Quilting, Farming, Variety

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Blog No-No?

A couple of days ago I was reading about ways to improve a blog, and the comments left for the post. One person suggested not posting anymore pictures of cats! Now can you imagine that? We love our cats! So, maybe I'm committing a blog no-no, but these are Callie and her adolescent children, otherwise known as my barn kitties. They take after their mother; no picking them up, but I can rub their backs while they are eating. The black and white is my favorite.

So, if you don't like cats, I'm sorry; I won't do it often.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I've come to think of myself as "the woman in the window"; several times during the day I will go to the window and look outside. I love the rays of the early morning sun as they filter through the trees and glisten on the dewdrops. I watch the crows and the gray squirrel searching for fallen pecans. I look over the flower beds, reviving from the hot, dry summer, and think ahead to next spring and the possibilities.

I think my window watching started whenever my husband was in graduate school, and I was at home with no adult conversation during the daytime, just the sound of three little girls playing. A lot of afternoons I stood at the picture window waiting for factory workers to pass the house on their way home from work. I was lonely. I still spend a lot of time alone; that's what fear of leaving home does to one. There are some weeks when I don't hear another woman's voice from one Sunday to the next. So you, my blogging friends, are important to me.

I find peace here on the farm, and a closeness to God through his wonderful creations.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Farm Babies

I've been out of touch for the last couple of days, helping get ready for another flock of chickens. We were out almost three weeks this time but Popa worked most of those days, putting in more fans, caulking and foaming cracks, and installing a new entry door. So today was the big day, getting up at 5:30 to do the finishing chore of draining water lines. Before the sun came up we were unloading the babies.

For the first day they stick close to the feed pans where the heat radiates down the most and by the second day they begin spreading out into the middle of the houses.

It's really amazing how quickly they find the water.

And this is another farm baby, the first of the fall calves.

I have other farm babies, kittens; however, Callie moved them again so no pictures of them.

Farm life has a lot of hard work, but it has its rewards too.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Fabric Stash

Garden of Daisies has asked quilters to show their fabric stash; do we dare open our creating space for the world to view? Why not?

This is where I piece quilts and my quilting frame sits behind the chair. My husband built the cabinet for me from oak wood, harvested from our farm.

This side holds mostly older fabrics; notice the boxes covered with wallpaper? These were made by my mother-in-law, and very pretty to keep fabric in.

The right side of the cabinet with two boxes of plaid pieces, a box of neutrals, containers of thread, bias tape, and elastic, and a box of smaller pieces of various colors. The basket is holding a WIP, scrappy pineapple, and a few pieces for backings.

These containers, in the lower section of the cabinet, hold fat quarters and 1/2 yard pieces. The baskets catch scraps for string tops.

The papered boxes are filled with some new pieces, bought for aprons and backings for baby quilts, and older fabrics for doll clothes. The rolling container holds some new pieces, selvages, and more WIPs (???) and the basket is filled with solid pieces. It stays inside the closet (off limits to viewers ;).
One drawer with more things started (???) and a container filled with mostly green fabrics.

Wow!! do I have that much? Then why is it, when I start a new top, I need something?

Garden of Daisies is a lovely place to visit; she has a variety of interesting subjects. Why not give her a visit at www.patchofzinnias.blogspot.com .

Now, I need to get busy! Charlotte

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Snatching Up an Easy Meal

Do you see the white thing behind our bull? That is a bird called a cattle egret, an opportunistic feeder, who follows large animals or machines to catch insects they stir up. They feed on grasshoppers, crickets (way to go!) spiders, flies, frogs (oh no!) and moths. Usually they forage in flocks,
as you can see in this picture, taken early one morning after a good rain (yes, we got a good rain!). I watched as they followed the heifers, snatching up an easy meal every few steps.

I remember having a flock follow me on the tractor one year while I was raking hay; a splendid opportunity for a big meal! However, if I were a heifer, I think having a bird in my face would be annoying.

Do you have cattle egrets in your area?


I apologize for my pictures; hopefully you can see the egrets :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bibs for Baby

If you enjoy doing cross stitch work, but don't want to commit to a big project, a bib for a baby might be just what you're looking for. My bibs are made from a washcloth with the cross stitched panel attached at the bottom, and backed with a soft, absorbent cotton. Then I encase the entire bib in bias binding. This bib is to be tied; however, I prefer to fasten bibs with Velcro for ease in fastening around a squirming baby. Most layette patterns will have one for bibs, or you could trace around a purchased one to make your own pattern. These are two booklets I have; as you can see, there are lots of designs, simple ones and some more difficult. I haven't tried cross stitching in several years, but if my eyes are still "bright" I may just make one this winter.

Happy stitching, Charlotte

Monday, September 19, 2011

Colorful Caterpillar

Every now and then when I'm giving a gift at a baby shower, I like to throw in a little handmade gift; plus, it gives me an excuse to make something. This colorful caterpillar made a sweet, easy-to-make toy for a little one. I seem to remember the pattern came from a copy of the magazine, Country Woman, a few years ago. Since I don't know who submitted the pattern, I can't give credit where credit is due.

The sections are fastened together with Velcro and therefore allows the child to learn to take them apart and put them back together. Also, if you notice, one section's side matches another section's side; another game of learning to match colors.

Give him a sweet little face by embroider, applique, or paint,

and a cute print for his end, and you have a colorful caterpillar, all ready to crawl into fun.
Enjoy, Charlotte

Friday, September 16, 2011

AKA Spider Legs

This flower is like the "lonely little petunia in an onion patch" since it's the only one of its kind to bloom in the flower bed this summer. It is a Cleome, aka spider legs around here. I've never had any luck with purchased seeds, but it self-seeds. I don't know how it got here; the others were grown in a different place last year. I'm hoping it self-pollinates because I'm going to save seeds; I don't want to lose this flower.

Thanks to everyone who grieved with me over my doll's black eyes. Mary, from over at Colony Mountain Stitcheries, who makes beautiful dolls, suggested that I put a few coats of Gesso over this face, sand it really good, and then repaint before throwing her out. So I've put two coats on and we'll see how it goes. Thanks, Mary.

Oh, by the way, it's trying to rain here today; now if it would only get serious about it! My little turnip green seeds are lying in the dust, just waiting.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Keeping A Scrapbook

Do you do scrap booking? I think Mama did scrap booking before scrap booking was cool. My life wasn't chronicled on pretty pages of nice books or CDs, but rather in a plain paper book which has become worn and tattered over the years. Neither were there photos of birthday parties or vacation trips, but rather

Mama kept things I had made in school, learning to write my long name and colors,

the perfect attendance and honor roll certificates I received the first four years,

and art work I had made.

By the time I graduated from elementary school, there were newspaper clippings I wanted to save and the program for our closing day ceremonies.

Of course high school graduation was something to be remembered.

I carried scrap booking on past high school and saved clippings of the marriages of friends.

Maybe not all mothers have time now to sort through their children's schoolwork to save parts of them, and maybe not all children want their things saved; however, I'm very glad to have my old scrapbook to look through now and then.

Smiles, Charlotte

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Four O'Clock Somewhere ---

Isn't it amazing that these flowers know how to tell time? Every day, when the sun begins getting lower in the west, they open up into their beauty and stay, hidden in the dark, until the sun hits them the next morning.

And they come in different colors, all blended into one mass of flower glory. These help hide us from the neighbors and also hide the compost container. Humming birds and humming bird moths love their sweet nectar. It's one flower I've been able to have during the drought.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Take Time to Be Holy

In these times of fast-paced living, running here and there, pressured to live up to the expectations of those around us, I've always found comfort in the words of the song, "Take Time to Be Holy", and if I had only one chance left to advise my children and grandchildren, these would be my words:

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord. Abide in Him always, and feed on His word. Make friends of God's children, help those who are weak; forgetting in nothing, His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on; spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be. Thy friends, in thy conduct, His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy; let Him be your guide, and run not before Him, whatever betide. In joy or in sorrow, still follow thy Lord. And looking to Jesus, still trust in His word.

Take time to be holy; be calm in thy soul. Each thought and each motive, beneath His control; thus led by His Spirit, to fountains of love, thou soon shall be fitted for service above.

Blessings, Charlotte

Thursday, September 8, 2011

To Clarify Some Things

(This picture is not recent, but rather in the spring a couple of years ago)

I'm feeling a little like the first-grader, Charlotte; I need to clarify some things. In the post, Cherry Candy, the parts about the candy, money, and lie were all true; however, to be honest, I don't remember what Mama's reaction to it was. But I do feel she was understanding, for Mama was a very patient person and tried to be conflict-free. She was the only person I remember ever spanking me, and believe you me, I needed it; just ask Wanda. I was a timid child (Daddy told me a few years ago I was born timid) and all Daddy had to do was look at me sternly and I backed away like a frightened mouse. So, I'll feel better now, hoping you understand about writing; some things have to be embellished somewhat, without meaning for them to be a lie.

