Thursday, October 28, 2021

By Gertie: Squirrel Party . . . It's a Blog Hop!!!!!!

Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your inner voice--Steve Jobs

Hi, I'm Gertie, Terry's inner squirrel. Today, we are celebrating the improvement in our relationship with a squirrel party and blog hop. I've taken over Terry's blog to pen this post which is also part of a blog hop. We are linking up with Sally, Darlene of Creative Lattitude's squirrel. Sally is the one who helped Terry to finally listen to my voice. I will always be grateful to her. Sally is the one behind this blog hop. She has prizes and the more blogs you visit, the more opportunities you have to win. 

Regarding the other blogs, please visit, Samantha, Carol of Quilt Schmitt For The Love Of Fabric's squirrel, Winnie, Wendy of Pieceful Thoughts of My Quilting Life's squirrel and Stormy, Linda of Texas Quilt Girl's squirrel. Have some cake, some nuts and play with us! 

I began this post with that quote from Steve Jobs because Terry used to let other people drown out my voice. When speaking nicely didn't work, I would go into "excited" mode. I jumped up and down. I flipped my tail. I screamed to get her attention. She would cover her ears and ignore

Some of Gertie's in town buddies attending
Over the years of our relationship, I've not always supported Terry's efforts. She fusses way too much and it takes her f o r e v e r to finish a project. I love to start new projects, to play with new tools, to learn new techniques and to cut into luscious fabrics. I can load charges on Terry's credit card faster than you can say "charge it!" While I could start at least one new project every day and I've been known to start more than one in a day, I have agreed to temper myself. . . somewhat. Terry has agreed to listen when I speak and to work on becoming less fussy. She is a work in progress on those two fronts; but, at least she is acknowledging my presence!

When she began quilting, she would only purchase fabrics for a specific project. I couldn't work with that approach because there are too many fabrics available for purchase to not bring more into the stash. Over time, I convinced her to buy fabrics because the price was right or because it was an interesting color or print. For a few years, she added many fabrics to her stash. Those purchases made me happy. I remember those shopping excursions fondly.

An aerial view of the festivities
Looking back, I should have had conversations with her about what she could make with the fabrics.  I should have had conversations about which fabrics would play nicely with one another. Instead, I was intent on "storing" more fabric. After all, I am a squirrel and stockpiling is one of my best traits! For years, the fabric sat in tubs which suited me fine; but, it bothered Terry. 

Seeing that all that stash was still waiting for "some day," I decided to encourage Terry to cut into those fabrics. To my surprise, she resisted. Terry didn't want to use a fabric in case it would be the perfect addition to a project down the road. Or, the fabric wasn't quite the right one for a project she was considering. Or, there wasn't enough yardage of the fabric.

I thought if Terry joined a creative group and if Terry made some smaller projects, she'd begin using her stash. I even encouraged her to take classes that were organized through her guild. In the fall of 2006, she joined a quilting book book club. Terry has finished a number of projects that relate to the books she and her group have read. She signed up for lots of classes through her guild.

The prizes
Unfortunately, she didn't check her stash before heading out to the local quilt shop to procure supplies for her projects. Fortunately for me, she started many projects. Unfortunately for her, she finished few. Unfortunately for us, our relationship took a header because her stash grew faster than her finishes did.

This year, we had a break through. In the past when Terry was stuck on a project, I'd "help" her to start a new project to let the previous project marinate. The problem happened when she didn't come up with a solution or she'd get to a stuck spot in the new project. You likely can guess what happened. I'd get her to start another project. I am a squirrel. After all, starting projects is another one of my traits!

The cake with a sprinkle of powdered sugar
The turn around point in our relationship happened when she named me. I like being Gertie. I feel important, honored and respected. I suggested that we brainstorm when she encountered a stuck spot in a project. She agreed to listen. I agreed to listen to her ideas. We both agreed to provide positive feed back to each other. Since we've come to this truce, we haven't raised our voices to each other. Together, we've made good decisions and finished more projects in a year than ever before in her quilting career!

She's been using fabric from her stash for backings, backgrounds and in the tops when the fabric is "right." If there are leftovers, those may become another project. If there isn't enough, she finds fabrics to add so it will work. When we shop to fill in colors that we need, she walks around the shop the first time letting me look and pet all the fabrics. I love taking this walk! On her second walk, we choose the fabrics that will fit best into the stash or project. We generally purchase small amounts like a half yard. 

