Monday, June 19, 2017

A Week-end Get Away

Gone with the Wind is one of my favorite movies.  One of my favorite lines from the movie is when Scarlett is feeling quite overwhelmed and says:  "I can't think about that right now.  If I do, I'll go crazy.  I'll think about that tomorrow."  There was a time in my life when Scarlett's procrastination annoyed me.  I am older and wiser and realize there are times in life when a girl feels overwhelmed and needs a week-end get away.

AppleJack and I took a trip east to revisit some of our favorite places and discover some new ones.  One of our stops was to the University Gardens.  The gardens are located on the Agricultural Campus of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Some 4,000 annuals, perennials, herbs, tropical plants, trees, shrubs, vegetables and ornamental grasses grow in the gardens.  The plants are under constant study and evaluation.  New plant species are introduced and the gardens are a great way for home gardeners to learn about new varieties and let the experts do the trial and error.

The hydrangeas were in full bloom.  There was an evening wedding scheduled and the hydrangeas were especially beautiful.  I will be adding more of these beauties to my garden.

A red variety of coneflower!  It was beautiful.  Another must have to add to my garden.  The bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love this plant.  

A single red annual--zinna.  Grandmother Bessie called this annual Old Maid.  

A garden bench, a place to sit, relax and breathe in all the beauty of the gardens.

We took a trip down memory lane for lunch and ate a Hoagie sandwich from Sam and Andy's.  The sandwiches are steamed which softens the bread, heats the meats, and melts the cheese.  They are delicious!  Why doesn't anyone in Nashville steam the sandwiches?  Grrrr

Ham 'n Goody's is another favorite Knoxville eatery.  Founded in 1978 using old family recipes they are renown for their world famous lemon cookies and home made cakes.  These cookies are better than good, they are melt in your mouth delicious.  It was worth the trip just for a dozen of these cookies!

The last time I was with the Homespun stitch girls, one of them was talking about a new quilt shop in Greenback called MountainCraft Quilts.  Feeling adventurous and with the assistance of MapQuest we set out to find the shop.  WOW!  A gem of a quilt shop located on Hwy 411 just outside of Maryville.  The shop is owned and operated by a mother/daughter team and is everything this quilter dreams about in a quilt shop:  bolts and bolts of beautiful fabrics, wools, tools, fibers, models, classes.  Perhaps, if Scarlett had access to a quilt shop like MountainCraft, it would have helped with her feeling of being overwhelmed.  It sure helped with mine.

I highly recommend road trips.  Stay tuned there are more road trips in our immediate plans--Berea, Sauder Village, Paducah, Little Rock.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Mastering the HST

Jo's Little Favorites II
Half Square Triangle Challenge
17 x 20 1/2
Fabric from Stash

In 1961 Julia Child released her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  If there is one thing I have learned about quilting it is the role and importance of the HST.  I believe early in her quilting career, Jo Morton must have recognized and learned the importance of the HST.  She has mastered the skill of making HST and she isn't afraid to use.

  One of the quilts in Little Favorites II is called the Half-Square Triangle Challenge.  Jo choose to use two colors in this quilt:  pink and brown.  Since pink is not one of my favorite colors, my stash is limited with this color.  I choose the next best thing--pinky reds.  Red while a bold color sometimes have a pink color or orange color.

Here are some of the things I learned while I am on my journey to Mastering the Art of the HST:
  • Triangle papers are a girls best friend.  It is amazing how accurate and fast HST can be sewn together using triangle papers
  • No matter how accurate I sew and press, HST always need to be measured and trimmed.  Yes, cutting off those dog ears does make a difference
  • Itty Bitty Rulers are also a girls best friend.  
Gardening work (pulling weeds) has cut into my sewing time, but has not stopped me from digging into my fabric stash and pulling fabric for my next HST challenge.

Meadow by Blackbird Designs
(Backing fabric)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

June Flowers

Miss Oak Leaf Hydrangea.  Our neighbor intensely dislikes this shrub.  It is one of my favorites, big bold beautiful blooms.  it smells heavenly, the bees love it, the birds love it in the fall.

Purple coneflower.  They thrive here!  I transplant them, I neglect them and they continue to thrive.  Their big bold centers and brightly colored purple petals make me smile each time I walk past them.

The peonies are recovering from an injury.  A big old limb from the black walnut tree crash landed on them during a wind storm.  

More hydrangea.  Each time I see these big beautiful blooms which range in color from blue to pink to white I ask myself why I have never planted more.  

