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.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Wool Gathering

Recently I have started working with felted 
wool as well as wool felt (confusing, right?).

Wool felt is a nonwoven product, it is felt like 
we know from when we were kids but made
with wool so it is very beautiful felt.

Felted wool is a woven product,  do you have
a 100% wool skirt or blazer?  That's the kind 
wool I am talking about but then that fabric 
is washed in hot water and dried, you are 
trying to shrink it.  The reason for that is 
when we are doing wool applique work we
want the fabric to be tightly woven so when 
we cut it in small pieces, we don't want the 
edges to fray but to keep its shape.

I find felting my own wool to be very fun.  I
buy old wool garments at garage sales and
thrift shops and cut it apart and felt it.  You
certainly can buy beautiful wool felt, I just
feel it is like a treasure hunt to find the 
lovely woolen garments on my own.

Here are some gorgeous browns and tans.

Lovely blues and greens.

And some grays and blacks.

Once I'm finished writing my current book, 
I will be designing some wool applique pieces.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Gift From Quiltmaker

I just got home and found a little box waiting for me 
outside my front door.  It contained a few presents
and a card from Quiltmaker magazine, thanking me
for participating in the 100 Blocks, Vol. 9 issue.
Well, thank you Quiltmaker!
That was lovely of them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

It was a beautiful Spring day here today.  It was
sunny but still had a coolness to the air.  Later in
the afternoon the wind started picking up and now
at 7pm, it is getting cold even though the sun is still
up.  We may get a frost tonight so I just went out 
and covered some plants.

Here at our American Homestead, Avalon, we 
believe in making the world a more beautiful 
place and for us, we find beauty in nature.
Mr. Wonderful came home today with a 
forsythia shrub and a few knock-out roses.
I planted some lily of the valley earlier in the
day.  Planting perennials is a great way to add
to the beauty of your home, they return year
after year.

These hostas grew a few inches today.  We have
hostas all over our gardens and they all started 
from just a few plants and years of dividing them.

I got this little pussy willow start from one of
my favorite Master Gardeners.  I planted it 
last Fall and with the terrible Winter we had,
I wasn't sure if it survived.  About half of it 
broke off over the Winter and I've been 
waiting to see some sign of life from it.  And
today, on Earth Day, I saw the first new 
growth ~ it lives!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Grape Hyacinths

A true sign of Spring for me is when the grape hyacinths 
come into bloom.  I noticed the first ones today out in my
little garden by the pond.  

I've arranged them with a bit of soft lamb's ear in a mini
white hobnail vase and they will go on my bedside table.

When I wake up in the morning, the scent of the hyacinths
will be the first thing I notice, even before I open my eyes.

Loving Spring!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

We spent a quiet Easter Sunday at Avalon,
our American Homestead.  Our Kate came 
home from school for the weekend so I thought
I'd make something vegetarian for Easter dinner.
But Mr. Wonderful had other ideas, he wanted
a ham.  I made some veggie side dishes also.

Tomato/Mozzarella Salad ~ A family favorite.

Cauliflower/Pea Salad ~ this has always been
one of Kate's favorites.  When my kids were little
they loved peas like other kids loved M&M's.  I
considered myself very lucky.

The best scalloped potatoes I ever made.
I wrote Keeper: Delicious! on the recipe.

A spiral sliced ham with a honey crust,
we'll be eating this all week...

After dinner we walked across the backyard
to have the egg cake with my Mum and sister
Trishie.  It was delish!

From our American Homestead to wherever 
you may call home, I wish you a joyous Easter.

We missed you Brennan!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Elle's Kitchen: Bunny Hops

Kate was coming home for the weekend so
I was decorating the house for Easter yesterday.

I decided to mix up a little Spring time cocktail
to go along with the Springtime decor.

First I mixed a bit of honey and water together
and rubbed it on the rim of the glass and then
dipped the rim in green sugar.

