Waggons West Etsy Shop

Monday, December 31, 2012


Just some pictures of the cardinal cushion covers I made for a client.

They fit 14 inch cushions.  They are made of raw silk and dupioni.

The cardinal design is from Embroidery Library.

I am amazed at the depth the digitizer was able to create in the cardinal using only 2 colors of red thread.  The play of light across the various stitches and stitch orientations is fantastic in real life.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Party Prep: Elderberry Orange Chili Sauce

What party would be complete without mini sausages in grape jelly and chili sauce?  I know.  Totally not gourmet.   Completely unhealthy.  But I like them and they have been with us since the very beginning when grape jelly and chili sauce was a novelty. 

Well, actually, I haven't used grape jelly in years.  I usually use lingonberries or cranberry relish and a reasonable quality bottled chili sauce.  I always pre-make the sauce and keep it refrigerated until it is time to heat up the sausage.  I also pre-bake the sausages, drain the grease and freeze those until the day of the party. 

This year, I used a bottle of elderberry orange marmalade with the chili sauce.  The bits of orange peel give it an interesting depth.  This is probably one of my favorite versions. 

Party Prep: Almond Cherry Chews

 Technically Cherry Almond Bars. This recipe is extremely simple.  I was startled by the 2 cups of brown sugar but went ahead with it.  It is probably possible to cut back on that.  I didn't have any almond flavoring.  Orange, wintergreen, maple, cinnamon, watermelon, lemon, rootbeer... but no almond.  So I used vanilla.  It would probably be better with the almond but they are quite tasty the way they are.  I ended up using quick oats instead of rolled oats.  Again, it worked well but would probably be better with the rolled oats.  The dough wasn't very crumbly.  It was easy to press into the pan but didn't crumble nicely across the top.  I probably should have added some extra oats to it before that step.  I did sprinkle some extra almonds on top before baking.  When looking for the cherry preserves, I had the choice between an smaller bottle of all fruit or slightly larger bottle of preserves.  I think I would go with the slightly larger bottle next time.  These have enough jam but would benefit from more.  All in all a pretty tasty recipe. 

Party Prep: The Dread Chocolate Ravioli

Spud one always requests these, mostly because of how much I 'mutter' while making them.  These are the dread Chocolate Ravioli.  I don't actually think they are worth the effort.  They taste just fine but the dough is impossible to work with.  It crumbles, breaks and tears if you look at it.  I finally (after heaven knows how many years) figured out that I could patch the covering however I need and then flip them smooth side up on the baking sheet.  They turn out pretty well that way. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Party Prep: Tea cakes and Peanut Butter Blossoms

Baking is starting in earnest now.  Standard Hershey's peanut butter blossoms.

A batch of tea cakes.  I forgot to take the picture until they were already packed up for storage. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wall Hanging

A few years ago, I took my MIL to the fabric store to pick out blue fabric for a lake quilt.  She picked out one or two blue fabrics and the rest were a bit different.  I've been working out how to make something with them for quite a while now.  I finally hit on making some Teesha Moore style 'pillows'.  That led to adding in the photos I originally intended to use frames out TM style.  I finally called it finished this year for her Christmas gift.  
A close up of one a section. 

Gramma being squished by the spuds in one panel.

And the back. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

“Christmas Nail”

It is to be hung on a sturdy branch ,
a branch near the trunk, a branch that
will hold such a spike without being noticed by
well-wishers dropping by to admire one's
tinseled tree. The nail is known only to the
home that hangs it and understood by the
heart that knows its significance. It is hung with
the thought that the Christmas Tree foreshadows the
Christ-tree which only He could decorate for us,
ornamented with nails such as this. 
-author Unknown

Blacksmiths have an awful lot of traditions that they adhere to.   For example, they hang their horseshoes so that the luck spills into the forge.  The above story of the Christmas Nail is one such tradition.  It is awe inspiring to see such rugged men quietly share their belief.

Spud one can occasionally be talked in to making nails.  Although he was once heard to say quite emphatically that he fully understood why the burned the old house down to collect the nails.  He is the one who shared the tradition of the Christmas nail with us and with many of the visitors watching his forging demonstrations.  

Perhaps you too, can find a nail to place in your tree in honor and remembrance.   

