Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Double Wedding Ring, Family luncheon

I just finished quilting this Double Wedding Ring quilt.

The pieces were cut with an Accuquilt Go cutter - she cut up a whole stack of her leftovers from other projects.  This has always been on my to-make list so I may have to see if she's interested in a little, um, barter.

A pic of the back.

As I mentioned, our niece and her boyfriend have been staying with us for the month, until they get their new apartment November 1st.  The niece is on dh's side, both familially and physically, and our nephew (on my side, both F and P) lives about 45 minutes away.  I thought it would be nice if they got to meet each other, so here's the clan.  Note to self - must get proper tripod so photos don't exaggerate the double chins quite so much.  Observation:  wow - my hair matches dh's beard almost exactly.  Ha ha!!!

I know you are always interested in what other people eat for breakfast.  This is definitely on my list of 'most weird' - scrambled egg and reheated sliced beets.  We are out of milk, so I can't have my oatmeal.  Poking around in the fridge, it was either going to be reheated Chinese food (gag me - blecchhh) or this.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Canning 101 (a.k.a. preventing ouchies)

I always like to start with some fresh ingredients, preferably out of the garden.  Note that this is a staged photo.  These are the nice looking smaller beets that I am saving to roast and eat over the next couple of months.  They will keep for a long, long time in the fridge.

These were the humungous beets that took about two hours to cook last night.  They are turning into Spiced Beets, done with cider vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seed, cloves, allspice.  There should be cinnamon sticks too, but, um, I forgot them.

Get out an old ratty tea towel.  This helps to protect the counter from beet stains.  It also protects the jars if they turn out to be hot and you accidentally drop one.  Or two.  Note the green canning funnel.  DH came home with that years ago and it is wonderful.  It gets used year round for filling jars AND filling ziplock bags.

This little baby is the best thing since sliced bread.  It is a magnet for getting the rings and lids out of the canner.  Who'd-a-thunk?
Another nifty invention - a jar lifter.  When the boiling water bath time is up I lift the jar cage out of the pot and put it on another clean/ratty tea towel.  All that leftover boiling water does not go to waste.  I VERY CAREFULLY and WEARING CLOSED SHOES take the pot outside and pour the hot water over the weeds growing in the patio interlocking bricks.

Now I just need to wait until the jars cool.  Then I can label them and take the outside rings off.  I got sick and tired of the rings getting all rusty when I leave them on, and the books suggest that you don't need to leave them on for any reason, so... off they come.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Retreat Recap

It's bad manners to go somewhere without a hostess gift, so we four 'guests' made our hostess a quilt top. The pattern is Trimming the Tree by Sharon Holland Designs.  I was having a good snicker while I ironed this.  Any longarm quilter knows that group quilts are, generally speaking, a bit three dimensional.  That is a polite way of saying "OMG - who the hell pieced this.  Don't they have a measuring tape?  Or an iron?  Did they cut the pieces out with a hacksaw?!!*".  This quilt is no exception.  And since we retreaters are ALL longarm quilters, the recipient should know what she's getting.

You can see we had no intention of going hungry. 
This baby is crammed to the gunnels, and there is MORE food in the downstairs fridge.

We had no intention of going thirsty, either.  And we didn't want a cold.  And there's that Looneyspoons cookbook I'm always raving about.  That darned thing is everywhere.

We often do little 'gifty' things for each other.  Diane made us pincushions.

I took the easy way out, and ordered us all t-shirts.

This was my first completed project.  These are the fabrics I purchased on my trip to Asia in 2009.  They had marinated long enough that I knew what to do with them.  This pattern (and I NEVER follow patterns, so I have changed the measurements) is Fresh Vanilla by Karen Montgomery. You can find the real instructions here.  My pieces were cut wider and there are lots more of them, to fit our king size bed.  Quilting needs to happen soon-ish because I want this ready for the trunk show I'm presenting in November at the Ancaster Quilters' Guild.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Filling Up The Railing

Part of the fun at retreat is filling up the railing with everyone's finished tops. Between the five of us we have six tops there so far. And there are still four sewing machines whirring away. I've just run out of projects, so it's cocktail time for me. The other gals all started without me - for a while I was the only one without a drink. Don't expect that to happen again soon.

