April 30, 2010

...fun fabric friday...large car from wheels by riley blake

It's been a while since we've done a Fun Fabric Friday post, so we thought we would pick a print from this week's sale.  Check out Large Car from Riley Blake's Wheels collection, which is on sale for only $6.99/yard!  There are three other coordinating prints, so scoop up a bundle of them for your little guy!

Sale price good through May 1, so hurry in!

See you in the shop!

April 29, 2010

...have you checked out...the tula pink epic giveaway?!

If you've never worked with any of Tula Pink's fabrics or pre-cuts or patterns, you're missing out.  I LOVE her stuff.  If I were a better sewer, my house would be full of quilts made with her fabric.  I got into the fabric game shortly before Hushabye came out and I instantly fell in love with it, and then everything else Tula Pink.  Her stuff rocks.  It's as simple as that.

And if you already know and love Tula, then you know you have to scoop up her fabrics right away because Moda doesn't do reprints!  They print a limited amount and once it's gone, it's gone.  Soooo, the very awesome and generous Tula Pink herself is hosting a giveaway over on her blog.  Like, a really good giveaway.  She's giving away 1 Jelly Roll of each of her 6 fabric lines.  Plume is her latest (we still have a few pre-cuts left) and Hushabye wasn't too long ago, so you can most likely still find some goodies from those lines (we have some Hushabye yardage left!).  The 4 lines prior to that?  Well, good luck finding more than a few bits and pieces spread out amongst the million fabric shops out there.

So this is your opportunity to snag some hard-to-find and out-of-print goodies.  Just head over to Tula's blog and leave a comment letting her know your favorite line...it's that simple.  And what's really awesome about it?  Your 1 entry qualifies you for an entry in each week's giveaway...think of it as a sixfer!  @TulaPink announced today on Twitter (search #TulaPinkEpicGiveaway for all the chatter!) that if she reaches 1000 comments by tomorrow morning, she's going to sweeten the pot with more free stuff!  So hurry, go!

April 28, 2010

...join our new flickr group!

We love to see what our customers create with fabric they purchase from us, so we've finally set up a Flickr group!  Feel free to add pictures, or just browse around if you're in need of inspiration.  With Spring and Summer upon us, now's a great time to take and post pictures of all those cute new outfits you're making for your kiddos!  And as a newbie quilter, I would love to see some pictures of quilts!  Oh, and just so you know, you can add info to your photo captions, like, ahem, your store/blog website and such...just sayin' ;)

You do have to join the group in order to add photos or participate in any discussions, but joining is quick and easy if you aren't already a Flickr member.  All we ask is that you play nice...after all, we all have the same things in common - we love fabric/sewing/quilting!!  So head over to our currently barren group page and add some pictures to spruce it up!

April 25, 2010

...on sale now...wheels by riley blake

This week Wheels by Riley Blake Designs is on sale for only $6.99/yd!  A fabulous collection for the boys!!  Cars, bikes and road signs, oh my!  Fun designs with bright colors that are sure to be a hit with your little boy.

And we couldn't leave out the girls, so this week's Stash Builder Sale Print is Daisy Path in Blush from Sandi Henderson's Meadowsweet collection.  Sweet white daisies against a girly pink background...doesn't it have a vintagey 70's feel to it?  I love it!

Sale prices are good through May 1!  See you in the shop!

April 22, 2010

...happy earth day!

Image credit:  lulinhapato10

So today is Earth Day - yay!  Some of you care, some of you don't.  Personally, I care and have for a long time.  I feel it's our responsibility to take care of our environment and our earth.  I have done a lot over the years to try to "go green" but I think the most challenging thing I've participated in was helping start the recycling program at my college over 10 years ago.  Being one of the few environmentally conscious people in a Midwest school was challenging to say the least.  To prove to the school that recycling was worth the cost of implementing such a program, we kids in Earth Rocks had to do the so-called dirty work for a while.  Putting bins in every classroom, office, computer lab and dorm area on campus was hard work.  Collecting and consolidating all the paper from those bins?  Well, let's just say that we really liked the environment to lug thousands of pounds of paper around campus in Midwest weather (heat, humidity, storms, snow, ice!).  Eventually, the mounds of bins waiting each week for the recycling trucks proved to the school decision-makers that recycling was something people would do given the opportunity.  (Thankfully, it eventually became a part of the custodial staff's job to take care of the recycling bins and we no longer had to chase rogue wind-blown pieces of paper across campus.)

