As I’ve mentioned, I love flannel. I thought I would try making a few flannel baby quilts and back them in minky – what could be cozier than that? None of the designs are very involved – I was still learning at this point in time, and all of these were rather simple designs that came together quickly.
The first was Johnny’s Quilt. We have a thing for stick horses at our house – we just love them. My husband saw this cute stick horse fabric at a fabric shop while we were on vacation on the North Shore. I had a nice, cool, fall day off work and I cut and sewed most of the quilt top in just one day. The backing fabric is brown minky. There is a mistake on this quilt – see if you can spot it! One of the blocks is flipped. Oh well, that just meant we had to keep it 🙂
The quilting is also subpar on this one, but I still love it.
I think I did a really good job with fabric choice, despite the other mistakes.
I made a similar flannel and minky-backed quilt for my co-worker who was becoming a grandmother! She was really excited for baby Owen’s arrival. Again, it is a simple design that shows off the feature fabric and came together really quickly.
The third is a flannel triangles design in soft colors that I made for my best friend’s new arrival, Imari. We weren’t sure if the baby was going to be a boy or a girl, and mom is not really a pink lover anyway, so I thought this color palatte would be perfect. It was supremely soft and I was totally in love with this quilt. At the time I even thought I might make a larger-sized one to keep.
This one is backed in yellow and white striped minky, which was gorgeous, but it’s a little washed out in the sun.
All of these baby quilts were fun, fast projects that made great gifts!
Okay. We haven’t exactly kept up with our Try-Something-New Tuesdays. But, we haven’t forgotten the spirit behind it, and we are trying to cook up some new recipes now and then. Usually, I don’t think to even take photos or anything. One night we made chicken fajitas. That was kind of a bust. They were only so-so.
Although it hasn’t become the clockwork weekly experiment that I’d originally hoped it would, it hasn’t been a complete failure, either. I’m still trying. Bear with me.
My favorite restaurant I’ve ever been to (ever!) is the Angry Trout Cafe in Grand Marais, Minnesota. I realize that Grand Marais is a little bit of an out-of-the-way location for a lot of people. But if you ever happen to find yourself there during May-October (the restaurant is closed in winter), make sure to stop in. You may be in for a long wait if it is a weekend night. It’s worth it. I hate waiting; I am a disgustingly impatient person by nature and I especially despise waiting for my food. But I will wait at this place. It’s THAT good. Their specialty is fresh Lake Superior fish and (I think these are a specialty) big, beautiful salads made with fresh, local ingredients. They always have the option of Trout Chowder soup available, too, and my husband and I have stopped here several times after long, rainy, cold hikes to have a bowl of trout chowder to warm up.
We have the Angry Trout Cookbook, which is a really interesting book even without the recipes. It has a lot of local interest stories and tons of information about sustainability. Anyway, Greg has always wanted to make the trout chowder at home. We rarely fish, so we don’t often have access to good, fresh fish. So we adapted this recipe a bit. Our version was technically “CostCo Frozen Tilapia Chowder,” if you want to get really technical about it. It has fish, carrots, potatoes, dill (what else??). It’s SOOO good. Once Greg made it for our Try-Something-New night, he then made it again twice within the next two weeks. Sometimes we ate it for a meal, and sometimes we had oven-baked sandwiches with it. We LOVE it. And it’s super pretty to boot.
fresh herbs from our back alley garden destined for dinner
the finished product – yum!
Around late July, we began to enjoy some of the fruits of our labor (literally) as far as gardening was concerned. Although it was a very warm summer, it was also very wet in the beginning. I think this may have made it a not really great year for tomatoes. A lot of ours rotted on the vine before ever ripening. And they were only OK-tasting. Don’t get me wrong, they were much better than anything you’d buy in a grocery store, but they just weren’t as good as we’d gotten in the past.
We got tons of peppers though, and it seemed to be a great year for them. The eggplant also fared well.
We planted a melon plant, not knowing at all what we’d get. It only grew two tiny melons all summer! But I was really proud of them anyway.
Our raspberry bushes bore fruit in early summer and again in the fall. Mostly, we just ate the berries right off the plants.
We made a lot of fresh salsa, TONS of tomato-basil-mozzarella oven-baked sandwiches (my favorite!!), lots of green beans, and I routinely ate green pepper strips and cherry tomatoes as quick easy snacks in my lunches. I wouldn’t call it a great year for our garden, but it wasn’t bad, either.
My Cozy Quilt. I drag this thing everywhere.
I love flannel. Maybe it’s the Minnesota in me, but there’s nothing that feels quite as snuggly and warm as flannel sheets on a cold night. Not long at all after learning to sew regular cotton quilts, I decided I’d like to tackle flannel. My flannel stars quilt was the result of that first experiment with working in flannel.
The quilt is actually not anything too special – it’s a very simple three-rail block design. But somehow this quilt has become “my” quilt. It’s soft yet lightweight, it’s warm with its flannel batting, and it’s not nice enough to care if I drag it everywhere, including outside. I love this quilt so much! It also has polar bears on the back. It’s around a large twin size, which is a size we love at our house. I even sewed two pillowcases out of the leftover fabric.
front and back close-up
We also made a flannel quilt for our goddaughter Sophie when she got her new big girl bed. Unfortunately, the quilt somehow got a little larger than we’d originally planned (someone sucks at quilt math, just sayin’). It was not meant to be a nice quilt or an heirloom of any sort, just a cuddly blanket that could be squished and dragged around and dirtied and washed and loved. She is such a spirited girl – the bright colors just remind me of her great spirit.