Thursday, September 30, 2010

September Snow

Today we have rain, wind and flooding! Well, lets don't think about that this morning! Here are pictures taken through my car window as I traveled home from work a couple of weeks ago.

Blue skies and white fields of cotton. Its a sure sign of Autumn in North Carolina when the fields look like a fresh snow has fallen.

When my mother and I drive by a cotton field, she always tells me stories of picking cotton by hand.

She could pick a lot of cotton once her finger tips got toughened up. The children played underneath shade trees planted in the middle of the field or at the end of the rows. There might be a baby in a playpen. The mama could pick cotton and keep an eye on the children at the same time.

my sister and me

There is a cotton gin located near my house, so as you can imagine the cotton trucks drive by strewing this "snow" in our yard. Hubby stays busy trying to vacuum the cotton and poultry feathers from our yard that fly off trucks going by.

I hope to always live in the country so as not to miss the beautiful sights that can be seen through the eye of the beholder, if only we open our hearts too. It may be a delapidated rustic barn, or a cow trying to eat the grass on the other side of the fence, or a small child swinging in a tire swing... keep your eyes open for the magical things you might see.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Today's Smile and Giggle

This little picture makes me smile. It sits on the ledge over my kitchen sink. What can I say? I'm just a country girl at heart.

Today's giggle:

I went to the Orthotics office to pick up some shoes for my husband. This office is located in an old large house. It has the original wood floors and beautiful chandeliers. Over the fireplace in the waiting area was a sign that said "ONE SHOE CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE". Intrigued, I went closer to see who the quote was by and .... of course I should have known it was Cinderella! I had to giggle.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Hobo Bag

I worked on a new design for my new fall pocketbook over the weekend, using as my inspiration a bag that I found in some junk mail from Better Homes and Gardens "American Patchwork" quilting magazine.

My finished bag isn't shaped like the picture, but I did use the idea for the fabric strip placement.

I used the bag the last couple of days and enjoyed it very much.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Planning

Well, Monday is here and its pouring rain in North Carolina!

I worked on three sewing projects this weekend: 1. made the quilt label for Maddox's quilt (see previous post); 2. continued hand quilting the Grandma quilt; and 3. Made myself a Fall pocketbook. (picture to come)

It was a busy weekend with at least one near crisis. My mother fell while trying to get into a vehicle, but doesn't seem to have done any permanent damage. Her shoulder is extremely sore, so we are hoping that will work itself out in a few days.

I have made a discovery. Even though it has been said that its a "no no" to go to the grocery store hungry, being hungry while at the grocery store helps you to come up with ideas for menus, especially when one is in a slump when it comes to menu planning. I was really hungry while at the grocery store Saturday and came up with these meal ideas:

Baked Beans with ground beef, tortilla chips for dipping

Asian London Broil (broiled in the oven with Soy Sauce, garlic, etc.)
Small garden peas, baked potatoes

Lasagna, green beans, garlic toast

Honey baked chicken, left over veggies

Clam Chowder (finally having a week lower than the 90s!)

Hotdogs with the works

The down side of being hungry at the grocery store: A large container of candy corn came home with us!

So if you are struggling to come up with some meal ideas, go to the store hungry. I promise you will come up with some great meal ideas.

Since I am not a stay at home Mom/Housewife, lots of times homemaking ideas are hard for me to implement, since I must do them in the odd time I have in the morning, at night or on the weekend, which seriously cuts into my sewing time. But after reading THIS POST on the Like Mother, Like Daughter Blog, I think I can follow the advice to do at least three things before 10:00 A.M., each day. 1. Know what's for dinner; 2. start one load of laundry (if needed); and 3. Make the bed. I can do these things before leaving for work and most of the time do them already anyway. But, if these three things are done it takes off some of the pressure.

I also love the part about saving money at the grocery store without "store hopping" to catch all the deals at each store.

