Thursday, November 29, 2012

Roller Coasters

Hi again!  I've been on a roll making coasters this week.  My quilt is still patiently waiting for some machine quilting action but I'm not feeling it yet.  Crochet has her hooks in me.
I found a coaster pattern on Pinterest, which led me to this blog.  This is a really fun pattern with lots of possibilities. As you can see I went a little nuts.
I used cotton yarn with an H hook.  On a few of them, I held sewing thread in with my yarn to give it a tweedy look.  Or maybe it's more of a hairy whisker look.  Anyway it was fun to try something different.

These are my favorite.  Ecru cotton yarn blended with metallic thread. I added 6 tiny little jingle bells around the edges for some holiday sparkle.
Great stocking stuffers and hostess gifts, don't you think?
Also, if you are in the mood for some crafting for the holidays, check out Michelle made me.  That woman is a wizard with junk mail and a pair of scissors!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Good stuff!

Did anyone else brave the big 60% off sale at Joann's this past weekend?  I went on Sunday and it actually wasn't too bad.   All I needed was some thread, but I did come away with 3 spools of pretty good stuff.
I thought I showed great restraint. Very unusual.  I must be coming down with something.

Today I made two bags of bone broth with the leftover turkey carcass from Thanksgiving,  which I had left simmering in the crock pot overnight (like this recipe).  This morning my husband declared he is truly sick and tired of the smell of turkey, so into the freezer it went.  It's good stuff, but I'm glad to be done with it.

 Now I am basting and marking a quilt to work on the for the rest of the week.  We have two storms coming in back to back, so I will probably stay close to home and sew.  I couldn't be happier!
And here is a product I want to share with all you quilters out there.  While at the fabric store last week,   I eavesdropped overheard a woman asking for a tape that is used to fuse leftover batting pieces together.  Oh yes, I could use this too!  After she left, I grabbed the last package.
I tried it on the quilt above and it worked great!  Just lay a strip on top of your batting pieces and press lightly with your iron.  The instructions explain which heat setting to use depending on the batting type.
I usually zig zag stitch my leftover pieces together, but this was a great time saver!  Definitely good stuff!
Linking up to Tuesday at the Table

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ombre granny and some pie.

I always wanted a black edged granny blanket like the ones from the 1970's.  I originally decided that the squares would have an ombre effect, but it was hard to find the yarn colors I needed, so I just did the best with what I had.  I used mostly Caron simply soft, with a few other wool blends thrown in.  The first two rounds of the square were done in a darker shade, the next two in a lighter shade of the same color.   The last round was black Paton's classic wool.  I used the Attic 24 join as you go method to connect the squares.

 The mosaic border is from Lanas and Hilos.  Love it.  Another name for this blanket could be the stained glass window blanket.  Or how about the Licorice All Sorts blanket?... Ooooh yum!
Now I can concentrate more on planning the Thanksgiving dinner.  Here is my menu....

Turkey (a whopping 27 pounder).  Please, please fit in my oven.                                                             
Green bean casserole with crispy fried shallots, red peppers and mushrooms.
Brussels sprouts with marjoram and pine nuts.
Gulliver's corn.  You have to try this.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  I added this dish last year and it was a big hit.  You can find about a hundred recipes for it online and I swear it has a cult following.  Named after the (now closed) Gulliver's restaurant chain in the San Francisco bay area.  Don't forget to thaw the frozen corn kernels first.  Very important.
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet potatoes (yams) mashed with butter and apple butter
Gravy.  Here is where I cheat.  Every year I order 2 jars of Williams Sonoma Turkey gravy base.  You simply mix with milk and your pan drippings.  A bit pricey but worth every penny.  When everything is ready to go on the table and people start milling around in the kitchen,  I don't want to be messing with gravy lumps.
Stuffing.  I make this with the turkey giblets, celery, onions, and mushrooms.  I guess I learned this from watching my Mom, who watched her Mom and so on.  It's good and I haven't changed it in 20 years.  The only problem I have is trying to find bagged dried bread cubes with no high fructose corn syrup or other unnecessary additives.  Just dried bread please.  I guess I could dry my own, but I have to draw the line somewhere.
 Pumpkin Pie. mmmmm,  pie.  I usually make at least 3, and 1 apple pie (my husband doesn't like pumpkin pie. Whaaat?) This year my sister is bringing the pies from Costco.  They are BIG and pretty good.  Half the time people are so full from dinner that the pies hardly get eaten, so I'm eliminating the baking this year.
Rolls from the local bakery.  
Cranberry sauce from scratch
We usually serve either a signature cocktail, (we are still talking about the chocolate martinis from a few years ago) or make a sparkling punch in my antique cranberry glass punchbowl.
Everything is made with real butter and cream.  There is no such thing as "light" or "fat free".  I have tried to change up the menu in the past, but everyone starts hollering.
The only thing I regret is that we all can't be seated at the table.  There are just too many of us!  So we serve it buffet style and help ourselves. 
Every single year I say "Let's not do it this year.  I'm tired of the decorating, cleaning, cooking, etc.  Can't it be just the 5 of us?"  But then I get over myself.  It's only once a year.  And it's all about our big, loud, exhausting, wonderful, silly, extended family.  And pie.

