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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013!

Halloween and all the weeks leading up to
it are a BIG deal at our American Homestead.
We started with our kids when they were babies
to show them the importance of this wonderful
day of pumpkins and candy and costumes!

Back when Kate was born, doctors told you
to not take your baby out in the germy world
for a month.  She was a month old for Halloween.
This little witch has grown up to be the biggest
Halloween lover of all of us.  In fact she just
messaged me from university:
happy halloween!! hope you're enjoying
the most wonderful day of the year
By the next Halloween Kate had a little partner
to share in her Halloween fun.
Just a couple of clowns.
Raggedy Ann and Andy
Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
Tigger and a Princess
Belle and the Beast.
Brennan's costume was very cool, he
could pull the cape around him and
tilt his head down and look like the
Beast and then he could throw the
cape back and transform into the Prince.
We couldn't find the big container of
photos today, maybe we will find them
by next year.  So, eat some candy and
enjoy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

International Quilt Market

I'm just back from International Quilt Market
in Houston.  This year I flew and it was a test
to see if you can you fly to market and bring
everything for your booth in a few suitcases. 
The answer is NO! 
Those who know me, know I'm not a spare and
minimal person.  So, it is either drive or drop-ship
 boxes in the future. 
I also heard from my customers that they want
kits, so that is on the list for the future.
Much thanks to my friends Dawn and Cathy
who helped me set-up and take down the booth
and for being such fun to travel with.
Now to unpack...

Friday, October 25, 2013

I Didn't Sleep At All Last Night...

Ever since I was little, I could never sleep
the night before a trip.  That's something
I never grew out of...
I didn't sleep a wink last night.  Maybe it is
because Mr. Wonderful usually comes with
me to trade shows but this time I'll be all
alone.  I can't wait until I check into my
hotel this afternoon.  Hopefully my booth
will be ready and I'll have had a great lunch
and then it will be time for a nap!
Wheels up in a few hours...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Pattern Collection

Tomorrow I leave for the Fall '13
International Quilt Market in Houston.
I'm flying and have LOTS of stuff to take for
my booth so the laptop is staying home.
That means my blog readers will have the
first peek at the new designs.
This is Stars Hollow.
Floral Park


I have been back at work with wool felt.
Grand Isle


The patterns are up on the website and you
can order by just emailing me:
Wholesale orders are available through me
or from Checker Distributors.


It has been a wildly busy week here at the
American Homestead and I never had a
chance to listen to local weather reports.
I woke up to what I thought was rain
and never even looked out the window
until I walked downstairs and then I
screamed when I saw this!  It's just a
 light dusting actually but it's only
October ~ I'm still delighting in
pumpkins and gourds and mums and
the colors of the leaves ~ I'm not
ready for snow!
My birdies are going to go ice skating
today instead of taking a bath.

I've been loving the brilliance of these
roses, some of the last color of summer
in my garden.  Bye-bye beauties, I'll
see you in the Spring.
I'm leaving in a few days for the great
state of Texas, I'm sure I'll be able to
soak up a bit of warmth while there.
I'll cherish it,

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I'm a Viking?

I just got off the phone with my cousin
Lynne, our family genealogist.  She was
filling me in on all the new discoveries
she has unearthed about our family history.
Perhaps the biggest shock is, we are Vikings!  The
Vikings first came to Ireland  in 795 and over the
course of time, they eventually were absorbed
into the religious and political life of Ireland.
This also included intermingling with the
natives.  Well, DNA doesn't lie and our family
has Viking blood!  A male descendent with the
family name can be tested and one of my cousins
accepted the challenge and here we are ~ Vikings!
Another interesting branch of the family tree.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wanted: Quintessential American Christmas Village

I'm asking for help from the readers of the
American Homestead.  I'm working on a new
project and I'm looking for small towns
that evoke a quaint charm, they would need
to be within a 12 hour drive of Indianapolis.
I'm looking for sweet, little cottages
dripping with gingerbread trim.
Old fashioned downtowns with old-timey
holiday décor festooned across Main Street.
A place with décor consisting of more holly,
berries and pine than plastic.
I need to take photographs and snow would
be a nice addition, so somewhere with snow
in November or December.  Perhaps Wisconsin
or Michigan?  If you have any ideas, please
leave a comment or contact me by email.
Thank you!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Elle's Kitchen: Green Curry w/ Tofu