A Quilt Label

I posted about making quilt labels HERE. In this post I mentioned and posted a picture of a book full of iron-on quilt labels that you can color with crayons and markers. Well, I needed to make a label for Maddox's Jungle Babies Quilt II, since it was finally time to deliver the quilt to him.

It worked out pretty cute! I did need to go over the words with a black permanent fabric marker to make it look nicer, in my opinion. I had my doubts about using crayons, but it actually worked really well!

It was really easy. Here's how you do it:

Choose the piece of fabric you wish to use for the label, and iron on the label according to the directions. Then use freezer paper to stabilize the fabric so you can write and color on it. I guess most of you know how freezer paper works, but you iron the fabric onto the shiny side of the paper which makes the fabric stick to it. When you finish, just peel it off.

To set the crayon coloring, just place a pressing cloth over it and press with the iron.

I was very happy with the results.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Little Fall Sewing

This was a custom order bag I was asked to make. The owner furnished her own fabric and the ribbon. This is Moda fabric. I wasn't sure how to use the ribbon, but think this turned out cute.

Now, if I could just get motivated enough to make my own fall bag!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Handquilting Baptist Fans

Happy first FULL day of Fall to you! Never mind that it will be 98 degrees today...

Fall means lots of things to me, one of which is to cocoon into the house and work on some sewing projects. I have been working on the hand quilting of this antique quilt top for about a month now. I don't get to work on it every day, but my goal is to work on it at least a few minutes every day until its done

Here's how I hand quilt Baptist fans. I made my own quilting patterns from some thin cardboard from an envelope box. The lines are 3/4 inch apart and I quilt 5 arcs in each Baptist Fan.

These are my supplies for quilting: needle, thread, small scissors, disappearing ink marker, my cardboard quilting patterns and a thimble.

Its hard to capture the quilting lines with a camera when its still dark outside, but maybe you can get the effect.

I love the disappearing ink marker. It disappears just by being exposed to the air, which is so easy for me. I mark as I go so it doesn't matter to me how fast the marks disappear. Not having to doing any work to remove the lines works for me!

I'm not a big thimble user, but even though the skin on the tips of my fingers has toughened up as a result of quilting, sometimes I can't get the needle through some of Grandma's seams without the thimble to push it through. I've actually bent the needle trying to get through there!

I really love the way the Baptist fans look and feel when you touch the quilt. I think that even though by today's standards this isn't a "beautiful" quilt top, when I get finished with it, it will be one of a kind and beautiful in its own way.

I also love having a project ready to work on at any time that doesn't require me to think too much. I just sit down and start handquilting.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Welcoming Fall at the Farmhouse

A Pumpkin or two...

in front of the house and to welcome you down the driveway....

and a fall wreath....

are letting passersby know that fall will be here in 2 days.

A note about the recent summer weather in North Carolina. Our summers are hot, but the past few years have been unusually hot. As of last Thursday we have had 84 days that the temperature exceeded 90 degrees and there are several more in the forecast this week. Prior to 2007, the highest number of 90 degree or higher days was 72. The record was broken in 2007 when we reached 83 days. 2010 will shatter the record of 2007. So, it isn't just my imagination when I was thinking it sure has been hotter than usual!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Autumn Strippy Table Runner Finished!

A Strippy Fall Table Runner

For September's Friday Night Sew In I decided to work on the Fall Table Runner that I had been planning to do for quite some time. My goal for Friday Night Sew In is the totally complete a project, but this one isn't done yet. I hope to quilt and bind it this weekend and maybe will be able to show you the finished runner in a few days. I hope to plan better in October so that the project can be completed in time to post the results on Saturday.

Anyway, here is the completed top of the runner. I pulled all these fabrics from scraps and my stash. I am blessed to have so much fabric that I can put together a project without going shopping at all.

I initially planned to make the runner reversible with a Christmas theme on one side and an Autumn theme on the other, but decided against it. First of all, I didn't have time and I wanted to see how the Autumn runner turned out before going to all that trouble. I even pulled the Christmas fabrics I wanted to use, which will come in handy when I get around to making it!

