Friday, November 25, 2011

The Day after The Feast!

Having a severely reduced kitchen there was no turkey cooked at our house but I was fortunate to be gifted with the leftover skeleton of a smoked turkey which made up into a wonderfully fragrant and tasty pot of turkey soup with just enough of the smokiness coming through.
As a little something to accompany the soup I made a Kiwi -Pomegranate relish.

I made it for the first time last week and we [DH, JW and I] thought it a very different and appealing mixture of sweet and spicy, a nice change from the ubiquitous tomato salsa found everywhere here in the southwest.
BJ brings me all of the more "exotic" fruit and vegetables from her Bountiful Baskets, and pomegranates have been in season so I have had a few lately! As a child I thought them delicious and here they are a rarer treat as they are not plentiful in this area, so I was anxious to try a couple of new ideas for them. I am happy to have discovered this recipe, and if you would like a change from salsa and have access to this odd fruit give this a try.

Kiwi-Pomegranate Salsa
4 or 5 firm kiwi peeled and chopped coarsely
arils [seeds] and juice of 2 pomegranates
a firm avocado coarsely chopped
2 tblsp. thinly sliced green onions
1-2 pickled jalapenos finely chopped
2 tblsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all together folding ingredients gently. Serve with tortilla chips. I found that it's best to use both kiwi and avocados that are only just ripe enough so that they do not disintegrate in the mixture.
I tried just one jalapeno and for us it was insufficient, but you can adjust that to suit your own taste. I also added juice of half a lime the second time, adds a little piquancy.

Below a pic taken yesterday of little DGS with adoring GM.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

In Thanksgiving

For the blessings of this life, we thank you God.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Little Progress

Wordless Wednesday

On the kitchen...............

and the commission quilt.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

AZ Huggy Bunch

Only BJ and I of our AZ HB group were quilting here today but we had a friend of mine from TX join us; Peggy is in town to visit a friend.

Peggy was working on "unsewing" a quilt.............

BJ finished this "scrappydoodah" quilt today for her niece...........

and I finished binding this one-only one more of my own quilts yet to bind, the 30's Dresden Plate. Then I need to put some more of my own flimsies on the LA, after I finish the commission quilt- that may not be until around Christmas!

Meanwhile DH was hard at work on the kitchen rehab but he had to put up with our chattering while he worked and we had to tolerate the power tools etc!
This is the necessary to hook up the prep sink for the new island.

Button got her footprints in the wet cement!

The trench now prepped for power and water and all filled in with cement!
Monday once the cement has cured, the missing tiles will be replaced.
Demo is over and reconstruction on the way!

Friday, November 18, 2011


Yesterday the real, the serious demolition began. A six foot trench had to be cut in the slab to accommodate the drain, water and electricity for the new island that will be separate from the rest of the cabinets and will run at a different angle from the old one that came out from the wall and "walled off" the kitchen so to speak!

Here is David's rough draft of the new set up [he has refined it since to fit the final plan.]
DH is doing the "grunt work" because it saves us lots of money, and the creation of the trench was his laborious work.

I went out run a couple of errands and returned to what the following pics will show as the awful clouds of cement dust floated through the entire house, including all of the upstairs.

I ran around closing doors and draping old sheets and painter's plastic over furniture, quilts, my quilting machine etc, but it was too late to prevent a great deal of the nasty stuff from settling on everything. At one point the visibility was so poor that the pic below is all I could see!

Consequently I was up till 1 a.m., first running the shop vac then vacuuming and repeated vacuumings, and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, washing floors, then many loads of laundry. Today my poor abused body was/is in pain and I had still more cleaning and laundry plus trying to organize sufficiently to be able to function with simple meals. And the little fellow was here all day, and we managed to keep him out of the mess! Hallelujah!

Today most of the worst of the dust is gone and my lovely and faithful cleaning lady will get the rest. I even have a dishwasher hooked up [thanks DH] especially as there is no sink!

