Dinner Tonight

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Caponata, which is an eggplant salad.  This is a similar recipe, though the one I use is in my head.  I grilled the eggplant, used fresh grape tomatoes, balsamic vinegar instead of wine vinegar and I add fresh oregano.  Vince likes this more than I do and since my eggplant is producing like crazy.

The rest of the meal consisted IMG_1247of mushroom stuffed meatloaf, pinto beans from the garden and corn cakes.

I could eat fresh pinto beans every day.  Meatloaf – I don’t like it a whole lot but I make it because I love meatloaf sandwiches.  Toast some crusty bread, add a slice of cheese, a slice or two of fresh tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and the meatloaf .. yum!

Vince’s parents had a few tomato plants but they never raised lots of peas and beans like my parents and grandparents do/did.  The last year my grandparents lived on their farm . . my grandpa was 78 and he raised and sold 400 bushels of purple hull peas.  Mom said he wouldn’t let anyone help pick the peas because he didn’t want them messing up his vines.  Whew!  I have to remind myself of that when I’m out there huffing and puffing and I picked 1/2 a bushel of peas!

When Vince was eating those fresh pinto beans, I think he realized how truly different fresh beans and peas are from those we buy in the store, either canned or frozen, and I think he’s a little more convinced that all the garden work is worth the effort.  He’s always happy to help me when I need help but if it wasn’t for my determination, I’m not sure he would have a big garden.

Withering in the Garden

DSC01838It’s almost July.  Everyone told me that my garden would be done by July.  So far, it’s going strong.  The only thing withering is the lady in that shadow.  It is so hot!  Even late in the evenings, it’s still in the 90’s.  It’s cool enough if I get out there just after daylight but by 8:30 a.m., it’s miserably hot.

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There are so many big, green tomatoes still on the vines.  I surely hope they get ripe before the sun scorches them.  I try to guess how many tomatoes it takes to fill a quart jar (I’m thinking 8 full size tomatoes) and I count tomatoes as I water and I think there are at least 40 quarts of tomatoes still on the vine.  DSC01845

There are so many watermelons out there.  We thumped watermelons all weekend and decided to let the big daddy stay on the vine a little longer.  If these watermelons are good, we’re going to be so happy!

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The beans are still blooming.  The zucchini is still blooming.  The eggplant is still blooming.  The okra hasn’t even started blooming yet.

I think I’ll still be gardening into July . . and maybe August at the rate things are looking out there.

Nicole’s Sofa Quilt – Hour #1

Every time we do one of these, there are some who comment that they don’t like to do “boring, repetitive” sewing.  I know . . I don’t either but for me, getting the “boring” sewing done early and having all the pieces made just makes the process fly once I’m past those steps.  Also, when doing a quilt along as a group project, it seems that the sharing and competition to stay on track and keep up helps some to finish.  So, do it any way you want to do it . . doesn’t matter how you do it . . what matters is that you finish your top!

All of the cuts for this entire quilt will be based on having at least 40″ across the width of your fabric once the selvage is removed.

Today (and for quite a few more days), we’re going to be doing flying geese.  Make these any way you like.  They need to finish at 1-1/2″ x 3″ which means the unfinished size should be 2″ x 3-1/2″.

For this quilt, we need a total of 72 flying geese using Fabric 6 as the geese and Fabric 1 as the sky.

If you’re making them the way I instructed, below are the instructions and these should take about 1 hour.

NOTE:  For Fabric 1, where the instructions indicate cutting 2-3/8″ strips and then cutting those into 2-3/8″ squares . . this is where I make my cuts 2-1/2″ and then trim everything down.

Cutting Instructions:

  • Fabric 6 – Cut 2 – 4-1/4″ strips.  Cut these into 18 – 4-1/4″ squares.  Cut these squares on the diagonal twice so that each yields 4 triangles, for a total of 72 triangles.
  • Fabric 1 – Cut 5 – 2-3/8″ trips.  Cut these into 72 – 2-3/8″ squares.  Cut each of those on the diagonal once to yield 2 triangles, for a total of 144 triangles.

