Sunday, November 29, 2015

Greenville, South Carolina

These are the last pictures from last week's trip, a day trip to Greenville, South Carolina.  I've wanted to go there forever, just because I remember that the students from Greenville were so special.

Just imagine having a waterfall like this in the center of your town.

Hospice was having an event in the park with that waterfall.  There were colorful umbrellas in memory of friends or relatives.

There was a skating rink set up downtown, with music and a Christmas tree.  It started to rain and we ducked into the Carolina Ale House for lunch.  There were football games on the big tv's.  Some people liked South Carolina, some liked Clemson. 

And, they had Cold Mountain, a seasonal beer from Highland Brewing. ( The foam left a nice pattern on the glass.) The downtown had lots of shops and galleries.  It reminded me of a classy Galtinburg, maybe because there was a Kilwin's.  I'm so glad we went.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Homemade Applesauce

When I was a kid, my grandmother would save some of the Thanksgiving/Christmas cranberry salad for me because I loved it.  It had cranberries ground in an old-fashioned food grinder and mixed with jello, probably sugar too.  Topped with whipping cream.  

I was thinking of that today when Aaron was enjoying applesauce.  Not exactly left over, but extra that I made for him because he loves it.  He calls it G B Applesauce, for Gran B applesauce.

It's pretty easy to make.  My directions are a little vague, and the applesauce is never quite the same two times in a row.  I usually use about 8 or 9 pounds of Granny Smith apples, although if I have some other apples hanging around I might put those in too.  

Peel, core, and slice the apples and put them in a large pot.  Put in about a cup of water, cover, and bring the water to a boil, then turn it down low enough to just maintain the boil.  Stir with a wooden spoon every five minutes or so, adding more water when there is just a little left.

When the apples are soft enough to mash, turn off the heat and mash them with a potato masher.  Don't worry about getting it all perfectly smooth.  Add about a cup of sugar.

Take out a bit and taste when it's cool enough, adding more sugar half a cup at a time if necessary.  It probably will be necessary.

And that's it.  If this makes more than you need, just freeze some.  I always make applesauce for holiday meals, freezing it ahead of time.

The secrets, I think, are to use a firm apple and as little water as possible.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Warm Thanksgiving

Warm Thanksgiving wishes, everyone.

And it really is.  The warm weather this fall has been a treat and it continues today.  

The parsley and pansies were in a bed in the downtown park in Greenville, South Carolina, where we visited last week.  Parsley and petunias, I like that.  And I never would have thought of that combination on my own.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Winter Lights

Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum was stunning.  So many lights, incorporated so well into the arboretum features.

Somehow, two of the ones I loved were on the quiet side.  The tree was inside one of the buildings and had twigs painted white and added to the evergreen.  Of course, I might have liked it because Sarah cut and painted the twigs but I think I really liked it because of the contrast of the white with the dark green.

It's been a wonderfully warm day here.  I did get the yard mowed and the vines cut off the iron railings.  And then I couldn't resist winding the lights around the railing because there just CAN'T be another day like this for outside decorating.

Happily, my shopping today was simple.  The fabric store for some bits of fabric for alterations I'm doing.  The local ice cream shop just because it's the day before Thanksgiving and it's such a happy place, the kind of place out-of-town people just have to visit when they are home for a holiday.  There were extra donuts and Thanksgiving cakes.  Bags with orders waiting to be picked up.  Cars pulling up at the drive-through for ice cream.  Just happiness.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gingerbread Houses

This year I was lucky enough to go back to Asheville's Grove Park Inn and their gingerbread house competition.  Here are a couple of the houses for you, Joanne, I know you love them.

This one was the grand champion, displayed behind glass.  The shadow is probably me taking the picture.

In the lobby was a faux gingerbread house, where they sold this Oskar Blues Ol' Snap Fireplace Ale.  Among other things.  Very luscious small pour, with alcohol content around 9%.

We found unoccupied rocking chairs around one of the huge fireplaces to sit and enjoy it.  Lovely.

It was such a nice day, weather-wise, holding off turning colder until the next day.  Wonderful afternoon.  Thanks, Sarah and Winnie.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tall Christmas Tree

Another Christmas gift, a Tall Christmas Tree (76"), paper pieced from A Very Special Collection.  It took me a very long time, although a friend just finished one in a few days.  Did I mention that she's my hero?  This is my second tree, the tissue paper patterns come two to a package.  The patterns come in several sizes, with this one being the biggest, of course.

