Dutch baby for breakfast

Dutch baby for breakfast

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Me and my walker just powered up this big old hill in Multnomah Village.

Me and my walker just powered up this big old hill in Multnomah Village.

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#frannyeats Not much potato, lots of other vegetables

#frannyeats Not much potato, lots of other vegetables

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From my new espresso machine

From my new espresso machine

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Fran snacks

Fran snacks

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Now that everyone has gotten whatever surprises there were, here are some of the things I’ve been working on in past months. Mostly, though, I forget to take photos before I give things away.

I enjoyed making these cute little felt “sugar cookies” with beaded “sprinkles” wrapped up in a little bag.



20160202_115422I made at least 10 of these from October 2015 to January 2016. Three were part of an auction at St. David of Wales Episcopal Church in Portland. I made four others for gifts, and someone who saw the items at the auction commissioned another three. Payment for those was a donation to the church.

The sugar cookie sacks are one of many cute designs in the book Zakka Style, compiled by Rashida Coleman-Hale (Stash Books).

Here’s a redwork quilt I made for my grandson, Augie. That’s Robert behind the quilt. The cartoons are from a booklet called Animal Behavior by Marytime Design of Portland. The cover advertises 10 designs, but there were actually 12.

20160112_195647It’s hand quilted with quilting thread in the center squares, white Perle cotton in the freehand red border, and red Perle in the outer border.

I don’t have a picture of the socks I knitted Robert, but, quickly, here are some other things I’ve worked on recently.

Small quilt made for Anne Bermingham and Catherine Sanborn in 2015.

Small quilt made for Anne Bermingham and Catherine Sanborn in 2015.



The photo doesn’t do this small red quilt justice–the reds are all blown out, and the one block that’s a coffee cup rather than a star is hard to see. But Catherine and Anne like it, and because Robert and I did too, I’m hand-piecing another one like it.




20150806_104643Miles of scrappy border using cash register tape as a foundation.

A couple of aprons made from large men’s shirts.


An apron with simple embroidery.

20150806_105558And a bunch of potholders I can’t find the photos for …


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Cleaning lady lives matter


In an interview in the Sunday Business section of Sunday’s (Feb. 7)  New York Times,  Adam Bryant asked Walt Bettinger, C.E.O. of the Charles Schwab Corporation, about lessons he had learned in college. Here’s Bettinger’s response:

A business strategy course in my senior year stands out. I had maintained a 4.0 average all the way through, and I wanted to graduate with a perfect average. It came down to the final exam, and I had spent many hours studying and memorizing formulas to do calculations for the case studies.

The teacher handed out the final exam, and it was on one piece of paper, which really surprised me because I figured it would be longer than that. Once everyone had their paper, he said, “Go ahead and turn it over.” Both sides were blank.

And the professor said, “I’ve taught you everything I can teach you about business in the last 10 weeks, but the most important message, the most important question, is this: What’s the name of the lady who cleans this building?”

And that had a powerful impact. It was the only test I ever failed, and I got the B I deserved. Her name was Dottie, and I didn’t know Dottie. I’d seen her, but I’d never taken the time to ask her name. I’ve tried to know every Dottie I’ve worked with ever since.


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I’m still here

I appreciate my blog. I do. I appreciate my daughter Lyza for quietly renewing the URL every year. It’s just that there are so many other things to do than write entries in it. Things mostly involving fabric and yarn, but also physical exertion and eating.

Last night, to put myself to sleep, I started counting ongoing or recently completed or even envisioned projects instead of sheep. I drifted off around #18. Here are a few that I’m working on or just finished.

  • Knitting socks for a friend

    projects 1 aug 2015

    Two knitting projects and some redwork.

