Monday, March 19, 2018

Goose in the Pond

Earlier this year, I took an 18" red, white and blue block out of my "Orphan" box and put it on my design wall.  Every time I worked on something else, "Goose in the Pond" (similar to the one above, but in red, white and blue) called to me.  Last week during the big snow storm, I started thinking that it would make a good center for a medallion quilt.   My sister Jacqueline had sent me two nice pieces of red fabric that would go well with it, and the various books and websites I looked at offered more ideas than I could deal with.

I designed it as a one-woman round robin with the following rounds:
  1.  Blue and white stripes with mitered corners which I sewed by hand to make the stripes match
  2.  Hourglass blocks in red/white stripes and white
  3.  Friendship stars with white backgrounds and square-in-a-square corner blocks using a fabric printed like redwork
  4.  More blue and white stripes but perpendicular this time
  5.  Chubby piano keys in various shirtings and red scraps
  6.  Blue and red strips with friendship star blocks in the corners

Now that it measures 58" square, I have stopped for a while - or maybe forever.  Maybe not.   The last round is fairly heavy and dark, so I kept moving it out to the edge.   It was an exercise in measuring.  One night even I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking about the measurement of the next round. 

I tried to take a picture of the finished top, but my computer won't upload it.  I'll have to try again later.   This was a good process for me - look at an orphan block for several months and finally get inspired to use it.  Maybe I'll do it again soon with three 12" Civil War blocks that seem too nice to use embedded in a quilt back.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Yet another snow day

We have had three big snowstorms in the last three weeks, which is nice for sewing and reading.  But it does get old after a while.  Over the last 24 hours, we've had about 18" of snow, although someone nearby reported 24"  I guess it's all in how one measures.  Suffice it to say, we have been marooned!

Yesterday, I decided to start a new project, and I finished it this morning.  It is my project for the guild "paint chip challenge."
At the first guild meeting of the school year, anyone who wanted to participate drew three paint chips from a paper bag.  Mine were light blue, medium blue, and lime green, all colors I like to work with.  Lo and behold, the "free" table that night had a beautiful floral with all three colors.  We can add only two other colors to our finished project.

Ideas have been percolating for months, and I initially thought I'd make a pineapple mini.  But I realized the floral wouldn't show up very well, so I settled on a 12" piece made of 3" snowball blocks. 

I love finishing a project so quickly!  The top was done yesterday morning, and today I quilted and bound it.  I used a walking foot to quilt a concentric square.  What appears a little shadowy in this photo is the quilting.   The "reveal" isn't until May or June, so I feel like I am really on top of things!

To celebrate, I'm baking an apple cake and planning on tacos for dinner.  Yum!  We have to do everything we can to lift our spirits during this endless winter.

Monday, March 12, 2018

A sale!

I have had an etsy shop for some years now and have only sold a table runner... until yesterday!  

My lovely Blue Orange Peels quilt sold to a lady in Washington state, and I am, of course, over the moon.  It is all wrapped and ready for mailing later this afternoon, ahead of yet another snow storm.

This is one of my very favorite quilts, and I'm a little sad to see it go.  But I can't keep them all, and it's nice to have a little "pin" (ahem!  "fabric") money come in.  Maybe I'll make another one soon, perhaps in lavender or pink.  I love appliqueing those orange peel blocks.  You may not be able to tell from the photo, but the border is made of small tumblers.   I quilted a grid in the open spaces which turned out really nice, too.  The plain muslin back shows the quilting really nicely.

Yesterday, I finished putting the piano keys border on the orange and yellow quilt.  I sewed all the way around the outside edge so that it won't stretch while quilting.   It's going to show and tell at guild next week, and when we get back from Virginia, I'll start quilting it.   I have the yellow binding all cut out and ready to sew and iron.  Maybe I'll do that tomorrow while I watch the @#$%^&*!snow - 12" expected in the next two days.  Everyone is sick of it, except the skiers.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


Spotlight (film) poster.jpgToday is the last of the library's four part journalism-themed film programs, and the film is Spotlight.  Although we saw it in the theater when it came out a few years ago, I am interested in seeing this excellent, thought-provoking film again.  This time, it will be introduced by film scholar Rick Winston who always offers us insight, both before the film and in the discussion that follows.  He's lowkey and encourages everyone to participate.

We've seen a couple of wonderful oldies like His Girl Friday and well as two more contemporary films this winter, and the audience is growing.  The first year we had the film series there was just a handful of people in the audience.  But this year there are about 30 there for the Saturday afternoon events each month.  The Friends of the Library support the series, and I hope we will do so again next winter.

Today I'm standing in for our librarian, setting up/taking down chairs, making popcorn (in a real movie popper so it is delicious), and introducing Rick.   My smaller quilt guild meets at the same time and I'm sorry to be missing it yet again. We meet one Saturday a month, mostly to do hand sewing on our own projects.  I'll look forward to seeing everyone again in April.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

We were ready!

Up here in mid-Vermont, we missed last week's storm along the east coast of the US. Yesterday and today, however, we expected 5-12" of snow.  I went grocery shopping on Tuesday and made a pot roast in the crock pot yesterday.  There were quilt blocks to put together and books on the Kindle.  Even though our car has all-wheel drive, we don't have snow tires, just all weathers, and tend to stay home when the weather gets bad.  That is fine with us.  

It was only lightly flurrying when I went downtown for a meeting late yesterday afternoon (at left) and then picked up our food order from Farmers to You.  Then we hunkered down.

We had about 6" of snow when we got up and a little more during the morning.  Here's what it looked like - both pictures were taken by my neighbor, Winnie, who lives across the street.

What a difference!  Still, we are expecting temperatures in the 40s over the weekend, so much of this will probably be gone fairly soon.  It is actually a bit early for us to be experiencing spring, and the winter birds are still very busy at our feeders.   Every day we see lots of chickadees, pine siskins, and juncos, as well as a lovely pair of cardinals.  They are so pretty.

I have yet to figure out the borders for the orange and yellow swap blocks, but a center square of about 54" is all put together.   Because each block was a slightly different size, I ended up surrounding each with either white or black printed fabric.  I have lots scraps left so may add a piano keys border after adding a solid yellow border.  I plan to use the yellow solid as the binding also.  

Twelve of the blocks were made by four members of my local guild.  Each person made three blocks each month using the fabrics in the bag; we swapped bags at the meetings.   I enjoy working on these "block robins," as we call them, because it's fun to work with other people's fabrics and colors I'd never buy.

During the months we swapped, I also made the guild "block of the month" out of some of the same fabrics I had gathered in my bag.  I actually made four more blocks that I could add to make the quilt rectangular.  That's another decision for the next few days.   I'll let it percolate for a while.  But this has been a nice project for gloomy days.


Monday, March 5, 2018

A successful banquet/auction

Saturday night's Friends of the Library annual winter banquet and auction was a success, and we all collapsed on Sunday.  Having amassed a huge number of items for both the silent and live auctions, we arrived at the Elks Club on Saturday morning to arrange them on tables and set the tables.  I am so glad I'm not in charge of the auction any more.  It's a lot of work and there are always a few items that appear without our knowing about them or that turn up missing.   Linda keeps cool as a cucumber about it, though, as does Marilyn, our treasurer and table decorator.

We all brought appetizers for the cash bar social hour, and this year we even had a few things left over.   Our friends, retired librarians from Milton (over an hour away), came to the dinner,  and we enjoyed a nice table with them, our neighbors and another retired librarian.   I had the vegetarian lasagna, but the rest had the beef tenderloin.  The Ben & Jerry's ice cream was luscious.

Bidding was vigorous, and I was outbid on everything I wanted in the silent auction.  I did love the little clock from Wobby Jewelers, though, and may actually go looking for one there.  I also didn't get the tickets to New England Cooks, a live cooking show held right here in town.  Instead, Paul brought home a huge bag of frozen grass-fed meat and ten pounds of potatoes.  Last night, I dipped into the freezer and made the following easy, delicious pork chops:

Boneless Loin Chops
Mix up the marinade:  2 T. olive oil
                                    1 T. soy sauce (I use a low-salt variety)
                                    1 T. Montreal steak rub

Put two thick loin chops in a plastic bag and pour the marinade over.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours and then warm to room temperature before cooking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown the chops on medium heat, 7 min. per side or until brown.
Roast the chops in the oven for about 30 min. or until meat thermometer registers 160 degrees.  

Friday, March 2, 2018

Missouri stars

It's been beautiful weather lately - sunny and in the 40s.  Our lawn is almost free of snow except for the piles around the street and driveway.  Can spring be almost here?  No sir!  It's just been a little respite - today it's snowing lightly and the grass is getting covered again.  It's not supposed to amount to much, though.  

Tomorrow is our annual Friends of the Library winter banquet and auction, and a major storm would really make things difficult.  We gather at 9 am at the Elks Club to decorate, put out auction items, and generally get ready.  Then we return at 5 pm to set out hors d'oeuvres for the social hour.  So far about 110 people are attending, including some heavy bidders.  Last year there was a bidding war for a pecan pie!   A deal was struck, and the mayor paid $1,000 to have a pie delivered monthly to the homeless shelter.   

Meanwhile, I finished the 21 Ohio Star blocks and started making another set of 14 Missouri Star blocks for a different swap.   Even though these aren't due until September, I hate having these obligations looming.   I started cutting and found I was short a little bit of gray background.  Luckily, my local quilt shop had 16" left in the bargain bin.   It's a tricky block to make, probably because of the bias cut edges.  A little starch or Best Press is helpful when cutting.  I do like the stash-buster aspect of this swap and am having fun pairing different greens to this batch of blocks.  The last batch had reds and browns.  All are cut now, and I have nine more to put together.  If the weather continues so drearily today, I'll do a few more this afternoon, after I return from "work" at the historical society.

I received word that a favorite former B&B guest passed away a few weeks ago.  She was a quilter, too, and I enjoyed seeing her at state quilt guild meetings and the VT Quilt Festival each year.  An old friend of my parents, Lauraine invited us to visit her on the other side of the state a few times.   She was a great cook, and, in her last years, she helped women in her area who had mental and other challenges learn to quilt.  I will miss her.