The Challenge is Looming

I am the challenge host this time around in my art quilt group - Layers: Art in Stitches. It's a lot of pressure. According to challenge lore the host is plagued by a creative block - oh no!

This it the cover of my challenge rules book - any guesses?

This challenge is all about birds. Interested in the rules - click here to learn all about them. Why birds, why so specific - - - I wanted to have a cohesive theme so that when we exhibit our pieces it looks like we're all on the same page - like we all participated in the same challenge - - - and, I love birds. As far as I can tell by the catalog pages of all of the home decorating stores, I'm not alone - this is undeniably the year of the bird.

Oh, if only coming up with a challenge entry were as easy as pushing the "Insert Bird Quilt Here" button. I have less than a month to start, and finish, this piece - yes, I'm behind - but I work best under pressure. I've got ideas and have started to sketch my design. With confidence I can say that I will be in construction by the weekend - one glitch - I need PFD fabric so I can paint my background - I have it on order at Quilters Palette - should be in any day.
One interesting twist to my challenge rules is that all entries must be on 24 x 28 inch stretcher frames - I think non-quilters are more receptive to quilted works when they are framed. I'll be blogging about my stretching efforts when I get to that stage in construction.

We had a great dinner tonight - simple and fast. It's uncharacteristically HOT here in Pennsylvania so I fired up the grill for some very simple teriyaki marinated boneless, skinless chicken thighs - I love this bottled sauce - their barbecue sauce is excellent as well.

I made 2 side dishes, both out to the April 2010 Martha Stewart "Everyday Food" - I tried to link to the recipes but they are not posted on her site yet. This issue of Everyday Food has many great recipes - it's worth picking up.

Mangoes are in season now so I made the Mango Relish (paired with fish in the magazine) - it was delicious and refreshing with mango, cucumbers, basil and lime.

I had beautiful trumpet mushrooms on hand from my local growers' market so I made the Crispy Rice with Mushrooms and Carrots - it was quite spicy but yummy just the same - if you don't like a lot of heat, cut down on the Sriracha sauce. I used brown rice instead of white rice.

Two quick photos - meet one of my magnolias - isn't she gorgeous? There's a vintage tablecloth in my mother's cedar chest with my name on it - magnolias on a gray background - I just love the color combination of the pinks and gray!

The tree is magnificent - it must be at least 60 years old - you only get a show like this when the weather cooperates. By the weekend all of those blossoms will need to be raked up - that's my job.