Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Late Summer in the South

Proverbs 30:25 Ants are creatures of little strength,yet they store up their food in the summer.

Late summer has arrived! Here are just a few pictures.

Soy Bean Fields:

Scuppernong Grapes almost ready to pick.

Corn fields recently harvested:

Tobacco Leaves hanging down. Their days are numbered! Before long there will only be the green stalks left.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Guess Who's Three?!!!

This little guy has been celebrating his birthday for 3 days and had a small birthday bash at Grandma's yesterday.

A little decorating:

A special moment with Mama:

Thanks for visiting! For Quilting Posts see my quilting blog, ANGEL SCRAPS QUILTING.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Small Town America - An Inspirational Walk

As part of my Bible Study Wednesday, I went on a nature walk during my lunch break to reflect on Psalm 139.

I began my walk at 12:00 noon, just in time to hear a distant church's chimes to the tune of "Rock of Ages". Music always has a magical effect on me and this time was no exception, as I walked down this sidewalk toward the city cemetery located a couple of blocks from my office.

Walking through a cemetery is a good way to do a Bible Study! If you have the opportunity, walk around and read the scriptures and reflect on life's meaning.

These engravings made me wonder, "How will my loved ones remember me?"

This old hand pump was located in an old section of the cemetery. A sign of times gone by with its own rustic beauty.

A Beautiful tribute.

A few end of summer Marigolds and Morning Glories entwined together. Can it be that Summer is loosening its grip?

Crepe Myrtles are still blooming!

My walk carried me through the historical district of this small town passing beautiful old Southern homes.

I love this front porch with the vines growing around the top. There are rocking chairs and I can just imagine sitting there, drinking hot coffee or iced tea, watching the world go by.

One more.

These are the same lillies that have been blooming in the farmhouse yard:

Are these crabapples?

Psalm 139
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to [b] me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Reading and Quilting

I am being a little brave in showing this close up of the back of the quilt I am hand quilting. Its not perfect, but I am putting a lot of love into these stitches. I keep thinking of my grandmother while I am stitching and how she kept her family warm with quilts. I remember playing hide and seek behind a stack of folded quilts that was a least 3 or 4 feet high. It must have been summer time and the quilts were being stored until winter time for keeping bodies warm in unheated bedrooms.

This quilt top was meant to be a utility quilt. She made it from fabrics she had such as feed sacks. The Baptist Fans (aka Methodist Fans) quilting design is an old fashioned quilting design used especially on utility quilts. It got its name because it was an easy quilting design for church ladies to use for their quilting bees for making fundraiser quilts.

This is the inspirational book I am reading this week. I like Emilie Barnes very much and in this book she has taken her 15 minutes a day theme even further by writing 15 minute devotions for women.

Today I read about loving God first, then your neighbor as yourself. She wrote the devotion on how many woman do not love themselves or have a good self esteem. Its ok for us to take some time for ourselves or to treat ourselves. The assignment was to take a stroll in a pretty natural place and think of how wonderfully God has made me. (Psalm 139) Since the humidity and temperature are much better today I hope to do this on my lunch break!

Another thing I learned from Emilie Barnes is that when we are raising our children, we are also enfluencing future generations. My Grandmother has enfluenced me in many ways, along with my many other relatives.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Crafting Report

It was a very nice weekend filled with family and good food. We attended a family reunion. It was fun to share the farmhouse with overnight guests.

Here's what's going on in the sewing room this week:

1. My sister in law brought me several bags of remnants that I will will be going through, sorting and incorporating into my stash. I am truly blessed with fabric.

2. I have been yearning to have a hand sewing project to work on now that fall and winter are nearing. So instead of starting something new, I got out the hand quilting project I started a while back, but could never get into. I am handquilting my grandmother's vintage quilt top in my Ulmer Quilter. I had only handquilted a very small area when I last worked on it. I decided to take out those stitches and do something totally different. Baptist Fans! I was inspired by THIS TUTORIAL by Bonnie at Quiltville. But, I am marking my lines as I go instead of free hand. I tried to do it free hand, but I just can't see what I am doing well enough for that. Its amazing that Bonnie hand quilts large quilts in a hoop while on airplanes during her many travels.

I am so looking forward to quilting these Baptist Fans while spending time with my hubby watching football or movies at the same time.

3. I am planning to make some pajamas for my grandson. I think this would be an easy as well as useful project. I haven't made any clothing in ages, but I think I can handle pants with elastic in the waist! I also plan to make the top, but if I didn't a regular t-shirt would be cute with the pants. If they fit well I could make several pairs.

4. I am having lots of fun working on the double nine patch Irish chain in red and white, as well as a single 9 patch Irish chain in blue and beige. I plan to use up all the blue and red scraps I have and then start using some of the larger pieces of fabric in my stash using strip piecing.