Dr. Seuss

I think opportunity is key.  Not everyone has money to buy a hybrid, or space to start composting, or any number of other things.  But most of us can recycle, right?  I realize that there might be some areas where curbside recycling isn't offered, making it more of a challenge, but I think most of us would agree that recycling is pretty easy these days.  So I wanted to let you all know about the recyclability of the packaging we use.  USPS is making an effort to be greener and the USPS packaging we use is ALL recyclable!  To be honest, it's a struggle for me to see so much paper and packaging go out the door every day so having the bulk of our packaging being recyclable is important! 

When we first started up, I took the time to wrap each fabric order in tissue paper to make it look nice and pretty.  Then I realized the amount of unnecessary paper product I was adding to each order.  Sure it looked pretty and I know people liked it, but I couldn't in good conscience continue that practice.  I searched for some type of inner bag/envelope to put Priority orders in to protect the fabric from potential tears or water damage.  What I found was pricey and non-recyclable...and then I found the Tyvec bags from USPS.  Free and recyclable!  Now, our bubble mailers on the other hand...not so much.  Unless you want to take the time to tear out the bubble wrap from the envelope, most recycling plants will trash bubble wrap.  So please, until we can find a better alternative, reuse them if you can!  Same with the Tyvec bags...if you've ordered from us before, you may have noticed that I don't seal them, I usually tape them closed.  That's so you can use them again if you have need!  I hope some of you are able to do that, but for those who can't (or for all you International folk), I hope you can recycle them!

We'd love to hear what you do to be environmentally responsible so feel free to leave comments!

Happy Earth Day!!

I encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about how to protect and preserve our environment to check out this article from Care2.com...simple and to the point list, or you can click the links for more detailed info.

April 18, 2010

...in the shop now...summer song by riley blake designs

Summer Song is another bright, fun collection by My Mind's Eye for Riley Blake Designs.  This collection is perfect for your spring and summer projects.  In addition to making adorable clothes, how cute would a little girl's room be decorated with these sweet prints - pillows, curtains, duvet covers!

Check out these great prints:

Songbird - the centerpiece print

And they form a great bundle that is proving to be very popular!

See you in the shop!

April 3, 2010

...in the shop now...frolic pre-cuts by sandy gervais for moda

Sandy Gervais has a great new line perfect for Spring and Summer.  Frolic offers fun designs including plaids, swirls, flowers and more, and all in fantastic bright colors including yellow, blue, green and orange.  Don't like too many bright colors?  That's okay, there are a few browns mixed in too to help ground the prints!

Head over to the shop and check out the Charm Packs (great for those smaller projects), Layer Cakes and Jelly Rolls (both perfect for quilting!).

See you in the shop!

April 2, 2010

...vacation announcement (plus a little treat)!

We'll be away from the shop Monday 4/5 through Friday 4/9 (we'll be cruising it up along the Mexican coast with Hubby's family - motion sickness patch and xanax at the ready!) but the STORE WILL REMAIN OPEN because, well, we keep it open every time we go on vacation.  I like coming back to a big pile of orders :)  So feel free to place orders and send requests for custom listings!  Please read these details so we're all on the same page (there's a treat at the end if you do!):
  • All orders placed by THIS SUNDAY (4/4) will ship out on/by Monday with the exception of First Class International.  There simply won't be time to make a trip to the post office for FCI.
  • All orders placed 4/5 - 4/9 will be shipped on Monday 4/12.
  • All convos and custom listing requests received through THIS SUNDAY (4/4) will be answered same day as usual.
  • All convos and custom listing requests AFTER SUNDAY will be answered as I am able.  Since internet is not free on cruises, I will most likely only have a very small amount of time, if any, to answer during next week.
So,  if you ARE going to make any custom listing requests, please let me know in the convo what you would like and the length (be as specific as possible for sake of time).  Please also tell us in your original convo if you want us to go ahead and set up a listing if we have what you requested (it saves the back and forth :).  If we don't have any or only have some of what you requested, we will let you know.

