A Neighborhood Ride

ScruffI hope you’ve had a very lovely weekend! Ours was picture perfect and I was able to spend the days puttering around doing the things I love most: mowing, cleaning out the car (not a whole lotta love there!), and sewing. And last but not least, catch up on some blogs!

Last week, Mrs. Staggs challenged us to get out into our neighborhoods and notice the things around us. And take some pictures. I was busy sewing in the dungeon and SweetiePie came and asked me if I’d like to go for “a tandem.” Why yes I would! And it would be the perfect opportunity to do as Mrs. Staggs suggested and take some neighborhood pictures. Before we even got started, I took a quick picture of a rather portly Scruff over there on the right — he was a little miffed at having been left behind.
SweetiePie and I went to the garage and got out the old blue tandem that belongs to BigDaddy and MeMum. I love to ride the tandem, especially when someone else is in the driver’s seat! We had a wonderful time, but I must tell you that little SweetiePie is a little ruthless when at the helm of a bicycle-built-for-two. No slow-poke touring for Miss SweetiePie. No-o-o. She’s a motivated dare-devil. I was a little concerned that perhaps I shouldn’t have brought my camera along — the odds of crashing with the poor girl dragging me along behind her were probably pretty high!

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I did attempt to take a few pictures. I begged SweetiePie to stop, but she was on a mission. Have you ever tried to take pictures while you’re pedaling? ‘Taint easy! Most of them looked like this:

Neighborhood Dog

Can you tell what that is? It’s a neighbor’s friendly little dog. Sure wish I could have patted him on the head and begged him to pose nicely for a picture! Great shot as we zoomed by.

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I did manage to get two, non-blurry pictures. Some pretty pink flowers at the bottom of someone’s driveway and a pedestrian crossing sign. That sign was put in place just for daredevils like SweetiePie — to slow down and don’t run over the poor people crossing the road.

rose of Sharon

Before long, we were back home so I took a quick picture of my Rose of Sharon before the sun slipped too far behind the trees. We had a fun time — thanks for the idea Mrs. Staggs! I need to remember to get out in my own neighborhood more often.

Before I go, just wanted to mention a few things I saw while blog-surfing:

  • Portebello Pixie is making some very cute Halloween garlands.
  • Check out Chookyblue‘s blog. Her camera is in for a multi-week repair so I casually suggested that if each of her blog friends would send her a picture, she’d have blog-fodder to last until the camera was returned. She ran with that idea and she’s done some funny stuff. I’m very impressed that she managed to come up with a topic for mug shots of pinocchio.
  • Have you seen these little hats before? I think they’d be pretty fun to make.
  • I think I’ve probably told you this before, but I just love these gratitude posts.
  • And, be sure you keep up with the Blog-able Feast by Hollycakes — rumor has it there are give-aways in the near future!

Happy Monday!

XOXO,
Anna

Blog-able Feast Friday: Raspberry Lemon Pie!

Welcome to Blog-able Feast Friday! A moment of applause, please, for Hollycakes — hasn’t she done a fabulous job of organizing a baker’s dozen of bloggers and keeping us all on task? I’m honored and thrilled that today is my day to participate. I join Morgan in the group of non-designers — well, unless you count software design, which pales by comparison to fabric design. Oh, to be able to fondle fabric (instead of a keyboard) professionally! And Morgan thinks she’s intimidated? Gosh, I have to follow that gorgeous carrot cake! Oops…where was I? Oh yes, you’re here for the dessert!

Today’s feature is a Raspberry Lemon Pie. Nice and easy for when you’re having friends over to sew or discuss a good read.

Raspberry Lemon Pie

Raspberry Lemon Pie

1 (10-oz.) package frozen red raspberries in syrup, thawed
1 T. cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup ReaLemon lemon juice from concentrate (This could be a marketing ploy – I don’t know why real lemon juice wouldn’t work.)
1 (6-oz.) packaged graham cracker crumb pie crust
(I prefer to make my own graham cracker crust – it’s not as pretty, but I think it has more flavor. Recipe follows.)
Whipped Topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small saucepan, combine raspberries and cornstarch; cook and stir until thickened and clear. In medium bowl, beat egg yolks; stir in sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice. Pour into crust; bake 8 minutes. Spoon raspberry mixture evenly over top. Chill 4 hours or until set. Spread with whipped topping and serve.

Graham Cracker Crust
Combine 1 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 c. sugar and 1/3 c. melted butter. Press into the bottom of a pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Now for a project I’m currently working on. I’ve started a wedding quilt for TheFirstChild and SweetiePie. SweetiePie and I sat down and drew up a plan: she loves a) neutrals, b) mocha, and c) monograms. So, we decided on a simple patchwork background of neutrals with mocha highlights for the inner border, binding, and their new married monogram.

