Friday, January 30, 2015

Stash Bee --- Hive 5 --- May Tutorial


Hello all. My name is Heather Browne, and I live in Oakdale, CT, USA with my Husband Bob and our daughter and two sons. 10, 12 & 4.
I have been a stay at home mom since my daughter was born 10 years ago. Prior to that I worked as and Labor Accountant. When I am not sewing, I serve as the Cookie Mom for our Girl Scout Troop. I have a blog that I have just started posting to this year, HotPinkThread and and Etsy shop under the same name. I am just beginning my business, and am loving every minute of it.
I am taking advantage of the time home to build a business doing something I love. I have just started up with blogging, and am starting to find out how all the social sites work together, and plan to dive into blogging (and sewing) more when my youngest starts kindergarten in the fall.

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting

I remember, as a child, sitting and watching my mother sew, and being totally fascinated as her hands thread the machine effortlessly. I wondered how she could remember how to do such a complicated task. Then there were all those pattern pieces and seam allowances and darts and buttonholes and backstitching, and pinking something or other. I had no idea what any of it meant, but she was pretty amazing.
I tried to learn from her as a child, but it never seemed to click. I learned to hand sew in Junior High Home Ec class, but truly started sewing when my first born turned 2.
I, (along with lots of help from my mother) made paw print shaped goody bags with felt on my grandmothers old Necchi sewing machine. From that point forward, I knew that sewing was something I loved. Forward a few years, and a little daughter added to the mix, and I realized that I could make some of her clothes myself, and they would be so much cuter than store bought. I purchased an inexpensive Brother Machine, set off to the internet and taught myself how to sew on the new computerized machine. My first twirly skirt was finished in time for our first Disney Trip.
I made clothing for friends children, and handbags and other items to sell at local craft fairs and online. The business was just starting to take off the ground when we had our third baby and I put it on hold to focus on the family. After deciding recently to get back into sewing, it seemed there was no longer a market for handbags, and my daughter has outgrown the twirly skirt years, so I went on a search for something else to create.
A new sister in law was coming into the family, and mentioned she would love to have a quilt and maybe learn the process herself. Aha, I had found my new adventure. I personally had never liked quilts, not on my bed at least. I am a fluffy comforter sort of gal. But my new sister in law was classy, and stylish, and I knew that I could put my skills to the test to give her a gift she would love.
I began scouring the internet for patterns and how to videos and stumbled upon a Block of the Month Craftsy Class 2012 by Amy Gibson. Because of her enthusiasm, I began looking at quilting in a whole new light. I very quickly loved the sense of satisfaction I get from making beautiful pieces of art that are functional and cozy too. QUILTING was in my blood!
These are some pictures of her quilt and pillowcases during the creating process.
These are some of my latest creations, still works in progress.


How do you organize your fabric stash?

I am very disorganized. But the stash is slowly becoming organized. I have been using the 6" ruler method of folding my fabrics around the ruler and then taking them off the ruler and folding in half and storing on an Ikea Expedit shelving unit. All of my colors are right there in front of me, at a glance and it makes a beautiful setting for creativity. I have begun organizing my scraps by sizes, in hopes that someday I will have enough to make a scrappy hexie quilt. Note the abundance of juvenilee prints still left from making kids clothing.


Who is/are your favorite fabric designers?

 Robert Kaufman, Riley Blake, Amy Butler and all things fresh, bright and bold! I love geometric prints, and love to think outside of the box. I stay away from rust, brown, gold, and dark green. I am not a traditional quilter, although, I do like some of the traditional patterns with a modern twist. I like to take the pattern that I have and tweak it just a little to make it non-standard, and non-traditional in some way.


What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?

How to sew a scant 1/4". Seam rippers have gotten alot of work around here. Even sometimes now, I find that I have to pick out seams to make a pattern work.


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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quilting Guild

I joined a Quilt Guild.
The Clamshell Quilt Guild in Waterford, CT.

A friend I met last year at our town playgroup, Karyn, is into quilting. When she found out that I was interested in it too, she told me about her Quilt Guild. She had only just joined last year, and is very new to the group. This summer when the guild held a yard sale, Karyn invited me to attend with her. Standing under pop-up tents in the pouring down rain, we spent over an hours visiting with the ladies running the sale, and drooling over the extensive choices of fabrics. I purchased nearly 50 fat quarters, a one yard cut, a preschool knit, and a funky knit for around $25.
This stash is the beginning of a quilt I plan to make for my mother over the winter. boys jammie pants, and a funky dress for my 8 year old daughter.

