First Sunday of Advent: Sunday Stash

Hello habibis!  I hope everyone in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving; I know I did.  It was a white Thanksgiving, to our surprise – thankfully everyone coming to visit from out of town made it without too much trouble.  I had lots of family time and lots of sewing time.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent.  Happy Advent to those who celebrate!  (Happy Sunday to those who don’t.)  I’m kicking off my 2014 Advent calendar posting schedule beginning with my first-ever Sunday stash.

I don’t usually do Sunday stash posts because I don’t post on Sundays, but I have accumulated quite a bit of fabric this year.  Of the quilts I’ve made this year, three or four of them came mostly from fabric from outside my stash.  My goal for this year was to not buy fabric unless I needed it for a quilt or project, but I had some specific looks I was going for and I needed to buy fabric.  I’ve bought yards and yards of fabric this year – approximately 44 yards of fabric (plus 3.5 yards of 108″ wide fabric).  Also, my Aunt D, who also sews, gave me much of her stash for my birthday because she doesn’t want to keep a large stash.  I haven’t figured out how much fabric that is but I’m sure it brings my total to over 50 yards.  I also still have some scraps from my charity quilt, and leftover fabric from one of my friends in the guild who gave me what she had left from her quilt.

My yardage out has not equaled my yardage in.  This is a problem because I’m expecting to move next year and I had hoped to minimize the amount of fabric I needed to move.  My stash is huge.  Last time I moved I had eight boxes of fabric and I would prefer for my stash to be less massive this time around.   So far I’ve gotten about 21 yards out of my stash via de-stashing and charity work.  Christmas and winter birthday presents should help considerably, and I have some projects lined up for next year already.  I’ll try to keep track of how much goes out as I post about presents throughout Advent (and after Christmas).

Here are some pictures of my new fabric:

Fabric from Aunt D

Purchases from this year

This doesn’t include the fabric for my FMQ project and my magnum opus – but you’ll see them soon!

My aunt M gave me this Hungarian embroidery kit for my birthday – I want to learn to do Hungarian embroidery.

Tune in tomorrow for a post about Christmas stockings!  We’re going to have a loose schedule for Advent: Travel Tuesdays, Guest Post Wednesdays, and Throwback Thursdays.  Everything else will be posts about whatever Christmas presents I can show you.  I’m going to have some of my real-life habibis coming in for guest posts, to show you their own beautiful art.  I’m really excited to share that with you!


Magnum opus update #13

Habibis, it is hard to believe, but this is my last magnum opus update.  I’ll be finishing it up in the next week and gifting it soon – very soon!  I’ll post about it during my Advent calendar posts but not until I’ve given it to its recipient.  I have spent more time on this quilt than, I think, any other quilt I’ve made, because I hand quilted the entire thing.  (Even now, when I’m close to the end, I still want to add more to the design, and I probably don’t have time for that.)

I quilted 14 stars this week, which brings my total to 85.  I also added the binding, so in the next week or so I need to finish quilting all the stars and sew the binding down.

Check back in on Sunday for my first Advent calendar post – a Sunday stash!  See all the gorgeous fabrics that made their way into my stash this year (many, many fabrics).  Also, a quick shout out to Casey at  She wrote an applique book, Modern Applique Illusions, and every project is AMAZING.  It is on my Christmas wish list.  In addition to being super talented, she’s also super generous; she did a blog hop for her book (buy it here!) and she did a giveaway with scraps and fusible webbing for every project in the book!  I won for her Perspective quilt – there’s a package of scraps and fusing on its way to me!  🙂

I want to wish a happy and safe Thanksgiving to everyone in the US, especially people who are traveling.  Where I am we’re expecting some poor weather today, so J (my roommate) and I are planning to head to our hometown this morning, just to be on the safe side.  For my global readers, have a wonderful week as well!

Pre-Thanksgiving recipes!

Hello habibis!  I had a pretty productive week.  I finished my FMQ project (look for that during my Advent calendar posts!) and working on my magnum opus and Christmas presents.   We had our first spell of very cold weather and then, suddenly, back to warm weather Sunday and yesterday.  J (my roommate) traveled to Philly to run the marathon (and she did great! one of her best times) and I thought I would get sooooo much sewing done, but I spent a lot of the weekend with Z – not that that’s something to complain about.

