Sunday, March 15, 2015

a day or two late and a dollar or two short:-)


In lieu of sewing, I am sorting my scraps and strips and putting them into bags to take home with me, in the hope that I will get back into my studio and do something with them. Hope springs eternal. Not sure whether it is the sunny, warm climate or the fact that I just need a rest, but I have not been in the mood.  Instead, I have continued to binge-read mindless mysteries: this time around, Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series (preferably in order). 

And I have been making soup.  Last week, I took one look at the crisper drawer and knew it was time to use up the past-their-eat-by veggies.  I do miss my pressure cooker, which allows me to make soup in 20 minutes or so -- but in desperation, I did it the old fashioned way: a couple of hours in a pot.
Cabbage, onions, green beans, a half of a turnip, three sad carrots, and an onion or two. And maybe a pathetic half tomato, about to go soft.
Always reminds me of the book, Stone Soup, which I used to read to my kids.  To the veggies I added some dried lentils, a couple of bay leaves, and what looks like oregano, thyme, basil, and who knows what.
Thought some tomato flavor would be good, so threw in some tomato paste.
About an hour into the cooking, it was starting to look like soup.  Threw in the rest of the can of  tomato paste, a potato turning green, and some dried mushrooms.
 Aha!  Cooked down for another hour, it looked ready to eat.  And it was delicious. I ate it all week.

Of course, eating soup did not take up my entire week; I took my sewing machine in to be fixed and the fixer called me to tell me he couldn't figure out how to attach the foot so he could sew with it. Hmmm...very odd, since I had no trouble sewing with it last week. I just didn't like the way the stitches looked and thought it needed a bit of tuning up.  Needless to say, I am going to bring the machine home tomorrow to see what is going on. Time for a new (used) machine for my Florida digs.

I have also continued to audition backsplash tile. Maybe I should just paint it ((next winter) and then see.  The holes in the wall left by the electrician will not be fixed till 2016, since I am going back to NJ in less than two weeks.  Mixed feelings about that. Sigh...

Went to the movies to see The Second Best Marigold Hotel, which, while not as fabulous as the first one (sequels never are), it was nevertheless a pleasant and charming way to spend a couple of hours.  I mean, what could be bad with Maggie Smith and Judi Dench? The only quibble I had was that you had to have seen the First Best Marigold Hotel to keep the relationships straight.  It should have been a series on public television. 

Ok - back to the next Maisie Dobbs book.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

back from wherever I was

Don't ask me where the last few weeks have gone.  I have been pretending to be on vacation by binge-reading British detective books.  Between reading sessions, have had a few more kitchen renovaton issues and done some teachng, which has been my biggest pleasure.

The Teaching Part
Taught a one-day class in Jupiter, where I had the pleasure of seeing my old friend from NJ, Debbie Krajkowski.  Debbie and I took a class a few years ago with Jan Myers-Newbury at the Newark Museum and while my fabrics are still languishing, Debbie has recently made two quilts with hers.  Here is one of them.  I'm not posting the other one because I think she should submit it to a national show.
One of the class members turned out to live in the same condo development as I do, so that was a bonus.  And she invited me to the Palm Beach County guild meeting, which has a number of art quilters, so that was another nice outcome.  My Florida sewing machine is not making me happy, so I have not done much piecing while I am here.  Anyway, I haven't been in the mood to work.

Last weekend I drove to Ft. Myers to teach at Art Quilters Unlimited, where I had taught a number of years ago.  This was a two-day improv piecing class and it was a very talented (and fun) group!

This is Nancy's piece, which is fairly large for a quilt made in a two-day class.  We persuaded her to skip the border and the binding and just face it and hang it as the art that it is.

Jim's engineering background translates into precise, symmetrical work in a variety of mediums.  This time, he challenged himself to do something with the leftover pieces of a very traditional quilt. These are just a few of them.

Success in working outside of his comfort zone and coming up with a really interesting result!

Carol's piece began this way and I can't wait to see the finished work!
Betty has cut her larger units into small ones and is rearranging them.  See all those black and white fabrics on the wall?  She added some of them later to break up the design on the wall and what a difference it made!  I hope Betty will send me a photo so I can post it when it is done.

Rena came in with a few already-made units and this is how her quilt top looked after she had made some others and sewed them all together.


Carolyn came in with an idea for what she wanted to do with the strips: a landscape.  What a great idea!

These were the photos that weren't fuzzy or too dark - but it gives you the idea of the variety.

The Other Part

The drive between Florida coast is mostly fields and palm tree farms,with an occasional stopping place.  The stop at this Shell station in the middle of nowhere provided me with something to photograph en route.

Being geographically challenged kept me ignorant of the fact that the west coast of Florida is full of islands.  I stayed on Pine Island, which is about ½ hour fro Ft. Myers, and over several bridges.
Driving over all those bridges was the bad news.  The good news was that this part of the state is fish-lovers' heaven.  I had fried oysters almost every night: something we don't get in Northern NJ.
And one night, oysters romanoff (with creme fraiche and cavier) 
followed by soft shell crabs, which are not even in season in New Jersey until sometime in May, if you are lucky.  And then, many restaurants don't even have them on the  menu and if they do, the crabs are small.  Heaven, indeed!

Enough for now.  The sun is out and I might just go for a walk or sit by the pool and read.
More tomorrow.

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