Sanibel Winner

I meant to announce the winner of the fat quarter pack yesterday, but I got sidetracked staining our decks (and I was trying to finish before the storms come today.)  There are four of them, complete with several hundred spindles and some railing.  In other words, I had a really boring weekend, but at least that yucky job is done!  Now, on to the winner – randomly selected by the RNG – is Annie O of  Please e-mail your shipping address to to claim your fat quarter pack!  For those of you who didn’t win, but are looking for the fabrics, I added a few kits here, that are available for purchase. 


Despite my boring task for the weekend, I did enjoy the beautiful weather.   However, with all that deck staining, I didn’t get any sewing done to share with you.  

Instead, I snapped a few pictures of these tubers that provided some good entertainment while I worked.

They made all sorts of acrobatic moves – like jumping . . .

Maneuvering the tube so the bottom edge was the only thing touching the water . . ( I was sure this guys was a goner, but he hung on)

Playing leap-frog over each other . . .

Doing flips through the air, while still holding onto the tube . . .

And then they rode off into the sunset  – Literally, as their place is on the west side of the lake

 Doesn’t that look like fun? 

 I’m not physically capable of such fun things, so I’ll go back to what I’m in shape for – sewing. 

I’ll be back shortly with a beach bag idea-

Posted in Fabric Trends, Family | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Grillin’ Time

Good Morning!   The give-away from my last post will be on through the weekend, but I just wanted to pop in with a few things.  First, thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions for organizing my trip photos.  I plan to try out a few of those suggestions later today.  I’ll keep you posted on how that works out.  Second, Mom and I have enjoyed reading all your comments about our fabric line Sanibel.  The favorite colors were (by a landslide) brown, aqua blue, pink, and orange.  So, were you wondering why I asked everyone to vote on their favorite colors?  Mom and I are set to start our next line together shortly and the first step is picking the colors.  Honestly, sometimes that can be the hardest part.  There are so many gorgeous colors to pick from and it’s hard to narrow it down.  We will definitely consider your suggestions in our color selection, so thanks!

In the meantime, I thought I’d blog about meat today.  If you would have asked me 10 years ago if I liked meat, I probably would have said I could take it or leave it.  In fact, I think I really only ate chicken, hamburgers, and roast.  Then I met Joel and things started to change!  It didn’t start out that way – In fact, on one of our first dates he ate a bloody steak and I almost ran from the restaurant.  I didn’t answer his phone calls for over a week until he started bringing me blended lattes.  (I didn’t drink coffee before Joel either.)  Ever since we’ve been married he’s been crafting up his “meat goodness” and slowly winning me over.

He got me started with grilled meats. 

Then he bought a smoker and started making his famous ribs -

He also smokes brisket, pork roasts, chicken, and coming soon, salmon.

Then, he made this -

and I had my first taste of prime rib. 

See that come hither look on his face? 

It’s not for me. 

It’s for the meat!

Here’s a shot of the rub – kosher salt, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, horseradish, and garlic.  Yum!


He’s even won me over to pink steak, so today I thought I’d share my two favorite ways to grill steak. (or for him to grill me steak!)

First, you need the right rub.

4 T.  garlic powder

2 T.  kosher salt

4 T.  corn starch

2 T.  paprika

2 1/2  T.  black pepper

1/4 t.  white pepper

1 t.  thyme

Next, brush the steak with olive oil so the rub will stick.   BTW, my favorite steak is rib eye, as shown in the picture below. ( This steak was cut off the end of the prime rib, as they usually come in such big pieces that they feed 20 people.  Also, the price is usually better if you buy the big piece of prime rib and cut it into steaks yourself.  This prime rib was from Sam’s Club)

Add 1 t. of rub to each side of the steak (or a little more if you like a little more spice)

Heat the grill up – On our grill, I turned all 3 burners on high, so the temp was about 450-degrees.  Grill each side for 3-4 minutes each.  3 minutes if you like them with quite a bit of pink, 4 minutes if you want them a little more done.  While grilling these steaks, I made the mistake of running into the other room and not watching the grill.  In the meantime, the meat started a grease fire, which turned the one steak black and burned up the stick in one of my kabobs!   It still tasted fine though -

Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before serving.  This is very important, as this allows the juices to absorb back into the meat so you don’t end up with a pool of blood on your plate. 

