I’ve still been spending most of my sewing time on mending and boy scout neckerchiefs – not so exciting to look at. In between I have snuck in a bit of quilting too.
This week is the annual Shop Hop where we drive all over the place to visit 12 quilt shops and also sneak in a few fun extra stops (like the chocolate factory!) A few years ago I had made everyone a huge tote bag to store their purchases in in the car. Not long ago, I found this cute free zip bag pattern and decided to make one up for everyone. At each shop we collect 5″ charm square so I thought the bag would be perfect for keeping those squares in while we shop.
Me, being me, made a few changes to the bag. I made them from a single piece of fabric rather than patchwork. Also, I made them bigger cutting the pieces 10 1/2″ x 11 1/2″. I kept the corners at 1 1/2″ in from the edge and it made a nice square side.
Yes, me being me also got carried away and made 11 of them which is far more than the number of people who fit in my car. This way everyone gets to pick the one they like and no one is stuck with the “last one” in the bag. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
Also, I have been keeping up with my summer embroidery club hexagon project.
Last week was a sunshine:
And this week was a teeny tiny bikini:
And no, I didn’t miss a couple hexagons. That’s so this partial flower can fit up against last weeks flower. Like this:
And I’m linking up today with the quilters over at FreshlyPieced. See what they’re all quilting and then go outside and enjoy some summer!
- – marcella
Saturday was a big baking day over here. I had volunteered to bake cinnamon rolls for all the men at church for Father’s Day.
We had decided that 100 rolls would do and somehow along the way I got confused and made four batches of dough instead of the three I actually needed. That is a lot of dough!
I figured it was ok since there would undoubtably be small children begging for a sweet roll too, so extra would be good.
Then it was time to roll out the dough. Sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar and roll it up into a log.
Every recipe I’ve encountered calls for slicing the rolls “with a very sharp knife” but I have to say that no matter how sharp the knife I find that it squishes the roll and sticks a bit. Years ago my dad showed me a trick which I still happily use. I take a piece of dental floss and slide it under the roll. Pull the ends up and cross the floss over the top and pull. It slices off a roll easy as can be and doesn’t squash it out of shape. Before I knew it I had one of these all done.
And not long after that a whole counter full.
I baked them up and wrapped the pans in foil. The next day at church we warmed them in the oven and frosted them with a basic cream cheese frosting. There were lots of happy men (as well as children and women) enjoying a roll.
- ½ C warm water (about 110 degrees)
- 2 packages yeast
- 1 T kosher salt
- ¾ C granulated sugar
- 1½ t cinnamon
- ½ C butter, melted
- 3 C milk
- 9 C flour
- 2 eggs
- Cinnamon filling:
- ½ C granulated sugar
- ½ C brown sugar
- 2 T ground cinnamon
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 2 T butter
- 1 t vanilla
- 2 C powdered sugar
- milk or cream
- Dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add the salt, sugar, cinnamon and butter and stir to mix.
- Heat the milk to lukewarm and stir to combine.
- Mix in 4 C of the flour and the eggs. Continue to mix for about 2 minutes until it is a smooth batter. Add the remaining flour and mix 3-4 minutes to make a very soft dough. The dough should be very sticky.
- Leave the dough in the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size. Punch down and let rise a second time.
- One a well floured surface, roll out half the dough into a rectangle about 20 inches by 12 inches.
- Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture leaving a half inch border along one long edge clear.
- Roll up the dough ending with the un-sugared long edge. Pinch to seal the long edge.
- Cut the roll into 18 cinnamon rolls and place cut side down on a baking sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Allow rolls to rise.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes until golden brown.
- To make the frosting beat together the softened cream cheese and butter until light. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until well blended. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar and then beat on high until smooth and creamy. Add milk or cream by the tablespoonful until the frosting is spreadable.
- Frost rolls when they are barely warm or cool.
- – marcella
For the past few years a friend and I have sponsored a quilting award at the county fair. We found out that anyone can sponsor an award – not just companies – and we thought it would be fun to do. We change the category each year and this year it was Best Basket Quilt.
