Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blog Break

It seems that I have hit a writer's block!   Best thing for me right now is to take an extended break from blogging.   I will continue to read and comment on some of my favorite blogs from time to time.   Good holiday wishes coming your way from KC Quilter!!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

An Important Day

The day is finally here!     After months and months of listening, reading, telephone calls, candidate mail, debates, arguments, wishing, hoping, culling, wondering, questioning, raging, sympathizing, reminding, waiting...the day is finally here.   I hope a clearcut decision is had this evening.  Such an important day in history...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

May your day
be full of treats
with no tricks.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Channeling Goldilocks

The very chilly, very windy days we're having in KC right now almost demanded comforting soup. This recipe, which is a compilation of several in the recipe box, is my absolute favorite potato soup recipe.

Peel and cube 1 very, very large potato or 2 medium. Put in a dutch oven. Throw in about a cup of chopped yellow onion and about a cup of chopped celery. Cover with lo-sodium chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook till the veggies are tender, then mash a little bit--right in the dutch oven. Add 8 ounces sour cream and 1/2 pint heavy cream and 1/2 cup grated Vermont cheddar cheese. Add a pinch of Kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Cook on low heat till well mixed. (If too thick or dry, add more chicken broth. I always need to.) Mmm..mmm.. yummy. It was just right. And like Goldilocks, we ate it all up. Double the recipe for a family of more than two!!!
The perfect accompaniment was this delish Parmesan Pine Nut Bread (from the Better Homes and Gardens Bread Machine Baking book).

In the bread machine pan put 1 cup milk, 1 egg, 1 T EVOO. On top of that add 3 cups bread flour, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, 1 t Italian seasoning, 1/2 t salt, 1/4 t sugar and 1/3 cup pine nuts. Kinda spread the dry ingredients with your finger to cover the liquids. Make a little well in the center of the dry ingreds and add 1 t bread machine yeast. Finish according to your bread machine instructions. Mine takes about 3 hours and 50 minutes for this 1 1/2 pound loaf, set to "extend rise". So tasty.

Yesterday here in KC we lived that lyric from "Oklahoma" that went....'the wind comes whippin' cross the plains.' The umbrella on our deck table was lifted up and carried to the ground below, ala Mary Poppins. Leaves were blown so hard that they clogged up the pond pump box. Neighbors' Halloween decorations in their yards looked pretty frazzled.

I love how the local grocery stores have gotten into autumn with their store front displays. It almost makes grocery shopping fun to be greeted with all this color and whimsy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tinges and Twinges

Wow, long time, no blog--again! My bad. After a delightful sisters weekend in Branson, I came home to visitors I dearly love--older DS and his Significant Other who were in town for a couple of days! So the eating and hilarity that began in southern Missouri continued right here at home. Tinges of autumn color were spotted along the way home from Branson to KC--so welcome. Twinges of guilt were felt for all the calories consumed in just a few days LOL!!! DS's SO decided that we needed to decorate my front porch plain-jack pumpkins. Since it was still a bit early to actually carve them (stinky sunken jacks for Halloween night? No thanks!) we opted for painting them.

Such fun! Hopefully they are far enough out of the weather on my front porch to avoid paint runs in the rain!!!

Younger son is now in town for a business meeting and we'll see him later today on his way to the airport. A mom's delight--getting to see both sons in the same week!

Still no progress on the quilting front. I have, instead, been doing a bit of knitting. Nothing finished to show yet but it is so-o-o relaxing to work those sticks and strings together. Just to keep this blog a teeny tiny bit quilty, I pulled out this little Itsy Bitsy Spider doll quilt for a rerun. Maybe that's just what the quilting doctor is ordering--a new fun fast doll quilt! But for now, I am off to concoct some of the homemade soap balls from 2 Old Crows Primitive Craft. Thanks, Libby, for pointing us to that wonderful website!!! I tried to link to it but they were on AOL Journal which has been closed down. Maybe a search could bring it up. Sorry.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Ruching We Will Go

