Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Peach pie

I learned something new when I decided to make a peach pie a couple weeks ago.  Peaches usually are for making a cobbler in my kitchen, and fresh peaches make the best cobblers.  Of course this is not the time of year for fresh peaches... at least not that I have access to, but last year I bought a couple cases of peaches that I froze. I was looking for something else in the freezer and lifted a freezer basket to find I had peaches left that I did not know were still in there.  I had frozen the peaches whole unpeeled.
That isn't what I learned though. I did not have a recipe for a peach pie so I searched for a recipe online and came up with what looked like a good one.  I let the peaches thaw first, then slipped the peels off and sliced them.  The recipe said to put the peaches in a bowl with the sugar and let them sit for a whole hour.  At the end of the hour I was to drain the juice into a pan with the cornstarch and other ingredients and bring the juice to a boil until it was thickened.  Once this was done, pour the sauce over the peaches and toss to coat then turn into the pie crust. I had never heard of doing a pie this way... letting the sugar draw out the juice first... and I am not sure how well it would work with other fruit, like apples or blueberries, but I want to tell you this peach pie was absolutely awesome.  Best pie I have made and/or eaten in a long time.

Sugie is quality control this week.  He approves of the latest project.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Moon Flowers Galore

Not so long ago I didn't even know what a moon flower looked like.  A friend gave me a single plant a couple years ago that I planted out by the patio in the back yard.  I think I may have had a single blossom a few times that summer, but never more than one at a time.  Of course, a moon flower blossom only opens once for maybe 14 or 15 hours, but one plant can have several blossoms.  Last year I discovered a whole bush of moon flowers that were volunteers down by the road in front of our house.  I saved some of the seeds from that plant and when I expanded the flowerbed in front of the new ramp, I planted a few of the seeds.  This was in January, so I wasn't expecting them to take hold... boy was I in for a surprise.  They cover the front and are taking over.  For right now I am letting them stay.  When the blossoms come out like this last batch, it is hard to think of them as being invasive, but that is what I am told.  Meanwhile, I am enjoying their beauty... and the bees are too.  There were so many bees this morning, you could hear the buzzing before you got very close.

We finally went to get a load of mushroom compost.  This stuff is amazing.  With our sandy soil it helps tremendously.  I bought some tomato and pepper plants a couple weeks ago, but waited to put them in the beds because they needed the compost.  I bought good size plants because I knew I would not have the compost right away as my source for the compost is not nearby.  Early this morning I was out there working at getting the soil in the beds amended with the compost and then successfully got all my plants in the ground and even got shade cloth in place over them.  I am posting this picture in the hopes that I will be able to post a new picture of their growth in a few weeks to see how well they are doing. In this bed I have a cherry tomato, roma, and two Tycoon.  I would plant more tomatoes, but I am the only one that will eat them at my house.  In another bed I planted some sweet banana peppers.  The nursery did not have any bell peppers when I was there. 

I have not been doing much quilting the last couple of weeks, but I got a new baker's rack earlier this week and was trying to find something to embellish it with.  The sewing machine stand was intended to display a quilt block... for quite a while this block was pinned to this stand without being quilted.  I sat down the other evening and did the quilting by hand, then turned the backing to the front for the binding and clipped it to the stand to make a nicer display.  Still playing around with what I want to display on this new baker's rack.  I do know that it already looks much nicer there than the old book shelf that used to sit under the window.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

CW Moment anyone?

I know it has been a long time since I have posted anything new.  I guess there are various reasons why such long gaps exist between my posts.  First of course is a busy schedule... I have no one but myself to blame, but things do stack up sometimes.  It seems too often I turn over a new page, and lose my momentum before I get going.

I recently came up with a new challenge... in an attempt to inspire myself to be more motivated to get things done, I thought I would share... The challenge I am referring to as my CW Moments. I need to see how many CW moments I can accomplish. 

OK, CW can be a variety of tasks or accomplishments.  Clean What, Cook What or better... Culinary Wonder, Create What, Call Who, Charity (help) Who.  I know there are other Cs that could go with Who, What, When, Where, and Why, but I will come up with them as they are encountered.

Now this CW thing came about when I was trying to figure a new way to inspire my daily journal.  This journal has become more important as a reference to know when I last did something.  Age does have a way of getting in the way of a good memory.  A written journal is good, but things can get buried and hard to find when I am looking back to see when I had my last haircut, or took the cat to the vet, among so many other things.  This led me to look into what a bullet journal is... lots of info out there. There are good things that can be accomplished using a bullet journal... way over the top for what I was looking for, but I have started my own version of a bullet journal.  I have adapted some of the techniques, but mainly I have included ways to focus on the highlights of each day to make it easier to spot when something has been accomplished.

My version of a "bullet journal" includes what time I got up, my weight, what bible verses I read, the weather and temp high and low, what I ate and then the list of tasks I know I have to do, and I add new ones as they occur. Appointments and events too. I have not come up with any hard and fast rules... I am still in the creation stage... coming up with new ideas as I go.  My latest add-on is to be sure that I have at least one CW moment every day. I can envision a day having several CW moments, but I want to be sure I can include at least one.

So my challenge to you is... How many CW moments can you come up with today? What new CWs can you add to my list?  Now I am not asking you to share what the task or accomplishment actually was... unless you want to, but rather if you came up with a new C to go with the 5 Ws.

If there is an interest, I can include a quick glance of the format of "my bullet journal" layout in a later post.  You are welcome to join my challenge, or you can make a suggestion.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year

Hard to believe so much time has gone by since my last post.  I think of posting, but something always seems to get in the way. I won't begin to suggest that anything will change, but one never knows.

