Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Memories

I have some great Halloween memories. When I was growing up, there were no store bought costumes. Sure some kids had fancy costumes that someone made but for the most part, you just put together what was around the house. Gypsy ladies were common as well as Cowboys and Cowgirls. I remember being a Gypsy more than once with a old skirt of my mom's, a scarf on my head and hoop earrings. I got to wear makeup and that made it all fine! It really didn't matter what you wore to go trick or treating because by the end of Oct. in the Colorado mountains, it was pretty cold and there was sometimes snow on the ground already. So you wore your coat/snowsuit over the costume anyway. Funny though, I remember lots of questions about what you were supposed to be???

There were a few years when we all went to a town costume party at the high school gym. I was pretty small when we did that, don't recall much about it, except going. I also don't remember much about school parties, I think we took costumes but that one has left the old brain. Trick or treating at our house was our street only! My mother had a pet peeve about kids who went all over town with pillow cases and got them full of candy. In her eyes, they were wild, unsupervised kids and we heard a lot about how awful that was. LOL Our neighbors all did something special for us so it made it OK. The lady next door made candied apples, across the street had the best homemade popcorn balls. One of the families on the street had their uncle living with them and he gave out QUARTERS to the kids he knew. I loved that, as it was money to go to the movie on SUNDAY afternoon.

Our give out was seven milk carton tops from a local dairy with a candy of some sort hooked to it. Every Sat. the movie theater had a morning movie, sponsored by a local dairy. You could see Roy Rogers and Dale Evens in black and white for the entrance fee of seven quart milk carton tops! My sisters and I drank milk but I was the only one at an age to go to the Sat. morning movie. My uncles drank a LOT of milk and my grandmother saved the carton tops all year. So we bundled them together and gave them out at Halloween. Apparently, a lot of families struggled to come up with enough box tops for all the kids to go so we were a very popular stop on the Trick or Treat circuit.

When I was in high school, we paired up and went trick or treating for UNICEF. We collected money house to house and then ended the night with a dance at the Labor Center. What I remember the most about that is freezing feet! By the time you got to the dance, all you really wanted to do was go home and get warmed up!

When my own kids were old enough to enjoy Halloween, there are memories of school carnivals in Texas, with cake walks and games that we enjoyed so much. In Illinois, one year we had a large crop of small pumpkins in our garden. The kids and I loaded them up in a big red wagon and went for a walk. Every house we knew had kids in it, got presented with a small pumpkin. It was so much fun on Halloween, going trick or treating (again with winter coats and mittens) to see our pumpkins on display at the houses.

We try to have a special treat for the kids on our street to keep up the tradition of my childhood. Not homemade sadly, as those days are gone, but something bigger than what the other hand out might be. The past few years, we have had a family dinner of Mexican food before the grands go out to trick or treat. I stay at my daughters and hand out candy. So no one is home at our house. Julia and Colin will distribute the treats to the houses before we leave for their house. This is what we have this year.

Here are the great pumpkins that the kids painted last weekend. They will carve jack o lanterns with their dad on Thursday but this was an activity at Nana/Papa's that we try to do every year. If you carve your pumpkin too early here, you have a shriveled up, moldy pumpkin on Halloween. It is in the low 90's here during the day still and that is not a good temperature for carved pumpkins.

Julia did this one completely on her own.........his name is "Spoty". According to what she wrote, "Spoty is deadly!"

In spite of our making sure he watches nothing on TV of a violent nature, our Colin is a boy. Halloween to him means "scary" and "spooky". So we have a somewhat scary pumpkin with blood coming out of his eyes. He had some help lining up the eyes so they were even but for the most part, he did this on his own too! I love them!

I hope this brings to mind Halloween memories for all of you! If you don't have some good ones..........go make some!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cinnamon Twists

We are all feeling such a pinch at the grocery store these days that stretching our food $$ is a real challenge. With everything costing so much, it is hard to provide your family with special treats now and then. I have been thinking about things I made when my kids were growing up and we lived on one income, so I could be a stay at home Mom.

