7/20/17

A Few of My Favorite Things

Yesterday was a kind of utilitarian day. There was grocery shopping and some housework. Just about the time there could be some real sewing, I decided instead to overhaul some of my fabric bins and free up a few to hold all my folders, tour books and maps. The hope was to concentrate the maps and tour books into fewer boxes. That didn't happen, but at least the boxes are plastic instead of cardboard. On our last trip, the cardboard box quickly burst its seams, and we had tour books and maps all over the floor in the back seat. They won't defeat their boxes on our next trip.


Since there isn't much to tell, I'm showing you a few pictures I took off my phone and my camera. First, the flowers. When we met up with the man who bought our truck, we were at a truck stop in Troutdale. (Seems appropriate, doesn't it?) The truck stop was a truck stop like any other...lots of trucks, truckers, and gas pumps. Nevertheless, someone had very lovingly tended to a beautiful rose garden. Here are some of the bloomers.





Also, this one from our yard. It's the one Erik and Mae gave me for Mother's Day a few years back. This is the prettiest hydrangea. The colors in this image are true.


Next, food. My bread-baking efforts have been abandoned temporarily while we attempt to shed the pounds that have accumulated over the past several years. I don't blame the bread...probably the cheesecakes are more to blame. Nevertheless, eating loaves of bread (and I do mean "loaves") is inconsistent with dieting, and so my yeasts, flours, and sourdough starters have been relocated to the freezer for the time being.

We've been getting heads of radicchio in our CSA shares lately, and so yesterday, I decided to make a pizza I tried last year. It gave me a chance to knead some dough, and now I'm feeling a little less shaky from withdrawal than I was a day or two ago. This is a Chanterelle, Radicchio, and Pancetta Pizza.


It's so yummy, and I was very surprised to find chanterelle mushrooms in our grocery store and at the farmer's market over the weekend. They are strictly a wild mushroom, and generally, they are found in the fall in Oregon. It's a testament to our cold wet spring that we are seeing them in July. When I made this last time, chanterelles were not available and so I substituted creminis with good results. Mike is not a fan of the bitter lettuces like radicchio, and so I substituted Italian sausage on his pizza. Both of us were happy. I've linked to the recipe above that image and I use this recipe for Roberta's Pizza Dough for the crust.

There was time for some hand-sewing yesterday. I'm continuing to work away at my hand quilting project, and I've turned one corner of the Wheel Estate quilt. Although I've only turned one corner, I still estimate that I'm about 1/3 of the way around the perimeter...or the outer limits, as I've taken to saying.


Finally, cats. Their new kennels arrived yesterday and Mike has them assembled. We're leaving them in the living room for now with the doors open, trying to make the kitties believe that going inside is a good idea.

Whatever you do, Sadie, do not cross those thresholds. Those are the gates of hell.


Sadie is doing her best demonstration of a cat on a cat quilt.


When a cat sits on a cat quilt, it tends to grow in length.


Here, she's showing how a tiny little cat such as herself can be stretched to cover three quilt blocks...


just prior to dozing off into Snoozeville.


This disgusts Smitty. He takes up guard duty on the catio.


Today I'm going to try my hand at Watermelon Jelly. I saw the recipe online, and it sounded good. We're limited about the jellies and jams we can make here at the Three Cats Ranch since seeds are not allowed. When I saw the watermelon jelly, it sounded pretty good. I have a large seedless watermelon awaiting its demise on the kitchen counter. I'll be pureeing it a little later and cooking it down into jelly. Watermelon sorbet is delicious, and so it seems the jelly ought to be good too. Time will tell, and of course, I'll check back with you tomorrow to report my findings. Definitely, I'm hoping for more sewing time today.

7/19/17

Catching Up

It was a good day of sewing yesterday, and also, we sold our truck. Can't ask for a much better day than that. Well, I suppose if someone had come in and done my housework for me...which remains undone...but let's just not talk about that, shall we? (I'm very good at avoidance.) Also, if an airplane had flown overhead and dropped a bag full of money right beside me, that would have made it a better day. One can always dream.

First, I got the binding sewn onto the Wheel Estate quilt. Now, only the hand-stitching remains.


The quilt inspectors were back on the job yesterday morning. Sadie gave it a good once-over checking for snuggleability. It's going to be a snuggle quilt, after all, and so it was critically important for it to pass this test.


It's snuggly enough, but I'm afurraid I have to agree with Smitty about these campers. These are the weirdest-ass campers I've ever seen. We've never seen any that look like this when we're in those RV purrks.



Obviously, everyone's a critic.

With that done, it was time to work on the Marvelous Monday Mini blocks. I was several weeks behind on these. First, were these four squares. Simple enough.


