Friday, August 26, 2016

Lazy Days of La Passacaglia

We have had an amazing summer!  For once the weather and our schedules cooperated for lots of long, lazy weekends relaxing in Maine.  This meant not much time in my studio but plenty of time for hand work so I've made a lot of progress on my La Passacaglia.  I love that this is so portable - the perfect on the go project.

My La Pas made the rounds this summer with the final Hand Sewing Happy Hour at Quilter's Way,

movie night,

sewing nights with friends,

beach days,

Olympic fever.


and endless days by the lake.

It all adds up...  I've finished almost half of the cogs.  It's hard to believe school is starting next week but that will bring football games and waiting for practice pick-ups.  I'm getting prepped for a La Pas filled fall.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

100 Days 100 Blocks

Truth be told I'm not really a joiner.  Swaps, sew-alongs and such really aren't my thing but when Instagram started lighting up with my friends joining #100Days100Blocks I thought this might be just the thing to jump-start my fall sewing.  Anyone reading this probably already knows all the details but you can find out more from the fabulous hostesses, Sweet Little Pretties, Gnome Angel and Sunflower Stitcheries.

The challenge is to make all 100 blocks from Tula Pink's City Sampler book by Thanksgiving.  This is a perfect project for my carefully hoarded curated Tula stash but I'm also mixing in my beloved shot cottons and some other faves.  For now I've been sticking somewhat to the colorations and fabrics in the book but I suspect that will evolve as I go.

So far the blocks haven't been difficult but they are small, only 6" finished.  There are lots of tiny pieces to cut so this is definitely the time to break out the revolving rotary mat if you have one!  I've found it easier to strip piece some of the units before cutting them to size.

I'm also eternally grateful for the Happy Zombie Block Buddies Aimee and I made on retreat.  I hadn't used them much but they are perfect for keeping track of all these little pieces and staying organized.

And here is the proverbial first step...  Block 1.

Do you prefer to quilt with a crowd or do your own thing?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

In a Pickle

This isn't a sewing post but hopefully I'll be back to the grind soon:-)  We've been having an amazing summer which hasn't allowed for much time in my studio.  My Mom has been visiting the last couple of weeks and I asked her if she'd teach me to make her bread and butter pickles.  She usually brings me a couple of jars since I've been ruined for life against store bought but I thought it would be nice to have my own source.  This post is mostly a reminder to my future self so I don't forget the process but if you want to give it a try you won't regret it!

Here's what you need:
  • 3 qts. medium Cucumbers
  • 3 medium Onions
  • 1/2 cup Pickling Salt
  • 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 2 Tbs. Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Celery Seed
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric
Wash the pickles, remove the ends and slice them about 1/8" thick.  Peel the onions and slice those also.  It's so fast to use a mandolin slice the cucumbers and onions and it keeps them consistently sized.  Just do your self a favor and invest in a safety glove...  I had to learn the hard way:-(

Put the cucumbers and onions in a large kettle with the pickling salt and cover with water and ice.  Let stand for 3 hours then drain.  Rinse to remove the salt and drain again.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Add the veggies and heat to simmering.  Don't boil!

Pack the pickles in to sterilized jars (I ran mine thru the dishwasher on the Sanitize cycle).  Fill the jars with liquid to the inside ring.  Run a butter knife around the inside edge of each jar to remove any air bubbles and wipe the outside of the jar with a paper towel to remove any liquids that have spilled.  Top each jar with a lid and loosely tightened ring.  You should always use new lids but you can reuse the rings.

Within a couple of hours you should hear the lids pop.  Any jars that don't seal after 24 hours should be refrigerated and eaten first.  For best flavor wait 2-3 weeks before serving.  Sealed jars of pickles should keep for up to 1 year.

Do you have a treasured family recipe you'd be lost without?