In the Time Out Chair

Sunday, December 09, 2012 9 Comments »
Yep, I'm sitting on the time out chair because I have neglected the blog.  Not enough hours in the day, sorry to say. 
There are several projects that have lingered on and on.  This is the one that has weighed heaviest on me:

It is a wedding present for my nephew, Jesse Michael and his bride Rebecca,  They were married in May.  I have been wanting to do a kaleidoscope quilt for the longest time.  I was gung-ho at first, but then it got old really really fast.  All of those bias edges were quite a challenge, and each block require a lot of muscle & spray starch to force the centers of the scopes into submission when they insisted on "nippling up".  The hand sewing on the binding should be finished today or tomorrow, and then it will be shipped to Park City, Utah, where Jesse Michael is the new Executive Chef at Hyatt's Escala Lodge.  The quilt is quite large - 101" square - but the newly weds have a king bed; Jesse is 6"8 and Becca is 6'.  One whimsical note is the paw-print fabric I found from the Pokey Puppy line to play into their love for their Lab mix Piper.  With the weather out there, they are going to need something warm!
The next quilt is a jelly roll 1600, made from 2.5" strips of Kaffe Fassett fabric.  I just love it and want to make more.  It's not bound yet, but that should get done this week.  It's for my SIL's brother Chris and his new fiancĂ© Colleen.  They sold a house, bought a new house and got engaged, all within a week at the end of the summer.   Their new house is huge and unique.  Built by an architect, it reminds me of something by Frank Lloyd Wright:  big, open spaces, floating staircase (think Brady Bunch), lots of stone and wood.  Not for everyone, but it is so them!  The problem is that right now everything is beige, brown and so very neutral.  I'm hoping this will perk it up on the back of the sofa:

Last but not least is a table runner I made for my new boss and his wife.  They just moved into a home that is built around a one-room house that dates back to the very early 1800's, and possibly late 1700's.  I found the pattern, Pie Birds, in a book by Kim Deihl, called Simple Charm.  There a number of other wonderful patterns in the book, but this one was on the cover and just spoke to me.  I now have enough 1.5" strips to make several more, and you can betcha one will be for me.  The runner is 15" x 43".  It's mostly CW scraps, but there are a few surprised in there as well.  It would make a great leader-ender project.

Shameless Bragging

Thursday, September 27, 2012 7 Comments »
Our newest grand baby arrived today, one day after her "due date".

Her name is Sophia Ruth Ojeda, and she clocked in at a whopping 9 lbs, 6 oz., and 22".  She is named Ruth after her great grandmother on her daddy's side.  Big sister Alma Eleanora is named after my mother, Eleanor.  I think it is lovely that both of them will carry a bit of their family history forward, don't you? 

You can tell that Miss Alma will be a wonderful big sister!

Anticipating #6

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 3 Comments »
Daughter Kate and her husband Paul are expecting baby #2 at the end of the month.  She will be grandbaby #6.  As you can see, big sister Alma is already practicing to be a good helper when her little sister arrrives. 

I've made a flannel quilt for each and every grandchild.  Here are Owen's and Maddie's. They are just two 1.5 yard pieces of good quality flannel, sandwiched with batting, then quilted on my Bernina.  Nothing fancy, but perfect for wrapping around the stroller or throwing on the floor as a soft play mat.  They wash beautifully and wear like iron.  Alma's quilt wasn't as fancy because Kate and Paul didnt want to know their baby's gender, but this time Kate knows she's carrying a girl and requested a ruffle!

I like the flannel from Valori Wells -- such a whimsical print, with nice strong colors.  Right now it's called Petunia's Fancy because I've been calling this no-name baby girl Petunia.  I just know she'll love it!

