Jax Quiltfest 2017

If I am able, I like to attend the annual Quiltfest held here in town. Many of the quilts are much more traditional in style than those I typically am interested in making, although they are beautiful in their own way. And I certainly appreciate the work that goes into creating these quilts! Here are a few of my favorites. The photos are blurry because I had a limited amount of time to get through the exhibit, unfortunately!

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Simplicity by Jane Shad

I love the green background, the bright colors, the obvious influence of Amish quilts and all the solid colors. This quilt reminds me a lot of an updated version of the quilts that would be entered into our county fair or sold at church auctions or the historical society when I was a kid.

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60 Degrees Color Ramps by Regina Horwath

I have wanted to make a 60 degree quilt for a long time but my piecing is not good enough yet; I think I would get very frustrated with missing points and so on. Again I love the colors and the use of solids. I also think the quilting is fantastic.

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Illoominating by Dawn Galstab

This quilt is made using the Loominous fabric line by Anna Maria Horner, so called because the patterns are yarn-dyed wovens and/or are shot cottons (two different colors of thread for the warp and weft). This process gives the fabric a shimmer that prints don’t have. I think the improvisational log cabin blocks are really wonderful, too.

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Civil War Bride Quilt by Loretta Sylvester

I have very little interest in ever making an applique quilt of my own, but I do have a fondness for Baltimore Album style quilts and similar. I love the story that is told in these blocks and can’t imagine the patience it took to complete this quilt.

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Oceania and Kamowa by Melanie Rosado

This quilt uses a really interesting applique technique in which the printed motifs from various fabrics are cut out and reassembled to create a new image. In this case individual flowers coalesce to create the sea horse and sea floor. So cool!

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Falling to Pieces, collaborative quilt by the Jacksonville Modern Quilt Guild

I love this one — the movement and the simple geometrics, plus the use of negative space. Probably most similar to what I would make on my own given free reign (and not silly limitations like trying to use the fabric stash I have on hand and/or appealing to the ultimate recipient of the quilt).

 

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City Scape by Leslee Burch

You can’t tell, but this quilt glowed. It was really appealing to me and I love the wonky squares that surround the larger squares. I also love the way you get the impression that you are looking through myriad windows.

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Comet by Raine Cavallo

Another favorite — this quilt was a perfect pairing of pattern, shape, and fabric line. I have the ruler that is used to create these shapes and am inspired to actually make use of it!

There were many, many more wonderful quilts but these stood out to me. Do you have a favorite of the bunch?

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Food Lately: A Dumb Week

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Ugh. We ate out quite a few times this week. Crappy fast food, too, which is convenient in the moment but always makes me feel a little gross afterward. Not I think solely because of the food but because the food is greasy and heavy and shoved into a random opening in my schedule, which make the process of eating it stressful as well. My schedule now includes an every-other-Saturday obligation related to my internship, which cuts into my food prep and grocery shopping time and really impacts how much I get done. So. I’m not quite sure how we’re going to manage that, but it seems like freezer and crock-pot meals might be the most helpful for that week. Actually, when I did cook this past week it mostly involved the freezer. We had the baked spaghetti twice and then used the Encrusted chicken breasts for meals twice as well. They are okay, but I don’t think I’ll buy them again.

I did end up spending a bit more on groceries than I had tallied last weekend. As I thought, I needed half & half midweek and also bought a small bunch of bananas. The total for that purchase was $3.25. I forgot that I had ordered some spices from Penzey’s, mostly for holiday gifts, but I stupidly did not double check my inventory of spices because I was convinced that I NEEDED more cinnamon. And I do prefer this particular kind of cinnamon, but it was a dumb purchase because in addition to the small jar I have in the spice cabinet, I already had TWO bulk size jars in the pantry. So I spent $11.29 on fancy cinnamon that I don’t need. I think I am going to give my nieces and nephews a cooking/baking kit for Christmas, now that I have so much cinnamon to disperse…sigh. And then my hormones were running wild this week so my emotions were also going crazy and I indulged in some candy for a little emotional eating. That was $4. So I went $15.50 (or so) over my monthly budget. Not the end of the world, but I feel like I bought dumb stuff or made stupid mistakes, which is annoying. Honestly I care less about the money and more about giving in to emotional food cravings for such total crap. I’ve gotten back into the habit of tracking calories and that was kind of a depressing series of entries, lol. Next week and next month will be better, though, as I have a strategy for my new schedule (I think).

