Fresh Air and Fresh Findings

Ahhh, fresh air at last. It’s either been too cold or too rainy to spend much time outdoors, but finally we had a break and I have been out playing with the dogs with my new ball gun that shoots a tennis ball clear across the yard for the dogs to chase.  They do love the game. I think Molly would play it forever. Belle gets tired and starts to cheat and run a little bit toward the ball and then run back with Molly to get the treat.  I’ve got your number, Belle. But she always gets a treat, too, because she is so cute.  Today we are getting  rain and snow again.   If nothing else, the weather sure changes around here.

We are on the right side of winter now.  When I go outside I can smell Spring coming.  And around the garden, the flowers are awakening.

The Hellebore is ready to bloom.

Daffodils are pushing their heads above the soil.  In a month or so the garden will be a mass of yellow blooms.

This time of year the birds even sound differently. Soon we will have to watch for the Sandhill Cranes coming back north. They always fly above our house every year.  I don’t know how we got so blessed.  You have to be outside at the right time to hear them. Their call is like if you take your tongue and flutter it against the roof of your mouth.  They fly in large groups and sometimes there are more than one group.   They are heading to Camp Atterbury, an army base near us, where they will stay for a time at a lake there.   David worked at Camp Atterbury for several years and I use to take the kids swimming at the pool there every Summer.  There is an outlook you can climb and see Canadian geese in the water below. Geese don’t migrate like I remember them doing when I was a girl. Now they stick around all Winter.  I taught the boys to drive on the roads at Camp Atterbury because there wasn’t much traffic there at the time. Still scared me out of my wits!    Camp Atterbury was once a prisoner of war camp for German soldiers during WWll.  The old barracks were still there when we first moved here over forty years ago, but through the years and the wars in the Middle East, the camp has been restored to its former glory with new barracks and roads and fences.   Sometimes we can hear the soldiers as they train firing their weapons and once in a while huge planes fly over  practicing touching down and taking off at our local airport.

While searching for material for my Bullseye quilts, which I’ve become obsessed with, I discovered a quilt I had started years ago.  The pattern was in this magazine dated 2005, so that is probably when I started it.

I had it all cut out.  It was funny because I had been thinking about this particular quilt a while back wondering what had happened to it. I also wondered why I had not come across it last Summer when I was going through all my fabric boxes.  But it was a nice surprise, almost like Christmas and I have cut out a few more blocks for it to add some of my newer fabrics into the mix and I am having so much fun sewing it together.

I  am never happier than when my cutting table looks like this.

And I am so happy to have several projects going at a time.  If I get bored with one, I can lay it aside and work on another.    I have so many projects I want to make.

I’m going to have to hurry up because outside days are coming.

I completed this little quilt and am ready to quilt it.

Another one of Kathleen Tracy’s patterns.  Love her little quilts.

This brings me to the show on tv, Hoarders.  David said one time I was getting ready to look like a hoarder with all the fabric piled on my cutting table, but what he doesn’t understand is, this is how I work.  I get a lot of fabric out, go through it and get what I need, and then I finally put it all away. Now my table is organized again.   I watch the Hoarders only to make me want to keep from being a hoarder. I watched one particular show one evening, and I had just cleaned out my refrigerator, but after that show, I wanted to clean out my refrigerator again!   I don’t like to shop, so I don’t think I would ever get as bad as some of the hoarders do.  Most shop all the time and bring things home and toss them on the pile.  I only buy something I really need or know I will use a lot.   Of course, that’s what some of the hoarders say, too!

Being in my nice, warm sewing shop with my trusty dogs beside me on a cold, rainy day, sewing on a quilt, is the best thing I could be doing. Oh, I could be doing housework, the laundry, cooking etc., but No.

Molly has to be in her cage or I would get nothing done because she thinks anytime I am around I should be ready to play.

I’ve been reading the dictionary lately, I know, I’m weird and have decided to add a little something to my blogs.   I am going to have a different word and its meaning on each one for while   It will broaden our vocabulary and make us all a little smarter. Ha.  Of course, if you already know the word, you will be one step ahead of some of us. So this day’s word is…

Contumacious-adj. stubbornly perverse or rebellious.  Willfully disobedient.   The contumacious boy was sent to reform school.

Hope none of you are contumacious. Bye.

 

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

I know I sound like a recording, but isn’t the time flying?  It’s almost Valentine’s Day already and we were just celebrating the New Year.  When I hear young people say the time is passing quickly, then I don’t know what to say because if it’s passing quickly for them there is something happening to the space time continuum of planet earth.  I often wonder if God is speeding time up for Jesus’ coming as He looks upon us and sees the evil that is in people’s minds and actions. I can hardly bear to read the news or listen to it anymore.

I also believe at times that I live in an alternate universe from many people.  I don’t understand a lot of people a lot of the time.  Maybe they feel that way about me.  I don’t know. Of course, my husband tells me I am weird all the time.  The last time I visited my doctor, he called me weird because of how my body reacted to the medicine he says helps everyone else.  So, maybe I am weird! But I’m a happy weird.

