Dinner This Week - October has begun!

I love October! We are generally done with 90 degree temps, the leaves turn pretty colors and harvest is in full swing.

One of late September's highlights is always the Nebraska Junk Jaunt. We have "gone jaunting" twelve of the fourteen years the event has existed. My top five finds of the weekend are pictured below:

  1. A great leather satchel. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but look at that satchel! It wasn't hard at all to pay $10 for it.
  2. Two vintage quilt tops that will make great longarm practice pieces. Both have some technical difficulties that don't make them heirloom pieces so I don't feel bad that my quilting won't be heirloom quality either. The bright circle piece is made of a mix of flannel, double knit poly and some various cotton weights and it is HAND PIECED with beautiful little stitches! Randomly, it has one corner block that is a brown and tan bear's paw. I found a few small pieces of double knit that will blend with the colors in the quilt to make a replacement block. The second is a spider web quilt of great vintage cottons.
  3. A stack of vintage pie plates, some aluminum and some Pyrex. A couple of times a year, I make in excess of six pies at a time and a few other times a year, I prep and freeze in-season fruit so I can have a stash ready for pies, crisps and cobblers year-round. It is nice to be able to mold my Ziplock-enclosed fruit in a pie plate so I don't have to completely thaw it before making a pie. A few friends have asked about my affection for vintage plates. I should probably write a full post, but in a nutshell, I find the vintage metal plates (a couple of specific brands) are a little heavier and bake more evenly. They also don't rust or warp. I haven't typically gotten Pyrex plates, but I inherited a couple lately and these were in nice shape for less than $1 each.
  4. A large stack of fabric. I love the stash of random fabrics I've found at garage sales, flea markets and other second-hand sources. It doesn't have the same emotional tie that some of the fabric I've purchased at my LQS has. When I'm improving or making a donation quilt, I have no hesitancy in cutting into this. I also have found some interesting textures, colors and patterns that I may not have been drawn to in a different setting.
  5. A small stack of WNAX Neighbor Lady annuals. WNAX is the local AM radio station my dad listens to in the shop that has Traidio every weekday morning - the radio version of Craigslist. For many, many years, the Neighbor Lady had a daily show with recipes, household hints, DIY projects and other things for their female listeners. Each year they published a booklet with some of the content from the previous year. Many of the recipes are those of my childhood. I've got about a dozen of the annuals and am always on the lookout for more.
A few more items I found, and only came home with me via photo follow. For more information about Nebraska's Junk Jaunt, visit their website. I'd love to see you next year in Burwell or Loup City!



This week seems like the first week in awhile that everyone is home all week, and we might actually eat at home. So, for the first time in a long while, I'm going to draft a menu for the week. I really miss this. We've had countless nights of pizza, takeout, pancakes, scrambled eggs and other things that aren't worth writing home about.

Another Junk Jaunt find was a stack of Simple and Delicious magazines from the last two years. I subscribed to this magazine for awhile and thought it had been discontinued. It features menus that can be prepared in under 30 minutes, have less than 500 calories and other busy family-friendly fare like slow cooker meals. This week's menu comes from these.

A community church roast beef dinner takeout - I know I said no more takeout, but this is all homemade and supports a good cause. Our area has a lot of church festivals, dinners and suppers, and we try to hit a few.
Applesauce-Glazed Pork Chops from S&D Oct/Nov 2015, p. 12
Corn on the Cobb - Probably our last of the season
Dad cooks - Quilt Guild Night!
Garlic-Ginger Turkey Tenderloins from S&D Oct/Nov 2015, p. 15 - I'll probably use chicken because I have some in the freezer and turkey would require a grocery run
Cheddar Smashed Sweet and Irish Potatoes
Steamed Mixed Vegetables
Dinner out - Volleyball!
Maple-Thyme Chicken Thighs from S&D Oct/Nov 2015, p. 40
Quick Ginger-Orange Squash from S&D Oct/Nov 2015, p. 40
Flex night


Dinner Tonight: Huli Huli Chicken

It's been a bit since I've posted. Life has been its usual crazy with school beginning to wind down, spring volleyball coming to an end, the last rush of classes at work leading into summer construction season, the beginning of planting season and a serious effort at potty training on Henry's part. Whew!

Lately I've been a bit fascinated with some of the video recipes on FB. My phone's web browser has many pages open to the options I've seen on FB. This week I decided to try one ... Huli Huli Chicken from the Recipe Critic. I did make a few modifications as pineapple juice was elusive when I was tossing together the marinade on Tuesday night. I also had a mix of chicken breasts and chicken tenders so I opted to cube and make kabobs for the grill.


