Need I say more?
I couldn't even talk about it at first. If you know what's in this photo, you can probably feel my pain. If not, it's a dough hook for my Kitchen Aid mixer - more specifically a broken dough hook. I'm kind of a bread geek, so this was pretty upsetting to me. Okay so it's really not that big of a deal in the overall scheme of things, but it was going to put a damper on my bread-baking. It broke while it was working hard to knead a batch of bagel dough. I wasn't watching, but the sound of the mixer changed dramatically. When I went to check it out I saw the damage, but not before I had a chance to make these baguettes:
and these bagels:
and while we're on the subject of bread, I've been keeping up pretty well (I think) with my Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge. I made this Cranberry Walnut Braid which turned out to be better as toast than straight out of the oven and inspired a recipe for Cranberry Walnut Multigrain bagels which I will post soon.
I also made this Marble Rye. It wasn't really to die for, but I bet it would make an awesome tuna salad sandwich especially if you buttered and grilled the bread. Mmm.
Back in October, I made this Pane Siciliano. The picture doesn't really do it justice, but it was delicious. We devoured it in a day.
See what I mean? Bread geek.
I told my sad story (okay complained) to enough friends that I was loaned two more dough hooks by the end of the next day, so all is well.
Woo hoo! I just finished a few little mini projects that I've been wanting to do all week. I made some cute little crayon holders to go with the backpacks I made last weekend. I can finally send a belated gift along to my niece. My daughter was quite pleased with hers. She has a knack for coloring on anything and everything that's NOT supposed to be colored on, so it probably wasn't the smartest gift for her. My 8 year old was quite excited about it and now wants one, too. You hardly even need a pattern, but I used the one from this Linda Lum DeBono book.
I also made my first quilt block for the Block Party. I'm a beginner quilter, so this was my first foray into triangles, and I love it. My points aren't perfect, but they're a lot closer than they'd be if I hadn't used the simple technique in the tutorial. I would have cut the triangles first then sewed them together, but this is so much easier and more accurate. I'm not sure if I would have figured out how to do the trimming if I hadn't happened to notice this discussion on the flickr photo group.
I'm not quite sure yet what I'm going to do with all the blocks, but I picked two fabrics that I have quite a bit of along with some white Kona cotton. I'm hoping that I can make the different blocks out of the same colors and tie them all together into one quilt.
Aah - now I have the whole weekend ahead of me to work on something new or more practically finish an existing project. I'll probably start on my Birdie Sling Bag.
I've been dying to take part in a virtual quilting bee since I first heard of the concept. No matter how happy I am with my work, other people's always looks so much better to me. This seems like the perfect opportunity to get over my craft-envy by including others' work in mine.
There's a cool quilt-a-long block party going on here. They're not actually sponsoring a bee, but they are helping inspire bees through their blog and flickr photo group. They will be putting out a new block every quarter with variations on that block in between quarters. The first block is up already. I've been following along, but I still haven't managed to jump into an open bee before it fills up, so I decided to start one of my own.
I really don't know much about it, but I think I can manage to coordinate and learn as we go. Basically how it works is that 12 (or I suppose you could do any number, but 12 works out nicely with the months of the year) people "get together" and make one block a month per year for each other. Each month one person gets to decide on the pattern and the fabric. That person sends out a small packet of fabric to each quilter who then makes the block and sends it back.
I'm thinking that we should have a couple of "subs", just in case. If all 14 of us end up making blocks, we can use them on the quilt back or for pillows or whatever. Then so that the extra two still get their quilts, 2 people per month could make an extra block. The only problem is that those 2 people will end up having to wait the whole year to get their whole quilt but will still have to plan it and send out the fabric up front. I don't know, is that making it too complicated?
Let's give it a try! I suppose I should come up with a catchy name and a nice button for people to include on their blogs. I'll work on that, but in the meantime, comment here if you'd like to join. I'll take the first 11 and then two more after that as subs.
This should be fun!
p.s. I forgot to mention - we'd start in January.
These cute little backpacks were my big accomplishment for the weekend. I made them from a pattern I've been coveting for a while. When my sister mentioned that my niece wanted a backpack for her birthday, I finally committed and bought the pattern from Made by Rae. I'm really glad I did. It's a pretty easy, quick pattern, and I'm really happy with how the backpacks came out. They look like something you might buy in a cute little boutique - professional - not homemade.
