Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dyeing for eggs!

Couldn't stop thinking about the brown phase the eggs went through while dyeing them earlier. So, hauled out my half dozen brown eggs and plopped them into the left-over dye and cooked them for fifteen minutes. This is the way to go!

The egg on the left is from the first batch.

Red Orthodox Eggs for Pascha

Orthodox Christians call Easter Pascha. We dye all our hard boiled eggs red. Last year (our first in Orthodoxy) I helped dye the 700 eggs we made for the parish celebration. I was appalled when I saw that Rit dye was used! It makes a great red for the eggs but theoretically also makes them inedible as the Rit is toxic. I created a bit of a stir between the older women who have used Rit forever and the younger ones who are in the know, so to speak, regarding healthy, natural eating.

My dye changing campaign didn't change things this year, but did get the idea out and talked about. Change takes time.

In an effort to find a good alternative The Big Guy researched Orthodox dye for Pascha eggs and a friend from church got some powdered dye from an Orthodox store in Sacramento. My Latvian friend at church said she always uses the skin from yellow onions and TBG found a recipe for onion skin dye on the net.

I only had six white eggs and didn't think the brown ones would turn red, so I used the white ones and the skin from two very large yellow onions. I put the eggs in raw.

The eggs first turned a lovely shade of yellow! Not the result I was looking for but good reference for possible future fabric dying!

Then they turned the brown of the fresh eggs I had in the fridge! Maybe I'll use brown eggs next time.

Then they got even more brown.......hmmm. So I splashed in some rice vinegar like the ladies at church do. The poor eggs had cooked about twenty minutes by this time. Not being the most patient person I cheated and put a little of the store-bought, natural dye, in.

Pretty messy stuff but a great color - at least on my hands! BTW - it doesn't wash off. Gloves would have been a good idea.

I've turned off the pot and am letting them sit. Final picture coming up soon!


As you can see from the peeled egg, the shell is porous. One should not eat Rit dyed eggs. The color I got with onion skin and natural dye is very good. I did not oil my eggs like we do at church. Perhaps if I had the color would be the same as Rit.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Scrapitude Progress

This is one of the seven blocks I have completed in the Scrapitude project. I showed Artquiltmaker and she had positive things to say about them.
Hope you like them.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Quilting On!

Tuesday I washed our kitchen floor so I could use it to pin the ABC donation quilt. Once again measuring-challenged-Mary mis-measured and bought batt that was just about too small :(  I am using it anyway since I am doing the quilting myself.

Tuesday night I couldn't sleep so cleaned up the sewing room. I hadn't straightened it out since returning from Mom's and dumping a bunch of stuff in there.  I did a poor job of it but at least now I can sit at the drafting board. Oh, once again I knocked over my sewing toolbox! But I found my bone presser that I couldn't find after last time I dumped it at mini-group - yippee!

Speaking of mini-group, the day they meet has changed and interferes with my schedule so I can't go any more. Have joined the Manteca guild so maybe there is a group there I can join.

Still struggling with my new 'smart' phone but am going to go take pictures for this post. Hope I can send them to my computer.

OK, back from taking and sending pictures so will add them to this post!

Have just spent an hour trying to add photos to no avail!  Ah, well.  Maybe next time

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Next Top

Have been catching up on blog reading tonight and that has prompted me to blog! As I mentioned in my last blog, Birthday Blooms went to the quilter last Saturday. I was dithering about which quilt top I was going to put together next of the four that I have the blocks done for but that decision was, happily, made for me.

I had blocks for an ABC donation quilt for one of the charities sponsored by my guild and run by a friend at church. My friend, Dessie, pulled me aside, urgently, during fellowship last Sunday to ask if I would drive her to our church camp in June where we would distribute the quilts and spend four days with the kids and families who would be there. Well, I jumped at the chance. So I am working on the ABC quilt top and have it 2/3rds finished. I have chosen the back, a piece of yellow which has been in my stash for eons and which I don't have any plans to use for blocks. I will quilt it myself using the method Ricky Tims  taught at the great seminar artquiltmaker sent me to in February (and I promise to blog about it soon - finishing the cleanout of my mom's house interfeared with that -and I still can't spell interfeared).

Monday, March 3, 2014

Back among the living!

Birthday Blooms

I am  indeed back among the living. Delivered Birthday Blooms to the long-arm quilter Saturday after show-n-tell at Saturday Sampler Block of the Month meeting at Quilters Quarters in Stockton.  I have to say that I am sick of this quilt but everyone who has seen it says it is beautiful so I am ignoring the head voices and believing others.

