Thursday, December 30, 2010


 This is a machine embroidered quilt that my mother and I made. Each of the machine embroidered dogs is different. I found the cute puppy material to put between the blocks.
 Some more details of some of the embroidery work done. Also, if you look closely, you can see some of the quilting. It is not clear here, but the quilting pattern is dachshunds.
 In this photo, you can see the back end of one of the dachshunds on the quilting pattern and the front of another dachshund.  It is a continuous line pattern that I saw in a book and drew it out on a long piece of paper off a fax machine roll. I drew enough to put on the quilting machine for tracing onto the quilt.

 More embroidery detail plus you can see more of the dogs printed on the fabric I used around my embroidered blocks.
I made these pillow cases to match the quilt. The bottom of the case is the backing fabric that I used on the quilt.  I gave this quilt to my husband's brother Geary and his wife, Vernetta. They own a kennel called "Show-me puppies". I didn't get a photo of it, but I quilted that name across the top of the quilt before I started quilting the rows of the dachshunds.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

GRANDMOTHER'S SEWING ROOM: Christmas bookmarks

Here are a couple of the bookmarks I made for Christmas. If you look closely, you can see both the wash-away stabilizer and the tulle I used as an extra stabilizer for this FSL (free standing lace) project. The wash-away stabilizer on the top bookmark has been washed away, but the tulle is still there to help keep the bookmark together.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

GRANDMOTHER'S LIBRARY: State Fair by Earlene Fowler

I just finished reading State Fair. It is the latest of the Benni Harper mysteries written by Earlene Fowler. Benni Harper is the curator of a folk art museum in California, so the books have wonderful crafty elements in them. As a matter of fact, all the names of the books are names of quilt blocks and, of course, there are quilts in the story!  In 'State Fair", the quilts are on display at the state fair. In this story, one of the quilts is stolen from the fair exhibit and wrapped around a murder victim.. (aahhh!!  I know, quilt sacrilege!)

Benni is married to the local sheriff, who frowns on her exploits! I just love all these books: there is no foul language nor any explicit sex scenes.  Benni is very family oriented, living close to her father and grandmother and cousin. I really enjoy these wonderful books and wouldn't think twice about having my children read them!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


 I have been a member of the Calico Cabin Quilter's Sew-ciety for about ten years or so now.  I have been president for almost two years. We will vote again in February, where I will step down to give someone else a chance to be president.  Sometimes I didn't follow protocol (forgetting to call for a motion), and sometimes I'd forget things or make the wrong copies, but through it all the gals have been wonderful!  I wanted to make them all a gift since they've put up with me for so long. hehe

I have a Janome 200E embroidery machine. I absolutely LOVE it!  It has a 7x7 hoop but only does about a 5 1/2 square design. I would eventually like to get a larger one, but need to use this for a while first.  I bought this last year from Gamill Sewing Center in West Plains. I love working with them: the staff are so friendly and helpful!

When I bought my machine, my mother bought me a set of machine embroidery thread for my birthday. She ordered them through Designs by Sick. (Terrible name but great deal on the threads!! PLUS this is also where I got the patterns for these ornaments).

 FSL stands for "Free Standing Lace".  These are actually embroidery designs that are not on anything.
Well, they start out on a plastic paper that is water soluble: after the design is finished, you run it under hot water and the plastic melts away leaving only the embroidered lace ornament.  On some of these, I put tulle between two layers of the melt away plastic. When the plastic was washed off, the tulle helped give support to the design.  On some I left the tulle out, because they are called Free Standing Lace, after all.  I think I will just 'eyeball' the designs from now on and if there is a lot of 'space' in the ornament, I will use the tulle. If it is a pretty filled design (as in the calico cabin ornament above), I will not add the tulle.

The snowflake here has the plastic still in it: If you look at the stocking and the angel, you can see the tulle in the design.

Some of the tulle tears off easily. Some needs to be cut off the design,but be careful because you might slip and accidentally cut some of the design.  I was actually bold enough to 'test' the tulle before I bought it. At Wal-Mart (yes, our local Wal-Mart still sells material!! Yay!), I found the light color I wanted and pulled a bit on the corners and bought the one that tore most easily.

Wanda, one of the wonderful people from Gammil's, has a burning tool that she uses along the edges of her FSL projects, which burns the tulle and leaves a nice clean edge. I hope she is able to find one for me! (They were out of stock and she was trying!).

I passed all these out at my last Quilter's Sew-ciety meeting: I sure hope the gals like them!!  Now, I need to make some for myself! (My ornaments are buried deep in the remodeling mess, and I doubt I get to them in time to decorate my tree this year.)  I'm sad about not being able to get to all my decorations, but am excited about my new family room!! Guess I'll need to add a "Grandmother's House" feature to my blog!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


 I decided to have a fun baking day, so I dug out my Christmas cast iron. I have a santa cookie (or muffin) mold and I have a sleigh full of toys cookie mold.
I decided to make shortbread:
1 cup butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp homemade vanilla (or store bought if you must)
2 - 2 1/2 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt.  If dough is too sticky, add more flour.
It had been a while since I had used these pans, so I decided to make sure they were well seasoned.  As you can tell by the photo to the right, I seasoned the outside as well as the inside of these pans -- this not only helps keep things from sticking, but also helps prevent rust on your molds.  I used crisco shortening to slather all over the pans.  I then place in a low oven for an hour or two right side up.  The molds will catch much of the melted shortening in the shapes and prevent much of it from dripping into the oven.  After an hour or so, I take out and tip the pans around to distribute more of the melted shortening around the mold interior, making sure each crevice is well oiled.  I then invert on paper toweling to drain as they cool. 
Notice how thick I've put Crisco on my sleigh full of
toys! Oil will not work as it tends to leave a sticky residue on the molds.
I made my cookie dough while my molds were cooling off from the pre-seasoning treatment.

**Make sure to use real butter: that is what gives shortbread its buttery goodness!  I only use Crisco for seasoning my pans.

When ready to use, oil the pan with a pastry brush and vegetable oil, then flour it well. Make sure all the nicks and crannies have been well greased and floured.

Take a fork and prick all of the cookies in the mold. This helps prevent it from rising by releasing air from the dough as it bakes. You do not want this to rise. The flat top (which is really the bottom when inverted) is essential especially when you are ready to decorate the cookies.

Bake at 325*F for 20 to 30 minutes (or more, depending on your mold) until slightly browned. 
Once you take them out of the oven, let them set about 5 minutes. THEN you need to take a knife and go around the whole edge of EACH COOKIE!! If you miss one, that will be the one to break when you invert them.  Another thing to help prevent breakage is to put the cooling rack on top of the cookie mold and invert together. This keeps the cookies from falling out and breaking.  Once inverted, gently lift the mold away from the shortbread and allow to cool.  This would be the time to prepare the frosting, or to just keep making cookies to prepare for a marathon decorating day.

I cannot say "Here's the finished product" because they still need decorating (although many shortbread pans are a decoration in themselves: no frosting required). I made these with decorating in mind.
Sadly, they did not last long enough to decorate.
My husband moaned and groaned with each bite of most of the cookies about how they were not sweet enough to suit him. I admit, these are NOT sweet: they are a shortbread, full of buttery goodness!  I will have to make some sugar cookies next time. Maybe they will last long enough to decorate. If so, I'll post it!


 I'm just embroidering on cloth pre-folded diapers to make them a little more special. That's what we use for 'burp rags' anyway. I think this makes them look more like a burp rag and less like a diaper.

This one is applique for the monogram K and embroidery for the rest of her name.

Monday, December 6, 2010

GRANDMOTHER'S LIBRARY: The Parable of the Chocolate Chips by Sharon Larsen

This is the sweetest book about a kingdom that cannot eat chocolate: it is very bad! The story tells how it is slowly infiltrated into the lives of the people in such tiny steps that it was hardly noticeable, and before long, chocolate was a common confection.
Sharon Larsen is NOT trying to say that chocolate is bad!  She has written a wonderful parable in which  evil or sin is represented by chocolate.  It starts out as chocolate chips -- after all, there's hardly any chocolate in the cookies.. and before long , there is chocolate cake and eclairs! Pretty soon things that were once taboo have become acceptable practice. It reminds me of how immodesty crept it's way into television.  I remember some of the first bra commercials.  There was a black mannequin and a white bra. And we thought, "Yuck, who wants to see a bra commercial?!"  Soon after that, a model was in the commercial wearing a bra over a black turtle neck T-shirt. Then it didn't take long until she was modeling the bra without the shirt under it: and we see a LOT more than that now!  It didn't happen over night, but was a gradual thing where just a little was done until it became common, then a little more, then a little more. It is just a beautifully written little book that teaches a wonderful lesson -- to beware of the little sins because they grows and grows until they are out of control.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

GRANDMOTHER'S LIBRARY: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

When I started reading this, I didn't realize it was book 11 of Kelley Armstrong's "Women of the Otherworld" series. It is a stand alone book and makes a complete novel by itself, although I felt as though it could be continued in another book.  The book is about Savanna, a witch, who is also a beginning private detective who is looking into a couple murders that could have supernatural overtones.  "Witch" in this novel is not a practicing Wiccan, but is another 'species' or a non-human with distinct biological differences than humans.  The book follows Savanna as she works on her first solo case and leaves me wanting more of the story filled in: Does Savanna lose her powers permanently? Do Savanna and Adam get together? Does Kayla get reunited with her grandmother? These unanswered questions make me think that there might be another book, but it looks as though the books in the series might not necessarily have all the same characters. I'll let you know when I read some more of this series! (which I definitely will).

Monday, November 22, 2010

GRANNY'S KITCHEN: Tomato/Carrot Soup

I was needing a quick meal this evening, and soup is always handy. But, sometimes I just feel as though it is not quite substantial enough. While trying to decide what to do, I just grabbed a can of carrots.  I put the Campbell's tomato soup in the pan, then poured the water off the carrots into the Campbell's can, then finished filling up the can from the tap.  I heated it on the stove. Add a little salt and a lot of pepper, and it made a tasty, quick meal!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

GRANNY'S KITCHEN: Peanut Butter/Oatmeal Cookies

I made these yummy cookies using mainly food storage items from a recipe I found online here. 
I doubled my recipe and put 1 cup peanut butter powder and 1/3 cup water in my mixer to get it reconstituted.  I also used powdered eggs, which are very handy to have around. It makes it OK to eat the dough without worrying about raw eggs (which I never did anyway-- after all, I love Egg Nog!)  I reconstituted these, but you can add the powdered eggs in with the flour and add the water separate. I am still trying to decide my favorite method: I haven't found a difference yet.  The peanut butter powder is a lot easier to mix than regular peanut butter. And being dried, it won't go rancid if I lose it in the back of the pantry!  These yummy cookies have peanut butter, oatmeal, and chocolate chips. They are scrumptious!

Monday, November 15, 2010


I went to a scrapbooking workshop this weekend and this is one of the pages I made. I took these photos last November. I had everyone dressed up so I made them pose for photos.  I should do this more often. They usually dress for church every Sunday: maybe I'll start taking snapshots once a month or so just 'because'.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

GRANDMOTHER'S LIBRARY: Soulless by Gail Carriger

This is book of of the Parasol Protectorate series of books whose main character is a Victorian, prim and proper spinster, one Miss Tarabotti.  The book begins with the following paragraph:
"Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her eveing. Private balls were never more than middling amusements for spinsters, and Miss Tarabotti was not the kind of spinster who could  garner even that much pleasure from the event.  To put the pudding in the puff: she had retreated to the library, her favorite sanctuary in any house, only to happen upon an unexpected vampire."  When the said vampire tried to attack her, she says, "I say! We have not properly been introduced."  Her prim and proper manners are too funny to read!  Miss Tarabotti is most upset by the vampire falling over the tea tray and ruining the treacle tart.
It seems that Miss Tarabotti has no soul, which negates any supernatural abilities in others: vampires teeth retract, werewolves cannot turn all hairy, and ghosts can be exorcised.  She seems to be very outspoken for a woman of these times, yet is always the picture of perfect etiquette!  This is absolutely a fun book to read!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

GRANDMOTHER'S SEWING ROOM: Closet Dividers for Baby

I thought these closet dividers were the coolest thing, so I bought the pattern and made them for a shower gift. My friend, Jenny, said she had just organized her baby closet and divided the clothes with extra hangers, so she loved them!  I thought I'd make a set for Baby Kay, but her momma said they don't have a closet for her.. Oh well.. they were fun to make!

GRANNY'S KITCHEN: Jalapeno Poppers

2010 was a great year for peppers! Our tomatoes did not do well, but our pepper plants looked like TREES, the stems were so thick!  We had an over abundance of cayenne, which I dried. Then I had several of these jalapenos, which I candied and made poppers.  We also grew quite a few banana peppers, which I canned, and some bell peppers which I stuffed, chopped up and used in a variety of ways.  
This is my endeavor with jalapeno poppers!
First I had to half and deseed, wearing gloves (other wise you get acid burns on your hands!)  The deseeded halves get placed on cookie sheets and frozen. The halves are then filled with cheese (I used cream cheese on some, and some left over cheese dip, which had been made from velveeta and salsa mixed together, in some.  The halves are squished together and placed back in the freezer.  When I had all my jalapenos filled, I pulled out my first tray, rolled them in flour, dipped in egg/milk mixture, then rolled in bread crumbs.  These went back to the freezer. When all were completed and frozen, I placed in freezer bags.  Then when ready for a snack, just take out what you need and deep fry!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


When my brother-in-law had a kidney transplant, I made this quilt to auction off to help him with expenses.  My mom (Kathleen Cockrum) embroidered redwork western motifs on black squares. Each block is different -- when we ran out of designs, we flipped a few of them so they would technically still be different.  Some of the embroidery designs take over an hour to sew out, not including the time lining up the fabric in the hoop, finding the pattern, and transferring it to her Janome sewing card.  We had 40 embroidered blocks, so imagine all the hours my mother spent at the sewing machine for this!
I then set the pieces together with bandanna fabric.  I drew (from pictures I found on the internet: I had to get ideas from somewhere!!) the pantograph quilting pattern out on a roll of fax paper.  My aunts Marge and Cleo have a short arm quilting machine that we use for our quilting.  I put the photo in x-large mode so that you can see the details of the quilting: I alternated cowboy hats and boots!  Loran has always been into horses and horse shows, and was president of the Saddle Club for quite some time! (in case you're wondering why the western theme).  The quilt was then sold at a benefit auction held for Loran. I cannot remember what it went for, but every little bit helped!


Carissa had never used the tiny saws to cut pumpkins, so Nathan is helping out with her pumpkin. Naomi came to enjoy our annual family event!  

As you can tell, I didn't carve mine, but made a mummy . Believe it or not, that is a whole roll of gauze! The eyes are from a pumpkin carving kit from a couple years ago.

Natalie was busy hanging out with cousins, so she carved her bat the next day. The stinker would not let me take her photograph.

Nicolas also took the easy way out and only carved a scythe.  Carissa and Nathan carved the creepy stalker looking through the blinds. 

Naomi had a small pumpkin, but that's OK because I have a copy machine that can shrink images! She chose the intricate scarecrow.  I love the way it looks -- as thought the field behind it is on fire!

I took photos with and without the light inside. I think they are better looking when they are lit up in the dark..

Friday, November 5, 2010


                                                        I have not figured out yet how to get my two photos side by side yet like the double layout pages they are. But anyway, here are a couple of the paged I did of Nathan's and Nicolas' birthday party.  Look at all the smoke coming off the candles -- good think we were outside!!  We set up bales of straw for our 'theatre' seats and set the projector to show on the side of the garage.  We showed Disney's Haunted Mansion and then Ghost Rider.  

We grilled hamburgers and had snacks, including Aunt Cleo's brownies!  

We didn't have many carvers this year, but have to admit that EVERY STORE was totally OUT of PUMPKINS!!  There were NONE at WalMart, Ramey's or Country Mart!  The kids finally found the last two at the new Market where the Warm Fork Cafe' used to be.  

I tried to mention that next year I want to go back to just carving and snacks, but Nicolas informed me that he likes the grilling out and movies.  I do miss all the carvings from the past.  It might help if I sent out invitations like I used to do -- we just went by word of mouth this year.. I think people need that tangible invitation to help them remember.

Friday, October 29, 2010

GRANDMOTHER'S KITCHEN: Easy Casserole with Progresso Soup

Here is a quick easy casserole. I cooked 1 1/2 cups rice (dry) and spread out in a casserole dish. I poured over 2 cans of  Progresso SouthWestern Style Chicken soup (I had a .50/2 coupon, which was doubled at Ramey's..). I didn't think it had enough meat to satisfy my crew, so I reconstituted some chicken TVP and put on top of the rice. I sprinkled some cheddar cheese over the top and popped in the microwave about 5 minutes until the cheese was melted and the soup was hot. Yummy!


I didn't find much in the way of bargains this week, but I didn't have much in the way of money so it all works out!! The 3 packs of Ivory soap (which every grandmother needs!!) were on sale for .50 and I had a couple .25 coupons, so snagged 6 bars of Ivory soap for .50!  The glad fresheners were not on sale, but I had a B1G1 coupon, so ended up with 2 for the price of one!  I picked up a Chocolate Cherry Sparkle and an Apple Cinnamon.  And both of them smell absolutely WONDERFUL!

GRANNY'S KITCHEN: Cooking outside

OK.. so it's not my kitchen!  All the kids went off to Trunk-or -Treat which left me alone with my hubby for a couple hours. Wow!  We took advantage and sat outside near the fire and cooked a couple steaks.  It was so dark and the coals were so beautiful glowing in the dark! My pictures don't do it justice. I put the flash on so you could see the cool fire pit/grill my son, Nicolas, made. The bottom is a big fire ring made from an old tractor tire rim. He made and added the grill section which swings out and is adjustable up and down.  We had to lower it a couple times as the fire died down and we were not adding more wood.  We finished up cooking as the kids started arriving back home at which time  we let them take over the fire pit area and we headed in to eat our steak in the light.  I've decided we need to do more 'date nights'!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I didn't add any more to Kay's outfit, but Naomi put a cute pink onsie on her which completed the outfit. Here is Princess Kay all ready to go to her first Trunk or Treat! She is wearing the skirt and hat I made and her first pair of shoes. I think Naomi had a wonderful time carrying her around and showing her off.  She will get to dress up again on Saturday for the 'Scare on the Square'.... I'll try to get pictures of Kay and Baby Van (her frog prince!).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


 My daughter's friend has a son just a few months older than Baby Kay.  He is going to be dressed as a frog for Halloween -- and he needed a princess to complete the look!

I made this from scraps out of the sewing room!  The hat was put together on a triangle/cone made from some stiff interfacing that I stole from a purse kit in my stash. We then hot glued the ribbon and lace and added tulle and ribbons for the final effect.

The skirt again is scraps from the fabric stash.  It is just a rectangle of pink silky fabric with a tulle skirt lining and a tulle overlay.  The ribbon on the bottom    of the dress (which is what we put on the cone for the hat) has wires in it to give it more of a stand out effect.

Tomorrow we will play with a onsie for the blouse of the outfit. We may just use a plain pink onsie or we may add lace to it ~ depends on what we come up with, how we feel, and how much time we have.

AND I still have to finish sewing a Tinkerbell costume for Natalie.

Stay tuned for updates on my sewing adventures.!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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