Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Cats

There are dog people and
there are cat people.

I've always had a cat from the time I was
little until just recently.

Our last cat, Pepper, was black and 
joined our family a couple of days before Halloween, 1991.


Halloween was his favorite holiday.

To honor our little Halloween kitty, 
I made a special quilt in 1995.

The pattern was from designers, Gerry Kimmel and
Linda Brannock and their book
Red Wagon Originals.

At the time
I was collecting plaids and strips and using them in every quilt.
I love the placement of the darks and lights to create
the diagonal design.

It was the first time I machine appliqued.
It was a good learning project.
The shape was simple and had only one piece.

I hand quilted it with black echoing around each cat.
The quilt has 13 good luck cats!

The best part of this quilt is the label.
It was a collaborate effort that included
poetry by daughter, Kate,
and an illustration by daughter, Jessica.
They were 10 at the time.
We may be tired of a quilt by the time
we get to the label and don't want to do this last part,
but it is so wonderful to have this special
memory included.
 It was worth the effort.
 Have a Happy Halloween.
Until Next Time

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lessons from a Pencil Box

I love parables.  
The story or analogy can illustrate lessons of life
in simple meaningful ways.
Forest Gump's mom told him, " Life is like a box of chocolate."
" You never know what you're gonna get."
 Life can be full of surprises.

Recently I was this on Heidi Kaisand's blog
And she shared this.

Lessons we can learn from a pencil box.

1. Everything you do will leave a mark.
2. You have the ability to correct any mistake you make.
3. You will experience painful sharpenings in life,
but it's required if you want to be a better pencil.
4. To be the best pencil, you must be guided by the hand that holds you.
5. It's what's inside you that's important.

Life isn't always going to be easy, but if you allow yourself to be held in the
hands of God you can do great things.
Each of us is a special person with talents and abilities.
We can make a difference to those around us.

We all need to be sharpened on occasion.
You can't do sharp work without a sharp pencil so
Be the sharp one in the bunch.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Until Next Time-

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Simple Solutions

I have a hard time with transitions, like
when you've finished one thing and then
have to go on to the next part.
I can get stalled.

If I were on a tight rope,
I'd be trying to balance out in the middle of the rope,
pondering what I should do next 
and not moving.
Sometimes I get hung up on details, or
not knowing what direction to go
or, not being able to find the things I need to go on.

I am ready to start machine quilting  my "Little Leftover Quilt".
This shouldn't be this hard, it's little.
But I've gotten stranded on the tightrope.

What design should I do?
Something overall or simple in the ditch quilting?
If I do something overall, should I mark something or
be more free spirited?
 What color thread should I use?
What kind of thread should I use?
Do I have some batting pieces I could use?
I must have some fabric in my stash that would be the perfect backing.

I was having a hard time answering these questions and more.
I was stalled.

Then I told myself 
think of simple solutions.
After all this quilting "stuff" is suppose to be fun.

I'm ready to enjoy my snow day.

I found the right size batting in my leftover pieces,
the perfect brown thread,
the backing fabric, without much digging,
sharpened my chalk pencil without it breaking,
and marked some curved quilting lines on the top.
 The masking tape and my basting pins were even where they were suppose to be.

Put on the music.
I'm ready to quilt.

I got to the other side.

PS. The snow did come last night and made a terrible mess
especially with the trees.  Our yard looks like a bomb
went off, so many branches. 
Until Next Time-

Monday, October 24, 2011

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater Strikes Again

What an incredibly beautiful fall day.
It's the kind of day that gives you an energy boost.

I checked off all kinds of things off my "to do" list.
and had time to do some sewing.
Happiness all around.

First, I wanted to share that I finished putting together my 
little leftover project with the browns, blacks and creams
from the  "Jack the Ripper Quilt".

