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.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


We were up with the chickens this morning
and flew to the Greek island, Santorini.

The white buildings seem to be stacked
one on top of another as they go down the
mountainside to the sea.

The blue domed buildings are churches
and they stand out like polka dots
on the mountainsides.

Santorini has been ranked as one of the
top islands of the world.

Some suggest that Santorini was the
inspiration for Plato's Atlantis.

Sunsets over the caldera are said to be the
best in the world ~ I look forward to seeing it!

The church bells are ringing outside my
window, time to go!

Friday, March 30, 2012

I Made It To The Top!

The Acropolis

As a student of art and the classics and
mythology, I have read and studied alot
about The Acropolis, but that is nothing
like seeing it in person.  This was my first
view of it on the night I arrived in Athens.

I couldn't wait for morning to come so we
could go explore it.  We hiked up the stairs
and steep streets until we got up to The
Acropolis, and there it was ~ spread out
before me...

The Temple of Athens Nike.
Built in 426 - 421 BC to commemorate the
Athenian's victories over the Persians.

The Erechtheion

Built between 421 and 406 BC, it is situated
on the most sacred site of the Acropolis.  It is
said to be where Poseidon left his trident marks
in a rock and Athena's olive tree sprouted.

The Porch of the Caryatids

I've always called them the Headache
ladies because that's got to hurt the head!

The Acropolis

One of the most famous buildings in
the world, built from 447 to 438 BC.

I like the statue of this guy, one of the few
remaining statues in the temple, it just seems
as if he's hanging out watching the world go by.

Theatre of Herodes Atticus

Originally built in AD 161, it is still in use today.

It was superb!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chock-A-Block Wednesday

Turkish Delight

Chock-A-Block Wednesday turned into
Chock-A-Block Thursday because I couldn't
post my blog.  But the important thing is I
was in Turkey and I ate Turkish Delight.

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

Fabric B:  Orange
4 - 4 1/2" squares
2 - 3 1/4" squares - Mark
a diagonal line on back.

Fabric C:  Dark Blue
8 - 2 1/2" squares - Mark
a diagonal line on back.
4 - 2 1/2" squares
4 - 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles

Fabric D: White Print
2 - 3 1/4" squares

Make Outer Center Units
Place a Fabric C 2 1/2" square on
the top left corner of the Fabric B
4 1/2" square with right sides together.
Sew a thread width above the drawn
line and press seam to the corner.
Trim back 2 layers of fabric to 1/4".
Repeat process to right upper corner
as shown.  Square to 4 1/2".
Make 4.

Make Half Square Triangles:
Pair Fabric B and Fabric D 3 1/4"
squares with right sides together
and sew 1/4" away from each side
of drawn line.  Cut on drawn line,
press seam to the Fabric B. 
Square to 2 1/2".

Make Corner Units:
Layout units as shown and
sew 2 1/2" units together.
Press seam to the Fabric C.
Then sew both rectangles
together as shown.
Square to 4 1/2".
Make 4.

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

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What is a Threadcutter?

Well, it cuts thread...

But the reason it is important is
you can bring it on the plane.
I can't sleep on planes, even that
16 hour long haul Hong Kong to
New York ~ nope, not a wink.
And If I don't have something to
do, I will not enjoy myself.  So,
I stitch.  In fact, I have a cross
stitch project that is something I
do only when I travel,  it stays in
my luggage with the TSA locks and
all the electrical adapters.

Some countries/ airlines do allow a
small rounded edged scissor but
not all of them.

When Mr. Wonderful was leaving
Thailand last year, the round-the-
world group dumped all of our excess
clothing and gift purchases on him.
We bought an extra suitcase in the
market and filled it with statues, tee
shirts and enough scarves to make
a circus tent.  But since he was going
taxi to airport to car and Korean Air
allowed 2 checked bags it was the
smarter way to get everything home.
But that cute manicure set I bought
on the beach in Pattaya no longer has
its scissor.  We stuck that in a carry on
and the scissor wasn't allowed in the

Hence, the threadcutter.  There is a
cutting blade enclosed inside the metal
but the only thing it can cut is thread or
something small enough to fit between
those teeny indents on the edge.  It is
available in the notions department of
craft stores, I think it's under $10.

