Jun 5, 2016

Around here-- catching up

Look at what has decided to bloom this year with more blooms about to pop open.  I had cut back the gardenia bush quite a bit 2 years ago as it was impeding airflow a bit into the kitchen.  There was a bird nest in there so I had to wait to finish the job but it has taken time for it to rebound from my unschooled pruning/annihilation. Last year I think there were only two blooms for the entire summer but maybe it likes it hot and dry?

While it has been overcast for the past couple days, we have not really much measurable rain.  Rained on the way to supper last night and while we were walking into the restaurant but it didn't budge my rain gauge.   Rained for about 15 minutes this morning and just enough to dampen the street.   We are currently about 3 inches below the average amount and about 5 inches behind where we were at this time last year.  No wonder the grass crunches underfoot!

This top has been waiting for me since the Tuesday evening group.  Everywhere you see a blank space is where there should be a small pieced floating square.  Donna and I helped Stacy lay out a quilt top so she could begin sewing her blocks.  Marilyn and Donna were teaming up on a top too--Donna cutting, Marilyn sewing.  Margarita and I had our head's together  working out the backing for 3 identical bowtie tops.  She needed to get them larger in order to take them to the longarm quilter by Thursday when JOY Guild was to meet.  I elected not to drag my machine in and marked the diagonals on the stack of white charm squares for "Seas The Day".  Then I laid out my version of Floating Squares using a mix of Benartex Lazy Daisy and Brigitte pinning it to the vinyl table cloth and then hanging it up once I got home.

I've been busy!  Maybe busier than usual or just gone a lot, more like.

Thursday was JOY Guild day with a potluck lunch, sew and tell and a silent auction.  I delivered my two personal tops ( Prairie Sticks and No Bake Jolly Bar) along with Aline and my joint endeavor (previous post) and Charming Boxes from the retreat group and me.  Felt kind of strange to head out the door empty handed except for my "dish to pass".  I was waffling back and forth about what to fix but ended up making a Greek Salad with turkey chunks as one of my ingredients.  I had most of the ingredients on hand anyway.  Actually, I have a couple more turkey tenderloins marinating in Italian dressing that I'll bake in a bit as that worked out well as a replacement for chicken.

This was my Friday focus.
My neighbor Glynda had asked me if I wanted some zucchini the other day.  Yes!  Then I mentioned that if they found themselves over-run with the stuff, I would like to try to make some Zuke and/or Cuke/Carrot Relish this year.  Later she came down with three more.  I figured I would see how far I would get with the ones I had and adjust the recipe.  I called my parents to get some clarification on the recipe.  I HAVE made a batch once umpteen years ago.  Mom has tweaked it since then and gave me the updates.  Alum was added and more spices than the original.  Also some bell pepper, etc.   I  made one trip to the store prior to the phone call consultation and one the next morning for anything I was missing.

When the recipe called for larger stock pot than what I had on hand, I asked Glynda if she had one I could use.  She had two of them, one from her sister-in-law's estate and she said to take it.  Later I had borrow the other one so I could hot water bath without crowding the jars in the pan.  Oh, and I needed to get some more zukes.  After I ground up the ones Glynda had given me, I had to ask for the ones she had mentioned were in the fridge.  As she came back down to the beauty shop, she spotted a couple more.  Miss Kathryn was at the shop between clients and said she had one to spare too so I got that one too.  Still used 4 cukes to total 10 cups of ground zuke-cuke mix. Now that might be the last time I have to ask for zucchini as you know how that stuff is!  The joke about leaving some on your neighbor's doorstep, ringing the doorbell and then running away so you can get rid of the surplus?  LOL.

For being a nervous novice on this canning stuff, they all sealed.  I had to make another call to my parents to figure out just where to measure for headspace--from the top rim down?--but I got the job done.  I've delivered a jar to Glynda and Miss Kathryn.  When their brother (or son depending on who you are referring to) Paul saw the post I had made on Facebook, he chimed in and said he wanted a jar.  I told him he could have some but I had heard him say a couple nights before that he didn't particularly care for carrots except in pot roast.  Just teasing me, he said "I love carrots!"  He has some now too.  I may deliver some to two other neighbors on the block as well.

I mentioned in the last post that I had signed up for a basket weaving class being given at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County.   This cute little salt and pepper basket was what we made.   The kit came with blue for the accent color but I have greens and yellow in my kitchen.   It was fun!  I love that wire handle even though I didn't get the wire bent back as tightly as I would have liked.  The kit of supplies had a set of needle nose pliers in it but not heavy enough for the job.  By then I had sort of stripped the black off the wire.  It is what it is!

