Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sharpening my Shopping Skills

The St. Charles Needlework Market starts in 16 days!  Ahh sixteen days to surf the web hoping to find some sneak peeks at new designs, linens and fibers.  While I wait, I decided to add some goodness to my stash.

Mary Cotton
Designer:  Kathy Barrick

This design says companion piece to Colonial Gatherings.  Love all those critters at the bottom.

Rabbit Floss Holder
The Primitive Hare

This rabbit reminds me of the many bunny rabbits who frequent our garden and eat our tomatoes.  Will be so fun to load him up with spring colored floss.

Kelmscott Needle Minders

A folkart angel and thistle needle minders.  

Antique Needlework and Sampler Quarterly

2014 Just Cross Stitch
Halloween Edition

I think all these stitching goodies will put me in sensory overload and get my stitching mojo engines started.  Of course, I have already started my shopping list for the St Charles Market and there is still plenty of time to add to the list.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekend Workings

Have you ever had one of those weekends when you were super busy and don't have much to show for your efforts?  That would be me.  The temps are hot, the humidity has sweat rolling down my backside before I leave the house, and the garden is looking brown and parched.  We have entered one of my least favorite times of the year--the dog days of summer.  And next week--school starts! 

One of the good things about summer is the bounty of produce coming from the garden.  Tomatoes become tomato juice--will be delicious this winter in soups.  Nineteen quarts and counting toward the goal of forty eight.

Watermelons have been juicy, sweet, delicious and abundant. 

Peaches--peeling not so much fun, but the rewards are great.  Those frozen peaches will taste mighty fine in a cobbler this winter when the cold winds are blowing.  Eight quarts down four more to go.

Progress on the Cotton Bird.   I'm working on the cotton boils.  My most favorite part of this design as been stitching the wandering vines and trumpet flowers.  Hope to have this finished this week and off to the finishers.

The French Braid quilt with the French General fabrics has been sewn together and is ready for its trip to the long armed quilter.  I have an October deadline for this quilt and waiting until the last minute is not my idea of fun.

Throw in some pre-market stash acquisitions--gotta hone my shopping skills before the St Charles market in August.

Add a beautiful Taize Worship Service at Church, mailing packages to a friend (better late than never) and enjoying the last blooms of summer.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Beat the Heat

It's July, its prime time summer time, it's the South and it's hot!

What do Southern girls do to beat the heat?  They get together for a rug hooking event called Beat the Heat.  Lisanne Miller, once again arranged a wonderful rug hooking event.  

The room was filled with rugs, laughter and the excitement of current and future projects.

Dear friends and future friends joining together to share the day and stories about their rugs.  This is Pa's mule.  A dedication and remembrance of a Grandfather "Pa" who believed in  plowing his garden with a mule.  

Bed covers being hooked to drive the cold winter winds away.

Beautiful new to me techniques.

Exquisite finishes

Toss in some great shopping

One of the vendors had used this quilt as part of her display.  Great idea for a string quilt.

This is my next hooking project--it's called Hit of Miss.  A clever way to use up my left over worms.

Beat the Heat--a great way to spend a summer day--

Friday, July 18, 2014

Save the Date--Book Festival

The countdown has started for the 2014 Festival of Books!  October 10, 11 and 12 are the festival days on Legislative Plaza (across from the capital).

Here are a couple of authors on my list:

Pat Conroy--The Great Santini, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music

Emily St John Mendel--Last Night in Montreal, The Lola Quarter, and her soon to be released fourth novel Station Eleven

Frances Mayes--Under the Tuscan Sun

Christina Baker Kline--Orphan Train

Don't like any of these books or authors, no worries there are 244 authors coming for the festival. 

Book readings and signings, food trucks, Q & A's with the authors.
It's an awesome free event!  To learn more about the festival and see the lists of authors visit Southern Festival of Books site or Humanities of Tennessee site.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fancy Brown aka Nancy Hipps

Fancy Brown Sewing Pouch
Stacy Nash Designer
Stash linen and NPI silks

Fancy Brown's Sewing Pouch has been stitched and languishing in my "to be finished" drawer for a long time.  Each time I see some of Faye's beautiful finishing, I think about Fancy Brown.  Since I change names, initials and dates on needlework, Fancy Brown has become Nancy Hipps.  Remember I call my family the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Nancy's story contains all three.

Nancy Hipps was born in North Carolina.  She was the daughter of Levi Hipps and Elizabeth.  Nancy married Daniel Price and they lived in the Spring Creek community of Madison County North Carolina.  (Spring Creek is in the mountains of western North Carolina not far from Asheville).  Nancy and Daniel had one daughter and six sons.
  • Harriet born 1838
  • William Franklin born 1839
  • Phillip Fidelle born 1845
  • James R. born 1849
  • John Palmer born 1851
  • Jackson Hicks born 1852
  • Creasman born 1858

When I was researching Nancy, I started thinking about the dates her children were born and I was struck with this thought:  what a terrible time in American history to be born.  All her children were born pre American Civil War.  Sadly, two of her sons, William and Phillip both died in Civil War battles.  William was killed in an ambush during the first day of battle at Gettysburg. 

Like many families, Nancy's sons did not agree about the reasons for fighting and  Phillip (Fidelle) moved from North Carolina to West Virginia.  After he moved from North Carolina to West Virginia, there was no more contact or communication with the family.

William Franklin, the son who died at Gettysburg was buried in a mass grave on the battlefield at Gettysburg.  Waiting at home in North Carolina was William's wife, Catherine and his two infant sons, John and William.  The 1870 census records show John and William were living with Daniel and Nancy.  Why?  Catherine had remarried and maybe she was no longer able to physically or financially care for her sons or maybe there was some unresolved conflict.  This is one of my many family mysteries. 

Daniel and Nancy's son John Palmer married Sarah Miranda Plemmons.  John and Sarah Miranda had nine sons and two daughters.

  • James Elmore
  • Robert Franklin called Bob
  • William Jefferson called Bill
  • Wiley Randolph nicknamed Tuner
  • John Garland
  • Dallas Hicks nicknamed Boss
  • Benjamin Henry nicknamed Boots
  • Ennis Eugene
  • Isaac Newton--his brothers called him Newt

Little is known about John and Sarah's daughters--one was stillborn and the other died in infancy.  Grandmother Sarah Miranda was pregnant when she moved from North Carolina to Tennessee in January 1885.  Moving is stressful.  Can you image moving in the winter in a wagon with five boys and being pregnant?  Sarah named my Grandfather Isaac because of her advanced age.  She always said she was like the Biblical Sarah being older in years and having a child. A Mother to nine sons!!! Grandmother Bessie was full of stories about Grandfather Isaac and his brothers--they loved playing pranks on each other.  The brothers also loved playing baseball.  Anytime they were together, they enjoyed a good game.  During one baseball game, my Grandfather caught a ground ball.  The ball had been hit with such force when my Grandfather caught the ball, it broke his finger at the first joint.  Fearing being taken out of the game with his injured finger, Grandfather kept silent and finished the game.  He never received any medical attention for the broken finger and the finger was crooked all his life.

Thank you Faye for the wonderful finish on Nancy's purse.  The inside of the purse is lined with some of my favorite Jo Morton fabric.  On the back of the purse, Faye made a heart using contrasting Jo Morton fabric and attached a cat charm.  I come from a long line of cat lovers--this  charm reminds me of our sweet Miss Callie Mae Calico.  Grandmother Nancy's purse is hanging with Grandmother Anne Elizabeth's purse in our Grandmother room.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

No Bake Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Squares

No-Bake Chocolate-Pretzel-Peanut Butter Squares

I'm always on the hunt for a good recipe.  One of my favorite guilty pleasures is watching the Saturday morning cooking shows on the Foodnetwork channel.  Trisha Yearwood and I have a lot in common--she's a Southern girl from Georgia and her cooking show is filmed in Nashville. 

A keeper recipe for me must be tasty and easy to prepare.  Trisha's No-Bake Chocolate-Pretzel-Peanut Butter Squares exceeded my expectations.

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter; melted
2 cups pretzel rods, crushed into crumbs
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup plus 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, add the melted butter, pretzel crumbs, confectioner's sugar and 1 cup of the peanut butter and stir together until well combined.  Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9-by-13-by-2 inch baking dish.  Combine  the chocolate chips and the remaining 1/4 cup peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate and peanut butter are melted and smooth; two intervals should be enough.  Mix to blend, then spread over the peanut butter-pretzel layer.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.

Yum Yum!  I made this recipe for a Fourth of July gathering and it was a hit.  It is not easy on the waist line and I will be adding steps to my nightly walk to shed those extra calories but on so good.

One thing Trisha and I do not have in common:  singing. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Have you ever seen a fabric or a quilt and it was love at first sight?  True confession, I have seen many.  This is one of the reasons I have so many PhD's and an ever growing fabric stash.

In 2011, Judie Rothermel/Marcus Brothers released a fabric line called Civil War Chronicles.  One of the fabrics in the Civil War Chronicles line was Cheddar.  It was love at first sight.  Each time I was in the quilt shop and saw this fabric, I picked up a fat quarter.  Before I knew it, I had accumulated some yardage.

The September/October 2012 issue of Quiltmaker magazine had an article about Jo Morton and her star quilt.  It was navy stars on a cheddar background.  Be still my heart, I knew my cheddar fabric would be the perfect background fabric for this quilt.

Ahh Jo Morton quilts--the fabrics are exquisite, the quilts are beautiful and they are miniatures.  Gulp!  I have tremendous respect for those quilt makers who make miniatures--they require skill and precision and are not very forgiving with sewing or cutting errors.  I consider myself a beginning quilter who has many things to learn and I am always looking for an easier, faster, and more precise quilting method.  The points in the stars are flying geese.  While shopping at JoAnn's, I found a Quilt in a Day miniature template.  The template makes four geese at a time and the template is designed for accuracy.  The finished sizes for the mini Quilt in a Day Flying Geese is 1 1/2" x 3" and 3/4" x 1 1/2."  In my world, that's miniature.

The finished size for Jo's stars is three inches, mine finished to approx four inches. Both the Fat Quarter Shop and Quilt in a Day sites have excellent tutorials for using the template.  The instruction booklet which comes with the templates is very helpful and easy to follow instructions.

So. . .I have located my big girl bloomers, dug into the stash for blue fabric, sharpened my rotary cutter and put the quilting angel on notice.  Blue Stars, Cheddar background and a weekend with an extra day to sew--let the quilting begin.