February 26, 2013

Little Hexie Quilt WIP

Lately I've been working pretty furiously on a really cute quilt. How I found the pattern is an interesting story. One of the quilting magazines I follow posted an image of a hexagon quilt, discussing the quilting on it but not the pattern. I asked if they had it, and another woman who follows it responded with step by step instructions on how to make it! I am so thankful to her for that kindness.

So far, I have the top quilt nearly entirely together. You see some horizontal lines going across the colored hexegons? That's because instead of sewing the whole hexagons together and doing y-seams (pain in the butt), you stitch half a hexagon to the one above it, making long strips which you then sew together to make the whole top. Isn't that clever?

I had a few 2" strips laying around from a UFO and I took two, stitched them together, and used them to test out the instructions the woman gave me. It worked like a charm, and the test block turned out to be pretty cool.

The fun thing about this pattern is that depending on how to sew the blocks together, you can get a completely different looking quilt. For the test piece, I simply cut 6 triangles out, flipping my 60 degree ruler as I went and then stitched them all together, alternating center colors. I will definitely be doing a tutorial for this quilt after I've finished it up.

The Little Hexie uses white as one strip for all of them, and I cut enough triangles from each color set to end up with 12. That allowed me to make two hexagons from each strip set, one with the color on the outside, and one with it on the inside like this:

The color combinations and placement choices are practically endless here. I was so inspired by the purple and black test quilt, that I decided to make one for myself using that color scheme. The bright and colorful Little Hexie quilt is being made as a gift.

February 19, 2013

My First Brew- the Very Heffelberry!

For Christmas, my father (who has been brewing up a storm in the past year) gifted me a brewing kit to make my very own beer. We brewed it while I was home, and it was just finally finished. I shared it with several friends this weekend because it was ready for the big reveal.

The beer he bought was a Bavarian hefeweizen, because I really enjoy the wheat beers. But, we added a special ingredient and that's why it's such an especially dark wheat beer. We added Elderberries! (insert Monty Python joke of choice here).

The ingredients!
 We were lucky to find the elderberries at a local home brew supply shop, but everything else we needed came from the kit. Dad was cool enough to give me the kit a little early so we actually brewed the beer on Christmas Eve because I was already up visiting for the holiday.

February 6, 2013

Apple Cider Steel Cut Oats

January was a bit of a bust, productivity-wise. I was sick for most of the month and it's a busy season for my job. I did as little cooking as possible, and no sewing whatsoever. But I'm finally feeling better and things have calmed down, so things are back on track with a new steel cut oats recipe.

I love this one because it combines two of my favorite cold weather things- apple cider and steel cut oats. The original recipe is from Bob's Red Mill (who's products I love) but I changed it around to suit my tastes more. I used spiced cider instead of regular to give it a little extra oomph.

Apple Cider Steel Cut Oats
makes 4 servings

What You'll Need:
3 cups spiced apple cider
1 cup steel cut oats
2 Tbs packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 small-medium apple, diced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

The Process:
Combine the cider, sugar, and spices in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the oats, diced apple, and walnuts. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve and enjoy.

Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated in the microwave. Just add a little water to the oatmeal before microwaving it.

With all the snowy days we've had lately, this has been my favorite way to start the day. Hopefully, though, we don't get too much snow. So far we've been lucky, the majority of the snows coming through the area have missed us.
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