Turkey Tracks: December 18, 2014
“Remembering…Louise Phillips Bryan, 1892-1981″ Quilt
I mailed this quilt to sister Susan Heath this week.
It’s one of the prettiest quilts I’ve ever made, and it was made in memory of my beloved grandmother Louise Phillips Bryan of Reynolds, Georgia. I had the most amazing relationship with her, and to this day, I can hear her big hearty laugh, see her twinkling brown eyes, and know that she “had my back” no matter what. I spent a lot of time with her growing up, and one of my fond memories is sitting in her back yard one afternoon, our feet propped up on a pole, singing old songs together. She was so much fun. She was a gardener, a seamstress, a knitter, made sure the table in her dining room held nourishing, delicious food every day, and was a savvy and successful card player. I could go on and on about her, as like many others, I loved her so dearly. Brown was my grandmother’s favorite color–she had dark fine curly hair and brown eyes.
Susan fell in love with this quilt as it grew on the design wall during her last visit. So I gave it to her.
This quilt is a split nine-patch, and I started it as Bonnie Hunter issued this block as a leader-ender challenge a while back. A leader-ender project is where one works on a block whenever one needs to cut thread while working on another quilt. You can see Bonnie’s version of this quilt easily as she has it on the banner of her web site, quiltville.com, at the moment. Or, it’s on the blog, which you can get to from the main site. I LOVE Bonnie’s version–it’s more modern and uses a different setting.
With light/dark blocks, setting possibilities are endless. I adapted a setting used by Lynn Roddy Brown in the Jan/Feb 2014 (#155) issue of Quiltmaker Magazine.
Here are some close-ups of this quilt that was made with dozens of different fabrics out of my deep stash:
I quilted with a gold/brown thread, using a pantograph called “Arcadia” from Urban Elementz.
Here’s the backing:
And the label:
Turkey Tracks: December 17, 2014
Before I left for Charleston, SC, for Thanksgiving, I bought three amaryllis bulbs and left them, each in a brown paper sack, on a counter downstairs.
When I got home, this amaryllis had grown out of the bag by about a foot.
I put it into this glass vase designed for amaryllis, and soon it straightened itself out and grew tall and straight.
Here it is in the kitchen.
The drama of an amaryllis bulb never fails to fascinate me…
Sister-in-law Maryann Enright and cousin Ann O’Callaghan were here for Christmas By The Sea weekend in early December.
We did some shopping, and I came home with this little tree–made of wired and shiny glass beads. I added the little finches for decoration, and the whole thing makes me smile every time I pass by it.
My little flock has come together nicely now. That’s rooster Pumpkin with the grand tail. The three (red) Buckeye hens remain unnamed, but loved, as I cannot tell them apart. The darker Cuckoo Maran is Chocolate, or lotte, and the lighter one is Cocoa. The Americauna on the far side of Pumpkin is his beloved, Ginger, who lays blue eggs. She’s older and was so not happy to shared her coop with upstarts. These young hens are starting to lay now, but only a little. They won’t lay fully until the days grow longer again–or unless I extend their day with added light in the coop, which I don’t do.
Chickens are master beggars and know how to hang out at the kitchen door for a handout:
On the J&E Riggin this summer, Jeanne Gervais gave me this little green bag for my knitting when she determined that my plastic sack was way too prone to being blown away in the wind. Here it is at Camp St. Christopher. It carries my handwork with such style:
The HUGE/TALL amaryllis fell over, and the glass vase broke all over the kitchen. I cut off the bloom stems and put them in another vase. I don’t know if the bud will open or not…
Books, Documentaries, Reviews: December 18, 2014
THE HEALTHY SLOW COOKER
Daughter-in-law Corinne has cooked several meals for me now out of Judith Finlayson’s book, THE HEALTHY SLOW COOKER.
Each meal has been delicious.
So, I ordered this book when I got home from Charleston, SC, after Thanksgiving.
Now, I do not have a slow cooker at present. My last one cooked way too hot–a familiar critique if you start reading the “reviews” of slow cookers. I threw it out after it seemed to burn the bone broths I was trying to make using a slow cooker. Bryan and Corinne have a large-size Faberware that was given to them for their wedding, ten years ago now. Faberware seems to have disappeared. And, it also seems that all of our appliances have taken such down turns in quality that even if I could find a Faberware one now, there would be no guarantee that it bore any resemblance to a product made ten years ago now.
I can’t find a slow cooker I’m willing to buy. I did find a 10-quart one with a crockery insert, but at least one reviewer surfaced the fact that slow-cooker crockery inserts contain lead. Apparently there is a web site that can reveal how much lead, etc., but…
Cuisinart is ranked currently as the “best” slow cooker of the moment, but I’m never buying another Cuisinart product after having their expensive toaster fail and being grossly disappointed in their food processor, which is an expensive piece of junk. This week, the shaft that the grating disc sits atop bent while grating carrots:
Look at the metal curling out of the stem. Anyone with half a brain can tell you that this piece of equipment is not going to stand up to grating carrots, turnips, potatoes, etc. I ordered a new shaft, and the motor seems ok, but… A PIECE OF JUNK and SHAME ON CUISINART.
