Monday, December 31, 2012

Soup and a Quilt....

We always have lots of left over ham from Christmas and this is our favorite way to use it up. Cream of potato and ham soup!

Peel and dice 6 medium potatoes and a small onion.

Cover with water in a medium to large pot and bring to a boil.

Add 1/2 pound chopped ham.  Gently boil for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.

You may want to pour off a little of the water, depending on how thin or thick you like your soup.  Then add 1 can of cream of celery soup, 3 tablespoons of butter, 2 cups of milk and salt and pepper to taste.  You might not need much salt because the  ham is salty and the cream of celery soup already has salt in it, as well.  So, be careful not to over salt it.  We just add our pepper to our individual soup bowls, instead of the pot.  We like a lot of black pepper.

Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the butter has melted and the soup is very hot.

This soup is a delicious comfort food for a cold Winter's day.  The tiny bits of onion, celery, chunks of ham and potatoes, make it really, really good.

We enjoyed our soup Saturday for both lunch and supper.  It rained all morning and this recipe hit the spot.  I have a copy of the recipe in my recipe binder with the following written on it. "New Years Day, 2011, a Winner!" 

How wonderful it was to stay home all day on a rainy cold Saturday, with soup simmering on the stove and a scrap quilt in progress:

I made this baby size quilt top Saturday, quilted it on Sunday and am sewing on the binding today.  This picture was taken at about 5:30 A.M. today.

I have to go to work today, but hope to finish it tonight, for one final 2012 finish!

Friday, December 28, 2012

My Kids

They may be all grown up, but its still hard to get a good picture of these guys. There were three other shots before this one with various funny faces and poses. But in the end I kind of like this one!

I'm excited to announce that my daughter is expecting her second child who is due to be born in early August, 2013.

So this means that next Christmas, if all goes well, there will be three grandchildren gathered beneath our Christmas Tree.

Look how big my grandson is getting!!

ok.... here are the three other shots. Love these, too, because they show their personalities and their love for each other.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Roasted Pecans

Pecans are so expensive to buy in the grocery store!  We don't have any pecan trees since we moved to the farmhouse, but luckily this year we were given some pecans already shelled into halves.

I looked back in the Homemaking Dreams archives and found that I had already posted the simple roasted pecan recipe that I use.  But here it is again, just in case you have some pecans on hand.  We love them!


Melt one stick of butter or margarine in a saucepan. Add one pound (3 or 4 cups) of shelled pecan halves and swirl them until they are well coated. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes or until the nuts begin to toast through and turn a darker shade of brown. Drain on paper towels. When they have cooled a bit sprinkle with salt to taste and when thoroughly cooled, store in tightly covered jars or tins.

Happy Boxing Day!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Some Free Gifts to Give Yourself!

Merry Christmas to you!

There are some free crafting, sewing, and quilting on-line classes and a free Ebook available that would make nice little Christmas treats for yourself.

1.  Click HERE to access the free classes.  I am not being compensated in any way to advertise for Craftsy, just thought it would be a nice Christmas Eve thing to do.

At Craftsy there are several free mini classes available. I signed up for several which include bag making, cake decorating, quilting and sewing.

The neat thing about these online classes is that you have unlimited access to them and so even though probably none of us have time to watch the classes for the next few days, we can watch them later at our leisure.

Of course, there are classes that you can pay for and until Midnight tonight many are on sale. I plan to watch my free classes first to see if I like them enough to buy a class later on. I would love to take a beginning knitting class and many others. The names of the free classes I signed up for are:

1.  Bag making basics - Reversible Tote and Zipper Pouch
2.  Bag making basics - Drawstring bag and Bucket Bag
3.  Creative Quilt Backs
4.  Craftsy 2012 Blocks of the Month
5.  Sewing Machine 911
6.  Modern Butter Cream (cake decorating)
7.  Micro Torch Basics (jewelry)

2.  There is also a free E-Book right now at Fons and Porter which is entitled, Build Your Best Log Cabin Quilt.  Click HERE to download your copy.

I hope that you will enjoy your freebies!

May all your celebrations be a blessing to you and yours.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Random Pictures

My sewing room is a mess right now. But a bright spot in there consists of these two Christmas Cacti. I think they are technically Thanksgiving Cacti, because this picture was taken a couple of weeks ago when they were in full bloom.

Still backin the Pack.

I hope your last weekend before Christmas is a productive and blessed one.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

He Made It!

Yesterday we went to Hubby's knee replacement follow up appointment with his orthopaedic doctor at Chapel Hill, NC.   He has done so good! He can walk without the assistance of a cane now. His pain level is low, his leg is straight and he can drive now.  He has been so obedient to the doctor's orders and worked hard with the physical therapist.  All of this and especially God's healing hand have led to a great outcome.

Life is good.

We are so pleased with the UNC Chapel Hill facility and Hubby's doctor in particular. They are awesome!

This picture is in the waiting room of the doctor's office and I tried to get a picture. There was a bad glare on the glass so I had to take it from an angle, but maybe you can see it ok.

All of the ACC teams' mascots are shown. The UNC Ram is the doctor and the others are sick. Our team's mascot, the Wolf, has a red ice bag on his head.

This is a pretty peaceful scene, but you won't see this camaraderie on the football field or basketball court!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Moving Right Along.....

A cozy rainy day totally spent at home has allowed me to get some Christmas things done. Here are just a few glimpses.

This plant was a gift from my Hubby's coworkers when Mama died. I put a dollar's worth of tiny red glass balls on the twigs to make a Christmas Twig Tree.