5. I was hoping to finish my Summer of 2010 9 patch challenge quilt soon using fabric in my stash. But, I will need to purchase the backing fabric. I have decided to give this quilt to my sister for her birthday on October 30th, so I have 2 months to finish it. The quilt top measures 68 1/2 inches wide and 92 inches long. I may possibly use a white flat sheet for this. I know some people have had success with this, as long as the quilt is being machine quilted. Its hard to hand quilt through the small thread count of purchased sheets.

Well, work is calling! Have a great Monday!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tips for Getting Started With Coupons

In response to a couple of requests for ideas on getting started with coupons I am offering these tips that work for me.

I am a very imperfect person and organizing and using coupons is a constantly evolving process for me. I go through periods of time when I am totally on top of using coupons and always getting the best sales prices. There are times when I just use a few and am a minimal coupon user. Still there are other times when I skip them altogether.

So, how does someone who is new to couponing or who hasn't done any couponing in a long time get started? This is how I would suggest they get started:

1. Start out small. You don't want to get overwhelmed or burned out the first week!

2. Start out by getting one Sunday paper each week. Normally the coupons contained in the paper will more than pay for the paper. Better yet, if you know someone who will give you their coupon insert, take them up on it. Right now we don't buy any newspapers, but my mother gives me her inserts since she isn't into couponing.

3. To begin your coupon adventure, only clip the coupons you think you would use and file them in your coupon organizer. Label by date and keep the rest of the coupon insert.

4. There are many couponing blogs that give the best deals at drugstores, grocery stores and super centers. If you are planning a shopping trip to one of these, simply check to see what the sales prices with coupon match ups are for that store on one of these blogs. The coupon match ups usually state which coupon insert (by date and kind) the coupons can be found. This way if you didn't already clip the coupon, you can go back to your inserts and find it. In addition, if you want to print coupons from the internet, the blogs will give you a link to print it from.

5. Always keep your coupons with you.

6. When you are in the store, be on the lookout in the store for packages that have coupons right on them and also for the blinkies in the isle that dispense coupons for items located near them. Also a few stores have a scanner at the front of the store where you scan your store card and receive more coupons.

Right now I am going through a lull in my couponing. But, even without taking my coupon organizer into the grocery store I ended up using about $16.00 worth of coupons on a shopping trip yesterday afternoon. Here's how: I scanned my MVP card at the front of the Food Lion Store and received a $5.00 off my total order coupon; I bought 2 or 3 items that had coupons on the package; I remembered that I had in my handbag 2 coupons I received in the mail from Kelloggs for 2 free Kelloggs items up to $5.00 each. So of course I bought 2 huge boxes of cereal that weren't even on sale that I normally would not have purchased, but that we will definitely use.

7. Couponing blogs that I use regularly are: Money Saving Mom; 30 Dollar weekly grocery challenge, Southern Savers,Kingdom First Mom, My Frugal Adventures and Frugal Coupon Living.

8. There are certain items that can be bought free or nearly free if you keep on the lookout for them. Between Rite Aid, Walgreens and CVS, there is a free tube of toothpaste on sale just about every week.

My deal of the week: At Rite Aid, I have a $1.50 UP Coupon (good on any non-prescription order) and a Rite Aid Single Check Refund for $4.69. I will buy a bottle of Contact Lens Solution for $7.99, apply these for a balance due of $1.80. Then the Contact Lens cost ($7.99) will be refunded to me in another Single Check Refund. When the check comes I will use it to buy another item that generates a refund or UP Coupon, etc.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baby Maddox

I now know the name of the baby who will be cuddling with the Jungle Babies II quilt I posted pictures of a couple of months ago..

His name is Maddox. Right now Baby Maddox and his Mom are confined to a hospital bed until his lungs get strong enough for him to breathe on his own after being born. She is having complications and is 7 1/2 months along.

The baby shower was scheduled for this Sunday, but has now been postponed until after Baby Maddox makes his appearance.

I remember when Baby Maddox's mom was born very well. She is my niece and was born on my 20th birthday, February 22, 1978. As babies often do, she was born during a snowstorm. The doctor was called in the middle of the night and fell back asleep. She finally made it into the world safe and sound and I pray that Baby Maddox will too!

If nothing dramatic happens, Baby Maddox will be born by Cesarean section in about 2 weeks.

Glimpses of Home

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Menu and Schedule Revamping and the Front Log

Sometimes I get my priorities out of order and must confess that even with the broken screen, my laptop has been my first priority in the mornings for a while now. My new self-imposed rule is that the first thing I will do in the morning is to read my Bible. I am telling you this, not to pat myself on the back, but to let you know that I must do first things first! I am constantly seeking the best form of Bible study for myself, but the important thing is that I do something every morning and if I don't do it first, it usually doesn't get done.

And sometimes.. well in fact lots of times, I do not cook what was on the menu that I posted here! I hope that doesn't shock you, but there are times when the posted menu just doesn't work out, there are leftovers that need to be eaten or what I planned doesn't sound good.

