Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rosemary Chicken and Autumn Vegetables

This is a favorite of mine from a Taste of Home Cooking show that was presented in the Fall of 2000. It is very aromatic and really gets you in the mood for fall.

The opening paragraph in the magazine said, " Tender chicken in a savory broth is simmered with wholesome sweet potatoes and crisp green beans to create this mouth-watering main dish. It's nice to offer guests an entree that's low in fat yet packed with flavor."

Here are the simple ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

1 cup chicken broth

1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (crushed)

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

2 large sweet potatoes (peeled and cut up)

2 cups fresh or frozen cut green beans


In a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, cook chicken until browned on both sides. Add broth, parsley, garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, potatoes, and beans. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until done. Makes 4 servings.


I found that 3 cups of sweet potatoes was just right in this recipe.

If you'd like the green beans to be crisp, then add them in the last 10 minutes of cooking time.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Getting Inspired to Make a Christmas Mini Quilt

I have some designing to do for a Christmas Mini quilt. I'd like to incorporate some of my blocks from the Thimbleberries club patterns for 3's Company. They are so easy to make and I have some on hand as I've made extra from Christmas scraps when I made the regular blocks of the month.

I also love the Holly Jolly and Merry & Bright fabrics from Moda's past seasons and have found that the newer Clothworks fabrics called Peppermint Cottage blends right in with some of my favorites.
I'd like to present it all to my swap partner in a stocking. I had made so many of these in July at my local quilt shop that I could make them in my sleep. We made more than 175 to send to Iowa, they were packed with treats there and sent on to the soldiers to cheer them this Christmas.

~Kathy~ the Cottage Garden Quilter

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Inspiration from Shells

Driftwood and Seashells is an oil painting I did many years ago and recently it became an inspiration for 2 art assignments for my 5th and 6th grade student.

Often I like to open the school year with observational drawing. In previous years I have usually done this with leaves as an inspiration. I thought about substituting the shells in our compositions instead of the usual leaves.

I didn't actually take the painting to school, but instead took a large basket of shells. Each class period we would lay them out on the supply table on top of a towel and the students would take one back to their desk to observe and draw. If they liked doing that particular shell, they could draw it a second or third time and make it in different sizes or draw it from new angles. This way of composing worked very well. On the second and third day of doing this, I encouraged everyone to make the last few shells touch or overlap.
The fifth grade classes finished them off with an imaginative background of patterns. The sixth grade used a sandy beach and a swirling ocean theme when painting the background. All the children came up with very nice compositions and it made a great display in the hallway.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Aromatic Rosemary

I moved a few things around on our patio today and did a little decorating for fall around the front and side door. My rosemary and bay plant are going to need to be moved inside for the winter. But having them right up against the house and on the south facing wall should buy them a few more days of outside sunshine. I went to the store looking for fall mums, but they have been sold out most places. Fortunately, there were lots of pumpkins and gourds still available so that's what I brought home.

Thinking of all things autumn, Kim from Kim's Country Kitchen and Sugar Creek Hollow is organizing a recipe swap for bloggers. If you are interested in joining click on this link to find out the details:

One of the ingredients I plan to use for my recipe for Kim's swap is from my garden herb pot and it is a very aromatic herb.
~Kathy, the Cottage Garden Quilter~

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Blogger's Quilt Festival

The Crazy Quilt from the Link Family
This quilt was given to me by my father-in-law. We believe it was made by Mabel Link of Columbus Wisconsin. She and her husband had a farm just outside of Madison WI in the 1940's -1960's. After their retirement from the farm they were involved in making ceramics and ran a studio out of their home for that purpose. This quilt is made primarily from wools and dress fabrics. There are several satins, some corduroy, a bit of silk, and a blue bandanna print. Each block is close to 18 inches square and there are a total of 20 blocks. All blocks are held in place to the backing by a strong row of embroidery. I love the back because it is made from the coziest piece of blue flannel with a subtle red and white stripe. Here is a photo showing the soft flannel backing and if you look closely you can see the embroider following a block edge. It is acting as the quilting that holds the layers together. The stitches are tight and strong. Today we would call it the big stitch look. From the front it is mostly the stitch called the herringbone.
My favorite part of the quilt is the floral applique that is made from black velvet. It is attached using a blanket stitch with orange thread. The center of the flower is formed by green and orange french knots. The embroidery stitches that decorate the blocks do not go all the way through the quilt. I notice that the thread color was changed frequently and most of the time it was changed at the bend in a seam.
I enjoy looking at the quilt and have had it hanging for a time in my sewing/computer room. It makes a good cover for the car magazine storage shelf that I pretend isn't a part of the room.

