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Posts Tagged ‘blueberries’

So much.

 I’m refraining from the obvious pun. 

I joined my first sew-along the other day and can’t wait to get started. On one of my favorite sites – Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing she’s about to undertake leading a group sew of a coat! Not a group sewing one coat, like a quilting bee or anything, but where everyone sews their own coat.  (confession: I’m somewhat of a coat whore — that sounds like something a lot worse, so make sure you read that correctly.)  This one is fairly non-organized and begins later this month;  I’m assuming you make a bit of progress each week as it goes along.  I ordered the pattern that’s being used, it arrived the next day out of Portland. Love that.  Now, I need to find the fabric. I’ll have to look to see if I have any piece of wool, or maybe corduroy, in my stash in a length of over four yards – which seems like a lot – though it has a big collar and is a wrap style. Not that I recall, but you never know.  Otherwise, it will be on the list when I go to Fabric Depot in a couple of weeks. 

I really want to play along with the Tokyo Subway Map quilt-along, but that seems like a far bigger commitment.  It is so bright and pretty, that it’s hard to resist. I love nearly everything that I see on Oh, Fransson! and I likely have most of the fabrics – it would be a matter of sorting through and cutting bits from nearly everything in my cottons collection. Then finding a home for everything for that project. 

Meanwhile, I finished the two baby quilts which I still have to list on Etsy. Here they are:          
the back has a row of squares inserted:
    
a closeup of the front:  They each measure about 45" square, and I’ll try to market them as ‘twins" quilts since they’re nearly the same.   

School started yesterday, so this leaves most days free now to be in the sewing room, which is good because I’ve picked up several more sewing projects for other people.  I still have to sew the shirts I cut out for Richard6, finish another pair of pants for myself, and complete a couple other quilts already in the works.
I sort of wish it would rain. Not really. Finally we’re getting summer-ish weather, and the house is getting a much needed airing out. There was a big rain and lots of wind on Tuesday, which toppled over all of the huge sunflowers that are just beginning to bloom. I went out and staked and tied them up and it looks like they’re fine. 

We did go blueberry picking on Monday. We came home with nine pounds between the three of us. Not bad for a first time out this season. I used nearly the last of the cranberries in the freezer from last season to make this Blueberry & Cranberry Pie for a first day of school dessert:    Sweet and tart all at once. Heaven. 

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one more

So far my ‘sewing every day of September’ challenge is paying off.
Today I finished the Happy Happy Joy Joy quilt; binding on, label made and sewn on. Done!  I’m so happy with how it turned out. Here is a closeup of the quilting / stitching that I did on the longarm machine.   I freemotioned daisies in the 13" block centers, with loop-de-loops around the borders of each block, then a smaller daisy in the brown block joining corners. A few crossed lines, but I’m okay with it.  The fabric is all from the line "Katie Jump Rope" by Denyse Schmidt and is sooo soft and silky. And the backing is from the same – just one of the prints    
This quilt makes me want to ‘save’ it until spring – it is so not a fall quilt. But, its a king size, and one I’m keeping; it will likely go on the bed soon.
I have lots of extra fabric as I collected without a pattern in mind. And this particular pattern was really wasteful  – a whole shoebox full of cutoff triangles which I hope to be able to use in another quilt along with the rest of the leftovers will go into a few baby quilts possibly to sell. With a couple more days in the month, I’m hoping to get a couple more things started.

The trip to Portland was fun, and I saw lots of really beautiful quilts. Lots and lots of stunning machine quilting work. I saw quilts with hundreds of hours just in the quilting – very pretty, but there is a part of me that is sad in that the ‘quilt’ is lost. Those that will never be laid on a bed, and used to warm someone, but rather tour the show circut, collecting ribbons, gracing a magazine cover and ultimately be hung on a wall. I almost understand when it’s an "art quilt".  I feel about this like I feel about ‘show cars’  – hot rods that are built with a gazillion dollars and hours invested, then never getting the joy of being driven; instead being trailered from show to show. Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe it’s a level of perfection that I won’t ever achive and I’m jealous. Or not.

The rain has returned after a couple of really nice weeks. Luckily, we finished a lot of trim painting last week. There’s still the beams below the deck, but, you can only see that from below on the patio. We’re trimming a few trees to allow a bit more light into the house. I think after last winter I need all I can get on those short dark days.
Sunny is adjusting – slowly to the new radio collar/fence thing. I think she’s pouting a lot, now that her freedom is restricted some. Today I made seven pints of blueberry syrup and canned it. Nice haul for seven pounds of blueberries. It will be even better in the middle of winter, taking me back to an all too brief moment in summer.

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We have come to the decision that August and September are the perfect months here. The weather has been so nice, and if we get a rainy day, it’s just one. One. Then its nice again. The beaches are back to being mostly empty. The sun has moved back southward and we can see the sunsets ( in the middle of summer the sun sets to the north behind the house across the street ) which are amazing.
The hardest part of all of this is that I want to be outside, but there’s that darned sewing commitment. So a little of each, maybe.
I don’t want this to end, this Indian Summer.

