Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Making caramel sauce

I tried a method yesterday for making caramel sauce from eagle brand sweetened condensed milk. You just simmer the can for about three hours. I think my simmer might be a lttle lower temp than what was needed. It didn't turn to caramel sauce.

So today, I emptied the can into a canning jar sitting in a pan of water and have slightly boiled it for a couple of hours now. It is turning brown so I know it is turning to caramel sauce. The hubby was wanting some as dip for apple slices.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Paddle board

Last year I started a new hobby of paddle boarding. We just now figured out a way to hang it in the garage. The hubby and I bought some brackets to get the paddle board off the garage floor. We didn't raise it up but about 18". I was afraid if we put it higher, I wouldn't be able to put it up by myself.
It rests in front of a framed cut out in the wall that houses our hot water heater. I still want to put a couple of hooks in the wall above it to hang my roof rack bag and some straps.
But getting it off the floor is really good.
We worked around the house today, trying to clean up the garages. We still have a long way to go. Another thing we did today was hang a retractable clothes line. I've had it for over ten years (found it in the garage!). It extends at a diagonal across the screened porch, which is a little awkward, but I wanted a place to hang some things no matter what the weather is. I just pull the cord across the porch to a hook. When it isn't in use, it is hardly noticeable.

I've still got so much to do outside, besides getting the garage in shape --- power wash the pollen off the furniture and the porch floors, plant herbs and flowers, pull some weeds......I usually get a lot done when the husband goes on his annual fishing trip. I need to start making my list of to-do's.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

261 Fearless and fishing

Skirt Sports is having a 261 Fearless campaign today in honor of Katherine Switzer who was the first woman to compete in the Boston Marathon in 1967. It's a great story. The officials tried to pull her off the course, but she prevailed and finished. In her honor, many of us did a virtual race today with number 261 bibs (that was her number in the 1967 race).

This afternoon I did my virtual race.

In other sports, we had our annual husband and wife fishing tournament today. It was fun.

On the lake by 7 in the fog..

Jim caught a buzzard! Really. There were about 15 on a dock and he cast towards them to try to scare them away. The hook got caught around one's leg, and went in. We got the hook out and he went on his way, but we videoed it. They decided it would qualify for the biggest "trash fish." Hence, the award below.

We only had one big enough to count. Below our little friend is putting it back in the lake after the weigh in.

I did catch one, but it was too small to keep.

No quilting going on here at Around the Blocks, but there was some other fun stuff!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What I Wore Wednesday

Actually I wore this last Wednesday evening to church.....

..my other favorite pair of Loft jeans. These are the curvy skinny ankle. The top is one I picked up at Belk on sale. It isn't sheer, I think the colorations are called ombré. I really like the coral shades. Shoes are my leopard crocs. Another casual outfit.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Retirement Star Quilt

This will definitely be one of my most prized possessions. The memories contained in the sweet words written are priceless to me.

Bear Creek Quilting was kind enough to supply me with the colored star fabric, backing, and binding for this project. My group had given me five inch signed squares of muslin when I retired.

I used the 2014 Kona Cotton fat quarter bundle for the stars (FQ-806-32), beautiful bright colors. I made easy wonky stars out of the solids to randomly put in amongst the signed and blank neutral squares. The finished size is about 68 x 78. Big enough for a large throw, a twin or double bed quilt, and not too big for a wall hanging. I even put this size on our queen bed under a larger quilt.

For the backing I used a fun print, Benartex Felicity in Diamond Aqua and used Benartex Felicity in Stripe Teal for the binding. I added a section of a t-shirt as a label of sorts. It was one we had printed up for a safety day a few years ago for everyone in the department to wear.

