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

Wow – I haven’t posted anything in a long time….

Easter flowers

 

Easter flowers always make it seem like Spring is almost here.  Easter Sunday was a wonderful day – the weather could have been warmer but this year if the sun is shining and it is not snowing it is a good day. Our daughter and her boyfriend came for the weekend so we had a wonderful time.  I spent the weekend cooking so I didn’t do much sewing that weekend.  But I have gotten a lot done this Spring.

I have been busy – I have gotten 3 old quilts done and by old I mean very old.  I finished binding the 2 that were quilted by the longarm quilter.  The Christmas Star quilt was finished in no time at all.  The Dresden Plate with the scalloped edge took a long time.

sewing biased binding on Dresden Plate

sewing biased binding on Dresden Plate

I made a biased binding which is time consuming but necessary when putting on a curved binding.

Scalloped Edge of Dresden Plate

Scalloped Edge of Dresden Plate

 

I don’t use clips when I stitch down the binding so my hands tired easily.  There was also a lot of very careful trimming while stitching this binding down.  But the quilt is done!

I machine quilted by Mystery Quilt from my quilt guild.  I still consider myself to be a novice at Free motion quilting but I am getting more confident with each quilt.  I brought my machine upstairs into my sunroom so I had lots of wonderful light.  I also put up 3 different tables – one with my sewing machine, one behind my sewing machine table and one to the left of my sewing table.  This made things so much easier because the weight of the quilt was always on a table, not dragging.

 

Stitch in a Ditch

Stitch in a Ditch

 

 

I also made a baby quilt for a dear friends first Grandchild.  This is called a disappearing nine patch. It was fun and easy to stitch together with Charms Squares (5″ blocks).  I have a GO cutter that I used to cut the squares with so this quilt top went together very easily.  We don’t know whether the baby is a boy or a girl so I used pastels to make this quilt.  It was fun to make a quilt for a new baby.

photo (98)

So since April 1st I have completed 4 quilts.  I am very happy about this.  Several of these quilts have been sitting for years.  I will post full size pictures of all of the quilts as soon as it is a bit nicer outside.  At this point they would blow away.

Off to a Guild meeting tonight – I am looking forward to seeing my friends.  It has been over a month since I have seen some of them so this meeting will be fun.

Happy Quilting…

Be Kind…

Faith

I love this quilt……

Christmas Stars

Christmas Stars

This quilt has been in my life for 20 years, but until yesterday I couldn’t say that is was complete. I started it as a class at Log Cabin Fabrics. It was a block of the month class that met the first Thursday of the month for either 6 months or a year – I can’t remember. Seems to me we got 2 blocks each month. I opted to hand piece the blocks. I made the decision to hand piece the blocks for a few different reasons.

First, I love to hand piece, second, there are a lot of points in these blocks and I wanted to be sure to have pointy points, third, I love hand piecing!  I loved the fact that I could take the work with me where ever I was, in the car, at a field hockey game or the orthodontics office.  Those places were all part of my life when I started this quilt.  How life has changed.

So you wonder, why if I loved the blocks so much and took them with me just about everywhere, did it take 20 years to complete.  It became a UFO (unfinished object) for a few reasons.  After piecing all of the blocks they were all different sizes, not because I pieced them wrong – the idea was to trim the blocks to all match.  The problem with that was that I would need to cut off my precious points in order to have them all the same size.  They were stuck in a box to wait til later.  I would pull them out a few times a year and try to come up with a solution.

Well after 20 years I have progressed as a quilter and an idea finally came to me.  Add background borders to all of the blocks and them trim them so that all of the points would show and the blocks would all measure 17 1/2″ square.  Next step – put the quilt together – add sashing and borders.

Then it needed to be quilted.  I could not hand quilt it or it would take another 20 years to complete.  I don’t feel skilled enough to quilt it on my sewing machine.  A good friend suggested a long arm quilter that she has worked with.  I packed it up and sent it to Shirley York of Blue Moose Quilting.

Well, Shirley is truly an artist!  The quilting that she did on this quilt is wonderful, whimsical, it “completes” my quilt in a wonderful way.  Here are some pictures to show you how special it is.

 

Water Wheel Star

Water Wheel Star

Octagon Star

Octagon Star

Radiant Feathered Star

Radiant Feathered Star

St. Louis Star

St. Louis Star

Mariner's Compass

Mariner’s Compass

Castle Wall

Castle Wall

Blazing Star

Blazing Star

California Sunset

California Sunset

Interlocking Block

Interlocking Star

Hearts Design

Hearts Design

Flying Swallows

Flying Swallows

Snow Crystals

Snow Crystals

If you click the pictures you can see the quilting details a little better.

