An Odyssey of Chocolate

The Sweetest Place on Earth is truly the sweetest place and the fact the Quilt Odyssey is held there makes it even sweeter!

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This year I did not register for any workshops but that did not stop me from traveling to Hershey and look at all the magnificent quilts and of course Merchant’s Mall.  There was a special exhibit of Bonnie Hunter’s quilts, many of which I have seen before, and antique quilts.  Michaela remarked after viewing the antiques that what I do is “cheating”.  Cheating?!  Well, those women made such stunning quilts and bed coverings without good light, pre-made temples and patterns, and cumbersome scissors and needles , I guess she is somewhat right.

I didn’t take any pictures of the quilts this year, I’m sorry…I’ll make it up to you somehow.  When I go to a quilt show I cant think how my quilts are so inadequate in comparison to these works of art. But that is exactly what some are.  I’ts like going to a museum and looking at beautiful paintings.  If you get a chance to attend any quilt show or exhibit, do so. They are just so inspiring.



Painting and Cooking

I have spent the past few days painting the trim in my kitchen.  This is no easy one day project.  My kitchen is an open floor plan  and the trim goes on for miles.  Oh, it stops every once in a while for a gargage door, laundry room door, pantry door, window trim and on and on and on…Oh look – we’re in Texas!

Last night Big D. took pity on me and ordered in pizza for dinner.  Pizza dinner was fun with salad and sangria however, I don’t think two night in a row of take out is going to fly.  Preparing a dinner after paining was not sounding like something I wanted to do.  I had some salmon in the refrigerator and Big D. really likes when I make Asian-Fusion Salmon.  It’s great when it’s cold too so I thought it would be perfect.  I’ve had this recipe forever – torn out of a magazine I can’t even remember which one and when. Here is what  you need:

I made this dish even easier using a disposable pan.


In a bowl combine:

4 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2Tbsp rice vinegar
1Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp corn starch

Here is what you do:

Place 4-6 (8oz) salmon filets in a shallow baking dish/pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with kosher salt (not too much remember the soy sauce is salty). Spoon half the mixture over the filets and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Spoon the rest of the mixture, sprinkle with sliced scallions, and bake for another 10 minutes.

It really is that yummy, it’s fool proof, and it’s easy.  Hint: I did not want to turn on the oven on a 95 degree summer day in NJ. so I fired up the barbecue and lit it heat until it reached 400. Even easier!

Hope you like it.

Snow White and Black Cats

I don’t know about you but when I sew I usually have the TV running to keep me company.  Sometimes I have music playing but I do find I need to “switch eyes” and just take a minute away from the fabric and then re-focus.

IMG_4889Today I find myself listening/watching Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (my usual is Fixer Upper-I love Joanna’s style) and constructing Lori Holt’s Barn Cat block. Sometimes you need an older movie to appreciate.  Don’t you just love the baseball wallpaper in my studio?  I confiscated Nick’s bedroom when he moved to the city. I’m ok with it. I was on the dining room table before I “moved” and had to pack up and put everything away at the beginning of November before the holidays and sewing was at a stand still until mid-January when unpacking commenced. So the baseballs are more than welcome to share my space.

The barn cats are being turned into black cats to replicate a quilt I saw on Pinterest.  I think they are super scary. I don’t think my newest Quality Control Officer is overly thrilled.

I think I just promoted my original Quality Control Officer to Director.  Wait until I tell her! She is currently downstairs doing administrator things!

Happy Sunday Sewing


A New Museum

I have waited for three years for the Museum of the American Revolution to open and I have to acknowledge that my expectations were set amongst the cosmos.  So when Big D. and I finally arranged a day to visit, I was ready.

The building is beautiful and the staircase leading upstairs is spectacular with a painting of George Washington in front of his field tent. The tent is the museum’s prize possession and the museum has built a theatre telling the story of the famed canvas.  IMG_0934.PNGThe screen lifted  and I was able to view the tent -from my theatre seat behind glass.  The only thing holding me back from jumping out of my seat and putting my nose on that glass was Big D’s grasp on my belt loop. When I go to a museum I want to view the objects, get a feeling from them, absorb their history.  This was not so with George’s tent.  I was denied the opportunity to hunt for the embroidery that the video explained and to view the inside of the tent because the flaps were closed. I was not given the chance to peek inside and imagine what it would have been like for George to be in that tent talking strategy with other leaders of the cause.

We continued through and the museum and the building and galleries are just so wonderful and really time fitting. The artifacts are given care and thought in their displays, but here is where it gets dicey for me.  I have read that the approach of the museum is based on science museums in as that science museums ask questions and the M*AR wanted the visitor to ask questions.  I don’t think a history museum should expect visitors to ask questions but rather create dialogue and discussion about the artifact or event.  I have to say, this museum disappointed.  I feel it left out the flavor of what these men and women were trying to achieve , at what cost, and what was the driving force. Philadelphia has some of the country’s elite universities and colleges right in in it’s backyard.  Grab a history major, dress him/her in colonial wear and have them engage with the visitors about the artifacts and events of the times.

