Merry Christmas

Chrismas 2012

I want to wish a merry Christmas. May your holidays be filled with love and peace in company of your loved ones. 
Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such lovely comments. I truly appreciate them. 

XX Martha.


A Picture... A Moment


It is starting to look a lot like Christmas. Even though the weather today was cold and gloomy, my house felt  warm and cheerful. I spent the day working on some Christmas presents and enjoying the sight of these beautiful poinsettias my sister got me. How was your weekend?


Giveaway Winner Announced

Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by and participated on the giveaway. I hope you had lots of fun during the blog hop. Thank you to my followers for reading my blog and to all my new followers welcome. Please keep in touch I'm planning more giveaways for the next year.
The true random generator has spoken and the winner of this giveaway #307 RoseMary. I just sent you an e-mail please check your inbox.

Thank you again, you guys make blogging even more fun!



Giveaway : Quilter's Blog Hop Party

Modern Log Cabin - Book

Welcome to my stop on the Quilting Gallery Blog Hop Party. Thank you for stopping by. I hope you stay a while and look around. My name is Martha; I love cooking, baking, gardening and less than a year ago I discovered quilting. And I love it! I tend to collect books and just recently got a copy of Susan Beal's Modern Log Cabin Quilting. I love it so much that I went and got an additional copy to giveaway to one lucky winner.

Modern Log Cabin - Bood

Here is what you need to do to enter:

-Leave me a comment on this post.
*If you are a non-reply blogger, or you are not sure, please include your e-mail address on you comment so I can reach you in case you are the winner*
-If you are a follower you get a second (bonus) entry. Just leave me a comment letting me know your are a follower.

The giveaway stays open until Saturday December 15, then I will chose a winner at random and announce it on Sunday December 16. I'm happy to ship internationally so everyone can participate.

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

Thank you so much for stopping by. Please check out all the bloggers participating on this amazing party. I'm sure there will be lots of goodies.

Good luck!

*Giveaway is now closed*



Paper Piecing {Pattern Review}

This past weekend I tried paper piecing for the first time. Ever since I started sewing I had been intrigued by paper piecing. I admire so much the beautiful and intricate designs that people are able to create using the method, but I had been so intimidated to try it..; Well this Sunday it all changed. Diane @ From Blank Pages was so kind to send me a pattern she designed to test. The pattern is called Illusion. I couldn't be more surprised at how easy it all came together to create this beautiful block. I think Diane is a very talented pattern designer. The instructions on the pattern were so clear and easy to understand and it even came with instructions and templates on how to cut the fabric including seam allowance! I thought that was perfect, specially for a newbie like me. Of course, I couldn't had done it without first reading Diane's  Paper Piecing Tutorial
Now the question is: what to do with my beautiful block?  Any suggestions.



It Only Took Me A Month To Finish It

You might remember the block in the center of the pillow. I made the star block for my stop on  the Traveling Pic-Stitch Blog Hop and after doing the machine quilting the quilted block sat at the bottom of my WIP's basket sad and forgotten for almost a month. I didn't want it to be sad anymore, so this weekend I decided to finally finish my pillow. I really like the way it turned out and how in such as small project I was able to practice different techniques:
-I made the Star block using the English Paper Piecing method:
-The Star block is both machine and hand applique to the background fabric
-I machine quilted the background fabric following the star pattern of the center block and hand quilted  it using DMC embroidery thread  to add more interest to the design.

I love my new pillow and it only took me a month to finish it:)


Rain Drops

It has been raining for the past four days and finally yesterday we had a break from the rain and the sun shined for a little bit. I went out to the garden and took some pictures of the trees still covered with rain drops. Everything looked so fresh and full of life. Our lemon trees are thriving and laden with fruit. We also have a small mandarin tree and this year is finally yielding some fruit. I'm so excited, I love mandarins. They remind me of Christmas and every time I eat one it brings back so many childhood memories...
Today is supposed to rain all day. so we planning a lazy Sunday at home. How is the weather like right now where you live?



A New Table Runner

My table was in need for a new table runner. So last week I got to work and finished this one. And finally today I had time to take some pictures of it to share with you. I love its simplicity. The quilting is just straight line quilting spaced about 1/2 inch apart (I have been wanting to do that for quite some time). I'm going to enjoy it for a few more days and then I'm going to switch it for a Christmas runner I started to work on today. I can't not believe it is December already and I have not started to decorate for Christmas. How about you, have you started decorating for the Holidays?



Blue Patchwork Quilt: Finished

The patchwork quilt for my dad is finally finished. Yay! I took advantage of the long weekend and instead going shopping I stayed home and played with some fabrics and my sewing machine. I had finished the quilt last week. But I still needed to do the binding. So on Friday I cuddled up in front of the TV, did some hand stitching and watched a few old movies. 
The quilt measures approximately 72X54 inches; perfect for a lap quilt. The quilt is now washed, wrapped and waiting for Christmas to arrive so it can go to its new home.



