Category Archives: Knitting

Through the Shadow and Back Again

Here I am at last with something to tell you about some of my health issues.  I feel like I took a slight detour with my life the last few weeks.

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It wasn’t a detour I chose to take and it was rather worrisome despite all the prayers going up for me, but think I am on the other side.  Knowing that millions of people suffer diseases all over the world much worse than anything I have ever experienced,  I feel rather silly even discussing what was going on with me.  As you read in my past post, I had a heart scare.  A scare caused by something an ER doctor told me.   I have had more pictures taken of my heart than I had taken of me during my wedding!  My heart has been very photogenic the last few weeks!

I have spent weeks thinking I might have to have surgery or a stent or something done to my heart.  Well, today was my visit to the cardiologist who pretty much told me my heart was in excellent condition, my arteries were clear, my heartbeat was strong and my lungs sounded great.  Sooooo.  All that worrying for nothing.  I still have the winded feeling so don’t know why that is continuing.  The Dr. told me to start a walking regimen.  So that is what I will do.  Plus she took me off one of my meds and halved another one.  The fewer meds I have to take, the better, I always say.  No more water pills that made me, well, make more trips to the bathroom than I would like.

Speaking of bathrooms, this arrived on our front porch this week.

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The top for our bathroom cabinet.  Finally.  Today our contractor came with his helpers and a plumber and they finished my bathroom.  So happy I can brush my teeth and wash my hands in our brand new sink.  Now I have some decorating to do.  When I get it all done, I will show you. I ordered a picture today to hang on a wall above the bathtub.  I think you will think it’s appropriate when you see it.

To keep my mind busy, I kept knitting socks.  I’m getting quite a pile of them.

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And finishing this pair.

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My grandson told me he wants to learn to knit so sometime this Summer I am going to teach him.   He wants to knit socks too!

I have been adding to my stash of yarn just like I use to do with fabric.  Honestly, I have not been near a sewing machine for months except to repair some things.

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Self striping yarn. It’s like a box of chocolates.  I don’t know which one to take out first.

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This brown and tan looks so yummy.

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Then there is this yarn.  Varigated and oh, so pretty.   I have a lot of socks planned.

Our garden is blooming  and we added more lilies to it this year. There is a place called New Creation Lilies that is in southern Indiana and they have fields of beautiful lilies.  We went down there the other day.  It was pouring rain and I almost told David to turn around and go back home because I didn’t want to make the people have to go out in the rain to dig our lilies.  You go out in the field and write down the lilies’ names you want and they dig them on the spot.  It let up raining a little so we continued on.  We walked around the fields under umbrellas. It was buy four get one free day and I very quickly picked five lilies as the rain was getting stronger again.  We sat in a barn and were kept company by an old black lab while our lilies were being dug.  Chickens walked around free range around us.  It was such a neat atmosphere.  I could have stayed there all day.  I hope to go back next year on a sunny day.

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I actually got these lilies at a little grocery store.  I have divided these a few times and have them all over our garden.

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Phlox.

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Hollyhocks and larkspur.  I don’t know what that bush is called behind the larkspur.

We sat out on our back porch the other day enjoying the garden and decided to start planning a little trip we want to take for our 49th wedding anniversary.

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We got the atlas out and started dreaming.  We have been in almost all the states except Hawaii and it’s becoming harder to decide where we want to go. Next year for our 50th anniversary we are planning a long trip, but don’t know where yet and we are going to Walt Disney World with our oldest son, his girl friend and our daughter and her husband and family for nine days.  It’s going to be a busy year and we are planning now.   I’ve always thought part of the fun of taking a trip is in the planning.

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We may just go where the wind blows us.  Who knows.

I want to thank all of you who said a prayer for me during my health scare.  I believe your prayers were answered and for that I am very grateful to you and to God.

Here’s to good health, trip planning and lily fields.  Bye.

Good-bye March or The Day Before April

      The Day Before April

         The day before April

Alone, alone.

I walked in the woods

And sat on a stone.

I sat on a broad stone

And sang to the birds.

The tune was God’s making

But I made the words.

Mary Carolyn Davies

  I found this little poem in a really old, well loved poetry book for children I have had since childhood.  I think it belonged to my mother when she was a girl or maybe even her mother.  The pages are all torn, it has no cover any longer, but I remember reading this and reading this when I was a girl.  I memorized James Whitcomb Riley’s “Little Orhant Annie” from this book.  Yes, it was spelled Orphant.   I guard it with my life as I love this book.  Who knows what will happen to it when I die, but I hope it ends up in the hands of some child who will love it as much as I have.

March is almost over.  It’s gone as quickly as all the other months go.  Like a whisper or a breath and it’s gone.  So many people I know had birthdays this month. A great month to be born, I’d say.   So many celebrations of life.   Because isn’t it great to be born and live in this life?  No matter the trouble, the problems, the fears, the worries, there is still so much to be thankful for and so many beautiful things in this world that we should not dwell on those things which worry us or make us angry.  Life is too short.  I see young people so immersed in anger and rebellion when they could be accomplishing so many wonderful things.

Yes, the month has been busy.  Here are some of the things that have caught my attention or my eye.

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The weeping cherry in our front yard. We can sit on our porch and look at it.

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Glorious flowers. The daffodils came early this year and are prolific.

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The chicks are growing and some of them can fly up to their roost now.  This is either Linda or Marilyn.  

 

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This is little Mary Foster. She has a hurt leg and I am wondering if I am going to have to nurse her like I did the Rhode Island Red I did a few years ago, giving her spa baths and laying her out in the sun.  We shall see, but she is so cute.

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This is little Shannon the smallest of the peeps.  David and I are wondering if she got in the wrong group of chicks at the store as we thought she was a Buff  Orpington, but she is not colored like our other Buffs are.  Hmmmmm.  Did something strange happen in the chicken house?

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Molly is enjoying the Spring weather playing with her toys.  This is filled with treats and she is not letting ANYONE have it.

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I made a quilt for a little baby’s first birthday.

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Each square has a different picture in it of children and kittens.

