Saturday, August 23, 2014

What do I do with this one???

 

Help…..I can’t decide what to do with this piece……

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I purchased it at an outdoor market when we were in Chiang Mai Thailand back in 2011.  It is 37 x 20 inches in size.

The applique is wonderful……

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….with TINY stitches and fun embroidery touches as well.

 

Now the question is……what do I do with this?   I could just stretch it and frame it, but I am also thinking about layering it up and doing some quilting on it.

What do you think???

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One big UFO equals TWO fun finishes

When Qingru and Luhan arrived at our house, they were SO enamored with all of my quilts.   As this excitement continued over the next few days I decided that I wanted to give both girls a lap quilt when they moved into their apartments…..in 10 days!!!!

I knew that I couldn’t make two quilts from scratch, but as I sat looking at the big quilt that I had in my UFO bin…….

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I got the idea to split it into smaller quilts……DSC02820

I played around with border colors a little bit and quickly decided to use similar colors for both quilts.

I madly quilted both of them, using a lot of straight lines and adding a bit of free-motion once I was sure that I could get them finished on time.

They ended up looking great……

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The girls were moving in on Saturday morning so on Friday evening I finally got the quilts washed and dried.   Just before the girls were going up to start packing, Michael and I presented their gifts.

THEY WERE THRILLED!!!!!

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It was such fun to see them so excited and I hope that these will keep both girls warm on many nights!!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

UFO’s Everywhere

Two weeks ago I found myself in my studio, looking at this…..

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A completely empty table just doesn’t happen that often!!!

So, I decided to rummage in my closet and have a look thru my “UFO” box…..

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First out of the box was a quilt top that I started during a Pat Speth workshop….

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I spent a bit of time on EQ trying to figure out what borders to add to it and put it away for another day.

Next out was a top that I made MANY years ago as part of a guild workshop…..

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I have never been that excited about his pattern or top and was NOT looking forward to working on it.   Then I had the brilliant idea to give it to the Guild Charity Bee so that it could become a lap quilt for one of our charities……ONE GONE!!!

Next was a thread painting that I did in a Susan Brubaker Knapp workshop…..

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I took it to the Bee as well, and someone else is putting borders around it and making it into a Lap quilt also.

Next, was a series of blocks that I made during a piecing workshop a long time ago……DSC02789

I have NO idea what can be done with all of this, but one of our Charity Bee members has taken it home to play with.

Next in the pile were these blocks from a quilt that I started back in 1997…..

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I did a bit of machine applique on the lion and happily handed it off to a guild member too.

Next was a piece that I started when we were in Rome in 2010…..DSC02783

OK….here is one that I am looking forward to finishing…..sometime!!!!

 

The rest of the box contained UFO’s that my Mother has sent to me….those can easily wait for another time!!!!

 

I know that I didn’t actually FINISH anything, but it feels good to pass some on and remind myself of what there is still to do!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Joys of Hosting International Students

We have been having so much fun with Qingru and Luhan over this last week and on Saturday they told us that they wanted to cook dinner for us…..dumplings!!!

We first had to do some shopping so started out at an Asian Food store so that they could find Garlic Chives (Chinese Chives) and Long Beans.

Then it was on to Walmart.  I had a wonderful time watching the girls as they ran up and down aisles, looking at everything and comparing the price to what they would have found in China……

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At 4:00 pm they said that it was time to start making the food so we headed off to the Kitchen and started pulling out bowls, woks, and seemingly every other dish in the whole house!!!

Qingru started out by making the dumpling batter.   She didn’t measure anything, but just used various amounts of flour, salt and water and a WHOLE lot of elbow grease as she kneaded and kneaded the dough…..

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She put it aside to rest and started cleaning the long beans and getting them ready to steam…..

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….and washing and chopping the Chinese Chives….

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Luhan began by thinly slicing the beef…..

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….and making a marinade of Soy Sauce, Peanut Oil, Corn Starch and pepper.  She marinated the beef for about 30 minutes before cooking.

Qingru scrambled some eggs and added them to the chopped chives…..

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And, Luhan chopped the steamed Long Beans and added  some chopped green onions and the ground pork…..

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At this point there was a bit of conversation because Qingru cooked the pork before adding it and Luhan added it raw.  We decided that raw was fine.

Now came the really interesting part of the cooking.  Qingru started working on the dumplings…..first getting the dough ready…….

 

…..and then rolling the dumpling wrappers out……

At this point, Qingru told us that this was a basic skill that every girl should have and that a prospective Mother-In-Law would ask her future DIL to make dumplings to show whether she was worthy to be married.  After watching her do this, I told her that she was ready to be a bride!!!!

I had to get in on the act and tried rolling them myself…..

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I could roll them out ok, but I was REALLY slow and they were not as round and perfect as Qingru’s.

