Monday, November 29, 2010

The Polar Express

Hello Everyone,

The polar express thundered down from Canada and covered the cabin with a thick blanket of snow and cold, cold temperatures. I was constantly humming......... "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...."  You don't want to know the level of effort that it took me to trudge my way down to the backyard to get this picture. It was exhausting!

The wishing well in the backyard is wishing for warmer weather right about now.
The air was filled with angel dust.
The sunlight through the trees was breathtaking.  (Mainly because I was so tired from walking through the hip-deep snow).

Luckily we didn't loose the electricity while we were there.  Our grandson Austin, and our eldest son Chuck, had to do quite a bit of shoveling to get to the barbecue.  The tri-tips were well worth their effort and a nice change from turkey.  You really work up an appetite after playing in the snow all day. 

This is my view out of the kitchen window.....snow all the way to the bottom of the window and the deck railings.  The trees looked like umbrellas just waiting to spring open, showering you with flakes. Well actually dumping huge amounts of the wet stuff down the collar of your jacket......I speak from experience!

Zinny and little Jess had an absolute ball playing.  They wore each other out.

Now Jess, you know what they say about yellow snow!

I'll be at the quilt shop today and back in the quilting mode.  When the grandkids are around, quilting gets pushed to the background and stays there.

As always,


Friday, November 26, 2010

Repurposing an old treasure

Hello Everyone,

I'm a firm believer in repurposing's almost as good as recycling. I was rummaging around in our garage (oh how I wish I had a basement), and found this old toolbox that I bought a few years ago and had completely forgotten about. What was once used to carry tools for a workman, now holds tools.  The whole Wild Rose fat quarter collection, plus other Blackbird Design fabric, have found a new location.  I have an applique pattern all drawn up just waiting to be born using this fabric line. Now if I can just find the time........

The toolbox holds tons of fat quarters that I can see at a glance without sorting through piles looking for just the "right" shade or pattern.  This will look nice in my sewing room and is easy to cart downstairs while I'm working on an applique project while watching television. 

Do you love to fondle fabric as much as I do?  Do you fold and re-fold, arrange and re-arrange?  Is this an illness or does it satisfy a basic need to organize your treasures?  I don't have the answers, all I know is that I love the feel, the color, the patterns and the "look" once I'm finished organizing and rearranging.  An added plus is that it also reminds me what I've tucked away in the pie safe and closet years ago!  Speaking of pie, I can't wait to have the Thanksgiving leftovers today!

Have a great day everyone organizing and looking for treasures.

As always,


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Whole Quilt

Hello Everyone,

I've had a couple of requests to see a picture of Sylvia's whole here it is.  The feathers make an interesting effect which you don't see while you're quilting due to the width of the throat space on the quilting machine.  You have to trust your instincts that the overall effect will be pleasing to the eye and add value to the quilt.

In September I entered a contest sponsored by Handi Quilter and submitted my story here.  The winners would  receive additional training at HQ headquarters in Salt Lake City and be featured in the 2011 ad campaign.  Well, I didn't win but it was fun writing the story. 

If anyone is thinking about purchasing a machine, test drive some and see what feels good to you.  It's a big investment of money, space and time.  I love my Handi Quilter.  Sometimes I wish I had the "big bucks" to upgrade to a computerized machine, but by not having a computer-guided machine, I had to learn how to quilt my quilts using my own creativity and skill.  I learn something with every quilt.

I've quilted just one pantograph in the last four years.  I've discovered that I can't follow a straight line with the laser. As with anything else, practice, practice, practice.  Zinny, our Golden Retrieve, had the nicest, quilted dog beds from all of my practice sessions.  She is so spoiled!

I hope all of you enjoy your day preparing for your Thanksgiving feast.  I have a list of things to do from making pies to the rolls that will go into the fridge tonight.  Oh the anticipation of smelling the turkey cooking is good.  Happy Turkey Day to all.

As always,


Monday, November 22, 2010

Pay It Forward......

Hello Everyone,

As a general rule, I don't quilt for others but I do make exceptions for exceptional people.  I'm quilting this quilt for my sister's good friend, Sylvia.  Sylvia is new to quilting and she made this quilt for her niece for Christmas.

