28 July 2020

Tuesday Accomplishments, Blessings and To-Do's

Hello Tuesday To-Do'ers!

I felt a little bad after talking about how worn out I was
last week when I really have so much to be happy about.
I've been making a real conscious effort to notice all
around me the many blessings.  Even the smallest ones.

I know you're excited to go check in on everyone else's
to-do's but for right now, slow down there, my quilty friend
and grab a cuppa!  Let's look in the sewing room and then
have a walk around the garden to see what's going on.
(Meanwhile, I'll be over checking out what you've
been up to!  Ha ha!)

Firstly, we'll cover last week's lone to-do which was to
complete the 13 star blocks for the West Point quilt.

Then, completely unscheduled, I pulled it all down
and quickly sewed up the blocks for a little quilt I've
had lined up for a month or so.

I guess I just needed a quick, fun project!
I should get this little top done in no time, right?
(And another precut put to use!)

Now for some other things around here:

There are certain tasks that I find super-relaxing.
Simple and methodical.
 I think it's all about really focusing on doing that
one thing, and doing it well.  Like making crepes. 
I could do it for hours...if my legs and back would let me.
And if I had an army to feed all those crepes to
because Lord knows I don't need to be eating them.

Harvesting herbs is another one.
It taps into my inner-hippie.  Minus the weird political issues.
And the illegal substances.  And any other odd things they did
that I probably couldn't mention here...even if I knew them. 
Ok, I really don't know anything about being a hippie.
I was a wee toddler at that time.
But I did develop a liking for 70's music so I figure
that makes me cool and groovy and such.
I just mean someone who likes to be outside,
living off the land, making the most of what God has
blessed us with and all that.

So, I spent a lot of time with the herbs this week.
I have enough dill seed dried up for a couple years
(the stuff grows like weeds, even re-seeds itself--love it!).
I have flat leaf parsley, lemon and regular thyme drying.

Lemon thyme?  Oh it's my fav.
Perfect for Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup in the winter
and all kinds of other chicken recipes.

I played around with herbed simple syrups (for drinks), learning
that basil is a great flavor, I like rosemary syrup but haven't found
use for it yet and, on a whim, discovered that yes, by golly,
fennel (fronds) simple syrup mimics the flavor of Ouzo.
I'm not an Ouzo fan but hubs is so I'm patting myself
on the back for that idea.

When the new herbs come in, out go the old.  
In taking stock of my current supply, I wanted to try
to use up some older lavender so I tried out this recipe
for Lavender Shortbread cookies and found them to be
perfect for coffee or tea.  If I were to alter anything, I would
add just a tiny bit more lemon and lavender--but perhaps
my lavender is not as strong since it's last year's.
They're unbelievably simple and yet such a treat.

Love, love, love these colors!  

The rest of the old herbs are going into a mix that I'm
collecting for the chickens to help the eggs stay rich and
full of vitamins throughout the winter.  I'm also gathering
up tons of marigold petals/seeds and rose petals.

ALL extra and "grade B" herbs, as I call them, from
this year are being dried and added as well.
"Waste not, want not," right?
Soon I'll be adding in seeds from pumpkins and acorn
and butternut squash.  Perhaps TMI but these are a
natural de-wormer for the chickens so it's really
beneficial to include these seeds in the mix.

Outside of building a strange collection of chicken trivia
that should guarantee I'll be sought out at parties
(perhaps only those at the farmer's co-op!?),
this is a new and exciting project for me.
I hadn't found the time to do this in previous years.

It's all about keeping these girls healthy and happy.
I'm wondering if their coat of feathers is already
showing the great nutrition they've been receiving?
Soon they'll keep us healthy and happy, too!

Oh!  I can't forget this guy.
How could I with those fantastically feathered legs!
He must be named Buckbeak (from Harry Potter).

I just hope they enjoy eating it as much as I am building it.
I would be so disappointed if they decided to be finicky.
Doubtful, though, as I've been giving them everything
there is to offer around here from the day they arrived!

