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.


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.


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.


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.

On learning, and quiet Sunday nights.

Sunday nights are my favorites. I’ve spent the last several hours adding to my epic final project for a drawing class I’m taking, while listening to pleasant banter between my husband and little brother. They’re playing Battleship, but get this–it’s talking to them. Complete with “DELTA! RADAR! ECHO!”  being yelled by the computer commander.  I guess, since our Monopoly game lets us swipe a debit card to pay our rent, that Battleship should come with sound effects…they are sinking major naval equipment, after all.

What I love about Sunday night is that it’s the one night when I never have plans. I never feel obligated to clean until my eyes shut, or do some grocery shopping, or catch up on work. I love that it’s a completely set aside evening for being at home. With family. Doing something quiet and slow and relaxing. Since the kiddos go to bed at 7, that’s at least 3 hours of stress-free dreaming and scheming. Lately, those hours have been taken up by my drawing pad and some great pencils, while I refine skills and take as much time as I need to get it perfect. It’s such a different way of approaching a class. Very different than how I learned (or not) in college the first time around. I never really put 100% into my classes as a teenage/early 20s college-goer. I had too much going on, not enough maturity to focus on each thing as I was doing it. So when I graduated with my Linguistics degree, it didn’t feel deserved or earned. It was a cynical and sarcastic exclamation point at the end of several years of run-on sentences.

Now, I’m a mom, and a designer, and I’m taking this class because I want to. Because I want to soak up as much learning as this class can possibly offer me.  And if it turns out that I get a degree out of it someday, then I’ll clap for myself and have an ice cream cone. And if not, that’s fine too. I’ve learned what I showed up to class to learn, and I’ve put all my effort into not only this final, but each and every assignment. That feels great to me. In fact, I can’t think of very many things that feel better.

The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

-Alvin Toffler

I love learning, and I wonder sometimes if I’m in the minority. There are so many people who want to have their hands held, want the easy way, want someone to give x, y, and z to them with no effort on their part. Who would rather pay someone else to do something than lift their own finger. I wonder why. And I wonder, if they’ve ever felt the pride and confidence that comes from learning something thoroughly and applying it to a specific problem or need, and finding that they are more than enough to solve it. I hope someday that my own children will be able to feel this, to understand this. To be better because of it.

Why is learning so negative to so many people these days? How can children and youth be taught differently?

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