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Monday, September 27, 2010

Back from the Fair

Lynne Hagmeier & me
I had a wonderful time visiting the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio, last weekend!  Country Living magazine hosts this event each year, and boy do they do a wonderful job!  There were thousands of pumpkins, gourds, hay stacks, mums, and corn stalks decorating the fair grounds, which was so festive.  There were approximately 175 vendors who came with their antiques, hand-made goodies, and food in a wide variety venues, but all with a country, folk art and primitive style. 

Julie Hendricksen & Jean Jacobsen

It was a wonderful get-away with my girlfriends, Lynne, Julie and Jean, to shop, eat, and gab.  My roomie, Lynne Hagmeier, will no doubt post more about the Fair on her blog, (http://kansastroublesquilters-lynne.blogspot.com/), so check be sure visit her blog, too!

While shopping the fair, I didn't forget about you, my friendly blog readers.  I brought something special back for an October contest, so check back with me later this week to see just what I bought for the contest, and see a sneak peak of a new quilt that will be in the next Journey of my club, The Prairie Women's Sewing Circle!  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Cook of the Family

I like to eat.  I like to cook.  I like to eat more than I like to cook!  I love to sew.  I love to sew more than I like to cook.  How about you? 

I am the main cook for my family.  My husband Ed has been cooking a lot more, and doing a great job, (he makes the best Double Baked Potatoes ever!) but mainly, the cooking is up to me.  Over the years, I find I want to eat a home cooked meal, but don't want to always be the one to cook it.  Nothing uncommon about that.  When Ed's schedule doesn't allow him to cook, and either my schedule is busy, or more to the point, I'd rather be sewing, I turn to my favorite kitchen appliance, the slow cooker! 

I am on a mission to collect as many yummy slow cooker recipes as I can, so, I am asking you, dear reader, to send me your favorite recipes!  In exchange, I will post my favorites.  I'll also do my best to share your recipes with everyone, too!  Please email your slow cooker recipe to pam@heartspunquilts.com

To start things off, here is a new slow cooker recipe we recently tried and thought it wonderful!

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
2 cup onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups fresh button mushrooms, quartered
2 lbs. round steak, cubed
1 cup sour cream
cooked noodles
crispy bacon bits, optional

Combine soups, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, paprika, onion, garlic & mushrooms in slow cooker.  Add steak.  Cover; cook on Low 8-9 hours.  Stir in sour cream the last 20-30 minutes.  Serve over hot buttered noodles; garnish with bacon.

What's nice about this recipe is that you don't have to cook anything before it goes into the slow cooker!  I love that...even easier!  Serve with a nice side salad.....dinner!  Those crock pot liners make life and clean-up a snap, too!  Gotta love a good slow cooker recipe!  Look for more recipes in future posts.  More time to sew!  Yea!

Tomorrow morning, my girlfriends and I will be traveling to Columbus, OH, to attend the Country Living Fair!  We are so excited.  I have wanted to do this for years, and this will be my first time.  I'll be sure to take some pictures to share with you next week.  Until then, happy sewing and good eats!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Contest Winner & Part Two of the Madison Expo Quilt Show

Many, many thanks to everyone who commented about their favorite quilt shops!  I'm gonna look these shops up when I'm traveling in the area.  Nothing better than a word-of-mouth recommendation about a terrific shop. 

I knew you wouldn't believe it unless you saw it for yourself!!  The random number generator chose number 1!  Congratulations to Cheryl, my very first contest participant!  Cheryl, now you can't say that being the first to comment never allows you to win!  Please email me at pam@heartspunquilts.com  with your name and address, and I will get your pincushion in the mail mucho pronto!  I have more contests planned, so stay tuned.

Now, on to part two of the Madison Quilt Expo, and a photo journal of my favorite booths.

The Quilter's General Store from Rockford, IL (http://www.quiltersgeneralstore.com/ ) has long been a favorite quilt shop, and is one for the four "holy-land" quilt shops {giggle}.

 I do have the good fortune to teach there on occasion, and especially love their summer-time event called Farm Fest. 

Loads of goodies - something for everyone!

