Nov 20, 2015

checking in

It has been a fairly quiet week around here and not a whole lot to report.  6 month check-up with the MD and then some followup tests since one lab test was a bit hinky.  I'm still waiting for some follow-up lab reports.  I feel fine so was surprised to see the results "off" like that.  My doctor will go over the overview in early December.

On Saturday Beverly called to see if she could get some quilts for some neighbors in need.  Sure, I said.  How old are the kids and boy or girl quilts?  I knew I needed to update the quilt document and verify that I had pictures taken and numbers on the quilts.  I found several that should keep the family cozy and ran those over to Beverly for her and Jack to deliver.  While I was at it, I refolded and restacked the present inventory.  I know that Lois has 8 more at home that I will photograph at the December meeting.   This is till I figure out where we will donate them.  Some smaller ones, I will mail to headquarters with my challenge quilt top as the quilters that made them will not care about the destination.  Others prefer to donate them closer to home.  I oblige.

Tuesday evening my friends Jane and Hugh invited me along to a mostly Christmas music program presented by the Oxford Community Chorus at the Oxford Performing Arts Center.   Fun night out.  Two of the selections were from Handel's Messiah  the classic "For Unto Us a Child is Born" and the "Hallelujah Chorus" but they also opened with "The Star-Spangled Banner" and later, "This is My Country".

Wednesday basically it rained.  Another 2 inches in the gauge.  Last year was mild drought in our area.  This year we are about 6 inches over those totals.  Fortunately the last two days have cleared up quite nicely.  My neighbor to the left had part of the half dead large tree cut out and gravel laid over the mud hole the vehicle had left in their "drive" yesterday.   The trees are thinning down, the Bradford Pears are finally changing to red.  Some are bare.  We seemed to have escaped the two recent frost warnings.  It is fall, after all.

I've not made it to the sewing machine this week.  Going to the concert interferred with that sewing time at the church with friends but there is hope for the weekend.  I THINK the weather is going to be clear though cooler overnights.  I see some baking ahead if that comes to pass.   There is some grated zucchini, several batches from the summer surplus,  up in the freezer to use up.  Mom's Zucchini Bread from all recipe is good from past experience.

The only true cooking I did this week was a batch of Italian Wedding Soup.  I used Ina Garten's meatballs but subbed out the ground chicken for some ground turkey I had on hand.  I did not have chicken sausage on hand either but defrosted some pre-cooked pork sausage patties from the freezer and then minced those up in food processor.  Turned out pretty tasty.   Here is the rest of the soup--sort of a take off on a California Wedding Soup.    I used quick cooking barley.

3 14-oz. cans chicken broth
1 tablespoon prepared pesto or 2 T shredded fresh basil leaves
1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced or cut into matchsticks
2 green onions, sliced but I used regular onion
2 cups finely sliced escarole or you can use 1/2 pkg of chopped, frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup orzo (rice shaped pasta) OR quick cooking barley
1/2 can white beans, rinsed and drained

I used quick cooking barley (and frozen spinach) but that was because I was thinking about trying a Greek Orzo Salad--still am, LOL and have the ingredients on hand to do so.  
And that it is how it goes around here.  A binge cooking day is coming, right after I get some groceries tomorrow. 

 I WILL ask you to say a little prayer for my great-nephew Wyatt and his parents Amber and Greg.  He is now up to about 9 lbs and that is a miracle right there since he started life about 3 1/2 months early and at 20 oz.  He had several surgical procedures today (5 hrs worth)  and will remain hospitalized till those lungs get stronger and he recovers from the surgery.

Nov 12, 2015

Escape to Florida

It was raining here--a lot--this past week or so. I know on two successive days I emptied about 2 inches out of the gauge, another two days one inch and another 2 inches on my return from my weekend get-away to Florida.  It is getting a bit depressing, with this gray, gloomy weather so this cartoon kind of works but cross out "Caribbean"

In July of this year DJ's son Tracy and daughter-in-law LuAnn realized a long held dream and moved down to the Cape Coral-Ft. Myers area of Florida, on the Gulf side of the state.  They invited me to come down to visit.  I had never been to Florida so I consulted my calendar and after a few messages back and forth to LuAnn, she said "book it". I did--clear back in the middle of August.

