Friday, December 30, 2011

Football or Movies?

We have another holiday weekend before us.  Polly and family are football nuts and the weekend is a marathon of games.   There will be a few games on here, but not all the time.  While finishing a quilt, I will do some more cooking and movie watching.  We have gone out to the movies lately too.  I do have a couple of recommendations.

Hugo.  This was a lovely film.  It's the story of an orphaned boy who lives in the train station in Paris in the 1920's.  It's a movie about loving movies.  I can also recommend seeing it in 3D.  While most 3D movies have things hurtling at you form the screen, this movie sort of lets you enter the movie.  It's great for both children and adults.

I can tell you what not to see {cough. War Horse. cough}, but I won't dwell on negativity.  Just know that if you were moved to tears watching Bambi or Old Yeller, War Horse will send you straight to therapy.  Don't let children anywhere near that movie.

Now, on to something more uplifting.  The Artist is playing here at the Michigan Theater.  The Michigan is our old, original movie house with gilt ceilings, carved pillars, and a honest to god organist who plays before all features.  The Artist is about a silent movie star from Hollywood in the 1920's.  Since it is about a silent movie star - the movie itself is silent and in black and white.  This isn't for everyone.  I was hesitant to think a silent movie could keep me interested for an hour and a half.  It does!  Also, it has Uggie!  Uggie the dog has been seriously considered for an supporting actor award.  He would get my vote, if I had one.

Have a great weekend, and we'll be back with rugs, quilts, and our upcoming 2012 calendar.


Thursday, December 29, 2011


We hope your post holiday break is going well.   I used to work in retail and Norman Rockwell pretty much sums it up, doesn't he?  The last few days have been pretty uneventful here.  Lots of cooking,

Thanks to all of you who recommended The Pioneer Woman's recipe for cinnamon rolls.  You were right - they're terrific!  On Christmas day, after our family celebration 2 days earlier, it was just Bill and I.  Christmas Paella was the order of the day.    What else?  There's been some stitching, some designing, and lots of dog walking, and dog cuddling.  Otto the wonder dog has been hanging with Gibby this week.

Santa was very, very good to us.  Bill got his own laptop!  Up until this time we had been sharing a computer.  It was the best present I  he got.  What's Christmas without new books!

Isn't this wonderful?! Emma, by Jane Austen with a cover that appears hand stitched.  (Penguin Threads knows it's audience, doesn't it - Austen + needlework = WIN).  This is the inside cover - with all the loose threads and knots showing.  LOVE!

Actually, everything is just great - except for this NEW Blogger format.  Geesh.  I guess I'll catch on eventually.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Blue and White Christmas (with some greens)

Polly is decorated and waiting for the big day. 

It's a bit of a blue and white Christmas here too as I work on a project in the evenings.

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Not Having a White Christmas

Are you familiar with the seldom sung first stanza to White Christmas?

The sun is shining.
The grass is green.
The orange and palm trees sway.
There's never been such a day
In Beverly Hills, L.A.
But it's December the twenty-fourth,
And I'm longing to be up north......

If you substitute Beverly Hills, L.A. with Naples Florida, you sort of know what Polly's Christmases are like. Here are the latest pics from south Florida.

Take it away, Bing, Rosemary, Vera, and Danny!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Confessions of a Sometimes Baker

If you go by the "baking" aisles in the grocery stores - it seems that a lot of us are baking right now. Our baking aisle has expanded into the concourse and kiosks of the grocery store. There is sweet, doughy stuff all over the place. In my attempt to get into the mood of the season I started baking this week. I made these Meyer Lemon Breakfast Rolls a few days ago. Basically they are much like cinnamon rolls, but instead of cinnamon, there is lemon zest liberally rolled into the dough. The sugar icing is moistened with Meyer lemon juice. When I saw a picture of these online, I thought they were genius. Who doesn't like cinnamon rolls? We are big fans of lemon here and I thought it was meant to be that I make them. "Why didn't I think of these before?" Well, probably for a good reason. While they LOOK delicious. These were an epic flop. If you see the recipe online - DO NOT MAKE. Don't waste 3 precious hours of your life laboring over them and don't, for a minute, waste a calorie on eating one.

