Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Friday, November 30, 2012

My November Schnibble

Hi Everyone,

It took almost until the last minute, but I finally got my entry into Another Year of Schnibbles for this month complete.  Sinta and Sherri are are wonderful hostesses each month for the parade.  They do so much work!  They feature the parade on their blogs each month on the first.  I'm telling you, it's better than payday!  (hmm, maybe I should name one of my monthly projects that!)

This month's pattern was actually not a Schnibble, but one project from Carrie Nelson's new pattern line, Little Bits.  Drop is the name of this pattern.  I decided to use Christmas fabric this time, and I'm so glad.  If I haven't been working on it up in my quilt room this week, I've been getting out the decorations, so I had "seasonal continuity."  (I think it would really bug me if I was Christmas decorating and making a Valentine or Easter quilt.)  The fabric is Christmas Spirit by Holly Taylor.

I made the larger version with sashing between the blocks.  The pattern quilt was square with 25 blocks, but I opted to make mine rectangular as a table mat and so used 24 blocks in a 4x6 layout.    SInce I had an extra block, I used one more set of triangles to enloare the "square in a square" block and bordered it.  I layered and quilted a bit in the ditch and then made it into a pillow.

Alas, I went to stuff it and had no fiberfill!  Who runs out of that?  It's like running out of white thread or something.  So for now, it is almost done. 
When it came to binding the quilt, it is fairly small, so I cut 2 "length of width" strips from my binding fabric.  I cut the ends at a 45 degree angle to distribute the bulk of the seam.  I sewed the two strips together, pressed it in half and applied it.  When I was done, I had this left over.

That's it!  Maybe an inch of binding.  It must be some sort of record!  When I make binding, I always cut lots because I guess I think the world will end or something if I run out while applying it to the quilt!  Anyway, I didn't even measure or guesstimate or anything. 
Have a great day, everyone!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Christmas Mess

Hi Everyone,

Well, I got busy making one heck of a mess at my house yesterday!  There is now Christmas stuff spread out all over.  The decorating process has begun!  The purging continues!  I am at the point where I'm highly motivated because I can't stand the mess much longer.  We still don't have any big trees up yet, but that is okay.  The tree ornaments haven't come downstairs yet.  I've been working on getting out the other stuff--the santas, snowmen, nutcrackers, stockings, garland, etc.  When I empty a bin of decorations, I fill it back up with the regular stuff that sits around all year long.  Hopefully by next week I can share some pictures.

I worked on my Schnibble yesterday, as well.  It is almost complete.  The blocks are done and I've started working on getting it in one piece so I can do borders.  I'm liking it so far.

I know that I have mentioned him before, but today I am going to share this with you all again.  Please pray for this young man and his family and for the officials (whomever they are) that have the power to negotiate to get him back.  Yesterday it was 3 years, 4 months, 3 weeks, and 4 days ago that he was taken. 
The Army family is a small one.  Back in 2007 I worked at a Rec Center for soldiers when we lived in Alaska.  Bowe was a customer.  I knew him then.  I also shared here about how my father was shot down over North Vietnam and we believed he was a prisoner for several years.  He is actually Missing in Action, so this is a pain that our family has shared and endured.   I hope and pray that there is a happy outcome!
Have a great day everyone! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Monday

Hi Everyone!

Boy was yesterday a fun blogging day!  Linking up at Bonnie Hunter's with my Easy Street post resulted in many new friends and a few new followers.  Thank you all for the wonderful comments, too.  I think quilters are the nicest/most helpful people out there!

Since I was gone all last week, I was so relieved to look at my calendar for this week and see NOTHING written on it!  Hopefully I can use some of these days to get some things done, like getting out the Christmas decorations, working on some quilt projects (I need to get cracking on the Schnibble for the month), and maybe start the holiday baking.  I'm having family coming here for Christmas, so I'm more motivated than ever.  Speaking of Christmas decorations....

Hello, my name is JoAnne, and I have a problem.  Every year I think I'm going to be responsible.  I can resist temptation!  I will hold fast to my goals!  I don't have to succumb to it!  And then I get the whiff of that cloying cinnamon scent.  I glance over and there is the blur of red and green.  I go closer, just for a glimpse, and suddenly "Well, look at that!  Joann fabrics has a Joann nutcracker!  My name is JoAnne (my name is spelled correctly, by the way--they get it wrong) and I collect nutcrackers,"  is my immediate thought, but I quickly add "I need another nutcracker like I need a hole in the head!"  Luckily, I don't need a hole in the head because that phrase has been repeated often. 