I have got a lot of sewing in though. No sewing today ( but I did buy a piece of Japanese print cotton – yay! )  but I did schedule time on the longarm machine for Tuesday over in Astoria. She’s changed her policy to rent by the day ( $60 )- which I think will work out good. I put narrow red borders on Aidan’s quilt and it looks great:
  and the back:   The back is a combination of fabrics that were in my stash – retro lunchboxes on black, vintage planes and cars, and a bandana print. I put it together in a pattern called disapearing nine patch.

I also got the top done for the Happy-Happy-Joy-Joy quilt that will be a keeper. It is so bright and cheery:   it’s also too big for Richard to hold up – king size. Next week I will start working on the quilt for little Richard. Can’t wait.  Oh, but I have another messenger bag to finish first that I cut out yesterday. This one will be a solid brown and more wearable with most of my clothes.
   
Tomorrow I’m going blueberry picking for maybe the last time this year. I plan on making a lot of syrup to go with all of the berries in the freezer that will become pancakes throughout the next year. The farm is having a ‘peak season sale’ of just $1/pound, so I can’t not go! I’ll be sure to use Off! as the mosquitoes were pretty thick when I went with Justin and Megan a couple weeks ago.They usually don’t like me, but just in case….. I’m hoping that the rain will stay away for another day.

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This morning Richard left for his annual trip to Bonneville. For the next 8-12 days it will be only Sunny and I.  He’ll be camping out the entire trip this time, unless there’s major rain, in which case he’ll come home early.
We’ll be missing him a lot. ( not enough to want to go with, though ) Last night we took the jeep for a ride on the beach – it was fun, and by the time we got to Long Beach we had sunshine to boot. We saw a crazy amount of birds – they are stopping here in huge numbers. The newspaper says 
"There are thousands and thousands and the numbers seem to increase daily. Various species of gull, Caspian terns and brown pelicans abound, and double-crested coromorants fill the sky. In the last few days vast numbers of sooty shearwaters have appeared. They seem to have begun their migration as they are cruising back and forth along the Pacific Coast. There is a feeding frenzy as schools of herring and/or anchovy swim with the tide."

So for the next few days I’ll sew a bunch as the weather is cool and cloudy out and there is a call for rain. If the weather clears/ warms up I will finish painting on the little boat, and try to get it filled with dirt and some plants. We’ll try to get some long walks in. On Sunday I’ll be driving into Seattle for a few days.  Mom is having some medical stuff done so Sunny and I will go keep her house company. If it’s nice out I’ll try to pick some more blueberries before I go to take with.

I made the world’s best blueberry pie the other day. First up, I have to say that I’ve never been much of fan of blueberry pie. I always thought that they were ‘okay’ and didn’t get what the fuss was about. Maybe they were’nt the the best pies? But, now I’m a convert. I got the recipe from a Cooks Illustrated’s email link ( in which I had to watch a video a couple of times to write it down and make sense of it )
Here is the recipe that I wrote down ( I couldn’t just copy the text because I’m not willing to pony up the $ to be a member of a website for a magazine that I already subscribe to! ) The video is worth watching ( slow loading tho’ ) as they explain it better than I can.

Best Ever Blueberry Pie

pie dough:
in food proccessor  put 
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt         pulse a couple times to mix
Add
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter and 1/2 cup shortening – both cut into cubes straight from the fridge – they must be COLD
Process these together with the flour for 15 seconds ( it will look a little sticky )
Add
1 cup flour and pulse 5 times ( there will be dry flour ) Turn this mixture into a bowl.
Add 1/4 each COLD water and vodka ( yes, vodka!) Mix lightly – it will be a bit gooey. Divide in half and wrap each in plastic, flatten into a 1" thick disk and chill a minimum of 45 minutes. 

filling:
In a medium saucepan put 3 cups blueberries and mash them a little. Cook over medium heat until thick and jammy – about 8 minutes. Cool a bit, and turn into a bowl and add another
3 cups blueberries ( about a pound of berries in total )
3/4 cup sugar
2 T Minute Tapioca – ground fine
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
pinch salt
1 granny smith apple – peeled, grated, and with all juice squeezed out in a towel ( using only the dry apple in the filling )
Fold this mixture together and set aside while dough is rolled out.

Preheat oven to 400 and put the rack on the second lowest position. Place a cookie sheet on that rack to preheat as well.

Roll dough out one disk at a time -( in the video they said that it didn’t stick, but I only had success rolling it out between two sheets of saran wrap ) Fit first one into pie plate, leaving 1/2 inch overhang. Fill with the blueberry mixture, and dot with 2 T butter cut into little cubes. Roll out second crust, cut at least six quarter sized holes, and cover pie ( again, the plastic wrap makes this a lot easier). Trim 1/2 inch, fold underneath the bottom crust and crimp all around. Brush the whole top with a mixture of
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water. Sprinkle lightly with coarse sugar if desired.

