colorwaves quilt

my colorwaves quilt in quilts and more magazine

I am thrilled to share my Colorwaves quilt, which is featured in the Summer issue of Quilts and More magazine! I was happy enough about that–but then, a couple of weeks ago I found out that it made the cover! What?!

colorwave quilt kristin esser
Used with permission from Quilts and More™ magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

The full pattern is inside–don’t they do absolutely beautiful photography?

half square triangle quilt

There is also a wonderful little surprise inside this issue–a feature article on my friend, neighbor, and Sew Illustrated co-author Minki Kim! I feel compelled to tell you that those are my hands doing the hand sewing in that picture on the bottom. 🙂

So, feel free to pick up a copy–it hits the stands today!

Lastly, in case you don’t follow me on Instagram (and you should!)–here is a fun picture that @allpeoplequilt, the publishers of Q&M, posted on their Instagram stories yesterday. Wow! This quilt is more well-traveled than I am!

 

Thanks for indulging me today–I’ll stop the navel-gazing now 🙂

colorwaves quilt

announcing the machine quilting blog hop!

Would you like to join me and some other bloggers as we  quilt our way through The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–piecing is my favorite part of the quilting process. And over the last couple of years, I’ve put in the effort and practice to become quite a bit more accurate. I smile every single time that I get some perfect points on my blocks. But the quilting part. That’s a different story.

machine quilting

walking foot quilting

I’ve simply just never practiced enough free motion quilting to feel confident and proficient at it. I’m sure I’m capable of it–I just need to put in the time. In the last year or so, I’ve kind of fallen in love with straight line/walking foot quilting. And I’ve finished at least a half a dozen quilts with various forms of walking foot quilting. But I want to have the skills to free motion decently when I think the quilt calls for it.

Enter the book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters and Christa Watson–two of the reigning queens of machine quilting. As a sort of challenge to myself, I hatched this plan of working my way through the book practicing the free motions designs. In the book, Angela does longarm designs and Christa’s designs are for a sit-down domestic machine. So I will be following along with Christa. There are actual quilts in each chapter that are specifically designed to practice the motifs–but I will just be putting together practice pieces to work on. The real point of this is just to practice. I have a couple baby quilt tops sitting on a shelf, and I may try a couple of the designs to those to finish them up.

I fully expect the first few weeks to show how unskilled I actually am at free motion quilting–but at the end of ten weeks (ten chapters=ten weeks), I hope to see some significant progress in my skills.

And to add to the fun–three of my blogger friends are joinging in as well! Each Monday, we will each post our thoughts and adventures as we work our way through this wonderful resource.

HollyAnne at String and Story

Vicki at My Creative Corner3

Jen at Quiltin’Jenny

We are kicking off on May 1 and would love it if you would like to pick up a copy of the book and join us! If you do–be sure to show us your work on Instagram with this hastag: #machinequiltingbloghop.

 

colorwaves quilt

beef stir fry

 

beef stir fry recipe

I think that every home cook should have a few meals up their sleeve that they can put together without a recipe. I am a very recipe-driven cook–I sometimes still check the recipe for meals that I have made for years, but when I sit back and think about it, I actually do cook without a recipe fairly often.

Stir fry is one of those meals that I have done enough times that I know the format of it–the road map, if you will. Basically, you cut up everything first. Then you cook the meat, and when it’s done, take it out and set it aside. Then cook the vegetables, adding the hardest ones like carrots and peppers first, and softer ones like mushrooms later, and the most delicate, like spinach and green onions last. Put the meat back in, add a sauce and simmer until it thickens. Stir it up and it’s done! Change up the meat and the veggies and it can be a completely different meal. I love to make stirfy on Fridays, because it is a great way to use up the veggies in the crisper before I shop on the weekend. And it’s a crowd pleaser around here. Here is the basic recipe for the most common version I make. Use the meat and veggies here as merely suggestions–it is such a flexible dish.