I mean, how much is too much?

I hauled these out of the attic last night.  But wait!  There's more.  Oh, the Christmas tree bag there on the left?  It is full of garland.

I had to find other space.  Here are three more containers.
These photos don't show the 6 trees that I seem to have.  Nor does it show all the outdoor decorations (and there are plenty of them.)  Or the two vintage sleds...
As you may remember (unless you are new to my blog) I just moved this summer from living for three years in Hawaii.  We didn't take many holiday decorations with us, so lots of this I'm seeing for the first time in 4 years.  I found a tree I don't remember ever buying or using.  I also found a wreath, still in the bag, (with tags on) that I must have bought on clearance after Christmas sometime, but I don't remember it! 
So yeah, I pretty much need more like I need a hole in the head!  I think I've been pretty good.  I did need to buy an ornament for an ornament exchange.  So far I have three possibilites.  Oh, and we got this year's White House ornament, because we collect those.  And the Swarovski snowflake, we (okay, "I") collect those, too.  But then I had a major slip.  I started looking at the awesome garland that seems to be out this year.  I looked and thought and imagined and looked some more and then I bought--two lengths and a matching swag to use in the middle.  Where?  Front door? Dining room?  We will see, but amazingly, the unknown wreath I unearthed looks like it matches it!
I do have too much though, and lots of stuff I don't use anymore or no longer like, so I'm going to do a major purge.  Already I came across 3 (three!) tablecloths that don't fit any tables I own!  I have no idea why I got them.  I also suspect that we have numerous strands of lights from when we did real trees.  (I briefly considered getting a real three this year, but luckily my husband reminded me that we don't have a stand any longer and that I would have to put all those lights on it.  And water it.  And clean up the needles.  I have such a thoughtful husband!)
So my goal for today is to work on my Schnibble and go through and purge decorations.  Tonight maybe my sweet husband will get out some of the trees so I can start decorating them, but until then, I have plenty to do!
I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Easy Street Part 1

Hi Everyone!

I should have called this post "Easy Street Part 1 With Emphasis on the Street," as we spent this past week traveling.  We got home late Saturday night, so today (Sunday) besides unpacking, doing laundry, buying groceries, organizing the pantry (because when I tried to put the groceries away, I couldn't take the disorder any longer,) and sleeping, I needed to tackle Part 1 of Easy Street so I could blog about it and be able to share on Monday (tomorrow.)

I am not doing the same color scheme as Bonnie.  I don't have very many of those colors in my stash, so I'm falling back on my usual color scheme.  I did the same for Roll Roll Cotton Bole, and it came out great, so I think this one will, too.  Oh, by the way, Easy Street is the new mystery which Bonnie Hunter does every year around this time.  I did RRCB two years ago, though I had to start late, and I didn't do Orca Bay last year.  When I lived in Hawaii, I always had lots of company this time of year, so it was difficult to do. 

So the first step was to use the constant fabric (Bonnie-Grey, me-gold) and your backgrounds (Bonnie-white and black, me-cream on cream) to make four patches from 2" strips.  192 four-patches.  Luckily, this was a pretty easy step, and I was able to get them done quickly.

                                      Here are the fabrics that I am using for this step.

First step:  Make strip sets and subcut into 2" sections

Toss the sections (onesies) into a basket

Bonnie said that when making the 4-patch blocks lead with the dark on top so that all the blocks will be the same.

Press with the "pinwheel" fanned center
How do you do your random, many-unit sewing?  I have my own quirks, which I thought I would share with you.  First I have all the units in a basket or other container (if there are a lot of units in a block, like a 25 patch block, I will cut off the bottom section of a paper bag and use it--numbered to keep me straight)  In this case, the units are the same and can all go in one basket.

I keep the basket right next to the machine.

Next I reach into the basket with both hands and grab a handful and put each pile on my lap, so that there are two piles.  I grab one unit from each pile, position them correctly, and chain it through the machine.

My goal is to have the two piles work out exactly.  Sometimes it does!  If it doesn't, my second desire is to at least have an even amount, so that I can use up all the units without getting an additional one out of the basket.  (See, quirky!  But wait, there's more!)

