Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Where would we be without FRIENDS?

This is our dear friend, Rhonda Lovingood. She got the "virus" about a year and a half ago. I ran into her one day in WalMart and we started talking about what we had been doing since we had talked last. Of course, the conversation gravitated to quilting. I gave her one lesson and the rest is history. She is now officially fully "infected" with the disease called quilting. Rhonda and her husband Bobby are going through a very difficult time in their lives right now. Bobby is having some health problems that could potentially change their lives forever. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Two nicer people you would never meet. In spite of every pitfall that comes their way, they still make time to encourage and speak to everyone they know about what God has done and is doing in their lives.

This is TINK and her "Friend" Abbi -- Buds for Life!!!

We do have one other request for thoughts and prayers. Our friend, Cheryl, is also having some health issues. She has just been told that she is signing on for another round of chemotherapy--her cancer has returned. I don't think I have ever met anyone, fighting cancer, with such a courageous outlook or with a more positive attitude. We should all appreciate and embrace life the way Cheryl does. I have only known Cheryl for a few months, but this is a friendship that I plan to keep for many years to come. You go, girl!

Couldn't you just smell spring today? I can't remember a time when I have wanted spring more. Maybe my age is telling on me! Russ and I are planning a garden this year. (Notice I said planning not planting--do you think we can pull it off?) We started some seeds about 10 days ago. Aren't they beautiful? I can't wait to put them in the ground. Mark and Dana, are you reading this? We are counting on your help. We are clueless! We just subscribed to a new magazine--Organic Gardening. There may be hope for us after all.

Stay tuned--details to come for our first giveaway.

:) Rhonda

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rainy Day Dumplings

It's raining here today. I really don't like rainy days in the winter. They make me lazy. This is what I am supposed to be doing today.

And this is what I feel like doing today.

But instead, I will do the "right" thing and make the beds and do the laundry and all the things I am privileged to do. My mom is always telling me to enjoy these days, that I am going to miss them when they are gone. I know that she is right and that one day when my nest is empty I will be longing for those days of laundry and dance practice and cooking. So, in the mean time I will take a deep breath and enjoy all those things that make life what it really is.

Because, she makes it all worth while.

I am going to make chicken and dumplings for dinner tonight, just for Pumpkin. It is her favorite meal. The smile on her face will be priceless, when she comes home from school today and says, "Mom, what are we having for dinner, tonight?"

Here's a picture of the January block for the virtual bee. We hope Amy likes it.

Here is the February block for Amy#2. She wanted a wonky log cabin block for her quilt.

This beauty was pieced by Lisa Briggs of Phoenix. Isn't it beautiful? The above picture shows the quilt on the long arm and the below is an up close shot.

This "lovely" was pieced by Roxanne, or "Rock Sand", as she is affectionately referred to by Pumpkin and Tink. I remember them asking me what kind of name is Rock Sand?

Rhonda :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Who is Ginger Michelle????

Wow, it has been quite a few days since our last post. A lot has happened in a week. Sadly, we lost our next door neighbor, Sarah Patton, who was very near and dear to our family. We feel the emptiness already. We are trying hard to keep a good eye on her husband, Mack. He is lost without her. They had been married for a little more than 65 years and I can't imagine what he must be going through. Please keep him in your prayers.

I took Tink for a haircut and I thought Rhonda was going to have a heart attack when she saw it. But after a few days, totally loves it. I guess there will be no bun for ballet this year.

Who is the other "person" in this photo, you ask? This is another member of our family. This is Ginger Michelle, our one year old miniature Dachshund. The most common remark we get when people see her for the first time is "Oh, how cute, is she a Jack Russell terrier?" She kinda looks like one, doesn't she? But, I assure you she is all Dachshund. She is my partner in most everything I do. Apparently, someone forgot to tell her that she is a dog. She thinks everyone loves her. When someone comes by to pick up a quilt she greets them with a wag of her tail and if she gets the chance, a lick on the face. Actually, that is being quite modest. She really doesn't discriminate with her tongue--if she happens to get you in the mouth or nostril or ear, she doesn't care.

Her favorite toy is a tennis ball. Whenever she can't get anyone to throw it for her, she throws it herself. At Christmas, she threw it up and it landed in the Christmas tree--just stuck there--hanging like an ornament. Just the other day, Rhonda was walking by and looked over and guess where she had thrown it? She had tossed it in the toilet--guess we don't have that ball anymore!


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Zachary's Quilt

This is the quilt that Linda made for her grandson, Zachary. We at The Back Porch Quilters thought it would be nice to talk about someone else for a change. We have so many wonderful people that we have had the privilege to work with. Here is Linda's story and another wonderful recipe to share. Thanks Linda for sharing your life with us.