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I hope Annalea gets a lot of use out of it and keeps her warm.   Isn’t Annalea a pretty name?

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Years ago when we had a quilt shop, we sold this book.  I have made several quilts from my copy.

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This was the company and these were the women who ran it.

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The one on the right lives on a farm in Iowa and she use to run their quilt shop out of an old chicken coop on her farm. I went there once and it was the cutest shop.  I met Mary and she was so nice and friendly.   I read her blog now.   It’s called, Country Threads Chicken Scratch.  She raises a lot of animals and dog sits for people.   Go there and see some of her quilt projects.

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One year I made this particular quilt, but instead of squares between the chickens, I made fried eggs and put them on the quilt. Out of fabric, of course!   I took it to the county fair and got a blue ribbon on it.  I will show it to you next time if I can dig it out of my pile of quilts.  Or should I say, piles of quilts.

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I have always wanted to make this quilt. It’s called Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Or do without.  I like the idea of it and when I make it, I will add some things I cannot do without.

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My first pair of socks developed holes on the heels so I knitted up some patches and sewed them on. Now I think they would be cute if I put patches all over them.  In all different colors.

Of course I am still knitting socks when I should be doing something else.

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I will have a pile of them by next Christmas. Watch out, grandboys. You will get socks next Christmas whether you want them or not!

The garden has been tilled and the pool is being readied for the grand Easter splash down. It may only be fifty degrees, but I can tell you right now someone will go into the pool that day.

Hope your March was wonderful. See you in April.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

Folding, Folding

I live such an exciting life.  I sometimes can’t stand myself it’s so exciting.   My heart rate gets up to almost 70 beats a minute most days, my life is so exciting.   Here is what has been going on that is so exciting in my world.

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Of course, socks.  I am having entirely too much fun knitting up little socks for little boys in leftover yarn from other sock projects.    These knit together so quickly.  I am still astounded  I can actually knit socks now. Exciting.

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Train watching.  They are working on the tracks in front of our house. See that big pile of gravel?  They dumped several loads of gravel to put on the tracks.

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David and I spent some time sitting on our front porch watching them dump these three carloads of gravel. Exciting.   In another year there is going to be up to twenty trains a day going by our house.  They are trying to fix the rails and crossings to get ready for the heavy train traffic.  Molly howls every time a train goes by.  She will be howling every hour on the hour once the train traffic picks up.  Fun times. Not so exciting.

Did I say something about porch sitting?

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We spent some time porch sitting with our grandchildren.

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Some of us are porch layers.  But that’s okay.

I know there is an honorary Porch Sitting Society somewhere out there in the world, but David and I have formed our own private Porch Sitting Society with David as president and myself as vice president. Membership is open to any friend or family member who wants to join us on our porch.  People who like to sit and watch the world go by. Conversation not mandatory, but welcome. We had our first meeting last week. Some friends brought pizza, but it was too chilly to eat out on the porch so we ate inside, but we still called it the Porch Society meeting!  We plan to have them all Spring, Summer and Fall.  Exciting.

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Baking. I love to bake.  David enjoyed this pineapple upside down cake.  I don’t like it  so he had it pretty much to himself. I had made a chocolate chip applesauce cake last weekend, but we had grandsons over and it didn’t last long and I made another one today for a funeral dinner.  I still don’t have any cake to eat.  Exciting.  Not the funeral so much.

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Watching sunsets. I have noticed several people have posted beautiful sunsets on Facebook recently.  We have had some gorgeous ones.   If you never look out and see a sunset or sunrise, you are really missing something. Exciting.  God’s wonderful creation for all to see. No charge.

And last, but certainly not least, I have been in a cleaning mood lately. Early Spring fever I think since the weather has been Spring like the last week or so. My shop has been neglected and with the dogs spending so much time in it this winter, it just needed a good cleaning.  I also want to paint it sometime this year so I started removing fabric from the shelves, taking it off the boards and washing and ironing it all.

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I’ve been working on it for a couple of days.  Ironing for hours.  I don’t mind ironing, but not so much at a time.  Finally finished it all today.  I have been watching Victoria on PBS the past few weeks and got to wondering about who had to iron all those yards and yards of fabric that were in those Victorian ladies’ dresses.  The Queen had her own laundresses and ironers, I am sure, but the common folk had to do their own ironing.  No dry cleaners back then.  No wash and wear.  Mostly cottons, silks and linens.   It would be like me ironing yards of fabric all the time.  Folded and folded fabric until my arms ached.  But, it’s done now and I am excited about it.

  Talked to our contractor today about replacing the rest of our windows in our house. We have been doing that for years now, it seems, because there are so many windows in this old house. Only four more to go. We also are gutting the upstairs bathroom that hasn’t been remodeled since the 1950’s and putting in new dry wall, tile,  toilet, a new cabinet, sink and faucets. I’m not looking forward to the mess, but am excited at finally getting it done.  The last room in our house to be remodeled.  Thirty-nine years of working on this old house.   Exciting.  

Hope your life is as exciting as mine.  Bye.

 

 

Winter Wonder?

Well, the blizzard I was hoping would hit us in January never appeared. In fact, we had the warmest January in years and February is turning out to be warm also. Today it was 67 degrees out.  It smelled like  Spring.  We sat on our front porch and watched the  Sandhill cranes flying above us heading toward Camp Atterbury where they will rest.  They have a distinctive call as they fly and David heard them before we saw them. Trill your tongue against the roof of your mouth and that is  kind of what they sound like.  We saw two flocks today, but there will be several more.

I wanted January to last for a long time. It seems it’s the only month we are not super busy. A time to get things done inside before Spring.  I have knitted three pairs of sock, made one quilt and completed another since Christmas.  I also made a couple of new pillows last week from some leftover patchwork fabric I found.

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I’ve been working on this quilt for a while and was so happy to get it completed. All machine quilted.

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I used a lot of different fabrics in this quilt which gives it an old fashioned look which I was aiming for.

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These are the two pillows I made this week.  They are big and fat and comfy to lay your head upon.

