Best intentions for a Christmas in July quilt showing or August for that matter, but you know how that goes. We’ve been embracing summer and sipping up as much of the last days as possible.
I mentioned in my last post that I had the binding on my Merry Gifts quilt and enjoyed some time on the back porch to sew it down. Apparently Boss was in disagreement that nothing says summer more than sitting under a quilt and decided in protest to eat the basket I toss my Wonder Clips in.
The world doesn’t need another post on quilting supplies any more than it needs one on binding, but my little kit is made up of a quilted needle case, a zip pouch and basket for my wonder clips, this needle threader, and a thimble. That’s it.
The world however does need another photo of Boss, who turned 11 months on the 17th. He’s a total goof ball that continually makes messes for us to clean up.
And my world needed another Christmas quilt.
I believe the last time I followed a pattern for a quilt was around 2009 and I can’t say I loved the process, but I sure loved the outcome.
Inspiration for this quilt really came from Nicole of Modern Handcraft. Her colorful way with solids in her version of Sherri Fall’s quilt pattern in the book Holiday Wishes (affiliate link) was such eye candy that it didn’t fall of my radar.
I pieced it all together at the beginning of the pandemic, and from the get go envisioned the swirling snow style quilting that my friend Sandie executed so nicely for me on her long arm.
I’m still working my way through stash for the backings of my quilts. Much of this Christmas fabric was purchased for my Magic Numbers star quilt, which since its debut in December remains on my couch. My friend Melinda pointed out that I already had my Christmas quilts out and my response was they hadn’t ever left. IMO you can never have enough flannel in your life, so the snowflake fabric was a purchase for matching pillow cases.
The colors for the present blocks came together one by one since pulling from my stash like that is my favorite way to design a quilt. I love to place block by block up on the design wall as they’re made and see it come together.
It seems to be the way of the universe that the fabric I “need” is the one I’ve used up. Finishing the red gift block turned into a treasure hunt through the scrap bins, but with some Frankenpiecing it came together. I still haven’t been able to match it on any color card from my mass collection of them. One larger fabric company during the shutdown responded to my inquiry of whether or not they had color cards for their solids collection with, “They don’t, but I could consult a list of stores in my area and go there.”
Of course I couldn’t make a quilt that didn’t have some patterned fabric in it somewhere, even if it was an almost solid in character. I focused on the bows which was another deep dive into the scrap bin for the finish due to some cutting mishaps.
The binding got the little print sparkle treatments too. Into the wash and that swirl quilting sunk in and textured this quilt perfectly. Not too distracting, but enough to lend itself to the holiday vibe.
I have been so burnt out on cooking that we’ve been eating more frozen/instant food and didn’t think I’d have much to add here, but looking through my photos I’ve still been pretty prolific in my glamping kitchen. (FYI All links are affiliate). Since it was so bolted I finally tore the last of the lettuce out of the planter boxes and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but we were getting super burned out on salads everyday. We’ve shifted focus to the tomatoes, basil, kale and chard that are going off now.
Let’s start with the beginning of the day. I’m not a good breakfast eater, but I am a huge fan of fruit and a couple of lattes. In the summer to jump over this hurdle I generally juice a few mason jars worth of vegetables on grocery day. Here’s my favorite juice: 1 cucumber, 1 bunch each of celery, kale and spinach and a green apple. Then I blend it with whatever, but the best is frozen pineapple and honey yogurt.
It’s hard to buy good granola unless you get it from a bakery, but Alton Brown’s recipe is a morning staple. If you made this you would never look at store bought granola the same. I do like it with just milk, but berry season is my jam, so those generally make it in the bowl with some yogurt. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could find his recipe online.
It is very seldom that a week goes by that I don’t cook from one of Lucinda Scala Quinn’s cookbooks. She speaks to the midwestern side of me that loves comfort food with a heap of steamed broccoli or green beans. With some modification her tamale pie, Sherpard’s pie and/or her mac and cheese are easy recipes that seem to consume the remaining ingredients in the fridge. Instead of her suggestion panko, this batch got the end of a loaf of bread on top. A tip I got from Martha;). All the ingredients are waiting for me to try out her phyllo spinach pie recipe from Cravings.