The Bluecadet agency did a spectacular job with the interactive media experiences which are dispersed throughout the exhibits.  However, I want to see the real thing.  I want to be able to see the calligrapher’s own handwriting. Understanding artifacts are rare and fragile, but so is the Mona Lisa in the Louve.  I get to see her, however not the documents presented in the immersive galleries.

I do think this is a museum is a must see, but enter with some trepidation.  The museum tells an abridged story, but a story nonetheless that needs to be told and remembered.  It is young, just like our nation, and I have nothing but hope that M*AR will add to it’s visitors experiences. You can check out the museums website Here.



All is Groovy

I was sewing Friday night with some friends and my Featherweight conked out on me.  It just did not want to sew. Oh the needle went up and down, the bobbin was turning but no stitches. Thing is I had just picked it up on Tuesday from the spa -a.k.a. Glen the sewing machine repair man.  It was dragging and just needed some TLC. I thought maybe since I put in a really fine thread and tiny needle it just didn’t like it, but after changing the thread and needle back to the standard it still did not sew.  I changed the bobbin – not only did I wind a new one, I bought a new bobbin and it continued not to sew.  I needed reinforcements.  I was lucky enough to be sewing with veteran stitchers and featherweight owners.  The four – yes four!!- of us did all we knew to no avail.  I called Glen in a panic.  Of course he was ever so gracious and told me to bring it right over.

Three days later….

I had been counting the minutes until I could get Mrs. Z. (my featherweight’s name – story for another posting) to Glen.  I took her out and told Glen my story.  He looked at it and smiled and pulled out the needle and turned it and ….well, I felt stupid.  The needle was in the wrong way.  I could not believe it.  I told him a always insert the needle with the flat side facing left. He told me that it does not matter which way the flat side is facing it’s the groove in the needle that needs to be facing right.  Who Knew??  Certainly not the 5 of us.  Apparently different needle manufactures have the flat side on different sides. If you insert a Singer needle with the flat side on the left, the groove will be on the right.  Union needles are the opposite. Glen said we did not have to speak of this ever again.


I know I inserted the needle the correct way.  I dug out the manual to my machine and there it was.  Put the flat side toward the left.  I felt somewhat vindicated.  Now I know to pay attention to the various brands of needles.

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Measure Twice, Cut Once…

Or cut a bazillion times.

I am making Lori Holt’s black cat pattern –  you can find the pattern as a download from her blog – beeinmybonnet, – and as with Lori’s Vintage Farm blocks, this block has a gazillion pieces.  It also gives you the choice of a 6″ or 12″ block and I chose the 12″ (in the 6″ she wanted me to cut 7/8″ squares…ahh,  no! So 12″ it is!); the block has 5 sections and 26 pieces.   This would have been the perfect project to use my alphabet  pins ( see how I made those in a previous post) but I was cutting 3 at one time. So back to tiny pieces of paper and pins.

Did you notice my horrible habit?? I tend to leave the blade open -Yikes. I get yelled at at the shop all the time (and with good reason)

To be fair, there is only one completed block cut -well that’s not even true – the cat is completely cut, but is missing the background (which by the way has 11 pieces).  I am trying to get as much cut as I can before  ‘Sew What’ at Mouse Creek. It is nearly impossible to concentrate and cut all these pieces with conversations amuck but then again, I was watching Pioneer Woman and had to re-cut several  pieces.  Listening  to her recipe on Chocolate Pecan Treats and cutting is just as bad as cutting at ‘Sew What’s’.

Now that summer is here, and school is out, I hope to finish (and start and finish) some projects.  What are you working on this summer.  Leave a comment and let me know!

Happy Summer Sewing
XO Annemarie


It’s Crystal Clear

Ok, Maybe not crystal but definitely glass.  I have been a fan of Simon Pearce’s glass for many years and was devastated when the Princeton retail shop closed several years ago. So what is a girl to do when she neeeeeds glassware (besides going online and ordering)?  Absolutely! Head for Vermont!  Quenched, VT.  The retail store is located upstairs with an aaaamazing restaurant and bar.  The bartender was super nice and when I asked him for something refreshing he made me a Lavendar Lemon Collins.  To say is was delicious is an understatement.

In the workshop downstairs, the glass blowers are equally as nice answering any questions (and you know I had a bazillion!) and spending so much time with the customers/tourists. It is pretty toasty with the furnaces going but they have giant fans to help cool things down.

From the restaurant (you MUST order the broccoli cheddar soup) you get a birds eye view of the beautiful falls that just so happens to power the entire building with hydroelectric power!  Super green company.

What you may not know is Simon and Pia’s son Kevin was involved in a terrible snowboarding accident while preparing for the 2010 Olympics which left him with Traumatic Brain Injury in 2009.  You can purchase glass designs from the Love Your Brain Collection at  if you cannot make it up to Vermont. Proceeds from each of these designs go toward Kevin’s nonprofit, founded to promote a mindful approach to brain injury prevention and recovery.


