Snapshots of life and crafts on our little homestead

Bread day

We have been given another snowy day so I decided to use up some of my sourdough starter on a variety of breads. Today I made, 2 butternut squash and sage challah, 2 basil and sun dried tomatoes, 1 multigrain, and 1 fig and walnut loaf. The kitchen smells wonderful and the freezer is full for a time.

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Koran Kimonos quilt

I decided to step away from my Diamonds and Ice quilt to start the bead work on my Koran Kimonos quilt. The quilt has been picked, quilted and bound, so a 2 needle couching method is being used to add seed beads around the flower petals in the center of the quilt. This technique allows the stitches securing the beads to be hidden in the wadding instead of showing on the front or back of the quilt.

Once the seed beads have been attached, small crystal butterfly and beads will be added to each kimono to reflect light when the piece is hung.

Diamonds and Ice: Part 3

Finally finished the blocks and borders for the Diamonds & Ice wall hanging. I love the rich color palette on this piece. If all works according to schedule the top will be sandwiched and quilting stRted this weekend.

Diamond and ice quilt top

Getting ready to add the second border around the cross stitch quilt center to adjust the size for block attachment. Each of the quilt blocks contains a double windmill pattern and is 6 inches square. For this wall hanging blocks will be placed three deep on all sides and finished with a triple border.

I really like mixing needlework and quilting together.

Optical illusions

Starting to make a bit more progress on my optical illusion pattern by Aaron Art. I finished the counterclockwise center yesterday evening and will move back to the larger clockwise outer circle in about a week. Once all of the cross stitching is done metallic threads of various colors will be used for outlining and to add detail to the piece.

Diamond play


New project start to bring in 2019 will combine cross stitch and quilting. I spent the past few weeks selecting fabrics and designing a finish of a piece of cross stitch completed last year. Since the needlework piece contains a series of diamonds filled with vintage patterns, gilded fabrics containing vintage patterns, and double windmill pattern were selected for the project.

The following images will step you through how I took my paper design from concept to the design wall.

Quilt block units
Design layout and units for the first blocks – background blocks and four square units.
The four square units were first strip pieced and then cut to the appropriate size.
4 square block sandwich
Four square sewn on all four sides to the background square.
Sandwiched blocks cut into four units on the diagonal
Block units opened
Cut sandwich opened and ready for layout
Finished double windmill block
Finished double windmill block
Design wall layout of blocks
Design wall layout of the first set of blocks

Botanical Garden finished

I have my first craft finish for 2019. Almost 100,000 stitches later my Botanical Garden quilt is finished, washed, pressed and added to the finishing queue. The combination of blackwork and counted cross stitching on the piece was so much fun to work.

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Dehydrating winter squash

When I rotated our cold room produce there were a few winter squash that were reaching the end of their storage life. The Hubbard, butternut and buttercup squash that were starting turn around the stem ends were roasted, puréed, dehydrated, ground into powder and moved to dry goods storage.

I find that dehydrated wInter squash re-hydrates well and can be used in any dish that calls for puréed squash or pumpkin. I have also found that most winter squash is interchangeable in pies, quick breads, soups and stews.

The process I use to create squash powder can be found in the images below.

Large Hubbard squash from our harvest this past fall
Seeds and associated pulp removed
Seeds ready to be washed and dried for planting next year and
pulp set aside to feed to the chickens
Roasted chunks ready to be mashed and placed on dehydrator sheets
Dehydrator loaded and ready to start. For my type of dehydrator
this process will take about 10 hours.
What the squash will look like at the end of the process
Place the dehydrated squash in a blender and process to a fine powder
Dried squash powder
place the powder in an airtight container and store away from direct sunlight.
For most recipes mix 1/4 cup of powder into about 3/4 cups of warm water and let sit for about 15 minutes before usinig.

Happy New Years

May the new year bring you all that you need and some of what you want.

 

Botanical garden: Part 7

Now that my holiday projects are done I started working on the botanical garden piece again. Finally figured out the blackwork pattern on the “B” letter, and finished outline the border. Just four letters to finish before I can call this piece complete.

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The Gift of Handwarmers

In early November we made the 7 hour drive to my in-laws house for a weekend visit and family pre-holiday dinner. During the visit my father-in-law talked about how much his hands hurt now that the cold weather had set in. His complaint gave me a great idea for some things to add to their Christmas basket — a set of hand warmers that could be heated in a microwave or on top of a wood stove, paired with muscle salve I made earlier in the year.

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The hand warmers were so easy to make that I thought I would share the process with all of you.

  1. Trace a hand outline approximately 2 inches wider and higher that the actual hand onto a piece of freezer paper or directly onto the piece of fabric that will be used for the hand warmer.
  2. If freezer paper was used iron the paper onto the fabric to be used and the cut 8 pieces of frantic using the template.
  3. Put the cut fabric pieces in pairs with the back sides of the fabric facing each other. On the top piece of each side draw 2 channel line from the top to the bottom (about 2.5 inches from each side works for most adult size hands).
  4. Sew each set of fabric pieces together along the channel line – any type of stitch will work.
  5. Stack two sets on top of each other and then sew a 1/2 inch seam around the outside of each set. Next, turn the sets right side out. 47212C2D-28F3-426E-9DA0-7C35F8BD4986
  6. Mix rice (buckwheat hulls also work well) and dried herbs of your choice (I used rosemary and eucalyptus) together and then fill the channels in the mitts with the rice mixture, filling each channel 1/2 to 3/4 full.B48FE213-2F5E-4A91-AD2E-33EF972A79BA4F1CC8CB-EFF0-423A-883E-C7C8B2002461
  7. Sew the openings of the mitts shut.E9E2D9B3-1EBD-41E4-89A0-4549D7B76F67
  8. Cut cuffs for the mitts (5 inches by 14-16 inches works for most adult sizes. Press a 1/2 hem over on one of the short sides of each cuff, then press the long side in half.F065613E-E0FB-4CDB-8078-E5AAF09DC494
  9. Pin the cuffs to the inside of each mitt, placing the raw edge of the cuffs inside of the seamed edge, and the sew the cuffs in place.12E66D81-4646-4B43-B258-37854A47CB84
  10. Pull the cuffs up, fold over the seam and tack in place.

Teatime quilt finished

Another 2018 quilt finish. The fabric for this teatime quilt was sitting in my stash for about 10 years waiting for that special person in need of a new quilt. The person has been identified, and thanks to the longarm work of Joanne at Splitting Stitches, a cute steaming teapot and flower quilting stitch was matched to the top allowing me to finish the piece in time for holiday gift giving. 

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Elf quilt finished

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With the animals safely closed in their homes and the falling snow it was a perfect morning to finish binding the quilt for my little Christmas elf. I designed and pieced the top, but my friend Joanne the owner of Splitting Stitches worked her magic on the quilting with a lovely snowflake and swirl stitch pattern.  

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Noel, noel

Just finished my first holiday pillow of the season. The combination cross stitch and blackwork portion of the pillow is a free Elizabeth Almond pattern I found online. This pillow top was so much fun to do that I think I may do another one before the holiday season is over.

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Just finished binding a gift for one of my aunts. She really loves bright colors and has been after me to make a quilt for their shore house, so I made her a quilt named Sunny Days. It is made of simple log cabin blocks, but the layout of the unit, and the lovely longarm quilting done by my friend Joanne at Splitting Stitches remind me of a bright sunny day. 45FC877F-008D-49DF-B734-D20D4CD612BB

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