Valentines Craftiness: I ‘heart’ this Table Runner!

Vday Table Runner 1

Here’s a cute Valentine’s Day decoration that makes great use of  fabrics from your stash and is just as cute as can be!!  This quilted table runner was made by our crafty volunteer, Gabe!  She found the pattern in the February/ March 2014  edition of McCall’s Quick Quilts magazine.  When she brought in her completed creation recently for a show & tell session, I just had to show it off to all of you!!  The multi-printed patchwork juxtaposed with the sweet hearts and lovebird appliques make for an adorable table runner to lift your spirits for Valentines Day.  And with just 2 weeks away from V-Day, what better inspiration to get you in the crafty mood?!

Can you spot the Clothworks fabrics in the square piecing, binding, and applique?  The Laurel Burch Glitter Basic in red adds another layer to the various pink, white, and rose multi-colored prints used in the patchwork.  And I think I spot some Impressions Moire in red, as well as some ‘Hug Me’ by Sue Zipkin!!

Vday Table Runner Patchwork

I love how Gabe pulled together all of the various prints used in the table runner top with her backing fabric selection.  The red/pink colorway of the Laurel Burch Basic Bubbles print couldn’t be a better compliment!!

back of the table runner

Head on over to this link to find out more info on the Lovey Dovies Hearts and Birds Quilted Table Runner.  Nothing looks quite cuter when you ‘stick a bird on it’!  And Happy Valentines Day to all the fabric lovers out there, too!

Applique Birds Close Up

What’s Cookin’ at the Works? Soups On! Week #12

Squash And Lentil Stew

This week’s contribution to the Soup of the Week Club at The Works is brought to us by Angela.  Angela spotted this recipe, Squash and Lentil Stew, while flipping through magazines at the beauty salon about a year ago.  The Soup of the Week Club served as the perfect opportunity to try it out.  If nearly licking the crock pot clean is any indication that this was a winning recipe, then I’d say this is a keeper!  Hearty, satisfying, flavorful, and….healthy (how is that a possible combo?),  our soup bowls were brimming with lots of yummy veggies!  Butternut squash, carrots, celery, onion, tomatoes, and lentils provided a yummy combination of texture and taste!  Top it off with some fresh cilantro to set off the flavors of the veggies, pair it with some bread to sop up the goodness, and you’re good to go!  In the pic above, I added a little dribble of Sriracha sauce to kick it up a notch!

Follow this link to the Family Circle recipe site to make Squash and Lentil Stew.  For Angela’s version, she added a little bit more broth to make it less thick.  What’s great about the recipe site is that it also displays the nutrition content so you can rest assured that you’re eating a well balanced soup with each spoonful!

Check back next week for another installment of Soup of the Week Club at the Works!

Fun Friday: Something to Buzz About!

busy bees raffle quilt 2014

TGIF!  Are you feeling it too?  I don’t know if it’s this time of year, but I always feel like time goes by so slowly in the winter.  Maybe it’s those long, dark, cold nights!  Contrary to being dark and cold like winter, this quilt pictured above gives me hope that spring is just around the corner, and in no time I’ll be smelling the fragrant flowers and enjoying bright, warm, and sunny days!  And for those folks who may be enduring some cabin fever due to inclement weather, perhaps this beauty of a quilt will help inspire you to create!

Our lovely volunteers, Lorri & Gabe, who recently contributed recipes in the Soup of the Week Club– Week #11, and Week #10, were responsible for making this quilt happen.  Lorri & Gabe belong to a local quilt guild- Busy Bee Quilters Guild of Snohomish, WA, and as co-chairs of the raffle quilt committee, they coordinated the construction of this gorgeous quilt called ‘Pansy Garden’.  This quilt will be raffled off in November with proceeds going to raise funds to help promote quilting.  And my, my, my is it a large quilt.  Measuring in at 92″ x 105″, Lorri was telling me that she actually called up her local fire house for permission to hang the quilt on their wall so she could take that pic above.

