"Creativity can neither be taught nor mass-produced."
I love to write and create. I also want to share my interest in photography, gardening, family, art, decorating, Christian faith and my enjoyment and gratitude to God for creating me and allowing me to thrive in my home setting. I love making my house a home. I am determined to 'bloom where I am transplanted'.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Leaving You With a Few Things...


A few months back, Handyman brought home some free Red Delicious apples. Obviously not sprayed with insecticides...which is fine because these apples only had minor blemishes. I wanted to make some applesauce again, I have such a simple recipe and I've made it before. 


I borrowed this apple peeler from my sis in law, what a handy little deal! It did sort of 'bump' along the insect imperfections, but otherwise, it peeled, cored, and sliced all at the same time. Look at those pretty slices!


I found it fun and satisfying to make this applesauce knowing these apples were chemical-free.  Pop them in the crock pot, add about a cup of water, some sugar and cinnamon and cook on low for about 8 hours, high for about 4.


The kitchen smell all apple-y with the scent of cinnamon swirling around my head! 
You can leave the applesauce chunky (I did), or whip it with a wire whip for a creamer consistency.  Any way you want it, baby!


We couldn't stay out of this. I froze several containers, but boy oh boy they went fast. Added a bit to cooked oats for breakfast, or a few dollops over vanilla ice cream --or, eaten just plain. 

And... 
The Quilts

Remember the quilts I was working on for the Grands for Christmas?
Well, I finished them--of course--and mailed them off for Christmas. I worked long and feverishly, making a few boo-boos along the way, but all in all, I decided they were a wonderful, treasured gift.


This was Grand daughter's quilt. I didn't have anyone to hold it up, all out-stretched, so this is how you'll have to view it! Trust me, it was pretty. (Shown on top of Grand son's quilt).


Her quilt was a good, hefty size and I added a soft print white border all around. I machine stitched 'in the ditch' and that is where I had a bit of difficulty: I do not have a long-arm machine, and it would have been cost-prohibitive to have this professionally machine quilted, therefore... a bit of bunching ensued. Still, I persevered, and completed the quilt. 


However, I had learned my lesson well, and I decided to make Grand son's quilt a Raggedy Quilt, and a bit smaller, but even at that, I had 180 9" squares to work with!  I ended up purchasing more fabric... home made isn't always less expensive (maybe that's why it's such better quality??).


Grand son's quilt was blue and green (his specified colors). I envisioned the quilt colors as a pond, and the green as the surrounding grass. Of course, I had to add a fish to represent what a great fisherman he is. 


I made and appliqued a label for the back, and actually ended up liking the back more than the front.


Since I don't have a large table to work on, I was on the floor for hours, laying out patterns, pinning, and hand basting. Oh, they better take good care of these!!
Both quilts were popped in the mail along with a letter from Grandma about each quilt. I felt good giving them a unique gift like none other they would receive. 

Furthermore...
No more 'crying wolf'....

This is my last post on this blog. Really. Time to move on and concentrate on other 'lasting' pursuits in life. It's been fun, a whole world opened up for me when I started this blog. There are so many wonderful, wonderful women out there! So much talent to share in so many areas, and I've enjoyed it all very much. I'll be doing more sewing, quilting, writing, and reading. I have stacks of fabric and all sorts of creative ideas in the works. I want to make more quilts, and when spring comes, I'll be hitting the plant nursery!  I'll always be enjoying nature; the birds on the feeder, a bunny in the yard, the clouds in the sky... so much to do and see yet in this world. I'll be petting dogs and talking to the squirrels, I'll be riding my bike and taking walks. And most important of all, I will continue to learn about God and hope my faith continues to increase.  I will be stopping in at your blogs and leaving comments.
Good bye, Good bye!
2014








Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Making the Most of Good Weather

Hop on the bike.

'Betty' the bike. A Mother's Day gift from my children over 25 years ago!

Never mind that I had bushels of nice days this summer to ride my bike... oh, no. I had to wait until the threat of winter got me back on Betty the Bike. It would have been smarter for me to have built up stamina so I could breeze through this trip like lightening. But that's not the way I roll.

Procrastination is the name of the game.
Off I went, headed to the park trails, as I wanted to try a new stretch recently paved. It looked simple enough to me, and it was--just a short distance and then I turned around and headed back. 

