Monday, December 30, 2013


~~~ 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


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


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


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


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:






valentine runner


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


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


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