Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Making All Ready!

Some moving around and moving in happened yesterday.

This is the turret space in the dining room at Quiltville Inn.

This corner used to hold a small collection of quilt history books and other needlework books that were not really patchwork related – embroidery, needlepoint, cross stitch, etc.  There wasn’t really enough of any one of these genres to fill the space, and there was room where the other quilt books were located, right outside of the Quilting Quarters.

The seed that had been planted a few months ago finally found time to come to fruition, and I spent yesterday afternoon placing many of the items found in the Quiltville Store in this little nook – along with some other needful things that I don’t currently ship, but may be needed by retreaters who come and stay.

I have spent the last few weeks just wondering how to deal with the “But what if I’m not here?” scenario  -  and just like that it hit me.  BAR TABS!

I often start a “bar tab” or an index card for students in my workshops so they can shop, add to their tab, and then settle up at the end of the day.

Why wouldn’t that work here?

I mentioned to The Hubster that I needed some receipt books to be used as bar tabs for retreater's purchases should I not be on hand.

His reply was that there is a whole case of them in the old Field's general store on our property

I hadn't thought of that, I hadn't even opened the little booklets until now - and they all say Fields Manufacturing company! Oh goodness!

The general store closed down decades ago and I am amazed that we actually found something useful for the Old Field's Mansion turned Quiltville Inn!

There are enough receipt books to last several more decades!

I love the whole header – “Manufacturers of woolen fabrics!”

From what I understand the Fields mill was operational until 1990.  Occasionally I will see folks stopping along the side the road and wandering down into the mill to see what is still there.  It’s not my property, and I’m afraid I’d run into snakes or worse, so I haven’t yet.

But I love that we can use these receipt books as “bar tabs” for people’s purchases while I’m not around.  We’ll settle up before folks leave.  A bit of Mouth of Wilson History. Perfect.

My pea soup morning!

There is a fine fog blanketing the mountain, making me feel a bit lazy and not really wanting to get out in it.  But i will.

While I’ve not been sewing really – I have been planning on how to set those shoo fly shoo leader & ender blocks.  I’m going the sashing route, which means I need a bazillion-and-a-half 1 1/2’’ x 4 1/2’’ pieces.  At least.

Three piles of progress.

I’m doing a bit of multitasking here.  First off – anything in the 1 1/2’’ strip bin that is shorter than 6 1/2’’ is being cut down.  It’s taking a while.  But it is cleaning out that bin.

When I cut for our checkerboard rails leader & ender challenge a couple of years ago, I took the wimpy way out.  I cut scraps that needed to go away into 6 1/2’’ widths, and then speed processed them on the Accuquilt Studio to 1 1/2’’ x 6 1/2’’.  It gave me WAY TOO MANY and I am still dealing with the aftermath of what was left from the checkerboard rails quilt.

Those 1 1/2’’ x 6 1/2’’ rectangles were also used to cut the corner triangle units on our shoo fly shoo blocks – and there are still MORE in that bin.

I have started setting those aside as seen in the center pile.  These can either be cut to the 4 1/2’’ I need, or maybe I’ll do something completely different with them since they are already the same size as each other.  Our next leader & ender challenge maybe?

The third pile?  There are always some small bits left over when cutting strips to size, and I’ve been trimming 1 1/2’’ squares out of anything that is big enough.  I love my squares boxes – I pull squares from them all of the time for various projects.

I need more then 200 of the 1 1/2’’ x 4 1/2’’ sashings – so quite the clean up is happening in the strip drawer and this is all a good thing.

The easiest Instant Pot chicken dinner ever!

This is the before-cooking photo.  There is no after-cooking photo – it smelled so good we jumped right in and ate it.  LOL!

It’s not even  recipe, really.

I started with four partially-thawed skinless boneless chicken breasts.

I placed them in the pot with 1 cup chicken broth and seasoned them by dashing with 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, a good sprinkle of black pepper (not measuring, just sprinkling over all) and topped everything with a tablespoon of butter just thrown in there.

I put on the lid, set the valve to sealing and cooked them on manual for 8 minutes, letting the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before doing a quick release.

I removed the chicken from the liquid, turned the pot to saute and mixed 2 tablespoons water with 2 tablespoons of corn starch until smooth.  I added it to the bubbling pot and stirred to thicken.  Instant gravy!

It was SO SO SO good – I ate the leftovers for lunch yesterday.

I just may fall in love with this instant pot thing after all!

Thank you Judy Stone, wherever you are!

There are far too many Judy Stones in my address book, and also in my Facebook Open Studio group, and on Facebook in general.  There was no email address in your package to thank you properly so I hope you see this!

Judy sent two beautiful lace pillow covers for Quiltville Inn, along with an adorable chambray apron with appliqued star block that I am unabashedly claiming as my own.

I am the denim girl – always found in cooler weather wearing a denim shirt over my tee shirt as sweaters and sweat shirts are just far too warm.  This apron has ME written all over it – and I will use and love it – Instant Pot or no Instant Pot at hand!

Thank you Judy -  Your gift is so greatly appreciated.

Today’s job?  A joy really!  I am cleaning up and reconditioning a couple of machines that need to find new homes, and I’m hoping that the next couple batches of retreaters coming to Quiltville Inn will wish to adopt one or more.

I love my machines – I love them ALL.  But I can’t keep them all.  I can’t keep adopting and fixing and making machines sew again, unless I move some out so there is room to save more.  At least that is what I’m telling myself.

And truth be told - we hope to sell the North Carolina house in a few years and that means DOWNSIZING.  Oh, the horrors. (And the challenge!)

Part of my day will be spent getting grease and grime off of machines and under my nails!

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Yesterday I was not happy with all of the rain that has been falling in Virginia. Especially the mud it has left behind! 

At one point it was even snowing yesterday, but luckily it was just above freezing and wouldn't stick.

And this morning – there is all of this fog.

And then I remembered that rain brings flowers, and I was grateful and hopeful.

It's all about perspective, isn't it?

Put on your attitude of gratitude today and I'll put on mine!

Have a wonderful Tuesday, everyone!


  1. Hi Bonnie, glad the package arrived safely and you are happy with my little gift. After I mailed it, I realized I hadn't put my email address with it so here I am!!
    Thank you for all you do for us.

    1. I love that apron, have been wearing one a lot lately, keeps all those little threads off my shirt and pants and denim is perfect!

  2. Reading your posts every day makes me smile. What a treasure you found with those receipt books! Just what you needed for the Inn Store. I can't wait until it's my turn to come spend a retreat weekend with your lovely Inn.

  3. So fun to bring vintage machines back into service again!! I, too, have been releasing machines as I can, because really who knows when I will find another to rescue? Rock on, Bonnie!!

  4. You should try instant pot yogurt. I'm not a real big yogurt fan but I love what I made in the instant pot!!!!

  5. The little store nook is a great idea! And, repurposing those receipt books s wonderful! As for your instant pot . . . now that is a wonderful kitchen gadget. I keep mine out on the counter and use 3-4 times a week. There are some great webpages out there with recipes, my favorite, 365 Days of . . . I’ve even been known to reheat in it, only one pot to wash! Although, I wouldn’t put one in the Quiltville Inn, there is a learning curve!

  6. Using the butter you already portioned, heat the instantpot on saute more until it says HOT. Then put in the butter and brown the chicken 4 minutes on a side. Then add the broth and deglaze the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon and dump the other stuff in. The browning will give the whole meal a fabulous deeper flavor. Doesn't take long to do the extra step. Just made chicken soup for dinner in the instantpot.

  7. That chicken looks great! Can’t wait to try it out for ourselves! Also can’t wait to see what you have in store with the shoo fly blocks! Have a good evening!

  8. Can't wait to start a bar tab with you!

  9. Reading your post tonight reminds me that whenever we would grouse about the rain here in NW Oregon (which was frequently, Sharon, the wise owner of one of the finest quilt shops around, Momma Made It, would remind us, "We have to water the garden we live in". So true. Who can argue with that? I have repeated that phrase to myself in other situations as well.

  10. My Dad had a country grocery store back in the 50’s up to the late 70’s and used the same receipt books for his customers that bought groceries on time.

  11. Loved your post today, every bit of it, even the fog picture.

  12. Thank you for the chicken directions I'm a new Instant Pot owner also. Is one of the machines you are going to be letting go a featherweight? I am looking for one.

  13. Snakes? This time of year they should still be hibernating. Go check out that old mill, sometime when it isn't too muddy... don't want you to slide around too much and land-oops!


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