Short stretch


On over to the park.  This was going to be my exercise for the day. Out of about a 3 mile round trip, I stopped 3 times to rest, once cutting over a grassy hill which only tired me out more. Even on flat land, the north wind was so strong I got off the bike and walked.  Finally reaching home, I realized, I didn't go for a bike ride, I took my bike for a walk!

So today I decided to go for just a plain old simple walk--just me and my two feet.
(And my purse carrying keys, phone, and pepper spray.) First stop, drop off a magazine at the library. I continued down the street, stopping in at a floral shop to see their Christmas display and then on down to the bank. Small towns have their perks: The library is one block away, and the bank and bakery are about 6 blocks away. I can walk the 6 blocks to my work just under 10 minutes, and a nice park with outdoor summer concerts is two blocks away. Once when we were pricing car insurance and the salesman asked how many miles we lived from our places of employment, my husband said he was "threatening to bike to work" (8 blocks away, downhill) and I was "threatening to walk".  


On the return trip I had to cut through an alley, you know... that's where all the interesting things are.
I found this old garage. It's sort of amusing, a sort of time capsule. There is a narrow drive way leading to these garage doors, and an opening just large enough for a Model T to fit in. That's the vintage of this garage. That's long gone dead in dog years!


Back home, and my big toe is hurting and the right side of my back. I guess I'd be long gone dead in dog years too!

Won't last long

Our firewood stash just outside the back door. Depending on the temps, this could last a week or two. If you long for a wood stove, here's a heads-up as to the realities. Locate firewood, cut and haul home. Stack at home, carry into house during all times of day or weather. Clean ashes out of wood stove, clean up mess that trails from back porch to wood stove. BE CAREFUL OF FIRE! Yes, we can roast marshmallows, yes it warms up homes and bones like no body's business, but it's a lot of work. I don't think it's going to be for us old folks too many more years!




Sunday, November 09, 2014

Happy Monday

Hello everyone, and Happy Monday to you all. We've had a beautiful fall with lots of sunshine and temps so mild, my summer flowers still have not froze. That's all going to change though, as the temperatures will be dropping Monday night and then cold weather will be ushered in!  This is a shot of my back patio, where we spend most of our outdoor time, that is, unless we are working in the yard or on the house. 


We're quite pleased with ourselves, as this summer, we got our house painted! You know how it is with a huge project... keep putting it off and putting it off. Then, we sort of got a kick in the seat of the pants and we HAD to get the house done! It took us 8+ weeks of scraping, priming, and then painting the house. Handyman also caulked open cracks, and even built some architectural features that had been missing; after all this house was built in 1923!  Basically, this is how it all came down: I worked as high up as I could reach, and he did the rest.  Most times, I had to force myself to get the work done, but oh, it was so worth it, as the house began to take shape and look brand new!


We are (former) perfectionists (as age is making us care less!), so we paid attention to detail. Yes, when Handyman was not looking I had my artist's brush out to get into those tight corners and make sure one color didn't get on the other! We'd had some hail damage earlier, so we even got new gutters and downspouts! Finally, insurance paid off!


But it is finished!  And now we sit and stare at it and congratulate and pat ourselves on the back. Handyman also installed 2 new windows and we sit and admire them too. We're pretty easy to entertain around here. We do have a few details to take care of yet, but they will have to wait until next spring. We are realizing that our bodies are not getting any younger and we need to get these huge projects finished before the knees and back give out.



Now I'm working on a less physically-taxing project: a quilt for my grand daughter for Christmas. I found that I had some pretty prints in my stash, so no need to go out and purchase anything new.



It's going to be a simple quilt, but I've told myself for the next time around, I really need to challenge myself with something that takes some thought, you know, like a real pattern.


Oh! That reminds me!  I've come across a really nice quilt shop that's just 30 minutes from my house and it's just the cutest little place. It's in a small house, and there is a great selection, the place is organized and neat, and the owners, an older couple (older than me!) are just the bee's knees.  Best of all, the lady said she would help me figure out some quilt patterns. This looks like my new go-to place from now on. 
Here's looking to quilting weather-- quiet times inside, with the wood stove going and plenty of coffee and goodies for me to enjoy.
I hope you've all had a good weekend. Starting any projects that you want to share about? 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Summer: Re-cap.



A short jaunt out in the country for a demonstration of old-time farm equipment. The person who owns this land and equipment, is also slowly restoring several historic outbuildings, one being a one room school house.


My husband and I attended this demonstration a couple of years ago:




... but what I really wanted to see was the quilt display.  Fantastic work, puts my measly efforts to shame.