Wedding Quilt

I’m currently piecing the top, but in light of Pam’s post yesterday (Big Congratulations Pam!), I might have to check out Alex Anderson’s new quilting book on neutrals. That will provide a good diversion while I wait on my Lakehouse fabric order – I’ve ordered some of the much-loved champagne dots that I’m hoping will work for the outside quilt border.

So, Hollycakes! Thanks so much for inviting me to participate in the blogable feast. It’s been great fun to “meet” the bloggers and collect some fabulous recipes that will be perfect for when my quilting friends get together!

XOXO,
Anna

Hello, Hello

I’m busy, busy getting ready to host my book club this week.

Book Setting

I just wanted to pop in and say hello and make sure that you’re all keeping up with Hollycakes this week. There’s great fun going on over there — lots of recipes and peeks at fun new projects and fabrics headed our way, so be sure not to miss it!

I hope everyone’s having a good week.

XOXO,
Anna

Shipshewana Part II

Thanks for all your wonderful comments about Shipshewana! I promised I would tell you why we really go to Shipshewana and there were some really fun guesses in your comments and e-mails.

Sugar CookiesIs it the food? No, but that’s a great guess. There are many good restaurants in Shipshewana. The two most popular are The Blue Gate, just a block away from the auction and the Essenhaus, which, technically is in Middlebury, a neighboring town. These are Amish family style restaurants — you have your choice of menu dining, or you can eat in family style rooms, where everyone orders the same food and it comes on big platters. See the little girl there eating the cookie? (Picture from the Essenhaus website.) Those frosted sugar cookies are fabulous. We used to buy those cookies by the dozens and bring them home and freeze them. But that was back when they were 40 cents each. Once they realized how popular their cookies are, the prices skyrocketed to $1.00 each, so now we only buy a few cookies whenever we visit.

Is it the quilts? No, but you can buy some wonderful hand quilted quilts in Shipshewana. Sadly, I don’t have any pictures — since it was auction day, we didn’t have time to go to any of the shops with quilts in them.

Is it for the beautiful scenery? To see all the Amish buggies? And Amish homes with their beautiful gardens? (My favorite time for garden viewing is August when the flowers are big and beautiful.) No, but that’s another great guess.

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How ’bout the fabric? YES!!! That’s why we go to Shipshewana! Shipshewana has two great quilt shops: Lolly’s and Yoder’s. Ignore the pictures on the Lolly’s site. A few years ago their shop burned down and the pictures are from when they were in a temporary location. Below are two pictures from their new shop. Also, Lolly’s has a new little outlet shop in the basement of their building — all fabrics are $5.00. It’s older fabric that they’re trying to sell. There are also lots of fun other shops in the same building that Lolly’s is in — in addition to a carousel on the top floor for the kiddies. (Doesn’t that guy in the photo look like he’s having fu-u-un? LOL.)

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Sadly, I didn’t get any good pictures at Yoder’s, but check out their website. Yoder’s is much more than a quilt shop. It’s like four stores under one roof — groceries, hardware, clothing and fabrics. Over half of their fabrics are non-quilt related — lots of fabric for clothing and home dec. Yoder’s prices are better than Lolly’s, sometimes as much as $2.00 less per yard for the exact same fabric. Yoder’s also seems to be more friendly, but Lolly’s is a little more trendy. You just have to visit both shops!

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See the building with the red roof? (Quilty peeps, have you seen this yet?) This used to be a great little herb shop with the most beautiful gardens out back. They always had a fun Mayfest, where you could buy lots of herbs to grow in your own garden. They’ve recently sold though (the new name is D’Vine), and much to my surprise, on this last trip I discovered the building on the left is now a little yarn shop. I’ve always wondered why Shipshewana didn’t have a yarn shop, and now they do. The building on the right has the old garden-y types of items along with a little tea shop. While I like that there’s a yarn shop, I really miss that herb shop. And I really hate the cutesy name and all that new RED garishness. What’s up with that? Kind of makes me expect some stripper named D’Vine to poke her head out the door. Someone must have been smokin’ a few of the herbs out back when they came up with the new decor!
I’ve rambled on long enough — thanks for sticking with it. I’ve you’re ever in northern Indiana, I hope you’ll stop by Shipshewana — it’s well worth the visit. For some really great tourist info, you can visit their website and have a virtual tour. Hope you’re all having a great weekend!
XOXO,
Anna

 

Shipshewana

Yesterday, I took the day off, and MeMum, SweetiePie and I went to Shipshewana for the day. Shipshewana is a small town in northern Indiana, mid-way between Chicago and Toledo, just south of interstate 80.*

Shipshewana Map

Aside from being known for its Amish community, Shipshewana has a great auction and flea market. You may have heard of it! The flea market is every Tuesday and Wednesday, year-round (except, sometimes for very cold weeks in the middle of the winter), and the auction is every Wednesday. It’s a pretty popular tourist attraction and the town has some nice fabric shops and lots of crap craft shops.

