If you are like me, it breaks your heart to think of throwing out “holey” Smartwool or other wool and specialty socks. But then what to do with a bag full of holey socks?
Make a wool quilt, of course, for the pets in your life. They love sleeping in the laundry basket- it follows they’d love to sleep on a sock quilt too.
I started by cutting off the “leg” portion of the socks. I cut the tube so it would lay flat on the batting, then I channel quilted it. For those who know me, you’ll be surprised to learn I did not plan this quilt at all. I rustled up a piece of leftover wool batting about 22″ by 42″ and started quilting. I just kept adding more rectangles until the batting became filled up with socks.
At this point, I added another layer of cotton batting, and zigzagged the raw edges. This quilt needs to be washable- imagine all the cat fur it will attrack!
I misted and steam ironed the warped quilt top, then squared it up. At this point my husband strolled into the sewing room and suggested I make it into more of a pillow. He thought they’d prefer something thicker and softer.
Good idea! One thing leads to another, right? I always put my pillow seams (or zippers) down the middle of the back. It reduces bulk in the corners and I think the pillow benefits all around. I left an opening in the back seam to turn the pillow.
Then the husband says “it needs stuffing”. Huh? What does he know? But that got me thinking about the mess on the floor- a pile of toes and sock bottoms- which were going into the trash. Why not use them to stuff the pillow? I used Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer to enclose the sock bits, which I tufted every 2-3 inches to keep in place. (Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of my sock-bits-pillow-form.)
Then I sewed up the back. Voila, one cat quilt/pillow for two cats.
I described the Upcycled Sock Quilt/Pillow to a friend over the phone (you know who you are) and she said that animal shelters would LOVE to receive washable upcycled sock quilts or pillows. So anyone out there with a desire to start a cause, go for it!
I ended my twelve months of chocolate decadent desserts with dark chocolate truffles. My friend Pat said truffles were terribly easy, while my husband said they were terribly tricky. Everything turned out great, but I did let it chill 30 minutes longer than directed. Big Mistake. I made another batch, with a mix of dark chocolate and dark chocolate with chili, and chilling it just the right time makes it much easier to form the truffles. And that hint of a chili buzz was perfect.
I found the truffle recipe in my new-gift-for-my-birthday-cookbook, published by “Little, Brown and Company” in October 2013. I love the family stories with recipes strewn from front to back and the not-quite-in-color-photographs. Recipes involving chocolate- of course.
I thought I might be finished with chocolate decadence, but I am eager to try many more recipes from this cookbook. Thank you E____ for the B&N gift certificate! You know who you are!
What’s Next? I think I’ll start with the chocolate almond cake. Or the chocolate grilling sauce for meat. Or the cocoa nib rub for steak. Yum….
After ten months of decadent chocolate desserts, I couldn’t face another piece of chocolate. I really couldn’t.
And I love pumpkin pie.
So I made my own real pumpkin pie, with Julia Child pie crust, fresh spices, and so on….served with real whipped cream.
We started shopping right here at home, at SaraBella’s in Bend, Oregon (sarabella.com). Constructed from fused plastic, these bags are functional, beautiful and help save our environment, one plastic bag at a time.
Early on we encountered an eccentric man wearing a kilt and jumping around with enthusiasm. His “seed to sewer” (that rhymes with “mower” and not “do-er”) fabrics are beautiful. Check it out at http://www.akonyekena.com/shop/Made-in-Uganda/Create/Hand-Dyed-Cotton/Fabric-Collections/p/Jinja-Jems–Seed-to-Sewer-x691377.htm
After putting up our signs, Pat got the brilliant idea to go to the Crate and Barrel Outlet in Berkeley. We had 3-1/2 hours to drive to Berkeley, shop, drive to San Jose, and pick up our third person at the airport. We managed to squeeze in time to drop Pat off to get a pedicure, and I took a wrong turn towards the airport, but I did get there in the nick of time.
On Saturday, I talked Pat into going to the Book Arts Fair in Palo Alto, just 7 miles up the road. Of course, in the Bay Area, we measure distance in time & traffic, not miles. We enjoyed the fair then skipped over to Los Altos to go to Thai Silks. I bought this linen-silk blend, on sale with a discount!
I found this cotton dotty fabric at one booth and 50 cents a yard trim at another.
