Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday Sewing

Its been quite a while since I posted about sewing on Saturday. Actually, the pictures shown here are projects I made yesterday afternoon. I hope to sew more today, after grocery shopping, some housework and cooking.

Fabrics and trim laid out and ready to start cutting and sewing

I used the pillowcase tutorial I posted about yesterday found on the Twiddletails Blog HERE.

This method of sewing a pillowcase is amazing! The pillow case turned out professional looking with no inside raw seams showing. Its called several names such as Magical Pillowcase and Burrito Pillowcase. Also, Rhonda commented that there is a You Tube Video showing the instructions and that it was also called the Sausage Roll.

I made this camouflage pillow case with black and green trim for my son. I will be making another one just like it, so he will have a set, as soon as I replenish my stash of black fabric. Don't you hate it when you don't have enough fabric to finish a project? AARGH!

As a side note, the camo fabric came in the 60 inch wide size. The directions in the tutorial called for 44-45 inch wide fabric, so I wasn't sure how much fabric to buy. I made a command decision that one yard would be enough for one pillowcase, at least, and that I would go from there. Luckily, one yard of the 60 inch wide fabric was just enough to make two pillowcases and only cost $5.00 per yard.

I loved how this pillowcase turned out so much that I am already planning to make more as gifts. I can see that using a variety of fabrics would make some great personalized gifts for my family. Fabrics such as college themes, or whatever that person would like, could be used.

Another clothespin bag for my Etsy Shop in "groovy flowers" fabric:

I hope today to make one more clothespin bag and to make some progress on the baby boy scrap quilt that is in progress.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Dance Friday

Its Friday!!!!

I am looking forward to a long 3 day weekend and it will start today at 12:00 noon!

My yard work is slowing down some now after a few weeks of being very busy in that area. I still have lots of things I'd like to get done in the yard, but will work on them as I can. Almost daily watering will be needed, at least until some of the newer plants get established.

Now that the hot weather is upon us, I hope to spend more time in my sewing room. After work and cooking supper last night I made this clothespin bag. It seems that when I make several of these for my Etsy Shop, they sit there for a few weeks, then all of a sudden they all sell in a few days time. So I would like to make a few more of these to restock.

I have a couple of quilting projects in progress that I would like to work on. There are two baby boy scrap quilt tops in my basket that are ready to be quilted. I hope to make the quilt sandwich for these and prepare them for machine quilting. I also am soon expecting a new baby nephew and want to start a special quilt for him. Also, there is the wedding gift quilt that I planned last year that I want to work on, even though the couple was married in January!

Other sewing projects I want to work on are these great tutorials for a GOOFY DOLL, these PILLOW CASES and this TRAVEL CAR MAT.

I am also wondering if I should start this Postage Stamp Quilt Along, even though it has been going on for a few months. One can never have too many quilts in progress!

Oh well, half the joy in sewing, gardening, and homemaking.... is the dreams!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Stove and A Week Night Feast!

Here is a picture of the stove that came with the Farm house. The smaller oven on top can be used as a toaster oven, warming oven or regular oven. Its smaller size makes it much more economical to use and it preheats very quickly. If I am cooking something that will fit in there, I use it.

Yesterday I was inspired to cook! So on the way home from work I stopped at Food Lion, bought some "real" butter, fresh eggs, flour, sour cream, a Bell Pepper ($1.19 each not on sale!) and some Breyers real vanilla ice cream (on sale for only $2.00!)

Here's what I made:

Sour Cream Pound Cake


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup sour cream
3 eggs (at room temperature)
1 pinch baking soda
1 tsp vanilla flavoring


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5 or 8x4 inch loaf pan.

2.In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add sour cream, eggs and vanilla.

3.Add flour and pinch of soda, mix well. Pour into loaf pan.

4.Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.

This is a basic Sour Cream Pound Cake recipe, but some of the recipes say to cook the cake at 375 degrees for one hour. I baked this cake in the small oven shown above, backed my temperature down to 350 and then baked it an addition 20 minutes. You would probably need to adjust the temperature and cooking time based on how your own oven cooks.

The small size of this cake makes it perfect for a small family and also for a weeknight treat. I wish I had made two so I could freeze one for another time.

Ok, this is where the Breyers Ice Cream comes into play! Vanilla ice cream is delicious over warm pound cake!