Place the pie on the cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake another 30 or until the top is golden.

This pie needs to cool for a minimum of four hours for the filling to set properly.

So, off I go to the sewing room for a few hours.

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blueberries!

They’re ripening! Blueberry season has begun. Yesterday I went with a friend and picked for just an hour – and got a full can, which is about four pounds. The bushes are loaded, and we found a small area with a lot of ripe ones. But the majority of the farm is still a week or two away, I think. So, this means that I will be picking for a few weeks, at least. 
 here is a tiny bit of the farm – it is connected with a cranberry farm as well.
And this is where you weigh and pay     Inside there are the cans to put your berries in (with ropes to sling around your neck so you can pick hands-free ) , the scale to weigh them, and boxes to take them home in. A little notebook on the table is for you to write down how many pounds you picked, date, $. The blueberries are $1.75 a pound – not sure if that is really cheap or not, but they are huge and juicy and it’s fun, so it seems good to me. It’s all an honor system – and in the fall there are bags of cranberries there for you to buy. I’ve never seen anyone there who appears to be running the place.
Today I am going to try a new pie recipe, and we’ll have dessert with the neighbor ( whose husband is going to make a dessert as well ) that I went picking with tonight. 

I found a great tool? this morning that allows you to see a sampling of fabrics on Etsy –  picked by color range. This could be a great design tool for quilting, to get ideas of things to put together, or alternative pieces.
http://morecloth.com/
give it a try.

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sewin’ & pickin’

Since we got home from Seattle last Tuesday, I have almost managed to sort of accomplish almost a couple of things. You get the point.  I did of course add to the list of ‘projects’ by several; and added and subtracted one thing  – so it feels like I did something.

In Seattle Mom and I spent a couple of hours? at Nancy’s Sewing Basket up on Queen Anne hill. It is a wonderful thing to take as much time as I want in a really nice fabric store. Everything from silk to linen to wool to cotton – and a wonderful selection of each. I wandered through and touched and felt and thought about nearly every piece in the store. Then we walked to the back of the store into the Ribbon Room and sort of drooled over the selection in there. I used all of my restraint – do I need any antique french ribbon?( hmmm. there’s lots of it that could go with the collection of antique fancy buttons. no. not now. ) I did leave there with a zillion ideas and a really cute jacket pattern by Indygo Junction – they had it made up in an Amy Butler home dec weight cotton; it sold me. Also I bought a gift for a friend ( and another for myself ’cause I liked it so much ) . Came home and ordered fabric for the jacket. Now that I live in the land of jacket wearing – I can have all the jackets and sweaters that I want! Middle of summer is good for jackets here.  
Friday I went to a little gift shop in Ocean Park that was having an anniversary sale – 14 years ( and I’d never been in before ). I came away with a cute tablecloth – that matches nothing in my house. But I had different plans for it. There is enough fabric there to make two skirts, and also two really wide 7" printed borders that can be used on other stuff (an apron or a child’s dress, etc ). And yesterday I made one of the skirts for myself:  
I used a tiny little print for the facing/waistband and the same for the pockets in the front seams.

Saturday I went to be a ticket seller for our quilt guild’s raffle quilt at the Ilwaco Farmer’s Market.  It is the big fundraiser for our guild, and all of the proceeds go to local charities – boys & girls club, animal shelter, food bank and such. Here’s a pic:
 I think it is the prettiest quilt that they’ve done ( that I’ve seen anyway ) The fundraiser quilt is always a group effort with many members making the blocks. A lot of the fabric is hand dyed, and the quilting was done by a really good machine quilter ( who is also our president this year ) .

This afternoon – if it warms up some I’m going to pick blueberries with my neighbor. We checked last week and they were ripening  – slowly – but the bushes are loaded as compared to last year. We have only one bag left in the freezer ( been rationing ) after blueberry pancakes several times lately. We’ll see how long it takes to pick a few pounds.

I will resume work on the sewing list – a shirt for Justin, and a big ‘weekend bag’ before I go back to Seattle on Sunday. And who knows what else – it’s a fluid list.

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Last week Richard turned his application in for a passport. ( neither of us have one ) He did have to go to the post office across the river in Warrenton, Oregon to submit it.  Well, exactly one week later it arrived in the mail.   Funny thing is that they told him the standard ‘8 weeks’ when he turned in all the information.   I guess I will get mine –  first I have to get my birth certificate.
A few months back, it took only three days to get my new driver’s licence, that’s including the day that I went in. Crazy.

Yesterday I went picking blueberries again. In a couple hours I got over five pounds. I feel compelled to get all I can while the good stuff is out there. Its beautiful outside, so just maybe I’ll put that on the list for today.

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