Thursday, December 2, 2021

Holiday Food

Hello Everyone,

Those of you who know me, know that I love to cook......when I have the time.  Here is an excellent potato recipe you can add to your Holiday cooking.  The recipe is called: Crispy Parmesan and Gruyere Potato Gratin.

It tastes just as good as it looks.  A couple of weeks ago I made this dish for company.  The roast and the potatoes came out of the oven at the same time for us to enjoy.  Boy howdy did we enjoy it!

Here's the recipe that will not disappoint if you decide to make it.


1-1/2 cups of heavy cream  (Remember, during the Holidays, calories don't count)

2 tsp of kosher salt

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp of butter

1 small shallot, diced

5 medium Yukon Gold of White potatoes (I left the skins on)

1 cup of grated Gruyere 

1/2 cup of grated Parmesan 

1 tsp of fresh thyme


-Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

-In a small saucepan add the cream, salt, and garlic.  Bring to a simmer on low heat and cook for 5 minutes.  This will allow the garlic flavor to infuse the cream.  Remove from the heat and set to the side.

-Thinly slice the potatoes to 1/8" thickness using a mandolin slicer.

-In a 12" cast iron pan, add the butter and shallots and fry on low heat for 5 minutes until the shallots have caramelized.

-Arrange the sliced potatoes in a spiral pattern on top of the cooked shallots.  Pour the garlic infused cream mixture over the top of the potatoes.

-Cover the cast iron pan tightly with a piece of foil.  Place the cast iron pan into the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

-Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven temperature to broil.

-Cover the potatoes with the grated Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses.  Sprinkle with the thyme.  Place the cast iron pan into the oven and broil for 5 minutes until the cheese is crispy and bubbling.

-Remove from the oven and serve warm.  This is also great reheated and served the next day.


Tonight, we've been invited over to our friend's house for dinner.  I'll be making my go-to cake recipe.   I've posted this recipe a couple of times as it is sooooo good.  I've had my share of baking mishaps over the years, which I blame on our high elevation.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  This cake has proven it can stand up to my baking prowess, and the elevation.

Coffee-Orange Fudge Cake

1 pkg. devil’s food cake mix

1 (8 oz) carton sour cream                              
½ cup salad oil                                               
½ cup water                                                               
4 eggs                                                                         
1 (3 oz.) pkg. instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
¼ cup coffee liqueur
2 tablespoons finely-shredded orange peel
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Powdered sugar (optional)


©      Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan.  In a large mixer bowl, combine cake mix, sour cream, oil, water, eggs, pudding mix, liqueur, orange peel and cinnamon.

©      Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until blended, scraping sides of bowl constantly.  Beat on medium speed for 4 minutes. 
©      Stir in chocolate pieces.  Pour into prepared pan. 
©      Bake in a 350° oven for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. 
©      Makes 12 to 16 servings.  This recipe is a blue-ribbon cake from Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen.  This cake freezes well.  It’s rich and moist.

Okay, I've blogged two days in a row!  I'll try to keep this record going during December.....or at least until Christmas.



Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Let the decorating begin!

 Hello Everyone,

It's that time of year when the bins and tubs full of Christmas joy come out of closets, and from under the cabin so the decorating can begin.

I've been turning my pie safe/cookbook holder into a Christmas Village every year.....for years. My Fitbit logged 15 flights of stairs just bringing the houses up the stairs and out of storage. 

Notice the time on the clock in both of the pictures.  The magic didn't take place in one day from 3 to 5pm.  I finished at 5pm the next day.  First, all of the cookbooks have to be moved and stashed away behind the couch in the great room.  I always get sidetracked because I stop and flip through some of the books.  Then I sit and read them, and make note of what I want to make for the Holidays.  So, tack on an extra hour or two just to move the books. Add another hour when I make a latte and sit and read, and start menu planning.  Can you tell I'm easily distracted?

My daughter gave me "Grandma's House" a few years ago.  This is one of my favorites.  This year I decided Grandma, and that would be me, needed to have a pink Cadillac in her driveway. Not really my style as I'm more of an off-road Grammy with mud and snow tires.

