Thursday, December 30, 2010

Scrappy Days!

This is what I have been working on over the last week or so. I got into my batik scraps and cut 6 1/2" squares out of as many as I could and then cut 1 1/2" x 11" strips out of the rest. I didn't count them as I cut, but I ended up with enough to make a 60" x 72" lap quilt. I am not planning on adding a border and I hope to find a back on a clearance sale somewhere. I also have been cutting the same pieces out of my regular cotton scraps and I will piece that one next.

By the way, I sewed this and the preceding t-shirt quilt on a machine without a light. My machine bulb burned out the same day that both bulbs went out in our oven! I have 3 Janomes and they all have different bulbs-GRRR!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Harley Davidson & the T-shirt Quilt

I have come to a momentous decision. I know you are on the edge of your seat! Here it is. In homage to Ree Drummond, AKA The Pioneer Woman, and due to the fact that my husband has specifically asked me not to use his name here or on Facebook, I will here to for refer to him as "Harley Davidson". Or just HD when I am feeling especially lazy, which is an awful lot of the time! Anyway, it is because of his line of work that he prefers to remain anonymous. No, he is not a spy or a celebrity.

Moving is my latest quilt! I was given the shirts by Harley Davidson about 6 months ago and I really think that he believed that I stuffed them in the closet and forgot about the whole thing. I kind of did for a few months, but then I thought what a great Christmas gift it would make and I got busy. The sashing is one of the regular cotton versions of the "Stonehenge" line and the back is one of the flannel versions of the same line. I also included a couple of the tags from the shirts in the center top block. They were pretty neat looking and I hated to throw them away. As you can tell, he was very happy with his present!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
-Charles Dickens

Merry Christmas to all, peace on Earth, good will to men!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peggy's Pecan Pie

As I start my cooking for this weekend, I thought I would share this great idea from my friend, Peggy. Peggy is one of the ladies in the Creative Hearts ministry at First Baptist in Marble Falls and she is a great cook.

You use whatever pecan pie recipe that you like, but before you pour the filling into the crust, you put some chopped, fresh cranberries and orange zest in the bottom of the crust. I know, but it is crazy good, in fact, I have been told it is the best pecan pie ever! Even if you are not a cranberry fanatic like me, you will still like this. It cuts the sweetness of the filling in a most perfect way.

Of course, then I put The Pioneer Woman's Whiskey Maple Cream Sauce on top ;)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Doris' Elegant Toffee

Although I love to cook and do it a lot, making candy has always intimidated me. Yes, I know. I guess it is the requirements of temperature, soft ball, hard crack, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, when I got this recipe from my cousin Doris (she's actually my mom's cousin, but I digress, again) I thought it sounded pretty straight forward.
Here's what you need.
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1-12 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Here's the method.
On a foil lined baking sheet, arrange the pecan halves in single layer over about 2/3 of the sheet.
In a sauce pan, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly until butter is melted. Continue stirring until the mixture starts to brown , about 7-9 minutes. I know, it sounds like a long time-it's worth it! If you are a slave to the candy thermometer, you are looking for 300 degrees. At that time, pour the hot mixture over the pecans on the baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle the whole bag of chocolate chips over the hot butter concoction. Wait a minute, and then use an offset spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the cooling toffee. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts and allow to cool. You can speed this up by placing the sheet pan in the fridge. I use a fork to break up the toffee into pieces. This makes a great gift. Seriously, it is possible not to eat it all yourself. Or so I've heard!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Finally Almost Finished!

Well, here it is, my latest project, sans binding. I pieced this in the spring in Rockport and finally found a back while in Missouri last week. The pattern is called "Brickwork" and it is comprised entirely of 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles. I made this almost completely from my stash! I quilted it with a fall leaf pattern in a rust thread.

