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“Pips” Top Finished

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Turkey Tracks: January 4, 2021

“Pips” Top Finished

The second project for this year’s The Color Collective is all about curves and how to create them using a glue stick pen.

“Pips” are apple seeds—and this color palette is as bright and shiny as our green and red apples are.

I have no idea how I’ll quilt it, but I’ve organized backing and batting for it. I’ll probably bind it with the “limelight” green or the softer lavender “thistle.” I’m leaning toward the limelight green. I bought the walking foot instruction book WALK, and that will likely offer a solution for how to quilt this quilt. My mind is wanting curved lines that track down—and around the “Pips.”

The new project (3) is here and I’ve downloaded the pattern and watched the videos. It will involve making a freezer paper template that gets used like paper foundation piecing. And part of making the template will involve using one’s threadless sewing machine needle to mark out the sewing lines.

I always learn so much with The Color Collective projects as each introduces a new skill—or refines an older one.

Written by louisaenright

January 4, 2021 at 9:07 am

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An “Unintended” Wild Car Ride

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Turkey Tracks: December 23, 2020

An “Unintended” Wild Car Ride

Last Monday late afternoon, I had an “unintended” backwards wild ride in the Subaru. It lasted only 4 to 5 seconds, but I landed in a deep snowy ditch filled with water—and that was a blessing as the car didn’t hit something (people, another car, a tree) that would have been far worse.

I was backing out of a friend’s driveway on Start Road, and as I slowly backed out of the driveway to get to the place where I could see if anything was coming down the road, suddenly I was thrown backwards as the car went full bore speed backwards.  I didn’t know this car could go that fast in such a short time. Before I could take a breath and in about 4 to 5 seconds the car went runaway out over the road and into the ditch—engine still racing full bore until I got the car in park and turned it off.

I might have braked. I don’t know. It happened so fast and was the most surreal feeling. But braking would not have stopped the car in what is known as an “unintended acceleration” occurrence.

My friend came out of the garage where he was working to help me get out of the car—it was listing to the driver side into the ditch so I had to crawl out over the passenger seats and grab his helping hand.  AC doggie was with me with no winter coat as we were just going to drop off a check and have a little outing and it was still not crazy cold. I had to get his harness out of the far side of the car and get him into it and find his leash.

We called AAA, and my friend took me inside to stay warm and sat with me until the tow truck came—two hours later and in the now total dark.  AAA towed the car to Dan Foshay’s Cooper Tires in town, and my friend took me home.

In thinking about it, there was an incident with the engine racing a while back, maybe even a year ago, but I was stopped at the mailbox and facing up a steep hill, it somehow stopped without further incident.  I don’t remember what I did at the time to stop it. And there were at least 2 incidents when starting the car in the garage where the engine raced, but not as powerfully and the car was in park.

I tossed and turned all that night and at some point realized I would never get in that car again and that I had to take responsibility for getting it off the road—mixed with profound feelings of luck that no one had been hurt.

I wrote my two sons and DILs the next morning, and the older son wrote right back with research about these “unintended accelerations” in Subarus. I, too, started to research. Apparently there are two class-action suits now pending in courts over this issue. AND, there have been other cars with this kind of issue in past years—Toyota for one. Toyota was eventually fined a substantial amount of money.

It is a computer problem—with a sporadic glitch between the braking and acceleration systems. When it happens, the brake will not work to stop the car.

There are also videos out there on what to do if you have more time than 4 to 5 seconds to react. First, you do brake as hard as you can and you don’t remove your foot from the brake. Then you put the car into neutral—do not turn it off yet as you will lose steering and braking power which makes the car hard to handle manually. The car should coast to stop, and then you can turn it off.

After a lot of help from the people at Dan Foshay’s, for which I am very grateful, my car was towed on Wednesday to a used car dealer who agreed to use it for parts and who would give me a fair check for the car. This car was a one-owner car and though 10 years old was just below 60K miles. If the used car dealer is tempted to sell the car, that will be on them. I’ve done what I can.

