Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Voices From the Quilts

Thursday, I took a momentous step . . .  
I took my first quilting stitches

And although they are not perfect,
I felt that I would leave them
for when I finish the quilt
I can look back on these first stitches
And see how far I've come.

I'm not an avid quilter --
I'm not even a quilter

I admire quilts
But I don't "collect" them
But I do have quilts

Family quilts

And each quilt has a voice . .  . 
A story to tell
Of a person and a time and a place!

From my maternal grandmother
"Grandma" -- the only grandmother I ever knew
And the only thing we slept under when we were at her house
Were her "comforts" as she called them
And not one comfort but two or three!
The original "weighted blanket"!
This one is stitched on the machine.    In a straight line.    From edge to edge
It's a bit threadbare but it's still treasured.
Because it is threadbare -- the inside is an old wool blanket.
You use what you have -- you don't buy fabric to make a quilt nor do you buy batting to put inside a quilt!
She always called the pattern crazy quilt
because there was no rhyme nor reason to the pattern
You cut pieces and just fit them together!
Most of the ones she did she tied rather than machine stitched.
The pieces themselves, however, are all hand stitched.
(I could peek at a few of them).
I can imagine her sitting in her chair in the living room stitching this quilt together.
It's old and faded
Because it's been used and washed and used and washed some more.
Regardless of it's condition, I cherish it!

The pattern name is six pointed star
I would assume like her other quilts, it is handpieced
But I can't check!
The fabric is gay 30s fabrics
With a now ecru background and backing
And hand tied . . . as most of her quilts were!

My other grandmother
The one I didn't know
(for she passed away when I was a few months old --
a picture, however, I treasure is that of my grandmother holding me!)
The pattern name is Wedding Ring
It was given to me by my cousin Ann
And she pointed out various dresses of hers that make up the quilt
She said that grandmother hand pieced it
The quilting, however, is machine
But it's lovely quilting!

My Mother's Quilt
Alas, not made by my mother
She was not a quilter
Although she did try when I was a girl
For in a drawer in the spare room
Were many quilt blocks
in the flower garden pattern
They made great playthings
Blankets for dolls and who knows what else I repurposed those quilt blocks for
Pitched, I assume, at some time
This pattern is Goose Tracks
She bought it at a local craft show
Because she wanted a quilt.
And it is hand quilted!!!

Following in my mother's, rather than my grandma's footsteps
my quilt
I bought it!
It's hand quilted
And I found it after I had fell in love with friend Nancy's 
Civil War Bride Quilt
It's all appliqué and hand quilted
It's lovely
(but not as lovely as Nancy's -- I still covet that!)
The pattern (not the quilt) dates from the Civil War
And I guess it was quite a popular pattern several years ago

I don't normally just buy quilts
But this was at an estate sale here in town
(actually, she had lots of lovely quilts)
But this one spoke to me
It's a variation of Sunbonnet Sue
(And I've not a clue as to age)
But it is hand quilted!
I simple adore it
And I wish I had another spare bedroom
For the grands --
Wouldn't this be lovely on an antique mahogany twin bed
with crisp white pillowcases?

And although I just took my first quilting stitches
I have made quilts
in fact!

Simple six inch squares, sewn together
For the grands
To sleep under when they visit
And as homage to my grandmother, they're tied rather than quilted
Big Girl Lucy's is on the bottom - she calls it her polka dot blanket
While Little Sister Piper's is the pink one on the top
polka dot as well!
They insist that these blankets be on their beds when they come to visit.

And the quilt that those first few stitches are on?

It's a family quilt, too
Hand pieced by my grandmother
In the 30s
Or so my knowledgable quilter friends tell me
That the fabrics are definitely 30s fabrics
The pattern is Buckwheat
And the fabrics are still vibrant
Because it's been stored for 80 plus years, I am sure

Not only will it be a labor of love
But it definitely will be a family quilt
Not just our family but Daughter Sarah's husband's family, too
For the quilt hoop belonged to his great aunt
And was given to me by his Aunt Jo
so I could quilt my grandmother's quilt

How neat is that!

In a year or two or three . . . 
I'll show my finished quilt
A treasured quilt
A family quilt

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ash Wednesday Traditions

Today is Ash Wednesday
a Christian holiday day of prayer, fasting and repentance

Our Ash Wednesday Traditions:

The gathering of garden branches
so that we can hang our 12 handprinted real hens egg decorations
Bought 27 years ago when we made a Lenten trip to Germany
We all were enamored with their tradition of an
Easter egg tree
And so we went to Woolworths and bought a dozen
for 75 DM each
They've hung on branches at Linderhof every Lent since

That's my idea of a travel souvenir!
(And this was before you could buy Easter ornaments or Easter trees or Easter eggs at Hobby Lobby -- they weren't available in the United States!)

After that task is done,
I carefully make the house dark

You can see the candles in the windows,
put up for Christmas and left all winter . . 
or at least until Ash Wednesday
when we store them away until Christmastime.

Tonight we shall go to church for service

Where we will get repentance ashes on our forehead
to remind us
that we are dust and to dust you shall return.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Now That's Italian!

I had company for lunch yesterday
Not an Italian company but Italian food!
The table set in a more casual style:

Blue and white Spode Blue Italian plates,
rustic wicker chargers 
A wicker tray used to corral the centerpieces
And blue linen napkins
(but in my silver napkin rings!)

I love the house looks with the table set and we're just waiting for the guests to arrive!

Italian Salad
(My take on Olive Garden salad -- lettuces, red onion rings, cherry tomatoes, croutons, pepperocini and black olives with an oil and vinegar dressing)

Pasta Di Vince
(rigatoni with chicken chunks, mushrooms, onions and a wine and cream and cheese sauce - sprinkled with more Parmesan cheese before serving)

Arkansas Possum Pie
(Layers of cream cheese, chocolate and whipped cream in a nut crust)

We had a grand time.
But anytime you have good food and good friends, it has to be a grand time!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Snow in the Garden -- Oranges in the Breakfast Room

In 2004, friend Shirley Ann and I took a trip to Ohio to visit Daughter Sarah
and her Andy
Knowing our love of gardens, she took us to the Kingswood Gardens nearby to tour the gardens
(and visit the gift shop)
I came home with

A calamondin orange
(picture taken I'm sure in the winter of 2004)

That orange tree was one reason I wanted a 4 season "porch" on the back of Linderhof
For once we had that porch, it thrived

The tree in 2015 -- after I planted in a bigger pot

It summers outside and winters indoors
It's happy in this little corner of the sunroom

And it's grown!
And continues to be a prolific bearer of little calamondin oranges

My harvest this year

Which I made into:

Individual Vintage Prize-winning Calamondin Orange bundt cakes

For I had company for lunch:

I dressed them up with a dab of whipped cream
and calamondin orange slices

Plated and ready to be served

Dessert and coffee 
The orange cake was a great way to end the meal!

But it made more than the four I needed so . . 

My tea treat the next day was orange cake
Alas, served plain!
It was as good the next day and plain as it was the first day and fancy!

The recipe was in my column yesterday in
The Fort Scott Tribune and The Nevada Daily Mail

Friday, March 1, 2019

Cookbook Book Club -- Food Truck!

Food Truck

We met last night for our February meeting
Angela, our member who always thinks outside the box,
picked Food Truck Food!

Food Trucks don't actually abound in our little town.
There are some that come for our summer festival
but they tend to be BBQ trucks or funnel cake trucks
not "food trucks" as they've come to be redefined!

And although there are some recipes for
Food Truck Food
There are far more menus

But, as we always say, this was just

"The best ever"!

We started with an appetizer:

brought Mexican Haystacks
Think the "Walking Tacos" kicked up a notch
They were yummy!

Main Course always belongs to the hostess:

Fixed tacos three ways:
From the bottom up:
Asian Tacos (chicken with pickled vegetables)
Figgy Piggy Tacos (pulled pork, bacon, fig jam and feta cheese)
Chicken Mango Tacos (chicken, mangos and a mango sauce)
My favorite was the Figgy Piggy but most favored the Asian Tacos
Just looking at the picture and you would swear that we did buy them off of a food truck!

Food Trucks do sides -- you need something to go with those tacos or that sandwich
And the truck makes extra money with an add on!

A slaw from the Maximus Minimus Food Truck in Seattle
sweet and spicy
Cabbage, radishes, cranberries, cilantro all coated with a honey mustard
(and I added poppy seeds for interest because I thought it needed something)

Potato Pirogies
(And we learned last night that Sara has Polish ancestry!)

Street corn made the "winter way" -- instead of an ear of corn, frozen corn off the cob
fixed with all of the things that are slathered on the ears -- mayonnaise, cheese, spice
It was really good fixed as a casserole!

I'm sure they have a name other than sweet potatoes covered in great flavors but I missed catching the name last night, I was so intent on eating this boat of deliciousness!
Sweet potatoes, spicy cream, avocado, tomato, corn and beans
Was this ever good!
(and yess at the bottom are sweet potato fries!)

And in serving, Angela thought outside the box as well --
Everything was served in it's own little boat!
Just like if we had gotten it from a Food Truck!
Only we didn't have to stand and eat
And we didn't have to eat only one thing at a time holding it in our hands!
But it was clever and made the evening that much more fun!

But you can't have a Cookbook Book Club event without dessert!

Brought banana guava turnovers?  
  (Again, I was so busy stuffing my face
that I forgot the real name of the recipe!)
They were good and easy even though she couldn't find guava paste and had to sub their suggested apple jelly and lemon juice.

Popsicles!     How much fun would they be in the summer!
Pineapple and coconut and I'm not sure what else but several of us thought 
they tasted like a Pina colada without the rum!
We debated about making them with the rum but decided
that all we would have is slush as alcohol doesn't freeze!

