Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I pray that 2012 will be a good one for us all.

As we leave 2011, I reflect on things that happened and realize we had a pretty quiet year.  God is so good to us.  Our grand babies are healthy.  My husbands parents are still with us ( they have health problems but doing ok).  I am getting some relief from the meds I am taking for my RA.
  The best event was the birth of our new grandson on 11/11/11.

I do not usually write down my resolutions for the new year but here goes

- I will try to keep better track of receipts when I shop
- I will try to limit the amount of times I shop for fabric

this next one will be the hardest one to do.....

-I will add a new post to my blog at least once a week!

What is your New Years resolution?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Anniversary Roses!

‎40 beautiful roses, one for each year we have been married. 2 blue carnations , one for each of our precious sons! 

Francis gives me one rose for each year. He adds one each year! He started this tradition on our first anniversary and the arrangement 

gets bigger each year. Such a wonderful, thoughtful man. It is so great to be married to my best friend!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

thread and bobbins and knots oh my!

Ever wonder how to keep full and partially filled bobins from unwinding in a container?  I think I have finally found a solution.  I went to Sally's( a place where they sell beauty shop supplies) and I was looking for a good file for my nails.  I noticed they sold these little thingies that they use when doing a pedicure. I immediately thought of the bobbin mess I had.  I bought a couple to see if I could put filled and partially filled bobbins in them.  These things work great.
Here are before and after photos of my bin for bobbins.

before . . . . .

after . . . .

this is so much better!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sourdough bread!

I decided to try making a starter for sourdough bread.   I found a recipe and tweaked it a little.   Here it is:

Sourdough Bread

I make the starter in a quart jar (canning jar) .  Cover with wax paper and put on the ring.  Use a tooth pick and poke a few holes in the wax paper.

In a quart jar:  Mix 1 cup warm water, ½ cup sugar, 1 package (about 2 ¼ tsp) of dry yeast, and 3 level tablespoons of instant potato flakes. Stir with a wooden spoon. Cover it and put on the counter and let it ferment for 2 days.  Then feed with starter feeder.  Let it sit on counter over night and then refrigerate for 3- 5 days.

[ Starter feeder:  1 cup warm water, ½ cup sugar and 3 level tablespoons instant potato flakes.]

Every 4-5 days feed or make bread :

            6 cups bread flour
            1 tablespoon salt
            ½ cup sugar
            ½ cup vegetable oil
            1 cup starter
1 ¼ cup warm water (I usually add a little more water to make the dough  softer –
                                            2 tablespoons)
Combine all ingredients.
Knead on floured surface 5-10 minutes and place in a greased bowl.  ( I put it in my oven with the oven light on)  [ I use my mixer that has a dough hook.  I knead it in there for only a couple of minutes until it all pulls away from the side of the bowl. Then I roll it a in a little flour on the counter before I put it to rise in the greased bowl.] Cover with a wet dishtowel and place in a warm spot for 12 hours.
Punch down and knead on floured surface and form into 3 loaves. Place in greased pans and put them in a warm spot and let them rise for about 6-8 hours.  They will not rise a lot but when you bake them they rise a little more.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

After you remove a cup to make your bread, you must feed the remaining starter and let it sit on the counter 12 hours then put it in the refrigerator.   Start process over.

Discard one cup of starter and feed the remaining starter then let it sit on the
counter 12 hours and refrigerate 3-5 days.  If you don’t make bread, this is a good time to give a cup of starter to a friend,  she then feeds her cup of starter , put it on her counter for 12 hours then refridgerate. In 3-5 days she can make bread  etc.

To have bread for around lunch time, I start the bread making process around 5 pm the previous day so it can do the 12 hour rising and then the 6-8 hour rising. 
We keep the bread in the fridge because it will mold quickly.  We slice and toast it and it taste like you just took it out of the oven.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sad looking feather stitching! I need some advice!

I have decided that it is time I learn to do feathers on my many of you talented quilters out there can do it so I figure I can maybe try to do it.
First I did some "Muscle Memory practice".
I also practice on a chalk board APP on my Ipad2.  It gets easier to draw each time.

Then I  sat at my sewing machine and tried to sew feathers...Ha Ha.....they were terrible but I did 5 tries.  I dated the sample and hope to be able to look back once I can do this and see my progress.....I have to be able to do this.  I am determined to get better at it.

in try #1  I drew the feather on with a pencil and tried to follow it....not so good!
the others were done free hand.  

I can not believe I am posting this but I need to know if anyone had a difficult time learning how to do this.  I have watched numerous Youtube videos and it does not look that hard to do ....then I tried it...NOT EASY at all...any suggestions out there on how I can improve?  and yes I know the three Ps  practice, practice, practice!!!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

to border or not to border.....that is the question

Please help me decide if and how I should do a border on this wall hanging.  It measures a little over 45 inches square.
Here are some of the ideas I came up with:

no border...just leave the yellow strip

a five inch border that matches the center of each plate:

a five inch border with some dresden blades on each corner?

Please submit your ideas.  I really do not know how I should finish this one!


Friday, November 11, 2011

My first try at Dresden plate pattern

I had this stack of 5" yellow squares in my fabric stash and decided to try a new pattern.  I have always wanted to do a Dresden plate but thought it was too difficult to do!

Here are the stages of my project:

I selected 20 different squares then used a Dresden Plate ruler and cut out the blades.  You can get 2 blades from each square so with 20 different ones, you can get 2 plates!

I sewed the ends of each one and pressed each one to make the points on the blades.

I placed them on my 15 inch ruler in an order I liked then sewed them together, made a center and sewed it onto the plate.

I plan to make 9 plates and make a wall hanging for my kitchen.  These colors will match perfectly

When I finish it, I will post a picture!

It is NOT a difficult pattern to do at all.  It helps to have a Dresden ruler to cut the blades out.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

a new grandson!

Our son and his wife had  a baby boy at one minute after midnight.,.baby's birthday, 11/11/11...
He weighed 8 pounds, 4 oz, lots of black hair, looks like his big brother, Alden.  mom and baby are ok!

I will post pictures when we get some!  We are so thankful that mom and baby are doing well.  ....(20 hours of labor)  my DIL is a sweetheart.  she did it!

I just got this pic of the new baby.  Ephriam Joseph!  Grandbaby number 3..all boys!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hearts from around the World

I put together the heart blocks from my online quilting bees......I participated in two bees and asked for the same block from both of them.  I got all these blocks.  I used all but 1 small block and I will put it on the back.  This has been a great experience.

I received blocks from:   Australia, Colorado, Texas, Canada, New South Whales, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Washington, Missouri, Louisiana, Georgia, Utah, New Zealand and France.  I think I listed all of the places.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bertha is here at last!

I retired in 2003.  I have been sewing on an old desk that was really too high for my shoulders.  I think that is part of my shoulder problem.  I refused to pay so much for a sewing cabinet back then. I finally found one I really liked and I bit the bullet and bought it.  It took my DH all morning to put it together.  I helped a little!
Bertha is exactly what I have been wanting all these years!

Here is what it looked like in my living room today.

And here is 'Bertha'  Isn't she lovely?   I am so excited to finally have the right cabinet for my machine!

Monday, October 31, 2011

New Sewing cabinet!

I just ordered this sewing cabinet. It is scheduled to be delivered on Friday of this week.  I am so happy to finally get a real sewing table instead of just a desk with my machine on it!

It is a Arrow Bertha.

Lego quilt

I pulled out all the little 1 1/2 inch strips I have been collecting for a few months..  I sewed them end to end and had a strip about 95 yards long.  I then sewed the strip together side by side a couple of times. I had a big strip about 8 inches wide. I cut them into 7 1/2 inch squares.  I ended up with 43 blocks. I started putting them on my planning board. It is as high as I can reach but I plan to add 2 more rows. I  measured it and looks like it will be about 50" x 43" when I sew them all together.  I had planned to make a full size quilt but I think I like it as a throw instead.  Not sure of a border yet.  I will have to see what it looks like all sewn together.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It started as a Rail Fence pattern ! ! !

I was going to make a rail fence lap quilt using earth tones and white jelly roll strips that I have had in my fabric stash for quite a while.

  I made the strips using 2 dark and a white strip. It looked so boring.  I just could not make it as a rail fence so I cut them into squares and put them right side together making sure the lines were perpendicular.  I sewed all around the square and cut it into 4 triangles and pressed them open.    This is what I ended up with.

It made an unusual block.  I sewed them all together and ended up with this! 

I used the extra strips to make the border.  I think it looks pretty good.
It is about 45" x 43".  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The apple did not fall far from the tree...

I found this picture of the boys and my friends daughter.  They must have been about 10, 9 , and 8 years old. They are 36, 35 and 34 now.   The second picture is one of my grand son taken a few months ago.  Can you pick out his dad in the first picture!  it is amazing how much alike my grandsons are like their dads!

I loved the years we were raising our sons. We have lots of great fun memories.  We are now making memories with their children.  Life is good.  Thank you God for all of our blessings!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trying something new

I looked at a couple of youtube quilting videos and found a couple that demo "tube" patterns....they are so different.
I tried this neat, you can move the little blocks in many different  patterns.
this is just on my planning wall for now.  I need to make some more little blocks to add to it.

looks like weaving to me!

i enjoy trying new methods of making blocks
I am thinking of using just one color with the white fabric and see if it looks more like a weave.   this is fun! If you try it let me know how you did!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Finished a new quilt top today!

