Let's Book It: Sliding in Under the Wire

My goal was to get a start on the Let's Book It Challenge for August, and there was some time today to spend sewing. The project for August was this "Summer Holiday" quilt 

from Lynette Anderson's book:

There were a lot of fabrics to choose for this start, and there's no way I could have selected the propurr ones without help from my furry furriends.

Today my mission was to get a start on the pieced blocks. These are double nine patch blocks, and so there were lots of little squares to cut. Had I followed Lynette Anderson's directions, she would have had me cut 180 little 1 1/2-inch squares. To heck with that. Mine has perhaps less variation in the little nine-patch blocks, but I opted for strip-piecing.

There were 20 of these.

Also, there were 16 of these 3 1/2-inch one-patches.

When all was pieced and sewn together, I had a block that looked like this. 

When I had one block finished, I needed to stop for the day. There are four of these, and I'm hoping to finish the other three tomorrow. And may I just say that it's impossible to get good help these days.

Sleeping on the job again.

So there you go...Let's Book It for August. Now, I'm late to the party, but I think it's still going on over there at Vrooman's Quilts. Off to link-up now.

So Little Sewing

Despite my determination not to spend the entire day in the kitchen yesterday, I still managed to spend most of the day there. It's okay. It always ends up this way as we're gearing up for a trip. The refrigerator has to be cleaned out, and a lot of foods are prepared ahead just to make it easier on both of us for the first few days on the road. Also, there were plums to can, and I ended up with 8 half pints for my effort.

Also yesterday, I roasted some beets. They were piling up in the crisper, and so they went into the roaster and then were chunked up. They're good tossed into a salad or just eaten plain. In case I haven't mentioned it before, beets are one of my favorite vegetables. Also, there was an eggplant rolling around. That was roasted and turned into Baba Ghanoush. It will make a good snack while we're traveling. This is the recipe I used, but I like lots of garlic, and so mine was made with four cloves. 

Before picking up our CSA share yesterday, there was a little time for sewing. The first item on the agenda was to make a block for the August Block Lotto. This month's block was a split nine-patch. Sadly, I'm told I used the wrong fabrics, and so it won't count toward the lotto. Oh well. It seems to me this block could be turned many different ways and grouped to form some interesting secondary patterns. That's what I love about the Block Lotto...it's a great chance to experiment with different blocks and to use up scraps to boot.

After that I started getting serious about my project for

Since finishes aren't required for Let's Book It, possibly I can get a start on this project and just slip into the linky party under the wire. This is the Summer Holiday lap quilt

from Lynette Anderson's book:

When I looked at the image of the quilt contained in the book, I really liked those vintage prints she used and realized, yet again, that my stash is sadly lacking in anything like that. Then, shortly after heaving a heavy sigh on that topic, an email notified me of the release of Jo Morton's new line called "Gratitude".

It seemed as good an excuse as any to purchase a fat quarter bundle, because you know I need lots more fabric to supplement my meager stash. (Not.) So yesterday, I spent some time comparing the fabrics in Lynette Anderson's quilt to the fabrics in my bundle and I pulled these to make the double nine-patch blocks.

Not all of these are from Jo Morton's collection. A few were already in my stash. I'm not certain about that light one in the center. It still might get switched out for something less bright. 

This quilt is a combination of applique and hand embroidery. Oh yes, and those triangle borders around the blocks? That ain't happening. Not on your life. I'll substitute something a little less life-threatening; meaning, something that won't make me want to slit my throat. You know there's enough going on like that in my sewing room already.

This morning I stitched the whole left side of the latest Hocuspocusville block and then moved my hoop. Still a long ways to go on this one.

Although I was hoping to avoid a trip into town today, I'll need to drop off my cousin's baby quilt at the post office and then do a very short grocery shopping trip. After that, I'm sewing, and that is that! 

It's a drizzly typical Oregon day today...and that means it's a good day to be spent in the sewing room.


Yes, I Can

The question of the day is this: Can I stand (literally) another day in the kitchen making plum chutney? And the answer...yes, I can. Because if I do it today, then I can take the day tomorrow to sew. Yes, sew...all the live-long day. I won't even have to cook because I'll have leftover chili from last night. Someone asked if I was going to share the chili recipe, and well, again...yes. As long as you asked so nicely.

It was a bit of a production because there are three rounds of roasting...first, peppers. Then corn (although you could use frozen corn if you wanted to). Then, tomatillos, onions, and garlic. Oh yes, and I only made half the recipe. It still makes enough for an army. So, it's made with poblano peppers and Anaheim peppers. I bought some poblanos at the local market, but I used all the CSA peppers piling up in my vegetable crisper. Aren't they pretty?

There are a couple of wax peppers there, poblanos, an Italian "blistering" pepper, two Anaheims, and a couple of other ones I'm not sure about. Except for the poblanos, they're all from our CSA share. The peppers, onions, tomatillos, and garlic are all pureed in your blender or food processor along with a handful of fresh cilantro. The corn is roasted and then cut from the cobs and set aside. Also, it contains some squash and some raw onion chopped. You can do all the heavy lifting ahead of time and then refrigerate it until you're ready to make dinner. Once you have all those component parts made, then it's just a matter of assembling it and heating it up. Also, you can add some meatballs if you want, but those are optional. I used ground chicken in my meatballs.

This is a fairly spicy chili. The recipe will tell you to add some jalapeno, but don't add a single smidgeon of jalapeno without tasting it first. Ours was spicy enough without it. If I'd added any jalapeno at all, I'm afraid it would have knocked our heads off. So anyway...here's the recipe as it appeared in the Washington Post. Scroll down about halfway to find the related recipe for the meatballs. Oh yes...I didn't get all fancy with the "Mexican" oregano and the "ancho" chili powder. I just used what was in the drawer. 

Despite standing in the kitchen for the past several days, I've still made time for slow stitching. How else would I maintain my already-questionable sanity? I finished Block 18, Bee Bountiful.

When that was finished, I reached behind me for the Hocuspocusville block already in progress. I'm just about ready to move the hoop to the next position.

As long as I was in the sewing room pressing and trimming the Bee-utiful block, I made up the next block for the Wine Country quilt. Hocuspocusville will probably keep me busy while we're on our trip, but just to be sure of my sanity, I make sure there's plenty of slow-stitching to be done.

Now here's a question for you: I'm considering starting up a stitch-along at the beginning of the year in 2017 of the Bag Ladies of the Fat Quarter Club. Remember the "Bag Ladies"? You can see them right here. You might recall that Chickadee Hollow Designs generously sponsored a giveaway of the Quilting Snowladies patterns several months ago. During the giveaway, many of you selected the "Bag Ladies" as your favorite thing on the site. Now, I have an opportunity to give away a set of the Bag Ladies; but win or lose, Chickadee Hollow Designs will generously offer 10% off the patterns to anyone who wants to participate in the stitch-along. The patterns include the design already stamped and colored on fabric. All you have to do is stitch! I've even created a badge for it and I'll share the code if there's enough interest.

So, is anyone interested in signing up for a stitch-along to start in January? No need to do anything now other than let me know if you're interested. If enough people are game, we'll do it. Either way, the giveaway will be coming up in October. 

It's time for me to get busy on chutney, but here are the rest of the pictures from the dahlia festival. Enjoy.


Running on Fumes

It's been a busy few days. The whole weekend was spent on tomatoes. When it was all finished, I'd put up 15 quarts of pasta sauce, 5 more pints of salsa, and 9 more half pints of tomato jam.

Any more tomatoes produced by our plants will be turned into plain old diced tomatoes. There is one more day of canning ahead of me before our vacation when I make some plum chutney tomorrow. 

Today I took the day off from the kitchen and headed off to the Swan Island Dahlia Festival in Canby, Oregon. I took pictures of every blooming thing because everything was blooming. There were flowers as far as the eye could see.

There are a lot of these. I'm only showing a portion of them today. The rest will be posted tomorrow. The place was crawling with bees as you might imagine, and the festival was as spectacular as I remembered. Dahlias are the most incredible flower. It's hard not to take a picture of every single one. I'll just keep my mouth shut while you look.

It took about an hour to walk through the fields. Afterward, I headed to the quilt shop where I dropped off my quilts for the Northwest Quilting Expo next month. And then I came home.

I'd like to say I took a nap, but I didn't. There was a new chili recipe to try and lots of vegetables to roast. Also, I baked another plum torte. Don't say I didn't warn you. This time I both buttered and floured the pan. Hopefully it will come loose without breaking apart.

And, phew, I am one tired pup. I'm hoping to get back into the sewing room tomorrow, but the chutney comes first. There will be more flower pictures for you tomorrow.