I'll bet the figurine of the ring around the Christmas tree is about 30 years old....maybe older.

Putting my Christmas Village on display every year always reminds me of the days when I used to play house.  I loved to play house, and I still do.  I love unwrapping the little people that were given to me by my mother years ago.  It brings back such precious, and happy memories.

Before we moved to the cabin, my granddaughters would help me put the village out.  In the beginning they needed a step ladder.

Then they grew up, and didn't need the ladder any longer.  Now they are in college and are too busy to help out.  Sigh.  I miss that tradition of our "Village time" together.  

I know you know what a mess you create while decorating.  I had boxes and bins all over the cabin.  To make matters worse, the new table we bought last month was delivered into the middle of the mess.  I'll take pictures of our "meals on wheels" table in another post.

So to make a long story short, the other night at 3:22am to be exact, Mazie went ballistic with barking.  I was convinced that every hound of the Baskerville's was in our great room since she was making such a clatter.  I sprang from my bed to see what was the here to Clement Moore.  Well as I sprang not to spritely, I failed to remember the floor of the great room was littered with boxes and a new table in the middle of the room.  Did I turn on a light you say?  Well, no, because I wanted to see what was outside on the deck. My shins and toes have the bruises to show my stumbling through the room to get to the sliding door and porch light.  When, what to my wondering eyes should appear.....a terrified raccoon with eyes as big as saucers wondering what was going on inside the noisy cabin!

From now until Christmas, I'm going to try to post every day.  So, check back to see what I'm up to in the days before Christmas.  I'll be posting a few recipes from all of those cookbooks.  I'll be posting pictures of my decorations, and some of our traditions.  I may sneak in a post about quilting too!


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving 2021

 Happy Thanksgiving!

I can smell the turkey cooking in your kitchen as you read this post.  I can hear the laughter as friends and family gather together to give thanks on this day.  I can just image grandparents hugging their grandchildren and children, and friends hugging friends.  This is what we've been missing over the past two Thanksgivings.

This is my Harvest of Hope quilt. When I think of family, my personal family and my quilting family, I think about harvesting hope. We all sow the seeds of hope, love, friendship, and gratitude. Then we harvest that love, and fill our hearts to overflowing every time we gather together. 

Let's hope for the future while reflecting on the past.  As we go about our days and weeks, we are all harvesting hope in our lives by planting seeds of happiness, giving smiles along the way, a hug here and there, and spreading encouragement to help each other grow and prosper.

Our family gathered together last Sunday as it was the only time our eldest granddaughter could travel from college in Arizona back to California.  It doesn't matter what day you celebrate the holiday.  It matters that you are together.  This was a raucous group of partiers.  I love to just sit back and enjoy all of the conversations going around the table and the room.  Their voices and laughter filled the house.  

The puppy in the picture is our son's dog, Copper.  Mazey was camera shy, as she zipped in and out of pictures.  There were a few pictures just featuring her tail as she flew through the field of view.

Mr. Joe and I are going to spend a very quiet Thanksgiving together.  I see a football game or two in our future.  

I am so thankful for all of my blog readers, and our friendships which have developed over the years since I started blogging in 2008.  Many of you have been with me and supported me from the very start.  I feel extremely blessed.



Thursday, November 18, 2021

Scrappy Quilt Using 1" Strips

Hello Everyone,

I've been able to spend time in my sewing room.....the happiest place on earth for me.  I've been trying to decide what to do with the fabric leftover from A Ribbon Runs Through It block of the month.  I finally settled on this design, a Chevron Log Cabin block.

It is a much easier block than what I was originally going to make.  There are no special rulers or templates required.  Just a lot of chain piecing using 1" scraps.  I think this is going to be beautiful!  It's amazing what you can do with tiny scraps, and this design will beautifully showcase the fabrics.

The fabrics will be available soon at Homestead Hearth and other online shops. This is the same fabric that I used in my Block of the Month program for Marcus Fabrics.
This was an important week for these two little sweethearts.  Our twin granddaughters turned 19 on Saturday.

