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.

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?

Friday, October 17, 2014

This Little Piggie

This is Ruppert, he is one of my toys from when I
was a child.  I was using this today as a prop in a 
photo shoot and as I looked at it I realized it 
reminded me another thing from my childhood.
A person I vaguely knew from my early days found me 
on facebook and presented himself as a nice, funny 
person.  Sadly, he turned out to be, well... a pig. 
 What a way to ruin a toy I used to liked.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hanging with the Sorority Sisters

Last weekend was the annual Halloween Donor's
Party at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.  
Things have been pretty quiet around here for  the
past few weeks and I confess an hour before we 
were supposed to leave, I was still in my jammies.
I was thinking maybe I could just stay home, but 
the Sorority Girls were coming down from Purdue
to meet us and I wanted to see them.

I got myself together and we all met up for a
nice meal and a stroll through the museum.
When our kids were young, we always had a 
membership here and visited often.  It is now
so funny to go when the kids are all grown up.

The best part of the evening was hanging out
with these beautiful young ladies.  They are 
all so sweet and nice and smart!  They are 
studying aeronautical engineering, actuarial 
science, business and education.

We toured all the exhibits including the Haunted
House and ended the visit as we always do with a
ride on the carousel.

This is my favorite horse and I always
try to ride her.  She is decorated with 
my European Folk Art colors.

Thanks Purdue Girls for a delightful evening!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Long Goodbye

Watching someone you love battle Parkinson's Disease
and old age in general is a heartbreaking thing.

Two weeks ago our Sweet Mum passed away.

Now we suffer through the pain and sadness from losing
her from our lives but at the same time we are happy she
 is no longer in pain.  Luckily, our kids got to come home
from college so they were able to say their last goodbye
to their beloved Grammie.  In the end, my sister and I 
cared for her like she was the child, we would tell her she
was our brave little girl and cheer for every spoonful of
food that she could eat.  We are happy that we could
make her final wish come true, she ended her days in 
her own little house, in her own little bed and she was
cared for by those that loved her.

So now it is time to try to focus on the happy memories.
In her final days we had a lot of time to reflect on the 
wonderful life she had lived.  Not always an easy life
but a life filled with love and happiness in whatever 
circumstance you were given.

The photo above was taken in 1924.  My Mum is in 
the baby stroller, at this point she was the youngest
with one more child to come. She would always talk
about her childhood in a happy way.  I think the younger
years, through the 20's, things were quite happy.

This photo was in 1936.  After the crash in 1929, the
world changed for so many people in our country and
for many of my Mum's friends.  Luckily, my grandparents
owned their home and my Pop Pop was an engineer for the
Pennsylvania Railroad, he had a job throughout the Great
Depression.  I can remember stories my Mum told of her 
friends at the time, many of their families were not so lucky,
many no longer had homes and had to move from apartment 
to apartment or their Dads left in search of work and other
Dads got sick and had to go live in sanitoriums to battle
TB in the days before antibiotics and vaccines.  Mum said
Nana would always have bread and butter or a sandwich
to give to the men that came knocking on the door looking
for food.  Times were tough but they made the best of it,
since the family could ride the train for free, Nana would
take the kids down to Asbury Park or Point Pleasant and 
they would spend the day at the beach and eat a picnic
meal that they brought from home to save money.

Mum went to St Mary's for grammar school and
then on to public school for high school.  She stayed
friends with many of her school friends for her entire

My Mum and Dad lived across the street from each other
but since my Dad's family had just recently moved there
they didn't know each other.  My Dad and my Uncle Bob
were on the same baseball team down the shore and got
to talking and realized they were from the same town and
then realized they lived just across the street from each 
other.  That is how they met, this photo shows them standing
on that street in front of the house where my Mum was born.

She graduated from high school in 1941 and by the
end of that year the US entered WWII and so many 
of the guys in her class went off to fight, as did my Dad.

Mum and her friends worked after high school and she
was a USO girl during the war.  

I think since this high school class lost so many of
their classmates in the war, those that remained took 
their class reunions very seriously.  Mum always was part
 of the planning committee up until she moved out of 
state.  She kept going to the reunions up until her 60th
which was just a few weeks after 9/11 had happened.
She flew into Newark airport and it was so confusing 
to get around due to all the new security that she said
that she wouldn't do that again.

After the war, Mum and Dad got married in a double
wedding ceremony with one of her sisters.  They had
my brother and sister early on and many years later
I came along.  We lived a happy life in our small town,
our aunts, uncles and cousins lived nearby and we had
a very close family relationship with everyone.  As we
grew older, Mum and Dad traveled more, they took
many trips including Hawaii, and Europe.  In those
days it was a big deal to travel to Europe, my Dad 
always wanted to take my Mum to Italy since he had
been stationed there in the war, so off they went.

After I got married, I moved to the Midwest.  In a
few years I had the Irish twins and my parents were
crazy in love with them.  My Dad wanted to move 
out to live near them but sadly he was ill and that
never got to happen.  Dad died 20 years ago and 
after a while Mum decided she didn't want only a 
few phone calls a week and only getting to see the
kids a few times a year, so she decided to move out 
here.  We had the luck of the Irish and the house 
behind us came up for sale and she bought it.
This picture was taken the first night Grammie was
starting her new life as a Midwesterner at Kate's dance
recital.  Our dreams had come true.

And it only got better from there.  We were able to spend
every holiday together, Mum could go to everything that 
the kids participated in, Saturday nights were always 
sleepover night at Grammie's until they left for college.
Sunday night dinners were at Gram's, Wednesday night
dinners were at our house, the kids were able to run over
and kiss Gram goodbye everyday before getting on the
school bus.  It was heaven...

So that is what we are trying to focus on now, holding
on to the good memories.  But we still miss her terribly...

So we beat on, boats against the current, 

borne back ceaselessly into the past.”