Sunday, November 30, 2008


We arrived home last night after being gone for 4 days to Salt Lake for Thanksgiving. Daughter #3 is attending the University of Utah, and we wanted to be able to spend some time with her during the holiday. Daughter #1 drove in from Phoenix, so we could at least be with 3 of our 5 children.
Elizabeth and Aubrey

We were invited to stay in the home of my wonderful girlfriend Ruth. She has a large family of 6 children, many who came from out of town also, but they included us and many others in their beautiful home.
Thanksgiving morning started out with a "breakfast feast". We wondered if we were supposed to stretch our stomachs to get ready for dinner.

One nice thing about being part of their family is everyone helps with the food preparations. (Although Ruth as the mom seemed to do the most)

We spent the morning playing games and visiting.
Ruth's husband Craig and Mr. Cactus played Laser chess. Paul and their son Russell are the same age and have been good friends.

Russell and Monica's daughter Aubri

Our children grew up together, but some of them haven't seen each other in several years. With moving to other states, marriages and babies, there was a lot of catching up to do.
Aubrey loved holding Monica's baby Navy while visiting with Sarah who is expecting #1.

My children are always so happy to be able see each other again. Paul grew up having a lot of attention from his siblings. Now it's pretty lonely for him to be the only one left at home, while the others live away in different states and cities going to school or working. Can I just add that if Paul as the youngest is a little spoiled it's not all my fault. My girls have doted on him from the day he was born. Aubrey was 12 when he was born and considered him "hers". Elizabeth used to run home from school everyday and conduct the "Paul Fun School". She was the one who taught him how to write his name and tie his shoes.

I brought the ingredients for all of Ruth's grandchildren to make "Cookie Turkeys"

Ruth's daughter Aleena and silly Aria

Around noon, while the turkey was cooking we all went to see the movie "Twilight".

We had quite a crowd, packing us all into the theatre. The men were good sports about attending a chick flick instead of an action movie. OK, we did hear a few groans, but they were "nice groans".

Once we got home everyone got to work fixing their food assignments. Jeff made the most wonderful gravy. Elizabeth said it was her favorite "flavor" out of everything.

Ruthie working away.

There were around 30 of us for the Thanksgiving feast. Ruth had enough food to feed an army.

yum, yum, yum!

Kent and Paul headed back to St. George on Friday morning, but I stayed to spend a few days with Elizabeth and Aubrey. We needed some mom/daughter time.
We went to see the "BodyWorlds" exhibit in downtown Salt Lake City.
The only word I can think of is "WOW"! This exhibit is like a high tech anatomy class.
Some find it squeamish because the bodies are of real people preserved with a tissue preservation technique called "plastination". I found it to be an extremely fascinating learning experience.
The exhibit in Salt Lake was called "Body Worlds 3, Story of the Heart", and mainly highlighted the cardiovascular system.

Another fun thing about coming into town is connecting with friends we don't see often enough. We went to lunch with Jamie
Before heading back to St. George yesterday, we went to a baby shower for Ruth's daughter Sarah. Sarah and her husband now live in Colorado, and baby #1 is due in January.
Sarah is in the middle.

April and Aleena (Sarah's sisters) help with food preparation. Yes, more food. I don't think any of us want to eat again for a week.
Judi and Ruth.
Judi came to the baby shower too. We all love to grab baby Navy to give her kisses. We think Ruth looks like a blond Sarah Palin when she puts her hair up and wears her glasses.
Thank you Ruth and Craig for hosting all of us and letting us share Thanksgiving in your beautiful home. You make us feel like family.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Egg Rolls

This is the time of year that we are often asked to bring appetizers to dinner parties. Egg Rolls can be a different and fun food to share. They are relatively easy to make and are delicious.
Thanks to Pat Leavitt for this recipe.

First cook pork, onion, and celery in a small amount of oil

Add other veggies. Make a well in the center of the pan and add an egg. Stir the egg into the mixture and cook.

Egg Roll wrappers are usually in the produce section of most grocery stores.

Lay a wrapper down on the counter.

Fill with cooked mixture. Now comes the fun part. Start folding the wrapper like you would a baby diaper. Notice I started folding in a diagonal direction.

Next fold both sides to the center.

Roll the rest of the wrapper around the folded sections. I keep a small cup of water near by. Dip your fingers into the water and then moisten the inside of the flap. The water acts like a glue to hold the wrapper in place.

Heat oil and fry each side until brown

The Sweet and Sour sauce is to die for. You will want to try this one for sure.
Paul loves these for a snack after school, too. They freeze well, so it's easy to make a big batch, freeze some and pull them out when needed. The sauce makes a big batch and I keep the leftovers in the freezer also. It's easy to heat up when needed.
1 1/2 lbs pork loin **I use pork cutlets with no fat on them
1 C. finely chopped celery
1 small chopped onion
2 minced cloves of garlic
Salt and Pepper
1 Egg
1 Can chopped water chestnuts
1/2 C. chopped mushrooms
1 can chopped bamboo shoots
1/4 C. soy sauce
1 1/2 C. bean sprouts
**You can create this mixture with things you like. For example, you could also add in 2 small cups of salad shrimp. I don't like bamboo shoots, so I leave those out. I like to add shredded cabbage and carrots. This is a fun recipe because you can add whatever veggies you have in your fridge.
Cook pork and garlic in small amount of oil until done. Add onion and celery. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except soy sauce and egg. Stir all together and make a well in the center of the pan. Add one egg, stir into mixture and let the egg cook. Add soy sauce and stir well.
Prepare each egg roll by placing one to two tablespoons of mixture in the corner of egg roll and roll like a diaper. Seal the ends to roll by using a little water as the glue.
In a deep skillet put 2 1/2 cups oil, bring to 265 degrees. **I like using grape seed oil
Place egg roll in hot oil and cook until golden, then remove to wire rack that is placed on cookie sheet lined with parchment. ** I drain on paper towels.
Serve with Sweet and Sour Sauce or Wasabi.
These freeze well. To cook after frozen, place on cookie sheet and back at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or let thaw and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
1 Can crushed pineapple
3/4 C. ketchup
2 tbsp. corn starch
1 C. sugar (0r 3/4 C. Agave)
1/4 C. rice vinegar
Add the above ingredients and cook until thickened.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dixie Guild Challenge Quilt

