Turkey Tracks: Instagram Traveling Quilts and Foundation Piecing

Turkey Tracks:  August 30, 2016

Instagram Traveling Quilts and Foundation Piecing

What fun!

Megan Bruns joined a group of people that formed on Instagram who are sewing on “traveling” quilts.  There are several groups.  There were rules about fabric quality, what each person would do on each quilt (like two borders only–maybe it was one?), and about when each quilt would ship back out again (a specific date of the month).  If you want to see some of these quilts “in progress,” the Instagram hashtag is #travelagentMaggie.

The quilt Megan has now is a Halloween quilt; the one she will get next is a blue and white quilt.  The group forms into a virtual circle, so the same person ships to Megan each month, and she ships to the same person each month.  And quilts are each shipped with a little memoir book started by the originator and commented on by each quilter as the quilt travels around.

Megan wanted to make a “boo” as part of her border on the Halloween quilt, so friend Becca Babb-Brott printed out some foundation patterns for her.  Megan came over Saturday and learned how to do foundation paper piecing.  The “b” was daunting for a newbie, but she did it, and it’s so so pretty:


The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember about foundation paper piecing is to start that first piece WRONG SIDE TO WRONG SIDE OF THE PATTERN.  A bit of fabric glue for that first piece is also so, so helpful.


We thought that the letters would have to be closer together, actually:


So one could cut back the pattern width right away.  Live and learn…

Here’s the quilt in progress.  I wonder what else Megan will do with her border(s) and where she will put the “boo.”  The half-square triangles on the right are three dimensional–very clever.  Love the pumpkin, too.


So, this project gives a quilter a chance to try a lot of different creative ideas in the course of  some months–nine if there are nine in the group.  And, to see a lot of new creative ideas.  Love the blocks in this Halloween quilt.  Those pin wheel blocks may be Japanese fabric???  Aren’t they pretty?

I can’t wait to see the blue and white quilt that will come next.

Turkey Tracks: August Farmer’s Wife Blocks

Turkey Tracks:

August Farmer’s Wife Blocks

There are 99 blocks in this project.  A group of Coastal Quilters of Maine are doing eight a month.  These blocks were designed by Laurie Aaron Bird in her THE FARMER’S WIFE 1930s SAMPLER QUILT project.  We are foundation piecing these intricate blocks and are mostly on track.  I’ve got posts for all that I have done is you want to see them.

No. 57, Margaret:  The cat fabric and the non-polka dot fabric are Cotton + Steel.


No. 58, Martha:  The bright green fabric is Japanese.


No 59, Mary:  The green fabric is a new Cotton + Steel fabric from the Portugal collection.  Just bought some of it in the mustard color.


No 60, Mary Gray:  These fabrics are all Japanese.


No 61, May:  The blue and cream fabrics are Japanese.  The pink is Cotton + Steel.  This block was challenging.

IMG_1518 (1)

No. 62, Milly:  The blue and cream/figured fabrics are Japanese.  This block works better “on point.”  And I think the white is not working so well.  It’s hard to tell sometimes.


No. 63, Mollie:  All Japanese Fabrics.  This one was…HARD!


No 64, Monette:  The orange fabric is Japanese, the others Cotton + Steel.  I like the way these fabrics work together.  Dear God, do you see all those TINY squares???


As Lynn Vermeulen said a while back, “the M’s go on forever”!!!  I just printed out the last 10 of them–my goal for September.

No 75 is “Nan,” and I will have TWENTY TWO blocks to go.

Interesting Information and Book Review: The Big Fat Surprise: Nina Teicholz

Interesting Information and Book Review:  August 28, 2016


Nina Teicholz

The USDA food guide finally scraped the notion that dietary cholesterol made too much cholesterol in the body.

It’s about time as that science has been out there for decades and decades.  Or, the lack thereof…

It was too much to hope that in the same year the USDA would also scrap the false notion that healthy fat is bad for you.  But that will fall next.

Really, the food guide and food advice needs to be removed from the USDA–there is a huge conflict of interest involved.  What is healthy for humans to eat is not necessarily the food crops that the USDA’s main clients raise.  Corn, soybeans, and wheat would be good examples.  (I have essays in the Mainely Tipping Point Essays about the early development of the USDA food guide and the corruption involved.)

