Monday, November 29, 2010

Welcome to Lucky #9 of the Holiday Blog Hop

I was just at Stacy's blog and read what she said about me. Wow! I am overwhelmed. Thank you Stacy. It has truly been great to be able to spend my life doing what I love. And it's OK to put the quilts in a closet or chest for awhile - we need to rotate them with the seasons. Just so they come out again. Besides the creative part which I love, I get to meet so very many nice people.
On to the holidays - we start on them each fall. The first thing you need in our cookie recipe is grandchildren for the thumbprints and a walnut tree. Well, maybe you can go buy some chopped nuts at the grocery store but if you have a walnut tree handy it's nice. Zoie and Cullin spent almost one whole gorgeous fall day cracking walnuts on the sidewalk by the barn, picking them out and putting them in a plastic jar for the cookies. And it's their idea every year.

Then I make some mint and cherry jelly each summer. The mint jelly, especially, is so much better if you make it yourself and it's really easy. The recipe is in my Betty Crocker cookbook - the one with the duct tape for binding because it's been used so much. Mint will grow anywhere. We have some right in front of the house - smells great when you hit it sweeping the walk or raking the leaves. If you don't happen to have mint by your front porch or a cherry tree by the driveway, you can buy both those at the grocery store too.

Here' the recipe. Also from my Betty Crocker cookbook. I can do cookies and cakes and always make a great pound cake to have with coffee in the wee hours of Christmas morning.

(Pep is a gourmet cook and whips up delicious meals from nothing. He does tastes the way we do color.) I, on the other hand always say that as a cook, I'm a great quilter.
And speaking of quilting, here's my project for the Holidays. I always try to make something new for the house and thought an angel pillow would be just the thing. It's made out of our new Classic Wovens line that will be in stores (my store too) in January.

(I want to thank my friend Michelle for figuring out how to fix it so you could download the pattern. She's a genius!) I hope you like it. I resized the block from the Primitive Primer to make an 18" pillow. Since the fabric won't be in until January, I can't sell kits now but we will offer them in January. You can preorder one from Tara by emailing her at or calling 816-632-7632. I do have enough fabric, however to give one kit away today. Make a comment and we'll do a drawing tomorrow to see who wins.
If you want to make the Primitive Primer quilt to go with your pillow, I put the book on special for half price today.

Either this weekend or next, Pep and Jake will go out in the front pasture to find a tree. Missouri Red Cedars are kind of prickly but they fill the whole house with such a wonderful smell. That first day we just bring it in and get the lights on.

Zoie & Quinn, Jake and Cullin - last month in the back pasture. They are 4 of our 9
grandchildren and the 4 that live nearby. They're here on a regular basis. I put this
picture in because I was totally amazed at how much they've grown in a year. Too
fast - it can make a grandma's eyes leak.

Once the tree is in and up with lights on, we have cookies and milk or hot chocolate. And grandma usually puts the higher decorations on while the low ones go to the kids. Zoie always sits on Grandpa's shoulders to put the angel on top. We may have to rethink that this year :).
On Christmas Eve we go to church in Kansas City and come home to unwrap one present - always Christmas jammies. Then we're up early on Christmas morning if Cullin and Quinn are here and they will be this year. Stockings are a pretty big thing at our house. Pops is off Christmas night but not usually on Christmas Eve too so we have to wait until he gets home to start on presents. Stockings keep us busy until then. With Grandmas 2-tone pound cake to munch on we can make it until the presents all get opened. Then the kids go to the back of the house to play and the adults usually take a little nap.
We used to have a big Christmas sit down dinner but the last few years have toned it down a little. We get a ham from Burgers Smokehouse and have a buffet of sides that can be pretty well made in advance. The only thing we need to cook is Kelly's killer macaroni and cheese - sooo good.
Our oldest son, Brian, his wife and 4 kids live about 1 1/2 hours away. With little ones, they, of course, want Christmas morning at home. We always have our Christmas with
them on the weekend before or after that Pep is off work. We get to have lots of
Christmases that way.
When I first stopped working in the city years ago, I wanted to learn how to make a quilt and paint some Christmas dishes. I started with the quilt. I finally bought the dishes years ago :)

This is Christmas 101. Back to the Basics of Christmas and what it is all about. May the blessings of the God that loves each and every one of us be with you today, through the holiday season and the coming year.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday tired, The Bible Quilt and Day 8

