Friday, October 28, 2011

Just Because ( a not so girly post )

Maybe it's because cool weather is here to stay, or because my poor little BooBoo is very sick, or because my Steelers are kickin' a$$,  or because I've been pretty lucky this year with winning prizes from other blogs, but I feel like passing it along. The good luck of winning, not Tyler's germs. Want to win something?

>> Random picture of the grandson from more than a year ago!

I am thinking of doing a giveaway. Anyone interested, please leave a comment. I have a stack of fat quarters and also some patterns, all of which I won this year, and I would love to pass on my luck. Show of hands, if you are interested!

I hope to get pictures taken over the weekend to post here, just so you know what is up for grabs.

Stay tuned!

Friday, October 21, 2011


I have about 5 quilts in the works right now. A tshirt quilt (my first attempt), a fall Snail's Trail variation, a Birds in the Air quilt in fall colors, a value quilt, and the almost finished Bali Sea Star from Kim Brackett's book Scrap Basket Surprises. This is a picture of the just completed blocks. I made them in 2 days. Not bragging, just saying that when you are excited about something and have the time, you can accomplish a lot. I love that all this is from stash. The remnants of 2 different Bali Pops and dark chocolate brown yardage!

I also have Picnic, from Kim Brackett's second book done and ready to be quilted, and a small hour glass that I think needs borders before it is finished. That makes 7. I will not mention all the UFOs I could be completing. Let me just say there is a ton of flannel here and it would be very appropriate to do something with it now that cooler weather has arrived, right? 

This is Picnic, before I assembled the top. I get so excited to share my progress that I don't wait til they are quilted and bound. Because who knows when that will be...

 Here you can see the Birds in the Air in progress.  I found the pattern in an older issue of Quilt magazine and realized it can be used with layer cake squares, which I had! Loving the use of my scraps and stash again. And who doesn't love a Fall quilt??? I just have to figure out what to use for the setting triangles.

Have you been stalling over a new technique? A pattern that is out of your comfort zone? Give it a try anyway! I'd love to hear what you've learned on your own in quilt making.  

This is the value quilt I have started. I wish I could be in a big city with lots of quilt classes to join, but I'm not, so when inspiration strikes, I go for it.  This is the first arrangement. I have since redone it 3 times. I still don't think it is right, but I do like it. Again, this is stash, except for six 1/2 yard sale purchases of light and dark fabrics, because as predicted my stash is mostly mediums! If you want to see where I found the tutorial for making a Value Quilt, see SewKatieDid's blog. And she has a new book out called Quilting Modern. (That is another avenue I have not explored that is looking more and more interesting lately. ) There are no actual quilt shops here in Pensacola. There is one a few miles away, but their calendar of classes is missing from their site last time I looked. When I saw the value quilt on Katie's blog I was stunned. Katie's quilt is awesome, and although I knew my stash was not in the pastel range like hers is, I wanted to try this. I want to learn and stretch. There is a lot I still don't know.

I realized the other day that every quilt I have worked on this month is made with triangles. I used to LOATHE triangles! You may be like me, without a group to sew with, or not able to take classes, but you can still jump in a try things on your own. What have you got to lose? At the very least you are going to learn what not to do, right? That is what I tell myself every time I start something I am less than confident about.

On the other hand, I have to confess to being a quitter in one area. The 14 people who actually read my blog have probably figured out that I abandoned the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along. I wanted it to work out, but it just is not my desire to pull my hair out at this point in my life. Those teeny tiny templates, and paper piecing options, etc etc did not do the trick of bringing back my enthusiasm. C'est la vie!

What I NEED to do is start the Advent Calender. And make the flannel pajama pants before Christmas is here!  What are you working on?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Easiest Pot Roast You'll Ever Make

Okay, busy moms, listen up! You read my post about Little League Nights, right?

I know the boat you are in. You work all day, and you want a dinner fairy to get things on the table for you and do the dishes afterward. You'd like the house to be warm and smell incredible after your long day. There are sports, homework and many other chores ahead before you can rest, right?

