Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Embroidery with Dresden Fans, and sewing today...

I've always had a fondness for embroidery, so working on this was such a treat.

Now, how pretty is that? In the embroidery blocks I did a simple follow-the-line of the embroidered vines, outlined the fan, then put a filigree inside with a wee bowknot in the center.

Beautifully set off with the Dresden Fan blocks. The fans have a feather fan design, and there is a matching motif in the block center.

Mmm.  Yum. These computer patterns for the IQ are by One Song Needle Arts.  OMG, she has beautiful patterns.

Today I'm having a long distance sewing marathon with Margaret (from Ennismore) and Nancy (from Manitoulin Island) and Nancy's friend.  We are all working on our own projects and will keep in touch during the day with emails & photos of progress.  I have supper all ready - leftover manicotti (recipe HERE from my Looneyspoons cookbook), bread & salad from Sunday's dinner with 1-800-Luke and his wife.  :-)
I will be making a table runner using the ruler I bought in July 2013 when I was in Caledonia NY.  At least, I think that's where I bought it.  If, perchance, I finish that I will move on to the Blooming 9-patch that needs a border.  Then I could have another tick mark on my UFO challenge (with the same Margaret and Nancy).  Because the year is almost up...
Dammit.  I just emailed Margaret and promised to start my sewing day with two Downward Dogs and one Plank, followed by walking the dog at lunchtime.  What was I thinking???

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A bunch of Pantos and a quiet Christmas

This is all pre-Christmas work.  I still have one on the frame that I hope (!) to finish today.

Beautiful oriental prints framed with black leading.

Yum. This looks very Japanese to me - Japanese quiltmakers like to make you look to find the piecing.

Ooh, very cute, girly, baby quilt.  I love those hot colours.

Nice quiet, soft-toned baby quilt.

Modern Irish Chain.

Scrappy baby quilt, quilted with hugs & kisses.
The family was all out of town at Christmas so DH and I sat around in our jammies for many (!) hours and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, fortified with lots of chocolate.  I tried to burn off a few calories by vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning some of the windows.  I think at some point we finally dragged our arses outside and went for a walk with Sadie.

The Universe decided that I needed just One.  More.  Gift.  The super-controversial movie The Interview mysteriously (ahem) showed up on our 'tv box', so we watched that Christmas night.  It was stupid - but funny/stupid.  As you may have figured out already, I have a pretty low threshold of humour.  DH is much more discerning (translation:  grumpy) and did not find the movie entertaining at all.  If I was the leader of a country, I would not be particularly happy to be presented in such an unflattering light, but that is just part of the job when you are a 'famous' person.  After all, we all DO have some control over how we are perceived.  Anyhoo - I don't know if I would pay full price to see this at the show, but it was fun nevertheless.

Monday, December 15, 2014

UFO, Placemats, Stash Report

In October, if you recall, I went up north with the Beach Girls and I managed to finish this top in spite of the puppy taking off with my stuff.

I was all hepped up on an Angela Walters quilting book when I got this loaded on the frame.
No.  None of the quilting shows on the front.  It's black polka dot fabric.  What did I expect?

But the back looks pretty darned gorgeous!  We are in the midst of dark and dreary December weather so it may be a while before I can photograph the front with any measure of success.
On the Caledonia Guild front, I took a pile of outdoors-ey fabric to the guild, that had been donated to me by a customer.  I added a bunch of my own leftovers to the pile, too. We made placemats for Meals on Wheels.

One of the gals even went home and brought back some placemats she'd made from orphan blocks.  I quilted 24 of them on a huge piece of backing & batting. I've returned them and the girls are doing binding so we can gift them in January.


Honestly.  Some people are just NEVER happy.  My stash report looks not-as-impressive as it should because I WON a kit at guild.  That added 6 m. to my report.  Totally not my fault. Although, I DO love the fabrics - all orange based.  Yum.

Used this month   12.6 m
Used YTD          81.55 m
Added this month   6 m **not my fault!!
Added YTD      125.75 m
Net YTD           + 44.2 m

I have three more quilts to finish up before Christmas and then I'm taking two weeks to do stuff around here.
The bedroom is getting a bit of a makeover.  The windows will get new roman blinds, side panels and valances, then a matching bed skirt.  I may even clean the windows and vacuum under the bed.  Although, really, I don't want to set my sights too high.  :-)
On the quilting front, I have the half-hexagon top that needs quilting, and the bowtie quilt that is supposed to be the UFO challenge.  Oops, I also have the Blooming 9-patch top that needs a border... also from the UFO challenge. 
If I keep adding things to this list I may call myself overwhelmed and just curl up with a good book instead.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Dinner Party

This is too cute not to share!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Quilts & a Doggie Story

These got me in the mood for Santa!
Christmas quilt #1.
Christmas quilt #2.
Christmas quilt #3.
Christmas quilt #4.

