Owen Thomas Deck

Sunday, November 27, 2011 6 Comments »
I finally got some good pictures of the little peanut.  He looks like a clone of his big brother, Ian.  My DIL Jamie says he is the most calm and most laid back baby of her entire brood.   And dollars to doughnuts, Mrs. Goodneedle, and Nancy, he's going to be a redhead too. 

Rainy Day

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 5 Comments »

Chilly, rainy, day off from work.  Just the right kind of day for doing laundry and having a cup of soup and a sammie made with my special tuna salad.   And binding baby Owen's flannel quilt.   And watching the DVD series, Why Quilts Matter.  Excellent binding-on-a-rainy-day-after-eating-a tuna-sammie entertainment! 

A Racey Post

Sunday, November 20, 2011 2 Comments »
Jelly Roll Races, that is!  Actually, there was no racing involved, since everything was done in the quiet of my own sewing room, and the stop watch stayed in the drawer. 

I'm sure you have read about the idea of a Jelly Roll Race, or  Jelly Roll 1600 quilt top.  I've been intrigued with the concept for a while, but wasn't juiced enough to try it until I saw this post on Jackie's blog.  The race part wasn't what did it, it was the no-brainer simplicity. 

Take a jelly roll, or the cut-from-your-stash strip equivalent, sew the strips together, end-to-end as you would for binding, then fold the whole darned 1600" length in half to stitch along one edge, cut along one side & repeat the fold/stitch/cut routine until you have a quilt top.  You don't have any control over where the strips will land in the finished top, so there is no point in trying to plan the strip sewing order.  Ridiculously easy. 

Some of the finished tops in Jackie's post, just did not speak to me -- they looked a bit choppy.  They were still nice tops, but not what I was looking to make.  The ones I did like, however, were the batik tops, and one that was done with all black and white prints.  I think the trick is to not use so much glaring color contrasts, and to use fabrics with good texture.
So how did mine turn out?  The first one was great.  It is intended for my nephew and his fiance.  Their living room needs some color --it's your basic beige, with a brown sofa and one picture with some teal in it on the wall.   I picked a Bali Pop that had blues, teals and some browns.  I liked the way it turned out.  When it's folded and draped on the back of the sofa, it will bring a lot of color to the room.

Flush with success, I tried another, this time featuring a Bali Pop that had purples in it, for my purple-loving niece.  It did not turn out well.  Similar colors were lumped together, and a number of the diagonal joins ended up in stacked in rows instead of scattered over the surface.  I think that may have been because I strayed from the magic formula & stuck in one or two additional strips.  Then it struck me.  Why not cut it in sections and re-piece it so that the flaws were not so obvious?  It worked.

OK, so those diagonal joins are still there on the bottom right, but it looks a whole lot better than it did. 

Would I do another one?  Less than 3 hours for a good sized top?  Yep, I would.  I'm wondering what cutting some of the strips in half or into differing sizes would do to the finished layout.  I'm also wondering what a whole bunch of Kaffe Fassett fabrics would look like, especially if I stayed with one color family.  Seriosly folks, it's questions like these that keep me up at night.

Here are some random Jelly Roll Race links:  here, here, here (where they do a variation by putting a 2.5" square between each strip), and here.


Yowzer! Happiness Abounds!

Saturday, November 19, 2011 8 Comments »
First, let me introduce you to Owen Thomas Deck, the newset Deckette. 

He was expected somewhere around Decemeber 4th, but decided Wednesday, Novemeber 16th, was more to his liking.  Weighing in at a not-to-shabby 6 lbs, 6 oz, he measured a very looong 21".  Master Owen joins Mommy and Daddy Deck (Jamie and Andy), and siblings Annabelle (almost 6), Ian (not quite 5), and Maddie (19 months). 

And, on another very happy note, my niece Jessie Lynne Grasso became engaged to to Jordan Grater on Thursday. 

They are two absolutely wonderful people, as perfect a couple as they look in their picture.  No wedding date yet for JG2, but my sister is going to have a very very busy time ahead.  Step-son Jesse Michael is getting married in May, and son JJ's wedding is in October. 

So, what do you think I will be doing in the upcoming months??? 


Sunday, November 13, 2011 7 Comments »
That's Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  If you are a fan of fresh, home-made bread, you have to try it.  It's nothing short of a revolution in bread making.

Basically, you take all of 5 minutes to dump your water, yeast, salt/sugar and flour into a large plastic container (a dough bucket).  You mix it up with a big ol' wooden spoon until everything is incorporated, then you let it sit at room temp for about 90 minutes.  You can then cut off a hunk right then and there to bake, or you can just put that bucket of dough in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, cutting off a hunk whenever the mood strikes, and bake a nice little loaf.  No kneeding.  No double-rising.  Wish I could say No calories, but that ain't happenin'.

The only special equipment you need is a big plastic container, a pizza/baking stone (I just leave mine in the oven all the time), and a pizza/bread peel.  You can substitute a rimless cookie sheet, or even a cookie sheet turned over for the peel. 
Yeast, bread flour and a little cornmeal (to put on the peel under your ball of dough to make it slide off easily) are the basic ingredients. 

I have all three of the books, and to say they are the best thing since sliced bread is an understatement.   The newest book, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day, has a method for making pizza dough that keeps in the fridge, and has you making your pizza in 10 minutes.  OK, that doesn't include the time to heat the oven.

Now I've also got all kinds of specialty flours, like wheat, rye and pumpernickle, as well as a number of nifty things to make my bread even more yummy and healthy.  My favorite place to get all of these if King Arthur Flour.  My local supermarket carries a number of the King Arthur Flours, but not the really cool stuff like vital wheat gluten, wheat berries, deli rye flavor, or Artisan Bread Topping. 

Check out the blog and check out the videos.    Winter's coming -- there's nothing like a big pot of soup and some home made bread to warm you up!


Saturday, November 12, 2011 0 Comments »
My friend Jan send this like to me in an email.  Done like you've never seen before! This video from the small Yupiq Eskimo Village of Quinhagak, Alaska , was a school computer project intended for the other Yupiq villages in the area. To the surprise of the villagers, over a half million people have viewed it!  Enjoy!

In Flanders Field

Friday, November 11, 2011 3 Comments »

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915.  Hostilities in that "War To End All Wars" did not cease until the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.  

We set aside this day to remember all who have served, and all who continue to serve, to preserve our freedom.  Originally called Armistice Day, the day is now commemorated here in the United States as Veterans Day, and in Britain and Canada as Rememberance Day.  The poppy, which bloomed in blood red profusion across the fields of Flanders, has come to symbolize the sacrifice of those who gave their lives.