My next plan is to get into my scrap bin and cut up what I can into rectangles and make a scrappy version of this pattern. That is, of course, after I quilt all the customer quilts I have and complete the other 82 projects I have planned!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turkey Talk

Okay people, here it is, my hands down favorite (to date!) turkey recipe. I always make my hubby and I a turkey of our very own. We love us some turkey and I like to see what I can make out of the leftovers. I have done turkey many ways, but this recipe provides the most flavorful meat of them all. If you love the flavors of the Southwest, you should absolutely give it a try. Without further ado, here it is, Poblano and Cilantro Roasted Turkey.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cranberry Salsa

Okay, here it is, the most popular thing I have made so far this holiday season-Cranberry Salsa! I got the recipe from Food Network chef Melissa D'Arabian's show about leftovers.
Here's the link,

This salsa has a great flavor and is not hot if prepared according to the recipe. You could certainly amp it up with more jalapenos.

This stuff is so good I am planning on making it to give as gifts! So, if you get a jar from me, act surprised!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanks, Lisa!

My precious friend Lisa has posted one of my fave recipes on her blog this morning! Here's the link,

I met Lisa and her twin sister Lana in first grade when they joined the church my family attended. The photo is our second grade church choir. Lana & Lisa are the tall girls on the front row and I am on the back row. We became fast friends and remained so through school. We grew up and followed our own paths and then in the summer of '09 when I finally joined Facebook, we reconnected. I have been amazed at how much we still have in common.

Be sure to check out Lana's blog, as well, Both of these gals are fabulous cooks and have wonderful recipes. It is hard to believe we used to think cold pizza and canned ravioli were luxe cuisine!

Quilted hugs to Lana & Lisa!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cornbread Dressing

I thought I would share some of the dishes that I will be making for our holiday gatherings. This is my version of Cornbread Dressing. It is not exact, everything should be to your taste.

Chop 1 large yellow onion, about 1 cup of celery ( I use the leafy ends, as they have more flavor) and 1 large peeled Granny Smith apple. Sweat these in a stick of melted butter in a skillet. Meanwhile, brown some sausage of your choice, I use Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage, and drain the drippings. In a large bowl combine the onions, celery, apples, and the sausage. I add 1 bag of prepared stuffing mix, Pepperidge Farm or comparable and one 9 x 13 pan of cornbread that I have prepared earlier in the week and crumbled. Stir all this together and add 2 cans of chicken broth. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper, sage, thyme or other herbs of your choice. I had Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, so I chopped some and added it. When it is to your taste, add 2 eggs and mix thoroughly. Pour into a greased casserole and bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes then uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes.

In the rush to get everything and everybody to the table, I didn't get a photo of the baked dressing. However I did get a pic before it was completely gone!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pumpkin Construction

I hope you enjoy the following slide show of my latest project. Once again one of my super creative friends has inspired me! My friend Mojo made me a set of these wonderful templates and suggested using decorator fabrics for the pumpkins. I kind of went on a "pumpkin bender", as you can see, 11 in one evening! I know, it is totally out of character for me to get consumed by a new project ;) Anyway, thanks so much to Mojo for the templates and the inspiration!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pecan Pie Muffins

That's right, I said, "Pecan Pie Muffins"! So simple, so delicious, so easy and I bet you have the ingredients in your pantry at this very moment.
Here's the method:
Combine 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 cup chopped pecans and 1/2 cup flour in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat 2 large eggs until foamy and stir in 1/2 cup melted butter. Add butter and eggs to dry mixture and mix just until combined.
Place foil baking cups in a muffin tin and spray with cooking spray. Fill the cups 2/3 full of batter. If you use a full size muffin tin, you will get 9 muffins, if you use a mini muffin tin (my personal preference) you will get 24. Bake at 350 for 20-20 minutes for full size muffins and 15 minutes for mini muffins. These may not look done in the center, that is good! The edges should look crisp. Don't try to use a toothpick to test them for doneness.
These are a wonderful holiday "go to" for family and friends. They probably freeze well, but I wouldn't know as they are never around our house long enough to find out!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Saving The World From Ugly Sweaters"

Yep, that's the slogan of Jax Hats of Montana! They use "preloved" clothing to make these adorable hats. I got mine at the Missoula Farmer's Market, but you can get your own at or

Monday, October 25, 2010

While In Missoula...