Healthy fats are NOT the highly processed and already rancid vegetable fats–with the exception of MINIMALLY processed olive and coconut oils.  Healthy fats come from healthy animals eating what they were meant to eat.  We are talking small farms that grass-feed, pasture chickens, let pigs be pigs and goats be goats and sheep be sheep, and so on.

Teicholz explores the science of fat and explains “Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.”

Here’s Teicholz’s web site:

Source: The Big Fat Surprise: Nina Teicholz

The Wall Street Journal has a good review.

And here’s a response to Teicholz’s predictable critics:

Source: Response to Critics |

Note that there are MANY well-credentialed folks out there saying the same thing Teicholz is saying and showing science and history that proves it.  In the Mainely Tipping Point Essays there are essays on work done by Mary Enig, Gary Taubes, and The Weston A. Price Foundation.  The latter does not have a “dog in this hunt” so to speak as they are not selling anything.


Review: ‘The Miniaturist’ by Jessie Burton – Chicago Tribune

Review:  August 28, 2016

The Miniaturist

Jessie Burton

I listened to this book via the Maine State Library System’s library.

And I was spellbound much of the time.

This novel, as you can see from the quote below, is in the genre that takes a historical item (a painting, like “The Girl with the Pearl Earring,” or an object like the cabinet below) and weaves a fictional tale around it, employing a ton of research in the process.  And, as is true of most works of this kind, the tale tells you much more about issues in OUR time than it does with the effort to capture another world gone long ago.  As always, I will caution, the fictional overlay does violence to the people of another world.  We just bring with us our own culture no matter what; there is no such thing as totally objective “seeing” of another culture.

The review below also lists some of the weaknesses of the novel, with which I agree.  There are some too-neat threads tied off, some fairly unbelievable acts by a very young heroine, and so forth.

However, the language is lush and enjoyable and the time period certainly interesting–the height of the Dutch trading era where merchants travel the world, bringing back exotic treasures.

It’s a good read.

Jessie Burton, a British actor turned fiction writer, takes inspiration for her debut novel from a curiosity cabinet on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Built in the late 17th century, it was commissioned by Petronella Oortman, who wanted an exact replica of the luxury townhouse in which she lived in the center of this magnificent city.

Source: Review: ‘The Miniaturist’ by Jessie Burton – Chicago Tribune

Turkey Tracks: Jane’s Gazpacho

Turkey Tracks:  August 25, 2016

Jane’s Gazpacho

Yesterday Jane Liebler made a beautiful day for those Coastal Quilters who could break away for the day to visit her out in Liberty, Maine–which is about 25 minutes from Camden and a beautiful ride that traces the headwaters of the St. George river.

Jane’s farmhouse sits in the midst of blueberry barron-covered hills that rise above the gorgeous, blue St. George’s Lake.  And, John’s Ice Cream (all homemade) is just two miles away.

Jane greeted us with warm doughnuts, hot coffee with REAL cream and good honey, and anything else we wanted to drink.  The farm kitchen was warmed with wonderful wood walls.  A collection of baskets hung from the rafters.  This house is loved!  Jane also had a cantaloupe all cut up for us, which we devoured on the spot.  She made a scrumptious summer lunch for us, which included deviled eggs (yeah!!) and GAZPACHO I COULD EAT.  Most people add some form of red pepper to gazpacho, which would send me straight to the kitchen floor and on to the hospital.  We sat and did handwork, ate, laughed, visited, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  Thanks Jane!!  Don’t ask us back unless you really want us because WE WILL COME.

I broke away after lunch to drive about 20 minutes further west to Freedom, Maine, and Villageside Farm, where I picked up six frozen, hefty, free-range, non-Cornish chickens.  And after I returned and gathered up my passengers, we went to John’s Ice Cream for…John’s homemade ice cream.  It’s famous!  I had vanilla custard and rocky road, and it was so, so good.

