Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Ottolenghi Recipes--post 3

Learning about mushrooms
I've continued to cook recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi's SIMPLE cookbook. Goal number one one my September list was to write a post about the dishes I've made since sharing our potluck in London.

I did make a repeat of the muhummara, pickled egg plant, cucumber salad and pea salad dishes for Dick and Gail, a couple of my Washington State friends. I continue to make the hummus on a regular basis. 

Not all of the recipes that I have prepared have been wows. A few recipes were the kind that making them once was enough.  Over time, I'll share my thoughts and a photo of all the recipes that I've tried.

One recipe that I was interested to try was the Burger with Mushrooms and Feta recipe on pages 164-165. Making this recipe in London involved a trip to the mushroom vendor which was an experience in itself. I have eaten a few types of mushrooms; but at the mushroom vendor's stall, there were mushrooms I hadn't seen! 

We told him what we were planning to make with the mushrooms. We asked if he could recommend ones that would hold up with the cooking and pair well with the other ingredients in the dish.

Hen of the Woods
He was happy to select a few varieties for us. We learned where they originated and how to use them. Some wild varieties, you tear apart and some varieties you leave as they are. You slice the cultivated varieties.

We visited this vendor several times during my London stay. He was always passionate about his product which made it extra fun to purchase from him. We did purchase some brown and white mushrooms from the local market to round out our dish.

We tore the Hen of the Woods and the Oyster mushrooms. We left the Cordyceps whole and we sliced the rest. Those orange Cordyceps  remained orange in the dish which provided a lot of interest! The Girolle turned a darker shade of orange in cooking. I didn't use all of these mushrooms in one recipe. Over several repeats of the recipe I've used all the varieties pictured here.

I've made the dish once since I've been home. I used the mushrooms that my husband could purchase in the supermarket. While the dish was still tasty, it was better using a wider variety of mushrooms.

I like the recipes that you serve from the cooking pan. It sure helps with cleanup! This dish also tasted terrific cold as a leftover.

I'm a week late in writing this post. I haven't missed writing a Wednesday post in a long time. I had this post started before being rear ended. Unfortunately, I physically haven't been able to type more than a line or two at a time. It takes me a long time to write a post with all those interruptions! My fingers tingle and my arms go to sleep. I still have a headache, neck and back pain. I am so ready to get rid of the headache!

The dish ready to serve
Sigh. . .I've been to two chiropractic and one massage appointment. I felt a little better after the second chiropractic appointment and I gained a little range of motion with the massage appointment in my neck. 

I've scheduled more of each. I still can't machine quilt because my arms tire and my fingers tingle just getting into position to quilt. I have been doing a little hand piecing; but, I'm behind on the blocks for my temperature quilt. 

Every day I hope that it will be the day that I can try sitting at the machine to piece. Sitting at the table for a meal isn't that comfortable either so I haven't tried sitting at the machine. I've missed Zoom sewing with my groups because I sitting in the chair makes my back hurt. 

I find chopping, stirring, carrying the dish to the oven and table tough to do. I baked some bread, but, my husband needed to finish because my arm strength gave out. He's been a great sous chef. I'm telling myself to be patient.

I will heal. 

As far as the car repair goes, we were able to get it to a shop for an estimate. We chose two car repair shops. The second shop on our list didn't have an estimation appointment open until the beginning of October. We decided that we would go with the shop that we were able to get the estimation of damage appointment. 

We have a repair appointment scheduled November eighth. That appointment is about two months after the accident. Materials like parts are all still a challenge to source and ship. We are fortunate we can still drive the car. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

2022 Temperature Quilt-post 4

Reusing the basting papers
When I last posted about this project I had decided to add another background fabric to the project. I was stitching the blocks into rows; but, planned to wait until the year was half over before I began stitching the rows to each other. I have since learned that it is easier to add a block into the the project than it is to add a whole row. I thought it would be easier to add a row! Live and learn!