I shared a rhubarb cake recipe here a few posts back that I believe was from Perillo’s book Homemade with Love. Again this chicken and biscuits is not only comfort food, but required only cupboard and frig staples minus the chicken. The biscuits were drop style so no mess outside the bowl required. I like a lot of ground pepper in this sort of dish.
I thought I’d share some online recipes that we rotate into our menu as well. This grilled chicken kebab recipe on the blog Mom’s Kitchen Handbook was introduced to me by one of my amazing student friends. When Kim lived closer than a ferry ride away she always came with something delicious to share and introduced me to so many good cookbooks and food bloggers. This recipe was one of the many meals we shared that I loved. We eat it more as a salad with a side of plain yogurt. If you can’t find any frozen garlic naan at Trader Joe’s you can blame me. I buy it up and always have a stack of it in my freezer. It makes the most awesome croutons too.
Smear that same naan with some butter and add some hummus for an open faced sandwich topped with a Greek salad sort of mix. Cherry tomatoes, cukes, kalamatas and feta. I generally drizzle on some olive oil and again with the black pepper. I like the Instant Pot hummus from Melissa Clark’s Dinner in an Instant, but there are so many good pre-made that this is a common lunch or easy dinner for us since it’s so quick.
We’re doing our fair share of outdoors with friends still and I’ve been bringing that same Greek salad combo above from the sandwich, but putting it on top of the hummus for a Greek 7-layer salad sort of thing. This time I’d generally add some syrupy balsamic too. Bread, crackers, whatever you have around does just fine for the dip’s vehicle.
Like I said, we grew and ate a lot of salad greens this summer. We take the bun out of the hamburger equation and make it into a salad with some bacon and cheese. The family goes ranch, but I generally top with vinegar and oil. This salad lacks them, but my favorite way to make croutons is a recipe from Canlis restaurant that is featured in the America the Great cookbook. Tossed in bacon grease and a bunch of herbs for some extra flavor.
This one’s an easy ceviche we use to eat when we’d go to Guerrero, Mexico in our past lives. Cut up some halibut, white onion and jalapeño. Squeeze a bunch of lime all over it and let it sit until it goes opaque white. Regionally it’s served with Ritz crackers and some Buffalo Chipolte sauce. Yum. Make sure to crack a cold crisp beer or make yourself a Margi.
I’ve mentioned these sausage and sweet potato hand pies again and again from Back in the Day Bakery (they freeze really well if you don’t eat them all), but I don’t think I’ve shared the Spinach Berry Salad from the blogger Cookie and Kate. I can hardly wait for berry season to come along so we can make it. I love this food blogger’s stovetop technique for candying the nuts and generally I add pepitas to the sunflowers and double the batch.
Oh this is so good! Spicy Grilled Shrimp from America’s Test Kitchen’s the Best of Mexican Recipes. I’ll for sure be trying some more recipes if this book doesn’t get buried. We paired it with a fideo pasta recipe adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers book. If you’re not familiar with this noodle it’s like angel hair pasta all broken up. A friend of mine use to make an amazing dish with it when we lived in Flagstaff and though I’ve lost track of her I was able to adapt her dish pretty close. It’s fantastic with avocado and a jicama/watercress salad.
Oh my, did someone say dessert?
We’ve got every birthday in this family landing in June, July or August with the exception of three. During usual times some combining of parties happens. Roan, aways quick to smile and crack a joke turned 17. He requests an ice cream cake yearly and I thought to combine the root beer cake from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, with the vanilla ice cream they recommend serving it with. I can’t stop making this cake.
I have a few desserts that I love to put berries in. Some sort of cream tart like Saveur’s Raspberry Lemon Curd tart or any mixture of tarts from Martha’s Pie and Cake book are my annual pick. Don’t they look pretty?!
Again with the root beer cake for Jefe’s birthday. It looks prettier not frosted. I did dust the bundt with cocoa powder so it doesn’t have that white flour powder on the surface.
It’s fun to experiment with frosting and decoration and see what you can do that’s not fancy. I also only have a little tabletop convection oven so my cake layers are limited to ummmmm… ONE.
You know I like hearts in quilting, so why not play with them in sprinkles and frosting.
We actually celebrated Jefe’s birthday with some friends indoors/outdoors for the first time without masks, but that’s sadly all done now and we’re all back outside.
When Roan was a toddler we lived in what we called the ‘gated community’. It was just easier to put a gate up in a few places to corral him rather than saying ‘no’ all the time. Boss Dog has required us to recreate this type of environment in the garden with chicken wire protecting all the beds from a digging Labrottie. It’s led to very little gardening this year.
I’m pretty constant in what I plant in my potting shed’s window box, but this year I’ve actually kept watering it so it’s survived much longer than most years. I missed a photo opportunity when the Colieus had its purple flowers. I love all the color.
I have four varieties of poppies now. Two red, a bunch of yellows that are kind of the bullies of the garden and an orange that a squirrel must have gifted me. I need to get out and cut the dried pods to reseed for next year. They’re amazing.
Our wisteria is a monster, though few are anything but. We had some unsolicited advice that we were hacking it back too aggressively and it wouldn’t bloom, to which it gave that information the bird and threw out flowers three times this summer.
What do you do when your first estimate to remodel your kitchen is $112,000 and that’s without appliances, materials, nor moving any plumbing? Gain a small win and redo the entry!
Bye bye terra cotta tiles that were dislodged since we bought the house 8+ years ago. It’s so hard to pick tile, (let alone a couch) that covers everything from chocolate to dog hair and drool. However, we came pretty close going with the darker. I’ll try to get a better color photo, but there’s a honey and grey color line that runs through it that works really nice with the wood floors.
We had two dead zones in our house when it comes to daylight. One is still in the hall which I hope might eventually get a solar tube, and the other was the solid wood door at the front entry. I’m kind of the cat lady of plants so this window door provides another bright location to house more.
I’ll share some more progress photos as it happens. Obviously we need trim, there’s talk of the white floating cupboard leaving and we’ve pulled the wood trim from the opening to the hallway, but progress and opening the house up to more light feels so good.
I’ve got open studios on the schedule for those that want to start from the beginning or work on a project with help or some company, but I’ve also got one space in a paper piecing workshop and added an invisible zipper workshop for September. Certainly let me know if there’s something you’d like to learn from my workshops and we’ll coordinate for a date.
We’re masking up, vaccinated and limited to three people.
I’ve had a few requests on Instagram for how I make my masks. I came upon a tutorial at the very beginning of needing masks and lucked out with one that’s super simple. I’ve modified the topstitch to put a nose piece in that I buy from Modern Domestic. I also bought my elastic from there.
It’s a good excuse to play with your fun novelty fabric.
Boss did his first alpine mountain hike to Mount Elenor in the Olympics last week. It was lovely, but I’d much rather hike to a lake for a swim than go uphill or even worse down. I loved how the marine layer stuck into the Hood Canal until the early afternoon, and seeing Lake Cushman from above instead of our usual swimming view.
Fiona is coming to live with us for a couple weeks. Fun to have another furry face around to keep us busy.
Boss and her like to annoy one another and he won’t let her have any toys or bones of course.
Hoping to get this star quilted to show you next.
We’re buttoning down again after venturing to a Sounders game and feeling uncomfortable with the amount of unmasked adults of unknown vaccination status around unvaccinated children. It’s ok, we have plenty of projects to keep us busy at home. Certainly soon some rain will end the fire ban and we’ll be able to gather around the fire pit for some football viewing. When life gives you blackberries, mix them with gin, tonic and cassis I guess.