Then, the broken dishes. These all end up at 4 inches unfinished, and those middle HST's are 1-1/4 inches. Is it any surprise I'm having trouble getting my points to match up?


Then, the flying geese block...again, those dastardly 1-1/4 inch HST's.


Last, was a 9-patch. You might recall that I made this 9-patch in error when I first started on this project. It wasn't quite the right size, but I was determined to use it. Since it was a little too large (and since I'd already taken it apart and sewn it back together twice), I only put one border on it, and that one border was fudged to get to the 4-inch unfinished size. Please don't call the quilt police.


There's still one more to do on these, but it just came out on Monday. That means that I'm technically caught up...and I'm all about technicalities. These are the blocks I've made so far.


That was all I had time for yesterday. I rode along with Mike out to Troutdale where we met a guy from Yakima who bought the truck. (It's about a three-hour time differential, and so we split the difference.) We still have it in our possession, but he's given us a deposit. It's officially off the market, and he'll bring us the balance on Monday. We're a little bit nostalgic about the old truck. It was a real work horse, and we traveled a lot of miles in it. We only sold it because we needed a dually to haul our larger truck camper. Nostalgia or no, it'll be good to get that pig out of the driveway and off our insurance policy.

Today, sadly, is a grocery shopping day. On a brighter note, the list is short. Then, I'll get back to my sewing. Oh yes, and housework, if I'm feeling charitable. I'll finished the last of the minis and then, hopefully, get caught up on the Welcome Home Small Quilt Mystery.

Just as I was getting ready to post this, I noticed I had an email from the Sketchbook Project. They created a map of all the participants so far. This is a global project, and so people from all over the world are participating. I totally love being a part of something like that. Here's their map. One of those dots there in Oregon is me!


Actually, I'm very excited to get started on this...and to tell the truth, I'm very excited about our trip. It's hard to think about much else.

Before I go for the day, I must show you this picture of the Princess and the Pea. We've had to negotiate about what spaces she can occupy on my work table. She has a little bed, and I try to get her to stay in it. Yesterday, her feelings were hurt, but not so badly. She found the quilts-to-be-quilted pile (I think there are five in the pile) and decided that would make a nice soft and cushy napping place for her. Pea? What pea?


And since the quilts-to-be-quilted pile is always a popular napping place, I've taken to saving my quilting practice pieces as a protective shield against cat fuzz. Kitties don't mind. It's just one more level of cushiness.

7/18/17

"Q" is for Qfinished!

It was kind of a busy day yesterday, but the afternoon was mine for quilting. We headed out early in the morning on a seek and destroy mission to find kennels for the kitties to travel in the camper. We headed to one of the big box pet stores, used our Amazon app to scan the barcodes, and then made our purchase from Amazon right there in the store. I know...we're putting those big box stores out of business in favor of the virtual store. Bad Consumers!

While we were there, we perused the kitty fashions. (Some people think these are for dogs.) Anyway...I think Sadie would make a real fashion statement dressed in either of these.



And don't you know Smitty would just *love* wearing one of these numbers.



When we got home, we had some lunch, and then I got back to my quilting. First, I switched to a variegated green thread for quilting grass into the grass.


After looking at a lot of examples, I decided on something simple and funky.


In a few random places, I stitched a weed.


It didn't take long to finish all eight blocks, and then I moved on to my camper border. First, I experimented on paper with sizes and shapes. Also, I experimented with the wheel. I wanted to end up at the bottom "road," and so I first drew the left half of the outer circle, then the camper, then a loop for the inner circle, then the right half of the outer circle, which put me back at the bottom.


Geez, Mom. Those are the worst looking campers I've ever seen. Do I have to do everything around here?


So then I was ready to mark some lines on my quilt. I wanted the campers to be approximately the same size and distance apart. I've experimented with all different kinds of markers, and I've not really found one I like for marking across a whole row of quilting. When I was at the fabric store on my lunch break from jury duty (never a minute wasted, you know), I checked the markers available. Of course I've heard of the Chaco marker before, but never tried it. I picked one up and gave it a whirl (pun intended).


Basically it's a pen with a powdered chalk container. I tried to take a picture of the tip so you could see it, but my camera simply refused to focus on the little "gear" at the tip. If you want to see it, there's a pretty good image here at The Daily Sew. It works by laying down a little dotted line of powdered chalk. It was first tested on the fabric to make sure it was removable, and it was. It's important to hold the pen vertical for best results. It laid down some nice easily-seen lines.


You can see a demonstration on YouTube:


If you can't see the video, then click right here.

So then, I was ready to quilt the campers.



Let's just say I'm keeping the "free" in free motion quilting.


The side borders are narrower than the top and bottom borders. Recall that I was trying to fit this into a small space on a wall before I gave up on that and decided it was better as a snuggle quilt.


And after rounding all four corners...


the quilting was finished!


Here's a view from the back.


I thought I might get some quilt inspectors, but in fairness, it was after 5:00 p.m. by this time, and they'd all gone home for the day.

Well, so then I went out to the greenhouse to see if I could find any tomatoes. One. I found one.


And that was very disappointing, if I wasn't already disappointed enough in the tomatoes. With this being July 18th, we're turning off their water. We'll be gone in just a little over a month, so clearly, this year's tomato harvest is a bust. Don't know why. This is the same variety I planted last year. It's okay. We can get all the tomatoes we need from our farmers, but this was such a waste of time, potting soil, and effort.

When I came out of the greenhouse, I noticed this deer in the field. She was clearly not happy with the bitter dandelions she was eating.

I heard there was echinacea in this field. Dandelions. Pittooey!


Speaking of echinacea...the pink ones are just at the edge of fully opened.


Oh! There it is!!


So, yeah. That's probably the last you'll see of those.

It's a short list of to-do's on today's calendar, and it's a CSA pick-up day. Other than that, it's an NBS (nothing but sewing) day. I'll get the binding sewn onto the Wheel Estate quilt, and then I'm going to try to get caught up on some other projects.

7/17/17

Winners and other Stuff

Well, y'all have given me quite a swelled head with such sweet comments on my Blogiversary Celebration post. Thank you so much. Thank you for being such good bloggy friends, and thank you for all the fun we've had over the past seven years. Quite a few wished me seven more, and I'm hoping for the same.


So, let's see what Mr. Random has to say about the winner. We gave 'er the proverbial spin and came up with:

#23--CJSmith!

Congratulations, CJSmith! I've sent you an email, so check your inbox.

The green stuff is finished. Yesterday I spent the morning cooking up and canning salsa verde, and that's probably all of that I'll do for the season. Even giving a jar to each of the kids, this will still last us well into next year.


That's not the only thing I did though. In between stirring and ladling, I was able to get some more hand-quilting done on Mumm's the word.


All that remains is to stitch around the borders, and I've come to the third corner now.


I'm moving right to left, and I've put an arrow in the image below to show you where the finish line is. I'm really hoping to finish this off during the month of July.


So we tried another little driveway adventure with the kitties yesterday. Our plan was to put them in the camper, close the slides, and take them for a little ride to a nearby park. We were going to set up the catio, eat our dinner, and then drive home. Our purpose was to see if we could actually close the slides, go for a ride, and make it home without any escapees.

To explain, the camper is a little different from the fifth wheel. In the fifth wheel, it's still possible to move around inside when the slides are closed. The camper closes up more like a jigsaw puzzle, and there is only just a narrow space between the kitchen area and its opposing wall. Here's a picture of the floor plan with the slides open. You can see that there are slides on each side and at the rear.


Try to imagine them sliding in to make for straight walls, and you can see that it's a narrow space, but still large enough for a kitty to jump over the counter and escape out the door. Our hope was that we could herd them into the bedroom where they could ride on the bed while we went down the road. This was the last hurdle we worried over when it comes to taking the kitties with us in the camper. We have a camping trip planned for next week (more on that later), and so it's time to give it all a try.

Well...making a long story short, we weren't able to even get out of the driveway without smarty-pants Smitty escaping to the great outdoors. So much for Plan A. Today we're instituting Plan B, which is to get some good kennels for them (ours are old and kind of junkie, only used for trips to the vet). Since camper trips will be short trips, they're going to have to ride in their kennels. We'll put them in kennels and they can ride on the bed that way. I know they'll hate it, but it won't be for long, and they'll be safe. As our vet likes to say, "It's all part of being a cat." We aren't so much worried about escapes once we're settled at our final destination and the slides are opened. They don't try to escape when we're in strange places. Containing them for going down the road is going to pose a problem, however. With them actually "contained," we will worry a lot less.

So do you want to know what was on the menu for this excursion? It isn't technically on our diet, but low calorie enough for a kitty-goes-to-the-city excursion. Our last couple of CSA shares have included tons of cucumbers. I've made relish, but there were still more to use. I made this Cucumber and Avocado Soup with Tomato and Basil Salad. It has some little strips of fried prosciutto on top. On the side, I used up the last of the kohlrabi in these Kohlrabi Fritters with Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce. So yummy.


This morning we're going on the hunt for the kennels, and we'll take a short walk in the historic downtown section of nearby Sherwood, Oregon.

As I'm writing this, Smitty is enjoying his morning sunbath. He's almost too big for that scratching post.


Sadie, a black cat, doesn't care too much for sunbaths. She takes quilt baths instead.


It's been a busy weekend, and I've done no sewing (other than hand stitching) since last Thursday. Definitely I'll be getting back to my quilting today.