Out in the veggie garden the pumpkins and gourds
are starting to go crazy, as they always do.

[Crazy pumpkin/gourd lady rubs her hands together in glee]

This week's rain and cooler temps will be very welcome to
them--and to me as I try to keep them under control...sort of.

I'm doing my best to fit as many veggies into our menu
as I can but it's hard to keep up!  It's a great problem
to have and one I really enjoy tackling.  Blessed.

Anyone have fav recipes with tomatillos, btw?
I enjoy making green enchilada sauce and have
canned green salsa but I'd like to try other ideas.

Ideas for butternut and acorn squash are welcome, too.

I finally updated my garden journal which is noteworthy
because my last entry was in August of last year--yikes!
I keep track of the weather, what grows well, what doesn't
and all of the to-do's and, more importantly, not-to-do's
in there along with general crop info.  If you do any
serious amount of veggie gardening, this is a must.

As always, I am keeping up my sourdough baking.

A few minutes to mix it up the night before and 
by mid-morning the next day it's ready for shaping.

My bread-loving heart cannot stay out of it when it comes
out of the oven, all crispy-flakey on the outside, soft yet
spongy on the inside, tangy and topped with butter.
~ To die for! ~
Fortunately there is plenty and it goes well with
so many meals, like ratatouille.

With our garden, this is a summer staple.
It's sooo pretty and fun to make!

I've had to learn to make just enough for two now.
Once baked, I pop it back under the broiler when it's
topped with parmesan and goat cheese and serve it
up with a generous sprinkling of fresh basil.

Okay I am really digressing now, aren't I?
And now that we're all starving,
back to quilty [and calorie-free] things...

My to-do's for next week:

1) Make log cabin blocks for West Point quilt

2) Play around with Sew-Can-She's hexi-hotpads

I found this fun idea from Sew-Can-She
and am anxious to try it out.  I think they'd be a fun
scrap buster and make nice little gifts.
You know, it's pretty much August and as someone who
prefers to make gifts, it's time to start thinking about
that Christmas list a little more.   That sort of
to-do'ing will be coming up.

 3) Finish kitty quilt top.

4) Make a pincushion to keep at longarm.

5) Continue working with herbs
Dry regular parsley and sage.
Make mint extract and herbal sprays.

Now, lastly, out of respect for those who can't handle
eight-legged creatures, I've kept the picture of this
year's garden spider till the very end.  Though there is
always a large egg sac by the end of every fall, I usually
only find one or two spiders protecting the garden
throughout the summers.  I don't like spiders one bit but the
gardener in me respects these.  We just keep our distance.
At least they aren't furry!  ICK!  Anyway, I put a picture
of her at the very bottom for those of you who want
to see her.  I haven't named her yet--any ideas?
She will get quite large very soon so I will post
an update later.  She may not seem like a
blessing to most people, but she is to me.

Happy quilting!
Linking up to Home Sewn By Us Tuesday To-Do #51

27 July 2020

July's Monthly Goal Completed

Hello there.
Today I'm linking up to Elm Street Quilt's
One Monthly Goal to share my latest completion.

I checked this off pretty early in the month so
some of you may have already seen the 

If you haven't, well, here she is!

I struggled with getting a full-quilt picture that still showed
its true colors so most of these are just close-ups.

Even though I was having fun, I spread the quilting out over
several days just to stay "fresh" and to avoid any back pain.
Binding a queen quilt is not as fun, however.  I spread that
out over two days and yet still had to take a day or two off
for my shoulders to recuperate!  This quilt is heavy!
(I cannot imagine making a king!)

I had just enough of this green leaf fabric for the
outer border and backing.  Don't you love it when
everything just clicks when making a quilt?

"Scattered and Sewn" (88x103) is now in my Etsy shop.

Happy quilting!

21 July 2020

A Quiet Tuesday Chat and To-Do's

You know what?
I'm worn out.

The last 4 months have been such a whirlwind.
So much time with all of our kids and grandkids over.
Even some with parents & grandparents.
(Hubs' side, mine have all passed.)
This has been a good side to all the madness.

