KARA: "Your friend described you as “the best cook in town”! I’d love for you to share some of your secrets with us. What is your favorite thing to cook? Do you find it hard to decide what to make for dinner? Could you maybe share a few of your favorite recipes with us?"
MARIE: "I love to cook! I always have and am constantly reading recipes to see if they will taste good. I can tell if I will like it just by reading the recipe. I think that's a talent I inherited from my dad who was also a great cook. Both of my parents were wonderful cooks and both did the cooking in our home. My greatest cooking challenge has always been planning. I'm not a planning person so I had to do the monthly menu to help me. Otherwise, when it was close to dinner time, I'd be hunting something to make for dinner. Sometimes, I'd have a brainstorm and start planning well in advance, but those were rare times. Mostly I relied on last minute preparations and something I knew would be a stable meal. I've always had my "dependable" menus that I knew the family loved and would eat, like Tacos, Enchiladas, Spaghetti, Chicken-Fried Steak, Chili, etc. When raising a large family, those kinds of options are necessary to survive family needs and getting dinner on the table. Some of our family favorites have been my Broccoli-Chicken Crepes, Hamburger Pie, Salisbury Steak, Chicken-Fried Steak, Homemade Pizza, Lasagna, Homemade Macaroni and Cheese w/fresh minced Onions, Homemade "Gophers" (you have to live on the farm to understand that one!), Priazzo, Funnel Cakes, Sourdough English Muffins, Brownies, many cheesecakes, and lots of others. If anyone wants recipes, I have them compiled on a computer program and I'd be happy to email any recipe at any time. I do that for my kids quite often when they misplace my cookbook. We have many holiday favorites that are a tradition in our family: Angel Food Donuts, Rice-in-Cream with Raspberry Sauce, Danish Pastries, Christmas Wreath Cookies, Valentine Cookie-Cakes, Chocolate covered Fruit and Nut Easter Eggs, and Mother's Day Cake."
KARA: "You used to sew most of your families’ things. Do you still sew like that? Did you sew because of need or because it was a pleasure? About quilting – are you one of the hand stitchers or do you tie quilts? What was your favorite thing you’ve ever made by hand?"
MARIE: "I love to sew! I still sew for myself and my grandchildren till they get too old to appreciate it or I can't sew what they need. I've loved sewing for them as infants, toddlers and growing up, just as I did for their parents. I always felt that my sewing clothing was my financial contribution to our family. I could buy fabric cheaply then or pick up remnants at a cheap price for some future item to wear. I always had a large stash of fabric to choose from at a moment's notice so I could whip out a shirt, pants, dress, etc. when needed. It was also a creative outlet for me. Just sewing has never been enough unless dictated by time. I always had to add my own ideas or personal whim to a pattern to make it my creation. I was the designer and creator. I think it gave me a power and control I needed of my ability and talents. I needed that to keep my sanity much of the time too! So much of my sewing was out of need, but I also derived great pleasure in sewing because I just loved doing it. If I felt creative, I started thinking, then cutting, and then I sewed. I've never had an unhappy customer! I even sewed many of my husband's shirts. His body is long so he appreciated having a shirt he could tuck in and keep tucked in!
When my sister and I got married, Mom had us make a quilt. I'm not sure why, but I never questioned it. My sister is 5 years older than me and I remembered her working on her Pineapple Quilt. I chose to make the Sunbonnet and Umbrella Girl Quilt. It took me a year to hand-applique the 12 blocks for a quilt. I asked my mother-in-law to find out how much her ward Relief Society would charge to quilt it for me, because they used to do that when I was first married. As a birthday gift, she had the neighbors come over and quilt it for me free. I was so surprised and thrilled to receive that wonderful gift. That was 40 years ago, I wore it out on my bed and washing it. I didn't know about not washing quilts in washers back then. I've learned a lot about quilts in the past 15 years!
Quilting has come as a result of need as we raised our family. My sister gave me all her pink fabric when my first daughter was born because she had all boys. My grandmother was an avid quilter and I learned from her about "Hit & Miss" patchwork quilts. I used all that pink fabric to make a patchwork quilt top. A friend called me one day to say she and her mom were coming over to tie my quilt. It was done in 2 hours. I turned the backing up and over the edges to bind it and sewed the binding on my sewing machine. It went on our bed that night. That was my beginning. Because quilts were needed, we tied all of our quilts in the beginning. We had to have a quilt right away, I took out some fabric, we tied it together and bound it by nighttime for one of the twin beds.
When I was pregnant with our last daughter, my girls got the Chicken Pox. While we waited for the illness to pass and the baby to be born, we tied a cute baby quilt for a boy or girl. It taught the girls how and gave them something to do.
About 15 years ago, Dian came to my house and said she needed to make a birthday quilt for to her husband's aunt to take with them to New York. Our whole family got involved in hand quilting that quilt. It was beautiful. I still can't believe we finished it in 3 long days and into the nights, but we did. I looked at the book she had on quilting and saw a quilt pattern called the Mormorn Quilt. It called my name and I said, "I can't die without making that quilt!" That became a goal and I completed it a couple years after our youngest daughter married. I quilted on it for one whole summer, but my oldest son and a few other family members would pop in and help me on occasion. It was absolutely gorgeous and nearly caused a divorce when I gave it to her. I've since cutout and have 2 more quilt tops of the same pattern ready to sew together. That has made my husband happy so he can have his quilt back! I love to make quilts and have done several now. I love putting the colors together and sometimes I see a quilt I just have to make. Otherwise, my quilts are just something I love to do. I try to make a block a week or month to get the quilt top done (a suggestion from my oldest daughter), and that moves the project along.
When our oldest grandchildren graduate, I make them a flannel patchwork quilt. It will be the last they will get from me until they get married.
My favorite things I've made by hand are counted cross stitch pictures for my family members. We all cross stitch and love it, though it's taken a backseat in recent years."
(you can see some of Marie's sewing creations on the slideshow on the blog)
Some more of Marie's favorites:
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson
"Inside the U. S. we will travel to Washington, D.C. I've always wanted to go when the leaves were turning in the autumn, but that can't happen this year because of my chemotherapy and radiation needs so we'll probably wait until the cherry blossom festival and go. We'll go when the new baby is blessed because that's the most important thing. We'll also go to Armenia when Ashleigh is baptized in 2011. That's been a goal of ours since we had grandchildren and so far we haven't missed any baptisms, except Shirley's family. That was an oversight and we didn't know when all of them were either. I feel badly about that, but they had BIll's and her immediate family there and that's probably more important than we are."
Music by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Music by Kenny Rogers
Date Night Ideas:
"When our children were growing up, we always tried to break away for a weekend in Salt Lake City alone. We got a babysitter for the weekend and spent Friday night through Sunday just being together and enjoying each other. It refreshed our love and closeness and helped me make it through another year! Once or twice we took our older 2 or 3 kids with us and that was fun to share that weekend with them before there were more in our familly, but as the children were born, we realized how important it is for us to have some time alone together without the kids for a few days. I highly recommend this annual vacation for all couples to strengthen their marriages."
Marie sent me so many pictures that I just had to make a slideshow! I hope you enjoy it. Come back tomorrow, when I ask Marie about the dairy farm they used to own, and about the importance of listening to others.