i know you’ve all* been waiting with bated breath!
i know you’ve all* been waiting with bated breath!
couldn’t decide which pair of shoes i liked better (so i wore the blue ones because they are miles more comfortable!), couldn’t decide whether to wear the necklace or the “scarf” (so i wore both) and, although the temp rose higher than 80 today, it was chilly at work (grrr… a/c too cold….), so the sweater was actually appreciated and worn for most of the day. i felt colorful, bright and i’m loving the color of these shorts (although looking at these photos i’m wondering if they’re hitting me at a bad height?)
two weeks ago, i spent a sunday afternoon at madtown mama‘s house, learning (again) how to make pasta from scratch. i say “again” because she taught me several years ago, but it took me awhile to acquire my own pasta maker (the tool that rolls the dough flat and cuts it into lovely ribbons) and in the meantime, i totally forgot everything she’d said and when i tried the pasta machine out on my own, it was a complete disaster.
when i called to see if she’d teach me again, she said that her husband actually had more pasta experience, so i wheedled him into showing me the ropes. the photos you see in this post are my first solo attempt after that tutorial. they turned out so lovely and delicate and delicious! here’s the quickie instructions i followed:
combine (approx.) 2 cups semolina flour, 2 eggs (you might need to add another if they’re small and the dough is too dry), a few glugs of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. knead by hand for a long time until the dough comes together to form a smooth, uniform ball. you may need to add a bit more oil, or another egg if it’s too crumbly, or more flour if it’s too sticky or wet. (see why i wanted an in-person tutorial?) the semolina is a coarser flour than all-purpose, but don’t worry about the slight grittiness–it will go away when cooked.
divide the dough into 6 portions and roll each portion somewhat flat. feed each flattened portion through the pasta machine rollers, gradually adjusting the rollers. you’ll probably need to go down four or five notches. if you want to cut the skinny size, you want the sheets to be slightly thicker and if you’re cutting linguine, roll them a notch thinner.
when they’re the thickness you think will work, run them through the cutting rollers. it helps to have someone else to turn the crank while you feed the pasta through with one hand and catch the cut noodles with your other hand. if the rollers don’t cut all the way through, re-roll your dough (perhaps a teeny bit thicker) and lightly flour both surfaces of the dough before sending it through again.
once the noodles are cut, hang them on a drying rack. if you allow them to dry for several hours, they will be brittle and break when you try to unload them off the drying rack, but they will still taste delicious. add to boiling, well-salted water and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until desired consistency is reached.
i got my first non-spam anonymous comment! readers who leave anonymous comments often feel uncomfortable leaving their name because they feel that their comment is a negative one, but in this instance, the commenter simply asked, “How did you “design” this quilt? The pattern is in the “Modern Quilt Workshop” book since 2005.” which i am pleased to be able to respond to. although i’m sure i read through the modern quilt workshop book when it first came out, i had forgotten that there was a bookshelf quilt in it, so i first went to find the book and see where the similarities between our quilts lie. conveniently, google books gives us an inside peek into the book and we can see the exact page describing the quilt they’ve titled “book club.” indeed, “book club” is a quilt meant to represent a full bookshelf, just as mine has been compared to a bookshelf. here are some other things i noticed:
1. “book club” has a few tilted, slanty books in the mix and also includes borders below each row of books and around the edge of the quilt to represent the bookshelf itself. “overdue” by very careful design has only vertical books and no visible “shelf” (i’ve even carried the booklines though the binding to maintain that image of floating rows of vertical lines of color). these subtle differences make a huge difference (at least to me) in the overall “feel” of the quilt and were purposeful design decisions.
2. both times that i showed my quilt at our local modern quilt guild meetings (when it was just a finished top and after it was quilted), i had other guild members approach me afterwards to show me pictures of bookshelf quilts they’d made. although both were lovely, neither of their quilts looked much like “book club” or “overdue.” a quick google images search for “bookshelf quilt” reveals a wiiiiide variety of designs. my guess is that people have been making bookshelf quilts since long before 2005 and everyone has their own interpretation, from very abstract to very literal. that is the joy of the creative process–taking inspiration from other works and from the world around you and figuring out your own interpretation.
so, to answer the original question, when i said that i “designed” my quilt, i was referring to the process i went through to decide how i wanted my particular quilt to look–from piecing to quilting. if you’d like to read more about my thought process while planning the quilt and what inspired me to develop my own interpretation of a “bookshelf” design, i encourage you to read my original post on the common threads quilting bee blog. if you’re interested in reading about how the quilting design evolved, please read this post on the in a stitch quilting blog.
thank you for asking for clarification. i always find conversations about creative inspiration to be fascinating and complex.
in case it’s been awhile since you’ve visited my blog directly (instead of through an rss feed), i’d like to invite you over to see my new look! it’s a design by the amazing patricia of mirabelleza (an etsy shop which is, sadly, currently closed!) and i have been swooning over it all evening. the story of how i came to by the use of this template is too long and twisty to tell here, but in the end, i’ll just say that i am absolutely amazed at the generosity of patricia and wish her the very, very best in her new endeavors!
