Sunday, January 25, 2009

Week Four

I was busy this week, but did not make any progress toward busting the stash. In fact if you count the piece of fabric that my husband picked out and we bought to make pillows for a waitress at the restaurant we go to almost daily....I added to the stash.

Here is my lack of progress:

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric bought this week: 1 yard

Fabric used this YTD 17 5/8yards
Fabric bought YTD 1 yard

I worked on two UFO's this week, but did not finish either.
I did not sew for my new patterns, but worked on a project I am testing for another designer.

Monday, January 19, 2009

You just won't believe!

Last night Bill and I had decided to make a pork roast today. I took it out last night to thaw in water that I add several cloves of garlic. This is the way my mother always started her roast pork. It was a large roast, so I put it in the crock pot this morning. Turned it on low and went to eat breakfast. After breakfast I decided to move the crock pot to a "safer" location on the stove. It is sitting on a piece of glass over a burner. The kitchen is cool and the stove area is cooler due to the vent being connected directly to the outside. It was windy today so the below freezing wind was making it's way into the kitchen. Not really, but it is cooler under the vent then elsewhere in the kitchen.

Bill and I took a trip today to Paducah to do some general shopping, buy some batting and to get some groceries at a store we don't have in Murray. We ate a late lunch, so I was not looking forward to having a pork roast for dinner. The roast was made so Mom and Dad would have a good dinner. I kept thinking all day, I wonder if I turned the crock pot back on after I moved it to the stove. You guessed it. I forgot to turn on the crock pot. We arrived home about 15 minutes before we were to eat. Fortunately I had asked Mom and Dad to make mashed potatoes and the spuds were still cooking in the water. Bill had pick up a kielbasa for Dad. So I grab a head of cabbage and made them fried cabbage and onions with the sausage and buttered potatoes. They had also made a nice fruit salad, so they ended up with a nice quick meal, but not a pork roast.

Now to the pork roast. I wasn't worried about it spoiling, because it was too cool where it was sitting. So I turned on the crock pot and it smells so good now. It is time to turn it off and find room for it in the refrigerator. So tomorrow we will try again to have pork roast, mashed potatoes, broccoli salad (already made) and maybe some corn.

Our friend who had a lung cancer operation did well today. In fact this is what his daughter had to say about the day.

"Dad is out of surgery and is now in recovery. He did well! They ended up taking out his right upper lung lobe as we expected , but they did not have to take any of his chest muscle or ribs. His chest wall margins were clean, meaning there was no cancer remaining. If the lymph nodes are clean Dad is done with cancer treatments. Those results will be in on Wednesday.

The surgeon was very pleased with the surgery and Dad's post-up status. Tonight Dad will go to a regular room. I will keep you updated as this goes along.

It goes without saying, without your prayers, calls and care we couldn't have gotten this fare. Thank you for all your support."

This is all very good news, now we just need to hear that nothing is in the lymph nodes.

All is possible....just look at this sent to me by a friend.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Week Three

This week was a week of hitting a brick wall as far as progress was concerned. I was going to do some quilting and discovered I didn't have batting large enough for the projects that were done. It also seems like Bill and I were away from home more this week then normal. I did work and made much progress on two UFO's. I also had trouble with my cat this week. He has decided that he needs my sewing thread more then I do. He doesn't bother it unless it is moving. So it didn't matter if I was machine or hand sewing the cat was there with the thread in his paws or mouth. I am working on breaking this habit and hope when I get into my sewing studio he will leave the thread alone.

The only fabric cut this week was to replace the binding on Bill's quilt. The old binding has holes in it and the hand stitching has come away from the back of the quilt. I need to get it done today, because the weather is getting warmer and he will be switching from his double fleece blanket to the quilt.

So here is my progress:

Fabric used this week: 5/8 yard
Fabric bought this week: 0 yards

Fabric used this YTD 17 5/8yards
Fabric bought YTD 0 yards

I worked on two UFO's this week, but did not finish either.
I did sew on a top for one of my new patterns.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Shrimp Creole

Today Judy at posted a giveaway to win some Slap Your Mama Seasonings and apron. I have been wanting to try that seasoning, because it is cajun. My choice here is the Kroger brand of Creole seasoning that I use and another brand that I don't like. So I am always on the lookout for new seasonings. The giveaway is something that she is making us work for, but for me it was not work. To qualify you needed to make a cajun food, take a picture of it and post the picture and the recipe on your blog. Then link the page back to Judy's blog.

