End of July Sewing and a Fellow Blogger in a Natural Disaster

I’ve been working on a few things here and there over the last two weeks. Here’s my end of July sewing update :)

I sewed four more Crosses and Losses blocks together to create a larger section, and then at that point, I sewed all the sections that I had thus far together.

working on

I don’t have a pattern for a specific quilt or anything…I am just using a Jinny Beyer Crosses & Losses block pattern and then combining them in this manner, and using some Kona solids that I purchased awhile ago..taking my time, but I do like it thus far. Awhile back when I’d posted the yellow & purple blocks, a blogger commented that it looked very modern! That surprised me a bit, because I’ve been thinking of it as ‘my Amish quilt’ and the Amish are old-fashioned. It is interesting to see several perspectives in regards to something :)

I also finished up the 3rd red and green block ( in the middle on the line, along with the first two for reference  )

red and green blocks on the line 3rd one done now

I had worked on binding my table runner for a few hours one day, and then put it aside. I picked it back up recently. The backing is the remainder of a very old fabric that I’d purchased over a decade ago. I’d used some of it in a Dresden Plate quilt.

So there I was, sitting at the dining room table sewing this light purple binding onto the back of the yellow fabric backing and it *dawned* on me that this matched my current view out of the dining room window in a sense! :)

purple and yellow

Then, I don’t know if this ever happens to any of you but I’d also been doing applique on another project ( the eagle quilt; a flower block ) and between working on that, and this table runner, the next day a muscle or tendon in my thumb area was quite painful…a bit of arthritis, perhaps? At any rate I had to dig out a hand brace…this happened once before so I had one here. It’s not the hand that does the sewing, it’s the hand that is doing the work of clutching the fabric. So that clutch-muscle by the thumb said ‘lady, give me a break!” :)

Currently in the hoop for Slow Sunday Stitching is this : ( my little grandson’s birthday party is Saturday / what’s in the hoop now won’t be touched until Sunday :)

currently in the hoop for SS sunday

Finally I wanted to mention that while some of you may be aware of this, others may not. Audrey of Quilty Folk  had not posted since last Wednesday. Since she lives in Washington where the fires were, and is a regular poster, many of us became concerned and emailed her, yet heard nothing back ( more concern ! )

Her sister, Liz,  came on to the blog a few days ago and let us know that Audrey lives in Pateros and had to evacuate. While she and her family did escape with their lives, and while her home was spared, her parents lost their home.

Upon request, Liz provided an address if anyone in the blogging community would like to donate money to help the parents out with immediate needs.

Lionel & Joyce Wilson

PO Box 352

Pateros Wa, 98846

The garden is thriving

Here’s my garden update for the week :)

The trumpet vine has come in to bloom and it and the purple rose of sharon bush complement each other nicely. I have to trim that vine constantly but it’s so pretty that it is all worth it in the end.

thunbergia and rose of sharon

Last week the hollyhock continued to grow at the rate of around an inch per day and was 11 1/2 feet when I took this picture. By Monday, July 21st,  it was 11.9 feet, when I measured it last.

hollyhock close to 12 feet now collage

hollyhock almost hitting roofline

The garden is thriving.

thriving garden collage

I have picked 3 zucchini thus far, the cucumbers are flowering, I have had about 6 ripe tomatoes with many more on the way though they are not coming fast enough to suit me. The lettuce has yet to bolt, and I’ve picked green beans thrice now. Sunflowers ( some, not all ) are blooming and I noticed that one of the little squirrels didn’t want to wait for the seeds…he was sitting on the fence eating the petals off of one of them the other day.

vegetables and sunflowers collage

Along with the squirrels and finches, the bees and butterflies enjoy these sunflowers as well.

bees and butterfly sunflowers collage

I am sure that my neighbor does, since half of them or more are pointing towards her house and not mine :)

sunflower from the back

The pink rose of sharon bush in the back of the house is blooming now. The morning glory has started to bloom and in this shot the white lily next to it was almost ready to put on her show. Phlox and the first calendula have now made an appearance.

pink rose of sharon etc collage

I did not plant any morning glory seeds this year…I have ‘volunteers’ every year so I decided to hold back and see how they did on their own.

