Thanksgiving Week Sewing & a Little Cookie Decorating with the Grands

I hope that you all ( in the USA ) had a wonderful Thanksgiving week. I did manage to get a bit of sewing in but there were some other creative endeavors going on as well :)

making cookies collage

I have this down pat by now. I have learned that if you have one young grandchild around, you can roll out dough and cut cookies or gingerbread men with them. If you have all or most of them, bake the cookies ahead and just decorate them with the children. Each child has a cookie sheet in front of them with icing, cookies, sprinkles, etc. The mess all goes onto the sheets and clean up is a breeze! :)

In regards to piecing….I continued to work on the indigo colors ( from RSC15 August ) for a RSC16 quilt down the line. Who knows how this will end up…I just wanted to start something that might turn out to be a nice gradient or total complete flop quilt for next year : ) There is no rhyme, reason or pattern..I am just playing. Maybe it’s my version of an improv quilt? Kaya if you are reading this what do you think? :) 

Hour glass blues section growing

I have three more rows ready to go…and then I’ll be out of indigo and will most likely stop for the moment.

November’s color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is lime green. I have a little lime green miracle to show you :)  This is southwestern Pennsylvania. We’ve had numerous heavy frosts and freezes but went into a warming trend and when I went to change the birdbath water on the day before Thanksgiving look what I found….Lettuce coming up! :)

Lettuce Nov 25

Slow Stitching : I did manage to finally finish my latest red & green applique block. This is a Benjamin Biggs block, though I changed the leaves on the corner buds and am not making a BB quilt;  just using some of the block patterns that I have for a generic quilt.

red and green with cherries FINISH

My son’s GF loves quilts and enjoyed seeing some of my projects. She and her son were very interested in learning to sew on the machine.

pearl at sewing machine cropped

I am sending her home to St. Louis with my Singer Confidence and some books and fabrics and notes on where to get a 1/4 inch foot, what thread to buy, etc. I had won a Melody Baby Lock at the Blogger’s Quilt Festival a few years ago, and of course I should keep the Singer as a back-up, but then again what if I never needed it and it just sat in the closet for a decade? It didn’t take me long to debate this in my mind and decide to gift her with it and she was just over the moon and back about it.

She’s dated my oldest son for over five years….she deserved a reward, right? :)  They are going home with a quilt as well.

I kept up with my circles for the week…I posted about starting Quilty 365 HERE    For Slow Sunday Stitching, I am going to hand quilt, which I haven’t managed to do all week. And I am also going to finish these orange peels for the lime green color of the month / Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I prepped them at the beginning of the month! Got one done last Sunday or so and that was it.

collage end of month post

The visiting trio left early Saturday morning and the rain and dreariness moved in to reflect my mood in seeing them go. I think that I’ll put the fall decorations all away, pull out a few Christmas ones and cheer myself up with that prior to settling down to sew something this weekend.

You might also enjoy : Turkey Pot Pie for Turkey Leftovers  or  I Won the baby lock Melody at the Blogger’s Quilt Festival  or  Year in Review : Favorite Photos From January-June 2014

Sharing at So Scrappy ( Rainbow Scrap Challenge is on Saturdays ) and Kathy’s Quilts  for Slow Sunday Stitching

Good Morning Full Moon & Sunrise & Our Thanksgiving Week

I do not know if you shop on Black Friday but I do not, unless it is a quick run to the grocery store. So while others might have been rushing out to the stores I caught some full moon and early sunrise shots while looking forward to a slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast later :)

Moon and Early Sunrise November 27

Technically we are a day or so past the full moon but it looks full enough.

Oftentimes the day after Thanksgiving is one where I start to drag out the Christmas decorations but my son and his girlfriend and little boy are around until Saturday so I’ll hold off.

sunrise through fences etc Nov 27

I know that much of the country is having weather woes but here, Thanksgiving was mild and today will be the same before rain and colder temperatures move in again.  It will be nice enough later on to take all of the children to a playground or park in the afternoon.

