Hello!

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, September 30, 2011

The Doodlebug

A Sketchy Life


I admit it, I'm a doodlebug.
I have doodled my whole life.  I think
I started with crayons and have moved
on t0 pencils, pens,  markers, pastels,
charcoal, rapidographs.  I think I've
even doodled with thread.


I doodle during meetings, when I travel,
at home, when I go out to dinner...
I doodled my way through 18 years
of school.  It is as if my hand has a
mind of it's own, I can't help myself.


I doodle in notebooks, sketchbooks,
on cocktail napkins and old receipts.
Recently, a quilting/facebook friend
introduced me to Zentangle.  I find the
idea very interesting.  As my interest in
surface design grows, I've decided to take
my doodling a bit more seriously and try
to make a little piece of art each day.

Do you Zentangle?



Thursday, September 29, 2011

Flora and Fauna ~ Mexico

Natural Beauty


Everywhere I looked in Mexico
there was natural beauty.
I wonder, do the Mexicans ever
 take it for granted?
They are so lucky to live with
such beauty.













Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chock-A-Block Wednesday

Morning Star Variation


Happy Autumn!


Fabric Requirements:

Fabric A: White:
4 - 3 1/4" squares - Mark
a diagonal line on back.
1 - 6" square

Fabric B: Brown
4 - 2 1/2" squares
4 - 3 1/4" squares

Fabric C: Green
1 - 6" square
4 - 2 1/2" squares

Fabric D: Gold
2 - 6" squares - Mark
a diagonal line on back.

Fabric E: Autumn print
1 - 4 1/2" square


Make Half Square Triangles:

Pair Fabric A and Fabric B 3 1/4" squares
 with right sides together.Sew 1/4" away
from each side of drawn line, cut on drawn
line and press to the dark fabric. 
 Square to 2 1/2".


Make Corner Units:

Layout 2 1/2" units as shown and sew
together in 2 rows.  Press seam in row 1
to the left and seam in row 2 to the right.


Sew rows together and press
final seam open to reduce bulk.
Square to 4 1/2".  Make 4.


Make Center Outer Units:

Make Half Square Triangles by pairing
6" squares with right sides together in
the following combinations:

1 - A/D          1 - C/D

Sew a 1/4" away from each side of drawn
line, cut on drawn line and press seams
to Fabric D. 
Draw a diagonal line on back as shown
above on the A/C units.


Place A/D and C/D units right sides
together along seam line.  Make sure
the seams "lock" together and pin.
Then sew 1/4" away from each side of
drawn line.


Cut on drawn line and press final
seam open to reduce bulk.  See the
instructions below for how to square
a Quarter Square Triangle.


We want to square this unit to 4 1/2".
I placed a small piece of tape on the spot
 of my ruler where the 2 2 1/4" lines intersect.
Place the 2 1/4" mark on the very center of
the unit and make sure the diagonal line on
the ruler runs along the diagonal seam.  Trim
the right and top seams.


Rotate the square so the trimmed corner
is now on the bottom left.  Place your 2 1/4"
mark on the center again but also make sure
the 4 1/2" marks on the right bottom and top
left are at the points of the triangles along
the edge.  Trim right side and top.


Assemble Block:

Layout units as shown and sew together
in 3 rows.  Press seams in rows 1 and 3 to
the outside and seams in row 2 to the inside.


Sew rows together and press final
seams open to reduce bulk.
Square to 12 1/2".







Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Me encanta Mexico!

A New Found Paradise


When I told people I was going to Mexico,
 I got many responses and none of them were good.
I heard things like:
* Never leave the resort.
* Don't go on the beach at night.
* Only take taxis, never buses.
* You'll be kidnapped!
Yes, I actually heard that one and some that were
worse than that but I can't even bring myself to
write about that...


This was my first trip to Mexico.
I've been to far flung corners of the world
 but had never visited my southern neighbors.
  I think I thought it wouldn't be foreign
enough, that it would be just like
Florida.  I'm happy to report - I was wrong.


Mexico is as vibrant and spicy as its salsas.
It has a foreign feel but at the same time
it is very welcoming.  The people have a
lovely sweet nature and let's face it ~ tourists
are treated well because the locals know
that is where the money comes from.


Now I don't want to paint too rosy a
picture here and say all of Mexico is
fine for travel.  No, that is not true at
this time.  I was in the south in Cancun,
and the nearest place that you will start
to find trouble is about 20 hours away.


You may be saying ~ Cancun?  Isn't that
the den of iniquity where girls (and boys)
have gone wild?  Yes, it is, but I must remind
you, those girls and boys are American college
students, who descend upon Cancun for a few
weeks a year and participate in activities
that would make their parents back home cringe.