Happy Quilting and hopefully Happy Spring soon too…

Be Kind…

Faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

A walk in the Park….

Carriage Path

Carriage Path

Friday morning we loaded the car and took a ride.  After a quick stop in Belfast to conduct some business, we were on our way to Bar Harbor.  It was a beautiful sunny day, no wind, just sunshine.

We stopped by the closed Visitors Center to see what paths were available to snow shoe on.  We met 2 wonderful dogs one English Mastiff named Gwenny – she weighs in at 210 and another beautiful dog named Aikera.  He had had a botched surgery when he was younger so he had a contraption strapped on that allows him to walk like a normal dog.  He was a very sweet dog but I am not sure what his breed was.

I love to meet dogs

I love to meet dogs

We stopped for lunch at one of our favorite spots – The Side Street Café.

Blackened Haddock Sandwich Special

Blackened Haddock Sandwich Special

I got the special and Chuck got the Lobster Roll – as always it was delicious.  We have had both lunch and dinner here and it is always lots of food at a reasonable price.  I look forward to eating here.  We did a bit of shopping and I do mean a bit because most every shop in Bar Harbor is closed for the season – some open in April most open in May.  I did stop into Fiore – this is a wonderful shop that sells different olive oils and vinegars.  I bought 3 different oils including a Truffle oil – I can’t wait to drizzle that on some wonderful goodies.  The flavored oils that Fiore sells are a wonderful way to add something special to your meals.

On Saturday morning we had breakfast at 2 Cats – it is a wonderful breakfast spot.  We were there at 7:00 AM and we had the place to ourselves – Blueberry Pancakes for me and Apple Cinnamon Pancakes for Chuck.  We knew that we would be working it off so this was a no guilt meal.

Chuck on Snowshoes

Chuck on Snowshoes

Yours truly with Snow Shoes strapped on.

Yours truly with Snow Shoes strapped on.

We headed over to the Park to snow shoe – It was a beautiful day – bright sunshine, warm and perfect. The Carriage Paths are groomed so that you can cross country ski, snow shoe or just walk on the paths.  We met a few walkers on the path and a few dogs.  It was a great day to be outside and the views were amazing.  We felt very fortunate to be able to be outside enjoying the park on such a great day.

photo 4

photo 2 (9)

We met 2 young men at the park – they were college kids who go to the Maine Maritime Academy.  They were wondering if there were paths that they could hike on.  We explained where we had walked and told them that there were lots of trails with good signage so they should have no trouble.  They then asked us where they needed to go to pay for the use of the park – I explained that it was free to walk on paths and enjoy the beauty of the park.  They were amazed and decided that they needed to come up to the park more often.  The Maritime Academy is in Castine, Maine which is not far from Bar Harbor.

We enjoyed the park for a couple of hours and then we headed down the coast.  We stopped at a few towns along the way to see the sights and have some lunch.  It was a wonderful way to spend a day and we felt very fortunate to have such a beautiful area to visit.

We once again decided that our move to Maine was a good thing – we love living here and we do not take for granted the beauty that is all around us all the time.  The weather was amazing and it gave us the feeling that Spring may not be to far away.

Have a wonderful day – enjoy the view.

Be Kind…

Faith

Quilt guilds….

 

Evergreen Quilters Pin

Evergreen Quilters Pin

Last night I attended our monthly quilt guild meeting.  We meet 10 months a year on the 3rd Monday of the month.  We skip July and December.  July is too hot and lots of people are vacationing or up here in Maine waiting for the vacationers to arrive or depart from visiting .  We don’t meet in December because of Christmas – we are all too busy trying to complete that last gift or waiting for the festivities to begin.

The Evergreen Quilters are a chapter of the Pine Tree State Quilt Guild.  There are chapters all over the state, we are located in Southern York County.  Quilt guilds are a wonderful way to meet other quilters, to learn new techniques, to join with others to make items for Charity and to just have some fun.

When I moved to Maine in 2008 I knew that the best way to meet people with the same interests as I have was to find some quilters.  I googled Quilt guilds in Maine and all of the information that I needed to jump into the quilting fray was right there in front of me.  I contacted the President of the Evergreen Chapter and the ball started rolling.  Turns out the President was a friend of my neighbor, who was also a quilter.

The friendships that have developed from my membership in the quilt guild are wonderful.  Haha! but that is not really the topic that I started with when my fingers hit the keys.  What I was going to talk about was how wonderful quilters are!!

The quilters in our area and in our chapter have done some really amazing things – and here is a list of a few…

Every year we donated approximately 300 Placemats  to Meal on Wheels in York County.

