"Single Mom" Saturday....

The husband is at an informal college reunion/gathering this weekend, so it's just me and the girls.

This morning we did a little shopping for the garden and bought our vegetable plants. Sam picked out peppers, broccoli (her favorite vegetable), and 2 kinds of tomatoes. The tomatoes she doesn't like to eat but she feels "every garden has to have tomatoes Mommy" so we get them anyways. I think whoever said that if you get kids planting their own food in a garden, they are much more likely to try the 'fruits" of their labor, was so right! Samantha will pretty much try any food, at least once, especially if you tell her it grew in a garden.

Then I treated Sam to lunch at Chick Fil A, which is really my sneaky way of getting a vanilla milkshake and using her as the excuse. This afternoon we'll be doing a small craft, making beaded bracelets while Maddy takes a nap! Nice day with my girls, and I am so looking forward to a glass of wine this evening while I catch up on my guilty-pleasure shows (Gray's Anatomy, Glee, and Vampire Diaries).

Hope you're having a great weekend!



Past Quilt #3: 3 Vases

I took a class with Robbi Joy Eklow 6 or 7 years ago. She is an art quilter whose work I've admired for many years, and I was absolutely thrilled to have a chance to learn from her. If you're not familiar with Robbi's amazing art quilts, please check them out on her blog here.

This is the quilt I made in her class, based on a simplified version of her "Vases" quilt series.

It is all fusible applique, and the simplicity of the design really allows you to show-off your machine quilting skills - or practice if you're new to fmq. Here are some close-ups of my quilting, which I completed after the class:

I did a different desing in each section of each vase...this allowed me to show off a few patterns I was already good at, as well as practice some new ones Robbi showed us. I loved spending time quilting this!

I also used variagated thread in some of the quilting, like on the blue vase.

This quilt hangs in my family room, above our TV, so I see it everytime I watch television. Thinking about how much fun this quilt was to put together and then quilt makes me want to pull out some of her patterns again (purchased in her class) and try another one!

Here is some extra eye candy, a few of Robbi's amazing quilts! Visit her blog/website to see her full gallery of quilts. She is a warm and very funny quilter with so much knowledge about art quilting techniques.

Groovy Guitars by Robbi Joy Eklow

Queen of Cups by Robbi Joy Eklow

iCandy by Robbi Joy Eklow

Still time to enter the book giveaway by leaving a comment on the show notes for Episode 7: here by 4/30/11



CGM Podcast Episode #8: Back-To-Work

Don't forget to enter the book giveaway by leaving a comment on the show notes for Episode 7: here

Show notes:

Listen to Episode #8 here or download it on iTunes.

Brief discussion of my garden and the book Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding! by Patricia Lanza

Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!

The loom knitted cowl is finished!

(pic to come)

I have cut the layer cake to make this quilt:

Snuggly Squares Baby Quilt by Melissa Corry.
Find the recipe in Moda Bake Shop: here

Discussion of some landscape quilting tips/tricks used to make the Red Cardinal quilt:

Craft product that's making me happy:

Lickity GRIP! I found mine at Joann.com: here

Book Review

Happy Easter!


Episode 8: Back to Work

In this episode I talk a little about the bittersweet time before a mom has to go back to work after maternity leave. I also discuss finally being able to dig into my vegetable garden and the super-simple method I use that anyone, even a complete beginner can do to grow a healthy garden with minimal time and physical effort. Finally, some landscape quilting tips and tricks to make them as real as possible, and of course, a book review. Thanks for listening!


CGM Podcast Episode # 7: Back in the Saddle + Book Giveaway!!!

Listen to the episode here.

Show notes:

Thank you to everyone who has commented and sent emails! Also to my fellow podcasters, BIG thanks for mentioning mine on your recent episodes.

Works completed/in progress:

Sam's baby quilt

(pic to come)

Fall Knitted Cowl

Fun "scrappy" activity with or without kids: scatter thread clippings and small/thin fabric scraps in your yard for the birds to pick up and use in their Spring nest-building! This is simple and so much fun, especially when you look up in the trees and see your bits-and-pieces peeking through.

Landscape quilt techniques for my Under the Sea art quilt:

Magazine Review: 101 Patchwork Projects + Quilts from the publishers of Quilting Arts magazine.

Book Review and my 1st Giveaway: Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland  This giveaway has ended.

Please comment below to enter the giveaway of my copy of this wonderful book + 3 fat quarters of "Tiffany-inspired" fabric from my stash! All comments must be in by midnight 4/30/11 to be eligible in the random drawing. I will announce the winner on my podcast as well as on this blog on 5/1 so be sure to check back/listen in!  Giveaway has ended.

