Friday, February 28, 2014

A bowl of June

I give up. The sky is blue and the sun is shining it's bitterly cold and there are two feet of hard packed snow on the ground and we are all sick and tired of it and sick and tired of complaining about it.

And now it's March and time for thoughts to turn to something else.  Something fresh.  Something that isn't white.  Something encouraging.  Something to look forward to.
 One of the things I look forward to the most is the first strawberry picking day of the summer.
It's true, I have been known to hound and beg the farmers at the U-pick fields.  I've been known to ask if there wasn't some way to "hurry the berries along" because I want to make my pie. I've been known to tell them "I don't mind the hunt, I don't mind if there is just one ripe berry in each row. Really." If they remind me "it's been a cold spring." I offered once to go out there with my blow dryer and warm things up a bit.
I want to taste a real strawberry.  I want the girls to come and help.  I want to see the juice dribbling down their chins. There is no juice in a grocery store strawberry.  You know they aren't real berries, don't you?  Those are painted Styrofoam.  I want real berries. OUR berries.  Juicy, sweet, ripe, red, it-doesn't-get-any-better-than-this berries.
So I made a square to put somewhere into that posy quilt I finished a couple of weeks ago.  This berry fabric was my focus print for that project.  And I loved the black gingham basket(I think gingham is my new favorite thing...look out stash, here it comes!)I made for the blueberry square so I thought it could be a nice bowl for strawberries.

I fussy cut the berries and appliqued them to become an overflowing bowl of June. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Take a break

Who knew??  I sure didn't.  I needed a break from staring at old microfilm pages as I searched for ancestor information so I visited Susan at The View From Great Island to see what she was cooking today.  Don't visit her site if you're hungry.  You will either run for the kitchen to try what she is offering for the day or drool looking at it.
 Today it was Flourless Cashew butter cookies.   I didn't use cashew butter, I used just regular ol' grocery store peanut butter.
Simple, simple, simple, simple, simple. 

1 egg
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup cashew (or any nut) butter
1 cup chocolate chips

Whisk the egg and sugar together till well blended, beat in the baking soda and butter and fold in the chips.  THAT'S IT!!  Yeah, about 2 minutes worth of effort.

Drop by balls onto a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 12-13 minutes.  I baked mine for 15 minutes.  They will look soft but like a perfect just underdone cookie.  Take them out, let them cool and groan as you eat them.   Very light, very.

Go visit her site.  You will want to live in her refrigerator.

Monday, February 24, 2014

up to my ears in years

 Not getting much done with quilting because I've been up to my ears in years.  Last time I searched the family history the internet wasn't invented yet.  So I dusted off the papers and sticky notes and logged onto a website and I've been staring at dates and dates and people on the computer. Doing a lot of guessing. I have till this Friday to do this for free so it's been a little intense.

 These are old beauties my grandpa's mother made....
 ...she was 100 when she died

Friday, February 21, 2014

You know it's bad....

You know it's been a bad winter when your four year old grand-daughter says, "spring is coming, it really is because Elizabeth dug down through the snow and found grass!"   Yes, sweetie pie, it's there.You just have to dig for it.

And friend Marilyn said, "you know it's bad when your cat sits out in the driveway and cries!"
Yup, kitty, we are all on the verge of tears...or past it.

There was a time when after a day of pruning or trimming or raking or just tweaking the garden,  we would sit out here in the evening, listening to the birds tuck in for the night, watch the deer come out of the brush looking for tulips and sweet greens to eat.  We'd have an iced tea or a glass of wine, feel the warm, gentle breeze and just sit quietly and enjoy the new green and warmth and the view and each other.

But these howling winds, relentless up-to-the-knees snowfalls and cold temperatures are making everyone feel like it's never going to be green again. And this winter is getting really, really, really old. Really, really really, really old.  This picture was taken the end of November.  You can't see the urn now.

Remind me to never paint anything white.

Yes, I'm pouting.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Once in a lifetime

We did something today that we've never ever done before and maybe will never do again (at least not if we don't have another winter like this one!)
Do you see in the lower right that mitten shape?  That's us.  Michigan.  Do you see all that whiteness, that snow coming at us? Streaking down from the north, crossing Lake Superior and straight across Lake Michigan, covering us with snow?   It's been very steady, very, very steady all winter.  And cold. Very, very cold.  Well,  because of that snow and cold, Lake Michigan, that big puddle to the left of the mitten that's covered in streaks of snow is 80% frozen over.  It hasn't been this ice covered in over 20 years.
That means today we could do this....
 We joined probably a thousand people who took a WALK out onto the lake for about 140 yards!  Notice the pier and the tall red structure and teeny house waaaayyy out there.  Notice PH in the lower right.
 In the summer you couldn't be out here unless you knew how to swim.  Notice the people! 
 Now we're even with the red house light house at the very end of the pier
 People were picking up chunks and making ice sculptures.  Little kids were adding theirs, teen agers were walking "in" Lake Michigan instead of the mall.  Everybody, absolutely everybody had a camera.
  How far out I am!  Any other time I'd need a boat for this view!
PH was carrying my hat.  No wind, lots of sunshine = no hat or gloves! 

