Monthly Archives: May 2009

Easy Enchiladas – Gluten and Dairy Free

Since going without wheat and dairy I have found it difficult when craving my old favorites, like Enchiladas.  Did you know most store bought enchilada sauces have gluten in them?  Here’s a recipe I found that is very good!

She’s also got a great chicken enchilada recipe.  So here’s my version of her enchiladas:

1 and a bit pounds ground turkey, beef or cubed chicken cooked thoroughly

1 small white onion

3 cloves of garlic (or however many you like)

1~14 oz can corn

1~14oz can black beans

1~8 oz can sliced black olives

12 corn tortillas

Cook the meat thoroughly in a large pan, drain.  Add the onion, garlic, corn, black beans and black olives.  In the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish add a couple of scoops of enchilada sauce to cover the bottom.  Cover the bottom of the dish with 6 tortillas.  Pour the meat mixture on top of the tortillas and smooth to edges.  Cover the top with remaining 6 tortillas and pour the rest of the sauce on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Serve with cut up avocados.

Of course, if you can’t live without cheese go ahead and add it.  Want flour tortillas?  Well, you can easily substitute those back in.  These are so easy that you’ll have dinner ready and in the oven in no time.


ECRC & Hospice Memorial Service, Prescott AZ

Don’t you just love it when work that you put into a project is dearly and heartily appreciated?  If you’ve been reading any of my posts about the American Flag Rag Quilt you’ll know what I mean.  The service was yesterday (Friday May 22, 2009) and was in memorial of all the service men and women who passed away while in their care.  My aunt took video and, once I’m able to do so, will get it posted along with pictures.  Here’s what my Grandpa had to say in an email to those of us in the family unable to attend:

The Memorial celebration was held in the VA theatre building and was done in a really nice manner showing pictures of all the Veterans who had passed away while in the care of the ECRC and the Hospice.
I made the presentation of the Quilt Flag to Dr. .Walavacher and to Lori the Head of the ECRC who was the one responsible for keeping your mom and sister in the care of the VA until her passing.
If you remember she was supposed to be released to a nursing facility outside the VA but Lori kept returning her to the emergency ward for evaluation and then she was sent to the ECRC until finally she went to the Hospice.
Lori let her believe she was going home so she wouldn’t give up and so we had her another six months and I am really grateful to her for that.
They had a flag ceremony, the bagpipe was played and there were pictures of all the deceased rotated on the theatre screen as all the names were read, then there was there presentation of the flag and plaque in Junes Honor and when it was held up for viewing there was a long and loud applause which really made Patty and I tear up.
I will go again next year.
Patty took pictures which she will send and when it is displayed in the hospital I will take some for all to see.
Dad, Gpa, Jay     I love you all.”

Love and appreciation are simple and easy to convey.

I am, therefore I quilt.

Throughout my school years I always wondered what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Lawyer (I’m not a quick arguer), doctor (I can’t stand needles), teacher (yikes! Love kids but only in very small short doses), actor (perform?), singer (ha! can’t hold a tune)…you get the idea.  My talents always fell a bit too short.  Amazingly enough I avoided all art classes like the plague.  Somewhere along the line I got it in my head I was artistically challenged.

Fast forward…through daycare jobs (no kidding, confirmed my belief about being a teacher), librarian (books are quiet and don’t make messes), secretary (getting there), and worked in commercial real estate for several years.  It was my darling sister who started quilting first.

I was fascinated!  She showed me how the shapes were put together to make blocks and how the blocks can blend together to come up with designs.  That was it…I wanted to do it.  The problem:  No money.  It is not a cheap hobby!

Then I got married and moved overseas.  My sister-in-law invited me to a beginning quilting class but the class was cancelled because we were the only ones signed up.

I found a quilt shop in the little town we lived in.  I would go and look, and look, and look.  Feeling those outrageously expensive bolts of fabric imagining all the fun things I could make with them.  I bought three fat quarters to make a quilt for the baby I was carrying.  Definitely a one day out there project.

We moved back to the states.  Upon our return my sister gave me a cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler.  That was all the incentive I needed.  My first quilt was horrible and I think I swore through the whole project.  I definitely remember thinking, “People do this ALL the time!?!”

Then I bought more fabric and made another quilt.  This time I kept it simple.  The next several quilts were large squares and I worked on getting “perfect” points.  Then quilting 1/2″ from the seam and finishing the job by tying a ribbon in the middle of the square.  I can think of four quilts I did like that.