Well, I better get going! There's more to homemaking than quilting and sewing and its Saturday!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Baby Maddox is Here!

Baby Maddox finally made his appearance yesterday! Baby and Mom are doing fine, after being confined to a hospital bed for almost a month. He will finally be able to use his Jungle Babies quilt.

Baby Maddox's quilt:

The baby shower was postponed to September 26th, so it looks like the delivery took place just in time!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Friday Night Sew In

Are you tired of seeing this quilt yet? I finished the machine quilting last night. I only need to bind it now, so I promise just one more post of the FINISH, hopefully this weekend!

Tomorrow night is Friday night sew in for September. Go HERE for details on how to sign up.

I can't decide if I will work on binding the quilt, or if I will tackle one of my "sewing to do list" items HERE.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Summer is winding down at the farmhouse....

I know that Fall is coming, even though it will be in the nineties again today. How do I know this?

My hubby brought home two pumpkins yesterday which I added to the early autumn theme I am working toward in our yard. I replaced the dead Petunias in the flower pot at the end of the driveway wth ornamental Kale and a Mum. One pumpkin sits beside this pot and the other sits beside my tin sunflower. The days are getting shorter, so its not light enough this morning to take a picture.

One early morning recently we opened the kitchen windows and it was down right chilly for about an hour. Of course, then we had to close up those windows and let the air conditioning work its magic on the end of summer weather in the South!

Pumpkin spice and other Fall scented candles are on sale every where.

Last week the farm workers dug all the sweet potatoes surrounding our home. We "gleaned" these after the workers finished their harvesting!

I am finding myself cooking more cooler weather type foods, such as soups, chili, and stews. Most recently I made Ernest T. Bass's Chicken Thief Stew. I will make clam chowder this weekend, if we aren't having too much of a heat wave.

Have a nice Late Summer day!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The quilting continues...

The machine quilting of the Nine Patch quilt is going well! I have completed three fourths of it and hope to quilt a little each night this week to complete it. This weekend I plan to make and sew on the binding, for a quilt finish. It takes me a while, but if I persevere, it does happen eventually.

I am also pleased with how the hand quilting is coming along on Grandma's old quilt top. I have built up the skin on my finger tips! The fabric in the quilt top is very old, woven and not consistent in its thread count. Some areas are easy to quilt and others will only let me load one stitch at a time on the needle. Baptist fans are easy to quilt, especially when one is watching football with one's hubby. I am on auto-pilot when quilting them and don't have to think about it too much.

I have been trying to concentrate on using my stash and scraps, but I did go to Joann's in a "sort of" big city about 30 miles away over Labor Day Weekend. I love that place! Every thing was on sale the day I was there. I could spend hours just browsing and it wouldn't hurt to have a little spending money while there either. Here are some things I bought to help me finish some projects and to start some new ones, of course.

From the remnant bin. My favorite place in a fabric store or the fabric department at Walmart is the remnant bin. These were 50 % off the day I was there. I see the combinations for all kinds of bags here. (lunch bags, clothespin bags, fabric grocery bags, purses)

Some Debbie Mumm fabric in a coffee theme, on sale also.

Some blue fat quarters.

Beige and tan fat quarters.

Red fat quarters and quarter yard cuts.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Free Motion Quilting Jitters

I always get nervous when I begin to machine quilt a project that I have worked on for months! I'm still learning and gaining experience as I go, so I wanted to get started on the right foot with my Summer of 2010 Nine Patch Quilt, which is only the second bed size quilt I have free motion quilted.

When I got home last night I cleaned and oiled my old Singer machine, replaced the needle and filled up 3 bobbins with the machine quilting thread I am trying for the first time.

Then I moved the machine so that it backed up to my cutting table and placed an old card table to the left of it to support the extra bulk of the quilt. This is essential to keep the weight of the quilt from dragging it away from the quilting area. Its also helpful to be able to spread out the quilted portions as you go.

So far, so good. I about to go make that first stitch! Pray for me!

