"Whatever your hands find to do, verily do it with all your might" Ecclesiastes 9-10

Sunday, September 24, 2006

AUTUMN


Autumn is really my favourite season : no matter the fresh wind and the rainy days, I absolutely love the warm and changing colors of the trees, the sound of the tractors working in the fields, preparing the earth for next spring, the birds flying away to sunny countries...... all these changes that are going to lead us to Christmas and the snow (I'm a winter girl - Sagittarius - ).......

I made this quilt 10 years ago. It was hand-pieced (take-along projects are my favourite ones), and I used any autumn color fabric I had, or I could" beg or steel" from our bee. I called it "Autumn Dance". It is certainly not perfect and accurate, but I love it because it was my first attempt to "colors mixing" (now I would say "scrappy leaves", but didn't know at that time what "scrap quilts" meant). It was also the first quilt I put in a local exhibition and I was sooooo proud !


GRATITUDES
***************
My sweet youngest daughter, Laura (18), washing the dishes, while I'm blogging

Early rising this morning, to watch the sunrise

DH preparing the wood stock for our open fire

Good, sweet, jazzy, blues music to listen to (Toots Thielemans and his harmonica, Tracy Chapman, Nora Jones)

A glass of Spanish Moscatello

A feeling of "good times coming", don't know why.....

Saturday, September 23, 2006

COOKING....

Well, I didn't think my pumpkin soup would be so successful !
Aaahhh, my friends, you're unveiling my second hobby : cooking ! I mean, simple, economical, family/friendly cooking. With 4 children, and an Italian hubby, it couldn't be different.......

Some of you wondered what I meant by "mixing" : well, I use a blender to mix my soups, that makes them creamy and "velvety".....
Also, Patti asked me whether she could use canned pumpkin : of course ! Just follow the receipt as if they were fresh.... (I wish we could find canned pumpkin, here in Belgium...).

Shall I give you my tomorrow's menu ? O.K. :

Belgian meatloaf
Cauliflower gratin
Mama's mashed potatoes
Iceberg salad with home dressing.

I'll make a big Belgian meatloaf, and enough Mama's mashed potatoes, to keep the half of it for Monday's menu :

minced pie (three layers) with stewed sweet red peperonis.....


(I love "single dish" oven cooking when Autumn comes : it's easy, friendly, and it gives less dish washing (no dish-washer at home).

Well, in case you would need one of my recipes for the above, please let me know, I'll make some photos, while preparing.....


PUMPKIN SOUP


Jeanne asked for the recipe : my pleasure !

For a "family casserole", you will need :

- About 2 lbs peeled and sliced pumkin,
-4 sliced leeks (take off the green part),
- 4 medium-size sliced potatoes
- 1 chicken breast (without bones)
- 2 sliced onions
- 1 table spoon tomato concentrate
- One cup of milk (or cream)
- salt, pepper, nutmeg.
(Sometimes, I also add a teaspoon of curry powder - it gives an "oriental" taste
You may as well choose to add some ginger - for a "glamourous" supper for two...).

How to
*******

1. Bring 2 liters water boiling and let the chicken breast cook in it for about 15 mins. (no salt yet ! it hardens the flesh), then chop it and put it back in the water

2. Add leeks, pumpkin, potatoes,and onions slices + salt, pepper, nutmeg and let gently cook for about 30 to 40 mins (no boiling). (You will notice that I'm an "about" cooker).

3. Mix the whole (normally it has a "light creamy" texture.... otherwise : do it again !).

4. Add milk or cream (+ chopped parsley, when handy). Taste, enjoy !


*** Kids just love this soup (DH too !). When I want it a "complete meal", I add cooked white round rice in the soup (count one handful per person + double volume salted water), and I serve it with brown bread, butter and a cheese assortment plate........

Bon appétit !

PROGRESS...


I just finished my "Country Bears" top, and I'm pleased with it... I'm going to sandwich it this week-end (found a cute bears printed fabric in my stash, for the backing) and I think I'll quilt it with a diagonal grid.

I fused the appliques and hand button-hole stitched them (I just LOVE doing that !)...

Normally, it is for my one year old grandson, Andrea, we'll see.... In fact, my eldest daughter is not a "quilts fan", she prefers "design" furniture and very modern, trendy deco' (sigh). So, I guess she would take it to please me, and then put it in a closet for ever. (!). Maybe I'll wait for somebody who will really appreciate it. (Oh, I would have been soooo happy to get something made by my mother !).

Anyway, the most important thing is that I feel so happy, making my quilts. The rest is destiny ! "Accepting what we cannot change is a way to freedom"......


