Saturday, March 30, 2013

Playing Catch-Up, Yet Again

 And once again, with the wonky uploading! Not going to complain, however, since it's Itaken me a while to get to this blog post, and I don't want to delay it any further by juggling photos around.

You'll just have to read my commentary and try to get a cohesive story out of all this!

I've been working on the two blocks I had cut out  for the Civil War Tribute Block of the Month, back in 2011, just before my back got hurt and I was pretty much sidelined for the last couple of years.

 However, I have been seeing the project box and since the first two blocks were cut out, well, they made a nice change after I got the 12 blocks pieced for the Mill Girls quilt. (That needs sashing and borders, and it will be relatively quick once I get those cut out. Relatively is the operative word here.)

Meantime, it's going to be Easter Sunday tomorrow, which means dinner chez Caitlin. My contribution will be this peach-apricot cobbler.

When you're going to make a fruity thing and the fruits are not in season, there are a couple of choices: frozen, canned, or dried. No frozen peaches or apricots at my local Trader Joe's, but they did have
 a nice selection of dried apricots and white peaches.

So, cut them up coarsely and simmered them for a while with a little water, sugar, and cinnamon.

They plumped up quite nicely! The aroma was great.

(Canned fruit is too "wet" to work well in this recipe. It actually calls for canned pie filling, but stewed fruit makes a good sub--better than the canned filling, in my opinion. And since I'm the one who's making it, my opinion is the one that counts, right?)
 Got the countertop cleared off and here I go.

Used the food processor to mix the flour/oatmeal/butter/brown sugar part. Works well, but the oatmeal doesn't keep its shape.

Not a problem.

Notice the high-tech touch: I copied the recipe onto my phone and kept that handy. This is one of those recipes that was copied from one my mother had copied out ages ago, and it's on a really gross greasy card, somewhere in the depths of the Recipe Hell I call my cookbook shelf.
 The recipe is available online, as all good recipes should be.

And the phone was a very convenient way to keep it handy. I did not splash flour or butter on the phone, either.
 The lilacs have begun to bloom. I love lilacs, and this bush is a variety that's adapted to the mild winters out here.

It's not as fragrant as the lilacs that grow where there are real winters, but at least I get lilacs.We planted this bush ages ago, probably one of the first years we were in this house--right after the ugly yucca plant and disgusting jade plants were dug up and removed.

The neighbor's roof has not been holding  up well.
 So, back to the quilting.

The photos are in reverse order, so you'll have to bear with me.

These are the four blocks for Month 2 of the Civil War quilt.

Lots and lots of triangles.

However, they were all cut out, so all I had to do was sew them.
 That's what it says in the fine print. I have a feeling that my cutting two years ago was a little, shall we say, not as exact as it could have been?

However, here's the first block completed. There are two strips of the light color that will go along the top and bottom of the block.

Ummm...remember that comment I just made about my cutting? The strips are 8 different sizes. I think I need to press the blocks and then trim those strips to fit.

Here's a cute little upside-down sequence for  you.

One of the blocks didn't come out very well--it was the first one I put together, and as you can see below, it had a significant pucker problem.

That's after picking out the first set of seams and redoing them. It's better than it was, but not by much.

The block on the left is what it looked like after a more severe redo.

No more puckers. The next two blocks went together just fine, and the fourth one had a similar problem to the first one.

Now, I know that a lot of things will press out, but I think that's kind of a last resort. At this stage, it's much better (says my inner perfectionish) to take it apart and redo it so it comes out right.

So these need a good press, which they will get with the "good" iron and not the little travel iron. 

This is what the pieces looked like when I took them out of the sleeve and laid them out ready to sew.

Why yes, I do like doing jigsaw puzzles. Why do you ask?

You'll notice that there are a couple of pictures showing these blocks laid out, with rulers covering them.

 If you refer to the picture at the top of this post, you'll understand why.

A large furry critter can wreak a lot of havoc on a collection of little pieces of cloth, if he decides that he needs to keep me company.

This is the second time I laid these pieces out.

His rearrangement did not improve the look of the block.
So, there's the first two months' worth of blocks completed and set aside.

Next will be more cutting. I looked at the next block and promptly closed the binder.

Good project for another day!

Look at that sweet boy.  He wouldn't dream of messing with my quilt blocks.

 These two are the first month's blocks. One is 18,5" and the other is 12/5".

This pattern does this quite a bit. There are multiples of most of the blocks, usually in two sizes.

Month Two was a bit unusual since they are all 4 the same size. (And not the same size as either of these...)

So there they are.
 Lots of butternut and blue in this block.