Take a look below at some close-ups I snapped when Lorri & Gabe brought it in for Show & Tell the other day!  I love the white picket fence border- a design that Lorri worked diligently to engineer beautifully and with perfectly matching seams!

BB Raffle Quilt- Close Up of Border

Do you recognize some of that fabric?  Well, it’s Clothworks, of course!  The white in the picket fence border is some of the Impressions Moire and the green background is from Rose Cottage.  The yellow squares, used around the purple flower blocks, are from the Shades by Kinkame collection, too!  Great use of colors and fabrics, I must say!!

bb raffle quilting closeup

And that quilting is quite marvelous, too!!  Cindy Glancy, a local long arm quilter of Dancing Thread Long Arm Quilting, can take full credit for her talented craftsmanship here!

To find out more about Busy Bee Quilters Guild and their raffle, head on over to their website at this link.

Have a Happy Friday and a positively productive weekend!

Pat Sloan interviews Astronaut Quilter Karen Nyberg!

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In case you may have missed it, here’s a link to an ‘out-of-this-world’ interview by Pat Sloan, The Voice of Quilting, with NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg.  For those of us down-to-earth types who may not know, Karen Nyberg was a recent resident on the International Space Station and is also quilter.  Among her various responsibilities aboard the ISS, such as conducting experiments in space, Karen decided to bring along one of her passions, quilting, into space….the final frontier.  If the original quilting pioneers only knew what ‘great heights’ (try 260 miles above the earth) to which their past time would be taken!!!  Head on over to Pat Sloan’s radio interview with Karen at this link to hear all about it!

Twinkle, twinkle little star;  How I wonder what you are….a quilt block, maybe?!!  Yep, Astronaut Karen Nyberg has been busy piecing star blocks in space.  Does that qualify her as having ‘Block-Star Status’?!!  Goofy puns aside,  Karen has a nifty challenge for all of you quilters who want to go above and beyond…. Read more about it here and take the ‘Star-Block Challenge‘!

To keep up with Karen and see where she’s jetting off to next, follow her on facebook here.

And if you need a little inspiration in motivating yourself to make the first cut on fabric, just remember that this amazing lady does it in Zero Gravity!!  View it here:

What’s Cookin’ at the Works? Soup’s On! Week # 11

15 bean soup pic

Amazing how time flies!!  We’ve reached Week #11 of the Soup of the Week Club at Clothworks.  Pretty soon this weekly tradition may just turn into part of the Monday lunchtime routine here at the Works.  The last time I looked at the sign-up sheet, repeat Soup of the Week Club members have started to add their name again to the bottom of the list.

This week’s crock pot creation is brought to us by Lorri, another wonderful lady that loves to spend time volunteering here.  We love Lorri- we give her a task and she goes to town with it!!  And that doesn’t stop at just the volunteering!  This week’s soup selection was tremendously tasty and brimming with flavor!!  Hurst’s 15 Bean Soup definitely hit the spot for me and my fellow Soup Club tasters.  The combination of the beans, veggies, and ham packed a punch with my taste buds!  Served with cheese rolls to sop up every last bit of soup goodness…Lorri knocked it out park with this hearty slow cooker delight!

Here’s the recipe :

Hurst’s 15 Bean Soup

(From the bag of HamBeens Brand 15 Bean Soup Beans)

YOU WILL NEED:

1 pkg Hurst’s Hambeens 15 bean soup

1 lb of ham, ham hocks, or smoked sausage

1 C. Onion, chopped (I used 1 lg. onion)

1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes ( I used 1 quart of diced tomatoes)

1-2 tbsp. Chili Powder

Juice of 1 lemon

1-2 cloves Garlic (minced)

*(I also used 5 stalks of celery, sliced and about 2 cups of sliced carrots)

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

Soaking: Place beans in a large pot cover with 2 quarts of water.  Allow beans to soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.

1. After soaking drain water, add 1½ quarts of water and meat.

2. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2½ hours.

