Thursday, October 10, 2019

More on Rosalind's quilt

Rosalind started this cathedral window quilt and I am going to finish it.  It won't be exactly as she planned but I wanted to highlight her work, not mine.


I found one square that Roz had written on with pencil.  She wore her name and birthdate on  corner.


Her husband was Arnold Yasui. She had written his name and birthdate on the opposite corner.


I used an off white thread to backstitch those details. This square will be the center of my quilt.


My sister's nickname was Pinky. and the colorful fabrics she chose had various shades of pink.  I chose a pink fabric with tones from the "window" pieces.  This became the sashing between the squares.

I thought too much pink would take away from the squares, so I picked a green fabric that worked with the green of the "windows".


I need to add a back piece, some batting and start quilting.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Smoothing Out The Divots.

The back part of our property was not kept mowed.  It was just bush hogged a few times a year.  I wanted it mowed regularly so we bought a zero turn mower and we've been trying to dig out all the roots and rocks.  This has left divots and bumps which slows down the speed you can mow. We don't want to tear up our new mower!


The new shop had some excavation done to accommodate the footings and slab.  We have a large pile  of dirt...and rocks and roots.  Lee has been using the tractor to take buckets of dirt around the yard and filling in the depressions.


I expect the grass will take some time to fill in.  At least we'll be able to speed up the mowing.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A New Garage

When we moved to our new house it was missing one thing.   A shop/garage for Lee to store and work on his cars and trucks.  Fortunately we have plenty of room to add a building for this purpose.  We are now in the process in correcting that.


There was an old abandoned well too close to the new location, so we had to cap it.


This involves filling the hole and capping it.  


We also had some glue lam beams delivered.   The are beams made of layers of wood laminated together to make a super strong beam. These are stronger, yet smaller than a solid beam of wood.


Next they brought us some trusses.  These will hold up the roof.


We had to remove a tree, which wasn't my favorite part.  We now have the permit and the construction will start soon.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Rosalind's Quilt

My sister Rosalind started a quilt. It is a cathedral window pattern and is all hand stitched.  It is made with triangles of a light fabric.  You fold the edges of the triangles over a square of a patterned fabric, to sew it to the fabric in a diamond shape.  Like this.


Roz hand stitched everything.  I don't know if she even owned a sewing machine.

Then she passed away and the pieces were forgotten in a storage space.  Her husband remarried and then he got cancer and passed away.  His widow contacted me and as she went through the storage unit and has Kindly sent me several boxes of Rosalind's keepsakes.  The quilt squares were in one of the boxes.

I decided the quilt needed to be finished.


The finished squares had a lot of issues in terms of evenness.  I tried to fix them with ironing.  This was minimally effective.


There were over 100 squares.  The original pattern called for all the finished squares to be sewn together and then continue adding in the colorful squares. There was enough fabric to do so and I thought about finishing it that way.  ButI didn't want to hand stitch a quilt that was going to end up King size.   If I machine sewed it, there would be an obvious difference between the triangles.  Also, it would be more my quilt, at the end, then the quilt Roz started.


I decided to keep the squares as she made them and assemble it as I would any other quilt.

I also chose to take the advice of the folks at my local fabric store, WebFabrics.  They suggested  breaking the quilt up into two smaller quilts.  It would be much easier to do the quilting on my regular sewing machine.  It meant that I could make the second quilt for my niece.  She and Roz had started the quilts together and she was a thrilled when I asked if she wanted a finished piece.

I chose some pink fabric to be the sashing between the squares and to try to even them up. My sister's nickname was Pinky, so this was an homage to that.  I'll get to that next.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Please, Not Yet


I recently found a broken egg in a nest box.  The shell was so thin that just the weight of the hen was enough to break the eggs.  This is not normal.  This can indicate there is not enough calcium in the diet. But I give them a high quality feed with plenty of calcium.  I also crunch up and return the eggshells to the chickens with their food.

But a weak shell can also be indicative of an older hen.  I think that is the case here.  I just lost one hen and another may be on her way out.

This is my least favorite part of owning animals

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Poor Little Girl

When we bought this house it came with 12 chickens. By the time we moved in there were 10.  Chickens only live 4 to 5 years and the former owners explained some of them were nearing the end of their life span.

The last few days I have been finding one of the hens lying on her side and not even attempting to get up.  Each time I have set her on her feet and left her with food.  Tonight she was stuck on her side.  and is looking worse.  I gave her some water which she drank, propped her up and left her with food.


This time she was so light that I truly don't believe she will still be here in the morning.  It's sad, but it's life.

Lee, on the other hand, will be happy to see the end of the chickens.  They are just one more thing we have to arrange to have fed and cared for when we travel.

I haven't had them long enough to name them or to have them like me.  They no longer run from me, but we aren't buds.  We will still have 9, which is quite a few chickens, but it is sad.

Update: The Little Red Hen passed away overnight.

And then there were nine.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Finishing The New Craft Room


After the polyurethane dried on our finished counter tops, we attached them from underneath with screws.  The cabinets have little plastic doohickeys in the corners for this.


You'll notice a lower section. This is where I will use the sewing machine.  A taller counter is too hard on my back.  It is at 29 inches and works well for me.  Lee screwed 2X2 pine to the wall at the right height to support the counter top.


I used caulk where the top met the wall to hide the places where the wall wasn't perfectly straight.  The cut, on the other hand WAS perfect, she said modestly.

