Monthly Archives: August 2017

Instant Pot

Published / by Mary / 8 Comments on Instant Pot

I’m still looking at recipes and trying them out in the Instant Pot. It’s a little complicated by my GI issues and waffling about how much I’m actually going to try to follow the recommended diet. 

Tonight I decided to make a simplified version of shredded chicken BBQ and I should have taken photos but I didn’t. 

It couldn’t have been easier 

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • I cup of Diet Coke (I have a recipe for BBQ pork in the crock pot that uses Coke too) I don’t keep Coke in the house so I always use Diet Coke. 
  • Salt and pepper

Cooked on high pressure for 20 minutes. It shredded like a dream and I mixed it with Stubbs BBQ sauce. Served with corn on the cob and cole slaw. Quick, easy, tasty!

Since I didn’t take a photo of dinner, how about one of Finn?!  He sits on the end of my recliner on the quilt and when I have to get up I slide him gently to the floor. Tonight he patiently waited for me to come back and for me to take his photo. 

Quilt Notes

Published / by Mary / 2 Comments on Quilt Notes

I’ll write up these instructions later but I’ve had a bunch of questions about the spools quilt so I thought I’d jot some notes for those of you interested. 

The inspiration quilt came from an eBay search for vintage quilts. 

I was impatient to start so I didn’t draw out my quilt in TouchDraw like I usually do. 

  • My Quilt size will be 48 x 64
  • Block size is 8 inches finished (8.5 with seam allowances)
  • Blocks will be set 6 x 8

Strips are cut 2.5 x width of fabric and you’ll need 48 strips – I’m starting with a Jelly Roll with 40 strips and adding 8 additional strips from stash. 

Sew two strips with good contrast together – each strip set will yield two blocks. 

Using a quarter square ruler cut 8 triangles from each strip set, you will need to alternate the direction of your ruler with each cut. 

I’m using an Omnigrid quarter square triangle ruler. Since the ruler was sliding around a bit on me when I made my test blocks, I bought some of the Dritz grippy dots at Joann’s last month. 

To sew them, you can lay out your triangles like the block ….

But I like to sew with the straight edge under my needle rather than the skinny edge …

So, I lay my 8 triangles like this and just fold that top one down on the side triangle and I don’t have to do a lot of twisting of my pieces – it also keeps me from sewing the wrong side of the triangle!

Pressing – I press my strip set seam to the darker fabric but when it comes time to press these seams, I found pressing them open is easiest as I’m going to twist and turn the blocks in the final quilt. 

At this point you’ll have 4 pieces, lay them out into two blocks and sew the final seam – also pressing that one open. 

You will need to nip those little triangle bits off the corners too. 

Just for fun

Published / by Mary / 2 Comments on Just for fun

I was reading an article and I came across this Microsoft site that analyzes a photo and guesses your age.  Sound like fun? I thought so. I uploaded this photo of me and Keith and I kind of like these results even if they’re not accurate.

I like this one even better …. I must also like this shirt because I’m wearing it in both photos!

Any guesses as to how far off they are? Try it out for yourself just for fun!


Published / by Mary / 3 Comments on Hurricanes

Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the path of Hurricane Harvey. I’ve had several emails about quilt donations in the affected area but my belief is that what’s needed in the immediate aftermath of a disaster is monetary donations and I always encourage people to donate if they’re able. We’ve donated through the American Red Cross but donations to any organization helping the relief efforts are good.  I’m sure there will come a time when quilt donations are solicited and if I can be confident that they’ll get to those in need, I’ll also contribute to that effort. 

Having lived almost 16 years in Florida (we lived in FL for 13 years before moving to the Atlanta area in 2002 and to Minneapolis in 2006, and have been back for 3 years), I’m no stranger to hurricane preparedness. We’ve lived though several but have been lucky that we’ve had very minimal damage to our homes —- yes, in those 16 years, we’ve lived in 6 different homes. When we were buying the Tampa townhouse, I did my research and checked to see if we were in a flood zone – after all, we’re just a block from Hillsborough bay. We’re just barely outside of the flood zone but because I’m  a cautious person, we have flood insurance even though it’s not mandated. 

Surprisingly, what I failed to check 2 years ago was whether we were in an evacuation zone and it came as a bit of a shock that we were … at the time, our area was zoned for evacuation in the even of a Category 3 hurricane. That caused a bit of concern because with Chesty, going to a shelter was probably not an option as there are very few that allow pets. Chesty died in 2015, I spent most of the 2016 hurricane season in VA caring for my sister-in-law,  and then we got Finn in February so this hurricane season we again had to be extra concerned with evacuation plans due to having a pet. 

Imagine my shock when I double checked the evacuation maps this week to find them changed — we are now in an evacuation zone for a Category 1 hurricane. Yes, we are in the first zone to be evacuated in the event of any hurricane heading for Tampa. Not sure how I missed the news that it had changed but it’s an unexpected complication. 

Still on my design wall

Published / by Mary / 5 Comments on Still on my design wall

I’m moving very slow when it comes to finishing up my to do list for August – I’ve almost run out of steam but there is some progress on the Schoolhouses. I’ve moved on to piecing the 9 patch cornerstones. 

I’ve also started a new quilt – inspired by a vintage one found on eBay. 

There’s knitting going on too but I don’t expect to finish anything this week …. just slow progress on both quilts and the knit blanket. 