 

beef stir fry recipe
Print

Beef Stir Fry

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Author Kristin

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb flank steak cut into strips
  • 1 Tb cornstarch
  • 1 Tb black bean sauce (found in the Asian section of the grocery store)
  • 2 carrots sliced thin
  • 2 peppers chopped (I like to use red, yellow, or orange)
  • 8 oz mushrooms sliced
  • 1 8 oz can water chestnuts
  • 2 cups snow peas
  • 1 head of bok choy or napa cabbage thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions sliced on an angle
  • 5 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 Tb grated ginger

Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 T dry sherry (optional)
  • 3 T oyster sauce or soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 1,2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 T cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Prep all ingredients first. Mix together sauce and stir with a whisk. Sprinkle meat with 1 T. of cornstarch and mix together.

  2. In a wok or large frying pan, add oil (peanut or canola work best). Add half of garlic and ginger, stir and cook for about 20 seconds and then add meat. Stir fry the meat until it is no longer pink. You can add a little soy sauce while it is cooking as well. Remove from pan and set aside.

  3. Add a bit more oil to the pan, then add the black bean sauce and the rest of the garlic and ginger. Cook and stir for about 20 seconds, and then add the carrots and peppers. Stir fry those until they start getting tender (3-4 minutes), and then add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms soften (again, 3 or so minutes), then add the can of water chestnuts, snow peas, and the greens (bok choy, cabbage, or even spinach). Cook for a couple minutes and add the meat back in.

  4. Make a well in the center of the pan, by pushing the mixture toward the sides of the pan. Give the sauce a quick stir and pour it into the well. Let it cook and bubble until it starts to thicken, stirring often, and then mix it into the stir fry. Cook for a couple more minutes to make sure everything is heated through. Add the green onions and give it one last stir.

  5. Serve it over rice, or if you are low-carb, try it over cauliflower rice or even by itself. Enjoy!

 

colorwaves quilt

30-day challenge check-in

greek yogurt topped with strawberries and granola

Have you joined me in a 30-day challenge? I’ve heard from a few of you–taking on challenges of your own. I still have my streak going of tracking my food with My Fitness Pal everyday. It hasn’t been easy though. More than once I’ve had to “backtrack” the previous day –and we all know that is never going to be as accurate or effective as tracking your food as you go. But that was a lesson in itself.

My own challenge has brought to light several interesting insights. The first is, as expected, my portion sizes have gotten out of control. This always seems to be the case, no matter how long I’ve been at this. At some point I start deluding myself about what a reasonable portion size looks like. Weigh, measuring, and counting have brought this in high relief and it’s no wonder I’ve been gaining weight.

salad for lunch

The second is that on days where I would have said, “I had a good day. I ate very reasonably”, turn out to sometimes be my highest calorie days. For example, the day I drove down to San Diego to pick up Chloe for spring break I ended up eating two meals on the road. The first was a very calorically responsible breakfast sandwich from Starbucks and the second was a less responsible pita sandwich–but no fries or anything else with it. When we made it home, I had a (well-deserved) glass of wine and pasta and salad for dinner (no bread). This day clocked in at over 2100 calories! I had no snacks and what I thought were reasonable portions. Yet, it was one of my highest calorie days.

In contrast, the day we celebrated Chloe’s birthday at Cheesecake Factory, I did some decent planning. I ordered Chicken Tacos from the Skinnylicious menu and we all shared a few pieces of cheesecake. I tracked that I ate 1/3 of a piece of cheesecake and this day came in at several hundred calories lower that the day I picked up Chloe. It just shows that a bit of planning really goes a long way to staying on track.

roasted veggies

I haven’t dropped a bunch of weight (or really any) yet, but it is getting easier to spot the areas that I need to focus on to get some success in this area. One area that I am going to focus on is tracking in the moment (not leaving it to the end of the day) and being more accurate in my tracking. When things are hard to track I sometimes do a mental tally and then throw a big number at it–like 500 calories for a lunch out. At least I’m paying attention enough to do a mental tally, but this is happening to often and I need to get more diligent with tracking the actual foods.

So, how about you? Have you kept your 30-day streak going? What have you learned? Let me know in the comments.

colorwaves quilt

hand pieced quilt progress

patchwork quilt along fat quarter shop

I’ve always known that I like hand work–I love to bind quilts, I knit and embroider a little–but I really had no idea how much I would love hand piecing. When I started this crazy idea, I wasn’t at all sure that I would be able to see it through. About halfway through my first block I thought, “What have I gotten myself into?” But I pushed through, and now, a mere three months into this project, I can very clearly see my progress.