Retreat day 3

Wednesday was such a gorgeous day we took a long long walk before lunch, which helped counteract the ladyfingers. The afternoon cocktail was enjoyed on the deck. The girls said that NEXT year I should bring enough for refills. What are they trying to tell me?
Italian Fascinator
1 oz Galliano
1/2 oz Kahlua
1/4 oz Grand Marnier
Whiz up in a blender with 3 oz milk or cream and some ice. Enjoy with friends.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Morning 1

This is the cleanup crew after our breakfast of Eggs Benedict.  Yum yum yum.  We washed it down with coffee and Baileys.  More yum yum yum.  Last night for supper we had Rockin' Moroccan Stew, and tonight we are having Britney's Spears with almond crusted chicken and roasted sweet potatoes.  Carrot cake for dessert.  Don't try to find us - we won't share!!!
Recipes are coming from the Looneyspoons  cookbook, in case the recipe names haven't clued you in.  Although I can't find any reference to Baileys in there.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Hmmm, guess where I'm going?

Five days with the girls - fun, fun, fun.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Zucchini & Turkey

Mmm.  Zucchini loaf.  This is the second batch of four loaves I've made this year.  I picked up this wonderful Tupperware container at my friend's house.  She was going to give it to the goodwill.  (insert my jaw dropping)  It fit all four loaves, which I've cut in half and wrapped individually.  Zucchini loaf with almond butter makes an EXCELLENT snack, or lunch with a side of soup.

Speaking of soup... turkey stock.  Over 6 quarts.  Simmering with an egg white and crushed egg shell, to clarify the stock.

Do you ever start doing things that make you look in the mirror at night and ask yourself:  "Are you nuts???".  I was at the grocery store on Saturday, picking up a few things to do some baking, when my eye caught the sign that said FRESH TURKEY.  A few things flitted through my brain.
  • the pink slime and glued meat stories that I've heard.  If you don't know what these are, click on the links.
  • the current X L Foods e.coli beef recall
  • my lovely new food grinder attachment for my Kitchenaid stand mixer
  • the shopping list stuck to the fridge that has chicken stock written on it
  • the recipes in the Looneyspoons cookbook that call for ground turkey
After I saw the sign, and all these ideas zipped through my head, I kept on walking down the aisle to get my yogurt.  Then I turned around and returned to the turkeys.  I picked one up and put it back down.  Then I picked up another one.  And put it back down. I thought about our fridge and how it is totally jammed full, now that the niece & her b.f. have added their foodstuffs to it.  Then I thought about how turkeys won't be back in the stores until Christmas.  And... I put a turkey in my cart.

I spent Sunday afternoon workin' the turkey.  Hah - sounds like a country song.  :-)
I cut it in half - top half, breast meat, went back in the fridge for roasting on Monday.  The bottom half, legs and wings got deboned, and the meat was ground up into about 5 1/2 lbs of meat for the freezer.  I have to say, I loved my grinder/food mill when I did the tomato sauce, but it was a little anemic with the turkey meat.  If this becomes a new habit I may have to look into some better equipment. I may also have to look into a rubber room for myself.  But I digress.  So, my little purchase (OMG, $46.00.  Are you kidding me???) netted:
  • 6 + quarts of stock
  • 5 1/2 lbs ground turkey
  • roast turkey meals (served 7 portions so far, plus two more ziplock bags in the freezer).
  • the satisfaction of knowing that if there is any food poisoning going on around here, it is going to be done by me.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Xmas Quilts

The season has begun!  This was a collection of 4 small quilts that I loaded on a wide backing, to help keep the cost down for the piecer.  Otherwise, my minimum charge per piece would have been $50.

The top two were custom quilted.

Mmm.  Love the motif in the white squares.

And, HEY!  This is MINE!

I picked up a jelly roll last year for $15.00.  Our bed is a king, so there is no way one jelly roll was going to do the trick.  It was supplemented with a collection from my stash.  I ended up needing 71 strips all together, including the sashing & cornerstones.

I pieced this on my spring retreat up at Margaret's.  And since I didn't have a border fabric I was happy with, I went shopping in her basement.  :-)  Gotta love yer friends, eh?  She had JUST enough of the lovely red print - all that is left are scraps.

