Fading Charms Quilt

Deanna at Wedding Dress Blue posts wonderful tutorials and her latest is a charm quilt that uses 846 charms (by Deanna’s count – I took her word for it).  The pattern is written for 2-½, 2, and 1-½ inch charms.  Click on the link below to see the tutorial.


I decided to make the quilt of  1-½ inch charms to use the scraps from 10 years of sewing and quilting, stored rather haphazardly in 6 large dresser drawers.  I spent a lot of time cutting the squares and then enlisted the help of my granddaughter to sort them according to color and to count them.  She spent several Sunday afternoons helping me out.

It was nostalgic for me to cut the squares and then sew them one by one into the quilt, remembering the projects and where/when I bought the fabric.  In most cases, I remembered each square very clearly.  There was fabric from the quilt that started my quilting – a baby quilt for my helper granddaughter….

….pieces from my husband’s flannel shirts that he could no longer wear but wanted made into a quilt the year before he passed away; material used in full-sized quilts for my daughters and grandchildren and in baby quilts for my two great-grandchildren; fabric from a 25th anniversary wall hanging for my youngest son and his wife; lots of squares from the countless charity quilts I made for the Linus Project for hospitalized children.  There were pieces from queen-size quilts (two of which won ribbons at the county fair), and quilted jackets (one of them a 2nd prize winner at the Ohio State Fair).

There were squares from potholders, placemats, wall hangings, tablecloths, curtains, clothing for the family, costumes for the grandchildren, holiday and birthday projects,

I also used scraps to piece the backing and for the binding.  The only fabric I bought was for the background.  My label is in the form of a pocket so I can print out this post and keep it with the quilt to describe how special it is.

So many hours of sometimes pleasant and sometimes frustrating sewing over the past 10 years!  Making this memory-filled quilt made me realize I’d like to do something like this every January, using a piece from each project of the preceding year.  It may be a small project like a table runner or pillow cover, depending on how many items I made in a year, but it will be a nice reminder.

My Fading Charms Quilt measures 36×36 inches and there are a few repeats of charms because I wanted to use only fabric that had been in a previous project.  It is a nice size as a topper for my loveseat in a bedroom.  The scrappy quilt goes well with the red walls and lodge theme.

The quilt is also a perfect size for hanging over the loveseat.

This is a good quilt to make whether you’re rummaging through drawers of old scraps or cutting nice, fresh fabric.  I like it very much.

The granddaughter and quilt that started it all

Happy Thanksgiving

In the 1990s, my oldest daughter and I had a booth at a large craft mall which we kept supplied with a variety of handmade crafts.  My interest was in decorative painting.  I liked to scour antique malls and thrift shops to find old wooden or enamelware items to paint and sold hundreds of pieces over the years.

Fast forward to 2010 and a walk through the Ohio Valley Antique Mall in Fairfield, Ohio (near Cincinnati).  In one of their beautifully decorated booths, I saw a familiar object….an enamelware platter that I had painted in 1996.  I had adapted the design from a picture in a school textbook, simplifying it and adding a few items.

I had painted the design on several projects through the years but had never kept one for myself.   A week before Thanksgiving, this old platter seemed to call to me to take it back home, so I bought it and after 14 years, it’s on display in my living room.


Granddaughter at her First Grade Thanksgiving Dinner

Dolphin’s Butterfly Quilt

When my 7-year-old granddaughter (known here as Dolphin) saw us picking out fabric for an anniversary quilt I was making for her mother, she said she wanted to choose some fabric for a new quilt for herself.  Actually, I started learning to quilt 8 years ago so I could make a baby quilt for this little girl.  She has long ago outgrown the baby quilt and I was happy to take her shopping for just the right fabric.  It took her a short time to pick out butterfly fabric in pink and lavendar and the border in pale pink.  We thought maybe a brighter pink would work better, but she wanted it to be all pastel.

Since this quilt will be drug around the house and probably wind up as a tent, a theater curtain or anything else a first-grader can imagine, I wanted to make it sturdy and without my favorite intricate piecing.  It was a very fast quilt to put together with 12-inch blocks, 1-1/2 inch sashing and borders which became a rather wide 6 inches because of the length and width that Dolphin requested.

For the backing/batting, she chose a flowered fleece which she liked because it was so snuggly-soft.

Her mother also loved the soft fleece backing (and she loves large bright-colored flowers).

The only place I used a bright pink color was in the binding.  I scanned a picture of Dolphin and me and printed it on fabric to make a label so she would always remember how we looked when she received the quilt.

Because of the fleece backing, I could use minimum quilting and just did some very simple straight line and in-the-ditch machine quilting.  The finished quilt measures 50×63 inches.

Alabama Peanut Butter Pie

Since my daughters just got back from vacation yesterday, I offered to host the Father’s Day dinner today for my son-in-law.  I made a roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes, carrots, corn and homemade rolls.

My son-in-law and grandson will eat no kind of pie except apple, so I made one for them to share .

Granddaughter Dolphin doesn’t eat pie at all…

…but the two daughters and I never met a pie we didn’t like.  One of our favorites is Alabama Peanut Butter Pie, which I started making in 1976 from a cookbook called Garden Club Desserts. It’s not difficult but a little time consuming.  We think it’s worth it.


