Turkey Tracks: Making Greeting Cards

Turkey Tracks:  October 6retreat, 2017

Making Greeting Cards


I love Amanda Jean Nyberg’s NO SCRAP LEFT BEHIND.   (Her blog is Crazy Mom Quilts.)

Greeting cards made with bits of leftover fabric scraps are one project in the book.

I loved them at first sight.

Now I have some!

This project is sheer play AND uses up scraps!

Turkey Tracks: Fall Scenes

Turkey Tracks:  September 30, 2017

Fall Scenes

It’s been a busy week.  SIL Maryann came up to collect some plants from my garden.  Here’s what we dug up:

Phlox, Bellflower (pale pink), cone flowers, liriope, Rose Campion seedlings, Joe Pye Weed, climbing hydrangea, assorted herbs, a big clump of hosta, violets, rudbekia (black-eyed Susan), and Sparkle strawberry plants.  I’m sure I’m leaving something out.

Nice visit–which included lots of Rummikub games.  It was close but she’s the winner this time.

My Blue Hubbard squashes did “make.”  Oh yes.  They “made” all over the garden.  They are small this year, due to the drought, but they will be good.  They are about the size of basketballs now and should be twice that size.

I’ve planted Morning Glories for two years now.  This is the FIRST BLOOM I’ve seen–and it’s nearly October 1.  I’m going to start some clematis on this fence next year.  Maybe the small bloom, white one that turns into a white snowdrift in August.

The wild asters are beautiful this year.  They come in white, pale lavender, and these rich purple and pinks.  They are the back-end of the wildflower season that the lupines began back in May/June.  I stopped along the road on the way home from an errand and took these pictures.

The temps dropped off last night.  Great sleeping weather.  Sunny today, but I dragged out leggins and have on a sweater.  The light is low now, and it is getting dark early.  It’s time to switch to early morning activities when the light is at its best.

Turkey Tracks: Friend Lynn’s Quilt Finished

Turkey Tracks:  September 30, 2017

Friend Lynn’s Quilt Finished

I love this quilt.  Lynn Vermeulen started it at our May retreat two years ago.  She worked on it again at the last May (2017) retreat.  And now it is done and ready to have a binding installed.

Isn’t it gorgeous!

Of course she’s made other quilts along the way.  Quite a few of them, actually.  But it is so nice to finish one that got put aside for whatever reason along the way.  Nice quilting done by her longarm person too.

Go Lynn!

Turkey Tracks: And Then There Were Two: Quilty Update

Turkey Tracks:  September 19, 2017

And Then There Were Two:  Quilty Update


I haven’t been able to work on this project–which came out of an Amy Friend workshop earlier in the year–because I was trying to catch up on other started projects.  I’m kind of driven that way, actually, and I allowed myself to start too many projects–which made me cross.  Amy showed us how to design our own blocks, and this is mine.  I am so happy to have had time to make another block last week.  They are 16 inches and foundation pieced, so each one takes a bit of time.  I am using all Cotton+Steel fabrics on the charcoal solid background.  You can start to see the funky shape a bit now.  I am loving these blocks!

By the way, Amy has her first designed fabrics out now.  You might want to go to her blog (During Quiet Time) to see the fabrics, which she designed to be used in foundation pieced projects as that is her first love AND to see what she is making with these fabrics.

I have Bonnie Hunter’s 2016 Mystery Quilt, En Provence, on the long arm, but have been distracted with–among other projects–picking some clothing patterns, making my “cutting out” patterns, buying some fabric, and–oh my goodness–making the first one, a tunic in linen.  More pictures coming on these projects soon.  Meanwhile, En Provence, has at least two runs done and the binding made.  I’m using a pale lavender thread which is awesome with this quilt and its backing.

I FINISHED MY KATJA MAREK MILLEFIORE QUILT.  It’s been a year long project to paper piece it, and I LOVE how it came out.  More pictures coming when it is quilted and bound.  It will go on the long arm next, and I finally figured out how I want to quilt it.

Now I am doing Willyne Hammerstein’s paper pieced quilt called “Valse Brillante,” from her book MILLEFIORI QUILTS.  And then there were…SEVEN blocks.  These guys are a bit more tedious to make, but aren’t they fun?  I am liking this project.

My rules are text, brights, and some solid fabrics.  We learned about making “rules” to follow from Timna Tarr when she came to Coastal Quilters (Maine) last year for a workshop.  When I glue blocks, I make two of each block with the brights and text fabrics reversed:  one small, one large of each.


Friend Becca Babb-Brott lucked into taking a two-day Gee Bend quilters class at Maine’s recent Fiber College.  Of my friends, Becca is the one who loves improv quilting the most I think.  So this class was right up her funway path.  Here’s what she has done so far.  Note the use of solids.  These pieces will be connected, and they are actually wider than they appear here now.  Note the jean pocket on the lower piece.  She plans to add another pocket.  Using old denim is something the Gee Bend quilters do/did a lot.  They used what they had.  The Gee Bend quilters advocate working out the width of your piece and them building more to the top and bottom.  It will be interesting to see where this one goes.