Peace, joy, love and a blessed Christmas to you all. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

12th Night Prep: Nanaimo Bars

Ooops.  Put these in the freezer before I took a picture.  These are the one cookie I can't resist.  I first had them at my great aunt's house at the holiday party.  Of course.  They were actually brought to her attention by a cousin who had traveled through Canada and brought the recipe back as her vacation souvenir.  All of the recipes are essentially the same.  I looked at this one this time. 

These bars freeze well.  Cut them VERY small.  They are extremely rich and you really can't eat more than about two bites at a time. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

12th Night Prep: Fruit "Bread"

OK, it is really white fruit cake, but if I call it that no one will even try it.  Which is good and bad.  Good because there is more left for me.  Bad because there is more left for me.  I loosely base it off of this Pillsbury recipe.   Except that I use real dried apricots (rather than the more readily available Turkish style.)  I used dried Michigan cherries.  I use candied orange peel rather than citron, (Use the best available.  Peel off the pith if it is thick.) This is supposed to be a white fruitcake.  Spud 2 and I had a wee bit of a communication problem and a failure on my part to check the oven temp so it baked a wee bit hotter and longer than it should have.  But it looks pretty good.  This year, I will be soaking it in ginger liqueur

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Let it Snow

 Snowman runner and pillows.

 Machine quilted with decorative stitches

 Matching pillows. 

 An easy envelope pillow with decorative snowflake stitching on the front.

 Here is Mrs Snowman.  Mr Snowman still needs to have his binding stitched down. 

I love the little birdhouse holding snow man. 

12th Night Prep: Snack Mix

I am way behind this year.  Usually I start prepping for the BIG party in October.  This year, I started today. Ooops.  I will be doing my best to document and record the food I make so that I can find the recipes again.

Costco has the big box of Chex cereal.  The one with one bag of each flavor.  Perfect for Chex Mix.  Lots of Chex Mix.  (I follow the traditional recipe omitting the bagel chips and adding more pretzels.)

 I made two batches.

 I still had cereal left over.

The recipe was on the box.  

I couldn't help myself.  I made... puppy chow. 

Hopefully the tomatoes working in the dehydrator and the blackberry balsamic reduction (to go over lemon chevre)  will go a ways towards redeeming me. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Step Away from the Machine

I have been frantically running my sewing machine at full speed to finish all of the projects that should be done for Christmas.  My house is a mess.  I have company coming for brunch tomorrow.  There are threads ALL over everywhere and I only have 3 pillow cases to finish.  Just as I was about to sit down to do the last little bit (and probably a bit more) the power went out.  Yep.  A sign.  Walk Away From The Machine. 

We packed it away for the holidays.  But never fear.  I have a HUGE pile of hand sewing to keep me occupied and I will probably use the machine at my MIL's house to finish the pillow cases. 

 My hand sewing list includes stitching the binding on
3 pillow covers
1 almost twin size quilt
1 fancy almost twin size quilt
1 bigger than twin but not full size
1 lap robe (to be retroactively tied... yes, I'll explain when the house is decorated and I can sew again.)
and then I have 1 Tesha Moore style wall hanging that has a few more pillows to finish and then needs to be stitched together however that is supposed to work!

Already finished is my big star quilt, a table runner, three pillow cases and three pillow covers.  Whew!  December has been busy. 

Now back to putting lights on the tree! 

Abrupt Transitions

It was 55 degrees when the alarm went off at 6:30 am.  It is supposed to be snowing by 11 am.  1.  We should have secured the deck last night.  2.  I am very glad I didn't get any decorations put up outside yet. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Two Gift Ideas. One Post.

 The ladies Bible Study Group made ornaments to be given to the children after the Christmas Program.  This has been done by the seniors or some group within the church for many years now.  This year we were pressed for time and resources so we made pine cone ornaments.  I love the look and decided to make some for our tree this year rather than pull out all of the other ornament boxes.  

Even better this would be stash busting.  I had the leftover paint I bought for the kids ornaments and I knew I had a huge peach basket full of pine cones in the garage.  They used to sit on the fireplace in the winter time.  Amazingly enough, I did have a basket of them.  And even more amazingly, I FOUND the basket right where I looked the first time!.  AND it was full of pine cones.  A couple on top had been painted gold but the rest were all a beautiful dark pine cone brown.  

I got out my paint and glitter and started in.  Strangely enough the first cone I grabbed had something that looked like hot glue all over the bottom.  I painted it anyway.  It seemed to work OK except for that 'glue'.  I grabbed another.  'Glue' again.  I started to sort through them all.  And then it hit me. 

