Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Placemats and Poilane Sour Dough Bread

Everyone needs and uses placemats. And if you have the time, it’s easy to make your own and a great way to use up fabric scraps and small pieces of batting if you're quilting the placemats.

Just think of all the different colors and designs that can be incorporated in making your own unique placemats that go with your very own color scheme and personal decor. No more being content with the colors and designs offered by the big box stores, allowing some unknown buyer to determine your decor.

Here are some placemats I’ve made over the years. I eventually would like to have one or two designs for each month reflecting the different seasons and holidays.

For the backing I used denim from old jeans

My serger does a cool wave stitch
Appliqué makes me feel creative. Most any design can be created.

(I think I need to get busy sewing placemats because those are all the ones I've made for myself.)

After finishing this quilt using batik fabrics, I had plenty of scraps that I turned into HSTs, like 96 of them!

What to do with HSTs?! SO MANY OPTIONS! After playing around with several options I finally settled on this design for my placemats.

I made 4 with the multi-colored border

And 4 with a dark green border because I was running short on scraps from my scraps. I love that concept of acquiring scraps from scraps 😊

I’ve decided to add these to the items on my Etsy shop, well, since I need more products on there!

Try making your own placemats someday. You're creative! You can do it!

                And now onto the Sour Dough Bread 👅💦

Poilane is a famous bakery in Paris well known for their huge round loaves of sour dough bread (book cover picture) using a recipe that’s been passed down in their family since 1932. The bakery was started by Pierre Poilane then passed on to his son, the famous baker Lionel Poilane, who along with his wife, died suddenly in a tragic helicopter accident in 2002.  The bakery is now run by their daughter, Apollonia. Her first cookbook in English was released on Oct 31st.  The cookbook, Poilane The Secrets of the World Famous Bread Bakery (non-affiliate link. I just love the book and want to share) is an awesome book filled with many family stories, baking processes and of course recipes, including their famous sour dough bread recipe.

      Here are some delicious photos from the cookbook


Here are photos of my version of their sour dough bread. Mine is smaller and taller, but all I had was a 10 inch cast iron pot. The recipe called for a 14 inch pot, but hey, you work with what you have. Regardless, the bread was delicious with a soft firm crumb and dark crusty crust. We enjoyed the bread several ways for 5 days then made bread crumbs with what was left.

Toasted and spread with Irish Butter

Toasted with melted Hot Pepper Cheddar cheese and Honey Ham

Wish I can share the recipe but, well...you know about those pesky copywrite laws. The book is awesome and reasonably priced and if you like baking bread and reading a good story I suggest you purchase the book. I'm looking forward to making more of the recipes!

If you sew up any placemats or bake any kind of bread, please share your creations or links in the comments below.

Happy Living!
Happy Sewing!
Happy Baking,

And Be Kind To All

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Family Sewing Retreat and Shoofly Pie Recipe

Our family sewing retreat was the first week in September and I was the lucky host this year. This was our 7th year and everyone had an awesome time sewing, visiting, advising, shopping and completing projects. There are 5 of us....4 sisters and our mother and we live in different states...Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma...and rotate homes each year.

We have our retreat banner and everyone contributes to the yearly goodie bags. Cooking responsibilities are rotated daily and we watch quilting tutorials during our lunch time breaks. Each year we learn what works best, making our retreat better every year.

The Tuesday of Retreat is our shop hop day. This year we visited 3 quilt shops and ended our day with an early supper and shopping at The Pioneer Woman's Mercantile Store, restaurant and pastry shop.  And no,  Ree was not there that day.

Our shopping day purchases definitely helped the economy.

The "Merc" is a fun place to visit and the food is awesome. Go if you can!

The 3 quilt stores offered lots fabric choices and inspiration. 

We work on individual projects during the week and they consist of UFOs from previous retreats, home decor and clothing items and new items...that sometimes become UFOs for the next retreat. I'm sure you know the story well!

One of my cats enjoyed helping out too! They rule the house anyway. 

We hold demo sessions if anyone is interested in teaching a technique or just wants to pass on quilting or sewing related information.

And yes there was "wine-ing" during retreat... but no whining. 

On Friday, the last day, is our Sew to Serve day. My sister, Gina, is coordinator of the Prayer Quilt Ministry at her church and we generally sew quilt tops for her on this day. This year Gina gathered her scraps and cut them into strings and we all sewed string blocks. I believe we sewed enough blocks for her to make 4 quilt tops. Our sewing machines were really humming.

We have awesome fun every year, staying up late, laughing, enjoying each other's company and participating in a craft we all love. Sewing and quilting definitely brings people together.  

And...at the end of the week, even the cat was worn out.

Next year we will be in Texas!

Happy Living!
Happy Quilting!
Be Kind and Love All!

