Friday, November 23, 2012

Jingle Bells Christmas Stockings

I gifted these two stockings to my son and daughter-in-law yesterday.  They really liked them, and seeing it's their first Christmas together as a married couple, I thought I'd give them well before Christmas so they could hang them when they want and enjoy them.  I used "cheap" yarn as I thought it would hold up to years of service.  I used Red Heart in the deep burgandy red, off white or Aran and the deep green.  I'm not sure the name of the colors, but it wouldn't be too hard to figure  out.  I used gold jingle bells and wired gold ribbon.  I loved the way they turned out!  The directions were excellent, and seeing that I've never knitted "backwards" before, or inside out, I just trusted how she wrote the directions and followed them to a T.  They magically turned out perfectly!  You can certainly get a couple done by Christmas.  If you'd like the pattern you can find it at I Live on a Farm.  Her patterns are adorable and well-written! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!  I had a wonderful day eating, laughing and enjoying my family today; truly a gift! 
I have been away from blogging for awhile as my mom was in the hospital, came here for a week to help her recuperate, moved her to an apartment closer to me and is still in need of quite a bit of care.  I feel I've been stretched very thin these past couple of months.  If I may ask, please pray that my mom gets better.  It's been a tough time.
I finally got my camera back (Corey and Lisa borrowed it when they went on vacation a few weeks ago) but now that I'm ready to post some pictures of what has been keeping my hands and mind busy during this trial, I can't find the camera cord!  I have two lovely knitted stockings to share, knitted mitts and a cross-stitch ornament.  Sales for the patterns are on now so I'll quickly buy a new cord on Friday so I can post pictures just in case you would like to buy the patterns over the weekend.  I'll post pictures on Friday evening... I hope!
And last but not least, An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving is one of my favorite children's books.  I just read it the other night as I do each year to my younger kiddoes, and they loved it as they always do!  Last night we watched the movie (the one with Jacqueline Bissett) again, like we do every year, and enjoyed that, too.  If you haven't read the book (which is very different than the movie) or watched the movie, try to do so.  We borrow the book from the library and the movie from Netflix.  I should probably just buy them both so I have them but haven't done it yet.  If you do indulge, I hope you like them as much as we do! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Time To Reap is Complete!

Goodness, this was a fun stitch!  I love how it finished up, too!  
I'll surely keep this one out through Thanksgiving!  My little cupboard top is getting a little crowded so I'll need to find it a new home.  Keeping it away from the cats and dogs is the problem.  What are you working on? 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Piccalilli (Green Tomatoe Relish)

Oh, goodness, I took a picture last week of the pints of Piccalilli we made and it's nowhere to be found on the camera.  Well, nothing I can do about that. 
My neighbor told me to go pick all of her and her son's green tomatoes out of their gardens.  She was tired of canning and was done with the garden this year.  I happily spent an entire afternoon picking green tomatoes!  As the sun shone on my back I couldn't help but think how truly blessed I am to have such giving, friendly neighbors.  I savored my surroundings that day, as where I live is truly beautiful.  It's a humble, blue-collar, small town; quiet except for the birds chirping and an occasional car passing by in the distance.  It was a gift not only of tomatoes, but also of an enjoyable afternoon.
I had to leave the two laundry baskets of tomatoes right where I picked them as I couldn't pick them up.  Each weighed about 50 lbs, my husband told me.  I asked him to pick them up on the way home as he passed their garden.  He didn't realize how much there was!  Yes, he weighed them!
So what to do with all those green tomatoes.  Green tomatoe relish, of course!  We made 3 times the recipe and still had some tomatoes left over, but it made a dent just the same.  I got this recipe from another woman that lives in town; a farmer's wife.  She told me the recipe was delicious and she didn't let me down.  Here it is:

Green Tomatoe Relish
22 green tomatoes, quartered
2 small onions or 1 large, quartered
6 green peppers, quartered
6 sweet red peppers, quartered
1-1/2 qts vinegar
3-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup salt
1-1/2 tsp allspice
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp clery seeds
1/2 cup mustard seeds

