Saturday, February 25, 2017

WIP Handwork - Hawaiian Quilting #1 2017

There is something special about hawaiian applique quilts.  Thinking of a fabric tradition introduced to a culture with no need of a quilted bedcovering....  and the art form that emerged is so incredibly personal.  As always when I quilt, I imagine generations of women working together (even as I play alone in my studio!)

I fell in love with the idea of Hawaiian quilting years ago.... and even got a book or so.... and cut out two motifs.....  and basted them on..  and stalled!

In 2015 I had an opportunity to actually GO to Hawaii!  And I discovered that there are several classes held in the community where you can learn traditional Hawaiian quilting.  I blogged about my first class in the Royal Hawaiian Mall.   

This is the completed block I purchased that day.  (It was actually a pillow kit - and I still have the backing, etc.. that I will probably use as a quilt block.)  And I should clarify that the applique is completed - not the actual quilting.

But I got lazy and didn't share about the second - and much more important - to me - one.

The second class was held at the Iolani Palace on Saturday morning.  And, I might add, there is a gathering of quilters and a session for interested newbies almost every Saturday!  The cost was minimal... and I was to bring 2 pieces of fabric - 5/8 yd each of a backing and a color.

I had corresponded with the ladies who run the classes via email and felt like part of the family before I ever got there!  Their dad, John Serrao, is a designer of Hawaiian quilts and this is a family passion.  I am honored to be a little part of it.  I have to admit to a real FANGIRL obsession with the Poakalani family.  I own all their pattern books and watch their website religiously.

Anyway - they allowed me to choose a pattern and walked me through the traditional methods of folding and cutting, basting and stitching.  I thoroughly enjoyed the traditional wisdom and ease of learning.  Being a booklearner usually, it was wonderful to just be guided along.... (and, I admit, a little gratifying to be not too far off the mark!)

This is the block I started in that class - applique is complete!

See..... I do have all there books - and there is another by Elizabeth Root peeking out from behind.  Her designs are definitely simpler but I kind of like the tradional ones better.

Below is one of the two ones I originally cut out (also a Poakalani design)

I finished the applique during my handwork week.  I have one more ready to applique... which will make FOUR total.  I think I will work on a design for a quilt that is mostly these 22-inch blocks..... maybe I will feel competent enough to do a size larger one for the center?  We will see.....

Anyway - I also chose some designs for moving forward.. and cut out ONE to baste next time....

I will let you guess what it will look like.....  show you next Hawaiian post!

What are you stitching?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Salt & Herbs.... Success....

Oh my goodness... so so easy!

My only personal issue is that we use very little salt.... so my salt-herb mixes are too salty!  But I am working on them!

Celery Salt

I have some celery leaves in the fridge that I will dry and add to this until I get the combo right to suit me!  At least I have learned how to effectively dry herbs....  I am going to be so ready for the summer bounty :-)

Basil Salt

I have already doubled the basil in this one and not ground it up yet.  I am dreaming of summer tomatoes and basil salt!

And Parsley - Garlic - Scallion

Prepping the herbs and veggies for this one makes the whole house smell like GARLIC!  This is partially ground with my lovely new mortar and pestle....    I am working today on getting more herbs into the parsley salt mix.

Chopped parsley, garlic and scallions.... sprinkled with a bit of the salt mixture and drying in the oven....  at the lowest oven setting for 20  min or so... and then just turn off the oven and come back later....  maybe cook some more :-)  Until the leaves and veggies are crumbly.


oh yes....

I took one of my little salty key limes and diced it up into my Avocado Tomato Salad...  Whoopee!  Loved it!  It will take some practice to get the combo right - but what a nice addition to the flavor!

Food in Jars - Salted Citrus.... Success, I think! Post 3

Original articles are at these links:

Post 1

Post 2

Final Products - TA DA!

Salt Preserved Limes

 The one on the left is my very first one.  They are basic limes from the grocery store.  I took the instruction to pack the salt very literally!  But I have read enough conflicting instructions to know that I didn't ruin it :-)  I did use one lime quarter - rinsed - muddled in some ginger ale.  And it is really good.... I think it will be terrific in a mixed drink :-)  It tastes like you are adding salty lime... truly.  Might be a blessed addition to a Margarita!

The one on the right is made from organic key limes - with a lot less salt!  Both jars needed to be topped off with bottled lime juice to keep the fruit submerged.  I haven't tried these yet - but I plan to chop one up and add to an avocado-tomato salad and see how that goes.

