A Lesson in Making Do

Thursday, January 21, 2010 0 Comments »

Quite a while ago, I discovered a series of videos on YouTube featuring Clara, a lovely 93 year old woman who demonstrates Great Depression "make do" cooking . The videos started as a student film project, one of students being a young relative. Now, in addition to the YouTube episodes, there's a web site/blog, DVD, and even a book. Seeing an article in the Food section of the Philadelphia Inquirer today jogged my memory.

If you have some time & really want a treat, go check out
Great Depression Cooking with Clara on YouTube. Or you can go to Clara's website directly. They are so much more than just lessons in cooking; they are lessons in life. And boy do they resonate in today's times.

Watch an episode, then bookmark the site so you can return when you have another few minutes to spare. Clara's a gem: practical, down-to-earth, and cute as a button. Who knew that a 90-ish whip of a woman could become an internet sensation!

And the recipies are GOOD!! Nothing fancy, but very flavorful and nourishing. So far I've made Pasta with Peas and the Poor Man's Meal. You have to watch how she cuts her potatoes and onions!!

I have a dear friend, Jan, whose mom is a lively 86. I sent her the links because I think her mom might also get a kick out of Clara. And what a great way to draw out a conversation from someone who lived through that era. For those of you out there who are teachers, wouldn't this be a novel way to give your students a personal peek into those times?

I'd love to hear from anyone who watches some of the episodes or tries a recipe!

Instant Spring!

Saturday, January 16, 2010 2 Comments »

What a great Chritmas gift! A kit containing a pot, some dirt and a few bulbs. It's the dead of winter, but I've got spring time on my kitchen counter! How cool is that!

Friday Nite Project

Saturday, January 16, 2010 4 Comments »
Well, the best laid plans.....

I had planned to work on my grand daughter's flying geese quilt, but somehow the inspiration just wasn't there. What was there was what my friend Nancy calls "the crud". Scratchy throat, stuffy head, achiness and a heavy feeling in my chest. Time for the Mucinex and a project that needed a little less attention to detail than matching geesey seams. Something my foggy brain could do & not screw up.

So I finished a quilted tote bag that I'd started a while ago. It's a really big bag, with six pockets on the outside, six on the inside, made with 6 fat quarters and an extra half yard for lining. Although I was quite taken with the fabric when I got it, I am less so now -- I'm just not all that much about brown this month. It's a nice bag. however, and turned out well. At least it's not sitting in the corner anymore yelling "finish me, finish me".

I also finished the fleece blankets for my son-in-law's dad and brother. They will be thrilled when I pull them out at dinner on Sunday. His mom is planning a huge Mexican food feast, so these should be a real hit.

Even though the evening wasn't quite what I had planned, it was still a great night. I lit my lovely scented candle, hubby brought me tea, I watched totally stupid shows on TV (Platinum Weddings, Bridezillas and Swamp Loggers), and didn't do a darn thing but sew. Didn't put a load of wash in the dryer, didn't put the dishes in the dishwasher, didn't vacuum up the threads, and (best of all) did not feel guilty!

And the most awesome thing was that all over the universe, a lot of my quilty sisters were doing exactly the same thing! Thanks, Heidi, for getting this rolling!


Are you ready for the Sew-In?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 15 Comments »
A few days ago, I blogged about the Friday Night Sew-in. I'm ready. If you haven't seen the info yet, take a detour to Heidi's blog, then go through my check list.

Snuggly jammies and slippers?


Plenty of snacks for energy and beverages to keep you hydrated?


The remote control; plenty of entertaining DVDs; some lotion to sooth your busy hands; and tissues for those frustrating moments when you need to unsew the same darned seam for the third time?
Oh, and a project? How could I forget a project!


A scented candle to help set the mood, and last (but definitely not least) your trusty feline Quality Control Manager.

Check and double check!

Well, it sure looks like I'm all set. Are you?



Sunday, January 10, 2010 2 Comments »

Polar fleece has got to be one of the greatest inventions of our time. For me, it’s right up there with the microwave, Pez dispensers and glue sticks.

