Life is a bowl of lemons.....

Posts related to lemons are a recurring thing on my blog because I am a sucker for those 5 lb bags of lemons at Costco and then have to bake like crazy to use them up.   ALWAYS at the top of the list is my Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake which I usually make in loaf pans for breakfast treats and hostess gifts....

Next  is always "Crisp Lemon Pecan Oatmeal Sugar Cookies" which are thin, buttery, crisp, to-die-for cookies.

I have been searching for a long time for the perfect lemon pie recipe.  My search is over as this  is the best lemon pie I have made in 50+ years of baking,  I will never use another recipe.    I took it to a Christmas potluck and the pie plate was licked clean and everyone raved about it...  But beware it has 437 calories per serving...

Sour Cream Lemon Pie

  • Prep: 20 min. + chilling
  • Yield: 8 Servings


  • Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup (8 ounces)   Sour Cream
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped


  • Preheat oven to 450°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle; transfer to a 9-in. pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 in. beyond rim of plate; flute edge.
  • Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice. Bake 8 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned. Remove foil and weights; bake 5-7 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
  • In a large heavy saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in milk and lemon juice until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and lemon peel. Cool without stirring.
  • Stir in sour cream. Add filling to crust. Top with whipped cream. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 8 servings.
We had halibut cakes, shrimp and lemon risotto (plus salad and roasted beets) for Christmas Day dinner and that finished off the lemons.


Another kind of book.....

This block was from a Christmas DYB round robin several years ago...  I added the Raggedy Ann with the button face after the round robin finished..  All the blocks have been languishing in baskets  (along with many others) for years and years...  A DYB (do your own block) round robin has six 6" blocks rather than the one 10-11" block as in a Traditional round robin...

I had devised a way to mount the traditional blocks on very heavy interfacing so I could display them on picture stands.  It works well for rotating them at home or for taking them elsewhere to display as a group.

I add loops at the corners so the blocks can hang or sit and also travel easily...  I did a tutorial of finishing blocks this way a couple years ago..

But the individual DYB never worked as well doing this but now I'd like to finish them in this accordion book style and they could be also be displayed on a table or mantle piece if they were fortified with heavy interfacing.....  The Christmas blocks and the fan blocks will be the first to try...

Best wishes for the the new year to everyone.....


Problems fixed, where I'm at and where I'm going!

I've fixed the chimney and the roof ridge.  Best of all I've solved the problem with the path and fence to my liking....

Of course there will be roses on the arbor and the fence won't look quite so stark and rigid once the garden is completed.

..Where I'm going...  the cottage needs a door, molding, and shutters..  Then it is pretty much "let the french knots begin" with lots of foliage and flowers... This will be a great "tote along" block as french knots are pretty much mindless.

One thing I'd like to mention in case you are doing something with a wall or fence at the lower edge..  It's very awkward unless you allow a little foreground to give it depth...  That is why I have some garden extending outside the fence.

This piece has been in the UFO basket for at least 5 years... I'm so happy to have it moving ahead...


CQJP 2013

I'm going to have a pastel, lace, cottage theme for my CQJP 2013...  I love themes.  This was originally going to be a pocket on a bag (a long time ago) but soon on I realized it was going to be too delicate as most of the lace is vintage...   It was too small (6") to be a center for a wall hanging and besides I'm not a wall hanging person... It will be the cover of another book of CQJP blocks.

Previously it just wasn't coming together so it went into the UFO basket.. The lace fence needed to be larger... The blue  Edmar thread I used for the pond was yukky.  Only a bird flying over would see the chimney at that angle... The stitching I started for the roof ridge was the wrong color..  But the ugliest thing of all is the path from the door... It looks like a long brown tongue going off the block...  It was the very first thing I picked out ... Then I removed the pond and the lace fence.

But I do have a plan... I want a taller fence in front and the path to wind from the house to an arbor in the fence.  Rather than leading out of the block, the new path will invite visitors into the garden.... I would like a lace lantern and a lace birdhouse if I can find the right lace..  Because this was such a small block I started all the flowers and foliage with french knots of  a single strand silk thread and will continue even though it will take forever...

Isn't it funny how if you don't look at something for a long while and  when you see it again you have a whole new perspective.

Now that the book about Morris is a reality, he's available for autographs...


Fabric Book/Journal Tutorial

First I need to clarify definitions:
One BLOCK = the 6" CQJP square as I finished it...
One PAGE  = two (2) blocks back-to-back.
One SECTION = two pages sewn together..

I ended the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2012 with 16 blocks... I wasn't as careful as I should have been and there was considerable size difference between the largest and smallest blocks...  Rather than cut them all down to the size of the smallest block (which was certainly a viable option) I chose to add a border to all the blocks and then trim them to  common size...

