Sunday, December 30, 2012


Today we met Jim's twin sister and her husband in Cookeville for lunch. They live in Nashville so it was about an hour drive for each of us. Had an awesome meal at Outback and enjoyed our visit very much. It has been months since we've seen each other.

By the way, I am currently reading the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. Awesome. Historical fiction about a family and their road to Christianity. I found myself checking the Internet and confirming many actual historical events, practices, and even architecture. If you can stay with it at the first through all the Roman names and places, it becomes hard to put down as the story unfolds.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Quilts in Review

Five Remembrance quilts, three baby quilts, a kit quilt, and two scrap leftover quilts.



Sewing, cleaning, and cooking

My favorite kind of day.  A day spent doing some sewing, some cleaning, and some cooking.
I only have about a gazillion more of these little blocks to make before I can then put the million squares together in rows.......
 I've spent several hours today working on the grout.  I hate tile...because of the grout.  I tried oxygen bleach, homemade from baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and hot water.  It is still wet in some places, but I am anxious to see if all my hard work paid off.
I am doubting it.  I researched steam cleaners online today.  I may have to invest in a good one just for the grout.
Making leftover ham casserole for supper.  Found this recipe a few years ago.  We really like it.  I love being off the week after Christmas.  I've already cleaned out three dresser drawers, pulled lots of stuff out of the closet for the thrift shop, finished up entering all our data for our 2012 budget (yeah- we were under by ~$300), put the Christmas decorations away, washed rugs, steam cleaned the floors (the little steamer died this morning), and got a lot read on a very intriguing book by Francine Rivers, "Mark of the Lion".  It was free on the kindle a few weeks ago.

Hope all of you are having a great holiday as well!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Scrappy Star

Decided to try to get back into sewing and I think I have figured out one of the reasons why I haven't been as ambitious about sewing lately. Tools. You have to have good tools. My little Janome bit the dust weeks ago. She needed a new motor. I ended up getting a replacement, a Janome DC1050. It isn't a bad machine, but just not as smooth as the little Janome Jem Platinum 760 I've had for five years and have used to made over 100 quilts. I got it fixed and today is the first time I have used it. Wow. This little machine is my favorite. Smooth. Quiet. Even.

So, I might just try to get this scrappy star finished over my holiday vacation.

It is made from my stash of shirt scraps I've collected over the past couple of years, making memory quilts.

Now, one question for quilters out there. What is the best iron for piecing? I am using a black and decker classic, and it gets very not, but is horrible, because it constantly grabs the fabric and irons wrinkles in when I am trying to iron the pieces.

Got a gift card and some cash that is wanting to be used for my hobby. Please give me your iron opinions. Thanks!

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours!

Hope all of you enjoy the day and reflect on the love God showed to us by sending his son, Jesus, as a babe, who would ultimately pay the price for our sins. Thank you Lord, for the gift of your son, and the unmerited blessings you bestow on us day after day!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Watching Christmas movies

Watching The Family Man with Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni. Modern day It's a Wonderful Life.

And by the way, I found a home for the little doggie...but I can't help but be kind of sad. :(

Even though I know she is going to a great home. She has already had a bath, medicine for her boo-boo, and was snugged up in the bed with her new daddy last I heard........I hope when we do get a dog it will be as sweet as she was.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas baking

Two batches of chocolate chip cookies with Christmas M&Ms. Two loaves of English muffin bread.

Some to the neighbors. Some for our guests tonight. But now,....

I'm going to put this baby in my car and ride around in a neighborhood subdivision and see if I can find her family.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lost dog

We are calling her Sadie. She just walked up on our deck a couple of days ago. Sweet as can be.

I called the shelter to see if anyone called them looking for her. I also put an ad in the local paper. She is kind of chubby, her nails are a bit long, and she whines to come inside, so we think she has been someone's house dog. Sweet as can be. Did I say that already? Lol.

I've been wanting a dog, a small one, but the hubby has plans on getting a golden retriever when he retires next year. He isn't that thrilled with her, but his tender heart made him fix a lamp outside shining on her bed to help her stay warm tonight in our screened porch. The bed -- courtesy of two friends. One was here visiting and had an old blanket in her car. I told another small dog lovin' friend about her and she brought over a bed for her.

Maybe a beagle dachshund mix?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Souper Saturday

Mexican Corn Chowder. Yum.

Friday, December 14, 2012


The hubby chillin' tonight.

This is where Jesse was chillin this morning.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Bokeh and Paper Snowflakes

I enjoy trying to shoot nice Christmas bokeh.

That, by far, is my favorite aspect of my camera - the way it blurs the background.