i’ve begun reading short chapter books with lots of pictures to the happy little dude before bed each night. we still read a picture book or two each night in addition to a few chapters from a longer book, but i wanted to start working on longer books just to see if he could follow them. plus, i tend to get tired of reading the same picture books over and over and over and over, and we can usually get away with reading chapter books only once (or maybe i read them once and mr. happy staff reads them once and then we can take them back to the library). i’ve tried to steer away from books with human characters that are way older than he is (the early elementary students who are usually reading these titles and are therefore their target audience), and that leaves us largely with personified animal books. fine with us! here are a few series and titles we’ve enjoyed recently:
down girl and sit by lucy nolan “down girl” is the narrator dog for these stories about her adventures with the next-door dog named “sit” and her owner named “rruff” and the cat next door named “here, kitty kitty.”
moose and hildy by stephanie greene a pig and moose are unlikely, but endearing best friends. be aware, if you read the whole series, that “pig pickin’” deals with the threat of hildy (the pig) becoming barbeque (she avoids that fate, but it might be disturbing for vegetarians to read?).
maybelle by katie speck maybelle the cockroach and her best friend (a flea) live in the peabody’s house where everything is “just so.” what happens when maybelle gets too interested in trying out food that is fresh?
flat stanley by jeff brown stanley becomes flat when a bulletin board on his bedroom wall falls down on top of him. flatness, as it turns out, has its advantages! we’ve only read one of these so far. they might be a little old for the happy little dude? but apparently… there’s an app!
my father’s dragon by ruth stiles gannett a classic title with some old-fashioned values (i did a bit of editing on the fly when his mother beat the cat before throwing it out the back door in chapter 1). happy little dude is looking forward to reading the second in the series.
lulu and the brontosaurus by judith viorst reading this to a three-year-old who is still throwing tantrums and doesn’t necessarily understand that lulu is old enough that she shouldn’t be throwing tantrums is risky business. i’m never quite sure if he’s getting ideas about how to manipulate us, or just enjoying the story…
welcome to the bed & biscuit by joan davenport carris we’re reading this one right now and i’m enjoying the gentle plot line and the loveable characters and the illustrations. although there are a few two-page spreads with no pictures that make a certain listener very antsy, when i ask him questions about the story, he can answer them correctly, so i know he’s listening. tip for anyone attempting this in your own home–if your pre-reader child gets wiggly while you’re working your way through a long block of text, run your finger under the words you’re reading to let them know where you are (almost done!) and to re-iterate the “print awareness” knowledge (i.e. “those letters spell out the words that mom is reading”). if you’re presenting this title to a beginning reader, you should know that the vocabulary is not simple! tonight’s selection included the word, “lugubrious!”
others i’m looking forward to reading:
any favorites in this genre/reading level that your family would recommend?
there’s a new art exhibit up at my library. it’s quilts from the local modern quilt guild. they fill all of the available art rail space (the most we’ve had up all year–all the staff love it and i’ve heard lots of positive feedback from patrons too!). here are some in the children’s area:
and here are some near the magazine and adult study area. oh wait. one of those looks familiar…
it’s my quilt! happy dance, happy dance, it’s finally done!!!! (see previous posts about it here and here and here) the title of this quilt is “overdue” because not only did i start this quilt three years ago, but i almost always have books overdue on my library card because i want to read too many at once.
although this is “my” quilt because i own it and i designed it, i almost don’t feel like i can say that i made it myself. it is definitely the most collaborative quilt i have ever made. first of all, a huge thank you to the women of the common threads quilt bee (round 2) who contributed strips of “books” for this quilt. without your help, this quilt would have had much less variety in fabrics and, honestly, would have never gotten finished. i had no idea, when i designed this, how tricky it would be to sew strips like this together and not have it turn completely, wildly wonky. you are all champs and now that i’m done, i kind of want to start another round of the bee…..
my second contributor was my mother who (see above note about wildly wonky blocks) straightened up a few places where i’d joined several contributed blocks in a row less than squarely and made squaring up the bottom edge impossible without drastically shortening (and slanting) a whole row of books. mom, you have way more patience for being careful than i do. a million thanks.
and last, but possibly most, i’d like to thank the amazing cindy anderson of in a stitch quilting for taking my quilt from great to absolutely incredible with her marvelous quilting skills! i met cindy through the modern quilt guild here in town and i loved working with her so much that i’m already plotting my next quilt to have her work on! cindy was so patient and understanding as i waffled about what quilting design to use, what thread color to use, how the heck to finally square up this enormous thing… i gave her the merest scribble of my design idea and she not only “got it” she developed it into a design i love even more than i’d imagined. the idea to connect the lines between the books was a last-minute “aha moment” and she easily grabbed onto the idea and ran with it (again, after a sketchy scribble photographed with my phone and e-mailed to her). her fees are ridiculously reasonable and the value of my quilt increased way more from her work on it than the amount i paid. love, love, love it!
i also have to point out that i’m particularly proud of the binding. i loved the no-border look of the top so much that i didn’t want binding to disturb it, so i bound the whole thing in white, then appliqued 8 “books” on the edges, lining up with the ends of each row.
i am not loving the library florescent lighting on the quilt in these shots, so maybe when the quilt show is done (end of june) i’ll have to take a few more pictures of it on my bed. apologies if you get sick of seeing this quilt, but it certainly makes me happy!
p.s. one more thank you to marie and cindy (yes, my quilter cindy) for whip-stitching a rod pocket (by hand) onto the back of my quilt the evening of the installation in the library. i found myself trying to direct a dozen quilters in how to hang what seemed like mountains of quilts up on the library walls (where’s the ladder? where are the rods? do you have fishing line? scissors? tape measure?) while doing my own last-minute prep work and these two ladies calmly stepped in and took over my frantic stitching and finished it for me. thank you, thank you!