I then cut a light piece of felt to the common size of the blocks ... A piece of lightweight cotton batting would have worked just as well.  I wanted this filler between the blocks to give the page some body... no limp pages for me....  At the same time I cut two pieces of heavy interfacing for the covers...  They need to cut about 1/2" larger on the outside edges....not on the side facing the spine of the book.

Then I sewed a strip of 2 1/2" binding around each page (2 blocks back-to-back) by machine...  I made the binding out of material to coordinate with the blocks... I highly recommend making a BIAS binding.... it is much more pliable and forgiving than binding cut on grain. There are numerous sites (and even videos) which show how to do this but I really liked this site... http://cynthiashaffer.typepad.com/blog/2011/05/turning-a-corner-making-a-point-binding-tutorial.html.  She did a much better job of explaining this step than I every could.

And then I neatly turned the binding to the back, pressed it, and sewed it by hand..

When all the pages were bound I sewed two pages together to make a SECTION!

Then I cut the spine a little wider than I thought I would need from the same heavy duty interfacing.  I marked lines about 1/2" apart... I cover one side with coordinating fabric by using double sided interfacing...

 I then sewed down the lines with a bobbin thread that would show easily on the fabric.

Then by hand, I sewed each section to a line....in order of course..

When open you can see that the sections are about 1/2" apart on the spine but because the pages are so thick that is necessary for the book to open properly and lay flat.

At this point (without covers) you can see how it looks...  There are 3 SECTIONS of two PAGES each.   So there are 12 blocks for the inside to the book,

I trimmed the spine to just leave enough seam allowance to add the covers and covered it with a piece of felt...  I then assembled the covers exactly like I did the pages except I added both the felt and the interfacing.

I then sewed the covers to the spine by hand.  This was the hardest part due to the thickness of the layers...  So I used a very long sturdy needle, extra heavy thread and a pair of pliers to make the task go easier..

Then I covered the black felt on the spine with the dog paw ribbon using again double sided interfacing.

Done....  I struggle with writing tutorials as it is easier to do something than write directions on how to do it... I strive it to make the process easily understood.  If there is any point that needs more clarification, please write me and I will update it....


Look...A BOOK!!!!!! and it truly is......

Here it is .... my official 2012 Crazy Quilt Journal about my dog Morris.... Except for a bead or a charm here and there it is done and I am so pleased with it... I wish I could show it in person to each and every one of you...

Except for one tiny thing I wouldn't make any changes on future books....  Remember when I said the cover needed to be larger and I would remember next time..... WELL it only needs to be larger on THREE sides... a pretty critical point but I managed to recover...

It lays nice and flat like I wanted it to. And I had this lovely little rainbow leash to use as a bookmark....
Here is how it looks standing on end... 16 CQJP blocks in all and a year of work.

and finally all the pages open fully and flat..  In the next post I will show  assembling of the pages, sewing to the binding and attaching the covers.

Freda wrote that it would be wonderful for someone in the family to inherit some day....NO WAY!  I'm taking it with me when I go...  I want to be buried in my red shoes with my chatelaine, Gingher scissors, Fritz's ashes and my tambourine...and now my Morris book...

Here are all the pages except the pocket page....


Look...a book!..well almost.....

Today has been the most wonderful day since I tried to rearrange my face with an immovable object.  It's snowing, I'm home, I've been almost pain free all day,  I've some foot-stompin, honky-tonk country music on Pandora, and I've been working on my Morris book for about 5 hours... mostly at the sewing machine...

If you look closely as you pass my chair while I'm on my sewing machine, you will see a little fat, black butt sticking out from under the chair... He dozes with his nose right next to my foot.  My dog loves me!!!!!

Of course the first problem I ran into is that the 16 blocks weren't all exactly the same size...  In fact there was a considerable difference from the largest to the smallest..  The obvious and easiest solution was to cut all of them down to the size of the smallest block... BUT I liked the larger size so I trimmed out all the  blocks (on the left) and then cut them all to the same size.

Heaven knows I didn't want limp pages so each page is lined with a piece of light weight felt...  The front and back covers have the felt plus a piece of very heavy fusible interfacing. You all know how great hindsight is ..right?  Well I get to this stage and realize that I want the cover pages larger...  I could have planned for this in the beginning but didn't.... but I'll remember when I make my next book...

You can see I trimmed the covers out with the tiny polka dots and I'm preparing to sew  on the bias binding.  It will take me several days to get all the bias binding sewn by hand...

