Saturday, December 31, 2011

Keep Your Eye On The Pie

The boy left this morning to go back to Texas. I really do not like saying good-bye to that kid. I miss him already. Last night I made him two apple pies to take back. Nothing like celebrating the New Year with a little bit of home, huh? Better than what the mess will offer, I'm sure.

One of the perks of making pies is using up the leftover pie dough. When my grandmother would come to visit the thing we looked forward to the most was the little pinwheels she would make while the pie was baking. She would roll out the dough very thin, spread it with melted butter, sprinkle on some sugar and give a dusting of cinnamon. Then she would roll it up, slice it into pieces, set the pinwheels on a baking sheet, pop them into the oven and thirty minutes later greedy little hands would grab them off the plate tossing them back and forth until they were cool enough to eat. I made some last night and ate them for breakfast this morning. They were delicious. 
I've been thinking about this New Year that will arrive tomorrow and what it will bring. The past few New Years I have chosen a word to focus on instead of making resolutions that I knew I would not keep. Last year's word was Appreciate and this year, my chosen word is Enough. 
I have been greatly blessed throughout this past year with good things- the safety of my son, my beautiful granddaughter and her sweet parents who are raising such a joyful child, watching JA grow in responsibility as he undertook his tasks at work with enjoyment and helping my dad in more ways than he will know, my good husband, dear friends who are there no matter what, family that loves me and that I miss, a place where I can be creative, understanding how much I am truly loved by my Heavenly Father and the Savior.
I got to meet two adorable people that I had only known through my computer screen. I love these women, their creative genius and their outlooks on things. They just make me happy.
There is much more, of course. Too much to list here but, suffice it to say, I did appreciate every day that 2011 brought for me. And now, for 2012, I will focus on Enough and all that it encompasses. 
Enough comes with Gratitude tagging along beside it. They are inseparable. I have so much to be grateful for and I have discovered that the most simple of things are really all that I need. 
Happy New Year, dear friends. I hope that your 2012 is all that you desire to be.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Since I MIssed Merry Christmas.....

I will begin by wishing you all a very Happy New Year! 
A few weeks ago I helped my dad organize the little back room of the garage. It's where my mom had stored all of the boxes full of Christmas decorations. I emptied the room, swept it clean and then, before I put everything back in, I peeked inside the boxes to make sure that nothing was living inside of them. You know, spiders and the like. Each box held memories of Christmases past, including the discovery of some things I had made for my mom way back in the day. 

Little paper people made with scissors and a hole punch. There was no such thing as a Cricut back in 1987 when I made these! Some of them had been eaten by silverfish but these four survived. I had actually forgotten about them.

A Santa doll stuffed into a jeans pocket and decorated with bits and bobs that were kept in my craft box. Back then that's all I had- a box. Now I have a whole room and I still gravitate back to the same simple things that I have always used- scissors, a hole punch, paint, ink, cotton balls, Qtips and two paint brushes. I'm pretty simple.

I made these mittens the same year I made the Santa- 1992. They are wool and decorated with fabric paint. I made a ton of these and sold them in a neighborhood craft show for $3 a pair. I loved doing things like that.

Along with my trip down memory lane I spent time working on a Christmas present for the oldest boy. He writes poetry and for his gift I put them all in a book and painted around each one.

There are 46 poems altogether.

Each one beautiful in its own way.

I learned a lot about him while reading his poems and deciding what to paint. The painting part was a challenge for me. But, after the first two or three poems, I found myself stretching myself creatively. I think it's because I was so inspired by his poems.

He's pretty talented, that kid. Pretty talented. :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Feels a Bit Like Death.

Well, my friend loved the Quilting Elf! I am so glad. Now I want to make another one! But that will have to wait until I get over this stinking cold! Grrrr. It all started last Tuesday with an achy body. Two days later my head filled up and gained 50 pounds. Then came the searing sore throat. Really? Thanks so much. I have been gargling with apple cider vinegar, drinking copious amounts of water, stuffing myself full of Advil cold and sinus pills, drinking fizzy concoction of minerals, vitamins and probiotics and blowing my way through boxes of Puffs with Vick's which, in my honest opinion, are the greatest invention ever! I think it's on the waning end of things. Today I am actually getting the house cleaned, a little bit at a time.
I did get to run out to Target on Saturday, where I found the most beautiful tinsel. It's a very warm silver, soft and vintage looking and, it was on sale!