I am following the pattern's directions for cutting out the blocks, and I'm not sure I'm really happy with the way the patterns are working out. Maybe it's just me...

This quilt, by the way, will be for my brother, who is a long-time Civil War buff. He's been visiting the various battlegrounds and memorials when he gets a chance. I think I'll put wool batting in it--he lives in Mass, after all!

Louise took a mystery-quilt workshop at the Glendale show, and this is her finished top.

Her focus fabric is really unusual--it is a batik with two prints on it! If you can look at the larger image do check it out.

We had a Monday sewing session at Sandy's this week.

Here's Sandy, with pug.
Quilting at Sandy's generally means lots of puggy love.

Sandy was working on her Civil War quilt blocks. She's up to Month Seven--I need to do some catching up, although Louise's is finished and even hung in the Glendale show last year.

Here she is working on her mystery quilt, which you can see up above.
Anne doesn't love having her picture taken, but this was too cute not to share.

She was making 3-D bow ties--excuse me, Dimensional Bow Ties!

I'll try to get a picture when it gets a little further along. It's a very cute pattern and cleverly done.

Yes, I want to make one. No, I'm not going to start one.

This week.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekend Wonderings

 Some weekends are more productive than others. I'd rank this one as one of the less productive!

I did manage to get the 6 quilts trimmed down ready for binding. Actually took a lot more effort than I had anticipated, but now it's done.

The blue is the back of the Gabba quilt. Once I had it spread out, I realized that, oh yeah, I had asked for a design with ABCs in it! The way the letters are swirled around, they are legible from both sides.
Cute, huh?
 The other is the back of the Chicopee quilt.

Sieve-brain here had forgotten that this one is quilted with a jigsaw puzzle pattern.

Just because.

Here you can see that the back is two different fabrics. They go pretty well together, and they do complement the front, so I'm pleased with my choice. I'm not, always, but I seem to have done better with this batch of  quilts.

It really was a nice warm day on Saturday--perfect weather for a baseball game!

Well, until late afternoon, when the wind picked up and it got just a wee bit chilly. Once the sun went down, it got cold.

I know, this is all relative by SoCal standards. We have no snow, no rain, and low 60's--high 50's isn't really a hardship.

You can tell it was windy by the way the high clouds are stretched super thin up there. We should have had some rain this last week, but it blew right by us.

So, baseball. The boys are in the Shetland Pony League and they play at this lovely park. No bleachers, but plenty of space to set up chairs.

Here's Big G up at bat. He's 6 now, and although he's a big 6, he's not the tallest kid on the team--the tallest boy is a week older than he is!

G's coach calls him "the talent." He's a good hitter, actually hit a  home run in this game, plus got a couple of solid 2- and 3-baggers, and managed a terrific catch of a pop fly. His fielding is getting a lot better, too.
 Here's younger brother N8, also up at bat. He managed a couple of good base hits and was able to score twice.

Usually he plays catcher, and he's learning more about the position. His mom says the first few games he was playing target rather than catcher, but last night he was hustling for the ball and even at one point took it away from the umpire to set it on the T for the hitter.

In this division, they have one or two kids on each team who are designated as able to use the T--if they miss their first two swings, they get two more on the T. Of course, this will be ending shortly.

N8 is 5, and his fielding is pretty hilarious. Last night his mom caught him doing the Macarena in the outfield, while Auntie Megi spotted him doing the Running Man. At least he can do a convincing crouch when the coach tells them to get ready!

Some confusion about the final score of the game-- I guess scorekeeping at this level is not an exact science! I was happy to see that the coaches, while serious about the whole enterprise, aren't totally BSC about it.

There was a very pretty sunset, too.

Next time, I'm taking a thermos of hot coffee, or at least stopping at the drive-thru for something warm to drink!

Sunday I decided  that it would be good to replenish my supply of chowder--and I had milk and potatoes, so of course that's what I did.

I do rather like cooking, and at least with something like this, it doesn't make such a ridiculously huge quantity that I won't get it finished.

It came out really good this time--I used Yukon Gold potatoes this time instead of the Red Rose from the last time, and I had milk rather than half and half.

So I guess this is a bit lighter but it tastes just as rich, and it's just as thick, so that was a pretty successful adaptation. And the YG potatoes seem to have cooked up a bit softer and have soaked up more of the clambroth flavor too.

Now I have lunches for a week, plus I passed some along to Meg and E when they came to pick up the recycling that I save for them.

Other than that? Not much else to show for the weekend. Guess I should stop trying to Do All The Things and just relax and enjoy the balmy weather and more relaxed pace?

Yeah, sure.