Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Surfeit Of Oranges

The orange tree has bloomed and there are now lots of tiny green oranges. The balance of this year's crop was falling off the tree and/or the birds were eating them so DH and I picked the rest, a huge bag half filled. What to do? Well, give away a couple more grocery sacks full, save one in the fridge for snacking, and then -when life gives you oranges make marmalade!
 The recipe I have used the past couple of years is from Alton Brown of the Food Network. It produces a very yummy result for a marmalade afficionada like myself, not to mention DH!
You can find the recipe here, no need for me to repeat it!
Alton's recipe requires zest and juice of a lemon. I do not often purchase them as my kindly neighbor has a vigorous and very productive Meyer lemon tree, and these just happen to be my very favorite lemons ever. I have been given free access to said tree making me a very happen lemon lover- they also make good marmalade and delicious lemon bars.
Myer lemons are sweeter than others having a faint orange flavor and aroma and more orange colored skin and pulp. They are thought to be a cross between Lisbon lemon and mandarin orange and are quite delicious and juicy. The vintage citrus squeezer is a treasure inherited from my Mum and likely as old as I am!
The first batch jelled up very firm
Doesn't it look delicious?
This did not use up nearly enough oranges so then I made a double batch which was more stubborn in the jelling process. There is no added pectin in Alton's recipe but I have never needed it.
I ran out of Ball jars but I usually save nice jars for jam making and the smaller ones make great hostess gifts. The four jars on the far right are the original batch and there is a slight color difference I think because I had to cook the second lot a bit longer to attain jelling stage.
If you can bear to use it other than on bread or toast, it is great for orange chicken!
Alton says it keeps six months but honestly I have kept it a year and then some, no problems as long as your jars and lids are sanitized and also the tools you use. I do usually end up putting mine in the fridge for longer time storage especially in this hot Arizona climate.
DH is very happy, this being his favorite jam, and when he and a few friends meet every Monday morning for breakfast he likes to take his own marmalade along as the restaurant usually does not offer it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

One, Two, Three baby Quilts Plus One!

We have had two baptisms at St. Mark last month and one this month and the quilts are now done and delivered to church last Sunday.
Number one, very scrappy using baby type fabrics that looked more "boyish" in random sized rectangles.
And a pieced backing, quilted with peacock feathers and light blue thread.
  One baby girl quilt
 A cute piece of alphabet fabric needed borders to "grow" it a bit!
 And plenty left for the backing.
 The other baby boy gets this yellow and grey quilt using three sizes of triangles.
Below, Matthew's quilt is a combination baptism and birthday gift.
I am very happy with the way this turned out, the fabrics are cute together and the18" giant block pattern from Missouri star Quilt Co. was perfect.
 I meandered in the Mickey block background to echo the round shape of the Mickey Dots fabric and his ears and head and used some quick and easy modern ideas to quilt the black zipper, the  red and and white fabrics.
The black print squares have Mickey's outline, using Superior Magnifico thread and a couple of different sizes of round templates..
It was great to have enough of the zipper fabric to bind the quilt, that fabric has been in stash for several years and this was the perfect time to use it.
 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Mickey Mouse Quilt

The Boy's quilt is all ready for the LA once the backing is prepped, it is currently in the washing machine. I don't usually prewash fabrics with the exception of red or black batiks or something else that looks suspicious to me, but this wide backing seems rather stiff so I am washing it with vinegar and salt, recommended online to soften fabrics- I will let you know how it works!
The Missouri Star Quilt Co. pattern "Town Square"  turned out very well in these fabrics and I think Matthew will love it, he already wanted to take it with him when he saw some of the blocks on the design wall and best of all it went together super fast! I did cheat a bit by sewing the first two borders together before stitching them to the quilt and I rather like the effect.
He asked for MM in the middle and that is what he got, plus two other MM fabrics, the red Mickey Ears and the black print, "Mickey in Dots" I think it was called. I had the black and white zipper fabric and included it just for whimsy, I thought The Boy would like it. I have one extra block that will make a nice pillow, and just enough of the zipper fabric for binding. The size made up to about 70"x90", just nice size for his bed, can't wait to see it there.
Now I am anxious to quilt it, how though? Looking at it I am thinking a MM head outline in the black print squares and maybe some ruler work? Hmmmmm, I will think about it while the backing dries!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ringon Lake Completion

