Grit Blogs > As My Garden Grows


By Debbie Nowicki

Tags: recipes, healthy, quilting, sewing,

Have you ever taken notice of a quilt and marveled at its intricate detail and contemplated all the time and energy it took to complete such a work of art? Have you ever attempted to piece together such a creation or have you never even given the construction of a quilt a second thought?

Born in the 60s I remember well my mother sewing many outfits for myself and my two sisters; the sewing machine and ironing board had permanent locations and were used often. I created my own sewing projects as the years went by and then packed away the sewing machine and never gave it another thought … until recently. Someone asked to borrow my machine and when they returned it, I left it on the dining room table. Each time I passed by I would glance at the sewing machine and say, “I need to stash that away somewhere.” But I never did.

In the back of my mind … the creative part of the brain was searching for something. I wanted to create something country and homey, something that took some thought and something useful. I started noticing quilts … in magazines, on-line and even though I frequent the craft stores often, I usually breeze by the fabric aisles, but not now! When I decide to do something, I dive in, full force and unstopping! Reading the quilting book I purchased just wasn’t making sense; the only way to learn was “to do” so I bought yards and yards of fabric and started cutting squares.

240 squares cut for quilting

 Although I did allow for seam allowances, the fabric squares are tiny! I should have made them much bigger, but this is how I learn!

Some of the squares quilted together

My design is very simple and in reading about quilts I found the history quite fascinating. The development of quilting in the United States has unfolded over several centuries and there are heirloom quilts that are among the most dearly loved American antiques. Quilts are individual expressions using fabric colors, patterns and designs; many times used to tell stories of the past. Quilting bees were all day long social events that included the entire family; an occasion for conversation and catching up on news. Many times the quilts under construction were for an upcoming special event such as an engagement or wedding. Patchwork, appliquéing and the crazy quilt are all techniques used to develop this work of art and there are specific names for designs that have been created and passed down through history; Bear’s Paw, Stepping Stones and Log Cabin to name a few. The richness of the American creative spirit can be witnessed in the reflections of everyday life depicted on quilts from yester year. Next time you have the opportunity to glance at a quilt take time to notice the detail and design; you may be glancing at a unique moment in history.

Keeping true to my New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, I experimented a bit with this Simple Blueberry Muffin recipe and Homemade Cracker recipe. The muffins were “Great!” stated my teenage daughter and the crackers need work.

Homemade Crackers and Flaxseed Muffins

Simple Blueberry Muffins
1 cup white flour
1 cup wheat flour
½ cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup flaxseed
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Mix flour, sugar, baking power together. Beat egg; add milk and then add egg mixture to dry ingredients. Stir in blueberries. Fill muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees.
Homemade Crackers
1 cup wheat flour
1/3 cup water
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon baking soda
Combine flour, garlic, pepper, rosemary & baking soda (add more herbs if desired; adjust to taste). Add water and mix until dough forms. Roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness; sprinkle with salt (optional). Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees; remove, cut into squares. Return to oven until brown and crunchy.
2/3/2009 8:43:02 AM

Debbie,I was smiling to myself as I read this. Apparently, my daughter and you are on the same page. She announced to me that she is going to try quilting. As a matter of fact, when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she told me "material". "anything country looking" were my instructions. My hats off to you and her. I love quilts, and truly appreciate the work that goes into them. My grandma made many quilts in her time, and my mom is a wonderful seamstress. I can sew, but It is just not my thing. I have made clothing for myself and my daughter, but I had to make myself finish the projects. It wasn't fun for me, it was a chore. I cherish the quilts I have from my grandma, because I know the effort and time that was put forth in their creation. Their value for me is way more than any amount of money!

1/29/2009 5:50:43 PM

Jean ... Twice this week I had a chicken and blueberry salad - what a combination! It was Great! Quilting definitely takes patience as I am sure Anita can attest to. Anita .. Thank you for the kind comment on my photos!! The photo of the leaves turning was taken this fall in Southern Illinois - we have a home there on 18 acres and it is Beautiful! We have 10" of snow down there currently which is unheard of...we will be checking on it this weekend. Please do share your quilting knowledge; I would greatly appreciate it along with many others! Thanks again!

anita owen
1/29/2009 1:18:18 AM

Debbie lovely quilt. I'll have to try the blueberry muffins. You take some amazing photos. The picture of the leaves turning can you tell me where that was. Love the color. I am also a quilter and a machine quilter. I will come back to visit.

jean teller
1/27/2009 11:09:13 AM

Debbie, another great recipe! I love blueberries, so this one will be added to my collection. (And they look easy enough, even for me!) My mother is a seamstress, and she made a lot of clothes for my three sisters and me as we were growing up. Some great clothes too! She also used to quilt with a group at her church. Me? I definitely do not have the patience for needlework, tho one of these days I may have to give it another try. I need another hobby! LOL Cindy, you mean I have to sew buttons back on?! :)

1/27/2009 6:43:26 AM

Cindy..Thank you for the words of encouragement! The quilt sure is a project & I will have to find a quilt show to attend; I am sure I will be amazed. Another hobby to enjoy while I watch the cold snowy weather outside. I did try my hour long walk on the nature trail a few days, but the below zero winds sent me right back inside (quickly)!

cindy murphy
1/26/2009 6:03:54 PM

Hi, Debbie. Yay for you! Both my boss and her daughter quilt - gorgeous, gorgeous things that each tell a unique story. They go to quilt shows and such, and both have quite a number of ribbons. Me? Though I've always admired quilts, I've never given a serious thought to trying sewing one. Heck, I'm lucky if I can get the stray buttons sewn back on my husband's shirts. He has one of those automatic Buttoneer button-reattacher thingies for such instances. Keep up the good work - both quilting and keeping your New Year's Resolution.