Moon sunrise reflections collage nov 27

Even though the big dinner was at my middle son’s I still made a small turkey and other fixins to be taken out to my mom’s yesterday. For awhile there, half the kitchen was devoted to that and half to a hearty breakfast for the visitors. I got my first round of broth done yesterday from the turkey carcass and will do the second round with vegetables shortly.  We’ll have soup before or after the park.

last reflection and sunrise collage nov 27

Enjoy your day whether it is devoted to shopping or chilling out :)

You might also enjoy : Around Here; Family Party


Beautiful November Skies and Thanksgiving

I cannot recall a November having so many beautiful skies as this one. I have been running out…up and down the street with the camera, on a regular basis.  For the sunrise, I walk a few blocks up and can get a nice panorama view with some scenery. For the sunset I go here and there in the opposite direction trying to capture it between the power lines. In the daytime I lay in the middle of the street and look up ( KIDDING! :)

Yet there was one on a Saturday morning that was the most spectacular yet, and I was still in pajamas and chained to the stove making hashbrowns. So while I enjoyed it, I couldn’t photograph it.

Here are some shots of the November skies that I have captured in the last two weeks or so; the next four shots are from a walk on a Sunday morning.

sunrise nov 15 morning walk


Sunday morning sky and walk

rooster and sunday morning sky collage

I love when Lady Moon shows up during the daylight hours! This is the 1st qtr. moon, November 19th, taken around 4;45 or so :

1st qtr moon early in sky Nov 19

From that same afternoon :

sky collage 3rd week november

From a morning walk :

If you are in a meditative, thoughtful or prayerful mood, you can see the sky in a puddle and it can take you down many avenues of thought and contemplation :

sky in puddle two


sky in puddle

On this Sunday afternoon, going through these photos and cropping them, I was reminded of why I appreciated the skies each day that I took photos. Because Sunday was dreary and gray and flurries were around for a bit, and that’s quite typical for winter days. So I appreciate the beautiful ones when they show up : )

grasses and sky collage

Here’s wishing all USA readers a wonderful Thanksgiving. I have 3 sons; two local to me and one coming home from St. Louis for a few days.  I can’t wait :) While it is dreary and cold now and for another day or two, thus far our Thanksgiving forecast is for mild weather. I hope the same for you.

You might also enjoy : Light, Shadows, Reflections & Rainbows  or A Leaf Never Dies  or A Nice Christmas & a Few Recipes

Sharing at : Cozy Little House /  A Stroll Thru Life /  Savvy Southern Style

RSC15 & Jumping into Quilty 365

After working on the large Shenandoah Album quilt block, I was feeling a little burnt out in regards to applique so I turned to some piecing. I added a wee bit to my pile of spool blocks and hourglass blocks; both for ‘someday’ quilts.

hour glass and spools collage

The color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is lime green :

  • I had an apple green to work with and made another Cake Stand Basket.
  • Then I remembered the box of scraps that my good friend Judy from New England Garden & Thread had sent to me…and I rooted around in there to come up with a pale lime green fabric.  I thought ‘why not try to do some hourglass blocks for the RSC15?”   And so I did…and I imagine that this section will blend into darker greens down the line.
  • I just jumped into RSC15 around the end of August…the color was indigo back then. I had none. Since then I purchased a half yard, and while I was sorting through Judy’s scraps….bingo! A dark starry blue! So I used her scraps with my indigo and even had a bit left to cut some little squares from the starry blue for my granny quilt. Judy, you are a STAR :)

another basket and hourglass RSC collage

I took a few days off from sewing altogether, but I was doing some thinking, and then began to cut and prep some fabrics.


When Audrey from Quilty Folk first posted about this I was all for it. I went upstairs to start looking at and pulling fabric. However that was on November 4th, and I was in the middle of an applique block. I told myself that I had enough on my plate and to stop being silly. I told Audrey that I’d not be joining in.

As the month progressed, I started seeing more and more people joining and the fun that they were having with this. particularly  Stephie from Dawn Chorus Studio.