3. After simmering, add onion, tomatoes, chili powder, lemon and garlic.  Simmer for another 30 min to an hour.

4.  I also added 5 stalks of celery sliced, and about 2 cups of sliced carrots.

5. Add contents of ham packet 1 to 2 minutes before cooking is completed. Salt & Pepper to taste.  (since I used ham, I added no additional salt)

Check out the Slow Cooker recipe on the Hurst Beans website here.

See you next week with another soup recipe that’s sure to lend inspiration in the kitchen!

On a Mission with Gifts Made from Clothworks

Senegal mission trip photo 1

Just the other day, one of our local customers came in to shop our warehouse and brought us some fun show & tell!  Joey, who operates a cottage business, called Heart of a Child, making handmade goods, paid us a visit at Clothworks.  She was just gushing with excitement after having spent one of the most amazing Christmas breaks abroad!!  When most people think of spending Christmas abroad, skiing in Switzerland or lounging on the beach in Tahiti might be a few examples that come to mind.  Not for Joey.  Sure, her trip did take place in an exotic locale, but it had a very special purpose.  This past Christmas, Joey and her husband, spent their holiday in a village in Senegal on the continent of Africa.

Seven years ago, Joey’s church, Mountain View Presbyterian in Marysville,WA, adopted a village in Senegal and made it their mission to help the Wolof people who inhabit the area.  Every few years, groups from Joey’s church would make mission trips to help clothe, feed, build shelters, and provide medical supplies for the people of the village.  (Go to this link to read more about their mission and the village in Senegal.)  In fact, about four years ago, Joey’s husband took part in a mission trip to the village to help plumb water.  When Joey picked him up from the airport upon his return, he was just ecstatic and overcome by the fantastic feelings of aiding this village that he turned to Joey and said he’s going back and taking her with him!

The next mission trip that Joey and her husband thought they could realistically make with the church would literally ‘touch down’ in Senegal on Christmas Eve 2013.  Joey’s new mission, besides the mission trip headed to their adopted village, was to raise enough money for her husband and her to make the trip from Seattle to Senegal.  Leave it to Clothworks to help Joey in her fundraising ventures!!  Joey immediately got to work turning her purchases she’s made while shopping in the Clothworks warehouse into beautiful well-made aprons and oven mitts.  She signed up and attended as many craft shows around the area, selling these wares, and advertised that she was raising money to make a mission trip to Senegal.  Astoundingly, mission was accomplished in a matter of months, and Joey & her husband were booked for their mission trip!

And what a special mission trip this was…. Joey and her husband, along with another couple from the church, landed in Senegal on Christmas Eve, heading to their village, bearing gifts!  One of the village family’s wishes was to start a cake decorating business, and the church was so generous enough to buy them an oven.  Coincidentally, Joey, who also runs a catering business on the side, brought the family catering supplies to help get them started!  And as you can see from the pictures, Joey used her sewing talents and made each of the little outfits as gifts for some of the children in the village, too.  Can you spot what fabric that is?  Why it’s Gypsy by Skipping Stones Studios, made by Clothworks!!  From Seattle to Senegal, Clothworks fabric knows no bounds!

Senegal Mission Photo 2

To listen to a speech about the recent mission trip made by Joey & her husband and other members from Mountain View Presbyterian, head on over to this link.

Have you ever made something charitable out of Clothworks fabric and have a special story to tell?  We’d love to hear it!  Please leave us a comment.

What’s Cookin’ at the Works? Soup’s On! Week #10

Italian Meatball Soup 2

Greetings foodies and welcome back to another selection of the Soup of the Week Club here at Clothworks.  What started off as a few people interested in swapping and tasting yummy soup recipes has snowballed into a nearly office-wide event!  It’s hard not to want to join in the fun of participating in something that satisfies the taste buds and nourishes the tummy each Monday during lunchtime.  The wafting aroma that fills our office each week with a new & different soup or stew couldn’t be a better way to advertise, too.

