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 30, 2011

Chock-A-Block Wednesday

Empty Spools

This is a fun block!

Fabric Requirements:

Fabric A: Dark (Red)
2 - 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangles
1 - 4 1/2" square

Fabric B: Light (White print)
4 - 2 1/2" squares - Mark
a diagonal line on the back.
2 - 2 1/2" x  4 1/2" rectangles

Layout 4 1/2" square and 2 1/2" x 4 1/2"
rectangles as shown and sew together.

Place 2 1/2" squares right sides together
with 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangles as shown.
Sew on drawn line and press to the corners.

Trim back 2 layers of fabric to 1/4".

Layout units as shown and sew together,
  press seams open to reduce bulk. 

Square to 8 1/2".

And a full spool.

It would make a pretty quilt.

I like it even better with sashing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Year of Living Dangerously

I Did It and I Plan to Continue...

One year ago today I started this blog,
it was a ~ umm ~ milestone birthday for
me.  In many ways it was also the start
of a new life for me.  Within the year both
of my kids would be living at school and it
was time to reinvent me.

It was a grand year for travel, I visited
12 countries on 4 different continents.
I used many forms of transportation
including, camels, elephants, tuk-tuks,
trains, bicycles, horses, boats, and planes. 
 We even circumnavigated the globe.

I visited places I couldn't even imagine
and I fell in love ~ with the people, the
food, the culture of these exotic lands.

I challenged myself physically from
hiking the Alps in the ice and snow to
jumping off dive boats to snorkel reefs
in Mexico.

But most importantly I have rediscovered
me.  I'm living life the way I want to, not the
way others expect me to live it.  I have no
interest in following the same path all the time.
If a new trail presents itself I'm willing to
explore it.  And even if that trail is not well
paved and is a bit bumpy, that's okay with me.

So stay tuned, the blog continues and hopefully,
so will the new adventures.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Treasure Hunting

Antiquing in Small Towns

To kick off the Christmas shopping season
here in America, Saturday was called Small
Business Saturday.  People were encouraged
to get out of the shopping malls and support
the local merchants.  I decided to make it
Small Business Weekend.

I love driving through the countryside,
looking for interesting things.  I may be
a city girl but this country life I now live
has captured me!

Wherever I am in the world, I love to
visit small towns and villages.  Sadly,
in America, we are losing many of our
small, downtown, Main Street shopping
districts to the mega malls.  So, when I
find a thriving downtown, I feel it is my
civic duty to support them.

And I head to the local antique stores.
I'm not talking about the fancy places,
with everything washed up and put in
glass cases, that bores me.  I want an
old junk shop where I can rummage
around and poke through old bins to find
something that will be a treasure to me.

Her's a look at what I found this weekend:

A few old wooden spools, now relics
from a time when there were mills
all over this country.  My other
obsession after all is fabric, so I guess
that's why they appeal to me.

A beautiful old piece of English
ironstone, no lid ~ no worries, I
still love it and for 50 cents, who
could complain?

Another piece to add to the
blue & white collection.

A beautiful set of candlesticks marked
Handmade - Shirley Pewter.  I visit their
shop whenever I'm in Williamsburg, VA.

A sweet little silhouette.

Buttons ~ I can't resist them, I have
tons but always need more...

And what may be my new collection.
Amethyst Glass Bottles.
They turn this color by exposure to
sunlight, I thought it was because they
were buried in soil, but my bottle guy
set me straight on that.  I know they
aren't that old and I know they may be
 faked to look old but I do love the color...

Get out there and explore the
small towns near you.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Civil War Remembered ~ Block 48

West Virginia

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

Fabric Requirements:

Fabric A: Fussy Cut
1 - 4 1/2" square

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

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

Fabric D: Cream
4 - 3 1/4" squares

Make Half Square Triangles:

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

2 - C/B     2 - B/D     2 - C/D

Sew 1/4" away from each side of drawn
line, cut on drawn line and press:

C/B to the Fabric C
B/D to the Fabric B
C/D to the Fabric D

Square to 2 1/2" .
Thank you Regina!

Make Outer Center Units:

Layout Half Square Triangles as shown
and sew together as shown.  Press seams
open to reduce bulk.

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

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

Here is another one I made, I
like this one better.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Elle's Kitchen: Turkey Soup

For those that are not tired of turkey...

Remove meat from turkey carcass and
set aside.  Break carcass into large chunks,
place in pot with 1 medium onion, halved
and a stalk of celery, cover with water, add
1 teas. ground pepper and 1 teas. salt.
Simmer a minimum of 4 hours but overnight is best.

Skim fat off surface, strain through a fine strainer,
reserving the liquid.  Put liquid back in pot.

Add 3 medium onions, chopped and 1/2 bunch
of parsley, finely chopped and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and dice 4 carrots, dice 3 stalks of
celery, and chop 1 pound of mushrooms.  Bring liquid
to a boil and add the carrots, celery, mushrooms and
the turkey meat.  Turn off and let sit for 2 hours or
if in a hurry, simmer for 20 minutes.  Prepare 1 cup
soup pasta or noodles according to package directions
 and add to soup with 1/2 teas. thyme.

This is a nice way to take off the chill after you put
up your outdoor Christmas decorations.


Friday, November 25, 2011

American Homestead's Thanksgiving

We Cooked, We Ate, We Collapsed...

We had a traditional American Thanksgiving
 at our American Homestead yesterday.

Mashed potatoes

Creamed onions

The turkey

Cornbread stuffing

Corn pudding

Butternut squash

And then we had the pies!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

An Irish Blessing

Wishing you always ~
Walls for the wind
And a roof for the rain
And tea beside the fire.
Laughter to cheer you
And those you love near you
And all that your heart might desire!

It is Thanksgiving Day here in the
United States.  It is a day when family
and friends gather to give thanks
for all we have and to feast on turkey,
cranberry, stuffing and all the harvest
of the season.

Here at Avalon, our American Homestead,
we are cooking up a storm in the kitchen,
the table is set and we are waiting to feast
later in the day.

Wherever you may be in the world,
I wish you a
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chock-A-Block Wednesday

New England Block

The New England block looks more
complicated than it actually is.  It looks
interesting when placed side by side.

Fabric Requirements:

Fabric A - Light (white & green print)
4 - 2 1/4" squares
4 - 3" squares - Mark a
diagonal line on back.

Fabric B - Medium (orange)
4 - 2 1/4" squares
1 - 1 1/2" square

Fabric C - Dark (green)
4 - 3" squares

Fabric D - Medium (rust & white print)
1 - 2 1/4" x 8" rectangle

Fabric E - Dark (purple)
1 - 2 1/4" x 8" rectangle

Make Half Square Triangles:

Pair Fabric A/C squares right
sides together.  Sew 1/4" away
from each side of drawn line. 
Cut on drawn line, press seams to
the dark fabric.  Square to 2 1/4".

Sew Fabric D & E rectangles
together along long edge.

Cut a small piece off one short edge
to make sure it is even, then cut 4
1 1/2" units.

Make Corner Units:
Layout units as shown and sew
together in 2 rows. Press seams in row 1
to the left and seams in row 2 to the right.
Sew rows together.
Make 4.

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

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

Here is another one I made.

I kept thinking this block would look
good with a log cabin block.  Perhaps
call it "New England Cabin?"
I think I would adjust the block size
so the red center squares were the
same size.  I think that was why I
kept thinking of a log cabin block.