Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blog Break

Taking a short break, family business calls.  All is well be back soon.

Until next time,

Monday, May 28, 2012

In Memorium

 On this Memorial Day you might be interested to know that the relation of color red to Memorial Day goes beyond the red, white, and blue we are used to seeing on the American flag and those blow out sale posters at the mall.
The color red and the poppy symbolize remembrance of those who perished in war. This association came out of one of the most memorable poems ever written about war - "In Flanders Fields" by Lt. Col. John McCrae. The poppies referred to in the poem grew in profusion in Flanders on the disturbed earth of the World War I battlefields.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Let us not forget the fallen.

Until next time,

Friday, May 25, 2012

I'm Crying

I'll bet you are too! It's allergy season everywhere but my allergy season trumps yours no matter where you live and here's the proof.

This is POLLEN piled up on our deck. You can see it drifting in clouds through the air. It's everywhere, I can taste it and I definitely FEEL IT!

Remember when I told you how I hang my laundry to dry in the house in the winter to save propane and take advantage of wood stove heat? Well I hang clothes in the house all year long because of this. Spring is obviously the worse time of year but there is always pollen and dust in the air so why invite it inside?

Shadow basking in the spring sunshine. She obviously doesn't care about pollen. Can you shake off before coming inside please.

Until next time,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Are Those Geese Migrateing?

Lots of geese in this one
The BOM I'm making, Memories of Provence has millions of flying geese blocks, millions I tell ya. I swear making the Flying Geese block can drive a person crazy and wish the darn things would just migrate on out of here already!  Mine are wonky, wobbly and would never be able to find their way north or south.  Maybe you don't have this problem but if you do you might want to try the ruler I've been using lately. (Disclaimer: I have NO affiliation with or sponsorship from the manufacturer or seller of  this product). 

Can you say off kilter?

Using the ruler to trim things up

That's better.

Everything is the same size and no cut off points. It's a miracle.

I've been trying the Fit to be Geese ruler from Open Gate Quilts,  I purchased it at my LQS on the recommendation of the owner and it has helped tremendously to get flying geese blocks that are accurate and not too cut off and wonky.

What method do you use to get those geese to fly right?

Until next time,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Design Wall Monday/Flimsy Baby

 At last the Peter Rabbit quilt is a flimsy and ready for quilting. In fact it's already under the needle and I'm half way finished with the quilting.

Super cute border print and carrot print fabric

I'm just doing a simple stitch in the ditch all around each block and the borders and a meander inside the blocks to emphasize the embroidery. I have to get this done by next week because we are leaving for San Diego and the baby shower. I do have the cute as a button rag quilt which I finished ages ago and blogged about already. But I'm the grandma so of course just one quilt will not do!

It's linky time on Monday at Patchwork Times and on Tuesday at Quilting by the River. Wander on over and see what other creative people are up to.

Until next time,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bran Muffins My Way

My husband leaves for work EARLY. Like 5:00 AM early. I love him and everything but there is no way I'm getting up and making breakfast for him that early. Besides, he's not ready to eat then either. He has an hour and a half commute and is in his office before anyone else so he likes to sit peacefully and eat at his desk. Our solution is these muffins and hard boiled eggs and his second cup of coffee. I've been making them for years, like 40 years! They started out as the standard you can keep the batter in your refrigerator for 6 weeks muffins and have mutated into this I hope slightly healthier version. I know this sounds like a meager breakfast but my hubby wears the same size pants as he did in high school so it's working for him. (Try not to be a hater ;) )

Breakfast Bran Muffins
makes 6 dozen
Batter will keep in the refrigerator for up to six weeks. If it gets too thick add fruit juice or milk.

15 oz. whole bran cereal
4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup ground flax or whole wheat flour 
5 tsp baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil or 1 1/2 cup applesauce + 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 quart buttermilk
4 beaten eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1 lb dried fruit, re-hydrated
2 cups chopped nuts

Mix all dry ingredients together, including nuts in a very large bowl.
Combine the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. 
Make a well in dry ingredients and add wet ingredients all at once stirring just until combined. Add fruit and stir until blended. Don't over mix this makes your baked goods tough.
Fill greased muffin tins or use paper liners and bake at 400* for 20 minutes. 
I like to bake mine all at once since I have more freezer space than frig. space and these freeze really well. You can add any combination of fruit that you like. 

