Friday, November 27, 2015

Gray Friday

 In the Great Thanksgiving Stuffing debate, the plebeians won this year. "From a box" is Steve's and Quarta's vote; in the best of all worlds I would enjoy making it from scratch, but no one else in our rather small gathering this year cared, and truthfully, I like Stove-Top myself.  But, I still referred to my well-worn 1994 Bon Appetit Thanksgiving issue for the herb-rubbed turkey... and then proceeded to completely ignore the actual recipe and go with my instinct.  There was a killing frost yesterday morning, and I snapped off lots of twigs of parsley and fennel.
 The reason the bird is so... lumpy... is because I discovered a year or two ago that you rub the softened butter and herb mixture UNDER the skin, and it makes the meat really nice. Of course I had slept in and not defrosted butter and was aiming for getting the bird in the oven quickly so it could be done by T-time, so it was rather slap-dash getting it in there.  And I was glad again about the Stove-Top.
I cooked the green beans in the crock pot so the (real) stove-top was free for making mashed potatoes and gravy, and carving the bird.  I need to remember to do that every time.  Acorn squash with butter, fennel, and garlic was another side dish, and a few baked yams/sweet potatoes... I can never tell the difference.  Quarta and I were talking and I will have to try the sweet potato casserole recipe with marshmallows at Christmastime.  It has been almost 4 decades since I had it last.  I won't force anyone to eat it! I don't do that. Just stating for the record, since my husband acts panicked whenever I mention trying a recipe he dislikes.

The beauty of using the nice china, I explained to Quarta, is that Mom doesn't trust anyone else to wash it, so the kids don't have to worry about doing the dishes.  The beauty of me knocking myself out cooking an insane amount of food on Thanksgiving, is that the rest of the family will find leftovers and not expect me to cook for the next several days. I really wonder if I can make it last until next Thursday? That would be a lovely vacation indeed.  We had a fairly quiet Thanksgiving, highlighted by a nice call from Daniel in North Carolina.

I used to think I would enjoy Black Friday shopping, when the kids were little, until I discovered how shoddy and manipulative the Black Friday deals are, and how much I dislike crowded and noisy shopping centers.  So for today and tomorrow, I am living the introvert's dream.  I am eating leftovers, listening to audiobooks or music of my own choosing or nothing at all, and attempting to quilt.
 This has been the state of my design wall for nearly a year.  The rainbow string star is very pretty, but I screeched to a halt with quilting momentum shortly after the new year, and the Grand Illusion mystery screeched to a halt, too.  That one sample block on the lower left? I have been working on getting back into the quilting groove over the last 2 weeks, very gently.  I finally finished all the components and sewed that block together yesterday. I knew I wanted to do Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt, Allietare, or at least attempt it. But I need to stage an intervention in my sewing area (and yes, on my blog), and it started today.
So today, when the first clue was released, I decided to take some positive steps toward organization. Because as we all know, you have to be organized before attempting any serious endeavor, like the conquest of Gaul or a holiday-season quilt project. This is the state of my sewing area, more or less.  My goal is to finish Grand Illusion, and take modest steps toward organizing the scrap mountain into pre-cut squares, bricks and strips, and take baby-steps toward Allietare.
 Here's a close-up of the Grand Illusion block.  I like it, but I'm ready for the top to be done. A new mystery quilt may be just the powerful motivator I need.
I realized when you pick a project up after months of idleness, you can make mistakes.  I thought I was supposed to make 25 of each 4-patch.  But looking back at the directions, I realize now that I was only supposed to make 4 of the pink/black/gold ones. Oops. We will move along and maybe plan a truly scrappy quilt with the extras and other extras from other projects.  I do know that I will not be using that gold for the border, because now I'm pretty sure I don't have enough of it, whereas I was only mildly worried before.
 These are the fabrics that I bought last week, anticipating Allietare, when I remembered a gift card for Joann's that a student gave me last year. My stash is weak in blacks and grays, and it is the grays that occupy my attention today.
 I really like this one, a Tim Coffey print that feels like it would be appropriate for the Italian Renaissance theme.  It has a background texture that looks like old stuccoed walls and that lovely vine, and a very faint purply richness. My only concern is that it is rather light, and we were told not to go too light.
 I bought this one as well, because I like it too and it is medium, and therefore dark enough.  But I don't LOVE it as much.  Here are both grays with the stash pieces I pulled this morning.
Okay, well, the darker gray is poking out on the left, but the favored gray is mixed in. The neutrals that I think of as outliers are on top.
 Here's the lighter gray. I think I can use it, and just edit out the outlier neutrals. And maybe Olivia the Pig, but I will decide on the reds when I have to.
Here is the darker gray.  It's really not all that much darker though, and I still think the outliers would be better not used with it.  So I decided on the viney print. You'll have to wait until the linkup post, but I did go ahead and piece about 1/6 of the triangles needed today, and did a fair amount of catch-up on Grand Illusion.  I'm feeling cautiously optimistic.

Just returned from the Christmas Tree lighting, where Tertia and other school choir kids sang.  It was clear and cold this year. Now for some turkey soup and a little stash organization.

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