Birthdays, Easter, Mother's & Father's Day, Independence
Day and many other family meals in between.  
It was great having the boys--that is to say--men home.
 All kinds of fun--yes!  But, whew!  Hubs and I
feel like we've not stopped once during it all.
Especially with the garden/lawn work at its peak.
Let me state:  I am not complaining here.
I am just acknowledging to myself how much I've
been doing these last months.  I'm one of those
people that has to look back at that once in awhile.
I don't like to admit that there are things I can't do,
that there is a point where I am human and, even more,
that I can no longer do all those things I used to do.
But it is okay to rest and to insist on quiet.
Heck, it's necessary!

We dropped our youngest off at the airport at 4:15 am.
And then the hubs and I spent the entire weekend together.
Just us.  I cannot remember the last time that happened.

~Spiked Basil Lemonade~
A great summer drink, best when lounging in pool!

We both got so many things done around here and 
still had time to relax in the pool and even watch some
movies.  How strange to have time.
The paradox of parenthood is something I think about a lot.
You want your kids around but then you need a break.
When they're gone, you miss them, feel guilty for wanting
those breaks and even wish them right back. 
You finally have to just let go and let God.
What else can we do but just give in to His plan?
Time flies anyway, and the holidays will be "tomorrow".

So this morning, I sit in an empty house for the first time
in months.  My mind wants to jump ahead to the many
things that need to be done but no--just breathe today.
Just accept that God is saying that we've done
our job, it's time to rest a bit, and it's okay.
"Rest up until the next whirlwind, You mean," I laugh back.
Because it's true, isn't it?
Parenting is never over.
And if we're going to be any good at it,
we have to take time to restore, rejuvenate, refresh.

Last week, Jenny of Elefantz shared so much of what
I've been thinking lately about keeping life simple.
I just skimmed that post the first time, marking it
so I could come back to it and read it slowly,
quietly over coffee.
I'm sharing it in case someone else needs that, too.

Well, moving on to quilty things.

Firstly, every time I sew up another batch of masks,
I insist that's it!  I'm never sewing another!
Yet there I was sewing 15 more this week, too.
That set me back a little.

#1 To-do:
I didn't get a lot of blocks done on my current quilt.

For obvious reasons, I wasn't too worried about it.
But anyhoo, the other 9 shouldn't take long at all.
They're cut out and laying by my machine.

My #2 to-do was to start on a/some West Point
table runner(s).  That didn't happen.  That might be
just as well because I realized that while working on
my West Point quilts, I'm very likely to come up with
scrap pieces that could easily be turned into table
runners--a great way to use them up.  We'll just
approach this to-do as it comes.

What else have I been doing?  Well, I finally tackled a
section of the flower garden in front of our house.
Obviously the front is the most important but it's the
one I avoid most because it's the hardest to control.

Of course, if I controlled it, it wouldn't be so hard!
Here are a couple "before" photos, btw.

If you zoom in you get a pretty good idea of all that
nut grass and other weeds completely neglected.

It's not perfect but I made a huge difference.
Right now it's all about just making it to fall.
The arrows point out my very-packed garden basket, 
completely overflowing with weeds.
Sadly, this is just one section but it felt good to get
that done.  Flower gardens take a back-burner to the
food gardens, what can I say?  I'm trying to work on
ways to make these easier, yet still retain some sense
of landscape that beautifies our home.  I'll get there.

It has been a weird year for the vegetable garden.  I have no
explanation but some crops have produced wonderfully
and others...just lousy.  I hear this from many others, too.
But we have plenty overall; I cannot complain.  Above is
just part of our very own produce section.  


How fun to shop at home for awhile, creating
our menu around everything we already have!
That should free up a little more time for sewing so
maybe I'll be more productive at quilting this week.

My one To-Do for next week:

Keep going on my WP quilt--that's it.
But I fully expect to get a lot done.
Definitely all those stars and hoping for
the log cabins as well--again.

If you hung in there for this whole thing,
you're a trooper!
Happy quilting.

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