Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Italian Wedding Salad With a History

 Our girl was married this weekend - photos coming soon! They drove to the ranch on Friday, we headed to the mountains on Saturday, they were married on Sunday, we came back home on Monday. Plus, we're branding this week (Tuesday-Saturday) so I'm in the kitchen and my mornings are starting at 3 a.m. 

I made my menu after serving the crew breakfast and after dinner (lunch) on Tuesday I spent the afternoon in town getting groceries for 12 men for the rest of the week. We came back from the wedding exhausted, but no time to recuperate so we're running on auto pilot and Jesus this week. 5 days. We can do this. 

But I thought I'd share an old family recipe today. It's probably the oldest recipe I have and my Omi (my daddy's mom) made it when my folks were married. My daddy was German (from Ulm) and my mom was from Vienna, Austria so I have no idea why this is known as ITALIAN Wedding Salad, but there you go. 

And this is a very different kind of salad. The ingredients are odd and don't seem like they should go together, but this is a famous salad in my family. Growing up, I remember my mom making it and then rolling big spoonfuls up in rectangular ham slices. Then she would pipe a mayonnaise flower on one corner and top it with a radish flower she carved, pop in a sprig of parsley and serve them all up on big mirrored platters for all sorts of gatherings. She made hundreds of those platters. But our favorite way to eat this salad was always with her homemade Schnitzel. Our kids practically fell into the bowl when my mom made this. 

However, we're not that fancy and this is how I served it last week with lunch before our daughter's wedding

I saw a similar photo years ago  - before the Internet - and never forgot it. And it's even more fitting because her new husband, Kenny, raises pigs and fits for lots of kids who show through 4-H and FFA

So, today you get this salad along with the story of how it fits into our life and those are always my favorite kinds of recipes. And warning. My mom was an amazing cook, but she rarely used an actual recipe. She just made it until it looked and tasted right. 

4 Generation Italian Wedding Salad 

4 cans of peas and carrots, well drained (I only ever buy this for this salad because we don't care for them otherwise)

1 large package of thick-sliced bologna chopped fine (about the same size as the carrots - (mom said it didn't taste right if it was chopped too large. Once she tried to substitute ham, but it just wasn't the same) P.S. We don't care for bologna either, but it is transformed in this salad. LOL.

3 medium potatoes, boiled, cooled, peeled, and chopped (again - as small as the carrots) 

3 medium dill pickles, chopped...yep...small

3 boiled eggs, chopped...again - you know the drill. 

salt and pepper to taste

Enough mayonnaise to make it all come together

A dab or two of mustard.

*Mix everything together and refrigerate

*When I take the first bite, I close my eyes and it tastes like home and memories and I'm posting it here for our chiddlers who are the 4th generation of Italian Wedding Salad fans. I wish I had asked my Omi where SHE got it from.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Americana Progress

 I've been making good progress on my Americana Hourglass quilt - the blocks finish 5" in the quilt and I'm thinking of making it 85 x 95 so I'll need 323 blocks. Some of them are traditional hourglass blocks and some of them are scrappy

Sometimes I use the Easy Angle ruler and strips to cut the pieces, but this time I was working with chunks and yardage - 1/2 yards, fat quarters and a variety of cuts from my stash so I drew lines.

I should try some of that seam tape, but I don't mind drawing lines. I'll listen to a podcast or audio book and sew in between. I've built a well-rounded stash through the years and I love shopping my stash - riffling through my bins and pulling fabrics for projects. I REALLY wanted to include this print, but it's just too white for the look I'm after

So I figured I'd give it a good soak in some tea

And now it's absolutely perfect!

I was tempted to soak all of it, but I know I'll want a true blue and white down the line, but now I've got 2 different colorways

I needed some more tans and creams and dug a little deeper - yes, these will do beautifully 

I also made a batch of Quilter's Moonshine. A friend told me about it. There are all kinds of recipes online but I just bought a bottle of cheap vodka and mixed 4 oz with 24 oz of distilled water and maybe 4 drops of essential oil. It's much less expensive than Best Press and I still use regular starch when I press a quilt top, but I like this for pressing fabrics and quilt blocks. I read a debate about whether your vodka should be grain or potato based. Makes sense since potatoes are starchy, but I haven't looked for a potato based vodka to see if it makes a difference. The lady at the store said  the one I bought was nasty vodka and that I should buy something better, but I told her I wasn't going to be drinking it, I was going to make starch. She got tickled and she probably told her co-workers some crazy lady came in and bought Vodka for starch. Those crazy quilters! 😂

I'm excited to get this one together, but there's a Wedding on the horizon and then 5 days of Cow Works immediately following so all sewing will temporarily cease while I soak up God's daily blessings and remind myself to breath. 😉

Monday, May 15, 2023

I Spy Quilt

 Last year I made an I Spy quilt for my coworker's cousin. I'd been collecting novelty fabrics for a while, knowing there were more I Spy quilts in my future

I so enjoyed selecting fun prints

And I put 110 different ones in this special quilt that was really hard to photograph in the bright sun

Sandy added the perfect quilting patterns called Jigsaw and it finishes at 60 x65

I added this fun stripe for the binding and the blue dot, both from my stash.