Well, that is about as deep as I’m going to get today. Just something to think upon and wonder about.  I try to live each day with joy and hope and I know how it all ends, so I’m not afraid.

I’ve had so many projects going on and many more I want to do before the warm weather gets here and I will want to be outside in the fresh air playing with my dogs. They have been rather neglected in these cold and rainy days.   They have been spending a lot of time in my shop with me, listening to my radio talk shows, ha, and watching me cut out Bullseye quilts.  I am addicted to Bullseye quilts. I think I am because I love going through all my fabric and finding material that will go together to make a block, knowing I will cut that block into four pieces along with many other blocks and then sew all those parts together to make a pretty amazing looking quilt.  And I am discovering fabric I had forgotten about, so that’s a plus, too. It’s almost like Christmas when I find a forgotten fabric.  I made a pillow with a four of the blocks.

I love this pillow way too much. I had had it on the couch for a couple of weeks  David just noticed it!   My very observant husband.

How can one miss this bright and colorful pillow!   I’m going to make some more. Maybe give some away.  I have a Christmas Bullseye quilt almost all cut out.  Like I said, I’m addicted.

And wonderful things have been coming in the mail. I read Mary Etherington’s blog over on Country Threads Chicken Scratch. Mary and her friend, Connie use to have a quilt shop in northwestern Iowa called Country Threads. They wrote many patterns, some of which I sold in our store, Craig’s Vac and Sew, years ago. They closed the store several years ago, but still write patterns and they have a book out right now that I ordered.

I was so excited when this package arrived.

With the cutest little return label.

And a wonderful book inside.

Here’s Mary and Connie.

They are very good friends and were superstars in the quilting world years ago.  I met Mary, the one in glasses, years ago when we traveled through Garner, Iowa going out west. I wanted to visit their quilt shop. It was wonderful, but the best part was I got to meet Mary as the quilt shop was located on her farm.  You know you see someone who is famous in their field and you wonder if they are as nice as they appear in their pictures. Well, Mary is the nicest person you could ever wish to meet. She welcomed me and showed me around the farm. I’m sure she doesn’t remember me, but she had a hurt arm or shoulder and I grabbed her and hugged her before I realized it and she was so nice about it even though I probably caused her great pain.

I felt like I did when I saw the Beatles.  Mary was that famous in my eyes.  Their patterns sold very well in our store and I have made so many quilts from them. If you want the book, go over to her blog and I think you can still order it.  And they sign the ones you buy from them.

I’m just saying. Superstars!  I plan to make several quilts from this book.

I got more flower seeds.  I honestly don’t know where I am going to plant them all as my garden is pretty full already, but I will stick them in somewhere.

Zinnias are one of my top five favorite flowers to raise. Just toss the seeds in the ground and in a few weeks you have a wonderful display of blooms.

And I got some more fabric.

Just some basics to use in my Bullseye quilts.

And last, but certainly not least I got more yarn.

It came in a bag that had this on the front.

And each skein of yarn had a yarn marker attached.

An extra little bonus.  I will be ordering from this business again.

Her yarns are amazing.  And fun to knit up.

Years ago our city had a major flood. They called it the hundred year flood because in theory it only happens every one hundred years.  But this week, people were getting worried as the rains kept falling for hours and hours.  We drove past a park in town and this is what we saw.

I’ve climbed that tower from which you can see the downtown.

The amphitheater where shows and bands perform. Not going to right now.

The playground.  Many years ago before this park came into existence, there were people who lived down by the river in shanties.  I have seen pictures from years ago of those shanties flooded. Finally, the city moved all the people and put in this park that gets flooded every so often because the river runs right by it.

Friends of mine, who lost everything in the last flood, were getting concerned and I didn’t blame them. It was looking scary for a while, but finally the rains stopped and the sun came out and the water is receding.   Today it is snowing and sleeting.

My church helps support a Crisis Pregnancy Center. Every year we are given baby bottles to fill with money to give to the center.  I am always happy to contribute because they are saving babies’ lives there and with what we see in the news today, we must continue to fight for and protect the unborn.

I am glad my church participates in this. I pray for all the babies.

My chickee-poos are still laying during this crazy weather.  We get just enough eggs for us right now.  I must show you the one a hen laid.  She certainly gave her all.

Almost as big as a duck egg and I should know. I use to raise ducks.

 

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?  If I don’t plan anything, we won’t do anything. I do have a delicious looking Valentine Jelly Donut cake recipe I am thinking of making for David.

I bought these candy hearts. You know, the ones that have cute words on them for Valentine’s Day, but you can hardly read the words they’re so dim.  And it’s a brand name, too.   What is wrong with them!   You really have to look to see what each heart reads.   Oh, well. That’s the way of things today.  I may be getting old, but things really are more poorly made than they were years ago except for maybe cars because one rarely sees a broken down car on the side of the road any longer.  When I was a girl you’d see them all the time and cars use to rust out faster than they do today. Our car is ten years old and still going strong and we’d like it to last another ten years.   That car has been all over the United States, to Alaska and down the Alaska Highway through Canada. North, South, East and West.  I’d like to keep her a while longer.