Lots of pattern, creativity, color and inspiration (for my next year's county fair entry!). 
I loved all of them. 


Apologies for the not-so-sharp photos as it's easy to use a camera phone, but alas, not the best shots. 


In addition to the quilt displays, a local woman sold her home made jams and jellies--hard to choose which flavors, but I finally settled on Choke Cherry, Wild Plum, Strawberry Mango and Peach. Yummo!! Even purchased extras for gifts! 

A fun and interesting event, a good way to spend a few hours in the country. So many times we are so busy with our every day duties and obligations that we don't feel as if we should take time to 'smell the roses' and do a little something just for ourselves, a little respite in life. Do try this season to set your to-do list aside and take a break. It will refresh your mind and soul.  As I heard a person say, "We need to leave some work for the next generation to do!"

Friday, August 29, 2014

Refrigerator Pickles

Handyman's Dill
(He is so proud of it)


I'm not the most proficient canner and freezer when it comes to summer time garden produce, but I was quite proud of myself for whipping up this little delight. Yes, pickles can be a delight. So many cucumbers, so little time, right? I found a recipe on Facebook for these easy pickles... and I'm into easy when it comes to food preparation. I'll take you through this one step at a time. 

I'd say start with at least 8 cucumbers, depending on size. I don't use those huge ones that have the large seeds, I used some medium sized cucumbers. Wash and gently scrape off those little stickers and dirt. I took a potato peeler and peeled about 4-6 strips length-wise on each cucumber. I wanted it to look kinda fancy, you know, like it looked like I knew what I was doin'. Also, cut off the narrow ends.


Throw 'em in a bowl with onions--the recipe called for 3 onions, but I'm not a huge onion fan, so I used not even 1 full onion. (Handyman has since advised me to add more onions).


Next, mix up your brew: 
1 Cup of water
1 Cup of white apple cider vinegar
1 Cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1-2 teaspoons of celery seed (I think 1 is plenty)

BTW, I love this green spoon. I can't remember the brand, but it came from the store where I work and it is so easy to work with. A really nice sturdy and thick handle which comes in handy when I am mixing stiff cookie dough. The thicker handle is a godsend for my thumbs which have a touch of that old malady, 'Arthur Itis'...  I know many of you are familiar with him. Of course, water, vinegar and sugar are not thick, but that proves my point of why I love this spoon so much... it is my go-to spoon for nearly everything. Also, check out that awesome color. 


Okay, back to business here, I do tend to get off-track cause I like to write. Here is where my creativity entered the picture (literally!) You know about Dill don't you? Dill is great for pickles amongst many other food stuffs. The light bulb went off and I remembered that we had a heapin' helpin' of Dill in our garden out back. Grab some Dill, Joy, add it to the pickles...

Isn't this just lovely?

Here's the result: 
Place the sliced pickles and onions in the bowl of liquid and add a modest amount of dill--not too much-- just enough to make it look pretty.  See? It does look like I know what I'm doing, and you will look like you know what you are doing too because this is the easiest recipe ever this side of the Mississippi. Or Missouri. Or Platte River, or whatever. It's just plain easy.


Now cover and place the bowl of pickles in the fridge for a day. I stirred a couple of times, and then the second day, I ladled it into individual plastic freezer containers--but you can't freeze these, I just did this to make it more convenient for grabbing and noshing. The recipe says the pickles will be ready to munch on by the second day--if you can wait that long. It also claims that these will be fresh for 1-2 months, but that won't be an issue around here because these taste so good you won't be able to stay out of them. I stood at the kitchen counter and ate nearly the entire container in one fell swoop. The flavor is like 'Bread & Butter' pickles... a little sweet, a little sour, and a whole lotta goodness. 


See, it's that easy! Okay, once again we'll go over the recipe ingredients:

1 Cup of water
1 Cup of white vinegar
1 Cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1-2 teaspoons of celery seed
And...
Don't forget the dill. 








Saturday, August 23, 2014

Have I Ever Mentioned...

... my play house?


 My husband, 'Handyman', built it for me out of wood pallets. 
It was quite the deal. 


He said the only thing he'd ever build out of pallets again would be a fire.


He had the difficult part, I had the fun part...


I got to wave my creative wand and choose paint, fabric, and furnishings. 


Most items, I already had stashed away, just waiting for the perfect opportunity.  I did purchase the 'bed' skirt for approximately $12, and the rug was $3.


This is where I hide from the world.  
The rest of the story is on my Pinterest Board.