Saturday, March 29, 2014

Small log cabin piece

This small log cabin piece has been in the making for more than 3 years.  I returned home to my parents' house from Japan unexpectedly in the spring of 2011 and one of the prized possessions I'd brought with me was the colorful fabric strips that I had neatly cut and stacked, waiting to take on a project like this.  I moved back to the US last year with this quilted (with pearl cotton) but still in need of a good trim and binding.  I was delighted to do the finishing work knowing I could hang it on my wall when completed.  This completely dark spot in the hallway needed some brightening and it's nice to know I don't have to worry about fading.  As a bonus, this spot is visible from my main kitchen and living area so I can enjoy it every single day.

When I first hung this on the wall, my husband was very concerned that the "New York" writing was upside down.  "Is it supposed to be like that?" he asked, a bit hesitantly.  I hadn't completely decided which side was up, but I actually quite like this version, for now.  In case I change my mind, I bound it with triangles in each corner on the back so I can just readjust the dowel rod when I'm ready for a whole new look.  

In the spirit of full disclosure, these triangles really ARE a bit too small.  They work just fine for this small piece, but as much as I hate to admit it, my mom was right when she told me to make them a lot bigger than these.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy White Day!

Today is White Day in Japan.  Traditionally, Japanese women give sweets and gifts to men on Valentine's Day, and then can expect something in return one month later on White Day.  This is extra incentive for anyone who likes to bake or make sweets to pass out heaps to co-workers on Valentine's Day and then wait for it to pay off come March 14.  

I was never one much for this tradition, which is a good thing, because if I were planning to reciprocate for the treats that arrived here on Valentine's Day, I'd be in trouble!  Can you guess what I found in the mailbox one month ago today?

If you guessed a box full of fabric "scraps," ironed and organized by size and shape, you'd be correct. As if this weren't good enough, a lot of the fabrics are familiar patterns from quilts, pillowcases and other gifts I've received through the years.  The possibilities are endless!  Thanks, Mum!

As my White Day gift to you, let me share the simple recipe for a tasty treat I have been enjoying off and on since Valentine's Day.  If you have the three ingredients on hand, it will come together in less than 5 minutes and makes a good addition to breakfast or a bedtime snack.  Freeze any leftover extra coconut milk in an ice cube tray to toss in smoothies on a rainy day.

Cherry coconut chia treat (makes 4 servings) 

200 ml coconut milk, or about 3/4 cup
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp black chia seeds
2 handfuls of dried cherries

Combine all of the ingredients in a mason jar, seal tightly and shake.  Alternatively, you could whisk together in a mixing bowl.  Leave in the fridge for about 4 hours, shaking (or re-whisking) from time to time, as you think of it.  After that, serve, and enjoy!  

There is no right way to make this.  You can increase or decrease any of the ingredients to your taste.  If you prefer something less rich, just fiddle with the coconut milk-to-water ratio until you find the consistency that works best for you.  Heart-shaped garnish, optional.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Adamas shawl

It's time to pull out the knitting before anyone should think this is just another quilting blog.  Although I've been enjoying the time and space to work on quilts more since coming back to the US, the knitting basket hasn't been more than an arm's reach from my spot on the couch.  This Adamas shawl that I started in 2008 has been languishing in my craft box for a long time, but I recently pulled it out to send to someone special.

This prompted me to take a closer look at my Ravelry notebook and I was delighted to see that the site now has more than 4 million users.  Congrats, Ravelry!!  Seeing those WIPs that are still in my knitting basket has me ready to set aside the quilts for a while.  Torn about which project to pick up at night, at least!