Welcome to American Homestead. I'm happy you have found my blog. Make yourself comfy and see what's been happening around here. I write about the things that interest me ~ creativity, travel, food, nature and a happy life. I'd love to read your comments.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Elle's Kitchen: Cinnamon Toast

I was out of state this week and yesterday I got
home in the afternoon, played with the puppy dog,
headed down to the big city with Trishie for a lecture
 by Frank Abagnale at the IMA and then we met Kate
 for a very late dinner before heading home to an end of
 day telephone call with Mr. Wonderful and off to bed!
This morning I woke up and let's just say, the cupboard
was bare,  nothing for breakfast...  there were a few pieces
of bread so I went old school and made cinnamon toast.

This is a favorite of mine from when I was a child but I
haven't had it in years.  It is so simple and most people 
have everything they need in their kitchen.  

Toast the bread until it is light brown, spread with butter
and let it melt a bit then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon
and gently mix the butter, sugar and cinnamon together.

This is something my Mum often made for me when I was
a child.  When I was old enough to make it myself I 
remember we had a spice jar with the sugar and cinnamon 
already mixed together ~ I don't remember if this was a
commercial product or just something my Mum mixed up 
herself to make it easier for me.  

It was still delicious!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Quiltmaker's 1000 Blocks Book Mystery

A while back someone had told me I was a 
part of this book but I had not heard from
the publisher so I wasn't sure.  A few weeks
ago I visited Lolly's Fabrics in Shipshewanna,
Indiana and noticed they had the book so I
took a peek.

On one of the opening pages showing some
of the blocks, there was one of mine.  It's the
top row, second from the left.  I checked the
index and my name and two page numbers 
were listed but when I visited those pages,  my
blocks were not there.  I thought maybe it is not
the page number but the block number ~ tried
that and nope, that didn't work either.

So when I got home I contacted the publisher 
and found out I am indeed in the book but there
was an editing problem with the page numbers
which will be corrected in future issues.

Here is one of the blocks called Dutch Treat,
it says it is on page 85 but it's really on 87.

This is my other block called Felicity, it says 
it is on page 77 but it is on page 79.

This is the quilt I made using the Dutch Treat
block, I call it Going Dutch.

This is the quilt I made using the Felicity block,
I call it Felicidad.

If your guild or shop would be interested in a class
for either of these quilts, send me an email:


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Elle's Kichen: Orange Raisin Scones

On Sunday nights we are watching the final
season of Downton Abbey.  Last Sunday we 
had a late dinner and made it a tea.  Of course,
when you have tea, you should have scones.


2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 tabl. orange zest
1 tabl. baking powder
1/2 teas. salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup sour cream
1 egg

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Spray a baking
pan with Pam.
Whisk flour, 1/3 cup of the sugar, orange zest,
baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Add butter and cut into the flour mixture
with a pastry blender or 2 knives until
mixture looks like coarse meal.

Add the raisins.

Whisk the sour cream and egg together in 
a small bowl.

Add sour cream/egg mixture to the flour
mixture and toss until mist clumps form.

Pour flour mixture onto a lightly floured
surface and gently knead just until dough
comes together.  Divide in half and form each
half into a 4'' round.  Sprinkle with cinnamon
and the remaining sugar.  Gently press this 
into the dough so it stays in place.  Cut each 
round into 4 parts and transfer to the baking
sheet.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until
golden brown.  Cool and serve.

They were delicious!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

And the Winner Is...

The time has come to pick the winner of the book,
75 Fun Fat-Quarter Quilts!

Drum roll please!
since Christmas is 2 days away
Pah Rum Pum Pum Pum!

And the Winner is:

I will be contacting you by email to get
your mailing address.  Bonnie liked Big Red
and Garden Paths.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the
giveaway and even if you didn't win on the
blog tour I hope you will consider buying 
this book.

