The Best Kind of Day

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A stay at home day for me. What could be better than that? I spent the day doing only what I wanted to do. Today, that included making some snacks for Mike and Matthew's trip to the Oregon coast this weekend. They've been gearing up to take the ATV's over to the coast for a couple of months. I'm not going, but I am contributing the food. Today I started with snacks in the form of our family's favorite Chocolate-Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans and Dried Cherries.

The recipe I've linked to above has them made with cranberries. Today's version featured dried tart cherries, but really, you could use any dried fruit. Beware, however. These are the best cookies ever. Once you've made them, you'll never need another cookie recipe. They're that good. 

Also, I made some homemade granola bars. This is a recipe from Alton Brown, and these are so yummy. I often make them when we're going hiking or ATVing. They're healthy and filling, and pretty easy to make. After baking them, Alton cuts his into 16 squares, but I've always cut mine into 9 squares. They're chewy and wholesome enough to make a nice take-along lunch with no muss and no fuss. You'll want napkins, however, because the honey in them makes them a little sticky.

I always wrap them up individually in plastic wrap and then store them in a Tupperware. Oh, and did I say it made nine? One always manages to disappear into the black hole in my kitchen...the one with teeth.

If you get a mind to make these, know this: Don't press down too hard when you put them into the pan. Just sort of smooth them over and flatten them out a little. Pressing too hard makes them too dense to cut. Either way, you'll want a nice sharp knife. And if you have trouble, we've been known to just dump the whole thing into a gallon zip-lock bag and eat it like bagged granola. It's good even if you have trouble keeping them in shape as bars. Today...everything worked out nicely.

Tomorrow I'll be making more food-like things for the guys. I'm making a lasagna and some frozen breakfast burritos. Friday morning (the day they leave), I'll put some steaks into a marinade in a zip-lock bag. Yeah...I'm a nice guy, making all the food that way. I'm kind of fond of Mike and Matthew, and besides...nobody goes hungry here at the Three Cats Ranch.

So once I had that finished and my mess cleaned up, I went back to work on the Sunflower Mosaic quilt. A few of you with sharp eyes noticed the two kitty faces in the middle of the sunflower. I noticed them too, and as it turns out, I'm glad you pointed them out to me. I studied the image below a little more closely, and came to the conclusion that while the fabrics in the original quilt are made with different values of color, each value is made from the same print.

I started having second thoughts about the scrappy version I'd started yesterday. 

I had all my scraps separated into five values, but I was using different prints in each value. After studying the picture from the original quilt a little longer, I decided to start over with this today. I went through my original piles and selected one print for each value and then just put the others away. Here are my yellows and blues:

Also, I hadn't yet honed in on my greens and browns, and so I picked those out too. The browns only have three different values.

In the process, I came across these two fabrics below. These will make great borders and a backing, although I'm not totally settled on how I'm going to finish the quilt off yet. Anyway...I pulled these out and set them aside for future reference.

The trick with this quilt is going to be staying organized and not losing my place on the "map" I've been given for color placement. (This is a purchased pattern, and so I've pixelated most of the "map". I don't want to get anybody ticked off about copyright.) I went through and numbered the vertical and horizontal rows. Recall that I'm cutting mine off about 2/3 of the way down because I don't want my quilt larger than 36 x 36 inches. 

Also, I went through and numbered the values for the colors. Then I figured out to use the top of one of my storage bins to keep my fabrics organized. This allows me to move them around easily if I want to. The little squares are cut in two sizes...1 1/2 inch for the whole blocks and 1 7/8 inch for the half square triangles.

And then I managed to get the first four vertical rows completed before I needed to stop for the day. It's going a little faster now that I've done it a few times. I think it looks better now that I've limited the prints I'm using.

To hold my place, I'm using post-it notes to mark the vertical and horizontal rows. By doing it this way, I also assure I'll keep my place because moving the sticky is the first thing I must do before I can see what's next as I work my way down the vertical row. This is where I'll start next time I work on it.

The birdcam is turned on today, and it's about time to bring in the memory card to see what I captured. It's been a relaxing day, and we're having leftovers for dinner. Can't get much more easy-going than that.

9 comments from clever and witty friends:

Junebug613 said...

Wow! That looks like quite the project, but I have no doubt that you will breeze through it. You are very thorough and organized! Those guys are really lucky to have you making the food for their trip!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Now that's organization! But I love the project. Oh, yummo - all the tastie treats.

Janarama said...

You always make some scrumptious looking food! The men in your life are sure lucky to have you as their wife and mother. I love how you always describe your process when making your projects.

Valerie Reynolds said...

Cookies and sunflowers...two of my very favorite things! BIG SMILES!!

Brown Family said...

At least you know they will eat well! I did not see the kitty faces till you pointed them out!

littleRamstudio said...

Those Granola bars look delicious.
Off to scour the cupboards to see if we've got the ingredients!

Cute kitties too >^..^<

Dana Gaffney said...

Those cookies are making my mouth water, I just got back from my bike ride, oatmeal cookies are like breakfast food right?

Jacque said...

You are so right....looks like a perfect day. And cookies that have oatmeal in them are healthy for you and you can eat as many as you want, right? Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

Kate said...

The Blooming Sunflower is off to a good start.

The cookies sound really good. DT was just saying she wanted to bake more. Maybe I convince her to practice by making those.