Friday, July 29, 2022


I know you have hollyhocks in your garden, Nancy. I have just successfully moved mine to the front of my house which makes the front look So Much Better. My garden plans move at a glacial pace, and this has been a long time coming.

Monday, July 4, 2022

J. D. Salinger's popcorn salt recipe

I was listening to NPR one day several months ago and they were talking about J. D. Salinger and at the end of the bit they gave his popcorn salt recipe. Since I was driving I couldn't write it down but later I looked it up and listened to my very first podcast.  It was on Christopher Kimball's  Milk Street.  

If I was a true blogger I would write all sorts of lovely prose about it and post a fancy picture.  But I am not so here is the recipe.  

 1/4 Cup Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, 

4 t. garlic powder,  

2 t. onion powder, 

2 t. Curry (I used Penzy's NOW Curry),  

2 t. paprika,  

2 t. marjoram,  

2 t. dill.

The directions were to grind it with a mortar and pestle but I don't think I remembered that.

It is very good on popcorn.  

However I have recently been using it on all sorts of things.  Eggs, Polenta, mashed potatoes.  It is a good blend. I wonder what I will use it on next!

Now I want some popcorn!


Sunday, March 20, 2022

Embroidery on my new (to me) Willcox and Gibbs handcrank.

My first piece sewn with the Willcox and Gibbs.
I did it!

I ordered an antique sewing machine on the internet.  I have heard all the horror stories but Wolfegang's Collectibles has a sterling reputation and I felt safe.

I have been wanting a Willcox and Gibbs handcrank chain stitch machine for a while. When I saw Michael had a selection I was first in line.  

This is what the box looked like when I picked it up at the post office.

The box with the machine in it.

And this is what it looked like after I opened it.

Really?  There is a sewing machine in there?

I started removing the grey stuff. 
It is fairly stiff foam.  Lots and lots of foam.

Eventually I could access the box the machine was in. It was wrapped tightly with cling wrap.
Cling wrapped box. 
I was excited to open it.  When I did it found....

This was what was in it.  I had to remove one piece to even see the machine.  
Anybody need some foam?

Eventually, with much careful foam removal, I uncovered this little beauty.
         More cling wrap!

And then I got it out.  It was in there very tight!  I put the spool holder and the crank on. They had been removed (and cling wrapped) for safe shipping.  Then I admired it greatly.
So pretty!

I had to clean and polish it up and oil it a lot and play with it a little.  It is working perfectly, the tension is correct and I am thrilled to have it.

So, anyone want some foam?


The Lunch Box mayonnaise recipe

The Lunch Box book

Mary makes her own mayonnaise.  She has been coaching me on making it also.  I've made it once.

I wanted to share this recipe I found in a 1946 cookbook.  I think I will try this recipe next time. There isn't a lot of variation in the recipes but I tend to get "creative" and need to dial it back a little. 

This is the cover page of the book.   Maybe I should read more of it.  I just found the mayo recipe when the book opened to that page as I was moving it.

1946.  Only 76 years old.

And here is the recipe.

I'll probably lower the sodium.

I will continue to use Mary's method with an immersion blender and a narrow glass jar.  It was super easy and fast.  Lemon juice is a must.


Thursday, February 17, 2022

Playing with a miniature block

The finished 5" block

A friend challenged several of us with a tiny little block that she found somewhere online. I don't know where so can't credit the quilter.

The Challenge

I figured the small blocks finished at an inch.  Since I was bored with the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt I was supposed to be sewing it looked like a fun challenge.  I already had most of the quarter square units waiting for me to do something with them, so I dug them out.

The tiny quarter square units cut down to 1.25 inches.

I didn't want to work with block as small as one half inch finished so I decided to make them one quarter inch larger. I had to trim the already made quarter square triangles down to 1.25 inches. That was no problem.  (Some were 1.5" and some were 1.75".)  

They were all made with beautiful hand dyed Cherrywood fabric that another friend had passed on to me when she finished cutting for a quilt.

pinwheel layout

As I worked on the layout  I decided to make as many pinwheels as I could without sewing any more color combo's.  (That was three pinwheels.)

sewing on my Singer 99K handcrank.

So I sewed them together and thought they were beautiful 
My initial 16 patch.

However it seemed very  unfinished and small.  It was 3.5 inches.  

It's too small.

I had more of the Cherrywood fabrics so I chose four of the colors and did a square in a square block design.  That made it finish at 5".  That was much better.

Looking for backing and binding

I was happy with this size and searched for a fabric for backing.  I think I found the perfect fabric and got to work making a sandwich and quilting the tiny thing.  

I drew the quilt design on the top with Clover's water erasable blue marker.  That was a mistake.  When I was done quilting I spritzed the piece with water to make the lines go away and discovered I used too much water.  Some of the fabric dye bled into the yellow fabric.

I was not a happy camper.

I put on the binding anyway and tried to decide what to do.

After brooding over it for a day I decided that I might be able to hide the worst of the bleeding with an embroidery "design element."  Thus you have the little floral accents at the start of the quilted flower.

