Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Eating Snickerdoodles While Reading The Persian Pickle Club

Feel free to join our on-line Quilters' Book Club as we read and discuss The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas.  It should be available in most local libraries.  Enjoy some of Queenie's Snickerdoodles as you read!  Eat the cookies with buttermilk - if it doesn't make you puke like it does Sonny!  And wear a little bit of vanilla behind your ears like Queenie, if you want!

     "'You want some buttermilk?' I asked after I set the butter dish in the refrigerator.  I wiped my hands on a tea towel and threw it over my shoulder.
     "Sonny made a face.  'Buttermilk makes me puke.  Cookies don't.'  I knew that, but I always asked because his answer tickled me so. 
     "I put half a dozen snickerdoodles on a plate and set them in front of Sonny..."
                                                     from page 157, The Persian Pickle Club

Queenie Bean's Snickerdoodles
1 cup shortening (part butter)
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2-3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
2.  Mix shortening, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and eggs thoroughly. 
3.  Blend flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt.  Stir into shortening mixture.
4.  Shape dough in 1" balls.  Roll in mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon.
5.  Place 2" apart on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes.  These cookies puff up at first, then flatten out.  Makes 6 dozen cookies.

This recipe came from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, published 1963.  My sisters and I looked through this book so much growing up that we probably know every cookie in it! 

You might enjoy reading my previous Quilters' Book Club blog post:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My House Quilt - Polka Dot Tree Block

This is a block from my House Block Bee Quilt.  I participated in an on-line bee with eleven other quilters.  We were each assigned a month by our queen bee.  Before the first of my assigned month, I mailed out fabrics to the others to be used to make a house block for me.  I purchased the blue fabric for the sky and the green fabric for the grass.  I sent each person a couple of owls and a couple of children to be included in their block.  Then I looked through my stash and included scraps to be used for houses, trees, etc.  Each quilter could also add their own fabric, if they wished.

Now, there are risks to being in an on-line bee.  Other quilters may not be as skilled as you are.  There is a chance that someone will keep your fabric and not return a finished block to you.  But on the flip side, you will undoubtedly receive blocks with details you would never, ever think of yourself.  I love the added green rickrack above the grass, the cheerful yellow sun, the girls and owl peeking out the windows, and especially the dog in his doghouse.  I would never think to use the polka dot fabric for the tree, but it adds such a touch of whimsy to the block.  I admire the creativity of my other bee members and am so pleased with each block.

After I received all of the blocks, I sashed each one in a cheerful yellow and quilted with straight lines, using a quilt as you go method.  I finished with a blue border and green binding.  This quilt now hangs in my classroom and brightens it considerably, making it an inviting place to read and learn.

This recipe is from my mother.  It's a good recipe to take to a potluck at school. 
Orange-Avocado Toss
1.  Combine the following ingredients in a large salad bowl:
     1 medium head lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
     1 small cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
     1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and sliced
     1 (1 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
2.  In a screw-top jar, combine ingredients for salad dressing:
     ½ teaspoon grated orange peel
     ¼ cup orange juice
     ½ cup salad oil
     2 tablespoons sugar
     2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
     1 tablespoon lemon juice
     ¼ teaspoon salt
3.  Cover the jar tightly and shake dressing ingredients well.
4.  Just before serving, pour dressing over salad.  Toss lightly.

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post:       

Monday, January 28, 2013

Theme of Friendship in The Persian Pickle Club

Friendship Star Variation Quilt Block

Friends and I are reading and discussing The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas and then each making a quilt block to represent it.  I'm calling my quilt my "Curl Up with a Good Book Quilt."  We'd love to have you join us!   