I realized when trying to photograph this top that when it is raining, there is no where big enough to take a picture in our house. The big guy did his best! He dug out an extension pole used to paint the ceiling (not used in my lifetime, however ;] ) and I pinned the top to it. Worked pretty well, I thought.

Sunday The big Guy and I went to the Manteca Quilters Guild annual show. It is a small show but with quite good quilts.

This is a RickRack quilt that caught my eye. I collected rickrack for a while after getting a bad review of a quilted vest I made where the judge hated the rickrack. I threatened to make a  quilt of rickrack in response. Maybe this will inspire me!

This was The Big Guys favorite. Go to to see why.

My find of the day was two batik jelly rolls for only 14.99 each! I got them from the vendor Merrill-Lee West Quilts & More (916)208-8801. I'm pretty tickled with them. I see a baby quilt for our future granddaughter in them!

My next project is to finish Shoo Butterfly which is for ME! I am going to make a hex braid for the border. At the Boutique yesterday I got three yards of fabric for the back with a large floral print on it. Should be beautiful.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Final Trip to Mom's

Woke up at 5 a.m. (again) with brain going forty per (as my grandma used to say(. Made coffee and ran the dishwasher. As the post title says, I am in Santa Clarita, doing the final pack-up of my mom's house. I wish I could air lift it home and set it in the back yard so I could visit whenever I wanted! But that is magical thinking so I will have to buckle down and be 'surgical' in this sad work.

I have managed to arrange an estate sale for this weekend. This is a meant to be event as the company happened to have this weekend open. Their next opening is not til March but our escrow closes at 5p.m. on the 21st - a week from Friday. So you can see by how late I've left this how I so much do not want to do it.

Today I have to get the sisters and daughter -apaperaddict - to get the last of the stuff they want out so it isn't sold on the weekend. Then I have to CLEAN the house - yuk!

And, once again as happened last time I was here, missing mom is so hard.

Friday, January 31, 2014

More Scrapitude Whining

Just when I thought I  finished doing all the (s)crapitude cutting I looked at the net step and realized I hadn't cut the 32 -5 1/4" squares! I have been obsessed with this elective quilt I'm doing for fun(?) to the neglect of the wedding quilt which HAS to be done.

So next time I go to my studio I will still be CUTTING!!!! On a brighter note, I have finished all the four patches :)

I've also cleaned off my drafting table, kind of.  And  am getting stuff together to give away. While working on cleaning out the guest room earlier today I thought I should go through my purses and get rid of a few. I must have at least 20! That made me think about how many purses one really needs. Let's see, black (4 - 2 handmade by The Big Guy)), brown (3), tan (1), red (1), white (1), navy(1), little evening bag (2), hand made by apaperaddict purse (1), raffia summer purse (2) - not as many as I thought! But that is not a true inventory because I am not looking at the mess of them, just thinking. Maybe I should have a purse raffle!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Inspired by Artquiltmaker

After reading artquiltmaker's blog this week I was inspired too push myself, quilting-wise. Here is a run down of  what I accomplished since Monday:

Strips cut for the 2 1/2 x 12 1/2 pieces for the scrapitude mystery quilt

5 1/4 squares (64) cut for mystery quilt

32 mystery quilt two patches sewn  -  sorry, no pictures.

Blocks Birthday Blooms block of the month (2013) quilt together, border and binding fabric chosen and purchased

Shoo Butterfly blocks finished


Trial  "Grandma's Star" nifty nine patch block of the month completed

Blocks for donation quilt complete.

Went to my first mini-group meeting Thursday. We made a Sawtooth Star and a Friendship Star using a technique that keeps all the pieces parts together while sewing. Pretty neat!

All in all a productive week.

I also raked leaves and vacumned half the house!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


As with most quilters I have a large, self replicating stash. Even though I am working (kind of) on seven quilts all at once, I decided to join a mystery quilt group on the web which was billed as a stash buster. So, what did I do right off the bat? Purchased (yes, actually went to the quilt store) four and a half yards of background fabric. White. Boring – maybe. That really didn't help my stash at all.

Artquiltmaker offered to set up her Accucut machine when I went over (that was last Tuesday) so I could cut my bazillion (well, 256) two and a half inch squares. What a great machine! I had the squares all cut in just over an hour. But, could not even tell I had used any fabric out of my stash! Geeze...

My New Year resolution for 2013 was not to purchase any new fabric. I pretty much didn't – well, except for that white – buy very much. But I'm not resolving that again very soon. 2014 the resolution is to walk every day. That should last about a week :-]

Today I joined a mini-group and we are planning on making a star quilt at the next meeting in January. I'm looking forward to making the stars - think I will use the batiks I didn't buy myself (the Big Guy bought them) on Small Business Saturday and use white as the background.