Blueberries, cranberries and apricots. To rehydrate barely cover with water an soak overnight or microwave for 2 minutes and cool.
All the dry ingredients together on a LARGE bowl.
Add the wet ingredients, I added the fruit at the same time I'm a rebel. My bowl is shiny so that's a nice reflection, kinda like a heart.

Mix it up.

I use an ice cream scoop to fill my muffin cups. Spray with cooking spray and the batter will slide right out.

Personally I probably ruin the whole health aspect since I slather with butter when they're fresh from the oven. Yum.  As a side note I do not wear the same size pants as I did in high school!

Until next time,

Friday, May 18, 2012

Missing Miss Daisy

My Daisy Girl has been gone exactly one year and I miss her every day. She sure did make me smile, she was a good and faithful friend.  I'm not the overly sentimental type about the animals in my life but I do love my dogs and try to treat them well while they are here with me. Please do the same for your pets.

Daisy and Shadow when Shadow was just a puppy
Until next time,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Color Purple

No, not the play or the book but Dogwood Lane is awash in purple. Everything that's blooming is some glorious shade of purple. You can see the color wheel in action in nature if you just stop and look. 

The glorious scent of lavender and lilac and wisteria is in the air at Dogwood Lane Farm. This sight is fleeting, hope it's just as beautiful where you are.

Until next time,

Monday, May 14, 2012

Design Wall Monday/BOM

My Block of the Month was finished in time for the turn in on Sunday but not without a lot of problems. A Lot  Of  Problems. I wasn't able to be at the demonstration for this block and so only had the diagram to go by and I could not not make head nor tails of that! After cutting everything out exactly as directed the darn thing just would not go together properly, in fact it was a complete mess! We are only given the exact amount of fabric to work with so I had to get really creative with the scraps from previous blocks and come up with a block of my own. 

 This one is completely different from the original design but I like it and it works overall. Now that I've seen it with the others I quite like my block better than the original. Whew! 

For those of you who are like me and don't have a fancy fussy cut ruler I thought I'd show you how I cut those center motifs. You'll need template plastic or freezer paper for this. Both will work but it's worth $1.50 for that template plastic because these are going to last a long time. Out of what ever material you choose cut the unfinished size square you need. In this project my centers are 4.5 and 3.5 inches. Draw diagonal and center lines on the square. These are going to help you with the centering of your motif.

Now you can use your template to pick out the motif, centering exactly where you want. Draw around  the outside with a disappearing marker. I'm using a Frixion pen these days. Love those things because they disappear with heat. (Don't think I would mark my quilting lines with them though. Maybe, what do you think? I digress)

Cut on your lines. I use my rotary cutter but you can use scissors. Just remember that cutting with scissors changes the size slightly. And bob's your uncle a perfectly centered motif for your block!

All sewn up
Linking with Judy at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.
Linking Tuesday to Quilting By the River.
 Until Next time,

Friday, May 11, 2012

Springtime in the Pines, part II

When ever I go to a quilt show I admire every one's work traditional and modern, art quilt and Sunbonnet Sue but the pictures I take of  quilts are the ones that strike me as a little bit different, the ones that have a slightly different take on the way of doing things or fabric choices.

Nature's Braid by Carmen Crow

Revisiting the Pine Tree Quilt Guild Show in Grass Valley and starting off with this beauty. We've all seen this pattern by now, Carmen made it her own by the addition of the owl embroidery in the center. I love embroidery in a quilt (big surprise to all of you I know).

This is the only quilt I can't find notes on. My apology to the maker. I loved the applique and use of batiks.

Ponte Vecchio, Fienze, Italia by Jeanie Ferguson
Wonderful interpretation of a favorite vacation photo.

One of the themes for the show was the Chinese Year of the Dragon which was presented in wall hangings and display pieces. There were two huge display pieces that just blew me away - spectacular!

Fabric dragon

Dragons created by the Golden Girls mini-group

This guy looks like he could breath fire!

Year of the Dragon by Lynda Lasich; his fire is made of red and orange beads.

Scarlet Flowers by Rose Thompson; lots of crystals

No Worries by Karla Rogers and group- a fractured photo challenge
I'll leave the show with this wall hanging which was in a different building and which I might have missed. I'm glad I didn't because it was just gorgeous and the maker says was her first attempt at thread work. She must be one confident beginner!

Look at those feathers.
Until next time,
P.S. I'm still working away at that baby quilt, the borders have been added and I'll be moving on to the quilting today I hope.