I also made Turkey Kielbasa with peppers and onions served over rice, just like my menu plan for the week called for, rounded out with some fried corn bread.

Yum! It was all very delicious and my hubby was very pleased to have an extra special meal with desert after a hard day at work.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gardening in the South

Today is Blooming Tuesday at Ms. Greenthumb Jean's Blog HERE.

After thirty years with my daughter, I am pleasantly surprised to learn that we have a love of gardening in common!

My daughter, grandson and I visited a country garden center this past weekend. Not pictured are acres of landscape plants that you drive through, put want you want in your vehicle, and then pay for before leaving.

My 85 year old mother's vegetable garden:

She tends this garden using a rolling walker with a seat. The plastic chairs are positioned so she can sit in them when she needs to. (those are grape vines behind the chairs) One of my brothers used a tractor to make the garden rows. The rows were made extra wide so she could roll the walker between them. Another brother has been tilling the garden to help her keep the weeds down. Other than that, she has been doing the work herself. I'm sure I will soon be the recipient of lots of garden goodies such as yellow squash, fresh potatoes and tomatoes. Thanks Mama!

Here are some things I've been doing this Spring:

1. I always, always, hit the plant clearance isle at Lowes and Walmart, every time I go, especially this time of year. Both stores have way more spring plants than they can sell, both annuals and perennials. I typically find nice plants for a dollar or less.

To further sweeten the deal, look for plants that have more than one plant in the pot which you can divide before planting.

This is a nice pot of oregano I bought for $1.00. I used it along with a pink geranium and a little basil in a large pot.

2. The public library is absolutely full of gardening books. So if you can't get enough gardening during the day, at night you can study about gardening all you want. These books are great for learning how to propagate plants for free, what plants are easy to grow in your area and many other ideas. Right now I am really interested in heirloom southern plants and have found many books that address this subject.

3. Growing plants from seeds is very frugal, you just have to be patient. I especially LOVE plants that reseed themselves. Impatiens are great for this. I currently have three pots full of them that self-sowed last year.

Here is the progress of one of the pots of Impatiens.

4. You can order free seed/plant catalogs online from Park Seeds and Burpee Seeds. These companies often have sales and you can also get plants that aren't available locally. Its also fun to look through these catalogs at all the plants and you can learn about planting timetables as well as other information.

5. I am always open to "pass along plants" from friends and family. My mother has a hydrangea bush that I am planning to either take a cutting from or dig a small piece from. Also, I have become proficient at rooting roses, so I am on the lookout for roses that are easy to grow.

These are some Indian Summer Rudbeckia plants I dug up from my former home and transplanted to the side bed of the farmhouse. I planted them from seed last summer, not realizing that since they were perennials, they would not bloom until the following year. Once they are established I will have "black eyed susans" blooming all summer.

I plan to plant more perennial flowers from seed later this summer so that I will have blooms next year and for years to come.

6. I try to always wear gloves and closed in shoes (not flip flops) when gardening. I regularly see Black Widow Spiders in dark damp places underneath rocks, tree roots and plants. AND Sunday my good friend's sister-in-law was bitten by a copperhead snake when she reached down to pull a weed from a flower bed. This happened about 60 miles from my home. Thankfully her husband was nearby and was able to take her and the, by then dead, snake to the hospital at about 100 mph. She has received anti-venom, but is still hospitalized. I'm not sure if we have copperheads around here, but I do know there are water moccasins (cotton mouths). We don't have any water near our home, so hopefully I won't see any of them either!

Happy Gardening!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Menu Plans for the Week of May 24, 2010

I fail miserably at menu planning usually, but I know it would help me both mentally and financially to have a plan in mind. I think the locally grown strawberries are about to finish up for the year, but doesn't that look good?!

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend and time to start thinking about some hot weather kinds of foods. The easier the better.

So here are my ideas for the week:


Meatloaf, baked potatoes, corn (Mix a can of no salt creamed white corn with a can of partially drained whole kernel white or yellow corn)


Hotdogs with the fixings, macaroni and cheese, left over corn


Oven toasted grilled cheese sandwiches, baked beans


Turkey Kielbasa with onions and peppers served over rice


Oven BBQed pork chops, with any leftover sides from the week (rice, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, or corn) (If none are left, then its back to the drawing board)


Not sure yet, maybe Pizza or take out of Smithfield's BBQ sandwiches, since its a holiday weekend. :o)


Homemade Chicken Salad, Pasta Salad, garden peas

I really need to sit down with some of my cookbooks, the Food Lion weekly sales paper and come up with some different meals. But, for now maybe this will work.

