Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter

Hi everyone!  Hope you are enjoying a beautiful Easter week.  I didn't do much decorating besides the obligatory wreath on the front door, fresh roses from my yard and what you see here.
We are going to my SILs house for lunch on Sunday with my husbands family, then to dinner at my niece's with my family.  I bought a new dress from here, anticipating a long hot day with lots of food and driving.   Running around in skinny jeans sounds like torture doesn't it?  Ugh, I just can't do it anymore, even too much jewelry makes me feel hot.  So wearing a tent dress with sandals is a comfy alternative (surprisingly, this dress is actually flattering, and the linen fabric feels good).

All three of my kids will be home and the pool is open for business. Fresh lemons from my sisters tree (mine all froze this year ) have been juiced for poolside lemon drops, the laundry is done, the groceries bought and put away. I have a manicure and pedicure scheduled for tomorrow(nothing says Spring like pretty painted toes!! ), so I'm ready for the Easter bunny.
Have a great weekend and I'll see you on the other side :)

Bunny embroidery pattern : free on Pinterest
Yo-yo puffs: rescued from a very old quilt bought at the flea market years ago
Roses: Alchemist climbing rose
Doily: Mandala from this pattern, and following final rounds from this blog

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Downsizing

I'm just stalling with crochet pictures because I have nothing done to share.  Here's another blanket I started last week, but it's only going to be a small one because I've already moved on.  The block is really fun, and I just thought I'd make a few to try it out, (at first I was thinking, soft muted colors) but the next thing you know I had a pile of primary colored daisy squares begging to be a blanket.  It's at that stage where you have enough blocks that you should commit to it and do something with them, but not enough finished that you actually can.  So, eight more to go and a baby blanket it is.

I started quilting on my shoo fly quilt all the while dreaming about  Clam shell quilts and
giant Log Cabins. Anything but half square triangles.  The block from my last post was full of them and I only ended up making a grand total of 4.  I'm going to add some linen and turn them into place mats.
I'm realizing that not everything I make needs to be a full size something or other.  I usually have a "go big or go home" attitude when I begin a project, and maybe that's why I don't finish everything I start.  From now on if my quilt/crochet becomes boring, overwhelming or stuck, maybe I should stop right there, and see if it can become a smaller version of itself.

Totally unrelated, as part of my ongoing spring cleaning, I did a mini make-over in one of the downstairs bathrooms today.  It's mostly cosmetic, changing out towels and accessories.  I had to re-paint the dresser because the paint was chipping off in places and I never really liked it's yellowish color anyway.  Besides, the dog chewed one of the rugs. Sigh.

Before.....

After......
I'm thinking of adding a small quilted wall hanging, so I might have a dig through my stash and see what I can find for coordinating fabric.  In the meantime, it's clean and fresh and the dog better not get any more bright ideas.





Monday, April 7, 2014

Quilting love

I think the things I dislike about sewing are also the reasons I love to quilt.  Sounds quite fickle doesn't it?

I don't much like the measuring, cutting, pressing, trimming and measuring again.  Tedious and fiddly.
Matching points, (or not matching points), ripping out and re-sewing.  I'd rather play with fabric and colors and blocks, styles and themes, the design process.  But I guess you can't have one without the other can you?
So when it all comes together and you create something you love, well, then it's worth all the little  fiddly, tedious parts.




Hope you're all doing something you love this week!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Economy Quilt

We have just been getting soaked the last few days, so when the rain finally cleared off and the sun came out, I grabbed the camera and my economy block quilt.



I used a fat quarter bundle of Mad Mend fabric and the 12" economy block instructions from Ginger Monkey.  The binding was hand sewn while watching the first season of Game of Thrones on DVD,
(I could not get through those books) and eating this chocolate sheet cake from Pioneer Woman. 
You'd better have lots of butter on hand for this one.  The best part, besides eating it, was pouring the warmed icing over the cake, sooo goood!)

 I bought a new pan, enamel with a blue edging, from Crow Canyon Home, which I purchased at Amazon.  This pan has already roasted a chicken, baked a cake, roasted veggies, and baked some biscuits.  You can throw just about anything in it, and it cleans up easily.  I've heard you can even bake pies in them. Now I want a smaller one.
I started some Spring cleaning this week.  One room at a time.  I'm cleaning from baseboards to ceiling, moving furniture, washing windows and cleaning out closets.  I even bought two gallons of paint because all the doors and woodwork need to be touched up. It's going to take a few weeks to get through the whole house, but it will be clean and organized before summer and I can spend more time outside.




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nordic Shawl


Finished just in time for a whole week of rainy weather and cooler temperatures!  I'm glad to be able to wear this a little while at least.  It was 80 degrees yesterday and I was weaving in the ends thinking I would have to put it in the cupboard until the fall because our cold weather is just about done.


This is a most excellent pattern, well written, photographed, and easy to understand.  I used Sublime extra fine merino DK and started out with a G hook.  30 rows into it I ripped it back.  I was already finished with the 5th ball and it was looking like I was going to need at least 8. Thank goodness I found some on sale for almost half price.


Anyway I started over with an I hook, because this is the thickest DK I have ever seen, almost a worsted weight really.  It says "extra-fine" on the label, but I don't think it means "fine" as in light or delicate, but more of a "OMG, he's so fine!!! kind of fine.
So I crocheted the main color for 34 rows instead of 40 and then switched over to the color section, which was very fun indeed. However it was quickly becoming a Giant Nordic Shawl, and so I decided to cut back on the number of final rows or this thing would have swallowed me whole.

I love it!!!  All this messing around with hooks and different weight yarns and and shortening rows, just shows you how versatile this pattern is.  I'm thinking of making another in a real DK, maybe a cream color next time.  If you would like to give it a go, pop on over to My Rose Valley and get yourself this pattern.
Check this out.  Two antiquarian books with mine and my husband's name in the title.  Just need three more, one for each of the kids.






Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Disturbance in the Force






The last of our little Star Wars Clan has left us.
It's been a tough year
 
First Solo the Cat
Then Chewy the Boston Terrier
Princess Leia the kitty
And now our Luke
 
                                                                        RIP Luke
                                                            May the Force be with you


I will be back soon with my Nordic Shawl finish.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Don't forget to massage your kale




I made Kale salad last night for dinner.  I use Lacinato kale, the kind that looks like it has bumps on it (sometimes called Dino kale).  I copied the ingredients from the deli section of a local supermarket where I sometimes buy this for lunch.  It's really easy, no cooking, and I usually have the stuff to make already in my fridge. This was served alongside some baked fish, that I cooked to the consistency of shoe leather and after two bites I threw it in the trash and opened a can of tuna.  It was Cod, a fish I never buy (usually I get Tilapia or Salmon), and I think that cod should just be beer battered and fried in bad for you oil, and dipped in tartar sauce and served alongside french fries and soupy coleslaw. Oh yeah, don't forget a big tall beer. Period.
However, trying to be healthy, I baked it with some panko bread crumbs, parsley and lemon zest (that part was tasty), but it just turned out so tough. So much for healthy.
Anyway I read somewhere that when you serve kale raw, it helps to massage it first.  It's kind of stiff, like chard, and the massaging helps soften it up a bit. So you just cut up your kale and put it in a bowl.  Then rub, or massage the leaves for a minute or two before adding the other ingredients.
I massage my kale with regularity now.

Spring is definitely here.  Everywhere I look it's blue and green. It's so lovely in the valley this time of year.  I don't want to think about the fact that in a few short months the air conditioner will be running all day and the blue and green will be replaced with brown and gold. But before we get there, a parade of culinary festivals will fill up the calendar.  Asparagus, strawberry, and garlic festivals are just around the corner. Can't wait!
I made a set of these coasters again.  I love this pattern.  It's so easy and pretty and fast and satisfying all at once. And my shoe fly quilt is almost done too, scrappy and full of spring colors.  I'm playing around with some border ideas this week.  Then it will be back to the Liberty quilt that I tore from the design wall and am now going in a totally different pattern direction, which involved buying 2 yards of double-gauze, and it's getting expensive and it better turn out, because I don't want it to be like the cod all over again.

Kale Salad

1 bunch of Dino kale, ribs removed and torn into bite size pieces and massaged like you mean it
red pepper, cut into strips
red onion, sliced thin
peperoncinis, cut into small strips
crumbled feta cheese
artichoke hearts
you can also add cannellini or garbanzo beans
Toss everything together with some red wine vinegar and olive oil to taste
Serve with anything but baked cod

Ciao!