Saturday, July 31, 2021

Public Service Annoucement

The small Suffrage quilts will be displayed at the Missouri Quilt Museum in Hamilton (home of Missouri Star) during the month of August.  If you happen to be in the area, stop by the museum and check out the interesting collection of interpretations of the theme.  And be sure to look for Perfect 36.


OK, so I made 10 more Hunter Star blocks at Devo on Tuesday, bringing my total up to 52 (of 120).  

I'm getting bored.  When that happens I get the itch to start something new, thinking that will get me excited about sewing again.  Never mind that I have at least two other new projects on the wall that remain unfinished...

My cure?  The Macaron Mystery hosted by Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs.  I like her mysteries because she is very specific about which fabrics will/will not be adjacent to each other and the clues come only once a month.  AND she offers a "sneak peak" if you need help choosing fabrics or if you just plain don't like to be surprised.

This was my studio after a day of pulling potential fabric combos.

I mean,  really ... where's the ironing board?

Not wanting to purchase anything new, I was stymied by needing 3+ yards of a background that "reads" solid like a tone-on-tone.  Fully frustrated, I gave in and took a sneak peak.  Ahh, now that I know where this is going, here's my final pull:

Fabric C will only touch background-1; the others will touch both.  Fabric D will actually be an assortment of red scraps.  Stay tuned for further developments.  Clue 2 comes out this Thursday!

Monday, July 26, 2021

News from the Homefront

It looks like things will soon get moving in the construction and renovation areas.  All the fence pieces are finally here to repair the storm damage in the secret garden.

We're hoping The Fence Guy can get started this week, weather permitting.  In preparation, Alex did a bit of weed-eating ...

The landscapers can't come till August which will give me time to dig and separate the iris and day lilies in that area, as well as put some thought into how I want it to look and function in the future.  I visited a new-to-me nursery this week for inspiration but they focus mainly on flowers.  I did come home with a couple of hanging baskets that were the weekly special.  I will definitely be going back there in the spring!

The ceiling in the deck enclosure should be installed this week, but not till the electrical wiring is in for the fan which is waiting in its box in the garage.  The fascia boards and new gutters will complete the covered portion; we'll just have to live with the old decking until the new gets to the warehouse ...

In the kitchen, I tried a couple of new things over the weekend.  On Saturday I used the One Sheet Pan pork seasoning on thick chops ...

... which I then braised in onion gravy in the oven, low and slow.  Petite Yukon potatoes and frig-vegetable medley (a/k/a leftover bits) completed the plate.

It was delicious, I must say!  Yesterday I did fresh green beans in the IP with a smoked ham hock.  Another winner!

We've had quite a few new visitors at the bird feeder -- a couple of mourning doves, a red-winged blackbird, cowbirds, and catbirds -- in addition to the finch regulars and squirrels.  This poor catbird misjudged the landing ...

... but with loud encouragement from its mate (or parent), it eventually regained its composure and flew away.

Nothing new to report from the sewing room, just the same-old same-old -- Hunter Star blocks, one after the other.  The additional yard of palm frond fabric has been washed and will get cut today.

It's been too hot and humid to do much outside, even kayak.  So maybe I will have more to report from the sewing room soon.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

To-Do Tuesday


My goals for today were to plant the creeping jenny in pots before it dies (like the last batch I bought) 

... and to lop some branches off the redbuds that overhang the rocks at our dock.

I also had a goal in the sewing room:  Since ten Hunter Star blocks in a day has not been attainable, I'm now shooting for 10 half blocks (or equivalent of 5 blocks).  Today I put together about 10-12 blocks (I lost count).  The extra yard of the palm fronds has been received and waiting to be washed.

Monday, July 19, 2021

In the Kitchen

 My stovetop has Polenta Pox

Here's the magic tool to fix it.

Yes, that's what you use to get paint off your glass windows!

Today I was using up some thawed pork carnitas and thought warming it up in some carnitas sauce would be tasty if served over polenta.  I make the instant kind of polenta that requires stirring for 5 minutes.  Somehow I can't keep it from going everywhere, lethal on my hands...

Have you tried the new One Sheet Pan seasoning mixes?  Son-2 has done some sheet pan meals lately and I also heard about it online so I purchased some of the seasoning packets.

I have tried two different chicken packets and one pork.  Meat and vegetables all go on one sheet pan.  Definitely easy and only one pan to clean up.  The packets are a little heavy on the salt; I could probably come up with a better alternative but the convenience is worth it.

Friday, July 16, 2021


 This is what the ten Monday blocks look like ...

Tuesday was the first meeting of the neighborhood book club and I needed to prep my suggestions so didn't make it down to the sewing room.  I have been accumulating ideas from all of you for over a year and it was hard for me to pick only two from the almost 100 on my list.  What I found interesting is no one else suggested even one from my list!  So there are obviously a lot of books out there to enjoy.  I have been reading on the deck with my afternoon wine and am really enjoying it. Oh, you may be wondering what I suggested ... Everything Beautiful in Its Time by Jenna Bush Hagar (Hoda's recommendation) and Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey by Kathleen Rooney (Nann's recommendation).

Ten more blocks finished on Wednesday ...

I am currently considering this setting:

Not particularly inspired, but it works with what I have.  I determined I did not have enough of the white to make all-white blocks for the border.  However, I found a source for the palm frond fabric and have ordered a yard from Jordan Fabrics.  Now I should be able to complete 120 combo blocks.

