I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, May 31, 2012

June. And Progress.

Hi everyone! So...it's June [almost]...over the weekend I got the house all changed into summery blues and white. Cobalt, mostly, some sky blue and a bit of turquoise, a smidge of lobster red....

I couldn't do summer washing, like curtains and slipcovers, though. We have a weird thing here called "flushing" and for the entire month of May the town water supply is flushed clean of sand and rust. I suppose a good thing, but the tea-colored water stains and is lethal on white or bright fabrics, not to mention my white sinks and bathtubs are now pale peach colored. [Clorox...]

And of course no spaghetti can be boiled during these flushing weeks! Thank goodness for bottled and/ or filtered drinking water. So that big chore---the washing---still looms.

I did finish my first block for Lori/ Humble Quilts 's quilt-along: the house. The pattern and book are from Lynda at Primitive Pieces.

 I am dying to, well, [tea]dye it! But I know I should wait.

Still no star fabric, just a paper reminder....

And truly I think the house will need a redo in the end,

...it should be Nantucket grey?

My intention is to remain fairly true to Lynda's original design. I think that's part of the reason to do a quilt-along, or to use another designer's pattern...it gets the quilter---me!---out of my comfort zone and I will learn something new. Next block: June Challenge, again from A Little Porch Time:

June/ block 2
 Lori is featured in the summer issue of Primitive Quilts  magazine here . Isn't that neat! I went to the their website to check out the magazine. (I'm usually pinching pennies and don't buy magazines, but...all my faves: Lori, and Lynda, and Cheri, of the adorable prim doll quilts.) I was interested in the magazine's column called Ask Mom, which they reprint on their blog. The current question was about the frayed strings that appear when one prewashes fabric [pinking shears, dahling]. I was surprised by the magazine's reply. They quoted an unnamed quilt designer who said there is no need to prewash good quality cottons from quilt shops. Because those fabric do not shrink.

I was taken aback.
For two reasons. One is that, even though I don't care if the fabrics shrink, I like the puckery look...all the cottons I used as a garment designer, from all the same mills that produce quality quilting fabric: all said in the fine print something like: 100% cotton 4-8 % shrinkage allowed/expected. (All woven cotton shrinks...maybe not so much, but it shrinks!)

And reason two: I prewash the fabrics I use to remove the chemicals and resins used in ''finishing'' the cloth and to remove excess dye which can run and stain...or just make dingy...other fabrics. If you don't think fabric colors run, throw in a white terrycloth rag or one of those those Shout Color Catchers.link Very few new fabrics have zero run/fade, especially cottons, which are dyed or printed [as opposed to some synthetics where the color is in the threads themselves.]. I use the Color Catchers and Retayne here, a product that retards future running. Nothing so awful as a quilt you've spend endless hours and love in the making; you wash it and , ooops, the red bleeds into the white. Even pastels can bleed horribly and ruin a project.
(Retayne is avaible on Amazon, at eQuilter, and your local Joann's.)

What's my point? LOL, uh...

Tonight I spent an hour or so washing and ironing all the plaids I've been buying for the Porch quilt. Another reason to wash and iron: I was able to true up the plaid grain as I worked with the damp cloth. And a few! OMG, I complained about crooked calicos?---these homespun plaids are cut so badly. One plaid was so off grain I lost 7" when it was finally square! At 10.95 a yard, that's, what?---more than two bucks thrown out. Very bad...

So, here is my question, for any quilters out there, or anyone else who has an opinion or method: why do you prewash your fabric?

Now I am, sshhhh, tea dying. For the lollipop flowers blocks.

Talk about spools! previous post.
I so wanted to bring this home tonight....

PS My etsy Dollar Days are finally getting going! So if there was anything you liked, grab it now. ONE dollar! enjoy.

PSS The baby birds hatched! On the beach! Pix as soon as the mums let the babies out of the dune grass....



gone to the beach....

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dollar Days Sale on etsy

Hi! To welcome summer...everything (well, almost) in my etsy shop is priced at ONE DOLLAR.
Summer sidewalk sale, virtual of course/ midnight madness....time to find a few treasures...
For the entire month of June. (starting now, of course.)

One dollar plus shipping....



gone to the beach....

Sunday, May 27, 2012


It's official! Summer is here. Memorial Day to Labor Day is the beach summer...who cares what the calendar may say!

I am always disconcerted by the arrival of ALL these People! This is as crowded as it gets...hmmm.

My birds and I were ever so slightly annoyed. Well the terns were very annoyed, dive-bombing and squalling.

They're here.....

black skimmers...they are a bit calmer than the terns.
But very large!

The noise of the jets sets them off, lol...

No flea market, but I picked up a few thrift shop goodies:
A nicely cracked and crazed marmalade crock.

 My mother collected these sparingly, preferably with marmalade inside, from Stop n Shop!
Then she'd fill them with pansies or zinnias.

A big mill spool, for my antique laces.

Except my kids have been muttering about mom's clutter so maybe the laces will go back in their bin!

And a couple thrifted shirts, for the fabric. For the Porch quilt? The pink can be tea dyed and/ or bleached, and I loved the big stars...

Not very cost effective way to add to my meagre stash of plaids and stars though. There's maybe a half yard of usable fabric here and at 6.95 per shirt, that just doesn't pay. That's almost $14.00 a yard. So no more of that!

Have a wonderful holiday. Happy summer...



.......gone to the beach

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Asparagus and Snapdragons

This week's farmers market featured asparagus, strawberries and tiny pots of herbs for one's kitchen garden...

And, oh my! big tubs of white snapdragons. So adorable, so old-fashioned and frilly. I was being very budget conscious and passed them up. See me looking idiotically virtuous?

My roses from last week are still so gorgeous, I just couldn't justify buying more cut flowers..

Instead I dithered over the herbs.
Last summer's garden was not a success. Oh, it grew well but I found a big green caterpillar on the parsley. My kids thought the monarch caterpillar was cool (and gently relocated it to a hydrangea in the yard!) but I just couldn't eat those herbs after that. Now...try again? Hmmm..I walked away.

Back at the snapdragon farmer's stand I got fresh cut asparagus and fragrant strawberries.

So sweet, so pretty...

And at the Italian market booth I got a big chunk of Parmesan cheese and a tub of fresh ricotta.

I'll make a dessert with the ricotta: whipped with Splenda, a dash of liqueur or vodka, Ghirardelli chocolate chips, vanilla and almond extract. I'll add the strawberries, sliced, at the last moment. Serve very chilled in tiny bowls. (This is more or less cannoli filling, of course.)

I made the asparagus just now.

...steamed then tossed in a pan with browned butter, a minced garlic glove, juice of half a lemon, black pepper.

I shaved big curls of the asiago parm on top.

With a big green salad the asparagus makes, for me, a main course, but I also made chicken tenders marinated in sesame and soy marinade [store bought] and the n sauteed quickly, deglazed with white wine.

Easy. Fast. And so fresh and yummy...

Have to show you a couple beach pix!

See!? I am not exaggerating when I say I am the only person on the miles and miles of sandy white beach.

Just me and my birds....

black skimmers and arctic terns,
playing in the puddle

gone to the beach....

 PS I didn't have a white snapdragon photo so I was looking on Google images, just for fun. [I almost never use any pix except mine here on the blog, just occasionally some from friends...]. Anyway, I was scrolling down...oooh, I love that! Looked closer.....lol, it was MY photo! What a thrill. So here it is. Again.