Sunday, November 16, 2014


November 1, 2014

I resisted joining this challenge because of obligations I had in the month of October.  The challenge creator broke her foot and had to change the completion date till January 21, 2015.   I decided to participate.  The rules of the Challenge are simple.  We must purchase the fabric from Gateway Quilts.  They had to be from “the American Made” line of fabrics.  The quilt was to be a maximum of 40” X 40” Or 1600 square inches.  The rest was, use any technique and your imagination.

On a lovely crisp day, I drove to Toby Lischko’s to procure the fabric.  There was a stiff wind.  I had to drive my Ram Diesel truck at a slower than highway speed to keep the truck in the correct lane.  It is a 40 minute drive to her place.  Missouri highways are beautiful, especially in the fall.  
I visited with Toby before purchasing 1 yd of cream, ¼ yard of 3 blues, and ½ yd of red.  There is a fourth blue but she was out of it when I was there.

The fabrics are solids, this presents a mental road block for me.  I don’t fancy Amish quilts and have never worked with only solids.  This would be a real challenge for me.  I hadn't any inspiration going into this endeavor and realized the fabrics themselves were not going to be conducive to sparking ideas. 

The colors and the “American Made” name were leading my thoughts in the direction of the United States Flag.  All I could think was how trite that would be to make a flag, how predictable.  I sketched variations of red, white, and blue themed things.  Nothing interested me.  I haven’t mentioned we have a son who has been in the Navy for 28 years.  He is a Command Master Chief on the USS Carl Vinson.  It’s an Air Craft Carrier.  You would think this would provide me with a multitude of ideas to work with.  Actually it is a barrier, looking at the 3 colors and the solids made my mind freeze up and I couldn't get past the “Flag”.  That was all I could think of.

Over 180 different purples
Yes, I realized I could use only blues and white, or the red with white.  We had a speaker in October who brought red and white quilts to guild.  That thought was fresh in my mind.  I love looking at two color quilts but I know I would be totally bored piecing a two color quilt.  This is strange, because I can piece a “one color quilt” with complete enthusiasm, during the entire process.

 After about a week of sketching, I decided not to draw after I got into bed. I always read or write something when I am in bed to take my mind off the day's frustrations.  Instead I decided the mail needed to be read.  And Voila!  A vision of an idea presented itself.  

I was worried I wouldn’t be able to sleep because I had so many ideas running through my head.  Usually when that happens I have to get up and take care of what is bothering me before I can go to sleep.  It had the opposite effect.  I think I was relieved I finally had direction.  There was no worry about the colors of the fabrics and no worry about the solid colors, the inspiration had solved it.

Next morning I gathered the tools I needed to draft a drawing of my Challenge quilt.  I hadn't named my challenge yet, it was begin with the pencil and scratch paper and see what developed.  Now I needed to round up my "basics" for interpreting an idea.

Camera, Very sharp #2 pencils and erasers, Yard sticks and rulers, Roll of 22” wide brown butcher paper, Scissors, Blue painters tape, Clear wide packing tape, Computer with internet, Printer, Used typing paper, glue stick.

The first thing I did was google examples of components I thought I would need in my challenge.

The second thing I needed was to figure out how big did I want to make this quilt.  Was it to be large and did I need to go back to Toby's for more fabric?  Or could I execute it with the fabrics I had?

I picked a measurement of  22" wide X 26" long.  Why that, 22" is the width of the roll of brown paper, and 26" made a nice size rectangle.   I had the background to draw full scale on..  I had a place to begin.

Now that I have an idea I was able to draw inspiration from several places.   It felt good to be able to know what direction I was going, to know I had a destination for my fabric.

I hope my articles inspire you to complete in Challenges.   They are very rewarding.

Introductory blog about the Challenge:

My friend Toby Lischko's on line shop

Toby's blog:  She has on line giveaways of great fabrics.

more blogs by me:
Where I have stories of my cats and other pets
a blog about my courtship with my husband,
and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.
A "Soap box" blog where I do air my opinions.

blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry,
blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures
Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle
Chronicling our adventures with a dumped Pit Bull Pup,
 who has become a hidden treasure.

All recipes, pictures, and writings are my own.
I give credit for items which belong to other people in my blogs .
Please do not copy without permission

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Look for  the new Challenge listed  at the bottom of the blog. 
You do not need to be a member of our guild to participate.
My First Quilt 60" X 60". 

I enjoy Challenges of any kind.  But ones involving sewing thrill me.  I think it is because of  my first experience with a sewing machine. 

When I was eleven, my mother bought a Singer Sewing Machine (that machine is still under the sewing bar).  She had 4 girls at the time and made almost everything we wore (my first store bought dress was at 14).  With her machine came 10 sewing lessons on how to use it.  You see it was an innovative machine with "Cams".  She gave me the lessons.

The shop where it was purchased from was a very busy shop.  With the lessons was also a contest.  They had a fashion show at the end of the lessons.  The group was limited to ten participants and the class was full.  I was the only "child" participating.  The instructor told mom I couldn't do it.  Mom pressed saying I had been hand sewing since I was three.  The lady finally said yes.  I picked out a Jumper pattern with a blouse which had pin tucks down each side of the front.  The lady said I was really ambitious with a rolling of her eyes.  I completed the course, and modeled the outfit in the fashion show.  I won first place.  All the people participating had sewn for years.  What did I win. Nada...but self esteem and confidence to try new things.  

In 1997 I joined "Piecemakers quilt guild/club" of St. Clair Missouri.  I was new to quilting.  My lessons had been through the internet.  I thought quilting was something that was from a bygone era.  Boy was I wrong.  I found out about the group through an article in the local newspaper.  I entered the meeting greeted by at least 70 smiling members.  The rest is history.
"Bluebirds sing when a cure is found" 40" X 40"

They introduced me to projects and quilting stuff, even magazines to feed my new obsession.   Show and Tell was an exhilarating experience.  Then came something called Challenges.  The first one I was terrified to join but did anyway because it sounded like fun.  You purchased a fat quarter of Breast Cancer fabric. You were only allowed to use squares or rectangles in the construction.  Maximum size was 40" X 40".  Mine was maximum.  The fabric was so ugly, it looked like lawn chair fabric.  I didn't know I could buy more, I just worked with the fat quarter.  The colors reminded me of what middle east colors were.  so I made a window with tiles around it looking at the bluebirds of happiness flying by.

I didn't win anything but I was hooked by my success with the completed project.
"Seeking the End"  108" X 108"

A couple of years later there was a challenge to use the 5 inch charms we had been collecting for 2 years.  The quilt top on the left is still a top...I didn't get it quilted so it couldn't be in the contest.  I designed it but can't take credit for the original.  My son was into "Dungeons and Dragons".  I came across a black and white graph paper map he had made and gasped.  He had made a quilt pattern.  I knew immediately it was going to be translated into the charm squares.  I also used over 100 whites/neutrals in the background blocks.  There are no repeats in each of the colored fabrics used.  

Still no win but I was still hooked. (Hated myself for not finishing it on time).
"Blue Berry Pie" 39" X 39"

Finally a win. But I found it didn't matter.  I had received so much pleasure working on it. I didn't care if it won.  The blueberry pie took second place.  

We were given a gift bag with three fabrics in it.  Mine were the murky yellow (looked like rust stained stucco in Florida).  The corn flower blue stripes and the dark green leaves.  The gift bag had a picture of a bowl of blueberries on it.  Rules were to interpret the bag in your quilt using a recognizable piece of each fabric. 

With each challenge I also try to learn a new technique.  The geranium flower petals were made like you make yoyos, but real tiny ones. They were beaded in the center. (I had never used bead embellishments, in fact I had never embellished before.). The pie  and berries are stuffed.  I had never hand quilted before and there is heat rising off the pie using hand quilting.  The green was sewn on with broderie perse.

"Mince Meat"  40"X 60"
Next came the "ugly fabric" Challenge.  Every one brought a yard of ugly fabric to guild.  We stood in a circle and tore our fabric in half, kept one half passed the other to the right 4 times.  We pocketed the fabric which showed up in our hands.  Took the remaining half and tore it in half and passed 3 times.  Pocketed that fabric, continuing till we ended with 1/2 yd, 1/4 yd, 1/8 yd, and 1/16.  These fabrics we were supposed to use in a quilt item, no other instructions.

My fabrics were the fabric of the pie plate, the pink fabric in the curtain tie backs, the curtains, and the fabric in the pie filling (it looked like animal prints).  That was the inspiration for the pie.  It is a mince meat pie.  Do you see a theme!

No win for this one either but I definitely hooked.  Working on them is so very exciting for me.  All these quilts have been made with only stash.

"Butterfly Delight"  20" X 22"
This past year was the best experience I've ever had with challenges.  I taught myself so many things.  In this challenge we were presented 3 paint chips which had to be matched with an appreciable amount of fabric in the quilt. 

 I went crazy with embellishments, beading all the spots on the butterfly and the center of the flower.  The butterfly and the center of the flower are stuffed.

 All the petals on the Zinnia were sewed on one by one. They are all loose and layered like the real ones are.  Piecing the background,  I hand quilted, stitch in the ditch, the entire piece.

The inspiration was my garden photo. 

This challenge didn't cut the mustard either, because I was working on it while traveling back and forth to San Diego and somewhere is an envelope with my paint chips in it. People saw the quilt but really couldn't judge whether I matched them well.

I couldn't be happier with the results.  I am so glad I Challenged myself.

Our guild has many talented recognized members, one is Toby Lischko.  She is the creator of the challenge I am participating in.  I had not planned on participating in this challenge because it was due in November.  I knew I was going to be gone the whole month of October.  I was sad to hear the originator of the Challenge would not be able to attend the November meeting due to breaking her foot.  I was thrilled when I heard she had extended the due date because of the break till the January meeting.  

This Challenge is not a GUILD CHALLENGE.  It is her personal challenge.  She has an online fabric/pattern shop.  She is a teacher and pattern designer. Several popular magazines featured her quilts.  She creates patterns for fabric manufactures and makes fabulous award winning quilts 

I called Toby right away to get the details and enrolled.  I am very challenged by having to use all solids.  (I am not a fan of Amish quilts).  At first I felt really hemmed in with the colors and with the solids.  I spent two weeks sketching and mulling.  I couldn't come up with an inspiration.  As you can tell from the above challenges, a pieced traditional quilt is not the norm for me. 

I have lots of inspiration sources.  My biggest one is We have a Son in the Navy.  He is a Command Master Chief on the USS Carl Vinson. Two, the fabrics are made in America.  Three, the fabrics are very patriotic colors.  I have struggled for an idea, something that excites me to create it out of fabric.

I thought if I had the fabrics in my hand I could get inspired.  It was a wonderful fall day to drive to Toby's.  The wind was strong and pushed my diesel truck all over the road.  She's located about 40 minutes from my house.  The roads are great and it was a nice afternoon jaunt.  

Fabrics in hand, I was more bewildered than I was before I got them.  All I could see was, they were solids.  I can count on one hand the times I have used solids since I was quilting.  Even then it was only for accent, not something to base an entire quilt item on.  When I came home I didn't even take them out of my satchel.   When I did, I just looked at them and sighed.  I was more disillusioned than ever.  I did keep thinking about them but I didn't look at them again because I knew it wasn't them which would inspire me.

Monday night I'm getting in bed and decided to read the mail.  The inspiration hit me.  I grabbed the pencil and paper (which are always by the bed) and began sketching.  I loved my idea and couldn't wait to get up Tuesday and work on it.  Alas it had to wait till the evening.  I had doctors appointments for me and the Dog.  If you would like, you can see him here.  He's quite a "Dog".

Last night the inspiration made it to life size interpretation with full pattern pieces. I will be writing a blog, about this endeavor.  There will be no sneak peeks of the item.  It will be about the process of how I am getting it done, explaining how I interpreted my Challenge.  The completed quilt item will be shown off on a blog Wednesday January 21, 2015 (Unless we have snow too deep and the meeting is cancelled and Toby changes the due date because of the snow).  I hope life doesn't get in the way.


The rules for the Challenge and the link for Toby's Website.

Design a quilt using, "the American Made fabrics" by Clothworks Fabrics, from my shop (you can get them online at The maximum size is 40" x 40" or 1600 square inches. There is no minimum size.  Any technique will be accepted, just use your imagination.

 You can only use the American Made fabrics (red, white, and 3 shades of blue to pick from). The quilt deadline is January 21 when my quilt guild, "Piecemakers", in St. Clair, Missouri will  vote on the winners. 

You do not need to be a member of the guild to enter. 
You will need to mail your finished quilt to arrive before the meeting date, January 21, 2015.  Include an entry form, available from Toby Lischko at .  Include return postage for the amount it took you to send the quilt to me. 

The top 3 quilts will win gift certificates to my shop (or website). First place $50, second $15 and third $10. Please contact Toby if you are interested in participating. A couple of the fabrics are on order and will be in soon.

Toby Lischko's web site:

The fabrics and only these fabrics, we must use for the challenge.
Blues.  The top 2 on this page on my monitor they are the same color,  Not true.  
The Royal blue is a deep dark very lovely royal blue.  The other blue I'll call just blue, to me it leans towards the cornflower side of blue.

Red.  The top one on this page.  On my monitor it is not the true color.  It is a true red.

The white is a nice light cream (Closer to ivory)

Two more blue colors will be available soon.

This is the link for Toby's Blog:

More Blogs by me:
Where I have stories of my cats and other pets
a blog about my courtship with my husband,
and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.
A "Soap box" blog where I do air my opinions.

blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry,
blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures
Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle

Chronicling our adventures with a dumped Pit Bull Pup,
 who has become a hidden treasure.

All recipes, pictures, and writings are my own.
I give credit for items which belong to other people in my blogs .
Please do not copy without permission

Monday, November 10, 2014


(recipe below)
Our mother's birthday was November 8th.  She was born in 1924.  Her first cookbook was  "Searchlight Recipe Cookbook".  

I don't know the year her's was published but I do remember my Dad and her using it.  Yes they cooked together.  We made and pulled taffy from its pages, and made my favorite, "Divinity".  Of course there was the old standby, "Fudge".  I don't remember if she referred to the cookbook for any other recipes but I was a kid and my favorite thing was sweets.  We lived in the Missouri boot heel, at that time

Other recipes I remember Mom making were from the packages of the ingredients she purchased.  We had Oatmeal cookies from Quaker Oats (to this day I have to use those oats, store brand doesn't do it for me).  We had Libby's pumpkin pie and Nestle's Toll house cookies, favorite foods she made from treasured ingredients.

Our mother Passed away April 2, 2014.   Her favorite place to be was in her kitchen.  It was decorated with everything red, her favorite color.  She even had a red convertible with a black top.  She bought a red leather jacket to wear when she was driving it.  It is (yes, it is still in the garage) a 1988 Chrysler Lebaron, fully loaded with black leather interior..  It only has 30,000 miles on it.  You see, she was the only one to drive it, it only went shopping and back,  pampered in the garage.
This isn't her car, it is a picture of a car exactly like hers.

On her counter no matter where she lived "The Searchlight" cookbook resided.  In later years I don't remember seeing her referring to it, but it was always there.  When she passed away my siblings and I were allowed to use her kitchen (the kitchen was hers and she was always in control of it) .  We pulled out the cookbooks, remembering days now gone.  Hidden among the pages of her books were notes she had written to herself and several small snippets with recipes hand written on them.  Between the Searchlight's pages was her recipe for BANANA BREAD.

This was not a recipe I remember from my youth.  It was one she made for maybe the last thirty years.  I was never around when she made them, but every time I visited there was a Banana Bread waiting on the counter to be consumed.  In her memory, I am sharing this recipe with you.  

Our Dear Mother, Vesper Mazine 

I haven’t any idea where she obtained the recipe from.  She baked them in small loaf pans.  The following ingredients were on a scrap of paper in "the Searchlight"  The ingredients are in the order they were written down.  I have added my edits in red.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Bake 1 hour

½ cup shortening. (At the bottom of the note it says “Cream Butter”.  I don’t know if she used butter or shortening.)  I used butter because it was handy on the counter.

1 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon Baking soda
2 Cups flour

2 eggs
¼ teaspoon salt

3 bananas
1 cup chopped nuts (I think she used pecans…but black walnuts work too.) I didn't put in any nuts.
3 tablespoons sour milk. (I used butter milk)
I haven’t been there when she made the cakes so I can only surmise how they were prepared.  The following is my interpretation of her recipe. 

I greased and floured pans, putting parchment in the bottom of the pan. I used two 8 1/2" X 4" X 2 1/2" loaf pans.

Sifted flour, Baking soda, and salt together.  (I don’t remember mother pre sifting any cake's flour.)   I sifted ingredients together to make sure there were no clusters of baking soda in the final cake.

Creamed shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy…when I was little she always did this.  I break the eggs in a separate cup and pre scramble them before adding them to the nice fluffy sugar and shortening.  Beating till thoroughly incorporated. 

Take the ripe bananas and mash till mush and add the 3 tablespoons sour milk to it. 

Alternately add  flour and bananas to the creamed mixture (1/3 flour, ½ bananas, 1/3 flour, ½ bananas and 1/3 flour). Stir each addition till incorporated but don’t over beat.

Fold in the chopped nuts.  Turn into prepared pans. Bake till done in center.  Turn out on cooling rack.

I baked my 2 pans for 30 minutes at the 325.  They weren't ready.  I put them back in for 15 minutes. The extra 15 minutes was perfect.

The breads finally cooled enough to cut.  The breads were moist without being dense.  The slice I had I consumed with a nice cold glass of buttermilk, a very delicious combo.

It is getting colder, baking will take the chill out of the house.  
Make a memory, bake a batch of Banana bread.

Mom would be thrilled I shared her recipe with you.  She loved reading the blogs I wrote.  
She loved the tutorials for baking. She loved seeing her great grands in the lime light.  

Gloria, First Daughter, First Child 
(She had 4 daughters and 2 sons in 18 years.  She and Dad were married 70 years April 11, 2014)

Other blogs by me:
Where I have stories of my cats and other pets
a blog about my courtship with my husband,
and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.
A "Soap box" blog where I do air my opinions.

blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry,
blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures
Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle

Chronicling our adventures with a dumped Pit Bull Pup,
 who has become a hidden treasure.

All recipes, pictures, and writings are my own.
I give credit for items which belong to other people in my blogs .
Please do not copy without permission