Theresa took Aunt Pat and I to a wonderful fabric shop called "Selvedge Studio". It is downtown on Higgins and Theresa said that it was very "Gretchen"-she was right! Great fabrics, notions and ideas galore and the owner, Leah, was gracious and friendly. After telling Leah about my selvage foot stool, I sent her a picture and she featured it on her blog! Here's the link, Also be sure to check out her website at to see what is hot in cool Montana!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quilting Diva/Road Warrior

I may have been gone, but I definitely have not forgotten you, my dear followers! I hope you enjoy the slide show and forgive me for not getting every one's name. Congrats to Taneal & Jake and thank you so much for including us in all the festivities!

Montana Memories

Saturday, October 9, 2010


As many of you know, our precious niece will be married very soon. We are so excited and cannot wait for all the festivities to begin. Here is a link to the blog of their photographer, They are "Jake and Taneal" of the connection session. Enjoy and stay tuned for more updates!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pot of Flowers Collage Pillow

It's finally finished, and only 2 1/2 months after I got home! You are not having deja vu, you have seen it before. I started this pillow in a class in Sisters. It was taught by Bari J. Ackerman and uses collage with fabric and embellishments. I even included a couple of selvages, including one from Bari's fabric line with her name on it. The final phase was "bling application", which you all know is mandatory for me! Check out Bari's blog,

Friday, September 24, 2010

Is Longarming Contagious?

It sure seems so! Who can resist the endless creativity and business opportunities that longarming offers? Not me! And, apparently not three of my quilting friends. You have met Kelleigh, Now meet Richla, Richla is getting her Statler very soon! In addition, my friend Londa recently found a steal on a gently used Gammill. She intends to use hers for the numerous charity quilts she makes. So, the moral of this story? Never say you will never invest in a longarm! You, my friend, could be next!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Welcome, Freckles!

Congrats to my friend, Kelleigh. Her new Gammill arrived yesterday! The pic on the bottom is her sweet husband and the delivery guy bringing in the components through a hole in the garage wall. Yes, her husband cut a hole in the wall between the garage and the stairwell to get the 12- foot long parts upstairs. How's that for supportive?! Way to go, Richard!! In the tradition of most longarm quilters, Kelleigh has named her machine. Meet "Freckles" the Gammill Vision Longarm!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Quilt Show Debut

Here we are, me and my lovely quilt show assistants! We had a great day, seeing old friends and making new ones. Many thanks to Kelleigh and Theresa for making the day so much fun and to the ladies of the Johnson City Quilt Guild for all their hard work.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Miles of Piles

This is just one of the many piles that currently occupy my sewing room. Who am I kidding? They are not confined to the sewing room! I mentioned in an earlier post that I have been working on some new things for my business. Well, the first one relates to the miles of piles. I am going to be a vendor at a local quilt show this weekend. The piles contain all the fabulous wares for my booth. Look for pictures early next week!

The second thing I am working on is a bus trip to the Houston Quilt Festival. I have chartered a bus! If you had asked me to do this 2 months ago, I would have said heck no (I did, in fact, say this to a couple of people!). As it turns out, I am getting really excited about it and the response has been very enthusiastic.

Theresa and I have been quilting for 10 years now. We took the Sisters trip to celebrate our "anniversary". I also vowed to take some classes and try some new things in 2010. I am continuing the theme of "getting out of my quilting box" in the business as well!

Stay tuned for pics of all the adventures!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

God bless America, today and always.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Adventures in Longarm Quilting

Yes, dear followers, today has turned out to be "one of those days"! As we continue to be deluged by Hermine, our power has begun to surge. That makes it rather difficult to operate an industrial machine that is powered by, you got it, electricity! I have finally conceded to Horrible Hermine and stopped out of concern for not only my sanity, but the welfare of dear Jacky. For those who don't know, Jacky is the name of my Gammill. She is named after my longarm mentor, Jacky Peterson, who died of breast cancer 2 months after I got my machine. I better run now and ready the ark, just in case Valentine, Jacky and I have to evacuate!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Did You Know?

