Lisa Wingate – author – believer in hope

Good Hope Road was the story of a town devastated by a tornado and how a young girl from the wrong side of the tracks so to speak was given a chance at things she otherwise wouldn’t have because most considered her white trash.Wingate’s stories are all about compassion, understanding and trying to see each other’s point of view while you realize the grass isn’t always greener, maybe you just need to water your own grass more.

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Thumbing through the pages…


Amazon’s book description: She’s taught us every facet of Italian cooking–from traditional and regional to seasonal and contemporary. She even made us fall in love with pasta again by opening us up to lighter, healthier versions that don’t weigh us down. Now the Food Network star and bestselling author of Everyday Pasta, Giada De Laurentiis, takes us down a new path, sharing her love of food with clean, vibrant, simple flavors and bursts of bright colors that look as beautiful on the plate as they are delicious.

Yes, you will still find those fabulous recipes she remembers so fondly from family meals, but you’ll also find updated twists on classic trattoria favorites–California-inflected, hearty but not overwhelming, and with the perfect balance of healthfulness and terrific flavor. Wouldn’t you love a faster, lighter take on osso buco (here made with turkey instead of veal), a salad with real substance (like one of cantaloupe, red onion, and walnuts), and fish that gets an Italian makeover by way of lots of fresh veggies and accents such as fennel and grapefruit salsa? And let’s not forget dessert. After all, what’s not to adore about little doughnuts dipped in chocolate sauce?

Ranging from soups and snacks to easy entres and elegant dinner-party fare, Giada’s recipes are perfect for any day of the week. And for the first time, she includes a full section of dishes that the little ones will love making as much as they love eating (like mini chicken meatballs). With something to please everyone at your table, Giada’s Kitchen deliciously demonstrates why Giada De Laurentiis has become America’s best-loved Italian cook.

Italy meets California in Giada De Laurentiis’s collection of 100 new recipes. She focuses on fresh ingredients, simple preparation, and bright flavors. Anyone who wants to indulge in the pleasures of Italian food without feeling weighed down will find inspiration for delicious, hearty yet healthy weekday meals. Giada’s recipes satisfy both our desire to eat with gusto and to feel good about what we eat.

Amazon’s book description: Slow-roasted meats, marinated vegetables, surprising flavor combinations, this is not your mother’s sandwich.

With acclaimed restaurants located across the United States, and a high-profile job as head judge of the hit show Top Chef, Tom Colicchio is one of the best-known chefs and personalities in the culinary world today. His popular chain of ’wichcraft sandwich shops is known for crafting sandwiches with high-quality fresh ingredients prepared to Colicchio’s exacting standards. And since the first ’wichcraft opened in 2003, diners can’t seem to get enough.

In ’wichcraft, Colicchio shares the shops’ secrets with step-by-step recipes for all their best-loved offerings.

Amazon’s product description: Anyone who has visited Carmine’s flagship Times Square restaurant knows that Carmine’s food is the best of classic Italian cuisine—each dish prepared simply to bring out the most vibrant flavor and make anyone who tastes it smile and reach for seconds.

Carmine’s Family-Style Cookbook reveals the simple secret of Carmine’s longtime success—hearty, rich Italian food, just right for sharing, and perfect for cooking at home!

Carmine’s Family-Style Cookbook’s perfect Italian recipes include:
–Appetizers, Soups and Salads: from Chicken Wings Scarpariello-Style to Carmine’s Famous Caesar Salad
–Carmine’s Heroes: from classic Cold Italian Hero sandwiches to Italian Cheesesteak Heroes
–Pasta: from Country-style Rigatoni to Pasta Marinara
–Fish and Seafood Main Courses: from Salmon Puttanesca to Shrimp Fra Diavolo
–Meat and Poultry Main Courses: from Porterhouse Steak Contadina to Veal Parmigiana
–Side Dishes: from Spinach with Garlic and Oil to Creamy Polenta
–Carmine’s Desserts: from Chocolate Bread Pudding to the world-famous Titanic Ice Cream Sundae

Carmine’s restaurant packs them in every night in its four bustling locations, including its warm, festive Times Square flagship where over a million people from all across the country come every year to share meatballs, chicken parmigiana, linguini with clam sauce, and fried calamari. Carmine’s flavors are the tastes Americans love to cook and eat at home—fresh garlic, bubbling tomato sauce, and pasta boiled just to the perfect al dente. Try any of the recipes in Carmine’s Family-Style Cookbook and bring home that classic Italian flavor to your family.

Almost Meatless by Joy Manning

excerpt from Amazon’s review: Despite its title, almost every recipe in this book uses meat, fish or eggs. A collaboration between Manning, a former vegan, and Desmond, an unabashed meat lover, the aim is to help Americans, who they believe eat far more meat than is healthy or good for agricultural sustainability, compose meals that are both tasty and filling without having a slab of meat as the overbearing star ingredient. Instead, meat appears in smaller quantities supplemented by layers of flavor in the form of additional savory ingredients that should keep people who usually expect lots of meat from noticing the difference.

