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Funky Rail Fence Quilt Top

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Turkey Tracks: November 2, 2020

Funky Rail Fence Quilt Top

The blocks are done, but not sewn together. Sajata Shah designed this “funky rail fence” block, and it is in her book CULTURAL FUSION QUILTS.

Yesterday I started piecing a back and pulled out leftover batting strips to sew together. The binding is cut, but not sewn together. It’s one of the reds in this fabric suite. I was able to add some greens from my stash to this mix, so a lot of fabric has gone flying out of my stash.

My pile of longarm projects is growing…

I think I would love this quilt in shades of grey and black. AND in modern bright fabrics with, maybe, some neutrals. But, maybe no neutrals. And of course it would look great with solids as well.

So, someone please tell me how—in spite of my vow to NOT start anything new—that this happened? It comes from playing with a new block, of course. And the excitement of getting a new book with LOTS of fun projects. Can I count having a suite of unused fabrics an “unfinished” project?

Written by louisaenright

November 2, 2020 at 10:06 am

Instant Pot Adventure—and a Nifty New Book

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Turkey Tracks: October 31, 2020

Instant Pot Adventure—and a Nifty New Book

Anyone who reads this blog for any time knows I have a mast cell/Histamine Intolerance syndrome and have to be really, really careful with food and chemical smell triggers. This problem is one reason why I cook a lot.

But this past week I saw on a Facebook HI group post that there is new book on the market. Ho Hum, I thought at first. But then, for some reason, maybe I’ll give it a try as this book is really current: 2019.

I am so glad that I did!

For one thing, Dr. Becky Campbell sorts out the whole issue of mast cell disorders, Histamine Intolerance, and allergic reactions of other sorts really well. She is pioneering ways to help people deal with the worst of the reactions and to get back to a healthier place that doesn’t involve a lot of scary reactions and that allows more normal eating.

She includes a whole section of recipes new to me that will work for me and which, so far, are delicious. AND, the fact that more information is out in the market now signals that at least some people are “getting” this issue and working out ways to manage it.

I’ve only had the book about a week, and already it is getting thumb worn.

One of the methods Campbell recommends is using an Instant Pot—which is a high-tech pressure cooker with modern features. This appliance bears NO resemblance to the pressure cooker my mother had or that I had so many years ago. I gave mine away as I recall. For one thing, they were totally scary to use and tales of them blowing up and putting holes in the ceiling abounded, especially if one didn’t pay attention. Plus, I didn’t especially like the overcooked taste of food cooked this way. The Instant Pot has a timer system, for one thing. One can leave the room while it is cooking. And it’s REALLY quiet.

Mine, a 6-quart Duo version, came Thursday. I opened the box, unpacked everything, found the instruction booklet, and did the recommended water test to understand how the Instant Pot works.

Then, using a recipe in the new cookbook, I loaded in a 6-pound pasture raised Freedom Ranger chicken—which just fit and which cooked in 40 minutes. The browning of the chicken in the pot top and bottom happened before the 40-45 minutes. (I planned for 45, but in my excitement and nervousness, I might have just done 40 minutes.). And, it was slightly overcooked, 35 minutes would probably have been just fine. The meat was moist and delicious, however, and perfect for making a chicken salad recipe from the book and for reheating for another meal. A smaller chicken would have been better as well as one could brown it better.

Here’s my DELICIOUS chicken salad, which uses a low-histamine mayonnaise recipe in the cookbook. I have SO MISSED homemade mayo. This recipe uses Annie’s plain mustard to make the mayo emulsify—as it contains distilled white vinegar, which is the lowest histamine vinegar there is. (All fermented foods are triggers for HI people.) There is also some turmeric, which I’ve been afraid to try and a tiny bit of paprika, also a trigger. But the mayo did not set off anything for me. (I take Mercola Quercetin daily, which I think really is helping with triggers.).

I had a lot of broth left in the pot as I did not make the gravy in the recipe. It jelled up beautifully in the refrigerator, which shows it got a lot of goodness from the chicken and the bones. I reserved some of the chicken meat for a soup made with this broth.

The next day I made the 2-hour bone broth recipe from the book with the spent carcass. (You can stand the hot lid up on the handle of the hot pot until everything cools.) It was so easy.

And look at this beautiful bone broth so full of goodness. A traditional bone broth cooks for 20+ hours.

This batch is going into the freezer for small batches of soup or other cooking needs. And I’ve ordered two silicone ice trays to freeze and store broth and a kale pesto in smaller portions that can be popped out, stored frozen in bags, and used in a flash. The larger freezer tray has 1-cup compartments.

I had another meal of reheated leftovers last night, which was also moist and delicious.

Next up in the Instant Pot: some sort of beef or lamb stew. I found a nice recipe at the Instant Pot web site.

