Sunday, November 27, 2016

A New Project (for next year)

I have started on a quilt for a dear friend. She was admiring several of my quilts, and when I asked if she wanted one, she got kind of a sheepish look. I asked what colors she would like.....why, purples/lavenders and grey with white. When I asked what kind of pattern she might like, she fell in love with the Irish Chain I have in the family room.
Now the one I have in the family room...is a single Irish Chain. It is simple with two colors.
From studying the several Irish Chains, if you use two color....a single chain works.
three colors can be in a double....but using three to four colors needs the more complex Triple Irish chain.....
So, with the colors I found and cut for her quilt, it had to be the triple....
So here is the first square.
It measures 14" square....next I have to create the set square for it to be an Irish Chain....
But what do you think?
Yeah, I know, it is gonna take a while....
Take care.
Enjoy your day!
Nancy

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday, my eldest daughter came and helped set up for our big Thanksgiving. You would think we were having 20....but it is only 10.
We made the stuffing bread...where we cut up lots of sourdough bread, toss it with butter and parmesan cheese and roast it till its yummier....
Then we made an apple pie and a pumpkin pie....(we use premade pie crust don't get too excited)....
We then set the table....



 Here is the table as we were "building it"...
We started with this fantastic grey tablecloth I got on sale from Williams-Sonoma...then added the china and silverware...my daughter created the centerpiece...with a table this wide and this big it was simply wonderful to create! We decided to use a silk leaf on each place setting with the guest's name written with a fabric pen....
 Here is her wonderful apple pie...
We also set up the two roasters on the washer and dryer ....our biggest turkey goes in one and the smoked turkey, should it be done early, will stay warm in the other.....

Here is our pumpkin pie.....

So, on this day that we all seem to feast....let us put away our politics, put away our phones and give thanks for our beautiful and wonderful country and the family and friends within it.
Amen.
Nancy

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

In the Kitchen Laboratory

Do you "play" in the kitchen? Do you experiment with ideas and recipes?
I do. Plan and simple, it is play.
Sometimes it "pans" out and sometimes it doesn't.
Tonight it might just work!
I wanted to reheat some rice from last night to go with the roast chicken.
But, we desperately needed some veggies....how can I get veggies in Hubby?
Pesto!
So out in the garden we have a few King beans(like lima beans, but better) still growing, so I picked a handful, along with some parsley and some arugula leaves and beet leaves. Yes, I did.

See the beans?
First I put some olive oil in the blender, lime juice, salt and three cloves of garlic. Then I threw in the bean(these are shelling beans), I broke up the greens and tossed those in and blended it. After, that I threw in some pine nuts....
Did it work?? Sure it did...

Isn't it the prettiest color??
Heck of a way to get veggies in us.....LOL.
Now, I have to say, our arugula is fully mature...so it is actually a bit too bitter for salad...
It is perfect for this application, the baby arugula at markets wouldn't be quite as good I don't think...think of basil with its strong flavor....
We are also playing with poultry rubs for the turkey, and we are mixing it ourselves....testing on that chicken I told you about....I will let you know how that turned out....
Have a great evening.
Nancy

Sunday, November 20, 2016

One Thing Leads to Another....

You know the saying. And we all know it is totally true. One Thing Leads to Another....
I was doing laundry. Being one to keep busy while the laundry is going, I thought I should get the rest of the Christmas gifts out of hiding in my closet.
Huh...oh....
Now, I do not have a walk-in.
We have classic 1959 closets, which in the day were considered huge.
We have lived here 26 years. I have been dealing with this for all that time. And mostly I am successful.
This post is very real, and may not be for faint of heart. Please don't tell me I am a slob.
Anyway, I was digging out the gifts that I look for all year long....
I found them...but I had to reorganize to do it....
So, I found this great shoe organizer at Savers. It holds 9 pairs of shoes. I tried on several pairs and realized that so many no longer fit (due to arthritis)...so, I put those in a bag and out they will go...
Then, I went through the clothes on this side of the closet...
 Shirts....
 Dresses, skirts, and sweaters...all of it...I went through all of it. Much got "ejected" into a bag....
So this little three drawer thing is my "unmentionables and socks"...
Don't laugh...it works...and there isn't any room for another dresser in our small bedroom...
This is the middle section for my tops and other things....all folded and put away....
Yes, it is still messy, thank you for noticing....
However, I am being real here. After all, all I wanted to get were the gifts I had stashed away.....
I also got into a sneezing attack...which meant I needed to seriously dust. Yup, dusted the closet...
Anyone else allergic to dust??
I haven't ever been so allergic....I sneezed so many times Hubby was laughing!
It was kinda funny....
What was he doing while I was doing all this??