These are super simple to make as well as really good and inexpensive. I made them with Julia and Colin last Sat. morning. They start with a can of biscuits. I used the Pillsbury Grands Home Style but when I did it with my kids many years ago, we just used the store brand of biscuits because one can was never enough. I was amazed at the different varieties of canned biscuits they have now. The store brand was packaged in bundles of four cans and that was more than I wanted. You just need to make sure you don't get the ones that are layered as you roll each biscuit into a long roll. (it takes some pulling but the little ones can do this). Then you roll the biscuit roll in melted butter or margarine and then roll it in a mixture of cinnamon sugar until it is coated well. Take both ends and tie it into a knot. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at the temperature given on the biscuit can. You now have a special breakfast that costs very little and makes everyone happy!

Friday, October 24, 2008


I do think I could have hand quilted a nice sized table topper in the time it took me to blanket stitch around 32 burp cloths. The stitching really adds to them and takes them from a double piece of flannel sewn together to something nice.

So, I stitched away, having visions of a sweet baby on some one's shoulder with their tiny head resting on soft colorful flannel. I stopped the vision right there because we all know what often happens when a baby burps. Didn't want to think about what these are meant to catch! Anyway, Julia got to choose first for her teacher's twins, then the Mama picked out hers for the coworker gift and then we picked out six for the friends baby. That leaves our nephew's baby that no one has taken the time to let us know if it is a boy or girl. Then my sister tells me that her son is expecting in the stitching may go on and on. It is not in the AZ water folks, only three of these babies are local, one will be born in Portland, OR, one in CA and the other one in CO. The three local are folks I don't even know so I won't see the babies that use the burp cloths. Guess it is back to my vision of the sweet baby on someone's shoulder..............

I have fleece for a blanket for the friend's baby that I will hand blanket stitch around, the baby quilt to finish and two double flannel, no batting blankets to stitch for the teacher's babies. Good thing I like to do the blanket stitch.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Elk 2 My great white hunters 0

The title tells the story. My great white hunters came home empty handed, well unless you count the mud that was on everything. It was cold and wet in Colorado but not cold enough to drive the elk out of the timber. They didn't see one or hear any shots. So, I am shopping the sales for meat to fill my nice clean defrosted freezer. Maybe next year..............

They were home a few days early so my great white hunter still had some vacation days left. He and I headed out for our favorite spot again, in the White Mountains. Just as we drive three hours to see and play in snow in the winter, we drive that same route to see autumn leaves. If you have ever lived where there are four seasons, you feel the need to at least experience fall and winter for a day every year. The leaves are not near as pretty this year as they have been in the past. We had a wet summer and that might explain it, plus it is still pretty warm for this time of year even in the higher elevations.

These pictures are taken just outside the road to the ski resort. There are big clumps of aspen trees all around this area.

Mail Box Treasures

I have been so lucky on the blog giveaways. When I do win something, it is a shock because I never win things! So each and every package that arrives in my mail box is such a thrill. The fact that people do this for complete strangers just amazes my family. They get excited when something comes my way in the mail.

Here is my wonderful crocheted rag strip bag from Granny Lyn. She and I were both learning about rag rugs from Finn's blog. She knows more about the crochet process than I do, she made up her own pattern to make bags out of the strips. This one is one of two that she had in her give away. She even sent me balls of strips so I could try to make my own! She is a good blogger friend and I am so honored to have one of her bags.

Here is my prize from the Fall Into Fall giveaway that many bloggers took part in last week. It arrived in the mail today. Don't you just love those little salt and pepper scarecrows? They really caught my eye when I was browsing the many blogs taking part in the give away. The fat quarters are batik and I love that. Some day, I am going to figure out what to do with the batik I am collecting here and there. The purse patten looks simple enough that a non-sewer (me) can figure it out and it is just in time for some Christmas gifts that I want to make. These treasures came from Tango.

Many thanks go out to these great ladies for making my days a lot more interesting!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Huntn' Cookies or Better Known as Apple Sauce Raisin Cookies

If you have a reader, you have my picture and my misspelled title. Why does it do that???? I do love it when a machine does something that makes me look not so smart!