Our very important job as award sponsors is to announce the award, pay for the prize money and on set-up day choose the winner. It’s really fun to see the quilts hanging with no one else around. We walk the aisles and write down every quilt that is eligible for the award. Then we each list our favorites. Next we go back and look at both of our favorites – this year we each had chosen the same three quilts – and try to pick the best. Some years we go back and forth and back and forth between the favorites, this year we even got one of the fair workers to give her opinion. There were 16 quilts that qualified for the award. It was hard to decide!
In the end, we chose this very happy basket quilt as the winner:
Our prize next year is for two color quilts, so get sewing!
I did have to go back and take a picture of another quilt that caught my eye. It is just so adorable I couldn’t resist:
Apples of all colors and one that’s been eaten. Also, I think she did a really nice job on the border. Not sure there’s an apple quilt in my future, but I guess you never know.
- – marcella
My fridge is extra full this week.
Thursday morning I went to my quilt group and one of the ladies offered up some rhubarb from her garden. It was an amazing group of plants! They were absolutely huge. We crawled in and pulled off some stalks and I went home with this beautiful bunch:
Washed and sliced and into the freezer. I’ll figure out later what to make…pie, jam, cobbler, something good.
With our CSA we also have the option of ordering extra produce. I had ordered an extra half flat (6 baskets) of their amazing strawberries. Some got made into jam this morning. I still have quite a few left though. Not sure what they’ll turn into yet. The local paper published my strawberry shortcake recipe, so perhaps I should make that for dessert one night.
Then there was the regular box:
Two more boxes of strawberries and the usual eggs (I’m thinking it might be deviled egg weather)
Fennel which I love. One will get roasted with some carrots and the other will go into a grain salad.
A huge bunch of parsley some of which will go in the grain salad, some into green salads and then we’ll see what’s left. I probably need to get better at garnishes.
Broccoli which might just be my favorite vegetable ever. Boring I know, but I do love it.
Dinosaur Kale will get eaten somehow. It usually is just cooked as a side, but maybe someone has a more intriguing idea? I am not making a salad from it, we’re swimming in salad over here!
Four! heads of lettuce. I am having a hard time keeping up with all the salad. We’re still finishing up last weeks lettuce delivery. I might have to make a big taco salad or something for dinner one night to help us catch up.
Carrots, another favorite around here. I actually came home with two bunches of carrots. There was a bag of arugula in the box and that is not a favorite, plus it’s more salad-y stuff which we did not need. I spotted carrots in the trade box so in went the arugula and those carrots came home with me.
We actually did pretty well eating up last weeks box. With just two of us it’s really a push to eat it all up before the next delivery. It’s really sized better for families. Plus I have this farmer’s market problem which means I also shop there and sometimes get carried away. I think we just have some salad greens and two turnips left from the last delivery.
- – marcella
Two weeks in a row I remember to record our vegetable box. I amaze myself sometimes. Or maybe it was that my husband asked me as I walked into the kitchen if I was going to take a picture of it. I actually had remembered, but the reminder is always good because it’s amazing what I can forget in the blink of an eye.
Three baskets of strawberries this week – that might be enough to share some with my husband instead of eating them all myself.
Delicious eggs in assorted shades of tan. Definitely eggs for breakfast this weekend and there’s a cookie recipe I’m wanting to try too.
Spring onions which will end up in a beet salad.
A big bag of baby spinach – some will get scrambled into eggs, some will wind up in salads. It all gets tucked in here and there in various recipes.
Four! heads of baby romaine lettuce. Even after all the salad eating of last week, we still have salad left. Eating all this romaine in addition will be tricky. Some will become a wedge salad with blue cheese as it’s a favorite around here. I can’t imagine having it four times this week though! I’ll need to hunt up some ideas for sure.
Long and skinny beets. Until we started getting a veggie box I had no idea how many shapes and varieties beets came in. Some will be roasted and I’ll grate the rest for a salad we love.
