Monday, December 15, 2014

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Yesterday, we put up our Christmas tree.  It's always a bittersweet experience for me.  After using many of the ornaments that we have acquired over the years, I open the box of "treasures".  These are ornaments that have a special meaning for me.  In the past, I taught ceramic classes in my basement. I am a certified ceramic teacher, and we had a small shop set up there.  One year, I had a large basket of Christmas ornaments ready to paint, and asked each of my students to pick one out and paint it for me.  They were to sign and date it.  Last night, I pulled out the the nurse that Pap had painted, the Humpty Dumpty that Dee had painted, ornaments painted by my Aunt Sis and Aunt Eileen, and all the others.  There was the feathered snow owl given to us by Rod's brother, Brian just a few years before he chose to leave this earth.  There were other feathered birds so loved by my mom, and a trumpet for my dad.

The twins had made wedding soup for dinner, helped with the tree, and then baked chocolate chip cookies. But after they left and the house was quiet again, I started to think about holidays past.  When I was a child, my Aunt Betty lived next door.  She had no children, and was sort of a stern woman.  But when the family played pinochle, we saw a different side of her.  It was always the men against the women, and usually the men were victorious.  After losing a few games, Aunt Betty would get up and walk around her chair several times while shouting, "Wahoo!"  I'm not sure if it changed her luck, but it sure tickled us kids.  My Aunt Ethel would always accuse my Uncle Virg of cheating. As I got older, and was able to join the game as a "man", I realized that he didn't cheat, but talked little during the game, and concentrated on the cards that had been played.  We kids were given potato chips and pretzels to munch on while we watched TV, but were never permitted to have the Planter's mixed nuts that the grown-ups got.

I don't remember my Aunt Kit and Uncle Ray playing much pinochle.  My Uncle Ray was a wonderful wood worker, and introduced the family to "Marbles".  It was played on a board much like this one.   One year for Christmas, Uncle Ray made a marble board for each family, and I still have one of the boards that he made.   It was played much like the board game Parcheesi, but each player had 4 marbles in their color.  It was so much fun, and a game that we kids could play also. Each family had their own special bag containing their marbles and dice.  I still have my red leather pouch  which holds my marbles and dice. Aunt Betty's sun porch was quite large, and there would be several card tables set up in that room where there were marble games in progress,    After each game, people would switch tables to go another round.  If I close my eyes, I can still hear the laughter.
One of my favorite things about Christmas at Aunt Betty's was that she had a tree with bubble lights on it.  They fascinated me and I could sit for hours just watching those lights. Soon after we were married, I had a few strings of bubble lights, but they have all passed away. At this point in my life when so many family members have passed on, the memories of those Christmases past can still bring a smile.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Fa-La-La-La-La . . .

Oh yes, I'm thinking about decking the halls. I am definitely ready for Christmas decorating!   Rod finished the outside decorating yesterday, with the final lights on the front deck.

Normally, I sew up to Christmas Eve making last minute gifts for the family.  But not this year! Yesterday, I finished my last custom order for the store, packed it up, and shipped it this morning.  So, today my sewing machine gets put to bed until after the first of the New Year.  I have been loading free books onto my Kindle, and hope to do some serious reading over the next few weeks.

We had purchased Disney gift cards for our trip and somehow managed to return home with $500 of the cards.  We decided to use these for Christmas shopping.  I sold a $100 card to a family member, and used that money for some good deals on Amazon.  With the other $400, I bought gifts from the Disney store.  A few more purchases from J.C. Penney, Kohl's and Toys R Us, and my shopping is finished.  And, you can be sure, I did most of my shopping through Ebates.  I've earned nearly $1000 in rebates since I joined.  If you aren't a member of Ebates and would like to be, please use this link and I earn a little for referring you.

I still have to decide what food item I'm going to make to give to my neighbors.  In the past, I've done different quick breads, swedish tea rings, stollen, and carmel popcorn.  Do you do anything special food items for gifts?  Ideas would be appreciated.  Have a good week.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Little Bits of Everything

Is Mother Nature angry?  I'm thinking that she must be.  The weather lately has been more unpredictable than usual.  We were in Florida two weeks ago, and it was cold and rainy.  Not at all the sunny and warm weather that we expected.  Here in Pennsylvania, we have had highs in the 60's one day and then in the 30's the next.  And whether it is raining, sleeting, or snowing seems to depend on which side of the street you are standing.

I'm busy working on some new infinity scarves for the Esty store.  I had an order for a special one, and when I went to order that fabric, I was sucked in by some others.  I cut 15 scarves the other day and am busy sewing them so that they can be photographed for the store.

My Christmas shopping is finally finished.  I had originally planned on making many of my gifts this year, but we returned from Disney with $500 in gift cards.  I used them to make a big dent in gift buying.  Some of the other gifts were purchased from stores that participate in Ebates, which doesn't save money immediately, but gives you  rebate shortly after purchase.  We hope to start decorating this weekend.

I didn't have good luck with the Isagenix, it caused serious stomach issues for me.  So, now I am praying for some guidance to find a healthy eating plan that I can stick to.  One that will help my blood sugars as well as weight loss.

