Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday ~ Sunday

Our impatiens in front of the garage are still looking good.  As soon as our temperature drops a few more degrees they will be gone.  That's always a sad day for me.  For some reason I have always had very good luck with impatiens and I plant them liberally around the front of the house in pots every year. 

Yesterday we had a short workday planned out of town, which turned into a long workday, so our fun plans had to be postponed until a later date.  I was able to make quick stops at two quilt shops on our way home ~ not the ideal situation for me when Hubby is parked at the curb with the engine running!  Talk about shopping under the gun! I managed to find a few purple fabrics for my new quilt that will become my winter project ~~

These will be added to the purples already in my stash.  This new project will be a Log Cabin variation in purples and cream only.  More on this later.  In the meantime I need to busy myself making the surprise project for my Secret Sister Santa group I joined.  My SS is out of the country, so I need to get her gift completed so it can be mailed early.  I can't tell you what it is just in case she follows my blog.

One of the quilt shops I visited yesterday was celebrating their 16th anniversary, so everything was 16% off.  They also had drawings for door prizes ~ pincushions in the shape of cake slices ~~  and guess who won one of the 16!  There are also a few decorated pins that were included.  Cute!

Hubby is nearly dragging me off the computer to walk with him in the woods to set up a tree stand for hunting.  How can I say no to my teddy bear of a husband!

Until next time, take care and I wish you an abundance of
                                       Peace & Plenty!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monday Again???

This is a Wednesday that has felt like Monday all day.  I'm dragging a bit and maybe that's because we have been having electrical storms since about midnight.  We are catching up with the rain that eluded us this spring and prevented us from having a good garden and flowers.

In another week or so it will be time for flannel jammies, socks and long sleeves - maybe even the occasional jacket.  The trees are just beginning to turn color and fall.  I can't wait for the first snow!

I'm in a bit of a break from sewing right now, having done more than usual the last two weeks or so.  The wheels are turning in my head and the new quilt list is getting longer and longer.  Seriously, I need to pull some of the UFO's out and work on them.  Here are just a few.....

There is a tremendous amount of work in these blocks.  The blades were machine pieced, but they were then appliqued to the block by hand and so was the center circle.  These need to be layed out and sewn together and have border(s) added.  A special trip was made to Springfield to shop for the background fabric.

This is half of a Jellyroll Race quilt that just needs a border and quilting.  It's made from the Swiss Chocolate line of fabric.

All this Christmas runner needs is binding. 

I work on several projects at the same time because I become easily bored working on just one at a time.  This means I finish up several projects around the same time and many of my quilty friends think all I do is sew.  This is not so - I takes LOTS of breaks from sewing, but never from thinking about and planning future projects!

What type of quilter are you?  Do you work on just one project at a time.  When you shop for fabric, are you buying for several projects at the same time?  I would love to hear how you go about this.

Until next time, Hugs and Best Wishes....Barb

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chilly Monday

Good Monday everyone!  We had a very nice weekend.  After some work filling holes in the yard and sowing grass seed yesterday, we came in from the wind and rested most of the afternoon. 

Since there is such a chill in the air I cooked a large pot of beef stew and homemade dinner rolls yesterday.  It went down very nicely and we have enough for another meal, maybe tomorrow.  Yesterday I also baked some chocolate chip cookies and they turned out quite well.  I had read a tip that if you roll your dough into balls and then roll the balls into granulated sugar it does something nice for the cookies.  The cookies were more uniform in size and when you bite into them there is a little snap from the sugar but the inside is still very moist.  Try it next time you bake cookies.

I took three quilts to my friend and long-arm quilter, Reggie, this morning.  One quilt is made from a hand-painted panel from India; one is a bright and happy Jellyroll Race quilt and the third is a Wacky Web Halloween quilt.   It will be about three weeks before I get them back and then I will bind them.  I'm very fortunate to live less than 5 minutes from my quilter and the same distance from my favorite fabric store!  Here's a sneak peak at the Halloween quilt before it was pressed ~~

The stores are full of Halloween/Fall decorator items and candy.  This is my favorite time of year!!