Here’s the lily starting to bloom over the weekend. I remember the first year that I’d planted her. She grew taller and taller and taller still, and I was so looking forward to her blooming. Then she just toppled over from the weight of the first bloom! I was devastated.

Looking back, it is as if she was a baby just learning to stand that year. Now she’s strong and sure and has myriad blooms and very little can topple her now! And she’s just begun…

White lily

You might also enjoy : Painful but Pretty Roses / Flower Arrangement  or  Slice of Life on a Thursday  or Making Pickles in the Middle of Winter ( great recipe ) 

Sharing at: French Country Cottage


A frugal little quilt retreat

squirrel quilt retreat picture

I haven’t been in our local thrift store for ages so I stopped in there on a whim the other day. Someone had donated many older quilt magazines. It is rare that I purchase a quilt magazine these days, aside from the occasional 100 blocks ones, which I did twice this past year.

But here was a treasure trove of older magazines; some as old as 2002.  They seem thicker and have more detail than what is out there today. So I picked up 11 magazines at .35 cents each! : )

receipt 4 dollars

And now I have a little quilt retreat right out on the front porch.

quilt mags from thrift store on porch

You might also enjoy :  A Frugal Little DIY Wedding  or The Front Porch: End of May  or Five Fast & Easy Frugal Food Dishes  or  Sewing Machine Cover

Sharing at : Freshly Pieced / Sew Fresh Quilts / French Country Cottage

Tuesday Treasures : Finches and Food

I have Niger Seed sock bags on the two pines in the front of my front porch. The finches enjoy those but I have yet to get a picture because if I am sitting down out there the view is not right, and if I stand up or come out the door, the finches fly away.

I did spot one on the sunflowers in the back and when I went outside he flew around, played peek-a-boo on the trumpet vine, and then did stay still for a few seconds.

Goldfinch Collage

It’s nice to see what’s growing in my little garden and come into the house with some veggies to wash and eat later.

veggies just picked from the garden

I do love fried zucchini. I know of two methods.  Either I dip the zucchini in egg first, then use a mixture of bread crumbs, corn meal and flour, or I flour it first, and then dip it in egg.  This zucchini was cooked with the second method and then simply lightly salted and peppered and dusted with Parmesan. I use a minimal amount of olive oil…just enough to get me by.

fried zucchini and tomatoes

Tomato season has begun. Oh, there is nothing like fresh garden tomatoes, is there…either from your own or the local farmer. Time to enjoy while it lasts :)

You might also enjoy : Tuesday Treasures : Goldfinches Galore ( much better goldfinch photos :)  or  The Crabapple Trees

Touring Through Blogland

I was graciously invited by Cathy over at My 1929 Charmer to join Touring Through Blogland.

I’ve been reading Cathy’s blog for several years now. I was first attracted to the blog because she too, had an older home, and it is, indeed, a Charmer. But she also charmed me with humorous posts such as her adventures in stealing hydrangeas!  ( HERE )  So she’s funny..that keeps you coming back. She’s also practical…need a refresher course in canning or want to try your hand at it? Even if you know what you are doing you’d have to admit that this has to be one of the all time best posts about canning tomatoes on the Net. YES I CAN .

Tutorial: Canning Tomatoes

Cathy is also incredibly creative…when she’s not out there stealing hydrangeas or at home canning tomatoes you can find her renovating, decorating, sewing, cooking, gardening, and a host of other things. She’s had a Master Gardener series going on and her recent posts about her July gardens are amazing. It is just beautiful there, inside and out. And yes, I trimmed my lilac bush when she said I should :)

Touring Through Blogland has four questions to answer.  I will try to be brief and send you on quickly to the next three bloggers :)

What am I working on ?

In the spring, summer and fall, an ongoing project is always something involved with gardening. When I purchased this house 14 years ago the outside was bare. Over the years I surrounded it with bushes, flowers and vines…all planted myself with much hard labor, and then for the last two years I’ve worked on adding raised beds for vegetables ( Nothing fancy…it’s a hodgepodge :)

Later on in the summer I’ll probably be canning tomatoes and making some jams, just as I did last year. I made several varieties of jams and am still enjoying them now and I’ve given plenty away as well.

