Monday, August 31, 2009

The Final Week.....

My phone rang bright and early this morning. It was Alphia (the little girl down the street who will be joining us this year).

"Miss Brenda, does school start today?"
"No, Alphia. It starts next Tuesday."

The disappointment was thick!!! She wanted to come down and start school right then and there! I am not as anxious as Alphia to start school. I am prepared. I am organized. I am totally ready to begin this school year.....still, I will relish this final week to sew and quilt whenever my heart desires!
Yesterday was our church picnic. What a fun time it was. Sweetheart has had an awful cold and, though he attended the outside service, I took him home afterwards as he seemed miserable. He tried. It was a nice time for the kids. Here is a problem.....I have NO idea how to handle it. Charlotte likes boys. Yes, I know that is normal. Yes, she is a cutie-pie and the boys will like her too. Yesterday, she was glued to a boy and he was glued to her. No playing with the other children AT ALL. Just the two of them talking and visiting (no touching of any kind). I went looking for them several times. Once I called Charlotte over to me and asked what was going on....Why was she not playing with her best friend Gracie??? Jimmy was showing her what milk weed is. He was giving her lessons on different plants and they shared their dessert in the alcove of the ministry house. PLUS, she was acting much more grown up than usual! I think she had her pinky finger extended the whole time she ate her cupcake....which, by the way, she ate in little delicate bites. Not her usual devouring of the sugar! OH MY! I am not ready for this at all and need to formulate a plan of attack for the next time. Blessedly, Jimmy attends first service and Charlotte attends second service, so they are rarely together, though they attended camp at the same time and I have heard "stories"...nothing bad, but there was some "Charlotte and Jimmy, sittin in a tree" singing going on amongst the other campers!!! She is 12. Only 12 and too young for the boy thing already. God, give me wisdom.

This week is a "do what ever I want week". Sounds very selfish, eh? That's ok. I plan to do some deep cleaning and get my laundry all caught up. I will pull my HMB back out and get my schedules in order. I rarely ever look at my binder as I have it all memorized. I know what needs to be done each day by heart, though with school starting I need to get my days planned out in a more structured fashion.
Some time in my sewing room will happen this week too. After next week, the weekends will be the only time I will have to spend there. Hand quilting will still have it's place during the week, but sewing room time will be more limited.I am loving those fall colors. Today I will be making some trees.A forest full!!!!!
This first week of September will be relaxed and laid back, cause next week it all changes!
Have a blessed Monday!!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Sights and Smells Of Home

Whew!! It feels good to sit down! I have had a full day in my kitchen and it is only a little after 2 pm! I decided it would be a good bread making day. It is only 63 degrees here and the windows are all open! A nice "sweater day".I got 2 loaves of white bread done and set 2 loaves of whole wheat out for their final rise.The house smells heavenly!!!! While I was making bread, I started a big batch of homemade Macaroni Salad. It will probably be my last batch of the season. I only make it in the summer months.Charlotte helped by chopping up the celery and red peppers. I diced the cheese, eggs and onion.
I always use my Grandmother's old canning pot to mix the salad up before putting it into a big Rubbermaid type bowl and into the frig to set. I have a Ladies Night Out, potluck dinner tonight and the church picnic is tomorrow, so I made enough for both!
I also grilled up some chicken tenders that needed to be cooked. Perfect for throwing on a salad, or on a slice of whole wheat bread!

My bread slicer is a big hit with many of you. I hope you know you can order one from The Wood Loft for $28 and some change, plus shipping (I have their phone number). It is ideal for those of you who bake your own bread.

The slices are the perfect size. Do I sound like a commercial?? I just love this thing so much!

My kitchen is all cleaned up except the 2 loaf pans soaking in the sink, and the draining dishes I washed. Those can all wait.

I am trying to decide if I want to work on the Basket Case quilt, (which is 1/2 way done, btw)....

or play in my sewing room with my latest pleasure....

Look at these new deep greens I got. Think "Evergreen trees". I can almost smell them!

I think I will grab the Basket Case quilt and put my feet up while the whole wheat bread is baking. I better scoot....I think it is about ready to go in!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Amish Country Part 2

