Sew and Sow Saturday

Before I tell you about Saturday, I have to show you this dessert for two I made on Friday evening. I'm making my way through the new cookbook I purchased recently. My life pretty much depended on owning the book:

After I bought the cookbook, I read the beginning few pages and discovered that I needed certain mini bakeware, and so I purchased these four pieces. No use trying to save my life with the wrong equipment, right? So, now I'm choosing recipes that use each piece of bakeware, and last night, it was the little 6-inch cast iron skillet. Feast your eyes on this Chocolate Brownie Sundae:

We just feasted on it. Period. You serve it up straight from the oven with a scoop of ice cream and two spoons. That way, you can share it with a friend. Or, you can use both hands to eat the whole thing yourself. It's totally up to you.

While reading the first pages of the book, I learned something else new that pretty much blew the socks right off my feet. She was talking about leftover ingredients, specifically, sweetened condensed milk. Usually when that appears in a recipe, you use the whole can, right? But in these itty bitty desserts for two, you might use just a couple of tablespoons. And then, what are you going to do with the rest of the can? So here's the part where my socks got blown off my feet. It also comes in a squeeze bottle, and she claimed you could find it in the "international aisle" of most grocery stores. Holy sh*t! Really?!? STFU!

Well, I could scarcely believe this claim, and in any case, the "international aisle"? Why would they put it there? So then I happened to be in the "international aisle" the other day and as I live and breathe, there it was!

Shut the front door! Who knew? I'm telling you, wonders never cease. (I could probably come up with a few more idioms to express surprise, but I think you get the idea.)

This morning my eyes popped open at 5:30 a.m., which isn't unusual for me. I'm usually up before 6:00. Smitty seems to have a 6th sense about my eyes popping open. Even if he's in a separate room, he comes running in to tell me good morning and to beg to be let outside immediately. I actually think he hears my eyelids creak open. So by 8:00 a.m., I'd read all my email, checked Facebook, eaten my breakfast, and done my daily allotment of embroidery. It seemed a good time to get going on the next block for Lisa's retirement quilt. I had the block pattern created:

But I hadn't even started with the fabric. So I created fusible appliques of the hair, cheeks, and lips. Once I had those fused on, I top-stitched them, and then used free motion machine embroidery to fill in the hair and the dress, and I used the machine to stitch a few of the lines in the face. The rest of the stitching is hand embroidery. And here is Elizabeth's finished block, Block 12 of 56.

When I posted the image to the photo album I'm sharing with Lisa on Facebook, I said this:

Elizabeth drew her picture using ball point pen and pencil. Amusingly, she drew the hair using pencil. In an effort to reproduce these as close to the original as possible, I used plenty of "graphite gray" thread in Lisa's hair. Keeping it real, my friend.

Yeah, and I had to say it again here, just to rub it in a little more. Yeah, I'm a really good friend that way.

The next block I'm doing will be this one by Bailey, a kindergarten student. This block will be hand embroidery, and I'll use a little pink crayon on the clock face. You can see where Bailey added a little color on some of the numbers.

So, it's always good to have my one-block-a-week finished on these. I started this project on January 28th of this year with a goal of doing one block per week. Just now, I counted up the weeks. In 10 weeks, I have completed 12 blocks, so yay me! I'm actually ahead of schedule. And I'd say that earns me

Gotta grab 'em whenever you can, right? To celebrate, I created this collage of all 12 completed blocks:

It's looking more quilt-like that way, isn't it? It's actually going to be set 7 blocks across by 8 rows down. If I can meet my goal of making at least two more blocks in April, I'll have the blocks 25% finished.

As long as I'm talking about this, I have a special request for knitters and crocheters out there: I need about a 2-yard length of red yarn...something other than wool would be preferred. It doesn't need to be anything fancy, but I'd like to use yarn in one of these blocks, and I don't have any. If someone would be willing to swap me a fat quarter for a length of yarn I would really appreciate it.

Updated to say that Cinder Gal is sending me some yarn, so a big THANK YOU to Cinder Gal!

After that, it was time to do the rest of the planting that wasn't finished yesterday. I planted my hanging petunia baskets:

I probably bought too many petunias, but I managed to squeeze them all into two baskets anyway. They don't look like much now, but in a few weeks, they'll be hanging in long tendrils of flowers. The hummingbirds are especially fond of them.

