Merry Christmas… the Wind-down

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, if you celebrate it. My boys got a little pose in to celebrate the occasion.

Poor Rico was so traumatized by having antlers on his head that he hid behind the couch for an hour to recover. He’s so sensitive. Bender suffered no ill affects.

I had today off work. I love having the day after Christmas off. It’s a lazy, easy day with no obligations and no responsibility. It was a good way to prepare for a very hectic work week.

I wanted a few things out of this day. Number one, I wanted a good night sleep. So I took some Advil PM before I went to bed last night. Number two, I wanted to sleep in… nothing specific to get up for. I got that done too. Number three, I wanted to stay home all day, putter a little and maybe actually get some things done. which I did. Number 4, I wanted to start work on finishing a UFO quilt that has been sitting unfinished for far too long.

It was really rainy all day so we didn’t get a walk. But we did get a little excitement. I have four dogs in my house again this evening and this was all unplanned.

Holy cow… that’s a terrible photo, but it serves as proof that they were at my house and being taken care of.

I got a text this afternoon from their mom that she was in the hospital and had to have her gallbladder removed. She asked if I could take her boys. So I met her neighbor at her place and gathered Ernie and Bogart up, along with all their stuff, and brought them home. It’s likely that their owner will be going home from the hospital tonight, but I’ll keep these boys until tomorrow afternoon. I’m glad I was here to help her out.

After some rambunctious play when they arrived, everyone needed a nice nap.

I had a nice Christmas holiday. I had friends over for dinner on Christmas Eve. I usually go all out for this meal. Most years I cook traditional northern Italian fare from my childhood. But I wanted to do something different this year, so here’s my menu (click on the dish to link to each recipe):

Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin. I found this recipe in this article. If you like thinking about delicious things to make for Christmas, you should take a look at this article. It certainly got my salivary glands moving! Here’s a photo of mine when it came out of the oven. This recipe is definitely something I’ll make again. (I just got up and ate a couple pieces right out of the fridge!!! It’s so yummy, even cold!!!)

The meat is rubbed with garlic, Rosemary, olive oil and other spices. Next time I make it I’ll probably put it under the broiler at the end for a few minutes to crisp up the bacon.

Waldorf Coleslaw. I make this recipe a lot! Partly because it’s a favorite of one of my dinner guests. And partly because I just love it! And I’m always happy that it makes a lot because it keeps for a few days in the fridge and I love having it for leftovers.

Roasted Kuri Squash. I had never had Kuri squash before. I helped harvest this from my brother’s garden when my friend and I visited earlier this year. Kuri is one of the winter squashes. This recipe is made using coconut oil and maple syrup and lovely warm spices that go so well with the squash and with the season.

Kürbis im Hausgarten

It was fun to eat this squash that was grown by my brother and his wife. My sister in law even tested this recipe for me a few days before Christmas because the recipe said it wasn’t necessary to peel the squash. She informed me that it, indeed, was not necessary to peel the squash.

Asparagus with olive oil and garlic. I didn’t use a recipe for this. I just put the asparagus in a zip loc bag and put in a little olive oil, a couple cloves of chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Then I cooked it in a skillet on top of the stove.

For Dessert I made a Meyer lemon cake. I made this cake for Christmas a few years ago and remembered it and wanted to make it again this year. You should know that I’m not a baker. I rarely bake. I think it’s been ten years since I made cookies. About the only time I bake is at Christmas. This is a really good cake. You start by simmering a pound of whole Meyer lemons in water until they’re soft. They you remove the seeds and puree it all in the food processor… skins and all. It’s a little more involved than I would normally make, but it’s worth the effort.

You have to separate five eggs, whip the yolks with sugar, and beat the whites into soft peaks. This is not the type of thing I would normally do. But, it is Christmas after all!

Here’s the finished product. I served it with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

I was really happy with how it all turned out. It was fun to watch my company eat seconds and thirds of everything!