I can't help you with the dishes, but I can give you a very crowd pleasing, too-easy-to-be true recipe for WEEKNIGHTS.

Have you got a frozen 4 or 5 pound chuck roast? A can each of Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Celery soups? An envelope of Brown Gravy mix? You are ready to go with this one!

Before you leave for work, place that frozen roast in a 13 x 9 pan. Pour the soups on top of the roast, then sprinkle with the gravy mix. Seal foil over top of the pan and put it in your oven on 200 degrees for the day. Abracadabra! When you get home you have a tender, juicy roast, swimming in delicious gravy. All you need to do is whip up potatoes (or rice if that's your style) and steam some veggies for the side and put it on the table.

I throw fresh sliced mushrooms in with it while I make the potatoes. The gravy will be hot enough to cook the mushrooms during the half hour or so that you'll need to peel, boil and mash potatoes. And yes, you have my permission to take shortcuts with the potatoes too.

Bon Appetit!

This photo was borrowed from Internet photos are always so much better than mine!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekend Update

Well, despite being sick this weekend, I refused to be bedridden, so I more or less stuck to my planned outing schedule.

We skipped the glass pumpkin sale at the Belmont Arts and Cultural Center, and it is just as well. I read that they sold out in an hour and a half. All would have been gone by the time we got there anyway! Disappointing, but I have told myself I have nowhere to put one of these at the moment anyway. I'll get one some year! Someday I'll have a whole collection. Maybe.

What we did make it to was the Panhandle Butterfly House's Monarch Madness event. There are pics posted on their Facebook page if you are interested. You could think of this as an East Coast version of the Monarch butterfly events in California's coastal communities. My aunt lives in "Butterfly Town USA"  Pacific Grove. If you ever get a chance to see the migrating monarchs on the West Coast, it is something. Huge pine trees covered in resting butterflies.

Our version is not a huge thing, but this not a major metropolitan area.  Kids can release a newly hatched butterfly into the open, where they hopefully will show up in Mexico (or thereabouts) with the sticker still attached to show where they came from.

Most kids around here were probably at the Corn Maze. Or a peanut festival or rodeo of some kind. This is NOT the big city by any means! However, our butterfly festival was crowded enough for the tiny parking lot and buildings. Tyler was more enamored with the rented Bounce House than anything else. Once he spotted that, he no longer cared about any butterflies or bugs, hot dogs, balloons, etc. But it was a beautiful day and we had fun!

Then we headed north to Milton, where there is one of the few remaining L & N Railroad depots, for their West Florida Railroad Museum Depot Days Celebration. They had a really nice set up of remote controlled train sets in a garden area, which they surrounded with a ride-able child size train. Another big hit with Tyler. They circled the garden area 4 times and he was so good about keeping his hands in. The older boys in the back were trying to pick up rocks on each pass, and I was holding my breath that no fingers came off.
Life in a sort-of-small town. Not overdone or too crowded. Free! Educational, and perfect weather to be outside. You can't beat that.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Layered Taco Bake Casserole and Life

Sometimes even I don't feel like cooking, but people must be fed, so I flipped through a Kraft Family Food magazine and came up with one of those "hey, I have all this stuff on hand!" recipes. I fancied it up a little with healthy additions of drained canned tomatoes with oregano and green chilies, and a drained can of black beans.

The recipe can be found here.

The really nice thing about this dinner is that it made enough for 2 nights, with steamed broccoli and carrots on the side both nights. Score!

These kinds of recipes remind me of the Little League nights. I had a full time daycare at my home back then, and somewhere between getting most of them out the door with their parents, and making it to the practice or game field in time, I had to have some kind of plan for dinner. And if you are a parent with kids in sports, you know that dinner is usually after 9pm those nights, and everyone is trying to thaw out when you get home.