Also, I planted three different kinds of lettuce. These containers are intended to be used as window boxes. They work great for the lettuce. When the lettuce is harvested, it's nice a clean with no bugs or slugs...and you've seen our Oregon slugs. Excuse me for just a moment while a gag.

The plastic wrap over the tops of the containers serves to keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate. The little green stakes running down the middle keep the plastic from falling into the soil as it collects moisture. It's a bit of a makeshift terrarium, and it works well for germinating lettuce seeds. They have to be planted right on the surface, and they'll wash away with too much water.

Finally, I planted three each of five different varieties of sunflowers. I'll get these started in little pots and then transplant them outside. I haven't had any luck trying to germinate them outside. More than half never come up, and I suspect the birds eat them before they have a chance. They are covered up too, although they have a heftier seed, and it's buried deeper.

And that was pretty much that. The tomatoes are growing like crazy. Still looking good. I gave them some fertilizer yesterday, but they'll be getting larger pots in a week or two. Also, on the right side of that image, you can see the Italian parsley and English thyme for the culinary herb garden. Also, one of my lavender plants died this year, so I'm replacing it with some Spanish lavender.  I'm not quite ready to plant that outside yet, but soon.

On the way back to the house, I hung my petunia baskets. Now they just need to grow some and they'll be very pretty.

It's just mid-afternoon, but I feel as if I've had a full day. I might just hang out the rest of the day, but if I'm feeling really energetic, I'll get a start on my blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

It's been a good day so far. How is your Saturday going?

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

Shari said...

Love the quilt for your friend. It's going to be such a special gift for her. I'm not a knitter, so I have no yarn. I do have some #8 red Valdani thread if you don't get any yarn and think the Valdani might work as a substitute.

Lyndsey said...

The blocks for Lisa's quilt are looking fabulous. I have a variety of red yarns but they are different thicknesses so need a little more detail.

Cinder Gal said...

Send me you address and I'll ship some red yarn your way ASP. That's such a little bit you are welcome to it without the exchange and I have plenty.

Your project reminds me of the retirement quilt I made for a teacher. Many years later she still likes it. You're doing a great job.

quiltzyx said...

You are doing such a wonderful job on Lisa's retirement quilt - each one a different puzzle to figure out.
Glad your red yarn is on the way. If I wasn't so far behind, I could have sent some! LOL I'm crocheting one of my Happy Bowls to go into a raffle basket for Relay for Life (American Cancer Society) that my friend (and boss at the colleges) is putting together. I made one this morning, but it's 2 shades of blue & I think I want one for the basket that's blue & white instead. We're going for a "spa" basket.
If my patio got more sunshine, I might be tempted to plant some lettuce. Then again, I would have to water it & right now that's a no-no around here.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Love seeing all the blocks together - a mini quilt to inspire the rest of them. I think hanging petunia's are just lovely - I can't seem to keep them going here - in the ground yes, hanging, no. I am just adding some herbs in the flower beds as we have so many local crop farms with stands - let them do the work and I will support them.

Kate said...

Lisa's quilt is going to be such a fun project to see all completed. I love how you combine multiple techniques to create each block.

LethargicLass said...

Is that window box where the lettuce goes? What a great idea for natural light! I also am curious why the bottled sweetened condensed milk is international LOL

Dar said...

A very informative and interesting post today. You were a very busy lady to get so much done before mid day. Of course, getting up before the birds helps. lol I am going to look for the sweetened condensed milk in a tube. That is genius.

make.share.give said...

Chocolate brownie looks wonderful. Totally worth using the tiny cast iron skillet. There is a chocolate chip version at Chili's. AND my first-graders use their gray crayon for all of my hair.

Junebug613 said...

OMG! That dessert looks amazing! And like a million calories to my current, grudgingly, calorie-counting self! Yum! Yum! Yum! I skimmed over this post the other day, which inspired me to finally get some of my planting and replanting in the works. I did a little bit after work two days this week. I hope I have some luck with my new seeds. Your gardening is always so pretty!

DessertForTwo said...

Yay! That looks so pretty! I'm so glad y'all enjoyed it :)

Brown Family said...

Good translation of the block. I will have to find the 'international foods' aisle at the market!