Monday, December 22, 2008

The nest.....

Oh what a happy quilter I am! My nest is temporarily filled again with both of my little chickadees. DS home from Maryland and DD home from TX. All is well and I can relax and enjoy these holidays. The stress will return when both have to travel back to their respective states!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I've been sitting in my recliner this afternoon doing a little applique. Why? Because I deserve it after doing this!
Yep, that's right.....I cleaned the driveway so DH could drive right in tonight when he comes home from work. I did it with a snow shovel and my little muscles in my fat little arms! At least I can feel like I got a workout doing it. Now this guy who lives down the street from me.....he did it the lazy way. If you enlarge the picture, you can see him in the middle of the picture.
Bet he doesn't feel as good as I do after that workout I had!

This snow really adds to my Christmas decorations out front. I don't do a lot, but snow really adds the true seasonal touch.
I'm surprised the decorations are still there after all the wind we had over the weekend.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In my last post, I shared some pictures of ornaments and my tree. How about a look at some of my other decorations! I don't do elaborate decorating, just enough to make it feel like Christmas.

I collect Nutcrackers. None of mine are expensive originals. I just look for ones that I like and I look for variety. These guys sit in my entry.
I put the rest of the collection on my mantel.
My MIL always had what she called little pixies hidden around her house and on her tree. She had the kids look for them. Several years ago I found one just like hers at a little variety store, so I bought him. He sits on the railing at the foot of my stairs.

Later I found a couple more of the little pixies and they also help decorate the stairs.

See the blob of brown in the photo above....well, it's this guy.....hanging around on the railing opposite the pixie.
I've put my table topper on the dining table. I pieced and handquilted it several years ago. I won the centerpiece at a Christmas party last weekend. It's fresh greenry and smells so nice.
And DH brought me this poinsettia, so I set a few other holiday items on the counter with it.
Last year I found this wooden tree. I stained and finished it and this year put a few decorations on it. It sits in my sunroom.
I have this Norfolk Pine in my living room and each year I put bird ornaments on it. It's difficult to see some of them with the drooping greenry. This plant doesn't look so good this year. I need to give it some TLC!

And this year I found these bells and I decided they should hang on my backdoor.
I'm a fairly ecclectic person and it shows in my choice of decorations. I have one more thing to put out. That's our nativity scene. I'll share that when I put it up.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Life has been so busy at my house. We made a trip in mid-Nov. to Austin, Texas for the official swearing in ceremony for DD. It was so nice and DH and I are so proud of her.

We rushed back home so I could begin to prepare for Thanksgiving......and so DH could return to the deer lease for the last 5 days of the hunt. Hunting season here is 10 days and that swearing in ceremony was 4 days after opening day. He went and hunted 2 days, came home and we drove down and back (about 752 miles each way) over the next 3 days, then he went back and finished his hunt. Isn't he a good dad?? That's why I love him! Oh, and he did get a deer. We have it processed and I use it in place of beef in my cooking.

I made it past company over Thanksgiving, and I've moved on to Christmas decorations and preparations. I put my lights up outside the weekend after Thanksgiving before the cold and snow came our way. By the way, it is 9 degrees F here this morning and we have 4 inches of snow on the ground. It's bright and sunny, but yesterday the snow was coming down sideways and it was so dreary looking.

I put my Christmas tree up last Sat. We have had this artificial tree for 19 yrs. It is getting a bit shabby looking and I had thought about buying a new one, but decided to use it one more year and try to buy the new one right after Christmas....hopefully on sale! Here's my tree.

Hope you will not mind tilting your head as I'm not good enough with the computer to figure out how to rotate the picture. Looks like my kitty had fun last night. See the one ornament on the floor.

Since I've given you a look at the tree, I'll show you a few of the ornaments on it. I decided this year that I wouldn't get out the really nice ornaments. I decided to decorate with a few glass balls, all the homemade ornaments, and those ornaments that I used in the years when the kids were little and the ornaments were things that didn't matter if they broke. One of the first ornaments we hang each year is very old and is always hung high on the tree. My husband made it when he was a little boy. For those who may not recognize it, the ornament was made with one of the old rubber jar seals and a Christmas card. This has hung on every tree we've had in the 32 yrs. we've been married. It also hung many, many years on my MIL's tree until she gave it to me.

I've made several ornaments through the years. Here's a look at a few of them.
I really enjoyed doing the cross-stitch nutcrackers. I collect nutcrackers and made several of these ornaments when I found the pattern. I also enjoy crocheting. The snowflake ornament is made with size 30 cotton thread and is about 1.5 inch in diameter.

I made 28 of these little pony felt ornaments when my son was in first grade. The teacher asked me to make them and then she put a candy cane in them so they looked like a stick horse. She gave one to each child as a gift. The pony still looks good after all these years. DS is 26.