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These are socks I knit for David. No, they do not match exactly because this yarn did not have a repeating stripe, but he likes them. He has to wear blue jeans and navy shirts to work at Ralph Lauren so these socks will go with his outfit.

I also knit a couple of other pair, but since they might be gifts one day, I can’t show them now.

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Oh, I forgot I made this pillow also. It came in a kit for a small wall hanging, but I wanted a pillow out of it.  I really love it.  It was so much fun to make and I’m thinking an entire quilt made with this pattern would be cute.

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We have missed sitting on our porch and when the weather is even halfway decent we sit outside and watch the world go by.  Even when we have to bundle up.

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But, as I wrote, our temperatures have been such that we sat out in our shirtsleeves today and were quite comfortable.

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The skies have been so blue. You can see the Snow Moon peeking between the branches of this tree. Last night it was full and so bright. They say we had a lunar eclipse which we missed and a comet was supposed to pass close to earth. We didn’t see that either.  I saw the moon early this morning from our bedroom window and it was so beautiful. There is something about a full moon that lifts my spirits, know that there is a God and makes me feel at one with Him.   He set the moon to guard the night, lift the tides and light our way.

Speaking of lighting my way, this dog does it for me every day.  She is so sweet and makes me laugh just to see her.

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The sun was shining on her this particular day and she looked absolutely beautiful.  A shiny coat, a broad chest and that little white patch.  OOOOh, she is so cute.  David has been working with her as she likes to bite his feet so I told him to keep treats with him and when she starts to bite his shoe, stop, tell her to sit and then give her a treat. He also has been playing fetch with her and she seems to be breaking the habit of biting on him.  He has been sorely tested by this dog I will have to admit. She has been slightly more rambunctious than any of our other dogs have been.   She has the sweetness of a Labrador, but the playfulness of a Boxer and sometimes the two don’t mix well.   We think she is more Boxer than Labrador.

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But how can you be angry with her when she has chewed up one more thing, when you look out and see her with her chin on her chair fast asleep?  Kind of like naughty children. They look so sweet when they are asleep!

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Sent out a few Valentine’s Day cards.  I like sending them better than Christmas cards because people don’t really expect to get them.

Can’t believe February is almost half over already. This year is speeding along.  One season following the other in quick succession.   Hope your year is going well. Happy Valentine’s Day.  Bye.

 

Quiltin’ and Knittin’

This last week has been a productive week for me. I had all kinds of energy and put it to good use.   I made an entire quilt for Valentine’s Day.   I haven’t been quilting much since I discovered the joy of knitting socks.  I have become as much a yarn fanatic as I am a fabric fanatic.   I just received more yarn a few days ago and already have two pairs of socks almost knitted.

But, back to my quilt.  I have many old quilt magazines and I enjoy looking through them on occasion and a quilt caught my eye that I was sure I wanted to make.

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It came from this magazine.

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And this is how long I have had this magazine!

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And this is the finished quilt.  I love it.  I just put the last stitches on the sleeve on its back so that I can hang it.

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I dipped into my stash of red and pink fabric and I love how each heart turned out.

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And this is the backing. I can’t remember where I got this fabric, but it was probably in some western state with all the little cowboys and cowgirls on it.

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Very vintage looking.  This was an easy quilt to make and I got it finished quickly, which I loved.

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You corralled my heart.  Love it.  Looks like a Valentine I might have received when I was a school girl.

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It took a lot of pins to pin it together, but nothing like a king size quilt takes which takes hundreds and I have to crawl around on my hands and knees on the floor to pin it.  I have asked(begged) David to build me an extra big table for my shop on which  I could lay a king sized quilt to be pinned.    He says he will do it this Summer.   I am planning on doing some remodeling in my shop, painting and moving things, so Summer would be a good time to get a new table.

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Since I was in my shop and had some extra squares laying around I made a couple of pin cushions since mine are looking a little raggedy.

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Looks like a porcupine, doesn’t it?  And speaking of animals.  We had crescent rolls for dinner last night and one looked very much like an animal.

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Does anyone see a walrus in this, or is it just me?

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I love this yarn so much.  Whoever gets this pair of socks, I want to borrow them! Ha!

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Using up some of my yarn, I have knitted some patchwork socks.  These look a little wonky right now because I haven’t blocked them, but I do love how they turned out. Notice, I say, “love” a lot.  We kids use to say to each other in school, “Well, if you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?”    Yes, we did say that to each other.   I still say it once in a while.

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We(David) finished the puzzle. I liked working on the colored pieces, but when we got to the white pieces I left them all to David. He’s like a little dog with a bone when he has a project like this to complete. He would sit at this for hours looking for pieces. Kept him out of trouble.  I must find another puzzle to do.

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From Maine lobsters, which, by the way, true story,  I never ate one lobster in Maine when we were there.  Something I have always regretted.  Maybe if we drive to Nova Scotia like we want to, we will go through Maine again and I will eat lobster.

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To the Golden Gate bridge, which we have driven over. It really is a beautiful sight.

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Michigan cherries.  If you ever get the chance to be in Traverse City during the cherry festival, do it.  It is so much fun.  David and I honeymooned in Traverse City during the festival.  Got stopped by a policeman for running a red light.  Ate a lot of Burger Chef hamburgers. Anyone remember Burger Chef?   The Burger Chef in Traverse City had hamburger buns that tasted like homemade and we ate them every, single day while there.  There were some awesome French fries at the festival, too.  We watched otters play in the downtown zoo.  I doubt it is still there.  We have a road named after our family in Traverse City. Craig Road.  At one time only Craigs lived on it, but I don’t think that’s the case now.  We slept on David’s uncle’s boat one night and watched fireworks on the bay.  I have very fond memories of Michigan, and Traverse City especially.

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Mount Rushmore.  We have been there a couple of times. The last time we were there they had a special program for veterans and asked all the veterans to come up on stage.  I was so proud to see David up there as they sang patriotic songs.   Love Mount Rushmore.

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Texas blue bonnets.  We were in Texas, Fredericksburg, a little over a year ago.  The blue bonnets weren’t blooming then, but I think it would be a sight to see. While in Fredericksburg at Wildseed  Farms I bought this poster.