I've enough of the rows together to begin removing the papers. I do plan to leave the papers on for the outer three rows. I've been reusing the papers. The seam allowances at the block corners is a bit "fluffy." I'm considering adding a dab of glue and giving the area a press so the seams are as flat as possible.

I'm working away on the month of September, adding a block every day once I have the high and low of the day. I've also been stitching at least one block of the February row. My goal is to finish adding February by the end of September. I'll need to add January while I work on October which is doable.

Width and bottom edge
I realized that I will need to add another diamond to the bottom edge so that the bottom edge mirrors the top edge.

Adding a few more diamonds of the dark background fabric isn't a big deal. 

Long and skinny
The bigger deal is this top with six rows completed measurers 14 inches wide by 70 inches long. I thought that it would be wider. At this rate, it would finish at around 35 x 74. I thought a long and skinny project would be okay. I had envisioned this project as a lap quilt. It isn't going to be big enough if I stick with my current plan. 

This project is an example of the importance of having a solid plan. Had I been more aware of what size I'd be making, I could have changed the layout to make a wall hanging. 

I've been pondering what to do for the last couple weeks. I could leave it long and skinny. It takes a lot of time every day to make a block and attach it to the project. I do like the boxes. 

I could repeat the pattern for next year. I wouldn't have to determine what the pattern would be or figure out the supporting fabrics. I have plenty of those supporting fabrics. I'd be committing to a lot more handwork!

Gertie, my inner squirrel, is opting for adding another year to the project. She said if I do it a second year, I should title the piece "A Tale of Two Years." My London daughter suggested finishing it this year. She would add big borders with some words and a legend. 

I'd appreciate your thoughts. Please leave me a comment about what you would do if this was your project. Thanks!

For the first time in years, I missed writing a Wednesday post. I'm still not able to sew at the machine and I still am sore from the car accident. I'm still using the ice packs liberally. I still have a nasty headache. Alleve doesn't do much for the pain. I miss sewing so much. I hope that I will be able to quilt sooner rather than later! I can't type more than about ten minutes before my hands go to sleep. It's taken me days to write this post. Sigh. . .I'm trying to be patient. . .

I'm headed over to Cynthia and Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. I'm looking forward to reading about other people's scrap projects.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Then This Happened. . .

Driving home from work Friday afternoon, this happened. . . 

Our car

Yep, traffic suddenly slowed to a stop, I slowed, the person behind me didn't slow fast enough and I got crunched. At impact, I felt and heard my lower back, mid back, neck and head make cracking noises and move. That cracking is not a good sound. That moving didn't feel good either.  I felt fortunate that my car was drivable. Her car was not. Two guys who work at a Toyota dealership were behind her car and saw the accident. They tried to move her car out of the line of traffic and couldn't. Clackamas Fire and Water Rescue happened by and were able to move her car to a safer place. 

The other car
We exchanged information. We both were feeling nauseated and shaky. My neck immediately hurt and I had a tremendous headache. I stayed with her until her son arrived. No sewing happened that evening. Not much happened yesterday either. I still have a headache and am liberally using the ice bag. I've numbing on my thumb, index and middle fingers of both hands although the numbing is more pronounced on the left. 

Accident reports have been filed and insurance companies have been notified on our end. I have an insurance number for a personal injury claim so I can seek medical attention. I am so bummed. I'm scheduled to work two days this week. I am hopeful I can complete my tasks. 

Scraps ready for Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks
I have to trust that my ability for sewing will return. I plan to try a little activity every day. Tomorrow, we'll start the repair process on our car. Likely, we will need a rental. I am fortunate that my husband is able to juggle the equipment, the questions and system. My headache makes it hard sometimes to think!