 These were firestarters!  Pine cones dipped in parafin and left to harden on wax paper.  (Gift 1.  Simple to make.  Looks beautiful.  Useful too.

So I scrambled and looked for the pine cones I'd used in other spots around the house.  I came up with quite a few.  All of those were painted with white craft paint, sprinkled with glitter and left to dry on wax paper. 

To hang them, cut a piece of 1/8 inch ribbon about a foot long.  Fold it in half.  Tie a knot about half way down.

This creates a loop on one side and leaves two long tails on the other.  Work the long tails around the top few petals of the cone.  Tie them tightly in a square knot.  Add a bow if you like. 

And there you have it.  Gift 2.  Beautiful, snowy, sparkly pine cones to hang on a tree.  By the way, the kids loved them and the seniors who were our guests snapped up all of the leftovers! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012


The holly and the ivy got out of hand this past year.  They needed to be trimmed.  Trim them we did.

I love having a double door.  However that means a double wreath.  But with plenty of holly and ivy I made them myself.  How very cheap Martha of me!  And I had a good case of poison ivy to go with it.  (There must have been something extra in one of the trimming spots because I am very careful around the poison ivy and I didn't see any anywhere.)

There were even a few wee wreaths to be made.  Hope your holiday trimming is going well.   In case you want to be Martha too, you can follow my wee sketch tutorial over on craftster

Friday, December 14, 2012

Swap blocks Finished!

I got the last set in the mail today.  Yay!  The pictures are posted without comment because I've got more stuff to get done today! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


How are you noting this confluence of numbers? 

There is something vaguely disconcerting about the discussion that this is the last time we will ever see this type of month/day/year sequence. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Yes Virginia, Santa is Wearing Leopard This Year

So my little quilt that grew was going to be a lap robe for the holiday season.  Except that it grew and now graces my bed as a spread for the holiday season. Leaving me without a lap robe for the couch. 

So I totally have to machine quilt a gift that is long over due and must be ready to catch a ride to its destination next week.  And I am completely out of practice for FMQ.  It is almost like starting over and the gift quilt is too important to screw up.

So, I found this Santa fabric I loved on sale at Hobby Lobby.  The only flannel that matched was brown.  but the pine cone fabric with the gold bling matched them both.   Thus a practice whole cloth quilt to make a lap robe for couch for the holidays.  Yay!

And to make it even better faster I stitched the binding on by machine!  Let's just say I learned a lot working on this quick project. 

The Details...  This is a whole cloth quilt approximately 54 x 40 inches.  It is quilters cotton for the top and binding and flannel for the back.  It is machine quilted and has a polyester batting. 

The Story...  My husband's Great Aunt Virginia was a free spirit and a very independent lady.  Well in to her 80's she traveled with the Good Sam's or some such travel trailer group.  Her 'trailer' was a seventies conversion van.  Tricked out in leopard print.  I can't see leopard print without thinking of her.  Thus, the running title for this quilt has been Yes Virginia, Santa is Wearing Leopard This Year. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Give Away Time! (Ended)

This Give Away has ended.  Thanks for visiting. 

The winner is Nina

ohhh I think you should start cutting it up and sewing it - writing on it and combining that with other fabrics - or at least that what I would do if I win it!

 Michelle of Quilters Gallery Fame is hosting another Blog Hop Give Away.  It starts on December 9 (appropriately enough the birthday of a very special person).  The thing I like the most about the blog hop is that is causes me to go out and look a lot of blogs I would otherwise miss.  I almost always find ones that I have to follow.  So, thanks Michelle for coordinating this and so many other things that help connect quilting bloggers.

If you have followed my blog over the past month or so, you will note that I have become intrigued with chalkboard stuff... paint, paper and fabric.  An early Christmas present turned up several yards of chalkboard fabric.  (Thanks J!)  I've been experimenting with it.

This is what I am calling a buffet mat.  It will mostly work to label the food on the trays nearby.  I used some extra binding from the "quilt that grew".  More importantly, this was the first time I successfully stitched a binding on by machine.  It isn't perfect, but I learned enough to try it again on a real project. 

For this give away, I am going to share some of my chalkboard fabric.  I have a piece that is 13 inches wide and 37 inches long. I am really looking for ideas of things to make and techniques for working with this fabric. So all you need to do to enter this give away is to leave your suggestions in the comments.  If you have links to tutorials that would be even better.

