Hot Chocolate Fabric

I just received a nice delivery. My new fabric collection, "Hot Chocolate," just arrived on my doorstep and in shops across the country. Hot chocolate season will soon be here, so now is the time to make some fun items with this new fabric!
I see some nice quilt squares from this!
 I'm partial to this collection for a couple of reasons. 
First, I love hot chocolate; plain, with marshmallows, or gourmet with decadent flavorings...especially mint chocolate. 
Stick a candy cane in my cup of cocoa and I'm happy!
Borders . . with a vintage feel
 Second, the vintage labels have the names of some people close to me: Barbara Ann's Homemade Marshmallows (mom,) Grandma Mabel's Cocoa (grandma,) Mercedes German Hot Chocolate (my other grandma,) and the list goes on. 
 I plan to make a fun lap quilt and matching pillow for cuddling with a cup of hot chocolate by the fire this winter. 
The fabric, which has twelve coordinating designs and an apron panel to the collection, is by Wilmington Fabrics and sold in many independent quilt shops and also online. 
Here are a couple of links if you would like to purchase this fabric online:
Fat Quarter Shop
Hancocks of Paducah
Craft Town Fabrics
Sew. . . grab a cup of hot chocolate and quilt away!

End of Summer Getaway

Soon it will be "back to school time;" children dressed in colorful rain slicks waiting at the bus stop by our home, pumpkins on porches and crisp autumn leaves covering the woodland floor. I see signs of an early fall here.
The blueberry bushes and Japanese Maples already have a tinge of red and the pumpkins are ready for their debut.  
Pretty... but I love our summers and am always sad to see them go. 
Newport, Oregon
We decided that it was time to take a trip to the beach not far from where we live for one last summer getaway. It was just what the doctor ordered for hectic lives.

19 years of blessings

Headed out to sea near Newport, Oregon
We celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary deep sea fishing, and the rest of the time was spent on long walks and lingering gazes at the beauty of the sea.

Throwing the crab pots overboard.
Newport is Dungeness crab capitol of the world!
We are headed home with a cooler filled with fish and our minds and bodies refreshed.
And, as much as I don't want summer to end, I love autumn, too, and am looking forward to all that wonderful season will bring.

Back to painting pumpkins!

In a Pickle

No matter how much I plan for the end of summer canning, preserving and pickling, I seem to be surprised and a little bewildered at the busy-ness of this time of year. 
After planting the little seeds just a couple of months ago, I fed, watered and weeded all summer while watching my "babies" grow. I find myself in the kitchen at the oddest times to pickle and preserve around my work schedule; I can't bear to let any fruit or vegetable go to waste. 
Have you picked tomatoes by flashlight at 5 in the morning or filled hot jars with pungent pickles while on the phone with a client? I'll be glad that I did come winter.
I treasure simple, time-saving recipes for preserving which I've collected from magazines and books throughout the years. Right now I'm pickling...dills, sweets, and something new; a sweet and spicy jalapeƱo pickle relish. I think it will be zesty in potato salad or on a hot dog.
If you don't have time for making old fashion pickles then try Ball Canning Mixes or Mrs. Wages mixes.
They're truly a huge time saver. I use them in a pinch, but still prefer pickling from scratch when time allows.
Flowers surround my vegetables and sunflowers gaze from the middle of it all.
I hope your garden has been a joy this summer and you are now tasting the fruit of your labor.