Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fabric Tuesday part deux

Oh these Tuesdays are going to sneak up on me, I can tell.

I did make my husband a pair of jammie shorts with some flannel (featuring maple leaves) I got in Victoria on our road trip. Not too exciting--though I did almost cut them out upside down!

Mostly I have been working on my wall quilt for the end of my kitchen cabinet. It's not done--the front is sewn, the appliques cut out. The arrangement undecided.

Maybe this?

Or this?
I think I am leaning toward the upper placement--but with the red on the bottom as in the second photo. It pops more down there. The fabrics on the right are my main backing, the red stripe will be a band on the back, and the darkest is my binding. I am also thinking of making a circular label for the back, and trying to align it with one of the front circles.

I am planning to machine-applique these, but am stuck on a color! Red will pop, maybe too much? Black will be a bulls-eye. Which leaves white. Zig zag or buttonhole? Maybe hand buttonhole would be easier (for me)? Maybe red hand buttonhole? Maybe I should do a doodle cloth to help me decide.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Peach and...navy?

That's the color peach, not peaches the fruit. *sigh*. I decided get one of these since they were on sale. I admit it--I really like the sample they show on the right. Needless to say, I didn't get that. My "coordinating pack" goes from off-white peach through medium blue to navy and black. With many many girly florals. And some anchors.
The lighter/brighter colors
The darker colors

I thought this was a total bust til I separated the colors as in the pics above. I realized I have some leftovers from a baby quilt. And maybe some blues from oh-so-long-ago when I worked at New York Fabrics. In high school. I am pretty sure New York Fabrics no longer exists. (My location has been a Joann's for eons.) So, leaving the new strips laid out, I stuck some of my stash down on the sides just to see.

Stash coral to red
Stash off white to coral

Stash navys (navies?)
Stash light to medium blues

This looks like I can do something here! A bento box? A simple vertical strip quilt to take advantage of my pre-cut strips (I will be saving those many many selvages too).

Sketches. Yes, I cut some out to twist around.
I don't actually like anything I've thought of yet. Well, the bento box quilt idea I do like. But we'll see. I think this will need to sit in my brain for awhile. Thoughts?

I am leaning toward the off-whites, coral, and red florals, with some (err...all) of the blue/coral florals. Thoughts appreciated!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The best split pea soup ever

Can I say that? At 4pm I realized I had no dinner plan, so grabbed the bag of split peas I got a couple of weeks ago for just such an occasion. I wanted to clear out some veggies in preparation for  tomorrow's CSA box. This is what I did:

Surprising Split Pea Soup

1 pack chopped pancetta (from Trader Joe's)
1 large chopped sweet onion (about 2 cups)
5 ribs celery, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
--Cook these ingredients in a soup pot til softened

Then add:
1.5 cups split peas, rinsed and drained
6 cups water
fresh ground pepper to taste
kosher salt to taste

--Bring to a boil, mixing well. Turn down to a heavy simmer.

1 broiled, peeled, cored, seeded, chopped green bell pepper (I was broiling while the rest of the veggies were softening)

Stir often, keeping an eye on the peas. Once the peas were in, I cooked for about an hour. Add more water if needed (I added 2 more cups).

Add (or not!) additional salt and pepper to your taste.

Don't mention the pepper to your kids, and then watch them gobble.

This makes about 4 main course servings.

Sorry for the lack of picture--I had no idea it would be so yummy. And, really, split pea soup is not that great to look at, now is it?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

reds and whites and black

I got Pretty Little Mini Quilts from the library a couple of weeks ago, and have been stuck on the "Spinning in Orbit" pattern. I love the appliqued circles on the straight seams. The circles echoing those in a print. The use of color, with it not being too matchy matchy (my problem, in colors and shapes and themes). Yet it all matches.

At The Cotton Shop last weekend, I found some red and black and white, and red and white prints. They kind of remind me of the Timeless Treasures Taxi and Kiwi lines, which I love, but can't quite wrap my brain around, with all that yellow and lime. But red and black. That I can do. Anyway, this is what I left with:

And in trying to figure out the name of the Kiwi line was, I found this Timeless Treasures pattern for Taxi. Which, OOH!, reminds me of Spinning in Orbit. I like it--though it's too something for me. Busy, maybe. Or, maybe, just plain old too yellow.

And! While exploring the various blogs linked on the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild site, I found this. Very cool. I wonder if I could do it in red and black and white. Or MORE colors??? Hehe.

So I started drawing. And shortly thereafter came to the brilliant conclusion that doing a many colored plaid will involve years of shopping for the perfect lime/yellow, red/lime, etc etc prints. Not for me.

So, I went back to my reds and blacks.

The left is like Spinning in Orbit. I don't like it--I have the wrong fabrics to get a nice balance of light/dark, red/black/white, and shapes. The right is more like the Taxi pattern. I like that more, but I am planning to hang this on a cabinet end in my kitchen. I like the long narrow, but have too many prints and not enough cabinet width.


There it is. The Plan. Darkest at the bottom in the widest strip, getting narrower and lighter/less dense to the top. Appliqued circles--maybe a hexagon or 2--to echo the prints, but the largest applique will be near the top, the smallest near the bottom. Darkest at top, lightest at bottom. I think. I also went and got a black/white print (which is in the dryer now, so I can't share), as I had 2 red/whites and no black/white. I may lose one of the red/whites. Have to see as we go along. I am hoping to start today, but with 1 napping boy, 1 on an errand with dad, and a dinner to cook, we'll see.