Turnips. I’m always trying to find new recipes to try that cause us to be more than neutral about this vegetable. We don’t dislike them, but we don’t find anything exciting about them either. What do you do with them – and raw with salt is not a recipe (nor very interesting) in spite of being told this by every CSA we’ve belonged to. I might use them in the beet salad for part of the beets and see what we think.
The escarole we got is HUGE! Usually I make this soup which we adore, or I add it to a bean soup. A heat wave is expected here though so soup might not be very appealing. I did see a recipe where it was braised with tomatoes. We’ve been getting some really good tomatoes at the farmer’s market so that might be what happens.
- 6 beets peeled and grated
- 1 bunch green onions chopped
- ½ C apple cider vinegar
- 2 T water
- ½ C olive oil
- pinch of sugar
- ¼ t salt
- ¼ t pepper
- Mix everything together in a bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.
Hope your week is delicious too!
- – marcella
It’s been quite a while since I’ve linked up with Freshly Pieced to share what I’m working on. I’ve actually been quite busy in my sewing room lately. I’ve been making little bags which I promise to share very soon and also finished up a quilt.
The exciting new project for me this week is the summer stitching club project. It began on Monday with our first little embroidery pattern. I was able to get it stitched up and attached to some print hexagons. I decided to vary the suggested pattern a bit and add more print hexagons. I’m still playing with the pattern, but it will be something like this when it’s finished:
We’ll see. One thing I’ve learned is my projects rarely end up looking quite the way I think they will in the beginning. I’m sure things will be shuffled quite a bit in the next 12 weeks.
What have you been working on?
- – marcella
- 1½ C cornmeal
- 1½ C unbleached, all purpose flour
- ½ C sugar
- 1 T baking powder
- 1 t salt
- 1¼ C milk or buttermilk
- ⅓ C vegetable oil or melted butter
- 2 eggs
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place a greased cast iron skillet into the oven to heat up.
- In a mixing bowl stir together the dry ingredients until well combined. Add in the milk, oil and eggs and stir to combine.
- Remove the hot skillet from the oven and carefully pour the batter into the pan. Return the pan to the oven, reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and the center tests done with a toothpick.
- – marcella
Lately I’ve been working on little bits of things.
Mending has been going on – I finally fixed a jacket that has been hanging there seemingly forever, plus a few little things for a friend.
My finish was some more baby receiving blankets from some super cute flannel I found:
I say finish, but I still have a decent amount of flannel to make more. I should count how many of these I made and give away in a year. It’s tough keeping up with all the new babies!
I’m quilting on a quilt – nothing exciting to show yet.
I signed up for a summer embroidery club over at Wild Olive. I did the workshop last summer and it was so fun. This year it’s a small design a week for 12 weeks and they all fit on a hexagon. Naturally this led to a little shopping. I bought some paper hexagons and found that now they make acrylic cutting templates, so it’s easy to cut out the fabric perfectly; naturally I had to add that to the order too:
I had a charm pack of 5″ square that have been sitting around waiting for the perfect project. I decided to use them to mix with the embroidered hexagons and got to cutting. It was so fast with that template!
All those perfectly sized hexagons ready to baste. I picked a plain white to embroider on, but that won’t get cut up until after the embroidery is finished.
Go see the other quilt finishes at Crazy Mom Quilts today.
- – marcella
For a long time my husband and I have been wanting to try Thomas Keller’s famous fried chicken. It’s served at his restaurant Ad Hoc every other Monday night. However, getting up to Napa for dinner after a long day at the office is not really workable for us.
Sure, we tried his recipe and made our own and it was delicious.
But, there’s something kind of wonderful about eating a dish made by someone else particularly if that means someone else is dealing with all of the fryer grease instead of you.
We decided that the best way to get our hands on some of that fried chicken was to venture up for a box lunch instead. The garden behind the restaurant has become Addendum and box lunches of either chicken or bbq are served a few days each week.