Primitive Gatherings Quilt Shop, located in Menasha, WI (http://www.primitivegatherings.us/) seems to be nearly everyone's favorite!

Sometimes, it's so crowded in their booth, you have to wait to get in!

In case you didn't know, they specialize in yummy wool and wool projects like these.
They also produce lovely books full of awesome quilts and wool projects.  Their latest book is called  Summer Gatherings, and is loaded with wonderful projects!  

This little beauty had to go home with me!  It's called Garden Baskets.  I love basket blocks and just couldn't resist! 

Back Door Quilts, (http://www.backdoorquilts.com/) located in Greenwood, IN has long been a favorite booth to visit at festivals.  As you can see they have tons of kits and projects galore.

Plenty of eye candy, too!

Among their many goodies were a set of my little blocks quilts, from my pattern called Wee Whimsies, done up in Christmas colors, ready for holiday giving and decorating.

Here's a cute vignette found in the J.J. Stitches (http://www.jjstitches.com/ ) booth.  I loved those little wool projects in the corner display.  I had to have a few of those, too!  They are quick and portable projects, and I like using them in basket arrangements.

I am a sucker for a red quilt!  Don't you love the red quilt with the stars?  Julie made it up with fabrics from fellow Windham designer, Jeanne Horton's, Simpler Tymes fabrics.

Speaking of Jeanne Horton....here she is surrounded by the wonderful quilts & kits she and the shop girls from her store, The Country Sampler Quilt Shop, located in Spring Green, WI, (http://www.sgcountrysampler.com/ ) have put together.  Quilt kits from the Country Sampler are well known for the fabulous fabric combinations they use in their kits, as well as the awesome kit packaging.  They really are a gift to give yourself.

Well, that concludes my blog-tour of the Madison Quilt Expo.  I hope you enjoyed seeing the show, and if you get a chance, visit the shop websites for further enticement. 

Wishing you all peace while piecing,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Contest, Shop Hopping & Madison Quilt Expo ~ Part One

My girlfriends and I have returned from our trip to the holy-land of quilting, where our favorite shops and the Madison Quilt Expo inspired us, and we are jazzed & ready to sew!  We were able to visit two of the four shops that are my all-time favorites.  (That doesn't mean that there aren't other truly wonderful shops in the area, but these just happen to be my favorites.)  They are, in no particular order: JJ Stitches - Sun Prairie, WI; The Country Sampler - Spring Green, WI; The Quilter's General Store - Rockford, IL, and The Quilt Merchant - Winfield, IL.  Rest assured, in future posts, I will talk about other top notch, inspiring shops in the Mid-West.  But for now, back to our shop hop!

First stop Friday morning was to J.J. Stitches.  JJ's, as we lovingly call it, is owned by Julie Hendricksen.  Many of you may know of Julie because she has published loads of her antique quilts in American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, and designs fabric for Windham.  These are but a few of her many talents!

This is the scene as you enter the shop!  Total eye candy, isn't it?  It's always like this, no matter when you go there.  Julie and the shop girls work hard to change the displays in the store frequently, keeping things fresh and inspiring.

All of the quilts that you see on the walls and those tucked here and there are available as kits!  Don't we all love kits!  Notice the fabric on the floor right in front of the white iron bed?

That's Julie's newest fabric collection for Windham, called Miniatures, a yummy collection of soft pinks, browns, neutrals, and a few fun reds!  It had just arrived a few days before.  That is one of the reasons I went to JJ's...to pick up yardage so that I can use it in a quilt I have designed for my club, The Prairie Women's Sewing Circle.  (I am now designing the projects for Journey 2.) 

You can visit J.J.Stitches for yourself at http://www.jjstitches.com/.  I will have even more J.J. Stitches goodies to share with you when I write a post about the Madison Expo in a few days, so... stay tuned.

The last stop on our shop hop was to The Country Sampler, owned by Jeanne Horton.  Like Julie, many of you may know Jeanne, not only for her fabulous store, and great quilt kits, but also for the lovely vintage fabric she designs for Windham as well.  Jeanne's latest line is called Simpler Tymes, and is a luscious collection of vintage style fabrics that I will be using for the club as well. 