GRATITUDES
***************

A nice week-end ahead of me.
Crows in the field, next to my garden.
Pumpkin soup (yum !)
My optimism and joy of living
Simple life

Thursday, September 21, 2006

NOTIONS




ok, let's have a look at my sewing "things" :

1st picture : on the left is a sewing case I made last year. From time to time, we choose a hand sewing project at our bee. We decided to make our sewing case with a personal touch, for a change..... I wanted mine with a "romantic touch", something with an "oldie" look. It was not complicated, but rather long to make with all embroideries. On the right is a sewing box I bought in Spain. There are also two simple pin-cushions I made several years ago.

2nd picture : my sewing case open - all accessories (pin-cushion, scissors holder, thimble case, needles case, etc.... are removable (attached with "Velcro"), the burgundy fabric is hand quilted.

3rd picture : other side of the case, with cross stitched flowers and my initials.


And that's what Nadine makes, instead of working on her UFO's ! ! !

*************

Yet, I'm beginning to feel less pain in my feet. Slowly but surely..... As the doctor assigned me at residence and forbid me any housekeeping (bless him !) I took the opportunity of being at home to sit quietly, listening to music (or to the silence and quietness of my home) and, of course, do some quilting !


GRATITUDES
***************

a peaceful atmosphere at home

my helping husband

good surprises from some web friends

funnny film on TV

good book to read.



Wednesday, September 20, 2006

WOW ! ! ! I AM TEAL GREEN !

You Are Teal Green
You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.
Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.
While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.
Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.
What Color Green Are You?

Monday, September 18, 2006

OUCH ! ! ! ! ! !

Bad, bad Sunday !
I was so happy yesterday morning : no lunch to cook, as I already prepared it on Saturday (Aubergines alla Parmigiana), no housekeeping, no ironing, no lessons to prepare for school..... thus a whooooole quilting Sunday !
My right feet was painful (I have a bone spin in the heel), so I followed the kinesisth advise and was walking (running???) bare foot to my fabric shelves...... What happened that I stumbled against the dining-room table..... and took a chair leg BETWEEN the 4th and the little toe!!!!!!
Oh, my God, was it hurting ! (and still is...) I was just sitting on the floor and crying like a child.

We went to the emergencies : the little toe was dislocated. Allright, it was not broken. But the doctor said : "take a deep breath, because I have to relocate it ! Oh, my oh my ! (and my dh, trying to relieve the pain, had put "easing" balm on it ! so it slipped) ..... It wasn't easy for the doctor (a young trainee, as it was Sunday), neither was it for me.

Believe me or not, I was completely groggy when I came home.

No quilting....... No walking........ No shoes (my foot was twice its volume).... No smile....

Today is a little better, but I coudn't go to work (no shoes, no driving). Now I'm home for the rest of the week (sort of consolation) with both my feet acking...... (sigh).

I read some day, in a medical magazine, that our little toe is not useful at all and that we could, in fact, live without it....... WHO, on earth, wrote that ????????

Anyway, I can see a smile on your face (and one on mine, too).....

GRATITUDES
***************

At least, I've got my two hands ! (and my tongue)

My beloved ones's compassion and helping feet

Nice phone calls

Frozen ready meals I always store "just in case "

Something in the air, smelling like autumn....

Monday, September 11, 2006

09.11.2001 ........


TODAY, I REMEMBER.........
AND I SAY A PRAYER.......
WHEN THE POWER OF LOVE OVERCOMES THE LOVE OF POWER
THE WORLD WILL KNOW PEACE..........
(Jimmy Hendrix)

Friday, September 8, 2006

SMALL HOUSE........ BIG LIST !



(on this photo, you can see my tiniest UFO.....It's a shame ! I promise to finish it tonight!)

MY AUTUMN/WINTER (BIG) LIST

*************************************

CURRENT PROJECTS "ON THE TABLE" :

- Hexagons tote bag - handpieced - ready to be quilted

- "Floral Delight" (a Lori Smith pattern) - Needleturn appliqué

- "Shipshewana Blessings" - Amish style handpieced sampler blocks

- "Sunbonnet through the year" - one last block to hand applique

- "Safe Haven" (Thimbleberries) - 5 handpieced blocks, under 12

Hand quilting :

- Country Teddy Bears (single bed) - (sandwiched)

- "Bunnies Garden Party" (single bed) - (sandwiched)

- "Toffees" (single bed) - (sandwiched)

QUILTED - JUST NEEDING BINDING :

- "A new beginning" (double sized bed) (done for my DH 50th birthday..... he's 55 now !..... A very patient man!).

DREAM PROJECTS IN A CORNER OF MY MIND :

- "String Stars" (see Bonnie Hunter 's and Lucy "Quilting with the Past" blogs)

- "Gayle Bong's "Potluck quilt" (from her book "Save the scraps") (See also Lucy's blog)

- Lori Smith's "A tribute to American Quilters" (applique)

- "Watermelon Quilt" - Norwegian author (See "Hanne's Quilt corner" blog)

- Blackbird Designs's "Midnight Silhouette"

- A scrappy "Thousand Pyramids" (See Bonnie Hunter's "Quiltville" web site)

V O I L A !!!

GRATITUDES

***************

- Nice and thrilling quilting projects

- Nice and helping quilting friends

- Nice, understanding, hard working, problems solving,..... husband

- Nice caring children

- Nice and simple life




This block was part of a cute little quilt I saw 5 years ago in a French quilt magazine publicity. Unfortunately, I couldn't order it (no information at all).

It haunted my mind and I decided to draw it on a paper pattern sheet, changing some details in respect of the (unknown) author.

My impulse was stopped when I realized that it had to be paper-pieced, for an optimal result!

I really am VERY bad at paper-piecing.... A good quilting friend of mine did it for me, as a Christmas present, and I really LOVE it ! It hangs on our chimney wall... (Thanks, Simone !)


It's evening now : I'd better go back quilting !





Thursday, September 7, 2006

ORDER


The time has come to give our home its special care . I usually do this two times a year : in spring and in autumn (apart from the usual daily housekeeping, of course !).
But it's special to me, this time, as I 've decided to do it with good will and pleasure, rather than as a seasonal "chore". After all, our house is pleasant, comfortable, warm in the winter , fresh in the summer, solid and protecting...
....
It is (was !) also FULL of quilting stuff, from the dining-room table, to the sitting-room table, to the hall, to my bedroom .... You know that story.
The problem is that we 're living in a SMALL (but cosy) country cottage. I mean : medium kitchen, big living-room, 4 bedrooms, 1 big bathroom, one shower room - + garage , back porch and nice garden
- no upstairs, no attic, no cellar, no sewing room (only a big quilt shelf in my bedroom- ) -
With 4 children, the key-word has always been ORDER.......
With quilting (12 years up to now), this has slowly turned differently !
....
Soooooooo, I bravely and positively considered the whole situation and decided to :
- sort out ALL my fabrics by season. I kept Autumn and Winter fabrics (browns, oranges, reds, yallows, purples, blues, whites, plaids, etc.....) and put Spring and Summer aside in big boxes on the garage shelves (it's very dry and clean in there, no risk of humidity). I'll be sooo happy to find (discover) them by next March ! They'll be like new ones to me !
- I immediately gained two big shelf-compartments in my bedroom, that I used to put my numerous Ufo's and current projects on..... Which allowed me to empty the living-room tables from any quilt stuff.
- I went to a country shop and bought a nice big osier basket , installed it on a small table, near the chimney, with my 2 current hand and machine projects + one UFO.
- I sorted out my quilt books library and decided to take off each book I hadn't used for 3 years (I even found 4 different books that I had bought...twice!). After some sad and dramatic farewell, I brought some of them to a senior residence where many leisures are organized, and gave the rest (nicely wrapped) as Autumn presents to some of my quilting bee members, with less finance.
- I then promised myself to USE my Autumn/Winter stash for backings (some fabrics are there for years - they can be assembled in big squares and rectangles and make nice assorted quilt backings).
- Needing to sit with a good cup of coffee, I wrote THE Autumn/Winter quilting list (that I'll publish tomorrow).....

Wheeew ! Well done, Nadine !

- To finish with, I decided that I deserved to treat myself with a cuuuuuute tiny wall cupboard for my thimbles collection (which explains my above picture).

O R D E R - O R D E R - O R D E R ........................................

As my dear grand-mother said : "Clear house - clear mind !"


GRATITUDES
***************
. Order !
. The pleasure to do things with pleasure.
. An Opera music CD in the car.
. Nice new students at school.
. Lasagna tonight !

Monday, September 4, 2006

AUTUMN IS COMING...




This morning, Mr. Hedgehog paid his yearly visit to my garden... I was pleased to see him again (though so soon, this year ?). To us, a hedgehog is a lucky sign !


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This made me think about a cute autumn project we made with the bee 2 years ago. The theme (cats) was a must, but the colors were free choice...

I opted for two Halloween good friends.


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(Frustration : why won't Blogger let me place my photos as I wish ????? And why do I get TWO times the same photo ???? And why can't I suppress one ?????)

Sorry !

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GRATITUDES

***************

The changing season

A good timetable for this new school year

Wonderful new photos of Andea, my 15 months grandson

Ivy shower gel (mmmm , such a fresh scent !

Pasta for dinner !