Monday, June 22, 2009


I am participating in two quilt-alongs right now – Dana's and Amanda Jean's – and sadly, I’m behind in both! 

2009 Spring Ellie's Graduation2 044

These are my fabrics for Old Red Barn Co.and I haven’t taken any more pics of my nine patches.  I have 3 more strip sets to sew together, and 45 more nine patches.  On the bright side, though, everything is cut out!!!  Assembly line time, it is.  Anyone else behind, too?


Friday, June 19, 2009

La Mer

2009 Spring Ellie's Graduation2 061 We’ve lived on the coast for four years now.  Living most of my life in the midwest where the bodies of water consisted of lakes and rivers, I am entranced by the sea.  One of the first things we did when we moved out here was to locate a few beaches and explore.   We have a few favorites, but truly, there is something to love at all of them.  They each of their own personality

Another thing we try to do,is  to visit during the different seasons.  The mellowness of fall is probably my favorite, but, then again, there’s nothing like the warmth of the sun in early summer at the start of beach season.  To the kids, it doesn’t matter – they love them all.     2009 Spring Ellie's Graduation2 049  2009 Spring Ellie's Graduation2 064  We live in the city, and trips to the beach make me long for a tiny cottage by the sea.  It sounds so cliche – do all women dream of this?  I can clearly envision picket fences and beach roses.  Screen doors and lemonade.  Rocking chairs and old quilts on weathered porches.  The clean, summer smell of ivory soap and cotton pajamas on sleeping children.   Dusk encroaching and the quiet murmur of evening conversations.  Sweet dreams, indeed.

family fun day sept 06 019July August 2007 042 For now,however, we pack our buckets and shovels, beach chairs, towels, sunscreen, books, our cooler full of snacks and drinks, and drive to the sea.   Gloucester beach 2006 013 She always welcomes us no matter how we arrive.

Gloucester beach 2006 008 The taste of the salt in the air is like nothing else I have experienced.  It envelopes you and seeps into your skin.  It must be therapeutic for your body as well as your mind.   Even when it’s cold, I shed my shoes and let the sand run through my toes.   April 2008 187

  April 2008 184 Someday I’ll go to the seashore with a notebook and write.  Just try to listen and simply write what the sea tells me.   

April 2008 190

The Tide

by Marjorie Wilson

Sometimes we peep beneath the blinds

And through the window bars,

We see the dew like silver clouds:

We see the lighted stars.

And down among the sea-weed pools

Where little fishes hide,

Swift coming through the dark we hear

The footsteps of the tide.

We know, when night is tucked away,

To-morrow there will be

Across the flat and shining sand

The footprints of the sea.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Pile On the Pancakes

Basketball Hall of Fame - May 09 057


We like pancakes.  We have them a lot around our house.  And sometimes, we even have them for a quick and thrifty dinner.  Over the years, I have found several favorites.  Here’s a couple…




Delicious Pancakes

1 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1/3 cup melted butter, or oil

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder

In large batter bowl, beat eggs slightly.  In separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  To the eggs, add butter and milk.  Add dry ingredients.  Mix only until all the dry ingredients are mixed in.  Bake on hot oiled griddle.

***For our family of six, I have to triple the above recipe; however, the batter will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator if you have any leftover.  On the rare occasions that we have any pancakes left, we will eat them cold out of the fridge for a snack, or as a quick, hot weekday breakfast – just pop them in the microwave or toaster.

This second recipe is from an old, southern-style cookbook, and I love it because it uses baking soda versus baking powder.  I always seem to run out of baking powder, but not baking soda, so this recipe saves me a trip to the store! 

Georgia Flapjacks

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 eggs

2 cups sour milk (you can use buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream thinned with a little milk, or 4 Tablespoons vinegar plus enough milk to make 2 cups)

1 1/2 Tablespoons melted butter

In large bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt, and sugar.  In another bowl, beat eggs lightly, add milk, and then add to dry ingredients.  Mix with a whisk, then add melted butter.  Heat an oiled griddle, ladle a 1/4 cupful of batter onto the griddle, and cook until bubbles start to “pop” and underside is nicely browned.  Flip pancakes and cook until done.

***Again, I need to triple this recipe for my family of six.

Pancakes are pretty foolproof, but the more you make, the  better  pancake chef you become.  Martha Stewart has a good article about the art of the perfect pancake, and so does this site.  My grandmother always made pancakes for us when she would come to stay, and we were always wowed by her ability to shape them into all sorts of creatures.  Because, you know, pancakes always taste better when they’re shaped like a bear, or a turtle, or a heart, or a robot, or anything a grandma can think up! 




Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fabric, Inspiration, & Sitting Still

Basketball Hall of Fame - May 09 040 

I ran into an amazing deal on a collection of fabric at my local fabric store.  Too good to pass up…waaaay too good.  They are not my usual colors, but I was drawn to them anyway.  Of course, now I’m itching to sew them into something, but I don’t know what…I need inspiration.   I have a yard each, and it is from the Eden Collection.  (Sorry for the blurry picture.)Basketball Hall of Fame - May 09 041 I’ve been eyeing the coffee cozies that have been popping up here and there over the past year, and I really liked Erin's idea to give them as end of the year teacher gifts.  But, can I handle the pressure of one more item on the to-do list?!!  My brother and sis-in-law are expecting their first child in early September, so I’ve also thought about Rae's Itty-bitty-baby-dress.  I’ve also been thinking of bags or summer shirts or sun-dresses for my own girls.

I really should be working on my quilt for Dana's quilt-along, or my nine patches for Amanda Jean's quilt-along.  I really should just let this new fabric sit and make friends with all of the other fabric in my stash.  Sometimes that’s a really hard thing to do – to just let something sit, that is.  It seems that the more “irons in the fire”  I have, the more I want to add another, and another, and another.  I need to remember that sitting can be a good thing. 


Hold up.

Somehow I went from asking for inspiration to telling myself to slow down.  I didn’t intend for this to get philosophical, but yet it did.  (It’s funny, this process of putting thoughts into print.  Quite uncanny in how it brings out your unconscious feelings.  Gonna have to get used to that for sure!)  I’m remembering now about reading something a while back that stated the “busyness” of life can hinder and even block the flow of creativity.  Definitely something to ponder.

So…I’m off to get the kids to bed, curl up on the couch with a cup of tea, and just sit.