Christmas Day I had most of the day to myself. I took the boys for a nice long walk. Opened some gifts and made some calls to friends and family. Then in preparation for heading to a friend’s home for Christmas dinner I whipped up the stuffing I volunteered to make. My friend made a turkey breast and legs for dinner but didn’t want to make stuffing. Her husband was so disappointed, and so was I. So I volunteered and she was all over it.

I made a recipe that a friend of mine has brought to my last four or five Thanksgiving dinners. it’s a good recipe. I’ll definitely make this one again.

I did not opt to add water chestnuts. What kind of lunatic puts water chestnuts in Christmas stuffing?

That’s mine all ready to go into the oven. It came out all crispy and brown. So yummy! You could easily make this recipe with the regular bread stuffing rather than corn bread. But the corn bread is really good.

I had a great time at dinner last night. We laughed a lot and ate a lot of good food. Once I got home, I took the dogs out for another walk. I was so stuffed that I was physically uncomfortable the entire walk! I just wanted to get home, take my pants off, and lay down the sofa. Which I did!

So, back to today.

I actually made it into my sewing room and fired up my Bernina! I’ve decided that I want to finish up my Jewel Frames quilt top before my New Years weekend is over. Here’s the quilt all laid out on my design wall (and floor) a year or so ago.

When I took it down from my design wall I carefully stacked and numbered each row and placed them all in a project bin.

All I have to do is sew each numbered stack together into a row and then sew the rows together.

I got two rows completed tonight and then sewed those rows together.

This quilt will be another one for my bed. It’s 9 blocks by 9 blocks. I’ll also put some borders on it to make it big enough.

My friend gave me this kit quite a few years ago… maybe six years ago. I added more blocks than the throw-size kit provided. It’s a free pattern that came with my kit, but a quick Google search gave me a couple of places to get the pattern. I can’t vouch for the sites that are offering it, so I’m not including a link here. You’ll have to go find it yourself.

I mentioned in my last post that I had ordered a couple of quilt backings. The first was Kaffe’s purple damask flower which will eventually be combined with my recent orange/pink/purple quilt top.

That will be a bold quilt when it’s done, but that purple for the backing gives me a very good reaction!

The other backing is this Philip Jacob’s design. It’s called Luscious. The color way is ochre.

I mean… COME ON!!! Isn’t that the most amazing fabric! I don’t have a quilt in mind for this fabric as of yet, but I do have a couple of ideas.

Here’s one idea. I found this quilt on Pinterest. Unfortunately, someone pinned it in a way that it doesn’t acknowledge the maker. I would like to give someone credit for this. It’s basically larger fabric squares (which would be this fabric) alternating with 25 patch blocks. It will be fun to find fabrics to combine with that gorgeous luscious.

I feel like this pattern might be in one of my many Kaffe books but I haven’t had time to look through them yet. It would be easy enough to figure it out without a pattern. I would want to figure out an efficient way to make those 16 patch blocks. They are very random, but they could be made with somewhat random strip sets put together in some what random ways. I’ll noodle on it.

Tonight is my regular melancholy ending to a long weekend. The good thing is that I’ll be really busy this week so it will fly by. Then I’ll have another long weekend and I’m thinking I will try to take an additional day off next week. If the weather cooperates, I might take a drive to the coast. That would make me, Bender and Rico all very happy!

36 Replies to “Merry Christmas… the Wind-down”

  1. Hi,

    Your Lemon cake sounds delicious. The link that is attached to your “cake” is not the same as you describe you doing to prepare the cake. Do you have a link to the correct recipe?

    Thank you.

    *Kathy *

    Kathleen Garrison LegalShield Independent Associate

    530-588-2567

    LS.KGarrison@gmail.com KathleenGarrison.com *kathleengarrison.wearelegalshield.com http://kathleengarrison.wearelegalshield.com *

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    Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad you had a wonderful Christmas , your menu looks delicious too. I had the day off after Christmas and glad of it since Tuesday through Friday is going to be slammed,but I have another long weekend to look forward to! I think this year my first to-do is to get my craft/sewing room organized for the new year .it’s a lofty goal but I’m determined
    Be well and happy new year to you and the pups

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  3. I just love your quilt patterns and the vibrant colours you choose for them. I would have never thought of putting your colours together but watching you has shown me everything’s posable.
    Thank you so much for sharing your ideas with us all. You are making me into a bold quilter.
    Happy new year. x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love, love your use of kaffe and free spirit fabrics. Will be waiting to see the one with the large squares with 25 square blocks. I too made the jewel frames for my sister and it was so beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fabric stores much have sold a million of those kits!!! I’ve seen so many posted on social media. I’ll be glad to have this one done.

