Thursday, January 31, 2008

Family Fun Pictures

Wow - 2 posts in 1 day - I must be either very bored, on a roll or insane!!!

In reality though, we have gotten the orders here at work to clean up our computers, and remove some of our unnecessary files that are cluttering up our hard drives - while I do not believe that the 200+ pictures of my kids are unnecessary, and in fact, are vital to me to work - I can see their point. So I thought I'd post these so family can enjoy the views:

I make the kids halloween costumes every year - this year we had the victorian era girl and a pirate (in years past we have had: a devil, a bear, raggedy ann, a ladybug, a firefighter, a football player, a cheerleader, a fairy princess and sleeping beauty)

My in-laws raise miniature donkeys - the above donkey is Jay-Jay, whom all the grandkids enjoy driving up and down the driveway in the cart. Cute little buggar. . . They also have an in ground swimming pool, so it's a guarantee that our kids will know how to swim (while they may not earn any medals, they will at least be safe (or as safe as we can teach them! - and I don't know how to flip pictures around, so the one will have to live being sideways - sorry about that!)
These 2 I just love because they remind me of fun times. Since Todd is a volunteer firefighter, we do quite a bit with the other members of the fire department - this was our family picnic in July. They were trying to clean out a buildup of dirt and stones in the creek, and the other one is a water barrel fight (official name practice control of a fire hose - unofficial name - getting soaked). Todd is the one holding the hose in the right of the picture with the blue tshirt on.
Looking at these pictures makes me wish it were summertime now. . . .

Ohio Weather

The weather here in Ohio has been from one extreme to the other, Monday it was about 50 degrees, today we will be lucky to hit 20 degrees. This was Todd's last weekend's project - splitting all this wood:

Weather permitting, we will be stacking all of this wood in the wood shed this weekend (you can just barely see it behind the truck). Tyler has been "helping" to stack wood the last few days, but unfortunately, his version of stacking wood and ours don't agree. But at 4, he tries.

I must say though, I have not gotten ANY sewing done. We've been rather busy. My sister had surgery yesterday and today, so Tuesday night I took the kids up to her house to see her, which meant by the time we got home, it was bath and bedtime, and I was so tired that I just fell into bed. Then yesterday, I got home from work, and called/emailed everyone in the family to let them all know how her surgery went (the first part went fabulous, on to the second part today), and realized that Saturday is Groundhog's Day.

In our family (as my Todd's family is from Punxsutawney, PA), groundhogs day is VERY important. So I made grounhog cut out sugar cookies (and frosted them with chocolate sprinkles). Each kid is taking groundhog cookies, groundhog napkins and cups and a groundhogs day book for their respective classes (and of course, wearing their groundhog's day tshirts). We went to PA after christmas, and actually went to Gobbler's Knob to see the groundhog:

I did finally find on my computer the picture of my darling niece, Avery, and the 3 foot raggedy ann doll I made her for christmas - Guess I had better start on Andy next:

Isn't she adorable (the girl, not the doll, but I am pretty impressed with the doll as well!!)?
Stay warm,

Sunday, January 27, 2008

January 27, 2008

I've been slowly but surely working on Tyler's firetruck quilt. I changed it up a bit, and think I am going to really like it. I know I can't wait to get to the quilting part - hopefully sometime this week (Lynn - it now has a narrow black border around it and a rail fence row of 6" blocks on the outside - all I need to do now is add red borders - I'll try and post a picture in the next day or so:)):

This was the lap quilt that started it all:

There was a new quilt shop going in, and my mom said I ought to give it a try. I signed up for this class, and in 3 evening had this finished. That was 10 years ago, and I still enjoy having this wallhanging around.

When I was new to quilting, as in the case of this one, I just used the same fabrics they made the sample from in the shop. Even now, I hate picking out fabrics for a project - I'd much rather have everything all put together so all I have to do is sew it together.

We've gotten quite a bit of snow - not much accumulation though. I spent some time outside Sunday morning filing water troughs for all of the animals - Todd's been cutting firewood to get us through the next few years. I also made pizza sauce from scratch - thanks to - super YUMMY!!

Jessie had her cheerleading at the varsity basketball game last night. 80 little girls, what a hoot. Unfortunately, we were sitting so high up in the stands, I couldn't get a decent picture of her. I did get it on videotape - someday we will watch it and laugh. For some reason, we don't get into watching basketball, and this game each year is the only one we go too, and we don't even stay for the whole game.

It is so much fun to see her - she is the most uncoordinated child, but so proud of herself. At least she has tremendous self-esteem, and is enjoying everything she does.
Hope everyone enjoys their evenings!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sick Day

Jessie was sick yesterday - so that meant a day off work for me!!! Which was nice, as I got the house cleaned up (sort of) and started on Tyler's quilt for his bed. It's going together quick, and it would be going much faster if I hadn't cut it out wrong. Oh well, it will all work out in the end. And since I cut it out wrong, it reinforces my feelings that I would rather do the quilting over the piecing any day.

Jessie was laying on the couch yesterday, and she asks me, "how many animals can I show in 4-H next year?" I told her we would have to see, and we would have to start looking at calves this year for next years steer project if she wanted to take a steer. Her response was: "I'm showing a beef steer, a dairy steer, a feeder calf, a veal calf, a pig a sheep and a horse, and since Daddy always says 2 will grow better than 1, I will be showing 2 of each of these animals." All I could do was stand there in shock thinking of all of this. It does help raising our own beef - she has a ready made supply of steers to show at the fair (not grand champion material, but at 9, we won't be out for the grand) and we have family members and friends that raise dairy and pigs but still. . . . that is a lot of animals for a 1st year shower to take to the fair - translation - a lot of work for Mom and Dad. At least I convinced her that she shouldn't show rabbits and chickens. . . .

I did spend some time online looking at seed catalogs - getting ready for gardening season. Last year I started some plants from seed, without success, but this year I joined childreninthecorn's take 5 gardening group - and am going to give it another go. Now it if would just warm up a little, life would be great.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Baking & Sewing

I had such a nice, quiet night at home last night. Todd had fire practice, so it was just the kids and I. I even made homemade bread (no bread machine) that came out awesome. I got the recipe off of - the daily bread recipe and it was so quick and tastes so yummy. I started around 7 last night, and pulled 2 loaves of bread out of the oven at 10:15 or so:

Of course, by that time Todd was home and we had to try it right away. I baked it a little too long, but I'll know next time to watch it better. Yummy, yummy. It's an easy recipe that I could work on dishes from dinner, sewing or kids homework while it was rising and baking.

I also made sure these 2 table runners were ready to go for my Mom. We've had these patterns for years, I just had never gotten to them. She is going to do the handsewing on the binding - that has to be my least favorite part of quilting:

I love making table runners - they are so quick!! And if you don't like the colors when you are done, you aren't out a whole lot of supplies, like you would be on a quilt top.

I also started to cut out Tyler's firetruck quilt. Hopefully it will go together easy - he is anxious to have a new quilt on his bed

It's still freezing cold here, but it's up in the 20's at least during the day. I feel bad for Todd's hunting dogs, out in the cold, but I really don't want 3 dogs running wild through my house - so they get extra straw on these cold nights in their houses.

Have a wonderful day everyone!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January 22, 2008

Have I mentioned that we also have 2 horses? Soon to be 3? I showed Paint horses on the central Ohio circuit for a number of years, until having kids, but have hung onto my last show horse, a now 15 year old mare (YIKES!!! She cannot possibly be that old) and her 1/2 sister, a 8 year old breeding stock paint mare. My old show, Shamy, was the greatest - she was trained for bridleless western pleasure, and basically is a get on, go down the rail do the work kind of horse.
Jessie is into riding horses big time. . . .

Well, my parents had a brief vision of raising Paint horses, but when the bottom fell out of the market (so to speak) they were left with a cute yearling mare:

Who is maybe(?) going to come to our house to be Jessie’s future horse. I know, I am insane for thinking young horse, very young rider . . .but the thing is, Shamy will not be around for forever to babysit her. And while Shamy has many wonderful traits and qualities (bomb proof really does come to mind), she is an extremely rough horse to ride in a western pleasure lope. So I’m thinking, that at 35, I could possibly put some time in on this young horse for a few years, let Jessie show Shamy walk-trot for a few years, and maybe, just maybe, this filly and Jessie will click eventually.

Hard to believe we have finally gotten a little bit of snow on the ground here. The cows aren’t minding it, the horses and dogs don’t mind, and the kids sure do love the snow.
I’ve been toying with a quilt pattern for Tyler’s bed, using this fabric:

and alternating 9 patch blocks from the solid fabrics with solid blocks out of the firetruck fabric. Todd is a volunteer firefighter, and Tyler is so into anything firetruck/firefighter related. Tyler keeps asking about "his quilt," having seen the flip flop one I did for Jessie, so I really ought to get working on it very quickly. I had hoped to keep it back for his April birthday, but that may not happen.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

January 17, 2008

I’ve been slowly but surely working my way through this tablerunner:

I’ve had the top done for a few months now, but needed to decide on quilting it. I have always quilted "in the ditch" and for this one, broke out of my usual mode and did a meander pattern all over. I think I like the meander quilting - on this one it went very quick. It took me 2 nights to sew the binding on, as we were watching a mini-series on TV and I couldn’t do both at once.

Tyler had to go outside "hunting bunnies" right when we got home from work/daycare. Hunting is very big in our family - I always say it is the mad exodus to Pennsylvania the weekend after Thanksgiving when Todd, his father, brother, brother-in-law, and nephews pack up for 4 or 5 days and go. But, it puts meat on our table all winter, in addition to beef and pork, and helps to control the deer population. Tyler cannot wait until he is old enough to go but in the meantime, he pretends with his play gun. Of course, while he was tramping through the woods, he had bunnies running every which way (Todd lost count at 13). Why don’t they run like that when Todd and his friends actually take the dog out to hunt? Even at 4, Tyler is very conscientious about gun safety, and such a careful little person. But that is good for his future as a hunter, as gun safety is extremely important.

Jessie had cheerleading practice last night - the elementary school kids get to practice with the varsity squad for 4 nights, and then cheer at one of the Varsity basketball games. Such a klutz she is (she cannot walk and chew gum at the same time without tripping) but she so enjoys it. She is anxiously waiting for spring soccer to start up here in another 6 weeks. She has tried gymnastics, tball and soccer, and we think the soccer just might stick. Her favorite position is goalie, but since she can run, she gets put everywhere. She's #10.

I could really get into being a "soccer mom" - although I will never be able to drive a mini-van, as our driveway drifts too much in the winter with any amount of snow, and being a 1/4 mile long, we need 4 wheel drive, but I'll be the soccer mom in the Durango. Tyler also played, but he is young enough that it was more just running around for him.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day in bloggerland!!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Everyday Things

I've been steadily working on my Sunbonnet Sue quilt. After much obsessing, I am quilting it as quickly and simply as possible - stitch in the ditch around everything, nothing fancy for now. I want to be able to SEE the quilting marks my great-grandmother put in the top, not cover them up with more stitching. My mother gave me the facts that this quilt was pieced in 1947-1950, one was done for my mother, and a Sunbonnet Sam one was made for her cousin.

We are starting to think gardening at our house, both of the vegetable and flower varieties. Last summer, Todd put in a water garden for me as a Mother's Day present. I love it. They are so simple to put in - he used the skidloader to dig out the hole, we ordered a starter kit off of ebay, put the liners in, filled it with water and voila - a POND. He even made me the neatest "boardwalk" as we put it in the yard where there was a pretty steep hill so you can sit there and watch the fish play. Of course, we buy 6 fish total, and the greenhouse assures us they won't reproduce, and even if they do, the bigger ones will eat the young - NOT!! We had 13 babies alive and kicking as of the end of October - if they make it through the winter we will have fish everywhere. So this is leading to the discusssion this winter that we need another pond for the fish overflow.

Isn't my husband the greatest? Tyler and him spent one Sunday morning hauling rocks. All in all, they started Friday night, and we finished it up Sunday right after lunch with the mulch.
I will admit, water gardens are just as easy to care for as my regular flower beds, and in some cases, even easier (no weeding involved!!).

More flower pictures:

I don't have any pictures of my rather large garden . . . .weed patch . . . .veggies, but we are planning to be a little more organized this year. We are thinking what we want to plant, what we will actually use, and what we want to try. Apple trees and peach trees may make the cut this year - with 20 acres, we certainly have space for a few!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

History Lesson

I've been working on pin basting the quilt that apparently my Great-Grandmother pieced in 1947-1950's. It was funny, really. I've washed that quilt top several times, run it through my dryer, hung it on the line in the summer time, wadded it up, thrown it in a trunk - and it's still in such good shape. The fabric is fragile, but holding together amazingly well. So last night I get out my cutting table, fasten the backing down, smooth the batting over it, put the quilt top on and . . . .

