quilt festival

I went to the International Quilt Festival earlier this week.  I always find something inspirational there.  Usually in the festival and not the trade show.  I feel like the trade show is very much a place of chaos.

In the festival, I realized that I was drawn to the quilts that were mostly neutrals on the whole.  I also want to play with digital printing on fabric at some point.  I have too many projects!  I will have to move something to work with other bits.  

There were other quilts I liked then the neutrals.  There were also a lot of quilts about social issues at this festival.  I was very impressed on how people chose to approach many different subjects.  Pictures do not do any of those justice.

Today I have been working on fiber.  I am working on washing another fleece.  It is about half done and I will let that dry before I was anymore.  It is so humid, it may take a week.

More camping this weekend!  Maybe I will heal from the convention center floor.


beach camping

I did not get to SAFF like I hoped this year.  My back would not have sat for 20 hours.  It is less then that in the car but I am just adding stops and such.  I could have flown but then how would I have brought fleeces back?  It is all about the logistics.

The suggestion was made of a camping trip to the beach.  Since camping can occur on Sunday nights, camping was to be had!  The flexibility of not "working" Mondays is huge.  I put working in parenthesis because work always seems to happen but no specific location is needed.  Therefore, part of the run of the silvers we became.  Silvers are those who are retired and travel/camp on the shoulder seasons when kids are in school.

There was no surf but there were cooler temperatures and lots of beach to walk.  The insects were not even hovering due to the wind.  Even though camping items were forgotten, it was very comfortable and restful.

The grasses even looked a bit like autumn.  Though by the time we left the beach it did not feel like autumn.  It was a lovely break from everyday life and the city.  We have decided to do more of this type of quick camping this year.  I do believe part of it is to see if we would use a van conversion.  Converted for camping.  Of course we would but this is the test.

More this weekend!  I am looking forward to it.


sourdough oatmeal scottchies

When I travel, I know I like to bring my own food.  Whether that is snacks or dinners.  Antipasti.  Breakfast.  Tea.  Bread for toast.  Over the years there are some things that do not seem to travel well.  They either become stale or crumble.  A loaf of bread turns green in a warm car after about ten days.  Cookies become crumbs and the crumbs are usually stale.

I had made sourdough cookies with and for the boyos.  The comment was made that they stay much fresher longer.  Moister as well.  This last long travels I was asked to make sourdough oatmeal scottchies.  Can I say these were a hit?  These are not any harder to make then cookies without starter but I can say the keeping quality is much better.

Between bread, cake, and cookies, I have had to change how I do my sourdough starter.  It never gets a chance to rest and I have put it in a quart jar so I can replenish as I go.  I keep getting more old fashioned every time I turn around!

sourdough oatmeal scotchies

1/2 cup butter

6 tablespoons white sugar

6 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sourdough starter

1 egg

1 cup and two tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/4 cup quick oatmeal

up to 1 cup of butterscotch chips (go with your preference)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cover baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together.  Mix in the vanilla.

Add egg and sourdough starter.  Mix well.

Mix in the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Mix in the oatmeal and butterscotch chips.

Drop by teaspoons (flatwear type) on the baking sheets.

Bake for ten minutes or until golden.  When my oven gets going, it is 8 minutes.

Just good traveling food.



just a day in the life

I have been working on a quilt for my shop this week.  It is my Etsy shop which has more things.  Experiments.  But this quilt has been a nice slow process.  I need putter.  There is a cold front coming through, which is really not that cold, but the pressure changes have definitely aggravated new injuries.  It is how my body reacts.  I have just been puttering away and trying to make progress.  Also, trying to remember to stretch and rest.  It is not what I am best at!

Since the city did not like my front garden, I have been trying to decide what to do with that space.  A tree will be planted.  A burr oak was a recommendation for the health of the planet and the tree population.  But I want more then a tree.  I picked some sage branches on one of the many walks I take.  Into water they go and hopefully roots develop.  I miss having sage.

