Wednesday, May 28, 2014

quilts, food, and miscellaneous

Today's mail brought me a lovely surprise: two small quilts that have been traveling for so long that I had almost forgotten about them. They were part of C&T's surface design trunk show and If you've seen my business card, you will recognize the fabric from this one, photographed before I used it to make a small quilt. 

This is the front of the other one, which I really had forgotten about.
and here is the back.
Seeing these two after about five years makes me think about printing again -- but not until I use up more of my fabrics.

In the meantime, I've been puttering in the kitchen again.  The market had a deal on tomatillos, so I couldn't resist.  I have a pot of cilantro on the deck, limes in the fridge, and on Monday I made one of my favorite things - fresh salsa verde.

 Tomatillos may look a bit like green tomatoes, but they are not.  The tomatillo (front and center) is covered with a paper-like outer layer. Once it is peeled off, it looks like the ones in the center of the cutting board.

I cut up about ½ lb of tomatillos, a small onion, a clove or two of garlic and threw them into the food processor with salt, a handful of cilantro, and the juice of a lime. You can find any number of recipes on the Internet, but I just estimate and use my judgement.
Here's what the salsa looks like after I've processed it.  Then I season to taste (more salt? more cilantro? more lime juice? - all of the above, probably).
And serve it with some tortilla chips (I like Trader Joe's the best).  Perfect with a drink on a warm summer evening.

Tonight's puttering was the result of an article in the NY Times which mentioned halvah ice cream. HALVAH ICE CREAM?? What a concept!!  I just happened to have about ½ lb of marble nut halvah in my fridge that has been there for maybe six months. (It doesn't go bad).  And while I didn't have cream, I did have low fat yogurt and my lactose-free  low fat milk, sugar, tahini, and all that halvah. 

 I threw a cup ofyogurt, a cup of milk, about ½ c. sugar, some vanilla, a spoonful of tahini (optional) into my Cuisinart ice cream maker and crumbled the halvah into the mixture.  Threw in a few pistachios for good measure and  ran it till t'was done. Oh, and I added a little vodka to keep it from freezing solid.

Delicious!!  It would probably have been to die for if I had had cream instead of yogurt, but at least I feel somewhat virtuous as I go to the fridge for another helping.

Oh, and before I sign off, please click on the blog tour icon at the top of the sidebar. All of us in the tour have reinvented our state's license plates to make them more fun/interesting.  And we all have giveaways for those of you who leave comments.  My license plate will be up in June.  If you can't be bothered to go to the top of the sidebar,
here's the thingie that will take you to the blog tour links and schedule.  
Catch up with the first ten and have fun!  It's amazing how creative people can be.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

challenging the muse

I don't do theme challenges any more but I remember that it used to be a good way to stretch when I was first starting to move away from traditional quilts. There are a couple I remember specifically.

Our original crit group, formed in 1997, met quarterly at the beginning, and each quarter, we had a challenge based on a quote or a phrase each of us pulled out of a hat, so to speak. I pulled this phrase:
 The past is over; the future hasn't started yet, and as you
experience the present it becomes the past. All you have
is this moment: all you have is now.

Carpe Diem

About the same time (actually, 1998) the guild I belonged to threw out a challenge for a special exhibit at their quilt show.  The theme was "flora and fauna"  and the pieces had to be, I think, 18" x 18" or some such size.  Immediately, an image came to mind and I had a wonderful time making my piece.  It was the only one that did not depict plants and animals. It still makes me giggle (and I wonder where the whimsical young woman who made that piece has gone.)

Flora and Fauna Give a Party

While I don't like themes or challenges set by other people, I still believe it is a good way to wake up the sleeping muse if you close your eyes and pick a phrase or a word from the newspaper and do some free association.

How do you feel about themes?  Do you find them helpful or annoying, or both?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blog Hop!!! Begins Monday, May 19

One more thing has been keeping me busy in the past couple of weeks. I've had a lot of fun participating in the challenge sponsored by Clothworks, maker of American Made Brands (farm to fabric).  Using fabrics from their beautiful new solids collection, Clothworks invited 50 bloggers to reinvent our state's license plates. 

My schedule is so crazy that I didn't think I'd have time - but I managed to design a license plate block I think is much cooler than the boring New Jersey one we have now!

Every day, for the next 25 days (starting next Monday the 19th) two blogs will feature their redesigned blocks -- along with a giveaway, of course!

Go here to see the schedule and stay tuned for all the giveaways.  There will be a link on my sidebar that will take you to the blogs with the funky redesigned blocks -- all with a giveaway.  Should be fun!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

taking a deep breath

Yep, another busy week.  Last Thursday I was supposed to fly home from Burlington, VT, where I had been teaching. But, of course, there was "weather" over Newark.  My flight was cancelled and there were no other flights to EWR. Flights to NY and Philadelphia were delayed -- 22 flights backed up and waiting and  only one runway open in Burlington. I was rebooked to a backed-up flight to LaGuardia, a $100+, hour and a half ride home. No thanks.

So, like any sensible person, I rented a car and drive the 5-½ hour, stress-free trip to my house. Nice weather, sparse traffic, and got there before I would have, had I taken the 2 hours late rebooked flight.  

Friday morning, drove to Bethesda and had a wonderful weekend at my granddaughter Abigail's bat mitzvah.  Perfect, because I got to spend it with my kids and most of my grandkids.  Except for Abby and Lesli (her mom), who were busy with last-minute party planning, all the "girls" got together for a photo.
With me - daughter Hilary, granddaughters Kayla and Emma, daughter-in-law Nancy, daughter Jessica, daughter-in-law Anne Marie.  It is rare that we are all together -- and the grownups went downtown to have mani-pedis on Saturday afternoon. A pre-Mother's day gift to ourselves:-). 

Monday was a studio day and it was a joy to be there.  I had been working on a piece and spent the afternoon arranging and re-arranging my strips. Here is how it looked when I decided I was done for the day.

But when I turned the photo 45 degrees, it became a different piece. I know what I have to do when I get back to the studio. A couple more tweaks and it might be done.  Of course, it is not what I had in mind, but it has a mind of its own.  Isn't the camera the best tool??

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

A few long weeks ago

I was in Boston.  Last week I was in Vermont.  Now I am in Bethesda for a family event. 
In between...

-my email was hacked from A foreign country where they can't even spell Viagra correctly.
- my email server was closed down due to 100,000 spam emails-- about 1,000 of which clogged my inbox.
- had more email issues after that.
-Worked like crazy to clean out my mother's apt because it was finally sold.
- dealt with lawyers, realtors. for closing.
- worked on article, tight deadline and still unfinished.
- taught two classes in Vermont and when my flight was cancelled due to weather in Newark, I rented a car and drove back to NJ.

The list of what I did not do is twice as long and three times as boring.

Vermont, where I was teaching, has been a partial vacation.  I arrived on Saturday and had a wonderful Sunday, full of sightseeing and good company, before Monday's Cindedella Quilts class.

More, later.  This post has been too long in the making.

soup weather in June and a little more

DISCLAIMER: Blogger is giving me grief tonight, which you will see by the varying sizes of the type. Ye p, soup weather and it's ...