Brought churros.     They were good and she had a story
to tell about them!    We like stories associated with what we bring!
Donna's was a good one!

We ate, we visited, we left way too full,
although this morning I'm craving the corn and sweet potatoes!

Next month our hostess is Belynda and she has decided that we will make a
dish with an ingredient that we've never used before.
(But something that in all likelihood you can find here in our little town)
We have our assignments, we're searching for the ingredient and recipes!

It's always a fun evening and the food has always been outstanding!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A Company Luncheon

I had company for lunch today
The Lunch Bunch
As always, lunch in the dining room

The prettiest flowers at the market were red carnations
much better suited to Valentine's Day
but since I was using my Grandmother's Noritake,
the red works!

A Quaker Lace runner and placemats -- both dating from the 50s
All in perfect condition

A dinner plate to rest the soup bowl on,
a bread and butter plate with butter knife for the popover
And a gumbo spoon for the soup

It was a simple luncheon
Soup, bread and dessert!

The soup is a recipe from The Dairy Hollow House in Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Sadly, it lives only in memories and in the pages of a cookbook
aptly titled The Dairy Hollow House Cookbook

It's chicken and rice and olives and vegetables and cream and wine
Can a soup get any better than that?

The soup only adds to the table setting

Popovers were the bread hot from the oven.
I adore popovers.   I have a popover pan.
They're called a "quick" bread
But I always forget that they take a long time to bake
(a half an hour or so -- so I don't consider them "quick"!)

Dessert was special

An orange cake
Made from the fruit of  my Calamondin orange tree.
The Calamondin orange tree I've had for 16 years.
(I've never harvested the fruit before!)

It was delicious.
The recipe will be in my column in The Fort Scott Tribune and The Nevada Daily Mail
this Saturday -- you'll just have to wait for that recipe!

We had a lovely afternoon.
The dishes are done and put away.
A cake made for a friend is baked, iced and ready for pick up.

Dinner tonight will be out!
At our local Kiwanis pancake fundraiser!

Oh, and here's the soup recipe -- I heartily recommend it!


4 T. butter
1/4 c. finely diced onion
1/4 c. finely diced carrot
1/4 c. finely diced celery
5 T. flour
4 c. chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 c. white wine
1 1/2 c. half and half
1/2 c. cooked white rice
1/4 c. black olives, sliced into circles
1/4 c. pimento stuffed olives, sliced into circles
1/4 c. peas, frozen
1 chicken breast, cubed

In a skillet, saute onion, carrot and celery until softened.     Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour.     Gradually whisk in the chicken stock.      Stir vigorously with the whisk as you raise the heat to medium, to prevent lumps from forming.      When stock is smooth and slightly thick, transfer it to a Pam sprayed heavy soup pot.

Add the white wine and simmer for 20 minutes.     Then stir in the half-and-half.      Lower heat; from this point, the soup must not be permitted to boil.

Add the rice, olives, peas and chicken.     Heat through.    Taste and correct the seasonings.     Add salt and pepper to taste.    

Serve very hot, with finely chopped parsley floating on top.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Needlepoint Pillows -- The Internet is Wonderful!

When I was young and first married,
we lived in the city
We had one car
I rode the bus to work
That 45 minutes, I decided, would be a good time to do handwork.

I had read Mary Martin's Needlepoint book

And I became enamored with needlepoint

That, would be my handwork.

I bought a canvas -- the center was already filled in
And you just did the background

I still have it!
It's a sweet little pillow and I still adore it!

And over the years, I got braver and went from just filling in background
to actually doing all of the pillow:


(A charted design rather than a painted one)

And then I became a Mom and life got in the way.
I put away my needlepoint

Only to resurface in 2011 when we took our first transatlantic cruise
before we spent that Spring in England
I bought a canvas and thread
and stitched my way across the ocean and around England

It's still a favorite pillow

And so my stitching began . . . 

Husband Jim gifted me with this canvas one Christmas

I finished the round pillow before we headed home and I bought this one in England

 Shamlessly, the Oriental pillow was a flea market find
But the magnolias was not

And I learned on that transatlantic cruise from the British travelers
that I was doing a tapestry cushion
rather than a needlepoint pillow!

A friend gave me a box of her needlepoint --
In it was this partially done cushion

A adored it

And it came with thread
Thread still in it's wrapper!

However, there wasn't a lot of background wool.
I figured if I could get around the outside of the cushion, then I could
use a similar but different color for the middle section.

But as I stitched, I found that I didn't even have enough for the outside . . . 
What a bummer!

Then I checked on Etsy
I had the color number and the brand
A simple search of DMC Tapestry Wool No. 7925

There was a whole box!
For $5!

I bought it and hoped that the color was close
(you know that anything (fabric, thread, tapestry wool, wallpaper) not from the same
dye lot is not always a good thing!

But this one worked!!!
You can't tell them apart!

How great is that!

So now I'm madly stitching away at my latest tapestry cushion!