One of my recent quilt finishes was an antique quilt that I repaired for a friend.  It was in my possession for quite some time... I almost forgot about it.  When I would come across it in the closet, I would look in the bag and shudder to think what it might take to get it done.  Well a few weeks ago I determined it was time to take the bull by the horns and tackle the task at hand.  I was not close to being knowledgeable about the best way to go about repairing an old quilt, but I gave it my best shot. This quilt was originally all done by hand.  I had to remove all the quilting to dispose of all the wadded batting.  The edge of the backing was pretty much threadbare, as well as many of the pieces on the front.  I replaced the pieces on the front that had big holes. I tried to find fabric scraps from my stash that would not stand out too much, and reinforced the back of some other pieces with a fusible stabilizer to try to retain as much of the original as possible.   I could not use any of the original border, but I was able to use the good spots of the backing to make the new border for the front.  The quilt has a new backing to make it possible to display this quilt instead of wasting away hidden in a bag.

My new longarm has a much bigger quilting space than my previous machine did, but my old side clamps that I had made worked fine, so I decided it was fine to continue using them.  Main thing I did not like about these clamps is it required pinning the fabric to the backing... that is 7 big hat pins on each end that often left me with a pricked finger. In a forum for my Innova there was talk about side clamps with a couple suggestions.  I took the info and came up with my version.  The main item I needed to purchase was this Quilt 'n Go lap frame that I bought at JoAnn's. This kit would not make a clamp that was long enough, so I bought a longer CPVC pipe to cut into two - 21" pieces. 
The key part is the snap-on clamp that holds the fabric to the pipe. These snap-on clamps are only 9.5" long, so two on each pipe works great.  I ran bungee cord through the pipe and attached it to the side of the frame.  The picture shows elbows on the end of the pipe, but I'm thinking they really are not necessary.  They can easily be removed.  Also, once I have some experience with these, I may determine that the pipe does not need to be quite as long.  Easier to make something shorter than longer.  I have not actually loaded a quilt to try these out, but the backing appears to be nice and snug.  You can see my previous fabric side clamp with the pins on the table.  I will hold onto them... for a little while anyhow.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Quilts on Thursday

Quilting has been in the forefront the last few weeks.  I have finished three quilts that would not have been possible on my previous machine.  Now I am not saying that machine did not serve me well.  It was a great machine... it is just that this new amazing Innova with a 26" throat is simply the best I could have dreamed about having.  I have also finished several smaller quilts.  I am having fun getting used to this new adventure in quilting.  

This quilt was sent to me without the backing because I have lots of fabric in my stash, and I just knew that I could find one that would work. 

What I didn't know was how perfectly this fabric would work.  The next question I got when she saw the finished pictures was... "what will I use to bind it?"  The very same day I was reading an article about alternative binding techniques.  I sewed up a sample then sent the link along with the sample.  My suggestion to her was to use the scraps from the backing, which I sent also.  I think it will work very nicely.

This is a facing binding.  I never would have thought of doing it this way.  Of course this binding would have to be hand sewn down, unless you didn't care if a line of stitching showed on the front side.  The beauty of this technique is nothing takes the focus away from the quilt.  So often the binding pulls your attention to the edge of the quilt.  It does not provide as much reinforcement to the edge... your seam is right there.  It may not be the best choice on many quilts, but it is definitely one that I will use now and then.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Late summer garden and flowers

It is amazing how quickly things can grow in your garden when the conditions are good. If you scroll down, it was just a few short weeks ago that these tomato plants were hardly visible, now they are popping out the top.  I added a bigger shade screen to all the beds because the sun really does get hot up there in the garden. 

I have beans coming along and bell peppers at the other end.  All of these beds were planted at the end of July. In a couple weeks I will begin planting my Fall and Winter plants. 

Moon flowers are beautiful.  Even though their blossoms last less than one day, new blossoms open almost every day.  This is a volunteer.  I'm hoping the seeds I spread closer to the house will take hold.

My Angel Trumpets have many of the same characteristics as the Moon Flower, but I have these in my flowerbed by the patio.

Shorty is trying to stay cool on a hot afternoon. Totally relaxed.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Where did August go?

Lots of things have been going on.  I guess the first and biggest event of the month of August was the arrival of Sara Jean... my new longarm.
I have already lost count on how many quilts I have completed on this new machine.  The whole process seems to move along much quicker, from loading the quilts using my Red Snappers to having to roll the quilts half as many times.  I can run at a higher speed without losing the quality of my stitching. 
 This quilt was more than 104" in both directions and it moved along very quick and smooth.  I had it done in time for the quilter to take it with her on our Jordan Ranch retreat to put the binding on.  She even was able to finish the two pillow shams she made to go with the quilt.

As I have been doing my quilting on this new setup Ron often observes and determines if there is any way to modify things to make the process move more smoothly.  Things are looking and working pretty good in the quilting room.

Jordan Ranch was an awesome experience.  This retreat is an annual event for a group of quilters from the Bellville area, and one of their former members now lives in my area and a couple of us were invited to join these creative quilters.  The Ranch is set in a rural area, away from almost everything.  A truly Texas setting. 
I started off my days there with a walk, and through the day I often had a couple ladies join me for a quick walk to get away from sitting at our sewing machines.  One morning MB and I saw a double rainbow.

I tried to keep my quilting fairly basic on this retreat. These quilts went together with minimal effort. Neither of them has a destination, but I think they both turned out very nice. I worked on a couple other blocks, but these two tops were started and finished while there. The invitation to this retreat gave me an opportunity to meet a great group of ladies and I look forward to joining them again next year.