Here is what I decided to do for my Quilty 365.  My center will be based on the Tree of Life glyph from the Kabbalah, which is made up of ten circles. While I have all of the circles prepared, just the first one is sewn down at the moment. Here it is on my bed…the size is based on posterboard that I picked up at the Dollar Store to first work out circle sizes ( as in, teacup? bowl? saucer? etc. :)

Tree of Life start panel

For my 365 circles, rather than making little blocks I decided to work with panels that will be added around the center glyph.  I started with November 11th, the new moon. I will put a crescent moon each month to mark the new moon, with a dark circle on the next day to signify that you can’t really see the moon on those first days.

I had to dig around but I knew that I had a small scrap left of a Paris fabric. I decided to not be uniform, and use small circles for the most part, and larger ones could mark Sundays and holidays. I ordered a fabric pen to mark dates or birthdays, though it’s not arrived yet.

starting 365 collage

I recall in that box of scraps from Judy that there was a fabric with dollar bills on it ; while I don’t go out and shop on Black Friday that would make a great circle for that day.

My other idea was that as each day’s circle is sewn, a prayer would be said. That idea came to me after Paris, though between the Russian jetliner, Beirut bombing, Paris, the hotel in Mali, the atrocities in Nigeria, etc…even now as I finish up this post, I am not looking forward to clicking on to CNN or NBC for the news and wondering what it might hold this day.

How will this work out in the end doing panels / borders? I don’t know.  I’ll sort it out towards the end of the year…maybe there will just be a small portion that is blank after the 365 days that could be filled with zodiac or holiday symbol circles, or maybe a month’s worth will have to go onto the back. I am just playing for now :)  In June I’ll have an idea. It might be that six months go on the front and six months on the back…who knows. For Slow Stitching I’ll be working on the Tree of Life Glyph and my weekend calendar circles.


To see what other quilters are up to for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, visit So Scrappy on Saturdays. To join the Slow Stitchers, visit Kathy’s Quilts on Sundays.  Also Sharing at: Freemotion by the River / Sew Fresh Quilts / Freshly Pieced

Frisky Dogs in the Fall

Sometimes it can be rather quiet and peaceful here…

pets collage

Everyone’s just laying around shedding in their various areas to keep me and my vacuum on our toes.

If I let the dogs out by themselves they don’t run around too much but if I go outside with them it’s a different story.

This is not the best collage of photos but when Jugsy gets wound up and starts tearing around the yard it is nigh impossible to get a good shot : ( as you can see here there are still many bare patches in the lawn from our lack of rain a few months ago )

Jugsy tearing around collage all a blur

Now Lily, a bit older and more sedate, is thinking about this. Should she join in?

Lily thinking about it

She decided to do so :

lily collage

I do not purchase dog treats. The treats for my dogs are crusts of bread, or watered down spaghetti sauce over their food, fried eggs, rice, cooked carrots, cooked broccoli stems, brussel sprouts, and potatoes. Here you can see their interest and anticipation  in watching me make mashed potatoes as they know that I’ll share a bit :

mashed potatoes collage

Around a year ago at this time, my youngest son got this adorable blue nose pit bull puppy who he named Koopa :

perfect pose

I have documented Koopa’s visits off and on, but it’s been awhile since I got the camera out for him…long overdue. There is no squirrel in the crabapple tree, and the robin and her family have long departed their nest, but here is a great example of the phrase ” barking up the wrong tree ” because Koopa loves this game…just as a cat will howl in the house as she kills your hair band, Koopa will pretend that he’s got to climb that tree for the squirrel!

Koopa Collage 1

Koopa Collage 2

Finally we coaxed him to stop ‘barking up the wrong tree’ and to come in :)

Koopa Collage 3

You might also enjoy : A Wonderful Day For My Dog Lily  or Turkey Pot Pie for Turkey Leftovers

Sharing at : Cozy Little House / A Stroll Thru Life / Savvy Southern Style

High Winds & Glorious Skies

On a recent morning, the frost was so heavy that it looked like snow on my neighbor’s garage roof.

frost on garage

frosty morning collage

Heavy frosts, rain and wind…autumn’s leaf display is just about over here.

leaves and bare trees collage

I don’t know how many of you had the high winds last week but we had very windy conditions for two days in a row.