Since I like to garden, I couldn't resist buying this ornament several years ago. I hang it low since my kitty can't hurt it.

My kids often made ornaments at school and gave them to me as gifts. DD made the little wooden bear with her picture and DS made the gingerbread bear with wiggly eyes. That one still smells so good!

With my children both planning to come home this Christmas, I wanted our tree to be one with lots of memories for them. What better way than some of those hodge-podge ornaments....many of which they made! It's beginning to feel like Christmas.

One last thing.....I used multi-colored lights on my tree this year. One child likes white lights and one child likes multi-colored lights. I just felt colorful this year when I selected the tree lights. To be fair, all the outside lights are white.

I've not been doing much stitching lately. Life has just been too busy. I'm hoping things will settle down a bit after the first of the year so I can get back to my unfinished quilting projects....and maybe have some finished items to share on this blog.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Little Good News

Lately my posts have been so infrequent because there isn't a lot of stitching going on. Today my post is totally if you are interested in something involving quilting or sewing....don't read any further.

I've shared the following picture with you about a year ago in December. This is a picture of DD and myself the day we brought her home from the hospital....Dec. 25, 1979. Isn't she a cutie!

At this point in her life, we had no idea what the future held for her. We hoped we could nurture her and teach her to be a caring and decent young woman. As she grew, she quickly showed us that she had an independent nature. She wasn't going to follow the rules of being a cuddly little thing that loved pink and wore ruffles. She was known to go in her room, remove the clothes I had put on her....and come out in her own choice of clothing. She was a daddy's girl and she loved wearing his cap. She's still a cutie in this mother's eye!
If I asked you now what you thought she might become by looking at the above photo......I bet the responses would be very interesting. I must tell you that she did have a very feminine side. There were times when she really did like to dress up in pink and ruffles.........and she loved her baby dolls. She's a doll collector today.

She even took time to stop and smell the flowers as she grew.

When she started school, she had a real drive to learn. She wanted to read right away....and she developed a love of books that continues with her today. I vividly remember her 4th grade year of school. One of her teachers recruited her to try out for a ready writing competition. The kids were given a topic to write about and they had to write an essay within a certain amount of time. The topic she was given was...."Who would you like to be like when you grow up?"If I remember correctly, she placed 3rd in the competition with several other schools. She came home and told me how her teacher had complimented her on the maturity of her essay. DD had written in that essay that she wanted to grow up to be a lawyer like Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. We weren't a family with any lawyers and we had not made it a practice to discussed the Supreme Court in our house, but we did encourage our kids to learn about the current events of the day. Again, if my memory is correct, this is about the time that Sandra D. O'Connor was selected to be a SC justice and that made a big impression on DD. I always told her you can be what you want when you grow up if you work hard enough. I thought she would pursue a career in writing or maybe in library science.

She worked hard through school, graduated from high school with honors, went on to college and got her BS in Computer Science. We were so proud when she graduated from college. She got a job working in computers, but I guess that 4th grade dream of becoming a lawyer was still very much alive in her because she saved every penny she made and one day told us she was leaving her job and going to law school. She paid her own way with the money she had saved and with a scholarship. We were so proud when she graduated after 3 long, hard years. That's her receiving her law diploma.

And yesterday she got the good news that she passed her bar exam and will officially be sworn in as a lawyer in the great state of Texas on November 18!! DH and I are so proud and in these turbulent times.....a little good news is so welcomed! Now we are hoping she will be able to find a job and become a good lawyer who can truly help make this world a better place.

Friday, October 24, 2008


We have company coming for Thanksgiving. DH's brother and his family will be here with us. There are 2 little boys in the family and one of them was born on Thanksgiving. I am planning to bake his favorite cake....applesauce cake....for him to enjoy while they are here. We are going to give him $ and let him select something he would like as a gift. I also decided to make him a pillowcase. I don't want the other little boy to feel left out, so I made him a pillowcase too. I think I will let the birthday boy pick first. Here's what they look like. If you enlarge the photo, you can see that the prints I used are perfect for 2 little boys from TX.

These pillowcases are fun to make and they are nice for gifts. While I was making the 2 for the little guys.....I made one for my niece also. I had made my DD pillowcases from this fabric and I still have enough for another 2 cases.

It felt good to sit and sew! I've been in such a slump lately....not sewing or posting to my blog either.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Recently I made a trip to the apple orchards near where I live. I make a trip out there each fall to get apples because they are so much better than any I can buy in the grocery store. I bought plenty and like so many others....I've been canning some of them. Here's what I did early this week. The pint jars have Gala apples slices and the half pint jars have sugar free peach jam. I canned the apple slices without adding sugar too. I'm a diabetic so it will be nice to have these sugar free treats later on. I still have more apples in the refrigerator to can. I plan to make applesauce with those.

