Sunday, October 7, 2018

France - where we stayed and one restaurant sampling

If you are interested in where we stayed, use this link to Chateau D'Agel.  The place was too big for me to get a pic.  It's a castle built in the 1200's, and it is VERY large.
There were 9 of us on the tour, plus 1 chef, plus 1 tour organizer/guide, plus her 2 helpers.

This was our room, view to the right of the window.


This is the view to the left of the window.  Behind me is a dresser and a desk.

This is our bathroom.  Note the fireplace on the left. :-)  All of the bedrooms had a private bathroom.

On our first evening we went to the castle's wine cellar for a wine tasting.  This was the first of several wine tastings.  Since we mostly didn't know each other this was a great way to break the ice.  Nothing like a little um, lubrication to get everyone talking and laughing.

Every morning we'd get on our little bus and head off for the day's adventure.  On the first day we went to a market (they sell just about everything at the markets - we loaded up on our missing cosmetics and clothes).

In the village of Minerve, this was our lunch spot.

My appetizer:  melon & proscuitto.

My entree:  salmon.  And just to make me feel at home it came with zucchini!

My dessert:  tiramisu.  And everything was washed down with what seemed like gallons of wine.  I was not accustomed to "day drinking" but that's changed.  😋

Just for fun... the sugar.

The big excitement was the Michelin 3-star restaurant where we had lunch on Wednesday.  L'Auberge du Vieux Puits.  That link will take you to the chef's Wikipedia page. HERE is a link to the restaurant. We were not allowed to take photos of our food, but trust me when I tell you it was like being in a Tim Burton movie.  Go to the restaurant link and you'll see what I mean.

One week is pretty much my idea of a perfect vacation, so outside of the jet lag (6 hours) that worked out really well.  I may bore you with some more photos in future posts, so stay tuned.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Woo hoo - France

It took many, many hours to get here, but the Chef's Tour in France has arrived.  I'm at Chateau D'Agel for a week.  With a friend.  DH and dog stayed at home.
Here's the breakfast view...
The bad news:  Janice (my traveling companion) had her luggage delayed and the delivery wasn't going to arrive until Tuesday.  Like she could go for 4 days with no clean underwear.  Yeah, um, no.  And I left my cosmetics at home somewhere, so I'm in Europe with NO MASCARA.  Based on the amount of wine I drank yesterday I think I won't care too much. ☺

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Nouveau Muses, Buckhorn Quilt Show, Zucchini Report

This is called Nouveau Muses.  I had to get help spelling "nouveau" because it seems my brain is not as sharp as it was 30 years ago.

These lady panels are drop-dead-gorgeous.  If you've been hearing about the new digital prints, this is an excellent example.

They were paired with some beautiful William Morris prints for the borders & sashings & panel insets above and below the ladies.

I did some pretty quilting in the piecing, but in the panels I just did outline quilting along the printed lines. 

This used wool batting which added a perfect 3-D effect to the women.

These bottom pieces were quilted with the identical motifs as the upper windows.

Last night I got home from Margarets where I spent a few days with quilting buddies at the Buckhorn Quilt Show.  The quilt I am taking a lesson from is this one... I love, love, love the motifs stitched in the blocks!  Embroidery is a skill I use very little of these days, and this example has been done with thread painting.  By machine.

Here's the artist statement with a story about the quilt.

ZUCCHINI REPORT

Picked this week:  5
Picked YTD:       121
Gave away:             3

I left on Thursday morning for Margaret's, and got home after dark Saturday night.  DH would never in a million years go out and pick zucchini, so I have a BIG SURPRISE waiting out in the garden for me today.  They could be all ruined by some stupid animal/bug/disease, or perhaps I'll find 10 cricket-bat-sized fruits lurking under the leaves.  We'll see, after I get dressed.  Pray for me. 🙏

Sunday, September 2, 2018

A Few Great Edge-to-Edge Quilts, A Little Rant, and the Zucchini Report

When I post photos on my blog and discuss the quilts, the focus is usually on custom quilted work.  In reality, most of my work is edge-to-edge quilting.  It's way faster, and way less expensive.  Considering that most of what we make, as quilters, is utilitarian quilts that will be loved, used, puked on by the kids and the dog, and thrown in the washing machine?... e-2-e is the way to go.