I'm spoiled, I've been lucky to be able to travel
to Thailand and eat the fabulous food of that
country.  I still wake up craving Thai food ~ it
is hot ~ it is spicy ~ it is delicious!
The downside is I live in a small Midwestern
town and I can't always find ingredients to
recreate the tastes I experienced in Asia.  But
this recipe has ingredients that I can find in
the foreign food aisle of a local grocery store.
2 14 oz. cans coconut milk  (I
used one regular and one lite)
4 oz. jar green curry paste  - Please note:
I love screamin' hot food and the brand of 
curry paste I used was not very hot.  Start with 
a tablespoon or 2 and see how it tastes for you.
 1 pkg. extra firm tofu, cubed
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp.  oyster sauce (you can find vegetarian
oyster sauce or use 1 tabl. soy sauce instead, 
if you want it completely vegetarian)
 1 8 oz. can bamboo shoots
1 c. frozen peas
1 small onion chopped
1 red pepper and 1 orange pepper, sliced thin
Okay, so I consulted with my Asian food guru
(my brother) and he said the green curry pastes he
gets from the Asian markets are very hot.  So,
use a bit and see how it tastes, you can always
add more if you want it hotter.  He also found
an Asian market within an hour of my home
that I had never noticed before... thank you!
In a deep pot combine the coconut milks
and the curry paste and heat on medium.

Add brown sugar and the oyster sauce.

Add tofu, onions and peppers.

Add peas and bamboo shoots and simmer
on low for 20 minutes so everything is
heated through.
Pull out your Asian dishware and serve over
rice.  See where I get my dishware here:

Then get together and eat with the ones
you love.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Long Lost Bennington

Many years ago when I spent most of my
free time rummaging through boxes at
garage sales, church sales and flea markets,
I bought this Bennington Pottery loaf pan.
It was a perfect cooking vessel, the design
was simple and clean and it held the heat
well.  And it was just so New England.
From researching the date, I guess this was
made sometime in the 1960's.  That 1874 is
a model number and not a date and the dg
is the guy who reopened Bennington.
Somewhere in the past 20 years, in making
room for toys and kid stuff, I realized it was
gone.  I couldn't remember selling it, I often
searched for it but always came up empty.  I
was afraid I had had one of those regrettable
purging moments and sent it off to the thrift
shop.  One night last January, I was having
dinner with a friend and was talking about
this long, lost piece.  The next day I was
searching the house for something else when
voila ~ there it was, stuck in a box with some
of my childhood toys and college memories.
So last night as the air was turning cold, I
whipped up some pumpkin bread in the
Bennington.  I predict I'll be having some
for breakfast this morning.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Day in the Country

It is Harvest Time in the American Midwest and
Mr. Wonderful and I are both at home at our
American Homestead, Avalon.
We decided to get out on this beautiful day and
spend the day getting lost in the country.  Oh, this
photo is not our home, it is a photo I took as we
sped along a country lane ~ isn't it adorable?
As we passed through the downtown of a
nearby city we spied this sign.  We decided
we had better eat since we didn't know what
we'd find in the middle of nowhere.
I had the Cheeseburger Pie, it was tasty!
Then we were off!  Stopping at antique
shops along the way.
We had the whole day ahead of us. We
stopped to talk to the animals we found.
I was making kissy noises and telling
these horses they were so beautiful and
as we pulled up a bit further on the road
I saw there was a man standing just behind
the tree on the left.  I smiled and waved,
and then turned red...
Don't they look like they are kissing?
I love how this silo has been repurposed.
I'd like for that to be my reading nook.
The farmers were out harvesting their
crops.  I could watch those corn-pickers
all day.
There is the harvest.
We stopped at a farm where we used to take
our kids pumpkin picking many years ago.
Some more antiquing in a tiny town in the
middle of nowhere.  They had great pieces
here.  Where do they buy and how do they
stay in business in this sleepy town?
I love seeing the old courthouses
in the county seats.
And then it was on to Purdue University. 
If you look closely, you can see the Boilmaker
train going by.  It was a beautiful Fall day and
the campus was alive with activity, the band
was practicing and parading along 3rd Street,
people were strolling and skateboarding...
Here is the gorgeous Engineering Fountain,
it was designed by my friend Becky's Dad.
The clocktower ~ if you zoom in to the clockface
you will notice the 4 is IIII, not the typical Roman
numeral IV.  They thought that looked too much
like IU, their archrivals, and they couldn't have
that.  Our Kate tells us, at football games a cheer
will always go up saying, "IU sucks!" ~ no matter
who they are playing.  Often the players from
Michigan, Iowa or wherever will look up in the
stands, perplexed.  So they tell them, "yeah, it
doesn't matter who we're playing, IU still sucks."
Now as parents of an IU student as well, we have
to be fair.  Our IU "Hoosier" tells us, they don't
even respond to this, they just KNOW they are
Then we spent the evening at a lecture
given by Madeleine Albright.  Our Kate
fit us into her busy schedule ~ between
classes, pumpkin carving and late night
studying.  Glad you could join us Kate!