Ask Jo: Recipes, Ice and More

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I feature them on the blog.  This is one of those days…

After I told about Craig fixing the ice maker in my refrigerator this question came from Carolyn: “So I have to ask, what was wrong w the ice maker? Ours is on the fritz too. Recently we found that the door was not shutting tight either. We found a youtube video to reset the door. But still afraid to turn on the ice maker and try it.”  You can read the whole post about this HERE.

My ice maker acts up and doesn’t allow water into the ice cube trays.  We’ve learned that what happens is the water in the line freezes.  We’ve learned that if the power goes out, we can expect it to act up.  We’ve had the power go off twice and in the last six months and both times, the water line froze with a tiny bit of ice…just big enough to plug the line.  It’s a pain but at least we know what is wrong and Craig can fix it in minutes.

He takes this top hose out of its place, pops out the ice in the line…

…and then we reset the ice maker.  For us, there is a reset button inside of the freezer.  Then he puts the hose back in place and it works.  I’m so happy Craig figured this out.  I love having ice and use it often.

Cherie said, “I can’t thank you enough for this post! Our dishwasher was doing exactly the same as yours and sure enough, we looked and several of the spray holes were clogged. We cleaned them out and it’s working amazingly well again!! If I hadn’t read your post, we would have been out the experience cost of a service visit so thank you, thank you.”  You are so welcome Cherie.  If you missed the post about repairing my dishwasher, you can find it HERE.

Cinders asked:  “I hadn’t heard of the Popcorncrack before, suppose it’s an easy recipe..everything you made sounds so good! Busy household, your teamwork gets a lot done! ✅ Is there’s a recipe for the popcorn crack?”  To read more about our big baking day, follow this LINK.

That’s Kelli there putting it out on the table to dry.

Crack Popcorn really is wonderful.  It’s also great if you are needing a filler to go in with a plate of homemade cookies.  It’s big and fluffy and takes up space.

To make a batch you need one bag of puffed corn and one package of white almond bark.

Melt the almond back in the microwave.  Put the puffed corn in a large bowl.  Pour the completely melted almond bark over the puffed corn and stir until it’s coated.  Pour it out on wax paper to dry.

Some people add peanuts or M&Ms to the mix. I don’t.  They seem to just fall to the bottom of the bag.  Some people sprinkle it with red sugar sprinkles.  I don’t do that either.

If you take this to a gathering, I promise, it will be GONE!

Next up, Frances sent me a Facebook message saying, “Do you not put your initials on your work? I was taught to give my credit for my work.”

This note came shortly after…
I posted about my cross-stitch.  There is no direct reference to what Frances is talking about so I’m guessing it’s this piece…

Newcastle Bouquet by Teresa Kogut.  I do not have my initials on this piece.  I have debated about it.  I figured until I find a frame, I didn’t need to worry about it.  I think I could stitch one over one near the mouth in the lower right-hand corner if I decided I want my initials on it.

As for labeling and putting my initials on stuff.  I’m really not into that.  I rarely label a quilt.  I know, many of you are gasping.  When I make a quilt, it’s generally for me…I mean the making of it-not the actual quilt.  I enjoy the process of creating and the quilt is just the end product of it all.  I often gift them away and believe that people likely don’t want my name on their quilt.  I got what I needed from the quilt by the simple making of it.  I don’t wish for accolades and recognition for my work.  What I make are not masterpiece quilts…what I stitch isn’t a masterpiece either.  Yes, they are nice but it’s really just not my thing to label quilts as my work.

When I’m gone, my kids will all get my quilts and stitched stuff.  They will all know who made it…Nothing will end up at the thrift store.  We’re not that kind of family…and by chance, if it does, it doesn’t bother me.  I don’t want people to have stuff in their house that they don’t want…I don’t want stuff in my house that I don’t want.  I know I’m the rare person that thinks that way…but it is how I think.

Whatever I do, I do not want to put my initials on it like the maker of this vintage piece that I own did.