Then came the time to add the fillings.    Again, there was another conversation as Luhan crimped them in one manner and Qingru did them a different way.  Michael knew that I was videoing so he kept asking them questions as they worked…..

Next, Qingru peeled several cloves of garlic, mashed them well with a pinch of salt and then added a bit of Cider Vinegar…..

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Now it was time to start cooking the dumplings.   She brought a pot of water to boil and carefully placed the vegetable dumplings into the water, trying not to burst any of them.   When they came back to a boil, she added enough water to stop the boiling and then let them come to a boil again.   She did this one more time and then declared them done.   When she was cooking the meat dumplings, she brought the water to a boil 4 times instead of 3.

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While this was going on, Luhan started cooking the beef and tomatoes in the wok.   She used a very tiny amount of oil and only stir-fried it for a few minutes….

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To set the table, Qingru put a small amount of the garlic mixture in each of our small bowls and poured a bit of the dumpling water into the larger bowls for us to drink.

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We all ate with chopsticks….two of us were a bit slower!!!  We dipped the dumplings into the garlic sauce before eating and it was spicy and wonderful.  The beef and tomatoes was the perfect accompaniment to the dumplings!!

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We all posed for a photos….  first the girls and I before dinner…..

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….and then a very satisfied Michael after the meal……

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While Michael and I cleaned the kitchen, the girls continued making dumplings and about 30 of them sit happily in my freezer as I write, waiting for another wonderful meal!!!

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We were telling the girls how much we appreciated the meal and loved the food and Qingru said that we honored her by enjoying the food.   We assured her that we would be happy to honor her ANYTIME.   They have asked to cook again so we are looking forward to a wonderful meal on Monday!!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Spider-people!!!

Last Wednesday was my Son’s 29th birthday and Michael and I went to Atlanta a couple of days early to help him celebrate.

Brian and his wife, Amber, have joined a climbing gym called “Stone Summit” and they wanted to show us what they can do so we enjoyed several hours of watching them. 

The facility is crazy, with walls ranging from 25 to 60 feet tall……

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But, the most amazing thing about the visit was seeing what Brian and Amber had learned to do.

This is Amber at the top of a 40 foot wall……DSC02636

And there goes Brian…..

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For safety purposes, there is a rope attached to each climber.  It loops over the top of the wall and then is attached to a “belay person” on the ground. 

According to Wikipedia…..Belaying refers to a variety of techniques climbers use to exert friction on a climbing rope so that a falling climber does not fall very far.  A climbing partner typically applies friction at the other end of the rope whenever the climber is not moving, and removing the friction from the rope whenever the climber needs more rope to continue climbing.

Both Brian and Amber worked almost as hard at Belaying as they did when climbing.  It is especially difficult for Amber as she is so much smaller than Brian.   When he is on his descent, she has to squat down and lower her center of gravity so that his weight doesn’t pull her off of the floor……

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In this photo, you can see Brian at the very top and Amber WAY down below…DSC02705

They even have special glasses to wear so that you don’t have to keep straining your neck to look up at the climber…..

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The final thing that Brian showed us is called “Bouldering” and is done on lower walls without a rope and with dense pads at the base of the wall…..

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After all of this exercise we had to have some good food so they took us to one of their favorite Korean Tofu Restaurants.   Michael had Korean BBQ and one of the soups with Purple Rice…..photo2

while I had a WONDERFUL spicy chicken dish……

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A FUN, FUN day …….photo

Thanks guys for letting us celebrate with you!!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Welcome to America…..

On Friday we welcomed two young Chinese women into our home.  They are both going into Master’s programs at the University of Georgia and will spend the two weeks with us before they move into their apartments.

Their names are Luhan (on the right)  and Qingru (on the left)……

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We have been having a wonderful time with these two sweet women and are excited to see the way that they ask questions and want to learn all about where they will be living for the next two years.

On the first night we talked about Broccoli, taxidermy and the every important Brownies with Ice Cream.

Yesterday we treated them to Scrambled Eggs and Sausage for breakfast and mastered Hummingbirds, Cardinals, Fettuccine, and Pavlova , to name a few!!   They spent about an hour walking around the neighborhood and were excited to have scared up two deer!!

This morning, we had Biscuits and Strawberry Jam for breakfast,  went to Church, and this evening we took them to Dairy Queen so that they could get a taste of their first American fast food.  They had to try the French Fries first!!

When we talk about something new they ask us to write it down so that they can see how it is spelled and then each puts it on a list of new words with the Chinese version next to it….a really smart way of learning.

They have enjoyed walking around our home and asking questions about what things were and where they came from and have been very complimentary of the “Palace” that we live in.

Tomorrow (Monday), they start a rigorous week of orientation at UGA.

We are enjoying our time with them and are looking forward to taking them shopping and helping them to get settled into their apartments.

More fun to come……

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