In this holiday season, I am so grateful for luck, family, friends, and kind community people who helped me through this problem.

Written by louisaenright

December 27, 2020 at 9:05 am

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Bits and Pieces in Late November 2020

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November 25, 2020

Bits and Pieces in Late November 2020

Winter is closing in now, and we are in the darkest time of the year.

But there are seasonal gifts to view, witness these beautiful red berries against the grey sky that I saw in my travels the other day. We’ve had some cold days, but I have not yet switched out my cotton socks for my warmer winter ones. That day is coming though.

I’ve spent some time playing with using up the scraps in my solid scrap bin. I had a lot of leftover bias strips sewn together and cut from projects like The Color Collective Lone Star quilt process and the Sugaridoo QAL rows (the pink strips). What if I used them on fun and funky “tree triangles” that so many people are making these days as they rise to quilter Nicholas Ball’s challenge.

I’m working away at the first project from Season 3 of the online class The Color Collective, hosted by Sewtopia, with designer/teacher Tara Faughnan. The first block is called “Marrakesh,” and it allows us to play with and manipulate color choices that can radically change how the block appears. There are also several construction methods that I have never made, and that’s always a fun learning curve.

I have 4 blocks done now—they will finish at 15 1/2 inches each.

I’ll make at least two more and may stop at creating a rectangle wall hanging. Who knows. In any case, I’m sure these blocks will get moved around more. If I make more, I’ll definitely stop at 3 by 3 blocks, which will be a bit larger than 45 inches square. Or a longer 2-block wide rectangle wall hanging. Time will tell…

I keep moving around these four blocks because I see something that just needs to be changed, but then I see something else. I definitely need more blocks.

How I Make a “Tree” Quilty Block

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Turkey Tracks: November 16, 2020

How I Make a “Tree” Quilty Block

Several people have asked me now how I make my Quilty “Tree” Block. First let me say that this block was inspired by Amanda Jean Nyberg’s tree block quilt AND that I finally devised my own method after completing the “Mowed Lawn” block in the Sugaridoo Bernina Quilt-Along that just finished up this month. Up until the “Mowed Lawn” row, I just could not get my head around how to proceed easily with this kind of a block.

My own blocks are moving along quite nicely now as a leader/ender project, and I am pleased with how this project is shaping up. Note that I have used some different sizes of the “tree” trunks—for me about 2: a 1-inch cut and a 1 1/4 inch cut. And this arrangement will not likely remain after I have more blocks done. I’ll refine placement then by color and by how the trunks relate from block to block.

Start with a block that is ONE INCH bigger than your finished block size: for me that has been 8 1/2 inches. And it should have been 9 to finish at 8, but that was part of my own learning curve.

Cut the block into 4 pieces—without coming too close to where the seams that join the blocks will be on either side. Don’t make these angles too, too sharp or you will have trouble getting four pieces AND do vary the slant on the first cut—leaning to the left or the right differently for individual blocks. IMMEDIATELY put little numbers ON THE TOP marking each pieces placement. It is so easy to get confused really fast, especially with solids.

That is a “2” on the right strip. These little numbers disappear as you sew.

You will have already made a swatch of fabrics that will make the tree trucks. I cut these strips randomly at 1 inch up to 1 1/2 inches. Then I cut the trunks at 1 inch for most, but add in a few 1 1/4 inches. Again you can see how the widths work out in the first picture of my completed blocks.

I make my tree trunks so that they will be a bit longer top and bottom—so I can vary now I lay them out in terms of color—by reversing some of the strips. It’s good to make several sets of sewn strips so that you can vary color.

It is easier to sew the strips to the block is you have all the seams going down. Just reiron a strip if you need to.

Here’s my plan for this block. When you sew try to keep the top (pink) edge about the same if possible. You can see here that I didn’t do that as neatly as I like. Lay your strip in, put a pin on the 1/4 inch line, and turn the strip to see if your background fabric is lined up better than here. I don’t worry so much about the bottom edge if this top one is fairly even—since I won’t lose too much fabric on both sides, just one.

