Weekend Stress Relief

The last few weeks have been REALLY busy.  Took a decompression day on Saturday to spend some time alone doing a few of my favorite things…

Drove out to Sharon, CT for a hike at Housatonic Meadow State Park.  A short day hike (3.5 mi loop) with a few really great views of the Housatonic River Valley!  Yet again, I love hiking in Northwest CT.  

 Stopped for a picnic lunch along the Housatonic River and watched the fly fisherman while I sipped my post-hike wine and knitted for a bit 🙂  Forgot to take pictures.

Then headed home for the REAL stress relief – baking!  Veggies are finally rolling in from the garden, farmer’s markets, and friends.

Made carrot zucchini muffins with my homegrown carrots and some beautiful zucchini from a friend’s garden (used this recipe, but substituted local honey for the sugar and added a few tbsp of wheat germ).  Then dairy-free, whole wheat cheddar-jalapeño bagels with peppers from my garden (used this recipe but with whole wheat flour and added jalapeños and almond cheddar-style cheese).

 Also did a test run of pickled jalapeños (recipe from Canning for a New Generation), except I forgot to add the garlic – remembered it right after they went into the canner, oops!  Kind of upset about that, it was even homegrown.  Next time…now also know that when it says pack – that means shove ’em in there until you can’t squeeze anymore in, because those things sure did settle after processing!

 Loving this little canner I picked up at a garage sale a few weeks ago for $2!  Perfect for canning one or two jars without wasting water, electricity and waiting for the large canner to heat up.

And to round it all out – made one of my favorite easy dinners!  Butternut squash and kale over quinoa.  Made from my LAST butternut squash from the fall, and kale, onions, and garlic from my garden. 
Stay tuned for July Garden Update coming soon (only a few days late)!



Stocked and Ready to Jam!

  Stocked and ready to jam!  Raspberry season is here.  Jars, apples (natural source of pectin since raspberries don’t have much) and lemons (for pH) are ready to go.  Now it’s time to get pickin’!  Also, loving those flowers in the background this week – sunflowers and snapsragons are locally grown and from the Collinsville Farmers Market, then I added garlic scapes from my garden for height (see below).  Have a great weekend.


Mystery Quilt (Week 5 Update)

Finally caught up on the MSQC mystery quilt for a cause during week 5, but after being away this weekend and next, I’m sure I’ll be behind again in no time.

Week 5:

Strips ready to be pieced

And waiting to be pressed.

Loving these colors.  Having second thought about the darker orange (not pictured here, see below), but am already committed at this point.  Nor do I have the patience to rip apart and repiece 24 9-patch blocks at the moment.

Here’s where we stand at the moment, anxiously waiting to see the final layout!  Oh the possibilities 🙂

Have a good week.


Mystery Quilt in Progress (Weeks 1 through 4)

I’m participating in the Missouri Star Quilt Company‘s Mystery Quilt for a Cause this year, which is a quilt-along fundraiser for CancerCare.org.

Picked out my fabrics Valentine’s Day weekend and finished all of my cutting the following weekend.  Then I went home to Illinois during Week 1 and have been behind ever since. Finally got caught up last week (Week 4).  Had hoped to post these as I went, but that didn’t happen.  Although, seeing them all together gives a nice overview of the piecing process. Enjoy!

Fabric Selection:

Initial cuts:

Week 1:


Weeks 2, 3, and 4 (ended up doing these all at the same time):


In other news, my apartment is beginning to look like an elementary school science project.

And here’s my low budget alternative to warming mats…it works, almost all of my pepper seeds have now germinated!

Excited to be gearing up for spring!


Valentine’s Day

Hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day.  Just thought I’d share a few things from Saturday, we ended up getting even more snow here over the weekend, along with frigid temperatures – which meant lots of time inside at home.

The library up the street held a “Blind Date with a Book” for Valentine’s Day…what a cool idea!  I ended up with The Dress Shop of Dreams, by Menna Van Praag.  Right up my alley so far…

IMG_0462Also made the BEST cookies in the world – Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies! It’s my mom’s recipe and will always be my favorite.

IMG_0464Even went all out and glazed a few.


Plaid Flannel Infinity Scarf

Absolutely loving the fact that plaid flannel seems to be back in style.  I’ve been looking for a more modern looking red plaid scarf but haven’t had much luck finding one that’s reasonably priced…so I just made one!

I made this one a few years ago – like the pattern and still wear it occasionally, but wish it had more bulk.

IMG_1030 IMG_1031So I made another this year, but with twice as much fabric to give it more volume.  Here it is!

IMG_0411 IMG_0413 IMG_0414Really easy to make, very cozy, and goes with a lot in my winter wardrobe.  Wore it last weekend on a trip up to Vermont.  It kept me warm and windproof while shopping and sightseeing around Manchester.

IMG_0429Here are a few more pictures from my Vermont Trip.

Stayed at The Equinox in Manchester again.  Love this place, lots of old Vermont charm, great spa, and a nice place to get snowed in (again).

IMG_0447And some really cool ice along Route 8 on the way back home.

IMG_045333 days until spring!  Hope you enjoy this last month of winter.