Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

An Orchid Story

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Interesting Information: March 27, 2021

An Orchid Story

AND, here’s another fun story—sent to me by local friend Marsha Smith.

“Our daughter in FL always looks forward to her cattleya orchid blooming every year. She has to time it just right to pick the blooms before the iguanas eat them-Look at the picture and see the iguana coming down the tree to get it as she is cutting it. Think they must smell them. The orchid has grown all over the tree.”

And here’s the beautiful bloom, now saved from the iguana.

Thanks Marsha!

Written by louisaenright

March 27, 2021 at 9:24 am

A True Maine Story

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Turkey Tracks: March 26, 2021

A True Maine Story

Wendy from wendysquilting.wordpress.com sent me this piece of Maine history written by Heather Cox Richardson about 10 days ago now, and I so enjoyed reading it.

I think you will too, especially if you are a Mainer.

The Maine birthday is earlier in the month, but it is still March.

Wendy’s blog is so interesting too. Wendy is a Canadian and lives near the US border on the “other side” of Lake Superior. She is an artist when it comes to her longarm quilting, for sure. And like me, she is a quilter who loves to piece.

Enjoy!

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/march-14-2021

Written by louisaenright

March 26, 2021 at 8:26 am

Betsy’s Latest Baby Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: March 20, 2021

Betsy’s Latest Baby Quilt

Betsy Maislen has been steadily quilting all winter up in Vermont.

I think she has completed 4 or 5 baby quilts in recent years and at least 3 this winter. Plus, she just made a BIG quilt of her own design that will be gifted soon—it’s out at the longarm quilter’s at the moment.

I love this pin wheel block quilt she made—and this is the second one of these. What I especially love is the star print background behind the pinwheels. I think that is a Cotton+Steel print. Anyway, it just makes this quilt sing, don’t you think?

Betsy has a really good eye for combining fabrics—very different from mine—and I always enjoy seeing what she has done. There are other blog posts here of her quilts, if you care to explore her “eye” choices.

I smiled when I saw her backing—and she sent me a piece of it too for my stash, which was fun. I sent her something in return that I hope will be fun for her too.

She got me into trouble a week ago when she sent me a picture of a fabric print she loved. I wound up ordering YARDS of it for a backing. But more on that later…

Meanwhile, have a great weekend!

Written by louisaenright

March 20, 2021 at 9:10 am

Spring Turkey Time

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Turkey Tracks: March 16, 2021

Spring Turkey Time

Turkeys love my woods.

It has something to do with the orientation of my woods and my hill to the sun, which warms the hill all year.

Turkeys used to hang out here all winter—30 or more of them around the house was not at all unusual.

AC doggie does not permit them in his territory though.

I woke this morning to AC telling me there were turkeys in our woods.

There were—and there was mating going on.

The large band breaks apart as the breeding cycle begins—and the males start to court the females and to assemble their small breeding groups.

Friend Marsha Smith sent me a nice pic of a male turkey in her yard who had puffed himself up to attract a female. You can see his head is starting to turn blue.

She also sent me a picture of one of her Snow Drops blooming.

They can and do survive the brrrr cold we have right now for a few days.

Written by louisaenright

March 16, 2021 at 10:08 am

More Bits and Pieces

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Turkey Tracks: March 15, 2021

More Bits and Pieces

It’s Monday morning, and the temperature at my back door is 10 Degrees!

How did that happen after our series of such pretty and warmer days? It’s spring in Maine, that’s how. She’s a teaser, that spring.

My cataract operations have both been done now—the second eye was done two Tuesdays ago. And my vision is once again AWESOME! I only need some reading glasses for fine print—and I can see my phone screen just fine if I hold it away from me. My world is filled with LIGHT (lots of light) and color again, and I am so grateful for this senior citizen gift.

I got a MUCH-NEEDED haircut this morning and am now feeling less old and way less all-the-time messy.

