A Day at the Orchard

This past weekend we went to a local orchard. We ate sweet-corn and home-made applesauce. We played in a sea of shelled corn. Little Guy drove a pedal tractor and went through a straw maze. We looked at animals and admired the pumpkins. We walked through the apple trees. We had a simply lovely day.

On our way out, we stopped at the orchard's bakery for fresh apple cider doughnuts - Yumm!

Straw Maze - what fun!

Hubby & Little Guy wade through the sea of shelled corn.

Checking out a mini out-house.  He never did go in.


Projects & Pretties

I’ve been a busy little bee lately. That week where I didn’t have a sewing machine, I finished the afghan for my Grandma (Christmas Present) that I started last winter.

Once the new machine arrived, I dug into the towering pile on my project table and finished a baby quilt (flannel & chenille), a baby blanket (also flannel & chenille – but bigger and not quilted), a throw pillow for the chair in Little Guy’s room, AND two toddler-size pillow cases - one for Little Guy, one for a friend's daughter.

So, I’ve been busy with everything except posting pictures here. So now I’m trying to catch up. See the snaps below for a glimpse.

In progress are a second baby quilt (similar to the first one), and two Christmas gifts which I can’t detail here as the recipients are readers of this blog. ha ha

Little Guy's Pillow Case.  The one I made for a friend was girly with little monkeys and bananas all over.

Afghan for Grandma

Baby Blanket commissioned by a friend

Baby Quilt for a friend

Throw pillow for the rocking chair in Little Guy's room.  The fabric is a Michael Miller cowboy print that I love.


{this moment}

Inspired by SouleMama to share one moment.... via a single photo – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember…”


Thursday Thankfulness

Today I’m thankful for:

• A fully recovered (and newly energized) Little Guy – the new tubes went into his little ears yesterday. No problems & no complications. Hurrah!

• Loved ones: A husband who daily makes my life better and better. A loving and supportive extended family who stands by us through thick and thin. Sweet friendships I can depend on, despite issues of passing time and geographic distance.

• Cowboy boots, size 6 (found today at a consignment store) to replace the beloved size 5 pair which Little Guy has quite suddenly outgrown. A timely and budget friendly surprise – my favorite kind!

• Good books to read, recipes to try, and craft projects to finish

• Quality time with my fellas


Meet Sohpie

So we looked all over for a new sewing machine after my beloved (though ancient) Singer bit the dust a while back. Because we are frugal folks, we first looked at garage sales, tag sales and Craig’s List. We looked into repair, but decided that wasn’t the right route to take. Minimum repair cost was to be $60. Ten years ago, my Dad bought me the machine at a garage sale for $3. We decided I’d more than gotten his money’s worth.

However, the perfect used machine proved elusive. Well, elusive in the short span of time we had to spare searching for it. I have a stack of sewing projects that need to be done soon, and I didn’t think I had time to tackle them by hand, unless my goal date could be moved to next Christmas? No, that wouldn’t work. I needed a machine.


So one night this week, my hubby (who for the record, is AWESOME), called me to his office in our basement. He pointed to his computer and said, “Pick the one you like”. On the screen was a website which displayed a lovely array of brand spanking-new sewing machines.

My pulse quickened.

My palms became damp.

I couldn’t contain a silly grin as I sat down to peruse the options before me. There were a variety of prices, styles, brands and features. I had a rough idea of the features I most wanted in a new machine. I knew I wanted all the basics, as well as extra decorative stitch options and a drop feed for free motion quilting. Before long, I found the machine that seemed to meet each one of my criteria. The price was right so we placed the order.

It was delivered last night. I’m so happy I could burst.

Here she is: The Brother model CS-6000i computerized sewing machine. I call her Sophie (as in SEW-fie). 
Isn't she beautiful?

I unpacked the box, read through the instruction manual, set everything up and started sewing (you’ll see pics of my first project later in the week hopefully). I pulled myself away when my eyes started to get droopy. If I didn’t have a family and a day job I might have just sewn all night. As it was, I packed everything out of reach of two year old hands and headed to bed…where I dreamed of bobbins and seam rippers and presser feet and double needles.

To paraphrase an old movie classic, “Sophie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."


Sometimes You Have to Dig...

We went to a tag sale this past weekend. If you haven’t been to a tag sale (sort of a cross between an estate sale & a garage sale), they are often a wonderful place to find treasures. They are also often a big waste of time. The key (I think) is to keep at it.

I don’t know how many times we’ve come away with nothing. We’ve been lucky on a few occasions. I found my 1911 treadle sewing machine at a tag sale (I don't use it, but I enjoy knowing its there) ha ha. I’ve found a box of vintage hankies, some lovely depression glass, and old cookbooks. But to find those things I’ve really had to go to a lot of sales that were just stinkers.

