Two Little Finishes

It was a busy day for my needle and thread yesterday. I have two little finishes to show you. First, the second of nine plates for the Pieces of the Past Quilt.

Meg Hawkey often gives instructions for trimming these blocks by creating a freezer paper template and then cutting the excess fabric from the outside. Usually, I just measure and figure and cut it without a template. Quite a few of these blocks are cut off-center, and I couldn't really figure this out without making the template. (Uses best whining voice: Do I have to?) And actually, this turned out to be pretty darned easy. I keep one rotary cutter in my sewing room reserved for paper, and so I used it to cut the template to size, and then drew lines as instructed. I just eye-balled the embroidery, centering it under the vertical line, but I also measured to make sure.

Then, I cut around the outside edges, and there you have it. A trimmed block with the design just slightly off-center.

A little later in the day, I gave myself a heart attack when I realized I hadn't really checked whether I had it oriented correctly. In other words, was it supposed to be turned 90 degrees before I cut? Thankfully, not. Mine is done correctly. But I'll remember this for next time.

Here are the two plates I have so far for this quilt.

Outside, Mike was busy with this summer's slash and burn project. I've mentioned the overgrown butterfly bushes behind our garage. So far, I've been ashamed to show you how ugly they are. Now that Mike is hacking away at them bit by bit, I can make excuses by saying it's a work in progress. When I took this picture, he'd already hauled four loads to our burn pile, and he's only just getting started. Oy. Better him than me.

Walking on, I checked on the peony. I'm checking it twice per day now, but I'll only show you one picture. Unless it blooms. Then...watch out!

On the other side of the yard, I noticed this bush is blooming. This was planted by the previous owner. It turns bright red in the fall, and thus its name of "Burning Bush," or euonymus alatus, for those of you who must know its snotty botanical name. In the spring it gets these tiny little green flowers.

The white azalea is blooming now, but interestingly, only on the non-sun side of the plant. It has a few flowers on the sunny side, but not many. Kind of weird.

Also, my little pittance of a chive crop for the year. I've had so many chives in the past I thought we might have to spray them as weeds. This year...only this little clump is blooming. Definitely there will be no chive blossom vinegar this year. This little clump should be enough to spread out and bring them back in bigger quantities, but it might take a while.

Mike only mowed a week ago, but you'd never know it. Sadie is fine with that though. It means better grazing for her.

I was on my way to the greenhouse to repot the blueberries. Since Mike's job of removing the butterfly bushes is going to take a couple of weeks, at least, I decided they'd be happier in bigger pots. They were root bound in the little pots they came in, and I don't know about you, but I always need room for my toes to wiggle in my shoes. I imagined the blueberries felt the same way.

You might recall that I had two little sunflower pots that hadn't sprouted. One was the American Giant sunflower. I replanted the seeds, and those have sprouted now. No sign of anything in the second pot...a different variety.

The cat grass was large enough that I decided I could safely move it to the catio. By putting it near the fencing, I'll be able to water it without going inside.

The kitties were watching from the far side of the deck, and they were curious what I was doing. They came right over, and this was a big hit. The cat grass seeds were a gift from my friend, Gail. Thank you, Gail, from the bottom of their kitty hearts and mine too.

So that was kind of the end of my outdoor activities for the day. I went back to work finishing off the last of the quilting for the Tiny Trees quilt. I decided to do a little row of trees around the outer border, and this turned out to be a pretty easy motif to stitch. I made the trunks a little long to make room for the binding.

Here's how the whole thing looks after trimming off the excess.

Here's how it looks from the back. The backing fabric is one of the first fabrics I purchased when I started quilting back in 2008. I've used it in a few projects, and I'm nearing the end of it.

Then I added the binding. I had yards and yards of this binding already made and pressed and ready to be sewn on. It's kind of a mystery why I had so much.

I think the only other time I've used it was in the Gingerbread Square quilt.

It was a large quilt, and I can only think I miscalculated when cutting the strips. So that made it quick work to sew it on, and then get after the hand stitching. The quilt is 25 x 27 inches, and so I stitched and stitched and stitched until it was finished. I had plenty of assistance for this. Sadie helped from the vantage point of my lap.

Smitty lay nearby, meowing out instructions occasionally.