Such a fun, fun guild meeting we had yesterday! Every few years we have, as our program, a little "schoolhouse" provided by our own members. Eight gals were set up at stations demoing a technique. We could visit all or some of them to watch and learn. So fantastic. We had a demo on using bits of fabric to embellish, called Confetti Embellishment. We had a lesson on using glue to tuck in the final binding strip. We learned how to thread play using the bobbin thread. We were shown how to paint on fabric. We saw how to paper-piece using a light box. We got a look at the No Waste Flying Geese method ( Our "resident crazy quilter" taught silk ribbon embroidery. My favorite was the instruction on using the Anita Shackelford Circular Ruching Tool. Just look at these amazing little flowers!!! Of course, I immediately had to come home and order the circular tool as well as the strip ruching tool AND the book on combining types of quilting, A Modern Mix. Anita's amazing tutorial can be found here: What wonderful embellishing ideas! The circular tool even allows the making of a tiny little ruched flower that would look adorable in a bouquet or on a Baltimore Album quilt.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


While the quilting drought lingers on, my first love, reading, fills in the gap nicely. I have been waiting for a few months, ever since seeing this book advertised in a couple of quilting mags for an August release, I ran across it at JoAnn's the other day. Whoopee! And with a 40% off coupon to boot--can't beat it with a stick.

It is Foolproof Machine Quilting by Mary Mashuta. Oh, I have tons of machine quilting books but this one is a little different. It is not about free-motion quilting. It is all about walking foot--feed dogs up style. It has a lot of tips for achieving great designs with a bit more control than the free-motion allows. Can't wait to have a small project ready for experimentation with some of Mashuta's techniques. Of course, the always-present problem of shoving a huge quilt through a small opening on a domestic home machine still exists! But I think this will give some ideas for mixing with walking-foot with free-motion.

The second book I am engrossed in is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. The past year or so I have become very interested in where our food comes from, how far away that is, how long it takes to get to my supermarket, how much genetic alteration was involved in growing it, and how much fuel was required to get it to me. With a renewed interest in cooking has come a renewed interest in nutrition and food safety and quality. This book is the story of a family who decided to journey away from the "industrial food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves or learn to live without it." Very. very intriguing reading. And, of course, Kingsolver's writing style is delightful.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Slacker Checks In

What a blog slacker I've been! Don't know where the time goes. You'd think being retired would mean having nothing to do but play all day but you'd be wrong LOL! For some reason quilting mojo has been gone with the wind for me. I have projects awaiting me in the sewing room. Oh, brother, do I have projects awaiting me!!! But right now I can't seem to build up steam to get back to them. I have sewn a couple of throw pillows for the new couches, but they are not really blogworthy--just very functional. I am thinking about Christmas gifts and hoping that that will "light my fire". I so enjoy reading other bloggers' happenings and feel kinda guilty when I don't contribute. But guilt is not what blogging is about so X that thought right out! I did find an interesting quiz on another blog this morning:

Munsell Hue Test. Check your color IQ and arrange blocks of color by hues. Kinda fun in a stalling-tactic kind of way!

It looks to be a GLORIOUS weekend here in KC. The outdoors is calling so I imagine that quilting will still be on the proverbial back burner. It will be good to be away from the TV and all the dire news about investments and America's failing economy. Don't you just really feel helpless about all this? Sounds like a picnic may be in order. Nothing like eating your lunch outdoors among the birds and squirrels to push those nasty thoughts away. Nature's little critters don't seem the least bit concerned about 401K's and money markets!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fall Is In The Air

Does anything say "Autumn" better than a stand of pumpkins? This weekend DH and I made a little jaunt up to Weston, Missouri, a town about 30 minutes away from my home. Weston is known for its tobacco farms, McCormick liquor business, antebellum homes, and antique shops. But for me its special charm has always been the Red Barn Farm and Vaughn's Orchard, two wonderful places right across the road from one another. First we went to Vaughn's for some "early apples" as I had an itch to make apple butter, apple cobbler, and pork chops with apples (not all on the same day, of course!!!). Bought a peck of apples, couple of small pumpkins, and this amazing gadget:

It is an apple peeler/corer/slicer. I have wanted one for a while but had a hard time justifying it--space in my kitchen is becoming a premium. But I just couldn't resist this time. And am I ever glad I popped for the $30 wonder machine!

It makes such light work of the chore of readying a dozen apples for the crockpot to make apple butter or apple sauce. Wow, how did I ever live without one of these babies?

Here's a batch of spiced up apple slices in the crockpot ready for hours and hours of slow cooking goodness. Mmmm...the house smells so yummy.