Notice the name in the lower left in black.  It totally distracts from the piece.

So, I might label this…I might not.

I’d love to hear how you all feel about labels…but please don’t completely blast me.  Labels are a matter of preference and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

I think that sums up the “Ask Jo” for today…if you have a question or comment that I missed, please ask again.

44 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Recipes, Ice and More”

  1. My gr oup or I don’t label quilts, etc that are given to charity. The folks that receive them may be passing the items along to other family members. A few times we have attached a blank label so that it can be personalized by the new owner. Our mantra is it’s better to give than receive.

  2. I don’t add a label. I give a gift because I want to & I feel the recipient will like it, not to gain recognition for it or to have my name associated with it in any way. I do label quilts for my grand kids just so when I am gone they can hopefully feel the love I’ve printed on the label & made into the quilt. Maybe others feel differently & that’s ok.

  3. I always label my quilts. I think if I’m gifting them I would like the recipients to know who made them, especially baby quilts. Ones I keep I like to label too because I enjoy re reading the name I called the quilt and the year I made it. I have a special Christmas quilt I made and when I got it out this year I wondered when I actually made it. 2002 the label told me.

  4. I label a quilt only if it is a gift. However I do have Scrapbook on my computer where I put the picture of the completed quilt, name and designer, date completed, fabric line used, name of fabric used for backing and binding, who quilted it and the design, and general informational notes. I also print this page and put in a plastic sleeve in a 3 ring binder. In another 3 ring binder I put the pattern in a plastic sleeve. I don’t consider my quilt finished until this is complete. I have a friend who doesn’t think her quilt is complete until the label is on the back of the quilt. There are many opinions on this topic. I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

  5. Sue Stringfellow

    I think if the person who signed the “Home sweet home” piece had used some other color of thread it wouldn’t be so distracting- I always try to use a thread that is not so noticeable and hide the signature somewhere on the piece.

  6. Jo – I forgot to comment that when my ice maker line freezes I take my hair dryer, turn it on high and aim it at the line until it starts dripping. Pretty soon the small cylinder of ice drops out and the ice maker is good to go. Works every time.

  7. I don’t often label my quilts, but I do try to label my cross stitch pieces. If initials and the year are not incorporated into the design, as they are in many samplers, I will add my initials and the year in an inconspicuous place with floss just slightly darker than the fabric color. That way, it’s included, but not obvious.

  8. Just a suggestion to add to the ice maker solution: Make VERY sure the tube is secure in back after you are done. A friend (who had not moved the fridge) woke up to water that ruined her entire kitchen floor and base cabinets after the ice maker tube in back came loose. She had to move into a motel with her dogs for six weeks while everything was torn out and replaced. Luckily her insurance company paid for it, but it was a major disruption. After hearing her story, I installed Flo by Moen on our main water line. It sends alerts if unusual water usage is detected and cuts off the water if I do not ask it to ignore the warning (i.e., times when we use more because we are watering new landscaping, etc.).

  9. Thanks for the popcorn crack recipe! I wondered about it at the time, but figured that I have so many sweets in the house at this time of the year. I am going to try it in a week or so! As for labeling quilts and cross stitch, that’s not for me either. I don’t make heirloom quilts. I’ve been quilting for almost 20 years and don’t regret this at all.

  10. I don’ t label my personal quilts. I label my QOVs, they require it My church quilt group puts a label explaining the prayer quilt and our church name but no one particular persons name.
    With that being said if I did do some cross stitch or hardanger I would put my initials and year on it. A long time ago (30 years) in my 4-H years, I received a reserve champion ribbon at the county fair only because I had not labeled my cross stitch piece. The judge actually told me I would not be receiving grand champion because of it. You bet I labeled my piece the next year and came away with a grand champion ribbon!
    Haven’t cross stitched in 20 years but I do have 1 ufo I should probably pull out and finish. Funny thing is I have since married and my initials didn’t change from my maiden name so no one will ever know I started the piece as a single lady and finished as a married lady1

  11. I’ve always felt shamed into making labels for my quilts but after reading this, no more labels. I gave each of my sisters a quilt for Christmas and wasn’t gong to attach labels but at the last minute put them on. I didn’t like the looks of them at all, they took away from the beautiful back. I told both of them to take the labels off. Thanks Jo, after reading this there will be no more labels for me either. I love the popcorn crack recipe. One thing I do differently is I use the Press N Seal wrap on my entire table then dump the popcorn onto that. It keeps the wax paper from sliding around.

  12. I think having the name stitched on the peace adds to the history of it. You may or may not know the maker but including a year helps as well. Start doing it! I’m bad about labels as well but add them for gifting.

  13. I have an embroidered sampler from 1831 that has been handed down in my family to the oldest daughter. It was made by a great-great-great-grandmother of mine in the state of Kentucky. I often look at it and ponder what her life was like and what motivated her to make it. It’s in a frame that we will never remove it from because we are afraid it will disintegrate. As a result, I have mixed feelings on labelling quilts and other items I make. If I know it is going to a charity, I don’t put a label on it. But if it is something special I have made and know it will go to a relative or dear friend, I usually do. To me, that label is a testament of my love for them and that I made it especially for them. Guess I want these people to have pleasant thoughts of me after I’m gone. Ha ha.

  14. Judith Fairchild

    I’m like you Jo, no labels just the joy of making and giving the quilt. I do have a historical quilt my Great Grand Mother Roberts made in the 1920’s or so. It’s a delight to know her loving care went into it. Yes I use it on my bed. Thanks for the info about the ice maker and dish washer

  15. My great great grandma made a red n white quilt for her 3 granddaughters in 1905 and embroidered their initials in red on a block. 2 Ohio star n 1 snowball quilt were passed down . So glad she did initials n dates so we know she made them especially when there were no children to know the story and great nieces inherited them.
    Also, if you label, use your first name, maiden or middle name, n last name. On my dad’s side his mom n grandma were named Alice so maiden names are important. If our family doesn’t see our treasures, family quilts or dishes etc they will not mean anything to them. I’m not good at labeling, I love that my sisters labeled quilts they gave me.

  16. I’m not big on labels either. If I do, it’s really small, like my initials and year. I think the same way as you about our quilts.

  17. Labeling? Purely a matter of individual preference. I do add my initials and the year to my cross-stitch if it’s not in the pattern – in an unobtrusive spot and in a color that blends. I label many, not all, of my quilted pieces but try to make it unobtrusive as well. It’s my way of providing a little history for future generations if they are interested. (I have inherited several handmade items that I would love to know more about!)
    When my sisters and I were helping to empty my parents home back in ’94, we spent a lot of time wondering about the history of several items. Mom was able to help with some of it, but some things were “before her time” or she didn’t remember for sure. She had fastened some info to some items over the years which was helpful. As we worked, my sister videoed Mom telling about many items that she did remember; that has been helpful as our kids and grandkids ask about items. My son just digitized those tapes for us so we can share them with the rest of the family.

  18. I’m hit and miss with labels. It’s refreshing to hear your take on them. Lately, I’ve just been initialing them and putting the year, if I’m giving it to someone for an occasion. I often just use a permanent pigment marker in a lower corner, although for a recent wedding quilt, I actually printed a special label and stitched it on. But most of the finished quilts in my closet are not labeled. I sold a Christmas quilt a couple months ago totally on the spur of the moment, and I’m glad I hadn’t labeled it. It had never been used and looked brand new, but I think if I’d labeled and dated it with the year it was actually made, the buyer might not have been as excited about it? I don’t know, but I was glad I hadn’t labeled that one. Now, on the other hand, my mom did a nice cross-stitch piece I still have hanging near my sewing room door, and I’m SO glad she stitched her name and the date on it! She’s been gone 11 years, but I think of her making it and where she was and where I was in our lives at that time. For some reason, I just love that she put her name and date on all her cross stitch works.

  19. I get told all the time I need to do labels on my quilts. I do have pigma pens and will “autograph” when requested.

    On my cross stitch, I’ve used a single strand, used lower case letters for my first name and the year. I do immediately below the design in the bottom right. I agree this signature in your antique piece really is a stand out floating at the bottom. I do like seeing the dates on my cross stitches and can’t believe how long ago many of those were! My how time flies :-)

  20. Hi Jo I just love reading your blog, it is one that I look forward to every day. I was wondering if it would be possible to make your recipes in a PDF format under your recipes tab. I am bad for not saving them and then they are hard to locate. I usually get frustrated and give up. Would appreciate it very much. Take care and stay safe. A loyal blog reader, Maureen

  21. I rarely label my quilts. If I make one for a special occasion, such as a birth, then I include the child’s name and important info. If its for a wedding I make a label out of the save the date card or an engagement picture and I write something simple like , Happy Wedding day to? or Happy Birthday to ? this makes it more personal to the recipient than with my name on it. I like you make them to give or donate away. I did label the two quilts that I have given my children. In 20 plus years of quilting I have kept only 3 because I still love them and they are labeled with all the right info. The popcorn crack sounds simple and delicious.

  22. I’ve always felt there is no wrong or right about labeling, but having clues about the maker years from now, if the quilt survives, is cool I think. I do not sign comfort quilts for charity but I do sign all the quilts I make for me and mine with a black Pigma pen which I heat set after signing. Tried green once, that faded a lot after several washings so I just went over it with black when I realized what was happening. Name, date completed, town & state. We’ve lived several different places over our 43 years together. I sign it pretty small on the back right corner. Sometimes it’s hard to spot but it’s there for a future sleuth if they’re hunting for it. It helps me, too…after a few years I can’t remember when I finished a particular quilt on the bed. I flip the corner and usually spend a minute fondly reminiscing making it, my memory jogged by that little bit of info.

  23. Stephani in N. TX

    Thanks for your info again on the dryer and fridge. I might still have to call for a repairman since my appliances are in spaces I probably could not move them to look at the back. As to labeling, I did extensive XS for years before I ever made my first quilt. For a while I kept a book in which I wrote down each project, where I got the pattern and/or stitchy stuff since many were gathered on vacation trips. At any rate I got into quilting and no longer XS, but I labeled almost every single XS with initials and date which required about 10 spaces of XS space, nonobstrusive color thread. Glad I did that because it’s now 30 plus years since I stitched them, my husband passed and I have moved twice, probably in my last home presently. That means the XS has been rehung a third time and I was glad I dated them because I had no idea when they were stitched. My quilts I try to keep up to date with labels, having entered several in my local quilt guild show and labels were required. My quilts number near 200 and since I made them prolifically (cheaper than therapy) and I pay for LA quilting, I want my kids-grandkids have some idea of their age, value, whatever. One of my quilts I entered in a quilt show and had appraised at $800. That was a value that surprised me but also lets people know in B/W, not to use it for the dog’s bed. I also put the size on my labels so I have some idea what bed or space they will fit so I don’t have to re-measure later. My LAQ’s are/were very close artistic friends, so I put their name on the label as well. Definitely not art quilts but my heart and soul are in them.

  24. My feelings about labeling quilts are pretty much what yours are. I have made approximately 300 quilts in my lifetime. I have labeled three. For my mother and for son and brother. My quilts are gifted or donated. I don’t care about recognition for my quilts. I make them to cover and comfort people.

  25. For quilts I gift I’ll attach a small label on the back. I only label quilts for myself if I put A LOT of work into it otherwise I just will initial and date with a Micron pen very small on a back corner, mainly for my own reference to how long ago I made.
    Back in the 80s when I cross stitched all the time I would initial and date my pieces in lower right corner in color that blended in. Now I look at those pieces and can’t believe I made 30+ years ago. I notice today no one does that. I haven’t been on any of the smalls I’ve stitched lately.

  26. I always carefully sign and date a cross stitch piece, it can be accomplished neatly with a single strand of floss. I so enjoy seeing the historic samplers that women made long ago, especially when the name of the craftswoman is included. My pieces probably won’t go down in history, but if they do, people will know who made them!

  27. On the popcorn crack…I use popcorn! Two or three bags of buttery microwave popcorn, pick out all the unpopped kernels you can find. We really like the sweet and salty flavor this gives.

  28. I do label the quilts I make, largely because I have the spare thought that if any of them last a century, someone down the line might be interested in knowing when and where and by whom they were made. On a more practical note, when we moved a couple years ago, the moving company misplaced one of my boxes of quilts from Washington to Texas! The only reason I got it back was because I had sufficiently labelled my quilts to be findable. And given that the box also contained the only quilt my grandmother made for me, I am very glad of it. So I will always label my work.

  29. I do use a quilt label on quilts I make for family members. I put a small label on the back. Then when I’m gone they have history of who made it, who it was made for and the month and year.

    On cross stitch I do label those also. I attach a piece of paper on the back of the frame with my name and date.

    Just wanted to let you know I read the book “Confessions on the 745”. I was kind of confused when some of the characters had several names. The end was great though. I will definitely read more of her books.

  30. I label my quilts. I’ve bought several antique quilts and would love to know more information, name, state, year, but there’s nothing on the quilts. Recently after my great niece was born I received a photo showing “the quilt I made” for my niece on the bed with the great grand niece. Only I did not make that quilt. And no label on it to tell us who did. And now 30-plus years later, and the death of her grandma, we can’t remember where this quilt came from. Also, I helped my mom go through her quilts as she was leaving her home. Some quilts she knew she made and some quilt she had no idea if she made it or someone else did. It’s hard for me to pass along a quilt and say my mom made it to a family member when I don’t know that to be a fact. It also is nice to look back at the quilts I labeled that I kept and see what year they were made and think back on where I was at and other things in my life that year. It’s also nice to see how I grew as a quilter and my skills have increased through the years. My quilt Guild makes a lot of donation quilts for people in the community. We put a small label on each one that just lists the name of the guild.

  31. I do label most things I make….both cross stitch and quilts. Somewhere on quilt, usually bottom right (front or back just depends) I put my initials and the year with a simple back stitch and subtle thread color . Occasionally, if it is for a special occasion I will also machine embroider a label for the back with more info, ie the occasion, who it is for, pattern it is based on, my initials or name (like Grandma Neena) and the year. On cross stitch I use a simple back stitch somewhere with my initials and year. I am careful to make sure it blends in to overall design. Labeling for me just provides a little info on the maker for future generations. I have been doing this from the 1970’s when I first got addicted to these crafts.

  32. I list the machine quilter on the label if it is not me and note if it has wool batting. I also may note “inspired by” the quilter or pattern as several professional quilters have suggested doing.

  33. Susan the Farm Quilter

    I label my quilts with the name of the quilt, whose pattern it is (if I used one), who it is going to, my name, city, state and date. Since 2 of my kids live in tornado alley, I hope that if one of their quilts gets lost in a tornado, there will be enough information there to get the quilt back to them or me. The other kiddo is in the military and if it gets lost in a move, I hope the label can help it get back to her. I have quilts from great relatives, but I don’t know who, when the quilt was made or anything about it because there are no labels. Some of the quilts were made using feed sacks and a wool blanket in the middle (very utilitarian) and others that were obviously planned because they only use 3-4 fabrics total. Makes me sad not to know who made them and when. That’s why I embroider my labels and incorporate them into the backing of my quilts and they are quilted into the quilt.

  34. My niece is having a baby so I made Baby B a quilt with a label added (to practice label making). I also handed down my baby quilt made by my great grandmother in 1965. I labeled it just so Baby B can know its history when she hands it down to her child. These are the only ones I have labeled. The rest are recorded with a picture if I remembered to take one.
    Thanks for the household hints. I checked my dishwasher and was surprised to see the buildup. I had never noticed before.

