Tuesday, November 30, 2010


No – not the Black Friday / Shop Til You Drop kinda shopping (which I hate).  I am talking about your regular ole gotta get me some groceries kinda shopping… and I’m not loving that much either. 

Recently I’ve decided to reward myself for grocery shopping by heading over there early in the day and getting an Apple Fritter from the bakery as my reward.  No – I don’t go everyday… still only head out every other week… so I don’t think I’m in any danger of getting any fatter by shopping.

Look what I found today as I wandered down the spice isle…

spices 003 How clever are these?  All the spices and a recipe for a meal.  You could design a gift around this… gather all the dry/canned ingredients and wrap it all up either in a basket or in what ever pan or casserole dish called for and last but not least - throw in a gift card for the grocery store.

It’s going to be a rainy day here – so I think I’ll head up to the sewing room and get some stuff done. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Over The River…

and down the highway…

Tis that time again to gather with family and friends and to Give Thanks for the many blessings we have.


Let us live together, eat together

Together, let us do noble deeds and share the fruits

Let us understand each other, casting aside jealousy and ill-will

Let us all work for peace and peace alone.

Hindu Prayer

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ten Minute Table Runner

Nancy - the shop owner at Piece By Piece Quilt Shop - came in with a free pattern (links below) she came across recently.  She showed me the table runners she had made and I couldn’t believe how simple they are.

You will want to make one some a lot one for everyone you know… and then some to keep for yourself.

It’s just this easy… 1/3 of a yard of one fabric (center) and a 1/2 yard of another (borders and back).  

10 min Table Runner 003 Sew the two pieces together along both long edges. 

10 min Table Runner 005Turn right side out and even up the borders that wrap to the front and press.  Trim off both selvage edges.

10 min Table Runner 011

Fold in half along the length (back sides together)…

Even up the edges and stitch from the open end to the fold. Press seam open and turn…

10 min Table Runner 015

These are shorter because I cut them in half when I trimmed the selvages – I wanted to make place mats rather than a runner… 10 min Table Runner 016

I had already made a runner… swapping the fabrics and using a 10” center piece… which gives you wider borders…

10 min Table Runner 020 Buttons, tassels, or decorative stitching are all options for finishing off the turned corner.

The shop has been packaging up some nice fabric combinations including the free pattern and we cannot keep up with them.

The Ten Minute Table Runner was a publication from Utah State University Extension Office – however I can only find it at this quilt shop’s web site.  Although I can’t find that specific PDF currently at the USU Extension Office… I have found that they have a similar one that has you sew the short seams with the runner folded in the opposite direction (front sides together) which results in the corners turned to the back and more of the center fabric shows.  Just a little different look… I happen to like having the back/border fabric showing on the front corners.

There’s still time to whip up one or two for Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I started knitting socks almost two years ago…

The first pair of socks I started… I haven’t finished… yet.  I completed this single sock in March of 09 while hanging out in TX with The Engineer while he was working down there.

Toeup sock 006

But I have finished several other pairs and I wear them… the second pair I started I actually finished in March of 09.

Toeup sock 012

I also finished these little cotton footie socks in March of 09.

knitting sock 013

Needless to say – sitting around in a hotel room left lots of time to knit… LOL

These Spiral Tube Sock were completed in Dec of 09.

Spiral Sock 002

These blue socks (wool blend) I started in January and finished in April this year – my daughter who was visiting from Hawaii bought the yarn while she was here - I told her that when she moved to a cold climate I’d give them to her.  The lighter socks I started in May this year and finished recently.

socks finished

I hate it that it takes so long to finish a pair… mostly because when you get one sock done you have to then start all over again and make another…

Recently Judy L mentioned a book someone had suggested to her to learn the 2 at a time technique – Knitting Circles Around Socks… so I purchased it and Knitting More Circles Around Socks (since they were both on sale – 40% off at Knit Picks).

Last weekend I started…

knitting circles around socks

about mid week I had turned the heel…

knitting circles around socks 001

and Saturday morning I finished…

 knitting circles around socks 002

I do like the 2 at a time technique.  I followed the Basic Sock Pattern from the first book using # 5 circular needles and Plymouth Yarn Encore Tweed Worsted weight yarn in an oatmeal kinda color.  Most of the other socks I’ve knitted used the sock weight (thinner) yarn and #2 double pointed needles – but for learning this technique I’m glad I followed the Basic Pattern using the heavier yarn and thicker needles.  Of course there is always the concept that with a thicker yarn you have less stitches and therefore get done sooner too… LOL – I liked that as well.

The next ones I do will be the toe up style and then I can just keep knitting until the yarn is finished and make the legs longer. 

I took my time and paid close attention to the pattern and I spent some time each day knitting so that I could get them done.  I was happy that I caught on pretty quickly and was able to do away with the point protectors they suggest using in the beginning as a means of keeping track of what set of needles you are working on… and then I managed to get 3 sections on one needle only once – so I was happy.