 About this time a week ago on the 5th, I was reaching the off-airport parking place we have always used and heading in on the shuttle to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  My flight was due in about 5 pm at the Southwest Florida International Airport.  LuAnn picked me up after she got off work and got untangled from traffic.  With the time change, it was getting dark already.  Tracy had dinner under control grilling up some burgers and serving a salad along with it.  He gave me a tour of their home and we visited a bit before we all called it a night.

Friday morning
 I headed out to walk in the neighborhood planning on about 25 minutes out and 25 minutes back.  I got a little turned around on the return and realized this when I saw the same guy twice--first hauling his grill out for curbside pickup and then doing some weeding or something in the yard.  He pointed me towards the direction I needed to go--should have turned left and went right and ended up going around the block.  I was back on track until I got a little closer to where I thought I should be.

Stopped a kid apparently taking his siblings to school--he thought I had to cross a busy road that I was just sure I had not been over.  I didn't think so but went "that a way" looking for (___) Terrace.   I was walking into the sun and it had been at my back on the way out.  The canal they live on was on my right--and it was on the left on the return.  Little did I know those sometimes t-intersect and there are a bunch of them!!  I should tell you, I had left my phone on the charger.  No map!  I was the navigator and I seldom got turned around as I paid attention and had the map in my hand for reference.  DJ was probably getting a good giggle out of this one!  A lady on a bike trying to cross that busy road explained the street  numbering system.   There is street, place and terrace and then it repeats---I think that is it anyway.

I found the terrace I was looking for.  Mind you, I did not pay much attention to the house number when I walked out the door. ( Remember it was dark when I arrived.  I've only addressed one thing to their home since the move so the address was not indelibly etched in the recesses of my brain either.)  That was NOT it.  No empty lots and there was new coinstruction.  Two guys about my age were walking down the street.  I told them I was turned around and looking for (___) Terrace which I was on but this was NOT it. They said "we've got a map at the house"  Turns out they were from New Brunswick, Canada and down on holiday for 10 days.  We got in the car to look as I was a sweaty, exhausted mess by then. After going down two or three side streets on the opposite side and my racking my brain to see if I could call either LuAnn or Tracy at work on their phone, I said "can we try the (next number up) Terrace?"  Sure---and that was finally it.   At one point I had told Melvin and the other guy I should buy them a cup of coffee but I had to be reunited with my purse first!  What helpful fellows and they were staying ONE street over from Tracy's, as it turned out.  I was so close all along!  Next time, the phone is going with me if I have to duct tape it to my person.

Tracy's job is rather odd hours right now--goes in quite early but then gets off about 11 a.m so he has the rest of the day ahead of him.  I had time to shower, wash my sweaty clothing and follow up on some phone messages before he came home.  Then we headed out for lunch and some sight seeing.  This map will help explain just where I was the next two days.

Friday afternoon
They live in Cape Coral and we drove over to Pine Island and Matlacha for lunch at the Island Cafe.  He pointed out the bike trail he uses along the way and a preserve area.  Yummy grilled grouper for me and a shrimp wrap for Tracy.  Great view of the water as we ate out on the dock.  It was in the high 80's but there was a nice breeze off the water.  We stopped at the Wild Child Art Gallery just up the road for a bit as well.  There were three artists at work in the back.  One woman was painting, another had been sewing clutch bags but doing some hand embellishing like creating her fabric for another bag.  The third was doing some lovely beading.

From there Tracy wanted to show me the Edison-Ford Winter Estates area on McGregor Blvd in Ft. Myers. The homes were built on the Caloosahatchee River.  Tracy said it was about 45 bucks to tour the place so we didn't go but there was still thing to see across the road in the parking area including this huge banyan tree!    There is a horticultural center on the estate but they also had plants and trees for sale.   I had on gray shorts and a white shirt next to the silver statue so I look pretty washed out on my camera phone, LOL.

We moved along as we still wanted to get to the beach.  On to Ft. Myers Beach!  Get those shoes and sock off and wade in the Gulf of Mexico a bit.  Lovely!  The sand is so white and so fine it was almost like walking on superfine sugar.