BIG Pillows

Sunday, September 02, 2012 7 Comments »
My daughter Kate asked me to make BIG pillows for the reading corner in Alma's room last Christmas.  Her nursery was done mostly in fabrics from Kate Spain's Fandango line.  I got 24" pillow forms, then made covers using leftovers from her quilt and bedding; the backs of the pillows were made with fleecy fabric.
Alma is expecting a little sister in a few weeks.  So far, Kate and Paul have not divulged a name, however I've been calling her Petunia because I have to call her something.   Anyway, Petunia will take over Alma's nursery (and those wonderful pillows), while Alma moves into a nice, new room.  A nice new "puh-pull" room.  Actually the walls are light lavender, and the rug that is the focal point has eye-popping shades of purple, magenta, orange, green and teal. 
Time for some new giant pillows!   Back when Kate Spain's Terrain line came out, I bought several pre-cuts and some yardage in anticipation of Alma's moving into a big girl room.  The colors are absolutely perfect!  Here are the wonky-pieced tops for the pillows:
These are really big at 24" x 24" each.  They are pieced on a batting foundation.  I'm debating whether or not to do some loopy quilting on top just to keep some of those wider strips from shifting.  I have some nice, soft lavender fleece for the backs & will set them off with either purple or magenta piping. 
And yes, I've got enough to make Miss Alma a big girl quilt.   Kate's already picked Julie Herman (a.k.a. Jaybird)'s Off the Rail Pattern.  This will be one happy happy room!


Sunday, August 26, 2012 4 Comments »
Some time last year, I saw a kaleidoscope quilt on Subeesews blog.  I had to make one!  I decided it would be the wedding quilt for my nephew Jesse Michael and his bride, Rebecca.  I startd it, then became distracted by other projects.  As happens with a lot of great ideas, the thrill wore off after about 3 rows of blocks, and what had been an adventure became a millstone around my neck.
Well maybe not a millstone, but a nag at my conscience every time my ADQD pulled me in other directions.  Their wedding was in May.  It's almost September, so I figured I'd better get cranking to get it done before the next family wedding and the arrival of the next grandchild. 
The last two weekends have been devoted to just that.  I had some extra incentive because Jesse Michael, who is a chef, will be moving from Atanta to Utah in a few weeks to become the new Executive Chef at Hyatt's Escala Lodge in Park City.  It gets a lot colder there in the winter than it does Atlanta; he and Rebecca will really need that quilt to keep them warm!

It measures 100" x 100".  Yep it's big, but Jesse Michael is 6'8", and Rebecca is 5'11" -- they need a big quilt!    I am ordering the backing today.  I'm going with a wide back instead of piecing one because I just don't feel like wrestling with all of that fabric.  As soon as it arrives, it will go off to my local long-armer, who will bring it to life!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9 Comments »

For those of you who were kind enough to offer words of encouragement (or even just send a kind thought my way) in the midst of my recent hearing crisis, I thank you.  Your messages made me feel a lot better about this first of many milestones in the aging process.  I'm trying to approach it with a sense of humor, but there have been moments when  "funny" wasn't enough -- you've helped me through that.

Here's an update.

I am scheduled for surgery to correct the deviated septum on Friday, August 3.  My surgeon is very good, and says the procedure only takes about 20 minutes.  Contrary to the way in which some nose guys do the procedure, he does not use packing afterwards, so no 8 foot wads of gauze to pull out 2 days later.   He claims I will be back to work on Monday.  He'd better do a good job, because I'm even more dangerous with my rotary cutter when I'm under the influence of anaesthesia  than usual. 
I also visited the Happy Hearing Aid Center and Car Wash to see what options were best for me.   The process was painless (except for the finances!) and I'll pick up my aids on Friday morning.  They are tiny, fit behind the ear, and have a clear, almost invisible wire going into the ear canal speaker;  there is a remote control to adjust the volume.  In addition, they are bluetooth capable, so I can hear my cell phone in my head once I get it hooked up.  I can probably also open my garage door.  Of course they also cost an arm and a leg and are not covered under medicare.  Guess the government doesn't care if we old folks get run over by political campaign bus because we can't hear it coming. 

I will be able to test these babies out at work on Friday afternoon, then at Nancy's church's Quilt Day on Saturday.  No more talking behind my back, sisters!  They also come right in time for the classes I will be taking at Quilt Odyssey in Hershey PA next week.  I was kind worried that I might hear one of the instructors incorrectly and accidently cut two 12" strips instead of twelve 2" strips.  Now I am good to go!

Thanks again everyone, for your kind words of encoragement and support -- bloggers are the best!


