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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Falling leaves quilt, actually quilted too!

This is a closeup of how I quilted the leaves. I made them look like the veins in the leaves, which made them a little like trapunto. They feel cool when you run your hand over them.

I started this quilt for my husband in the fall. He just loves the fall season and wishes it lasted longer, so I made this for him to see falling leaves every day. When I was quilting this, I tried new designs (I was looking at a book with patterns as I was quilting on the machine) and it really came out great. No lumps ANYWHERE (shocking really) and no hidden messes on the back. Amazing. :)
Well, in addition to this quilt, I finished my year long reading of the Bible. I used the Charles Stanley study version and it was much better than attempting it all on my own. Today was the last day!! I think I will do a study of the Psalms or something now to keep it going. It was a very comforting thing to do each day, and took stress away.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hope your Christmas was wonderful

Kenny got us this Nativity set when we first got together. It is our favorite holiday decoration of all. Some of our friends do not put baby Jesus in the manger until December 25, but Kenny wants Jesus there as soon as we set it up. We tried to get some camels this year, but no one had any.

I made a commitment for my vacation!! I will quilt two of the tops I made so that we can actually use them. Hmm...a novel idea. The one I made Kenny with the leaves all over it is actually on the machine and has some of the leaves quilted already. I figure if I leave it on the machine, I can quilt a few every time I walk by and then it will be done!! I made a quilt top for my son that is ready for quilting too, so if I do them both in the next 10 days that will be a record.

My quilting machine is a Husqvarna Mega Quilter. I do not have the frame and all, so I sit and quilt at the dining room table. After a while, it does hurt my neck and shoulder (from leaning over and pushing the quilt through) so one day, we will have to get a table that my machine can fit into so that I can quilt lower than I am now.

Also, I am committed to making a new apron at least once a month all year. There is a great website with tons of free patterns. It's a tipnut address. You type in "free quilt patterns" into your search engine and it will be there!! Great for drooling and dreaming and wishing there were more hours in the day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Christmas Eve!! It's a wonderful life!!

This scene from "It's a Wonderful Life" is the one that made me want hydrangeas for my house!! I saw this movie when I was in high school and it made a serious impression on me.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I hope that your evening is full of happiness, great food and good times. We are having dinner soon and then Evy, Rob and I will head off to the candlelight service at church. After that, we will open our presents!! YAY!! Psst!! I already know that I got the pasta maker attachment for my Kitchenaid!! We'll be using it on Friday.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Looks like snow, so why is Ken cutting grass?

New trailer we are not buying. Too big for our driveway and equipment. It all fit so nice in there though!!
Here is the sky behind our garage. Sure looks like snow might come, huh? Actually, we are supposed to get warmer tonight into tomorrow.

Sky to the left of our house.

Kenny starting the lawn mower. Hey, it's time to hibernate...not work!

Our big mower. Can you cut grass that is covered by snow? Probably not! Have you ever seen a man who is about to stop working for a month or so? He is not exactly relaxed!! That's my truck in the background. Love it!!

Ken's brand new truck. Now, let me tell you that this is such a leap of faith for us. Most of our clients are stockbrokers (uh-oh) and we will not know how this economy is affecting our business until sometime in March. However, our truck was already over ten years old and really needed to be replaced. We need a new trailer too!! Ours is 19 years old. We tried a new one today, but it was too hard to turn in our driveway, so we took it back. Won't think about it anymore until next week. The places around here will let you try stuff before you buy (probably like that where you are too) so at least you don't make a $$$$ mistake, and then have to live with it. Poor Ken was stressing out trying to get that thing backed up and out of our driveway!!

Sewing an apron tonight after dinner. Oh!!! I made Bigos tonight. That is a Polish stew with pork, saurkraut, cabbage, etc. It is so delicious.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Aprons and wallhangings for the holidays!