      It will be interesting to find fabrics to use with the luscious fabric. I can’t picture what it will look like in my head, but I’m thinking it might go in a purple and aqua direction. I’ve always wanted to make a purple and aqua quilt!

      Anne

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  5. Merry Christmas Anne! I love the quilt you are planning to make with the Luscious, but I’m not seeing random 25 patches! It looks to me like an almost ‘Irish Chain’ like design where the patches alternate between red/orange/pink prints (including some of the main fabric) and green/teal/turqoise/blue prints, with the former running diagonally through the centre of the blocks to give continuous diagonal lines through the quilt – am I seeing things? So you should be able to strip piece it in a similar way to how you did your trip around the world blocks. That Luscious has a very unusual colour palette, so I can’t wait to see what other prints you pair with it, you have a great eye for colour!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I located the pattern, Marmalade, in the Guilts of Grandeur book. The 25 patches alternate between “red” fabrics and “aqua” fabrics. So the red falls along the center line. That’s what is giving the effect of an Irish chain. But it’s very subtle and that’s what I like about it.

      I will definitely use strip pieces. maybe cut each strip of fabric in half to get more variation in strip sets.

      Anne

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  6. Oh! The boys!!! Bender looking all Frank Sinatra and Rico more like Harpo Marx 🤣! I can’t with all the food pics, yes, I am now hungry so early in the morning. Found several recipes to try like the Peking chicken in the epicurean link, yum! Mmm the lemon cake! I remember the jewel frames top and love that the sashing is on each block not long pieces. A pretty pattern to showcase bigger prints, will look for the pattern. I made deer stroganoff with some ground venison from a neighbor for Christmas Day, hubby’s favorite. So Monday I made spaghetti 🍝 for me!! 😋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that Epicurious link had so many gorgeous recipes! I’m sure I’ll revisit it for ideas in the future. But the bacon wrapped pork was really good!

      I hate doing sashing in long pieces. I’d much rather add sashing to each block. It all goes together beautifully! And easily! the pattern actually wants you to do the sashing in one long strip, with cornerstones made from the same fabric as the sashing… which helps keep it all lined up. I’m not going to do cornerstones that you can’t see!!! So I used a contrasting fabric for the cornerstones.

      Here are a couple blog posts where I talk about how I do sashing this way:
      https://agilejack1.com/2020/03/23/aboriginal-blocks-assembly/

      https://agilejack1.com/2020/03/15/finally-cutting-into-my-aboriginal-fabrics/

      Anne

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  7. Glad you enjoyed your Christmas weekend, including your day of “relaxing “. 😀
    Kuri squash has the best flavor! When I lived at a place where I could grow a wonderful garden, I grew several kinds of winter squash, and kuri was my favorite! The pork tenderloin also looks fantastic and yummy! What an amazing Christmas Eve dinner you made for your lucky friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of my friends ate three helping of that squash! She really liked it! It’s fun to see guests robustly enjoy your food!

      I used to grow a nice garden when I lived in Salt Lake City and had gorgeous soil. Now I have terrible soil and don’t have the ambition to make it good soil. So I limit myself to tomatoes in raised beds and that’s enough for me.

      Anne

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  8. Oh the boys!!! Bender is used to being the modeler of bucket hats. But poor Rico…
    Call me lunatic!! I love the crunchy water chestnuts in stuffing and even my tuna salad! It stays crunchy! Guess I just love my crunchy foods. You are spurring me on for more ideas for quilting. Thank you! Looks like I also need to try most of what you made for Christmas dinner. It all sounds yummy.

