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Archive for June, 2009

ARMY OF WOMEN – FYI

Just a quick post tonight – if you are not familiar with the ambitious project called Army of  Women, please take a few minutes to visit their website and blog (link is to my right sidebar). Dr. Susan Love is heading up the nationwide effort to recruit 1 million women to join her Breast Cancer Research project. The immediate goal right now is to have 300,000 by the 4th of July. This is entirely free and you can choose to make the committment or not. It is for Breast Cancer Survivors and those who have never been diagnosed with it…it is for ALL women. We are in this together, so please consider “joining the ranks!”

Take care…

Pat

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June in Northern Wisconsin has turned out to be “quite” warm…it even made it to 90+ this past week. For us, that is pretty unbearable. I know you all in the South and Southwest are saying – “what a bunch of whimps!” But for some of us up here, mid to upper 60″s is just about right. So, what does a whimpy gardener/quilter do when it gets over 83? Close up the house, on goes the A/C and head to the sewing room…bet you are thinking well, it is about time this woman posted a journal entry featuring actually making a quilt. It has been awhile.This is the baby quilt top which I just completed last night. It is a simple 9-patch pattern with a top border of hand appliqued birds, a nest and a few leaves. The little raspberry flange type edging will be narrowed down to about 1/8″ or so by the time everything is trimmed and the binding goes on. Just a little speck of color at the edge…The blue Moda Marble background has a romantic history to it. It is what remains from the yardage used for my niece’s wedding a few years ago. When she married Harry, they decided to have the ceremony outdoors (along the New England coast) and in recognition of Harry’s Jewish faith, they took their vows beneath a Chuppa. Taylor asked me to make this for them and as it was a September wedding, she wanted fall colors. I appliqued various shaped fall leaves along a trailing vine and this design went all around the 4 borders. The Chuppa was held up by wooden supports (made by her brother, Andrew) and when they looked up at the underside of the Chuppa, the blue Moda fabric was the lining, representing the blue sky. I put the leftover fabric away with a note to use it for their first born…who will arrive in a couple of weeks! (Colors are softer than photo shows)

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Back in May, I posted a photo of a neat little skein of cotton yarn that I bought in Illinois – it included 2 tiny buttons. I have not knitted in quite a while, but kept at it and now have that completed to send along with the baby quilt. Hope it fits for wearing in the cooler months this coming fall. It was an interesting yarn to knit with – very “slubby” and gives a “rustic” look to the garment.

babyquilt 008 I had an earlier post about our quilting guild setting up a challenge of sorts – “Wall of Fame, Wall of Shame” – a number of months ago, any project that I committed to seemed so doable by our September, 2009 Quilt Show. What was I thinking????? The completed quilt is due by September 8th. You had to have your picture taken with the pattern of choice & the fabric. Which wall will I go on – completed or not? This is how far I am…wanna take bets??

babyquilt 011Friday, some dear friends joined me for lunch and some stitching time. They requested that I share a couple of recipes. The first one is new to me and is featured in the latest issue of Tea Time magazine – a really fun publication.

babyquilt 005SAVORY TOMATO-BASIL SCONES

2 cups self-rising flour (or 2 cups A/P flour with 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder & 1/4 tsp. salt)

1/4 tsp. salt (omit if using the A/P flour mix)

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/3 cup finely chopped dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)

5 tblsp. cold butter, cut into cubes

1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup plus 3 tblsp. heavy cream, divided

16 thin slices grape tomato

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt & garlic powder; stir in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it becomes crumbly. Stir in the pecorino and basil.

Add 1 cup cream, and stir until dough is just combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, gently knead a few times, and pat dough into a 1/2″ thick round. Cut the round into 16 wedges, and place wedges on the prepared baking sheet. Top each wedge with a tomato slice and brush tops of scones with remaining 3 tblsp. cream. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until golden brown***

(***I ended up baking the scones a little longer – ovens vary so much)

The 2nd one is a favorite of mine which I make every summer as soon as the lemon balm and lemon thyme plants need a trimming. It is from the book “Herbs” by Emilie Tolley and Chris Mead…..don’t know if it is still in print. My copy is 1985 and it was the first herb book I bought. I immediately fell in love with growing herbs and wouldn’t be without them.  Maybe in the weeks ahead, I will write about some of the incredible herb gardens I have visited over the years.There is something mystical about them.

babyquilt 004LEMON TEA LOAF

3/4 cup milk

1 tblsp. finely chopped lemon balm

1 tblsp. finely chopped lemon thyme

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

6 tblsp. butter – room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs beaten

1 tblsp. grated lemon zest

Butter a 9 X 5 X3 pan. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat the milk with the chopped herbs and let steep until cool. Mix the flour, baking powder & salt together in a bowl. In another bowl, cream the butter & gradually beat in the sugar. Continue beating until light & fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the lemon zest. Add the flour mixture alternately with the herbed milk. Mix until the batter is just blended. Put the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes. Remove from the pan & place on a wire rack that is covered with wax paper. Pour Lemon Glaze over the still-hot bread. Decorate with a few sprigs of lemon thyme.

