When our only company consists of other crepuscular creatures like the newspaper delivery driver with the squeaky door, the two wandering coyotes and the fluffles of bunnies, Boss Dog and I walk. While he’s sniffing around, I write you all posts in my head. They just seem of late to rarely make it here.
I guess like so many things in life, there’s some unfinished floating around, but of course there’s also some closure, or milestones, or new starts depending on one’s perspective.
We dropped Roan off to college which was certainly a mix of exciting, chaotic and bittersweet. Friends and family etched out time in their lives to shower him with heartfelt words, gifts, and advice before his departure. My hope above all else is that this example of being thoughtful of others takes even deeper root.
Roan’s new beginning made me reflect on parenting and his role in the direction my life has taken. I honestly don’t know if I’d be sewing if it weren’t for him. From day one he wanted to be carried ALL the time, so I was using all the different baby carriers available, but fell in love with the print fabrics being designed and sewing, so my explorations of a business making baby carriers bloomed. That’s the short version of it at least.
Walking around with your baby in a product was certainly an easy marketing tool, and buying all the awesome prints was fun, but after a few years the reality of producing the same product/s over and over was boring. I started cutting & improv piecing all those fabrics together instead. I discovered that patchwork and quilting allowed for more artistic freedom, exploration in technique, in addition to honing in craftsmanship and building skill. I started teaching, wrote Quilting Modern with Jacquie and never looked back.
Yes, you still have an item in the end that you could sell, but another aspect of quilting and sewing that is based in tradition is the thoughtfulness of making to gift and marking life’s milestones.
So this post’s long winded beginning and walk down memory lane brings me to some of the gifts I crafted for some of those people that are present in our family’s lives. Though not quilts (nor baby pouches) this round, I do enjoy making some useful items over and over as tokens of my love.
And all the cute fabric…with someone/thing specifically in mind you have a justified excuse to buy it. Cuz who doesn’t need fabric with oxfords on it?
And if you’ve been reading for awhile now you know that coordinating the fabrics is one of my favorite past times.
We’re a family that likes to travel whenever possible, and we walk…everywhere, so I whipped us all up some shoe bags for keeping our clothes clean in our luggage on our Italy trip. I used JenniB’s pattern, but we travel light so will be making some unlined simpler ones next time to cut the bulk.
My friends and I did our first retreat since 2019 and I took a bit of a diversion from my usual ‘pack everything’ approach and cut out some things for assembly line sewing. These Michelle Patterns passport pouches we’re perfect for my brother and SIL who were on their way to Mexico City.
I have more to show, but again they’re a great use of fun fabrics.
Part two of my last post on box pouches here. While I was making for the mini horse rescue fundraiser I decided to extend my production line to take care of graduation and gifts for teachers.
Plus, there were some new fabrics that spoke to me about creating something special for people on my list… most likely in the form of a useful container;). The box pouch is my pattern, and the others are Sotak’s.
Some pouches I picked out the fabrics myself and a few for Roan’s friends I let them pick themselves.
We make a lot of these Olivia pouches in the studio. They’re a great beginner project and quick to whip up as gifts.
I had a double dose of the box pouch workshop on the schedule this July with some students that were traveling through. The mushroom boxed one went back to Northern Ireland with my brother in law for a friend and the Olivia style one goes to a young student for her birthday that always comments on the mushroom fabric when she’s here.
Depending on what workshops students request, like zip pouches, I like to reacquaint myself with project prior, or maybe it’s just an excuse to start something new. Some of the box pouches got matching Devon Zip Pouches.
I’ve got some pretty amazing neighbors. We all seem to have the garden and food thing in common so I made some aprons for their birthdays this year. Some of these fabrics have been in my stash for a good long time.
My beginning sewing 101 project is Sotak’s Chubby Tote. Roan’s mentors at school last year were also the volleyball team coaches. Who doesn’t need a good tote or two and they’re both the kind of people that appreciate a handmade gift.
Cutest fabrics ever.
Chubby totes again. The little girls across the street were taking swim lessons so I thought these would be perfect gifts.
I bought a bunch more of the fabric line when I saw it on sale.
