Sunday, March 18, 2012

National Quilting Day & St. Paddy's Day

I spent a great day yesterday, officially National Quilting Day, with my satellite quilting group.  We meet usually monthly on a Saturday at the boardroom of Fort Rodd Hill Administration Office.  Fort Rodd Hill is part of Parks Canada and the home of Fisgard Lighthouse, the first lighthouse on Canada's west coast.    Here's some history of the Fisgard Lighthouse (courtesy of

Fisgard Lighthouse Historical Site
Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC
Built November 16, 1860 Now Automated 48° 26' N 123° 27' W
- a National Historic Site - The first lighthouse on Canada's west coast is still in operation! There hasn't been a keeper here since the light was automated in 1929, but every year many thousands of visitors step inside a real l9th century light, and capture some of the feeling of ships wrecked and lives saved.
Built by the British in 1860, when Vancouver Island was not yet part of Canada, Fisgard's red brick house and white tower has stood faithfully at the entrance to Esquimalt harbour. Once a beacon for the British Royal Navy's Pacific Squadron, today Fisgard still marks home base for the Royal Canadian Navy.
Inside the building are two floors of exhibits, dealing with shipwrecks, storms, far- flung lights, and the everyday working equipment of the light keeper a century ago. Right next to the tower stirs on the second floor, a specially-made video evokes the loneliness and isolation that was the lot of the l9th century keeper.

This is the view from outside of the boardroom.  There is a picnic table on the grounds outside the boardroom as well and sometimes we will eat our lunch out there during the warmer spring/summer sewing days.  Pretty sweet eh??

Fisgard Lighthouse

Yesterday, this portrait was propped up and he seemed to be staring at me:

George Nikolas Davies, First Lighthouse Keeper at Fisgard Lighthouse, 1860 (photo courtesy:
He 'sits' on our cutting table so once he was moved, no more eyeballs looking at me.   But we were all curious as to who he was.  My research, as noted above, answered that question.

And then I set to some serious sewing.  I have a niece getting married on April 28th and I've been working on her wedding quilt, "Midnight in Manhattan".    As of last night I managed to get all of the quilt blocks done.  Here's the finished block (they are all the same) and while I haven't measured them, I believe they are about 18" square.

There are 25 blocks in total and they will be laid out 5 x 5.  The blocks are very big so this will fit a queen sized bed.  I am hoping to maybe get the blocks put together today/tonight but I have some bookkeeping goals to accomplish first.

While sewing, of course the girls were chatting up a storm as we usually do.  Topics always include vacation plans, retreat plans, UFOs, opinions on our projects of the day, and FOOD.  Since yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, a few of the girls were talking about the 'Corned Beef and Cabbage' dinners that are traditionally served on St. Patrick's Day.  That was all the encouragement I needed.

After the day was done, I made a b-line for the butcher shop and purchased my first ever Corned Beef.  Here's the recipe for those, who like me, have never had Corned Beef and Cabbage:

Boil the corned beef (drained of the brine) in a container of chicken broth.  Once it reaches a boil, simmer it for 2-3 hours.  Once it is cooked, remove the beef and add the following veggies to the broth:  Carrots, parsnips, potatoes and a whole cut-up cabbage.  Cook until the veggies are done.  Serve.  I understand that this is referred to as a 'boiled dinner' (according to the Betty Crocker cookbook apparently).  Go figure...I'm 50+ and that was my first boiled dinner of Corned Beef & Cabbage.  And it was amazing and will now be our traditional St. Patrick's Day Dinner.  Add some Guinness and you'll be speaking with a brogue in no time!

It was a full day of sewing and cooking and feasting (the eyes on the view mentioned above, the soul on the friendships in our group, and the belly on the boiled dinner).  It was truly a great day.  And how appropriate since it was indeed National Quilting Day. 

Today, the leftover veggies and corned beef were turned into Bubble & Squeak (fry up the veggies and corned beef, serve a fried egg on top).  My DH, son and his friend were thrilled with dinner and breakfast.  That makes my heart glad.  There is something so satisfying about warming the bellies of our loved ones.

Until next time,


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