Saturday, December 31, 2011

A {non} Wine Tasting Trip & Goodbye to 2011

I’m not a wine snob by any means, the lack of a sense of smell relegates me to the sidelines when talking about wine among friends whom know their wines…but I love wine.  I cannot isolate the fruit or the herbs or the sweetness overtones but I can detect whether or not I like it, don’t like it or love it and thankfully my husband and I are usually on the same page.  Our “wine cellar” is full of wine that we both enjoy together and yesterday we returned from our favorite wine tasting areas in California with more to add to our cellar.  What made this trip to Santa Ynez/Paso Robles/San Luis Obispo different is instead of going with our children, we went with another couple.  The boys had prior invitations to sleepovers so we took the opportunity to invite a great couple for a quick trip up north. 

We had a wonderful time – well except for the fact that I caught a cold the day before we left….so no wine tasting for me.  My motto:  If I can’t taste it, why drink it?  So I was automatically the designated driver which was fine by me as I love to drive – especially around Central California where the rolling hills punctuated by Oak trees gives me a sense of peace and openness which is hard to come by in suburban Los Angeles. 

Here is a photo journal of my {non} Wine Tasting trip... hope you enjoy.   I'll talk all about the trip on my next podcast.  So for now, just photos.  
My favorite place - under the Oak Tree @ Rusack Winery

Peacock @ Kelsey See Winery 

Tri-Tip Sandwich @ Firestone Grill in SLO

Fish Taco @ Firestone Grill in SLO - delicious!  

4pm arrival @ Graveyard Vineyards in San Miguel
An hour later...

Sunset @ Graveyard Winery in San Miguel
Guess who bought fabric at Fabricworm's Brick&Mortar store?  

Sun & Vineyard Mosaic @ Tobin James Winery in Paso Robles

Christmas Tree made out of Oak Barrels @ Pear Valley Vineyards in Paso  Robles, CA

Picnic Lunch while warming up in the sun @ Calcareous Vineyard in Paso Robles, CA
2011 was an amazing year for me in many ways: school, crafting, blogging, podcasting and in some very personal ways too.  No long retrospective here as all I have to do is read through my posts of 2011 or listen to my podcast episodes to remember what 2011 held for me.  Bottom line is that I grew and I blossomed and at 42 (almost 43…omg) I am the happiest and most fulfilled than I have ever been in my life.  Thank you all whom are reading this for being a part of my 2011.  I can’t wait to experience what 2012 will hold for me ~ make sure you come back because I’ll be sharing it with you all. 

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve ~ wherever you are!  Be safe and have fun.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Work-In-Progress Wednesday: Handmade Christmas 2011 Wrap Up

Being very busy last week with the crush before Christmas caused me to use #BDSI (Boxing Day Sew In) on Twitter this past Monday, December 26th to finish up the Orange & Black quilt for my nephew for his Christmas present.  It was not a late gift as my side of the family did not get together until Monday afternoon to accommodate everybody's holiday schedules.
As I finished the quilting, prepared the binding and then machine sewed the binding on, I tweeted along with my fellow #BDSI companions keeping me company.  At one point I became super annoyed at my machine because I was getting the birds nest effect on the back and cried out for help....Jaye from Artquiltmaker came to my rescue by telling me to rewind my bobbin thread very SLOWLY.  That did the trick and at approximately 5pm Monday afternoon I took a photo of this:
Orange & Black quilt for N. 
Orange & Black 
Little Man quilt pattern by Camille Roskelley from Simplify:Quilts for the Modern Home
Fabrics: Various Kona Solids and two baseball patterns from local fabric store.
Started: November 2011
Finished: December 26, 2011
Given to nephew for Christmas 2011

