My French Fabric

When my husband and I visited my daughter in Paris in mid-2016, I made a point of finding a fabric shop and purchasing some uniquely French fabric. I wanted something unlike anything I could find at home in Seattle.

I bought a roll of 19 precuts, each of which was approximately 10″ x 21″ — about the same size as a fat eighth.

Since then, they have been sitting on a shelf, waiting for me to decide what to do with them.

I wanted to find a block that had the word “French” in it. About the only thing an internet search turned up was the French braid design. But I also found some photos on Pinterest of a star design using the French braid technique.

pinterest

I drafted my own block, trying out a couple of versions with different strip widths and number of strips in each braid. I wanted to use my fabric as least wastefully as possible.

french star 2

This week, I sewed the first four blocks.

French star

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Getting Back To It

I was aware that it had been awhile since my last post, but it was a little surprising to see that six months have passed. Sometimes day-to-day life has a way of filling up all one’s time.

Anyway, those six months have been filled up with many activities, not least of which has been watching my grandson learn to crawl, and then cruise, and recently start walking.

Occasionally, I still manage to get in some sewing.

My latest quilt for Project Linus was actually finished a few weeks ago, and until today was still up on my design wall. But today I finally got around to photographing it and taking it down.

Sherbet quilt

This is a variation on a quilt called “Sherbet Punch” from Quilting with Fat Quarters.

The original instructions call for 20 fat quarters, but the bundle of fat quarters I wanted to use had only 16. Actually, it originally had 24, but I had pulled out several for use in my ongoing Grandmother’s Flower Garden project.

I had picked up these fat quarters at the Portland Quilt Market in May 2018. They were from a fabric line from Windham Fabrics called Cottage Joy.

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Icelandic Skyr

On the last night of our road trip around Iceland last month, we stayed at a working farm called Eftstidalur. It’s a working dairy farm which in 2002 opened a restaurant and added overnight accommodations in response to a growth in tourism, according to their website.

At breakfast, there was a large bowl of something called “skyr.” A small placard  informed me that it was made fresh from cow’s milk produced there at the farm. Next to the bowl was a stack of small pancakes and a little pitcher of syrup. I took a pancake, added a dollop of skyr, and drizzled some syrup on top.

It was very tasty!

I texted my sister, who had happened to have been in Iceland about a month earlier, to ask her if she had had the opportunity to try it. She had seen skyr offered at breakfast, but had not sampled it. She did tell me, however, that it is available in the United States.

An aside here: Technically, skyr is a cheese, because rennet is used to make it. But because of its consistency and texture, which is more like sour cream, it is often called a yogurt. However, it is very mild in flavor, neither tart like yogurt nor sour like sour cream. It is higher in protein and lower in fat than yogurt, and also lactose-free.

After we returned home, I did an internet search to see where it might be available locally. I was pleased to see that it is stocked at several nearby grocery stores, including the one we usually shop at.

The most common brand, Siggi’s, offers plain and vanilla in 24-ounce tubs and a variety of flavored skyr in 5-ounce containers. The plain variety has now replaced vanilla yogurt in my breakfast granola.

It is also proving to be the avenue for my grandson to solid food.

Approaching eight months in age, he was not keen on the whole concept of spoons and baby food. So about a month ago, one Thursday afternoon while my daughter was over for a visit, I proposed that we try giving him some skyr, on the theory that he would find its mild flavor sufficiently inoffensive.

My daughter and I set ourselves in chairs across from each other, me holding the baby on my lap. We each had a few spoonfuls of skyr, expressing great delight, to demonstrate proper eating technique. When I first offered it to little Gage, he refused it, shaking his head from side to side. His mom suggested that I put a little dab on his lip. I did so, which allowed him to get a little taste.

In short order, not only was he opening his mouth to accept small spoonfuls, but he was even leaning forward! To say that his mother was thrilled is an understatement.

skyr

 

 

 

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Backyard Flowers

The crocuses, daffodils, and tulips if the front yard are long gone. Now, it’s the back yard that is full of color.

There are two kinds of lavender . . .

lavender stalks

English and . . .

spanish lavender

Spanish.

Two kinds of poppies . . .

poppy in lettuce

California and . . .

icelandic

Icelandic.

The rose bush is blooming . . .

pink rose

as is one of the peony bushes.

white peony

The other peony bush is just showing buds.

peony buds

I don’t know what this plant is, just that the leaves are very pungent.

purple flower

And some of the lettuce seeds I planted in April bypassed the leafy stage and went straight to flowering.

lettuce flower

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Twisted Star

twisted star

When selecting the fabrics for this quilt, my latest contribution to Project Linus, I had to thoroughly sift through my stash.

First, I had to find enough light-value, “cool” fabrics that went well together.

Then, I had to find enough coordinating dark-value fabrics, such that each one got used just once.

This tilted, wonky design of this block really appealed to me. Foundation piecing made piecing the unusual shapes super-easy and accurate.

The project is from Vintage Quilt Revival, which was the basis for a Block of the Month quilt two or three years ago at Pacific Fabrics.

 

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Our Meal Kit Adventure

So, my husband and I listen to lots of podcasts. For quite awhile now, we’ve noticed that a common sponsor is one or another of these delivered-to-your-door meal kit subscription services. Blue Apron was the first, then Sun Basket came along.

A few months ago, when we went to Fred Meyer for our weekly grocery shopping, there was a refrigerated case situated right inside the front entrance filled with Home Chef meal kits.

We perused the offerings, and were less than impressed. Since then, we survey the case’s contents each week, and take a pass.

However, this morning when we were doing our weekly menu planning and composing our shopping list, we came up short on ideas for tonight’s dinner. We’d been tossing around the thought of trying out a meal kit, and decided that today would be the day.

The one we selected was “Sirloin Steak with Pesto Butter.” Here is a video showing the unwrapping of the box and an enumeration of its contents.

home chef

The recipe on the enclosed card was simple and straightforward. The one glitch was when I picked up the carrots. They were not particularly fresh. Carrots are supposed to be firm and crisp; these were most definitely not. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they were limp, but they oscillated when I shook them. Fortunately, we had bought carrots that morning, so were able to utilize them instead.

Otherwise, the kit contents were satisfactory. The meal took about 45 minutes to prepare, just like the card said. The timing of everything worked out just right, and the results were quite tasty.

meal

It’s certainly something we would consider making again, except that we would just buy the individual ingredients and make the meal from scratch.

 

 

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Mindless Knitting

I really enjoy knitting socks, but I’ve made my close friends and family at least one pair — some of them even two or three.

It was time to knit something else.

I haven’t had much luck with sweaters. One I completely unraveled after it was done and used the yarn to knit a couple Moebius cowls and a beret. Another just didn’t fit and at some point will be gifted to someone smaller and slimmer than myself.

I also wanted to work on something that held more immediate gratification than something that would take me three years to knit.

Since my grandson was born in October, I’ve kind of had baby on the brain. He has a gazillion blankets, but I thought it would be fun to knit one for some baby yet-to-be-determined.

I checked out a book of baby knits from the library which included a pattern for a Log Cabin Afghan. Unfortunately, I neglected to record the title of the book.

I screwed up my first attempt. When one band of color is bound off, you’re supposed to rotate the project 90 degrees and pick up stitches along the next edge. I mistakenly picked up stitches along the just-bound-off edge. After making this same error a couple of times, I ripped back all my knitting and started over.

The original pattern tells you to make six squares with two rounds around a center square and then sew them together. Instead, I just kept knitting.

Except for the picking up and binding off, it’s all garter stitch, and you can’t get much easier than that.

knitting

 

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