A Great Day at the Houston International Quilt Festival

"So Much Thread"--Anything that a quilter needs or is willing to spend some money on can be found at the Houston International Quilt Festival.

This morning’s air was crisp and clean and the outside temperature was 39 degrees when I got up to let Annie out for the first time.  The rest of the day didn’t disappoint with a cool tinge cutting any heat that the sun might try to make.

A close-up of one of my favorites

It was just the kind of day to head back into town to the George R. Brown Convention Center to take in the Houston International Quilt Festival, which every fall brings quilts and quilters from all over the country and parts of the rest of the world into the Bayou City.

Another close-up, another favorite, of course

My machines still sit idle on the tables right behind where I’m sitting now.  It seems like since I moved into my own home, other household tasks or the lawn and garden pull me towards them rather than any fabric project.  However, perhaps all the designs and colors of the quilts I saw today will get me inspired.  This year, more than the last few, more of the quilts seemed to be of the traditional type rather than the “artsy” ones, though there certainly were enough of both to check out before the legs started to get weary and the stomach grumbled for lunch.

Susan Schamber explains about her Best of Show quilt, "Mystique".

By getting there when the doors were just opening, I got to see the Best of Show winner, Sharon Schamber, showing and telling about her amazing quilt.  Then after winding through more rows of quilts, I was lucky enough to stumble up textile and quilt designer, Kaffe Fassett, giving a walk-through discussion of an exhibition of some of his pieces which were on display.

Kaffe Fassett gathers a large group of eager listeners.

It’s overwhelming to try to see all of the multitude of quilts, wall-hangings, and other decorative pieces.  Even though there were many people viewing all the exhibited works, the side of the center with the vendors was even busier; however, my large “stash” of fabrics is a reminder that I don’t need to spend money on more material or gadgets until I make a dent in what I already have.

I did, though, snap a lot of photos, especially of quilts that caught my eye.  Perhaps, they’ll help keep the inspiration bug biting for awhile.

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View from the Suburbs: A Great Fall Weekend, Just To Put You in the Mood for Corn Tortilla Pie

 

Corn Tortilla Pie–It’s an easy comfort dish just right for a fall supper.

This has been one of those perfect fall weekends–nothing out of the ordinary, but every aspect enjoyable.

The mornings have been fresh, so Annie and I went to the dog park both mornings.  Yesterday, we both got shots–bordetella and flu.  (You can guess who got which.)  I took Annie to our new veterinary–Hearthstone Animal Clinic.  The staff is  very accommodating and friendly, and the clinic is bright and clean.  We were in and out so fast that Annie didn’t even seem to realize she had been to the vet.

I did a good bit of gardening both days.  I’m starting to amend my vegetable garden, so I went to Lowe’s and got more bags of cow manure.  (It’s already decomposed–no smell.)  The okra is about to play out, but even so, I canned another pint of them with a few of the peppers, which are just coming into their own here late in the fall.  I’ve already put up 28 pints of pickled okra;  I think they should be called artisanal pickles, because I’ve only canned a few pints at a time, the most was 4 pints when the okra was in its prime.  (“Put up”–I hope this usage isn’t losing its meaning.)  I’ve already tried a jar of the early ones.  Tasty!

After our jaunt to the dog park, the morning was still so refreshing that we stopped off at Bear Creek Park and took a walk by the animal pens.  The park is only a few miles down the road from my house, but since I moved here almost a year ago, I had only driven by.  Today before stopping, we drove through the expansive picnic areas, playing fields, and the golf course, and then through part that is just natural reserve full of pines and other trees.  The most exotic animals there are the rheas from South America, but there are also buffalo, deer, burros, emus, turkeys, pot-bellied pigs, goats, and a white reindeer.  Annie was none too interested in the animals, but one turkey seemed to be infatuated with her.

Now that it’s a bit cooler, I feel like using the oven more.  Here’s casserole dish of my own creation that I have made several times.  I like Mexican food, but I know that I can’t compete with the authentic dishes, so this recipe is easy to put together and satisfies that hankering for that Mexican taste.  I call it “Corn Tortilla Pie”.

Corn Tortilla Pie

1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey (or lean ground beef or pork)

1 large onion chopped

1 clove garlic finely minced or pressed

olive oil

1 tsp. chili powder

Salt and pepper

1 can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

3/4 cup ketchup

2 cups frozen corn or 1 can chili-style beans

1 package (approximately 2 cups) Kraft Mexican Style Shredded Four Cheese

1 small can whole green chiles

22-24 corn tortillas

Heat a splash of olive oil in a skillet.  Add the chopped onions, cooking until translucent.  Add the garlic, and let cook a few seconds more.  Add the ground meat, and cook until just done.  If you use ground beef, drain off any grease.  Add the chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  Then add the stewed tomatoes and ketchup.  (You can use salsa or hot sauce to make this dish more picante.)  Turn up the heat and cook until the liquids start to bubble and thicken just a bit.

While the meat is cooking, turn on the oven to 325 degrees.

In a large flat baking dish (I use a 9 x 13 glass one), add a splash of olive oil.  Use one of the corn tortillas to spread the oil onto the bottom and sides of the dish.  Line the bottom and sides with approximately 8 tortillas so that the dish is covered.  Spread half of the mixture over the bottom tortillas.  Then cover the meat with all of the frozen corn (or beans).  Sprinkle about 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese on top.  Cover with another layer of tortillas (approximately 8).  Spread the remaining meat mixture on the tortillas.  Tear the green chiles in half and arrange them over the meat, and sprinkle with another 3/4 cup of the cheese.  Cover with the last 6 tortillas and sprinkle them with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes until the tortillas on top are crispy and the cheese is golden.

Take out of the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes.  Use a knife to cut through and a spatula to lift to the plate.  Serve with a salad, and you have supper!  This makes 8 good-sized portions.

Monday Musings: Black Friday and Moving

As of yesterday, I finally finished moving my “stuff”.  Weeding out and tossing away wasn’t as easy or probably as successful as I had hoped it would be, although I did take one good carload of donations to the Salvation Army on Saturday morning.

Even though I thought that the movers had taken a lot of my smaller items along with the furniture and other big pieces almost two weeks ago, the quantity of “the rest” was–though not more than I had anticipated–time-consuming to gather, box, carry, load, and haul.  Even with the items given away and thrown away, a lot of what I have–when it comes to moving it–is just “stuff”.

Good enough reason–that while I was finishing up lugging all this personal “stuff” over these last few days–not to be in the least bit attracted by Black Friday and other holiday sales.  It’s a little like over-indulging in Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings, and then not wanting to have anything to do leftovers the next day.  There’s no temptation for me to go out and buy anything–sale or no sale–just to add to the stuff that I already have.

Of course, I have many unpacked boxes.  I was asked to take some pictures of my house, and post some on here, but, alas, I have no idea where the USB cord for my camera is.

So here I am at work, taking a break.  It’s actually a chilly fall day here in Houston.  I love the view of downtown Houston from my office (even though because a lot of the buildings near the bayou are older,  it may not be a shot the Houston Chamber of Commerce would use for marketing).  And, yes, though not as long, nor as dramatic as many other parts of the country, a change in seasons, when some of the trees show their vibrant colors, does come to the Bayou City.