Wednesday, October 31, 2012

wee woodland | a quilt for Frances

Matt's sister's friend is pregnant, due with a baby girl in December. I actually started working on this quilt for her when I found out she and her husband were trying to get pregnant a while back and picked it back up again recently so I could finish it in time for her shower this past Sunday.

All the fabric is Wee Woodland by Keiko for Moda... it has the most adorable little mushrooms, snails, and squirrels all over.

I used a charm pack for most of the quilt top and bought an extra yard of the teal stripey print to fill in the holes.

The backing is a yard of one of the white prints covered in multicolored ferns and mushrooms, plus more of the teal stripe, and I bound it in the stripe, too. What can I say? I love stripes of any stripe.

I quilted alongside the seams of each charm square on the front which gave the quilt a nice crinkly texture. I don't usually quilt so many lines but I knew it would look nicer that way. Most of the time I get lazy and try to quilt as little as possible. Does that make me a bad quilter? Probably.

A little handwritten label completed the project. I'm hoping to order some real labels soon! Just working out a few details and then I'll be the proud owner of some personalized ribbons :)

And I couldn't resist one last little gift to go along with the quilt - two onesies that I embellished with little pockets! They make me want to add pockets to everything. 

P.S. Speaking of babies, it's crazy for me to think that at this time two years ago I was a little over twelve hours away from meeting Ezra for the first time! Can't believe my little guy will be two years old tomorrow!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

tea with Rose | Pastiche

Pastiche is a place known for its fabulous desserts, but they also serve tea in cute little pots so Hillary and I decided to stop there for our tea tour last this month (check out here post over here). There's so much to love about Pastiche - the cozy fireplace, the mirrors alongside the few booths, the chocolate mousse... I could go on, but we were there for tea so I avoided temptation and didn't look in the direction of the dessert case too much. Instead, I ordered a simple almond biscotti and a pot of mint melange. I'm a big fan of mint tea and while this one wasn't anything mind blowing, it was good and hit the spot.

As you can see, Ezra is totally on board with the tea tour and drinks a cuppa of his own now. The waiter was kind enough to get a little espresso cup that was more his size. I also got a lemon poppy scone to share, but Ezra ate the entire thing. I didn't even get a crumb.

I don't know about you but I've been enjoying our tea tour very much. Those of you who are local - have you tried any of the places we've been to? We love places that brew their own blends but haven't come across many. Have any recommendations for us? We'd love to hear!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

it's a plane! | a quilt for Will

Another quilt finish! I've been whipping them up lately. This one was for my friend Keri's son Will who is almost two months old now. His nursery, although a blank slate as of now, will be decorated with a vintage airplane theme in mind, so I picked up a US Navy commemorative fabric that I found on Etsy.

The pattern is a modified large log cabin block, and when I say modified I mean I calculated my measurements wrong and had to make it work. Oops! Math was never my best subject.

I chose graphic red and blue fabrics to complement the airplanes - some chevron, polka dot, and a weird red pattern that reads as a stripe that I think is Flea Market Fancy. When I came up short with the design I had sketched I decided to add some red, blue, and tan seersucker, too. I couldn't believe how soft the seersucker made the quilt - so much more cozy than regular quilting fabrics and absolutely perfect for a baby. I definitely plan on using more seersucker in my quilts.

The back is a simple patchwork using scraps from the front. I think almost all of my quilt backs end up being scrappy. It's always fun to deviate from the pattern on the top and come up with something completely unique while using up some of the scraps!

I quilted along either side of the seams of the log cabin squares to echo the pattern on the top of the quilt, so it looks pretty random on the back. 

Stripey bindings are one of my favorites, and this red seersucker didn't disappoint. Hopefully Will is as happy with his quilt as I am!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

elephants and polka dots | a quilt for Avery

Yesterday I said goodbye to this pretty quilt and sent it off in the arms of a mama awaiting the arrival of her second daughter. I think this quilt is my favorite one yet (I always seem to think that), but I know it's going to be well loved.