Dinner tonight 

Published / by Mary / 3 Comments on Dinner tonight 

I was going to share this recipe for balsamic glazed pork made in the Instant Pot but the website must be down right now which makes me glad that I saved the recipe to my iPad when I found it a few days ago.  If the link doesn’t work, check back later because it was pretty good and we’ll definitely have it again. I served it with coleslaw and some sweet potato wedges that I fixed in the airfryer.  I think I’m turning into my Mom who was the queen of kitchen gadgets and devices. She had to downsize her kitchen stuff significantly when she moved a year and a half ago. 

So while there are lots of ways to save websites and pdf’s I admit my favorite is using iBooks on my iPad. I can organize by quilting, by recipes, by any categories you want and the info is available even when I’m offline. 

To use, when on a webpage, click the square with the arrow on the top left of your iPad screen and scroll right to find the iBooks icon. It will turn any website you’re on into a PDF file and save it or you can save PDF files the same way.  

I also save all my digital copies of books I buy from Martingale on iBooks but I’m an Amazon user so most of my actual digital books are read on the kindle. Initially I kept all my files in the same folder on iBooks but as I saved more and more, it’s easier to have them in folders. Check this link for more info on using iBooks. 


Published / by Mary / 16 Comments on HeartStrings

Today I sewed along with my HeartStrings group – some of them are meeting in person in Roberts, WI and some of us are sewing along from home. String piecing is messy business … at least it is in my sewing room!

I finished up a set of 48 blocks and even though I’m going to send these in for our block drive, I couldn’t resist quickly laying them out to get an idea of how the quilt will look. 

This room needs more work 

Published / by Mary / 3 Comments on This room needs more work 

So my library is in transition. I lOVED my original design – the two chairs with the table and lamp between them and my custom designed built in bookshelves … but we found that every time we had company, this is the room we all congregated in and there were ONLY two seats!! We decided to switch the chairs to flank the fireplace and add a love seat between the windows and two cubes that are either side tables, ottomans, or seats depending on what we need them to be at the time. 

The new furniture arrived today and while we still need to work out the lighting, the carpet, and some other pieces in the room I’m confident I can get it to the point that I love it as much as I did the original space AND how great will it be to be able to seat more people? To sit on the love seat and read to all the kids? 

I admit I’m still adjusting to it being more of a living room space than a library space but it’s definitely more functional and I’ll appreciate it when we have company. 


Published / by Mary / 2 Comments on Attachments

As a quilter, I rarely use or even learn what odd sewing attachments come with my machines. Give me a quarter inch foot, a regular sewing machine foot, a freemotion foot, and a walking foot and the rest are ignored. 

I like to cut my binding 2.5 inches and use my regular sewing machine foot to attach it UNLESS I have a pieced border with points that requires me to use the 1/4 inch foot but the regular foot on the Jane is too narrow to sew my binding perfectly so it folds over and just covers the seam when I hand stitch but I found this seam guide with the other feet I don’t use and decided I’d try it out. It works perfectly … now I just need to see if I can use it with the walking foot because for some reason, there’s no hole for a quilting guide on that. I will be VERY, VERY, VERY happy if this attachment works with the walking foot. I’m using it here with my quarter inch foot. 

This week’s task

Published / by Mary / 11 Comments on This week’s task

One last quilt to bind – it’s trimmed, the binding is made – now I just have to sew it on and handstitch it down but I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of it as I spread it out on the floor to trim it this morning – the swirls seemed endless when I was quilting this king size top but as I see the texture they created I’m glad I chose them for this quilt. 

I’m not that photogenic so I’m always kind of happy when Keith snaps a good photo of me. We had dinner down by the water tonight and in spite of the heat we sat outside. Between all the fans and the breeze from the water it was surprisingly comfortable! 


Published / by Mary / 2 Comments on Pineapples

I’ve had several questions about Mom’s Pineapple quilt in my last post. She used Foundation by the Yard by Benartex to make it but I admit my favorite way to make one is the Quilt in a Day sew and trim method. I’ve somehow misplaced my book and the square up ruler so I might just reorder them myself. 

These blocks are a good size and go quickly. Mom made three baby quilts using the Quilt in a Day method too – one in pinks, one in blues, and one in greens that were all very sweet. I think she would agree this was easier than the foundation piecing although  I love the results of that one too and am thrilled that it’s mine now. 

This one is Rae’s

It’s not a one way street

Published / by Mary / 7 Comments on It’s not a one way street

Since my blog is usually about what I’ve accomplished during the day, you get to see the things I do for Mom but in case you didn’t realize it, this is not a one way street. Many of my quilts are collaborations with Mom and she’s always been willing to exchange labor with me. Most recently she’s pieced two bed size quilts and I convinced her that since she didn’t often use her pinapple quilt that I should have it. She sent the quilt with my brother and it’s on the bed at Big Canoe but I’m debating whether I want it here in Tampa or there. 

I don’t know if she has a label on it but it’s been years since I quilted it for her. I think we were still living in Marietta and we left there in 2006.  I don’t even recognize the pantograph so I bet it’s one I used on the larger Gammill.  One of the disadvantages of having downsized the longarm when we moved to Minneapolis is that the throat space of the smaller Premier only allows me to quilt a 12 inch wide pantograph.  That means having to roll the quilts and realign the pattern more often which takes more time. 

Not a very good photo … I prefer this bed up against the wall but since it’s our only guest room at Big Canoe (my longarm is in the 3rd bedroom) placing the bed here allows me to set up cots on either side when the kids are there with their little ones.