Friday, July 1, 2011

Christmas in July

Happy Canada Day to our chatters north of the border

Happy 4th of July to the U.S.A.

Here are two articles from iowegian

Purse size tissue cover

Choose two fabrics one main one contrast
Main fabric cut 3 rectangles 4x6 inches
Contrast cut 2 squares 4x4 inches
Press both squares and 2 of the rectangles in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Place remaining rectangle right side up, lay pressed rectangles on top
with pressed edges towards center, raw edges on the outside

Take the folded squares and weave them under the ends of the rectangles,on each end
again with the folded edges to the center, raw edges to the outside.

Pin as needed and stitch completely around the outside edge with 1/4 inch seam I sewed around twice to reinforce. Clip corners diagonally, careful not to cut stitches.

Turn the cover inside out thru the hole in the middle, square up the corners after turning, and

Here's iowegian's other article
In 1988, I was introduced to the amazing world of antique power!! In case you don't know what that is, I will do my best to describe it for you. It is rather like a working museum, where people do farming the way it was done at least 50 years, or more, in the past. Long before there were all the fancy hi-tech machines, things ran, and were powered much simpler. Many of the old fashioned machines were fueled with wood, burned to heat the water in huge boilers. The engines were used for plowing, running lumber operations, harvesting the ripe crops, amongst other things.

The shows that I attend have old school buildings, a working lumber mill, huge stationary engines that originally were used in factories, like breweries and machine shops. These machines have been repaired, kept up, and loved by the people who find them in some rather strange locations, to be shared with the public. They still use horses to plow and work in the fields, as well as the tractors. There is usually a parade during the day of the shows, where people drive the big machines along the road. It is very exciting to be a part of this history, and I have done that now, since I first discovered them.

I have worked in the kitchen, serving and cooking breakfasts, which is done with very old, usable cookstoves. The ovens tend to be very cranky, but people don't complain about having to wait. It is very much like how our forefathers, and mothers, had to do things a long time ago, for the hired farm help in the fall, during harvest time.

We have a museum with old, hand cranked churns, washing machines, and clocks. I love when the school buses bring the young kids to tour and see all the goings on. My main job now is to sit and give information at the quilting table. We do have a quilt set up every year, and lots of the ladies, and some visitors, sit and hand stitch the quilt. That is where I first quilted, and that is how long I have been doing it, 22 years this September!! Most of the ladies that sat at that table with me back then are no longer alive, so I can only remember all the fun we used to have talking and stitching. My quilting mentor was one of the original members of the show, and she is the person who would not let me work on one of her quilts unless I wore a thimble, because she did not want blood on her work!! I carry a thimble nearly constantly in my pocket to this day. I have one everywhere!!

There is an old Depot at the show grounds, where an extensive model railroad is set up, working and on display. That is a favorite spot for the kids, as is the old fashioned popcorn stand, and the hand cranked ice cream. There are buildings where music is played for the enjoyment of the visitors. On Saturday afternoon, there is a fiddle contest, which always brings in lots of people. My husband, Tom, spends most of his time with the music venues, because that is what he does!! Lots of musicians come to the show, to play music for very long hours during the days and nights. Sometimes the music is playing until the wee hours of the morning!!

When we go to these shows, we never know what the weather will be like. It has been rainy, cold, windy, snowy, hot, rainy, muddy, tornados, rainy, sunny, so just the weather keeps us on our toes. Last year when we went, it was so wet, we could not park in the designated camping area, so many people had to park campers at the local funeral home in town. We are hoping this year is not the same.

We have an old fashioned General Store, where members can sell homemade goodies like breads, jams and jellies, cookies and cakes, old looking sun bonnets, aprons, etc. It is a very busy place on the grounds. We have a blacksmith working during the show, as well as a lath mill, where they make cedar shingles as souveniers. We have an old church, which was donated and moved to the grounds, which gives tours. There is a log cabin, with an old wood stove, where ladies make, and burn, cookies to share with visitors. They usually choose a theme to decorate the cabin, most often Christmas. There is a water mill, where they grind flour you can buy, a mini farm with baby animals, which is always well attended.