LEMON GLAZE – Put the juice of 2 lemons in a bowl & start adding confectioner’s sugar, stirring until thick but still pourable paste forms. Pour the glaze over the hot bread. This recipe makes 1 loaf or I also make 2 smaller loaves. It freezes beautifully!

We are now enjoying cooler weather this weekend and our little resident frogs sound much more vocal. This little fellow is our very own Kermie – “it’s not easy being green…”or balancing on a bleeding heart leaf.

babyquilt 002That’s about it for this week. Wishing each of you a very Happy & Safe 4th of July and good summer days ahead. If you have a garden, may it be healthy, productive and free from weeds and nasty little bugs.

It’s strawberry time in our neck of the woods – and that means jam making…another busy week ahead for all of us…but

Always take time to stitch…

Pat

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…in the summer! I tend to rattle on quite a bit with my journal entries, so I thought you would enjoy a “quiet blog” for a change. Come walk with me…June in Northern Wisconsin is just about perfect. We might have some companions along too…Sasha, our Senior Pup, Molly, our Middle Child and Kelsie, our Silver Girl (aka The Silver Streak.)garden walk 002

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garden walk 003Are you ready?

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Finally, some flowers to share with you. The lady at our local greenhouse said these Italian petunias were slow sellers because of the color…guess I garden to a different tune as I think they are lovely and very antique looking.

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The iris groups are at their peak now…they go so quickly but put on quite a show.

garden walk 008garden walk 011The larger flower pots were too heavy to move back onto the deck area after the staining was finished…actually they look kind of comfy in amongst the river birch trees.

garden walk 005garden walk 010Shall we stroll around to the back garden area?

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This old 15 gallon crock and I go back aways…it held the long rolls of Red Wagon Plaids (wayyyy back in the ’90’s!)  when I had my quilt shop; then logs for the fireplace in our new home – now it has been retired to the herb garden – we have a lot of history together! Wonder what it held in its earlier life?garden walk 043

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Hurry – let’s walk by the pond and find the geese…

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I know they are here somewhere…

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There they are! Sasha found them…

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Guess we should head back home now…company’s coming…Mom & Dad are up for a special Father’s Day cookout and I had better check on meal preparations.

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Back over the little bridge – come back soon for another visit…and we just have to walk together again in the fall when the leaves begin to turn.

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But for now, let’s enjoy our summer days – because today is June 21st, the Summer Solstice – and I don’t want to think about the days starting to grow shorter…do you have a patch of fragrant thyme ready for a midnight dance???

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You are invited to visit our son’s newest  images at http://www.sixtyonenorth.com…he is starting to post photos from his recent trip to Cordova, Alaska.  He kicks off with some pretty darn cute otters! (Direct link to right)

Have a wonderful summer week and when you don’t have a shovel, trowel or rake in your hand…

Always take time to stitch.

Pat

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Priceless…

The Minnesota Quilters can sure put on a fine quilt show! This year, the event was held in Duluth and 12 of us traveled from North Central Wisconsin to spend the day stimulating the quilting economy, viewing some spectacular quilts and exhibits and just enjoying being out and about with quilting friends. Our fearless and dedicated “chauffeur” is the husband of Sandy, who organized the adventure. Dick has definitely earned extra points with his ability to remain calm while driving us – about 8 hours,  all in one day.  He is very shy about having his picture taken, but the camera was able to capture him unknowingly. Thanks, Dick, for taking such good care of us!Minnqltshow 014

I must confess, on arrival, the main focus for most of us was to check out the many vendors. There was a great variety to visit including the big name sewing machine folks, i.e. Bernina, Pfaff, Viking, etc. It looks like batiks rule…lots of fun booths to see. I found a number of packets including a gradated set. That will be nice for the “Borealis” quilt I have cooking on the back burner. The Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics booth was inspiring as always. One of our ladies was taken with the pieced shawl edged in hand dyed lace…a gorgeous combination! If you haven’t tried “painting” lace yet, it is a lot of fun and you can produce some beautiful vintage look color combinations. (Visit Sara’s Bloom website for inspiration…link on right sidebar.) A new shop to me, at least, is Sew Unique Creations. They are from Joliet, Illinois, vend at many quilt shows and also sell online. No actual storefront as of yet. Their specialty is reproduction, traditional, and hard to find solid colored fabrics (like “cheddar”!) They also have a nice line of antique inspired quilting patterns. That link is also on the right side bar.

