Sunday Chat – Plants and Quilts

My Thanksgiving Cactus is blooming its head off. I have never seen this plant so happy. There are more red blooms than pink or yellow, but I do have some of all. It came into bloom a few days ago, and there are more buds forming, so I think it will be in bloom for a couple of weeks.

The shape of the flower has always fascinated me. They are like little rockets.

Every year I share this plant’s flowers, someone will say that they have one but call it a Christmas Cactus. So, once again, here is a link to tell the difference – Christmas Cactus or Thanksgiving Cactus? Thanksgiving cactus plants have toothed or serrated “leaves”, while the Christmas cactus has a smooth, rounded appearance.

The pollen bearing anthers of the Thanksgiving cactus are yellow, while the Christmas cactus pollen anthers are pink. The flowers are so vibrant in color this year.

Rain and wind over the past week have brought most of the leaves down from the trees now. Valley fog in the early morning shows the layers of mountains and hills across to the ridge beyond.

On the feeder, it is the beginning of Feeder Watch for the winter, to report sightings of birds. This photo documents three species. First, there are two bluebirds in one frame, proving that there are indeed two. Also, the hairy woodpecker’s head shows the black band down the middle of the red patch on his head, distinguishing this species from the downy woodpecker. A Carolina Chickadee hangs on the side. These are sometimes hard to distinguish from the Black Capped Chickadee.

Here, I have documented two titmouses. No, you don’t have to send in photos with your counts, but I like to take a lot anyway. The bluebird was back for another beak-full.

At the end of the day, Oliver stopped by for a meal. He does seem to enjoy the peanut butter sandwiches.

While he had his treat, we sat down to the best Butternut Squash Lasagna I’ve ever made. This time, I used an Alfredo pasta sauce from a jar instead of making a white sauce, left out the mushrooms, and added sauteed onions and garlic to the squash before layering it with the noodles and ricotta.

Wow, was this good, and faster than the method of making your own white sauce. I also put in about a 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil, and lots of mozzarella cheese. Yum!!

In the sewing room, I had a fun time Zooming with my international buddies about a week ago. We are the Chookshed Stitchers, and this time had 6 countries represented – Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Norway, Canada and the USA. We sewed and chatted for hours, and the time flew by.

I worked on getting one of the Christmas panels sewn into a top. I picked up the panel and border fabric at the retreat last month. So it added to the Stashbuster total, and it needs to go out. I trimmed the panel and cut borders to size.

I didn’t want to miter the corners, so red squares are cornerstones.

The longer side borders are added first.

Then the top and bottom borders. Simple and quick.

I loaded on the longarm and decided on a plan.

I put silver Glide in the top with Bottom Line in the bobbin. The pantograph was perfect for winter. It’s called Flurry, and is snowflakes with swirls.

Cute isn’t it?

This will be ready for something in a week or so. If you are interested in it, let me know. Otherwise, I’m not sure if I’ll donate it to the silent auction or put it at the consignment store.

I also made progress on the jacket ensemble for the Mancuso show. I need a camisole and skirt to go with the quilted jacket. I spent a lot of time trying to get my embroidery machine to do a blue rose on the black fabric, and it just won’t stitch it well. I tried multiple times with various layers of stabilizer, and once even using a bit of black batting. Nothing worked well, and I am out of scraps to try again. I decided it was better not to have embroidery at all rather than submit one badly done. So, I set up the pattern to cut out the top.

It is turning colder this week, and the schedule is lightening up. I hope this means I’ll have some time to make progress on the black camisole and skirt, finish the Christmas quilt, and do some stamping this week. I need to get my Thanksgiving cards made and sent. While I’m sewing and stamping, I’ll finish off a wonderful series on Netflix called From Scratch, beautifully made and a great story. Plus there is a new season of The Crown, and a new series on the invention of streaming music services called Playlist that is also pretty good. What will you be working on this week?

Seems like everyone is beginning Black Friday sales early this year!

Amazon’s Holiday Gift Guide is full of fun stocking stuffers, craft deals, kitchen goodies and more. There are lots of Early Black Friday Deals, and see the special section for Gifts for the Thanksgiving Host, plus Hosting Must Haves. There is also a new Handmade section for small business artisans, much like Etsy used to be. Check out the deals in Arts, Crafts and Sewing!

Shop the sales at Fat Quarter Shop! Sales on Notions, Books, Patterns, and Fabric. This month get 20% off the Basic of the Month, Organic Mammoth Flannels. Sale 30% Off the Books of the month by Pat Sloan. See the Precuts of the week, and don’t forget the daily Flash Sale.

MadamSew – up to 50% off notions.

Impression Obsession – Limited Edition Cling Sets and Clearance Deals – November features snowmen. Check out their new line of papers!

Sulky Thread is having some fun webcast projects. Plus free shipping on orders of $60.
Find new ideas with Books on Sale at C&T Publishing!

Remember, your purchases help to cover the costs of writing this blog. Use your existing accounts on all my affiliate links, it won’t cost you any more, but I may receive a small commission. Thank you for using my links when you can.

Have fun shopping, get yourself something to delight and inspire!

16 thoughts on “Sunday Chat – Plants and Quilts

  1. Rheanna

    The panel looks great! We have been enjoying seeing birds at our feeder too. Mr. And Mrs. Cardinal have been making many appearances.
    I have 5 women in my small group from church who are pregnant so I will be focusing on baby quilts for the next few months. Thankfully I have one top done and hope to have another by the end of the weekend.

  2. Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting

    Love the Flurry quilting, Carole! My Thanksgiving cactus is blooming like crazy this year, too!

  3. I enjoyed reading and seeing your Thanksgiving Cactus. Fond memories of my grandmother’s christmas cactus, which I recall bloomed its head off once, and she was elated. That cactus left a huge watermark on the dresser that I now have. This post warms my heart. Thank you for tickling my memories. 🙂

  4. I hadn’t even thought to get my bird feeders out again – I need to look and see where I want them – if I put them where I normally do then the squirrels go crazy (we have way too many) last year I had them hopping over to the wall of the house and cling to the window screens and I do not want torn screens – so they must be further from the house but then I can’t see the birds well – I might just throw some out into the yard now and then instead or place on an old cookie sheet and place it somewhere – we will see. I have squirrel proof feeders but they still try to come and sometimes ruin the feeders.

  5. Hi Carole, I am in hibernation mode already. We have no snow here in the Wisconsin northland, but plenty of cold and bare trees. I am working on a year-long project to beautify the inside of my church. The doors open into the Fellowship Hall, which has 3 bulletin boards and a pretty table sits underneath one. I’m hitting my stash pile of fabrics now to make table runners for each season for the table. I currently have a fall themed runner on it, but Advent begins in a couple of weeks, so a Christmas runner is in order. I am trying to change up the design of the runners for each one I make. A candle and candle ring will be the only embellishment to it. So that is what I am sewing this week!

  6. I love Christmas cactus, but haven’t heard of Thanksgiving cactus! And yes please on the Butternut Squash Lasagna, sounds wonderful and I use jarred Alfredo all the time, makes it so easy! Your Christmas quilt is beautiful!

  7. I love seeing your photo of the hairy woodpecker – I don’t think I’ve seen one before. Your cactus (cacti? cactuses?:) are beautiful! That’s a cute Christmas panel, and I love the quilting design you’re using. Looks like you’ve been having a great week!

  8. Joan Sheppard

    So many wonderful things! Your Lasagna is what’s for dinner tonight! Took the dogs for a walk today and got royally scolded by the squirrels! Love the quilt especially the pantograph – icing on the cake! Thanks for all the great photos!

  9. Julie

    I can’t tell what I liked best today, the lasagna recipe, the Christmas panel (so cute & the quilting panto is perfect), or that stinkin’ adorable little ham Oliver enjoying his peanut butter sandwich! OK, the recipe wins. We got 2 beautiful butternut squashes at the farm market before it closes for the season. I know what I’m making for dinner. Perfect way to celebrate our first flakes. Although they melted in 15 minutes, they still count for the 2 here who love snow and have been patiently awaiting its arrival.

  10. This Christmas quilt is too darned cute for words — so cheery and fun. I love it!

    Thanks for clearing up the TG/Christmas cactus issue for me. I always thought they were the same but people started calling them TG because they were early bloomers!

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