Monday, September 30, 2013

The Morns Are Meeker Than They Were

Maple Leaf Quilt Block

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown,
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

by Emily Dickinson

 


 
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.

Easy Envelope Quilt Progress

This is a quick snapshot of my current work-in-progress, my Easy Envelope Quilt.  I'm planning on 24 envelopes in all, 4 across by 6 envelopes down.  I also think I'll add a border or two, but I'll have to wait to see what I think after all of the rows are sewn together.
 
I'm also planning on typing up 24 poems, cut down to a 4" x 6" size, to fit into the envelopes.  Then a student can open one envelope each day and read that poem.  I think the quilt will be a fun addition to my classroom.   
 
What current work/works-in-progress are you working on?  Inquiring minds want to know!
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Autumn Tints Quilt Block and a Song for Sunday



 
For the Beauty of the Earth
For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

       words (1864) by Folliot S. Pierpoint (1835-1917)

 
 
 
 
 
You might also enjoy my previous blog post here.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Enjoying Coffee Can Ice Cream with the Quilters' Book Club

Snow Churn Quilt Block

If you enjoyed the idea of Ice Cream in a Bag described in The Goodbye Quilt by Susan Wiggs, I think you'll enjoy this similar recipe for Coffee Can Ice Cream.  Especially fun for children and grandchildren!

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.
5.  When the ice cream is frozen, enjoy it!

While you're enjoying your ice cream, let's discuss the quilt that Linda is making for her daughter Molly in The Goodbye Quilt by Susan Wiggs.  What did you think of how the quilt itself ended up in this story?  As a quilter, does it seem like a realistic ending to you?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below.  If you are reading via email, you must first click on the blog title to be able to comment and read the comments of others.  

By commenting, you are entering your name in a give-away for a copy of The Double Wedding Ring by Clare O'Donohue, courtesy of Plume Books.  There will be two lucky winners this month!   


You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pudding and Pie Quilt Block for My Curl Up with a Good Book Quilt

Pudding and Pie Quilt Block
 
Each Friday, I'm posting a block of my Curl Up with a Good Book Quilt, which I'm making as part of the online Quilters' Book Club.  This 12" Pudding and Pie block represents the book Wedding Ring by Emilie Richards, which we read and discussed in July 2013.  You can read more about this block and get a delicious blueberry pie recipe from the author here
 
In the Quilters' Book Club, we read and discuss a quilt novel each month and then make a quilt block to represent each book.  I have long admired red and white quilts so decided to keep it simple and go with just two fabrics, Kona Snow and Kona Rich Red, for my blocks.  I think this Pudding and Pie block is so unusual and will make a really wonderful addition to my Curl Up with a Good Book Quilt.  I've linked with member Elaine's Friday Night Block Party here.
 
I own three wonderful sources of quilt block patterns.  In The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer, the source of this Pudding and Pie block is Alice Brooks, unidentified newspaper clipping, date unknown.  I can also find this block in my 5,500 Quilt Block Designs by Maggie Malone.  It is not, however, in BlockBase, the CD-Rom version of Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
 
In October, we'll be reading and discussing State Fair: a Benni Harper Mystery by Earlene Fowler.  Grab this book from your local library or bookstore and join the free, online Quilters' Book Club for our monthly book discussion and sew-along. 
 
If you made a quilt with only two colors, which two would you choose?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below.  If you are reading via email, you must first click on the blog title to be able to comment and read the comments of others.  

By commenting, you are entering you name in a give-away for a copy of The Double Wedding Ring by Clare O'Donohue, courtesy of Plume Books.  There will be two lucky winners this month!
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.     

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My House Quilt - Schoolhouse Quilt Block


This Schoolhouse block is part of my House Block Bee Quilt - a cheery quilt that hangs in my classroom.

I participated in the on-line House Block 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.  I ended up making three of the blocks for this quilt, and this is one of my blocks.  (It's interesting that my students could immediately pick out the blocks I made.) 
 
Homemade Chalk Recipe
Empty cardboard toilet paper tubes
Scissors
Waxed paper
Scotch tape
Plaster of Paris
Water
Bowl
Spoon
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.

Bubble Recipe
2 cups Joy dishwashing liquid
6 cups water
¾ cup Karo light corn syrup

Combine ingredients, shake, let settle 4 hours.  Put in a 9 x 13-inch pan, take outside, and enjoy!

You must use Joy and Karo.  Other brands don’t work as well.