It seemed that a number of us who were shopping together started to fall apart around 2:00 in the afternoon. We decided to rest for a while in the dining area and recuperate. It is amazing what a frozen chocolate malt or ice cream cone will do to revive your spirits! I have been to quite a few quilt shows and quilt markets and the food provided has always been iffy at best and certainly way overpriced. At the Duluth location, the offerings were certainly impressive, from veggie wraps, salads, a variety of sandwiches, etc. to fruit cups and other lighter fare. All reasonably priced and well done. A big plus! This photo is of Pat & Sue admiring an antique button bracelet (Victorian picture buttons) which was purchased by our Kathy. Prized Possessions (San Antonio, Texas – no website) did well by our group! The pressure is on Sue…Minnqltshow 001

After our mid afternoon treat we were off to check out the quilt exhibits. I did not get many photos of the quilts that were entered, with one exception. A wonderful Snail’s Trail with Stars placed in the Machine Pieced/Quilted category. It was made by one of our own guild members and I took a close up of the quilt for you to look at. Betty does quality piecing and even the backs of her quilt tops are incredibly neat in appearance. Everything pressed correctly and not a stray thread in sight!

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There was a nice exhibit featuring smaller Red & Green Appliqued Quilts.Minnqltshow 006

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Members of Northwest Pacific Quilt Guild assembled a traveling exhibit entitled “Living Colour.” Below are just a couple of the fun pieces that were included.

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The most moving exhibit was the quilts from the Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece Project. Unfortunately, no photographs are allowed. I found that as you entered that exhibit and started reading the stories that accompanied each quilt, you slowed down and absorbed each one, thinking about that person who was the inspiration behind the piece. It was very moving and difficult to walk through. If you have the opportunity to see this traveling exhibit, take time to do so. Your life will be touched. (http://www.AlzQuilts.org)

Once we were finished with the exhibits, we still had a few pennies to spend, so off we went for a final check of the vendors to see if we missed anything! Then it was close to our 5:00 p.m. departure time and we headed out to our Magic Bus and the ride home.

Poor Rosemary – she shopped until she was about to drop!Minnqltshow 012We began the day with 12 ladies, but our Geri had made plans to meet up with a long-time friend and spend the night in Duluth before heading back home on Friday. When this photo was taken, we numbered 11 worn out quilters who had enjoyed a very nice day together. Since the Show closed at 7:00 – maybe Geri was still visiting those vendors!Minnqltshow 013We had worked up an appetite too and took off for Little Angie’s Cantina & Grill just a few blocks from the Convention Center. Great Steak Fajitas that went well with a tall glass of cold beer, Fuzzy Navel or Iced Tea. One final stop before boarding the bus home…The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory…oh those wonderful flavored truffles! We were back in North Central Wisconsin by around 11:30 p.m. or so and I arrived back at my home around 12:15 a.m.  – looking for a good night’s sleep after the long day. Because I had really missed my shovel, trowel and rake (NOT!), I was up early Friday morning and heading back outside for more garden chores. More about that in the next journal entry.

Since today is our country’s Flag Day, the last photo is of one of my favorite books “Long May She Wave,” a fascinating look at the history of our flag…Wishing each of you a good week ahead and

Always take time to stitch…

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Before I even get going on this week’s post, the very first thing that must happen is a heartfelt thank you to Rhondi for organizing her 2nd Annual Porch Party on June 1st. (http://rhondisrosecoloredglasses.blogspot.com) Signing up to participate at the last minute, I had no clue how it would all work. It is hard to imagine how much time Rhondi spent getting all of us in order and linked up to each other. Needless to say, this has been a wonderful week with visits to my front porch from other bloggers, not only here in the U.S., but as far away as Belgium, England, Australia and New Zealand. My rocking chairs really got put to use! So much fun! You may want to take a few extra minutes and visit some of the new blog sites I have added to the Blogroll. One of the most elegant is A Heart In Provence.

When I wasn’t visiting with such fascinating people, the garden and general yard work took up most of the week. My husband did more shoveling – this time with pea gravel. And I was again assigned the title of “Assistant, i.e. Go For.”  However, I did my fair share of maneuvering flat stones and settling pea gravel in. We worked on three different areas and accomplished much.  Our cool weather continues and though most of the flowers are in, everything looks pretty small yet. Maybe by next week I can include photos of some of the new stuff. Because DH didn’t have enough to do, he also decided to apply new stain to the entire deck area. I wisely left for the day on that one…and joined our Liberty Ladies group, which meets once a month for exploring quilt history. The last couple of meetings have centered around Abraham Lincoln. We have covered not only young Abe, his lawyer years  and log cabins (and quilts) but did a respectable job putting away some tasty cinnamon log cookies & little puff pastries.(:-)