Friday, August 27, 2010

this moment

inspired by soulemama...“{this moment}: A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Evading fig beetles, or fun with jars

I decided to try this recipe for fig preserves today. Our poor neglected fig tree is covered with fruit in various stages of decomposition, some ripe figs, and many many baby figs. These figs do not taste anything like the fresh figs I remember from a childhood neighbor's tree--but those were dark figs, these are white figs. What kind? No idea--the tree came from a neighbor several years ago, and he didn't know what it was.

Anyway, I went out to pick, and proceeded to spend the next 15 minutes evading some angry (if harmless, unless you're a fig) fig beetles. These guys are big, and loud. And we have many because we don't spray, and I am not brave enough to squash them. And they are really really pretty metallic green, which makes me not want to squash them anyway.

The enemy--enjoying a very overripe fig.

I came up with 2.3 pounds, and this recipe is incredibly easy to adjust, since it uses a 1:1 fig:sugar ratio.

So, we'll see. I got two pints and a bit left over--the leftover bit is so sugary it has solidified, I am hoping that's because I scraped the pot. I followed the recipe exactly, but think maybe should have cooked for less time with the lesser amount of fruit. I will have another 2+ pounds in a week or so, I think. Unless the mockingbirds, beetles, starlings, and wasps get them all. I should say, the cats greatly enjoy this show, they have a fabulous view from the back window.

From this...
...to this.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I had a plan for this yarn when I bought it. I don't remember the plan. I have a new plan. Because the plan is half the fun, right?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fabric Tuesday!

So, over on Quiltstory they have started "Fabric Tuesday." Which gives me a goal, being so type-A and all.

Not that I have much to show, fabric-wise. I should have had another something, but the significant other came home early, so I had to hide it. Next week, right?

What I did finish is a muslin I made to check the fitting on the Cute Skirts pattern by Favorite Things--which I bought on our recent road trip. Where? I can't remember. Anyway. Ever made a muslin, and then wished you had used the real fabric because it actually fits? Yeah. So, I think my muslin will become a house skirt (is this like a housedress?). The fabric has no drape, because it's quilting cotton was meant to be the backing for the first quilt I ever started...13 years ago? It took about two blocks to realize I was in over my head, and I have been dragging this stuff around ever since. And still have yards of it! And I don't like it any more. So, I have some nice lighter cotton I got on sale last weekend, and another sale fabric coming from Hancock's of Paducah. Sorry about the ugly artificial lighting picture.

In addition to the skirt, taking the boys swimming at the Y, baking bread, filling our new raised bed, laundry, going to the library, and making many sandwiches, I also managed to finish up a baby ripple ghan made from my late grandmother's stash of vintage acrylics (OK--they are 20-30 years old, but vintage sounds better).
This will be going up in the shop--once it's running--unless I manage to sell it first.

A good busy day, with a beach day tomorrow!

Monday, August 23, 2010

First CSA box of the summer

Yup, the first one. What with us going camping and taking a road trip--and managing to schedule those to leave and arrive halfway through delivery weeks, as well as my general ineptitude in meeting order dates--this is the first one!

Yum. So, to report. 10 hours after pickup: cantaloupe gone, green beans nearly gone, lettuce half gone, tomatoes half gone, 1 carrot gone. Watermelon guarded from marauding boys, who must wait for tomorrow.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

When dad takes the boys swimming...

...mom gets stuff done! And after they go to bed, of course.

Today I finally finished my niece's baby afghan. So she will get it before her first birthday (gulp!). There is no reason why it took so long. Well, life. But it is done now. WOOT!

These blocks are from Jan Eaton's 200 Crochet Blocks, and you can read all about it on my ravelry project page.

It is now washed, and this week I need to pack it up and mail it. Next up is a nephew's afghan, which is waaaaay behind.

Tying and gluing the cut strings.

 The day's big project? The swimming-at-the-Y-project? Shortening, lining, and rehanging my 10-year-old's bamboo blinds. The boys got their own rooms a week ago--much furniture moving, toy sorting, book purging, donating, painting. So yesterday I finally made it to The Cotton Shop and got some lightweight muslin for a bamboo blind liner. (And also got some skirt fabric, and some fabric for a quilt idea, and...)

Lining up the lining.
This went surprisingly well. I simply measured (about 20 times, just to be sure), marked, and then glued the strings below my folding point and right at the bottom piece I was leaving in. I then cut about 3 inches below my folding point, removed the bottom (which may be turning into placemats), then pulled out 2" of slats. Then nervously tied the sets of 3 strings, and glued, while my "helpers" tromped around, chewed bamboo pieces, and generally got into trouble.

Rehung--a whole foot shorter!
Then I practice folding, and moved that glue gun as fast as possible to get the strings glued down and the bottom folded up about 1". Then sized up the lining--and YAY!--was able to use the selvages as the sides. Hemmed top and bottom on the machine, hand sewed it to the blind, and voila lined blinds. Yes, the boys were home by the time I finished, but the stressful cutting and gluing were done.

How does the boy like them? Unknown as yet. It's still light out. But I am sure if he's not satisfied I will hear all about it in the morning :)
The helpers.

And, of course, as soon as this project was done? My help sacked out on the couch. Nice.

What is A Lotta Bit Fun?

More than just blogging again!

Cooking crafting gardening. Thinking planning creating. Quilting crocheting sewing baking harvesting.

Making your son the jammies he asked for. Making soup with veggies from the yard. Making your other son's favorite--cinnamon rolls, from scratch. Shopping for quilt fabrics.

The joy of making something for someone who will appreciate it.

And soon, A Lotta Bit Fun will also be an etsy shop!