The Sew Can She Crazy Quilt Sewalong!

Do you have a pile of fabric scraps?  Have you ever wondered what to do with them?  Would you love to try out crazy quilting?  Are you motivated by great sewing prizes?  If you answered yes to any (or all!) of those questions, then come join us as we put those scraps to use in crazy new ways in Sew Can She’s Crazy Quilt Sewalong!  The fun starts this Saturday, April 20th.   Your goal is to create something amazing with a crazy quilt block or two or a dozen.  The possibilities are only limited by your imagination . . . and your fabric stash!  At the end of the sewalong, you’ll have a handmade and crazy project to enjoy, and you could be the proud winner of a prize from one of these generous sponsors:

I’m excited, too, to tell you that my new assistant, Leigh, is going to be joining in the Crazy Quilt Sewalong with me and sharing here on the Fishsticks Designs blog!  I’ll be back this afternoon to share her introduction with you.  I think you’re going to love her!

To read all the details and join the Facebook event page for the sewalong, click right here:  The Crazy Quilt Sewalong Announcement.  I can’t wait to see what you sew!

The Casual Lady for Spring!

Did you know that Made by Rae‘s Spring Top Sewalong is wrapping up this week?  Several years ago, I sewed a top for myself every day of Spring Top Week.  How did I possibly have the time?  My schedule has definitely filled up since then.

I really, really wanted to sew something for myself before the sew-along wrapped up, though.  I had some of Patty Young’s Heaven and Helsinki stretch jersey hanging out in my stash, just waiting to be turned into something wearable.  I needed a quick pattern, so I turned to the Casual Lady from Go To Patterns. (I love that all proceeds from the sale of the pattern go to support She’s Worth It. If you haven’t checked out their fundraising project, please take a minute to read and consider joining them in the fight against human trafficking.) I started cutting my fabric at 6:30 while my amazing husband prepared dinner. (I’m only spoiled a little.) I stopped for about 30 minutes to eat dinner with the family, and I was done with this top by 8:00! Amazing!
The pattern is simple and straight-forward, and it’s such a nice-fitting top!  The only little problem I had was that my lining wouldn’t stay inside nicely around the neckline, and I used a solid so it needed to. I topstitched the neckline to make it stay put, but then the whole neckline folded itself out. Urgh. I realized that I’d probably stitched too close to the edge, so I sewed a second line 1/4″ in (my original was at 1/8″), and that took care of that! Yay! I’m not usually one to wear sleeveless tops, but this one feels like it has sleeves because of the way it curves around and shapes to your shoulder.  I think it looks like it has a cap sleeve, even though it really doesn’t.  Pretty cool, huh?

My 15-year-old, Samantha, did such a nice job of taking pictures for me, didn’t she? She just kept snapping while I tried different poses. I think this picture just might be my favorite. “Jamie! You cannot hide behind me while we’re taking pictures!” Ha! When I want him in a picture, I nearly have to bribe him!

My Blue Ribbon Gluten-Free Granola Cookies

These cookies are addicting . . . so use caution!  I spent some time experimenting with granola bar recipes and breakfast cookie recipes a couple of months ago in an attempt to come up with a recipe for a healthy-ish snack that I could take along to Allen’s track meets.  It had to be something that uses real ingredients,  it had to have chocolate and it needed to be gluten-free.  What I ended up with is a recipe that is shaped like a cookie, but has the texture and taste of a granola bar.  (My kids actually call these Granola Circles.) Everyone who has tried these has enjoyed them so much, I couldn’t resist baking up a batch and entering it into our county fair.  And, it won a first place ribbon!

Ready to get started?

The Ingredients:
3 cups gluten-free rolled oats (If you don’t need these to be gluten-free, traditional rolled oats work perfectly, too!)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups of coarsely chopped pecans
3 large or 4 small ripe bananas (The riper your bananas the more banana flavor your finished cookies will have.)
1/2 cup coconut oil, warm enough to be liquid (It only needs to be about 76 degrees to melt, so don’t heat it too much.)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coarsely chop your pecans.
In a large bowl, mix oats, coconut, sea salt and chopped pecans.

Puree your bananas.  ( I use the blender.  If you mash them by hand, be sure that you don’t have any chunks left.) Add pureed bananas and coconut oil to the dry ingredients.  If your maple syrup is coming straight from the refrigerator, mix these ingredients in before adding the maple syrup and the vanilla.  If your maple syrup is room temperature, you can mix all the liquid ingredients in at the same time.  (If you pour the cold maple syrup onto the melted coconut oil before mixing it in, it will harden, and you won’t be able to mix it in.  I speak from experience. )

Pour in the mini chocolate chips and mix it all well.  Feel free to taste the “batter” and see what you think, but don’t eat it all!

Grab a cookie cutter and place it on your baking stone or on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  I use a 2 1/2″ circle cookie cutter, but any cookie cutter in a similar size and shape will work.  (Maybe hearts for Valentines Day or Christmas trees in December?  How fun would that be?)  Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the cookie batter and press it into the cookie cutter really well.  It should end up being about 1/2″ thick.