I sincerely hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day.  Whether alone or with a loved one, you still are loved by the One who loves us all.  He never disappoints. He will never forsake you.  He is the best Valentine a person could have. Jesus. Love you all and God bless. Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Did you hear the brouhaha about this song before Christmas? That it was “sexist?”  People have way too much time on their hands and get incensed about the silliest things.  Maybe they need to get a job or hobby that takes most of their time so they can leave well enough alone.

That said, baby, it is cold outside.  We are supposed to have the coldest temperatures we have seen in a long time. I spend my days letting the dogs in my shop and out again.  They are mostly outside dogs, but when it gets this cold, I feel happier knowing they are inside where is it warmer. I look back at the hot Summer days when I was wishing for this and now here we are and I don’t feel so glad about it.   My favorite temperature is somewhere between 50 degrees and 70 degrees.  I can be pretty comfortable then. Anywhere lower or higher and I feel it. Is there a place on this earth where those are the temperatures all the time?

You would think the days would drag by when it’s this cold and I’m not outside all that much and we haven’t really gone anywhere all month except out to eat occasionally, but the month has flown.   We did have a late Christmas with our oldest son and his girlfriend and her son where I gave what else, socks and a quilt for some of the gifts.  I am already planning quilts for next Christmas and one for a friend who shall not be named, although I don’t think she reads my blog.    I’m ordering more fabric just because my stash needs refreshing and I have so many ideas in my head running rampant and I need some new colors.  You fellow quilters know what I’m talking about.

Here is the Bullseye quilt I am making that Mary over on the blog, Country Threads Chicken Scratch, has been teaching us.

It’s a little bigger than a lap size quilt. I’m going to sew it together and then with some leftover blocks I have a plan.  Plus, when you are cutting out this quilt, you are left with a lot of circles and I have plans for some of them, too.  This has been such a fun quilt to put together, I already am planning several more with one being in reds and greens for Christmas. You should see my cutting table. It’s piled high with all the fabrics I’ve picked out for these future quilts.

Meanwhile, I have managed to knit a few socks.

Hey, the colors in the socks match the colors in the quilt!

I do love color.  I can’t stand monochromatic decorating.  An all white room or an all blue room is not my style.  Right now we are getting ready to remodel a bathroom. The contractor who will be doing it, added this bathroom in an addition we put on the back of our house over thirty-five years ago, so I think it’s time for an uplift. We picked the tile for the shower yesterday and I can’t wait to show you the floor tile for the shower. The tile reminds me of a quilt.  The room is tiny so I’m going to use light, bright colors.  We are also getting our back deck rebuilt and screened in with a roof over it.  So there is much to think about for this coming Spring.

David celebrated fifteen years working for Ralph Lauren at the outlet mall the other day.  When he retired from over 36 years in the military, he was at loose ends for a time.  For nine months he cleaned closets and puttered around the house until he ran out of things to do.  So I told him it was time to look for a part time job as he was not an old man.  The store was just opening and he was one of the first hires at the time.  He’s been part time, assistant manager, manager and now back to part time and I’m trying to get him to cut back even more. He really loves the job and the customers.  He has customers who come in and ask for him. Even some from Europe who come in almost yearly to buy clothes.   Anyway, the vice president wanted to do a conference call with all the people who had been working for Ralph for fifteen years.  I was called and asked to come to hear it, but to keep it a surprise. Well, anyone who knows me knows I cannot keep a secret, especially surprise parties. I have “accidentally” ruined two surprise parties just by innocently saying something I shouldn’t have.  I was so afraid I would let it out of the bag to David.  But I managed to not spoil it and he was so surprised when I showed up at work.  The manager of the store had food and the best cupcakes I have ever tasted and she bought me flowers for being so supportive of David and his job for those years.

Gerbera Daisies which are some of my favorite flowers.

If David works another ten years, Ralph Lauren will fly him to New York for a celebration. I told him he was not going alone because I want to go to New York, too. We will both be close to or in our eighties by then, so let’s see if we make it!  I hope we do.

Speaking of birthdays.  Oh, I didn’t?  Well, David had a birthday this month.  We were going to go out to eat with some of our kids and grandchildren, but that was the weekend we had a big snowstorm so everyone stayed home. I baked him a cake and we had our own private celebration.

And we ate it all ourselves! Not all at once, of course.

The seed catalogs came right after Christmas and I have ordered some flower seeds. Found a new company I tried and this was on the outside of their package.

Kind of like I felt when I got the seeds.

It won’t be long before I will be planting these.  I got some more seeds in the mail yesterday that I will have to show you another time, because the packages are so pretty.

We are in the deep freeze now so I will be spending my day inside working on a quilt and knitting socks and baking bisquits.  Not a bad way to spend a day. I would be content to spend the rest of my days in such pastimes.