One of the best things I ever found at the steam show is my hubby. We met there in 1992, and are still together and attending the shows. He started the music in the Red Shed, which he still oversees, but this is his last year for that. I still go sit and quilt, which I love to do. I also demonstrate the old treadle sewing machine, which is what I learned to sew on, about 60 years ago. It is a busy, fun time for me, and I love going. Hope to continue for many years.

Thanks for letting me tell you about what keeps me away from the chatroom during the month of September every year. It is my big habit now, and not one I want to break.

Thank you iowegian :)

Here's a great recipe from purplefiend

Baked Eggplant Parmigiana

Traditionally, eggplant is fried in oil on the stove top. However, baking it drastically reduces the calories and fat without sacrificing flavor. Plus you get to eat more.

Serves 4

2 large eggs
a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
a couple of pinches of salt
3/4 cup bread crumbs (preferably plain)
1/4 cup grated Reggiano-Parmigiano cheese
1 large eggplant, cut into 3/8-inch thick slices (yield 10-12 slices)

Marinara Sauce:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano tomatoes*
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like some heat)
a couple of pinches of salt
2 heaping tablespoons each of finely chopped fresh basil and parsley
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Reggiano-Parmigiano cheese

1. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, crushed red pepper, and salt. Pour into a wide, shallow bowl or plate.

2. Mix breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated cheese in a separate wide, shallow bowl or plate.

3. Slice eggplant. Dip one slice at a time in the egg mixture, allowing excess to drip into the bowl. Dredge in the bread crumbs, ensuring that the entire slice of eggplant is coated with the crumbs. Place on a large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining slices.

4. Bake eggplant at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

5. While the eggplant is cooking, the marinara sauce can be made. In a medium pot over medium heat, warm 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add shallots and saute 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Add the canned tomatoes, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt. Stir until well combined. Reduce heat to medium-low. Let sauce lightly bubble for 8-10 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Turn off heat. Stir in the fresh herbs.

6. To assemble the eggplant parmigiano, use either one 9-inch round or 8-inch square baking dish. Start by covering the bottom of the dish with a layer of marinara sauce. Add 4 slices of baked eggplant (larger slices on the bottom), and top with 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella and 1/3 of the grated cheese. Repeat two more times, or until all ingredients are used.

7. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce begins to bubble and the cheese turns golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

*San Marzano tomatoes are Italian plum tomatoes that are prized for their sweeter, less acidic flavor. They can be found in Italian specialty markets and some major supermarkets.

Now for the Christmas in July part :)

Yes Christmas is not that far away, as evidenced by the holiday fabric now appearing in stores <:)

The Quiltchat Annual Stocking Swap sign up's will open in September, date to be announced. It is truly fun to be in the room, to listen and see everyone open their stocking and tell everyone what they've received. The time and effort that each swappee put's into the stocking they give is very apparent. The time part is twofold. The first being the time put into hunting/finding things to put in the stocking, and second is time spent in the room chatting and listening. I think I've mentioned this before, but will repeat myself <:) The best example that I can give of this is from the most recent swap. Two swappee's were in the room, telling everyone what they had been given. One was mentioning the sugar free items, telling us that she was going to give them to her husband who is diabetic. Now the only way that her swappee knew that she had a diabetic husband was to have been in the room through the year and listened. Listening, getting to know as many chatters as a person can does not happen over a weekend, it takes TIME. If you have any questions about being in the swap, don't hesitate to email me :) To put it simply, it really is alot of fun to be part of the swap. Some might not think a stocking swap could be "special" or "fun" but it is !!

In next month's newsletter, I will be sharing quick, easy projects that could be included in the stocking, or just to be given as presents. As always, I am always looking for stories about your first quilt, what got you inspired to start quilting, recipes, and stories. Email me with newsletter in the subject line.

Until next time,


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