The day lilies are just beginning to bloom.  With any luck at all, they should be blooming for about the next month.  

I spent several hours weeding today, it is amazing how fast the weeds can grow.  As a gardener I always feel one step behind the weeds.  Am thinking of renaming my garden--The Wilderness seems more of an appropriate name than Next Year.  The flowers are worth the effort and I soldier on.  Weeding good for the flowers, exercise for the body and a time of thought for the mind.  

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Urban Gardening Festival

Today was the Urban Garden Festival at Ellington Agricultural Center.  A free event sponsored by the Davidson County Master Gardeners. Mr. Tin Man was one of my favorite things.  Made entirely from common tin cans.

There were all kinds of fun things at the festival.  These are Tennessee Fainting Goats.  They have a very useful purpose--they are used to clear overgrown areas--honeysuckle, kudzu, and poison ivy are some of their favorite foods.  This goat is a first time Mother and her baby is about three weeks old--she was a very attentive Mother.

This scarecrow was at the entrance to one of the many cottage gardens.

The cottage garden was filled with this beautiful lilies and poppies.  The gardening fence was bamboo.

There were hundreds of these lilac and blue flowers blooming in the gardens

Master Gardeners must have two green thumbs.

This is a pollinator house--a house for bees and insects, made entirely from recycled, reclaimed materials:  concrete blocks, pallets, bricks, broken pottery, sticks.  

AppleJack loved this idea--instead of trying to mulch, weed and mow around trees, the Master Gardens had planted ground cover.  

Raised beds--I am so borrowing this idea.

More square foot gardening--I have the perfect spot in our garden for these raised beds.

Ferns the perfect plant for those shady areas

Ferns in all varieties and yes, some of them came home with me.

Sun loving plants growing in a recycled satellite dish--those Master Gardens sure know how to reuse and recycle.

A pottery scare crow--very clever.

Jaw dropping hostas were growing everywhere.

Thank you Master Gardeners for the beautiful gardens!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

M. Quertier 1799 Quaker Sampler

M. Quertier 1799 Quaker Sampler
Scarlet Letter
Stash Fabric
Gloriana Silk-India Ink 

Emma Lerch decided after the border on her sampler met with no fudging, she needed a break and headed south to soak up some rays and have some fun in the sun (spring break).  M. Quertier 1799 has been in my stitch stash for a long time.  Every time I go looking for a new project there is M. Quertier staring at me and asking:  "when is it going to my turn and when are you going to stitch me?"  After seeing Carmen's beautifully stitched Ann Grimshaw and Faye's beautiful Sarah Comfort Quaker samplers, I decided it was M. Quertier's turn.

Truth be told, I started M. once before and soon realized she is a big girl and the piece of fabric, I had selected was not large enough and stopped stitching after this motif.  Hmm, maybe I will finish stitching this one motif and turn it into something fabulous.  

M. stitched her sampler in 1799 at the Ackworth School in Yorkshire, England.  The Ackworth School was unique because girls received nearly the same educational instruction as boys.  Marsha Parker of the Scarlet Letter writes:  Out of this school came a fascinating style of needlework, characterized by a distinct, clear, formal style of lettering, unique symmetrical whole and fractional medallions with geometric, floral and animal motifs, a vocabulary of short sentimental expressions and other readily identifiable spot motifs.

Schoolhouse Red is a beautiful Gloriana fiber, but M. and I decided to stitch her in black like the original.  It has been a long time since I stitched Quaker medallions and I had forgotten what a joy they are to stitch.  There are several sets of initials on M.'s sampler and I wish I knew more of her story/history.  Are the initials the initials of her friends, family, teachers or classmates?  She wanted everyone to know she stitched the sampler in the year 1799 because it is stitched on the sampler three times.

The Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler was originally available from Needleprint and has been out of print for several years.  Stitchybox Samplers has purchased the copyright and is re-releasing Beatrix.  From what I have read about this sampler, Beatrix Potter did not stitch the sampler, it was hanging in her home and because it was found hanging in her house, it was called the Beatrix Potter sampler.  Both the Beatrix Potter sampler and M. Quertier samplers contain similar motifs and I thought it would be fun to reunite these classmates.  (Oh the plans of mice and men, let's see how long it takes for the wheels to fall off the bus on this plan.)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lemon Meringue Pie

AppleJack asked me to make a pie, a real pie, no store bought filling.  I turned to one of my tried and true recipe books:  Starr Recipes from Greystone.  Unless you are from the Knoxville, Tennessee area or are "older" you might not recognize this cookbook.  The copyright date is 1970.  For fifteen years, Mary Starr served as Women's Director for WATE-TV.  Grandmother Bessie was a faithful follower of Mary Starr.  Basic recipes with no frills, easy to prepare and delicious.  I believe every single woman in my family had a copy of Starr Recipes in her kitchen.  When I moved into my first apartment, I think this was one of the first recipe books I purchased--it has proven itself to be a good investment.