Hope you are keeping warm where you live.  If you live in the tropics, enjoy the warmth, too.  Have a happy day everyone. Bye.

A Star is Born

When our children were growing up, they all took lessons in music on one instrument or another.  One son played the bass, our oldest played the violin and cello and our daughter played violin and piano.  Because my one regret is that I refused to take piano lessons when they were offered to me, I wanted to make sure my children learned an instrument.

When one of my older brothers was taking piano, I taught myself his recital music and could play it as well as he.  In fact, I can still sit down at the piano and play it from memory.  I never did learn how to really play the piano and I have always been sorry about that.  But I’d hammer on the piano every day, probably driving my mother crazy hearing the same tune over and over.

Fast forward to today and now I have grandchildren who are musical.   This week we attended our grandson’s first recital.  I was really excited about it because I have always loved orchestra music.  I like it better than just about any other kind of music.  He just started to learn the cello this year.

Our daughter told us when to arrive. The recital was held at one of the high schools in the city.  When we drove there, we noticed there was a very long line of cars and I jokingly said they were probably all going to the recital.  To my and David’s surprise, they were!   We snaked along until we got to the school and could find no parking spaces. Our daughter neglected to tell us this recital was for every string class from every school in the county!    So, there were a lot of people there.  We finally found a spot to squeeze into and got inside where the bleachers were almost full. Our youngest grandson came and got us and showed us where we were to sit with our daughter and son-in-law.   We had pretty good seats.  Then the star of the show appeared.

At least to me he was the star of the show. I was so proud of him  And he’s growing up way too fast.

Don’t know if he was nervous or not, but I’m sure there were a few butterflies in his stomach.  It was so wonderful seeing that such a large number of young people are taking strings.

From fifth grade to seniors in high school were there to play their instruments.  There was excitement in the air. So many proud parents and grandparents to see their loved ones show their skills.

Our youngest grandson and he says he will be taking an instrument next year in school.  How did the baby of our family get this big?

When I took violin as an adult, I remember playing some of these songs.   I can read music and play a little on both violin and piano. Not good enough to do it in public.

So the elementary children played first.

So much concentration.  They sounded pretty good.

Then the continuing strings, still elementary children, played and they were just a little better.

The middle school children got up and gave a small gift to each elementary child in the orchestra and then they played and sounded just a bit better.

Then the high school children got up and gave a little gift to all the middle school children and then they played and they sounded wonderful. That is what practice, practice, practice and years of taking an instrument will do. Makes one a very good musician.  I just thought it was nice how the older ones were so encouraging to the younger ones.

The final number by the high school orchestra was the 1812 Overture.  Now I saw the big drums in the background and I knew the song was a battle song, but when the first beat on the drum was hit, I almost jumped out of my seat and let out a cry that made everyone sitting around me start to giggle. A man sitting in back of me leaned over and said, “That startled me, too.”   I was prepared when it happened again.  But it was all wonderful.  I enjoyed it so much.

I really hope our grandsons will love playing an instrument and continue with it.

We geared up for a big snowstorm this weekend, but so far all we have had is rain today.  I made beef vegetable soup. First time I have ever made it and it was soooo good.

It doesn’t look like there are any vegetables or beef in this, but it was full of carrots, green beans, potatoes and corn and crushed tomatoes. Yum.

It was delicious. Found the recipe on Allrecipes.com.

Hope the weather is good where you are. We are looking at ice and snow coming. Bye.

 

 

January is For the Birds

Here we are, almost in the middle of January already and it’s been a productive month for me quilt wise. Since Christmas I have pieced six small quilts and finished three of them, working on finishing a fourth and started a quilt that is being taught on a blog.

I am loving this little quilt from Kathleen Tracy’s book.   It’s almost folk art in its simplicity.

It’s not very big, but it packs a wallop color wise and will look cute as a table topper or a wall hanging.  It’s hung here by this….

This chicken toy I found at an antique store years ago.  Before I even had a thought about raising chickens. I guess I have always had chickens on my mind.

I did make a mistake on this quilt and it’s been fixed, but you can see it here if you know the pattern.   It was fun making this quilt and used very little material.

This is a pile of Bulls-eye blocks for the Bulls-eye quilt being taught over on the blog, Country Threads Chicken Scratch.  I am making a lap-sized quilt, but you can make it smaller or larger if you would want.  This is another quilt that is suppose to use up one’s stash, but it hasn’t made a dent in mine.

There are still a few steps to making the blocks so they won’t look anything like this when I am done.

While searching through my stashes and boxes, I found this book I bought eleven years ago. I know that because I  always write the date on the inside cover of a book when I get it.  I had high hopes of making a quilt from the book, but none has happened so far.  There is a lot of history about Louisa May Alcott in the book.

So then I had to hunt down this book….