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It has a lot of different butterflies on it.  I am going to Hobby Lobby this week and see if I can get it framed.  I’ve been moving it around and worry that it will get torn or damaged.  I have a wall just waiting for it.

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The puzzle even had a rooster on it.  Chickens seem to follow me everywhere. Speaking of chickens, a friend came up to me in church last Sunday with a big bag and handed it to me and said, “Enjoy.”    I was so excited, I looked inside and there was a box and I ripped it open and here is what was inside.

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A chicken night light. OMIGOSH!!!!  I love it.  It now has a place of honor in my kitchen where I can see it every single day. Thank you, Nancy.  It was so sweet of you.  It looks reddish in this picture, but it is more yellow.

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I bought this kit years ago and came across it a few weeks ago.

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I am working on it. It’s supposed to be a wall hanging, but I am going to make a pillow.  I will show it to you after it is done.

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We have been having a few Spring like days.  The ground smells like Spring and the buds look ready to burst, which I hope they don’t do as we will have more freezing temperatures.  This is a bud on a little lilac bush.

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A bud on one on my magnolia trees.  I just planted this one last Spring. We have an older one that was planted before we built our new porch.

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It will have lots of blossoms on it this Spring.   One year when our oldest son was in kindergarten, the school had a science fair, so I took him outside and we collected branches from different flowering bushes and shrubs and put them in jars of water to watch them burst into bloom. Our son showed all these branches at the science fair and got a blue ribbon.

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There are still some green plants in my garden that will stay green all winter, but don’t ask me what this is right now. I’ll tell you when it blooms.

Now I am going to tell you a deep, dark secret about myself.  Since I let it all hang out here(although there are some things I will never tell since my children read this blog.)   I do not like to dust.  Really hate it, actually.  We live in this old one hundred year old house that seems to produce dust in bushel baskets.   I do try to keep a clean house, but every once in a while I find a spot that makes me say to myself, “What happened here?”   For the last couple of weeks when I ran the dryer, I kept smelling something like it was hot.   And I noticed that the laundry/bathroom seemed to always need dusting.   Then when I was taking a shower I noticed this huge cobweb on the wall and said to myself, “What in the world!”  Then I decided to check behind the dryer and found that the pipe that runs to the outside and sends the lint away was disconnected from the dryer.   I told David about it and he said, “Oh, yeah, I noticed that a few days ago.”  What!?!?!?  Well, just suffice it to say I wasn’t happy about the situation.  So, I spent most of a morning cleaning out from behind the dryer, washing the floor and baseboards, cleaning the walls and wiping down the dryer.  Then when David got home he brought in the shop vac and finished cleaning behind the washer and I washed the floor behind it and the walls. Found several Decon boxes under there and a Terro bottle. Terro kills ants by the way.   David also found one of my paintbrushes.   Anyway, I think we dodged a tragedy here because lint is very flammable and who knows what would have happened if the dryer had overheated.  So I thank God for watching over us.   We have had a couple of near misses through the years that could have turned into tragedies like the time the furnace man came to clean our furnace and the chimney where the gases went up through was so clogged with dirt and leaves that he told us we were lucky we had not all died from carbon monoxide poisoning.  We had not lived in the house very long before that and didn’t even know the flue had to be cleaned out in the basement!  Now I make sure it is checked.  Anyway, after the bathroom/laundry room was all clean I rearranged it.  We are planning on remodeling both bathrooms this year, but after we got all done and I looked at this bathroom, I was quite pleased with it.  All we want to do in there now is take out the old tub and shower around and have it all tiled.

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This little dresser has been in hiding in the bathroom and I brought it out where it can be seen and I like it very much.    The new tiled shower will be on the opposite wall from this.  We hope to remodel our upstairs bathroom which was put in in the 1950″s we think.  New sink and cabinets. I love the tub in there.  It is almost long enough for me to lie down in.

Well, I have rambled on long enough.  Looking forward to the presidential inauguration this Friday. So glad we live in a country where we can change leaders without too much distress.

By the way, that policeman who stopped us for running a red light while we were on our honeymoon, just gave us a warning after we told him we had just gotten married. Thank you Mr. Peaceman.  Appreciate you didn’t give two stupid kids a ticket that day.  Bye.

 

 

 

The Week Between

Santa has hung up his hat for another year.

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There really ought to be a name for the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  I mean, you just spent weeks in a wild scramble to decorate, buy gifts, wrap the gifts, plan a special meal, attend a Christmas cantanta, do some partying if you are so inclined and then Christmas comes and all the gifts are opened, the family comes, the family goes and in a few hours, it’s over.  I spent the day after coming down from a complete high.  Nothing to hurry to get done.  No cleaning to do. No where to go.  Ahh, sweet, sweet nothingness.   Sleep in, read, knit just for the enjoyment.  Work on a new little project I was chomping at the bits to start before Christmas.  But I still felt a little lost. Like something was missing.  The week of nothingness.   I just wish Christmas had  lasted longer.  And all the tv has is reruns.  Glad we have Netflix, but we finished the final show in the series of Longmire, which had quickly become my favorite show on television.  I understand there will be a sixth season of it so will have to wait until it comes on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it and like good stories, good acting, handsome men and the west, you will love it.  Lou Diamond Phillips is in it and he’s a hunk and the star, Robert Taylor isn’t bad either. (Hope David doesn’t read this!)  If we didn’t have Netflix, we probably would not watch much tv.  I am trying to cut back and do more reading.  I’ve put several books on my Kindle.  Does anyone else who has Kindle feel like they read faster than when reading from a book?   I feel like I fly through books now.  I got Kindle Unlimited because I was buying so many books.  Now I can read as many as I want for the price of one book.   There is an author I discovered, George Mahood, who has written books about things he has done like bicycle from the bottom tip of England to the top tip of Scotland with no money, no bicycle and no clothes, except the shorts he had on.  No bicycle, you ask?  You will have to read the book.  He and a friend did it in three weeks with absolutely no money in their pockets.  He wrote a book about a trip he took through the United States which was really good and made me love my country even more. That book was called, “Not Tonight, Josephine.”  You will have to read it to find out who Josephine is.  It’s nice when someone from another country says so many nice things about my country.  Another book he wrote was about different holidays no one has ever heard of before and he tried to celebrate one each day of the year.  Did you know that January 2 is cats’ new year?  It’s called Happy Mew Year. If you want to laugh out loud, read one of his books.