Friday, July 06, 2012 9 Comments »

My mom’s hearing, or lack thereof, was legendary.  I’m not sure when her hearing started to diminish, but by the time she was in her 70’s, dinner conversations approached sitcom level, with mom jumping into conversations based on a misheard word, and then going off on a totally unrelated tangent.  The one where she mistook the word “woozy” for “floozy” was particularly memorable. 

At the beginning of May, I came down with the same summer cold that seems to have afflicted many of you.  My sinuses were stuffed up, and then one evening my left ear just closed.  That’s the only way I can describe it – it felt like it slammed shut.  One minute I could hear out of it, and the next I couldn’t.  When I talked, I could barely hear myself – felt like I was 100 feet under water. 

With rest, antibiotics and a trip to the beach, the cold finally went away, but my ear continued to be stuffed up.  Some days were better than others, but I could not hear people at work, I missed two-thirds of what was being said at our guild meeting, and I became terribly self-conscious about always having to ask people to repeat themselves or speak up.  I even started to wonder if some of my co-workers weren’t speaking extra softly just to get my goat.  Hubby suggested a visit to his ENT.

The ENT visit was yesterday.  Who knew that I had a badly deviated septum that was almost totally blocking my left sinus passages and Eustachian tube?  The blockage had kept that tube from draining, so my left middle ear canal was swollen shut.  Dr. Nose put me on a reducing daily dosage pack of steroids to reduce the inflammation and wants to see me in a couple of weeks to chat about septum surgery.  After a day of drugs, I do notice a slight difference in my ear and a really big difference in my stiff  knees.   The thought of septum surgery, though,  is keeping me awake at night. 

Wait, there’s more!

While I was there, he suggested a hearing test.  The one with the trained audiologist, the sound proof  booth and the big headphones.  I failed.  Boy did I fail.  I have turned into my mother.  According to the tests, I have roughly a 50% loss of hearing in BOTH ears.  Apparently my hearing has been going for quite a while, but the clogged ear thing brought everything to a head (no pun intended).  That’s hearing aid territory, folks.  What’s next, a Seeing Eye dog?
So in 2 weeks I also have an appointment with the Hearing Well Center, where we will talk about my options – the options being expensive hearing aids, wildly colored hearing aids, barely visible hearing aids or big-ass ear trumpets.  If any of you have experiences along these lines, please feel free to share – I’m in uncharted waters here and need all the advice I can get.  In the mean time, can you just speak up?  Eh?


Monday, June 18, 2012 1 Comment »
I like the Fat Quarter Shop.  It's a great site to cruise,  oogle and make wish lists.  But did you know that, in addition to selling fabrics and patterns, they also have quite a collection of free patterns?  F.R.E.E.  No cost.  Yours for the downloading. 

The patterns are from all the major fabric manufacturers and look like they are ones that were released in conjunction with specific fabric lines.  There are patterns from Moda. Art Gallery,  Michael Miller, Robert Kauffman, Henry Glass  & Lecein, to name a few.  Go take a look and build your idea stashDid I mention that the patterns are free?

Click Here To Go To FQS Free Patterns

Just Beachy

Sunday, June 17, 2012 5 Comments »
I just got back from a week at my sister's vacation house on Ocean Isle Beach, NC.  She was kind enough to lend it to my lovely daughter, Kate, and her husband, Paul.  They, in turn, invited us, as well as Paul's parents, and his brother, who was accompanied by his soon-to-be fiance.  Quite a full house!   Oh, did I forget to mention Alma?  Miss Alma is now 15 months old, curious about everything and really enjoyed being the center of the beachy universe.   Kate, who is six months pregnant, enjoyed two sets of grandparents sharing the child care responsibilities with her asd Paul.

Here is Alma with Mommy and Daddy:

and here she is all by herself:

She LOVED the ocean -- could not get enough of it -- and really liked playing in the sand.  One of her most favorite activities, however, was chasing down (stalking?) other children.  Any child under the age of 4 was fair game.  She would follow them around, trying to engage them in "conversations", or trying to give them a hug.  I think having been in day care has contributed to making her a real social butterfly.

