Saturday, November 29, 2008

Home Sewn

Are you familiar with Kaari Meng and her fantastic shop, website, blog, and book? Well, the book is pictured above. Polly and I came across at Quilt Market and immediately fell in love with it. It is filled with EASY projects that will adorn your home and make it look as fabulous as her store - French General (I wish!). There are lovely little projects that can be made quickly and will look chic and can pass for antique. Kaari is a designer, collector, and maven of all things French and vintage. The fabrics she designs with and stocks in her store are to die for. Lovely worn linens (real linen, people!) and hemp and Toiles and much, much, more. Her blog is The Warp and the Weft, and the French General's website is someplace you can get lost for an afternoon.

Here is a little something I whipped up with her fantastic directions in Home Sewn. I have graduated from pillows to ottoman slipcovers. Please don't scrutinize it too closely, as it grew a bit during construction. This was NOT the fault of the wonderful Home Sewn directions!

And.....more exciting than the slipcover..... Kaari will design for Moda next year under the French General's name!! I cannot wait to see this collection. There will be both fabrics and home products. We haven't met Kaari yet, but we know she must be as cool as her stuff.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I am making out my grocery list for the feast. It will be a small one this year as it will be just Bill and I and the critters. All the family will be gathering for Christmas this year so the November feast is more low key. While we might be tempted to simplify it a bit since it is just us..... a turkey is still in the cards. Lorelei, my step-daughter (who will be here for Christmas) is a big fan of my Turkey Corn Chowder. It has become a ritual for the last few years that when she arrives here from the airport at Christmas - a warm bowl will be waiting for her. Of course, to make Turkey Corn Chowder, you have to make Turkey stock. To make Turkey stock you must roast a turkey... hence the full turkey dinner for Bill and I. As soon as we clear the kitchen, the turkey carcass (I wish there was a better word for it...) goes into the stock pot. Three hours later I have my stock. Once that is made and into the freezer - the soup is a breeze. Here's hoping you and yours have a wonderful holiday. Laurie

Turkey Stock

Turkey carcass of a 10-12 lb bird
2 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 cup hot water
1/2 cup white wine - optional
1 large onion, chunked
1 medium leek, cleaned and chunked - white part only
2 celery stalks, chunked
1 carrot cut into thirds
3 fresh parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme

In a large, heavy pot, add all the ingredients and fill with water to just cover. Bring to a boil. Skim off foam and reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Turn off the heat and let cool. Strain and discard solids. Use the broth immediately or freeze for future use.

Turkey Corn Chowder

4 slices bacon
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups cubed potatoes
2 cups cubed turkey
1 can (8 oz.) kernel corn
1 can (8 oz.) creamed corn
3 cups turkey stock
1 cup half and half
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

In a dutch oven, fry the bacon until it is crisp. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Crumble and set aside. Drain half the fat out of the pan. Add the onion to the dutch oven and saute, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the turkey, corn, creamed corn, half and half, pepper and basil. Heat thoroughly and serve. Garnish each bowl with the crumbled bacon.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I spent the morning at Kerrytown. It is a shopping district in Ann Arbor that holds within it's boundaries: Zingerman's, The Ann Arbor Farmer's Market, Vintage 2 Vogue, Sparrow Meat Market, Found, and many more wonderful shops. I did a little pre-holiday shopping in the Farmer's Market.The wonderful produce and wares, along with the crisp weather certainly put me in the holiday mood.

Next, I wandered into Found. Found is a great little shop that has antiques and artist made trinkets. Polly and I have found many things there that have inspired us, and have decorated our booth at market with Found treasures. They too were decked out in the holiday mood this morning.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Have Quilts, Will Travel

Last night I did a lecture/trunk show at the Plymouth Piecemakers Quilt Guild in Plymouth Michigan. There was very little lecture and more emphasis on the trunk show - which is how I like it. The more quilts I can show - the less I have to expound about myself. The Ladies and Gentlemen of Plymouth were warm, hospitable, and terrific quilters. Thanks again folks! I like to do trunk shows that are an easy drive. I can load up the SUV and show lots of quilts. This back of the Ford Escape was packed (and I only brought about half of what I have). As usual, most of the questions were about that magical, mystical place in Dallas called Moda Fabrics. Yes, it is as wonderful as you imagine it to be - even better! Polly and I are forever indebted to Moda, for no other reason than it is the ultimate ice breaker. Tell a room full of women that you design for Moda Fabrics and you are the belle of the ball. Thanks Moda. One of the questions I was asked last night is "Where do you store your quilts?" Well, it is now time to unpack and put them back into storage - which for me is the bed in the guest room. The quilts will be stacked "Princess and the Pea" style with over 100 quilts in the stack. So, if anyone has the idea of visiting here in Ann Arbor - a little prep time is required.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Update