Then I could start clean up and putting away my crafting supplies.


Lee found some great shelves and brackets.  He installed them over the sewing table so I can reach for supplies from a sitting position.


I ordered some colorful drawer pulls to give a bit of whimsy.


The things you can find on Amazon!



I am ready for my next sewing project.  I have a quilt my sister started.  I may finish that.  Or make a new basket.  So many possibilities!

Behind the work station I set up the table with my Cricut.  It is now ready for card making.


What will I do???

Monday, August 5, 2019

A Borrowing Of Bones


I just finished A Borrowing Of Bones by Paula Munier.  It was a really good mystery and I highly recommend it.

On her last deployment, Mercy Carr was shot, her fiancĂ© was killed and his bomb sniffing Malinois developed PTSD.  Yes, dogs can get that, too.  Mercy was able to retire with the dog, Elvis, and moved home to Vermont to heal.

But a mystery isn't mysterious without a puzzle to solve. While hiking in the woods, Elvis alerts on a pile of debris and finds a baby.  She gets the baby to the hospital but she soon disappears.

Mercy and Elvis find themselves trying to find the missing baby and her mother.  She meets Troy,  a U.S. Game Warden with a Newfoundland trained in Search and Rescue.  They join forces to solve the multiple, yet connected, issues that arise as Mercy uses her investigative training from the military.  This causes trouble for Troy as Mercy is a civilian and needs to stay out of the investigation.

This book is the first in a new series and I'm excited to see the next one.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

A New Craft Room

I do a lot of crafting.  Mostly I like to do fiber arts and paper crafting. But I am also fond of stained glass.

So one of the first projects we need to work on in our new home is making a craft room.  The room I chose was used as an exercise room by the previous owners.  Once their equipment was removed, it was an empty room with strange carpet. The carpet will have to wait, so we made a plan using cabinets on sale at Lowe's and got started.


The cabinets were easy to get.  We've installed a lot of them over the years, so that was pretty easy, too.


The counter tops have been an issue. Our last craft room was configured so that the finished edges of the counter tops were  the exposed edges.  The cut edges were against the wall and any minor imperfections in the cut were hidden against a wall.


Most of our tools are still buried in a storage unit and we can't build work benches until our new garage is finished. And we haven't even gotten the permit yet. Our choices are limited.  Cutting Formica counter tops with a built in backsplash and limited tools was not something I wanted to try.


In the end, we went with 3/4 inch plywood with a maple veneer.  Because this room is in the basement and doesn't have a window, I wanted a very light countertop. I chose to use some white wood stain to allow the grain to show through while keeping a light color.


I used the stain on the trim pieces.  Before I finished the tops, I used a bit of spackle to fill the slight gaps.  It might not be noticed by a casual observer, but I will be up close and I wanted a more finished look.  You can see the difference between the top and the bottom.

It took two coats of a polyurethane to protect the top and make it smooth for dealing with fabric.

Once that is dry, we will screw the tops down and start organizing.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake

My son's father-in-law posted this BruCrew recipe on Facebook. He is a great gardener and shares his fresh vegetables.  The recipe calls for three cups of shredded zucchini. That sounds healthy!  It also calls for three eggs. We now have chickens, so that is easy and healthy.  I decided to make this healthy recipe.


Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake

(OK!  It may not be the healthiest recipe, but it could be the nicest way to get zucchini in your belly!)

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk*
3 medium zucchini, enough for 3 cups shredded
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350°.  Use a square of wax paper to spread the butter all over the inside of the bundt pan.  Don't forget to butter the flutes of the center carefully.  Place 2 Tablespoons of flour in the pan and swirl and pat until the whole thing is coated.  Dump out the loose flour.


Set the pan aside.

Beat the butter until light snd creamy.  Add the sugars and beat more until creamy again.  A stand mixer works great for this. I use a Kitchen Aid.


Add the eggs and vanilla to the mixer and mix well.


Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a medium bowl.  I used a microplane to grate the nutmeg.

* I couldn't find the buttermilk at our new store.  I didn't have any lemons or I could have put  1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice in some milk and waited about 5 minutes to make a good buttermilk substitute.  So I mixed 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup half and half and called it buttermilk.

Add half the. buttermilk and half the flour mix to the butter mixture and mix until moistened.


Then add the last of the flour and the buttermilk and mix until everything is incorporated.


I used a Cuisinart food processor with a grating disc to grate the zucchini.  It didn't come out as fine as I wanted, so I dumped them on a cutting board and chopped them finer.


Stir in the zucchini and mini chocolate chips.


Carefully place the batter into the Bundt pan.  Spread it evenly.


Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.


Flip the cake out onto a cooling rack until completely cool.    Place waxed paper under the cooling rack.


Prepare the glaze. It's super easy.  Place the heavy cream and the chocolate chips in a heat proof container, reserving the mini chips.  I used a Pyrex 2 cup measuring cup.  Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir until the chips are melted and smooth.


Let the glaze cool for 5-10 minutes.  Carefully spoon or poor the glaze all over the top of the cake, allowing it to drizzle down inside the hole and outside of the cake.  Sprinkle the mini chips over the cake.


There will be puddles on the waxed paper under the cake.  You shouldn't use your finger to scoop up the chocolate and eat it.

Once set, store in an airtight container.


The zucchini adds a lot of moistness to this Bundt cake.

The chocolate adds the fun!!


For even more fun, serve with vanilla ice cream.