Friday, December 24, 2010

December: Jesus in our heart and home

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

it's almost here- the day we remember that Jesus was born to die for our sins. what a profound thing to contemplate.

as you finish those last minute preparations, and wrap those last few gifts, enjoy your time with your family and friends!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a little bit of inspiration, a big kick in the pants!

recently i was wondering around bloggy land late one night when i couldn't sleep and i came across a really neat thing: a UFO challenge for 2011. (for the more disciplined and focused folks among my readers, a UFO is an Un-Finished Object)

basically, to participate all you need to do is pull out 12 UFO's and number them one through twelve. every month, Judy will pull a number (1-12) and then we all work to complete that project, that month.

sounds easy, right? at first i was not sure that i had 12 unfinished projects. *snort* (who was i kidding anyway?) i found 12 projects, and here they are:

(I've added the 2011 UFO challenge button to my sidebar; you can click on that to find out more info, or you can go see for yourself right here.) you'll also be able to see all the others participating. (and be sure to take a quick peek at all the lovely projects that we'll all be working on!)

project #1: bear paw. i won these blocks at my quilt guild years ago (9+?). as you can see, i have a good start, but still need to finish the corners and border.

project #2: another block win (i showed these before). not sure on the plans for this quilt, but the book that A is holding (if you were a penguin) has inspired some colors/ideas that I'd like to try. the white/black/blue/yellow/orange color combo really intrigued me one day as i was reading this book to the little girls.

project #3: another quick quilt. this one is for sale, if you want it when it's done!

project #4: this was a red/white/black strip exchange i organized through the Friendship Quilters. several members have already completed (quilted AND bound!) their quilts, so as the "organizer" i really should get going on this one!

project #5: this thimbleberries pumpkin table runner is nearly done. it just needs quilted and bound. the long edges get binding, while the shorter have prairie points on them. ( i had the prairie points all cut and pressed but somebody seems to have thrown them out! i can only find 2 out of the original 16!)

project #6: this is a pink/brown dresden plate wall hanging/table runner that i started for one of my classes at the BF. some applique work, and then piecing/quilting is all that is left to do here.

project #7: i recently picked this up at Joann's fabrics, for 75% off the original price. it's 8 kits, plus the setting fabric to piece this top. i was intrigued by the colors, and it was a good price. what more needs to be said?

project #8: this is an ancient UFO- maybe started 17 years ago? it's been so long that i can't even remember! a friend and i started this as a quilt to donate to some charity (can't even remember that!) so I'll finish this and take it into our scraps to wraps to be knotted and donated to the MCC.

project #9: civil war flying geese. this was a project that was keeping me awake at night last winter, but got put aside and forgotten in the rush of other projects.

project #10: a "quickie" quilt- easy and fun. the pattern can be found here. i made B one of these for her birthday (using chicken flannel fabric) and i can honestly say that it's one of the warmest quilts I've ever made!
project #11: here is a quilt that i made in a workshop with the Friendship Quilters. it only needs quilting and binding. the tutorial for this one can be found here.

project #12: homespun 9 patch/snowballs. i really like the simplicity of these blocks, and i love the muted colors of the homespun. these are leftover blocks that our sewing circle had after piecing a quilt for our new pastor couple.

Monday, December 13, 2010

just a little more info on the Calendar Quilt...

I've had some requests to post the picture of the original quilt here, for easy reference. i know it's sideways, but you still get the idea... (and remember, you can click on any of these pictures to make them bigger)

if you're just visiting, or stopping by for the first time, you can find the original post about our 2011 Friendship Quilter's Calendar Quilt here.

starting in the lower left hand corner, progressing to the upper right, is a block to represent each month of the year.

here are the fabrics that I've chosen for my quilt this time around- all solids. all kona cotton.

brick. amber. yarrow. celadon. candy blue. berry. black.