One of the Clamshell Quilt Guilds beloved members, Delores Fox, passed away last year, and left behind a great deal of fabrics, books, patterns, etc. Their summer yard sale included fat quarters and bolts of fabrics, pattern books, and supplies from Delores estate. There were hundreds of beautiful fabrics there. I made out so well at the yard sale, that when Karyn told me there would be a silent auction at the guild meeting last week, $5 to attend as a guest, or $30 to join for the year. I decided I would just go ahead and jump on board and join the guild.

The silent auction was absolutely fabulous. I wish I had remembered to whip out my camera and take pictures of all the goodies. The great amount of fabrics that Delores owned was astonishing!!!  And when I say a great amount, I mean enough to fill my entire sewing room, and then some!
There had to have been over 200 items in the auction, and each plastic bag containing various large, neatly folded pieces of fabric. Some of them contained work already in progress. In addition to the auction, there was a box of patterns for purchase. Plenty of items for all of the members to get something that they would want.
Two of the purchases from that night.

Delores had a love for quilting and handbags. From this auction and from the comments of the women at the guild, one could see that Delores was a very organized crafter, and that she put her whole heart into her work. The fabrics were neatly organized, coordinated in groups, and beautiful!!!! Batiks, silks, and quality quilting cottons were abundant. Designers like Kafe Fasset, Amy Butler, Michael Miller, Heather Bailey, Joel Dewberry, Tula Pink and Dena Designs were among the designer fabrics that I recognized. Looking at the items, you could almost imagine what her project in mind was when she joined those fabrics together. 
Designer fabrics from Delores auction.

In addition to a gift that was presented to new crafters at the beginning of the meeting, I also purchased 4 groups of fabrics. The gift, from items donated by Delores' family, included a quilting ruler, rotary cutter, helpful instructions for new quilters, a purse pattern, and a few quilting magazines, as well as a letter explaining the gift. I didn't know Delores, but could almost feel her in the room, as I looked around and could see the love in the eyes of those members who knew her well. I was very touched to have owned something that belonged to such a marvelous woman.

In a way, I feel that she is and will always be my first quilting teacher, not only because of that gift, but also because of one of the items that I purchased that evening. It was a UFO of a octagon stack and whack that Delores had started, but never finished. For those of you who do not know, UFO stands for unfinished object. The Stack and Whack was a quilt style I had not seen yet, and I was very intrigued to learn the skill, and since the lot came with an instructional book from Bethany Reynolds, the creator of Stack and Whack, I was sure to learn this design, and get a great head start from a woman whose last years were spent starting this quilt.

For those of you who have a loved one that has passed away, receiving something belonging to them is especially exciting, and stirs up emotions of longing and nostalgia. Here I stand, holding a beautiful work in progress, from a woman I did not know. While looking at her notes in her own handwriting, her meticulous seams, and cut pieces, I feel a connection with her that words cannot describe. I feel so overwhelmed. I am excited to hold something that belonged to her, and feel like I have known her for years and I sadly miss her. I am honored to know that someday, I will complete a quilt that will have her love and dedication included in it.

I hope when I finish this quilt, it is worthy of the woman that Delores was. I hope for it to hang in a Clamshell Quilt Show, as a work dedicated to Delores Fox, a wonderful quilter, inspiration and teacher!!!! Rest in peace, Delores, knowing that you passed on your love to another generation of quilters!!
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chewy Fudgy Chocolate Chip Cookie Oreo Brownie Bars

Also known as Sinful!!!
My friend Terrie told me about this great dessert that she had at a party, so the next chance I got, I went searching the web to find a recipe. I found quite a few posts, i even tried a few, but finally settled on making my own. I wish I could take full credit for coming up with the idea of mixing these 3 desserts together. You will be pleased with your results.


How can you go wrong with chocolate chip cookies, oreos, and brownies???
Imagine how good this tastes with a little warm hot fudge and vanilla ice cream!

To begin, you will need a good chocolate chip cookie dough recipe. I have included my recipe with this post. Create your dough, and line your 9x13 glass baking pan with parchment paper. (You can spray paper if you think it needs it, I prefer not to use the spray because I think it changes the taste of the dough.)
Spread your cookie dough into your baking sheet in an even layer. Then top with DOUBLE STUFF Oreo cookies. (You can experiment with the many different flavors and colors of oreos available year round, the Keebler Grasshoppers create a pleasant mint version of this bar)
Pour the brownie batter into the pan and spread evenly over the top of the cookies.
You can add hot fudge topping swirled into the brownie batter at this point if you can handle even more chocolate!
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350F. Uncover and cook an additional 15-25 minutes.
Cool completely and cut, and this is what they look like without the hot fudge in them.

I have been experimenting with the insides of this dessert, because I am not a huge fan of oreos unless they are drowning in milk. I would love to hear your comments, and any substitutions you have tried. I will reveal the results with my new dessert recipe in the next couple of weeks.

