Postings and ponderings of a quilting and knitting addict!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


COMING SOON to a computer near you…   A virtual Advent calendar/quilt show.  For the month of December I will have a virtual quilt show.  Each day I will post photos of one of my quilts.  My quilts will help count us down to Christmas Day.  I’m pretty sure I can rake up 25 quilts to feature here, but I’ll probably have to go on a photo-finding venture to some relatives’ houses to get enough.

Threads quilt 2008

I’ll start with some of my earlier (hand-quilted) quilts and then work up to the most current things.  You will get to see the not-so-great beginnings of my quilting career as well as the show quilts of today.  So check back often beginning Dec. 1… you wouldn’t want to MISS anything!!!

Please spread the word…  I would love to “see” you and all of your blogging friends back here on Dec. 1.  And I’m sure I can find SOMETHING to give away sometime during the month!  See you soon,


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gingerbread (Syrup Cake) – YUM-MO

Just in time for Thanksgiving!!

It was a family tradition, of sorts.  Once every now and then, instead of cooking regular supper on Sunday evenings my Mom would fix a pan of what she called “Gingerbread”. 


It actually is a syrup cake… I found that out the first time I told DH we were having “gingerbread” and he was disappointed when he saw the cake instead of a flat, traditional gingerbread like you would make cookies with.

This is really good stuff, and it is very easy to make.  I sometimes try to adapt recipes to make them a little more carb friendly by using some whole wheat flour and Splenda instead of the usual stuff… not this one.  I just can’t mess with Mom’s recipe because it is too good as is!  One note… the recipe calls for “syrup or molasses”… use the THICK kind of syrup… not that thin, watered-down stuff.  I recommend a good molasses or “Steen’s Cane Syrup” if you can get it.  Sorghum syrup will also work well.

Enjoy!  (Serving suggestion… this was the one time Mom let us eat the cake right out of the oven and we could slather the top of the cake with butter… UUUUUUMMMMM!)

Mom’s Gingerbread (Syrup Cake)

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup thick syrup or molasses
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ginger (I add a little more)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I add a little more of this, too.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix dry ingredients in a med. bowl and set aside.  Beat butter until smooth and creamy.  Add sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add egg and syrup; beat until smooth.  Add buttermilk a little at a time, beating well.  Gradually mix in dry ingredients and mix until batter is smooth.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13” pan.  Bat at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until center tests done with a toothpick.

Happy Thanksgiving, ya’all!!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Imagine my surprise when I arrived home Saturday to find a mystery package from someplace I had never heard of…I have not ordered anything from Nebraska.  Inside was a wonderful gift from my friend and quilt client, Barrett.  Can YOU figure out what this is?

  Crystal Press

It is called a Crystal Press.  You use it like one of those little wooden “irons” for pressing fabric seams but this is better because the acrylic is much slicker than wood, so it slides right along the seam line and does NOT distort the fabric like the wooden pressers will do. 

Crystal Press 2

(Please forgive the poor photo… one-handed-photography is not my specialty!)  A REALLY neat gadget, and I am a gadget girl.  I have drawers full of them and some of them just did not live up to my expectations, but this one really IS neat!

Crystal Press 3 

Please note:  This will NOT completely take the place of your iron!!  I am a pressing fanatic, and firmly believe that the quality of your quilt top is directly related to how well you press!!!  However, this tool will help you by pressing out small units  during block construction, and then the larger units/blocks would be pressed with the iron to get everything firmly pressed down into the direction it should go.

So you say, where can YOU get one?  You can email Lee right here at Crystal Press.  Wholesale orders can also be made through United Notions.  Check it out!!  They also have point turners that my friend says work very well because they do not poke through the corners of what you are turning like most of the pointy things I use to help turn corners right-side-out do.

SSSOOOOOOO…. What was I working on with all those strips? 

Rug Strips

I’m trying to finish up the locker-hook rug started in the class I took with Jamie Wallen this past summer.  He showed us how to neatly hook the strips together, but for the life of me I just can’t get mine to lie as flat as the strips he joined.  The TYPE A that I am, I want them really neat and flat so I have chosen to SEW the strips at a 45 degree angle like you would when joining binding strips together.  I then press the seams (using my Crystal Press) and fold the strips in half (just like you would for binding) as I wrap them up.  The angle causes you to have very little additional bulk as you are working your strips through the canvas.  Now they are ready to go when I get back to working on this project.  

Rug Pic

And the rug… about 2/3rds done!!  It is a good TV project (not that I have time to watch TV right now!) and hopefully it will be completed after the Christmas quilt rush.

And… speaking of the Christmas quilt rush….. 18 more quilts to do!!!!  I think today is a 2-quilt day, so I better go get to it!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

What was I Thinking?

What WAS I thinking when I decided to start a second blog?  What made me believe I had the time to keep 2 of them going?  I have finally woken up and realized that it just is not going to happen, so on the first of the year I will be combining my second blog, “Enjoying the Journey” back into my Fancy Stitching News.  That means that my posts won’t just be quilt related, but I will also be sharing the spiritual side of my life here with you.

I’m disappointed with myself that I have let the posting to “Enjoying the Journey” languish… it is a journal of “thankfulness”, and I REALLY AM thankful for many things, but I have difficulty getting over then to do additional posts as I had planned.  Rather than beating myself up over it, I’m just going to be a realist and face up to the facts… little time for blogging means I must streamline, and this is the best way that I can come up with.

Now you will understand when changes start appearing here… I MUST bring the wonderful sunrise picture (taken during a trip to the Copper Canyon in Mexico last year) over here, and I’ll be moving a few other things over, also.

