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Welcome! My blog is mostly about quilting, a little about life in general, and just whatever else comes to mind. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Peach Crisp

Some people think summer starts with Memorial Day or Summer Solstice. That's fine for them, but for me it starts with the first peach crisp of the season. This year that came with the peach crisp I made for my Dad for Father's Day. Mmmm...it was so good! So I thought I'd share the recipe.

My recipe came from my Mom. She scrawled it out on the back of an envelope, and I still keep it that way. As with many great, classic recipes, it's also simple and easy. I think that's why they stand the test of time.

Peach Crisp:
12-15 medium peaches (or whatever fruit you like, but what's better than peaches?!?)
1 c sugar, divided
2 T instant tapioca (if you use apples, leave this out but adding cinnamon would be good)
1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted


Blanche peaches for 30 seconds in boiling water and put immediately in cold water. Rub peaches, and the skin will fall off. Cut peaches into bite size pieces and put into casserole dish (mine is 3.2 quart, 8" square and 4" deep; anything similar is fine). Mix in about 1/2 cup sugar (less if fruit is really sweet, or to taste) and instant tapioca. (I prefer my crisp less runny, so I use lots more than 2 T, maybe 4 or 5.)

Topping: Mix together flour, baking powder and 1/2 c sugar. Add egg. Mixture will be crumbly. Sprinkle topping over fruit. Pour melted butter over top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and edges are bubbly.


Serve with vanilla ice cream and try not to lick the bowl in front of company! :)


Serves 6-8.
My casserole dish is deep enough that I could have easily used 20-24 peaches with the same amount of topping and served more people. You could also double the whole thing and put it into a bigger container. I once served about 24 people by using 4 large cans of (drained) canned peaches (no need to add any sugar because they're packed in syrup) and quadrupled the topping. I used a large disposable aluminum pan (on a cookie sheet to support the weight).

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!
Nan

Sunday, June 28, 2015

PSA: Please don't wash antique quilt tops!

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert on antique quilts. The best I know is Barbara Brackman and there are many others that know more than me. Now here's my story:

Years ago (10?), my great-aunt gave me an antique quilt top made by someone in the family. She didn't remember anything about it. Most of the fabrics are from the 1930's, though some seem possibly older. It's a true scrap bag treasure. My great-grandmother was a quilter, so I'm hoping she was the quiltmaker, but there's really no way to know.

The pattern is Nosegay, and like most of the fabrics in it, is typical of the 1930's:


You can see that the edges are really wavy. All the patches on the edge of the quilt top are cut on the bias. There were no setting triangles or borders to contain the bias and they got really stretched out.

Here's a close-up of the bottom edge to show a little better how wavy it is, plus how the corners look like tear drops. 


Now here's a close up shot of the back. You can see that someone along the way washed it. The seams have raveled...a lot.


I repaired the open seams but you can see that the top is hand pieced and there is not a lot of seam allowance left in places because when the top was washed, so much of the seam allowance raveled up and went away.

Here's what I trimmed off the back. The pen is just to show you how big the wad of thread is. All of this should have been seam allowance helping hold the beautiful patchwork together.


It's understandable that old quilt tops are sometimes smelly and dirty, but if you're willing to go to the trouble to work on them and want to use them, then don't you want them to hold up as best as possible? Here's my advice: put them in a plastic bag with several dryer sheets and let them sit for a few days. This should take care of any smells. If it doesn't, put new dryer sheets in and give them a few more days. Please, please wait until after you have quilted and bound your treasure, then wash it.

I quilted this top in a simple but dense swirl pattern that gave me the flexibility to wander around as I needed to and reinforce trouble spots, and help hold everything together as well as possible. I don't personally feel that old quilts have to be either hand quilted, or quilted in motifs as they would have been in the era they were made. There are those who do feel that way, and that's fine, too.

After it was quilted, I trimmed off some of the wavy edges to try to make it a (little!) flatter but also try to preserve the half-block look of the design on the sides. I had some vintage 30's fabric a friend gave me that I used for the binding, and now instead of a top sitting in the closet, it's a full-grown quilt! And labeled with what little I know about it.