There is an overriding theme of friendship found in this book - in particular, friendship among women.  I searched the internet and found several free block patterns to go along with this theme:

Friendship Square Quilt Block
Friendship Scrap Quilt Block
Friendship Star Variation

I don't belong to a weekly quilting bee like Queenie does.  But I do belong to two monthly quilting groups.  The first group is a small group of seven who've been meeting together for years.  We meet once a month on a Tuesday night at a member's home.  She has a wonderful set-up in her basement that can accommodate all of us.  We eat, visit, and sew and have a wonderful time together.  We actually call ourselves The Persian Pickles! 

I also belong to a local branch of The Modern Quilt Guild.  We meet once a month on Saturday for a meeting, lunch, and then a sew-in.  While my first quilting group is made of women my age, the guild is multi-generational with young women, busy mamas, and grandmas.  Four babies attended our November meeting, including twins!  Some women are relative newcomers to quilting while others have been at it for years.

I also have a wonderful on-line quilting community that I can access all hours of the day and night.  Someone is always available for advice, opinions, encouragement, and even prayer.  I love this aspect of quilting.  It's a wonderful time to be a quilter!

We'd love to have you join our free, on-line Quilter's Book Club!  Check out the book from your local library and join in the discussion.  (Feel free to just read and discuss the book or just make a quilt block or both.)  I love the idea of a book club that's multi-cultural and multi-generational, with a love of quilting and books that binds us all together. 

Question:  The members of The Persian Pickle Club provide friendship and a great deal of support to one another.  Where do you get your encouragement and support as a quilter?  as a person?

Next week, we'll look at the book's setting, and I'll provide links for block patterns that go with the setting.

You might also enjoy reading my previous Quilter's Book Club blog post:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quilters' Book Club Introduction

I love to quilt, and I love to read - so why not combine these two interests to form a Quilters' Book Club?  I invite you to join me.  Each month, we'll read a book, discuss it through the comments on my blog posts, and then make a quilt block to represent that book.  I'll research several potential blocks to go with the book's themes, setting, main characters, and events.  And I'll find the patterns free on the internet, making it easy for everyone to access.  Each member can choose the block or blocks they'd like to make.  I'll also make sure each book is available on Kindle since so many people use that format for reading.  
Now, what fabrics to use for my blocks?  I have long admired red and white quilts so decide to keep it simple and go with just two fabrics, Kona Snow and Kona Rich Red.  And I have a name for my quilt.  It will be called my "Curl Up with a Good Book Quilt."  Please feel free to choose whatever fabrics you'd like to use for your quilt.  We quilters are such creative people.  I can't wait to see what we all create! 

Our first book is The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas.  This will be our book to read and discuss during the month of February, 2013.   

"It is the 1930s, and hard times have hit Harveyville, Kansas, where the crops are burning up, and there's not a job to be found. For Queenie Bean, a young farm wife, a highlight of each week is the gathering of the Persian Pickle Club, a group of local ladies dedicated to improving their minds, exchanging gossip, and putting their quilting skills to good use. When a new member of the club stirs up a dark secret, the women must band together to support and protect one another. In her magical, memorable novel, Sandra Dallas explores the ties that unite women through good times and bad."

I have had the privilege of hearing Sandra speak three times.  The last time was by far the most special.  All those who bought a ticket to hear her speak were entered into a contest to get to eat dinner with her before her presentation.  I could hardly believe it when I received the phone call that I had won!  I had a lovely meal with Sandra and her husband in my wonderful local bookstore before she spoke.  Here is a link to her website: if you'd like to learn more about her and her books. 

Get a copy of The Persian Pickle Club from your local library and join us, if you'd like.  I love the idea of a book club made up of quilters around the world!  If you use fabrics from your stash, your quilt doesn't have to cost anything!  Just because I'm using only two fabrics, you certainly don't have to.  Feel free to use whatever fabrics you'd like. 

If you'd like to be part of the book club, please introduce yourself in the comment section below.  We'd love to have you!  And if you look on the right side of my blog under Labels, you will find "Quilters' Book Club."  If you click on that, you will be able to see every blog post related to the book club.