This week’s selection, Italian Meatball Soup, is brought to us by one of our lovely volunteers—Gabe.  Gabe’s been lending a helping hand to Clothworks for a few years now.  She’s got a fun sense of humor, a positive attitude, and after this week’s soup selection, she knows a thing or two in the kitchen!  I guess we’ll keep her around a little longer ;)!

Being an Italian girl, meatballs are the road to my heart!!  The meatballs in Gabe’s soup were just right- not too heavy, not too skimpy, and not too overpowering in flavor!  They were meaty enough to bob around in the savory broth, and accompany the carrots, green beans, peppers and other vegetables & herbs.  What I enjoyed about this soup was that it was just hearty enough to fuel me for the rest of the day, but light enough to not weigh me down.  And in Italian, we say, “Magnifico!  Buon Appetito!”

Italian Meatball Soup– recipe from Cooking Light Magazine, November 2001 issue

Meatballs:

1 c. Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

½ c. grated Parmesan cheese

¼ c. dried parsley

2 Tbs. water

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. black pepper

1 lb. ground round

1 large egg

Cooking spray

Soup:

1 & ½ tsp. vegetable oil

1 c. chopped onion

1 c. chopped carrot

½ c. chopped celery

2 c. low sodium tomato juice

½ c. chopped green bell pepper

½ c. frozen green beans

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/8 tsp. black pepper

2 (14 ½ oz.) cans low-salt beef broth

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. To prepare meatballs, combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl. Shape beef mixture into 30 (1-inch) meatballs & place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 20 minutes or until done. Drain on paper towels.
  3. To prepare the soup, heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, & celery. Sauté for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the meatballs, tomato juice, & remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are done.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 & ½ c soup & 5 meatballs)

***Gabe doubled the recipe’s ingredients in order to feed the Soup of the Week Club that has grown in numbers each week here at Clothworks.

See you next week with another tantalizing soup recipe!

A Special Gift, Quilted to a ‘Tea’

Shirl's quilt- framed

With the chilling effects of the Polar Vortex that swept most of the USA this past week, here’s a story that’s sure to warm your heart!  Shirl, who works in Accounts Receivables and Customer Service here at Clothworks, brought in this gorgeous quilt that she received as a Christmas gift from her sister, Carolyn, to show & tell the other day.  We just love it when folks bring in show & tell projects or handmade gifts around here- with all the oooo-ing and ahhh-ing,  you’d think the viewers of such items were actually receiving the gifts, themselves!!

As Shirl unfurled her quilt, we were immediately awestruck.  First of all, this was a large quilt (I didn’t catch the dimensions, but I’m betting it fits a King-size).  But secondly, as we all peered up close at and admired the quilt, we couldn’t help be enthralled by the amount of craftsmanship, detail of the piecing and applique, the construction, and the gorgeous quilting that made this just a beautiful masterpiece!

After the ooo’s and ahh’s had dissipated, Shirl began telling the special story that accompanied this quilt.  See that cute little teapot in the middle of the quilt?  That is a paper pieced block that Shirl’s mother constructed 10 years ago in 2003.  Shirl’s mother, along with Shirl’s sister, Carolyn, were part of a Round Robin with a group of 5 other talented quilting gals.  They each made blocks including those cute tea cups and the ribbons, and started from there, working around the center pieced teapot block.

teapot and tea cups

Three years later, Shirl’s mother passed away, leaving many unfinished quilting and sewing projects.  Carolyn finally had the courage to go through these projects a few years later and decided to start completing them.  That’s when she came across the teacup/teapot quilt that had been started as a Round Robin and decided to add more borders and piecing to fit Shirl’s bed.

shirl's quilt- borders

This past summer, when Carolyn was visiting Shirl, Carolyn asked Shirl to pick out a pink fabric from the Clothworks warehouse, which would become the backing to this quilt.  Sneaky sister she is!!  This quilt would become quilted by Mary Landon, an extremely gifted long arm quilter.  Coincidentally, Mary had been a part of this Round Robin 10 years ago.  She couldn’t even remember what part of the piecing she worked on, but she and Carolyn think it might have been the ribbon piecing.  So at long last, this quilt was finally finished with love and given to Shirl, with many memories made and in the making!  Ahhh…now pass me the kleenex!

shirl's quilt label

I tried my best, but I feel like my pictures weren’t capable of capturing the amazing presence of this quilt.  Do head over to long arm quilter Mary Landon’s blog, addicted-to-fabric, to see some more spectacular images and stick around to see all of the gorgeous quilting projects that Mary posts on her prolific blog!  Oh, and that backing fabric was part of the Hug Me line designed by Sue Zipkin released by Clothworks.