Sylvia is from Zimbabwe and met my sister in 1988 through a mutual friend.  Sylvia's life-long goal was to be a nurse.  After years of college and a lot of hard work, she is now a registered nurse in Santa Rosa.  Over the years, she brought her son and her niece from Zimbabwe to Santa Rosa and helped put them both through school.  First the local community college and then on to Sonoma State and UC Berkeley.  She has also helped two nephews in Scotland go to school and a niece in Australia.

Sylvia is an angel, disguised in the body of a human.  She is selfless, beyond kind, and a genuinely caring person (like many quilters I know.)  I've spent a few days in the hospital over the last few weeks and I know I would love to have Sylvia taking care of me!  She will instantly make you feel better with her dazzling smile, her soft touch, and her rich accent. 

I am thankful for knowing Sylvia.

As always,


Friday, November 19, 2010

Butter Rolls

Good Morning Everyone,

Rerun time today. This is a post from last November that is worth re-posting for those of you new to my blog. I'm asked for this recipe everytime I make these butter rolls which have become a Wilder Family favorite!  Make up a batch this too will be adding this to your favorites.  Enjoy! --Lynn

Today is another page from the Wilder Family Cookbook. This is probably the most requested recipe in the entire book. I have been known to "hide" a few just so we have one or two to savor the day after I've made them. Now you have to plan ahead with this recipe. Make the dough the night before the event and finish the process in the morning.

This dough is easy to work with and you will love the texture. Watch them carefully in the oven so they stay golden. Here I go with the butter again!

Here's the recipe:

  • Homemade Butter Rolls

    2 (1/4 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
    1 cup sugar, divided
    2 cups warm water (100° to 110°)
    1 cup butter or margarine, melted
    6 large eggs, lightly beaten
    1 ½ teaspoons salt
    8 ½ to 9 ½ cups all-purpose flour

    - Stir together yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 cups warm water in a 4-cup glass measuring cup; let mixture stand 5 minutes.
    - Stir together yeast mixture, remaining sugar, and butter in a large bowl. Stir in eggs and salt. Gradually stir in enough flour to make a soft dough. Cover and chill 8 hours.
    - Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Turn each portion out onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a 12-inch circle.
    - Cut each circle into 12 wedges. Roll up each wedge, starting at wide end; place on greased baking sheets. (Rolls may be frozen at this point.)
    - Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
    - Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until golden. Yield 4 dozen.

Note: If unbaked rolls are frozen, place frozen rolls on ungreased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Bake as directed.
(They aren't quite as good if you do this step.....we prefer them if they haven't been frozen first.)

Source: Southern Living 2001 Annual Recipes – page 21

I have made these without a mixer.....but it's so much easier if you have a mixer with a dough hook to work in the 9 cups of flour.

This is what the dough looks like before you tuck it in the fridge for the night.

This is what you will see in the morning. (I'm glad I don't double in size every night! )

Divide the dough into (4) equal sections. Pat the first section of dough into a small circle then roll into a 12" circle. I always do this on my Hoosier. The dough never sticks and I feel like a part of history when I'm using this old enamel work surface. (I'm not old enough to be considered an historic landmark just yet....but my sister is!)

Cut the circle into (12) wedges and start rolling at the widest part of the wedge.

Lightly grease a baking sheet and put the rolls in a warm spot to rise for about 2 hours.

Voila! Here are your rolls just ready to hop into the oven.

My grandson Austin, holds the record by eating SIX of the rolls at one meal. I now send him home with his own leftover bag.

Have a glorious day everyone.

As always,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chelsea Cottage Class......Part II

Hello Everyone,

I had the best day with seven very creative, hard-working, comical and motivated women that came together to work on their Chelsea Cottage quilts.

When I assigned them "homework" at the class two weeks ago, I didn't actually expect them to do it.....but they did! I was delighted at the results.

I put a little Smilebox presentation together. Click on the PLAY button and enjoy. There is music, so turn your speakers up. As you are watching, you can put your mouse over a picture, click, and it will enlarge. Click again and it will go back to the normal size. When you are finished watching, hit your escape key to get out of the program.

Thanks go to all of the ladies for making the class so much fun....and each of you got an "A+". We had such a good time, that we are planning a Chelsea Cottage Tea Party in March to share the finished quilts with one another.  I think I'm going to wear a hat to our tea party! 

As always,


Click to play this Smilebox photo album
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Party in the Garden Month #7

Hello Everyone,

Those of you enrolled in the Party in the Garden BOM will be receiving all of the fabric to complete the birdhouse this week.  This is my favorite block of the quilt.  (I think I say that every month.)  But it really is my favorite block.

It was Joe's idea to add the strip of pink under the scallop on the left.....and it it perfect.  I always run ideas by him, and occasionally he will surprise me with his own quilting thoughts and additions to my current projects.

I finally finished machine quilting Summer's Blush and got it off of the quilting machine.  The poor quilt had been rolled up for over a week.  I try to keep quilts on the machine for a minimal amount of time so they won't wrinkle as much.  After completing all of the echo quilting around the hexagon flowers, I finally feel ready to add some McTavishing  to my quilting repertoire.  I have all of the Karen McTavish books, and DVD' I just need the confidence.  I guess I will have to design a quilt leaving me lots of room to McTavish.....or maybe I'll call mine McWilder.

I went through so much thread!  I lost track of the amount of times I filled up bobbins....three at a time.  I'll try to get the binding on this week while watching my favorite shows in the evening.  I hardly ever work on binding in the daylight hours.  Luckily, it is supposed to get cold later on this week, so I'll be nice and toasty with the big, comfy quilt across my lap while I stitch.  I'm thinking about making another Summer's Blush, (groan, groan) in Civil War fabrics.  I think it would be beautiful and I've got enough in the stash to pull it off.  First though I need to write up the pattern after decoding my cryptic notes.

I'm off to the shop this morning to work and mail out the BOM packages.  It's always fun to help the customers and see their beautiful projects.  It is so inspiring! 

As always,


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Make Your Circle Stronger

Hello Everyone,

The last couple of weeks have tested the strength of our family.....and our family came through with flying colors.  There have been some significant health issues with family members requiring lots of time spent in hospital waiting rooms and cancer clinics.  We've spent days waiting for test results that seemed like an eternity.  The reports sometimes came back with good news that we celebrated together, and some news that was not so good, but we had each other for support.

This is the one and only cross stitch that I've finished.  I made it for my parents when my father was very ill.  It now hangs in our home and I read it often this week.

My son gave this to me a few years ago.....I love it and it is so true.

Thanksgiving is going to be very special for us this year.  We will truly be giving "thanks" for making it through a particularly rough time, supported and surrounded by those we love.

I hope that all of you have a "strong circle" be it friends or family.  It's what life is all about. 

As always,


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Road Trip Time

Hello Everyone,

Tuesday morning Joe, Zinny and I set off on a road trip to Quilters' Paradise in Clovis, California. It's almost a three hour drive through all of the agricultural lands of the great Central Valley of California, the breadbasket of the United States. 
This shop lives up to the name!  I was in Paradise in this quilt shop.  There are beautiful displays wherever you look.  Lace, rick-rack and buttons are also on display throughout the whole shop.
The purpose of the trip was to drop off my Party in the Garden quilt and patterns.  The quilt is going to love being in this shop!  It has been making the rounds to quilt shows and will now stay put for a few months here at Quilters' Paradise.

The shop is located in Olde Town Clovis.  It is full of antique stores, restaurants and cute little alcoves of shops to wander through.  I can't wait to go back and wander around some more.

Landscape quilts of Yosemite.

Sweet miniature quilts too.

The shop and the town are definitely worth a road trip.  It is so much fun to find a new quilt shop that you really like. If you can't make a road trip, check out their website.

As always,


Monday, November 8, 2010

Dancing With The Stars

Good Morning Everyone,

I've been doing some serious bonding with my quilting machine, Arthur. I named the machine Arthur (as in Arthur Murray) because we dance across the quilts together.  I'm a bit clumsy, he is smooth as silk and never steps on my toes.  As of last night, I'm only about a third of the way finished.....after six hours of dancing!  One would think this would be an excellent weight loss program!

I've got many more hours to go on Summer's Blush.  I have another busy week ahead, so I will just have short periods of time when I can get to my quilting room and spend time with Arthur.  I can see in this picture that I caught a 'stitch in the flange'......sounds like a medical term doesn't it?  Maybe we were dancing a bit too fast. 
Once I set my quilting plan into action, there's no stopping me.  It's just the getting started part that is my hangup.  I worry about the end result way too much instead of trusting my instincts and just GO FOR IT! 

Arthur and I will be taking a break today.  I'll be down at the shop helping customers select fabrics for their beautiful quilts.  My advise for you today is....... trust your instincts and go for it!

Have a wonderful day and week.

As always,