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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been a
big deal in our house.  I always
made costumes for my kids,
we had halloween parties, carved
pumpkins and visited local farms
for cider, pumpkins and gourds.

This year is our first year with both
kids living away from home and I
am not even home this year.  While
on the east coast, I did visit a spooky,
old graveyard in my hometown.

They had beautiful old gravestones
from the 1700's.

Wherever you may be ~ have
a Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Civil War Remembered ~ Block 44

& a Freak Storm

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

This is my block for this week.

I am visiting the northeastern
United States, just outside of New
York City, and a sudden snow storm
hit the area yesterday.  I'd say that
is taking the frost on the pumpkin
a bit too far...

This was a very early snow for the
area, the problem is the leaves are
still on the trees so as the wet, heavy
snow came down...

so did the tree limbs and
the power lines.  I was in a
house, that was not my own, all alone,
with no lights, no heat, no phone,
no food ~ no fun!
Let's just say, it was a long night.

But today, the sun is out,
the power is back on and I
finally got to sew again.

This afternoon I am meeting
my old friend from grammar
school, we have not seen each other
since the 70's.  Things are looking up!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chock-A-Block Wednesday

Comfort Quilt

When placed side by side this
block makes a very interesting quilt.
It would be wonderful for a scrappy
project as well.

Cutting Requirements:

Fabric A: Dark
8 - 2 1/4" squares
I made mine 4 - red, 4 - blue

Fabric B:  Light
4 - 2 1/4" x 5" rectangles

Fabric C:  Light
4 - 2 1/4" x 1 1/2" rectangles

Fabric D:  Dark
1 - 1 1/2" square

Make center 9 patch first.
Layout Fabrics A,C, & D
as shown and sew together
in 3 rows.  Press rows 1 & 3
to the inside and row 2 to the outside.

Sew rows together.

Square to 5".

Sew Fabric A squares to
the ends of 2 Fabric B

Sew Fabric B rectangles
to each side of center
9 patch as shown.

Layout as shown.

Sew rows together and
square to 8 1/2".

Here is another one I did.

And another.

And another.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Building the Empire

East Coast Project

Though I have spent a considerable
amount of time socializing on this trip,
I have also been working as well.

From this pile of fabric I have

the building "blocks" for a new
quilt design.  For now, I am calling
it the East Coast Project but will need
a better name,  I think something
autumnal would be appropriate.
Any ideas?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Enjoying Autumn

I love Autumn!

I love buying pumpkins,

and drinking apple cider,

and having the first fire of the season,

and wrapping myself in a sweater,

and decorating the house.

What is autumn like where you live?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Civil War Remembered ~Block 43

Right Hand of Friendship

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

This is my block for this week.
I'm still traveling and far from my studio.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Gathering

Here's to Good Friends

Last night a group of very old friends
gathered together, some of us had not
seen each other in decades.  And a
beautiful thing happened, all the years
washed away and it was as if we had
just picked up where we left off.

We laughed and talked and told
stories, old and new.  We knew
each other from when we were
all 18, some of us had known each
other since childhood.  What was
lovely was there was no need to sugar
coat anything, we were all very open
and honest and real ~ and that is the
sign of being good friends.

Thank you and I love you all.

Friday, October 21, 2011

An Unknown Woman

Mystery and Intrigue in My Hometown

Found Dead in the Road,
An Unknown Woman
Meets a Frightful Fate.

In March of 1887, four brothers were
on their way to work when they found
a body of a woman alongside a fence.
The police were called and they found
she had been stabbed a dozen times.
As news spread through the small town,
the curious came out to the site to view
the scene, it is estimated a thousand people
came to the scene that day, but no one
knew her.  The police thought the girl to
be about 22 years old and by the look of her
clothing, she was probably in domestic service.
News spread of the death of this unknown
woman and thousands of people came to the
town to view the body, the Pennsylvania
Rail Road had extra trains stop in Rahway,
the main street was bumper to bumper with
carriages as the curious came to see if they
knew the girl.  The mystery has never been solved.