And my favorite Christmas tree decoration is --

 Paper snowflakes! Cheap, easy to make, easy to store, easy to replace!  I still need a few small ones at the top and some kind of tree topper.  They are so fun to make.  Click here for some good instructions.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ruffled T-shirt

I found a gray ruffled cotton shirt at the Van Heusen outlet a few weeks ago and loved it. The problem is that is was very poorly made. Obviously wrong with the grain because after a few washings it twisted so much the ruffled appears to be going at an angle. Also a little hole appeared in the front. So, I cut the ruffles off and sewed them to my $1.00 thrifted gray t-shirt.

Yes, I like it. Love me some ruffles.

I finally got some decorations up today.

I don't do a lot. I prefer natural greenery and berries.

And the Christmas tree is up....with lights and snowflakes.....nothing else...yet.


Mmmm.....English muffin bread with butter and honey, a cup of coffee....a quiet spot to look out the window and do my morning reading. Great way to start the day.

By the way, I have gotten a couple of suggestions to help me handle the dilemma of the memory quilt. One is to use the few scraps I have left from the quilt, along with some of the widow's own clothing to make four pillow covers, one for each of the grandchildren. I love this idea. The quilt will stay in one piece, yet the grandchildren will each have something useful with a memory. I hope they like this idea. I had decided there was no way that I could cut up the quilt into four pieces. Reminded me of the story in the bible (1 Kings 3:16-28) where the two women were fighting over the baby. To settle it, Solomon told them to cut the baby in half. The one that valued the baby's life said No!

Friday, December 7, 2012


I guess it really isn't a dilemma, but it feels like it. Remember this quilt?

One of my favorites. The little widow I made it for, only five months ago, passed away. She has one surviving child, and four grandchildren. They want me to cut it into four pieces, one for each of the grandchildren, as a memory of their grandparents, and add some of her clothing to it. It is their quilt. I told them I would,, oh man, I hate that. For several reasons. It will no longer be a useable quilt. The pieces will be put up "for safe keeping" and will never be used. It will never be wrapped around someone's shoulders. I really wish that the son would keep it intact, and then pass it on, one generation at a time. But it isn't my quilt. I don't get to decide. I think it is going to hurt when I cut it.....what would you do?

When cut, it won't even look like a wall hanging, because I don't have the same fabrics to use for borders, it will cut straight across some of the blocks, so it won't be even at 2 1/2 blocks by 3 blocks.

They aren't quilters so they really don't understand what this will do to this beautiful piece.

I will do my best to gently help the granddaughter-in-law understand what she wants done. I hope, I hope, that they change their minds.

Advice anyone?

Snow snack

Yes, it is called snow.

Three bags of natural microwave popcorn, one bag of white chocolate chips, melted, and some M&Ms. Cool the corn, drizzle the melted chips and throw in some M&M's. Yum.

I also made some of our granola today. This is our favorite cereal.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

For kids

Our church is going to do a ministry to make quilts and blankets for kids taken from their homes in situations of meth abuse or domestic matters. We are trying to get a couple of options together for when we start this. A friend recommended these little fleece throws.

Very easy and no sewing. And fleece is pretty cheap.

You simply cut a four inch square from each corner (after you cut off the selvages) and cut four inch strips. The strips are individually tied with a knot. Easy peasey.

Another option we are doing is kids t-shirt quilts. We are using donated or thrifted t-shirts, using both sides, and we plan to tie them with yarn.

The plan is to fill a bag with a stuffed animal, a blanket or quilt, and maybe pajamas, that can be given to each child in need. There may be other things added to the bags such as toiletry items.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Talented Friend

We met Cathy and John a little over a year ago. We have become fast friends. The boys like to fish together and like me, Cathy enjoys making things. She is amazing. She is one of those people who can do anything. I encouraged her to learn to quilt. Her first was made from a pattern, but she changed it up some. The second, she designed. Then she made this triple Irish chain from 2 inch pieces, and finished the edges her own way, different from the pattern.

She took a part time job in a quilt shop where she has learned to use the long arm. She custom quilted this quilt, using different patterns for each of the white space blocks. I love this quilt. Not only does she quilt......

She made this fishing rod holder for her husband. My hubby definitely needs one of these. She made it from wood they cut from their own property, used a jig saw to cut the grooves for the rods, and tilted the base boards to help hold them in. It is amazing. She looked through some fishing catalogs and got the idea. She is one talented woman!

English Muffin Bread

Found this new recipe on

It is a "rustic" bread, and it is very yummy. We both really liked it. It is heavy with a rough texture, a nice slightly salty flavor. Can't wait to toast some in the morning. I cut the recipe in half to make only two loaves. Here is the original recipe compliments to Jillee's blog.