I hadn't shown you the inside of the back page...  It is a "pocket" page..  It will hold the laminated narratives for all the pages...

The blocks are back to back in groups of two pages.. twelve pages besides the covers. Since my book will be so thick I will need a spine and I marked it so I can evenly space the pages...  But I didn't want the interfacing showing on the inside of the book and it's impossible to mark the black  polka dots...  I stitched along the marked lines with white thread in the bobbin so I can see where to stitch the pages..

My garden is always full of critters and it supplies food for them throughout the winter... I walk to the window often to watch them... After a fresh snow like today I see little tracks everywhere.
And by the way this post is a milestone of sorts...it is #1200.


Christmas past...long past!

While I'm assembling my Morris book and waiting for my eye to settle I'll share a couple of my favorite RR Christmas blocks (6") I did about 5 years ago...

I love doing "pictorial"  seams.. You see the trees and stars right off but I love the presents seam on the left.  I always forget about using those block seams... I embroidered the bear right on the block....now I would have done it on felt and appliqued it on.... much easier and neater.

Since the candy cane fabric was so graphic I chose to keep the imagery  really simple on this piece.  Anything less would have been overwhelmed by the fabric... Actually I believe it was the frustration of doing satin stitching directly on these blocks that was the impetus for me to start doing it off block on felt.

To get to town we have to travel one of the most dangerous roads in the county... At the end of the road leading from our house is a stop sign that people are always sliding through when it's icy....  I did it myself  years ago before there was so much traffic out this way...  Someone did it yesterday about the time I was returning from the doctors. Unfortunately they were hit broadside as they slid  out... The vehicle that hit them was totaled also... There were still 3 paramedic vehicles there as I came home.


Soutache + Painted Button.... Surprise

I spend hours huddled over a magnifying glass at a work table and then my tiny painted buttons venture out into the world and I seldom get to see what happens to them...  But when I do I am always amazed at the next level of creativity...

Here is a prime example.  Kathy bought this gold finch button to make a necklace for her sister who loves gold finches... Using soutache braid, crystals and tiny pearls she has created a stunning, totally unique pendant. I was ecstatic to get to see it in person when she came to do CQ yesterday.

I fell in love with soutache jewelry about a year ago and wanted to adapt it to crazy quilting.  I even bought a bunch of soutache braid at one point... After seeing this I am all inspired again...

Here is my post about soutache which has a link to a french soutache tutorial sent to me by one of my very best button customers who is French.    http://olderrose.blogspot.com/2011/12/fantastic-soutache-tutorial.html I googled images today for soutache and was amazed at what's out there now...apparently it's hot stuff now.... When I first looked into it about a year ago there was very little information.

Another of my stitchers, Sherrie, likes to add  exquisite tiny monograms in the corner of her work to personalize it... Here is one on her current piece.  It is  absolutely joyful little "S". When I said tiny, I meant only hardly more than an inch.  What a lovely touch to add to your needlework...

I cut what seems like miles of bias binding and am starting to assemble my Morris book.  I will take pictures as I go along for a tutorial...


Morris and a 38D

This page is a last minute addition.... but now I'm glad I included it.... Anytime Morris can snag one of my bras he whisks it away to his bed...  There he either buries it in his quilt or tucks it under his chin for a snuggle.  Whenever I start to dress and can't find my bra I know exactly where to look.... I must confess that it is not all that often I wear a bra anymore.

I actually found a pattern for this tiny doll bra on the internet. The bra is lace and a bit of flat cording and stitched.  I also can now thread a needle with one eye.. I do everything CQ now with one eye closed. I would use a patch but Dr. said not to cover it while it's healing..

Update: No change in double vision but some sensation is returning to the nerves on the left side of my face.  Unfortunately the sensation returning is pain... And only 15 days until the days get longer.  I live for that day.


Well one more Morris and eye surgery update

At one point I decided that I wouldn't have a page for Morris's obsession with my bra....rather quirky on his part.   but Susan Elliott thought it should be a must... I do have room because I was leaving a blank page for  "coming adventures" and I am rethinking this option. Then I could do the pages attached to a spine  rather than eyelets and laced together.

Whenever Morris can snag my bra from the bed or the laundry basket, he whisks it away to snuggle with... If I can't find my bra, the first place I look is in his bed where he usually hides it...

The surgery went well yesterday.. They put  an implant under the eyeball to keep it from sinking any further into the sinus cavity...  I still see double with that eye but that may or may not improve over the next 6 months...   Same scenario for the nerve damage to face...

My advice to everyone is to not try to fly through the air as it doesn't end well... AND if you have propelled yourself through the air, DO NOT hit anything immovable face first.
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