Tips:
1.  Do not stir wand in suds to avoid foaming.
2.  If foaming develops, scrape off with stiff card.
3.  Rotate play around yard to avoid damage to plants.
4.  Bubbles are best on humid days.
5.  Sun weakens suds so protect suds from direct sun.
6.  Store covered in refrigerator to extend suds shelf life.  Allow to warm before using.
7.  Keep suds clean – avoid dirt, grass, bugs, etc.


You might also enjoy my previous blog post here.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September Redwork Birdie Stitches


This block is part of the Birdie Stitches Block of the Month by Little Miss Shabby available free online:
http://www.littlemissshabby.com/2010/12/birdie-stitches-supply-list/
When I saw it, I knew it was the perfect project for me.  Instead of using several colors of embroidery thread, I chose to use just No. 8 perle cotton in red.  I have done redwork on a single layer of fabric, and the knots show through from the back. I've tried backing the fabric with very lightweight iron-on interfacing, but the interfacing wrinkled. This time I used a double layer of the Kona cotton. I ironed the layers together and used an embroidery hoop. I didn't baste the two layers together, but it has not been a problem. I've been very pleased with the results so far.

Autumn Leaves
  Green leaves,
    Yellow leaves,
      Red leaves, and brown,
        Falling,
          Falling,
            Blanketing the town.
              Oak leaves,
                Maple leaves,
                  Apple leaves, and pear,
                    Falling,
                      Whispering,
                        “Autumn’s in the air!”
                          Big leaves,
                            Little leaves,
                              Pointed leaves, and round,
                                Falling,
                                  Nestling,
                                    Carpeting the ground.
                                                       Leland B. Jacobs

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.
 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Easy Envelope Quilt, Fun and Colorful with Lots of Possibilities

 
Happy 224th Birthday to the United States Post Office, established in 1789!
 
 
I thought this would be a great day to show you
the envelopes I've made so far for my Easy Envelope Quilt. 
 
 
And look what's inside each envelope - another color!
 

Each envelope ends up being 5" x 7" including seam allowances.  I'm still not quite sure how many envelopes I'll end up with.  I do know that I will add a 1" sashing of black to separate the envelopes. 
 
I thought it would be fun to hang the finished quilt in my classroom, putting different poems in each envelope.  A student could choose an envelope and read that poem for the day. 
 
I think there are all sorts of other possibilities for this quilt.  With Christmas fabrics, it would make a wonderful advent calendar, don't you think?  Check out pattern designers Linda Milligan and Nancy Smith as they demonstrate how to make this easy quilt with Alex Anderson of Simply Quilts.  (Note: Some people are unable to link to the video.  If you're one of these people, try googling Alex Anderson Easy Envelope Quilt and see if you can find it this way.)
 
Do you still write letters that travel through the post office or do you send letters via email?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below. 
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.

Brotherly Love Quilt Block and What's on Your Nightstand?

Brotherly Love Quilt Block

I'm participating in the monthly feature, What's on Your Nightstand?  Participants post what they've been reading the past month as well as what they're planning to read in the future.

Picture Book:
Sisters and Brothers by husband and wife team Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
A nonfiction book about siblings relationships in the animal world.  The beautiful cut-and torn-paper collage illustrations greatly add to the book. 
Did you know that nine-banded armadillos are always born as identical quadruplets - four brothers or four sisters or that New Mexico whiptail lizards have only sisters?  These are the kinds of interesting facts you'll find in this book.  As a mother of three sons, my favorite fact is about the wild turkey:  "Wild turkey brothers are lifelong companions...After they hatch, the young birds stay with their mother and siblings for a year.  The females leave to begin their own families, and the males begin their life as a band of brothers."
     
Middle Grade Novels:
The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars
A boy spends the summer on the farm with his aunt and uncle, discovers a black fox, and grows up in the process.

Class Clown by Johanna Hurwitz
Set in a third grade classroom.  About the class clown who wants to become
the perfect student.

  I am reading these two novels with small groups of students at school.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio
NPR's Backseat Book Club selection for September 2013 - check it out here
"August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school - until now.  He's about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be.  The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face.  But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?  I highly recommend this to everyone fifth grade and above, including adults!

Book Club Books:
Deadly Currents by Beth Groundwater for my local book club
Mystery set in Salida, Colorado
Not the best book we've read but was fun to have it set in Salida.  I learned a lot about the lives of river rafters.

The Goodbye Quilt by Susan Wiggs for the online Quilters' Book Club
Realistic fiction set in Wyoming and on a roadtrip back East
If you've ever had a child go far away to college, you'll relate to this book.

