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:


  1. That block is so pretty!! Do you happen to know the name of the line of fabric that has the trees on it? That is fantastic!!

  2. I love how the block maker used the tree fabric in the background. Thanks for the tomato soup recipe.

  3. That was a good choice of fabric for a January block. I have only taken part in such an exchange once but we all made twelve blocks the same and traded them. I still have the signature blocks and am thinking how I might add them to the finished quilt. That exchange sounds like so much fun but a whole year of commitment.


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