The actual motion of hand piecing is becoming second nature, and it feels so good to just slow down. I tend to do things very quickly–I walk fast, talk fast, and do most tasks as if I am getting a medal for speed. I’ve made a big effort this last year to slow down my machine sewing as well. I am always working on improving my accuracy, and slowing down is a big part of that for me. I hear about these sewing machines that sew 1500 stitches a minute and wonder how in the world someone can sew that fast without careening out of control.

patchwork quilt along fat quarter shop
I kind of love the crumpled mess of the blocks before the final (only) pressing.

Hand sewing takes time–something that always feels in short supply these days. I do all my prep work up front–I cut out all six blocks for the Patchwork Quilt Along and then mark the stitching lines on the back of them (I wrote about my favorite hand piecing tools here). This takes a good evening or two–usually while listening to a podcast or watching Netflix. Then I just keep everything I need to hand sew in a basket.

I drag this basket from room to room–or even in the car, using found moments to sew a seam or two. I think that this is one of the most unexpected parts about hand sewing–all the memories that are being sewn into this quilt. I will always remember that I worked on it in the car as we drove up to do a college tour for Jonah, that I binge-watched and cried my way through the entire season of This is Us, and that I worked on it pretty much every night when we gather as a family to share a TV show together before bed.

patchwork quilt along fat quarter shop

At first hand sewing a whole quilt seemed a little daunting, but now I realize that just like everything else–it is so much more doable when you break it down into small chunks. In this case, six blocks a month. I seem to need to be reminded of this over and over again–break it down and tackle it one bit at a time.

 

colorwaves quilt

all of a sudden she’s nineteen

 

birthday gifts

Nineteen years ago I was a first-time mother who just went through twenty-one hours of labor, astounded that I was about to be entrusted with a tiny human life to raise into a responsible adult. And as cliche as it sounds–I cannot believe that it has been nineteen years since I brought that little girl home. And yet, here she is, a responsible college-attending young adult.

Born at the end of March, Chloe has had the charmed privilege of never having had to go to school on her birthday. It somehow, magically, always falls during spring break. and this year was no exception. I was hoping she could take the train home from college, but since we inexplicably had not planned ahead, the trains were sold out. This is not really a huge problem because I have a very flexible work schedule and I actually love to drive down to San Diego. Hand me a latte and a phone full of podcasts and I am set for a 3 1/2 hour drive. Plus, the return trip is another 3 1/2 hours to sit and chat with my girl, whom I have been missing. So, not a problem at all. She did, however, take the train back 🙂

I am so grateful that even at nineteen she doesn’t seem to mind spending her birthday with her mom. We started the day with high tea at this charming little tea house. We discovered this gem right before she left for college, when we spend her last month home having mother-daughter adventures like having high tea, visiting the Getty museum, and making a return visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The tea/lunch was so beautiful and delicious we knew we wanted to come back again soon.

high tea with scones and finger sandwiches

high tea with scones

After tea, we headed over to the movie theater to see Beauty and the Beast (so good!), and a quick stop for coffee on the way home. The boys had spring break last week, so they still had their normal activities going on this week–which means that Jonah is gone every evening until 9:30 preparing for opening night of the high school production of Les Miserable (he’s playing guitar in the pit band). So we had a simple birthday evening at home of dinner, cake, and gifts. Chloe requested one of her home-cooked favorites–homemade pizza and yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

save the cat book

I tried something this year that I’ve never done before. I cook respectably well, but baking cakes is not my strong suit. I’ve tried mixes, I’ve tried from baking cakes scratch, but they just are never impressive. I even picked a copy of the Cake Bible at a yard sale. So years ago, I let go of my preconceived notion that I had to make homemade birthday cakes. And since then, I have been happily outsourcing birthday cakes to Costco. But this year Chloe wanted the yellow cake with chocolate frosting of her childhood (and mine).

So I bought two boxes of yellow cake mix (sadly I had to bake them separately, since I only have two round cake pans). This gave me four cake layers to work with. That seemed a bit excessive, so I wrapped up one round for the freezer (for the day in the future that I will pull it out, thaw it, whip up a quick chocolate glaze and feel so very smug).