Yoder's Kitchen was a big highlight of our trip. The food was AMAZING, and the atmosphere was wonderful. It was our favorite place to eat AND to shop. I had one dessert the entire trip and it was at Yoder's Kitchen. Worth every calorie, I had the best piece of coconut cream pie I have ever tasted!!! There was a bakery on site and the smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls filled the air. I bought one for Kyle...yes, just one. I also purchased a loaf of homemade bread and homemade apple butter. Chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies also found their way into my bag. Amish peanut butter and apple butter are in dishes on every table in Yoder's kitchen. They put white Kayro syrup and marshmallow whip in their peanut butter! Their gift shop is beautiful..... We visited several Amish furniture stores, but this one in Tuscola was the largest.My mom wanted an Aggravation game board (the wooden kind) and they make them in Amish Country. This was the store that had them. They also had these incredible wood carved Hymn pages.....they were HUGE and cost $528 dollars!I spent my share of money, but did not bring home one of these beautiful pieces.
I will show you some of my purchases....I bought these Moda charm packs (Gooble, Gooble) and the matching solids, along with 3 brown fat quarters. I bought these at the quilt shop in town. It had a definite "Dry Goods" feel to it!!!I also bought a new thimble (not pictured) and a couple of stencils....they had a GORGEOUS selection of MANY stencils. Stencils are not too easy to find around here!The scalloped shell will go in the border of my Pink and Brown....I had been looking for just the right one and I think this is it!! I love the braid too!
My mom bought me a wonderful gift at the Wood Loft. It is a bread slicer.....It is AWESOME!!! I sliced my Yoder's Kitchen loaf in it and the slices were PERFECT!! I used my electric knife (like the man told me to) and it was a breeze!!! Perfect sandwich slices. You can go every-other slit for a thicker slice!! See the butter dish? I got that for $3 at the consignment shop. I love it. I had been looking for one to replace my hen dish...the lid always fell into the butter. This one is much better!
I also bought for the grandkids and my kids. I bought Zach an Amish play set....He has not stopped playing with it!!He really loved that the Duggar family visited an Amish community and he played along while we watched them last night. It dawned on me while the Duggar family visited an Amish home that the lighting at the quilt shop I mentioned yesterday was probably battery operated....we saw no wires going to the house.
Charlotte was easy to buy for....a traditional Amish bonnet. She LOVES it.For a day and a half she would not take it off...she put her hair in a bun and wore clothes yesterday that had no print on them. She was so cute...until she asked if she could watch a television show. I told her "Amish people do not watch TV." She thought hard (you could tell) and then said, "Well, I 'm really not Amish." Sweetheart and I laughed!!!
I did get other purchases...not interesting enough to show....Mrs. Meyer products were in abundance there (I can not get them here), hand crocheted dish cloths, books for Kyle, and other little odds and ends. It was an amazing time of stomach hurt like I had done 1000 situps!....and a memory of time with my mother that I will hold dear for my entire life. Someday Charlotte and I will take that trip together....mother and daughter, out for a jaunt before the school year starts for her own children. Thanks for stopping by to see the pics and stories of my wonderful trip.
I wanted to show you one last picture. I took this for TJ....he will think it is fun that there is a town named after his Paw Paw!!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Amish Country Part 1

I am back from my 2 day trip to Central Illinois, and my mom and I had a WONDERFUL time. It could not have went any better. After spending a couple of days down there, I could see myself making my home in that town. It was so peaceful....contentment was the feeling you got. On our way there we came upon this bridge. It is actually pretty close to my own town.Is that a Flying Geese Quilt pattern I see? YES! It is!! I wonder if the engineer was married to a quilter?I did not take any pictures of Amish people, out of respect for their know they actually think having their pictures taken puts them in the spotlight and their religious beliefs and entire way of life is contrary to that. I respected them in that, but I did get pictures of lots of empty buggies....ok, so these two are not empty, but you can see no people.
Every store and the downtown area had special "parking" for horse and buggy. The homes had metal pipe bars for tying horses to also. It was like stepping back in time, though I doubt there was a Dollar General back in the day!One scene that would have been an awesome picture was 2 Amish women in an open buggy hauling a shallow flat bed of just knew they were on their way home (they were heading out of town in the early hours of the day) to make peach preserves and pies and jams!!!
We had a beautiful (and CLEAN) hotel room.Hi Mom!!!There was one incident while leaving.....I have not decided if I will share that or not. Probably not.
One of the places we went to was a quilt shop outside of town....I was driving and got us lost in the country and we happened to "stumble" onto it. What a blessing. This shop was attached to an Amish home. The home had no electricity, but the shop did(??) The quilts were all hand quilted and either hand or treadle machine pieced.
First I will share this ladies flower garden.....Beautiful.
This bed is loaded with quilts. She did an entire bed turning for us. They make their own quilts in solids only, and she had several of those, but for sale purposes they use calico and prints. The quilts sell for $698 queen size and $798 king. Of course, I did not take pics out of respect.So why is there a picture?? I saw this quilt hanging on the wall....The picture does not do it justice. (after some research I found it is a Jinny Beyer pattern called Sommerset) I mentioned how I would love to make it and she told me to take pictures and I could copy it!! I asked for permission to take a picture of the other one hanging on the wall and she told me to take whatever pictures I want...too bad that was AFTER the bed turning! Here is the UNbelievable Boston Commons she created.Look at that quilting!!! ALL hand quilted.I was in hand-quilting-paradise for a couple of days. My mom told this woman that I was a quilter know moms, they gotta brag....and she asked if I hand quilted. I said yes, and there was an instant bond with this lady. (The same thing happened in the fabric store with 2 Amish women working behind the counter) My mom told her I had one of my quilts in the car (I had taken Basket Case with me to work on in the hotel room) and she asked to see it. I was a WRECK!!! She looked at it with loving admiration in her eyes and I felt SO honored as she said such nice things about the design (I mentioned you, Crispy) and the hand quilting.
Downtown Arthur and downtown Arcola had many nice shops....though the Amish run shops were all in Arthur. Arcola is the Raggedy Ann/Andy birthplace, so there were lots of shops selling those. It is also the "Broom" (as in "sweep the floor") capitol of the world!
Like I said, the shops in downtown Arthur were wonderful and many were owned and operated by Amish or Mennonite families. The families work together. Children attend school (separate school) until 8th grade and then go into the family business. This store had a teen boy working in it. I asked if I could take some photos and he said it would be ok. It was an Antique store that had stalls for consignment. This stall was LOADED with feedsack!!
These tools were incredible....if they could talk, the stories they would tell!!
There were so many quilts and they were priced very reasonable....$50-$200 for most. I only saw one that was machine quilted....the rest were all hand quilted.
Well I think that is enough for today. I will show the rest of the trip tomorrow. I am glad to be home, but I could have spent more time there, that is for sure!!!