Sunday, September 28, 2014

Kid's Bird Quilt, Zucchini Report (yay!) and random thoughts

This is such a cute quilt.  Purple and orange were my favorite colours when I was young.  Mom was so accommodating, she let me paint my bedroom HIGH GLOSS ORANGE and dress it up with purple drapes.

And I had the perfect pantograph.  Don't you just love the neon green set off with dark purple thread? This backing is minky.  Hoo baby!  So soft and slick, it feels like you dumped the whole bottle of liquid dish soap on the floor and then did a little dance.  Naked.  And you wondered what I did in the evenings.  ha ha ha.  Eeuw - now try to get that picture out of your head.

ZUCCHINI REPORT  The plants are disgusting looking.  Grey, papery, dusty-mouldy, shriveled up leaves.  But they are determined.
Picked this week:  1
Picked YTD:        61

The Random Thoughts:
  • I've been eating lots of toasted tomato sandwiches.  Mmm.  Butter and a bit of mayo, with thin slices of tomato.  Sadie always gets the top slice of tomato with the stem end, and the bottom slice that's all skin.  Somehow she can HEAR the tomato-slicing knife coming out of the knife block, even when she's outside.  Then she'll stand at the back door (giving a little 'woof' if you take too long to notice she's waiting) until you pass over her share.
  • DH does not like sliced tomatoes on his plate when you have scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.  Even when you point out that tomatoes are a FRUIT.
  • After toasted tomato, the next best sandwich is toasted TURKEY eaten about three hours after a huge turkey dinner, while the turkey is still slightly warm.
  • Perennial phlox is invasive.  OMG.
  • Five minutes of stitching on the longarm, when done badly (and lets face it - we all have our less-than-perfect moments.  sigh.), takes one hour to pick out.  Multiply that by a whole border around a quilt.
  • Sad news.  George Clooney is off the market.

Cutest quilt ambassador, ever.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

9-Patch Quilt, Stash Report, Zucchini Report

9-Patch - a beautiful, classic quilt pattern.
It was quilted with a classic pattern too - Orange Peel design.  Also called Pumpkin Seed design.  There is stitch-in-the-ditch along both sides of the skinny border, keeping that nice and crisp.  Then a pretty border pattern.  I made no attempt to line up the circles with the 9-patches - there is not enough vodka in the world to calm that kind of crazy.
Mmm, nice back!
This past week I had TWO outings.  Whew - the social life is picking up.  On one adventure I hit the new Village Square Quilt Shop in Burlington, which is where I bought the 2 fat quarters on my stash report.  The second outing was with my Red Hat gals - we went mini-golfing at the lovely Rock Chapel course in Flamborough.  It was nice that I did not win the award for Most Honest Golfer (also known as Worst Player EVER).

I have two quilts for the Quilts of Valour program quilted and washed, ready to return.  I get the tops, backs, & batting from the local QOV co-ordinator and do the quilting.  Up to 12 quilts annually.  Then I find some unsuspecting eager guild member and rope them into thank them profusely for doing the binding.  When I get them back I wash them and add the label.

 And on the personal piecing front, I'm working on scrappy placemats made with Tumblers (cut by JAWS.  See the page at the top if you don't know what JAWS is.).  I think I have nine mats pieced so far.  And that's a good thing.  DH slops all over a placemat as soon as it hits the table.
Used this month:  0  (but hopefully this will change soon... 2 projects almost complete!!)
Used YTD:          64.2 m
Added this month:  .5 m
Added YTD:         119.75 m
NET 2014:           up 55.5 m

Much to my surprise, and DH's horror, the zucchini is managing to push out a couple more fruits.
Picked this week:  1
Picked YTD:        60  Ha!  What a nice, round number.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Log Cabin Quilt, Garden update

Log Cabin quilts are one of my favorites.  They are so traditional, but you can change them in many ways.

In this case, the background colour of the fussy-cut log center dictated the colour choice for the logs.  In the coloured sections this was quilted with stitch-in-the-ditch.  The mauve bands were done with a feather design - a triangle motif that was flipped this way and that way.

Pretty back.
The ZUCCHINI is toast.  Done.  Finito.  Dead in the water.  Total count this year:  59 fruits.  Not bad, considering what a cool summer it has been.  Yeah - technically it IS still summer, even thought the nightime temp this past weekend was supposed to be 4 c.
On Sunday I harvested the hot chili peppers, the oregano, and the basil.  All of them went in the dehydrator making the house very, um, fragrant.  Lemme tell you - basil is a particularly fragrant herb.

