Monthly Archives: April 2009

Shepherd’s Pie

When we were living in Australia I learned how to make Shepherd’s Pie.  There have been many variations (I’m sure).  This last one my husband asked me what I did differently and proclaimed, “That’s the best Shepherd’s Pie you’ve ever made.”  Well, I’ll be darned!  As I’m a throw-it-together-in-a-pot type of gal the measurements are not exact and you’ll get to tweak as you go along.  Have fun!!

Mashed Potatoes

4 large potatoes (regular old potatoes are fine), cubed, cooked to the point of mashing

Add some chicken broth (I prefer organic because it doesn’t have extra “stuff” in it) to make it smooth

2 or 3 cloves of garlic (or more…or less, whatever you like)

Mash together and set aside.

Meat Mixture

1 lb(ish) of hamburger (or ground turkey or chicken) cooked and drained

1 small onion diced up add to meat

4 cloves of garlic (yes, four…trust me, it’s that good)

1 ~ 14 oz can of black beans, drained and add to meat

1 ~ 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, not drained then add to meat

2 tbsp of dried thyme added to meat

2 tbsp of dried oregano added to meat

Shredded Romano sprinkled on top (optional for those of us who can’t have dairy)

Mix well and place in the bottom of a deep 9 x 13 pan.  Cover with mashed potatoes.  Bake on 350 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes.  (I threw the kids in the car and went to pick up my husband at the bus station.)

Serve with salad and warm bread, if your heart desires.  Serves approximately 6 adults and as many children that don’t eat!



My Stash ~ My Sewing Room

Okay…as far as The Stash goes, it’s not large at all.  A friend of mine recently told me that she has, conservatively, between $20,000 and $30,000 worth of fabric in her sewing room at home.  I started to think about it.

All the fabric is separated with patterns into plastic bags for individual projects.  Added to the fabric is the cost of the patterns and the plastic bags, which are then separated into totes.  Put the totes on shelves…and, oh my gosh…that’s a lot of money.

Heather's Sewing Room

Heather's Sewing Room

Here’s my collection of stuff.  One table, one bookshelf, one utility shelf, one rocking chair (given to me by my mom on the event of our second daughters birth), my longarm, sewing machine and a chair.  Throw in the odds and ends like iron, ironing board, patterns, thread…books…you get the picture…

The closet is the scary part.  I just added the aforementioned utility shelf but

Top Two Shelves

Top Two Shelves

it is difficult to keep everything organized with the massive roll of batting in the corner that is not pictured.  One shelf for batting?  Who said that was going to be enough?!?

The second shelf in this picture has miscellaneous fabric all over the shelf.  I was looking for something in my fabric box, which is in the next picture.

Third shelf ~ Project in a bin, Minky and my fabric box

Third shelf ~ Project in a bin, Minky and my fabric box

My husband once asked how much I spent on all that fabric.  I looked at him dumbfounded.  First of all, is a husband even allowed to ask a question like that?  Secondly, how am I supposed to know such a thing off the top of my head?  Thirdly, shouldn’t he be happy that I have projects for each item?

But, unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.  Recently he’s started looking at

Batting ~ Rolled and Remnants

Batting ~ Rolled and Remnants

my stash in a different light.  He’s stopped asking questions like that (thank God!) but has started saying things like, “I know what you can make.”  (Oh no!)  That’s what the object made out of a Coke box is supposed to be.  I’ll get there eventually.  Hey, at least he’s trying!  That’s how I look at it.

My bookshelf with the "necessities".

My bookshelf with the "necessities".

The cornerstone of every great quilt-aholic is the collection of books, magazines, thread, and other assorted notions.  Amazing how it starts off as one or two books.  Then someone cleans something out and you get two more.  Then you discover something you’re very interested in and suddenly you get five more books.  A magazine here and a magazine there, everywhere a magazine.  Old McHeather had a farm…eieio!!

There you go, that’s a little glimpse at my sewing room.  It’s a little room so it doesn’t take very long.

One side note on things that comfort.  Goodness, over 12 years ago I went to the East Coast to be a nanny for the summer.  My aunt took me to all sorts of places that you’re supposed to see (New York, D.C.).  What impressed me the most was the feel of the places I visited.  You could feel the history.  The stories of the events that took place on the land I stood spoke to me.

Close to 9 years ago I started taking Swing Dance classes.  One reason was because I loved it but my Grandpa used to swing dance when he was young and just joined the Navy.

Quilting was something my great-grandma Maude used to do.  I now have three of the quilts that she made.  I’ll add pictures soon.

The rocking chair, as I stated earlier, came from my mom.  My dad gave it to her when I was born.  Then she gave it to me when our second was born.

I surround myself with history.  I am comforted by those who have gone before me, taking in their learning and understanding who they are and where they’ve come from.  I feel less alone.

Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats

A quick morning breakfast that is sure to satisfy and stick around a lot longer than a doughnut!

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats (prepare per package instructions)

1 tbsp ground flax seed (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup raisins

Blue Agave Nectar to taste

Additions:  Rice milk (has no added sugar or preservatives), Earth Balance (non-hydrogenated dairy free) margarine.

A Wedding Quilt

I’ve not had a the chance to make a quilt for a wedding yet.  Probably won’t until my girls get married (ack!).  It seems to me a sacred rite of passage that a mother (if she is so inclined) make, or have made, a quilt for her daughter.

Debbie Driscolls Double Wedding Ring

Debbie Driscolls Double Wedding Ring

Debbie Driscoll called me earlier this year (2009) then brought me this quilt (un-quilted, of course).

She told me that she wanted feathers in the cream areas.  I doubted myself.  I’d not done feathers on a customers quilt before.  Could I do it??

Back of the Quilt by Debbie Driscoll

Back of the Quilt by Debbie Driscoll

Not too bad!  I loved looking at the back because you can really see the quilting.

If you’re interested, I used the Continuous Line Curve for the Double Wedding Ring by Cindy Roth with Longarm University.

I was able to do the rings and most of the feathers in one continuous quilting path!  The hearts and feathers on the inside of the blocks were stitched separately from the rings.

Close up of Block

Close up of Block

When Debbie came to pick up the quilt she brought her other daughter.  Her daughter said, “I think she doesn’t deserve it.  She’s been Bridezilla.”  And Debbie said, “Who do you think she get it instead?  You?”  “Yes,” her daughter said, “I’ve been the perfect daughter!”  Everyone laughed.  A well quilted quilt is a prized possession.  One that people will look at and want to be under.  A quilt made with love is a treasure and provides years of love to the receiver.

Western Washington Shop Hop 2005 Quilt

There’s these projects that sit on a shelf, in a box or shoved into the back of a drawer because you are stuck.  So stuck, in fact, that you simply don’t know what to do next or you hate the project or you’re just not interested.

My friend went on the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop with her mom in 2005.  She collected several of the blocks then started putting them together.  But then a block happened that had indecipherable instructions.  She got stuck.

Now, my friend and I weren’t actually friends in 2005.  We didn’t actually meet until early 2008.  These blocks were in a drawer for nearly three years.  I encouraged her to pull the blocks out and finish it.  There’s little more rewarding than a finished project.

And she did.  But then she gave it to me.  That was last summer.

Normally I quilt quickly, finishing my customers projects in less than a week, sometimes even in a couple of days.  The problem here was she wanted something different in each block and I simply didn’t have enough experience behind me to complete this project.

Yesterday I put the quilt on the machine and worked on it all day.  Here is the result:

Western Washington Shop Hop 2005 Quilt

Western Washington Shop Hop 2005 Quilt

The blocks I struggled with were the flying geese pinwheels and the house.  The others spoke to me, so to speak, even if it took me a few minutes to “hear” what they were saying!

Shibori Dragon Block ~ Shop Hop 2005

Shibori Dragon Block ~ Shop Hop 2005

Oh!  You can actually see the pebbles in this picture.  Originally I used a light lavender thread but was disappointed with the results.  After taking it all out (groan!) I replaced with yellow and voila!  Beautiful, isn’t it?

Bee in the Basket

Bee in the Basket

Can you find the bee?  I had fun with this little guy.  It’s supposed to look like he’s looking for the flowers but an empty basket is so unsatisfying!

I’m giving this quilt to my friend on Sunday.  She’s looking forward to seeing it nearly complete.  Now I’ll have to show her how to put binding on!

Another finished project…for both of us!

Quilting in the Hearts of a Family

Connie with her grandchildren

Connie with her grandchildren

This is so exciting for me!  I hope you’ll find yourself feeling welcomed everytime you stop by.  I’ve a few pictures to show you but first a story:

Last year a customer of mine brought her friend in.  Her friend, Connie, was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer.  Our mutual friend was helping her through the initial shock of the diagnosis.  Since then Connie has made three quilts for each of her grandchildren, despite chemotherapy and radiation!

The last one was finished at the beginning of April and she gave them to each of her grandchildren at Easter.

Connie with her Grandchildren

Connie with her Grandchildren

I’m amazed at the tenacity of the human spirit.  Despite her illness Connie is living life.  She spends time with her husband and family, travels, has decided to take quilting classes…she even bought herself a very lovely leather jacket because she felt she deserved it.  When looking death in the face I hope to face it with half as much dignity and strength!  Not to mention joy!  Look at her enjoying her grandchildren!!

Connie with her Grandchildren

Connie with her Grandchildren