Monday, January 23, 2017

The Quilt I Built

January showers bring January least in South Carolina!

The camellia trees are in their element, absolutely dripping with flowers.  The smaller shrubs will be coming into flower in the next month, and we're about due for Lenten Roses, too.  I can't wait! 

Tabitha loves a rainy day.

I went outside with my camera last week despite the drizzle, and it seems that it was 'fowl' weather, indeed!  A flock of turkeys was feeding in the side yard.  I startled a big heron at the pond's edge, and also a few ducks...

...and "our" goz!  A group of ten...the original eight plus the two parents.  I expect that the flock will separate soon.

They're already acting a little testy, constantly chasing each other around aggressively.

Breeding season begins in February, and then...babies!!!

Part of my master organization plan is to do some things that I've been meaning to do for years but never took the time to do.  Last week I scheduled in time to make some household products with essential oils.  I made a general household cleaner, window cleaning spray, conditioner, shave gel, and a shower spray for the tiles. 

The real winners are the general cleaner and the window cleaner.  I have always cleaned with either vinegar or bleach.  I added some water, essential oils, and dish soap to the vinegar.  It doesn't clean any better than just plain vinegar, but it sure smells good!  The window cleaner (with vinegar and witch hazel) works and smells great.  The conditioner (basically water, apple cider vinegar, and essential oils) was kind of a bust.  I've used vinegar on my hair for a long time, and the essential oils added to the vinegar/water mixture are all but overwhelmed by the vinegar smell. And the shave gel...sigh.  I know you can get a bottle of aloe vera at the dollar store for a buck, but I read that the stabilizers and thickening agents used there weren't great for your body.  I ordered cold-pressed organic aloe vera gel ($12) and, with olive oil and essential oils, made the most expensive shave gel ever.  It makes my skin soft but it's runny, so it's hard to shave with.  I think I'll go back to the spray stuff after this. 

I tried a new recipe this week, since I had some leftover pumpkin puree.  I have a great pumpkin bread recipe, but I was intrigued by a recipe that uses raw honey instead of sugar, and Greek yogurt instead of oil/butter (I left out the optional millet).  I didn't expect much, but whoa! 

It was just as good as my regular pumpkin bread recipe.  The regular recipe is 400 calories a slice, and this is just 200 calories a slice.  I highly, highly recommend it! 

This was a great week for finishing projects.  I finished my crewel work, sewing anemone flowers onto some blue linen fabric, and made it into a pillow.

I'm pretty pleased with it and ready to move on to the next crewel project!

I also...drum roll...finished my quilt!!

It was a great milestone for me, finishing this quilt.  I'd always had a desire to learn how to quilt, but I didn't even know how to sew.  I had to take local classes, and online classes, and watch Youtube videos, and make a LOT of mistakes (I didn't even understand what seam allowance was on my first practice quilt!).  I had to learn that a quilt isn't sewn in a day.  It's a process.  I had to snatch 15 and 30 minutes when I could.  I had to recognize that a quilt will never be perfect.  There will always be wonky seams and squares that don't match up as they should.  I'm a perfectionist and it's hard for me to continue working on what I consider to be a flawed product.  But many flawed products helped me to end up with a pretty pleasing first quilt!  

It took me a while to sew the binding (edge fabric) on.  I used clear nylon thread so that the sewing won't show through.  It's very soft, very cozy, and just the right size for cuddling on the couch!  Now if only we could get some cooler weather here so I can actually use it! 

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