Thanks again for listening!



Episode 7: Back in the Saddle

In this episode I talk about a few landscape quilting techniques and how I avoid "wrestling" with my larger quilts when machine quilting them. I also give a magazine review of 101 Patchwork Projects + Quilts, and a book review of Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland. Listen all the way to the end for details on a book giveaway. I forget to mention that I am also including 3 "Tiffany-inspired" fat quarters from my stash with this giveaway so check my blog for a picture. Leave a comment in the show notes of this episode by 4/30/11 to be eligible to win! http://craftygardenmom.blogspot.com Email me at: taneshaquilts@yahoo.com As always, thanks so much for listening!


"Yucky"/Spoiled Bananas = Banana Bread!

Every other month or so we end up with 2-3 bananas that get overripe and too ugly to eat...you know, the "yucky banana" as my daughter calls them with a wrinkled nose. Sometimes I'm too lazy to use them in some other edible baked good and they end up getting thrown out, but last weekend I couldn't resist my mind visualizing the moist, rich flavor of banana bread savored with a cup of coffee...mmmmm.

Here is my super-simple recipe for delicious banana bread. Use anytime you want of course, but it's best with "yucky bananas"...wrinkled nose or not, Samantha chows down on slice after slice of this deliciously moist bread! Note: when I say use yucky bananas I don't mean bananas so overripe the fruit flies are circling...use your best judgement, they can be pretty black all over but not wasting away. :-)

Gather your ingredients:
3 bananas, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1/2c vegetable oil, 2 cups flour,
1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt.....that's it!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mash the bananas in a medium size mixing bowl.

To the bananas add 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs (beat the eggs before adding them which you can see from the picture I forgot to do..it's all good though I just beat them in the bowl and it was fine), and 1/2 cup oil. Mix well until creamy.

Sift the dry ingredients (2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt)
together and add to the banana mixture.

Pour the mixture in a greased 5 x 9 loaf pan, or if you have one of these silicone loaf
pans (above) you don't need to grease it..I highly recommend them!
Bake 55-60 minutes and out comes this yumminess:

Yep, they snagged a slice of it before I could get a "perfect loaf" picture, LOL. Oh well, it's truly THAT GOOD! And so easy...make some next time you have "yucky bananas".

CGM's Easy Banana Bread
3 yucky bananas, well mashed
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas in mixing bowl. Add sugar, eggs and oil, mixing well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to the banana mixture. Pour in a greased loaf pan and bake 55-60 minutes or until knife comes out clean.



Audiobook Shout-Out: A Discovery of Witches

I just finished listening to an audio book version of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this book! Now, if you are completely turned off/sick-and-tired of the whole "vampire/witches/paranormal" genre that has exploded in the last 4-5 years, stop reading this review right now. This book isn't for you, LOL.

But if you can stand just one more book in that category, do not miss A Discovery of Witches. In a nutshell, Diana Bishop is a witch in denial. She knows she descends from a long line of powerful witches, but refuses to acknowledge her own powers and relies on her intellect and reality to succeed as a well-respected authority on alchemy. While researching an ancient text, she comes smack against magic and can no longer deny her destiny. However, a handsome yet enigmatic vampire is also seeking the same knowledge she is and knows she is in danger from other creatures who will stop at nothing to unlock her power and take back what they think she is hiding. The two team up, along with several others of their kind, and together they embark on a journey to stop the evil side of the witch/vampire/demon community that threatens all of them with extinction.

OK, it sounds a little trite and corny the way I described it above, but this is very well written, and reads fast even for a 500+ page book. The narrator, Jennifer Ikeda, does a great job with the pace and different voices for each of the characters. It's pretty "tame" in light of how some of these vampire/witch romances are - there isn't any sex or graphic violence (like the Twilight series). But the dialogue is great, and the author really knows how to build a storyline to where you want to find out what will happen next. And while many are comparing it to the Twilight series, I felt the main difference was that you knew you were reading about adults, vs. the teenage angst of Bella and Edward. while I enjoyed Twilight series, Bella's "teenage-ness" did get on my nerves many times throughout the books, LOL.

This book is part 1 of a trilogy, and Deborah Harkness is working on the second book in the series, to release in 2012...I can hardly wait! Again, if you like a good romance, with a devastatingly handsome male lead, and a smart female lead, you will enjoy this book!