As the weather will be turning colder, I have been looking for some new soup recipes to add to my favorites.  Tonight we will be having a Turkey Wild Rice Soup that is on the Skinnytaste  website.  I've used quite a few of her recipes and have pleased myself and my family with most of them.  For my birthday, Mary gave me the new Skinnytaste cookbook.  All her recipes are Weight Watchers friendly, and she even posts the points.  Another great site for Weight Watchers recipes is Laaloosh.  I see browsing these two sites in my future.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Linda B's Crafts Halloween Sale

Just a reminder to all that we are having a Trick or Treat Sale on both of our Etsy sites:  Linda B's Crafts and The Frozen Mouse.  Details below.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Answers Appear When You Least Expect Them

A high school classmate had posted a request on Facebook for people to complete a survey  for a book that she's writing.  She needed opinions from ladies over 50 for part of her research.  At the end of the survey, you could indicate whether or not you would be willing to participate in a one-on-one interview.  Without thinking too much about it, I checked the yes box.  She contacted me to set up an appointment, and at that point I became very apprehensive.  We were never really close friends, and now I questioned how much I was willing to reveal about my life.

Friday morning, Donna arrived right on time.  I told her how I felt, and she told me that if a question made me uncomfortable to just let her know.  And the interview began.  Her questions were not at all what I expected. Some were about my childhood, some about my past relationships.  She asked about my faith, my regrets in life, and where I saw myself in the future.  After Donna left, I sat and reflected on the questions that she had asked and the answers that I had given.  This interview was supposed to be for her, yet it was very enlightening for me.  I began to realize that many of the answers that I had given involved my weight.  And it became clear that I needed to get serious about weight loss.  I've said that more times than I can count, but this time I prayed for a solution to present itself.  I have a bookshelf full of dieting books, another with books about diabetes and, for me, the two go hand in hand.  But I have never had the will power to stick with any program.

I had noticed that my one daughter had been losing weight, and her moods and outlook on life had changed.  When she came that afternoon, I asked her about what she had been doing and she told me that it was Isagenix.  She explained the program to me, and I couldn't help but think that God had presented an answer for me.  Although the program is a little costly, I asked her to help me order the program. It's an all natural program, with no gimmicks.  My products are due to arrive tomorrow.   I will start on Thursday.  I know in my heart that this is my last hope since I refuse to have any type of gastric surgery.  I'm posting my before photo here.  Please bear with me if I post photos as I progress.  Also, please pray that God will give me the the determination, the patience, and the will power to make this journey.

Friday, October 17, 2014


I had intended that this post on my blog would be a special one. One filled with photos and reviews.  I have heard so much about the Lancaster Central Market, in Lancaster PA.  Rod and I have planned on visiting this market several times, but something always came up.  Last week, we finally had the opportunity to visit.  We left last Friday at about 3:00 pm and drove to Lancaster. At a rest stop on the Turnpike, we  shared an Auntie Anne's pretzel - my first and it was delicious.  We had such a good time in the car - laughing, listening to music and loving the fall foliage.  We had reserved a one-room suite at a Comfort Inn, and although we had planned on having dinner at a Cracker Barrel restaurant (we had a gift card), we made a quick stop at a Wendy's and took it to our room.

Our room was beautiful, very similar to this photo.  After checking in, we went to our room and enjoyed our gourmet  fast food dinner.  We relaxed and watched some weird TV - one show on a Russian who tried breeding human and apes by artificial insemination.  Hey, it was on the Discovery Network!!  We always sleep in separate beds on trips, just because that way I don't get kicked out of bed.  Comfort Inn beds are generally very comfortable, but when I crawled into bed, I felt like someone had left their knees behind and I was sleeping on them.  I got out of bed and slept sitting on the sofa most of the night.  The next morning, Rod accused me of taking the best bed - his bed wasn't any better than mine.  We got dressed like a couple of old people whose bones were creaking.  Then it was on to the breakfast buffet.

The buffet was amazing.  What we thought were little pancakes were actually egg white patties.  There were sausage patties, lots of bread products, cereals, yogurt, fresh fruit, and juices.  The dining area was packed, and the other guests were friendly and pleasant.  We finished eating, checked out, and headed for Central Market.  It was raining, and a not so pleasant day.  When we arrived, we parked in a paid lot, and started to walk around the building to find an entrance that didn't have any steps.  Once inside, I was shocked at how crowded the market was; aisles were narrow, people were rude and pushing, and market items were much more expensive that what we have found at other markets.  We stayed only an hour, I bought some biscotti, some vegetables, and some loose tea.  Rod wasn't feeling well, so we started for home.  The further we drove, the sicker he got.  We were stopping along the turnpike for him to be sick.  Finally he said that he didn't think he could drive home.  I texted the twins, and they agreed to meet us at one of the exits.  Pam drove our car home, and Rod rode in the truck with Pat and was able to lie down in the back seat to sleep.  I was so glad to arrive home.  He finally started feeling better by Sunday evening.  It wasn't quite the weekend I had hoped for.

But on a lighter note, the Turnpike Commission has closed several service plazas along the turnpike, making opportunities for bathroom stops farther apart.  A little birdie told me that on the trip out, one of the twins (who remain nameless, but her name starts with Pa) stopped in a contruction area and used the portajohn that was there.  We are still laughing about that one.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Busy Bee

Things are buzzing here in the hive as I continue to work on items for my new Etsy store, The Frozen Mouse.  I've been working on wristlets from some of the new fabrics that I've ordered.  I've finished up Dumbo and Seven Dwarfs wristlets,and also the pink Minnie Mouse that had sold out, and today cut wristlets, lining and interfacings for bags made from Disney villainess,  101 Dalmations, Olaf, and two Star Wars fabrics.  I'm planning on having a special sale soon, but haven't decided on when.  I've had to rework the pattern to fit an iPhone 5 in the inner pocket, and then what does Apple do ??? They release the iPhone 6.  And it's even bigger.  In order to make the wristlet fit the larger iPhone, I not only have to increase the overall size, but also buy longer zippers.  And that means more cost.  Thus far, people want the larger size, but aren't willing to pay the increased cost.   Since I just got an iPhone 6 with an Otterbox  case, I need a new bag before our Disney trip in November.  But which will I choose?  Hmm, so many choices.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Years ago when I was in grade school, we had to memorize the poem September by Helen Hunt Jackson.  I loved memorizing poetry and, all these years later I still remember most of those poems that we memorized.  Fall has always been my favorite season of the year, I was married in the fall.  I've lived all my life in Pennsylvania where fall nights turn chilly and the daytime air is crisp.  Aromas of fall, those of apples and pumpkins are so beloved in our house that we burn candles to keep those smells in the house even when we're not baking.  As I sat on the deck this afternoon, I thought of those words of Helen Hunt Jackson.  Our apple trees are holding fruit, "fish" have formed in the milkweed pods, and the goldenrod is definitely yellow.  I rejoice in the colors, sounds and smells of fall, and I almost look forward to the soups of winter.  I hope you also smile and think lovingly of fall as you read this excerpt from one of my favorite poems.

by Helen Hunt Jackson

The goldenrod is yellow
The corn is turning brown.
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.
The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun.
In dusty pods, the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.
By dewy lanes at morning
the grapes' sweet odors rise.
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.
By all these lovely tokens,
September days are here.
With summer's best of weather
And autumn's best of cheer

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Doing The Happy Dance

Today, I am doing the Happy Dance. There are several reasons why I dance today.  First, my hubby, the love of my life, my partner for nearly 40 years, has been 18 days with No Cigarettes!!! And that's amazing, unbelievable, courageous, and the best gift I've ever received.  And I love him for it!

I'm also dancing because we have 60 days until our trip to Disney, and last night (or early this morning) daughter Pam got online to get our Fast Passes for our trip, and was able to get a Fast Pass for a meet-and-greet with Anna and Elsa.  This is Jake and Izzy's first trip ever to Disney, and when you ask Izzy who she most wants to meet on this trip, she replies Anna and Elsa.  Jake wants to meet Darth Vader, and we're going to try to sign him up for the Jedi Training Academy.  I'm so excited for this trip.

And last, I'm dancing because I have been so busy sewing and filling orders for my two Etsy sites, Linda B's Crafts and The Frozen Mouse, that I've decided that I need a day for me.  So, today is officially Linda's Day - a day for me to do whatever I want, whenever I want.  So far, I've had a nap, and worked on my blogs, and who knows what might happen later today.  I may read for a while since I haven't done much reading lately.  I think that having a Linda Day on a day when I Happy Dance is a very good idea.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Can I Hear Big Wahoo??!!!

Yesterday was doctor day.  Rod and I both had an appointment.  We see different doctors in the same practice.  Unlike most visits, I was called back first.  We had a bet as to who would be done first.  So, I was pretty hopeful that  I would win the bet.  Turns out I have an ear infection, which explains why I am having trouble hearing out of that ear.  Since I didn't get a flu shot last year, I figured that I should get one this year.  And I guess that's what caused me to lose the bet.  When Jake and I emerged from the exam room, Rod was already at the check-desk.

Rod was doing a little dance while teasing that he won.  But the good news is that his lungs are clear, and he's released to go back to work on Monday without no further oxygen therapy.  Rod is a pretty active guy, and he's just not accustomed to sitting around. He was driving me buggy being here with little to do.  And he's very glad to be returning to work.  His boss told him yesterday that they had brought in 3 guys to carry his load.  I guess that's job security.

But here's the best news - my hubby has been 10 days without a cigarette!!!  He has smoked since he was 14, usually a pack a day.  But he says that he has no desire to start again.  I am sooo very proud of him, as are all the kids.  When Kristin told Jake that Pappy didn't have to be on oxygen anymore, Jake replied, "Oh Good!  Now he can get that shed painted."  Jake figures that there's no rest for the weary . . .  or the sick!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Problems with a Shed

We decided that we needed to replace our old shed with a new one.  The old one was built in 1976 when I was pregnant with our second daughter, and as you can see, it definitely needed to be replaced.  Rod took a day's vacation, and began to tear the shed down.  And soon it was down.  Rod decided to burn the old lumber, shingles and all.  The dark smoke puffed each time a new piece was added to the fire.  But soon the burning was finished, and the clean up needed to begin.

The twins came down to help,  and soon Kristin was home from work and pitched in to help.  Even Jake and Izzy got involved.  It didn't take too long before the old concrete floor was ready to meet its new top.

 Saturday morning the building began.  The twins helped son-in-law Jimmy to start the walls, and soon they were up.  

We noticed that Rod wasn't looking too good, and was having a hard time breathing.  But, he kept assuring us that he was ok.  Sunday morning he seemed worse, but insisted that he was fine.  By Sunday evening, his breathing was worse.  By Monday afternoon, his temp was 104 degrees and he was ready to go to the emergency room.  They didn't waste any time getting him onto oxygen and determined that he had pneumonia.  He was admitted, and they started tests, blood work, chest x-rays, and an EKG.  By Wednesday, they had determined that he was suffering from legionella pneumonia and tried to figure out how he got it.  The only thing we could figure out was that it was from the dirt and lumber from the shed.  They just kept stressing to us that he was very ill.  He was treated with antibiotics, steroids, inhalers, and breathing treatments.  Friday, the doctors decided that his lungs were clear enough for him to return home.  I don't know which of us was the happier.  He's on oxygen here at home and hasn't had a cigarette in 7 days.  He says that he feels better today than he has in 10 years.  I am so proud of him, and glad to have him home again.  

The shed isn't finished yet, but it's coming along.  Jimmy has half the roof shingled, and the windows are in.  There's still a lot to do, but we have time.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Where Has the Summer Gone?

The kids are back in school already - and of course, we are scheduled to have some of the hottest days of the summer.  It was a fun summer.  I really enjoyed having all the grandkids for the summer.  We watched a lot of movies, ate some good lunches and had quite a few giggles.  The older three have all returned to school - Krissy in 8th grade, James in 5th grade, and Izzy in 1st grade. And next Wednesday, Jake starts preschool three mornings each week.  I know that I will still have all of them after school, but it saddens me that my days of keeping the kids while their moms work are coming to a close.  Rod says to appreciate the years they are all in school because it will just be a few more years until I have him all day.  I look forward to that time.

My new Etsy store, The Frozen Mouse is doing fairly well.  I'm having so much fun working with all the different Disney fabrics.  And coming up with new ideas is always a challenge.

This weekend, Rod is starting to put up a new shed.  The old one has seen better days.  Not surprising since it was built the summer of 1976.  I helped a lot with that one, even did shingles.  This one will be a different story since I don't have the mobility that I did then. Hopefully, some of the kids will be around to help when he needs them. I've been planning some food that I can make ahead so that it's ready to eat when the "carpenters" are.  I've decided to make some pinwheel appetizers with flavored cream cheese and lunch meats.  And also some sliders made like subs.  And I want to have plenty of cold drinks.  Hope you have a fun and safe holiday.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sorry I've Been Neglecting You. . .

But I've been really busy.  Daughter Mary talked me into opening a new Etsy shop (She beat me and pulled my hair -NOT).  It's called The Frozen Mouse and specializes in handmade items with a Disney theme.  We decided on the name because when it's cold and snowy in Pennsylvania, I dream about being in Walt Disney World.  I should note here that I am in no way affiliated with Disney, but rather hand make my items using licensed fabrics.  If you are a Disney fan or have one in the family, stop by and check out the shop.  I've had such a good time making new wristlets and water bottle carriers with Disney fabrics.  Currently I am awaiting some fabrics from Japan and Thailand.  They are beautiful fabrics that aren't available here in the states.  I have become an international shopper and have ordered zipper pulls from China and Lithuania.  I'm surprised at how quickly they have arrived.

Today I am working on some drawstring backpacks with Disney fabrics.  I started these as birthday gifts for my grandkids, and am planning on including a pin lanyard and a gift card for them for our upcoming Disney trip.  I ordered fabric without knowing how much fabric the bag took, and was pleasantly surprised to discover than I could get three drawstring backpacks from one yard to fabric.  So, I have will have two of each to list on Etsy.  Bubby picked out this Mickey Mouse fabric, and I think it will make a really cute wristlet, too.

Jake loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and chose this fabric for his bag.  I love that it has Captain Hook on it, as I've always been a fan of Peter Pan.

And Izzy chose Doc McStuffins for her bag.  I just hope she doesn't decide to be a vet like her Mom.  I wouldn't want her to go away like Kristin did.

And I decided to use some fabric from my stash to make a few Buzz Lightyear bags.

I can't wait to see them finished.  So here I go to sew!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Luncheon is Served

I have the greatest job in the world - being a stay at home grammy.  Every day at my job someone tells me that they love me.  We do some pretty great things while the 4 grandkids are here.  We watch movies, they put on plays for me, they have dance parties, and sometimes they fight.  But I wouldn't trade this life for anything.

Once each week, I like to make them special lunches.  Most days we have lunchmeat or peanut butter sandwiches, but once a week or so, Krissy and I make something special.

The first week, we made "undersea hot dogs with seaweed noodles", and watched Finding Nemo.  We dyed Oodles of Noodles green with food coloring, added a hot dog in which we cut legs, and then added goldfish crackers and Swedish fish.  I thought it was a really cool idea, but I have to tell you that the kids were a little freaked out by the green noodles.

The next special meal was heart shaped pancakes with sausage inside.  I have a little cooker that makes heart shaped cakes, so we put the pancake batter inside and added three sausage slices to it and then baked them.  In the smallest section of their lunch containers, they each got syrup for dipping.  They were a big hit, and are on the list of things to make again.

Today's lunch was corn dog muffins.  We made up two boxes of Jiffy corn bread muffin mix and put it into regular sized muffin tins that had been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  After filling the cups 1/2 full, we pressed 1/3 of a hot dog into each muffin, and them baked them at 400 degrees for 18 minutes  When they were done, we left them sit a few minutes before removing them.  We served them with two cookies and some fruit salad.  Everyone seemed to enjoy them.

I have a few blocks of cream cheese that should be used soon that are in the refrigerator.  Since they all like ranch dressing, I think I'll add a ranch dip packet to the cream cheese and make roll ups with sliced ham, maybe a pickle, and a few soft tortilla shells.  The next day for lunch, we can slice them and voila - our own take on "sushi".  I pinned an idea for "fortune cookies" made with fruit roll ups, and think it would be a great lunch to serve while we watch Mulan.

We'll blink twice and they'll be ready to go back to school, Krissy in 8th grade, Bubba in 5th grade, Izzy in 1st grade, and Jake will be going to preschool three days a week.  I'll miss them terribly, but Izzy and Jake will stay come after school.  And as we all know, time marches on.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Old People's Garden

In years past, we had a huge garden.  But as we got older and life got busier, it became almost impossible to keep up with the weeding.  And once sewage came through, we could no longer afford to water the garden so our produce yield wasn't worth the effort.  After we put the roof over the deck, we wanted some way to keep "critters" out from under the deck.  We decided to build beds with landscape timbers.  It works out pretty well, it's a small area to weed, and we don't have to bend over as far to pick the veggies.  Here's a look at this year's garden.  Click the pictures for a better look.

This is the bed of peas, with an errant canteloupe plant that just moved in.  We have already had one meal of the peas, and there's another waiting in the refrigerator.  There are still more pea pods on the vines, and the grandkids and I love eating them raw, fresh from the pods.

This bed is home to our green and wax bean plants.  They're really crammed in there, but it doesn't leave much room for weeds.  My mouth is anxiously awaiting the first pot of ham and beans.

This bed was Izzy and Jake's make-believe garden.  They had a great time digging in there before Pappy planted the kohrabi and lemon cucumbers in there.  The lemon cucumbers are new for us this year.  They are shaped like a lemon, and are supposed to have a milder flavor. There are some sweet pepper plants in there as well. What we didn't realize was that Jake and Izzy had planted seeds from a rotten pumpkin that they had found.  We haven't thinned anything out, because we frankly don't know what are pumpkin vines and what are the cucumbers. Time will tell.

This bed is the one where we planted two types of summer squash, and it appears that the kids planted some pumpkin seeds here also.  We usually plant golden zucchini, which have a milder taste and thinner skin than the green.  This year I bought seeds for a zucchini that is light green with a yellow tip.  It looked interesting, and I like to try something new each year.

This is our tomato bed.  It looks like kind of a shamble right now.  We have planted lemon pear tomatoes (which are the size of a grape tomato), we planted Lemon Girl and Big Boy tomatoes, and we also planted some Roma tomatoes.  They have blossoms, but no fruit yet.

And last but not least, a new addition this year.  This bed is sandwiched between two lilac bushes and lemon lilies, and is home to some bush baby lima  beans.  In the past, we've not had good luck with lima beans because they have a longer growing season.  But this variety is bred with a shorter growing season, so we're giving them a try.

So there's our Old People's Garden.  As we grow older, we plant to add another row of landscape timbers.  That way as we age, we don't have to bend over as far!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hello June!

Can't believe it's June already.  I have no idea where May disappeared to, but at least it's finally warm.  For some reason, I had zero incentive in May to accomplish much of anything.  I had started some baby quilts, but never got around to finishing them.  What is it that they say about the best laid plans??

Last week, my get-up-and-go finally returned.  I finished 2 of the baby quilts.  They are posted on my Etsy site.  I've been getting a lot of views lately on the site, and most of them are for water bottle holders.  Today, I'm cutting new holders.  I had purchased a lot of new fabrics - angry birds, Spiderman, ninja turtles, princess, Hello Kitty and baseball just to name a few.  My plan is to cut three of each holder and cut the insulted batting for all of them at one time.  That's a lot of cutting and I'd much rather be sewing, but if I don't cut, I can't sew.

Tuesday is the kids' last day of school and then I'll have all four for most of the summer.  I've been trying to come up with some new ideas to make summer more fun for them.  We bought the Disney Infinity game for the Wii, and Jake always needs my help to play. (Grammy plays and Jake tells her what to do).  I've decided to do a movie day once a week, and have been searching on Pinterest for ideas.  Our first movie day will be for Finding Nemo.
I found this idea for Under the Sea lunch.  All the kids love hot dogs and Oodles of Noodles soup, so this will be perfect.  And for a sweet treat, Swedish fish.

Our second week will be Toy Story.  I have found patterns for felt Potato Heads with accessories that I will cut for the kids to make.  For lunch, we will have Hamm Sandwiches, and cheese puffs like Al was eating in Toy Story 2.  Krissy is cooking now, and I'm going to see if she can make some cake pops that we can ice green and add eyes and antennae to make them look like the little aliens.

For week three, I'm planning on Mulan.  Mary is going to make sweet-n-sour chicken the night before for us to warm up.  And I found this really kid healthy idea for fortune cookies:

For week 4, it will be The Lorax.  Look at this neat idea for Lorax cheese using Babybel and American cheeses. I've gotten pixie stix and cotton candy to make the truffalo trees and will serve goldfish crackers with lunch.

The kids like to do "Jammies to Grammy's" day.  So I figure we watch Bedtime Stories on that day in week 5.   And for fun, we'll have breakfast for lunch - waffles and sausage.

I've had so much fun coming up with these ideas.  And to be honest, I think I'll have as much fun as the kids this summer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Is Summer on the Way??

With the amount of rain we've had lately, it's clear to see that spring has finally arrived.  And that means that summer cannot be far behind.  Staying hydrated is very important to folks of all ages.  Currently in our Etsy store, we have insulated water bottle carriers in Disney and Star Wars fabrics.  But new fabrics will be posted in just a few weeks.

For the pet lover who wants to stay hydrated while walking or playing with their pet, we will be offering bottle holders in the this fabric:

For those of you who dream of being super heroes or champion video game players, we will be offering new fabrics featuring Angry Birds, Spiderman or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  These fabrics are licensed and are in no way my own creation.

For the sports enthusiasts, we have chosen neutral football and baseball fabrics (no favorite teams), and of course, camouflage.

And last, but certainly not least, we will have something new for the gals (little and big) in the way of fabrics.  First will be the always popular "Hello Kitty" and also something for the Disney princess.  These fabrics are also licensed, and not my creations.

We are hoping to have these available for sale with the next week or so.  Stop by and see.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bird Watcher

I am an avid birdwatcher.  I have a bird feeder outside my living room window where I can watch all the species that come to eat.  It sits next to our deck, and the birds line up on the top of the deck railing to wait their turn at the feeder.  All except the large blue jay, who squawks very loudly and bullies all the other birds to let him into the feeder.  He gets inside the feeder (it's shaped like a gazebo) as far as he can to insure that no other bird can push him out.  I've told you before how we have cardinals, robins, chickadees, tufted titmice (I know, a funny name), and occasionally a mourning dove will take over the feeder.  Last year, I identified one of my favorite winter visitors as a "dark eyed junco".  Previously, I had just referred to him as my snowbird.

This morning, I spied a new bird who had come to eat at the feeder.  I had never seen this guy before, and he is stunning.  I searched the internet for a photo with which to identify him and found this one:

Turns out that he is a "rose breasted grosbeak.  Isn't he beautiful?  Their song is very similar to that of the robin, and they feed mostly on berries and take turns incubating eggs in the nest.  

But one of my favorite birds that visits the feeder is the white breasted nuthatch.  He is the acrobat of the feeder, and climbs up and down the feeder pole upside down. He will even hang sideways using only one foot.  So that's my bird watching experience for today. Do you watch the birds too?

Monday, April 28, 2014

In a Rut or on a Roll?

This past weekend was the Spring train show for the eastern division of the TCA.  It's always a special weekend for Rod and I and this show was no exception.  We left Thursday evening and drove as far as Breezewood.  Then on Friday morning, we slept a little later than usual, had breakfast, and then drove to the show.  With the price of gas, I had decided on Wednesday that some penny-pinching was in order.

We had some turkey breast left over from Easter, so Pam and I whipped up some turkey spread.  We ground up the turkey, added some pickles and hard boiled eggs (also an Easter leftover) to the processor and then added some mayo, mustard,shredded cheese, black pepper, and seasoned salt.  And, voila, turkey spread was born.  I made 5 sandwiches on buns, and packed them in a plastic container.  Pat made a loaf of chocolate applesauce bread, yummy by itself, but even better when made into sandwiches with some spreadable cream cheese.  I cut the sandwiches in half to make them more finger-friendly, and then put them into another plastic box.  Into the cooler bag they went, along with two ice packs, and our drinks of choice. We stopped at "The King" for dinner on Thursday night, but our bagged goodies were lunch and dinner on Friday.  It was great that we had them since it was pouring rain when we stopped for dinner on Friday, and we didn't have to leave the car.  I love just about anything made with turkey and our sandwiches were delicious.  The next time, however, I may add a few dried cranberries for a sweet surprise.

Yesterday, we smoked a sirloin tip and it was a little dry.  Great flavor though.  After dinner, Pam dragged out the food processor once again.  Out came the dill pickles, spicy brown mustard, more leftover hard boiled eggs, cheese and mayo.  And she made what we call "roast beef spread".  It makes great sandwiches, but we like it on Ritz crackers for a healthy snack.

So now I ask you - is making two kinds of spread in three days a rut or a roll?  Well, let me tell you that if it's a rut, it's a pretty scrumptious one!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Great Weekend

We had an extra long weekend beginning with Thursday.  Rod woke up Thursday morning and had to pry his eyes open.  He's been battling a cold virus, but the eyes were something new.  He wasn't seeing clearly, and so I called and got him in to see the doctor.  Turns out he had pink eye.  The doc called in two prescriptions for him - one for an eye drop, and one for an inhaler.  The two prescriptions cost us $70.00.  But today, the eyes are much better.

Friday was a holiday for him, and we spent it with the two youngest grandkids.  We dyed our Easter eggs, and spent time on the deck.  We got fish from our favorite fish place for dinner, and later that evening Pam and Pat came down to beg for one of Pappy's milkshakes.  While Rod was making the shakes, they began to pick up toys and before they left, the house was ready for the sweeper.  They cleaned and wiped off the bars and scrubbed the kitchen floor.  We are so blessed to have the daughters that we have.

We had our Easter dinner on Saturday night.  Rod and I put the ham and turkey breast in the smoker.  The cheesy hash brown potatoes and the copy cat Cracker Barrel beans were put into the slow cookers.  Pam and Pat came down and made the crust and the filling for the cream puff dessert, and then stuffed green pepper slices with their homemade cheese spread.  Mary brought a 7-layer salad and bacon-brown sugar green beans.  Kristin brought deviled eggs (she makes the best).
She added a little color for Easter.  She and George also brought a couple bottles of Moscato wine, and we really enjoyed it.  After dinner, we moved into the living room to watch the Pens hockey game, and switched between it and the Pirates game.  Both teams lost, but we had a great evening.

Sunday, Mary's family and the twins went to the Pirate game.  Again they lost, but they had fun and got some sun.  After the game, everyone (Kris's family too) came here for the dessert that Mary had made.  The evening ended with all of us watching Tangled.  It was truly a great weekend.  I was sad to see Rod go back to work today, but it's a short week since we will be going to the Train Show on Friday.

Friday, April 4, 2014

So Bummed!

After a few days of beautiful, sunny, warm weather, we have been pushed back into gloomy, rainy days.  The view outside my window resembles this photo.  And now they say we might see a few snowflakes tomorrow morning.  What's up with this!!  I realize that "April Showers bring Mayflowers", but I don't recall anything about April Snow!  Ok, I'm done whining.

The weather isn't the only thing that has me bummed this morning.  I've been working on some baby quilts for what seems like forever.  Last week I put the tops together for the farm quilt, the Noah's Ark quilt, and the Bumblebear Quilt.  It all went very smoothly.  This week, I started to put the Sock Monkey quilt together, and only had 8 blocks when I should have had 9.  I was so certain that I had done 9, so I started looking.  I looked in the living room where I sew - no block.  Then I bravely entered the sewing room (right now it's still Enter at Your Own Risk), but there was no block where the others had been.  So now, before I can finish the quilt, I have to make another block.  I don't want to have to switch the machine that's in the living room now, so tomorrow morning I plan on cleaning up the sewing room enough to get into the embroidery machine and start the needed block.  Who knows, I may even work on the mess while the machine sews.  This missing block has me so bummed, that I don't want to work on anything right now.

Somehow I hurt my back the other day, and it hurts to walk or stand.  I really believe that back pain is the worst.  I don't have Jake this morning, so I think I will read the three magazines that I got this week.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Looking Back. . . and Ahead

Do you blog?  If you do, do you ever go back and read some of your old posts?  That's what I did today.  It's funny how time repeats itself.  Right now I'm putting off contemplating how to clean and reorganize my sewing room.  As I looked back through my old posts, I found one from August of 2011 where I was doing exactly the same thing. I did clean it once, and now it needs done again.  I contacted my local Good Will and they will gladly accept any quilting magazines or fabrics that I want to donate.  That was good to know.

I found the posts that I made when my Mom passed away.  I reread them and it made me miss her all the more.

Today I'm doing some much neglected paperwork.  I hate paperwork, but at times it needs to be done.

This weekend I need to finish those baby quilts that I started what seems like ages ago.  A few weeks ago one of Mary's friends got a big surprise when she discovered that she was pregnant.  She is thrilled, and since she has two boys, we're hoping for a girl.  So, one of the quilts will be put aside for her.

I'm so looking forward to the warmer temperatures that are being predicted.  The pond is still frozen over. Since we've not had such a cold winter since the pond was built, I'm concerned about my fish.  I looked at the seed catalogs last week, and placed our seed order over the weekend.  We have decided to try sprouting our own plants this year.  We haven't done that since the girls were little, but there were some new items that I wanted to try, like a lemon cucumber (it's shaped and colored like a cucumber and is said to have a milder cucumber flavor).  We are going to try pole beans this year, and a quick growing bush lima bean.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Big Slacker!!

When it comes to blogging lately, I am definitely a big slacker.  I guess I just haven't had much to say, or maybe my mind has been on other things.
 I took a break from the baby quilts that I was working on and started the Delightful Stars quilt.  I am hand piecing the blocks, and it's not easy since I'm using batik fabrics.  Because of the wax resist used in the making of batiks, it's a little more difficult to push the needle through the fabric.  I am currently working on Block 6, and am behind by two lessons.  Pictured above are the first four blocks. The next lesson is on paper piecing.  I'm very apprehensive about this lesson as I've never done any paper piecing.  I understand that I will have to use the sewing machine for this part of the quilt, and hope to start the paper piecing over the weekend.

I had quite a scare last week when my blood sugar spiked at 399.  I walked around the house and pushed fluids, and then started to rethink my life.  What I was doing was clearly not working, and so I need to find an alternative.  I downloaded a new book for my Kindle.  I'm less than halfway through the book and I've already learned more then I ever did from my doctor or the classes that I took.  I've changed my eating habits drastically, and added Plexus Slim to my daily regimen.  My blood sugar numbers are down to nearly normal, and I've lost 5 pounds.  I haven't been using the Victoza because it causes problems with my gall bladder. The Plexus Slim is a natural supplement which does basically what the Victoza did.  Because I feel that my health is most important right now, I have allowed many other things to fall by the wayside.  

I'm trying to decide what to do about my Etsy store.  I have to admit that it's been a huge disappointment.  I don't have the sales that I wanted to have, and have tried most everything that Etsy has suggested to boost my sales.  In the next month or two, I will make the decision as to close or not to close.  But right now, I'm concentrating on my health and praying for guidance.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Woman at Work!

This past week I was busy embroidering blocks for baby quilts.  One of our neighbors had a baby two weeks ago, and I finished the blocks for that quilt.  I also did blocks for a baby Winnie the Pooh quilt, a Noah's Ark quilt, and a Bumble-Bear quilt.  I had already finished the blocks for a sleepy-time Sock Monkey quilt.  On Saturday, I cleaned up my table and Rod took the embroidery machine back to its little nook.  All the fabric that I had ordered for sashing has arrived, and today I will begin cutting the sashings for all the quilts.