If they were a good idea, they would have been made long ago. What was wrong?? I don't know, except they tasted of lemon and yeast. Lots of yeast. Lemon seems to bring out the worst in yeast. I had one. Bill had two (because he is a good sport), and after they sat around a few days, they were tossed. We couldn't even give them away. We wouldn't do that to anyone we know. Bill took the philosophical route and said "If you don't try anything new, you would never experience anything new." Me - I'm still a little resentful about my Sunday morning wasted for naught. I'll get over it.

I shook that bad baking experience off my back and jumped back in today. Polly sent me a precious bag of white chocolate/peppermint Hershey Kisses. They seem to be hard to come by. I know I haven't seen them locally. I vowed not to waste the precious kisses and broke out the mixing bowls.
I went with a basic, tried and true sugar cookie. Victory.
The evening will now be spent serenely quilting while watching holiday movies. Hope you all have a serene holiday experience too.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winners, Book Reviews, and Spooky Predictions!

We're glad you like Maw Bell's blog and new book. We do too, and we're very appreciative of all the nice stuff you said. Thanks. Well, the winner of the Victory Girls book is... QuilterPattiO.

In a bizarre twist, the winner of the Center Stage kit is........
....... SheilaS, who said "I buy every one of their books as soon as they come out so I really, really, really want to win the quilt kit. I LOVE that quilt! Merry Christmas ladies! :-)"

Well done, Sheila! Your wish came true. Sheila and PattiO please email me here and I'll get the goods right out to you. Thanks Everyone!

I'm putting in a late night tonight finishing up on lots of stuff that needs to get done in the next week or so. I know I'm not alone. There never seems to be enough time, does there? Remember to enjoy the season as you deck the halls, hang the stockings, and light the figgy pudding.

If you do have a spare minute - Polly wants you to know there is a third addition to her stocking kits - this beauty right here.
You can find this kit, it's red and white brother and sister here. In other kit news, the Spirit of Sacagawea kit is down to just one left. We appreciate your business.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Book Review and a Prize

If you've been following along, we did a book review yesterday of Summer At The Lake Quilts by Maw Bell Designs. We sent you over to their blog where they were having a give-away of their book. Being the nice ladies that they are - they are returning the favor. On Sunday December 11 they will post a book review of Victory Girls.
Go over to their blog and read the review and then come back here and comment below for the prize. Comment before Midnight Tuesday December 13th and you could win a copy of Victory Girls, or the kit shown above. That Christmassy looking kit makes this.... our quilt featured in the current American Patchwork & Quilting - Center Stage.
Read more about the kit here. Thanks everyone!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Summer At The Lake Quilts!

Our friends Susan and Sally of Maw Bell Designs have a new book out. It's wonderful and I'm going to tell you why :)

Susan and Sally have been making great quilts for awhile and this new publication is their latest. It's filled with fun, summery projects and isn't that nice right about now. The quilt on the cover is my favorite - Alpine Lake Quilt. It's a different take on nine patch blocks. We at Minick and Simpson love blue and white, but I can see this quilt in lots of different color combinations. The Meadowsweet Basket Quilt uses my favorites shades of red/orange with just a touch of aqua.
There are more bed size quilts and lots of smaller projects too - like this sweet back pack.
The projects are tempting, but the book is lovely to look at. The photography is outstanding and the Montana scenery is inspiring. Susan and Sally have taken their childhood memories of family outings at their cabin in Idaho as the starting point of their projects. That makes perfect sense to me - as it is how Polly and I go about creating projects. We start to talk and reminisce and one thing leads to another and the ideas just keep coming. Brava, ladies!

Make sure to stop over to Susan and Sally's blog for a give-away for this book. Tell them we sent you. Plan your next picnic and make sure to invite all your friends!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Winners!, Book Reviews, and More!

Yesterday, was the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Research for our Victory Girls book had Polly and I reading up more on the era. Some of the art work made during that time was so wonderful!

