Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Salad Days

Yes, another salad entry. I am probably a little late with this one as it is best when it is HOT. Hot, steamy, and the only thing that sounds good is a cool salad for dinner. Watercress and watermelon salad. The watercress at the market today was awesome. I indulged. Watercress usually looks a little sad and past it's prime at the market. It's delicate and bruises easily. This stuff looked crisp and just picked. I used it to make one of our favorite salads. Wildly refreshing and light - it is especially fun to make for kids who get quite excited at the thought of watermelon salad. Here it is dished up.
The recipe calls for toasted pine nuts, but I had none in my freezer. I used toasted almond slices. Okay, but go for the pine nuts - it's much better with them.

Watercress & Watermelon Salad

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
3 bunches watercress, trimmed
3 cups seedless watermelon, cut into cubes or balled
1 red onion, cut into thin slices and separated into rings
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Refrigerate 6 salad plates or 1 large serving platter. Whisk the vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper.
Toss the rest of the ingredients with the dressing and serve on chilled plates.

In other news..... go over the the Jolly Jabber and get in on their contest for Wiscasset fabric and their new BOM using it.


New Toy

My name is Laurie and I am a Luddite. I have had so much new technology thrown at me lately that I just want to dress up like Laura Ingalls Wilder and live in a log cabin. I am overwhelmed. This is what I got yesterday, at the urging of Polly and my nieces who think I can use it. We'll see. I do love the fact that I can see emails while not at the computer. Bill will probably like it too, since I won't have to kick him off the computer on a regular basis to "check the emails." I guess this is what progress looks like. I am sceptical since I recently upgraded my Firefox on the computer and I am having to relearn just about everything. Oy!

Of course, the phone will do MUCH more than just allow me to read emails, but at the risk of getting an advanced degree - I will just ignore those options at the moment.
My nieces think it is hysterical that I don't know how to text. Maybe I will tell them about that skill I learned in school many years ago called "shorthand". Maybe I will also tell them about a job I had many years ago in a brokerage firm. They needed women to use these new fangled things called computers, to type in orders. It seems that the stock brokers, most of whom were men, did not know how to type. Yes, the world keeps on changing.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer Bounty

This was dinner last night - and it will be lunch today. Greek Panzanella salad. We love salads like this - a salad that is a filling meal in itself. It is much like the traditional Italian Panzanella, but has the addition of greek olives, feta, and oregano. You can get the recipe here. I cut the amount of feta in half as we love it, but a little goes a long way. I also used fresh oregano as I have a yard full of it. I planted 3 plants 2 years ago and I have acres of it. Polly is making it today. Bon Appetit!

By the way, I have been asked if I have seen the movie Julie and Julia. Not yet. It is certainly on my list. So much so, that I am not rushing out to the theater as I know this is one that I will buy for the permanent "chick movie" collection.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Nothing much

Nothing much going on today except making half-square triangles. Lots of them. It's for some double-secret doings for Moda. Something to do with Fall Market in Houston; half-square triangles; lots and lots of them. Yep, that's about it. Information was not meted out on a "need to know" basis, it's just that, that is only what I absorbed.

Let's see.... last night Polly and I had a scrumptious dinner at The West End Grill in lovely downtown Ann Arbor. It was perfect, as always. Earlier, we had done a little work and then spent the afternoon with Jeff. He's as sharp as a tack, just a little unsteady on his feet still. That will be remedied soon enough. After dinner I dropped Polly off at her hotel room in time for Project Runway! Hurray! Unfortunately, Polly soon found out that the hotel didn't have Lifetime on their cable system. I made it home and innocently plopped down on the couch and got my Runway fix.
What was up with the hexagon girl? (Spoiler Alert!!!!!) Sadly, no more forthcoming drama from her.

So, more half-square triangles, basting a quilt, and more visits to the Farmer's Market. Have a great weekend everyone!


P.S. It's seems I learn how to put a video on this blog and I forget how to edit my posts...... sorry about the messy entry. Old people can only learn so much in one day.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bar Harbor Winners!

Thanks so much for the comments. Polly and I got lots of good ideas for fabric collections and vacations.

The winners are:

Cindi D.

Camille and Luke


Email me here and your gifts will go out to you promptly.

Polly will be here shortly and we will try to get a little work done and then we are off to visit Jeff who is now discharged from the hospital and spending a few days in rehab getting more steady on his feet. We cannot believe the difference. We hope to post some pictures soon. Thanks again.


P.S. We have a box of scraps left over from making 9 pairs of flannel pajamas out of our Jingles collection. The fabric has been washed, dried and it is in odd sized pieces. If anyone makes quilts for the Linus project - or any other charity that makes quilts for babies - email me and they will go off to you in today's mail. Thanks everyone!


The flannel fabrics have been claimed. Thanks everyone!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Bar Harbor!

Hey, look what was on my front porch a couple of days ago. A few pre-cuts of our new collection called Bar Harbor. It seems kind of crazy to have this fabric so quick, as Wiscasset isn't even in stores yet. (It will be very soon!). I spent the weekend cutting and piecing, getting our quilts ready for Fall Market and our new collection of patterns. Despite NOT being a floral kind of gal -
I am CRAZY about this collection and this huge, over-the-top floral fabric. That is a Layer Cake, people, not a charm pack. That is how big the floral is. Well, it is very Bar Harbor. Beachy. Cottagey. I think you know what I mean.

Which brings me to the point of this post. How is your vacation going this summer? Are you by the water? The mountains? Are you having a staycation? It is kind of a staycation situation here. All my travel this summer and fall is for work. I always have a grand time though, so don't fret about me. Frankly, I can barely call it work, can I? Fabric this, quilt that, another airport, another town, etc.

Make a comment about your summer vacation before midnight Wednesday and you can be one of 3 winners picked by the good old random generator. You can win this Layer Cake and some Scraps...
A charm pack and some Scraps, or a pattern and some scraps. Who can forget how popular the last scrap give-away was? Good Luck!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Morning at the Farmer's Market

TIME: 7:45am Ann Arbor Farmer's Market

WHAT: Weekend groceries

Tonight's menu at Chez Simpson.....

Caprese Salad
With Mozzarella made this morning and Michigan tomatoes
And Zingerman's Olive oil and a fresh baguette to sop it all up with. Corn on the cob to round it out.
Sunday morning's breakfast will be cereal with fresh raspberries and cappuccino made by Barrista Bill. Bon Appetit!


Friday, August 14, 2009


Laurie and I want to thank you all for your kind words and prayers regarding our brother Jeff. Laurie just called from the hospital to report that Jeff was sitting up, talking and making promises to take better care of himself. That is such wonderful news. I will get a ticket and head back to Ann Arbor, and it will be more enjoyable this next trip. Thanks again, and keep him in your thoughts and prayers, he has some work ahead of him. He is going to be walking a few steps today - totally amazing.
Laurie will be home working with Bar Harbor and enjoying it even more!
PS - The little guy on Jeff's shoulder is Mason, his only grandchild - and the main reason he fought thru this. Mason is soon to be joined by a little sister Kayce, and we all knew he would not miss that event!

Day 3 of the NEW Fabric

This is what I'm doing this weekend. The NEW fabric makes me happy. We are calling it Bar Harbor. What's up with you?


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fabricmatcher Contest Winner

This is the winner of the June Fabricmatcher contest at Moda. All entries were to use the Fabricmatcher program and design a quilt using Minick and Simpson fabrics. Amy Brass was the winner and the designer of the above quilt. She wins a fabric bundle from Moda and a collection of autographed patterns from Polly and I. Well done Amy!

We are in a whirlwind of activity here. Our latest fabric collection was delivered to us this week and I am busy cutting and piecing. All to get ready for pattern covers and for Fall Market, which is creeping up on us. Lots of time though, so I am enjoying the process much more this collection. Leigh Ann came over this morning and took several shopping bags of fabric and our patterns (which are still in progress at this point) and has her foot on the pedal. I am cutting lots of strips.
This is my ironing board in the "quilt room". This small bedroom is basically a fabric warehouse. I work all over the house, but most of all the fabric is here. I will show more, when there is something to show.

Jeff has improved and the plan is to remove all the tubes from his throat tomorrow. We are excited as we get to hear his sarcasm instead of just seeing it in the movement of his eyebrows.
After the hospital visit, we plan on a little break and will take in a matinee. I think we will go see "The Time Traveler's Wife". I loved the book. When I was reading it I knew it was being planned for a movie. I think it will be a difficult story to film. We will give you the thumbs up or
down on the next post.
Another book I read recently and loved is The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King. I have read all of her books and can't wait for the next one. This one actually had a cliffhanger! Yes, a part II is on the way. Laurie R. King has several series, but this one is one of the Mary Russell mysteries. Mary Russell is the supposed wife of Sherlock Holmes. She solves cases with him in his dotage. Back to the ironing board.....


Sunday, August 9, 2009


I have a birthday sneaking up very soon. The less said about it the better. I was not going to mention it at all except I received a terrific gift yesterday. My step-daughter Lorelei knitted me this shawl.Isn't it beautiful!? It is basically a knitted rectangle with a ruffle and when you wrap it around your shoulders it looks like this. Awesome. You might remember the yarn. I bought it last Christmas when I was going to learn how to knit. Again, the less said about that the better. While Lorelei is a stellar teacher, I am not a stellar student. Lori rescued the yarn, took it to Dallas and it emerged as this shawl. I can't wait for the weather to turn a little cooler so I can go out in style. It will be just the thing to wear out to dinner and the theater. (Hey, It could happen!).

Jeff is doing better and they are cutting back on the meds today in the hope that he becomes alert. Alert and complaining. Once complaints about the hospital food starts, we know he is on the road to recovery.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Otto has been visiting for a few days. Leigh Ann (our assistant quilter and seamstress) and her family are on vacation and Otto has decided to spend the week here. He is a delight. Seriously, the smartest dog I have ever been around. Here he is debating me about his 3rd walk of the day. It is just past noon and he feels the need for a 3rd walk. I told him he needs to wait for Bill to take him out this afternoon. I know he understands as he can TELL TIME. Bill has said that given the right training, Otto could fly a plane. I think he could understand how to fly a plane, but the "no opposable thumbs" thing could hinder this endeavor. Last night, while we watched a baseball game, Otto deliberated on the infield fly rule and pondered the pennant race. If only he could help with some applique......This is where the pinwheels went. I am now fussing with the applique that will be all over this quilt. I am not getting much done as I haven't been in one place the past few days. Hopefully, tonight I can prepare some applique so I can have this quilt in "travel stage." Maybe I can stitch some at the hospital. Which brings me to our brother Jeff. I can overwhelm you with medical jargon, but basically he is more stable, but still gravely ill. He has not been conscious since it happened, but we hope that he will be by the end of the week. Thank you so much for all the thoughts and prayers. You have no idea how much it helps.


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