Now, on a more positive note, I wanted to direct you to http://www.wandastricklinrobertson.blogspot.com/ for her post for today; some very important things to think about here. Although I'm not obese, the prayer, asking God to melt pounds off a body, reminded me of myself. On days when Popa is not here to eat lunch with me, I scour the refrigerator for whatever I can find to keep from cooking for one. Then, after thanking God for my food and asking that it give me strength to do my work, etc., I chow down on whatever I've found, along with chips and Coca Cola, finished off with miniature Hersheys or ice cream. Where's my willpower??

Smiles, Charlotte

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cherry Candy

This story is one of the saddest things I remember from my childhood and it's still difficult for me to think about. I don't remember ever going hungry, or being without clothing, and we had shelter from the elements; however, Daddy, somehow, had made us believe we had no money to spend on frivolous things. Keep this in mind as you read ...

Each Monday morning Mama tied 75 cents in the corner of a handkerchief for me to pay for my lunches. Today she had put in 80 cents because she didn't have the correct change, and Miss Ruth had given a nickel back to me and I tied it in the handkerchief. During the noon recess the sixth grade class sold candy; I never asked for money to buy candy, but on this day I remembered the nickel when it came time for my class to buy candy. Mama hadn't told me not to spend it; surely it would be all right if I bought some candy, so this time I went with the other children to buy something.

There were many kinds of candy and I wanted something that would last a long time, so I finally chose a roll of Lifesavers. I untied the handkerchief, took out the nickel, and paid for the candy, then went back to the classroom and unrolled the end of the wrapper. I took out the first of the drops and put it into my mouth. Oh, the wonderful, cherry-flavored goodness of that candy! I closed my eyes and let the sweetness float on my tongue as the candy dissolved.

But before I could finish eating the Lifesaver, I began to think about the money. Mama hadn't told me I could spend it; maybe I had stolen the money from Mama! I had to get the money back somehow!

Quickly I swallowed what was left of the Lifesaver, carefully folded the end of the wrapper over the remaining candy and took it to Miss Ruth. I told her I had forgotten that I couldn't spend the nickel; could I give the candy back and get the money for it? I fumbled with the roll of candy and didn't look up at the teacher. She took the candy and asked if I opened it. I told her "No" but she could tell that the candy had been opened and that some of it was missing. "I can't return your money; go back to you seat and if you ever do something like this again, I will have to paddle you," she had said. And, she kept the candy.

What had been so wonderful and pleasing only a few minutes before was now sickening. I wished I could wash the taste of that terrible Lifesaver out of my mouth! When I got on the bus I was afraid Wanda would see my tongue, for I was sure it was still red and my breath must smell like cherries. I kept my face turned toward the window and wondered how I would explain to Mama about the money.

I knew it would be best to just tell Mama, so I began. "This morning you put too much money..I bought candy..I ate a piece of it..told Miss Ruth I didn't open it..and I started crying. Mama put her arms around me and said, "I'm sorry you told a lie; we've pinched pennies for so long that you thought you had done something wrong by spending the nickel. But don't ever lie; no amount of money is worth telling a lie."

(Sorry this was so long...To this day I find it very hard to spend money on myself)

Smiles, Charlotte

Monday, September 5, 2011

Making Something Useful

If you quilt, what do you do with all those little scraps of batting that are left? Of course if the pieces are large enough they can be whipped together and used for the purpose intended. But I'm talking about strips about six to seven inches wide, and maybe the full length of the quilt. Since I have wood floors, I've found a very good use for them: dust bunny catchers!! Dust bunnies underneath the bed just jump on these scraps of batting and then you can simply toss the whole fuzzy mess into the trash. Of course I don't recommend going out and buying a package of batting to cut up into dust catchers, but if you have scraps, try it. Oh, they are also good for taking down cobwebs from around the ceiling; just be sure to do that first.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Bar Exam Results

Chickadee called this afternoon to let us know she passed the bar exams!! She was so very excited and so were we! It's been a lot of hard work, and we're really proud of her for sticking with it.

Way to go, Chickadee!!!

If you don't know the rest of the story it can be found on this post: May 21, 2011, We're So Proud of Her