I’m hoping to adapt this technique to work up some fingerless gloves I need to get started on soon…

Monday, November 15, 2010

Roasted BS…

I laughed earlier when I uploaded a pictured and named it that…

BS was just easier to type than Brussels Sprouts…

Well the picture of the finished dish wasn’t any good… it was blurry and showed my dirty oven which is why you aren’t seeing it here.  But the Roasted BS was yummy…

Last Friday I picked up some ‘sprouts on the stalks’ from my favorite Amish Farmer at The Green Dragon Farmers Market.  See the sprouts there between the huge cauliflower and enormous radish… yes radish practically the size of baseballs!  And that broccoli… oooooh so pretty!  A head of yellow cauliflower came home with me too – I’ll make soup with it later today.


Then we visited the Amish Bakery down the isle… to pick up some sticky buns with pecans!  Mmm, mmm, mmm – so yummy!  The Engineer also loves ShooFly Pie…


Anyway – back to the sprouts…

I cut them off the stalk, washed and trimmed them.  Then I cut the large ones in half, sprinkled them with olive oil and a red/black pepper mix.  I mixed these up earlier in the day and let them sit in the oil/pepper mix for a couple hours before I threw them in the oven on a roasting pan.  I cooked them at 350 degrees… stirred them around every once in a while and left them to cook… until they were done…  (Sorry I know you hate it when I do that but I was doing other stuff and wasn’t rushing them.  When they were about done I had The Engineer throw the steaks on.)  Nicely browned on the outside and tender and mild (not at all bitter tasting) on the inside.  I liked the ‘heat’ from the red pepper… this went very nicely with the steak we cooked that evening.

You can Google Roasted Brussels Sprouts to see pictures and recipes… (most seem to cook at 400 for 30/40 minutes) I did see one link that mentioned balsamic vinegar… I may have to go back and try that one.

I cooked up a batch of applesauce on Sunday for the freezer.  My apples seem to be past their prime so I’m not going to spend too much time cutting things up.  I’ll probably make up some apple pies and a crisp today and put those in the freezer too. I think the warmer than normal temps have caused them to soften up too soon.2010 apples 002

On Friday I finished up the January Quilt from Kim Schaefer’s Calendar Quilts.  I need to add some decorative stitching and then quilt it… but it’s assembled.  He’s cute don’t ya think?  I do have to add this project to my University list… there will be one quilt for each month. 

snowman 002

This weekend I also tackled the knitting 2 socks at a time technique.  I had ordered the Knitting Circles Around Socks book (from KnitPicks) after seeing it mentioned by Judy L’s blog.  I only restarted once… so far… It was really odd getting started but once the socks had some substance it was a little easier. 

knitting circles around socks

I have only once (so far) picked up the wrong needle to knit with and ended up with 3 sections on the one needle.  Easiest way out of that was to grab a double pointed needle and move the sections off the circular needles and then put them back on the right needles.

I am working on the legs still… I’ll let you know if I’m still excited about this when I get to the heels.  Who am I kidding… nobody likes a heel…

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Home Again…

Although I do love to travel… I hate the whole process of unpacking and putting stuff away.  Especially all the sewing stuff… which of course I took too much of in the first place and then gathered a few more things along the way too.

My ‘Roomies’ at the show were - as always - wonderful! I do enjoy hanging out with those ladies.

Although we ended up in a room smaller than we had wanted - we made do and finagled the space to have 3 sewing machines set up and operating.  I love my SewEzi table.

Nashua 2010 003

Oh – that down comforter there on the bed… it lasted only one night.  OMG I thought I’d burst into flames while sleeping.  It was replaced by a lovely finished quilt that Neen had brought along to show.  It was wonderful… the wool batting was the perfect balance of warmth and light weight.

Nashua 2010 001 

Dawn snugged her table right between the beds and had easy access to the iron… well – IF I remembered to turn the iron back to that side of the board so she could reach it.  She got a little more exercise then she wanted because I have a mind like a sieve…

We also managed to eek out enough space for a mid size cutting board on the desk and the beds doubled up as alternative work surfaces to spread out all our equipment, fabric, patterns, etc.

Nashua 2010 029

The ironing board was sadly just an ironing board… when you get use to using a 24” x 60” board – well… anything else just isn’t sufficient.  Size is everything!  But it did come with a seat… which Melissa was thankful for as it was very late when she was getting her seams for her hunters star pressed.

Oh and we also had a design wall – kindly supplied by the Hotel.  A couple table runners (Dawn & I), a wine tote (mine), blocks from a Hunters Star project (Melissa), star blocks from a Laps from Fats book pattern (Dawn), 2 small quilts from Bit’s & Pieces book (mine) and a couple half log cabin blocks from a pre-cut quilt kit that was gifted to me from my friends and a kaleidoscope type ornament made from a kit I purchased.

Nashua 2010 020  

Maybe it’s just me… (most likely it’s a result of the economy) but the ‘quilt show’ wasn’t as impressive as it’s been in the past – not as many quilts on display and nothing that really stood out to me like others have in the past.  I actually only went through the show once… I didn’t see anything outstanding that made me want to go back and look again. 