  35. I like to label only to give a history for future reference. Try to keep it simple with the year, recipient, and maybe the occasion.

  36. I usually try to add a label to my quilt with the year made and my name, for Christmas my mother in law gifted me some beautiful personalized iron on labels!

  37. I think it’s fun to come up with a name for each quilt, so I always add that on the label, along with my name, place & date. I used to put that info on a triangle in one corner of the back, but it seemed to detract from the overall look on ‘modern’ quilts. Now I put all that info on a strip tucked into the binding … it’s there, but you almost to look for it. When I get out a quilt I haven’t used in awhile, I love seeing it’s ‘name’ and the date I made it. I don’t label donation quilts … I don’t think they need or want to know about me.

  38. When a not too close relative of my husband’s died, we helped to out the house. A beautiful quilt was among the items we brought home. There is no label and no one to ask about who made it. How I wish I knew! I always label personal and gift quilts, not for recognition, but for future owners. I often put a personal note to the recipient on the label.
    The name in black on the cross stitch really jumps out at you. Too bad the maker didn’t use a lighter thread.

  39. We make that snack with bugles (the corn chips) instead of popcorn. Same salty crunch without the skins to get caught in your teeth. :)

  40. So this is why I try to label quilts: A very elder lady told me about a quilt she received as a child when her parents were suddenly deceased….today we might call this a “charity” quilt. The little girl was alone with her baby brother in a strange town until an aunt could travel and take her to her home. She wrapped up in this quilt and found herself looking at the binding, which was stretched over her face as it was night and time to sleep.She had been crying and said her eyes hurt(as we can imagine). She said she felt so alone and so scared and missed her mama( as we can imagine). But there on the binding was these words, tiny, hand stitched words:” Made for you and I love you. Louise 1939 ” The very elder lady said this message filled her heart and gave her hope. She always puts a message in her quilts and so do I now.

  41. Have some old quilts left by my husbands family. Not knowing who made them is disappointing and a loss of part of his family’s history. Just a few extra minutes would have been a blessing from generations past. I always label my quilts for future benefit not personal recognition

  42. I label almost all of my quilts with care instructions: “Machine wash on cold, preferably with a Shout Color Catcher or a similar product. Tumble dry low.” The majority of my quilts (like many of yours, I think) go to other people, and they might not know how to wash them. For me, this is the most important part of the label.

    I also usually put my name on the label, who (or what event) it’s for, and the month/year. I generally do this for quilts going to friends/family or for “familiar” fundraisers, like for my kids’ schools in the past or my husband’s choir fundraiser. The other day I was chatting (at a distance) with a neighbor who said he had one of my quilts from a fundraiser from 10 years ago — he said they love it and it looks like new. I’ve heard that kind of thing from at least one other person, and those connections/exchanges wouldn’t have happened without the label.

    If the quilt is going to a more random charity or fundraiser, the label has only the care instructions and the month and year. I just don’t want my name so far “out there.”

    I wish the women in my family had labelled their quilts. At my Grandma’s house we could go pick a quilt from the upstairs hall closet to sleep under for our visit, but nobody was sure who had made what, since multiple people quilted. Right now, your family might know you made something, but in 60 years or so, it might not be as obvious. :)

    But I do think that everyone should label to the extent they want to, which includes not labeling at all. Even though I didn’t know WHICH grandma or great-grandma made all those quilts, I’m sure glad they did!

  43. I am not a labeler either whether it’s a quilt or needlework. I too think it distracts from the piece and quilt labels usually look funky on the back of a quilt to me. I make the stuff I make because it makes me feel good. I too do not do it for the recognition. You keep doing you Jo!

  44. I always feel weird about labeling a quilt. Some I do and some I don’t. Some people don’t really want my name or my work so I just don’t bother.

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