Early on, I like to set a few units off to the side.  None of them are identical.  This way if I get to the end and am short some units, I can make more with only one additional strip set and not have both units the same.  That is the goal, by the way.  I want both the background squares in each 4-patch to be different.
The other thing that I do while doing large amounts of units is that I like to break it up.  I won't sew all 192 and then press them all, I like to work in batches of about 50.  I say "about" because I don't count.  That is another "game" I play to keep the boring, repetitive sewing more "interesting."  I don't count, but in this case my goal was 50 units.  I sew until I think I have 50 and then I go press.  It is like the opposite of the show "The Price is Right" where the "winner" is the person who guesses closest to the actual price without going over.  My target is to get as close to 50 without being under.  The first time I did a batch, I stopped at 61.  The second time it was 55.  That was the best batch since it was closer to 50, but still over.  See, I told you I have quirks!  But hey, it amuses me and helps to power through the repetition!

In the end, I have 192 4-patches.  I'm ready for the next step!


PS:  I ran into the Photo Issue where Blogger says your storage is over your limit.  Luckily I found out that if you use Google+, that fixes it.  The "fix" is that you have to upload your photos into an album in Google+ and then you can add them to your blog entry from there.  What a clunky pain!  Now I have to do another step to write a blog!  Anyone have any other free solutions?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi All,

I'm still traveling for the holiday.  No, I haven't gotten to any quilt shops.  Yet.   (Maybe later?!)  But I have been having fun seeing my daughter (!) and my parents. 

I thought I would leave you with this little Thanksgiving reminder:

Happy Thanksgiving if you are in the US, and have a great day if you are elsewhere!  I am so thankful for all of my blogging friends!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ice Skating

My husband and I got to Indianapolis in plenty of time to see Alex perform in her competition today (Sunday.)  Saturday (we missed) was the compulsories and today was the program.  If you have a spare minute and a half or so, please enjoy the video I took. (If it posts)  The costume I made really sparkles and shines!  The only thing that bugs me is that it is a little long in front, but otherwise, it looks--and performs--well.

We are on vacation until after Thanksgiving!  As another reminder that we aren't in Hawaii anymore, this morning we had to scrape the windshield for the first time in nearly 4 years!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Hi Everyone!

I have some thoughts and other things to catch you all up with. 

First, the skating costume arrived, fit like a glove, and was loved by the 7 year old.  Also, she reports that it is very comfy.  (Comfort was waaay off my radar, so that is a bonus.)  I'm excited because we are probably going to be able to see her perform!  We leave Saturday to travel 6 states over to visit our daughter, my parents, and sister's families.  We will be all eating turkey together on the big day.  I'm pretty excited!  I will post pictures of the skater.

Second, I'm trying to decide if I'm going to do Bonnie Hunter's mystery that starts later this month.  If so, I'm not using her colors, but my own.  I'm standing by with the fabrics.  In a related note, our speaker at quilt guild last week said that her Lowes was all out of the paint sample cards that Bonnie recommended!  I did Roll, Roll Cotton Bole, but I didn't do Orca Bay.  Are any of you planning to do the new one?

Third, I went to Michaels craft store today.  It was all Kim's fault.  Do you read Kim's Big Quilting Adventure?  She found these awesome red and white polkadot poinsettias there and I decided I needed some.  Let me just say right now that I need Christmas decorations like I need a hole in my head, but they are so cute!  (click on the link to see a picture.)  She found bushes of them but all I could find at my store were large, single blooms on tall stems, so I was able to resist.  Then I was looking at garlands, and even got a cart, but when I was filling it, I had a moment of clarity and put everything back!  Whew!  It was close!

Four, our fall color is absolutely splendid!  I can't resist sharing a photo that I took on Monday.

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A First

Hi All,

I can't believe it, but I finally made my first mug rug!

Our guild is having a mug rug exchange for the December meeting.  I went searching for more Schnibbles leftovers and found a bag with these fabrics. 

The fabric is Luna Notte
I've had the Easy Dresden ruler for a while now and have wanted to play with it, so this seemed the perfect opportunity to make something.  I cut the "blades" from 3.5" strips.  I think the whole rug is around 8" square.
I first used a coordinating fabric in black for the center, thinking to also use it for the binding.  It was awful!  Then I found this charm square with the flowers near the center, so that I was able to cut the circle with the flowers centered.  I really like how it came out.
Everyone who participates in the exchange will get a number.  They will get to go to the displays of mug rugs in order and choose their favorite.  I can't wait to see all of them and I'll really try to remember to take my camera.
Have a great day!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Millstone Quilts

Hello Everyone!