Terry also has been tracking how much fabric comes in to the stash as well as how much goes out of the stash. With every project finish, she lists a note regarding the stash. This year, we have used more than last year; but, we've also purchased more fabric than last year so our net usage is less. However, it is less!

Our first project to truly take advantage of our improved relationship is the "Tea" quilt. Terry posted about making the top last Sunday. We finished the quilting and are working on attaching the facing, sleeve and label. We also made four kitchen hanging towels that she posted about last Wednesday. 

My favorite way of eating the cake

It was my idea to gift these to four readers of this post who leave a comment on this post about how you interact with your inner squirrel or your inner voice. You have until 8AM PST on Monday, November 1 to leave your comment. You also need to be a reply blogger so Terry can notify the winners. Winners have 24 hours to reply to Terry's e-mail with their postal address information. The packages will be on their way to the winners as soon as possible. Anyone with a mailing address is eligible to enter in the hanging towel giveaway.

Terry did bake the chocolate cake with no frosting that I asked her to make. It is a sourdough chocolate cake recipe that came from her husband's mom. She got it from the mom of a friend of her daughter's. Terry has been baking this cake for 41 years. Terry's sourdough starter originated from her grandmother Hazel. Terry has kept it going for more than forty years! I twisted her arm until she agreed to share her recipe. I like this cake with a little powdered sugar sprinkled on top at serving, or with ice cream, or on its own with nuts on the side! 

Sourdough Chocolate Cake
Mix together and let set in a warm place for two to three hours until it starts to smell "yeasty:"
1/2 Cup thick starter, 1 1/2 Cup flour, 1 Cup warm water, 1/4 Cup dried milk*
Cream together:
1 Cup sugar, 1/2 Cup shortening, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla
Add two eggs beating well after each addition.
Add sourdough mix.
Stir in 3 ounces melted baking chocolate**. Beat with mixer one minute more. Pour into a 9"x13" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes. Test doneness with a toothpick. A little left on is better.

* Terry leaves out the dried milk. Dairy is not her friend! **Instead of 3 ounces of baking chocolate, you can use 3 ounces of cocoa and add 1 Cup chocolate chips.

The photographers favorite way of eating the cake
I look forward to many more collaborative projects, journeys and finishes with Terry. I appreciate that she was a good assistant for this party. Today, she is at a retreat so I will be a good squirrel and manage the clean up on my own. I also appreciate the photography skills of Miss J and Miss K who provided the coverage of this event.

Life is good! I'm closing with a quote from Bonnie Hunter. Then, I'm off to have my cake sprinkled with powdered sugar topped with ice cream and NUTS on the side. We might even break into the wine once we finish our sparkling tea.

Remember to visit our squirrel party blog hop host Sally as well as Winnie Samatha and Stormy to be eligible for even more prizes. This is the best squirrel party EVER! 

Have the courage and the heart to follow your intuition today and every day--Bonnie Hunter


Linda said...

Gertie you are hilarious! Loved your post, and the overhead shot is my favorite - lol!

piecefulwendy said...

Gertie, you clever squirrel, you! I'm glad you are working with Terry and her inner voice. She's a talented creative and needs to let that voice sing! I hope you treat yourself to some tasty acorns today to celebrate our inner squirrel party! said...

Linda, this is Gertie. Thank for letting me know that I'm hilarious. Terry has had other descriptive words for me which I hope are history! The credit for the overhead shot goes to the photographers who were able to capture that shot. Thankfully, they didn't record the aftermath when my beaver friend attempted a perfect 10 dive off his platform into a tea cup. He is a swimmer after all so his dive wasn't totally unexpected.! said...

Wendy, I agree with you that Terry is a talented creative. She is too close to her projects to see what I see. I'm more of a pecan gal. I've been reaching into the pecan stash and feeling quite . . .satisfied. Although, Terry is going to notice when she wants to bake a loaf of banana bread in a couple of days. She'll get over it!

Unknown said...

Gertie, you are fabulous and a much needed part of the creative process. Keep being you!

Pat Curtis said...

Gertie you certainly keep Terry on her toes. I believe several of your relatives live down the hill here at my place. Hard to stay focused with so MANY beautiful,fun fabrics to play with. Perhaps I shall adopt a "Gertie" of my own to stay focused. said...

Pat, You've met my cousins! Look out, they tend to take over; but, I know they've been trying to access your beautiful stash ever since you moved in! --Gertie!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Oh, Gertie, you and I would get along great! There is an inner squirrel at my house, too, but she hasn't been named yet. Meanwhile she's been hard at work convincing me to try all kinds of things, and I even finish a few! Fun post! said...