We are the grandparents of four brand new golden retriever puppies.  Our daughter’s dog had them on my grandson’s, her son’s birthday.  What a gift.  We haven’t seen them yet, but hope to see them this week.  I will get some pictures to show you.

Now that the new year is here, I am planning.  One of the things that makes life worth living, is to have something to look forward to. I read that somewhere.  Someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to.  I have been blest all my life with all three.     I am always planning. I have known friends who were still making plans on their deathbed.  I think that is the human condition.  We make plans.  Of course, life almost never goes as we plan it which is what makes it so interesting.

This Christmas almost everyone got socks that I had hand knitted.  It became a running joke as each person opened a package and there were socks.  My youngest grandson looked at me with a worried look and said, “Grandma, I hope I’m not getting socks!”   He didn’t.  All the younger boys got train sets this year. And Nerf guns with plenty of Nerf bullets.

Here is a picture of those who got socks this Christmas, or at least their feet.

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From the leftover yarn I am knitting patchwork socks.  I already have a pair ready for next Christmas!

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Yes, it was a sock year.

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Once you have worn hand knitted sock, you never want to go back to store bought.  They are warm and comfy and stretchy.  One year I bought a couple of pair of socks from the Ralph Lauren store that were really cute, but when I got them home, they had absolutely no stretch in them.  I could barely get them over my heels.  Sad, too, because they were really, really cute.  I have no trouble getting hand knit socks on and off.  I hope they last longer than store bought socks also.

Not to say we have been doing nothing this week.  I made a big pot of potato soup with jalapeno and cheese sausages.

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David and I spent a quiet New Year’s Eve. We went to an Italian restaurant and ate dinner. That night while watching one of the New Year’s shows I suddenly got hungry for pancakes.  “I’ll make some, ” David said.  And he did.

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With strawberry preserves and whipped topping.  Yum.  What better way to end one year and start the next.  I just said we were having breakfast extra early.

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The project I have worked on this week were these little trees  Patchwork pines.  Tattered Trees.  They are  the creation of Ann Wood, a blogger I just discovered who makes the cutest things out of used things, paper machine and  anything she can find.  She provided the pattern for these for free.  I, of course, could not make just one and ended up with a little forest of them.

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Then I put them with little houses my daddy had made years ago and made a little village on our mantle.

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With kissing Grandpa and Grandma, of course.  Ha.

Besides all the other things going on, we had three birthdays in December and on Christmas day we celebrated our youngest grandson’s eighth birthday.  It’s hard for me to think he is already this old. Just seems he was born and he’s half grown almost.

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I made him a cake with a banner with his name on it.

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He seemed happy with it.

And just because we have nothing else to do, David and I started a puzzle this week.

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I ordered this from the Current catalog months ago and we said we’d wait until after Christmas to start it.  It is really a fun and interesting puzzle to do.  Not sure about the marijuana leaves on it, but some states have legalized it.  Even though I was a teen and a college student in the sixties, I can honestly say I have never tried marijuana  and don’t plan to start.  I have always been careful about the drugs that go into my body.  I don’t like taking aspirins too well, but will if necessary.

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This is a pretty big puzzle.  I like how the light is shining on it right now.

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Spread out on two tables. David is really the puzzle maker in our house.  I get impatient and frustrated after a while and have to leave. David will sit for hours working on it and he is not intimidated by all the white pieces in this puzzle.

Well, we don’t know what this year will bring.  Just living it one day at a time and trying to enjoy every moment.  I hope January goes really slow.  We will have a presidential inauguration and David’s birthday on the same day.  That will be fun.

This is the year I am going to start walking again  I was up to five miles a day a couple of years ago and then I hurt both my legs at different times and it was hard to walk a mile without pain, so, this is the year I am going to try to get back to walking again.   I will start slow with a mile or so and work up from there.  I will keep you posted and maybe you would like to start this journey with me.  After all, a journey begins with just one step.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite

Despite it is only five days before Christmas and despite I haven’t finished shopping yet and despite I haven’t wrapped any of my presents(David has almost all his done) and despite I haven’t decided what I want to feed the mob coming Sunday and despite the house needs a good cleaning and despite the henhouse really needs a clean out and despite I really need to go to the grocery to get enough food for Sunday and despite I really need to get a new hairdo(which will not happen before Christmas, now)  and despite I feel this sense of urgency, this is what I am doing instead.

I get up lazily every morning. That’s what you can do after you are retired after decades of working and raising children.  It’s been really cold here and getting out of my warm heated bed is so hard to do. I make coffee and pour some peppermint creamer in it and light the cedar candle.   After Christmas, I just may plan one day to spend in bed and read and sleep.   Like that will really happen.

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I all of a sudden decided today I needed to go through all the magazines I have collected through the years. Don’t judge me.  I have magazines from the 1970’s and still love looking through them. Magazines were much better years ago. A lot more reading in them and less ads and pictures.  Now they are all ads(mostly drug ads) and pictures with very little reading to do.  I remember when Good Housekeeping had several stories in them every month.  I don’t know why I felt this was something I needed to do, but I found satisfaction in it.  I find magazines that set me off on my love of antiques.  The décor in our house seems to have evolved through the years depending on what the magazines had in them.

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I have been knitting patchwork socks using the leftover yarn from all the socks I have been knitting.   Yes, I need to get this done immediately!

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Binding a Christmas quilt that still won’t be finished this Christmas.

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My Christmas Chickens quilt.  I still have some quilting to do on it.

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Feeding the birds. They eat all this in one day.

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Loving seeing these pretty boys in the shrubs.

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Watching this silliness on the bird feeder and laughing.

