Took a battle with yahoo and play with flier, but here is one of my quilts I have a digital photo of: We'll see if it works...

Cardinalquilt
 I finished the old blanket UFO I talked about a long while back - all greens on the new section, plus flattening out the fabrics in the center that didn't shrink with the cottons.

I finished a very colorful squares and rectangles crazy-isa quilt juste barely in time to get it in the Wisconsin Winter Quilt Festival this coming weekend.

My next UFO is a wedding quilt due this summer, which I've only barely started.  I'm going it will go quickly once I get going but I have to finish charting it before I can go much further: It will be a mix of two kinds of blooming nine-patch, and some Irish chain in between.

I understand there is a way to do pictures here but I haven't quite figured out that one yet.  I'll post some quilt pictures as soon as I do.

 I ended up cooking for some vegetarians this summer and expect to again so I have been experimenting with tofu.  Today's experiment wasn't too bad:
very firm tofu, diced, lightly fried
water chestnuts, sliced
dried coconut
dried currents
broth (some wine included to add a little sweetness or add a little honey to a savory broth)
turmeric
rosemary
allspice
bring to a boil and simmer about ten minutes
When it is too hot to walk, and sometimes when walking isn't enough, quilt design has been a great stress reliever, as if ceativity triggers the happy part of my brain.  This past couple of weeks it has been Space Quilt 3, the one for me.  I'm doing quilt as you go, 15 X some other size blocks with backing, batting, and crazy pieces that I lay out as the mood hits: mostly black fabrics, black backgrounds with silver, gold, or bright colors, and some bright colors.  Stars, planets, big flowers that look planet like, especially when not whole.  i need something more sun like yet.  I take scraps, cut pieces, lay them out.  Some blocks are just shades of black, empty space, for the contrast., some edged in darker fabrics with a loosely defined planet or cluster in the center.  Several have bis of fabric flopping over the edges.  Pin, machine sew the main seams, hand sew the smaller seams, fill central gaps.  Lots of gaps around the edges.  When I sew the blocks together, I'll see what to do about the floppy extras and gaps, but they are unplanned, so lining up will be pot luck, decide as I go, just like the individual blocks.  That should result in the block seams mostly disappearing into the overall design.  Still haven't figured out how to post digital photos, but working on it, and collecting the photos meanwhile...
I keep drafting blogs that I haven't posted, mostly because they are rants that I think aren't worth reading.  Maybe if I took the time to type and edit them they would be usable opinion pieces, but not sure anyone would care even then.  I'm on the train and the first leg is already behind schedule so this may be an extra long trip.  Away from work is good, but I have plenty else to be getting done, not least qult designs for the new round of UFOs (UnFinished Objects).  Sis and i have been discussing design a lot lately.  Not many of our quilters are really into that part of quilting, both lacking confidence and unwilling to try.  They'd rather follow an exact pattern than even try to follow vary-it-yourself instructions.  And those in charge of projects give more instructions than they need to, limiting creativity even when it would be perfectly fine.  Like a colorful, mixed fabric stripe: why insist on high contrast?  That as likely as not will detract from the look of a colorful stripe rather than aid it, by preventing color flow and blending along the way.  And there are already so many colors, contrast with the plain stripe next to is guaranteed, even if a few of the pieces were to be the same color as the stripe.

Our awareness of the oddity of our preference for creativity was prodded awake by plantings, actually.  We were considering one property but it's part of a historical association.with few rules but guidance like "match the area trends in landscaping".  Lawn and trees is most of the landscaping in the area.  The lady thought she was being creative to add a bush too close to the building, and no one had a problem with that so we shouldn't worry.  Really?  Our idea of landscaping is to avoid the continued existence of grass except as a small picnic area or path between flower beds, herbs, and vegetable gardens.  Our own neighborhood used to be either grass or ivy.  Now there are green accent plants, flowers, bushes of every sort, even in the curb area of many properties (and neighbors copied our new railings, too).  We don't follow trends.  We set them.  I wonder if that puts us in the category that some consider "bad neighbors"...?  Green has been the dominant color in sight on my train ride, too, with hardly a flower in sight even in the small town yards we pass by.  Do people not like flowers?  Is that part of the recent trend in "decluttering" to deny oneself even pretty sights?

Cooking

2 Feb 2014 09:56 am
I have managed some more cooking (one of my goals).  This past coupleo f weeks it has been sour dough waffles, sourdough bread with ground amaranth (the whole seed is not as sweet as amaranth flour), sourdough fruit bread is rising now and a king cake is planned when I figure out when Fat Tuesday is.  Oh yeah, and sour dough dumplings in stew.

Sour dough.  Add enough flour to make a thick dough.  Add egg, herbs if desired (I used herbs de Province this time), a dash of baking powder if you are impatient or like a really fluffy, biscuit-like dumpling.  Let rise.

Make your favorite stew or soup (I made leftovers beef stew).  Bring to a boil.  Spoon risen dough  into the pot leaving a little space around each dumpling.  Reduce to simmer and cover.  cook about 20 minutes.  Uncover and cook about ten more minutes.  To test for done-ness, cut open the largest dumpling and make sure it is not doughy at the center. 
I hate having to re-enter a post.  I made the mistake of selecting a link for changing a setting I wanted to use, and of course lost all my work as soon as I navigated away.  Wish it would warn me!  so a short version:

Have one more quilt with a deadline: the UnfFnished Object challenge.  It's on the outer round, of course the last quarter is half the quilt.  Radius squared and all that.

Finished the Olympic-themed quilt top and have it hanging at work for the month, which is convenient since it i too long to layout or hang anywhere at the house (Its over 10 feet at the long end).  It's not supposed to have a long end but now that it is hanging, i can see how to fix it.

A little house-hunting.  Slow.  Either people aren't selling or flippers are picking everything of  decent price up and ruining it.   There's open, and there's stripped.  There's modern and there's modern disaster with nothing functional.   Everything on market has been for a long time because it's overpriced for profiteering despite serious flaws.  Highway expansion chopped off the front yard, so that makes it worth more?  Renovation removed all the closet space so that makes it worth more?  A "finished" basement takes up storage space, pretends to be more space than the same house with a perfectly usable unfinished basement, and that makes ti worth twice its assessed value?  Not.  Flaws we can accept.  High prices so that we can't afford to fix them, not so much.

Everything else is trying to remember how I survived night shifts.  I already have insomnia so don't have to worry about developing it...  Sis found me a tension rod to create an extra curtain to keep my bedroom darker during the day.  That starts this coming week.
The perennial new year activity is reviewing life and getting it going again with a fresh start or two, with new or old activities. an old activity was blogging and I'm trying to get back to doing that on a more regular basis, if only so I can keep on my e-mail. For older blog posts, you can check out my links to Explorations and Essentials, but it is difficult to impossible for me to continue posting to those at this time and their decline did not help me keep to a regular blogging schedule. Paying work also got in the way and is likely to again, but we'll see what we can do to work around it.

It is said that telling people your goal sometimes helps you achieve them so I thought I would put a few of them here. (I always have more than I can achieve, but if I have less, I tend to achieve less, so more is better and maybe extras will get done along the way)
  • Cook and bake more - My sister does most of the cooking, especially when I am working long hours, but she deserves a break when I can give her one and there are some recipes I want to try
  • Submit at least Red Squad to a large publisher (TOR seems the most likely candidate presently but I need to do some renewed searching in that regard) and maybe submit some other books to other publishers - which requires going through my workshop notes and making appropriate edits.
  • Finish Green Squad and draft Seven Divided (third and fourth books of the space fiction series We Are Seven that starts with Red Squad)
  • Quilt at least three of the quilt tops I made last year and this (I already finished three quilt tops this year, all of them started last year, but the quilting part takes longer so I have probably a dozen tops waiting, plus a few more nearly done, waiting for a border fabric or applique work or some other bit of thing to be done)  One is due in March, one is due in November.  The rest don't have deadlines or destinations, yet.
  • Figure out how to submit a quilt for sale on Etsy.
  • Find a new house.  (Well, that's more a hope than a goal; we already found a house but zoning and such fell through, and unfortunately, the ones that are readily fixed up to be like we want are being picked up by flippers who ruin them and want us to pay more for the privilege of rebuilding them, or they aren't for sale.) 
  • Organize and clean out at least one filing cabinet
  • Gut and revamp the bedroom.
  • Blog at least 52, preferably 100 times this year.
Fresh Eats - Diets are heard to keep up, but a periodic fresh start or a diet-for-a-day now and again can still improve health.  My current "fave", and so far most successful diet is to simply eat 25% less (and eat better) two times per week.  Like many diets, it is still easily undone by the holidays and weeks of neglect, but better to lose now and regain than to gain first and have to lose even more later.  Here are a few fun ways to cut back for a day:
  • Replace morning toast with grapefruit or yogurt
  • Wrap your favorite meat salad in a couple of large lettuce leaves spread with a little ground horseradish instead of bread and mustard or mayo
  • Cut your meat serving in half and put it on top of your potato instead of butter or sour cream
  • Prepare your chopped vegetables for putting on rice (steam with soy sauce and vinegar, stir fry, or whatever you normally do), then spoon them over a row of steamed broccoli (or better yet, asparagus) instead of rice
  • Use parsnip or celery root instead of potatoes for mashing (but this treat is an expensive substitution, so not a ready replacement for regular use unless you are more successful growing them than we have been or you are willing to increase your food budget for the health benefit)
What is your fresh start for the year?
The Earthlink web site I had been blogging to is broken (again and for the longer term, it seems, though I'm still occasionally trying to get through). Inevitably, it broke when I was mid story so I'll probably end up posting the whole thing here but not tonight. I've been busy busy busy and suspect I am coming down with something, but it could just be spring allergies (trees were blooming until right up to the current cold spell because of the previous yo-yo weather) and fall allergies and such together. Also, I have the usual Christmas preparations. I'm ahead on shopping, behind on everything else, and working long hours. And how did Thanksgiving get so close to Christmas? I think I've been looking at the wrong calendar... With a late Christmas, the pre-Thanksgiving Christmas music is forgivable, the stores being open on Thanksgiving Day not so much. I've drafted an essay on what I think of the soul-sucking effect of stores ruining our holidays but am still polishing it. Depressing writings are not a good way to start the holiday season. If i can find something cheery to write, maybe I can find some ways to reawaken some holiday spirit at work and home, too.
But we are getting closer to choosing a house. There is a good chance it will, in the end, be the first one we looked at, full of imperfections but with possibilities, sources of ideas, potential, which we haven't sen in many of the other places. We have one or two more we might look at, potential on paper that may or may not have in person, then I think we're done looking. It was, after all, the first one we looked at, so maybe it was destiny.

Meanwhile, I did my Camp NaNoWriMo write-a-thon working on my third book in a series. Once it is done, I'll relook at the first one and start to try to get agent or publisher, probably starting with TOR. If not them, I can't think of any that do the kind of science fiction I do so I may try some of the e-publishers that are more like publishers and have an editor and arrange for cover art and such, not the we-publish-anything types. Maybe one of them will see some potential in my idea of science fiction, even if it seems to have taken a left turn somewhere along the way.

Odd thing. My earthlink blog got the highest number of hits in one day that I've ever had, hovering low before and after, a week or more after I posted anything. What causes a spike like that?

February 2017

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