I don't like to spend a lot of time in the sun, so I took my Baby (the featherweight), to work on some projects.  I finished the binding on the Flea Market Fancy quilt, got a good part of a wedding gift quilt done for Kate's best friend, and finished up the top from the McCall's Mystery Quilt.  You can read more about that Mystery here.  The fabrics I chose were very girlie, from Chez Moi's Sophie line.  This is not a small quilt -- it's 82" x 82".   There was no  particular recipient in line for this one, but Kate allowed as how Alma and her little sister might like it as a quilt to share. 


The back will be pieced with that print focus fabric (in a pink color-way), and the turqouise.  The binding will be turquoise.  I am pleased with how it turned out & would even consider doing it in other fabrics for a totally different look.
Well, I need to unpack.  There is also a very large pile of laundry wainting.  Back to work tomorrow (ugh).   I will post pix of that wedding quilt later this week, and will also post the Mystery once it's back from the long-armer. 


Fancy Fleas Finish

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 4 Comments »
The flimsey that I posted here is finished!  Just in time for Denise Schmidt's visit to the Philly Modern Quit Guild in a week or so.  I am very pleased with the way it turned out. 

My usual quilt holder was not avaiable, so I had to improvise with a few bottles of wine, 2 merlots and a shiraz,to be exact.    We quilters can be very inventive.   

A Wedding Kaleidoscope

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 5 Comments »
Many months ago, I saw an interesting quilt on SuBeeSews blog.  It was a kaleidoscope quilt, made with a 45 degree ruler.  Here are SuBee's posts about her kaleidoscope tops.  I wrote to Sue, asking about the method used to make the quilts, and she was kind enough to send me details instructions, and information on where to get the ruler.  If you are interested, I found a really good tutorial here.   

I thought I would try the technique for the first of many wedding quilts I need to make over the next year.  This quilt is for my nephew, Jesse Michael, and his beautiful bride Rebecca.  They are currently living in Atlanta, where Jesse is a chef at the Grande Hyatt in Buckhead.   They were married here in Pennsylvania on May 5th.   The wedding was absolutely perfect, with the predicted rain holding off.   It could not have been a more perfect day!  Of course the quilt was not done it time.

When I asked Rebecca what colors she liked, she told me that browns and pinks were her favorites.  I hope that the quilt is not too pink for Jesse.  If you look closely, you can see a fabric from the Pokey Little Puppy line -- the newlyweds have a black lab mix named Piper, that pretty much rules their lives, so I thought the paw prints would be fun.  The top is half-way done.

Any suggestions for borders?  I'm struggling on that one.  I could use the dark brown Kaffe.  I've also got a nice dark brown with pink dots and a darkish brown mottle.  Should I pull a narrow border of a light?  Decisions, decisions!Here is what I have so far. 

Do You Etsy?

Sunday, June 03, 2012 4 Comments »
I like to support my LQS, but there are many times when I'm looking for something a little different or for a piece of fabric from an older line -- and now-a-days, "older" can mean a line that just came out a few months ago.  There are also times when I'm looking for a bargain. 

One of the best places I've found to start my search is on Etsy.  Of course there are wonderful hand-crafted items, but there are also oodles of patterns and fabrics, as well as notions for fabric-related crafts.  Need the little D-rings and swivel hooks to make purses, wristlets or key fobs?  How about snaps for children's clothing, or the special laminated cotton for diapers?  The soft elastic bands and flowers to make infant headbands, or ground walnut shells for pincushions.  Zippers in any color and any length?  Etsy's got it all, and more. 

Sophie Collection by Chez Moi for Moda - 1 yard - Overlay - Paisley Flower Multi Color PinkWhere I really find Etsy helpful is in searching for fabric. Usually it's that one more piece from a line that I need for a quilt, or maybe one more charm pack. This week I needed fabric to complete a mystery quilt that Marsha and I are doing from McCall's magazine. I fell in love with a line of fabric called Sophie, by Chez Moi for Moda. Of course it's their old line --a new line is coming out shortly -- so the standard sources only have one or two prints left from the line. Off to Etsy I went.

I found a great new store that had just what I needed.  The owner, Connie, is just getting started on Etsy, but she is certainly an old pro at being accommodating and in communicating.  Within less than a day she had created a special listing just for me to reflect the extra yardage I needed, and adjusted the shipping accordingly.  My fabric is on its way! 

