Friday, October 31, 2008


Every year or two I make huge batches of sweet pickle relish, bread and butter pickles or jam. I make enough for us and for our kids and their families. When I make one of the items I make enough to last for several years - then I don't have to make the same thing over each year. This year it was sweet pickle relish - made with zuchinni. The original recipe was for green tomato relish - so if you have a lot of extra green tomatoes you can also make it. You could even make it all of cucumbers if you wanted - whatever you have on hand makes a great relish.

For this recipe you start with four of the biggest zuchinni you can find. It is never hard to find them, someone always has them growing in their garden and are happy to get rid of them. If you aren't careful you will find some on your porch.

You chop everything and let it soak overnight. Even longer is ok - if you don't get to the relish right away the next morning. By this time your house smells like pickles - and will continue to do so for about a week.

Wash up your jars and lids and rings - you can put them in the dishwasher on "hot dry" if you want to - to heat them up - but make sure they are very clean first.

Gather up some other ingredients - plus sugar, and you are ready to start.

Once you have the relish in the jar, turn it upside down for a few minutes.

Then back right-side up and you have relish!


1 flat green tomatoes or 4 huge zuchinni
(approx. 12 cups chopped)
5 1/3 c. onion (chopped)
5 c sugar
1 tsp allspice
1 t turmeric
1 1/3 t cinnamon
1 1/3 t celery seed
3 ½ T cornstarch

½ c salt
1 quart apple cider vinegar

Chop all vegetables (food processor works fine – chop in several batches – do not use blender)
Add ½ c salt and let chopped vegetables sit overnight – stir occasionally

Drain slightly – do not rinse – cover with vinegar. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Add sugar, boil for 30 min. Mix cinnamon, cornstarch and allspice, add enough water to make a paste. Add to hot mixtures (do NOT add dry cornstarch – it will clump up and you will never get the clumps out). Boil 10 minutes. Add celery seed and turmeric. Put in sterile jars – fill almost to the top – put on lids. Turn immediately upside down for 5 minutes. Set upright and let jars seal. Makes 5-6 quarts.


Thursday, October 30, 2008


I have a new Etsy Shop - SqueeziePeas - and it is such fun. I've been making pincushions, decorations, angels and bags. I love crafting as much as I love quilting - and finding new patterns and making new crafts is so exciting. I recently found a pattern for a cloth bird that I want to make - so many ideas, so little time.

I've used some wonderful vintage embroideries and linens for pincushions. This one was a set of four that I cut up to make small pincushions. I love the bee in this one.

The hedgehog pincushion is one of the cutest I've ever made - he looks so prickly but he's very sweet and considerate - he'll take good care of your pins.

Thumb pin cushions are so handy - and really take no getting used to. I have one on most of the time now when I'm working on projects. The hardest part was photographing my own thumb.

And my little lacey crocheted heart pincushions - I am having the best time making these. They are minature - and so lovely. Just the thing for that special Victorian quilter - or as a holiday ornament - they could be either.

And my angels - or they are so precious. I make them from vintage hankies, with lace and buttons and ribbon. Some of these angels have travelled all over the country, and some even out of the country. They live in 11 states now - and four foreign countries.
They especially like to fly around to give special cheer to someone who is lonely, or sad, or just needs a little lift.

I've got a Primitive Angel coming along - as well as many other colors, my favorite being a pink angel with a vintage pink polka dot hanky for a skirt.

So stop over to my Etsy shop - the link is on the top right side of this blog - I'm sure you'll have a great time there - and don't forget to look at the Orange Jello pincushion - my own clever idea - if I do say so myself.

Thanks for visiting!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Unbelievable color - every where you look - especially on the lawn. Our lawn is covered with maple leaves, alder, oak and anything else that can fall out of the trees. The grandsons love to scuffle along in the leaves - and bring the biggest ones indoors to Grammy. The Big Leaf Maple is just that - with leaves that are often over a foot across. Doesn't take many of those to completely cover the lawn.

A local cemetery - just awash in color!

Those bushes are actually that red color - some are even brighter.

Apples hanging out over the road.

My view from my studio window.

I hope you enjoyed our fall tour of leaves - we are certainly enjoying them!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


We went to the fair - way back in early August - The Pacific Northwest Fair - with our two daughters and their families - what fun we had. Then life got in the way and I didn't get anything posted - so here we are - deep into fall - and going back to the fair.

Of course, being in dairy country the boys had to discuss the big metal cow that was on display. Ben is explaining to Jahn how the cow talks.

There was cotton candy

And rides with Grampy on the Merry-Go-Round - many rides!!!

One happy little boy!!!

Two boys who are very serious about their ice cream eating!

A ride in an airplaine - Jahn got to be the pilot this time.

Let's go bossy!

And taking Grampy for a ride in the car!

Just look at the things people collect - this was fun for the whole family.

Then everyone was patient while Grammy took a stroll through the quilts. They were well displayed and gorgeous. Whichever quilt I was looking at was my favorite! There are so many fabulous quilters in Washington.

Such detail!!

Even more gorgeous in person.


I really can't pick a favorite.


Saturday, October 25, 2008


Are you ready for this? Just two months from today is the big day - the most fun time of the year. Christmas Day!!!! I like Halloween, I love Thanksgiving - but I ADORE Christmas. I like the music, the rushing about, the shopping, the surprises, the baking, the eating, the visiting, the singing, the decorating, the hustle and bustle, the neighborhood lit up in lights, family visits, friends stopping by - oh I just love it all.

Even the teddy bears get into the spirit!

We begin our celebration on Thanksgiving night - getting out the Christmas music and listening to our favorites. When the kids were at home we would get the dinner all cleaned up, eat a turkey sandwich and then make the first batch of Christmas cookies. As the years go by I find that after the dishes are all cleaned up and everything is in its place I'd just as soon have a cup of peppermint tea and listen to music - the cookies will come later.

The Fall decorations are still up - the Christmas quilt is not on the bed - but I am ready for Christmas to come already. We have a stash of presents that we have bought for the grandsons - and a few for our kids. I can't think of one thing I'd like for Christmas except to have all our kids home for a few days. It won't happen this year - our son and daughter-in-law will be at their home in West Virginia celebrating with her family - but the rest of us will be together - and we'll burn up the phone lines with calls back and forth to WV all season. Can't you just feel the excitement already?

Holly dishes and some carolers and Santa.

Today Ben was here and asked if we could play "I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas" - and of course Grammy got out the CD and we played it over and over. He stood on his stool in front of the CD player and used whatever he could think of for a drum - and sang and sang - it was so darn cute. After about 25 times he got tired of the song - but I'm sure he'll be ready for it again next time he comes over. How can you deny a 3 year old his favorite song? :-)

A doorknob teddy decoration.

I am working on some fun stuff - angels and more pincushions - and some notecards - I'll post more about that next time. Right now I just want to relax and think about the holidays ahead.

Merry Christmas (in two months)!