Taking A Pause

I just realized, here we are in February of 2021 and I haven’t finished a single quilt in 2021. I have a few that are pieced and as soon as they are basted I will quilt and bind those, but I haven’t been rushing to do it. Even though they were pieced in 2020, I don’t consider them done till they are DONE so they will be 2021 quilts.

This year I’ve decided to simply make less quilts and do some of the patterns I have longed to do for years. Some I have put aside thinking they are likely outside or above my skill level, but in all honesty, most I have put aside because they are time consuming and I felt I could make a lot more in the time one took. I have now donated or gifted over 400 quilts and it’s time to step back, make less and do the ones that have been on my to do list for years.

So what’s on your to do list for 2021?

Have a blessed day.

Gluten Free Bread – The Good, The Bad And the Ugly

The Bad: I wanted to love Chick fil a for making a gluten free bun but they hyped it too much. They talked about how they worked so long and so hard with a bakery to get it just right. The owner of the bakery was even gluten free. I still doubted because if you’ve ever eaten gluten free bread, you know it sucks. So last week I took the plunge and gave that bun a try. Now I wish I had not. The bun comes in an individual plastic wrapper and you make the sandwich yourself. That made me nervous as I wondered how long they had it hanging around. While I have to say it wasn’t disgusting, to say it was a good bun, was a long stretch. Very long. If you like full wheat grain bread you would like it better. It kind of has a dirt texture and basically tasted like a stale whole grain wheat bun. I wouldn’t order again.

The Ugly: Canyon Bakery bread. Celiac site said oh it’s great. Hmmmm NO. If you like nasty, spongy, weird tasting bread it was delish for only $6 a loaf. I looked and they are one of the sponsors of the celiac website. That explains a lot.

The Good: If you’re gluten free you’re likely like me and have given up on bread. A good one haven’t found it’s way to me in the past. However, I found one this week that I would buy again and recommend. Not only is the bread good, but the name and descriptions crack me up. It’s called HAPPY CAMPER BREAD. I ordered the Classy Slice and it was good. It actually made my to date, favorite grilled cheese. I also tried the Buckwheat molasses and it made great toast. In fact it’s rare to find a GF bread that will actually toast but it does. Next week I’ll be trying to Hemp Hemp Horray. Crazy name but I think it will be good. It’s pricey but so is any gluten free bread and this is one you can eat.

Have a blessed day.

Hello Chick Fil A

Being gluten free means so much pre planning. I have to know what I have for breakfast and lunch so it’s ready to go. Not too hard as I can simply make some grilled chicken for a few days at a time or slice ham in advance.

Today I was enlightened. Everyone was ordering Chick Fil A and asked what I wanted before remembering I can’t eat gluten. But hey, did you know? When I looked it turns out Chick Fil A offers a gluten free bun. It’s individually packaged so it doesn’t touch other buns and comes sealed so you have to assemble your own sandwich. I called and they also said while not a gluten free environment, the waffle fries are in a dedicated fryer and gluten free and so is the grilled chicken breast.

So while I know I chance a slight gluten cross contamination, it’s Chick Fil A. I’ll let you know how it was after lunch.

Gluten Free – Day 3

Well, my doctor feels almost certain I have celiac disease. My prior tests came back inconclusive so rather than pay for those high price tests again, we are trying 30 days gluten free. So far even after the second day I see a difference.

Gluten free isn’t near as easy as you would think. It is close to impossible to eat out or use pre-made foods unless you ask a thousand questions but that’s ok as I’m not really into processed pre-made foods all that much. While it would be much easier to make a list of things I’d eat than it would things I won’t, I am trying to convince myself to try new foods. I will miss Chinese but msg is a main gluten ingredient so . . . . .

I am discovering some things I wouldn’t have thought of. Gluten free waffles made at home are much crisper and light than regular waffles. Bacon is gluten free thank goodness and most sausage is nowadays also as many companies are leaving out the msg. I found McDonalds will cook your eggs in a pan if you tell them you are allergic to gluten so you can still eat there.

I am trying very hard to make myself like sweet potatoes and while it’s not going that well I did try making twice baked sweet potatoes. OMG I loved them. They were even better heated up as I put it under the broiler and the bacon got so crunchy. I’m sure they are a lot more fattening that way but so tasty.