Also, I have a lecture and trunk show for this
book, so if your quilt group, guild or shop would 
like to see the quilts in person and see how easily
 I made them, with lots of tips and hints, then 
please contact me at:

All the best,


Sunday, December 20, 2015

A New Book Project!

75 Fun Fat Quarter Quilts

An exciting new book has just been released.
It is called 75 Fun Fat Quarter Quilts and many
designers have written chapters and I am happy
to be one of them.  My chapter is called 
One Simple Block
because all the quilts are made from, yes, you 
guessed it, one simple block, The Contrary Wife.
The quilt shown above is called  Au Contraire.

This quilt started with this sweet fat quarter
bundle because remember, this book is about
quilts that can be made from fat quarters.  And
all the quilts in my chapter are so easy to make
because the blocks are made from 4 half square 
triangles and 5 squares and you sew them into
a simple 9-patch block.  What makes this chapter
so interesting is the eight quilts that I designed 
all look so different by changing the colors or
changing the way the block was placed in the
quilts.  And just to get you a bit more excited,
I'm going to give you a sneak peek at the quilts.

This is Falling Leaves, a great Fall themed quilt
but you could use the same idea with any fat 
quarter bundle that you may love and it would
 look beautiful.

This is Chain Link, a completely different look
using white, red and black fabric.  This color
grouping is the favorite of my daughter Katie
Rose so I have lots of these fabrics in my stash.

This is Big Red, those of you that know me know
I love stars in quilts, they are such a traditional,
iconic look.  But this quilt looks bold and modern
by using bright, bold colors.

This quilt is called Magnificent Valour, I thought 
it would be perfect for those of you that make all
of those wonderful Quilts of Valor.

This is Ups and Downs, as you can see, again, I
have lots of red, black and white in my stash.  I 
think this would also be great if you did each row
in a different color.

This is Garden Paths, it reminded me of a show
garden with lots of flower beds surrounded by
grassy paths that meet with a fountain at the 

This is Candy Garland,  I thought of strings of
wrapped candies when I designed this one.  It 
would also be fun in Christmas fabrics.

And this is just one of many, many chapters from
all sorts of talented designers.  So there you have it, 
just a snippet of the chapter I wrote, after all, we want
 you to run out and buy the book so you can see the full 
designs for yourself.  And remember, this is all from
One Simple Block!

To win a free copy of this book* please leave a comment
on this blog post, let me know which of the quilts in my
chapter is your favorite or you can just say hi!
  Remember to include your email address with your 
comment so I can reach the lucky winner.  On Wednesday, 
December 23 I will select a winner using a random 
number generator. 

*If your address is  in the United States you will receive a 
hard copy of the book.  A winner from outside the US will 
receive a free e-book version.

So many people can get to know about this new book we
are having a blog tour.  Stop by these other sites to see
what some of the other designers have to say about their 
chapters.  There are still a few more days of the tour!

12/14 C&T Publishing blog
12/15 Jera Brandvig
12/16 Melissa Cory
12/17 Kate Colleran
12/18 Sue Pfau
12/19 Tiffany Jenkins
12/20 Ellen Murphy
12/21 Amanda Castor
12/22 Jo Kramer

All the best!   ~ Ellen

Update!  A winner has been chosen for 
this giveaway.  It was Bonnie.
Thanks to everyone who participated!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Happy Birthday American Homestead ~ 5 years!

It is the American Homestead blog's 5th birthday!
It is easy to remember since it is my birthday too.
Five years ago I started this blog to chronicle the
changes I expected to have in my life.  My kids were
growing up and living at school and I was suddenly
faced with reinventing myself.  At the time I had no
idea what would happen in the future but in five
short years so many things have changed.  I started
a business and from that I have written a few books.
In the last five years I have circumnavigated the world
twice and had many other travel adventures as well.
I have watched my kids grow into interesting, smart
adults and I have celebrated 25 years of happy marriage 
with my Mr. Wonderful.  
Stay tuned for new adventures to come.