 I know this doesn't do justice but the sun shining on the ice flakes in our path just sparkled
 I don't know who or what made this little teepee but loads of people had their pictures taken in it!

 If we strayed off the path we stood the chance of tripping on upchucked ice.
 Would you please notice how far from shore we are??????????? This was just thrilling.
 See? Not hat, no gloves, sunshine smiles, new experience smiles.  What a terrific day!
 Walking back to "shore" so many people were commenting about being out here where they would normally be in their boats.   I so believe there were a thousand people out there.  PH said there were surely a thousand cars trying to find a place to park!! 


it is now just two days later and a friend went out to try to do what we did on Sunday afternoon.  She couldn't because the ice has melted and it's open water again right at the end of the pier.  Truly astounding to see her pictures, just TWO days later, which unfortunately won't load on the the blog for you to see. 

Since this post I have been chastised by friends who wonder where my senses were that day. Didn't I know better than to go out on that ice?  Didn't I know there are soft spots and holes and ledges hidden by the snow?  Didn't I understand the danger?   Yes, I did know better, I do know about the holes and soft spots and I am the first one to tell everyone about the danger.  But in pictures from friends who did the walk the day before I saw a clearly delineated path that people were walking on and so we dared. I'll never do it again.  I understand the danger.  But oh, I am so glad we did it!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


The sun is out and we have had three ( 3 ), count them, THREE whole days with no snow!!!! This has not happened this entire winter (going back to November!) And the temperature is up to 25 degrees!! Any other time of year this would be very cold but it feels like heaven right now.  Oh, what a little sun does to lift our spirits, what a welcome sight, puddles.  The ice is breaking up on Lake Michigan.  We may have left the worst of this winter behind.

Yesterday I spent the day quilting/sewing with a new to me group at the Attic Window quilt shop. They were so welcoming to this newcomer and I had a great time meeting some new people.

 I wish you could all see this.  One of the "girls" made it for her son and daughter-in-law.  It's king sized and absolutely gorgeous.  All batiks.  Gorgeous.  Huge. Did I say gorgeous??
Is this what you would call a quilter's selfie?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Birthday Cannoli

Yesterday we broke out.  The weather cooperated and we ran as fast as we could across the state to Michael's first birthday party.   A whole year already!
 The call him Cannoli.  There's a long story with that, but when you think about it, what would you serve for birthday "cake" to someone called Cannoli??  See the candle?
 He was given a goofy birthday hat, a beanie with a big candle on top.  He didn't care...he only had eyes for that cannoli and he devoured it.
Happy Birthday, Michael!  You are our sunshine.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A little perspective

Just to give you a little perspective, here's what the wind and snow and storms can do at the lake.
Beautiful and scary and surreal. The big red one is ours.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

a study in contrasts

Yes, indeed, this summery, picnic-y, quilt that should be shown hanging from a clothesline is laying in the snow. Talk about contrasts! But there just isn't anyplace else to go with it.  (We had another 5 inches yesterday, bringing us to the 4th highest snow-presently-on-the-ground-total since 1979.  No wonder everyone is so crabby.)

  A post or two ago I showed you this one laid out on the floor.  The patchwork blocks are from our retreat exchange.  We gave a focus fabric, mine was the summery fruity fabric you can see in the center of the blue polka dot (below.)  I received nine blocks, I made the tenth, the black gingham basket way up at the top.  Then to balance it out I did the little posies in-between blocks.
To keep it summery and light I put a separating one inch red checked border that looks like a checkered tablecloth and the border is green gingham.  Does anything say summer like gingham??  I had a feeling as I was working the posy blocks that I was going to like this quilt but last night after finishing it I decided I LOVE this quilt.  Now to put it away (after the snow wetness dries up) for months till I have time to get back to it to quilt it.
And I'm thinking out loud through another project. (Don't you have several going on at once? One you're working on, one you're cutting out and one you're dreaming up?) I'm not sure about this one.  There's still a lot of walking away and coming back to it and hmmmmm-ing going on.  But I want to go sew with a local group next week and I need something portable to work on. I like this stage of quilt making.  The tossing of fats together in a pile and walking away then coming back to it.  Just because some of them are cut out doesn't mean they made the cut.

 I got this from Tending the Garden by Barb Adams and Alma Allen.  There wasn't anything in the book I didn't like.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Never ending

Now, if someone handed you WEEKS of time, captive time, can't do much of anything else time, what would you do?  Stitch?  Sew?  Paint a room?  Cook?  Read?   They all sound good.  We've all wished for unlimited down time so we could indulge in any one of these things but you know what?  After awhile, it doesn't sound so good anymore.  Frankly, you can sit just so long before rigor mortis sets in.  That takes care of stitching, sewing and reading.  Paint a room?  Great, if you could get out to buy the paint.  Cook?  When it's just the two of you then someone has to eat those goodies and that doesn't pair well with sitting.


after this much more of this stuff this morning,
PH and I got out the cribbage board
 We spent the morning playing cards,
watching the birds
and eating brownies warm from the oven.
He said I must be pretty desperate if I'm taking pictures of a cribbage board and a glass of milk.