Here is what was accomplished by this evening; tomorrow is more plumbing, then concrete to fill the trench and lastly tiles to fill in the open area. Tuesday David plans to bring the "boxes", the framework for the cabinets, so all of the rest has to be finished.
Tomorrow Huggy Bunch AZ meets, don't know yet who will be here but at least they can come in and sit down without being covered in cement dust!
I am quite sure that any of you who have done renovation in your homes while living there are quite familiar with all of this.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Family Night

Son Andrew and wife Lana hosted a family dinner out for Veteran's Day to honor his Dad and brother's four plus decades of military service. We were able to enjoy the lovely Arizona Fall weather and eat on the patio at Babbo's so we did not disturb other diners with the [at times] rowdy family fellowship!
Thank you for this evening of family fun.
Sunday night we had another not so fun family evening out at John C Lincoln ER. Andrew was rushed there with a suspected major heart attack giving me almost a major heart attack. Thank God the cardiologist was able to identify the problem not as a heart attack but pericarditis [inflammation of the membrane around the heart]. However, the family lived through anxious hours until this was revealed to us and we are hoping our son will be home later today to return to full health shortly.
Cause of the inflammation is a virus, aetiology is unknown but we do not anticipate any further problems associated with this.
Thanks to God and great sighs of relief here from all of us!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Renovation is great but what comes before is not so great, the removal of all that is to be renovated!

So today DH began the process by removing all the upper cabinets from the kitchen and re-installing them in the garage, yikes what a mess but not nearly the mess it will be before we are done. I hold the picture of the final product in my mind to keep me sane, it's all a work in progress!
Next Wednesday all the lower cabinets go out, Stardust a local non-profit organization will deconstruct them to be sold in one of their two Phoenix warehouses that sell gently used building materials to the public at 50-80% off retail. The profits are then used to make home improvements for those in need.
It is a fine way to keep usable building materials out of the landfills while providing them for use at deeply discounted prices.

Here are my new faucets............
and granite sinks. This is the big single sink, 33" I think.

The new island has a 14" square prep. sink in the kitchen end.
They are 80% granite and fairly indestructible, heat and scratch resistant. They are made by Blanco and the color is "Anthracite". Being a bargain hunter I searched online for the best price and almost halved the regular cost. It really pays to let your fingers do the walking/searching!

This is a not so great picture of the island granite slab, it's called "Misty Mountain" and most of it will be needed for the four by nine foot island.

So it was necessary to find a complimentary granite for the cabinets, something that would be interesting in it's own right but not so much that it fought with the island piece! It's more cream in reality, the pic. makes it look pink!
I looked at a lot of slabs until I found this one called "White Spring". Both of these pics were taken with my phone so they are not the most accurate color but you get the idea! Next time I will try to remember to take my camera.
The past week DH and I have been packing up all the items from the kitchen, then stacking them out of the way. When the lower cabinets go I will not have a sink any more so we will be eating off paper plates, not products that we can recycle unfortunately but we will keep them to the minimum. There will be minimal cooking too, just things that can be prepared in the microwave-I am really fortunate to have a Costco less than a mile away!
More updates on this project as it progresses!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day, Lest We Forget

On Anzac Day in Australia I attended dawn memorial services from childhood. This heart- wrenching poem was part of the ceremony, at least the verse in italics, and never fails still to bring me to tears.

Binyon said as to how it came to be written:

"I can't recall the exact date beyond that it was shortly after the retreat. I was set down, out of doors, on a cliff in Polzeath, Cornwall. The stanza "They Shall Grow Not Old" was written first and dictated the rhythmical movement of the whole poem."

The retreat to which he referred was the Battle of Mons in August 1914.

For The Fallen Robert L.Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,

England mourns for her dead across the sea.

Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,

Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal

Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,

There is music in the midst of desolation

And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,

Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;

They sit no more at familiar tables of home;

They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;

They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,

Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,

To the innermost heart of their own land they are known

As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,

Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;

As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,

To the end, to the end, they remain.

God bless our valiant Military forces and may He have mercy on them and their families.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

AZ Huggy Bunch

Although we missed Lauren [she was studying, working on her Master's] it was lovely to have BJ, Andee.....

her sidekick DJ, shown here modeling the Packer's cap Andee made for her brother, a vet tech.
Alissa came for a little while, she was working on cross-stitch Christmas ornament I think. Obviously her eyes are younger than mine, LOL, I had to give that up a long time ago-know anyone who wants about 100 skeins of embroidery thread?!

