Ricochet Rabbit Quilting

Good morning, my friends. I'm so happy to announce there is NO NEW SNOW today. I repeat: No New Snow! This is a good thing. I saw this meme on Facebook this morning. It is perfectly timed for our spring weather.

Yesterday's goings on were pretty much as expected. I started some pulled chicken in the slow cooker and made some coleslaw. It was my day for walking, and I started watching a new Boston Strangler movie while I was on the treadmill. I'm a fan of true crime stories anyway, and I read the book decades ago. The new movie is less about the "strangler" than it is about the two women reporters trying to make a name and a place for themselves in what was then almost exclusively a man's world. I'm only barely started on it, but it's a good movie so far.

After taking care of my adult responsibilities, I was able to get to work sandwiching Mr. MacGregor's Garden. I can do small quilts like this in my sewing room.

Since I do spray-basting, I usually do this in the garage, where I can open up the door for good ventilation. Usually, I'm using 505 basting spray, which needs to be used in a room with good ventilation, or else outdoors. When I'm doing it inside, I use this product from Sulky: KK 2000 temporary spray adhesive.

It's more expensive, and it only comes in small cans. I like it for use indoors because it doesn't put off the toxic (and flammable) fumes, and it sprays in a more confined pattern. Ordinarily, I'm only using it for small wall-hangings, and so a single can lasts quite a while. One of my friends told me about it some time ago, and it's a great product. I forget who told me about it, but if it was you, then thank you.

After that, I traced the next two blocks for "The Story of My Day" quilt. 

I'm barely started on this quilt, having done only two of 20 blocks. They are small, and so I'm doing them two at a time.

We made a short trip into town, and then I was able to get started on the quilting. For this quilt, I'm doing the center bunny panel in a diagonal straight line grid.

My "Line Tamer" ruler is an invaluable tool for doing straight line quilting. It fits around both sides of my foot, making it easy to hold steady.

My strategy for this is to stitch a line to the first border and then "ricochet" off in a different direction. I'll keep going until I'm forced to cut thread. I've done it this way many times. Usually, I can get the quilt about 80% quilted with a single line of stitching. When I can no longer "ricochet" to an unstitched area, I'll cut thread and start filling in the gaps.

As I was thinking about how to describe this, I was remembering a cartoon from my childhood: Richochet Rabbit. Who's old enough to remember Ricochet Rabbit and his sidekick Droop-a-long? He was on for just two seasons in the mid-sixties, although he also made guest appearances on some other cartoon shows. Please tell me I'm not the only one old enough to remember him.

Okay, and so I was getting tired of quilting, and so I left the rabbit needle down, and did some more slow-stitching. I'm very nearly finished with this now. It should be finished up this morning. Good thing I made up the next stitcheries, huh?

Today, I'm hoping to get Mr. MacGregor's quilt to binding stage, although that could be an optimistic forecast. When I'm finished with that, I'll start quilting my latest challenge quilt. Remember the "maps" prompt? 

I can only show you the quilt back. It's been hanging on my quilting chair for the past couple of weeks, waiting its turn under my needle. I really like this back fabric.

The reveal will be May 1st, and so I need to get it finished up. I'm hoping to have three quilts for binding to take along on our mid-April camping trip.

There's not much more on today's agenda. It's going to be a mostly quilting day. It's also my day for working out on The Rack, and then I'll get busy with my sewing.


Border Bunnies

Good morning, my friends. The snow was mostly gone when the sun set yesterday evening. Then, another five inches or so accumulated overnight. There's no denying it makes a pretty landscape.

The birds are appreciative of our keeping the feeders filled. This Northern Flicker was enjoying the suet cake.

After writing yesterday's post, I finished off the stitching in my hoop.

Now I've moved my hoop to encompass most of the last of it. I'll have to make up the next slow-stitching piece today or risk running out of stitching. With snow on the ground, that could be nothing short of catastrophic.

Next up, I wanted to try a different recipe for chocolate mousse. You might recall that my last effort was less than satisfactory, and I wanted to try again. When all was said and done, I had it ladled into two ramekins. From there it went into the refrigerator to set up for our dessert last night.

There was one housekeeping chore, and then I headed into the sewing room to finish off the tenth tiny house. Smitty helped by using his pointer tail to select the purrfect fabric for my little house.

Recall that I was sewing together the sections as I was able to. I like doing it that way better than waiting until the end. When sections H, I, and J were complete, I sewed them to the top section.

The kitties don't like paper-piecing any more than I do, and so Smitty was suddenly overwhelmed with fatigue and decided to spend the rest of his sewing day at his office in HR (He Rests).

Sadie took over from there.

Oh joy. More papurr-piecing. I'm thrilled. You're going to owe me your share of treats after this, Smitty.

With her help, I finished the final sections and sewed the whole thing together.

