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Great weekend….

tulips

 

What a great weekend I had!!!  First of all Spring has arrived and by Spring I mean warm weather without humidity.  Happy Dance!

raffle quilt in progress

raffle quilt in progress

On Saturday a group of ladies from my quilt guild got together to assemble our Raffle quilt.  It is such a good way to get a lot done in a short amount of time.  It is also a great way for beginners to learn new the finer points of getting your quilt to lay flat. There is nothing worse than a wavy quilt.  It is impossible to get it to lay flat and it is equally impossible to have it quilted.

Georgette, Carol and Terry

Georgette, Carol and Terry

 

Denise, Jane, Iola and Judy

Denise, Jane, Iola and Judy

Here are a couple of shots of our group at work.  We had a wonderful time and when we were done the hardest part of the quilt top was complete.  I have a couple of borders to add but they are measured and ready to be sewn on.  I will then applique some flowers around the edge to make it even prettier than it already is.

Of course Sunday was Mother’s Day – there was also a Marathon that was going right past our road.  A dear friend from Albany who grew up with our son was in the area with some of his siblings to watch his wife run the Marathon.  So while they waited for Avery to complete the run (she did very well but says she will never do it again), they came to our house for a little Brunch.  We had homemade muffins and fruit salad.

George, Katherine, me, Tommy and George plus a little bit of Chucks finger.  ;)

George, Katherine, me, Tommy and George plus a little bit of Chucks finger. 😉

It was so beautiful that we decided to eat outside.  I have not seen these wonderful young people is a long time and it was so wonderful to catch up with them and hear about the exciting lives that they are living.

The crew with Chuck.

The crew with Chuck.

I am so appreciative of the friendships that our children have developed over the years.  They are friendships that will last for the rest of their lives.  It is very easy for them to communicate with all of the new technology – one of the positives of the times.

After the kids left we went up to Portland and Chuck purchased me a wonderful a unexpected surprise Mother’s Day gift.  It is a Ball Fresh Tech Canner.  I will be able to can goodies from the garden without all the steam in the kitchen.  I will post some pictures when I use it.

The day was completed with lunch sitting outside by the river at Run of the Mill restaurant.  It is a microbrew pub and it is in an old textile mill in Saco – great lunch.

It was a sunny, warm day and I really enjoyed myself.  I had great chats with my 2 darling kids and a nice conversation with my own mother.  So overall it was a great weekend.

I hope yours was as well.

Be Kind…

Faith

Spring is trying so hard to get here….

my view this morning

my view this morning

This was the view from the car window this morning on my way to the post office.  How beautiful is that?!?

We spent part of Saturday trying to get some work done outside.  It has been a very slow, cold spring here in the northeast this year.  The trees are budding and the tulips are above ground but is has been a slow moving process.

 

I am always excited to start to get some thing into the ground.  It is ok to plant lettuce, onions and peas this time of year.  They do not mind the cooler temperatures.  With that in mind Chuck and I decided it was time to get to work.

getting the garden ready

getting the garden ready

We like to use as much organic material in the vegetable garden as possible.  We will, after all be eating the fruits of our labor.  I am not quite so picky with the flowers as I am the veggies for obvious reasons.  I will give the flowers a shot of Miracle Gro every now and then but never the veggies.

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This is the product that we use and it has worked well in the past.  It just give the garden a pick me up.

Many years ago we bought a little tiller – actually I think the technical terms is “speedy hoe”.  It helps blend the compost into the garden a bit easier and more thoroughly than by hand.

Chuck hard at work

Chuck hard at work

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So my Lettuce, parsley and onions are in the ground.  We got some rain on Saturday night so everything is watered in.  Now we wait.  Hopefully we will have a productive garden this summer and we will have wonderful fresh veggies for our salads.

Enjoy the sunshine.

 

Be kind…

Faith

 

 

 

 

 

So while I wasn’t blogging I was…

Having fun!!!!

We spent time visiting family in Florida.

Chuck and Gail

Chuck and Gail on the Beach!

We went on a sunset cruise in Sarasota.

Sarasota Bay

Sarasota Bay

We walked on the beach.

Longboat Key Beach

Longboat Key Beach

We had company and we ate wonderful food.

littleneck clams

littleneck clams

We went to a concert in Portland, ME.

Lake Street Dive @ The State Theater in Portland, ME

Lake Street Dive @ The State Theater in Portland, ME

We had our master bathroom re-done.

We torn our ugly wet bar out and had it replaced with this. 20140430-171027.jpg And I finished quilts.

The months of March and April were very busy but it was all fun stuff.

Be kind….. Faith

And we cooked……

Lamejoun hot out of the oven!

Lamejoun hot out of the oven!