Here's the front: 
Orange & Black quilt front - 40"x 50"
And the back:
Orange & Black back
I have four nieces of various ages so I decided this year for Christmas to give them a little handmade item with a favorite gift card of their choice nestled inside.  For my teenage nieces I tried a new tutorial for Lined Drawstring Bags from Jeni of  InColorOrder.  Great tute - go check it out.  Both bags came together very easily and were well received by both girls.  Success!  
Lined Drawstring Bags
For my younger nieces I made zip pouches and they loved them.  My SIL told me that the bag I made below for B. looks very similar to the new backpack that my niece had yet to open for Christmas.  The pouch would be a perfect accessory to the backpack which made me happy.  
Love this girl...such a sweet kid.  
So the Christmas rush of handmade is now over and now I can relax and wait for projects to appear.  I did receive a text yesterday from a good friend (Sarah) who asked me to make her a Kindle Fire cover and I replied a definitive YES.  Looking forward to researching tutorials and fabrics for her.  

Hope you are all well,

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Buon Natale and a #BDSI Announcement

Buon Natale to you all!

It's early and my house is still quiet and cold (my fingers are frozen!) so I thought I would share with you all some Christmas memories of mine.  

Our Christmas Tree - 2011
As an early riser I enjoy the quiet moments alone before the house arises for the day and just like I did as a child, I wake even earlier on Christmas morning.   I still remember how I would lie in bed Christmas Eve and imagine Santa & his Reindeer landing on the roof of my house and sliding down the fireplace - my room was so close to the fireplace that I was sure I heard him.    Sometimes I would even sneak into my brothers’ room and wake him to tell him about hearing Santa – my excitement impossible to keep to myself.  

Now with children of my own I love watching how much they enjoy the Christmas holiday.  On Christmas morning they have a deal that whomever wakes up first must wake the other... something that my brother and I did.  I love hearing their voices as they wake and whisper to each other as they walk into the family room to see what Santa has left them.  Just as my brother and I were allowed to “open” our stockings without our parents around, my boys are too.  I listen to them pull out the treasures and goodies that are inside and discuss and share what they have received.  Although I’m always awake for this moment, I never go out and watch as I so enjoy just listening to them share their Christmas morning together.  It's one of my favorite moments of Christmas as a parent. 
On to #BDSI...what is #BDSI you ask?  It's the Twitter name for the Boxing Day Sew In that is being hosted by Sandy from Quilting...for the Rest of Us, tomorrow, Monday, December 26th otherwise known as Boxing Day.  Please visit Sandy's post Boxing Day Sew I--Join the Fun! to get all the details. Instead of shopping on the day after Christmas, stay home, preferably in your pajamas and sew!  I'll be finishing up the Orange & Black quilt for my nephew that I will be giving him at approximately 3pm that day.   If you are a Twitter follower (I'm HQSuz) please join me and my fellow podcasters on Twitter  tomorrow  and follow #BDSI for various giveaways being offered by my fellow quilting podcasters.  

I hear stirring in the house.  Time for me to finish up and enjoy the sounds of Christmas morning.  

Hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas holiday.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Hot Chocolate Worthy Coffee Cake

I don't like coffee.
I don't need coffee.

A trip to a pony league snack shack to pick up coffee for my mother when I was seven began my dislike and it has never waned.  There are so few things edible in the world that I do not like: coffee, canned peas, my mother's slumgulion (a concoction  Ruth Reichl's mother could have come up with - see Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table ) that I don't feel like I have to force myself to broaden my horizons when it comes to food.  I'll try anything and if your a betting person, lay your bets on me because it's almost a sure thing that I will like it.

What I do like/love and sometimes crave with every cell in my body is Hot Chocolate. Nectar of the Gods in my book.  This past Sunday morning a craving for Hot Chocolate was in full force along with some kind of breakfast item - something new, something different.  Not a scone, nor a muffin, or a pancake...I wanted cake and I wanted it with cinnamon and brown sugar.  I'm so greedy.  hehe

Foster's Market Classic Sour Cream Coffee Cake
I've tried many a coffee cake over the years but had neglected to notice the recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks.  As I sat on the floor of my kitchen Sunday morning pouring over my cookbooks (one of my favorite things to do) I came across Classic Sour Cream Coffee Cake from Foster's Market located in North Carolina.  Choosing to make their version of Coffee Cake was a no brainer so I put my cookbooks away and started prepping.  About 90 minutes later I had a coffee cake worthy of my Hot Chocolate craving;  moist, cake like with a delicious crunch of streusel (cinnamon/brown sugar/flour mixture)  in the middle and on top.  The original recipe called for baking in a bundt pan, but I chose a spring-form pan instead for faster cooking.  Also, I would also add more streusel in the future - makes for a bigger crunch.  Yum.  