My plan yesterday was to sew my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks. In the middle of the week, I finished cutting all the pieces for three blocks. I'm not sure when I'll be able to sew the parts into blocks. I'm linking up with Cynthia and Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. Do check out all the projects stitched with blocks. I'm always inspired with the projects.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Inventory of One Tub

Goal number six on my September goal list was to inventory the projects in one project tub. I pulled the "designated" tub. I emptied the contents. I wasn't surprised that there were a lot of projects! After all, I excel at bundling and planning projects; but, I'm less than stellar regarding the follow through!

The top tub was "it"
1. A couple blocks that I liked and made extra when the guild did Block of the Month. I thought it would become a table topper; but, I need to make blocks. Perhaps, a table runner would be a better option.

2. Class project when Sylvia Pippen was the instructor. Haven't touched it since I was in class. It is a handwork project.

3. Leftover knit and cotton fabric from the summer dresses that I made for the oldest two granddaughters. Perhaps, I'll make one for the youngest granddaughter!

4. I cut a bunch of 7 inch squares into hexagon shapes and made a couple blocks. Haven't touched the project in years.

5. A By Annie's pattern for an organizer. I've made several of these and have fabrics for lots more!

6. At least three hanging dish towel projects in this group and as many as six!

7. This is a book club quilt that I thought that I'd stitch years ago.

8. Lots of yardage in this print rayon fabric. Have no idea what sort of clothing pattern to tackle.

9. This is a started book club quilt that stalled. Perhaps, I'll figure out how to move it forward.

10. Button ornament possibly. I saw one on Pinterest and wanted to make some. I even sorted through my buttons to capture a few of the right color to make a tree. It's been years since I did this!

11. Leftover piece of a selvage block. I had an idea about making more "yardage." That thought was in the winter of 2020.

How many projects in one tub . . .at least 22

12. Christmas fabric strip pieced. . .maybe a table runner, a stocking or a placemat? I made a couple stockings and these are the leftovers.

13. Christmas wall hanging project from my friend Martha's stash. Maybe I can add some length and make it into a comfort quilt donation.

14. Three dishtowels for embroidery. This could be a place to stitch what I've made playing with my new software.

15. A thread catcher project. The directions and the hoop are included in the bag. 

16. A wrist pincushion that I made when I was ten. The dog chewed it up; but, I'd like to make a replacement. Maybe, the two older granddaughters would like to make one too.

17. At least three sample blocks with no idea why I bundled these up together. Maybe my plan was to use the blocks in a back or possibly make pot holders out of them.

18. Pot holder project .   .  .there must be at least four in this group and I've one complete!

19. Three small bags of bonus triangles. I want to make a Wild and Goosey quilt pattern by Bonnie Hunter. Quilters gifted these to me.

20. String basket/bowl project. Started in a workshop. I would have to revisit the tutorial to remember how to twist the strings!

21. Credit or gift card holder project.

22. I was the winner of these nine blocks from contributing to the block of the month. Maybe, these could be put together to make a baby quilt. 

Now to choose one project and make progress which is goal number seven on that list. 

Should I put the numbers in a hat and draw? Should I pick one that I can finish in an afternoon? Should I pick one that I could gift during the holidays? Should I pick one that takes up the most space? Should I pick one that my granddaughters could do too? Should I spend one week a month working only on projects in this tub? Should I spend one day a week only working on projects in this box?

Hm m m. . . .I'll noodle on the options. Perhaps by next week I'll know what I'm going to do. Gertie, my inner squirrel, has had lots of suggestions!

Sunday, September 4, 2022

August Recap and September Goals

The sky the first day of September
My August goals were:
✔1. Write one post about past book club book/quilt. I've two posts left to document the finished quilts I've made that were inspired by books I read through the Thread Tales book club. The book will likely be: The Soldier's Wife by Margaret LeRoy. 