Yesterday started at 5:00 due to grandsons who hunt. And it ended rather late for me. Pep works nights at a hospital in Kansas City. He can have either Thanksgiving or Christmas off, not both. So we have Thanksgiving dinner after he gets up at night, before he goes to work. It was really good - turkey and all of the trimmings. And Pep makes the best gravy in the world. Zoie (10 years old) wanted to help cook this year for the first time. She made the mashed potatoes. Not very many lumps either.
Then this morning started at 4:30. When Pep left for work last night he noticed that I had a flat tire on the van. Kelly drove back out from town early this morning and picked me up so we could do Black Friday shopping. Usually I don't go but she talked me into it this year and we did have a lot of fun. The air is cold and crisp and in this small town people are pretty nice and in the Christmas mood when we shop. Then we go out to breakfast when we've finished. The shopping was successful.
But when we got back from shopping the van still had a flat tire. The boys pumped it up for me and I drove into town to get it fixed - taking my quilt block with me to stitch on while I waited.
I'm working on Block 1 of the Bible Quilt. (I was piecing the sun and remembered why the quilt became a Block of the Month :) I will have a tutorial on it on the blog in January). Anyway - I changed the name of the Mystery Quilt BOM to The Mystery Quilt/Classic Quilt BOM.

The Mystery part will be the fabric I choose to kit it. I originally did it in 1998 and those fabrics are long gone. We're taking preorders for it now. If you want to be in on the fun, email Tara at and let her know. The kits will be 18.95 this year - a little more because each block will include a skein of Weeks handdyed floss. The price includes shipping and handling though.
Anyway- what started that whole line of thought was waiting in line to get my tire fixed. Everyone who went out for Black Friday must have had a flat tire. I was really tired so I just sat in my car in the sun and stitched instead of going in to the waiting room. It was so relaxing. I enjoyed it so much I almost didn't want them to tell me it was done. The only thing that would have made the experience better was a cup of coffee and some of Lynda Hall's cookies. You really need to hop over to her blog and see her project. Then you can listen to the music and look at the pictures in her smile box. I am getting really intimidated by all of these awesome bloggers. Thanks Linda, for sharing with us. And I really liked her comment about having some many projects from the Blog Hop lined up for retirement. Stitch On!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Apple Strings & Homespuns - Lots of reasons to Give Thanks

It's almost Thanksgiving and every year at this time I make a new apple string to go over the mantle. I've always loved apple strings but in the ones I saw the apples all fell together on the string and took a gazillion apples. I came up with this years ago as a way not to have all the apples fall together. It's a lot less work and takes fewer apples and less time. I thought I'd show you how I do it.
First you need to slice and dry your apples. Pep always slices them for me - about 1/8 -1/4" thick - as thin as you can get them. Then he puts them in a vinegar/water or lemon/water bath for a few minutes so they won't turn brown. Then we put them in our dehydtrator for about 24 hours, checking to see when they're dry. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can do it in your oven. Put the slices on racks on cookie sheets or pizza pans. Turn your oven as low as it will go (you don't want to cook them) and leave the door open a crack so the moisture can escape.
When they're dry you can set about stringing them. You'll need a large eye needle - a tapestry needle or doll needle will do - and some fabric you can tear into strips about 3/4" wide. I always put my apple slices in a bowl and sit and make the string while we watch TV at night.

Tear a strip and make a loop at the end in case you want to hang it on something. Then put your needle through an apple slice. Make a largish knot in the string a couple of inches down the fabric. Put on another slice and make another knot. Pretty simple and it holds the slices apart.

When you're almost at the end of the 1st string, take your needle off and make a slit in
the end of the fabric. Get a second strip and put it through the slit.

Now make slits in both ends of the 2nd strip and pull one end ot the 2nd strip through
the other and tighten somewhat to join the 2 strips.

Now rethread your needle, make another knot
and put on another slice. Just keep on going, adding slices and strips until your string is the length you want. It really goes pretty fast. And you don't need a lot of apples. I got a 3 lb bag but Zoie & Cullin and Quinn ate half of them and I still had enough to do the string above our fireplace.