Just a quick reminder, beginning on Sunday (the first Sunday of Advent) I’ll be starting my Advent calendar posts, a post for every day of Advent.  Check back in then!

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, so I’m sharing some recipes.   Amy at Indigo Cottage Quilts – and someone else, but I can’t remember who – suggested that I share a couple of Hungarian recipes, sour cherry soup and mushroom soup.

Hungarian sour cherry soup


1 lb sour cherries (fresh or frozen), pitted
6 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream (you can use plain yogurt)
2 tbs flour
dash of salt

1.  Cook cherries with water and sugar, about 10 min.
2.  Mix sour cream or yogurt with flour until smooth.
3.  When cherries are done, temper the sour cream/yogurt mixture with a few ladle-fuls of hot cherry liquid.  Whisk until smooth.  Transfer into the pot with the cherries and whisk until smooth.  Simmer five minutes.  Don’t boil.
4.  Let cool to room temperature.  (Put the top on or cover tightly with plastic wrap.)  Refrigerate until cold.  Serve cold.

You can replace the sour cherries with regular cherries, but leave out the sugar or use less.
Hungarian mushroom soup

2 tbs olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 to 2 lbs mushrooms sliced
1 tsp salt
2 to 3 tsp dried dill (or 2 to 3 tbs freshly minced)
1 tbs mild paprika (I use spicy paprika)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbs flour
2 cups water
1 cup milk at room temp
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
finely minced fresh parsley as garnish

1. Saute onions in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 min; add mushrooms, salt, dill, and paprika.  stir well and cover.  Let cook for about 15 more min, stirring occasionally.  Stir in lemon juice.
2. Gradually sprinkle in flour, stirring constantly.  Cook and stir another 5 min or so over medium-low heat.  Add water, cover, and cook for about ten min, stirring often.
3. Stir in milk; add black pepper to taste.  Check to see if it needs salt. Whisk in sour cream and heat very gently.  Don’t boil or cook after this point.  Serve hot topped w/parsley.

I love this soup with rye bread.
Enjoy these recipes!  If you try them, let me know what you think!  They’re two of my favorites.  For my fellow Americans, have a very happy Thanksgiving; for the rest of the world, enjoy the rest of the week!

Magnum opus update #12

Hello habibis!  Winter has come to us, at least temporarily; yesterday was the first really cold day we’ve had, but by the weekend it’s supposed to warm up again.

This week I did another 16 stars, for a total of 71 stars quilted.  I’ve been slowing down a bit to focus on my FMQ project, but over Thanksgiving I should get a lot done.  I need to finish up soon!

I can’t believe Christmas is only five weeks away.  I’ve finished two Christmas presents and I’ve got two in progress.  I’ve got a few where I’ve started cutting pieces but I’m not far enough along to count them as really being in progress.  This weekend should be a productive one for me!  Good luck sewing, habibis.

Charity dog bed

Hello habibis! I’ve got a rather lumpy giant pillow/dog bed to share with you today.

I took these coordinated purple plaids and sewed them into a giant sack and then I stuffed it with all my extra batting scraps and stuffing and whatever else I had.  Then I sewed up the open end.  It’s about a foot and a half by three feet, give or take.  It’s more pillow than bed, really.  The purples are cute, though.

It went to a shelter where my parents’ neighbor works.  I am planning to turn my old bedspread into another dog bed/pillow but I’ve been so caught up with my two big projects and now Christmas presents that I guess that’ll have to wait.

In blog news, I’ve decided to do my blog advent calendar again – a post every day for the duration of Advent, starting Sunday November 30th (the Sunday after Thanksgiving), the first Sunday in Advent.  This year I’ve got some exciting guest bloggers lined up, some of my real-life habibis, who will show you some of their beautiful homemade art.  We’ll also do some throwback posts – I’ll show you quilts I made in the past and never blogged about – and I’ve decided to do a series of travel posts.  I’ve had requests to talk about my travels and I think this will be the perfect time.  I’d better dig out some of my old pictures!