A tip I'd like to pass on from member Paula C.:  If you are reading my blog on an Iphone or Ipad, the links on the right will not show up.  Make sure you are reading the web version of my post. 

In the next Quilters' Book Club post, I'll give suggestions for quilt blocks related to the theme of friendship found in The Persian Pickle Club:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Maple Leaf Quilt Block and Pumpkin Day

This 12" Maple Leaf block is the 19th block of my Starwood Sampler Quilt, created to tell the story of my home and community.  I made it as a block of the month with my quilting group, the Persian Pickles.  A friend and I chose the blocks, and we found this pattern free on-line at:  Alternate blocks in my quilt are set straight and on point.  This block is set on point. 

In my yard, the Rocky Mountain Maple, aspen, scrub oak, and chokecherry trees change colors in the fall in contrast to the steady, dark green color of the pines and firs.     

Fall means Pumpkin Day.  My dad has a large garden in my parents' yard and, until recently, even an extra garden of pumpkins and corn in his neighbor's yard.  Each year, all the family gathers at my parents' home for Pumpkin Day.

My mom prepares a meal for all of us.
Pumpkin Day Dip
2 cups powdered sugar
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
15 ounce can pumpkin
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1.  Beat the powdered sugar and cream cheese until well blended.  Blend in remaining ingredients.  Store in an airtight container.
2.  Serve with gingersnaps, vanilla wafers, and/or apple slices.  
Everyone chooses a pumpkin to take home.  Relatives from Sweden also came for Pumpkin Day one year.

Even Chloe chooses a pumpkin!

Pumpkin Picking
Let’s go picking in the pumpkin patch.
Now we’re jiggling the old gate latch.
Gate swings wide and we step inside.
Pumpkins spread like an ocean tide.
You take the one like a fat balloon.
I’ll take the one like an orange moon.
Hike to the house in fifty paces.
Then we’ll carve out the pumpkin faces.
            Sandra Olson Liatsos
You might also enjoy reading my previous post:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hummingbird Quilt Block


This 12" Hummingbird block is the 18th block of my Starwood Sampler Quilt, made to tell the story of my home and community.  I made it as a block of the month with my quilting group, the Persian Pickles.  We found the pattern for this block at:  This block has several names - Rosebud, Maple Leaf, Bright Star, and Crow's Foot as well as Hummingbird.

In this quilt, half of my blocks are set straight, and half are set on point.  This block is set on point, using the blue fabric for the sashing.  

I continue with the amusing story my son Sean wrote about living so close to nature:
Close Encounters of the Wild Kind continued

My mom heard the commotion and sprang into action, lifting about ten encyclopedias (you have heard how adrenaline works in times like this) and placed them on top of the lid, assuring me that even if the animal was a small mountain lion it would not escape.  For what seemed like hours, although it was probably only a minute, we stood at the bathroom door in horrified, agonizing silence, holding our collective breath.

When the clamor had ceased (actually quite a bit later.  We avoided all action for so long that we were sure that the corpse would soon begin to smell), and after a lengthy silence, the father figure was brought in to perform the extraction.

Giant prongs in hand, he slowly, and quite bravely, opened the lid.  A mouse, we had thought.  Or a chipmunk, maybe.  “Oh my goodness!  It’s a rat!” he yelled, his face contorted with horror.  Actually, it was an Abert’s squirrel, and it had climbed into an opening in the roof (don’t ask me why we needed an opening in the roof that leads to the toilet) that has since been sealed.  It died an awful death, death by toilet.  It shattered my innocence.  I will never sit down with any security again.

You might say that living next to the national forest is a constant clash with nature.  We have had raccoons eat the cat food, a bear snap the deck railing, a pet cat eaten (this is purely circumstantial, and I contend it was by a mountain lion), and a Common Flicker (commonly known as Annoying Wood Pecker) who delighted in searching for worms in the absolute break of day and in the paneling of the house nearest to any heads resting on pillows.