The Fine print.  This is a pretty heavy piece of fabric so I am going to ship in the US only.  I will have to fold it up a bit to get it in the envelope but I will minimize that as best as I can.  This giveaway will be open from Dec 9 until Dec 16.  I will use a the Random number generator to pick the winning comment on the 17th and get it in the mail to you as soon as I get your real address.  If you are a no-reply blogger please leave some contact information so that I can get in touch if you win. 

Now... if you didn't get here from there, go to the Party page and start looking at some other great blogs. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Home Again

My machine is home again.  One of the reasons I bought my Baby Lock machine is because of the service.  The factory is nearby.  The sales people do an awesome job trouble shooting the little things.  And Mike, the repair man, really knows what he is doing and does his best to get me back up and running as soon as he can. 

Yes, I am on a first name basis with the repair guy.  We've been through a round of issues on my machine.  This last time was particularly interesting.  In the midst of doing some embroidery, my machine started thunking.  It wasn't ominous.  But is wasn't right.  I took it in.  At the store it no longer thunked.  It did however, have a little tiny hitch in her giddayup.  I asked that Mike look at it just to be sure.  I did not want to use it and then have a catastrophic failure. 

Mike called up and said that he found the problem.  A wee small piece of a needle had worked its way into the gears.  I was stunned.  I always account for the parts of the needle when I break it.  The only needle I've ever not found a bit of broke almost two years ago. At that time, once I realized that I was going to be unable to find the piece I took it in.  The ladies took of parts and looked and looked.  Nothing.  It was sewing just fine.  So they sent me home.  We all figured it fell out when I was moving it around to bring it in.  I take my machine in for annual cleaning.  It has been in for repair a couple times.  Nothing. 

Now, months and months later, it turns up in a gear.  Mike cleaned it up.  Tuned it up again and my machine runs like new.  It is amazing.  I am ever hopeful that that little bit of needle has been the gremlin in my otherwise wonderful machine and now that it is out things will continue to stitch a pretty line.  I felt kind of bad telling Mike, after I thanked him, that I really didn't want to talk to him again for a very long time!  He laughed so I guess it is OK. 

So a big thanks to the folks at Jackman's in Creve Couer who have done such a fantastic job keeping me sewing.  (They don't pay me, or give me stuff to say nice things.  I just wanted to make note of a great company doing a great job for me.)  (Oh wait... they do give me stuff. Twice in several years I have won one of the prizes at the monthly quilter's club.  That is completely unrelated to my sewing machine experience but I want to be clear.)

The sun is shining.  I may be able to get some pictures.  Then I will have some pretties to show rather than this boring old text. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Waiting for Sunshine

My stacked coin quilt is back from the longarm shop.  I am waiting for some sunshine and hopefully some dry grass so I can get some pictures of it.  Perhaps I will be able to get the binding on before then.  It is cut, sewn, ironed and rolled, ready to go on. 

Change in Perspective

Mr-analyze-the-photo-instead-of-the-quilt thought this picture could use a bit of a twist.  It definitely changes things.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Last Pinwheel

These were driving me crazy.  But I am finished enough.  I hope.  Now it is on the last paintbox blocks.  And then I get to do some sampler blocks.  That lovely swap partner has left the field wide open so we can play a bit.  I've been saving those for last. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Deck the Deck with Lights and Piping.

I saw this project some where.  I can't find it now.  (If it is yours, let me know in the comments and I will update the post!)

2 - 5ft pieces of 1/2 pvc pipe
2 connectors
2 sets of LED icicle lights
10 ft white chain
White duct tape

Make a circle out of the pipe. Duct tape the lights around the circle.  Cut the chain into two five foot lengths.  Balance it around the circle until it is level.  Attach with duct tape.  Hang and plug in.

I believe the original was made with a hula hoop.  The spuds did most of the work on this one.  So there could be some more careful wrapping of the wires and they could be straightened out.  But it is done and in place and functional so I won't worry about the details.

It provides enough light on the deck to power a lovely evening of drinks and conversation.   A quick and relatively inexpensive fix to our lighting problem.

Paint box

Another block from my craftster block swap.  This is the paintbox pattern.  I am stalled out on these because I can't decide which among many pairs of fabric to use.