First day of third grade
✔2. Finish the 2022 Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt. The pattern this year was Rhododendron Trail. I have the sleeve and label to attach.
✔3. Gertie, my inner squirrel, took me on a detour.  She had a good idea. I added some red squares that were in my precuts too! This project is the guild challenge so I'll be doing some secret sewing. 
✔4. Fully finish the cross stitch projects I began in London.
✔5. Make at least one swimsuit. I made two! The granddaughters packed their new suits for camp!
Deep in conversation with Papa
✔6. Make a plan of tackling the started projects and gifts that I stored into a couple tubs. It would be great to reduce the number of "opportunities" in those tubs! This is going to be my "cleaning/organizing" goal for this month.
✔7. Begin quilting the Lone Star Quilt. It was my one monthly goal.
✔8. Stay current with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and the Temperature quilt blocks. The RSC color for August is orange. I plan to piece August into the temperature quilt along with March. This means that I'll be stitching two blocks a day. . .doable if I keep at it!
Beginning quilting on the Lone Star
✔9. Determine a plan for the next book club quilt. We are reading: "Color: A Natural History of the Palette" by Victoria Finlay.
✔10. Add the binding to a quilt that I'm planning to gift to a graduate.

In terms of meeting the goals that I set, it was a terrific month! Additionally, I helped 63 people earn their American Heart CPR certification. 

Get this project to the embellishment stage
I watched my granddaughter crawl for the first time. I even watched her eat her first solid foods. . .sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli and mangos have all been winners! I've seen her first tooth. I've watched her splash about in the tub and the outdoor wading pool. It's been a great visit and I will miss her and my daughter when they return
to the UK at the end of this month. She and her papa have spent some quality bonding time together.

Width of the Temperature Quilt
Our middle granddaughter had her first day of school. She
is a third grader. Our oldest granddaughter had to delay school because she has COVID. She was bummed as she had her outfits planned for 5th grade for the entire week. After a week, she continues to recover. After six days, she moved into the bored stage which was a good sign. All but our daughter in that family have had COVID now. So far, my husband and I continue to be COVID free.

I can't believe it is September! The photo was of a sunrise on the first day of the month. Mornings continue to be my favorite time of the day.

My September goals are:
1. Write one post about the the Ottolenghi recipes that I've been making.
2. Finish the quilting on my Lone Star Quilt which may not happen; but if I can get the bones of the quilting completed, I'll be happy.
3. Get the book club quilt for our current book to the embellishment stage. Making this goal will be a stretch; but, I'm also making it my One Monthly Goal. Check out Patty's link for a view of others' plans for the month. Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal September Link-up
4. Keep up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The color this month is light blue. 
5. Write a post about the 2022 Temperature quilt blocks. Keep up with the blocks for this project.
6. Inventory the contents of one of the tubs that I've stuffed with projects. This is my organizing project for the month.
7. Choose one of those projects to move forward.

I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. The back of the lone star is pieced with leftovers from the front. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

A Plan. . .OR is it a List??

Before: The next designated pile to clear
Goal number six on my August list was to make a plan about tackling the projects that I've stored in a couple of tubs. In my head, I thought that goal number six was to clear/organize an area of my space. It was tough, but I did find homes for all the stuff but the wire basket. I have to report having access to the cabinet shelving is great. Note that in the after photo, my cutting table is still clear! Clearing another pile is a bonus!

I thought that the wire basket could become the place holder for the projects in the queue. I've written before that I'm super great at bundling projects but less than stellar than finishing the bundles. For now, I'll leave that wire basket empty. This was the basket that my friend, Martha, had about half full of strips and strings!

I wrote that I had a couple tubs of started/planned projects; but, I have more than that! I considered making projects out of the flannel bin and small project box until it was empty. Gertie, my inner squirrel, was on board with that idea.

After: Cleared area
Because sewing quilts out of flannel is not my favorite activity, I couldn't see myself sticking with that plan. I thought about choosing to work through one tub. I asked myself how would I approach the projects stored in the tub?

Gertie immediately reminded me that I've some projects that are within sight that I've earmarked to work on in the next year. I wondered how would I work those projects into the mix?

Maybe, I spend the next year working on started projects. Of course, Gertie swished her tail in excitement about getting back to some of those abandoned projects. Then she whispered in my ear wanting to know what happens when we start a new project? She also wanted to know how I planned to spend time learning the new embroidery software that I purchased last month. All good questions with no great answers. . . YET!

Mostly flannel scraps from Martha's stash
I had so many questions and no clear answers! I had a conversation with my friend, Marla, who is an organizing
guru. She suggested that I take an inventory of my projects. I have resisted making a list of started projects. She did help me see the value of a list, however. Sigh. . . .

I made a general list from the thoughts running around in my head combined with Gertie's gentle nudges:

1. Make two to three flannel projects in 2023. Making the projects make a dent in the amount of flannel in the box without making me commit to spending hours sewing with fabric I'd rather not sew! Most of the flannel came from from when I sewed pajamas and nightgowns when my daughters were in elementary school.

Two tubs of started projects
Most of the other flannel that I acquired from my friend, Martha, I've made into six quilts that have been gifted. I still have some juvenile flannel prints in a small project box that were in Martha's stash. Click on the link so view all the projects I've made from her scraps thus far.

2. Inventory the projects in one tub. Some of the projects are clothing. Some of the projects are small gift items. Some of the projects are quilts. I'm considering numbering the projects and then drawing one project every month to have more finishes or at least make progress! Likely there are more than a dozen projects in a tub. This step would be a start.

3. Make a list of the requests I've received. Someone wants Christmas stockings. I don't have to have the stockings finished in time for Santa's visit in 2022. The granddaughters that live near by, want to work on their quilt projects and to make clothes.

4. I have the Grassy Creek, Bonnie Hunter, mystery project from 2021 that is ready for the last clue.

5. I have four butterfly quilts that have been lingering for years at various stages.

6. I have some started book club quilts. Several projects are in the drawing stage. Several projects are in the "stuck" stage.

7. I've two older quilts that need a hanging sleeve attached. 

8. I've started class projects stored in project boxes.

9. I've a temperature quilt from 2021 that needs quilting.

Sigh. . . .

I could go on; but I decided that this list was varied and big enough! If another pandemic happens in the next five years, my little space will keep me occupied! I've spent more than a decade "acquiring" the projects and it is going to take time to reduce the number of them. 

Seriously, this list will evolve as I learn what what works. A list is helpful. My current thought is to incorporate an item or two from the list on my monthly and quarterly goals. Let's see how that works for a few months and a couple of quarters!

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Lone Star Quilt--Ditch Quilted and More

Back view of ditch quilting
On Friday, August 19, 2022, I began ditch quilting the Lone Star quilt that I began in a Saturday workshop in January 2021! On Friday, August 27, I completed the ditch quilting. 

I pin basted the project pinned last February; but, I hadn't taken the time to get it started. Ditch quilting, while necessary, is so boring to do. I chose a monofilament thread in the needle and red Aurifil 60 weight thread in the bobbin.

Ditch quilted Lone Star
Over the next few days, I'll determine the thread and the quilting designs. It would be great if I could make progress on the quilting of this project next month! With each project I quilt, I can sure tell that I have less time to quilt before my arms and hands numb. I notice the numbness more on my left side. This is residue left from being rear ended in a car accident 13 years ago. Sigh. . ."maturing" sure isn't for sissies! 

This was goal number seven on my August list. It was goal number four on my third quarter list. It was also my one monthly goal!

Batik sleeve
I'm linking to Patty at Elm Street Quilts. Please check out the link to see all the other inspirational projects! Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal - August Finish Link-up

I also made and attached a sleeve to a quilt for a friend in my Mystery Mavens small group. She made Frolic which was the Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt in 2019. She doesn't like attaching sleeves and decided to pass on entering the quilt in the upcoming Mt. Hood Quilt guild show. The show, Quilts of the East Wind will be held October 14 and 15.

