I'm sitting on the porch and listening to music drift through the screen door, amazed at the blue skies, fluffy clouds and mild temperatures.
It is a soothing balm to my day. The corners of my brain have been cluttered just like this corner of the yard.
I'm thinking of taking a leaf blower to both of them.
A friend asked me to make a denim quilt with the Texas flag on the front and old jeans for the backing. This was the only excuse I needed to go fabric shopping in my husbands closet and rid it of the jeans that were not fit to wear in public. Mind you, I did have to patch some of the pieces to use in the quilt, and had, for some reason, been resistant to patching them for his continued use ;) I was really thankful for his long legs and the lengths of fabric I could get from each pant leg, something to definitely consider, should I ever need to purchase used jeans for future projects.
We just got back from the Round Top Antiques Fair. I was in great hopes of discovering a quilted treasure or two, but had never found one that really spoke to me. D's allergies gave him fits, as most of the vendors are in pastures under tents. Thousands of dealers from all over the states and what bothered me the most, was the lack of interaction the dealers had with shoppers, and even other dealers. For some of the dealers, it was day 2, others, day 7, and I didn't notice any difference in their behavior. They had their eyes glued to their laptop or phone passing the time away, and unfortunately sales, too. I LOVE to go to art and antique shows/fairs/sales as it is a time to get to interact with the dealers/artists on a personal level. Their story and/or the 'pieces' back story is often what will make me open my wallet, much like they say in an Etsy shop. It's really sad to say, but there may be more human contact via the web than in person. What the heck is society coming too? The other downside of the dealers on the web, it was eating up so much of the bandwidth that dealers that were trying to process credit card sales could not get a good signal to do so. And even so, I thoroughly enjoyed the 2 days with my man as we oohed and ahhed over the displays and antique treasures that wouldn't fit in the car to bring home, and we discussed a re-visit in the spring with a truck.
You wouldn't know by the weather here, as it seems to be unchanging, but the seasons of life seem to be shifting for me. My job as mom will never end, but it has certainly taken on new light with one out of the house and another that simply uses it as a rest stop. Fortunately, O. is only an hour away and we get to see her a bit, but the goodbyes are always the same, never quick.
As she was gathering things to set up her apartment, I was quick to get a first aid kit together. Her very first comment when she started talking of moving out, was her fear of being ill and not having me there. I couldn't resist the opportunity to leave her a note or two, for when she is in need of some sympathy :)
In the midst of all of the changes, it seemed the perfect time to gather with friends and enjoy a retreat. I needed the escape, as I was in danger of setting up my very own pity party for one. This is my slice of design wall, and what I worked on. It was so surprising to see the projects together and how it reflected my style.
A simple table runner in neutrals, a wonky log cabin in solids and a modern-mini done in reproductions. Yep, that pretty much sums me up, even though I do lots of other things, these really represent my heart in quilting, well, and life.
Here's to hoping that the winds of change bring that cold front this weekend, I'm so done with 100 degree days!
Trying to get a good photo in the bright Texas sun and whipping winds is crazy.
This is my top from the Round Robin project through the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild. I made the center block and it was then passed each month to another member to add a border, for 5 months. I am over the moon happy with it, and am now feeling the pressure to get it finished. The creativity and talent amongst the members was so inspiring. You can see all of the quilts here.
This is another recent project that I made from a Petit Four of the new Moda line 'Sew Stitchy' by Aneela Hoey.
Such a sweet line of fabric and so fun to fussy cut for the 1/2" hexagons. I can't wait to get my hands on some yardage.
We had a milestone birthday this week, and there was NO interest in a big party or celebration drawing attention to it. So a quiet dinner at home with the girls in his life was the request, along with my Pecan Chicken and an attempt to recreate a dessert from his childhood memories of the Cape May boardwalk.
First up, the Pecan Chicken. This recipe came to be as an assemblage of ideas from various recipes and hugely influenced by my mom's oven fried chicken that I grew up on. Super simple, tender, juicy, and a buttery crust that will have you chipping away at every morsel left in the pan so that you can devour it.
I don't really measure anything in it, the key is to keep the portions somewhat equal between the rice krispies, pecans, and baking mix.