This Christmas was the Festival of Fleece here on planet Pat. Niece and nephews (along with SOs), son, daughter, and grandkids all received fleece blankets to help them through the cold East Coast winter.

Thanks to a 50% off coupon and a promotional code from Joann’s Fabrics, I was able to score an entire bolt of NFL licensed Eagles Fleece for the Philly side of the family. Step-nephews were raised in New York, so they got NY Jets blankets. I even forced myself to make a NY Giants blanket for my nephew’s squeeze. She can’t help the fact that she was raised in a dysfunctional football family, rooting for the Giants. (just kidding, Jamie!) She was so tickled by it that she wore it draped around shoulders the entire day.

Sue and her hubby Mike got blankets with a golf theme to match their rec room d├ęcor and their love of the game. Santa brought son Andy & little Ian matching Eagles blankets. I discovered some double-sided Minky fleece in my stash that was once earmarked for bathrobes. Daughter Kate got a Minky blanky in blue; matching mommy/daughter pink Minkys went to DIL Jamie and little Belle. Belle opened hers up & shouted, “Look Ian, it’s a SOFTIE!!”

Son-in-law Paul’s dad was born in Mexico. His dad’s been here in the States since college, having married his American college sweetheart, but the family's Mexican heritage is very important. I found some great navy fleece on eBay with a Mexican flag motif, so Paul now has a custom Mexiblanket. I just ordered more of the same to make ones for his dad and his brother. And I’m on the prowl for some Phillies fleece for hubby and me.

The blankets were so easy to make. All I did was cut the fleece into blanket-length segments of 1.75 yards each, with a little extra length for the very tall guys in the family. I trimmed off the selvedges using a yard stick & a rotary cutter. I learned the hard way that fleece will chew up your blade, so I dedicated just one of my cutters for this purpose. I rounded the corners of the fabric free-hand using the cutter as well.

Fleece does not ravel, so I guess I could have left the edges alone, but there’s something about a raw edge that grates on my nerves; I hemmed them using my Bernina’s walking foot and the multi-stitch wave stitch.

Just one turn under is all that was needed. I know, I could have used the serger, but I just couldn’t get the stitching to look right & decided to let Bernie do her thing.

17 blankets in all, for well under $20 each. Probably a half-hour of time apiece. I even bought a huge chunk of plain fleece on sale, stitched 2 lengths together, and made a blanket for my king-sized bed. It's wide enough and long enough that even my cover-hogging hubby can't uncover me in the middle of the night.  Washes like a dream, provides tremendous warmth without the weight, and is ever so soft. Bad thing is that, combined with the thick flannel sheets, it makes such a cozy nest that I never ever EVER want to get out of bed in the morning.

Like I said, one of the greatest inventions of our time.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Friday, January 08, 2010 3 Comments »
Take about career changes!

The little girl who covets "princess hair" and loves ballet is seized by a sudden urge to become a beautician.

Daughter-in-law Jamie discovered not-quite-four-year-old Miss Annabelle hiding under the diningroom table yesterday afternoon, the Crayola craft scissors on the floor, and the left side of Belle's princess 'do in a heap. As Jamie says, Belle now has something between a punk rock style and a one-sided mullet.

Well, on the bright side, it wasn't right before school pictures or a wedding. And hair does have a way of growing back.....

Off to the hair dressers on Saturday, me thinks.

TGIFN (Thank Goodness It's Friday Night)

Friday, January 08, 2010 4 Comments »

What a great idea! A once a month, Friday night sew-a-thon. And the first one is at the beginning of an extra long weekend --- what could be more fun! Break out those flannel jammies, make yourself some quilty snacks, hunker down with a project and get your quiltness on.

Go to the link here, or click on the button on my sidebar.

In a Pickle

Thursday, January 07, 2010 1 Comment »

It does not take much to make my day, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when I found out that I'd won a yodeling pickle from Pickle Dish, home of Kansas City Star Quilts. Look under "and the winners are......"

And while you are at it, you might want to take a look at my friend Kimberly's suggestions on the Bernina USA blog about how to pack and move your "baby" if you are relocating. Believe me when I tell you that she knows what she's taking about!

Piece and love,