Category Archives: Knitting

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.

 

Flower Child

I was a flower child long before it became popular.  Not the kind of flower child who did drugs or danced naked in the fields at Woodstock.  My mother grew beautiful flowers in her garden and every year I helped her gather the seeds for next year’s flowers.  She also loved African violets and my father made her a little window greenhouse in the kitchen where she grew some of the most beautiful African violets.  She could have won prizes for her flowers, but she grew them just because she loved them.

In the Summer my daddy would put me in the car with a few buckets and a shovel and we would drive down to the river where daddy would dig up sand and put it in the buckets to take back home to put in my sand pile.  While he was doing that, I was pulling up flowers(weeds) to take home and plant in my sand pile.  They didn’t last long, of course, but for a short time I had my very own garden.  I was always looking at the flower catalogs Mother would get.  I would go with her to the greenhouse where she purchased flowers for her porch boxes.   The man who owned the greenhouse knew my mother by name as she was a regular customer and came back every year.  I loved walking down the rows of flowers and choosing the ones I liked in my mind.  My Mother would buy a flat of flowers and bring them home and plant her porch boxes.  I can’t remember a time she didn’t have porch boxes planted when I lived at home.

Now I have gardens of my own and can plant whatever I want.  I still love going to a greenhouse and looking at all the flowers.  I love the smell inside a greenhouse.  The smell of fresh dirt and flowers is the best scent in the world. Wish they could make a perfume of it.  I probably already smell like that about every day in the Spring when I am outdoors planting and digging and dividing the flower clumps.   Today I finally got everything planted, I think, although I did see a corner in my kitchen garden that has only one flower planted there.  We cut down a redbud tree last year and I haven’t filled in the space yet, evidently.  Time to buy more flowers!

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So, come into my garden and see just a few of the flowers that are growing there.

Irises!  One of my favorite flowers because you can’t kill them and they multiply year after year without you doing anything at all.   I told a friend of mine I even mowed my irises down in the Autumn and she thought I was crazy.   But, I do, and every year, they come up bigger and better than ever.

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One of my favorites.  One day a couple of years ago, a man stopped by our house and asked if he could have a start of these irises, so I dug up one for him and asked him if he had any flowers he would like to share.  He did!  He brought me some lilac bushes and I planted them and one of them is doing well.

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These are becoming one of my favorite flowers now. Digitalis or Foxgloves.  They reseed themselves and are biennials so I should have some every year.  I have planted their seed everywhere and bought more plants, too.  You see, I am making my garden self sustaining so that one day, when or if I cannot plant or work in it anymore, the flowers will take care of themselves.

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One of David’s mother’s rosebushes.  It is doing so well now.  For a while, I thought I had killed it, but with loving care, it has come back and has a lot of blooms.  The roses smell just like roses should smell.  I have two of these bushes.  I feel so blessed.  Another reason I can never leave this house.  I have too many flowers from family members that grow all around my garden.  I think of those people every year when the flowers bloom.  Flowers like David’s grandmother’s sixty year old clematis, her snowball bushes, my mother’s day lilies and these roses.  It’s a family garden for sure.

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These poppies were started from Grandma Henley’s( David’s grandma) garden.  She had a beautiful garden behind her house and these grew profusely.  I remember her squatting in her garden, her knees up to her ears,  weeding the flowers until she was almost ninety years old.  She also grew the best rhubarb behind her outhouse!

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I planted two new Asiatic lilies.  I have ordered more Irises and peonies to be planted in the Autumn.   Nope, can’t have enough flowers.

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Speaking of peonies, they are starting to bloom now.  They are my very favorite flower.  They are beautiful and smell wonderful.  The only thing is, they just don’t last long enough.

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I have them in red, white, pink and pink and white.

Flowers are not the only things that have been on my mind.  You remember my sock journey?

I have become obsessed with sock knitting now that I kind of understand the process.  I still don’t like the double pointed needles at the end when decreasing the toe.  That is when everything goes all wrong all at once if I don’t pay special care or I get interrupted.  Which is why I only try to knit them when David is at work.    I am trying to figure out another way to decrease the toes.  Every sock has been an experiment in knitting.

    I do have a finished pair now.  My grey socks.

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I got a little carried away with the second sock and it’s a tad longer than the first one, but no one will notice when I have them on as they are slouchy and loose.  Made out of wool and acrylic, they will be warm to wear next Winter.

I have purchased several circular needles so that I could have different socks going at all times.  I just ordered more needles and sock blockers.  This hobby is becoming expensive!  Now, I drool over yarn like I have drooled over fabric for years.   There are so many yarn companies and so many beautiful yarns to choose from.

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I really love this yarn.  It isn’t exactly a stripe, but there are variegated partial stripes throughout the sock.

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Ready for the dreaded toe decrease on another sock.

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This winter I plan to have a lot of different socks to wear and I am going to try to knit socks for family members if I can figure out how to make them smaller and larger.

It isn’t true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks because I am living proof you can.  I never thought in a million years I could learn to knit socks, but I persevered and finally accomplished it.

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I hadn’t been in my shop for weeks because of the sock making, but today I went out and started a new purse.  I wish I could tell you where I got this pattern.  I got it online and I have made so many purses from this pattern.   Several people carry my purses.   I call this one my garden purse.

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I have this fabric that has country words on it, so I cut out some of the words and sewed it on my purse.

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I’m really loving making this purse.  I’ve done some embroidery on it and will soon have it completed.   Just give me an afternoon.

