Lori Is Out and About

Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I am out and about.   Usually I can read my email, but blog posts are difficult.    Ken and I went to an auction today.  A post about it when I'm home and have pictures.   Maybe life will settle down and I can sew over the 4th.  I'm volunteering a quite a bit, but have the evenings free.  If I'm not falling asleep in my lawn chair with a book on my face! 

If you could learn a new technique--what would it be??

Is there a new technique you want to learn?  Something you admire?  For me it's needle turn applique.  It produces some beautiful quilts.  

My special love is for "Rose of Sharon" blocks.  

I know I will never DO needle turn applique, but it doesn't stop me from admiring it.  I have neither the patience or the manual dexterity.  Is there something you admire?

I love piano music.  My piano playing sucks.  That makes TWO things I wish I could do!

Motivation Monday

Monday, June 28, 2010
Another busy week scheduled.  I haven't any spare time in it.  Maybe if I'm not too tired in the evenings after volunteering I will sew.  Well, if I don't READ!  I love to read.  My favorite genre is paranormal books.  You know--vampire, psychic, werewolf.  Fiction!!    History books that aren't too "dry".  Sometimes history books read like insurance actuary tables.   A favorite book I read at the Visitor Center is

Part biography, part history.  I live not far from Choteau Creek.  I've probably driven past where this author grew up.  Biographies--I like them too. One is

Did you know Tom Brokaw grew up in South Dakota?  And he also gave tours of Gavin's Point Dam?  Or that he once sold suits in Yankton South Dakota?  

If there is a quilty book by or about someone in the Midwest--will someone please tell me?  

Sunday--No Stash Report!

Sunday, June 27, 2010
Well, no sewing, so my stash report hasn't changed.  Well, that's GOOD because I haven't bought any fabric.  Oh, I LOOKED, and PLANNED, but avoided all those buttons!  So far....

It's been busy with Mason.  Fun.  Tiring!  Today we went to Culver's to eat.  Well, Grandpa and I ate, Mason people watched!

Grandma got out that shiny box again and I said "cheese".  

Yes, I had to find a fork, Mason HAS to have a fork to eat.  Even if he doesn't use it.

Motivation Friday

Friday, June 25, 2010
No sewing here!  Last night we attended a picnic sponsored by the Corps of Engineers where I volunteer.  

Toni with the tan pants, Ric, and then Eddie.  We are the volunteers that camp together.  I couldn't ask for better neighbors!

Wednesday Ken and I ran errands.  We picked up a used horse trailer we had bought.  

I don't use a trailer as much as I used to, but wanted a slant 3 horse with a front dressing room/tack area.   I knew the person selling this one, I had been waiting two years for him to get a newer one! 

This weekend Laura Beth's best friend is getting married.  She is maid of honor.  I'm not sure if Ken and I will attend the wedding, we are kinda busy.  

Yes, Ken and I are babysitting Mason.   The wedding is a couple of hours away from here.  We have TWO weddings we are invited to, both on Saturday.  Mason has already ridden almost five hours to our house, we probably will stay home with him.  That's a lot of riding for a toddler.  He still has the drive home on Sunday.  Every time we see him, he has learned new things.  Now he says words, and still will use a bit of sign language.  And he has mastered using a fork.  

Yes, we even saw him get a PEA on his fork.  He's a good natured child.  But BUSY!  Right now he is taking a nap, and grandpa is napping too!  Keeping up with Mason is tiring!   


PS--in case you're wondering if there is anything QUILTY about this post, we used the horse trailer to pick up my 201-2 Singer with the art deco cabinet, it had a wiring issue, and my Singer man fixed it.  

Some Silly Pictures

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
No sewing this last week.  I volunteered for five days and came home just ahead of bad weather.  We were barely in bed when the storm hit.  WHAM!! CRASH!!  Flew out of bed to see what happened.  The window in the screen door on the back door was gone.  So there is glass to clean up.  

While I was at the Visitor Center, I took some pictures.   The lake area is very developed for recreation, but still very "wild".  There are large mirrored windows on the Visitor Center, and we watch the birds, squirrels, rabbits and gophers from the other side of the glass.  They can't "see" us, so we are often within touching distance, except for the glass.  This is Frieda and Rita--

I'm not sure why these two hens aren't sitting on nests.  Maybe they are a bit too young, or their nests were destroyed.  But the last week they have been "dusting" in the flowers beds and eating the stray seeds dropped from the bird feeders.  And drinking from the pond.  

Ignore the strange reflection in the picture (a steamboat wheel)--Frieda often sits on the railing on the outside observation deck and preens.  If that glass wasn't there, I could reach out and grab that silly hen!

This squirrel has learned to launch himself from the trumpet vine and swing on the suet feeder.  He's too fast, I tried to get a picture where he's dangling like a trapeze artist.  Guess we may have to move that feeder!

I noticed this note on the wall in the office, it made me smile---

 It reads "George's phone code".  George retired 18 months ago.  I MISS George!   George was an incredible source of information.  I know--I probably drove him to retirement with all my questions!  And then we had to check--what shows up on caller ID when we USE "George's" phone??

 George--would you please call us--we miss you!!


Home from volunteering for a bit.  Very stormy and raining--I'm shutting the computer off.  Hope to post tomorrow. 

Yes, I Did Some Sewing

Friday, June 18, 2010
It didn't rain ALL the time I was volunteering.  A few evenings the weather was glorious, and I took advantage of it.  I sewed the binding down on this quilt.

This isn't my quilt, its one Henrietta asked me to finish for her.  It's a pattern called "Cracker Crumbs" from Miss Rosie.  Yes, it's another scrap quilt--even if I didn't make it--they find me anyway!

I'm Back!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Oh, its been busy here!  Remember Noah?  Well, not quite 40 days and 40 nights--but somewhere between 6 and 8 inches have fallen in the last week.  I snapped this picture from the Visitor Center lawn (same place I took the header picture) as storms rolled in.  The sun was shining on me, but a few miles west the rain was coming. 

It's not raining at the moment, but may start again in a few days.

Although I live where it's very FLAT, the water was running over some streets here in town, and many many roads closed.  When I drove home from volunteering, I had to take a different route because the roads I usually take were closed.  

This is where I crossed the James River, it's spread out about 3 miles at this point.  The lake behind Gavin's Point Dam has risen 3 feet to within 6 inches of the top of the spillway gates.  They haven't had to open them for flood control since 1997, but they may due so soon.  The next Dam and Lake up--Lake Francis Case--is almost full, the campgrounds there are under water, and are expected to be flooded until after the 4th of July.  

Rain does have a benefit, everything is green.  My clematis like that.  The Jackmani is covered with blossoms and the dwarf one is now about 11 foot high.  


Dwarf Clematis

I'm not sure what variety the dwarf clematis is, but the flowers are about 3 inches across, with 4 petals that hang down like bells.  They have spread out onto the handrails of my steps and deck.

Am I Alone??

Friday, June 11, 2010
What is your favorite type of project to work on?  I know I prefer scrappy quilts to any others. 
 Six quilts from the rack--5 scrappy--1 r/w quilt

So I did a quick survey.   12 scrappy quilts, 4 controlled color.  Flimsies waiting, 15 scrappy, 2 controlled!  Get my calculator out......82% of the time it's a scrappy project.  Only 12% of my projects are controlled.   I issued a challenge for the year, and I haven't started it myself!  Do you remember it?

January 20th, 2010 post--
And remember when I challenged you to "get out of your rut"?   I picked a fabric I probably would NEVER choose.  

It's a peachy pink coral--not a color I would EVER choose.  And the coordinating fabric is brown and gold with the coral in it.  Not a speck of green! 

I love this fabric.  Why do I find it so hard to start that quilt?  And I need to have it done by the end of the year!



Thursday, June 10, 2010
I like to cook.  I like to bake even better.  This is an old recipe that my friend Betty gave me.  Think like a dessert, a sweet dough with fruit and custard on it shaped like a pie.

Kuchen Dough

Peel and slice 1-2 small red potatoes.  Boil them until soft, using just enough water there is a bit left.  Set it aside to cool.  This will give your dough a soft texture.  You need about 1/2 c. mashed taters and a scant cup of scalded milk.

I use my bread machine.  Yes, modern appliances are wonderful!  Add the mashed potatoes and water and warm milk--not quite a cup.   This will depend on how much liquid you have left from cooking the potatoes. Then add 1/4 c. sugar.  Add 2 1/4 t. yeast.  (A pkg if you don't buy in bulk)  I let that sit and the yeast start to grow.  Then I add 3-3 1/2 c. bread flour, 2 T. crisco, 1 egg, and 1 t. salt.  Let the machine mix it, it should be a soft dough.  It may need a bit more flour as it mixes.  You may have to play with your dough a bit to learn what works.

BUT, before you make the dough--make the filling!  The dough will raise faster than your filling will cool. (ask me how I know!)

4 c. whipping cream (yes, whipping cream-you can use half n half, but it is not NEAR as good!)
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 T. flour

Mix the sugar, flour and eggs.  Add to whipping cream and cook over medium heat stirring constantly with a wire whisk.  Cook until it thickens, watch so it doesn't scorch.  Take it off heat and stir in a bit of vanilla.  Let this cool to room temp.  