Some slow cookers have aluminum inserts. Aluminum is toxic and should not be used around food. (Substitute parchment paper for aluminum if you need to top something in the oven.)
Some slow cookers have teflon lining, which is also toxic.
So, I am going to cook the slow cooker recipes in my Creuset pot with a lid–in the oven. The whole thing will cook faster anyway.
I tried the black bean and squash chili (with hamburger) this week, and it is DELICIOUS. (I’m allergic to hot peppers of any sort, so substituted cumin, tumeric, coriander, and a bit of cinnamon for the hot peppers.) I covered the whole thing with a layer of grated cheese at the last minute and let it melt. Delicious.
Turkey Tracks: December 16, 2014
“Ailey Loves Lighthouses” Quilt
Ailey loves lighthouses.
We have to go visit as many as we can whenever she comes to Maine.
Here’s how her lighthouse quilt came out–thanks to Denise Lanier for this set of blocks given to me about ten years ago.
I kept the quilting simple–meandering on the long arm with a light green thread and outline stitching of the lighthouses on the domestic machine in a darker blue thread.
I had enough of this great fabric for the backing:
It works well with the front:
This quilt will hang in Ailey’s bedroom–to remind her of Maine, of lighthouses, and of her grandmother’s love.
Interesting Information: December 16, 2014
A Thanksgiving Family Retreat 2014
Going to Camp St. Christopher near Seabrook, SC, was Tami Enright’s idea.
The Montessori charter school that Mike and Tami’s children attend uses this camp in the fall to immerse children in nature, and Tami has been a chaperone every year.
When she discovered that the camp sponsors a family Thanksgiving retreat, she asked if we all thought it might be a good idea.
We did, and it was.
What I most loved about it was that we really did spend quality time with each other, rather than working ourselves to death to prep, serve, and clean up for a Thanksgiving feast. We were 11, and next year we will be 12 in number–and that’s without all the other family living in the area whom we all love to see as well. The people who really get lost in the Thanksgiving hub-bub, I think, are the children. I, for one, feel I have limited time with my family, and I loved spending it BEING WITH THEM, not just being in the same geographic area that they are while we all shop, cook, and clean up.
The time we spent together at Camp St. Christopher was spent really being together, and it was lovely.
Ailey is our Thanksgiving baby–and this year she was FOUR. So, Corinne and Bryan hosted us the night before we left for Camp St. Christopher for a dinner to celebrate Ailey’s birthday:
Here are my grandchildren on the porch of the big cottage filled with bunks where we “camped” out.
There was a beach to walk–the camp sits on the mouth of the North Edisto River as it enters the Atlantic:
This littliest one, Cyanna, was pretty exhausted by Saturday morning from trying to “keep up” with all the action.
Mike and I enjoyed the spectacular sunset one night:
There was a herpetarium and a man who loved sharing his knowledge of snakes. Here’s Kelly with a corn snake. There was, also, a coach whip snake. I’ve always wanted to see one, and now I have. They are very long, very fast (hence the name) and night hunters.
There was a gym with all sorts of balls:
And, a climbing wall that ALL the children tried, but Cyanna:
Bowen and Kelly made it to the top
As did Talula, after Wilhelmina succeeded in going higher than Talula did on her first try:
Here’s Wilhelmina getting ready:
And, Ailey, with Dad Bryan:
Both Talula and Wilhemina began to learn to knit this trip:
Here’s the scarf Talula and I made for her–I sent the Noro silk/wool/nylon yarn to her for her birthday in September.
Here’s Bowen showing us the dining room where we ate three meals a day:
There were so many special moments around our two tables, like this one between cousins:
All the children LOVE Uncle Joey (Tami’s gorgeous brother) and Aunt Megan (Joey’s gorgeous wife). That’s their son Meyer with the green ipad next to Ailey. They came down to us for Thanksgiving day.
I posted earlier about the resident alligator.
Fortunately (or not) it was a bit too cold for us to kayak, but we would have been fine in the river, as you can see from the beach picture above.
Next year, maybe…
But, in any case, I think taking time for a retreat as a family is time well spent.
Thank you Camp St. Christopher.
PS: Don’t you love the way ferns and moss grow on the live oaks in the Low Country?
Turkey Tracks: December 15, 2014
Bonnie Hunter’s 2014 Mystery Quilt
The mystery started on Black Friday.
I was in Charleston, SC, at a family retreat for Thanksgiving–more on this quality experience later.
I left my fabrics ironed and ready to go when I got home on Tuesday after Thanksgiving–FIVE days after the first clue.
I finished the first and second clues last night. Here’s what I have so far in terms of units made–which includes 400 bonus half-square 2-inch triangles made while making the pile of units on the left. This method of making bonus triangles was, I believe, pioneered by Bonnie:
Clue 3 came last Friday, and it’s got GREEN, which I had thought might happen:
I’m on the job as soon as I finish posting to the blog!!!
120 units to make…
Interesting Information: December 15, 2014
A dear friend here recited this little aphorism the other day, and I thought it especially appropriate during this season that can get more than a little crazy if allowed:
“Yesterday is history;
Tomorrow is a mystery;
Today is God’s gift,
That’s why it’s called ‘The Present’.”