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Watching Longmire on Netflix and taking naps.  I am under all these quilts and blankets.

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Playing with these two.  I have a gun that shoots tennis balls and they would play chase the ball all day as long as I have treats for them.  See how alert they are?  I have treats in my hand.

 

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Going around the house snapping pictures of things that look Christmasy to me.

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And last but not least. I found a new blog by a woman who creates wonderful things out of fabric, paper mache, and found objects.  I will write about her blog sometime.  Anyway, she made these really cute little trees and provided a pattern and directions for them, so, of course, I had to stop everything I was doing to try to make a few of them.  I will show you after they are finished. They don’t look like much now, but trust me, they will look cute, I hope.  Her name is Ann Wood if you would like to check out her blog.  She has a pattern for hens on nests that I plan to get and make.    All this makes me so happy.

Of course none of this is what I should be doing, but I feel free and easy and probably won’t really get to work finishing up everything until Friday.  Christmas will come whether I get it all done or not.   I want to enjoy every single day.

Hope you find things that are making you happy too.  Bye.

 

 

Halcyon Days and Sock Love

David and I celebrated our forty-eight wedding anniversary this past week.  We decided to take a whole week from weekend to weekend to celebrate.   It’s been a long week.  We wanted to go antiquing, but most of the antique stores we went to were either closed or more like junk sales than antiques.   We wanted to go to a Daylily farm and it rained cats and dogs on us.  In fact, it rained almost the entire week.  We did manage to get to Olive Garden for dinner which was very good.   But it was still all good.  When you have been married to the same man for almost your entire life, you don’t expect fireworks all the time, but we did do fireworks one night in our driveway with some old firecrackers and bottle rockets.  There were people shooting off fireworks all around us.  Some people don’t like this time of year because of all the fireworks, but I love it.  We have had a lot of fireworks in our marriage.  Some good.  Some bad.  As we looked back on our life together, we both feel it’s been a pretty good life.  When I said, “I do,”  I meant it and still do.

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We did get to Streamcliff Farm again and had lunch with our older son and his friend.  I managed not to buy any flowers this time, but I was tempted.  I don’t know what they feed their plants, but all the flowers are huge.

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We couldn’t get over how big these begonias were.

After lunch, we went back to the daylily farm, it wasn’t raining, and yes, I bought some daylilies.

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It’s called New Creation Day Lilies and do they ever have a lot of daylilies.  You picked the ones you wanted and they dug them for you right then.

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The first day we went there, it was raining, as I said. This lady was out in a garden picking off the dead blooms.  She had a bucket full.

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This handsome fellow strutted around crowing and keeping his hens in a row.

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There were several roosters and they were all crowing up a storm.  I love hearing roosters crow.  When we went to the Virgin Islands, chickens roamed all over and you could hear the roosters crowing.  It was such a pleasant sound to me.  It sounds like country.

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The day lilies were gorgeous.

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I brought one of these home with me.  Along with four others.

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We drove through storms during our drives.

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We laugh because we have driven through so many storms in our lives and made it out alive to tell about it.

What’s life without a few storms along the way?

It wasn’t all play however.  Our rhubarb just keeps on growing and we keep on picking it.  I have made two batches of strawberry rhubarb jam.

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The first batch was eaten up almost instantly.  We had company and there was a teen-age boy who really, really liked this.  We went through a couple of jars at that meal.

We have been trying to trap a groundhog that has made its home under our front porch.  This is what we have caught thus far.

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Several bunnies that we let loose back into the yard.

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And this.

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He/she was not a happy camper.  Don’t know whether it’s a male or female and I’m not going to check.

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His/her day was not going as planned. David took it over to the woods across the street from us. Hope it doesn’t find its way back.

Still haven’t caught a groundhog though.

But we do have a lot of these and this one is becoming a sort of pet.  Coming to eat under our bird feeders every evening.

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Peter Rabbit and Farmer MacGregor is no where to be seen.   You’re safe with us, Peter.

Remember when I went to see Susan Branch at a book signing in Cincinnati?  Her husband was handing out seeds from their wisteria vine that grows at their house.  I planted the seeds and now I have two of these.

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I am hoping they will grow and produce flowers one day.

Okay, I can’t get away without writing about socks.  My fingers have been flying and socks have been coming off the needles in record speeds!

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All different sizes. That little sock.  That’s my daughter’s size. She has very tiny feet.  In fact, her next pair I have to make a little bit smaller.  She wears children’s socks.  She certainly doesn’t take after me in that respect.

I peruse yarn webpages like I use to fabric pages. My quilting has been laid by the wayside for a time.   I cannot stop knitting socks.

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I keep buying yarn.

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I really, really like these yarns I got the other day.  All variegated and different shades of color.

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I have knit one sock from this and I absolutely love it.

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I’ve got me a lot of sock loving happening in my future.    Yippee!  I never thought I would ever get the hang of knitting socks, but now that I have, it’s really very simple.  Of course, anything is once you know how to do it!

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Speaking of gardens.  My garden is not doing too shabby.  These are some daylilies I have had for years and divided and planted all over the yard.   I got the first ones at a grocery store.

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I love my Summer garden.   Every year it surprises me.  When Winter gets here, I will think I will never see this again and then, it happens like a miracle every single year.

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I wish my mother could see my garden.  She loved her garden too.  Perhaps she can see it, but then, she’s in the most beautiful garden imaginable as I type.

I will leave you with a picture of what I call the “Screaming Tree.”  When the doctor’s house next door to us was torn down, they also took out deadwood out of an old tree and just left its carcass.

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Every time we pass it I think it looks like it’s screaming.  As if it cannot believe they tore down that beautiful, old house.

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What do you think?  Bye.

 

 

 

This is Retirement?

I don’t think David and I thought very much about retirement when we were younger.  We were just trying to make a living and raise our three children and keep food on the table.  I always heard that retirement was the time when one could kick back and relax.  Do some traveling.  People picture Grandmas and  Grandpas sitting on the porch, Grandma with knitting in her hands.  Well, a little of that happens around here, but we evidently didn’t get the message about how to behave when retired.