Gee Bend comes back every other year, and we are already plotting going when they return.

If you don’t know the Gee Bend history, take a minute to google them.  Their quilts are unique and are both old and modern and not quite describable.  They defy “rules.”


Turkey Tracks: I Am Not Starving

Turkey Tracks:  September 18, 2017

I Am Not Starving

Here’s a typical lunch for me these days:  a big salad with lots of fresh veggies and some meat protein.  This one has boneless chicken breasts marinated and flash roasted and an array of local fresh produce:  roasted beets and raw cukes, red peppers, carrots, lettuce, fresh dill, olive oil, and salt.

I clearly have something called MCAS or MCAD, Mast Cell Activation Disorder/Syndrome.  I realized this past winter when it got much worse, that I’ve had it my whole life.  It is behind all the trouble with allergies and unpleasant food intolerances.  It is most likely genetic, or the propensity toward it is.  And hello folks, these mast cell disorders are NOT rare, as previously thought.  Some estimates are one in six have some form of it.  I got it from my dad, who thought he had asthma, when really he was likely reacting to histamine triggers he did not recognize, which was true for me for the past 72 years.  Indeed, drugs, from over the counter to serious drugs like my dad took for what he called asthma, can make the condition much worse.  They do for me.  I can’t even look at a Zyrtek or Claritin.

Mainstream medicine recognized this problem around 2008 and 2009 and gradually the knowledge is widening.  The Mayo Clinic is “on it,” for instance.  Common triggers are fermented foods, alcohol, aged foods like aged cheeses, possibly gluten, yeast, chemical smells and chemicals put on the body, hot, cold, exercise, travel, etc.  Some foods trigger the body so that it releases histamine–like citrus, for instance.  The nightshades (like tomato, peppers, eggplant, potatoes) are a problem. There are a number of food lists of high and low histamine foods, but each person has to kind of figure out what works and what does not–and those foods/triggers can change from day to day depending on how full each person’s “histamine glass” is at the moment.  Some people experience terrible migraines and anaphylactic shock, and I feel so lucky that I have not had either of those.  But I have plenty of nasty symptoms otherwise.  And I had plenty of warning signals last summer and fall, but didn’t recognize them for what they were.  There may also be a connection between aging, loss of estrogen, and the main symptom, histamine intolerances.

So…I can’t add vinegar of citrus to a salad and have learned to eat them with a drizzle of good olive oil and sprinkles of salt.  The vegetables themselves are providing plenty of flavor, so I don’t feel deprived.  I have to eat very fresh foods–leftovers acquire histamines as they sit around–so I am cooking a lot.   That’s fine.  I like to cook, and I like to be clear-headed.  One immediate reaction is a king of brain fog so that I feel like I’m walking in slow motion all day, and it is harder to focus.  Restaurants are very hard for me these days.

But, I feel so lucky that I finally stumbled on the information I needed to help myself–and as long as I stay in my own little bubble, I am doing fine.  Along the way last winter I lost almost 40 pounds, which has also been a good thing, however hard it was at the time.  I’d like to lose 20 more and am working at that project now.  I feel lighter, healthier, and have a ton of energy–as long as I stay in the bubble.  Penny girl dog and I are walking every day, and we are both enjoying that a lot.  And I’m suddenly interested in making some fun clothes for my lighter body.

Here’s one of my go-to recipes:

Marinated Boneless Chicken Breasts

Boneless chicken breasts taste like dry newspaper to me, so I needed a way to pep them up.  I went out into the garden and harvested handfuls of herbs–rosemary, parsley, tarragon, thyme, sage, basil, mint–whatever moved me at the moment.  I stuffed them into the Vitamix, added some of the fresh garlic I grew this year, olive oil, and salt.  I added oil until I got a good slurry.  You could use a food processor or a blender as well.

I bought two packages of boneless chicken breasts and took a sharp knife and cut them in half lengthwise–to make a thinner piece of meat.  I put them into a bowl and poured the slurry over them and coated them well with my hands.  I let them sit in the refrigerator about an hour.  I froze all but two–and those two I put on parchment paper in a very hot oven–400 degrees with the convection fan on.  They cooked in 15 or so minutes.  No more than 20 as they are thin.  I put one in the refrigerator to eat as soon as possible and cut the other one up for my salad.  I also have discovered these are great to cook on a hot grill.

Many of you could, of course, add citrus or vinegar to the marinade.  Or, soy.

The frozen breasts thaw pretty quickly if you put the package on something cast iron–a few hours.  And it’s great to have some “go to” quick food assets in your pantry.


Turkey Tracks: Garlic Harvest

Turkey Tracks:  September 18, 2017

Garlic Harvest

I had a bumper garlic harvest this year.

The grand kiddos helped me pull the plants and laid them out in the garage attic to dry.  They did such a nice job.  Much better than I would have done.  All the fronds were neatly laid in strips.

I cut the stems the other day and roughly cleaned up the bulbs.

