Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wedding Ring Quilt-DONE

I  was down to finishing the wedding ring quilt.  Just a few more things.  First I needed to bind it.

I had cut the binding strips and sewed them all together months ago.  You have to measure all around the border of the quilt and then piece together about 2 feet more than that.  That gives you a bit of room to sew the ends together.  Fold the fabric in half and then iron.


I placed the quilt on a long table and, using a cutting mat and cutting wheel, I cut all the rough bits off and squared up the corners. 


I placed one end of the pieced, folded and ironed binding strip in the middle of one side of the quilt and started stitching along the edge, cut edges together.  Leave about an eight inch tail.  I used the quarter inch foot to make sure I was stitching 1/4 inch from the edge of the quilt.


In order to miter the corners, stop stitching 1/4 inch from any corner.  Remove the quilt and fold the binding up at a 90 degree angle and then back down at 90 degrees, so that there is a fold on the corner. 


Stitch down the edge, once again placing the cut edge of the binding along the cut edge of the quilt.  Continue until you are about 1 foot from the place where you started.


Now it gets complicated and to be honest I had to get out the book and check again.  I am sure there are a hundred YouTube videos to help you.  You open the binding and fold one up 90 degrees and one down 90 degrees.  Do this so the edges are touching and then use you fingernail to crease the folds.


Place the right sides together and sew along the crease.  Open it up to make sure you did it right and then cut off the excess fabric leaving 1/4 inch margins.  It should be just the right length to finish sewing to your quilt.  So do that.


Now comes the hand sewing part.  I ironed the biding, folding it up and over, away from the body of the quilt.  Then you hand sew it to the back of the quilt.  I used a blind hem stitch.  But it is like hemming all of the band members uniforms, so pace yourself.  When you get to the corners, miter the edges using your fingers to fold the edges and have the corners meet.


You are almost done!!! Well, I was almost done.  I lay the quilt on the very clean dining table and started snipping loose threads.  Both sides.  This is discouraging as you then notice any mistakes you ignored earlier in the process.  But this is a hand made quilt and these things happen. 


I used sticky tape rollers all over both sides to get up any stray threads or fibers.  A lot of sticky tape.


Then I ironed it.

Next I called my Aunt Suzy and said I wanted to come for a visit.  We arranged a time and I arranged a dog sitter and off we went.


I sure hope she likes it. 


I think she did!  I don't think she will take this one to the beach and on picnics.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Crostata

We had company for dinner and I wanted to make a quick dessert.  I also wanted to use fruit and so I decided on a crostata.  This is basically a rustic pie.  Instead of making two crusts and using a pie pan, you have one crust, place the filling in the middle, fold over the edges and bake.


Apple Cinnamon Crostata

1 pre made pie crust
4 cups peeled and diced apples, about 5 medium
zest and juice from one small lemon
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon allspice, optional
pinch salt
4 Tablespoons butter, cut up

1 egg
1 Tablespoon Turbinado sugar

Heat the oven to 450°.  Take the pie crust out of the refrigerator and allow it to warm on the counter.


Place some parchment paper on a cookie sheet or a baking stone.


Peel and dice the apples.  I used a 4 cup measuring cup and drizzled some of the lemon juice over the top as I went along to keep the cut apples from browning. Add the zest and place the apples in a bowl.


Add the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, allspice, and salt and mix gently.


Place the crust in the middle of the cookie sheet or baking stone.  Place the apples in the center of the crust leaving a few inches all around.  Fold the edges of the crust over the apple mixture.


Dot the top of the apples with the butter.  Mix the egg in a bowl with 1 Tablespoon of water and brush it all around the top edge of the crust.  Sprinkle with raw or Turbinado sugar.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Serve with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Looking For A Little Warmth

This is a first for us.  We have only seen black snakes and very few of them. 


Perhaps the bush hogging we do has something to do with that.


Lee came and asked if I wanted to see the green snake sunning on our driveway.  I was busy so I gave him my camera and asked him to take a picture.

Snakes keep down rodents and are good to have around.  Especially the non venomous types.  These green snakes, also called grass snakes among other names,  are considered threatened in some parts of the country.  I hope he stays out of the fields that are cut for hay and stays in the trees where he can eat rodents to his heart's content.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I like trying new lettuce wraps.  They are a light meal and can be pretty healthy depending on what you put inside the lettuce.  Make sure the lettuce is nice and crispy.  An old soggy lettuce wrap is less than stellar.  This made enough for us for two meals.  Two wraps each!

Chicken Lettuce Wrap

2 teaspoons oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 lb. ground chicken
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon honey

8 large lettuce leaves   I like iceberg lettuce for these.


Heat the oil and add the chopped onions. 


While they are cooking peel the ginger and slice it into a small dice.  I buy the minced garlic. 


Stir the onions from time to time and when they are translucent add the chicken, garlic and ginger.  Cook the chicken until it is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.  Break the chicken up into smaller chunks as it cooks.


While it is cooking drain and dice the water chestnuts.  Don't leave these out.  They a really nice crunch to the chicken.  Add the green onions, water chestnuts, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce and honey tot he meat and continue cooking for just a few minutes, 


You just want to get everything mixed well and then remove form the heat.


Peel off any soggy layers of the lettuce.  You only want the crisp ones.  Divide the chicken mixture into the lettuce "bowl" and serve.  When it is just the two of us, I place a few leaves of crispy lettuce and the bowl of the chicken mixture on the table.  You can fill your own wrap, roll and enjoy.  I kind of tuck one end in like a burrito, so none of the filling falls out.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Still Quilting

I have had a lot of company, but I am still trying to get some quilting done.  It isn't worth sitting down for 20 or 30 minutes.  You have to have a large block of time, to get any work done.

What with the company, Physical Therapy appointments and regular life, I haven't had a lot of time to quilt.  Today I did. 


It helps to have a book read to me while I work.  Lee won't, so I am enjoying this Sandra Brown audiobook that I got from the library.  If you don't have someone to follow you around the house reading to you while you work, let me know and I'll tell you how to get that for FREE!.  I love the library!


I finished doing the free motion quilting on the borders.  On all of my previous quilts, I added something to designate it as mine.  Or done by me and the year.  Not because I think they will be valuable someday, but to see what I made when. And maybe great grand children will like to see what I did back in the day.  Of course, I first have to have a grandchild, but that is beyond my control.  Maybe great grand nieces!


I wrote a couple of words and the date all mixed in with the free motion quilting.  Have you ever tried to write in cursive while not looking at the paper?  Well, that is basically what I did because the thread blends in with the background.  I did practice first, but my handwriting is terrible at the best of times, so we shall see.


After I finished the borders, I decided to use the invisible thread to tack down the wedding rings and do a bit of quilting at the same time.  I'm not sure I will do all of them, but that is my current plan.

I am really looking forward to binding this sucker!  I mean quilt.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Five Years

I received this email from a German friend my sisters made while travelling in the South Pacific on a freighter.  He kindly contacted me and forwarded some pictures of Rosalind.  She is no longer with us and I miss her so much. 

Her trip to French Polynesia and this trip to Germany were part of her bucket list.  Our other sister, Robin went on the freighter journey, and I'm sure it was worth the broken arm she ended up with on the way.  Well, I HOPE it was worth it!  I went with her to get her scuba certification.  Another bucket list item.  And schlepping around Southern California lugging heavy scuba gear and wearing a wet suit is not my best thing.  But totally worth it.

Damn cancer.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cricut Cards

I've been trying to learn to use my new Cricut.  It looks like it will be fun to use, once I figure out what I am doing. 

It is the first few cards that take forever and frustrate me. 


I need to hire someone to follow me around and tell me how to do the stuff I don't know how to do.  In a nice way. 


Any takers?


Tuesday, April 14, 2015


I've heard that you should let sleeping dogs lie.


But I think they should always tell the truth, even when asleep.


Not sure what he's saying, but our RJ wouldn't lie!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Free Motion Quilting

I have taken a total of ONE class on free motion quilting.  Basically, you drop the feed dogs on the machine, these are the little teeth that pull the fabric through the machine.


This is my original practice fabric.


Then you put a special foot on the sewing machine and while you are pushing on the foot peddle to make the needle go up and down, you place your hands flat on the three layers of fabric and move the fabric in a pattern.  I use special gloves with rubberized fingers that help grip the fabric.


Try this while patting your head and rubbing your stomach!

Here are the most difficult parts.  You have to keep the pattern you are trying to stitch on the quilt in your head.  There is no way to put the pattern on the fabric.  You are using thread that matches the fabric, so that it can't be seen.  Basically, you are drawing with a pencil with no lead.   But the pencil is drawing and you have to move the fabric under the rapidly moving pencil. 

The fabric is heavy, so you have to kind of muscle it around.   This leaves pull marks on the back of the quilt.  I am trying to bunch up the quilt on the sides so that there is some give when I manipulate the fabric, but it is not easy.

The top is looking pretty good.  The back, not so much.

This quilt is a gift for my aunt.   She will have to keep it face up wherever she uses it.  If I get GOOD at this, I may take out the pulled stitches and start over.  Maybe. It is a lot of work.