  • Knitting a wrap with the popular Wingspan pattern, probably for myself
  • Red work embroidery patches for a child’s quilt. Other recent embroidery projects include dishtowels and an apron.
  • Four quilts in various stages of construction.
  • At least one quilt being actively planned [I think of it as “Roosters Up the Ying-yang” as rooster-themed fabric is everywhere. Along with chickens, eggs, and chickenwire.]
  • Which leads to thinking about other quilts using barnyard animal patchwork, possibly with plaid or checked fabric as borders.
  • Two patchwork chair pads using random piecing techniques from the book “15 Minutes of Play.”

    Wonky-pieced chair pad. A lot of fun to make.

    Wonky-pieced chair pad. A lot of fun to make.

  • Knitting a seat pad for my car with huge #32 needles and a double strand of strips of waste fabric. Like the rag rug I knitted for my bedroom.
  • block 1 aug 2015

    One of the shop hop blocks. The store provided the material and the pattern.

  • Fifteen individual blocks from the Sunshine and Stitches shop hop in June,
    where I visited 1 quilt shops, ving materials for one lock at each. I found some great resources and spent agreat deal of money.
  • Ten yards or so of 2-1/2-inch pieced quilt
    ship block aug 2015

    My favorite shop hop block of the ones I’ve made so far.

    border. My sister Catherine clued me into a clever technique: Sewing the scraps to 3-inch register tape.

  • Six 12-inch pieced blocks for the Northwest Quilter’s block of the month, which will net me six chances to win everyone’s blocks for that month. If not, someone gets mine.

There are many more projects, conceived, begun or even finished. Some of them are gifts.I have lots of other things to do besides play with fabric and yarn: cooking, baking, playing the fiddle, taking my scooter to the library, working out at the gym, reading, downsizing my hundreds of books, listening to audiobooks. … But mostly, I just want to immerse myself in making things.
Writing for this blog is far, far down the list.

block of month aug 2015

Simple 9 patches of 4 patches for a block of the month drawing,

Posted in Observations, Things I made | 2 Comments

It was a fine dinner but now it's over.

It was a fine dinner but now it's over.

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All folks want is recipes

I did my 6-week pass at Facebook today and found two requests for recipes I helped publish when I was working for The Oregonian’s FoodDay section in the late ’90s.

I remember battling another editor to the mat over publishing the rutabaga recipe as one of the best of 1997. But it really is that good!

The second recipe, for macadamia nuts with curry and coconut, is addictive, worth the cost of the nuts. Still, I’d forgotten all about it until an old FoodDay colleague asked for the recipe.

Union Square Cafe’s Puree of Rutabaga With Crispy Shallots

Makes 6 servings


 2 medium rutabagas, about 3 pounds, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

 1 medium all-purpose potato, peeled and cut into 1-1/2 -inch pieces

 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

 2 to 3 tablespoons sour cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

 Freshly ground white pepper

 1½ tablespoons peanut oil

 3 large shallots, peeled and thinly slice

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

In a large saucepan, bring plenty of salted water to a boil, add the rutabagas and potato, and cook until both vegetables are very tender.  Drain well and transfer the vegetables to a food processor together with 3 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. If the mixture is not quite creamy, add the remaining tablespoon of sour cream. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, cover, and set in the center of  the oven to keep warm.

In a heavy 8-inch skillet, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter together with the oil over medium high heat. Add the shallots and saute until nicely browned and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Fold the shallots into the potato and rutabaga mixture and correct the seasoning.

Serve hot.

From Fresh From the Garden by Perla Meyers

Coconut Curry Macadamia Nuts

Time 30 minutes

Serves 12 

1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1-1/2 tablespoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 egg whites

5 cups macadamia nuts

1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 300.

Combine ginger, cumin, curry powder, cayenne, brown sugar and salt then set aside. Beat egg whites with small whisk until frothy then whisk in reserve spice mix. Stir in nuts and coconut then spread in a single layer onto 2 lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake, stirring nuts and rotating pans halfway through cooking, for 25 minutes (less time in a convection oven).

Transfer to parchment paper to cool then store in airtight container at room temperature.

I think this recipe is from Martha Stewart’s appetizer book.


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