DH has been picking off the green tomatoes which will never ripen, allowing the bigger fruits to mature.  Hopefully.  I want to do a batch of salsa for the canner with these, so they'd better co-operate.  We still have a load of potatoes out there, and enough green beans (maybe) for one meal.  I'm hoping the tardy cabbage will keep growing, since they are cool season lovers.

My big excitement is a new customer whose daughter owns a mushroom farm.  When I get the remainder of the mulch unloaded from the trailer (which has been there for months because of the stupid fractured foot) I'll call her and get over there to load up a pile of mushroom compost for the veggie bed.  Mmm.  I should have some smokin' hot asparagus next year!!  For once, I'd like to get the garden bed all cleaned up in the fall, with compost spread and rototilled before winter.  That may cost me some of my spring volunteers of lettuce and cilantro and dill, but they are persistent little buggers and will likely show their faces in my cutting garden.

Note to self:  do you realize you just said you were all excited about used-up poop?

Monday, September 8, 2014

My Idiot Dog & Zucchini Report

This is my idiot dog, watching a Polar Bear on tv.
I suppose I shouldn't call her an idiot, since I was watching the Polar Bear on tv, too.
However.  She spends a lot of the daytime outside, barking at the Turkey Vultures, which are easily twice her size.  So I'm thinking perhaps she really IS an idiot.  She's lucky they tend to live on  carrion, not irritating dogs.

Picked this week:  5
Picked YTD:        59.

The weather is cooling noticeably - the zucchini harvest is definitely slowing down.  The beans are almost finished, and I can rip out the dead peas any time.  I think I will have to go out and yell at my cabbages to hurry up, or they won't even be worth harvesting.

My latest kitchen FAIL was the zucchini chips I attempted in the dehydrator.  Yeah.  Um, no.  It's a good thing I believe in nothing ventured, nothing gained, and that it's ok to crash & burn.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sampler Quilt, Canning Update, & Zucchini Report

I love sampler quilts.
I love sampler quilts in spite of the fact that they require a ton of stitch-in-the-ditch.
I had fun with this.  Lots of straight lines, pearls, and motifs.
This quilt was rolled back and forth several times.
  1. all the black s.i.d. work and black straight line work, with the big base attached.
  2. all the black freehand background swirls with the big base off.
  3. put the IQ tablet on, quilt the black borders with the IQ.
  4. change to red thread, quilt red sashings & red motifs using IQ.
  5. put the big base back on, quilt straight lines in red thread.
  6. change to green thread, quilt straight lines (big base still attached).
  7. remove big base, quilt green IQ motifs.
  8. change to gold thread, quilt IQ motifs.  Demonstrate risky behavior and quilt a few diagonal straight lines without putting the big base on.
  9. Whew.  Done.  Unzip and check back, clip threads, reload and requilt a tiny spot.  Ok, now it's REALLY done.  Cocktail hour.  :-)
Oy.  Tomatoes.  This week I did 12 quarts of basic tomato sauce with Italian seasonings, and an additional 6 quarts of Marinara Sauce.  I also tried Carmelized Onion Relish.  Recipe here.  This is good, but (I think) a bit too sweet.  I may try it again some day and skip the brown sugar.  To be fair to the recipe author, I used those gargantuan sweet onions instead of red onions, and that may account for the sweetness.

But I also want to reiterate my love for the pressure canner.  No water boiling all over the stove.  Low temp on the range.  Shorter processing time. 
Here's an example from all these darned tomatoes:
  • follow directions which say add 3 quarts water to canner
  • I put the empty jars in there and heat them up while the water is getting hot
  • fill the jars & put the lids on
  • close the canner - it now takes about five minutes at high heat to start spitting steam
  • allow it to vent (steam) for ten minutes.  I can turn the burner down to mid-high for this part, as long as I still have steam venting.  (for once the steam is coming from somewhere besides out of my ears! ha ha)
  • turn the heat back to high and put the weight on the steam vent, allowing pressure to build to 11 lbs. - this takes about eight minutes
  • when 11 lbs. is reached, time the processing for ten minutes.  Again, here I can turn the stove down to low, or to off, to maintain that pressure.
  • done.  Total stove time - 33 minutes.  For about a third of that time I have turned the burner either OFF or down to LOW.
I think (?) if I were using a water bath these would have required 45 or so minutes in the canner.  I know the canner was expensive (over a hundred bucks) but I'll have it forever and those benefits I listed make that outlay worthwhile to me.


Picked this week:  5 (one of these was huge - bad DH foisted it on our favorite neighbour)
Picked YTD:       54