Monday, February 29, 2016

Homespun Gathering

Saturday was gathering day for the Homespun group.  Is always fun to see all the beautiful finishes and share a delicious pot luck.
Stacy Nash
Summer at Hollyberry Farm

This is Jane's latest Stacy Nash finish--the sampler was beautiful.

Country Sampler Schoolgirl Sampler Spring Sewing Bag
Jane has been a busy girl--this is another one of her finishes.  Love the incorporation of the ruler tape inside the envelope fold sewing pouch.

Maggie Bonanomi Hooked Penny Rug
from her book, With These Hands

This hooked rug was a birthday gift from Millicent to Deliah.

Plum Street Samplers
Ghoultide Welcome
Judy's adaptation from Ghoultide Welcome to Autumn Welcome is exquisite.  This is one beautiful sampler--she is very close to a finish.
Stacy Nash
Cherry Hollow Farm Sampler
Jane busy stitching on another Stacy Nash sampler.
For our potluck share meal, I tried a new recipe called Magic Custard Cake--it was a hit with the stitch girls.  Thought I would share.
Vanilla Magic Custard Cake is melt-in-your-mouth soft and creamy ...
Magic Custard Cake
4 eggs (whites separated from yolks) room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk, lukewarm
powdered sugar for dusting cake
  •  Preheat over to 350 F degrees
  • Grease and line 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish with parchment
  • Separate eggs and add the egg whites to a mixer and beat egg whites until they hold a stiff peak.  Place egg whites in a bowl and set aside
  • Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light.  Add butter and vanilla.  Beat for two minutes.  Add the flour and mix until it is fully incorporated
  • Slowly start adding the milk and beat until everything is well mixed together.  Add the egg whites a third at time and gently fold them in using a spatula, repeat until all the egg white are folded into the batter
  • Pour batter into baking dish and bake for approximately 60 minutes or until the top is lightly golden
  • Cool and dust heavily with powdered sugar

Saturday, February 20, 2016

South Union, KY

Shaker Village
South Union, KY

Approximately 60 miles North of Nashville is Shaker Village in South Union, KY.  It is the most southern and western Shaker Community.

The Shakers have their own individual style and architecture.  They believed in function and simplicity.

They also believed in comfort.  These wood burning stoves are found in almost every room.  The box to the right of the stove is a wood box.  I suspect they were trim--carrying wood up two and three flights of stairs would have been a work out.

This is a pie safe used for food storage.  The Civil War took its toll on the Shakers.  The Union Army disliked them because they were pacifist and the Confederate Army disliked them because they offered shelter to run away slaves.  Both Armies expected the Shakers to feed them.

They built beautiful furniture.

Cared for the elderly and orphaned children

Wove beautiful blankets and coverlets

The dreaded laundry room.  All those linen waiting to be pressed.

Aren't these window wells fabulous complete with built in window shutters.

Miniature furniture for the Shaker children.

I'll be back South Union--I hear one of those carriers from the gift shop calling my name.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Be My Valentine Flimsy

Jo's Little Favorites
Nine Patch Doll Quilt

Since receiving Jo Morton's latest book, Jo's Little Favorites, I have been thinking about making a miniature quilt from her book. Since Valentine's Day is tomorrow, it seemed the perfect time, to dig into my fabric stash/collection and sew sew sew.

Miniature quilts make perfect table toppers and can be so versatile in decorating.  The finished size of this quilt is 18 3/4 x 18 3/4. 

Here are some of the things which I learned or were reinforced to me while making this quilt.

  • Cut accurately. The pieces are small, and minor mistakes quickly show
  • Follow Jo's tips about pressing not ironing
  • Allow the fabric to accentuate the design.  Use fabric with stripes to add movement
  • Add interest to the borders by making HST's 
  • Put on your patience hat when making miniatures

My Saturday chores are calling.  The temps are low and it is cold, the daffodils are popping their heads out and I saw my first robin yesterday.  Mr. Weatherman is calling for more snow tomorrow.  There are other quilts in Jo's Little Favorites which have appealed to me, if the weather is frightful, maybe I will do some more digging in my fabric stash/collection and start another quilt.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Saint Valentine

Being a history lover, I decided to do some research on Valentine's Day.  I was unprepared to learn Valentine's Day is not all roses. 
There are various theories on the origin of Valentine's Day, one of the most popular dates back to the time of the Roman Empire during the reign of Claudius II, 270 A.D.  Claudius did not want men to marry during wartime because he believed single men made better soldiers.  Bishop Valentine went against his wises and performed secret wedding ceremonies.  For this, Valentine was jailed and then executed by order of the Emperor on February 14.  While in jail, Valentine wrote a love note to the jailor's daughter, signing it, "from your Valentine."  Sound familiar.
Many believe the X symbol became synonymous with the kiss in medieval times.  People who could not write their names signed in front of a witness with an X.  The X was then kissed to show their sincerity. 

A love knot is a symbol of undying love, as its twisting loops have no beginning and no end.  In the past, they were made of ribbon or drawn on paper to prove one's eternal love.  The most fantastic gift of love is the Taj Mahal in India.  It was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife.

The ancient Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia on February 14 in honor of Juno, the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses, Juno was also the goddess of women and marriage. 
All these years I have thought Valentine's Day was about selling cards, flowers and chocolates--time for me to expand my world and thought process.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Big Squeeze

It's that time of year again, time to schedule the annual mammogram.  I am a glutton for punishment, I schedule my annual physical and mammogram on the same day and if possible I also schedule my dental cleaning.  I dread each and every one of these doctors and procedures and try to schedule them on the same day so I only have one day of dread and misery instead of three. 

If the anticipation of the big squeeze mammogram isn't bad enough, I'll share my last two mammogram experiences.  In 2014 while having the mammogram, there was a fire alarm which sounded.  I didn't hear the alarm, just the pounding on the door and being told everyone had to evacuate the building.  The tech starts pushing me out the door in all my glory.  This was not the way I had planned to leave.  I had arrived at my visit fully clothed and I had every intention of leaving the same way!  "No time to get dressed" she said so I grabbed my yellow rain slicker and prayed the zipper was working.  Now, if a case of nerves of having a mammogram isn't bad enough add the evacuation of a building, throw in not being fully clothed and just for interest toss in the rain outside.  Not one of my better days or moments. 

Fast forward to mammogram 2015.  Sweet AppleJack having heard about my 2014 mammogram experience decided to drive me to the appointment to help take the edge off.  All was going well, the two of us sat in the waiting area quietly reading the Wall Street Journal and chatting with others in the waiting area.  My name was called and I went back for the big squeeze.  Whew!  No fire alarms, no evacuating the building, nothing eventful just very routine stuff. 

As I was leaving, I noticed there were no other patients, no other nurses, no techs, no office staff, no one in the waiting area and no AppleJack.  There was no one!  There was no one to ask and since I had left my cellphone with AppleJack no one to call.  As  I tried to wrap my head around my situation and figure out what I needed to do.  I decided to walk outside thinking there might have been another emergency and maybe another evacuation.  Sure enough there stood a parking lot full of people.  It wasn't a fire which caused the evacuation this time, it was a disgruntled patient who had become so outraged, he started making threats to the staff.  Security decided it was in the best interest of everyone to clear the area.

So. . . for those of you who have scheduled your annual mammogram, I understand your anxiety and hope your visit for the big squeeze is uneventful.