Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Perfect Trifecta

After a delicious breakfast of eggs benedict...
- gin tasting (and buying) at 11:30 am
- fabric puchasing @ Rumpled Quilt Skins at 12:30 (boy, that shop owner could see when she had someone on the hook!)
- shoe shopping @ the Bay at 2:30 pm

A day couldn't get much better than that. 😊

Monday, December 28, 2015

Brunch & Trivia

Sunday was brunch at the Banff Springs Hotel, courtesy of 1-800-luke. I would definitely recommend that...brunch was delicious. And the scenery is pretty nice too, nestled in the mountains. ☺
On the way back to the condo we're borrowing, we took  a drive up Spring Mountain Road to see what was up the mountains. When we got out for a photo op we were almost blown away by the WIND. Hokey smokey - cold and vicious, so it was a very quick sightseeing moment.
On our return it was time for French Martinis and a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit. The girls won (no surprise). Today we plan a hike at Lake Louise then back to Calgary. We've got some snow here, and the Weather Network shows freezing rain at home. I hope Sadie is staying out of trouble. Maybe we'll call the sitter later to check on things.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas From Calgary

My favorite time of day. This afternoon we're having Santa's Sleigh cocktails (from Food Network).
DH and I are in Calgary spending Christmas with my brother & s.i.l. I'm pretty sure lots of money changed hands when DH actually got on a plane. Sadie has been left at home to hold down the fort and guard the quilting machine. It's a good thing she loves her dogsitter.
We left warm 15 c. weather to come here where it is -18 and snowy. The company and the food are making it worth while, though. Turkey dinner tonight!Tomorrow we are heading up to Canmore for a few days, then back here. Home in time for New Years with the pooch. 🐶

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Sampler Quilt and Ennui

I love Sampler Quilts.  This was done as a Block of the Month at the Caledonia Guild last year.
Cable border design.

Dresden Plate.

Gorgeous feather design.

The hull of the boat was quilted with simple, straight lines.
This is my favorite block.

So.  Ennui.  From Merriam-Webster:



Synonyms and Antonyms of ennui

  1. the state of being bored ennui that comes from having too much time on one's hands and too little will to find something productive to do>
Synonyms blahs, doldrums, ennui, listlessness, restlessness, tedium, wearinessRelated Words cheerlessness, dispiritedness, joylessness, melancholy; languidness, languor, lassitude, lethargy, lifelessness, torpidity, torpor; dullness (also dulness), monotonousness, monotony, sameness; apathy, indifference, unconcern

That is how I've been feeling for the last couple of weeks, and I don't know why.  I turn off my workroom lights at 4, 5, or 6 o'clock depending on that day's events.  And I have no interest in doing anything after that.  Seriously disinterested.  The evening will consist of finishing the last few words of the crossword puzzle that DH has been working on, then doing the daily Sudoku puzzle from the newspaper, then either t.v. or a book, or both.  Bedtime can't seem to come fast enough.  I hope it's just the time of year, although the weather has been so incredibly warm it's more like October than December.  Even the stupid thistles are still growing in my flowerbeds.  Grrr.  I also wonder if the MESS of STUFF around me has got to the point of overload.  The old windows are still here (listed on Kijiji for sale), the old stereo equipment is still here, Mom's stuff from the nursing home is still here, furniture from DH's parents' nursing home, empty boxes from electronics purchases, and on and on. Weeding out is an awful chore.  If I dispose of pictures I feel like the devil's right hand man.  Silly, but true.
I am eagerly anticipating a visit with my brother & s.i.l. over Christmas.  If anyone can get my mojo working again, he can.  And she's a super-tidy neat freak who will whup my ass into shape.  I hope.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My New Toy and A Shot Of Colour

Yes.  I need to have my head read.  This is my idea of a new toy. 
The last time I bought myself a vacuum was in 2008 - see here.  The new one is cordless & rechargeable, and intended strictly for my workroom, to deal with the approximately 12 pounds of cotton lint dust I produce every day.  (ok that might be a BIT of an exaggeration.  But it's a lot of dust.)  It will only run for 20 minutes, so I don't have to worry about getting carried away with TOO MUCH cleaning.  It also has a removable hand-held vacuum thing for doing the stairs and window ledges, etc.  I don't have to beat my way through all the stuff in the closet to haul out the central vac hose that weighs a ton.  It was on sale through for $115.00.  If you compare that to what I paid for Threddy Krueger (the Roomba), this was practically free.

Here is your little shot of colour.  Mmm, mmm, mmm.  Love the orange with the variegated thread!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Scrappy Split 9-Patch Quilt & Entertainment

As you know, I love scrappy quilts.  I could seriously keep this one.  It might be my favorite out of everything I've quilted this month.

