31 July 2015

A Top Finished

Personally, I think a wonderful 2 inches of rain storming
down makes for some great quilting weather.
So I finished the top!
For those following along,
I ended up using a simple white on white border--
it's really all I had that worked, and it finished off
some fabric...which is always a good thing.
It now measures about 51 X 65".

(who always has good ideas!)
suggested some applique on the border.
I liked this idea, but, gosh, I just wanted to get it done...
(Warning lights going off here! "Just get it done" is NOT a healthy creative attitude!)
Well, I came to my senses.
I realize now that I really should wait till the 
shop hop to find backing/border fabrics.
(My stash has nothing workable.  And there it is: carte blanche shop hop shopping!)
Suddenly, I have plenty of time to finish it.
And that applique idea? Growing on me.
(I'm thinking in just two opposing corners)
I just know I'd be much happier putting a more
special touch on this simple quilt!
Thanks, Debbie!
(Another "border-enhancing" thought I had was to use varigated thread when
quilting the border but I'm not sure I trust my quilting to be so displayably-perfect.
My husband suggested just a light gray thread, especially since I'm thinking of
gray backing.  Not a bad idea, either.)
What I thought was just going to be a ho-hum
project might end up being...who knows?
A family heirloom or something!
(No pressure, kids!)

PS  Robyn, I'm unable to reply to your emails.
I would love to freeze tomatoes but I really need to save our freezer space for
so many other things!  Thanks for the idea, though, because I could sure
freeze them for just a few weeks till I had more time or something!

30 July 2015

Enjoying the Back and Forth

Yay!  I was able to carve out a little
more time to head back to the sewing room!
At least there is no monotony around here.

Oh, wait.  
There's never a dull moment
with two furry disasters running amuck.

Aside from their antics, I do enjoy the company.
Chloe loves a warm chair so the very second 
I would hop up to iron, she was right there
to take over my spot.

Smug little kitty; so very full of herself!

I really don't want to be one of those people who 
talks about her cats all the time so on to
yesterday's sewing room adventures.
And a sideways picture that I'm too lazy unmotivated to correct.

Ok, so...
not exactly adventurous.
But, hey, things got sewed up!

The rest is even pretty darned close.
It's all pieced and into strips.

What I forgot, however, was to set aside four
little squares for the border as in its predecessor:

9X11 rows/columns

I'll just figure something else out for the border.
My current quilt is actually a little smaller so I can
(8X10 rows/columns)
just use this as the chance to make up for lost size.
Actually, yeah.  I'm pretty sure that I really meant
 to forget about those squares.  Truly!
(wink, wink)
Or I could leave it smaller, making it 
a nice, big crib quilt?
I'll figure that out tomorrow.

Oh wait--
What's that in the kitchen?

As I said, it's just real back and forth around here.

29 July 2015

On the Garden Scene

While I've been enjoying a little sewing,
I've had to spend most of my time with these.
Not that I don't enjoy canning, too;
it's just...more difficult, I guess.

Pick a bushel of tomatoes.
Roast a bunch of garlic.

Add in some fresh basil
(which needs picked, cleaned and chopped)

and a few other ingredients from the garden
(like peppers and onions, which also need picked, cleaned and diced)

There are a couple quarts in there.  I'm out of pint jars so I guess 
it's quarts from here on out.

and voila, 30 pints of Italian-style tomatoes.
And it takes all day.  
Especially prepping all those tomatoes.
I may only do one more batch...and then
I'm not real sure what to do with all the tomatoes,
other than to cook with them fresh as much
as I can work them into the menu.

My goal is always to can certain things every other
year--it lessens the yearly load a little. 
Pretty sure I'll have enough Italian tomatoes 
to cover the next two years.
Maybe next year I'll try tomato paste,
though it's always seemed like a whole lot of work
(not to mention heating up the kitchen on hot summer days!)
for such a little output!

28 July 2015

Little Steps In Quilting

Well I didn't get as much quilting done as I'd like
but I did make progress.  

For this time of year, that's enough.

And it's a good thing I marked my rows
because this "lay-out" lasted about 2 minutes.

They both had a go at it.

Needless to say, I packed my stuff back up
and moved back to the sewing room.

Which is where I'll be today, too.

21 July 2015

I Said I'd Be Quilting So...

What am I up to?
Nothing major; just two simple quilts.

As my sister--who was visiting--and I were
just saying, for those of us who don't quilt
year-round, it's often best to "warm up" before
stepping into anything remotely complicated.
And I still have one foot in the garden these days
so I have to be able to deal with distraction.

The heat is causing most of our blackberries to fizzle, but not these beauties!

Anyhoo, here we go: 
Remember this quilt from a couple of years ago?

Size-wise (lap), it's one of my favs to curl up with
and I thought it'd be a good way to use up
some charm packs I'm wanting to move out.

I'll have more pics soon but I'm going with a white
sashing and some spring-y/summer-y colors.

My sister seemed to be having a good enough time at
the machine and I was enjoying the new height at which
to cut things out so I thought I'd just cut out a second
quilt, using up a pack of fat-quarters in the process.
I'm thinking ahead to the Shop Hop in October.  I have to move out
a substantial amount of fabric before I feel it's okay to buy more!

I'm also making this very easy/simple quilt:

The colors in my fat-quarter pack will not be
as pretty as above, but I'm okay with that. 

Two seconds post-picture-taking, my cat had a grand ol' time tearing through this.
I'm not sure how I feel about the beige/white fabric going with white
sashing but, as I said, these are not special quilts.  If I decide I don't
like it, however, I guess I can look around for a replacement...tho
at a glance, I didn't see anything.  I must be getting stuff used up
better than I thought.

As I said, warming up, and I may not 
even keep either quilt.

20 July 2015

A Mini, In-Home Vacation?

My husband and I are sort of empty-nesters this week
as both boys will be off to Totus Tuus camp.
It is just. a little. disturbing. to see where I will be
in just a short 4 years but I'll just try to focus on
making some major use of the time.

Early (6:30!) daily Mass and trips to the coffee shop.

This was a day I took one of the boys with me--thus the cinnamon roll.
We perused cookbooks from the library and picked out summer recipes.
I like this picture; it says a lot--to me, at least.

Maybe some walks (weather permitting),
and lots of reading, sewing and cooking.
Maybe a little market/cultural food-shopping.
(Does anyone else do this!?! I could spend a good hour just walking up and
down the aisles of the Asian food market!  They have more than just Asian, btw,
and I like to try to use unusual foods from other cultures.)

Sounds like a vacation to me!

Ah, coffee art.  We taste with the eyes first.

I'm anxoius to see what all I can accomplish.

19 July 2015

Moving Into Quilting Season a Little Early

Typically it's fall before I make time for sewing.

However, I seem to be a step ahead on everything
else this year so why not sewing too?

It's big on this week's agenda so I've "set up camp"
in the sunroom for some major action.

So here's a little trick I'd been meaning to
try out for years:  bed risers under the legs of my
cutting table.  Oh. My. Goodness.  If you haven't 
yet, stop what your doing--yes, even if you're
cutting something out.  Especially if you are cutting
something out.  Go grab some.  These cost me a 
mere $6 at Target.  They are more stable than
I would have thought, btw.
And this goes on my growing list of 
"Things I should've done a long, long time ago."
Maybe my children will learn from it.

17 July 2015

Enjoying the New Kitchen and Some Moelleux au Chocolat

Our new kitchen has been the most wonderful
blessing...and perhaps a bit of a curse.
If I loved cooking before, I now often hit
levels of obsession.

And this, right here, is absolute proof.

Molten lava cake with a salted caramel center.
This might be the greatest dessert I've ever made.
And it wasn't sickeningly rich--more like
decadently rich.  
There's a difference.
One bite and I laughed hysterically.  Not kidding.

I have this beautiful little French cookbook
by Rachel Khoo that I love to flip through.

Tuesday was Bastille Day so I felt the need to
whip up some French food.
Croque madames with pomme frites...

Garden-fresh Yukon golds make great French fries!

and then we ended with the moelleux au chocolat,
though no one could put away even half of one.
It's not humanly possible.
It was not exactly a low-calorie meal to begin with.
I got caught up in the recipes and forgot to round
out the menu.  I do that sometimes.
And then we spend our evening in a food coma...

Anyway, I used Rachel's recipe  
but after a couple burnt failed attempts at her
method of making the salted caramel,
I just gave up and made my own--
which I pulled off without a hitch, I might add.
I also found it needed another 5 or 10 minutes
in the oven--not the first time for additional
baking time needed for a recipe out of this book.
I wonder if it hasn't been converted to American
very well?  Just a heads-up. 

I do love to look through this book.  
So much so that I went back
(Back?  Ok, I went back to the computer and bought it off of Amazon.)
and bought My Little French Kitchen which has 
recipes sorted by the various regions of France,
and is also filled with more beautiful pictures and bits
of knowledge for amateur chefs like me to soak up.

Anyway, truly, it was the most amazing dessert ever.
And I love my own beautiful little American kitchen!
Curses and all.

15 July 2015

This Year's Garden Story

It has been another amazing garden year 
around here.  Early on, I had this great
idea to gain another month of yuminess.
For several weeks in February, 
with one inexpensive sheet of painter's plastic,
(I think it was less than $5?)
I covered one bed of the garden, creating a greenhouse. 
I uncovered it on any day that was sunny and "warm".
Amazingly, it was only a matter of days before the
thermometer that I slipped inside reached 
90'...100'...even higher!

Before long, the soil was 
warm enough to plant so, by early to mid-March,
still very much "frost-threat" for our region, we were
munching on fresh salads.
Once things began to grow, my dh rigged up a
pvc tent-like form to keep the plastic from pressing
down on everything.  An added bonus was that the
bunnies weren't able to enjoy any nightly snacking.

Another couple of months went by and, with
work and dedication, the other beds were filled up.

We had such a wonderfully wet and cool
late-spring that my work was kept to a minimum...
though we did lose most of the pea crop
and some of the onions to too much rain.
However, you will never hear me
complain about too much rain.  Ever.

I always feel so blessed to walk out to 
this any given morning of the growing season!

Though we had a warm day or two here and there,
it has really, just this last week or so, 
hit those "miserable hot" summer days.

We're done with the cooler crops:
lettuces, kales, spinach, radish, broccoli, peas,
green & purple cabbages and green & purple beans.
This year, I tried growing
 Chinese (Napa) cabbage and oh, my goodness!
We enjoyed lots of wonderful stir-fry with that crop!
Definitely planting that from now on.
We also have lots of red and Yukon-gold potatoes.

I've put about 40 cups of diced carrots in the freezer;
still working on dicing/freezing the onions;
about 6 or 7 gallons so far.
That means lots of savory soups in the winter,
with less work in preparing...which means more 
time for quilting, of course.  And I truly think those
onions keep us very healthy...which also means more
time for quilting.
(I may be spending all my time in the garden, but my mind wanders 
into that sewing room all summer long!  Actually, I just started on a
quilt last week...but more on that another day.)

Today, I worked on getting the newspaper/straw
weed-barrier/mulch on the fall crops.
(I should come up with an acronym or something there)
In place of all those spring crops are
now the pumpkins and gourds.  And so we have
a recent pic...one that I took when I'd completely
fizzled in the heat.  I still have a little straw to put
down out there tonight before I can say "done". 

If you'll recall pumpkins and gourds are my favorite.  
I actually cut back on them this year.  
I'm trying...

Oh, this old pic gets me dreaming of cooler days!

We're still harvesting tomatillos, lots of cherry tomatoes
that I cook with all the time, squash and zuchinni, 
scallions, shallots and all kinds of peppers.
The strawberries have come back for a second go
at it--an incredibly welcome suprise.
And the blackberries are just starting to diminish. 

Crazy Garden Lady, working hard out in the heat!
I think the tie-dye shirt gets me in touch with my inner-hippie.

I've tried so hard not to can anything this year, 
though I did make a couple batches of apricot salsa.
But, the tomatoes are doing very well, and so
up next will be canning Italian-style tomatoes
that have become a real staple in this home.

The pic is a little blurry--what can I say?  I shake after doing all that work!

I hope you hung in there for all of this long post.
As always, I truly wish I could share the bounty with
you all, but I guess we'll have to make do with
some pictures on a blog!

14 July 2015

Looking Back...and Forward.

Today I found myself referring to my
blog to find a recipe...
and then I started seeing my old posts.

For months now
I've told myself over and over 
that it takes too much of my time.

But I just disovered that it can be so fun to look back!

So much can occur over just a few years that
it often goes by like a blur.
And we can so easily forget.
I've never minded forgetting because I am
not one to dwell on the past...
But, sometimes, it really does help
to see where you've been.
(Shouldn't I be driving around in a Lincoln when I say that??)

I'm always told I need to slow down to enjoy life.  
But why do we need to slow down at all to enjoy it?
I've always loved what I do, 
and I want to keep on doing it.
But I do know that I need to
switch gears every now and then.

I've been so busy in the garden, in my new kitchen
and in the sewing room!  
I can't wait catch back up, to share it all and,
just maybe, I'll hear from some old friends out there?

I've dropped the mermaid, btw.
There's a new coffee shop in town that I visit
every. single. day.
It's local.  The owners are the greatest.
And the coffee is such a cut above! 
Check 'em out:

I really enjoy comments and usually respond to all. Please follow away, visit often and let me know your thoughts. This blog is only to keep a personal record of my creative side. I may occasionally accept products to review but I do not collect anything else for this blog, especially not cookies or email addresses.

Total Pageviews