Coming Soon: Prairie Grass Patterns!

It’s so close I can hardly stand it!

Prairie Grass Patterns!

Finally, finally, after over a year of work, work, WORKING, my patterns are nearly ready to see the light of day, and meet all of you! I can’t wait to show you what I’ve been doing, and to tell you all about the awesome fabric companies who “sponsored” my covers. Watch for spotlights on Moda, Michael Miller, Riley Blake, & Adorn It! Thanks so much to these companies for helping me have beautiful, current (FALL 2010!) fabric for my covers. In the next week or two, I’ll highlight the fabric lines that I used for my covers, so you can see some of these great fabrics, and the amazing companies who produce them!

But first, of course a few dates!

October 1st: The big reveal! Patterns available for pre-sale. (Yahoo!)

October 15th: Patterns begin shipping to all pre-orders!

I hope you’re as excited as I am. I can’t wait!



My first order with Fat Quarter Shop


I finally caved and allowed myself to put things in my cart at Fat Quarter Shop. Then, I actually bought what was in my cart, and everything. Honestly, I think it was the most expensive purchase I have ever made. Not because the contents of my cart really amount to a whole lot, but because I have a feeling this is the beginning of a long and pricey relationship.

After making my purchases (with a grin on my face the entire time), I realized that I had made a mistake. See, I was ordering some yardage for my pattern tester, who lives 2 hours (or so) from me. I had wanted that yardage to be shipped to her, not me. As soon as I realized my mistake I began cringing and bracing myself for dealing with a company’s customer service department. Because, as we all know, calling a company to get a mistake fixed is a lesson in patience, perseverance, and restraint. Oh, and hopefully you have unlimited minutes on your cell phone plan, ’cause you’re going to be on hold a long time, baby.

I grabbed my trusty phone, looked up the phone number, and began dialing right away. Best to tear the band-aid off quickly, you know? I got a pen and paper to start doodling, and suddenly there was a voice on the other end of the line.

What?

No answering machine? No neverending list of “Press 1 if you would like to be placed on hold for the rest of your life…”?

I had the pleasure of speaking to Cheryl, who was as delightful as can be. She listened to my plight without interrupting, clarified my request, and then said she’d handle it and email me with the tracking number as soon as she had it.

I was off the phone in less than 5 minutes, and sure enough, I received an email less than 30 minutes later with the details of the order change, and the applicable tracking numbers.

I should receive my yardage early next week, and if my experience so far with Fat Quarter Shop is anything to go on, I’m sure I will be extremely pleased with what I receive.

This my friends is what customer service is all about.

I’ve never actually lived in an era where politeness was expected, where courtesy was actually common. So, when (every-so-often) I find someone who reminds me that treating your customers kindly is not only decent, but a smart business strategy, I’m surprised that more people don’t follow suit.

Two thumbs way up to Fat Quarter Shop–you’ve won me over. You’ll be an expensive friend, for sure, but entirely worth it. Thanks for a simply charming experience.



Canning.

There’s something about bottling your own food that is just so incredible to me.

I mean, I understand why it works, and the science behind it all, but it still continues to amaze me that I can put in a day’s work in the early fall, and have home grown peaches in the middle of January. Or fresh salsa in February. Applesauce in March.

You get the idea.

So, each year about this time, I start collecting my gear from the downstairs storage room, and begin planning what I will “can.”

This year? Peaches, applesauce, salsa, pears, and spaghetti sauce. Not pickles. Probably never pickles ever again.

I tried doing pickles once. It was epic. I had boxes and boxes of cucumbers from our co-op garden, and I was SO ambitious. I was determined to make the best pickles any of us had ever tasted.  They turned out so badly that I don’t even want to attempt smelling pickling spice for fear of severe nausea. Some spoiled entirely. Others, smelled delicious but were so mushy it was horrible. Every one of our 20+ quarts had something tragically wrong. Sweet Jacob tried to work his way through them, only throwing away the very worst, but even he was relieved when I’d had enough and dumped every single bottle down the garbage disposal.

Like I said. I will probably never do pickles again.

Probably.

It still bothers me that I failed so badly at them when all my other canning exploits have gone rather well.

Maybe I’ll try them another time.

Probably not.

Anyway, back to what I WILL be doing this year. I started peaches today. Just sliced, nothing fancy. Salsa and spaghetti sauce next week. Pears after that. Applesauce last, of course. That’s when I can get several boxes of the best apples.

It feels so good to know that my kids are eating apples from farms right here in our little city. Tomatoes from our own backyard.

I just love canning. Incredible, I tell you.



Something in the Air, or The Quest for the Perfect Homemade Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Sometimes I just need some good old homemade whole wheat bread.

It soothes a myriad of ailments, and makes my house smell good to boot.

I’ve been working on perfecting mine, as I’ve never been especially good at yeast baking. I think I may have finally gotten to where it at least rises every time. For a while there, I had these solid little lumps of doughy whole wheat. Kind of like a brick. One of those hasn’t shown up in my kitchen for a while now, though, so I think I may be out of the woods on that particular phase.

The next phase of my breadmaking career was the part where I kept making loaves that were too dry. They tasted great, and held together just swimmingly right out of the oven. Then, a few hours later, they were a crumbly mess. Too much flour, I was told.

Then, about a month ago, a lovely woman taught a class at a church activity about bread making. I had the same wheat grinder as her, and the same mixer, so I figured I couldn’t blame the bread problems on my equipment, at least. So I went. She gave me the perfect recipe, and I haven’t had a bread problem since.

So, my lovlies, if you’re a little less than savvy in the bread making department, maybe you should give this little beauty a try. It makes your house small absolutely amazing, and it tastes great too.

Download the .pdf recipe here.

Homemade whole wheat bread. Yum.



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