And of course made myself one for the trip my brother and I took together to Oahu. Every once in awhile we should all gift ourselves with a bag and a vacation. I only took a couple photos, but ate, swam and read for many days.
As usual I cooked and baked a ton this fall when I’ve been around.
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Passed are the raspberries and blackberries that line the alleys and the treats we baked with them, but heavy were the limbs of the plum and apple trees. I lurk to see who has the most fallen to the ground and gravitate towards those for my picking. I often end our walk with a loop back to return home with my pockets full.
Let’s start with the sweeties shall we? No Autumn is complete without an Original Plum Tart from the NYTs. If you aren’t a subscriber you can still get access to a few articles a month, but the cookbook is inexpensive, hardcover and worth its weight in gold. I often pick it up and/or Mark Bittman’s How to Bake Everything when I’m looking for ideas with a particular fruit or item in mind.
Smitten Kitchen has the technique for muffins down. Her thick doughs keep the fruit lofted. Flexibility in switching out buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt…essentially whatever I have on hand makes a morning inspired by baking easy. Plum Poppyseed here from her first cookbook, which also contains my fav rhubarb cookies and blueberry muffin recipes.
I can’t remember where I read about Dessert Person, but the name defines me so I felt it deserved a slot in my library. Concord grape peanut butter sandwich cookies caught my eye. The jam turned out perfect, though I needed to thin it out and the cookie baked into a delicate shortbread which was a surprise for a peanut butter cookie. I start looking for these seasonal grapes when I know the small window they are available is open and their seeds are the only reason I’ve owned a food mill for 30 years. Growing up with ate Concord grape jam on our grill cheese (I know what I’m having for lunch tomorrow) and just like the plums here in Seattle, concord grapes were my fall alley fruit when I was a college student in Michigan.
I worked though college and beyond at the Ypsilanti Food Co-op where I met my friend Lori. She is an amazing cook, but specifically she can bake, always using natural sweeteners. Every season I’d make concord grape pie from The Common Ground Cookbook she had and still had that copied recipe until I decided to finally just add a copy to my library. Don’t be fooled by the $79 price tag, there are options for $10 and you’ll also have the recipe to butterscotch pie with granola crust once you have this little number in your hands. Make yourself some Alton Brown granola for the crust though, store bought is the worse.
My dad, AKA Rog turned 90 this August. Every summer he’s here for his birthday and I ask him what kind of cake he’d like. The answer always will be either pineapple upside down or German chocolate. Here’s the 90th winner. The recipe from The Wooden Spoon Dessert Cookbook is always the chosen one. I love the addition of rum and top it with dollops of rum whipped cream.
Here’s last year’s German chocolate. As you can see the 9 didn’t turn out so hot, so I told Rog if he stuck around another year I’d give the 9(0) another go. He said he’d give it his best shot and we celebrated that win by going to Italy earlier this month.
Tomatoes and so much kale are my bounty from our raised beds this year. There’s gonna be a lot of kale juice and my fav salad in my future.
Sadly, I didn’t mention for anyone to pick while we were gone and the tomatoes have mostly burst now or fallen. I cleaned it all up today, but there will be plenty of volunteers next season.
We crave and eat a lot of grilled salmon. Generally, half gets the olive oil salt and pepper treatment, but my other fav is to rub it with herbs de province and marinate it in a blend of soy sauce, olive oil and salt and pepper. Right before it’s just about done I sprinkle it with a little brown sugar. It makes a great salad the next day with whatever you have around and some mayo, but I particularly enjoy it with some napa cabbage, snap peas and grapes.
When the neighbors start delivering me zucchini I grab Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem and make the turkey patties. I’m a big fan of the yogurt sauce especially with the hit of sumac. Flatten them well and make extra, they’re great left over. I love TJ’s frozen garlic naan and always have it on hand for any sort of dish with garlicy yogurt sauces or to use as instant croutons.
Forgot to mention basil, grew loads of basil and got the pesto put up in the freezer. I basically follow Bittman’s recipe in How to Cook Everything, but it’s an easy one to mix up with other nuts or cheeses. The cashews pictured are a household stand-by. Oven toast nuts of choice in a cast iron. Combine maybe 1 Tbsp siracha (or other hot sauce), about the same amount soy sauce, plus your level of cayenne. Once nuts are toasted stir some of the sauce into them right in the hot pan. Proportion of sauce to nuts is everything (haha you don’t want soggy nuts). Some should evaporate as it hits the pan. Let them cool in there and then store in a sealed jar. Perfect with beer.
My brother and SIL traveled to Turkey. Her family had lived there for a jaunt thinking it would be an easier way to flee Iran completely and she wanted to go back. They suggested a brunch soon after and asked if I’d make Simit. This of course led me down a whole YouTube adventure of wanting to travel places with flat breads cooked on the walls of ovens, but this was a much simpler fare to bake. I’d call this a very doable beginner bread that would be fun to make with kids. Definitely up the salt if you use King Arthur’s recipe. The brunch review was they tasted exactly as they remembered.
I needed a break from house project after the fireplace and the kitchen last year. The kitchen is back to its Ikea Varde glory. It has all the electric in, and more importantly drywall and insulation. Way better situation than to the studs of last winter or the all shot appliances of Covid. We did get a cupboard so that we could place the hood back up.
We almost pulled the trigger on the full remodel, but we’re trying to prioritize some travel that we want to do while we’re still healthy and youngish and we really haven’t been anywhere since 2019. We’re somewhat flipping our mentality from the “when we retire we’ll do that” to now is the time. I went to Hawaii with my brother, we all went to Italy with Rog, and there’s a private permit for likely our last ever rowing trip in the Grand Canyon come May that we would be foolish to pass up. That should burn up all we got and the kitchen is functional enough for now.
Seattle had the most glorious of summers and so did the garden. It didn’t wait for its usual after the Fourth of July display and went clear into October. We never made it to the lake, but there are public accesses very close to us and we’d load the paddle boards often in the van and head out for a couple hours.
Hoping to make time for more sunflowers next year as my neighbor has gotten into collecting seed varieties. The snails love the tender shoots, just like I do in salads. so they take some vigilance when first planted.
I’m still placing dahlias around the house. They’ve been enjoying the sun and the hit of rain that happened when we were gone.
Marking the same day we dropped Roan off to college Jefe and I celebrated our 19th year married and Boss had his 3rd birthday. Lunch was a celebration for sure.
He’s a funny dog. The woods is his happiest place, but he doesn’t mind a good nap on my pillow so much either. He’s an awful dog on a leash, but off leash we could walk for miles and miles and miles.
I’ve got some finished quilts to share that mark some important life transitions as well, but I haven’t written those in my head yet;)
Before I sign off here I want to circle back to parenting and being thoughtful of others, or maybe this is me flying the bird (not very thoughtful), or giggling about those tech neophytes that I’ve noticed believe they can apparate from one social media space to another with out detection.
We had a primary recently, and I discussed with Roan that if he didn’t want old white men and a certain percentage of vocal Instagram quilting ladies to choose his visualize future, then his age group needed to unplug their heads from their phones and vote in primaries as well.
Why might I put tech neophytes, thoughtfulness, social media and elections together on a quilting/food/gardening blog you might ask? Because an election is/will be upon us and my Instagram post I shared about me voting years back brought on unnecessary comments. Some even commented they were unfollowing my IG because I’d diverted from the content they were there to consume for FREE. Ok, there’s a button for that.
Ironically, I know some of these IG “Unfollowers” missed seeing my blankies and stuff, so “secretly” signed up to follow this blog instead. I know because I receive an email with the subscriber’s email. I guess it’s easy to fall off that galloping high horse that you can’t see piecing mistakes from either.
My sound parenting advice to Roan has always been that social media is not your friend, that YOU are the product, but I understand it can connect a lot of people in good ways too (and that is my intention here), so be thoughtful of others, your horse and yourself when you use it. In other words, play nice.
Oh, and don’t forget to vote.
Cheers. xoxo, Katie
P.S. If you know anyone who is in the market for a Bernina stitch regulator/BSR ($300/ $999 new) that’s been used a few times I’ve got one to sell. Just email me though the contact page following the email. Thanks!