Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year!

Made on Maple has been a wee bit neglected over the last month.  I'm sure it comes as no surprise to most of you that December is the busiest month of the year.  I do have a very exciting project to share in this post, but let's do a quick, and I mean QUICK, wrap up of December 2012.

Sneak peak of my exciting project.

This year I gave myself a pass on making handmade gifts.  I've had some years where I've sewn almost all of my Christmas gifts, and I've loved creating special handmade gifts for all those on my Christmas list.  However, I knew in the weeks and months leading up to Christmas that my sewing time is so sporadic, and to take on making lots of Christmas gifts would just add to an already stressful time of year.  I made ornaments for my mom and myself, and then I sewed pajamas for my kids.  That was all.  That's not very much sewing for a whole month, but between school obligations, getting Christmas ready for my own kids, and I took on doing an activity advent calendar for my kids, so I'm okay with having done such a small amount of sewing.

My kids slept in their new pajamas Christmas Eve and loved them.  I used 3 different patterns for the pajama pants and all of them have minor issues.  The reindeer pattern came from Noodles and Milk and is a must pin if you ask me.  It's a totally cute applique project.  It's a bit tricky sewing around the antlers, but worth all the trouble.

Next, and this is just a yummy recipe from me to you.  I made homemade caramel popcorn with cashew for New Year's Eve.  Mmmmmm.  I've eaten way too much of this stuff, but the popcorn makes it healthy, right?!  Here's a quick recipe.  I'm making this for friends and neighbors next year.  I cut the recipe in half and it made a ton!

Caramel Popcorn

2 to 3 cups unpopped popcorn.  I used white popcorn, my whirly popper, and used olive oil and a little kosher salt when I popped it.

Next, make the caramel.

1 cube of butter
1 lb of brown sugar
1 cup Karo Syrup
Bring to boil.

Take off the stove top.

Add 1 can of sweet and condensed milk.

Put back on stove top, but do not boil.  Heat for 5 minutes.

Take 1 can of 1/2 cashews (or cashew pieces) and add to the popcorn.

Then working in small batches, add caramel to popcorn and cashews.  I filled up a large bowl of popcorn, poured caramel over the top, mixed it up until the popcorn was evenly coated, and then poured out the popcorn on wax paper to cool.  Repeat until all popcorn is coated.  Leave a little extra caramel in the bottom of the sauce pan to lick.  It's soooo good!

Enjoy.  Try not to eat too much.  Good luck with that.

 Okay, I saved the best for last.  My Ringing in the New Year quilt!  This quilt started months ago when Denyse Schmidt re-released her Flea Market Fancy line.  It was a pretty big deal, and I got caught up in the excitement of it all, and I bought myself 21 fat quarters of the FMF - one of each of the prints in the line.  I was so excited when I got them.  Then came the months of trying to figure out what to do with them.

By July, I had the idea to make a wonky star quilt.  I have no idea where I saw it, but I found a mini quilt, probably 18 inches by 24 inches, of a small wonky stars laid out to minimize the white space between each star.  I was smitten, and dreamed of having it a larger size.  The Flea Market Fancy would be perfect for this.

I had no real idea what I was doing when I set out to make this quilt.  I started by cutting and sewing 20 wonky stars.  Then once I laid those out, I realized I probably needed double that amount, and set out to make 40 more squares.

Here's what my original plan looked like once I realized I was going to need more stars. This was also my guide in figuring out how to make the edges straight since I was going to need 1/2 stars, 3/4 stars, and 1/4 stars.  Wrap your brain around that!  I'm sure this sheet makes absolutely no sense to anyone but me, but it was my guide.

Some time after I made this sheet, and probably while in the midst of sewing all those extra stars and starting to feel slightly defeated and wondering how this was going to work out, I found myself blog surfing.  I checked in on Oh, Fransson, and guess what?!  She made a wonky star quilt, but she calls it Sparkle Punch Quilt.   It was a sew-a-long quilt on her blog.  Well wouldn't that have been helpful before I went all rogue and drew up my own quilt pattern!

Now you know if you are in the mood to make a wonky star quilt.

Call it pride or masochism, but I didn't even use her sew-a-long once I discovered it.  I figured I'd made it this far, so I could figure the rest out on my own.  This might look tricky, but once you lay it all out, it's really so simple.

Once all my stars were completed, I laid out my quilt, and started sewing.

Then I skipped batting, and just used minky on the back.  I also used straight lines to quilt because I wanted this quilt to be soft and one you'd want to use to stay warm while lounging on the couch watching a movie.

I also wanted it to be a quilt that was large enough to share, hence the reason while I made 40 additional stars.

My kids always want things to be big enough to use while playing.

I think we are all happy with the Ringing in the New Year quilt.

I have a new duvet cover and shams coming this week for my bed.  I'm thinking of making a chic lumbar pillow to  add to it.  The Italian loves throw pillows so much, so he's really hoping I get on the pillow projects soon. Wink, wink.

I have one more non-sewing project to share, but it's a DIY project, so I might be back later this week to share it. My new year's resolution for MOM is to blog more frequently then once a month.  Here's to hoping I can make good on that!


Sarah said...

That quilt is A...maze...ing! and thanks for the caramel popcorn recipe. I would be making right now if I thought my waistline could handle it.

Amanda said...

That quilt is FABULOUS! I was looking for some quilt inspiration and this is totally it! I also love how you didn't add batting and put minky on the back. I'm going to have to try that? Any tips for doing that? Again, so beautiful!

Liz said...

Thank you, Sarah and Amanda, for the quilt love!

Amanda, I'm not a pro at minky quilting, but here's my two cents. First, I use quilting adhesive which helps keep the minky from moving all around.

Next, the minky I bought for this quilt was double sided minky, so it didn't have a slippery side. Their was an obvious soft side to this minky, and then the backside helped keep the fabric from slipping. Does that make any sense? Here's a link to the minky I used.


Next, I use a walking foot and I just do straight lines. I made minky quilts for my kids last year for Christmas, and I discovered that the straight line sewing while rather monotonous doesn't move the quilt as much as doing Free Motion Quilting.

Lastly, I follow Cluck, Cluck, Sew and she does a lot of quilting. She wrote a blog post all about sewing with minky. It's worth reading over before you start.


I hope this helps. Let me know if you need any more help! Good luck!

Amanda said...

Thanks for all your tips, I've read them and hope to try it out soon! :)

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