Now here's our little Doggie Story.

There once was a cutie named Sadie.
Who knew car rides should be viewed with suspicion.
Because sometimes the car brought her here. (note from mom - the best vet clinic, ever!)
Then mom & dad would go out to party.
They'd bring me home drunk on anaesthetic.  Whoo.  No, I can't do those stairs!
Piss on it.  I'll just stay here where it's warm.

Crap.  See what happens if they catch me licking my elbow?  How embarrassing.
It's a week later, now.  Except for the antibiotic pills twice a day (which I will not swallow, har, har, har) things are looking good.  Dad is such a softie he refused to leave me home alone with the cone of shame on my head, so they PAID FOR A BABYSITTER on Saturday night.  ha, ha.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Appliqued Hearts & Technology Overload

Such a pretty, girly quilt.

Appliqued hearts mixed with embroidered butterflies & dragonflies.

The outer border is quilted with a feather & flower pattern.  The green border is butterflies.  The inner pink border is a filled diamond.  Inside the body of the quilt is a heart pantograph.

Real purdy on the back, too.
I have been spending countless hours updating all of our internet settings, getting rid of our old @shaw.ca email and resetting everything to our @gmail.com addresses.  Good Lord.  Between all my google stuff, including the blogs, and our online shopping stuff, and the internet banking, and the forums, and Yahoo, and, and, and, and...  I still have 8 or 9 accounts to update, so I could be sitting here for another couple of hours.  While I'm at it I should probably put some new head shot photos in, too.  You know, a lovely one that highlights my wrinkles and grey hair so nicely.  ha ha ha.

Why was I doing this, you ask?  We have switched our internet provider over from Rogers and gone to Detour Wireless.  Anyone living in the area will understand why.  Mountain Cable was a little company that had the BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE, EVER!!  But damned if it wasn't bought out by Shaw, who's customer service stank.  Then that little pipsqueak of a Shaw area was bought by Rogers.  Rogers f*cked everything up so badly that many customers have run for the hills, including us.  Because I am getting tired of changing my email address from one service provider to another (yes, I also now have ANOTHER email address from detourwireless) I thought I'd just stick with gmail. 

While all this has been going on, my darling nephew 1-800-luke has also been updating our entertainment computer connected to the tv, because it crashed last week.  I've been going through withdrawal without my tv shows, for a whole week.  Waa, waa, waa.  DH and I actually went to the movies.  We saw Gone Girl, which was an excellent movie.

All this upheaval has happened co-incidental with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  I've been purchasing and downloading new patterns for the IQ, as well as searching for a new tablet (since ours is getting a bit, um, cranky).  Geez Louise.  I just want to go chill out with crayons for a while.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Panel With Piecing & UFO Challenge Update

The birds and flowers in the center is a panel.

That was surrounded by patchwork blocks.  I did some large x-hatching in the patchwork and added a featherey flower motif that echos the flowers that are at the top of the panel.

The panel was all outline quilted with additional quilting along the design lines.

Mmm.  Very pretty on the back.
Geez, I don't think I've mentioned this challenge here on the blog in... quite some time.  Ignorance is bliss, I guess.  Here is the current update.
As you can see, I have a couple of FAILsBUT I have four successes so far, and still five weeks to complete the current challenge item.  We three quilters have agreed that we'd like to participate in another UFO challenge in 2015.  Apparently we all need to feel like we're being chased by a zombie and a finished UFO is the admission to the safe house.
So what happened with my 'fails'?  
#3, the Bowtie Quilt came up on the list when I was hobbling around with the stupid cast & crutches.  This is a three dimensional bowtie quilt (if you're familiar with those) so it MUST be custom quilted, otherwise Floyd's hopping foot would get caught up in the bowties and start ripping things.  Not a good idea. 
#6, the Piece 'O Cake applique quilt?  No excuse really.  I just never got around to pulling out the light box and marking up a new block.  May/June is the start of gardening season and I'm always so anxious to go out and get my fingernails muddy & broken.  (It's a very attractive look, no?)  Like I said, no excuse really.  Maybe I will do better next year.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pineapple Log Cabin and Another Mushroom Recipe

Ha ha ha - I guess I'm doing a FOODIE post.  Pineapple?  Mushroom?

