Archive | August, 2021

Sizzling Summer Treats

3 Aug Kebabs block pattern by Patti's Patchwork

Fellow Quilters,Picnic Theme - August

Wow!  It is August already – the summer months are flying by, and it is time for another edition of Quilt Block Mania, organized by Carolina at Always Expect Moore.  Summers mean warmer weather and fun outdoor activities such as picnics and barbeques, and that just happens to be the theme of this month’s QBM.  Yay for easy breezy summer cooking!

The color palette this month is soft red, light peach, limeade, dark gunmetal blue and pale putty.  When you combine these shades with a picnic/bbq theme, what do you get?!?  Well, I thought of…

Shish Kebabs!  Yep, cubes of tasty pork, juicy orange peppers and zucchini, grilled to perfection.  Pass the tziktziki please!

Beef kebabs

Beef kebabs

Then I thought “Those beef kebabs are actually brown, not red, so let’s do veggie kebabs!”  I replaced the red beef cubes with red peppers and cherry tomatoes marinated in Greek salad dressing.  Great!

Veggie kebabs

Veggie kebabs

Then for a change, I thought “Can we do shrimp kebabs?”  Why not!  Salmon-colored shrimp with red and green peppers.  Shrimp on the barbie are dee-lish!  Brush them with garlic butter as they’re cooking.

Grilled shrimp kebabs

Grilled shrimp kebabs

But wait, there’s more… I saved the best for last.  You guessed it – fruit kebabs!  Watermelon or strawberries, combined with cantaloupe or peach or mango, and honeydew melon or green grapes.  So many options!  Yes, fruit kebabs are the perfect picnic take-along.

Fruit and cheese kebabs

Fruit and cheese kebabs

Whichever flavor you prefer, I’ve got the Kebabs pattern

Kebabs block pattern by Patti's Patchwork

Kebabs block pattern by Patti’s Patchwork

for you.  It is my modern abstract take on kebabs – fresh and fun!  This one is pretty quick and easy, just like summer cooking.  You can download it here. I used some tantalizing batiks from Banyan Batik’s Essentials, then threw in some peach-colored Carnivale by Linda Hahn, a bit of citrus Codes & Circuits and sizzling red Bouncing Balls.

It makes a terrific runner!

A 4-block 48" x 12" runner looks fun and fresh!

A 4-block 48″ x 12″ runner looks fun and fresh!

This month 14 other designers have also designed free blocks using this theme and palette.  You can find their blocks at the links here:

Hamburger Block at Always Expect Moore
Popsicle Picnic at Slice of Pi Quilts
Picnic in the Park
Let’s Fly a Kite at PhoebeMoon Designs
Picnic by Inquiring Quilter
Picnic Bouquet by Blue Bear Quilts
Kebabs at Patti’s Patchwork
BeeHive by Mom and Me Quilting Co.
Picnic Basket at The Quilting Room with Mel
Watermelon Wedge from QuiltFabrication
Labor Day Picnic
I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing
Picnic Fun at Perkins Dry Goods
“Cheers!” at Duck Creek Mountain Quilting
Lemonade FPP Block at Penny Spool Quilts

And here is a super-easy tasty recipe for a dip to go with fruit kebabs.

Fruit DipCool-Raspberry-Fruit-Dip-14937

Prepare one 4-serving box of instant pudding with only 1 cup of milk.  Add ¼ cup liquor and half of a large container of Cool Whip.  Chill until set, approx. 30 minutes.  Good combinations:  vanilla pudding with peach or raspberry schnapps, chocolate pudding with Kahlua or crème de cacao (ask me how I know).

If you missed my blog post on August 1, pop on over to it for more free block ideas and mushroom tips.  And please hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss news about a couple other cool things happening this month.

See you soon,


A Feather in your Mushroom Cap

1 Aug Creamy Tagliatelli with Bacon, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil by Vikalinka

Fellow Quilters,08 August logo

Today is August 1 and that means another free block in the Monthly Color Challenge!  If you’re hopping over from Jen Shaffer’s 2021 Monthly Color Challenge, a warm welcome to you!  Feel free to browse through earlier posts and pop back in on August 3 for my post that’s part of the Quilt Block Mania monthly blog tour (can you say “free quilt blocks”?!?). If you hit that Subscribe button on the right you’ll get my quilty tips and tricks automatically when I post.  You can also subscribe to my newsletter at for insider info on new patterns and subscriber-only specials – the link is at the bottom of the website main page.

