6/30/15

Time for Tuesday

Did you know that today we get a leap second? This is something that happens every once in a while to synchronize our clocks with the movement of the sun. It happens at 8:00 p.m. (ET), and so it's coming right up. What will you do with that extra second? Make up your mind now because time's a-wastin'. I think I'll give myself an extra heartbeat just then.

As for today, I didn't get as much time to sew as I'd hoped. I did, however, get a start on the "To the Rescue" baby quilt that I cut out yesterday. Here's how it will look when it's finished:


Today I fused all the applique and did the top-stitching for the fireman's hat. Interestingly, the designer stated that the applique templates were already reversed, but you can see that the "1" was not. Oh well. I decided to leave it as is.


Also, I did all of the fusing and most of the topstitching for the hook and ladder truck.


When I'd taken it that far, it was time for me to stop. I needed to write this post and get ready to pick up my CSA share.

So what else did I do today? Well...I hooped the Gingerbread square block for the last time. Just the upper left corner needs stitching now.


And there it is. When that's all stitched, the block will be finished.


After that, I baked some zucchini bread. It was something to do with my CSA zucchini.


And then I went outside and did some watering. I notice that the bluest of the blue hydrangea is blooming.


Also, I promised you a picture of the purple hydrangea. I've only given you close-ups, but I wanted to show you how pretty the whole bush is. It's still quite small, but it has been prolific with its blossoms.


Here's a lawn ornament.


He always follows me around when I'm outside.

Also, two more sunflowers have bloomed. So far, only three of the six varieties are blooming. I'm curious to see what the rest will look like.



So, it's been a pretty full day. I still need to pick up my CSA share, and there's still much to do before I'm ready to call it a day.

It's the final curtain on June. Where does the time go?

6/29/15

Marvelous Monday

It was a pretty low-key day. I was excited to see that two more of my sunflowers have bloomed.



I had an appointment for a pedicure this morning. Before I left, I made up my veggie stock from last week's veggie cuttings. I've used most everything from last week's share. There are still two sweet onions and the eggs are starting to stack up on me, but I'm still feeling as if I'm staying on top of it. We'll see what tomorrow's share brings.

When I got home, I started on the baby quilt I'm making for a friend from high school. Her son and daughter-in-law just presented her with her first grandchild. I offered to make a quilt for her, and she chose this "To the Rescue" quilt. Her son is a fireman.


Today I got it all cut out.


Then, I pieced together the ladder that you see kind of in the middle of the quilt. My ends didn't match up well there at the bottom. It'll be trimmed to fit, and I'm hopeful that it will work out. If not, I'm going to have to do something to fix it.


Oh yes, and today I received this via email:

I'm pretty stoked that my quilt was accepted...it's this Vintage Miniature Sewing Machines quilt.


It's quite thrilling to have been accepted, and I have absolutely no expectation of winning anything. Still, getting in feels like a win to me.

Mike managed to get the A/C back on this evening...just in time for the hottest weather so far this year. I'm hoping it'll be the hottest weather of the summer, and that the temperatures won't continue to climb. This is feeling like Phoenix weather, and we're not used to it.

Tomorrow I have a day at home, a little housework, and then I'm going to spend the day working on the baby quilt. It's always fun to start a new project.


6/28/15

Me Oh My, I Love Pie

This morning I told a few of you that I had decided not to bake a pie today. It was supposed to be terribly warm, and the last thing I wanted to do was crank up the oven to 500°F. And then....

It must have been divine intervention because the skies opened up and it started to rain. All day there was cloud cover, and it stayed relatively cool. So what could I do but...


It's not the most beautiful pie I've ever baked since it was really too warm to be making my crust in yesterday's heat. Somehow I just know our taste buds won't mind. With a side of vanilla ice cream, that's going to be one nice dessert this evening. Actually, it'll probably make more than one dessert, but that will be for another evening. Just want to be clear about that.

The only other thing I did today was to finish up the dratted paper-pieced sections for my two bee blocks. As I mentioned in a previous post, our bee hostess asked us to leave them in sections with the paper still attached.


Those will go out in tomorrow's mail, and then I sincerely hope I don't do any paper-piecing again for a good long time.

