My crafting and family life journal

Long term project update

A few weeks ago I started working on my longterm quilting project again. This project was started two years ago and it will more than likely be another 3-4 years before it is completed. The finished project will be a hand pieced king sized quilt made out of one inch hexies using fabrics from my scrap basket. So far I have cut about 3,000 scrap squares, made about 1,000 hexies (ordered the paper template from an online source), and have a 100 or so units in various stages of completion.

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I really enjoy hand piecing because it can be taken anywhere and worked on while waiting or traveling. I especially enjoy this project because it allows me to work with fabrics used over many years and to think about the quilts that were created and the individuals that received the finished products.

Spicy Red Beans and Rice

It appears that the spring is going to be just as unpredictable as the 2015 winter. Last week it was in the 70s and we started yard work, took the plastic off the chicken’s winter run (they are a bit puffed up today since the wind break is down), and moved the veggie seedling trays to the sun porch. Today it was in the 30s with rain that changed to sleet and then to snow and back again.

With all of the lovely weather we were blessed with over the past few weeks I had planned to change to our spring menus and clean the wood stove for the season. The weather today and the what is now promised for the balance of the week actually had me to start the wood stove, and brush off a couple of winter favorites for dinners this week.  Today I made a pot of  vegan red beans and rice with a side of pumpkin cornbread. The red beans have a very rich flavor with just a hint of spiciness created with fresh vegetables,  veggie stock, creole seasoning, and a nice bunch of kale.

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If you like red beans and rice but would like to forego the animal fat in the traditional recipe than you may want to try the following.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dried rice
  • 1 cup dried red beans, picked over
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped fine
  • 1 large celery stalk, chopped fine
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp creole seasoning
  • 1 bunch of fresh kale, roughly chopped, or 1/2 cup of dehydrated kale
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. Soak the beans overnight in a large bowl of water.
  2. Rinse and drain the beans.
  3. Add the beans, onion, carrot, celery, jalapeno, creole seasoning, and vegetable stock to a medium-sized crock pot, and cook for 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  4. Taste the broth and adjust seasoning as needed.
  5. Cook rice according to package directions.
  6. Add the kale  to bean mixture and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  7. Serve the beans over 1/2 cup or so of rice with a side of cornbread.
  8. Enjoy.

Carrot cake scones

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The dogs got us up really early this morning so I decided to make some carrot cake scones to go with our morning tea. One of the things that I like about this recipe is that they use no processed sugar and are very low in fat while still being moist and packed with flavor.

The scones were a very nice Sunday morning treat. I hope that you will give the recipe a try.

Ingredients

for the scones

  • 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter or coconut oil, very cold and cubed
  • ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp nonfat milk, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly grated carrots

for the drizzle

  • 1 tbsp  Greek yogurt cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp nonfat milk
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F, and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or the back of a fork until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  3. Stir in the Greek yogurt, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of milk, and vanilla. Fold in the grated carrots.
  4. Shape the dough into a ¾” tall circle on the prepared baking sheet, and brush with the remaining milk. Slice the circle into 8 triangular segments with a sharp knife.
  5. Bake at 425°F for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the drizzle, stir together the Greek yogurt cream cheese, milk, and maple syrup in a small bowl. Transfer the mixture to a zip-topped bag, and cut off a tiny piece of one corner. Just before serving, drizzle on top of the scones.

Moving along

I am moving along at a snail’s pace on my craft projects. One of my biggest problems with crafts is that I like so many differs types and want to try them all. At this time there must be 20-30 started projects of different types. Every few years I try to get the UFOs under control, that is until I make a mistake in one of the projects.  When an error is made that requires that  something be re-cut or ripped out it has a tendency to be moved back to the UFO pile until I have more patience or it is need as a gift.

This year I promised myself that no new projects would be started and no new threads or fabrics purchased. I have already broken the first promise to myself by starting three new projects this year, but have held fast on the “no new purchases” promise.

So far this year five old projects have been completed and progress made on two additional UFOs. Last night I finished the flying geese ring for a star quilt that I have been working on for two years.

nested star quiltThe next piece to be cut is the solid ring that will be placed between the star cluster and the flying geese ring. Not sure when I will get back to this since I haven’t really felt like spring a lot of time with my sewing machine recently, spring will be calling me outside, and work will start getting very busy in the near future.

The other project that I have made some progress on is a needlepoint canvas that I started more than 10 years ago. Since it is rather small and easily be moved from room to room, it may actually get finished this spring.

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Mariner’s Compass quilt

Now that the quilts for the grandchildren are complete I have moved my mariner’s compass top back to the worktable. The center of this top consists of five rounds of paper pieced units. Since each of the rounds is circular, and sewing circles is one of my weakest areas, I am hand appliquéing the rounds to each other. This technique may take a bit longer than machine joining, but for me, the results are better. And since there are some many small units and repeated patterns in the stars I am using freezer paper pattern templates. The freezer paper allows me to only have to draw each pattern once and then stack template paper and use an unthreaded needle on my sewing machine to create multiple foundation patterns at once — it also means that I do not have to pick paper out of seams at the end of the project. 👍

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I hope to complete the quilt center in the next week or so, and another month or two to complete the multiple borders selected for the piece. The the end of the project the top will be approximately 90 inches square.

The following Videos demonstrate a few of the techniques I am using in this project

Kids quilts done

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Today I finished the binding on the last of my 2015 Christmas quilts. I had good intentions for getting the quilts for my youngest two grandchildren in the mail in early December. And that should have been possible since the pricing and quilting was completed in mid November. The problem was that I kept avoiding hand stitching the binding on the two full size quilts until a few weeks ago. I even set a new goal for myself by texting my daughter to tell her the quilts would be dropped in the mail that week. With the new goal in hand I started sewing the binding on the first quilt, got about halfway around the piece before I was distracted by another project. Earlier this week I texted her again noting that I was having a problem with the binding and that it would be an additional week before the quilts would be sent to the girls. This week I spent each evening working on the bindings so that I would not have to send another text of regret. The added pressure on myself did the trick. The bindings are now done and the quilts will be in the mail early next week.

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The lesson that I learned from this is that I cannot  have more than one binding project at a time on my work table. If I do I get a bit overwhelmed and revert to my avoidance behavior.

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… Now I should move on to the new quilt my daughter requested.

The Ladies

A bit more of the work on my Blackwork piece has been completed. I am at a loss as to what pattern to use for the remaining outer sections. So I will move onto finishing the ladies in the center of the piece. Please let me know if you have any stitch recommendations for the outside blocks.

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