This year we have completed or in the process of completing 14 Red, White and Blue quilts to be donated to Veterans.

A Veteran's Quilt being planned

A Veteran’s Quilt being planned

We handed out 24 packets of fabric to make quilts for children in need.  Some will be Linus quilts, some will be for Wrap-a-Smile (where over 19,000 quilts have been donated), some will go to the battered woman shelter.  There are sadly always children in need of the hug of a homemade quilt.

We loaded the back of a Jeep with handmade tote bags and toiletries for the battered women’s shelter to distribute to the women who leave their homes with next to nothing.

We congregate, we laugh, we create, we encourage, we teach, we comfort, we support, we share, we donate, we make friends and we quilt!

Machines at the ready - must be a lunch break

Machines at the ready – must be a lunch break

We are all working on a Raffle quilt that will raise money to support our guild – all members who would like to make a quilt block, we get together to lay it out, sew it together and another member will quilt it for us.  While doing this we learn new techniques, work together, make new friends and have some fun.

completed block

completed block

 

our quilt will be similar to this one

our quilt will be similar to this one

So if you are a quilter and you are quilting alone, find a group!  It doesn’t have to be an organized group with dues and rules – it can be a group that you meet at your local fabric shop, it can be a group that you have met online or on Facebook.  It starts out being about quilts and fabric and patterns and ends up being about friendships and support and real life.  Get involved – take from it what you need and give to it what you can.  It will be a blessing.

Be Kind….

Faith

Another UFO….

I am participating in a UFO challenge.  Earlier in the year I signed up to complete 6 UFO’s this year.  Every month on the 10th of the month we are given a #.  This month the #2 was chosen.  The second quilt on my UFO list is to complete a mystery quilt that I started a couple of years ago.  It was a mystery challenge that was done by Evergreen Quilters – the challenge was to have them done by May.  Well maybe it will be done by this May.

top completed

top completed

As with most UFO’s (aka unfinished objects) something makes you come to a screeching halt in your progress to complete the quilt.  In this case I sort of fell out of love with this quilt.  I didn’t have enough fabric to finish it the way that I would have liked, I wasn’t thrilled with the final layout of the quilt, and it wasn’t quiet large enough in spite of the fact that this was supposed to be the size for a Full Size bed.  Oh well, that is the issue sometimes with mysteries.  When you get towards the end the mystery is whether or not it will be completed.

another view

another view

The fabrics that I chose will be perfect in my guest room – I like the colors, and it is a completed top soooo….it is time to sandwich it and finish it.  I plan to quilt it on my domestic machine.  I need to decide how I want to quilt it – I have a pretty good idea what I am going to do.  I will get this ironed and layered and hopefully I will start quilting it this weekend.

the view from my back door yesterday

the view from my back door yesterday

The weather men are talking about another storm on Thursday.  We have a lot of snow out there right now but more snow is ok with me.  Of course I am not the person who is moving it all, and I know for a fact that the person in my house who will be moving it all is running out of places to put it.

I will be working on quilts -some new ones, some old ones and some that are somewhere in between.  Sounds like a good plan to me.

Stay safe in the weather – whatever yours might be.

Be Kind…

Faith

The fragility of life…

Last night while enjoying an early birthday dinner with our daughter and her boyfriend we got a disturbing text message from our son. He asked if we had heard any news about a tragedy. Of course when you are asked a question like that you stop what you are doing and quickly grab the phone to check out social media. It is amazing that we hear good and bad news in such an impersonal way.

A young lady whose family has been part of our lives for over 20 years had just lost her fiancé. This is a family whom we have loved, we have laughed together, worked together in church endeavors, and watched our children progress from toddlers to wonderful young adults with the amazing potential for happy, complete lives.

Sadly, one of these lives has been altered in a way that none of us can comprehend. Lindsey’s fiancé had not been feeling well, he had gone to doctors, he had various tests performed but no definitive answers. Sadly he passed in his sleep on Saturday morning. He was 30 years old, he was kind, thoughtful, smart and the love of Lindsey’s young life. They had made plans, they had dreams!

Now all of the dreams have crashed! Her mother and father are devastated! They lost someone they love but they also have to try to console their daughter. What do you say, how do you ease the pain when your own pain is so intense? How do you answer the questions, why? How do you not lose faith? How do you continue when your life as you know it has been snatched away in such a sudden and devastating way?

My heart is breaking for them all. I have no words to offer them, I can only call and remind them that they are loved by many.

So remember to never take for granted the people you love – life is fragile and can be hard with questions that we can not answer.

We will continue to pray for the family of my friends and to pray for all of the people who have lost this young man. I will pray that they can find peace and that they will find the answers as to why this happened.