Hope you are enjoying these wonderful May days.  They are going by so quickly. I wish I could wrap one day up and take it out in the middle of the Winter and enjoy it once again.

Here’s to flower children and those who love them.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

May Days, an Author, and a Lightning Strike

We are in the merry month of May.  One of my very favorite months of the year when the flowers are in full bloom and I can plant even more.  I just went to the grocery this morning and this particular grocery has had the best perennials I have ever purchased for sell again this year.   I came home with three new lilies and some Gerbera daisies.  Now to find a place to plant them.  My garden is quite full.  I asked David the other day if he thought I would ever have enough flowers and he said, “No.”  Simple as that.  He knows me too well to think I will ever stop adding flowers to my garden.  I did take some flower starts to my oldest son this weekend who is trying to cultivate a small garden by his front door for curb appeal.  I took lilies, lambs Ear, irises and Shasta Daisies.  Now, I hope he plants them and doesn’t let them die.

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  The crabapple has bloomed and gone.  It was so beautiful and now I have to wait a whole year to see it again. 

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Begonias and some sweet flowers on the front porch.

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Look!  Aren’t these the sweetest little flowers?  I don’t know what they are called, but I love them.

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Oh, I wish you could have smelled the Mock Orange this year.  It grows right by our driveway and just walking by them one can smell their lovely fragrance.  They are thick in the Tiny Woods and since we cut the big tree down, they seem to be expanding, which is fine with me.

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David’s grandmother’s snowball bush is so lush and lovely this year.  I just want to stand and stare at it.  We have a smaller one in the back yard and one I just planted in the front yard.  It’s such a beautiful bush.  Molly tried trimming it so we had to put wire around it for a time until she got over the urge to do so.

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My little garden in a cup that I plant every year.  Just some grass and little birds and a bird house I found at a bird store.

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Don’t ask me what this plant is.  It is ferny and in the Autumn it’s branches are a bright yellow. This is the first year I have seen flowers on it which makes me very happy.  I don’t even remember planting it, but I must have as it sure doesn’t look like a weed.

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I simply love Irises because of their simplicity.  They are the easiest flower to grow.  You almost can’t kill them(as if I would try.)  They can take over my whole garden if they want to.  One day when I am too old to go out and divide and weed and plant, these Irises will grow all over my front yard and I won’t care a bit. 

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This little girl loves my garden too.

Besides gardening, I have had a seven week Bible study at my house.  It was called “What Are You Afraid Of?” By David Jeremiah.  It used Biblical references to show us why in any circumstance God is with us and will not forsake us.   It dealt with the death of loved ones, loneliness, fear of financial collapse, fear of natural disasters and other things.  We all have certain fears in life and life deals out some pretty rotten things sometimes, but God is always there in the midst of it all to help us and give us peace though the worst times.  None of us gets out of this life without something horrible happening to us or our loved ones.  I can tell you some pretty sad stories, but I don’t like to dwell on the sadness in life.   I’ve had some knocks and bings and bangs, but I have always felt like God was right there with me through them.  I know you are probably asking why God would put any of us through bad times.  He doesn’t.  we live in a sinful world and God gives us free will.  Things don’t always go as planned.  People we love die.  People we love go through tough times.  We go through tough times, but remember this, If you put your trust in God, He will see you through the worst times of your life.  I can vouch for that.

At the last Bible study, we had a British tea.  Or at least our version of a British tea.  The ladies all pitched in and we had a feast.

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Actually, the table was fuller than this and another table besides and we had so much good food to choose from.  I had made cucumber sandwiches( which I am now addicted to) and egg salad sandwiches.  I baked a sponge cake and had strawberries and real whipped cream with scones.  I am now a fan of scones also.

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These are some of the ladies.  I didn’t show their faces as we all were eating and no one wants their faces on a blog with their mouths stuffed full!  It was a wonderful study and I love all these ladies who are my sisters in Christ.

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I am still knitting socks.  I love the process.  I still have to tear out once in a while, but I don’t get all upset about it.  Just look at it as more practice.  I have taught myself a new way to pick up the stitches down the heel and around and up the heel again using one double pointed needle and my little circular needles.  It has become quite simple for me now.  The only place I really get hung up is using the DP needles to decrease the toe, but it is coming easier as I continue to knit socks.   I have several skeins of sock yarn I am looking forward to making into socks.

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I have purchased three circular needles and these cute stitch markers.  Little sheep on the end of them.  I like them better than the plain rubber circles I was using.  Makes knitting more festive somehow.

This Mother’s Day weekend, David and I went on an adventure.  We took a road trip to Cincinnati to see some special people.

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We drove along a road in southern Indiana that follows the Ohio River.

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The Ohio River is so beautiful and mysterious.  The road we were on was not heavily traveled, so we enjoyed the drive.

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Indiana roads have so much beautiful scenery.  David and I like to get off the beaten path and discover new roads.  But finally, we got into the towns near Cincinnati, Vevay, Rising Sun and Aurora.  Aren’t those pretty names for towns?  Then into the bustling traffic of the big city.  Who were we going to see?

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If you have any of her cookbooks or her first two books in this trilogy, or read her blog, you know of whom I speak.

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The Joseph Beth bookstore in Cincinnati.  I got to see Susan Branch!!!     I love her books and could not wait to see her in person.  I have seen several authors in person and it’s always been fun.

We all waited with excitement for Susan to appear.