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May Pay it Forward and April Winner


hosted by Overwhelmed with Joy

This month’s book is
Southwest Slow Cooking
by Tammy Biber & Theresa Howell

Last month’s winners are:

  • East of Eden & Northern Lights ~ Cynthia from Springmont Cottage
  • Angels All Over Town & Tales of a Drama Queen ~ Kathryn from Overwhelmed with Joy
Most all of us love to read and get “new-to-us” books, right? And if you’re anything like me, you love winning things (what a rush), not to mention getting fun stuff in the mail! Pay It Forward Book Exchange, designed to encourage people to read, to share good books, to possibly get you out of your reading comfort zone, and to get fun stuff in the mail instead of just bills!

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April Pay it Forward and March Winner


hosted by Overwhelmed with Joy

Last month’s winner is Shauna! Contact via email with your snail mail and I’ll get it out in the mail.

I have a few to offer this month.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Northern Lights by Nora Roberts
Angels All Over Town by Luanne Rice
Tales of A Drama Queen by Lee Nichols

Be sure and tell me in your comment which book(s) you’re interested in so you can win the right one(s).

Most all of us love to read and get “new-to-us” books, right? And if you’re anything like me, you love winning things (what a rush), not to mention getting fun stuff in the mail! Pay It Forward Book Exchange, designed to encourage people to read, to share good books, to possibly get you out of your reading comfort zone, and to get fun stuff in the mail instead of just bills!
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March Pay it Forward and February WInner


hosted by Overwhelmed with Joy
The February winner is Janet over at Fond of Snape

This month’s book:

Your Child’s Strengths by Jennifer Fox

Most all of us love to read and get “new-to-us” books, right? And if you’re anything like me, you love winning things (what a rush), not to mention getting fun stuff in the mail! Pay It Forward Book Exchange, designed to encourage people to read, to share good books, to possibly get you out of your reading comfort zone, and to get fun stuff in the mail instead of just bills!
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The Organized Quilter aka always a Novice, a Fabric Stash & a giveaway for National Quilt Day

I was having a conversation with my favorite homemaker friend Barbara about the dread I was having over the upcoming packing of my studio. I commented that my fabric stash for quilting alone was one of the worst parts because of the weight. The past couple of years have been all about this house so I haven’t gotten as much studio work done as originally intended. She mentioned how she’d love to learn to quilt but felt that it was too complicated to take on with her busy schedule. This got me thinking that I should do a post that would take the intimidation out of of learning to quilt.
I had always felt that way myself, intimidated that is to learn to quilt. I always wanted to learn but figured it took more time and effort than I had to give. I got my start quilting by accident and out of boredom one day. I wandered into a fabric store, Bolts in the Bathtub, and started browsing. The owner and her sister befriended me almost immediately and we began a wonderful friendship. They convinced me I needed something to fill my time and that it wasn’t as hard as I was making it out to be.

Hubby’s unit had just been deployed to Yakima, Washington for training before being shipped to Iraq so I agreed to sign up for a class to fill a few evenings and get the quilt bug out of my system. I got lucky though, the bug didn’t leave my system, but it bit really hard instead and drew out the quilter blood in me. Quilting became like a medicinal leech. It made me feel whole again and well. I also got lucky that hubby stayed state side for the duration of his deployment, but it still left me with quite a bit of time to fill during his long days, weeks and TDYs. I went on to complete ten quilt tops during that eighteen months. All but one of which now live somewhere else.

My biggest tip for any beginner who may feel intimidated by the thought of learning to quilt is to start by taking a beginner class at a qualified fabric store and/or quilt guild, start small and pick an easy to do pattern for your first quilt.

The whole process wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be either. My beginner class ran about $30 plus fabric. During the duration of that class I learned and completed enough blocks of varying patterns for a small sampler quilt that I kept on my treadle sewing machine until recently and a sampler table runner. I had an awesome teacher too. If she didn’t know the answer to my question she would find out. She was also hands on and did quite a few tutorials. You were always welcome to drop in, bring your sewing machine and learn. The store became my home away from home. Ironically I have still yet to bind the table runner. The sampler now hangs in my foyer. Even with 2 dozen quilts completed I feel like a novice. There is always something new to learn about quilting which makes it a fun and rewarding hobby.

There are many internet sites out there offering free quilt patterns, but one of the easiest to use that I have found is free patterns.com .

There were a few tools to purchase such as a good rotary cutter, cutting mat, quilting ruler and quilting square. One of the most valuable tools I purchased was Harriet Hargrave’s Heirloom Machine Quilting. This book truly is a comprehensive reference guide to machine quilting. This book is full of easy to follow instruction and diagrams for doing the most complicated of tasks and doing them correctly. I keep it handy near my sewing machine and freely write notes in the margin.

