Sunday, November 29, 2020

French's Onions to the Rescue!

Last week was one of those where I spent more time in the car than I did in the sewing room. We had closed out the previous week with another gorgeous sunset on Saturday.

It was actually more like the pink reflected in the water.

I accompanied Alex back to Nashville for the CT scan on Tuesday and took advantage of the mileage to pick up the second Christmas quilt at the LAQ.  I managed to get the binding on and turned in record time.

Yes, same rainbow stripe on two quilts; they both will go into the washer and dryer later today.  Woohoo, two gifts off my list!

I tried to get a bit of time in the studio each day and my eclectic design wall shows some of the results.

I finished two more monster blocks.  That colorful hexie piece bottom right is one I started on one of our earliest quilt cruises, circa 2011.  It's my first attempt at English Paper Piecing (on a very large scale).  I think the teacher was Chris Porter.  I pulled it out this week because I want to finish several small hand projects next year.  The HSTs came from a box labeled "Quilt With No Name" -- one of those things I began to use up some bright fabrics quite a few years ago.  Time to do something with them.

The first row has been trimmed to 4-1/2" and assembled.  With a colorful border it will make a nice baby quilt and the remaining background fabric can go on the shelf.  Like I said, it was a slow week.

In the Kitchen - We had a quiet Thanksgiving, just the two of us with a small boneless turkey breast.  On Friday I made a "refrigerator stew" to use up dribs and drabs of leftovers from earlier in the week.

Pork, marsala noodles, tiny youkons, carrots, zucchini, creamed peas ... you get the picture.

Anything becomes an elegant meal with French's onions on top and Grands biscuits on the side!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Week in Review

I can't believe it's been a week since my last post!  

Either I was too busy, or nothing of note happened.  I think it was the latter.

Remember this table runner I whipped up from some orphan blocks a few months ago?

At the recent retreat I got it pinned up for quilting but the more I thought about binding all those innie corners the less enchanted I became.  So I took advantage of a clean work table last weekend and unpinned the runner. I flipped it right side to the back side and re-pinned.  From there I took it to my Pfaff in the Koala table.  Not only would the dual-feed help prevent shifting, but the table would provide support while I stitched all around the edges except one short run.

I hadn't used that machine in so long that I had to remember how to thread it!  I got the runner turned right-side-out and the edges topstitched Tuesday night and whipped the open side together on a trip to Nashville with Alex on Wednesday.  I left it with DIL to enjoy for Thanksgiving with instructions to return it when they come here for Christmas so I can do some in-the-ditch quilting.

While Alex was meeting with the cardiologist, I turned two sides of binding on the secret project.

(BTW, the cardiologist determined his high cholesterol was of more concern than the murmur so there will be additional tests next week before medication is prescribed.)

My plan for the week was to finish up several little projects as Christmas gifts, but first I wanted to make a list of priorities for next year. I knew I wanted to do something with my collection of Kim Diehl/Henry Glass fabrics and before I knew it I had PILES of potential combos all over the place.  

Now I can't cut or iron without clearing the mess!

The quilt guild met on Friday for the first time since February.  The church where we meet has very strict protocols.  We all had to wear masks.  The custodian set up the tables with only two seats per table.  We were limited to 40 people, reservations required.

In the kitchen, I tried this lemon-butter-dill sauce on tilapia.

We were not impressed.  More successful the next night was my addition of the honey-bourbon sauce on butternut squash.

Not much planned for the coming week.  A trip to Nashville on Tuesday with a stop at the LAQ to pick up a quilt.  Then a quiet Thanksgiving, just the two of us.  I have a boneless turkey breast in the freezer and that's as far as I've gotten with plans.  I'll probably do creamed peas with pearl onions or maybe a green bean casserole ...

Stay well and enjoy your holiday!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Saturday in the Kitchen

 Woke Saturday morning to this beautiful sky, as viewed from the front door.  7:10 a.m. CST

Cheddar's bourbon-glazed salmon was a topic of conversation at last week's retreat.  Someone said she had found individually-frozen glazed salmon at Sam's (or maybe it was Costco).  Another gal said she had bought some  glaze at the Tennessee Whiskey store.  Someone else said they had been using a sauce from Publix.

Well, my normal salmon preparation is a couple pats of butter and a dash of dill on top, but I was anxious to try the bourbon glaze.  I was able to find this 15-minute marinade at Food City.

I put about 1/4 cup in a zip bag along with two salmon pieces (about 2" wide) and flipped the bag back and forth a few times to get the fish covered in sauce.  After 15 minutes I popped it into a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes.  Oh, my! Delicious!  Sorry I didn't think to take a picture of the finished product.  We had roasted butternut squash along with and I think that would be interesting brushed with the marinade, as well.  

And this is what we saw as we cleared the dinner table.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Quilting with My Peeps

The S'mores began at a guild retreat in 2002 or 2003 with about eight original members.  We chose the name S'mores because we wanted to quilt, eat, laugh, and shop together some more. The mix and number of members have changed over the years, but the purpose has remained the same.

Even though it seems like the S'mores retreat at least once a month, there are only two "official" S'mores retreats -- one in August and another in November.  Fifteen of us gathered this week and this talented group were creating some beautiful things.  Here's just a few ...

