Back to Business

Time to get back to what passes for work here at the Three Cats Ranch. Thanksgiving 2014 is history, and it's time to get on with Christmas. We had such a great family get together. I hope yours went as well. Here are two of the men in my life. That's Erik on the left, Matthew on the right.

And I just want to know...where did these guys go?

Or for that matter, these two?

Oh well...they are both doing so well, and they seem so contented and at peace in their lives, it's hard to feel badly that they're all grown up now. It is sort of the goal, isn't it?

Anyway...here are Erik and Mae...married five years now.

And Matthew with his love, Valerie.

Valerie's mother, Maureen, and her brother, Andrew, joined us this year. Maureen was down from Ketchikan, Alaska, and Andrew from Spokane, Washington. It was the first time for these three to spend Thanksgiving together in many years. We were happy to give them a venue.

Valerie brought a delicious salted caramel pie for dessert. Maureen brought some smoked salmon deviled eggs and some smoked salmon dip for an appetizer. Mae brought a salad and her take on the traditional green bean casserole. Mae is an experimenting cook, and she really nailed the green bean casserole with her addition of white wine in place of some of the cream. Here, she's putting the finishing touches on her beautiful salad.

It was a nice combination of citrus, endive, hazelnuts, and goat cheese. Yummy.

And once we had it all dished up and served up, Mike set the platter of turkey on the table, and Pigs R Us 2014 ensued.

I'm such a dainty little eater...I just had a few bites.

We had two kinds of sweet potatoes and two kinds of cranberries, and one kind of everything else...and I do mean *everything* else.

Food coma.

There was a little time to sew on Thanksgiving day, and I made my block for the Block Lotto.

Join me on the Block Lotto Blog

This month's block is an "Easy X". I think this would be cute made up into an entire quilt.

Then yesterday, we spent some time putting things away, washing dishes that were not dishwasher worthy, and generally cleaning up. That didn't take too long, and then I spent the rest of the day sewing in my sweats. I call them my daytime jammies...the jammies I put on after I've brushed my teeth in the morning. You know the ones.

While I haven't finished quilting the Gardener's Journal quilt, I decided I wanted to finish quilting my "Peppermint Star" table topper. 'Tis officially the season, right? I did some straight line quilting next to the seam lines.

I had my heart set on some holly leaves in the border, but I wasn't sure how I was going to do them. Google helped me out by offering up loads of inspiration. There were some YouTube videos, and I checked out Laurie Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt. Of course, I looked at Leah Day's website. In the end, I did my own combination of several of the examples I saw. In the border, I did a sort of holly leafy swoopy vine. (There's probably a job waiting for me giving long incomprehensible names to quilting motifs, don't you think?)

In the corners, I fancied it up a little bit.

I'm using a red thread on the bottom and a red and white variegated thread on the top. It's a little hard to see against that green in these images, and so I've messed with the lighting and contrast so you can see it a little better. Below, you can see the transition in and out of the corners.

Then I did a little whirligig pinwheel thingy in the center pinwheel.

Here I checked the back of the quilt, and I wasn't happy with what I saw. You can see that I've got some tension problems, and there were those little "tangles" where I'd changed direction.

I consulted my friend Marei, who has a machine identical to mine, and she offered up some helpful suggestions. For one thing, she suggested those "tangles" might be lint and told me to check the bobbin area for lint. That was a bit of a "doh" moment because I haven't cleaned that since I got the machine, and I've done quite a lot of playing on it with some thread I know to be linty...not to mention the linty batting. Anyway, one swipe with a Q-Tip yielded this treasure trove.

Continuing on, I got all of this with a stray thread to boot. Sheesh.

There's probably a way to stitch this together and make a whole sheet of batting from it. What do you think?

Marei also suggested that I might be "marking time" while I paused to think as I changed direction. I'd already come up with that idea on my own, and I think my "tangles" are a combination of both things. So I've vowed to pay more attention to the bobbin area and keep it cleaner, and I've vowed to take my foot completely off the foot pedal when I pause. And for good measure, I messed with both bobbin and top thread tensions, and I think I've made a big improvement in how the back is looking now. As for the problems on this particular quilt...it's a table topper. A Christmas table topper. It's only going to come out of the closet for about one month out of the year, and it's going to lie flat on my table. Anybody who picks it up and looks at the back will get their hands slapped. You've been warned.

So I was all set to finish the quilting with that, but after walking past it a few times, I decided to add one of those whirligig pinwheels to each of the four corners, and then I called it good. Here's how it's looking now.

Today I'm going to finish it off with a binding. I have the cutest peppermint striped fabric for the binding. It's a small quilt, and so I should be able to get it all finished today.

So that's it from me. Remember that the November NewFO Linky Party goes live tomorrow. There are only two challenges left before this one is gone for good. Don't miss out.


Vroomans' Quilts said...

Love how you made one large block in a lovely table topper. The thread caught my eye - love varigated threads. A beautiful piece to add to your seasonal decor.

KatieQ said...

Mae's salad looks amazing. I like your version of the holly border especially with the varigated thread.

Christine M said...

Sounds like you had a lovely Thanksgiving, Barbara. Your quilt looks lovely. I love the holly quilting pattern.

quiltzyx said...

Thanksgiving dinner sounds wonderful - a little bit of everything! My neighbor sent me 2 big plates full of yumminess - so far I've had 2 dinners & there's still more left!
The peppermint topper quilting is wonderful! I promise, I won't turn it over, no slaps for me...
(And I've got my post ready for NewFO this month too!)

Kate said...

Looks like you had a great Thanksgiving. We did as well, this was the first one without my MIL. There were a few minor hick ups, but overall it went well. No one went hungry, that's for sure!

Love food coma picture. The only one of our crew to succumb was my own Drama Teen, she sacked out on half the couch for a couple of hours while the guys were watching football.

Anonymous said...

Your dinner looks awesome.....I could have just had the smoked salmon and called it good!!!! My Sweet 16 is quite fussy with the "lint thing" so I've gotten into the habit of using a lint brush every bobbin change and a drop of oil every other change (those bobbins hold a ton of 70wt thread!!!!!). Also, I try to use poly thread rather than cotton....I know that "they" claim that long staple Egyptian cotton is low lint but it's not low enough for me!!! Yup, you have enough for a batt!!! LOL!!!!! I just love that topper!!!!

Brown Family said...

Your dinner looks good. We has 16 at table with plenty of leftovers!