This is a beautiful tone-on-tone Pineapple Log Cabin quilt.  All the golds and creams make this a wonderful, restful piece.

It is a very large quilt and got a ton of stitch-in-the-ditch in the log cabin blocks, along with a simple little circular motif in the center.  The alternate blocks were quilted with a pretty feather motif.

Wowser - check out the back!
This quilt was done by the mom of the mushroom gal.  So not only do I appreciate her trusting me with this  gorgeous quilt that took her so much time and effort, I also was lucky enough that she came with her daughter. That netted me mushroom compost and the five pounds of portobellos.

Here is the chicken recipe I made that was "Oh My God" delicious. ( I have made a few notes about how I changed this at the end.)

Mushroom Asiago Chicken    Servings: 4
    Prep Time: 5
    Cook Time: 25

1 lb     Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Halves, 2 large
2 Tbsp     Butter
2 Tbsp     Olive Oil, divided
2 cups     Mushrooms, cut in half
1 clove     Garlic, minced
3     Springs Fresh Thyme
1½ cups     Dry White Wine
½ cup     Seasoned Flour, see below
½ cup     Heavy Cream
¼-½ cup     Shredded Asiago or Parmesan Cheese
½ tsp     Salt, or to taste
¼ tsp     Pepper, or to taste   

Seasoned Flour:
½ cup     All-purpose Flour
1 tsp     Salt
½ tsp     Black Pepper


•    Pound chicken breast with a meat mallet between 2 sheets of waxed paper or heavy plastic wrap until meat is uniform thickness, about 1/4-inch. Cut into serving-sized pieces (2 or 3 pieces per breast.)
•    Heat the butter with 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a deep, heavy skillet or saute pan over medium heat.
•    Dredge chicken in seasoned flour. Add to hot oil/butter in skillet. Saute until golden on each side, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan.
•    Add remaining olive oil to hot skillet. Saute mushrooms and garlic until mushrooms begin to brown.
•    Carefully add white wine to skillet, scraping up all the browned bits that are at the bottom of the pan.  Bruise the fresh thyme by twisting it between your fingers or hitting it with the dull side of a knife in a few places. Add thyme to the mushroom/wine mixture in pan.
•    Add the chicken back to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
•    Remove chicken from pan. Add the cream and heat through. Add the asiago cheese (if you like it strongly flavored, use 1/2 cup; not as strongly flavored, use the 1/4 cup--asiago is a powerful cheese and you can even use less for just a whisper of flavor. I like it strong, so I use 1/2 cup.)
•    Cook, stirring constantly over low heat until cheese melts. Continue cooking until sauce is reduced by about 1/2. If you wish to skip the reduction step, you may thicken the sauce slightly with about 1 tbsp instant flour or 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbs water. However, the reduction will taste better.
•    Add chicken back to pan and heat through. 
•    Garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme. May be served over any pasta.

My notes:
The portobellos were large, so I sliced them about 1/4" thick.  If I were to use white button mushrooms I'd follow the recipe and cut them in half.
I used PARMESAN cheese, a full half cup.
I used BLUEBERRY WINE.  This made a brown sauce that was sweet.
I served this over Penne noodles.
I had to push myself away from the table or I would have kept eating.  Yum.
Even DH said "I think this is a MAKE AGAIN recipe".

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tutorial for easy coasters - Great Christmas Gift!! (and a stash report)

Christmas is coming.  Don't be caught short when you get invited to dinner - make your hostess gifts NOW.
These are dirt simple.  Each coaster uses five squares, each cut 5" x 5".  You can make 8 coasters and take 25" of fabric off your stash report.  I made a dozen of these so I get to claim one meter of stash.  Yay.  :-)

Used since last report:  1 m
Used YTD                  68.95 m
Added since last report    0
Added YTD                119.75 m
NET YTD                   + 50.8 m

On the home front, DH and I went to the mushroom farm last Friday and filled up the truck AND the trailer with mushroom compost - 7 yards (or more).  I've been shoveling that shit stuff ever since.  It really IS poop, though - I'm not being derogatory.  The sweet gal at the farm is the daughter of a new customer, and let me tell you - she really is sweet!  She also gave me a five pound box of portobello mushrooms.  Do you know how many mushrooms that is?  Holy mackerel.  I made a fantastic pot of mushroom soup, tomorrow I'm making a potato/portobello gratin (recipe LINK), and then I will dehydrate the remaining mushrooms for later use.