It seems we are busier than ever.  Work just as hard and the days go by much, much more quickly. Here it is, June already.  Where did May go?  I spend most of my days outside in the garden or taking care of the chickens and playing with the dogs.  Between laundry, cooking, cleaning, and other household chores, I keep pretty busy.  I don’t know how our ancestors did it without all the labor saving devices we have now.  My great-great-great grandmother had to heat the water for the laundry, wash everything on a washboard, hang the clothes outside, weather permitting, iron all the clothes and by the time she was done with that, it was time to start all over.  She did this while raising a garden, canning enough food to get the family through the winter, cooking every single meal, and raising a family.  Whew.  I get tired just thinking about it.  I can stick a load of clothes in the washer, go outside, and when I come in, the clothes are washed.  It almost seems like a miracle to me.  But I see miracles in a lot of things.   Not all that long ago if you had leftovers, you had to get out pans and heat them on the stove and then you would have all the pans to wash afterward. Now, with the microwave, we can fill up a plate with leftovers, heat it for a few minutes and have a good, hot meal, almost as good as the original you cooked before.  Miracle.

But I got off subject. I do that all the time.  Here are a few things that we have been doing the last few weeks.

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We celebrated Memorial Day, a day to remember our fallen soldiers and also to remember loved ones who have died.  David’s grandmother always called it Decoration Day because it was the day she always took flowers and decorated the graves of family members.

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I fix a pot of grass for the chickens every once in a while.  They need their greens, too.

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“What are you looking at?  Can’t we eat without being disturbed?”

I’ve become a sock model.

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Why do I always have a bruise on my shins?

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See that pie safe in the background?  I took that step ladder there and climbed up to see if it needed dusting on top.  Well, since I  haven’t dusted up there in years, I found a dust storm up there.  I was a little amazed, thinking I kept a pretty clean house and there was such a dusty place almost right over my nose.  I took everything off it, washed what I could to include several American flags I had in a can.  I scrubbed the top three times until I felt like it was clean enough.  Now it’s good for another ten years!  I reckon if I looked hard enough, I could find several dusty places in my house, but I’m not going to look too hard.  The thing about dust.  It will always be there.  It won’t go away on its own.  I read one time that we could have the dust from the first Adam’s body in our dust bunnies under our beds because dust travels all over the world.  Maybe I have Moses under my bed or maybe Christopher Columbus.    If so, they will be quite safe there as I don’t like to dust all that much unless I really feel like it.

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We had sixteen people here for dinner the other day and the kids all played in the pool. I love having lots of kids in the pool.  They had so much fun.  Besides that, they stir up all the stuff on the bottom of the pool and that actually helps to clean it.   And the water definitely was stirred.

David and I have eaten at a couple of different restaurants lately.  One was called Stone’s Family Restaurant in Mihousen.  The food was so-so, but it was worth the trip to eat the fried biscuits and apple butter.  We could have made a meal out of those.  The restaurant is in this little off the beaten path town time has forgot.   We drove several back roads to get there and the scenery was so pretty.  I don’t think any place is prettier than Indiana in Summer.

The other one was in the little town of Vernon.  Vernon hosts a town wide garage sale every Labor Day weekend.  There are yard sales all the way along the highway to Vernon. We went one year and there was just about everything for sale, plus there were vendors selling their wares.   We have eaten at this restaurant before.  Really good food.

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We missed the Karaoke.

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This is what it looks like on the outside.  Nothing special, but I don’t think I have ever had as good fish as I did there.   It was done to perfection.  Not greasy and not fishy tasting.

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We ate there on the way back from this place.  Streamcliff Farm.  A nursery, winery that was having a flower sale.  I was not going to buy anymore flowers this year. But…..

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Of course, I did.  You took a little red wagon through the greenhouses to pick up your plants.

I bought several perennials and a rhubarb plant. By the way, our rhubarb has done wonderfully this year.  I have several packages of it frozen so that in the middle of the winter, we can have rhubarb pie and think of Spring.

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The plants sold here are so healthy and big.  I don’t know what kind of fertilizer they use,  but the plants sure do flourish.

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There are little gardens everywhere.  I wonder what it is like to wake up every morning and know all this is yours and you can walk through it anytime?

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Fish in the fishpond. Everyone needs a garden they can escape to whether it’s on several acres or on the rooftop of a city building.

There was a man there playing  and singing Johnny Cash songs and he sounded just like him!

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Man in black.  I love Johnny Cash songs.  He was a great song writer and singer.

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This is what I have been doing today.  David is replacing the fence boards along one side of our back yard so I decided to stain them.  There will be hundreds. Today I stained forty some.  He went and bought some more and some more stain, so guess what I will be doing tomorrow.

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David put up the original fence about twenty-five years ago.  It’s held up pretty well, but it’s time to be replaced.

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Just so they won’t think I have forgotten them, here’s the puppers.  Always watching for me to come out.  Playmate, come out and play with me, and bring your dollies three, climb up the apple tree.  Look down the rain barrel, slide down the cellar door.  And we’ll be jolly friends, forevermore.  My mother use to sing that song to me.

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Molly looks like she has a big cigar in her mouth.

Hope you are having a wonderful Summer(or Winter in some parts of our world.)  Soon the longest day will come and the days will start to shorten again.  It never changes.  Bye.

 

My New Obsession

I love making things.  Mostly sewn things.  It was my goal years ago to have at least one hundred quilts before I died.  Well, with having a quilt shop and making so many display  projects, with family loving quilts too, and with going to auctions for years, I finally accrued, created and found at least one hundred quilts.  I don’t own all of them.  Many of them have been sold or given as gifts.  All my grandchildren have at least two quilts I made especially for them.  I have made quilts for charities, for church projects and for Samaritan’s purse.  I wish I could see all the quilts I have made in one big pile.   I have quilts for every season.  Quilts are on every bed, on both couches, on every chair and hanging on walls.  I have a big box of unfinished quilts in my shop.  I have one quilt on my sewing machine in the process of being quilted.