Wash veggies put through food chopper, usng medium blade. Drain. Place veggies in pot, add 1 quart vinegar.  Boil 30 min, stirring now and then.  Drain and discard liquid. Return veggies to kettle and add remaining vinegar, sugar, salt and spices. Simmer 3 minutes.  Keep mixture simmering while packing jars. 
Pack into one hot, sterilized jar at a time.  Fill to within 1/8" of jar top.  Seal each jar at once.  Process in boiling water bath (212) for 5 minutes. Makes 6-7 pints.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stitching and Knitting Plus a Baby Washcloth Pattern

My little Mixie-cat took a nap on my ironing board with her paw around one of the kids stuffed animals. That kitty will love anything!
The evenings are getting cooler and autumn is in the air here in the Berkshires. Although we haven't fired up the woodstoves yet, we've been enjoying some cozy family time watching movies and keeping our hands busy (the girls, that is). I've been stitching A Time To Reap by Plum Pudding Needleart. I love the way it's coming out and wait 'til you see how it finishes up! I'll post a pic once I'm done. I've had the pattern and materials in my stash for a couple years and since I've decided to use what I have first, I'm in love with all my previous purchases all over again!
I've also been busy knitting a Christmas stocking for my son and daughter-in-law for Christmas. This is the first one and I'll cast on the next as soon as this one is done. The pattern is called Jingle Bells by I Live On A Farm. I've knitted several of her patterns before and they are well-written and always come out beautifully. I'm knitting them both in Red Heart Aran and Claret Bordeaux. The colors together are very rich and deep and because the yarn is a synthetic I think it will hold up for many years.
While my children do their schoolwork, I either teach or as they continue on clean the kitchen and cook. Most of the time, though, after teaching the lesson, I sit beside them in case they have a question or need help. Many times I'm sitting doing nothing and have a hard time doing that. This week was a little different; I made baby washcloths for an upcoming shower gift! It is the same pattern as the dishcloths I've made previously , with only a couple differences. Here is the pattern: Cast on 28 stitches Knit first three rows Row 1 Knit 4, place marker, knit 20, place marker, knit 4 Row 2 Knit 4, slide marker, purl 20, slide marker, knit 4 Row 3 Knit 4, slide marker, knit 1, purl 1, slide marker, knit 4 Row 4 Knit 4, slide marker, purl, slide marker, knit 4 Repeat pattern rows a total of 8 times. Knit 4 rows and bind off. Weave in ends. I'll be back soon with a delicious green tomatoe relish recipe!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Jane Austen on the Weather is Finished!

Oh, how I love this quote! My sister-in-law keeps a good sense of humor when talking about her hot flashes. She also has a lovely home at the beach in Rhode Island. I thought this piece to be very fitting for her and it makes me giggle every time I read it. She'll get it in her gift basket at Christmas! You can find the pattern for this piece by visiting The Sampler Girl!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Linda's Ort Bag is Done!

The Victoria Sampler Linda's Ort Bag is finally done! I had the stitching done last week but just couldn't quite get in the 15 minutes I needed to do the cording. I did get it done last night, though, and couldn't be happier with how it turned out.
It was a lot of work but it sits very prettily on my side cupboard in the living room. I'll take it down and use it when I stitch; otherwise it'll sit there.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Curtains and Day to Day Stuff

I haven't gone 'private' just yet, but once I have a free afternoon to do that and put out my invites, I will. You have all been very kind in the comments, and I thank you! I finally finished up the girls curtains. The room is small and a bit crowded so this was the best shot I could get of them. Curtains are one of the easiest, cost-effective additions to any room. If you haven't tried making them and want to, just google it in and get your instructions and go for it! You don't even have to be able to sew a straight line; they're that forgiving!
I've been really trying to cut back and save money as the car repairs from last month are still haunting us. I've been using what we have food-wise and have been staying out of the grocery store except for produce and dairy; and even then, I send in one of the kids so I'm not tempted by any specials or sale items. We've been eating healthy, yet peasant-type food. The other morning it was oatmeal and tea. Filling and quite good; better since I decided to call it 'porridge' instead of oatmeal! ;)
My little girlies are having all kinds of fun in the backyard! They made a fort the other day and have been playing in it every afternoon once their schoolwork is done. We ate lunch there the other day. I love it when their imaginations lead them into all different places and time periods!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Going Private

I'm very disturbed to learn that there are two sites, Filmhill and Meeno, which are porn sites. Apparently they can take your pictures (or your children's) and copy them onto someone else's body. If you check your stats page you can see if they have visited your site. They have been onto mine six times. I am deeply upset about this and will not allow the possibility of my children being used. If you would like to continue reading my blog please leave me a comment or e-mail me and I will send you an invitation. I'm sorry to have to do this.