My friend, while participating in Bonnie's mysteries, doesn't make all the blocks and sets the blocks different from Bonnie. Her quilts are always fun to view. Other people would enjoy seeing her work so I volunteered to add the sleeve. 

Back of my secret sewing project
Honestly, I feel the same way she does about quilt  sleeves! I even measured her quilt and pinned the note with the size to the sleeve so it will be easy for her to complete the entry paperwork. 

I did use a quarter yard of fabric from my stash, which was a win for me! Even better, the fabric was in the "chunk" section of my scraps! It is a batik sleeve because the fabrics in her quilt as well as the back are all batiks. I've now used 64 yards of fabric from my stash this year!

Goal number three on my August list was to do some secret sewing that Gertie, my inner squirrel, convinced me to do. She is pleased with herself because I've finished the project. For now, I'll share the back as it is a secret project. Gertie is busy writing the post. She is most pleased that no yardage was harmed with this project. We made the project out of scraps!

I'll also link to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

Book project
Goal number nine on my August list was to come up with a plan for a project inspired by our current Thread Tales book. We are reading, "Color-A Natural History of the Palette" by Victoria Finlay. 

The cover of the book inspired me with the color palette. In Martha's projects was this Costa Rica star project from Judy Mathieson's "Mariner's Compass Quilts--New Directions" book.

The colors in the project were what I envisioned. The project has issues. I'll write about that in a future post. For now, I'm going to try to make it work. If you have suggestions about how to inset that circle to an oval. . .please share!

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Two Cross Stitch Projects Fully Finished (FF)

Auditioning the frame
The two cross stitch projects that I began in London are FULLY FINISHED! When I packed the little kits, my plan was to fully finish them on my trip. While I did complete the cross stitch, I didn't have enough materials available to finish the items.

The first kit that I finished was the "Love one Another" kit. As I placed the plastic frame that came with the kit over the cross stitch work, I discovered the frame was too small! Hm m m. . .perhaps this was the reason that the kit was on sale for a dollar!

Lacing the edges
I paused. What to do? The kit was for a refrigerator magnet. I planned to add a hanger and turn it into an ornament or a piece of art for someone who loves blue. I thought about searching for a larger frame. I thought about making it into a pin cushion or a mug rug or a tiny wall hanging. 

Then I decided that what was most important was that I finish the work. So while I liked the hearts at the bottom of the piece, I allowed the frame to cover them. 

Finished view
I cut a piece of card stock and using some heavy thread from my grandmother's thread stash, I laced the edges together. I started in the middle on one of the sides and worked my way around the piece. 

It was a bit of a fiddly job. I needed to flip the piece over to ensure that I was keeping the design centered. Sometimes I was and sometimes, I needed to do a little correction. This was the first time that I tried this method for finishing cross stitch. I liked the results and will make this my go to method for finishing future pieces.

I also added a piece of ribbon as the hanger. Then I placed the work in the frame and slipped on the back. The back clipped snuggly under the edge of the frame. I like how it looks. It is a small piece. It measurers two inches x two and half inches.

Note on the back
Then I moved on to finish the second cross stitch piece which was the "All hearts come home for Christmas" piece. I followed the same format as I did with the first piece. Because I wasn't inserting this work into a frame, I used a second piece of the card stock that came in the kit to use to center the design.

Once I had the work secured to the piece of card stock, I added the lace. I hand basted a thread along the edge of the lace and used this thread to gather the lace until it fit the edge of the ornament. Then I hand stitched the lace in place. I added the hanger and the back. It measures about two and a half inches by four and a half inches.

This piece was also finished! I thought that it would take me much longer to finish these two pieces. I probably spent a couple hours total to get these projects finished. Because this truly was an ornament, I wrote the recipient's name, our grandparent names and the year. It's cute and it's special . . .just like the recipient!

Finished front
This was goal number seven on my third quarter list. It was goal number four on my August list. I am glad that I have written these goal lists, otherwise, these finished cross stitch pieces wouldn't have been fully finished!