Fabric Pennants, House Blessings & Hauntings

I made these little fabric pennants for the children’s rooms at my son’s new house the other day. They are moved in but not completely settled …I just found some thumbtacks to hang them.  I had enough ribbon for the girls…the boys got twine :)  There are plenty of tutorials on the Net to make these…I simply made a template out of cereal box stock and rather than hemming the triangles on all three sides, I used pinking shears and then hemmed the tops. They will be safe from fraying until it is time to wash them. At that point I could always hem them all the way around and re-insert the ribbon. ( I was in a hurry / excited grandma here :) The cowgirl and ninja in the collage liked them very much, as well as the other children.

pennants and girls

My son’s fiancee attends an evangelical church and he often goes there with her. On occasion they also visit his friend’s Saturday evening service, which is Anglican. It was the Anglican minister who performed the house blessing on Tuesday evening. If you are Eastern Orthodox or Catholic, you will be familiar with this sort of ceremony. I am not sure if any other Protestant churches other than the Anglican perform this….If any do, I would imagine it would be the Episcopalians and Lutheran who are older than the others, as is the Anglican church. ( anyway. let me know if you know?  :)

Not too long ago I posted about a haunted house in my area ( HERE ) that a local news station had written about. That story was in the extreme…demonic possession…others are generally about a lost soul..but at any rate, I’ve never been to a formal house blessing, and if you have not either, I thought I’d let you know what went on :)

It’s taken quite seriously…to attend you must be a baptized believer, and this is because if the priest or minister runs into trouble, intercessory prayer and back up is needed. Holy water and a blessed cross are used throughout. There is basically an exorcism of sorts right up front..the first prayers are strong statements that Satanic or dark forces must go ( going from memory / don’t have a copy of the handout here but that was the gist of it. )  After that formal prayers, responses, Bible readings, reciting of Psalms, and various blessings are recited all through the house…in just about every room.

While I had never sensed a dark force in this house, and was not worried, I can still tell you that it was a powerful experience, because this minister was taking it seriously…he’d run in to trouble in a house already and that is a scary thing. ( and so your mind wanders…as in while you are participating in the ritual,  you are also thinking…’what if this house WAS haunted and something manifested itself….would I pray and stand ground or run screaming from the house?’  )

Matthew 26:40 “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?”

In the end, the Doxology is sung and the cross used in the blessing ceremony is hung above the front door.

Sloping Ceilings in Older Homes : Moving Update

I hope that you have enjoyed your Passover and will be enjoying your Easter :)

In my previous post I mentioned that my son was moving over the weekend. It all went well thus far. The weather was mild; in the low 60′s by the afternoon on these past two days, with no rain or snow :)

I helped out with some of the moving on Friday, and then by cooking breakfast and dinner on Saturday. I purchased an Easter lily as a housewarming gift, put some dyed Easter eggs in a pretty bowl in their fridge for a little surprise, and made a fabric wreath for their door as per Manuela’s instructions here at A Cultivated Nest.

I wanted to show you their cute upstairs. Here in my little bungalow, the upstairs bedrooms both have gently sloping ceilings. In this house the actual upstairs bedrooms do not slope but the long walkway that runs the length of the front has dramatic sloping ceilings, with two windows letting in light. I find this to be just charming. When I first saw it, I thought that it would seem rather magical to the children.

When you come up the stairs, a bathroom is to your left and a window with a nice view is right in front of you. Turn right and you see this :

view one

Here is the full length, and at the far end they are considering making a special area for the children with seating and such…possibly having a TV / beanbags ….that sort of thing. Unless you have a very large house with unlimited space, it takes awhile once you’ve moved in to really decide how to allot that space. They’ll work it out :)

view 2

I will say that it is a hard space to photograph…I took a few quick shots but they don’t really convey the space & light very well. I just find these old houses and their designs to be fascinating and this space is one example, even though the photos don’t do it justice.

The house will be formally blessed by an Anglican minister friend of the young couple and a small gathering on Tuesday evening. I think that it’s a wonderful idea and they wasted no time in scheduling it…but it’s certainly already blessed by the pitter patter of little feet. Just look at all of the bikes that they had to unload! :)

bikes

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This weekend: Moving

My middle son ( father to my grandson ) has a four room house with full basement that he is renting out. He and his fiancee were renting a slightly bigger place while they searched for a home to purchase. He has my grandson and grandson’s older sister at least half of the week…she has three children of her own : a boy and two twin girls.

In our county, 4 and 5 bedroom homes generally fall into two categories…older homes needing a lot of work, or brand new modern homes that are McMansions and the taxes are quite high. The ones that fall in the middle are hard to find. Then too,  school districts have to be considered and while one has a lot of beautiful older homes, sadly it is not a good district to be in anymore.

