Saturday, January 26, 2013

January Projects

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a 2-day quilt retreat. This retreat was sponsored by one of my favorite local quilt shops, Village Dry Goods, in my home town of Brigham City, Utah. The shop owners and their staff who refer to themselves as the "Village Girls," have been holding this annual event for about 10 years now. The retreat involves lessons from a national quilt designer/teacher, the opportunity to work on one or more new projects, spending time visiting with other ladies, and a dinner with a trunk show featuring the teacher's work.

This year's teacher was Lisa Bonjean from Primitive Gatherings who specializes in wool appliqué. For this particular retreat, the emphasis was on the appliqué techniques and handwork so we didn't use sewing machines at all. The picture at the top shows the two blocks that I completed. These blocks will become part of a larger snowman-themed quilt. The full quilt kit won't be ready for another few months. Perhaps the additional blocks will be featured in future blog entries.

The second day's project featured a larger wall hanging. As you can see, mine is not yet complete. Fortunately, these wool appliqué projects travel well so I can tuck it in a tote bag and work on it as I find spare moments. 

In the quilting world, the term "UFO" is used in reference to an "unfinished fabric object." For good or for bad, my craft room is replete with a number of UFOs. Fortunately, in time, most of them do become completed projects.

Over the past few days, I've been contemplating parallels between UFOs and the Christian walk. This side of heaven, all of us are projects in the works. Some aspects of our lives may resemble the quilt blocks in the first picture in which an individual component may be complete yet does not achieve its full potential until joined with others in a much grander arrangement. Other aspects are like the project in the second picture in which God continues to develop us day by day over time until He accomplishes His purpose in our lives.

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  
Philippians 3:12-14

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

At long last, I have joined the blogging world. My goal for 2013 is to make a posting at least once a month.

For those of you who have known us for any length of time, you are probably well aware that we like to eat. In order to eat, we first have to cook something. Fortunately, for us, we do enjoy cooking and trying new recipes as well as enjoying our favorites. I'm certainly no cooking diva, but I thought that, at least for this year, my blog postings would revolve around some of our favorite recipes as they relate to different months and seasons of the year.

Although neither Wayne nor I have ties to the South, Southern cooking is among our favorites. We do jokingly mention that since he was born in southern California and I was born in southern Alaska that we can be considered honorary Southerners. Those who truly are from the South don't exactly buy it.

One tradition from the South is to serve black-eyed peas for New Year's Day to guarantee good luck in the new year. The black-eyed peas are prepared with onion and bacon (we prefer ham hocks) and served over rice. This dish is known as Hopping John. Greens, representing the color of money, and cornbread, representing gold, also are commonly served with Hopping John as symbols of prosperity for the new year.

Here is our recipe for Hopping John:

2 cups dried black-eyed peas
Ham hocks
One large chopped onion
Chopped garlic (as desired)
Salt & pepper
Red pepper flakes (as desired)
2 quarts of tomatoes
Cooked rice

  • Soak black-eyed peas overnight. Drain and rinse.
  • Add enough water to cover the peas, ham hocks, and onion. Add salt & pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook until peas are tender. Remove ham hocks, cut off excess fat, remove bones, and return meat to the pot. Stir in tomatoes and heat through.
  • Serve over rice. A few drops of chipotle Tabasco sauce (added to individual servings) also make this particularly good.