Yes, he was doing Christmas cards!
He has a mind set to get them ready before Thanksgiving and them mail the day after.
Hope your day was productive....
Nancy

Monday, November 14, 2016

On Your Marks, Get Set......

Remember I told you were getting ready?
Well, Hubby got a practice turkey in the smoker...good thing we did!
There are adjustments to temp and time to make....
Now this does look quite good I have to say, but the dark meat was a little under done and the breast a bit over done....so though we had a delicious dinner....we need to make those adjustments....

And then,
I dug out the Christmas gifts I have been collecting and putting in the guest room as we are going to have guests.....
 So, here in the craft room are gifts...and a wrapping table....though it will be tight, it helps the guest room.....
....which has been restored to its guest readiness....clean sheets, fresh pillows and cases, and remade....
Now...to get to wrapping!!
Am I the only one who has wrapped a couple of gifts before Thanksgiving??
Nancy

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Into The Holidays

And so it begins....
With roughly 10 days before Thanksgiving, we have begun organizing....
The giant huge tabletop was brought in to create what we lovingly call "the estate table"... so 10-12 can more comfortably sit around the table...it is a huge piece of 3/4" plywood that is set on top of our fully extended table. The only problem with this, well, is that the legs on the table are where they are...so, we still have table legs for some to straddle....
However, there is definitely more elbow room...so, to me it is a toss up...we will see how it really works this Thanksgiving....
We got up at 5 this morning to put a "practice" bird on in the smoker, to see how long it really takes...
I have purchased an additional roaster to use as a warming oven, should theThanksgiving turkey need a place to stay while the rest of dinner is cooking.
Since his smoker recipe requires only a 14 lb bird, I will be roasting in the other roaster a 22lb bird so there will be enough turkey to go around.....(that makes two roasters in the laundry room)..

Every year, I plan to have a large chunk of my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving....I have succeeded this year, thanks in large part to the internet. I had family members peruse the catalogs and give ideas....So...most of my shopping is done.
So, that leaves me with a pile of gifts that have arrived, and were placed in the guest room.
OOOPs.....we have guests coming after Thanksgiving!
So, now I have to come up with a plan for those gifts and wrapping.....
My plan so far, is to bring in one of the folding tables (3x6) and set it up in the craft room for gifts and wrapping....

Then the guest room will be redone to accept guests.....

Of course, the day after Thanksgiving the Christmas decor goes up which is simplified this year I think.....
The tree will be up (we get a real tree) by Dec. 14 as we have guests coming that day...
So, so far, that is what we are up to.

How about you?? What plans have you made?? I would love to hear....


Monday, November 7, 2016

The Learning Curve

I am going through a new learning curve.
I am learning, via a Craftsy class, how to quilt with templates/rulers.
It requires a special foot....which I bought (about $50).
It also requires that you buy the templates/rulers. Which I did two from my sewing place (Pal's in Costa Mesa)...that Casey helped a great deal...bought the foot from him and now that he sells long arm quilting machines, he had the templates.
Oh, let's back up a bit.
You see, a few years ago, some people realized that long arm quilters use templates (rulers) to create some of their designs...and that home sewing machines could do some of that if they had a foot that was the same....hence the special foot.
That foot is a 1/4" foot that follows a template and gives beautiful results....cross hatching, spirals, curves, celtic knots....be still my heart.
I watched a few videos and got caught...wanting....
So, the class on Craftsy went on sale...$20 to learn how to do this new technique.
So.......

So, here I am doing my first straight lines...not bad, kinda fun. To do this there are some things to know....you first have to invest $$ on templates and a foot to get started. Pick templates that  you are sure you will use first...fill in as you learn and feel comfortable.
Second, absolutely buy the anti-slip sticky things to put on these templates! I first tried without them...uh uh....no working...
Third, be comfortable with free motion first and this is a free motion type of operation. I was....but get used to that first (this should be first).
Fourth, buy "machingers" which are the gloves that help you grip and move.
Fifth, buy the silicone mat that goes on the sewing surface to help the fabric glide. (I had one, but it has seen a better day...)

