Sunday, November 22, 2009


Long, long ago, I yearned to be an accomplished cook like my mother and aunt. I collected their recipes and tried to mimic their tips and techniques. When I was 19 my aunt advised me that adding whipped cream to mashed potatoes was really yummy.
I was living in a college dorm at the time, one with a kitchen. I had next to nothing in the cupboards and refrigerator, but I had potatoes and meat of some sort that I wanted to prepare for my boyfriend. I was whipping the potatoes when I remembered that there was Cool-Whip in the fridge. So, feeling quite proud of myself, I added it to the potatoes. Not a good thing. When I admitted to my aunt what I had done she fell into fits of laughter. She still tells the story, much to my chagrin.
TIP: whipping cream added to mashed potatoes is wonderful,
Cool-Whip is not!

CONFESSION: When I was first married I kept a bag of flour under the kitchen sink and each time I made chicken I would dredge the pieces in that same bag. Oddly, we never became ill with salmonella poisoning. Call it
beginner's luck!

While making chili the other day I carefully read the label on the chili powder container. This is a habit I had to develop after sprinkling a large amount of cinnamon on a pot of chili many years ago. You don't need a picture for this, just think: CINNAMON---CHILI---too close in color when you are grabbing a container and your mind is elsewhere. That is what lead me to think of these other
food goofs from years gone by.

I will never be as good a cook as my mother or her sister, but I have learned a few things over the years -- and occasionally I learned it the hard way!

You may have something to share on this topic as well.....

Have a happy and healthy holiday!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Regular readers probably recognize my youngest granddaughter, the one I call Plumpkin. She is four years old and quite the entertainer. When her older sister got married last month this little girl kept approaching the microphone at the family dinner. She wanted to share a story like everyone else. She never did get the nerve to say anything, but she was so tempted!

Yesterday I got an e-mail from her. She composed it and her daddy typed it out. It said:
Dear Grandma Marcie,
I have missed you for a really long time. I wish I could be with you.
I really want you to come visit. I wish you could be with me, so I decided to visit you. And now I decided when I get there, I should surprise you and sneak in as a mouse in the morning.
In the morning I might surprise Grandpa too!

Love, Kathryn

I think that is the cutest, sweetest e-mail I have ever received!
She lives in Montana, so I am not likely to see her for quite a while.

Thanksgiving is all about family traditions at our house. Even when our house is empty and devoid of our children, the traditional foods must be prepared. Here is what we will be having. Seriously, we have the exact same thing every Thanksgiving:
Turkey, of course!
Chestnut dressing --a favorite from my side of the family
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Scalloped corn --a Patch family favorite
Cinnamon rolls --Patch family
Green jello with pears and cream cheese --Patch family
Stuffed mushrooms --my family
Apple pie --American family favorite!

The chestnuts, pictured above, have been coming to us for the past several years from Spangler, PA, where my daughter-in-law's parents live. They have chestnut trees. For years my mother bought chestnuts and my dad cleaned them for our Thanksgiving dinner. (Not horse chestnuts, mind you. Those are different!) Now we look forward to the package we receive from Pennsylvania with the wonderful chestnuts that we love.

In the photo you can see what the chestnuts look like. They are not as big as those that you find in the grocery stores for $3.99 a pound. Those come from Italy, and you never know what you will get in terms of quality. Sometimes they are wonderful and sometimes not so much. The PA chestnuts are small and sweet. This year's crop cleaned up beautifully!

First you take a sharp knife and cut an X in the shell. Then put a small amount of water in the bottom of a pyrex dish and add 6 to 8 chestnuts. Place in the microwave for 45 seconds. When they come out the shell is partly opened where it was X-ed. Peel back the rest of the shell and the brown skin. Chop the nuts. At this point I put them in the freezer for later, then get them out for Thanksgiving. Saute them in a skillet with chopped onions and celery with a stick of butter. Add about a loaf of cubed bread and stir it together to soak up the butter. Salt this mixture as well. Try not to eat too much as you stuff the bird. All the ingredients are based on personal preference. One and a half to two pounds of chestnuts is usually about right for the stuffing. Well, that is the way we do it at our house!

With grateful hearts and helpful hands, have a wonderful, peaceful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Isn't this the cutest little Snow Baby? I began buying one of these SnowBabies each year for my granddaughter (Plumpkin) who is now four years old. I decided I needed to take pictures of each one because I already forgot which ones I bought! This little sweetie is for 2009! I don't think she cares that much at age four, but hopefully some day she will enjoy having them.
And I found this little Czech bird at an antique store when we were in Bird-In-Hand two weeks ago. According to my husband, everybody's grandmother had these. Mine did, and apparently his did too. I had my grandmother's bird many years ago, but gave it to my friend because her grandmother was from Czechoslovakia. Now I am happy to have this one. They must have made a ton of these, but aren't they sweet! And from Bird-In-Hand, PA!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The Christmas holidays are fast approaching, and now we are all beginning to panic over all the things we still need to do. Maybe it is already too late for you to make this darling little Christmas quilt. However, if you are looking for an idea for a nice little gift for a special friend, try a little Christmas Punch! That is the name of this sweet little quilt that measures 22-1/2 inches square. The link to the free directions is at the top of my sidebar.

This pretty blue and white version was made by Dot at Rantala Rags. Dot has made one of my little Christmas designs each year for the past three years.

This little cutie was made by Karen from Sew Primitive. Karen has plenty of her own design creations to work on, so I was pleased when she made one of mine! Love it!

Elaine Adair took this design to a new level. She made a bigger block and set it on point for a totally different look. She is making hers for Quilts of Valor. What a wonderful quilt with a wonderful purpose!

This little quilt was made by Janet at Mrs. Sew 'n Sew. It is from last year's design, which can be found at the same link on my sidebar. I was pleased to see this on her blog the other day! She is finishing this one up from last year. Nice job Janet!

Are there any others out there that I have missed? I hope you will let me know if you have a Patchalot Christmas quilt in progress so I can share a link to your blog. Maybe these nice quilts will inspire you to make one as well.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


Being a chocolate lover, it has been a lifetime dream of mine to visit this place. Notice the lamp posts! I had to borrow this picture off a post card, but we were actually right on this cute corner of Cocoa Avenue and Chocolate Avenue! Milton Hershey built this town around his chocolate, but he also built it with lots of love. One can't help but be impressed with the man and all that he accomplished in his lifetime.

I believe that, don't you?

Yes, there was a chocolate store with as much Hershey product as you could want. The tour was free, but they know you are going to shop! Here is Joan making off with her loot.

The town of Hershey is absolutely lovely! Beautiful homes in well cared for neighborhoods. Plus the leaves were fabulous! We spotted this Japanese Maple that was amazing! Yes, it is actually a tree, but obviously untrimmed. I have always had a weakness for Japanese Maples, so I had to take a picture.

On top of all that fun, we found this very nice quilt shop right on Chocolate Avenue. It is located in a house and had a few cars in front of it. When we walked in we were amazed to find it crammed with quilters! Turns out there was a bus tour from New Jersey making the rounds of shops. They were having a ball! The shop owners were lovely and even bought some of my patterns. Naturally we reciprocated and bought some of their fabric. This is why I never come out on top! (Financially I mean. I DO have lots of great fabric!)

As they say in Hershey, Have a Sweet Day!

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Oh the wonder of it all!

Joan and I actually stayed in Hershey for two nights and visited other places from there. And of course we visited Hershey World! We loved it! And yes, I was like a kid in a candy store! Only with more money! Heh, heh, heh.
Anyone care for a little ice cream to go with all that syrup?

Listen to this: they actually had Hershey bath products! And I have to tell you, as much as I love chocolate, the image of bathing in all that brown stuff doesn't do much for me. Hershey Kisses however--now there is creative genius behind that idea!
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Monday, November 02, 2009


Beautiful Lancaster County, with the rolling hills of farmland and forests. We did see Amish buggies traveling on the roads. This photo is exactly like what we saw, but I refused to take photos of them. I got this one on line. Apparently the Amish own most of the farms and farmland in this area, in spite of the fact that they only comprise about 8% of the population. They obviously know what they are doing! I wonder if they have any idea how much they are admired by most of us?

This beautiful stone barn was on the property to the left of Sauder Fabrics. Across the street were fields of standing. dried corn, ready to be chopped up for silage, I imagine.

This is another store from the first group in my previous post in Bird-in-Hand, PA. Joan and I were totally charmed by the whole town.

And here is their display of "edible squash". I imagine it is labeled for the tourists in case they confuse it with the gourds. Let me tell you, their gourds were amazing also!


We left Wednesday morning, October 28th, on a wonderful adventure. My friend Joan has a new car and we had to break it in on a road trip. We have been wanting to do this for such a long time, and we finally made it happen. We drove north with the help of Suzie, Joan's GPS navigator, named after the Susan B. Constant, the ship that sailed to America and into Jamestown. We love our history! Destination: Lancaster County, Gettysburg and Hershey, Pennsylvania.
We drove north from Virginia Beach and gloried in the beautiful fall colors as we got into Pennsylvania. Wow, what a beautiful state! The colors of fall accented everything to perfection.

We arrived in Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania in the afternoon. We wanted to stop at every door on the way into town, but Joan said, "NO". Of course we thought we might have time to go back later to a few shops, but that never happened. This beautiful shop above sold fabric, quilts and gift items.

There is glare on the glass windows, but this one has a great looking quilt displayed. This window was so darling I couldn't stand it! The quilt is wonderful and the accessory items are perfect!

This was the first place we stopped when we arrived in town.

Next door we found lots of pumpkins, gourd, flowers, etc. We both bought bouquets of dried flowers.

My favorite stop in Lancaster County was Sauder Fabrics. It is run by the Amish and it is in the basement of a home out in the country. We were glad for the GPS to find it! Yes, that is me with a bolt of Jo Morton fabric that was so cheap it would make you cry. You had to buy the whole bolt to get the price, so darn it, I HAD to do it! I bought about a dozen half yards that were at least $3 cheaper per yard than what you find in the shops. Now that I am reading the sign I am thinking I should have looked at the spices. I bet they were in bulk, and cheaper also!

I have lots more great pictures, so this is just the first entry for our trip. Please come back for more!