Well, July is just flying by, isn't it? Here it is July 2nd, and I can't even imagine what I've been doing for the entire month. Actually, I have a pretty good idea. I've been running all over town and then taking naps to rejuvenate myself. Today I have a much-needed day of nothing to do but sew. My fondest sewing desire for the day is to finish up the quilt top for the baby birds quilt.
As you can see, Miss Sadie is assuming a new role as design attendant. She's rearranged things in a way more suitable to her impurrcable taste in quilt blocks. Where would a quilter be without cats to help out?
When I left off, I was considering the zig zag row. Originally I cut the top row of zigs from that lavender fabric of my questioning mind. It wasn't going to give me enough contrast with the lavender print, and so I skipped a day of working on this to give it some more thought. Eventually, it hit me that the green polka dot was the right choice for contrast both above and below. It was cut from four 7-inch squares, and so recutting a new fabric choice didn't really hurt my frugal feelings. Those 7-inch squares of lavender can be reused elsewhere. When I laid it out, I was sure it was the right choice.
And so the third row is sewn together now.
There is just one more row before I can start sewing the four rows together. The fourth row is just a riff on the top row with the blocks turned 90 degrees, more or less. It will go quickly.
Yesterday I made a visit to a fabric store. I purchased the overlay for Eliza's quilting table. I'll explain why eventually, but for now, just know that I had a reason for being in the store beyond buying fabric. When Sue and I walked yesterday, we were talking about my desire to make a Sadie pawtrait. Her fur is going to be tough. It isn't patterned in the "patches" that make a pawtrait straightforward. Rather, she has black fur flecked with orange, and that is going to be a hard match, I'm afraid. Now that I've started, I won't stop looking until I've found just the thing. As I'm writing this, I'm realizing I need to look more closely at my batiks.
The second challenge is getting a good picture of this little wiggle worm. She's doing really well with us, but still seems fairly anxious in her new surroundings. She's in perpetual motion, or else she hides away behind a quilt or under the couch. It makes getting a good picture of her difficult, and every good pawtrait begins with the right photograph. This picture above has the advantage of being in focus, but it does nothing to capture her personality. Also, I want her looking directly into the camera, and that generally means catching a cat when it's just settling in for a nap, or just waking up from one. Already, I've taken dozens, if not hundreds, of pictures of her. (Thank goodness for digital.) More often than not, I get something like one of these.
Since placing catnip on the catio, it's become a more popular place. Smitty seems to be settling into these new limitations on his liberty. We're letting him out with us when we go outside, and that happens several times per day. He's been really good about staying with us and also about going back inside when it's time. He and Sadie are forming a close friendship, and they are playing for long periods of time with no hissing. She chases him as often as he chases her, and they both enjoy playing sneak 'em up games or hide and seek.
It's hard to know about Sadie, but Smitty is spending nights on the catio. He often comes and crawls under the covers with me at night, and I know he's been outside because his ears and feet are cold.
And after spending the night on the catio, a cat needs a morning nap.
Want to see what I've been doing with the CSA vegetables this week? I made this Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart. It's a bit of a production to make it, but all of the component parts (crust, roasted cauliflower, and caramelized onions) can be made ahead, and then assembled when you're ready to bake it. Before filling the tart crust, you brush it with a thin layer of Dijon mustard. The Dijon tang comes through perfectly in each bite. It's good for dinner or breakfast. Also, it gave me a chance to use up a half-used hunk of gruyere cheese and a partially used container of whipping cream.
Recall that we are not fans of the fennel around here, but this is one way that we both like it. Below is Roasted Fennel with Parmesan. It's super simple and a good one to try if you've never made fennel before. Roasting the fennel gets rid of that strong anise flavor that Mike and I find objectionable. By putting the prepared dish into a hot oven for roasting, it caramelizes the outside edges of the fennel and sweetens it as it softens to a nice texture. I wouldn't say I'd buy fennel on purpose to make this dish, but when I have some in my CSA share, it's a good way to lay waste to it. (Remember, when it comes to the onslaught of vegetables, this is war.)
Finally, I used the zucchini and the basil in these Zucchini Boats with Ricotta-Basil Mousse. It also gave me a chance to use an unopened carton of ricotta cheese that was hanging out in the fridge a little too long for comfort. These are much simpler than they look. You scoop out the center of the zucchini with a melon baller. I made the filling in my food processor. Just dump everything in and pulse until it's all chopped up and well combined. Then use a teaspoon to fill them. Really simple. These happen to be yellow zucchini but it will work with any color, and probably with other summer squashes.
Tomorrow is going to be a kitchen day since I have several dishes to prepare for our Fourth of July celebration on the east bank of the Willamette River. I neglected to get the ingredients for one dish, and so I'll need to make a quick trip into town today to get a few things.
Remember this graphic?
So time to get on with my day and my Fourth of July weekend. The only other thing I'd like to accomplish today is to trace out the next block for the Bee-utiful Quilt-A-Long. It was released last night. This one is called "Bee Sweet". Cute, huh?
It's time to get busy. I hope you have something fun on your horizon for this holiday weekend.