Thursday, January 28, 2010

Frugal Gift Idea

Pin It I love our Goodwill Store. Many times you can find new items that still have the tags attached for a very reasonable price. The other day I was able to pick up a set of 3 Valentine's place-mats for 99 cents. They still had the tags attached and were so cute that I had to try my new idea with them.

These place-mats are the kind that are double layered.

First you need to carefully take apart the seam on one end. Just an opening large enough to be able to stick your hand into it.

Next, take some cotton batting stuffing and begin to stuff, making sure that all corners are well stuffed.

The last step is to hand sew the hole back up and voila!

You have perfectly stuffed pillows! I was thinking seasonal pillows would be so reasonable to have throughout the home. Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, July 4th, Halloween....... oooh, the possibilities!
Have a great day everyone, I am off to finish a new table runner that I have been working on.
Remember to give your loved ones a hug! =)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Penny Rug Update

Pin It Some of you have asked about my penny rug. The material is wool except for the little plaid pennies on the outside. I picked up this kit at the local Goodwill store for 99 cents and thought it was a great way to experiment making one.

I am having alot of fun with it and will definitely make more. Here is a great link to not only show wonderful pictures but also the history of how the penny rugs came to be and she also has some links for patterns.

I suggest giving it a try as not only are they decorative but easy to make!

Soon, I will have another great easy and frugal idea to make for gifts.

Have a great evening everyone! =)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fabric and Penny Rug

Pin It I have made some wonderful friends on the web. People I have never met in person but I know that if I did, we would sit around for hours, drinking tea or a glass of wine and have a great time.

One of these friends is Bev who lives in Spokane Washington. I have been making here some crocheted flowers that she wants to make into a quilt on day. They have been fun and different to make and our agreement was if I made them for her she would send me some snowmen fabric. I LOVE snowmen so to me it was a great deal.

The last few days we have been experiencing a blizzard with a lot of snow. Yesterday when we were clearing the driveway and parking lot, I decided to talk the long walk up to check the mail and I am so glad I did! The mailbox was empty and full of snow as the snowplow must have hit it when it went by. I happened to glance to my right and I noticed a green box buried halfway into the snowbank so I thought I would check it out and toss the garage into the bin. Well, it was a parcel addressed to me!

When I opened it, Bev had surprised me with this wonderful Valentine fabric!

She sent me three yards of each and I was so excited!!!

I was jumping up and down (while Bob and Luke thought I was crazy).

I envision many wonderful projects that I can make with this fun fabric. Thank you Bev so much!!! I just love the choices you sent. I have been enjoying myself just playing with it and figuring out what to make first. You are the best!

I have also been working on my first penny rug. It is a Christmas theme and I have made a few mistakes along the way but it is beginning to come together nicely. I still have all the stitching to do around the sides and the wool pieces but I like how it is looking. This will be placed in my Christmas box as a gift for someone this year.
What have you been doing to pass the time away this long winter? I love hearing what everyone else is gives me even more ideas! =)
Have a great day and don't forget to give your loved ones a hug!

Monday, January 25, 2010

In The Frame

Pin It Last fall, Bob and I hit a garage sale that was about a mile from us at an old farm. The little old lady and little old man that were hosting the garage sale had it set up in a big pole barn. The pole barn was packed to the rafters with goodies!

We must have been there for at least an hour, walking through the aisles and aisles of treasures that they had laid out. Records, old magazines, china, radios from at least the 1920's, everything you could think of was there. I LOVED that sale!

Off to the side, I noticed a long box and when I looked closer, the box was labelled 'quilt frame'. I was so excited!

I took the box up to the counter and asked the owner if all the pieces were there and she guaranteed that they were. She asked if I quilted and I told her that I wanted to start this winter. She was so happy that it was going to someone who was going to enjoy it as she did. Her husband had bought her a new one and no longer needed the one I was purchasing.

After a few hours of trying to put it together the other day, I was finally able to attach my quilt top and get busy. I was surprised when I unloaded the box, the instructions were still in the bottom intact and easy to read. The one brace had splintered from age but an angle bracket was added and it worked wonderfully. Now I am happily quilting away, thinking about how many hours this little old lady worked like I am. Did she make a quilt for her children? Her grandchildren? What did she think about while sewing those pieces of fabric together?

