Friday, October 9, 2020

Tomato Stash

This has been a very good tomato year.

A little over a week ago we brought in all the tomatoes we could find before a hard freeze. But since it didn't freeze that hard (or since our covering worked) I still found more tomatoes hiding in the foliage and brought those in too. 

This is my tomato stash. It is in the mudroom in the way of everybody who wants to walk through there. 

I keep an eye on it and as soon as some start to turn a little bit less green or even have a tinge of orange then they get to move to the east window in the kitchen. 

I love how the window sill looks when it is full of tomatoes.

I check that window everyday. 

Once I get enough tomatoes to fill a roasting pan they come off the windowsill and go onto the counter.

This looks like it will fill a half sheet pan nicely.

The ones on the counter get washed, sliced into quarters, stemmed and have the seeds mushed out of them. Except the Roma's. They just get halved and get to keep their tiny seeds.  There is not much to them otherwise.

Then I roast them. Usually I chop up a few onions to go with them, drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with basil.

Waiting to go into the oven.

I put them in the oven at 400° I roast them for 30 minutes. Then I turn them over and roast another 30 minutes. When they're done they come out of the oven sit around till they're cool enough to handle. 

This is the version I make Tomato Soup with.
The carrots are the secret ingredient.

Once cooled down enough to handle they get weighed and stuffed into freezer bags and labeled and put in my freezer.  I've already used some in recipes whenever they ask for canned tomatoes. They sure are tasty.

It's been a good tomato year.

Friday, April 24, 2020

River Rat TOGA Raffle Quilt

  9.5" unfinished block
Dear River Rat Togateers,
As you know we will not be meeting for a Sew-In this Spring. We still want to have a raffle quilt ready for the River Rat Toga in September even if we have to save it for next year.

We are designing this year's quilt around four 24" blocks that were made by Cindy Peters. We want to add more star blocks around them in order to arrive at a 66" x 72" top.  We put out a call earlier and asked for assorted 3.5", 6.5" and 9.5" unfinished STAR blocks.

I have designed a simple quilt that is built with four quadrants.  We are planning to have you mail your blocks to a central person (me) who will scramble them all up (for color variation) and then send them to four volunteers who will assemble them into their quadrants and then send them on to the next volunteer who will put the four pieces together.   OUR MAIL BY DATE IS MAY 8TH!

9.5" unfinished block.
This is what we need for the star blocks.
Thirty two (32)
6.5" unfinished blocks.
They can be made up of one 6.5" blocks
Four 3.5" blocks.

Sixteen (16)
9.5" unfinished blocks.
They can be made up of one 9.5" block
Nine 3.5" blocks
One 6.5" and five 3.5" unfinished blocks
Four 4.5" unfinished blocks.
We would appreciate you sending one or more 10" light background pieces (just in case we need to fill in some spots.) when you send your blocks. Or send any of the other sizes if you can.
Cindy's block with muslin shown on the left and white on the right. 
If this doesn't look like a pale creamy yellow the computer color is incorrect.
It is NOT a tan color.
Color and Star Rules                                          
All the backgrounds should be light and scrappy unless you prefer to use a single background color.
The backgrounds can be anything from the white and the muslin shown above to the creamy light yellow that is in Cindy's block,
The star points can be any color you want.  They can be monochromatic or multicolored and scrappy.
The stars can float inside the block or reach to the edge of the quarter inch seam.

6.5" unfinished block with a scrappy background.
Send your blocks to Nancy Drew.  
My address and phone numbers will be posted on the River Rat site and the Minn/Wisc site.
You may also leave a message for me in the comments and I will answer them.

These blocks are not patterns you must follow.  They just happen to be the ones I made. They really are square, it is just the camera angle. - N.

A tap on the pictures will enlarge them.
6.5" unfinished block.
Hugs, Nancy

Thursday, December 12, 2019


I love luminaries.  When it is cold and dark they add a lovely touch of warmth and light to the house.  These are on the north deck.  Happily it is not so windy that they are blown out tonight.  

First two luminaries of this winter season.

The luminary on the west side of the bench.

The luminary on the east side of the bench.
I first started making them when we stayed with my parents in Minneapolis in the winter.  They bring back good memories.
Christmas lights at the old house.  My parents lived there for 54 years.

