A picnic. The thought of packing up our family’s favorite foods and then enjoying a meal together at a park or a favorite outside spot is where memories are made. My mom was a great picnic maker. We took very few outings when I was growing up; it was difficult for a dairy farming family to get away. When we did have an outing, my mom always packed a picnic lunch. I thought it would be much more fun to eat at a restaurant, but that wasn’t in the budget.

I mentioned picnics and memories. My very vivid picnic memory is of my mom slicing homemade bread, garden picked tomatoes and peppers that she pulled out of a wicker basket. A man walking past our picnic spot, stopped briefly and said, “You’re a lucky family.” My mom beamed at the man; I changed my mind about picnics.

When my friends at The McCall Pattern Company suggested that I design a Picnic Tote Collection, #6338, it didn’t take me long to put together the needed pieces—there are five in total.

McCalls 6338

Gone is the wicker basket—it takes up too much room during the picnic off-season—a fabric tote is the main element.

Large Picnic Tote

It’s a roomy tote, tall enough for a bag of chips with a width that can accommodate a host of picnic goodies. Notice the draw cord top. It took me three prototypes to get the right height to that pattern piece. (You never get to see my failures, but they’re in storage, generally the things I end up using.)

Then there’s the lunch size tote. It’s a great size for a personal noontime picnic. You can slide an ice pack in one of the inside pockets to keep the contents cool. Both the picnic and noontime totes are made with streamline techniques–I think you’ll enjoy the process as much as the finished products.

When that invitation comes for the annual family reunion or neighborhood picnic, the hot dish or casserole carrier is almost as easy to make as my 10-Minute Spinach Lasagna recipe, see below. Again, there’s room for a hot or cold pack. Plus, notice the quilted iron quick fabric interior.

Quilted Teflon is the inside fabric.

The other two picnic components are a hot pad and wine carrier. Not only are these items great to have for your personal use, they also make terrific gifts.


What are your favorite picnic recollections? Please share, I’ll choose one of the comments and post the comment as well as send the random winner a copy ofMcCall’s 6338—The Picnic Collection. Posting will be made on April 15th.

As promised, here’s  my 10-Minute Spinach Lasagna recipe. I’ve carried this yummy treat to many pot luck gatherings in a casserole carrier. It takes 10 minutes to compile and 60-70 minutes to bake. Enjoy!


10 Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles (uncooked)

1 Large Jar of Ragu sauce

1 pkg. of frozen spinach (thawed)

1 large container (16 oz.) of cottage cheese.

16 ounces of mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese


Salt and pepper.

•          Layer 5 of the uncooked noodles in bottom of a cake pan. It may be necessary to break one noodle in pieces to fit the pan.

•          Pour half the Ragu sauce over noodles.

•          Mix the well-drained spinach and cottage cheese. Spread half the mixture over the sauce. Sprinkle with oregano, salt, and pepper

•          Spread half of the mozzarella cheese on top of cottage cheese mixture.

•          Repeat layers: noodles, Ragu, cottage cheese, and mozzarella cheese.

•          Final layer: sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

•          Bake for 60-70 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

Bye for Now!