I have enough cheesy broccoli and cauliflower and leftover chicken for a great lunch tomorrow.

Huli Huli Chicken

Adapted from the Recipe Critic and Taste of Home

1 c. Mandarin Orange Juice (subbed for the called-for Pineapple Juice)
1/2 c. Soy Sauce
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 tsp. Garlic Powder

Combine all marinade ingredients in a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag. Add 3-4 pounds of chicken pieces. Let marinade for a few hours (or days).

Put chicken pieces on skewers. Allow the chicken to rest at room temperature while the grill preheats, about 20 minutes. Grill the kebabs over medium heat until an internal temperature reaches 165° F. Because the marinade has quite a bit of sugar in it, watch it carefully to avoid flare-ups or excessive charring.


#playimprovqal - All Caught Up!

As planned for in yesterday's post, I am all caught up with Elm Street Quilt's #playimprovqal. These two blocks were put off because of other priorities, but I will admit, neither is my favorite type of block ...

Week 5 - Wonky Stars

Wonky stars require too much planning to fall under improv in my book, but I am pretty happy with the outcome.


Week 6 - Crumbs

This is also a challenge for me primarily because I don't keep scraps less than a few square inches. In general, I'm not really a scrappy quilter. I am far more likely to pass my scraps on to someone else than organize them for future use. Fortunately, I was a bit behind when I saw this prompt so I was able to generate a few small scraps as I completed previous blocks.


I'm looking forward to the last two prompts, and I figured out my setting plan today for completing the project.

I'm linking this post to Sew Can She's Show it Off Saturday.


Elm Street Quilts' Play Improv Quilt Along - Progress Post 1

I am focusing on finishing UFO's or quilts already planned this year, but the quilt along hosted by Elm Street Quilts was just too tempting. She set-up a quick eight-week quilt along based on weekly prompts to make improv blocks or mini quilts. I am using my stash of mostly solid scraps and have four of the six announced prompts completed. (I did get a little behind as I was trying to finish up a project I'll share sometime down the road.) I hope to finish up the two delinquent blocks this weekend so I'm ready for Monday's second to last prompt.

Week 1 - Log Cabin


Week 2 - Triangles


Week 3 - Stack, Cut, Sew


Week 4 - Wonky Geese


I am linking this post to Elm Street Quilts' Progress Check-in Linkup.


Weeknight Dinner: Sheetpan Pesto Chicken Thighs and Potatoes

I'm fascinated by the sheetpan suppers floating around social media and the blogosphere. For the second time, I made Pesto Chicken Thighs and Potatoes for dinner. It takes longer than really works for us on a normal weeknight, but there seem to be lots of not normal nights at our house. Last night worked because Lent started, and it could be in the oven through all of church.

Sheetpan Supper: Pesto chicken thighs and potatoes

Sheetpan Pesto Chicken Thighs and Potatoes

1.5 lbs. cut-up chicken pieces (I use boneless, skinless thighs. Breasts may get too dry.)
1.5 lbs cubed potatoes
1 c. fresh pesto
Optional: 1 lb. IQF frozen vegetables like broccoli florets

Toss all ingredients together. Bake at 425F for 1.5 hours.

What are your favorite sheetpan suppers?


A Is for Anne

Anne turned 8 in December. Amongst the holiday craziness, we hosted a sleepover for two of her bestest friends. Instead of bags filled with crap, I asked the girls to color pictures using two colors that I would then transfer to t-shirts. We didn't get these done before the girls left and the project got set aside until today. Surprise, surprise, I cannot find their pictures. I do remember they had lots of hearts, so here is my interpertation:

A is for Anne

I used two tones of the same color Circut iron-on vinyl. Each shirt has a heart with the girl's first initial. This was my first attempt at iron-on vinyl. It was easy-peasy. My 4-H club co-leader was sitting across from at the craft day, and we are already planning a club project with pre-cut vinyl shapes for this summer.

Now, maybe it's time to mail my Christmas cards ....


Friday Finish: Auction Quilt

In a recent post, I showed a work in-progress for a benefit auction. I was able to finish it over the weekend and photograph it while we were having spring-like weather. The weather in Nebraska is a frequent conversation topic because it changes so often and can be very unpredicatble. Until yesterday, we had been experiencing highs in the sixties and seventies. As I am writing this, it is 30 and snowing.

OK, so back to the quilt. This was a fairly quick finish. The pattern, though not really more than a sketch, is simple, and I was able to find fabrics fairly quickly. The prints were in my stash and I found the solid at one of my favorite local quilt shops.