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Suddenly, there she was right in front of us.  She told us she was uncomfortable speaking in public, but she was wonderful.  She told how her books came to life and took questions with so much patience.  You know, when you meet a well-known person, you usually have expectations of them, rightly or wrongly, that they will be as you imagined them to be.  Susan Branch did not disappoint.  She is every bit as charming, sweet, kind, nice and interesting as I thought she would be.  She is a very pretty lady with a very sweet smile and she had us all laughing and it felt like we were her girlfriends.

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I loved the outfit she had on. Very classy.  A pretty linen blouse with a scarf.  Her hair was done up in a knot on her head and she just looked darling.

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Her husband Joe, of whom she writes, was there by her side.  Her partner in crime like David is with me.

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He and David took pictures of each other.  Give a man a camera……..

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I just want all of you who read Susan Branch’s books or blog to know, she is for real and not a fake.  She is just exactly as she appears on her blog.  A beautiful person.

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And then, I got to shake her hand and she signed my book and put David’s name in it too, because I asked her to.

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I’m not at all happy to be there!

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I think I was just looking at her with adoration here.

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Look how cute she is.   I could move to Martha’s Vineyard and become her friend in a second.  I’d even make her a quilt if she wanted one.  Am I starting to sound like a stalker?  I hope not.

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I had made a new purse to take to the book signing and on a whim, I asked her to sign it and she did!  Now wasn’t that nice?  Oh, and see that top I have on?  It was new and I wore the store tag on it the whole time and didn’t know it!  David told me after it was all over.  Wonderful.  Hope Susan didn’t see it.

I had so much fun at the book signing.  Met some nice people in the audience.  People who loved Susan as much as I.  Anyway, it was a wonderful time and I am so glad I got to go.

On Mother’s day, we went with our son and his friends to King’s Island for the day.  We hadn’t been to King’s Island for probably at least twenty years.  There are a lot more scary rides there which I would not go on.  I went on one they promised me was not scary and I was crying before it was over. I am not a fan of scary rides.   There’s enough scary stuff in the world without purposely putting yourself in danger!  Security was high that day for some reason.  They were searching all purses and bags and wanding all of us as we entered.

At the restaurant in which we ate, there was a live show where they sang songs from the movies.  It was so good and had me singing right along with them.  We got some really good fudge just before we left the park.    I didn’t get any pictures of the day because I didn’t want to carry my camera around all day.  It was fun and I enjoyed watching David go on all the scary rides with our son.  He’s got a stronger stomach than I do.  It was so nice to spend time with out son also.  He makes me laugh.  A lot.

I haven’t been here for a while because our house was struck by lightning a week ago Sunday.  David and I were in bed and suddenly there was the brightest flash of light and the loudest boom I have heard that I nearly fell out of bed.  It woke David, and I said, “That hit something.”  It surely did.  We lost two televisions, our microwave, the dryer, our Direct tv, our internet, a sewing machine(I was so thankful all the rest of my machines were unplugged at the time,)  our pool pump surge control, and the circuit breaker on our hot tub.  We got everything replaced except our internet, which we just got back today.  I couldn’t wait to write my blog.

Now that all is back to normal or what I consider normal I can write more often.  Or at least I will try.

Here’s to books, wonderful authors, sons and daughters and flowers.  May they all be blessed.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

I Did It!!

If you have been reading my blog for a little while, you know that after Christmas I ordered this book.

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I have always wanted to knit socks, but didn’t know how to start.  Lucy from the blog Attic 24, who is a very talented crocheter, had never knitted before and after getting this book and following the instructions, she had knit a pair of socks.  Well, I thought, since I already knew how to knit, it had to be a piece of cake to knit socks if a novice could do it.  Was I ever wrong!

I started on my sock with some yarn I had laying around and it looked pretty good for a time.  Then it all went downhill and I had to rip it apart.  The sock was way too big for me anyway, so I could never have worn it.  So then I went to JoAnn’s and got this grey yarn and began knitting another sock.  Then I ordered more yarn, because of course I believed I’d be whipping out socks with regularity.

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And right in the middle of the grey sock which I had ripped out several times, I started another sock with this beautiful sock yarn.  I love how it looks so far.  I am getting really good at knitting the top ribbing and the leg of the sock.

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When I’d get really frustrated, I’d put down a sock and pick up a scarf.  Knitting in my sleep, almost.  I am trying to use up all my old yarn by knitting scarves that I will give to someone or to Samaritan’s purse or Goodwill.  I might even give some as presents to family.  I don’t know yet.

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I finished this scarf.  It saved my sanity sometimes.

Meanwhile, David thought he was going to have to have an intervention for me to get me away from the socks for a while.  I really didn’t know what a black cloud hung over me because I could not finish a sock.  But, I kept plugging on and learned how to knit a heel flap, turn the heel, pick up stitches for the gusset and finally, the dreaded Kitchener stitch, which wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be.  I find while I am knitting it is easier for me to know where I am in the project if I keep a sheet of paper and pen by me and mark every row.  Then, when I make the matching sock, it will have the same number of rows.  I also used this method while doing the Kitchener stitch, writing down every single stitch so I would always know where I was. It really helped me.

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It’s not scientific, but it’s worked for me.  So……..

This morning I got up and said to myself, “Self, you are going to finish a sock today.”  I was at the Kitchener stitch.  Something I have never tried before.  I read horror stories online from people who had tried it and failed and were never seen again.  I really had to psych myself up to do it. I even knit on a couple of double pointed needles enough stitches that I could practice upon.  But this morning I just said, “I’m going in,” and started finishing the toe.  Stitch by stitch, keeping them recorded on paper less I be interrupted and lose my place.  My pulse rose as I neared the last couple of stitches.  Then all of a sudden, I was weaving the yarn into the toe to hide it and I was done!    I tried it on.  It fit!