Whatever she was thinking, whoever she was making the quilt for, I am excited to stitch away on my quilt that is attached to a piece of history. Who says 'new' is better? I don't! I wouldn't trade my quilt frame for a new one any day!

Have a great evening and don't forget to give your loved ones a hug! =)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Been Busy

Pin It Wow, it has been busy around here at the old homestead. My sewing machine has never worked so hard as it has this past week.

I have to apologize to all my blog friends. The lack of comments on your sites is not intentional. I have very limited opportunity to use the computer lately as Bob is using it so much for work that it makes it difficult for me to pop in and say hello. I have been reading faithfully from my iTouch however to comment is difficult on that blasted little machine. So I am still there...just not talking! =)

I wanted to show you what I have been working on...

A set of tapestry pillows. This will be given as a Christmas gift. I cannot mention names as she might read this site so I will keep quiet on the receiver.

My Christmas gift box has been started and these made their way into it. I am happy to say that the box is filling up quickly. This excites me as during the summer, it is so difficult to get any crafting done.

This little needlepoint pillow will be another gift for a special little girl whose parents are friends of ours.

I am hoping she likes it.

Here is a quilt top that I just finished today. The blue flowered material is a vintage material that I discovered in my stash. After picking up the red (it does have little dark blue polka dots on it) and the yellow material, it took very little time to whip it up.
After ironing all the creases, I made my way to the old farmhouse to find my quilting frame that I had purchased last fall at a garage sale. I had never put it together and was hoping all the pieces where in the box like the lady told me.
A few hours later and a little tweaking on the one stabilizer bar (the wood has split but I used an angle bracket to fix it) my $3 quilting frame is ready to go!
The backing material is just finishing up in the dryer so tomorrow I can spend the time layering the top, batting and backing and pinning it together. I need to re-read the instructions (yes, they were still in the box!) on how to lay it all on the frame so it stays nice and taunt so I can begin hand-quilting it.
This is my first attempt at such a big quilt project. My blocks that I showed you a week or so ago are still sitting waiting to be made into the top. I am a little apprehensive about cutting the material for the sashing......maybe I will get the courage up to cut it this weekend.
A storm is headed our way starting tonight. Sleet, ice and snow are expected with accumulations of 4 - 6 inches. Perfect time to enjoy a cup of tea, bake some treats and quilt my time away.
Have a great weekend everyone and remember to give your loved ones a hug! :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Found the Link!

Pin It
Quick note to tell those of you who asked about the link to the coasters. I found it! It is Karen over at Sew Many Ways.
Here is her blog....

So THANK YOU Karen for a great tutorial!
Enjoy making some of them my friends. :)

Still Busy Crafting

Pin It My days have been lazy but not long! Seems like when I am kept busy with crafting, I never have enough time. I am trying to get all my Christmas gifts made early so I can enjoy the summer gardening and spending time outside in the sunshine.

Here are a few projects I have finished. The first is a quilted table runner made with snowmen with a flannel backing. So cozy!

Back side.

The next project was a set of coasters. I saw these on another blog....I am sorry I don't remember which one as I read so many. So if the original author is reading this please take it as a compliment. I love making simple and practical!

I made a set of four with three different types of material. She used five different fabrics.

Do you notice how the coaster wraps around the base of the wineglass? I think this is so cool!

Here is the next table runner. This one is for me. I love this material!

Machine quilted.

Here is the backing.
Now I need to make some curtains for my Mother's closet. I will be using a lovely flowered blue pattern. Her room is painted a soft shade of blue so I think they will suit the room perfectly.
I hope everyone is enjoying their day and remember to give your loved ones a hug! :)

Friday, January 15, 2010


Pin It I picked up some material the other day that I thought would be appropriate for the sashing on my quilt. Now I have been playing with the squares, trying to figure out where they should be placed.

I am not going to use the wonky block for a small pillow, I think. At least I will be putting it to good use and it will match the quilt! Win - win.

After I have decided where I like how the blocks are placed, I will begin cutting. A little nervous but I need to get at it. Hand-quilting it will take me a long time. The rest of my time lately has been experimenting with making quilted table runners. I am almost finished one so I will show you next time.

Today is sunny and a warm 20F. We haven't seen the sun in about a week so what a treat. I think I will spend some time by the dining room window and soak it in while sipping my morning coffee.