It was fun to make this little block. However I do not need to make any more right now.  I am back to working on the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt.



Saturday, January 29, 2022

Too Cold for TOGA

This is the second virtual Too Cold for TOGA that TreadleOn has hosted. It was a two day event with only one class on Friday evening for machine maintenance.  That was taught by our brave leader Mea Clift.  

There were two classes on Saturday January 29. I taught the color class and Helen Howes of Helen Howes Textiles taught an amazing class on quilted postcards.  She taught this class using her darling pattern called Counter-Change Cats.  It is available as an e-pattern from her at

Here are my cats.  One quilted and one waiting to be quilted. Then I trim them to size, back them and put the postcard info on the back.  I loved the class.  Of course I love cats so it was a given.  

My color class was fun too.  I had the devil of a time deciding how to teach it until Dawn Beckwell herded me into deciding that the best would be actually working through how I choose colors for a quilt. We used a picture of a monarch butterfly on Zinnias that I had taken in my garden as the inspiration. 

I had a huge pile of fabrics that were possibilities and as a group we worked through them and came up with a lovely set of fabric.  I am tempted to actually use the fabrics to make something.  

Don't you think we did a great job?



Thursday, January 13, 2022

Where do we put the snow?

My sister-in-law lives in a high rise in Chicago a block off of Lake Michigan. We were Zooming the other night and I was talking about the snow blower I had bought my husband. I told her it was supposed to be able to blow the snow 40 feet.

This blew her city mind. "Where" she wanted to know "do you put all that snow?"

I tried to explain to her about the space on a farm in North Dakota. She didn't seem to be able to comprehend the fact that we didn't have a house 15 feet from either side of our farmhouse. 
So these pictures are for Deb. I walked around the house and took pictures through the windows.
Looking out the second floor window to the south.
                          The neighbor who rents the bins plowed that "road" in our 
                                        grass so he could get into the bins.
                   You can see where he piled up the snow on the left side of the picture.
Looking out of the front porch to the southwest.  
Looking out the upstairs spare bedroom window to the east.
                      That bump in the center of the far tree line is a mile away.
                                        That is Clifford's sky line!  
Looking out our North window from the second floor. 
The fenced in garden is 40' X 40' and the woods is 70 feet away.
Looking out the kitchen window to the South East.
Looking out the front porch door to the South West.
Looking out the second floor window to the south.  The pillow is for the cats.  They like to snooze in the sun, when there is sun.  

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

TreadleOn HOUSES block exchange quilt

The finished quilt top
I had a lot of fun with this quilt.  First I had to make 10 house blocks to mail off to the captain of the exchange.  

My 10 exchange houses and some scrappy squares.

Then I had to wait for 10 different blocks to be mailed to me.  

When they came I decided that 10 blocks was a difficult number to work with and that even if I went up to 12 it would still be a tiny little quilt.  I decided I would need 15 house blocks.  Then I decided that I would add some trees to make it more interesting. And THEN I decided I would put some sashing between the houses to make the width a good size.  Since there was no color cohesiveness in the quilt the sashing had to be black and white.  Freddy Moran says so!

I really wanted to have some of the blocks that I had mailed away in my quilt so I decided to do my best to match them for the finished design. 

I liked the cat house I sent so this is the replacement

I went looking for a dog to put in the doghouse I wanted to make.  Instead I found this panel.  It was almost perfect as is.  I had to add some glow in the dark sky to make it the right size.
My dog house block 

I had the beach house all finished when I found the perfect sand fabric.  I HAD to rip out the bad sand and put it in.  Of course I don't have a separate picture of it corrected.  But you can see it in the finished top.  
The beach house

 I do not have a detail picture of this house.
Another cat in the window. ;-)
This is also the only detail of that tree.  

I wanted to have the snowy house in my quilt also.  I did a little tweeking with a lead pencil to make a track through the snow instead of a sidewalk.  I also did some enhancement of the smoke coming out of the chimney.

The winter house. 

After I made the 5 house blocks I made the trees.  I just measured the width of one row and decided how much space I had left in the three other rows and made the three trees that width.  Everything was 12.5 inches long so I didn't have to worry about deciding on a length.

The trees were created by a method I learned from Helen Howes. 
Her wonderful pattern Twelve Trees shows you the free form way to piece them.
In these trees I decided to have grass or, in one case, leaves at the bottom of the background. Just like the houses I start with an oversized piece of fabric.  It is amazing how much better the blocks look once they are trimmed.  

This tree had added leaves.  
I was inspired by my yard full of fall leaves.

This tree was made before I decided to add grass. 
The trunk looks a little unnatural to me.  Oh well.

And finally, about that border.
The little squares on the border were me playing with scraps.  I decided some of my scraps needed to be larger so they got light fabrics at the corners. Then I had the idea to use them in this border because then I wouldn't need to decide on one border fabric.  I just used WOF strips of different colors that I had laying around for the border.  The left one is Kaffe's shot cotton and was 54" long so that helped keep it asymmetrical.

That's it for now,