Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Maybe I'll Try Just One...

One of the things that the gals at Quilts for Survivors have requested are 16" blocks (16.5" unfinished), and seeing the blocks that some of the quilters were making made me want to see if I could add to that pile a bit. It would add to the variety of the bundle that we are preparing and would be much faster than making another flimsy.

I seldom, if ever, work with blocks this large, so it was also sort of a personal challenge to find a block that I liked and maybe make one or two. This Ohio Star was my first effort. 

It ticked all of the boxes quite nicely - a 4 x 4 grid that got me to 16" and was a little interesting to boot.

So I tried another one.

Okay, how about one more.

What the heck, let's try another one (I think you can see where this is going).

I was making eight HSTs at a time starting with two 10" squares and once you got into the rhythm of them they came together quite quickly. Slowly they kept adding up.

In my mind's eye I imagined a narrow sashing with a tiny dark cornerstone, but when I laid them all out they looked pretty good together just as they were. Three more and I would have a lap quilt that met their specs. What the heck. 

So, I've got three more pairs on the cutting table and ready to go. Guess I'll need to find another pattern if I'm planning to add to the 'blocks' pile 😉....M

Monday, June 26, 2023

A Good Day

Things were really smokey here again yesterday from the forest fires that continue to burn up north and in Quebec, which meant that we were pretty much confined to the house. A good time to spend cross stitching.

All of the trees on one side are finished now, with the exception of the footprints from the reindeer, so I moved on to the type at the bottom of the pattern. This area is worked with a single band of floss over one thread. Oh my! Suddenly my earlier stitches looked like giants!

It took me a bit to get onto it, especially since I was trying to watch golf at the same time, but eventually I got the swing of it. My task lamp was invaluable. All in all, a good day....M

Thursday, June 22, 2023

And Suddenly, A Forest

Remember the trees that Anne was working on for her Quilts for Survivors contribution? Well, they've been finished for a while now, I have just been slack in sharing them with you. 

After getting a system in place she finished up her blocks in good time. I'm still loving the idea of using her portable easel as a stand for her small design wall.

They are a lovely scrappy mix of greens and turquoise.

And when you put them all together, wa-la! - a beautiful forest.

Actually, two, as she's made enough blocks for two flimsies.

And she used the leftovers to make two beautiful scrappy bindings which will be perfect for them.

She couldn't bear to part with the triangle trimmings (girl after my own heart) so she's been hand piecing these tiny blocks and is already working on a small project to use them in. Waste not, want not!....M

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Santa's Laundry

It's been quite a while since I have picked up any cross stitch to work on, but I started a fun new project this week. 

It's called Good Day Syre Christemas and is a rustic view of Santa's home in the woods with his laundry hung out on the line to dry. Couldn't resist.

It's worked on 28 count raw linen, which makes for teenie tiny stitches, even when worked over two threads. This little guy is just a little larger than an inch in size.

We took a bit of a getaway so I started working on it there but the combination of our outings, my older eyes and poor lighting made for very little progress. That large snowflake just about drove me to distraction. I got a few more rows in than are shown but I decided to park everything until I was home and able to work under a good light. I think that I've discovered one stitch that is made in error so the trick will be whether I live with it or rip everything out and start again...

Despite the size of the stitches, the pattern is quite open so I expect that once I get my mojo in place it should work up quite quickly (she says confidently). That little line of laundry should be fun. You can order the pattern online from Goodflora Stitchworth, if you are so inclined....M

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

House Arrest

My pink Log Cabin blocks are finished and so is the quilt, in large part because we are almost trapped in our house. Smoke from the Quebec forest fires have made the skies very cloudy for the past several days, resulting in poor air quality so we've basically been holed up. If I can't get out and garden, why not sew?

I only needed to make two more pink blocks so they came together quickly. The colour placement is in reverse to the green blocks, still scrappy but with green at the centre and pink in on corner. Those slices of lime are fun, aren't they?

To assemble it I chained my columns of blocks together which was a big help in keeping everything where it should be.

But that didn't mean that I spun all the blocks correctly. The block on the far left in the middle row should have been turned 90 degrees; I was very happy to have done a quick check before sewing all the rows together.

This is what it looked like after the last seam was sewn - a wonderful tumble of green, pink and neutrals.

As always, with scrappy, the more variety, the better.

This polka dot is from a binding remnant. As luck would have it, this one was cut on the straight of grain so I just trimmed it down to the sizes that I needed and used it up. Love that. I also love that sweet little black pindot included in the neutrals.