The apron above has the most adorable fabric!! It is from the Christmas special "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and has the entire story on it with all of the characters. I found it at Walmart and made bathroom curtains with it and two aprons. I kept one and gave the other to a friend who has become known as "Grandma Cupcake" to her grandson because of all the baking she does. She loves it.

These two are from a pattern my friend Kathie sent me. So easy and fun. I used fat quarters in vintage Christmas prints. They were a big hit with my friends and are going off to new homes tomorrow!! I plan to make more of them with all kinds of fabrics.

I love this wallhanging!! The snowman scenes are all done on the embroidery machine!!! It was a toile pattern I saw online and was able to purchase and download immediately. As soon as I downloaded them, I was at the machine working on this project. Very fun and I can keep it up all winter.

The weather here is so brutally cold and windy today. We never got above 24 degrees and the wind howled all day. Time for a hot bath and then sitting by the fire. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A few quilts I made this summer...

The top quilt was for a very special baby who is our dear friends' first grandchild. I found a fabric book of children's prayers, cut it apart and made it into a quilt. I used all flannel fabrics in it, which made it especially cozy.
The bottom quilt is a very easy and fun design I saw one day and started the same night. The fabrics are pretty much all vintage designs and the red check reminded me of my favorite Nana in the world. The only thing left to do is bind it and it will be ready for the bed. I will probably reserve its use for spring and summertime.

Only 3 more days!!!

The top tree is the one we have on the front porch. It is real, with tiny white lights. The bottom one is our Christmas tree in the house. It really looks so beautiful every year. Funny how I hate dragging it out from the attic and putting it together. Once it is up, I hate to take it down.
We went out for a little while today to get apples (sadly, our last visit to the apple farm until next September! That weekly trip is our favorite). Then we went to Santa's Christmas Tree Farm and got a few more glass ornaments for the tree. That is a magical place to go and a person could sure get caught up in it all and spend a fortune!!
The woodstove is roaring now and it is so relaxing to sit here next to it. The day was so dark and rainy, which is so much colder (feeling at least) than a snowy one. Hope you are having a good night and relaxing by your own personal idea of a woodstove.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sure seems like Christmas!!

We had a nice snowfall last night and it is still snowy and cold today. I went to my quilt classes anyway (you just cannot keep quilters away from the quilt shop!!!) and got some fabric for upcoming projects. Right now I have to make a few more aprons and a set of placemats with napkins and towels for some friends. I picked out a really retro fabric for an apron for me. Cannot wait to get started. (During vacation!!)

We decorated the tree last night and it looks so beautiful. The kids were home and we all did the tree together from start to finish. A glass of wine, Christmas music and a fun time as a family. Very cool.

Tonight we are going out to dinner. A local place that has good seafood and steaks. Our anniversary was this past week, so we will celebrate at dinner. Then tomorrow I will clean the house all day after church so that everything is neat and clean for the holidays.

Friday, December 19, 2008

This was our spring...I miss the river, but love the snow!!

Well, I am finally back to this blog!! We were not able to post pictures on the computer for the longest time, and I thougth my blog would bore me without the pictures. This is my son, Rob and my father on the river. This picture is from an article I wrote for Small Town Living.
I have been so busy with school and home. For Christmas, I made aprons, curtains, placemats and napkins. With any luck, I can post some of them soon. Just don't want to give anything away to anyone looking here at their gifts.
This fall, I made a nice quilt top for my husband, Ken. I plan to quilt it during Christmas vacation. The quilt I made for my embroidery class is finally ready for quilting. It just might be my best yet. I'll post it this weekend.
Well, we have snow again!! What a fun day. We watched "A Christmas Carol" in school while the snow was falling. We read it last week and the kids loved watching it so far. It was just so nice and festive to watch the movie and know that the snow was piling up. Only two more days of work and I am off for 12 days. Can't beat that!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Long Island Axman

This is our friend's driveway, covered completely by a very tall tree that fell during the freak storm we had tonight.
Kenny getting his chaps on. He is wearing shorts underneath because it was 95 degrees here today.

