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Thursday, April 26, 2012


A couple of months ago I went to Ethan Allen with my sister Suzanne and my Mother. Suzanne was looking for new chairs for her living room. While there, I found this bed that I fell in love with that had this incredible quilt. It was black and had these YoYo's stitched on it. I should have taken pictures.

Last week I went back there to take pictures of the quilt. It was no longer there. Sold. They did have a tiny pillow in white. I got a picture of the bed though. I have always loved sleigh beds. Isn't it just wonderful? I have never liked post beds. I love the look and feel of the wood here. Can't you just imagine a fabulous quilt on this bed? 

I took a picture of the pillow though just to get an idea of the dimensions. I began researching how to make yoyo's. I even bought a yoyo maker which has been the rage for years, making the process easier. I made a few of them before going to Ethan Allen to take the picture. I knew that I was not duplicating them right. The technique I was learning had holes in the center when you gathered the fabric. And as I remembered the original quilt, there were no holes. When I saw the pillow and took pictures, I was right. this is a different technique. I looked everywhere on the internet and saw nothing like this in tutorials. Trial and error. But I have it worked out and now my pieces are looking exactly like the original quilt. It is a project I can bring anywhere with me, like my knitting.

I have no idea how many it will take to make a quilt. I guess I will just figure that out one day. I don't know how to even think about numbers. I think it will take an experienced quilter to help me with that. It will be quite the thing to see when it's done.

Quilts for Patients

This project began in the fall of last year. My sister Linda is a nurse and told me one day that there was this woman who occasionally brought in these tiny quilts with a note attached and would give them to people in the hospital undergoing treatment for cancer. She said they were simple, just four little squares and a backing. The piece was no more than three inches  square. In the center of each tiny square she tied a knot. We all know this knot. To it she attached a note that said "Each knot was stitched with love for you".

Of course, I can do this. But I am not the sort to do things quite that simple. I spent months collecting patterns. My thinking was that I could make four miniature blocks and put them together to make a miniature quilt. Thing is, to get a piece that is 3 or 4 inches square, these blocks have to be really tiny. Now I love small. I am really good at small. But I was failing.

One day about six weeks ago, I got an email from a quilt shop on this technique and I was intrigued. Thing is, the method of working it, you couldn't make just one. It was a complicated exercise in geometrics. I started Googling this block called "Cathedral Window" and I found a woman who developed a pattern to make single blocks. I was off and running. Half of it is machine stitched and the rest is hand work. They end up being 4 & 1/2 inches square. Perfect. And they end up with little pockets that friends can slip little notes in.

Not a very clear picture, but you get the point. I made 28 of them in a little over a week. that should be a good beginning. We are having a 50th birthday party for Linda this Saturday and i will give these to her then. I think she will like them and they should be a hit at the hospital.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I love getting together with family. I love cooking for family. Well, I just love cooking period. When I finally move into a bigger apartment, I probably will try to have all family gatherings at my apartment. I will let everyone know that they should bring tupperware so they can bring leftovers home and I will cook massive meals.

We celebrated Easter on Saturday the 14th. We were nine of us this time. Linda's table accommodated everyone which was wonderful.

I made a dish of asparagus, brussel sprouts, leeks, garlic and shallots. I still have a bit of it in my fridge which I will cook up tomorrow. Linda indicated that they tended to eat more of a simple vegetable fare. Mashed potatoes, grated carrots, steamed asparagus. But I insisted on bringing this dish. I figured someone would love it. I managed to get a small container of leftovers. I bought over five pounds of vegetables. They ate it and loved it!!!!

Linda cooked ham with, I think it was a maple, brown sugar glaze with pineapples. Ohhhh. I just loved it. Of course, I love ham and never eat it. I don't know why. It's like turkey. How come we don't eat turkey all year round? It is a fabulous meat. It has a magnificent taste. It is good for you. You throw it in a cooking bag, a little flour, put it in the oven, and in a short time, you have this incredible meat that is so satisfying .....I...I don't know. Now I want to go and buy a turkey. Tomorrow. I will see if I can find a turkey tomorrow. You know how I love turkey? After I cook it, I freeze it in portions in zip lock bags. Then when I am in the mood, I'll defrost a bag and eat it cold dipped in ketchup. I can hear you all going YEWWWW~~~ But I love it. Minimal calories, and better for me than cake, chips, pretzels, ice cream, and shopping the internet for new shoes.

Linda makes great mashed potatoes. We grew up with mashed potatoes. Not the wimpy kind you find in restaurants, with special seasonings, whipped, not mashed, a tiny bit of butter instead of a ton of butter..... We know mashed potatoes~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Mother and I made the grated carrots with mayonnaise, a bit of salt and a dash of sugar. It should have had parsley in it but I forgot to bring some. Merde.

I would have normally made bread. I used to always make bread. But this oven here and not dependable and I have not been successful with my bread baking. I keep trying though. I may have lost my bread kharma. I don't know. If I lost it, I will find it again. Promise.

Mom saw this picture of an Easter cake and tore it out of the magazine to see if I would make it. The description called for boxed cake mix, canned frosting, chocolate chips and of course, Peeps.

I made it from scratch. You can barely see it, but in the center of the cake, I piped a chocolate ganache in the shape of chocolate chips. It took over an hour just to do that. The cake itself was a white cake. I think Linda was afraid that everyone was going to be disappointed that it was a white cake so she bought a chocolate cream pie for those who wanted more chocolate. So, as it turned out, everyone had a piece of both. Can you believe it? Nine people. My cake was huge. Ten inches in the round by the time it was frosted. And then a chocolate pie!! GONE!!!

Well, people did bring some home.

I love gathering people around the table. People are always happy when they are eating good food, don't you think???????

Never Forgotten

I love meditation. It does not always mean to sit in a quiet room with legs crossed like a Yogi, fingers touching, and the mind empty. I was talking to my sister Linda over dinner earlier about this. You can walk and meditate. You can drive and meditate. I knit and meditate. Often, when I am centered in my kitchen, the knife carefully slicing vegetables, the oil in the pan cooking the onions and garlic, then next goes in the beautiful carrots sliced on the bias, oh, and look at the leeks. How beautiful is the leek. Out comes one vegetable and in goes the next, each having its turn in the hot pan until, in the end, when they all marry together with herbs and the sea salt. And nothing else exists at this time. It is all about this tiny kitchen, these beautiful vegetables, the smells, the sounds..... This is meditation too. There are no other thoughts. It is so peaceful.

Tonight I sat in my chair and worked with these tiny pieces of fabrics making rounds. I lit a candle that Christina, my dear friend in Mosier Oregon sent me, a beautiful scent. I sat and made the tiny hand stitches, absorbed in the beautiful colors on a black background when I realized that some three hours had gone by. I got up to make a cup of tea and looked at the candle which had burned down to the dish in the way that hand rolled candles do and found that the single wick had turned into two flames.

At that very moment I felt my mind freed..... Like a river endlessly flowing.