Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Review

Well, Thanksgiving dinner is over, the leftovers have been dispersed, the extra chairs have all been returned to their rightful places and the last dishes, and serving pieces have been washed and put away.  All in all, we were quite satisfied with everything this year!  We made all of our usual recipes for turkey, stuffing, etc with a couple of new twists.  We always make cinnamon rolls, a tradition started by my grandmother's sister Alice.  She was one of the best cooks in our family, and we still sit around and talk about some of the meals we had at her table.  Up until this year, we have been experimenting with different cinnamon roll recipes, but I think we can finally stop looking.  We made the recipe from the Pioneer Woman Cooks blog ( were heavenly!

We also made a departure from our traditional cranberry sauce and made Cranberry Chutney from the Orangette blog (  It was fabulous!  But the food was not the only highlight of Thanksgiving day.  Almost our entire family was together with the exception of my youngest little berry of a sister, Margaret.  With the other seven of us and the nieces and nephews, we make a pretty good party! 

Today, instead of giving in to the temptation of going to the mall for some black-Friday blowouts, we took a ride to Monches Farm in Colgate, Wisconsin.  For someone who could pass a pie out her dining room window into the neighbors extra bedroom, going to a place like Colgate is a real treat.  Once you get off the highway, the drive is beautiful.  There are quaint farm houses, fields and even horses!  You just don't see things like that near our house.  (Not that I would trade in my short ride to the loop, close proximity to Super Dog, or lawn I can mow in two minutes flat...)

And, Monches farm....well, it is a place to get ground-hardy perennials, dried wreaths and swags, beautiful Christmas ornaments, and so many other fun 'needful' things for your house and garden.

It has been such a wonderful week--it's going to be hard to get back in the swing of things and back to work on Monday!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Whenever I want to get a quilt done in a timely manner, I divide the total number of blocks by the number of days in which I'd like the finished blocks.  In this case, I decided to try and make 12 Berkeley blocks a day to finish them in four days.  Things were going swimmingly until Friday.  Friday was riddled with unexpected happenings--most of them good.  I started the morning sewing, as I usually do when I am on a mission.  Then my sister called and wanted to go out to lunch....and then I decided to stop at the nursery for some pine boughs and curly willow branches to put in the pot outside on the front porch.  At the nursery I did an extensive search for ornamental cabbage plants (they were out of them...) which took us some extra time.  After I arrived home and started to make the arrangement, I decided to do some much needed clean-up in the front yard.  I then proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon with my husband (and I tried to explain to him just why I had to buy dead branches for the front porch) and at the end of the day went out to a fundraiser for The Willows Academy, where I used to teach. In short--I had a great day.  But, I only finished 6 blocks.  Luckily, I had finished the assigned 12 blocks in the previous two days bringing my grand total of blocks to 30 for the week!  Needless to say, I'm feelin' pretty good about that.

And now, I have to decide whether or not to try and finish this quilt top before Thanksgiving.  Let's see...I'm spending the week with my family (code for hanging out with the sisters, cooking, eating and watching old movies).  We are very serious about our Thanksgiving menu at our household.  And unlike Barbara Stanwyck in Christmas in Connecticut, we really do make the food we talk about.  That having been said, I think I have decided to give myself a reprieve for the coming week.  Berkeley Blue will have to wait.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Silk Love

It's always a great day around here when the UPS guys stops by.  ( be fair, I have to include the FedEx guy and the postman as well...) Recently he delivered a yummy box from Brewer filled with dupioni silk kits.  One of the latest silk collections we have worked with is called Jeweled Treasures. Originally meant to make the Silk Gems pattern, this kit includes 16 jewel-toned fat quarters. I now have one of my very own and am about to start my silk quilt collection. I think, however, that I am going to shake it up a bit.  Instead of making a Gems quilt, I am actually going to use the Berkeley Blue pattern (created for the Sapphire Silk Collection).  I am hoping to have four of these silk quilts in time for Spring quilt market in Utah.  We'll see how that goes...

I love working with silks.  I admit, I was reticent at first.  Janine (my friend and business partner) and I would go to local quilt shows and she would buy up every dupioni silk she could find.  I could not imagine making a quilt with these fabrics!  Before we started collaborating with Brewer on these silk collections and patterns, I came out with a quilt pattern called Circus--the first quilt I had ever made using all solids.  Janine promptly made one out of silks and the rest is history -  We were hooked!

(In case you're interested, Jeweled Treasures silk collections are now available on our website!)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It Has Been a Long Time in the Making

Hi!  Thanks for stopping by.  After literally years of thinking about it, I have finally taken the plunge and started a blog.  I am both excited and nervous about this commitment.  I think it will do a lot in terms of keeping me in check!  I know I will be working on things just to have them to put in a post.  I am also welcoming the challenge of putting thoughts, ideas, and the latest happenings at Blue Underground Studios into words. I am nervous about actually posting regularly...but have resolved to do the best I can.

The irony is that the very thing that gives me something to write about - my quilting studio-is the very reason I have the time to finally start this blog.  We are currently in the process of completely redoing my quilting space which is in the basement of our 1945 English Tudor on the north side of our beautiful Chicago.  For the past month, when I have not been working on quilts for market, I have been cleaning out bins of fabric, shredding paper, getting rid of TONS of scraps, wondering why I ever started some of my old UFO's and sorting through my old history notes from my former career as a teacher.  All of my fabric and sewing supplies are now stashed around our my daughter's room, in our foyer, the den, the kitchen...Being productive is going to be a challenge.  But, I am certain it will be worth it!

Stop by often to see my latest quilting projects, etc!