Hubby loves to make cookies.  (Thanks Pillsbury!)

A thrift store wooden painted Santa.

A few more wristlet key fobs for coworkers.

A few Christmas ornaments.

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Farmhouse Kitchen at Christmas

I like down to earth, country, farmhouse-ey type Christmas decorations. Especially handmade ones.  Here are a few glimpses of my attempt at this in the kitchen.

This primitive wreath with the added "Wish" star hangs on the door between the dining room and living room.  After Christmas I will just take the Wish star off and the wreath will be perfect for Winter. 

I tied a scrap of fabric on this slightly rusty grater, placed red kitchen utensils in the white pitcher, and replaced the autumn scene in the wooden tray with a piece of Christmas fabric.

These Christmas coffee mugs are waiting for the coffee to finish brewing.  The red one is mine and the brown one is Hubby's.  He really prefers his NC State mug, but humors me a little on this one.   I Love my pumpkin spice or peppermint mocha creamer, especially this time of year.   Hubby just wants a splash of 2% milk in his coffee, but I need my flavors and sugar!  After the holiday flavors are a thing of Christmas past, I will return to the fat free hazelnut.

A handmade table runner with another of the wooden trays containing handmade cloth Christmas napkins.   We really do use the napkins and hardly EVER buy paper towels or paper napkins.  I do need paper towels sometimes for certain messes, but just not on a daily basis.

This little basket contains some handmade Christmas coasters.

The dishtowel drawer takes on a whole new style this time of year.  I love to switch over to these Christmas ones for a couple of weeks each year.   The red checked and plaid ones stay there year round, but I temporarily stored the other colored ones.

I enjoy having some Christmas dishes along with my standard thrift store white dishes on display on this wooden dish rack. I don't dry dishes on it, but its so convenient to just grab a plate, mug or glass off it when we are "fixin our plates"! I place the Christmas mugs and a few short Christmas glasses on the side part.

So far I have only scattered a few Christmas things around the house, but haven't put up a tree yet. Maybe this weekend.  I love a few cozy decorations like Christmas quilts, flags outside, a wreath, and the kitchen things in this post. But I don't like to decorate every single possible corner. Just not enough time and money for all that.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Small Gift Idea

Here are some small gifts I recently made. Key fobs in all shapes and sizes.

I didn't have the standard key fob hardware, so I just used a D-ring and a split key ring on most of them. I love having a wristlet size key fob for myself. Its great to put on my wrist when my hands are full!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fleece Gifts

I had my very first experience with fleece over the weekend. The ECU fleece came from the remnant bin at Joann's 2 or 3 years ago. I kept wondering what I could make with it. It was a yard and a half which was too small for an adult sized throw. A little research on the internet and I found plenty of ideas. Here are 3 scarves. I am learning from my mistakes and having fun in the process.  That one on top is a boa!

Self Portrait.  Maybe cute for a young lady to wear to an ECU football game?

The fleece feels so luxurious.

A little decorative stitching.
Cutting the fringe

Still not too sure about the boa.... hubby was intrigued by it. Maybe in a leopard print? LOL

Friday, December 7, 2012


There has been some sewing going on lately at my house.

I posted this quilt on my quilting blog last week, so forgive me if you've already seen it. This is my winter quilt that was made from the Bloggers' Block of the Month series I worked on all year.

Here are a couple of special ordered clothespin bags I shipped this week.

I am enjoying working in my sewing room lately.  I know its getting late, but I still want to make some handmade Christmas gifts.  I've been brainstorming and searching the internet for ideas.  I'm going to experiment some this weekend with fleece projects.  Also, key fobs are quick and easy for stocking stuffers.

I hope your Friday and weekend are blessed!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mortgage Lifters

Look what I found in the bottom of the freezer on Saturday! You can read the story of the Mortgage Lifters Tomato in THIS POST.

The vegetable beef soup made with this last bag of "frozen summer" was delicious.

Every batch of vegetable soup I make has different ingredients. This one had the following:

Mortgage Lifters tomatoes
Browned ground beef and chopped onions
2 cans of No Salt Added Veg All
Leftover garden peas from the night before
A few diced potatoes cooked in a separate pot and added to the crock pot
Black Pepper sprinkled in your mug of soup

Of course some salt would have added much flavor to the soup, but it was still good.  We try to cut out as much salt as we can.

You never know what you'll find in the bottom of your freezer or at the back of your pantry.  What a blessing it is to be able to make a delicious meal from what you have on hand.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our November

November, 2012 will go down in history at the Homemaking Dreams Household. The most important even was my Mama's passing on November 2nd. Then exactly one week after the funeral, my hubby had total knee replacement of his right knee.

This is the first time in 12 years that we haven't gone on vacation during the week of our anniversary which is November 18th. This year we spent it in the hospital at Memorial Hospital, at UNC Chapel Hill. This year's vacation wasn't nearly as much fun as prior years, but there were some similarities.

A bed and socks:

A view:

A show. There was a fund raiser going on down in the Children's Hospital lobby with an Elvis impersonator. Yes, I looked rather washed out, but I had been sleeping in my hubby's hospital room for several days at that point.

Yesterday we went for hubby's two week post-op appointment and he is doing great! He is walking better than before the surgery, with less pain and his leg is straight and purty!

Glimpses of Home - HOOKS!

Now that's an exciting title, isn't it?  HaHa  While working around the house the other day I realized that I have a lot of over t...