Indigo June Baby Quilt

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Happy Thursday! I have a finished quilt to share today, a baby quilt made from my stash of hand dyed indigo fabrics. If you want to learn more about indigo dyeing and try it yourself, you can find more information in this post: DIY Indigo Fabric Dyeing Tutorial

This is a long-term work in progress that has finally been finished, hooray! I pieced this baby quilt top in 2018, and it's been sitting in storage ever since. I think at one point I had intentions to include it in a big indigo sampler quilt, or just make it into a larger throw. either way, that never happened. This is the June quilt from my friend Amanda-Jean Nyberg's book, No Scrap Left Behind*!

Last month I decided to finish it up as a baby quilt, since we use a lot of them these days, and I always like having a stash of quilts ready for gifting. I wanted to make it a little bit bigger, so I dug into my indigo fabric scraps. I had just reorganized them, so it was easy to find all the strips.

To continue the strip theme of this quilt, I made a scrappy strip border. It was a good way to use up lots of scraps! Lucky for me, I was able to scrounge up just enough of the little dot fabric I used for the squares to do cornerstones in the same fabric.

This quilt is so different from my other quilts made using my hand dyed indigo fabrics. I usually try to cut large pieces when using it for patchwork, to preserve the pattern in the fabric. The pieces in this quilt are so small, you really don't see much of the patterns. It's more about the colors. I also hardly ever work on point!

Earlier in the month I shared a little video tutorial of how I did the quilting on this quilt. It's my signature wavy lines! It's done with a walking foot and is my favorite way to quilt things at home. Here is the tutorial in case you missed it: How to Quilt Wavy Lines with a Walking Foot

I am actually running pretty low on indigo fabrics at the moment! I'm going to need to do a big dye session this summer to restock, which of course breaks my heart! I'm excited to try some new techniques and play when it warms up. Since I didn't have yardage to spare for a backing, I dipped into some of my over-dyed print stash for the back. I have a bunch of fat quarters of white-on-white prints that I indigo dyed years ago. A few of them have some sun damage, but I'm considering that just part of the hand-dyed look.

I kept with the scrappy theme and made a scrappy binding!

I used one of my custom woven labels to finish it off. I'm so glad that this quilt is finished and ready to be used!

Indigo June Baby Quilt
Fabric: Hand-dyed indigo fabrics by me!
Pattern: June quilt No Scrap Left Behind by Amanda-Jean Nyberg*

Happy Quilting!

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Scrappy Canvas Zipper Pouches

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Happy Tuesday! Today I want to share a scrappy project I undertook back in November.

It all started when I decided to completely reorganize my scraps. First I spent time getting my quilting cotton scraps organized back in color order this Summer. For a while I had my scraps organized by size and into groups of warm and cool colors. I ended up liking this set up less than I thought I would. For my work flow, it just makes more sense to have them organized by color. After tackling my quilting cotton, I moved on to the garment fabric scraps, linen, and canvas. It feels so good to have everything organized again, and it inspired me to make something!

Without really trying, I managed to pull three color palettes worth of canvas scraps. Zipper pouches seemed like a good choice, and I hadn't made any in a while! For the sizing, I used the pouch I keep my knitting notions in as a guide, which I made about ten years ago.

The pouch panels were randomly pieced, using the scraps as they were as a starting point.

Here are all three pouches that I made, all together! I had a lot of fun making these and it felt really good to use up some canvas scraps. I definitely have the hardest time using non-quilting cotton scraps. I'm hoping now that I have them a bit more organized, I'll be more inclined to use them! How about some photos of each pouch individually?

The purple one! This one I made for myself, because I love purple. :)

Primary colors for this one! I made this one for my friend Jacey.

And finally, a teal one. This one I made for my friend Amanda.

These pouches were a good reminder to myself that sometimes I just need some time to play around in my supplies. What started as a cleaning/organization project resulted in three finished projects! For me, time spent straightening up or organizing supplies is never time wasted. It could spark my next idea!

Happy Sewing!

A Quilty Coloring Book

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Happy Wednesday! Today I have a fun new project to share, I made a little coloring book! It's already available to purchase in my online shop, here: In Color Order Vol 1 - A Quilty Coloring Book It's a great excuse to play around with color for your next quilt project or just relax and enjoy some quilty related coloring! Let me tell you more about it.