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Every single part of this sock is impressed into my mind forevermore.

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The ribbing.  Oh, how I love to knit ribbing.

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The gorgeous heel flap.  Oh, I love it.

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And last, but not least, the grafted toe(Kitchener stitch.)  Lovely.  Looks just like in the book.  Joy, joy, joy.

But then, because this was supposed to be a practice sock, I hadn’t got enough yarn to knit another one. But I found the wrapper from this sock, and went to JoAnn’s yesterday and found the same yarn. Not the same dye lot, but close enough in color that no one will notice.

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There’s another sock waiting in this skein of yarn.  Hope it wants to come out.

Of course, while at JoAnn’s I couldn’t resist buying even more yarn.

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The grey yarn and this yarn is made of wool and acrylic.  Reminds me of the yarn in the rag socks I use to buy from Eddie Bauer.  Now I can knit my own!

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This is yet another sock I have started.

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I find if I put the ball of yarn in this little pot it won’t roll all over the floor, under my chair, under the couch.  It stays put.  I have found with knitting socks, as with any hobby, you start to accrue the tools of the trade.  I’ve bought wooden double pointed needles, steel DPNs, two small circular needles, stitch holders, row markers and little rubber things to place on the end of your needles to keep the yarn from slipping off. Believe me, that has happened so many times for me and meant either trying to pick up stitches or ripping out the entire project again.

Am I happy about my new, grey sock?

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Yes, I am.

Remember the old house that was torn down by us last week?  David noticed when he was over there talking to the man doing the tearing down, there was a little pitcher laying in the dirt, so he went over after everyone was gone and got it for me.  I had mentioned I wish I had something to remember the old house and our neighbors.

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White enamel with chipped green paint.

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When I look at it I will remember Doc and Mrs. McCullough and the beautiful house that once was.

Here’s to knitting socks and to many more. Bye.

 

Merry Month of Many Memories

March is one of my favorite months.  Probably because it’s my birthday month and I kind of celebrate it all month long.  I had a cake.

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I got to eat out with some of my favorite people and I got some gift certificates.  Always love that.

David and I took a weekend off and just did what we wanted.  Ate out, relaxed, saw three movies and had a very nice couple of days.   We think we enjoy that as much as we do taking a long vacation.  We will probably do a few more of these weekends this year.  We have one planned to go to Cincinnati in May where I am going to a book signing of one of my favorite bloggers.  If you read Susan Branch’s blog, you know what I’m talking about.  I love her blogs especially the ones where she wrote about Downton Abbey.

I bought myself some new fabric. Seems like every March I do this.

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Love getting new fabric. I don’t have a clue what I will make with this yet, but it will be used, I am sure.

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Love these little flowers.

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Decided to complete this child’s quilt I started last winter.

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Each block has a picture of a child playing.

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Among all the getting ready for Easter and company Sunday, I did get this pinned today. I also made potato salad, cleaned the chicken house, mulched some of the garden, did two loads of laundry, did the ironing, fed the dogs and chickens, moved bags of mulch, prepared supper for David and myself and then I collapsed on the sofa and have not gotten up since!  Oh, yes, I mixed up a batch of sugar cookies too.

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Meanwhile the dogs want me to play with them.  I try to give them some play time with me every day, but today, not so much.  Sorry girls.

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‘”Then I just won’t look at you, Mom.”

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The hens are finally laying again. They went through a few weeks that we were fortunate to get an egg a day.   But now, we have them coming out our ears.  The eggs taste like butter, I’m telling you.  So rich and yellow.

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They have been fertilizing my garden area all winter so I should have a great garden this year.  I think I am just going to plant pumpkins and tomatoes.  I have about fifty tomato plants started with some ready to plant outside when the weather is warmer.

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Chickens still love their “crack.”

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They’ll follow me anywhere when I have a bowl of this in my hand.

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I got this quilt pinned this month.  I’m going to quilt it on the sewing machine.

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I just got a brochure in the mail this week for a quilt magazine and this very quilt was in it.  All finished. I hope I get this finished in a few weeks.

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I’m still knitting.  When I get frustrated trying to knit socks, I knit another scarf.   I’m trying to use up all my old yarn.

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Speaking of socks, I got the heel flap knitted on this sock and then something horrible happened and I ended up tearing out the whole sock.  That makes about six times I have tried to make a sock.

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I’m almost afraid to tell you about this sock because it’s the farthest I have gotten on one.  I knitted the heel flap, turned the heel, picked up stitches(Oh, that was horrendous) and am knitting the gussets now.  I am seeing a very dim light at the end of the tunnel, but until I get a sock finished I am not going to crow.  Even with all the ripping out and starting over, I quite enjoy knitting socks.  I just have to finish one. When I do, you all will be the first to know besides David, as he has been keeping up on my progress and encouraging me when I get all flummoxed.  When learning to knit socks, you need an encourager beside you so you don’t give up.

Spring has sprung in Indiana.  It takes me by surprise every single year.  One day it’s all grey and dark and the next tiny green leaves are sprouting from the ground and on the trees and bushes.

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The Nanking cherry bushes bloomed first and early this year.  They are already almost gone, boo hoo.

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Our two dwarf magnolias are just about to burst into bloom.  The magnolias around us and in town have already been blooming for a week or two.

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Daffodils blooming everywhere.  I have planted hundreds of them through the years and they really are beautiful this year.

