Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bourbon Peach Cobbler -- Amazing!

This is what I'm bringing to a potluck at my friend Mikey's tonight -- fresh peaches, 1/2 lb. butter, bourbon, sugar -- what's not to love? I just took it out of the oven and the whole house smells wonderful. Makes baking worth it, even when it's 100 degrees outside!

I've had this issue (it's the current one on the newsstands now, so you can still grab it!) for a few weeks now and this is the third time I have made this recipe.

It's that good!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More -- Much More! -- About the New Zealand Hoffman Challenge

Earlier this year, I wrote a couple of posts featuring last year's New Zealand Hoffman Challenge. I ran into it, totally by accident, when my husband and I and our goddaughter, Destiny, took an Australia/New Zealand cruise and stopped in Blenheim, home of The Quilter's Barn.

If you didn't see the pictures of these great challenge quilts, here are the links. For Part 1, click here and for Part 2, click here.

Since then, Juliet Fitness, one of the entrants, has e-mailed me, filling me in on a lot more about the Hoffman challenge, New Zealand style. Her quilt, "The Joy of Living" is the second quilt in Part 1 of my post. About the challenge, Juliet says:

"Here in NZ it has been going annually since 1993, organised initially by a quilt shop (originally Grandmother's Garden in Hamilton), a break in 2002 when there was no organiser before Catlin Quilts of Owaka, South Island, picked up the job, and now organised byNeedle n' Thread in Geraldine, in the South Island.

"The NZ rules are that it must NOT be square or rectangular, but must fit within a metre square, hence all the interesting shapes that you saw. There has to be a recognisable amount of the challenge fabric (not just the binding). All the entries are displayed in the shop that organises it, and shoppers there can choose a viewer's choice. The quilts are judged and usually about 20 are selected as finalists to travel the country for the next year."

Much to my happy surprise (don't we all love to get gifts? and aren't quilters wonderful, sharing people?) in my mail this morning was a copy of the April 2010 issue of New Zealand Quilter with an article called "Hearty Hoffmans" about this year's challenge. Thank you, Juliet! Juliet also e-mailed me some photos so that we all will know more about this event.

This was the Hoffman challenge fabric. I thought it was interesting when Juliet said that she had entered in every Hoffman challenge except for 1995 when she was moving households and 2004 when she didn't like the fabric!

"He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" by Juliet Fitness. In Juliet's words:

"I have been a finalist every time except for 1994, 1997 (2 entries) and 2006 when mine was a bit controversial but ending up selling while all entries were on display at Catlin Quilts. In 2008 I finally won my first prize (Merit) in the challenge and that quilt also sold. This year was my best effort yet, winning Best Contemporary....for my winning quilt 'He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not'."

Here's a detail shot -- look at those teeny tiny, beautifully executed points!

"I specialise in paper-foundation piecing, especially the New York Beauty block, and extreme spikes!! I teach classes on this here in Auckland and at national symposia."

Juliet was kind enough to send along a few more pictures of quilts she has made. The above is called "Merino Muster - Don't Forget the Dog". We were told that there were 100 times more sheep in New Zealand than humans and we were able to see a demonstration of sheep herding by what looked like border collies, so this fabric made me laugh. This quilt will be shown in World Quilt & Textile and will be touring the US for a few months.

A detail of Merino Muster -- Juliet said that this quilt uses lots of New Zealand fabrics.

"Illuminated French Curves" is my personal favorite; the brights on black just make the picture glow -- would love to see it in person! That's not gonna happen, as this quilt was an entry in the National Association of New Zealand Quilters (NANZQ) biennial challenge last year, won Merit Innovative and was bought by a visitor from the UK.

Guess I'll just have to be happy with the photos -- here is an excellent detail photo. Juliet says that she loves piecing more than quilting, but after 27 years she is getting better at the quilting. She admits to being a competition junkie, having been in over 70 competitions, with a few prizes under her belt.

Thank you so much, Juliet, for educating us all about the challenge and sharing your quilts!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Patchwork Penguin -- Tujunga CA

Yikes -- when I logged in to start this post, the date of last post was July 4! Seriously falling down on the job here. We finished jury deliberations late on the 7th; it took me two days to recover and then I taught for the San Fernando Valley Quilt Association over the weekend and did a lecture last night. What a great group of ladies~

Both workshops were Introduction to Machine Quilting. The first was held at the Patchwork Penguin, located at 6245 Foothill Boulevard in Tujunga (phone: 818-248-7390). I had taught there for the Glendale Quilt Guild a couple of years ago when Crissa DuCharme, owner, was in a different building. I'm not quite sure how to describe it -- in her new location, the shop just has a warmer feeling to it, with lots of quilts on display and, of course, penguins!

