Friday, October 31, 2008

Do You Love Your Bread Maker?

In order to avoid the craziness in town today, I am going to delay our trip into town to go to the market. Not usually a big deal to delay the trip by a couple of days, but today we are out of two things...milk and bread. I can easily mix up a quart of powdered milk so that takes care of the milk shortage. But kneading a loaf of bread by hand was not on my list of things to do this morning. I've been thinking about buying a bread machine so I thought I'd see if anyone can offer any help in the matter. If you have or have had a bread maker I have a few questions for you....
What type of machine do you have and what do you LOVE about it? Do you use it? If it died tomorrow would you replace it? If you had a bread machine and hated it, never used it or gave it away, I'd love to hear from you as well.
The children made a trip over to visit their new puppy last night. The breeder would like to keep the puppies together as a litter for another week before letting them go to their new homes. They have chosen the name "Molly" and wanted to try it out. The big dog is Molly's mother. She absolutely dwarfs my eight year old who is sitting next to her.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why is tomorrow the best day to go out for dinner?

Assuming you live in the states, regardless of the restaurant, if you visit between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. I can almost guarantee that you will not see a child, except perhaps my two children. Why? Tomorrow is October 31 and parents with children will be out going from house to house begging for candy, which means the restaurants will be empty! But as we are not a family that participates in this tradition, we have found that it is an absolutely wonderful night to go out to dinner. We have always had excellent service and have never had to wait for a table and the noise is reduced to an enjoyable level. We look forward to this night each fall. This year the children have chosen one of their favorite places, and the fact that it does not have golden arches or a drive thru makes my heart leap for joy. If the weather holds we may even be able to eat our bbq chicken wings outside. I've finished up a wool needle book that will soon be on it's way to Australia along with a sheep pincushion. All that is left is to find a box that's not too big and not too small. Where's an Amazon box when you need it! Another completed top for the Home of the Brave Quilt Project for an fallen soldier's family here in Ohio. The blocks in this top were sent to me by Carol. Her piecing skills are fantastic. It made stitching those setting triangles a breeze! And a surprise for my sweet friend in Belgium. I've been needing to finish up a few promised projects before I would allow myself to begin working on this stitching. After preparing the fabric yesternight, I realized that I am going to need every second of daylight that I can get to work on this stitching. Whoever thought that stitching over one thread of linen with one strand of cotton was a clever idea, couldn't possibly have had a house load of chores, small children to care for and a puppy soon to be underfoot. But the finished stitched items will be perfect for my friend and I want to be the one to give them to her.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's a girl!

We found a breeder that was closer to home and went to look at her puppies last weekend. I had imagined an all white Great Pyrenees like Lucy, but this pup was a sweetie and the markings give her face a lot of character. After about an hour it was clear that she was smitten with my son. There was no squabbling over which puppy to pick as this one had already picked us. It's a good thing that the puppy won't be coming home for ten more days, as we haven't decided on a name yet. The list of possibilities has been reduced by 50 %, but it doesn't make the choice any easier.

Friday, October 24, 2008

in more ways than one...

Merci, Danke and Thank you... ...for all the kind comments and hugs left for us this week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

heaven got a really great dog today

will remember you always...will love you forever
Katie McGregor M.H.D. 1993-2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Little Girl in Texas Needs a Quilt...

I always have a doll quilt or two stashed away on a shelf, and after reading about this little girl who is need of a doll quilt, I know exactly where to send it. A quilt wrapped around a doll in love, always looks better than one folded on a shelf. This quilt is on it's way to Texas for Mei-Ling to wrap around one of her dolls.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I had to go out and see for myself...

After a week of some of the most amazing October weather that I had ever seen the likes of in Ohio, I refused to believe that Fall had arrived. My daughter swam in a pool this week. We ate outside. We are still wearing shorts and sandals, though I have added a flannel shirt and wool socks. Perhaps those who keep telling me that Fall has arrived are right this time.
I tend to be a very black and white person, which means I have to see it to believe it. So I grabbed my camera and here is what I found just this morning. Wood being stacked on the log holder up at the house...check! Trees turning stunning shades or orange, gold and red...check! Pale blonde corn leaves and brittle corn stalks against a threatening sky...check! Feed corn waiting for harvest....check! Wait! What's this I see?! Tenacious flowers clinging to the last glimmer of a summer that was, but is no more...check. So out come the colors of Fall. The warmth of delicious chocolates and a warm cheddar that might easily be thought of as pumpkin. A sweet little kit with a Jo Morton pattern with wee blocks of 2 1/4" Good grief...I hope that is the finished size! Another quilt being pieced for the Home of the Brave Quilt project with 9 patch blocks that were lovingly made and sent from Brown Quilts. Once the cat finishes with her nap, rows will be sashed and borders added.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The winner is......

