Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Greetings of the Season of the Birth of Jesus Christ

From our house to yours, we wish you the very best and offer a prayer for all our friends and associates for a happy Christmas season and a great New Year.  May you have strength to bear your burdens and joy to raise your hearts; in spite of  Life's "slings and arrows".

Prairie Cottage Corner

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas.....that special time....

It's almost here, friends.  Another Christmas.  The Christmas cards are arriving (I tape them to the inside of the front door).

Decorations are up.  Each one is a memory.  These straw angels with trumpets were my mom's.  They swing gently from the chandelier in the dining room.

An angel flutist candlestick that has been around for years on top of the mahogany hutch.

The Holy Family in the creche, angel guarding.

A music box that was a recent gift to ornament heart with the Holy Family inside and the quote from Neal A. Maxwell, "Each of us is an Innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus."

The shepherd waiting and keeping watch at the nativity.

A bowl of pot pourrie with the scent of Christmas about it.  The lace bowl was made from a doilie with "Stiffy"

Tins of cookies (ginger snaps and chocolate chips) giving off their sweet aromas.

Stockings hung with care.....we made these a few years ago from scraps....and adjusted the shape a little to hold more stuff!

The angel atop the tree.....serene.....

The winter figurines, out in plain view, again......

all the sights and smells and sounds of Christmas coming to life again.  My favorite time of the year.  Happy Birthday, Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

We Have Winners - Three of Them!!!!!

!!!!!!Winners of the Birthday Party Blog Hop!!!!!!

Prairie Cottage Dolls Pattern

Autumn or Christmas Wreath

Christmas Sue

Are:  (TA-DA!!!)


Deb Stambaugh



Please send me an email at prairiestitcher at centurytel dot net
and let me know which one of these patterns you would like to have.

Thank you all who participated.  It was SEW much FUN!

Quick Christmas Gifts and Decorations

 I thought there might be someone out there who could use a quick Christmas gift or decor idea, so I'm offering three little patterns here, free, for your enjoyment.  These items take only a few scraps of material and are quick to assemble.  The patterns are rough, but made for a quick, last-minute kind of need, so please forgive the sketchiness.  Let me know how they work for you, please.  These were done on 8 1/2" x 1l" paper, so, when you print them, print them to fit the page.

Christmas Stocking Pattern

The first pattern is for a small Christmas Stocking that measures about 8 inches long when finished.  You can capture the pattern by right clicking on it and "Save Image As".  Put it in My Documents somewhere where you can easily find it again.

Here's one that I am working on, now, not finished yet.

Christmas Tree Potholder or Mug Rug Pattern

Here's the block, ready to layer and bind for a potholder or mug rug.  It's very fast and easy.

Christmas Bird Decoration

I made one out of muslin and it's ready to decorate.  The hanging ribbon is on and the wings are attached.  This was fun to make.  Now, for the eyes, beak embroidery and maybe a little bling here and there (sparkle of some sort).  I'm going to make some out of calico and holiday prints and will put them up when I get them finished.  This is fun!

If you sew the shapes BEFORE cutting them out, it goes more smoothly.  I've drawn the outline of the pieces and my stitching will be a scant quarter inch inside each shape, leaving about 2" open on the back to turn it.  The wings will be attached to batting before turning.  This is a very satisfying little project and would make a nice gift with a tin of cookies or a holiday cake, as part of the wrapping.

Merry Christmas Sewing, friends!!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Odessa Quilt Club Annual Retreat - Palouse Divide Lodge

Odessa Quilt Club - Annual Retreat to Palouse Divide Lodge

 Our annual retreat was the first week of November and I am just getting around to showing you all a little of what it was like.  Basically, quilting and beauty....all about us.

This is Shirley, our hostess at the lodge.   

 My work space was near this gorgeous cathedral window looking east.  It was so warm and balmy up there, we had the windows open a lot of the time.  In the previous two years we had been there, it snowed.

Here's the view to the south.  The lodge sits atop the summit of a ridge.  More to the left of this shot, you can see a ski lift up top of a steep hill.

Here's retreater, PJ Jacobsen, with her version of a little challenge quilt we did the first day.  We started with 25 charm squares and went from there, cutting them several times after sewing.  PJ used all Fairy Frost.  Pretty!  By the way, PJ has a retreat house in Lind, WA, along with a quilt shop, Crazy-Quilter.  You can write directly to PJ here.

I haven't included photos of all of our quilters here as I don't have permission from them, yet, but will have more photos, I hope, later.

 This was the view out the window directly behind my workspace, looking east, the first day we were there, in the afternoon.

 The following day, at dawn, I shot these photos as the sun was rising.
 Foggy mist was rising from the ravines in the pine forest below us.

What more could anyone ask of a retreat?  See more photos here.