I've been pulling leftover strips of binding to make the borders. Here's the finished Tiny House #10.

Here's my tiny 10-house neighborhood.

The only other sewing I did was to add the borders to the bunny quilt. I'm thinking of calling this quilt "Mr. MacGregor's Garden."

I'll use that same border fabric for the quilt back. Today I'm hoping to get it sandwiched for quilting, and then to at least get a start on the quilting. For this kind of a quilt made up of lots of little squares, I like a straight line grid, and so it shouldn't take long to finish the quilting and get it to binding stage. I'll hold onto it for our April camping trip and hand sew the binding then. Oh yes, and you probably forgot all about the Dream Big quilt. It's still waiting for it's turn at hand-sewing the binding.

Okay, but what about that chocolate mousse, you ask? We added a healthy dollop of whipped cream to it for dessert last night, and this was a winner. It was tasty without being too sweet, and it had a nice light texture. 

So, I promised you I'd share the recipe when I'd perfected it. Well, this is a different recipe, adapted from America's Test Kitchens to make it a mousse "for two." One for me. One for you. None for tomorrow.

Dark Chocolate Mousse for Two
adapted from America's Test Kitchens
serves 2


4 ounces bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate chips
1 tablespoons cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2-1/2  tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon brandy
1 large egg, separated
1 /2 tablespoon sugar, divided
pinch table salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream (9 tablespoons)


1. Melt chocolate chips, cocoa powder, espresso powder, water, and brandy in medium heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat.

2. Whisk egg yolk, 3/4 teaspoons sugar, and salt in medium bowl until mixture lightens in color and thickens slightly, about 30 seconds. Pour melted chocolate into egg mixture and whisk until combined. Let cool until just warmer than room temperature, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. In clean bowl, beat egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining 3/4 teaspoons sugar, increase mixer speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Whisk last few strokes by hand, making sure to scrape any unbeaten whites from bottom of bowl. Using whisk, stir about one-quarter of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it; gently fold in remaining egg whites with rubber spatula until a few white streaks remain.

4. In now-empty bowl, whip heavy cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, about 15 seconds more. Using rubber spatula, fold whipped cream into mousse until no white streaks remain. Spoon into 2 one-cup ramekins or goblets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set and firm, at least 2 hours. (The mousse may be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

* * * * *

Oh yes, and I almost forgot. These two visited one of our shrub areas yesterday. They're no more than ten feet from our patio door. Sorry about the reflection, but look on the left and right sides of the image.

Two coyotes, hunting for squirrels. Holy crap! Well. The kitties aren't going out without us for a while. It makes me sad to have to keep them confined, but these guys would just as soon have a cat as a squirrel any day. With so much snow lately, I can imagine they're having trouble finding food. Mike is keeping a rifle ready. When they come so close to the house like this, they're too close for comfort, and they aren't particularly afraid of us. We're going to have to take drastic measures, or they'll have to move along. A few summers ago we had them coming around too often and too close, and that was when we built the catio for the kitties. I'm hoping these two won't hang around for long. If they do...well, let's just hope they move along. 

Okay, so I've already told you my goals for the day. I need to make up my next embroidery project, and I'm hoping to at least get started quilting Mr. MacGregor's Garden. We need to make a quick trip into town too, but we'll wait until the snow melts off some. Also, it's my day to walk. Clearly, it's going to be a treadmill day.


Spring in Oregon

Good morning, my friends. Or should I say good mourning? We're mourning the end of spring and return to winter this morning. The weatherman told us this might happen, but it was still a bit of a surprise to open the curtains and see this:

Sigh. We're promised this won't last long, but one never knows these days. Weather gets weirder and weirder. Fortunately, I started some overnight oatmeal before getting into bed last night. Somehow oatmeal seems like comfort food on a morning like this. 

Quite a bit was accomplished in the sewing room yesterday. I started by sewing together the pieces for the left bunny foot.

The section to its right contained the bottom portion of the carrot.

Smitty was there to help. His job was to sit on the bunny's face, but he lost interest when he heard treats being dispensed upstairs.

It was hard to continue without a kitty helper, but I somehow managed to pull myself together enough to finish off the last section and the right bunny foot.

It occurred to me that I should stitch the mouth(?) nose(?) of the bunny to the middle section before sewing the bottom section to the whole. I did this with the triple stitch on my sewing machine.

And then I sewed the whole thing together. Ta-da!

Now he just needs borders, quilting, and binding, and I'll have myself a finished quilt to greet the newest resident of Planet Earth. And how could I go wrong when I had the assistance of such an adorable helper?

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm setting the bunny aside for a bit while I finish the 10th Tiny House. I'm determined to keep up with these week by week. This is the house I'm making next. It has the most sections so far, labeled from letter "C" to letter "O".

