our springtime

We've been busy doing things like sneaking over to the neighbors to cut lilacs.

There have been treats for parties.

We've been walking under the blooms.

I found the most amazing button card.

Someone got to make a wish.

I lost my will power in the Easter clearance aisle.

Today I'm working on basting  a lap quilt that I'm hoping to have done by the end of the week.

and now it's heading off to be long armed

This quilt is for my brother and his fiance.  He is a serious history buff and she lived in Great Britain for many years.  They asked for a quilt last year and when I suggested something with flags, they loved the idea.  Then he told me it needed to be king size.  Then I panicked, then I made them this kickin' quilt top. This quilt by Amy Smart became my jumping off point.

Both the Union and American flags are pieced according to their official sizes.

Three of the American flags have 13 stars that have been hand appliqued.

The flags were my starting point and from there I looked to history for my next step.  I loved the idea of a central motif surrounded by border upon border as seen in quilts from the late 1700's to early 1800's.  Unfortunately by the time I came up with this plan, my panel of flags was too wide to have all that extra border on the sides.

Things like this tend to happen when you plan as you sew.

So I went with bands at the top and bottom.  This book cover gave me the idea to make rows of off kilter flying geese.

I kept the feel of the historic quilts by adding corner blocks to the borders.

A red star in each corner that was closest to the flags and then Union shields on the corners of the flying geese rows.

Here's the completed quilt top.

Did I mention it's huge!  We had to bring it outside for a picture and call in our neighbor for an assist.

I've sent it off to my aunt to long arm and I can't wait to see it when it's done.

balls of cheesy goodness

That's what lulu calls them. When I tell her I'm making them she jumps around shouting for joy. Fingers crossed she is always that easy to please.

fried bocconcini

1 container of bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls)

1/2 cup flour in shallow dish

3 eggs beaten in separate dish

2 cups panko crumbs in another shallow dish


1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon oregano

oil for frying (I use peanut or canola depending on what I find in my pantry)

Get your oil heating. I use my stock pot to fry these so there's less splattering. Just pour a couple of inches of oil in the pan, along with a deep-fat thermometer and while the oil is heating you can prep the cheese.

Mix the salt, thyme, and oregano into the panko and set aside.

Drain the cheese and place on plate lined with paper towels and roll the bocconcini around to dry them off.

Dredge the cheese in the flour.

Then dip in the egg mixture to coat and roll in panko crumbs. I usually leave mine in the panko dish until I'm ready to fry.

When your oil is a 360 degrees you can start frying. I find cooking them in two batches works best. It takes about 45 seconds to 1 minute for each batch. The are best eaten right away, which really isn't a problem. I like mine with a warm marinara, but lulu loves to eat them with ketchup. I'm considering enrolling her in a 12 step program for her ketchup addiction.

so this is it

the day that autism broke me broke me down to my knees

broke me to the point I was weeping on friend's shoulder right in the middle of the hallway of my children's school

broke me

for just a moment

Let me tell you the truth

I'm worn.

Autism sucks

Being a constant advocate takes its toll

What if there's something I missed?  What if that one little thing I didn't do could have been the one thing that meant this wouldn't have happened?

The thing about autism is that it seems I can't fix it

I've spent so many years thinking I could figure out the code.  Thinking that somewhere out there was the answer and I would find it.  Try this or that or that...maybe this...or that...

there's no single answer

what works one day, doesn't another

Ultimately it comes down to me to help this boy navigate his way through our world...


Here we are, all these years later

Everything I've tried and here we are

I have learned that if you cry too much in a 24 hour period, your eyelids will swell to the point it will hurt to blink.

So here I am at a low point trying to find the bit of hope that will give me the strength to stand up and carry on like everything is just fine.

As I was told the other day, my hands are full.

damn straight

But, I will pick up and move on.  You see, that's what we all do.  We carry on.  We have to.

There's some talk out there about reality and blogs and I say this...

write what you want, it's your show.

