Monday, February 27, 2012

Total Quilt Post

I just want to show off. These are the first quilt blocks I've ever made. Precision sewing is not my forte but I thought I'd try it anyway. I made the decision when I made the January blocks that I'd use the same fabrics in both blocks of the month to have a teensy bit of continuity. It's supposed to be a scrap-ish quilt anyway. The teacher is using a 36 fat quarter bundle so all her fabrics blend. Mine don't. I sorted through my fat quarters and actually sorted out the ones I'd bought to go together, I figure I'll use those for bags or placemats or something. I picked out my orphans and some scraps of yardage, and they'll just have to play nice. For the background color of the blocks I'm using a bolt of a creamy white cotton that reminds me of, oh what's that stuff called, hopsacking (with a more prominent weave). It's a bit ravelly but it'll do and it blends well with all the colors.

Here's the January pair: (click to embiggen)

Didn't you know I'd pick red for the first ones?

And these are the February ones:

I really like them both but especially the big chevron one. I wish I'd bought the whole bolt of that blue-green and gold batik.

Now I only have to wait until Thursday to see the March blocks. Can't wait, I'll have the whole weekend to dive in and sew. That's it, I need to go post on my writing blog and then zoom off for the day.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pie to Die For

Tonight was Family Supper night in Shawano. HZ & JZ hosted and she made the tastiest roast chicken I've had in a long time. It was done to perfection and very moist. She steamed fresh peas and had baked sweet or white potatoes. DS & DIL1 made a lovely mesclun salad with blood orange supremes, Feta cheese, and avocado chunks in a light balsamic dressing and DS made some herbed dinner rolls from his Artisan Bread cookbook.

Durwood made dessert. He found the recipe for a Banana Split Upside Down Pie (oh, but it's so much more than a mere pie) in Better Homes & Gardens magazine and decided to make that. First you make chcoclate pie crust, bake it a bit, sprinkle the bottom with chopped semi-sweet morsels, and let it cool.

Then you make chocolate pudding, pour that into the cooled pie shell, top it with another solid chocolate crust, and bake all that. While it's cooling, you make fudge sauce.

To assemble the dessert you turn the pie over onto a plate, top it with sliced banana, fresh whipped cream (he used his mom's old crock with a beater on top to whip the cream), some of the warm fudge sauce, and plop a cherry on top. JZ contributed a raspberry and a blackberry as additional garnish for each plate. Durwood said that he thought that the recipe was wrong when it said that a 9" pie served 12. They were right. We'd have had to call the paramedics if we'd eaten another bite. We insisted on sharing the other half of it with everyone. No way were we bringing that whole half a pie back home.

I made a pot of Tuscan Chicken soup for next week's lunches. It's my old standby Fast Chicken Soup Base with zucchini, diced tomatoes, and sage in it. (Not nearly as flashy as that pie and not nearly as yellow looking either.)

This afternoon once the soup was simmering, I finished sewing together the second February block of my Block(s) of the Month quilt class. I'm anxious to see the March blocks.

I tried to do very little knitting this week to give my sore parts a rest, so all I have to show you is the brim of the third attempt to make a charity hat out of this danged yarn,

and the Maple Tree Scarf is up to week #8. I really like how it looks. It's pretty tree-like, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Meet Beverly

On this drizzly, snowy February Tuesday I bought a new-to-me car. It's an "arrest me" red Chevy HHR with charcoal and light gray upholstery. I've decided to name her Beverly, don't know why but it seems the perfect name for her. I haven't named my car since I was in high school and we called Mom's 1950 Chrysler 4-door "The Black Beauty." Eeeeee, I have a new vehicle, one that I can easily shove my dive gear and other cargo into. I was so over my sedan.

I had to go spend my anniversary gift card from Barnes & Noble. I looked at knitting books but then I remembered that I'm trying to not knit for a few days, maybe a week, to give my wrists and hands a break. (Frequent chiro visits are helping a lot, so much that I cancelled my nerve test.) So I looked at sewing books. I was temped by a "One Yard Wonders" book but finally settled on a book called Carefree Quilts. It's my kind of blocks, not many straight lines, bright colors, and most of them are a bit wonky to boot. I'm really enjoying making the Block of the Month blocks so it was a safe buy. I finished the first of the February blocks on Sunday and have the second one nearly done. I planned to finish that one today but I spent the afternoon going to adopt Beverly, then Durwood and I went to the grocery and on the way home we stopped at a cafe for supper. I've decided to start referring to the basement sewing area as my studio. The word lends it a bit of dignity and makes me feel good about being there. I like it; it's my own special space.

Life is emerging in our front yard in the form of Daffodils and Crocuses. Those little shafts of green make all the difference on the gray days.

You can uncross your fingers, Durwood found us a renter. That was quick. Hallelujah!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Skully!

My friend Skully's having a birthday today (I won't tell you how old she is but she doesn't look it and she totally doesn't act it.) I had to make her something to celebrate so I went downstairs the other night and made her a fabric basket to hold random crap in her sewing/crafting room. The cool thing about the lining fabric is the little skeletons GLOW IN THE DARK! I bought this fabric in Houghton, MI and I'd forgotten that it does that so when I had finished the basket and was ironing it I was surprised when the little frolicking skeletons turned pale radium green. (You don't think she'll get radium poisoning, do you?) I found that cool polka dotted gift bag to put it in and I'm giving her a jar of my homemade cocoa butter & aloe cream. It's the best thing for winter-dry hands.

Happy birthday again, Skully! Hope the next 62 years are even better than the last 62! *hand over mouth* (oops, sorry)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I'm a Making Fool + Supper

I lined up all the things I'm making or made today and took their pictures. I lost my mind the o
ther day and cast on another Purse Stitch Scarf using one of the skeins of yarn I bought last Saturday. I knit a few rows just to see how the yarn looks and now I'll put it away. I will. Cross my heart.