The Cancun where the locals live, is
very family friendly.  On a Friday night
you don't find the locals in bars and clubs
unless they happen to be working there.
The locals are out with their families,
strolling through the park, eating at food
stands, watching the kids drive little cars
around the square.


I'm happy to say I rode the local buses,
even the ones that are old vans with
benches in the back, I ate at little local
places and from street vendors, I went on
the beach at night and walked down some
very lonely streets.  And I was fine.
You must still be cautious, just as you
would be anywhere but give Cancun a
try ~ I highly recommend it.

And then there's the beauty and nature,
stop by again soon and you'll be able
to see some of the stunning photos of
this beautiful place.



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Civil War Remembered ~ Block 39

Hovering Hawks


We are quilting along with Barbara
Brackman's 2011 Civil War Quilts.


Fabric A: Cream Print
3 - 3 1/4" squares - Mark
a diagonal line on back.

Fabric B: Dark Green
4 - 2 1/2" squares

Fabric C: Red
2 - 2 1/2" squares

Fabric D: Gold
2 - 3 1/4" squares

Fabric E: Green and White
2 - 3 1/4" squares

Fabric F: White and Gold
2 - 3 1/4" squares - Mark
a diagonal line on back.

Fabric G: Gold print
1 - 3 1/4" squares


Make Half Square Triangles:
Pair 3 1/4" squares, right sides together,
in the following combinations:

2 - A/D     2 - E/F     1 - A/G

Sew 1/4" away from each side of drawn
line, cut on drawn line and press to the
darker fabric.  Square to 2 1/2".


Make Unit #1:
Layout units as shown and sew
together in 2 rows.  Press seam
in row 1 to the right and seam
in row 2 to the left.


Sew rows together and
press seam to the top.
 Square to 4 1/2".  Make 2.


Make Unit #2:
Layout units as shown and sew together
in 2 rows.  Press seam in row 1 to the left
and seam in row 2 to the right.


Sew rows together and
press seam to the bottom.
Square to 4 1/2".  Make 2.


Assemble Block:
Layout units as shown and sew
together in 2 rows.  Press seam
in row 1 to the left and seam in
row 2 to the right.


Sew rows together and press final
seam open to reduce bulk.
Square to 8 1/2".








Saturday, September 24, 2011

Civil War Remembered ~ Block 38

Ohio Star


We are quilting along with Barbara
Brackman's 2011 Civil War Quilt.


Please Note:  Since this is an 8 1/2" block
that has to be divided into 3 ~ the math doesn't
come out to anything easy.  When I am cutting or
squaring my blocks to 3 1/8", I am using what I call
 a "heavy-handed" cut.  It is just a little over the
3 1/8" measure, just go a bit beyond the proper line.

But sew with a scant 1/4".

Fabric Requirements:

Fabric A : Center Blue Fussy Cut
1 - 3 1/8" square

Fabric B:  Blue print
4 - 3 1/8" squares
1 - 4 5/8" square

Fabric C: Orange
1 - 4 5/8" square

Fabric D: Gold

2 - 4 5/8" squares - Mark
a diagonal line on back.


Make Quarter Square Triangles:

Step #1:
Pair 4 5/8" squares with right sides
together in the following combinations:

1 - B/D          1 - C/D

Sew 1/4" away from each side of drawn
line.  Cut on drawn line and press to
Fabric D.


Step #2:

Now mark a diagonal line on the back of
the C/D units as shown.


Pair  B/D squares and C/D squares with
right sides together along the seam line.
"Lock" the seam together and  sew 1/4" away
from each side of drawn line.  Cut on the drawn
line and press seam open to reduce bulk.


Okay, I admit, squaring up the Quarter
Square Triangles at this size is a bit
complicated, but just follow the pictures
and you should be fine.  Half of 3 1/8"
falls between 1 1/2" and 1 5/8", look at
the ruler and you'll see I have marked the
intersection of this measure with a piece
of tape.  This point must go in the center
of the square where all the points meet.
Trim the right side and top.


Now rotate the square so the trimmed
corner is now in the lower left.  Placer ruler
 back on square with the center at the proper
 place but also the 3 1/8" mark shoud be
 at the point of the triangle in the upper top
left and lower bottom right corners, trim.


Assemble Block:

Layout units as shown and sew together
in 3 rows, paying attention to proper placement
of the quarter square triangle units.  Press seams
in rows 1 and 3 to the outside and seams in row 2
to the inside.


Sew rows together and press final seams
open to reduce bulk.  Square to 8 1/2".