It's been a busy and fun weekend, even if it was too hot. I hope your weekend went well too.

6/27/15

Weekend Wanderings

It's been a busy couple of days, which is to say that I've done no sewing. I haven't even done much cooking. It's been very warm here...way warmer than we usually see in June in the Northwest. I know some areas of the country are much hotter than we are, but this is where I live, and so this is the heat I'm in right now.

Sue and I had a long and warm walk yesterday. We walked across the top of our mountain here. When I checked my Fitbit app, I realized this is the longest walk that we do.



We were both pooped when we finished.

There was just a little bit of time after our walk before I needed to head down to the Willamette River boat launch in Wilsonville to meet up with Mike and Erik for a planned afternoon on the river. We don't ordinarily run our A/C, but I closed everything up before I left and switched on the A/C to cool the house while we were out on the river. 

This is where the bad news, good news part of the post starts. The good news was that the guys were still getting the boat ready to launch when I arrived a few minutes late. The bad news is that we put the boat in the water only to start the engine and have it die immediately, as if it were out of gas. Mike had filled it up before launching, and so he tried it a couple more times and then had to give up. The boat wasn't going to run. So...that was a quick in and out on the river. We didn't even get our feet wet.

So geez. That was a wasted trip. The guys went to have a beer and talk "man stuff" about what was wrong with the boat. They figured it was either the fuel pump or the fuel filter...both easy enough for Mike to fix once he figures out what the problem is. I headed home because I was plenty tired after my walk. On the way, I noticed the temperature on the dashboard. Yikes.


The good news was that the house was nice and cool when I arrived home. I used the time to feed the birds and water the annuals. The bad news is that when Mike arrived home, the A/C had decided to stop working. Oy. And sigh. Fortunately, the Resident Engineer knows what's wrong with it and he has a part on order via Amazon Prime. We'll get it on Monday...which is just in time for the real heatwave we're expecting next week.

After a warm night in the house and anticipated triple digit temperatures today, I weenied out on my trip to the Farmer's Market with Erik and Mae this morning. We were planning to meet them later in the afternoon anyway. The only thing I wanted were pie cherries, and it seemed a little early for those. Nevertheless, Erik and Mae went to the Farmer's Market without me and bought me enough pie cherries for a pie. They're good kids, yeah.


So, I guess you know what I'm doing tomorrow! It's my annual cherry pie...and this one ain't no dessert for two. This one is the whole, er, banana. 

Interestingly, a cloud cover moved in and kept the day from getting frightfully hot as was forecast. We had a very nice time at the Portland International Beerfest. You pay admission, which includes a 4 ounce glass for tasting and (for our tickets) 30 tokens. Then you use the tokens to pay for the samples of beer you want to try. I pretty much stuck with the hard ciders for my day.


Erik was in his element. He is a beer connoisseur in the way some people are wine connoisseurs. And let me tell you: the Northwest has a beer industry rivaled only by our coffee industry.


It was a very nice venue at Holladay Park in Northeast Portland. It's one of the older areas of the city with big tall trees and lots of shade. The sun came out a little later in the afternoon, raising the humidity. Fortunately, those nice big shade trees kept the beerfest nicely cool and comfortable.


And I was in my element too because a day spent with my kiddos is just about the best kind of day.


That's my dear daughter-in-law, Mae. I just love her to pieces. Oh yes...pay no attention to the position of my fingers. It was strictly accidental.

And then there's my little boy, Erik. He's starting a new job on Monday, a job he's been hoping for, and so it was a nice way to let off some steam before moving into a new phase of his career.


You dog lovers would have enjoyed the puppy kissing tent. For a raffle ticket, you could go inside the fence and hug and kiss a puppy. Mae was petting this little fellow. Mostly they were worn out from handling and heat. An hour after this picture was taken, they were all up romping around again.


And that pretty much brings you up to date on the past couple of days. I'm off to make a crust for my pie, and then I'll get started pitting those cherries tomorrow morning. Cherry pie, coming right up.

