Tuesday, July 16, 2019

BAG #4

This morning I finished Bag #4 in the Quiltsmart Midi Bag series.  I really enjoy this bag!
Mary Keenan gave the the fabric to make this bag, as I am going to teach a class in how to make this bag at her quilt shop in August.  It turned out very well.  We are both happy with it.  It's now hers.

Here's another view:

I learned a lot making this bag and am understanding the pattern much better.  I drew out a sketch that shows how the four panels relate, to help in placement of the squares.  Here's the schematic:
This shows which square of the four panels will attach to which square of the adjacent panel.  By charting this out I was able to plan which squares should go where in each of the four panels.  I'm very happy with the result.  So is Mary.

Of course, now I have an idea for another variation of this pattern!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

COOKING WITH WHAT YOU HAVE

Especially when the garden begins producing I practice what I call, Cooking With What You Have.  On Sunday there were several things available, but not a whole lot of any one thing, so I made "Kale Plus"--something original.  Here's the recipe (if that's what you can call it.)

KALE PLUS

All ingredients freshly picked, washed and chopped:
Kale
Swiss Chard
Celery
Mushrooms
Zucchini
Sweet Potato
Green and regular onion
Broccoli
Red and Green Peppers
shredded Carrot

Additional:
crushed garlic
oregano
basil
fresh Rosemary leaves
salt and pepper

Heat some canola oil and sesame oil in a heavy pot.  Add the cubed sweet potato and cook until softened.  Cook the kale in another heavy pot with a little chicken bouillon.  When the kale is wilted add the other ingredients.  Add the cooked sweet potato and some precooked rice for volume.  Serve hot.  Top with chopped tomato, diced avocado and some dollops of sour cream.

This was delicious and well worth repeating.  The ingredients could vary with what ever is available.
Here's what is in the oven right now:
I had bought two medium sized sweet potatoes at the end of last week.  The first one went into the Kale Plus.  Tonight I peeled and sliced the other sweet potato and added some cut up fresh pineapple, some broken pecans and some real Maple Syrup.  I'm figuring about 45 minutes at 350ยบ should do it.

The rest of dinner: steamed cauliflower and grilled pork medallions.  I hope it turns out well!

P.S.  I usually have some cooked rice in the freezer for a quick dish.  See Alton Brown's Baked Brown Rice.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

LOTS TO DO

We're having a cold, rainy summer here.  Once in a while we get a nice, warm, sunshiny start to the day, as we did today, so I dress for summer in shorts and shirtsleeved shirt.  Then I go outside and find it's really quite cold and windy.

This morning the fences we're renting to keep the deer out of the vegetable garden arrived.  S. and her husband brought them on a flat bed trailer, as they are 6 feet high and 10 feet long.  We got them set up and I'm confident they will do the job of keeping out the deer.  There are showers just now, so I'll take a picture tomorrow and show you how neat and effective they are.  Rental is just $.50 per linear foot per month.  That's pretty doable.

Over the weekend I did another of the "Snowman" panel quilts.  This one is for IDA, for use in The Fabric Nook to help create interest in this really cute panel.
This one has a different border, a directional fabric showing cardinals and top hats, made to coordinate with the panel.  Because it's directional I needed a pretty long piece of the border fabric, but it's pretty cute.  I added a wider than usual binding to make a statement that relates to the inner border of red.  That worked well.

The snowman actually has a triple layer of polyester batting, cut to size to "puff" him up.  The rest of the quilt has just one layer of that batting.  The machine quilting on the snowman and his hat, etc. was done with threads the same as the backgrounds: red, brown, black and white.  The quilting on the background was all done with an invisible (dark) thread.  It looks really cute and The Fabric Nook was delighted with it.  Now I need to make up a hand-out sheet of useful tips on creating this cute quilt

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

VISITORS AND VITTLES

Almost two weeks ago our older son Tim came for a visit.  It's always a pleasure to have him around!  He did a lot of work in the landscape, which was a great help to Jim.  I made some very nice meals.  So our mealtimes together were delicious and a good time of fellowship.

The day after Tim left a couple whom we know from many years ago came for a visit.  We both enjoy both of them, so again we had some times of fellowship that were a big treat.

Now it's back to just the two of us, and not so much cooking.  Well--that's not quite true because this afternoon the quilt club has a planning meeting to set up next year's schedule and we follow that with a potluck.  Our potlucks are always delicious!

When we went on our yearly "shop hop" two weeks ago I mentioned my recipe for potato salad, which includes some ingredients not ordinarily included.  Some of the women expressed doubt about how that would turn out.  So I decided to make a batch of potato salad for tonight's potluck.

Here's the recipe.  See what you think of it.

SUPER POTATO SALAD
(This recipe is for a crowd, supposed to serve 30 people.  I cut it down according to how many people will be present.)
10 pounds of potatoes
12 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
1 cup sliced radishes
1 bunch green onions, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 large onions diced
2 cups of diced celery
1 cucumber, peeled and diced (That was before long English cucumbers were available.   I include the skin.  The green is a nice accent.)

