Saturday, June 30, 2012

Graduation Gift Follow-Up

I've been so busy lately that I didn't realize it had been over a week since I last posted.! The days fly by so quickly, yet I don't have much to show in the sewing area. We have been setting some high temperature records recently - 104-108 degrees, and that zaps the energy right out of me. Even at night, which is when I do most of my sewing, it is still in the high 80's or low 90's.  I just want to sit in a cool place and read Mockingjay, the 3rd book in the Hunger Games series.

On a follow-up note from earlier in the month, remember the quilt I made for my cousin's daughter Jordan, well, here she is opening the present at her graduation party.

This is what she saw upon opening it.

I think she really liked it.  You just never know with teenagers.  It was fun to make and it makes it all worthwhile when they appreciate it.

I received a nice thank you card within the week after the graduation party.

She is such a sweet girl and will be going to college about 2 hours from home in the Fall.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Design Wall - June 18, 2012

On my design wall today is a UFO that I worked on at a retreat last November, until I ran out of border fabric options.  I didn't have anything in my stash (with enough yardage that worked.   Along came a friend, and she had what would work. I purchased her leftover fabric and now I can get busy and maybe finish it this year.
Check other design walls at Patchwork Times and see what others are working on.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Stash Report - Week 25, 2012

My totals changed some this week, but  not as much as I had hoped.  I gifted some fat quarters to a fellow blogger and made some small 9-patch blocks for a friend, so at least I am moving my stash in the right direction.
Fabric Added this week - 0 yards
Fabric Used this week - 3.25 yds
Fabric Added YTD - 17.25
Fabric Used YTD - 39.213 yds

Go on over to Judy's and see what others have used this week.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tree block and Plum Preserves

Earlier this week, I finished paper piecing a tree block for my block exchange group.  Each of us was assigned a color family (mine was purple--fancy that!) and the block had 15 separate pieces.  She wanted 6 different fabrics for the tree, and 8 different cream backgrounds, plus the trunk.   Here's the finished block before trimming.  I basted the outside of the block and the recipient will trim all the blocks after she receives them. The pattern was called "Jeweled Forest" and it's pictured to the side of the block. It's a wall hanging size.


After finishing my tree block, I wanted to tackle a 5 gallon bucket of freshly picked plums that a friend of my DH gave us.  The real ripe ones were so sweet and delicious, I ate at least a dozen of them before I decided to make some plum preserves with them.  Off I went looking for my canning resource--The "Ball Blue Book of Preserving".  The recipe was simple, sugar, fruit and water.  Can't be too hard, right??  Well, the coarse chopping of the small plums took a bit more time than I thought. I got everything cooking and ready to ladle into the hot jars, then into the boiling water bath; 15 minutes later I took them out of the boiling water to cool and they looked beautiful.  After they cooled, they tasted yummy, BUT they were too soft to stay put on a slice of bread; not thick like jam or preserves should be.  What did I do wrong??

Not one to give up, I tried another batch and this time I let the fruit mixture cook longer on the stove, at least until it seemed like it would all boil away if I didn't stop and start putting it into the jars.  The 2nd batch was thicker, but still not as firm as I think it should be.  I still have enough to try another batch, but I think I need some more advice.  Both batches taste good, but I'm missing something.  The recipe does not call for any Sure Jell or Fruit Pectin, so it should work according to the Ball Book.  Has anyone had this happen to you?  What did you do to correct it?  It does not give any indication as to how long it should boil before you put it in the jars.  That would help immensely.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I Once Had a Green Thumb

Remember when I was commenting about my 'pitiful garden' this year compared to past years because of becoming a long arm quilter -  I'm sure some of you were skeptical, right??   Well, here are few pictures of what the garden looked like when I had more gardening time and no long arm quilting machine!

I tried to grow everything imaginable. Here are 3 types of potatoes, white, Yukon gold and red.

Keep in mind that each of these rows were 60 feet long from side to side and the entire garden was 100 feet long.

That's a lot of covering up with a hoe and digging them out when harvest time came around.

We also had sweet potatoes too.

Onions came next to the potatoes -one row of yellow and one of white

Followed by 21 tomato plants of different varieties.

Those little wooden boxes next to the tomatoes held watermelon and cantaloupe.

We had egg plant, zucchini squash, yellow cooked neck squash and 2 rows of okra.  I had never eaten it, but a friend wanted me to plant it for her.

We had pole beans and green bush beans, pinto beans, Persian Lima beans and  Christmas Lima beans.  It's not that we love beans so much, but I wanted to see what they looked like growing.

Needless to say, I got into learning about more than growing veggies, I HAD to learn about canning these veggies-- big time too!

These were the most prolific cucumbers I've ever seen.  They were called Market More and they had at least 20-30 cukes on them every day!!  They must have been for commercial growers because they were of uniform size and color.  They were delicious and I made Cajun pickles, relish, ate them fresh and gave lots away to neighbors almost every day!

