Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Out and About

I had a wonderful day out with my friend Sandy.  We try to get together for an "outing" at least once a month and today we decided to head for the big town (Mankato) and hit spots that we never have been to or never seem to get to.  The first thing I had to do was get a hair cut in the morning and once that was done we were on our way to Panera Bread  for lunch.  I didn't have my camera with me (dang) but what we had was delicious.   Wish you could see the Mediterranean sandwich and Greek salad.   It was my first time there so I felt like I just came down from the hills as I didn't know how the system worked for ordering.  But, the staff was very patient and got me through the ordering process in no time.

Then we went to Michaels and spent at least an hour just browsing through the aisles getting new ideas for projects.
  I picked up a few scrap booking supplies as I want to try making my own Christmas cards.

As you can see, I also got a couple of skeins of yarn and some knitting needles as I want to try knitting a pair of socks.  I've knitted years and years ago but never made socks.  Winter time is the time for sock knitting.
I'm not sure if I should design the cards with scrap booking materials or go for the card making software.  Has anyone used or is using card making software?  If so, what do you use?  Leave a comment about your experience with the program you're using.  I've tried the free stuff online but not happy with how things turn out.

After Michaels we visited Fire Fly Quilt Shop where I purchased some wool felt for a penny rug.  They only had 12 inch squares on display but I needed an 18 inch square.  The ladies were so nice and went to the back room and came up with a piece of blue that I needed that was big enough to cut an 18 inch piece off of.

Next stop,  River City Quilts where I found some wide flannel backing for a flannel quilt top I put together yesterday.
I'll get this washed up and get the quilt basted so it's ready for quilting when our quilt guild has their sew-in day in January. 

It was a great cut, lunch with a friend, quilt shop browsing and home before dark. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Day After

Friday after Thanksgiving.  To some, Black Friday but for me, not so much.  I don't shop on this day.  In fact, most of my Christmas shopping is done as I make most of my gifts.  I just buy toys for #38's great grand kids.

Yesterday we had a wonderful meal at the church we attend.  This is the third year they've hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who has no where else to go, no family, cannot afford a feast for their family or just don't want to cook.  No. 38 and I fell into that last category.  It was a free-will-offering sort of deal and the monies collected go to the local food shelf.  We had a fabulous meal cooked by the church ladies and a dessert table that you could hear groaning as you passed by.  One of the church board members is a surgeon at the hospital and he was doing the carving of the turkeys and hams.  He did some carving on me and No. 38 so we felt assured that there were no bones or extras on the meat platters.  LOL  He also sat with us for a break from his "surgical" duties and had a serving of vegetables (pumpkin pie) and fruit (apple pie).  When he reached for the chocolate brownie I asked him what food category that represented  and he replied "beans".   If the FDA can categorize pizza a vegetable then I suggest that wine be a fruit.  LOL

The only drawback in going out to eat is that there are no leftovers for the weekend.  I was looking ahead in that regard and made a pumpkin pie on Wednesday to satisfy my leftover need.  This is what it looked like this morning.  We have since had lunch and there are 2 more pieces missing.  Pie does not last long in this house.

I have started doing some Christmas decorating today.  The weather is so mild that I got the wreath hung between the garage doors and a bit of garland wrapped around the shepherds hook by the front door.  I'm not doing anymore outside.  As for inside, I've decided what I don't use for decorations this year will be going to the thrift shop or recycled in some way.  I don't know if I can weed out my snowman collection but there is plenty of other stuff that can go.  Where does it all come from?  What do you do with your no longer wanted Christmas decorations?  I need some ideas.  Send me your comments.  I promise not to send any of my stuff to you unless, of course, you want me to.  You can leave a comment anonymously if you want.  Would love to hear from you.

Next week, book reviews.   

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Yes, it's time to reflect and be thankful for all we have.  I know you all are thinking the same things and I'm not going to belabor the point but I want to express my blessings publicly.

                                                                First, I'm thankful I don't have a mortgage on my house.
Even though the value went down and the taxes went up, I'm grateful that I have a roof over my head (brand new) and that I didn't have to borrow to pay for it.  Everything is still holding together for the time being, although that washer will need to be replaced soon and the floor it sits on.  Oh well.