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Favorite Stitching Spot

Oh, I know, I know, it's a mess right now. But Mary Kathryn had a lovely post today about where she likes to stitch. Well, sometimes in the afternoon or at night around 10(ish), I sneak away and put in a few stitches. I did just that this afternoon. Oliver is laying just where I normally sit, stretch out my legs and relax with whatever project I'm working on. Today I'm doing the finishing work on my Ort Bag. I'll show a picture soon! Where do you like to stitch?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where Did July Go?

This summer is flying right by! It's been chock full of fun though, so I'm not complaining. My pool garden has been just lovely this year. I don't know the name of this flower, but they come up every year and it's one of my favorites. We've spent quite a lot of time swimming and lounging by the pool.
We also went on vacation! We didn't have Corey and Lisa with us this day, which was kind of sad, but we had everyone else. Here, we were on our way to the beach! When there's a lot of big people, I'm really thankful to still have the 'big van'!
We go to Rhode Island every year for a week! Kierra is playing here, but all the kids really enjoyed swimming, too!
Back at the trailer we played Michigan Rummy nearly every night. We love that card game and I'm sure everyone around us heard our laughter! Such family fun!
Of course, all good things must come to an end to make room for other good things. Our garden is in full swing and has been producing really well this year. So far we've canned 8 quarts of beets, 10 quarts of carrots and all those bags of corn. Tonight we'll can salsa and pesto.
I've been pretty busy cleaning, too. Corey and Lisa had no room for this hutch in their new apartment so guess who got it? Yup, me! I've never had a place to put my beautiful china, crystal, or other pretties. I was so excited to get it and fill it up. It looks really nice and now I can pull out my china for special occasions.
We painted bedrooms, too, and the little girlies wanted a pink bedroom with new curtains. I'm nearly done making them and will post a pic very soon. Hope your summer has been full with all kinds of good things!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Easy Dishcloth Knitting Pattern

I knitted a few dishcloths/washcloths over vacation and thought I'd tuck them away for a couple of my friends for Christmas. It's never too early to start knitting for Christmas, right? I used Lily Sugar and Cream cotton yarn; my favorite go-to yarn for dish/wash cloths. They are very soft and hold up nicely, even when not treated kindly! This pattern is great for beginners: Easy Knitted Dishcloth/Washcloth Pattern Materials 1 2.5 oz skein Lily Sugar N Cream cotton yarn size 6 knitting needles 2 stitch markers Cast on 38 stitches knit across first 4 rows. Repeat Pattern Rows Row 1: Knit 4, place marker, knit 30, place marker, knit 4 Row 2: Knit 4, slide marker, purl 30, slide marker, knit 4 Row 3: Knit 4, slide marker, knit 1, purl 1 across row, slide marker, knit 4 Row 4: Knit 4, slide marker, purl 30, slide marker, knit 4 Repeat rows 1-4, 11 times more for a total of 12 repeats. (you will see the ridges) Knit next four rows. Bind off.
We were unexpectedly blessed last evening with 15 dozen ears of Sugar and Cream corn! Fresh off the farm from our neighbor who didn't sell as much as he thought at the Farmer's Market. We shucked, par-cooked, cut and bagged 14 dozen. They are safely tucked away in the freezer! Our meat chickens went to the slaughterhouse this morning and are now in the freezer, too.
Fourth of July was fairly quiet but enjoyable just the same. The girls enojoyed swimming in the pool...
and also entertained us with their yearly Fourth of July play. It was fun and fun-ny! Hope yours was special, too!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Leftover Spaghetti Pie Recipe