Books I've listened to:
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
Nonreligious thoughts on spiritual Christianity
My husband and I listened to this on the drive to and from Breckenridge.  I had read the book earlier and seemed to enjoy it better when I read it than when I listened to it.   

Miss Julia Meets Her Match by Ann B. Ross
I picked this CD up at my library just to have a book to listen to.  I didn't especially enjoy the book, but I did enjoy listening to the reader with her Southern accent.

Cookbooks:
The Louisa May Alcott Cookbook compiled by Gretchen Anderson, illustrated by Karen Milone
A children's cookbook that includes recipes for foods mentioned in Little Women and Little Men.  Black and white line drawings.  I love cookbooks connected to novels!
   
Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook by Martha Hall Foose
Recipes from the Mississippi Delta

I usually check this book out from my library once a year.  I've never made any of the recipes, but I enjoy regional cookbooks.  Color photos and colorful stories along with the recipes.  Includes interestingly named recipes like Sold My Soul to the Devil-ed Eggs, Mother of the Church Ambrosia, Strawberry Missionary Society Salad, Tallahatchie Tomatoes, Apron String Biscuits with Red-Eye or Tomato Gravy, Sweet Tea Pie, Ponchatoula Strawberry Cupcakes, and Commitment Caramel Cake (for committing someone to the church, marriage, or the ground).

Just for Fun:
Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman
Southern fiction set in Charleston, South Carolina and a farm in Kentucky

Favorite quotes from the book:

"Some people run toward life, arms flung wide in anticipation.  Others crack open the door and take a one-eyed peek to see what's out there.  Then there are those who give up on life long before their hearts stop beating - all used up, worn out, and caved in, yet they wake each morning and shuffle their tired legs through another day.  Maybe they're hoping for a change - a miracle, even - but runaway dreams and lost years hang heavily on their backs.  It's the only coat they know how to wear.  They've become accustomed."

"Never tie your happiness to the tail of someone else's kite."

What's on your nightstand?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below. 

By commenting, you are entering you name in a give-away for a copy of The Double Wedding Ring by Clare O'Donohue, courtesy of Plume Books.  There will be two lucky winners this month!


You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bright Hopes Quilt Block and a New Life for Linda and Molly in The Goodbye Quilt

Bright Hopes Quilt Block

This is the last week the Quilters' Book Club will be reading and discussing The Goodbye Quilt by Susan Wiggs.  In October, our selection is State Fair: a Benni Harper Mystery by Earlene Fowler.  It's set in California.  Get the book now from your local library and join us! 

In The Goodbye Quilt, main character Linda Davis is driving with her daughter Molly from their home in Wyoming to Molly's new school back East.  Molly will be starting her new life as a college student far from her family and boyfriend.  Linda will be starting a new life as an empty nester since Molly is her only child. 
If you'd like to create a quilt block to represent a new life for both mother and daughter, clink on the block names to take you to the free patterns:

Star of Hope Quilt Block

Bright Hopes Quilt Block

Quilt Blocks of Sewing Notions (to represent Pins and Needles Quilt Store)

Another Bright Hopes Quilt Block
Do you think parents consciously prepare themselves for the empty nest phase, or do most people move into this part of their life rather unprepared? What do you think people look forward to the most in this phase? What do they dread?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below. 

By commenting, you are entering you name in a give-away for a copy of The Double Wedding Ring by Clare O'Donohue, courtesy of Plume Books.  There will be two lucky winners this month!


You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.  And don't forget to grab a copy of State Fair: a Benni Harper Mystery by Earlene Fowler so you can join us in October!  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Maple Leaf Quilt Block and the First Day of Autumn


Fall begins around September 22 of each year.  That day is called the fall equinox.  An equinox occurs when the sun is just above the equator.  The days and nights are of equal length all over the Earth.  In the fall, the temperatures fall quicker and the daylight hours get shorter at a quicker rate than before.

What I Love About Autumn
Apple picking
Frisbee flicking
Falling leaves
Bracing breeze
Flying kites
Cool crisp nights
Trick or treat
(Sweets to eat)
Pumpkin pies
Clear blue skies
Fireplaces
Relay races
Football games -
I love that autumn has two names.

  Douglas Florian

     
Autumn Night Music
Summer is waning;
nights are gaining.
Evening trees have lost their song.
Katydids, the last to strum,
are packing up and moving on.
Music lovers, don’t despair!
Autumn tunes are in the air.
Just tonight I heard a breeze
practicing inside the trees.
 
