Friday, December 25, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sorry, no pictures. But I can tell you it was like a picture postcard winter wonderland as I drove to and from work today. I was so thankful that the roads are clear.

Sights and sounds are so important to us. When I called our son and asked to speak to our grandaughter, I heard the swish swish of her snowsuit as she came to the phone to say "Hi, Oma I'm going to play in the snow. Bye." click. It was a sweet conversation of snowsuit noise and her voice.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It took three hours to make the twenty minute drive from work to home last night. I am so grateful my husband keeps good tires on our cars. Then when I arrived home all was dark. . .no electricity! All is well this morning, but much more snow than the pictures show. We will take more pictures this morning. It has been a very long time since this much snow has fallen in our area.

Keep your woodpile dry and keep warm!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chex mix, holiday granola, and candied orange peel kept me busy in the kitchen this afternoon. They are some of the holiday treats we enjoy. Instead of rolling the candied orange peel in sugar after it drains, I have started putting it in my dehydrator. I use the recipe in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook I received as a wedding present 39 years ago.


I love the way a Christmas tree lights a dark room.

Friday, December 4, 2009

20 Days till Christmas

I just finished a purse sample for a new class January 12th, 10:00 to 4:00. The large grommets were really fun to use. Now I am looking for other applications for the grommets. I even dusted off my FasTurn tool to make the handles.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I have finished smocking my grandaughter's Christmas dress and plan to sew it together today. Then I will smock a little penguin for my grandson's red corduroy overalls. Hopefully everything will be ready to send by the Dec 4th deadline for overseas packages.

The tree is up but not decorated. I love this time of year. The decorating, the secret sewing, the cooking, the secrets . . .

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dennis and I had a quiet but very thankful Thanksgiving.

I decided the day after Thanksgiving should be homemade noodle day since I wasn't up to Black Friday Shopping. I used semolina and all-purpose flour with eggs and olive oil. I think this was the best egg pasta I have made to date. Some of it was rolled into egg noodles, some into lasagne noodles and some into fettichinni. We ate turkey noodle bake for lunch and broccoli lasagne with the addition of sausage for supper. Yummy!!!! I won't have to cook for a few days.

We are so thankful for our family and friends. Sending you our lovc.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Hands On Museum in Johnson City had their holiday fund raiser last night. It was a baked goods auction. I donated a plate of walnut double-decker brownie bars. It was a new recipe with a yummy chewy brownie on the bottom covered with a crisp layer of a walnut mixture.

Walnut Double-Decker Brownie Bars
for brownie layer:
6 oz. unsalted butter, cut into large chunks
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 oz.unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 t. salt
2 large eggs
1 t. pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 oz (3/4 c) unbleached all-purpose flour

for walnut layer:
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 oz (1/3 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 oz. (3 T) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped walnuts
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes

preheat oven to 325
line bottom and sides of 9x13 with foil and spray with cooking spray
make the brownie layer

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk the butter until it is melted. Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Whick until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk

whisk until smooth. Add the flour and stir with a rubber spatula unwil blended. Scrape into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until the top is shiny and dry looking and the brownie springs back very slightly when pressed with a fingertip, about 20 minutes. (The brownie should not be completely baked.) Remove from the oven and put on a rake.

make the walnut topping

While the brownie layer is baking combine the brown sugar and flour in a large bowl. Whisk until well blended breaking up any large clumps. Add the corn syrup, melted butter and vanilla. Whisk until blended about 1 minute. Add the eggs and whisk just until combined, about 30 seconds. (Don't overmix or the batter will be foamy.) Add the nuts and coconut and stir with a rubber spatula until evenly blended.

Pour the walnut topping over the warm, partially baked brownie layer. Using a spatula, carefully spread the mixture into an even layer. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the top is golden brown, 37-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool completely. (At this point, the entire pan can be wrapped in plastic wrap, then foil and frozen for up to 1 month).

Using the foil as handles, lift the rectangle from the pan and invert onto a work surface. Carefully peel away the foil. Flip right side up. Using a sharp knife, cut into 2x2-inch squares and then cut each square into triangles.

Hint: Dipping the knife in warm water and wiping it dry between cuts will keep the gooey from sticking to the knife.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Well, there will be no pictures today as I have hidden the camera batteries.

I wanted to share a few comments from Joen Wolfrom's lecture on color in our quilts. To create depth in our quilt designs one could mimic atmospheric perspective. This is accomplished by using progressively lighter and grayer colors for pieces you want to recede. Luminosity and luster can also be accomplished in a quilt design. Use a grayed tone around the main tone and things will start to glow.

I don't know if any of this made much sense but it has made me look at nature closely for color clues.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Our Christmas cactus is very happy with it's new location and is covered in blooms!

Needed to empty the shredded paper bin so added it to one of my raised beds. Then I topped it with leaves and pine needles. Next will be a layer of compost. I am told I can still plant spinnach seeds although I may not see them until Spring.

