Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sassy Stars Quilt - Mine!

Are you a big fan of the Sew Kind Of Wonderful women?  Me too! The book for the Quick Curve Ruler that includes this pattern was purchased last year at MQX, and autographed.  :-)  I made this tablecloth-size, it's about 50" square.

I bought the purple fabric from a customer when I was making my great-niece's Frozen dress.  And the remainder of the stars are all made using (a very small part of) my collection of word fabrics.

I used up leftovers - I pieced the batting using a tail end off a roll of Hobbs 80/20, and I pieced the backing from a remnant of batik wide backing.
This is still on my ufo list though, until I complete the binding.  I like to attach bindings on the longarm.  My Beach Girls are coming for WINTERRUPTION in a few weeks and one of them would like a demo of how that is done.  Some day I will add that as a tutorial here on the blog, but it's easier to grasp something when you can see it up close and personal.

AROUND THE HOUSE
  • I had a GANGLIAN removed from my foot.  It didn't hurt, exactly, but it's been increasing in size for the past 18 months, and was really uncomfortable by the end of the day after being squashed in shoes for ten hours.  $120.00 later, I'm all better.  (no, foot care is NOT covered by OHIP)
  • DH is finally getting over his cold.  It started January 2nd, so we're talking FOUR WEEKS of a sick husband.  Send flowers.  For me.
  • It is so warm today, there was a bug flying around outside the kitchen window.  I take all the screens off for the winter because there are no bugs.  Hello, Universe????

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sail, Save, and Soup

In the dead of winter, quilts like this always make me smile.

I am reminded that there ARE other seasons, besides cold. 

What.  You didn't know cold was a season?  DH has been having a cold for three weeks now.  Doesn't that sound like fun?

What a great job the quilt maker did.  

SOUP
Thursday was Red Hat day.  Lois hosted us at her lovely new home, where we had a SOUPFEST.  These 'in-house' events are so much fun.  We sit around and yak for a couple of hours.
This Pumpkin Soup was my contribution, and after trying it out on DH a week earlier, I knew it would be a hit.
 
SPICY PUMPKIN SOUP WITH COCONUT MILK
Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 14 or 15-oz can pumpkin
1 14-oz can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles (*)
(*) I have been unable to find this product.  Instead, I use regular diced tomatoes PLUS 1 teaspoon of Minced Green Chili (found in Food Basics, brand “India’s Best” in the International aisle)
1 heaping cup roasted corn kernels (either canned or frozen corn, lightly charred in a frying pan)
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup light broth (either vegetable or chicken)
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Juice from 1 fresh lime

Instructions:
Heat the olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-low heat and add the garlic, cumin and curry paste; stir for one minute. Add the pumpkin, fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles, roasted corn, and salsa. Stir to combine. Add the broth. Heat through to a simmer and add the coconut milk. Season with sea salt and ground pepper, cilantro and sugar. Heat through gently and bring to a slow simmer.Taste test and add the fresh lime juice to brighten the flavor. Stir. Add more spice if you need more heat.

Serve with organic blue corn tortilla chips.
My recipe was adapted from the original, found on glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

SAVE
As I said earlier, we sat around and yakked for several hours.  Lois finally threw us out before we'd have to be fed dinner, too.  One of the topics under discussion was the price of food.  $8 for a cauliflower.  Whaaatt??  One of the gals picked one up at the local grocers on the SALE TABLE for $ .99.  Yes.  Less than a dollar.  I will make a great little old lady, shuffling along with my walker, because I love sale tables.  But I know people who would not be caught DEAD buying anything from there.  Silly.  Given a choice of going expensive or going frugal, I'll often take frugal, keeping in mind that you get what you pay for.  After all, that is how most of us were raised - wasn't it?  Our parents had to save their pennies wherever they could.  
Because I am still reasonably fit (but let's not put that to the test, ok?) I garden to grow my own organic vegetables, I line dry most of my laundry, I cook from scratch (and that does NOT mean I scratch open a box), I save up several reasons before I get in the car to go in to town, and that car is a Honda Civic.  If something is getting a quick rinse I turn on the COLD tap, not the hot.  I shut the water off while brushing my teeth.  I make my own martinis (ha ha, I had to throw that one in there).  There are lots of ways to save a nickle and over time those nickles add up.
The wee RANT that we got into was over the shrinking farmland in southern Ontario.  Yes we can buy LOCAL cauliflower but it's getting more difficult.  Farmland is being paved over by developers.  It's also being covered with concrete by the greenhouse growers, where our precious vegetables are being grown in chemical solutions.  Yah..., um, ick.  Yes I eat them but I try not to think about it.  Local food facilities, like Bicks Pickles, Heinz, and E.D. Smith are closing.  I'm sorry, but I am NOT eating pickles from China.  Garlic in the stores is pretty much all from China.  No, no, no.  Not eating it.
My gift to you today is actually something I am passing along from the CBC web site.  It's a frugal COOKBOOK with lots of tips.  And a few zucchini recipes.  Which is really easy to grow, by the way.
If you would like to read the CBC article, you can find it here.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Paint Chips = The Ugliest Challenge In The World (and whaaatt??? Gardening??)