"Little Leftovers"

Of course, I had to add a few new pieces into the mix.
That goes without saying.
And there was no ripping involved with this quilt. Sweet!
I loved how it turned out.
I started sewing a week ago and suddenly realized,
these pieces are small, like 1" finished!
Each block is 3 inches.
 "Holy Moley"

My best advice is to watch that 1/4" seam allowance 
and make sure each subunit is the correct size before you go on.
It doesn't take many seams to have everything be too big or too small.

Now I have to decide how to quilt it.
I'm thinking something simple like many a Baptist fan design overall.

Secondly, Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater struck again.

Pumpkin Muffins with Dried Cranberries

These moist muffins burst with sweetness and tartness,
a  perfect combo.

They're easy to make, freeze and have ready whenever.
You could mix it up and add chocolate chips instead of the dried cranberries
or add both.
How about some nuts?  
Well, you know that wouldn't work at my house
but maybe yours. 
If you don't have buttermilk, do you know the trick about
making your own?
1 cup milk + 1 T. vinegar

Pumpkin Muffins with Dried Cranberries

(Cooking Light 2007)


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (+3T)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (-1/4t)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (-1/8)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (-2T)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (+2T)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (+2 T)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (-1/2T)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
  • Cooking spray


  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and next 5 ingredients (though cloves); stir well with a whisk.
  • Combine granulated sugar and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Fold in cranberries.
  • Place 12 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Spoon batter into prepared cups. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack.
Because I live about 5000 feet, I always make altitude adjustments.
I have indicated those in red.

 Enjoy the fall temps today
because by Wednesday I could be making snow angels!
Until Next Time-

Friday, October 21, 2011

Times They Are a Changing

Whenever I have to make a change in my life,
it's never very easy.
I wrestle with my decisions.
I try to weigh both the pros and cons.
I ask for plenty of advice.
Listen to the people I respect and 
then take the leap.

I have decided that it is time for me to retire
from working at the quilt shop.
I hate to use the word retire, it makes me feel "old".
But, I guess I'm older than when I started 18 years ago.
I actually started teaching for the shop, (gulp) 27 years ago!

I have helped so many customers learn about quiltmaking,
plan projects, and figure out yardage and more yardage.
These customers have become friends.

I have watched and enjoyed the excitement
of someone becoming a parent or grandparent,
felt the worry of friends dealing with major and minor health issues,
of others facing retirements or layoffs,
the loss of loved ones, and
the sorrow of customers moving away,
but the happiness of new friends coming to the shop.
I've followed customer's children through school, college and beyond,
enjoyed friend's travel adventures,
laughed at people's funny family  moments
and also listened to serious stressful situations.

It has been like "Cheers".  
A place where I have become "friends" with so many wonderful people.
And I hope where many people feel the same way about me.

I will certainly miss seeing so many 
fantastic quilters on a regular basis. 
But, I'm hopefully, that our paths will cross on many occasions.
To be honest the one thing that I will miss the most
is working on Fridays with my dearest friend, Becky.
We've worked together every Friday for 15 years.

We have had a wonderful time.
We've even referred ourselves as 
"the Lucy and Ethel Show".
If you know us, you know who is who.

So as of today, I have only 4 more Fridays
to work with "Lucy" I mean, Becky.
I will be part of the Fig Leaf Staff until November 11th.
I thought that would be a good day to say good bye. (11-11-11)

But there's many good things laying ahead for me and my family.
It's just time to close one door and open another.

Until Next Time-

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another Diva

It was another meeting of the "Quilty Buddies".
That means three things.
First, it is a wonderful time of friendship and laughter.
Secondly, it is a opportunity to share our quilt projects with
one another and get motivated
because of everyone's exciting and brilliant ideas.
And thirdly, it's time for another Quilty Buddy 
to be transformed into "The Pie Diva" and  wear
the "Domestic Diva Apron".

The requirements are that you must wear the apron
and serve a scrumptious pie for dessert.

This time it was Becky's turn.
Isn't she sweet and so nonchalant?

But take a look at her dessert.

A Chocolate Espresso Tart

Doesn't that look like a mile long tart of chocolate goodness?
It was, especially with those gorgeous rosettes of chocolate ganache.

