Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Before and After....

Well, Christmas has happened. Just a few days ago, we finished another jigsaw puzzle. You'd think we had time on our hands, but, the truth is, it's a way to bring us together. And it works. This one was just 500 pieces (with one piece missing!). We got this one years ago and never did do it until now. It must be about 25 years old. It was fun!

Not many Christmas cards, these days. Lots of e-cards, though. We especially enjoyed the Jacquie Larsen Advent Calendar. I think this is the third one we've had.

I think I must have sent out about 15 Christmas cards by mail and dozens by email. If we ever lose power for any length of time around Christmas, those e-cards will be in danger of not arriving.

We had snow in our hearts, if not on the ground outside. Just a few patches remain from some a week or so ago. It was nice and cold, though, Christmas Day.....about 21 degrees F.

I made this bell about thirty years ago in our Relief Society homemaking meeting at church. I've meant, over the years, to make more of them for gifts. This one has been great as a doorknob hanger.

The angel was in place.....

.....the ornaments pristeen.....

....presents under the tree....aren't we lucky?

I think Santa left his hat behind!

Norman got a large, catnip, rat for Christmas. Does a rat equate with coal? Norman didn't think so. Hey, Normie, don't let that rat's tail burn up!

And Bodecia got a blue, frenetic mouse on a tether, on a blue stick, with a feather tail. You can see it in the upper left corner of the shot. But, just like a toddler, she's more interested in the paper!

What's next? The New Year, of course. We hope yours is joyful, safe and warm! See ya.......

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Christmas - Bring It" and a Give Away!!!!!

!!!!!  WE HAVE SIX WINNERS  !!!!!
(I know, I shouldn't do it, but, it's day AFTER CHRISTMAS.)
Minabird, Barbara W., Bonnie 58, Vicki, Charlene M. and braved the snow and sleet and wind and freezing temperatures to come out and visit me this holiday season when there are so many things to be done, so many people to take care of, so many quilts to be I'm giving each of you a Christmas wish. If you haven't picked a pattern in your message, go pick one, now (upper right side of the blog) and tell me which one you want. Your pattern will be emailed to you as a pdf file. Let me know you want your prize by emailing me direct at prairiestitcher at centurytel dot net. Merry Christmas, friends, and Happy New Year!

A week ago, we were just finishing this 1000 piece jig-saw puzzle which my Secret Sister, bless her, gave me for Christmas. I hadn't done a puzzle like this for many years; decades, even, and it was really fun. Aren't those the loveliest kittens?

In order to do a puzzle, we have to set up the card table and, because our home is small and cozy, we have to move the card table every time something else needs to happen, like dinner, company, walking through the room.......stuff like that. So the puzzle is now gone and the card table is put away because.....ta-da! Christmas needs to happen.

My DH's father passed away this summer and all the things he had in his little apartment came to us.....things he had had in his home, where he and his forever partner of 65 years lived for many years. This was his favorite picture of the Savior, as it is the favorite of many, I'm sure. Mine, too. So, we put it up in the dining room, where we could see it every day and be reminded we need to try to be LIKE HIM every day.

And this boxed collage by my DH's mom, using things she cherished from years past.

And one of her needlework winter pictures of a covered bridge.....

....and a candle sconce over a picture of my DH's grandmother, Rena........isn't she pretty?

A corner of the dining room with our intrepid philodendron that reaches out to the world.

We hung bells.....

in each of the front picture windows. And, finally, began to take out some of the Christmas decorations. We emptied the kitchen of the regular table dishes and brought out the Christmas dishes to use through the New Year. From the curio and china cabinets came......

the creche.....

....with everyone still intact from last year.....

....and a Christmas baking dish from my BF, Debbie......

....and my grandmother's Ohio Pottery bowls and pitcher, so bright......

....and figurines my mother collected: squirrel and bunny candle.....


......sledders figurine from Palouse Divide Lodge.....

......and a ceramic moose with copper antlers, also from Palouse Divide.....

....and more of Mom's figurines for the season, cozy bear candleholder.....

....mouse on bunny tree trimming......

....and a mommy bird sheltering family and friends from the cold.