We were on the look out for unusual fabrics. At Fiber on a Whim, we found dyed cheesecloth, Osnaburg, burlap, etc. We found these beautiful “tusseh” silks at Pinwheels (pinwheels.com). The fiber is this color because of what the catapillers eat. Later we found shot dupioni silks.
I found a $1 book of postcards with stickers from Japan that I could not resist. I’m still experiencing my love of jewelry, even if I don’t always wear it. I fell in love with a bead-skinny-scarf-belt thing, but came to my senses, and bought the bracelet. Check them out at http://tropicoptions.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?
The last photo shows all the purchases in one big happy pile.
Pat drove us to Santa Clara on Monday, October 14th. We installed our quilts on Tuesday and the signs on Wednesday. I slipped on a metal “s” hook and did the “splits”- an awkward, slow motion, painful fall that ultimately ended with no long term damage.
With our 20′ end aisle, we had 8′ by 20′ by 8′. I hung my reversible quilt on the end, so people could see both sides. But most people thought it was two different quilts! At least at first. “ColorBlind” faced the aisle; “ColorBlinded Again” faced the inner booth.
Here is our booth from left to right. People really enjoyed (and read!) our signs, with posters about ourselves (instead of text bio brag), information about the quilts, and technique and process step-outs. Our quilts were loved and appreciated!
We headed for home a full week later, on October 21st. We stopped at Willows to sleep, about 3 hours of driving from Santa Clara. Breakfast at Denny’s!!! We each built our own “slam” which tasted pretty good considering we didn’t have dinner.
Cooper leaped from the work table to the edge of the sewing room closet door.
Once there, he balanced four legs on the top of the door, and looked around, unconcerned about my “Coooooopeeeerrrr I’m coming” assurance of help on the way.
Of course, eventually, in his own good time, he scooted down the door, jumped the last little bit, and sauntered off like it was no big deal.
My friend, Pat, and I drive away a week from tomorrow for the PIQF show. If you- out there- are in Santa Clara next week, you should drop into the show at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
Meanwhile, we had a power outage today. Little things like this put a big dent when deadlines loom. But, looks like it’s all coming together!
October 1st/Day 14: On October 14th we drive down to Santa Clara, California for the PIQF show. We will install our exhibit then have some time to eat good food and rest before the opening reception on Oct. 16th and then the opening to the public on Oct. 17th. If you are near Santa Clara, come by the Convention Center for one of the best quilt conventions on earth. In my opinion.
I’ve posted Sneak Peeks of the first 3 challenges…now here is one of the 4th challenges, called “Do Not Speak/Pass It back and Forth”. I
Intrigued by local twin sisters who collaborate on artwork without speaking and by passing the art-in-progress back & forth until one declares it done, we wanted to try it.
This is HALF of “Silent Reflection”, 22″h by 58″ long.
I started this quilt, and it’s been cut up and put back together more times than we want to count. Actually, we can count: Wendy to Pat to Wendy to Pat to Wendy. I declared it done. I love it.
There are times when a person must ask: is it worth it?
The answer is: YES!
New York Style Chocolate Cheesecake with real vanilla bean (Spice Shop, Bend, Oregon), organic whole grain chocolate graham crackers (Annies- any Fred Meyer), ground almonds (with the chocolate grahams in the crumb crust), good quality chocolate (Theo’s Dark and Chocolove 77% Dark- found everywhere), cream cheese, eggs, a little flour, some sugar, fresh organic strawberries…it’s worth the mess any time!
P.S. The bunnies around the top really made the day!
Chocolate Shortbread is the cookie of the month! Made with the goodness of real butter, some Bob’s Red Mill flour, a titch of sugar, and good old-fashioned cocoa, this cookie is for people who love the taste of chocolate.
I followed the directions: divide the dough in half; finger press into a 6-6-1/2″ round circle; poke with a fork. It bakes until the middle is not wet and the outside edges are browned. How the heck can you tell browned edges with a brown cookie?
After cooling for 10 minutes, but while still warm, we cut the discs into 8 pieces each. Next time, I’ll wait for 5 minutes and then put the cookies on a rack to cool. These delicate cookies want to break, so care must be taken.
But all is well that ends well…I shared these cookies with friends. What could be better? Another batch of cookies!