The class was from 9 a.m. till we finished.  By the time I ran an errand on the way home it was almost 3:30 before I got home.  I stopped in at Miss Kathryn's to deliver her jar of relish as I was walking Oscar.  She said Paul and Carolyn would be by soon and said to ask me to go along for dinner with them if I wanted to.   They had served a light lunch at the class but I would probably be hungry enough to eat by the time we got our order.  He swung by to pick us up and the rain started coming down on the way. 

Paul decided on Zoe's On the Lake, not far from us, hearing no objections from us ladies.  I had eaten lunch at the restaurant before but they had not been there.  It turned out there was a class reunion going on there in about an hour and they were planning to send non-reunion folks to the upper dining room.   They set us up in a side room when I told the hostess we had one with some walking difficulties in our party.  (I was the first one in the door.)   We had finished eating by the time most of the reunion crowd was arriving but it still made getting out the door a little problematic.  Everyone was grouped all around the exit in the large room, hugging, talking, greeting each other.  We each saw someone we knew in the Jacksonville High School Class of 61.  (Me, a member of the quilt group.  Carolyn, a male first cousin and Paul and Miss Kathryn, their brother-in-law/son-in-law's aunt.)   More, hugging, talking and greeting.

My critters have barely seen me, LOL.  Still, it is good to get out a bit. 

What's on my mind creatively?   Couple of things.  Always!  I was reminded by a long ago seen quilt called
"Contrary Wife-Ornery Husband".    My perpetual quilting calendar kicked it off.  This crossing type block is called "Contrary Wife"  I kinda like the name, LOL.

Mary Hickey in a book published by Leisure Arts in 1997 entitled "Big Book of Small Quilts" apparently combined the Contrary Wife with a Shoo Fly/Snowball variation block (both are in the nine patch family 3 x 3 grid) to come up with a quilt called "Contrary Wife-Ornery Husband"  I really like THAT name!

Maybe you can see how these two blocks are similar but the coloration switched up a bit---and I eliminated a few extra lines when I drew it up in EQ,   If that link above won't open for you I know I spotted the quilt in a google image search.  Cool how it sort of makes like ribbons across the quilt top they way the blocks are rotated.

Then another quilt block that Lucy mentioned to me the other day in an email.  Circle of Squares from toefeather blogspot that makes a cool 12 inch finished block using 2 1/2 inch cut squares.  You can eliminate a line from this too.  I refuse to sew two squares of the same print together in a 4 patch when I can cut a rectangle instead!   She sent THIS link to a finished small baby quilt.   Cute, huh?

I got to thinking that you could probably use charm squares or cut squares from your stash.  You could cut the charms a bit smaller if you wanted and ditch the pinked edges.  Anyway, I drew it up in EQ7 a bit ago.

It would use one charm pack provided your background choice provided enough contrast.  I think as long as you work in a number easily divisible by three on that one you could cut the charms any size you want and re-size the block accordingly.  For example 21 inch blocks with 4 inch sashing, trimming the charms down to 4 inches and using the remainder of the charms  for the cornerstones would get you a 55 inch square quilt  2 blocks x 2 blocks. This  was calculated at 32 charms for the blocks, 9 for cornerstones.   I think it said around 3 yards of background fabric?  1/2 yard for binding.  I might just do this!   Mind you, there is nothing wrong with the original version but just another way to use a charm pack and their mix of fabrics in a different way.  The blogger on toefeather got their inspiration from a Circle of Wonky Star Tutorial, just simplified it a bit more when she made hers.    Just a thought!  I have lots of those, LOL.

Guess that's about it!  I need to run down to the gas station while I still have 10 cents off/gallon and I want to sew a bit.  Hope you are having a good day in whatever you chose to do.  THX for stopping by----


  1. The circle of squares is a fun design. I agree with you on unnecessary cutting. It is easier to cut one rectangle than two squares. (and you save a little bit of fabric too. )

  2. Gardenias. Wow. So beautiful. I love love my flower garden and spend a lot of time nurturing it along. But sadly, gardenias don't grow in my zone.

    That's very cool that you can take your design wall to your meetings and lay out your blocks---then bring it home and hang it back up. So clever!

    I don't do much canning any more. But when I used to do a lot, I would set up the Coleman camping stove on the deck and do my water bath there. Then my kitchen didn't heat up. I was also worried that my flat-bottomed stovetop in the kitchen wouldn't do a good job with my large canner.

    That basket is so cute. I can't even imagine making something like that. I admire you for learning new skills and trying new things. :-)

    I made a contrary wife quilt for a granddaughter and used different bits of pink scrappiness. It was fun to make. One of the reasons that I like contrary wife is because it is a really easy block. I didn't sash the quilt, and so the actual block kind of got lost amongst all the secondary patterns that emerged in the quilt. I like your idea of pairing it with a shoo fly.

  3. I do like the circle of squares. The circle of stars is cute, too...Not sure I am crazy about "wonky" with that one. I think it would be easier to do straighter stars. Thanks for the inspiration.


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