Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up 2012: Grampa's In-House Catering Service Saves the Day

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful, restful day, complete with good food and surrounded with the blessings of friends and family. 

We have so much to be thankful for this year.  The cease-fire in Gaza reminds me of how fortunate we are to live in a place where violence is rare and the day-to-day safety of our loved ones is something we can take for granted.  We're thankful for our home, our livelihood, our community, and for the wonderful teachers who bless our children with their dedication and enthusiasm every single day.  And we're thankful for the Screaming Cheetah Wheelies who go by the names Lars and Anders, our rambunctious sons who try our patience daily but also fill our lives with so much joy that we wouldn't trade them for the world.

Those are the Big Blessings, but honestly, what I was most thankful for this Thanksgiving was Grampa's In-House Catering Service!  Since Bernie has been traveling so much for work this month, and I was busy working on a design project for a new client on top of my responsibilities as Chauffeur, Algebra Tutor, Science Project Supervisor, and Keeper of the Video Games for the two princelings, I just didn't have the time or energy for the weeks of cooking necessitated by our traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu.  Then, to make matters worse, Bernie stumbled and fell on the stairs last week, spraining his ankle pretty badly, so he was on crutches and unable to fulfil his usual role as Thanksgiving Sous Chef.  My father, who is himself recovering from shoulder surgery, came to the rescue.  Bernie managed to do a remarkable job cleaning our house with a crutch under one arm, pushing the vacuum cleaner with the other, and laid out roasting pans and other equipment.  I set the dining room table, decapitated some roses and arranged them in a bowl for a centerpeice, and my parents showed up on Thanksgiving morning with a completely prepped Thanksgiving meal to cook in my ovens: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and green bean casserole.  I had made my Cranberry Citrus Compote and Cinnamon Molasses Pumpkin Pies ahead of time and stocked up on champagne and our favorite pinot noir, and my mother made the gravy, so we managed to pull off a decent Thanksgiving feast between the four of us.  Dad's apple cider brined turkey was delicious, and all the tastier because I didn't have to fret over it myself.  Thanks for coming to the rescue, Dad!  :-)

Photo Shamelessly Stolen from SewCalGal
This was the most relaxing Thanksgiving Day I've had in a long time.  I even managed to sneak upstairs to my sewing room to whip up another Dresden Plate while everyone else was watching the Westminster Dog Show downstairs.  Which is why, when I saw this adorable quilted turkey with Dresden Plate tail feathers on SewCalGal's Thanksgiving post, I had to snatch it for myself.  By the way, Darlene -- as I'm counting my blessings, you're on the list.  Thank you so much for your 2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge.  I know you have put a lot of work into organizing and hosting this year-long event on your blog, lining up expert quilters, sponsors and prizes, and getting the tutorials and winners posted each month.  I am amazed by how much my FMQ skills have improved, just by spending one day each month practicing a new technique.  Thank you for bringing this community of quilters together from all over the world to inspire and encourage one another!

My Dresden Plate, One of Eight
As of right now, I have 7 Dresden Plates pieced, and I just need to assemble one more before I get out my embroidery module and machine-applique the red flower centers to all of the blocks (using Marjorie Busby's fabulous embroidery design for Accuquilt precuts). 

Rose Dream Block from the Kansas City Star, click here for Tutorial
The plan is to alternate Dresden Plate blocks with the vintage Rose Dream block that the lovely, talented, and unbelievably generous Charise of Charise Creates was sweet enough to redraft as a 14" block for me, just so it would work for this Dresden Plate quilt.  Charise, I'm thankful for you, too -- and can't wait to see what other challenging and unusual blocks you'll be sharing in your Vintage Block QAL in the coming months. 

The Rose Dream block was published in the Kansas City Star in 1930, around the same time that Dresden Plate quilts were most popular, so I feel like the two blocks make sense together historically.  The curved piecing looks just a bit more challenging than the drunkard's path blocks I mastered for Lars's Drunken Dragons quilt, and I feel like the combination of curved lines and pointy little squares will be a nice complement to the pointed edges on my Dresden Plates.  I've traced Charise's enlarged pattern pieces onto template plastic and carefully cut them out, but I haven't cut any fabric for these blocks yet.  I'm still considering different options for the background fabrics in this quilt, and I think I'm going to use one of my software programs to audition a few alternatives before I make a commitment.  I don't have any of the dedicated quilting software programs like EQ7, and I don't have the ability to create a new block design in the quilt design function of my Bernina Artista embroidery design software (and there's no way this Rose Dream block would be one of the block designs in the software's design library.  However, I think I will be able to use my Minutes Matter Studio interior design software program to do some mock-ups for this quilt, since I can draw any shapes I want, fill them with fabrics, and import, crop, and duplicate photos in Studio.  I'll let you know how that works out.

Meanwhile, my hallway is piled high with boxes of Christmas decorations, and my family is chomping at the bit to haul out the holly and decorate Christmas trees.  Lars and Anders have even been cleaning their bedrooms, with actual cleaning products, because Bernie told them he wasn't going to set foot in the LEGO store this year unless they could put away all of the LEGOs they already own.  Who ARE these whirling dervishes of bedroom cleaning, and what have they done with my sons?!

Whatever you're up to this weekend, whether it's holiday decorating, shopping, or just relaxing and enjoying leftover turkey, I hope you have a chance to reflect on your blessings and spend time with your loved ones.  Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

Ivory Spring said...

Oh gosh, Rebecca - your Dresden Plate is BEAUTIFUL and swoon-worthy!!!!

Thanks for your input on modifying my Greeting Cards pattern. You are so creative.