Thursday, September 30, 2010

First, Last, Everything*

*Apologies to Mr. Barry White

Today is our day! Pat asked us to join in on her Ruler Blog hop and maybe talk a little about our first quilt (or rug), a recipe, and some chat about her fab new rulers. Okey Dokey, here goes. Since I blogged about my first quilt here, Polly will tell you about her first rug!

" I made it much later in life than Laurie did her quilt, but then she was an exceptional baby
and I think made her first quilt when she was three or something like
that. I made my first rug in the late 70's when the three Minick Boys
were in high school or maybe it was almost 80's as that is when they
graduated and headed off to college. Anyway, either junior high, high
school or college - I was in need of hand work as we spent the better
part of our life at sporting events. They played baseball, football
and wrestled and in college we had two football players and one
baseball player. So you get the picture. Many months spent on
bleachers watching events. I was an avid antique collector and was
seeing hooked rugs at shows and I thought I would try that. It was a
very dismal start. As you remember I am the non-sewing half of Minick
and Simpson, but this was not sewing, and I thought I could do it.
I did teach myself to do the procedures to hook a rug. However,
now we needed design and color - that was a major problem. I was
buying my wool at the Thrift Shop in Ann Arbor and if I needed red, I
bought a red skirt. So the first rugs were not good at all as the
"as-is" color of clothing does not usually work. Now on to what
should I hook..... An antique friend from New England sent me a catalog
from Marion Hamm and I purchased a linen from her, went to a thrift shop
for wool and hooked the first rug. The rug is at one of our son's
house now (the son who is not so crazy about my rugs) . That is why he
has that rug. He seems to think it is OK but, it is not. The other boys
really like my rugs and the Marine wants them all. The first rug was
not my design, had terrible color - but it was completed, as bad
as it was. It must have somehow inspired me to try another. It took me
many years and more than 400 rugs, but I must say I am liking my rugs
now, but it sure took some time. My theory when I started was to hook
two rugs for our home and be done with it. It took me so long to make
a decent rug - that in the process I actually got "hooked" on hooking.
Thankfully as I love all aspects of the art now."

Note..... We can't find a photo of Polly's first rug, but this one was made that first year. We Think she is being kind of hard on herself. It's pretty good. Here is one of her more recent rugs. It's even better.
I had a "first" of my own today. IS EVERYONE SITTING DOWN?.... I machine quilted for the first time today. Yes, that walking foot that has been staring at me for 2 years now, finally got the best of me. I don't really know if I did it right. Actually, I'm pretty sure I didn't do it right. I don't even know if the walking foot was attached correctly, but I persevered. Here are my little flags.....
Yeah, they're quilted in the ditch. Big deal. Here is a close-up of my machine quilting that isn't in the ditch.
I was going to rip it out, but it's my "first machine quilting experience." Also, there are about 300 stitches to the inch. It's staying.

We were going going to blog a recipe too, but this is getting kind of long, so we'll save the recipe for next time.

Finally.... Pat's Rulers! Yes, they are everything everyone has said about them. You need them. What do I like about them? Well, I like that satisfying sound they make as the diamond edge sharpens your rotary blade as it passes by. Oh, it's a lovely, solid crunching sound that you know is working for you. I felt so efficient sharpening my blade as I worked. You all know how I LOVE multi-tasking.

Make sure to stop by today's other bloggers, Carrie and Cheryl.

Don't forget to comment on all the blogs and maybe these rulers will be coming to your house!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall, Family, and Furry suits

After a hot muggy summer, this past week has been glorious. This was spotted on our morning walk/squirrel hunt this morning.I'm not sure what they are, but it was a tall bush with tiny mum like fuchsia flowers all over it. Maybe it was some kind of mum hybrid. Lovely. The weekend was spent with hurried emails and plans and more plans as it is high season for quilt and fabric designers. I have a spiral notebook that I carry at all times with my ongoing "to-do" list. Every day I cross off 2 or 3 things. Every day I also add about 7 or 8 things. I need to practice meditation just to quiet all the noises in my head. Geesh.

