Sunday, April 30, 2023

Crazy old lady

 Well, maybe not crazy.  Eccentric? Either way.

We just returned from England, a wonderful 10 day trip to visit Brian and do the London things we didn't do when we had to cut our trip short when covid reared it's ugly head.  We have anecdotes and stories about everything we did every single day and will talk about them to ourselves and anyone who cares to listen for years. I might bore you with some of them as we go on, but for now let's do food.

I do notice things.  One of the things that fascinated me three years ago was seeing eggs sitting on the shelves right next to the flour and sugar.  Not in the refrigerator section like we keep them here. I was a dog with a bone about it, not letting go.  

How many of you who live not in the U.S. do this?  
I asked the clerk why the eggs are on the shelf?  
"Where else would they be?" was the reply.
I said, "in the refrigerator section."  
"Hmmm." they said and noticed my accent qualified me for being a little "off." 

I had to buy some.  Notice each egg is stamped and one has the crown stamp on it! 
At the checkout I asked the too-young-to-know checkout young man about the eggs.  He laughed and said he keeps his on the counter.  
"For how long?" I asked.  
"Till I use them up," he said. "But I know what you mean," he said.  "My dad lived in the states for awhile and now he gives me a hard time for not keeping my eggs in the refrigerator."  
"But right on the inside of the carton it says to refrigerate them after purchase. So what's the difference?" I asked.  
I am quite sure I am the story that young man told when he got home that night. 
These were the ones I chose.  That shell was very hard, the yolks very dark orange and yes, I brought the carton home with me.  I brought the second carton home with me, too.  
I'm kinda one of those people who sees the possibility in containers.  I have a cupboard in the kitchen full of jars of all sizes because once a package of something is opened the contents are put into a jar. To keep them fresher longer.  Jars of all sorts of sizes and yes, I use them all.  
I kept those little one serving size jars of honey or marmalade and one of ketchup!  I find them very handy for pins, beads, buttons, just little bits. PH just shook his head and told me to pack them in MY suitcase.
And I bought this.  A 3.5 pound bag of flour.  "Why are you buying a bag of flour?" Brian asked.  
"Because I read an article about this young man milling these artisan flours and buying it at Waitrose means we don't have to go to the Cotswolds to get it." I follow this young man's Instagram posts and it's probably a good thing Waitrose didn't have any more varieties or I might have tried to bring those home, too.  
And yes, in anticipation of finding this I packed several zip storage bags so it wouldn't come open in the suitcase. Or if it did it wouldn't ruin everything else in the case.

I brought home two small bottles of Komitroff salted caramel vodka disguised at mouth wash. Brian bought a bottle for me in the Canary Islands but because we were not checking a bag I couldn't bring it home so we drank some every night and then poured some into small bottles (see? save those containers!) so was able to bring SOME home-disguised at mouth wash. 
No, I didn't eat Chocolate Charles but this does qualify as food, doesn't it? Of course it looks just like him and I would bet up close this bust would smell wonderful.  I also wondered what Charles might think of it.  Imagine finding that in your Easter basket.

We had fish and chips, steak and ale pie, sticky toffee pudding, tarts, British cheese toasty - if anyone knows how to make THAT please let me know.  It was fabulous with the cheddar and the bechamel, went to a carvery, on our most tired days got take-out, I cooked a few times and taught Brian how to make scrambled eggs (low and slow.) 

So. Crazy or eccentric?

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Brian's pillow


You know, I kind of really like appliqueing these little squares onto fabric.  Once you get the first one in the middle on, the rest is easy.  I draw a VERY light pencil grid line on the background (which disappears as I also use it as my quilting guideline,) draw quarter inch lines around each little piece and needle turn sew them on.  I've done three pieces using these little squares and I guess I wouldn't keep going back to it if I didn't like doing it.  It's a great way to use those little pieces and I just might consider a quilt top.  Just might. Don't hold me to it. I'm thinking out loud here. 

This pillow is a gift for Brian, in England, where we are now.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Butterflies are Free


Boy, I can vouch for that!  

But finally, finally I finished quilting the butterflies I started oh, so long ago. Quilting this was what got me out of the slump I've been in since October.  The more I worked on it the more I remembered how much fun it was to come up with the wing combinations and I admired them all over again.  There are a few backgrounds that could have used better placement and the flower on the left should have been reversed but all were discovered once I was nose to needle with it.  And I don't care. I fell in love with this all over again and now just have to bind it.  But I was too excited to have this done not to share. 

Friday, April 21, 2023

Sally's Pieces

 At our retreat a couple of weeks ago Friend Sally brought me a gift.  She purges her stuff occasionally and this time I was the recipient of her Aunt Grace blocks.  She knows I love the 30's look fabric and I was thrilled to get this bonus.  It's a bonus because look at these - she did all the work! The cutting, sewing the blocks and then she gave them away!

When I got them home I looked at my treasure.  There was this medallion with three extra flower blocks.
And then these blocks, and a good pile of smaller 9 patch blocks.

And this pile of 9 patches that are smaller and not all Aunt Grace. There was also pile of fabric that wasn't cut up but will make grea sashing for the idea I have in mind.

In the middle of the night I started to think of how to use them all in one piece. As of now I'm thinking the medallion in the center, surrounded by the pieced blocks, adding in the three spare flower blocks, then surrounding all of that in a border of the larger 9 patch (by large I mean 3.5 inches finished.)  

The crappy smaller 9 patches will be for another day, another top.

When I layed that all out on a bed it looked nice but for now they are all gathered together in a pile for another day.  Like I said, Friend Sally did all of the work.  I just need to put them together.  

I have been the recipient of Sally's purging in the past and never take it for granted.  Thank you, Sally!

Monday, April 10, 2023


PH was ready.  He had prizes, he had bunny ears, he had marble stuffed plastic eggs, he had a plan.

Let the Easter games begin. 
 This bucket toss was a new one in the line up this year.  The deal was you had to put the bunny ears on when it was your turn.

Even the He-Men of the family.

Even my brother,and seeing him in these bunny ears was worth the price of admission.

Then came the egg roll down our driveway. 

 Notice how far the street is from PH who is standing halfway down as spotter.
Our driveway is filled with pot holes and divots but that only made this the more challenging. There is definitely a strategy.  Everyone gets two eggs to roll that we put two marbles in for weight.

And then the raw egg toss.  
This year PH wanted to have the contestants standing along the walkway up to the house. That made this particularly difficult because the one on the bottom (near those three chalk lines ) had to be tossing UP to the partner. 
When it came to my brother's turn, PH was his partner and PH planned this with a hard boiled egg. 

We were so lucky to have marvelous weather. We could be outside for the games, we ate our dinners around the porches, windows were open, everyone had a great day.