Little Women, which was in my family’s library when I was a child and I am ashamed to say I have never read it. I have seen practically all the movie versions of it from when Katherine Hepburn played Jo, to June Allyson playing her and then Winona Ryder.  Then PBS is having Little Women on and have sexed it up a little bit more than I like. Why do modern movie producers feel the need to do that in so many movies?   We really don’t need to see the sisters in their skivvies, do we?  Even though Miss Alcott was a women’s rights advocate, I think she would be shocked to see her girls parading around in their underwear.  Anyway, I really must read this book sometime.    I remember it when I was growing up and looking at the pictures in it.

I guess because I had seen the movie I didn’t think I needed to read the book, but if it’s always true for me, the book is much better than the movie.  The only book I have ever read that I thought the movie was as good was Gone With the Wind, even though a whole lot of things were left out of the movie such as Scarlette  had more children than Bonnie Blue.

We finally had snow this weekend. We’ve been having almost Spring like temperatures for a while, but this is our normal usually in January.  David went from cleaning the pool…

to building a fire.

And because of all the snow, the birds must be fed.  They go through a lot of feed. We just bought two more forty pound bags of bird seed and hope it lasts the rest of the month, but I’m not betting on it.

I counted twelve cardinals at the feeder yesterday and today I barely got the feed in the feeder when two cardinals  flew above my head.

Birds wait in the trees like airplanes on a tarmac and drop down when it’s their turn.

I love seeing the cardinals against the new fallen snow. So pretty.  I was worried about the birds this year.  A businessman bought the property right next door to us and cut down all the trees. Almost every last one. The only one left was the one right by my shop and I asked him not to cut it down as it was mostly on our property.  I still worry about it.  He did leave a few bushes for the birds to alight in and I am planning to plant some more trees this Spring.  I was worried that all the birds would go away, but so far, we have more than ever, it seems.  They have all moved over to our property where they know there are people who love trees and bushes and birds and squirrels.

This is my one lone tree. A maple. I hope it will grow big and strong and lovely. You can see the barren field next door where the travesty took place.

There use to be trees all long the property line. They had to come down because of “liability” concerns.  I was very sad about it all, but I will be planting more trees on my property.

Sadly, in our travels, I am seeing more and more of this destruction of trees and meadows across our country due to “progress,” where whole forests are cut down and burned and housing developments and businesses sprout up like weeds and a blight on the countryside.  I know people have to have somewhere to live and work, but the wanton destruction of forests and farmland is very disturbing. It cannot be replaced and in newer developments, they are even told what kind of trees they can plant, so there is no diversity and that’s what I thought government and businesses were all about. You can drive from one city to the next and see the same kinds of houses and business and everything looks generic.   I call some of these developments, Taupevilles, because all the houses are the same color.   I’d love to see just one red house in  them just to stop the boredom.  As you can read, I am very passionate about this. We cannot lose all our forests and farmland to development.

Just a picture of my work area in the house while I watch tv or listen to the radio.

All the yarns laid out to inspire me.  Oh, and laundry that is less inspiring!

A devotional book to feed me spiritually.

And new lipsticks from Color My World. I love these lipsticks. They seem to last forever and they come in the cutest tubes.

Now that I have stepped gingerly off my soapbox, I will leave you with a good cup of coffee.  Starbucks has nothing on my coffee.

Bye.

 

Changing the Calendar

I always get a new calendar or two or three for Christmas. This year I just got one, so I ordered another one for the bathroom downstairs because you always need to look at a calendar while you are seated on the throne!

Before I hang a calendar, I write all the important dates to remember throughout the year, birth dates, anniversaries, etc., and it’s always fun to look at all the things I did throughout the year because I write all doctor, dentist, and hair stylists appointments and mark off vacation days and other special days like events at our grandchildren’s schools.  It was a busy year last year.  January already has a date saved to attend our grandson’s first recital.

He is learning to play the cello and will be performing with his group.  Our children all took some form of strings and our daughter took piano for years.  I think it’s important for children to learn some kind of instrument because even after they are grown they can play it if they so choose.

If this year goes as rapidly as last year, I may as well turn the page to December 2019 right now because that is how fast it seemed  the year flew by.  I guess it’s better than it dragging out forever and wishing time would speed up.  It’s all relevant.  Depends on what you are doing or what you are waiting for. Remember when you were a kid and were waiting for Christmas and it seemed like it took forever for it to get here?   Now it comes way too fast for me and I’m never ready and then it’s over and I wish the time had gone a little more slowly.

Have to show you some pictures from Christmas of my very favorite present.

It’s the rooster from the movie Moana.  He clucks and crows and I love him.

He has made friends with my skeleton Halloween dog.  The rooster crows and the dog talks back.  Yes, the dog talks.  I’ve had him for years and I get him out every Halloween.   I will bequeath him to one of my grandchildren one day. Ha.

The dog says things like, “Bring me a bone, I’m hungry,” and “I’m thirsty.  Water runs right through me.”  He’s been the cause of many laughs through the years and now he has a companion.