I didn't get a pic of BJ's project other than what you see in the first pic, but here's part of a tree skirt, one of four the ambitious Andee is making.

I managed to get one quilt bound, the little pink "Log Cabin With Attitude"......

and I have binding prepped for two more quilts but those are set aside until I get this commission quilt done.

A Blogger friend wants it for her sis and she gave me a specific color spectrum so I am endeavoring to stay within those parameters. It took a while to gather all the fabrics I thought I would need for this project and already I have rejected many as unsuitable! Watercolor quilts require a wide range of fabrics and because it's kind of like painting with little squares of fabrics, usually you don't know what you will need until the process is under way and even then it can change as you go along so you must be prepared with a wide variety.

I intend to add purples and greens to the design, maybe like these, and I am hoping to get the basic part done soon but unfortunately I don't have a large enough design space so I will have to construct it as I go. Many of the fabrics in this quilt are batik as those above.

In addition I am caring for young Matthew 4 days a week, about 10 hours/day for next couple of weeks, and there is no taking your eyes off the little scamp because he is very, very busy and into everything he should not be! He loves to get into my quilting tools which is absolutely a no-no, so of course it's exactly what he wants!

Then there's my other project, the kitchen renovation that I have been scheming and plotting and saving for and surfing the web for the best deals on granite sinks and new faucets, a chandelier etc. The tear down begins in little more than a week so that will be a mess for a few weeks but it is to be done by mid December, a new kitchen for Christmas I can hardly wait!
I will be posting on that you can be sure!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vintage Dresden Plate Blocks

These blocks constructed with 30's/40's original fabrics and purchased from an estate sale, made up into a very pretty quilt with a repro. fabric for the setting triangles, centers and border. I used up all of that fabric so will have to use something different for the binding. About half of the blocks were already hand appliqued to the muslin and the original piecer had cut the remainder of the eighteen blocks and plates.

Although I am quite pleased with it I now wish I had used something other than meandering around the blocks. However it is appropo for the era and not an unpleasing effect.

In the centers are small feather wreaths and feathers also in the border. I had loaded the quilt on the LA before quilt retreat and started right into the quilting once I returned last week. I find it very appealing am thinking I may keep it, as much handwork as I invested in the project and as charming as I find the end result.
With no daughters or yet granddaughters to receive it, it may hang out in my house for some time and become even more vintage!

The backing is a cream WOW to coordinate with the muslin in the quilt which is unbleached.

It shows up the quilting nicely though I used a natural colored Bottom Line in the bobbin and So Fine in the top for a subtle result.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blogger's Fall Quilt Festival

Here is another opportunity to celebrate our craft/passion of quilting, thanks to Amy's Creative Side for hosting the online festival
This time I chose a quilt called Singing His Praises", designed by Sherry Moore.

The quilt took a few years to piece and quilt, blocks are Paper Pieced and custom quilted. The quilt has been donated to Living Faith Anglican Church to raise money for the Memorial Fund. I chose to do that in memory of our son Matthew.

It was a challenge to construct; to begin with, the BOM packs I received had scarcely enough fabric, in fact in one instance I had to piece one of the small pieces!
But I dare you to find it,LOL.

Then I put off the quilting because I knew it would be custom and therefore time consuming.

Once I began it was fun to invent a different quilting design for each block.

The blocks represent hymns and the kit came with the list of blocks and hymns and an explanation of each.

Some blocks like this one below, were quite unusual and not at all familiar to me, so the quilting design really challenged my imagination!

Below is the smallest of the blocks and as you can see from some of the tiniest pieces it would have been impossible to construct other than with paper piecing. I think these little blocks are only 3.5"!
After I struggled through the first of these musical notes I was considering not bothering with the other three for the corners, but decided that I had come that far so why give up on the final challenge.
In the end I was very happy with the over all result and had the quilt appraised by Karen Housner.