I don't have photos of the inside of the shop because when I was there, Jeanne was at the Expo.  I asked permission to take photos, and the shop girls didn't feel comfortable saying yes unless the boss was there.  I totally respect that!  That's why I always ask.  But let it suffice to say that your trip to the shop will have you filled with inspiration by all you see there, and you'll shop an awesome collection of fabric!  The Country Sampler is well known for their wonderful quilts, all available as kits as well.

 You'll see a photo of Jeanne and the Country Sampler booth in a few days.  In the meantime, Jeanne has lots of pictures of the shop on her website, which is www.sgcountrysampler.com/

After a day of shop hopping, visiting, and laughing, we only had to walk a few feet to to arrive at the door of our overnight nest within the 2nd Story, a retreat space owned and run above The Country Sampler quilt shop!  Dinner, PJ's, and a favorite movie relaxed us for the evening in preparation for our day at the Quilt Expo.
I did think of you, dear friends, while at the Expo, and picked up this cute little needful pincushion made from an old Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.  So, for my very first contest, please leave a comment about your favorite quilt shop(s), giving the location of the city and state as well.  The contest will end on Friday night, and I will post the winner (doing the random number generation thingy) on Saturday.  In the next few days, I will post more about the Madison Quilt Expo, so stay tuned!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Heartfelt Thank You!

First, I want to thank all of you for taking the time to visit my blog!  I was overwhelmed at your response.  I also want to thank those of you who posted a comment of welcome, encouragement, and for your kind words...it means so much to me!

Secondly...I am posting early this morning as I will be on the road, headed to what I loving call the "holy-land of quilting" (a tongue-in-cheek reference, of course!).  Four outstanding quilt shops make up the holy land, in my opinion.  Which shops are they?  Stay tuned.  I won't be able to visit them all this trip, but all will be revealed in my next post.

In a few hours, I will be accompanied by two girlfriends as we travel to the Madison, Wisconsin area to attend the Madison Quilt Expo on Saturday.  Girlfriend trips are wonderful, aren't they?!  I am blessed to have the best girlfriends, and spending time with them helps to rejuvenate my spirit and soul. 

So, check in soon, and I will have photos and details of the goodies I find at the Expo, and at my favorite shops.  Who knows, perhaps I will find a treasure you'll have to have as well!  Hmmmm....is that a good thing, or a bad thing? 

Enjoy your day!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Leap of Faith

Hello, and a warm welcome to you all!

At the urging of many friends, I take this leap of faith into the world of blogging. I have to admit, I have been hesitant to do so. While I thoroughly enjoy reading blogs, I worried some. What exactly would I say to all of you? Would you really be interested in dropping in now and then to find out what’s been going on and keep me company? I’m not afraid of failure… well…not that much anyway. I’d much rather try and fail than to live with the regret of never having tried something at all…so I figured…why not?

As we begin to spend a few minutes together, I thought I’d share some of the things I’d like to talk about with you. At the top of the list, in no particular order (that I’m willing to own up to) are quilting, food, reading, time-saving recipes, holidays, family, girlfriends and creativity.

In anticipation of my launch into the blogosphere, I made you a batch of one of my favorite cookies. They are yummy shortbread cookies, stamped with quilt block designs. So fun and easy to do!  The cookie stamps are made by a company called Rycraft.  They make tons of different cookie stamps for every occasion.  Check out their stamps at cookiestamp.com

Here's the recipe for their delicious Shortbread Cookies:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar thoroughly.  Add Flour gradually, one cup at a time.  Mix this until well blended, but do not over mix.

Roll into 1 1/4 inch balls, and place on a cookie sheet  (I used parchment paper as well).  Stamp with warm cookie stamp.
Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. 

Makes about 60-65 cookies.

Here's a look at a few cookies I made with my fall and Christmas cookie stamps.  Very festive!

Well, I want to thank you for dropping in for a visit.  Feel free to post a comment and tell me what you think!  I look forward to visiting with you often!

Wishing you peace while piecing!