Saturday night we had a sleepover with the two older grandkids, Krissy and Bubby.  We watched two of the Star Wars episodes, and then watched Annie.  This coming weekend, our high school will be performing Annie and Krissy is in the orphan chorus.  She had never seen the movie, and as we watched it, she told us which parts were being done in the play.  Rod and I have tickets for the Sunday matinee, which will be the final performance.  I'm excited about seeing it.

The weatherman had threatened predicted a serious snowfall for this past weekend.  Fortunately for us, he was wrong once again, and we probably ended up with only about 2 inches.  With temperatures rising in the middle of the week, the snow should melt enough that Rod can get my scooter out of the basement and into the car.  Keeping my fingers crossed!  Have a great week.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Finally Loving This Machine . . . Finally

This week, I've been working with my embroidery machine.  In the past, our relationship has been a little rocky.  It seems I have a difficult time adjusting the tension to the proper spot, and my designs have white edges around each section.  When I contacted the shop from whom I bought the machine, they told me it could be my bobbin thread.  So, I bought pre-wound bobbins with bobbin thread that were made for my machine.  It helped, but still the design looked a little off.  In the past, I had always put the spool of thread onto the machine in a horizontal position secured with a "thingy" (for lack of a better word).  I'm not sure why, but on Monday when I threaded the machine, I put my thread on a vertical post with one of the "thingies" turned upside down so that it resembled a tray.  My spool fits into the tray and the thread seems to come off the spool more evenly.  And my designs look amazing.

I started to work on some blocks for baby quilts, and they were looking good.  One of our neighbors delivered her baby a few works prematurely, and I needed to get started on little Hunter's quilt.  The have a farm just up the road from us, and a farm quilt was so perfect for him. I had bought these designs from one of my favorite sites, and figured they would be so cute for a baby. I loved this set.   I have four more blocks to finish and can begin to cut the sashing.  I am just so amazed at the amount of texture this machine can add to the stitching.  I just sit here and watch it do it's thing.

The machine was working so well that I decided to do some baby bibs for Etsy.  These are six of the bibs I did.  Today I have a day off.  It's gloomy and raining outside, but I'm toasty and warm inside.  And I will continue to work on quilt blocks.  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Deja Vu. . . All Over Again

That's what I'm experiencing right now.  Once again I have let my sewing room become a "dump".  Before the holidays, while cleaning up for the holidays, and after the holidays, I took things that really should have been put away and just "dumped" them into the sewing room.  When I open the door, I just want to close it and run walk away.  I keep telling myself and all those around me that I need to start cleaning it up.  But it's one of the rooms in our house that sits above the part of the basement that is all exposed, and it's the coldest room in the house.  That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.  The bottom line, however, is that I just have no idea where to start.  The table is piled high with fabric, the sideboard is piled with fabric.  There are boxes of fabric sitting on top of other boxes of fabric, and they are sitting on top of still more boxes of fabric.  The shelves are pretty much stuffed, and I have no idea where to put it.  I have been pinning ideas that I think would be a big help in the organization, but I don't know how to fit it into my little room.  I read one article in which the writer said that anything that didn't fit on her shelves, was out of there.  That's a great idea, but I a tight-wad and hate to throw anything away.  Yet, I know that there are some pieces of fabric in there that I will never use.  I'm thinking that perhaps I should begin with those large pieces that I haven't used in at least two years.  If I rid the shelves of those pieces, it just might open up some spaces for the fabrics in boxes.  I have an entire large shelf that is nothing but quilt magazines - magazines that I haven't looked at since I put them there 4 years ago.  And, I think that they are out of there!!

There are some novelty fleece yardages that I bought to make hats for the family - I even bought the patterns.  Now, the patterns are too small for the kids, and I realize now that I should have used that fleece and made some scarves to put into the Etsy store.  But I think my timing is a little off, hopefully winter is drawing to an end.

So, what would you do?  Where would you start?  And how can I train myself to work a season ahead?  I'm thinking that I need a plan, a schedule.  Perhaps working 4 hours at a time in the sewing room would give me a sense of accomplishment, without feeling like I'm caged in.  Maybe I could set up one day each week when I work on personal projects for myself.  Is it possible that I need to get a notebook and start jotting down my ideas and my questions, and maybe then a solution will present itself.  But for the time being, I'm just running in circles and it's deja vu. (all over again!)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A New Project For Me

The winter blahs have set in.  I am so tired of snow and cold temperatures that I could spit - of course it would freeze immediately, so I won't.
So when I saw these fabrics to be used in a BOM quilt on, I thought it was just what I needed.  I didn't care for batiks in the beginning, but I have really grown to love them.  Without researching what the quilt would be like, I ordered the kit.  The quilt, however, is a grouping of blocks and stripes and just doesn't appeal to me.  But the fabrics were ordered, and I couldn't do anything about it.  I figured that another project for which I could use these fabrics would present itself.  I love hand piecing.  It is so relaxing for me, and the first quilting class I took was a sampler quilt that was hand pieced.  (I've made 5 so far)  Generally, I cut my pieces with the rotary cutter, mark the 1/4" line on each piece and then hand piece the block.  I find that my points are much more accurate with the hand piecing.

And, such a project did present itself.  When I saw this in a Facebook post, I knew that it was just what I was looking for.  Michele Foster has presented it in two colorways - with a black background as shown above, or with a white background.  I need to decide which way I want to make mine.  I'm leaning toward the black since I have never done a quilt with a black background.  And I think the batiks will look incredible on the black.  If you want more information or want to quilt along, grab the button on the left side of this blog.