 Happy Thanksgiving!

Linking to Tuesday at the Table


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Soggy Saturday

I woke up to gray skies outside my window this morning.  The wind and rain have all but stripped the little heart shaped leaves from my Redbud tree.  Some of you might think I'm crazy, but I love this weather!  How about bundling up for a long walk, and when you're done, some cocoa in front of a fire!
I have been super busy getting ready for Thanksgiving this week.  We are now up to 26 guests!  I'm going to need a whole flock of turkeys (and more wine!).  However, this arrived today and got me all distracted.
I received my floss order from Sublime Stitching.  They come in yummy colors with fun names like  "fainting couch", "cookie sheet", and "velvet curtain".   I ordered the Prism, Flowerbox and Parlour packs.  Somebody knows how to market this stuff!
Should have a Tah-Dah any day on my blanket.  Just weaving in ends and finishing the border.  I may  have to add one of these labels.
I have so many projects that could wear this.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Holiday happenings

Here it comes.  Thanksgiving is fast approaching and Christmas will be right on it's heels.  I have been so busy cleaning (oven, fridge, moving furniture around) to get ready for Thanksgiving, that I barely stepped into my sewing room last week. Nothing crafty got finished, but it's time for a post anyway.  Here's what's new at my house.
 I pulled my homemade vanilla extract from the back of the pantry to have a look.  Almost ready!
Then I found some nice printable labels here.  Now I just need bottles.
The first sign of the holiday season happens in my mailbox.
This pile of catalogs represents the last few days.  Good lord.  Our mailbox is about one quarter mile round trip from our house, which is set back from the road.  When I set out to get the mail I pack a small snack, water bottle, and bring my phone.  Seriously, unless I stop by on my way in with the car, I need to take an empty bag with me to haul everything back.  My husband says they will stop sending them to me if I stop buying.  Snort.  Where's the holiday spirit in that?

I did manage to start a new Claudia scarf.  This one out of a beautiful, soft alpaca.  Pale blue as a wintry moon.  It's so nice when you're done running around like an idiot, to sit and relax with a bit of crochet.  And a few catalogs.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Recession Quilt

My scrap quilt is done, and I still don't know what this block is called, despite searching the web.  Someone remarked that it looked like a depression block, but it's not quite. 
 This is basically a 36 patch, with 8 of the squares being half square triangles.  The light and dark values of the fabrics help create the pattern.   Not quite a depression, so how about a Recession?  This being an election year here in the U.S. and us being in a recession, I thought I would take political liberties with the name of my quilt.
All fabrics came from my stash.  I almost ran out and bought some backing, because everything I had just didn't work.  Not wanting to spend any more money (recession remember?), I ended up using the Kona snow that made up the borders. I always buy yards of it when it goes on sale, and have a good size stash.
 So it wouldn't look totally vanilla, I appliqued a mini block to the back corner.
Instead of machine quilting, I tied it, something I don't usually do even though I love the look of a tied quilt.  I used #5 Perle cotton, which frayed badly after washing and drying, but the knots held, so I guess it's okay.  I also chose a solid colored binding, all because of one small fat quarter of Phillip Jacobs floral, you can see in the picture above.  It was used as a dark, even though it reads as a medium.  It added a sparkle to the quilt that really stood out, and I had this violet Kona solid (in the stash again, don't know the color name), which coordinated well with it.
Don't forget to vote tomorrow!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Jumble post

A jumble of starts, finishes and thrifty finds.

First this yarn.  Cascade Eco Duo.  Feels like duck down and marshmallow fluff.  There was only one (rather expensive) ball left at my LYS, and I grabbed it.  At 197 yards, there wasn't much I could do with it, so I hunted down this skinny granny pattern on Ravelry.  You can make it with an H hook, faster than it took me to write this post.
I finally finished reading Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset.  I usually don't attack Nobel prize winning literature that runs to 1,124 pages, but I really enjoyed this book.   It was the kind of story you could pick up after ignoring it for a week and slip back into it, comfortable as an old robe.  So if you're interested in reading about the life of Kristin in 14th century Norway, and you're not in a hurry, I highly recommend it.
I followed it up with a quick read by Lauren Groff .
Even though it bore high praise from Stephen King ( I haven't read a Stephen King novel in ages, but his reviews on other books are usually spot on), and the title contained the word "monsters",  it was not a horror story.  I swallowed this in 2 days, and have already sent for her latest book.

On a recent thrift store jaunt I found a few Christmas ornaments for $1.  Always a good deal!
Also for $1, an embroidered brown gingham half apron.  The yellow one I found on etsy.  I think I will be wearing one of these for Thanksgiving dinner.
I'm almost done quilting my scrap quilt, and have only a few rows to go on my granny blanket, so I gave myself permission to start another quilt.
I'm going for a walk now.  The rain has stopped, the sky is a blue bowl filled with white fluffy clouds, and the breeze is soft.  My favorite kind of weather, which doesn't last long here in the valley.  Enjoy your day!!