Attendance seemed down from other years… again probably the economy played into that.  I don’t like shopping in crowds and really didn’t see the kinds of crowds I would have avoided in the past.

I did spend some time each day poking around the vendor area and came away with just a few things - again nothing jumped out as truly inspiring.  Some vintage fabrics spoke to me – 50’s themed holiday prints and I poked around and came away with some Civil War era fat quarters.  I purchased the wine tote kit but I think I need to tweek the pattern as it’s just awkward.  I loved making the kaleidoscope ornament and will make more of those for sure – especially since I picked up a 45 degree diamond template to make cutting easier.

I pieced the 20 half log cabin blocks from the kit my friends gifted me.  It felt odd piecing when I hadn’t cut the parts out myself.  A nice kind of odd for sure… just sit down and sew and in no time you are done.  If you are looking for a great gift – consider a ‘precut quilt kit’.

Nashua 2010 024

Since I couldn’t find the tops I made from the Bits & Pieces book… I made a couple more.  I had some of the parts cut and partially assembled for one top (right) so I finished that first after adding some fabric… when all was said and done - I am not in love with it… the fabric I added had all the right colors but I think the print is too busy.

Nashua 2010 019

The one on the left I may end up changing… that inner border on the top and bottom – it bothers me the more I look at it.  I may just put in my second choice which is the blue toned fabric. 

The Table Runner was a hit… I’ll share info on that in another post.  You will want to make some… great easy gifts. 

Nashua 2010 016

Nashua 2010 013

Dawn and her table runner above and the blocks for a raffle quilt she’s making are below. 

Nashua 2010 026

Neen was working on an appliqué project and reading… but I have no evidence of either of those… so you’ll have to take my word on it.

It was great fun to hang out with everyone again and get to know others like Sue Trask.  Sue was there as a Freshman Vendor – she owns The Quilt Patch – has been friends with the other gals for years and Melissa and Dawn both teach at her shop.  I enjoyed getting to know her and look forward to seeing her again next year.

We heard a rumor that next year (2011) will be the last year the event will be held at this hotel.  It was previously a Sheraton Tara Hotel but is currently owned by Radisson.  Not sure where the show will be moving… more rumors indicated that Manchester may be the place… but you know how rumors are!  We will have to wait and see…

After several days of sewing and visiting at the show I headed back to MA to spend a couple days with my kids.  I drove home on Tuesday in order to cover the quilt shop for the Thimbleberries Club group that night.  I’m still tired though… it always takes a few days to wind down and catch up with sleep.

My sister is headed out here today and we will pick (pick up) apples… and I guess since it’s nice out I should finish cleaning up around the garden beds.

I wonder what I’ll do with the apples this weekend… LOL  Nothing if I don’t get off this computer.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It’s Show Time…

I’m headed out on Wednesday to spend the weekend at A Quilters Gathering in Nashua, NH where I’ll meet up with several friends to visit and sew.

I think I set a record today.  I had my suitcase (clothes) packed by about 1 PM today.  Then spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning and tonight after dinner and voting I got my sewing stuff all packed up by 7:30 PM.  All I need to do is pick up my sewing machine at the shop in the morning and head out of town.

I’m taking several projects that are on my University List and should make some progress on them while I’m there.

Speaking of the University - I did complete the BOM Sample for the shop and have updated my University List and put some pictures in.

I’m not taking my computer so I’ll see y’all next week…

Unless I see you at the Quilt Show…

Monday, November 1, 2010

Let’s Go For A Walk…

Join me…

Apples 2010 005

Oh no… we aren’t stopping here – although I could use a little help cleaning out the rest of the tomato plants… I am so over the tomatoes.

Apples 2010 006

Out here a little further in the yard - here is where we are going… isn’t she a lovely tree?

Apples 2010 011

The Stayman Apples are ready… they are a late variety so we will be picking for a couple weeks.

Apples 2010 007

Mostly just picking up the ones that fall.  Some will fall with no damage but many will bounce on a limb on the way down… I’ve even had to pick bark out of some of them.  I was out here earlier (on Sunday) to pick up around the tree – these two just fell so I’ll take them in and add them to the ones I’ll salvage by cutting the bad parts out.

Apples 2010 009

These are the ones that have ended up in the mulch pile on Friday… damaged by the fall and or munched on by the bugs.  Once picking season has begun it’s easier to keep things cleaned up around the tree on a daily basis.  I know we could have salvaged a good portion of many of these apples by cutting out the bad parts… but on Friday (when we cleaned up) my sister took home approx. four 5 gallon buckets of apples to make sauce with.  I also unloaded gifted a 5 gallon bucket to the quilt shop…

Apples 2010 010

These are sitting in my kitchen doorway… I picked them up on Sunday when I took these pictures…

Apples 2010 004

And I cut up the damaged ones I picked up to make Apple Crisp.  Assembled and ready for the oven – boy this sure is good – especially with ice cream.

Apples 2010 001

There are lots of apples still up there…

Apples 2010 008

I’ll be taking some with me when I head up to the A Quilters Gathering this week up in Nashua NH - dropping off some with my daughter in MA as I go by.