It took about an hour, and then it was finished. Ta-Da!

It's a combination of two projects: the Twelve Trees for Christmas embroidery pattern from Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread; and the Tiny Tree Sew-Along from Temecula Quilt Co. Here's how it looks from the back.

I might decide to add a hanging sleeve to it. It'll either be a wall-hanging or a table topper. I haven't decided yet, but I'm leaning toward the wall hanging.

Okay, and so it was pretty close to dinner time by then. I had a new recipe in mind. I'm a frequenter of the "bargain meats" in our grocery store. Often, I pick up cuts of meat there and then put them into our chest freezer at home, which could easily be the place where perfectly good food goes to die. Right now, I have a lot of meat in the freezer. With meat seeming to become in short supply, I've decided to pull something from that freezer once per week and try something new. Last week, I pulled this pound and a half of flanken-cut, bone-in, short ribs and decided to try this recipe for Korean-Style Grain Bowls with Spicy Marinated Steak.

It was pretty easy to do, but it made a LOT of dirty bowls. One first makes a large quantity of marinade, which is then divided up and distributed to separately marinate the meat, the cabbage, and the carrots. It's also added to the grains in the bottom of the bowl, and then served along-side as a condiment. It turned out to be delicious. So what you see in that image above, starting at 12:00 are some sugar snap peas and kimchi (purchased in the produce section of our grocery store). Moving clockwise, you see some julienned carrots (also purchased already julienned), some red cabbage, and then the meat. Underneath it all is a brown rice mixture with some wilted baby spinach and more marinade mixed in. Dotting the fried egg is some gochujang, or "Korean ketchup."

Aside from the dirty bowls, it was pretty easy to make since most of the vegetables are eaten raw. The sugar snap peas were blanched, and some spinach was mixed into the hot grains raw, then stirred up until it wilted. So, aside from the fried egg, the rice, and grilling the meat, there wasn't a lot of cooking involved for the amount of food you see here.

You can find the recipe for this right here. Here are my comments. First off, you can use either the short ribs or a rib-eye for the meat. We found it difficult to cut around the bones in the short ribs with this being served in a bowl. The bowl seemed the proper receptacle, but I'd stick with the rib-eye in the future. It would be easier to eat. Also, the marinade recipe calls for 1 cup of pear juice. I could find pear juice, and so I substituted apple juice. I doubt it made any difference at all, and the marinade was very flavorful. I'd use it in any dish that required marinating the meat. Also, the recipe confused me a little regarding the marinade. When you've finished mixing it up, you are supposed to pour off one cup for marinating the meat. But before adding the meat, you are to mix in additional gochujang, brown sugar, and a little salt. Got it? Okay...moving on.

I'd purchased this rice mixture at another time when I couldn't find brown rice. Since you can use any grain in this recipe, it seemed like a good time to use this one, and it was a good choice.

The gochujang was a new one on me. I was able to pick this off the shelf in the international section of our local Fred Meyer, which is part of the Kroger chain of stores. It's a lot like ketchup, but more spicy. Spicy, yes, but not enough to knock your head off.

So there you go. A day in the life.

Today we're going to make a quick trip into town. I need a couple of things for tonight's dinner, and I want to try a tip from my friend, Crew at Cabin Central, for putting medicated body powder on some of the seedlings to deter the squirrels. She says she learned this tip from a master gardener and it works. Heck...I'll try anything. If I thought hopping on one foot while singing, ♫ I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay, ♫♪ would help, I'd do that too. Hm...that gives me an idea. (Checking my closet for appropriate costumes.)

Okay, and so I'll start back at the top of my WIP's list today and get started making the third row of blocks for Jenny's Flower Garden. When I left off, it looked like this:

Also, I'm started on the latest snowflake, and so I'll get back to that too.

What's on your agenda for today?


Ruth L. said...

LOL! Thanks for the Monty Python reference. Yours is one of my favorite (OK, it is, I'm just equivocating) quilting blogs. Cats, humor, gardening tips, and no politics. And all on a daily basis. Bless you.

The Joyful Quilter said...

Those plates are gorgeous and I absolutely LOVE how you added to your tree mini to make it your own!!

Sandra W said...

The plates are lovely and I also like the patchwork you are working on. You are so productive and make such interesting food.