Last Friday my dear husband and I decided that it was time to make Lahmejoun. My wondeful Armenian friends know what this entails, lots of work! For my non-Armenian friends, Lahmejoun is an Armenian meat pie, probably unlike anything you have ever eaten before. They are the best addition to any meal, or a meal by itself.

So Friday we went to the market and bought 8 lbs. of ground lamb, bell peppers, garlic, lots of parsley, crushed tomatoes, flour and yeast. For two and a half hours I cleaned, cut and diced veggies. Then I added all of that and some wonderful spices to 8 lbs. of ground lamb. Needless to say you need a very large bowl to mix all of those ingredients. That all went into the fridge to wait til morning.

The next morning I mixed 2 packets of yeast with lots and lots of flour. I think at this point it was about 6 lbs. of flour. To say that my arms were getting a bit tired is an understatement. The fun hadn’t even started yet! I let the dough rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

While the dough was rising I continued to chop veggies and made a pot of Minestrone Soup.  My mother-in-law Irma taught me how to make Lamejoun and whenever we made it together we also made a pot of soup to go with it.  Irma was not Armenian, she was French Canadian and Irish, she was a hell of a good cook and she happily taught me everything she knew about Armenian food. We always had fun when we cooked together.

I have 2 beautiful ovens, both were set at 500 degrees. Thankfully it was a dreary, rainy cool day so having the ovens on that high was not unpleasant.

To make Lamejoun you need to roll out the dough into a thin round disc about 7-8″ in diameter.  Then you add about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture.  I use parchment paper on the cookie sheets so that I don’t have to wash them between batches.

Chuck hard at work

Chuck hard at work

Cooking them is a 2 step process.  First they go on the bottom of the oven for about 8 minutes then they are moved to the top rack for an additional 6-8 minutes.  This is where Chuck steps in.  While I am rolling out the dough, he is watching the oven and counting the fruits of our labor.  The first 2 Lamejoun that come out of the oven go right into our mouths.  Oh my goodness! it is sooo good hot out of the oven.

We worked together for a couple of hours, until we had 6 dozen Lamejoun baked.  Trust me we were tired.  It is a lot of work but the end result is so wonderful.  We can go to the markets in Boston and buy Lamejoun but I have to say there is nothing like homemade. At this point we have 5 dozen Lamejoun in the freezer – we will deliver some to various family members over the next couple of weeks.

5 dozen ready to go into the freezer

5 dozen ready to go into the freezer

If it is a dreary Spring I will make more – they are a great dinner when you are busy and don’t feel like cooking.  Chuck and I had a great day cooking together.  I don’t know how my dear Mother-in-law ever made 100 of these by herself – she was quite a lady!

Now back to my quilting.

Be Kind…

Faith

Saying goodbye…

Dresden Plate

Dresden Plate

 

Christmas Stars - one border too small

Christmas Stars – one border too small

I left two of my oldest quilt tops with a friend last night to be delivered to the long arm quilter.  I have seen the work of the lady who will be quilting my beloved tops and I am very excited to see how she quilts these tops.  I am also very excited to have these quilts moved out of and off of the UFO pile.

I am very proud of the workmanship on both of these quilt tops.  They are very different quilts.  The Dresden Plate quilt was machine pieced and both machine and hand appliqued.  As I have mentioned in previous posts I started this back in the 90’s.  The top has been completed for a long time – I just wanted to have the right person quilt it for me.

The Christmas Stars quilt was a block of the month class taken many years ago at Log Cabin Fabrics in Selkirk, NY http://logcabinfabrics.com/.  If you are ever in the Albany, NY area and can stop in it is worth the visit.  The ladies ( Londa, Lisa and Bonnie) will take very good care of you.  The fabrics for both of these quilts were purchased many years ago at this shop.  I hand pieced most of these blocks, I added the sashing and borders using my machine.  The quilt shown in the picture is not the completed top, I added one more border using the same fabric as the sashing.

the backyard

the backyard

We had a snow day on Wednesday.  I made a wonderful Chicken Pot Pie for dinner and settled in to work on quilts that night.  The best thing about snowstorms is that it is a perfect time to work on quilts.  When the world looks white it is fun to pull out a pile of fun fabrics to brighten your day.

I also have been working on blocks for a block swap but I can’t post any pictures of those yet.   All I can say about them is that the background is white and the main fabric was supposed to make us think of summer.  When the weather is cold and snowy it is nice to think about summer, sunshine and warm air.

Now back to my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt – Celtic Solstice.  I have 40 blocks done and a gazillion more to sew.  I will post pictures of that soon.

Keep creating…

Be Kind…

Faith

What Christmas really means to me…

Our Christmas tree this year.

Our Christmas tree this year.