I've been working s-l-o-w-l-y on the front of the Red Marl sweater. I had actual work this week at the dive shop so I kind of didn't get any knitting done there.

This is the third attempt to turn this one single skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick 'n Quick into a hat. This pattern will work or I'll light a fire in the back yard and melt/burn it. Or eat it. This is Crazy Aunt Purl's Brangelina Hat. I've made about 6 of them, maybe more, and I know this makes a good hat. I WILL get this hat made this week--or it's time for a barbecue.

The Helix Hat got a few rounds knitted on it at knitting guild last week but it too is suffering from my lack of ambition.

Speaking of knitting guild, the program at Thursday's meeting was seaming. We were to bring a pair of swatches and Pat taught us how to sew them together on the stockinette side and reverse. It's amazing to see; I sewed with white yarn and look at the seam on top. It disappeared. Pretty cool, eh?

This is week 6 of the Maple Tree Scarf. Yesterday's snow added a much-needed bit of white to break up the brown/black/green of the past no-snow days. I really like the way this looks so far. I'm excited to see how the greens look once leaves start to show.

For reasons unknown even to me, I signed up for a Block of the Month class (free!) on last month. I printed out the basic supplies info and the patterns for the first 2 blocks but haven't had the time or inclination to begin. I did today. Instead of buying any fabric I'm using a bolt of natural muslin colored cotton that Mom had and all of the fat quarters and yardage that I've been collecting with
no idea of what to use it for. I must confess that neither of my blocks is all square and straight but I like them and I am not going to redo them. I like them the way they are, plus I'm sure I'll get better at it as the months pass so I'll be able to track my building skill whenever I look at the quilt.

I realized when I sat down to the lovely supper that Durwood made for us tonight that I'm always showing you what I'm making and seldom what he makes. So here it is: Chicken
Marsala, fresh asparagus, noodles. You're really sorry you weren't here to eat it; it was delicious. Thank you, Durwood, you're the best.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New Toy & Playing in the Snow

It's been rolling around in my mind but I dismissed it as a not very good use of our money, but last weekend Durwood mentioned the Kindle Fire. He asked a few questions about what it does and what makes it different from the others. I went online to Amazon's site and read about the various Kindles and thought it sounded interesting. The Fire is $199 on Amazon and then you have to pay shipping... so I thought "nah." He unearthed the Walmart ad from Sunday's paper. They were advertising a Kindle Fire for $199 with a $50 Walmart gift card as a bonus. I didn't even wait until after supper, I put my coat right back on and went and got me one. It's lovely. I have added a whole raft of books and apps, and I've spent a grand total of ninety-nine cents. I suspect I'll have to pay for any music I want on there. I was hoping I could transfer some of the music I own or have on iTunes but I don't think that's possible. I'll have to consult my more tech-savvy friends.

Yesterday Portie McPorterpants and I played out
in the new snow for a long time. She ran away from me, joyfully squeaking the tennis ball, and I clomped after her in my snowshoes, then she'd drop the ball and I'd throw it again. It was sunny, cold, and windy, and I had a wonderful time.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Haul

I want to show you what I bought at The Knitting Room in Fond du Lac yesterday. I heard that they're closing soon because they're retiring, and we'd never been there so we needed to get a move on. It was a glorious sunny day so we went. I drove so I got to be the Mom. (Look what I had to deal with! Or maybe they just didn't want their pictures taken.) The yarn shop is right in downtown Fond du Lac and a very nice place. Everything is 25% off which makes some decisions easy and others hard. I will say that the longer we were there the easier it was to decide to buy stuff. Maybe my resistance got lower the longer I was there, I don't know, but I didn't overspend my mad money so I'm happy.

I bought a pattern for a Reader's Wrap, a shawl with capacious pockets at each end, a pattern for a toddler had called Go Fish!, and a CD pattern for Beatrice & Bernard stuffed bunny and bear friends.

In the yarn department, I bought 3 different skeins of Comfort cotton for the fish hat, a skein of Encore Colorspun in a variegation I don't have for a boot sock, skeins of DK weight cotton for Purl Stitch scarves, a skein of Silky Alpaca Lace to make a shawlette, and 2 skeins of Dream in Color Classy superwash worsted, one red, one brown. I didn't NEED any of the yarn but I didn't buy too much and can envision making nice things from each skein--eventually.

We stopped at the O
utlet Mall in Oshkosh across from EAA and found treasures at CJ Banks (my first time in there) and Eddie Bauer. My favorite bargain is a slim denim skirt with little pleated parts on each side. Very cute.

We had lunch with all the oldsters at Schreiner's and enjoyed every bite. It was an excellent day running away from home.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Last night just before midnight I knitted to the end of the Fair Isle on the Red Marl sweater. (can I get an "Amen") I'm nowhere near done with the sweater and I have no excuse for it taking me a month to knit fewer than 46 rows even with 2 colors involved, but if I EVER even think about knitting something larger than a hat or pair of mittens using more than one color of yarn (other than simultaneously) you have my permission to bop me on the head. For some reason the longer I did it the more I hated it, the more I ground my teeth, and the more I tensed up my back and shoulder muscles. I abuse those particular muscles enough as it is, I don't need a "relaxing activity" to help with that. Now I need to knit about 6" of solid red, divide for the fronts, knit those, knit sleeves, put it all together (which just happens to be the program at next Thursday's Bay Lakes Knitting Guild meeting) knit the collar, and wear it. Probably next fall or winter, but that particular monkey will be off my back--and I can go on to the next one in the queue. There's no dearth of monkeys (so to speak, I'm really referring to projects begun and shoved aside) at Barbara's house.