I tried a different technique and came out with this quilt top.  I think I like it.
I plan to quilt it next week.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Around the World my first try!

I have been looking at this pattern online for a while now.  Just could not figure out how to make it.  It looked impossible to get all those colors in the right places.  My aunt tried to explain it to me once but it did not make strips, make a tube, cut into circles...????  duh!  ..I finally decided to look it up on line and found a few tutorials for it.  This is what I have done on it so far.  I still have to sew all the strips together.   I had this jelly roll of brights and did not know what to do with them. I think I like how it looks.
 I plan to put a 2 1/2 inch white border all around to  make the white into a complete trip...  I am not sure about the other borders that it will need.
I am going to try making one with wider strips.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Can a 3 year old read? Yes he can...just watch!

I read this B book to Alden, my grandson, a couple of times then he said he wanted to read it to me.
He is so sweet and cute.
Check out this video we did tonight.
He was 3 in May of this year.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Birthday Lunch with the children

On Tuesday my DH will celebrate 60 years of life.  The boys with their wives and babies met us at a Chinese restaurant for lunch today to celebrate together!!!!
I asked the waitress to take a quick photo...
Our younger son and his wife are in front of me and DH is sitting behind me, our older son and his wife are on the right and the babies are on the right too.
It was a wonderful lunch and I wanted to share this photo with my blog friends.
We are so blessed with this beautiful family!  God is good all the time!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Banner for my Dominican prayer group

I have been working on this project for a couple of weeks.
Finally finished today!  Now all I have to do is figure out how to carry it like a shield.

I will bring it to our meeting next week.  I hope the group likes it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Does your iron ever sting you?

When I make quilt blocks I keep the iron on a pad next to me so I can press as I go.
Yesterday, for some reason I missed the fabric and touched my left hand.  Just for a split second.   This what it looked like...ouch!

Today it there is a nice blister about 1/4 inch thick. I do not want to pop it because it heals quicker if you don't pot blisters.
I was shocked at how fast it burned me.  
So, be careful when you sew and have an iron nearby!

boo hoo......this too shall pass!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How to make an okra gumbo!

How I make okra gumbo...

Clean and slice 2 quarts of okra.  Cook in 300 degree oven (in a covered roasting pot) for about 2 hours. Add 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil and stir.  Check okra about every 15 – 20 minutes and stir well. 
It will reduce to about half of the volume you started with.
(I usually do about 6 – 8 quarts at a time and freeze it in quart bags)

Transfer smothered okra to a large pot on the stove.  Continue to cook with a medium heat allowing it to stick to the bottom of the pot.  Deglaze with water each time.  This will give your gumbo the brown color you want.  It will take about an hour. I use a wooden spatula so I can scrape the bottom of the pot.

Add frozen seasoning pack (diced onions, bell peppers and celery) .  I use 8 oz of this seasoning.  Cook with okra for about 25 minutes until tender.  It will continue to stick and you have to deglaze it several times.

If the okra is still slimy you can add a few teaspoons of white vinegar.  This will help cut the slime.  You might have to do this a couple of times.  The vinegar will steam out of the mix and will not affect the taste of the gumbo.

Once the okra is not slimy anymore, add ½ teaspoon of salt and a little black pepper. 
(adding roux is optional but I usually use it to help thicken the gumbo.)  In a cup of boiling water dissolve 2 tablespoons of dry roux.  Add this dissolved roux and 1-2 quarts of water to the okra.  If you are making chicken gumbo, you can use some chicken stock in  place of some of the water.  Allow this to boil at a low to medium heat for about 45 minutes.  Continue to stir about every 15-20 minutes.

At this point you can add the meat you want to use. 

I used seafood in this gumbo that I made today.

Chicken or seafood?

Chicken – I use  a rotisserie chicken that I have deboned and removed the skin. 
If you prefer to use fresh chicken, boil your chicken, keep the stock and debone the chicken before putting it in the gumbo.
If you use chicken, simmer the gumbo for about 30 - 45 minutes on a low heat.
I usually add 1/2 pound of smoked sausage that I have sliced and browned to the chicken gumbo.  Sausage adds a great flavor.

Seafood  - I use a pound of peeled and devained shrimp with a pound of lump crab meat.
If you have shrimp that you have to peel, keep the heads and shells and boil them to make some stock.  If you are making seafood gumbo, you can add a few drops ( no more than 1/8 teaspoon) of liquid crab boil if you do not have shrimp stock.  If you use shrimp and crab meat, simmer for about 20 minutes.  If you boil it too long, the shrimp and crab meat tend to disappear into the liquid.  I sometimes just use shrimp but crab adds a nice flavor.  
Serve over rice.  We like to have potato salad with our gumbo along with some french bread!

Try it, it is not difficult at all.  It just takes some time!
Gumbo also freezes well.  Use within 1-2 months.