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    1. I like water chestnuts… in Chinese food, in salads… just not in stuffing!

      Try some of those recipes. I’m still enjoying coleslaw, pork and cake!!! Another day or two left!

      Anne

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  9. I just found your lovely website the other day so I signed up for notifications…loved your story about your Christmas, cooking and your dogs! I had no idea some dogs were so sensitive as yours..as an animal lover myself, I can sympathize with you and sensitive Rico..poor little guy. Im 65 and retired one year and have been looking for new projects to do and stumbled across your website..you have amazing ideas! Im not a quilter by any stretch of the imagination so am starting out with “wonky log cabin” blocks.” Have done 3 blocks so far..LOL. Have a great holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dogs are all individuals with very different personalities, just like people. Some are bold and adventurous, some deeply feel everything around them. Bender and Rico are very different. Nothing phases Bender. Rico feels everything. And yet they are both really nice dogs.

      Have fun with the wonky log cabin blocks. Here’s a link to what I finally did with the batik blocks. This is from when I finished the top:https://agilejack1.com/2018/11/23/wonky-log-cabin-quilt/

      And this is from when I got it back from my long arm quilter:https://agilejack1.com/2019/12/13/wonky-batik-log-cabin-complete/

      I loved making this one!

      Anne

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      1. Thank you for the link to the wonky log cabin pics. Those were the same pics that inspired me to try to make these blocks..

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  10. Bender and Rico are so cute in their Christmas attire! The Meyer lemon cake sounds very delicious and all the other good cooking! I am looking forward to seeing that beautiful quilt finished. The colors are fabulous 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As always, you are a dynamo of inspiration! I love the sound of the cake and love the beauty of the fabrics! Oh, if only I could produce as quickly as you do! Great way to end and begin the years!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Love that quilt that you showed from Pinterest. It’s on my list to make in Christmas colors KFC, of course. Not sure which book of Kaffe’s it is in, but the name of the pattern is Marmalade.
    Hopefully the rest of the week will go by quickly. Enjoy your New Years weekend.

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    1. Someone told me the name last night and with that I was able to locate it in Quilts of Grandeur. I’ve already looked at the pattern and will NOT make it the same way! The large blocks have little triangles sewn the corners. I will probably not do that. Also, they piece the 25 patches one square at a time. Nope! I’ll figure out a way to do it with strip piecing.

      it would be gorgeous out of red and green KFC fabrics!

      Anne

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  13. I began following your blog about a year ago because I quilt and liked your work. But over the past seven months I’ve also been getting inspiration from you on how to live alone. My husband died suddenly in May; we’d been married almost 43 very happy years. We were married while in college so I’ve never lived on my own. Now I’m learning to do this at age 64. With your busy life and your positive outlook, you give me hope that I can do this and that I can eventually be happy on my own. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so sweet! I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sure it’s very difficult but I think you’re strong and you can do this! It’s so nice you’re learning how to live alone and are looking for fulfilling things to do. Best of luck to you! You can do it!!!

      Thanks for reading, and especially for taking the time to leave a comment.

      Anne

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  14. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas weekend. Great celebration dinner and the lemon cake will be on my list to try. I have a folder of inspiration quilts and projects and that 25 patch is on my list of “must do it”. Jeweled boxes is always beautiful and perfectly named. Bender loves the dressing up and modeling! Poor Rico is like “really? I am a dog not a reindeer or anything else” LOL They are quite a pair. Have a wonderful New Years’ weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow, you certainly fitted in a heck of a lot over the past few days!! Your Jewel Frame quilt is a stunner and the photo of the quilt seen on Pinterest is, I’m sure, in one of the KF books. Happy New Year with lots of quilting time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The quilt from Pinterest is Marmalade and it’s in Quilt Grandeur. Luckily, I have the book. In fact, I bought two, not remembering that I already had it! It made a good gift for a friend.

      I love the Jewel Frame quilt. I’m happy to think of it on my bed!

      Anne

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