Next we ventured across the road to Red Barn Farm, a working farm with horses, chickens, sheep, geese--all the earmarks of a page right out of Charlotte's Web! I used to take second graders there on fall field trips. They could have a hay wagon ride, pick their own pumpkin, wander through a corn maze, and talk to the animals close up and personal. It was always a favorite day in the school year. I guess I am a lot like a second grader--I love to do all those things! Plus there is a wonderful shop on the premises where I purchased goat's milk soap for gifts. The grounds were filled with all varieties of pumpkins, a corn sculpture, families enjoying a day in the country. (I have photos of all these things but Blogger says "no way".)

And on another Kansas City boasty note, two (count 'em TWO) of our local shops are in the new Quilt Sampler. Yay!!! Country Expressions is about 30 minutes north of me in Stewartsville, Mo. and is wonderful. I have dropped a few coins in there.

And Harper's Fabric & Quilt is out in Overland Park, Ks.--about 30 minutes south of me!!! I LOVE this shop. I used to shop at Harper's way back in the days of garment sewing. So glad they went the quilting route!!!

Excuse me for tooting Kansas City's and its surrounding areas' horns but I guess it just shows how much I love my hometown!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dying To Dye

Guild speaker today was a local art quilter/fabric dyer named Sue Miller. Such beautiful handdyed fabrics used in her quilts made me want to get back into that! I learned a few years ago but have not done a lot with it. It is best done on a warm, windless day in the back yard, I found!!! The first photo is a pictorial quilt that Sue had juried into the Houston show a few years back. If you were able to attend, you may remember this one. The second photo (assuming Blogger has loaded them correctly LOL) is another pictorial she did for our local show a few years ago. This one won a first place ribbon for Viewers Choice.

The remaining three were just some random shots I took for fun. I enjoyed seeing how she used her handdyes.

I've been tagged! Crazy 'Bout Quilts asked me to play along .

Here are the rules:1. Link to the person who “tagged” you.2. Post the rules on your blog.3. Write six random things about yourself.4. Tag six people at the end of your post.5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

1. I am an addicted crossword puzzle worker. The day can't really get started for me unless I have done (attempted) the two puzzles in the morning paper. And, I have to admit that the Saturday NY Times puzzle often sends me to Google for help!
2. I have another addiction: COFFEE. When we visited my DS and his SO last weekend, I took along a bag of my own coffee--just in case! I just HAVE to have coffee to start my day off right.
3. I love to watch old sitcoms on TV. If I can ever find a rerun of Newhart (the one set in Vermont in the old inn), I am glued to the set. Also love Mary Tyler Moore, Friends and King of Queens. I am always hopeful that some new shows will come along that are as good as these. It is great therapy to laugh.
4. I am a die-hard Democrat (hope I don't lose readers over that!!!) and my younger son sometimes calls me a hippie tree-hugger LOL! I "came of age" so to speak during the 60s and can't forget how hard some causes were won.
5. My pets (currently two cats) are like members of the family to me. They have free run of the house. They have been known to sleep with us at night and are usually on a lap during the day. They're just such fun.
6. Hmmm...what else? Well, DH and I enjoy picnics and frequently pack a lunch and head to a state park about 35 or 40 minutes away. We love to take long walks and there is a great hiking/biking trail there.

Boring stuff, I know! Now about the tagging of six more people....most of the blogs I read have already done this meme so I'll just say, if ya wanna play along, consider yourself tagged!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Unlaborious Labor Day Weekend

Spent a marvelous few days at my older DS and his Significant Other's house for the Labor Day weekend. She LOVES to cook--can you imagine?? So I felt like royalty as she wined and dined us. One evening she made fettucine Alfredo--and made the pasta from scratch. Yum. One of the breakfast delights was a sausage egg casserole with a delicious fruit compote. Oh my, the list goes on and on. Needless to say, all four of us are dieting this week. They both love games so one evening we had a rousing game of Scattergories. Another evening we were glued to the TV for the Mizzou-Illinois game--go TIGERS--which we won! Such a great time, we hated to come home. We did manage, however, to squeak in a little quilt shop therapy. Omaha has one of my favorite shops, Country Sampler. The store is always jampacked with adorable samples and kits. Love it. Of course, when hubby is along, he always manages to find something for me to make (gotta humor him) and spends more money than I do, for Pete's sake. This time it was a cute Santa wallhanging. Thank goodness for cheaters' panels, huh?
He found this Dear Santa kit and just thought we "needed" to have it. Okay, dear, but don't expect it on the wall THIS Christmas!!!!!