I'm mostly happy with the colors that I've chosen- although i would have liked to go a bit more nontraditional. however, the store where i got them has a limited amount of the kona cotton solids, so i guess i have to be happy with what i can get. (besides, all these fabrics were 40% off! how great is that?)

additionally, it was requested to have a blank copy of the FQ Calendar quilt for you to print off and color.

and remember:

  • you can jump in at any time
  • it's free to participate!
  • please feel free to ask questions if I've left anything out
  • it's going to be so much fun!
  • just do a search for FQ calendar quilt, and you'll get a listing of all the posts for the quilt

Thursday, December 09, 2010

fresh turkey for thanksgiving!

way back last spring i decided that besides raising our meat birds, we would also get into the turkey business. i bought a few turkey eggs from our neighbor, and after hatching out a disappointing 4 poults, also bought baby turkeys from him, bringing our total turkey population to an even dozen.

they were raised in the chicken tractors, too. (or were they now turkey tractors?) time and the seasons marched steadily on, and soon it was November 23, their appointed day. above is A "givin' a little lovin' " to Mr. Tom Turkey.

each time we use our chicken plucker, we marvel to ourselves how we ever got along without it! it just strips the feathers right off those birds, until they are as naked as a jay bird. (or turkey)

this was our first time butchering in the summer kitchen, as well. just the night before, Dave had completed some final necessary tasks, and we were ready to go bright and early on Tuesday. it was so nice to have the cement floor, and everything under one roof! a big improvement over rickety card tables in the muddy yard!

the turkey next goes to G, who removes any pinfeathers and unsightliness from the bird. he also takes off the head, feet and crop.

next Mr. Tom Turkey comes to me, and i gut him, saving the giblets (neck, gizzard, heart and liver) after doing hundreds of chickens, it felt like i was touring the Grand Canyon to reach in the cavity and pull out all the insides!

a final rinse, tuck in his legs, and Mr. Tom Turkey is ready to grace the table of friends and family. we sold 10 of our birds, and had one 17.5lb turkey for our Thanksgiving table. (one turkey had mysteriously died in September)

it was the general an unanimous family consensus that Mr. Tom Turkey was the best we had ever eaten. we'll definitely raise turkeys again next year- and definitely keep better track of our expenses. we sold the turkeys for $2lb (with the butchering done for free), with the toms weighing in around 16lb and the hens around 10lb.

since our record keeping was less than stellar, we're not sure on the final cost. we raised these birds for 6 months, so we're pretty sure that WE paid our customers to come take their bird!

Friday, December 03, 2010

so you say you'd like to have some children?

Okay, but try this first!

*Go to bed, get all comfy and warm….have the fire alarm go off unpredictably all night. Repeat this every night for at least 17 years.

*Take a bucket full of vomit and dump it in the back seat of your car, on your couch, all over your carpets, splash it down the front of your clothes and then put a few drops in the toilette.

*Take another bucket of vomit and soak all the bedding, towels, your clothes, your neighbor’s clothes and the cat in it until you have enough laundry to fill the entire house and keep you washing until the the next round of vomit…which will occur right after you make up all the beds with clean sheets.

*Okay, now you’re going to need some urine….put it in a spray bottle and have fun.

*Grab a couple of puppies, set them loose in your living room…leave the house for a few days.They will simulate what a couple of kids can do to a room in a few minutes.

*Take a few of your precious collectibles and smash them to bits.

*Stain all your shirts with blood, paint, boogers…whatever is in the fridge.

*Cut a tiny hole in your curtains.

*Get a permanent marker…get to coloring! Walls, floors, furniture, the entire world is your canvas.

*Buy all the Lego’s you can find in the world along with Matchbox cars, Barbie shoes, hair bows, tiny socks, candy wrappers, McDonald’s french fries, Goldfish crackers, Crayons and crushed granola bars: mix up in a tub and freely sprinkle the contents in your vehicle, garage, yard, under your bed, in your bed, under the cushions of your couch and every corner in your house….make sure you stand over floor vents and drop handfuls.

*Have a friend hide your shoes, all of them. Wait until you’re ready to go to an important event to try to find them.

*Go on a long trip with a very loud and emotional person who will talk and cry and scream for the entire trip except for the quick nap they took right before you had to pull over to get gas…which caused them to wake up and be extremely irritable.

*When you stop to eat at a nice restaurant your travel companion tells you they forgot their shoes.

*Find a store to buy them some shoes.

*They will lose those shoes at some point during the trip and you will buy them three more pairs of shoes that are so ugly and cheap that you’re embarrassed to be with the person.

*They never lose the ugly shoes, they wear them everyday much to your dismay.

*Have someone call you to tell you they forgot their lunch at least three or four times a week.

*Put a sparkly unicorn sticker on the rear of your jeans and wear them in public all day.

