Book Review: Modern Blocks

99 Modern Blocks book cover

Over the last few months, I’ve had the chance to really dig into a modern quilt block compilation from C&T Publishing: Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from Your Favorite Designers compiled by Susanne Woods.

This book was at the top of my Christmas wishlist, and has moved with me from sewing room to every other room in the house while I figure out which block to make. After all, there are 99 blocks to choose from! The blocks represent a wide variety of styles, from patchwork to paper-pieced, appliqued and embroidered. Each block in the book is an original design or a fresh take on a traditional block.

Binary: Modern Blocks

Some of my favorite blocks in the book, including “Binary” (above) and “It’s a Stretch” (on the cover), were designed by the very talented Angela Pingel of Cut to Pieces. Angela was the winner of the recent Moda Bake Shop SLICED competition, and you might have seen winning project, an adorable owl backpack.

Saturn's Rings: Modern Blocks

“Saturn’s Rings,” designed by Latifah Saafir of The Quilt Engineer,  uses bias-cut strips appliqued to a base block. The bold colors really pop and it’s easy to imagine a whole quilt made from this simple yet stunning block.

House on the Hill: Modern Blocks

“House on the Hill” pairs patchwork with applique and creative machine-embroidery. It’s designed by Monika Wintermantel. There are so many blocks in the book that I want to make when I find the time, and they range from beginner to advanced skill levels.

There is also a Flickr group dedicated to this book, so you can go there to add your blocks or see the blocks that others have sewn up in a variety of fabrics! Here are some recent blocks from that group (photos by Seamed Up).

My creation

As you can see, the book has a staggering variety of blocks! So how did I ever choose which one to make first?

My Blocks

Four Acres Block: Modern Blocks

As part of an online quilting bee I participate in, I’m always looking for a good 12.5″ square block to make in a variety of colors. I whipped up these blocks (plus one more) from the “Four Acres” pattern above, designed by Solidia Hubbard. The book gives specific measurements for each cut, so there is no guesswork, and I was happy to be able to pre-cut all of my fabric one night, and sew the blocks the next day following the block assembly instructions.

4x5 Blocks, 1st Qtr

Although I’ve been known to spend as long as 6 hours designing blocks for this bee, I’m happy to report that this book helped me shave 2 hours off of my production time! Whether you are part of a quilting bee or just looking for a way to build your quilting skills, Modern Blocks is an excellent resource for your quilting library.

Have you checked out Modern Blocks yet? If so, what blocks really caught your eye?

Sew Along Winners!

Thank you to all of the participants in the Pleated Boxes Pillow Sew Along! I had so much fun seeing your lovely pillows, and I hope you had fun making them.

Of the 16 completed pillows entered here, the random winning numbers are 5, 13, 12, 11 and 9!

Flea Market Fancy fat quarters winner:
#5 Janelle @ Emmaline Bags & Sewing Patterns

pleatedpillow sew along by Janelle

Make It Sew Modern book winner:
#13 Tabitha – Klucking Bear

Pleated Box Pillow

$20 store credit to Lindsay Sews on Etsy winner:
#12 Ella @ throwawenchintheworks

Glass Half Full PDF pattern + pattern of your choice from Create Hope Designs winner:
#11 kimberlee

pillow #2

5 spools of Aurifil Thread winner:
#9 Kendra @ missknitta’s studio

Congrats to the winners, and I’ll be in touch shortly! If you didn’t get a chance to sew along with us, you may down the free pattern and follow along with the posts at any time. And when you do, we’d love to see your projects in the Craft Buds Flickr group!

Would you be interested in another Craft Buds sew along? If so, what would you be most interested in making (bag, shirt, accessory, home decor/quilt, etc.)?

Book Review: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home + Giveaway and Recipe

Taking a break from our sewing/crafting book reviews to focus on something else many of us love, ice cream!! Jeni’s ice cream has a special place in my heart because my family stops at one of her shops in central Ohio around Columbus whenever we drive through that area. Her ice creams are intensely flavored and have a wonderful creamy texture. Jeni’s carries normal flavors like chocolate and vanilla but there are always seasonal specials with unusual flavors.