I bought a book of baby quilts.  That’s when I saw the actual quilting that people were doing.  (And I tell you, the quilting was very simple.)  How do I do that? became my motto.  How do I do that?  How do I get the perfect points?  How do I keep my ruler from slipping?  How do I quilt without puckers on the back?  How…how…how…?

When we were in the process of buying our house we decided, one day, to drive by and take a look at it.  As we drove down the street my husband and I both saw the shop at the same time.  ‘Evergreen Quilting’ the sign read.  I said, “A quilt shop!”  My husband said, “Oh no…”

It was when I worked at Evergreen that my piecing and quilting started to get better…a lot better.  All the things one learns from others!

They have a Handi-Quilter too.  *BIG smile!  That was when I learned that one doesn’t need to lay out, pin, push and shove a quilt just to get it quilted!  It was a whole new world for me and boy was I having fun.  The beginnings were simple, a lot of meandering and loops.  But soon people started asking me to quilt for them and giving me money!  And that is how my business was born.  It feels ridiculous, sometimes, that I have a business when about 5 years ago I just started quilting!!

My latest project was one I found in my stash a couple of weeks ago.  I took a class with a local teacher on applique.  Not hard, just time consuming.  Don’t know why I put it away…but I did.  I put the borders on and now it is on the frame and I’ve started quilting it.  What do you think?

Hearts Four You Quilt Top on Frame

Hearts Four You Quilt Top on Frame

Each of the hearts (there are four) are appliqued.  This project also introduced me to flying geese (sort of).  Here’s some close-ups of the quilting that I’ve started.  Once the project is completed in the next couple of days I’ll post pictures of the completed project.

Feather in the triangle and swirls in the border

Feather in the triangle and swirls in the border

You can still see the markings!  They’ll come off when I’m done.  Here’s from the back of the machine.

Corner feathers

Corner feathers

I added some swirls.

I like quilting for a plethora of reasons.  So here it goes:

1)  I can take fabric and make pictures out of them.

2)  I find it a lot of fun to take a pattern that someone else has come up with and modify it.  Lately I’ve even started designing my own patterns.

3)  Quilting on a longarm allows me to draw but with thread and a sewing machine.  Sort of like an Etch-A-Sketch but without the knobs (personally I find those maddening).

4)  There is a lot of time for me to think and pray and it helps to keep me centered and my mind from dwelling on the difficulties we experience.

5)  I’ve met the most fantastic people!  It is my hope that they will willingly let me share their lives and quilts here.

So that’s it for me.  I’m late getting dinner started because I wanted to write a bit.

Have a lovely Monday evening!

Hand-Dyed Fabrics

I’ve been going through my stash lately really looking at all my fabrics and wondering, “Will I ever find something to make with you?”  Then I came across my fat quarter stash.  It’s pretty puny, really.  Very little actually matching…I joined a Birthday Fat Quarter Swap with WASIQ (Washington State Internet Quilters) and had a lot of fun picking fabrics for others.  When I got my pack I ripped into it…what amazing fabrics!  I put girlie fabrics (polka dots, stripes, etc), pretty florals…and I can’t remember what else.  All the amazing fabrics I got!  I’ve been looking at them wondering…”What can I make with you?”  And then my eyes rested on…

My hand-dyed fabrics…dyed by yours truly.  :o)  That’s right!  I dyed them myself.  It was a lot of fun!  Here’s a picture…

Gradient Yellow to Blue

Gradient Yellow to Blue

Pretty amazing stuff I tell you.  There were 8 buckets.  At one end we had turquoise and at the other end there was yellow.  Then you add a bit of color to each of the buckets…I’m explaining that horribly.  But, this is the end result.  Every bucket had turquoise and yellow in it but in varying amounts.  Oh…what to make!?!

Here’s another:



Aren’t they gorgeous?  More buckets…but this time there were just straight colors in them.  I chose a white fabric with the white butterflies printed on it.  The white printed butterflies actually picked up some of the dye so they are a lighter shade of color than the fabric!  I can’t wrap my mind around a possible creation with only four of these brightly colored fat quarters!

Plastic Bag Dyeing

Plastic Bag Dyeing

These are darker.  Obviously the red, then blue, then a funky green and the last is a dark cherry color.  The dyes were mixed, put into plastic ziplock bags then the plain white fabric was added.  The lighter areas are the parts of the fabric that were touching the plastic bag…the darker areas were completely submerged in dye.  So delicious!