Written by louisaenright

October 31, 2020 at 9:31 am

A List of Modern Quilters on Instagram

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Turkey Tracks: October 30, 2020

A List of Modern Quilters on Instagram

When I first got on Instagram, friends helped me with whom to “follow.” Meanwhile, the Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild started a challenge inspired by a group whose work appears on Instagram: #beesewcial.

But who are these wonderful modern quilters?

Here’s a list. I had to do a screen shot to get the list, and the text is light to read, but I think you can see it well enough if you want to follow any of these quilters on Instagram.

Thanks to these quilters for sharing their awesome creativity!

Written by louisaenright

October 30, 2020 at 8:55 am

The Paul Klee “Bee Inspired” Prompt

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Turkey Tracks: October 29, 2020

The Paul Klee “Bee Inspired” Prompt

The challenge “prompt” for this month’s block for the Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild’s ongoing “Bee Inspired” challenge—based on the quilting group of modern quilters called “Bee Sewcial” (see #beesewcial on Instagram for their work)—was Paul Klee.

What a fun challenge—which prompted me and I’m sure other members to take an online research trip to see Klee’s paintings. Klee (1879-1940) was a Swiss-born German modern painter whose work took place in the early 1900s. He was deeply interested in color theory.

I chose Klee’s “Characters in Yellow” for my prompt.

But I didn’t want to make the block in yellow as yellow stands out in a quilt like a flashing neon sign. So I used reds.

Klee loved geometric shapes. And in this painting he used analogous colors. And he kept his shapes intact for the most part. No one knows who the “characters” he depicted were. And it does not matter. That’s the whole point really.

I used the method I learned in The Color Collective for this quilt:

Tara Faughnan created this method, and created the visual impression of the blocks floating over the darker background by slashing the geometric shapes and installing strips of the background color. Here, too, the color palette is analogous.

So the “Modern” experiments with shape and color continue… And now Klee’s painting looks…static, fixed…to my eyes anyway.

I love my quilty journey.

Written by louisaenright

October 29, 2020 at 9:00 am

A Kind of Murky October 2020 Saturday

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Turkey Tracks: October 25, 2020

A Kind of Murky October 2020 Saturday

Look at my beautiful Haricot Beans: the deer ate all their tops last night.

They graciously left me the remaining beans.

We had what I call a “murky” day yesterday—cloudy, damp, and greyish, but it was warm.

As the drought is finally over, the earth is soft. I thought I’d get the garden plow barricade up for the winter. I try to do something for winter prep every day, and I’m slowly ticking off the chores. Is leaving the snow shovels in the garage a jinx or not? LOL.

This task looks easy, but the ground here is land-fill and rocky. It took a shovel AND the maddox to get the post holes deep enough for the posts to stay put.

I backed the posts with stakes, just to be sure. That crazy green ferny plant is asparagus, which has decided it really likes where it is now.

I’ve been putting newspaper through the shredder and using it to augment the compost bins—which need more “brown” material as they are too wet.

The small round tumbler compost below had gotten really wet and smelly. I’m hoping the newspaper will dry it out and that I will be able to use the mixture in the cold frame when I plant the lettuce for spring after we get reliably cold weather.

We had our LAST day ever at my local CSA farm (Community Shared Agriculture), Hope’s Edge this week. Farmer Tom is hanging up his green thumb now. He may recant over the winter and figure out a way to grow something for the local markets. Time will tell. He knew this year would be his last and announced that early on. This growing season was really hard for all our local farmers with the drought.

I cut up my Sunshine squash yesterday, but was not hungry at dinner as I had a big lunch. I had marinated it in good olive oil, fresh rosemary, and lots of garlic. Here’s what this squash looks like whole: it is the orange one in front. This squash is heavier and mealier than say, a butternut squash. But, when roasted, acquires the same sweet, caramelized tastiness.

To chunk up a squash with a thick skin, I first cut it in half, seed it, and then cut the halves into half rings. It is easy to slice off the outer skin with a sharp knife at that point, leaving the meat ready to chunk.

I’ve been trying to eat my big meal at noon these days as we move into winter. I grilled a steak to go with the squash, which I very nearly overcooked. That happens when one is whirling around doing multiple tasks. I added a few chips and goat cheese with dill to this meal.

Delicious, and such a nice treat after the heavier yard work.

Dinner was a lighter salad with reheated chicken drumsticks. Easy Peasy.

Written by louisaenright

October 25, 2020 at 10:38 am

Leftover Roast Beef Stir Fry

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Turkey Tracks: October 24, 2020

Leftover Roast Beef Stir Fry

The weather is cooler now, and I am turning to wanting warm comfort meals.

You know, growing up, a beef roast was so delicious for Sunday dinner with all the family gathered around.