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One of my top five favorite flowers.  It’s a shame they only bloom in Spring, but I’ll take them whenever I can get them.

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I really need to divide these flowers.  August Lilies or Magic Lilies. They won’t flower until August after all the foliage has died.  Looks like we will have a lot of flowers in August.

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My Spring angel by Jim Shore.

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Holding a bird in her hand.  The birds are nesting and singing their hearts out.

Happy Spring and have a blessed Easter.  He is risen.  Halleluhah!!  Bye.

 

 

 

The Needle Arts

From the day that my mother first handed me a needle and an old sock and told me to make a doll, I have been interested in the needle arts.  I still have that sock doll somewhere.   From sewing machines needles to knitting needles to quilting needles I have been interested in making things with needles. My year started out with my trying my hand at knitting socks. I have made three false starts and now I am once again trying to knit a sock.

I purchased this book in hopes it would walk me through the dreaded heel. I have not started the heel yet and to tell you the truth, I am very worried about it.

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I’m practicing on a sock with inexpensive wool.  I am liking how it looks so far.

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I ordered this beautiful yarn from this place…

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It’s so beautiful, I am almost afraid to use it.  But won’t these make wonderful socks?

I have never ordered wool like this and I have never rolled balls of yarn before and it took a village to get it done.  If I had tried to figure out how to find the end of the yarn in these skeins, I would have been left with a  knotted up mess, but David helped me and we ended up with this..

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You know how in some of those old movies you would see the husband holding the yarn in both hands while the wife wound the ball?  That is what David and I did.  One skein down, four more to go.  One skein is suppose to knit up a pair of socks.

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Remember the socks I was knitting a few days ago and ripped out?

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Now they are a scarf, but I would much rather have had a pair of socks to show you. Someone will be getting a scarf for Christmas next year.  Ha.  I can do scarves with my eyes closed.  Maybe that is what I am doing wrong.  Not closing my eyes while I knit socks.  What a catastrophe that would be!

I’m not the only one who can ply a needle.

I wanted to learn how to crochet and David found me one of his crochet hooks and started casting on and before we both knew it, he had crocheted this….

 

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He used up some of my old yarn and wore this to work.  He got several compliments on it.  At least one of us is good with the needle.   I still haven’t learned how to crochet.  But it’s on my bucket list.

I licked my wounds after the sock debacle and went back to what I knew I could do.  Quilting. This first week of January I have already completed two quilts.

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This is one I started a couple of years ago and wanted to finish it before Valentine’s Day this year and I did!   This is made with Pamkitty Love fabric which I love.

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Love the look of old fashioned Valentines.

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Another quilt I completed was made from the book, Little Quilts All Through the House.  A book I had had for several years and lost and just last week I ordered it on Amazon for under ten dollars and am so glad I did.  I have made so many little quilts from this particular book in the past years and this week I made another one.

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Another quilt for Valentine’s Day.  This one made up so fast and I absolutely love it.

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I love fabric with words upon it and this is the border to this particular quilt.

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Has a French look about it.    Anyway, I feel a little better that I completed a project once again as I have been rather discouraged about all the sock knitting failures.   I will knit socks.  I won’t give up.

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This is part of a new project I just started this week also.  It’s going to have quilting, embroidering, and applique on it.  I am making this to wear for Valentine’s Day.  I am so excited because it is my own creation and no one will have anything like it when I am completed.  All these ideas just creep into my mind and suddenly I just have to create.  I put everything else aside when the creative juices start flowing.  Must be like the feelings Picasso, Monet and other artists must have felt like when they created their great art, not that anything I make is great art, but it’s my art and I love it.   I will be showing my creation as soon as I get it completed.

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Alas, the day came to take down the Christmas tree.  It’s never as exciting as putting it up although I do enjoy having more room again, but I sure will miss the bright lights and cheer the tree brought into our home.

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Putting away all our much loved ornaments.  We didn’t put as many decorations on the tree this year, but it was just right and looked really pretty.

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I will look forward to seeing these again next Christmas.

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All my snow people watched with interest as we stored all the Christmas paraphernalia away.  They seemed to be saying, “Phew, we get to stay out another month or two because we are snow people.”

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This little guy joined the others this year.

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A friend gave me this wonderful Jim Shore snowman several years ago.  He is my favorite snowperson.  Shhhh, don’t tell the others.

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This little lady joined my Jim Shore collection this Christmas as a gift to me and she stands on a shelf in the kitchen.  The person who gave her to me said it was me with all the cooking and baking I do.  I took that as a compliment.   I love her.

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This is my new exercise ball my daughter and son-in-law gave to me for Christmas.  Every time I went to their house I would bounce on my daughter’s exercise ball and say, ” I would love to have one of these,” and she listened to me.   It’s good for core exercise and balance.  My daughter has MS and uses it to help her balance.   I love bouncing on it.  Feel like a kid again!

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I got this really great poster of butterflies last Fall when we were in Fredricksburg, Texas at Wildseed Farms.  Don’t know how I am going to display it yet, but I love looking at it and reading about all the different butterflies.  So many beautiful ones.

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I’ve seen a few of these in our garden.

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And last but not least, I bought a couple of inexpensive journals at JoAnn’s the other day.  I love writing in journals when I am not writing here.  There is something about putting words on paper.  I go back to some of my old journals that tell about some of our trips, family gatherings and other things and find it such a joy to read about the good times and even some of the not so joyful times because none of us gets to live a life free of pain or sorrow.  But, all in all, we have lived a pretty good life, Dave and I and I hope I can fill many more journals.