  Next, I'm grateful we don't have any snow on the
ground, so far.  The bird feeding area looks rather drab but when I consider what it looked like last year at this time, I find beauty in the browns and grays.  The birds, squirrels and rabbits don't mind.
Maybe those turkeys will show up again.  We had a family of 6 visit us most of the summer.

I'm happy I wake up every morning and get out of bed.  Many are sick and hurting and I'm so very grateful that life has treated me well.  I've survived cancer and life is good.  Minnie has a good life, too.  She sleeps in her own little kennel to the left of my bed at night but she loves to snuggle on my bed during the day.  I usually have to make the bed two or three times throughout the day.  She is such a hoot.

I have so many other things to be thankful for.  My wonderful family, my beautiful daughter, No. 38, my fantastic friends, Minnie...all too numerous to list.  So this thanksgiving season I'll be reflecting on all my blessings.  I'm going to make pie now.  Enjoy your day.

Friday, November 18, 2011


A new feature on my blog starting today.  As a former librarian, okay, para-librarian, I'm still reading and sometimes I run across wonderful books that are not written by the hot authors of the day.  You know which ones I'm talking about..John Sandford, James Patterson, Danielle Steel (I really don't read any of hers).
I like bloody suspense once in a while but I also like historical fiction, non-fiction and just plain good literature, which, sadly, there is a lack of. 

One of the surprising historical fiction/christian books I recently finished taught me something I should have known about a long time ago. It's called Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin. The story takes place in eastern Kentucky during the depression where a young librarian from Chicago travels with her aunt and uncle. She was corresponding with the Kentucky librarian and decided to deliver boxes of books that she collected for the library. Little did she know what she was getting into. Not only was she awakened to the poverty of the area but she was educated about the pack horse librarians. The story is about the pack horse librarians of eastern Kentucky. The pack horse librarian program was the brain child of the Roosevelt’s and the WPA program in 1935. It was a way to give women jobs as well as bring desperately-needed reading materials to the folks living in the hills with little or nothing. I've been in the library world for over 30 years and I never heard of the pack horse librarians. It was a terrific story and it led me to search for more information on the subject. I found another book entitled Down Cut Shin Creek by Kathi Appelt and Jeanne Cannella Schmitzer. It's a children's book but chocked full of wonderful photographs. Both are worth your time and are available from your local library.

And, one more

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure.

I had no idea there was a Little House on the Prairie cult but this book proves it. How anyone could be obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her life was shocking to me but apparently there are thousands of Laura wanna-bees around the world. This author took her husband and went on vacation visiting every known place where Ma and Pa Ingalls and the family lived, and there were many. I am probably the only person in the world that never read a “Little House” book and after reading The Wilder Life I won't have to. I learned everything there is, and then some, about the Ingalls family, Laura and Almanzo and their daughter Rose. And, some very surprising revelations, I might add. Even if you're not a Little House fan, this book is well worth reading. It's funny and poignant and, again, there's a lot of late nineteenth century historical stuff that I always find fascinating.

I have no pictures to share today.  I'll have to get busy on that again.  Please leave a comment and tell me what you think about para-librarian book reviews.  Worth reading?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pay It Forward

One of our members at quilt guild came to our meeting a few months ago with odds and ends she discovered while cleaning either her stash or her mothers.  One of the items she showed us was this  pillowcase that was stamped with trains and train tracks and the train tracks were partially painted with embroidery paints. 

I opened my big mouth and said, "Oh, my neighbor just gave me a whole set of those embroidery paints."  In the blink of an eye, the pillowcase was in my lap.   Weeks, then months went by with the pillowcase in my "To Do" basket.  From time to time I would look at it and think I really need to finish this but then what would I do with it?  My bedroom decor is not quite into trains and I have a little grand nephew who might be able to use it but ...a pillowcase?  As I was running ideas around in my head I thought wouldn't it be nice if I could find some train fabric that looks like those two trains on the pillowcase.  Then I could make a simple child's quilt and put it together.  Thanks to the wonders of Internet, I found the perfect fabric.