Do you see something wrong with this picture?  If you said that steak is twice the size of the vegetable serving, you would be correct.  The food pyramid would not approve.

The key here is not to over cook the steak.  I used to only eat meat that was brown all the way through.  It’s not wonder I didn’t like steak!  By then it’s so tough you can’t even chew it. 

It’s really that easy to make a good steak.   Plus, I think it’s better than most steaks that you would pay $20 for in a restaurant.  The veggie kabobs are really easy to.  Just cut up veggies, drizzle with olive oil and season with black pepper, kosher salt, and garlic powder.  Grill right along side the steak.  The veggies are really good dipped in blue cheese dressing or T. Marzetti’s Southwest dipping sauce.

My other favorite steak recipe is from the Pioneer Woman.  This is more of a girly way to serve steak and it’s called Ginger Steak Salad.

It’s so yummy!  You can follow the recipe here  The only change I made was to cook my steak on a grill, instead of a pan.

I hope you enjoy these recipes.  As I mentioned, it’s been a bit of a process to get me eating meat.  But, living with a self-proclaimed “meat-i-tarian” will change your mind.  So will going to Italy and tasting their bacon, sausage, and salami.  It is nothing like what we have here!  In fact, here’s a shot of Joel in Italy, admiring the meat.

Joel also loved the Jamon Serrano in Spain.  He is now threatening to fence in the yard, buy a pig, feed it acorns, and learn to cure his own ham.  Yikes.  I wouldn’t doubt if he would pull it off, but I really don’t want a pet pig.  Joel was telling this story to a lady that we met in the the airport in Madrid.  She got this pained look on her face and told Joel that if he watched Charlotte’s Web that he would change his mind. 

Let’s just say that it’s gonna take a lot more than that movie to stop him.  In fact, that won’t even work for me, and I’m just a meatitarian in training!

Posted in Family, Recipes | Tagged | 14 Comments

Sanibel Has Arrived

It was fun to read everyone’s guesses from my last post.   Several people got them all right and it sounded like they were all people who lived in Spain or Italy, so no surprise there!

In case you were wondering, the locations are:

1.  Tapas in Madrid (Spain)

2. Andalusia (Spain)

3.  Plaza de Espana, Seville, (Spain)

4.  The Alhambra in Grenada (Spain)

5.  Costa del Sol (Spain)

6.  La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (Spain)

7.  Nice on the French Riviera

8.  Monte Carlo in Monaco

9.  The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italy)

10.  The Trevi Fountain (Rome)

11.  Vatican City (Rome)

12.  Can’t remember ???, somewhere in Rome

13.  The Colosseum in Rome

14.  Tuscany (Italy)

15.  Florence  (Italy)

16.  Venice (Italy)

All those locations doesn’t even begin to cover everything we saw.  It was a crazy itinerary!  I would like to blog more about it (not necessarily for my readers as you might get bored pretty quickly) but for me to be able to go back and remember the trip.  I have a terrible memory, so I am worried about not retaining everything!  The only problem with blogging about the trip is I have to enter in 575 pictures one-by-one.  I tried uploading them to flickr, but there was a tiny 10 MB space limit.  Does anyone else have any ideas for me?  I would really appreciate any suggestions!  I’m not very tech savvy and I know some of you probably are -

While we were gone, Sanibel arrived in stores.

Remember this fabric line?  I’ve blogged about it a bunch before, but this time I actually have some to share.  This little fat quarter pack could be yours!

I always give away the first of any new products, and even though I’m a little behind, I’m still going to do it.  If you are interested, you can just leave me a comment.  I would love to hear what are your favorite fabric/color combinations right now  OR the colors you wish were on the market right now . . .  (Please note this drawing is now closed 7-27-10)

With this pack, you could make 6 of these little toppers -

Or a start on any of these projects below . . . .

I’ll draw a winner next week, so stop back then to see the winner.

Posted in Fabric Trends, Travel | Tagged , | 299 Comments

Where in the world are Heather and Joey?