Isn't it beautiful? I have big plans for this. 
Once I get over this stupid cold.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Quilting Elf

This is the year of the handmade Christmas. I haven't made totally handmade gifts in many, many years. It's just easier to shop, truthfully. But, I am determined to craft each gift specifically for the recipient and this one is my first:

It's for a friend at work. Our party is tonight and this cutie is all wrapped up and ready to go. She has everything she needs to start making quilts- or to inspire my friend to do so.

Here she is in the spotlight! I haven't given her a name. I figure that my friend will. But, we've bonded this little elf and I. I'm glad she's going to a good quilting home. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Like a Big Foofy Petticoat.

One of my favorite things to do, when I have the time, is to wander about Pinterest. You can find the most amazing things on there! Like this little gem offered by Little Miss Momma:

Ah, finally a use for coffee filters that does not require coffee! I chose this as my Thanksgiving craft for this year. Usually there is lots of family here to gather and make a craft after dinner. Not this year, so it was just Ainslie and I who started on our craft project together. A tired baby cut our session short so I made mine tonight. Here it is hanging in  my living room window.

And a little closer.

I used a little over two 160 count packages of coffee filters to make mine. I found them at the Dollar Tree. The 12 inch wreath form came from Wal Mart and was $4.50. That and a little hot glue (well, maybe a lot of hot glue) made this a very inexpensive project done in about 2 1/2 hours. A very inexpensive gorgeous project!
This is the kind of craft my grandmother liked to do- transforming the most humble objects into something extraordinary. I think she would have loved making this wreath. I know I did.
Now to find an excuse to make another one!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rolling Along.

No self-respecting Thanksgiving preparation day would be complete without the making of pies. It's a tradition I have carried on for the last 30 years, when I first ventured into the pie baking world. The past 20 years I have done so with the help of my great-grandmother's rolling pin.

Her name was Lottie Collins until she married my great-grandfather, then she became Lottie Asquith. Lottie had two daughters, Margaret and Bernice, my grandmother. I don't remember Lottie at all. But this rolling pin connects me to her and, in a way, I know her because of it. Her hands held those handles. smoothed flour onto the pin, rolled out pastry that would cradle apples and hold hearty meat fillings.

My grandmother, Bernice, carried on that tradition. She made the best apple pies. Truly. I can still picture her standing in our kitchen carefully peeling each apple, slicing it with a paring knife towards her thumb. I slice mine the same way, probably from watching Grammy doing it for so many years. She never cut herself and neither have I. Which is a bit of a miracle because I am somewhat of a klutz! Grammy's pastry was superb- light and flaky and delicious. There is no recipe for me to replicate it- she never measured anything. It was all done by eye. You can't compete with that. My mom was able to make her apple pies just like her mother's. I did not inherit that talent.

So, I put my own twist on this family classic. I peel and slice my apples, put them in a heavy-bottomed pan and add butter, sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, a little salt and, my secret weapon- a little ground black pepper. It adds that little something that causes you to think about what you are eating. A nice little surprise that you can't quite put your finger on. The apples cook until just fork tender and then I put them in the shell. My pie dough recipe? Betty Crocker pie crust mix in a box. Don't judge me. The result is the same- a yummy apple pie. That's all that matters.

I love using the tools that were used by my family. I love that my hands fit where their hands did. I love that the traditions that they started are still being done today and will, hopefully, be carried on for generations to come. 
I also really love apple pie.

I hope all of you have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

National Tie One On Day!

I wear an apron every single day. If I'm at home, I have one on while I hang the laundry, cook our meals or wash the dishes. If I'm at work, I wear my gray apron with the big pockets so I can stuff them full of tiny things that might get lost. You don't want to lose tiny things in a quilt shop. Trust me. So, when I received a message from my friend, EllynAnne, letting me know about this year's Tie One On event, I had to jump on over and see what she had in store for this year. Well, it's so awesome!