Salt Preserved Meyer Lemons & Chanh Muối  (Chang Moo-ee)

The Salt Preserved Lemons are in the jar on the left.  The Chanh Moui is on the right.  The Chanh Moui has been sitting out for a couple of weeks - I put the others in the fridge because I got nervous.  I am convinced now that they would be fine left out as well.  One more week left for the Chanh Moui before it is ready to make Vietnamese Salty Lemonade....  since the limes worked, I am pretty sure this will work too!

and... Salt Preserved Grapefruit with Cloves and Peppercorns

 Absolutely beautiful and smells heavenly.  The only problem is that I have not one idea what to do with it!  I think I may need to find a chef to use these wonderful goodies I am creating.

Seriously - I am an uninspired cook.  When I ask for ideas to use these things.... I get people waxing enthusiastic about Moroccan this... and Tuscan that.... and I appreciate the help.  But as one who is mostly accustomed to tossing chicken in a crockpot.... I think I need a little more direction :-)  As I navigate this conundrum, I will share my discoveries...

*************** Oh - along that line, I did find something helpful for me the other night....  I have had a jar of pesto languishing in my pantry for almost a year.  I bought it because I like pesto.  It sat the pantry because I didn't know what to do with it!

but I found this: Slow Cooker Pesto Spinach Lasagna

A little skittish because I am not generally a fan of greens in things (I like greens but I like them raw), I tried it because I am trying to use up my pantry items.  And it is a WINNER!  And now I have a dish to use my pesto AND add a bunch of spinach.. that I like!  Of course it made a ton and I have a good bit in my freezer now.... so.. the pesto kind of moved from the pantry to the freezer... but it is ready to use and will not stay there long :-)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Food in Jars Mastery Challenge - Salt Preserving Take 2

Okay.... I'm still not sure about this skill... BUT

the challenge is still on!

I found some beautiful Meyer lemons in the grocery store today - well, Walmart of all places!  And organic key limes....  so.. here I go again!

The basic recipe is for salt preserved lemons.... and people seem to prefer Meyer lemons.  [seriously - I thought lemons were lemons]

And I followed the instructions carefully.

The lemons were really juicy - the limes were not.  I did use pint jars so I would end up with a smaller amount.

I put them together - and this is what I had:

These lovelies are supposed to sit out for 3-4 days... and I am to shake them... maybe poke and prod to release more juice.   In theory by Day 4, they should be submerged in juice.   Some recipes say to add more juice... some say to put in the fridge.... I'm not sure so I will take this day by day and see what happens.

I had also found another possibility for salt and lemons that intrigued me - a Vietnamese pickled citrus used to make a salty drink with clear soda - like ginger ale.  I used this recipe:

This one is filled with a salty brine so it already has a lot of liquid... and it is supposed to sit out for three weeks to ferment.

Jar #1 that was put in the fridge - the limes still are not submerged in juice.  I brought it out to hang with the others.  I will poke at it today and decide whether to put more juice on them or not!

Since this is a grand experiment, I think I will leave them all on the table and watch them each day.... I'll share with you what happens!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Food in Jars Challenge - Salt and Herbs... Take 2

So.. I made celery salt....

and I made basil salt....

My latest foray to the grocery store brought me parsley, scallions and garlic..

In all my concoctions, though - for me - I think there is more salt than herb and I'm not sure that will work for me.  Today I plan to double up..... I have more celery leaves..... and I have more of the parsley, scallions and garlic..   I am going to dry all that and add the herbs to my salt mixes!

What I love most about this project is that it only takes little bits of produce and salt - and is a bit of recycling / upcycling.

I saw lots of ideas for citrus salts that might make wonderful gifts.... and a process where I zest the orange I am about to eat - and use that zest from a rind I would throw away....  is appealing to me.   Zest the rind with a grater....  let the zest dry (either naturally or in the oven) while you eat the orange! ... add salt and there ya go!

Also - another salt project I did NOT do (yet :-) is Herbs Salee - a combination of many herbs preserved with salt..... more salt preserved herbs than herbed salt.  I think this will be a fantastic idea in the summer when the garden overflows with parsley, oregano, rosemary, basil and all the other herb bounty.

Since it is now February, I really don't want to purchase enough of these to make up the product.   [But then, this is me we are talking about... I may find something intriguing while I shop!]

BTW.....  the preserved limes I was worrying about the other day....

The liquid level is rising now! 

The newer ones still look the same

I guess I just need to have faith :-)  They still smell heavenly so I think I am still in business :-)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Food in Jars mastery Challenge - Salt Preserving Herbed Salts

So now to try the herbed salt.  That sounds do able.

I will pick up some basil next time I am in the store - I could see using a salt-basil mix in Italian foods.... or maybe on a fresh summer tomato?

But today - I will use the celery in my fridge.

All those little leafy bits that I usually chop up for salads and soups...


Chopped finely...

Laid out on a cookie sheet and put in the oven at the lowest setting to dry.  (Instructions say you can leave it out open to dry in the air - but with pets and dust... nah... I'll use the oven)

I checked it every 10 minutes or so.. stirred it around...

I roughly covered the celery with salt... stirred it around.... and added more til it looked right to me. (sorry - that is how I measured!) 

And it smells divine!

The thing I need to figure out how to do is crush the celery leaves more for a consistent texture to my salt.  I used a finer sea salt - which may have been an error aesthetically.  Certainly this is still good - but it might be prettier if the salt & celery were a similar size...

Getting basil ready to dry now......mmmm.... thinking summer ripe tomato with Basil salt....   this is something that could be addictive!

What do you think you would use to make salt?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Weekly Finish! Pillowcases and Curtains..

I promised the older grandkids pillowcases a month ago!  Snow themed - the three oldest chose their own fabrics....  those who know the kids can probably guess whose is whose!

My machine was in the shop getting its annual cleaning and tune-up for about three weeks... so it's been mostly handwork.  It's BACK and I am getting going again!

I am SO glad to get these done!   4 snowy pillowcases for the 4 oldest grands...

But wait there's more!!

Bathroom curtains....  for way too long we have had curtains that were too short!

and... whoops!  These are longer but still too short!

 I will leave them for now.....

I sense a design change coming.....

need longer curtains for sure....

What would you do?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February Food In Jars Mastery Challenge - Salt Preserving Take 1

When I heard the topic of the month - salt preserving - I had no clue.  Seriously.

And it got worse.

Salt preserved lemons.  Lemons?  Really?  And then what?  What on earth can I do with these?  I read lots of suggestions for Moroccan this and Mediterranean that... and homemade salad dressing (on my list for some day)... and anywhere I would put a little citrus. 

Sorry... uninspired cook here.  If it isn't made in a crockpot, I'm already stretching my limits :-)  Well... canning.... I do like to can.

I did a little more research... and decided... limes.  At least limes and salt sound like margaritas...  that might work.  I can do margaritas :-)

And herbed salts sound cool..  of course I don't use much salt so - again - a stretch!  BUT at least this sounds like it could last for a while or be gift worthy :-) 

So... I bought limes.... and put this together:

I think I might have already posted this pic....  I shook it.... and poked it... and a couple of days later, I started freaking out and put the last of my bottled lime juice in it.  And now it is in my fridge.

I'm frustrated and I don't know what I am doing....   or why :-(

Time to sit back a day or two and regroup.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

WIP - Handwork - New Hexagon Rosette 1

I spend most of my evenings doing handwork and watching either television or dvds.  This year, my focus is more on sewing than crocheting.

Each week I am working on a different project trying to make headway on all of the ones I've stalled on.

This last week I spent on the Millefiore Quilt Along I started this year.   In a nutshell, I will be creating hexagons and sewing them together into rosettes.  All by hand.  the end result is a quilt that looks like a kaleidoscope (or one of those Venetian glass paperweights known as millefiori [which means Thousand Flowers in Italian]

The patterns come from Katje Marek's book New Hexagon and she also hosts the

It's made in smaller sections - rosettes.  I've decided for each rosette - to choose a floral pattern in a similar color scheme as that in the instructions.  Hampered a little by choosing from my stash only!  This will be a "free" quilt made from leftovers or fabric unused for some reason...

So - for the first one, I chose a floral that I love... it's bright!  I've used it in a Lovers Knot (sandwiched but not quilted) and in the Sister's Choice quilt I made for my sister

 The hot pink was used in my granddaughter's dresses.. and the green came in a bag of scraps somebody gave me.

By the end of the week I got to the third round of four:

..and have the next round all prepped and ready to sew!  See the little sandwich bags?  Those are the prepared pieces for the next round of hexagons!