This was a block of the month that we did at the Binbrook guild last year.  My blocks are all done but the top's not yet assembled.  Ruth always gets her stuff finished.  I love the pink!  I love sampler quilts!

This is a really cool quilt that the maker completed by cutting the curvey bits with a template.  I looove curved piecing.

Now who doesn't love turquoise in the summer?  And look how beautifully it pairs with scrappy browns.

My little rant is with Microsoft.  I have used PAINT for years.  It's a free program (so I should stop my bitching right there)  that I use to shrink photos and add all the fancy circles and arrows and text that you see on my pics.  It appears that now I will have to get it from the Microsoft Store and download it.  Still free, mind you, but now a P.I.T.A. (pain-in-the-ass).  Why can't these companies just leave me alone with my OLD STUFF.  I'm happy with my OLD STUFF.  I know how to use my OLD STUFF.

Anyhow...
ZUCCHINI REPORT

Picked this week:  12
Picked YTD:       116
Gave away this week:  6

What did I do with it this week?  I made four more zucchini loaves, two of which I'll give away today when we go the the BBQ/Pool Party.  I made four loaves last week too - gave away one and split the others in half for the freezer.  I also broke down and cooked a zucchini for my supper!  First I sauteed some onions, then added sliced zucchini and gently cooked until slightly soft.  Completed by adding a couple of diced tomatoes and letting them reduce a bit.  Yum.  Sadly, the plants are starting to look a little ravaged.  A few were torn out over the past two months because of bug infestations but that still (as you've noticed) left me with PLENTY.  I expect that the next two weeks will see their demise.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Camelot Quilt, A Quilter's Day Out, and Zucchini Report

The quilt maker was kind enough to supply the following information about this quilt.
"Camelot", made from instructions in the Quiltmania magazine, starting with the Jan/Feb 2016 issue.

We discussed quilting ideas, then I sent her a few mockups that I drafted on Intelliquilter (which is the computer drive for my quilting machine).  She chose a couple of borders, and the pretty feathered wreath that fills in between the blocks.

The treatment in each of the blocks was up to me.

I stuck with straight lines, curved lines, pumpkin seeds, and feathers.

When I had everything done except the spaces between the blocks we discussed again, and settled on the bowtie-ish fill.  I really liked that choice because it echoes the circles of the compass blocks.

The wide border got a new-to-me feather design.  Love. 💓

The back.  Sooo pretty.

For those quilters who think "Oh, she's computerized, she doesn't really have to DO anything."...these are the rulers I used on this quilt.

So.  Do you want to hear about my day out this past week?  I had to go pick up my sewing machine which was in for service.  I picked up my friend who was keeping me company and we headed off to Sew Etc. in Burlington, where I got my Pfaff out of hock (a $10 surcharge for cleaning?  Really?).  After I got my machine safely ensconsed in the back seat, we were  discussing lunch locations and decided to head over to Swiss Chalet.  The Bulk Barn just happens to be on the way so we made a pit stop there and I filled up on Almond Butter.  Next stop:  Swiss Chalet.  BTW, they are hiring for all positions, if anyone is looking for a job.  Next door happens to be the CIBC so we walked over and I did a little banking.  Then my friend said:  "Oh look, a shoe store."  Well, dammit.
We tried to go to the Farmer's Market (even though I had NO MONEY left) but the farmers were all closed and heading home.  Up the escarpment we go, and I asked if she needed anything at Costco.  I had to stop for a double package of vinegar, and the ziploc bags that were on sale.  Well, as you probably know, you can't buy just two things at Costco.
So my day out cost me:
machine service: $147.45
Almond butter:  $10.90
Lunch:                $20.00
Shoes:               $185.43
Costco:              $51.45
=====================
Total:              $415.23

I'm not sure if I should go out MORE often so I don't spend so much in one friggin' afternoon, or LESS often which would mean I'd stay home and eat zucchini.  For free.