What a rainy afternoon.  I think I missed my window for the last lawn mowing on Monday, when the weather was still reasonably warm and dry.  I'll still mow, of course, but it may be pretty cold when I do.  Before that happens, I need to go to the gas station for about a quarter of a gallon to gas to finish up the season.

Next week I will trim back the clematis and other vines on my railings so I can put up the Christmas  lights.  It's hard to believe that they haven't frozen yet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tis The 'Season

'Tis the season for not talking a lot about where this little quilt is going.  The pattern is a disappearing nine-patch, although it's hard to tell that.  The fabric is Moda, but I can't remember the name of the design collection.

A week from today, I plan to be doing a lot of decorating and wrapping.  I had a closet that badly needed to be cleaned out and now it's a wonderful place for storing gifts.

I was so dismayed at myself for holding on to various things in that closet.  Like the two pillows that came with my sofa.  I've had that sofa for 12 years now, never liked those pillows, never used them.  I don't even like the sofa any more and keep a slip cover on it.  Why did I think I needed to keep those pillows?  It's especially discouraging to have things like that which actually came in the moving truck when I moved here.

Because it's the season, I'm making a double batch of cookies tonight.  Some for now, some to freeze for Christmas.  When I make the Thanksgiving applesauce, the same thing will happen.  Did I mention that I love my freezer?  

Monday, November 9, 2015

Quilt As You Go

I'll be doing a quilt as you go class later, and this is the sample.  It's from Quilt-As-You-Go by Gudrun Erla.  The picture in the book was pale pinks and greens, but I like dots.

Aaron and I went to see The Peanuts Movie on Saturday and we both enjoyed it.  It was very nicely done, blending some of the original comics and themes with 3D characters.  Our favorite line was there:  I am NOT your Sweet Babboo.

Last time we went to this theater I didn't have any quarters for video games and I promised him "next time."  I don't think he remembered, but I did.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Happy Day

My daughter Stephanie and I had an afternoon beer sampler (maybe 2) and good bar food at 50W in Newtown, Ohio.  And all the beers were great.  A new local favorite.

It's a day to be happy.  Aaron had his annual eye exam at Cincinnati Children's Medical Center and the news was good.  So grateful for the doctors at Children's and for preschool vision screening.  For his parents who patched him as much as he could tolerate, made sure he wore his glasses every day, and tracked down those glasses at least three times a week in unlikely places.  At age eight, his vision with glasses is 20/20 in each eye, and it could have been so different.

His dream is to be a baseball player, and if that happens I hope he is an advocate for early screening.  If that doesn't happen, I still hope he is an advocate.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

That Turkey

The turkey quilt.  An Anita Goodesign in the hoop project.  Sort of like the paint by number that I enjoyed as a kid.

As I recall, it took quite awhile to do all those hoopings, but it was so fun to do.  

I got up early this morning and went out to vote for our new governor and a few other selections.  There were four poll workers, no voters except for me.  I was voter # 20.

Yesterday was an all-day annual work event at a nice hotel.  I had such a good time and the day flew by.  I enjoy seeing the employees from the other stores and hearing about new techniques and notions.  Today, I'll be in the store, and I'm looking forward to that too.

At the end of the day, my bosses took us out to eat and it was lovely to have a glass of wine and just sit still and enjoy a meal.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Post Halloween

I woke up this morning eager to change the clocks and to change out the Halloween decorations.  I made this little Halloween quilt years ago.  Very precise, with sashings  Polyester batting.  Stitch in the ditch quilting.  Or, maybe I just used the buttons as tacking,  Still, I can see some of the quilter I would become.  Bright colors.  Movement.

I can picture myself making it.  Probably using a Singer machine, which I still have.  Cutting out each individual piece, or maybe I used a rotary cutter.  I was so happy when the rotary cutter/ruler/cutting mat came along and when I could finally afford all three.  And a book with directions about using them.  The idea then was to use this new technique to make traditional quilts.  I want to see whether I still have that book.  I'm guessing not.  

The Thanksgiving replacement is a turkey quilt, made with the embroidery machine, very different.  I'll post that picture tomorrow, although you've probably seen it before.