Remember Be Kind…
Hold the people that you love close,

Faith

My next project – Bonnie Hunters Celtic Solstice…

love the look of this quilt - the illusion of curves with only straight lines

love the look of this quilt – the illusion of curves with only straight lines

Since the day after Thanksgiving I have been working on this quilt.  http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com/p/celtic-solstice-mystery.html  I have used only fabric that I had in my stash.  That is about 25 years worth of fabric.  I have been talking about having Christmas quilts on the beds in my house for that long as well.  So I have been buying Christmas fabric for that long.  Yikes that amounted to about 1/4 of my stash.  So when Bonnie Hunter gave the initial instructions for this quilt I looked over the colors and decided that I needed to make some changes.  Bonnie had orange in her quilt – and it looks beautiful, as do all of the quilts that the many quilters that have followed the same color scheme have made.  I didn’t have a lot of orange fabric and orange just didn’t work in the color scheme of my home.  So I decided to sort of go my own way.  I switched things up a bit.  Where Bonnie uses blue – I use Red, and where she uses Orange I used Blue.  So my quilt will look a bit different but the overall effect is the same.  Beautiful!!!  Thank you Bonnie Hunter for another wonderful quilt design.

full tote of quilt parts

full tote of quilt parts

This is a look at the first 40 blocks that I have completed.

one potential corner

one potential corner

I still have lots of blocks to complete – I started making this King size but since I don’t have a King size bed I am going to cut it down to a queen and make a lap quilt as a gift for someone for Christmas next year.

photo 1 (5)

You may be noticing this totally awesome portable design wall that I have.  I don’t have a free wall to dedicate to a design wall so I ordered this online.  It is made by Cheryl Ann.  You can check it out on this website.  www.cherylannsdesignwall.com .  It is easy to assemble and easy to take apart and store.  I love being able to preview how a quilt will look with out having to crawl around on the floor.  Good for the knees and back.

This is a picture of the same tote with fewer quilt parts in it.

photo (84)

I will keep you posted on my progress with this quilt.  It will never be a UFO because I really want it done for Christmas next year.  I love the way it is coming out and I also love the amount of OLD fabric I am using up.  No stash guilt here.

Happy 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

The problem with UFO’s is…..

that after sitting on a shelf for more years than I want to admit to you need to finish them. I am very excited about this quilt – I started it in the 90’s – it was a block of the month class. Every month on the first Thursday we would meet to learn the newest block. I had decided to hand piece my blocks – most of them are hand pieced, a couple are done by machine.

The problem with the completion of this quilt was that the blocks were all different sizes. The completion instructions were to square them up to the average size of the blocks. Big Problem, some were 15 1/2″ some were 17 1/2″, cutting the larger ones down would have cut off the wonderful points of my stars. The other problem was that I didn’t have a ruler large enough to square them up.

So after careful contemplation I decided to add the backgound fabric to all of the blocks that were too small. I then went to the local glass repair shop and asked them to cut me a piece of plexiglass that was 17.5″ square. I used a Black Sharpie to mark the center lines. I could now use this to be sure that all of my blocks were the same size.

not a great picture but I think you get the idea

not a great picture but I think you get the idea

I had saved the extra fabric along with the blocks in a tote so that I wouldn’t have to worry about matching fabrics when I finally completed the quilt.  I put the sashing on the quilt and then thought about borders.  Last night I brought it upstairs to preview it on the bed.  Horrors – It is to small – it is long enough but not wide enough.  So back to the stash – AKA fabrics.

Christmas Stars - one border too small

Christmas Stars – one border too small

So after digging through the piles of Christmas fabrics that I have – after measuring and figuring and choosing I decided to use the same fabric as the sashing.  It was really the only fabric that looked good and that I had enough of.  I really liked the red border as the final border but now it will be a green.  I will post another picture when it is finished.

So, that is the problem with UFO’s – lesson learned.  Don’t let those quilts sit on the shelf for 20 years.  Pull them out and get working on them or give them away, or make placemats or tote bags to donate to charity.  Or discuss with other quilters what has become your road block.  There is a reason that you started the quilt all those years ago – you loved the pattern or the fabric, you wanted to take the class with your friends, you were interested in learning a new technique.  Something got in the way of the completion of the quilt – you needed a different ruler, the blocks didn’t turn out the way you wanted, you moved and the quilt doesn’t go with anything in your house.  The reasons – or excuses are endless and so is the guilt that we feel every time we stumble upon the pile on the shelf.  So finish it or re-purpose it into something useful for someone else.

All of my beds will have Christmas quilts on them this December.  I have been wanting to accomplish that for many years.

Keep Quilting….

Be Kind…

Faith