Friday, November 27, 2015

Baby Blankets, Thanksgiving & THE PIECAKEN

It never seems real to me how intense the prep work for the holidays can be. Days, perhaps weeks... go in to preparing for that one family gathering.

This time, it was Thanksgiving.
I had only one child who decided to make the journey home... so I was determined to maintain the level of tradition I had started years before to make her feel it was worth it.

On the quilting end of things... our modern guild held its first free sew day at our local shop. 
(Thank you A Nimble Thimble of Tyler, Texas).

The evening before, a distant family member in her late forties had her first child
(When I say distant, it is because I am still not fully sure how exactly my husband is related to her. But a baby at that age is certainly deserving of its own special quilt.

This now trumped my current project- completely ready for my sew day & now was added to that ever-growing WIP pile :(

We made a rushed trip to Jo-Ann's for fabrics late that evening... so I could prewash and cut strips before my sew day. 

Unfortunately for me... Mom's color's are mint, yellow, & gray. I like all three of those colors very much... just NOT TOGETHER!

Since I really was unsure what Mom (who I have never have met) considered mint- I decided on KONA MINT as the background. 
If it was wrong... I had their company to blame it on.

1 1/2" strips

I decided on the pick-up sticks pattern by Becky Goldsmith, I had worked on in a workshop a few weeks before.
It was mindless & would be relaxing... I thought.

After an entire day fighting it out with my Janome Jem...
missing my knee lift, the needle down position, a needle threader, a stable table and good iron & ironing board---- 
I remembered I had only completed 8 blocks at that full day workshop. 
Why had I not just gone with the standard 3 hour nine patch???

My lightweight easy to transport for workshops Janome Jem

"sew" far- "sew" good... just "sew" slowwwwww

After a sew day of free sew, chat, & determination

By days end, I was desperate for at least a few more fabric options and raided the shops fat quarters. Thankfully they came through.

I have wasted far too many hours thinking and sketching layouts. 
The original pattern used 36- 8 1/2 inch blocks to create a square quilt.

After 9 blocks, I realized it was too big... so I started obsessively manipulating to cut it down to a baby quilt size.

A rejected design...
after several manipulations of way too many layout option ideas...

Eventually I decided... I was shipping this off and would probably never see it again... so I would just make it fun and useful...

pinned & piecing

fully pieced

So, between basting the turkey & basting the now fully pieced quilt... I am ready to start the quilting.

Which brings me back to our very first Thanksgiving in our new kitchen.

Never wanting to miss an internet fad- my DH suddenly decided he needed to make a PieCaken. 
A what??? 
A pie- baked in a cake- covered in frosting. (Let's call it a diabetic coma producing salute to the tur-duc-hen)--- both of which should not be on anyones table!

flashback to childhood...
my eldest child still likes batter... be still me mommy heart

my darling hubby (DH) and his masterpiece

SO... While I am falling on my face... (Don't worry... I protected the pretty part with my chin!)...
Christening the new wood floors with sink splatter & mixer spew... 
Making stuffing, dressing & getting the bird ready to roast, 
cooking the sweet potatoes, the mushrooms & the rest of the glutenous feast... 

Me & my all-mighty Wolf oven... with it's own THERMOMETER 
& jazzy blue inside- welcoming it's first roast turkey!

He was busy with his pie-cake-ens. 
He was quite pleased with himself and made it practically a self portrait once he decorated with crushed oreos and bourbon frostings.

The PieCakeN

Meanwhile... I am roasting the turkey in my beautiful new convection oven
This beauty has every bell & whistle & does everything.

I followed Butterball's recipe for a convection oven turkey! (A first time for us ever cooking a turkey in a convection oven).

And then we waited... and waited... and waited. 
Guests arrived.
Most of the kitchen was cleaned.
Side dishes were beginning to dry out.
And we were opening another bottle of wine since we had no invented a new drinking game:
"A sip for each degree!"

Eventually I reached out to Butterball since we were now ways past their "estimated cook times".

at 5:10PM we had only reached 127*

My dinner was planned for 5PM... it got later and later...
SO finally... I reached out for help-

"Dear Butterball Hotline,
I have followed your directions for a succulent Thanksgiving Turkey in my new convection oven... 
4 hours later... 
We have still not reached a core temp of 180* and you closed at 7pm EST! You have reassured me online you are "committed to familial support"--- But- since you have already closed, I cannot enquire when the hell my "cook 2 1/2-3 1/2 hour bird will be done! You are NOT (like the president's turkey Abe) pardoned for this!!!
My guests are sipping wine at every degree increase! At this rate I shall run out of wine before we eat!!!


They have still not responded to my message!

At 7:30 (nearly 5 hours later!)- we decided to take the now shrinking turkey out of the oven.
And while I must admit- it was indeed the most succulent turkey I have ever prepared... we never reached 180 degrees!

Finally ready to carve, I still had some rage

In the end the meal worked out and was overeaten by all


This morning, after some more ranting on my part about my dinner frustrations, 
my DH said I must have misread something.

uh.... NO I DID NOT.

"Well, what did the oven manual say?"

"Oven manual? I told you, I cooked the butterball turkey with directions off the Butterball website!

I stormed off to do Black Friday internet shopping...
He reappeared a bit later.

(Perhaps I should have checked the oven manual after all...)

I DID follow all the Butterball guidelines. 
remember when I said this beauty does everything and has every bell & whistle?
It also has lot's of cooking cycles
Had I of read IT'S manual, I might have remembered I needed the bake-convection-ROAST cycle.

oh crap... 
I will read the directions at Christmas... if I remember that is...

I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by laughter and loved ones. 
I missed mine far away and those no longer with us... but was grateful for those present. Especially when food was FINALLY SERVED 4 bottles of wine later!!!!

Pass the tums please 


  1. Very entertaining post, Ms. TylerRose! I've passed through Tyler many times during my travels when I lived west of FW. I currently reside in New Braunfels (only during the winter now).

    1. P. S. your baby quilt is adorable and I'm sure will be greatly appreciated. I was 40 when my daughter graduated from HS. I'm glad I wasn't just starting to have babies!

  2. Thanks for the laugh out loud at your turkey issues!! I followed the recipe for ribs from the book that came with the BBQ...that was a beautiful rack of ribs that I overcooked badly...but I don't get asked to operate the BBQ any more :) Wine at Thanksgiving is something to give thanks for, right? Love your baby quilt - adorable and will be much loved!! Congratulations on reaching your goal!!!

  3. TY everybody... in the end... there was much to be thankful for!