One of the zucchini plants.
This was the harvest almost every other day for weeks.  Except the corn did not do well at all.  The raccoons got to most of it before we did.    Boy, do I miss all that wonderful, fresh produce.

I don't miss all the work so much, but I love playing in the dirt and watching what miracles come from the earth.  It still amazes me how one tiny little seed can bring forth such wonderful, tasty food.  Nothing is as good as fresh veggies from your own garden.  If you haven't tried it, you should.  It's great exercise too!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Stash Report - Week 24

Well, I didn't do a lot of sewing this week, but I did finish the rest of my present for the graduate.  Made the matching pillowcases, put a personal label on the quilt, wrapped it and I'm all ready for the party later today.

Fabric Added - 0 yards
Fabric Used -  2 yards
Fabric Added YTD - 17.25 yards
Fabric Used YTD - 35.963 yards
Net busted for 2012 - 18.713 yards

Here are the 2 pillowcases to go with her quilt .  Since she's in love with anything monogrammed, I think she will like these.

At the last minute, I decided to include her graduation picture as part of the label on the back.

 Jump on over to Judy's blog. and see what others did this week.

Now it's back to finishing my trilogy of The Hunger Games.  I just finished reading book #2 of the Hunger Games series "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins and I really enjoyed it.  This one went so much faster because you know the characters so well after reading the first book, and it draws you in more quickly. This one has a lot of twists and turns that I was not expecting.  Can't wait to start #3.  Has anyone read the books and seen the movie?  How do they compare to each other?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Space Station - On Time

Did anyone see the Space Station last night as it passed over the skies your area?  We went outside at 9:45 pm and according to the news, it was to be visible beginning at 9:46 pm for 6 or 7 mins. taking a path from the South West to the North East.  Well, it was right on time!!  Something the airlines could learn from NASA.  It was a very bright light and it moved quietly and slowly across the sky.  I wish we would have had a strong telescope to see if you could make out any shape or other features on it. It is pretty unbelievable to think how far away it is up there orbiting the earth and we could still see evidence of it with our naked eyes.  Isn't technology amazing??  Here is the official NASA site that lets you chose your state and city to see when the Space Station will be visible in your area for the next several weeks.  You can prepare better for viewing with a scope or binoculars. There are multiple times during June, so check it out and have a Star Gazing Party!

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Finish

Back in the early part of May, I had my first giveaway.  Patti at Osage Bluff Quilter won and she received a gift package.  Here is what she posted on her blog.
"The first part of May, I won a give away from Dar, a fellow Missourian. Her generous package included a charm pack, a big spool of thread, a package of quilting needles, and some fat quarters. I immediately pulled out my charm pack book and found this pattern. It will make a great table cover come fall. I love the colors." 

Thank you Patti for participating in the giveaway and showing your lovely quilt.  I love what you made with the charm pack and am also amazed at how quickly you did it too.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Stash Report - Week 23

My stash numbers would have remained exactly the same as last week, but at the last minute, I decided the graduation quilt needed matching pillowcases, so my totals increased a bit in the Added column.  I'll  be finishing them up this week and adding a little something extra special which will make her very happy.

Fabric Added this week- 2 yards
Fabric Used this week  - 0 yards
Fabric Added YTD -  17.25
Fabric Used YTD - 33.963

Even though I did not use any of my stash this last week, I was busy quilting a bedrunner for a customer.  This was 40 " wide by 96" long and is used to cover the bottom third of a bed on top of a white bedspread.  She asked for simple motifs but wanted feathers on it someplace.  This is what I came up with.  I'm still struggling with free motion feathers, but everyone tells me it takes lots of practice to get better.

Here's the back quilting view.
Jump on over to Judy's to see what everyone else did this week.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Garden Problems

Since I've gotten  my long arm quilting machine, things have changed a lot on the gardening front.  It seems there is less time to spend outside planting and tending a garden (whether it be vegetables or flowers) than before.  I hate that I've let this happen.  I really miss being able to walk to the garden and pick fresh tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, beans, beets, corn, and many other things of past gardens.    So this week, I could stand it no more and I went to Home Depot and bought a few tomato plants and put them in my flower garden.  It was the only place I could find that was close to the house, relatively easy to dig and I can water them easier than in the original garden area which is much farther away from the house.  

I planted a Better Boy, 2 Roma, 1 patio, a yellow Pear tomato and 1 Big Boy.  They are all doing well except something has eaten off half of the Big Boy plant.   We think it may be a groundhog that we've seen roaming on the property.  I bought some zucchini plants too, and will probably put those in a big over-sized planter since there is not much room left in my flower garden.

See the large plant on the right in the back, that's the Big Boy and now it's half that size.  I have since put mesh wire and bird netting around all the tomato plants until they get bigger.  

Here's my lilies blooming on the other side of the tomato plants. Sure hope Mr. Groundhog doesn't take a liking to these, since I've roped off his tomatoes. :)
I may still get some more veggies and try container gardening.   It's just not summer unless there is a fresh crop of veggies to pick and can.  Old habits die hard and this is one that I don't want to give up until I'm too old to do it.