Saturday, December 6, 2014

An Accomplishment to Share

Finally here and updating this poor blog! I've been so busy settling in with life here. Volunteer work, a hobby "job" and then a retinal hemorrhage that really put a damper on things, so you know what usually suffers - the blog, diary, etc.

Well, the retina is clearing up, and I am slowly getting back to stitching. It's been soooo long since I picked up a needle. I think I almost forgot how to stitch.  I have been working on this piece for years on and off. It's an official UFO (UnFinished Object) but it is now seeing the possibility of becoming finished. I put the final stitches in of The Bent Creek December Snapper and am now working on the border. Now, hopefully I'll have it done before the New Year and if not, well there's a new year right around the corner :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Clean Slate

Again we are upon a New Year - giving us a clean slate to begin again. What is it about putting up a new calendar that gives us hope and a better outlook? Our past still doesn't change, but our attitudes do!

I spend my time from Christmas to New Years reflecting on what accomplishments I've made and what I want to accomplish in the next year. I refuse to do resolutions but instead I do a long list of things I'd love to get done. Do I ever do them all - no, but when I pull out the list that I created the previous year, I feel a sense of accomplishment as I see all that I have checked off. This is especially good when I feel like I didn't get anything accomplished over the past year.

My daughter thinks the lists are silly. Why make a list that you're not going to complete? She sees it as a list where she's failed to do things she wanted to. Me? I see it so much differently. I must confess, I'll move a majority of things to the next year sometimes, but they are things I'd like to get done in the near future.

This year I had crossed off many that I hadn't really expected to. With moving into a new home and having a few small frames for a garden, I never expected to put up the amount of home preserved food that I did. With hubby's restricted diet, it became more necessary to do so. I could tailor the foods the way we needed them and not being at the mercy of the grocery stores.

This year, my list is MUCH longer and a little more detailed. I need to get a sewing area done so that I can make some flannel nighties that I can't seem to find anywhere. I have to do the same with knit socks, a favorite apron, pickled hot peppers and spirited peaches. This simple list gives me hope and satisfaction throughout the year, but especially at the end. Is it silly? My daughter thinks so, but for me, it will be a tradition I will carry on until the end of my time.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Vintage Surprise

As we approach our first anniversary here in our new home, I figured it was time to start going through the boxes of things that came out of our attic - things from our past as well as from my mother and my mother-in-law when they both died. Many boxes were just stuffed and delivered to the attic at the old house without ever going through them. Our intention was to sort the things after the pain of loss had lessened. Well, it was easy to ignore them in the attic... out of sight, out of mind! That was until we had to move them all here.

With the cold months quickly approaching and the garden has grown quiet, it is now the  perfect time to start sorting and seeing what treasures and memories those boxes have in store for us. One thing I came across that I had completely forgotten about was a cross-stitch quilt top that needs to be put together, embroidered and then the whole thing quilted. It is a very pretty piece and has all the threads and fabric included. I wish I knew what time period it was from. I'm guessing the 50's but so far, I can't find any information on the web about it. 

This top appears to have been offered in "Bride and Home" magazine and I've found some issues on the web dating back to the 50's and 60's. I've combed through everything in the bag but nothing gives a clue on the age of this lovely top.

The piece is in panels that need to be sewn together before embroidering it. I'm not sure how I'm going to like seams running through the piece but they may disappear in the background after it is finished and quilted. The strips are yellowed - some more than others and there lines where it was folded. I can't wash it before working on it, because it's possible the printed design will wash out. I guess that will just be the charm of the piece when it is finished. Now I just need to live long enough to complete it! 

Do you have any interesting vintage things that you love or have to make? I'd love to hear about them!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Homemade "Convenience" Foods

Homemade or from scratch foods and mixes can normally be made for a fraction of the cost of the convenience foods you find at the grocery store. Not only are they cheaper, but they are better tasting and you know what ingredients are in them. Look at a cake recipe and you can easily pronounce the ingredients. Now pick up a cake mix. Can you pronounce the ingredients - let alone know exactly what they are?

There are numerous mixes listed on the web, including some of my own favorites. Although there are lots out there, you really don't need to follow a mix recipe to make your own. Pull out your favorite cake recipe. You can mix all the dry ingredients together, put them in a baggie or other air tight container, label it, and put it away for the next time you want to make a cake. Now all you need to do is pull it out, add the wet ingredients, and your finished making a scratch cake with the ease of a mix! You can do the same with pancakes, brownies, etc. Just use your imagination.

Breakfast is usually the most rushed meal during the day, especially on weekdays. According to a report on Good Morning America this morning, store purchased cereals can contain up to 50% it's weight in sugar! It's so easy to make some wonderful homemade granola that you control the sugar and the ingredients to fit your family's needs and preferences. Maybe you like the ease of instant oatmeal. Did you know that you can just put one part quick oats to two parts milk in a bowl and microwave it - and it's done about as quickly as instant. If you like the flavors, add raisins and cinnamon, brown sugar, maple syrup, dried fruits, nuts.... the sky's the limit. Save some time by measuring out and putting a serving in a baggie with the dried fruits,nuts, & flavorings of your choice (no wet ingredients). Make enough for a week, and you'll have the ease of the packets for a fraction of the cost.

Maybe you love pancakes or waffles. On the weekend, you can cook up a batch, cool them, then stack them with a sheet of waxed paper between each one. (pancake, waxed paper, pancake, waxed paper...) then put in a container and freeze. During the week, you can pull out the amount of pancakes (or waffles) you want and just warm them up in the microwave. Waffles can be warmed in the toaster. If you have problems with the pancakes sticking together, put them single layer on a cookie sheet, then freeze for an hour or so, take them out and stack with waxed paper between each one, put in a container and freeze.

Start looking at the recipes you use most. Ask yourself if you can measure out and pack some of the ingredients ahead to save you time. Just by doing this, you'll be buying less convenience foods from the store, and making more from scratch in the same amount of time, with the wonderful taste of homemade. And the best part - you're saving money to use elsewhere!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Re-purpose Furniture

We didn't officially move into our new home until the kids were on winter break from the university. It seemed like the most logical decision because of the travel involved, plus it was exciting coming here all at the same time as a family. The kids love our new home, even though it is small. They say they love the cozy feeling plus the area is amazing - an added bonus!

One of my largest issues at this time is the downsizing we need to do. Storage space is almost non-existent, so I'm at that point of deciding what really is important and what can I live without. Not only that, but most of our furniture won't work here, so we are slowly acquiring "new" furniture.

One of the items we won't be using is our old waterbed - sorely outdated and one of the few things I was glad to get rid of. Instead of tossing it all, hubby repurposed it into a nice new bed for us!

Waterbed frame cut, resized and legs added.

Next came the support posts.

Then a nice stable surface to put our new Memory Foam type mattress on - But only after we covered the plywood with something that would protect the mattress.

The finished product.
We still need to add a headboard. I want to make an upholstered headboard (like this one), but am waiting until I find the perfect fabric. I'm thinking of a red and white print or something with red in it.

I have many projects ahead of me - refinishing, repurposing, and making new. I plan to furnish our home as cheaply, yet beautifully as possible! I would love to hear what you have done for your home.