Farewell to Country Threads

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Ever since I heard that Country Threads (my favorite quilt shop in Garner, Iowa) would be closing, I knew I wanted to go one last time.  By far, above any quilt shop, it has been my favorite and to be honest, I don’t think for me another quilt shop will ever top it.

I told Kelli I was planning to go and she said she wanted to go too.  We had been juggling schedules trying to make things work-then finally I reminded Kelli and this was their last week.  Wednesday we went.  We weren’t there to get some wonderful deals…although everything was 50% off…and we did go home with plenty, we went to say so long to the gals and to the quilt shop.

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There were still lots of samples on the walls tempting us…and I’ll admit, I fell to temptation.

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I so wish I had the gift of color.  I talked to Mary about it and she said it was Connie’s doing and it’s Connie that knows colors.

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I think she was being modest.

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I have studied and studied what it is that I love so much about the coloring.  In that basket quilt to the left, I wouldn’t have used the dull colors in the border or in the center of the quilt.  I would have used a bolder color.  Those duller colors actually make the blocks take the center stage though and it’s something I need to remember.

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I asked Connie about it too.  She said that every quilt needs fabrics that you don’t love.  Those fabrics make the fabrics that you do love look even better.  They said that customers often came in the store and when the gals suggested a not so cute fabric that customers would not want that particular fabric but if a person wants that “Country Threads look”, they need those dull fabrics.

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The quilt below is their 30 stars quilt from Country Living Magazine.  I always liked the original but it never grabbed me as a “must have”.  Done in the patriotic colors, I LOVE!!  Yes, I ended up buying the pattern.  I LOVE IT!!

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I had to laugh when I saw this four patch hanging in the store.  Mary put this pattern together several years ago.  It was always a shop favorite.  Time and time again, customers would want to make the “exact quilt”.  Well they would run out of the back ground fabric.  They would make a new sample with a new background fabric.  Again and again they would remake this quilt.  In it’s simplicity…I still love it too.

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I bought the below pattern too.  I love feathered stars and this construction looked easy enough for me.

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They did some fabric left yet to purchase.  The shelves were pretty bare but Kelli and I still found some things we liked especially for backings.

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Here’s an old traditional block but isn’t it cute.  See…they do just know how to do color.

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Kelli and I both loved this simple nine patch….See how they jazzed it up with rounded corners.  I would have never picked that for a binding but it looks so good.

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Isn’t this a fun little quilt??

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The red and teal got two huge thumbs up from Kelli and I.

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Remember that I love all things polka dot.  Well this quilt is included on the list of polka dot favorites!

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There were quite a few punch needle project left and a bit of wool too.

Today is the last day.  At 5:00 pm they close.  I am so happy for all the gals there and hope retirement is all they ever dreamed it would be.  I can’t thank them enough for being so kind to me over the years and generous with their talent.  As I look at my walls, I see them filled with quilts that I made from their patterns.  Try as I might, I’ve done good but never quite mastered the color the way the Connie and Mary did.

I guess I’ll be on the hunt for a new favorite quilt shop….These are a few things I am looking for:
1- samples and samples and more samples-all samples labeled with pattern and pattern CLOSE by.
2-friendly helpful service but not pushy or intrusive workers
3-Variety.  I love fabric, wool and punch needle.
4-a homey atmosphere
5-and even more samples.  I truly LOVE samples.

There are so many projects that I saw over the years at Country Threads that I would NEVER have bought the pattern if I hadn’t seen the sample.

With that:  Cheers to you Mary and Connie and the girls.  You had a great run.  Thanks for being part of my quilting world.

Pizza Kramer Style

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I am known for my homemade pizza.  The kids, family and friends all request pizza when they come over.  It’s a food that I have been trying to perfect for years and years.   I’ve said to Hubby, “Why don’t we go out for pizza?”  He’ll say, “Your pizza is better than any we can get at a restaurant so why bother.”

I typically don’t brag, but it’s true.  I have mastered pizza.  I love making it and everyone loves when I do.

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I thought I would share the family secrets for making the best pizza.

First off-  Good pizza needs a good crust.  Here is a link to mine.  It’s my ratio recipe.  I use 1  1/2 cups of water for a thick crust pizza.  I also use only bread flour.  I don’t let the dough rise.

Next-when it’s time to press the dough out onto the pan I use a little bit of cooking spray on the dough to make it more elastic like.  I will use a stone or my pizza pan with the holes in it.  We like it either way.

Now you need awesome flavors.  Here are some of our favorites.

BBQ Chicken:  I cut chicken breasts into small bit size pieces and fry it up with some bacon and onions.  Rather than pizza sauce use BBQ sauce.  I then layer sliced cheese- pepper jack it wonderful- and then some mozzarella too.

Philly Cheese Steak:  I start with about 3 ounces of softened cream cheese mixed with about a half cup of alfredo sauce.  From there I fry up some peppers and onions that were cut into bite sized pieces.  Then I add in left over roast beef.  This gets mozzarella.

Breakfast:  I start with Campbell’s Fiesta cheese soup.  I put a 1/2 can on as the sauce.  Then I cut bacon into bit sized pieces and fry it up.  I drain most of the grease off then scramble a dozen eggs into the pan.  I add the toppings to the crust and then top it with colby jack cheese.

Taco:   I start with Campbell’s Fiesta cheese soup.  I put a 1/2 can on as the sauce.   I fry a pound of hamburger and add a packet of taco seasoning.  I add colby jack to the top.  Once it’s out of the oven I left people add their own taco toppings, lettuce, Doritos, onions, sour cream, olives, tomatoes and salsa.

Bacon Cheeseburger:  I start by putting my favorite BBQ sauce on the crust.  I fry bacon, hamburger and onion.  I add those ingredients to the top.  I top it with cheddar cheese.

Chicken Alfredo:  I cut chicken breasts into small bit size pieces and fry it up with some bacon and onions.  Rather than pizza sauce use Alfredo sauce along with 3 ounces of softened cream cheese.  I then some mozzarella over the top.

Dessert Pizza:  I cook the crust in the oven until it is about 3/4 of the way done.  I soften about 6 ounces of cream cheese and spread that over the top.  I spread out  1/2 can of cherry pie filling over the top then put it back in the oven.  Once it’s out I make a little drizzle of  cream cheese frosting.

Rarely do I make any pizza that needs pizza sauce anymore.  Everyone requests one of the specialty pizza so that’s what I make.

Another HUGE tip is to butter the pizza when it comes out of the oven.  Butter the crust AND butter over the top of the cheese.  I know it sounds crazy but it makes your pizza look so much better and more like restaurant pizza.

One of the reasons I want a second stove when we move to town is so I can still make pizza when everyone comes home.  Pizza is a huge treat for my kids.  I have yet to master a gluten free crust for Kelli but it’s something I’ll keep working on.

There were only four of us for supper tonight but I made two.  I always purposely make extra.  The leftovers get snapped up FAST.  The leftovers are going in Hubby’s lunch tomorrow.  He was a happy guy.  He’s tired of sandwiches and eating in the combing.

In the picture we had Philly Cream Cheese and Bacon Cheeseburger….YUM.  Does anyone have any topping suggestions??  I love trying something new!

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