Fruit filling--don't use too much fruit as your dough will get soggy.  A can of cherry pie filling--21. oz--will make about 3 kuchen.  I usually make 3 cherry and one prune!

Cut the dough into 4 pieces.  Roll this out into circle enough to cover the bottom and up the sides of a pie pan.  Just up to the rim of the pan.  Don't worry about if  the edges are perfect.    I let these raise up to 10 minutes if the dough needs to raise a little. Be careful--they will want to get away from you!  They shouldn't look like pie crust--more like slightly raised sweet rolls.  On the bottom spread your choice of filling.  Often I make cherry--I also use cut up prunes, or fruit of choice. Whatever you like.  On top of filling spread the custard.  Enough to fill pan like a not too full pie.  The filling will swell with baking and then go down when you cool it.  If you fill them too full they run over while baking.  Then sprinkle with cinnamon and a bit of nutmeg.  Bake 20-24 minutes in 350 degree oven.  I like to use glass pans--I can see if the bottom crust is lightly browned. A smaller pie pan works better than a large one--this recipe will make 5 small kuchen. When you take them out--brush the edges with butter so they remain soft.  

I know, it sounds like lots of work, but you can make the filling the day before and refrigerate, just set it out to warm to room temp before you need it.  If it is too cool or too hot, it will affect the yeast in your dough.  I can whip out 4 or 8 kuchen pretty quick. 

This is what it looks like when it's done, refrigerate or they freeze well.  Ken is VERY GOOD at finding them hidden in the freezer.  He often gets one out when we have company and defrosts it in the microwave. 

Wednesday--Hard at Work

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Although I haven't found much to blog about, I've kept busy.  Tuesday I made 12 pints and 10-12oz jars of various types of Rhubarb jam.  Rhubarb with fresh strawberries.  Rhubarb with fresh Bing cherries.  Rhubarb with cherry pie filling and cherry jello.  Even 4 and 1/2 pints of of baked beans.  

There is still a "blank" spot in my flower beds, on the west side of the house in the desert.  Very hot and dry there, the sun bakes the ground.  So far I have a Yucca plant, two low growing sage, some old fashioned tiger lilies, purple cone flowers.  Hmm, a peony, and some purple striped malva.  I need something that can really take the heat, I might look for an evening primrose.  Any suggestions out there?  Remember, South Dakota gets some extreme weather, from -40F to over 100F.  And when they say "full sun"--in South Dakota that means 4 hours!  Really.  Many plants that do well on the east side of my house would not even THINK of growing on the west side.   Something that doesn't get more than 2-3 foot tall, and not too stalky as it falls over where we walk/mow.  Bee Balm would have been nice, but I've tried 4x and no luck.  I may have to resort to Zinnias and Marigolds, but really would like another perennial. 

Oh, has anyone else been having problems with blogger?  For a few days I was unable to post.  Not that I had much to post about!

Monday Thoughts

Monday, June 7, 2010
Actually, not many thoughts!  Today I picked some rhubarb, tomorrow I will make some rhubarb jam.  I'm not sure, is rhubarb a cultural item, or a "hard times" fruit?  Maybe a Midwest specialty??  To me it's all of them, a pie filling or jam makings or even a dessert centerpiece.  Ken is hoping for a rhubarb custard pie!  Last week I made some of Judy's beans.  At this time of year I have the urge to preserve things. 

But I did sew a little this week.  I hemmed two pairs of pants.  And sewed a binding on.  Yes, something QUILTY finally.  Later this week I will do the hand sewing.  

I've been so busy it's hard to sew.  We have just a few acres of soybeans to plant, unless it rains a lot.  Either way, we'll be done soon.  It seems all I get done is laundry, dishes, help Ken.  Garden.  Errands.  I miss my sewing machine, but I love to garden, have flowers, volunteer, cook.  I'm taking advantage of summer here, it won't last long.  Have you been sidelined by summer??


Quiet Saturday

Saturday, June 5, 2010
I'm home for a few days.  No sewing this week.  I did plant a small garden by my camper, just a few tomatoes, peppers, and two cucumber hills.  I have missed my flowers, and the peony flowers are mostly petals on the ground.  But, my wisteria is blooming and very fragrant.

The perennial sweet peas are beginning to bloom.

And my Jackmani clematis is covered with buds.  I can hardly wait until they open!

The vegetable garden is growing nicely.  My patchwork cover is preventing any weeds from growing.  As soon as my viney plants are a bit bigger, I will spread my straw.