But it isn’t all bad; most of the beauty of nature we enjoy: The wild turkey that struts by tauntingly on Thanksgiving Day, the mother duck and her ducklings that cross the road as stopped cars look on, the beaver and blue heron that make occasional appearances at the pond where the ducks live, the bossy orange hummingbird who, every year, rules the plastic roost of the hummingbird feeder, the chipmunks who scurry around collecting acorns – that is, until the aforementioned feline depleted their population.

Oh, the wonders of living as one with nature.  How we could get along without our friendly fauna I do not know.  Which may account for my sleepless first night of college last fall.  I listened to the rhythmic guttural snoring of my new roommate (a sound somewhat on par with, say, the pounding of the Common Flicker) and sighed, wide-awake.

It was then that I turned and looked out my window to see a little varmint snuffling through the garbage can.  Later, I was told that it was a possum, that it was ugly, disgusting, and not to be trusted.  But when I saw it that night, ten feet from where I slept, I didn’t care.  I feel into a deep sleep.
It felt like home.

Click here to read the first part of this story:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Bees and Fields Quilt Block

This 12" Bees and Fields block is the 17th block of my Starwood Sampler Quilt, designed to tell the story of my home and community.  I made it as a block of the month with my quilting group, the Persian Pickles.  This is one of the extra blocks I made for my king-sized quilt.  I found the pattern free on-line at:

Living next to the national forest has given us opportunities for many close encounters with wild animals.  In 2000 after his freshman year in college, our son Sean wrote a wonderfully entertaining story describing these experiences.  Enjoy!

Close Encounters of the Wild Kind

Once when my family and I were returning from a vacation in Estes Park, we came around a bend in the road somewhere in the mountains and were greeted by about thirty cars strewn all over the road and facing every direction.  It was not an accident, we soon realized.  It was more like, well, curiosity slowing.  Something, some animal, was on the side of the road and every tourist with a camera had stopped to see it.  We all excitedly wondered aloud at what it could be.  A bear?  A cougar?  Something strange and rare, for sure.  Something ill-tempered and with big teeth!

Dad rolled around another bend, and the fierce creature with which we were all enraptured came into sight.  It was a deer.  One very small, very plain deer.  We looked at each other, perplexed, had a good laugh and went on our way.

Ah, the jaded life we live.  We weren’t overly excited to see the deer, because we could just as easily see one in our backyard tomorrow.  You see, this is the beauty of living next to the national forest.  You are, quite literally, at one with nature – whether nature has feathers, a bushy tail, a stinger, or a sixteen-point rack

It is a common occurrence to look out the living room window and think you are seeing the neighbor’s golden retriever.  Then the animal raises its head up to its full five feet and Bambi looks at you quizzically.  Other creatures have found the plot of nature directly south and west of our living room to be a comforting habitat. 

What foresight my parents demonstrated in planning for a glass door in our living room, leading out to the back deck.  A young fox (apparently fearless in his adolescence) found it entertaining to sit on the deck outside the door and watch television.  “Wonder Years” was one of his favorites.  He always sat in the same place – right outside the glass door – and he always came when the TV was on.  Whether it was the flashing lights or the witty comedy that attracted him remains a mystery.  Maybe he just wanted to hang out.


He came so often that we gave him a name.  Filbert the Fox still joins us to watch our living room TV set.  He even brought friends this spring.  Several other foxes (I suspect they are female and most likely interested in Filbert.  He doesn’t come around as often.) have made their appearance recently, in the daytime, no less.  And while it is daring for a fox to be out during the day, there are some animals that are not bothered by any such distinction.  In the daytime, nighttime, in fact anytime, we have animals between our walls.  Small, stinging animals.  Stand too close to the south wall in my brother’s room and you will hear the constant bustling activity of thousands upon thousands of bees.  The bees have been in the wall for years.  We have tried to rid ourselves of them.  A bee man came once, dressed to kill and armed with a trap to take bees where bees belong.  They soon returned, though, and the only remaining option is to take out the wall connecting both my brothers’ rooms, remove every trace of honey and the bugs that make it, and hope that they find another home.

