Friday, December 31, 2010

The end of 2010? .....

I suppose 2010, like the years past, will never entirely end. I don't know about you, but I have some wonderful memories that lift above the "not so wonderful" ones, and I can honestly say, God had a good reason for me to be a part of 2010's ramblings on.

It was an interesting year Politically. A definite turning point for all political parties.

A good year for my family as we watch our daughter and her two Blessings settle into their new home. It is also wonderful to see her prosper and advance in the business world ... especially in light that so many are struggling. One of our sons is doing incredibly well while stationed in San Antonio with his wife and three daughters. The education the ARMY is giving that boy is beyond anyone's wildest dreams (he is finishing up a Computer Forensics degree at present). And our second son graduated in September with his Masters degree in Eastern Medicine. He has two more Medical boards to take and then he can begin practicing .... it's been a long three years for him to reach this point. It is nice to see the "light".

Then for the life of Hubby and me? All of a sudden we are doing really well! For two years the phone hardly rang, and now we are about to direct an abundance of calls to other folks. Hubby is a Master Trim Carpenter. I have set my sights on other avenues as Historical gowns are not selling as well as they have in the past .... and frankly, I admit I am not heart broken about that. 2011 will be a time to venture into new business directions, and I am thrilled with the prospect.

As we all sit here today reminiscing, let us not forget who to give thanks to for all those Blessings, both blatant and in disguise. Indeed we have an Awesome God.
The picture above are fireworks over Independence Rock on the grounds of our National Monument area here in Grand Junction, Colorado. We live in an area rich with beauty as we find ourselves surrounded with amazing scenery.

Happy New Year to you all from Hey Grandma!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Carol of the Bells ... Be still my heart!

So! This is my all time favorite Christmas lights set to music. It is also one of my most favorite Christmas songs of all time!

Hey Grandma! shares this with you and wishes you a glorious Christmas week!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

I absolutely love this story!

Do you believe? .... in Santa Claus? ....

I'll have pictures in a few days of my awesome other half an d my joint effort. I'm the one he's waiting on, however. I need to sandwich, quilt and bind three small quilts. I don't really know how long it will take .... it's Christmas after all! If I decide to make cookies instead of entering the sewing room, then that's what is going to happen! LOL Santa NEEDS his cookies! In a bad way! LOL

Hugs to you all from Hey Grandma!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm Baaaaack!

It's been a while, I know .....

Disclaimer time!

It's bad enough to get the flu, but when your immune system has no time to strengthen so then you come down with a cold right afterward ... well that is just plain unfair. What initially began Thanksgiving day, took until yesterday to feel human enough to want to venture into the sewing room.

This picture is showing 50 half finished Log cabins. The finished size will be 4 inch squares and will be making a small quilt to fit with a beautiful wooden tray my Awesome Other Half is making .... actually, he is staining and glazing it tonight. Is this going to be a Christmas gift? No ...

We have decided to open a business together .... It will encompass talents we feel very blessed by God to have been given.

I will unfold more of the details a little later. We are working out a few things, but I'll let you know this .... the name is Willow Mesa, which is reminiscent of the area we live in.

So for now, Hey Grandma! is happy to be back in the world of creating again, and I wish you all a wonderful week!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fish Tales Quilt Block ....

Welcome to another day with Hey Grandma!

So, here is the Fish Tales block ... I don't think I would really enjoy making a whole quilt out of the block, but I do have to say it was an intriguing one to make.

For those who have been following, my inspiration for this sampler quilt comes from the 2009/2010 Winter Edition of the McCalls Quilting Magazine. You can obtain a back issue:

I have 6 more blocks to go. Then I need to make the filler blocks which are Sawtooth, Flying Geese, Economy, Pinwheels and Hourglass squares. These various blocks fit together with the main blocks to create a Sampler Quilt that is geometric and allows the eye to pass over the quilt with random amazement ... OK, maybe that sounds a bit dramatic, but you'll see what I mean!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Free Trade Quilt Block .... No Knead White Bread ...

Hello from Hey Grandma! Looking out my window, I would be hard pressed to convince anyone it had snowed yesterday. Another beautiful Autumn looking afternoon is in residence. The sun is shining and there is only a breath of breeze. It is actually warm enough to venture out with only a sweater ....