Congratulations to the Quilt Nut who has won the Amazon prize box loaded with goodies for the Fall into Fall Quilter's Blog GiveAway. Thank you to everyone who entered. Each of your entries has been added to a poster board of names we are considering for our new puppy. You came up with so many wonderful and creative names that it will be difficult to chose just one!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hand Quilting ... a penny per yard of thread

Sorry to have gotten your hopes up! This group of women were part of the Moravian sewing circle. They would hand quilt for anyone at one cent a yard of thread and donate the money to the church. They were from Lititz, Pennsylvania. The woman sitting alone at the far end of the frame was the oldest member of the group and was still quilting at 93. There are so many questions I would love to have answered about the women in this photograph:
The clock on the back wall shows 4:45 and it made me wonder what they were doing quilting so late into the afternoon and what would they be preparing for dinner after having spent all day out at a quilting frolic? What color are the fabrics in the quilt that they are working on? What quilting pattern are they quilting? Who was the quilt in the frame for and what ever became of it? What are the women sitting at the window working on? Where was the photo taken? In one of the quilter's homes? Do I see an arm chair in the far back right corner of the room? I want to know their names and where they lived and about the families they raised and the lives they lived. I want to know their stories, their recipes, their quilting advice, their advice on raising a family, how to darn a sock, how to pinch a penny, how to save for a rainy day.
The photograph was taken in November of 1942 by Marjory Collins.

Monday, October 13, 2008

He loves me, he loves me not....

.... he loves me! While traveling on the road for hockey games this weekend, my husband, sought out a Joann's Fabric store and picked up this little gem for me. Thank you sweetie!

Friday, October 10, 2008

You Twirl Girl!

Last weekend I bit the bullet and finally tried a Twirly Skirt tutorial that I saw on a blog over at House on Hill Road. I needed a quick, easy to pull on skirt for my little ballerina to wear over her tights and leotard on the way to ballet. I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of stitching this little skirt and how well written the directions were. It was easily stitched in under an hour and there are no button holes and no zippers! If you need a quick to stitch gift for a young girl for Christmas, you can't go wrong using this tutorial! spin span spun, will spin, can spin, done spunning!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's a Dark Day Here.....

The weather here in Ohio is changing and the air seems a little cooler each day. Two yards of red flannel have been washed and have been paired up with a pattern for a pair of bloomers for my daughter to keep her legs warm under her dresses this winter. Things we going great this morning and I was ready to sit the children at their lessons and cut out the pattern, until I went to warm the old girl up, only to find that she will heat no more. We have been together for nearly seven years and she has been such a faithful help meet in all of my quilting and sewing endeavors and adventures. She has helped to square things up and squash things flat. I love ironing and she had a certain comforting heft about her. Her aqua water tank and orange blinking light has become part of the warmth of our home. She will be dearly missed! My back up iron is a cordless Maytag and she came with her own fancy carrying case. She has lived quietly in Rowenta's shadow for many years. Hopefully May and I can iron out our differences and forge a long working relationship.

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's a Give-Away not a Swap....

Fall into Fall Quilter's Blog Give-Away
Debi from Debi Quilts has organized the Fall into Fall Quilter's Blog Give-Away. And while my family has banned me from Swaps until further notice....they said nothing about a Give-Away! I have found the Amazon box that your lovely prizes will be shipped in and I have begun pilfering my books, patterns and fabrics and I will add something new to the box each day until the drawing, which runs until the 15th of October. I will take a photo of the Amazon box each day with the item that I have added to it and you can check out the updated photo of the box in my sidebar photos. On the 15th of October I will seal the box and draw the winner's name and head into town with your lovely gifts. The only thing that you have to do to enter the Fall into Fall Quilter's Blog Give-Away on my blog is.... ... to help me come up with a name for our new Great Pyrenees puppy who will be coming home in November.... I will need suggestions for both a boy dog and a girl dog as we have asked for the biggest puppy in the litter and will only know of the sex after the puppies are born sometime this week. Please remember that this is a family friendly blog and anything inappropriate will be deleted and your name will not be included in the entry for the Give-Away! This is a photo of our Great Pyrenees puppy who turned 6 months old last week. Her name is Lucy, though we call her Miss Lucy when she is behaving sweetly, Goose when she is flighty and off chasing kittens, and Moose when she bowls you over or knocks you to the ground. The first thing that I have placed into the Amazon prize box is one of the sheep pincushions that I made. Good Luck!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Quilter's have the Biggest Hearts!

To those of you both near and far that have generously offered to give of their time, talent and fabric to make quilt 9 patch blocks for fallen soldiers....
Thank you from the bottom of my heart! If you are interested in contributing a block or a few... I will be starting to make another set of blocks and will work in any donated blocks until I have enough to finish a top. Each quilt requires 16 nine patch blocks in order to complete the top. When the top is complete I will post photos of the quilt top once the blocks have been set and the borders have been sewn on. After that the quilt will make it's way to a quilter that will donate her time to finish the quilting. The blocks that the Ohio Home of the Brave Project uses is a 9 1/2" unfinished 9 patch. In choosing fabrics for blocks that I have made for the quilts, I have used Civil War reproductions as well as Thimbleberries. There are many fabrics that could be used, but please remember that in a sense, these quilts will be given to the families who have lost a loved one. Bright colors, batiks and conversational prints should be avoided. I have used browns, blues, greens, golds, reds, purples in varying shades and patterns. To make one block cut the following: 4 dark squares 3 1/2" squares, 4 light or medium colored 3 1/2" squares, and 1 muslin 3 1/2" square. The center muslin square is for each quilter to sign their name, city, state or country. This block may also be left blank if desired or replaced with a dark or medium colored fabric. The complete set of directions for this quilt can be found at Quilter's Muse. The quilt was originally designed by Bev Macbeth who stepped forward in the begin to be the state coordinator for the state of Ohio Home of the Brave's Quilt Project. Once you have blocks ready to mail please email me at asimplequilter@gmail.com and I will provide and address for you to send the blocks to. I was deeply touched from the number of emails and the comments I received from people who have offered to make blocks. You have encouraged me to continue making these tops for the families who have given so much for our country.

Friday, October 3, 2008

My family forbids me to....

join another swap before the end of the year. And I say to them...."Thank you...just right after I finish the three Pay It Forward gifts that I need to finish and send out...after that I am done!" But in case a really fun swap comes along, I had my fingers crossed behind my back and no one thought to look. But I had a blast stitching the pillow for Anne as part of Rhonda's Pincushion Swap at Down To Earth. This week in between caring for two sick children and then coming down with my own bit of terrible cold, I was able to convert the stitching into a pincushion and stuff it and stitch it closed. I backed it with a bit of left over fabric that was the perfect shade of green. Though with the October skies taking over, I'm not sure that it looks that perfect in the photo. This is a quilt that was intended to be a wedding gift for the daughter of the pastor of a church we were attending a few years ago. When the bride heard that I was making a quilt for her, she sent back word through the grapevine that she really was only looking to receive gifts from her Target bridal registry. Which leaves me only two things to say.... We don't go to that church any more and the quilt will look great on my couch! I've decided to call it "The Big Red Barn" and will have to decide whether to put borders on her as she is already more than large enough for our couch. The search is on for a snuggly flannel backing and then that will only leave the quilting and binding. Perfect quilting for a chilly autumn day. Using the best of my time while my family was away in Indianapolis for last weekend's hockey tournament, I finished up a quilt top that is for the Home of the Brave Quilt Project. The quilt will be given to the family of an Ohio soldier who has fallen in the line of duty. Ohio has lost 186 soldiers to date, and not all of the families have received a quilt. This is the third quilt that I have worked on. The blocks were pieced by quilter's across the country and I assembled the top. The quilt top will be passed along to another quilter who will quilt, bind and sew on a special label and then the quilt will be presented to the fallen soldier's family. If you don't have time to piece an entire quilt...could you spare a few minutes to piece a 9 patch block? Email me if you are interested in donating a block or two to a special project. When I first began hand piecing I began with these easy 9 patch blocks. I was amazed at how quickly a 9 patch block could be hand pieced. The blocks were pieced two years ago before moving to the farm. Last winter I machine pieced the blocks into the rows and added the sashing. I had a difficult time choosing the fabric for a border, but when I finally came across a bit of Thimbleberries with acorns, I decided that it was just what I needed to finish the quilt. The top will go into my "To be quilted" pile and wait for a spot in the quilt frame and eventually be hung in Douglas' bedroom as a wall warmer. And last but not least a sampling of fabrics that were a gift from my family when they went to my favorite quilt shop...Quilts Plus in Indianapolis! I began playing with the fabrics and I think I feel another Log Cabin coming along.