Anyway, back to where I was before I pushed the wrong button....These are the only cookies, besides Chocolate Chip, that I remember my mother baking. I don't remember anyone being too excited about them, so I think my dad must have liked them. The great white hunter likes them when he goes hunting because they don't crumble like a crisp cookie and they stay fresh longer. He carries them in his pack when he is out in the woods. I have sent them with him every year for years and years, they are as much a tradition in our house as the chili and stew that I make for him to take.

They got the name, "Huntn' Cookies" when I made them to take to a get together with the great white hunter brother in law and his family the night before our nephew's wedding. I made chocolate chip also. When my brother in law reached in the bag and came up with a applesauce raisin, he got a big smile on his face and said, "You made huntn' cookies!" When they left for home, he had the bag under is arm and was telling everyone to stay away from HIS huntn' cookies! So, the name stuck.

Here is the picture of this years batch of "huntn' cookies" and the recipe follows.

I am not sure, but I think this recipe came out of the same Betty Crocker Cookie Cookbook that I posted about earlier.

Apple Sauce Raisin Cookies

3/4 cup shortening

1 cup brown sugar (packed)

1 egg

1/2 cup apple sauce

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cloves

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix shortening, sugar and egg thoroughly. Add applesauce. Blend in dry ingredients and stir. Mix in raisins and nuts. Drop by spoonful on greased sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I know that last post was long and rambling. I am really not obsessed with the copyright thing. I know that no one is going to put me in jail for my quickie baby quilt. But, I do have a lot of questions about the whole thing. Everyone just seems to ignore it and do whatever.

I don't sleep well, haven't for years now. The great white hunter and I went to bed at ten thirty every night for years and years. Right after the ten o'clock news where ever we were laying down our head in our many homes. Then about seven years ago, he was laid off from a major company. For almost 11 months, life didn't have quite as much structure to it. We had things to do but could still stay up if we wanted to. Somehow my sleep patterns got messed up and I have been up and down all night ever since. Add the fact that when he did find a job, it was working nights and weekends, then a second shift. So, you never quite know what will be going on at my house at three in the morning. I might be reading or listening to music, I work on what ever project I am working on, I play games on the computer and read blogs. I would clean house but the noise might wake up the great white hunter.

Then, after two or three nights of less sleep than I need, my body crashes and I sleep and sleep, then have a hard time getting up and functioning for awhile. My DR. and I have talked about this every visit but all the help she can give me is pills and they make it worse because I am groggy in the morning. So, I just go with it. Let me tell you, there is NOTHING on TV at three in the morning, just in case you wondered.

With all the bad news that is out there, and it seems with the economy and all, there is plenty of that, I got some great news yesterday, I won one of the granny bags from Granny Lyn! She and I were doing the rag rugs from Finn's blog at the same time, but she adapted the pattern to make very neat rag bags. How cool is that? Made my day completely yesterday and I even forgot about the copyright quilt police for a while! LOL Thank you from one old fat granny to another. I will post a picture when it arrives.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What I Think About When I Can't Sleep!

I have read, with great interest, over the past couple of years, a lot about copyright laws and crafty/quilt patterns given out for "free" on the Internet. My reading comes from the blogs, where the owner gives their interpretation and from the list of a Yahoo quilting group I belong to. These are layman interpretations and to be honest, don't think you can go by them. For that, you need someone who has a degree in copyright law and vast experience in that field. The laws were not written to cover the great access we now have with electronic media.

I have also, read several skirmishes that "designers" have had with folks who they claim are selling their "free" designs as their own or claiming them, or flat out not giving credit where they feel credit is due. I am amazed that anyone can claim credit for a quilt made from a block design that has been around for a couple hundred years or a block design that was made from a computer program with the basics built in. How do you define original? Is there such a thing in quilting? When does the quilt I make with a design I find in a book or on a blog/website become mine? Is it ever mine, even though I may have bought the pattern/book, fabric, thread and notions, used my sewing machine and most of all my labor to make it? I am not talking about quilts for sale here, I am just talking quilts/crafts.