Well, that will be nine (!) quilts in progress. Don't think I'll get bored.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pie Day

Every year artquiltmaker and I do pie day. This began when we got tired of not being able to eat pie Thanksgiving or Christmas because of gluten intolerance. Some years we have made as many as six pies! From scratch! In one day!

As the years meandered on we refined technique and made the process easier. The first and best change was the crust. We found GF crusts at WFM, tested them and found them swell! That saved half a day at least. GF from scratch pie crust is very difficult, really hard, close to impossible. Did I say it was hard? Finding tasty, beautiful and gluten free crusts was wonderful.

After the crust we honed down the varieties of pie. The lemon meringue went by the wayside the year
I used Austrian hooch, stored in a lemon juice bottle, instead of lemon juice! The kids were forbidden from that one when we figured out what I had done. It wasn't very good, either. Cherry stopped when we spilled or miss-measured the brandy. Cured Sean of his love of cherry pie. We only make mince now when Cathy comes because she and I are the only ones who like it so the leftovers tend to get moldy. Not good after all the effort.

We have two pies that are always favorites: cranberry-rhubarb and of course, pumpkin. This year those two were definite bakes. As the crowd has been reduced this year three was the magic pie number. So of course it was c-r and p. The third became artquiltmakers choice which turned out to be blueberry.

One complaint AQ always has is sloppy filling. She wants the filling, be it cherry, lemon or any other, to stay in the crust! This year she began internet research on filling early and found a 'gel' which was supposed to keep the in the crust. Tonight will be the test as she cuts the blueberry pie.

In spite of all I have already said I have not yet gotten to the point of this post - this year's pie day. I live 82 miles from AQ. There is no WFM within 50 miles. If I need something from WFM I plan to stop on my way to AQ's. I needed one item from WFM on this year's Pie Day. It would take me five minutes at the most. The hang-up was that the Big Guy was with me. He thinks it is Christmas when he goes into any type of store. He LOVES to shop! We luckily found a parking spot easily and quickly (I know, a miracle). He got a cart – which I didn't need for my one item – and asked if I wanted various items. I told him to have at it, I would just go get what I needed. Which I didn't because they were out! Then began the great search for the husband – whose cell phone was unhearable in the WFM babble. 10 minutes. After finding him I then had to convince him that he had enough stuff (all good stuff to be sure) and find our way to the shortest (HAH) line. Forty minutes later we were once again on our way. AQ texted me while we were going over the San Mateo bridge – she didn't have enough blueberries! We got to DC and stopped at Trader Joe's. They don't carry canned blueberries. We went around the corner to Safeway – no parking spots and a million people driving around the lot in a stupor. Finally found a spot two blocks (it seemed) from the store. The Big Guy (thank you God) stayed in the car. Four and a half minutes later I got back to the car and we headed off, finally, to AQ's. Arrived about 1:45! That made Pie Day half over! We had a bite to eat to refresh ourselves and it was time to pick up the Young Man from school (a happy task I undertake each Tuesday). I went to ARHS and got him. We had a quick errand to do – pick up reeds for his clarinet – and took off from school to San Bruno (I thought) to the music store. Well, the store is actually in South City. When I realized I was lost TYM phoned home and got directions. That should have been that except South City doesn't seem to believe in street signs! Additionally, there seems to be more than one Grand Avenue and the one we were on was an endless loop! I made sure TYM paid close attention because getting lost in LA as a child with my mom gave me a great knowledge of how to get around that giant city. I must have inherited her getting lost gene!

We finally found Braunstein's only to discover neither of us had any change for the parking meter! Since I know squat about reeds and TYM doesn't drive, I sat in the car, ready to move immediately should a meter maid appear, and he ran in to get the reeds. Another ten minutes on the Pie Day clock. As we pulled out of the parking spot TYM stopped me from heading the (wrong) way I planned and unerringly directed me home. It was 4:30! The last pie was ready to go into the oven. AQ did it! I could rest easy in future years knowing there would be pies for holidays whether I was there or not!. I did a little clean-up and helped make dinner. Artquiltmaker you rock!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

An old post never posted - from this summer.

I have 15 minutes before my Irish Soda Bread comes out of the oven.  What better way to spend it than to blog!

Our tomatoes are in fine form. Twice this week I harvested over fifty.  Sunday and Tuesday I cooked them in the crock pot.  Not hard but ended up with pretty unexciting sauce. On Wednesday I remembered that we purchased a new pressure cooker earlier this year. I dug it out and got my pressure cooker cookbook out and made the recipe for marinara sauce. It was delicious! It only made two quarts as opposed to the five quarts I got from the crock pot but oh was it good! It is also gone! Today I made tomato vegetable sauce. It is really good, too.