I like to quilt, and have several long term projects that I pick up and work on here and there.

touring blogland collage replace with this one

How does my work differ from others?

Well, I am a pretty average person here, and while I am trying to learn and improve my skills,  I’d have to say that most quilters are far better than me, and I look to them for inspiration. I haven’t killed anyone with my canning or cooking,  so I am ok there…and as to gardening, while my home has no to-die-for landscaping or the cottage flower garden of my dreams, or anything fancy, gardeners are all the same. We just love it. We get a thrill from seedlings pushing up through the earth, dirt under our nails, the first tomato, and every bloom.

Why do I create / write what I do?  

I decided to see if I could get a blog up and going on a whim of sorts..and when I did that I was completely clueless about blogging, linky parties, the friendships one could make through blogging, etc. I continue to do it as it is an outlet for photography, which I enjoy and because of the wonderful people and friendships formed in Blogland :)

 How does your writing/creating process work?

I take a lot of photos. Basically I just take pictures, sort through pictures later, and do a post around them.  Some weeks I will put a post up for several days in a row and other weeks just a few..I don’t have a schedule or anything in particular going on :)

Next up on the tour : I think that you will find a nice variety :) 

First, Joyce at “What Happens at Grandmas” is not doing this tour because it’s the busiest week of her year right now. I decided to include her anyway….though she’ll not be doing a post about the tour. I am including her for the shock and awe factor. What she’s doing is putting on a carnival. The carnival is on the 25th and she’ll probably have a few posts up about that after she collapses. Here’s a photo that I ‘lifted’ from her blog from last year’s carnival. Bear in mind that this is just one booth.

Joyce does things such as making dinosaurs out of paper mache that are as big as a house, then she hides them in the woods behind her house and takes her grandkids out for a walk to find them. So while you are at her blog, search for her dinosaur post. She does have a post up now about one of the attractions that will be at this year’s carnival and it’s not only amazing but hilarious! ( She’s not normal…just about everything on her blog is like this :)

Moving right along, there is Audrey from Quilty Folk. Audrey’s been blogging for four years and I am still in the process of going back through her older posts here and there looking at all of the quilts she’s worked on. The woman is a wonder-woman quilter. Audrey is quite the writer too, which  is one of the things that makes her blog so interesting. She has a series on her blog about the courage to feel and be creative, she’s moving into pattern designing, her quilts all have an unmistakable mark of her personality and I just love the way that she uses color in her quilts. She’s also fairly convincing..after all she’s why I just started my eagle quilt project :)

Here is one that I just fell in love with…she showed it to us around the 4th of July.

There’s only about 1000 more lovelies like it there :)

Last but not least, Deborah from The Beautiful Matters. Deborah just started her blog in November 2013, and I found her not too long after that, but was amazed that she’d not been blogging for several years!  It’s a beautiful and polished blog but I go back there because she’s the epitome of what I consider to be a great lifestyle blogger. Variety, and all of it well written. A recent post, “A Tribute to My Son” had me in tears. Yet you might also find a post all about nails and biotin and cuticle oil and polish. Next up a book review, or a tablescape, or a trip to an ice festival, or a post about tea with a friend. There’s always a wonderful variety and she lives up to the name of her blog with every post :)

Cathy, thanks for the invite. Audrey and Deborah, thanks for accepting mine. Joyce, ha ha even if you turned me down due to making carnival booths and huge paper mache cats that take weeks to create and will spit hairballs out for your grandchildren’s entertainment, I couldn’t take no for an answer / I want people to enjoy your carnival whether you can do a tour post or not :)

Sharing at : Cozy Little House / A Stroll Thru Life / Stone Gable / Savvy Southern Style / French Country Cottage

The perils of hand-quilting

I did a little hand-quilting on Sunday and Monday, and then again on the afternoon of The Perfect Weather Day.

71 degrees with absolutely no humidity in July, in Western Pennsylvania; I call that a blessing to be greatly appreciated and enjoyed :) It’s unheard of.

So there I sat, late afternoon, with a gentle breeze, the distant hum of a lawnmower, birdsong, the bamboo windchimes gently clacking off and on, and the beautiful sky with puffy clouds…ever-changing and oh-so beautiful,  quilting away and getting so relaxed and in the zone.

front porch sewing clouds collage

Suddenly next door, the neighbor started up his weed-whacker, which is quite loud, and he started it up at the front of his house, so he was close to where I was, and that was when my finger was right underneath the quilt to feel the needle…Startled right out of the zone /  STAB !

It was a good time to put the quilt down, find a band-aid, and take some pictures of the pretty clouds :)  It is funny to me now but I was a bit annoyed at the time…it’s never good to bleed onto your quilt! I did not but it was close :)

I also worked on my first block of the eagle quilt and posted over at Quilt Like an Eagle about that. This project is just starting up…check it out if you have not already :)

And it all depends…some people love the heat and would not appreciate this weather. My niece is like that. However if you are a person who does NOT like to be hot, sticky and miserable in the summer, I have never read a better description of that than from Jen over at Muddy Boot Dreams in this post. What a great descriptive writer she is. If you were not hot before you read it, you will be at the end. She made me appreciate my weather break even more.

You may also enjoy : Tea Party : Grandgirls & Squirrels  or  Baskets & Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sharing at : Kathy’s Quilts: Slow Sunday Stitching / Sew Can Do / Sew Many Ways / Cozy Little House / A Stroll Thru Life / Freemotion by the River / Freshly Pieced / Sew Fresh Quilts / My Quilt Infatuation

Big, Bold & Beautiful Butterfly

The other morning, I went to let the dogs out and spotted a large butterfly on one of my sunflowers, so I went for the camera. I snapped a few shots from the porch as quickly as I could, in case he flew away but he did not and allowed me to get very close. He was absorbed in his breakfast, and I didn’t bother him a bit.

butterfly and sunflowers

butterfly on sunflower collage

The one thing that did bother him and send him flying away was a bee who came over to say that it was his turn at the sunflower.

When I posted this collage to FB the other day, my friend KC asked if she could play with a hi-res shot in Photoshop. I sent her one and here is her lovely rendition of the butterfly feasting on the sunflower. Hers is the bottom photo on the right. The file was too large for WordPress to accept and let me post by itself. By putting it into a collage I could upload it.

butterfly with KC photo

You can visit KC at her lovely blog Amaraland HERE

You might also enjoy: Tuesday Treasures : Silly Little Santa Squirrel  or Tuesday Treasures : Jenny Wren

Sharing at : French Country Cottage / Sew Many Ways / Cozy Little House / An Oregon Cottage / Savvy Southern Style

Broccoli Cheese Soup in July, and storms and sky

The weekend was hot and steamy yet I was making soup, of all things, on Sunday.

On Saturday we were at a friend’s birthday picnic celebration replete with all of the standard summer side dishes. Yet for our get-together on Sunday, my son and his friend requested that I make my broccoli cheese soup.

My son and DIL made burgers and salad and I’d made a cake. We gave each child a burger ( or half, depending on age and appetite ) some salad, and a small bowl of soup to try. All five children clamored for more soup. So it’s a good recipe :)

Since some of us in the States are going to have a run of cool weather…maybe even cool enough for soup ? :) I thought I’d share the recipe. You probably have your own but just in case, here’s mine. This recipe came from a friend at a church that I attended years ago. In my binder, it is simply titled “Denise’s Soup” .   This makes a full soup pot when you are done.

  • Saute: 1/2 cup butter and 1 medium onion
  • Slowly add: 2 cups milk, stirring constantly.
  • Next, add :  1 cup grated cheddar cheese and blend until smooth.
  • Puree: 1/2 cup cooked broccoli ( I puree the entire bunch that I bought / not just 1/2 cup )
  • Slowly Blend in : 2 cans chicken broth
  • Simmer: 15 minutes.
  • Can add: cooked cauliflower or shrimp. ( I always add the cauliflower / sometimes the shrimp, though on this occasion I just added a head of cooked cut up cauliflower)


I didn’t take any pictures while I was cooking it / you’ll have to pretend that this is the ‘olden days’ when you followed recipes without seeing a bazillion pictures :)

However I do have some pictures of the pretty clouds and sky that evening. As we were having our dinner, lightning and thunder and torrential rains came through. It was quite a storm and resulted in some local flash flooding. It was still hot and steamy afterwards, and my basement had taken on some water…so after getting as much of that up as I could with towels and bedspreads and then getting those started in the washing machine, turning on the dehumidifier and taking some fans down there, I settled out on the front porch and enjoyed the view.

