Thursday, October 29, 2009

Christmas Quilt Commission

I have a very cute commission quilt I'm working on for Christmas. I'm taking Christmas ties and turning them into a wall hanging.

Who designs these cute things? I had to remove several little musical boxes, which have left holes in the ties where the lights used to live. I will fill those with Swarovski crystals. Stay tuned - more pics some time next week when I have this finished.

If you recall a few weeks ago I blogged about Margaret sending me a surprise package in the mail, which turned out to be a shoe panel. It seems I have more than one great friend. Carol Anne sent me a charm pack of co-ordinating fabrics. How exciting is that???

I'm going up to Margaret's tomorrow for a nice long weekend. I'm bringing Pumpkin Squares. This is a recipe from my s.i.l.'s sister (which makes her my sister-in-law-law?). Darlene makes them with way more sugar, so her version has a MUCH bigger fan base. Here is my version, which is still pretty good.
Pumpkin Squares


1 - 18 ½ oz (510 gm) box yellow cake mix
½ cup butter (melted)
4 eggs
1 - 16 oz (473 ml) can pumpkin
½ cup sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup carnation milk
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp nutmeg
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1/4 cup butter (slightly softened)
pre-heat oven to 350* (or 325* for glass pan)

grease 13 x 9 baking pan

• Reserve 1 cup cake mix in a small bowl.
• Lightly beat one egg in a larger bowl and stir together with remaining cake mix, and melted butter.
• Press into prepared pan.
• In a large bowl blend remaining 3 eggs, pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, milk and spices.
• Pour over cake mixture in pan.
• To the 1 cup reserved cake mix add oatmeal, pecans, and softened butter, sprinkle on top of pumpkin layer.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Family Visit

I packed up the suitcase again last weekend and headed off with DH to visit the outlaws. Why is it that when brothers get together it's all about pickup trucks, trailers, and lawn equipment?

We had a great visit. A stop at one of the zillion farm markets netted us many peppers (sweet and hot), apples, pears, and an apple pie. We got into a conversation about movies and spent the rest of the weekend trying to remember what movie it was we saw last. We remember the date, the venue, the dinner, the company, the snacks we bought. But the movie? Gone. It wasn't until Sunday night it finally came to me. Surrogates with Bruce Willis.

Our dog went for her first sleepover with my brother & s.i.l. She's a country dog and has no idea she is supposed to do her 'business' when she's out for a walk. It seems we owe them some carpet cleaning. Stupid mutt. My s.i.l. was being sweet and had no intention of telling us the whole drippy story. My brother, on the other hand was most eager to share the dog story. I guess he was kinda ticked about taking Sadie for not one but TWO long walks in the pouring rain, just to have her pee on the carpet. I really feel awful about that, and embarrassed that my dog is that dumb. However, these are the same relatives who left their dog with us when it had it's teeth removed and a bunch of warts taken off it's head. I figure on the family abuse scales we're pretty even. Thank goodness we love each other. And I brought them two nice bottles of wine from Pelee Island Winery.

No quilts to show you - I've been recovering sofa cushions and throw pillows. My workroom turns into a total disaster area during upholstery jobs.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Quilting, Karen's Retreat Bag

Not every quilt starts out nice and flat.

This quilt did not need a Quilt Whisperer. It needed a bash on the head with a rubber mallet. However, as you can see - it turned out great. Quilted with the Baptist Fan template from Circle Lord.

Now for a little closeup of the wonderful bags Karen made for the retreat.

The apron is my favorite article - especially since it ALSO has my name embroidered on the tie.

Included in the bag:
  • apron (made by Karen, maybe with help from beach day Diane)
  • water bottle
  • emergency information vial
  • pink bath scrubber
  • Mary Maxim catalogue
  • needle card from Cherished Pieces quilt shop
  • lovely tin containing safety pins, also from Cherished Pieces
  • chocolate bar from Hershey's Pennsylvania
  • scissors with beaded fob (also made by Karen. Sheesh.)
  • a red leash for our pets (4-legged or husbands?)
  • a long pink tube - filled with the beads that swell up when wet. You wrap it around your neck in hot weather and it keeps you cool. (also made by Karen. Sheesh again.) This will come in very handy during hot flashes.
  • not included in the photo - a coaster (also made by Karen) which was signed by all of us at the retreat as a memento.
  • also not included in the photo are the big hugs we all gave Karen for being so thoughtful. She is absolutely a woman who will remain in our hearts and minds for ....ever?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tobermory Retreat

Don't you love it when you take a really stupid photo of yourself? My traditional 'departure' photo gets a wee bit HORRID when the driver is sitting in the car with the engine running and I have to take a pic with my arm stretched out in front of me. But I hear that it's a good habit to laugh at yourself.

