Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Slice of My Life - Spring, 2011

Wow! The year is going by fast as its already the end of March!

Here's what's going on in my life lately and a few pictures from some older posts:

1. Since tomorrow is April 1st, I'd better get busy doing our taxes! I have definitely procrastinated this year. Most of the paperwork needed to prepare our taxes are in a file. AARGH! This weekend I will have to share my sewing time with tax preparation time!

2. Grocery Shopping and Couponing: My hubby has been doing most of the grocery shopping and yes, he coupons! He loves to go through the sales paper and coupon organizer in an effort to save money. I will resume this responsibility at some point, but we often switch roles on this.

3. Menu Planning: Hubby has been doing this too! It should be noted that when my hubby plans menus, the meals are very simple, but good. For example, this week we had banana sandwiches one night. We love them and they are good for you. You can't go wrong with good, healthy and fast!

4. We've come to the end of our first year since moving into the farmhouse!

5. We are really looking forward to growing our little kitchen garden this year. We had almost 2 inches of rain yesterday and its been chilly and cloudy most of the week. Just another couple of weeks and the garden will be a very busy place.

6. Christmas 2011: I am so excited that I have been making some handmade gifts early this year. Every year I want to give some handmade gifts, but I have never been able to get them done, due to waiting too late in the year to start. This year I will have some things done early!

7. Mama turned 86 yesterday! She is hanging in there health wise. There has been no major crises lately, such as falling. Our family took her out to eat Sunday for her birthday and she enjoyed that alot.

8. My grandson is 3 1/2 now and going to preschool. He is learning so many things and is a smart little guy!

9. My son will be 24 Sunday. He has grown into a man that I am so proud of and love so much! Its hard to believe my youngest child is that old, but imagine how my mother feels. I am her youngest child and I am 53! Her oldest child is 64!

10. I'm still working at my job, but retirement is often on my mind. It'll be a few more years, but its nice to make plans.

Speaking of work, I gotta run!

Have a nice last day of March!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Our Spring Garden Progress

The lettuce is really coming along. The good thing about growing it in containers is that we can move them around based on the weather. We place them in a place that breaks the wind on windy days and move them under a shelter when freezing weather is forecast. When the weather gets too hot for them, hopefully moving them into a shadier, cooler spot, will help them produce longer, since lettuce is a cool weather crop.

Some of the tomato seeds have come up. These are Better Boys, Early Girls and Mortgage Lifters. Until the weather warms up some, my kitchen has been taken over by seed starting!

On nice days we will simply carry the trays outside so the little plants can get enough sun. This will prevent them from getting too leggy and spindly.

We used recycled containers for all of our seed starting. These containers held fried chicken bought for a family birthday celebration. They are perfect since they even have a clear cover to keep the soil moist!

Styrofoam cups work well too! These contain pickling cucumbers and yellow straight neck summer squash.

We are having our normal early spring cool snap, but before you know it we will be planting all these veggies outside in the kitchen garden.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Mug Rug Weekend

It takes such a long time to make a regular size quilt, at least for me, so I decided take a break from big quilts and declared Saturday my first ever "Mug Rug Day" and it continued into Sunday afternoon.

Its just like making a regular quilt, but in miniature and a lot of fun! They are larger than a coaster,but smaller than a place mat. Just the right size to sit a cup and a cookie.

In these pictures you'll see a set of ASU coasters made for a Christmas 2011 stocking stuffer and several mug rugs with a spring and summer theme. All of them were made from scraps and left over quilt batting.

Also, all of these mug rugs were part of a learning experience for me. I have so many more designs in mind for future mug rugs.

Making the binding for a mug rug or other miniature quilt is different from a regular quilt binding. A basic double fold binding is too thick and aggravating to work with. A little research on the internet revealed that a single fold binding or simply making the backing big enough to fold over as a binding was better. I experimented with different bindings on several of these and decided that a single fold binding was the best option. I struggled quite a bit with the corners, but the last one I made finally worked out right. Not perfect, but getting there.

The small meandering quilting only took about 5 or 10 minutes per mug rug. Here are some close ups of the quilting.

Some of the backs of the mug rugs:

Friday, March 25, 2011

On My Sewing Table Friday

Just a few more minutes and I will be finished hand sewing the binding on the Sidney Quilt.

This baby's due date is coming up quickly, so I finished it just in time.

This Stacked Coins pattern can be found HERE ON MODA BAKE SHOP, DESIGNED BY CRAZY MOM QUILTS.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Little Early Springiness

A neighbor friend using his tractor to prepare the soil for our small kitchen garden. We want to grow tomatoes, peppers, squash, peas, okra and cucumbers.

My Christmas cactus is still blooming! They must thrive on neglect because last summer I paid it no attention at all.

These purple irises at my mother's house are already blooming.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mortgage Lifter

My hubby and I bought some heirloom tomato seeds called "Mortgage Lifter". Of course, the name is what caught my eye at the store. Mortgage Lifters are supposed to be BIG tomatoes.

I was curious about the name and looked it up. It seems that back in the 1930s a guy named "Radiator Charlie" developed this tomato and sold them for $1.00 each, which was a lot in the 30s. He was able to pay off his mortgage by selling the tomatoes. His mortgage was about $6,000.00

I don't expect that growing some of our own vegetables will save us as much money as Radiator Charlie made, but it will be tasty and frugal.

In a couple of months I hope to being making sandwiches from these:

Our tomato seedlings in progress:

Mortgage Lifter:

If the Mortgage Lifters grow as big as promised, I will post pictures this summer!

Happy Spring!

Friday, March 18, 2011

On My Sewing Table Friday

Early this morning I finished the two shams to go with the Farmhouse Magic quilt and worked on the red and white double irsh chain quilt with leaders and enders

Tonight is Friday Night Sew In and I will be making a pillow case for my Guitar Man for Christmas!

For more quilting and sewing updates, please visit my quilting blog, ANGEL SCRAPS QUILTING.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Frugal Tip of the Week - One way to Stock the Pantry and Stop the Waste

One way to stock the pantry is to concentrate on one item at a time. Make the decision that each week or each shopping trip, you will buy one or two extras of an item you use all the time. If you aren't too brand loyal, you can buy which ever one is on sale or the least expensive. Finding a coupon for the item makes the process even sweeter.

We did this with coffee recently. I committed to buying one bag of coffee every week for a few weeks. We drink "half caffeine" or "lite" coffee. Food Lion brand is usually the least expensive, but Maxwell House was on sale at Food Lion last week and there was a coupon available. After checking the number of ounces in the containers, I was a little bummed to find that the Food Lion brand coffee only contained 11.5 ounces. So remember to check the size of your products when comparing prices! As you probably already know the manufacturers are reducing sizes of packages without our even realizing it!

This is our lowly coffee maker. It doesn't make the coffee as hot as we like. Especially after adding cold creamer to the cup, we need to heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

One way to make the now stocked up coffee supply last is not to waste it! I noticed that every day I was pouring out old coffee, so now I have reduced the amount of coffee I make each morning. I have been guilty of always making a full pot even on mornings when I am the only one drinking coffee. Its ridiculous to make 10 cups of coffee when only 2 are needed.

After we have stocked up on as much coffee as we think is needed, we will then start stocking up on another item. Not sure which one yet, but will keep you updated on our progress.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Dreams

Birdhouses received as a Christmas gift waiting to be installed:

A new Spring Flag:

A freshly planted crop of Butter Crunch and Romaine Lettuce:

The Strawberry Begonias have started returning:

A new clothesline trellis waiting to be planted with Morning Glories, a Clematis or other vine:

I can imagine hanging clothes this summer with lots of blooms running all over the trellis.

Do you have Spring and Summer dreams?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Plant Invasion

You may recognize some of these containers as the cups and saucers bought at the thrift store in my last post. I bought a Ponytail Palm that had more than a dozen small plants in the pot, so I needed several containers to put them into. Ponytail Palms like to be root bound and don't need much water, so I thought the cups would be a cute starter pot for these small plants. I will need to be careful to only give them a sip of water since there are no drainage holes.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Some Thrift Store Stuff

I went into a thrift store Saturday that I had not been in before. My sole reason for going in was to look for pots for plants and also plates and saucers to use for drainage underneath the pots.

All of the dishes were 25 cents each so I bought this old, chipped and faded bowl. I'm not sure if it has character or if its junk, but for 25 cents I won't lose sleep over it. It is really old, that's for sure.

I love dishes with the wheat design on them. I will probably use it as a plant drainage dish.

I have plans for these cups and saucers.

More tomorrow.

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. ...