Monthly Archives: May 2016

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.


A painted Santa face peeking out.


A kind of creep Santa peeking out!


With bird house posts on either side.



With birds painted on each post.


Snowmen on the armrests.


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.


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.




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.




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.


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!


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.






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.


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.


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.


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!



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Ready for the dreaded toe decrease on another sock.


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.


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.


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


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.


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



Begonias and some sweet flowers on the front porch.


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


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.




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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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


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


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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



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.


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.


I’m not at all happy to be there!


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


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.


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.