Another thing I gifted myself this year because I thought it was so cute was this little camper.

It goes very well with the truck I have had for a few years.

Makes me think of a dream of mine to get in a  truck with a camper behind and travel the United States and Canada.

May never happen, but I can dream.

Now David and I are sitting on the couch counting down the hours until the new year. I even dressed for the occasion. I am wearing pearls and perfume and my pajamas.  All ready for the big night!

We even have a small bag of cashews each and some peanut butter crackers to share. We really know how to celebrate!  One year we actually dressed up and went to a hotel in Indianapolis where there was a big New Year’s party with bands, dancing and gambling tables and food and at midnight they dropped hundreds of balloons from the ceiling which was fun. Then in the morning they had a breakfast buffet for all the party goers with everything you could think of to eat including  sushi, which I tried for the first time and didn’t like all that well.

But we are going low key this year which is fine with me.  It’s raining out and our house is warm and cozy.   So if you are celebrating at home, whether alone or with several, put on your pearls and perfume and enjoy the evening.

I wish you all a very blessed and joyful, peaceful New Year’s.  I wish you health and happiness and all that life can offer you that is good.  Happy New Year!  Bye.

 

 

 

All is Calm, All is Bright

Listen, the children have gone.  All is calm.  The packages have all been unwrapped and the pretty paper is now just trash in the trash can.  The food has been eaten and the leftovers await us for the rest of the week until some of it turns green. The floors need swept, but loved ones did the dishes for me. Thank you. Thank you.

The time after Christmas is always a strange time for me. I told David that it felt like I have been holding my breath since about October and now I can finally let it out.   I think about Christmas all year long, looking for gifts I hope will mean something to the giftee.   But for this next week I hope to just rest and relax and reflect on the past year, thankful we all got through it with our lives and can say things were pretty good for most of us.  I belong to this group on Facebook that is all about quilting and, believe me, I have got some awesome ideas for quilts I want to make in the coming year.  I am taking part in a couple of quilt block quiltalongs, something I have never done before and am looking forward to with a lot of excitement.

In the coming year I hope to get another puppy and maybe a kitten.  We have some more renovations to our old house planned which includes the screened in porch our contractor didn’t have time for this Fall.   We have no trips planned, but that does not mean we won’t fit one in somewhere during the year.   It’s fun to make plans although I have learned the hard way that most plans never happen as you planned.

The calm after Christmas is a welcome time for me since I have been going at top speed for weeks now.  Add the multiple trips we have made to Indianapolis and my time in the hospital, it’s been a very stressful and tiring time.  But now, I breathe a sigh of relief and look toward 2019 with faith that things will be well for my family and myself.   I’m thankful for my faith in God and what He has done for me this year.  My prayers are that every person reading this blog is blessed by God in the coming year with health, happiness and peace.   Wouldn’t the world be wonderful if everyone was blessed in that way?

The days will continue to get brighter now that Winter solstice has passed.  I look forward to longer, brighter days and before we all know it, Winter will be past and we will be enjoying another Spring. Here in Indiana we are having balmy weather now.  In the fifties maybe this week!

I hope this Christmas was a blessing to you.  Bye.

 

Nostalgia at the Craig House

Every year when Christmas comes around I grow nostalgic remembering Christmases past. I have been so blessed all my life in having Christmases that were filled with family, love and fun.

When I was growing up, besides Summer, Christmas was my very favorite time of year.  From the start of a new school year until the big day, I was always looking forward to it, planning for it, thinking about what I would get under the tree, practicing Christmas songs for the school program or church program.  When Ruth Lyons . who was the host of  the 50-50 Club, a tv show out of Cincinnati, began to sing how many days there were until Christmas, I knew the Christmas season had really begun.   My family would make the trip to the city to Veach’s, a toy and department store that sold everything you could think of. Down in its basement were all the toys and it was packed from floor to ceiling with all things that make children’s hearts sing.  I had my eye on a blue Schwinn bicycle one year.  I had learned to ride a bike the previous Summer on my brother’s bicycle so I was ready to get one of my own.

As I was scrolling through family photos for this post about Christmas I got tears in my eyes remembering all the people who are gone, families that have broken apart, children who have grown up and moved away.  Remember that scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Chevy Chase’s character gets locked in the attic and he finds an old projector and watches old movies and cries? That was me, looking at these old pictures. Everyone looks so young in them.   Sad music should have been playing in the background as I looked at picture after picture.  But all I could think was, “we sure have been blessed.”

So without further ado, here are some pictures of Christmases past at our house.

We always had a lot of gifts under the tree.   I loved shopping back then.

Our two boys, nineteen months apart.  They were always so excited about Christmas. too.

Our daughter. She must have been very happy with her present.

 

The boys watching with interest what I was unwrapping.  Not a very pretty pose. Notice the playpen my foot is on. Do people use those anymore?  It was like a cage for your kid when you wanted to keep them out of things.

I made both of our outfits that year.

I made both my boys’ outfits, too.

