wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Multi-tasking

I knew I had to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen today so I thought I might as well do two jobs at once. I put some bread dough ingredients in the bread machine, and when the mixing and rising was done, I put the dough into two loaf tins to rise again in a slightly warmed oven.

Then I got busy with these chanterelles the Captain and I had picked the day before.

One of them had grown like a bouquet of flowers.

Another was simply a giant single, so big a piece broke off when we handled it.

I washed the mushrooms in a tub of water, using the spray hose at the sink. Most of the needles and bits of dirt came off easily with the sprayer and I put the chanterelles into a bowl.

As I cut them up, I gave them another check to remove any last bits of forest that had come home with them.

Then I dumped the cut up mushrooms into the frying pan and sauteed them (basically cooking them for a few minutes to get most of the excess moisture out). I did many, many bowlfuls of mushrooms, cutting and cleaning while the previous batch simmered.

I put the cooked mushrooms into a stainless steel bowl and left them to cool before putting them into ziplocs to freeze in small batches.  They’re a great addition to curries, gravy, stir fries, and any number of other dishes.

When the bread dough had risen in the pans, I turned on the oven, and by the time all the mushroom work was done, I was rewarded with two freshly baked loaves of bread.

 


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This ‘Hood is for the Birds

Not meaning to make light of the very real shortage of affordable housing for people, I thought if  birds had any shortage of housing, here is one person’s way of dealing with it and helping them out. This tree with its “decoration” is located in a remote part of Vancouver Island. A handful of people live nearby and while some of them are very creative, all of them love nature. So this tribute to bird life is appreciated and admired by all. Some other objects have crept into a space among the birdhouses, but they don’t look out of place because they are part of the lifestyle there.

*Taken with the Captain’s little Fuji.

Do you see any objects that stand out for you?


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Quilted Aquarium

At last, at last, at last! I’ve finished the fish placemats after working on them for weeks. After sewing strips together to represent the pebbly ocean floor and the sea, I had to cut out shapes for seaweed, rocks, various kinds of imaginary fish, and a few turtles thrown into the mix.

These all had to be ironed on with “Heat and Bond” and then sewn into place with a small blanket stitch.

Then the batting and backing were put on and the quilting began.

Today I finished the binding around the edges.

There is a set of four, with a darker ocean floor, and a set of six with a lighter floor.

Don’t look too closely. There are mistakes all over the place, but after the first blob of gravy drops on the placemats, that won’t matter anymore.


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Quilted Tote Bag

Last February at the quilting retreat, one of the ladies had made this beautiful tote bag which my friend and I admired a lot. It had two big side pockets, one on each side of the bag.

After the retreat, my friend got right to work and made a bag from the same pattern. The one pictured below is the second one she has made. I admire her for making a second one after I learned how much work it was to make the first.

She encouraged me to make one too, offering her help (which I would definitely need). We had two sewing days at her house and I was still slow-poking along, but with her help through the hard parts, I managed to finish the bag (below).

For buttons I used the ones the Captain made for me about 43 years ago from deer antlers he had found. Since they are purely decorative, it doesn’t matter that they are not uniform in size or shape.

The bag is reinforced with “Soft and Stable” and this batting lives up to its name.

I struggled with sewing this bag and swore I would not make a second one, but now that it’s done and I have more of an idea what I’m doing, I may reconsider this.

Like anything in life, “It’s easy once you know how.”


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Quilts at the Fair

Today I volunteered to “hover” over the quilt exhibits at the local fall fair exhibition.

Many of the quilts required a high degree of quilting skill, and all of them took a lot of hours to complete. The quilt below is called Tantal”Eye”Zing. It has many tiny points that meet other lines and all connections have to be accurate.

A real challenge to sew, but what a rewarding finished product. You may just be able to see the beading and extra ornamentation sewn onto the quilt.

Smaller projects such as table runners are practical as well as beautiful.

 

These owls told me they would like to come to my house and stand guard by the front door.

The 3-D boxes below are really a flat quilt sewn with black, white, and gray fabric, cut and sewn to give a 3-D effect. But believe me, the quilt is flat. Really, it is!

 

The quilt below is noted for its interesting use of colour combinations. Also, the tiny squares are not easy to line up so all the corners meet exactly, but they do.

 

There are many more quilts in the exhibition, but there is not room to show them all here.

The man in the photo below did a super job of filling the hall with beautiful, soothing music. He gave me permission to take his picture but I didn’t tell him I wanted to put him in my blog post so I have blurred his face in case he didn’t want the publicity he is unaware he is getting.

The music was great but I just loved his outfit.

Those pants!!!!!!

 



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Rich Without Money

Having money can help make life easier, but wealth need not always be measured in dollars.

After supper, a quick trip to the beach, just five minutes away, is a rich experience of another kind. The Sleeping Princess presides over the valley. Looking down on the bay, this glacier, unfortunately,  is melting a little more every year, but it is still unique and beautiful.

If she turned her head, the Sleeping Princess could see the beach I’m standing on. She would see the morning glory, or field bindweed, in bloom. It is invasive and tenacious and widespread. Just ask me!!  I want to hate this flower because its vines tangle up everything in my garden. But it has a beauty of its own. I imagine this bell flower holding rainwater for Tinkerbell to drink from.

Here are more of these morning glory flowers popping up among thorny blackberry vines. How tough must it be to endure the pain of those prickles?! And yet how daintily these two invasive plants complement each other.

Glory be! Look at those blackberries! They want picking. I ate a few of them. Sweet, sweet, sweet! But my arrangement with the Captain was already made. We have a lot of blackberries at the back of our own yard and the deal was that if he picked the berries (and endured the thorny scratches and spiders and wasps and stickiness), I would make jam.

I didn’t know he would be so enthusiastic. I had a challenge to use up those berries. But now we have enough blackberry jam to last the rest of our lives. So we’re rich! Rich in jam.

I think I have the sweetest pantry in town.


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Flower Favourites

Four favourites are growing in my garden (along with many other favourites that have finished blooming).

The hollyhock is amazing me this year with its flowers and the height of its stalk. It must be at least ten feet tall.

The lily doesn’t bloom for long but is so pretty.

And who doesn’t love the sunflowers which, the Captain hopes, will provide seeds to salt and toast? They are a necessity for cracking and chewing and spitting out while waiting for the fish to bite.

One of my special favourites is the snapdragon. My first experience with snapdragons was when I was a very little girl in Germany and my mother showed me how these flowers could open their mouths. They’re not called snapdragons in German but Loewenmaeulchen (little lions’ mouths), and if you press the sides of the flower together, it opens up like a mouth. As a child I was fascinated by this idea of a little lion flower opening its mouth. Of course in Canada they are dragons who open their mouths to snap.

Do you have favourite flowers in your garden?