Also just learned about potato onions. Has anyone else planted them?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On a recent trip we stopped at the Lodge Cast Iron store. I learned a very useful tip and tried it out. It worked great. The tip: spray perch pan with oil and then preheat it in the oven while you mix up the cornbread. The cornbread batter should sizzle when you pour it in the perch pan. When baked the little perch cornbreads come right out. Spray, heat, and pour again.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I'm a little slow on the uptake at times. I just looked at my calendar and saw 47 days until Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, this will be a planning day for me. I love my Franklin Planner but need sometime smaller for shopping lists. Pictured above is my solution for Christmas lists. Instructions follow:

-cut a piece of Timtex or similar heavy stabilizer 7"x7 3/4"

-cut two pieces of Christmas fabric and two pieces of Wonder Under 8"x 8 1/4"

-Fuse the Wonder Under to the back of the Christmas fabric

-Fuse Christmas fabric to Timtex and trim to the size of the Timtex

-cut two pieces of fabric 5"x7" to create pockets to hold receits

-press these pieces in half so they now measure 2 1/2" x 7"

-Lay pockets on inside of cover with raw edges even and baste in place

-cut 1/8" elastic 6 3/4" long and center on inside of cover to hold pages or small purchased notebook Baste in place

-bind the edges of cover catching pockets and elastic.

-sew on button and ribbon to hold it shut

-cut pages a number of pages 6" x 7" Fold in half and slip under elastic

-Fill with wonderful plans for the Christmas holidays.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My challenge quilt has returned home. I received an e-mail asking if a photograph of the quilt could be included in a Math Teachers' magazine. I gave my consent.

My husband had gone shopping at a big box grocery store, so we spent the morning processing food. Now a big pot of chili sets simmering on the stove. Yummy!

Friday, November 6, 2009

My husband loves a good garage sale. He recently bought a massage table that had hardly been used. No one enjoyed it more than our grandaughter!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

We spent Halloween day with my sister and her family. The sun was shining and the sky was a beautiful October blue. Yes, there was even a nip in the air. She had decorated the center of their circle drive with pumpkins and gourds that they had grown. We had a pumpkin carving contest. My son carved the pumpkin that is spilling it's guts.

The excess pumpkins went to feed some chickens. My sister was told that pumpkins are a natural wormer for chickens. You learn something new everyday!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We have a new addition to our family. Our grandaughter wasn't so sure about Lulu at first. She was afraid she would be scratched, but soon found she had nothing to fear. Lulu's dinner consists of animal crackers that you have to eat for her. Lulu could not make the trip to Germany so is living with us at the lake.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another piece of fabric has caught my fancy. Not sure where this one will lead. I really like the graphics and can see them used as applique designs and/or embroidery designs . . .

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The days are in the 60's and the nights in the low 40's. It Fall weather. My husband has been photographing different plants in the yard. We were surprised by the abundance of red berries in our holly hedge we planted along the road.

We wish you a glorious fall. Get out there and enjoy the color!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I attended the lecture given by Kaffee last night. I enjoyed hearing about his artistic journey. Kaffee is a name he gave himself when he was 15. He would not tell the audience his given name. I found inspiration in the slide show of pictures that inspired his finished works of knitting, needlepoint, and piecing. He does not like the color wheel but works intuitivly with color for which he is gifted.

I have finally finished the pattern for the placemat for a round table. I made a sample in Kaffee fabric to hang in the shop with the rectangular placemat. Now, to look through my half finished patterns to decide which one will be published next.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kaffee Fasset will be at TN Quilts tomorrow afternoon to sign books. Yes, I will be in line. Then he will lecture Friday evening. Yes, I will be at the lecture with pen and pad. Saturday and Sunday he will be teaching classes at TN Quilts. No, I didn't sign up for classes in time and there is a long waiting list. But, I will be working and may hear a tip or two.

I made my placemat pattern out of fabric he designed. My pattern and his fabrics are available to purchase online from

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall on Boone Lake

Tuesday, October 20th from 10am to 1pm at TN Quilts, I will be teaching the construction of the cubes seen above. The cubes are found in the book "One-Block Wonders encore!" by Rosenthal & Pelzmann. If you would like to sign up for the class please call TN Quilts at 753-6644 or go to their web site for more details of this class and other classes:

Fall has come to Boone Lake. I took this picture from our deck last Monday. It has been raining ever since then. Our blueberry bushes and holly bushes are showing new growth with all this moisture.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Polly want a cracker?

Have you read the Oct-Nov 2009 Mary Janes Farm magazine? On pages 82-85 you will find recipes for homemade crackers. The article caught my attention, so I tried baking the Gingerbread Crackers. They were very easy to mix up and roll out. I used my 1/8 inch cookie slats to roll an even layer of dough. Next time I bake these crackers, I will roll them even thinner. They have a great ginger cookie taste without all the sugar. I plan to bake the Basic Farmhouse Crackers next. Maybe I will replace the 2 teaspoons sugar with the sweet herb, stevia.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

mysteries revealed

For several years (I've lost count) female relatives have gathered at our home to attend Quiltfest in Jonesborough, TN in July. The gathering has evolved and grown to a house full of sewing machines and laughter and lots of quilting. About five years ago we started doing a family quilt challenge.
This year is to be a mystery quilt. One person knows the end result and e-mails, monthly or so, directions to the others. We were given a fabric shopping list before we parted ways last July. The above picture shows my three fabrics and the result of the first cutting and sewing instructions. It is now packed away until the next instructions arrive. We will show our finished quilt tops at the Friday night Quiltfest banquet. It is fun to see different quilts during show and tell time there.

I have received a request for the Rhubarb Crunch recipe.

3 cups rhubarb
1 cup sugar (can use less)
3 T flour
Place in greased baking dish.
1 cup brown sugar (can use less)
1 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
Cut in 1 cup butter and sprinkle over rhubarb.
Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.

Since it is apple season I will send along my revised recipe for Apple Crunch:
3 cups apples
1/2 cup suger
3 T flour
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cup flour

I just recently read, If you are out of brown sugar, make your own by adding 1 - 2 T molasses to 1 cup sugar. It works great!