so much fun. Hopefully, I can convince the gals to stick around to do another one with this pattern. This quilt was pieced by Deb Finan and machine quilted by Olde City Quilts. It was published in the Spring 2014 issue of Quilting Quickly. 

One of my first finishes this year (which I have yet to post...yikes!) was a plus quilt, so it's no surprise that this one caught my eye. This version is "Positively Simple" by Jean Nolte, and it was published in the Spring 2014 issue of Quilting Quickly. 

I love a quilter with a sense of humor. This one is called "Ashley Selfie with Dr. Pecker" by Rhonda Dennie. I'm bummed that my photo didn't capture the whole quilt, but you can see a better photo on this website

I think word quilts are so fun. This one is called "Pathways (We Are Here)" by Amy Anderson. (And once again, you can see a better photo on another website.)

Talk about an art quilt. With a nod to Whistler's Mother, this is Eleanor Levie's "Listen to Your Mother:  the Universe Speaks to Quilters."

Close up:

And finally, this is "News Hounds" by Pauline Salzman. My son would love this one!

Something I noticed as I was writing this post is that I really didn't focus on the quilting of these quilts. For those of you who are clearly more talented than this straight line quilter, I apologize. When I attended my first show a few weeks after I started quilting, I was simply in awe of everything and forgot to take any photos at all. With thirty-four quilts pieced since I started quilting 18 months ago, I am now most interested in figuring out how a top is pieced. With my big souvenir, I hope to be a lot more familiar with free motion quilting by the time I get to my next show!

In addition to gawking over the many gorgeous quilts, I found some bargains at Vogue Fabrics

Here's a little collage of some of my favorite new fabrics.

I also brought a little something for the kiddo.  I bought us each a hook and loop finger light from The Quilt Company.

They are pretty cheap on Amazon so I'm thinking they might be fun for D's next birthday party. 

It was a big hit, and he may never sleep again.

All in all, a pretty awesome day. And the best part is that I came home with a new sewing machine! Any guesses what I bought?

Linked to:
Link a Palooza PartyPinworthy Projects link party

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Easy Oven Baked Chicken with Veggies

Easy Oven Baked Chicken with Veggies by de Jong Dream House

I've been working on posting my go-to recipes on the blog. So far, I'm wrote about Boerenkool, Indonesian Pilaf, Crockpot Jerk ChickenSoul Dust Chicken Skillet, Dutch Crockpot Casserole, Bubble and Squeak and Crockpot Hutspot. Most of my meals are made in the crockpot or on the stove, but today's recipe is made in the oven. It's a very versatile chicken dish that is easy to prepare for those days when you really want to get oven made and then sit and veg while it cooks!

Easy Oven Baked Chicken with Veggies
(download a printable-friendly version)


  • 1 pound chicken breasts. You can use cubed, strips, or whole breasts. Easy.
  • 1 potato per serving, cubed. I always cook extra, so I used 5 potatoes in the pictured meal. 
  • Veggies of your choosing. Plan on one cup per serving. I used carrots here, because that's what the CSA delivered, but I've also used cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, squash, and zucchini--whatever is in season.
  • 4 Tablespoons of your favorite seasoning mix. I used dry onion mix this time, but my favorite is Soul Dust mix. I've also used Italian dressing mix and ranch dressing mix. (You can find a great list of homemade spice blends to try here).
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil. 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Wash and chop potatoes into a small cubes. The potatoes take longer than the rest of the meal, so cutting them into small pieces ensures that everything is ready at the same time, which is the beauty of this meal.

3. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 2 Tablespoons onion soup mix. (A packet of mix is usually 4 Tablespoons).

4. Place the potatoes along one side of your baking dish.

5. Repeat with the other vegetables, using 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.

6. Place the veggies on the other side of your baking dish.

7. Finally, season the chicken with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 2 Tablespoons of mix. Add the chicken to the center of the baking dish. You don't have to season your veggies separately, but I usually do because sometimes I mix up the seasonings. I really like the onion mix with the potatoes, but I love the soul dust rub on the chicken.

8. Cover the dish with tin foil. This isn't necessary, but I've noticed that it does help the potatoes cook evenly.

9. Bake for 1 hour. Dinner is ready when the potatoes are fork tender--they are firm enough to hold their shape but soft enough that you can stick a fork in them easily.