So watch for changes coming soon, and I hope you enjoy them.

And… today I am thankful for… My pastor and his wife.  They have been away for the last 10 days or so, and we really miss them!  Because our congregation is small we really miss their 2 extra voices during worship.  Not only is church just not the same without them, I also bowl with Paula.  Her mom and I did not do so well last week without her.  I’m so thankful she is back home… Maybe our team (the River Chicks – so named because our church is called Rivers of Water) can really roll this week and regain our 1st place position in the league.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Moving Along…

Quilting update:  24   22    21  quilts to do before Christmas!  I am making progress, and hopefully will get another one done this afternoon. 

And here are pictures to prove it (click to enlarge them): 

Patsy J - Carpenter Star

This is Patsy’s Christmas Carpenter’s Star.  SOOOO pretty!  The quilting pattern is “Joust” by Jodi Beamish.

Patsy J - Carpenter Star detail

Friday, November 13, 2009

Where In the World is Kathy Ellzey?

I’m here, but buried under a huge pile of customer quilts. I counted today… 24 (I'm making progress!) 22 quilts to get done before Christmas break, which I plan on starting on the 17th of December.

Why so many? I’m a softie… when desperate quilters call with the gift quilt for their daughter/mother/sister/whom-ever, I’m just a softie. I have a hard time mouthing that word, “N-O” because I want to help them out, so I have W-A-Y over-booked. I normally do 3-4 quilts in a week. With a partial week off on Thanksgiving that means I have about 4 work-weeks. Do the math… 6 quilts a week. AAACCCKKK! Why am I sitting here when I have quilts to do??!!!

Because I am worn out after spending 3 solid days on a custom quilt, and tomorrow I will put its “twin” in the machine and do the exact same stitching again. Hopefully this one will go faster because I have already figured out the quilting designs and can just stitch it in. Number 1 turned out much better than I had visualized, and that is what makes all the extra work worth it. As usual I greatly underestimated how much time it would take, and that threw me even further behind on the quilt schedule. Thankfully most of my customers want a pantograph!

This is not whining… this is explaining. You won’t be seeing/reading much from me until after Christmas. Or…

Maybe later… I start work on 2 wholecloth show quilts right after Christmas, so it might be February before I come up for air.

And, before I go here are the promised RETREAT PHOTOS.


Daughter Jennifer came to visit and got fabric for Katie-Bug’s quilt cut out.


Mary Anne finished all of her flowers for her flower garden quilt… now to get them appliqued to the background fabric.


Debbie made great progress on her 4-Patch Posey quilt, and had all blocks made by the end of the weekend, despite sewing machine difficulties. She also worked on hand-piecing an Apple Core quilt.


And my surprise Christmas gift quilt was pieced. I LOVE how it looks! Now to get the borders on and find time to quilt and bind it before Christmas Eve!

So that’s the whole scoop… Keep posting and I’ll check in as often as I can.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

I’m Out’a Here (Again)!

I know… you are thinking, “Does she EVER stay home and work?”  Yes, I work very hard when here, and I am here MOST of the time.  I just tell YOU ALL about the times I do get to go away.

Tomorrow morning as early as I can get my things loaded and out the door, I will be gone to our next Sister-In-Law Retreat!  We go to our family camp on Toledo Bend Reservoir, and stay a few days to sew, visit, eat, plan, laugh, and laugh, and laugh some more.  It is a very refreshing time plus we get to work uninterrupted (for the most part) on our chosen projects.

I PROMISE to take pictures to share, I really do!!  If nothing else I can share our wonderful menu with you.  We pitch in and each bring a few things, throw it all out on the table, and eat all weekend.  SIL is bringing “Black Bean Lasagna”, a meatless dish, plus salad and bread.  I’m taking cheesecake and corn chowder.   Deb will also contribute items for sandwiches, and we will be set.

This one will be a short retreat for me… I’ll be back home late Saturday evening so I can get off to church on time Sunday morning.  It is just very hard to get all my things loaded and get away on Sunday morning from the camp… I’ve tried it.  So I’ll stay as late as I want to on Saturday with a clear conscience and hopefully accomplish a lot.

What am I working on?  Glad you asked!  I am hoping to FINISH the secret Christmas present for a secret somebody.  It has 9-patch blocks and snowball blocks.  The 60 9-patches are done, so now I will do the 60 snowball blocks, and hopefully get this put together.  Of course, then it will need quilting before Christmas… that may prove a bit more difficult that getting the sewing done! 

Why?  Because I am now officially 2-weeks behind in my quilting schedule… UUGGGHHH!  That means when I return I will really have to get B-U-S-Y and stop letting small things (like preparing food, washing clothes, and trying to keep the sandy-dirt out of the house) drag me away from the quilting machine!  Who needs food… that’s what they make sandwich meat and canned soup for!  (I hope DH agrees with this!)

I’m so far behind on reading blogs that I have lost track with some of you.  I’m at the point of just marking them all read in Google Reader, and starting fresh with what is going on in your lives.

So I’m off!  I hope you each have a great weekend, too.  See in back in Blogville sometime Sunday afternoon, I hope.


Monday, November 2, 2009

A Great Blog Give-Away

Mosey on over to Marydon’s blog, “Feedsack Fantasy”,  and enter to win a couple of different prizes (and more to come in the next few weeks).  Take your pick of 2 different drawings to be held on Nov. 9th.


Neat gifts, neat blog, great info on her side-bars… what’s not to like about this?!!  Check her out; you’ll be glad you did!



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