A birthday, puppy, and recipe

HOWDY ! :)

Brent cowboy hat

In the space of a week, we went from bone-chilling below zero wind chill temps to 60 degrees on Sunday afternoon which was perfect for a birthday party!

Kate the grand-little wanted a cowgirl theme.

theme collage

A simple menu with several of us pitching in : Ham BBQ sandwiches, potato salad, coleslaw, baked bean & bacon medley from yours truly, cookies and snacks, cake and ice cream.

Kate had a few friends over and then there were some cousins.

My DIL’s niece with her uncle’s little puppy:

K and Pup

He just got this puppy a day or so ago and the children were all surprised to see it. At this point the pup was already tired out from being loved so much! :)

When I have BABY-I-TIS, I can satisfy that every other weekend for the most part, since my DIL babysits a friends baby …I love this picture of him and the pup. ( The pup is half husky, half shepherd mix though I had thought that there was Rottweiler in him. )

R and pup

Son & DIL :

s and T

ME : “Now put that other hat on…the black one!”  Son: “What do I want for Christmas? My mom without a camera!”    Ha ha ha :  I got my way :)

put the amish hat on

Baked Bean Medley

  • This can be baked in the oven for an hour or done in a crock-pot. I went down to my son’s to watch the kids for an hour mid-morning and I put this all into a crock-pot and put it on low to eat later in the afternoon when the party started.
  • 3/4 lb. bacon fried and drained; reserve to chop up into the beans
  • 2 or 3 ( I used 3 ) 28 oz. Pork & Beans ( HA! This recipe is old…originally it called for 31 oz. cans. They have reduced the size over the last few years and raised the price :)
  • 1 15. oz kidney beans ( I use chili beans in a spicy sauce )
  • 1 15 oz. butterbeans ( THESE must be drained and rinsed first )
  • 1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce ( I use one cup BBQ and 1/2 cup salsa )
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

You have probably made similar bean recipes but I thought to include it because it is very good. I’ve made it with sausage in the past as well…whatever’s on sale works :)

Tallica and Rafe

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Hand Quilting : Crosses & Losses Top & Don’t Step on the Dogs!

I finished the Crosses & Losses top back on September 24th. I used Robert Kaufman Kona solids for it, and while a few people thought that it looked modern to them, it was Amish colors and old-fashioned that I was thinking of when I chose the colors :)

I couldn’t start hand-quilting until my basket quilt was finished, which it is now, so I have finished basting Crosses & Losses and it’s in the hoop. My last two hand-quilting projects had quite a lot of stitches…I want to go a simpler route here. I am eye-balling a 1/4 inch or so and then only marking after that. I see that I was veering a little at the top of one triangle …I can assure you that I’ll probably veer some more down the line as well :) I still miss quilting out on the front porch and am trying to get adjusted to doing it inside again. I have a few of these metal clips holding two sides.

starting HQ collage

I can quilt at the dining room table but ergonomically it is easier on me to do it on this lounge and if I can do it in daylight hours I have the natural light streaming in. If it is cloudy, I can just take those sheers and tie them off in a bow and access more light.

Ok, so imagine…you have settled yourself on this lounge thing and have the quilt situated in your lap. You stitch so far, but since you are using different thread colors on different sections, you have to turn the hoop a lot.  Switching positions, you need to put your foot on the floor.  Well, now there’s a dog down there.

Lily by lounger

And since wherever you are, they are…in a few minutes this one will be there too.


Don’t worry about your stitches being even…worry about stepping on the dogs ! :)

Joining up with other slow stitchers over at Kathy’s Quilts. Also sharing at :Sew Many Ways

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Finding Joy in the Ordinary : little girls “doing the dishes”

At some point in our lives, when we were young, getting to wash some dishes in the sink was fun stuff, before it all got old ! Do you remember?

I still remember peeling my first potato with the peeler…out of all of my childhood memories that still stands out, lol! I couldn’t wait to be able to do that, for some reason.

What about the first time that you baked cookies with your mom or got to roll out some dough?

These are the things that we enjoy again first with our children and then our grands.

I had this post ready in a draft, and then I was visiting Lorrie over at Fabric Paper Thread while she was curled up in front of a cozy fire. Lorrie titled her post Find Joy in the Ordinary … referring to a post that Jen had written the other day over at Muddy Boot Dreams. Jen’s starting an ordinary movement  :)  Well most of my posts are about ordinary life so I just changed up the title of this post a bit and jumped on the bandwagon with Lorrie.