I also learned that lunches can be ordered in advance so we were able to skip the long ordering line and have this in front of us in very short order. It was a really lovely day we went. Very clear and sunny and the car said it was 94 degrees. A bit hot for eating outside but we did get a couple of mostly shady seats at a picnic table so that helped.
We also each got two little paper bowls – one contained coleslaw and the other potato salad. Really though, all I cared about was the chicken.
Three pieces of hot and crispy chicken. I did quite like the little rosemary leaves on top. The cornbread was honey soaked and ….just no. Each piece had one bite taken and that was it for us. It was quickly ignored for the chicken.
On the way home we stopped at Bouchon Bakery for a few treats and bread, and by the side of the highway we stopped at a cherry stand. Then in Tiberon the weather changed with the temperature dropping quickly down to 64.
Not quite the view we’d hoped for over the bridge.
- – marcella
It’s been a bit crazy around here. I’ve had a few comments that I haven’t been posting much. Seems like there’s never time for everything. But, here are a few tidbits to catch you up.
A little bit of sewing has been snuck in between things. I’ve made a few baby receiving blankets and done some mending for a friend and also sewed a bit on my quilt project of the quarter.
Then we zipped off to Portland. My husband had a conference and I decided to tag along. I had great plans for wandering downtown and had packed a hand sewing project. However, my hands broke out in a creepy, blistery rash that was high on both the ugly scale and the uncomfortable scale. Fortunately there was an urgent care place two blocks away and I got a prescription which helped greatly. My plans had to change a bit to involve things that I could do with my hands in my pockets so I didn’t creep people out too much.
While wandering the neighborhood (with hands in pockets!) I wandered upon a full square block of food trucks. I got a really delicious Cuban sandwich for lunch.
Another day found me at Voodoo Doughnuts. They have quite the welcome in the parking lot.
Inside they have a HUGE menu board with more doughnut varieties than you could imagine. See the voodoo doll one? It is jelly filled to increase the ick factor.
I kept it simple with the “official doughnut of Portland” which was a custard filled doughnut with chocolate frosting. It was very good.
I also visited the art museum and the science museum and a couple fabric stores a yarn shop and a bead and button store.
I’m back involved with scouts again. Seems once they have you trained they hate to let you go I have the daunting title of Unit Commissioner which they assured me just means that I work with both cubs and boy scouts, but I have my doubts that it’s that easy. At any rate, I helped out with a three pack pinewood derby and was tasked with coming up with awards and a little something for participants. A little clip art and a glue stick turned a box of candy bars into a treat for each boy who raced.
Then we were off to Las Vegas to visit family.
It is surprising all the unexpected things you find in a casino.
I wonder if I had one of these if we’d get kids to come trick or treat at our house?
We went to the Desert Quilters show and my quilts did surprisingly well.
Then we headed to the Bellagio to see their flower display. The conservatory was filled with tulips and giant butterflies, swans and mushrooms. They also had some really big ladybugs that were awfully cute.
It was prom night so it was super crowded with kids in formal wear and parents with cameras.
Then we went next door to the Cosmopolitan. They have quite the chandelier inside.
It’s two stories tall and there’s even a bar inside on one level. I did wonder what would happen if one of those strands broke and beads came raining down. We had dinner at their Wicked Spoon buffet. I love it because they individually plate most dishes so you don’t feel like you are eating the picked over things that others have left behind after digging though a chafing dish. Love their fried chicken in the little fryer baskets.
And the desserts are always so pretty. There are too many to choose from but at least they’re mostly tiny so you can try a few.
Home again after those two quick trips. Starting to feel like I’m catching up on all that got pushed aside while traveling. Right now I have some very pretty anniversary flowers to admire.
We have done a bit of cooking too. I’ve been making this stromboli pretty frequently. I love serving it with little dishes of hot pizza sauce on the side for dipping.
And now you’re all caught up on what we’ve been doing. Hope you’ve been having a fun and busy spring too.
- – marcella