Well, we're just getting started! We may actually get the tree up today. Rudolph says, "Christmas! Bring it!"

To Enter the Give-Away Drawing

Leave a comment on this post about your favorite Christmas thing; and be a follower by Google  (or mention that you are) and I will give you a free pattern of your choice (tell me which one, now: you can see them on the first link in "Links to Like" at the top right of this page) when I draw the names on Sunday, December 22nd, at 8 o'clock PM PST.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Debbie's Blue Quilt - A Near Finish - A House Fairy - AND A GIVE-AWAY!!!!

We have a Winner - Charlene M. guessed correctly! The outer petals of the buds in the block in the lower right hand corner of photos 1 & 2; and featured in photo 5; are done in pale blue with the centers in medium blue. In all the other blocks, the buds are done with the outer petals in medium blue and the centers in pale blue. Once you know where to find it, it sticks out like a sore thumb! But, it's a humble quilt, so Heavenly Father will bless it and it will keep Debbie warm and happy, we pray. Thanks to all who took a guess. Merry Christmas!

My best friend, Debbie, lives almost a hundred miles away and, for the last few years, we've visited, mostly, by telephone. she is blind and ill, so is bed-ridden, frequently. A few years ago, I made her a Sunbonnet Sue quilt for Christmas. She wore that little quilt out last year. This year, soon after Christmas, she'll have this quilt I call "Debbie's Blue Quilt".


The top is finished and the borders are on, so it's ready to go to the quilter. I designed this quilt for our Saturday Quilters group in my little town. The Saturday group meets once a month and each person makes a quilt block for one person in the group. I had the group make the pieced blocks for this quilt.

I did all the applique' blocks with a little help from my friends. It has a "Humility Block" in it. IF YOU'RE THE FIRST ONE WHO CAN SPOT THE HUMILITY BLOCK AND  MAKE A COMMENT ON IT, I'LL SEND YOU A FREE "SIMPLY SUE" QUILT PATTERN!!!!

Here's a close-up of the applique' block. It's a "Topeka Rose" but I called it a "Cherokee Rose" because Debbie is a Cherokee woman. She liked that title for the block a lot.

Here's a close-up of the pieced block, a variation on a four-patch with half-square triangles.

The border had a sweet little bunny hopping all around.....hippity, hippity......
So, send me a comment and point out the Humility Block, please.

On another note, here is our latest pattern, "BLESS THIS HOUSE", inspired by the old song, so popular in England during WWII. 

This little wall hanging (14 1/2" x 16 1/4") is perfect for a small accent in your home. The pattern can be done using two-sided fusible web and wool, so the edges of the applique' do not need to be hemmed.

It's embellished with embroidery and a hint of metallic thread for her wand. The pattern will be available within the week and I'll let you know when it's up on Etsy.

Don't forget to search for the "Humility Block!"

HINT: The "Humility Block" is in three (3) of the photos of Debbie's Blue Quilt, including one (1) close-up.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting. I love your comments.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Turkey, Turkey.....

What to do with all those left-overs? Well, mine are in the freezer, even as I write. I stashed them in there the day after Thanksgiving. Here's what they looked like, frozen. I haven't used them yet but will post some photos when they come out of the oven.

Turkey Pot Pie in Ramekins

1 pkg. rolled pie crust (enough for 2 pies)
1 1/2 c. Leftover white and dark meat of turkey, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 c. mixed vegetables
2 c. turkey gravy

In a large bowl, mix the turkey, veggies and gravy together well. . Spread out the pie crusts and cut 4 circles, using a ramekin as a pattern. Spoon gravy mixture into greased ramekins. Top with crust and crimp edges. Make slices in the top to allow steam to escape. Cover with plastic wrap; place in ziplock bags and freeze for up to 3 months.

To prepare, thaw in the microwave and bake 35 to 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly and the crust is lightly browned. Serve with a green salad.

Turkey Shepherd's Pie

1 1/2 c. white and dark turkey meat
2 c. gravy
3/4 c. mixed veggies or frozen baby peas
2 c. mashed potatoes

Mix the turkey meat, gravy and veggies together well and spoon into a round or square cake pan. Top with mashed potatoes and freeze for up to 3 months, wrapped in plastic wrap and sealed in a ziplock bag.