If you got a chance to catch any football this weekend, maybe you saw Polly's son Jim. He was on the field with the Stanford football team when they played Notre Dame in South Bend. If you saw a tall, handsome Marine in full dress uniform - that was him. He was the honorary Captain of the team. This honor was given to him by his best friend and inseparable childhood pal - Coach Jim Harbaugh. For us, who knew each of them when they were small boys - this was a really fun game to watch.
Colonel Minick
Coach Harbaugh

We had a small family get-together this weekend for a birthday party. Kayce turned 1 and her big brother Mason turned 3. A great time was had by all. My pics of the party are not so good, but I did get a picture of the present the Polly and I gave Kayce.......She will be the hit at Halloween. Who could resist this adorable Tiger suit? When her Mom, Katie saw what she unwrapped, she exclaimed "Oh, A Tiger suit just like your Aunt Laurie wore." I was then asked if I had a suit like that when I was a toddler. No, I mumbled. Uhhmmm, I wore it in my twenties. Yeah, I kind of forgot about that. No Halloween party or Opening Day celebration was complete until I was there in the Tiger suit. Oh youth.
It will look much better on Kayce.

Make sure to go to and today for the start of the Ruler Blog Hop.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We're Still Here

Yep. Still here. I know I said I would post later on Sunday, but things got a little away from me. Nothing major, or even important - just life getting in the way. I know you all know how that goes. All that's been happening here is that I have gone through 80 yards of fabric making curtains for our booth at Quilt Market and quilt backings for our new quilts. Oh, and yes the washing machine is still on the fritz. After 4 visits from the repairman. FOUR. We thought we finally got lucky yesterday when a new repairman showed up and seemed to figure out the other repairman's mistakes. Hallelujah. Unfortunately a half hour after the new repairman left - our basement was under water. Yeah, we are starting to lose our sense of humor about the whole ordeal. So the fifth appointment was scheduled and lots of people at the appliance store are now waiting with fingers crossed as to the next installment of "As The Washing Machine Turns".

So it seems that in addition to my never ending "To Do" list, I will have to add Spend the weekend at the Laundromat to it.

Hey, it beats having real problems. How's it going with you?

Have you heard about our little blog hop? Starting next week this here bloggy thing will be included on Pat Sloan's Ruler Blog Hop. Keep watching and reading and look for this logo on this and other fabulous blogs.....Once the hop starts and you comment on all the blogs..... This is what you could win. Pat's new collection of rulers!
The other fabulous bloggers are:

See you at the HOP!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Morning Winners!

Good Morning, everyone! Sorry I didn't post the winners last night, but I fell asleep. Yep, I put in 12 hours of quilting yesterday and was out like a light at 11:30 last night. No problem...... the winners of the Charlevoix scraps and mystery pattern are:



Email me here, ladies and your packages will go out asap.

Let me get some caffeine in me, and I will post a little more later


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Birthday Boy

Today is Gibby's 1st birthday. We are so happy to have him. It has been the best dog year of our lives. This was Gibby this morning on our walk - aka "The Great Neighborhood Squirrel Patrol".I don't know what it is with his obsession with squirrels. I am hoping he kind of outgrows it.
This is Gibby helping me take a picture of my obsession the last couple of days.Piecing together little tiny bits of Charlevoix.

Remember that huge box of scraps that the Moda folks sent me?? Well, we had 3 winners of that contest a few days ago and I sent out 3 large boxes of scraps. I also sent out a few more to some bloggy friends. I barely made a dent in it. Post a comment about Gibby's birthday and you could get a box too. Also, it will include a pattern for what I am making with my tiny bits. Post before midnight September 18th and you could be an obsessive person too.


I had forgotten that this squirrel thing is not uncommon.....

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The oven has been on quite a bit today. First I made my favorite brownies and right now I have some stuffed peppers roasting. Finally, weather conducive to having the oven on.
These beauties, and others like them, were at the Farmer's Market yesterday. Everything is in season right now and there are not enough meals to take advantage of the bounty.

After we eat these for dinner (stuffed with Italian sausage, rice, onions, garlic, corn, celery, tomatoes, carrots and zucchini), we'll have my secret ingredient brownies for dessert. No. Not those kind of brownies and not that secret ingredient. My secret ingredient is maple syrup. Seriously, these might be my favorite dessert ever. I have seen people who are actually not fond of chocolate, go back for seconds on these. You have been warned.

Secret Ingredient Brownies

Brownie Batter:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder


2 cups walnuts, chopped
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 lb. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup Maple Syrup **secret ingredient**

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a sifter combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Sift into a 7 quart bowl and set aside.

