Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Plum Jam Turned Out SO GOOD! -(nq*)

(nq*) = non quilting

When we bought this place about 8 1/2 years ago, we were pleased to have 2 plum trees on our property.  About a year or so later, they were overloaded with plums.  So we picked, and picked, and picked...etc....




 And I learned how to make plum jam.....

I canned at least 50 quart jars of jam that year. From 2 trees.  That was a lot of jam for me.  Some of you who can might think I was a wimp, but I just couldn't keep up with the trees. I could have put up a lot more, but I couldn't reach all of them (even with a ladder) and I was just learning and was slower than molasses.....picking, pitting, cooking, etc....this was an introduction to retirement that I was not expecting. 

But oh, such good jam.. and from our own trees! I shared a lot with relatives and friends....

Fast forward to Summer, 2010. 

Drier weather, pre-drought conditions, but we were lucky to have rain at the right time....One of the trees came through again. The other had a few, but this one....WOW!  No pictures of the crop of plums during that summer, but there were even more than the last time.  Branches were weighted down.  Still a lot I couldn't reach. Big job for someone in their 70s.... I called a friend of mine who loved to can and told her that I couldn't handle them all and didn't want them to go to waste.  So she came over, several times actually.  There were so many to pick..we concentrated on one long branch at the bottom..She is shorter than I am and I am only 5' tall.  We filled about (10) 5 gallon buckets that day..we continued to fill buckets in the days that followed and still didn't get them all... 

This year I was smarter...I prepared about (3) 10 cup containers of pulp and juice and froze it (no sugar, no jell). My friend took the bulk of the plums for her use and canned them all..In addition, she brought me 3 more containers, same size, and I froze them. I made a couple of batches last year. 

This year I made another batch. On Dec 23rd.... The containers hold just enough for one batch + enough juice for a couple of loaves of plum bread...

There is just the two of us, so the main portion was canned in 12 small 1/2 pint containers for us. 




I'll give away the 3 larger jars and keep the 12 smaller ones, one for each month.  Hopefully I can finish canning the rest of the pulp in the freezer this coming year, one batch at a time......

 It is SO GOOD!  
  

  



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Another Project for 2012

Some people in my quilting group has decided to try this pattern...




It was published in 2001 and still popular today.   I would have never picked this one to try on my own.  There are so many pieces to work with and so many matching corners!  Hopefully there won't be too many extra valleys in the mountains....

 That's why I like interacting with other people. They can be such a help and encouragement...

The book comes with a template to use.  The first thing I noticed about the layout of the book is how the instructions are not crowded on the page.  I will be able to see where I am most of the time.

I am going to do one thing before I start, however...I am taking it down to an office supply store and put binding rings (is that what you call them?) on the side so the book will lay flat and I don't have to worry about creasing the binding or it coming apart.

I have decided to start simple with this design...doing the wall hanging, with  2 fabrics and a 
fussy-cut center instead of the center shown here



So now I am up to 5(?) new projects for 2012..... Let's see, that's a little over 2 months per project....

Busy, busy, busy....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Untitled ---or--- What Can I Say????

As all can see on the side, I have started another quilt top.  I am using 36 squares of the Layer Cake package I bought a while back.

The pattern calls for several angle cuts and mixing up the different fabrics to end up with blocks that are a little wonky. 

They are.


More so than the pattern shows.



An explanation is in order......

No, I shouldn't call it an explanation.....that would insinuate there was something to explain..



 
A Lesson of  Positive Piecing in Progress instead.....

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Things I have Learned During This Construction:

1)  When cutting 9 (yes, it called for NINE) layers, a new blade is in order

2) Keep track of where you are in the pattern

3) Keep going as if you know what you are doing

4) Believe in yourself

5) Remember, all quilts are unique

6)  Artistic design is in the eyes of the beholder

7)  All patterns need a little "tweeking"

8) Never assume you are on a roll....you can't see where you are going if you are rolling....

9)  If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all....but you can sure look

10)  If it turns out great,  "It was planned that way...."

11) Repeats:
11a) One repeat in a block is a problem
11b)  Two repeats are a oops
11c)  Three repeats = see #10

12) If  #11 is relevant:  Remember,

It's only fabric.

 


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On the Side.....

Mommarock wrote a comment on my Pipe Dream post re: my list of projects for 2012...

Maybe you could make them your blog header somehow.. don't ask me.. that way you would have to look at them every time you opened your blog.. it would remind you every time :)

Thank you, Mommarock.  I let the idea tumble around in my head overnight.  Result, if you look on the side of my blog under Picture Progress, you will see what I am working on.  These pictures will change occasionally to show my progress or show another new project.

If one picture stays too long, maybe.....

1)  It is taking me a Really Long Time to finish (as in handquilting)

2) I haven't had time to take pictures (shame on me)

3) I haven't been sewing as I should

4) I am on a roll and forgot to take pictures

5) my camera is broken

6) no film in my camera (What???)

7)  My machine broke down...no electricity..forgot to pay my bills...no stash left.....

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

If so, you are free to e-mail and ask me "how are you doin'?? "

Or...

"Get Going, Lazybones!"



Monday, December 12, 2011

Optomistic Pipe Dreams (or) I Can Do It!


No New Years Resolutions...they all fall flat, usually.

Instead, I submit the following in hopes it comes true.....




About 1-2 years ago I bought 2 boxes of sheet protectors (200/box).  I placed articles/patterns/etc in them (1 project per protector) and placed them in this very huge binder.  I am now on my second box.


The binder is full.  It's weight and bulk makes it difficult for me to open and flip through it.  Definitely cannot fit on my lap. 

So comes the time that I need to split it up into several smaller binders.


I plan to only use these three binders.  I will continue to store the remainder in the big binder...using these three as my "I really want to do these next" folders".

I know there are initials for that,,,but what are they and what do they mean?? Can't remember....

Anyway, I have picked out 4 projects that I want to do next year..in amongst all the others that come up in the meantime...

And they are.....


This brown/blue one I have to get going on right away...for next Christmas..It will be a king size, hopefully, if I can convert the mathematics correctly...It is shown as a lap quilt...

Love these next two..don't know if it is because of the way the pictures look or the pattern..maybe both.







And a tablerunner from a blog post I read awhile back...



I figure these will keep me busy. 

I am going to try to squeeze one more in, but no picture yet...I just downloaded the tutorial today and I have my Moda Layer Cake package in mind for it.....

So we'll see the results a year from now.....

Ya'll remind me then, you hear???


Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Survey and Review.....Non Quilting

Saw this link on Facebook and couldn't resist sharing...It's worth the click....


http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/01/the-5-best-toys-of-all-time/all/1

Wonder what would happen if we put these under the tree for Christmas?????

Friday, December 9, 2011

Stage One Done & Other Stuff

Hurrah! 

... I sat myself down, brushed myself off, and started (all over) again....

I finished separating the scraps as show at the last of the previous post...

....and....

I finished these as well...



They are out of the dreaded cardboard box...

and added to...



I found some 2 gallon ziplocks and put some of them to use...

Today I found that I was running into fabric I had done yesterday as well.  Remember the orange I said I put on the red pile yesterday?  Today some ended on the yellow pile instead...It seemed more logical.  That's okay..this is the first level of separation.....

Also, notice the small pieces next to my "neutrals" in the green basket.. They are slated to be used in my braided fabric..Yes, I am continuing to save narrow strips to be braided and later used in a rug, mug rug, coaster, or whatever.

I have more scraps, but they are mingled with a lot of larger pieces and are next on my list.  But for now, I am resting on my laurels..

#####################

OH< OH< OH<

Wanted you to know what I read last week in several blogs/forums/somewhere (maybe Bonnie??).

Unquilty uses for left over batting:

Fits on your Swifter for dusting floors.

Takes the place of cotton balls for makeup, unmakeup, etc. (assuming it is relatively clean, of course)

Dust mop (tie several pieces together for hand dusting)

Tiny, tiny pieces great for bird nests....(along with small strips of cloth)

Put between toes when pedicuring....

()()()()()()()()()()()()())()(

and my memory escapes me with other uses....

Anybody out there want to give other ideas??...


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Floors are Wonderous Things (or) Divide and Conquer!

I don't especially enjoy working on my sewing room floor.  My back and it don't get along.  However, every once in awhile it fits the purpose.***see below

I needed space to start separating my scraps.  I mean really start....I have read Bonnie Hunter and her separation tutorial, as well as others.  In 3 years I have yet to be able to continue or "find time" (lame excuse) to even begin the task.  I keep thinking, I must cut the strips, blocks, squares, triangles, blocks, etc first..  NOT HAPPENING, DUDE!

