Vegetarian Chili

Fall has arrived here in Nova Scotia – it’s drizzly today and windy with a chill in the air. A perfect day to make a large pot of chili.

This time I decided to make it vegetarian. I guess that was because I had been listening to a CBC radio program “White Coat, Black Art” – today’s episode was a repeat of an earlier one on a plant based diet. I’m eating less meat than I used to, so I thought a vegetarian chili would be a good thing to have in my freezer.

A Pot Of Vegetarian Chili

Here is the recipe (see below) I sort of used – it calls for onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery, cans of tomatoes and corn, white and red kidney beans… In addition, I substituted a jar of flame roasted red peppers (Unico) for the bell peppers, added mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, leftover coleslaw cabbage, 1/3 can tomato paste, a good glug of tomato ketchup (French’s), a splash of HP sauce, and squeezed cilantro paste from a tube to liven the flavour.

Vegetarian Chili Recipe

In other words, since I was making a vegetarian chili I simply emptied my fridge, tossing in whatever vegetables were there.

My final secret ingredient was a full teaspoon of Sambal Oelek which gives the chili a lovely “zip” – you have to be careful with the amount because a very little goes a l-o-n-g way. It gives you heat with a hint of garlic, but doesn’t  overpower the chili flavour.

The pot’s still simmering.I will leave it on low heat for another 10 minutes or so to give the carrots, cauliflower, cabbage time to soften more. Then I’ll set the pot aside to cool before putting single servings in containers and stashing them in my freezer.

Yum!

Quilt On The Go – IV

Alright – here are the circles and Xs pinned to the background. The result is the illusion of circles (greens) on circles (blue) which is what I was after.

I laid the panel on the floor and photographed it – the circles that were in the wrong place stood out dramatically – I made a few swaps although that wasn’t so straight forward since I had precisely the right number of circles and crosses to fill the panel with just a couple left over. I thought I was going to have to cut more but I got away with what I had by moving a few around.

Circles / Xs pinned

Now comes the painstaking task of pressing the pieces in place so I can then edge stitch them with a decorative stitch. I’m hoping the Wonder Under holds better than the Heat ‘N Bond I used on a previous quilt – I had to use white glue on some of those circles when they began separating from the backing. It will take me the better part of a week, I’m anticipating, to edge stitch all of these 154 elements.

I still have no idea yet where to go from here – I think I want a navyish small print (a grunge?) for a narrow border, then a wider border in chartreuse – I will have to go shopping with the panel to decide what might work because I haven’t anything in my stash that suits the colour scheme in the panel.

Quilt On The Go – III

Here’s how the appliqué work is beginning to shape up – I fused Wonder Under (Pellon 805) to the back of 4 1/2″ x 17″ strips of 30+ fabrics ranging in colour from pale yellow/green to a very dark green. I made the decision to cut the circles from the lighter fabrics and the crosses from the darker ones (that may be a limiting decision but I had to start with some kind of order from which to begin).

So far, I’ve cut a bunch of circles and have pinned them on the blue background and I’ve started interspersing crosses  – I’ve been placing/pinning as I’ve cut out circle and cross elements – I think at the moment I need to cut out more crosses and see how close I can get to the bottom right edge with them, then fill in the rest with circles.

Circles & Crosses

NOTHING is fused in place! I have to get the space filled with circles and crosses, stand back and look at the whole from a distance, take photographs to see what the whole looks like, before putting an iron to the quilt top. I have a feeling I may have too many light coloured circles in that upper left corner (over the darkest squares of the background panel) – I think I will want to drop a few darker circles in that quadrant – just trying to visualize what that would look like.

I’ve done maybe half of the cutting out of circles and crosses. I need to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening getting the rest cut out before I attempt placing more elements. The crosses when placed side by each create circles from the background panel – I want to bring out more of the blue in the middle of the quilt top so that will mean more crosses in that area.

The good thing is everything is just pinned at this point – I can still change my mind about all of it.

Quilt On The Go – II

Here I am with a stitched background layer – it took 3-4 hours to assemble the pieces – the difficult part was collecting them from the floor in the order they were placed and keeping the paired squares in the same order while I was sewing them. I did reference yesterday’s photo several times to be sure I hadn’t reversed blocks.