So now it is time to trim to 1/2 inch bigger than your finished block when sewn—so my 8 1/2 will now go to 8 inches square.

A square ruler REALLY helps with this trimming as you can see everything at once that you need to consider and can see how to best trim ALL the sides and if there is some problem with size. Honestly, I use my different sized square rulers a lot. I trim two sides, then flip the block around, line up again, and do the final two sides. (This block is 8 inches and will finish at 7 1/2—the ruler is just a bit high on one side in this picture as I relaid it in for this picture.

Enjoy! This block is very fun to make once you see the best way to proceed.

Written by louisaenright

November 16, 2020 at 12:12 pm

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Fun and Busy Fall Days

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Turkey Tracks: September 28, 2020

Fun and Busy Fall Days

We finally got some rain today—not much so far, but it is RAIN.

The fall days for some weeks now have been clear, mostly warm, beautiful, and very dry. The winter squash and root vegetables are being harvested and are filling up our local produce stores. These two striped Delicata squashes, garlic bulbs, and shallots came from Hope’s Edge, my CSA farm; the Hubbard came from friend Margaret-Elaine Jinno’s garden, which she started this year.

I plan to post a golden beet/carrot/ginger soup recipe in the next day or so.

I’ve never seen fresh Holy Basil (Tulsi) before last week’s pick-up at Hope’s Edge. This herb is a power house for the immune system apparently. I’ve dried mine and will use it in winter teas. The smell is way too strong and medicinal for me to use it in food.

I love coffee, especially in the fall and winter, though the days of sharing it with friends has been seriously curtailed.

These are favorites I keep on hand most of the time.

Green Tree’s Dark Harbor is richly dark and complex. The Origin Select bag holds Green Tree’s espresso mix, which they grind for me to use in my mokka espresso coffee pot. I love to get a latte when passing Green Tree (Lincolnville Beach, Maine) as I love this “Roma” espresso mixture so much.

The “Wicked Joe” mixtures, available at our local Hannaford’s grocery store, are roasted in Maine and each is deliciously different. The Italian (blue bag) is very dark and tastes like a good espresso; the Breakfast Blend (gold bag) is milder and tastes like chocolate with a touch of “sunshine”; and the French (red bag) is deeply smoky and dark.

This fall has been a BIG year for mice coming in to the garage. I’ve trapped 19 out there now. And the other night when I lit the grill, a mouse ran across the grate. I shut off the flames immediately, removed the grates, and saw at least 6 panicked mice—though I’d used the grill only a few days earlier. AC dog went nuts as he tried to catch them as they bailed out of the danger zone. The mice are way too quick for AC to catch in this situation. Fortunately, the nest they were setting was rudimentary and easily cleaned out. Gloves were involved, and I will spare you pics of mouse traps and so forth.

I’m pretty much ready for winter now. Everything has been put away; the snow boardwalk is down over the gravel path to the house; flower beds have been put to order; and the days are growing darker now as the trees are putting on their fall outfits.

Written by louisaenright

September 28, 2020 at 12:33 pm

What is That Insect?

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June 24, 2020

What is That Insect?

The other day I was turning on the hose water up next to the house when I saw a VERY STRANGE insect flying from flower to flower in the nearby flower bed. It had a very long proboscis and was busily harvesting nectar.

What on earth? It was a little over an inch long, with about a wingspan of about 1 1/2 inches as well. The body had a yellow patch near the tail area. It wasn’t, of course, a hummingbird or the moth that can be mistaken for one. The proboscis was…long.

Was it some sort of bee? Or wasp?

No. A bit of quick research showed it to be a Bombylius Major FLY.

They don’t bite, sting, or spread disease. They are harmless to humans. But they are a “parasite bee mimic fly.” They do play a role in pollination. They are parasitic as they do desposit eggs in bee and wasp nests. After hatching, the larvae feed on the bee or wasp grubs.

I should have been an entomologist or a zoologist.

Here’s a link to more information where you can see images of this very interesting FLY:


Written by louisaenright

June 24, 2020 at 9:24 am

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Turkey Tracks: Lamb Shanks

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May 10, 2020

Lamb Shanks

I love lamb.

Over time, I’ve discovered one either loves lamb or one doesn’t. There does not seem to be much of a middle ground. Maybe how one relates to lamb depends upon exposure during childhood? In some areas of the country, lamb isn’t very common. Or wasn’t, until recent decades. And if places where lamb hasn’t been common, it can be expensive.

I buy a whole, local lamb each fall for my freezers. “Lamb” isn’t a small baby, but an animal that is fully grown for 9 or 10 months.

The shanks are, in parts of the country where lamb is raised, fairly inexpensive. Each holds a good amount of meat, and the bones add good ingredients to the resulting stew.

One cooks lamb shanks (or beef short ribs) as I described in earlier posts: brown in some fat, add water, herbs, and savories; bring to a boil; cover; and cook in the oven at about 350 degrees for about an hour. Then add desired veggie chunks, more spices, etc., for at least another 30 to 40 minutes. In that first cooking, make it long enough to see that the meat is now fairly tender—which can vary according to the kind of covered pot you are using. A cast iron/enameled pot, for instance, will cook the meat faster.

Here’s my first dinner—I cooked the large Russet potato right in the pot.

Here’s my second dinner—I added more of the broth to the meal and topped the dish with a bit of REAL sour cream (that does not have additives).

Along the way, I roasted some chicken drumsticks to have for a salad lunch. Roasting drumsticks only takes about 45 minutes. I wish I could take a picture of the way my house smells when something delicious is cooking in the oven.

The local market had some beautiful lamb stew meat, so I bought a package, browned the meat, and added it and some raw sliced cabbage to what was left of my lamb shank broth. Here it starts to cook a soup/stew.

I added frozen corn to the soup/stew just before serving.

I topped with the REAL sour cream and some fresh green onions. Oh my goodness: this dish was absolutely delicious.

This last mixture provided 4 or 5 other servings for lunch or dinner. And I ate each one with the added green onions and sour cream!

I hope this post shows you how you can think about what you are cooking in ways that allow you to be creative with what you have on hand in your kitchen AND to diminish the workload AND to get more bang out of your food bucks.

Written by louisaenright

May 10, 2020 at 9:32 am

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Books: The Scent Keeper, Erica Bauermeister

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The Scent Keeper

Erica Bauermeister

I really enjoyed this book.

It’s lyrical, magical, evocative—altogether a nice read.


Written by louisaenright

May 7, 2020 at 12:33 pm

Turkey Tracks: And On We Go Through Pandemic Days

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Turkey Tracks: April 12, 2020

Life Moves On…

I’m ok.

I hope you all are ok too.

I had “something” that knocked me back for about 10 days, but never developed beyond extreme fatigue and, sometimes, a dull headache. Gradually my energy returned, though I still get tired off and on, and a nap feels good then. I had one of those yesterday.

On Wednesday night and all day Thursday we had a heavy wet snow here that tore up trees and power lines. On Friday, this area looked like a war zone. Again, my generator leapt into the power abyss and ran sturdily for two days and two nights. The worst loss was no internet for an entire day. Folks, we are addicted, aren’t we?

I got about 7 to 9 inches up here on the hill. But by today, Sunday, the spring bulbs are emerging through the snow.

And today, AC and I visited the beach in what was a glorious Easter Sunday. He ran and ran and swam and swam and washed his ball in the water. People waved and enjoyed the antics of the dogs. There was a female rat terrier in the mix. AC and I both fell in love. I could feel the sun warm on my back—and I only wore a wool sweater for the first time this spring.

I finished the knit dress, and it fits well. I feel like I did a really good job on this dress. The learning curve is going down fast. On to the expensive fabric next.