Well, I haven't inspected my freezer or pantry yet but I am using what I have on hand for meals. Today consisted of leftover blueberry muffins for breakfast, salad with hard-boiled eggs for lunch and leftover spaghetti made into a delicious pie and salad for dinner. Can I just say, this pie is delicious. I threw things together I had in the 'fridge. You may have the same things hiding in yours too, after a spaghetti dinner. Here's what I came up with: Left-over Spaghetti Pie Crust butter Leftover, cooked spaghetti egg white salt pepper mozzerrella cheese dried basil Melt a blob of butter (enough to coat bottom of a pie plate)in the microwave in a pie dish. With your hands, mix in an eggwhite into the cooked spaghetti. Add salt and pepper and mix. Place in the bottom of the pie plate, pressing up the sides. Filling leftover spaghetti sauce cottage cheese or ricotta cheese salt and pepper dried basil parm cheese mozzerella cheese cooked veggies - whatever you have. I used halved cherry tomatoes, zucchini, onions and peppers that were left over from the other night's grilled veggies. Put leftover meat or meatless leftover sauce on top of spaghetti and spread. Mix cottage or ricotta cheese with salt and pepper, basil, parm cheese and small handful of mozz cheese. Place over sauce and spread. Add on cooked veggies. If you don't have cooked veggies in the fridge, you can use some frozen thawed spinach with the water squeezed out. Top with more mozz cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with salad. It's really, really good!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pantry Challenge

I've been complaining on and off about the price of groceries for a few months now, and have been trying to remedy the problem using little tricks I've learned along my nearly 29 years as a homemaker. Making things from scratch is one way to help. Aside from reducing the cost, your family is getting a healthier meal or snack.Here are a few breakfast items I use to fill our tummies healthily (is that a word?) and cheaply: Homemade almond milk is a great addition to morning smoothies and is less expensive than buying almond milk at the store. Try making your own; it's easy. I add in fresh Kale from the garden - easy to grow Homemade plain yogurt - again, easy to make with or without a yogurt maker 1/3 banana - I buy off the reduced rack, bring them home and peel, break into thirds, then pop in the freezer Frozen berries or peaches - now is the time to pick and freeze. Oatmeal with yogurt and berries or shredded apples. Eggs (from our own chickens). Homemade yogurt with berries and homemade granola. Homemade waffles or muffins - I like to use Sue Gregg's cookbooks or muffin recipes from Happy in Dole Valley.
This month I am going to try The Pantry Challenge hosted by Cheap Eats. Today I will make an inventory of the food in our freezer and pantry and come up with some meals for the month. We are going on vacation soon so I will incorporate that into my meal planning. I will come back in a day or two with what I've come up with. One thing I know for sure is that I must make sure my younger children not waste food! The picture above is what they were throwing away one morning when they were done with their breakfast. I know it seems to be a no-brainer to not waste food, but I've watched how much goes into the "chicken bowl" or down the drain in my house and it's terrible. We're literally throwing money away! So that's one more area I will pay attention to as I try to reduce the cost of our grocery bill.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Fruit of Our Labor

 It's been a long time between posts, again.  I'm a bit embarrassed by the lack of posting here.  It's not that I don't think about it; I do, It's just trying to find 15 minutes in my day to actually do it.  I've been busy all the way around lately; I won't bore you with that, but I would like to show you some of the gardens!  I've been trying to save a little money here and there (and will do a grocery post about that, very soon) but for now, I'll show you where I've spent some time.  Above is a window box filled with impatiens and cascading petunias.  They are both a long time favorite of mine.  
This Blessed Mother statue is one of my favorite pieces to display in my front garden.  I have several rose bushes planted around and behind the statue with impatiens spread before its feet.  They are filling in nicely as they do every year and it is a beautiful display all summer long.
 The zucchini is flourishing this year and I haven't seen a spot of discoloration on any leaves.  I had a huge problem with some kind of fungus for two years in a row, but this year the problem seems resolved and we have many zucchini coming.
 I just finished weeding the carrots this afternoon.  They are coming up nicely, too.  I think we'll be able to get in a second planting!
 Kale and lettuce are growing in this box.  I just pulled a head of Boston lettuce for lunch for me and the girls today.  It was sweet and delicious.  We still have enough for salad tonight!
 Mint is growing abundantly.  I've made mint iced tea and mint water for our afternoon drinks.  It's delicious and refreshing.
 Peaches are coming, too!  Looks like this will be our first year with some decent size peaches.  I believe the trees are three years old.
 I've been doing a lot of work in the garden today and my hands are sore from all the weeding.  I'd love to be laying here in the hammock reading my book, Into the Wilderness.  Goodness, I've been  reading that one a long time.  It's a thick one but very good.  I only have 350 pages to go!
I'd like to be laying here, too, floating around on a float.  The pool gardens are in full bloom and just beautiful.  Think I'll go take a break for awhile and do just that.
My next post, which shouldn't be too far off in the future will be about saving some money on the food bill.  Promise.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Some Catching Up