I went for many years without cooking roasts anymore. But I do now, and they are, again, a joy. I roast one that isn’t tiny enough for “just me” to eat it in a meal or two. Instead, I freeze big chunks of it for a stir fry or a stew when I’m ready for this kind of beef meal. (I don’t eat sandwiches anymore as I can’t eat bread.)

To make a leftover beef stir fry, defrost your chunks of roast and cut them into cubes. Put whatever veggies you have on hand into a pan so you can cook them until tender. Here I have red pepper, cauliflower, onion, garlic, zucchini squash, carrot, and Haricot Vert green beans fresh from the garden. I add whatever herbs are going to intrigue me at the moment, fresh or dried, and I used beef tallow for my fat.

See how pretty my unfrozen beef roast is after I cubed it?

Mix in the meat only when your veggies are done. You just want to reheat the meat, that’s all. Don’t cook it more. Just let it reheat in the pan.

I had some leftover rice, so I put my stir-fry over it, but it’s yummy all by itself too.

Written by louisaenright

October 24, 2020 at 1:46 pm

Design Wall Quilty Projects October 2020

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Turkey Tracks: October 22, 2020

Design Wall Quilty Projects October 2020

The wild goose quilt is OFF the design wall and all is prepped to load it into the longarm. It is GORGEOUS, and it chewed up a lot of stash fabric.

So, here’s what’s on the design wall now:

On the left are “kind of” leader/ender blocks taking shape—and both projects are meant to use up some of the solids I have acquired. I say “kind of” leader/ender projects as I also like to take some time just to play with these two projects.

The tree blocks are inspired by a quilt made by Crazy Mom Quilts, and the stripes below are inspired by a quilt made by Tara Faughnan, and I can already see that I need to include a lot more light fabrics. The light colors are what will make this quilt sparkle. I’m just cutting from the scrap box right now, for the most part. I’ll dig into the solid stash for small pieces next. I am very drawn to both of these projects.

Here’s Tara Faughnan’s quilt that I so like, and I think she teaches this quilt in one of her online classes. I didn’t take it as I’ve signed up for The Color Collective, which starts again in November. Tara is a really good teacher, and her work is so inspiring.

The developing blocks on the right are from Sajata Shah’s book CULTURAL FUSION QUILTS, and I posted info on that book a few days ago. I had a suite of more traditional fabrics that I thought would work to try this block out, and I’ve already had to comb through my stash and buy a few green fabrics to expand the original fabrics—which are the florals and the reds. I seem to run through green fabrics really fast, and the ones I have now are too bright for this quilt.

I did reverse the lower right block and I like it better this way:

Making this block is so much fun!!! I don’t know if this quilt will scratch this itch I have or if I will want to make it again with more modern fabrics—as with all the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabrics I’d like to whittle down now.

And then there is the Sugaridoo QAL project to finish. The last row is out now, so I’ll get to that project again soon. When the last row is made and attached, I’ll be finished with construction on the top. I have backings for the two versions I am making.

In going through my stash again, I reviewed the several fabric suites and the two kits I’ve put aside. Those must be included in the UFO category I think. I am determined to NOT be one of those quilters who dies and leaves this enormous bunch of fabric for someone else to have to manage. And I am determined to NOT start any new projects that require the purchase of a whole bunch of new fabrics. I am having fun and making headway with that goal.

It’s all good.

Written by louisaenright

October 22, 2020 at 9:37 am

The Magic of Liver and Heavy Cream

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Turkey Tracks: October 17, 2020

The Magic of Liver and Heavy Cream

I grew up eating liver. Not a huge amount, but it was a dish that definitely showed up off and on. Back then, people ate from nose to tail, not just hamburger, steaks, and roasts.

Liver has a strong taste—and the “go to” recipe of my childhood was to smother it with carmelized onions and bacon. That was good, but since then I’ve discovered that combining heavy cream (and I can and do use local raw cream which I am so lucky to be able to get) with liver produces a dish that is deliciously rich and mellow.

Liver is a powerhouse for Vitamin A, and many Americans are lacking in that vitamin. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, so the best sources are from meats, fish, and forms of dairy products where processing hasn’t killed the vitamin contents. I can get beef liver locally, and I get a whole lamb every year and treasure the lamb livers.

We take Vitamin D these days, but it is synergistic with Vitamin A. You need both. You cannot get Vitamin A from vegetables in a form that most of our bodies can utilize fully as not all bodies can convert pro-vitamin A found in fruits and vegetables to real Vitamin A.

Here’s my recent liver dinner: the beans are from my cold frame, and the roasted beets and gingered carrots are from my CSA, Hope’s Edge. All three veggies were already cooked, and I just reheated them for about 15 minutes in the oven. Ditto the rice. (Cover the rice and add a tablespoon of water.) The cream makes a gravy that is delicious on the Basmanti rice. (I know, that’s a very processed rice, and I have to stop buying it.) So this dinner can be ready in about 20 minutes.