Sewing Instructions:

  • Since part of the hour was spent cutting, you should be able to get 12 flying geese made.  Get them trimmed if necessary and set them aside.
  • Save all the other pieces you’ve cut because you will continuing making flying geese tomorrow.

Flying Geese Tutorial

The upcoming Quilt Along has a lot of flying geese.  My preferred method for making flying geese is Brenda Henning’s Triangulations™.  Here’s a tutorial I did a few years ago showing how I use the printed paper pieces.

When I began making the pieces for Nicole’s Sofa Quilt, it was late last night, I was out in the sewing room, the printer was out of paper and I could not find any more paper without going to the house.  I went ahead and made them the way I would make them if I didn’t have any special rulers or software (or printer paper).  This little tutorial will be for those of you who want a little confirmation about how to make them and don’t have the Triangulation™ CD or those special rulers, and there are many, and most are great.

Most instructions will have you cut a large square and then cut it into quarters and that will give you the larger triangle, or the “goose”.  For this tutorial, the goose is the pinkish fabric and the sky is the ecru.  When given the cutting measurements for the goose fabric, I always cut that exactly the size given.  Be very careful with your cutting!  Make sure your rulers do not wiggle on you!  Some rulers have “built in” grippy spots, there are products that can be added to the backs of the rulers to give them a bit more grip.  Be sure that your cutting table is the correct height for you — trying to cut on a table that is too high or too low often makes it hard to cut accurately.

For the “sky” part of the blocks, the instructions will usually have us cut a square and then cut that on the diagonal once.  I cut these just a tad larger.  If the instructions are to cut the square 2-7/8″, I cut my square 3″ and then cut that on the diagonal.  Cutting these pieces larger means that it’s going to take a bit of extra time due to having to “square” them up but it also means that they’re going to be the exact size I need for them to be.

These are the pieces we will be using:

Before the first stitch is taken, please grab a scrap, trim a straight edge and made double sure that you’re making a close to perfect 1/4″ seam.  Once you know exactly where the 1/4″ seam mark is, you can adjust the placement of your fabric to make a scant 1/4″ seam allowance when needed.  Find the 1/4″ mark and if it isn’t exact by simply lining up the edge of your fabric with the edge of your presser foot, use whatever method you need to get that 1/4″ right.  Some use various types of tapes, some use magnetic or screw in type strips . . use whatever you want but get it right or everything else is going to be off!

Carefully line up the bottom and the angled long side of the ecru piece with the corresponding sides on the pinkish piece.  If these two do not line up perfectly, something is off with the cutting.  Sew along the angled edge using a scant 1/4″ seam.  For my machine, that’s just maybe a thread’s width less than the 1/4″ mark.

Press the seam allowance towards the “sky” and be very careful not to stretch or skew anything.  There are lots of bias edges here.

Do the same thing for the other side.  Line up the long edge and the bottom.  Sew the scant 1/4″ seam.  Press.

Obviously, this piece needs a bit of trimming.  Do you see how the bottom of the pink fabric has a bit of a “sag”.  That is due to the harsh pressing that I do and since I’m going to square the pieces up, it doesn’t create a problem.

To square the pieces up, most rulers will have the intersecting 45º lines which create the peak.

Position the peak over the peak in your ruler and the two 45º lines should align with your seam lines.

Be sure there’s at least 1/4″ of seam allowance above the top of  your peak and trim the excess.  If there’s less than 1/4″ seam allowance there, when that piece is sewn to another piece, the point will be lost and we don’t want any cut off points, right?

Turn the piece around and trim the bottom.  Notice how there’s exactly 1/4″ seam allowance remaining at the top.  That’s real important!

When trimming the sides, the bottom points of the geese should be right at the corner.  No “sky” fabric needs to be extended beyond those points.  Line the top and bottom up on a straight edge, and whatever your center mark is should align with the point.  These pieces are being trimmed to 3-1/2″ so the center line is 1-3/4″.  (It’s a bit confusing because the right edge of my ruler is on the 1/2″ side but if you count inches, you’ll see that the center is at 1-3/4″.  Trim both sides and your flying geese should be perfect!