Most of your favorite fabric manufacturers have free patterns on their websites? It's true! I mean, who doesn't love free?! Here are some of my faves, (under "Fun Stuff" in the header) (under "Quilts" in the header)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Operation "Bundles of Love"

Check out the Selvage Blog, today to find out how our soldiers are going above and beyond yet again to help the Iraqi people. We have more in common than we often think!

Calling All iPhone Users!

This is really neat, a practical app for quilters! Although I don't personally have an iPhone, I know a lot of quilters that do. This app could really come in handy, as it is a lot easier to keep your phone close to your machine than your laptop.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Scream, You Scream...

I don't actually scream, but this time of year, I crave ice cream, BAD! Here is a great, simple (3 ingredients!) recipe from my friend, Barbara.

Strawberry Ice Cream
Combine 2 1/2 cups strawberry soda, 1 can Eagle Brand and 1 pint finely chopped fresh strawberries. Freeze in an electric ice cream machine for about 30 minutes.

That's it! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Washington Pics

I hope you guys enjoy the following slide show! It took me a little while to finish up some of the projects I started at Ellen's, but they are all complete. Things are a little crazy at my house right now, as I am working on a couple of new things for the business-stay tuned!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sew Serendipity

I recently discovered this blog. This gal is from North Texas and has some really great patterns, as well as a recently released book. Her latest post is about a new fabric lounge in Dallas called "CityCraft". I can't wait to get to Big D to check it out! It happens to be near Sam Moon and United Notions, hmmm...I feel a business trip shaping up!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kinda Weird

Over the course of my life, I have probably only met about 10 other people named Gretchen. Well, my friend Carolyn found another Gretchen Thompson on Blogger! She is a photographer in, of all places, Seattle! Here's the link to her blog

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Becky's Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet

Ellen and I got this recipe from our friend Becky. Becky is not sure where she got it originally, so I am naming it after her. Although she resides in Washington now, Becky is from the South, you know the land of Buttermilk Pie and Buttermilk Fried Chicken and now, Becky's Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet. Thanks to her for such a great, easy recipe!

Here's all you need to do. Combine the following ingredients, 2 cups buttermilk (low fat is fine), 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla and freeze in an electric ice cream freezer, about 20-30 minutes.

Warning! This stuff is highly addictive!

Monday, August 9, 2010

What I Did Today

That's me modeling my Church Lady Apron. It's two aprons in one and a lot of fun to make. It is cool and rainy today, perfect for sewing! We went to the KWJZ Jazz Festival yesterday and it was great. The headliner was Fourplay, with Bob James-awesome music and a beautiful setting at the Chateau St. Michele Winery. Tomorrow we have Ellen's quilting bee, Space Needlers and I can't wait to see what they are working on!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Where's Gretchen?

Yes, dear followers, I have fled the heat of Spicewood for the home of my heart, Seattle. I know, it has only been 3 weeks since I was here, but what's a girl to do? By the way, I quilted 22 quilts in the 3 weeks that I was home! Seriously I am extremely blessed to have wonderful people in my life who encourage and enable me to do these kinds of things.

Ellen and I went to Stitch N Pitch last night, at Safeco Field. It was great! The Mariners played the Texas Rangers and the Rangers shut them out 6-0! Pictures will be up next week , as I am not on my computer. Tomorrow we will stay home and sew and then on Sunday we will attend the KWJZ Jazz Festival, If you have never been to this part of the country, you should try to get here at some point. It is so incredibly beautiful you almost cannot believe it.

Thanks for checking in on me and I will be back soon!

Monday, August 2, 2010

What's For Dinner?

