Friday, April 25, 2014


Daddy speaks and the Girls are all ears!

Where did this week go!  It seems like I got very little accomplished. 

Hubby is taking off work early today so we can begin to fix a broken water line in our old house in town.  Walls may need to be torn out to get to the leak...oh, how I hope this doesn't have to happen.  Do you ever feel like you take three steps forward and two steps back?

You may notice some changes to my blog, like added pages where you can go directly to quilts or other topics.  Some of the pages are still under construction and will be posted when they are complete.  We have been having electrical storms and I'm on and then off the computer.  It's hard to get a block of work done when I have to keep unplugging everything electronic. 

My constant companion, Miss Dottie, has been sticking closer to me than a shadow.  Both Girls are with me most of the time, but Dottie has decided I should never be out of her sight.  When we got the Girls last summer I was pretty sure Sweet Olive would be my little shadow.  Dottie and I have had our struggles about the living room furniture and walking on a leash, but she has come a long way in the past months.  She is almost the way she would have been had we raised her from a pup. 

Scotties are notoriously stubborn and Miss Dottie got an extra measure of it.  I've learned that you need to pick your battles with Scotties.  If stubborn is their primary characteristic then mischevious is the second.  Dottie is always rummaging through my things looking for something pretty to run off with.  Little Olive never bothers a thing and often scolds Dottie when she misbehaves. 

I have to log off again due to lightning hitting the ground around us again. 

Wishing you a wonderful Friday.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Our Country Lane
I have a hard time staying indoors when Spring is doing everything to call me outdoors to see the new beauty every day.  Our hummingbirds are back at the feeder and the Dogwoods are in early bloom.  Signs of renewal and new life are everywhere.  Yesterday we found a baby snapping turtle on our front porch, which was relocated to the far end of our property to keep it away from the Girls.  It's shell was just a little larger than a quarter and in a few months its jaws will be a real weapon. 

This will be Dottie & Olive's first country Spring.  We have already had a few major lizard and cottontail chases.  Before long the box turtles will be passing through our yard on their trip to our back woods to breed. This year they will have to navigate around two highly curious Scotties on their journey.   A few years ago I put a dot of fingernail polish on a few of the turtles shells to see if the same ones come back year after year. I was pleased to discover that they do.

Yesterday I managed to get one row of blocks for the You've Got Mail quilt sewn together.  I had to re-press a few blocks to reduce bulk in the seams. 

The fabric for the borders and binding arrived in the mail yesterday.  The fabric is from the Josephine line by French General for Moda.  After I lay out my blocks into rows I label the blocks and stack them in the order I want to stitch them.  For this project I labeled every block by putting a row number on the first block of each row and within each row I put stickers marked with A, B, C, D, etc.  I use little labels for this and I pin them onto my blocks even though they have sticky backs.  If I am working with a tricky layout I put a pin in the upper left corner of each block to make sure I keep them in the correct position.  After each row is stacked in the proper sewing order I use a plastic clothespin to hold all the blocks for each row together.  This is a very simple system that has saved me unknown hours of ripping.  At our house the phone always rings when I am in the middle of sewing blocks together.  Also, if a mischevious scottie happens to grab a block and run with it I can figure where it came from once I retrieve it.  Dottie likes to be a part of everything I do ~ even sewing. 

What are you working on this Spring?  One thing I would like to make this year is a barn quilt sign to hang between the doors of our garage.  I think a 24" sign would work perfectly in that space.  Now to decide what design to make.  More on this later.

Enjoy your day!

Monday, April 21, 2014


I hope you had a wonderful Easter.  Ours went really well and we were able to spend a lot of time outdoors tidying up our garden area.  The Girls (Dottie & Olive) were with us every minute.  Dottie supervises and Olive stays out of the way.  It's hard to believe both of our little Scotties are from the same breed because their natures are so different.

Our Easter dinner was fine but not very festive.  I fixed a few things we were hungry for and left it at that.  Jeff prefers that I not spend all day in the kitchen on weekends even if it is a holiday.  I cooked a turkey breast and forgot to turn the oven on for the first hour!  That set things a little behind.  I made a lasagna pan full of homemade mac & cheese and some fresh fruit salad and hot rolls.  I didn't feel bad about not serving a vegetable at all!  I gave Dot & Olive their first taste of mac & cheese and they were instant fans. 

We are coming into the time of year when my sewing has to slow down a little because of all the mowing we do.  We mow 4-5 acres around our home.  We still have my old house in town and we mow there every week also.   By October, when normally we stop mowing, we are ready to crash and burn. 