The theme here is PAINT. 

This quilt is so darned cute.

I love the fabrics.  I love the colours.  

THIS, however.  Mmm. Ghastly.  Sorry. 

The Paint Chip Challenge at the Caledonia Guild, where you stick your hand into a paper bag full of paint chips.  Pull out 3 chips.  Make a quilted anything. We are permitted to add Black, White, and ONE other colour.  Pfftt.  What other colour could I possibly add that would fix this hot mess?  Adding insult to injury:  I had to BUY fabric to make this.
Anyhow... I am killing two birds with one stone.  The Binbrook Guild is doing a BORDER challenge with instructions every month. In this pic I have the first two months completed, with another one to add before the end of January.

GARDENING IN JANUARY
This had the potential to be a really good post about getting your seeds ready and sterilizing your starter pots and all that stuff.  But ha ha ha - tricked again!
I wanted to let you know that I was out in the garden yesterday - JANUARY 16TH - digging the remaining leeks.  I mulched them back in early December and the ground was still dig-able.  So I brought those last 20 lovelies in and cleaned & chopped them for the freezer.  Hopefully I don't have to throw them out two years from now.  We'll see, eh?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

2016 UFO Challenge and In The Kitchen (the YOGURT story)

2016 UFO CHALLENGE
Every year, my dear friend Margaret (of the Kawartha Margarets) organizes a UFO Challenge for a few of us.  Normally we send her a numbered list of 6 projects, and every two months she pulls a number out of her...we'll say HAT.  This year there will be no numbers.  And no lists.  This year she will have us PICK A PROJECT every two months.  The nice part about that is by the time November rolls around we are not stuck with something we thought about way back in January.  There is nothing to stop us from making a clandestine list, which I may do, since my memory is good for sh*t.

As for me, for the past two years this baby has been on my list, yet has not seen the light of day.  No more procrastinating!!!  Piece 'O Cake, here I come.
IN THE KITCHEN
Just after Mom died at the end of March my friend Noshi came over and got me started on making my own yogurt.  Ever since then I've been making a batch about once a week.  (on a side note:  most people including DH are afraid of home made yogurt and will not eat it.  Curious, eh?)  Fast forward to Christmas when DH and I went to Calgary for a week.  On Jan. 2nd I started a batch of yogurt using a clump of starter that I had put in the freezer before I left.  It doesn't set.  Huh???  Damn.  Down the drain with that four cups of milk.  I have no more starter of my own yogurt, so I opened the last packet of commercial starter and put another batch on.  It doesn't set either.  WTF???  Down the drain goes THAT four cups of milk.  I headed to Goodness Me for supplies and brought home another box of commercial starter.  OK.  Four more cups of milk and ANOTHER failed batch.  Twelve cups of milk have gone down the drain now, and I'm beginning to wonder if Mom is annoyed with me for not visiting her plot since the summer.  Or, maybe it's too cold in the house?  I decided to live it up and try one more time.  But this time I'm going to leave the batch in my lovely warm workroom where there is a nice toasty fire.  Hah.  Fail.  Four more cups down the drain... I'm up to 16 cups of milk down the drain at this point.  I do the math...every four cups is about $1.33, sooo I'm out of pocket over $21.00 just in milk.  Never mind the hydro to heat it up to 185 degrees and the half hour of time to make each batch.  The other part of my brain is calculating how much it would have cost me over the past nine months if I had been buying Greek yogurt.  This half decides that I am still plenty of $$ ahead of the game.
I will try one. more. time.  But THIS time I will put the oven on 'bread proof' setting, which stays at 100 degrees.  We have a dinner date with friends for Chinese food so the yogurt should be done by the time we get home.
... oh dear... much blue air... still runny after eight hours... and the oven is NOT warm.  (There may be an automatic shutoff on the bread proof setting.  After all, who proofs bread dough for eight hours???)
By now I am pretty pissed off.  Pour a glass of wine (size:  large).  Decide "what the hell" and turn the LIGHT on in the oven and shut the door.
When I got up at 8:30 this morning, magic fairy dust had sprinkled itself all over my milk and turned it into yogurt.