Peel and dice the potatoes.  Boil for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and cool.
While the potatoes are boiling prepare the other ingredients.  Fold the cooled potatoes into the other ingredients and fold in the dressing (recipe follows).  Refrigerate.  Tastes fine the first day, but better the second.  Garnish with paprika and parsley.

DRESSING
(Also good for coleslaw)
2 quarts of salad dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vinegar (I like cider vinegar.)
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons salt (Original recipe calls for 3 tablespoons.)
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
1 teaspoon prepared mustard (yellow mustard)

Mix all ingredients and add to potato salad.  Extra dressing can be stored for a long time in the refrigerator, just like the salad dressing.

This recipe seems to have come from a magazine.  Mom copied it and gave credit to Helen Schwartz.  This is the only potato salad I make because I think it's just the best!

I made the potato salad yesterday and Jim and I had some for supper.  Now what am I going to leave for him to eat for supper tonight while I'm away?  (I treat him awfully well--when I'm away there is always a meal prepared for him to heat up.)

As I picked up some groceries this morning I had an inspiration.  I bought 2 bags of split peas, came home and started a batch of this really good pea soup.  He'll be happy with this for his supper.  It's made in a crock pot, so it's perfect for making ahead and being ready to serve when he's ready to eat.

SUPER PEA SOUP

8 to 10 cups of water
2 (450 gram) bags of split peas
1 onion, chopped
2 good-sized carrots, diced
3 (mild) Italian sausages, cut into rounds and then the rounds cut in half
1 tsp. salt (we don't use much salt in our food.)
1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper
1 large or 2 small bay leaves

Put all into a large crock pot, bring to a boil on high, turn down to low and simmer for several hours.

This recipe makes a LOT of soup, more than we'll eat in one meal.  That's one of the good things about this recipe.  I ladle the soup that remains into quart containers and freeze it.  Freezes well and thaws out just fine.  You do have to remove it from the freezer well ahead of time because it is pretty thick and takes a long time to thaw.

Well, those are two of my favourite recipes that I use over and over again.  The potato salad is especially nice on a hot summer day and the pea soup is great when it's cool and dark outside.  ENJOY!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

FUN DEMO DAY

Yesterday I was at IDA where The Fabric Nook is located from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., doing a "Demo Day."  The subject of the demo was this quilt:
This is the second quilt I made on the "Charming Baby" quilt pattern, with the 3D Pinwheels.  The demo was devoted to showing how to make the 3D Pinwheel blocks.  We had a small but fairly steady stream of people interested in seeing how the blocks were made.

I had prepared blocks for another baby quilt and pinned them to a display board, made from one of those very old, folded cardboard design boards we used to use in our home sewing.  I had covered it up with a picnic table cloth, with the flannel side out.  It worked well.  You can see it to the right. 

Mostly when no one was there to see the demo I made the four patch blocks for between the pinwheels.  When I had a lot of time I bought a charm pack of 5" squares in kind of fall colours and cut them up for a new Midi Bag.  I'm going to demo that in Mary's Quilt Shop in July, and she needs a few to advertise that class.

There was a good set up in the fabric area with a table for sewing, cutting and pressing.  I finished all the Pinwheel Blocks that day.  Soon I can sew that quilt together and donate it somewhere.

It was a very enjoyable day, and I got a lot accomplished.  In September I will be doing two Demo Days on paper piecing.  The first one extremely simple as all the pieces are made with either 1 1/2" strips or you can make them with 2" strips.  

Some time ago I made some placements from this pattern, Tessellated Leaves, which I got off the internet.  And about two years ago I made a wall hanging for our AZ condo from that pattern, very enlarged, from placemat size to wall hanging size.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

SO CUTE!

A pair of robins are raising their brood in a Medora Juniper (an upright form) that grows at the southwest corner of our home.  We are staying away from that area until they are all fledged.  But yesterday as we were sitting downstairs we saw this very young robin sitting on the top of a Caragana standard near the nest.  He sat there for about an hour, every now and then opening his large mouth in a begging food gesture.

Jim had spotted him and called me down to see.  I grabbed my camera and got this shot:
He seemed lonesome, a little lost and definitely hungry.  The drops are some rain sprinkles on the window.  After I took the picture, with the telephoto lens fully extended and turned the camera off, Mama Robin showed up and began stuffing worms into his wide-open beak.

I quickly turned the camera on again and extended the telephoto lens, but I was too late.  She was finished.  She flew off to find more food for her brood.  I won't forget that sight!

Later the stray returned to the nest, preferring that to the cold, wet world out there.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Landscape Blooms

We like to go for a stroll around our landscape on Sunday afternoon.  Here are a few of the plants currently blooming:
Allium

Anemone

Lilac 

 Spruce buds

Spurge

And here's my finished project for this weekend, a Disappearing Four Patch.  

This quilt top was made last year for a demonstration at The Fabric Nook of my method for Disappearing Four Patch blocks that results in every intersection "nicely nesting."  I find nesting seams much easier to achieve good points, so I worked out a method that gives that result.  This weekend I made the "sandwich," quilted and bound it.  This will be a donation quilt.