  • Baked 9″ pie shell (see my favorite pie crust recipe here)

Base and topping:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter


  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tblsp. butter


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 6 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

To Make the Base and Topping: Mix confectioners’ sugar with peanut butter to form crumbs.  Spread half of the mixture in the bottom of the baked pie shell.  Reserve the other half for the topping.

To Make the Filling: In a medium size saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar and salt.  Add the egg yolks, mixing well, then add the cup of cold milk.  Whisk until smooth.  Whisk in hot milk.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to bubble.  Reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking and whisking for 2 more minutes.   Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  Let cool slightly while preparing the meringue.

To Make the Meringue: In a large mixer bowl with wire beater, beat egg whites until frothy.  Add cream of tartar and beat until whites begin to thicken.  Add sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff and glossy.  Stir in vanilla.

Spoon the hot filling on top of the crumb base in the baked shell.

Spread the meringue on top of the filling, extending the meringue to the crust to seal.

Set the pie on a flat sheet to catch crumbs, and sprinkle the peanut butter mixture on top.

Bake @ 325 degrees for 10 minutes to brown meringue.  Cool on wire rack. 

This pie is very rich and very delicious.

On this Father’s Day, remembering my father who died on June 20, 1978 at the age of 66.

Wednesdays with Grandma

From the time my youngest granddaughter (known here as Dolphin) was a baby, I’ve had her at my house on Wednesdays while her big brother was at school, to give her mother a break.   For the first couple of years, I spent most of the time pushing her around the neighborhood in a stroller.

Then, as she grew older, we spent more time in the house and she made friends with a small stuffed Moose and ate popsicles.  Her first word was “yellow” and that’s the kind of popsicle she wanted.

We tried to spend an hour every week at the park, trying out the big tire swing and slide.  We made bread, we made cookies….

Finally, the day came when Dolphin went to pre-school

and then to kindergarten, and I only had her until lunchtime on Wednesday.

Now, the school year is drawing to a close and she will be spending the summer with brother Jellyfish enjoying all the good warm weather activities.  In the fall, she’ll be going to the first grade all day, so today was her last Wednesday with Grandma.

It’s been so much fun.

Dolphin Goes to the Park

Our local township park has several big play areas for kids, but granddaughter Dolphin’s favorite spot is a small lot that has a tire swing…..

….a wooden mountain to climb….

…a nice, slick slide….

….all guaranteed to make a child SMILE.

Dolphin Bakes Valentine Cookies


Granddaughter Dolphin (4-1/2) came for her weekly visit and she made some beautiful Valentine cookies.  While I started the mixer for our old standby recipe for butter crisps, she waded through my big copper breadbox of vintage cookie cutters.  She came up with three heart-shaped cutters and was soon rolling out dough and cutting cookies.


I helped her get the cookies onto a baking sheet and she was able to paint with an egg wash and decorate without any help from me this time.  She was very discreet with the colored sugar and didn’t have mounds of the stuff on the cookies as she and her brother have done in the past.


She brought four buddies along with her – a stuffed cat named Ruby and 3 giraffes, all named Buford after the famous Civil War general and bought in Gettysburg.



The cookies were beautiful little Valentines when they were finished and Dolphin was very proud.  She ate just one and took the rest home to her parents and big brother.


Granddaughter Dolphin Bakes Cookies


Since we got our first major snowfall of the year yesterday, I wasn’t sure 4-year-old granddaughter Dolphin would be here for her weekly Wednesday visit, but here she came, all bundled up in pink coat and boots, ready to make Christmas cookies.

I brought out my big copper breadbox filled with all kinds of cookie cutters and it was a hard decision to narrow the choice down to 7 or 8 cutters.  She picked them out, though, and I don’t believe any of them were Christmas cutters, but the colored sugar would make a Christmas cookie out of any design.



With the older grandchildren (now in college and beyond) the best part was mixing the cookies, especially breaking the eggs, but the two youngest grandchildren, Dolphin and her brother Jellyfish, are somewhat squeamish about getting stuff on their hands so I normally have the dough ready for rolling and cutting when they get here.  This time, though, Dolphin wanted to make the cookies from scratch and did all of the measuring, pouring and mixing.



She did a good job rolling out the dough, asking every few seconds, “Is this good enough?” until she had the cookies cut out and on the sheet.


Then came the fun of using all the sugar and decorations she wanted – and she used a lot, as the grandchildren always do.



When the cookies were finished, she was extremely proud and only ate a portion of one pony, saving the rest for her mom and dad and for Jellyfish when he got off the school bus.


Here is the recipe the grandchildren have been using for about 25 years.  It’s the favorite Christmas cookie of my son-in-law and one older granddaughter and they both like the cookies cut rather thick and barely golden around the edges.  I personally like the cookies rolled very thin and baked to a crisp brown.  The baking time and the yield will depend on how you like your cookies.


  • Servings: Depends on size of cutters and thickness of dough
  • Print

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup softened margarine
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

In mixer bowl, blend flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt.  Mix in butter and margarine.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of beaten egg and 2 teaspoons of vanilla over the flour mixture. Blend well and form into a ball.

Roll out 1/3 of dough at a time to desired thickness on floured board.  Cut with floured cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheets, an inch apart.  Brush with remaining egg and sprinkle with colored sugar.  Bake @ 375 degrees F 5-8 minutes for thin cookies, several minutes more for thicker cookies to a golden brown.