All Things Andrea

All Things Andrea

Friday, June 21, 2013

Organic Manifesto

"We are dealing with ten global issues at the moment:  food security, availability of water, climate change, energy demand, waste disposal, extinction of biodiversity, soil degradation and desertification, poverty, political and ethnic instability, and rapid population increase.  The solution to all of these lies in soil management."
- Rattan Lal,
soil scientist, director of Ohio State University Carbon Management and Sequestration Center,
January 29, 2009

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Lovely Garlic Scapes


I love the look of garlic scapes!  It's hard to capture their beauty.... 
But, not only are they beautiful and intriguing to look at, they are delicious too, something I'm just learning.  Last year I waited to long to cut them because I wanted to feature them in a dinner I was hosting, and the year before I didn't even know that's what you are are supposed to do; I thought you were supposed to simply enjoy looking at them!  Apparently you're to clip them so the garlic can devote its energy into producing the bulb instead of this beautiful scape. 
This year I'm determined to enjoy them fully!
Last night I used one in the place of a garlic clove in this Chicken Caesar Salad recipe - yum!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Amish Goodies

I stopped by a sweet little Amish stand this evening to pick up some rhubarb to make a Strawberry-Rhubarb Slab pie - yummmm!!! 

And, I was happy to purchase some homemade sauerkraut - another yummm!!

Scrappy Trip Around the World Continues

I was happy to get these items in the mail today!

I'm thinking of hand quilting my Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt using perle cotton thread to give it a little more personality.  I couldn't find the perle cotton or the needles in any local brick-and-mortar stores, so had to resort to online purchasing.   I ordered the #12 perle cotton from Presencia America and the #9 embroidery/crewel needles from their sister company Colonial Needle.  The book Applique with Attitude by Piece 'O Cake Designs tipped me off to these companies as a source.

Originally I planned to machine quilt an "Orange-Peel" design, but then I got the crazy idea to hand quilt it after coming across this lovely photo of hand quilting via Pinterest .  I'll do a trial and see how it goes....  Not sure which shade of perle cotton will look the best, so will need to trial that as well. 

Here's a glimpse of the backing and binding I plan to use.
 I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New Look for Vintage Garden Chairs

I've been watching these vintage garden chairs rust away.... 


... over the last few years. 

They were my Great Aunt Mary's chairs,
 and I had them hanging in my garage for years, knowing that some day I would have the perfect place for them. 
It wasn't until I built my garden shed two years ago that it seemed like they finally had a place to call home.  So, I bought some paint that summer to repaint them, but kept dragging my feet because I knew it would be a fairly involved project.  And, I wasn't 100% sure they would still be weatherproof.

But, the stress of seeing these lovely chairs from rust away was getting to me.  In fact, they had deteriorated so much that I was now able to see the previous paint color.

Thankfully I stumbled across this fellow last summer at the Columbia Antique, Art & Craft Show.  He does beautiful work with powder coating vintage chairs and kitchen step stools.
So, my sister helped me get these chairs to him this evening.  He assured me they weren't too far gone and helped me decide what color to pick after showing me some chairs he had done for his wife.  I selected a lovely coral pink shade.  As sad as it makes me to give up their vintage/shabby chic look, I knew something had to be done had to be done to preserve them.  And, his prices were so reasonable!
I'll be sure to post pictures when I get them back!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Another Hexagon Quilt!

Oh dear....  I did not need another quilt project to add to my stash!

But, I was so enamored with this amazing quilt, and knew there was no way I could recreate the colors and design on my own,

so I broke down and ordered the "Hex on the Beach" quilt kit from Pacific Fabrics and Crafts.

The kit arrived today - yea!. 

I already started preparing some of the hexies, and I'm eager to stitch this "Hex on the Beach" quilt while sitting on the beach this summer!