Friday, May 21, 2010

My grandson and a friend:

May your weekend be filled with flowers and meadows!

The Weekend is Almost Here!

Our thoughts on sweet potatoes in the field behind us and out the sewing room window turned out to be accurate. This is the view this morning after the farm workers "set out" the plants yesterday afternoon.

Its going to be a busy weekend! I have babysitting my grandson on the agenda for tomorrow. My yard is beckoning to me to finish some projects I have started or planned. And I REALLY want and need to be sewing.

Of course Sunday we will be going to church. I usually reserve Sunday afternoons for planning the week ahead, clipping coupons and just laying around.

Do you have weekend plans?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What's Going On?

Out the front sewing room window: This tractor was parked for the night.

A view across the porch, steps and yard.

The view of a freshly plowed and ready to plant field, out the window above the sewing machine.

We had some glorious rain this week, much needed by the area farmers and by my flowers and plants! The land where I live now is very well drained and a bit sandy, so as soon as the last drop fell, since there was no need to wait for the soil to dry out, out came the farmers with their big tractors and other equipment. We think the crop to be planted beside and behind our home will be sweet potatoes. I can already imagine that with permission, we might be able to glean some sweet potatoes next fall after the best of the crop has been harvested and before the leftovers are plowed under. I must get my sweet potato recipes in order!

After a couple of months with no sales in the Etsy Shop, I've had a run on the inventory this week and am down to just a few items. I must get busy putting together more clothespin bags and also the small quilted bags that seem to be popular.

I was out of town yesterday at a seminar required to keep my certification for my job. Yikes! I'm so glad to have that behind me and to be able to go about my regular routine today. All of you who live in high traffic areas have my sympathy! Its just not for me.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grandma's Rose Lives On

My grandmother was a great gardener, quiltmaker and all around great homemaker. I am very similar in the things I love to do. Below is a picture of Grandma with one of her famous rose bushes behind her. Her original gardens don't exist any more, but many of her plants live on in the gardens of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren.

This is a picture of a cutting I rooted last summer for my daughter. I am very happy that it has several roses on it this spring. I think I finally tracked down the name and some of history of the rose. It was introduced in 1930 and is named "New Dawn". New Dawn is supposed to be a rebloomer, but this one only blooms in May. It has so many roses on it that it makes up for not blooming any more until the following year!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Weekend in May, 2010

Its so wonderful that this morning its raining and I think it rained most of the night. We have only had a trace of rain since we moved here 6 weeks ago! We don't know where our rain gauge is, so I don't know how much rain fell. The forecast today is for more showers all day. I'm really happy about that.

We are finally beginning to put some finishing touches on the house and are settling in. We have put up faux wood plantation blinds in some of the rooms. The windows are an odd size. Some are 26 inches wide, some are 26 1/4 inches wide and some are 26 1/8 inches wide. The basic blinds come in 27 inch size, so they won't fit. Thankfully Lowes will cut blinds to fit your windows, so I am doing 2 or 3 at the time and dh is hanging them as I get them.

We have been planning to have a yardsale and decided Thursday night to go ahead and do it Saturday without advertising. It was really hot Saturday and there wasn't that much business at the yardsale. I decided to see if any of the clothespin bags that were in my Etsy Shop would sell. One bag did sell, but wouldn't you know it.... Within a few minutes of selling it, I checked my email and found that the same bag had been sold!!! Luckily, I had exactly enough of the fabrics and ribbon left over to make another identical one.

So I made my first project in the new sewing room yesterday afternoon. You can see the bag laying on the cutting table in the picture above, which also shows the blinds I was talking about. I guess one of the hazards of moving is not being able to find things. I can't find my favorite pair of small scissors and the clear 18 inch x 2 inch ruler that I use all the time when sewing. I know they are in there somewhere!!!

While waiting for customers at the yardsale, I worked in the yard! I accomplished alot in the bed beneath the row of crape myrtles located on one side of the house. I am slowly raking and weeding that area as I can. I found several plants that I didn't know were there. Some are iris, yarrow, canna, primroses, and more. They aren't very big and need some tlc to become the healthy plants they were meant to be. Years of being covered with leaves, sticks and weeds have taken their toll. But, I am giving them the care they need to hopefully be beautiful.

