Thursday, May 17, 2018

Japanese Quilts

I checked out this book from the public library the other day, and I'm thinking of making my sister-in-law's quilt using its designs.
I love a Tansu chest, an Isamu Noguchi coffee table, my husband's bonsai trees, and Lecien fabrics, so of course I would love a Japanese-inspired quilt. And it's not so improvisational outside my comfort zone.

Mighty Lucky Quilt

I am almost done with sewing hanging sleeves and quilt labels on my local county fair entries, and so I can get back to this Mighty Lucky Quilt.  Even though I haven't sewn my wonky crosses (and don't know how improvisational and ruler-less I will be when it comes time to sewing them), I colored and am trying to envision what this quilt will look like.
I then auditioned on paper my color palette the outer side blocks. I thought I might inject other colors like indigo, red, aqua, and pink.  But no.  I'll stick to my two warms (mango and yellow), two cools (lilac and chartreuse), and two neutrals (gray and rust). 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Ceramics: Porcelain Vases

I love this little Frost porcelain vase.  However, I didn't score and pinch enough and there's a tiny bit of daylight I can see at the  bottom of the vase.  I'm going to ask my friend Zan, the ceramics teacher at one of my high schools if I can pour a little more glaze into the vase and fire again. I also want to adhere a decal to its front which might then require a separate firing.
I made sure that this bud vase didn't leak before I stuck this commercial decal of a robin on it.

Quilting is Done on My Funny Valentine....but that doesn't mean it's finished

I am aiming for dynamic contrast in this quilt and decided to combine walking foot and free motion machine quilting with the hand quilting.  I stitched matchstick and not so thin and not so dense lines in the lilac sashing.

Once I finished the walking foot quilting, I installed the darning foot and practiced stitching stenciled patterns on these sandwiches.

I decided to not rip out these free motion stitches on my "final draft" because 1) if I went for perfection or even better enough I’d never finish a quilt; 2) this quilt is a record of my first stab at free motion quilting; and 3) good enough is fine by me.
I tried out the machine embroidery letters on my machine to perhaps create a quilt label, but didn't like the fancy font.  I still have yet to bind My Funny Valentine as well as create and baste a hanging sleeve (which I'll remove later as this quilt is just for me) and make a quilt label.  I also realized that I need to create labels for my Day of the Dead: Amar por Siempre that I entered into the Fine Arts category and Frida into the Art Quilts category

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Cooking: Pork Posole

What I love about cooking is the informality of it (no need to be exact on your measurements unlike can just eyeball and guesstimate portions.  I bought a 6 pound pork shoulder, and halved it for this posole--I also left that layer of skin and fat on the other half to roast later into a porchetta)
The recipe I found online called for a cup of flour into which I also added a teaspoon of salt and pepper.
I had cut the pork into 1 1/2" pieces and then dredged it in the flour mixture.
Next I fried the pork in two batches, using a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of lard for each frying.
I sampled the fried pork, and I could've stopped there, it was so delicious.
I had chopped one yellow onion and four small cloves of garlic, which I sweated in olive oil until translucent and fragrant.
To scrape up the rest of the bits of fried pork with the sweated onions, I poured 4 cups of water and 1 cup of chicken broth into the pot, along with the fried pork, a couple of bay leaves and a teaspoon of Mexican oregano.
Simmer for a couple hours.
Then simmer for another hour, but for that last hour of time add 6 chopped tomatillos and a couple of jalapeños.  You could also toss in some chopped cilantro and a can of green chiles for extra green flavor.
I also added in a can of hominy with the green fruit for that last hour of cooking.
My posole is done cooking, but wait there's more.
I like a fresh and raw vegetal element to a meaty and rich stew, like sliced radishes.
 And chopped cilantro and chopped green onion.
Oh and the recipe called for roasting and adding fresh corn, which I forgot to add to that last hour of cooking.  Instead I added frozen sweet white corn to the stew which will cook when reheating.
Must not forget limes for a nice acid kick.
 And last but just as important is shredded green cabbage to top the stew along with all the other fresh vegetables for garnish.  
This is a great dish to bring to a potluck to feed a lot of people.

Embroidery: Isak Dinesen Quote

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Work in Progress: Frost Porcelain Mug

I have high hopes for this frost porcelain which I refer to as surfer dude's mug.