I asked Jane how she made her delicious gazpacho, and she said scald the fresh tomatoes and skin them, then work the flesh with your hands to break it up, rather than putting everything into a blender.  Use lots of spring onions and some balsamic vinegar.  She added cucumber and green pepper.  Simple and as delicious as the summer-ripe ingredients.

So…I have a lot of tomatoes from the Hope’s Edge CSA pick-up this week.  I prepped the tomatoes as Jane directed, reserving some of the flesh to give the soup a chunky texture.  I also reserved some of the diced cukes and green pepper–as Jane did.  The rest I put into the Vitamix with spring onions (4 large spring onions to 1 large tomato, 1 medium tomato, 1 large cuke and 1 smaller one, and 1 green pepper).  I added about 1/4 cup of good olive oil and 2 or 3 dollaps of white balsamic vinegar, rather a lot of salt (2 teaspoons plus–tomatoes love salt), and some fresh ground black pepper.  I didn’t puree the mixture, just got it cut up into small pieces and poured it back into the bowl with the reserved tomato flesh.

When I tasted it, the white balsamic and the sweet ripe tomatoes made the mixture really sweet.  I added more black pepper and some red wine vinegar.  Yummy.


Gazpacho needs to age a bit I think.  It’s upstairs cooling its heels in the refrigerator.  I’m planning on having some of it–a lot of it–for supper since I fixed a big BLT sandwich about 2 p.m. and am not hungry.  I’ll have some goat cheese and avocado on corn chips (sprouted organic, GMO-free corn) to go with and call it a night.

Maybe I am getting hungry a bit…

It has been a lovely day–even though No No Penny threw up on the bedspread and afghan this morning.  She was left alone for some hours yesterday, and I do not think she is used to being alone for multiple hours yet.  I gave myself some time to sit on my porch and read this morning–accompanied by a bowl of fresh strawberries and blueberries with some yogurt and a piece of gluten-free toast with peanut butter.  It was so peaceful and lovely out there.

A storm is moving in, but humidity is really good.  All day the wind has been up, so when I went by the coast on an errand, I could see that sailing on the bay today would have been amazing. I can’t wait to go back on the Riggin again Sept. 20th.  AND, two passenger additions include Rose Lowell and Megan Bruns.  Mary Bishop will room with me.  We are going to have such a good, good time.  Rhea Butler of Alewives Quilt Shop will be on board to teach English Paper Piecing to whomever wants to learn.

When I walked by my garden at some point, I could see bits of orange in the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.  Time to pick again.  For some reason I checked the beans, and my goodness, I have to pick those too.  I had a terrible time getting the beans to germinate and outgrow the slugs–who seem to be gone now???–so I have one Romano bean plant, one bush provider, and about a half-dozen haricot verte bush “filet” beans.

Here’s what came in the house today:


I am drying a flat of cherry tomatoes in the kitchen, so I’ll let these guys ripen in the kitchen and eat the ripe ones.  Rain causes these cherry tomatoes to split open–from the extra water the plant takes up I guess.

Now I’m going to sew for a bit.



Turkey Tracks: Peter Hinsch’s Pictures From the J&E Riggin July 2016 Music Sail

August 22, 2016

Peter Hinsch’s Pictures From the J&E Riggin July 2016 Music Sail

Peter Hinsch is a gifted photographer.

Thank you, Peter, for agreeing to let me post some of your gorgeous pictures of our J&E Riggin sail this past July.

They mostly speak for themselves.

But, look at this picture of one of the ospreys who were, at that time, raising babies in a nest high above the Riggin dock.  The parents would “escape” to this nearby perch when they had had enough parenting.


Captain Annie Mahle in her boat kitchen.


Lots of swimming off the boat this year:




Going ashore in Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert, Acadia Park


Furling the sails when the day’s sail is done and we are at anchor:


This picture’s event was really fun.  A big lobster boat was working alongside while we were anchored one morning.  It was fun to see them right alongside practically hauling up lobster cages, harvesting lobsters, throwing some back, rebaiting, throwing the cage back, and moving on.  Then they came near and asked if we had coffee to share–a move which afforded us a grand view of the boat and crew–one of whom was a woman.  Annie brought coffee from the kitchen and cups were handed off the lobster boat to be filled–except for a cup that sailed through the air when one of our crew said “throw it, I’ll catch it.”  We all held our breath, and he did.  Thank heavens!!


Belfast Harbor, tied to the Timberwind for the night.  Good food and good music ensured that night.


Belfast Harbor.



Turkey Tracks: Sunday Puttering

Turkey Tracks:  August 21, 2016

Sunday Puttering

I love a day like today.

No schedule.  Nothing to do but what I want to do.  Within reason, anyway.  It always involves comfy clothes:  freedom of the body with no bra or anything tight.

I read a bit over breakfast:  email, the news (I have the NYTimes articles every day online and it’s so easy and convenient and has no ads), Facebook, the weekly local papers.  One of my fellow passengers on the Riggin in July posted his OUTSTANDING pictures to the rest of us.  I’ll do a blog entry of some of them in a bit.

We are getting a storm, which we need, but the sun comes out a bit, and I find myself watering, weeding a little, gathering, feeding birds (I made sugar syrup for the hummers) and just puttering about.

I roast some beets:


These will get into a green salad with blue cheese, some spring onions, and my mustardy/garlicky vinaigrette.


I pick chard from the garden and bring it inside to dry.  It will go into Mason jars and be thrown into soups and stews this winter.  Green flakes, after the food processor chops up the dried leaves.


The bottom flat is full of drying cherry tomatoes picked yesterday:  Sun Golds.  I pick another whole batch while in the garden.  Rain makes the ripe tomatoes burst open.  I have no container with me, so I make one from the bottom of my shirt tail.


After dripping some whey out of yogurt, I make mayonnaise–using some minimally processed avocado oil.  It’s delicious, so that’s a winner.  I find even the light olive oils to be too strong for a lemony mayo.  The addition of the whey “cultures” the mayo so that it lasts a long time.

What’s behind the mayo making is a yen for a BLT–it’s that time of year.  AND, I have a beautiful little head of cabbage that wants to be turned into coleslaw.



I clean out the produce drawers in the refrigerator.  The Hope’s Edge weekly CSA pickup is Tuesday.  (More tomatoes!)  And I determine that I will pan sauté the remaining zukes, yellow squash, a new onion, new potatoes, some cherry tomatoes, and an eggplant with some herbs, especially mint.  I’ll use the bacon grease as a flavoring agent.  It’s a “good fat,” and my bacon is nitrate/nitrite free.  I have a baked chicken breast I’ll warm to go along with this supper.


I read some of the LAST Ogilvie book on the fictional people of the fictional Bennet’s Island–located somewhere near Matinicus–while eating and put it down only to make a maple syruplatte with my little Moka pot and milk frother.


Raw whole milk and freshly grated nutmeg.  Sometimes I add cinnamon too.  I only warm the milk before frothing it to prevent killing all its goodness.



This one is a little light on milk…  But it was delicious!

Penny has been waiting patiently for her walk.  We take a run up to a neighbors trails where she can fun free.  The fog and lower clouds are skimming the tree tops and covering the mountains.  It’s glorious.

When we come home, red squirrel is sitting on top of the bench downstairs.  She traps him/her on the upper porch, and s/he leaps off to the hydrangeas below and makes a run for a nearby oak.  Penny is only a half-length behind him/her.  Everyone is excited about the drama.

I’m easily amused on puttering days.


The Healing Power of Germs? | GreenMedInfo | Blog Entry

Interesting Information:  August 20, 2016

The Healing Power of Germs

Today the news is filled with hysteria about the Zika virus spreading in the United States–a virus that has been around for quite some time.  The hysteria is not taking into consideration other factors/correlations that may produce maimed infants.  Instead, without adequate research into those other factors (agricultural and insecticide poisons, GMO mosquitoes, and mandating mothers have a DTAP vaccine without one shred of safety testing on either the mother or the fetus), our so-called health organizations are pushing for yet another vaccine while cities are drenching their populations with insecticides that will kill EVERYTHING.

When I was growing up, my mother, like most of her generation, had an absolute horror about germs.