Along the way I found a garlic scape that had gone to seed.  You may recall that most folks, me among them, cut these garlic “flowers” and eat them in various ways–which is done in late June, early July.  Here’s what happens if you don’t cut them–they become the home of a whole bunch of tiny garlics that will grow new plants.  There are always a few of these “escapees” in the garden each year, and they form clumps of growing garlic plants.

So interesting…

Turkey Tracks: Fall Quilty 2017 Update

Turkey Tracks:  September 6, 2017

Fall Quilty 2017 Update

It’s official.

Summer is over.

I confess I love the rotation of the seasons and am looking forward to fall.  Up here in Maine, the trees are beyond gorgeous when they turn, which they are just beginning to do now.

I always think I’ll get some final porch use in September–sitting in the sun and soaking up the last of the late summer sunshine, but the feel of fall is here.  The angle of the sun has changed and the back porch does not get sunshine like it used to.  Time to move some chairs to the upper front deck for that sunshine.  And time to let go of the flower container pots and to start cleaning up flower beds and to winterize.

This hanging pot has been so pretty all summer.  It hangs on the upper front porch, and I can see it from where I sit at the dining alcove table.  This picture is the one I will see in my mind in the dead of winter this year.

The humming birds are still here but will leave any minute now.  They, too, have loved this feeding location and move from the feeder to the actual flowers.  I have two feeders and LOTS of humming birds.  The other feeder is on the back porch, which means these little fast-flying birds are often just skimming any heads whose bodies are sitting on the porch.

Here is the second to last rosette of the Katja Marek millifiore quilt.  I have almost finished the LAST ROSETTE, which will attach to the right side of the one below.  They make up the lower right hand side of the quilt.  I started this project last fall, and it has been a joy.  Up to the point, that is, until I have to figure out how to quilt it.

I slowed down the other day to make this feed bag for a friend:

This time I got the whole thing right side up!

I have almost finished piecing Bonnie Hunter’s mystery quilt “En Provence.”  I’ve had the units completed since last Christmas/New Year’s.  And the pieced blocks and sashes have been on my design wall almost all summer.  One more row of the big blocks and then on to the outer borders.

I find myself really drawn to the outer neutral borders with their hint of the pointy stars.  I find myself wondering what a quilt would look like with these stars (the red ones above) made scrappy and floated on neutrals.

OK, so I know I’m in a “neutral” fabric moment.  I worried about whether or not the stronger neutrals I used would be too much, but they are what are making the neutral areas of this quilt sing.  I really like how they are working in the quilt and will not be afraid to go to a mixing in of stronger neutrals next time.

This quilt, as all Bonnie Hunter quilts do, has a great “skeleton.”  The designs she makes are inventive and wonderful.  But I find that lately I am really drawn to less-busy quilts.  I think that is one reason why I have had such a hard time finishing this quilt.  It will be wonderful when it is done, but it has been a bear to sew.  Very labor intensive.  Very busy.  This year I am going to print out her clues and see the finished quilt before I charge in to making it.  Part of my issue is that I have several projects of my own I am so excited to start this fall.  They are trumping my doing another Bonnie mystery quilt I think.  And it is always ok to give yourself a break for a year.

We were challenged in our new Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild to experiment with making a minimalist little quilt–the second “how to” chapter from the MIGHTY LUCKY QUILTING CLUB 2016 WORKBOOK, “Minimalist Improvisation,” by Season Evans.  The plan of action in this chapter was very clear and very helpful.  Here’s what I devised:

I quilted with the walking foot–which was an experiment for me.  And I used a circle cutting tool that works like a protractor–cutting the fabric circle 1/4-inch wider than the freezer paper circle.  I ironed the paper onto the circle and turned in the edges with an iron.  I should have tried to cut the circle free hand of course–as everything else was cut free hand, per instructions.  I wanted to get a handle on sewing curves, so that added to some “play” time with this project.  So, I cut and sewed curves, experimented with the circle cutter, and quilted with the walking foot.  A good exercise, I think.

I spent a fair amount of time working on Vicki Fletcher’s traveling quilt, but those pictures will have to wait until after our next meeting.


Interesting Information: Minamata Convention on Mercury: Banning of Amalgam in Dentistry

Interesting Information:  September 6, 2017

Minamata Convention on Mercury:  Banning of Amalgam in Dentistry

The bad news is that I had to have a crown replaced in order to fix a cavity beneath the crown.


High, high stress as I did not know how I would react to the novocaine and fear that I might land up in the hospital, where medical smells would make everything worse.

Folks on the Facebook Histamine Intolerance group suggested a novocaine without epinephrine, and my dentist agreed to use it.

The good news is that all went well and an old “silver” filling was removed in the process.  I was in the chair for almost two hours–it was a messy, difficult procedure.  I am now waiting for the crown to be finished so it can be installed.

I have posted about “silver” fillings being 50% mercury before this post.  These fillings “off-gas” every time one chews, which can cause chronic health problems.  Mercury is terribly poisonous for human beings.

Here is a progress report on what is being done here and in Europe to stop the use of “silver” fillings.

Source: Minamata Convention on Mercury: Banning of Amalgam in Dentistry