To prepare, let thaw in the refrigerator 1 day or in the microwave for 2 to 3 lbs. of product. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly. Suggestion: halfway through the baking, remove and, using a fork, smooth the potato  topping. Serve with a green salad. Serves 6.

Leftover Pumpkin Pie? Wrap slices in plastic wrap or waxed paper and place in ziplock bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. Remove individual portions as needed and thaw in the refrigerator. Serve as needed with whipping cream or non-dairy whipped topping. Yum!

Leftover Cranberry Sauce? Place in a mason jar and put it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw and use as needed. Delicious on pancakes, waffles, French toast, rolls and peanut butter sandwiches (not to mention ham, turkey and beef sandwiches).

Meatloaf for a Month? Last time I bought a 5# chub (80/20) of ground chuck (beef), I was prepared ahead of time. We shop for food, once a month, in a town 45 miles away from our home. Beef is expensive, and we aren't eating a lot of it at $3+ per pound. Before shopping, I chopped one bunch of celery and two large onions. I sauteed them in some butter and let them cool, storing, later, in the refrigerator. I had on hand, 4 cups of bread crumbs,  some home-grown sage and a bottle of ketchup.

When I got home from shopping (tired, because it's a long trip and a major deal buying all that stuff for a month), I put the groceries away, leaving the chub out on the counter. When the kitchen was almost in order (it's usual state), I dumped everything into a very large mixing bowl (onion, celery, ground chuck, bread crumbs, 3 eggs and about 1 1/2 c. ketchup). I mixed it with my clean hands and seasoned it with about 3/4 t. salt, 3/4 t. garlic granules, 3/4 t. onion granules and 1/2 t. black pepper. I added enough sage leaves to make the mix fragrant with it (about 4 t. of the leaves; use about 2 t. if using powder).

I packed the meat mixture gently into three loaf pans and baked them 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. When cool, I wrapped them in aluminum foil, placed them in ziplock bags, and froze them. Tonight, we had the last one from November's shopping with baked butternut squash. Yum!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Giving Thanks Blog Hop Party - Win a Prize!!!

SZAMOCA from Hungary Has Won the "Dashing" Wall Hanging Pattern!

Stay tuned for Thanksgiving posts coming right up.......

Tis the Season to be Thankful - Deadline for comments is Wednesday, November 27th at 12 Noon PST

I'm thankful for this world and the life we have to live. It's not perfect and we're not perfect (anyway, I'm CERTAINLY not perfect) but we chose to come here to be tested to see if we could make good choices. Every day, I'm struggling to make GOOD CHOICES.

To WIN THE PRIZE, which is the new "DASHING" wall hanging pattern, below,

all you need to do is:

1. Leave me a message to tell me for what you are thankful, and;

2. Follow me.

I will ship internationally & invite you to comment in your own language. It'll be fun to translate, don't you think?

That's all there is to it. Now, to DASH back to the party page, click here!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Palouse Divide Retreat 2013 - Welcome to a Winter Wonderland

An early snow blessed our quilt retreat this past weekend at Palouse Divide Lodge in the Idaho mountains near St. Maries, Idaho. Look at the view from my quilting corner.

Outside it was cold and crispy......

....inside, it was warm, friendly, and cozy. The winter white light was a delight (poetic!).....

....our heads bent over our work......

....a busy hum in the air......

Looking toward the kitchenette in our large, airy room. The lodge provides breakfast and dinner....we bring our own snacks and luncheon items to share.

Each day, some of us worked up to 10 hours on our projects.

Some of us were driven crazy by quilting.....

There was lots of laughter......

....and lots of finishes...... sweet, this Irish Chain......

....and a garden for a gardener......

....and the sweetest Cowgirl quilt I've ever seen......

.....and an "I Spy" for a little guy.....

....and a set of "Days of the Week" flour sack towels. When I came home I ordered towels to make a set of my own. These inspire, yes indeed! I'd say those were Rhode Island Reds, wouldn't you?

And a lovely Christmas table runner that took.....

....about 45 minutes to stitch up.

It was a wonderful 4 days. We didn't really want to come home, did we?