In a 4 quart bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.

Heat 1/2 lb. butter with the water and 1/4 cup cocoa powder in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling mixture into the mixing bowl with the sifted dry ingredients, then add the egg and sour cream mixture. Use a rubber spatula to stir the mixture (don't worry if it looks like more of a mess than marvel at this point) until thoroughly combined. Transfer the batter to a 9 x 13 baking pan. Place in the center rack of the preheated oven and bake about 24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set on a cooling rack and start the icing.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the walnuts on a baking sheet in the oven for 8 minutes. Chop the walnuts and combine with the confectioners sugar in a large bowl. Heat 1/4 lb. butter with the heavy cream, Maple Syrup, and 1/4 cup cocoa powder in a 1 1/2 quart sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring to a biol. Immediately pour the boiling mixture over the sugar and nuts and whisk to combine. Pour the icing over the baked brownies and spread evenly. (brownies will still be warm) Allow to stand at room temperature 1 hour before cutting.

Bon Appetit


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

End Of Summer Blues......and Reds, Pinks, and Yellows.

Thank you everyone for saying nice things and letting us all get to know each other a little more. There really is something special about all the season changes, but Summer to Fall is undoubtedly the best. The next few weeks here in Michigan are what I call "sleeping weather." Those few weeks when it is mild enough to have all the windows open, yet you can pile on a couple of quilts at night.

Gibby is enjoying the cool snap too. His afternoon play dates run a little longer and are more energetic, if that's possible. Today, after his date he spent the day with me on the couch watching the U. S. Open. He's handsome, isn't he?
Okay, enough of the chit chat. The three winners of the Charlevoix scraps are....




Email me here and I will get your boxes out to you promptly. The quiltmaking here has gone swimmingly. I am on the second quilt top and I am happily pressing and trimming half square triangles.

Monday, September 6, 2010

How Was Your Day?

Hope your day is going great. Ours was very good. Did a little work, ran some errands and went to Lowe's with Bill to pick out a new bathroom faucet. Due to a recent plumbing problem, the sink and faucet need to be replaced. The shopping went surprisingly well. There have been times, in the past, when trips to these kind of stores didn't work out so well. After a small discussion, we picked out this.Like I said, it went well, but watching other people there today.... I'm thinking that Lowe's and Home Depot should put marriage counselors on the payroll. Instead of these needed counselors - what Lowe's offers to distract harried customers are magazine racks at the ends of the aisles. This can lead to perusing and serious daydreaming. I succumbed. So, starting with a new faucet..... my mind takes me to a complete overhaul into something clean and serene like this.

I wish. Maybe next Labor Day. Once the faucet was purchased it was a trip back home and back to work. Working on the new quilts for our Charlevoix collection, I discovered I needed to go to the store again. I had to run out and get 2 new spools of thread. It seems while I have gazillions of different shades of blue and red, I don't have pink or yellow. Go figure.

Remember, you have until midnight tomorrow to post on the entry below to get a chance on the Charlevoix scraps. Later.


Friday, September 3, 2010

I Get It! It's LABOR Day Weekend!

This holiday is very appropriately named. This was on my porch this morning.Even Gibby couldn't believe it. Those are big, heavy boxes stuffed with fabric. Our yardage for our next collection is here! We named it Charlevoix. Think summer.... The Great Lakes...... boating..... and cottages. Oh, and don't forget the cherries!
I'm cutting and stitching and I know what I will be doing for the next month. That's good. When you are working with fabric, it's always good. Oh, and look what the bosses down in Dallas found. It seems that they spent the last couple days cutting too. They cut all those salesman sample "cap sets" that the Moda people wave around. Those lovely swatches all lined up by color and design. Well, they had some scraps. One of those huge, heavy boxes, was nothing but scraps from those cap sets. Looky here.Selvage quilts?? Sure, I got you covered. String pieced quilts? You are covered there too. There is enough here for 3 LARGE Priority Mail boxes to be jammed packed full with them, and then some. Make a comment here before midnight Tuesday, September 7th and you could have a box coming your way. How about a comment about the end of summer; your favorite memory, or your favorite thing this time of year, or something else altogether. We're feeling magnanimous.

Polly and Laurie

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