These little girls are washing some plastic cups, strainers, dog bowls, etc. just for fun. And they certainly DID have fun. Now, I am not saying that one didn’t try to climb into the sink at one point, or that my window there got a washing too, as well as the cupboards and some of the floor…but when there are little twins to deal with? Best to keep the double-trouble in one contained area :)

Little girls “doing the dishes”:

twins letterbox

twins from the back

Emya Collage

emya closeup

emya washing dishes

both girls from back focal zoom

emya from back focal zoom


another from the aiselyn angle


Twins sepia1

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Amazing Antique Quilts : “Modern” and “Scrappy”

I am currently reading “The Friday Night Knitting Club” by Kate Jacobs. If this book doesn’t make a person want to take up knitting then Vickie’s adorable mice and acorns over at Ranger 911 would. So cute! Well, maybe someday I’ll learn to knit …

My reading is sporadic, and I’ll probably have to renew the book. The way our library works is that you can check out books for 2 weeks, but you must return DVDs within a week. When I have the grandkids here I like to have at least 1 DVD on hand in the winter. So the other day I returned one DVD and brought another home …I thought that an “Ice Age” movie fit the bill what with the weather and all this week :)

I also checked out a quilting book. I’d had this book once at some point in the summer and brought it home again. I hope that I can keep track of all of these various due dates now! If you have to pay late fees, it really doesn’t save money to go to the library, does it, lol…

The book is “Treasury of American Quilts”  by Cyril Nelson & Carter Houck, and while I’d been more interested in the applique and red & green quilts this summer, I really enjoyed some “Modern” and “Scrappy” quilts on this round.

If you asked me whether or not I preferred antique or traditional quilts or modern, I’d say antique / traditional.

Well…is this Modern or Antique ?

zig zag quilt

Isn’t it amazing! It is Mennonite, from Pennsylvania, c.1890.

Over the last two years or so that I’ve been in Blog Land, I have seen some bright and cheery Lollipop Tree quilts and just assumed that they were a new invention, and sort of modern, depending on the color schemes and such. But look at this :

lollipop quilt

I have seen many gorgeous scrap quilts over the years and am always amazed at the bloggers who can work with tiny little pieces and create masterpieces.

Here is a scrap quilt that just boggles the mind…when you read how many pieces and triangles are in this quilt? So much patience and dedication went into this long ago, with no modern tools.

scrap quilt with over 22ooo pieces

Now look at the unusual treatment on this Baby Block quilt…clearly this woman was not only an expert seamstress but a designer / artist as well.

baby block quilt

Another designer / artist: and we have to remember not only were these masterpieces hand-pieced but hand-quilted and just look at the amount of quilting on this.

hexie quilt

At some point in my lifetime I’d like to make ONE Mariner’s Compass block …I can’t imagine making this many but what caught my eye was the border treatment since it would also work nicely with a floral applique quilt.

compass quilt like the border

What sort of woman could make 30 Compass blocks, with intricate floral applique as well as a beautiful border like this…all by hand, and then hand-quilt it as well. What was her life like…she was immensely gifted as a seamstress, and had incredible patience and attention to detail and that is all that we know from this quilt.

Last but not least, look at this use of color: Modern or Antique?  Neither…our grandparent’s time :)

broken dishes gorgeous colors

Whether you sew or not, I hope that you enjoyed this. I couldn’t sew like this if you paid me a million dollars:)  The women who created these amazing antique quilts were artists / seamstresses extraordinaire.

I might take a few more pictures of quilts in this book before returning it to the library for another post down the line; it’s not as if there are any flowers or gardening things to post about for awhile :)

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Sharing at : French Country Cottage / Sew Many Ways 

Slice of Life November 17

Slice of Life around here :

Our initial Sunday night-Monday morning forecast was for snow, but it stayed just warm enough…39 degrees or so, for rain to fall instead.

I’ve not seen these little guys come around too much lately…there are several walnut trees in the neighborhood and they have been busy collecting walnuts, though this one stopped by for a peanut when I was feeding the bluejay.  The fact that we are mostly indoors now does not faze the bluejay…he knows what time we’ll be out on the porch in the morning for school : )  I always take a few peanuts out in my coat pocket.

little squirrel with peanut

Foggy, dreary, rainy…muted colors and birds flocking overhead. That’s November. There are still spots of color…some red bushes and berries, a few varieties of trees that are just changing color now, but basically, November is generally a bleak month.

tall grass with raindrops

We do get snow in November on occasion. I checked this blog and last year, mid-November, I’d done a post about having 3 inches of snow and yet my Sweet Alyssum survived that.  Later towards the end of November we had a major snowfall. But deep, bone-chilling cold ….not generally this early in the year. Yet for Tuesday morning, that’s what we’ll have. Wind-chills of around zero.

I have two little grandsons that morning and I anticipate a school delay, which we don’t usually have until ‘real’ winter sets in.