Hope you will be creative this year.  If not, I hope you get to enjoy something from a creative person.  Here’s to needles and yarn and thread and creative juices.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

Four More Days

 

I really wish there were two months between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The four weeks between seem to be a whirlwind of activity.  I just came up for air today since all the gifts are wrapped and I won’t start preparing for Christmas dinner until Wednesday.  Today I have been knitting and watching movies on tv.  It’s rained all day so it’s been kind of nice and cozy here with the tree lights shining, the fireplace flickering and my needles steadily knitting my very first pair of socks.

This past weekend we shared Christmas with part of our family.

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Four boy cousins, who, when they get together, start the wrestling.  Running after each other, climbing on each other, jumping on each other, until someone cries and then they settle down for a bit until they start in again.  I just sit there and laugh, because they are really having a good time together and since they don’t see each other very often, I am glad to see they like to be together.  By the way, I made that quilt on the wall for my daughter several Christmases ago.

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Meanwhile, our granddaughter stays blissfully out of the fray.  She tolerates the boys and that’s about all.

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Santa was there.  David loves to wear his Santa hat and go “Ho ho ho.”

We opened gifts.  Here is something I made.

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A barn quilt made from Lori Holt’s Vintage Farm Girl book which I am in love with.

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Each barn block has another small quilt within the block.

It was a fun day.   Our son-in-law made homemade strombolies which were delicious.

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This is my first sock I am knitting.  I got all excited about knitting socks after reading Lucy’s blog, Attic24, where she knit her first pair of socks.  She crochets beautifully, too.  I have never knitted on circular needles and these are teeny tiny ones, but I have caught on pretty fast and actually am enjoying the process so far, but the dreaded heel will be coming up shortly where I will have to knit a heel flap and turn the heel and pick up stitches and then knit to the toe and do something called the “kitcheners” stitch which is really kind of worrying me because I would hate to get this far and make all kinds of mistakes in the latter process.   I wish I could have an experienced sock knitter sitting right by my side while I start the process so if I start to make a mistake she could tell me so.  I have been watching youtube videos of the process, read all kinds of lessons on the process and I am still rather confused as to how the whole heel thing magically comes together.  I’ll let you know if I make it though.

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I knit on the sock until my hand gets tired and then I take up my other needles and start knitting a scarf.

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I just finished this scarf. It’ a lot longer than shown as I have it folded.

I plan to learn how to crochet in the coming year.  Everyone on my Christmas list plan to receive one of my creations next Christmas.

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Burning candles to brighten up the dull days.  This is my favorite scent to burn during the Christmas season.

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We have an artificial Christmas tree so this makes it smell like we have a real one in the house.

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A friend gave me this cute snowmen the other day which holds tea lights.  I kind of have started a new collection of snowmen.  I didn’t mean to, but I seem to have several now, just like my Santa Claus collection.  When people find out you like something, you start getting that something quite often whether planned or not. I love this new little snowman and he will be decorating my house for Christmases to come.

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Found this little Nativity set I purchased several years ago and set it up.

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I can put this one out and know it can’t be broken. My Jim Shore Nativity had an accident one year and one of the donkey’s ears was broken off which a certain grandson hid under the couch and I found it there later.   David repaired the ear and that nativity is placed up high where, hopefully, it can’t be broken.

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Made potato and sausage soup and it was soooo good.  Think we will have it for leftovers tonight.

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Baked snickerdoodles and it wasn’t long before this happened…..

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A hand stole in to take one.  These did not last long.  I made three dozen sugar cookies Saturday and they are all gone, but it was because I gave them to our grandchildren to take home.  I think I ate one of them.

I have to tell you about a cleaning solution I saw on Facebook.  I tried it and I was amazed at how well it worked.  Here is the recipe:

2 oz. of Dawn liquid (1/4 cup)

4 oz. lemon juice(1/2 cup)

8 oz. white vinegar( 1 cup)

10 oz water(1 and 1/4 cups)

Put in a glass jar and shake it up.  I use a canning jar and canning lids.

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This was two batches and I already had used some for cleaning.

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I have these blue Ball jars I plan to store it in.

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I guess you could use another dish washing liquid other than Dawn, but then you wouldn’t have this pretty blue cleaner.  I have used it on cabinets, floors, the refrigerator and a toaster that was really greasy and I had tried to clean it with just soap and water.  This is what it looked like after a cleaning with this.

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It was sparkling, although I do see a few places I need to apply the cleaner again.  You can clean your oven, walls, windows, just about anything.  It is a little soapy, but I spray it on, let it set, wipe it off with a clean cloth and it seems to work well.  It smells fresh, too and is safe around animals and children.   Anyway, if you don’t like harsh cleaners, this is one you might want to try.  I give no guarantees, just that I had success with it.

In closing I will show you how hard it is to take pictures of your grandchildren all at the same time.

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Notice our granddaughter never moved, but stayed posed, while the boys were up to their usual shenanigans.

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Four more days and another group will gather at our house for another day of fellowship and fun.  Hope your days are merry and bright.  XOXO  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

All Is Merry and Bright

The weeks after Thanksgiving seem to go in a blur for me.  I’m making, baking, creating, sewing, quilting, decorating, and doing all the other things I do during the days before Christmas.   Also, when grandchildren and their Christmas programs are added to the mix, it makes for a very busy time. 

This week we had two programs to attend.  Our granddaughter sang in her Christmas choral concert.  Really put us in the spirit of the season. 