Foster's Market Classic Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Click on the link above for the recipe and if you try it, let me know what you think.  Please visit Debbie's Tuesday at the Table to see what other's are bringing to their table today.  Debbie has an amazing sounding French Toast recipe that I am now adding to my Christmas Even Brunch menu for Saturday!  

Enjoy your Tuesday~still my favorite day of the week.  

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Giveaway Day Winner!

Super excited to announce my winner for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day not only to make someone happy but thanks to Debbie of A Quilter's Table, I finally know how to get that damn Random Number Generator Box on my blog! Thanks Debbie.  :)
Anonymous said...

My newest trial was "melted snowman cookies". They are so cute! Huge hit with the kids!

Congratulations to Anonymous for winning the Hungarian Blue Quilt Kit and the Kate Spain Flurry Charm Pack.  I've just sent out an email and will get that into the mail as soon as I hear back from you.  
Quick update on Christmas presents:

Zip bag for B - back

Zip bag for B - front

Working on a drawstring bag from a tutorial from In Color Order:  Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial.  It's super cute and the tutorial is fairly easy to follow except when you realize.....

That your fabric is upside down.  Bummer.  Guess I have a new bag!  Next one will have the fabric right side up and will be for my niece K.  
Off to feed the family with a new coffee cake cooling on the kitchen counter.  Younger son already commented on how good it smelled.  Love that.  
Enjoy your Sunday,

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Gifts: Handmade For My Nieces

Welcome those whom are visiting from the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day.  Please go here to enter in my giveaway.

My semester is over and now the push to finish/make Christmas gifts is on.  Besides the Orange & Black quilt for my nephew,  I am making little zip pouches for my nieces that will hold various small denomination gift cards.  My creative juices are just too strong to keep from making handmade for them this year (you might remember that I vowed not to make handmade for family after my experience last year) but I'm keeping it simple by just making pouches. First up is my oldest niece on my side of the family - lovely girl whom is entering her teenage years very smoothly.  So wish I would see her more often.

For the front I chose to try my first ever log cabin block.  Talk about fun - I enjoyed using strips of 11/2" fabric to lay this block out even though I had no idea what I was doing.  I used Modern Log Cabin Quilting by Susan Beal for instruction - and they were great!
Bag front for B. 
 For the back of the bag I used a block pattern called Everything Equal by Louise Papas from the Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks From Your Favorite Designers book compiled by Susanne Woods.
Bag back for B. 
I've got more in the works but I'm out of to take my father to the doctor.
Enjoy your Thursday!

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Giveaway Day!

Welcome new and returning visitors to The History Quilter blog.  For those of you whom are new to The History Quilter, welcome!  If you are a podcast listener and love quilting, garden, cooking and a few other things I throw in, please  check out my podcast called The History Quilter which you can find on iTunes and Podbean .  

It's finally here!  The wonderful, amazing, time-killer Giveaway Day hosted by Sew Mama Sew that happens twice a year.  We've all waited seven months since the last one and today is the day.  Get ready boys and we go! 
It's all about the quilting fabric in this Giveaway.  A kit and a charm pack.  Don't they sound cute together?

A Kit and a Charm Pack
For the Kit:  Hungarian Blue by Sue Zipkin for Clothworks.  Includes all the fabric to complete the quilt top and binding (no backing fabric) which measures out at 61" x 78" finished.  I've used this fabric on two other projects and I just love it as the colors are vibrant  My favorite color.  Go  here  to see the pattern pdf.