Sunday, June 9, 2013



Deviled Eggs
I recently made these deviled eggs for guests.  My nephew ate so many of them that it made me think you might enjoy them as well!
Source:  adapted from Mennonite Country-Style Recipes
6 or 8 hard-cooked eggs
1 t. prepared mustard
2 T. mayonnaise
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 t. sugar
1 t. vinegar
Cut eggs in half lengthwise and remove yolks, being careful not to break the whites.  Mash the yolks with a fork.
Stir mustard, mayo, salt, sugar and vinegar into the yolks until thoroughly mixed.  Fill the whites with the yolk mixture. (I usually place the yolk mixture into a piping bag, especially if I'm doing a large quantity.  It goes much faster and looks prettier too!)
Sprinkle with paprika.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Today's Harvest



Another T-Shirt Quilt

I had fun making this T-shirt quilt for a co-worker's son's high school graduation.  Since she wanted to stick with the Manheim Central's maroon and gray color scheme, as well as a soccer theme, we didn't have as many shirts to work with as we normally might have, but I was happy with the way it turned out. We added the two borders to give it a bit more size.

Since the blocks weren't all the same size, it took a little more brain power to figure out what size to cut them and still get all three columns to equal the same length; graphing it out was helpful.
Here's a view of the back.
I really liked the backing fabric she selected - it reminded me of something mesh or stainless steel from a sports locker room.  :) 

I appliqued a label in the shape of a T-shirt in the bottom right corner.  (I used the freezer paper/liquid starch method to turn the edges under - love that method for applique prep!)

I was a little nervous that the maroon border fabric might bleed into the white border, so I followed the color setting instructions in the "How to Make a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt" book that I has just gotten.  I'm glad I did, because I'm sure the color would have run otherwise.  I used a Shout Color Catcher and threw it in the wash with the fabric.  From the now pink/almost red Color Catcher, I knew there was a lot of dye running loose in the water.  So, I then soaked the fabric overnight with 1 1/2 c. of white vinegar, then washed it again with a few more Color Catchers.  The Color Catchers still had a hint of pink to them, so I washed the fabric one more time with 2 more Color Catchers, and that seemed to do the trick.  As long as the customer adds a few Color Catchers when washing the quilt in the future, all should be well.

I again machine tacked this quilt with the button stitch feature on my Bernina, using invisible thread.  That continues to be the easiest and best looking method I've found.  This time I took a strip of adding machine tape, folded it, and used it to space out the tacking.
This was the first chance I had to try using these great Clover Wonder Clips for binding a quilt. I had gotten them in my Easter basket this spring.  :)  They work great for binding!  (I also really like using them when stitching hexies.)
Congratulations on your graduation from high school, J.T.!
PS -  Please pardon these lousy pictures!  I scrambled to get this quilt finished the other evening, then spent the next evening outdoors doing yard work since the weather forecast was calling for rain for the next four days, compliments of Hurricane Andrea.  :)  I figured I'd take some pictures outdoors when the customer stopped by to pick up her quilt, thinking I could have her hold it up for the photo shoot, but duh - it was raining, just as the forecast predicted, so I had to take them indoors in bad lighting.  When will I learn to take the time to take some pictures ahead of time?!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Strawberry Thoughts

Every year, without fail, when I pick my strawberries, I miss the berries that are right under my nose.  They are usually hiding and are easily found if I take the time to look under the leaves.  But, I'm usually too busy looking off and beyond for the other strawberries that are beckoning to be noticed.
And, every year, without fail, I ponder - what blessings, opportunities or answers am I missing that are right under my nose?  Am I making life way more complicated than it needs to be?  Is everything I need to be content and fruitful right in front of me?
What berries are you missing?

Garden Glimpses



Sunday, June 2, 2013

Heirloom Soybean Seeds

I am so eager to plant these soybean seeds!  My friend Julia gave them to me last fall; they were seeds from her plants that she had grown from seeds she purchased at Bartram's Garden in Philadelphia earlier that year.  Bartram's Garden is the home of John Bartram (1699-1777), America's first great botanist, and these seeds are from the soybeans grown at the gardens today.
I've been avoiding soybeans, as most soybeans in the US are genetically modified (shame, shame, shame on you arrogant seed companies that dare to mess with sacred seeds!!).  So, the gift of these heirloom soybean seeds felt like a rare treasure indeed!

Hexie Love

I think one of the most enjoyable parts of stitching these hexies is watching the stack grow!
These peas never even made it to the kitchen.... 
They were so sweet and tender that I munched on them while standing next to the vines!

Beloved Fruits of My Labor


... I still have a ways to go!