Theses two beautiful young women have brought us so much happiness, and love in their 19 trips around the sun.  They constantly make us proud of their achievements, and make us laugh.  They are so loving and kind.  We are so blessed they are part of our family.

If you read my last post, you will remember my rant about FaceBook and a bogus site called Quilting Free Patterns.  My friend Kaaren and I were relentless in reporting them to FB as they plagiarized quilt picture after quilt picture.  I was contacted by so many other designers who expressed their anger and irritation at the site.  My friend Paula, actually followed a very convoluted series of links, which over time actually took her to my blog.  I'm so pleased to report the site has been completely taken down from FB.  I'm sure they are already back up and running under a different name, but I do feel a sense of satisfaction that the site was exposed for what it was and removed.

On a happier note, every morning, weather permitting, I stand out on the deck and greet the day.  It's always a real shocker when I open the sliding door and realize I forgot to turn off the alarm system! The other morning I was treated to this magnificent sunrise.  I think my morning ritual sets a good tone for my day ahead.  It's a peaceful time to express my gratitude for having another day on this earth. I just soak in all of the beauty around me and give thanks.

Today is going to be another busy day of picking up a printing order, grocery shopping, shipping more BOM patterns, and quilting.  We are celebrating Thanksgiving early as our eldest granddaughter is coming back to California for Thanksgiving.  We can't wait to see her, hug her, and hear all about her new adventures at Arizona State University.



Sunday, November 14, 2021

Quilting Imposters on Facebook

 Hello Everyone,

My blood is boiling!  I shouldn't let this bother me so much, but it keeps happening.  I was notified by an anonymous reader (thank you) that a picture of my Heritage quilt was posted on Quilting Free Patterns site on FB.  The "poster" or imposter claimed her dearly departed mother made this quilt.  That is total BS!  I'm alive and well, and I'M NOT HER MOTHER!

This picture was stolen from my blog post from 2018!  Click here to see the original post.  I immediately reported the post to the administrator of the no avail.

Then later in the day, this appeared on the same site!  A picture of one of my Country Charmer blocks.  It was originally posted here in 2013.  

My point in pointing this out to you, other than the fact that I'm really p***** o**, is that if you click on the link associated with the post, you set yourself up to have a virus invade your computer.  These people should be drawn and fat quartered!  DO NOT BECOME A MEMBER OF QUILTING FREE PATTERNS!  There, I feel much better now!  

I guess I'm going to have to put a Sew'n Wild Oaks watermark on all of my pictures that I post on my blog.  But, I would have to go back over thousands of images since I started blogging in 2008.  Sigh.

Be careful out there.  The Internet isn't all is cracked up to be when it comes to getting legitimate information out in the universe. Be careful where you click.


Friday, November 12, 2021

Additional Tutorial Update

Hello Everyone,

I just added to the tutorial for Block 1 for A Ribbon Runs Through It.  

To see the entire tutorial, click on The Ribbon Runs Through It Block #1 section at the top of the blog.

The tutorials will help you with the construction of this block.  You can also apply the techniques to other patterns you are making.  I have direct links to my free videos on The Quilt Show explaining the math behind the components.  It's a wealth of information to digest which will add to your arsenal of quilting information.  In the end, it will make you a better quilter.   

Have a wonderful weekend.



Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Cheddar and Coal Fabric

 Hello Everyone,

I placed an order with Homestead Hearth for some Cheddar and Coal fabric by Pam Buda for Marcus Fabrics......and it did not disappoint when it arrived!

I'm imagining some beautiful pumpkins with the rich gold and orange tones.

The line has some beautiful backgrounds too.

It is hard to get beautiful blacks that aren't black and white.  I LOVE the black and gold.  The touch of gold makes them so soft.

This line would be perfect in my Peek-A-Boo Pumpkin table runner.

I'm not going to make another one, but I do have a brilliant plan for this fabric line.  I can't wait to dig in and start designing.