Linda Gaskins Spannagel wrote the following: I was born in Norfolk Virginia in 1948 with a twin brother, who we unfortunately lost after our 25th birthday. I have spent almost my entire life in this area with the exception of three years (1995-98) when Robert (my husband of 42 years) and I moved to Southern Spain while working for the government. We have one son, Brandon who is 38 yrs old, our daughter-in-law Kristen and one grandson, Zachary who is 6 yrs. old. The quilt that is pictured was made for Zachary on Christmas of 2008. It has photos of him and his family taken during his two years of playing T-Ball. We included pictures from all of his teams so that he could remember them in the future. It truly was a labor of love from his Granny.

My mother bought me a sewing machine while I was in high school after taking Home Economics, but I really never got interested in sewing at that time. I enjoyed looking at material in the material shops and have done some cross-stitching, knitting and making rag dolls for fun. I began quilting in 2004 when my husband bought me a new sewing machine for Christmas as well as signing me up for a beginners quilting class at one of the local schools. I have always had an interest in quilting, but did not know anyone who quilted. My mother, Hattie Riggs Gaskins who died in 2007 at the age of 93, passed down to me two quilts that her Great Grandmother and Grandmother had made for her, one in the late 1800’s and one in the early 1900’s. I guess it was in my blood to quilt and my grandmother Bertha Brinson Riggs was a wonderful seamstress and made clothes for her three daughters. I know they both would have been very proud to know how much I really enjoy my quilting and to see some of the quilts I have made. The first quilt I ever made was named “Patches Pete”. My husband gave me the class certificate for my Christmas present. He had attached a piece of material to it along with a letter. The letter said, “Hello, my name is Patches Pete and I am part of the Pete family. All my brother and sisters have already been included in other quilts. I guess I haven’t because I am so ugly. I promise you that if you include me in one of your quilts, I will keep you company and warm at nights.” Well, I made a Lone Star quilt using Quilt Smart which was new at the time, but it did make it an easy quilt to put together. In the middle of the Lone Star Quilt is the swatch of material called Patches Pete and I included a copy of the letter in a cloth envelope on the back of the quilt. Needless to say, it has been quite a conversation piece. The thing I like about quilting is how relaxing it is for me. My favorite quilt shop is “What’s Your Stitch ‘n Stuff “ in Virginia Beach, Va., but I also enjoy visiting all the quilt shops all over and chatting with the girls. My favorite quilt patterns at the moment is Buggy Barn and I love Henry Glass Pumpkin Spice fabrics and Garden Inspirations by Kansas Trouble Quilters for Moda Fabrics and 3 Sisters for Moda. I attend our annual “Quilt Shop Hop” in the area which consists of eight to ten local shops. They design a quilt and each shop you stop at gives you a pattern block to complete the theme for that quilt. Some of the shops offer kits. They give away baskets of goodies and have dessert socials at the end of the week. It is a fun day for my husband and me. I don’t live close to any particular quilt shop, so I do my quilting at home which I find very relaxing. I take some classes at the local quilt shops and enjoy visiting with the group during the class. My husband enjoys taking me to the quilt shops and helping me pick out materials for my quilts. He is my partner during the shop hops and quilt shows I attend. He enjoys it as much as I do and I enjoy his company. My husband’s mother’s family is from the Smokey Mountains and that is where we both enjoy vacationing, sometimes as many as two to three times a year. We visit all the quilt shops in the mountains and have made friends with the owners and it would not be the same without seeing them all on every visit. I buy a lot of my materials at these quilt shops and I am receiving Block of the Month patterns at this time. I hope everyone enjoys my grandson’s quilt, and I know he will treasure it as much as I treasure my quilts that were passed down to me from my family. I really enjoyed sewing it for him and looking at the pictures and thinking how proud I am of him already at such a young age. It is one of those gifts from the hearts that should last forever. Zachary is very special to us, and I wanted him to have something special from his Granny Linda to remind him of how much he is loved.

My mother gave me this dessert many years ago and I use it almost every Christmas and Thanksgiving. By the way, cooking used to be my favorite thing to do until quilting took over the #1 spot. Hope you enjoy this

A Jewel of a Dessert

This beautiful gelatin mold has the color and sparkle of garnets, the indescribably delightful flavor combination of Bing cherries and pineabble and cola, the crunchiness of slivered almonds. Add a garnish of dairy sour cream sweetened to taste and you have a handsome, unusual and delicious dessertthat will long be remembered.

Cherry Cola Dessert
1 can (1 lb) Bing cherries
1 can (1 lb) crushed pineapple
1 large package (6 oz) cherry or black cherry flavored gelatin
1 can or bottle (12 oz) cola beverage
1 cup canned or packages blanched slivered almonds

Drain cherries and pineapple; measure syrups; add water, if necessary, to make two cups. Heat syrups to boiling; pour over gelatin; stir untilgelatin is dissolved. Add cola beverage; chill until consistency of unbeaten egg white. Combine cherries, pineapple and almonds; fold in. Spoon into eight-cup mold. Chill until firm. Unmold. If desire, garnish with dairy sour cream sweetened to taste with either sugar or sugar substitute. Makes 8-10 servings.