Untitled, 70"x90"

The auction is Saturday. I sincerely hope the weather cooperates!

This post is linked up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?.


MQG Mini Swap

As a recovering swap addict, I was eager to sign up for the Modern Quilt Guild's inaugural mini quilt swap. I was paired with a quilter in British Columbia, Canada. She is a prolific quilter with broad quilting interests and styles. She is not on Instagram and did not post a mosaic on her blog so I felt like I could go pretty much anywhere with my mini. (I'll add a link to her blog as soon as she receives her quilt.)

I've been in love with Allison Glass' work for quite some time and have made a couple of small pieces using her Feathers pattern. I'm testing the waters to see if I think making a whole quilt is really something I can stick with or not. In general, making a hundred of the same blocks holds zero interest to me, compounded, in this case, by the fact that this is a foundation paper-pieced pattern. So, I chose to make another excerpt from her pattern. The last one that I did, grew quite a bit bigger than I'd planned so this time, I scaled the blocks to 80%.

Selected Feathers is about 14" square and features batiks and a dark Kona cotton gray. I opted to play with the text function on my new sewing machine instead of a traditional label. The strips of text fit well with my attempt to use the remainder pieces of the layer cake used in the top.

This week I received my package from my partner in Oklahoma. SQUEAL! I LOVE this quilt and am so excited it gets to live with me! Thank you, Becky Gore of Birch Lake Designs, for a beautiful quilt and the unexpected extra stitched coaster, Swedish star and pillow case.


WIP Wednesday: A Heavy Heart and a New Experience

While I was sitting at one of my family Christmas celebrations, scrolling through Instagram, I saw a post that made me cry in the middle of joyous children, a competitive card game and all of the other activities of a large boisterous family enjoying time together. One of my sorority girls from back when I was an advisor to the sorority to which I had belonged as an undergraduate student who is now a grown-up with a husband and a grown-up job had posted about the unexpected loss of their five-month-old son to an undetected birth defect. Ever since, my heart has been heavy and I've felt powerless not knowing what to say or how to reach out. A couple of weeks ago, another Sigma invited me to a benefit dinner and silent auction. I'm not able to attend the benefit, but contributing to the auction gave me something to do. I sent a note to the organizer that I would try to get a quilt to her in time for the event.

In a previous post, I outlined some of the UFO's floating around my space, but none of these seemed like the best option for this particular need. I opted to dig through my stash for one of those sets of fabric I bought but didn't have plan for and test a pattern I've been playing with for a few months. As of yet, it is unnamed, but I like the bold pattern, asymmetric layout and negative space.

I was able to finish piecing the top in a later than I should have work session after the kids' bedtime and the back in an early morning burst. Both unusual sleep-depriving bursts of productivity were not only to keep me on track to get a quilt to the auction, but also to keep my appointment with the APQS Millennium Long Arm at Innovation Studio today. I'll write a full post (or series) about Innovation Studio at some point, but in short, it is a community center with oodles of fun tools available to members. The textile lab includes regular sewing machines, industrial straight stitch and serger machines, looms and the Millennium. I completed my orientation course to the long arm a couple of weeks ago. Today was my first solo run on a quilt I had made.

My time was limited, and I was starting to get nervous when it took me a chunk of time to get everything loaded, threaded, and otherwise set-up. Once it was on, I continued to have problems with breaking threads so I opted for simple straight-line, channel-lock strip-quilting. I was able to get it done and my mess cleaned up in time to make daycare pick-up, though, so all worked out.

I can hardly wait to finish some more tops and schedule another block of time to practice my long arm quilting skills.

Now I'm down to trimming, binding and getting the quilt to the auction. I know money won't help this family replace their lost son, but I do hope it will relieve some of the financial pressure of intensive care and a funeral.


Corn: Nebraska Gold

Nebraska is celebrating its 150th birthday this year, and one of the many celebratory activities is a quilt competition hosted by the Nebraska State Quit Guild. I was fortunate to have a sneak peek during the Lincoln Quilters Guild Biennial Quilt Show in October and was inspired to participate.

As harvest season was upon us, I wanted to submit a quilt that honored Nebraska agriculture, our number one industry. As a lifelong Nebraska corn farmer, it seemed a good option to pursue. I was also fascinated by how to depict actual corn.

I was able to get a good start ... specifically on the actual corn part ... at a Lincoln Quilters Guild class taught by Kris Kahn, a friend from the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild. The rest of it waited until after the holidays but went together nicely.