I have two sets of quilt blocks to lay out and sew into quilt tops.  I tried to work on one yesterday but Dottie wouldn't leave me alone.  She loves to grab a block and run away with it.  Tomorrow is grooming day for the Girls, so I will have about 4 hours to work on laying blocks out while they are gone.  If only I had room for a design wall....well I can dream about it!

It's drizzling rain today.  I hope it makes the flowers happy we planted over the weekend. 

I wish you a good Monday.  Be the reason someone smiles today.   Barb

Sunday, April 20, 2014


From our house to yours we wish you a blessed Easter. 

We seldom have a weekend at home, so we are taking advantage of the time by working in the yard.  Today we will mow our lawn for the first time this year and continue on with delayed yard maintenance we should have taken care of last Fall.  It will all come together and look nice in about a month. 

Our dinner today will be super simple and quick.  I have a turkey breast to put in the oven and we will also have homemade mac & cheese, a vegetable and fruit salad.  We have coconut cake for dessert. 

This morning the first hummingbird feeder for the year was hung by our patio.  We saw a scout hummer checking out the feeder at sunrise this morning and this was my signal to cook a batch of food.  My recipe is simple:  Bring 3 cups water and 1 cup granulated sugar to a boil and let simmer about a minute.  Let cool to room temp and it's ready to go into your feeder.  In a month or so I will be making a gallon every other day for them.

We spent a few hours working in the yard yesterday and we managed to plant a few annual flowers and gather and burn heaps of dead leaves.  There are purple impatiens in the tubs in front of the garage, some pretty multicolor snapdragons in an oval planter and a red hibiscus in a large pot in front of a living room window.  Little is in bloom now except the snap dragons.  It is said that when you plant a flower it is an act of faith that there will be a tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day with your family.  I will be back in the sewing room tomorrow. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Ready or not I'm getting our house ready for Spring and Easter.  Yesterday I changed the quilt in our room to a pastel spring quilt and packed the heavy winter bedding away after giving everything a good wash first. 

This quilt has a variety of elements ~~ stars, flying geese and an appliqued vine.  The backing on this quilt is nice and looks good used on the top for a  quick change.

I'm taking a breather from sewing until next week so I can enjoy the weekend with Hubby and the Girls.  I also need to firm up our menu for Easter.  We've had quite a bit of ham lately, so that may not be the star of our meal.  I'm thinking along the lines of Cornish game hens with rice pilaf, fresh asparagus, fruit salad and homemade rolls.  I think lemon bars for dessert would be perfect.

Wherever you are I wish you a great day.  I love it when you leave a comment.  I often wonder if anyone ever reads my ramblings.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I just finished binding the circle quilt that I showed you a few days ago.  It always thrills me when a quilt comes alive under the hand of the quilter.  I hesitated to turn the blocks into a quilt because I thought they were ugly.  I laid them out and sewed them into a top and took it to my quilter, Reggie.  After she added her special stippling and TLC it has become one of my favorite quilts!  The circles are raw edge applique so they will fray a little with use, which I think adds to the charm.

I rounded the corners to echo the shape of the blocks.  I had to use bias binding but I didn't have to miter the corners, so it was a trade off.  This will be our Summer 2014 quilt.  It's also my second UFO in the last month.  Could I be on a roll?

My next project will be another UFO stack of blocks.  I will post pictures after I locate them.

Wishing you a day filled with Peace & Plenty!

Monday, April 14, 2014


In quilter shorthand a UFO is an unfinished project (object).  Most of us who quilt don't possess the discipline to finish one project before embarking on a new one.  I should be at the front of this line!  Hubby says I'm like a crow that is attracted to anything shiny except I'm drawn to every fabric I see.  I can usually think of at least 3 projects to make with each fabric until I buy it and bring it home.  Sound familiar?  Well, it doesn't make us bad people, does it!  We just have creative vision. 

Actually the current stack of blocks I'm working on will be my third UFO to complete so far this year.  I finished Hubby's Double Slice quilt and it's on the bed in our spare room.  The cute fish pillow was a recent find at Walmart.

The New Circle quilt is with my LAQer Reggie being turned into something wonderful with her magic touch:

I'm currently sorting blocks to sew into a quilt called You've got Mail.  I've renamed mine Love Letters.  It's a half-square triangle (HST) quilt that resembles open envelopes when the rows are sewn together.  The fabric is from the Josephine line from Moda.  For some reason I'm not thrilled with this project but I will finish it and go on to yet another set of blocks in the UFO pile.  Can you see the open envelopes?  The colors are primarily turkey red, brown and cream.

My blocks are made with 10" squares but when made with 5" squares you get the cutest little envelopes that remind me of valentines.  There are tutorials for this pattern and also for making HSTs the quick and easy way at Missouri Star Quilt Company. 