Julierose said...

WOW you have been a busy bee....I love the background fabric behind the
little tree--and your tree quilting looks lovely...
~ ~ ~ waving under gray skies Julierose

kc said...

Ok, so here's a first! That last bit 9f blocks you show... I was given a box of ummmmm... Scraps from old old unrelated projects of someone else, cuz, ya know, quarantine and shortage, and I ran out of fabric and things to do on board... And that's the pattern I picked to use!

Catio looks fantastic, those are some lucky kitties! Love the little trees and how they look around the bigger one.. those designers would be tickled, I'm sure.

My agenda today? We'll, after this, I'll see if I can go back to sleep for an hour or so, then the dog needs a bath after yesterday's jaunt to the wildlife refuge (where the whoopers spent the winter), then I have 74 mask covers in various stages of put together (or not started, in the case of the ugly gray fabric), the car needs washing, and, oh yeah... We have to figure out where we're going to live starting June 1st. Or 9th, or maybe 28th. It's a loooong story. If I ever get around to writing another blog post, I'll explain it! But, right now, let's just say we have lots of options but cannot make a decision (nor plan) until this COVID crap begins to resolve itself.

I cannot wait to see that peony pop out!!

Have you made egg roll 8n a bowl yet? I think y'all would like that, based on last night's dinner. I use hot Jimmy Dean sausage in a roll and after the cabbage is softened up some, I'll add matchstick carrots, sliced water chestnuts and baby corns, cut up into bite size chunks. Oh, and I use scallions, not onions. And I serve it over rice, which defeats the lower carbs point, but also makes us a complete dinner. And, just before serving, I sprinkle halved grape tomatoes (feel free to use your cherry tomatoes here), more scallions, and Driver likes his Chinese chow mein noodles from a can. Yes, further reducing the no-carbs benefits. Oh, and I'm fairly liberal with additional crushed red pepper and hot sesame oil. Often to the point where I have to serve myself some sliced cucumber on the side to negate the burn. Or, sometimes, I just top it off with a bit of fro-yo for dessert, which totally eliminates the no-carb segment. And also explains why my shorts are a bit tighter these days.

piecefulwendy said...

You had a good and full day, all of you! Fun to see the kitties liking their grass. There's a pizza recipe on the KA site that looks really good, but when I read the instructions it's like an all day affair, so it's a no-go for now. Maybe some day when I feel like hanging around in the kitchen. Meanwhile, I need to do a grocery run, and I'm sitting here, pondering if I can get through this week and do it next, after the holiday weekend. Sigh.

Nancy said...

Good morning: I have a question or two. I am sure you have answered them before but after seeing so much of your quilting lately I was wondering. Do you mark the designs you are quilting or do you just free hand them? Also does your quilting and or your sewing machines have regulated stitching for quilting?
Love your daily updates. I wish I was as productive or at least 20% of what you accomplish in a day.

SJSM said...

I love that tree wall hanging! (See there, I decided it was a wall hanging. It’s too pretty to have something placed on it.). Boy, Mike has a big job with that butterfly bush. I get tired just thinking of moving that pile of brush. We are lucky just to get tomatoes in the ground. Today finish up the last batch face masks, clean up the sewing studio and start working on my UFO list I was thinking would be my Covid project. With the SIP continuing with limited "opening" I think I still have a lot of time to fill before we are back to the races. I think my daughter and son in law have the option to WFH for the rest of the year. Daughter is working non-stop 12 hours a day. SIL works 5-6 and sometimes an 8 hour day. That gives him time to walk dogs, tend to the garden, bake bread and get a start on dinner.

Well, off to clean up the house before sewing. A friend will be in Santa Cruz today and stopping at the fish market. We will have salmon for dinner.

ckrut said...

I love those embroidered plates, and your tiny tree quilt. This is a little off the subject of your blog today, but can you tell us what type of canner you use. Is it pressure or a hot water canner? I'm trying to get a jump on getting things together before everyone else has the same idea. I'm afraid it might be like the toilet paper shortage!

Thank you!

Della said...

I adore your tiny trees wall hanging. What talent you have.

quiltzyx said...

We seem to plant quite a lot of Golden Euonymus at our properties at work. Except one of our area managers always puts "Golden Iguanamus" instead! LOL