Thursday, October 31, 2013
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
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
|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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
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
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
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.....
3 cups baking mix (Bisquick)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup milk
lemon zest (optional)
1 egg, well beaten
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
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