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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Early Bird Baking

In a few days our Thanksgiving week company
will start arriving and that means we will be having
a few Dutch Breakfasts.  And with those breakfasts
I always like to serve some baked goods.  When we
are in Europe and can run down the block and buy
beautiful pastries, that little jaunt is a pleasure but
when we are home on the prairie, we don't have as
many options for breakfast baked goods.  So, I make
my own.  Now I could get up really early and bake 
and mess up the kitchen and wait for the tea breads
to cool but that's too much stress and work when 
what you really want to do is have fun! Last night,
before, during and after dinner I baked a few tea
breads, I made Irish Tea Bread and Pumpkin Bread.

Remember to ALWAYS grate your nutmeg, it 
is so beautifully fragrant.  It makes the ground
nutmeg you purchase look like dust...

When mixing together your dry ingredients,
use a whisk, your ingredients will be perfectly

In a few hours I had my baking done.  Now since
I will be using them next week and they don't 
have preservatives, they wouldn't last if I left
them as is.

I cut each loaf in half and wrap in paper.

Then into freezer bags and into the freezer.
I pull a few halves the night before I need 
them and by morning they are perfectly
thawed and ready to slice and eat.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Homekeeping: Pre-pressing Table Linens

Thanksgiving week is our biggest time for
entertaining in the entire year.  Our guests 
start arriving on Saturday and we will have 
a house filled with people we love.  We are
all cooks and that means most meals will be 
at home.  I love to set a pretty table and use
the many linens and dishes I collect.  To save
time I iron all my linens ahead of time.  I use
skirt hangers to keep them neat and hang 
them out of the way on a rod in my laundry

I keep a little weekly planning list so
if I'm busy I can send one of the kids 
to gather the correct items to set the 

After all, it's much more fun to spend 
time with your loved ones than to be 
off alone ironing when everyone else
is having fun.  A little planning can
 make entertaining a breeze.

Friday, November 14, 2014

That's ME! ~ In the Land of Wonder, the Land Down Under

What a way to warm up a frosty day in the
American Midwest.  A copy of Australian
Patchwork and Quilting arrived from all the
way on the other side of the world.  AND, it
has an article about me and my book.  Oh,
thank you so much Australia ~ I can't wait 
to finally get to see you next summer.

I apologize if the photos are a bit blurry
but I admit I was a bit teary when I was
taking the pictures.  It was a mix of happy
and sad tears.  You see, the article talks
about how my Mum encouraged my 
interest in embroidery and our trips to the 
Five and Ten store where I would always 
want to buy embroidery floss while other
little girls were buying paper dolls and candy.

So, I sat down and had a big boo hoo.  We miss
our sweet girl so very much... But I know she 
would have loved this article, after all, it's why
she encouraged my interest in crafts all those
years ago.

Thank you so much Ally!  I love it!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I'm A Cover Girl!

Well, okay, not me... but my design is on the cover
of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Magazine - Volume 10.
I just received my advance copy today and I was 
so thrilled!

I can't show the design yet but you can be sure I 
will once the magazine hits the newsstands.

If you look inside you will also find a quilt I made
using the applique block I designed.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Working With Wool/Felt: Changing Colors

I've been working on making new samples
for my wool applique lecture that I give at
Guilds and Quilt Shops.  This is my Grand
Isle pattern made from felted wool.

Here is the same pattern made with wool
felt.  Wool felt is the easiest way to applique.

And here is another one made with wool
felt.  I love that changing the colors can 
make it look like a completely different 

I'm using this one in my studio this week
for Halloween.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

THE HUNT FOR RED (...and yellow, and orange, and maybe some purple) OCTOBER

We are having a glorious Autumn here in 
the American Midwest.  We live in an area
known for beautiful leaf color in the Fall but
this year seems to be particularly beautiful.

I have heard that it is a combination of 
temperature, sunlight and soil temperature
that makes the leaves so vivid.

In this area, people who go out to see the
Autumnal color are called "leaf peepers".

For the past two weeks we have been trying to
figure out when the "peak" of the color will be.

On our days off we would make plans to go
out for a drive to see the foliage but each time
it was very overcast or raining and that doesn't
make for good photos.

I hike in these woods every day and for the 
past week I have forgotten to bring my camera
on my hikes.

Today we were off and the sun was out finally.
It was a perfect Indian Summer day, the temperature
reached 75 F!

But sadly, we missed the peak time, many of 
the leaves are off the trees already.

So no sweeping vistas of trees of many colors...

And with the breezy weather we had today,
the leaves will all be down soon.  They were
falling like snow today.

So enjoy these photos of the color I could find 
on my hike today.

The sky was so blue.  As my old friend
Lucie Anne from England used to say,
"that beautiful American blue sky".

From our American Homestead to wherever you
may call home, I hope you enjoy the show from
Mother Nature.

Enjoy Autumn, Winter is coming soon enough.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wonderful Woolens

The photo above shows the cabinet where I store
my felted wool.  

I have been collecting 100% wool clothing 
throughout the summer.  I cut it up and wash 
and dry it as shown here. This box was filled 
to the brim, I find it is better to save up my 
purchases and felt it all at once, that way I can
separate into different colors and still have a
good amount of wool in each wash load.

This is what it looks like after I separate the
wool after felting.  That's two large tables
filled with wool.

And this is what it looks like after trimming,
pressing and rolling.  I like to roll as much as 
I can so there are less folds to press out when
I want to work with it.  I have now started adding
a paper band around the roll to try to keep it in
place.  In the past, I would just store the rolls side
by side but I found they could unroll and get
messy.  I'll see how this goes...

This is a bin of wool with interfacing still 
attached.  If it is fused strongly to the wool,
I keep it on and use this for backings or

Here is a lucky mistake.  The wool on top is
the original.  A stray piece got mixed in with
the red and pink wool in the wash and look at
the wonderful result on the bottom.  I plan to 
add some tweeds to the red washes in the future
since I liked this so much.  This is a good reminder
of how important it is to separate colors, especially

And now I'm ready to get stitchin' in 
front of the fireplace.

So I have a few questions for you:
How do you store your wool?
How to you keep your wool together (like the paper band)?
Do you do anything differently as far as felting?