So here, on a dreary, cold, semi-moist, thoroughly yucky day, instead of going to Big Town for groceries, I took a container of red beans out of the freezer with the idea of Mexican Cornbread as accompaniment, and settled in my sewing room with the first (yes, first) small batch of scraps.

I was in such a hurry I didn't think of taking pictures until after this was emptied...


I sat in my comfy office chair, reached over and grabbed pieces and literally threw them onto the floor, creating approximate piles of somewhat differing colors. 

 It was liberating!  I was carefree and wild! It was.....Eleanor Burnish!  Such a good feeling! 

 There were a few flannels that I kept together, regardless of color, and a few pieces I had sewn together in earlier attempts of corraling stash. Those I will place in their own pile for future possible use (no sense cutting them apart again).

***(I had just finished clearing the floor after my marathon of wrapping Christmas presents and here I go again!).....



Here is the result so far...after I finish with this post, I will pick them up and put them in ziplocks (for now), and get out another bunch.  I am not worried about sizes or shapes.  Of course if I come across a large piece that can be folded onto a mini-bolt, or some such item, then of course I'll do that. But for now, multi-color items go where first impressions dictate.  I have light background (largest pile), yellow, dark, green, red, and blue with a little orange mixed in with the red right now.

Not much, but I gotta start somewhere.......

And here comes the next challenge,





results in another post...hopefully...


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mini-Giveaway Changes

It has been almost a year since my first Giveaway (Jan 3)...My goal at that time was to clear out my sewing room, offering items I did not want or need, or ones I thought ya'll might like. 

I have met my goal.  Thank all of you for helping me declutter and refine my stash and take away some of the items I had no need for.  Love you all.

Before I go any further, I want to assure you I do intend to continue the Mini-Giveaways.  I would feel lost without the excitement of giving something someone else can and would use. 

My choices, however, have dwindled as I had hoped they would when I started.  I have found it a little more difficult to choose the item lately.  When I started this, I had oodles of items on my list.  But because I had several multi-item giveaways this last year, that list has shrunk. 

All that last paragraph is saying, in different ways, is that I have decided to only have one giveaway a month during this coming year.  The first one will occur on January 15, and the ones following will be on the 15th of each month thereafter.  This will allow me to slip in extra giveaways if I want to (and I want to!), so don't be worried.  I won't run out of things ya'll might be interested in. 

So continue to check in and see what's new in my quilting life. 

See you soon........

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wanta Be's.........Gotta Be's.........

My wanta be's and gotta be's are fighting with each other...The battlefield is my sewing room...it has    been invaded by gifts, boxes, wrapping paper, and bubble wrap. 




 Salvos of tape, be it scotch, masking, packing or shipping, were heard at varying intervals....

The pivotal battle occurred this last weekend, when all the above was corralled and lassoed ...



(now I wonder if it was a battle or a round-up???)

At any rate, law and order prevailed.  Now all that is left is the remnants of the conflict.  The Mighty Post Office is in control and the boxes and packages are on their way.  Including a Mini-Giveaway package (white squishy below)..



Of course I had to float a loan to pay for shipping (5 packages!), but what the heck, it's only once a year, right?

In a couple of hours, my sewing room will revert back to it's hopefully original state, and I can start playing again....

Until I start working on more decorations and food stuffs, that is......




Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mini Giveaway #22 Winner......

Congrats to Deb in Virginia!  She will be receiving the beautiful afghan in a few days. 

Thank all of you for participating and be on the lookout in 2012 for the next giveaway. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mini-Giveaway #22 - Cross Stitch Afghan

Greetings.... and FYI::::

Because of the time of year and all activities involved, I have decided that this will be the last Giveaway for the year...so no Giveaway is scheduled for December 15th...more on future Giveaways in another post coming up in a few days....

*****************************************************************************************

Now::::
Found this next item on the very tip-top of my metal shelving.  I was I was moving items to make room for some more mini-bolts/bolts of fabric.  Guess it always helps to "tweak" what you already have moved once. 

I have a non-quilting item this time....very nice large 11-count throw size (45" x 66") afghan cloth with free cross stitch design.  It has been gently folded in plastic bag for a couple of years.

Rather than continuing with the verbal description, here are the pictures...




It's not a kit, so no thread, but you don't have to use the design given.  Comment below and be available to be notified. 

DH will draw on December 3 after 10:00am, which is on a Saturday, so the earliest I can mail this is the next Monday. 
  
Ya'll have fun, now......