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?