Carefully remove the cookie cutter, leaving a perfect little circle (or heart or Christmas tree) behind.

Repeat until you’ve filled up your baking sheet.

Bake for 24 to 27 minutes or until they’re golden brown.  Mine are always perfect right at 26 minutes.

Slide the cookies off onto a wire rack to cool.  You can eat them warm, of course, but I think they’re best when they’ve cooled to room temperature!  

I would love to hear your feedback if you give this recipe a try!  I’m thinking that it would be just as yummy if you substituted dried fruit for the chocolate chips and any other chopped nut for the pecans.  I’ll be making a big batch for our family trip next month!

Covert Robin: What I Received

Yesterday, I shared what I sent off to my Covert Robin. Today, I get to share the lovely gift that I received! Ella from Throw a Wench in the Works sewed for me, and she sent me Un-Paper Towels! These have been on my to-do list for so long, and I’ve never gotten around to making them!
If you’ve ever read my About Me page, you know that the only paper product that we use in our home is toilet paper. I didn’t even own a paper towel holder, so I had to run out to Target and buy one! (Should I call it an un-paper towel holder?)

The towels that Ella sewed have a decorative cotton woven front and absorbent cotton terrycloth on the back. Each towel has snaps so that you can snap them together to roll them onto the holder and unsnap them to use them. When you’re done, you just toss them into the wash and reuse them. Yay! No more paper towel waste! (Not that we had paper towel waste here before, but my towels were all in a drawer. Now they can be pretty on the counter! If you use paper towels, you should make yourself some of these!)Funny story? As I finished up the pictures, my 13-year-old, Allen, reached for one of the towels to dry off his hands, and his older sister, Samantha, said, “You can’t use those. They’re too pretty. Use the towels in the drawer first!” I had to point out that the towels were made to be used, not just to look pretty! They do look pretty, though, don’t they?

Ella also sent me this beautiful fabric-covered journal which is going to get plenty of use! I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go so that I can keep all of my thoughts and lists and plans in one place.
Thank you so much, Ella! I am thrilled with everything!

Covert Robin: What I Sent

I had so much fun participating in the Covert Robin Swap hosted by Imagine Gnats! The Covert Robin is a mystery round-robin swap. The participants know who they’re sending to, of course, but it’s a secret who you’ll be receiving from! When you’re planning your gift, you have to be sneaky about searching for likes and dislikes of your recipient. (Can I admit that I felt a little stalker-ish when I was researching my partner? It was fun, though!)

My CR recipient was Shannon from I’m Working on a Project. My assignment arrived in my inbox while I was waiting for Allen’s track team to finish their early Wednesday morning run across the bridge, so my first look at Shannon’s blog was on my I-phone. The incredibly amazing dinosaur quilt that she finished last year is the header on her blog, and I was awestruck. Really.  And, I was only looking at the tiny pictures on my phone!  You have to go check out Seymour before you read any further!  I can sew pretty much any clothing, but art quilts leave me with my mouth hanging open. Scrolling through Shannon’s posts, I ran across something about using a soldering iron in the construction of a quilt, and I walked around the rest of the day mumbling, “I’m supposed to sew something for someone who uses a soldering iron when she sews?!”

I took a deep breath, though, and took a peek over at her Pinterest account where I found a few ideas. Shannon likes bright colors, and I found a few things that she’d pinned and said she liked the colors, specifically turquoise and lime green. I also found that she’d pinned a couple of little credit card/discount card pouches.  A little digging through my stash for scraps of some fun brightly-colored fabrics, and a trip to Joanns for some Kona cotton, and I was ready to get started!

I used my Sunny Days Beach Bag Tutorial to make the main gift – the tote bag that you see above. (Everyone can use an extra tote bag, right?) I just reduced the finished size to make it a roomy tote, rather than a carry-the-whole-house-plus-the-kitchen-sink bag. For the front of the criss-cross pocket, I pieced fabric scraps in strips to add some fun interest.
I added a couple of inside pockets, too, and loops on the inside seams for those little clippy things. They’re great for hooking your keys or anything with a handle that you don’t want to lose in the bottom of a big bag.
On the back, I adding in a strip of the fabric that I used for the handle to give it a little extra color.
I whipped up a quick key fob to match. (The tutorial for that is right here: Fun Fabric Fobs.)
Finally, I designed and sewed a little zippered card/coin pouch with wrap-around zipper, similar to those that Shannon had pinned on her Pinterest.
What do you think? I know that I could use something in my purse to hold all those membership cards that keep piling up! I like the way this turned out so much that I’m planning to share a tutorial for making them next week! Be sure to come back and check it out!
Lastly, I included some goodies, all wrapped up in a bow. (I figured that if she hated everything else, she could drown her disappointment in chocolate and lollipops. She didn’t hate it, though! Yay! She says she likes it all, and she’s already tucked her latest crochet project into the bag.)
Tomorrow, I’ll share the amazing gift that I received in the Covert Robin Swap. It just arrived on my front doorstep yesterday, so I still have to get some pictures, but I love it!