Quilty Order Out of Chaos

I’ve been working for some days now–when I have time between packing, organizing all the “moving” parts of the move (pun intended) to South Carolina, and the general upkeep of the house and cooking–bringing order to the 1 1/2-inch squares created by trimming in the Cotton+Steel project of the past years.

The pile is going down–even though I have had to cut more neutrals in order to make a 4-patch that has neutrals and colors. On the right, you can see layered blocks ready to sew.

I’ve reached the point where I can organize better by color.

Here’s a picture of strings of sewn two patches on the ironing board that are ready to be ironed.

Next I’ll sew two 2-patches together to create a 4-patch that when used, will form diagonal lines in this project–as can be seen in this picture, which also includes the 2-inch 9-patch blocks that will also form diagonal lines.

I’m not sure how I’ll use the 8-in blocks I will create with the 1 1/2-inch squares. Maybe I’ll surround them with sashing so each block is set off by itself and can shine. Maybe I’ll just but the finished blocks back into the C+S “parts department” bin.

In any case, the time spent organizing, piecing, ironing, and planning is soothing to me–so I try to make some time each day for this project.

Blender Drinks

Turkey Tracks: Recipes

I’m late to the party on making blender drinks, I think.

But when I got so sick about a month ago now and couldn’t eat, blender drinks were the way back to getting sufficient calories, thanks to suggestions from my homeopath.

What I like about my blender drinks, rather than juicing, is that one is eating the WHOLE food, and the fiber from the pulp is needed in one’s gut.

You can use a high-speed blender or, even, a food processor to reduce your ingredients to a drinkable or spoonable texture. The more water one adds, the thinner the texture.

I err on the side of more veggies and less fruit. Too much fruit is too much fructose sugar, so while I want the vitamins and fiber, I don’t want to overload on sugar. Of course many of the veggies I love also have sugars included. But on days I make or have blender drinks stored, they can be used as a dessert.

Note that I can’t do citrus, but that YOU could–and the addition of orange, lemon, or lime, would make your blender drink have a sparkly taste–or so I imagine.

AND, I use organic ingredients.

I have frozen local organic blueberries, so I start with a half cup of those. And, an apple I’ve seeded but not peeled. I have some frozen peach slices from a neighbor’s gift of fresh peaches last summer. And, I froze a bag of my raspberries last summer as well. I limit fruit to 1 1/2 to 2 cups–and a big blender batch makes enough of these drinks for two days. (I wouldn’t keep drinks longer than that I think.)

For veggies, anything goes: carrots, beets, celery, cucumber, bell peppers (red pepper has a lot of vitamin c) the leaves of greens (kale, chard, lettuces, a wedge of cabbage), leftover cooked broccoli and/or cauliflower. Use what you have on hand.

Add a chunk of ginger–for me about 1/4 inch thick and the size of a quarter.

And, I’ll confess I’ll sometimes add just a dollop of maple syrup (dissolves more easily than honey)–which gives a base note that is lovely. But if you want to use local raw honey (a tablespoon a day is a good health measure), that would be lovely too.

At first I kept the mixture in my blender in the refrigerator so I could re-whirl it before pouring into a glass, but I discovered along the way that if I just poured the original mixture into glasses and covered them with the silicon covers I like, it is easy enough to just remix the drink with a spoon. And, I could grab a drink without the to-do of remixing in the blender container, which was now clean and stored.

The stretchy round silicon covers have reduced the use of plastic in my kitchen down to almost no use. These lids are not expensive, and the sizes range from very small (a soda can or a can of Bar Keepers or Comet) to ones that will cover a fairly large bowl. A quick check on Amazon also showed that now some rectangle lids are available. The lids can go into the dishwasher and be used in a microwave.

Hmmm. Rectangular lids will have to wait until I’ve made it to Charleston, though. And maybe in that more urban environment, silicon products will be in local stores.

Note: pure silicon does not show any white when you pinch it. The color is true throughout.

A Sunny Saturday

Turkey Tracks

It is a sunny, cold morning here in Maine. And I have been steadily working away this morning at organizing all the moving parts involved in my move to Charleston, SC, in mid-December. And, with catching up with emails and messages to friends. I am making great progress in crossing off items in my many “to do” lists.

In just a bit I’ll stop working here and make a stir-fry with a package of gifted deer meat that I’ve been hoarding. I love deer. And lamb. I find that one either does or does not like these stronger, gamier, meats.

I’ve been able to carve out a bit of sewing time in recent days. I now have made four rows of the Traverse Block-of-the Month project designed by Tara Faughnan and hosted by Sewtopia. I did not want to fall behind during the move, and I’ve taken four of Tara’s The Color Collective classes and made her astonishingly gorgeous wedding quilt pattern, so I did not have any trouble with making these rows–once I got over the exacting flying geese rows, which I seemed to have made much harder than they needed to be.

The green and yellowish row of little squares is surrounded by its two sashing rows as I had those fabrics on hand, and it will sit at the top of the quilt. (See the previous post for a picture of the whole quilt).

So now what? I opened the box of what’s left from my year(s) long Cotton+Steel projects. There are bags of 1 1/2 and 2-inch squares, some rectangles of two blocks, and the long strips cut for the Churn Dash blocks (only a few of those left now). Sewing the small squares into blocks is fairly mindless and soothing, so that’s what I did yesterday.