I have not been doing a lot of stitching. Just a little in the evenings. I am making slow progress on the blocks for my Rainbow Sherbet and Licorice wall hanging. I now have 2 blocks completed. As you can see, I have help when I try to take pictures.
I guess Truffles thinks she has to check out my stitching and make sure I'm doing it correctly. This happens each time I lay anything for a quilt on the floor.

Here's a picture without her interference!

These blocks are fun to stitch. The only thing I do not enjoy is working with the silk thread I'm using. I prefer to do my hand applique with cotton machine embroidery thread. DMC is my favorite. With this multi-colored fabric, I couldn't find a cotton where my stitches didn't show, so I ended up using a neutral silk thread. I hate stitching with it as it is so slippy.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Life, weather, and a quilt show

Life has been busy lately, but with lots of things other than stitching. I have continued to attend my monthly applique class, but I've done little stitching outside class. I'm determined to change that. I'm hoping things will slow down as fall comes on. I am beginning to see signs of fall with a few leaves beginning to show a little color. There are a few Burning Bushes in my neighborhood that are turning red. That's a certain sign to me that fall is upon us.

It's been raining, and raining, and raining at my house over the past 3 days. Last night we even had tornado sirens going off as there was a touch down to the west of us. At the time, DH and I weren't aware of the weather alert. We had gone out to dinner. After dinner we were going to make a quick stop at Target for a few items. As we were walking into the store in Independence, we heard the sirens going off. Store personnel told us that shopping was being suspended and everyone was to go to the back of the store and take shelter along the back wall. What a frightening experience. I was very much wishing to be home in my basement instead of along the back wall of a Target store. I must admit that the staff at Target was very courteous. They even provided bottled water for everyone while we waited. I hope I don't get caught out like that again. It was scary!

There is a quilt show in our local area this weekend. I went yesterday and snapped a few pics. There were some very nice quilts. Most were machine quilted. I only saw 5 that were handquilted. I'm sorry that I can't give credit to the ladies who made each of these quilts. I didn't think to write down their names.

This quilt was my favorite. I really like the color selection...and the pineapple blocks used with the applique. It was machine quilted. The field was quilted in the ditch. The appliqued borders outline quilted around the pieces and the filled in the background area so that the applique pieces really stood out. I saw lots of quilts with lovely piecing and applique that were quilted all over with a pantograph and that quilting actually seemed to detract from the lovely work of piecing and appliqueing. Just a personal opinion there.

This lovely quilt was hand quilted around each hexagon. My photography doesn't do it justice because it was so pretty.

I like soft colors so I liked both of these. The quilt on the left had beautiful piecing, but it is one of the ones that had all over quilting that seemed to detract from the lovely work the lady had done. The quilt on the right was made using vintage linens. I have many that my great-grandmother made. This photo will definitely provide ideas for preserving those!
The piecing in this quilt was beautifully done. It was also machine quilted, but on this was done to highlight and feature the blocks and piecing.

And this little quilt was just cute! The maker had carefully collected fabrics for the background of each block. Some little boy name Zach will probably be a very happy little guy when he gets this quilt!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Garden Beds and Garments

I've shown you several pictures of my tomatoes in containers and I've talked about wanting a raised bed garden. This past weekend DH was such a wonderful guy. He designed and made these for me!
We still have to dig the sod out of them and then fill them with soil for gardening. Our area has awful soil. It is mostly clay and is also filled with rocks. I set a few of my pots with flowers into the beds just to see how it would look. Next spring I plan to plant my tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers in these beds and my barrel will be for flowers.

The construction process on these beds was quite interesting. You see, DH is a mechanical engineer and nothing is ever done without a scale drawing. He even figured out how to cut the concrete blocks to the perfect angle so everything would fit together nicely. He cut them using a chisel and brick hammer. I never knew you could do that!

I have been doing some sewing lately, but not quilty sewing. I've been doing garment sewing for DD. She wanted some button front blouses that are a little fitted. We found a nice pattern and here's my first attempt. It was going to be just for fitting, but it turned out pretty nice. She plans to wear this with dark gray slacks.
Those little tucks make it look a bit dressy and they were not difficult at all. I haven't done buttonholes in such a long time, but those weren't too bad to do either. I guess you never really forget your sewing just have to polish them up now and again. I'll be making at least 2 more blouses for her using this pattern. I also made 2 A-line skirts. Here they are draped over my ironing board along with the blouse.