This weekend we were on the hunt for a "new" electric sewing machine (you may remember my old one recently died). As soon as we got to the sale location, I tracked down the machine which had been advertised. It was not what I was looking for, but we went on to look at what else was for sale. We found a few small things, but nothing to be overly excited about. We were headed toward the check-out table, when I spotted a battered cardboard box. On the side of the box was a sign that said “Quilts $5 each”. I made a bee-line for the box, and quickly pulled out the top two. They were in tatters – far beyond repair. The next one down was a queen size comforter/quilt. The top is pieced but instead of the three layers being quilted, they are tied together on the corners of each block. It had some wear around the edges (but hey, who doesn’t?) and felt soft and snuggly. One block needed repair, but otherwise it appeared to be in good shape. I flipped it over my shoulder and kept digging.

The colors in this photo don't do it justice.  The yellows are warm and buttery.
I  pushed aside another old quilt destined for the trash heap, to find (at the very bottom) the winner (in my opinion anyway). Patriotic in theme, it was assembled with Debbie Mumm fabrics (maybe one of her kits, though I honestly don’t know much about them – I only knew it was Debbie Mumm because the quilter had added a tag). The quilt (also queen size) is in perfect condition. The colors and edges are still crisp. There are no frayed areas, no rips or stains. It’s simply lovely! And for $5! I almost broke out in a happy dance right there. 
USA Themed Debbie Mumm Quilt - if you know something about this type of quilt, let me know.  I'd love to learn more.
So, we took our new treasures home. I laundered my “new” quilts, and carefully repaired the yellow one. It’s quickly become my favorite blanket to snuggle up with while reading a book or watching tv, and Little Guy loves to play peek-a-boo under it too. The other quilt is now displayed over the back of the sofa in our Living Room.

Obviously we’ve went to more than our fair share of sales that were complete duds. Coming upon one like this is what drives us to keep looking for the next one, and the next one after that.

Two lovely quilts for just $10 total: What a bargain!



I’ve been busy. The day job has been a bit hectic, and my Little Guy has been sick again. First diagnosed with a bronchial infection a week ago…that was quickly followed by yet another ear infection. **sigh** I hate it when he feels awful. He’s feeling much better now, thankfully, and will be getting a second round of tubes in his little ears this week. The first round worked wonderfully (we went six months without an ear infection) until they fell out. We’re hoping this set stays put for a while.

Last Thursday (I can hardly believe it’s been that long – I’ve been meaning to blog about it ever since) I was grouching a bit about how rough Friday might be at work. A big project was finally coming to a close, and I was anticipating a rough day.

Hubby said to me, “Let me give you some perspective.” He then told me of a co-worker of his who has a little granddaughter recently diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer. She’s close in age to our Little Guy, and already she’s going through chemo and other treatments.

My first thought of course, was for that little girl and her family. I simply can’t imagine the horror and grief of watching your child deal with such a scary disease. My heart goes out to them, and they will certainly be in my prayers.

My second thought, was – shame on me. Shame on me for feeling grouchy about something silly like a long day at the office. I have so much in my life to be thankful for… so much to make up for any inconvenience life might throw my way.

I am a lucky lady, and I’m so very glad that I have a no-nonsense hubby who reminds me when I forget.


Weekend Bargains

On Saturday – Hubby, Little Guy and I went looking for garage sales. It was a lovely day and we found several. Little Guy found some new train books for 25¢each. We got a medicine cabinet for my bathroom for $4, and Dan found a few things he can re-sell on eBay.
The biggest bargain though, was a stack of boy’s clothes for which we spent a whopping $2 total. So for less than the cost of a Mocha Latte, we came home with all of the following (all in excellent condition):

• GAP Winter Coat size 4T

• Reebok warm-up jacket size 3T

• Timberland heavy-duty hooded sweatshirt size 4T

• Garanimals spring jacket size 4T

• GAP camouflage cargo pants size 3T

• Carhartt jeans size 3T

• Levi’s jeans size 3T

Little Guy is currently wearing 2T, so these won’t come into play for a while yet, but I’m always excited to find a great bargain – regardless of size. An added benefit, is that I’ll forget about these until it’s time to dig out the 3T or 4T tub and then I’ll have a fun surprise all over again.


The Singer Has Lost Her Voice

I have made lofty crafting plans lately…maybe too lofty, as my sewing machine has decided to go on strike. When it first started to chew through my bobbin thread, I assumed I’d wound the bobbin incorrectly (though I’ve been doing it for a good ten years and never had this problem before). Anyway, I wound and then re-wound my bobbins, reset all of my dials and knobs, tested different weights of fabric. Nothing helped, and this makes my heart sad.

I’ve had this machine since my Dad picked it up for me at a garage sale ten or eleven years ago for the awesome price of $3. The lady selling it had once been a dress maker by trade, and this was one of her many machines. A sturdy Singer Stylist, my second-hand machine has more options and features than I’ll ever use. She’s been tough and dependable up till now, and I really hope she can be repaired. I know I could go buy a new machine, but honestly the computerized models produced today scare me a little. Maybe a lot. Ha ha

So, I’m now doing a bit of research to determine where I can go locally to get my dear friend repaired. I wouldn’t trust “her” with just anyone after all.