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She is getting prettier every day.  So proud of her.  She is using the talents God gave her.

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  Their school is Christ centered which is really what the season is all about.  It’s nice to attend a school program where Jesus is welcome.  Too many schools don’t even want to use the word Christmas any longer which is really sad. 

  On the home front, decorations have gone up. 

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The little ceramic tree I was given one year by someone I babysat for.

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We put the tree in the dining room because honestly, it was the only room it would fit. 

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I love our Christmas tree. 

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I even like its reflection in the window!

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Our neighbor down the street has a huge tree with lights.  I can see it out my kitchen window.

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Lights on the front porch.  David put them up and half of them didn’t work any longer, so he had to take them down and buy new ones.  They just don’t make things like they use to.  Those light sets didn’t last a year.  Hoping these sets last a little longer. 

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I am doing a lot of sewing, but since I cannot show you what I am making at the moment, I will show you a purse I made for myself recently.  I love this pattern.  I have made so many purses from it, given some away and kept some for myself.    Can’t wait to show you what I have been sewing for presents. 

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I have been knitting, but not these things.  I made the sweaters and little socks years ago for my baby boys who are now in their forties.  I had forgotten I ever knit socks.  I have been following a blog that teaches how to knit socks and after Christmas I am going to try to knit on circular needles for the very first time and make a pair of socks.  I have been lusting over skeins of sock yarn online.  There are so many luscious colors from which to choose.  People have been posting their sock progress on Facebook which makes me want to start immediately.   I can see a new obsession taking hold.

Last night we attended another Christmas program put on by the fourth graders at my grandson’s school 

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It was a Christmas western show.  All the children wore plaid shirts and kerchiefs on their necks.  They looked so cute.  My grandson is the red head boy in the front.  He and the other two boys had major parts in the play.

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Here they are sitting around the campfire.   Why does Spin and Marty come to my mind?  You folks who grew up in the fifties in the states and watched the Mickey Mouse Club know who I am talking about.

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Suddenly, angels appear in the sky. You know, the shepherds in the field keeping watch over their flocks by night.  When suddenly the heavenly host appeared singing “Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth, good will toward men.”

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  They went looking for the baby who had been born. 

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Carrying his sheep all the way!

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During one song, our grandson played the drum. He was good too.

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I love this boy.  He’s growing up way too fast.

I hope your days before Christmas are busy, happy and blessed.  Bye.

 

Threads of Time

Okay, does it seem like Christmas was ages ago?  We had our final family gathering last Saturday.  I never get tired of seeing my grandchildren.  It hit me, though, how quickly they are all growing and soon will be adults.  So any time I can spend with them is golden for me and David and I hope we can do it more this year.

I always like to take pictures when we are together although sometimes I forget because we are having fun.  But this time I took several pictures of the boys.  My granddaughter was home feeling poorly so she wasn’t with us.  Taking pictures of boys is like trying to herd cats.  You can’t get them to hold still or smile.  Here are a few pictures that I took.

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Here they are with their Enderman and Creeper from Mindcraft.  I learned more than I ever needed to know about Mindcraft while researching how to make toys for the boys.  I’m still not sure I understand it, but they knew exactly what they were when they opened the packages so I breathed a sigh of relief.

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Boys in motion.

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I like this picture.  Rather elfin looking I think.  I knitted all the younger boys scarves and hats.

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Eating the new sweatshirt I just gave him.

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This young man is thirteen and wears size twelve shoes.  Or, as he told me, he can wear eight and a half shoes also.  Huh?!  Just know his foot is about twice as long as mine.  And he is still growing.  He’s on the basketball team.  His grandfather on his mother’s side played a lot of basketball and he is following in his footsteps.

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My lovely daughter with her oldest.   We had a grand time and I look forward to seeing them all again.  My younger grandsons are already asking me when Grandma’s camp is going to be.  We want to take them caving this summer.

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If you live in the northern states you know we are being hit by Artic air right now.  I almost got frostbite this morning cleaning out the chicken house and feeding them.  I keep candles burning because it just makes me feel warmer.

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I brought my sewing indoors as the dogs have taken over my shop for the duration of this cold.

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I am getting ready to quilt this quilt.  It’s kingsize and I’m not sure whether I will hand quilt it or do it on the sewing machine.  I think it’s called Granny Squares.  I pieced it a year or so ago and am just getting ready to finish it.

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It’s been a nice quilt to use up my bits and pieces of fabric.  Since I have quite a stash, I could make several more of these.

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Each block has a different color scheme.

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This will be the backing.  We sold this when we had our quilt shop.  I have loved it ever since and wanted to use it in something I will keep.

This week I had the joy of teaching a friend and her two cute daughters how to piece a block and learn some quilt basics.  They decided to make pot holders.  After a lot of cutting, sewing, tearing out a couple of times and sewing again, they almost finished them except for a border or two.

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It brought back memories when I use to teach quilt classes at our store.  It is so rewarding to see someone who does not know about quilting learn about it and find out it’s fun.  Their pot holders show their individuality. Pam picked Christmas fabric to match some new dishes she received.

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Tiffany picked bold, floral fabrics that made a beautiful pot holder.

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Danielle picked homespun fabrics and I really liked how her pot holder turned out.

It was fun and made me want to teach classes again.  See behind Danielle?  Molly and Belle watched us continuously.  This was usually their naptime and didn’t know why I wasn’t letting them into the shop.

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I got this cute mug Saturday.  My grandchildren and their mom and stepdad went to Cleveland where the Christmas Story house is.

