Thursday, January 17, 2019

Good Fortune top done!

This measures 72" x 72" so it will be a nice throw for someone.  Who?  Who knows!  But I'm glad to be finished with the top and plan to quilt it myself eventually.  I'm hoping a little time in the quilting queue (a/k/a the closet) will tone the colors down a bit.  It's quite bright, but it is good to note that I didn't buy a single piece of fabric to make this quilt so far.  Because it has so many pieces, I may get a wide piece of muslin for the back to make it easier to quilt on my machine.

I have a lot of those chevrons - 100? - that I made incorrectly, and today I added some plain cream fabric to a few to make star blocks.  I can make 25 7" blocks which might make nice table runners or quilt backs or...

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Book case row robin

Toward the end of 2017, I joined a row robin group online.  These ladies are great quilters.  Whenever swap blocks or rows come back to me, they are ready to sew with - no trimming, no fixing in any way.  Because there were seven in the group, I have been thinking of how I wanted to arrange the shelves.   I didn't really want to end up with a long, skinny quilt.  What would I do with it? 

I decided to make a throw, 60" x 60", with two ranges of shelving, as we might have here.  Above one set of shelves, I would hang a picture that I made in a David Taylor class a few years ago.  I was happy to be using two UFOs in one piece!

It's a snowy day - perfect for finishing my bookcase row robin flimsy.  I love all the rows!  

Carol included a spot for a photo and suggested I substitute one for her and her husband's.  But I like it the way it is - Carol looks very funny.  She and Pat also made up some cute book titles to put on the spines, and Pat included what looks like the whole Supergirl collection as well as the old reliable Betty Crocker cookbook.  Susan included some very colorful spines, a toy truck, and a little tchochke.  Fran embroidered some of my favorite book titles on spines - Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice, etc.  How did you know?  She also included a sleepy kitty.   Tricia included a whole collection of Jane Austens, my favorite author, and an interesting sculpture.   

I didn't want to end up with a long skinny quilt, so I took Leigh's row apart and made it into two shelves with an extra little quilt block accent.  I love the plant she appliqued.  I cut my own block down to fit and am using the rest on the back with everyone's labels.  

On the top of the bookshelf, I pieced a jar full of notions, a little loon picture in memory of my dad who loved them, and an Elvis snowglobe.  No, I'm not a huge fan, but I thought it would be fun.   Now I will be hanging the flimsy in the closet for a while until I get around to quilting it... eventually.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

"Good Fortune" revealed

I've been keeping up with the weekly (and in one case semi-weekly) clues for Bonnie Hunter's current mystery quilt, but now that she has issued the reveal, I find I have loads of sewing to do.  Some people have finished their tops already even though the reveal "clue" came out on Friday.  They've even sent their tops out for longarming.  Do they not sleep? eat? have families? 

I am still slogging through the spinning star blocks although I have made one of the other blocks just to see how they'll look together.   Because I haven't had a lot of luck choosing colors for mystery quilts in the past, I decided to go with Hunter's suggestion which commemorates her trip to China earlier this year. 

My first problem was that I found I had cut my green fabric 1/2" too short, so I had to make a pile more chevron pieces.  I stopped now and then to put a few blocks together, and I didn't make "bonus" half-square triangles this time around.  I have plenty of those from the unusable chevrons.  I got a few blocks made and noticed I had put some of the segments together incorrectly - can you spot the mistakes on the top left block?  Here is the way the blocks should look.

I have just 10 more long seams to finish this set of star blocks.  Then I may start on the orange and red blocks.  But I've been neglecting my Splendid Sampler for the last few days, so I will probably take a little break and make a few blocks for that before returning to Good Fortune.  I did make one Splendid Sampler block out of bits and pieces of the green and neutral chevrons, and I'll probably make one out of the red and neutral squares, too.  That will be a good reminder of what I did in January, 2019.

Thursday, January 3, 2019


I can't always take photos of what I'm working on.  It's been quite gloomy out.  Today, after a goodly dusting of about 3" of snow, the sun is finally out.  So here are some of the Dutchman's Puzzle blocks I've been working on for this year's guild block swap.
All 16 of these are made from scraps.  

The other set of 16 is Scrappy Star, found on, Eleanor Burns' site.  I found that this block was actually designed by Sue Bouchard.  Here's the drawing from Eleanor Burns' site.
I also cut out ten sets of black and white charm squares for a swap that I'm hosting for an online group.  Each person will send in sets of five charms all the same..  Most have signed up to send in ten, so that will give us each about 50 different fabrics to use.  I hope to make a quilt with these and an accent color, yet to be determined.  Maybe lime green?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

While the sun shone yesterday, Paul and I managed to get two short walks in.  We go just a little farther every time, and he is doing quite well, recuperating from heart surgery.  He tires easily, but has always been good about resting - even when healthy!  He can now take a shower without me being right in the room with him, and he can put his own socks on, too.  We celebrate progress by small steps.