The front steps.
The luminary in the yard. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Catalogs are good

I got a catalog from the Container Store two days ago.  I knew the cover was a great quilt design the moment I saw it.  Can you see it?

I got out my pencil and my rulers and my BOHIN fabric eraser and started working away.  I use that eraser a lot.   I spent a lot of time working on the second draft only to find I had left out the two tall narrow blocks on the bottom row.  That attempt went in the trash.  :-(

What a great quilt idea!
 Three attempts later I think I have it figured out.
So of course I had to message it to my friends to brag!

Now I get to go look for Holiday fabrics.  I know I have holiday cats!  And cat snowmen!
I didn't have as many light Christmas fabrics as the cover showed but I think I will have enough variety.  I am using that strong diagonal fabric where the red and white one is.   I also had a narrow red and white diagonal stripe but it didn't feel right so I ditched it.  I need 9 different fabrics. 

Then I spent two days playing with and cutting out my Christmas fabrics. 
I think I have a good selection that will work with this pattern.

I am going to the Opherphun Retreat (Oh! For Fun!) this week and hope to find some background fabric there.  I know the fabric I will back it with already.   I have tons of it.  I bought the whole bolt!

Christmas Cats fabric.  I think it will be a perfect backing.  :-)
This picture is from the back of a One Block Wonder Tree Skirt that still needs to be bound.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Big Bag with Dowel Handles

Here is a picture of the Big Bag with Dowel Handles
This is from the class I taught at the Fergus Falls Quilt Show last May.
The bag is 20 inches deep 24 inches long and 10 inches wide.
I have carried 3 queen size quilts in it at once.

Big Bag class in Fergus Falls MN

Big Bag class at the River Rat TOGA in Lake City MN
Denise's Big Bag from the River Rat TOGA in Lake City MN

Outer fabric from Denise's Big Bag.  I just love her fabric choices.  

Monday, February 25, 2019

Photos of some of my recent quilts.

I have been busy finishing quilts. The unfinished ones were piling up in the quilting room and falling on the floor.  It was getting too messy. Even for me! So I quilted and bound 6 quilts and there are even more waiting.   

This one is a Challenge for Dee Dee Menge's fall retreat.  I am ready early! 
It still needs to be quilted and bound but the sandwich is thread basted. 
It is tiny. No title yet, it is 13" x 18"
This one is DeeDee's fault also.
I had all the scraps sewn into Half Square Triangles but they were on the design wall in a square pattern.
Then Dee Dee showed me a picture of 4 stars, made out of hst's, and so this little quilt came into being.
It is about 27" x 37" and is known as "Warp Speed, Mr.Sulu"
This little Angel has been hanging around the house for about 12 years.  The pattern, Angelz, from Stargazey Designs says 2006.  About a year ago I refound her, and framed her with the scrappy blocks.  She rested like that for a while until the Minot Quilt Show (this coming March) sent me a registration form and their Challenge this year is to use piecing, applique, color or paint and dimensional embellishment. I found the border fabric which matched the center background and finished her up.  She is quilted with 12 weight thread in the scrappy bits and Glide 40 wt. white in a serpentine stitch in the background.  This picture was taken before I rouged her cheeks.  Note the cat pin at her feet.  I bought it in Montana when I was visiting family last year.   She is about 18" x 27 " and is called, brilliantly, Scrap Angel.    

This is the block I made as a sample for a beginner's Quilting class at Gail's Flutterby Quilt Store in Mayville.  The class was to make a Wonky Stars runner.  The ladies were not really beginners but they said they just wanted to restart quilting after not doing it for years.  They did great!   I made three stars for their samples but instead of a runner I made a quilt out of them.  
Here is the complete quilt.  The friend who gave me the half yard of the cat fabric has a young daughter and that is where this quilt is going.  Don't tell her. It is backed and bound with a golden yellow Cuddle that just matches the stars in the body of the quilt. Sadly this picture was taken before it was quilted or bound.
The Stars are made with nine 5" squares and each one measures about 14" unfinished. 
The body of the quilt is a yard of fabric.  It finished at about 42" x 50".
I have another one ready to sew the large piece of fabric onto the three stars...
This quilt was made to fit just behind my Lime green and silver tinsel Christmas tree.  It is a cat fabric called Jingle Cats.  A very simple pattern that was, once again, from Dee Dee Menge.  It is backed with scarlet Cuddle and bound with a red cotton fabric.  This picture was taken before the quilt was bound because it was Christmas and I didn't have time to bind it! I is now bound but not photographed...:-( 48" x 54"
More Christmas quilts. 
This tiny little table runner was a "class" at the Opherphun Retreat last November.