By the way I also discovered that while most restaurants offer a gluten free menu you better ask. I was surprised I could eat gluten free at Olive Garden. I thought I’d get the steak and potato dish but it’s gone from the menu so I ordered the gluten free pasta dish. Oh I should have asked. There is fairly good gluten free pasta out and I assumed they would just cook in a separate. NOPE. It comes to them pre-packaged and precooked. They just microwave the pouch of noodles and pouch of sauce and put it on a plate for a whopping $15.99. I made it thru 2 bites and just couldn’t. It was absolutely disgusting.

Breakfast today was a sausage pattie and over easy egg. Lunch was a grilled burger with no bun topped with grilled onions and that leftover sweet potato – very tasty.

Now I’m off to decide on lunch tomorrow.

Will 2021 Be Any Better?

I had high hopes that 2021 might be a much better year but it’s looking kinda iffy. With Biden coming in office making so many mandates and so much mis-information on Covid, I doubt much will change. Government wants to shut down businesses and ban travel. Bottom line, we are ruining people’s lives. But I leave that debate for another day as I try not to hash out politics I can’t change. Wait for the next election and hope people vote wiser.

But what changes for the common man, or woman in this case? Not a lot. I live a pretty quiet life. Some might call it boring but I’ve done enough in my younger years that quiet or boring is ok with me. I take care of my job, my house and my pups and that’s a good life. I get to see my sexy sister and her handsome hubby and couple times a year so that’s just icing on my cake.

One thing I hope to be able to change is how I handle my RA. Another walk in visit and it’s decided gluten is an issue so I am going to try my best to cut out gluten. Funny when I tell medical people that they are, it’s not a try, you have to do it. I do understand that it’s a food allergy just like any other and that you’re damaging your body eating it, but avoiding things like berries or certain meds is a whole lot easier than avoiding gluten. It’s in nearly everything you eat. You literally have to read every single label and do a lot of research. For instance, oatmeal is naturally gluten free so you’d think ok oatmeal is good. Nope. It’s usually contaminated with other things they process so you have to buy gluten free oatmeal which by the way costs almost twice as much. Doesn’t make sense to me that I have to pay more for it not to be cross contaminated. If I buy chicken I don’t expect it to be contaminated with fish. You don’t have to go in and ask for fish free chicken.

If you amble across this blog feel free to read along on the new endeavor. I’ll post what’s good, what’s bad and maybe even learn to like new foods. I wouldn’t bet money on the last one as I don’t like most foods. Well off to plan a make ahead gluten free breakfast.

My Body Part Quilt

I have become addicted to making octagon quilts. I really love mixing the octagons blocks with 4 patch posy blocks. I started wondering if you could take really ugly fabric and make it look great by making octagons? The thing with them is you don’t really know in advance what the finished blocks will look like. So, I set out on a quest to find a really ugly fabric and see what it came out like. I settled on this fabric called Bright Smoke. I tried to see in my mind what it would work into but there was no telling till you at least cut it out.

If you’re like me you’re looking at this going, hmmmmm. Well off I went. Lined up my repeats and started cutting. I have to say I was surprised how it came out. I like it as it’s very unique but my dog groomer walked in while I was laying out octagons to sew and she flipped. She said she couldn’t imagine that fabric made that but she was in love. It has since been finished and it’s jokingly referred to as my “body part” quilt. There are blocks of legs, heads, boobs and even one that is butt crack pieces. The day I showed it to her finished she even stayed while I washed it as she was excited to take it home. I would have to guess it’s without a doubt, one of a kind.

A Few Finished Quilts

I’m working to finish some quilts before 2020 ends so that in 2021 I have no promised projects and no deadlines. I want to take that year and really concentrate on some new techniques or blocks, some blocks or designs I’ve struggled with in the past or just things I’ve always wanted to do.

I still have a 4 or 5 I’ll need to quilt, but I am on the piecing of the last one I have promised. Fabric for the borders should arrive this week and I can finish it up. In the meantime I did finish my tribute to Trump. Sounds funny but I call it the Wall. I had intended to layer it like the usual shadow box but as I added the grey sashing I ordered, I realized it looked like cement with bricks in it. Hence, my wall quilt. Marilyn’s husband Ken loved it so it’s been delivered to him as a gift.