When it needs washing, I'll wash it by hand in the bath tub. It's too fragile to do anything else.

If you have an old family heirloom sitting around, why not pull it out and finish it up? There are some tops that may have been set aside because they had problems (like not laying flat! lol) or for any other number of reasons, but done is better than perfect, right? I'd like to think my great grandmother, or whoever set this aside way back when, is smiling right now.

Do you have an old top that's been passed down to you? Have you thought about finishing it?

Thanks for stopping by!
Nan

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Crockpot Spaghetti Update: The Power of Pinterest!

I'll admit I occasionally look at my blog stats. It's interesting to see if anyone is actually reading what I'm writing. And there's a place where I can see where people are finding me and clicking through. For example, on a normal day, mostly facebook. Or during a Bonnie Hunter mystery when I link-up to show progress, I'll get lots of hits through her blog.

Back before my big blogging sabbatical, I started getting lots of hits though Pinterest. That's weird; I'm not even on Pinterest. (I know...gasp!) It turns out one of my posts (Crockpot Spaghetti) got pinned and passed around, and back then it got something like 10,000 views! All for a simple (though totally yummy) dish:



So there are two updates. One is that it's now had over 41,000 views. Wow! And among some old comments awaiting moderation was this excellent suggestion: a much easier way to get the grease out of the ground beef is with a turkey baster. Great idea! I'm not likely to try it this week while the heat wave has me frying eggs on the side walk, but when it cools off, I'll be giving the turkey baster trick a try.

Thanks for stopping by!
Nan

Friday, June 5, 2015

Do I Even Remember How To Blog?!?

Figure out what username I used for blogger, check. Reset my password, check. Find where to write posts, check. Remember how to insert a photo...next on the list. We'll see if I can figure this out, and if you're reading this, then yes, maybe I can remember how to blog! lol

If you know me in real life, then you know I've been through a divorce and a move back home to Georgia. After I moved, I spent almost exactly a year without any desire to quilt. I didn't freak out. I just waited patiently, knowing it would come back. And it did! Hooray! So here are a few highlights of what I've been up to lately:

First up is Sunburst. The quilt top was done as a round robin by several friends in an online quilt group a long time ago. I made the center Mariner's Compass block in a class with Judy Mathison, then the block got passed around and borders added as I added borders around blocks for them. The fabrics are hand dyed by my friend Susan and Dianne Dye in Roberta, GA did the beautiful machine quilting. I love how it turned out!


Next is this cute little Bunny sampler. I can't remember right now what I named it. I swapped these blocks with friends in an online quilt group several years ago and these are some of the blocks from the swap. Dianne Dye also quilted this one. There are carrots in the quilting! I got this done in time to hang for Easter this spring.


The last one for today is this Civil War Churn Dash quilt, also made from swap blocks with the same online quilt group. The setting is from Sharyn Craig's book "Great Sets" which is full of fun, creative ideas. I rented a longarm from Dianne to do the quilting on this one.


That's all for today's show and tell from me. What are you working on?

Thanks for stopping by!
Nan

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beach quilts finished

I love the beach any time of the year, but when it's winter in Kansas, day dreaming of the beach can keep me sane.  Spring has been slow arriving this year.  We've been warm the past couple days, but there is snow in the forecast for tonight. Yes, really. :( So I pulled out a couple beachy projects to cheer me up with warm thoughts.

First up is Beach Walk:
The patterns are by McKenna Ryan.  This was a BOM at the shop a few years ago and I made the sample blocks then.  I had the middle put together, but lost the border fabrics (twice! lol) and was afraid to quilt it anyway.  Last week I decided enough was enough...I had to quilt it and get it back to the shop. So with borders found (again!), I got the top finished.  I was nervous about the quilting because there are millions of tiny pieces just fused down.  The quilting needs to catch everything well enough for it to hold up as a wallhanging.  I decided to use clear thread, which can be tricky.  But I faced my fears and got it done!  I finished the binding and most of the embellishments yesterday, and got the last of the embellishments done this afternoon at the shop.  Now it's hanging at the shop DONE!!! :)

Here are a couple close-ups that show some of the embellishments...seed beads for the birds' eyes and rope for the boat and buoys.