I went through a gingerbread house making kick for a while. I use to bake and bake before Christmas. This year, one batch of cookies.  Everyone is on a diet of some kind.

Yes, I made these outfits also. My poor boys had to wear a lot of clothes that I made.  I didn’t make quilts back then.

I really must have shopped a lot that year!

One year we went to the Virgin Islands. David’s mother ran a guest house down there and we spent Christmas with her.  It seemed very strange to be where it was so warm at Christmas.

Here was David and our daughter with her cousins looking on as she opened a present.

We spent days at the beach in the middle of the Winter.

This was the view from David’s mother’s house.  Not bad.

The years have flown by so quickly.

My mother and daddy loved Christmas.  When all us kids were grown, we met at their house on Christmas Eve every year and gave each other gifts.

Mom opening a gift while two of her grandsons looked on.

My daddy loved having us all together. Behind him is my oldest brother, Jack, who passed away many years ago.  I still miss him and can’t wait to see him again.  He was in college before I even started school.   If you could see his senior picture, he looked like a young Clark Gable without the moustache. Jack was a very handsome man. And a kind man. I’m so glad he was my brother.

Daddy’s sister, my Aunt Ruth is behind Daddy. She never married and lived with her parents until both of them died and then she came and lived with us. Family took care of each other back then.   If one didn’t have a home, they were taken in by family.  My parents took care of my daddy’s father in his last days, my mother’s mother until she had to go into a nursing home because mom could not lift her any longer and Aunt Ruth.  Aunt Ruth was a very sweet lady and she always dressed so nicely and smelled so good.  I don’t know what kind of perfume she wore, but I always loved it.  She lived with us almost all through my childhood and after I married and left home.  I’ll always think my brother became the reader and excellent student he became because Aunt Ruth spent hours reading him storybooks.  The same ones, over and over again.

These final pictures are how I remember Christmas the best.

The looks of sheer delight on our children’s faces as they came downstairs Christmas morning.

It was always the same year after year.

Even when one was suffering from an earache, he was still excited Christmas morning.

And remembering David’s grandmother who was always so kind to me and really loved our children.  The feeling was mutual.

A big green machine and a new bicycle one year.  We lived on a big hill right beside a park with a lake.  You can see the lake behind the boys through the trees.  I really loved living there and cried so much when we had to move.

Family. It’s what Christmas means to me. From that precious family in the stable on that first Christmas, down through the centuries to my little family and now on to theirs and on and on.  But Christmas will always be about one thing to me. Love. Merry Christmas. Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cluck, Cluck, Quilt.

I haven’t talked about my chickens for a while so here’s some pictures of my girls. It was a sunny day and they greeted me as they always do by the garden gate.

Loved the way the shadows played on their feathers.

Miss Mary Foster, my little crippled hen, but she doesn’t know that.  She lays one egg almost every day.

“Where’s the chicken crack?”

I have two Buff Orpingtons. They are so pretty and good egg layers also.

Every time I go to Rural King, I look at the baby chickens if they have them.  My flock is down to nine birds from twelve so I really can’t add many more until some of them go to, ahem, chicken heaven.    We won’t talk about that, though, especially around the ladies.   Having chickens is just so much fun for me and I can’t see a future without them.  I have to hire a pet sitter for them when we go away just like for the dogs.

Just had to share these pictures of Molly Marshmallow sitting out in her chair nodding off to sleep.

She almost fell off the chair and I was laughing at her as I took her pictures.

My pets give me endless joy.

I told you in my last post I was doing a mystery block quilt and I finally got it done.  In fact, I got several done.   Kathleen Tracy shared this pattern on her Facebook page so if you want to make one of these quilts, go to her group under files and find the pattern. It’s really simple, something I needed right now and yet I ended up with a very cute quilt.  Here are mine….

This was the first one I made.  I bought the ticking at an antique store and the floral fabric I originally bought years ago to make an apron, but decided I’d rather put it in quilts as I have a lot of aprons already.

Then I decided to make a Christmas themed one…

And then another vintage looking one…

And material for yet another one, which I already have all cut out…

These little quilts are almost addictive. They are quick to make and now I have a good start on next year’s Christmas!

I bought this book of Kathleen Tracy’s a while back and have made a few small quilts from it.

I made the quilt that is on the cover. Don’t have it quilted yet, but think this one will be hand quilted.

Here it is hanging behind my cardio-glide which I use once in a while for exercise.

I have my quilting mojo back. It kind of got lost in my sock knitting craze. I still knit a little every single day and everyone got or is getting socks if they want them for Christmas. I just hung them up on the fireplace mantle and let people pick a pair they want.

You can just see the socks on the mantle at the right.

We had one Christmas gathering with family already last Saturday night.   We had a good time together, although one of my grandsons was not feeling well. They found out this week he has abcesses in his colon and is on antibiotics for it now.   He was really sick for a few days.   Anyway, I gave him and his older brother each a pair of these socks.(warning to all Trump haters, don’t look!)