His cousin had to come with his tractor to move the logs and big branches out of the way after Kenny cut the tree all up. At least there will be a bit of winter wood from it. With less building going on here because of the economy, getting firewood is not going to be as easy as past years. We get it wherever we can. We did go out for ice cream after we were done.

Tonight is the season finale of Axmen on the History Channel. We love that show, and my poor husband was having serious chainsaw envy every time we watched it. So, tonight he got to have a little fun with his Stihl saw, which he says is better than Husqvarna! :)

Some quilt tops from the most recent mystery quilt tours at the quilt shop.

This was our Italian night quilt. It is called Spaghetti and Meatballs, of course. I have a light brown inner border to attach and a dark brown and red one for the outside. Maybe this week. Not one of my favorites to make (boring for the most part, but it matches my couches and is small, so I might quilt it this summer).
This one was Holland. I liked making this one a lot. Loved the tulips and the colors. This one can go into the box with the other finished tops from this year. Next time we are doing Switzerland (in August) and then POLAND!!! in September. Cannot wait.
Well, this is not a new quilt. I made it for Evelyn when she turned 16. I had also just gotten my embroidery machine and was having fun playing with it for her quilt. Each block focuses on a family member or memory and has a picture in it and some decorative pieces to go with that. For example, on Aunt Pat and Uncle Bill's block, there is a picture of her daughter's wedding and some buttons that are log cabins like their house. On the one with my parents, there is their picture and some boat buttons because they always took the kids to the beach. I embroidered messages to her all over it and all of her friends' names in various places. It is pretty used up already (the pictures won't last because I had to use the iron-on types since the good inkjet fabric was not available yet. She loves it anyway.
Close up of a block. This was a Flamenco dancer in Spain. She loved that part of the trip, naturally. The guy was really cute.

I have dinner in the oven (ribs cooking slowly--a recipe from my mother) and coleslaw and macaroni salad. Then we are taking a ride over to the beach to look at shorebirds and then go out for ice cream. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday. Hope you all have the best week ever!! SUMMER is here and things are growing. Only 3 weeks of school left now.

Penny and Millie

I never introduced you guys to Penny (aka Penelope). She is our black lab and a real spitfire. What a funny dog she is, too. When she wants to lay with you, she slithers from the ground onto your lap, just like an eel. Then she will just lay there and not move, so you won't kick her off. Millie is the yellow, and she is more classy than that. Millie is 9 1/2 now. Penny is 4. Of course, they went swimming in the river today (it was 95 here this afternoon). I'll put pictures of them in the river next time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Embroidered blocks for my pastor. Love em!!

I finally started going to a new church, after many years of looking for that right one that was not too stuffy or controlled only by a handful of people who don't listen to the younger members.
And I found a church that is very active and friendly, with a young pastor who is completely full of energy who "gets it" that some people don't really know how they feel about religion or what they believe in exactly, yet they know they believe in God and Jesus. He does not try to tell us that only one way is the right way. So, I like this place a lot. Even my son liked going there on Mother's Day.
So, I thought I would make a quilt for his young family (he has a nice wife and two little girls) to celebrate all that they bring to our community. They do so much outside of the church and that means a lot to many of us here where I live.
I generally make one block every other night and will have a total of twelve when I am done. Then I will make pieced blocks to mix in with the embroidered ones. Aren't they gorgeous? I love them so much that I may make some extras to put into frames for people who want them.
I'll post some more tomorrow. The blocks are a lot of fun to make, and I feel happy as they stitch out. They will love them, I am sure.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ta Dah!! Soap time...

My friend Deb, mixing the oils. We had the lye mixture cooling off outside.
When the oils and the lye mixture got down to 95 degrees, we mixed them together.
Look how creamy it got right away! Success!! It was like a nice light pudding mixture, just like it was supposed to be. We made this batch with lemon essential oils. Next time, we will make it with peppermint. Tomorrow afternoon I have to go down to the basement and cut it into bars, and let it rest for about 6 weeks. What a fun day we had.

Some of you have asked about my friend, Michelle, who lost her son two months ago. She is back to work now, but not feeling too good about it yet. It is good to be working and talking, but she says every day it gets worse than the day before, because it becomes more real that he is gone forever as each day goes by. She was very close to him, so essentially lost a best friend, as well as a son. She is thankful for her friends at work though and says that we make it easier than it would otherwise be.

Tonight, my daughter and her friend saved a dog that had been abandoned on our road. We have an animal shelter near us and someone left the dog about 3 houses away from it. However, they left the dog in the woods in a crate too small for it!!! If she had not been walking on the street, she NEVER would have seen it. I must have driven past it myself at least 5 times today. She came home and told us about it, then her brother and all of us went walking there to wait for the police and the dog warden. Evelyn fed it a bunch of biscuits, but it was snarling and growling, so she had to throw them through the top. Deb was with us and said it was like being on Animal Planet when the cops came. It did seem like it. The idiots who left the dog there left his rabies tag on, so the cops will be able to track them down. Hope they get in a lot of trouble for leaving that dog there to die in a cage.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm still sewing every night!!

These are the most recent blocks I finished (some were started a few weeks ago) for the embroidery quilt I am making in class. I have always wanted a mostly red and white quilt and thought this would be a good one for doing that. The flowers are colorful enough to carry the quilt by themselves, so the red and white fabric is not too boring. I do have another one that I did a few years back that I added to last summer, but it was a pieced quilt, not embroidered. maybe I will actually quilt that other one this summer. Speaking of quilting, I might attempt to hand quilt this one. I am afraid to do machine quilting for fear of being too aggressive and getting too close to the designs, which will not be quilted. I'd like to hand quilt one project next year, so maybe this one.

I got the supplies for soapmaking ordered, and I was able to get lye at Lowes!! Can you believe you cannot get lye easily any more because it is used in drug making!! So, I did research all week and found a product that is 100% lye, but not too many people around here know about it. Guess that is a good thing. Deb is coming over this Friday (we are off from school for Memorial Day) and we will make our first batch of soap. We had a lesson when we were in Pennsylvania, so are psyched about it!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Maybe I am boring, but this was a perfect weekend!!

On Saturday, my husband sent me out to buy this mixer that I have been wanting forever. They are so expensive, but I like the kneading hook and the fact that I can use attachments to make pasta, applesauce, and all of that other good stuff that can be more organic (and easy to do with this machine!) We saw that Macy's was having a one day sale with 30% off on this exact mixer, so off I went to the mall (hate that part, but it was fast since I knew what I wanted and were to find it.) I got home and made my sourdough bread with oats, right away.
Then, I did laundry and hung my sheets outside to dry. I sat there and read for a little while. Millie and Penny pestered me nonstop with the muddy, dirty ball, but that is part of the ritual.

I have this area behind the garage and chicken coop that I have wanted to turn into a garden for years. I planted some pots back there last year to see if they got enough sun, and they do. So now I am clearing out a big patch to grow more than we had last year. It is hidden from everyone so I can hide there and be totally alone and no one would even know I was outside.
Finally, I planted 72 little peat pellets with more seeds to plant outside in the new patch behind the garage. By the time they are ready, it will be tilled and cleared.

My son came to church with me as a present for Mother's Day!! What a nice surprise that was for me because I am usually alone when I go to church. Then we went to McDonalds for diet Coke and sweet tea (Rob liked the tea). After that we went to Agway to get the plants to start in the pots on the side of the garage and out back. He and his girlfriend started a garden across the street by the river as well. When she got here today, I hope she was expecting to be a farm chick! She is actually very cool like that. Her dad is also a hunter and fisherman, so she is used to being in touch with her food :)

Evelyn relaxed all day too. My niece was over for most of the day and they played with the dogs (YOU HAVE TO if you are outside!!) and they planted sunflowers. Hope you all had a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!