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I love this mug.  It holds about two cups of coffee…………

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or hot chocolate.  If you are in the freezer this week, stay warm, drink hot chocolate and enjoy your indoor time.  This, too, will pass.  Bye.

 

 

 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It is, you know.  The most wonderful time of the year.  The season of giving and peace and love.  Oh,  you look around the world and see all the evil that is going on, but what you don’t see very often because it doesn’t make a good news story, is the good that is going on.  The nurse in the hospital who gives a lonely patient a little extra time and patience, the boy on your street who helps his elderly neighbor clear the snow off her walk,  the man who pays the tab for a soldier eating at the next table in a restaurant,  a teen-ager who calls his grandma and asks about her day.  There is a lot of bad, but if you look, you will see the good also.  There will always be sin in this world.  Jesus said there would be wars and rumors of wars.

We can all make this world a little bit better.  It’s the small things that count.  A smile, patience for that slow driver in front of you, a kind word, a pat on the back, a hug.  What if everyone decided that they were not going to be the problem, but the answer?  That we would all decide we would get along with our neighbor, that we would look on the bright side of things for a change, that your life really isn’t so bad if you can get up in the morning and do something for others.  It’s time to stop being so self-centered.  To stop wondering when things are going to get better.  You can make them better.

I decided quite a long time ago that I was not going to look at the glass half empty.  My glass is always half full.  If I don’t feel well one day I think I am no better than anyone else and cannot escape the trials of man and accept it.  I have lived through tragedies, sadness, pain, separation, and most of the other human ills.  We all must face these things at some time in our lives.  It is how you face them that counts.  I know people who have the most awful diseases who wear a smile on their faces in their adversity.  There is one thing they have.  They have Jesus in their heart.  It makes a difference, you know.  At this season rest in the knowledge that God loved us all enough that He came down to earth as a tiny baby and lived among us for a time.  He died a wretched death on the cross and took every one of our sins upon Himself.  He died but He arose the third day and now lives in heaven.  One day He will come back for those who believe in Him.  I believe.  He makes my life complete.

I love Christmas because I can give presents to friends and family.  I love making gifts and this year I went all out.  I can’t show most of what I have made, but I have already given some things away so those I will show.

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I made felt ice skates for the children in my Sunday school class and filled them with candy and little toys and stickers.

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I have a friend who loves cats so I made her this little ornament out of felt.

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The lady I help in Sunday school got this because I told her she was an angel.

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Another friend keeps bees so, voila!  When I found this pattern I immediately thought of her.

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I was on a roll and made another ornament.  I may make more before I’m done.  I love working with felt.

I’ve been knitting up a storm too.

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Hats and scarves for the children in my Sunday school class.

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A year or so ago, a nice lady from my church gave me a big bagful of quilt blocks, embroidery floss, a whole quilt that she had cross stitched and several other goodies.  She said she gave it to me because she knew I would get some good out of it since I love to quilt.  There were enough of these school house blocks to make a full size quilt  So, I did.  I asked her who had made the blocks and she told me her grandmother.  I knew I could not keep this quilt for myself.  It belonged in her family so this Sunday I gave it to her.  It made me so happy to see her smile.  The quilt was probably started in the 1950’s and now sixty some years later it is finished and the family can enjoy it for years to come.

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I think my brothers had pajamas made from material like this back in the day.

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There were plaid blocks.

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One block was made with a satin or crepe de chine.  Is that spelled right?

Yes, I have been a busy beaver.  And I have enjoyed every bit of the making.

In other news.  Molly Marshmallow continues to grow and grow.

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Doesn’t she look adorable here?  Wellllllll.  This dog loves wood.  She chews on wood every chance she gets.  She has chewed on our house, around the windows, the wooden deck benches.  She goes out in the yard and drags up pieces of wood and chips them like a beaver all over our back deck.  She climbs on top of the woodpile, I don’t know why.  Maybe she is planning on working her way down it.  Anyway, today I took hot sauce and a brush and painted it all over the back of our house.  Molly immediately started licking it up.  Finally she decided maybe it wasn’t so good.  I am going to hot sauce everything I don’t want her to chew.  She loves chewing the heels of my shoes as I walk so on will go the hot sauce.  I hope I have found the remedy to her constant chewing.  It’s not like she doesn’t get toys and rawhide bones to chew.  I just hope she outgrows this affinity for wood and me.  I still love her, though and get a lot of laughs from her antics.  If you walk by me and I smell like hot sauce, you will know why.

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I look at this face and I cannot stay angry with her.  She is a puppy and chewing is what puppies do.

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My Santa rests on the couch before the big day.  He’s been asked at the store for stickers and other toys.  Little children think he’s the real thing.

A big package came to our front door the other day.  David and I had gone to a Christmas party and when we came home there was this box sitting on our front porch.

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It was for me!!!!!!

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Do not open until Christmas.  Oh, no!  I feel like a kid again waiting for the big day.

I knew it had to be from someone I knew who knew I liked chickens because this was on the package……

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A rooster made out of what looks like an old quilt.  Interesting.  Hmmmmmmm.  Well, I guess I will just have to wait until Christmas until I can open it.

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Couldn’t let Christmas go by without dressing up one of the hens for the season. This is Ada and she’s the only one who will allow me to pick her up now.  She got a little squirrely toward the end of the photo shoot and finally flew out of my arms, but David got a good picture of her.

 

Must go.  Just four more days.  Hope you are ready.  It will come whether you are ready or not.  See you on the other side.  Merry Christmas.  Bye.