Friday, November 28, 2014


Well another Thanksgiving has come and gone.  This one was a doozy with 24 people, 3 dogs, 2 turkeys (one in the BBQ which didn't quite finish on time, one in the oven), and a milestone 60th birthday (the husband).
It started out foggy, followed by a bright autumn sun that we enjoyed for a few hours on the back porch.  Then just before dinner, it dipped behind the trees bringing in the chilly air and forcing everyone inside.
There was champagne punch, twinkle lights in the trees, children squealing as they were being tickled, a quilt signing, candles flickering inside and out, football on the television in the den, and old Christmas movies in the living room. There was picture taking, dogs in the pool, wooden train tracks on the floor, and everyone hovering near the kitchen as the turkey was being carved.
Yes it was very noisy.  And crazy and cozy and silly and filled to bursting with the love of a family I am so very lucky to be a part of.
 The day after, there is always more cleaning up to be finished, naps to be taken, leftover pie to be eaten, and crochet to help bring me down from the whirlwind that surrounds this holiday.
 I have moments when I'm thankful it only comes once a year.  But I am always thankful that it comes every year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

An 8-link post. Spreading the blog love.

While in the throes of making wonky colored quilt blocks, I did a complete U turn and started to crochet dish cloths.  I don't get it at all.  I don't even try to analyze my actions any more.

Thanks goes to Meredith, who made about a bazillion of these (and others) for the holidays.  The power of suggestion is strong in blog land. This is the Primrose dishcloth pattern, which had a broken link for a while, but has been resurrected over at Love the Bluebird.  I made a few of these a couple of years ago, and used them until they turned to rags.  The pattern is super easy and fast.  Grab some cotton yarn and an H hook, and you'll have one or two done before you need to wash the dinner dishes.

I'm also making this scarf right now, but am waiting on more yarn so I'll just show you when it's all done. Kristen made one too, so you can go have a look while you're waiting for me to finish mine.

I just finished the Orient Heights scarf made out of a bulky Louisa Harding that I had squirreled away to make a poncho that never happened.  It's really a pretty blue, very warm, and well, bulky.  I'll have to wait for a trip to Tahoe to wear this, it's just never cold enough here in the valley unless I want to go out at say, 3 o'clock in the morning.  No.

Do you like fish tacos?  I tried a new sauce recipe for fish tacos and it was quite amazing.  I used fresh cilantro and a jalapeno pepper and it was like a party in my mouth.  If you don't have a food processor, I'm sure a blender would work fine.
My latest inspiration for the holidays came from Katrin's blog.  There is an Advent calendar tutorial over on Quiltmania, and she has already completed 4 of the blocks, maybe more by the time I'm done fiddling with this post, and I have been compelled to join in.  There is a new block released every day (except weekends) up to Dec. 15th., and they are already on block 5.  I have completed 2 so far, but I am finding that I'm so anal about every little bit and bob that goes into it (plus I'm spending a lot of time searching my craft bins for said bits and bobs), that it's really taking me a long time to make just one.  If you decide to join in, be forewarned, all the instructional videos for each block are in French.  But they are well done, and it's easy to figure out how to proceed.

Heading off to start block three. Toodles.

Monday, November 10, 2014

What a weekend

I spent last weekend happily sorting through my fabric and decided to challenge myself.  I wanted to make some quilt blocks from my bin of small scraps, and not yardage from my stash.  They had to be solid or almost solid fabrics, and I couldn't use a pattern.  A fly by the seat of your pants, make it up as you go kind of quilt.  I was so fired up after reading this book- did you ever get so excited about something it almost renders you immobile because your mind is so full of ideas that you don't know where to start?- that I just started throwing fabric around the room.  When things finally settled down,  I had six 10 1/2 inch blocks, and started playing with a layout.

Kind of like Gees Bend meets the Amish.

While that was percolating, I transformed 2 old quilt blocks into pot holders.  I can always use new ones at Thanksgiving.
By the way, see that long yellow squash back there?  Perhaps you've had these before, they are called Delicata squash. I am obsessed with them right now and have been making one every week since they arrived at the grocery store.  The outside peeling cooks up soft so you don't have to remove it before eating.  I slice it into one inch rounds, take out the seeds, and lay on a cookie sheet tossed with olive oil and sea salt.  Roast at about 400 degrees until they get softened and slightly browned.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese while they are still warm.   I'm making that one with pork chops and wild rice tonight. 
Okay where was I.  Oh yeah, then last night, after watching several taped Hallmark Holiday movies (where every female main character is named Holly.  Why don't they branch out and try Noelle? I do love watching these though, no matter how corny or badly written), I got on Pinterest and found a banner for Thanksgiving.  So with midnight approaching, I warmed up the printer, dug out the glue and twine and made this.

I reduced the size of the letters to 60%, because the original printed out as big as the copy paper (too big for where I was hanging it) and I didn't have any brown craft paper, so I cut up some grocery bags instead.  I already had the small clothespins, but where were they?  No matter, I was on a mission of the most determined crafty kind, and there would be no rest until the clothespins were all present and accounted for (you know these "quick" projects are never really quick are they?).  After a half hour search through every basket, box and bag, in my sewing room I found them.  However I was one  short, so a hair clip is standing in until I can get to the craft store.  Can you spot it?  Or maybe I will leave it like that haha!
I swear the sun was coming up when I finally went to bed.  What a weekend.

Get your craft on!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Family signature quilt

top photo- my husband and his sister, middle-me at 1 years old, bottom- my girls hiking near Solvang, Calif., when they were little.
It's hard to believe I started messing around with this quilt idea back in May.  I knew I had until Thanksgiving so I dawdled about finishing it. 
It's 42x42 inches square and made from my scraps.  I was inspired by a flickr photo from a Japanese quilt book.  It wasn't hard to figure out  how to make one by looking at it, just half square triangles bordered like a log cabin block.  The idea is to use the white space for signatures.

There are 64 blocks in the quilt, and about 22 of those will be filled up at Thanksgiving.  Then, whenever a new baby is born (you're next Megan!) or someone gets married (how about it girls??), we can add more signatures.  I was thinking we could send the quilt home with someone different each year and bring it back the following Thanksgiving to be turned over to the next family member. I will probably make a sleeve for the back so it can be displayed like a wall hanging.

Have fun making stuff this week!