Later we went out for pizza at Lelulo's that is not too far from their home.   I am telling you that pizza was steaming hot when it arrived at the table.  Same with the garlic knots they ordered.  Yummo!

Tracy and LuAnn have a membership at a boat club that is on the Cape Harbour Marina.  I think this is the right link as those look the building near there plus the Rum Runners Restaurant is in the area.  So looking at that map above we went down a canal and into the Caloosahatchee River (I think I am telling this correctly!) and then into the Pine Island Sound between Pine Island and Sanibel Island on past Captiva Island and North Captiva Island.  Tracy said Captiva used to be all one island but it was split off by a past hurricane(s).

Some of the pictures that follow I took and some Tracy took on a previous trip in the boat.

Tracy--our captain of a 24 ft Sea Ray that day

LuAnn catching some rays

Bait Shop out on the water near Sanibel Island

Looking toward Captiva Island

There is a big Florida State Park near here called Cayo Costa.   We boated around it a bit but our true destination was Cabbage Key and dining at the restaurant there.  Shrimp Salad plate for me and they both had a black beans and rice dish.   Tracy said that the wait staff stay on the island working like 10 days and then have 4 days off and repeat the cycle.  The restaurant is built on a shell mound so is higher up, above sea level.  They had a good bit of damage in Hurricane Charley in the 90's.  There turtles to feed outside.  In fact, the waitress suggested taking the lettuce we did not eat on our plates out to them but this being the "season" starting up, they had already had enough.  There are cottages for rent.

Then we started back.   We did not see any dolpins on the way over but ran into two schools on the way back.   One was quite close to the boat where you could almost touch it.   We had to slow way down and "no wake" both coming and going as we were in a manatee zone.  Tracy said they call it "the miserable mile" as they want to open it up and can't so the mile drags.   I didn't see any of those either but Tracy spotted one in the canal near the boat club on our return but it quickly went back under so LuAnn and I missed it.

That evening we went over to Ft. Myers for supper and the Pizza Pub Restaurant for pasta.  Apparently this is a popular spot as there were folks lined up outside for the small seating area.  Lot of people were there for carryout pickup as well.  Some people turned in their names and then went and sat in their convertible till it was called--with their drinks from the bar.  It was a nice night though and no one seemed unhappy about the wait.  The drinks may have helped, LOL.

Back to reality and on to the airport.  I had a 9:30 am flight out as I didn't want to be driving back home from Atlanta in the dark.  Let the "kids" have a free, most of the day to themselves before they had to return to work too.  I drove over in the rain and drove back in the rain----sigh.  Including a stop for a quick bite to eat in Villa Rica, GA,  I was home about 1 pm.

I so appreciate my neighbors watching out for Oscar and Skyler so I could go visit Tracy and LuAnn.  I believe that both of them were happy to have me home--lots of doggie kisses and Skyler is being more clingy than usual.  Good to get away and good to be home.

THX for stopping by and reading all this travelogue.

Nov 10, 2015

quilt meeting--edits now in place

Lois called this morning to make sure I brought my camera as she had 8 quilts to turn in.  I later learned that she has 8 MORE at home---and we pinned a couple more today!  I will post those pictures now and tomorrow or the next day update y'all as to where I was last week for a few days.   (Clue:  Florida to see some of my family members!  woohoo.)

I need to look up some quilt names on these so will come back and update this post as I find the pattern source etc.  Meanwhile you can see how pretty this batch of her quilts turned out.

One day I WILL make one of these as I love the pattern.  Great for scraps as you can see and she has done this one several tines but they each end up so differently with a fun backing fabric.  This one happened to be Mr and Mrs. Snowman riding a bicycle built for two with candy cane wheels. Oh, 4 in 9 Patch Zig-Zag from Quilter's World magazine October 2009.

This is one I found this summer and though Lois might like for her 2 1/2 inch strips.  The original pattern was for much narrower ones but we know how to adjust those to suit.  Four Patch Pinwheel from Ellen Pahl's Pinwheel Party-12 Fun and Unique Quilts.

Rolling Fields from Legacy Patterns that uses 2 jelly rolls---Lois went scrappy and I recognize some of MY strips in there!