Brown Sugar Cookies

Yesterday I made a batch of Brown Sugar Cookies. They were I rainy day treat for my husband. He had to work, so the Buttery soft and  chewy goodness were a little pick me up after a long day of work. The recipe is an adaptation to one of Martha Stewart's Chocolate Chip cookies. My husband is not a big fan of chocolate (I'm a total chocoholic, so it totally baffles me his indifference to chocolate), every time I make chocolate chip cookies he asks me to leave some without chocolate chips. So I finally gave in and made him a whole batch of brown sugar cookies. They are delicious and you don't even miss the chocolate (and that is coming from a big chocolate lover). The added crunch of the sugar sprinkled on top adds an extra dimension to these cookies. We had them for breakfast this morning, a little Sunday indulgence, and they tasted even better. 

Brown Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart
(Makes about 3 dozen cookies)

2 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar packed
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
Optional: 1/4 cup Demerara Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). In a medium bowl wish together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. Using and electric mixer at medium speed beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs and continue to beat until well incorporated.
3. Reduced speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture. Using an ice cream scoop drop scoops of batter on to baking sheets. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
*Update: I noticed that I had written 1 1/5 cups of sugar. It should be 1 1/2. It has been fixed. Sorry about the typo*




A Picture... A Moment

Beautiful fall colors around my neighborhood. I love fall.


Sunday Sewing

Today I made a lot of progress on my blue patchwork quilt. It was a bit chilly (typical fall weather), which made it perfect to stay inside and and have some fun sewing. 
All week I had been thinking about the backing for this quilt. I wanted to pull some of the colors from the top into the backing, but I was undecided about the design. I finally decided and made four Rail Fence blocks using leftover scraps from the quilt top. I placed the blocks on a vertical line running through the middle of the quilt. The quilt is basted and even started to do the quilting. It finally feels like it is almost finished. So close...

Have a wonderful week!



Giveaway Results :: Winner Announced

Thank you everyone who participated on this my second giveaway. I truly appreciate all of your lovely comments; they really brighten my day. 

The winner is #21 - Jocelyn!

*Jocelyn I just sent you an e-mail to let you know, I hope to hear from you soon*

Thank you again for your support. Have a wonderful day!

xx Martha



Time for another giveaway! I made this travel sewing kit for one lucky winner using the pattern from the book Zakka Style. The giveaway will be open through Thursday, November 8 until 9:00 pm PST. Then a winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday November 9. I will be happy to ship internationally so anyone can participate.

If you would like to participate:

1. Leave a comment on this post. If you are a non-reply blogger or you are not sure, please leave me an e-mail address where I can reach you.
2. If you are a follower of my blog (old or new) you have a second chance to enter, just leave a comment that says "following."

Good Luck!



Granola Cookies

Another fabulous weekend at home... the weather was almost summer like. I spent a few hours gardening with my husband. And after the little workout, I was in the mood to do some baking. I had all the ingredients at hand so I decided to make  a batch of granola cookies.They are utterly delicious! 
Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. They are actually very easy to make (similar to oatmeal cookies), but with the added goodness of whole grains and nuts. 

Granola Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen

2 Cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup almonds coarsely chopped
3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) butter softened
1 cup packed brown sugar (I prefer dark-brown sugar, but you can use light-brown if you prefer)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). In a large bowl stir together oats, flour, wheat germ, flax seed meal, coconut flakes, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, sunflower seeds, almonds and set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer at medium speed beat together the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the oat mixture and continue mixing until well incorporated. Mix in the cranberries.
3. Using and ice cream scoop, spoon the dough onto baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Using your fingers flatten the dough slightly. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Remove from the oven and let cookies cool slightly on the baking sheet. Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. 




New On My Bookshelf

I received a very special package in the mail today: a copy of the amazing book Sunday Morning QuiltsVicky @ Vicky K Creating hosted a giveaway of the book a few weeks ago and I was the lucky winner (I have been very lucky lately, I hope is doesn't stop). The book is signed by one of the authors! I'm a book hoarder collector and this is my first book signed by the author. This is my new little treasure. Vicky was so kind to also include in her package a pattern for a log cabin quilt, such a lovely surprise... I have to say, I spent a few hours today drooling over the beautiful projects in the book. I can't wait to start making something from it.
**Thank you Vicky for your lovely presents.**



Blogger's Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side

After much hesitation, I decided join the fun to enter the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side. I haven't been quilting for a long time. Just this summer I completed my very first quilt: This is a very special quilt and I'm very excited to be sharing it with you. I made the quilt as a gift for my goddaughter's 2nd birthday. She is learning her ABC's and I wanted to make her something she would use and learn from it at the same time. I got the inspiration for the quilt from  this book (the book featured crib bumper/baby book and I thought it would be fun to make into a quilt).