I like our dinners to be colorful. Usually, I have some green veggies in the mix, but since I didn't with this version, I added a small salad and fruit.

Linked to:
Link a Palooza Party * Pinworthy Projects link party

Monday, August 11, 2014

Back to School: Morning Checklist

We are t-minus two weeks until our son starts kindergarten! We are starting to ease into his school routine, which means mama is trying to get organized!

Last year, D went to pre-K three days a week. I made this checklist to help him remember everything he needed. I used a space-theme as we are deep in the space age around here.

I used an Ikea Nyttja frame, which I love because they are colorful and cheap. They have plastic instead of glass, which is always a good idea with little ones. He uses a dry erase marker to make his check marks. I used Command Strips to hang the frame. 

I updated the chart slightly for the new year. I took out the quilt & pillow because he won't have any more naps (sniff, sniff) and added a new chore--making his bed.

I've made this printable available as a free download at

Linked to: 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

July Projects

It's August already! How did that happen? Our little guy is starting kindergarten in a few weeks! How is that possible! Our month has been filled with visitors, me being sick (will that ever end?), and lots of projects. Let's take a look.

In honor of Canada day (and our Canadian friends and family), I made D a new flag shirt.

I finished all the blocks for a red/white/black block exchange. We have a staggered deadline but I figured it would be easier to do them all at once. 

I cut out blocks for my next charity quilt. Hopefully I'll be able to finish it up this month so it can be given to a kindergartner next month.

When D's started wiggling his first loose tooth, I made him a tooth fairy pillow. 

We put it to use two days later!

I've started experimenting with a few little projects to give me the opportunity to practice free motion quilting. I liked this towel because I figured out how to put a magnet on it. Now it works perfectly for wiping out the washing machine.

D requested labels for his new PJs so he could tell front from back. I figured it would be a good place to note the size, as well.

We watched more World Cup soccer.

Our housekeeper loves the Swiffer. I loathe the idea of buying disposable cleaning pads, so we reached a compromise. I made several different kinds to test first. (The bar mops work the best).

I made a Dutch wreath out of fabric strips. I put it up in support of the World Cup team. I kept it up in remembrance of the victims of flight MH17.

D and I did lots of science experiments.

Our first international guests of the month came from Mexico and Italy. Two brave eleven-year-old boys spend six weeks in America. We hosted them for one weekend, giving their chaperones a break.

D cheers for Mexico (and Ro) in his new flag shirt.

Ever since Jacopo stayed with us, D has been practicing his Italian accent--and wearing his Italy shirt.

We originally thought one of our guests was from Germany, so I made a Germany shirt. We put it to good use during the World Cup final. Sigh...

I was heartbroken this month to learn that one of my friends--a very young, healthy, marathon runner--died unexpectedly. Curt leaves behind his wife of nearly twelve years and a little girl a few months older than D, who he was holding here.

I always loved back to school shopping when I was a kid. No surprise that I had fun shopping for D's supplies, although, I don't remember having to get so many supplies when I started school. 

I couldn't resist buying something for myself!

I whipped up some skeeter spray for summer evenings with the neighbors. It really works!

I made my first dill pickles.  

D finished his Summer Bridge workbook, so he started a Spanish workbook.

Our second international visitor was a soccer coach from the UK. Of course, I had to make another shirt. I learned that the UK flag is a lot more complex than I knew!

Jordan is welcome back any time. What a great kid.

I finally finished a quilt top! This is the first of three I'm making for a sibling set.

A quick project to help D learn to tie his shoes.

I made a quick drawstring bag for Jordan. I finally put it together in the right order so all the seams look finished.

D found a vintage Toss Across game at Goodwill. I whipped up these beanbags so we could play.

Sibling set quilt top number 2.

Parisian knick knack makes a good ring holder.

One of D's friends is turning six. I was so excited to find this kayak fabric for him.

Last two shirts of the month. These are going to a sibling set where the brother was born in Ethiopia.

We play Settlers of Catan almost every night as a family. Can you guess who has started to win?

My last project of the month was a really quick scrap project--popsicle holders for a couple of sisters who had their tonsils out on the same day.

No finished quilts this month, but two tops done, one cut out, and two more on their way. I think August is going to be a productive month!

Linked to:
Show Stopper Saturday

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