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Last of the Blocks

Pin It Finished the last of the blocks yesterday. I am happy with all of them except the first one as it turned out horrible! Nothing matched up for me so I will ditch it and use the 8 that worked out well.

Will toss this one into the pile and not use it. I don't understand why the squares didn't match up but I chalk it up to a learning experience.

I am excited to find the sashing for the squares so I can get busy quilting it. Hand quilting it will be.

Does anyone have any ideas on what color I should use? I am not good at putting colors together and I am nervous about what I should use.
Have a great day everyone!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Homesteading Skills

Pin It As mentioned in yesterday's post, I want to try new homesteading skills this year. I have decided that a skill a month is doable without being too much of a burden on my everyday chores and activities.

I feel that it is important to continue to learn new skills even if we are getting older! =)

So I sat down and made a list of all the things I would like to try this year. I started already making a quilt but this will be a year long project as I will be putting the quilt together and quilting it by hand. I don't own one of those fancy long armed machines but I sure wish I did!

Homesteading Skills for 2010

January - homemade bread bowls

February - make napkins and tablecloths for home use (I have already made some napkins but will need quite a few more and I haven't tried the tablecloths yet)

March - make homemade butter - I want to try Rhonda's recipe that she uses over at the down to earth blog.

April - make homemade ice cream - also Rhonda's recipe .... I can see gaining a few pounds here!

May - making a rag rug

June - homemade dandelion jelly

July - learn to whittle - we have many willow trees on the property and I would like to try and make a cane

August - making bar soap - I tried this last year and was unsuccessful. I will give it a go though as I don't give up easily.

September - candle-making - I would love some homemade dipped candles

October - braided rug - I love the old-fashioned braided rugs and would love a new one for in front of my kitchen sink.

November - knit a pair of socks - this is way over my head but I want to try...even if they turn out a little oddly shaped, they are only for me anyway.

December - I am going to leave this month open. I would like to think of something that has to do with the season. I am sure I can find something before this month comes around.

There are my skills listed in black and white. Hmmm, some may be moved around throughout the year to different months but I want to be able to say on December 31st that I was successful this year learning 12 new skills that will assist me in living a more simple life.

January - this month's skill was learning how to make bread bowls. You know the type, in restaurants you will see salads, spaghetti, soup served in them. They are always so delicious when I have them when we are out dining so I wanted to try making them from scratch.

Last night dinner was to be spaghetti and venison meatballs so what a perfect time to try them!

Here is the recipe...

Bread Bowls

2 pkgs or 2 tbsp of yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
7 cups flour

1 tbsp cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tbsp water


1. In a large bowl dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes.

2. Add salt, oil and 4 cups of flour. Stir well. Add 1/2 cup of flour slowly, mixing as you go.

3. When the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl, turn out on floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic .. about 6 minutes. Oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl, turn to coat with oil. Cover with damp cloth, rise until the dough is double in size, about 40 minutes.

4. Punch down dough, divide into 8 portions. Shape into round loaves. Place on lightly greased baking sheets, sprinkle with cornmeal. Cover and let rise until double in size...about 35 minutes. ***I made only 4 loaves so they would be big enough to hold spaghetti***

5. Preheat oven to 400F. In a small bowl, beat egg white and 1 tbsp of water, lightly brush loaves with egg wash.

6. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush remaining egg white wash on the tops and bake 10-15 more minutes until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

7. To make bowls, cut 1/2 inch from top of each loaf, scoop out centers, leaving 3/4 inch thick shells. Fill bowls with chili, soup, salad, or spaghetti.

Just out of the oven.

So yummy! Sorry for the bad picture. My camera doesn't work well without natural light and it is dark here by dinnertime!
One homesteading skill for 2010 done! On to the next one.
Have a great day everyone and remember to give your loved ones a hug.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Keeping Warm

Pin It The temperatures have been frightful lately which means much time spent indoors and keeping warm. Thank goodness I don't suffer from SAD like some other people. It would be horrible with the type of weather we have!

I am still plucking away at making blocks for my first quilt. It is a fun process but time consuming as I check things once, twice and three times before I cut or sew.

This is the third block in the series.

This is the fourth block.

I laid out all the blocks I have completed so far to see what the quilt will look like. I like it! :)
I have also been working on reducing the paper products we use in our home. I believe we should all do our part to take care of this planet and it helps on the pocketbook as well! Paper towels, napkins, Kleenex and such will slowly be fazed out of our home. Bathroom tissue will have to stay I think!