Any orders, convos and requests that can be put in sooner rather than later will be greatly appreciated and will benefit us all!  Thanks, as always, for your patience and understanding as we step away from the shop.  This is always easier for Hubby than it is for me, as is evident by the fact that I'm willing to pay money for internet access in order to answer convos!

Sorry this was such a business-y post, but sometimes they're just necessary!

And now for the TREAT!  Anyone placing an order TODAY (4/2) through FRIDAY (4/9) will receive a code for 10% off your next purchase!  After your order has been completed and shipped, we will email you a unique-to-you code that can be used for a future order (cannot be combined with any other offers).  It's our way of saying thanks for your business and patience while we're on vacation!

We hope everyone has a great weekend!

April 1, 2010

...a little something different...a recipe!

A few days ago, Hubby and I both got a craving for cupcakes, which is rare.  I definitely have a sweet tooth, but him?..he prefers salty stuff.  I rarely buy junk food because we don't have the best self-control.  BUT I got a new whole grain baking cookbook for Christmas and I've been eyeing the devil's food cake recipe for quite some time.  And of course, you can't have cupcakes without frosting and I was eyeing another recipe in the same book for coconut frosting.  I love coconut!  It's a very close second to my favorite, chocolate, so imagine how dreamy this combination sounded to me!   So last weekend, we coordinated counter space and oven time while Hubby made dinner and I made dessert (FYI, baking chicken and cooling cupcakes is not a good smell combo).  I posted a couple pictures on Twitter during the process and several tweeps asked for the recipe.  So here it is...and not that it's a difficult recipe, but make sure you set aside some time for these.  They are definitely worth it!  Recipes are from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking.

Devil's Food Cake

3/4 c unsalted butter
1 c packed brown sugar
3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c plain yogurt
3/4 c water

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour pan(s) of your choice or line with parchment paper.  For cupcakes, lightly grease 2 muffin tins or line with papers and coat papers with nonstick spray.

Cream together butter, sugars and salt in a large mixing bowl till fluffy and light, at least 5 minutes.  Stop to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl at least once during that time.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa and baking soda.  If lumps remain, sift or strain the mixture.

Add eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well (at least a full minute) after each addition, and stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl before adding the next egg.  Mix in the vanilla.  Add half the flour mixture and mix until evenly combined.  Add yogurt and water, and mix again.  Add remaining flour, mix, and stop to scrape sides and bottom of bowl once more, to make sure the batter is evenly moistened.  Pour the batter in prepared pan(s).

For cupcakes, use about 1/4 cup of batter for each one.  Bake until cake tester or toothpick inserted in center of cupcakes come out clean, 22 to 24 minutes.  Remove cupcakes from oven and cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before removing cupcakes from the pan and returning to the rack to cool completely.

Coconut Frosting

1 can (14 oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 c unsalted butter
5 1/2 c confectioner's sugar, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla or coconut extract

Set a fine-mesh strainer or colander over a bowl and line it with a clean linen towel.  Pour the coconut milk into the lined strainer and let the coconut water drain for up to 2 hours, until you have a thick lump of coconut cream.  After the coconut milk has drained, cream the butter with 2 cups of confectioner's sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Beat in the salt and vanilla or coconut extract until the mixture is smooth.  Add the coconut cream and mix, scraping the bottom and sides of bowl.  Add the remaining confectioner's sugar until you have a smooth, spreadable frosting.  Cover and hold at room temp until ready to use.

Instead of a linen towel, I used a doubled paper towel.  I also only used about 4 cups of powdered sugar instead of the entire amount.  I used the coconut extract and the frosting ended up very coconutty and sweet.  So if that's your thing, go with the coconut extract.  I imagine the vanilla will tame the coconut flavor some, but it's still going to be a sweet frosting.  Since I iced the cupcakes as we ate them, I kept the frosting in an airtight container in the fridge and put it in the microwave for a few seconds to loosen it up before spreading.

Hubby and I both thought these were amazing cupcakes.  Very moist with great flavor and I couldn't really tell a difference between using whole grains and regular white flour.  We'll defintely be making these again!  If you make them, let me know what you think!!

Happy baking!

P.S.  All views are my own and the link provided is just me giving credit where it's due.  This is not a product review...I just love chocolate and coconut and baking.