That's pretty much what's going on in my corner of the Ozarks at the moment.  This week is the countdown to Easter. 

Wishing you heaps of blessings, Barb

Thursday, April 10, 2014


We watch the news every evening at our house and I'm always struck by the contrast of what I see on the TV screen and our lives.  I always come away thankful that I live in the country where most of my neighbors have kind hearts and gentle spirits.  I think that most regular followers of my blog are kindred spirits who love the wholesome, homemade and gentler things in life.  Here are a few things that are going on with me right now.

Outside my window ....... The Bradford pear trees are just beginning to bloom. There is a hint of fog hanging over the pine trees. Brown cottontail bunnies are playing on the edge of the yard.  Before long the box turtles will pass through on their slow journey to our woods.  I think I saw a hummingbird this morning buzzing around where the feeder hangs. 

I can hear ....... Sweet Olive snoring while she naps with Dottie on the chaise in the corner of the living room.  Scottie dogs are such wonderful little beings.

I am thinking ....... about starting a new quilt even though I have several UFOs I could finish quickly.

I am thankful .......  for quilting friends who have become part of my extended family.

In my kitchen ....... is a large head of cabbage that will be transformed into coleslaw to have with our dinner tonight.  Two sticks of butter and eggs are warming up on the counter for a surprise batch of chocolate chip cookies for Jeff. 

I am wearing ....... flannel pajamas and a pair of Hubby's warm hunting socks.   

I am reading ..... To Kill A Mockingbird for the umpteenth time.  I learn something new from this book every time I read it.

I am hoping ....... that Spring will settle in so we can plant flowers and freshen up the outside of our house.  I'm anxious to get my hands in the soil. 

I am looking forward ....... to getting away with Hubby for a weekend in Branson or Paducah.  There are great quilts and fabric shops in both towns but Branson has shows and entertainment.  Hubby and I really need a break.

Around the house ....... things are still messed up from the water heater problems we have been having this week.  I need to finish cleaning up the mess.

I am creating ....... sketches for my next quilting room  for when we are able to build a new home.  While my current sewing room is cozy and organized there are things I need that I can't have due to lack of space - a design wall, designated cutting area, etc. 

I am learning ....... that it's okay to take a day and do nothing.  I was raised to redeem your days.  In other words, a good day of work for a day of life.  Doing nothing can refresh a soul, slow a body down and give you time to think and count your blessings. 

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

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


I would like to welcome the new followers that have recently joined my blog.  You are welcome to drop by any time for a visit.  Primarily this blog is about sewing and quilting but I wander off into cooking, raising Scottie dogs and gardening fairly often.  

Kick your shoes off and make yourself comfortable.  There's hot water for tea and a pot of coffee...make yourself at home and stay a while.   


I guess we all know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men.  This was going to be a week of sewing for me after a weekend of hard work.  As often happens, a household repair changed everything.

Our water heater decided to give up the ghost and leaked all over the floor of the closet where it's located.  The scope of the problem is that this closet backs up to our main bathroom and kitchen, so we had water everywhere.  A quick trip to Lowe's and we thought we were all set, but we discovered we had left our furniture dolly in Cuba last weekend.  I made a trip to retrieve it yesterday morning, leaving before the sun came up.  I was back home by 10 am and we set to work.  Murphy's Law was in full force yesterday and everything that could go wrong did go wrong.  After two additional trips to the hardware store (thank goodness we have one in our small town) we finished up our project about 9 last night and dropped into bed totally worn out.  Fortunately Jeff and I work well together because that job was totally a team project. Today I have to clean up the mess and put the bathroom back together.  So much for my plan to sew! 

I'm not pouting about not being able to sew because I'm totally thankful for the days and hours I have to do whatever my heart desires.  These detours in our lives are what keep life interesting and our bank account empty! 

Wishing you all a great day filled with Peace & Plenty!

Monday, April 7, 2014


I have a lot of thread ~~ not too much thread, just enough thread to last me through floods, droughts, bankruptcy and every quilting frenzy I might indulge in.  The real problem here is disorganized thread. 

I have a thread rack of neutrals, which is what I use most for piecing quilts.  It's pretty simple to keep this organized.  The stacks of white bobbins are for machine embroidery.  The little sock monkey is my quilting mascot.

Then I have a cute pistachio green retro rack that holds quite a bit of colored cotton thread and multiples of black, gray and burgundy embroidery thread.  This rack, although I find it cute, is hard for me to use because I have to stretch over the table to reach it.  Bad placement for this rack for sure.  My logic was that it would be out of the sunlight. 