I had always heard of this story growing up but
had never seen the gravesite.  The other day I
visited the cemetery and with the help of the friendly
caretaker I found the gravestone.  It was nice to
see someone had left her a rose...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Back to School

Yesterday I visited my old college campus.
  Things have changed so drastically, I was
a bit lost...

I went past my old apartment, the
infamous 303B, the site of many fun times.

I went to my old college hangout with my
old college boyfriend,  boyfriend from my
college days.  We talked about old friends,
old times, dreams and love and hopes for the
future.  In some ways, the conversation topics
were not that different from the ones we
had so many years ago...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chock - A - Block Wednesday



Fabric Requirements:

Fabric A: Blue
 5 - 3 1/4" squares - Mark
a diagonal line on back.

Fabric B: Red
5 - 3 1/4" squares - Mark
a diagonal line on back.

Fabric C:  Blue & Cream
2 - 3 1/4" squares

Fabric D:  White with Red & Blue
2 - 3 1/4" squares

Fabric E:  White with Blue
2 - 3 1/4" squares

Pair 3 1/4" squares in
the following combinations:
1 - C/B - press to the C fabric
   1 - A/C - press to the C fabric
  2 - A/E - press to the E fabric
  2 - A/B - press to the A fabric
  2 - B/D - press to the B fabric

Sew 1/4" away from each side
of drawn line.  Cut on drawn line
and press seam following the
guide above, this will help you
achieve more precise points.
Square to 2 1/2".

Make 4 Patch Units:
Layout 2 4-patches as shown
and sew together in 2 rows.
Press seam in row 1 to the left
and seam in row 2 to the right.
Then sew rows together and
press this seam open to reduce
bulk.  Make 2 of each 4 patch.

Square to 4 1/2".

Layout 4-patches 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 this seam open to reduce bulk.
Square to 8 1/2".

Here's another one.

Here is a Blockade quilt.

By changing fabric placement you
can get an entirely different look.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Taylor Ham

Pork Roll

I'm back in New Jersey and that means
I am enjoying Taylor Ham.  This is a
food product that is unique to New Jersey
and Philadelphia.  Ask anyone who has
moved away from Jersey and they will
tell you they ask people who are coming to
visit them to bring along some Taylor Ham.

A number of years ago, my brother, in typical
"my brother" fashion, brought me the food
service or deli size fabric wrapped roll of
Taylor Ham.  Not wanting to waste it, we ate
it and ate it and ate it...  Then I couldn't eat
it anymore ~ I had reached the limit.  You
couldn't even say the words Taylor Ham in
front of me.

But enough water has passed under the bridge,
and I'm enjoying it once again.  I like to make
1/2" slices around the edge of the slices, so when
I pan fry them until crisp around the edges, they
stay flat and don't curl up.  I enjoy mine on a
roll with cheese, ketchup and thinly sliced raw onion.


Monday, October 17, 2011


Milton Lake

I'm spending a few weeks in my hometown and
 today I visited a place where I made a decision
that changed the course of my life.

Three months away from our wedding date, Rob
 was offered a new job.  We didn't know where we
would get transfered to, we just knew it wouldn't
 be here.  We had to make a decision rather quickly
and went to Milton Lake, a place where we often
went to watch the swans and birds, and discussed
the pros and cons of this move.  We have always
been planners and this seemed like the perfect
time to make a life-changing move.

I've never been a 'townie".  I see people who have
lived in the same town and have the same friends
that they have had since high school and every
weekend they go to the same bars and have the
same conversations and frankly that leaves me cold.
Though I love to come home and reconnect with my
old friends I really needed to move on and broaden my
horizons.  And it was a great decision, we have fashioned
 a life that is filled with the homey, happy life that we
have in the American Midwest, coupled with an
everchanging life of adventure around the world. 

Forget drabness.  Anything but drabness!
~ John Graham