Traditional Log Cabin---this uses 1 1/2 inch strips.   Very striking!

ED. This is one of the Missouri Star Disappearing Hour Glass 2 (I think).  I think what makes this one look different from the one in the you tube video is that Lois has sashed and cornerstoned her quilt rather than set block to block.  Still a cool quilt either way.

Another Rolling Fields

Lois said this was a Missouri Star Quilt too.  Ed.  You can find this one on their site where Jenny called it "Fence Rail and Nine Patches".

Another Log Cabin but this uses two sizes of strips which makes the blocks curve.  Actually seeing the quilt itself, you do not notice this "curve" effect as much.  The camera seemed to condense it enough and the lights stand out more.  I'm not sure where she found the pattern.  However, I know I saw something that told how to do this in a book I picked up at Jackie C's estate sale called Log Cabin Quilts Unlimited by Patricia Cox and Maggi McCormick Gordon.  They termed it "Thick and Thin"  It IS possible that she used Missouri Star's Curved Log Cabin tutorial.  I didn't watch it to verify that statement though.

We pinned three---Beverly had a cute Mickey Mouse quilt for a new great-grandson.  Then took off to Panera for an early lunch.  Lois had to pick up her computer and I needed to run to Sam's while we were down in Oxford.  Plans were made for a potluck next month.  I'll see Jane in a couple days for something else.

I need to run so I'll finish up the detective work in a bit!  Missouri Star is so prolific so it will take more time than I have at the moment!

Oct 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

This is as spooky as it is going to get around my home!  Really it is just a chance to enjoy the various Halloween themed pieces I have done over the years.

c. October 2013  made for the main entry in the Wicked Blog Hop Hosted by Sew We Quilt.  It is hanging in the master bedroom wall that occasionally is used for a pseudo-design wall.

I love this one so much that I made three of them.  Two of my FAB pals have fall bdays and they each got one and I had to have one for ME too.  Amy Bradley design that was in an old Quilter's World magazine that I clipped.

 This was a Bird Brain Design "Witches Hooray" that is hand embroidered.  Originally designed as a table runner, I decided I wanted it for a wall hanging.  Above my bed at the moment.  While not my original Wicked Blog Hop 2013 entry it did get it done in time to share for the hop.

Happy Halloween  Pattern Source:  Joined at the Hip BU#19   Completed 4-26-13

Nancy Halvorsen's Calendar Quilts & Stitcheries  c. 2010

Okay, now that I've done the nostalgia trail and shown you that I USED to get quite a bit of quilting done.............let's move on!  What has been happening around here?

Tuesday Belles met and I got one more Granny Square block completed for a grand total of 6.  Not touched it since as you may have suspected.  We had planned ahead of time to go to Olive Garden for lunch so we bugged out after Lois, Jane with help from Beverly got three quilts pinned.  Bev was working on hand work but Beverly had gone off without her embroidery hoop so her embroidered pillow cases had to wait.   Bev shared this fun table runner she had been working on.  The Jack o'lantern scare crows needed mouths completed.  Isn't it cute??

I did go to the afternoon quilt bunch but mostly to drop off the Belles' big board for Donna to use to press and king sized pieced quilt top she had completed at the retreat.  Well completed except for the borders, that it.  The whole body of the quilt is pieced neutral toned fabrics, mostly white on whites as I recall.  Once the borders are on she is going to applique on scattered fall leaves.  Her aunt had commissioned her to make the quilt.  I'll go for a bit this coming Tuesday and get another block or two done.  Jane, Aline and I are making plans to attend the guild sew-in one of the three days that they are doing it as well.   That's coming up.

Thursday I spent a big chunk of time in the kitchen again.  Jane had given me a copy of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  that she had picked up on a recent trip there with her husband.  Lots of good recipes in there and I tried the Spicy Apple Cake with Orange Glaze.  It uses apple butter so the "apple pie" type spices are dialed back.  The link is not from the magazine but to an almost exact ingredient list on sugar dish me.  As I was taking some of the fresh baked cake over to the neighbor, Jane was walking into the beauty shop so I sent a plate home with her to try.  I roasted some sweet potatoes at the same time because some of my Pilgrim Turkey Loaf was due to go in the oven next.  (After a couple days of leftovers, I still had enough for three plates for the freezer.)  I finished off the cooking binge with a pan of Quick and Easy Carmelitas that I will taking down to one of the neighbor's this evening as they invited me down to their chili/hotdog cookout once the great-grands are done Trick or Treating.  Hopefully the rain will stay away till afterwards!