Christmas – what exactly does that word mean to you?  It isn’t about manic shopping or tons of “GREAT” bargains, it isn’t about getting the best gift for your kids or from your kids.  It is about tradition, it is about family, it is about love, it is about laughing and memories.

A friend recently posted on Facebook that she couldn’t take 19 more days of Christmas music, she was not raised as a Christian so she does not have the memories or traditions that I do, so I suppose I understand how annoying “Christmas” can be to her.  My first thought of course was – Change the station, but then I started to really think about Christmas meant to me.

As a child we decorated our tree on Christmas Eve, the rest of the house would be decorated through out the month of December but the tree was always decorated on Christmas Eve.  We would start it and our parents would finish it.  As we got older we would finish it with them.  I do remember very specific directions about how to properly place the tinsel – I also recall some good natured arguments about the placement of the tinsel.  Side note – I do not use tinsel on my Christmas tree!  I also remember waking my parents up at about 4:00 in the morning (I of course did not realize that my father had only gone to bed about an hour earlier) –  to open presents – “GO BACK TO BED FAITH” was what I heard from their bedroom.

Gracie as Rudolph

I have wonderful memories of Christmas and none of them have to do with the gifts that I received.  I remember my mother accidently doubling a recipe for cookies and consequently having a ton of cookies to bake.  I also remember the time my mother was putting candied cherries on cookies only to have my younger sister eat all of the cherries off of the cookies.  I remember my grandmother ringing bells under the table and telling me that there was a present upstairs that Santa’s helpers had left me.   I remember Christmas Crackers on Christmas Eve and wearing funny crowns all through dinner.

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Christmas for me is about remembering precious moments and creating new ones.  It is about the love that I always felt growing up, it is about the cookies that my mother made and my grandmother made that I now make.  It is about talking about the memories with your children, and parents, and cousins and dear family friends.  It is about going out with your dearest friends to cut your Christmas tree, drinking hot chocolate and eating candy canes and then going back to the house for a wonderful meal.

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Christmas is about the season – it is about family, friends and memories.  It is about being thankful for the blessings that we have and about sharing them with each other.

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But most important it is about LOVE – I love the season, I love the reason for the season, I love the time spent with family and friends.  I love the rush and the crush, I love the trees and the lights and the cookies.  I love the Christmas carols!  I love the walk on the beach on Christmas morning, when there are a few snowflakes falling and the air is cold and brisk.  I love the anticipation of seeing someone that I love opening a one of a kind gift that I have made especially for them.  I love the warm, comfy feelings that I have when I remember tucking my children into bed in their red sleepers on Christmas Eve.  I love the total exhaustion that I feel when I have done all of the things that I feel need to be done to make it a “perfect” Christmas.  What makes it perfect is the family!

I hope that you can feel some of the spirit that makes Christmas special and wonderful for me.  I hope that you can make memories with people you love

Be kind…

Faith

A walk on the beach…

I Love Candy Corn!

I Love Candy Corn!

I love October.  I also love it when the kids come up to visit.  Saturday was overcast and windy here. The ocean has such a huge effect on our weather and sometimes storms just hang off shore and we have misty, windy days.  It is part of living by the coast.  I am not complaining at all – sometimes a drizzly day is perfect.

We had a semi-house full on Saturday.  I decided that it was a perfect day for turkey.  Not just any turkey, a deep fried turkey.

Deep Fried Turkey

Deep Fried Turkey

It is amazing how moist and flavorful a fried turkey is.  Of course you need stuffing/dressing, mashed potatoes, roasted butternut squash and carrots with and roasted garlic, cranberry sauce (yes jellied Ocean Spray, love it) and homemade applesauce.  Pumpkin pie with vanilla bean ice cream.

Pumpkin Pie

YUM!  We all ate well and then settled in to watch the Red Sox game.  Sadly they lost but they evened up the series last night.

the beach

the beach

Yesterday was a beautiful day.  Bright sunshine, clear skies perfect temperatures.  Gracie and I decided that it was the perfect day for a walk on the beach.  There were a lot of other furpals on the beach.  Sometimes the beach is the best place in the world to be.  I can’t ever imagine living too very far from the ocean.  It has such a restoring effect on me, I always feel better after breathing in the wonderful sea air.

wet sand

wet sand

There were several surfers in the water, lots of people sitting and reading books, just a wonderful day to be outside.  We spent a good amount of time looking for heartstones.  They are beach stones that are shaped like hearts.

Heartstones

Heartstones

I have several heartstones that have been given to me by people that I love.  When I find them I keep them if they fit in my hand, they are smooth and cool and make me think about the ocean. I also give them to people that I love so that it reminds them of good times at the beach.

I hope that you had a wonderful October weekend filled with love and family and good memories.

Be Kind…

Faith