Friday, January 24, 2014

Its All About Weather

Cold winter weather continues to dominate our lives.
The warmest spot in the house is near the living room fireplace which has an inserted stove.
My rocking chair is on one side, J.'s recliner on the other side.
The north end of the house, where the bedrooms are located, is uncomfortably chilly.
My desk and PC are in the smaller 'guest room' so much of my online reading and writing is curtailed.

The house has central heat and air powered by a 'heat pump'--we don't often use the heating feature, feeling that it would be pricey--and seldom necessary other than for a few minutes on a chilly morning, or if we have been away on a cold day and the fire has languished.
Today, needing to be at my desk, I have kept the thermostat at 65 F--not luxuriously warm, but bearable.
Yesterday I lugged one of my sewing machines upstairs from the basement 'family room' [which has its own wood stove] and plonked it on the dining area table.
Faced with the need to crowd in the ironing board, space for a cutting mat, the necessity of trudging up and down stairs for such fabric as I might need, I became faint-hearted.
Bundled in a thick 'hoodie'--in addition to several layers of clothing, I trudged back downstairs to hem a pair of trousers and stitch the borders to the above small quilt top.
Hands and feet were well chilled when I finished these tasks.

The appliqued quilt was constructed using fabrics from an old line by Robyn Pandolf--'Folk Art Christmas.'
The small hourglass blocks which frame the applique are rather more attention demanding than I anticipated.
Don't know yet how I will have this one finished, as I can't bear to have my careful handwork rampaged over by the local quilter's looping patterns.

The quilt above utilizes the same line of fabrics--created when I lived in Wyoming.
It appears far more subdued in coloration as the reds and pinks are featured in small snippets and the background fabrics are quiet.

Detail of the applique--poor lighting, so not the best photo. 

Nellie and Bobby, who rushed in from the cold when M. stopped after work.
These two, along with Charlie-cat, feel that they must go outside about 4 A.M. regardless of frigid temperatures.
They hurtle inside at breakfast time and spend the morning hours crashed on bed or sofa, recovering from the chill, then they are out again.
They are not meant to be on the work island, but there they are, basking in a spot of late afternoon sunshine, doubtless covering my apron and oven mitts with fur.

Thursday offered brilliant sunshine, a bright blue sky and a bitter north wind that made going 
outside a misery.
J. drove to one of the local Amish sawmills to collect a bundle of ash slabs he had asked to have put by.

The slabs, added to our usual firewood, make for a quicker, hotter fire.

J. has rootled out a heavy cap with 'earlappers', his long johns and a variety of thermal-knit long-sleeve T's--most of which have not seen use since our move to Kentucky.

Some of us are wise enough not to stir away from the warmth of the fire.
J. folds an old puffy vest into his chair when he vacates it--it is meant for his elderly cat, Raisin--at the left and bottom of the pile.
Her sister Eggnog cuddles with her.
Both of them, elderly and fragile-bodied, are weighted down by Teasel's considerable furry bulk.
The long range weather forecast for the coming week isn't inspiring.
There should be a few days with temperatures above freezing--an improvement--but still cold for the 
time of year.
Jim builds a fire in his shop, putters out there, comes in for a hot drink, hearty comfort food.

I braved the assembly of my new food processor, made a batch of pimento cheese.

I hadn't eaten pimento cheese in decades, recalling it as a rather nasty  concoction which came packed in small glass jars when I was a child. 
Visiting our niece in October, we became quite partial to the home made version.
In early December, recovering from a cold/cough, I reread a favorite series of novels with a southern setting.
There was considerable mention of southern-style foods, including pimento cheese.
A google search turned up a number of suggestions using various cheeses and some quirky additives [pickle juice, anyone?]
G. and D. assisted me in the first few batches [I was intimidated by the instructions which came with the food processor!] and I quickly settled on a brick of Colby/Jack as the main ingredient, with an addition of cream cheese and mayo for spreadability. And, of course the pimentos.
J. dished out a portion of the latest batch and added a dash of Tabasco.
It is good stuff on whole wheat crackers and makes a nourishing addition to toast.
Lentil soup, scrambled eggs, a casserole, lemon squares, home made chocolate pudding with whipped cream---it seems to me that we must keep up our strength to deal with the weather.

The laundry is caught up--thanks to the use of the electric dryer; the bed is piled with quilts and the charity shop comforter;  Jim carries in wood; I bundle up to deal with litter boxes and walk to the mailbox.
The cats continue to hope that freezing weather which greets them at the back door may revert to balmy temps if they try the front door.
Jim isn't likely to run out of Netflix to watch [sigh] and I have books stacked by my chair.
Best of all, the house is scented with the cinnamon loaves cooling under a cloth on the counter.
I think a mug of tea is in order!