So much has been going on since I last blogged.  A family Mother's Day picnic and whiffle ball game at Harkness Park...
A two week every day run to School of Swimming (which is over an hour away)...
And a lot of gardening.  The front garden is all cleaned out with new mulch and some new annuals put in.  As the garden matures over the summer, it will look very full.  It has already filled in quite a bit since this picture was taken.  The  vegetable garden is coming along really nicely with all the rain we've had.  I'll take some pictures of the garden beds once the weather clears up a bit.

Which leads me into my next topic; the price of food and how to cope.  I don't know about you, but I've seen a noticable increase in our food bill.  I'm committed to trying to feed my family healthy meals at a reasonable cost.  I'll be back with what I've been doing to  lower our food bill without compromising our food quality.     

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spring Fun Stuff

It's been rainy, damp and cold here in New England.  As much as I'd like to see the sun and warmer temperatures, I know that this drizzle-like rain we've been having is good for the seeds that have been planted in the garden.  Plus, it gives me a good excuse to relax in the evenings and get some stitching done!  I just stitched this very pretty piece by Danybrod, Wheat Is In The Ear, a saying for April.  It was a free-for-the-asking design.  It is a piece to be given to a newly married couple on their wedding day to wish them happiness and prosperity or can also be a gift wishing good luck in the home. I still need to finish it up in pillow form.  I plan on using the pretty material you see pictured, using the buttons for closure.  I will post a picture as soon as I get it done.  I hope to finish it up this weekend.  Maybe if the rain holds out...LOL...    

As you can see, I'm still working on my Victoria Sampler Ort Bag.  I have nearly three sides done with one more to go.  I'm really enjoying working on this piece! It's just lovely; the stitches are fun to do and the colors are so soft.  I plan on diligently working on this one until it's complete... no side-tracking, which is really, really hard for me to do!

It hasn't been all stitching, though!  Every May first my kids ring a few neighborhood doorbells and leave a goodie at our neighbors' steps.  I have been doing this with my children for 25 years or so.  Just one of the advantages, I guess, of having a large family spread over many years!  Their delight in making these simple gifts, putting them on a doorstep, running and hiding and then waiting for the receiver's reaction is such a thrill for them!  Our neighbors seem to be quite happy and look forward (I think) to each May first!  This year the kids made cards by cutting and glueing flower pictures from old magazines.  They also  made Tie-dye Fruity Cupcakes which were quite cute.  They made the little  bags to hold the cupcakes by cutting the top off of a paper lunch bag and glueing on pictures from the magazines.  To round out the little gift, they used tin food cans with the wrapper removed and a glass mason jelly jar as vases to hold store-bought flowers.  There isn't much in bloom right now, so we had to resort to buying flowers.  I think it's a valuable activity that emphasises, "Love thy neighbor"!    

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Family Walk by Danybrod Finish & Spring is Here!

 Lunch in the Skyfort...
 apple blossoms on the trees...
 rhubarb promising to be a bountiful harvest...
and Family Walk by Danybrod sprucing up my decorating!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Danybrod Finish and Liebster Award

I hope you are all enjoying a joyous Easter season! My Easter was very busy, filled with family, cooking, cleaning and more cooking! I did however, make sure to take out some time to work on this little cutie by http:// I love all of her patterns, and her blog is so beautiful!
I also got another Liebster Award from Marsha at http://EverybodylovedClark.blogspot.comEverybody Loved Clark.
Marsha's blog is filled with beautiful, inspiring cross-stitch as well as other projects! For some reason, it seems my hyperlink thingee isn't working properly and my son that always helps me with the computer isn't home. So....if you would like to visit either of the blogs I tried to link up to and they don't work, you can just google them in. I'm sure you already know that...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Blessed Triduum to You

On this Good Friday, as every year, my family and I pray the Stations of the Cross at an outdoor Stations Path. Each station brings me to tears as I pray and meditate from a mother's view.
Today is also the day to begin the Divine Mercy Novena.
May this Easter season bring you and yours closer to our Lord.