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It's been a whirlwind several days, and there's a lot to tell you, so I'll just get right to it.

When I left off, Mike and I were working very hard at avoiding house work and yard work. We took the long and meandering route home that day on our quest to continue said quest. We pulled off the road at one point to admire the view (which is just another excellent way to waste time) and finally had an opportunity to photograph this purple wildflower that has sprung up pretty much everywhere along the roadside.

They are so pretty, and Mike claims they are fragrant, although my nose isn't sure it agrees with this assessment. My Like That Garden app identifies these as Dame's Rocket, or Hesperis matronalis, if you're feeling like showing off your Latin.

Finally, we decided we'd wasted all the time we could afford, and so we headed home. Sunday, things really got busy. I had in mind to try a new dessert while my cousins were here. Usually, I wouldn't try a new recipe on guests, but I had all I needed and so, what the heck? But just in case, I baked some cookies as an emergency back-up dessert in case the first-line dessert turned out to be a bust. These are Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans and Dried Cherries. I promise this is the only cookie recipe you'll ever need. They are the BEST cookies. I'm linking to the recipe right here, although in the recipe, I substituted dried cranberries for the dried cherries because it was Christmas. You can also make them with white chocolate if you like.

Monday morning, I made the first-line dessert, which turned out to be really good and super simple to make. This is a Maple-Pear Sheet Tart. We had it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and it was delicious. If I make it again (and I will), I think I'll make just half the recipe. That would make it even easier. It uses both sheets of pastry from a box of frozen puff pastry, but it would be a lot easier to make it with just one, halving all rest of the ingredients.

Sam and Janice arrived mid-afternoon on Monday, and it was fantastic to see them. I haven't seen them in more than ten years. They are some of my favorite people in the whole wide world. We laughed and talked and ate and had a wonderful visit.

While I was waiting for them to arrive, I decided to get to work on the next blocks for the Live, Love, Teach quilt. Up next was block #50 (Yahoo!). This is Miren's block. It was actually a hand made greeting card. The inside was quite elaborate and three dimensional. For my own purposes, I just duplicated the front of the card.

Here it is rendered in fabric, floss, and a little bit of crayon.

At the same time I made up Block #51, Missy's block. I'll do the embroidery for it this coming weekend.

Also, I did some work reorganizing my scrap bins. Originally, I had three bins similar to these and the scraps were organized a la the ROY G BIV method. Some of the bins were stuff to the gills, and so I decided to add four more 3-drawer bins and separate out some of the colors from one another. When I finished I had separated the reds and pinks (formerly sharing a drawer); blues and greens were separated from their confusing teal friends. Finally, I separated out the whites, grays, tans, browns, and blacks. Originally whites, grays and tans were together and blacks and browns were together. Now I have whites, grays, tans and browns, and blacks in separate bins. It's a lot more workable.

That emptied out these three bins, and so I moved all my fat quarters into those...and let me tell you, I was shocked at the number of fat quarters I had. I may not live long enough to use all the fat quarters I've accumulated.

And about the time I had that all finished, Sam and Janice arrived. Just look at my cousin, Sam. It's too bad he's such a tiny little thing, isn't it? 

Of course, Maggie disappeared for the duration of their visit.

Where's Maggie? Has anybody seen Maggie?

These two are turning into pretty good friends. They actually sat on my lap--together!--while I did the embroidery for Miren's block. Smitty was sitting with me when Maggie climbed imperceptibly slowly onto my leg. Smitty glanced back over his shoulder, but didn't seem to mind.

They've become fast friends and companions outside the house as well.

Sam and Janice stayed just the night and then moved on to their daughter's house in southern Oregon yesterday morning. Pretty much all the housework is done, the weather is back to our Portland gloom, and so there's nothing left for me to do but sew. Yesterday I made all the sashing strips for the Cats of a Different Color. The cornerstones are cut as well.

That took most of the day, but I did sew the first and second cat together yesterday. Today I'll continue on, and I'm hoping to finish the quilt top today.

Also, I've completed pretty much all of the southwest corner of the Gingerbread Square block.

Tomorrow I'll move northward and start working on the top portion of the house.

Finally, my friend Pat sent me some fabric for my 50-state fabric tour quilt. When I started out with this version of the Quilty 365 quilt, I had in mind to include regional fabrics from quilt shops I'd visited. Now I have a mind to try to include fabrics from all fifty states. Pat...a former Oregonian, turned New Yorker...sent me some fabric from her new home state of New York. Isn't this great?

Thanks, Pat. It's perfect. After Mike retires next year, the plan is to take off on a many months long RV adventure across country, down the eastern seaboard and back through the south, including seeing as much of the heartland as possible. As we go, I'll be collecting fabrics from as many states as I can. I may end up with a quilt the size of Texas, but it'll be fun doing it.

And with that, I'm going to get sewing. It's going to be an all sewing all the time day, and I'm looking forward to it.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Love the cookies and apple tart recipes. Oh, that photo of Smitty and Maggie together - fantastic. Just took time. I would love to know where Pat got that NY fabric.

Quilting Babcia said...

Sharon, I got the fabric from Fabric.com several years ago.

Quilting Babcia said...

Glad you can use the fabric Barbara. I've used it for a couple quilt backs, and most recently the back for our first ministry quilt. I love the cats quilt!

WoolenSails said...

You really have a lot of wonderful projects started.
Love seeing the kitties outside, I bet they love the nice weather.
I use those bins too, great for my wool scraps too.


Linda Schiffer said...

Hey, when you start that retirement voyage, let us know. My friend Barbara and I read your blog all the time. I think we'd love to host you for lunch when you get to Maryland. :)


Dana Gaffney said...

I'm glad you had such a good visit, but it was really fast. I've been thinking of separating my scraps into colors like that, it seems like it would be so much easier than my usual digging around for a specific color.

quiltzyx said...

Yes, your cousin is just a delicate little thang, isn't he? Glad you had a good visit.
Just look at M & S getting along so well! Hooray!!!
Cool NY fabric. And lookit how you're getting even MORE organized with your scraps, sheesh. ;)

quiltzyx said...

Yes, your cousin is just a delicate little thang, isn't he? Glad you had a good visit.
Just look at M & S getting along so well! Hooray!!!
Cool NY fabric. And lookit how you're getting even MORE organized with your scraps, sheesh. ;)

Wendy Tuma said...

Do you have fabric from Minnesota? If not, I could send you some. I think I may have to try those cookies -- my husband loves dried cherries, and I like chocolate. Perfect combo!

Susan said...

More fat quarters than you can use in a lifetime? I hope Mike isn't reading this blog entry. LOL

The desserts look good. I am going to have to try them.

So happy the kitties are getting along so much better.

Brown Family said...

I wish I was as organized with my fabric. I helped a friend do hers a couple of years age. That was about 3 months of work!

Glad you had a good visit! Cousins are important.