Blackwork sampler update

Over the past month I have made a fair amount of progress on my blackwork sampler. All of the quadrants have been either completed or the main thread of the patterns have been stitched.

blackwork samplerI still need to finish the orange on the bottom right corner, multi-colored flowers in the upper left-hand corner, the red hearts, and the beading around the hearts. The completed sampler will be used  as the center of one of my quilt projects. If all goes according to plan this piece should be completed in early fall…. That is as long as I don’t lose interest in the project again.

fiesta quinoa salad

We brought the following  fiesta quinoa salad to a gathering this weekend and it was a great hit so I thought that I would share it with you.



  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 – 14 oz can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed
  • 1  – 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 brightly colored bell pepper, diced or julienned
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 jalapeño or other hot pepper, finely diced (remove ribs and seeds to keep heat down)
  • zest of one lime
  • juice 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • few grinds black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon local honey
  • 1 minced garlic clove


  1. cook quinoa in water and cool.
  2. Add quinoa and rest of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl, fold gently, and let marinate for at least an hour before eating.

Smokey bush beans in the slow cooker

The cool wet weather that we received this summer encouraged many of our vegetables to provide us with bumper crops.  One of those vegetables was bush beans. After canning 30 pints and making copious amounts of four been salad, I decided to convert a childhood ham and beans recipe to a flavorful  vegan dish. With a bit of experimentation a dish of juicy green beans with soft potatoes and a rich flavorful smokey broth was created.   An added bonus of the dish is that it takes a little effort to prepare and can cooked in a crock pot started in the morning before work or prior to an event.

If you have some extra beans in your garden or the local market has fresh beans on sale you may want to try the following recipe.

smokey green beans and potatoes


  • 10 cups of green, yellow and/or purple beans cunt into bit sized pieces
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Spray the bowl of the slow cooker lightly with cooking spray
  2. All all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir
  3. Cover pot with the lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours
  4. Enjoy with some hot water cornbread or crusty rolls

English paper piecing project

With the hot weather we have received recently I have been able to make some progress on the English paper piecing project I started several months ago. All of the full stars have been added and the partial stars that will abut the border are created.

english paper piecing

We have a long car trip to visit family in the near future so I should be able to complete the top by mid-September. I really loved working on this piece but I will be just as happy to finish the top so that I can move on to other projects this fall and hand quilting the top this winter.

July on the hill: month in review

July was a month of highs and lows. Fortunately we were presented with more highs than lows this month. After a very slow start the vegetable and herb gardens started producing to the point that I have been able to dehydrate a number of different herbs, can 20 pints of green beans, a dozen pints of 4 bean salad and six pints of baked beans. We have also been able to enjoy a variety of salads, kale and zucchini dishes, as well as selected raw vegetables form the gardens.

The tomatoes, Swiss chard, beets, carrots, parsnips, and many of the tree and bush fruits and maturing to the point that we will be able to pick them in the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately,   the winter squashes, collard and cabbages are growing slowly and struggled with the cool wet July weather.  I am really starting to get a bit concerned about ability of some of the vegetables to mature before the first frosts set in this fall. Hopefully the rains will not come as often in August and we will have seasonably appropriate temperatures to spur plant growth.

The flower gardens loved all of the rain and unseasonably cool temperatures this month. We were blessed with some lovely summer blooms.

The middle of July I took a trip across the country to spend a bit a time support a relative that was dealing with a serious health issue. Fortunately my family member is recovering well and will return to very good health. Unfortunately,  I had to cut my visit short because one of my spouses relatives passed away at the end of the month.

Hopefully August will be a much better month…Enjoy the rest of your summer.



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