 Here is a picture of my older "machingers"...yes, they are important....
 Here is my first ever cross hatching...not bad on a curve! Frustrating because you sew off of the 1/4" mark....
 Here I gave in and switched feet to free hand curves...
I think doing a border with curves on a first try was a bit of a big bite for a newbie to this type of work....
These are the three templates I bought...a curve, a scallop, and a long straight edge ( I will be using this the most I think)....they are NOT regular templates which are only too small in thickness wise...don't use anything else(must be 1/2") as it will hurt your machine! The foot will jump and you can bend your whole machine....so, invest in good ones. Stores that carry long arm machines will have these, or you can buy them online.
Learning curve ahead....that's my motto....but, for exact designs inside of a square of fabric....or later on a border....yes!
I recommend taking a Craftsy class....online classes from them are great...I can still access classes that I took 2 years ago! It's great take at your speed...(in my case until I got the parts)...and review when you are under way....
But....I did finally finish my crazy quilt...well, I am putting the binding on.
I would have liked to do more on the border....and maybe later, I will....for now...it's done.
Have a great evening....
Nancy

Sewing Mania

This weekend I worked on a couple of quilts.
My daughter needed a quilt for a friend whose baby shower is next week...
I don't know why she thinks I can just "whip" them up....but apparently, I do!
So, she picked out fabric from my stash and I pulled out my Accuquilt set that does 12" squares....
It is easy to put together a quilt with 12" squares!
I decided on a pinwheel pattern and away I went!




So, here is the finished quilt that will go to my daughter to take home and wrap tomorrow.
And....since I had the embroidery unit on the machine... I played with another quilt top that has been hanging on the project board for a bit...I decided to play with embroidery designs in my machine. I didn't know that I had cool dogs, horses, and cats! They are big too, which is what these 8" squares needed!


 Aren't these wonderful?? The cats one didn't get in there...but seriously, I had fun, picking colors to use and letting the machine do its work. Each embroidery picture took 30 minutes roughly, give or take a minute here and there.
It is always good, if you have an embroidery unit to run it periodically (so I am told) well mine hadn't been run in a while, and if it had, it only did a name here and there.
I actually have ordered through eBay some more embroidery cards (yes, mine is old fashioned...it can go directly to computers, but not a Mac)....
So, I was busy this weekend....
What did you do??
Nancy

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Truth About Bugs

This year was a crazy year for bugs at our house.
Lots of flies, fleas, and others seemed to be everywhere, both good and bad bugs.
What happened?
Well, for years I sprayed with Beneficial Nematodes and for three years, well, I didn't. I didn't think it was doing any good.
Well, HA!
It was.
You see. Beneficial Nematodes work beneath the surface, where we can't see (obviously) and eradicate many of the bugs before we see them.
What do I mean?
Well, take for example the species..."Steinernema feltieae" ...this group destroy...cabbage maggot, humpback flies, onion maggots, pill worm, raspberry crown borer, schrods, shore flies, thrip and more....
Interested?
Read on....
The species "Sterinernema carpocapsae" destroy passing bugs...such as fleas, cutworms, fly larvae, termites and more....
Have any of those???
How about.....
"Heterorhadditis bacteriophora"???
Well, the seek out queen ants, asparagus beetles, bagworms, bands moths, weevil, berry root weevils, oil bugs, carrot weevils, fleas, grubs, and more....
Ok, so we do not have all of those bugs, but at least one out of every list.....
How do they work??
Well, I have a dedicated sprayer that I use only with these guys and you mix them up with warm water and spray. It isn't hard. just hook up the sprayer and spray.....
The magic happens under the soil where the microscopic nematodes go after their food.
It's a little army you are releasing and putting the balance back in the soil.
I like that it isn't a toxic spray.....it is natural.




No it isn't perfect....it just helps put the balance back.
No, I didn't do it for a while....I didn't want to spend the money....but in the end I spent lots of time and frustration on the flies, fleas, and other creatures that ate my garden and hurt my trees and that could have been minimal if I had maintained what I had been doing.
Granted, other neighbors don't spray so flies will still happen....but, if they lay their eggs in our soil, most of those eggs won't hatch.
Now for those of you who have dogs, well, let's talk about the gross part of dogs....the messes they leave behind. I won't go into great gross detail....but around here we pick up right away after the dogs leave their mess....really.
However, the urine well....it soaks in...right?
Yes, we wash what we can and all that....but did you know there are species of flies that are attracted to that area for breeding? Yeah, neither did I until a few years ago.
That is one major area for beneficial nematodes.....your lawn.
Even the lawn that doesn't have dogs is at risk for the bugs....
So, just for flies and fleas one should use these beneficial nematodes....
If you live in the desert like we do....this is an all year thing....so spray twice a year in really bad bug areas....(once is ok....you will still notice a difference)
If you live in an area that freezes....spray when your soil warms up in the spring....you will notice a difference the first year.
Just for the termites even!! Think of it.
A reduction in flies, fleas or pests in the garden...just for a few minutes of time and $$.
Interested??
I am not an expert, nor do I sell this product....but I know a company that does and this is my opinion and understanding of the product.....
The company I used....Arbico....
Go online to order...or call them...they are very helpful.
And you can be sure....I won't miss another year....
Nancy