Friday, September 10, 2010

In the Sewing Room

Organizing and setting up my sewing room is an on going process. I spent a little time Monday organizing everything and hanging a few things on the wall. Most of the walls in the farmhouse are made of plaster and you can't just use push pins to hang things! I know because I tried. Hanging things require the help of my hubby and his trusty rechargeable drill.

I haven't done any sewing since Monday, but have enjoyed just walking in there this week. Its a peaceful cheerful place.

The things on this corkboard make me smile.

I'm working on several projects at once and was feeling a little overwhelmed, so I organized them into a more usable system.

The "wedding" quilt is ready for more piecing. I've decided it will be the main project that I am working on right now. I bought some more fabric to go with it and now feel happier with how it is turning out. More on my trip to the "sort of big city" to a real fabric shop in a later post. :o)

The red/white and blue/beige quilts pieces in their own containers. I placed them near the sewing machine so I could continue to work on them as leaders and enders.

I've made much progress on handquilting my grandmother's quilt top. I quilt a few minutes on it most days and slowly, but surely it will get done. This weekend I plan to machine quilt the Summer Nine patch quilt. Maybe I'll be able to show some progress next week!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Practicing Hospitality

Offer Hospitality to one another without grumbling 1 Peter 4:9

Offering hospitality is a part of homemaking and there are references to it throughout the Bible.

Here are some ideas for simple ways to offer hospitality from my home recently.

If someone is having a birthday, its so simple to make it special. A little decorating goes a long way. Imagine how special you would feel if when you came into the room there were streamers, balloons and "Happy Birthday" banners.

Its so easy and inexpensive. I spent exactly $1.25 to make my kitchen look like this. I already had balloons left over from a previous celebration (I think it was a baby shower or wedding shower). I reuse the "Happy Birthday" banner, so already had it. I purchased one roll of "happy birthday" crepe paper (streamers) for $1.25.

I made a list of all the things I needed to do and accomplished as much as I could the day before. For example, I set the table, decorated and planned the menu the day before. The food was served buffet style.

And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers Philemon 1:22

We recently had overnight guests which was such a joy. A little planning ahead is helpful to both you and your guests. Try to anticipate their needs. Ask yourself what kinds of foods do your guests like. What would make their room comfortable? Some ideas for the guest room are: a box of kleenex, a nightlight, of course clean linens, clear a place in the closet for hanging clothes, put out bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths. A basket of trial size toiletries would be a good idea too.

For breakfast we served country ham biscuits and cantaloupe.

It would be nice to invite guests over for dessert and coffee. It's so easy to buy a frozen pie, pop it in the oven and present your guests with a delicious dessert.

I hope to be alert to ways I can offer hospitality to someone. You never know when unexpected guests may show up or you might feel inspired to invite someone over on the spot. So its a good idea to have some ways of showing hospitality in mind ahead of time.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. Matthew 25:35
Hebrews 13:2

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:1-3

What other ideas for practicing hospitality do you have?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Little Bit of Fall at the Farmhouse

Happy Wednesday everybody!

I'm a sucker for Sunflowers, so I couldn't resist this sparkley Sunflower made of tin. It's blooming right in front of the stepping stone my daughter made for us.

Monday, while off work for Labor Day, I made pillows for the chairs on our front porch. The fabric came from repurposed curtains I bought at a thrift shop a couple of years ago. The sunflower fabric curtains would have been cute in my sewing room, but I needed curtains for 2 sets of windows and had only one curtain. The striped fabric came from heavy lined drapes and is the brand name "Waverly". I was able to use the lining as the back of the pillows. I stuffed the inside of the pillows with thrift store pillows also, along with some polyfil stuffing I have had forever. So these pillows were very, very low cost. This is a good thing because I don't need to worry about how the weather affects them. When they start looking bad... out they go!

I made six pillows in a just a couple of hours. AAAHHH! Instant sewing gratification. After working on the slow process of quilting, its nice to have some finished projects

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. ...