I just finished the Free Trade quilt block. I have to tell you, I really like blocks that have star like shapes to them. This block is a variation on the Evening Star block, which is a sometimes a star within a star in the center square, or four patch in the center square. Our quilting ancestors were very good at creating new blocks with the familiar ones they worked with. (and just for the record, I have also seen the Evening Star block look nothing like this! Lots of blocks out there with similar names I think)

The thing I like about this block is it actually ended up the 12 1/2 inches it was supposed to be! LOL

Here is something else I want to pass your way. A No Knead White Bread recipe. Let me tell you this ... it was by far the softest white bread I think I have ever made! And sooooo easy!!!

2 cups warm water
2 pkgs dry yeast (or 5 teaspoons)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 oil
1 egg
6 1/2 - 7 cups flour.

Mix in the order given. Handle gently, do not risk kneading. Let rise once until double (about an hour). Punch down and split between 2 loaf pans .... or make rolls ... or some of each. Let rise again (about 30 minutes) and bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes. Though I have not tried this yet, the recipe says you can put the dough in the frig until ready to use and it will keep in there for 5 days. I have a no knead cinnamon roll recipe that has you put the dough in the frig over night, or up to 4 days, and it works out great, so I suspect this would to.

From Hey Grandma! Have a great day!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Owl Pin cushion Giveaway .... Chili Recipe

I woke up to snow falling from Heaven this morning!
Great * Big * Beautiful * Flakes!
The first snow fall of the season. And now as I type this blog, the snow is melted. No more falling from the sky. But there are clouds up there, so here's to hoping it falls again this evening.

There is a blog I enjoy following, Heirlooms by Ashton House. In this mornings post, she is advertising a lovely giveaway! I'm passing it on to you as well. Here is the web link:

It is the cutest thing! I'm just sure you will love it too!

Here is a recipe for the yummiest chili! Seems a fitting thing to share on a day where we get snow after all.

1 Lb. ground beef
1 Lb. stew meat
1 large can tomatoes
1 large can (29 ounce) tomato sauce
I use three kinds of beans: black, red and pinto (the amount I leave up to you)
1 large onion diced
I large green pepper diced
1/4 cup celery diced (generally 1 stalk worth)
2 teaspoons cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups of water if you see fit to add

Brown meat, add veggies. Cook until the onion is crisp tender (a few min.). Add remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat 2 to 3 hours, stirring every 15 min or so. (This works well in the Crock pot too)

I serve with a salad with vinegar and oil dressing. I also like to garnish my chili. This time I used Frito's and sour cream, but we also like it when we sprinkle with grated cheddar and diced onions.

Yum Yum!!
Hey Grandma! wishes you a wonderful day!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Delectable Moutains Quilt Block

Do you know what I have noticed since I started making this sampler quilt? That I feel "gutsier" with the fabrics I choose to make the blocks. Not that I am not conscientious of the fabrics I choose to make each block, but I feel more comfortable with it all.

I have heard where some women put their fabric scrapes into three different containers or sacks/bags. One each for the lights, medium and dark fabrics/hues. The challenge is to use whatever fabric they pull out ... no matter what. Hmmm ..... I do believe I would like to try this at some point. Perhaps if enough of you would like to do this together as a group effort, I would very much be game! If you consider how fortunate we are in comparison to our Quilting Ancestors with our being able to obtain fabrics at a whim, the three bag of fabrics idea just may be a more accurate style of quilt they may have made. Actually, if you look at some of the Antique and Vintage quilts, you will see pieces put together that we may not have. They had to work with what they had (such as the antique quilt pic on the left), and the three bag challenge makes us have to do the same thing. Interesting concept!

Last night I made the Delectable Mountains quilt block. I have never made this one before, and I absolutely loved it! I googled the quilt block and its history. Here is a link that I found very interesting.

Once again, my inspiration for the sample quilt is from the 2009/2010 Winter Edition of the McCalls Quilting Magazine. You can get a back issue via www.

Now I would like to show you a picture of another creation I have made. Another part of my life is sewing historical gowns. This is a Civil War era ensemble. This is something my Great Great Grandmother or Aunt may have worn. It could easily have been worn during the second stage of mourning, or as a traveling ensemble. At any rate, this is something I do and want to share this with my quilting friends.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Log Cabin Quilt Block & Lore ..... and Apple Bread .....

November 2nd .... Voting Day! Please! Take this wonderful opportunity to go to your nearest polling center and vote! Many of us do not realize how fortunate we are to have this tremendous opportunity of being able to vote! Regardless of your Political affiliation, your vote is important. Remember, if you do not vote today, you really can not complain tomorrow.

Last night I made the Log Cabin Quilt block.

Log Cabins have such a wonderful quilt lore! I made mine with the red center meaning the red-hot hearth and center of the home. In fact, most people use a red center when traditionally making a log cabin block. However, there are two other colors used with some regularity. Yellow for the light in a window showing the way for those who may be lost. Then there is black which is known for two of it's own reasons. 1. used to symbolize mourning. 2. Used rather significantly as a symbol during the Underground Railroad (or maybe named after Abraham Lincoln because of his effort to free the slaves).

The square center also has been known for the Log Cabin Campaign, especially during the Homestead Act when so many people were moving West and building log cabins on their 144 acres. And another bit of trivia is the Log Cabin quilts were made to use as raffles to earn money for the Union Army.

Many of you have seen other quilts made similarly, but going by different names: Pineapple, Courthouse Steps, Chimneys and Cornerstones, Streaks of Lightening, Broken Dishes (though this one not as much), and Barn Raising. Believe me, this is but a few, as there are several more!

Remember the Apple Bread I mentioned yesterday? Yum Yum!! Here is the recipe!

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chopped apples
1 cup chopped walnuts

Mix all ingredients (I needed to add a bit of liquid and used milk). Divide dough between two 8" X 4" bread pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 - 45 min or until bread tests done. I found this bread to be very cake like. I have NO doubt it would be great as a after dinner desert. Just heat and serve with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Seriously, this is very good!
Okay ... now I am going to test a No Knead Cinnamon Roll Recipe!
By for now from Hey Grandma!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bears Paw and Wild Geese ...

Hey Grandma! welcomes you to November 1st! Today I began working on new recipes that will be used during the holidays. I just took out two loaves of Apple Bread from the oven, and just with the delightful fragrance floating around here, I had better do a double workout tomorrow! LOL Tell you what, if this bread is as good as it smells, I'll give you the recipe tomorrow along with a picture ... hows that? But for right now, "Lord, help me to be strong and not eat a whole loaf!"

Last night I made two more blocks for my sampler quilt. For those of you who are new to my blog, my inspiration is from the 2009/2010 Winter Edition of the McCalls Quilting magazine. If you do not have a copy of your own, you can obtain a back issue via

Now in all honesty, this is probably my least favorite version of the Bears Paw. However, it will still look wonderful in the quilt. It just seems a little sad using a quarter of a wonderful block ....

I am a fan of the Bears Paw though. It has interesting lore behind it as well. One, is it was believed to be used as a resource during the Underground Railroad to direct the runaway slaves to find water and fish (which kind of cracks me up as the North American Black Bear is largely vegetarian hehe). There is another piece of lore, if the runaway slaves saw this quilt hanging, to beware of bears .... My question is, which lore were they to follow? hmmm ......

There are also two other names for this block: Ducks Foot in the Mud and Hands of Friendship.

The second block is Wild Geese. I have plans with this block to create a new pattern with. This block was fun and has lots of possibilities. I love the feel it gives while leaning toward the Friendship Star block.
Okay! Until next time .... YOU have a winderful day!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tree of Life Block ....

Hey Grandma! welcomes you to another week!

Last night made the Tree of Life block for the sampler quilt. Have you ever worked on a block only to find you put in an area upside down? Did you do it twice in a row? LOL Yep! I did ..... oh well ...... This block also made me painfully aware that I need to work with small triangles more often too.

Next block to make is a variation of Bears Paw.

For those of you who know me, you know I also make Historical Gowns. Today I began a Civil War era gown. If you, by chance, want to follow along on this other aspect of my life, I invite you to sign onto my other blog The gown I finished up a couple of weeks ago sold over the weekend, which always makes the checkbook happier!
Ok! The sun is shining! I'm going for a walk! Have a great day!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Flower Basket and Rail Fence Quilt Blocks

I really thought I was going to have the whole day to sew .... sometimes it is really silly to have a thought process! LOL First of all, I heard our local Quilt Store was having a Saturday only sale .... I figured I would call first to see if they had a book by Kathleen Tracy there on sale that I have been eyeing. If it wasn't on sale, I simply would stay home. If it was on sale? Oh thank God it was! And I am quite certain I did my fair share to help pay for a couple of the employees wages in the process! LOL

Then I get home and see red tomatoes in the garden. Even though I have canned and canned ..... and canned and canned tomatoes this year, I couldn't let those beautiful things go to waste! So as I sit here visiting with all of you, I have a wonderful smelling pot of salsa simmering away on the stove, thickening to the just the right consistency before I put in jars.

Then I got to looking at some of the fat quarters I brought home, and a wonderful pattern came to mind! So then I had to start designing .... I will play it safe and say, "Mums The Word", as I do believe this will be the pattern to launch a new business. Actually, that is a bit intimidating ... but exciting just the same.

So, last night I made two blocks for my Sampler Quilt. The Flower Basket and Rail Fence.

Basket quilt blocks of any style are a favorite of mine. There is not a one that doesn't bring a smile on my face.

I love the simplicity of the Rail Fence block! Of course I prefer it on a larger scale to see the rails meander throughout the quilt top, but even in this simple block you can get a lovely image of how it would take shape if you kept on going.

The block to make is one of the beautiful variations of the Tree of Life. Tree blocks are another favorite. hmmm .... I am finding I have a lot of favorite blocks .... such as the life of Hey Grandma!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Farmers Fields and Corn and Beans Quilt Blocks ...

Hi there from Hey Grandma!

We are having the wonderfully light rainy day here on the Western Slope of Colorado! Always a welcome sight when you live in a semi arid desert area ...

Okay! So I managed to get two blocks finished last night for my Sampler Quilt. Once again, I am taking my inspiration from the 2009/2010 Winter Edition of McCalls Quilting Magazine. You can get your own back issue copy via Actually, I strongly suggest you purchasing this magazine as it is full of fun quilts to create!

Farmers Fields .... I suspect this block traditionally goes by a different name. I know I have seen it before, but when I tried to research the name, this one does not come up unless it is associated with the McCalls Sampler Quilt. I wish one of my Grandmothers were still alive .... it's times like this that would make it ideal to ask a pro!

Corn and Beans ... This one is a variation of Corn and Beans Quilt Block. There are three others that I know of, but this one was fun to assemble.
There are variations ( a bit of quilt lore for you!) of the block which also go by the names: Duck and Ducklings, Ducklings, Fox and Geese, Hen and Chickens, Handy Andy, Shoo Fly, Wild Goose Chase.
Hey Grandma! thinks it might be fun to make a quilt with the blocks listed above! Maybe call it the Farm Yard, or something. Hmm .... something to ponder on ....
I have my fabrics all picked out of the next block which is a Flower Basket (another of my favorites, too!)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lynette Jensen was AWESOME!

This post is overdue, I know ... sorry! But if you ever get the chance to see this women ( Lynette Jensen) and her trunk show, do NOT hesitate to do so! I promise you a witty woman who is full of talent and love for the quilting industry. She will fill your mind with wonder and inspiration which will, undoubtedly, cause you to wish for more hours in each day. You will walk ... no, RUN home and immediately start creating.

I have to tell you there is not a picture around that could possibly depict the colors and beauty of each of Lynette's quilts in person. To see them is pure Eye Candy!

Naturally, I walked away with books and fat quarters (all 20% off ! Huzzah!!)

Okay ... here are some pictures, but please excuse the graininess of them. I am hoping they will; give you inspiration as they did me.

Today I am working on the Sampler Quilt .... I'll let you see in the next blog post.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lynette Jensen with Thimbleberries ....

I am so excited! Tomorrow, October 16th, Lynette Jensen will be here in Western Slope Colorado with one of her, now rare, trunk shows!

She has been designing for 20 years, and I think I have been following her for most of that. I was thrilled beyond measure when she began her fabric line ... especially when they blend so wonderfully with reproduction prints, if you find the need to mix like that (which I have on occasion).

I understand there will be dozens of quilts and tons of stores! My beautiful tall and talented daughter is joining me and I just know we'll leave there tomorrow afternoon filled to the brim with inspiration and loads of enthusiasm, and I can hardly wait!

I never thought of myself as a groupie ... guess maybe I am a little.

I have several quilt artists which feed my quilting soul .... Jo Morton, who I wish I could syphon some of that talent from. The two very talented women with Blackbird Designs. They have awesome fabric lines, too, as well as the neatest counted cross stitch patterns (which I recently purchased a couple just this week!). Kathleen Tracy who constantly inspires me with her Civil War print quilts and her books with such detailed and envied history. And! When I found the book Egg Money, I became completely captivated with Eleanor Burns. And like many of you, there are many, many more quilt artists out there that capture our creative quilting attention.
Please share with Hey Grandma! who your quilt heroes are! I would love to add to my quilt patterns and quilt book library! ;)
I'll let you all know how it went with Lynette Jensen! (I just know Lynette and I will become the BEST of friends! LOL)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sampler Quilt block ... Memory Quilts

Here is the next quilt block to the Sampler Quilt I I making. Remember, I am using the one found in the 2009/2010 Winter edition of McCalls Quilting as inspiration. You can obtain a back issue from

They call this block the Memory Block .... To my knowledge, and I also researched a little, there is not a block by this name. However, I would like to know the actual name of the block, and if any of you know it, would you kindly let me know? Thanks ....

There are Memory Quilts, though. Maybe some of you call them Album Quilts or Signature Quilts. They are the quilts that are made for someone to signify a special time in their, life like a wedding for example. Maybe a beloved neighbor woman was going to be moving away, so the women of a community stitched a quilt for her to remember them by. Oftentimes, there was a center square that was left for people to sign or write a poem. I have seen pictures of some that were carried across the nation as a family made it's way to Oregon or California. If you let your imagination wander, can you imagin the woman who was gifted with such a treasure? How she must have ran her hand lovingly over the squares with one hand, while brushing off a tear with the other? Maybe that is a bit dramatic, huh? Nope, I don't think so ....

Now a Memory Quilt can be a photo quilt. Hey Grandma! Bet you would have loved that! How about the quilts made out of your son or daughters sport t-shirts? Those would b a wonderful memory for the child to receive now wouldn't it? What ever it is, it truly is a wonderful way to remember ....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ocean Waves Quilt Block ....

Hey Grandma! welcomes you to another week! Here on the Western Slope of Colorado, the sun is shining and autumn is in the air for certain! There is still alot of green showing on the trees, but the colors are changing, and before the next week or two is over, the trees will be sporting the vibrant colors which so many other areas in this great nation of ours have, or are, experiencing.

As you already know, I am taking inspiration from McCalls Quilting Winter edition 2009/2010 Sampler Quilt. You can get your own back issue via

To be perfectly honest, I did NOT like their Ocean Waves pattern! I simply do not like to deal with mitred corners, and that's what their block/directions wanted me to do. Um Um no way! I still wanted to work with a fussy cut center square, so after some time looking for alternate Ocean Waves blocks, I came across one that would work just fine! NOTE! You will be very surprised at how many of the quilt blocks out there have alternate settings ... Another thing that bothered me about their block was the use of red. Red just does not come to my mind when I think of water.

At any rate, the pictures show my block as well as the directions of the one I did. Click on the pictures to bet bigger detail. This quilt block comes from

I took the block pattern and tweeked it to be more like other waves patterns. Which makes me think .... Do you suppose our Grandmas and Aunts from the past did the same thing to quilt blocks? I do! Why do we have so many different variations had they not. Not to mention the different names for the same block. The different areas our wonderful ancestor women lived often times dictated the various names ... sometimes it was their cultural backgrounds which gave them the names we know many blocks today by. Hey Grandma! Thank you for the legacy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Quilt Web Links .... and Elizabeth Keckley

Perhaps to some, this blog post will not generate much interest. However, I have stumbled across some interesting and useful web links that sure sparked my interest! (from American Patchwork & Quilting) will send you weekly updates and free ... yes free, patterns! I received my email today and was THRILLED TO DEATH to see a pattern for Harvest Log Cabins! Anyone who knows me knows my passion for Log Cabin Quilts and House blocks! I am in heaven. The only problem is, "do I want to add another UFO to my already growing collection?" hmmm, "Shouldn't I at least TRY to finish a project?" sighs a deep breath. (I'll have to let you know the out come on this one)

I LOVE this web site! Who wouldn't want to have SO MANY quilt block patterns at a touch of a key? (not to mention the tunes you get to hear while meandering the site is a welcomed sound)

This one is awesome, too, as several of the blocks are in several sizes .... that is always a helpful treat for me. Not that I am lazy mind you, but I can think of several others things I would rather do besides resize a quilt block!

I have found myself at this McCall site on many occasion:

Now, if you have read an earlier post of mine, you will recall how I adore Civil War era history and fabrics. This morning I was researching Quilt Lore and came across this article. What a tremendous find!

Elizabeth Keckley is an amazing woman. Not only was she an extremely talented seamstress, but a treasured friend of Mary Todd Lincoln. Over the years, I have done research where this woman has been involved, but this is the first time I came across this article (probably because it was published in February 2009, I finished collage in 2003). I sincerely hope you find it as interesting as I do! At some point I want to devote a series of blogs to Aftican American quilts and history. There is such an incredible tale to share with regard to this topic.
(I am still contemplating my earlier UFO struggle. I think I'll pull a Scarlett and "think about it tomorrow")

Monday, October 4, 2010

White Bean Chicken Chili .... and, Jen's Kitchen Bootcamp challenge

Hey Grandma! welcomes you to another week of food, quilts, lore and more ... it does the soul good to reminisce about those women who taught us a trick or two around the kitchen and sewing room. Or simply to remember a warm hug and a silly tale that brings back those honest to goodness feelings that just flat warms the heart.