Here are some napkins I made recently. They will be placed in a big basket so whenever one is needed they are handy to grab. I double sided them for extra strength and absorbency. I have a roll of this material that was given to me by a friend and the roll is 50 yards! I don't think I will have to worry about running out anytime soon.
I have been slowly making a list of new homesteading skills I want to try this year. When I have my list ready, I will post it for you to see. It will help to keep me focused on my goals and be accountable! I am thinking 12 new a month which I think is reasonable. The skill for this month was to make napkins so I am successful for January.
Have a great day everyone! I am off to do some more housecleaning and crafting. =)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Check out Never Enough's Giveaway

Pin It Just a quick note between housecleaning and crafting today to mention a giveway over at Never Enough's blog.

Stephanie made a darling Minnie Mouse apron and she is not only giving it away but she will embroider the name of the winner on the pocket. How perfect is that? A great apron to wear while baking all those goodies. So pop on over there and drop her a comment. It would be nice to see one of my cyber friends win!

Her blog is located here.

Good Luck! :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another Block and Caregiving

Pin It The last few days have been spent taking care of Bob. He hasn't been doing well....he is in a lot of pain. For those who don't know, my hubby has been fighting mouth cancer for about five years. There have been rough roads and smooth roads but the most trying are the days when he is not feeling well.

When he was first diagnosed, it was a stage four cancer. He had a huge lump in his mouth. The treatment was surgery, radiation and chemo. He had the surgery. They cut out half of his tongue, removed 12 lymph nodes from his neck and pulled most of his teeth. The radiation came next which burnt his neck and face so bad I thought he would never look normal again. Then the chemotherapy. The chemo took a lot out of him. The energy was gone and he lost a lot of weight. When he looks back on it, he says it was like a bad dream.

So we take each day as it comes. Some days are good and some not so good. The last few haven't been good. He is in quite a bit of pain and very lethargic. I worry about him and try to make him feel as comfortable as I can.

Today he forced himself to help Luke install a speed bag in the garage. Luke has been wanting to use a punching bag for a while but the cold weather has kept us inside. Today the temperature rose enough that they decided to install the punching bag and try it out. Both of them had a blast trying to make the bag work as they thought it should.

While the guys were working on 'manly' stuff, I worked on another quilting block. I am having a lot of fun with this ... learning as I go.

Here is block number two. It was a little more difficult as it was a paper piecing technique. I had never tried paper piecing before but it wasn't as bad as I thought. I have the quilting bug in me now and want to work on fabrics all day long!
I am hoping that I will have some time tomorrow to pluck away at another block. I am so anxious to finish all the blocks and get to the quilting part!
I hope you have a wonderful evening with your loved ones and don't forget to give them a hug!

Monday, January 4, 2010

After the holidays

Pin It Well the holidays are over. It has been crazy around the old homestead and decorations are finally put away. Things are finally back to normal. I had a wonderful visit with my Mom over the holidays. It is always such a joy when she can come and stay awhile.

Everyone loved their 'homemade' gifts which inspires me to do more next year. Now I am waiting for spring to arrive so seeds can be planted in the garden.....but it will be a while yet!

The temperatures here have been very cold...perfect weather to stay inside and get projects done while enjoying a cup of tea and taking many breaks doing enjoyable tasks.

I decided yesterday to try my hand at block quilting. I have quilted before but have never made my own blocks and it is one of my goals this year. I want to make a few quilts for loved ones and to me there is nothing that screams 'homesteading' than being cuddled underneath a homemade quilt.

This is my first quilt block. The colors in the picture don't do it justice. The corners aren't perfect but I am happy with it since it is my first attempt. I am hoping to get better as I go along!

I am sorry to all my friends whose blogs I read regularly. I haven't been around on the computer much but will try and catch up. Sometimes life gets in the way!

Today will be spent taking our Rottie Sammy to the vet. He had to have emergency surgery before Christmas and he needs his check-up and shots. He is doing well and is as goofy as ever.

I need to make a trip to the library as one of my goals for the new year (I don't call them resolutions as then I don't stick with them) is to learn Spanish. So I have a kit on order there so I can get started. This should be an experience!

I hope everyone is doing well, keep warm (or cool) where ever you may be on the this planet of ours.

Remember to give your loved ones a hug! :)
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