Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Harriet Homemaker

Oh my goodness, but I have just been an extraordinarily busy little homemaker (at least that is for me). Remember: I'm the girl with the wallhanging that reads: "Angel of the kitchen, please cook while I'm stitchin'." So I thought I'd share some of what I have been doing. It really is quite gratifying to see the results of these efforts, so forgive me if I sound like I'm bragging.

When traveling across the country, we stopped at Wheat Montana in Three Forks, MT. They have a marvelous deli and store selling all sorts of wheats. This bread is made using spelt flour, with a recipe from their website. It uses spelt flour, rye flour, white flour and some rolled oats. It's quite tasty (I had to try just a tiny little corner after it came out of the oven). Yum.

I also managed to acquire a package of barley. So cooked that up and tomorrow I will work on making a pot of soup. The weather is turning very cool in the mornings and evenings, so soup is sounding better and better.

A popular family favorite is (sweet) red pepper jelly. Really very tasty and not too difficult. This doesn't look like lots, but it is actually 2 batches of the recipe and the peppers were so large it only used 4 (I bought 10 - on sale) This is normally served as a dollop on top of a slice of colby or a mild cheddar cheese on a cracker - our favorite is Wheat Thins. Oh my - you could eat these and just skip dinner. When my now 30-something son lived at home, he even helped make it one time, he liked it so much.

I have been sewing but cannot show you yet as it's a something for a crazy exchange person [once it arrives I can show]. Oh yes, and I'm continuing to finish up my blocks for the September/October step of the Bonnie Hunter Christmas mystery from Quiltmaker.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Western Washington State Fair

Quilt Photos

Each year we look forward to going to the Puyallup Fair (formally known as the Western Washington State Fair). Great fun with the requisite huge pumpkins, piglets and wonderful quilts. Last year Caroline was here visiting from the Netherlands and wanted to be sure that this year we enjoyed a scone, a BBQ Sandwich for lunch and a root beer float in the afternoon. We managed the scone, this year, but also really enjoyed the unseasonably warm autumn day (83`)

It was interesting to notice - even if it isn't clear on my photos - the large number of autumn colors used in the quilts, this year. Also many quilts (although I'm not sure I photoed many of them) that had cross stitch and or needlework on them, in addition to applique and quilting. Just kind of fun to notice.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Photos from the Badlands of South Dakota

I'm still figuring out how to do this, so if it seems a bit awkward, sorry - but I think, at least, we are getting them connected.
Photos from the trip through Custer State Park

Getting Back Into the Swing

Been working on the Bonnie Hunter Christmas Mystery Quilt (through Quiltmaker magazine). I hope that I will be happy with my fabric choices - I have followed her usual instructions and have made mine very scrappy. I made a number of the blocks in the motorhome (see last blog post) and now am assembling them.

Very scrappy with just lights and darks - 2" squares.

I haven't been able to get a good sense of how this will all 'happen', in the end. There will be another red used for a border, as well as another black -but otherwise I think this is all. Interesting, heh?

One of the nicest parts of returning home is to schedule coffee visits with my quilting buddies. My dear friend Ronda found this for me while we were away - isn't it great?

Camp Nana. Oh yes, we know about that around here. :-)
Hugs and Cookies. The best!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fabric did cross my mind, some of the time

While it is true that we drove almost 5000 miles over the past 6 weeks (Caro -that's almost 8000 km) I did have "fabric thoughts" on occasion. So just to prove my point, this is the little table mat I completed as we drove along. I had bought this whole cloth piece at the Houston Quilt Show, a couple of years ago. It seemed that it would be a good way to have to practice my hand quilting and I could do it while we drove along - well not when I was driving, but when sitting in the passenger seat.

I also was able to do some work on the Bonnie Hunter Christmas Mystery when we were parked. It was a bit small in the motorhome, but we quilters are highly skilled at making "do" and I was able to get quite a bit done. In the wooden tray, there are also some of the pieces of a Lynette Anderson BOM.

I also brought along a table-top ironing board and my 'travel' Rowenta iron. Ever resourceful! Iron some clothes after washing AND iron my patches.

One day we had a field trip to Shipshewana, Indiana. What a very charming town - albeit highly tourist driven. The Amish buggies skooting to and fro, just made me smile. Even the buildings are decorated as part of the theme.

While visiting in Michigan we found a quilt that Elaine's mother had made. No one is sure when it was made or for whom, so guess who became the new owner? [the guess is the 1960's and me :-)] It's about twin size and will be fun on the bed, on top of another quilt.

Never let it be said that Judy Laquidara is the only one with a passion for farm produce (I'm just joking! She never said anything of the sort, but I did think of her as I shopped at the fruit stand.)
I also thought of her when visiting Wheat Montana and just had to try more of their products. Last year it was White Whole Wheat flour. This year it was Spelt flour.

So while the 14 loads of laundry are spinning around (maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but it's close) I will be doing a bit of cooking and baking. Tonight it was peach cobbler. More to come.

Life is soooo good!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Lost have Returned

Actually we knew where we were - it's just that we didn't often have wi-fi so that I could tell you where we were and what was going on. Oh I have so many tales to tell - such an interesting adventure these past (almost) 6 weeks.

Editorial opinion to follow -should you want to quit reading
Today as we drove through western Montana I was particularly struck by the incredible strength of the pioneer women of this country. All the tasks of coming west with something as cumbersome as a covered wagon, usually with a team of oxen - over terrain which was inhospitable as well as impassible for many miles. I'm sure I would have been the first one to say 'OK - here's where we stop. I've had enough'. But those families traveled onward - westward - for months and years to get to the western states where I live. But it wasn't just the moving and the animals, but all the chores of cooking and feeding, clothing, nursing and nurturing. Of course I have also been listening to a book on CD about the early days of settling the U.S. by Louis L'Amour (amazingly philosophical about the whole thing) but that just made it all the more real. I kept looking out the window and trying to think would I have had the fortitude to go on in a wagon? I suspect that each set of mountain peaks, one row after another, would have been a cause for discouragement, not excitement.

[I will work on uploading more photos once home where I can play around with them.]

Western Montana, just starting into the mountains.

A story about quilts:
We visited the Crazy Horse Memorial. An incredible experience. There were many quilts in the museum/display there. They were all the pattern that I know as the Texas Lone Star and I wondered WHY? Eventually I found Freda, a Lakota-Sioux Trabal Elder and a quilter [82 yo]. This is her story: Long ago the Indians hunted buffalo and they served the people in many ways. They provided meat and skins for making TeePee's and wonderful, warm blankets. But the White Men came and the buffalo were soon killed off (virtually) and so the women needed a way to keep their families warm. Meanwhile, protestant 'missionaries' came to convert the native people to Christianity. They brought with them a quilt they called the Star of Bethlehem. The native peoples took the star symbol as their own because they had used the stars for many, many years to guide them in their journeys and that way they could have warm quilts with their own symbol. And at least with the Lakota-Sioux they still use that pattern as one that is meaningful to them. Fascinating.

More to come. Should arrive back home tomorrow evening.