Back to the birthday cake: I made a three layer yellow cake with homemade chocolate frosting–and having that third layer made the whole thing so much more…impressive. It didn’t look like the sad little homemade birthday cake that I have been making all these years. I feel that I have discovered the secret–one box of cake mix is not enough! Buy two! And not only do you have a great looking birthday cake, but a little secret dessert ready to go in the freezer. And it tastes pretty good too. Though I think that the other secret is to make twice the amount of frosting than you think you need. You can never have too much frosting.

yellow cake with chocolate frosting

I still cannot believe that I have a nineteen year old child– and I could not be more proud of this girl. She is so smart and kind and hardworking. I can’t wait to find out what she does with her talents. As hard as it is to accept that these children of mine are growing up–it’s true that every age has its own special wonder. And at nineteen it involves coffee, tea, movies, and lots of great conversation.

 

colorwaves quilt

a little story about throw pillows

Can throw pillows change a room? Maybe.

I have never felt great about my decorating skills. Over time I think that I have created a home that is fairly cozy–but I have never decorated a room and thought, “Done!” It is always a piecemeal affair with grand plans for some future date when I will be more grown-up and confident in my decorating skills. Because of this, I always take advantage of the free interior designer service when we buy furniture. In the past, this has worked fairly well, but I never really completed whatever plans they set out–which usually involves buying $10,000 worth of furniture.

As I pieced together our family room over several years–one year replacing the sofa and a chair, another year another chair–I began realizing that this room was not coming together. We have a neutral sofa, and a dark brown leather chair. This was the first problem–I felt the sofa was too light and the chair was too dark. So we bought a “medium” chair to fill out the room and to help bridge the contrast gap. Well–that chair sort of read “gray” when the sofa was reading “tan”. Ahhh! This room was not coming together–even with the help of an Ethan Allan designer and a bunch of expensive furniture.

I can’t afford to start over–so I invited my friend Terri over for tea one day. She has a model-home perfect house and just has a knack for this type of stuff. I don’t know why I didn’t get her involved earlier. The first thing she noticed was that the throw pillows on the sofa were contributing to the problem–they highlighted the tan in the sofa instead of the gray than is actually in there.

netural sofa with colorful throw pillows
Though I love these pillows–this arrangement was just so–blah!

Next stop–Pottery Barn to look for throw pillows to solve my problem. (Full disclosure: this “next stop” actually happened about a year later.) This was actually a hilarious scene, as we found a neutral sofa in PB (not hard) and Terri started grabbing pillows from all over the store, trying them in different combinations. Several sales people approached us to help, but backed away once they realized that Terri seemed to know what she was doing. I fully expected that I would get some pillows that added some color to the sofa (isn’t that what throw pillows are for?!)–but ended up with more neutral pillows that actually bridge the gap between the tan and gray.

Pottery Barn throw pillows

Pottery Barn throw pillows

I was skeptical. I kept telling her, “There is no way  my husband is going to go for all these pillows! He hates throw pillows! The kids will just throw them on the floor! (Is that why they are called throw pillows?)

Pottery Barn throw pillows with neutral sofa

Terri assured me that these were feather pillows and made the sofa more comfortable (she was right! Our old pillows are as hard as rocks compared to these). Also, we realized that we have enough color going on in that room with the oriental carpet, brink fireplace, and paintings, that keeping the sofa a bit more neutral actually helped to calm things down a bit.

Pottery Barn throw pillows with neutral sofa
I really do think these pillows help the sofa and chair make friends.

My next neurotic fear was that now that we have five (!) pillows on this sofa that are all scrunchy, comfy–I was going to spend the rest of my life fluffing them. Because this is what it looks like when everyone leaves in the morning.

what happens to feather throw pillows

And I think it may be true about the constantly straightening (sigh). But they really are so comfortable and I now feel like I’m living in a PB catalog. And I was already folding all those quilts that everyone leaves on the floor each morning anyway–so what’s a few (5!) pillows.

I mentioned over on Facebook the other day that Terri also took down all my decor items in the family room and living room and put back half of them. And it all looks so much better now. Everyone should have a Terri.