Yesterday, I had time to piece together sections "C" through "G". Up until now, I've been making all the sections before sewing anything together. This time, I decided to sew them together as I go along, as much as I'm able. This is where I left it when I quit for the day yesterday.

Some of the pieces are so tiny I have to stitch forward and backward to avoid having the threads pull out of the fabric as I pull it away from the needle. (I hope that makes sense.) 

Today I'll get back to work on the tiny house, and that should be easy enough to finish off by day's end. After that, I'll get back to the bunny and his borders. I want to sandwich him for quilting and then get going on it. Right now, though, I'm ready to drown my snow sorrows in some oatmeal. 

What's going on in your sewing room today?


Building A Bunny

Good morning, my friends. We had another beautiful day of weather for most of the day yesterday. Late in the afternoon, it clouded up (as expected), and then rained a little. We were told there was a possibility of snow (Noooooooooooooooooo...!). At 39°F this morning, there's little chance of that. We're in a cooling trend, however, and so it could happen over the weekend.

My thrice-rescheduled and much-needed pedicure was yesterday. The weather was so nice when I arrived home, I needed to spend some time outside before heading into my dungeon sewing room. (Some people might call that a "basement," but on a sunny day, it's qualifies as dungeon-like.) Taking a walk around, not much was different from a few days ago. I noticed more mini iris blooming in a barrel where no one planted them. It has to be squirrels, right?

Some of the daffodils appear days away from blooming. We just need some warmth, and I expect they'll burst open.

I noticed a couple of volunteer tufts of catnip coming up. 

This is allowed to grow where it will, but I might try moving some of it to the Gracie Memorial Catnip Garden when we get a good day for it. Also, I want all danger of snow to pass. This is growing in a place where it's protected.

Also...check this out...it's the most annoying time of the year for boxelder beetles

They live in the cedar shake siding of our house through the winter. In spring, they leave in huge swarms. They tried to leave a little earlier this year, and there was a mass die off that ended up on our back deck. Now, they're trying again with the warmer temperatures, and they are congregating on every sunny surface of the house. This grouping is on the eves above the front porch. This is a twice-per-year event. In the fall, they move into the siding. In the spring, they move out. They're annoying, even if they are completely harmless.

Okay, well seeing all those bugs was enough to send me back inside the house. I'd left the bunny with his right ear laid out, and I started by sewing that together.

Sadie was my helper cat for this. She likes bunnies. Also, did someone mention catnip?

When that section was sewn together, I could sew the top one-third of the bunny together.

The next section included the bunny's left side.

The middle section included the nose, teeth, and part of the carrot.

When Smitty saw the pink nose, he thought this might be a quilt of him. But then he saw the carrot. Kitties do not like carrots, so never mind.

When those two sections were sewn together, it looked like this.

Next was the bunny's right side.

When all the sections were sewn together, it looked like this. The bunny is now two-thirds finished.

I was getting kind of tired of sewing by then, and so I laid out the seventh section, covered it with rulers, and left it there for the day. This section will include the bunny's left foot.

I'll pick it up there today. I'm hoping to have the whole of the bunny finished by the end of today. From there, I'll probably set it aside for a bit to build the next Tiny House. The baby I'm making the bunny quilt for hasn't even been born yet, so there's no hurry to finish it off. I do want to get all those pieces sewn together though. One can never be too careful when there are...you know...mice running around rearranging my carefully laid-out pieces.

For dinner last night, I tried a new recipe for this soup called Pasta e Piselle (Pasta and Peas). This was very easy to make...easy enough that I'd make it while we're traveling in the RV. I had a little trouble finding the diced pancetta. I was going to substitute bacon, but then I found some while I was out yesterday.

We enjoyed it with some crusty bread for dunking, and that was a nice dinner on a chilly evening. This is a recipe from America's Test Kitchens. I made one change, substituting parmesan for pecorino-romano cheese. The two cheeses are similar, and I always have parmesan on hand. I doubt anyone would know the difference. So here's my adapted recipe:

Pasta e Piselle
adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Serves 5


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 onion, chopped fine
2 ounces pancetta, chopped fine
½ teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2½ cups chicken broth
2½ cups water
7½ ounces (1½ cups) ditalini
1½ cup frozen petite peas
⅓ cup minced fresh parsley
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint


Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, pancetta, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, 7 to 10 minutes.

Add broth and water and bring to boil over high heat. Stir in pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid returns to boil. Reduce heat to maintain simmer; cover; and cook until pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in peas and remove saucepan from heat. Stir in parsley, Parmesan, and mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, drizzling with extra oil and passing extra Parmesan separately.

* * * * *

Okay, so after being gone from home two days in a row, I'm happy to not be going anywhere today. It's time for breakfast. It's my day on The Rack, and I have one housekeeping chore to do. (I'm not sure which is worse.) After that I'll get back to my sewing. It's looking like we have a wet and chilly day ahead, and so it'll be a good day to stay home and sew.