With the winds came beautiful skies, so I bundled up on a few occasions and went out with the camera.  On another occasion I was walking into the wind to go visit the grandchildren after school and when I got there I had to make a mad dash for the Kleenex box, as both eyes and nose found the wind to be quite invigorating :)

Sky collage one

sky collage two

There was drama up there….a large cloud getting ready to eat a little one :

big cloud getting ready to eat little cloud

Later on in the afternoon, a variety of colors to enjoy in the ever-changing show :

sky collage four

Sky six collage

sky shot above house

sky darkening to red collage


You might also enjoy : “and would there be phosphorescence?

Sharing at : 21 Rosemary Lane / French Country Cottage / Savvy Southern Style

Baking : Two Syrian Flat Bread Recipes


I recently made Syrian flat bread on two occasions…on the first, I tried out a recipe with whole wheat and white flours to test it. It was good but I changed it up a bit.  On another morning I made another batch of it and a white flour only recipe, again with a few changes. So here’s my variations.

Khubz ‘Adi — Ordinary Syrian Flatbread  ( WAS MY SOURCE / MY CHANGES ARE IN THE RECIPE ) 

“…and bread sustains a man’s heart.” — Psalms 104:15

Yield: approximately 8 small rounds

1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 package fast-acting rapid rise yeast dissolved in 3 cups warm water
1 1/2  cups white bread flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt

1) Add sugar to the dissolved yeast mixture, which should be bubbly after standing for about 5 minutes.

2) Mix  the white and whole wheat flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and slowly pour in the dissolved yeast mixture. Stir to combine, and knead by hand in the bowl for about a minute until the dough is soft and sticky. Turn out onto a flour-dusted work surface and knead gently for about 3 to 5 minutes until the dough is elastic and no longer sticky to the touch. (You can also use dough hook of a mixer to knead the dough.) Place dough into a clean mixing bowl. Cover the dough with a damp towel. Seal the bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place for about a 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

3) After the dough has risen, divide into quarters and work with one quarter at a time, keeping the rest covered. Divide the first half into 4 fist-size balls. On a flour-covered surface, flatten each ball with a rolling pin or by hand until it is 4 to 6 inches in diameter. Place rounds of dough onto ungreased baking sheets, leaving ample space between them. Repeat with the remaining quarters. Cover each baking sheet with a towel and allow to rise for a minimum of 15 minutes.

NOTE **  I let mine rise for a good hour or more and then pricked each round with a fork prior to baking.

4) Preheat oven to 525°F.

5) Bake the rounds for 4 to 5 minutes, monitoring the process closely (loaves transition from done to burnt very rapidly). The heat must be even; otherwise, the bread does not puff properly.

NOTE ** I baked for about 3 minutes and then turned them over for even browning.

6) Remove loaves and cool on wire racks. Do not stack the loaves while cooling. Serve immediately or wrap tightly and freeze.

The above recipe is from While I pasted it here  visiting the article Shabbat Meals : Syrian Flatbread Transcends Generations by Poopa Dweck is a wonderful read.   She takes you back to her grandmother’s time, when the women were preparing their bread and then taking it to communal outdoor ovens…even if you are not going to bake the bread, it is a nice read, and an excerpt from a book that she wrote.

The white breads are baked at a slightly lower temperature but basically I did the same…pulled them out after a few minutes and turned them over for even browning, pricked with a fork prior to baking, etc. I let BOTH breads rise once they had been formed into rounds for a good hour.