The 2-inch squares will make a good size lap quilt. The 1 1/2-inch block measures 8 inches finished–and I’m not sure where that one is going yet. And I will need a few more Churn Dash blocks to make a good lap size quilt, but not many.

It’s good to have this sewing time while I wait for the Due Diligence period of the contract to finish on December 5th. After that, I will do the last of the serious packing and cleaning.

Time is moving fast, even during this quieter period.

Another November Update

Hello friends.

The contract about which I last wrote fell through. But there is another one now, so I have a new closing date (December 28) and a new moving date (December 15). The due diligence time (8 days this time) started today and will end December 3rd. And a formal inspection will be done tomorrow. During due diligence buyers can back out of the contract if an issue is found that they feel makes buying the house not a good idea for them, for whatever reason.

The great news is that if this contract holds, I’ll be able to buy “my house” in Charleston after the December 28 closing here. I am trying not to get completely giddy over that possibility.

Both sons are coming on the 16th (we are meeting in Portland near the airport) to drive me to Charleston as I cannot fly and don’t feel like I could drive myself down the I95 East Coast urban corridor for 20+ hours. But what a gift to be with both sons at once in a car for 20 hours! My life in Maine has not included driving in urban traffic or for long periods of time, so at almost 78 I feel so grateful for all the family support I am getting to make this move not only happen, but to be a happy occasion.

During radon testing in the failed contract due diligence period, it emerged that there is an air/radon problem here, but that knowledge emerged only after the contract fell through for some other reason. Plans are now in place to mitigate that issue asap.

I have learned a lot about air radon and radon mitigation over recent weeks. It takes 48 hours for a machine to test for indoor radon, while doors stay shut except for going and coming. It’s winter, so all the windows are already shut. The mitigation will involves drilling down through the utility room slab to install a vent pipe (powered by a fan) that takes the radon air outside and over the roof–and that drilling is complicated by the radiant heat pipes in the lower floor. But there is a very nifty infrared camera that can show where the pipes are–but shows the pipes clearly after the heat is turned off overnight and restarted the next morning. Brrrrr!

Since I can’t do any more packing until the due diligence period is over, I got bored. I unpacked the Janome 6600 and its Sew-Ezi portable table–which positions the machine so it is flush to the table top–and set up a little sewing station in the quilt room that is now full of packed boxes and items that “will move” from other parts of the house.

I have four monthly fabric packets from Sewtopia for the Tara Faughnan designed block-of-the month Traverse quilt project. Each month’s fabrics makes one of the rows in the quilt–and some months have multiple rows of the same design that are repeated on the quilt. I am working on row 4 now, and it has 3 rows. It’s the row at the top of the quilt with the small green squares.

Here is a picture of Tara Faughnan’s sample quilt–done in the Windham Artisan “shot” cotton solids, which I chose. Other choices were Kona solid cottons in colors or neutrals or the Artisan cottons in neutrals. All of these quilts are beautiful, and the rows are fun to make, though the two flying geese rows were super challenging for me as each row needs to measure 72 1/2 inches.

Sooo…

I will be less anxious when the due diligence 8 days are over and the air/radon problem is mitigated, but I’m getting much better at just letting what I cannot manage go. All is just going to be what it is, and I am flexible with what life puts in my path for the most part–even when disappointment occurs.

I will miss Maine, for sure. But I miss my family much more. And I’m truly excited about living close to them again. The years since John died in January 2013 have been so good for me as I learned I can live on my own and that I can cope when life gets messy.

I suppose in that way I am choosing to be happy, no matter what. And I have so much for which to be happy.

PS: I learned this week that Jackpot has been adopted by a local family–after he visited them with his foster caregiver to see if JP and the family were happy with each other.

November Update 2022

Turkey Tracks

Hello Everyone!

The house has a contract, but we are in the middle of the “due diligence” week, so things won’t be “firm” until after the required 7 working days are over on the 15th. At that time, the buyers will have to put down some earnest money that they would lose if they back out of the contract.

The formal inspection meeting is tomorrow afternoon.

The closing is scheduled for December 13th. The movers are coming December 7-8. And I will pick up my two sons at the Portland airport on the morning of the 9th, and we will begin the drive to Charleston, arriving at the latest on Sunday the 11th.

The family has been combing Charleston County for a house for me since this house was listed, and they and my agent Lisa Barkley found “my house” last week. I put a contingency contract on it, and it will also close on December 13th. I will be present for that closing, and a local lawyer here will represent me in Maine. The house is new and has all the spaces I’ll need for my quilting/sewing passion. As soon as the due diligence week is done and if all goes well, I’ll schedule the movers for the Portland to Charleston leg.

Jackpot is thriving with his foster caregiver and his new best buddy, her dog Dino. He is now also getting lots of running exercise, which he needed.

After getting some sort of serious gastro illness, which made me not want to eat and which gifted me with DIL Tami flying in to help me–alongside my homeopath who brought me food, remedies, and treatments–I am recovered and now am plugging along with what has to be done here and making great progress too. I can’t really tear up the house until the “due diligence” is over on the 15th.

So now, all fingers and toes are crossed that all continues to fall into place.

Send me loads of good luck, good energy, good prayers, good wishes, and good thoughts.