This quilt would be perfect for other occasions too. Not only retirements, but the pattern could be used as a wedding quilt, a welcome home for a soldier, for a long awaited new baby (birth or adoption), or as a going away present from friends when someone moves. Please look at the fine folks at Bear Creek Quilting where you will find a tutorial for this quilt in a few days, and you can get some great fabric for your special project.
Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts, Patch Work Times, My Quilt Infatuation and Crazy Mom Quilts.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Picnic on the Lake

We are enjoying this summer like weather......tonight after a long day of fishing, the fisherman got hungrey and suggested a lake picnic. Now, he wasn't being romantic or anything like that, he just wasn't ready to come off the lake and got hungrey. :) I packed up our supper of soup, bread, and almond pound cake and took it down to the dock. We had a nice little picnic in a cove.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What I wore Wednesday

When I retired I thought I had plenty of clothes. I did have plenty of work clothes and plenty of running clothes. Not too much casual day in/day out at home clothes. I recently purchased two pair of jeans from The Loft. Love these jeans. They are pretty pricey but I found mine at the outlet store in Pigeon Forge for about half price. Best jeans ever. The pair I am wearing today is the jewelled relaxed skinny.
Very casual but comfy and stylish. Great with my converse. The shirt is one I picked up on a sale rack. It has a high low hem. Funny thing though, when I look in the back for the label, it says "sleepwear," haha....I don't care. I am wearing it for a regular casual shirt. So, obviously the look is very casual today.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Which layout?

Which layout do you prefer for my retirement quilt? I started with the consistent rows of four and three stars below...Still three more rows needed in this picture.
Then I wondered if I would like it better with the Stars placed randomly....
The star points are uneven (wonky). So, I asked Facebook and most people chose one layout. What do you think?

Retirement quilt!

Finally got started on my retirement quilt, with many thanks to Bear Creek Quilting for supplying me with the beautiful solid Kona cottons for the stars.
This is just half of it if I stay with my original plan for it. However, I'm thinking of staggering the stars and putting them in a more random pattern. What is your opinion? Keep them in rows of four and three? Or randomly place them?
And Happy Easter!! I love Easter. Happy Easter to my loved ones in Scotland too!

Saturday, April 4, 2015


We have been blessed with perfect weather for today. Perfect for a long run, perfect for a wedding shower, perfect for sleeping in the porch swing....

First, the long run......

Then the wedding shower........regretfully no pictures of the beautiful bride to be.....then sleeping in the swing...Under a couple of quilts....

....And me, I'm enjoying the sunshine and cool breeze with the windows open......resting. Tomorrow is Easter. I love the reminder of what our Lord Jesus did for us. He gave his all so we could be forgiven of our sin, and be accepted by the Father in Heaven one day.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New project

I am partnering with Bear Creek Quilting for my retirement quilt project! I'm very excited about it. I submitted an original design and they sent me the fabrics to make it. Once it is finished it will be a tutorial on their website.
So here are the beautiful fabrics they gave me for the project....
I'm using the solid Kona cottons for the wonky stars, a different color for each star. The retirement blocks will be dispersed in the cream background blocks. The teal square fabric will be the backing with the stripe for the binding. So many of my co-workers were stars in their own rights for their knowledge and accomplishments, so I thought using stars was appropriate for this project. Excited to get started on this!
Use the link above to view Bear Creek's website. Their motto is "for the love of quilting." I sure you'll find some great things there.

Home again, home again

it is so good to be home! Like last visit I caught a terrible cold while I was in Edinburgh. However, this time it was much worse. I am always one of those folks who say to wait out a cold, 7-10 days. Today is day seven and I was miserable. I won't gross you out with the green details. It was time to go to a physician. Amazing what one dose of a Z pack can do!
I tend to stay a bit dehydrated and flying always makes that worse. On top of the cold yuck, last night's sleep evaded me with horrible foot cramps. I've read it is due to a magnesium dificiency. I got up and took a magnesium pill. Ate some salty crackers and drank water. Still horrible. I was desperate.
This works. At 2:30 this morning I ended up putting about a half to 3/4 cup of Epsom salts in a bucket of warm water and soaked my feet in it for about five minutes. No more cramps the rest of the night.
My daughter in law is a great cook. I came home with a few more of her recipes. I made British scones today. I decided to add some dried blueberries to mine, but I think the original recipe served with clotted cream and jam is the best.
It should say bake at 430 degrees.
...so good to be home.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Craigmillar Castle

We braved the strong winds today and ventured out to see the Craigmillar castle ruins. It was built around the 15th century and owned by the Preston family.

When the bus let us off, we hiked to the ruins via this field.

Emma was such a little trooper riding on Daddy's or Momma's back all day.



Below is the P shaped original pond (Preston).


It is a great castle ruin to see. Electricity illuminates the various areas and there are signs that let you know which rooms were used for what activities.