White Flour Syrian Bread Ingredients :

  • 1 package yeast dissolved into 1 1/8 cups water
  • After sitting for five minutes, add 1 /2 teaspoon sugar, and then  2 T oil ( I used virgin olive oil )
  • Mix 1  1/2 teaspoons salt and 3 cups flour ( I used bread flour ) into a separate bowl
  • Make a well and add the yeast mixture. Knead for a wee bit then turn out onto a floured table or board and knead for a few minutes until smooth and elastic.
  • Let rise in a clean bowl for an hour or two. Punch down and create 8 fist-sized dough balls. Roll them out, cover with a towel and let them rise in a warm place for an hour. Back at 475 degrees for 4-5 minutes, turning as I recommended earlier for even browning.

flatbread collage

As long as you watch the clock, and don’t let these overbake, and put them into baggies ( or your storage of choice ) as soon as they have cooled a bit, they will be incredibly moist for days on end.  Great at room temperature, warmed up or toasted.

flatbreads 2


You might also enjoy :  Baking Bread : Challah Recipe  or  Turkey Pot Pie for Leftovers  or  Reading, Eating, Simmering

Sharing at : Cozy Little House / Savvy Southern Style / 21 Rosemary Lane / French Country Cottage / A Stroll Thru Life

Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt : Iris Block & Slow Sunday Stitching

I signed up for the Shenandoah Valley Botanical Quilt project. The pattern and PDF are provided by the Virginia Quilt Museum and all pattern sales benefit the museum. Dawn, from Collector with a Needle, and Doreen, from Aunt Reen’s Place, are hosting a sew-a-long for this quilt, HERE  

The instructions were that we could print the pattern as is, as provided by the museum, and make 9 ( or perhaps 10 ) inch blocks.  We could increase the pattern to 160% or 200 % for 16 or 20 inch blocks, respectively. The original block size from the antique quilt was 20 inches, cut down to 19.

For the iris block , I decided to forego a trip to Staples to have it enlarged. I enlarged it to 200 % on the monitor and I held a piece of paper there, traced the flower parts, and then just basically measured how long the leaves were and free-handed the rest. I also changed the buds.

I went with the soft colors of our autumn for this block but had a heck of a time with autumn lighting trying to get the true shade of the block to photograph. I don’t have a sewing room or design wall and usually just hang blocks on the laundry line. The Autumn light changes the colors of things…straight on, the block took on the colors of the bush behind it and the leaves looked brown.

The color is truer in this shot from the side but why the bottom looks so bumpy I don’t know..some shadows or lighting trick but I guess that I need to cut away the back there and press it again.

side view of iris on line

From another angle I got the true shade of the leaves…

shimmery fabric on iris

And upstairs on the bed with the sun streaming in the photos changed the leaf color again but the iris came out in it’s true color.

iris on bed

iris and grasses

Now that this is finished, for Slow Sunday Stitching over at Kathy’s, I can get back to the little Lori Smith block that I started awhile back, and I have some peels to applique for RSC15.

And they’ve been photo bombed by Kanga who likes things around here to be a group effort :)

kanga and applique

You might also enjoy : It’s Snowing  or  QUILT SHOW PART THREE

Sharing at :  COZY LITTLE HOUSE / Sew Fresh Quilts / Freshly Pieced

Online Trunk Show

There’s an online trunk show going on at Whims and Fancies.   I first learned of it when visiting Carla over a A Few Of My Favorite Things Carla is a quilter who inspires me, and her trunk show is amazing.

From Whims & Fancies about the Show : ” I believe in collaboration over competition, so there will be no judges.  This event is for pure show and tell fun.”

She’s lined up some great sponsors & prizes and I will enjoy visiting the others, so I decided to jump in. AND even if you don’t enter but just view the show, she’s got prizes for the viewers as well !

Online Quilt Trunk Show

So here is my show: and I don’t do perfect or spectacular here…I do this for fun and learning :)

Here are two from the early days : a sampler and a baby quilt for one of my sons, with another sons handprint quilted into it. Both of these were hand quilted.



A tied quilt that went off to college with my oldest son and it’s still with him, having survived many washings.


