An Apple Today

My tail was dragging yesterday, even though I was able to get in an hour-long nap. Somehow getting up at 3:00 a.m. just isn't conducive to a productive day. And then, last night, I was awake at 2:30 a.m. After lying awake for an hour, I got up and finished stitching what was left of Block 13 for the Bee-utiful Quilt-A-Long. This one is "Bee Romantic". 

The bicycle in the original stitchery was black, but I made my blue in honor of my very first bicycle received on my fifth birthday. It was a Murray. I couldn't ride it, and training wheels weren't an option in my Marine Corps green family. Sink or swim, that's how we rolled. Fortunately, my big brother Richard took me for a ride on it. He was always my hero. Sadly, he passed away in 2003. I still miss him.

Block 14, "Bee Good" has been released now, and I'll get that one traced out today. Gotta have something to stitch if I find myself burning the early morning oil again tonight.

Erik and I had breakfast together yesterday morning. I handed off various canned goods to him, and in exchange, I got two grocery sacks full of apples. Yay!

Aren't they beautiful? I'm going to make my first try at canning some applesauce, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. The recipe I'm using has me cook the apples with their skins on. Then I run them through a food mill to both puree them and to separate them from their skins. I'm not exactly sure how that works since I've never owned a food mill. Until now, it hasn't seemed as if I needed one when I already have a food processor and a good-quality blender. (I mention the "good-quality" of my blender because I've had plenty of bad ones that do nothing other than spin the food around in the bottom of the pitcher.) So, I ordered a food mill from my good friends at Amazon (I just know we're good friends because I order from them all the time...pretty much every day...and they deliver FAST!), and I'm expecting that to arrive this afternoon.

For today's happy apple capers, I'm making a Red Hot Cinnamon Apple Cake for two. I tried this once before, and it was delicious. 

For the past couple of weeks I've been wanting to make another...pretty much since I saw Erik's tree loaded with apples. Also, I'm going to make some apple-pear chutney. We're fresh out, and it's so good spread on a slice of toasted baguette with some blue cheese.

So after I woke up from my nap yesterday, I had about an hour to kill before picking up our CSA share. I traced out the colors for Sadie's pawtrait. I'm working with this photograph:

I used Photoshop Elements 8 to edit the photo with posterized edges to try to make her colors a little easier to see. This one is going to be challenging. I tried messing with the "posterization" some, and this was the best I could do. Her colors are not very well defined at all.

And this is the tracing I came up with. I can see I need to finish up the lower right-hand corner there. The colors need to have a complete border, and this is what I use to trace the applique. By referring to the original unedited photograph, I can make my fabric choices.

I'm hoping to get a start on this today, and I always start with the eyes. The eyes are the most important part, and they are, fortunately, the easiest to do.

On Monday, I received my swap quilt from my swap partner (also named Barbara) in the UK. Isn't this adorable? It's perfect for our wet climate, which is similar to Barbara's in the UK. It's about 14 inches square and so colorful and pretty. It's hard to see in this image, but there is a hot fix crystal at each of the ends of the umbrella ribs. If you're reading, Barbara, thank you again.

It was a fun package to open. Barbara included a little pamphlet about her home town.

Also this little "coaster" which was her attempt at a wonky star.

In the mail on the same day, I received my latest Mass Drop shipment of these ten spools of Isacord thread. If you haven't heard of Mass Drop, then click right here. It's basically a way to join in with a group of people (unknown to you) to make purchases at bargain prices. 

If you've been reading for a while, then you know that I love thread as much as I love fabric, and I was seriously in need of more thread. You can see in this picture that there are a few empty pegs at the top there. Never get between a quilter and her thread...just saying. (I can't remember when I took this picture, but it's been a while. And the sewing room is so neat! It doesn't look like that now.)

So that's all I have to yammer on about today. Fortunately I was able to go back to bed and catch a couple more hours of sleep. One more cup of coffee and I should be ready to roll.

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sarah said...

Looks like the dessert for 2 website is down for a bit - will have to check again later for the cake recipe. Great start to Sadie's pawtrait - love the batiks you've collected for the project.

Dana Gaffney said...

I like your version of a drug deal, you hand off canned goods and get bags of apples.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I have had a poor sleeping pattern lately, too. Super start to Sadie's pawtrait and so wish we had apples.

Teresa in Music City said...

I've seen quite a few of the bicycles stitched and definitely like yours best! That blue is so nice :*). And what a great memory picture of you and and your brother. Apple pear chutney sounds lovely. Great pose by Sadie for the pawtrait - her eyes are so striking. I love watching your pawtrait quilts in progress. I used to order from Massdrop a lot back when they always offered free shipping in US. They have great deals.

Judy1522 said...

You will be glad to have the food mill when you make your applesauce. It saves coring and peeling the apples. Looking forward to seeing Sadie's pawtrait.

KatieQ said...

Massdrop and Amazon have become my two best friends. We communicate daily by email. I love the bicycle block. The photo with your brother is a lovely memory. I used training wheels way too long. A sweet gentleman who lived on our street finally took pity on me. He was a Polish immigrant who never learned to drive a car and walked or rode his bike everywhere. He had a soft kind voice and was incredibly patient.

gpc said...

That's how we make our applesauce, pulped with no sugar. Delicious. I love your blue bike and the photo of your brother. My brother rode with me on the handlebars and ran into things so I would fly off. We had very different brothers. The child in me likes yours better. :)

Anonymous said...

I have had a similar experience as you, walking up early. I usually try to check my email so as not to wake up my hubby and our three cats. As you know, once you wake up cats, they want to eat. Tabitha, our little black female, will come in to see what I'm doing and "help" me surf the Internet or read my email, which means I don't get anything done. I frequently have to chase her away as she always wants to know what's in the waste basket, sometimes, dumping it over. I don't usually go back to bed, nor do I take a nap in the afternoon as I know I will not sleep the next night. I've been doing a lot of sewing recently and my hubby has noticed that it wears me out. So I haven't had trouble sleeping lately. This morning I got up earlier than usual and made Lemon Blueberry muffins, before making the filling for WonTons for tonight, as the taste better when the meat marinades with the other ingredients.
My first bike was a large three-wheeler, which I passed down to my next sister, after I got a blue two-wheeler. I really loved roller skating too. Did you roller-skate as a child?

ytsmom said...

I got the same thread! I'm just getting into machine embroidery, so need basic colors!
Good price, too!

Kate said...

Early mornings like that are hard. Glad you were able to get in a bit more sleep yesterday. At least you used your time very productively. Looking forward to seeing Sadie's pawtrait come together.

quiltzyx said...

Your bicycle Bee block turned out wonderfully! Love the pic of you & your big brother, but wonder what you were thinking.
I too like seeing your Pawtraits in Progress. :)
Ohboyohboyohboy! Look at all those apples! I remember you posting about the Red Hot Apple cake before. It does sound delish. My mom used to make applesauce for us. Never canned any of it, just made enough for us to eat.

Brown Family said...

I love my Isacord thread. I have been collecting for a while and have at least one of every color. My friend that I just helped move, has all the Isacord, Robison-Anton, Floriani, Sulky and several other. it took 10 hours to pack it!

Your swap quilt is so cute!