I have not been aggressively searching out the local quilt shops.  I think it is because there weren't too many on Oahu and so I got out of the habit of visiting brick and mortar shops and into the habit of online shopping.  I have made it to a few.  On Tuesday, at my bee, some of the ladies were talking about the "big fat quarter sale" at one of the shops.  I hadn't heard anything about it or even that the shop existed.  Two of my friends very nicely invited me along and so I went.

I guess I was thinking that the fat quarter sale would consist of the clearancing out of the tired, picked-over fat quarters that the shop had left over.  I was game to go along though, to see the shop.  I was informed that it is located inside an old mill, and out in the country along a beautiful drive.  On the way while visiting and admiring the countryside, I was thinking that I really only needed a little bit of green and some purple for my stash.  Of course, I always collect red, blue, and creams, but I figured I probably didn't need any more...

The day was absolutely gorgeous! We arrived a little after the opening time of 10am, but there were already a number of cars in the parking area.

This is the shop, isn't it cute?   The mill dates from before the Civil War!  There is now only a replica wheel, but I guess the original grinding mill is still in the basement.

You can see a bit of the stream that once turned the wheel down behind the wishing well.
The porch was all decked out with quilts!
When we got inside, the first thing that I saw was a sign that said, "free ruler if you purchase 100 fat quarters."  I got a chuckle out of that, thinking that it was pretty unlikely...  Oh, was I wrong!  No, I didn't get a ruler, but I did have fun!  The shop has been cutting fat quarters for weeks, preparing for the sale.  They are normally $3 each, but for the sale they were $1.50.  The first room was full of reproductions:  Jo Morton, Barbara Brackman, you name it!  The samples were awesome, too.  I didn't take any photos inside because I was too busy shopping and looking.  I started loading up and then went upstairs.  More treasures awaited!  Lots of Moda:  French General, Minnick and Simpson, Primitive Gatherings, Kansas Troubles, etc.  By now I gratefully accepted a bag that the staff was handing out!  There were two different levels of lofts, making for three stories total.  Ladies were everywhere, but everyone was sweet and polite.  I didn't miss out on anything I wanted, ha ha.  Again, there were so many nice samples and quilts everywhere.  The one disadvantage that I encountered, as did others, was that the light was pretty poor inside.  Sometimes it was difficult to see the color of the fabrics.  One of the ladies I rode along with had brought her flashlight.  I will have to remember this trick next time I go. (and there will be a next time!)
By the way, I discovered that the shop was featured in last year's Autum Issue of Quilt Sampler.
After an hour or less, I was ready to pay. 
 I wanted some greens, and I found plenty.
I also found some nice blues.

Can you see the words on the top one?  Respect, Liberty,--all sorts of patriotic words.  I love it!

Lots of creams/backgrounds.  You cannot have too many of these!
Reds and browns.  Yummy!
 I also found some purples.  And double-pinks.  And cheddar.
I took these photos on my back deck.  I couldn't help getting some of the pretty fall colors in the shots.  I think this weekend is probably the peak of our color.  It is so great to drive around and see all the gorgeous trees!
Have a great day!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

What's Been Keeping Me Busy

I love quilting!  Long before I quilted, I sewed clothes.  When my daughter was little, I don't know how many miles of thread I used to gather up the ruffles of dresses and pinafores for her.  I also had made my formals for my high school proms.  The one thing I didn't make were pants.  I tried once, but it was a disaster.  So, I may be a bit rusty, but I do know how to make most clothing. 

A  couple of weeks ago, I got a text from my sister (of the Terrain quilt fame.)  She asked if I had time to make my neice (Alex of Alex's quilt and also the recipient of my Bounce quilt) a figure skating performance costume.  Alex is a figure skater and has been performing for 3-4 years now.  (She is 7)  I made one of her first costumes a couple years ago, so I was amenable.  I asked when she needed it, and my sister said November 17!  Yikes!  I said I would go scouting for fabric and see what I could find and let her know.

I went to the fabric shop on a Saturday and scoured.  The pattern I had used before was a Butterick pattern, but I needed a larger size.  I went to get one, but it is no longer available!  Grrr.   Next I looked for fabric, and surprisingly, there was a reasonable selection of dance/swimsuit lycra, which is needed for the costume.  The body suit must stretch, but the skirt can be made of stretch or not, depending on the desired effect.  Alex was requesting navy blue or something that isn't "pink and purple which are for babies."  She is getting sophisticated with her color choices!  I found some gorgeous teal fabric and texted a photo to my sister.  "Alex's last costume was turquoise, could I find something else?"  Finally I found something with a few shades of blue and silver.  It was approved.  I got it and went home to mull over patterns.  There are some available on the internet, but time was a major factor.  Finally I checked the pattern books and found a leotard pattern in her size and thought maybe I could marry the two patterns together, using the leotard pattern for sizes and the skating costume for the design.

It seemed like it would work okay, so I bravely cut out the pattern(s) from the fabrics.  Then last Saturday, I began to sew.  I changed my needle to a ball point since I was using a knit.  The lycra is heavy, so I used my largest needle, an 80.  I sewed.  Nothing happened.  The needle fabric combination was not working and no stitches would form.  Remember when we got the informative lecture at guild?  I was fairly sure I needed a larger needle, so I went to my local Bernina dealer.  I checked out the needles and found a ballpoint size 90 and a stretch size 90.  They didn't have any larger sized needles for knit/stretch.  I asked, and the ladies said the stretch was just what I needed!

I got home, put the new needle in, and....    nothing happened.  It was like I suspected, it needed a larger size.  At that point, I started trying all the needles I had.  A regular 100 worked, so I used it.  I didn't see any snagging of the fabric on a swatch, so that was the needle I used.  Is there anything worse than sewing on lycra?  Maybe sewing on metallic?  Well, I stupidly chose a lycra laminated with metallic.  Ugh.  It went okay until I had to put in the zipper.  Yes, a zipper sewn into metallic-laminated lycra.  I had to switch to a 110 needle.  It wasn't pretty and I won't share some of the language I used!

Here it is under construction.  Yes, the neck edge and sleeve cuffs are trimmed with stretch sequins!  What was I thinking?!

Once I got to the point where I needed to work on the skirt,  I hemmed it and then trimmed it with sequins, too.  The fabric is a "chiffon" type and was not fun to hem!  I then began to pin it to the bodysuit and discovered that it was too small.  I could cut some off the top to make it fit, but then the skirt would be too short.  Ugh! Luckily I had plenty of fabric, so I cut out another skirt, longer this time.  I decided to cut two of them and instead of hemming, I would sew them right sides together and turn it right sides out, so I would have a lined skirt (which was good because it was sheer) and I didn't have to hem it.  I trimmed it with more sequins and then I realized that maybe the short one could go over the long one for a two-tiered skirt.  I texted a photo, and my sister liked it.

It is important to remember than my neice is 600 miles away, and not able to try anything on!

Here is the skirt pinned to my design wall.  Okay, so going between the silver lycra, attaching sequins, and hemming the blue chiffon, and attaching sequins, etc. I was constantly changing the thread, bobbin, and needle.  I used blue thread, white thread, clear thread, and silver metallic thread, and different bobbins, as well.  I used 3-4 different needles at different times as well.  Here is the table next to my machine.
What a mess!  Yesterday was the day to attach the skirt to the bodysuit.  I basted the two tiers of the skirt together and trimmed down the top edge so it would fit.  I took it to my bee and pinned it on and was planning to hand baste it, but it just fit, and I needed it to be larger so that I could stretch the bodysuit while sewing on the skirt, otherwise, the stitching would break when the suit was stretched to put on.  So, I took it back home, cut the opening larger still, and finally it fit, so I hand-basted and then used the machine.  Finally it was in one piece!  All I had to do was to make the matching scrunchie and, oh yes, attach the jewels. 

I think if you've been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that I'm a very symmetrical-type person.  I like things orderly and even.  Regimented, in fact.  That is my comfort zone.  Well, this costume needed something assymetrical.  Flowing.  Lyrical.  So out of my comfort zone!  I laid everything out, sorted the jewels by size (so at least something was "regimented,") put on some music, and just started playing around with arrangements.  At first it wasn't easy, but eventually I was satisfied with the design.

Next I had to be brave and start gluing them on!  I was so afraid that I would make a mistake and ruin the whole thing, but I was really careful and got it done.  I'm pleased with the result!

Tomorrow when I'm sure that the jewels are dry, I'll send it off and then please join me in crossing my fingers that it fits!  If it does, I will try to remember to share a picture of her wearing it.
Now maybe I can get back to quilting.  I really want to finish my chocolate cherry quilt from the class I took, make more stars for our bed quilt, start this month's Schnibble, and oh yeah!  Bounce and Hubble arrived back from the quilter!  I can begin binding them!
Thanks for reading about my big project.  It was very challenging, but again, if you have been following my blog for a while, you may remember that I can get stubborn about not letting a project best me!

Monday, November 5, 2012

5 Seconds of Quilt Fame

They say that everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame.  Well, today I think I have about 5 seconds of quilting fame.  This is the link for Kate Spain's current newsletter that came out today.  A week or two ago, I got an email from her husband, Pete, asking me permission to include a photo in the newsletter.  Well, the photo didn't fit, but if you scroll down to the "Flickr Stars" section, at the end you will see a link to my photo.  You will know it is me, because it says patrioticquilter.  Anyway, it is the photo of my Terrain Quilt that I made my sister and bother in law for their wedding.  (You may have seen it before.)  It was all really exciting to email back and forth and to have a link in their newsletter!


The Big Decision

I'm back after a sort of "blah" week.  I don't know what my problem was, but I wasn't in the mood to do very much.  I did do some things, though.  I made 9 9" blocks to exchange with my bee members at Christmas, and I've been working away on my blue and white star blocks for our king-sized bed quilt.  We could really use that quilt--it is getting cold here.  The other big project on my plate, that I was procrastinating a bit, I will share on Wednesday.

The big focus today is on the big decision for tomorrow.  Yes, I need to decided what food I am taking to the polls tomorrow!  Do you remember that I am working there all day?  We learned at training that the food can be a bit of a big deal, as well.  The President of the Board of Elections said that as they are travelling around to all the precincts to check on everyone, they will also be sampling the food.  Wow!  The desire for good food plus the whiff of competition gets me in overdrive.  But did you think I was going to talk about the voting?  Since I'm working in a different precinct, I voted absentee a couple weeks ago.  Do you want to know my decision?  After much deliberation and research, and careful consideration, I decided on pumpkin apple streusel mufffins, broccoli soup, and a spicy/sweet snack mix!  No--I have been careful to not discuss politics on this blog and I'm not about to start now!  I know that several bloggers that I follow have made mention of issues, etc. but I find it a bit off-putting--just because I am longing for a "safe place" where all of that can be avoided. 

I thought I would share the recipe for the snack mix I am going to take.  I made it last night, and I love making it in the fall when the fall M&Ms are available, because they match the rest of it so well.

Trust a quilter to like to make color coordinating food!

This is sort of like a caramel corn with other goodies, but the caramel has a bit of heat to it that makes for a more complex and interesting taste.

Fritos Snackmix

4 cups tortilla chips, broken into bite sized pieces, or Fritos.  I use some of both for the different textures.

3 cups Crispex cereal, or Rice and/or Corn Chex

1 bag microwave popcorn, popped (8-9 cups)  I pop my own corn so to avoid all the salt and that taste that all microwave popcorn has

1  can nuts.  I usually use the good kind with no peanuts.  I used none this time because there is a nut allergy among the rest of the poll workers

Mix all of that together in a large container.  I do everything in a large roaster so I can also do the baking in the same container.

In a small saucepan combine:
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 T chili powder
1/8 t ground cinnamon
1/8-1/4 t ground red pepper, optional.  (I don't use this)

Bring to a boil and then pour over the dry ingredients.  Stir and toss to coat.  Once it is all mixed, Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until it is a bit darker in color.  Remove from the pan and pour out onto waxed paper to cool.  I like to separate it so that it doesn't clump up.  Add M&Ms if desired (I do--I use a large bag for each batch) and then store in an airtight container up to two weeks.  This makes for a good snack mix that is "sweet with a bit of heat."  It is fairly "dry" and not sticky, too.

I will be making the rest of the food today.  It will be a long, early day tomorrow.  I report at 4:45 AM!   I also am going to reread the training manual today so that I don't have to slow down the crowds tomorrow by not knowing what to do!

Have a great day and I'll "see" you again on Wednesday!