But on to the winners of our Moda Designer Blog Hop Give-away.

The winner of the Prairie Paisley II Fat 1/8th Bundle is Sharon, who said "Thanks for the recipe and the block. How sweet of you to have a give a way please enter me.Happy Holidays!"

The winner of the little hooked rug is Jill F

And just for good measure, a little something will be sent to Cindi P

Thanks everyone for joining in. It was by far our most fun give-away! All you winners, email me here and we'll get the goodies out to you.

I have a couple other things for you...... first of all, we are going to have a VERY LIMITED supply of Sacagawea kits available on our website.
We thought, since I have some of the fabric left over from the original quilt - we could kit this almost exactly like the original. While I can't promise all the fabrics will be the same - I can promise that they are at least 90% accurate and all the fabrics are Minick and Simpson fabrics.
So, if you are interested in the pattern and fabric kit - tell Santa to shop before they are gone.

Come back tomorrow for a book review of a great book - Summer At The Lake Quilts by Maw-Bell Designs. You'll love the book - and there will be another give-away.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

December Moda Designer Blog Hop!

Welcome! Today starts the December 2011 Moda Designer Blog Hop. Today is the first day and I will be one of your hosts....... The other stops today are Anne over at Bunny Hill; Barb and Mary at Me and My Sister; and Deb over at Inside the Studio. Make sure to visit and get their goodies.

What is the theme you ask? Heck if I know. Besides giving you a free pattern and recipe.... I'm not really sure. But, it is that season, isn't it? How about a peek at Polly's holiday decorations

Things here are a little less decorated. Matter of fact - things here are a mess. This was my dining room table this morning.You see, all my quilts are stored on a bed in the guest bedroom. The one I wanted, well it was way down the pile. All the quilts came off the bed and were thrown on the dining room table. Once the quilt was discovered, they all went back on the bed - princess and the pea style. Christmas decorating is on my list this week. Way down the list, kind of like the desired quilt.

Okay, besides the quilt block - which will look like this when finished....
And the recipe for the Autumn Salad... what would be a Moda Blog Hop without a give-away? Comment on this post and you could wind a Fat 1/8th Bundle of Prairie Paisley II
Or you could be really, really lucky and win one of Polly's hooked rugs. This little charmer.....that was featured in this French Calendar
Comment here before Thursday December 8th at midnight and you could be a winner!

Oh, and make sure to visit the following blogs the next 4 days....

Friday will end it all with Basic Grey, Brannock and Patek, American Jane, and Pieces From My Heart. Whew! Have fun!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Center Stage

Check your mailbox! The new American Patchwork & Quilting is starting to ship. We have a new quilt in the February 2012 issue. The cover will look like this
Yes, either the one on the left - OR the one on the right. Could be either one. Magazines do that every once in a while. Some sort of market testing, but as nice as both those covers are - it's whats inside that counts.
The quilt "Center Stage" is in it and it is made with American Banner Rose. The inspiration of course, was the Red and White quilt exhibit in New York City this past March. As a matter of fact, after walking the show, we had a wonderful dinner with Jennifer Keltner and Elizabeth Beese the women who make American Patchwork & Quilting the great magazine it is. "Send us a red and white quilt" they said, and two weeks later we did. We have the kit available on our website.

There were a couple of other big hitters in the quilt world at that dinner table in New York. Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Company and Lissa Alexander, the VP of marketing of Moda Fabrics. Carrie has been popular at our house this week, not just for her quilts - but for her genius oatmeal recipe. The Simpson's have been eating steel cut, long cooking,Irish oatmeal every morning this week. The whole grain goodness of slow food, but with the ease of fast food.

What can I say about Lissa? Another genius. She is also the woman behind our Moda Design Blog Hop next week that will start on Monday, right HERE! See you then!

Polly wants me to let you know that we have 3 Stocking kits left. They probably won't last the weekend.