Now here are my homespuns again. I'm pretty excited about them as you can probably guess. I really like all of our fabrics and the Lilac Hill line for next spring is a neat change of pace. And the homespuns are our first love. (I really don't like to use anything else for backing - they're so comfy when I'm sewing on the binding) The wovens are going to be a Moda Basics line and for that reason, I'm going to carry bolts and the Fat 1/4 bundles in my storefront. There are a lot of shops, particularly in the warmer areas of the country, that don't carry them and I want to make sure people can get them if they want to. We're transitioning to a new storefront that you can access from the blog and we'll have them posted shortly. Moda ships them in January but you can preorder yardage as soon as I get them posted. Wahoo! Can you tell I'm excited. I really was down to barely useable scraps on some of these.
If you order a pattern and want to order the fabric to go with it, we can email you a pdf of the fabrics we used so you can make your choices.
And finally - This is Day 7 (I looked this time before I started typing) of the Blog Hop and Lisa Bonegan's Day. You've got to be sure and hop on over to her blog and see her really cool cookie jar wrap. To say nothing of print off the recipe for her soft ginger cookies.
There hasn't been a project yet that I didn't want to make immediately and this is definitely another one. Many thanks again to Stacey for all her organizing.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gabriel's Ark

This is one more day in our Holiday Blog Hop. I never was good with numbers so I can't remember which day except that it's the day for Tracy from Plumcute Designs. And they are. A charming stitchery with candy canes and snowflakes awaits you at her blog as well as some yummy cookies. I've loved Snickerdoodles since I was a kid.

Meantime, back here in Missouri, I'm playing with my homespuns again. This is Gabriel's Ark. Before Gabriel (our grandson who is 3) could talk, he knew all of the animal sounds. His alltime favorites were the snakes and the wolves .... but he knew them all. So of course his quilt had to be an ark. One of the interesting things about designing and running a pattern and kit business is that if you want to give away a quilt, you get to make two so you have one for Festivals and lectures and trunk shows. I'm working on his at the moment. I didn't make all of the first one so this is a treat for me. And there's no deadline because he's 3 and really doesn't have much of a concept of time. Right now, he just likes to look at the blocks and tell me what sound they make.

He wants a dinosaur on the quilt - a T-rex, or course. I told him that the dinosaur would have to be on the back because he doesn't play well with others.

This is Oscar, Brian Jr's cat who is staying with us for awhile. He makes me want to go take a nap in the sun in the garden. I may put on a jacket and go sit and stitch for awhile. Happy quilting ladies.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oops - 4got to post the winner of the hankie!

Here's my lovely fabric again. Just had to have a picture in the post. But.....

I got so excited by the fabric that I forgot to tell Karen she won the hankie. Now she can start a hankie collection of your own. Karen, please email your info to Tara at and she'll send your hankie out. Thanks for all of your comments.

The Homespuns came in!

This is going to be short because homespuns got here and I'm going to the loft to play.

And while I'm up there playing you all need to quick like a very fast bunny hop over to Renee Plains blog to see her awesome angel. I want one. Of course I've wanted one of every project that's been part of this Blog Hop so far :) And I've already commented so I'm going to win the drawing for the kit. :) If not, we can always make one - the pattern's free and the angel would be a great addition to any Holiday collection. And the cookies have all sounded great too.
I'm off to the loft - will show you some blocks next time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting ready for the holidays - Multitasking again.

This is a Harvest Safe. It's somewhat similar to a pie safe but bigger. I got it years ago in Jamesport at an antique shop. I didn't know what it was but I liked the way it looked. My neighbor Georgie(who was born in the farmhouse next door) knew exactly what it was. We live in a farming community. At harvest time, the men would go from farm to farm to bring in the harvest. The women would go with them and early in the morning start cooking to feed them all at noon. The food was put in big harvest safes that were covered with screen - to keep food aired so it wouldn't get soggy and to keep the flies off. After the men ate and went back to the fields, the women cleaned up and got the quilting frames out. Harvest was hard work for everyone but a great time for community.

Obviously we don't use it as a Harvest Safe but it stores all of Pep's cookbook collection , odds and ends and a lot of our holiday glassware. The good crystal stays in the hutch but the rest goes in here. Unfortunately the screen does let in dust so 2 or 3 times a year, the whole thing gets cleaned out and all of the glasses washed. I always do it before Easter and Thanksgiving.

The rest of the glasses are in the dishwasher but these are too long and get knocked around. I'm afraid they'll break so I always do them by hand. In between cleaning and letting things dry I get to sit and stitch. I'm working on my Holiday Project so can't show it to you yet but here's a sneak peek at the fabrics I'm using.

