Cranberry Granola

Last month I spent a wonderful morning with a couple of dear friends making granola.  As the snow fell outside we chatted and learned a new recipe.  I liked it so much that I stopped at the store on my way home so I could make a couple more batches before my kids got home from school!  I’ve made it several times since then, and it’s become a new favorite.

Cranberry Granola

6 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1 cup frozen cranberry concentrate (check labels to get 100% juice and find the one that has the most cranberry juice in it. I could only find blends but they’ve worked fine)
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1 cup dried cranberries

In a large mixing bowl combine oats, almonds, pecans and coconut.  Set aside.  In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup cranberry concentrate, brown sugar and cinnamon.  *Don’t mix the concentrate with water – just scoop it straight from the container into your pan. Heat to a simmer to fully dissolve sugar.  Pour over oats mixture and stir until evenly coated with the juice mixture.

Cover 11×17 cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Spread granola evenly over pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir in cranberries.  Return to oven for 8-10 minutes or until granola begins to look golden brown.

{Your kitchen will smell heavenly while it bakes.}

Cool on cooling rack and transfer to airtight container.

My kids love to snack on it plain or eat it with milk.  My favorite way to eat it is with a scoop of plain greek yogurt and fresh berries.


Big Charming Quilt

I’ve had a mini rainbow on my bed all winter long.  We added a quilt for another layer of warmth this winter, and on the gray days it’s warmed my heart to see these bright colors.

The pattern is Big Charming by Denyse Schmidt, and it’s made with one of the large charm packs from her solids collection.  I love the simplicity of this quilt, a pop of color surrounded by solids.  For the solid I used Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Steel.  I love the texture of the yarn dyed linen, and the quilt has been the perfect weight on cold nights.

Modern Loops is the name of the quilting design and I love the simple beauty it adds to the quilt.  I’ve been reflecting this week on how fortunate I am to live in a world with such beauty and color, both natural and man-made.  When I get to sew with these lovely fabrics I sometimes feel a little emotional – I am so grateful for the color and beauty in my day to day life!

I hope your day is filled with beauty, and that you have eyes to see it clearly.  We are so blessed!


Catenary – a new project

All of a sudden I can’t get enough of needle turn applique.

So, naturally, I started another project.

This is Carolyn Friedlander’s Catenary quilt pattern.  Soon after I finished up the Aerial grove quilt top I was choosing fabric for this one and it’s a color scheme I’m really excited about.  I’m learning that needle turn applique takes some time to cut, pin and baste in place.  Honestly, I think that’s the hardest part – the tedium of getting it all ready so you can actually start sewing!  A good exercise in patience, I suppose.  Still, I must admit that stitching those lovely arches makes me a little giddy.  They actually look good!  {I was obviously worried about my skills for this one.}

This stack of carefully ironed fabric is the bulk of the quilt.  I’m opting to cut the arches and prep each strip after I finish the previous one so I don’t risk any fraying or stretching of the fabrics while they wait their turn.  Even though the prints are wrong side up in this photo, I love this pretty stack.  It always amazes me that a quilt can start so small, in this tiny stack of ordered pieces.

Much of my hand sewing is done in the car while I wait for my children.  I was quite happy to discover that the entire project fits perfectly, pattern and all, in a pretty little tin I bought at IKEA last year.  {Please tell me I’m not the only person who sometimes buys lovely containers just because, with no plan in mind for them. What is it about them?  I always want more!}

I’m on the second of fourteen strips for this quilt and I find myself enjoying every stitch.  These small successes have given me confidence to start on other Carolyn Friedlander patterns that I’ve loved but not felt skilled enough to start.  I would love to make this the year that I use every one of the patterns I’ve purchased from her.

Have you ever tried hand applique?  If so, do you enjoy it?  I definitely think there are some stages in life that work better for it. When my children were babies and toddlers I always had someone on my lap; a needle and thread would have never worked.  But as our family gets a little older I find that I can sit and stitch while they all do their homework – it keeps me in one place to answer questions, check accuracy, and make sure they finish, while still doing something I enjoy.  We’re all together and all productive.  I like that.



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