 What do you do on NTOOD? Well, you grab your favorite apron, tie it behind your back and whip up some kitchen magic for someone who needs a little lift. Wrap your offering in an apron (homemade, store bought or vintage) and deliver it with a smile and a whole lot of love. That's it! Simple, huh? Head on over to EllynAnne's blog to read all about some fabulous things that are tied to this event. I think you will be very happy when you do. 
Now, go tie one on! An apron, of course!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


What a trip! I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun I had at market- even though it was some pretty hard work! Here's a shot of a portion of the floor looking through one of the huge round windows in the convention center. It does not do this bit of craziness justice! Picture it- Row after row of quilts, fabrics, patterns, accessories, software, notions and everything else you could think of laid out before you. Crazy. The rows were numbered 100-2200, if that helps you envision the enormity of the whole shebang. Good night above.

One of my favorite things was to meet the women that I have "conversed" with over the past couple of years through their blogs. Two of my favorite people happened to be at market:

Like Anna, from Thimbleanna, whose blog is one I make sure to read, every day.. I actually got to meet her at sample spree (pretty much a madhouse!) and we had matching, wrinkle brown paper bags for each other. Not just paper bags, but paper bags with treats inside. We're kindred spirits, that girl and I. And, obviously, connoisseurs of wrapping supplies! I'll have to share what she gave me when my camera battery recovers!

The other girl I had to meet was Pam Viera-McGinnis from PamKittyMorning. She is adorable! If you don't read her blog, you should! She has such a fun outlook on things and she makes the most adorable stuff in her sewing room- from quilts, to bags to pot holders. You name it, she makes it. The girl is a genius! I just loved getting to chat with her.
Once I sort through my photos, I'll share more. There was just so much to see and do. Schoolhouse on Friday, with classes from 9:00-6:00 with some of the most creative people, walking through the market floor for 3 days and trying to look professional (ha!), eating kolaches every morning we were there and loving every bite, spending time with some of the best people I know- Karen, Wendy and Angela, and soaking in every bit of creativity I could find. 
Houston, you were a blast!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm Leavin' On a Jet Plane!

My bags are packed and I am so ready to go! Where am I going? To Houston for the Fall Quilt Market! Eek. I am so excited. Especially since I will get to meet Anna- in person! It's going to be a great trip.
Catch you on the flip side. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

More CL Fair Photos.

And not too many words because, really, you can pretty much tell what everything is. :)

Every turn held something more beautiful than the last. It was such a feast for the senses. Eye candy everywhere, amazingly creative displays and tons of inspiration. Add to that the smell of Fall, the sun warming us through the trees, icy cold water to quench our thirst, and a hot, salty pretzel to fill our tummies and it was pretty much a perfect day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Day at the Fair.

The day was picture perfect in every way. Temps in the 60s, sun shining all around us, crowds of happy people and a friend to share it all with. Dawn and I had such a good time!

We had to wait in this line to get in but not too long. It went rather quickly in fact.

Our first stop was the Country Living General Store. It was beautifully decorated.

Everything about this quilt is gorgeous- the colors, the pattern, the setting. Uh-huh. It's pretty sweet.

Beautiful Autumn-colored gourds piled in a wagon.

Gourds were everywhere, even on this cute stand!

There is such beautiful simplicity about these pumpkins stacked in a chair.

If there are chickens, I will photograph them. Even if they're fake chickens.

This sweet girl was at the first booth we came to after the CL pavilion. She makes these gorgeous paper wreaths sitting at her breakfast table. They are so elegant.

A ruffled heart pillow and a fab ruffly purse behind it. Oh. So. Cute.

Darling pumpkins filled a giant Longaberger basket. There were even basket making demonstrations going on, from splitting to weaving. Fascinating.

Just a few more of the lovelies that were on view-

 old handwriting in a frame,
 and a creepy doll head/stand thingy used to hold some pretty cool jewelry.

British subway (tube) signs.

Galvanized wind turbines rusted to perfection and made into light fixtures. Want.

Tiny little pillows for tiny little heads to lay upon. Night, night, sleep tight........

And this was just the first area we walked through! Really.
There's loads more photos waiting to be shared. I just need time to get them all on here. I'm thinking that I have about two or three more posts worth of pics of fascinating things to show you. And, don't forget to visit Dawn's blog to see the photos that she took. Some of them might be similar to mine as we had a tendency to say, "Oh, my gosh! I need to get a photo of that for the blog!" and we were looking at the same thing.
Can you say, "Kindred spirits?"