*Take something sharp and scratch the crap out of your vehicle.

*Throw away three billion 5 dollar bills because that is what your children will need for this thing and that event and blah, blah, blah.

*Say the following every single day, “Put your shoes away. Pick up your jacket. Eat your dinner. Pick up your toys. Flush the toilette. Be nice to your brother. Stop talking. Listen to me. Be quiet. STOP! NO! We’ll see. Maybe. Go get your shoes. Find your shoes. Where are your shoes. Why? Go ask your father. STOP IT! I said NO! What did Mommy say?” add a please and thank you occasionally until you realize it’s just a waste of your breath.

*Load and unload the dishwasher at least three times a day.

*Buy enough groceries to last a month, take them home. Invite a teenager to come over and help himself to any food in the house.

*Go back to the grocery store…invite teenager….go back to the grocery store…invite teenager….

*Yell at a wall that it needs to get its room cleaned, wait for a response. Yell some more. Walk away defeated that the wall will never clean its room.

*Hope that the wall will move out of your house someday and have twenty of their own walls that never do anything you ask them to do.

If you can smile at the end of all of this…go start a family.

i don't claim to have written this funny (but too true) list. it was written by April, one of my favorite bloggers.

but if you think this was funny, wait till you read about her recipe to make sour cherry crumb pie!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Join me for a year of quilting!

I've written about my quilting friends, the Friendship Quilters before. we get together monthly for some gabbing, some eating, some show-n-tell, some encouragement and some inspiration from one another.

usually we do a monthly block raffle, but for 2011 we're going to do something a bit different. i thought some of my readers might like to join in. (but if you're reading this sometime after the new year, feel free to jump right in. I'll be happy to help you catch up!)

this year we're going to make a calendar quilt. (pictured above) i made one of these almost 13 years ago with the Piecmakers Quilt Guild of the Susquehanna Valley. (the guild i attended before we moved to Bradford county) i designed this quilt using my EQ5.

every month, we will each make one block, for ourselves, representative of that month. then, at the end of the year, we'll all have a twin-ish size friendship/calendar quilt ready for the borders.

here's the rough schedule:

  • January: pine tree
  • February: Dresden plate w/ heart center
  • March: jack in the pulpit
    April: ???
  • May: basket w/ flowers
  • June: steps to the altar or bride's bouquet
  • July: rail fence flag
  • August: corn and beans
  • September: schoolhouse
  • October: leaves and diamonds
  • November: flying geese
  • December: bow tie wreath

the size of the quilt as I've designed it is 72" X 86". here are the fabric requirements, as listed by EQ5. (which can sometimes be a bit off, so don't take them as gospel!)

  • red: 1 yard
  • orange: 1½ yards
  • yellow: ½ yard
  • green: 1 yard
  • blue: 3 yards (cut your 6" outside border first)
  • purple: ½ yard
  • brown: 3 yards (cut your borders first)
  • cream (background): 2½ yards

of course the colors are just suggestions- i tend to use those colors as a base, and then go from there. ie: pink, lemon, lime, aqua, lilac and grey, with black for the background:

see what a difference that makes?

I'll provide the patterns around the first of each month, starting with January 1, so be sure and stop by! you can e-mail me at: djcap at frontiernet dot net, and I'll make sure that you get the patterns, either by e-mail or snail mail. if you'd like, I'll also mail you an outline of the quilt, so you can color it in to get an idea of what your own color choices will look like.

I'm sure I've forgotten something, (I've never done this before!) but we'll work out the bugs as we go along. i hope to have some of you join me- let's quilt together!

Monday, November 29, 2010

hey ma, lookee what i made!

i recently pieced this quilt using the fabric line city weekend from a free pattern that i found on-line here. I'm happy with the springy, fresh look these fabrics gave to this easy quilt. i used ice frappe in kona cotton for the stars and sashing. (if you've not had the chance to use this fabric, run right out and get you some. really. it's that great!) I've been inspired lately by quilts here and here, and solids seem to be the way to go...

it was fun and easy, and i might try it again using some of the moda's bistro charm packs., with chocolate colored stars.

if stefanie sent you here from little lady patchwork, thanks for visiting! if you're interested in another free quilt pattern, (block-o-the-month style) you can go see it here. it's a calendar quilt that i designed, with only one block to piece a month. be sure to zip on over and check it out for all the details!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the stove that started it all...

well, here it is! the stove that catapulted the summer kitchen to the top of our to-do list. it's a 6 burner propane stove, with 2 ovens, a griddle and a broiler. that should be enough cooking power to keep me out of trouble! (when it's hooked up, that is!)

last Wednesday we had a small crew come and help Dave and G pour the cement for the floor. actually, it was only Kyle and our pastor, Darryn. but it sounds so much more official to call them a crew, doesn't it?

