Tuesday, September 25, 2007

No WIP this week

We are having wonderful unseasonably "cool" weather. Evenings have been down in the 50s, cool enough to put extra quilts on the bed. Those living in other parts of the US to the north or east will find it funny, but to us a 75 or 80 degree high is a godsend in Sept. or Oct. This is the time of year that is normally unbearably hot, triple digits not unusual. Even though I faithfully drag out the fall decor, it doesn't usually feel like a change of season.

This morning, we struggled out of bed to get out to the lake and walk before work (so far the back is behaving, many thanks for your good wishes.) The stars were bright in a clear sky and it felt like the middle of the night. It made me think of our long ago camping vacations, tucking the children into the back seat with their pillows as we set off to get an early start. At the lake we saw the sun rise in a faintly pink sky, reflected in the glassy surface of the water. We heard the ducks and birds greet the day with all their twittering, clucking and quacking. I especially like the homey sounds the coots make when they are content.

Quilt wise, I have dozens of things to work on but two with"deadlines" attached. One is the courthouse steps I showed you earlier, and the other is a pink and green quilt for baby Emily. Evenings I have been mostly watching forgettable tv or reading, so there isn't much progress being made. Maybe next week I'll have more to show.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Photo courtesy of morguefile.com

The cooler weather we have been having has left me with lots of energy to start baking. A nice apple pie, for example, made with tart Granny Smith apples and plenty of cinnamon. Or maybe some nice pumpkin bread:

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

From the classic Fannie Farmer Cookbook. The recipe calls for a cup of pumpkin purée which you can either get from a can, or make yourself by steaming or roasting the pumpkin pieces, removing the skins, and blending in a food processor.
1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup pumpkin purée

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts. Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a straw poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack. Makes one loaf.

Many more pumpkin bread (and other) recipes here.

I have been writing my statement and making the sleeve for my Houston bound journal quilt. When all is said and done, I am happy with how it turned out and glad to have a chance to participate in this last show. I also found that I like the 17" x 22" size. It's big enough to have some impact, yet small enough to manipulate easily.
Now that the journal quilt is finished, it's time to get going on Christmas gifts.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Moment of Gratitude

(Photos courtesy of morguefile.com)

Ah Friday, last day of the work week. The cooling trend is continuing, and we expect lovely weather this weekend. This morning we walked at the lake, and I saw a pair of breathtaking herons take off from the marshes just as the sun rose. The eucalyptus trees, stripped of their bark, glowed whitely in the new light. Runners, walkers, dog exercisers all waved or nodded a friendly hello as they passed. It was peaceful and beautiful.

I have done nothing to deserve the pleasant, safe and secure life I now enjoy. Chatting away about my small concerns when so much of great and serious import is happening in the world. Such is the juxtaposition of solemn tragedy and the frivolous in my mind. My life is so full of beauty and blessing, the least I can do is to meet it with gratitude.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What Have I Been Doing?

I know I have been "missing" from blog land for a while. Part of that time was spent semi-motionless in bed due to a back injury. I was also semi-conscious due to the influence of muscle relaxers and pain killers.
Somehow it feels like a whole week of my life disappeared. Thankfully, I am mostly mended now and back to normal activity, including work. Tomorrow morning we even plan to resume exercise by walking at the lake. What did I learn? Do not move large heavy furniture by yourself even if you are in a reorganizing frenzy and are too impatient to wait for help.

Since I last posted, I did spend a little time in here. Some of what I worked on I can't show you, but I can show you what I am doing with these scrappy strips.

This very traditional and old-fashioned courthouse steps quilt is perfect for using up all those strips. It is "scrappy" in a planned way, designed to suit the taste of the person who will be receiving it.

There is something very soothing about sewing these simple blocks, and I love to do it while listening to a book on CD. If I have to concentrate on what I am doing, music is better.

It has been brutally hot here up until the last couple of days when we finally were able to turn off the AC. I feel a little guilty about using the extra energy, but when it hits triple digits all bets are off. I'm just glad we have the AC and are able to figure out what we can give up to pay the heart stopping electricity bill. I have been making a conscious effort not to buy any more new books, fabric or shoes for a while, at least until the heat wave is over.