In my last post I showed you the "Meals on Wheels" dining room table that we purchased last week.  It still hasn't been delivered, which isn't a bad thing.  I'm moving our old dining room table into my sewing room which has prompted a completed cleaning out and furniture rearranging in my room.  I would have taken a "before" picture but it was really not very tidy.  I'll take an after picture once the dust settles.....and I do mean dust.  The dust bunnies were multiplying like rabbits. 

Each and everyday Mr. Joe and I are stuffing A Ribbon Runs Through It patterns for shipment around the world.  The dining room is looking like a shipping dock!  This is what 600 patterns look like after they've been boxed and await shipment.  The response to this block of the month amazes me everyday and I feel so blessed.  

Mr. Joe has been taking orders over the phone when I'm away from the cabin.  He makes little notes on the orders telling me how nice everyone has been.  When I ship the orders, I always inform the buyers that my husband enjoyed chatting with them.  Maybe he's just so happy to unchain himself from the table and have interaction with a human voice instead of a plastic bag full of directions!

So if you are reading between the lines, you can tell that we've been really busy here under the pines at Sew'n Wild Oaks.  Yesterday was a very rainy day, and just perfect for being indoors stuffing patterns  The sun is out today, and it's Mazey's turn for a nice walk through the woods. Maybe we will stay outside for an extended length of time.....


Friday, November 5, 2021

A Trip to Wine Country

Hello Everyone,

After the intensity of the past few weeks, it was so nice getting out of the cabin for a drive to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Northern California.  

It was a beautiful, crystal clear day at Helwig Winery just outside of Plymouth.

Mother Nature was exuding "fall" everywhere we looked.  The vineyards were putting on a display of color along with seeing snow in the mountains. It was a Thanksgiving kind of day.  We were thankful for the gorgeous day, weather, and the opportunity to soak it all in.

This was our lunch spot at the winery.  They are also pet friendly so Mazey enjoyed her day.

Luckily for us it was cool, and that makes the rattlesnakes a bit slower.  Maybe I could out run them with Mazey in tow. This sign was right by our picnic table.

We stopped at another winery on the way home, and saw this sign.  I'm very curious as to what word was blacked out.  So I guess we all have to fill in the blank.  What do you think?

We stopped at Water Street Antiques in Jackson on the way home.  Notice the red sold sign?  The sign had my name written all over it!  I named our new dining room table.....are you ready for this?  Meals on Wheels!  This is so unique and is going to look great in the cabin.  I'll take a picture after it's delivered.  It's going to take two men and a boy to get this table down to the cabin.  I think some dis-assembly is going to be required to get it through the door.

Our neighbors asked what was wrong with our old dining room table.  Joe said it had a flat tire, and needed alignment!  On that note.....




Monday, November 1, 2021

Mountain Heirloom Quilt Faire

Hello Everyone,

What a beautiful weekend for a quilt faire!  The quilters came out in droves to the see the quilts, their friends, and the vendors in the spectacular setting at Ironstone Winery.


This is a destination quilt show located in the cute little mountain community of Murphys, CA.

The quilts are on display in the music room at the winery.  It's an amazing, and impressive room filled with beautiful quilts.

This is just a small sampling of the quilts on display.

I was apprehended and put under arrest by the Quilt Police, aka the Material Girlfriends, Lisa and Lora.  They were so much fun!  I was arrested for making Patchwork Math just too easy.  So yes, there really are quilt police lurking in the shadows.....beware.

It really was a spectacular, Autumn weekend for a quilt show.  

We were surrounded in beauty the entire time.  From the quilts, to the glorious Fall colors, to the quilters.  It is so special to be able to meet so many of you in person, and I'm filled with gratitude that you stopped by and introduced yourselves.  Yes, shows are exhausting especially right after a four day retreat.  But on another note, I'm energized to start working on new designs to bring to the world of quilters. 

I couldn't have pulled this off without the help of my friends Karen, Paula, Deborah, Sue, Jocelyn, my sister Gail, and of course Mr. Joe.  They made the booth possible, and were a tremendous help.  I love you support team, friends, and family.