ZUCCHINI REPORT

Picked this week:  18
Picked YTD:        104 ***Woo Hoo!  Broke the 100 mark!
Gave away this week:  0 none, zip, nada.

I didn't give any away, (well except to the compost, which got a few fuzzy ones)  but I did make six jars of relish, and froze 12 cups of shredded zucchini for the winter.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Fruitful Abundance quilt, Crazy Book, and Zucchini Report

This is Fruitful Abundance, a class that was run at Quilt Junction.  The maker is a bit of an overachiever and completed hers waaay before the others in the class.

She had three requests with the quilting - one was to keep the 'folk art' feel and not overdo the quilting.

The second was to add a bird to the vases, and the third was to quilt a running leaf vine in the outer half-square border.  There is a TON of s.i.d. and outline quilting on this.

So, on to the Crazy Book story.
Y'all know, sort of, Diane - leader of the Beach Girls.  One day last summer I was having a glass of wine and talking with her husband (let's call him Bill) about goodness-knows-what, and he mentioned that he had a book I might be interested.  When he finally remembered who the author was I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped, because "Bill" never struck me as someone who would follow Deepak Chopra.  I've read one of Chopra's books and it was about the chakras.  The next time I saw "Bill" he handed over his copy of You Are The Universe, and made it abundantly clear that he wanted the book back.

I was kind of getting into the book because some of the concepts were pretty mind-blowing.  Here's a page....

and the following page....

Even though I found myself having to reread a lot of it, it was pretty interesting.  Sadly - as it progressed, it was getting to be more and more like this, which required MANY page rereads.
I finally gave up around page 200.  But I appreciated the way it changed my perception of a lot of things.  I had that book for a year.  Diane would laughingly ask me occasionally how I was doing with it.  So I'd remind her that every page required THREE reads before I'd "get it", so Bill was just going to have to be patient.  I think he was glad to get it back when it was returned at Beach Day.

On to something that is much more understandable for many of us...

ZUCCHINI REPORT
Picked last two weeks:  27
Picked YTD:                 86
Gave away last two weeks:  6  (What?  Only 6?  sigh.)

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Beach Day! and, of course, Zucchini Report

I presume you've been following me long enough that you know all about the Beach Girls.  My longarm compatriots.  People are often surprised that we're friends, and not backstabbing competitors stealing each other's bobbins.  Meh.  Life's too short for that shit.

This past week was our annual Beach Day which generally lasts for three days.  We rarely make it to the beach...but this year it happened!

Diane took us on a mystery outing that lasted all day.  We started at the consignment store in Exeter and ended the day at the Lion's Pavilion in Grand Bend.  There was a very fun band featured and their set was "the British Invasion" (or maybe that's the name of their band?, but I don't think so).  Anyhow, the 2 1/2 hours they played was such fun, starting with the Beatles and ending with the Beatles, and over a decade's worth of music in between.  I felt sorry for the folks sitting around us because we're not really aware of how extraordinarily badly we sing.  And we sang a lot.  With unbridled verve.

In our down time we celebrated a birthday and solved the problems of the world.  😀 As Deb and I were on our way home we stopped at the Restore in Exeter, where I was able to save myself fifteen bucks on clear bags that I use for customer quilts AND I got four c.d.'s at $2 apiece for the drive home.

I won't see these gals again until September at the next SOLO meeting.  Anticipation....

ZUCCHINI REPORT

Picked this week:  18
Picked YTD:       59
Gave away:  lots.  I took a bunch to Beach Day but neglected to count them.  I also made four loaves of Zucchini Bread and forced those on the girls too.