Know that no person is perfect.  No person's life is solely sunshine and daisies, but now and then we all get sunny day to pick a bouquet.

If you go around comparing your life to what you see on blogs you might just drive yourself mad.

Wouldn't it be more fun to bake yourself a cake?

As for me, I think some people misinterpret what I do and why I do it.  Yes, I love food baked from scratch instead of some cake baked who knows where...Yes, I like to nap under handmade quilts instead of some store bought poly-blend blanket...Yes, I like to sit at home and knit on a Friday night.

Do you know why?

Because, nine times out of ten, things like flour, eggs, butter, fabric, thread, and yarn all do what I ask them to do.

If they don't, I can fix it.

Autism on the other hand, I cannot.
pasta with cream sauce and whatever

Last Friday, that thing happened when you realize you have 30 minutes to get dinner on the table for your family and you have no plan...at all...zero...zilch. Somehow between the pantry and the fridge I was able to together and on the table in time.

When my herbs are growing, I'm going to try this with dill instead of the parsley.  I'm thinking this would also be great with cooked chicken in place of the salmon, cubed pieces of butternut squash in place of the peas, and crumbled sage for the herb.

pasta with cream sauce and whatever

10 ounces of pasta (I used farfalle)

2 Tablespoons and 5 Tablespoons of butter divided

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup heavy cream

1 can cooked salmon

1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (divided into half)



Cook the pasta in salted water for 10 - 12 minutes.  Drain.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, melt 2 Tablespoons butter, stir in frozen peas and cook until tender.  (5 minutes or so)

Add remaining butter and cream and stir occasionally.  When the mixture is warm, add salmon and one half cup of the parmesan.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Let the sauce simmer for a couple of minutes and then add drained pasta.

Stir in remaining cheese and herbs.

Set the table it's time to eat.

the neglectful blogger


I've been sewing, honest, I have.  I've been sewing so much that a lot of other things have been thrown by the wayside.  Important things like taking pictures of projects and writing posts and ironing.

I'm doing surprisingly well at keeping up with my 365.


These are a couple of photos from February.

I'm also following along with Faith's Solstice series over at Fresh Lemons Quilts.

Here's what I have so far...

I'm loving how they are coming together.


a log cabin for Christmas

Here's my dad's Christmas present. All of the prints, except for the red center prints are from Windham Fabrics The Brick House line.  The solid black is also from Windham, but it's from the Gee's Bend line.  The red and black print that is at the heart of some of the blocks is something special my mom picked up at the Museum of the Fur Trade's shop.  It's a reproduction of one of the five fabrics that William Clark took with him as presents for the Indian tribes he met on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

I love this quilt - the color, pattern, prints, the wool quilting, the whole thing, love love love!

I chain pieced the log cabin blocks.

Chain piecing sped up the process since there were so many blocks.  The pattern is Straight Furrows, from the book, The Classic American Quilt Collection - Log Cabin.  Yes, the price on that link was right!  I paid a dollar plus shipping for my copy of the book.

Here's the back of the quilt.  It's pieced with large sections of the fabrics that I used on the front.

I quilted it in a diagonal pattern through the heart of each block.  I used aurifil 12 wt wool in ivory.  It wasn't trouble free because the thread split on me a few times, but I found if I lengthened the stitches, used a 90/14 quilting needle, and kept a steady speed I had much better luck.

I love the fuzzy look of the wool thread in this quilt.

It adds a sort of homespun feel to the project.

I know some people would probably want to avoid that, but I say enjoy what you are making.  I like fabric - modern, reproduction, print, solid, whatever - I love all of it!


the forgotten cowl

I stitched this up in July, but just took a picture of it yesterday.  It's malabrigo rasta yarn in natural.  Personally, I blame the weather for  my forgetfullness.  It's a thick cowl and the weather just hasn't been cold enough around here for something this cozy.

It's just knit in the round on with big needles.  After all this time, I don't remember what size needles I used.  I think maybe 15, I do remember I used the whole skein.

I'm sure it will feel more like winter soon enough, and when it does, I'll be ready with this new cowl.

knittingmybricolecowl, ivory, yarn
teacher gifts and a tunic and a quilt

It's red bag season, again.

I also finished this tunic over Thanksgiving break.  It's the schoolhouse tunic pattern.

Mine is made out of a fine wale corduroy.  I did the shoulders with a french seam to give it a more finished look and did some extra top stitching along the waist.

I also finished this honeycomb quilt a couple of weeks ago.  It was so long ago that you can see all the fold lines.

here's the back

The kids start their winter break today.  We are all getting ready for a fun weekend.  This picture was taken this past Tuesday, this lack of snow is very un-Iowa.

poinsettia pillow

Every year my bunco group does one of those gift exchanges where you draw numbers and take turns opening packages.  It's the kind of thing that starts out civil but ends with stealing and fits of laughter.

I made this pillow for the swap.

It's made with a khaki cotton that has a linen look that's on a 12 inch pillow form.  The poinsettia petals are cut out of ivory felt and stitched down with linen floss.  I used buttonhole twist thread to stitch the jingle bells.

Today I'm doing my best to finish up some presents and getting started on this years teacher gifts - hope the oven is ready.


put a bow on it

We have our Christmas tree, but we haven't put it up yet.  In the meantime, I've been decorating around the house. I usually hang ornaments from  all the windows, but this year I wanted to do something different.

This year every thing gets a bow -






even plates, sconces, and frames...

and when the ribbon is gone, put a garland on it...


The calendar is ready. The kids were up bright and early and ready to put on the first decoration.  Seriously, cj was up at 5 am.  He came downstairs dressed for the day, asking about getting the house ready for Christmas.  They both love peeking at the days ahead to see what ornament is next.  All the while lulu reminding cj that they have to wait for each day before the ornament goes on the tree.

Their tree will be filled before we know it.

kitchy kitchen curtains

I went on a little fabric expedition with Jeni and Megan last month to Olive Juice.  I grabbed this Melody Miller fabric within seconds of walking in the door. The little stars have that 50's feel that I adore and the little white dishes reminded me of my favorite fire king refrigerator dishes.  I didn't really know what I would do with it, but while standing at the cutting table I knew I came up with a plan for kitchen curtains so I could see the fabric every day.

I love the ease of curtain clips, but don't like the  look of the clips so I stitched a band to the back of the header so the clips aren't as visible.

I also slipped some header tape in the top so the top holds it's shape.

On these curtains the header tape was just stitched and the bottom.  It should have been tucked into the sides, but I forgot.  oops...don't tell my mom.

sewingmybricolecurtain, kitchen
fried green tomatoes

Last Saturday was our last CSA pick up for the season. We added to our stock pile of potatoes, onions, and butternut squash, along with some greens and a bunch of green tomatoes.

Normally I would have let these sit and ripen, but one night while I was in Salt Lake, Katherine ordered fried green tomatoes for our table.  I loved them so much, I knew what I would have to make with these.

I served ours with a buttermilk dip, but a fresh made marinara would be great too.

fried green tomatoes

5 small green tomatoes

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup panko

1 teaspoon paprika

salt and pepper

oil for frying

Cut stem out of tomatoes and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices, set aside.

In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and milk, set aside.

In another shallow dish, mix flour, cornmeal, panko, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Dredge the tomato slices in the flour mixture, then the milk, then again in the flour mixture.  Place the slices in a single layer on a plate until you are ready to fry them.

Pour 1/4" to 1/2" of oil into frying pan and heat to 370 degrees and add tomatoes in a single layer.  You will probably have to cook them in two batches.  Cook for 2 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes.  Remove from pan to drain on paper towel lined platter for a couple of minutes then serve.

buttermilk dipping sauce

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup sour cream

juice of 1/2 lime (and some zest if you like)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon honey

2 Tablespoons chopped parsley

1 Tablespoon chopped chives


Just whisk all of these together and pour into a serving dish.  If you would like it to be thicker, use less buttermilk and more sour cream.