Some of us have been using Martha Stewart's
Pies and Tarts cookbook as our source of inspiration.

Becky chose this particular dessert because when
we first saw the book this tart was on the back cover and just looking at it made
our taste buds start aching.

That's the fun part about being the "Domestic Pie Diva", it gives each of us the 
opportunity to serve something above and beyond the norm.
Maybe even stretch our culinary skills.
And it's just plan fun.

It was another perfect meeting of quilting friends...
savoring a special  time together.
"A little Halloween humor."
Until Next Time-

Monday, October 17, 2011

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater 2

It's definitely the time of year 
when pumpkin spice anything sounds good to me.

I baked Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes 
this week for the Stashbusters Club at the Fig Leaf.

Stashbusters is a wonderful baking outlet.  It
gives me an opportunity to try new cupcake recipes.
Of course, the true purpose is get our wonderful 
quilting friends into and working with their stashes.
But I know everyone enjoys seeing what I'll bake next.

I found this recipe over at Annie Eats.  
I used a Caramel Buttercream frosting instead
of the whip cream on top.
The cupcakes were moist and had a wonderful pumpkin
spice flavor with a hint of espresso, 
almost like a fancy barista drink.

I couldn't stop with just one pumpkin treat this week, so I pulled out
one of my favorite fall pumpkin breakfast ideas.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
We love to have breakfast for dinner.
These pancakes are so tasty and would be a hit
for company or just for a "warm stay at home" breakfast.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Makes about 12 pancakes
1 ¼ cups flour
2 T. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Dash of ginger
Dash of cloves
1 cup milk
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 T. vegetable oil or melted butter
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a liquid measuring cup, mix together the wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and whisk together just until combined. (The batter may still have a few lumps).
Heat a greased skillet or griddle over medium heat. Once the griddle is hot, add 1/3 cup scoops of batter for each pancake. Serve with cinnamon sugar, maple syrup or whipped cream.

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater will continue to
make and sample pumpkin recipes.
 My pumpkin recipe file folder has so many good ideas.
 I did find some canned pumpkin at Whole Foods this week
and stocked up on a few extra cans.
Until Next Time-

Friday, October 14, 2011

Quilters Say the Darnedest Things #2

Quilters are wonderful people.
The threads that bind our quilts together,
bind people, especially women, together as well.
We think of quilters, like the women in this picture, 
working together, sharing their thoughts and ideas,
and enjoying friendships.

But sometimes, we, I've included myself as well,
can be a little goofy in the questions we might ask
at a quilt store.
(I do use the definition of quilter loosely for some of these comments.)

A customer came in the store and said she had seen
a bedspread in a catalog
and wanted to recreate it.
"What fabrics do you think I should use?"
(Note: no picture or description)

A young woman came in and asked for an application.
She wanted to know if you needed a degree to work in a quilt shop.
We told her no, that you just needed to know about quilting.
" Oh, I know about quilting, she said with a huge smile, "I crochet big time."

"Oh, look, a quilt with bears on it.  I made that, but
mine was prettier."

"Don't you have to buy a bunch of stuff and 
put it together somehow, and then 
add stuffing to make a quilt?"
(Well, sort of)

"Do you ever buy back fabric to cut up
to make it into remnants?'

" I made a circle block and it wasn't 
perfect, so I was going to put it around my dog's neck
like a collar and bring her down here for you to see 
what I did wrong."

"You know, a fat quarter, is a third of a yard."

"Do you happen to have shears?"
"Yes, do you mean regular weight ones?"
"Well, we have Ginghers and ..."
"No, no!" "Sheers!" "Like fabric that's sheer!"
"Oh,... no, sorry, I thought you meant shears."
"I did."
(It's all in the spelling)

"Why do you always run out of the fabrics
that I want?"

" I need one of those pigmy pens."
(I guess, Pigma pens are slender.)

If you enjoyed these, check out
Enjoy your Weekend.
Until Next Time-

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Just Let It Be

I needed to do some reorganizing
in my sewing room
after my month long sewing marathon.