This was a birthday gift for our granddaughter and it was a hit

She was captivated

As was I, watching her discover each square

At one point she saw a square with Santa and she piped up enthusiastically, "Ho Ho"! 😂

Last week I took a huge stack of squares to work to share with another coworker. She wants to make 2 for her granddaughters and another friend wants to make 4. I have enough fabric to fill all their needs. 😂

I think it's safe to say, this quilt will be well-loved

It was made with love with prayers stitched into every seam for this special little nugget

Friday, May 12, 2023

Under the Needle Lately

 I was on the go for much of April - apparently too much because when I went to work on Monday, I left the truck door open when I ran out to the barn to kiss DH and this is what I found when I trotted back to my rig

That look says, "Don't even THINK about going without me this time." 😂

And with Branding and a Wedding in May, I don't foresee a lot of sewing, but  DH helped neighbors brand two days last week and he is helping two days this week and  I always seem to find myself in my sewing room on those days. He generally leaves the house by 3 and I get up with him, fix coffee, and spend a few minutes with him before he heads out to the barn to catch and saddle his horse. Yes, I could go back to sleep, but I never do. It feels like I have free time and I often choose to write a blog post or two or sew.

I picked up one last quilt from Jackie last week and got the binding sewn on on Tuesday and I'm stitching it down in the evenings

This is the first time in 15 years that Jackie doesn't have a quilt of mine, but I have 3 tops that have been hanging around for a while so I'll drop those off in a week or two. 

After sewing on binding, I pulled out my Scrap Basket blocks I started last year and pieced those into a top. That took a while as there are 110 blocks, but gosh these were fun to piece

Then on Thursday, I dug out a stack of fabrics I had cut quite some time ago and pieced a simple Gingham quilt

I love the timeless, simplicity of Gingham and the quilts come together quickly. I also cut these for another Gingham quilt

I love that little floral print and I had enough for another quilt so I made a few pinwheels, but I'm not sure I like where this is going so I think I'll sleep on it. Maybe hourglass blocks would be better? Then again, these seems sweet and whimsical.

I also pulled out my bin of Americana fabrics and spent time with my rotary cutter

A few years ago I made this quilt for friends

And I've wanted to make one for us ever since. Jo from Jo's Country Junction made an hourglass quilt (you can see it HERE) a while ago and I loved the border treatment she designed for it so I plan to incorporate her idea for this quilt. Clever, Jo! So we'll see how far I get, but in the meantime, I'm just chain sewing up a storm.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Jelly Roll Quilts

 When I first began making quilts, I gravitated towards jelly rolls and then they sat...for years. I no longer buy them, but I've been on a mission to use them up. I've still got some to use, but I've made enough of them that I thought I'd compile them into one post that I could look back on for inspiration.

Oddly enough, although I know they were all the rage years ago, I've never made a Jelly Roll Race quilt

Plus a Nine Patch is a recent finish

As is this one using a Spring House Jelly Roll

2 x 4 Quilt

I didn't use a jelly roll to make this quilt, but the pattern is designed with 2 1/2" strips.

Adventures in Africa

Bunny Hop Baby Quilt 


A Plus Quilt is a fun way to use a jelly roll

Twice as Nice Quilt

Biscuits & Gravy Quilt

Charleston Pavement Quilt

Fence Rail Diamond Quilts

Rocky Fence Rail - this one is similar to the diamond quilts above

Hill Country Spring Quilt

Amish Farm Baby Quilt

I've still got a few jelly rolls left so the journey continues...

Monday, May 8, 2023

Making Memories

 Last week I made a quick trip to visit with this bunch

To celebrate a special birthday

I soaked up every minute - this is her boat and she's singing 'row, row, row, your boat' 

Someone once told me that grandbabies grow up faster than children and I didn't think that was possible, but I may need to re-think that

Who needs toys when you have an endless rock supply at your disposal (her daddy was a rock hound too)

We visited a wonderful wildlife zoo 

When I look at this picture, I can hear her squeals of delight

I am going to need a bigger refrigerator for photos

A visit to the park included a first slide ride

I missed them the minute we parted, but she's got a big job as a Flower Girl for a special wedding in a couple of weeks!

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