Backing- I Heart You- Framed

How about you?  Anyone else receive something as cherished and memorable like this quilt?

What’s Cookin’ at The Works: Soup’s On! Week #9

Bonnie's Soup

Bonnie, who works in design and is another one of our talented quilters, brought in this very distinctive soup/stew for Week #9 of Soup of the Week Club at The Works.  Her contribution was a first in our soup series as it used seafood in the ingredients.  This recipe for salmon stew is Bonnie’s own concoction.  She left it up to the tasters to omit or add in their own amount of milk to achieve the desired creaminess in their soup portion.  Served with a slice of bread to soak up the stock, this was a welcome change after the heavy eating I did all throughout the holidays!  The broth was light, but full of seafood flavor, while the chunks of salmon, carrots, and potatoes gave the soup some hearty body.  The addition of chopped parsley as a garnish woke up the fresh flavors in this tasty soup.

How to make Bonnie’s Salmon Stew:

*  Purchase a salmon and have the fishmonger filet it for you

*  Bake the salmon, reserve the meat and cut into bite size chunks

*  Reserve the salmon carcass to make a seafood stock.

*  Chop celery and onion, carrots, and potatoes, and  sautee in a pot for the base of the seafood stock.  Add water and the salmon carcass.  Bring to a boil, then switch heat to simmer.  Once it has slow-cooked down for a while, strain the bones and other inedible salmon pieces from the stock and add the liquid with the celery, onion, carrots, and potatoes into another pot.

*  Add salmon meat to the finished stock and heat on low.

*  Add cream/ milk if you wish to make the soup heavier and chowder-like.  Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Check back next week when we bring you another delish soup recipe to tempt your taste buds!

Bring in the New Year- Pat Sloan’s Free BOM Starts Today!!

pat_sloan_globetrotting_banner_fbv3_12_12_no_logo

Happy 2014, everyone!  We’ve made it through another year!!  As this can be a good time to reflect on your accomplishments from last year and look forward to achieving new goals for the year that lies ahead, I’d love to share with you a fun project that you might want to put on your 2014 To-Do List!

If you read our blog post on the Works before the holidays, we mentioned that Pat Sloan, the Voice of Quilting, is kicking off a mystery Block of the Month quilt in conjunction with the folks at Free Quilt Patterns starting January 2014.  That’s like…right now!!!  We’re also excited that Pat is making a blue/cream combo of her BOM featuring Clothworks fabric from the Everything Blue collection by Marsha McCloskey!!

Pat Sloan’s mystery BOM quilt is entitled ‘Globetrotting’ and as you might have guessed, it has a travel theme to it.  Relax in the comfort of your sewing room, as Pat takes you on a journey, block by block, in this unique BOM program that infuses video tutorials and social media to motivate you along the way to completion!

Block Number 1 in Pat Sloan’s ‘Globetrotting’ kicks off today, January 1, 2014! So head on over to this link to see the block pattern, get started, and check out the following resources in this program:

  • A special introduction video by Pat Sloan describing the program and the materials list for Block One:  Washington DC.
  • A downloadable PDF from Pat with all fabrics, lengths, and images for all materials needed for Block One.
  • A list of participating shops where you can join events and buy fabrics and kits for the BOM.  Support your local quilt stores!
  • A link to our new Flickr group where you can sign up to upload photos of alternative materials of your own choice and blocks that you create for the BOM!

Bon Voyage as they say…..and Happy Piecing!!