Stitched Background Layer

I began by creating the vertical columns stacking the 13 pairs from bottom to top proceeding to the next column, then the next. I put post-it notes on the top square of each stack to identify the order in which I needed to sew them. I chain stitched the pairs in each column, cut them apart, pressed the seam to alternating sides, then built each column being careful to nest the seams.

Contrast Fabrics

Yesterday I pulled 27 contrast fabrics from my stash from dark green to light green – in the photo there is a lot more turquoise in the selections than I saw when I stacked the fabrics and the light green looks rather peach. I think my pale colours aren’t strong enough to make the elements I plan on cutting out pop. So back to the stash I must go – I’ll see what I have in yellow that might provide a better contrast, or maybe (heaven forbid) I will have to go shopping for more strong bright lime green batik for the appliqués over the dark background  blocks.

I’m trying to stay within the stash for this quilt, although I already know I’m probably going to have to shop for some fabric to create a border – that’s because about a third of my blocks came from a charm pack (I have no more of those fabrics) and the other fabrics I used came from my scrap boxes (there is very little left of those as well – not enough to do 4″ borders).

Finally – A Quilt On The go

I finally have a quilt on the go.

I started by pulling from my stash a double jelly roll of batik fabric (5″ width of strips) with an idea – but beyond opening the package of fabric strips I haven’t been stuck. Nice fabrics but I just can’t find a way to start. Next I pulled out a charm pack of blue batik fabrics (5″ squares) and that seemed to get me underway. 5″ squares are rather small – ending up as 4 1/2″ blocks so I’d need a 10 x 13 array at the least to make a decent size quilt.

Quilt Background

By adding more than twice the number of squares in the charm park using fabric from my stash of fat quarters and scraps I’ve managed to come up with 130 blocks to set up a graduated 10 x 13 array from light to dark which I can see serving as background for an appliqué quilt.

Inverted Array

I’m still not sure what will develop as a layer on top of this background – I will likely use circles somewhat in the way I did the original “Double Vision” quilt which my niece now has.

The question is what colour palette will complement these blues – shades of green ranging from light chartreuse to dark green/blue? I’ll have to see whether I have enough fabrics in my stash to make this work.

More as the work progresses – now to stitch this assembly together. That’s for tomorrow.

Latest Socks

Finally finished this most recent pair – turned out rather differently than I expected from the appearance of the ball of yarn – much more yellow than I had anticipated. The knitting went reasonably quickly but I got side tracked by a week-long trip to Toronto for a family event last week. I took my knitting but didn’t actually get to do much – there was a ton of  parties – Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening, Sunday morning – not much time to work on sock knitting.

Latest Socks

I’m just about to start a next pair – shades of grey/mauve/rose – more subtle.

Leather Bag

This is the second time I’ve made this bag – made one a number of years ago (~ 2015 as I recall) using the beautiful soft purple kid skin I bought in NYC in 2010. I’ve used the bag a lot – the colour faded and it got scratched. It was time to use the remaining purple kid to make another one.

New Leather Bag

Today was the day. Actually I cut out the leather pieces and the lining pieces yesterday, even dashed off to Fabricville to purchase 14″ zippers (longer than the bag is wide so I didn’t have to worry about the zipper ends when sewing them in). It took me just under three hours this morning to put the bag together. I reused the fittings when attaching the strap.

I made a couple of modifications this time, the two painted leather inserts are narrower making the pockets accessed through the khaki zippers larger and therefore more useful than in the first iteration of the bag. I also used a painted leather insert at the top of the back to make the back long enough to match the front.

Otherwise the internal construction is the same – the major central pocket has two small side pockets built in to each side to hold things like hand sanitizer, nail file, wallet, glasses cleaning cloth, Swiss army knife (credit card style), etc. With stuff stored in the pockets I can find what I’m looking for easily – it’s not all a jumble at the bottom. The other two zippered compartments are simple pockets – one for my check book (yes I still carry a check book although I must admit I haven’t written a cheque in almost a year!), and for stuffing shopping receipts in one place so I can find them.

I could put my phone in the bottom pocket if I wanted to – it’s large enough in this version of the bag. But usually I carry my phone in my right pants pocket.

I’m still procrastinating about starting a quilt! I’ve pulled out some fabric – a double jellyroll (5″ wide strips) to start something – Tomorrow! I’ll get going on something tomorrow, for sure.