I did find a Jo Morton book, Remembrances, that I couldn't live without. And this new issue of Quilt It for Christmas had some darling projects in it so it had to come home with me too.

In the Quilt It mag I found this little Christmas tree wallhanging that just looked so darn cute. And in Jo's book I found this medallion quilt called Second Hand Rose that looked like a great winter project for practicing my needleturn skills.

I also had a gift card from Linens & Things. All the L & Ts in the Kansas City area have declared bankruptcy and are in liquidation and would not honor the gift card. However, Omaha's L & T is still going strong so I was able to use the card. I have been wanting one of those ice cream maker thingies for a while and now I have one!!! In the photo the freezer bowl is missing as it has to be frozen for many hours before use. I want to try it out this evening (oops, there goes the aforementioned diet!) and found a recipe for Mocha Chip Ice Cream in the instruction book. My all-time favorite ice cream is jamoca almond fudge from Baskin-Robbins. Maybe this will be a close reproduction. Mmmmmm.......

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wa-a-ay Cute!

Shouldn't EVERY quilter have one of these adorable plants growing in her house or yard??? Found this at the grocery store this morning (yes, an impulse buy but how could I resist--I'm only human). The label says, "A unique, long lasting accent, prized for its multitude of vibrantly colored small berries. Native to Central America and New Zealand." It can be grown indoors or out. Oh, my!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Cuteness Factor

Can you believe that these are all........

CUPCAKES???? While browsing through Borders yesterday--and with a 30% coupon burning a hole in my pocket--I came across this delightful book. Are these not just the cutest things ever? And you can eat them!!! The back cover of the book promises that no baking skills or fancy equipment are required. Hmmmm...even I should be able to make at least a few of them. I can just see platters full of snowmen or penguins for the neighborhood Christmas deliveries. Or how about aliens and owls for Halloween time? And the horses are just too darn adorable. Sure looks like fun in the kitchen to me.
And speaking of cuteness, isn't this wallhanging just precious? I found it in the Better Homes and Gardens 2008 Holiday Crafts magazine.
Looks like it wouldn't take too terribly long to finish... Yepper, I am starting to think CHRISTMAS ! LOL Although, my favorite season Fall is just around the corner and it may be time to haul out those pumpkin and acorn things... Also, it may be time to stay out of Borders.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Crazy, Man, Crazy!

Our regularly scheduled speaker for the guild meeting yesterday was unable to attend. But! Three ladies from the nighttime chapter of our guild agreed to fill in! And let me tell you, they were fantastic! They are all crazy-quilters and are pretty well known in these parts. They have taught crazy quilting and one has even had work accepted into the Houston Quilt Festival. I have never seen so-o-o many lovely pieces of crazy quilting and embellished works in my life. Boy, are they prolific. It was such a nice diversion. While I have taken a couple of crazy quilting classes, I never felt very comfortable with it. I know, I know, like every other skill worthwhile, it takes practice, practice, practice. The beading particularly caught my eye on several of the pieces. It was all so well-done.

They told about their many round robins and some of their unusual techniques. It was fun to see what all they used for embellishments. And the embroidered seams were so exquisite. Kinda glad the "regularly scheduled program" didn't show!!!
Anyone else out there in Blogland addicted to watching the Olympics? Makes for some pretty late bedtimes. I was so tickled to see the two American gymnasts take gold and silver in the all-around. And it was so fun to see Mary Lou Retton out there in the crowd. Hope Michael Phelps keeps on keeping on. He is amazing. And hope your weekend is equally amazing!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hot Salsa Nights!

Remember this starry quilt? The one I started a while back before the summer lazies hit? Well, I've worked on more blocks this week. Yay, me! I decided maybe the push I needed would come from slapping a few up on the design wall to see if there really was going to be a star pattern emerge. By golly, I see stars! This is just 30 blocks but enough to believe it will, indeed, be a star quilt. As I was throwing these up, I couldn't stop singing, "Thirty blocks up on the wall, 30 blocks on the wall, take one down and pass it around..." I crack me up!

I have named this one "Hot Salsa Nights" due to the red-oranges and dark blues but also because I have been in a salsa-making frenzy lately so this kinda fits. I still have a heap o'blockmaking to do. There's a total of 118 blocks plus 44 partial border blocks. Then, of course, the fun of shopping for border fabric! I want to have it done by Christmas so I just might make it! will be a cozy-up quilt for DH.