There were piles of leftovers from the 
three big projects I had worked on.
You know, a little of this and a lot of that.

I had gotten most of it put away when I spied
the pile of leftovers from the fabric line
"Little Gatherings".
It was just sitting there looking as cute as ever.

I had used them in my "Jack the Ripper" quilt.
I had started with a fat quarter of 22 different fabrics
and I still had quite a bit leftover.

I could hear a voice in my head saying 
"Just Let It Be"

"Step Away from the Fabric"

"Don't Even Think About It"

I needed to do something with these wonderful fabrics.

New Pattern:
A Little Northwinds by Primitive Gatherings.
The finished size is only 24" x 30"
so the pieces aren't very big.
Perfect for the amounts I had left.

The half square triangles finish at 1 inch and 
the block is a 4" square.
Should be cute.

No, I really didn't have any business starting
this new project.
But I just couldn't  "Let It Be".

Until Next Time-

Monday, October 10, 2011

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater

If you love cooking with pumpkin,
like I do,
you might have a recipe folder just for pumpkin recipes.
There's nothing like the taste of pumpkin to evoke
the feeling of fall.

My friend, Becky, does and calls it
her "Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater" folder.

That just makes me smile.
But it's a wonderful idea.

I'm on the lookout for some
orange file folders so I can get my pumpkin 

recipes all in one spot.

Here's a terrific pumpkin cookie recipe for your folder.

I've been making these forever and
a couple times each season.
I usually bake up a few of the small pie pumpkins and
freeze the puree.  
But if you need a pumpkin fix quick canned pumpkin is just fine.
Either way these cookies are soft and yummy.
The original recipes calls for raisins and chopped nuts, 
and this delicious maple tasting frosting.
With my families picky taste buds  I have 
made these minus the nuts 
or minus the raisins
or, can you believe this, minus the frosting!

Here's the original recipe and enjoy them 
however your taste buds desire.

The Great Pumpkin Cookies

Cream: 1 cup butter
 1 egg
          1 cup sugar

      Add: 1 teaspoon vanilla
         1 cup pumpkin

In a separate bowl whisk together:
              2 1/2 cups flour (12.5 oz)
        1 teaspoon cinnamon
         1/2  teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
                 1 teaspoon baking powder
            1 teaspoon baking soda

Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients.

Soak 1/2 cup of raisins in boiling water until
plumped. Drain and add.

Add:  1/2 cup chopped nuts

Place dough in the frig for about 1 hour
to firm up the butter so the cookies 
don't spread.

I like big cookies so I use a large scoop to

measure out the dough.  Make them as small or

large as you like.  You'll just have to adjust the baking

time accordingly.

Place cookie dough on baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, more or less.

      Place: 3 Tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup milk
            3/4 cup brown sugar
in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Cool mixture.
Add: 1 teaspoon vanilla
and enough powdered sugar to 
make the frosting into a spreadable consistency.
(Usually 2 cups)

Kyle's "the Great Pumpkin" Cookies

Until Next Time-

Friday, October 7, 2011

Gathering and Gabbing

Many of us don't entertain very much.

It seems like there isn't enough time to plan, 
find an evening when everyone's available
and then just gather and gab.

Quilter's have  special opportunities
to enjoy time together.
We've just planned it into our schedules.
My special quilt group,
The Quilting Buddies,
gather, gab and sew twice a month.

This year to tie things together we continue to
celebrate "the pie" and honor our
abilities to be a "Domestic Diva".
At our last meeting, Terrie, modeled the
Apron of Distinguished Diva.

She took the time to be prepared for her guests.
And served a delicious pie for dessert.

Terrie had heard that chocolate slows down the aging process, 
it may not be true,
but she didn't want any of us to take any chances.

Thank you, Terrie, 
for thinking of your friend's well-being.
You were a divine hostess.

Find some time to gather and gab with friends,
it will be a blessing to everyone.
Until Next Time-