This is my two year-old, Addie modeling one of the backpacks. I made both backpacks at the same time because I didn't think Addie would let me get away with giving one away if she didn't have one of her own. It turns out that she loves it even more than I thought. She's hardly taken it off, since I completed it (which makes getting her in her car seat more of a chore than usual).
So the only problem with the backpack for my niece was that I didn't finish it on time. I guess (okay I know) I'm a procrastinator, so it seems to often happen that I'm finishing something up at the last minute then I end up being late for the party (or wherever it is I'm going) and yelling at the kids. I decided I wasn't going to do that to us this time. As it was, my 11 year old daughter was wonderful about helping knowing that I was trying my best to get the backpack done. She washed Addie's face, cut her fingernails, got her dressed, and brushed her hair - all without even being asked. Is she a saint or what? (Note to self - go back and read this when said 11 year old is throwing an emotional, hormonal tantrum.) I was really close, but I just didn't make it, so I threw the three to-be-sewn-together pieces in a gift bag and presented those as her gift. She's a pretty savvy four-year-old, but she definitely thinks I'm crazy. Oh well, I did finish it the next day and will get it in the mail for her this week. I think she'll enjoy getting her very own mail.
In my defense, I had some pretty good excuses for being behind on things such as this family movie night sanctioned by my 8-year old son. We ate lots of junk food and drank Shirley Temples up in my bed and miraculously didn't even spill anything.
Then my favorite somewhat local fabric store, Alewives, was having a 20% off everything sale. I didn't really need any fabric (what halfway serious seamstress can say that with a straight face?!), didn't really have any money to spend, and I really didn't need to spend two hours that I didn't really have in the car driving there and back, but after a lot of soul-searching, I decided I just couldn't resist. Among a few other things, I finally bought the fabric for a Birdie Sling Bag. I've had the pattern for a while, and just hadn't found the right fabric.
My final, probably most frivolous distraction was stumbling across a reference to this Pioneer Woman web site. At first, I glanced at it quickly, checked out her "About Me" page then moved onto other things (more accurately other blogs), but something made me want to read more. Luck would have it that she has the entire story of meeting, falling in love with, and marrying her husband on her web site. I was immediately hooked and frittered away the whole evening reading her story instead of working on my backpacks. There's something about it that's really appealing. She has a great down-to-earth, self-deprecating style, and her story of marrying a rancher is just so interesting to me. I highly recommend it.
And speaking of distractions and stories, a friend of mine just sent me this link to this writing contest where you try to write 50,000 words by the end of this month. The idea is that you'll be in such a hurry you won't get caught up in all the things that might normally prevent you from writing a novel like plot, character development, wording, etc. What you write might be terrible, but it might prompt you to get past whatever excuse you've been giving yourself to note write your great American (or insert your country name here) novel. Speaking of excuses, I think I'm going to wait until next year to try this one when I can actually start on November 1st, but I love the idea.
Finally, although they really have nothing to do with anything, I just had to include these photos of Addie's first leaf-pile jumps. She loved it. Remember when it took so little to make you this happy?
There are a couple of really cool things going on in the Quilting Blogosphere that I wanted to mention.
The first is a UFO (as in Unfinished Object I would guess) Challenge from Tallgrass Prairie Studio. You submit the number of items you want to commit to finishing by the new year. Then you go back on 1/1/2010 and submit how many things you actually finished. There will be prizes, but I'm just excited about having that little bit of pressure to complete projects that I wouldn't otherwise have. I was a bit conflicted, since I also want to use these two months to make Christmas gifts, but I did commit to finishing these four projects:
I have a much, much longer list that I'd like to get down on the blog one of these days, but those are the four priorities for now.
The second exciting thing is a Block Party. As I read other quilter's blogs, I see mentions of these Block Parties here and there. I was always reading them too late to join in. Finally, I caught one on time, and you can, too. They're offering some really cool fabric to some lucky winners who spread the news about the Block Party. Not only that, but your block could be featured in the book that these particular quilters are collaborating on. I'm guessing it will be a really cool book. Definitely check it out.
Finally, completely unrelated to UFO Challenges and Block Parties, I wanted to post this picture of my oldest and youngest apple-picking together deeply engrossed, I think, in a conversation about the finer qualities of Cortlands vs. MacIntoshes. As I mentioned in this post, I was determined to go apple-picking this year. We had a great time and got a ton of apples and a bunch of great photos, but this is my favorite. I'm going to try to look at it every time my 13 year old acts like his typical teenaged self to remind myself how much capacity he has to be good and caring and loving.