Rating: A


Past Quilt #2: Red Cardinals

Here is another of my past quilts. This one is a winter landscape scene with 2 red cardinals. I love stark winter scenes where you see a bright splash of color on a white backdrop. I've seen many photos like this, and always wanted to make a quilt depicting that kind of scene.

I fussy-cut the birds from a printed fabric that had all different kinds of birds on it. I cut long, narrow strips of black fabric so the birds would be sitting in a tree - more likely than hopping around on the cold ground.

I also used a fabric that had a birch tree print from selvage to selvage so I cut long, narrow strips of it to make trees. I also wanted little Christmas pine trees in the background, so I cut them using a very dark green batik.

The backdrop and borders are the same fabric, but I felt the quilt needed a little more "pop" of color, so I added the inner red border to frame the whole scene. It's also important to pay attention to details in any outdoor landscape, and if you look long, you'll notice nothing in nature is ever truly just one shade or color - and there is always always some form of vegetation popping through - even if it's dead grass. Hence the spots of gold "dead" grass I free motioned randomly on the ground floor. This also adds some color and visual interest to the quilt in a subtle way, without taking away from the winter scene as a whole or drawing too much attention away from the birds.
This is one of my favorite smaller landscape quilts. I hope you enjoy it too! And I'm linked up to the Weekend Bloggy Reading so check it out - great reading from some fabulous bloggers.


Loom Knitting WIP: Cowl

I've cast on a cowl on my round loom. I'm using the extra-large yellow Knifty Knitter round loom and wow, is it simple to use! This is the first cowl I've made, and even though the weather is (finally) getting warmer, I've been wanting to make one of these for awhile so I guess I'll save it for Fall once it's done.

I've got about 20 rows done so far:

I am using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick n' Quick yarn in the Spice colorway. The "pattern" I'm using is a simple basket weave effect by K3, P3 every 4-5 rows. The hardest part is remembering if I'm on a knit or purl when I start a new row, I get distracted very easily and have the worst short-term memory for things like that. Luckily now that the basket weave is showing I can usually eyeball whether it should be a knit or purl next. The best place to learn how to use your loom is the video tutorials by Isela Phelps aka Purling Sprite. She has also written several fantastic books on loom knitting:

Loom Knitting Primer: A Beginner's Guide to Knitting on a Loom, with over 30 Fun Projects  Loom Knitting Pattern Book: 38 Easy, No-Needle Designs for All Loom Knitters (No-Needle Knits)  Loom Knitting Socks: A Beginner's Guide to Knitting Socks on a Loom with Over 50 Fun Projects (No-Needle Knits)

I'll post the finished cowl when it's done!



For those in the DC Metro area: Join the Yarn Crawl!

April 9 - 17 is the annual Metro Yarn Crawl. A great way to support the local yarn shops (LYS) and add to your stash for some spring and summer knitting. I know the baby and I will be hitting several of these shops, especially a few I've never been to before.

Come join the crawl!!



Podcast Episode 6: Walking Plague

Show notes:

Update on where I've been, my health (laryngitis + pink eye), the baby. Thanks for your well wishes, comments and emails!

What I've been working on:

By the Shore quilt

Mug Rug using my Cricut Expression (pic to come)

Cowl using my knitting loom - this one was just cast on last night, so I'll post a picture when it's a little more knit-along.

People, Places, and Things mentioned:

Patsy Thompson DVDs on free-motion machine quilting

Knitted cowl patterns: Knifty Knitter cowl, Lion Brand cowl pattern

You Tube tutorial on cutting fabric with a Cricut



Episode #6: Walking Plague

In this episode I update you on my recent illness (aka The Walking Plague) that has kept me from recording the last month. As I'm still recovering, it's a shorter episode than usual. i also fill you in on what I've been working on and finished, and upcoming projects in the pipeline. I don't have a book review this time, for reasons that will be obvious when you listen, but will definitely return next time with at least 2 good books since I've been reading up a storm! Thanks for listening!


What I'm Reading This Month

This is an advance reader's copy. The book is on sale 5/3/11.
I can't wait to read it, Geraldine Brooks is a wonderful author, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for March.

This one's been on my "to read" list for awhile - a quilting mystery!

If you have't read the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde - run, don't walk to your local bookshop or library and pick up a copy of The Eyre Affair, the first book.
This is my favorite "literary" mystery series - it is simply brilliant.

I just love Diane Mott Davidson's "cozy" mystery series.Maybe it's because the main character is a caterer and the descriptions of all the yummy foods she makes are so detailed you can taste them.......
and recipes are included!

What are you reading this month?

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