Please check out her store to see if there is anything that strikes your fancy -- her prices are great.  Her Etsy store is Quilt Fabrics by Connie.   She tells me that she will be getting a bunch of new fabric by the end of the month, too!

How do you Etsy?

Pimp My Sewing Machine

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 13 Comments »
Geez, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. 

Several months ago --could have been 6-7 months ago -- someone blogged about vinyl decal sheets you could use to decorate your sewing machine.  I'm not talking about the sets of decals used for Featherweight restoration, I'm talking about flames, and art deco swirls and hot-colored flowers.  As I recall, there were even ones suitable for long-arms.

Do you think I can remember who it was that blogged, or what the web site was for the decals?  Nuh-uh.  Gone from my brain like faster than you can spend a $20 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop. 

I googled until my fingers were numb, but all I could find was a link to a DIY site where someone used Modge Podge to glue fabric hexies to their bland Singer.  Interesting and colorful, but not what I want.  I respect my Berni too much to deface her permanently.  I'm thinking more along the lines of some removable flames to help ignite my mojo.  Who can help a struggling sister quilter?  Does anyone remember that blog or that site?

Fancy Fleas

Monday, May 28, 2012 3 Comments »
Let me get the apology out of the way:  I'm sorry not to have blogged in months.  No real excuse other than a lack of time and a lack of motivation.  A friend of mine once described it as losing her mojo  -- not sure if it was my mojo that was lost or if my ADQD (Atttention Deficit Quilting Disorder) just stole my focus.  Hopefully I can get back into the swing of things and be a more faithful blogger.

This weekend was spent doing laundry, cooking and sewing. There are tons of projects in the works that really need to get done (there's that ADQD again), but I had some charm packs of Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy that were calling my name, so that's what I worked with.


This is the first time I've gone out of the box and let the quilt design itself.  I've never had the guts to wing it before.  I made a ton of HST's, then started arranging them on the design wall.  The result was this asymetrical top.  I like it -- just not sure if I LOVE it.  Wish I'd made it a couple of rows longer.  And I'm not even sure where it will end up.  Could be a baby quilt, or it might be a gift for someone special.  What do you think?


Pins and Needles

Saturday, March 24, 2012 3 Comments »

Happy Cottage Quilter posted a link to the Riley Blake website, where a tutorial for a new (and very nifty) pincushion is posted every Friday.  I checked it out, and those pincusions are way cute -- you ought to check it out too!   All of the tutorials have scads of pictures, and can be downloaded as PDFs. 

And there's a tute for the CHICKEN PINCUSHION I love (cackle cackle)!

Triangle Magic

Friday, March 23, 2012 1 Comment »
I do not advertise products, and heaven knows I'm not on the Blogger with Sponsored Producst list.  I am, however, somewhat shameless about passing on information about products that I think are worthwhile and have made a positive inpact on my quilting.  Triangle Magic, by Quilt Pro, is one of those products.

This little software program allows you to print out triangle paper on your own printer for HSTs in finished sizes from 1" to 7", in eighth inch increments.  They are having a sale now;  the program normally costing $19.95 is now $14.95.  If you like using triangle paper to make perfect HSTs, this represents a significant savings over buying individual packs of papers.  In addition, you can print out one sheet, for making just a few HSTs, or scads of them. 

If you have not used triangle papers before, you might want to give it a try.   Yes, you will have the extra step of ripping the paper off the back of the sewn triangles, but the resulting HSTs are perfect -- no wonkiness and no stretching from having sewn on a bias edge.  I would not recommend them if you need to sew just one or two HSTs, but if you need to sew multiples, they are a great way to go.  And with this program, you don't need to  hunt through your collection of assorted triangle papers only to find that you have 20 different sizes EXCEPT the size you need right then; you just go to your printer and print out exactly what you need. 

The triangle grids can be printed on standard computer paper, using a shortened stitch length (makes tearing the papers much easier) but I prefer newsprint, which is available from a variety of souces, including this one.  The newsprint is thinner, and makes the tearing-off process even easier.  Quilt Pro also has a similar program for quarter square triangles, which I have not tried.  Some of their other products include foundation piecing software and add-ons for Carol Doak's foundation pieced blocks. 