While I wanted the final product to be recognizable, I also wanted it to be a distinctly modern depiction. The entire piece is improv strip-pieced using a mix of scrap fabrics, fabrics shared by friends at the class, and Kona solids.

Image Credit: Sheila Green

It is one of 37 submissions and will hang at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln through February 25 and again on National Quilting Day. There are prizes. I don't have expectations of winning, though it would be cool to have my quilt included in the honorable mention group simply so it could travel the state and be a part of local Nebraska 150 celebrations over the next year.

This post is linked up to Sew Can She's Show Off Saturday


2017 Quilting Goals

Like many, as 2016 was coming to a close and 2017 commenced, I reviewed a fairly successful year in quilting and began to plan for the coming year. A few things came to mind, but the first was that I needed to focus on what I've got. For the last couple of years, I've consciously been acquiring new fabrics, patterns and a lovely new sewing machine. My studio is overflowing, and I need to focus my cashflow on a family trip to Southern California this summer. The two combined led me focus 2017 on finishing some of the many projects I've started, planned and/or purchased supplies for.

Goal #1: Only purchase supplies as actually needed for continuing a project under active work.

Goal #2: Emphasize finishing existing UFO's.

To help me maintain some of this motivation, I've joined American Patchwork and Quilting's 2017 UFO Challenge along with many members of the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild. The Facebook group has been great so far fun with participants from around the globe and in my backyard. You can follow our guild's progress by tracking the hashtag #omqg17ufo and the whole project at #apqresolution.

I've followed the #finishalong tag for awhile and this post will includes my goals for the first quarter:

  • I volunteered to contribute the February raffle prize for the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild. This is actually already finished as it seemed easiest to deliver it at the January meeting held January 3. In September, I nabbed a stack of vintage crazy quilt blocks someone had gone to a lot of work to finish but not set into a quilt. I used the first sixteen for a Christmas quilt for my mom. One of the orphan blocks became a vintage mini for the OMQG raffle. I have one remaining block and will finish it up in a similar way for the Lincoln Quilters Guild that will start its 2017 program year in March.
  • Nebraska is celebrating 150 years of statehood in 2017. The Nebraska State Quilt Guild is sponsoring a quilt competition. My entry is entitled "Nebraska Gold" and depicts a combine unloading a load of corn into a semi truck trailer. It is improv strip pieced and made of fabrics from my stash. I completed the "cone of corn" during a guild workshop in October led by quilter Kris Kahn. As the entry deadline is tomorrow, January 15 I finished it up last week to submit yesterday. There is a competition component with the top prize including a lovely cash award and acquisition by the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. I don't expect to win, but it would make me ecstatic to be included in the six honorable mentions that get to travel the state during the celebration year with the top three finishers.
  • I am participating in the first Modern Quilt Guild Miniquilt Swap. I am wavering between a scaled down excerpt from Allison Glass' Feathers or Lady Harvatine's January Block. I need to decide soon as it's next up for me to do and ship by February 1 or so. :) I have pulled some lovely batiks and will, of course, include my favorite Kona gray, Charcoal.
  • At the Nebraska State Fair, we have an awesome quilt show. One of the special categories is for quilts based on a child’s artwork. Last summer during the Pokemon craze, Henry made the most amazing Pokemon ball craft that I immediately thought should be a quilt. If I want my super-amazing, best longarmer in the country quilt guild friend to quilt it and have it back by summer fair season, I need to get it to her by mid-February.
  • I have two baby quilts and a big girl quilt that need to be done by mid-May so they should each get a start, too.

Whew! I am going to be busy! I can only hope for a lot of snow days where we keep our electricity!

Goal #3. Sew with Anne.

Anne is now eight which, among other things, means she is a full-fledged 4-Her this year. One of the projects she has long been interested in participating is quilting. We’ve already drafted plans and acquired supplies for a quilt for her American Girl Doll, a Quilt of Valor, and a skirt for the county fair the last week of July.

Goal #4:Quilt for Good

I’ve made a lot of quilts to be gifts for others. In fact, I have very few of the quilts I’ve made in the last ten years, but I have not been as active as many other quilters in making quilts for good or charity quilts. This year I plan to make at least one Quilt for Kids and one Quilt of Valor (not counting Anne’s).

On project that has been brewing in the back of my mind for awhile is making new paraments or altar cloths for our church. We go to a small country church, literally in a cornfield, and members pitch in to do all the projects. George has been rebuilding windows for over a year now.

Chicken Taco Bowls

We like all kinds of tacos, burritos, rice bowls, and quesadillas. To keep things interesting, we are always looking for new, quick filling ...