Diann, Your inner squirrel and I would get along great! I am so into the next new shiny project or tool or fabric. . . Nurture your friend and she will support you always--Gertie

Carol Andrews said...

Bertie I must say you and Terry are definitely building a perfect relationship. I hope Carl is reading your post. What a fun party and beautiful set up you have arranged for your friends. It’s wonderful that Terry gets to go to a retreat while you are holding down the Fort and hosting the party. I really enjoyed seeing your pretty towels and had to spend time reading some of Terry’s other posts and seeing her beautiful tea quilt.
Samantha (but you can call me Sam if you’d like). said...

Sam--The party is going strong. It is good that Terry's at a virtual retreat so we can kick up our heels. I hope she is getting close to a finish on a couple of projects. I'll check on your progress tomorrow. We had fun creating the Tea quilt as well as making those hanging towels. Thank you for checking out Terry's previous posts. Best wishes on helping Carol make progress on her flannel quilt!--Gertie

Sewgirl said...

That cake looks Devine! I love chocolate cake. Thanks for sharing the recipe. And I love the idea of attached towels. My husband is always walking away with the one at the end of the sink! Thanks for sharing. said...

Sewgirl, That chocolate cake is Devine! I hope you will make the recipe too. Those attached towels do serve a purpose because at the very least they stay in place! Thanks for commenting on my post today.--Gertie said...

Unknown--Debbie S--Thanks for your support. I think Terry is beginning to realize how important I am to her. We need each other!--Gertie

Nicole Knott said...

Quite the party ! Keep having fun. Your cold daughter in london xx said...

Nicole, it was quite the party! I missed your mom's help with clean up because she was working on other projects at a virtual retreat. I may venture into the studio today; but, then again, I might relax. We enjoyed a little too much wine at the party. As for being cold, you will have to work that out with her. Do you have a particular quilt in mind? Or, are you thinking about a new project. I LOVE starting new projects!!! I do have lots of fun with your mom.--Gertie

KatieQ said...

Gertie, my problem is that my inner squirrel is more assertive than I am. She is able to talk me into buying fabric and threads and starting new projects, but doesn't encourage me to finish any of them. Sometimes, she bullies me into making purchases that we never even start.
Perhaps, I should have an honest discussion with her and explain that life has restrictions on time and money. I hope she is receptive. Does Terry's recipe use fed sour dough or discard? said...

Katie, Yes! You and your inner squirrel must have a conversation over a pot of chamomile tea to discuss finishing!!!! I suspect your squirrel hasn't felt the exuberance one gets when the last stitch is placed into a project. There is also the exuberance one gets when the recipient oohs and ahs over the project. For me, these feelings are at least as good as a purchase or beginning a new project. It is amazing how much money we have saved when we work on finishes and it is amazing at how we can find time when we are approaching a finish to spend more time on the project.

Terry always feeds her sourdough starter and lets it sit overnight and then she takes off the amount she needs for the recipe. She is stickler for using her starter this way. I think she would get more baking done if she used a different process; but, she isn't ready to try an alternative method.

Thank you for your comment and best wishes on your conversation. Let me know how it goes--Gertie

teachpany said...

Cute post. I'm not sure how my inner squirrel and I communicate yet. I'll have to give it some thought, and maybe name her. Mostly, I have deadlines and may start a project early, but sometimes, too often, the deadlines loom and I rush to get it done. Congrats on the ribbons on the quilts. said...

Teachpany, you must name your squirrel! Terry is working on rushing at the beginning of the deadline instead of at the end of the deadline. . . .project management isn't one of the sharpest tools in her wheelhouse! Thank you for stopping by and for the congrats on the quilts. I'll share that info with Terry.--Gertie

Raewyn said...

I'm very late to the party but I just wanted to say Hi and I enjoyed the post! Although I've been following Darlene and Sally for a while I hadn't actually put much thought into coming up with an agreement with my inner squirrel. Sadly I've been sitting on her for too long and her and I need to come up with some sort of agreement to reach a nice balance. Your cake looks delicious! said...

Raewyn, Thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Brew a pot of tea. Over a cup, have a chat with your squirrel. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much she can actually help you. You only need to channel her energy in the direction that will help you where you need it at the time when you need it! That cake was delicious! I highly recommend it. I wish Terry would bake it more often!--Gertie