Thursday the weather finally cooperated and we were able to get out in the kayaks for about one hour.

That's Alex posing in my kayak on the launch/lift.  He cranked it up a bit for me so that I wasn't floating and it made getting out of the boat a LOT easier.  Still not pretty, but manageable.  I never made it down to the sewing room after that workout, though.

Today I have a church meeting in the morning, hoping to sew some this afternoon.  I'm not doing too well with my 10/day goal ;(  With luck it will be finished by next summer ...

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Decision Made

I settled on the white fabric to go opposite the palm fronds (I've been erroneously calling it fern) in the Hunter Star blocks.

I finished the first 10 blocks today but failed to get a photograph.  I have enough of the palm frond fabric to make 80 blocks so my goal is to complete 10 a day.  If I have enough of the white fabric, I will make white/white blocks to "border" the combo blocks.  Hoping to cut the white fabric tomorrow to see how many blocks I can get -- hopefully enough for the 10x8 setting I have planned ...

Spent some time with my Kindle (and a glass of wine and Goldfish) this afternoon enjoying the shade and the breeze under the deck enclosure.  I'm reading On Thin Icing (A Bakeshop Mystery) by Ellie Alexander and so far it is keeping my interest.

Depending on the weather tomorrow, I hope to get in another short kayak run.  Even with the launch/lift, I have trouble getting out of the boat because I have so little strength in my legs. (Note to self:  walk more!)  I think I'll try the roll-over-on-my-knees technique this time.  There will definitely be NO pictures of that!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

About That New Project ...

 I need fabric!!

Actually, I took care of that yesterday.  But I digress ... you probably want to know what the project is!

Last month two of my Devo friends were excitedly talking about a new project they were planning -- Confetti Star (a variation of Hunter Star).  I had made a Hunter Star quilt along with S'mores some time before 2014.

I had been inspired by a snail's trail setting in Jan Krentz's book Hunter Star Quilts & Beyond.  My fabrics are very subtle, but if you look closely you may be able to see the Snail's Trail setting.

 It's one of my favorite quilts and one that I wouldn't mind making again so, of course, I asked my friends if I could play along.  I thought this would be the perfect project to use my birthday acquisition from Twisted Sisters.

My friends had seen an easy technique in a Missouri Star video that started with 10" squares.  While I agree that the technique simplified the math of cutting the three shapes required for a block, I wasn't thrilled with the proportions so I set about finding the instructions I had used, to no avail.  I asked a S'mores friend to bring a copy of the instructions we had used to Jonesborough and I used the last couple of hours at the retreat to cut masses of 2-1/2" bright strips which I promptly cut into star points when I got home.

BUT, when I measured MY quilt, the star points were cut 2-1/4"! (easy fix) Plus my blocks finished at 9", not 8".  None of the math in the S'mores' instructions would work 😞  Obviously I had used a different pattern.  I got out Krentz's book and nowhere could I find specific instructions, but she did have a graphic that showed how to cut templates in a variety of proportions.

Worst case, I'd have to make templates.  As I was explaining my dilemma to my husband, I flipped open the book and there were my templates tucked behind the front cover!!!

Armed with the proper tools, I cut enough to make sample blocks.  DH had thought the purple fabric would work best for the "dark" side.

I think the purple is a little heavy, but that's beside the point because I don't have enough of either fabric to make a king-size quilt!  So back to Twisted Sisters I went yesterday.  Sadly they were out of the fern.  I may be able to find some online.  OR I could make a smaller quilt.  OR I could choose a setting that would let me use what I have.  This is what I came home with.

I'm not sure if the yellow or the white will be opposite the fern.  Any thoughts?  The blue is for the back.

Meanwhile I'm going to fire up the old PC and get creative with EQ.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Mid-Year Assessment and Catch-up

 Can you believe half a year has passed already?  And what do I have to show for it?

You may think that if I don't post, nothing is happening.  I think it's quite the reverse -- too  much is happening to keep up with!

Tornado damage - The trees and stumps have been removed from the secret garden, as has the damaged fencing.

The Fence Guy (that's the name of his business!) should come this week to start cleanup and we hope the fencing will be at Lowe's soon to be installed.  In the meantime, Alex started cleanup in one corner today.

While he was down there, he cut some day lilies that have been obscured by volunteer redbuds.

He has also been hard at work on weeding and mulching other parts of the landscape.  

The bigger news at Chez Smith is the deck enclosure!  We have a structure and a roof.

The Trex decking is out of stock and the construction crew has been busy elsewhere so it will be August at the earliest before we finish.  But we are enjoying the shade!  When finished we will have screens all around.  The construction crew felt bad that they could not finish the dock now, so they temporarily installed the kayak launch for us.  It was too cool to kayak this morning, but maybe tomorrow...

When I last posted I was going out to plant the creeping Jenny. Well, it started raining so I went to the sewing room.  I did not make any headway on Kaleidoscope because I needed to unpack the machine and rearrange the furniture that I moved to accommodate the Murphy bed.  So I cut bindings, instead.

Garden Trellis, Weaver Fever, Jack's in the Pond, and RSC Sampler (not shown).  And I have started another new project.  More on that tomorrow.