Monday, December 15, 2008

dragonfly quilt complete

the dragonfly quilt is finally finished!
i spent a fair amount of time the past week doing the finishing stitching - both by machine and by hand and i'm so pleased with how it turned out. allow me to share some pictures with you.
i decided to outline the paper pieced dragonfly squares to set them off a bit.

here's the initials piece in context:

marty and i designed a stitching pattern for the middle based on the thunderbolt design of payton's home and the colors of the four directions. i initially did this by machine, but took it out in favor of hand stitching.

here's some of the stippling stitching i did with the free-motion darning foot on my bernette - very fun, it makes the dragonflies pop out in a nice puffy way.

as per marty's suggestion, some of the dragonflies and other bugs got little bee-line trails stitched behind them.
other blocks got outlines inside them.

even the back looks exciting. you can really see the stitching that i did in darker colors to match the quilt top.

here's the bias binding, stitched by hand on the back side, of course.

i was convinced to sign this quilt, something i've never done in previous quilts, but it seemed like a nice idea.

i made two quilted potholders for payton's mama as well.

the quilt and potholders got packaged up and sent out today - hope they like them!

Monday, December 8, 2008

soup to nuts

or rather veggie waste to soup stock.
sele and i share a CSA (community supported agriculture) veggie box from the terra firma farm - check out their website for some cute farmin' bulldogs pictures. meaning we have a sort of veggie subscription to this local farm and they bring fresh vegetables into oakland once a week for us to enjoy.
our household has been greatly improved both by the CSA share and by the addition of our curbside recycling pail (thanks, oakland). and this week i'm excited to share my one step further in the direction of reducing waste and serving up deliciousness in the form of homemade vegetable stock.
i notice that with each meal i prepare there is a fair amount of vegetable matter that goes to waste - those stems and trimmings that are edible but i'm just not going to put in the effort to make them taste good. so i started a tupperware container in my fridge to keep the trimmings in until i have enough to make soup stock. i wasn't sure if they would accumulate fast enough to make soup, so i labeled the container "veggie stock or compost" - i'm a labeling maniac - and figured nothing lost if they started getting soggy before i had enough to make a decent pot of stock. i was surprized at how quickly that container filled up, and today i took advantage of the chill in the air to warm up and aromafy the house with some simmering stock.
over the course of this week i had accumulated: some beet stems (i ate the beets and the greens, but the stems were a little tough), red chard stems, broccoli stems, and cilantro stems, to which i added two small onions, about 6 whole cloves of garlic, some black peppercorns, two carrots (terra firma makes some darn good carrots), and a sprinkle of salt, thyme, and chili powder.
i left all those things simmering in a big pot of water for a couple of hours, and then turned off the heat and went for a walk. when i came back from my walk i was famished and stood over the pot slurping tastes of the stock - which was so good i decided to pour myself a bowl - of just veggie broth! and i thought it was so tasty because i was so hungry, but even after i ate my lunch and was belly full, i went back for more - this stuff is great!

here are some of the contents of our CSA box a few weeks ago - so exciting!

i'm looking forward to having a weekly ritual of veggie broth production and freezing with my vegetable scraps. there's nothing i like more than making something great out of something i would otherwise throw away.
a tip i read in a magazine this weekend but forgot to do myself: make sure your vegetables stay under the water surface level by placing a collapsable metal steamer on top of the veggies in the pot.
and if you've been wondering what the phrase "soup to nuts" means, like i have, here's wikipedia's explanation. my question is: who has nuts for desert?