Here it is without cat embellishments.

This was going to be the Christmas Quilt behind the  Tinsel Tree but then I found the Jingle Cats fabric so this is still in a box.  I think I had sewn two or three strips before it got bumped.  :-(  I have been looking for it a little bit this last week.  It is one of those things that is in a "safe" place.
This is my "Black Cat Whirlwind" One Block Wonder Quilt.  It is 83" x 100 inches and will fit on our Queen sized bed.  This is just after I had decided on the inner and outer borders and sewn them on.  These difficult design decisions (borders) need the help of my Twisted Sisters Quilting buddies.  Thanks Ladies!
The following pictures are closeups of the quilted top before I put the binding on.  Also some detail shots of the quilting done by my friend Lois Koester.  Thanks Lois.  I love what you did.

Cat approved!

Lois calls this quilt pattern the Sand dollar.

I love the border vertical stripes. They go up to the points of the inner black border.
She also ditched the beige inner border perfectly. 
It is only 1/2 inch wide and she ditched it on both sides!  Amazing

This is another One Block Wonder.
It was not sewn by me but by my student Marion.  She was at one of Faye's retreats where I was teaching a class and she wanted to learn the cubes.  You notice she put quite a few in her quilt!  She finished it up at the Opherphun Retreat and I got a picture.   It is going to her daughter for a wall hanging because it is the same material as the quilt that Marion made for her.  
This Two Fabric Bargello pattern is addictive.  This one is still unquilted and the one below is not completely sewn yet.  Already I want to do another.  These are also the fault of Dee Dee Menge.  I don't know if I could quilt without her inspiration.  They are wall hanging size.  About 45" x 60". 
This one is still two fabrics but I cut the secondary fabric into two strips and separated them a little bit. I am sewing it slowly while I play with a few other things.

This is a bag I made for my Stripology Squared ruler after I decided I needed to protect it.
I broke one of the half inch separations somehow.  Grrrr.
(I repaired it with Sally Hansen Hard As Nails clear nail top coat.)
The bag is made with a foam batting so it is soft but strong and the front pocket fits the Mini Stripology Squared ruler.  Both pockets also have room for a cutting mat.  The larger one is a folding mat so it is really nice and big.  :-)

Helen Howes pattern "Twelve Trees".
Helen is a British quilter and I love her improv work. 
You can buy the pattern online and download it.  I used a few more than 12 trees
and only Benartex Fossil Fern fabrics. It is about 45" X 48".
A scrappy quilt.  The binding, not shown in this picture, is a black repeat of the tiny inner border.  I have lots of fun playing with my scraps to make the blocks for this.  I think the black and white stripe helps quiet it down a bit. I am really enjoying making these smaller quilts.  Again this is a lap size one. 
Finished about 48" x 54"

I can see three more unfinished quilts from where I am sitting at my sewing table.  I will try to keep up with them a little better.  I will update the posting when I get pictures of the completely finished quilts.  I promise...LOL.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Rest in Peace, Abbie the Kitty

Hi Sisters,
Abbie the Kitty had been losing weight for the last few years.  According to all the tests we did she did not have any specific illness.  Just that she was losing weight.  On February 16th after 4 days of not being able to eat or walk she died.   
She was with us from 2002 to 2019.  
Seventeen years.  
We miss her.

She is not sure she wants to share the bed with those other cats....
One of her last pictures.  

Asking for food.  She was always asking for food.  But never gained weight.
Abbie in fattier times.  Still begging for food.
Halfway up the stairs is a place where I sit.
Here she is waiting for us to go up to bed.

Abbie was a certified Quilt Inspector.
She loved to watch the birds and squirrels and bunnies.
Photo op!
One of her best quilt inspections. 
Making sure I put the binding on correctly.
Sometimes while inspecting you have to get real close.