Though they are now our cohabitants, the bees have not made the most unwanted or unexpected wild appearance in our humble abode.  I don’t remember most of the times I sat on the toilet.  But I remember the one when I heard something scratching in the wall.  I had just sat down when what sounded like fingernails began scratching frantically on the wall behind me.  “Strange,” I thought, “this scratching, hardly a regular occurrence.”

And in one of the more intelligent or perhaps instinctual moments of my life, I stood up and put the lid down.  Not more than a second later, the fingernails and the thing attached to them were in the bowl, thrashing and slamming the porcelain for all it was worth.  I was paralyzed with fear, and perhaps the realization of what the animal would be thrashing if I had not chosen flight.

To be continued . . .


Thursday, January 17, 2013

January Snowman Kit Basket Block

This January Wooly Basket block is part of my Wooly Basket Calendar Quilt.  The pattern is from the Starry Pines Pattern Company:

I used wool for the hand-appliqued basket, cotton flannel for the background fabric, and black perle cotton for the embroidery. 

Snow Day

Snow day,
Ten-below day,
Bundle-up-and-go day.
Pile three deep
On the old wooden sled,
Snow-crusted jackets,
Cheeks frozen red.
Scrunch, crunch, scrunch,
Boots punch holes in snow.
From three small balls,
Watch a snowman grow.
Cocoa sipping,
Cookie dipping,
One free night
Of homework skipping.
A friend’s toboggan
Is ours to borrow –
Please let there be
No school tomorrow!

                Carol H. Stewart

Recipes for cocoa sipping and cookie dipping on a snow day! 

Cocoa Mix
8-quart sized box of powdered milk
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar
6–7 ounces powdered coffee creamer (We like French Vanilla.)
1 pound box Nestle’s Chocolate Quick

1.  Mix well with a wooden spoon and store in an airtight container.
2.  To make cocoa, fill a cup almost half full of mix.  Stir while filling cup with hot water.
3.  Add marshmallows, whipped cream, or a peppermint stick for an extra treat!

Chocolate Crinkles
½ cup vegetable oil
4 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

1 cup powdered sugar

1.  Mix oil, chocolate, and sugar.  Blend in eggs until well mixed.  Add vanilla.
2.  In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.
3.  Blend flour mixture into oil mixture.  Chill several hours or overnight.
4.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll in powdered sugar.  Place about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Do not overbake!  Makes about 6 dozen cookies. 

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Simple Woman's Daybook for January 15, 2013
Outside my window . . . It is cold and dark.  It's 24 degrees but feels like 13.  We're expecting some snow later tonight, and there's still snow on the ground from yesterday's light snow.

I am thinking . . . I need a redwork project to work on by the fire!

I am thankful . . . for a warm home and wood-burning fireplace on this cold night.  I'm also thankful for quilting friends in my community and in my on-line community around the world.

In the kitchen . . . I ate chicken noodle soup by the fireplace for supper tonight.  Gladys Taber wrote, "There are many delights in winter, and eating in front of the fire is one of them."

I am hearing . . . the fire crackling in the fireplace - a fire I built.

I am creating . . .  a Variable Star quilt block in solid red and white.  I made it to go with the book The Christmas Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini.  It's part of my Curl Up with a Good Book Quilt. 

I am going . . . to participate in the 9th annual Adult Reading Program of my local library district by reading eight books in eight weeks.  It's my 9th year to do so, and I have the Adult Reading Program mugs to prove it! 

I am reading . . . The Red Tent by Anita Diamant to discuss with my Raspberry Mountain Readers Book Club and The Healing Quilt by Lauraine Snelling to discuss with my quilting group The Persian Pickles.