Quilt of Valor by Sharon (I think)

Kristin got the binding on her NYGLC table topper from my class several years ago.
(Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin)

Nancy finished her Feathered Star begun at LAB retreat in September.

Sharon whipped up this beauty for Quilts for Cops. She finished it with two borders.

Lynn got this much done in between Zooming her classes at school. I think borders are next.

Mary made these sweet Elizabeth Hartman doxies.  I love the sweaters!

Kim finished the blocks and got this star quilt assembled.

Becky finished her mini-Feathered Star that she began at LAB in September

I prepped this table runner for quilting to be done at home ...

... made 8 yellow monster blocks ...

... and 4 more Bear Paws for Harriett's Legacy.

And a safe and great time was had by all!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Retreatin' with the S'mores

 Had more fun than made progress.  My first task on Monday was stitching the binding on a secret quilt I can't show.  Then I decided to stitch up the yellow monster blocks that I prepped last week.  The first block I attempted was missing one 2-1/2" square for one of the star points.  But I'm sure I have it at home.

So  I rocked on until this happened.   

And I thought I was doing so well ...

I managed to get 8 of the 9 done before I was ready to move on to other projects. (Note the missing star points on the bottom left ...)

Tuesday I worked on some miscellaneous gift items.  I quilted and added the binding to this little table topper that I made several years ago but everything else I attempted hit a stumbling block.

And yesterday I did a bit of this and that but didn't finish anything.  I'll give a full report when I get home.  

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Progress, Prepping, Another Visitor, and a Recommendation

 When I first started what I am calling the Monster Quilt (because it will be 99 x 99), my plan was to use every fabric only twice -- once in a gray block and once in a yellow block.  I also planned for every block to be a unique combination.  I think I have been successful in making every block combination of fabrics unique, but in my press to wrap this one up I am being a little less discriminating in my choice of fabrics.

Having finished the 41 gray blocks, I pulled out the yellow blocks to see where I stand.

Currently I need 16 more blocks to make 40.  However, there's one that probably needs to be replaced ...

As much as I love the yellow print, it's a bit distracting and the gray units just blend into the mess.  I had hoped to have all the blocks made before the S'mores fall retreat, but that's not going to happen.  However, I have cut nine more blocks.

And I have bagged them up to work on at the retreat.  Here's a tip if you use zipper bags to kit your projects:  nip a corner or two to let the air out.

Today's visitor was a bald eagle!  (take my word for it, he's there in the tree)`

He swooped around our dock about 10 times before landing in our tree.  I was painting window frames at the time so couldn't capture him in flight.  I knew we had a nest nearby, but sightings are rare.

Are your hands getting so dried out from all the hand sanitizers?  I found a product yesterday that I am hoping will help.

I used it last night and I'm already impressed.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

And then there were forty-one

The Final Four 

And the full complement

Now, on to the yellow.  I'm not sure how these will be arranged other than alternating yellow and gray.

This Morning's Visitor


Taken from my bedroom window because I was afraid I would scare him off if I stepped out on the deck.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Out of Synch

 and the Prodigal Block

Do you ever feel like you are out of synch, that whatever you attempt is not quite right?

Such has been my last two days in the sewing room but, thanks to a Prodigal Block, I think I'm back on track.  At least I hope so!

Over the weekend I made bindings for three of the four tops I am prepping to take to my LAQ (thought I had taken a picture ...) and also selected gray and yellow fabrics for the last eight gray monster blocks.  On Monday I cut those eight blocks with a plan to make four a day.  Instead, I decided to make all eight 9-patch centers and that's when I lost MY center.

Five of the eight were fine.  But I sewed a strip of 3 on the wrong side of one 9P.  On another some of the 2.5" squares were not square so the seams wouldn't line up. And the last 9P just flat-out DISAPPEARED!  I should have stuck to the original plan of four per day ...

Today I was determined to get back on track.  I completed one block.

Then another ...

And before I stopped for lunch I had two more.

AND I fixed the two problem 9Ps.  But where, oh where, was the missing 9-patch?  I could tell by my scraps that I had cut it out.  Could the pieces be stuck to the bottom of something else?  I even enlisted help from my husband to keep his eye out for the missing piece(s).  

As I sat at the lunch table I glanced under my chair in the family room.  There it was!

The prodigal block has returned!  Now I should be able to complete the last four gray blocks this afternoon and move on to the yellow.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Day of the Not-So Dead

 Welcome to November

We woke to Moon and Sun again at 6:30 a.m. CST

Also 27 degrees!  Good thing I brought in my geraniums.  
This young stag (viewed from my sewing room window) was not deterred by the frosty temperatures.

In the quilting room I cut out the last 8 gray monster blocks and hope to finish four before bedtime.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Halloween on Dartmoor

We had heard there would be a Halloween boat parade in the afternoon so I gathered up a few things at Dollar Tree (love that place!) and decorated our dock.

We could only see one other decorated dock from our point.

There was too much slack in the ropes to hang the quilts toward the front point.  We will work on that before next year!

There were about a dozen boats in the parade, most with some form of decoration, though it isn't apparent in my pictures.

We threw bags of hard candy to any boats that ventured close to us.  

With wine and Goldfish crackers, what more could one ask for on a beautiful fall afternoon?