The short part of this long story is that the house was too cold for the yogurt culture to ... culture.  Leaving the light on in the oven totally solved the problem.  See?  You are never too old to find out you don't know what the hell you're doing.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Year end stash report & New Years Day sewing

Hey... Happy New Year!!
I think I'm over the jet lag from my Calgary trip.  I was up at 5:30 this morning.  Apparently, just because.  My brother was posting facebook pics of their new years hike and it looks beautiful and sunny in Calgary.  Here it was gloomy, cold, windy & damp.  Even though Alberta is much colder it doesn't feel like it because it's so DRY there.  Taking Sadie for a walk yesterday was downright painful.

Enough about the weather.  New Years Day was spent sewing with a friend.  She completed two of these cute little pot mitts.  These are the foldy type that you either love or you hate.  I may have to make a few of these.

While she was working on her mitts, I was assembling the blocks I put together in July when I traveled to Maine.  The fabrics are batiks my Singapore Niece gave me for Christmas a couple years ago.  Right now this measures about 45 x 60.  At some point I will be adding a border, and eventually it will become a tablecloth for the dining room.

These are the fabrics that followed me home from Calgary.  The black boot print on the far left was a gift, but the rest of it is my own damned fault.  Honestly, the shop owner from Rumpled Quilt Skins in Okotoks, Alberta is a total fiend.  Yes, a fiend.  I kept saying "NO!!" when she offered to bring the fabrics that matched so nicely with the geometric, but she ran and got them anyways.  Then I made the mistake of mentioning that I collect 'word' fabric, so she brought over the last 2.5 meters of the postcard fabric.  I was up 13.5 m. after that little visit.  Sheesh.
STASH REPORT
Year End 2015 - down 30.25 m.

Used since last report:    2 m
Used YTD:                     87 m
Added since last report:   15.5 m
Added YTD:                56.75 m
NET YTD:             (-30.25 m) 

This is how I used up the 2 m. in December.  I made a couple of aprons for Sadie's dog sitter and her mom.  Best neighbours, ever.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Perfect Trifecta

After a delicious breakfast of eggs benedict...
- gin tasting (and buying) at 11:30 am
- fabric puchasing @ Rumpled Quilt Skins at 12:30 (boy, that shop owner could see when she had someone on the hook!)
- shoe shopping @ the Bay at 2:30 pm

A day couldn't get much better than that. 😊

Monday, December 28, 2015

Brunch & Trivia

Sunday was brunch at the Banff Springs Hotel, courtesy of 1-800-luke. I would definitely recommend that...brunch was delicious. And the scenery is pretty nice too, nestled in the mountains. ☺
On the way back to the condo we're borrowing, we took  a drive up Spring Mountain Road to see what was up the mountains. When we got out for a photo op we were almost blown away by the WIND. Hokey smokey - cold and vicious, so it was a very quick sightseeing moment.
On our return it was time for French Martinis and a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit. The girls won (no surprise). Today we plan a hike at Lake Louise then back to Calgary. We've got some snow here, and the Weather Network shows freezing rain at home. I hope Sadie is staying out of trouble. Maybe we'll call the sitter later to check on things.