Food Lately: Last Week, This Week

 

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So, last week got really intense with everyone trying to make up everything after the long period of time off from the hurricane. Pictured above is everything that I remembered to take photos of as far as dinners are concerned except for the stuffed peppers, which I shared in a recipe post last week. The pita pizzas were ok, but not great. Mostly they ensured that the pitas were eaten. I didn’t take a photo of the hot dogs we ate because a) not very interesting and b) we ate in a hurry in transition from one thing to another. Anyway, here is my plan and how we actually did:

  • Italian-Style Stuffed Peppers
  • Pita Pizzas
  • Hot Dogs & Sauteed Cabbage (weird combo, maybe)
  • Chickpea, Cauliflower, & Potato Curry
  • Spinach Pie

What We Ate:

  • Italian-Style Stuffed Peppers √
  • Pita Pizzas √
  • Hot Dogs & Sauteed Cabbage (weird combo, maybe)  √ I don’t remember what we had as a side, probably just veggies and dip.
  • Chickpea, Cauliflower, & Potato Curry 
  • Spinach Pie NOPE I didn’t have time to fiddle with the filo dough this past week and the weekend was pretty full, too, so not sure if I’ll get to that before the spinach is used in other meals.
  • ADD ON: Simple Pasta Bolognese & Roasted Broccoli √  I used up a jar of Barilla pasta sauce — the sweet peppers variety — and it made a fantastic bolognese. Then I feel like I get extra points because I immediately used the leftovers to make a small baked spaghetti for Michael and I to enjoy this week.

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This week’s meal plan:

  • Southern Style Chicken Breasts, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Green Salad
    • Pantry — potatoes, garlic
    • Fridge/Freezer — Perdue Encrusted chicken breasts, milk, salad greens, cabbage
  • Baked Spaghetti, Green Salad
    • Pantry — whole grain pasta, pasta sauce, onion
    • Fridge/Freezer — ground beef, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, salad greens, cabbage
  • Sticky Sesame Cauliflower & Tofu, Rice
    • Pantry — rice, soy sauce, honey
    • Fridge/Freezer — tofu, cauliflower, pepper strips
  • Spinach Pie
    • Pantry — onion, olive oil, garlic
    • Freezer/Fridge — spinach, cottage cheese, feta, filo dough, butter
  • Egg Roll in a Bowl
    • Pantry — coconut aminos, garlic, onions
    • Fridge/Freezer — ginger, carrots, green onions, cabbage, ground beef

I’m also gearing up for my “shelftober” challenge and wondering if my $15 budget was a little too ambitious. Mostly because we have very little fresh fruit in the house right now and that always makes me feel like I need to stock up. We shall see, I guess!

Shelf-tober

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So. I missed out on the whole Shelftember thing that a number of bloggers are participating in. But as I’ve been trying to minimize in many areas of my life, one space in my home that has come under more serious scrutiny is our pantry and freezer. I’ve already mentioned that I’ve had a bit of a mindset shift regarding what I stock up on in our deep freezer — namely, stuff that we’ll eat. You know, you type these things out and they seem even more obvious than you know they are (which is really obvious!). Still, it’s taken me a while to shift from buying the best deal to buying the best deal on food we like. Partly I think because I feel a little…ashamed maybe?…about not loving food x or y or z when they might be a super low-cost and nutritious food.

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In the pantry I’ve had some similar perspective shifts — I used to like to keep a super wide variety of grains and beans on hand because it made me feel like I was ready for any event or any recipe that struck my fancy. But honestly I make a lot of the same things over and over — the oat bran, cracked wheat and spelt hadn’t been touched in a very long time. Similarly, I used to just reflexively buy pasta when it was BOGO. Then one day I really took stock of what I had and realized that I had 24 boxes! I use half a box each time I cook pasta, which makes four servings for us. I tend to make pasta about twice a month (more recently, but still), which works out to one box of pasta/month. Do I really need to have 2 years worth of pasta on hand? I completed the pantry inventory in February, I think. Since then (and even before on some items), I have been really intentional about not bringing in new stuff* if I already have those things on hand and using up what I have. For example, I really prefer to make pasta pomodoro with angel hair pasta. We have not died or suffered culinary indignation even though I’ve used spaghetti, linguine, etc. the last few times I’ve made that dish.

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The other day I reorganized the over the fridge freezer (benefit of having totally wiped it out — you can create a whole new system!) and got a bug to go through my pantry as well. I tossed a number of grains and flours and beans that had been sitting around for a while and were either rancid (most likely), well past their prime and would take forever to cook, or just simply things we don’t use and won’t use and keeping it on hand was just cluttering up my space and causing me stress. I still have work to do in there — I’ve been storing extra glass jars, not canning jars, just nice glass jars, just in case and realized that I’ll never use all that I have and I buy things packaged in jars all the time, if I really need one — but now feel like I’m breathing more easily and like my stored food is less of a burden and more a blessing, which is what it should be.

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Anyway. The point of this whole post is to say that even though I didn’t know about Shelftember in time to really make it happen this month, I am committing to a Shelftober. I’ll follow the basic plan set forth on FunCheaporFree, although since it’s just the two of us I’m going to drop the weekly amount to $15. That will be what I can spend on fresh produce, dairy & eggs. I will keep shopping every other week, though, so my actual amount spent each shopping trip will be closer to $30. Otherwise I’ll be shopping solely from my pantry. Happily I have plenty of coffee on hand so no caffeine motivated emergencies are likely to crop up. 😛 Is anybody else gearing up for a pantry challenge in the next month or so? If you’ve been participating in Shelftember, how is it going?

*Ok, I’ve totally been buying that Rana refrigerated tortellini and ravioli. But only recently and we make eating that a priority — because it’s yummy. What can I say?