Thursday, February 19, 2015

Baby quilt

Hello, everyone.

I am on my way to visit DD1 and help with the new grandchild of the family. Woo-hoo!

And the pictures of the Peanut Quilt are finally going up. The squares are 4"x4"; the colors were chosen to appeal to the vision of a young baby.
Layout chosen and squares marked with their location tags

Pairs of squares on top of each other and ready to sew
Progress on the sewing--the bottom left corner

Laid out for pin-basting to do the quilting

Top is complete, borders are on, and back is quilted to front

During the adding of the binding

A mathematical (tesselated) quilt

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Hello, everyone.

As y'all will remember, when we came back from the Camino last summer, I was all charged up and full of creative energy. I tried making pieced scallop shells for quilts. (Middling results on that one.) I printed out some graph paper of different bead weaves and set to designing various designs. And then set to beading them. After a while, there were a pile of little rectangles with designs related to the Camino, and I didn't know what to do with them. The first bracelet didn't work out. It was taken apart and various parts have now been reused--planned for reuse.

The second scallop will be added to the other side of the cross and then weaving or strands will go to the catch.

The 15 count rocaille beads Cross of Santiago, now in a bracelet that works. The pearls are in brick stitch.
The blue and yellow arrow (framed in white) is yet to find its home. Perhaps the answer there is to make some blue and yellow scallop shells to go around it.

Maybe Christmas ornaments needs to be explored as a home for the small bead rectangles? They're about 1 inch square.

The purse ornament came out really well, and its picture is also now up at Fire Mountain Gems' pages of customer project photos.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Common sense is so much of safety

Hello, everyone.

I'm typing with one-and-a-half hands today.

Mandoline box

This is a wonderful kitchen tool. Makes beautiful, thin, even slices of all kinds of foods.

Oops. (sorry for blurry photo!)

You *must* use the pusher to slice your foods. Otherwise you will slice off the end of your finger!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Walking fun

Hello, everyone.

I learned something new the other day while we were walking down to get a lotto ticket.

We got about half of the way to the corner (a quarter mile) and looked back to discover that Princess had climbed the fence and was trotting along to catch up to us.

Then she thought she'd cross the road and go alongside us. Traffic prevented that, and we crossed over to her before she could try again and get unlucky. Then we said, "Let's go home, Princess!" and I started jogging along the road back to the house. She happily ran ahead of me. We got back to the house without incident, she met me at the back gate, and we put her inside the house and told her what a good doggie she is.

I didn't know I could jog a quarter mile.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Stash busting, and beads

Hello, everyone.

We've had a few days of Chamber of Commerce weather around here. The orchids actually slept outside last night!

As part of the ongoing campaign to simplify, I've been using up craft supplies.
From the Christmas ornament supplies, 36 wooden cutouts
With sanding, priming, steel wool-ling, a coat of blue paint, and brush-writing:

Labels for bingo prizes!
There remain about 6 wooden cutouts from that will turn into something. Maybe even a Christmas ornament!

And a new beading project, with potential to use up a lot of #8 and #11 beads, if I can figure it out:
Future bangle bracelet?
I saw a picture of a bangle bracelet online, that the lady said was made from right angle weave. She used different sizes of beads in it. And it was not the cubic right angle weave that is all over Youtube.

I thought, maybe I can figure this out. So the #11 beads have been woven into a three inch long strip, and I've started weaving the #6 (paler pink) beads onto one side. I'm guessing that the size difference between the beads is what makes the shape of the whole affair. (And if this doesn't work, I can un-bead it all and just do something else with it!)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

What's in a bunch?

Hello, everyone.

I was talking to a friend yesterday and trying really hard to give her a giant bag of garden stuff. She said, "I'll take a bunch, I guess," or words to that effect. And I answered, "how big is a bunch?"

It's not just a joke question, though.

All the time I see recipes that call for a "bunch" of this or that green. Or "an onion" or "juice of 1 lemon."