It’s been well over 3 weeks since my last post.  I just might have a good reason!  We have been on a vacation trip.  I say trip and not vacation, because we worked far too hard to call this a vacation!  We didn’t stay in one place for more than 30 minutes and it’s been the first trip that I have actually lost weight from walking so much!  It’s also been the first trip that we have taken where it wasn’t centered around something to do with work.  We have talked about going for quite a while now, I just thought it would never actually happen.  But, we finally decided to book it, and less than two weeks later we were gone.   We’ve been home for over a week, but my mind is still reeling from everything I have seen.  It will probably be the trip of my lifetime and I kinda have to pinch myself so that I know it is real.  Of course looking at my pictures reminds me and I thought it would be fun to share some of the pictures with you and see if you can guess where we have been.


1.  Hint:  See the sign in the background?

2.  Hint:  The country side was covered in olive trees

3.  Hint:  Joel lived in this city for a semester in college.

4.  Hint:  Considered to be the highlight of a trip to this country.

5.  Hint:  Costa del ______

6.  Hint:  Gaudi

7.  Hint:  Oh so “nice”

8.  Hint:  We didn’t stay in this city.  Far too many Ferraris for my taste!

9.  Hint:  Do you really need one for this location?

10.  Hint:  This fountain was made famous by the movie “Three coins in a fountain”

11.   Hint:  This spiral staircase is located in it’s own walled city, within the city of _____.

12.  Hint:  Very important government decisions were made here.

13.  Hint:  Gladiator.  You probably didn’t need that hint either, as I have totally given away the location now!

14.  Hint:  Under the ______ Sun

15.  Hint:  The heart of the afore-mentioned location.

16.  Out last city.  Hint:  On the water

Want to venture any guesses?

Posted in Quilting | 57 Comments

A Few More Shams

Here in Minnesota we are finally getting a beautiful day!  It’s hot and very sunny – We have had 14 days with rain in June, so we’ve had lots of gloomy weather.  That gloomy weather makes it hard to get pictures of quilting projects, but I did venture out on one of the days when it was only misty, and snapped a few pictures of some shams that we made last month, in preparation for quilt market.  In case you missed it, my Mom and I put out a book on pillow shams in February.  You can read about it here.   We made a few more out of our Sanibel fabric, and I realized that I hadn’t shown them on the blog yet. 

First up is this queen size sham, with a scalloped flange.

I love the cross hatching that my Mom did on this pillow.  She used a double needle, which creates a slight pin tuck effect, with minimal work involved.  A double needle is the only way I could ever get a double line of stitching to be straight!  If you haven’t tried using one yet, you should . . .


This next pillow is one of the options for the bound pillow with ties.  We added some applique for a touch of whimsy.  (Notice the wet rocks?)

Lastly, we made a couple of accent pillows.  The thing that makes these pillows a little more special is the covered buttons.  I like to use really large ones – almost 2″ – but they are a little hard to find.  Every time I see them, I stock up so I’m sure to have a few lying around whenever I want to add some fun buttons to something.  Covered buttons are really easy to make.  My only complaint about them, is they are awkward to sew to the pillow if you want to go through all the layers of the pillow, like I did.

My last shot shows one of my favorite prints from the Sanibel line – the aqua blue and tangerine floral.

BTW – Sanibel will be available soon, as I just heard the bolts are just starting to ship out.  Yeah!

Posted in Decorating, Quilting | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Finishing Up . . . .

In my last post I offered a drawing for a fat quarter pack of my new Christmas line.  The winner, selected by the random number generator, is:

Christina – who commented on June 5th at 1:52 pm.  If that’s you, please e-mail your shipping address to

That was the exciting news, not onto the more mundane ;-)

I have spent my week painting up a couple new fabric lines, but nothing I can show just yet.  That means I really don’t have much to share from the past week, so I thought I’d share a few things I’ve been working on for the past month (or longer).  Remember the post where I confessed to “faking” some of my colors?  After that, I wasn’t sure if anyone would trust that what they were seeing on my blog was how it actually looked!  I’m really not that good at Photoshop anyway, but is sure is fun.  Sometimes experimenting with Photoshop just isn’t good enough.  Sometimes I need to change the color of actual objects.  Like these chairs, for example.  I was so sick of how boring they were . . . .