Here is that link again:  Quilt Pro Triangle Magic.  Click on the menu items at the bottom of the web page to see full explanations of what the program is and how it works.  If you end up purchasing the program, let me know how you like it!

I need your expert advice...

Sunday, March 18, 2012 2 Comments »

I am working on a king-sized quilt.  It need it to be generously sized, not skimpy.  So how big should it be?   What is a good proportion for an inner and outer border?

Catching Up

Saturday, March 17, 2012 3 Comments »
Well, now that I have my new computer, I realize why I was so frustrated editing pictures for posting on my old one.  My old CPU, easily 10 years old, had a whopping 8 meg of RAM, and a 500 meg hard drive -- it was virtually top-of-the-line when I bought it, but could no longer handle the demands I made of it.  The new machine is more middle-of-the-road, but has 8 GIG of RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive.   Yowzer.

So now I will begin catching up. 

First in line is the 3rd Jelly Roll 1600 quilt that I did for Christmas.  I gave my neice and my nephew's fiance batik jelly roll quilts for Christmas.  By the time I realized that my step-nephew's fiance would be joining us for Christmas as well; I was only able to get the top done for hers.  I finally pieced the back & sent it off to my FLLQ (Friendly Local Longarm Quilter).  

And here it is!  It's made with a Bali Pop, plus some random batik scaps from my scrap bin, and is named Chablis and Merlot in honor of the Rebecca's love of wine.

I gave it to her today at the end of her bridal shower, and she loved it.  Now I need to get cracking on their wedding quilt.  I'm trying something different this time -- a kaliedescope quilt.  Thanks to Sue, at SuBee Sews for giving me the idea.  You need to check out some of the kaliedescope quilts she has made. 

Leprechauns and Potatoes

Friday, March 16, 2012 2 Comments »
My daughter-in-law, Jamie, makes sure her children remember the Irish heritage from her side of the family.  Aren't these Deck-rechauns the cutest?  Baby Owen isn't quite sure what to make of it all. 

I would not be surprised if some leprechauns make a visit to their house tonight to create a little mischief.   Last year they opened the kitchen cabinets, put the cooking pots in the floor, turned the breakfast room chairs upside down, and even left a few "gold coins".  Those leprechauns are really tricky!

My family, on the other hand, is Pennsylvania German.  I'm going to make some Am-rish Potatoes tomorrow to eat for dessert after our corned beef dinner.  What are Am-rish Potatoes, you ask?  They are candy Irish Potatoes, but made the way our Pennsylvania Amish make potato candy.   Try it with your kids or grandkids -- it's tons of fun, and it's neat to see them turn left-over mashed potatoes into a yummy, sweet treat.

Patti's Am-rish Potatoes

  • 1/4 cup mashed potatoes (made without milk, butter or seasonings)

  • 3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup shredded coconut

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • Cinnamon

  • Put potatoes in large bowl.  Add sugar, vanilla extract, coconut and butter. Mix well. Knead several minutes, adding more sugar, if necessary, to make a stiff dough. Tear off a teaspoon of dough and form into a small log/potato shapes. Roll in cinnamon. Lay on wax paper for 1 hour to dry. Store in an airtight container.


    Monday, March 05, 2012 15 Comments »
    How do you know it's time to put down that glass of wine , turn off the sewing machine, fold your tent for the night and go to bed?


    Sunday, February 19, 2012 9 Comments »
    My daughter's father-in-law, Aurelio, was born in Mexico.  Most of his family lives there, although Aurelio has lived here in Pennsylvania since college.  My son-in-law, Paul, and his 2 brothers spent many summers in Guadalajra with Aurelio's brother Antonio; Antonio's 3 children each spent a year with Tio Aurelio and Tia Lori here in the United States going to school.  Paul's oldest cousin, Julio, was Best Man in Kate and Paul's wedding 5 years ago.

    That's Julio, with his two sisters Carolina and Daniela, at Kate and Paul's rehersal dinner in Puerto Vallarta, June, 2006. 