I am hoping . . . for warmer weather, blue Colorado skies, and bright sunshine.  

I am looking forward to . . . making Corn and Cheese Chowder from a recipe that my daughter-in-law Haley just sent me.

I am learning . . . how to transfer photos from my phone to my computer.

Around the house . . .  it's quiet but cozy with the fire burning.   

I am pondering . . . my word for 2013 - "Balance" and what it means to my life this year.

One of my favorite things . . . is to have lunch with a friend, which I got to do today.  So fun!

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . help students become better readers and be excited about books, complete two quilt blocks, and attend the January meeting of the Front Range Modern Quilt Guild.  It will be good to get caught up with these friends since I missed the December sew-in.        

Go to  if you'd like to participate or read other women's daybook entries.

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Number the Stars Wallhanging

I named this quilt Number the Stars after a wonderful book by Lois Lowry that is a favorite book of my students.  The pattern comes from the book Scrappy Stars by Jodi Barrows.  Jodi is known for her Square in a Square technique and ruler.  The book is available used through Amazon.  Jodi's website is found here:        

This is the final post about the quilts in my classroom.  It is a small room, perfect for teaching reading to small groups of children.  I enjoy making it look as much like a living room as possible.  I'm a big believer in good phonics instruction and want my students to develop good decoding skills.  But I also want my students to develop a lifelong love of reading.  

Two Lives Are Yours

Books I think
Are extra nice.
Through books you live
Not once but twice.

You are yourself
And you are things
With fur or fins
Or shells or wings,

As big as giants
Small as gnats
As far as stars
As close as cats.

You live today
And long ago
The future, too,
Is yours to know.

You’re multiplied,
Expanded, freed.
You’re you and also
What you read.
                                Richard Armour

Coffee Can Ice Cream
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ cup sugar
1-pound coffee can with lid
Plastic wrap
Sturdy rubber band
3-pound coffee can with lid
Crushed ice
Box of salt

1.  Mix together the whipping cream, vanilla, and sugar.  Pour this into the 1-pound coffee can.  The can should be about ¾ full.  If it isn’t, you can stir in more whipping cream.
2.  Put the top on tightly.  Cover it with a piece of plastic wrap held by a rubber band.
3.  Set the 1-pound can in the center of the 3-pound can.  Put a layer of crushed ice about 2 inches thick in the bottom of the large can around the small can.  Then sprinkle ¼ cup of salt on top of the ice.  Continue layering the ice and salt until the can is almost full.  Put the top on the can. 
4.  Sit on the floor and roll the can back and forth with a partner.  In 15 minutes, check the ice cream by carefully opening the inside can.  Be careful not to get any of the salt water in the ice cream.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January House Block

January, the month of new beginnings and cherished memories, beckons.  Come, let winter weave her wondrous spell: cold, crisp, woolen-muffler days, long dark evenings of savory suppers, lively conversations, or solitary joys.  Outside the temperature drops as the snow falls softly.  All of nature is at peace.  We should be, too.  Draw hearthside.  This is the month to dream, to look forward to the year ahead and the journey within.  
       -  from Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach

This 12" January House block is part of my Calendar of Houses Bee Quilt and was made by a quilter from England.  A friend and I organized this on-line bee a couple of years ago after being members of two previous on-line bees.     

There were twelve of us in the bee - from the United States as well as England and New Zealand.  Every month, each of us made a block for a member and a different member made a block for us.  The house design was to represent that month.  This block certainly looks like January to me with the white snow on the ground, the bare trees in the white background, and the golden light shining through the lower windows on a cold day.  I love the black embroidery she added to the house.

One interesting aspect of this bee is that January is a summer month in New Zealand and a winter month in the northern hemisphere!  And while November makes Americans think of Thanksgiving, it made others in our group think of Guy Fawkes Day!  So each month, we had to communicate what that particular month meant to us. 