Printable Recipe

Chewy Fudgy Chocolate Chip Cookie Oreo Brownie
Cookie Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips (I prefer the mini chips)

Other Ingredients:
1 pkg Double Stuffed Oreos
1 Family Size (9×13) Brownie mix with required mix ins
1/4 cup hot fudge topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, Cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well to thoroughly combine.
Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into the mixer until the flour is just combined, do not over beat.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Spread the cookie dough in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish that’s been lined with parchment paper. ( I like the cookie layer to not be too thick, so I reserve about a cup of the cookie dough out and freeze in a flattened baggie for a future cookie fix.)
Top cookie dough layer with a layer of Oreos.
In a separate bowl, mix together brownie mix, adding an optional 1/4 cup of hot fudge topping to the mix. Pour the brownie batter over the cookie dough and Oreos. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 15-25 minutes.
Testing with a toothpick or cake tester may reveal the brownies to be a little bit gooey.
Once cooled they will set perfectly soft and fudgy.
Let cool completely before cutting!!
If using an 8x8 brownie mix, cut the cookie recipe in half, and use an 8x8 pan.

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Wicked Hot Grocery Shopping!!!

The news channel is showing our entire state in a big flood of red and orange color for the poor air quality and high humidity as well as near 100 degree temperatures.
(This was the temperature map this morning at 10:59am.)

Can you say HAZY, HOT, HUMID!!

Since I do not always watch the news, I was not aware until this morning that the air was going to be pea soup today. So here I am sitting with no food in the house for dinner, and not wanting to leave the air conditioned bubble that we are hiding in. The idea that I would have to take three children to the grocery store in this weather is not my idea of a fun day.

So what is a mom to do????
Shop Rite at Home Delivery Service.
I went online around 10 am to start my shopping. After a few interruptions from the kiddos, by 11 am I was checked out, and my personal shopper is on duty. Not only do they do all the shopping for me, but they also deliver the same day, and the groceries will arrive today between 5pm and 7pm and the delivery is free!!!!

How Shop Rite is better than that other service:
You can purchase right from the same circular that comes in your newspaper.
The prices are not greater like that other grocery store in the area does.
The regular delivery charge is $6.95 only, but it is free if you spend over $100
If you check the box that says allow substitutions, then the shopper will call you if the item you ordered is out of stock so that you can easily choose a substitute for you.

There were a few great deals today. I got 2 lbs of cherries for less than $4. Two Tide 100 load HE detergents for $23, and Ronzoni pasta for $0.88 a box.

One tip: Order a rotisserie chicken for $4.99 just in case the delivery comes closer to the later end of your delivery time, that way you will have something already cooked to just warm for the kids dinner.
We are all so thrilled that we can now just sit back and enjoy the day. I am thinking some homemade clay may be in order for today! Thanks Shop Rite!!!!

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Monday, July 16, 2012

A Great Way to Start the Day!
So I woke up today, feeling like I needed to create something. Then I remembered this blog that I started so so long ago, and decided that if I was going to create, I need to blog as well. So here goes.

I love iced coffee. If I had enought money in my budget to spend on it, I would buy a Frappuccino from Starbucks or a Iced Mocha Latte from Dunkin Donuts every day. (My waist and rear end probably would not like that, but my mouth would.)

I stumbled upon this post on my Pinterest home page today for DIY Light Frappuccinos, and I thought, I CAN DO THAT!!

At Christmastime, I had made cookies using an instant Espresso, so this is where I started, and the rest was trial and error until I got what tasted like a great cup of frozen coffee. Mind you, this does not taste exactly like Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks, but it was so yummy and did not cost my wallet over $4.00. Following is my own version of the recipe.

Take a look at the pictures closely, Oragami Yoda helped us to make this drink this morning. Anyone with preteen boys should know who Oragami Yoda is, and if not, look here and get a copy of the book from Barnes and Noble.

DIY Frozen Coffee
2-3 Tablespoons Vanilla Liquid Non Dairy Creamer (Like Nestle French Vanilla Coffemate)
1 tsp Ferrara Italian Instant Espresso Coffee You can buy at Amazon here!
1/2 cup skim or 1% milk
8-10 ice cubes

Blend the milk creamer and espresso until crystal have dissolved. Add Ice to your desired consistency and then enjoy!!!

Unlike Laaloosh who posted the original DIY Frappuccino post I got this idea from, I have no idea how many calories are in my drink. I would guess it is similar to hers 2 points + and 95 calories, but my Espresso does not have any of that info listed on it, so I do not know for sure.
I hope you enjoy.

After tasting, Oragami Yoda said "Yummy, it is!", "Drink, you should!"

(No free products or financial compensation was given for the endorsements in this post, just some of my favorite places and products.)

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