Crazy crazy Karen made each of us a wonderful PINK bag stuffed with all kinds of goodies. The best is the apron - here we are on the stairs leading up to the loft quarters.

The cottage (and believe me, I use that term loosely) is huge. H.U.G.E. It sits on the shores of Lake Huron. This was Tuesday's sunset.

Debbie, Mary Anne and Thursday's lunch. Not included in the photo are the desserts (leftover apple cheesecake, monkey balls from breakfast, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream). OMG we ate so much I was surprised I fit through the doors on the way out. Tuesday night was pork tenderloin, Wednesday night was salmon, Thursday night was chicken & stuffing. Breakfast was fresh baked every morning. Along with the desserts listed above we also had blueberry pie and several assorted cheesecakes. My pancreas is still screaming from the sugar overload.

Karen is crazy (as I already told you) and will make this bracelet for Diane 4 times before we head home. Once she had a bad closer, two more times were a bad fit. Fourth time lucky.

Sewing room #1.

Sewing room #2.

Cocktails on the deck. Hey Spike!! Wake up!! Bad timing on Carol Anne's part (Spike's mom) - the hot tub had been winterized on the weekend JUST BEFORE we got there.

A very special bottle of wine Karen & Diane brought back from Pennsylvania.

Spike guarding the quilt-in-progress. Spike owns the cottage and is the only four legged animal ever allowed inside.

Lingering over coffee. No one wants to go home. I wonder how long it would take for us to actually get sick & tired of each other?

All cleared out but the riff raff.

The cottage (ahem!) is a fabulous spot for a retreat. You might want to book it with some friends for next year. Here's the link.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving dinner & Quilters TV♦

We had a turkey dinner at the newlywed's last night. The turkey was cooked in his Big Green Egg (which his bride thinks he loves more than her). I have never found anyone who knows what a Big Green Egg is, so here is a link. Educate yourself. Their egg is very secure in the backyard because it could (seriously) get stolen. Dinner was delish and I ate way too much, as is normal for a turkey dinner.

I was up at 4:15 this morning. Hungry, if you can believe that. I gave up and got up at 5:45 and made my morning oatmeal. I amused myself with Quilters TV. Because I'm an Eleanor Burns junkie I watched two episodes of Quilt in a Day.

Today I am wrapping up a quilt job, planting a zillion bulbs in the garden and getting ready for my retreat to Tobermory.

Happy Thanksgiving. Be grateful.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Postal Surprise! Shoe Fabric & Hallowe'en Bear

Margaret sure knows the way to my heart. Look what came in today's mail.
Thanks Margaret!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Quilts, Retreat & Sudoku

Here are today's terrible photos - none of them too clear I'm afraid. Lovely scrappy quilts though!

Today was cold and windy enough that I finally lit a fire in my workroom. (in the fireplace, not under my butt) I'm very very excited that next week I'm going away for a few days - up to Tobermory with some quilting buddies. Here's a link to the cottage we will be at. I will give you a full report on my return. I need to decide what project to bring. Should I start something new? Should I finish the Stack 'n Whack from... like 8 years ago? Should I just bring a good book? Hmm, decisions, decisions. I need to make a donation quilt in the next few weeks so I will likely bring that and get the top (hopefully) done.

My new personal challenge is mastering Sudoku puzzles. The newspaper game starts easy on Monday and gets progressively more difficult. So far I've managed Monday Tuesday & Wednesday. Tomorrow I'm out with friends so I'll skip that one. Friday I may just burn the newspaper in the fireplace, hmm?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Caledonia Fair weekend

Mmmm - Curried Butternut Squash & Apple Soup: garden bounty going right into my tummy (after I modify it just a wee bit). Click on the photo if you'd like the recipe large enough to copy. My brother and his wife came Saturday afternoon - we went to the Caledonia Fair to check out my winnings.

Not bad - 3 ribbons out of 5 entries.

Along with the soup I made Crock Pot Pulled Pork for the first time. I figured it was family, so if supper was crap we could always move on to plan B and order Chinese food. But it was DELICIOUS. Home made rolls courtesy of our new bread maker and Keeps Forever Coleslaw that I made a little while ago. Roasted potato wedges and sweet potato wedges. This was all washed down with large quantities of red wine and spicy Caesars.

Afterwards we watched Coraline - the animated movie by Tim Burton. Good movie but kinda gruesome, as you'd expect from Mr. Burton. Coraline had to save the ghost children by finding their eyeballs. Yikes!

Bruce & Deb spent the night seeing as how much alcohol had been consumed, AND it was very late. It was really nice to spend some time with them. Back in our 20's we lived together in a duplex in Hamilton so I miss the comfort of familiarity sometimes. We sent them back to Burlington with chili peppers for the newlyweds (who live very close to them) and a rototiller to do a little garden work.