Return to Ohio!

Dear Sandy,

I am just so sneaky!  When you left Ohio in August after our whirlwind week of sewing, I secretly kept a vintage block leftover from your “Christmas in Ohio” table runner.

For anyone reading this,  you can download Sandy’s amazing table runner pattern by clicking on this link:  Christmas in Ohio Nov 2018

So, what was I suppose to do with one leftover vintage Ohio Star block?  Well, I made a cute little mini quilt for you!  It was suppose to be a surprise but I just couldn’t help myself and have to share it with everyone.



I hand quilted this block to try and keep that vintage vibe you like so much.  It didn’t take me too long because it’s only 11 inches square.  Here’s a close up preview for you.


I’ll be popping this in the mail for you today.  I am thinking you might want to hang it in your office during the Christmas season.  I hope you’re not too mad at me for sneaking a block from your stash!  Please Return to Ohio so I can sneak more of your fabric into my stash!

Hugs to you and my adorable nephew (who has grown up way too fast)!

Love always, Cindy

P.S.  If you would like to make an Ohio Star Mini Quilt, click on the link below to download the pattern:

Ohio Star Mini Quilt GBD 11 15 18





Apple Butter Time

One of the last preserving tasks of the year is the making of the apple butter. This year the task had extra meaning because a friend of mine donated a milk crate full of organic apples to the cause. Yay!

I arrived on the farm bright and early on Saturday morning and mom and I dove into the job.

My father loves canning time too. Although he’s not a canner himself, he hangs around the kitchen and supervises the process. He has never said, but I think canning time reminds him of his childhood: he grew up in the farm house. So did his mother. So did his grandmother. A lot of canning has taken place in that old kitchen.

Making apple butter is pretty easy: just wash all the apples, core them and cut them into chunks.  The apple slices go into the pot with just a little bit of water to keep them from burning.

When the apples are cooked down to a nice soft mush (after much stirring and temperature adjusting) we put them through a sieve/Chinois/china hat using a worn wooden pestle— the same set that has been in my family for generations. This removes the skin and any bits of core that might be in the mush.

I should have taken a picture of our antique sieve, but here is an example of a new one.

12" Fine China Cap Strainer

Next we measured 16 cups of apple mush and added sugar, cinnamon (of course we used our favorite Spice House cinnamon) and some apple cider. That’s all it takes (along with a lot of time) to make the magical fall ambrosia called apple butter. In the picture below you can see that we started out with a full pan, and as the butter cooks down, the apple butter gets thicker and sweeter. Oh my. I love this stuff. Have you ever had the apple butter at Cracker Barrel? It’s good, right? This is 100 times better!


Mom and I ended up with 18 jars of apple butter. Cindy does not care for it — whoo hoo! I do not have to share!

Here is an apple butter recipe that works in a crock pot.

Quilting will commence after I take the biscuits out of the oven and devour a jar of the butter — don’t judge — we call it quality control!

Christmas in Ohio

If you know me at all, you know that I love vintage textiles. One of my favorite things to do is wander through an antique mall touching and admiring old quilts, vintage linens and lace. I cannot say exactly why, but if I’m really stressed out or tense, a trip through an antique store is better than wine for calming my nerves — which is saying something, because, well, there are very few things better than wine!

Now earlier this year I told you about a set of beautiful hand-pieced vintage Ohio Stars that I found in a second hand store: striking plain red stars on a simple muslin background, in absolutely perfect condition and all ready to be made into something special. There were 12 blocks in the set and I was so happy when I found them.


While I was with Cindy in Ohio this summer, we developed a plan for the stars: a Christmas table runner. We decided to keep it simple to highlight the stars, so we knew that we wanted to set them off with a simple high-quality muslin border. We spent the better part of a week in Columbus looking for the right binding fabric to pull the project together. Alas, no luck. Then on Friday, we headed out to the Cincinnati area to drop in on our friend Tierney from as she participated in the grand opening of a new art quilt exhibit (you can read more about that event here).

It was getting late in the afternoon, but we had the chance to stop at the Fabric Shack in Waynesville, Ohio just before closing time. We only had a little time to shop because we had to get to the museum in time to hear Tierney participate in a panel discussion, but Holy Moly! Score! Eureka! Great Scott! Inside the sale building, literally on the lowest part of the last rack, we found it: The perfect fabric for our table runner (the red check, not the green)!


Cindy made a pro move and cut the binding on the bias to give our simple design some extra sizzle. I am in love with the final result

May I introduce you to the Gray Barn Designs Christmas in Ohio table runner?

Christmas in Ohio Table Runner

Ohio stars in a muslin field.


(I know, I know, the green grass kind of takes away from the ambiance, but we must accept our gloriously long fall weather, as we’ll be complaining about the snow soon enough.)

Cindy’s long arm specialist, SJ, applied a lovely, swirly all-over pattern for the quilting. I hauled out some of my Spode Christmas china to experiment with staging. Swoon…



You can make this pattern even if you don’t have vintage stars! Here’s how:

Christmas in Ohio Table Runner

I can’t wait to sail past the browns and the oranges of Thanksgiving decor and get on with the glitz and glamour of Christmas decorating! I expect this runner to be the star of my show this year.

You will also find this pattern posted on the FAVE Quilts website soon.  If you are searching for just the right Christmas quilt design, you will be sure to find it on FAVE Quilts.  Stop by to take a look at all the FREE quilt patterns.