Lemon Meringue Pie

4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar, plus 6 tablespoons for meringue
1 1/2 cups water
3 eggs (separate egg yolks and egg whites)
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
5 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is best)

  • In a small saucepan combine 4 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup sugar
  • When mixture is well blended, gradually add, stirring to dissolve 1 1/2 cups water
  • Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened
  • Add the slightly, beaten egg yolks (remember to temper the egg yolks), return to heat and cook and stir two minutes longer.  
  • Remove mixture from the heat and stir in:  2 tablespoons butter, 1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind and 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Cool and pour into a cooled, baked pie shell
  • Cover with meringue made from three egg whites and 6 tablespoons sugar
  • Brown meringue.  Let cool.  Pie is better if allowed to cool for several hours before serving (if you can wait long enough for it to cool)
This is a very easy, basic and tasty pie.  It won't last long when served and be prepared for requests for second serving.  

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Fresh from the Finisher

Erica Michaels
Quaker Berry

Fresh from the finisher and just in time for spring strawberry picking.  The farmers market had a strawberry festival yesterday.  The weather was rainy and cool and we opted to stay home.  This just means we will make an early morning run to Kelly's for fresh strawberries picked fresh from their patch.


Hard to resist sweet little bunny rabbits when they are this cute.  (Let's hope they mind their manners and stay out of AppleJack's garden).  A nice addition for my spring smalls basket.

Stacy Nash Country Sampler Girls Club
Pumpkin Hill

I am way behind on stitching of the club pieces.  Finally a Thanksgiving piece.   Note to self:  spend more time stitching club pieces.

Stacy Nash Country Sampler Girls Club
School Sampler Spring Sewing bag

Whoops should have rotated the photo.  

A place for needle and pins and floss

The tape measure is the selvage from some quilt fabric--thought it would be fun to add.  

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Scarlet Letter
Emma Lerch
stash linen
Ver A Soie Silks

All kinds of titles rolled through my pea brain when I was composting this post:  It's not easy being green, turning the corner, beating the boredom of borders.  Kermit the Frog would like this sampler because it has six colors of green.  I'm giving Emma a pass on her heavy usage of green and just say she was using what was available to her.  Emma, my kind of girl--even though the border looks symmetrical it is not.  A few added stitches here and there, some leaves with more stitches than others keeping me on my toes.  It matched!  No fudging!  Whew--it is the simple things in life:  a border with all sides matching, makes me a happy girl.  (Yes, I do have an iron and from the looks of Emma's wrinkled condition, it would have been a good idea to have used the iron.)

To compete with the boredom of stitching the border, I have jumped inside and started stitching the very large grassy meadow below the house.  The grassy meadow is 36 rows of stitching.  I'm not sure if animal motifs were suppose to be added or not.  My father would look at this grassy meadow and see it as one big hay field!  Maybe that is the way Emma saw it.  Stitching the grassy meadow is mindless and on those nights when the mind and body are tired it is a good way to continue making progress without a lot of thought and energy.

Normally, I stitch the border as I go.  There were several colors of fibers which I had to order for Emma and the only colors I had were the colors of the border so I just kept stitching and hoping and waiting for the other fibers to arrive.

The next Homespun Gathering is in June--Can I finish Emma in time?  

Friday, April 21, 2017

Jo's Little Favorites II

Uh oh, she (Jo Morton) has done it to me again!  Jo will be releasing her second Little Favorites book in mid-May.  (Don't tell AppleJack, I already pre-ordered)

This is one of the quilt patterns from her Favorite's II.  When I participated in the LWC class, Jo called this quilt Raspberry Parfait.

The quilt hanging on the back of the chair is Pottery Shards--another quilt I made from the LWS class--this quilt is also in Favorite's II.

Don't start thinking because I have made two of the fifteen quilts from Favorite's II that I would not be adding this book to my collection.  Because there are quilts like this one with the beautiful fall colors calling my name.

Nashville is receiving some much needed rain, so no garden work or weeding tonight--I'm going to dig in my Jo Morton fabric stash and start choosing fabric for Favorite's II.