Last year there was a house right up the street from me for sale..beautiful on the outside ( white picket fence! potting shed! screened in back porch! ) but the layout inside was strange, and the sale price was too high.  Another house a few streets down was a nice older home with one of those wrap around front porches but it needed more work than my son wanted to take on. Later, another house came on the market. Whoever owned it had been remodeling it here and there and then why they stopped or left I do not know but it was the sort of place that a bank would not loan money on…the sort that a contractor would buy as a cash sale. I had checked into it because it was a four bedroom.

Well, it was purchased and remodeled…the siding completed, new windows, kitchen and so on. I’d driven down past it about two months ago and there was an open house so I told my son to check on it. They looked at it and it would work for them so they made an offer.

trails above tree

I didn’t want to post anything about this until everything really happened but the closing is on Friday morning and Easter weekend this year will be about moving in to there! :)

Easter

I went down to meet them for the final walk through on Thursday afternoon.  A nice unpretentious but attractive house with a full front porch, and the much needed four bedrooms. They will be two blocks from me! A small community library on the next block. A grocery store less than five minutes away. A safe neighborhood with low taxes. The elementary school and high school are five minutes away. People walking their dogs, children riding bikes, parents pushing strollers…a perfect place to move to if you have children. And there are lots of rainbows here as well ! :)

double rainbow trying to form

It was a last minute thing…as to whether they could close on Good Friday, when they are both off of work and many of my son’s friends are off work as well and can help to move the furniture.

It will be a busy weekend ; a bit different than most Easter weekends in the past.

As to my future DIL, I posted about her frugal ways HERE in regards to her wedding dress.  Here is a picture of the dining room set ( cell phone pic from my son ) that they purchased in a used furniture store a few weeks ago:

dining room set

My first thought was “How long until those children ruin this” but it comes with a pad and cover for the table-top so while they will still most likely ruin it, it will take them longer !:

Have a wonderful weekend…mine will be involved in helping with the move and it is a happy time for us all : )

Meanwhile my youngest son also recently moved as well, and there is no washer and dryer there yet …he just came in with a very large bag of laundry!

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A finished couch quilt

I took the last stitches on the binding of the Snowball quilt early Monday morning. Based on a Kim Diehl pattern, though not followed exactly… Finished Snowball Quilt Machine piecing, hand applique ( which was a skill builder as I worked around the various corners ) some embroidery on the leaves, hand-quilting in each of the snowballs, and then hand tying the borders… A finished quilt It was an enjoyable project to work on…hand quilting snowballs during a snowy winter :) Now, dear Mother Nature…since I am done with my snowballs could you please stop sending yours our way? :) Twenty seven degrees here on Wednesday morning with some snow on the ground and my lilac bush wrapped in blankets to hopefully save its spring blooms.  Happy Easter to all ! :) Sharing at :

“It’s like a cruel joke” & other randoms…

On Sunday my son and grandson and fiancee & children came over after church.  They changed to summer clothes ( it was quite warm on Sunday ) and he fixed my lawnmower and helped with a few other things. Later on a young couple with two children that are family friends also came to visit, and the guys went grocery shopping and returned with all of the fixings to grill dinner.

( I got a few calls while they were at the store : “Mom, do you have eggs”  “Mom do you have balsamic vinegar” “Mom do you have parmesan” )  In the end they cooked the best hamburgers that I’ve had in a long time, hotdogs, chicken, baked beans, and some really outstanding grilled zucchini. I just have a little table top charcoal grill but it did the job! :)

There are a lot of toys in this house. One set is a construction hat, play dress up construction vest, a little toolbox and tools. At some point this was brought down from upstairs by one of the children.  When I was editing pictures, this photo struck me as funny. The friend’s son is getting ready to bat, and his little sister has the hard hat on in the background…I had to laugh; the two were totally unrelated, but in the picture it looks as if she’s wearing protection against her brother’s batting skills! :)

Batting and Protection

As you can see in the picture, the grass is coming back and growing… and we had a few signs of spring here : daffodils that I’d picked earlier, these little purple flowers ( is this  myrtle?) and the neighbor’s forsythia coming into bloom )

Signs of Spring collage

While Sunday was almost too hot and difficult to acclimate to,  Monday was just perfect and the dogs clearly had some spring fever ( I had brushed the white dog and clumps of her hair were all over the yard…snatched up by the birds for their nests in record time : )

Lily Jugsy Spring Fever Collage

In closing, I thought that you’d enjoy the way the local weather forecaster explained how this was all going to end ( and why any seedlings or plants that I’ve started and that are out on the porch will be covered with blankets or brought in on Tuesday )

‘It’s like a cruel joke’: Temps go from summer-like to winter-like in next 24 hours ( Source )

Tuesday snow map

So I’ll be going from sleeping with the windows open on Sunday night back to running the heat and shivering for a day or two :)

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Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olson

Sewing in Sunshine

In a prior post I showed 4 green & purple quilt blocks sewn together…and towards the end of the week a blogger with an eagle eye ( Renee at Quilts of a Feather ) asked a tactful question that made me double check that post and realize that I had some seam ripping to do! : ) I am thankful that she caught it, before I worked on another four and perhaps made the same mistake. So there was a bit of re-sewing this week. ( Sigh )

I have a lawn comprised of many varieties of grass, weeds and clover…and some of the grass has started to grow. On the same day that I started seam ripping, I decided to take a break and mow grass in the spots where it was getting deep. Hmm…I guess my mechanic son needs to take a look at the “Good” mower. I ended up having to use the old-fashioned reel mower. Well it was one of those days! :) Still, while I was outside, I discovered that a few of my daffodils were in bloom, and once I’d finished fixing what Renee had discovered, I started sewing the next round.

hodgepodge collage

Over the last few weeks, I sewed several basket blocks…two were for pillows ( One finished awhile ago, one just finished ) and five were sewn into a row. I didn’t have a chance to take pictures until this weekend. Here are the five in a row:

Basket blocks on the line

Here is the finished pillow, in the middle of the picture…it was hand-pieced, and there is very minimal hand-quilting ( just outlining ) in it. Just finished up a day or so ago.

Basket Pillow

And here are the basket blocks sewn onto the first row of the sampler. The third row is going to have to have another round of applique in there for consistency.

sampler quilt second row sewn on

The first row was all hand-pieced and hand-applique: Cactus Basket pattern. The second row was machine pieced…May Basket. I ran into this : the rows were a different size :

One Row Shorter use this one

FUN!  ( not :)  I just sewed some strips at each end of the second row…I’ll have to see what happens with the third. Different methods, patterns, etc. And then there’s me..throw me into the mix and there will be problems :) Learn as I go ….

For instance, here is my ‘fixed’ green and purple 4 block section,  thanks to Renee, and another one done that did not repeat my first mistake ( at least I don’t think it did :)

2 amish blocks done

As to hand-quilting, what to do next. The pillow was done, and the snowball quilt as well.

At the end of March I showed these 3 blocks:

I was debating whether or not to hand quilt them for a table runner. The other day I decided to go ahead and do so. This is in the hoop for Slow Stitching Sunday.

starting to quilt BB runner

We finally have a weather break. Warm temperatures and sunshine. I got a nice bit of outside work done on Saturday,  and Sunday will be more of the same…When I Slow Stitch, it will be out on the front porch, enjoying the weather! :) I have one more side to complete in regards to the snowball quilt binding…while I ‘allowed’ myself to start hand-quilting this block, the deal was I had to finish the binding and finish the snowball quilt before I do any more hand-quilting. I suppose that I am nuts but this is how I manage myself :)

And I can’t get carried away and complacent…checking the 5 day forecast it will be going down to 28 degrees in just a few days. So Spring is here but She’s in & out again…like a quick revolving door. Therefore I will greatly enjoy and appreciate sewing in sunshine this Sunday.

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Slice of Life on an April Thursday

I received an envelope in the mail with four lovely fat quarters not too long ago.

giveaway

This was not your average give-away. Visit the 29 Gifts and a Giveaway story HERE at Super Mom – No Cape!.  It is one of those heartwarming / blessing kind of stories…

It’s been a cold spring thus far but I have a small clump of daffodils getting ready to bloom. And one of the little squirrels is trying to convince me that I don’t need an Easter bunny…that he’s far cuter than any bunnies in the neighborhood and will do just fine :)

squirrel and daffodils

Basically, April thus far has felt like March, and March felt like February. On Wednesday there was some sun in the afternoon though it was still chilly and windy. I had my little grandson here for a bit and we went outside for a trike-ride around the neighborhood. I worked on cleaning up the front porch a bit more, and cut down some tall grass that I’d left up for the winter for bird-shelter. There’s alot to do outside but we’ve had so much rain that most of my back yard is still a muddy mess, while in other areas the grass is growing so thickly that I might have to mow soon. Well, a little at a time each day, right? :)

It’s hard to believe that within a month all of the bushes and trees will be leafy and green and I won’t be able to see these birds so clearly anymore.