And today is Kathy Schmitz day on the blog hop. I just love her project.

This is a Moda Hankie from Market signed by all of the designers. Hop on over to Kathy's blog and come back and tell me in the comments section what her project says. We'll have a drawing Monday from the comments and send the winner the hankie.
Good luck and have a good weekend.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's a start!

I'll explain the "It's a start" in a second but first a few witch pics from Market.
These charming witches all posed by my "Witch Is In! wallhanging.
They are:
Cindi Edgerton and Sylvia Williams in the purple hats,

Karen in the cute, perky black hat, and

Marcea in the big black hat! You'll notice in the picture of Marcea that
"The Witch Is In!" was hanging right above my chair. As we told everyone
at Market - this is not a Halloween Quilt. This is a lifestyles statement quilt :)

And back at the home front, one of this years hens has started production. The regular size egg is from one of last year's ladies, the small egg is the first one laid by one of this year's girls. It's about the size of a Robin egg. Well, as I said, "It's a Start". The kids were asking what we'll do with it. It will probably end up in a quiche or scrambled eggs. Waste not, want not. :)

Right now you need to hop on over to Cheri Saffiote's blog and see the neat things she has in store for us. (In case you're here because Granola Girl sent you from her blog last time, she apparently didn't get the correction email. I'll have all sorts of goodies in store on Nov. 29th.) See you then.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Market Pics & Blog Hop

Oh the things some people do for their friends. Raggedy Andy here is Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co. Before she got into quilting, she was a costumer. Obviously this was her idea. It turned out to be a lot of fun but waaaay out of my comfort zone. They did my first Moda interview on Halloween while I was in costume but unfortunately the sound didn't work right so they had to do it over the next day. Whew!!

My bosses Cheryl Freydberg and Mark Dunn of Moda Fabrics, a division of United Notions. Don't they look great?

And Debbie Outlaw - patterns buyer for United Notions. I had a good time taking pictures of ladies in witch costumes by my Witch is In wallhanging. I'll show you more over the next few posts - wouldn't want to leave anyone out.

But right now you probably want to hop on over to Granola Girl's blog to see what goodies she has posted. She does say that I'm the next blog on the hop but she didn't get the correction email I guess. I won't be until the 29th.
Have a good weekend ladies. I'm going to make cookies with the grandchildren and sit and stitch while they play outside in our gorgeous fall weather.
See you soon.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Day Late and a Dollar Short - But here!

I was driving home from Quilt Market yesterday (as soon as I unpack I'll tell you all about it) but while Jenny and I were in the car exciting things were happening at home.

Starting November 2nd the Home for the Holidays Quilt Designer Blog Hop & Cookie Swap officially began!!

12 Designers
12 Exclusive Holiday Projects
12 Fun Holiday Cookie recipes

Stacey West of Buttermilk Basin has gathered 12 Amazing Designers who will share 12 Holiday Projects designed exclusively for our blog hop, share 12 awesome Cookie Swap Recipes as well as Inspiring & Creative Ideas for the Holidays with each of you! Each of the 12 designers will be posting on each Tuesday & Friday starting Nov 2nd! Please help us spread the word & share with your friends that you are hopping with us by posting the logo on your blogs, Facebook or websites ect.... You can even email them the link! Be sure to leave plenty of comments as each of the designers have taken time out of their hectic schedules to share a little Holiday Spirit with each of us! We hope you whip up lots of new project to deck the halls, bake up batches of great cookies for your family & friends & most importantly, take time to celebrate the upcoming Holiday Season!

From our blogs to you.... Enjoy & Happy Holidays!

Stacy and the {FABulous} Designers...
Brenda, Cheri, Debbie F., Kathy, Renee, Tracy, Lisa, Lynda, Jan, Tara & Debbie B.
Quilt Designer Blog Hop Line Up

You've got to go visit
Brenda Gervais - she posted yesterday and then hop on over this Friday to visit Granola Girl

This is such a fun idea and we all do thank Stacy for all the work she's put into it.

On the home front, besides hopping, I just got back from Market last night. Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co came with me (we're designing a few pattern together) and in my next post - as soon as we get the van unpacked - I'll show you a few pictures.
Right now I'm going to get a cup of coffee and sit and stitch in my favorite chair for awhile.