6/26/15

Hectic Weekend Ahead

It's unseasonably warm here in the Northwest, as it has been throughout the winter and spring. We aren't accustomed to these warm temperatures in June. Here's our forecast for the coming week:


We're always about ten degrees cooler here on our hill. Unfortunately, I'm not going to be on the hill for most of the weekend. This morning, I'm walking with Sue. Then, this afternoon we're going out on our boat on the Willamette River. Being on the river is a good place to be on a hot day, and so that will be nice. Then, Saturday morning, we're going down to the Portland Farmer's Market, and then to the Portland International Beerfest Saturday afternoon. That was Erik's idea. I'm not a beer drinker, but he thinks there will be hard ciders and some less "beery" beers (if that makes sense) that I might enjoy. What the heck? A day with the kids is always fun, beer or no beer.

The sunflowers are enjoying this heat, and the first one opened all the way yesterday morning. Yay!


Also, yesterday morning I continued to make headway on my embroidery piece. It doesn't show up well in this image, but the garland on the Christmas tree is done in a sparkly silver floss, and it is very pretty.


When I finished all those French knots, I had the whole right side of the piece finished.


I've rehooped to the left side, and I'm ready to go again. The French knots on this next tree will be done in a gold sparkly floss.


So...all of that to say that if you don't hear from me for a day or two, it will be because I've been out having fun. Hopefully, I won't succumb to the heat. Try to stay cool at your end too.

6/25/15

Some Blocks

Yesterday I was making blocks. I made a pair of blocks for the Block Lotto. 



This month's block is this Plaid 9-Patch, which is made in an interesting way. You can see how to do it right here. Because of the way they are made, they are best made in pairs. Here are mine:


With those finished, I moved on to my bee blocks. 


This month's hostess has asked for this Kaleidoscope block. You can read her blog post about it right here.


And when I saw this block posted, I went into distress mode because the block is...you guessed it...paper pieced. Oh the humanity! I must have offended the quilt gods somewhere along the way. Fortunately, our bee hostess has asked us to leave the block sections unsewn with the paper still attached, which means they go pretty fast. Each block has eight sections, and I finished four of them yesterday. 



She asked for a mix of bright and modern fabrics. I don't know about modern, but mine are definitely bright. I still have 12 of these to go. Fortunately, they go pretty quick.

Today is going to be a day of running around. I'm seeing my orthotist this morning. If you don't know what an orthotist is, then consider yourself fortunate. An orthotist is someone who makes custom orthotics for people whose feet have seen far too much walking in their time. In my case, it's for people with high arches who have walked barefoot too much in their lives. I spent ages 7-11 in Hawaii, where we even went barefoot to school. And I swam on the swim team. So, pretty much 100% of the time I was going barefoot while we lived there.

After that we moved to southern California. My dad deployed to Vietnam 3 times during that era, but my family stayed put...and yes, I went barefoot most of the time. I was a lifeguard, which meant I was even barefoot on the job. Nobody ever told me I'd get fallen arches at some point in my life, but there you go. I don't suppose I would have put on shoes either way. So, here I am, having been born during the 14th century, and now I have to pay for expensive custom orthotics to keep my sorry feet from hurting. My feet having been bothering me more and more, and I'm thinking my very expensive, but rather aged orthotics probably need replacing. We'll see what the orthotist thinks.

And all of that to say that I probably won't get to do any sewing today because after that happy appointment, I'll need to get some groceries. My CSA is better fortified than my refrigerator, and as I've said before, this is war. And really, how bad can it be when you're at war with vegetables?

6/24/15

It's Going to be a Day


It was a pretty sunrise this morning. I found myself thinking of a song Dan Fogelberg wrote when he was just 17 called, "To the Morning"

Watching the sun
Watching it come
Watching it come up
Over the rooftops

Cloudy and warm
Maybe a storm
You can never quite tell
From the morning

And it's going to be a day
There is really no way to say
No to the morning

Yes it's going to be a day
There is really nothing left to say
But come on morning

Mike and I were fans, and if you ask me, the man died way too young. We loved his music.

This morning I posted that sunrise image on Facebook and one of my friends asked me why I was up so early. My response: "I have a cat." It's not completely the cat's fault, but when I wake up early and start stirring, Smitty wants just one thing...out. There's no use fighting it. And judging by his dirty feet, he was out digging for gophers this morning.


My kitty helpers joined me in the sewing room yesterday afternoon.


Hey Gracie! Look down there!


Ha! Made you look!


Dang you, Smitty! I fall for that joke every time.

So what were we doing in the sewing room? Well...I'm happy to say that I finished blocks 19 and 20 for Lisa's "Live, Love, Teach" retirement quilt. Here's Cindy's block submission:



Here it is rendered into fabric. I gave it a water background because it's a squid, right? And I gave him some hot fix nailheads for eyeballs.


That one went pretty fast, and so I turned my attention to MeiXing's block submission:


It would have been difficult to replicate all the detail in MeiXing's block, but it put me in mind of a piece of scrap fabric I had, and so I went digging through my multi-colored fabric bin and found a piece just big enough. Then, I did reverse applique to create this block.


I used one strand each of four different colors of floss to embroider the words, and then I added a couple of buttons to pick up at least some of the detail in the original. I'll probably regret sewing those buttons on before the quilting is done. I can always remove and resew them if I need to, but I needs me my instant gratification, don't you know.

Speaking of instant gratification, I used the Carrot Top and Garlic Scape Pesto from a few nights ago and spread it on some baguette for last night's dinner. This was seriously yummy. I should say that I made the recipe as written, and it was a little too salty for my taste. I know why. It's because I can only find pistachios that have been roasted and salted unless I want to shell them myself...which I do not. So if you want to give this a try, I'd say not to add any extra salt until you've tasted it. If I'd been thinking, I would have done that. Clearly, I was not thinking at the time.


Also, we had this Rustic Tuscan-Style Sausage, White Bean, and Kale Soup. I used my home-made vegetable broth in this, and it used up the bunch of kale from last week's CSA share. This was very good as well. I'll make it again. It makes a LOT of soup, and so I only made half the recipe. We still have leftovers.


I still have food for dinner tonight, and so I don't need to go to the grocery store until tomorrow. That gives me all day to plan my attack on this week's share, which consists of this:


I was happy to see another serving of cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots because I'm going to make those roasted vegetables from the other night again. On the "scary" list are the fava beans and the kohlrabi...both foods new to my palate. Here's the thing about fava beans. There are almost no foods I absolutely won't eat. However, if you were to ask me what those foods are, I would not hesitate for a split second to respond with lima beans. I cannot abide lima beans.

Here's my story, and I'm sticking to it. When I was six years old, a playmate offered me some raw beans that she called "lion beans". I just now googled lion beans to see if such a thing exists, and I came up empty. They were a brown kidney-shaped bean, and we ate them raw. They tasted good. Within an hour I was violently ill. I'm suspicious they may have been castor beans, but I really have no idea, and I never will. For what it's worth, I think that's when lima beans and I parted ways...for life. (Our brains are very good at remembering lessons that involve spending time worshipping at the feet of the porcelain god.)

So where Fava Beans are concerned, I'm convinced that they are just hiding lima beans inside their green pods.


See what I mean?

And then there's the kohlrabi. I've spoken to many people who love kohlrabi. I don't have anything against it in the way I do the fava/lima beans, but they sort of remind me of the Corgi (and I hope I don't insult anybody's beloved pet...mea culpa if your best friend is a Corgi). Feast your eyes:


So what is up with this dog? Is it a basset hound? Is it a dachshund? Is it a collie? It looks as if someone took parts of a bunch of different dogs and put them together without the instruction book.

Which brings me to the kohlrabi. Again, feast your eyes:


What the heck is that anyway? Is it a cabbage? Is it broccoli? Is it a green beet? Is it something you should use in some game like golf or baseball? Honestly. What was Mother Nature thinking when she created kohlrabi? Well. I have nothing against kohlrabi, as I said, but I have never tasted it and I have absolutely no idea how to prepare it.

And with that, I'll just say that this is the both the joy and the bane of the CSA share.

Today I'm spending time figuring out how to prepare the mystery vegetables and planning the week's menu in an attempt to use this week's share of veggies. Wish me luck. Oh yes, and I'll probably do some sewing too.