Wishing you a day filled with Peace and Plenty!   Barb

Friday, September 21, 2012

Confessions of a Candyholic

Hubby and I were in bed last night watching TV when he turned to me and asked what I was thinking about.  I replied, "I'm thinking about candy."  This comment got the biggest fit of laughter I've witnessed in a long time.  "How do you think about candy?", he asked....Oh if he only knew!

Since I was a child I have loved candy...not once in a while, but all the time.  If my mother didn't watch me I could begin my morning with candy and end my day the same way.  Fortunately, I have good teeth despite all the warnings that the candy would rot the teeth out of my head. 

Most people mark their years by birthdays, vacations, graduation, births, boyfriends/girlfriends, etc.  In my life most of my years were marked by candy holidays.  Let's begin the year with St. Valentine's Day and the luscious array of chocolates in every shape, glorious chocolate covered cherries, conversation hearts with sweet little words, heart-shaped boxes of chcolate from your true love. The next significant candy holiday is Easter with pastel jellybeans, Peeps in all colors, chocolate bunnies and chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs that actually come in an egg carton!  Candydom has a real lull between Easter and Halloween, but it's so worth waiting for.  My heart skips a beat when the Halloween isles are loaded with bags of every candy you can imagine.  I absolutely love the variety bags with assortments of candies, candy corn, M&M's in tiny bags, peanut butter kisses (to die for).  Let's not overlook all the favorite candy bars that come in mini and fun size during Halloween! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Golden Days

These are the days I love the most ~ the golden days of September.  Nights and early mornings are briskly chilly, the days are getting shorter, but the afternoons are golden.  The huge garden spiders are weaving their gossamer webs and the yellow butterflies are making their final sweep through our garden.  The flowers are putting forth their last hurrah and Fall is just around the corner!

I can feel the change of seasons even in the house. This is the time of year I begin burning candles with names like Falling Leaves, Warm Cider, Autumn Bliss. This week I changed the quilt in our bedroom to one that's a little warmer in weight and color.

This quilt is simple large squares of velveteen, silk and cotton.  It has a nice stripe fabric on the back.  It's quilted with large utility stitches in the Baptist Fan design.  There is nothing complicated or fussy about this quilt ~ it is what it is and I love it.  Sometimes the simple things are what please me the most. 

We are going to have our first bonfire this weekend.  We never fail to solve all the problems of the world when we sit in front of  blazing fire with our stomachs full of good food.  I wonder if the politicians have ever tried this technique! 

Until next time, I wish you Peace & Plenty & Golden Afternoons


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mummies on Parade

The end of summer is really here at last, as witnessed by our swarm of hummingbirds thinning out drastically.  Yesterday I hung up what I believe to be the final feeder of this year.  I wish them a safe trip back to their other home. 

Since I got my new sewing machine last month I've been fascinated with the embroidery feature.  Every spare minute lately has been spent creating designs and downloading patterns from the Internet.  I admit that I have much more to learn, so much more! 

I found a cute mummy pattern at my current favorite embroidery design site (Embroidery Library) and can't seem to quit making them!  I have to say that for a 'non-Halloween person' they have stolen my heart.  Here are a few of the sweet little mummies and friends who are hanging around the sewing room ~~

You may remember that I participated in a Halloween block swap last month.  I really enjoy the Halloween colors ~ purples, reds, acid greens and bright oranges, all punctuated with lots of black.  I lean toward the cutsie side of Halloween rather than the frightening dark side.

I have found that machine embroidery is not inexpensive.  Unlike piecing a quilt top with one color thread, you must have a myriad of embroidery thread colors right off the bat.  It's been a fun adventure and one that I am sure I will pursue for years to come. 

Now I'm off to see what I can create before I have to start our dinner.