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We’ve always loved the auction. The big barn above is filled with lots of antiques, collectibles, furniture and you-name-it. All this stuff is organized into four long rows from one end of the barn to the other. At 8 a.m., roughly 8 auctioneers begin 8 separate auctions — four at the east ends of the four rows and four in the middle of the rows — and they all work their way to the west. The auctioneers stand on little step stools and do their thing and they’re usually done by around 2 p.m. The owner of all the goods in each booth acts as an assistant by holding the items up and there is a clerk to collect the money or write down an account number when the bidding for each item is over.

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In the above picture on the left, you can see the auctioneers — they’re a little taller than everyone else. (As always, you can click on pictures to make them bigger.) It’s hard to see very many of them — I think there were probably only 6 separate auctions going on yesterday. The auctioneer on the right is pointing to someone who has just made a bid. The clerk is just to his left and the owner is in the middle holding an item in the air. It’s pretty hard to hear in the big barn. There’s so much noise from all the people. Plus all the auctioneers have loudspeakers and they talk a mile a minute — as auctioneers do.

“HeyBatterbatterbatterbaaaaatttteeerrr” — whoops, wrong call. “Tengimmefifteengarbledstuffnoonecanunderstandfifteenwhatsmybidmoregarbledstufftenfifteen…” You get the idea. It’s great fun to stand around and watch how much people are willing to pay for something. And to see what’s hot and what’s not. Some days, things are really cheap. Other times, they’re pretty pricey. Prices are definitely inflated during the summer, when there are so many tourists. Yesterday was probably the best day that we’ve ever been as far as smaller crowds go. Probably because it was so soon after Labor Day. The crowds will start to pick up again during the fall and into the Christmas season.

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Here are some of the things that were at the auction yesterday. Not very many quilts, but a fabulous Grandmother’s flower garden on a beautiful bed. One booth had tons of linens and hand embroidered items. Obviously, with so many auctions going on at once, you can’t see what everything goes for — I missed seeing the final bid on these items because we were spending most of our time at the booths with dishes. MeMum has a VERY weak spot for dishes!

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This booth had lots of glassware and it took forever for the auctioneer to get through it. One shelf was full of Little Red Riding hood collectibles! The fiesta ware was really interesting to watch too. Prices for the fiesta ware were all over the place (probably reflecting the difference between old fiesta and reproduction fiesta) and several of the bidders were obviously dealers. I was very surprised disappointed at how they broke sets up for the bidding. Obviously, they get more money that way. See the set of four nested bowls in the foreground of the above picture on the left? They sold those four bowls separately. I was having a heart attack. The smallest bowl sold first for around $60 to one woman. The next three bowls sold to another woman for between $30 and $50 each. And those little appetizer bowls to the left of the nested bowls went for about $120 each. Fortunately they didn’t try to sell each piece of those bowls separately. Apparently they stop short of being totally stupid! ;-)

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This booth above on the left had more fiesta ware and lots of neat Halloween collectibles. And for all you spinners out there, I took a picture of this spinning wheel. Oh, how I was wishing I were a spinner and had a clue about how to use a spinning wheel. This wheel was in beautiful condition and sold for the unbelievable price of $60. Another booth had a beautiful brand-new-still-in-the-plastic silverplate double chafing dish that sold for $35. MeMum and I were kicking ourselves that we didn’t bid on that one. This was the first time ever, in the 20 years that we’ve been going to the auction that we haven’t bought something.

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As an added bonus, if you get tired of the auction (I don’t know how that could happen!) there’s a huge flea market going on outside. There are rows and rows of junk stuff, some new and some old. There are definitely more vendors between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but during the rest of the year, there are plenty of booths to keep you busy and make your feet hurt by the end of the day. Pickings are pretty slim in December, January and February though, on days that the flea market is running. If you decide you’d like to visit then, you should probably google some Shipshewana Auction phone number and call to see if the auction and flea market will be in operation.

I think that’s enough for now. Next time, I’ll tell you why we REALLY go to Shipshewana! ;-)

XOXO,
Anna

*Sorry for the blurry map, I suck at that sort of stuff!