Well, the top is done and now it is one of eight personal quilts lined up for the LA. My version turned out 62" square, a lap quilt I guess or maybe one to fold on the end of a bed ready for a chillier night or perhaps a nap!
Rather than hanging it to photograph I just laid it out on the floor so I did not get all of it in, perhaps tomorrow I can get a better photo in the daylight.
The color is a bit off at night, so that may improve in daylight too! Construction was not fun and without a design wall I would guess too difficult to even think about. I know that not all of my sashings are correctly placed but I do not care, LOL, I am just very happy to have it all together.
 One would need to study it to figure out where it's off so IMO it does not matter.
I would love to get back to the LA now but I feel the urge to get going on The Boy's promised red, black and white quilt so tonight I ordered a digital pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Company called 
"Town Square". 
The blocks are 18" which will be perfect as I have ordered an 18" panel of Mickey Mouse to go in the middle of the quilt. This is a super easy quilt like many of the MSQC designs and should go together fast.
The poor little chap had a nasty tummy bug yesterday so I spent most of the day with him helping his mom keep him comfortable. Those things are the worst, so it was lovely to see his smiling face this morning on Facetime, happily eating toast and apple sauce. By tomorrow he will be back to regular diet. I found one of the Pedialyte flavors that had the probiotics in it so that was the first thing he had once he could hold down a little liquid. He will be excited to see I am getting on with his new quilt when he comes on Friday.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

On Ringon Lake, Continued!

Have you ever followed along to make a BH Mystery quilt? If so, then you are familiar with the process of sewing together very many little bitty pieces. Ringon Lake appears to me to be one of the most intense of BH quilts, especially with the addition of the pieced sashings.
I made all the corners first.............
 then realised after I added the first row that one of the sashings was wrong way up!
Well, I am not taking it apart so it will remain that way and no one else will ever know.
 Getting all the sashing right is intense, I soon get burned out and this is the current state. I plan to construct the longest row next and then go to the top right corner and attach two rows to it. Then I can join both corners to the middle row.
 Our little cruise with Boston family to Western Caribbean was fun.
We were allowed to take on board one bottle of wine per adult so we each brought along our very favorite red, Cooper and Thief, and enjoyed sharing a bottle almost every night.
We played cards and Mexican Train dominoes as we relaxed on board the ship.
We visited Chichenitza, one of many ancient Mayan cities connected by paved roads. The Mayans were an advanced civilization with deep knowledge of astronomy, math and engineering. Of course they also worshipped a couple of pagan idols including a snake with feathers and practiced human sacrifice.......
This amazing structure houses another complete pyramid within where royal tombs are located.
We also visited a "cenote", a sacred pool which is actually a sink hole. We went down 88 steps to water level where we were able to swim, and at first the water was freezing but after a few minutes I acclimated and enjoyed cooling off from the warmth of the day.
While we were in the pool[and I have no photos because my phone is not waterproof] we watched the filming of a new Red Bull advertisement, where a man dived off the top into the pool-twice! That was fun and if you see this ad you will know I actually witnessed the event!
I am going to try and add a bit to the BH quilt before bedtime, and I will finish this post with last week's picture of the great granddaughter, isn't she a doll?
Her great Grandmother thinks so!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

It's Been A While.......

