Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter memories and a good week

I love the seasons and the holidays throughout the year. Perhaps it is the food that I associate with each day. Growing up in New Jersey, we spent many of the holidays with my paternal grandmother and often at her house in Sussex, NJ. We loved her cooking. I have many of her possessions and I treasure them along with the memories of time spent at her house. My sister and I were chatting about her Easter today. Of course, Perfection salad had to be mentioned. I had forgotten about it until she served it a few years back. She found a recipe for a salad with the same name and tweaked it slightly. She is a clever girl! I posted a recipe for this in one of my first blogs and you can find it here. I use Gram's bowl - not only for the sentiment but also to avoid an unmolding disaster.

We are having our dinner today with friends. We are far away from family and our friends have become our families. I recreate the meals I remember. So we shall have ham, asparagus, sweet potatoes, perfection salad, Gram's date and nut bread, Challah rolls. For dessert there will be coconut cupcakes and goodies from Jersey Swirl goblets I used for the goodies. My mother hid jelly beans not eggs and the baskets contained an assortment of goodies from peeps to a chocolate bunny. As we got older, their might be a present from the lingerie department of Lord & Taylor tucked in the mix.

I like to set the table a few days in advance.

I worked on the quilt this week. I purchased the kit from Keepsake Quilting in NH. I was fearful that there was not enough fabric almost from the beginning and I was right. I called customer service and a package is on its way.

The sections on the right are complete but as I moved onto the left side I could just tell I would not have enough for the strips that are attached to the center patchwork strip. 

Those white areas on the design need fabric.

So, a delay. But I was distracted. With much handwringing and math and agonizing, I upgraded my embroidery machine. She is a beauty and I am thrilled.

The guest towels in the bathroom were made on an older one. Jump stitches galore! The new machines cut those stitches and a lot more. I will need some demos next week.

 We are fortunate to have Sirard Chocolate close to us. Ginger and apricot scones will be served with coffee in the morning. Then a quiet day.

Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A New Quilt

Jack is a lover of American Indian lore. His house reflects the art and pottery and symbolism of native Americans. While we were on the cruise, he saw the movie Windtalkers about the Navajo code talkers during WWII. When we got home I went through all the catalogs that had accumulated during our absence. A quilt in Keepsake Quilting's catalog caught my eye. The name of the quilt is "Navaho Code Talkers". I ordered the kit. Years ago I would never have bought a kit but over time I have gotten rid of most of my fabric "stash" and have no desire to start another one.

The cutting has begun. I have a tendency to want to see how it will look so I have to make a few blocks right away. Then I can get methodical and do all the rest of the cutting before sewing. I create quite a messy worktable.

Threads are everywhere! Dustbuster to the rescue.

The directions could be better. I am not a beginning quilter so when I am scratching my head it is not a good sign. I have found recently that many of the patterns I have bought are not correct or incomplete. Sad.

The first block is done. The first strip is done.

More blocks in progress.

I hope to get all the cutting done today. Maybe I will finish the top by next weekend. Knitting and needlepoint are on hold until contact dermatitis on fingers calms down. It comes and it goes.

You can read about the Code Talkers here.

Now, back to the cutting table. I hope you have a wonderful day and week ahead.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Good Week!

I have to say that this past week was a very good one! They are usually good but this one was quite special. My shoulders are better (pushing wheelchair on cruise was not a good idea) and the weather has been beautiful. I had lunch with friends and went to a lovely shower for a friend who is going to be a grandmother. Very elegantly done!

I played with the app Waterlogue on my iPhone and iPad. This program takes my photo and turns it into a watercolor painting. I am not an artist but I am able to manipulate some of my photos into artwork. I find it quite rewarding to experiment. Some photographs don't work with this program but most do.

Towards the end of the week, we found a new restaurant - new to us, that is. Pop's Sunset Grill is our new favorite. We have been there twice and will go next week.

The edamame salad was served with grilled shrimp. I will have this next.

The grilled salmon was out of this world as were the crab cakes I had earlier.

I bought some butternut squash. I am determined to use the Vitamix once a day. One of the features is making soup which actually becomes hot in the container.

I drizzled the squash, carrots and onion with olive oil and seasoned all with red pepper flakes, pepper, salt and fresh thyme. I used curry as well. Next time I will use more curry. I roasted this mixture at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. When the squash and vegetables are cool it is time to make soup.

I used chicken stock. I will try coconut milk next time.

The soup was silken. I like my soup to be a little "soupier" so I shall experiment until the consistency is more to my liking. 

I hope your week was wonderful and this coming one will be a good one too.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

This and that. . .

Spring cleaning has arrived and we have scrubbed and polished and rearranged. The tulips from the market were the final touch on the coffee table when we were done. There is still some work to be done upstairs but that shall be done by the end of the week.

The shelves have been "fed" with Old English and boy were they "thirsty". I felt it was time to rearrange for a slightly different look. I "shopped" the house. Amazing the "stuff" I hadn't seen for a while. I cannot bear to part with these things.  They all tell me a story and remind me of life events and experiences. I feel the presence of my grandparents, parents, my life with my late husband and now my life with Jack.

My mother always treasured this figure. It is a Japanese Hakata Urasaki doll. These figurines were made as souvenirs for the US soldiers. I do not know how my mother came to have him. I need to do more research because some were made in China according to some information I read. I found him tucked in a cupboard and thought he would look nice next to a belt buckle that Jack bought in Arizona made by an Indian tribe. We had it framed in a shadow box and it lives on an end table.

Senor Frog came back from Mexico to a relative's house and lived in their enclosed porch. I saved his life and he has been with me for almost 40 years. We are both showing our age. . . I love hand painted china and have some that was done by a great-great aunt. I bought the plate with the robin and apples locally. The painting is signed Snook. That name would be related to the painter of my pieces if it is a small world after all.

I had lunch with a friend on Monday. She brought "show and tell". Her work is exquisite. 

Right down to the zipper pulls!

The pattern is Classmate by Atkinson Designs. Thank you Donna. I shall fill this with my quilting paraphernalia  and put on my project table in the studio.

We had lunch with a friend from Maine yesterday and today was a "grandmother" shower for my friend Pat.

So, back to the cleaning with a detour at the embroidery machine. The Honeycomb Quilting CD is in the mail.

Thanks for stopping by.


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