Hungarian Blue Quilt Pattern
For the Charm Pack:  Flurry by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics.  42 squares of assorted reds, greens, blue and whites just waiting to be quilted up into a table runner, place mats or perhaps small Christmas bags?  Vanessa of V & Co. has a wonderful tutorial for bunting made with a charm pack called  Moda Charm Pack Celebration Flag

Flurry Charm Pack by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics

Before I continue  PLEASE  make sure I can get in touch with you.  It's a major bummer to read a super cool comment from someone whom I cannot reply back too.  This giveaway will be open until Friday, December 16th at 5PM PST after which I will chose a winner within 24 hours and have the package out the door on Monday, December 19th.  

Who can enter:  Anybody as I am happy to ship anywhere in the world. 
How to enter:  Leave me a comment about something new you have tried, somewhere new you have gone, someone new you have met,etc. - tell me about new things that have been discovered in your life.  If you can't think of anything  - go with one of my favorite subjects: food.  

Enjoy Giveaway Day...or Giveaway Week as some of us are calling it....and Good Luck! Click here to go back to the Sew Mama Sew Blog for more linkups.  

Saturday, December 10, 2011

HQ Podcast Episode 18 The Miscellaneous Episode

I took advantage of a quiet house this morning and recorded a short podcast about various subjects ~ ergo, The Miscellaneous Episode.

Sandy from the Quilting for the Rest of Us podcast commented/reminded me this week about her podcast Episode 63 where she spoke with Jaye of about Lines in Quilts.  In her blog notes, she highlighted a few Log Cabin Quilts which both she and her mother had made.  Go take a look at Sandy's photos here.   They are wonderful.

Gretchen from 120 Blocks also commented during the week about a Log Cabin Quilt that fellow quilters at her church created for a charity auction to raise funds to support missionaries.  She explained how individual quilters made blocks and how Gretchen had to "re-do" some of them and she was very clear on how she did not appreciate that process.
Charity Log Cabin Quilt - Photo courtesy of Gretchen of 120 Blocks
After a very busy morning and early afternoon, I rewarded myself with some time at the sewing machine.  My results:  my first log cabin block.  Improvisational, fun and perfect for my 12 year old niece. It was fun to move from side to side picking up a slice of fabric and placing it here or there to get the right feel.

Before I forget, I will be participating in Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day on Monday, December 12th so please come back to see what I'm cooking up.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Teenager Laundry Woes & A Quilt Top Finish

Happy Wednesday!

Borders have now been attached to the Orange & Black Quilt and I am off shortly to go purchase backing and  binding fabric so I can begin basting this "Little Man".  This was the second time I used a quilt pattern from the Simplify book by Camille Roskelley and again, could not be happier.  

Orange & Black 
Laundry:  I am teaching both my boys how to do their own laundry and without identifying whom, I have to say that one of them has embraced the process without a hitch.  Loads the washing machine with the correct amount of clothes, checks back to load the clean clothes into the dryer and folds his clothes in a timely manner.  The other son....oh my goodness.  The pile of clothes that envelopes his laundry basket is enormous, he loads the washer up with too many clothes and then leaves clothes in the washer.  The worst part is the pile of clean but irreversibly wrinkled clothes which litter his bed during the day.  At night they all get lumped on his desk.  Oh, and get this...he comes out with a horribly wrinkled shirt the other morning and asks if the wrinkles will come out before he leaves for school!   Got any suggestions for me?  

Off to lunch and fabric shopping - hope you all enjoy your day. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Quick Monday Wrap-up

Wonderfully busy day today filled with orange & black fabric, cake pops, observing in the classroom and some very tasty egg rolls.  I'll elaborate more on the cake pops tomorrow.  