We traveled with bottles of Lysol, the emerging television programs were mostly funded by ads for cleaning or insect-eradicating products, and health scares like the polio “epidemic” went hand-in-hand with Russian nuclear terror.

Back in those days, the 1950s, travel for a family was mostly by car.  We used to drive on two-lane roads for two or three days to get “home” to Reynolds, Georgia.  Mother packed food for us to eat.  We often stopped to pee in the woods for they were far cleaner than the roadside gas stations of that era.  And when we did have to stop at one of these dives, mother went in with the Lysol bottle first while issuing warnings about not sitting on the toilet seat as you could get heinous, horrible diseases.  (It was a relief when my doctor uncle finally said that for us to get a dreaded sexual disease we would have to be misbehaving with an infected someone of the opposite sex on the toilet seat.  And could someone please, please tell the women of today to sit down as they do not need to be peeing all over the seat and the surrounding floor in public bathrooms.)

Looking back, it’s easy to see now just how surrounded all of us were by market strategies that were going to “protect” us, but that involved products to sell to us.


Science moves on.  And one of the most startling discoveries is that our bodies NEED stimulation from various illnesses to strengthen our immune systems.  AND, that we are FILLED with “germs” which are part and parcel of who we are.  I am loving and welcoming the discovery of the microbiome.

Sayer Ji of GreenMedInfo has written an interesting and thoughtful piece about where these discoveries about germs should lead us.  SHOULD, I say, knowing the odds as we are still immersed in so many drug ads on our televisions and in medical “knowledge” that is selling us drug-based interventions that are said will make us healthy and safe.  (Did you know that only one other country allows drug ads on television?  New Zealand.  And who would risk taking any of those drugs once listening to the side effects?)

Healthy and Safe?  Really?

Here’s a quote:

What makes this situation all the more surreal is the relatively recent discovery of the microbiome, namely, the 100 trillion viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, which outnumber our own cells 10-1, and which proves that we are more “germ” than “human,” and in many respects, would not be alive without them: e.g. about 8% of our genome is retroviral in origin, 90% of our immune system depends on bacteria in our gut. How, then, can these microorganisms be as deadly as we are told, while at the same time be responsible for making possible our life itself?

Germs are not “other.”  They are “us.”  Eradicating them without understanding their full function in our bodies, in the world, is…foolish…and is producing a host of unintended consequences that are NOT good for us.

Take a minute and take a look at Sayer Ji’s article.  And take more minutes and think about what he is saying about your health and mine.


Source: The Healing Power of Germs? | GreenMedInfo | Blog Entry

Sayer Ji, December 9, 2016.

Turkey Tracks: Quilt-let Update

Turkey Tracks:  August 19, 2016

Quilt-let Update

I have only 12 blocks left in the “quilt-let” quilt–with blocks designed by Katja Marek in THE NEW HEXAGON.

The remaining twelve are cut, glued, and organized, and ready for me to sew.

I think the half-square blocks are going to work fine at the upper and lower borders.  I’ll leave the sides “wavy.”  I still don’t know if this project will be an actual quilt or if it wants to be a wall hanging.  Remember that each quilt-let is a finished piece that is ready to be sewn to other quilt-lets.


It’s been such a fun project.  Who knew that a hexagon could be splintered into so many other geometric shapes?

I have another packet of materials for this project, so will make the blocks themselves and link them with triangles–for a quilt top that does get quilted.  For that one I’ll likely coordinate fabrics a bit more???

Here are some of the recent individual blocks:

Love this black and white fabric.


I should have oriented the deer to one of the hexagon points–didn’t see it, not going to fix it.  There are lots of blocks here with swinging orientations.


Had fun with the one, but the swirling pinwheel bars don’t show up.  Maybe I should have moved the small triangle color around to different colors.  Still a nice block though.  Color placement is very important in these blocks for how the block looks.


Love this one.  But who knew when I started it that it would be so cute?  I didn’t.  It’s something about that brown and white fabric…


The green fabric is one of the Japanese fabrics.  See Rebecca Babb-Brott’s Etsy store “Sew Me A Song” to see more of these prints.  They are not easy to find.