The next one I got finished was my hexagon radish. I made a hexagon a few years ago then bought this as I was excited to see how it would look. Turns out I don’t really like the look of the one block wonder quilts so I added some coordinating triangles and made my own design. I was really surprised how pretty it came out for a fabric that was just radishes with leaves. Some of the hexagons almost look like Christmas wreaths. This one doesn’t have a home yet but it will eventually.

I’ve Been Gone A While

Hard to believe I haven’t posted here since October but then again I don’t live an overly exciting life. However, I did have an amazing visit from my sexy sister Jilly and her handsome hubby Mark. They are such amazing people that I just wish they’d come for a visit one day and decide to never leave.

We had our usual chiil-cation for a week and did things around town. Unfortunately with all the Covid nonsense we couldn’t do a lot but we had a great time just spending time with each other. We did get to have chicken wings at Beef’s and I know Mark was looking forward to that.

After a week of visiting, we took a second week and went to Mississippi to visit Judi, one of the ladies I’ve known forever in our facebook quilt group, but only online. Wow her and her hubby Johnny were such easy people to meet and spend time with. Kinda of like family you finally got to meet. We had a great time and even drove around Alabama before we came home.

I love these two and can’t wait till I can live where I can see them all the time. So funny, my dogs love Mark. They check his room every morning for a week after he leaves before they finally accept he isn’t hiding in there.

Changing Up The House

I really love the white cabinet I was given this year. It looks so nice in the living room and makes that one area not look so empty compared to the rest. Then I decided the living needed a bit more of a color boost. You know I like color. Well, I decided it was time for the black and tan rugs to be replaced. Also looking, I realized the new sofa wasn’t the best fabric for dogs as their nails were leaving snags in the fabric. Since the sofa was less than 6 months old, a new one wasn’t in the mix. You know what that means, sofa cover.

I ended up going with a gray sofa cover since the sofa was gray and added in a new chair cover for baby dog’s chair so they matched. Then I needed something to brighten the room. Hence my new rugs. My daughter says they’re hideous but I have to say, I love them.

Of course I was just finishing a multi-colored quilt that has the same colors so I think I will hang it on the wall.

She Waited A Long Time

My bosses daughter asked me late last year about making some quilts leftover from fabric her mom had. I told her in advance it would be well after April and it was lol. Apparently her mom used to hand quilt. Mom had a few blocks half made that were hand stitched but they were falling apart to the point I didn’t want to try and use them, and there wasn’t a lot left to choose from. She basically had a box of scraps. Some pieces were a half yard and some were 5 or 6 inches.

Looking at the prints there were likely from the 30’s or 40’s (her mom died 20+ years ago) so I wanted something simple to match what would have been a popular quilt when she was sewing. I used whatever fabrics I could get a 3 in square from and made simple 9 patch blocks. They still needed something so I hit the store and found 2 tone on tone creams that had a very vintage look and made hour glass blocks to go between the 9 patch blocks. Came out very vintage looking.

It wasn’t an easy tasks for me for a couple of reasons. One is I don’t care too much for scrappy looking quilts so using so many colors was outside my comfort zone. My friend Sue loves scrappy and said just use whatever you pick up next rather than trying to coordinate. That saved my sanity. The second was the odor. OMG that fabric had sat in a garage 20+ years in a cardboard box. It reeked of what I call old smell. You know that smell when you open a door and a house is full of old furniture, old clothes, etc. I didn’t dare wash it till I had it pieced and quilted so for weeks every time I opened my front door, you could smell it. Thankfully a little Gain laundry soap and some bounce dryer sheets and they smelled like new once they were washed.

She wanted it gift the 2 quilts to her daughters as something of their grandmothers so I made them almost alike. They have the same fabrics and one is quilted with swirls and one is quilted with hearts. She really liked them and I hope the girls love them as a reminder of their grandmother. I suggested she take the handmade squares her mom had in the box and carefully frame one for each daughter to display with their quilts.