Now that I have solved the Throw Pillow Problem, I guess I can move on to other life and death matters like why I can find a rug the right size for the living room. First world problems 🙂 Oh, and I found the perfect place for those pillows I love–in the living room aka my office. And Teddy loves them too.

netural sofa with colorful throw pillows

colorwaves quilt

how about a 30-day challenge?

Using a bullet journal to track habits

I’ve been thinking about goals lately. I know it’s getting to be late March and normal people think about these things in January–but this is about the time that most people have abandoned their goals. And I am not making progress on a few of the things that I mentally made a list of back in the dewy-eyed days of the New Year.

One of those goals is to lose some weight (original, I know). But as I passed a rather significant birthday milestone last year (I won’t say which one, but it rhymes with “nifty”), I have begun to think more about the health aspects of losing weight than the “I want to look good in skinny jeans” reasons. Honestly, my blood sugar has edged a bit into the pre-diabetic range and since my dad had Type 2 diabetes–this is a reality that I can’t ignore any longer. Clothes are tight, and my joints are getting achy and I don’t want to just accept this as inevitable.

I’ve had success losing weight, with Weight Watchers twice in the past. But obviously not keeping it off. I swore both times that I had learned my lesson and this would be the last time that I had lose weight. And both times I was wrong. This time there will be no grand gestures and overly restrictive plans. This time I want to build some solid habits–one by one. And the first one–as much as it pains me to say it–is tracking my food.

I hate to track my food (see Weight Watchers above). However, I do actually know that it works when I do it. It makes me stop and think before I eat something. Sometimes knowing that I have to stop and track it makes me realize that it’s not even worth it. I almost ate a half a piece of pizza at 10:30 am this morning–but because it was going to be hard to track, I just grabbed an apple instead. A much better choice.

So, I am committing to tracking my food for 30 days. I hope to keep it up even longer, but for right now I am only looking at 30 days. I’m using My Fitness Pal–which you can access both on your computer and as an app on your phone. I use it both ways. The app is nice because you can scan the UPC code of an item and it pops right into the food diary. I am on Day 2 and so far so good. I am not going to beat myself up if my calories are high–that is not the point yet. The point is just to track. Even if that means taking some wild guess on restaurant meals. Again–the point is just to record it. Here is what it looks like:

My Fitness Pal to track food

My intent here is to habit stack. Focus on one good habit a month and continue to build on them.  I already have a little checklist in my bullet journal (pictured at the top of this post) to help me remember to do things each day: devotions, exercise, vitamins, water, and now track. This works well for me because I love to check things off of lists and writing them down each day helps to renew my commitment to do them.

I will be sure to give you a progress report and hopefully this accountability will help me to actually do what I say I am going to do.

Anyone care to join me? Is there a 30-day challenge that you would get you on the right track for a goal that you want to achieve? Let me know!

colorwaves quilt

these actually are your grandmother’s quilts

handmade antique quilts

The phrase, “Not your grandmother’s quilt” is so prevalent in articles about quilts these days–as if our grandmother’s quilts are somehow “less than” what we are creating today. I could not disagree more.

So today, I’d like to introduce you to three quilts made by my husband’s grandmother, Lettie Maude. As is the way it goes, his mother did not inherit the sewing gene and sadly had little information about them. But he remembers them on the beds in the house all throughout  his childhood. And then he brought them with him when we got married. Even though they were threadbare even then, we continued to use them for many years. I just noticed them in the linen cabinet recently and pulled them out to appreciate them with new eyes.

We don’t really know when they were made, but I’m guessing the 1930s and 40s. I’m no expert, but the fabrics seem consistent with that and it makes sense with her age as well. They are all utilitarian scrap quilts and my husband says that he actually remembers some of the fabrics coming from his grandmother’s dresses. Though the are meant for use and using up bits of old clothes and bits of fabric–each quilt has a unique design that prevents it from being to chaotic.

This little gem was on my daughter’s bed until she left for college last fall. And while it is clearly scrappy–I love how the light and dark purples really give it pattern and structure.

antique quilt

It is worn through in many places, but this didn’t actually stop us from using it until recently.

All three quilts are all machine quilted, but the stitch length on the piecing leads me to believe that these were all hand pieced. The quilter definitely wasn’t worried about points either!