P.S. The link for the Center Stage kit will be working sometime today. Sorry for the delay :(


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Polly's Been Busy

Yes, Polly has been busy. We are offering a Limited Number of these beautiful hooked Christmas Stocking kits. You can find them here, on our website. The stockings are not to be stuffed, but hooked. These stunners have holly, berries, candy canes, and a flag. They measure 31" long and 9" wide. You have a choice of either red or white. If you are industrious, it will be done by the 24th and Santa's visit. As if you didn't have anything else to do.......

Oh, and don't forget to put these down on your "to-do" list....

1. Wednesday's Minick and Simpson interview on the Creative Mojo radio show
2. The upcoming book review next week on this blog
3. Another great Moda Designer Blog Hop
4. Everything else you need to do to give your family a happy holiday

Polly and Laurie

Saturday, November 26, 2011


If you haven't heard.....Polly and I will be interviewed this Wednesday, November 30th on Mark Lipinski's Creative Mojo radio show. You can "tune in" online. Mark it on your calendar and go to The show is on from 3pm to 5pm eastern standard time. Hey, even if you can't make it Wednesday - go to the website and it will be available for listening after the show is over. Therefore, you can fit it in at any time. No excuses!

If you're not familiar with Mark (if not, you really need to get out more) - you are in for a treat. He's the best buddy you haven't met yet. If you do know Mark, you know why he's one of our favorites.
We are tentatively scheduled from 3:30 to 4:00. We'll be talking about Victory Girls, our collaborative process, and whatever nonsense comes up.
Actually, listen for Polly and Mark. I'm not much of a talker. If asked to tell you my life story I could convey it all in about 3-4 minutes. Thankfully, Mark is a witty, talented interviewer. If he wasn't - all you would hear is about a half hour of this....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Our family feast is over and good food and conversation was the topic of the day. We hope yours was just as wonderful.

Just a short note today to let you know lots of things are coming up in the next week. There will be a book review giveaway, a Moda Designer Blog Hop with several giveaways, and an upcoming kit that will be featured in the next American Patchwork & Quilting magazine. There is lots to prepare for around here.

If any of you brave the Black Friday chaos - best of luck and shop safely. Me, I'll be here sewing and doing some shopping online.

Laurie & Polly

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Winner!

Thanks everyone for your great suggestions for Thursday meal. I especially take interest in the vegetables and salads, as I love to be able to make these a bit more interesting. The winner of the Prairie Paisley II Fat Eighth bundle had a great example.....

Wendy, who said..... "My family favorite is Pear Salad. My kids and grands love it! It's not Thanksgiving with out it. Blessings to you and your family!"

Wendy, email me here and I'll get the fabric out to you asap.

This is what I've been doing for the last couple of days. I'll be doing it for a few more.

Hope you have a great time with your family and friends.


Friday, November 18, 2011


Hey, it's been awhile. Sorry for the non-blogging. If only something interesting would happen and I could tell you about it...........

Basically I'm making to-do lists and shopping lists this weekend for the upcoming Thanksgiving feast. We're staying in Michigan. Polly is heading to Kansas City to see one son and his family. Her other sons??? Well, they will be here , in Baltimore watching their life long friends coach against each other on THE football game on Thanksgiving day.

Yes, Polly and her family have known all the Harbaughs since the boys all played Pop Warner football together. I went every Sunday afternoon to watch too. I also had the job as baby-sitter for the 2 Harbaugh and 3 Minick boys every now and then. I still have the scars to prove it. Oh, the stories I could tell.
They were all good kids, very good kids, but with over-active metabolisms and a bit of a competitive streak. All five of them were within 2 years of each other. Good luck to both John and Jim. We will all go crazy, hoping somehow that both teams can win.

I am in charge of pumpkin pie and possibly something else for the meal. (p.s. I have made this Sweet Potato cake with White Chocolate frosting before and it is a HIT. The poor ratings are from people who had problems with the frosting. Remember to have the melted white chocolate room temperature or cooler before folding in the whipped cream.)

What is your favorite dish to make for Thanksgiving? Just comment here (and give us all ideas!) and one person will win a Fat Eighth Bundle of Prairie Paisley II. Comment before midnight Monday, November 21st.


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