Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Little More Quilting

I’ve spent a little time in the sewing room these last few weeks. Nothing monumental… like a huge quilt… just a bunch of small projects.


The first weekend in May the Kwetterqwilters went on a Retreat. They had a small cabin with 3 bedrooms, kitchen, dinning area and a living room. Not much eating went on in the dinning area!!!! I went up for the day, Saturday with one of the other members of the group. I was going to work on my postcards, but forgot to pack the silk. So I was the slave and did the chores…. pin basting, seam ripping and dishes.


The smallest project was postcards. Round 3 of the International Swap. There is a theme for those that need one -‘Where You Want to Be’… and this time I did not use the theme to make mine. The general idea… is the Sky or Aurora Borealis… I am showing just 2 here…. The fibers are silk tailings, from what I can’t remember the vendor telling us. They were acquired at the last IQF Chicago Show 2010, (before being relocated to Cincinnati Ohio in 2011). My friend Karen (she blogs here) and I saw these brightly stuffed bags of loose silk threads for $2 per bag. I bought two!!! I had fun attaching the fibers to the Peltex with a few anchoring stitches and then using beads and findings to hold more of the silk in place. These were fun. These postcards will need to be sent in sleeves.

I also made 2 Birthday blocks…. Both were houses.


Marinas was first. She had some specific requirements. It had to finish at 6 inches and the house had to have a red roof. The block is a little bigger, so Marina could cut this down and square it up herself. This is an original design and was lots of fun to make. I wish I had thought to cut away some of the fir tree so it wouldn’t show so much under the house.


The other house was for Hester. She didn’t have an restrictions!!!! This is a semi original design. I have a line drawing of this house, but it is about any inch big, so I had to redraw to a larger size…. and things changed a little. I did consider putting some smoke coming from the chimney and a door knob, but thought maybe that might be added with the quilting… so I have left that up to the recipient.


I have also been busy waiting for fabric!


It takes so long for it to arrive in the mail (2-3 weeks). But, when an online shop, takes the order and then waits a week or more to cut…. the wait becomes much too long. I have been waiting for blue fabrics. I thought I had picked a bunch that would go together, (even used the design wall of an online shop to see all of them together). Well When the fabrics arrived…. some major issues, so I had to order more. Once enough


arrived I got busy… making 3 baby ‘boy’ quilts. One of my favorite quick patterns is the Disappearing 9 Patch… although it really isn’t all that quick. It does make a really nice quilt. I got the tops done, but trying to find a crisp blue and white fabric for the back was a huge obstacle, to make matters worse, when I did, they were either out or didn’t have all I wanted. So 2 of the 3 are done. The first one goes to a fellow my DH works with. His first child was born last month… a whole month early. More about where one of the others is going…. in another post.

Waiting for backing #3, in 2 more weeks, (well and a few stash builders for ME!) I am still up in the sewing space, making another birthday block today.

More Later- Beth

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chinese Food

On Sunday I was able to attend a cooking demonstration. One of the best Chinese Restaurants in Pretoria (Jasmine Palace in Constantia Park), allowed about 10 of use to see and partake of some dishes in 2 hours. We were all asked to bring our own knives and cutting boards.


Mr. Lee the Chef, started off by showing us the proper way to peel and pare a pineapple. I will try that the next time I have one. His knife was very sharp… and that is an understatement!!! The peel just slid off the pineapple.

The first dish up was Sweet and Sour Bean Curd (Tofu). The peeled pineapple wound up in this. He shared a few other techniques on cutting/chopping ingredients… but I was not the photographer, but I did bring the camera.

Getting to the finished dish took about 45 minutes. We were going to do 5 dishes… and I was beginning to fret that we would be here much longer than 2 hours or not get them all done… not sure which was more worrisome… We didn’t start until 3 and were supposed to be finished by 5.


The Sweet and Sour sauce was not part of the lesson… he did give us a verbal run down on the ingredients. He said he makes 60 liters a week, so he gave us a recipe for a weeks worth of sauce at home. The ingredients started with 1 liter of vinegar…. and well you get the idea!

Second was Spicy Calamari. This is where the knives came in handy. Mr. Lee gave us each a Squid Tube and showed us how to open them. Some of the funny faces when handling the tube were really worth the price of admission!!! The kitchen we were working in was above the restaurant. You can see Mr. Lees cooking station with most of the ingredients ready and I am in the back row… middle blue shirt.



Next we scored the inside of the tube, first one way and then the next, think crosshatch. The crosshatching encouraged the way the calamari curled when in the hot oil.

The final part was cutting it into long triangles. Mr. Lee then made a flavored marinade… then starched the calamari and then into the hot oil.


He set the calamari aside to drain and moved right into the Spicy Pork Chops. Which were done about the same as the calamari, then he spiced them both up and put them on platters.

The ‘spice’ in the Calamari and Pork Chops was… really simple- garlic, scallion tops and red peppers, but the flavor was awesome!


One of the dishes I was happy to see him show us was Chow Mein with a sauce. One of the secrets was using pre-cooked chicken (I really like veggie style Chow Mein), I will use the pre-cooked chicken in the future with Stir-fry….


The last dish was Kung Pao Chicken!!! When it was finished Mr. Lee said it wasn’t TOO Spicy. If that was mild…. I don’t think I could even contemplate HOT. It wasn’t too hot for me, but I don’t think I would enjoy it much hotter than it was. The heat didn’t last long which was good, but it did make our eyes water while he was cooking it. (The Chow Mein is in the background).


By the time we were finished I was full!!! The food was delicious and I can’t wait to try some of the dishes at home, well ok… the calamari is not on the top of my list- but the Spicy Pork Chops, Kung Pao, Chow Mein and Sweet and Sour will have to be done!!! Oh and we were done a bit before 5!

The next demonstration/class will be cuisine from India!

More later!