Before they mess everything up….on Friday those two and Kate cleaned up the toy room and taped this little sign to the train table. ( used for crafting , coloring and drawing now versus Thomas the Train play )  Sorry, grainy phone pic.  Still, feed ‘em sausage and pancakes for breakfast and reap the rewards :)

drawing on train table

Notice the pointy head on the one? While he does not have a mohawk now, that’s how he likes his hair cut, so whether or not he is currently sporting one, he draws that point on his head…this just cracks me up.

Meanwhile ALL is not bleak…check out my windowsill! Yes, those are tomatoes brought up from the basement that have been slowly ripening in newspaper. They are on the sill for a day of sunshine before being used. Each week I discover a few more ready to bring up. Well, those are raindrops and bleak skies outside but it’s the thought of sunshine that counts : )

tomatoes on sill

If you too are participating in the Polar Plunge Party that Mother Nature is throwing…stay warm as best you can. It’s big fuzzy bathrobe weather :)

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Sharing at : Savvy Southern Style / Sew Many Ways

Hexies are like potato chips : sewing mid-November

I have finished tying the Eagle Sampler. It requires binding but I will put that off for a week or so.

Last week I showed some spool blocks that I’d made. I had been thinking for some time about making an old-fashioned, antique-looking, dark sort of quilt but when I took the plunge,  I wasn’t sure if I’d make all spools or what.

I began to think about an applique center block, with spools and other blocks surrounding it, but a person can only have so much applique going on at a time. So I made another one of those star blocks and appliqued it to a large center. It’s 26 inches now and will go down to 24 inches.  An English paper pieced starflower will go into each corner. I have one ready to applique now…just three more to go :) Yes, it is a bit of applique but not as much as a floral block would be. With the sun shining so brightly the background on the star block is much lighter than it really is…it’s a beige.

star starflower and finished tying quilt collage

Meanwhile there is what I am going to name ‘My Whimsy Quilt’.  Starting on a whim a week or so ago…influenced and inspired by several quilts that I was seeing around Blog Land at the same time : the Stonefields quilt, the Briar Hill quilt, and both Audrey’s basket quilt ( HERE at Quilty Folk ) and Ruth’s basket quilt ( HERE at Country Log Cabin. )

So while I have no plan whatsoever at the moment, I decided to just start making some hexagon flowers, baskets, and other little blocks as the whim strikes. One of the definitions of whimsical is ‘playful’ & I view this as quiet play :)

It’s getting a little cold to traipse out to the clothesline to show blocks,  so for anything small, I thought that laying a quilt on the table, using the white backing, should work…while I stand on a chair to take the picture.

So here are the latest 3 ‘whimsy’ blocks:

Me : “HEYmove…I am trying to get a picture here!”.  Kanga ” No, pet me first.”

kanga photobombing

She’s so bossy!

3 more blocks

I am cutting out 7 inch squares, marking them at 6, then trimming to 6  1/2.

Another little hexie in progress. These hexies are like potato chips. You can’t eat / make just one! :)

hexie flower almost done

Then,  I wonder…have you ever been on a blog where quilts or knitted &  crocheted items are artfully displayed? The blogger may not have made them…she might have picked them up at an estate sale or antique store and then spent hours or even days artfully styling and editing shots worthy of a magazine layout?

Even if she didn’t make them herself, and the post was about home decor,  she appreciated their beauty and showed them so artistically that you just loved that post?

I thought that we’d do that here. 

NOT! :)  This is how my quilts and quilted pillows are treated here! :)  When cold weather hits and these munchkins can’t be outside, it’s pillow fight, fort-building, cuddling, warming-up, and what-have-you time with my stuff. Notice the red noses on the apple-eaters after coming in from the cold / baby it was cold outside that morning! Winter, back off! It’s not your time yet! :)

quilt display ha ha

kids in morning nov 14

AS TO MY STUFF… now that the basting pins from the eagle-sampler are freed, I am going to work on getting the Crosses and Losses top sandwiched and basted and ready for hand-quilting.  When my local JoAnn Fabrics was moving to a new location, I bought some white fabric dirt-cheap and I just need to sew two sections together and iron it for the backing and go from there.  Hoping to be hand-quilting the first block later on Sunday :)

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Ode to Fall

With much of the country under the spell of Mother Nature trying to bypass fall and throw us into winter much too early, I decided to go back through some older photos and do an Ode to Fall :)

Good times in the fall, at the local trolley museum, county park, and general scenery here in Southwestern Pa. :

All aboard for an ode to fall :)

All Aboard

bridge reflections etc collage

collage with pumpkin etc

fall scenes collage

PA Fall Scenery collage

farmland in pa collage

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Lily goes to the beauty parlor

If you have read this blog for awhile, you might be familiar with my dog Lily. If you are not, I have two dogs…Jugsy ( a crazy, lovable always-wound-up-hyper Rott-Husky mix from the Humane Society ) and Lily, inherited from a neighbor that had to move and could not take her.

Here is an older photo of them together in the kitchen, anxiously awaiting a treat…licking the mashed potato beaters :)  Treats around here are not from a pet store…they are generally something like potatoes, fried eggs, bread crusts, or ….quite strange, but they love cooked brussel sprouts and broccoli.

Use this Lily and Jugsy photo

Lily is a border collie + more mix. She has a LOT of hair. For the 2 1/2 years that I’ve had her, I have tried to deal with her hair myself. Here is an old photo of her paws AFTER I cut the hair there.

lilys paws old pic

Here is Lily running around the yard ( another old photo…I keep up with her first family via Facebook )

Lily and jugs older photo from april

Here is one that really showcases her furry paws and a bad haircut from me :)  Uh..the photo is bad too :) But she moves fast when she’s in a good mood. And you can get an idea why her former owners nicknamed her Lily-Bear.

lily in motion older pic

Lily is the sweetest dog…and while I have to have Jugsy sedated at the vets to have his claws clipped once a year, she will lay down on the front porch or back yard with me and let me go to town in regards to cutting her hair, dealing with mats, etc.

But I have had no clue what I was doing…I was just trying to save money and do it myself. I had heard that long-haired dogs that needed their hair cut etc. cost as much as 100.00+ at locations such as Pet Smart and so it was a no-brainer to deal with Lily’s grooming on my own.

The rainy summer this year got the best of me, however, since there was much less time to deal with this outside.

She had mats that I was afraid to deal with…two of them were on her ears, so after investigating some Facebook referrals, I took her to a local groomer, expecting to have to pay a high cost in the end.

But I did not. I was amazed that when I went in to pick Lily up, that my bill was 38.00. I was expecting over 100.00.

Lesson learned….don’t think that what you might have heard about costs at places like PetSmart etc. deter you.  Will I continue to try to deal with Lily’s basic grooming on my own? Yes. But sometimes you think that something is out of your budget only to find it is not. I decided to get a few glamour shots of Lily just back from the groomers. She’s not allowed on the furniture but sneaks up there anyway, so this time she had permission :)

lily with bow

Lily collage


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Sharing at : French Country Cottage / Sew Many Ways / Cozy Little House / A Stroll Thru Life / Savvy Southern Style / Viewing Nature with Eileen

Finished : Little Scrap Basket Quilt

I finished up sewing the binding on my scrap basket quilt on Veteran’s Day. While much of the country was already getting hit with cold and snow from “The Bering Bomb” ours was not due yet and the afternoon was nice and mild…though quite windy. I had to keep waiting for breaks between the wind gusts to get a few shots :) The back is scrappy, as is the front. The shadows are from the crabapple tree.

finished basket quilt on line nov 11

Couch or Lap-Quilt or Bed-Runner Size.  Top row : Hand pieced and appliqued. Middle and bottom: machine pieced. Binding : hand. Quilting: hand.

A few shots indoors and I am glad that I am done. I started hand quilting around the end of June, picking it up to work on here and there. I finished the quilting on October 31st and since binding is not my favorite thing to do, I took my time on that.

basket quilting collage

It’s a cheerful little quilt. I enjoyed working on it and trying out different hand-quilting on the various blocks :)

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God Bless our Veterans

Brenda at Cozy Little House had a very moving post the other day and in that post she had a link to Amazing Grace with Bagpipes. If you have not seen that post it is HERE.

I took Brenda’s You Tube link and shared it on Facebook, tagging my son. He’s an Iraq War vet, and generally a few days before Veterans Day I’ll start to see the vets exchanging pictures, memories and tributes on Facebook for each other and their friends and families.

Most of my son’s pictures from Iraq are stored on my computer. I saved every IM, email etc., copying them to Word, in the fear that any one of them could be the last.

Now it’s funny looking back at some of them.  For instance I’d asked about bathing / washing / laundry conditions over there, and here’s an answer: ” hi mommy!!!! ya, i get to shower everyday and i do wash my underwear in there every once in a while”

We live in Southwestern Pa. Our summers can be hot and humid but when my son told me that it was 120 degrees when he got off of the plane over there, it was hard to wrap my mind around that sort of heat. One of his first care packages from me was Under Armor underwear to help keep him cool. I was reeling at the cost of that stuff at the sporting goods store.

Anyway,  I went back to his old photos in my computer and made some collages to post on Facebook for him and his buddies. I cropped a few but did not attempt to edit them any more than that since these are his.

Here is one of them: This collage shows work as well as leisure over there, two soldiers who did not return, Thanksgiving in Iraq, their return home and welcome, and a memorial erected years later to the fallen.

vet day collage 3

God Bless our Veterans and God Bless America.

remember the fallen


Sharing at : Savvy Southern Style / French Country Cottage