Happy Stitching & Traveling!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Elle's Kitchen: Desperation Potatoes

You Become Inventive When You're Hungry

We will be traveling in a few days so
we have been using up all the food in
the fridge and pantry.  We have dinners
planned until we leave but I didn't give
much thought to lunch.  The problem
was ~ I was hungry!

I found a leftover baked potato in the
fridge and sliced it 3/8" to 1/2" thick.
Put them in a pan with some melted butter
and browned the slices on both sides.

I topped some with goat cheese and a spoonful
of Kadota fig preserve and some with sour
cream, salsa ~ one green, one fire roasted
and sliced scallions.  Delicious!

I think I'll always make an extra
baked potato from now on...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Murphy's Farm

First Tomato Planting

I have been waiting for the tomato
plants to finally come in at my local
garden center and this weekend I
found Early Girl and Big Boy varieties.

When we were last in the garden,
I had set out these frost jackets
to warm up the soil.

There is one of the tomato plants
inside the frost jacket.  I'm eager
to see the growth when we return
home.  We've had some crazy storms
come through our area with high
winds and torrential rain, I hope the
 frost jackets survive.

And if it's Spring, there must be pansies!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring Blooms

Enjoying Them While They Last

I took an hour off from my crazy life today
to get out on the trail and try to take some
photos of the Spring wildflowers.  Since I'm
leaving in a few days, I'll probably miss the
peak of bloom but I'm hoping Spring in Greece
will make up for that.  Yesterday we had
torrential rains which made the blossoms fall
from many of the flowering ornamental trees.
Luckily, I got a few shots in earlier in the week
and included them here. 
Enjoy the wild world!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Building the Empire

Quilt Hangers

International Quilt Market is in late May
but with a trip to Europe & Asia for a few
weeks added to an already full calender,
it will be here in no time.
I have been trying to prepare as much as
I can before I go away so I'm not worrying
through my entire vacation.
One of the things I had to figure out was
how would I hang my quilts in a quick
and efficient manner in my booth.
I did a research trip to Market in Houston
to check out how others handled things
and really didn't come away with any great
ideas for hanging quilts.  After many years
as a Theatrical Prop Mistress, I know if you
need something and can't easily find it, get
ready to make it yourself...  Here goes.

For the rod I am using plastic plumbing
pipe, cut 2" longer than the width of the
quilt.  I used a miter saw, but if you have
a chop saw, it would cut like butter.

Place your pipe and a long metal level
on a flat surface and mark a straight
pencil line along the pipe, this will come
in handy in the next step.

Drill a hole on each end about a 1/2"
from the edge.  Be sure to drill straight
down on top of the pencil line, this
is important so your wire will allow
the rod to hang evenly.

Cut heavy duty wire (I used a 9 gauge
galvanized utility wire) in 1 foot lengths.
I needed to use a 24" bolt cutter to cut
this, it is tough stuff.  Place 1" of the wire
in a vise and bend it over forming a
right angle.

Hammer the wire near the bend to
make that angle as crisp as possible.

Tape the bent ends of the 2 wires with
your prototype, that way you will maintain
a uniform size.

Now holding the bent ends in your
left hand, place the loop of the prototype
around a pole that is similar in size to the
poles you will be hanging your quilts from.
With your right hand, bend the straight wires
around the pole, it takes some muscle.
(Note: I used the pole from an umbrella on
an old outdoor dining table to bend my wire,
it was very stable.)

These are the finished wire hangers.

Sand the edges and drilled holes on your
plastic pipe and spray paint the edges of
your pipe.  My drapery will be black, so I
used black paint, make sure to shoot the
paint into the inside of the pipe as well.

Allow paint to dry completely, then
place the shorter end of loop through
the 2 holes in the pipe,

now slide pipe over the loop and
have it come to rest like this.

Put pipe through the hanging sleeve
of your quilt, add another wire to the
other end and hang away.
This has worked perfectly, it hangs
straight, it is lightweight yet sturdy
and it looks good.
Best of all, I get to cross another
"to do" off the list.