My liver recipe:

Liver usually comes these days cut into small thin pieces. Open the package and drain off the liquid. You could rinse it if you like.

Saute some diced veggies in a good fat in your pan until tender (carrots, onions, maybe a bit of garlic). You could use some butter with some beef tallow to keep the butter from burning for extra flavor. Add some herbs you like—either fresh or dried or a combo. When the veggies are soft, add the liver and turn with the veggies until it is about half done. Then add in a lot of HEAVY cream—a cup or more. It cooks down REALLY fast, so be prepared to get the amount you want to eat out of the hot pan and onto your plate. DON’T OVERCOOK IT. Put the remaining liver into a storage container or immediately into a blender or food processor.

Eat the first half for your meal while it is hot. Then process the rest into a smooth pate. You might need to add some milk to give the blender enough liquid to process the liver mixture so that it gets very smooth.

The pate is delicious on toast for breakfast. Or, on crackers or cut up veggies and fruit.

I ate the above meal for lunch and had the rest of the pate for dinner on crackers, cucumbers, carrots, raw sweet onion, and sliced apple.

Enjoy. You will.

Written by louisaenright

October 17, 2020 at 11:54 am

A Quilter’s Table Blog and Other Quilty Inspirations

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Turkey Tracks: October 16, 2020

A Quilter’s Table Blog and Other Quilty Inspirations

I am really, really enjoying this blog and highly recommend it to you.

Take a look?

https://aquilterstable.blogspot.com/2020/10/vista-toscana.html

AND, I just bought this book by Sajata Shah, which I am also really enjoying. Sajata is an improv, modern quilter who has been influenced by the Gee’s Bend quilters, fiber work in her native India, and fiber work in Africa. Like many of the modern quilters, she is carving out a place that blends traditional quilts with modern quilting. Much of her work, like the quilt on the cover, uses controlled free-form methods that are exciting and lively.

Apparently Sajata holds a workshop where some of the modern quilters that I like (see on Instagram #beesewcial) gather. Capitola quilter (see her work on Instagram) attended a gathering where participants worked on Sajata’s version of a Kaladiscope quilt called “Organized Chaos” (Instagram hashtag #organizedchaosquilt).

I’ve fallen in love with Capitola’s version—as I do with most, if not all, of her work.

I’ll probably be looking for kaladiscope quilt block patterns down the road. Ummmm….when I finish current projects.

Written by louisaenright

October 16, 2020 at 10:07 am

Dressing During the Virus

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Turkey Tracks: October 11, 2020

Dressing During the Virus

Many months ago now I stopped wearing my beloved Ka Ora bracelets, made by a local friend here in Maine.

And I stopped wearing pierced earrings every day.

Why would I wear these things if I don’t really see anyone or go anywhere to mix with other people?

My answer NOW is because they make ME feel as if I am doing something nice for myself every day. And also, I was born to a mother who grew up after the depression when “things” in the market were scarce, so “saving“ a piece of clothing to be pristine “for a good event” was part of my childhood. Over the years, I have “saved” way too many clothing items for “good” and had them just go out of style without really being worn. I’m changing that right now.

The retrieved earrings made my ears sore—who knew after 50 years of wearing pierced earrings that taking a months-long break would make ears tender again?

The bracelets had to be polished—which does not happen when I wear them all the time.

And there is more to this story of rethinking how one lives during the pandemic.

At least two springs ago I went into Mainely Sewing in Nobleboro, Maine, and saw a beautiful dress of rayon batik that would be just perfect to wear over a summer t-shirt. I walked out of the store with the pattern and some rayon batik fabric. The dress sample was for a shorter length version than this one on the cover.

This pattern has TONS of options for making this dress—options that vary the bodice and the skirt—to include a tunic version that is on the back cover.

The pattern and fabric sat untouched that spring—and the next spring as we were now socially distancing. Where would I wear such a dress? And I was preoccupied with keeping my head above water with all the summer tasks outside.

Sometime over this past summer, I cut out the dress, but didn’t get any further. The sewing task fell into “to do” sewing projects. But, with the realization that I wanted to spend the next amount of pandemic time differently, I started sewing the dress.

This dress has a number of learning curves—to include making two buttonholes in the waistband where the tie would exit the enclosed waistband. I have not made a sewing machine buttonhole in probably 50 years!! But, I have to say that part of the learning curve went well.

Here’s the dress—I just put it over a winter t-shirt for this picture as I’ve put away all the short-sleeve t’s now.

The bodice has these sweet little pleats—another learning curve:

I’ve put the dress away with my summer clothes now, but it will be waiting for me next spring. And I will be wearing it.

Written by louisaenright

October 11, 2020 at 10:39 am