The quilt top for my nephew is almost done - here it is in the fading light of the Monday sun.  I cut out the fabric Saturday evening, began sewing the blocks yesterday afternoon and just finished sewing up the rows. 
Little Man quilt pattern  40x40
I visited my favorite fabric store today to purchase the border, binding and backing fabrics but came out empty handed.  Turned out they were holding their annual 20% off sale and everybody and their mother was either looking at fabric or standing in line.  The cutting table line was 30 deep!  So I browsed a little and walked out determined to visit again but at 9am when they open.

I'm off to make pasta, sauce and whatever meat I can find in the house for the carnivores. Focaccia will also be thrown into that mix to make the younger son happy.

Linking up to Manic Monday Linky Party with Jenna of Sew Happy Geek.
Enjoy the rest of your Monday...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

History Quilter Podcast Episode 17 Log Cabin Blocks & Quilts

Six weeks has just flown without further wait..Episode 17. Hope you enjoy!

Big shutout to Tanesha from the Crafty Garden Mom blog & podcast as I won a giveaway from her blog in honor of her birthday back in October.  She was so generous to Fed Ex me a copy of Modern Log Cabin Quilting: 25 Simple Quilts and Patchwork Projects by Susan Beal after my first giveaway book was eaten up by the USPS.  Thank you again Tanesha!

Please visit Susan Beal's blog at  to see how creative she is.

New quilting podcasts to me - super fun and worth a listen.  You can find them on iTunes.
Lazy Daisy Quilts hosted by Daisy.
The Quilting Pot hosted by AJ.

New food podcasts to me.
Taste Matters with Mitchel Davis.  Note to will luv him.  :)
A Taste of the Past with Linda Pellacio.  I've only listened to the 1st of 82 episodes.

I spoke about one handmade Christmas gift project I am about to embark on.  I am going to make the Little Man quilt pattern for my nephew from Camille Roskelley's Simplify book for Christmas.  Many different orange and black fabrics are on the design board for this quilt as he is a San Francisco Giant fan.
photo from
I also spoke about what I made for Thanksgiving dinner - go here to see what I made.

Have a great rest of your Saturday!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last Push of the Semester

Tonight in class 45% of my grade is due...45%. Three different assignments of varying importance : a Unit Curriculum Map, a Lesson Plan and a presentation of the Lesson Plan.  Putting so many things on the line, due at the same time seems such a gamble, such a risk, that it makes me realize that this is something that I will not do when I become a teacher.  Okay so maybe it's acceptable in college but certainly not for middle or high school students.

So with so much schoolwork on the line my sewing machine continues to sit in my closet, waiting for me - no, calling to me to bring her out to finish up projects, create new ones and calm the nerves that have descended upon me.  My Christmas list is starting to grow...gotta finish this...gotta start this..she would love this, etc.

So what do I do when I'm stressed?  My usual form of coping is cooking and so last night I rewarded myself and everyone in the house by cooking again.  After all the craftiness in the kitchen on Thursday and days upon days of leftovers...note to self - don't make so much darn food next time - I got back into my kitchen to rustle up something new.

With a bushel full of Lemons I harvested on Saturday as my inspiration I made Lemon and Oregano-Rubbed Chicken Paillards from Cooking Light Magazine.  The recipe is all over the internet so I won't list it here - go here for the recipe.  The meal turned out delicious and was very easy to make and I even made a little bit extra for chicken salad sandwiches for the kids for their school lunches.  Served with rice, lemon wedges, tomato slices from my garden and fresh bread, it was a successful start to another week of cooking.

Please visit Debbie @ Tuesdays at the Table to see what others are have cooked up this week...I already see that Toni made Pretzel Bread.  

Although a presentation is looming tonight, it's Tuesday - my favorite day of the week.
Hope you enjoy yours...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving 2.0

Yesterday I hosted Thanksgiving 2.0 with my side of the family.  It was an altogether different vibe than the afternoon before as there were young children running through my house - playing "indoor soccer" in my hallway, trying to sneak in a game of Super Smash Bros. on the Wii and playing 21.  I love all the laughter, the delight and the surprises when young children are around.