There is music after summer
with a different kind of strummer!
 
  Constance Levy

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.

Hill and Valley Quilt Block and A Song for Sunday

Hill and Valley Quilt Block
 
 
God Owns the Cattle
God owns the cattle on a thousand hills,
The wealth in every mine;
 

He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills,
The sun and stars that shine.



 
Wonderful riches, more than tongue can tell -
He is my Father so they’re mine as well;
 

 
God owns the cattle on a thousand hills -
I know that He will care for me.

by John W. Peterson (1921-2006), published 1948.
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Flutter, Buzz, Bloom Quilt and Goodbye to Summer

Flutter, Buzz, Bloom Quilt

The Sum of Summer
The sum of summer
Is one billion bees
And six trillion leaves
On three billion trees
And four fillion flies
And five sillion fleas
And uncounted numbers
Of sweet memories.


Pack Up
Quick!
Before the summer's gone -
Pack a rosy-fingered dawn.
Pack a pond
Or ocean spray.
Pack them for a snow-packed day.

     both poems by Douglas Florian



You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Curl Up with a Good Book Quilt and the Twin Sisters Quilt Block

 
 
In the free, online Quilters' Book Club, we read and discuss a quilt novel each month and then make a quilt block to represent each book.  I have long admired red and white quilts so decided 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's called my "Curl Up with a Good Book Quilt." 
 
I made this Twin Sisters block to represent our August book club selection, Between Heaven and Texas by Marie Bostwick.  Twin sisters Mary Dell and Lydia Dale are main characters in this delightful book. 
 
This block was first made in 1845 in Pennsylvania.  It is also known as Water Wheel, Whirlwind, Windmill, and Pinwheel.  I downloaded my 9" pattern from BlockBase, choosing to use templates, but I found a free instructional video of the Twin Sisters block by Eleanor Burns here.
 
 
This is another Twin Sisters block I had made earlier, but I used squares and half square triangles (21 pieces in all) to put the pattern together instead of the 8 pieces required for the templates.  The templates would not have worked because I wanted to feature the hummingbird that is fussycut in the center block.  I called this block by one of its alternate names, Whirlwind.   
 
I'm linking up with the Friday Night Block Party here, sponsored by Quilters' Book Club member Elaine. 
 
Of all the books we've read so far in the Quilters' Book Club, which one is your favorite?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below.  If you are reading via email, you must first click on the blog title to be able to comment and read the comments of others.  

By commenting, you are entering you name in a give-away for a copy of The Double Wedding Ring by Clare O'Donohue, courtesy of Plume Books.  There will be two lucky winners this month!
 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ice Cream Shop House Block and Linda's Ice Cream in a Bag


During the month of September, the online Quilters' Book Club is reading and discussing The Goodbye Quilt by Susan Wiggs.  In the book, mother Linda and daughter Molly are on a road trip to take Molly to college back East.  One night they stay in a cabin and enjoy a campfire with other travelers.  Linda teaches everyone how to make Ice Cream in a Bag.  If you'd like to make this fun recipe, too, I found a YouTube video that shows clear directions on how to do just that.  Enjoy!

Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag Recipe with Step-by-Step Directions:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmavyOIQIz0

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Answer in the comment section below.  If you are reading via email, you must first click on the blog title to be able to comment and read the comments of others.  

By commenting, you are entering you name in a give-away for a copy of The Double Wedding Ring by Clare O'Donohue, courtesy of Plume Books.  There will be two lucky winners this month!  And if you send your favorite homemade ice cream recipe to starwoodquilter@gmail.com I'll feature it in a future post and give you another shot at winning this month's give-away!


You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here    
 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Welcome to My Cabin Quilt and Walking Wednesdays

Welcome to My Cabin Quilt

Walking Wednesdays takes place in my neighborhood this week.

 
 I notice signs of a lingering summer. 
 
 The flowers are definitely past their prime,
but they still add bright spots to my walks.
 
 I also see definite signs of an approaching fall.

The green acorns of mid-summer are now dark brown.
 
The rose hips are a rich red.
 
 
A few of the scrub oak leaves are starting to turn yellow.

I discover a spot of yellow high in a cottonwood tree,
 
 
 The leaves of an aspen tree are tinged with yellow.
 
 
And I notice the effects of the heavy rains we've received recently.
 
Mushrooms are popping up.
 
 
Bright green moss is on the rocks.
 
And the pond that was completely dry for most of the summer is now full.
 
Thank you for joining me in my walks this week!  If you'd like to also read my previous blog post, click here.