This totally cracks me up. Three of the four corners are curved, but that fourth one is totally squared off as if to say, “I’m done with this already!” This one is machine bound with a crazy zig-zag stitch–another sign that this quilt was meant to be used.

This next one is a very simple scrappy Nine Patch. The design is calmed down by a couple of factors. One is the white snowball block that alternates with the nine patches. But the other I found really interesting. Every nine patch has either green or yellow patches in the corners and center square. This provides a unifying color scheme. Now, our quilter did not arrange these green and yellow blocks in any order–they are totally random–which I find totally charming, but not at all anything I could ever do. And, do you see that hole?

This one is also machine quilted and the design is so uniform that for a moment I wondered if it was computer generated–but obviously not! I guess the quilter just had made these designs so many times that they are amazingly uniform.  And I know I said that every block was either green or yellow–but can you spot that rogue yellow square in what was supposed to be a green block? A humility block, perhaps? Or ore likely, she just ran out of green fabric.

It’s fun to look at the quilting pattern–I remember asking my mother-in-law how they were done. I was not a quilter yet and had no idea about free motion quilting. Achieving this shape on a domestic sewing machine seemed impossible to me. All she said was, “She sent them away to be quilted.” So, I have no idea if they were done on a longarm or a domestic machine–but the designs seem to be in long columns, so I’m thinking a longarm–which was called a “quilting machine” in those days.

Here is the last one. While also a scrap quilt, the design really unifies the scrappiness..

I actually love the way that fabric on this one is just literally wearing away in a swiss cheese fashion.

And there is that same quilting pattern!

antique quilt pattern

All three of these quilts have been retired from active use and are now happily folded on a bench in our family room to appreciate in a new way. I would like to think that Lettie Maude would be happy to know that these labors of love have been in use for the last 80 or so years. And we continue to appreciate them to this day.

I am actually thinking about remaking one of them in contemporary fabrics–but I haven’t decided which one yet. Which one would you choose?

colorwaves quilt

how to stay on top of your busy life :: reminders

how to use the reminder app to remember stuff

I was doing something that I do every month (or so) the other day–throwing out my old contact lens and opening a new pair. Believe it or not, this action kicks off a conundrum every time I do it. I am supposed to change out my contacts once a month, but I can never figure out a way to keep track of it. By the time I go downstairs to write it on the calendar–it has long ago flown from my head. I’ve tried to put a post-it note in the medicine cabinet, but if falls off and I can never find a pencil to write with anyway. I try to do it on the first of the month–but then a contact rips and I need to start over in the middle of the month… you get the picture.

So, the other day, when this issue reared its ugly head once a gain (and I’m pretty sure it had been well over a month since I changed my contacts, because they felt like sandpaper). I had a brainwave. I reached for my iPhone, held down the home key and said, “Remind me to change my contacts in one month.” Boom! How Star Trek is that?

using the reminder app for productivity

I have come to love and rely on the Reminders app on my phone to get things out of my head and into a format that helps me accomplish what I want to each day. I set a reminder to:

  • Take my vitamins (daily at 7am)
  • Drink water (a reminder twice a day–morning and afternoon)
  • Meditate (daily at 3:30)
  • Give the pets their flea treatment (once a month)
  • Get dog food when I leave home
  • Pull meat out of the freezer when I get home
  • A million other things

Isn’t that cool? You can set reminders that are location dependent! My kids set them to help them remember to get a signature from a teacher or turn in a form when they get to school. Or a reminder to ask me something when they get home.

I don’t know about you, but there are so many little things to keep track of in a day–and though I am a pen and paper girl (I love my bullet journal)m there are some things that digital calendars and reminder apps just do better–those pesky one-off activities (like thaw the meat for dinner tonight) and those recurring activities that are a pain to write a million times on your calendar (like take vitamins). And ever since I discovered voice-to-text, I barely ever type on my phone anymore (how do the kids do it so fast?!).

So unless your memory is a lot better than mine (which wouldn’t be hard) you might want to give it a try,

If you are on Android, here are a few choices for you.

Also, these Trader Joe’s daffodils are making me so happy right now.

Trader Joes' daffodils make me happy