1 1/2 oz. Whipped Cream Vodka
1/2 oz. Triple Sec
3 oz. Half & Half
dash of grenadine

Mix ingredients together and pour into glasses.
Add a peep to the edge (bunny peeps would be
better but this is all I had) and a few jelly beans.

My review is, they looked great and festive.  I 
felt the vodka made them very strong, next time
I would try something like a White Chocolate
Liqueur, I think that would make it tastier.


Friday, April 18, 2014

100 Blocks: Twice is Nice!

When I got home today there was a package 
waiting for me ~ I love presents!

Inside the package were issues of the most 
recent edition of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks
Collector's Edition, Vol. 9 magazine.

Even more exciting is my block was chosen 
as one of the 100 blocks, it is called Felicity
and it is on page 30.

To add to the excitement, my wallhanging
using the block was chosen to be included in
the Designer's Gallery, it is on page 14.

I'm thrilled, what a great way to start off
the Easter weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Where Are You?

I guess you have really gone into hibernation when 
even facebook is asking you, "Where are you?"

I'm here!

Though my mind may be placing me in some exotic
and exciting locale, in reality I am busy at work.
So far, I have written 16 chapters for Book #2 and
I have completed 20 of the 21 projects.  I'm hoping
to complete the first draft of all the chapters by next
week and then I will have to shift my attention to 
prepping for International Quilt Market which starts
one month from today ~ yeeps!

I will be promoting my first book, American Homestead
Quilts at Quilt Market this year so at least all of the 
projects are finished and ready to hang in the booth.

I will also be bringing along the feltwork patterns and 
a new product that will launch this year in response
to all the requests I received from my customers 
last Fall in Houston ~ stay tuned for more info.

So there is a little catch-up of where I have been and
where I will be for the next month.  I'm hoping life will
get a little more exciting in June.  I still have travel 
blog posts to write from my trip to Spain in January
and February, time is just flying...

Enjoy Spring (if it ever really comes)!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy 91st!

Today is my Mum's 91st birthday.  My sister 
and I enjoyed a lovely dinner with her.  She had
people calling to wish her well, birthday cards
 arrived, flowers were delivered, we had cake 
and then opened presents.

One of the presents I gave her was handmade
by me, a tea cozy for her teapot.

Happy, Happy Birthday!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Oh Not Again!

Just when we thought Spring was finally here, 
the snow shovel was stored in the shed a few
days ago and the winter coats were placed in
the back of the closet...  Our local weatherman
told us today it will be in the 20's by morning.
Oh yippee. AND there may be snow.  What?

I just ran outside in the rain to pick bundles of 
daffodils, just in case they don't make it through
the cold snap.  At least I'll have some Spring
inside for a few days.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Astronauts and Sorority Girls

We headed out bright and early today to 
drive through the beautiful farmland and
cross the state to visit...

Purdue University.

It was Mother's Day at the Sorority House.  
We got to mingle with Moms and daughters, we 
were treated to a lovely lunch and the best part
was being able to spend time with our Kate.

It was a perfect Spring Day and the campus 
was filled with people enjoying the beautiful
weather.  It was Spring Fest today, the 
Boilmaker was driving around campus.

Tonight there is a reunion of alumni who
have become astronauts.  Purdue has 23
graduates who have become astronauts.
This frathouse was welcoming back one of
their brothers to campus, Gene Cernan, 
the last man to walk on the moon.

Of course, another graduate was Neil Armstrong,
the first man to walk on the moon.

I am amazed at the amount of time the students
of today spend on their studies.  We are always 
hearing from our kids about the multiple all-night
study sessions that they have weekly, yes, weekly.

Did you know that Purdue is ranked number 8 in 
the list of the 16 colleges and universities where it
is the hardest to get an "A"?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Feathering the Nest

The animals we see on our hikes always keep 
us entertained, especially the squirrels. For
one thing, there are so many of them and for
another thing, they are crazy!
This guy was feasting on a treasure that was
probably buried beneath the snow all winter.