Did you know I also love yellow?  If you've been to my house you'd have noticed that my living room is yellow.

In keeping with the sunny theme, I quilted this with butterflies, using thread in a mustard colour.

Several people have asked how the quilt sale went last week.  Well, it went.  I sold some quilts and DH sold one of his cute little Christmas trees.  I came out ahead, but not enough to make it worthwhile.  It was too much money, too much effort, and too stressful.  It's now on my list of "don't do again".  I am glad I made the attempt though, otherwise I would always wonder if I should have.

Movies:  If you haven't seen The Martian yet with Matt Damon, you really should.  It's a great movie.
Books:  The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden.  A crazy, preposterous caper.  Very (!) entertaining.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

What Do 50 Quilts Look Like?

But don't take my word for it.  C'mon out and see for yourself!
Today - Caledonia Kinsmen Hall, 151 Caithness St. E., Caledonia, 10 am - 6 pm.
And yes, I take credit cards.  :-)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Shakin' the Dust Off For the Sale (and the stash report and the UFO report)

This is how I spent my day.  So far I've let Mother Nature 'dust' over 30 quilts.  There are at least another 10 to go, but I hit my daily limit of trips up and down the stairs.  It's not like I pretend to be even quasi-fit.

Yes, I have too many quilts and I'm having a sale.  If you happen to be in town for the Christmas House Tour which is run by Grace United Church, I will be across the street in the Kinsmen Hall.  Stop in for cookies!  Bring your credit card!
You will find quilts and pillowcases, made by moi.  Shaker Roads is bringing blanket boxes, cutting boards, step stools, and foot stools.  Vignettes Decorum will be bringing some of her refurbished furniture.  DH will be selling steel quilt racks, steel Christmas Trees, and perhaps one or two pieces of garden art.  Even if you don't find anything you simply must take home with you, you can at least have some refreshments and a free quilt show.

I was updating my stash report today, and discovered that I have not even looked at it since August.  What the hell????  Note to self:  smarten up!
Used since last report:    27 m (this is ALL pillowcases)
Used YTD:                     85 m
Added since last report:   6 m
Added YTD:             41.25 m
NET YTD:             (-43.75 m)  Hah!  Such a good girl!

If you've been following along, you would have seen the ONE ROW I added to the Double Wedding Ring quilt at the Tobermory retreat in October.  So, I met that quilt challenge for the September/October period.  Now, for November/December I need to complete one block on the Piece 'O Cake applique quilt.  Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I will get a block marked and pieces cut before Friday.  Then as I'm sitting in the Kinsmen Hall this weekend I'll have something to work on.  What's that saying.... "idle hands are the devil's workshop".

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Christmas Story (the movie) and Annoying (!) People

Apparently, this is a movie that I have somehow never seen.
S.I.D. the borders, sashing, blocks.

My customer watched it so many times with her sister that she cannot STAND the movie.
X-hatch the upper and lower green leg lamp fabric.

But her sister LOVES the movie.
Christmas ornaments down the red sashing.  Outline and fill the leg-lamp panel, add lines to the lampshade, and curve-x-hatch the fishnet stockings.  Stitch along all those crazy circles in the background.

So this year, the sister will have a quilt to snuggle under while she watches the movie.
Outline quilt the words.  Background quilted with eyeball-ey style filler.  Stitch along the plaids in the narrow yellow border.

That is true, sisterly love.
Outline the pictures, straight lines in the 'word' blocks.  More eyeball-ey fill in the green background.

This should be a big hit on Christmas morning.
A special order border - lampshades - for the upper and lower red border.

I can hear you asking (or is it the voices in my head?) "What has her all riled up this week???"  Well.  We bought a new tv yesterday, to replace our 20-year-old Panasonic 32" GAOO.  That tv still worked great, but DH wanted some new technology.  As most men do.  There was no point trying to sell the old tv, but I am always keen to put stuff out at the road for free.  Since that tv is so friggin' heavy, DH and 1-800-LUKE got it onto a pallet, and DH got the tractor with forks (like forklift things) and forked that baby out to the road.  I added the sign "works fine" and took the clicker out.  Why do I always get the hard jobs???  So, not an hour later there is an old guy and his girl who stop and load this tv into their car.  Only they can't really lift it.  So they drop it.  And smash it to smithereens.  And leave that unholy mess in our  driveway.  Really?  Must people be such assholes?
Sigh.  The new tv is great, though.  And spending several hours with the best. nephew. ever. was a bonus.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

the Double Wedding Ring (which is also the UFO Challenge for Sept/Oct) and a Recipe

DH said to me last night "you're going to start getting complaints about your blog"  Yes.  I know.  I've just been busy this week.
This is the starting point of the DWR for October 2015.  One row is completely sewn, and the second is mostly complete. If you recall, last year the puppy Anni was taking off with some of my bits.  Little bugger.  She was much better this year.  When she tried it the first time I scolded her and she dropped it right away.  Hah.  Obviously I am FIERCE.