Cataract surgery, that's my main excuse! It's a struggle to sew/quilt with one eye working and the other fuzzy still! My second surgery will be Tuesday and then things will begin to make a little more sense. I do have a contact lens they gave me to help the left eye cope meanwhile since my old specs really make my brain crazy! It's far from perfect and I still have poor near vision so I walk around with a pair of "cheaters" and that's a pain too! All in all the first surgery was a great success and after one week I had 20/20 distance vision, pretty amazing to see so clearly with that eye and notice even a difference in colors.
In another month I will be able to get new specs, progressive lenses again and should have fantastic vision if the first eye is any indication. This surgery is simply amazing.
However I have struggled to continue to sew and quilt, as challenging as it has been it's too hard to give it up altogether.
This latest baby quilt is done as of today, and I hope to deliver it tomorrow. The baby is only about a month old so I am not too tardy!
I am very happy with this pattern a Missouri Quilt Company design  called the Crown Block Quilt. I used scrappy yellows, a leftover print for the center and constant for both grey and white backgound with a Minkee backing. The blocks are about 25" so I only needed four and they went together fast using my little portable design boards to set up the blocks and transport them to the machine.
 I did not attempt to embroider the label on Minkee because of both the pile and the stretch. I used Superior Sew Fine #50 thread and the Glide magnetic bobbins which I love and no batting, the Minkee is all that is needed.
Yesterday Sailor Grandson brought a stack of his newest uniforms for names and other labels.
Navy uniforms also have the name on the right side of the pants above the pocket. 
This fabric is tough, heavy duty enough for sails I think and almost impossible to get a pin through. In fact here's how most of the pins ended up, and these are the heavy boutonniere pins I use for pinning to the canvas leaders on the longarm!
I also managed to stick myself a couple of times, it's hard to judge where the pins will emerge through a few layers of this fabric. I think sewing these should be termed "hazardous duty" LOL.
I have sewn awards, rank, badges and name tags and done alterations on uniforms for three generations for nearly fifty years. As one man retired from service another swore into the Military, husband, son and now grandson and this is the toughest uniform fabric I have ever encountered, guess the Navy does not intend it to wear out fast! I was a little concerned about how hard it would be to sew through all those layers and the super dense labels but my little Bernina 240 sewed through without a hiccup, it could have been silk. 
 Here they are all done and ready to deliver tomorrow, this young man deploys to the Middle East next month, leaving behind his wife and baby daughter.
This evening I returned to sewing Bonnie Hunter's "Ringo Lake", finishing up the last of the piecing clues and now ready for construction.
 I think this is how it goes together, but I printed the final clues when we were in Boston after Christmas so I have to search them out! I have no idea how many blocks I will get as I halved the number of all required parts and will just have to see how it turns out! It's very pink looking and the blue I used is rather quiet. It might need a bit of of a "pop" for the border I think

Saturday, January 20, 2018

New baby Quilt Update

This one is now on the longarm, and hopefully quilted in the next couple of days, I plan to work on it after church tomorrow because the expected baby is on her way via C- Section as I write!
The construction process was interesting as the plan below shows. 
I have only had one other quilt pieced in odd shaped blocks before, but in this case it was simple and everything went together perfectly flat and square.
 I have a few of these little design boards that really helped
 to keep all the pieces in order as I sewed.
I worked on only one section at a time to avoid confusion!
Its much prettier in actuality, does not photograph well but perhaps quilting will help that. I dithered around about quilting design thinking to do something custom and modern but it did not suit so I am doing E-E freehand feminine feathery thing!
We had our monthly MeetUp today, only four of us there but we all made some progress. I managed to piece the 35th. Ave BOM, I am so pleased to have that one done it is not my favorite. I paid no attention to the order I sewed the blocks together and it probably made no difference?! Add that one to the other half dozen of my own quilts awaiting the longarm!
The blocks have their own sashing that makes a secondary pattern so I did not add more and there will be no border, it's already 45"x72" and will probably be a baby quilt. I have some pink and grey striped fabric that I think will work for the backing.
 I had to search the internet for "Quadriga Cloth"- it was manufactured by Ely and Walker Dry Goods Company and has a special finish that makes it appear similar to a polished cotton, very soft hand and fine thread count. The company went out of business decades ago so this is likely a vintage fabric. It's only 36" wide and was given to me at some point years ago! Any further information would be welcomed!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

New Project!

But before I could begin, I felt the need to do a bit more on Ringo lake. I have a very difficult time with UFO's, I am a finisher at heart and I can only wonder at those who have mega numbers of Partly Sewn Projects! It would make me very unhappy to have so many unfinished quilts.
I also needed a little wine to help me along! Because I make these Flying Geese four at a time they have to be trimmed and it's a very boring chore!
The pattern I chose for the next baby quilt is called "Triangles At Play" by Sarah Ruiz and it may be downloaded free from Craftsy.com. It will be a very speedy project I think.
I am using only two colors, those the mom-to-be chose, yellow and grey. I managed to get all the pieces prepped ready to sew later tomorrow, after church and a visit to see great granddaughter Paisley!
 I did take a little time out for a quick, healthy dinner, Aussie lamb chops smothered in mushrooms with organic salad greens from my friend's garden and oranges from mine and another glass of that nice red Zinfandel, yummy!