This guy had been drinking from this big puddle.
I was shooting this from a distance and into the 
light so I thought he was still drinking and it 
wasn't until I got home and saw he had turned 
around to pose for the camera.

These two were so busy, they were stuffing 
their mouths with leaves and trying to run 
up the tree without losing the leaves.

I was distracted by the one still on the ground
when Mr. W yelled, "Look where he is going!"
Into a little hole in the tree, it must be Spring
cleaning time.  I wonder if babies are on the way?
We will keep an eye out for them...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's A Start!

Weeks ago, I ordered some seeds online.  They
are varieties I can't find in my local shops.  There
is a lemon cucumber, an interesting eggplant and
a tomato that is the size of a red current.  You may 
ask, why would you want a tomato the size of a red 
current?  I found this tomato plant a few years ago
at the annual plant sale of a local master gardener.
She always tries new things but last year she didn't 
have any left by the time I got to the sale.  The tiny
tom packs alot of punch.  I would snack on them as 
I was working in the garden and found they were 
great to throw into a pasta salad or couscous and
they were an absolute surprise in egg salad.  What 
is great about them is the small size, the taste and
the fact that they are added whole to the salad and
they then do not add extra moisture to the dish.

Back when I had more time, I had my own 
potting trays and grow lights, I would mix my
 own potting soil mix, oh, those days are long 
gone...  So, I am trying one of these store bought
trays filled with peat pellets.  I had to gradually
add 10 1/2 cups of water to make the pellets
enlarge.  Then you drop the seeds into little 
indents in the pellet and cover with the peat.
I thought they seemed awfully water soaked.
Well, I'll let you know if anything grows.
Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Happy Place!

After a long, hard Winter of unrelenting cold,
too much work and too little time out of doors,
we hit the trail today.  I love how the soft early
morning sun makes everything look so pretty.

Someone has added some bottle gourds 
for birdhouses.

The white leaves catch the light so beautifully.
Why are they white?

The mosses and lichens are a brilliant 
green, they seem to glow against the
brown of the fallen leaves.

I love the dappled sunlight as it comes through
the still barren trees.

The river is very high due to the April
downpours showers.

We got to catch up with old friends.

And Mr. Cardinal serenaded us from
the treetops.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Day With Our Guy in Bloomington

Today was a beautiful Spring day in the 
American Midwest.  A much appreciated
Spring day after the long, rough Winter
we have experienced.

We headed a few hours southwest to 
visit the beautiful campus of Indiana
University in Bloomington.

Our guy in Bloomington, Brennan was
being honored today as a Founders Scholar.

There are a lot of smart kids at IU, well 
over 3000 students were being honored 
today at the Honors Convocation.

Here is our guy shaking hands with
the representative from his school.

Afterwards, there was a reception outside
around the fountain.

At the library there was a book sale and since
it was almost the end of the day, we were told
you could fill a box for $2.  Yeeps!  I regret I 
didn't buy one of the big old dictionaries, I have
always wanted one of them on a stand in our
house and the price was certainly right...

Then it was off to explore campus and 
enjoy the fabulous day.  IU is a beautiful
campus and it is fun to walk around and 
admire the architecture.  Look at that 
gorgeous blue sky!  It is the kind of sky 
that my British friend Lucie Anne used to 
call a lovely American sky.

I had never noticed these lampposts before.

This quote generated a long discussion
of life-blood.

Then it was out through the Sample gates
to find some ice cream.

I love a good ice cream shop with an 
inventive ice cream maker.  I tried
dark chocolate with basil and blueberry
with lavender.  I was disappointed that
they ran out of the Drunken Pig flavor ~
bacon, maple syrup, bourbon and pecans.

Tons of people were out and about in
Kirkwood today.

We kissed our guy good-bye and headed home and
were delighted with this spectacular sunset.