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Wednesday, December 26, 2012


On Christmas Eve we went to Chicago
to visit the Christkindlmarkt.
I have been lucky enough to visit many
Christmas Markets in many European countries.
It doesn't have all the charm of being in
Europe but it is still worth a visit.
You can eat brats and currywurst and
pretzels and gluhwein and lebkuchen.
And you can shop.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

To our American Homestead
friends all over the world.
Our wish to you this holiday
season and all through the year,
Peace On Earth

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cookie Press

For as long as I can remember we have
made Swedish Spritz cookies for Christmas.
You need a cookie press to make them.
I think I was always so fascinated by them
because you could make so many shapes.
I assumed everyone had a cookie press and
made these wonderful cookies.  I remember
when I was in high school, I would bring them
to parties at Christmas.  People thought they
were the Italian cookies from the bakery and
when I told them I made them, they would
look at me in wonder.

I can still remember when I was in grammar
school and went to my friend Terry's house
and her Mom made these cookies by using the
star tip and making them into long straws.
I couldn't wait to get home and try that
myself.  I'm still making them this way...
Whenever I see an old cookie press at
an antique store or yard sale I buy it.
I have tried the new types but they just
aren't as good.
Today I made a batch of Spritz for this year.
Just remember you can't eat them the first
day or they taste like flour, the flavor has
to develop, give it 24 hours.  I look forward
to tomorrow!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Building the Empire

The Fall 2012 Collection
The American Homestead Fall 2012
Collection that debuted at International
Quilt Market in Houston is finally on the
American Homestead website.
Honestly the past 8 months are a blur.
Between running a business, traveling
the world, writing a book and well,
just living, sometimes there are not
enough hours in the day to get it all done.
But, the new page is up, better late than
never.  I couldn't get the background to
happen but at least the important info
is there.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Me Time ~ December 18, 2012

I'm finally back home for a bit and
finally made it back to Me Time.
The Quilt Shoppe in Anderson,
Indiana has a tree with many
of my feltwork ornaments on it.
I love how they are displayed
with a little tag that tells you
the name of the pattern, this
really helps customers ID the
pattern they want.
You can find The Quilt Shoppe on
Facebook at:
We are still celebrating my
birthday ~ today with
Orange Juice Cake ~ delicious!
And some presents ~ fun!
Someone worked with this
knitting tool.
Another person was making pillows
as Christmas presents.
Oh and look at this little wool
piece someone is working on.
Perfect for the season.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Elle's Kitchen: Parmesan Panko Potato Balls

I saw this recipe in a magazine the other day
and decided to make them.  Mr. Wonderful &
I are home from another adventure and we are
having fun getting back to everyday life.  This
evening we had a leisurely dinner that stretched
out over much of the evening.  We started with
this as our appetizer. then had a salad course
and later the entree all while watching Revenge
on Netflix.  There's no place like home...
2/3 cup Panko (breadcrumbs)
2/3 cup grated parmesan
1 tbls. Italian Herb Seasoning
1 1/2 teas. Garlic Salt
1/8 teas. Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 pounds very small yellow potatoes
Olive oil cooking spray
Warm Marinara or Pesto for dipping
Preheat oven to 400F.
Line a baking sheet with foil.
Stir together Panko, parmesan, Italian
Herbs, Garlic Salt and Red Pepper in
a bowl.
Place flour and eggs in separate bowls.
Place potatoes on foil and spray with Olive
Oil spray.  Roll each potato in flour, then egg
and then breadcrumb mix.  Make sure to coat
well with each step.
Place back on foil and spray again.  Bake for
35 to 40 minutes or til lightly browned and
tender when pierced with a fork.  Coat with
cooking spray twice during cooking.
Serve with a marinara or pesto sauce
for dipping.  I used the Hunt's Fire-roasted
Tomatoes and puree them in a blender then
adda bit of basil in a tube.
They were pretty good but next time I
think I would scoop a bit of the potato
out with a melon baller and add some
Chevre or an herbed cream cheese with
a bit or bacon or roasted red pepper.  It
needed a bit more zing...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Okay, This Is Thrilling!

This came in the mail today.
When the return address label reads,
Barbara Brackman, the famous quilt
historian, a bit of a zing goes up the spine...
When I was at Quilt Market in October I
had a chance to look through the galleys
so I knew it was good.  It felt like I was
looking through a scrapbook (no pun intended)
of old friends and good times.  Quilters
from all over the world participated in a
block of the week.  We all learned about
Civil War history and quilting and many
friendships were forged all around the globe.
And two of my blocks were selected
to be part of the book ~ yeah!
Rosebud ~ page 32
Railroad Crossing ~ page 76
A group of us sent blocks to Becky
and a sampler quilt was made as a
gift to Barbara as a token of thanks.
(My block is the 4th row down,
the 3rd from the left, with a white
pinwheel in the center.)
I made the blocks and blogged about
them every Sunday for all of 2011.
Even as I was traveling the world I
carried what I called the Brackman Bag
filled with fabric, thread & needle, a
small ruler, rotary cutter and mat.  I
hand sewed these blocks in some pretty
remote spots around the globe.  I wish
I was doing that good a job with this
year's Grandmother's Choice BOW, but
I will catch up~ life can get a bit busy...
So go out and get your copy of the
Civil War Sampler ~ I'm sure you
will enjoy it.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Under the Sea

Mr. Wonderful gave me an underwater
camera for my birthday and I have been
playing with it all week.
So it's good-bye to bikinis and flip-flops
and back to coats and scarfs...

Chichen Itza

Temple of Kukulkan
Since the "2012 Phenomenon" suggests the
Maya Calendar is saying December 21 is going
to be the end of the world as we know it, I figured
I better high-tail it over there before it was too late.
Great Ball Court
You must drive for a few hours from Cancun
through miles upon miles of vegetation, not
farming, just wilderness, to reach Chichen Itza.
The glyphs in the Ball Court are very
well preserved and interesting.
The Skull Platform
This is where the heads of the sacrificial
victims were placed.  So after your team won
over at the Ball Court, you would end up here.
Yup, only the best were sacrificed.  That would
alter my competitive spirit...
Temple of the Warrior
Chicken Itza has 1.2 million visitors per year.
Group of a Thousand Columns
In 2007, El Castillo (Temple of Kukulkan)
was named as one of the New 7 Wonders
of the World.
...then there is shopping.