We have had an early taste of winter here in the Midwest. This is our first snowfall of the year. The precipitation is meager, but it's a start. Yes, it's terrible to drive in and it means the utility bills will start to go up, but I still love snow. This Sunday is low key and contemplative. Bill is at hockey practice and I have an audio book playing while I try to come up with a quilt design. The design process is not flowing freely today. It is fighting me at every turn. As soon as I sit down at the drafting table, a new task occurs to me and I am off on another household chore/stall tactic. It's like that sometimes. Once in awhile the new ideas fall out of my head at such a speed you think they will never stop; and sometimes it's like today. Oh well. My next chore/stall tactic is to make a pot of tea. Lots of caffeine I think. Polly is in Southern California teaching a rug hooking workshop. The workshop is going great and she is enjoying herself, but the wildfires have everyone concerned. I hope they will soon be under control.

Oh, I can recommend the latest audio books that I have on loan from the library. They are "Case Studies" and "One Good Turn" by Kate Atkinson. Wonderfully written novels about private investigator Jackson Brodie who solves layered and convoluted mysteries in Scotland. NOT your average whodunit. I am on the waiting list for the next installment. I can't wait.

I'm going to start the tea and get back to work. Here's hoping your day, and work, is flowing freely.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pillow Update

Here are a couple more pillows I made for the sofa in the family room. This is where I do most of my work, assuming it is handwork. Usually it is. The pillows were not. I still have 3 pillows to finish but they will have to wait. It seems that the local chain store (which shall remain NAMELESS!) is out of upholstery zippers and has been for 2 weeks. They also have no idea if, or when they will get them in. Online upholstery store to the rescue. I only visit the chain stores as a last resort and experiences like this are the reason why - that and the quality of the merchandise. We in the quilting world are so lucky to have so many wonderful fabric stores to patronize. Great one-of-a-kind stores that don't have to consult "corporate" to see if they can get some more zippers!! Oh well, enough theatrics. Next on my "to-do" list today is some design work and then tonight some stitching on the newly pillowed sofa while watching some good movies. Do you like my new wagon stitching caddy? (Well, it's new to me) It is filled with my sewing boxes and remote controls and audio books. What more can a person ask for? Hoping you will have a good day that includes some stitching.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008


You people inspire us! Everyone wrote such positive sentiments and demonstrated civility - Well, we decided there needed to be 3 winners. (Drumroll........) They are: Kathy (with a "y" and not an "ie"), Sinta, and Auntie Pam. Please email me here with your addresses and you will be mailed your prize. 2nd place winner gets an "American Primer" jelly roll and 3rd prize is an "American Primer" fat quarter woven bundle. And everyone else - you get an "A" in citizenship. Our warmest regards, Laurie & Polly

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

In honor of Election Day, Polly and I decided to have a small give-away. As our genre is "Americana" we think of it as our patriotic duty. In spite of differences and, you know, politics...... isn't it wonderful that we do have the right to vote! Let's never take it for granted. Bill and I voted by absentee ballot this year; a first. I plan to drive by the local polling place soon just to see the activity. I worked the last two Presidential elections as a poll worker. If you ever have the time or inclination - it is a heartening way to spend the day. Comment below before midnight tonight and you will be in the drawing for 2 yards each of the selected "Flag Day Farm" and a charm pack of "American Primer" (do you see a theme?). No political endorsements, no agenda, just being grateful we live in a Democracy. Thanks everyone. Laurie

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pillow Fever

You have noticed the blog entry below with the picture of the lovely cross-stitched pillow from Blackbird Designs. Polly is gathering fabric and vintage buttons to make a version for herself. I have been thinking of making new sofa pillows ever since that last shipment of fabric from Moda arrived. They are the wovens from our recently debuted line in Houston - Flag Day Farm. Here is a photo of me unpacking the boxes.
Once I found a great book on Amazon - "The Complete Photo Guide to Slipcovers" - I decided to try. There are step by step photos of each step in making any kind of slipcover, including zippered pillowcases. Did I mention I have never put in a zipper before? Well, it went pretty well. I am going to borrow a friends serger to go over the inside seam to reinforce them. Here is the covered cording.
Oh, and I recycled the down from the old sofa pillows. THAT was fun. The back yard looks like some sort of poultry horror movie.
And lastly, here is my first pillow - one half of the refashioned sofa. Wish me luck on the next ones. Laurie

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