  1. I''m sorry to hear it is perishing cold over there. We are still having mild, wet, grey weather, which if I am honest, suits me better than cold and dry - mainly because we stay warmer in the house and don't have to spend yet more money on heating oil.

    Your cooking sounds good. I have only fancied fish this week and have eaten it every evening, in one guise or another. My body must be telling me something! I have never had a food processor, but quite fancy one when we move. The older I get, the more labour-saving devices appeal - well, the USEFUL ones anyway. Couldn't be without my slow cooker now and I will even grudgingly admit that the breadmaker comes in handy on occasion.

    The Pimento cheese looks and sounds very 1970s. I am just about to move on an extremely heavy tome of American recipes from about that time which arrived in my possession when I bought a 2nd hand Kenwood mixer in auction. I haven't looked at it for years, but I bet there's a Pimento cheese recipe in there!

    I love the warm colours and layout of your latest quilt. Not to mention your earlier wallhanging - beautiful pattern. The girls' quilts are languishing right now as I haven't been feeling well enough to work on them. I wonder if you could get your Amish neighbour to hand-quilt your applique quilt in return for your doing something for her as a barter? Then you would get the quilt pattern you wanted.

    I see the cats are behaving just as their friends across the Pond are wont to do - always where they shouldn't be and eternal optimists when it comes to there being better weather outside the back door than the front . . .

    Keep warm.

  2. BB; I toyed with the idea of a food processor for some time, but they are expensive. We had accumulated 'Score' points by using our credit card each month for gasoline, tractor parts and such. The food processor was about the only thing on offer that interested me for redemption. The number of bits to be assembled for each use is intimidating.
    It is interesting how certain foods can be linked to a certain era--recipes doubtless contrived by companies who want to push certain products. Most of our meal prep is 'from scratch'--so I miss most of the fads.
    Cats are apparently the same the world over--eternal optimists, as you say, and convinced that what they desire is what should come about. We have been 'door keepers' for in-sy-out-sy felines all week!

  3. I 'love' that quilt. You've created yet another beautiful piece.

    Homemade pimiento cheese sounds and looks good.

    I hope you get some warmer weather soon. We are having a longish spell of 'chilly' weather for us down here. It is supposed to be really nice the next couple of days.

    I hope you have a good weekend ~ Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; J. was in FL along with other family members [meeting at his brother's home near Jacksonville] and I noticed in photos most were wearing long sleeves or jackets. Nothing springlike in our weather forecast. Glad you like the quilt!

  4. Love the quilt and also the pimiento cheese. I'll have to look up my old recipe.

    1. Lillian; I think you can appreciate my concerns about how to finish the little quilt--I don't want to attempt something that will mess it up.
      I hope you will re-visit your pimento cheese recipe--its good!

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your day and had to smile at the parallels.

    Cats demanding to be let out at 4am is something I am so familiar with ... fail to comply and they sit on my chest and drool on my face until I give in.

    While I am busy working on a puff quilt for my young granddaughter, husband is out in our woodland splitting ash logs for this evening, they burn wonderfully hot - as the old Woodman's poem says, they are "the king of logs"!

    Your quilt is really lovely. Have a great weekend.

    1. Elaine; I suspect many of us are more indulgent with our cats than we were with our children. A cat who wants something--NOW--can be dreadfully persistent.
      Keeping warm and being busy with something creative seems to be the mode for winter--I hope you'll have photos of your puff quilt.

  6. Stay warm! It's cold here too, I admire how much you get done in the cold, I really slow down, I guess that's how I finally finished my afghan, plus it was warm under it as I crocheted.
    Love the applique.

    1. Janet; I love your idea of working on something that keeps you warm while it is being created! I have another hand applique in progress, but each time I sit by the fire my lap is occupied by at least one cat!

  7. ooh what lovely work. I love those colours you used, they're really homey and soft.
    I especially liked the photo of Nellie and Bobby, together on their perch :-)

    1. Kath; The Robyn Pandolf fabric lines always have delicious colors. These are the first fabrics I bought from a 'line' [range?] of coordinates and I went way overboard with my purchase of them. If one likes a fabric a yard is necessary--if its a real favorite, then 2 yds--3 yds? This is the third quilt to incorporate these colors--each is very different from the others.
      Naughty Nellie and Bobby--I am feeling submerged in cat hair!

  8. Our local grocery makes a wonderful homemade version of pimento cheese, but at $4.99/lb. I might prefer my own making. Your quilt is lovely and deserves some specialty quilting. I came over from a link on Lillian's Cupboard.

    1. Desert Sky; Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. I have found most of my favorite bloggers through the links on other pages.
      I've book marked your blog as I see we have things in common--a love of quilting and family research. You are a few hours south of me--where I hope it is marginally warmer!
      I would probably balk at $4.99 per lb for pimento cheese--but I haven't given much thought to what it costs to make our own.