This is the ENDING point for October 2015.  Sewing that second row and laying out row three took me a whole day.  Whose brilliant idea was it to make a double wedding ring?
When I got home from Tobermory I needed to dry out had some leftover cream cheese and half a pound of bacon that I wanted to use. I also had some puff pastry in the freezer that was at least a year past it's best before date.  Not poisonous, but a little dried out.  Nothing that I wouldn't feed to DH.  pfftt - I'm such a bad wife.  There was a recipe for a Leek Galette on the internet, but it needed a few modifications to include my leftover ingredients.  It made for an EXCELLENT supper.  If you add a salad it would rate higher on the "healthy" scale.
This was a 'mission' for me because I have two long rows of leeks out in the garden, that I am DETERMINED to cook with.  Two years ago I spent a whole day digging the leeks, cleaning them, chopping them, and then freezing them.  I think they are all still in the freezer.  Grrrr.  This year I decided I'm not doing that - I'm just going to EAT the damn things.  so...

Here is my version of the recipe:

  • 1 puff pastry sheet, thawed.  **Get the good kind, made with BUTTER, not shortening. That shit will kill you.  Honestly, you are totally worth the $4.00.
  • 3 chopped leeks, the white & light green parts - I think I had about 2 cups worth. 
  • 1/2 tsp sugar and a dash or two of salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped, or more depending on how much you like garlic, 
  • half a pound of bacon, chopped into 1/2" pieces.
  • 1 chicken breast, chopped into 1/2" pieces.
  • half a block of cream cheese (4 oz./125 g.).
  • 1 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 egg blended with 1 T. water
  •  Preheat the oven to 400.
  • Roll out the puff pastry until it is 11 or 12 inches.  Try to make it into a round-ish shape. Leave it on the parchment paper and put the whole thing on a cookie sheet.  Keep it in the fridge until the filling is ready.
  • In a large frying pan fry the bacon until crisp.  Remove to paper towels, reserve 2 T. bacon grease.
  • Cook the chicken in the same pan until no longer pink. Add the chicken to the bacon pile.
  • Add the 2 T. bacon grease to the pan, add the chopped leeks and garlic and sugar and salt.  Cook on medium/low for 15 minutes until beautifully fragrant and greeny-golden brown.
  • Add the vegetable broth and deglaze the pan, mixing until all the crispy mess stuck to the pan is incorporated in the broth.
  • Add the cream cheese, the bacon, and the chicken and cook gently until blended.
  • Mound this filling in the center of the puff pastry, leaving 2" of pastry around the edge.  Fold that pastry up and over the filling to contain it, sort of like a pizza crust.
  • Brush the visible pastry with the egg wash.
  • Bake at 400 for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes (just enough time to pour a glass of wine and set the table).  Yum.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

If today is Wednesday I must be in Tobermory

Tuesday, oddly enough, has run right into Wednesday.  It took me two days and a bit of seam-ripper use, but there are now 22 pillowcases ready for the serger (which I left at home).  After my glass of wine I will have to figure out what project to work on.  The UFO Challenge for September/October is the Double Wedding Ring and since October is getting close to being finished, that will probably win.  The poor thing hasn't left it's box since I was here LAST October.  Fabric should get a bit of attention at least once a year - don't you think?
I may need to have a little talk with the Blue Jays, too.  This is my SECOND retreat where I have been watching baseball on TV.  I'm all on board if they win the world series, but is it really necessary for them to do it during my girlie-sewing-drinking-eating time?
Oh, b.t.w., since I know you are curious - last night was mac 'n cheese, and tonight we are having turkey.  And yes, I went for a walk yesterday AND today. ☺

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Railing

The railing is starting to fill up with projects.  None of them are mine.  Yet.
Yesterday was my day in the kitchen, so I made Oatmeal Bake with blueberries & peaches for breakfast.  Lunch was unplanned, so Diane fed us smoothies.  I made afternoon hors d'oerves (bacon tarts) to sop up the alcohol from the cocktails (the Derby made with sweet vermouth, bourbon, grand marnier and lime juice).  Then supper was salmon, potato wedges, sweet potato/carrot puree, ceasar salad, and dessert of apple cake.  I had trouble squeezing into my pants this morning.
This afternoon I am going for a walk.  Honest. 😉