I was inspired recently to turn some of my quilts (and some classic designs) into a little coloring book! It was really fun to think about what designs to use for this first volume (I’ve got plans!!), and figure out how to make good coloring pages out of them. It was also my first time laying out a booklet for printing, which was a fun problem solving activity. I love when I project becomes a learning/skill building opportunity.

The book is pretty simple and I’m making them completely here in my home from printing to assembly to shipping. There are 16 different quilts to color! The books are 5.5”x8.5”, printed on regular copy paper, nothing fancy! I’d recommend using colored pencils or crayons with these, markers may bleed through.

When it came to putting these books together, I knew I wanted to do it myself and stitching them on the machine seemed like a great solution! Why shouldn't a quilt related book have visible stitching? :) The book comes in four colorful colors and I'm using colorful thread for the stitching too!!

This is just a silly little passion project, but I had a lot of fun with it. I plan on making more volumes, because there are so many quilts that would make good coloring pages!

Find the coloring book in my shop here: In Color Order Vol 1 - A Quilty Coloring Book

Happy Coloring!

My 2023 Garden and 2024 Garden Plans

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Happy Thursday! Today I wanted to spend some time looking back on my 2023 garden and looking forward to my 2024 garden plans! See past gardening posts here.

Unsurprisingly, our 2023 garden struggled a bit! We welcomed our daughter in the middle of the summer, so we had much less time than usual to take care of it. Some things did just fine with a bit less care, and others suffered. We also got an incredible amount of rain, which again was good for some things and bad for others! For context we grow in zone 7a. Let's dive into the details.

In our driveway garden we grew cherry tomatoes, peppers, onions, and flowers. For tomatoes, we grew Sungold, Sun Sugar, Cherry Bomb and Tomatoberry. All small, indeterminate varieties. All the tomatoes did well this year, and we picked a lot all summer! Sungold is our favorite, I think we'll always grow that variety. This was our first year growing Sun Sugar from seed. We really like it, but it is quite similar to Sungold. We're still on the hunt for a good red cherry, Cherry Bomb and Tomatoberry were both a bit disappointing. They both grew well and were productive, but the flavor just wasn't what we were after.

For 2024, we're not planning to try out any new tomato varieties. I still have seeds from all the varieties we grew in 2023, so I'm planning to use those up.

For peppers we grew Anaheim, Banana, Lunchbox (snacking) and Serrano. Our peppers were not happy this year! We grow them all in grow bags, and with constant rain they just stayed too wet. The Serrano peppers did the best, but otherwise it was one of our worst pepper years.

For 2024, we're going to grow less peppers. We'll be growing Anaheim, Banana, and Serrano peppers.

Similarly, the Walla Walla onions we grew did not do well. Too wet! We actually decided to stop growing onions. The two big grow bags we have for them just stay too wet in our space. They don't get enough sun, and they take up too much space. So the plan is to remove the soil from them (and use it to fill pots, and low spots in the in-ground gardens), and store them in the garage.

Now, onto happier and more successful parts of the 2023 garden! Our fig tree did fantastic! We had lots of happy new grow, and lots of fruit. It's now tucked into the garage for the winter, and I look forward to waking it up in a few months.

The flower gardens did great in 2023. I planted a perennial pollinator patch in Fall 2022 and it came in so well this year. And it needed basically no care, which was ideal!! It attracted so many bugs and birds, we're hoping to expand it this year. The Echinacea self-seeds, so there will be lots more of that this year anyways! And I can see that the Rudbeckia overwintered, since I covered it in leaves before winter arrived. I'm also planning to add some Signet Marigold 'Lemon Star' and Feverfew 'Tetra White Wonder' to the patch this year.

I grew tons of strawflowers in 2023. Some in pots on the driveway, but most in ground at the bottom of the dahlia patch. They're one of my favorite flowers to grow, and I already bought seeds of some new varieties to try in 2024. I ordered my seeds from Select Seeds (here in CT). I went with King Size Salmon, King Size Red, Swiss Giants Mix, and Pierrot White. I'm hoping a few of the varieties I grew last year will still be good, as I know I have some seed leftover.

I love my marigold patch I've been planting in the front yard the last few years, and I'll continue that tradition for 2024. The last few years I've done a mix of giant and regular marigolds, but I've decided this year to stick with just two giant varieties. Mission Giant (my personal favorite!!), and Giant Orange.