The pink and white batik penguin family is adorable -- and, look, a crossing sign!

In the very front of the store by the door, there is a display case entirely filled with penguins of every size and description....

But, of course, we want to see the quilts and fabrics -- the red/green/white watermelon log cabin is fun!

Behind the back row of quilts is the large classroom....

My favorite -- polka dots! Loved all the colorful polka dot fabrics and the striped binding and inner border!

Guild members setting up for class -- this classroom is large enough for 20 students with their machines and quilting "stuff".

On Sunday, the same class was held for the guild at the Japanese-American Center in Arleta. This is another very large venue -- we had 23 workshop participants plus me with plenty of room to spread out.

A big Thank You to the San Fernando Valley Quilt Association members for inviting me to their guild!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Anniversary at the Parkside Grill

Dan and I celebrated our anniversary last night by having dinner in Pasadena at the Parkside Grill. We went there last year, too -- not quite as romantic as our 20th, which was spent sipping champagne at the ballet in St. Petersburg, but yummy just the same.

They gave us a card, seating at a beautiful table overlooking the restaurant, and fantastic food. We started with an interesting oval flatbread with melty cheese, sliced pears and chives. I think that would be a really good starter for one of our gourmet dinners and I think it could be done on the grill.

We ordered what I call the Carnivore Specials -- Dan had a NY steak and I had a ribeye, half of which I took home. I'll do something with it for dinner tonight; maybe a stroganoff sort of thing?

We were given a complimentary Dulce de Leche cupcake along with the dessert menu. Our server assured us that since it was complimentary, it didn't count as dessert -- guess that means the calories don't count either?

Dan is much more restrained than I am when it comes to dessert; he usually orders sorbet, as he did last night. On the other hand, if creme brulee isn't on the menu, I order whatever sounds like the most fun!

Last night, it was a S'mores variation: There were two S'mores with creme anglais on one side of the plate and raspberry coulis on the other,. In each pool, there was a round graham cracker with a layer of melted chocolate and a handmade marshmallow. It looked like the marshmallow had been toasted with a kitchen torch and then dusted with powdered sugar. It was so rich and sweet that I could only eat about half of it -- this would be a perfect shared dessert.

With our check arrived a beautiful bouquet of flowers with the little tubes on the stems to keep them fresh until we got them home and could put them in water. Loved the colors and thought they went perfectly in my tall pottery coffee cup!

So that's how Dan and I celebrated another year (it's 23 for us) of experiences, memories and love! Can't wait to see what the next year brings!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Quilters Treasure's 2010 Challenge

I've been on jury duty for the last couple of weeks and go back into court on Tuesday for what looks like another week, so not much exciting has been going on around here. If I'm not in court, I'm catching up on all the things that need to be done.

So I was looking at pictures that were still on my SD card from the HMQS show in Salt Lake City in May and saw that there were pictures from a challenge that I had not posted. There are enough of them that I will do them in two posts:

The theme of the 2010 Quilters Treasure quilts is "What Memories Are Made Of". I didn't photograph every one, but some were so outstanding that they had to be shared. From the wording on some of the artist statements pinned to the quilts, the red fabric was the challenge....

Third Place: "Circling the Drain" by Barbara Daly Blanchard of Mendenhall PA reflects the importance of daily newspapers in her childhood. She ends her statement by saying, "How long before what is 'black and white and red all over' is nothing more than a memory?"

Best Traditional: "Crossroads (2)" by Tone Haugen-Cogburn of Maryville TN was inspired by the red challenge fabric. "This is an original design of white, black, grays blocks with red crosses, which is machine quilted and hand embroidery."

Honorable Mention: "Marbles" by Kate Chepeleff of Norwood NY was inspired by Cheryl Phillips' book "Circle A Round". Kate used a circle framing technique.

Best Machine Quilting: "The Lily Vow" by Megan Farrell of Chicago IL, represented her memories of the stargazer lilies given to her by her husband-to-be when they were first dating. She carried them down the aisle and they are still very important in her life and memories.

Best Pictorial Quilt: "Old Oak Tree" by Gayle Shelton of Bridgeport TX, depicts a big oak tree by a stream in autumn. This is an original design using raw edge applique and the "snippets" technique.

Best Use of Color: "Fall Celebration" by Judy Steward of Hewitt TX is an original design based on her photograph of a leaf. "Eight fall colored fabrics were machine appliqued to give the leaf a dimensional effect. Machine quilting in the background portrays the wind and other falling leaves. The unusual texture on the hand dyed background fabric was accomplished by using a salt technique."

There are a few more quilts to share in my next post -- what a fun challenge!
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