Saturday, October 31, 2009


Hope everyone is having a happy Halloween and over-indulging on fun-size candy bars :) What is your favorite? For me, it's a toss up between Butterfingers and Reece's Peanut Butter cups and sometimes Snickers. Twix are good too. Maybe I better try them again to see what I like best...

No trick or treaters this year so far. Bummer. It's damp and drizzly and cool outside and there are not many kids in the area anyway. I think the most that have come in a year is around 10. Someday I'll live somewhere with lots of trick or treaters and then I'll decorate my house big time! Just like Martha...

In the meantime, I took some photos of houses in Michigan for inspiration. Halloween is celebrated a lot more than in the South. If you aren't too scared, check out these great houses
I love the coffin with the vampire and the big ghoul on the front facade. Nice old house too.

This person went all out with all the well-known horror movie themes. The huge spider web is a nice touch.
This house is very spooky at night with great lighting effects too.
I would love to sit on the porch of this house and see neighborhood kids' reaction!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Trip to the Cider Mill (Michigan trip part 3)

To me, one of the best things about fall is fresh in-season apples straight from the orchard and fresh apple cider. While I was in Michigan, my family took a trip to a local cider mill for cider and doughnuts. (note: in the U.S., cider refers to unpasteurized, unfiltered apple juice rather than the fermented "hard" cider that is bottled and has an alcohol content!)

This is Porter's Cider Mill. They don't have a website but I did find this fun website for finding cider mills in Michigan. It was too crowded with school group tours and people buying cider, apples, and pumpkins to get photos inside. Inside you can watch them sorting apples and pressing cider. You can get free samples of cider right from the press and buy freshly made cider doughnuts too. Cider doughnuts are cake-style doughnuts with cider in the batter giving them a tangy apple-y taste. My favorite are covered with cinnamon-sugar.
Outside were stacks of huge wooden crates filled with apples. I love that they still use wooden crates.
Apples in crates. Wish I had a shipping label with me!!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Autumn in Michigan (with photos this time)

I've been back from Michigan since Sunday but have been working overtime at day job plus SBux so I haven't had time to blog.

I had a fabulous time and it went by too fast. Unfortunately, it rained every day except for the day I arrived and the day I left. I did get a few photos of the leaves between the rain drops.

I know Karin wanted to see goodies from our quilt shop visits. My mom, SIL, and dad (we always drag him along...) went to Lake Street Mercantile and found Halloween fabric on sale. I have yet another idea for a Halloween quilt so I picked up these fabrics and some great ric-rac at Guildcrafters.

Lake Street also had some great shirtings and neutrals that just *had* to come along.

Mom and I did some sewing while I was up there. She is working on the Hocuspocusville stitchery and has a block all done! I am so jealous, mine is in little bags in a plastic bin waiting for me to start. My SIL worked on costumes for a play. I worked on "Scrappy Nines" and made a Halloween "smart bag" that was kitted up at another of my favorite quilt shops Mabelena's (sorry no website or blog).

Isn't this a great Halloween bag? I want to find some "bat" buttons to put on the folded over edge to tack down the handles.

My SIL besides quilting, making costumes, and lots of other crafty stuff, does papercrafts. She made me an awesome Halloween treats jar and filled it with caramel-apple flavored candy corn (make that "used to be filled" I had to try them out).

The TSA screeners at the airport were unfamiliar with Halloween papercraft treat jars and they had to check it out. It was deemed "nonthreatening" I guess and I was allowed to bring it home. Good thing!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Autumn in Michigan

Hello from Michigan!! [Waving to Cathy at Quilt Obsession since I am 900 miles closer] I arrived on Wednesday evening to spend my birthday weekend with my family and enjoy a change of scenery.

Wednesday was a perfect autumn day here. I had forgotten how beautiful fall leaves were in the north. There are pumpkins everywhere, cornstalks in the fields, and houses decorated for Halloween.

Thursday, we went on our traditional when-I-visit-quilt-shop-hop to Lake St. Mercantile and Guildcrafters. My mom and my SIL found the fabrics they were looking for and I bought some helping-the-Michigan-economy fabric (the BEST kind!). We had a fabulous lunch at my favorite deli (The Bread Basket) where they have HUGE sandwiches and make their own bread, corned beef, brisket, etc. I had pastrami and swiss on rye and brought half of it home. Because we were too full from lunch, we skipped dinner and went to Cook's Dairy later for ice cream. (Do I have a great family or what?) I brought a quilt kit with me and got it cut out last night too.

Today it is raining, but we are going to ignore that and go to a cider mill and hopefully a pumpkin patch for pumpkins. Also a trip to Mabelena's quilt shop. I'll post photos when I get back to GA.

Happy Fall Y'all!!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

From the ministry of silly walks...

I often think about cutting back on cable tv costs but then something great appears on an obscure channel and I decide against cutting back. (an aside: Don't you wish you could just pay for the channels you watch? I could get rid of so many...)

I am having so much fun watching the 6-part Monty Python documentary on the Independent Film Channel and episodes of the Flying Circus. I love me some Python!
(image from The Guardian)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Where has October gone?

Can someone please tell me what happened to October? I seemed to have misplaced a week or two and suddenly it's almost time for the Great Pumpkin to come.

I apologize for being a sporadic blogger recently. I have been suffering with allergies something awful and have been in an antihistamine daze I think. I even forgot to post about my Thimbles sewing group last Saturday. It was fun but I didn't get much accomplished due to some bad sewing karma. Poor Sarah cut her finger with the rotary cutter. Luckily we had nurses-who-quilt on hand to do some first aid (and they didn't even charge a co-pay!!). I ended up cutting half of my quilt blocks wrong. Egads! Maybe the Sewing Goddess needs to be appeased with some fabric acquisition offerings....hmmm. Now that's an idea!

Fabulous Halloween Giveaway

This is a very popular giveaway among the blogs I read. Visit Pumpkin Patch Primitives for your chance to win and entire bundle of really great fall fabrics!!!

Oh I hope I win!!! But if I don't, I hope someone wins who likes to share LOL!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I think it started with childhood...

I think my love for all things Halloween and spooky and weird started in childhood with one of my absolute favorite books The Witch in the Cherry Tree by Margaret Mahy.
I don't know what happened to my original hardback book over the years and every once and awhile, I would search for a used copy online. Well I finally scored one on at a very cheap price and although it's paperback, I am overjoyed to have a copy again.

If you are unfamiliar with the book, here's the summary "one damp, dull day David's mother is baking cakes. Everything is fine until a naughty old witch comes to settle in the cherry tree in the garden. [The witch] tries to outwit David and persuade his mother to part with the cakes..." I think still think it's a fun story and am glad I haven't grown up that much.

I love this page with the witch dancing in the yard conjuring up a rainstorm of great big purple clouds and lightning. If I was a witch, I'd dance in the yard just like this.

I also love this page
The witch is sulking in the cherry tree because she has so far failed in her attempt to trick David out of some cupcakes. Look at those great red socks! And the shoes!! Pointy black shoes with heels and buckles. How cool!

Just so you are not in suspense, the story does have a happy ending and the witch does get some cupcakes. And she makes it stop raining so David can play outside. This is what I learned from the book and remembered all these years: everyone loves cupcakes and be nice to witches in red socks and cool shoes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October Treats

I couldn't resist this recipe in the October issue of Everyday Food magazine. What is better than cookies with M&Ms? Cookies with Halloween M&Ms!!! The directions say "sort the chocolate candies by color and arrange them on top of the dough".
Seriously? If I had to sort M&Ms, it would be two for me, one for the sorting bowl, three for me, one for the sorting bowl...

And about this arranging on top of the dough. For one thing, who has time to arrange M&Ms neatly in rows, probably having to use math to determine how many M's per row and how much space to leave between M's. (Does anyone else call single M&Ms "M's" or is it just me????) I would have to dig out my calipers and a laser level (I'm sure Martha has hers neatly labeled in a special drawer for cross-purpose household tools). Probably would need paper and pencil and a logarithm or two also (math is not my strong suit). I don't think so.

For another thing, what's up with the equal-sized, each-cookie-having-the-same-amount-of-M&Ms cookies? Where is the giant piece cut out of the middle (no edges!) with the most M&Ms? (that would be mine....).

Here's my unsorted, helter-skelter, randomly placed, stirred-in-the-dough version of the cookies. Note the left-over M's for taste-testing purposes.