Now Judy has timing as I had already planned to make Shrimp Creole for dinner tonight. I will post some pictures with explinations then the recipe at the end.
The first thing I do is to gather the ingredients and chopped the vegetables. I use more vegetables then shown, but some are canned. I also used to clean the shrimp saving the shells to make a quick shrimp broth, but I fried shrimp one day and made broth and froze it.
The next thing I do is make the roux. It was not in the original recipe, but I think it adds lots of flavor. Basically what I do is to mix the flour and oil in a heavy pan, stir and cook it until the flour/oil mixture is the color of peanut butter. Be sure you allow about 1/2 hour for this process. Cooking at a medium or lower temperature stirring constantly. Isn't the pan I am using nice. It is an Iron pot for doing stir fry, but I love it for many different things I cook. I bought it at an outdoor store.

The roux is almost ready. By the way I hardly ever measure anything, so sometimes I actually make more then other times. Today I made more so I can share it with some friends.

As soon as the roux is ready I add the vegetables, stir then quickly add the tomatoes/okra, tomato sauce, butter and the shrimp broth. Mine was still frozen. I cook and stir everything adding the herbs and spices.This mixture is allowed to simmer for about and hour. Notice the pan in the back? My husband came to help. He cleaned the shrimp and now the shells are cooking in water. When they turn pink I strain the broth into a container and freeze it for the next time we go cajun with shrimp.
I do not have a rice cooker, so I make my rice in the microwave. I have about an hour to rest before finishing dinner, so I put the rice together. Place the container in the microwave and set the timer to come on later.
Dinner is almost ready. About 10 minutes before dinner I add the shrimp. Notice the grey color. Stir the shrimp into the mixture until it is pink.

Notice the pink shrimp, it has curled and is ready to eat. Don't over cook the shrimp as it will be tough. Put everything into serving bowls. You can decorate with green onions and fresh parsley. Adjust seasoning as desired. I make a medium hot creole, because some people don't like things hot. You may also use fresh or frozen hot peppers instead of the dry cheynne pepper.

Shrimp Creole

2 pounds raw shrimp (I use the frozen medium size with the shell, but no heads) Wash and remove
from shells. Set cleaned shrimp in refrigerator.
Wash shells place in medium saucepan with a little celery and onions.
Cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes. Save the broth by
Pouring through a sieve over a bowl. Set aside for gumbo. Discard shells. You will need between 2 and 3 cups of liquid. You may us canned chicken broth if desired.

1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 chopped bell pepper
2 cloves garlic cleaned and chopped fine
½ cup oil
½ cup flour
1 can tomatoes with okra (15 ounce or so)
1 can 8oz tomato sauce
2 T butter
1 teaspoon creole seasoning
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or you can use finely chopped fresh hot pepper any amount
you desire
¼ teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
salt and pepper to taste Salt increases the heat cayenne pepper. Sugar will lower the heat.
1 teaspoon fresh parsley chopped or ½ teaspoon dry parsley

Be sure everything is chopped and ready to use before you start to make the roux.

To make the roux pour the oil into a heavy sauce pan or skillet. I actually use and iron pan large enough to hold all the ingredients. A heavy dutch oven works well, but be careful to not burn yourself on the pan when stirring.

Heat the oil a bit then add the flour. Carefully stir in the flour. Heat the mixture using medium to medium high heat stirring constantly. The flour will start to brown and you will need to stir slowly or frequently to keep the flour from burning. When the roux turns to the color of peanut butter it is done.

Add the celery, onions,pepper and garlic to the roux. Stir a bit then add the tomatoes with okra, tomato sauce, butter, shrimp broth and the seasonings. Bring to a boil and simmer until vegetables are cooked, stirring once in a while. If too thick add water or broth. If too thin cook a little longer.

While this is cooking make your rice following package directions. We use long grain rice and cook it in the microwave.

Just before serving add the shrimp and cook until it is pink. Stir often. Taste to check flavor.

I hope you try this recipe. We enjoy it fresh or as leftovers.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Baby It's Cold Outside"

Yes it is cold outside, and it is going to get colder before it warms up. I am not complaining, because I know others are suffering with much colder temperatures as well as lots of snow. I also know that this freezing weather is good for the ground. It helps to kill some bugs, softens the ground and maybe even kills some weed seeds. The truth be known I would much rather deal with the cold weather, even if my legs and hips hurt, the the hot, humid weather of Western KY summers. At least now I can put on layers of clothing or get under a quilt, but in the summer???????????????? well that is not a pretty picture.

Last night I was going to layer a couple of quilts only to discover all the batting I have on hand was too small for each project. I have two medium size boxes of batting scraps from projects I did last year, but it includes so many different brands of batting I could not sew enough together for the larger quilt. The smaller of the two tops is the baby quilt and I want that batting to be all one piece. So I went on line to try to locate a source for a batting I might like. Now the problem is.....what batting do I want???? I really like 100% cotton batting, but have used the 80% cotton, 20% polyester. The 80/20 or the needled cotton batting makes machine quilting easier, but I also do hand quilting. So I am having some samples sent to me so I can make a decision by trying the samples. The battings available today are very different from those that were available when I still owned my shop nearly 7 years ago.

I do have a whole piece of bamboo batting, but it is 60"x 60". That is an unusual size, so I need to design something just to try that batting. It will need to be a design I can combine machine and hand quilting. I also want it to be a quilt I will use, wash and really be able to evaluate the batting.

Last night I made 3 t-shirts into open up the front t-shirts by adding a soft velcro to the cut I made up the front. We have a friend with lung cancer and he is being operated on Monday. They plan to remove part of his lung and he was told to bring a button up shirt to wear when leaving the hospital. He always wears a t-shirt under his outer shirt so I made him 3 open up the front t-shirts so he can keep warm.

Dinner tonight is Roast Beef, potatoes and carrots. I think I will also make some lima beans and a salad. I don't mind cooking, but I hate the menu planning. Thank goodness my family will eat most everything I decide to make and they also sometimes will help making the decision of what to eat. Yesterday my Dad even made the meal and it was very good. He made Chicken cooked in home made bar-b-que sauce, baked potatoes and brussel sprouts. I made Bill some creamed peas so he would have a vegetable.

Looks like it is time to scoot...and get that roast beef made.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Week 2

This is my second week to try to use up my stash and to finish projects started. I did not sew much this week, except for today. It was just one of those weeks when I was away from home more then normal, meals were more complicated and I was just tired. Another thing that stopped me was needing to find my batting, which I did, but it was way behind stuff. So I kept putting off moving things to get it. Now that I have it I need to find out if I have enough to quilt last weeks project, that I can't show to you and this weeks project that is pictured in this blog.
It is a crib size quilt made for Bill's (and mine) great great niece in AL.

The quilt started out to just be fussy cut squares sashed with corner blocks. I had it up on my design wall and hated the quilt. Then I saw a disappearing nine patch quilt and decided to lay it out that way. It took longer to place all the blocks then it did to sew them. Now that I look at it in a picture I think I did a poor job of dispersing the colors. The problem is mostly the lack of variety in my pieces.

I had originally bought the fabric with the ducks, fish, frogs and turtles on it to use for this quilt. I bought the last of several pieces in a close out sale. Then I ended up sharing the fabric I bought with someone else who also needed a baby quilt. She only needed blues and yellows. I wanted a variety. So she offered some of her animal prints to me in exchange for what I gave her and the greens. I end up not having enough of one green so I did two greens. All in all it is an interesting quilt that has a lot of things for the two girls in this family to find and imagine about and not a typical quilt from me.

This is the report for week two:

Fabric used this week: 5 3/4 yards
Fabric bought this week: 0 yards

Fabric used this YTD 17 yards
Fabric bought YTD 0 yards

I worked on a UFO this week, but did not finish it. I did not work on patterns this week.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Catching up

Bill and I spent New Year's Eve at the home of some friends. We were not partying, but sitting with an ill friend so his wife and sister-in-law could go out for the evening. Since Bill and I don't go out much in the evening here it seemed strange to be going into town after the sun set. It was even stranger to be driving home about 1:00am. It was nice to help out our friends.

While at their house we watch a football game and helped the man we were caring for to get back into bed after using the bathroom and taking his medicine. He watched part of the game with us and after we woke him up to take his second dose of medicine (which included a sleeping pill), he sat up and watch TV with us for about an half hour. We were watching old black and white sit coms on WGN. Soon we were all asleep. Our friend in his bed and Bill and I each in a recliner.

That was our excitement New Year's Eve until the sisters came in from their evening out about 1:00am. They were so happy that both were about to go out in the evening. I think 7 of their friends joined them at their table at a Moose Lodge Party.

Happy 2009 everyone,

Stash Report

Since this is my first week at busting my stash I am counting the entire fabric used to create the quilt I just finished. Well I just finished the top and need to dig out the backing. I will be doing that as soon as I am off the computer. I have also worked on a UFO, but at this point don't have it finished. I like the looks of my first report.

Fabric used this week 11 1/4 yards
Fabric bought this week 0 yards

Fabric used this year 11 1/4 yards
Fabric bought this year 0 yards

UFO's finished 0

To Judy of this did push me to work on my projects knowing I needed to make a report. Thanks for the help.