It's called "Train Crazy" from RJR Fabrics.  And a further search led me to River City Quilts in Mankato where they had it on hand.  I always like to save the shipping costs whenever I can.   I cut the train strips and inserted other fabrics to come up with  a child size quilt.  I fussy cut the train signs from the top strip and fused them to the black fabric and zig-zagged them down.
You can see that the top two black strips are not quite done.  One thing I have trouble remembering when I blog is to take the picture before I do something.  LOL

After all the applique was done, I used a poly batt and put on a red and tan plaid backing.  I stitched in the ditch for the quilting and with the poly batt, it made for a nice cushy little quilt.  Next, I finished painting the pillowcase.  I painted the trains the same color as the ones on the quilt.

And, here is the completed project of the quilt and pillowcase together.

This will be going back to my friend Ruth at the quilt guild to give to the Children's Crisis Nursery.  I hope some little boy will find comfort in having his very own quilt and dream about future train rides.  I hope there are still trains to ride when he grows up.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Bear

I finally finished those two beautiful light colored mink bears.  They'll be going to their new home on Friday.

The one on the left is wearing a banner with the name of the coat's owner embroidered on the lining.  So many of the mink coats that I get are custom made and their names or initials are embroidered on the lining.  If there are only initials I'll put them on the paw pads if they fit. 

Now, I'm caught up with the bears.  On to some felted wool projects and I have a couple of quilt tops to quilt.  I'll share those when they are finished.

Today was a beautiful day for the 9th of November.  There wasn't a cloud in the sky.  Minnie and I went on our walk around noon and it was glorious with the sun shining and the yellow leaves raining down.  Went for a ride to the next town, visited a thrift store and stopped at a flooring store for some ideas on floor covering.  My washing machine is terminal so it's only a matter of time before I'll have to put it out of its misery.  Since it will be leaving the laundry room in the near future, I've decided to replace the flooring.  One thing inevitably leads to another as things go.  Not looking forward to the expense and disruption in my life but things need to be kept up and fixed. 

Looking forward to a quiet weekend and hopefully no snow.  The holiday season is fast approaching and there's always lots to do.  Having an early Thanksgiving get-together with out-of-state friends next Monday and I promised to make pies for the occasion.  Mmmmm - I'm told I make darn good pies.  My mother was known for her pie making and I guess I inherited the pie gene.  I must have because she never taught me. 

Have a good weekend everyone.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Out and About

Daylight saving time ended this morning.  I'm never sure why it's called "Daylight Saving".  How can you save daylight?  And, I wasn't sure whether it starts or ends today.  All I know is that I wake up at 2 a.m. instead of 3 a.m.  The dog wants her supper at 3 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. and I want my supper at 4 p.m. instead of 5 p.m.  Life is too complicated sometimes.

Today was the Holiday Expo & Craft Show.  I shared a booth with  my friends Pat and Teri and we had a good afternoon visiting with folks, looking at some neat stuff, selling our goods and buying more.  Here are some pictures of our day.

Pat and Teri setting up our booth.  You can see why we should probably have two spaces next year.

Awesome jewelry made out of some type of fiber material.

Dream catchers made by Prairie Willow from Mankato.  They also had handmade jewelry.  Very nice

This was the view from our booth.  Lots of vendors, lots of space and a good crowd.  A very successful day.  Now I'm tired and I'll be ready for bed soon.  Oh, it's only 5:00 but my body says it's 6:00.  Do I dare go to bed at 8:00?  Will I stay awake that long?  Sigh!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I'll be one of the vendors with two friends selling our wares at the...
Sunday, Nov. 6
9-2 p.m.
Le Center Middle School
150 W. Tyrone St.
Over 45 Vendors

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One Last Halloween Post...I Promise

Last night the kids came to the door in the most wonderful costumes.  And I had intended to take pictures of them but once they got the candy, they turned and were gone.  When we had a lull in the action, we dashed up to "The Halloween House".  Joe and his brother put together a spooky house last year which was a big hit.  They expanded their talents and got more friends involved and came up with an incredible display.
These are some of the characters and ghouls we encountered.

                                                                      And this is Joe
Needless to say, some kids were scared out of their wits.  And there was a sound system of spooky music and moans and groans.  What a hoot.  I can't wait for next year.