Thanks to my brother for helping me get a few shots of the quilt while we were out shopping last week :)

It was inspired by little Avery's nursery - soft yellow and pale gray with an elephant motif. I loved picking out the fabrics for this beauty. They're all from Pink Chalk Fabrics and fabricworm.

 Simple gray binding ties it all together.

And if any of you are wondering, I used this pattern from Fresh Lemons. Now on to the next baby quilt! This season has me busy busy busy...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

on Block Island

We just got back from Block Island last night and I'm still getting organized. Even after just a two day trip it seems like I have so much to do. The fridge was empty and needed filling, Ezra was running low on clean underwear, and it looks like a small toy store exploded in our living room. I've tackled a few tasks today, but I wanted to share a few photos from our trip before I forgot.
We visited this guy at Abrams Animal Farm as well as alpacas, goats, a half zebra/half pony, and lots of other exotic animals. Ezra loved feeding them from his hand, and seemed oblivious to the ducks trying to eat his fingers along with the feed.

Of course we had to visit Mohegan Bluffs and the Southeast Lighthouse. We biked there from the house we were staying with my parents, and once we arrived we trekked down over a hundred steps to walk along the ocean.

Although we had a nice couple of days there, it's definitely better to visit during the summer if you want a good selection of restaurants and to be able to shop. We ate at Mabel's and the Mohegan. I look forward to visiting again. Have you ever been to Block Island?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A & L Co. | world's best sugar scrub

Ever since middle school I have been obsessed with shower scrub. The first time I used one I was at my cousin's house and I just used whatever products were in the shower and I remember thinking something along the lines of, "why they heck are there miniature rocks in this shower gel?" I soon realized their purpose when I emerged from the shower with super soft skin. Since then I've tried various scrubs, never really committing to a brand or scent, but with my new discovery of A&L Co. products it's safe to say I've found a keeper.

A&L Co. sugar scrub is part of a line of organic and chemical free skin care products, so I was excited to see how it measured up to the drugstore products and specialty store brands I was used to. Let me just say that when my (adorable quilted) 4 ounce jar was empty I immediately wanted more. The lemon ginger scent was refreshing rather than overpowering, and the amount of oil in the scrub seemed to be perfect. I don't know about you, but I've used some scrubs that leave your skin so slick it's hard to remain standing. After rinsing, my skin was smooth and soft, a nice improvement from the dry skin I'd been dealing with since the weather turned cool. 

If you're looking for skin care products that will make you look and feel great, I highly recommend checking out A&L Co. I also have a lip balm that smells just like fall (it's scented like chai tea!), and I can't wait to try the new ginger stick. Have you had a positive experience with organic or chemical free skincare?

Disclosure: A&L Co. provided me with this product for the purpose of providing a review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

what to do with quinoa

Last week I wrote about Brussels sprouts and a few different ways to cook them because I've learned that they're a very versatile vegetable and I actually really like them. I thought I would share a few more recipes featuring an underappreciated food that we love - quinoa. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is kind of like a grain and kind of like pasta, but it's neither. It cooks quickly and easily and is super healthy - it's a source of complete protein, contains calcium, and is high in dietary fiber. When cooked, quinoa has a light and fluffy texture and a mild flavor that makes it a good alternative to rice or cous cous. If you'd like to try it, I highly recommend these recipes...

black bean quinoa burgers - If your pantry is well-stocked then this is a great last minute dinner. Everything gets mixed together in a bowl and then you form patties with your hands and panfry them. We like ours topped with melted cheese and carmelized onions. Oh, and I cook the onions in the recipe, too.

one pot kale and quinoa pilaf - One pot meals usually scare me off, but this one is a keeper. The quinoa combines with steamed kale, toasted pine nuts, and a lemony sauce to create a flavorful dish that's light but quite filling. I always use goat cheese instead of feta.

sweet potato and quinoa salad - I don't really like cutting up potatoes, but it's worth it to make this salad. After you cook the quinoa and roast the potatoes the rest is simple assembly. The cranberries add the perfect amount of sweetness.