A few months ago the Dixie Quilt Guild proposed a challenge. We were asked to come up with a quilt using the fat quarter below. The quild requested we have the quilts done by April so they can be displayed together at our upcoming 2009 Quilt Show.
My dilemma, and the dilemma expressed by quite a few members of the guild is what to do with this fabric. Pink is not my color, and the fat quarter is not something I would ever select. Hence the Challenge!
I've been stewing and stewing over this project. Because I don't like the focus fabric I didn't want to put too much time or money into the quilt. But because it's for the guild, I still want the quilt to be nice. I've finally made a decision and I'm ready to start cutting out my fabrics.

Another part of the challenge is that the quilt needs to be no greater than 50"X 50". That limits which patterns to chose. After pouring over my quilt books I finally decided on "Cracker". The pink will show but it won't take over the quilt. Plus I can use up part of my stash, one of my 2008 goals.

I've been reading a wonderful book! If you are looking for a great book to add to your Christmas list, I would highly recommend this one. It's called "Three Cups of Tea", the true story Greg Mortenson who is currently building schools for impoverished children in Pakistan. In 1993, Mr. Mortensen failed at an attempt to climb K2 in Pakistan, the second highest mountain in the world. He became separated from his group and guide, and in a disoriented state eventually stumbled upon a remote village. The native people cared for him and nursed him back to health. As an expression of gratitude he offered to come back to their village and build a school.
This story is truly inspiring as Mr. Mortenson overcomes one major obstacle after another in order to reach his goal. In a land that is hostile against America he is "Promoting Peace...One School at a Time."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Anasazi Rock Art

One of the wonderful things about moving to Southern Utah has been investigating the nearby sites. We love to hike and see the beautiful scenery that is so close to our home. About a 5 minute car ride from our house is "Land Hill" home to hundreds of Anasazi petrogyphs. Some of this rock art is possibly 5,ooo years old. Amazing that in today's world we can walk right up to the area and view these ancient Indian creations.
We like to take friends who visit our area to this ridge and show them the spectacular scenery. The site isn't marked, so you kind of have to know where you are going. When we go, we rarely find any other people along the trail. It's south of Hwy. 91, (the old route to Las Vegas) , with 6,500 acres of public land called the Santa Clara Reserve. This site is also called "Anasazi Ridge" and you can view the Santa Clara River below.

In 2006 a team from Brigham Young University uncovered possible Anasazi pueblo walls along the top of the ridge.

Most of the petroglyphs are carved into the dark brown sandstone.

Carving of an Indian blanket. Do you think they had quilters in their group?

Solid body figures

Bear paws. We were wondering if the way the feet point was a signal to follow in a certain direction.

At one point I'd like to make a hooked rug with some of these figures. Plus I have many quilt ideas in my head. So many possibilities.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bridget Millar Quilt

I finished my "Bridget Millar Quilt" today. I started this project because I had so many batik pieces left over from another quilt, and was looking for a good way to use up some of my scraps. When I moved to St. George I had never used batiks, but soon became very aware of how much the quilters here love them.
When I lived in Northern Utah my quilt style was very traditional. My previous home had wrap around porches, and was set on acreage with lawns and 100 year old trees. My quilts reflected the pioneer heritage of that area.
I now live in the desert, and most of my previous quilts do not match my home. I have been trying to make quilts that fit my current culture. I found this border fabric and it reminded me so much of Southern Utah. Not far from my house is a cliff full of Indian petroglyphs. Several are very similar to the markings on this fabric.

I was able to finish this entire quilt from my stash.

As I wrote in a previous blog, the Bridget Millar quilt was designed by Carolyn Konig. The pattern can be found in Volume 15 No. 11 of Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quilt Day

I had a fun sew day today with my friend Ricci. I was excited to go over to her house and see two new quilts she has been working on. The Dixie Quilt Guild just brought in National Teacher Linda Ballard and Ricci took both of the classes she offered. Ricci and Linda are good friends, going back for years, and Linda even stayed at Ricci's house while she was here.
The first class was called "The Big Easy". Ricci said it was a lot of fun and easy to do. She only made 4 blocks and turned them into a table runner, instead of making a large quilt. I saw others who made this same quilt, using fat quarters to make each block a different color.

The second class was called "Fractured Chrystal's". Ricci worked on parts of this today and got the main large blocks completed.

She put the sections out on her design wall, pinning fabric up that is being considered for borders.
Most of Linda Ballard's quilts are traditional. She has a wonderful catalogue with pictures of all of her patterns. You can see her things on this site: or you can write for her catalogue at Linda Ballard 22526 Bridlewood Lane Palo Cedro, CA 96073-9524 (530) 547-3461
While I was at Ricci's house I saw a new doll over in the corner of the storage room. The "Fabric Diva" has been in storage, and Ricci just brought her out. A fun doll Ricci made several years ago.
Ricci used a necklass left to her by her grandmother, and the ring is from an earring left by grandma too.
Notice "Fabric Diva" has a tatoo on her...umm.. cleavage. That Ricci.