The real issue emerged when I took up machine embroidery and HAD to have every shade of every color, some in multiples just in case.  So far I'm waiting for Jeff to find the time to build me a rack for the embroidery thread.  For now they are mostly separated by color family and stuffed into plastic bags and then into a drawer.  To build a rack large enough for this collection may require building a larger house. 

I also have plastic shoeboxes filled with hand quilting and specialty threads.  Then there is the perle cotton in balls and hanks.  We won't even mention embroidery thread, which I have special cabinets to house.  I recently discovered how nice Aurifil thread works in my new machine and have a small and growing collection of neutral colors, which I'm keeping separated from my other neutrals.  I doubt the Aurifil will catch cooties from the thread on the rack, but it has it's own plastic box that I keep on the sewing table. 

I'm determined to find an efficient solution to my thread storage issue.  I have donated large amounts of thread to other quilters and to organizations that do charity sewing.  One of the problems is that I have little wall space in my sewing room not taken up by fabric cabinets.  Have you seen the price of commercial thread racks! 

Good ideas and suggestions are welcome.  For now I remain a redhead with disorganized thread.


Sunday, April 6, 2014


We are taking advantage of a sunny Sunday to clean up around the yard a bit and burn some dead limbs and grasses.  The ground is far too wet to run over it with a tractor or mower. 

The Bradford pear trees that line the front of our yard next to the road are ready to pop into white blossoms.  Daffodils all over town wave to me as I drive past.  The forsythias have come and gone to green leaves already and the pink phlox are beginning to bloom.  It will soon be time to plant flowers in the oak barrels and old laundry tub in front of the garage.  We are going to try to use some self control this year buying flowers and tomato plants.  We just want a little color and a few slicing tomatoes for BLT's. 

Last year we grew enough tomatoes to feed the whole county!  We had such a large harvest I made a quilt to commemorate it.
I had everything for this little quilt in my stash.  I snowballed some scrappy red squares (and two green) with the background fabric and cut some leaves and stems and fused and stitched them on and before long it was a quilt.  I left two tomatoes green to represent the growth process.  This quilt is draped over the back of a kitchen chair in the summer.  This was a fun and quick quilt to make.  All quilts don't have to be heirloom masterpieces, in my opinion.  That's a good thing because very few of mine would fall into that lofty category!

I would like to plant a zucchini plant or two for our beloved zucchini bread that we love to eat all winter.  I normally bake about 18 loaves and give a few to the neighbors for their freezers and the remainder goes into ours.  Last year I used macadamia nuts and pineapple in the bread and it was such a nice touch I think I'll do it again this year.  If our DD comes for a visit this year she will go home with a cooler filled with Mom's homemade applesauce and zucchini bread. 

Dottie and Olive are intrigued by everything coming to life again.  This will be their first country spring.  Just wait until the box turtles and baby bunnies invade our yard!  Olive is intrigued by everything that moves so this will be a fun time for her.  Dottie likes to wait for the water hose and water toys of summer.  She loves to take the end of the hose in her mouth with the water on and run all over the yard with it.  The wetter she gets the happier she is.  This is the same Scottie dog who doesn't like to set a foot on wet grass the rest of the year!  Everything has to be her idea.  Sweet Olive loves to frolick and have fun outdoors but she wants nothing whatsoever to do with water or hoses.   

I promised Hubby I would give him a hand in the yard so I'm off to see what I can do to help.  I hope you are having a great weekend.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


I've been missing in action for a few days.  We had a good weekend and took advantage of the rainy weather to kick back and relax.

The circle quilt I posted about recently is with my LAQer and should be coming back home in about three weeks.  My quilter is in great demand and not only quilts for the quilters in this area but she receives boxes of quilt tops from out-of-state guilds and quilts for them and mails the finished quilts back.  She's a busy lady and a good friend.

Now I have to dig through my UFO shelf and find something interesting to work on. 

Spring is officially poking it's head out in our corner of the Ozarks.  I found tulips breaking through the ground and the pink phlox will be blooming soon.  The Bradford pear trees are budding right now.  I saw a fly in the house yesterday (in March!) and I've seen ants outdoors.  Any day now I can break out my pedal pushers and flip flops!!  I'm often accused of dressing summer on the bottom and winter on top because  I love to wear sweatshirts with pedal pushers and flip flops.  You have probably figured out that high fashion doesn't live at my house.  Comfort reigns here.

You know it's a good day when I need to look for something to do.  I don't have much pressing right now, so I may go for a walk in the woods with the Girls.  We have all been locked in the house so much I think a walk would do us all good.

Wishing you a wonderful day!