For 4 chicken breasts, your will need about
1/2 cup Rice Krispie cereal
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup baking mix - I use Pamela's baking mix as it is gluten free, for those without that concern, use Bisquick
1/4 butter, melted
Lawry's Seasoned salt
Trim the chicken as desired. Okay, so I always thought that dipping the 'meat' in milk or egg was simply to help the coating stick, turns out that there is some science to it. If you let the meat-be it chicken or beef- soak in milk, half & half, or such, the lactic acid in the milk product begins to break down the tissue of the meat and causes it to be fork tender and juicy! This is the big secret to 'old school cafe' chicken fried steak and chicken fried chicken. For beef, I'd let it marinate for an hour or more, but for this recipe, I simply soak the chicken in milk or cream, whatever is handy, while I am assembling the coating mix.
First, put the rice krispie cereal in a baggie and crush by hand. It's kinda like bubble wrap therapy, with the reward of a delicious meal to follow. But don't go so far as to create dust, you want the cereal to still have some puffs left.
Add the finely chopped pecans and the baking mix to the cereal and mix. Dredge the chicken breasts in coating mix, it's fun to hear the snap, crackle, pop of the cereal as it encounters the moist chicken, and place in a butter baking dish. Pile the remaining coating mix atop the breasts. Season with the Lawry's seasoned salt and drizzle each breast with the melted butter, use it all. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes, or until the coating is nicely browned and chicken is done.
We served it along with roasted asparagus spears and a broccoli salad. Yummy-licious!
For dessert, D. has often talked about an ice cream sandwich that he had as a kid. A hot Belgian waffle with a slice of Neapolitan ice cream, dusted with powdered sugar. He was so excited that he couldn't wait for the sugar dusting and gobbled it up. The girls were both converts, too, we have a new ice cream sandwich in the house.
Such an enjoyable evening, favorite recipes, new creations, and the best dinner company ever.
It's overwhelming to think about it all at one time, but day by day, we made it through S.'s final days of high school.
First there was prom.
Speaking of adventures, S. and I took a 'spontaneous artistic adventure' to Austin, Tx. and opted to stay in the heart of the "Keep Austin Weird" district. The Austin Motel is a step back in time, very cool. Every room a different theme, color all around. We had turquoise plumbing-sink, tub and toilet with pink tiled floor and walls and a lime green shower curtainin the bathroom, and this shock of pink on the main room wall.
I think she found her tribe in Austin, definitely a vibe that she can relate to and feed off of.
The idea of a trip had been bouncing around in my head, and the only fuel that it took to make us hit the road was a gift card to Jerry's Art-A-Rama, an on-line shop, that just so happens to have an actual store in Austin, 4 1/2 hours away! The rush? Austin Kleon, author of 'Steal Like An Artist' was giving a talk and book signing at Book People. We packed the car and were off.
Jo's Coffee for morning power.
That pretty much covers the major bits, and I have been sewing, which surprises even me! I'll try and play catch up on that soon. Hope that you're enjoying the adventures of daily life, they are a blessing and fly right by wether we are paying attention or not.
I haven't been able to leave the stack of old blocks alone. It's so fun to play around with setting fabric, especially when I have no attachment or vision for what they should be.
Figuring a layout on the designs wall.
What I thought would work, but is hardly noticeable.
Then I saw this fabric in the cabinet, oh fun!
Oh, oh, and then I saw this fabric!!!!!
It definitely helps having a dark center in the blocks, and I do realize why these blocks were never finished. There is a bit of an issue of them laying flat. I'm thinking that they look enough like a flower that a pucker here and there around the center would only add to the design element. Right?
It's rare for me to have yardage of fabric and I might as well use it, there is certainly nothing else calling for it. I hope to work on it soon, or it could become one of those exercises where you design an entire project and eventually put it all away, simply satisfied with the creative stretch. Time will tell.
We lost our cat, 'Monkey', a couple of months ago, and the girls have been begging for kittens. A few weeks ago, they went to the animal shelter and brought these two home, Oliver and Tucker. They've been a bit of a distraction, fun and entertaining in every way! It's always playtime for them.