We each used stash from our fabric to make the blocks we sent to others.  It was so exciting to find a block in my post office box each month.  The postal worker became interested in following along with the progress of my quilt as I mailed each block and showed her each new one I received.

Along with a 12" block, each member also sent a little "siggy" or "signature" block.  This block was a much smaller, simpler version of the larger house block but made of the same fabrics.  Each member labeled her siggy block with her name, city, and state (or country).  I made these little blocks part of my quilt's back.  This way, I can always remember who made each block for me.
What is better than soup on a cold January day?  This Cream of Tomato Soup is delicious with grilled cheese sandwiches.                                                                                       
Cream of Tomato Soup 
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
Dash of garlic salt, basil, oregano, thyme
2 cups tomato juice
2 cups cold milk

1.  Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan. 
2.  Blend in flour, sugar, salt, pepper, onion, and herbs with a wire whisk.
3.  Add tomato juice, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until smooth and bubbly. 
4.  Add milk and heat almost to boiling.

If you happen to have tomato juice from your very own tomatoes, that would put this soup over the top.  And, of course, if you have fresh herbs growing on your windowsill, by all means use them!    

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

State Flower Quilt

My State Flower Quilt hangs in the narrow hallway leading in to my classroom.  Several years ago, Northcott came out with this collection of state flower fabrics (over a period of time.)  After the entire collection was out, I purchased enough of each fabric to make my quilt.  My local quilt owner suggested this simple pattern, along with the black fabric for the stars. 

My students enjoy looking on the chart to see the name of each state flower and then locating the flower on the quilt.  You will notice that some states share the same flower and thus have the same fabric. 

The Northcott fabric line is no longer available, but I just read that Paintbrush Studio is coming out with their own line of state flower fabrics, spread over a period of time.    

I am a part-time reading teacher, working mornings at my local elementary school.  Each morning, I work with four groups of students.  First, I read with a small group of 4th graders in my room who named themselves the Reading Panthers.  Then I work in a 5th grade classroom along with the teacher.  Next, I'm back in my room reading with a 5th grade boys bookclub known as the Domination Readers.  Finally, I work in a kindergarten classroom.  We use a wonderful curriculum called Saxon Phonics to teach decoding and spelling skills to our students.  Today, I checked that each kindie could sound out and read twelve words such as "silk," "mask," "skin," "milk," and "kiss."  It's so fun to see the progression of reading skills from kindergarten through 4th and 5th grades!

I take a quilt into the kindergarten classroom each year and briefly explain how I make a quilt and how much math is involved. 

That's my morning at school!  Can you tell by my classroom that I'm a teacher who's also a quilter? 

My students love this poem: 
    I thought I’d win the spelling bee,
    And get right to the top.
But I started to spell “banana,"
              And I didn’t know when to stop.
                                       William Cole

My kindergarten students couldn't quite catch the meaning of my new door decoration.  
Three teachers at my school are going to be grandmas for the first time this summer.  We each decorated our door like this, wore Grandma sashes (like Miss America sashes) at the staff meeting, and passed out blue and pink candy to the staff.

Homemade Chalk Recipe
Empty cardboard toilet paper tubes
Waxed paper
Scotch tape
Plaster of Paris
Tempera paints in various colors

1.  For each stick of chalk you wish to make, line the inside of an empty toilet paper tube with waxed paper and seal one end with tape.
2.  With a spoon, mix two parts plaster of Paris with one part warm water in a bowl and add approximately two spoonfuls of tempera paint to achieve the desired color.
3.  Pour the mixture into the prepared toilet paper tubes.  Gently tap the tubes to release air bubbles from the plaster.
4.  Repeat for each color of chalk you wish to make.
5.  Let the plaster mixture dry for 48 hours.  Peel off the cardboard tube and waxed paper.  Create some sidewalk art with your homemade chalk.

You might also enjoy the other posts about my quilty classroom: