Monday, December 29, 2008

We’re pretty much Mug People at our house. There are tons of cups and saucers, but we generally gravitate to the mugs. I really don’t know why --- maybe the dirty dish count--- but the coffee mugs are usually the first choice.

When I was a little girl, before the day when tea came in a multitude of varieties in pretty boxes. I guess they may have existed. But there definitely was no money for things like that. Every fall my Mom would make a mixture she called Spice Tea. We would have cups in the afternoon together, always in a cup and saucer. I remember feeling so grown up.

A couple of months ago I was feeling nostalgic. I hadn’t had spice tea I know in 25 years. But I made up a batch and have had afternoon tea everyday and smiled and thought of my Mom. It's even gotten me through tough days at work. I called and told my Mom about it and she laughed and said she hadn’t thought about it in years.

I guess there are some things little girls just don’t forget.

Spice Tea
1 cup instant tea
2 cup Tang
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground Cloves
1 cup Sugar.

Mix all ingredients. Store in a covered container. When ready to serve, place One tablespoon in one cup boiling water. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

In all the hurry of Christmas coupled with the “tonsil” episode I forgot to get a snapshot of the gift I made for my friend at the office. Here’s the pattern.
It has whole cloves for button and grapevine curls for arms. Lots of fun to make. With the red and the heart on the snowman I thought it would suit her front door through Valentine’s day. The scarf is tacked on with the button and tucks just like the picture.

The weather has turned our house to a version of the North Pole. It rained throughout the day yesterday and froze with a couple of inches fresh snow to top it off. Great snow shoe weather if you have to find a bright spot. Good for quilting too.

I was packing up my cookie cutters to take back to my Sunday school class for ‘play dough’ lessons.
I’d like to say they were the neat red handle antique ones, but truthfully they are Rubbermaid. Beside cookies, they make great quilting stencils so don’t put them on the back shelf without thinking of the possibilities.

Tomorrow I begin a new adventure of my own. My work has shut down the offices for a week due to “economic” stress. I could get on a tall soap box about the entire thing but have decided to use it as an opportunity of pretend. What would my life be like day to day without that job? There won’t be late sleeping in but an afternoon nap will definitely be appropriate. There won’t be dirty dishes in the sink and hopefully the laundry stays caught up. There are fantasies of losing 10 pounds but realistically I’ll settle for not gaining any weight from having a refrigerator close by. I definitely will be low on excuses for being in a bad mood….

That guy on the snowplow having to brave the bad weather first.
Don helping stretch my quilt—I have got to learn that on my own—eventually.
My 3 four year olds in Sunday School saying prayers of thankfulness For Santa--- Yes we pray for Santa in our class.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Here are the quilting treasures I received from my Mom and my Sister in law. I had been wishing over the quilt books for some time. Can't wait to snuggle up and read them cover to cover. We braved the weather--- totally stupid thing to do--- and went people watching in Green Bay yesterday and checked out the after Christmas sales. Eric and I both got new coats and Chelsey got some money for Christmas so she set out to maximize the return on the cash.

It was a fun day - and we played those silly car games on the way down...You remember-- My name is ADAM my wife's name is AVA. I'm from ALABAMA with and ARM full of APPLES--- Through the alphabet. We were all together and that is all that mattered.

We dropped Chelsey and a friend at the mall and Don and Eric took me to a quilt shop. I asked if they wanted to go in and Don's response was something like this---"I'm going toteach Eric the art form of Napping in the car while you shop..." I just laughed. I could have spent a million, but considering the treasures I had already received I settled for quilt backings for the quilts I plan on machine quilting this week. $4.00/yard-- was a great deal.

Plans for today--- a little "family" house cleaning, after all it's everyone's mess. We've got plans at a friends for New Year's Celebrating so we are having our Chinese cooking tradition today. Winter storm watches are in effect so we're staying close to home.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It didn't get completed in time for Christmas 2008, but I'm not even upset. It's a piece by Lisa Bongean. I had wished over the kit for a couple of years-- for some reason it 'talked' to me--- and found the pattern in Marquette on Clearance. The little heart is supposed to be punchneedle work, but I don't know how. I kind of like the crazy quilted heart. It already has memories attached--- I worked on it while Chelsey was having her tonsils removed. A minor surgery, but that doesn't keep mothers from worrying.

I also kind of look that this piece as a "never quit" kind of piece. I'll get it stretched and it will be ready next season. I'm not going to give up stitching just because I have this time table or calendar date keeping me from completing the project on time. I still had a lot of fun doing it. I spent $3.50 on a pattern and got hours of entertainment just using threads and scraps around the house.

A sunny day - Temps over 20 degrees
family time
Twinkle lights lining the fireplace at night

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A quick note before the holiday begins... I must work a half of a day--- anyone can do that.... Chelsey is on the mend, and Eric is relieved classes are over. The snow in about ten inches deep in the woods so it feel like Christmas to us.

Merry Christmas from My Porch to Yours--- May Everyone take time to remember the Good Things in their Lives... Their Faith, Their Family, and Their Friends....
God Bless.......

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I have had so many good intentions for posting but life has been so busy. It’s the good kind of busy so no complaints. My front porch is decorated for the holidays. I completed this wall quilt.
It was easy and fun—the red bird was my favorite part. The Santa mugs are out for Santa’s coffee break.
Don and I went to Christmas parties last Thursday and Friday. Stayed out way too late, but had so much fun. Saturday night we had 5 couples over till the wee hours of the morning. I think the remainder of the Christmas season will be spent relaxing.

The trees are trimmed.
My tree sort of turned into a birdhouse Christmas tree this year.
I have collected abandoned birds nests for several years and now have 8 that are gently tucked into the tree each year.
Dried flowers and pinecones along with Chelsey’s collection of Barbie ornaments trim the tree.

I got an email from and it had this gift bag pattern that I whipped up Sunday night.
It’s for my mom. I filled it with note cards, thank you notes and blank cards along with stamps, and pens as a Christmas gift. She’s a faithful letter writer. I hope she likes it.

Melissa had the cutest sign and I fell in love with it. She gave me directions for purchasing it so now I have my own.

The first year we were married Don was out of work--- a lot of the time. It’s why we ended up in Michigan. That first Christmas we lived in a duplex that had a complex of 4 apartments filled with little old ladies next to it. He made succor trees for each of the ladies.
I laughed at the layers of paint that are building up. Christmas holds a lot of traditions for me and no matter how old, that tree is one of them.

The fireplace is lit up.
I decided to hang the stockings from my quilt ladder this year. With the ‘Snow Drifted Inn”—sign at the top.

Chelsey got her tonsils taken out yesterday so I wasn’t at work. She was at the hospital at 8 am. They took her to surgery at 10:30 am. I was bringing her home for 2 pm. It’s a lot different than when I was a kid. I got up several times during the night checking on her. She, of course, was sound asleep. I got her up before I went to work let her shower. Talked to her about her medicine. Retrieved everything from the basement to keep her from going up and down stairs. I left for work with one of the worst guilt complexes I’ve had in a long time. I can promise you, Don never felt that. I went home and got her lunch sat down for a few minutes of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and made my way back to work. She’s fine. Resting, even folded a load of laundry. She’s 18 after all. But that doesn’t change it for Moms. Sometimes it’s just tough. But we press on….

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanksgiving was really special. Took some pictures, but kind of got caught up in the holiday that I forgot to photograph it like I should have. It was just the four of us. Instead of place cards--- my kids threatened to take me to the doctor if I used them with just four of us at the table---I opted for Thanksgiving verses.
And Even though I got the “Mom, you are so cute” line, I think it was outstanding. I wanted to press the point home that the holiday was more than just about food.

Both kids are settled back into their college lives but as I look back on the weekend, it was definitely one of the more memorable ones. We Played Buzzword. If you want a great family game—this is it… We all still laugh over playing. Trust me—you won’t be disappointed. Friday, Chels and I went to Appleton. Lots of shoppers--- but I could tell there wasn’t so many buyers. We spent the day shopping for her an outfit for a Christmas party. She’d get a little frustrated and I’d calm her down---“Who cares what we’re doing… at long as we’re together…” By the end of the day, I think she recognized it. We ended the day at a quilt shop in Green Bay. And she spent the trip home trying to convert me to her “kind” of music….Where’s Kenny Chesney when you need him?!?!?!?!

Saturday she returned to school, as she had to work. Don and Eric did their thing and I played in my sewing room. I started a tiny quilt. It was for a gift… but I may not be able to part with it.
On the advice of Libby--- I went to the scrap box and dug in. It does become addictive. When I look at this little 8 x 10 piece… all it keeps telling me is to “Appreciate the little things…”

I started work on a wall hanging. The pattern was a gift from Colleen. The stitching is complete.
Over the last 12 months my stitching has improved.

I’m off to work. Did I say I have a “wife” this week? Don has a week of vacation. And I truly believe…”Every woman needs a wife….”

Safe travel for my kids
That scrap box of fabric

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Celebrate……Every day there’s reason to celebrate. Some days it just takes longer to find that reason. I found out Monday that the place I work will take down time between Christmas and the New Year. The pay cut is tough but my kids will still go to school, the jeep will still have gasoline and there will still be a house --- warm with a refrigerator full of food. It could be so much worse. It’s just temporary but I’m a realist---it could turn into permanent down the road. But for now we will celebrate and say it will be family and quilt time at home. Once my kids get home for Christmas the snow can fall by the tons because there’s plenty of fabric and we will be snug inside.

I just pulled the pecan pie out of the oven. The Turkey goes in bright and early in the morning. Chelsey should be home around 9 or 10. Eric had a safe trip home.
Here are the next to last blocks to the Four Seasons Quilt I’ve worked on throughout 2008. I’m excited about the completion. I have a couple of Christmas presents have been stitched, but I can’t post until later. They are surprises.

I hope everyone takes time out to appreciate the goodness in all of our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving…..

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It’s Sunday evening. I finally got tolerable weather for my Neighborhood quilt. That’s what I call this BOM quilt officially called the House Sampler from Cottage quilts. I wished over it for two years before signing up for the project.

We went to Green Bay Christmas Shopping this weekend. I made considerable progress. It was chaotic in the stores. You’d never know there was economic woes across the nation. I did make more cautious buying decisions and avoided quilting stores. I guess I recognize my weaknesses.

The kids will be home Wednesday. Chelsey will not be home till Thursday morning as she will be working Wednesday until dark. I’d rather her not be on the road. They’ve already got 14 inches of snow on the ground. It’s the responsible decision. I sat back Friday night and thought….my kids are coming home for a holiday—oh no—they might be turning into adults!?!? It’s tough for a Mom.

It’s tough on Ransom too. He’s hanging tight with me… but I don’t think I’m as much fun as the kids…
Pine cones
My favorite Coffee Mug
Don and Ransom’s Company

Friday, November 21, 2008

Home…..It’s always great to visit other places, but there is nothing like being home. My folks are doing great. Over the next week, I’ll write down stories, because I don’t want to forget them. Here’s my old green--- new black jelly cupboard with a quilt draped over it.
Every once in a while the folds fall just right and I love the look of the pumpkin. This was a Thimbleberries Club quilt from several years ago.

The weekend before my trip--- I attempted to make a pencil roll designed by Kathy at Pink Chalk Studio. I had wished over it over about 9 months.
Four months ago I bought the colored pencils thinking it would be a great surprise for Chelsey. My pattern called for 13 pencils and I had 24.
Some people are gifted enough to “monkey” with the pattern and adjust it to work--- I’m obviously not. The strips were to be cut 1.5 inches. I thought a quarter of and inch wouldn't matter so that I could incorporate more colors. Wrong! It was a complete disaster. On top of that, I used batting when the pattern called for flannel inside. I should have just emailed Kathy and talked to her about it. 3 hours of sewing Sunday was wasted. But I regrouped and two days later I started again and it was worth it. She loved the gift. The fabrics were filled with memories.

“Mom--- you used my Prom dinner table cloths.”
“You made me a purse out of the turquoise.”
“ I bought you the Baby –Blue”
“My favorite is the White”
“I know how you love plaids”
“I was with you when you got the green.”
“The key on the bottom is your trademark.”

“Mom--- I love it….my friends say that I can’t use it. I need to saved it…”

I stopped at the cleaners last week to pick up clothes. On the way to the car I saw dried hydrangea bushes. I went back in—on impulse—and asked if I could cut the dead flowers. The girl’s response was “I don’t know why you’d want dead flowers, but take all you want…”

So here they are and they’re going on the Christmas tree. I think it’s just going to be beautiful.

My kids coming home for Thanksgiving.
Quiet days at work
Southern Living Magazines sent home with me by my Mom

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday and tons to talk about. The last month of my House Sampler is Complete and the quilt is entirely piece, just no photo opts.
Maybe this afternoon. As soon as my Christmas sewing is complete, we’ll get this baby quilted.
Chelsey sent me this dishtowel from school. She said is looked like me. I think it’s almost too nice to use.

I won!!! I did, I won a complete quilt kit from Carrie Nelson at Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company.
The Pattern, Fabric and Even borders fabrics came. I even brought it to work one day to wish on. Made a tough day easier to get through. OK--- I just wish I had hand writing like this lady…Another thing to put on the “to do” list… practice penmanship.

Lastly, My latest Purchase, The Crow napkin rings. Perfect for anytime of the year. They were mail-ordered from Farmhouse Woolens.
Even though I’m on a budget, some things you just can’t live without.

I’m off Thursday for a long weekend to visit my folks in Louisiana. Don and Ransom will be “Bachelors” roughing it without me. I can’t wait to see my folks.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It’s called Saltboxes in the Corner. And it’s complete…..well pieced anyway. It’s supposed to have a 4 inch black border all the way around, but this quilt is queen-size already, so I’m opting for black binding instead. It was so much fun. It’s the first time I’ve used wool in a quilt. I’ve got to create a backing.

This is legally defined as a stash buster. I only purchased the wool. I’m kicking around piecing one more house and including it in the backing. It was an incredibly accurate and easy pattern. I have many memories of quilters stitched into it as we have traded and swapped fat quarters the last couple of years.

I had an email chat with a quilter today. We talked about houses and decorating and wishes and “want to’s” dealing with the wood, nails, and brick contraption we call home. I firmly believe it’s never the ‘House’ that looks great, it’s what you do with it and the love--- not $$$ poured into it.

We bike ride all summer long and I took the time to photo some of the homes on our path.

Most, if not all, looked empty throughout the summer. I always imagine them being cottages for weekenders or maybe camps for winter hunters, or maybe just hide-aways for people needing a chance to escape the city.

As we ride I tell Don stories of the people that I think live there or if I owned the house exactly where the quilts would be.

So I guess ending this post of a House quilt …maybe the same concept is true--- it’s not how much money you pour into the quilt but the love that’s there in the stitches that makes the difference.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Good Morning---

I'm finishing up the Cheerios and I'm off to work in a flash. It's Halloween. We usually don't get trick or treaters out our way, but I have candy just in case....

I completed the top border for the quilt I'm working on and I just have 4 appliqued trees left.
I don't think I'm going to make the November 1st deadline, But, I'm pretty close.

I sent My college kids Halloween Chinese takeout boxes filled them with Fortune cookies. I completed a handmade card with a snapshot of them as kids trick or treating. Yesterday I bundled up their mail and sent it to them. Probably missing them a little. I just want them to know they are thought of.

We've had a snow shower but it has melted. It even got into the 60 degree temperatures yesterday.

I'm hoping for a weekend of sewing and playing in the the woods. We have to enjoy the warmer weather and it is fast leaving us.

Hope everyone has fun tonight, be careful....

Monday, October 20, 2008

I started a post before work on Monday--- It’s now Tuesday and that post is yet to be complete. We had a great weekend. I went to work yesterday and there’s always the question: “what did you do?” We caught up on housework, watched a movie, Raked leaves, ran Ransom each day, slept in, and quilted. On paper it sounds incredibly boring…but in “real life”, I was terribly content. Guess you had to have been there….

I’m one border away form finishing the Saltbox in the Corner Quilt. Maybe tonight… I made four donation blocks for a friend’s granddaughter’s quilt.
She requested purple… I was digging deep to find purple fabric in the fabric closet.

Yesterday I headed out with the quilted cards and a jeep full of pumpkins for the annual pumpkin drop off.
I felt like Santa. I left several pumpkins and notes on friends’ doorsteps and headed home for the evening. Who doesn’t smile at a pumpkin?!?!?

I’ve got 9 days of quilt time left. On November 1st, I have set a goal to make three small Christmas gifts. We’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I had a really rough week at work… we’ll l leave it at that.. I made it to the weekend. It’s not worth posting about.

My daughter came home this weekend--- with surprises. She knows me well.

I now have a crow for a front porch wreath and plaids to replenish my stash. I needed a piece of wool for tree trunks so she rescued me. She’s a great kid.

Weekend plans will hopefully focus on sewing. I want to spend time with Chelsey. She’s been laying the groundwork for not coming home till thanksgiving, but that’s a while away. But while I share her with her friends, I’m hoping to finish piecing a quilt. I’m really excited about it. Can’t wait to share.

My job despite the rough weeks
A daughter that loves me

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Where have I been???? I guess I’ve been just adjusting to life at home without the kids. The economy has hit work hard, so job responsibilities vary. We’ve been enjoying the weather a lot. It’s been pretty mild, so the leave seem to be just clinging to the trees longer than usual.
Here is the view from the ‘Front Porch’.

I’ve tried all summer to get a photograph of the view from the Hammock on the ‘Covered Porch’ in the back – the day light was just perfect today.
Experts are blaming the drought as for the reason for lack of red.
On the quilting front, I’ve just about finished the wool appliqué and here are the flying geese blocks. I am determined that my salt box quilt will be the scrappy stash buster kind of quilt, with only the wool being the new fabric purchased for it. You can see scrap pieced triangles of Thimbleberries fabrics from the scrap basket. I thought it was a little too “new” looking after the snap shot and dunked it in in the leftover afternoon coffee to age it a little.
We went bike riding this afternoon as temps reached 73 degrees. That basket came in handy for a quart of milk we needed for home.
A snapshot of my Fall star on the front door.

A ‘Sorta Labrador’ dog for company
Home Chef Salads for two
Sleeping in until 7 am

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I was procrastinating. I knew it and did it anyway. I was scared to death of cutting into the wool for my Saltboxes in the corner quilt. I guess it was because it was a different kind of fabric. Maybe because I knew I couldn’t replace easily if I were to screw it up.

I had worked later than normal yesterday. I went home and got all the “have to do’s” out of the way. And then got on a fit. I had counted on quilting all day. It was getting me through a lot of junk at work and now that it was time to actually do the “fun stuff”, I was too tired. But I thought I’d at least go down and straighten up some fabric. Then I said I’d cut out one color and see how it went. I ended up cutting out all the wool pieces and it didn’t hurt a bit. A common sense tip --- I run short of common sense lots of time. I cut out the big pieces first, and then used the leftovers for the smaller ones. The yardage was pretty tight, so I was glad I did or I would not have had enough for the project. Most people know to do this…. like I said, I come up short on the common sense side of things. Give me an Algebraic equation and I do fine--- every day life—sometimes I suffer.

I even picked out fabric for the setting triangles around the houses.

I’ve got a couple of gifts to make this weekend. I have to finish breaking down the garden and harvesting the carrots too. Chelsey had planned on staying at school this weekend, but I talked with her last night:

“Mom, you know I’m all talk. I’ll be home after work this weekend.” I just laughed. That’s why she went off to school only two hours away. Weather will become a factor in later months. But for right now--- Ransom will have a weekend bed partner….He really misses those kids.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I had both my kids home for the weekend. Lots of cooking and eating, but lots of fun. They both made it safely back to school, so the house is a lot bigger and a lot quieter too. That’s not a bad thing either. Like a always tell Chelsey--- “since the day you were born, this has been part of the plan…”

Onto quilting. The postcard was a hit with Chelsey; she even had a friend that wanted one too.

“Mom, they don’t care what’s on it—just send him one…”

Now Eric wasn’t thrilled, “Mom, I share a mailbox with 6 other people--- don’t do that again, you’re a dork…” Oh well, win a few… lose a few….
Here are the cards hitting the College dorm this week.

I finished the last block of the house sampler. I found my self cutting a house and coming back later and sewing it up. Lots of pieces and detail in this set.
Next month we receive borders and put it all together. Back in January I had plans for a flying geese border or maybe an Ohio star pieced one, but I’m ready to get this baby in the quilting frame and call her done. I recommend it to everyone. I really enjoyed it. Buggy Barn Quilts did a nice job of putting it together….
I had to get a new cell phone – the second in a week… completely stressful. I guess I’m going to figure out how to use the puppy, clean up the quilt shop downstairs, and hit the hay---

Tomorrow’s another day…..

For quilting……..