In the second collage, one of the photos is a reflection in a puddle in my neighbor’s driveway…I just snapped the photo not knowing how it might turn out since it was getting pretty dark by then.

clouds collage one

clouds collage two

I prefer cooler weather and am thrilled to have this unusual  break in July… I am currently thawing out some ground round purchased on sale last month at 2.49 per lb. happily anticipating turning the oven on tomorrow and making meatloaf and a few other oven-friendly recipes while we have this break! :)

You might also enjoy : Five Fast & Easy Frugal Food Dishes  or  Cooking Frugally Around Sales  or Make a Small Batch of Jam

Sharing at : French Country Cottage / The Charm of Home / Little Red House / Frugal By Choice / Savvy Southern Style

that poor hummingbird, and other garden randoms for the week

Last year I planted pole beans. I had the brilliant idea to plant them in a container and then have the bean vines run up the fence. Well, I did not prepare the container properly and we had too much precipitation.  Epic fail. That is why when I planted bush beans in a raised bed this year that I was surprised at how fast those beans grow after you see some blooms! I picked the first round last Thursday in the morning and now I know to check frequently, as while these were fine, I want the younger, skinnier ones on the next round.

green beans start to finish

One day I looked out of the dining room window and saw the first Rose of Sharon bloom. The next day blooms were beginning to appear all over the bush. I know that the bees won’t be far behind. They love these bushes. ( I have a pink one that blooms in the back as well. ) When I went out to water the vegetables I noticed the pretty contrast between the Rose of Sharon and the hollyhock.

Rose of Sharon and Hollyhock collage

In contrast to the early morning sunlight filtering through the petals of the hollyhock, my all time favorite Rose of Sharon photo was taken two years ago and it turned out this way because it was a dreary day, with absolutely no color in the sky above.

Back to early morning sunlight : I recently was privileged to view a hummingbird visit. I have two hanging baskets: petunias…for the hummingbirds. I also have a hummingbird feeder. This visitor stayed awhile as I did not move, holding my breath…he visited each and every petunia blossom on first the one basket, and then the next.  Then he hovered by the feeder, ‘turned up his nose’ and left! I just surmised that he preferred the ‘real’ food, aka from flowers, to the ‘fake’.

I was wrong. It was this. Not visible that afternoon, but visible in the early morning light the next day. Poor hummingbird! He must have thought that I was not very tidy, leaving webs around his feeder like that.

spiderwebs around the hummingbird feeder

I was in my neighbor’s yard on Saturday morning to get a few pictures of my back yard, and we were shooting the breeze…and I came upon this baby robin close to my fence line.  ( don’t worry…the mama was close by and it had not fallen out of a nest or anything :)

Baby Robin Collage

Such a dear and sweet little thing…so tempting to reach out and pet him…but I did not. I just sort of guided him along the fence into a different area that was shaded, away from the fence, as I did not want him getting under there in to my dog’s territory.

He does look very young…but I found an article about how early robins leave the nest HERE

Starting to bloom this week, or still blooming: ( Sunflowers are tucked in just about everywhere around the house )

July 13 garden collage

July 13 garden collage 2

July 13 garden collage 3

We had quite the storm here late Sunday afternoon with torrential rains.  My hollyhock ( close to 11 feet now ) was still standing at the main stock, since I’d tied it to the porch beam, but the 5 shoots coming off of it were laying on the ground…I’ll have to see if they will recover. A few sunflowers were knocked around and a tomato plant looks damaged.

We had not had rain for a good 5 days or so ( the first week that I did not have to mow the grass this season ) so it was needed, but a little less would have been fine. :)  My basement took on a bit of water in some areas as did my son’s garage…I was more concerned with that than checking all of the plants thoroughly. Local roads were flooded in areas and the local news reports that many basements took on water. Mine was not bad…I just used a few old bedspreads to soak up water and they are in the wash now.

Later on ? It was jump in the puddles time with the grand kids! :)

Update : measured the hollyhock again ( July 15th ) / it is at 11 feet, 1 inch now.

You might also enjoy : End of Summer Garden Tour  or  Shimmering Spider Webs: Tuesday Muse  or Cicadas & Bees

Sharing at : Cozy Little House / An Oregon Cottage / Savvy Southern Style / Self Sufficient Home Acre / Fishtail Cottage / Rooted in Thyme / Frugal By Choice / A Stroll Thru Life

Fast Eagles & Slow Stitching

I enjoyed seeing quilters displaying their patriotic quilts around the 4th of July. Such a nice variety of color and style! Then my DIL started sending me links of red, white and blue quilts and flag wall hangings,  ( even though they have three quilts of mine down there already :)

Next,  Audrey from Quilty Folk posted this : Don’t You Want to Make an Eagle Quilt Too?

Well, no, I didn’t. I hadn’t really thought about it. But after reading her post and following links and the brand new website devoted to making your own eagle quilt over the next year, I started thinking about it. If you do not quilt but enjoy viewing quilts, there are links there to several Pinterest boards devoted just to eagle / patriotic quilts as well as numerous links to various sites from a quilt-history perspective. There is a lot of eye-candy there. 

 It’s quite inspirational and since I loved just about every quilt that I saw and that I found on the Net when exploring, before you know it, I was thinking ” what eagle quilt will I make? ” I ended up ordering a pattern and it should be here via Snail Mail within the week.

Meanwhile I had the table runner on the porch one early morning. I went in to grab some coffee and when I came back out the sun had appeared in full force. I grabbed the camera for one last picture of this in the hoop because of the bright sun creating such pretty shadows.

sun and shadows on quilt in hoop

This is done now and ready for binding. Finally.  I know that some people love the binding stage. I do not. Since I am currently deeply immersed in season 3 of  the BBC series ” Call the Midwife” the analogy that I can come up with is YAY I am DONE with this baby. Finished! Whew!  and then the midwife says ” we just have to deliver the placenta now”.  What? ! ? Yes, that is the binding stage for me :)

Last year I made some little-girl skirts and I have just the shade of binding needed here from those leftovers, so I don’t have to make my own or anything. I just have to find it :) When I do will there be enough? Probably not….

In the last week or so I worked on the house block and got this far, and finished sewing down more leaves and stems on the red & green block. ( as always, my ‘design wall’ is the clothesline, sorry )

Applique Collage

The red & green block requires two flowers. The house blocks requires a sunflower on one side, stars in the sky, and a tall vine growing up the side of the house and across the roof a bit. It has red berries. I haven’t cut any of this out as yet and what I should probably do is fold these away until I get done with that binding.

So for awhile at least, I’ll just concentrate on doing a little of that binding every day, and quilting on the sampler. Both will fit the requirements for Sunday Slow Stitching though on Sunday I am having a get-together here so any stitching will just be in the early morning:) 

First, someone will have to get off of the quilt.

Kanga on Quilt 2

Meanwhile when I do return to the house block, rather than red berries on the vine I think that I need to try to put pink flowers with yellow centers in them there to commemorate this amazing hollyhock. Grown from seed last year to a normal height…returned this year to just keep growing and growing. I measured it this morning, by measuring from the porch railing down, and then going onto the porch and measuring up. It currently stands 10.92 feet tall.

Hollyhock July 12 measures close to 11 feet


You might also enjoy : Home Sweet Home Quilt: A Lawn that Doesn’t Need Mowed  or  Doing the Happy Dance About This Recipe  or  Moon & Clouds

Sharing at : Kathy’s Quilts / Sew Many Ways / It’s Overflowing / Sew Can Do / Frugal By Choice / Cozy Little House / A Stroll Thru Life / Freemotion by the River / Savvy Southern Style / Freshly Pieced / Sew Fresh Quilts / French Country Cottage