I successfully grew mini pumpkins this year!! It was so exciting. I grew Jill Be Little pumpkins on my arch trellis at the bottom of my dahlia patch. They did well, and I ended up with 10 or 12 pumpkins. The only problem is that the vines grew all over the dahlias. So for 2024, I'm going to grow pumpkins in the pollinator patch I have in the front yard. I don't think I have any seeds left of the mini orange, so I may try growing out some Casperita, which is a small white pumpkin!

Last but certainly not least, DAHLIAS! My number one favorite thing to grow. Thank goodness for the dahlias, they saved the day. Once they're in the ground, they really don't need a lot of care. They barely needed watered all summer with all the rain we got. I grew 7 or 8 plants in pots on the driveway and the rest in ground in our side yard. For the most part they did great! I had a handful of new varieties this year, a few were busts, but I found some I really like too!

My dahlia seedlings did not do well this year. This was partially self-inflicted. I didn't move them up a pot size and it really stunted their growth. I know how critical this is, but I still made the mistake again. They never really recovered. I did save a few that I may plant out if I have the space. We'll see! I ordered some dahlia seeds from Floret this year that I'm going to be growing. Hoping they do well!

For 2024, I plan to grow lots of dahlias again! I have a few seedlings to grow out, and I've ordered a few new varieties. Not planning to do much differently! I am hoping to finally try out staking with Hortonova netting. My staking this past year was pretty awful, the plants were all over the place! We'll see how I like it.

Happy Growing!

Jeni's Best Chocolate Cookies

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Happy Tuesday! I have a chocolate cookie recipe to share with you all today!

Sometime in the last few years, I tried out Pinch of Yum's Very Best Chocolate Cookie Recipe. I loved the flavor, but I just could not get the texture right. I made the recipe twice (to be sure I hadn't made a mistake!), and both times they spread super flat and had no rise or height to them. They were like a thin brownie more than a cookie. Despite this, I couldn't leave them alone! They tasted so good. I especially loved the cardamom in the sugar coating. That combined with chocolate and a hint of coffee is just delicious!

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I decided to try adjusting the original recipe to get a better result. It took a few (tasty) tries, but I managed to craft my ideal chocolate cookie! The biggest change is that I added baking powder to the recipe to give the cookie some rise and fluffiness. I decreased the butter to help with this too. I also tested the recipe with my standard dutch process cocoa, because I don't like buying special ingredients if I don't have to. They were good, but just did not have the same flavor (or look) as the cookies made with Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder. I do think it's worth buying for this recipe, I was able to find it at my regular grocery store. A few other adjustments were made for ease of measuring. I also prefer to dissolve my espresso powder in a little hot water, rather than mixing it in with the dry ingredients.

My cookies are quite a bit smaller than the original recipe too. I don't like huge cookies! My go to cookie scoop is a size #40. I use it for basically every cookie I make. I did not even bother to roll the last batch I made into neat balls. I just dropped the scoops of dough right into the sugar coating mixture, rolled them around and put them on the tray. Made no difference in the final cookie and saved me some time!

I am so excited with where the testing ended up and think they are a great cookie so I thought I'd share the recipe with you. If you like chocolate, I hope you'll try them!

Jeni’s Best Chocolate Cookies

Adapted from: Pinch of Yum
Servings: 30 Cookies

Cookie Dough:
- 12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cups (350 grams) light brown sugar, loosely packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon espresso powder, dissolved in 1 Tablespoon hot water
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 3/4 cups (225 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) dark cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
- 1 teaspoon table salt

For Rolling:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Jeni’s Best Chocolate Cookies

Heat Oven: To 350°F. Line sheet trays with parchment paper.

Make Cookie Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer (hand mixer works too!), cream together butter and light brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and dissolved espresso powder, mix until just combined. Sprinkle baking soda and baking powder into the bowl, mix until just combined.

In a separate bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until a soft dough is formed.

Roll and Bake Cookies: Whisk granulated sugar and cardamom together in a shallow bowl. Portion dough into 1 1/2 Tablespoon balls (I use a #40 scoop), roll in sugar mixture.

Arrange cookie balls on tray approx. 3" apart. Put try in freezer for 10 minutes before baking. Bake for 12 minutes, let cool on sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Freeze cookies: After rolling dough balls in sugar mixture, arrange on a sheet pan and freeze until solid. Transfer to a container or bag for storage. Add 2-3 minutes additional baking time when baking directly from the freezer. Do yourself a favor and write the oven temperature and baking time on the bag or label! Now you can have delicious cookies in a few minutes for treat emergencies!

Don't forget to pin this post to your Pinterest for future reference!

Happy Baking!