When Jeni came out with this cookbook I made sure to get a copy. I’m pleased to report that the recipes don’t disappoint! I dusted off our ice cream maker and started cooking up recipes. In the past, our homemade ice cream has always been good but not quite as good as a specialty ice cream shop. With these recipes I’m making incredible flavors and textures that we’re loving! The Lemon and Blueberry Frozen Yogurt was a perfect balance of sweet and tart, the Vanilla Bean doesn’t seem like “plain” ice cream anymore, and the Salty Caramel can be addictive. The recipes can be a bit involved but once you get used to making the standard base they become faster and easier.

The book is divided up by season depending on what ingredients are used. There are over 80 recipes total for ice cream, yogurt and sorbets. Here’s just a few samples of what ice cream recipes you can expect:

  • Spring: Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk, Pineapple Sorbet, Baked Rhubarb, Savannah Buttermint
  • Summer: Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry, Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Cherries, Kona Stout, Cucumber Honeydew and Cayenne Frozen Yogurt
  • Fall: The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream, Roasted Pumpkin, Maple with Buttered Pecans, Riesling-Poached Pear Sorbet, Rum with Toasted Coconut
  • Winter: Wild Berry Lavender, Banana with Carmelized White Chocolate, Gooey Butter Cake, Black Coffee

Also included is information on Jeni’s background and on equipment and ingredients. In the back there’s are extra chapters on fillings and toppings such as:

  • Nuts and Dried Fruits: Things like Honey Nut Pralines, Sugar-plumped Fruit, and Cognac Fig Sauce
  • Variegates and Fruits for Ice Creams: Roasted Cherries, Blueberry Sauce, etc.
  • Baked Goods and Candies: Vanilla Bean Marshmallows, Almond Brittle, Crisp Streusel, etc.
  • Sundae Accessories: Carmelized White Chocolate Bombe Shell, Honey Butterscotch Sauce, Whipped Cream, etc.

Also included in the book you’ll find information making your own ice cream cones or macaroom ice cream sandwiches.

The recipes recommend making the ice cream and then putting it in the freezer to harden before serving. When it comes out you’ll have perfect scoops. Basically, if you want to make ice cream you’ll want to get this book. You’ll be turning out amazing results and there are recipes and combinations to please everyone. You can look inside the book and see some of the recipes on Amazon and the recipe for Lemon and Blueberry Frozen Yogurt is available on the Splendid Table. You’ll see that the photos in the book are amazing and my photos don’t do it justice.

If you check out Amazon, you’ll notice a few people in the reviews mention two typos in the original printing of the book. These have been corrected for the edition that’s currently available. Also, to get the smooth and creamy ice cream texture you find at premium shops, the recipes include a small amount of corn starch and corn syrup (although she mentions you can substitute tapioca syrup). Just a warning in case that bothers you!

And here’s my homemade vanilla bean ice cream paired with homemade root beer from a local shop. Doesn’t get much better than this!

 

Recipe: The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World

Excerpted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer (Artisan Books). Copyright 2011. Photographs by Stacy Newgent.

Makes a generous 1 quart

This recipe is a result of a career-long quest: packing as much chocolate into ice cream without taking away the ice-creaminess. It is rich, bittersweet, and dense, and the texture is slightly chewy, with extreme chocolate flavor. Folks often say it tastes like the inside of a chocolate truffle.

Always use the best ingredients available, especially when making an ice cream with one singular flavor. Use the best-quality chocolate you can get your hands on. A high-cacao, full-bodied, fruity chocolate will cut through the cream, and the flavor will be more dramatic.

Chocolate Syrup

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • (55% to 70% cacao), finely chopped

Ice Cream Base

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Pairs well with: Absolutely every flavor in this book and just about anything else you can imagine.

Prep

  • For the chocolate syrup: Combine the cocoa, coffee, and sugar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and boil for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Stir the syrup until smooth. Set aside.
  • For the ice cream base: Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese, warm chocolate syrup, and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Cook

Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Chill

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Freeze

Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.

Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

 

Giveaway

Artisan Books has generously agreed to give away a copy of this book to one of our lucky U.S. readers! Just leave a comment below (one comment per person please) telling us your favorite ice cream flavor, or one you’d like to try from Jeni’s book. The giveaway will be open through next Friday, March 30 at Midnight EST and the winner will be chosen by random.org and announced on this post. Congratulations to comment #14, Cynthia!

 

Giveaways Roundup + Pillows Update

You still have three sewing days to get in on the Pleated Boxes Pillow Sew Along, and enter your pillow for a chance to win prizes. It takes about 2-3 hours to whip up this pillow, and you can customize using scraps, pre-cut fabric, or whatever you have on hand!

Check out these recent additions to the Craft Buds Flickr group. I love the variety of pillows and personal touches!

You can link up your pillow here by Friday, March 23, and we will announce five random winners on Saturday!

Speaking of Winners

Have you checked out our giveaways page? Lots of fabric and other lovely things you can enter to win this week! Also, you can promote your craft supplies or handmade giveaway any time at Craft Buds by adding the link.

Giveaways March 19-25

Link Up Your Work! Pleated Boxes Pillow Sew Along

Have you been following our Pleated Boxes Pillow Sew Along? I’ve seen several inspiring pillows pop up already, and today is the first day to link up your pillows for prizes! Let’s see what you can win:

Prizes

Update: Five random winners will each take home a prize for linking up their finished pillow to this blog post by next Friday, March 23.

1 winner: A stack of Flea Market Fancy fat quarters from my pre-order!

1 winner: Make it Sew Modern book by Vanessa Christenson
1 winner: $20 store credit to Lindsay Sews on Etsy

Make it Sew Modern book cover Lindsay Sews on Etsy

1 winner: Glass Half Full PDF pattern
+ pattern of your choice from Create Hope Designs
1 winner: Aurifil Thread Sample Pack (5 spools total)

Glass Half Full - Quilt Pattern Aurifil Thread

The downloadable pattern will tell you all you need to know to make this pillow, but we’ve also been covering each step on the blog!

Even if you’ve added to the Flickr group, you must add your pillow here to the InLinkz tool so you can be eligible for prizes. Please link directly to your blog post about the pillow or your Flickr photo URL.


Enjoy the free pattern and have fun finishing up those pillows through March 23rd! We’ll see you back on the 24th to announce the winners!


Grab a button!

Craft Buds Pleated Boxes Pillow Sew Along

Is Your Quilt Block Barn Worthy?

Today marks the beginning of the Third Annual AccuQuilt Barn Quilt Contest. What is a barn quilt, you ask?

2011 Unveiling of "Sweet Rose" barn block  - photo by Chris Bristol of the Fremont Tribune

2011 Unveiling of "Sweet Rose" barn block - photo by Chris Bristol of the Fremont Tribune

Painting quilt designs on barns as art is a relatively new phenomenon that started in 2001 in Adams County, Ohio. In recent years, barn quilt trails have been plotted so visitors can hop from one stop to the next and see all of the patchwork-inspired art.

Accuquilt wants YOU to design a quilt block to be displayed larger than life on their headquarters, and will select one lucky winner to receive a $1,000 AccuQuilt Shopping Spree along with a trip for two to Omaha, NE, to visit AccuQuilt’s new headquarters for the public unveiling of the winning barn quilt design. In addition, the runner up will have a smaller version of their design displayed and will receive a $250 AccuQuilt Shopping Spree! (You could buy a GO! Baby and your choice of dies.)

2010 Accuquilt Barn Quilt Contest Winner

2010 Accuquilt Barn Quilt Contest Winner

You can enter starting today, March 16th through April 9th. That’s just over 3 weeks! The top one hundred quilt block designs will also be recognized with a $25 to Accuquilt store credit. Note: Submit block designs as digital art. You do not need to sew the actual block at this time.

I’m going to start thinking about my block. So, let the inspiration strike, and then GO! enter the contest.

AccuQuilt - Barn Quilt Design Contest - Enter Now!

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