Magnum opus update #11

Hi habibis!  I hope you all had a lovely Veterans Day.  I know I did, although I missed my grandpa.  I got everything I needed to make Christmas presents (Michael’s was out of pillow forms!  But Joann’s had them on sale and my sister gave me a Joann’s coupon that I’d been saving, so it worked out fine), I worked on my big FMQ project, I made dinner for Z and J and me.  It was very nice.

So.  11 weeks!  In a few more weeks I’ll be able to show you my magnum opus.

I re-traced my stars again (I wanted them spaced out more) so now the quilt has pencil marks all over it that I’ll need to get rid of.  I took it to my guild meeting again so I got a lot done this week.  I’ve quilted 38 stars.  That brings my total to 61 stars.  I feel like I’m moving into the home stretch.  I think I’ve got another 80 to go.  Or maybe 100.  It depends on what I decide for my final design.  Also, probably, what my time constraints are like.  I will definitely be taking the magnum opus home over Thanksgiving weekend.

Veterans Day

I’d like to wish a special Veterans Day (or Remembrance Day) to all our armed forces, veterans, and their families today.

My Swiss grandpa was in the US Army during WWII, delivering mail in both theaters.  He didn’t talk about it much, except that he liked being stationed in Alsace-Lorraine because the local kids spoke German to him.  We took him to the WWII Memorial in DC one year and that meant a lot to him.  It’s really nicely done.  We went around from battle to battle and he pointed out the ones where he’d had friends who died.  If you live in the US and you get a chance to go, I recommend it.

On a related note, poppies are my favorite flower, and I wanted to share some of the beautiful quilts from the Bloggers Quilt Festival that featured poppies.  The Bloggers Quilt Festival is over, but you can still enjoy the gorgeous quilts!

Also, this one doesn’t have poppies but it’s a Quilt of Valor:

And this is a fabulous American flag quilt:

This is just a small sample of the amazing quilts in the quilt festival.  I really enjoyed seeing everyone’s inspiring work.

I’m posting later than usual today because I have another holiday.  (I know! Being a civil servant has some perks hehe.)  I had to work alllll day Sunday so this is my compensation: a make-up sewing day.  First I need to go to Michael’s – if you live near one, and you have time today, they’re having big sales!  My goal is to make all my Christmas presents this year and I have some non-fabric supplies to pick up today.

I don’t have a project to show you today; instead, I want to talk about de-stashing.  I don’t usually do Sunday Stash posts because I don’t post on Sundays, but I have bought a ton of fabric this year.  Of the five (five!) quilts I made this spring, only two of them came entirely out of my stash.  (One came from my stash except for the backing.)  I’m currently working on two big projects, both of which I had to purchase all the fabric for.  So that alone means I bought yards and yards and yards of fabric this year.  I also bought other fabric, some for projects for next year and some because I’m trying to get more solids in my stash.  I live in a small city apartment.  I don’t have a lot of space for my sewing stuff, and next year we’re not planning to re-sign our lease, so I’ll need to move all my fabric.   I want to get rid of the fabric I don’t use so I don’t have to move it.

Conveniently, my grandma decided that she wants scraps to make Christmas presents this year.  Also, I had my guild meeting this weekend and the charity committee takes fabric donations.  It was perfect timing.  I went through all the bins where I keep my fabric and I pulled out everything I really don’t think I’ll use.  I think the total was 19 yards.  I sorted about five yards of that into a pile for my grandma – mostly assorted prints that are pretty enough (plus my remaining Christmas fabric scraps) – and everything else went to the guild.

My goal between now and when our lease is up (which isn’t for months and months) is to use as much of my fabric as I can, and then when it’s time to move I’ll probably de-stash again.  I’ve seen some people keep track of their incoming and outgoing fabric.  I’m afraid to attempt to estimate that because I had so much coming in this year, but maybe I’ll try it for next year.  I like the idea of trying to keep my stash a manageable size.  Hopefully one day I’ll move out of the city and have a house with actual sewing space, but in the meantime it’s hard to keep things organized.