But……..a new obsession has taken over my life.   At the beginning of the year I read Lucy’s blog, Attic 24, where she was learning how to knit socks. She made it sound so appealing, I immediately ordered the Minwick Mum’s Sockalong book that took you step by step through the sock knitting process.  At first, it was all Greek to me.  I read it over and over.  Tried knitting socks. Tore more socks out than I care to mention.  Learned that tearing out your knitting stitches was called “frogging.”  Dropped stitch after stitch.  Knitted more ribbing and sock legs.  Learned how much fun knitting the heel flap is.  Found out turning the heel was easier than I ever could have imagined, picked up stitches even when I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing. Knit the gusset and finally decreased the toes. Decreasing the toes is when everything usually fell apart because the book said I had to use double pointed needled to do it.  Then, the other day I just went ahead and decreased the toe stitches on my little circular needle.  No dropped stitches and easy as can be.  I can’t tell you how many times I would get to the toes, dropped three or four stitches and tear out the whole sock.  But, I didn’t give up and have finally found what works for me.

Now, my quilt is still sitting on the sewing machine waiting to be completed.  I hardly look at my fabric even though I have a purse needing to be finished and material for a skirt.   Now I  surf the web looking for yarn companies and drool over yarn like I would drool over fabric.  I have several circular needles, sock blockers, and other knitting paraphernalia. I have looked up my old knitting books from the seventies when I knitted sweaters, booties and hats for my children.  I have baby things on my mind.  I even ordered yarn for a baby project.  And there are no babies ahead in my family. At least I don’t think so.

I have finished two pair of socks and have two more pair almost done.  Today I ordered more yarn. For four more pair!  I think this obsession is going to stay with me for a time.  David has had to listen to me when I could not get it into my head how to knit socks.  He kept encouraging me and said I would figure it all out and he was right.  One day it all just clicked.  The fear was gone.  Now the socks glide off my needles with ease. Oh, I still drop the occasional stitch, but with a small crochet hook, I usually can pick it up.   I wish I could explain to you how euphoric I feel that I finally figured it all out.  It was like a dark cloud of doubt that was hanging over my head just went “poof” one day.     The lesson I took from this is “never give up.”  And I didn’t.  Despite several attempts that went all wrong, I now know how to knit socks.  Now I am looking at fancier socks like ones with cables or other designs.  I’m hoping I can knit socks for gifts.

I guess I owe Lucy and Minwick Mum a huge thank you for turning me on to sock knitting.

I am sure you are tired of reading about my sock obsession.  David says when I decide to do something, I jump in feet first and start swimming and don’t stop.  When I start making things, like purses, quilts or dolls, I never stop at one.  I make a dozen or more.  Now I probably won’t stop knitting socks.  EVER.  I love the process and the finished product.  But, enough about socks, although I could talk about them all day!

We have been doing some things other than me sock knitting and David helping me wind the yarn.  I am trying to start my walking regimen again.  I was up to walking five miles a day a year or so ago and then I hurt my right leg and then by the time it was feeling better, I tore a ligament in my left leg that has taken months to repair.   I just noticed the other day my leg didn’t feel stiff any longer and I wasn’t walking with a limp.    Molly is bound and determined to run into that leg every time I go out in the yard with her.  She loves to play and takes it that I want to play with her every time I go out the back door.   Many times I will play with her, but when I don’t, she follows me as close as she can and then she and Belle get into a tussle right behind me and sometimes slam into my legs.  I’ve taken to carrying a rake and holding it behind me so they won’t hit me.  I really don’t want to have a sore leg all summer.

Last Christmas my older son gave me a cute bench.

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A painted Santa face peeking out.

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A kind of creep Santa peeking out!

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With bird house posts on either side.

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With birds painted on each post.

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Snowmen on the armrests.

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Even Santa’s belt painted on.

Well, it’s almost Summer now and it still sits on our porch.  I tried covering it with a quilt, but it kept getting blown off.  Every time I passed it, Santa was looking at me and creeping me out.  David and I could not lift it because it was made from really heavy wood.   I had no place to store it anyway, so…………

I probably did the unthinkable to some people, but I feel very happy with my new little bench.

I painted it.

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Now, it’s suitable for year round and I can decorate it at Christmas with tiny lights and a wreath, so I am happy with it.   And we don’t have to move it.  It also provides a nice place for the UPS man or the FedX man to leave packages out of the weather and off the floor.   So it’s a win-win for me.

I don’t get up very early any more.  For the first decades of our marriage we had to get up for work or to get the kids up for school.  The alarm rang at 5:30 most mornings.   Lately, I have been sleeping until 9:00 or later.  One day David worked until 11:00 a.m. and when he came home, I was still asleep.   You see, I love staying up late, but I really love the early morning so one of them had to go.  Today, I woke up at 4:30, laid awake and said my prayers until 5:30 and decided to get up.  It’s amazing how many things you can get done before 8:00 if you get up early.   I did a load of wash, did all my ironing and knitted half a sock.  This getting up early seems to be a good thing.  Now I have the whole day to do other things.

When one gets up early, they get to see the sunrise.  I sat out on our front porch and watched the sun come up.

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I have been missing some beautiful sunrises.  The hummingbirds were out feeding and the birds were waking up.  It was glorious.    Still don’t know if I will give up my late nights.  I love to knit and read in the evenings and the time just gets away from me.

I will leave you with some pictures of the late May garden.  It’s peony time and I am loving it.

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And last but not least.  Two years ago when our new porch was being built, I saved some of the concrete pieces from it and planted flowers in them.  I had this one plant I didn’t know what it was and it stayed green all Summer and all Winter. But it never bloomed.  I watched it all last Summer and it didn’t do anything.  Just some green leaves.  This Spring I looked at it and thought to myself if it didn’t produce anything this year, I was going to tear it out.  Well, I am so glad I was patient with it because it is now my header picture.

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It’s phlox and I really do not remember planting this.  There are two different ones and they are so vibrant and pretty.

Here’s to sock knitting, early mornings and the patience to wait for a flower to bloom.  Bye.