When I was arranging the dress, AC put his yellow next to it. He’s always hopeful. This ball is carried EVERYWHERE we go inside the house—and outside if I don’t stop him.

I’m sewing the Gumdrop rows together now. (Tara Faughnan, from The Color Collective online class.) I don’t know yet how I will stagger the rows.

I have no idea why I started this quilt, but there is something about it that drives me on. It is so far out of my comfort zone, I can’t even…

And then there are some masks…

I’ve tried three different ones—and am not comfortable in any of them, truth to tell. They fog up my glasses, and I feel like someone with a plastic bag over their head and breathing in their own exhaled air, which makes me feel dizzy. The one with elastic ties interferes with my hearing aids, and I worry that I’ll lose one. This one is the MOST uncomfortable, and I thought it would be the best. I’ll try again, as the ties work, and the pipe cleaner nose guard works, but it’s too long I think.

I’ve almost finished the March Sugaridoo QAL row(s). (I’m making two each month—one in the solids and one in Cotton+Steel fabrics I seem to have acquired.) This March row is a braid, which is always fun.

I’ve been deep cleaning as my energy has returned and have culled lots of “stuff” that will be rehomed. That feels good. There is just too much “stuff” in this house. It is hard to know what to get rid of and what to hold on to in case grandchildren setting up houses need “stuff.” As nothing can be dropped off anywhere right now, I’ve put it all on the garage steps in boxes and bags.

I’m getting used to the block editor on WordPress now. It is easier, but like all new things, one needs to slow down to master the “new.”

Written by louisaenright

April 12, 2020 at 2:41 pm

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Turkey Tracks: Self-Distancing Days

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Turkey Tracks:  March 28, 2020

Self-Distancing Days

I hope this finds you all doing well.

I am doing fine.  Here are some recent pics from recent days.

I finished these two knit tops—the fabric was bought last spring and has been sitting in the garment pile.  The brown sweater is the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater, version 2.  I made several tops from an earlier Simplicity pattern, 8529, that is this same idea.  Sew House, though, incorporated some really nice finishing touches, which makes the “boat” top much nicer.  The sleeve is more sleek in that it does not have a cuff.  BUT, the brown version was not as long as the Simplicity, and I liked that longer length.  So, I made the blue version longer and dramatically longer in the back.  It fits like a dream.

This knit dress is next in line and ready to go.  It’s the Caroline Out and About Knit dress from Sew Caroline.  My first version was made in a grey jersey—and I did some altering where the bodice meets the skirt.  I’ve incorporated that knowledge into the pattern—along with raising the location of the pockets.  We’ll see how this goes.  I love the grey dress, so suspect I’ll love this one too.

If the above project goes well, then I’ll cut into this EXPENSIVE organic cotton and repeat the dress there.

Finishing the olive knit dress will leave one more garment to make.  A summer rayon batik dress.  Then I WILL BE CAUGHT UP on purchased garment fabrics.  I am wondering if I can get a summer knit top with leftovers from the brown or blue strips.  But…that will be play.

Here are quilts all ready to be quilted.  The box of thread is Wonderfil’s GalMour, which is a rayon metallic thread that should just be wonderful in the top quilt, Galactic.  I started down that path after seeing what this quilt’s designer used—Tara Faughnan for The Color Collective.

Here’s the design wall at the moment.  The right hand project is Gudrun Erla’s quilt project, Elvira.  I’ve never made a quilt with BIG pieces of fabric, and I have no idea if I will like or dislike or finish this one.  There is something catchy about it though, and it is certainly a stash buster.  Bonnie Hunter did a version which you can see on her blog.  Getting the diagonal line installed was easy after all the 60 degree long cabin blocks I’ve been making with The Color Collective projects, as in the smaller ones on the left of the design wall.  The middle project is “Gumdrops” from The Color Collective, an English Paper Piecing project.



AC and I have been out every day.  Here are some recent videos of a walk in some nearby woods.  Listen for the wind in the trees—it was just roaring yesterday.