There wasn't much time for sewing on Monday, and so I didn't get to my mask-making until yesterday. As I mentioned, I purchased a Creative Grids mask template from Shabby Fabrics. If you click on that link, you'll find an unnecessarily long video explaining how to use it. It's only just a different shape from the tutorial I've been using, and so I sewed it together using the same instructions from Edyta at Laundry Basket Quilts.
The template made cutting so simple. I cut all four layers at once, but I'll share that an 18mm rotary cutter makes it easier to cut that concave curve.
So I made three masks yesterday. The black one is for Mike. The Oregon State masks are for Erik and Mae.
Oh yes, and I read from several sources this morning that homemade masks made from quilter's cotton are the most effect at preventing spread of COVID-19, so make your masks and wear them proudly! Here's a link from CNN about an experiment from Florida Atlantic University. Interesting!
From there, I took a break. We're trying an experiment with Smitty. We're taking him out for walks, but trying to train him to stay beside us so that we won't need a leash. The first time I tried this, he was a stinker and ran away from me. When I caught up with him, I took him back in the house immediately. Since then, he's been better behaved. He's been out with Mike, and then I took him out yesterday. He was a pretty good boy, staying close. He still loves grazing on the grass, even though he has some nicely potted cat grass inside the catio. Wild tastes better, don't you know.
Mostly, we wandered around looking at every blooming thing. This is one of the hydrangeas on the front side of the house. Erik and Mae gave this one to me for Mother's Day...or something...it is the most unusual wine color.
Its neighbor is a deep blue, and it's just now forming flowers. This one was growing like crazy when we moved into the house. Then I got the bright idea to remove some branches from a nearby tree. I thought it might benefit from more sunlight. It has struggled ever since. I keep hoping it will perk up every year, but it stays small. Now that the dappled willow is in place and providing more shade, it might perk up.
The calla lily has a flower forming. The hottest weather so far this year was happening just as it was peeking its leaves above ground. I think that's why it looks so burned. It was late in its appearance this year, and I'd given it up for dead. I'm just glad to see it blooming.
And here's our sad little Kingfisher clematis. It breaks my heart. There is still some green on it, and so we're hoping it will recover. I'm not terribly optimistic about its chances.
On the other hand, the new Rouge Cardinal clematis is planted now. It's on a north-facing wall, and so it will only get sunlight obliquely.
By contrast, this next image shows the wall where the Kingfisher clematis was planted. It faces east, and it was just too hot there.
If we can revive the blue one, I have a spot picked out for it on the other side of the house. And, if not, we'll look for another one next year.
Okay, so back inside, I made some more progress on Luna's pawtrait.
Today I'm hoping to get the rest of the face pieced, and if there's enough time, to add the ears. I'll keep working on her until she's finished. And, this being July 1st, I'm claiming this as my July OMG.
It was getting close to dinner time by then, and I was trying a couple of new things. Shown in the image below is the sorrel from my culinary herb garden. It was planted the first year, when we created the garden, and it just grows and grows and grows. It comes back beautifully every year, no matter how cold the winter, but I've never used it for anything. Something tells me I might have used it in a soup once, but I can't recall for sure and certain. It could be used in salads, I suppose. Biting into a raw leaf, it has a slight citrus flavor. This year, I wanted to try making some pesto from it.
So I was clipping leaves from it, all the while breathing in the heady fragrance of the lavender beside it. Look how pretty this is.
I needed two cups of leaves. This pesto is made using hazelnuts. We grow a lot of hazelnuts in Oregon. In fact, Wikipedia tells me that "in the United States, Oregon accounted for 99% of the nation's production in 2014, having a crop value of $129 million that is purchased mainly by the snack food industry." It was quick to make using my food processor. It's a pretty green. I'm curious to see if it will hold its color better than pesto made with basil.
I wanted the pesto because I was trying a new recipe for Pesto-Stuffed Grilled Portobellos. I was following a recipe I found online, but I made a few modifications to it. For one thing, I cut the recipe in half for just the two of us. The stems are removed and used in the "stuffing." Then the mushrooms are drizzled with olive oil, stuffed, topped with cheese, and then grilled. I used a grill pan on the stove top. I think these could also be roasted, and that would make it easier.
And, wow! Those were really good. They're vegetarian, but not vegan. We try to go meatless at least once per week, and portobellos are surprisingly filling. We each ate one, which was plenty. I served it alongside this Watermelon Salad with Rum and Mint. It was a good choice for this dish, very tasty and refreshing. It's a great summer salad. If you don't want to use rum, you can substitute apple juice or white grape juice. And then, I hadn't used all the pesto, so I spread the leftovers on some crusty bread. It was a delicious way to end the day.
So I linked to the original recipe for the stuffed portobellos, but I made some changes to it. For one thing, there wasn't nearly enough filling for the mushrooms, and so I added some pesto and some pine nuts. Also, I used parmesan cheese rather than get all fancy with an "Italian blend." Really? So anyway...here's how I did it:
Pesto-Stuffed Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
3 portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 splash Chardonnay wine, or as desired
1/2 cup Sorrel Presto, or any pesto of your choosing
3 tablespoons pine nuts
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Remove stems from mushrooms and finely chop stems.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir chopped mushroom stems, shallot, and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour wine into the skillet; cook and stir mixture using a wooden spoon until liquid is evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Cool mixture to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate. (Or use a grill pan on the stovetop.)
Drizzle olive oil over the top each mushroom and place on a grilling pan. Mix pesto and pine nuts with the mushroom stem mixture together in a bowl; spoon into each mushroom. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the filling.
Grill mushrooms on the preheated grill until edges are blackened and stuffing is bubbling, about 10 minutes.
Note: If you wanted to try roasting them, I'd probably roast them at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. It might even be better than grilling.
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Okay, so that brought me to the end of the day. Matthew is off camping with some friends in the Steens Mountains of Southeastern Oregon. Yesterday, he called with the exciting news that he was hired for a new job to start in two weeks. He probably won't be staying with us much longer. He's been getting out camping now that the weather has improved. Later he texted these images. There were wild horses just a few yards from where they were camped.
Interestingly, Mike recognized this herd as the Kiger mustang herd. When he was a working stiff, a project he'd worked on had been code named Kiger Mustang, and that was how his knowledge of the herd originated. You can read about them right here.
And that final link gives me an opportunity to tell you about something I've discovered in the new Blogger platform. You know how when you click on a link, and it takes you away from the page you're reading? If you check the box I've circled in red, you can create links that will open in a new tab, but preserve your page in a separate tab for the reader. The reader can see what's at the link, and then just close it and go back to reading your well-thought-out-and-extremely-wise blogging prose. At least...that's what you'll get when you're reading my blog. Obvi!
Okay, so the weather is crappy again today. As I've said many times and for years and years, summer doesn't really get rolling in Oregon until after that Fourth of July. This year is no different. That doesn't stop me from whining about it. Give it another week and I'll be whining about how hot it is. It's the Oregon way. Oregonians are never happy with the weather.