More dyed fabrics

More dyed fabrics

Another example of white on white.  The white print did not take any of the dye, though.  It stands out a lot on these materials.  The green is pretty fantastic but I love the blues.  I’m a blue-girl…and a yellow-girls too.  :o)



Sideways but you still get the idea.  The bottom one is purple, then red, then blue.  I loved this fabric before it was dyed.  Not so much now!  :o(  Oh well…the white print didn’t stand out as much as I had hoped and the colors aren’t very Christmasy.  Not to mention someone accidentally took my fourth fat quarter and I’m short a color…probably green.

The best part of hand-dyeing is discovering all the fun colors that you can make yourself.  The hardest part is washing it all out.  You do not want to put it in your washing machine so each piece gets done by hand in the sink or bath tub.  If you plan your projects well you could make some really spectacular quilts with hand-dyed fabric!

I’m thinking of putting some of these on Etsy…they’re just sitting in my closet and deserve to have something fun made out of them!

American Flag Rag Quilt ~ Part 2

From previous posts…I finished the casing on the back of the quilt, got it washed and dried, labeled and sent off to my Grandfather.  There is some sort of service that will take place Tuesday, May 26th at the VA in Prescott, Arizona from 4-7pm.  It is at the service that the quilt is going to be given.  My mom is going to make up a plaque to be hung next to it.

One of my aunts said that the quilt made her cry.  I’m looking forward to seeing any pictures that are sent my way…if they are, I’ll add them.

Off to my sewing studio now.  I’m working on a couple of projects and will post them when I’m done!

Have a happy day!

Coconut Curry Chicken Stew

When I decided to go gluten and dairy free a very good friend of mine gave me a stack of recipes.  This has turned out to be our favorite.

Talk about delicious.  Serve it with brown rice (yes, brown rice…white rice is so bland in comparison to brown and doesn’t complement the curry at all) and you’ve got a very satisfying and delicious meal.

3 or 4 large chicken breasts, cut into small chunks

a couple of glugs of olive oil

small onion chopped up

Put all three of these items in a large pot and cook until no pink remains.

Add 1 can coconut milk (I use Trader Joe’s) and 1 to 2 teaspoons of curry

Simmer until the chicken becomes tender.  Then add 1/2 cup raisins, 1 green apple chopped up, 1 large carrot (or two large handfuls of “baby” carrots) chopped up.  Cook until veggies are tender.

It’s done!!  That’s it…no more!  If your chicken is cooked ahead of time and in the freezer just pull it out and cut your cook time by about 10 minutes.  Superb!

The “Fuzzy”!

Projects…it seems that once I get one out of my head another one pops in!  Sometimes I’ve got several going at once but with life happening at the same time I don’t get as much done as I would like.  I got this really great idea in my head a few weeks back.  Finally I made it to the shop for all the bits and this is the result:

Minkee Blanket with Cotton Binding and Pillowcase to Match

Minkee Blanket with Cotton Binding and Pillowcase to Match

Minkee is a soft material.  This one is double-sided.  I always felt it a shame to put one side inside a quilt!  I decided to just bind it and see how that turns out.



The thing with these pictures is you can’t see the true color of the blanket (a light mint green, which sounds horrid but is quite nice).  In this picture it looks light yellow!  Here’s another picture:

Even closer close-up

Even closer close-up

Here’s a good picture of the binding. You even get an idea of the texture of the Minkee!

Both of my darlings have one of these.  They got one at each of their birthdays last year.  Abi first because her birthday is in August.  She was so excited to have a soft blanket for her bed.  Chloe was mad and kept convincing Abi to let her borrow it.

Then we gave Chloe hers in November.  That blanket went everywhere!  She even tried to take it to the car once!  We started telling her that she couldn’t take it off her bed.

It was Chloe who gave it the name “Fuzzy”.  Her blanket is yellow so she calls it Fuzzy Yellow.  Abi’s is baby pink so she calls it Fuzzy Pink.  This new blanket is Fuzzy Green and I’ve just finished a white one…which is, of course, Fuzzy White.

I guess, technically, it doesn’t fall into the category of “quilting”.  However, all the techniques I use in these blankets and pillowcases are ones I learned while learning to quilt.

They make great baby gifts and gifts for children.  Children love blankets as much as books.  Soft somethings to take around with them will certainly be treasured…at any rate, you can take a look at it on my Etsy web site and be sure to keep an eye out for more!