Thursday, January 25, 2018

Clementine Quilt Along for St. Jude's Children's Hospital

Want to quilt with me? Each month, we can make a block or two and support a great cause at the same time! Each month, the pattern is a donation (suggested $5 amount, but why not give more?) and an instant download. You can make it with your own fabrics or order the kit from Fat Quarter Shop.
This January Block was a lot of fun to make and though it looks hard, it was really very easy. My seams all "nested" nicely and all corners were matched...that's a win in my book!

My Quilty Friends:
*April of April Rosenthal (@amrosenthal)
Bonnie of Sunset Family Living (@sunsetfamilyliving)
Cara of That Crafty Cara (@thatcraftycara)
Carrie of Moda Cutting Table (@modafabrics)
Denise of Pieced Brain (@piecedbrain)
Elise of Elise and Emelie (@eliseandemelie)
Gina of Carpe Quiltin (@gina_tell_carpequiltin)
Heather of A Creative Pursuit (@acreativemama)
Hilary of By Hilary Jordan (@byhilaryjordan)
Jan of Cocoa Quilts (@cocoaquilts)
Jen of Heritage Threads (@heritage.threads)
Joanne of Quilts by Joanne (@turtlequilterjo)
Kairle of Kairle Oaks Handcrafted Goodness (@kairleoaks)
Kendra of Good Starter (@good_starter)
Kristen of 3 in the Nest (@threeinthenestraleigh)
Kristina of Center Street Quilts (@centerstreetquilts)
Leah of Ponderings from My Heart (@ponderingsfrommyheart)
Melanie of A Bit of Scrap Stuff (@mellierc)
Melissa of Happy Quilting (@happyquiltingmc)
Pat of Pat Sloan (@quilterpatsloan)
Pat B. of Life in the Scrapatch (@scrapatches)
Patty of Elm Street Quilts (@elmstreetquilts)
Rebecca of One Wee Bird (@oneweebird)
Sarah of 123 Quilt (@123quilt)
Seema of SSK Craft Shop (@sskcraftshop)
Sherri of A Quilting Life (@aquiltinglife)
Sondra of Out of the Blue Quilts (@sondradavison)
Stephanie of Quilt 'n Party (@quiltnparty)
Tanya of Tanya Quilts in CO (@tanyaquiltsinco)
Teresa of Aurea's Kitchen (@aureaskitchen)
Vickie of Crocheting Vixen (@crochetingvixen)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

My Grandmother

My Grandmother's funeral mass was the day after Christmas. The women's guild had a brunch at the church hall to honor her. After leaving the church, my immediate family went to her house and looked at her things, smelled her perfume, opened her cabinets, and just lived in her space for a bit. It felt great to be among her things. Later the night, we met for dinner at her favorite restaurant, The Ice House, which is on the water. This was the sunset we were treated to. I'd like to think it was a gift from her. It was simply magnificent and I know she would have loved it. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Christmas 2017

This Christmas break was bittersweet; we lost my sweet Grandmother. We still decorated and baked cookies. We still had gifts and family time. I think the kids still found magic in the season. For me, the wind was taken from my sails. I did not take a lot of pictures, I didn't decorate every room, I didn't entertain friends this year, and I didn't edit the few pictures I did take. I gave myself the season off; No Christmas cards. No beautiful bows on packages. No sewn gifts. 
I did make her pistachio bread for the teachers and neighbors; that felt like a tribute. 
I miss her daily and know she would have loved Christmas time with the kids. 
...but we did still pick out a tree

and decorate it with family-collected ornaments

and watch Christmas movies while decorating

we still made things festive

we still used a lot of the decorations she gifted us with.
Gigi, we miss you like crazy. 
Merry Christmas in Heaven.

not the glow from a fireplace or even the tree 21st century does this picture feel?
(In his defense, he was studying for a test not playing a computer game).

Friday, January 12, 2018


Raleigh usually gets a dusting or two of snow every year but this is usually after the holidays. Rarely do we get a white Christmas no matter how many times I put it on my wish list. This year, we got the next best thing; snow before Christmas. Imagine: bundling up in cozy outer wear, stopping by Starbucks for a hot cider, and braving the mall with big flakes falling down. It really was that magical. 
It snowed on and off the whole weekend but didn't stick to the roads or shut down the city. It was glorious. 
"snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes"
It started while we were at school on Friday afternoon; I put a roaring fire on the SmartBoard, passed out candy canes, and opened the mini-blinds for my students. It was an awesome weekend of snow!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Instant Pot Gruyere Parmesan Risotto

Have you jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon, yet? It is a modern day pressure cooker and everyone on Instagram and Pintrest is all about recipes that use this fancy, modern-day pressure cooker. My parents gifted me with one last year for my birthday. Until recently, all I have used mine for was quick shredded chicken for casseroles and soups. My resolution this year was to blog more frequently and to try a new recipe each week. So far, so good.

A friend gave me a recipe for risotto that uses the risotto function on her machine, but mine does not have that function. I read a bit online and lumped several recipes into one to make this AMAZING side dish (totally could be a main for me).

2 cups Arborrio rice
4 c chicken stock
splash of good white wine
4-6 oz. of Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese (not from a green capped vessel, please)
1/4 c heavy cream (or more)
black pepper
pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp. olive oil

1. using the saute function,  add olive oil. When hot, saute rice until a few grains get toasty brown. 
2. Add splash of wine and swish the rice around the pot until the wine is absorbed.
3. Add broth, close lid. Using the manual function, set high pressure and cook 5-6 minutes.
4. Release steam.
5. Remove lid.
6. Stir and add cheeses, cream, a seasonings. 

I am sorry that I did not get a picture. I practically dived into the pot once I smelled this rice. It is creamy, decadent, rich, and so good with a glass of white wine. I cannot wait to try variations on this is THAT good. I've never made risotto because of the constant babysitting you must do and not being able to multi-task while making it...this is a game-changer!