Farm Girl Vintage: Pinning the Pieces

When I was constructing the sample block for my Farm Girl Vintage quilt, I found there were a lot of little pieces. I know some people cut, sew, cut , sew, but my brain doesn’t work like that. I like to cut all pieces needed first, and then sew. That created a heck of an organizational mess with 12+


different size pieces with multiples of some and some in the same color. I cut some sticky notes and labeled/pinned each size. The little pieces of paper were getting blown around my work station or I was forgetting to pin the label back on the pile when I used a piece.

As my daughter would say, “What a hot mess!”

I remember seeing a project where a corsage pin was used and alphabet beads were added along with some bling beads. So off to Michael’s I went. What is so special about Michael’s? I had a coupon. Have you been to the craft stores lately? Their bead/jewelry section is on steroids. I quickly – ok, the pins and alphabet beads were quickly, the bling beads…not so quickly – found what I needed and left before I was sucked into the void of the craft store. It goes something like this: “I went in for one thing and $100 later…” I know you can relate

Here’s what I picked up:                  Here’s what did:

Decide in what order you would like to put your beads on. Remember the more beads, the less pin room. Dab a small amount of glue on the pin right next to the corsage pearl. Don’t get too close – the glue will drip out onto your bead. Slide your bead on and hold for a second or two. I laid them down on a paper plate incase any glue leaked.

I made an extra set for my friend Carol at Sew What Friday who is also making this quilt. I experimented and used bling corsage pins for her set. Now all there is to do is to see if these little darlings are better than sticky notes (they sure look better!).

Happy Sewing
XO – Annemarie



Farm Girl Vintage: I was Thinking…

I have been looking for a project that is fun and “care free”. I went digging in the abyss of “the stash” and came across Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet’s Farm Girl Vintage.


How Fun!! I really fell in love with Lori’s block designs. I dug up all my 30’s repos -and there are A LOT! Good thing. The blocks are just so darn cute.

Inspired by the movie Julie and Julia, where Amy Adams, aka Julie, embarks on a yearlong quest to make 524 recipes from Julia Child’s Cookbook in one year and blog her journey, I thought it would be fun to reproduce the same thought with Lori’s Vintage Girl Farm. I have until the end of August as Michaela saw the book and sample block and declared it was hers! Both she and my sister remind me of the seagulls in “Finding Nemo”…Mine, Mine, Mine. She is however the agriculture major in the family, so hers it is.

First things first…the plan. Ok, here it is:

How big?? Lori has directions for 6” and 12” blocks. I want to complete all of the blocks (48 of them!). So, 6” blocks it is. That would make the ‘main’ quilt 43”x57” with 1” sashings. Ok, here is where it becomes a little sticky…Lori used an inner border, then flying geese, and then an outer border bringing the grand total to 62.5”x76.5”. When I looked at the picture I thought the flying geese were prairie points. Right?! Don’t they? I’m going to table this for now and revisit when the main part of the top is done.

That settled, totally scrappy or somewhat scrappy? Let’s walk on the wild side and use different whites and whites with small designs for the block backgrounds making it totally scrappy.

Now the hard part…time and which blocks first? Here is my thinking….I need to complete this by the end of August. If I finish 3 blocks a week –starting mid-March I should (now there is the opportune word – I have Crabtree’s Witches in progress and oh yeah, that thing called work that gets in the way of all my plans all the time. But it does pay for my QH -Quilting Habit) finish by mid-July allowing time to add borders, quilt, and bind by mid-August. I think this is pretty ambitious, but I’m going to give it the Old College Try.

I was going to follow the book and go in order, but I need some creative leeway. I’m going to go with the flow on this. Oh My Gosh, I’m totally living on the wild side.

Holy Moley-what a stash

I’ve got to go color organize all those fat quarters.


“Beadazzling” the Witches

I was at Sew What one Friday night and Claire “happened” to show everyone the new Mystery Quilt Series from Hill Studios: The Mystery of The Salem Witches’ Quilt Guilt.

I had seen a few quilting friends working on this type of project and I had wanted to give it a try and thought this was it! This is it! So much fun. After you trace the pattern onto your material you…are you ready?… color it! With crayons!!! Yes, crayons – as in Crayola. So much fun blending and coloring. After you color, you place a white paper towel over the colored areas and press with a hot iron. The wax melts and is absorbed by the paper towel leaving the pigment behind. It’s like magic!

Anyway, you all know that I have to usually always change or add something, in a pattern/kit: color, material…something. Well, I stayed true to the colors in the directions both crayon color and thread color. I was embroidering the first witch, Demelza Von Spellcaster, owner of the Magic Needle Quilt and Needlework Shop (I’m telling you this project is a hoot!), and had this wave come over me …deviate, deviate, deviate. I tried to resist but I couldn’t. I wanted to add some “witchy-ness” to her dress and thought black beads for her buttons instead of French Knots would be perfect. It is perfect.

The “buttons” are seed beads, size 15! and the brooch is a margarita bead. I picked up these beads at Bead Dazzle in Point Pleasant NJ. Liz was super helpful. I went in with my panel and explained to her what I wanted. She immediately found the right beads and showed me some alternative colors for the “other girls”.

This project is going to take me years – ok, maybe I’m exaggerating.

You can find the pattern at : Crabapple Hill Studio and you can check out Bead Dazzle at Bead Dazzle

XO- Annemarie