Fabrics:  Let's see.... the outer round.... center peach is a solid of an uncertain age :-) (I have no idea where it came from!), the darker peach I bought once when trying to add this color to my stash, the darker orange I bought for my grandson's quilt I made in 2015, and the fuschia is a recent purchase for Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery - En Provence.  I did it when it was a free mystery quilt and now it is available as a paid pattern!  (still working on it!  I will share another day)

I also have - ready for basting... the bags of pieces for the Rosette # 2 -

I keep forgetting to mention the WHY of so much handwork this year.... travelling!  I expect that we will be doing a good bit of travelling this year so I want to make sure that - at any given time - I have sandwich bags of things to work on.  As you can see from the note above - ONE week of dedicated work got me ALMOST through the first rosette.

Anyway - Handwork Progress!   Next week - the Hawaiian quilt project :-)

What are you up to?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Home Days....

I feel so much like I'm getting little done these days.....

We've both had colds.. staggered a few days apart so the progress is predictable for me - since my husband got it first! 

Today I woke up to a day I always look forward to - a day at home!  So much to do... so much I WANT to do....  I felt almost normal yesterday so I had great hopes for today.  I planned to SEW. ALL. DAY. 

It seems like home days are either 'very productive' or 'at loose ends'.   It was all about 'loose ends' today!

We got up, walked the dog... got my husband out the door to a meeting..... and..... whoop!  the bottom fell out.  I was already pooped.  Didn't feel particularly bad... just pooped.

And, added to that... I think I told you my sewing machine had been in the shop?  Well, it's been a week - and I still haven't gotten back to it.  So.. where to start?

I looked at the cutting table.... 

I must admit..... this does not making me feel like working!  My friends here are not much help!

there is a) getting back to piecing and b) NON-quilting sewing I have promised to do.  B is really where I should start because there are things there promised to GRANDS.  And those promises are sacred.  4 SNOW-themed pillowcases, 3 dresses, curtains for my bathroom and sheets to de-construct for curtains for a granddaughter.   The granddaughter-curtain things morphed into a long discussion with my daughter about the fabrics and her desires and so forth...

So - during that computer chat (she was at work), I decided to take a little time to work on downsizing my marmalade tasting jars instead while I was thinking about it.  I have 8 (8?) pint jars of marmalades in my fridge + one half pint that didn't seal.  I decided to use up my quarter-pint jars sealing the different varieties on the off chance I can sell a jar or two.  I am preparing for a tasting day... so want to have labelled half-pints open for tasting instead of random leftovers from my fridge :-)

Two batches with the canner...... no more partial pints loose in the fridge......  10 new tiny quarter-pint sealed jars & 2 half-pints

Also started my first batch of limes while I was there....

I'm not sure I did it right...... but we will see.  First one is always an experiment!  (I chose limes because I think guacamole and margaritas are a possibility!  I hate to make something I cannot imagine using... and I can't find anything I would do with salted lemons yet.  I found lots of ideas but I don't really cook a lot so am a little stuck!)

 ... and I figured a direction to move in for resuming sewing.

In the curtain conversation.. I will find different fabrics for the curtains and we will use the sheet fabric to make a sort of curtain for under her top bunk... a play house of sorts...  And we chose fabric for me to find..... so there we go.

Tonight my son and his fiance will come over for Friday night dvd watching... so it's a good time to pin pillowcases, and deconstruct sheets, and other mending sorts of things....  Will update you on that later!  Hope you had a great day!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Marmalade Wrap-Up part 2 :-)

OKay - I didn't exactly stop making marmalade....

I still had enough oranges for a second batch of plain Orange marmalade (if you remember, my first batch was pretty much syrup)....

This one did really well - except that cheap thermometer never did hit the required 220 degrees.  But the freezer-plate test worked for the set :-)

and then.... random citrus in my larder is on its way to being Five Fruit marmalade.  Don't you just love being able to search the internet?  I was just thinking about the citrus I had left and what kind of marmalade might work.... and found it!  Grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange and clementine.....  pretty tasty :-)

And an orange that will be eaten today!

I have a few more recipes to try later on.... but am really through for now... I think.   Total production was 4 cases of half pints, 8 quarter pints...... and a tasting jar of each in the fridge.  And only one jar out of all that had a seal that didn't take. 

Time to turn my brain to February's salt preserving challenge....