So it's finished! What started out as a squirrel has become another finish to add to the Quilts for Survivors pile, and that's a good thing....M

Monday, June 05, 2023

A Little More Yet To Do

Since about mid April I have been playing with scrappy green Log Cabin blocks.

It started after I saw a couple of the Quilts for Survivors blocks that Jean from our church quilting group had made using four 8" blocks with the colours all positioned in the centre. On a whim, I made four blocks. Meh.

It didn't do anything for me, but I couldn't stop making blocks. And then I thought I might also make a pink quilt. I quickly gave my head a shake and determined to find a way for the two colours to play together.

The hunt continued for scraps. And, if I was to make 48 blocks in short order, there had to be a plan. Eventually I worked in batches of 5 or 6, which I could do in just over an hour once I got smart and pre cut all of my strips instead of cutting as I went.

With all of the blocks together now (and one to the good) it was time to test drive a layout. Not bad, but I had envisioned something a little more asymmetrical, something like Jane's work of art.

I simply took the column of blocks from the right side and moved it over to the left side and wa-la! A little tweaking to improve the mix of colours and it was good to go.

Except for that gaping hole in the middle. Two more pink squares are needed and then I can start putting it together....M

Saturday, June 03, 2023

We're Havin' a Heat Wave

What is it with me and baking on the hottest days of the year? We're closing in on the end of a stretch of unusually warm weather, but I needed to bake squares for a funeral lunch so on went the oven.

I don't often bake squares, leaning more to cakes, pies or cookies, so I tend to always make the same stuff - the perfect excuse for a Pinterest search. These Almond Bars caught my attention, in part because the recipe is so large, but also that they are just a little different. I whipped up half a batch this morning and now I'm regretting not making the full batch so that we'd have some in the house.

Trimming the edges of the square a bit allowed for a wee taste test before they were glazed. Lovely. I only made up half a batch of glaze and it was still tons and is plenty to help keep the sliced almonds in place.

While the oven was on I decided to see about a batch of Rhubarb Scones to have at lunch with our soup. It is always such a treat to go out and pick a few fresh stalks and use them right away. 

This isn't the recipe that I had planned to make. While searching for the original recipe I came across this one and loved the idea of using heavy cream, avoiding having to haul out my food processor. So easy.

It makes a 10" round, which is larger than I had thought, but they turned out beautifully. We used to frequent a B&B where the host made two different scones each morning (in addition to handmade croissants!) and his were smaller, so another time I might experiment with dividing the dough into two rounds.

I am always leery of overworking biscuit dough to avoid making them tough. Looking at the edges, I probably could have given the dough one or two more kneads, but they were good. 

And I sprinkled them with a little sugar before baking instead of brushing them with butter when they came out of the oven.

I think that I could have separated the sections before baking them too, but I just cut them apart as soon as they came out of the oven.

I'm really happy with how light and fluffy they are and they are very tasty with a piece of cheddar cheese.

There was glaze left from the Almond Bars so I used it on half of the scones. Before I could get a good 'half & half' photo, the Official Cookie Tester thought that a taste test was in order (I've got to watch him like a hawk!). Lots of mmmmmm coming from that end of the kitchen 😊.

And finally, several of you have asked for the Lemon Rhubarb Buttermilk Bundt Cake recipe that I made a while back; you can find the link to it in this post. This is another one where I find that half a batch of the glaze is more than enough, especially since the cake is so moist.

Still lots more recipes to test drive while rhubarb is in season, including a Ginger Rhubarb Jam. Fun, fun, fun!....M

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Tea, Anyone?

We've been attempting to celebrate a milestone birthday for Jane with a special afternoon tea since early in the year and things finally came together yesterday. What a treat!

Her sister Linda hosted five of us and outdid herself.

The place settings were soft and floral, just beautiful; everything that you would expect for a tea.

There's just something so wonderful about bringing out the vintage cups and saucers and making an afternoon of it, isn't there?

And the birthday girl kicked in too, making lovely quilted favours for each guest - beautiful potholders filled with spring blossoms. They couldn't have been more perfect.

Everyone shared in the food prep so we feasted royally (if you are supposed to feast at a tea).

Fancy sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and Jane's strawberry jam, delicate cookies, chocolate covered strawberries, mini quiche, yummy squares and cream puffs; we wanted for nothing. The leftovers were divvied up into containers and there was so much that we were all able to enjoy round two for dinner at home. 

Happy birthday, dear Jane. Here's to many more wonderful years....M