I took up a new hobby recently and have surprised myself with how much I enjoy it! My mom had several shirts that belonged to my step dad who passed away about 4 years ago. She wanted to donate them and I asked if I could have them. I had heard about memory quilts made from men’s shirts. I did some research (mainly on Pinterest) and then asked a cousin who is an experienced quilter for help. She steered me towards a pattern that matched my experience level-NONE! And then gave me a lesson in how to cut and lots of great tips on sewing the pieces together.
These shirts were similar in material probably cotton/poly blends and I used the blue, green and yellow ones in the quilt. The pattern is called simply squares. The light blue material I selected thinking it would complement the shirt colors.
With help from my sister and Mom, we picked a red material for the border and then added some spots of red in the quilt. Red was one of his favorite colors.
I made LOTS of mistakes on this and was thankful for a good seam ripper so I could start over. For me, the trickiest part was sewing everything precisely and getting the seams to match up as I added the pieces and the border. I completed the top and plan to have it machine quilted. I never thought I would enjoy quilting and was so wrong.
I love how the top turned out and can’t wait to see the finished product.
I made my first batch of sauce last weekend. The tomato plants have struggled along and I needed to do something with what I had but it was not enough. I went to a farm stand on Saturday and bought a box of “seconds” for $15 and started the 4-5 hour process of making sauce. A friend of mine wants me to teach her how to can tomatoes so I wrote down quantities and steps this time. Usually I just do it and don’t follow a recipe however it is hard to tell someone else how much of each ingredient to have on hand!
The garlic, onions, basil, oregano, carrots, squash, eggplant, and about a third of the tomatoes are from my garden. The purchased tomatoes and peppers come from a farm close to Gettysburg, PA so I am saying this is slow sauce.
This process takes awhile and it seems like I use a ton of pots, pans, utensils, etc so the end result is a messy kitchen. Thank goodness the cleaning crew came on Monday though I am still finding tomato splatters in the kitchen. The pot is 12 quarts and just eyeballing it at this point, I thought I had 8 quarts.
I finished the process on Tuesday with a hot water canning bath. And ended up with 9 quarts, I processed 7 quarts as that is the max the canner holds. The rest will go into lasagna as requested by my son before he returns to school.
Fresh out of the canner
Here is the recipe, documented mainly for my benefit, so maybe I can repeat it!
- 36 cups peeled and roughly chopped tomatoes. These were a mixture of Brandywine, San Marzano, Cherokee Purple, Yellow, Beefsteak, Stripey and Amish Paste
- 1/2 large chopped cayenne pepper (will cut back on this in next batch)
- 3 large chopped green bell peppers
- 3 large chopped carrots
- 2 cups chopped onion
- I small chopped eggplant
- 1 small chopped yellow squash
I chop everything in the food processor and then sauted it in olive oil until soft. I combined the tomatoes and vegies in the 12 quart pot to bring to a boil. Then I added the following: (all the measurements are estimates as I did not measure anything)
- 6 tbls black pepper
- 3 tbls onion powder
- 2 tbls garlic powder
- 2 tbls smoked paprika
- 2 tbls cayenne pepper
- 2 tbls white pepper
- 1/8 cup pickling sale (no iodine)
- 1/4-1/3 cup fresh chopped basil
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped oregano
- tomato paste, added later to help thicken sauce
I brought this to a boil and then simmered it a couple of hours to reduce.
We have lined up a few good shows over the next month. Starting off with a girls outing to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Kennedy Center for a matinee performance this weekend. Here is a link to WashPo’s review. I have never seen it so am excited! We are having lunch at District Commons, another first for me.
We will head to the beach for a long weekend and return in time to deposit son back at school. I hate to say it but I am ready for him to be back in college.
In September, we will see Little Feat at the Warner Theatre, I really like this venue for a show and we have pretty good seats.
And then in the same week, on to Celebrate Virginia in Fredericksburg for ZZ Top and Govt Mule.
Today we are headed to the ballpark to see the Nationals face the Giants again.
We finally have some tomatoes from my garden, it took awhile with rainy May and the chloratic tomato plants I had. Some I grew myself and some I ordered from a company that is totally devoted to tomatoes but I won’t mention their name (smile) as the plants came in dismal condition. So we had to get them healthy enough to be planted.
Last night we had BLTs for dinner, the bacon came from Springfield Butcher. And each of us changed it up a bit as we built the sandwich. There was the BLT+cheese-cheddar on the first sandwich and pepper jack on the second sandwich. And the BT+basil, my personal favorite. The last one was BLT x2 with lettuce then tomato then bacon then tomato then lettuce layered between the bread. I did not take photos-photo fail-again.
Also I made ratatouille with all the ingredients from my garden, eggplants, yellow squash, peppers, onions, garlic, basil, and tomatoes. Doesn’t get more local/slow food than that!
So we had a bit of a mishap at the community garden. It appears someone or something hit the gate posts and broke them. As the community garden coordinator, I arranged to get it repaired. I found a great handyman not too long ago, he helped me with some repairs on a townhouse that I am looking after for a friend who is active duty and deployed to Europe. Anyway, the gate would hardly open as the posts wobbled back and forth. So Joe the handyman had a pretty large job to dig up the posts and concrete so he could replace them. The gate looks great and works so much better.
The vegie garden is not looking so good, heat and disease are taking a toll. If we can persevere for a couple more weeks, then the plants should produce through the fall.
The pollinators keep on doing their job. I see lots of butterflies and bees working away.
Its August 1 and as usual I had some work tasks to get done, submit invoices, file and pay sales taxes, review the monthly budget, all part of the routine. I like to get these tasks out of the way and think about our plans for the month.
This month I have several things to accomplish:
I will help our son get ready to return to school but first he is going to OBX with some friends. And trying to keep the garden going through the heat of August. Hopefully starting to can produce from the garden. I have several home improvement projects planned. And will share more on that- if I can remember to take before photos! And for fun, we have one more beach trip planned.
Anyway, I hope your month is shaping up nicely!