Friends, relatives, and ogres, if you should take to writing down a recipe someday, please, please, please give the remote reader some idea of just how big "a bunch" or "an onion" or "a lemon" is!

Is "a bunch" of radish greens something that will fit in my hand with no meaningful overlap onto the rest of the world? (Maybe a cup when cut up.) Or is "a bunch" something that, while I can get the stems, barely, into my hand, the leaves are a blob about 8 or 10 inches across and flopping all over the place? (Maybe three cups?)

When I make Brother Victor's radish greens soup, using mustard greens, just how green is it supposed to be?

My garden, in mid-January of this year. Reddish green blob on left is the mustard greens bed.
In my garden picture, you can see that there is a great lot of mustard greens. They've grown taller since--the leaf stalk of a full sized one today is about 15 to 20 inches long--and when I used a "bunch" of the larger size to make a batch of soup, the soup turned out a lovely leprechaun shade of green. It is good that way, but I wonder, does Brother Victor have the same idea in his head as I have gotten in mine? Or is the soup the way he makes it more of a pale, delicate looking pastel green?

Speaking of which, he calls for "four potatoes" in his soup recipe. Big, huge Idaho russets? Cute, little, round white ones? And when I substitute 1 head of cauliflower for three of the potatoes, have I effectively doubled the amount of soup I'm making? Or is it still basically the same?

Anyway, I use 1 big bunch of mustard leaves, 1 small potato, and 1 standard sized head of cauliflower for his "1 bunch of radish greens, or mustard, 4 potatoes."  And after pureeing the soup, I put a little (tablespoon sized) dab of yogurt in the middle of the bowl of soup.

Brother Victor's soup recipe is here, by the way. He has piled up a lot of soup recipes there. The ones I've made are good. Bland, a little, but good--hey, it's French country cooking. Bland is what they do.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The weather turns chill and we want to bake

Hello, everyone.

Yesterday it was in the 40's all day long. With clouds and later on with rain, too. In weather like this, my sweetie wants ice cream. (If we travel in December and he encounters a Braum's ice cream store, we stop for ice cream.) So he dug around in the cookbook pile and pulled out a recipe for gelato. It used 8 egg yolks. Plus milk and cream! He set aside the whites and asked me to do "those things I like."

So I got out one of the other cookbooks and turned to the page for Kisses:

I also got out a couple of cups of pecan halves (we froze halves like crazy this fall) and the last of the semi-sweet chocolate chips. And, of course, sugar and cream of tartar.

It takes quite a while to whip eight egg whites! Even with a Kitchenaid stand mixer, it takes quite a while. I never did get them all the way to "stiff but not dry." Eventually I decided it was time to fold in the additions anyway, put parchment paper on every cookie sheet in the house, and baked them in shifts.
They look so simple and innocent like this. Who would know that they're calorie bombs?

All the ones that would fit into a jar.
Today it's mid-afternoon and we're already in the low fifties. I call that better weather than yesterday.

On the Peanut Quilt, I've begun the last side of stitching the binding down on the back. If the cat stays out of my lap this evening it will be done.

Monday, February 2, 2015

So much for the warm days...

Hello, everyone.

We've gone back to the chilly weather again. Today it was cloudy all day long, with some bits of rain, and I don't think we got as high as 55F.

The chickens didn't even want to get up and come outside for their breakfast! But by afternoon they were a little more chipper. When we let them out for their afternoon walk, the guineas did their usual squawking chorus as they ran from the pen to the back patio.

My sweetie went to Ruben's grocery on Saturday afternoon and found paleta (shoulder) of pork, Spanish serrano type, and a nice little tetilla cheese. So we had fresh barra bread and the "ham" and cheese for dinner. Also a salad and the first of the baby broccoli tops from the gai lan row in the garden. (Cooked with the leaves that came along, as there were only about 6 tiny broccolis in the picking.) It was a lovely dinner and we especially enjoyed the serrano style ham!

This was dinner in Santiago--barra slices with teta cheese and serrano ham.
This morning I used the last little bits of the barra bread to make pain perdu: French toast.