    Julio has been the perrenial batchelor, but he finally found a woman who could tame his wild ways.  Eleanora is an artist, very independent, and has captured his heart.  Their wedding will be held in the historic town of Tlaquepaque, outside of Guadalajara;  Kate and Paul will be going to the wedding in March, along with the rest of Paul's family.  We are not able to attend, however I wanted to send something very special for Julio and his bride.
    Somehow Kaffe Fasset's fabric remind me of a Mexican fiesta, so that Kaffe quilt I've been working on will travel to Mexico along with Kate and Paul as a gift for Julio and his artist bride.  I finished the top today, and am thrilled at how it turned out.  I'll put the back together tonight so it can go off to the long-armer tomorrow.  Believe me, it's going to be very very hard to part with this one!

    Fiesta de la Boda    Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  82" x 92"

    Double Trouble

    Friday, February 17, 2012 12 Comments »
    I'm having an angry C.O.W.* moment. 

    Google has decided that we need to add an extra layer of security to the commenting process on our blogs.  No more single word verification, with funky words that invite funkier definitions.  Now we have this:

    Can you read that first word?  I can't.  Talk about a PIA!  My eyes are old, my brain is feeble, and I'll thing twice about leaving a comment if it means having to decipher that hot mess.  Bah, humbug and phooey. 

    Given a choice between putting up with the spam, or  making people do that -- especially those of you who do your bloggy reading first thing in the morning or last thing at night -- I choose the former.  Sometimes you just need to let your inner C.O.W. out & take a stand. 

    *  C.O.W.  Cranky Old Woman (with props to Nancy, for having brought the Cult of the C.O.W. to blogland). 

    Addendum:  Lori, at Humble Quilts suggested just turning off the word verification requirement by doing this: 

    Go to Dashboard, settings, comments, scroll down this page until you find word verification- fill in the NO bubble. Click "save settings" at the bottom of the page.

    Of course this leaves you open to potential spam.  You can avoid having spam show up automatically on your blog by turning on comment moderation (same page as shown above).  This won't protect you from receiving spam, but it will allow you to dump it before it shows up on your blog page.   

    Guilty Pleasures

    Sunday, January 22, 2012 9 Comments »
    There are certain "reality" shows I'm addicted to.  Don't get me wrong, I like Downton Abbey, American Masters, and all of those shows that improve my mind.  They allow me to pretend that TV really isn't a vast wasteland, and converse intellectually with my friends.   There is a special appeal, however, to shows like Swamp Loggers and Hillbilly Handfishing. 

    I find many of these shows perfect to watch while I sew.  Some shows, however,  make me really uncomfortable, and are such a train wreck that I can't watch them.  Those would be Toddlers and Tiaras, Dance Moms, Bridezilla, and any of the Housewives.  Sorry, but the women on those shows should be put in padded rooms somewhere and made to watch reruns of those shows over and over. 

    The shows I really like involve some sort of contest:  Top Chef (and Top Chef Masters), Chopped, HGTV Design Stars, All American Handyman, and Project Runway.  LOVE Project Runway, especially the current spin-off Project Runway All Stars (I want to take Mondo home).   On a lesser tier are the ones that try to determine America's Best anything:  Hairdresser, Dog Groomer, or Accessorizer.  Then there are the ones with happy endings, like House Hunters, Say Yes to the Dress, and Holmes on Holmes.  I like those too.  And the all-time train wreck that I could not stop watching, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.

    Come on, fess up.  What are YOUR guilty TV pleasures. 

    Snow and Soup

    Saturday, January 21, 2012 3 Comments »

    We had our first real snow here in the northwestern suburbs of Philadelphia.  It wasn't much of a snow, but it still made all of the snow reflexes kick in:  fill the car's gas tank and park it in the driveway facing out towards the street; get enough food and supplies for an army; bring in firewood to keep it dry; make soup.  And after some shoveling, hubby was sure ready for that soup.

    I have a couple of go-to soup recipes that are ideal for days like today.  Both are based recipes that the lovely owners of our quilting retreat bed and breakfast were kind enough to share.  White Oak, the bed and breakfast,  is in Lancaster County, PA, in the heart of Amish country;  these soups are made for guests by the proprietors' Amish neighbor, Annie. 