Do you have any quinoa recipes that you like? I'd love to try them!

image via One Hungry Mama

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

print and pattern | choosing fabric for a quilt

Last night I finished this quilt, and as I was admiring the fabric I remembered that there had been others in the running. I thought it would be fun to share my other favorite pattern and print combination here before I post about the actual finished quilt. The mama whose baby will own this quilt wanted something a little more subdued than the above fabrics, but I still love them and might just have to purchase some of that elephant fabric for my stash. There are some interesting ways to ensure you have a good mix of fabrics (maybe I'll have to write a post on that some day, would you be interested?) when designing a quilt, but lots of times I just go with the ones I love, like bold graphics, bright colors, and whimsical animal prints. Which one is your favorite?

(Sadly, I can't find the dot print for sale anymore. Anyone have any leads?)

Friday, October 5, 2012

hello weekend

Anyone else wondering where fall went? It's almost 80° here! We're not complaining though... we're soaking up the sun by playing tee ball in the yard. I hope the weather stays nice this weekend because we have a few outdoor activities planned... apple and pumpkin picking (finally) and a trip to the Scituate Art Festival. I'm also helping to lead a girls retreat tonight, so I'm sure I'm in for a late night! Tomorrow I'm hoping to do a deep clean of the house and then we're celebrating Matt's mom's birthday (check out last year's celebration right here). And if I can squeeze it in, I hope to finish this quilt. What are you up to this weekend?

- can you spare a minute or two? go here and vote for my mom's quilt... scroll down and check the box next to "Jodi's Sampler"
- did you know you can make an omelet in a Zip-loc bag?
- cool illustrations of J.Crew's Spring 2013 line
- one of the best things about fall: layering
- and how to relish autumn. on it.
- really cute care packages: one and two
- gah! an elephant on a bicycle! I want it.
- some thoughts on style. I concur.
- and some brilliant thoughts on getting ready for baby

If you have one, enjoy the long weekend, and I'll see you back here on Tuesday!

image via The Yard

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

raspberry pistachio macaroon tart

I recently found some photos of a dessert I made over the summer that I realized I never shared here. It's a raspberry pistachio macaroon tart from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day (adapted recipe here) and I surprised myself even wanting to make it because it's not chocolate. I highly recommend the recipe - it came together quickly with little mess and is easily adaptable to what you have on hand (I didn't have blackberries so I used raspberries instead - easy substitution). While you're at it, check out the entire cookbook. If the recipes themselves don't entice you the photographs surely will. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

what to do with Brussels sprouts | fall cooking

Hey! Happy Monday! Sorry, but that seems to be the way I always start my posts at the beginning of the week. I don't use the computer a lot of the weekends, if at all, so I feel like I'm reentering the world of the internet and a cheery greeting seems necessary. Please forgive me if I repeat myself!

Anyway, this post is reminiscent of my past menu of the week posts which almost always went live on Mondays. With fall upon us there are tons of new recipes to try - everything hearty and cozy and always delicious. Brussels sprouts are not a vegetable I would usually eat, but they're in season so when my mom gave me two pounds from the garden I decided to experiment. Here are three stellar sprout recipes you should have in your repetoire... 

whole grain spaghetti with Brussels sprouts and mushrooms - Giada never lets me down, and this recipe is no exception. How can you go wrong with crème fraîche? However, I highly recommend skipping the salt and pepper at the end of the recipe and seasoning to taste instead, or else you run the risk of your dinner being severely oversalted. (I originally found the recipe in Weeknights with Giada which had lots of other yummy recipes... definitely worth checking out!)

Brussels sprout lemon pizza - We love pizza around here, but we tend to stick to the same old toppings - usually pineapple or peppers and onions - so when I saw this recipe in Whole Living a few months back I dogeared the page for future use. I couldn't believe how amazing the lemon slices were, so don't skip them!

salmon and Brussels sprouts with ginger scallion sauce - I tried this recipe from Dinner A Love Story a while back and wanted to bring it back into the rotation. We have salmon a lot but I never do much with it, so this is an easy way to spice things up.

Do you have any fall recipes that I should try?

image via Martha Stewart
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