I’ve been working on the log cabin quilt for my niece and have a bit over half the blocks done now. It will be 8 rows by 8 rows, or 96 inches square.

The fall crop of butternut squash is running low in our stores now. I found one and roasted the cubes I cut out of it. Roasted this way, butternut squash is like eating candy it is so sweet. And it is easy to make. I love it best in the fall with fresh rosemary, lots of garlic, some good olive oil, and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt. I make do now with dried herbs if I don’t buy fresh rosemary, which is expensive.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and them slice the halves into half circles. Turn these on their sides and trim off the outer skin and cut each slice into chunks. Place them all in a parchment lined pan and apply the herbs, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Roast at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes—you may want to turn up the heat at 25 minutes or so to pop the chunks with stronger heat—which starts to caramelize them.

Enjoy! And the extras reheat well, but they are also good cold in a salad.

Written by louisaenright

March 15, 2021 at 11:43 am

The Call of the Wild

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Turkey Tracks: March 8, 2021

The Call of the Wild

We watched the 2020 CALL OF THE WILD last week.

I say “we” because AC watched the entire movie with no loss of attention. I would probably have stopped and moved to something more “adult,” but AC was watching so intently. Occasionally he would leap from the couch to more closely inspect the tv screen. Or, to guard us against “those dogs” in our house.  It was too funny to miss.  He’d run back to me in a bit and wedge himself against my body. Gradually he relaxed and lay down beside me, but he never took his eyes away from the screen.  

Any appearance by the BIG black wolf (the movie’s metaphor for “the call of the wild”) always produced a trip to the tv screen.

The scenery was pretty.

I am easily amused.

The pandemic is hard on dogs that are very social too.

Written by louisaenright

March 8, 2021 at 7:28 am

More Bits and Pieces

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March 7, 2021

More Bits and Pieces

I finished the expanded “My Bokeh” quilt top today and purchased a backing for it this past week.

You may recall that I thought I’d finished it. Only, it kept calling to me, and I had more fabric. So I turned what I had on its side and added more rows. Now it is a lap-quilt size: 60 by 72. And I like it a lot.

Now it has joined the other ongoing projects on the bed next door to my quilt room. There are two finished quilt tops that need to go on the longarm, all the ironed fabric for the blue/grey log cabin for my niece, backing and binding fabric for the log cabin, a pile of fabric sent by Sewtopia for this month’s Color Collective project, a BIG block I cut out to see how it would look that needs to be sewn together, and the “funky” wedding quilt project I’d like to try out—the one Debbie on A Quilter’s Table blog tried and posted, from a book by Gwen Marston and Freddie Moran (COLLABORATE AGAIN) about “funky” quilt blocks and projects (see a previous post for pics).

I cleaned off the design wall and put up the log cabin blocks I’ve already made. My niece and her husband chose a barn raising format. So now I’m really excited to cut more fabric and to make more blocks. I’m thinking 8 rows at the very most—that would be 96 inches square. But it is already looking really pretty!

The best thing about roasting a big chicken may be what comes after that first meal, as in the gorgeous lunch salad the next day:

Or the broth-dense soup for dinner last night:

Unfortunately, I’ve reacted slightly to this soup, so now it’s a benedryl nap day. I don’t know if it is that the stock cooked too long in the Instant Pot, or if it is the teaspoon of tumeric I added, or both. I’m resisting throwing out the other half of the soup. The 5.5 pound chicken produced 2 dinner meals, a big lunch salad, 3 soup meals, and 4 cups of stock frozen in 1-cup portions. AND, some really healthy and delicious meals.

My boy was so pretty yesterday that I took a picture of him.

That’s “the look” that says it is well past time for us to do something TOGETHER.

And so we did.

Bits and Pieces of My Life, February 2021

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Turkey Tracks: February 28, 2021

Bits and Pieces of My Life, February 2021

AC has been telling me repeatedly that there are chipmunks under the front deck.