Pieced leftovers on the back.  My stash report will look much better after this.

Quilted with a pantograph.  Coincidentally, this is the companion border design for the motif in the top quilt.  I splurged and used a wool batt in this.  My absolute favorite batting to put in a bed quilt.  Lightweight, poofy, and very comfortable to sleep under.  NOT difficult to wash.  At least, no more of a struggle than making yourself do any of your other laundry.  I carry Hobbs Wool, but it's kind of expensive.  If you are in the USA you can find it much cheaper.  Yes, this is me, shooting myself in the foot.

I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.  This year, I am thankful that the roof hasn't caved in.  Lord knows, everything ELSE has fallen apart.  ha ha ha.  Actually, I'm pretty thankful for my health, and our wonderful peaceful country, and the fact that in spite of all our difficulties this year DH and I are still muddling through our daily lives and going to work every day and putting food on the table and putting our feet up at night with a good book and a cozy quilt (or 15).  We have our friends, our families, and each other.  Hugs to you all. 

Have a second piece of pumpkin pie this weekend.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Quilts of Valour and a Retreat

I have made a personal commitment to donate my quilting services to the Quilts of Valour program to the tune of 12 quilts per year.  These two quilts are numbers 6 and 7.  Number 8 is quilted and waiting to be washed.  Numbers 9, 10 and 11 are in a bag waiting for my attention.

I connect at the Binbrook Quilters Guild with Alison McDonald (who is the southern Ontario representative for QOV)  and give her a little tap on the shoulder when I want her to top up my supply of tops.  Sometimes I do machine binding on the quilts, and sometimes I enlist the help of my friend Sue who does beautiful hand stitched binding.

Last weekend was spent on our semi-annual retreat at Margaret's in the Kawarthas.  OMG what gorgeous weather we had.  And we had to help burn off 3/4 of a tank of gas so the boat can go to winter camp.  I wish I could have stayed there.

I'm telling you.  Next year I am scheduling one day per month for a crisis.  You've heard about my year so far.  You could probably hear the whining even with your computer turned off.  I got home from Margaret's about 2 pm on Sunday, with just enough time to grab a sandwich then head over to the fairgrounds to do my time in the quilt guild booth at the Caledonia Fall Fair.  By the time I got the booth taken down (with DH's help - thank you honey!!) and got home it was 7 pm.  So - supper, unpack my suitcase, read for an hour, then bed.

Monday morning I spent putting quilts away that had been in the booth, and putting away stuff I had taken to Margaret's.  I was trying to clean the house before my 11 am customers arrived, but they surprised me at 10:30.  At noon I got a phone call that our niece and her boyfriend needed a temporary home for the month of October.  Oh yeah, and they were moving in tonight.  Hah!

It's true we have a big house and lots of room, but every room is full of our stuff.  And no one REALLY wants anybody to know how they actually live.  So I finished cleaning (and did a much better job than I would normally).  Then I had to clean out closet space, empty the dresser, spit polish the bathroom and empty out a drawer in there, move the winter coats out of the hall closet so they can put their coats away, clean all the crap out of the fridge because they are moving their kitchen contents too, and, oh, I forget what else...  Then DH had to shovel out space in the garage for the furniture.

Tuesday morning I made a large Shepherd's Pie and tucked it in the fridge with cooking instructions.  Then I headed off to the dentist because I had finally rebooked the appointment I cancelled back in January (broken arm incident, remember?).  Apparently your teeth need a lot more time with the hygienist when you wait a year between cleanings.  Which meant I was much later than I planned when I visited Mom.  Who, it turns out, has intestinal flu, which I didn't know until after I'd been there for a half hour and watched Mom eat all four Timbits.  I hope there were no bad repercussions from that, or the nursing home staff are going to hate me.  I also hope I didn't CATCH her flu.  Oy yoy yoy.

By the time I got home the niece had supper in the oven, but the pan, sadly, was not big enough for all the stuff I put in there and the whole house was full of smoke.  Now my lovely blue oven is black, black, black.  This weekend I am going to try out the self clean feature.  I sure hope y'all are having a better year than we are.  Maybe in my next blog post I can find something funny to write about.