Its hard to believe its already Monday morning again! Have a great day!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Today is the 15th of the month, so I am participating in Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at MAY DREAMS GARDENS.

Here's what's blooming this month at the farmhouse.

Rose Campion that have reseeded and spread underneath the row of crape myrtles on the side of the yard.

Ok, I know these are weeds! Its extremely dry here and the grass is basically dead. The grass hasn't been mowed due to the dry weather, so the dandelion flowers are blooming. I grabbed the camera and took this picture right before the lawnmower cut them down. Its a pretty picture, even if it is weeds!

These are twilight primroses, if I am interpreting the pictures in the books correctly. This is another plant that has grown due to the grass not being mowed because of dry weather. There are more growing under the crape myrtles, so I plan to try to move some of them before they get cut down.


Crimson Mandevilla


Perennial Purple Salvia

Friday, May 14, 2010

Yard Art and Furniture

My hubby surprised me with some goodies for our yard for Mother's Day. He discovered that a builder who lives down the road was making benches, swings, birdhouses, and the like, to sell, just in time for Mother's Day. The house building market is slow right now, so he is supplementing his income this way.

I was so surprised to come home Saturday to find these things had been delivered!

This table will serve many purposes, one of which is to be a potting table. The birdhouses are easy to install. They fit down on a 4X4 post. I am thinking about creating a new flower bed with both of the birdhouses in it. One will be installed about 18 inches higher than the other one.

I love this bench. I have lots of ideas for its use in the landscape of the yard. It would be very cute sitting in front of the birdhouses in the new flower bed.

And the Swing! It sits in the shade of the trees beside the herb/shade garden. A nice place to sip some of that iced tea with mint leaves in it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Goodies in the Mail!

Anybody who has read my blog knows that among my favorite things are "Home" and chickens. I received a nice package in the mail this week from Little PenPen containing both!

I plan to place this chicken flag in a small flower bed in which are planted yellow and red flowers.

The colors of this "Home" plaque and the chicken hook go perfectly with my kitchen and family room.

Thanks Penny!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Scenes From the Sewing Room

Good Tuesday morning to everyone!

I still haven't sewn a stitch since moving to our new home. But, I have been slowly organizing the sewing room and am ITCHIN TO BE STITCHIN! I thought I'd show you a few pictures of the "organized chaos" in the sewing room.

The cutting table with labeled totes stored underneath:

The sewing machine set up so I can see out the window. The view is of trees, a field and a bird feeder:

More Storage:

Odds and Ends - Scraps

I hope to show some sewing progress soon!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Memorizing Scripture

One Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago I was inspired to start memorizing scripture. I started by writing down some verses that I wanted to memorize and kept going over the words off and on all day. I didn't quite remember them perfectly, so I kept studying them all week. I found myself thinking about what the words meant, looking them up in different Bible translations, and trying to apply them to my life. I found that the verses really stuck with me and it was like God had "written them on my heart"!

I am the kind of person that doesn't remember details well. I have read a good portion of the Bible, but the details just don't seem to stick with me. For me, it seems that memorizing scripture and dwelling on a few verses for a week, or more, is really working as a Bible study tool. I am very happy to have discovered that this method of Bible Study works for me! I have memorized short Bible verses before in my life, but didn't really study them, and sadly, soon forgot them.

Maybe this is a good example of how quality wins out over quantity. I would not get nearly as much out of trying to read the Bible in a year and that kind of thing. My personal Bible study style requires me to dwell on one portion of the Bible for a few days, or more (!) until it really is written on my heart.

So this is how I am doing this type of Bible study:

1. I am reading through books by Christian women authors, such as those by Elizabeth George and Kristin Armstrong, to find Scripture references that apply to me in this time of my life. It helps if you are memorizing scripture that has special meaning for you.

2. Then I find the scripture in my Bible and copy it down into a journal. This journal was only a Dollar at the Dollar Tree. I put the date at the top and then I will have a record of all the scripture that I have memorized, as well as a reference to refresh my memory of the verses, as I am sure I will not remember them as well as I would like. I am a frail human being, after all!

3. I then leave the journal in the area I am working in and around the house so I can check to see what the next words are and how I am doing with remembering them. The journal goes with me back and forth to work all week , so I can work on the memorization.