For New Year's Eve, I made a heart healthy stir fry for dinner and used some peaches I froze last summer in delicious tart for dessert.  We watched a movie, Life Itself, which didn't get great reviews but was very sweet.  Since I have gotten hooked on This Is Us, it filled a void until that TV show starts up again.

I've been sewing up a storm over the last week or two since Paul's been home from the hospital.  I finished Clue #6 of the Bonnie Hunter mystery over the weekend, and I've been working on swap blocks for the local guild swap over the last few days.  We need to make 30 12"(finished size) blocks, and before Christmas I already made 15 scrappy stars.  Now I'm working on "Dutchman's Puzzle" blocks.  We are to use brights with a white background and don't have to use all the same fabrics in each block.  So while I've been cutting my scraps, I've been going through the stash, eliminating what I don't think I'll ever use.  I also weeded my quilt books and will take them and my stash rejects to the next guild meeting for the free table.

Sunday, I took a little trip to Joann Fabrics for more white for the swap blocks, and I also bought some yarn for another scarf.  I have been knitting one or two a winter and giving them to the Salvation Army because I have a couple of scarves I really like, including a hand-woven one from Pauline.   But I do like to do a little mindless knitting - garter and/or stockinette stitch - while watching TV now and then.

Yikes!  I see Bonnie Hunter has issued Clue #7!  I thought I had a few days grace to work on other things, so I guess I will finish the Dutchmen's Puzzle blocks before embarking on #7.  I only hope she doesn't issue #8 this Friday.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Post-Christmas relaxation

Hope you had a nice Christmas and will have a good 2019.  Our day was very sunny, but very cold.  A good day to stay inside.  We had a relaxing Christmas day starting with brunch with Chris - bacon, apple French toast casserole (from our old B&B recipe), lots of chocolate, and a Dutch fruit cake that was, unfortunately, very dry.   Paul and I ate leftovers for dinner, which was easy and just fine.

Chris took some nice pictures of the "tree" he made for my New England Village which we've been collecting since he was a little guy.  My mom sent or two buildings a year until we had quite a few.  At some point, we added a brewery (in his teenage years) and a quilt shop to include both our interests.  I am thinking of making a quilted star for the top, but will wait til after Chris stains the whole thing a light maple.

Because the village now looks a little too roomy, I have been bidding on and buying a few more buildings on eBay this week.  A red covered bridge, a Victorian house, a toy shop, and another house are all going to be showing up this week.  eBay is fun and very addictive!

This week I've been working on the Bonnie Hunter mystery clues (I'm up to date), sewing a binding down one side at a time, and quilting the Nov. and Dec. sections of my Splendid Sampler quilt I started in July.  I like quilting each block differently to make it a true sampler, and mostly I'm using my walking foot.  I get too tense free motion quilting, and this is supposed to be a hobby!   Yesterday, I also tried several methods of stitching a fusible appliqued piece while quilting it.  I had to rip the first two partial tries out but had some success with a blind hem foot and a button hole stitch.  Today we're having freezing rain, so I intend to spend most of the day in the sewing room - not a bad place to be!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve!

Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas / Prettige Kerstfeest!  Today, after  Paul's post-surgery visit with the doctor, I'll be making a traditional French-Canadian tourtiere (meat pie) for dinner and a Dutch kersttulband for dessert.  The tulband is rich fruitcake that looks like a turban, but I'll use a bundt pan instead since that's the pan I have.  This will be my first try at this Dutch specialty.  I don't think we ever had one when I was growing up so it will be interesting to try.  

I have perfected the recipe for tourtiere over the years to approximate the pies I used to get from my former secretary, Mary.  She and her husband used to make them to sell every year, and after I requested a smaller size for me, they started making that size also.  After he passed away, the recipe was lost, so I tried a variety of spices before I got what I think is close to the original.

Tourtiere – French Canadian Meat Pie

A Barre classic, especially around the holidays.

Prepare a 2 pie crust and put the bottom crust into a pie pan.  I use refrigerated pie crusts and usually roll them out a little more before putting them into the pan.

In a skillet, break up 1 lb. ground pork (or a mix of beef and pork) and combine with:
            ½ c. water
            2/3 c. minced onion
            1 clove garlic, minced
            1 t. salt
            ½ t. thyme
            ¼ t. allspice
            ½ t. sage
            ¼ t. dry mustard
            ¼ t. ground cloves
            1/8 t. pepper
Bring all to a boil, reduce to medium low, and cook for about 25 min., stirring periodically.

Meanwhile, boil two small potatoes, skinned and chopped.   When cooked, mash and add to the meat.  There should be about a cup.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
Place the meat mixture into the pie crust and top with the other layer of crust.  Crimp edges and cut a few slits in the top.   Beat an egg with 1 t. water to make an egg wash for the top of the pie.  At this point, you can freeze the whole thing, but defrost before baking.

Bake for about 45 min. or until crust is golden.  Serve with rolls and a salad.