Monday, September 30, 2013

Morning Sky

Just before the sun rose this morning the western sky lit up with intense colour.  A photo never really captures the full glory, but here's a sample.

At the end of the driveway there's some lovely fall colour also.  The red is a brilliant Amur maple, and next to that is a deep purple Schubert Chokecherry, both of them surrounded by the deeper green of spruce and the yellow green of potentilla bushes.  What a feast for the eyes is the beautiful panorama of fall colours!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Well, spraying and washing the backing took all the marker stains out!  Thank goodness!

Tuesday our local quilt club met, so in the morning I prepared (again) the baby quilt "sandwich" and did the machine quilting that afternoon.  I had a little bit to finish on Wednesday, and today I finished handstitching the binding to the back.

Here's my second go 'round with batting.  A better idea this time: take a large piece of batting and cut what is needed, no marking or stitching pieces together.

Here's the finished quilt.  The backing is a nice bright yellow flannel.  The front is all flannel also.
The binding is a yellow cotton.  I chose that because the cotton is a firmer fabric than the flannel and will hold up better as binding.

I'm very happy with this quilt.  It's 47" by 47", so it's a generous size.  With all the flannel it's very cuddly.  The batting is a light polyester batt, chosen to keep the quilt light weight.

All finished ahead of time for a baby due in about 10 weeks!

The pattern, by the way is from Country Creations, Lorraine Stangeness's design.  I had an email from her this week that her shop, south of Strathmore, is closing.  She and Gordon moved to a villa in Strathmore and plan to spend about 5 months in Arizona this winter.  We'll miss visiting her shop, which had great selections of materials, patterns and kits.  I took groups there three different times as part of a "shop hop."  I always said I wouldn't buy anything that time, but went home with at least one new project.

I have a beautiful wall hanging kit, "Falling Leaves," that I bought last January and am planning to begin as soon as I finish S's quilt.  That, by the way, needs only the borders added.  I'm in the home stretch!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dumb and Dumber!

You know that nice baby quilt I'm making?  On Friday I bought some plump yellow flannel for the backing.  Today I cut the backing and sewed it together because it needed to be pieced.

I got out a large scrap of batting, measured and cut it.  It also needed to be pieced.  I usually draw lines across the two pieces of batting, just to make sure the seam turns out even and one side of the other doesn't pull or pucker.

Today I used a washable marker.  Mistake number one!

I went ahead and spray basted the backing to the batting.  Then I became a little uneasy: what if the washable marker's colour ran into the backing?

Then I did something even dumber: I took a wet washcloth and started dabbing at the marker lines trying to remove them.  Well, they weren't removed!  What happened was that the
marker promptly ran colour onto the backing!

At this point I got a little smarter, not much but a little: I pulled the batting off the backing as much as possible, considering it had been spray basted in place.  Then I took the backing and sprayed lots of prewash on the colour runs.  I threw it in the machine on the gentle cycle.

What a relief when the cycle was finished to find the colour runs had all washed out!  Washing had also loosened the bits of batting that were still sticking to the backing.  I was able to pick them off.

It's in the dryer now, almost ready to come out and be ironed, ready for a new piece of batting--not one made up of bits and pieces this time.

What I'm thankful for: that I stopped this idiocy before spray basting the top in place!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


We have three pear trees out back and have occasionally had a pear or two from them.  This year it's a different story.  Here is our pear harvest, and it's plentiful!

Some of them are a small variety, but are they ever sweet and delicious!

I don't know how we're going to use up all this bounty.  Pear jam doesn't sound too intriguing.  And we never eat canned fruit anymore.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Aren't they cute?

If I've worked hard during the week (and I usually have) I like to reward myself on the weekend with a little, fun project.  It's especially rewarding when the project takes only 3 or 4 hours.

My friend M. had this cute Canada Maple Leaf hot pad on the left that her aunt had made for her when she (the aunt) was taking some quilting lessons.  I borrowed it Saturday evening to reproduce it.

These two hot pads are the end result.  Lots of fun to make and a quick easy project.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Red Pepper Jelly

This week I made my first ever batch of red pepper jelly.  Jim had picked many small red peppers and I still have some bags of chopped pepper for soups and chillies in the freezer, so I checked for jelly recipes on the net.  I used one from "Mennonite Girls Can Cook" and was pleased with how it turned out.

There were 12 pint jars of jelly, of which 2 are already gifted out.

If I make this again I will stir the finished jelly in the pot for a bit as it thickens, to avoid having all the pepper pieces near the top of the jar.  The recipe (which I doubled) used liquid pectin and set up very well, which made me think I could get away with stirring for a few minutes as it thickened, before ladling it into the jars.

When combined with a little creme cheese on a cracker, this is a real winner!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Little Side Trip

Been a busy week, like always.  No knitting because I have a "trigger finger" on my right hand.  No doubt it came from knitting too much.  I "throw" my stitches, so my right hand is always flicking back and forth.  The ring finger started hurting in March, but I stupidly kept on knitting.  Finally had to give it up, or have permanent problems with that finger.

Last week there were a few nights when I woke up around 2 or 3 a.m., and sleep was finished for the night.  Sometimes, that's an advantage.  You get an extra four or five hours to your day!  So early Wednesday morning I used those four hours to cut out squares for a baby quilt.  My dear friend M's daughter is expecting a baby in December, so I wanted to get started on that.

I chose a simple design by reducing the rows in a pattern that I had done before.  It's almost all half square triangles with just a few plain blocks.

It went together very easily and last night I finished sewing the top together.  Now it needs some batting and some backing, some machine quilting, probably just stitch in the ditch as there is enough going on in the quilt itself.

When I look at this picture I see one square I should have exchanged, but otherwise I'm quite happy with it.

Today I will get back to S's quilt.  The first half is now spray basted and ready to go.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Harvest Meal

After a lovely weekend in Rocky Mountain House, Jim preaching, myself playing organ for both a.m. and p.m. services on Sunday, followed by a good overnight visit with friends, we arrived home this morning about 11 a.m.  We unloaded our things from the car, had a fresh cup of coffee and relaxed for a while.

By 1 p.m. I was ready to work and went out to the garden to see what needed to be picked.  The bounty included green beans, peas, runner beans, sugar snap peas, carrots, parsnips, beets, onions and small red peppers.  After the snipping, slicing and blanching were complete, I made up a wonderful supper with these ingredients:


Line a 9" x 12" pan with foil.
chunky, diagonally cut carrots
chunky, diagonally cut parsnips
onion wedges
potato wedges
sliced red peppers.
Drizzle with olive oil.

Place in a 350ยบ oven, lightly covered with foil.

Boil some beets until tender.
Slice them into wedges and add to veggies.

Cut Mild Italian sausage into rounds.
Scatter them over the veggies.

Sprinkle all with:
garlic powder
seasoned salt
coarse pepper
lots of grated parmesan.

Roast until finished, about 2 hours.

It was so delicious I immediately wrote down the ingredients and what I had done, so that I can repeat this meal (maybe once a week this fall!)