She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Proverbs 31

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Quilted Doings

Well the quilting bug has certainly bitten here in my little corner of the world. Mom & I can hardly get enough of all the lovely quilting video tutorials we've found online. It's so nice that even though we're miles apart, we can both watch at the same time and just ooh and aah over all the lovely things we're learning! Some of our favorites are those from Connecting Threads and Missouri Star Quilt Company. I can hardly believe the amazing techniques that have been developed to create beautiful quilts so easily.

Sadly, I want to do all these new projects at once. I just can't seem to help myself. To justify that approach, I've decided that it is perfectly alright to have a project for every mood going at one time.

So I have my Chubby Chicks project when I'm in the mood for applique. After several practice chicks, I have these six chicks completed. I misjudged my fabric needs and I'm waiting for more "beak" fabric to arrive in the mail before I can continue. Mrs. JP is using this pattern to make spring table runners. I can only imagine how cute those will be.

And when I'm in a stitching mood, I can work on this little redwork Sunbonnet Sue. I've finished 8 of the blocks and have 4 more to go. I believe I'm just going to tie this one.

Finally, I couldn't resist this darling little Bunny Hill pattern. It is made primarily from one charm pack, and I thought it would be the perfect small project to practice my hand quilting.

I'm using this fresh and pretty Basket of Flowers charm pack from Mary Engelbreit's collection.

And if that wasn't enough, Mom & I decided to work on a project together. She is really enjoying hand stitching right now so we chose Bunny Hill's free BOM Snowbound. Each month features a different snowman that can be stitched or appliqued. We're doing the stitching and will be creating them in bluework. As well, Bunny Hill still has their free A Tisket, A Tasket pattern available for a couple more weeks. I printed it out just in case ...

Are you dizzy yet? I am. And though I only have little snatches of time here and there to enjoy the art, I am lovin' every little minute of it!


Monday, January 18, 2010

The Great Rooster Chase Is Over

Can you believe this little bird dominated our entire day! LOL The boys still hadn't caught him so I threw on my rubber boots and joined in the chase. And even though I didn't actually catch him myself (Jase did), I did remind the boys that it took a woman's motivating presence to get him caught!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Little Aprons & Vintage Dolls

Hurray ~ another UFO completed! Some time ago, I agreed to help a friend restore a rag doll that her mother made for her as a child. Originally handmade in the 1950's, this little doll came to me in a small envelope with no stuffing, no hair and missing her apron. And today I finally got her completed.

I was so pleased with my first attempt at a miniature apron. It's only about six inches long. New fabric just wouldn't do for such an old dolly. I was fortunate to have just the right vintage linen in my stash and was able to craft an apron that I felt she would be comfortable in. I think it suits her well, don't you?

She looks so pleased with her new yarn hair and fresh old apron. I sure hope she resembles the doll that my friend remembers as a child. Tomorrow she will be ever so carefully packaged and sent on her way to Mississippi. I wish I could be there when the packaged is opened!

I still have a few more unfinished projects to complete before I let myself begin a new one, but I can't help thinking how pretty a little kitchen Christmas tree would look covered in miniature aprons??? I hope I can make myself wait to begin.

Stay cozy & warm,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Raggedy Projects & Garden Dreams

These freezing temperatures are keeping me indoors and near the woodstove, so I'm finally catching up on all those unfinished projects that I'd love to work on but can never seem to get to. Am I the only one who does that? I did recently finish this little set of Raggedy Triplets for some dear friends. Now I'm completing my (blush) 12 year old quilt ... the last block in hand. (Will Mom ever be happy that I finally finished it!)

But though I love getting all caught up, my heart has already turned toward the garden with all the hopes of new things I want to accomplish this year. My mind is swimming with herbs & butterfly gardens, stone paths & scarecrow friends ... Sometimes I think God chose to place winter right before spring just for me. If He had not, I don't think I'd ever take time to catch up on other things or even to plan my garden well.

I'm off to stitch and dream some more. Stay warm!

Many blessings,

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What could be sweeter ...

... than a basket of kitties?

These little cuties are the newest additions to our homeplace. Aren't they precious?

Postscript: For those of you that expressed your concern, though we can't spray and neuter every stray cat that visits us for a while, this Mama Cat does have an appointment with the vet to be spayed after these little kitties are weaned. Looks like she is a keeper for sure! :)


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

From My Kitchen ~ Homemade Cloverleaf Rolls

I just love to make homemade bread. I love the way it fills our home with a delicious scent. I love kneading it by hand ~ it just plain ole' feels good! LOL And I really love the way my husband and boys make over me when I bake. I get lots of extra lovin' on bread baking day. :)

But most of all, I take great satisfaction in knowing that I am making something for my family that doesn't contain all the chemicals and preservatives that store bought breads contain.

It is one of my goals this year to create a routine for myself to bake enough bread each week to eliminate our reliance on store bought. And a secondary goal would be to replace some of my store bought ingredients with freshly, ground whole wheat.

Some time back, I purchased a very nice hand powered grain mill from Lehman's Non-Electric. Little did I realize that you must have an extremely solid surface in order to use it. I still giggle a little thinking of the first time I set it up and began to grind. Wheat nuts were flying all over the room and the table was slowly vibrating across the floor. Colton thought it was hilarious while I wanted to cry.

I've debated purchasing an electric mill, but I think I would prefer to keep my non-electric and invest in a solid oak table instead. Still thinking about that ....

Well I'm telling you that whole, long story just to tell you this ... I made some wonderful homemade cloverleaf rolls tonight!

I used a recipe from my dear friend, Mary of And Even If ... And they were wonderful! Mine don't look nearly as good as Mary's but they were so tasty. My family just raved about them. So I wanted to share Mary's recipe with you.

Mary's Homemade Texas Ranch Rolls
(Mary is a Texas girl and I couldn't resist embellishing the name just a bit.)

First, dissolve 2 packages of yeast in 2 cups of warm water.

Then in a large mixing bowl, place the following:
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt

Mix egg mixture into the yeast water and stir well.

One cup at a time, add 5-6 cups of flour to the mixture. Knead by hand or use your mixer if you have a kneading attachment until the flour takes on a nice elastic feel.

Place large roll into a greased bowl - I prefer to use butter. Then cover and allow to rise in a warm place until it almost doubles in bulk. Depending on the temperature this may take about 30 minutes or more.

Get your muffin tin already by rubbing the cups with ... you guessed it ... more butter! (You can see why these rolls are so very tasty, can't you?)

Then pinch off walnut-sized pieces and roll them into balls. Place three dough balls into each cupcake cup. Allow these to rise in a nice warm spot until they rise just above the cup. Then they're ready to bake.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and .... brush with more butter!

This recipe makes about 30 absolutely beautiful rolls. I split the dough and made 18 rolls and one small loaf of bread for sandwiches for tomorrow's lunch.

Hope you enjoy Mary's recipe as much as we have!


Sunday, March 29, 2009

From My Kitchen ~ Mini Cheesecakes

Sitting down here to write a post today, I feel like I'm visiting an old friend. Life has been bustling around our homeplace leaving little time for so many other pleasures. It's so nice to be back.

Today our family has enjoyed a day of quiet rest at home. After morning worship, I took a leisurely walk to check on all the new life that seems to be sprouting everywhere.

Colton enjoying an afternoon nap.

So many little things that I planted last year (and have forgotten about) are surprising me ~ lemon balm, lillies and the wild roses that I transplanted from the forest which have grown from one plant to three! Just moments ago I picked a small handful of lavendar that has the most wondrous fragrance. If you sleep with a little sachet of lavendar under your pillow, the fragrance of this herb helps to relax your body and promotes a peaceful sleep. I'm going to tie these up and use them tonight under my pillow.

Lavendar springing to life

Luke requested that I bake some cheesecakes for him today. I always make them at Christmas time, but never seem to make them during the remaining 264 days of the year. Why is that, I wonder? Well, Luke (or quite possibly Luke's stomach) reminded me that every day is special and that I need to make them more often. So today I did just that especially for him.

Here's my simple recipe:

Mini Cheesecakes
3 pkg 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C sugar
1 can fruit filling or fresh berries
1 box vanilla wafers
muffin liners (24)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the softened cream cheese and eggs. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla beating until smooth.

Place one wafter into each muffin liner in cupcake tin. Pour the mixture into each cup until 3/4 full.

Bake for 15 minutes or until done. Cool completely and top with fruit. Refrigerate.

Of course, I had to enjoy one myself along with my favorite little snowman mug that I use even in July!

I can hardly wait to share all that's been happening around our place.