Monday, February 29, 2016

Winter Pines is finished!

I began my Winter Pines quilt quite a while ago and finished piecing it at a recent retreat. It is now quilted and bound. I thought I'd just pack it away for next winter BUT... our weather forecast says another storm is coming tonight! So I'll leave this quilt out for a few more days.

I bought the pattern, Winter in the Pines by Cindi Mc Cracken, and the fabric as a kit a few years ago. 

I didn't want the quilt as large as the pattern so I changed the size of the blocks and used the pattern for inspiration. I decided to call my quilt Winter Pines - inspired by the pattern name.

My quilt is 59" by 61". The batting is Dream Cotton and the back is a piece of flannel that I just happened to have in my stash - pine trees! I quilted around each block and did a spiral in each square, three spirals in each rectangle. The border is quilted with small spirals and large petals surrounding them.

It was so nice to get outside and take photos of this quilt on my neighbor's fence. Looks like tomorrow I'll just wrap this quilt around me and enjoy a snowy day.

Monday, February 22, 2016

It hasn't been all quilting around here...

We have a new bookshelf, made to my exact specifications deep, tall shelves by our very talented neighbor Jeff. It is solely for photo albums - right now each is labeled with a sticky note but that will change. I still have a few years of photos to get into albums. Hopefully this project will be caught up before the end of this year. 

I am still dehydrating food. One of my latest ventures is powders. 
Tomato powder can be used for tomato paste, tomato sauce, tomato soup, pizza sauce, and just about anything using cooked tomatoes. 

We use zucchini powder, spinach powder, and cabbage powder which is all gone right now in smoothies. Did you know about the magic 5 vegetables that, when used in reasonable amounts, you can't taste when added to fruit and other things? They are spinach, cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash, and carrots. I often throw fresh carrots or spinach into smoothies if I have some. Now I always have veggies for smoothies. The spinach powder turns smoothies green, sometimes an unpleasant shade. The zucchini powder has no trace of taste or color. This morning we had a 'side of zucchini' with (in) our breakfast smoothie.

I didn't like the texture of the mushrooms I dried when they were rehydrated so I powdered them. The powder worked great in some BBQ I made the other night.

I thought the orange powder would be great to have when I don't have fresh oranges or frozen mangos for smoothies. It works great but this powder, at least mine, has a tendency to cake. I tried dehydrating it longer but it still cakes. I'll dig the rest out of the jar as I need it and then reassess whether or not to make more. 

Another dehydrating adventure is making yogurt. I've never tried yogurt before and it is so easy! When the yogurt comes out of the dehydrator, I strain it for about 45 - 60 minutes so it becomes Greek yogurt. I've used whole milk, skim milk and 1% milk. I think anything works! The yogurt stays good for about 3 weeks.


We are planning another long trip. Ray has his yearly cancer checkup in May. We plan to leave the following day on another bucket-list adventure. This time we are headed to the northeastern USA, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. We are both excited and happy that a lot of the planning is done. As much as we'd love to see this area in the fall, neither of us enjoys crowds so we try to do our traveling in the off season.


And I am diligently exercising again. I've let that slide and I really do feel better when I pursue my program. Here's my mat, my exercise ball, and my weights and band are on the chair in the background.


Of course, I knit a little every so often. Here is the back of Ray's next sweater. I have the front and back finished and have started the first sleeve.


There is SOME quilting going on! Most days don't pass without some time upstairs to quilt. Here is a table runner that I recently finished. It is some improve piecing. I didn't have many red batiks and I wanted it to match (in color) the other runners in the room. The improve gave me the freedom to just use what I had.

This runner will be on the bottom of the behind-the-couch table. Before this area was filled with photo albums.


This afternoon, I think I'll spend some time sandwiching and pinning the next quilt to be quilted. I'm not sure there's been enough quilting going on around here lately!

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Baby Quilt Finish

I was making a non-gender specific baby quilt but... someone that lives here with me I won't mention his name! didn't really care for the colors in the quilt, specifically the green.  It's not a big deal to make another quilt - I have plenty of time - so I'll just donate this one.

The quilt is about 51 inches by 53 inches with Dream Cotton batting. I quilted it with spirals although I think you might call them wonky or wobbly spirals. It's the first time I've done a whole quilt with spirals and I was surprised that it turned out as well as it did!

The quilt does lie flat - one just has to smooth it out before taking pictures. The back was one length of fabric with an insert of leftovers from the front. Yes, I had lots of green left because I tried not to use too much knowing that what's his name didn't like that color.

I've been trying to find a bright focus fabric to make another quilt and have given up. I'm just making a girl quilt and a boy quilt.  I'll donate the extra one.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A New Knitted Cowl

I finished this cowl in early January. It took me a long time to take a photo and then I forgot about posting!

The color is denim. The yarn is HiKoo Simpliworsted and very soft and cozy. It is perfect for the cold weather we've been having.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Great February Quilting Retreat

I've just been to a great quilting retreat at Prairie Star Lodge. Cassie, the owner of Lucky 2B Quilting, organized the retreat and we were honored to have Mickey DePre join us. 
Cassie and Mickey as we celebrated Mickey's birthday
Mickey entertained us with a trunk show Thursday night. Here's our group minus one who hadn't arrived yet.
Back: Sandy, Jeanne (me), Dianna, Barb, Mary, Marilynn, Sue, Cassie
Front: Krista, Mickey, Cathy
We sewed until it was time to head home for the Super Bowl game on Sunday. I don't have photos of everyone but here are a few.
Some of Marilynn's interesting blocks 
Sue with an original pattern
Dianna and her strip pieced blocks
Mary and her L-7 quilt
Mary's L-7 quilt partially together
Two of Cassie's Row By Row rows
Barb taking a break with Mickey's new book
Laura, an owner of Prairie Star Lodge, fed us delicious meals
and this fantastic upside down apple pie
There were some quilt top finishes - here are the ones I caught with photos.
Sandy's Rag Quilt - just needs the seams clipped
Barb's T-shirt Quilt
Marilynn's Goldfish Quilt
Sandy's Wisconsin Quilt - I think there are borders coming
Barb's Batik Quilt
Krista's Gift Quilt

I missed lots of photos but I did a lot of sewing. First is my Winter in the Pines quilt.

Next is a Baby Girl Quilt. The flower is freezer paper - I still need to decided colors and appliqué it onto the quilt.

And last is my Zig Zag Quilt. I love the colors.

It was a great retreat. I've been home a few days - I'm unpacked, I've done the laundry, I've shed a couple pounds, ... and I hope to get into my sewing room tomorrow.


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