Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Week 28 Moda BlockHeads Broken Dishes by Fig Tree

Happy Wednesday! This Moda BlockHeads3 Week 28. Is this the halfway point??  Yes, it is. Today's block is Broken Dishes by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Designs. This is one of my most favorite blocks.  I think you will enjoy it.

I've got a few stories to tell. Words. Images. Memories. Broken Dishes and tears.
When Rachel was about 2 years old she picked up the dish in the first photo that was on my mother's coffee table and slammed it down on the table like it was one of her stuffed animals. wham, crack, then mother's tears. It is a super old flow blue bowl. Beautiful. Broken. Why Rachel did it, no reason, not having a tantrum or anything. It was just there, within her reach.  I think it was the only time mom ever got upset with her. So, Daddy promised to fix it...but the glue only held one piece in place. Mom put it and the pieces away in the drawer of the hutch in her kitchen.  Many years later when their house burned it found the bowl and the pieces carefully wrapped in pink Kleenex, in that drawer.  I brought it home and put it in my kitchen junk drawer, until today. 
Broken Dishes and memories.

The 6" version....

The 12" version...

to go to Joanna's blog for the pattern.

Thank you Joanna, I do love this block!!!

Be sure to check on everyone else to see what they have made. Links below.

The pile o'blocks...

If you saw my Instagram post yesterday, you saw the photo (shown below) for Fruitcake, my quilt for the new Moda All Star book, Cakewalk, which will be coming in September.
 What do you think of, when you hear the word fruitcake, 
the colorful and much maligned traditional Christmas dessert?
Love it or hate it, there doesn't seem to be a middle ground.

 a couple of fruitcake tales...

 I may be the only one in my family that would not eat fruitcake. Making it was a have to do, have to have it situation come hell or high water every Christmas.  I enjoyed going to Safeway with mom and my aunt (mom never drove a car) to purchase the candied fruit...what a gorgeous display of red and green cherries, pineapple, citron, raisins, nuts. I remember trying a cherry once mom got the ingredients together on the kitchen table. Oh my. Can you see the look on my face? even now, I'm cringing. 
Mom taught me to use a knife at a really young age to chop the pecans, not too fine, big enough but not too big that it would prevent making a pretty slice once baked.  Chopping nuts had rules. Several thicknesses of  newspaper placed on the table with one big sheet of wax paper, folded in half. Once in place, mom poured the pecans in front of me onto the paper and handed me the butcher knife. She only showed me once, that I remember, how to hold the knife and chop. (No matter what we made, chopping pecans was my job from then on) I still LOVE to chop pecans and to this day my favorite knife is still a butcher knife. I did the nut chopping while she did the fruit chopping. So pretty. Together we made the batter. I stirred, The spices smelled heavenly and the batter tasted SO good. Yummy. Finger licking, bowl scraping, goodness. and, YES, I survived raw eggs in the batter. That was our routine for all of my school years, right after Thanksgiving...had to make it, Daddy's favorite, and it was better if made ahead...r i g h t.
It WAS beautiful, sliced and fanned around on the cake plate.  Memories. Eventually it was too much trouble and mom stopped making it and I was making my own traditions. Every Christmas someone wished somebody had made it, mostly Daddy.


Can you stand one more story??? I'll make it quick...
Ok, so you already know how much my family liked fruitcake, but my dad's mother made a different kind called Japanese fruitcake.  It was truly a have to have, come hell or high water, and for this story, regardless of tired daugher in law and new granddaughter, tradition for her.  Mama Reed was quite a character, she had the green thumb that gave me the angel wing begonia when I married. All her cakes had to be multi layered, 5-7 layers, or they weren't fit to eat. I can hear her now. LOL She never followed a recipe. I never saw a cookbook in her home. She either made this up, or got it from the Dallas Times Herald recipe page, I don't know. But what I do know, as told by my mother, is that the year I was born, Mama and Papa spent Christmas Eve at our house. I was not quite a month old.   Mama walked in the door, greeted mother with the words, 'come on Florency, we've got to make the Japanese Fruitcake.' 
To hear Mother tell that story, she would have sooner have died than to have to make that cake, and Christmas dinner with me only a few weeks old. This cake had  a LOT of raisins and pecans and I don't know what else, but Mother said she and Mama made the required layers and 7 minute icing for the filling and the outside of the cake.
They iced it on a cake plate, or maybe on the cake stand I inherited. My grandmother was quite pleased. Mother was sick and tired and I was crying.
Christmas Day, the once pretty cake, cracked from the center and pulled apart...I don't know if they got one pretty slice. Papa had cake before dinner. Daddy said the cake was delicious, looked like it always did, because it always fell apart. But, Mother said, in one of her totally disgusted tones of voice, it was the biggest mess, she had ever seen. 

So when layer cake precuts would be the topic of the next book, 
I knew exactly which cake I would make.

These endless days at home are making me look at my things and old photos, and they  bring back such fond memories.  I cry, smile, laugh, and then long to know more.  Why didn't I ask more questions? I listened and remembered well, I think, but the mind does have selective memories.

Thanks for stopping by and listening. 

back to BlockHeads, see I love this block...on my cupboard door...Sew Many Dishes from Lizzie's Legacy

4 1/2" blocks

Until next time...

Take care, stay safe, stay well my friends.

~ Betsy

Sherri McConnell -
  Lisa Bongean -
Lissa Alexander -
 Robin Pickens -


  1. I loved every word of your post and never tire of your stories. I had similar memories - of Mom crying when the grandsons played football in the house and broke one of her Mom's pieces of Carnival glass, and of Mom making fruitcake two weeks before Christmas and packing it to let it sit in the basement to "mellow". I also wish I had asked more questions. My Mom lived with us for the last 8 years of her life, and I had time to ask questions but didn't!
    I LOVE your Fruitcake quilt and look forward to that book.

  2. Great post. Love the stories. I love fruitcake but it seems I am one of very few people in my family who does. I've found a recipe for fruitcake cookies that I really like. I've only made them a couple times because only a couple of us like them. Now I'm thinking I need to make them again this year for Christmas.

  3. Thank you for your lovely post today Betsy, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I still have my parents and need to ask them more questions....thank you for the reminder. I have always regretted not asking more questions of my grandparents and other loved ones who have passed on. I love history, and family history is extra special!

  4. A fun post! I love your stories :0) Your blocks are lovely as always. The brown in the 12 inch block is gorgeous!

  5. Beautiful blocks, love the stories. Fruitcake: One who is a little off. example: She was a real fruitcake at the party.

    Aunt Edith sent us a fruitcake for Christmas once. I think it was supposed to be soaked in something to help preserve it, like rum, but they and we are teetotalers. It spoiled before we opened the package.

  6. Wonderful post, Betsy, thank you for sharing your memories. I love fruitcake, even the one made in Corsicana. My mom made it occasionally. You are very blessed to have memories of your grandparents.
    I wondered about the blue dish in your photo. I figured it was special to you. And, I also thought your blue block was a four inch!! Your Broken Dish quilt is so beautiful!!
    Until next week! Be safe and well.

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