Cotton + Steel’s Good Fortune Quilt Progress

Okay everyone, I feel like I’m on a good flow with quilting.  Finally, my head is back in the game!  Maybe I’m getting inspired by creating craft rooms in every house I tour, or maybe it’s just playing with fabric.  I can easily see myself becoming a fabric hoarder just like my momma.

Taking the Disappearing Four Patch class last week with Miss Ashley really helped me get a feel for working with fabric that isn’t backed with paper, but I have to admit I really just love paper piecing.  It’s math in a quilt form, and makes my little calculator brain so happy.  I’m sure once I keep working with traditional quilting methods, I’ll be just as pleased, though.  I keep scouring for classes to take across the metroplex, because I really enjoy sewing with other people and hearing about other projects too.  It’s a solid community for sure, and I’ve already met some lovely people.

I wish I had been able to take advantage of these Dallas snow days to whip out all sorts of blocks, but the joy of technology is that you carry you laptop with you and still get to work 🙂  I did squeeze in some things during lunch breaks and evenings, though.

I started working on a paper piecing kit I picked up at Urban Spools a few months ago, and I love it so far!  They actually still have a few still available, so just click right here to check it out.  The pieces are large enough that the copies are made on 11×17 paper and the fabrics are beautiful.  I hit a good flow cutting everything out and it’s coming together nicely.

Cotton + Steel has quickly become one of my favorite fabric companies, and I love their modern and fresh take.  They have a group of designers that also collaborate together, and it’s some pretty cool product.  This particular group is designed by Rashida Coleman-Hale, and you know I love the bright colors and hits of metallics.  PIIIIIIINK!

The cutting process was actually pretty easy, and the fabric is VERY generous.  I didn’t even mind ironing.  Generous cuts and plenty of scraps is one of the fun things paper piecing, and this would be a good first project for anyone.  I have oodles of scraps right now to stash for future projects, or maybe a coordinate throw pillow or two.

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Look how big these blocks are!  Just four pieces of fabric on each large piece, and then joining the two halves together.  Easy as pie.  You can see my big stack of coordinate fabrics piled up too.  I’m definitely keeping a copy of this pattern for other projects I’m thinking about – looks complicated, but allows you to show off great fabric and isn’t as challenging as it looks to pull together 🙂

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Did I say easy as pie?  It should have been, but I was super distracted the night I started this project and couldn’t line up pieces to save my life.  Ooops.  Thank goodness for seam rippers, but I will tell you, ripping out seams set at a 1.5 is a giant pain in the tush.  The beautiful thing about paper piecing is that your sharp angles line up perfectly, so if you aren’t getting that right, you’re missing the whole point.  Hey Christina, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!

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I was able to course correct this week, though, and now I have two gorgeous blocks finished.  Only fourteen more to go!  I think it’s fourteen, anyway.  We’ll see.  I’d like this to be at least a queen size, so if I end up picking up a bit more fabric to enlarge it, life will go on!

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I noticed my pinks aren’t quite as sharp as the grey/aqua blocks, but short of ripped out the seams and rearranging, I think that’s just life.  I’ll tinker around with it this weekend and see how I feel.

I can’t find many pics of the completed project online, but here’s an idea on how it’ll look when I’m done!  Happy and cheerful, just like me 🙂  Thanks, Craftsy!

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More Adventures in Cooking

Okay everyone, I’ve been slacking in the cooking department.  Bad, bad, Christina.  One of the terrible and awesome things about Trader Joe’s is all of the semi-homemade cooking it allows me to do, because who doesn’t like an extra serving of salt bloat?.  I’m still journaling every meal with MyNetDiary, and every day I get a little chiding for going over the recommended sodium levels.  Oops.  Hypertension is one of the 12 million health issues I DON’T have, but no one likes to feel like a water retaining sea cow, am I right?

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I’m determined to do better, though, and I’m excited to actually maybe bake a little this weekend.  I’ve been jonesing for the amazing chocolate chip cookies Mom created over Christmas, so while it’s not going to help me reduce the size of my ass, it’s probably the only thing to get me excited about being in the kitchen.

I did manage a couple things this week aside from my standard lazy meal of shredded chicken and black beans.  If you haven’t had the joy of shredded chicken, you absolutely should make it.  Dump chicken (frozen or fresh) into a crockpot, add a can of rotel for every pound of chicken and top it off with taco seasoning.  This time around I also dumped in some verde sauce, because tomatillos are delicious and I was short on rotel.  Set it to go on low overnight if you started with frozen chicken, and it will have practically shredded itself by the time you wake up.  A fork will finish it out, give it a stir, and you’ve got something easy and yummy 🙂

It’s good stuffed into a tortilla with cheese, lettuce and normal taco fixings, but it’s also good by itself.  I’ve been all over Trader Joe’s Organic Refried Black Beans with Jalapenos lately, so that’s how I’ve eaten it every day this week for lunch.  I miss tortillas and cheese sometimes, but avocado almost makes up for it.  Next time I make it, I’ll document with pics.  Promise.

So that’s the first thing I made.  Second up is a version of the Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai that Gluten Free Jess posted on her site.  Trader Joe’s didn’t have spaghetti squash, so I subbed in rice noodles, essentially just making Gluten Free Pad Thai.  All the delicious fattiness, none of the extra health benefits.  Look at her blog and pretend those are my pics instead of these half-ass, last minute snaps.  I couldn’t find fish sauce, either, so I subbed in a bit of Coconut Secret Soy Free Seasoning sauce, which is essentially just soy sauce for those of us that can’t actually eat anything.  

I busted out a knife and actually chopped green onions, cilantro and chicken!  I had to show proof of knife skills, limited though they are.  Once I got everything blended with the sauce, and added a ton of lime juice and cilantro, I had a big bowl of comfort food.  Rice noodles get insanely sticky, at least mine did, so I’m looking forward to trying it with either zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.  Yum.

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Yesterday was yet another snow day for Dallas, and I was thankful to have everything I needed to make chicken noodle soup.  Browned mirepoix with hot pepper olive oil, added broth, diced chicken, spices and rotel (live and die by it, seriously) and added the Trader Joe’s Brown Rice and Quinoa pasta.  It holds up so well and is the perfect gluten free noodle to use in sauces and soups.

Check, check, check!  This weekend I’ll knock out some zucchini noodle recipes and bake my cookies, and this time I’ll actually take some pics 🙂  How will I ever get a show on the Food Network like the Pioneer woman if I don’t document?  Surely the cookies have a better nutritional value than these Skittles I’ve been chomping on all week, too.  Damn you, Easter candy.

Cheers!