The recipes where I could dump cans of stuff together and let it cook while we were gone were the best. Even if it sounds less than healthy, I always made sure it was full of vegetables. Southwestern Turkey Soup, Tuna Mac Casserole, anything in the crock pot, we were sure glad to get a hot meal in us before bedtime!

Do you have a quick casserole or soup you use on week nights?

Those rushed, really crowded days and nights were some of the best with my kids. They may tell me how they didn't like sharing me (and their toys) with a house full of toddlers, but those were the years where I planned lots of fun things. Crafts, outings, parties. They loved them. We lived in Southern California near an old world style Bavarian village and we would go to Oktoberfest there. We lived near a German bakery that hosted gingerbread house decorating at Christmas with a visit from Santa at the end. There were swimming lessons at the local college pool, across from the Little League fields. In Spring we'd find a creek and capture tadpoles to raise in fishbowls. And so many trips to the beach each Summer.

Good times.

Are you one of the sports parents this time of year? Enjoy it while you can. Those years go by so fast. Before you know it, the kids are teenagers!

The late Steve Jobs said: "have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” This is so true. Especially with your family. Make them important. Cherish the everyday things. When you stop being busy and spend time with your kids, you are helping them feel confident and you can watch them find their creative side, what inspires them, what they love to do.

Technology is great, and no disrespect to Mr. Jobs, but turn off the tv, your cell phone and Ipad, etc and be with each other. None of us knows how short our time is, but we all can make the most of every minute.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Stylish Giveaway

Tatertots and Jello's blog is spotlighting a cute clothing company for girls and women, called Downeast Basics. There is a GETAWAY Giveaway involved! Who wouldn't want a free vacation??

Check out the cute clothing and accessories, follow a few rules, be signed up for the drawing!

Here is a link directly to the online shop. (  I want this sweater!  )

That's it for now!

Monday, October 3, 2011

I totally forgot to share the latest finish!

I'd like to introduce "Around the Block, a Variation" featuring the popular Simple Abundance line by Moda. I think it was Bonnie and Camille's first line.

Nancy, my quilter, did such a great job, especially making feathers fill the setting triangles. Having had this mostly together but in the WIP pile for over a year makes it seem like I dug up an older photo, but no! It is a newly quilted and bound finish!

Don't you just love those scarlety reds that Moda comes out with? Three Sister's Glace has another lovely, rich red like this. You'll be seeing that in December,when my Key Holes quilt is done. Christmas gift to me!

Both "Around the Block" and "Keyholes" are from the book of the former name, by Heather Mulder Peterson. She makes such lovely fabrics and patterns. Her decorating taste is awesome. You must check out her blog Trends and Traditions. PS That girl can also knit on a professional level!

How is your fall season coming along? Doing any baking yet? Baking (and cooking) when the weather cools off is my glory and my downfall. So far I have made an Apple Pear Crumb Topped Mile High Pie, and a huge loaf of Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread, and a hearty Beef Vegetable Soup. That is only the warm up. Oh yes, I will be churning out lasagnas and Cowboy Cookies and Pumpkin Chiffon Pies very soon, to the delight of my husband, my kids, grandson, and anyone else who is around.

Making things for Christmas? I have not even started Christmas THINKING, let alone making or shopping! I need to get that Advent Calendar together pronto! I don't know what happened to September, but it went by much too quickly!

See you back here again soon!

25 to 50% off fabric bundles at JoJo's

I have several projects in the works, but I am not ready to share them, so here is another sale tip!

JoJo's Gift Shoppe has all fabric bundles on sale right now. Did you miss out on some Fig Tree lines and wish you'd bought them? Here's your chance! They have some very hard to find fabric lines along with newer ones like French General. 

Their shop is moving soon, so they will be having sales every few days. You can sign up for emails from them to hear first hand about it.

I have ordered from Joelle in the past. You get fast shipping and great service. That is why I recommend the shop AND the sale. 

Soon, I will be posting about my process in creating my own quilt design. If you are interested in that, stay tuned!