Here are some of the projects quilters worked one during the four days we were there.....

 A t-shirt/jersey quilt in progress......
 Our 2013 club Raffle Quilt - "Your Favorite Block" can vaguely see the border against the brown carpet.  This shot doesn't do it justice.  It's a truly beautiful quilt and almost king-size, I believe.  If you want to buy a chance for this quilt, you can write to me.  Tickets are $1 each and the drawing will be at our annual quilt show, the last weekend in April.  You don't have to be present to win.

 A Halloween wall hanging combining embroidery with piecework.  Lovely!

 An old UFO, we were told, lap quilted.  She was able to finish it at the retreat!  That's a great thing.

A quilt made from scraps gathered at our last retreat and made into a donation quilt.

Three blocks in progress for our 2014 Raffle Quilt - "Aunt Millie's Garden".  It's going to be stupendous.

Some blocks from a batik baby quilt in progress.  The baby has southeast Asian heritage so this is very appropriate, don't you think?  Really nice applique' here.

A mother-daughter team of quilters was working on this quilt for a grandchild - happy, happy bunnies.  Very sweet!

If you are looking for a really nice retreat, go here and get the contact information.  There are good pictures of the lodge and all and you can call Shirley for details.  So wonderful.

And don't forget our little retreat house here in Odessa, The Gathering House.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Doin' the Turkey - One Last Time (for next to nothing)

Yesterday was the end of the turkey.   We paid 88 cents a pound for our 19 pound turkey this year.  That's a great price for good protein.  It fed our family for five meals.  

Additionally, we were able to put away 4 quarts of stock, 1 meal of Turkey Hash, 3 meals of Turkey Gravy and 2 meals of Deviled Turkey Sandwiches.  Fifteen separate meals from one turkey!  Here's how we did it.

 On Thanksgiving night, the bones and scraps were bagged up and placed in the freezer.  Here's how to turn those scraps into stock and the other leftovers into Quick Meals.

Making Turkey Stock

Remove the turkey from the freezer and place in a shallow pan.  Roast the bones and scraps in the oven at 350 degrees F., for about an hour, or until they are very brown.

  Place them in a large stock pot and pour a cup of hot water into the pan you baked them in.  Scrape up the brown bits and pour them into the stock pot.

Cover with water and

....heat..... boiling.....

....then simmer, covered, for about two hours.

Making Turkey Hash

Meanwhile, from the remainders of the bird.....

  Turkey Hash made from leftover dressing.....

plus a matching amount of leftover turkey pieces, chopped small.....

plus leftover gravy....

mixed well.....

and ready to heat. 

Into the microwave for about 5 minutes....

covered.....stirred again....then cooled and put into the freezer for a future quick meal.  When preparing your Turkey Hash, be sure to heat it to at least 160 degrees F., before serving.

Making Turkey and Gravy

Another quick frozen meal from turkey leftovers is Turkey and Gravy.  Carefully cut up all the leftover meat.....

removing any small bones....

and bits of skin.....

mix altogether in a big bowl.  Then, depending upon how much meat there is, make a gravy.  


1/2 c. butter or drippings
1/2 c. All-purpose flour
1 quart, more or less, of stock or broth or water
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garlic and Onion granules to taste

Melt the butter or drippings and add the flour, stirring constantly until smooth and bubbly.  Don't let it burn.  Gradually add the liquid, stirring constantly.  Keep adding liquid until the right consistency is gained.

I used a large electric frying pan and made a double recipe of the Gravy.  The meat was added and heated through.  Let it stand until cooled, then, freeze in meal-sized containers, for up to 6 months.  Again, be sure to reheat to at least 160 degrees F., before serving.

....Turkey Stock (the continuing saga)

Meanwhile, back at the stove....

where the bones and scraps were merrily simmering....

I poured the stock into a very large bowl, through a collander.

Here's the turkey stock, all ready to go.  I wasn't sure exactly how much I had, but I figured there was about a canner full, which wouldn't be too much trouble.  Frozen broth and stock is fine, but canned in the jar, is so much faster and easier to use.

Fill the quart jars to within 1/2 inch of the top.....

clean the rim and set the lids and rings.....

and place....

in the pressure canner.  Process 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.

And Finally, Ta-da!!!  Deviled Turkey for Sandwiches

What to do with the bits of meat left on the bones from which the stock was made?  Pick the meat off and place it in a food processor.  Process until fine, add some mayonnaise and sweet relish for Deviled Turkey Sandwiches.  I made sandwiches right away from half of the bits of meat.  The other half, I froze for future sandwiches.  Before I use it, though, I will heat it to 160 degrees F., to make it safe for my family.  Heat it, cool it, and make the sandwich filling.

Voila!  End of the Turkey!