I also pulled out a little kit from the shop that had been sitting on my shelf for a couple years.  The pattern is Sea Breeze Pillow by Chitter Chatter Designs. I decided I'd rather do mine as a wallhanging and am happy with how it turned out.  This one also has some embellishment: embroidery in the hair, scarf, jeans, grass and the sun's rays.  I finished it up last weekend.


I've got my fingers crossed that spring will get here and stay for good SOON. Has spring arrived where you are?

Thanks for stopping by,
Nan

Friday, April 5, 2013

Long time, no post.

"Real life" has demanded my attention in several areas lately.  Priorities dictated that quilting and blogging had to take a back seat for awhile. But I'm happy to have some time this morning to show you some quilting that I've been able to do here, lately. :)

First up is this baby quilt that will be a gift.  It's made from the Jelly Roll Race method, which has been popular in the last year or so.  My small group did this together maybe last year...maybe the year before?  I can't remember.  Anyway, I stopped just before the last seam was sewn, when the quilt "top" was long, skinny and cut in half.  Instead of sewing the two halves together for the last step to make it a throw size quilt, I kept it as two smaller quilt tops.  Borders were added to each half, and two Jelly Roll Race baby quilts were born! :)  One went to the charity group I work with, Pieces, which makes quilts for kids in the pediatric unit of the local hospital.  And the other is now finally quilted, bound and ready to give:
My next two finishes are even smaller...but are still finished UFO's! These daffodils are from a series of Patchabilities mini's that I did at the shop. I gave the March one away last spring, and started to make a replacement one. Last month I got it done, with time left in March to display it!
Finally, our guild quilt show is this weekend (if you're near Lawrence, check it out at our NEW LOCATION, Crown Toyota on S Iowa by Wal-Mart).  I have had this embroidered center for several years.  This last week I added the borders, did some simple quilting and got it bound and ready for the silent auction for charity at the show.
Even though none is very big, I'm happy to have these three finishes to report.  And there has been other progress!  My Minglewood top is now at Eula's for quilting (she's going to do fancier quilting than I have the inclination to do myself these days). For Easy Street (Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt - see badge on the right side of my blog), I have done the 16 Block A's and am ready to piece the Block B's. Here are the A's:
For handwork, besides binding, I've been keeping up with the shop samples for Vintage Tin. I see that my last progress report on it was way back here...so there's a lot you haven't seen yet!  Here's most of what's done so far on display at the shop:
And the April block is at the front of the shop:
So that's what's been happening on the quilting front around here.  What are you working on?

Thanks for stopping by,
Nan



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Crockpot Chili

Here's another crockpot favorite at our house.  I mentioned here that you can cook ground beef in the crock pot.  After that, what's left but stirring and simmering?  Pefect in the crockpot, because after the initial stir, you're done til you can't stand the smell anymore and have to dive in!

Crockpot Chili

Before bed, put 2 lbs ground beef in the crockpot.  I use "auto shift" which starts out on high, then goes down to low after awhile.

In the morning, drain or sop up the grease.  (The leaner the beef, the easier this job is.) Stir the beef til it's crumbly.  Then stir in:

3 cans tomato soup (or for a nice twist, try a box of tomato and roasted red pepper soup instead)
2 cans kidney beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 T chili powder, or to taste
1 t garlic powder, or to taste
1 t onion powder, or to taste

***Tip*** Add 2 bay leaves while simmering (and take out before serving).  It acts like Bean-o!

Simmer on low all day.  You can also start the beef in the morning if you'll be home mid-day to do the rest.

Garnish with cheese, salsa or peanut butter (I know, I know...but don't knock it til you try it!) if you like.  Serve with cornbread, and winter is almost bearable.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy!
Nan