Today's Recipe - Shoofly Pie (Shoe fly Pie or Shoo Fly Pie)

When we were in Pennsylvania last year for my husband's working stint we ate several of these on cold winter evenings....enjoying it with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa.

To read the interesting history about this pie and the different versions click here

Shoofly Pie

You must use molasses in order for it to be a Shoofly Pie!


1 frozen pie crust or make own (see below)                        1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour                                                         1/2 cup boiling water
2/3 cup firmly backed light brown sugar                             1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp butter                                                                         1/2 cup dark (or light) molasses 
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon                                                     1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg                                                         1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground ginger                                                           1 large egg, beaten lightly
1/4 tsp ground cloves

(use light or dark molasses depending on your "boldness" preference)

Pie Directions:

Add pie weights or dried beans to frozen pie crust and bake 15 minutes at degrees stated on packaging. Remove weights and bake until golden brown or use the delicious pie crust recipe below...It's easier than you think!


Using a pastry cutter or food processor mix flour, brown sugar, butter, all the spices and salt until crumbly. 

Stir together the boiling water and baking soda in a large bowl and let stand for 1 minute. Stir together the molasses, corn syrup, vanilla, and egg in a medium bowl and mix into the water mixture. 

Sprinkle half of the crumb flour mixture on bottom of prepared crust. Pour molasses mixture over crumb mixture. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until set. Remove from oven to a wire rack, and cool for about 2 hours. 

Pie Crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp salt
4 to 5 tbsp ice cold water

Combine flour, butter and salt in a bowl and blend with pastry blender until it resembles crumbs. Sprinkle ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, over flour mixture and stir with a fork until moistened. Shape dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat over to 425 degrees. Lightly flour surface and roll dough into a 13 inch circle. Lay dough into a 9 inch pie plate, fold and crimp edges of dough to fit plate. 

Line pastry with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights and bake 5 to 8 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool completely before adding desired filling. 

If you make this recipe please comment below on how it turned out and any changes you did.

Have an awesome week. 

Life is full of many journeys. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Vintage Sewing Machines

This past year I was obsessed with buying vintage Singer sewing machines. I did my research and made a list of the one's I'd like to own and spent the year looking. It took me about 10 months to complete my list and now I have a vintage sewing machine area in my sewing studio.

Someone once told me that when I sew on a Singer 301 that I'd prefer it over my Featherweight 221...I was like "Uh...NO Way...no other machine can replace the "sewing love" I have for my 221". Ding Ding Ding...newsflash...that person was so right!  I love love love my 301!  I love it so much I found and bought 4 more! I know that's over the top but I couldn't resist when I saw one that was priced right. I have a black one, two taupe, and two taupe and oyster shell. They are magnificent sewing machines and will sew through the thickest of fabrics never missing a stitch with top speeds of 1300 - 1500 stitches per minute!

I love the sleek lines and enjoy hearing the purr of the motor as it makes a perfect stitch through any fabric. These two are short beds and were in nice cabinets and wish I had room in my sewing studio for the cabinets. My favorite is a long bed (not shown) and it's my travel machine for classes, retreats or vacation. It stays packed in it's roller bag always ready to go. 
 For more information on the 301(a) click here. 
Singer Model 301
 Here is my Singer 403 and 401. I plan to have them threaded and ready to work. These were the first cam machines and machines that had built in stitches. I lucked out because both machines have all the cams and extra accessories.

On the 401, the built-in stitches are selected by a combination of moving two dials on the front of the machine. I've had fun playing with those combinations. 
Singer Model 401a

 Another awesome machine is the Model 500a and it has an interesting beginning as it was
manufactured during the space race in the late 50s early 60s....hence it's name Rocketeer. The 500a and
503a model are the last of the all-metal machines produced by Singer.  It has a "modern" shape with
lines that remind me of the old 1950s automobiles. This machine uses "fashion" cams, has built-in
stitches and is my go-to zig zag stitch machine. The deco stitches are fun to play with too.

Singer Model 500a Rocketeer 
My Model 503a is currently in my sewing machine medical center needing a good oiling and cleaning before being set up with its other vintage cousins. 

All are workhorses and sew fantastic stitches. I spend all day playing with the cams and stitches and presser feet that I get no sewing done! They're great Singer models and if you see any of these machines I'd snatch them up if I were you!

Oh and speaking of vintage...Click here to view and read about this embroidered vintage sewing machine that I made.

Today's Recipe - Sweet Potato Bourbon Cake

Since the focus of this post has been on sewing machine models from the 50s and 60s I thought I'd share a bundt cake recipe. Bundt cakes were very popular desserts at that time with the favorites filled with fudge, nuts or creams.  Serve this Sweet Potato Bourbon cake drizzled with Bourbon Syrup, recipe included.  

Happy Quilting
Happy Sewing

Life is full of many journeys. 
Check out my Journeys: