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Monday, December 30, 2013

THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL.....

~~~ but being indoors is so delightful!  Miss Dottie woke me this am at 3:40 needing to go outdoors.  The wind was howling and the thermometer said 6 degrees.  I would bet that with wind chill it was at or below zero.  Not a fit temperature for man nor beast.  Of course, the Girls went right back to sleep after we came back in, but I wasn't so lucky.

I'm taking the week between Christmas and New Year's to do some advance work on Christmas projects for next year. Everything will be packed away neatly and I will pull my projects out in October and finish things up.  All I can tell you is that my embroidery machine is involved.

I'm resolving not to make any new resolutions for 2014.  Creatively speaking I plan to work on the Group projects I signed up for and try to finish up some of my UFOs.  Those are the unfinished projects that haunt my mind when I can't sleep.  Before we got the Girls in July, if I couldn't sleep I would wander into the sewing room and work on my quilts.  I no longer have that luxury.  Once Dottie hears me sneaking through the house she begins to growl and it soon turns into full-on barking.  This means she is ready for a new day.  My life is much simpler if I lie in bed and listen to the rhythm of Jeff's CPAP machine.  Sooner or later (usually 10 minutes before the alarm goes off) I drift off to sleep. 

Next weekend we will take our Christmas tree down and pack everything away for another year.  I always try to pack away little resentments and hard feelings away at the same time and not allow them to taint my fresh new year. 

I wish for you and your family everything good, wholesome and joyful for 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

THE MORNING AFTER....



I hope you had a grand Christmas yesterday.  Ours was spent at home with the Girls and was most enjoyable.  We had several calls from family and friends.  Our meal was wonderfully simple.  I cooked a prime rib roast and served it with baked potatoes, green bean casserole and hot rolls.  I decided not to bake a pie or cake because we literally have tubs of cookies and fudge sitting around. 

Dottie and Olive had a ball opening their bags and playing with the new toys.  This occupied the greater part of their day and evening ~~~~~






I managed to sneak in a few minutes of time to sew.  Don't be alarmed, I'm not wearing red antlers today. 

Now we begin the countdown to the new year.  This week I am dedicating to some advance Christmas sewing for 2014.  I would love not to feel so overwhelmed next December!

Peace & Plenty.....Barb

Sunday, December 22, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS



I didn't want to miss the chance to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year.

We will be spending a quiet Christmas at home this year with the Girls.  Our weather is so unpredictable right now that we may not be able to get back home if we travel any distance at all.

I bought a nice ham for our dinner and we will also have green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, fruit salad, warm cranberry compote and homemade rolls and pies. 

From our home to yours, we wish you an abundance of
                                Peace & Plenty
                                   The Oakers

Sunday, December 15, 2013

BITS & PIECES


The curious thing for me about blogging is that I don't always find new things to write about.  Some days are interesting (to me!) but many of my days are ho-hum.  I keep writing and sharing and hope that even the dull days will be of interest to some of my readers.  Sometimes just a glimpse into someone's life can be a connection and source of peace and continuity.

We are having a slow weekend due mostly to the weather.  Our 8 inches of snow is beginning to melt a little and the temperature is bitter.  Hubby is working on the roof/gutters trying to get things freed up a little.  I am worried he might fall or slip and/or get frostbite on his hands.  Dottie is trying her best to keep him company through the living room window ~~  barking and whining most of the time.

I have two cooking shows on Saturday morning TV that I enjoy, Pioneer Woman and especially Farmhouse Rules.  I love down-to-earth cooks with simple, satisfying food.  We aren't fancy eaters or fancy people for that matter.  I'm simmering some pork loin for pulled pork sandwiches for dinner.  I will serve it with some oven baked fries, slaw and homemade applesauce.  Earlier this week I make a huge pot of bean soup with ham and we finished that up last night for dinner.  This is the perfect weather for filling soups and stews.

Many of you know that I love to do machine embroidery almost as much as I love making quilts.  My machine has been clattering away for weeks embroidering a lovely assortment of snowflakes that I'm giving as holiday gifts ~~



Christmas is getting closer and closer.  We don't make a huge fuss about giving gifts anymore.  The grandkids are grown and appreciate money more than anything.  A few handmade items round out their gifts.  I give small handmade items to our friends, occasionally shocking some of them with something big (like a large quilt for their king bed).  I love to give and receive the unexpected. 

Hubby and I have been a little under the weather for two weeks with the seasonal crud that goes around this time of year.  It has to run its course regardless of everything else you do.  I'm trying to get extra rest. 

Take care ~~ stay warm ~~~ be careful on the roads ~~~ and enjoy the season. 

Peace & Plenty   ~~~~~   Barb






Wednesday, December 11, 2013

LOOKING BACK


This is such a busy time of year with all the shopping, baking and decorating.  I decided to slow myself down today and  look back over 2013 and what I accomplished in my sewing room. 

How do you measure the creative productivity of a year of your life?  Is it by the number of projects completed ~~ the difficulty of the projects completed ~~  helping someone else learn to create ~~  how much you learned  ~~   or by your personal satisfaction? 

This is personal reflection time for me.  This year my most rewarding times were when I was able to make something and offer it to someone who needed what I made.  Sewing for charitable groups is very fulfilling.  I also managed to get some quilts made for my family but I have several yet to make.

In 2013 I made a Jellyroll Race quilt and pillowcases for my granddaughter; a Rising Sun quilt plus a pillowcase for my grandson; a Summer Bazaar quilt; Dresden Plate quilt made from 1930's reproduction prints; Log Cabin table topper; Tomato Quilt to celebrate our incredible tomato harvest; 4 small quilts and 32 pillowcases for charity; 4 table runners; a large Halloween tote bag;  and countless embroidered snowflake ornaments.  Below are a few pictures:
RISING SUN QUILT

JELLYROLL RACE


SUMMER BAZAAR
 
 
 

PILLOWCASES FOR CYBER ELVES


FLIRT RUNNER

HALF SQUARE SCRAP RUNNER
 


valentine runner
 
 
 


DRESDEN PLATE

Add caption
 I'm pleased with my 2013 projects.  By far the most fun projects to work on were the tomato quilt and the Happy Jack tote.  The most involved project was the Dresden Plate quilt because I chose to do a lot of hand sewing.  The scalloped border and binding was a fun to do but it took a lot of time.
 
My goal for next year (and every year) is to finish some UFOs (unfinished objects) and then find some new projects just for fun.  If it's not fun, why do it!!!
 
Looking back, are you pleased with your creative year?
 
Wishing you bushels of Peace & Plenty!!
 
 
 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

THE BAKING HAS BEGUN...




It was totally dark this morning when I began pulling ingredients and utensils out to bake some Christmas cookies.  Not just any cookies, but special cookies for the Girls (Dottie & Olive).  I am aware that some people might think that a person would have to be out of their head to bake cookies for their dogs, but I'm okay with that! 

I ran across a simple dog biscuit recipe made with peanut butter, bananas, oatmeal, cornmeal and eggs that sounded so good the Girls might think we were giving them some of our treats!  The recipe below makes a few dozen treats depending on the size of your cutter.  Today I doubled the recipe and that's what is pictured above:

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup peanut butter (I use creamy)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour (I use regular all purpose flour)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal + more for rolling
1/2 cup oats (any type) + more for rolling

I use a mixer.  Blend the wet ingredients together and add to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Turn out onto lightly floured counter or board and add enough additional oats, cornmeal and flour to make the dough stiff enough to roll without sticking.

I roll or pat the dough to about 1/2" thickness and then sprinkle oats over the top and press them in gently.  Cut out biscuits with cutter of your choice and transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or non-stick foil.  I take a fork and poke the top of each biscuit lightly to make 4 little holes for decoration.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and flip the biscuits over and cook a few more minutes (15 minutes for me).  Remove to a rack to cool.

Note:  If I don't put oats on top of the biscuits I will make an egg wash (1 egg + a small splash of milk beaten with a fork) and brush it over the tops of the biscuits before baking.  This gives them a shiny glaze.  I like the look of the oats...more natural looking. 

The biscuits have natural ingredients and I'm sure if they were left out too long at room temperature they could spoil.  I freeze most of the biscuits and leave out just enough for about 4-5 days.  These make cute gifts for your furry friends and they will love you so much for making them especially for them.

Enjoy your day.....Barb






Saturday, December 7, 2013

SNOW DAYS!



The arctic blast that has been moving across the US left us with a layer of ice topped with about 9 inches of snow.  Technically I'm housebound because of living on a private road that is never plowed or graded.  I drive a small car that can't even get out of the garage in weather like this.  For now I'm very content to stay at home knowing I have no choice in the matter.

This is the first snow Dottie and Olive have ever seen or walked in.  Sweet Olive sinks up to the top of her short legs and looks like a swimmer in slow motion when she moves.  Dottie is still trying to figure out the snow so she can conquer it her way.

I don't mind being snowbound for a few days.  This is a good time to catch up in the sewing room and maybe get my fabric more organized.  I have a stack of Christmas cards and a package that need to go to the post office.  Our satellite went out yesterday and the roof is too icy to attempt to clean off the dish.  This is the perfect time to listen to the radio or Christmas carols.  My only worry is that if we lose power we have no back-up heat. 

Wherever you are I hope you are safe and warm and have plenty of food on hand.  Wednesday I went to the grocery store for a few critical items and there was no (I mean zero) bread and very little milk.  I bought hamburger buns as a substitute for sliced bread.  In a pinch I can make my own bread and may do that just because I have the ingredients and the smell of bread baking is intoxicating. 

Take Care ~~~~~  Barb

Saturday, November 30, 2013

DRESDEN PLATE DONE!



Last winter I made a nice Dresden Plate quilt from my collection of 1930's reproduction fabrics.  I machine pieced the  blades and later found a cream fabric with small red dots for the background blocks.  I hand appliqued the blades and the centers onto the background ~~  this took a lot of time and patience.  I wish I had known about the Clover needle threader then because it has taken a lot of fussing out of my sewing.

Once the blocks were made and sewn together I made a trip to the Quilt Sampler in Springfield and found fabric for the outer border and then had the quilt machine quilted by my friend Reggie.  That's when the procrastination set in.  I knew in my heart that the Dresden was calling out for scalloped borders, but the thought of all that measuring, marking and cutting (not to mention making yards and yards of bias binding) seemed a little too much. 

The day before Thanksgiving I gave myself a mental kick and began the process ~~  measuring, marking, cutting, etc.  It's a bit daunting to take scissors and cut into a new quilt.  Then there was the small mountain of bias binding to measure, mark and cut.  I couldn't make any errors because I barely had enough fabric to cut the amount of binding I needed.  Thanksgiving afternoon after dinner was over I began stitching the binding around 40 scallops and it went fairly well.  The only thing I wish I had done differently would be to use a darker thread in the bobbin so when I wrapped the binding around to the back I could see the sewing line better.  

Here's my finished quilt except for the label. 


A folded corner showing the scallops



Miss Dottie approves
I'm pleased with this quilt and it will be a keeper for us.  I love modern quilts but there is something very satisfying about making a traditional quilt. This is the last quilt I will complete in 2013.

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was as enjoyable as ours.  Wishing you all the best!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

TWO MORE SLEEPS.......


Sweet Olive & Miss Dottie
First off I would like to welcome all the new members.  I hope you feel welcome and comfortable here...just think of me as a back-door friend - you are welcome to drop by any time.

I have accepted the fact that Winter is here to stay.  Yesterday I replaced our Fall quilt with a Log Cabin quilt we both love and use every year for Christmas.  There's nothing Christmasy about it, but we look forward to it every year.  Until recently I've not been one to make holiday-specific quilts.  Then I made a Wacky Web Halloween quilt a couple years ago and look forward to seeing it every year.  I may tackle a Christmas quilt for next year.  Another holiday I would like to celebrate with a quilt is the 4th of July.






Two more sleeps and it will be Thanksgiving.  We decided to have a small, stay-at-home celebration this year.  I will be cooking a turkey breast, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, fresh green beans with butter and almonds, fruit salad, homemade rolls and pumpkin and Dutch apple pies.  This will give us adequate leftovers that I shouldn't have to cook for a few days.  Over the long weekend I plan to bind my Dresden quilt and begin watching Downton Abbey.  I bought Series 1-3 and can't wait to get started!

Our family would need one full day to count our blessings.  We have the peace of God in our lives, good health, all our material needs are met and we have a loving family and good friends.  This summer Dottie & Olive, our two Scottish terriers, were added to our branch of the family and they have brought so much new life and joy to us. 

From my family to yours we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Don't forget to count your blessings. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

ALMOST AMISH


We have several Amish families that live on farms in our community.  Their mode of transportation is horse-drawn buggies.  It's not unusual to see a buggy with the whole family sitting in a line of traffic.  I love being the first vehicle behind the buggies because I love to see the Amish children in their traditional clothing.  Sometimes I can even catch their eye and get a little smile from them.

Recently my dear friend Alana from northern Canada sent me a gorgeous table runner made from purple batik fabrics.  I have named it Almost Amish because of the bright colors set with black.  It looks wonderful in our home.


The coasters are a bonus.  Alana did a beautiful job on the machine quilting.  Thank you, Alana!!

Winter is setting in for real in our area.  I made a quick trip out this morning to visit our computer guru and was startled to almost hit a deer who decided to cross the highway in front of me as I was driving through a patch of fog.  Thankfully I was able to miss him.  Our roads are supposed to be icy later this afternoon.  I have one more quick trip to make and then I will be tucked in for the day and probably most of the weekend. 

I will be putting together a pot of French Onion soup to have with our dinner tonight.  It's a perfect day for homemade soup and open-face roast beef sandwiches.

Wishing you a day filled with Peace & Plenty.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A SLOW WEEK


It's been an unusual week.  Hubby Jeff has been home all week with a bad sinus infection.  He's beginning to feel much better now.

Throughout the week I managed to get twenty more pillowcases made for the Cyber Elves Give Back Group at Missouri Star.  These, along with hundreds of others, will go to children who will be spending Christmas in Intensive Care units in Atlanta and Memphis.




I love doing things for children and these are quick and easy to make.  There are wonderful tutorials on YouTube that show you how to make them with French seams so there are no raw edges inside the cases.  My juvenile fabric stash is now depleted and it couldn't be for a better cause. 

Tomorrow is opening day of firearm deer season.  Jeff will wait a little bit before he goes out to hunt.  Normally opening day is crazy and there will be so many visitors in our county looking for places to hunt.  It will be a good day to stay out of the woods.

I make a large pot of chili last night and that's what Jeff wants to have again for dinner tonight.  I think I will cook a pan of cornbread to go with it tonight. 

Wishing you a happy weekend!

Friday, November 8, 2013

ANOTHER FRIDAY



It seems like last Friday was two days ago.  Just where did this week go!

I don't know what it is about me and Fridays, but it's a day when I don't care to begin a new project.  I guess it comes from years of working.  To me Friday is a day to wind up the week and enjoy the weekend.

The winner of the giveaway was thrilled and her box is heading her way.  I hope she is happy with the goodies.  I always wish I could send something to everyone who enters my drawings and I almost did that last year.  I mailed out 18 table runners and the cost of the postage really curled my hair!  We are all winners because we are quilters.  I know, I hear you ~~  you would rather have the box of goodies!!  I know how thrilling it is to have your name drawn because last year I won a drawing for the first time in my life.

Dottie and Sweet Olive are frisky today.  They want out to run and chase their balls, but everything is still muddy and slushy from being frozen.  Being California girls they have never experienced mud and slush.  I can't wait for them to see snow for the first time.  Nothing seems to bother Olive, but Dottie doesn't like anything strange on her feet.  It's going to be a very interesting winter.

I ran to town this morning and did some grocery shopping.  We have one market in our little town and they run some good specials every week.  The workers there are like family and I always spend more time visiting with them than shopping.  They will carry your groceries to your vehicle and would be highly offended if you offered them a tip.  My kind of  people.

I hope you all have a warm and safe weekend doing whatever it is you enjoy most.  Until next time I wish you ~~~

                                  Peace & Plenty

Thursday, November 7, 2013

AND THE WINNER IS .........






Congratulations to Tyne Dimitron, who is the lucky winner of  the 2013 Holiday Giveaway here.

Tyne, please forward me your mailing address so your box of goodies can begin its journey to you.

Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing.  I always wish I could send a box of goodies to everyone who entered.  Again this year my Hubby Jeff was the official name puller. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

TOMATO QUILT

At last the tomato quilt I put together about a month or so ago is done.  I made it as a remembrance of the fantastic harvest of tomatoes we had this year.  Hubby says he really likes it, but I think he secretly thinks it's a bit too girlie!  This is the first quilt I have made in homage to a vegetable ~ or is it really a fruit!




Basically the quilt is an 8 1/2" square with the corners snowballed to make the blocks look rounded.  I used a variety of red and green prints from my stash for the tomatoes. The corner blocks were 1 3/4" inches and are the same dotty material as the background.  I fused and sewed on the leaves and tomato stems.  Then a 3" border from the background fabric was added and it was ready for quilting.  The binding is the same fabric as the green tomato barely peeking out of the lower left corner of the picture above.  I wanted to keep this quilt small, simple and cute.  Red/green/white is one of my favorite color combinations for quilts.   

We have been getting rain for the past few days along with gusty winds that have ripped the beautiful Fall leaves off the trees.  The Girls come into the house with their feet and skirts loaded with wet leaves.  Sweet Olive has to roll on her back in the leaves and mud, so she gets little birdbaths (in the utility tub with the sprayer) throughout the day.  Miss Dottie is very prissy and doesn't like her feet to be wet or muddy.  She stops the minute she comes into the house and waits for me to clean her feet. 

Tomorrow is the drawing for the Giveaway here.  It's still not too late to put your name in the hat.  I'm So Excited to see who wins!!  I will post the winner here and also send an email to her.

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are today.

                               Peace & Plenty

Friday, November 1, 2013

STILL TIME TO SIGN UP....



There is still time for you to sign up for the Giveaway ~~~ Next Thursday, November 7, the lucky winner's name will be drawn and posted here.

Email me if you would like to sign up:  oakerbarbie@gmail.com.

Good Luck to everyone who entered!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


I can remember how exciting Halloween was when I was a child.  We were allowed to wear our costumes to school and after dinner my sisters and I went door to door up and down our street trick-or-treating.  We would bring home quite a haul because at that time we lived in a subdivision in St Louis County.  Those were the days when we were allowed to keep homemade goodies like popcorn balls, bags of popcorn or cookies, and there was no fear of anything being tampered with to harm us.  Now we live in the country and have no trick-or- treaters  and also have no small children in our area. 

I still love Halloween but for more reasons than just getting candy.  Fall is normally in full swing for Halloween and the days are shorter.  The weather is cool and crisp, the trees are in all their glory and we are beginning to slow down from the busyness of summer and the mowing and gardening.  Savory home-cooked meals are in order right now ~~  chili, chicken & dumplings, beef stew, homemade soups and freshly baked bread and rolls. 

Today will be a sewing day for me.  I'm finishing up my Christmas 'little gifts' and working on the pillowcase project I showed you in my last blog.  I love sewing for children.

The Girls are sleeping in this morning after waking me at 4 am to go outside.  All well and good for them ~ they can nap all day.

Wherever you are I hope you have a Happy Halloween.

                          Peace & Blessings To You








Tuesday, October 29, 2013

SLOWING DOWN & GIVING BACK





The picture above was taken last weekend as the sun was rising.  I thought the rays breaking through the fog were beautiful. 

One of the many great things about retirement is having the freedom to move along at your own pace ~~  work if you want to work  ~~  play if you want to play.  Lately I've been playing more that working.  Another wonderful thing about retirement is having the time to volunteer your time and the work of your hands and give back to others out of the abundance in your life.

I'm currently working on some pillowcases that will go to children who will be spending Christmas in the hospital.  I enjoy making pillowcases and this time I'm making them with French seams so there are no raw edges anywhere inside the cases.  There is a wonderful tutorial on this method at Crafty Gemini on YouTube if you are interested.  Since I no longer have a serger, this method works really well.


So far I have two completed and have quite a stack left to make.  Juvenile novelty prints are so happy that you can't help smiling when you make something with them.  I'll post more pictures as I complete them.  I think I'm making 12 or so.

I ran across a dog biscuit recipe in a catalog yesterday and gave it a try my way.  The catalog wants you to buy silicone molds, but since I have dog bone shaped cutters I made the dough stiffer, rolled it out and cut them and did a little egg wash to make them look more appetizing to people!  Dottie and Olive did backflips over these.  Some of the ingredients were peanut butter, a smashed banana, cornmeal, oats and vanilla.  If you are interested in the actual recipe, let me know and I will post it here.




My Hubby Jeff says he never knows what he will walk in to when he gets home from work!

JUST A REMINDER!!!  The Giveaway drawing is just a few days away  ~~  you still have time to sign up and participate.

Wishing you a great day  ~~~  Barb


Thursday, October 24, 2013

A MORNING WALK



Sugar Maple in our front yard

This has been a slow day.  A quick run to our local bank and grocery store to pick up a few bargains took less than 30 minutes this morning.  I love the simplicity of living in a small town.  I also love bargains, which seem to be few and far between anymore.  I really miss our garden.  Two months ago I was begging people to take heaps of tomatoes off our hands and now I have to pay for inferior produce.  Just part of the cycle of the seasons.

The Girls (Dottie & Olive) and I took a leisurely walk through our woods this morning.  Scottie dogs are totally ruled by their noses.  They often put their nose to the ground and follow it and when they look up they're lost and don't have a clue which way is home.  This is why we keep close track of them.  Miss Dottie kept trying to eat acorns (a real no-no) and Sweet Olive mimics everything Dottie does.  We had a good time of walking through piles of leaves and enjoying the cool Fall air.  I should make more mornings like this happen. 

Our local newspaper included a community cookbook this week.  I see some really tempting recipes to try.  Most of them I will try over the holidays when we have more mouths to feed around our table. 

The names for the giveaway are trickling in real steady.  It's not too long until the drawing on November 7th.  I wish all of you who entered good luck!!!



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

GIVEAWAY FOR 2013




I love a good giveaway and this year I've put together a cute box full of charm packs plus a little something extra.  Last year I gave away 18 table runners and the postage gave me heart palpitations, so this year my giveaway will go one lucky winner.

Want to participate?  You must be a member of this blog (it's so easy to join!).  Just click on the Join This Site button on the top left of this post and follow the easy directions. Then, send me an email at oakerbarbie@gmail.com and tell me what you are making for Christmas gifts this year.  In that email you must include your full name and your user name on my blog.  Please make the subject of the email 'Giveaway'. That's all there is to it!! 

The drawing will be November 7, 2013.

Good Luck Everyone.....Barb


CATCHING UP WITH MYSELF


Old Man Winter visited us last night and we had the first frost of the year.  Our impatiens that are semi sheltered by the eaves of the garage are trying to hang on.  One more frigid night and they will be gone.  Impatiens are one of my favorite flowers.  They are low maintenance other than daily watering and they come in such luscious colors.  This year we planted hot coral orange ~~~




I have been working on a machine embroidery project that has been quite frustrating due to my thread breaking every minute or two.  I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel on this project and I can truthfully say I'm happy to be done.  I can't show pictures or I would spoil several Christmas surprises.  An embroidery machine can be a delight or it can be a monster.  I have re-threaded the machine, rewound bobbins, taken the machine apart to hunt for broken threads, changed brands of thread, stabilizer and needles countless times.  This has truly been a labor of love. 

Our vacuum had to be sent off for repairs and it arrived back home yesterday via UPS.  Whoever repaired the cleaner made it look brand new, even to the point of cleaning the dust canister.  The only way to get it out of the box was to pull it, and about a million packing peanuts, out of the box.  Dottie and Olive declared our living room to be party central and had a ball grabbing peanuts and running with them.  By the time I got things under control our house was a sea of pink, white and mint green peanuts from one end to the other.  I think Dottie may have eaten one or two, judging from the peanuts crumbs on her whiskers.  I have to say that Dyson really honors their warranty.  They paid all charges for my vacuum to be packed, sent, repaired and returned in pristine condition. 

I have noticed that there are things I will buy generic, but there are other items that are worthy of buying the best I can afford.  Vacuum cleaners are one item I don't pinch pennies on.  Other items I gladly pay top dollar for are perfume, bed linens, undies/bras and dishwasher soap (Cascade Platinum).  I will scrimp on almost every other product on the planet but you can bet if I'm wearing a $3 t-shirt there's something pricey underneath it!!  This probably proves my husband's assertion that women are irrational creatures!

Life is good right now in our little corner of the Ozarks.  The days are getting shorter and before long we will turn the clocks back and lose even more precious hours of daylight until next Spring.  It's time for the smell of turkey roasting in the oven or a big pot of chili simmering on the stove, warm apple cider and oatmeal cookies and homemade bread. 

Wishing you a wonderful day filled with the blessings of Peace & Plenty.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

CHRISTMAS SCRIBBLES



I hate to mention this, but if you are planning to make handmade holiday gifts and you haven't begun them yet, the time is passing you by.   This is even more true if you plan to make sewn or quilted gifts. Christmas will be here before we know it!

This week I spent the better part of one whole day stitching out some holiday designs I found at Urban Threads (my absolute favorite embroidery designers).  These patterns are in the Scribble style, meaning they look like someone colored them with crayons and then outlined them in a dark color.  To me they almost look like watercolors.  The bells and the wreath pieces have words (this may be why they call this style Scribbles) from favorite Christmas carols in the background.  The poinsettias have a few lines of music notes.   I love the contrast of the casual scribbling and the beautiful threads.  Take a look and see if you like them.




Once again my photos are overexposed.  There is really much more color than you see here.  I'm thinking along the lines of  using these or similar designs to work into table runners, pillows, etc.  Each design takes an hour to stitch out and there are quite a few thread changes plus some metallic gold highlights. 

What are you planning to make for the holidays this year?  I would love to hear your ideas.


Wishing you a blessed day.......Barb

Friday, October 11, 2013

FINISHES AND NEW BEGINNINGS


Fall is gradually moving into our corner of the Ozarks and Summer is coming to an end.  The yellow butterflies that signal the end of Summer are everywhere right now and Winter is just around the corner.  We prepared for this by having our propane tank filled with gas this week.  This is the time of year when heating and a/c aren't necessary.  Opening the windows to let in the Fall air is so nice.

Yesterday was my final dental appointment ~ an ordeal that has been ongoing since June.  It feels so good to be done.

Earlier this week my daughter called to tell us that after a family meeting they decided that Dottie & Olive should live with us permanently.  We love this and feel blessed to have these little black girls share their lives with us.  Sweet Olive is on the left and Miss Dottie is on the right.  Olive is petite for an adult Scottie.  She is my constant companion ~ Dottie is more independent but quite loving and fun. 


Earlier this week I finished up my project for Halloween ~ a pumpkin tote bag I call Happy Jack.





I had seen a pumpkin like this on the cover of the Fall issue of American Patchwork and Quilting.  I used strips of orange batiks and Halloween prints to make a large oblong Log Cabin block.  I did a little decorative stitching along the seams of the pumpkin body.  The corners were rounded by adding half-square triangles and then borders were added.  The face and stem are fused and then stitched.  Originally I thought this would be a table runner, but after playing around with ideas I thought it would be cuter as a tote.  This is way too large to use as a purse tote, but I thought I could store our Halloween quilt in it during the off season.  For now it hangs on the back of a kitchen chair.  I embroidered a spider and web on the back.  This was an afterthought.  I could have done something larger and more interesting if I had thought of it before constructing the bag. 

Yesterday I bought everything I need to make a large batch of applesauce.  More on that wonderful task later. 

I hope you are enjoying your Fall and looking forward to the slower days of Winter.  For us Winter means the end of mowing and other outdoor chores.  A good rest is much needed this year.

Wishing you a day of Peace & Plenty.....Barb






Sunday, October 6, 2013

BLUEBERRY SCONES & A GOOD WEEKEND



Good morning.  Our house is just waking up.  Coffee is smelling good and in a bit I'll wander to the kitchen to make some blueberry scones to enjoy with our coffee/tea.  I've made the executive decision that we will have breakfast for dinner tonight and this morning we will eat light.  Eating light seldom goes over well with Hubby. 

I don't know where the last week has gone.  I feel like the next time I turn around it will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas. 

Yesterday my daughter told me that the Girls (Dottie & Olive) are ours to keep.  If you are new to my blog, you will find pictures of them in past posts.  We are thrilled to keep them and to be able to keep them in our family.  Not everyone understands Scotties and their quirks and personalities.  We have been a Scottie family for 44 years.  Dottie & Olive are Scotties #5 and #6 to share their lives with us.

I have had some hurdles to jump over recently but things are coming together for me in a nice way. 

Now I'm off to make those scones.....




Ingredients:

3 cups baking mix (Bisquick)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
lemon zest (optional)

For Glaze:
1 egg, well beaten
granulated sugar

Mix dry ingredients and blueberries in a large bowl.  Beat eggs and milk together with a fork and add to dry ingredients, mixing until combined.  Mixture will be crumbly.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured counter and press into a 9-inch round that's approximately 9" in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.  Beat egg for glaze and brush over circle of dough.  Sprinkle generously with sugar.  Cut into 12 wedges and place on baking sheet.  I use parchment paper to avoid sticking.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. 

These are no picture perfect scones, but they're yummy and simple to make.  Note:  My scones look quite yellow because I cook with country eggs that have bright yellow/orange yolks.  If made with store-bought eggs, your scones will be light tan. 

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A DOG'S DAY




It feels like a late Fall day today ~ ~damp and earthy with fallen leaves everywhere you look.  I hope the sun comes out to brighten things up a bit.  I love the cooler weather and look forward to wearing cool weather clothes again.

Even Dottie and Olive are feeling the change in the weather.  Instead of being bouncy and perky they want to lay around and snuggle together and nap most of the day.


We're a slow household right now.  I made a crockpot of French Onion Soup over the weekend and it was so good for a change.  This recipe is so simple yet so tasty.  If you would like to try it, here you go:

Into a crockpot put:
3 large onions (I use sweet onions) sliced thin ~
2 cans (14 ounces) low sodium Beef Broth (Swanson brand) ~
2 cans Beef Consomme (Campbell's brand) ~
1 envelope onion soup mix (Lipton's)
2-3 Tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)

Cook on High for 4 hours OR on Low setting for about 8 hours.

Top each bowl of soup with French bread slices topped with melted Swiss or Gruyere cheese.  I put mine under the broiler for a minute - watch closely.  I know some people like to pile the bread and cheese directly onto the top of the soup and put the bowl in the oven or under the broiler.  I like to avoid the mess and do it my own way.  Enjoy!

I'm going sew for part of the day ~  ~ ~

Wishing You a Blessed Day.....Barb