If you look where the deck meets the side of the house, you can see a cache of eaten seed husks. The feeders are on the upper deck and do create a big mess. But I can’t quite let go of feeding my resident birds. Likely I’ll have to trap and rehome the chipmunk population this spring and summer. And, the little destructive red squirrels too.

This lunch made me feel like spring is coming faster now: a mozzarella, herbed omelet, cottage cheese, and a lovely salad with the snow peas just showing up in our markets and sweetened with cubed apple. (I flipped over my omelet getting it out of the pan, so part tore off just a bit.)

I have totally fallen in love with Ghee (butter melted gently until the milk solids can be removed). Ghee does not need refrigeration unless you somehow get some water into it or you contaminate it with food on a spoon. It isn’t as stable in a hot pan as beef tallow, but it will take a fair amount of heat. And it distributes the most heavenly buttery taste throughout whatever you are pan sautéing. I really like using it to saute chopped veggies. Delicious!

This Tuesday morning I will (God willing and the creek don’t rise) have cataract surgery on my right eye—to which I’m really looking forward. The vision now in my left eye is just awesome. It will be terrific to have both eyes working together again. I’m thinking I’m only going to need reading glasses once everything settles down post-surgery.

For us here in mid-coast Maine, it is warm this Sunday morning: 38 degrees on the north side of the house. AC has been out for a two morning runs around the property now: pre and post breakfast. He comes to the window where I am writing this post and drinking coffee to tell me he is ready to come inside. I go to the kitchen door, and he runs around the house to meet me at the door. It’s wonderful how dogs and humans create a language where they both understand what the other is saying.

Daylight is filling our days now, some warmer temps are flirting with us, and both AC and I feel a renewal of energy after our winter resting time.

The seasonal wheel is turning, as it always does.

Written by louisaenright

February 28, 2021 at 8:05 am

A Surprise Gift

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Turkey Tracks: February 27, 2021

A Surprise Gift

A dear friend hung a very pretty bag on my outside door handle the other day. Inside was a very sweet card, a beautiful pin, and this gorgeous cowl made in the green colors I so love.

I already adore it and wear it every chance I get.

The kindness of my friends and family are what are getting me through the isolation of the pandemic. And I do try to play this kind of kindness forward as well.

We all should, you know.

Oh, to be able to get a haircut!

Written by louisaenright

February 27, 2021 at 1:26 pm

“My Pips” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks/Books: February 26, 2021

“My Pips” Quilt

Here’s “My Pips” quilt:

You may recall that this quilt is a project in the current season (3) of The Color Collective, hosted by Amy Newbold’s Sewtopia, and with projects by designer and quilter extraordinaire Tara Faughnan and one month with another designer—this year it is Latifah Saafir. I think the fabric palette Tara chose for this project was just delicious. I cut and sewed until I ran out of fabric.

I quilted on my domestic with a walking foot (see the book WALK by Jacquie Gering) with a medium grey Gutterman thread, using a swirly pattern I saw in a post in Debbie’s A Quilter’s Table blog. I did not do the opposite diagonal as the quilt told me it was done. Pips are apple seeds, and this quilting pattern made me think of spring winds swirling through apple trees as they begin to leaf out in spring.

I would also say that I lost some of my points on the top and bottom rows—as the quilting shrank up the quilt, as quilting does. I think if I were to make this block again I would set my top and bottom rows BEFORE trimming those blocks at the top and bottom—and would only trim them after the quilting was finished.

I had enough of Carrie Blomston’s “Newsprint” fabric (108 wide leftovers) to cover the back, and I ordered more of the Kona “Thistle” in this palette for the binding and for another project as well.

I can see other uses for this block—for sure. It could be made to highlight a printed fabric in a quilt for someone to whom the fabric would “speak.” Learning about using Sewline glue to hold the curves while one sews is an awesome trick.

I’ll use this picture to make a photo card to have on hand—I’ve been doing these cards for years now and use them for every purpose where I need to send a card.

Thank you Tara Faughnan for this beautiful project!