    The soup I made today is Turkey Barley, a rich tomato based soup that uses ground turkey and lots of veggies.  As with any good soup, it's nice the first day, but ever so much better the second.  One of the great things about this soup is that you can have it ready to serve in just over an hour. 

    I had a ball of bread dough left in the fridge, along with the caramelized onions I made earlier in the week, so I added some shredded cheese and made a cheese and onion stromboli-like concoction.  It was the perfect to a big bowl of soup on a snowy night. 

    I never make just a single batch of soup; today I quadrupled the recipe. I'll take a big container to daughter Kate and her family tomorrow, pack some up in lunch-sized containers to take to work, make another container for hubby to eat for dinner through the week, and freeze the rest. I do the same thing when I make chili or pasta sauce. To me, having those containers of in the freezer is like having money in the bank.

    Here is the recipe for Pat's version of White Oak Turkey Barley Soup. 

    Getting My Chop On Without the Tears

    Monday, January 16, 2012 4 Comments »
    My quilting friends have me pegged as a gadget lady.  Guilty as charged!  Anything to make a process easier or faster, has my name written all over it.  This gadgeticy extends to the kitchen s well.

    DD Kate had these on her Christmas list.  Both of us adore onions.  Along with garlic, they are one of our major food groups.  Unfortunately, we also suffer from an extreme sensitivity to onion fumes. making it difficult to cut onions, in even the smallest amount, without having to keep wet rags at hand to wipe and sooth our eyes after every slice. 

    I found the goggles on Amazon at a great price (free shipping with Amazon Prime, heh heh), and ordered 3 pair -- one for Kate, one for my sister Sue, and one por moi.  Seriously folks, these have changed my life.  I made caramelized onions yesterday, cutting up roughly 8 lbs of onions, and shed nary a tear.  Sis used them yesterday as well, even sending me a phone picture of her looking really really silly wearing them, but attesting to their life altering qualities. 

    If you get a pair, you can look silly too, and then make this recipe for caramelized onions.  I LOVE caramelized onions.  So good on top of any meat, on burgers or on pizza (my fave)!  This recipe would well for cooking the onions to make a dynomite onion soup, too. 

    Slow Cooker Caremelized Onions

    • Lots and lots of onions.  I use Texas Sweet or Vidalia, but yellow would work just fine.
    • 1 stick of butter (1/4 lb), cut into 8 pieces
    Put on your goggles!  Slice your onions whichever way you like & dump them in the slow cooker.  You can fill it to the top, and pack it tight -- the onions will cook down to less than a third of the original volume.  Scatter the butter pieces on the top.  Cook on low for about 16 hours.  I have a cooker that can be set for 8 or 10 hours on low, so I started it in the early afternoon on 8 hours, then reset it before I went to bed.

    How easy is that?   We are having pizza tonight, so I'll just make one little pie for me with a schmear of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), a load of the caramelized onions, some mozzarella & parmesan cheese, and a sprinkling of italian spices.  And that little pie will be mine, all mine. 

    Posse Presents (and some Kaffe)

    Friday, January 13, 2012 3 Comments »
    I saw some pictures of very small pin cushions on Etsy, and decided they would make good gifts for my quilting friends, those wonderful ladies that form our local Quilting Posse.

    Many of those friends meet once a month for an evening of hand stitching. These little pin cushions are designed to be worn like a brooch, and to provide a place for a needle and a few pins; they are about 2.25" - 2.5" across, with those buttons less than the size of a dime.  Each one has a pinback sewn on the bottom. 

    If one is afraid of unwittingly stabbing "the girls" with that needle and/or pins, the pinback can be removed so that the pin cushion sits flat, just looking cute as the dickens.   Yep, I kept one for myself too. 

    I am making progress on the Kaffe wedding quilt.  Here are 16 of the 32 square-in-a-square 9 patches that form the center of the quilt. 

    They will be sashed with a solid yellowish lime green and random colored cornerstones.  I'll probably finish the rest the blocks this weekend, along with the sashing, then move on to the courthouse steps border.  What a joy to work with all of these lush, saturated colors!   It will be a wild quilt when it is done, and very much out of my usual comfort zone.  Hopefully my SIL's cousin and his bride will like it.