Memories of Liz and Signs of Spring

May 4th, 2017

Since I last wrote my sister-in-law, Liz died and we’ve been to Omaha, NE for a final good-bye. Liz was a very important part of my life.
Since Liz’s children did not live nearby Bill and I decided that we could be of some help to the family if we left as soon as possible. I think our spirits were raised by being able to help as needed. As the family gathered we realized that this season in the life of a family is one that would never slip away.  The love and concern of each family member was marked, moment by moment by love that etches its way indelibly in time. Liz was the first of Bill’s siblings to leave us.


This is a photo taken of Liz and I at a family wedding. She kept her copy on a wall of framed family pictures. It always pleased me to see us-sisters- there. I had it on our refrigerator for a long time.

In the rush to head for Omaha I grabbed some recipes. Recipes could be useful for preparing food as the family gathered. One of the recipes was Taco Soup. At this sad time it seemed the perfect comfort food could feed our souls on these gray days. Another reason to make the soup was that Liz liked it!
1 ½ lbs. ground beef, browned
½ C. chopped onions, add to beef and cook until tender
Add:  28 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
14 oz. can kidney beans, undrained
17 oz. can green beans, undrained
17 oz. can corn, undrained
16 oz. can tomato sauce
2 pkg. taco seasoning
1 or 2 cups water, if needed
Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer 15 minutes until heated through. Garnish each serving with choices of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips and chopped black olives. Six to eight servings.


This morning I was looking through a catalog when I spotted a memorial tea light holder for sale. I thought of my sister-in-law Liz.  We were kindred spirits and thought of each other as sisters.
The words from the catalog tea light holder:
Perhaps they are not
STARS in the sky
But rather openings
Where our LOVED ONES
SHINE DOWN to let us know
They are HAPPY.



So nice to come home to signs of spring in flowers and lambs.


When we arrived home from Omaha there was barely  time to prepare for Easter.  Easter is a time for thinking of those who have a special place in our hearts- a harbinger of a new season. In recent years we had become accustomed to eating out. Were we getting lazy? This year it seemed we should have Easter dinner at home with a few friends. What to make? The first recipe I considered making was Aunt Lizzy’s Hot Potato Casserole. It is our all time, go to, family favorite.

Another favorite recipe is from my quilt mentor who lived around the corner when we lived in Bozeman. Jane Edie was the founder of organized quilting in Bozeman and has been gone for many years. Looking through my recipe file I realized how important the recipes and the people who handed them down to me are. There are lots of fond memories and kind thoughts that accompany those hand written recipes.  Even the handwriting brings a flood of memories.




Aunt Lizzy’s Hot Potato Casserole
2 lb. bag of frozen hash browns
1 can cream of potato soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 C. sour cream
1 ½ green pepper, diced
Medium size onion, diced
Salt and pepper
1 C. shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
Spread hash browns in 9”x13” pan.  Mix soups in bowl. Add green pepper, chopped onion, salt and pepper to taste.  Spread over hash browns.  Sprinkle on top.  Bake at 350’ for ½ hour or more.   The dish may be mixed the day before and stored in refrigerator until time to bake.

Jane Edie’s (Our son Paul called Jane Mrs. Easy) Carrot Marinade Salad
This recipe is not only tasty but colorful on any plate.
2 lb. carrots, 1 ½”  slices, cooked until barely tender
2 green peppers, seeded, sliced into rings
2 onions, sliced
1 C. sugar
½ C. vinegar
½ C. salad oil
1 can undiluted tomato soup
½  teas. Salt
½  teas. Pepper
½ teas. Fresh dill or dill seed
Blend ingredients for dressing in blender or with mixer.
Alternate ingredients in bowl. Layers carrots, onion and green pepper with blended dressing.
Cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours. It will keep two weeks. I use leftovers for dressing a green salad.

Besides Easter another important project needed attention. In the haste to leave for Omaha I had not had time to finish the quilt the kids at Monforton Country School had made. The kids' art made me happy! I was glad that I had the cheerful quilt to finish. I handed the quilt over to Bev. In a flash she had it quilted and back to me. Friends who helped the days the kids painted the creatures helped with sewing on the binding. That too, was a special time. Four of us sat on opposite corners of the quilt.  Working in the same direction we finished the task of binding in no time at all.

Fruits and veggies were used for the fantastical bodies.

The kids coordinated the 6” blocks I contributed to their own art.

This is one of the 3 sections of 2nd graders and their teacher Ms. Marianne.

Look what I got at the fundraiser. The event was really fun. Lots of families. Mexican food from the school cafeteria. Activities in  each of the classrooms.


Here are a few items you might find useful at your home or maybe where you sew as a group. I have been reluctant to take on mailing these items because of their awkward size. Luckily I have some cartons that will be fine for shipping. Of course, if you're local, please reply to the email and we can make a plan for you to pick them up. The price is CHEAP. I hope you will find them useful. Order by following this link or replying to the email for local pick up or to snag one of the free rulers!

O’Lipfa Lip Edge Ruler

Dritz  6” x 24”

Creative grids Non-Slip Circle Savvy Ruler

Creative Grids Ruler 8 1/2" X 24 1/2" 

Big Daddy by Trudie Hughes (this one shows that it has been used a bit) 


Creative Grids Turn-a-Round Non-Slip Ruler

Still useful, FREE if added with another ruler that you have purchased. Just reply to this email to let me know to include it with your order.

Omnigrid  6" x 24"  My favorite. (I shouldn’t have slammed the car door on it!  Free with another purchase.)



I love these books but they need a new home. All are 50% OFF their original price.
Prairie Children and Their Quilts by Kathleen Tracy
14 Little Projects That Honor the Pioneer Spirit
What was it like for children growing up on the American frontier? Make simple little prairie quilts and discover what a significant role quilting played in the lives of the women and children we now call pioneers.  Originally $24.95. Order by following this link or reply to the email for local pick up.

A Month of Sundays by Cheryl Arklson
Slow down and Sew with Family, Friends, Food and Quilts. 16 Projects. Precut Friendly. A fun, fun book! Originally $22.95. Order by following this link or reply to the email for local pick up.
Summer at the Lake Quilts  by Susan Maw and Sally Bell
Authors Susan and Sally are sisters and are fortunate to live in northwest Montana near beautiful Glacier National Park.  No wonderful they came up with these amazing designs.  If you love MT you’ll love this book.  Celebrate the outdoors with six quilts, plus tote bags, a pillow, even a curious ant!  There are scrap-friendly projects.  Learn to create dimensional effects with raw-edge applique or gathers and ruffles.  I especially love the Indian Paintbrush quilt.  Originally $19.95. Order by following this link or reply to the email for local pick up.
Journey to Jericho by Kaye England
Kay England is a friend. This book is autographed to me and it is a treasure. Kay and I were roommates when we taught at Sisters, OR. Incorporated in the book are many of the signs and symbols of Christianity as possible. It is a treasure trove of sampler blocks with history. There is an vast array of photos of sampler quilts. It was published in 1992 by ME (Mary Ellen Hopkins). Not sure of the original price but it was probably $24.95. Order by following this link or reply to the email for local pick up.

Last but not least!! Come by and visit our baby lambs.  They are so much fun to watch from our kitchen window! I could spend hours watching them frolicking in the pasture. Stop by! Bring your camera. I’d love to see you!

When Kristin came to take pictures of the for sale merchandise I offered her some daffodils. Kristin is the editor of the QIC e-letters. None of it would be possible without Kristin!!