My quilting is in fine form, too.  I am working on a BOM and a buck-a-block. Because I have some trouble following directions, I make a test block before I use the fabric for the BOM or B-A-B. I also have to put together the BOM finished in April.

Birthday Blooms - blocks finished
original design quilt for her grandson, who got married in January of this year. That was a rush job that turned out nicely
Yesterday I finally started sewing again. Was not able, both time-wise and ability-wise to work on all my quilts while my mother was ill. The small bit of piecing that I did do had to be ripped out so I avoided my studio for six weeks.

But I'm over that for now and was on a roll yesterday!

I started putting “Birthday Blooms” together. Thought it would be really hard because all my blocks did not turn out to be 12.5” squares, as I mentioned earlier when I was working on that BOM. Have to say I will probably never do that group of patches again. I found the directions difficult to understand and the designs overly fussy. They could have been much simpler.

I did, however get them all done and I can see the end in sight. Have to discuss with our cousin how she wants the quilting done. I am willing to do it after doing the quilting on the two lap quilts I finished last summer and enjoying that. But the last one I did for her was professionally done and she might want that again.

In addition to working on “Birthday...” I made two S­hoo-fly squares for my birthday quilt which I am calling “Shoo (butter)fly”. I have ten squares done now. The ones I did yesterday are a deep aqua. A lovely color.

I also finished last month's BOM. It was really hard and I didn't like making it. I always (since last years fiasco of a BOM) make a scrappy one (brown) before I use the provided fabric. But this time I did it so long ago that it didn't help. But it is done.

Then I made the “P is for a Portly Pig with Puffin Slippers” patch for my ABC donation quilt. That will be a challenge to put together because there is a variety of sizes for the different squares. But I do like putting the quilt top together, one of my favorite parts of quilting, so am looking forward to that.

When I finish this post I am going back to the studio and sewing some more – Yippee!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Life getting shorter.


This is an old post I didn't get published when I wrote it. Am posting it today to document the beginning of the end for Mom. Will document other bits of her last month when I feel able
to revisit that pain.

Super G with her great-granddog, Princess Beene - a great foot warmer!

Mom has had a very bad week.  She has been getting more and more helpless since the Alzheimers diagnosis in May. When I  was down with artquiltmaker the middle of September she was having trouble getting dressed.  Last Wednesday she put her jeans on wrong and tripped and fell in her bathroom. We don't know what she hit - I suspect it was the edge of the bathtub - and she broke two ribs, sprained her shoulder, may have cracked her elbow and has various bruises and contusions. I was planning on going down the next day anyway so just left home about 5p.m. and got to Santa Clarita at 11p.m.  Went to Henry Mayo Hospital first thing to find her pretty much out of it. She didn't know who I was which was heartbreaking for me. Apaperaddict arrived a few minutes later and my youngest step-sister soon after that. The doc came in and said she could go home - no reason for her to stay! She couldn't walk, wasn't eating and was incoherent. Our patient advocate, Apaperaddict, put on her 'nasty pants' and won the sparring match with the discharge dummys. She stayed an extra night until we found an appropriate skilled nursing facility for her.  Skilled, however is debatable!
Several months ago I was whinging and whining to artquiltmaker about not having a decent word processing program on my computer and what a pain that was when I was trying to blog. I had (have) about given up blogging because much of what I typed kept getting blown away. She suggested I try Apache Open Office.

I dutifully downloaded the free product and waited for something to happen. Voila! Couldn't find it on my computer and spent what now seems like hours trying to use it. Finally gave up. This morning Adobe Acrobat announced an update when I opened Mozilla. As I mostly play games on my computer (remember, my word processing is close to non-existent) I began downloading it. As I was following the directions, which included going to downloaded programs, it occurred to me that maybe I needed to do that with Apache! Looked through downloads and found the program, opened it and began the process. Lo and behold, I now have a word processing program that works! Thank you artquiltmaker.

As many of you know, we lost my sweet mom October 28th. Her final three weeks were dreadful and the only good part was that she only suffered three weeks. I miss her so much.

Earlier this week I was transferring birthday dates into my 2014 calendar and realized how much time I spent with Mom this year. I expect to be going down to her home at least twice more, once in December to finish clearing out the copious amounts of stuff she collected over the years and then, when the house sells, to move furniture. And I know what I will be doing with all this extra time I will have! I am going to (and have begun to) clear out all the copious amounts of stuff I have collected over the years! I started yesterday - one half of a shelf is now neat and tidy! Yea me.