Dave had much of the prep work done: rebar and wire on the bottom, and the ramps for the wheelbarrows to go over. (check out kyle showing off with his 2 wheeled barrow!)

darryn was a huge help, and he jumped right in there helping Dave smooth (skreet?) out the cement.

the whole thing went really fast and soon they were up to the little "front porch".

kyle ingeniously made a bull float from some lumber that was lying about, and before you knew it, the crew was ready to come in for some coffee and donuts-

... but not without taking a picture first!

of course, we had to let the girls immortalize their hand prints in the cement. another reminder how fast these two little girls of ours are growing up!

later that afternoon, just as the cement was starting to set up, Dave went out and brushed it with the push broom. we wanted to have a floor that was easily cleaned, but not so smooth as to be slick when it's wet. the "broom finish" on the floor is perfect for what we wanted.

B was so happy to help her daddy put on the cement sealer.

so for now, although it's far from done, the summer kitchen is quite functional. we just butchered our 11 turkeys this morning, and the job was so much easier and more efficient. (not to mention more professional looking for our customers!)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

because now that summer is over, clearly, it's time to build the summer kitchen

the summer kitchen was on the to-do list, but it was very close to the bottom. however, after we were blessed with the gift of an industrial propane stove, we decided that we should build the summer kitchen sooner, rather than later, in order to be good stewards of God's provision.

Dave paced out the walls of the summer kitchen, making it a nice size. then we made it just a bit bigger, (14' x 14') since that's how things seem to go around here! (just last week, B told Dave he needed to make the tractor shed a little bit bigger! even though he built it 33% bigger than he originally intended, it's still too small!)

besides the wonderful blessing of our stove, i also wanted to get the kitchen done in time for turkey butchering November 23. it looks so much more professional to be butchering on stainless steel counters with a sink and running water, as opposed to working on a wobbly card table in the side yard...

Dave and G quickly got the posts set, and the framing done.

next was the rafters and green tin roof.

already we can see so many advantages to having this building- butchering pigs, chickens, deer and turkeys, canning/freezing, church picnics, and as a staging area for the produce both for the CSA and farmer's market.

here Dave and G are digging out the extra dirt, preparing for a layer of river bottom stone.

now, most people when they look at this window, would think that it's a wonderful idea to have a little window up high, for ventilation.

however, if you're like most people, you would be wrong. this little window is for shooting groundhogs. the view of this window is that of the lower garden, affording Dave a perfect spot to hide out and shoot those pesty little varmints!

A and B call this little attic/storage area their tree house. already they've had snack and play time up there.

of course the girls are happy to ride along with daddy in the tractor or wagon. the bucket on the tractor sure makes it handy to load those nice gravely stones. Dave and G spread the stones over the floor of the kitchen, making it a good base to pour the concrete onto.

lastly, Dave rented a tamper, and tamped the living daylights out of the stones on the floor. this way (in theory) the cement slab will not settle and crack.

tomorrow we have 4 yards of cement coming, along with 2 friends and their wheelbarrows to help pour the cement. along with fresh home made donuts and coffee, it should be a pretty interesting day!

Monday, November 15, 2010

renegade pumpkins...

most of the pumpkin seeds that i planted this year did not grow.

but we still had a good year, pumkinly speaking.

a feature of our pumpkins, both at farmer's market and in our CSA boxes, were the "pre-carved" variety.

early in the season, while the pumpkins are still green and tender, take a thick nail or ball point pen, and write in the skin of the pumpkin. i carved several phrases, mostly "welcome", "welcome to our home" and "welcome to the (name of the family participating on our CSA)'s.

these pumpkins were popular sellers, and appreciated gifts, too. another benefit is that you can still use them for pies, as they don't rot like the traditionally carved ones do. next year i plan on doing lots more like these, as it's "value added" for them. some of the pumpkins went for $10.

and besides, they're fun and they look great on the porch steps!


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