So, fellow pattern designer Jen over at Patterns by Jen has been hosting a Monthly Color Challenge for a while now.  This year’s challenge is based on fruit and vegetable colors and includes a free block each month in both a 12” and 6” option – hop on over to Patterns by Jen to download the pattern and even watch the handy video on how to create the monthly block.  Each block pattern is free for that month, after which it can be downloaded from Jen’s site for a very small fee.

August’s theme is mushrooms, and the color palette is taupe-ish, just like cremini mushrooms.

August's 12" block in Stonehenge Gradations Onyx shades

August’s 12″ block in Stonehenge Gradations Onyx shades

Similar to mushrooms, it comes in a larger and smaller size – think “button” and “portabello”.  I put the block into my Electric Quilt EQ8 designing program – it was super quick to draw, with just 4 flying geese.  Then I downloaded some mushroom-colored Stonehenge Gradations fabrics from Northcott’s website and started playing.

To make my 6” block the same size as my 12” block I simply put four 6” blocks together.

Four of August's 6" blocks sewn together to make a 12" block

Four of August’s 6″ blocks sewn together to make a 12″ block

Initially I thought this block was ho-hum but boy, was I surprised when I put it into a 48” x 60” 20-block lap quilt!  It is a workhorse of a block!!  It is a “come from behind to win the race” type of block.  Let’s take a look at the 6 variations I made.

Version #1 has alternating large and small blocks.

Version #1 - alternating large and small blocks with one type of mushroom

Version #1 – alternating large and small blocks with one type of mushroom (one color)

In version #2 I tossed in more cremini mushrooms (added darker brown),

Version #2

Version #2

and in version #3 I rotated the small blocks.

Version #3

Version #3

In version #4 I used just the large blocks, rotating every other block – wow!  Look at those cool spinning stars that are created where the blocks meet!

Version #4 - all 12" blocks, with half of them rotated

Version #4 – all 12″ blocks, with half of them rotated

In version #5 I used just the large blocks, keeping all blocks vertically aligned.

Version #5, with the illusion of shading

Version #5, with the illusion of shading

This gives the effect of a vertical strip quilt and I am really liking the illusion of shading created by the light and dark triangles.

For my last version (#6) I replaced one column of large blocks with small blocks – the shading illusion is still there and the quilt has even more interest.

Version #6 with some 6" blocks included

Version #6 with some 6″ blocks included

So many good options!

Jen has rounded up some of her pattern-designing friends to show their version of the monthly block and also to share a tasty recipe using the monthly ingredient. Hop on over to the other blogger’s sites to see what they’ve done with this month’s block and to get their fave mushroom recipes:

Jen at Patterns by Jen
Andi at True Blue Quilts

Anja at Anja Quilts
Sandra at 
Utah Quilt Appraiser
Raylee at 
Sunflower Stitcheries
Crystal at 
Daybrook Designs
Ashli at 
Quilt 2 End ALZ
Kate at 
Katie Mae Quilts

And pop over to Patterns by Jen for your chance at one or more of these awesome prizes being offered this quarter – simply make a block and post a pic in the link-up by the end of the month to be eligible for these prizes:sponsor logos and prizes

So, let’s talk about mushrooms!  I fried some up last night to have with a BBQ’d steak dinner – so delicious! I’ll share my go-to mushroom tips with you.

1)  Don’t wash the mushrooms – they are like sponges and will absorb so much water.  To clean them, simply wipe them with a damp paper towel.

2)  Saute them without any butter until they release their liquid.  Then add some butter and minced fresh garlic for the last 3-5 minutes.

3) Add a splash of sherry at the very end and give them a quick stir.  This elevates sauteed mushrooms to the next level.

My other mushroom tip comes from a beyond-gourmet pasta dish that I had at a hole-in-the-wall trattoria 12 years ago in Gubbio, in the heart of Umbria Italy, renowned for truffles.  The dish was very simple – linguini in a mushroom sauce – but the flavor was out of this world!  In fact, I still salivate at the thought of that memorable meal.  The secret was truffles, and I  sought out truffle oil in the next town to add to my pantry.  Thankfully it is readily available in most grocery stores in my area, and I would recommend storing it in a cool area to preserve it.  It is quite pungent – just a bit will fully flavor your dish – but what a flavor!   A small bottle goes a long way.  Here is a recipe that most closely resembles the epic pasta I devoured that day.

Creamy Tagliatelli with Bacon, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil by Vikalinka

Creamy Tagliatelli with Bacon, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil by Vikalinka

Buon appetito!