Turkey Tracks: “Remembering…Louise Phillips Bryan, 1892-1981” Quilt

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: Winter Pleasures

Turkey Tracks:  December 17, 2014

Winter Pleasures

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: THE HEALTHY SLOW COOKER

Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  December 18, 2014


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.