Also, grocery shopping for vegetables was a disappointment today.  I do not think of myself as a big vegetable eater.  Because I mostly like vegetables roasted, in soups, or raw.  I like roasted romesca.  It is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower.  It is the time of year it should be coming into grocery stores.  Not this year.  I can get bean to bar chocolate made in house but I cannot buy romesca.  I am thinking seeds will need to be started soon.

As I said before, I like roasted veg.  But roasting veg leaves a lot of very edible veg after cleaning.  I also found some wrinkly potatoes and moldy onions in the refrigerator.  Once I cut off the mold, into the soup pot everything went.  Browning happened.  Water was added.  A long slow simmer took place.  This vegetable broth was created.  It looks like it should be meat broth but it will cook beans well and it will thin soups well. 

The documentary Wasted got me going back down this path.  It is a good reminder that we all can do more to cut down food waste.  I highly recommend it.  Chickens are being also considered to eat more of the leftover food as well as producing eggs.  There is only so  much vegetable stock the freezer can hold.  Now that the apartment has a tenant, there is someone around most of the time to help care for livestock.  Rabbits are being considered as well but they are just more of a meat source not a way to limit waste.


sourdough vanilla everyday cake

Since I started making sourdough everyday cakes, as soon as a cake is gone I am told we need cake.  When I was at my parents, I told this story.  My brother was there and said of course you always need cake in the house!  I did not realize there were such strong feelings about the topic.

But everyday cake is a good thing.  I think I mentioned I was working on a vanilla and I think I figured it out.  My regular frosting vanilla cake did not translate well.  And according to Koda Bear, birthday cake is only frosting cake!  He is adamant about this!  So having the frosting cake recipe is a good thing.  It does translate well to buckle.  But I had to tweak to get the vanilla.  It turn out well.  

I have been asked to have a cake rotation.  There is one more I am going to try.  A rift on Dorrie Greenspan's lemon spice traveling cake.  It is what she calls it.  But it is not going to have five eggs in it!

What can I say?  This is just a good basic vanilla cake.  Similar to a pound cake.  It travels well.  I like it toasted as if it is a bread, with butter.  It would be something that would go well into a lunch box.  And since we take food with us every where, I know this.  This is definitly a comfort cake not an exciting cake.  But I like comfort cakes better anyway!

sourdough vanilla cake

Note:  The sourdough I am using here is 100% by volume.  That means I use one cup of flour and one cup water to make it.  If you use a sourdough that is 100% by weight, 100 grams flour and 100 grams water, or whatever it takes to make a cup, increase the milk to one cup.  I used Smitten Kitchen's everyday chocolate cake as a starting point, truly.

1 cup sourdough

1/2 cup olive oil (mine is very fruity so sometimes it tastes like I am eating more a banana bread)

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons vanilla

1/2 cup milk or water

2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour (you can use all purpose here) 

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Butter and flour a loaf pan.  I bought the Vardagen loaf pan from Ikea.  Is is 5.25 inches by 3 inches by 12.75 inches.  It holds 1.9 quarts and works perfectly.

In a large bowl, put in the starter.  Mix in the olive oil, egg, and vanilla.


Sift in the flour and baking soda. I usually have some bran from the flour that needs to be dumped into the compost.  Add the salt. My salt is a very coarse grind which is why I am not sifting it in. 

Mix well


Pour into the loaf pan.  Bake for 1 hour.  

Check to make sure the cake is done by inserting a knife and it comes out clean.  The cake will also have pulled away from the edges.  let the cake cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes, if not 30.  I always have someone who cannot wait.  If you do not let this cake cool in the pan, it will collapse from its own weight.  Still very edible but there is usually a bit that gets very dense.  Obviously, I have done this in the past.


It is good vanilla cake.  Not very fancy because that was not the goal.  Good for a snack with tea.  Toasted with butter.  It is one of those that seems to make life better.