Now, after a little red spray paint, they look like completely different chairs!  The red is just what my porch needed to perk up the place a bit.

While I was at it, I also bought a can of yellow spray paint.  I took some old terra-cotta pots that I had lying around, primed them, and then painted them yellow.  It’s just like getting something new, without having to go shopping.  It only took about 15 minutes, though I might have inhaled too many fumes to accurately know how much time it actually took.

All this “Photoshopping” got me in the mood to perk up a few other things too – like these sweaters.  They were so dull and boring . . .

Now, after a little Rit dye, they are my two favorite colors.

And, as long as I was recycling, Joel helped me built this frame out of some old window trim.  The window trim was white, so I used some of that red spray paint to make it a richer color.

Here’s a close-up of what’s in that new/old frame -

The wool applique is made using this foam pad, a long needle, and some wool.

I got the design for the applique from this book  by the gals from Blackbird Designs-

It is the centerpiece in this quilt -

I started this project about three years ago, because I wanted to try wool felting.  I never got around to finishing it and really didn’t know what to do with it.  The red frame inspired me to finish it and now I have a fun new centerpiece for my mantel -

Plus – I love finishing up projects (almost as much as I love starting them!)

Have you finished any thing fun lately?

Posted in Decorating | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments


Just thought I’d pop in quick and let you know that “At Home for the Holidays” is now arriving in stores! 

I’ve been busy unpacking the fabric, cutting fat quarters, and putting together some kits.  We always seem to have a few people who can’t find it at their local shop or find the kit they want at an on-line shop.   If that is the case, you can click here to see our kits. 

I’ve put together a little collage of what I’ve been making with the fabric, though many of you who are regular readers have seen them already.

As is tradition at my blog, any time I have a new product come out, I always give away the first copy or fat quarter pack.  So, for anyone interested in having one of those fat quarter packs shown above, just leave me a comment to let me know you want to be entered into the drawing.  I’ll post the winner next week.



Many of you had lots of questions about the kitchen tile in my last post. (BTW – the color of the tiles is actually lighter than how it looks in this picture)

I thought ceramic tile was supposed to last forever.  Not so in our kitchen.  The tile in our basement, that is installed over a concrete floor, is doing fine, but the tile that we had upstairs in our kitchen had just enough movement to cause problems.  We had several tiles that cracked and problems with our grout cracking.  We have patched in new tiles and grout on several occasions, but the tiles still seemed to crack and the new grout never matched the old grout.  Sounds like many of you have experienced similar problems.  This isn’t a problem associated with just 35-year-old houses (like ours)  –  I have a family member that has been having similar issues in a brand new house. 

I guess some houses just aren’t cut out for ceramic, so wee ended up taking out all the ceramic tile in our kitchen.  We used a hammer drill to take up all the old grout, mortar, and tiles.  A bit messy, but with the smaller size of our kitchen, it only took a few hours.  Then a new 1/4″ subfloor was installed in preparation for the new tile.  We used a staple gun with special staples  to secured the floor, rather than having to screw it down every 3″ like you have to do under ceramic. 

Next, we started laying out the new tile and cutting out the pieces.  I was totally surprised at how fast this step went.  The new tile cuts like butter!  We used a tile saw, but without water.  The tile is secured with glue, not the mortar typically used with ceramic tiles.  This glue dries really fast and we were able to walk on it quite quickly.  We ended up getting the entire floor laid and grouted in under 7 hours.  When we laid the ceramic, it took two days! 

 The grout is not supposed to stain or crack.  Let’s just say I’ll believe it when I see it!  For now, everything looks good, but time will tell.

The brand of tile we used is called:  Adura Luxury Floors by Mannington – Color:  Corsica

Grout:  Adura Luxury Grout  – Color:  Chamois

Cost:  About $1300 for materials, covering about 200 square feet (or about $900 more than we spent on the ceramic, so it’s not cheap)

Here’s a close up of the tile, so you can see the texture.

Has anyone else used this tile?  I’m interested in any feedback any of you might have on this.

Posted in Decorating, Fabric Trends, Quilting | Tagged , , , , | 292 Comments