Friday, November 29, 2013

Finish it Up Friday - Sweet Diamonds Quilt

So, I finished this lovely quilt up finally a few weeks ago but I didn't get around to blogging about it yet!

I call it Sweet Diamonds but I'm not really sure why.  I called it that once while I was making the blocks and it just kind of stuck.  

One night I was wide awake surfing Pinterest and I saw this Pin.  I decided to just get up and start working on it right away.  It took me over a year to finally get it all finished but I really like the way it turned out.

I used the Spot On tiny dots in white and black for the sashing and cornerstones.  All the half square triangles were from my stash.  Kathy from Thread Bear Quilting did this awesome quilting.

I'm linking up with Amanda Jean's Finish it Up Friday!  Have you seen her awesome Scrap Vortex quilt??  Amazing!

Speaking of finishing tasks.  I'm already thinking about New Years' resolutions.  It seems as though my To Do list keeps getting longer and longer and I need to get myself a little more organized.  I started reading David Allen's book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and Zen To Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System by Leo Babauta.  Zen to Done (ZTD) talks a lot about Getting Things Done (GTD) and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  ZTD focuses on how to create a new habit each month to help you along the way to being organized.  I love the ideas in GTD but it's overwhelming to try to change your entire system all at once.  I think reading both and gradually forming new habits will work for me.  I know the New Year is still a month away but I really want to get some ideas on how I can help get ready now. 

What about you?  Have you got a system that helps to keep your To Do list clear?  Anyone out there using the GTD or ZTD systems?  I will update you on how everything is working!  

OH!  Don't forget!  Everything is 20% off this weekend at Pink Castle Fabrics with code HOLIDAY20 !


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Holiday Baking - Thick Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm always excited about eating cookies around the holidays!  My personal favorite desserts have both chocolate and mint in them and I couldn't find a cookie recipe I really liked.  So, I made this recipe (and tested it about 30 times :D).  I prefer a thick cakey cookie (almost like a brownie).  If you like a more thin cookie, don't melt the butter and use regular flour instead of cake flower.  You can also substitute more butter for the shortening if you can't find it or like a more thin cookie.

Here's my recipe:

Thick Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe by Brenda Ratliff

This is my version of a popular scouting cookie. Instead of thin and crispy, these are thick and chewy!

Prep time: 25 Minutes
Cook time: 40 Minutes
Total time: 1 Hour, 35 Minutes
  • 2 Cups Bread Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 1/2 Cup Butter-Flavored Shortening
  • 1 1/4 Cups Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 (12 Ounce Bag) Dark Chocolate Chips
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Beat the butter, shortening, brown sugar, and white sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Beat the whole egg into the butter mixture until completely blended, then beat in the vanilla extract and peppermint extract with the egg yolk. Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips, mixing just enough to evenly combine. Scoop up the dough by heaping teaspoons and roll into 1/2-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges of the cookies become firm (the center will be slightly soft), about 10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday! A Modern Medallion Quilt

As if I needed to start another Work in Progress...

Work in Progress - Modern Medallion Quilt by Just a Bit Frayed

 The night before last I decided to start in on my Riley Blake Challenge quilt for our Modern Quilt Guild.  I've been wanting to try a medallion quilt ever since I picked up Gwen Marston's Liberated Medallion Quilts book.  I'm using only Riley Blake Fabrics and solids.  I'm pretty excited with how it is working out so far!

I'm linking up with Work in Progress Wednesday before I run off to sew some more ;)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

~ Brenda

Friday, November 1, 2013

One More Month to Camp Stitchalot!

Now that I'm getting settled back in after Quilt Market, I'm starting to get more excited about Camp Stitchalot!  If you don't know about Camp yet, click on over to Pink Castle Fabrics and read all about it.  This will be our fourth Camp Stitchalot this December!  Camp is the best sewing retreat you've ever been on.  We limit the tickets to 30 so you get to know everyone that comes for the weekend.  We have really fun "counselors" who come and sew right beside you.  Instead of just taking a class with these incredible sewists and then after a few hours you part ways, you get a chance to really hang out with them for the whole weekend!

 michigan sewing retrear

I saw my friends Debbie Grifka and  Jeni Baker last week at market.  We had a chat about how close December is getting and I suddenly got really excited to see them again!  And I get to meet Anna from Noodlehead for the first time.  I seriously want to make one of her new Cargo Duffle bags that were all over Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics booth!  I love Anna's patterns!  She does such a great job.  

We are going to be sewing up small projects this time and we will have a lot of open sewing time to finish up those last minute gifts.  I always get a lot accomplished while I'm there.  There's really something about not having to do any cooking or cleaning for a few days...  

I hope you will be able to join us in a few weeks! There are still a few tickets left!