4. The more I study the verses, the more they come to my mind and I start applying them to my life, without really thinking about it. They are in my heart, not just in my mind.

These are the verses I have memorized recently:

Ephesians 5:15-17 (Time Management)
1 Peter 3:3-4 (The unfading Beauty of a Gentle and Quiet Spirit)
Proverbs 14:1 (Build your house, don't tear it down)

Today I am starting a week of memorizing and studying Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (Love God with all your heart, soul and might and think about it all the time, write it on your doors and gates!)

I need to write some scripture on post it notes to help me in the memorization and also to follow the instructions in DT 6:4-9!

I would also love to hear what your definition of a "Gentle and Quiet Spirit" is. For me it means to calm myself so that I don't react to situations the wrong way, to think before I speak, speak carefully and to be more understanding and forgiving of others' faults. What do you think it means?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Some Frugal Gardening at the Farmhouse

When we first moved into the farmhouse, I quickly realized that there were many treasures waiting beneath the soil, as plants slowly began to emerge. Each new plant that appears is a little gift to me from the past. One of my greatest joys is discovering a new plant in the yard and then trying to identify it by name. I am particularly enjoying a book I borrowed from the library called, "Pass Along Plants". This book is full of information about old fashioned plants, especially Southern plants that are hard to find any more, and are often passed along to friends and relatives by way of cuttings and divisions. I just so happen to have several of these hard to find plants in my new yard.

One of my duties at work is to do land title searches, so of course I have researched the past owners of the farmhouse. By looking at the history of the house by checking old deed records, I discovered that at least three different ladies have had a hand in this yard.

This is the herb garden that I have been told was planted by an older southern lady named Ms. Albertha. In fact, in doing my research, which also includes death records, I saw that Ms. Albertha died at home in the farmhouse. When I am working in this herb garden, I can't help thinking about her and feeling some kind of connection. I would have liked to have known her. I think that instead of calling it the herb garden, I will call it Ms. Albertha's garden.

Now, mind you, this garden was grown up with weeds and it has taken a lot of work to clean it up and get into the condition that these pictures show. I purchased a few more herbs and some shade loving plants to add to the herbs that were already there. I also transplanted some plants from my previous home and planted some seeds, so I hope that all of these plants will grow and fill in making it a beautiful place to sit on the bench and just "be".

The frugal aspects of this garden are that many of the plants are perennials or are annuals that simply reseeded themselves. Already growing were Onions, Garlic, Mint and Sweet Cecily. The fern-like plants with the garden fairy in the middle are the Sweet Cecily. I have already been using the garlic in my cooking.

All of the big rocks were a legacy of Ms. Albertha. Some of them look like rocks from the mountains of North Carolina and are huge. The stepping stones came with me from my old home and since I needed one more, I used some nice bricks found on the property. In the South, it seems there are always bricks laying around somewhere if you live out in the country.

The Hostas and Spiderwort were brought with me from my previous home and will do great here in the shade. The Spiderwort is definitely a pass along plant, as it was a plant found in our family graveyard, divided and now this is the second home it has found a way to.

In this picture you can see the little rolling seat that I use when working with plants on the ground. Helps my knees immensely!

These two pots contain tiny plants that reseeded themselves from last year at my previous home. If you know what to look for and water the pots gently, usually you will see some tiny plants emerging that you recognize. The secret is to know the difference between weeds and plants and also to remember what was in a certain pot or bed the year before.

These tiny seedlings are Moss Rose (Portulaca). I had some of these plants in this same pot last year. There are so many that I will transplant some of them into other pots or beds by scooping them out with a spoon and transferring them to their new home.

These are impatiens. These will grow to fill this pot up and should thrive in this shade.

So as you can see most of the plants in this garden didn't cost ANYTHING! I did purchase a few small herbs and bedding plants, as well as a couple of seed packets.

I like to think that I am leaving my mark for some future southern belle to enjoy, when the new plants I am planting, as well as the plants from the past, start to emerge in early Spring. Maybe someone will name a garden in the yard "Ms. Debbie's Garden".

I am linking this post to Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer HERE and Whatcha Working on Wednesday at My Country Home HERE.

Glimpses of Home - A Little Bit of Fall

I've been enjoying Fall.  I love this time of year. Having a hubby who is retired is great.  He does so many things around the house. ...