This small patch of yellow is the only damaged section. There are other places on the quilt where this fabric was used, but luckily they are still holding together. Perhaps this lightweight silk was treated with something to make it feel heavy and that has been its demise. I have heard that silks were often treated with lead so that they would hang or drape nicely in garments. Supposedly, they also rustle quietly when you walked. I wouldn't think the silk in this quilt would be of that Victorian time period, but it could have been in great grannie's sewing basket and passed down to Grandma Link.

Here are some other close ups from the quilt top that show the simple style of the flowers that were stitched on some of the solid fabrics.

It is a charming piece of family history from 1951 and my husband and I love having it in our house. I really treasure it! I would like it to hang on a wall someday. It would be nice to live in a house that has a big staircase, because it would look just right on a landing.

Thank you for visiting my blog post for the Fall 2009 Blogger's Quilt Festival. I'll be around to visit other postings during the week. It'll be great fun. In the spring I must have clicked on more than a hundred links and shortly after that I had my own blog.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Preparing for Blogger's Quilt Festival

Oh so many fabrics, too many blocks, all kinds of quilts, what to choose...

With Park City Girl's Bloggers Quilt Festival approaching at the end of the week, I am starting to plan my post. But the challenging part is deciding what quilt to share.

I just recently photographed several quilts for my post on "Show Us your Backsides" with Belinda at Brown Dirt Cottage. So currently, I have several of my own favorites out in the living room and family room. The carpeted floor seems about the best place to lay them out since it has been raining here in Wisconsin for days on end. I suppose it's also good for them to be aired out and refolded anyway. I have some of my antique family treasures out for consideration too.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Showing the Quilt Backs

Belinda of Brown Dirt Cottage is doing a blog link of quilters that love to see and learn about pieced quilt backs. Since that is something I love too, I have decided to join in the fun.
Shown here is a quilt of mine that happens to be one of my favorites!I love it because of its bright colors and its cottage garden theme. I made it from Linda Sheroney's book called "You Can Sew Quilt". I took a class from her and she taught the technique right from the book.

The directions were to use some of the fat quarters to piece the back and bits and pieces from cutting the front that were not used on the quilt top do get used when piecing the back in chunks. I love working this way and have done many quilts since trying it for the first time with Linda.

The front of this vintage quilt started as a topper that was given to me by my mother-in-law, Cecelia. Perhaps she saw it on e-bay and thought I could do something with it. She was right. I fixed up the badly sewn blocks and repaired some seams of which there were quite a few. I shopped for some country style yellows, blues and reds to make the borders. Then I made some additional blocks in the broken dishes pattern and used them to piece the back with 2 lengths of light blue chambray fabric. I set in the pieced row just a little left of center. I believe this is the first time I experimented with a pieced backing, but I have been doing them ever since. I should really figure out something for the binding. This quilt has been many places, as I hand quilt it when we go on car trips. For right now the backing has been turned to the front and safety pinned in place.

This next quilt is from a Moda pattern by Fig Tree. It was called Summer Stars. I decided to make it up using Christmas colors.

I used up some of the leftovers from the front and many Christmas prints that I didn't really want in my stash anymore. It was perfect for that purpose. The main reason I did the backing this way was that this was the first large quilt I ever machine quilted! I did it in 4 separate sections and joined them together by adding each quilted panel to the next and handstitching the backing seam together.

My most recent quilt is a large wall hanging and I blogged about it at the end of summer. It was the Moda postcard quilt that was done a block at a time at Moda U. I am nearly done sewing the binding to the back.
When I made the pieced backing I worked on the center panel first and I added the portion under the outer borders last. That way I could do the machine quilting in the center panel with out dealing with the extra fabric from the wider borders. I added on the borders and the rest of the pieced backing by machine on the front and by hand on the back. This quilt has both machine quilted and hand quilted.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Quilt Blocks for Terry and Family

Laurie from A Yankee Quilter is taking up a collection of blocks and donations of cash to make a quilt for Terry of Terry's Treasures. Terry's husband had a work related accident and her family could use the comfort of a homemade quilt and some cash donations could cover the extra expenses related to his hospital stay.

The blocks will be 9 1/2 inch. The colors are going to be country style: red, brown, blue, and yellow.

Click on the link to Laurie's blog ( A Yankee Quilter) for more specifics about the project.