I can still see my great grandmother's stencil marks on MOST of the blocks. She marked her quilt tops with every day pencils, and the markings are still there. Faint, to be sure, but you can quite clearly see the flower design she had planned to use.

Todd doesn't get too excited about my sewing projects, other than he will offer encouragement and help out when the going gets rough (like on the Raggedy Ann hair). But last night, he got a flashlight and we looked all over this quilt and you could see very faint markings in the borders (the pale yellow fabric helps the pencil blend in). Originally, I was going to just do some simple quilting designs (stitch in the ditch around the blocks) but now. . . .I am wondering if I shouldn't try to duplicate what she had started. Of course, this is leading on a search (perhaps fruitless) of what quilting motiff would it have been exactly, and how in the world do I go about duplicating it?

On the farm front, no babies yet. Our Christmas calf is getting playful. We've enjoyed several days this week in the mid 60's, now its back down to 30's.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!! I know I will, because I will be home with my husband and kids. . .

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

First Addition to the Farm

It has actually been very relaxing going back to work this year - 2 young kids at home during the day sure makes for lots of messes over the holidays. But I must admit there are days I’d rather be at home.

This is our newest addition to our farm - he is actually 2 weeks old, born on December 22nd, 2007. I know, a little out of season for cattle, but his mama (Snowball) belongs to a friend of ours who needed a place to keep 3 cows (yes, bad picture, but I was messing with the settings on my camera - I'll have to take a better one when it's sunny and not raining :):

I must admit though, our cow herd is a lot more colorful with these Brittish Whites mixed in with all of our Maine/Angus cross cows:

This is only a small portion of our cows - they all did not want to group together. Currently we have 8 cows (of our own), 3 brittish whites of a friends, a registered Maine bull, and 4 yearling calves for replacement heifers or meat.

My current quilty project is this quilt:

It was pieced by my great-grandmother 50+ years ago for my mother when she was born. It has sat in someone’s attic for the last 40 years or so (including mine) and I have decided to finally finish it. I’ve been working in the evenings on pin basting it - it was pieced using a Singer featherweight, so I don’t feel too bad planning to machine quilt it. I had originally thought (in a brief moment of insanity) to use it on my daughter’s bed - but wisdom prevailed.

I have also been spending some time making bar soap and laundry soap. Yes, we live in the 21st century, but my daughter has horrible eczema, and all soaps (including Dreft and Tide Free and Clear) cause her to break out within hours with a bleeding, itchy rash. Amazingly enough, the only soaps that work are homemade, as we know exactly what goes into them - or doesn’t go into them (I can’t even use fragrance oils). So I’m back to pioneer days making laundry soap and bar soap. I must admit, the work is definitely worth it when you see her eczema clear up after just 2 baths/showers with the homemade soap!!

Isn’t life wonderful???

Monday, January 7, 2008

2008 Resolutions

Hi again!! It has been an amazingly hectic 2 weeks for us, but hopefully things will settle down now. Between finishing Jessie’s quilt (below), her party, and finishing up what Christmas gifts I was making, it was crazy!!

I did get everything finished though, although my DH & I were up until 11:00 Christmas Eve sewing a wig on a 36" raggedy ann doll I made for my wonderful little niece. I should have never followed the pattern when sewing on the wig, and after the 3rd failed attempt - I gave up and did it my way.

We had a wonderful Christmas, the kids enjoyed all of their presents, and now I can look towards the New Year. The one hopefully fun thing I decided to do is open up an shop - JKKCraftworks. I’ll be selling jewelry and quilted items, mainly bags, table runners, wall hangings and pillows. We’ll see how it goes.

I have come up with some "sewing goals" for 2008:

1. Do 12 quilted projects this year (whether they be quilts, pillows, table runners);
2. Not 1 quilt will be just plain squares (which I am guilty of as they are so quick);
3. Finish up all of my WIP’s from the last 10 years (since before kids);
4. Not buy too much more fabric, until I finish everything I have started (this may well be impossible, but I’ll try);
5. Attempt a photo quilt for my grandmother for next Christmas of all the family;
6. Find some way to organize my "stash".

I did not get as much sewing done while I was off for almost 2 weeks as I had hoped to - but this past weekend I did get 4 table runners quilted, a lap quilt made, and a chicken done. I love the chicken, I just need to put his eyes on, and am toying with selling them in my Etsy shop.

That’s all for now - have a wonderful New Year’s