Monthly Archives: October 2011

Creamy Chicken Pillows


I took the liberty of renaming this recipe since (a) I love pillows and (b) these look like pillows when they’re done. But that may be a bit impertinent since it won $25,000!!! dollars in the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1974! And yes, that’s the year I tore it out of a magazine, and here’s the page! This recipe has been a family favorite ever since. You can make the filling ahead of time, so it’s great when company is coming, too. Enjoy! 

Preheat oven to 350º.

Blend 1 package cream cheese (the recipe calls for a 3-oz pkg but I use the bigger one) and 2 T melted butter.

 Add 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken, 1/4 t salt, 1/8 t pepper, 2 T milk, 1 T chopped chives or onion, and 1 T chopped pimiento or roasted red peppers (I also add a pinch of tarragon sometimes); mix well.

Separate a can of crescent dinner rolls into four rectangles and seal perforations. Spoon 1/4 of the chicken mixture onto each, pull up the four corners of dough, and seal. Brush tops with 1T melted butter.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Refrigerate any leftovers. (Ummm . . . but you won’t have any!)

Now I invite you to visit my all-time-favorite cooking blog Consumed: My Culinary Adventure, created by my beautiful (and newest!) daughter-in-law Danielle. Be prepared to swoon! :)

French Knots


I love the line vs. floral contrast of these fabrics, but I decided to a-la-mode the front a bit with cross-stitch and French knots. I never could get the hang of French knots when my grandmother tried to teach me. I’d say, “Would you show me one more time?” until I was done. Now I think they’re fun!  The finished size of this pillow is 8.5 x 15.

Penguin Sweaters


A few years ago I got an assignment to write a kids’ Reader’s Theater script about a science topic. While researching, I came across an article about an oil spill off the coast of Australia where a species of tiny penguins (commonly called fairy penguins) live. To keep them from preening themselves and ingesting oil before wildlife experts could clean them up, someone came up with the idea of knitting sweaters (called jumpers) for them to wear. A knitter quickly devised a pattern, which has elasticized openings at the top and bottom and slits in the sides for the critters’ little flippers. Once posted on the Internet, sweaters came pouring in from all over the world . . . some even looked like little tuxedos! Soon the penguins were out of danger, and the workers decided to keep some of the extra sweaters for future needs and sell others in a local gift shop along with fairy penguin stuffed toys. Now a post on the Etsy blog reports that New Zealand has had the same predicament and is asking for more penguin sweaters! If you would like to help, here is the pattern:

Penguin Jumper 

Need: 8 ply 100% Wool Yarn, 1 pair 3.25mm needles, 1 pair of 3.75mm needles, 1 set of 3.25mm dpn’s or circular
Directions: Cast on 36 stitches using 3.25 needles.K1, P1 to end of row. Repeat this row 7 times. Change to 3.75mm needles and K2, P2 rib. Work 4 rows increasing at each end of every row (44 sts). Continue until work measures 15 cms. Decrease 1 st at each end of every row until 28 sts remain. Decrease 1 st. in middle of next row (27 sts.) Leave on needle. Make second side the same. Transfer the 54 sts from both pieces to 3 of the set of 4 3.25mm needles.(18 sts on each.) and work a round neck in K1 P1 rib for 10 rows. Cast off. Stitch up sides to decreasing to 27sts (opening for flipper). Add elastic to the top and bottom to prevent the penguins getting out of them. Top: 15cm of elastic; bottom 17 cm (knots allowed). Flat elastic okay.

Blessings to knitters and penguins everywhere! ♥

TV Time


I have this problem of not being able to watch TV without doing something else at the same time, so making these little 3 x 3 pillow ornaments is my new TV activity.

Figuring that I might not be the only one who feels this way, I did an online search.

The following list of “50 Things To Do While Watching TV” is a compilation from various bloggers, magazine articles, time-management experts, and polls.

Enjoy! ♥

  1. Update your to-do list
  2. Cook
  3. Exercise
  4. Journal or blog
  5. Sort through files or piles
  6. Do paperwork
  7. Do online research
  8. Manicure your nails
  9. Mend and sew on missing buttons
  10. Do small household item repairs
  11. Knit/crochet/do needlework or crafts
  12. Read mail
  13. File
  14. Plan menus
  15. Make a shopping list
  16. Clip coupons
  17. Clean out a junk, desk, or dresser drawer
  18. Organize a collection
  19. Brush the dog
  20. Balance your checkbook
  21. Clean up your laptop inbox and folders
  22. De-clutter your purse
  23. Fold laundry/match socks
  24. Iron (ugh!)
  25. Polish shoes
  26. Polish the silver
  27. Label things
  28. Plan a holiday get-together
  29. Clean your jewelry
  30. Shell nuts
  31. Address envelopes for Christmas cards
  32. Untangle necklace chains
  33. Organize craft supplies
  34. Put the cards in your recipe box back in order
  35. Put photos in an album
  36. Read a book, newspaper, or magazine
  37. Facebook, Twitter, text, or email
  38. Shop online
  39. Organize your tax-deductible receipts
  40. Pay bills
  41. Write a real letter to someone
  42. Arrange flowers
  43. Put your CDs and DVDs in the right cases
  44. Make a bucket list
  45. Make gifts for people
  46. Clean the leaves on your plants
  47. Brainstorm
  48. Update your resume
  49. Research your next trip
  50. Do crossword or Sudoku puzzles

A few people offer a different kind of list—things they now have time to do since they got rid of their televisions! Most of us are probably not quite ready for this step, but it does make you think . . .

  • Take trips or get a message using the money you save on cable and electricity
  • Read a book a week
  • Get a part-time job
  • Start a business
  • Have devotions
  • Go to the gym or for a walk
  • Join an organization
  • Visit museums
  • Meet the neighbors
  • Reconnect with friends
  • Explore the city you live in
  • Attend concerts, recitals, plays, and art shows
  • Make music
  • Plant a garden
  • Get to bed on time :)

Pillows and Plans


Needle in a Haystack Fall Festival

I had the best time at Needle in a Haystack on Saturday! Everyone was so friendly and chatty . . . I’ll admit that I bought more from the other vendors than I made! The shop itself is amazing. The lovely owner, Cynthia, bought two of my pillows, Chic Chicks and Pooh. My mother-in-law Vida gave me this remnant, which included a perfectly-centered picture of Pooh, and I added a button from a long-ago sewing project to the flower. The finished pillow is 16 x 16.

Now (surprise, surprise!) I’m hatching yet another plot. The upcoming Arts and Crafts Mission Mart at my church is selling donated gift baskets by silent auction with the proceeds going to various community-assistance projects. So  . . . I’m thinking I could choose a couple of pillows that have the same color or theme . . . add some other small, related gift items . . . arrange them in a basket . . .

Sweater Weather


I L-O-V-E fall . . . especially getting out my sweaters! I was going to post a photo of all my cardigans, but it’s a little embarrassing to admit that I own that many of anything! At least I know what to do now when one of them develops an unmendable hole or snag, like this favorite. Luckily, the top front and a section of the back were still in perfect shape. Plus, it’s still soft and comfy! The finished pillow is 12 x 12.

And what else comes with sweater weather? Chili! I always love that first bowl every October, and this year’s was extra-special because Dave made it. ♥ His original recipe has only three ingredients–a seasoned pork loin, 2 cans of Bush’s Black Bean Fiesta Grillin’ Beans,  and 2 cans of peeled, diced, “Chili Ready” tomatoes. Served with fresh apple slices and macaroni salad, it made a perfect autumn meal.




I bought this alphabet print to make a sewing machine cover. Since I sew in the same office where I write, it seemed a good way to tie the two endeavors together.

With some of the leftover fabric, I embroidered over a p, i, l, l, o, and w in red to make them pop on the black/white background and used a matching red fabric (formerly a curtain) for the back. The finished pillow is 12 x 14.

More with this fabric to come! ♥



The youth group at Calvary United Methodist Church sells pumpkins every year to earn money for their summer mission trips. Since the church is on Rock Road, one of our busiest streets, the display is a familiar sight for many Wichitans. In fact, when I mention my church to friends, they’re likely to say, “Oh . . . you go to the pumpkin church!” As much as I love pumpkins, I’ve only made one pillow in their honor so far. The front was a decorative tea towel, and the back was a curtain in one of my favorite fall colors. The finished pillow is smaller than usual, only 10 x 10.

Breakfast and Doll Pillows


We love meeting Kyle, Christin, Allyson, and Kira for breakfast at Carriage Crossing in Yoder on a Saturday morning! Last time I asked the girls to bring some of the doll pillows we’ve made together and tell you how to make them, and they sweetly obliged. ♥

(1) Get a square of felt. (2) Put it in a hoop. (3) Get a long needle that’s not too sharp. (4) Get your favorite color of yarn and make some stitches. Don’t poke yourself! (5) Keep changing colors. (6) Give your design to Grandma so she can sew it to another square on three sides. (7) Turn the pillow right-side out. (8) Stuff it! (9) Ask Grandma to sew the last side shut. (10)You’re done!





I found this zebra fleece in a remnant display at Hancock Fabrics and couldn’t resist! I dressed up the front by outlining the stripes with my brightest embroidery floss, using all six strands to embolden the look. The finished pillow is 12 x 12.

P.S. Did you know that every zebra has a unique stripe pattern—like human fingerprints? I learned this on the San Diego Zoo website, one of my go-to writing project resources.


Tweed Skirt + Vintage Buttons


For the first pillow, I used plain red fabric with one of my favorite vintage buttons for the front and a black/white tweed with a plain red fabric button for the back. The red was formerly a curtain, and the tweed was formerly a skirt.

The second pillow has the same tweed on the front. The buttons (from my collection) have holes at the top instead of in the middle and are attached with yellow thread to match the fabric on the back. The finished pillows are 12 x 12.

Chic Chicks


This intriguing question from an article by Martha Beck in the Oprah magazine really caught my eye since my friends and I all have lists of activities and attitudes we’ve chucked as we’ve gotten older and (hopefully!) wiser. I decided to capture it forever in hot pink embroidery and add a little a-la-mode in the form of feminine, crocheted flowers that pick up the purple color from the back. The finished pillow is 12 x 12.

Yarn and Button Escapade


I made up this pillow as I went along! First, I dug through my collection for yarn and color-matched buttons that would pop out on the bright yellow fabric, making sure one harmonized with the blue I wanted to use for the back (formerly a bedskirt). Then, I randomly started embroidering chain stitches and ended each squiggle with its button. The finished size is 12 x 12.




In honor of our first truly autumnish day . . .

The front and back are from a former set of drapes. I embroidered a cross-stitch pattern using variegated tones from the flower, which came on a jacket I used to own, and then made the center of the flower with lots of French knots in the background color of the fabric. The finished pillow is 12 x 12.


How it all got started . . .


This is my first pillow, made from a kit. I loved the contrasting colors of the front and back (bright lime green and hot pink in real life) and embroidering with yarns.  When I finished, I wanted to make more! Choosing the fabrics and embellishments myself sounded like more fun, so I started gathering.

To come . . . a pillow-a-day post of what’s on my shelf so far . . .



Pillows a-la-smushed


The pillow shelf in my office/sewing spot is getting full! Soon I’ll need to make some decisions.

Gifts? “Oh . . . thanks . . . look honey . . . it’s ANOTHER pillow!”

Craft shows? “Hmm . . . nice pillow . . . but . . . no thanks!”  [insert dejected face here] 

Etsy? 124,163 pillows on their site at last count, from endearingly cute to exotically luscious . . .

In my next post I’ll empty the shelf for a little show and tell. For now, I think I’ll just enjoy the extra color in the room where I spend my workday.