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, November 30, 2013

Life in the Country

There are few things that make this
city girl happier than heading out
for a day in the country.

Hopping in the car with a snack
and my camera, NPR on the radio.

A country road trip to me means no
interstates, I don't even like state roads
anymore.  I want to be on a lonely
country road.

I love to be able to pull over and
take pictures of the old barns,

or animals that just happen to be
hanging out at the side of the road.

Today was a chilly but beautifully
sunny day, which just made the trip
even better.

This guy looks like he's talking
to me.

Piercings?  Kids these days...

I love the little awnings on this barn.

And I'm always happy to see the
county seats that kept the old
city halls, they are beautiful.

Holiday Ornament Class

Come join us for a Holiday
Felt Ornament Class on
December 8th, 2014.
Details follow:
Choose one of the 13 felt
ornament patterns and
get a felt roll kit for $10.
Register now!
Come stitch for a few hours, enjoy
holiday music and cookies.  Perfect
for getting in the holiday spirit!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Birthday American Homestead!

Today is the 3rd anniversary of the launch
of the American Homestead blog.  It was a
"milestone" birthday for me and I thought
a great time to start a new venture in life.
I had a little point and shoot digital camera
that I didn't know how to use.  A new laptop
that was even more foreign to me.  I didn't
even know how to get the photos from the
 camera to the laptop. 
My daughter set up a Blogger account for
me and sent me off to eastern Europe with
an index card with  step-by-step instructions
and somehow I figured it out even while on
a boat sailing along the Danube with a very
sketchy wifi signal.
So, today I am launching my new blog,
Homestead Travels.  It is a blog with
stories and photos from my travels and
my style of traveling.  I hope it will be a
place to exchange information about
places you have been or places you are
going to.  Please follow along on this
new journey:
Explore, Dream, Discover!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States!
A day to gather with your loved ones and feast
on turkey and all the trimmings ~ and then there
is pie.
From our American Homestead, Avalon, to
wherever you may call home, we wish you
good health and happiness and all the best
for you and those you love.

Friday, November 22, 2013

My Guest Appearance

I was up well before dawn this morning to
drive a few hours south to Columbus, IN to
make a guest appearance at the Quilter's
Holiday Extravaganza.

This is what I call the American Homestead
Corner of the booth of The Quilt Shoppe.
Dawn had a little table set up for me where
I could demonstrate the stitching on the felt
ornaments, sign some autographs and show
people the ways they can use the feltwork in
their homes all year round.
The new felt kits in the American Homestead
European Folk Art colors are now available.
I wish I could wheel this little cart home
with me!
I love how the folk art colors look on
this white tree.
The extravaganza continues on Saturday
until 4 pm.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quilter's Holiday Extravaganza

Friday morning (11/22) I will be at the
Quilter's Holiday Extravaganza in Columbus, Indiana.
I will be demonstrating how to make my felt
ornaments in The Quilt Shoppe's booth.
Come by and say hello.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

International Shopping Spree

By this time next week our Thanksgiving
houseguests will have arrived!  That can
only mean it is International Week at our
American Homestead, Avalon.
We spent most of the day cleaning windows
and working on the lawn and gardens and
then headed down to the big city to start
gathering the products that will make our
meals interesting and delicious.
We started in the Asian market.
Then on to the Indian Market.  We didn't
buy much here because our guests live near
Iselin (Edison), NJ and that has been nick-
named Little India and the shopping there
is spectacular so those products will be
traveling across the country with them.
Then a stroll through a Mexican Tienda
just because it is big and filled with fun stuff.
And finishing up at Trader Joe's where
you can always find unique and tasty items.
I can't wait for the fun to begin!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Enjoy Being A Girl!

Last Spring I was visiting the beautiful city
of Gent in Belgium.

While walking along one of the streets
I came upon this sweet little shop.

It was decorated in a style many of us would
 like if we had a little room of our own.  Creamy
walls and soft pastel colors and lovely soft

The merchandise was just the kind of
things we girly girls love.  Sweet little
girl dresses, jewelry, linens, umbrellas
that seem to be more like parasols.
In the center in the bottom of the photo
are antique little boxes filled with jewelry.
I spotted a pair of earrings that I loved
and had to have them.
I was having lunch with a friend today and
I was wearing the earrings and I told the story
of being so happy in this little boutique.  It wasn't
merely that the shop and merchandise was pretty.
It was the experience that was lovely.
The packaging to take home was as nice
as the jewelry.  The earrings were placed
in tissue and then put in a simple fabric
bag then in a cellophane bag with their
 business card.  And 6 months later
I still have the wrapping and look at it
and enjoy the lovely memory.


Friday, November 8, 2013

My First Book!

Just about a year and a half ago I attended my
first International Quilt Market as a vendor.  I
had just started a quilt pattern design business
and this was my first big time exposure in the
quilt world.
I was in my booth at Market one day and I was busy
with customers.  My fabulous Mr. Wonderful was there
to lend a helping hand, he's great with a hammer and nails
but a needle and thread ~ hmmmm, not so much...
So a woman came into the booth and started asking Rob
some questions which he tried to answer, finally he
confessed,  "I'm just the driver."  To which the woman
replied, "Oh, you're adorable", she then gave him a card
and said she was the Publisher at C&T Publishers.  When
 I finished up with my customers Rob gave me the card
and told the story.  It was a cute story but I was so sad
because I would have LOVED to have had a chance to
speak with a big time publisher.  A short while later
another woman came into the booth and said she was
the Creative Director or C&T Publishing.  She said her
publisher made her come visit this time since she had
been to my booth 3 times already and didn't want to
look like a stalker ~ ha ha!  So we gabbed about quilting
and publishing and old time paste-up methods and when
I returned home the conversations continued and soon
 enough I had a book contract!
And here we are a year and a half later, all the edits
are in and the book is heading to the printer.  I have
learned so much in the past 18 months and it has been
 a fascinating education.  So much energy goes into
making a book and so many people are involved.  It has
 been a wonderful experience.  I can't wait until I actually
 get to hold the book and flip through the pages, that is
still a few months away but the book is available for
 pre-order right now at the following sites:
From C&T:
From Amazon:
I hope everyone enjoys the book!
From my American Homestead,
I wish you All the Best,
~ Ellen
Ps. Please share this post with your friends!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Present Perfect: Handcarved Indian Woodblock

This is a present I gave myself and
I plan to give myself many more...
They are made for printing designs onto
fabric or paper.  I often see blocks like
this on my travels but I don't buy them
since I'm generally throwing my luggage
onto trains, boats, tuk-tuks, planes and
other assorted modes of transport and
I was afraid they would chip or break.
Since this trip I only had to get home
from Houston, I finally bought one!
And... it is a Paisley/Persian Pickle/Welsh
Pear design which is one of my favorite
design elements of all time.  I plan to print
it onto fabric and add additional embroidery.
And... these woodblocks are handcarved by
families in India and the income from the
blocks being sold in Europe and the USA 
has helped 40 families earn enough money
to get electricity in their homes and pay for
their children to attend school ~ and that
is a great thing!  Here is the link to where
you can purchase them:
I think this will become my new travel
project.  It will be something I do for me.
The presents multiply...