Sunday, January 29, 2012


I've never gone "clubbing".  Not in the way it's most commonly known, anyway.  You know...shiny silk shirts, a single dangly earring, a boom box on your shoulder pumping out some rad techno beats.  No, it seems I've missed out.  Please give me a second while I shed a few tears over this loss.  Let's cue the music, shall we?

Thanks guys, I needed that moment.  But I did recently join a club...a QUILTING club!  I finally took the plunge and signed up for the St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild (thanks again for introducing me, Laura!)  My first monthly meeting was a couple of weeks ago and it was chalk full of wonderful things, including a couple of assignments:  One, a tiny little quilted fridge magnet (haven't done this yet) and, two, a quilted name badge to wear to all the meetings.   And here it is!

I will proudly safety-pin it to my shirt once a month, and maybe even walk away with a door prize--who knows?!

Clubs...I don't know that I've belonged to an official club since junior high (unless you count Key Club in high school, which I joined mainly so I could get out of 7th hour once a month).  In junior high, every Wednesday was Club Day.  You signed up for a different club every quarter, and at the end of the day on Wednesday, you got to go to your club instead of to class.  It was glorious.  Unless all the clubs that your friends signed up for were full already...  No matter.  The origami and sign language clubs offered me valuable skills to last a lifetime.

The most popular club was Intramurals; the champs were awarded tshirts. (Walking Club was a close second--you got to walk to the gas station and buy a Big Moby.) One quarter, I was in intramural basketball club and instead of enjoying myself on Club Day, I sat at the top of the bleachers in a nervous sweat hoping I wouldn't get asked to actually play basketball.  Never again.   How about another round of origami club?

Thankfully, the Quilt Guild did not leave me in a pool of sweat.  I think this is a club I can handle.  However, if I do happen to get nervous and pass out during the show-and-tell portion of the meeting, at least I will have a name badge on to identify me.

Happy Hands Club, Napoleon Dynamite

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Modern Country Quilt for Mom (and Crockpotty Humor)

Mom's slightly belated Christmas gift, her FINISHED modern country quilt!

Planetarium Pattern by Oh, Fransson!
Back of quilt
Close-up of back

I say "modern country" because the pattern is from a modern quilting book, but I used fabrics and a color scheme that I thought were a little more traditional/country.  A quilt fit for a log to just get my mom her log cabin!

Although I now live in the city, I always claim to be a country girl at heart.  As I type this, I am wearing my Rural King hoodie.  For real.  One thing that always hollers "Country!" in my book is a good old-fashioned crockpot meal.  We didn't have too many of those growing up, except for mom's delicious chili.  We did have other country-classic meals, though: pork chops, pork patties, pork kabobs (lovingly pronounced "KAY-bobs" in my house), and Tombstone pizza.

I've tried a few crockpot meals, you know, to stay country, and I've had some hits and misses.  The biggest hit would have to be the Italian beef recipe.  We have it often.  My first attempt at a crockpot meal in married life was a simple chili, or as Michael calls it, "scorched earth".  Oops.

I have two or three crockpot cookbooks on my shelf.  Awhile ago, I was looking through them for a new recipe, and was struck at the shear creativity of the titles of these recipes.  Allow me to share a sampling:

  • Soup With A Zip
  • A Different Stew
  • Ole! For Stew
  • Green Beans To Enjoy
  • Better Butter Beans
  • Krazy Karrots
  • Chicken-for-Supper
  • Here's The Stuff
  • Make-Believe Lasagna
  • Meat on the Table
  • Special Hot Dog Supper
  • Very Special Spinach
  • So You Forgot to Defrost!
  • Melt-In-Your-Mouth Sausages
  • Tastes-Like-Turkey   

I think I'll start with the Make-Believe Lasagna.  That means I can "make-believe" cook it, right?  In other words, order some pizza...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Hometown Radio Station (Plus a new quilt!)

I was thinking about how each of us could probably make a soundtrack for the different periods of our lives.  One for growing for teen angst...young adulthood...midlife crisis...the golden years.  I'm pretty sure the soundtrack to my "growing up" years could be summed up in four letters: WSMI.

courtesy of

WSMI is my hometown radio station (106.1 FM, if you're ever in the mid-Illinois area).  It's been around for decades, providing locals with high school sports, weather, boil water orders, agriculture news and, of course, all the country classics.  And it was always on in my house growing up.  Always.  The voices of Stan McCaslin, Terry Todt, Randy Prange--complete strangers to me--were as familiar to me as those of my parents and siblings.

It wasn't until college that I realized that my relationship with my hometown radio station may have been a bit...different.  For instance, I thought everyone ate their breakfast before school while listening to the radio guys read the obituaries.  "98-year-old Erma Jones of Fillmore passed away Thursday.  Funeral services will be held Saturday morning at Bass-Patton Funeral Home in Hillsboro.  Friends may call on Friday from 4-6 at Bass-Patton...[pause]...87-year-old Gerald Smith..." etc.  The consistency of it was strangely comforting.

Or maybe this one.  On snowy nights, my brother Adam and I had the same intense prayer as every other kid in town.  Please PLEASE let tomorrow be a snow day.  Where did we turn for an answer to our prayer?  WSMI.  We turned up the radio as Stan came on the air: "SCRAM! School Closing Reports for All of Mid-Illinois!  The following schools will be closed tomorrow due to inclement weather: [...] Greenville, Highland...("Please PLEASE let him say Hillsboro!!!")...Hillsboro, Jerseyville"[...].  I'm not sure if it was the intensity of our prayer to the radio gods that did it, or the crystals and rabbits feet that we clutched as we listened to the announcement.  I'm convinced it was the crystals.

Whenever I drive to my hometown, I'm always happy to get within the listening limits of WSMI, and be welcomed back with the voices I grew up hearing.  I don't even mind the country music so much anymore.  I've come to listen to it by choice, although on St. Louis stations now.  Back in the day, I detested it since we heard it so much.  "Country is awful!  Change the station!  Let's listen to something better!  Hanson!"  Of course.  I think Dad is proud that Adam and I have adopted his love for twang.  Poor Mom.

After a couple of days with my family and WSMI over Christmas, Michael and I headed out west to spend time with his family.  It was there that I presented my newest big quilt to a wonderful lady, my mother-in-law.  It was a real treat to see her open it.  And now I present it to you.

Kitchen Window Quilt, Pattern by Elizabeth Hartman

Close-up of fabrics
Back of quilt, modeled by Paul Terry

Currently, I'm working on finishing my mom's Christmas quilt (more of a country style).  I was in the beginning phases of quilting, when--alas!--part of the machine broke.  The new piece should arrive in the mail soon, and hopefully I can present my mom with her belated-but-finished country quilt in a couple of weeks!

As I quilt, perhaps I will listen to WSMI online.  Or this, which would also be included in my "growing up" soundtrack:

Never gets old.