There is a company called John’s Crazy Socks. This man has a son with Down’s Syndrome and they started a company together and sell all kinds of socks and I found these and knew I had to buy them.

Along with the socks, I got a thank you note from John and a small bag of Skittles.  Kind of a nice touch for a company.

Anyway, the socks were a hit.

Put on and modeled. The socks come with a little comb to  comb President Trump’s hair.

Went out yesterday and saw these flowers blooming.

Honeysuckle. Confused because we have had such warm temperatures the past few days.  It won’t last, but it’s been nice.

Before we know it, it will be Spring. Someone said only about ninety-five days away which will fly by like it all does now.

Another project that I have become obsessed with.  Making twine.  I got the directions from this magazine which I love.

They call it ribbon in the magazine, but I call it twine.  It’s great for decorating packages, but I also think I will use it to tie up plants on stakes and maybe use as shoelaces.   Here’s how much twine I’ve made so far.

It’s really fun to make and is so pretty.   And last, but not least, another quilt I plan to make after Christmas, if not before…..

I’m done making large quilts for a while although I do have a few UFO’s I do need to finish.  Looks like a busy year ahead for quilting.

This was David’s and my very first Christmas tree the first year we were married. We went out in the woods and cut it down. I didn’t have a lot of ornaments then, but I loved our first tree and our first tiny house.  You see those tiny houses on tv now. Well, we lived in a tiny house with three tiny rooms and  I had to shower in the basement under an open shower head, no bathroom down there.    We didn’t live there long, but I have such happy memories of it.

Feeling nostalgic?  My next post will be about Christmases past.   Bye.

 

 

Enjoying the Days

I can’t tell you how wonderful the last several days have been. First of all, it’s just so absolutely marvelous to feel healthy again.  I’m not sure I had felt healthy for a long time, but I thought it was my new normal. Age and all, you know.  But I kept wondering how I went from walking five miles a day to barely being able to walk across the yard without getting winded.  Who would have thought it was the medicine I had been taking for years?  I’m telling you, be very careful the chemicals you put in your body even when the doctor prescribes them, because sometimes they do more harm than good.  David even says it’s nice to hear me whistling and singing around the house again.  Had I stopped?  I hadn’t noticed.   I was just trying to get through each day and get things accomplished that I was able.

So, this week, for the first time in I don’t know how long, I sewed on quilt blocks in my shop all day and never felt tired once.  There is a mystery quilt I am working on that I will tell you about later when I get some pictures. I have never taken part in a mystery block quilt before, but this one sounded like fun and I kept seeing pictures of the blocks ladies were making all over the world and I thought I should get in on all the fun and it has been fun.   Can’t wait to see how the quilt will turn out. I’ve been so enthusiastic about it, I am making four different quilts with the patterns we are given.

I know I’ve been talking about health issues a lot lately, but once again a family member was hit with a health problem. One of our grandsons was having stomach cramps and was passing blood and was taken to the hospital this week.  Quite a scare, but he is getting better. The doctor believes it is E coli and says it will have to run its course. Seems E coli and Salmonella are appearing a lot in our food and I have a theory on why that I won’t get into here, but people who are working with our food are not being very clean about it.   I love Romaine lettuce and I did eat it before we took our vacation in November.  I do wonder if part of my being sick was because I had eaten it.  We will never know.

We are having our first Christmas family get together this Saturday so I will be baking and cooking up a storm starting tomorrow. Baking rolls, making potato salad, baking a chocolate cake so we can celebrate all the birthdays in December(we have four.)  I want to try cornbread dressing sometime and am looking for a good recipe for it.  Also I always have to have scalloped oysters at least once during the holiday season.  I love scalloped oysters and I even love eating it cold.  I see so many delicious looking recipes on Facebook and I want to try them all.  Do you have a favorite food that you have to have during the holiday season?

I get nostalgic thinking about past Christmases when our children were young. Christmas is always so much fun when children are around. Our grandchildren are growing up faster than our children did, it seems, but they all still love coming to Grandpa’s and Grandma’s for Christmas and we love having them.   Having family gathered around is such a blessing.  I remember going to my grandparents’ house Christmas Day and it was always fun, seeing the cousins, eating Grandpa’s homemade popcorn balls and getting fifty cents from Grandpa(yes, fifty cents, I’m that old I thought it was a lot of money.)  If there was snow, it was even better and if somebody got a new sled it was wonderful.  We still have a sled our children used when they were young.     I would love to slide down a snowy hill again and feel the wind in my face.  Maybe I might try that this winter.

I’m sitting here on a rainy night, the Christmas tree lit, the fire in the fireplace, candles burning feeling warm, safe, and happy and thinking about the days ahead with joy.   I’ll be writing one last post before Christmas I am sure, but in case I don’t, Merry Christmas and may the day be a blessing whether it’s with a crowd or only one remembering the One we celebrate, whose birth over 2,000 years ago changed the world , and  showed we can all be united in love if we so choose.  Bye.