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 28, 2012

The Journey Continues...

It is the 2nd anniversary of the
American Homestead blog!
Two years ago on a "milestone" birthday I
began to write a blog about things I do.
My daughter scribbled some notes about how
 to blog on an index card and sent me off to
Eastern Europe to begin my journey.
This year has taken me to visit places
of my dreams, we have met great people,
seen magnificent sights and eaten delicious,
exotic food.  Personally, this year has been
very exciting to see both my children off to
university and to see them realize their hopes
and dreams.  For my business, there are many
new paths and ventures on the horizon ~ stay tuned!
And the journey continues...
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the tradewinds in your sails.
Explore, Dream, Discover.
~ Mark Twain

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Full Circle

A package arrived yesterday from out West.
Included in the package was this quilt I
designed and made for my Mother-In-Law's
80th birthday.
It was Mary Ellen's wish that after her
passing, anything someone made for her
should go back to the maker.
Nice to see it again, but bittersweet...
This quilt was designed especially for
Mary Ellen's 80th birthday so each block
contained 8 T's (80).  Can you find them?
The beautiful quilting is by Elaine Reed.
The borders have units that could look
like M's for Mary...
...but if you look at it this way they
could also be E's for Ellen.
Also included in the package was this
Irish Santa cross stitch I made for my
future in-laws before Mr. Wonderful
& I were married.  So long ago.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Taste Test

US Coca-Cola Vs. Mexican Coca-Cola
In our local Mexican mercado this week,
one of our houseguests found Coke imported
from Mexico.  He asked why would they import
Coke when there is a Coca-Cola bottling plant
just down the street.  Another one of our guests
remarked because the formulation is different, in
Mexico they make it with cane sugar.
So, of course we had to have a blind
taste test.  The results were 6 out of 7
people preferred and/or could identify
the Mexican Coke.  One person preferred
the American Coke. 
I thought the taste was deeper and richer.
I have probably only had less than a cup of
Coke in the past decade, just one of those
things I gave up along the path of life, so I'm
no expert.  The creamier richness reminded
me of the fabulous rootbeer of my youth.
Years ago my friend Susan told me I should
only buy Domino sugar because it is one of
the few sugars that still use cane sugar.
Since I only use sugar for baking, this is
important.  Using a beet sugar in your baking
will change the results of your recipe.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Honoring Women's Rights ~ Week 13

Everybody's Favorite
We are quilting along with Barbara Brackman's
Block of the Week, Grandmother's Choice
Fabric Requirements:
Fabric A:
8 - red 2" squares
4 - fussy cut blue 2" squares
Fabric B:
4- red & white 2" x 2 1/2" rectangles
Fabric C:
4 - blue 2 5/8" x 3 1/8" rectangles
Fabric D:
1 - red & white 3 1/4" square,
cut twice on the diagonal
Fabric E:
1 - red fussy cut 2 5/8" square
Make Center:
Layout units as shown and sew
together in 3 strips.  Press seams
to the red fabrics.
Sew 3 strips together as shown.
Trim block to 5 1/2".
Layout remaining pieces as shown
and sew together to make top & bottom
and side units.  Press seams to the dark
red fabric.
Finish block by sewing on the side pieces,
press seams to the outside.  Then sew on
the top and bottom units and press seams
to the outside.  Square to 8 1/2".
Check out the Flickr site where everyone can
post their work:
American Homestead can now be found on Facebook,
please "like" my page.

Christmas Photo

Recently my photo of Christmas Ornaments
at the Salzburg, Austria Christmas Market
won the Viking River Cruises Holiday Card
Photo Contest.
Yesterday Viking sent me some of the cards.
What fun!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Tradition

Here at the American Homestead we
have a very traditional Thanksgiving
dinner.  And a tradition at our table
is for each person to tell a story of a
memorable meal in the past year.
The Turkey
Creamed Onions ~ on our table
since we were kids.
Mick told a story of a meal he recently
had in Cappadocia.  His guide took him
to a restaurant run by a family he knew.
The family filled the table with mezza
dishes and everyone feasted... then they
brought the lunch.  Everyone had to stuff
themselves a bit more.
Cornbread Stuffing
Corn Pudding
Brennan told a story of a dinner in
Copenhagen where there was no menu,
the chef decided what everyone would eat.
Included in the group was a Danish family
with their children and grandparents. 
Brennan especially liked walking the Mom
home with the kids so the kids could be put
to bed, he said walking through the quiet
old streets was wonderful.
Butternut Squash
Mashed Potatoes
Kasey told us all about a Hawaian
Luau and all the foods and preparation
involved.  Kasey lives on the beach in
Hawaii and I'm sure she is counting down
the days until she can fly away from the
grey skies of Indiana and spend her Christmas
break with her family on the beach ~ maybe
they'll have a luau!
Haricot Verts with Lemon Zest and Pine Nuts
Uncle Jamie told us about a dinner
he had in Turkey where the entire
meal was cooked in a sealed clay pot,
you then hit the pot and cracked the top
off so you could eat the meal.
Cranberry Apple Relish
Mr. Wonderful told a story of a
delicious breakfast buffet in Istanbul.
There were so many selections he had
to make 2 trips just so he could taste
Pickled Beets
Hard working Katie Rose is a
student at Purdue and when she
has breaks from school she is always
working.  Sadly, she only got to spend
one night out of state last year so she
told us about her tomato and mozzarella
salad on a trip to Michigan last summer.
Pecan and Pumpkin Pie
My favorite meal of the year was my first
night in Athens.  We arrived late in the day
and checked into our hotel and headed to
Plaka to find a restaurant.  As we were looking
down the side streets we saw the Acropolis lit
up at night.  That's the street we went down.
We ate in an outdoor cafe, I had moussaka
and Wonderful had stuffed tomato and pepper.
And we enjoyed the beautiful view of the Acropolis.
I hope everyone is thankful for every meal we
get to enjoy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

International Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving at our American Homestead,
Avalon, is quite traditional.
But with the house filled with people for
the week we have been having an
International Festival in our dining room.
At this meal all four of us had been to
Istanbul and/or Greece within the past
6 months.  When traveling we always
collect dishware and small items to use
in our homes.  I bought these candles
from a guy on Divan Yolu, just across
from the Blue Mosque.  This dinner is
moussaka and a Greek salad like the
one I had for lunch after exploring the
Acropolis in Athens.
When traveling or when we have a
crowd at home we always have a
Dutch Breakfast.  Cheese and meat,
hard-boiled eggs, yogurt and breads.
This was a rather typical American
Sunday dinner of Brown Sugar/ Balsamic
Pork Loin and Carrots but it did have a
Hot German Potato Salad to give it and
international flavor.
A delicious Japanese Curry.
Holy Guacamole!  There was enough
to feed an army!  We put quite a dent
in this and then...
... followed by a build your own tostada feast.
Last night we celebrated India with
the street foods of Mumbai.
Ragda Patties
Pani-puri and Papadum
Diwali Sweets.
Someone said last night that life at our
house is all about eating and talking,
hmmm ~ not a bad thing.
And I'm thankful for that...
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Honoring Women's Rights ~ Week 12

Little Boy's Breeches
We are quilting along with Barbara Brackman's
Block of the Week, Grandmother's Choice.
I planned to show how I made my block
but quickly realized my units were coming
out so lumpy and bumpy that I had no right
to show anyone how to travel down that bumpy
road.  So I finished the block and did what I  do
whenever a block is not behaving ~ I pressed it
to within an inch of it's life... with starch.
Check out the Flickr site where everyone can
post their work:

Friday, November 16, 2012

In High Cotton

I took a road trip recently through
the southern US.  Somewhere in Missouri
I looked up and the fields seemed to have
a haze or mist over them, I realized it was
a field of cotton.  The first I have ever seen!
In the South, you will often hear
that one is "in high cotton".  This
means they have good luck, good
fortune or prosperity.  Some say
this goes back to the days when
cotton was picked by hand and if
the cotton was high, the pickers
did not have to stoop as much and
it was much easier to pick.
Isn't that cotton flower just beautiful?
This is what the cotton boll looks
like while still on the plant.
These are some bolls we found on the
ground showing the boll closed, slightly
open and just about to burst.
Then the cotton bursts from the boll.
It reminded us of "cotton" candy.
This shows one of the seeds in the cotton.
Prior to the cotton gin, all the seeds needed
to be removed by hand.  It is very hard to
get the seeds out of that fiber.  It would
have been a very time consuming process.
There are still over 18,000 cotton farmers
in the USA.  But we are not the biggest
producers.  China and India are ahead of us.
This is a cotton picker in the field. 
I wonder how the meaning of the phrase
"cotton picking minute" changed, once the
chore was done by machine?
We saw these huge bales of cotton
lined up in fields through state after state.
As a quilter I work with cotton everyday, I
suppose you could say I've taken a cotton
to it...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Me Time ~ November 13, 2012

It has been a busy day today!
But I got to spend some time with
my friends at Me Time.
The post says Me Time but I guess
it is really about ME!
My birthday is later in the month but
we started off the celebrations early
since I won't see Susan again before
my birthday.
I got this beautiful candle holder from
Nepal that is sooo Me!  The reasons are:
1.  It is blue ~ which I love.
2. It is ceramic and glazed in the same
glaze as many of my blue ceramic pieces.
3. It is from a fair trade shop that I love.
4.  It is a candle ~ which I love.
5. It is a lotus flower that holds a special
significance for me.
And there were cupcakes ~ num-num.
There was laughter and chatting and
creating going on too.
Susan ~ I must ask:  Are we getting old when
we meet up in the same hospital in the same
lab for different tests?  If so,  I'm sure we'll
go into this phase of our lives with enjoyment...