Quilting, Farming, Variety

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Apron Review

So, here we are, the last day of 2013!  Sometimes when I look back, I wonder, what did I do that was worthwhile this year?  I did very little quilting, and no gardening; however, I did rake hay and I worked with six batches of chickens, and I made aprons!  I kept my promise to have twelve aprons; I made eleven of them. 

A blogging friend suggested that I show the twelve.  Will it be boastful?  I surely hope not, so here they are:
January ~ ripply half apron
February ~ child's apron
March ~ half apron with attached dish towel
April ~ vintage crocheted half apron from the farmer's great aunt
May ~ from a vintage pattern
July ~ half apron with quilted potholder corners
August ~ gifted to a dear blogging friend who likes big pockets :)
November ~ mother/daughter simple aprons
December ~ applique from Lee Prairie Designs


Whew!!  I put several yards of thread through my new machine in 2013!  Wonder what will be next?
Have a wonderful New Year!!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Dear Santa,

I know it is a little late in sending a letter, but time runs away from me.  I haven't been in much of a festive mood this year.  We will still have chickens on Christmas Day, which means work just as though it was any other day. 

There are no little children in our family anymore;  little ones add a special spark to light the happiness don't they?  I remember being little; attending a Christmas program at the church building, hanging an old stocking on the doorknob when we got home, then bouncing out of bed the next morning and running into the cold room to see what had been left for me.  Some years we went to Grandma Bean's for dinner and my favorite food was the Jello with real big grapes in it.

I'm old now, so I won't hang a stocking and there's no sense in putting packages under the tree for me, because I have all the material stuff I need to keep dusted and in place.  In other words, I don't need things that have to be bought with money, but rather things bought with one of the most precious things you have ~ TIME.  So, I'll be leaving a list of things you can choose from for my present: 1)hang a shelf and a pegboard. 2)finish wiring the plug-ins in the living room. 3)move the freezer that doesn't work anymore, outside!  4)electric cord for the old Singer.... There are lots more I could add, but I don't want to scare you away!

I'll have some of that good, homemade fruit cake for you!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Woman's Version of The Night Before Christmas...

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the kitchen
I was cooking and baking and did I mention,
I've been here for hours, I can't stop to rest.
This room's a disaster, just look at this mess!

Tomorrow I've got thirty people to feed.
They expect all the trimmings.  Who cares what I need!
My feet are both blistered, I've got cramps in my legs,
The cat just knocked over a bowl full of eggs.

There's a knock at the door and the telephone's ringing;
frosting drips on the counter as the microwave's dinging.
Two pies in the oven, dessert's almost done;
my cookbook is soiled with butter and crumbs.

I've had all I can stand, I can't take anymore;
then in walks my husband, spilling rum on the floor.
He weaves and he wobbles, his balance unsteady,
then grins as he chuckles, "The eggnog is ready!"
He looks all around and with total regret, says,
"What's taking so long...aren't you through in here yet?"

As quick as a flash I reach for a knife;
He loses an earlobe; I wanted his life!
He flees from the room in terror and pain
and screams, "MY, MY, WOMAN, YOU'RE GOING INSANE!!"

Now what was I doing, and what is that smell?
Oh dear, it's the pies! Now I must tell...
I hate to admit when I make a mistake,
but I put them on BROIL instead of on BAKE!

What else can go wrong?  Is there still more ahead?
If this is good living, I'd rather be dead.
Now don't get me wrong, I love holidays;
It just leaves me exhausted, all shaky and dazed.

But I promise you one thing, if I live 'til next year,
you won't find me pulling my hair out in here.
I'll hire a maid, a cook, and a waiter;
and if that doesn't work, I'LL HAVE IT ALL CATERED!

(I didn't write this, but rather it was given to me, and I have no idea who did write it to give her credit.)


Friday, December 13, 2013

From My Cartoon Collection and Ice Update

It can still happen ;)

Ice is still on the farm, one week later...

Some icicles actually reached the ground before they fell off.

Stay safe and warm,

Saturday, December 7, 2013

We Still Have Ice and Snow

Although the sun did shine this morning, I never did see the temperature above 32* so not much melting took place.  We were hoping a lot of this would melt today since more snow and ice is predicted for tonight and tomorrow.  With this much ice, plus the snow, on the roof of the chicken houses, there's a lot of weight bearing down on them.  Too much weight and the roof could collapse ~ oh my!  What a mess that would be!  It's always on our minds when we have a lot of ice and snow.  The farmer told me if I hear things beginning to crack when I'm inside there, to run to the wall.

The storm caught me without any food for the bird feeder, so I put some of my pecan shells on the front porch for them to pick out the little bits of nuts left in the shells.  They were so cute, darting here and there, eating.  Today I saw two of them having a fuss and I could hear them having a disagreement over the nuts.  Precious little creations...


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ice and Snow Storm?? with Update

Thursday night:

We've had rain off and on all day but so far no problems with ice or snow.  However, that may change as the temperatures are just below 32* right now at 9:30 p.m.  We have a generator for the chicken houses so they'll have heat and exhaust fans should the power go off.  The farmer could quickly get it tied into the dwelling house if needed.  We have a wood burning furnace, but it requires electricity to run the fan, and a small gas heater in one room so we can stay fairly warm. 

Today I made vegetable/beef soup, always good eating on a cold day.  Also I finished two embroidery projects that have been around for ages, and read a few chapters in my daughter's newly released book, His Promise True, which, by the way, can be found on Amazon.

So for those of you who have wondered about us, everything is good so far; if ice covers everything, in the morning I'll have to watch my steps carefully when I go to the chicken houses; at least it's good and warm in there. 


Friday morning:
We got up this morning with everything covered in sleet and ice; around 7:30 it began to snow.  No power outage yet.  After the chicken work, the cattle had to be fed.  The farmer had set out bales yesterday.  He's feeding silage bales because the plastic comes off easier than the frozen net.

Every chain and latch on the gates were frozen.

I think untouched snow is beautiful, but it makes for so much more work, cold work.  The farmer kept telling me to "be careful" so I reminded him, "you're older than me".   It seems awfully early in the season for this type of weather in our area.  Hope it doesn't mean all of winter will be this way!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Apron

Did you think I could make twelve aprons in one year?  Here's the last one for this year, but there will probably be some show up now and then next year too, just because I love to make them.

Last summer, Carolyn (www.leeprairiedesigns.blogspot.com) sent one of her apron patterns to me.  Also included were three applique patterns for the apron(s).  I waited until I had ordered the perfect fabric from Connecting Threads to make this butcher style apron, then I chose to use the "Merry Christmas" applique.

It was such fun to make!  Thank you, Carolyn!  Isn't it nice when talented blogging friends share their patterns and ideas with us?  To see more of her work visit her blog; she makes sweet things!

Now, what to do in 2014....


Friday, November 29, 2013

In Years to Come...

when the grandchildren are grown, with children  of their own, and they gather for Thanksgiving, one will say, "Do you remember the Thanksgiving supper of 2013 when Mama Charlotte dropped the dish of potatoes into the oven?"  They'll chuckle fondly and one of the small ones will ask for the story, "Tell us about it!" 

"She had told the daughters not to bring anything; she'd fix all the food and for them to come to eat around 6:00 in the evening.  The turkey took a while longer to finish cooking and before the potatoes went into the oven, mostly to be warmed, the kids and grand kids gathered in and talked and waited.  All of a sudden we heard a little yell from her and then a loud crash of glass meeting steel.  We all rushed in to see what had happened and there she stood holding the 13" x 9" baking dish with only a few potatoes at one end.  We thought she might cry as she told us, 'When the potatoes were ready to take out of the oven, I reached in and lifted them up, and the next thing I knew, potatoes were sliding to one end of the dish and my hand just couldn't hold it.  So I dropped it, spilling potatoes into the back corner of the oven!  Now there's only a few left, but thankfully the dish didn't break and I wasn't burned!'  She was so sad about it.  One of the daughters spooned out most of the mess and cleaned up the rest the next morning since Mama Charlotte's knees would have hurt really bad had she been left to squat down and clean it by herself.  But it all worked out o.k. and we'll always remember the Thanksgiving supper of 2013."

~~~Charlotte ~~~

No picture for this one!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Do You Know...

the Little Miss Sunbeam story?  I had no idea until last week I noticed words with the picture on the bread sack:  "Not by bread alone."  On the back of the sack was the story:

"Created by well-known children's book illustrator Ellen Segner in the early 1940s, Little Miss Sunbeam was actually drawn from life, based on a little blue-eyed blond girl Ellen saw playing in New York City's Washington Square Park.  Based upon these drawings, Ms. Segner developed the original oil painting that became the Sunbeam trademark."

I only remember one other painting, the little girl eating buttered bread, so I was surprised to see this one and thought it very appropriate for this time of Thanksgiving, when stores are open all day and I fear our day of thankfulness may be forgotten in years to come.

Happy Thanksgiving to my blogging friends,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kitten Tales

I don't know if you've met Callie, my oldest cat.  She lives outside, in one shed or another, just wherever she prefers on any given day.  She's very affectionate, as long as she's not in my arms, then she squirms until I put her down.  These are her kittens from early fall;

just take your pick of which color you like best.  It's been several years since we've had a yellow cat, so I was thrilled, although I knew I'd never get to keep one.  They were born in between some big, extra chicken house fans and  bags of animal bedding on the back of a truck.  The weather was getting cooler and they cried a lot.  Whenever Callie realized I knew where they were, she moved them.  About this time we were selling a bull and the farmer had taken the stock trailer to the barn to load him.  Something told me to look inside the trailer, and there were the kittens, huddled up in a corner at the front of the trailer.  All I had to put them in was my bucket of cat food (picture) so they took a ride back to the shed.  On the way I stopped and picked up a little hay to make a bed for them.  The first thing Callie did was jump into the tub they were in, grab up the white one and jump to the ground.  I put it back in the tub and she got another one and just disappeared.  The next time I went to feed her, I found the kittens in the seat of the BobCat, then they were gone again.  I didn't expect to ever see any of them again because the dogs here have killed all the kittens born on this farm this summer.

Now I know some of you adore dogs, I understand that, but I hate dogs for this very reason.  The dogs here are the results of two "dumped" dogs, one of which had seven puppies and two are still with us, making four, useless, annoying animals.  Almost every time they kill a kitten, they bring it to the back door!

Well, back to the kittens; last week Callie brought the gray and white kitten and one yellow kitten back to the shed and put them up high on the back of a truck.  They were safe there, and I told her so, but again, once she realized I knew where they were, she moved them to the ground.  Two days, and the yellow one is found at the back door.  So yesterday I put the other one back up on the truck, and when I went back for the afternoon feeding, it was gone, but I heard it meowing.  With much sound-searching I found it ~ on top of the stock trailer!  I couldn't reach it; last night was very cold and windy and this morning I didn't see it or hear it, so...I'm just expecting to see it at the back door any time now.

I hope I didn't offend those of you who have loving dogs as pets.  Forgive me?


Monday, November 4, 2013

First Monday of November

We got baby chickens for two houses early this morning; the other two houses will come tomorrow morning.  I was glad there were only two houses to dump because my breakfast was gone and I was getting tired by the time we were finished.  We usually keep the chickens about fifty days which will make these be that age on Christmas.  Someone else may have to fix Christmas dinner this year.

Remember those low-hanging limbs?  The results ~ a wonderful crop of nice pecans!  I haven't even bothered to try to scare away the crows and the squirrel; there seemed to be plenty to share, although the nuts in the tops of the trees must be gone because the crows were scouring the ground this morning.  I've also shared with friends.  Now ~ if I can get the farmer to help me pick out the nuts inside these shells...


Friday, November 1, 2013

November Apron

The apron(s) for November comes as a mother-daughter pack.  Get ready for help cooking the holiday meals by encouraging a little one to cook with you.

One of my sisters-in-law makes fabric gift bags each Christmas and I repurposed my bag into aprons using the printed fabric.  

Although aprons made like this are usually considered clothespin bags, the big pocket would be great for holding a potholder or the end of a kitchen towel.  I've used this pattern, Simplicity #E2079, several times.  It takes very little fabric and the bias tape binding is the most costly thing about making it, unless you can make your own tape, which I do.

Looking for a simple gift to make for Christmas?  Why not surprise a little granddaughter with her very own apron?


Monday, October 28, 2013

Learning From the Impolite

While dusting the bookcase, I ran across this little book:
The inside front page calls it, "A manual of manners for polite infants inculcating (?)many juvenile virtues both by precept and example." My girls were introduced to the Goops through the Better Homes and Gardens Story Book about forty years ago. Later I ordered the book about the Goops from Dover Publications; I'm not sure too many of the grand kids ever read it. There are forty three subjects listed in the table of contents. These are a few of my favorites:

I think many adults fall into this category too:
Have we failed to teach our children proper manners?
"Let me introduce you to a Race
Void of Beauty and of Grace...
Yet you'll learn, if you are Bright,
Politeness from the Impolite..."

Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Matt. 19:19

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Preparing for Winter -- 2

There was frost the next morning and the acrid smell of frozen grass filled the air. Smoke from the stovepipe curled only a little before being carried away to the holler by the strong north wind. By mid-morning the sun began warming things and Mama said, "Let's stomp peas today, Charlotte!" She took her feed sack full of dry peas out into the yard. Charlotte jumped onto the burlap bag. "This is one thing you can jump on to your heart's content," said Mama. "Pretend you're jumping on the bed!" She jumped and jumped. Mama turned the sack and they both stomped, and the dry pods broke into pieces, releasing the peas. Charlotte giggled and fell off. Mama set the sack upright and untied the end.
She picked up the sack and held the opened end high above her empty dishpan. The dry peas fell into the pan and the wind blew the broken pieces of hulls away. Then she poured the peas from the dishpan into an empty bucket. Zing! Zing, zing! The peas sounded like hailstones on a tin roof as they hit the metal bucket. She poured them back and forth, and each time bits of hulls and trash blew out until the peas were clean.

Now Mama took the clean peas to the kitchen. She filled a jar with some of them and added a few moth balls. "These peas are to plant next year," she said, "and the mothballs will keep weevils out of them." She poured boiling water over the rest of the peas and let them sit for a few minutes. "I scalded these peas to kill any weevils that might be in them now; they're the ones I'll cook this winter. The seed peas can't be scalded because the hot water would kill the little plant that is waiting inside the pea," explained Mama. She spread the scalded peas out on a clean cloth and let them dry in the sun and wind for a few days before storing them away for winter meals.


If you're fairly new to my blog you might enjoy reading more about our farm life in the 1940s.  The stories are under the label, Family.  If there are two parts to a story, the first part will be preceded by the second; keep this in mind to keep from knowing the end of the story first :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Preparing for Winter (A repost)

The fall weather was dry. Dust rose behind cars and hung in the stillness. In the evenings it settled in the valleys and looked like fog. The leaves were changing colors, but they had a burnt-like crispness to them; their edges curled. The flowering weeds wilted in the warmth of the afternoon sun, and grass seeds were maturing quickly. At night the temperatures dropped, so Daddy put up the wood heater.

"There'll be a killing frost soon," he said, so Mama set about to gather in what was left in the garden: a few peas, turnip greens, and green tomatoes.

Honk! Honk! Honk! The sounds came from overhead. "Look, Mama! A black flying line!" said Charlotte and Mama explained to her, "Those are geese, flying south. They know cold air is coming. They're going where the weather is warmer."

Charlotte shaded her eyes from the sun and watched the geese flying in a v-shape; now and then a few birds strayed from the others and flew alone, but they always returned. By noon the sun had warmed the air enough that Charlotte wondered if they might turn back.....

(To be continued tomorrow.
I know some of you have read this before, but bear with me...)


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Story Quilt

"Once Upon a Time"....The possibilities are endless for bedtime stories, poems, or maybe a song with this baby quilt.

How about a story of the little bear who became his team's most valuable player.

Maybe there's a poem about the giraffe siblings who live at 123 PSE street.

And surely someone knows why the cat sits in the window at night and washes his face before going to bed under a clear sky filled with stars.

The entire quilt is full of wonders, all made from scraps of novelty prints with paper pieced wonky houses.

The binding is even scrappy, and no need for fancy quilting either because it would get lost in the string pattern.  Lots of fun here for some little child who likes to pretend.

  I like to pretend, but when we were little we said, "play like, this or that" instead of, "let's pretend".


I know some of these pictures are blurred; shaking old hands do that sort of thing. "Play like" they're clear.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Fall Birthday

Fifty years ago this morning, at 5:09, our second baby girl was born.   She was brought in "care of the dawn" so her name fits her well:  Cara Dawn.

Such a pretty little girl with lots of dark hair which grew to be naturally curly.  She was always the most serious of our three girls and could do just about anything she set her mind to do: sewing for the dolls, drawing and painting, collecting insects (led to a master's degree in entomology), and in recent years electrical and plumbing (learned well from her dad).  She gave us our first and second beautiful granddaughters.  She's a very kind, compassionate woman, just ask all the doggies and kitties she takes in.

So, Happy Birthday, dear one.  May you have many more happy and healthy years.

We love you much, Mama Charlotte and Popa Noel

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sunbonnet Redwork

Part of my summer was spent embroidering Sunbonnet Sue in redwork.  She's showing the things she does in each month of the year.

For example, here she is dressed for Halloween.

This is the third time I've done this pattern which came from the Sunbonnet Sue website.  I have another redwork project in mind for after supper work this winter.  I'll be showing it soon.  Redwork is my kind of embroidery; pick up the red floss, load up the needle, and go to work; no deciding what colors to use. lol

  This isn't quilted yet, but soon; it measures around 16 1/2" x 21 1/2".