I seem to have forgotten to take a photo of the finished product. The recipe is good, needs a little tweaking though, and the cookies need to be eaten right away so share with friends....or not. I may need to try another batch...I need another bag of M's.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2009

A big thank you to Amy at Park City Girl for hosting another Quilt Festival! I think I'll set aside a couple of hours (!!!) to check out everyone's posts. It's hard to pick a one quilt for this post (mainly because I have a huge amount of finished tops but less finished quilted quilts....I'm sure I am alone in this problem right? ahem....).

Here is the quilt that lives on my bed in the fall and the quilt I picked for this festival. (the lump under this quilt is one of my four cats... quilt helpers all)
I love the deep, rich, fall-y colors in this fabric line called "Vintage Reserve" by Minick & Simpson for Moda fabrics. I adore Minick & Simpson fabrics, every line they have done.
A detail and the back with some leftover blocks
The pattern is by my dear friend, quilt teacher, and mentor Pat of Silver Thimble Quilt Co. and is called "Strawberry Pie". Pat is one of the most fun, caring, creative, kind people I know and she has helped me learn so much about quilting and life and friendship. I thought it was appropriate to highlight one of Pat's designs for this post because I was so lucky and got to be Pat's helper/go-fer/booth attendant/girl Friday at the 2007 fall quilt market in Houston. It was a great experience and I am so thankful for that opportunity.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Survived the busy week

Well I survived my busy week. I was so tired I had to take a nap before I could eat dinner or even think about going to bed. I just finished catching up on all the blogs I read and need to work on getting through emails. I'll be diving into my sewing room tomorrow, getting projects lined up, see what's going on, fun stuff. Since it's my birthday month, I'll be searching for some giveaway items too. Thanks to everyone who has commented recently. I need to get caught up on replying to comments too. Time for some October fun!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Busy Busy Week

I am in the middle of one of my busiest weeks of the year (I hope...). Here is my schedule: day job/Starbucks, day job/Starbucks, all day off-site meeting, all day off-site big presentation with audience of over 100 people, and all day off-site meeting.
Hopefully I will make it to the weekend and I can get some sewing time in and maybe a mid-day nap. Stella is an expert at this.

I need to be finishing up my speech for tomorrow but I am having more fun catching up on blog posts.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Haz Mat and Birthdays

Gomez insisted on being first in this post because too many of the previous posts have featured Morpheus. Gratuitous Gomez photo here:

Still no sewing going on here. I cleaned house yesterday, which was way overdue. I can now call the EPA and inform them that my shower is no longer a Superfund site.

We have been celebrating S.'s b-day weekend this weekend. He didn't want to go to a quilt shop--can you imagine???!!?? I don't know how you can celebrate a b-day without going to a quilt shop but apparently it can be done. He did have his favorite foods this weekend--grilled steak, potatoes and sauteed mushrooms last night. Brownies with walnuts (no frosting--what's up with that???!!!! The boy does not know how to live!). And tonight matzo ball soup.
Happy B-day S.!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

October at last

I'm so glad it's October. Fall has arrived in Atlanta with cooler weather, less humidity, and clearer skies. October is my birthday month and my favorite holiday, Halloween, wraps up the month with fun and candy purchases, always with the pretense that I'll actually get a trick or treater or two this year.

I took a little blogging break because I was just tired and didn't have much to say. No sewing this past week or last weekend. Just a lot of vegging with the cats, taking naps, and reading books. Working more hours at Starbucks and my feet hurt all the time and the house is a mess.

But now it's October, it's three days into the month, and it's going to be a better month. It's time for apple cider and Halloween mugs.
I feel better already.

I read two great books this past week. I highly recommend both of them. The first is The Confederate General Rides North by Amanda C. Gable.

I loved the main character in this book, 11-year old Kat McConnell. The author so realistically captures the imagination and spirit of an intelligent, curious girl trying to understand and comprehend the world around her while dealing with the uncertainty of the moods and action of an apparently bi-polar mother. It's a tale told with truth and heart.

The second book is Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper.
I liked Dewey, the Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World better. But really, I'm a sucker for a good, touching cat story. And besides, Homer is the most awesome name for a blind cat ever. Readers who are owned by cats will not be astonished at the capability, love, and fearlessness of Homer. We know that if cats had thumbs, they would rule the world.

I'm off to catch up on catching up now. Happy Autumn!