The letters were hand drawn by me and machine appliqued to the quilt...

... and I used this super fun ice cream cone fabric for the backing. When my goddaughter saw it she kept pointing at it and saying "ice cream, ice cream!"

Finished Quilt Measurements: 35 X 35 Inches

Best Category: Baby Quilt

Quilted by: Me

Thank you Amy for this opportunity. I'm so inspired by all the wonderful quilts that had been entered. I'm having so much fun looking at the amazing work that everyone has created.


Slow Bloggers Linky Party


I'm very excited to be hosting this month's linky party for the Slow Bloggers organized by the very talented Catherine @ Knotted Cotton.
Knotted Cotton

Do you sometimes feel like the demands of your job, household chores or life in general keep you from sewing those beautiful creations you had envisioned? Juggling everyday life maintains you so occupied that you don't post in your blog as often as you would like? You are not alone, like us there are other bloggers out there that feel the same way. Come and join us on our Slow Bloggers movement and share with us what you have been up to this month. Weather you were very productive and you want to share all of your accomplishments or just want to tell us what has been keeping you away from your sewing machine, we'd love to hear.

This is what has been happening this month during my Weekend Doings: I finished a quilt (the pattern is call Jacob's Ladder), I finished the quilt top of the blue patchwork quilt that I wish to give to my dad for Christmas, tried my hand at English Paper Piecing (and loved it), and published my first tutorial

So for this month's Slow Bloggers meeting, link up your post telling us what your have been up to. Please include the Slow Bloggers button on your post, you can find it here, support others Slow Bloggers by leaving them a comment. The linky stays open for a week. 

Have a great week everyone!



The Traveling PicStitch Blog Hop

Today is my stop on The Traveling PicStitch Blog Hop organized by Laura from Quokka Quilts and Katy from The Littlest Thistle. Laura and Katy are on a road trip around Arizona, Utah and Nevada and  they are getting inspiration from the beautiful scenery they get to experience on their trip to do some stitching along the way. And that is exactly the idea behind this blog hop: to use color from a photograph as inspiration to create an English Paper Pieced block.
The inspiration for my block is this picture I took last spring at the beach. I love the light and subtle blues and grays. I have never used a palette builder before so I decided to give it a try (I have to say: it is quite fun). I used the palette generator from Play Crafts and these are the results that I got:

Then I moved  on to the fun part: choosing the fabrics. I found in my fabric stash these fabrics that matched the color palette very well (or close enough) and as a bonus they have a nautical theme.  Perfect!

The design of my block is a variation of this star rose block. I started drawing the template with a star rose in mind, but halfway through I realized the pentagons in the center were larger than the original star rose I had seen, so I decided to keep going and call my design a happy accident.I haven't done much paper piecing before (a few months ago I haven't even heard of it) but I find this technique super fun. I'm already planning a large project involving paper piecing.

And this is my finished block. I guess I'm going to call it a star, it is going to become a pillow. I already appliqued it to a piece of natural linen and began  the quilting.  I will share it you once I finished it.

You can find more details about The Traveling PicStitch Blog Hop here, including the schedule with all the blogs participating, the sponsors, a Flickr group and information about a linky party a the end of November.
Please take some time to check out Monday's post from Beth @ Plum and June and Wednesday's turn is Nannette @ YeahImadethat (sorry the link on the schedule is broken, maybe when she sees this she will fix it so we can stop by her blog).
Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!

*Update: You can see the finished pillow using the star block here.*



Today I got up early to see the sun rise. I wanted to savor my Sunday as much as possible. I mostly spent the day at home hanging out with my husband and our dogs (Mini and Mona). I picked lavender  from the garden, worked on some sewing projects and an English Paper Piecing project for the Traveling PicStitch Blog Hop; my stop is this upcoming Tuesday.
(As I'm writing this a small earthquake just rattled us. Oh that is the 'beauty' of living in California! an earthquake can sneak up on you at any time!)
Did you have a nice weekend?
I wish you have a lovely week!



My New Fabric

I have been trying to build my fabric stash. As you know, it takes time to build a good collection of fabrics. But this week I was very lucky and my collection grew a little bit. My wonderful husband suggested I should go to Jo-Ann. we were running errands near the store and he said -You haven't been at Jo-Ann in a while, do you want to stop by?- ( It had only been less than a week, but that is a long time for me).Well, that is an offer I can't  resist! I ended up buying these beautiful fabrics in  the green and brown tones. Then a package arrived in the mail... more fabric. Last week I won a giveaway hosted by Beth from Plum and June and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop. I was so excited when Beth e-mailed me that I had won the gift card, but then I couldn't decide what to get... I ordered these charm packs of fabrics that had been on my wish list for a while. The are so beautiful, I love how they look all the pieces of fabric neatly stacked together.
Thank you Beth (Plum and June), the Fat Quarter Shop and of course to my wonderful husband, you made me very happy this week.