Dawna asked me help out at the quilt show that next summer. I had a blast. I visited all of the vendors at least twice and talked and listened to so many experienced quilters. I learned so much in that 2 days I felt like I should have been paying for a class. One of the coolest things I learned was using a kaleidoscope for choosing colors. What you do is put all the fabrics you are thinking of choosing into a stack (bolts work really well) then step back and use this little toy as a kaleidoscope. If any one fabric stands out, remove it and start again. Keep this up until you have the fabrics you need and they make a continuous kaleidoscope pattern where no one color or fabric stands out by itself.

Over the last several years I have acquired a HUGE fabric stash, but nothing compared to Dawna’s stash. The store, Bolts in the Bathtub was aptly named because she had such a HUGE stash of fabric that she actually stored the extra bolts in the spare bathroom’s bathtub.

There are literally thousands of quilt patterns to be had out there. One of the easiest to read, follow and assemble brands of patterns that I have found is by Atkinson Design. Some of my favorites by them are Yellow Brick Road, Daisy Chain, Slide Show, Cheese and Crackers and Tile Tango. Here are some pictures of their quilts. You can click on each one to enlarge it.

Yellow Brick RoadDaisy Chain
Slide Show
Cheese & CrackersTile Tango

Now for the organized part. Some of my stash is already allocated for specific quilts as you can see from this picture. These little Sterilite organizing boxes are perfect. I write the pattern name and recipients name on each box. I may not get them made right away, but I’m ready. The only thing not in each box is the batting and occasionally the backing. I also keep all my patterns in plastic sleeves and then I keep those alphabetically in a couple of large binders. That way they are always easy to find and never misplaced.



One of the greatest things I discovered when I learned to quilt is 108 inch backing materials. For most size quilts this eliminates having to piece your backing.

While organizing the studio I ran across duplicates of 2 super easy patterns and and picture quilt book of poems. In order to be entered to win one of these just leave me a comment on this post. I’ll be giving away the book, Winter Lights ~ A Season in Poems & Quilts by Anna Grossnickle Hines, the pattern, Tree farm by Thimbleberries and the pattern Allegro by Atkinson Design. I’ll leave this giveaway open until March 21st to celebrate National quilt day, the 3rd Saturday in March.

These are some of the quilts I have either just finished or am working on.







Now just for your reading pleasure also is the Elm Creek Quilt series by Jennifer Chiaverini. These are warm and refreshing novels. I have read the entire series. The series does not have to be read in order, but I recommend it for a more pleasurable experience. I learned quite a bit just from these books about the rich history of quilting and patterns. This is an outstanding series of novels that allows us to explore human relationships on so many levels of depth.

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February Pay it Forward and January Winner


hosted by Overwhelmed with Joy
January’s winner is:

Random Number Generator

If you found this useful, consider visiting the main Violet Cottage.

Lowest Number
Highest Number

The randomly picked number is: 1
Congratulations Diana from Forgetfulone

For February I have another book for getting cozy with your favorite blanket and warm cup of mocha on a long winter’s nights.

Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman

Most all of us love to read and get “new-to-us” books, right? And if you’re anything like me, you love winning things (what a rush), not to mention getting fun stuff in the mail! Pay It Forward Book Exchange, designed to encourage people to read, to share good books, to possibly get you out of your reading comfort zone, and to get fun stuff in the mail instead of just bills!
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January Pay it Forward and December winner


hosted by Overwhelmed with Joy

December winner is Martha

obverse

Timestamp: 2008-12-31 00:13:18 UTC

I have a long winter’s dream selection of get cozy with your favorite blanket and warm cup of mocha for those long winter’s nights set of books.
  1. The Rapids by Carla Neggers
  2. Face the Fire by Nora Roberts
  3. Circle of Grace by Penelope Stokes

Most all of us love to read and get “new-to-us” books, right? And if you’re anything like me, you love winning things (what a rush), not to mention getting fun stuff in the mail! Pay It Forward Book Exchange, designed to encourage people to read, to share good books, to possibly get you out of your reading comfort zone, and to get fun stuff in the mail instead of just bills!

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December Pay it Forward & November Winner


hosted by Overwhelmed with Joy

The November winner is Diana over at Forgetfulone! I was surprised we only had 2 entries for November! But here is another opportunity for another set of 3 for those cold winter nights.

I have another long winter’s dream selection of get cozy with your favorite blanket and warm cup of mocha for those long winter’s nights set of books.
  1. Going Home by Nora Roberts
  2. Rainbows by Katherine Stone
  3. The Marriage Game by Fern Michaels

Most all of us love to read and get “new-to-us” books, right? And if you’re anything like me, you love winning things (what a rush), not to mention getting fun stuff in the mail! Pay It Forward Book Exchange, designed to encourage people to read, to share good books, to possibly get you out of your reading comfort zone, and to get fun stuff in the mail instead of just bills!
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