This happened last night. I ended up cooking oven baked pork chops AND meatloaf. I decided that while I was in the kitchen and the oven was hot, I would make two meals. The reason I changed the menu was the fact that the date on both packages of meat were about to expire. It didn't make sense to freeze them since I was going to cook them in a couple of days. Macaroni and Cheese and French Cut Green Beans rounded out the meal. Hubby and I took a small portion of each meat. He couldn't decide which was better, since he loves meatloaf and pork chops.

It also occurred to me that this was a very efficient way of cooking. I'm still not a freezer cooking fan, but I keep tweaking the kinds of meals I can freeze. What works best for me is to cook ahead for the week. With leftovers from my meal last night in the fridge, I won't have to cook at all for a day or two.

I also wanted to let you know that cooking pork chops in the oven with those french fried onions sprinkled on top is delicious! They were some of the best pork chops I have every eaten.

This post is being categorized under time management. One of my favorite time management tips is keeping a "front log" instead of a back log. Anything that you can do ahead of time is a front log. What can you do today that would help you keep a front log? Its the same thing as "don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today". This tip is amazingly helpful at my workplace and also at home.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Around The Kitchen

Its that time of week for planning our menus. I am continuing with cooking from the pantry as much as possible. We still have potatoes, but they are dwindling!

No, I didn't make this sweet potato pie. Ms. Smith's Sweet Potato Pies were on close out at Food Lion for $1.99. I doubt I could purchase the ingredients for less than that, so this was a Sunday treat, served with vanilla ice cream. My hubby said he felt like it was time to go Christmas Shopping or something, since sweet potato pies are a Thanksgiving and Christmas time dessert.

Also on Sunday's menu was what I call Ruby's chicken. Do you remember what Ruby said on the movie, "Cold Mountain", when Ada told her the rooster was a devil? "PUT HIM IN A POT!" I made my version of chicken in a pot. I cooked a whole chicken (or as the label said, a whole bird) in the crock pot until tender. I then removed the chicken to a plate to cool. I added potatoes, carrots, onions and bell pepper to the pot, added a small amount of water to the broth that came from the chicken, covered it and cooked the veggies until tender. Then I deboned the chicken and added the meat back to the crock pot on top of the veggies. For seasonings I used salt, pepper and dried basil.

Monday: Beef and Biscuit Casserole, green beams


Oven baked porkchops, sweet potato chips, rice


Hotdogs, corn on the cob, leftover green beans

Friday Night: Veggie Tray, crackers and cheese,tortilla chips (scoops) Nacho Cheese Dip and Salsa, deli meat on sandwich thins.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sewing and Life Lessons

What I've learned this week:

1. Sewing small squares together (1 1/2 inch!) is hard!

2. The smaller the squares, the more accurate the cutting and that pesky quarter inch seam must be.

3. Strip piecing is much faster and MUCH more accurate.

4. You can't use small scraps if you are going to strip piece.

5. If you leave your car windows slightly open on a hot day and there's a chance of rain... it will rain, rain hard, and the wind will be blowing in just the right direction to get the inside of your car wet. Then when you get into the car to make a quick trip to the grocery store, your coupons and sales papers will be wet and when you go in the store, your back side will be wet.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

On My Sewing Table This Morning

I never realized how many different ways 9 patch quilt squares can be used. This week I have been experimenting with them. I want to make a Double Nine Patch Irish Chain Quilt in red and white. Here's the trial block. It finishes at 9 inches, with the smaller corner and center 9 patch squares finishing at 1 inch. I used small scraps for this one, but handling the small pieces is very hard! I will be trying it using strip piecing tonight.

I am also working on a blue and beige pattern. This picture shows 6 1/2 inch squares in the blue and beige and also the red and white.

Piles of scraps in blue and red:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another Simple Country Meal

I've been doing menu planning by the seat of my pants this week! In other words, at the last minute. So far this week we've had the following meals:

Sunday: BBQ country style ribs, Au Gratin Potatoes, corn on the cob

Monday: Chicken Salad, rice cooked in broth

Tuesday: Sloppy Joes and Pinto Beans

We ate the Sloppy Joes in an open face sandwich style using plain bread. Of course these had to be eaten with a fork. :o)

Here's how I made them: I browned a pound of ground beef with a chopped green pepper and onion, and drained it. Then I added about a cup of ketchup, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 tablespoon mustard, half a cup of bbq sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. I let this simmer for a few minutes.

The pinto bean side dish went great with the Sloppy Joes

For supper tonight? I don't know!! What are you having? I need some inspiration!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Summer of 2010 Nine Patch Challenge Continues

I finished my goal of making 70 nine patch quilt squares and started the process of putting them together. I sewed one 6 1/2 inch by 2 1/2 inch sashing strip to the side of each 9 patch. Then I spread them out of the bed to check for color balance.

One row sewn together and pressed.

Some scrappy borders.

All ten rows of seven blocks sewn together and pressed.

Now I need to sew on the sashings between the rows and on the sides, as well as the scrappy borders. That is my project to work on after work this week!

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. ...