Carole’s English Muffin Bread

5 1/2 cups warm water
3 packages RAPID RISE yeast
(Update: You can use regular yeast, but you will need to let is rise TWICE. Once in the bowl, til it reaches the top…and then again in the pans, til it reaches the top. With the RAPID RISE you only need to let it rise once in the pans.)

2 Tablespoons salt
3 Tablespoons sugar
11 cups flour (I used bread flour)

Mix altogether, then spoon into (4) well greased loaf pans. Let rise in pans until dough reaches the top of the pans, and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown. (My oven runs a little hot so I ended up cooking mine for a total of 35 minutes. Just keep an eye on it. You’re looking for golden brown.) 10 minutes before done, brush with melted butter. Makes 4 loaves. Bread will be moist at first. Allow to COOL COMPLETELY before cutting. Makes terrific toast.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Sewing....not shopping

Back to sewing. I pulled a couple of old projects out. This one is a circle jeans quilt that ends up looking a lot like a cathedral window quilt.

I had collected a few pairs of old jeans. Cut some big circles using one of my long arm tools.

Inside each circle you put a square of fabric. I recently cut up a bunch of five inch squares, thinking I was going to use them for another project. They fit perfect on the squares. This quilt is "all inclusive" backing and no batting. I'll sew them together and then I plan to sew the denim over the square and let it have a ragged edge.

Like this.....

After I cut up all the denim I had, I pulled out this project....

I still have a ton of shirt scraps left from all of the shirt quilts I've made. I started this one about a year ago. With all the little pieces, I expect it will be a project that will take a while.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Book Reviews

First, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! Just by living in America, we have so much to be thankful for. I am reminded of that even more so, in the last few days via the books I've been reading.

Fearless. A word to describe Adam Brown, a man who overcame much to be a Navy Seal. It brings home what "sacrifice" really means. To Adam, and all the others who have sacrificed their very lives, to ensure our freedoms, I am thankful. To get a better understanding of what our military does for us, while we sit in the comfort of our homes, read it.

This book...oh my. I have cried and cried as I read. I am not even half way through yet. It is an amazing story of a beautiful (homecoming queen), popular (class president) young woman who left her family and friends in Brentwood, Tennessee and is following God's call in Uganda, one child at a time. A stark reminder of the luxurious lives we live here in America, yet our material wealth so often gets in the way of being the hands and feet of Jesus.

You will enrich your life by reading these two books.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More Fishing

I was off work today, and Jim left early go fishing....and again, I went with him.

Two of the three fish I caught. He only caught one....tee hee....none of ours today were very big, but we still had a great time. The weather has just been perfect. The water was so still, and beautifully reflective.

I am going to get back into sewing this weekend....I promise....y

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bass Fishing

The hubby and I both took off work early today.  I decided to go with him fishing.  It was fun.  He caught this nice 4 pounder.
I didn't catch any......but I had a great time anyway.  The weather seemed really nice......until we went 58 MPH running down the lake!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lotion applicator

Ok, bear with me for one more post for the day....necessity is the mother of invention, right? I have very dry skin, and in the winter, my back drives me crazy itching. I've never found a ready-made lotion applicator apparatus that would solve my problem. So I made my own.

A cheap wooden back scratcher. A rough wash cloth. A rubber band. That's it. Put lotion on the cloth and it works great for getting those hard to reach dry places on your back.

Homemade mixes

Homemade laundry soap. I decided to make up some today. I have used it before. My friend felt like it faded her clothes, so I got a little leery of it, although I hadn't noticed that myself. I hate paying the price of grocery store detergent so I am trying it again. The recipe is all over the internet - 1/3 bar of Fels-Naptha grated, 1/2 cup Borax, and 1/2 cup Washing Soda, and water to make two gallons. I have started using Downy Unstoppables as a fragrance enhancer to the load before I wash. I like that smell. In this batch, I also added some citrus essential oils to enhance the smell. I used my Magic Bullet to grate up the bar soap. Worked pretty good.

I also mixed up some of the no-grate laundry soap. It uses Dawn dish soap in place of Fels-Naptha bar soap that you have to grate. I am just not sure about it. It looks like plain water with just a bare hint of the blue dish soap color.

One other thing I made today....

The recipe is very simple. 8 ounces of water with 10 drops each of lemongrass, grapefruit, and bergamot essential oils. Shake, pour in small spray bottles. I printed the directions on labels I applied to the bottles.

Actually, I think this is hilarious. You can buy it online....with names like trap-a-crap, royal-flush, crap-shooter (for the men in your life), déjà-poo, heavy-doody.....there are more. I guess each has a unique blend of essential oils.

....hope this doesn't offend anyone......just a little fun for the day!