Sunday, November 11, 2018

Dog Love & Horseradish

I was approached earlier this year by a woman who wanted a quilt made.  It was to feature photos of her beloved companions, and large enough for a queen size bed.

I have no facility here to print fabric of a size that would bring her vision to life, so I directed her to Spoonflower.  That center panel of the dog in the fall leaves measures about 38 x 54.

After she received her package of fabric in the mail she went shopping for the additional fabrics that would create the top, and she got a lovely backing fabric to co-ordinate.

It took me a whole day to applique the names.  First I had to select a font and print the names in true size, and make a pattern with layout for the size of available area on the quilt.  Once that was done I made fusible fabric letters with Mistyfuse, which is my favorite fusible web.  Then machine blanket stitch around the letters.
This was quilted with a very quiet design so the dogs maintain center stage.  I was really happy with the end result, as was the customer and her husband.

HORSERADISH

Oh, my good-God-Almighty.  Making horseradish is not for the faint of heart.

I've been getting bored making the same stuff in the kitchen, so I went through some of Margaret's recipes that she shared from her Hello Fresh boxes.  One of them does mashed potatoes with Dijon mustard and horseradish.  But I ran out of horseradish several months ago.  So I stopped in at the grocery store and the only bottle I could find - first of all it was a plastic bottle, which is on my no-fly list these days.  Second of all it had a list of ingredients a mile long, which is ridiculous for such a simple condiment.  A while back my neighbour Sophie mentioned that she had HR in the garden, and if I wanted any I was welcome to it.  An organized person would have taken advantage of this during the nice weather, but we're talking about me here.  Of course, I waited until the weather was below freezing, with gale force winds.  I dragged DH out for a walk (oh, nasty and cold on the way home - lemme tell you!!) and we got Sophie to show us where the plants were.  DH obligingly dug up some roots for me and we went on our way.  Cleaning and peeling and dicing were easy.  Grinding was easy.  DO NOT STICK YOUR NOSE IN THE CONTAINER OF GROUND HORSERADISH.  According to all the recipes I found, adding the vinegar sooner will keep the HR mild.  Waiting three minutes (!) will make it hot.  Mine turned out half & half hot/mild because there was quite a bit of ground root stuck in the grinder.  So even though the vinegar was added to the majority as it was expelled, the remnants were added several minutes later.  As I found out, sticking your nose in the container of ground horseradish is stupid.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  Anyhow... I have survived to tell the tale, and the potatoes were delicious.  Consider yourself forewarned.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Vintage Dresden Plate & Quilty French Floors & Zucchini Update

Boy, I have a lot of catching-up to do, quilt-blog-wise.

This vintage Dresden Plate was quilted back in mid September.  I love vintage quilts - never met one I didn't fall head over heels for.

There were a couple of blocks made with new fabric, just to get a useable size of quilt.
Yes, those plates are a little wonky.  The centers aren't round.  The plates aren't centered.  But it is so pretty!  As requested by the owner, there is not too much quilting here.  Stitch-in-the-ditch around sashings, and inside & outside the plates.  Loopies inside the wedges, and motifs both in the corners and in the centers.

Pretty, pretty on the back.
French floors as related to quilts: 
1) Chevron.

2) Square in a Square.

3) Checkerboard Border - reminds me of Courthouse Steps.

ZUCCHINI REPORT
What the hell?  How can I be doing a zucchini report in November?  Well I got sidetracked and never finished back in September. 
When I was in France, there was zero chance that DH was going to pick zucchinis.  So when I got home... guess what?  Eleven more.  And a couple of them were, not surprisingly, pretty large.

Picked end of season:  11
Picked YTD:              127

Today's plan for supper is to make a big pot of vegetable soup and a Butternut Squash Tart With Fried Sage.  Some of that zucchini is coming out of the freezer and jumping into the soup pot.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Little More Of Tobermory & The Prince Exhibit

A little yoga is good for the body, especially if you will be hunched over a sewing machine for much of the day.  Anni didn't seem to understand that Savasana (the Corpse pose) is just a nice rest.  I'm not dead.

See?  Proof that I'm not dead.  This was Friday before we departed.

I managed to complete my wee project.  Next I need to learn how to do binding on those weird angles.  (Well, actually the next step is getting it quilted.  Then the binding.)

One of the reasons I love the Beach Girls (there are many reasons 💓) is the field trips we end up on.  I see things I would not otherwise see.  This time it was in Seaforth, On.  We went to the exhibit of Prince quilts.  This is a competition dreamt up by Cherrywood Fabrics, to feature their fabrics. I've seen both the Van Gogh and Prince exhibits now.  They are incredible.  Here's a sampling...

This will give you an idea of the size of the pieces.  I think they're 20" x 20".  There were 150 quilts on display.

If you can zoom in on these pics you'll get a much better idea of the work - both hand and machine, the beading, and the abundance of crystals.

Here's one...

And a closeup...

Here's another...

And a closeup...

Another closeup...

I liked this one.  You can see that it was a ribbon winner.  It made me think of my brother, who also has a 'vette.

And a closeup.

If you're ever within driving distance of one of these exhibits, GO!  Seriously.  Just GO! 

In other, more boring news, I've finally started painting that gawd-awful brick around my fireplace.  That's been bugging me for more than 20 years.  DH is not happy with me, but since he's managed to walk past this vignette for two days without even noticing the ladder & plastic, should I really care?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Annual Tobermory Retreat

Well, we're celebrating our 10th retreat-aversary up here.  In the spirit of festivity, I encouraged a little bit of day drinking with our lunch...very French, you know.

I was on food duty yesterday so there were beef crostinis with a little MORE day drinking.

Then dessert after supper included the Boozie Floozies I made (sun dried cherries soaked for a couple weeks in Bourbon and Grand Marnier).

Since my kitchen duties are finished for the week I was stitching up a storm this morning and managed to be the first one "on the railing".

This afternoon I'm starting project #2...

Yesterday the weather was pelting rain and WINDY.  Today is still windy but the rain seems to be holding off, which means I have no excuse to get me out of going for a walk.

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.