Although it may seem that I did, I didn’t miss Macaron Day — or Jour Du Macaron as the French call it — on March 20. I made vanilla (see above) and raspberry macarons, trying out some new flavor options with the filling. My husband was sorely disappointed that there was nothing chocolate, but the macarons were met with positive reviews at work. (I didn’t get to take a good photo so that’s why you get an instagram style photo to hide the quality.)
Fear not, there is more work being done on the quilt as well. I recently got my backing fabric from Hawthorne Threads. Isn’t it pretty? I couldn’t decide on just one of the colors so I decided to do them all!
As previously mentioned, I’m obsessed with macarons. Here’s the latest batch: chocolate peanut butter, raspberry chocolate, chocolate with chocolate caramel and plain with chocolate caramel.
This was my first time making chocolate meringue (with cocoa powder in the meringue) and I may have to tweak some of the cooking times or temperatures as they came out a little crispy, but still very tasty and chocolatey delicious.
In an interesting tidbit, macarons cost about $2 a piece in this area. I estimate that I made around 70 macarons which means about $140 worth of the crazy things!
I continued working on my neon quilt. Love that image above. I just love the way all these colors look together. I think all those strips sewn together would make a nice quilt just by themselves!
Today I worked on the binding. I had bought some jelly rolls to make binding. I started by finding a pleasing arrangement. Then I sewed all the strips together (see picture at the top).
I pressed the whole thing and then sliced them into 2.5 inch strips. Finally, I pressed it in half lengthwise and rolled it around a tube. I now have yards and yards of beautiful binding. I might have enough for 2 quilts, actually. Frankly, I think the binding took more time than the actual quilt top, but I don’t mind because I think it came out fantastic!
Next up is getting some batting and piecing the back together . . .
The fact of the matter is that I’m currently obsessed with french macarons. I did a macaron making party for my birthday. I made my macaron apron. I have more macaron fabric which I haven’t used yet. I love them. They are cute. They are tasty.
The other weekend I made 5 batches (I only got pictures of samples from 4 of them because my husband at the first batch before I could take decent pictures). I originally learned using an Italian meringue method, but decided to try using the Martha Stewart recipe which is the French meringue method. It worked great and the macarons came out awesome (see above). I’m really loving this new recipe because it’s less messy and smaller batches which means I can make more variety.
The flavors above are lemon, raspberry-lemon, chocolate-mint and chocolate-caramel filled. They were met with very positive reviews.
Remember how I needed more neon basics in order to do the edging on my neon quilt? Well, it was my lucky day and Craftsy was having a big ol’ sale and it turns out they just happened to have a ton of the neon basics on serious discount. Of course I could not resist. I love them. They’re on super sale since they’re discontinuing them but hopefully the folks at Riley Blake will decide to come back out with them or something similar at some point because I totally love them and wish I had found them sooner since I would have gotten more of the solids.
This time I picked up 2 more of the layer cakes, 2 of the jelly rolls (that’s what I’m using to make the binding) and a fat quarter pile. I’ve already got plans for the 2 layer cakes and one of the jelly rolls. I’m sure the fat quarters and other jelly roll are going to burn a hole in my figurative quilt pocket.
I also grabbed some white Aurifil thread since that was on sale and a Dresden template, also on sale. I wanted to try making some Dresden plates for fun.
I had picked up some Aurifil thread when I placed my last order with Hawthorne Threads and used it to make the neon quilt top. I’ve read a bunch about Aurifil thread on a number of quilt blogs and thought, oh, that’s just thread. It actually is super nice to sew with! My stitches look so pretty! So I got a big spool to use for the next few quilts. I realized that I had been using 40 wt and the one I just bought was 50 wt so we’ll see how that goes. I suspect I’ll sewing with the 40 wt more than the 50 but who knows. I do think the 50 wt will be nice for doing my quilt top with the neon since it will blend a bit more.
So apparently March is national quilt month. I somehow missed this in past years. But I’m here now!
I figured I’d show off some of the quilts I’ve been working on. I’ve recently gotten really into quilting. I love the shapes. The colors. The mathematical perfectionism behind them but that at the same time you can go totally improv. I love that they can truly be usable works of art.
This is one that I started. Well, the quilt top is done, but I need to actually quilt it. I’m using Riley Blake neon basics. I got a layer cake (stack of 10” pre-cut squares) along with the white fabric from Hawthorne Threads. They are one of my most favorite online fabric stores and I highly recommend you visit them. The white is from their Hawthorne Hues line, a line of basics. So far seems nice enough but I’m not sure if it’s nicer than the Kona that I can pick up with a significant discount using a coupon at JoAnn’s. I’ll let you know after I wash it.
Anyhow, I totally fell in love with the neon colors. I wanted to make something that would really highlight them and had been wanting to try some layer cakes as well something a little more “modern.” I also wanted something “quick” because I like making things but don’t have a lot of time these days. This ad hoc pattern fit the bill. I’ve figured out how I want to quilt it, but I’ve decided I need (yes, need) to find some more of the neon fabric to make the edge.
In the mean time, here are are some pictures of me laying stuff out. I tried rearranging them and randomizing but in the end decided to go with what you see below. It just made me happiest.
My next silk dying experiment was using Jacquard’s Solarfast dye, again purchased from Dharma Trading. Solarfast is a dye that uses sunlight (or probably any UV light) to cause the dye to set. Where it’s covered, it doesn’t set or sets lighter.
Once again, I wet the silk, but this time I wrung it out and then put it in a bowl with the dye. Well, I think I needed to dilute the dye so that it spread more evenly through the silk because I definitely ended up with dark and light bits.
Since I had gone with an avocado green color, I decided to use leaves to do the setting. Unfortunately, as you can see in this photo, they blew away. It was kinda a fail.
Where the leaves did stick (due to moisture, luck, whatever), I did get a neat leaf shape. The non-color parts were more of a yellow color.
On the upside, after washing this veil was nice and soft like normal and the color held nicely. If I were to do it again, I would dilute the paint so I could better soak the veil and I would use shapes that I could weight down.
Maybe I’ll try it again, but not sure. At $8 for 4 oz which is barely enough for one veil, it’s less cost effective than other methods of dying.
It’s National Pig Day! Rejoice in the incredible pig. I point you to my favorite link on The Oatmeal about why pigs are awesome.
For some bizarre reason, the men in my life have been asking me to fix their work pants. I think I’m getting decent at it. It’s not the most beautiful job, but considering these pants are typically used for painting and yard work, I’m happy with it. Here’s a look at my hand work.
So . . . I’ve kinda been growing the pattern stash recently. I’m not really sure this is a good thing. It’s like adding things to my To Do list when I haven’t finished the things already on it.
I’ve come to like the patterns from smaller houses more and more over the last few years versus the big houses. More love and care is spent on the instructions so they’re often clearer. Plus, since these are smaller houses, they often have blog posts offering additional tips and tricks about their patterns.
The ones I’ve recently added to my collection are two patterns from Tilly and the Buttons — the Françoise and the Coco. I’m super excited about both!
And I also got two patterns from Jamie Christina — the Abbey Coat which I love the look of and then I saw the Lark while looking for the Abbey Coat and had to have it. I’m also eyeing the Sol Hoodie if the other two turn out well.