Wishing you a day filled with wonder and creativity.....Barb


Monday, September 17, 2012

Knittin' Sticks

Last weekend I was visiting with a friend who is in the process of making homemade laundry products ~ detergent, stain remover, color catcher sheets, etc, to give as Christmas gifts this year.  After sharing recipes for these money-saving concoctions she brought out a stack of pretty hand-knitted dishcloths.  All I could do was smile because there was a time when I had drawers full of these wonderful cleaning cloths in a rainbow of colors.  My late mother-in-law kept me supplied with dishcloths ~ enough to last me several years after she passed away. 

After I got home I dug through my yarn stash and found my 'knittin' sticks' and some cotton yarn.  I even managed to find my mother-in-law's hand written directions for the dishcloths.  I sat down and began knitting for the first time in several years and in about 4 hours I had completed a dishcloth and enjoyed the quiet time.

I was taught to knit when I was about five years old by Grammy Rose and Grandma Nan.  I desperately wanted to learn and to have my own knittin' bag and my own set of knittin' sticks.  It didn't take Grammy and Nan long to realize that we all needed to wear safety glasses whenever I was knitting ~ so that was the rule:  Safety glasses first and then you can pick up your sticks!  Grammy would cast on stitches for me and knit the first row so my little fingers had something to work with and I was off and running.  After a few hours of knitting my way, the stitches had dwindled to little or nothing and it was time to tie it off and begin another piece.  When asked what I was making I would always say it was something very long for the Christmas tree.  

My sweet Grandpa Bob saw that my sticks were far too long for my short arms so he disappeared to his workshop and in no time came walking in with my own set of "little girl sticks".  He shortened a regular set of needles and glued wooden balls on the ends.  What can I say, I had the best Grandpa in the world!  Sadly the little sticks got away from us somehow and are nowhere to be found. 

Now I'm an old girl and when I knit I still use wooden (bamboo)needles.  Nowadays I live dangerously without my safety glasses!

I have never been a good knitter and I have a mini-meltdown when I make a mistake.  I guess I missed the class on fixing mistakes!  Maybe no one wanted to get close enough to me to show me!  If you would like to give this project a try, here are the directions and it's simple enough for a beginner:

Cast on 4 stitches. 
Row 1:  Knit 4
Row 2:  Knit 2, yarn over, knit across the row.
Repeat row 2 until you have 44 stitches on your needle.
Row 3:  Knit 1, Knit 2 together, yarn over, knit two together, knit to the
              end of the row.
Repeat Row 3 until you have 4 stitches on your needle.  Bind Off. 

Note:  Size 9 needle.  I use Peaches & Creme yarn from WalMart.  It's 100% cotton and comes is some nice colors. Bleaching this yarn is not recommended, but I have bleached the very light colors on occasion. 

On the quilting front, I have been pre-occupied with my new embroidery machine and have been making some small blocks with Halloween designs.  More on that later this week.

Until then I wish you a day filled with Peace & Plenty!    Barb

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Miss Molly

We share our life with the sweetest Scottish terrier, Miss Molly, 13 1/2 years old.  Although she has diabetes with resulting cataracts and old age in general, she is still spunky, sweet and should I say "spoiled".

For the most part Molly is my constant shadow and faithful companion with one exception ~ grooming days.  For some reason a day of glamour and primping takes the starch out of her sails.  I suspect it's the change of surroundings and Mom or Dad not being with her.  Most of the time Molly goes to bed for two days after a trip to be groomed.  She turns her back to the room and refuses to be bothered with anything or anyone!

Today was Molly's grooming day and, as usual, she's worn to a frazzle ~~  nothing but a nap on Mom & Dad's bed would do for this Princess!

To those of you who nurture and care for furbabies, God Bless You!  They add so much more to our lives than we can measure.

                                           Peace & Plenty

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

Today begins the first day of the Labor Day weekend.  What are your plans?  Our plans include doing lots of nothing ~ sleep late, stay up late watching movies, good food and good friends if they choose to join us.

Later this morning I plan to make a Chocolate Eclair Cake, a layered confection of custard and graham crackers, all topped with a chocolate glaze.  That will keep Hubby smiling while I sew!

Wherever you are, make your long weekend a safe and happy one!

                          Wishing you Abundance, Peace & Plenty