Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tomato sauce

I got a wild hare this week that I wanted to make tomato sauce.  I've never made tomato sauce.  I've never done any canning.  I've made jelly a few times, but not recently.

So, I stopped at the vegetable stand on the way home from work on Thursday.  They have about 20 varieties of tomatoes.  I know that plum tomatoes or Roma tomatoes are supposed to be good for sauce, but that was one variety they did NOT have.  So I asked the woman who owns the stand if the ones labeled "local - grown in Keezletown" would make good sauce.  They would, so then to decide how many to buy - she suggested that they sell 1/2 bushels for canning - hmm, that sounded like too many tomatoes.  So she had a box with a few pounds in it - ones with a couple of bruises, etc, that weren't pretty for using at the table - and suggested they would be good for sauce; the whole lot for $2.  Well, I figured I couldn't go wrong for $2, so they went home with me.  Since DH was working late, I put a pot on the stove and started peeling tomatoes.  I peeled them, cut out the bruised parts, squeezed out as much of the seeds as I could, then chopped and put them in a pot. 

After about 2 hours of simmering, everything was broken down and about the right consistency.  I used my immersion blender to smooth it out a little more, then packaged it up into 2 quart-size zip bags which I put in the freezer.

Today, I used my homemade tomato sauce to make spaghetti sauce.  Yum!  It tasted different than using canned tomato sauce - it's sweeter.  Next time I do this, I won't put any sugar into the spaghetti sauce.  So this week, I may take the woman at the farm stand up on her suggestion of 1/2 bushel. 

Stash report - 29 August 2010

Nothing bought this week, and a little bit used.

In this week:  0 yds
Out this week:  1.08 yds

In YTD:  75.13 yds
Out YTD:  30.87 yds

Net for the year:  44.26 yds added.

Check out Judy's blog for how everyone else did this week.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stash report - 15 August 2010

Well, I did well on Friday using from stash to finish my Mardi Gras quilt, but then when I pulled out the blocks from the Judy Martin swap, I wanted to have something to integrate the whole into the borders, so I went shopping.

 In this week:  13.63 yds
Used this week:  3.14 yds
Net for the week:  10.49 yds added

In YTD:  75.13 yds
Used YTD:  29.79 yds
Net YTD:  45.35 yds added - not quite Busting stash, am I?
But I am finishing quilts, so I'm OK with that.

Stay at home retreat

I've been having a solo stay-at-home quilt retreat this weekend.  I took Friday as a vacation day and have been quilting all weekend.

On Friday, I pulled out a set of swap blocks from the "Romp in the Swamp" with The Quilting Post friends.  Because we had a retreat in Louisiana, our swaps were Southern or Louisiana themed.  The set I worked with this weekend was stars in Mardi Gras colors - green, gold and purple.   Sashing, backing, and binding are all from stash.  The quilting on this one is a freehand ribbon meander - sort of like streamers.  I even had a batt and thread in the stash that worked for this one

I'm calling this Mardi Gras.  The binding is sewn on the front, but still needs to be turned and hand stitched to the back.

I just took off the machine another quilt from swap blocks, also through TQP.  This is a from a swap of 6" blocks in 30's reproduction prints.  I got some half-circle templates yesterday, and quilted this with Baptist fans. 
This also has the binding applied, but still needing to be stitched to the back.

The next set of blocks I"m working on is much older - these are from a 1995 swap, on Genie, I think.  We had a group of 25, each of us picked a focus fabric and a Judy Martin block pattern.  We sent a piece of our focus fabric to each person, and we all made our selected block in the different fabrics.  My focus fabric was a teal background with wheat-brown flowers and purple leaves.  I've put my blocks up on the design wall (looks like I did not make my own block in my focus fabric....)
I want this to be a bed-size quilt, so I'm going to do some type of sashing, and maybe a series of borders - narrow inner border, then a pieced border of some sort, then maybe a final narrow border.  I went to the LQS yesterday and found to pieces of brown that go well with the brown in my focus fabric, and one piece of wine that matches one of the leaf colors, so I've got something to work with.  I think I'll play with some designs in EQ before I start cutting anything.

Oh, and all of the pictures today are from my new camera.  I was having a lot of trouble getting clear pictures with my old camera, so I got a new Canon PowerShot SD1300IS.  I like it so far.

Time to find some lunch.   DH will be back from his mini-vacation in a little while, so I'll probably stay out of the sewing room this evening. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Busy Day

Well, kinda.  Today started EARLY - up at 2:30 a.m. so we could take DMIL to the airport.  Leaving her at the security line seemed almost as bad as leaving one of the children there by themselves.  Even if we know that she's perfectly capable of managing her bag and getting through security and to her gate all by herself, LOL.  We did get a call mid-afternoon that she has safely arrived at her destination. 

Dance practice this afternoon.  Some things are working, and some just aren't.  I think I'll be working on natural spin turns forever....When we go in to practice tomorrow, I expect they'll be better - it seems to work that way.  One day the timing is just off, then the next it works.  At least I hope so.  Even the things that don't feel like they are working right are much better than they were at our last competition, so I'm really pleased with our progress.  Having the dance floor in the living room where we can really work on one figure at a time is helping.

This afternoon I worked some more on organizing my sewing room.  I got rid of all of the batting scraps that were piled in the corner.  They were mostly usable sizes, but had become a favorite cat bed, so they got tossed.  Underneath the batting were two cardboard bankers boxes.  Both had sewing things - one had my BOM blocks from several years ago, still in their mailing envelopes.  I had wondered where those had gotten they now reside (out of the mailers) in a plastic shoe box on the shelf of the spare bedroom.  The other box had miscellaneous dressmaking scraps - those went in the trash, and some quilt books and magazines.  The books are on the shelf in the spare bedroom, and the magazines got boxed up with most of the others from the sewing room to go to the storage building until things are straightened up enough that I can decide where to keep them.  I also found my Featherweight - it was also hiding under the batting scraps.  I knew it had to be in there somewhere, but couldn't figure out if it was in the back under the cutting table or where...

Tomorrow I'll run to Walmart and get some more plastic drawers to put where the bankers boxes were - I can make a nice stack of those to hold some more folded stash.  I'm trying to get rid of all of the totes that are stacked around - they're too difficult to get anything out of, so nothing in them actually gets used.  By having everything folded and in the drawers, I can see everything and get to it to use it.  Once it's all folded, I'll have to go through everything one more time to sort by colors, but that will wait for now.  I'm also going to get a couple more plastic shoeboxes for storing UFOs - if I keep everything for a project together in its own box, then I can just pull one out and work on it - then put it away in its box if it reaches a stopping point before it's done.  Storing those in the spare bedroom closet also frees up space in the sewing room.

I almost have the longarm table cleared off - without putting it all on the ironing board or cutting table, so I'll be able to load some of these tops and get them quilted.  The next project after that will have to be finding somewhere to store all the finished quilts - or sending some off for others to enjoy.