Cardinal and Doves Collage

cardinal

Sparrow still has suet on his beak

This trumpet vine will be covered in leaves and growing like mad and need constant trimming and will no longer be the resting spot for the squirrels to enjoy their peanuts.

squirrel on trumpet vine

Or for the starlings to just hang out…

Euro Starling

Hoping that rain holds off for a few days and more cleanup and raking and trimming and such can continue on around here ! : )

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Frugal Outdoor Cushion Covers Solution

I do not recall what I paid for my wicker chair cushions as they are about 13 years old now. One set was wearing worse than the other and developed a hole, which a little squirrel decided to enlarge over the winter. ( Tuesday Treasures : Silly Little Santa Squirrel HERE  )

Anyway, here is what the set looked like…a shot from my front porch last spring / early summer.

porch

And then needing some TLC:

cushion needs covered

I priced new cushions and they were quite expensive. Armed with some coupons, I set out for JoAnn Fabrics. The outdoor fabric ran from 19.99 and up and was about as far from the muted look of my prior cushions as I could get. I didn’t like any of it very much so in the end I purchased 4 yards of Home Decor fabric, on sale for 5.99 per yard ( originally 11.98 ) though I was not sure if that would be enough. Between the fabric being on sale, and a 15% off total sale coupon, I spent about 20.50.  When I came home I discovered that there was not enough fabric, but I really didn’t want to spend any more than this. I had enough to cover the cushions, just not enough to make full covers, as in not enough to sew covers.

I did have plenty of heavy duty basting pins, used in basting quilts, so I just used those and wrapped the fabric around to the bottom and pinned it.

This fabric is a far cry from the muted floral that I was used to, but it is actually pretty calm compared to some of the outdoor stuff.  I decided that for 20.50, pinning was a decent solution, as I am not sure how this standard home decor fabric will hold up. And I know that if it does hold up alright, and if I come across something that I absolutely love down the line, that I just need about six yards, versus four, to sew full covers for some other summer.

cushions example

TO sew full outdoor cushion covers, I have bookmarked this excellent and clear tutorial, over at Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer that I would have used if I’d had more fabric :) I am providing the link in case any of you are in the same situation this summer. All-in-all, covering the cushion sets for two wicker chairs for 20.50 worked for me, for the moment.

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Light, Shadows, Reflections & Rainbows

One early morning last week I stepped out onto the back porch and saw the sunrise reflecting in a neighbor’s windows and it was so lovely that I went to get my camera.

Sunrise in Neighbors windows

I went to the front porch to observe the sunrise from there and when I came back inside I took a picture of the indoor light being reflected in my living room window.

sunrise and indoor light reflected collage

When I turned around, I thought that this looked pretty as well ( isn’t it funny how one thing will make us see another through fresh eyes / it is not as if this lamp and picture are new or anything…it was just the light :)

early morning lamp

 

Then on Friday we had pouring down rain for most of the day. A clearing, more rain, and suddenly in the early evening there was an eerie light…that sort of light has me running outdoors to see if there is a rainbow. Sure enough, there was. Very short and fleeting but the first rainbow of the season :)

RAINBOW April 4

What was truly amazing was that after another shower, looking out the back…there was yet another rainbow. Perhaps it was the first one reappearing in the sky…not sure about the exact science of rainbows…I was just enjoying it all. On both occasions a double was faintly visible but never fully formed.

double rainbow trying to form

If I can’t have daffodils and tulips here yet, I will certainly take the rainbows! :) Spring you have finally arrived. ( even though you snuck in a light dusting of snow on Sunday morning )

Beautiful cloud formations that evening were the icing on the cake. It’s nice to have something to enjoy looking up, because looking down…well, it’s mud season here.

cloud formation

Indoors: Sunlight streaming in…

sunlight streaming in

creating shadows…

Shadows

And then there is this kind of sunshine! :)  My soon-to-be daughter-in-law’s little twin girls. Hmm…I think a certain person gave the girls their dress-up outfits a week or two earlier than their birthday but their mama was okay with it and they had so much fun putting them on! :) Look at their little faces…if they were at YOUR house, could you have waited until their actual birthday?

Twins collage

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Weekend Sewing

The snowball quilt top is finished up and in the binding stage. I am bringing the backing to the front; the backing material fabric is used in a few of the snowballs so it should compliment everything nicely in the end.

Awhile ago I had finished up a hand-pieced basket block. I did machine quilt all around the border edge but it is in the hoop now for hand quilting. I will use it for a spring/ summer pillow cover when I am done. I like to hand-quilt and this little project will keep my callous built up.

sew collage

I have done a little bit of machine piecing…a few more basket blocks ( not shown ) and 4 Crosses & Losses Blocks:

( and just think…that naked bush will be covered in large white blooms a month from now! : )

Amish purple and lime green four blocks

For Sunday Slow Stitching, in the morning, I can either do some more quilting on the pillow top or continue to work on  binding the snowball quilt. Later on in the day, it will be about The Wedding Gown hemming project. On Friday we had heavy rain for most of the day, so with all of the mud out there at the moment, it’s best to spend the weekend sewing versus attempting to do anything outdoors.

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