For now we have returned to being inside for a couple of days. Actually, it feels kind of good and will give our aching bodies a little recoup time. It seemed like a good idea to get back to the sewing room and I really had good intentions to work on a baby quilt. But then I saw the stack of ironing that has been neglected and that box of projects from our trip to Peoria waayyyy back in early May which has never been unpacked and then noticed the dust on top of my sewing machine….well, you get the picture. Like Scarlett, I’ll think about it tomorrow. And if I don’t post something pretty soon that shows actual quilting going on, I may get booted out of  Quilting Bloggers, Quilt Qua and Quilter Blogs! I do have a bit of information to share that is quilt-related. We have a HP Photosmart Printer which requires newer type ink cartridges than our older printer. I couldn’t figure out why my photo transfers onto cotton were not stable. I have always used the Bubble Jet Set products, both setting and rinsing solutions. But after using the new printer, my images would not only change color, but bleed out making the photo transfer unusable. I contacted http://www.cjenkinscompany.com who makes the Bubble Jet Set line and they recommended the new HP Bubble Jet Set 2000 solution for our particular type of printer inks. This company does constant research as new printing products become available so they can keep up with updating their own product line. They were very prompt in answering my email.

As promised, I am including the very tasty recipe for making French Bread in the Food Processor, which our friend, Bev, taught us about 2 weeks ago. It is really straightforward and if you are apprehensive about trying to make bread at all, this would be a great way to get started.

FRENCH BREAD IN THE FOOD PROCESSOR

1 oz. fresh yeast or 1 pkt. of dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)

1 cup plus 2 tblsp. water *water temp should be 80-90 degrees if using fresh yeast or 110-115 degrees if using dry yeast

1 tsp. sugar

2 cups bread flour

1 cup white flour

1 tsp. salt

Place bread blade in food processor. Add the flours and salt.

Mix water, sugar, yeast in measuring cup. Let proof for 10 minutes. With the processor running, pour yeast mixture through the feed tube and process for 40-60 seconds until the dough forms a ball and allow to spin for 30+seconds.

Turn dough into a large greased mixing bowl and flip it so both sides are greased. Cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place for 1-2 hours until it doubles in bulk. Punch dough down. Recover with wrap and place bowl in frig for 8-24 hours.

Divide dough in half. For each loaf roll out into a rectangle, brush lightly with water and roll up jelly roll fashion. Seal edges and ends. Place seam side down in greased French Bread Pan. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise about 2 hours until double in bulk. Cut diagonal slits in top with a very sharp knife or single edge razor blade. Brush top with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1/2 tsp. salt.)

Place in preheated oven at 375 degrees – bake for about 20-25 minutes. The bread should have a brown crust and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

French bread 013Thanks so much, Bev, for sharing your skills and recipe with us.  Do you think my loaves look okay?

Isn’t the little vase a lovely color? This is what my winning raffle ticket brought me when we went to the glass blowing demonstration 2 weeks ago at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. It is about 8″ high but very heavy. The applied base is solid glass. The main body of the vase is a swirl of cobalt blue graduating to lavender at the top.

French bread 012Our family treat for today – “visiting” with our son, Dave, in far away Alaska. Through the wonders of the webcam on our lap tops we can not only talk, but actually see each other. My folks came up for a visit this afternoon and we did not tell them in advance  what we had rigged up. The expression on their faces when they saw their Grandson was just terrific! It took them a few minutes to finally believe that everything was “live” and they could actually talk with him too! He is their “one and only” and miss him as much as we do.

We continue to see more bears – so many this Spring that we may set a record. And coyotes in the fields at night…such an eerie sound in the dark. There is also a very interesting situation on the pond. There has been a beautiful male wood duck hanging around for a couple of weeks now. There is no evidence of a mate or little ones. While we have talked of building special wood duck houses, there is nothing on the pond for him to take up residence in as of yet. What has developed though is the little guy seems to follow our goose family around the pond. He will try to swim along with them and joins them on land when they feed. What is kind of sad though is when the geese return to the water, our wood duck looks so lonely and he waddles along behind them as if to say, won’t you adopt me? We have to wonder what is going on???

How about all the little hummers? #4 is coming in for a landing and it looks like the sugar water needs replenishing! My husband took this photo while up on the nearby ladder fixing the gutters.

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We are off to the Minnesota Quilt Show in Duluth this coming Thursday – I promise to have a fun report on the next post. It will be my first visit to this event and I am really looking forward to it!

Have a great week and please send some warm weather if you can – we are about 20+ degrees below the norm for this time in June.

Always take time to stitch…

Pat

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