When I pay money for a pattern, or when you give that pattern on a website with no charge, is it not mine at some point? Do the rights transfer to me when there is a cash exchange? Best I can figure, the answer is no unless that designer gives me those rights.

I find this scary territory for all of us. How many times have you seen the same quilt block used in quilts designed by different designers? Who is to say that if you make that quilt, place a picture on your blog and give proper credit where it is due, that someone else might come along and say it is their design you used and you did not give them credit? What if the design you got from a website is a stolen one and you don't give credit to the true designer because you did not know? In a field where nothing is really new except perhaps applique and paper pieced patterns, how can you know what is what?

The chance that anyone would pursue you for a copyright violation is small, who has the money or the legal resources to do that? But, what if someday, a publisher decides to use you as an example that they WILL enforce their copyrights? You, "Mrs Everyday, Quilt for Fun and Blogger" might find yourself in a world of trouble. I know there is abuse of copying and folks out there who steal patterns and profit by them and designers need protection, I am talking about those of us who are just thrilled to have the sharing of free patterns out there. Who will protect us?

The source of this questioning comes from my latest project. I was going through my box (es) of flannel looking for large enough pieces for the burp cloths I am making for gifts. I found enough scraps/remnants from the quilt that I made for Julia before she was born to make another baby quilt. In the interest of scrap busting, here it is. I used NO pattern, just cut the 4 1/2 inch strips, sewed them together and cut the rows. The borders also measure 4 1/2 inches. Is there a pattern out there for this quilt? I am sure there are several. Have I seen those patterns? No doubt........but this one just came about without any written instructions. How many quilts are there out there, that came about the same way, that no one gets credit for but they have been "designed" somewhere along the way and published the same exact measurements and layout? Makes you think twice about sharing your work, doesn't it?

The Momma has claimed this one for a gift for her co-worker. I have the backing and the batting, just need to move on to the next step.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fall, Arizona Style

If your image of Fall is beautiful colored leaves and crisp air, you would have to go to the floral department of a craft store to visit, or drive three hours to Arizona higher elevations to see the trees turn color. Our Fall is a mix of Summer and Spring. The one thing that is similar in our house to other parts of the country is HUNTING SEASON. My great white hunter and our great white hunter son #2 are gearing up for a elk hunting trip to Colorado. Now when I say gearing up, I mean several weeks of putting all their gear together, food, maps and long conversations. They both have that far off look in their eyes. When I was younger, I fought it, but I am older and wiser and just tell myself it is just a few weeks out of the year, besides, I won't have to cook while they are gone!

This has hung in our house for many years and no truer words were ever spoken. All you wives of hunters will relate I am sure. Sorry for the glare from the flash.

This is our old pop up camper, all repaired and ready to roll. It is like me, old and needed some patching before it hits the road. This belongs to the kids now, we replaced it with the RV that we don't use because the gas prices are so high. The great white hunter did tell me if gas goes under $3 a gallon, we are going to celebrate with a fill up!

The great white hunter built a new frame for the shade cloth around the raised garden bed. We planted more of the Sweet 100 grape tomatoes that we had such luck with in the spring. We did this last year and lost them to frost so cross your fingers.

The grape fruit will start turning in month or so. They are good size but we don't have as many as we should. Julia and Colin had a great time this spring picking smaller ones off the tree........oh well, we just give them away anyway.

Lemons on our neighbors tree that falls over into our yard. There are lots and they are good sized this year.

When the temps start to fall, the roses start to bloom. The buds are tiny and sometimes not formed really well, but bless their stems, they give a effort. It is like they are saying, "We survived!" in spite of the blazing hot summer. They will bloom now until the weather turns colder.

The hibiscus is full of full sized blooms and I enjoy it so much. This one thrives on heat, we have lost several of these to frost though. I look out my kitchen window and see the two that we have in bloom and the day is good! Who needs fall leaves? (I do but that is another post).

Last but not least, the VERY best part of our Fall. This was taken last week about ten o'clock in the morning. It is supposed to be cooler this week with some small chance of rain.