30 August 2015

Thirty-Four Down...

I was hoping to finish more than 34 blocks
but the last few days hardly left time to breathe
let alone sew.  I did take the time to get
a small peice of batting up on the wall so
I can get a better look at things.

Friday found this football mom not only
baking cookies for, but also helping make
and serve a meal to about 175 football players.  
Team and individual pictures were taken,
followed by the freshman and varsity scrimmages...
and a back-to-school dance for the kids.   

Saturday I canned 2 batches of peach habenero sauce
& roasted a batch of Hatch chilies to make
Chili Rellanos for Sunday's breakfast.
VERY yummy!
 My changes:
1)  I added more eggs, milk & flour; used a 9X13 pan
2)  I avoid canned food if I can so used whipping
cream/milk combo instead of evap milk.
3)  Plain tomato paste bland--used taco sauce.
4)  Had sausage links to use up so cooked those,
sliced lengthwise, layed them on the second layer.
5)  Topped with green onions after cooking.

Sunday my husband and I made a great meal
featuring a whopping 25 lbs of chicken fingers.
(It took about 4 hours to make these!)
My son held a fantasy football draft party with
7 of his football-playing friends.
We estimated they put away about 14 lbs of the
chicken, along with plenty of deviled eggs and
calico beans.  The rest of the chicken is added
to the for-lunches stash. 
 (4 gallon-sized bags in the freezer!)
This makes for a happy mom...and happy teens.

And, I also had my second theology class
which is a huge challenge to my mind but
causing me to love my Faith even more.

I know I'm unusual but I very often find myself
saying, "Thank goodness for Monday!"
It's definitely one of those days.
Back to sewing finally!

27 August 2015

A Quick Pictoral Catch-Up

I wanted to quickly share what else was going on
around here.  Sure, I'd love to live in the sewing
room but I'd also like to live in the garden, and
the kitchen.  Lucky for me, I have those options.

Pepper preserving is usually a big to-do in October
when I'm trying to get them out of the garden before
it freezes.  I'm doing things in smaller steps this year.
In the colander is a large bunch of green onions.  Yes,
I freeze these but they only work for soups and things
of that sort and not garnish as they turn soft/mushy.
It's awful nice to have them on hand.

Preparing for roasted poblano soup in the cold months.
I only got a few bags of roasted corn in the freezer
for this as well but we'll call that enough.  I have 11
small bags (each makes one batch of soup) of roasted poblanos though! 
I also made a batch of spicy salsa verde which found
its way into three batches of turkey enchildas.  
Yes, I cooked up a small turkey as well which gave
me all I needed for the enchiladas and some nice
slices of breast meat for wraps in lunches.
And I free'd up some freezer space.
It's not my choice for Mexican fare, but if you cook it
up with lots of garlic, peppers, etc, it's a good second
to chicken.

I've been trying to contain the pumpkins and gourds
in the garden but they don't seem to care.  I took this
last week.  You can't see the fence now.
Thank you, Lord, for all of our rain!

I grew mole peppers this year for the first time.
They aren't to be confused with mole sauce,
which has no mole peppers in it at all.
They seem to be a medium pepper
(well, in my garden, everything seems to be hotter so maybe they're really supposed to be mild?)
and I have no idea what to do with them.

One day I made a beautiful batch of pasta/pizza sauce.
Emeril has what I've found to be the 
Bonus: you get to drink wine while making it.  
These four quarts made all kinds of things
including lasagna and a lot of pizza.  My son likes
to just make up some pasta and sauce for a quick
snack...normally that doesn't seem so healthy but
with this homemade sauce?  Better than what most
kids snack on any day!

 To me, having this on hand is like gold.
The tomatoes have backed off for now so
it's on to other things like... 

these.  These peaches are gold too.
I've made ice cream and syrup and I've frozen some
for smoothies.  I still have plenty to go but I don't seem
to be real motivated to do much with them...
besides just eat them, and share them, though I do
intend to make some peach habenero hot sauce today.

More gold.

And this.
I've had mini-vans and Traverses for the last 15 years.
It was time to down-size.  I don't care much about cars
but I will admit to always wanting an Audi.
Maybe it's the German in me...

Here it is before I drove it off the lot.
My brand new '16 Audi Q5.
As I shouldn't have muddy cleats and sweaty boys
in it much, if ever,
I'll be keeping this one for quite a while.

I'll be back in the sewing room tomorrow
and will post my latest block count.

26 August 2015

Courthouse Stars Update

I'm trying to be content with the slow pace of this quilt.

I'm kind of just shooting for completing a minimum
of two blocks every day but that's a pace that is just
not going work for me.  I really want this top done
before September.

Of course that's not rational but a girl can dream.
Well, it's really more than "not rational."  It's flat
out impossible, especially with everything else
that's been going on around here.  
I'm nowhere near even half-way!

Yay!  New square rulers that aren't all deformed from years of cutting!

I received my new squares in the mail...
and quickly discovered this little 4" one was no help.
Because of the "seam bump" down the middle of these
hourglass pieces, the ruler kind of "rocked" on top,
causing an uneven cut.  The 6" sits flatter on it, though
it does require some muscle to really push down to
hold it in place while trimming these to an exact 2".

Soon I had 8, then 12, and then 

my pile began to grow at a pretty decent pace.
I'm not sure how I feel about my more-subtle colors,
and I'm already thinking ahead to what border
would pull all of this together and still make it pop.

I'll check back in soon with my latest count,
and to catch up on some other things...

14 August 2015

Cutting, cutting, cutting, and more cutting...

I can't decide if I need more coffee...
or a nap.

I just spent two entire afternoons and one evening
cutting out my next project.  I happily chewed through
about 20 fat quarters along with another 10 or so scraps
to come up with something resembling this collection:

But as I was cutting, I realized that perhaps using
packages of fat quarters is not the ideal way to go
because there are, too often, just the same prints in
different colors; I also noticed that some of my "lights"
were questionable at actually being "light".

I stopped, switched a few out...and then decided
to not over-think the whole thing and went on.
(Welcome to quilting in my world!)

Now, as I was saying before I interrupted myself,
I got all 1,350 pieces cut out.  I thought long and hard
about the best way to organize these, knowing I would
need them to be accessable in random-icity.
(it's now a word)
Truly, the only things with which I could come up were
these old, ugly plastic storage containers.
Btw, I now mostly just use glass storage in the kitchen.
(I know you were worried about that so I thought I'd clarify.)

My clothespin "markers" come in handy ALL THE TIME, people!

I have to say, these kind of rain on my little quilt-parade.
In my little happy quilt world, things are displayed in beatiful
little tins or baskets or...anything besides these.
But whatever.  If I must, I must.

Speaking of cute tins, here is my growing scrap collection.
They won't fit in these much longer but, before you say it,
I only have three so, nope.  They wouldn't work.
I interrupted myself again.
These squares are also some of why it took
so long to cut everything out.
To put all of that long story in shorter form,
and to stop interrupting myself:  
I made a big dent in my fat quarter stash. 
This is notable because I've been worried about
those faded "fold lines" showing up on some of them.
I can tell their time in my stash is limited.

Now this guy.  His time is limited, too.

That square has been around for about 20 years.
Waiting on an Amazon package to arrive any minute.

This one is floating around.  Too funny.

Oh, another "by the way":
I should probably have pointed out earlier that it's the
courthouse stars that I've chosen to work on first.

Anyhoo, after all the cutting and scrapping
and thinking and interrupting,
I finally settled in for the fun part.
But, minutes into a "trial" block, I was already wondering
just how much fun was really in store with this quilt.
Little 5" blocks.  A lot of prep and work on each.

I think "perfect points" just can't be a rule on this one.  
"Close" is going to have to be "enough".

I'll be making 72 of them.
And 71 of the other blocks.
This is fun, right?  Isn't it?  Right?

Well, of course it is, and it will be,
but I'm already starting to re-think doing
The Farmer's Wife Quilt next because...
isn't that a little like hopping
out of the frying pan and into the fire?  

We'll just be taking this one day,
one block, at a time.
Add in a little more coffee,
and maybe a nap
here and there,
and, before you know it...

12 August 2015

Basil Harvest

I think I grew enough basil this year.
In gardening, you just never know!
This sink is really jammed full--something 
hard to grasp from just this picture.

Maybe this next picture gives a little better idea?

I brought my boys in on this to help out.
(I'm taking advantage of that help before school starts next week!)
They spent almost 2 hours pulling off every leaf.
Quality time spent talking...instead of on technology.
Learning to work together, and learning that
everyone helps out in a family, are huge life-lessons
that I'm very grateful to be able to give them.

Sadly, it seems to be a rare lesson these days.
Kids are always in a better mood after helping out.
They feel good about what they've accomplished
and therefore, good about themselves--
because there is dignity in working, 
in taking part in God's creation.

This huge picking will dry down to a much smaller
amount, yet it should still be enough to last many
months.  I'm not sure if I'll can anymore Italian tomatoes
but even if I do, I'm still counting on at least one more
batch of basil this size--
maybe two with all of the rain
we've been getting--before the cold months hit.

Do you have any favorite basil recipes?

11 August 2015

Dreaming of Cooler Days and Attacking Scraps in Spare Time

A cheery welcome to all.
Especially to my favorite season coming up!
My porch is just begging for the next season's colors...

However, I'm controlling myself.  
Just the wreath and this flag for now.

Ok, I brought out this, too.
It's starting to show some age but I love it

So, about that scrap busting.
I'm doing a pretty good job of using up stash
fabrics these days so I decided to turn to the rest
of the room.  First up, the scrap bin.
No, I don't bother to keep them orderly!

As I thought about my quilting, I realized that I rarely,
if ever, go to the scrap bin, unless it's a full-out
scrappy quilt...which is only to use up scraps. 

I finally decided to just start cutting my scraps 
like I'd always meant to do! 
into various squares whenever I have a little time.
(While watching a movie or keeping an eye on something cooking in the kitchen;
If these things don't get it done, I'm thinking of football here in a month...)

It's a start!

It will certainly be nice to avoid that pile if I can
keep this up.

Two quilt tops finished.
(well, the blue one still needs some borders--need to buy blue fabric)
Scraps getting busted and organized.
And it's still well over a month till fall and
almost two till the shop-hop.

I've gotta update my stitching lists!

10 August 2015

Winter's Windows: Finished! (Sort-of)

We had another wonderful rainy morning
so I've finished Winter's Windows...sort of.
I still need to add a thin border in a dark blue
Of course, I don't seem to have the right one!
and then about a 5" border in white.
These should take very little time so I think
I'm going to go ahead and call it a finish.

I was going to wait till the Shop-Hop to buy the
blue fabric but I've already got a substantial list going;
plus, the Hop isn't till October!  
One really shouldn't keep piling up quilt tops
so I'm guessing I'll make a fabric run soon.

Also on the growing shopping list is
fabric for the Farmer's Wife (!) and the backing
and binding for my last two finishes.

Meanwhile, this one could be made with scraps,
especially the blocks.
I'm going to talk about what I've started doing with my scraps tomorrow.

Completely un-planned, I might start
this next.  Or the Courthouse Stars.  Or both.
I think I need to settle down a bit!

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