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!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Grateful Heart Sampler Quilt

Look at these beautiful Civil War era fabrics! There are really way to many to choose from, and I definitly have more in my stash .... These are screaming "SAMPLER QUILT"!

These prints are warm and comfortable. They make me feel nostalgic. They remind me they are fabrics similar to ones my Great Great Grandmother Margaret may have used. She may have passed down quilts to her daughter, my Great Grandma Agnes. Maybe Agnes inherited a basket of fabric scrapes and she made her own quilt remembering her mother using the fabrics for a dress for herself, or a shirt for a brother, or maybe a little dress for Mildred (my grandmother). If only I could get my hands on a quilt from G.G. Grandma Margaret ... I would not even care if it were thread bare .... sigh .... I'll just have to make my own ... and pretend ...

I Stumbled across this quilt magazine. Winter edition of McCalls Quilting 2009/2010. Back issues can be found at

The last quilt they are featuring is a quilt entitled "A Grateful Heart" which captured my attention. It is not the typical sampler style quilt you see. You know, the one that are 12 inch assorted blocks put together with sashing? Look at this one! It's really neat! No matter where your eye travels, there is something to see ... and I love that!

The first block they suggest to make is the Grandmothers Fan. However, I think I am going to switch it with a Jacobs Ladder. Considering I am reminiscing about Grandmothers I should probably leave it in, huh? It isn't that I don't like the Grandmothers Fan block, it's just that I like the Jacobs Ladder better. You never know, maybe I'll change my mind as the quilt progresses. Creators Prerogative
This quilt will certainly not get finished over night! I know me too well. I will work on it with this blog in mind though. As I make the squares I'll show you what I am doing along the way. Seems only fair doesn't it? Hey! Why don't you make one along with me! It will be fun! We could pretend we are having our own Sewing Bee!! Think about it ok?
PS You can click on the pictures and they will enlarge for you! .....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dedication ..... and Mason Jars!

I don't know what it is about this time of year! Fall ... colors are changing. Gardens are starting to produce at a slower rate, at least here on the Western Slope of Colorado they are. I am not really finding my canning to be slowing down all that much, though. I still have apples and pears to look foreward to, and I am REALLY hoping the tomatoes keep changing from green to red as I have LOTS more plans were they are concerned.

Maybe it is the canning that makes me ponder my Grandma .... my Great Grandma ... My Aunt Alice .... these women who have been gone from my life for many ... many years. These women, and countless others who molded many memories for me. Women who did things in their time for granted that women in my time wouldn't think of doing.

This blog is dedicated to those matriarch's who left behind in their wakes the memories that are burned in our minds. Memories of apron clad women baking, canning, cooking meals that are still mouth watering just thinking about them. Looking at a black and white photo of Grandma so and so, but still being able to see it in color wth your minds eye. The smell of rose water, talcum powder ... and what woman in her 50's (like me) could forget the smell of a Tony Perm that Grandma was performing on you as a young child?

What do you remember about your Grandma? Your Great Grandma? An Aunt or Great Aunt? Maybe your memory is an elderly woman in your neighborhood or church? Maybe the Aunt Bea type of woman? Maybe she was alot rougher around the edges? What did she cook? What did she wear? What did her hands look like? Hands speak alot about a person, you know ..... Did she quilt? Did she knit or crochet? Did she do laundry every Monday no matter what and the ironing followed on Tuesday? Was it Meatloaf night every Thursday and Pot Roast on Sunday? Did her apple pie win the blue ribbon at the County Fair every year as well as the best of show on her quilt? What do you remember ......

I have a love for Mason jars ... their usefullness was bred into me by the woman who helped form me. Those women I knew, as well as the ones who came before them. My need to can is not for the same reasons my Great Grandmother did. I have two grocery stores within 5 minutes of my house. But how I love to can! The smells, the colors ... the taste. Not to mention knowing my daughter dables with canning (I suspect she'll do more of it as she gets older. 30 year olds are still in the mindset the grocery store in the convienent place to go). I like seeing the fanciful jars through my 5 year old Grand daughters eyes. Priceless ....

I leave you today with the extreme hope, wish and prayer, I have helped you to remember a woman or two in you life. If those thoughts down Memory Lane are worthy of passing on to the next generation, then do not hesitate to do so.