Moving forward, a tied Dresden that is on a grand girls bed now :


A hand quilted Dresden table runner for my house :

Quilted pillow covers that my grandson loved, since they went with his “Bee book” at the time:


Later on, his little hand was quilted into a nine-patch for his Daddy:


Nothing fancy, though the quilting was quite detailed; it was meant to be a couch quilt for their house:

Finished quilt for Scott

I hand quilted a snowball pattern, but tied the border for variety and color :

Finished Snowball Quilt

A tied quilt displayed at my place before traveling down the road to end up on another grandgirls bed:

Finished purple and green pieced and tied quilt

More purple : a hand quilted table runner :

A hand quilted couch quilt for my place :

finished basket quilt on line nov 11

basket quilting collage

Another tied quilt…this went down to a sons house:

finshed eagle quilt

He’s an Iraq vet :

after tying collage for eagle blog

There’s been many other pillows and table runners, couch quilts and baby quilts along the way that I have not shown,  but I’ll close with the latest hand quilted finish, which ended up at my moms when it was completed :

finished crosses and losses collage

Here’s that little grandson again…out at my moms, after we took the quilt when visiting :

DSC_0810 brent and quilt for trunk show post

Linking up with Whims & Fancies / Sharing at : Cozy Little House /Savvy Southern Style/ 21 Rosemary Lane/ French Country Cottage / A Stroll Thru Life

You might also enjoy : Making a Rag Rug on a Loom : Completed End of February 

QUILT SHOW: Part Three

In my first post about the local quilt show, I mentioned that the theme was Vintage Memories, and that I was pleasantly surprised to walk in and find antique and vintage quilts as well as reproduction quilts. The first two posts are HERE and HERE, if you have not seen them yet.

Here is a reproduction quilt by a very talented guild member. I mentioned in the earlier posts that the way the quilts were hung, due to there being so many, that it was very hard to capture a full sized quilt if it was not the center one of the the three…any quilt hung on the sides could not be captured as well.

Yvonne's Sylvia quilt collage

Another reproduction quilt titled ” Hearts and Apron Strings” pieced and appliqued by Linda L. Seaman / Long Arm Quilted by Melanie Beth Scott of Graceful Quilting, another guild member.

Hearts and Apron Strings

Speaking of aprons…there was a display of vintage aprons to go along with the theme of this show. Several of the guild members participated in an apron challenge, using vintage patterns.


aprons 2

Look at this vintage beauty : “Nana’s Rose of Sharon” hand appliqued and quilted by UNKNOWN:

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon detail

Rose of Sharon from another angle

Here is “Pink Pinwheels”, pieced and hand quilted by a guild member’s great grandmother in the early 1900’s…the maker was Annie Porter Whipsky:

pink pinwheels

pink pinwheels detail

Here is another one where it is nice to see the history known and preserved for future generations :

Aunt's Basket Card

basket quilt

basket quilt detail

Here is another one with a great story :

Carpenter's Wheel Card

This was a favorite of mine…

carpenters wheel quilt

Detail :

carpenters wheel long arm detail

This next quilt was so large that the top was folded over so that it would not drag on the floor.

Meet Me In Paris Card

While I was admiring this quilt a lady came along with her friend and asked if I liked this quilt, and then pointed out that it was all wrong due to the floral border the lady had used. I was admiring the extensive hand quilting…I told the lady that perhaps the maker wanted to use up fabric that she had on hand.

meet me in paris quilt

I suppose that you can have your own opinion at a show but to critique quilts out loud to a stranger? To me, it was all about the hand quilting :)

meet me in paris detail

3 quilts

I did not get the card in focus enough to credit the maker of this but here’s some detail :

one of the 3 quilts closeup

Fortunately the information card came out clearly for this quilt :

A vintage view collage

I did not take photos of all of the quilts in this show, yet I still have many to sort through, so there will be at least one more post in this series. I want to show a nice variety but I don’t want to make the posts too long :)

Sharing at : Cozy Little House / Savvy Southern Style / 21 Rosemary Lane / French Country Cottage