A few weeks ago I made a 10″ magic fairy door and I used the block to make a 14″ pillowcase. The quilting process started having a mind of its own and I was happy to oblige.
My original idea was to hand quilt everything. There was one problem – my stitches are still in the medium size range and the leaves looked horrible and clunky instead of small and delicate. I have done free motion quilting only once and that was probably a couple of years ago. So I took a deep breath, removed the little hand quilting I had done and started free motion quilting the vines and the leaves. As usual, my fear proved unjustified. Since I can adjust the speed of the pedal of my machine, it went rather smoothly. I am happy with the way the quilting turned out, even with the smattering of imperfections here and there.
Once the machine quilting was done, I started hand quilting the door. I think the hand quilting makes the door stand out from the surrounding vines and leaves. Toward the end, I started stitching along the border with my walking foot. Then another idea came to my head – alternate the border with machine and hand quilting and alternate the thread colour as well.
This is the first time I also decided to bind my pillowcase. It’s a woodland fairy door, so what else would I use but a brown binding to go with the light mossy green border. The finished pillow now resides in my husband’s room. Hopefully he will not be subject to naughty fairy shenanigans!
While we are being rain-starved here in California, I know most of you are probably tired of winter already. I think my little penguin Polaris would heartily agree with you. I made this pillow for Amanda and I recently realized that I haven’t shared it here. This little penguin keeps on tugging on my sleeve and demanding that I make more copies of him.
Amanda told me that her daughter claimed the pillow as soon as she opened the box. You can see her photo on Amanda’s site – What The Bobbin. Picture-perfect warmth and comfort! My little penguin found a happy home, don’t you think?! If you want to make him, you can find him on Etsy.
From one pole to the other! I love to cook. A lot. Stew is my favorite because nothing warms you up better than hot stew on a cold winter day. Ever since I had Lapskaus in Norway, I wanted to replicate it at home. It’s a very starchy stew where the potatoes become really mushy, leading to the starchy characteristic of the stew. I looked for a few recipes on the web, but either the ingredients looked nothing like what we tasted, or it looked like way too much work for a simple, hearty stew. So I decided to follow my own mouth and devise a recipe.
1 stalk of celery – chopped 1 lb carrots – chopped (you can use any root vegetable you like) 1 medium onion – sliced 1 package of peas (I forgot to add them to mine this time) 5 – 6 medium to large potatoes – chopped in large chunks (I’ll explain a bit more about the potatoes in the recipe) 4 – 5 large cloves of garlic – minced (I like a lot of garlic) Canola oil 2 tsp dried thyme Salt – to taste 1 package of good beef broth (mine is 1 quart or 946ml in the USA) 3.75 lbs of stew meat of your choice – chopped
About the potatoes – starchier the better. I use golden potatoes since I want them to mostly fall apart and thicken the stew, but still hold their shape a little. If you want them to be mushier than that, I suggest you use baking potatoes.
To begin, I add a couple of tablespoons of oil in a dutch oven (I add more oil as needed to coat the vegetables). First I fry the onions, I add them to the still-cold oil to reduce spatter.
Once the onions turn light brown, I stir in the minced garlic making sure it doesn’t burn. After that, I add the carrots, celery, potatoes and meat and cover all of it with the broth. Along with salt I also add a couple of teaspoons of thyme, which is my most favorite herb. I am pretty sure I sprinkle a little bit more on top of the initial two teaspoons! I then stir everything together. It’s easier for me to stir everything in the liquid, so I don’t bother stirring until I add the broth. Once it comes to a boil, I turn the heat down to a simmer and let it cook for 3-4 hours or until the meat is completely tender. This is my favorite way of making stew; all I vary are the vegetables, the spices and the meat.
Here’s my finished Norwegian Lapskaus. It tasted exactly like what we had in Norway. Next time I am adding a package of peas. I am sure any Norwegian grandmother would shriek at my method of cooking this stew, but it sure tasted good and hearty on a cold winter day!