Chili-Rubbed Tilapia with Asparagus and Lemon, that's what! I got this great recipe from Ellen. It is fast and healthy and we love it! Here's what you need:
2 lbs. asparagus, tough ends removed
2 TBSP. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 pound tilapia fillets
2 TBSP. olive oil
3 TBSP. lemon juice
Steam the asparagus for about 3 minutes on the stove top or in the microwave, drain and set aside. Combine the chili powder, garlic powder and 1/4 tsp. salt on a plate and dredge the tilapia fillets in this mixture. Heat oil in a large skillet and add the fish. Cook just until opaque, gently turning halfway through, about 5-7 minutes total. Remove the fish to a plate. To the skillet add the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, lemon juice and the asparagus. Toss until heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve the asparagus with the fish. I added wild rice because hubby is a rice man. A mixed green salad would be even healthier.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Living on the Edge

Just in case you have ever wondered how longarm quilters live dangerously (you know you have, admit it!), this is how! That is all that remained on the cone after quilting a queen sized customer quilt. There was even a fist pump involved in the completion, as I had been praying to have enough thread for the last two rows!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Branching Out

I really went out on a limb with this project! I have never made a garment this advanced, I mean this thing has darts! Amy's instructions were right on and I can't wait to make another one or three of these. I also used a serger to finish the seams, and did I mention it has a zipper? and darts?!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Good Intentions

I had planned to spend yesterday afternoon sewing, you know, dog at my feet, smooth jazz playing. It was not to be. Instead, I stood on our front porch and watched the water rise in the street in front of our house. Notice the proximity of the water to the back wheels of the car in the back. Thirty minutes after this video was shot, you never would have guessed that the water was that high or fast.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Project

The Stitchin' Post was selling these sewing cards and the kits to make these little wallets. Lynn bought each of her housemates a set as a gift-lucky us!! I think they are really cute and they are super easy to make out of scraps. I think that I shall have to make one out of selvages next!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

19 Years Ago Today!

Yep, that's us 19 years ago tonight! "My beloved is mine and I am his;" Song of Solomon 2:16

Thursday, July 15, 2010

LAM's Blog

Here's a link to my new friend Lynn's blog, She was one of my housemates in Sisters and she is a creator of amazing art quilts. Later this year, Martingale will publish her first book. Loved meeting you, Lynn!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Memories of Sisters

I hope you enjoy the slide show!

Back in WA.

Well, we arrived back in Woodinville yesterday afternoon and we were all exhausted. Ellen's sweet husband had Papa Murphy's waiting for us, so we ate and went to bed! Today we are taking Theresa downtown to the Pike market for lunch and shopping.

I am working on a slideshow of my pics from the quilt show and I hope to have it up by tomorrow. Have a wonderful day!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Fun

Here are the results of my Friday class, "Pretty Petals Apron". I had the same teacher as I did on Monday, Bari Ackerman. This is a really fun project and I got all but the last step completed in class. After class, I met up with my cousin, Doris and her friend Molly and we went to Bend and had a wonderful dinner at a place called 900 Wall. Now we are at home in our pjs having pizza and resting up for the big quilt show tomorrow!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Out & About in Sisters

Here I am in front of one of the many beds of poppies that are around town. Theresa & I went out this morning for a little "economic stimulation"! We worked up such a hunger that we had a delightful lunch at a cafe called Angeline's and coffee on the way home at the Sisters Coffee Company. In the afternoon we went out to the Shiburi Spa and had massages-FABULOUS! In the evening Ellen & I went and saw Ricky Tims performance at the school. Tomorrow is "Pretty Petals Apron" class and my cousin Doris is coming from the Portland area to meet up with me. The fun continues!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday In Sisters

Okay, I will spare you the weather report. I can't, I just have to say it, it was gorgeous again today! My class today taught me a really neat way to make a bunch of half square triangles. I used the triangles in my partial log cabin blocks and I got 20 blocks made in class-woohoo! The slide show in the previous post will show you the method as well as the little bag that I have been working on. The bag pattern is called BB Bags and it so cute! See you again tomorrow!