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.......