Sunday, October 18, 2015

the Annnual Tobermory Retreat

I spend a week every October with my longarm buds... the Beach Girls.  We come up to Tobermory, on the shores of Lake Huron, and spend five nights in Carol Anne's wonderful cottage.  Normally we are enjoying the food, or the cocktails, or the scenery.  But she has really brought some CLASS to the place this year.
Yes.  It's a heated toilet seat.  The 3 am pee will be so much more enjoyable this year.  And if someone disappears, we will know where to look first.   😆

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Quilt Show BOM 2014 and Apple Pie Help

This was the most wonderful, fun quilt to work on.  And before you ask,
  • NO I DON'T HAVE THE PATTERN.  I'm pretty sure you need to be a paid member of The Quilt Show, and it was a limited-time block of the month.
  • If you click on the photos it will take you to a film strip with the large version of the pics.

I did stitch-in-the-ditch on every. single. bit. of applique.

For the background quilting in the two borders, I treated them as one border and added the geometric square design to the feathers to tie them together.

I added some cutesey little elements, like the rabbit behind the sheep.

Where the letters had large round-ish spaces I placed the flower motif that was used around some of the appliqued circles.

The patchwork blocks were treated just like I would quilt them in a sampler quilt.

Last week I was telling you about the apples my wonderful neighbours gave me.  I made three apple pies on Thursday and zipped them right into the freezer.  I always make 'em three at a time because it takes one whole box of lard to get six single pastries.  Since I would prefer to give the dog a bath if I had a choice between that and making pastry, and that is not a fun job, I just get it over with.

Yesterday I made three more, and DH stuck around to help with the apple prep, while I did the pastry.  I explained to him that each pie required six cups of sliced apples, and in my head I figured about eight apples per pie = almost exactly what I had left in the bags, with a couple apples left over.
I should have been WATCHING him.  He did two lots of six cups each.  Then I think he decided "oh, f*ck it" (sorry - garage language) and put ALL the rest of the apples in the last batch.

Do you see how HIGH that left hand pie is???  Poor pastry was stretched to it's limit!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Embroidered Applique and Winter Prep

This is one of those quilts where there is not a whole lot of decorative quilting. 

The bulk of this quilt is just stitch in the ditch.  (hah.  "just")
You can see the quarter-square blocks were quilted with continuous curve.

This is such a pretty border design.  I pulled the little flower motif out and used it in the blocks, too.  This design has a nice wave to the bottom edge, so I suggested to the quilt maker that she might want to scallop the outer edge. She gave me the hairy eyeball at that idea, but seemed to come around by the time she left.

Pretty, pretty, pretty.

The applique is the star of the quilt, so I kept the quilting very quiet, adding only where necessary to keep the empty spaces to a reasonable size.

Some of the design space was taken up with straight line quilting around the edge, and echoed at 1/4".

DH and I spent some time in the garden today, starting the pre-winter cleanup.  This is the last of the green beans, getting a 10 minute steam.  I've frozen them in the past, but they are just ... (can I say crappy?) that way.  This year I am going to dehydrate them.  They will take up much less space.  I can put 'em in a glass jar in the pantry and throw them into soups or stews or casseroles.  We shall see - hopefully they will be better this way.
Tonight was the first ROAST BEEF DINNER of the fall season.  Yum.  With mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and roasted carrots & onions.  All summer long we eat pretty light meals, mostly chicken or sausage with fresh veggies.  Fall and winter seems to be the time for the B'sbeef, bread, and baked goods.
After supper I made an Apple Betty. (oh, how clever - another 'B'!)  Two of our wonderful neighbours have each brought over a grocery bag of slightly wormy organic apples for me, because they know I like to can and bake, and I will put them to good use.  In the next week or two I will be helping myself to the slightly wormy organic pears from the roadside tree nearby.

If you are looking for a delicious dessert using apples AND pears, try this Autumn Fruit Flan.

OK, now, everyone, sing along with Joni Mitchell: 
Hey farmer, farmer
Put away that DDT now
Give me spots on my apples
But LEAVE me the birds and the bees

Sunday, September 27, 2015

of Braids and Bread

I am probably the only quilter on the planet who has NOT made a braid quilt.  I just love 'em, though, and one of these IS on my to-do list.

When the maker and I were discussing the quilting, she decided on NON-feather designs. The border design was the idea-maker for the design I placed in all the 'braid' pieces.

I drafted that braid pattern in the IQ all by myself.  (ouch - sore shoulder from patting my own back) And it's continuous.

Now that AUTUMN is officially here, it was time to start the bread-making season off right.  This is Herb & Cheddar bread.  Loaf #1 was gone on day #1.  Do ya wonder why my clothes all look just a little bit tight by March?
If you are looking for more cooking tips...