I look out the window today and see rain .... which is indeed a welcome sight in this semi arid desert of Western Slope Colorado. It is also a little on the chilly side which makes me think of a favored comfort food .... chili!

White Bean Chicken Chili

4 skinless chicken fillets cubed
1 teaspoon salt (I use course ground Kosher)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 large onion (I used a yellow onion this time around)
1 1lb can of chopped green chilies
1 jalapeno (if you like you chilie with a bit of a bite)
4 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin (one of my favorite spices BTW)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 - 8 garlic cloves (garlic is a personal thing, so use as much as is to your liking)
3 - 4 cans white beans (I used a combination of white beans)
3 cups chicken broth (want more of a soup than a chili? Double the chicken broth)
shredded cheese
sour cream

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the chicken, onion, and spices in olive oil for 3 - 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook a minute longer.

Transfer to crock pot/slow cooker. Add beans and broth and cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours on low. Do you want a thicker soup/chili? Mash 1 to cups of beans; add 1/2 cup broth and stir til blended.)

My Awesome Other Half and I like Frito's Corn Chips in the bottom of the bowl, then ladle the chili over. Top with sour cream and cheese if that is your desire.

Serve with corn bread or buttered tortillas .... Nom, nom, nom!

Now something else that could prove to be fun! Jen's Kitchen Bootcamp challenge! I stumbled across this earlier today and I think it sounds fun! So here is the link in case you all want to participate too!

Do you remember your Grandmothers and Aunts competing for the ribbon at the fair .... or between themselves? I can still remember Aunt Gladys saying she had the best chocolate cake, while Aunt Wilma said the same thing. Well! .... I say I have the best Banana Nut bread! hehe

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October: The Great Pumpkin Month ...

I think of Apples in September, and I think of Pumpkins in October .... I always have. What would Autumn be without Pumpkins? For that matter, what would Halloween be without Pumpkins?

After all these years, Linus still entertains us with the Great Pumpkin! Every year we watch Linus try to convince the legitimacy of such a vine honored visit. Poor Linus ... every year it's the same. No Great Pumpkin, but every year he continues to hope.

Pumpkins were already here when the Pilgrims came. If not for the Iroquois, those English folks would have had a pretty miserable winter ... not that is was probably all that great, but at least their survival rate had better odds.

The Iroquois called the pumpkin The Three Sisters and was grown together with corn and beans. According to a legend told by the Iroquois, a pregnant woman living in the sky world above our present world craved the bark of the root of the great tree which grew in the middle of the Sky World. Like all good husbands, her husband scraped the dirt away from the base of the tree to expose the roots, creating a hole. After her husband had obtained the bark she desired, the woman leaned over and looked into the hole; however, she lost her balance and fell to the earth below, becoming the first human on earth. She eventually gave birth to a daughter who grew up and became pregnant with twins by the West Wind. Just before the time came for their birth, the twins got into a fight about how they were to emerge from the womb. The left handed twin did not want to emerge in the usual way and, instead, forced himself out through his mother's left armpit (I know, that's a bit graphic), which killed her in the process. The twins then buried their mother and from the spot where she was buried, there sprouted the corn, beans and pumpkins which became the main food staples of the Iroquois.

Of course, how would Cinderella have gotten to the Ball had it not been for a pumpkin. And there is Peter. You know, "Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater. And where would The Legend of Sleepy Hollow be without the headless rider caring the pumpkin?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Friendship Star Block ... and a bit of Quilt Lore

As a History major, one era attracts me like no other, and that is the Civil War ... though there was really nothing civil about it.

Many women from that time period enlighten us today with their diary and word of mouth accounts. I fear there was more truth the novel "Gone With the Wind" than meets the eye (incidentally, I found out yesterday that book is on the banned book list ... hmmm)

I stumbled across a piece of Quilt Lore this morning. Q. Did you know that during the ''Civil War'' many wives sent along with their men handmade quilts to serve as bedding? A. Yep, and some of those little quiltmakers were ''Abolitionists'' and used quilts to smuggle messages and supplies sewn into the blocks, edgings and tacking. I hope that piece of information does not surprise anyone. It certainly did not to me.

There is a quilt design I have been wanting to make for years. "The Underground Railroad". Perhaps we can do that together sometime ....

On to today's block: Friendship Stars. You will be making two of them.

Back ground fabric, cut 2 squares 2 7/8, then cut diagonally to make 2 triangles out of each square. Cut 4 squares 2 1/2 inches.

Star fabrics, cut 2 squares 2 7/8, then cut each square diagonally to make 2 triangles from each square. Cut 1 square 2 1/2 inches.

Piece together as the pictures indicate. Press. Trim each square to 6 1/2 inches. Sew each of the squares together creating one unit.

Remember, this quilt project is taken from McCalls Quilting magazine Winter edition 2009/2010. Back issues can be obtained from

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Butterscotch Chews, Pink Princess and Automotive Specialist ...

It pays off to have your own three children in your early 20's. If Mother Nature performs her magic, you are blessed with grandchildren while you are young enough to keep up with them. At 52, I have 5. One step grand daughter and four biological grand children.

Two of those kidlets live here in the same town. The newly turned five year old, Pink Princess, and the three year old, Auto Specialist. Be warned, the names will change from time to time, though I suspect Pink will always be a part of the Pink Princess. Best of all, these two, in disguise Angels, call me Oma .... not Grandma ... Oma. That is absolutely fine by me!

What did you call you Grand Mother? Grandma? Granny? Nan or Nana? Bottom line, she is every boys lifeline to the cookie jar, and every girls escort through the kitchen ... at least in this house it works that way. And the trade off for me? Easy answer ... hugs and kisses .... and Barney (I have come to appreciate that purple dinosaur ... heaven help me).

I have the Pink Princess and the Auto Specialist every Monday and Tuesday afternoon. Yesterday was much the same as any day. The Auto Specialist indicating the hole in his stomach was really quite unbearable, and the Pink Princess insisting we make something with chocolate (I love that girl!). Alas? NO CHOCOLATE!

With the "Oh No's" filling the air, I tell them we can make Butterscotch Chews! Life, as the kidlets know it, has been saved!

Butterscotch Chews

1/2 cup soft butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt (I use course ground Kosher)
1 teaspoon vanilla (I use pure vanilla)

Beat butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Add flour. baking powder, salt and vanilla. Spread in greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minuets. Cut into squares while still warm.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Peace and Plenty Block

Hello from Hey Grandma!

I had some time to spare before my two grand kidlets showed up, so thought I would make the second quilt block for the Sampler quilt, A Grateful Heart in the Winter edition of McCall Quilting Magazine 2009/2010. Back issue copies of this magazine can be found at

This block is called Peace and Plenty

From light fabric (fabric 1): cut 4 squares 3 7/8 cut diagonally to make 2 triangles.

Cut 1 square 7 1/4 cut diagonally twice creating 4 triangles.

From fabrics 2 and 3, which make the other two smaller triangles cut 2 squares 3 7/8 cut diagonally to make 2 triangles

From fabric 4, which will make make the larger triangles, cut 1 square 7 1/4 cut diagonally twice creating 4 triangles.

(I have found it is easier to get a better quilt block if you use a true 1/4 foot on your sewing machine) After your block is put together and pressed, trim it up to measure 12 1/2 inches.
If you were to make the four pinwheel blocks in the center out of one color (using 4 squares), this quilt block would be called Shaded Four Patch or Mary's Triangles Block .

Monday, September 27, 2010

Garden Fresh Marinated Vegetable Salad

How many of you remember vegetable gardens at your Grandmothers house? In many cases, those gardens were the sole source of what vegetable was going to be one their kitchen table during the winter months. But as much as home canned vegetables are good, there is still nothing like picking something off the vine to eat right away. Imagine a tomato that drips down your chin with the first bite, or biting into a cucumber and having a fine mist spray with the first crunch.

Our three children no longer live at home, and every year our garden gets bigger! Funny how that works .... I think the Awesome Other Half said our garden was 30' by 15' this year. I could go out and measure, but I'd rather sit here and chat with you. Just take my word for it, it is a grand ole size, with the knowledge that next year it may be a bit bigger.

The first picture shows the veggies that will be going into a marinated salad. Three Zucchini, five heirloom tomatoes, three small white onions (they carry a wallop of a bite this year, and three is most definitely enough!), three cucumbers and two peppers.

Courtesy of Mrs. Grosch of Worland, Wyoming:

Garden Fresh Marinated Vegetable Salad

The chopped and sliced vegetable mentioned above (or your own combination) placed into a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together:
3/4 cup salad oil (I used basil oil)
1/3 to 1/2 cup wine vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
1 1/2 tsp. course ground salt (Kosher)
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp powdered mustard

Poor over veggies and marinate at least two hours in refrigerator. You can make this the night before you need to.

As a variation, we thought this would be good with chopped salami, cubed mozzarella and black olives for a type of Antipasto Salad.

The yellow tomato you see in the salad is a new one we planted this year. It is an heirloom called Pineapple Tomato . The flesh is yellow and has the sweetest flavor. They also get to be the size of a salad plate which makes them fun to show off to your co-workers and neighbors! We will be planting this variety again!
Enjoy!!! Have a wonderful rest of the day!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What would GG Grandma do with a Crockpot?

How spoiled I am! I look around my kitchen and the gadgets I see just might boggle the mind of my ancestors ....

What would my Great great grandma do with a crockpot? Just think of the time she would have on her hands with such a simple appliance! .... Hmmm ,or would she? She probably already knew how to make her old stove cook something ever so slowly. But me? I like the convenience of a Crockpot!
If I had the room in my kitchen for the storage of additional appliances I would own a large roaster and a toaster oven for sure!
I remember going to Shell City, Missouri for a holiday vacation once when I was young ... maybe 10 or 12. My Aunt Gladys had an electric Roaster. A BIG on, too. I remember she had it full of potatoes, carrots and onions, and if I close my eyes and look at that roaster in my mind, I can remember how it smelled, too ... heaven ... at least today this is how Heaven smells. Roasting potatoes and carrots with butter and oil (bet she used lard though), layered with thinly sliced onions and sprinkled heavily with course ground salt and pepper ... yum (and a drippy druely one at that).

Hey Grandma! With you in mind, this is what my Awesome Other Half and I had for dinner last night! At 11 AM I pulled out my oval stoneware Rival Crockpot and proceeded to make a Cornish Game Hen dinner we would eat at 6PM.
*2 Cornish Game Hens
*6 slices of bacon
*1 tsp kosher salt
*1 tsp Rosemary
*1 tsp basil
*1/2 tsp marjoram
*a couple pats of butter (what is a pat? I don't really know ... a couple of teaspoons to me I guess)
In a small bowl, mix your dry spices - just use your fingers, as you are going to rub the spice mixture all over the little birds, inside and out, any way. Now rub away! Place a pat of butter in each cavity of the bird and then lower the birds into the crockpot. ( I love my oval crockpot as the birds fit perfectly side by side). Take your bacon and wrap two strips sideways around each bird, and one strip lengthwise on each bird (I like to tuck an end into the cavity).
Cover the crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hours, or high for 4-5.
Discard bacon before serving .... or not.
I served the birds with fork tender potatoes with butter and parsley, and we picked a zucchini from the garden, sliced it and sprinkled salt, pepper, chilie and lime seasoning, along with olive oil and grilled it on the grill. Made for a great dinner.
No! We did not each eat a whole bird! What are you thinking? LOL I now have a bird that I will pick the meat off of for something tonight. Thinking maybe creamed chicken over rice, with canned green beans, and a tomato salad.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mares eat Oats ... And Jacobs Ladder

Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey. A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?
Yes! Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey. A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?

Cute, huh? My awesome 'Other Half' says he first learned this song up at the family ranch above Colbran, Co. many many years ago ....

Jacobs Ladder Block. I like making mine in three colors. It's just a personal preferrence, but they look great in two colors, too.

From Background fabric cut two 4 7/8 inch squares and cut the squares diagonally once making triangles. Also, cut a 2 1/2 by 25 inch strip. For blue colored squares cut a 2 1/2 by 25 inch strip.
Out of the red fabric cut two 4 7/8 inch squares and cut those
diagonally making triangles.

Sew the back ground strip to the blue strip right sides together and press to the dark side (always press to the dark side!). Now cut the strip into 10 2 1/2 inch sections. Sew individual sections together to make five four-patch blocks (creating a checker board effect.

I like to place a pin in the sewn seams to make sure the seams and blocks match up more perfectly.

Sew triangles together on the long side with background
and red fabrics right sides together and press toward the dark (red).

Put your mini blocks in order and sew together. I sew the top three together, then the middle three, then bottom three. Press seams and then sew the rows together top to middle. Middle to bottom and then press. Again, line the seams up and place a pin in each seam to help keep the seams and blocks together.

Now you have a 12 1/2 unfinished Jacobs Ladder block! Congratulations!!

Jacobs Ladder is just one of the several names this block goes by. Other names are Road to Arkansas, Going to Chicago, Off to San Francisco, and The Railroad.

So, you not only made your first quilt block today (way to go!), but you also learned some folklore. Mares Eat Oats song and alternet quilt block names for the same block. Yep! today is going to be a good day! Hey Grandma! Thank you for quilting and passing it my way!