Sorry about the blurry photo. I have 2 more skirts to hem for her. I've actually enjoyed sewing clothes for a change. I need to get back to my quilting projects, but that may be a few weeks away as I will finish the garments first. This next week there will be no sewing. DS is coming home from MD for a visit. I'm so excited! This will be his first trip home since starting his job a year ago.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Garden Bounty

There has been very little sewing at my house. I did cut and fit an A-line skirt for DD this last week. I still have to finish the seams as the fabric has a tendency to ravel. Then I also have to put on the waistband and do the hem. It felt so different sewing a garment as I haven't done that in a long time. I'm proud to say I can still put in a zipper! I'll take some pictures once I finish the skirt.

My container garden tomatoes are doing well. I planted red roma, yellow roma and cherry tomatoes. I like the flavor of the cherry tomatoes the best. Here's a little sampling of my bounty.
The peppers are a variety of jalapeno called "Fooled You". They are not hot, but instead taste much more like a bell pepper. The one bush I have is loaded with peppers. I also planted one hot jalapeno for DH. It is producing, but not as much as the FY pepper. The real trick is to pick the peppers at the same time and make sure I don't mix them up because they look so much alike. I don't like the real hot peppers!

I also have been harvesting basil and oregano. I'm drying that, crushing it and putting it in bags so I won't have to buy it at the grocery. I've also been snipping off the plants when I make pasta sauce. Fresh herbs give sauce a wonderful flavor!
It's raining at my house today, so I'm hoping that watering from nature will keep my plants producing those wonderful tomatoes and peppers!

Friday, July 18, 2008


If you were to ask me what my least favorite color is when it comes to quilting, I would immediately tell you orange. Orange is an OK color, but one I just don't use much in quilting. When I look around my yard at my flowers, orange seems to be a much more appealing color. I have day lilies blooming that are a dark orange.
Isn't this day lily bloom so pretty? I love the way the orange and yellow blend!

Remember the lantana from my previous post. Here's a closeup of one of the blooms. The yellow and orange are pretty together here too.
If you enlarge the photo, you should be able to see the ant who thought these were nice flowers.

My orange daylilies are planted in this bed along with red bee balm and some other flowers. I planted them to screen the ugly green utility box. My neighbor thought Pampas grass would be a good idea....but I hate Pampas grass! When we lived in Texas, it was a wonderful hiding place for rattlesnakes. I've never liked it for that reason. Since the box is in the corner of MY yard, I got to do the landscaping......and it did not include Pampas grass! My neighbor even told me she liked what I had done.
I also have day lilies on the other side of the box. Hopefully the bed will be even more filled in next year.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Norma at Random Stitches is one of my very best friends. As she mentioned in her blog, we communicate via e-mail almost every morning as we each enjoy our cup of coffee. She said some really nice things about me and gave me this award

I am then suppose to pick 5 blogs I read on a regular basis and give them the award. Well, as I looked at the ones I read on a regular basis....I noticed most of them have already received the I will just say, if you haven't received this yet...consider yourself awarded.

I enjoy my time visiting blogs, seeing the various projects others are working on, and reading about things other than stitching that they enjoy doing in their daily lives. So many of the bloggers are so talented and their blogs are filled with wonderful ideas.

Thanks again to Norma for giving me the award.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Testing a knitted Swiffer cover

Two posts in one day....can you believe it! I just had to share an item I finished this afternoon. But first a little info and background.

This morning I swept and dust mopped my hardwood floors. That's something I do daily. I do like to think I keep a fairly clean house....not spotless....but clean enough to be healthy. Some days I even sweep more than once a day. What I'm going to show later in this post is going to make you doubt this, but I'm going to show this anyway. And I promise....I really do clean my floors each morning.

Several weeks ago when my in-laws were here, I started knitting a cotton cover for my Swiffer. I had found the pattern here
I thought I would just give this knitted cover a try. My thoughts were I'd make a few and maybe not have to buy so many of the disposable sheets. I really had my doubts though as to whether this cover would really work. This afternoon I finished the last few stitches on that first knitted cover, sewed the side seams, and put it on my Swiffer handle. it is.
I decided to run it over the same area of the floor I swept and dust mopped this morning just to see how it was going to work. I put it on dry....not wetting or spraying anything on it. I think I'm going to be making plenty more of these little covers because look what it picked up!
Yes, I know this looks awful....but.....see all that dust! It makes me feel like a sorry excuse for a housekeeper since I know I cleaned the same floor this morning. Maybe I can just blame the dust on this critter. Yep, that's right....Truffles my kitty!
I know Truffles contributes to the dust, but she is a lot of company to me during the day. She has a unique personality and makes herself right at home with all of us....

even DH. Don't they look comfortable! They were watching the new tv we bought. We finally bought a new one after having the old one for 15 years. Now my next "to do" item is finding a cabinet for it so I can hide all those ugly cords!