Yesterday Jane and I went down to the Monster Quilting Sale.  One of many of area's quilting friends lost her battle to cancer earlier this year and this was her quilter's estate sale.  Her husband and BFF were in charge of it with the help of other friends and family members.  Borrowing an image from Vicky here.  This was not all of it or the table of books and such as they were still getting things organized in this photo.

We ran into three of our quilting friends, two who were back for round two.   This is what came home with me---31 fat quarters, the equivalent of three yards and misc scraps and charms.   All batiks or batik-like.  I'm thinking I might try that Rubix pattern by Stacey Day with some of it.  (Google"rubix quilt pattern stacey day"  as there is a free pdf.  If I link to it, it will just open the file.  The 2nd google link on AQS link is locked for members only.  Use the first one to the pdf.)

 They were charging $4/yd.  Vicky let me have the triangle on a roll which were not opened for 2 bucks each---these were 1 1/2", 2 1/2" and 3 inch finished.   I only have 2 and 4 inch finished on hand--till now.  The other is a product I am not familiar with Sew and Fold on a Roll and I think this one is for Flying Geese and Braid, also unopened.

The books were $5.  These were the ones I chose but I seriously could have done way more damage with books and let's be honest, fabric.  There was one large bin of batik yardage that I spotted after I had checked out.  It would have been nice to have some to try a Hunter's Star but I had set a limit to what I was going to spend.

The Sloppy book Strips and Strings had quilts that looked familar to me BUT I think Jane or Terri might own this one and I had looked through their copy at some point??   I have her 40 Fabulous Quick-Cut Quilts and love it, with several pages flagged for possible choices down the line.  Mom and I got one planned out on one of my trips back to Illinois some years back.  Still love that one!

While it is nice to have something to remember Jackie C. by, I think we all would rather have her back and sewing amongst us than picking through her things, after the fact.  What a dear lady!  Her mother-in-law also quilted so I think she probably had her things augmented from the MI's estate.  It makes me wonder what will happen to my things when I leave this Earth.  If anyone hauls it to the dumpster, I WILL come back and haunt you.

I had not even put away the things I got at the retreat till this morning.  I've got all the fabric put away and the large decorative container cleared out.  I filled it right up again though!   There were enough books, especially with the "new to me additions" of the last two weekends, that were either piled on or under the coffee table to contain them there.  But first, a cleaning out of the old catalogues and cooking mags in the basket on the coffee table----serial cleaning!   Now the reading material/inspiration is nearby for evenings on the couch with the critters.

Other than that, the usual home chores keep me busy---like I have said, I am always washing something around here!  The critters better keep out of my way or they are next, LOL.  If  not that, then errands or walking.  The female dog up the road is in heat and I cannot keep Oscar from wanting to take extra walks lately.  Plus there are a couple other dogs sniffing around too.  Oscar and I have to give them a wide berth.  He is driving me nuts though---put him out and he wants right back in, gets back in and he is whining to go back out upping the lane trips to 5 and 6 times rather than 3 or so.

 I posted some pictures of them on Facebook the other day but here's another view.  Try to get a cat to look at the camera when they are only interested on going up high.

Oscar, meantime, has taken to digging to China again.  I caught him whining and poking his nose through the fence as though he had seen varmits under the shed. He did not even try to disguise that he had been tearing out the grass.  The ground is softer from the three days of rain earlier in the week so he is going to town on making a muddy mess.  The kitchen floor needs mopping badly but it is going to wait till this front has moved through.  

I have thought for three days that I would be getting started on the newsletter but I am still waiting for submissions.  Frankly, I got busy with other things.  Once I come back from walkie #4 I will consider getting started on it since I normally have it out by the first day of the month.  One more after this and I am finally done with this job and the guild gets someone else to do it for a two year term.  Not going to be me is all I know.

And sew it goes, sometimes, LOL------------