Yes, I know it’s just a machine; but we’ve been through a lot together over the years and I am hoping we have a bright future ahead. If I have to break down and buy a new machine, so be it. One way or the other, I’m determined to get everything on my list (and project table) done by Christmas.


{this moment}

Inspired by SouleMama to share one moment.... via a single photo – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember…”

Knights, Pirates & Maidens… Oh My!

This weekend we found ourselves feeling a bit stir-crazy, but with nothing specific to do. We turned to the internet to see if there were any local events which sounded interesting. There wasn’t much to choose from.

We decided to go outside of our comfort zone a bit, and settled on a Renaissance Faire (a first for each of us). We didn’t have any idea what to expect. In my mind, I was thinking there would just be a bunch of tents, maybe a bon-fire and a lot of folks dressed like Sir Lancelot or Robin Hood. My mental image wasn’t wrong, but it was incomplete. We did see tents. We did see a fire. We did meet Robin Hood (he even gave Little Guy a piece of his ‘treasure’).

In addition to those things, we also saw a joust, a blacksmith, a “prisoner” in stocks, several Pirates & Musketeers, a fencing demonstration, many merchants selling things like kilts and leather mugs, and assorted tasty treats – most with a Renaissance twist.

All of this activity was nestled into a small, but surprisingly detailed village. Men and women in costume were everywhere. Some were dressed as more traditional Renaissance figures (Knights, Maidens & Royalty). Others were dressed as Highlanders, Monks or Magicians. Then there was an unexpected “Lord of the Rings” contingent – complete with Elves and Fairies. Somehow this mish-mosh of role playing adults meshed well.

All in all, it was fun. We ate good food (Hubby had Bangers & Mash, Little Guy ate “Ye Olde Pizza” and I had stew). We were entertained with various shows and displays. It was a lovely day weather-wise and all in all, a success.

Though I don’t expect we’ll start dressing up anytime soon, I do expect we’ll go back next year.


Family Fun

When I got home from work last night, Little Guy came barreling into my arms – a wiggling chatterbox showering his Mama with hugs and kisses. Once he’d made his way back to the ground, he lead me by the hand into the family room where Hubby and he had been playing catch. LG wanted me to join in the fun, so I did.

After an early dinner, we pulled out the play-doh and came up with all sorts of creations. We made faces, fish, cars, a cow and a train. Little Guy squealed with delight as each object took a shape he recognized. He added a pile of little play-doh balls to the mix and carefully “cut” into each of them with his little plastic fork. He would have liked to play like that all night, but after a while we lured him away with the promise of a wagon ride.
Once we convinced him to ride in his little red wagon and let Daddy do the pulling, we were off. We went on a leisurely walk around the neighborhood, enjoying the sights and sounds of an emerging Autumn. The sun was warm, but it was nicely countered by a gentle breeze. Little Guy pointed at airplanes overhead, waved at passing motorists and urged his Daddy to go faster. Once home, it was time for a bath, followed by a stack of books to read and songs to sing. We closed the evening with a sweet bedtime prayer. Little Guy easily drifted off to dreamland – a happy (and tired) little boy indeed.

He slept like a little angel – and so did we. No matter what curve balls life may throw my way, quality time spent with my special guys does wonders for this Mama!


What I'll Be Doing Today

I've been cutting blocks...and am now ready to start some quilting (after a long break from it).  I have two baby quilts and a twin size one that I need to finish.  The baby quilts will be my first priority since the babies have both arrived and time is slipping by...

Yes, those are cows... most of the prints for this series of quilts I'm making are "cowboy" related.  Should be lots of fun.

Once I get started, I tend to obsess till a project is done...so hopefully I'll have something finished to show you next week!


Playing "School"

Little Guy has recently shown quite an interest in learning. Learning about everything. He’s just soaking up new information like a tiny little sponge. I want to encourage him, but he’s only two – so I certainly don’t want to overwhelm him with anything overly structured. I think small children should be having a fun time enjoying childhood while they can.

That being said, we’ve begun to play “school” when he’s in the mood. I’ve set up an area where he can color and draw (two of his favorite pastimes). On the wall above his little table, I’ve hung a number poster and another with the alphabet on it. Whenever he shows interest, we go to that corner and I bring out coloring books or flashcards or drawing paper and paints. We read books and sing songs… whatever seems interesting at the time, and holds his attention. When he gets bored, or wants to play with his train or whatever – he does. We can always resume if/when he wants to.

For now I am trying to reinforce the things he already knows pretty well: colors, shapes, animals, that sort of thing. If he continues to enjoy learning in this manner, I’ll move to other subjects as he’s ready for them.

Right now, it’s really all about encouraging in our Little Guy a sense of curiosity and (hopefully) a love of learning. And as an added bonus for me, I get to spend some really special quality time with Little Guy as he explores his world.

I love watching the feeling of accomplishment on his little face when he masters something new (or at least makes a valiant effort to do so)! That and his exuberant little cries of, “I Did IT! I Did IT!” makes my heart happy.


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