Although they range from five to fifteen in age, all six have a great time together.
A few funny facts about those six:
Three have braces.  
Four were not put on this earth to eat.
Two were - bet you can guess who they belong too..
Two are obsessed with video games.
The two girls are the loveliest nieces one could ever have.
The youngest is a carbon copy of his father.

My father with all six of his grandchildren

My brother's and I with our father
My kitchen had the night off from cooking as we brought in wonderful Lebanese food from Open Sesame. We the addition of those leftovers to Thursday night's dinner I think I may not have to cook for three days!

One little quilting tidbit for today...I learned the other day that the Latte Quilt I created for Hoffman Fabrics to display at Quilt Market is now in Minnesota.  Apparently a sales rep from Hoffman was travelling to Minnesota after Quilt Market and asked to take it along for display.  Reminds me of Flat Stanley...anybody remember him?  Unless the Latte Quilt makes another stop somewhere in the U.S., I should be getting it back soon.

With the festivities over I can now pull out my sewing machine and get back to crafting.  Yea!  
Enjoy your Saturday,

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Thanksgiving in Photos

We here at The History Quilter household hosted the husband's side of the family yesterday for Thanksgiving.
Artichoke Dip served...
I had no plans to serve an appetizer because SIL said she would bring her Spinach Dip with Sourdough Bread.  Awesome. Easy. Less work for me.  Plans change when the masses hear about the possible absence of the piping hot Artichoke Dip which they love.  So I make the damn dip while worry slowly creeps into my brain that I might offend SIL when she arrives with her appetizer.  Time for a glass of wine...

SIL and family arrive and it almost immediately realized that the Spinach Dip is still 20 miles away, on their counter.  She feels terrible but I am secretly relieved until...

I drop the piping hot Artichoke Dip dish on the open oven door.  Piping hot Artichoke Dip splayed all over the open oven door while the Turkey is still cooking in the oven is NOT good.  Ten minutes later all was worked out and I had another glass of wine.  
BBQ Rib Roast


PW's Mashed Potatoes - delicious but not photogenic

Roast Asparagus 

MIL brought her stuffing...she received points for participating

I skipped the ham and ate the Pineapple. I know, I'm weird.
Quick photo op with my boys and nieces
Then it was time for dessert. My table was laden with brownies, chocolate cake, apple pie, anise cookies, biscotti and pumpkin cheesecake.  I made the cheesecake and everyone else brought the rest.  Coffee, tea and great conversation were flowing throughout dessert while we watched the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers.  Bummer.  

My favorite - the Pumpkin Cheesecake
It was a great day but it's not over....Thanksgiving 2.0 is coming up in eight hours with my side of the family!  
Enjoy your Friday...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've got a Turkey in the oven, a Rib Roast in the BBQ and various sides in my father's oven around the in this quiet break before I have to start putting everything together let me wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.  No matter where you are, whom you you with or however your chose to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, I hope you are having a wonderful time.  

My boys - Thanksgiving 2001
Don't forget go come on back for my Thanksgiving Meal photos!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Table Plans

My checklist for the last 12 hours: 

Massive school project completed - check
Thanksgiving menu planning - check
Thanksgiving food shopping  - check 
Thanksgiving turkey barely fitting in my refrigerator - check

Fall leaves in my tomato plants

Flowers ready for the Thanksgiving Table

Potatoes ready for PW's Mashed Potatoes

Eggs, sour cream, cream cheese and cranberries all standing by...
On my Thanksgiving Table this year will be: 
Artichoke Dip w/chips
Thanksgiving Turkey
Honey Glazed Ham
Standing Rib Roast w/Horseradish 
PW's Mashed Potatoes
Turkey Gravy
Roast Asparagus
Orange Jello  (the kind my mother used to make!)
Assorted Breads
Pumpkin Pie  
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Assorted Beverages
Whatever else friends & family might bring

Check back for the play-by-play of how I'm prepping for my busy day...and please visit Tuesday at the Table with Debbie to see what others are planning for their table.  
Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday,