Friday, August 29, 2008


Julia, I canned about 8 gallons of tomatoes, yesterday. My sis-in-law pitched in and helped...ooops, I think that was supposed to be our little secret. She doesn't want the word out that she can do manual labor- some one else might put her to work, too. Ah well, that was the risk she took- working with me! Anywho, I gave a couple gallons away because I was just too tired to deal with them. So, in a nutshell, this is how I can them.

  1. I blanch them in boiling water and then plunge them in cold water. The peels just fall off- the coolest thing.
  2. Roma tomatoes just need the stem end cut off- larger tomatoes I cut in half.
  3. I stuff the tomatoes in the jars- until there is about a 1/2" headspace. No water added- just let the juices fill the jar.
  4. My fruit is very ripe, so I add 1 t. of lemon juice for more acid.
  5. Hot water bath.

I have always wanted to make salsa and such, but it just seems like I can't find the time. Imagine that. Blue Book is better at explaining it all than me, I'm sure. And I figure you might have elevation issues, huh?

No sewing. my boy is coming home, tonight. Can hardly wait!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Blue Skies...
shinin' on me. Nothing but blue skies can I see... Well, that and a great big garden. Been up to our elbows in produce from the garden and apple trees(it's too humble to be called an orchard.) But my, the apples it has produced! We have canned 100 quarts of apple pie filling! And there are still plenty of apples on the tree. But reason says that there will be no more room for all the jars I am accumulating! Still I march on, canning like there will be 7 years of famine. Feel like Joseph and his time in Egypt! Aunt isobel asked where I put all the jars- good question. When I figure it out, I'll let you know. I have shelves in my laundry room. Shelves in the kitchen. Maybe I'll put a few dozen jars under my bed. The master bath closet has some extra shelves...The cellar might be an option... but it is damp down there... It's a challenge, to be sure.
Monday we canned 98 quarts of apple pie filling and green beans. I have officially called an end to the apple pie filling- now I am giving apples away. Wished you lived closer. These are great apples- no worms and beautifully large. My posse joined me for the day- Teresa, Rose, and SarahFran. They were so much fun to can with- to do anything with, actually. We cranked up Patsy Cline and were all swaying to the music...I go out walking, after midnight.... We had an absolute blast. But wow! I was completely whipped by 10pm when I took the last canner out!
That is the back of sweet Bekah's head. She flies through her rows of green beans- she loves canning. Yesterday she picked a bushel and almost singlehandedly snapped them all- with some help from Eva. She just scoots along the row and all I see is the back of her head as she moves faster than me! There will be a lot more green beans to can and tomatoes too. Julia, I'll try to post about canning tomatoes in the next few days, K? back to the kitchen...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Finished and feelin' fine...
About the spider- he's too cute to weird me out. Sweet Bill wants him for his store, so I guess the quilt is going on tour! I had a good time making this little quilt- it was just a lot of silly fun. I used up almost all of my scraps for the "border" and backing and that's the last of a green(binding)- that I've had for three years and has found it's way into many a project.
Now, it's back to earth. More apples and corn and green beans to can. Maybe a canner or two of tomatoes. And I have company coming so the house needs a brush up. The sewing will have to take a back seat. All for a good cause- food for the winter and great company.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

So far...

so good. This is the center of my fall-o-ween quilt. I love quilts with words on them. I have been working on some pumpkins and such for a wide border- growing it to a bigger size. Who knows, I might even throw in a spider- feeling brave, huh? I am determined to use up all the feature fabric as it isn't really anything I'll use much in the future. Guess I'll be piecing the back.

We've been busy trying to get some canning in, this week. Still so much to do. My back aches just thinking about it. But I'll be very happy this winter when we need a summer-day treat. I tend to only plant what we will freeze or can- like tomatoes, green beans, and corn. The apples are plentiful. It's been a good growing season, this year- if a bit late, in harvesting. I've been caught sewing when I should be canning...

My oldest boys have been gone for about a month now- vacationing on their own. One in Alabama and one in West Virginia. We are missing them, especially with so much work to do... but also, just their lovely company. Bekah(7yr) talked on the phone to her big brother Joe(18yr) for about 45 minutes, today. I figured that if he wanted to cut it short, he could have, but he seemed to enjoy the chat as much as she did. He'll be headed home next weekend. Dan(17yr) will probably be gone another month. sigh. We sure do miss him, but I hear he is having a blast fishing, swimming, cake tasting, and studying.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Fall-o-ween quilt colors- plus one block. I am trying to become more proficient at applique, and I'm learning as I go. I checked my perfectionism at the door and just forged through. Being a perfectionist can really squelch creativity. And who needs that? I am still trying to figure out how to get around curves. I'll get plenty of practice with the words, creepy and spooky! The pattern I'm using is from the American Patchwork and Quilting magazine(Linda Lum Debono,Oct 2008.) I couldn't resist the candy corn applique on it! It's a little on the small side- just a wallhanging, but I'm thinking I can add a few pumpkins and some more checkerboard and grow it to a throw size. There was a pattern in the mag that was more to my liking- plaid flying geese and big fat pumpkins in yummy earthy tones, but the kids won the vote and they are getting bright and bold. It'll be cheerful, for sure!

Monday, August 18, 2008

good to be green...
I had a pretty good Monday. Got up bright and early for a Dr. appointment in Indy. Made time to sew a little bit before we left. Big Grin- yes, I will get up an hour earlier than I have to, if it provides me with an extra hour of sewing machine time. Bill always goes with me- I can't decide if he is just afraid I might bolt and spend the morning at the lqs (and for the record, its a reasonable suspicion on his part), or if he just enjoys my company. I know for a fact that it's a lot more pleasant with him along. I slept the entire trip. What's not to love about that? Admittedly, not very entertaining for sweet Bill, but he said that my sleeping allowed him the opportunity to listen to sports radio and take a gander at the newspaper- a practice I freak out over. My Dr's name is Dolly. She is a sweet lady and always very good to me- and still I dread seeing her. My need to please is a lot of the pressure, I'm sure. Had great results of a couple tests. My cholesterol was down 200 points. Booyah! Blood glucose was down. Just had a good visit- which is always a pleasant, if seldom, experience. Plus she gives me lots of med samples. Makes me feel like I've been to the diabetic candy store when I'm all loaded down with free insulin!
Bill...ya know, there's just no nice way of saying it...killed, slaughtered, butchered, put to rest... a few of our broilers. Bekah about had a melt down when one of them came running at her sans head- she thought it was going to follow her all the way to the house, like it could find the house without it's head!! She made it safely indoors and stayed put until she was sure the coast was clear.
The mantis was Jacob's beloved pet. He was a sweet critter, but he ran away. One of his little brothers forgot to put the lid back on the terrainium. They are very smart and you can even teach them to recognize your voice and do tricks. So Jacob is feeling blue and missing him. Looking for a new one- at least it doesn't have eight legs- I don't "do" spiders.
The green doily is just a sweet one that I made and gave my niece, Rosemary. She is such a dear. She and my other niece, Sarah, have been a huge help to me as I am trying to get the bounty of the garden and apple trees into storage. I'll have to dig the felted wool out for a project for Sarah- she is the queen of crafty! Maybe I'll make her a cute little drawstring bag for her knitting projects.
Getting ready to start a Halloween quilt- a first. I am going to have fun stuff on it- no witches or devils- just pumpkins and maybe a bat or two. Going batty! I'll be talking to ya soon!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Something quilty...
Yeah, I know you're shocked. But I woke up at 3am a few days ago and thought I'd put to good use the time. I quilted and bound this little sweetie and now it sits by my sewing machine- making me smile.
We have been canning garden bounty. 14 quarts of apple pie filling and 6 quarts of tomatoes- just the tip of the iceberg. I have a 5 gallon bucket full of gorgeous striped apples- an antique Braeburn variety. Haven't found a worm yet. Amazing. And 3 gallons of tomatoes. My sweet neices have stopped by and given their hands to work and we made very light of it. So nice having good help with the canning- though it is still always tiring. But very satisfying.
I've been working on new pocket papers- trying to see how many I can squeeze in thoughout the day. So I am getting some sit down time in between canners. See? I know how to make the most of a 24 hour day! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend- don't work too hard!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kids at work...

really, they were working. Ok, I get home from shopping and notice my bed is "made." The quilt was on sideways. It was all nicely folded down with the sheets. Bekah pipes up that she made my bed and organized my "diabetes stuff." I thought it was just adorable the way she lined up all the meds and the sryinges...even if the syringes are a bit morose- better than the alternative. Just part of my life. She was so proud, grinning from ear to ear as only she can. Thank you sweet girl. So nice to come home to a clean room.
And I bet you're dying to hear the story behind that towel. Wouldn't want you to think that all my children are perfect...Abe was riding the bleach bottle like a car all around the kitchen table. I was sterilizing the sinks- canning tomatoes- and I set the bleach down by my feet... Abe commandeered it. I guess the bottle couldn't stand the pressure of a 4 year old. It leaked. He "wiped" up the mess with one of my best blue towels(sorry Sarah.) And left the towel covering the puddle. Bleach is some seriously caustic stuff. Just in case you were doubting. Literally ate a big ole hole in that towel. But he was being such a big boy by "cleaning" up his mess- not a drop of bleach on him or his clothes. weird.
I just love kids. good thing, huh?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Willy Nilly...

These days most people use the word, "random." But don't you think that the term willy nilly is ever so much more fun? This little tulip is my first real foray into machine applique- I have always used the needle turn method- kinda slow. On the machine, pretty fast. My friend, Sandy, gave me 10 of her sweet little retro crumb blocks. I was going to add them to my crumb stash, but hers measure 3.5" and mine are 4". What to do? When I decided to try a tulip, I realized I had very few pastel fabs-Eureka! I sewed 4 of those sweet blocks together to get a big enough piece for the tulip and then used four more as cornerstones and I'm thinking the end result is very sweet. Don't know what I'll do with it, but it was a learning project. Pillow? maybe. walhanging? Possibly.

Won't these adorable little bobbies just knock your socks off? I saw some for a baby at a fleamarket, and thought..hmmm...could I do that with bigger socks? I guess the answer is yes! The girls are in raptures and it only takes about 10 minutes for the pair, so I am pretty happy, too.

Monday, August 11, 2008

9 is a wonderful number...

I tried giving you a hint by using my name and posting at 9am. Good guess Lisa! I have 9 sewing machines plus one serger and one longarm. There are only 8 in the picture because I didn't want to bother with taking the Singer out of the cabinet. 2 of the machines don't work- one is a rust bound treadle Singer and one smokes when you turn it on- not a good sign. But I use them for decoration. The other 7... well, yeah I do use them all. The Singers: 201, 221, 301. My three favorites and the best little quilting machines. And then there is the Japanese equivalent to the featherweight(I can use the FW parts on it) called an Electrogrand- that's the pretty blue one. Belt driven so I only use it occasionally these days since I have the new gear driven ones. A Nechi- which is a work horse and John's favorite machine to use. And two Brother machines. Then there's the singer serger and the Gammill long arm. Sewing machines are like people- they have their strengths and weaknesses. That tan 301 will sew through two layers of jean flat felt seams- about 8 layers of fab- none of the others could touch that. It just feels good to try out a different machine for a while- plus, I have 8 kids, so there are plenty machines for them to learn on.

Table runner...

This was a little weekend project. I just piddled with it in between crumb blocks and crochet. I've been wanting to try the crown of thorns pattern for a while- since I hung up that quilt I showed you a little while back. I think it turned out very well. Just a simple little meander- a nice job to get my feet wet again on the quilting machine that I have been neglecting.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Sorry the picture is blurry- I was just so excited, I'm sure my hands were shaking! That William of mine. What am I going to do with that sweet man? Why, keep him, of course!!!!
I saw this sweet little machine at Wally World the other day when Sandy and I were in town. It was simple- yet had some stitches I've been wanting- like a blanket stitch (I am wanting to try some machine applique.) The price was only $139,which we considered very reasonable, and it has 50 stitches. It's as light as a feather and very compact. It has a drop-in bobbin and a clear cover so you can see when you are getting low on bobbin thread.
So I mentioned to Bill that I found a machine that I wanted and that I was gonna start saving up for it... Shoulda known better. He was late coming home from work last night. We have something of a tradition that when daddy comes home, we all run out to meet him and squeeze his neck. We are just so thankful and happy to have him back in our world. He had a twinkle in his eye and opened the truck door for us to see what he had. The buggerhead. He was pleased that he surprised me and I was pleased that he actually listens to me!! I really did plan on saving up for it, but I have to admit, this was more fun!
I have already sewn a postcard with some of those decorative stitches. And I pieced a block with it- ran very smoothly. I'll probably stick to my oldie machine for piecing- the 1/4 inch seam guide makes it so easy. Guess what I'll be doing, today?
Challenge question: How many sewing machines does Nines have???

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I've been published!

Ok, maybe not. My name isn't even mentioned, but but but...that is MY postcard on the left up there! how cool is that? It's just a little, free magazine that has a few essays of local goings-on. And somehow my postcard wound up in an article about Fabric Art Postcards. Doesn't take much to entertain me, I suppose. It just made me smile.

Here are the latest two doilies... My friend, Teresa, wants the blue one and I think I might keep the taupe's more "me" and it looks mighty fine under one of my oil lamps. I am trying to fit a crocheted snowflake or two in between doilies. I can whip one up in 30 minutes or so. By Dec, I hope to have plenty for my tree. For snowflakes, I mostly pick out doily patterns and only do 5 or 6 rounds. No two are alike and I found some groovy thread- white with a tiny irredescent(sp) thread running through it- so it sparkles.

Quilting-wise...I've been playing with crumb blocks. I really am making a dent in the scrap basket- which is looking like it has the tummy bug and has spewed out it's dinner all over the work table! I bought two nice sheets, today, to use for backings. $3 each and I'm thinking that's a great deal. I might fire up that quilting machine soon- I've been taking a sabatical. Now I need batting, and since I have a coupon... the kids and I might need to take a run to the fab shop. Hope everyone had a great week and are geared up for a fun weekend!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Coin quilt top finished...

using only scraps and neutrals from my stash. I asked Bill to help me decide what color to use for the sashing and borders. He said the tan would make the blocks pop- I asked if that was a look we were going for?... he rolls his eyes and says in a sweet yet sarcastic tone, "You wouldn't have put that red and yellow in the quilt if ya didn't want it to stand out." So true. I can't wait to get it quilted and on my bed!

The quilt is queen size so it's a little big for this full size bed, but I wanted to show off my "new" guest bedroom furniture. Now company can sleep in style! Sweet William got it for me- the bed, a dresser and a chest- and they just look like they were made for this space. And that mountain of quilts on the chest is just a small portion of the quilts that live here. Yes, it's a sickness, and I have no intention of being healed!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Catchin' flies...

Isn't that just a hoot?! Abe had the jitters during Bible study last night- I knew he was sleepy because he missed his nap. Daddy finally settled him in between him and John- no room to wiggle and he was asleep in 60 seconds! Sitting like a big man, of course.

Two gallons of strips...

No, I don't usually measure my fabrics that way, but I had two 1-gallon ziplock bags, filled with strips. All different widths and fabrics- from reproductions to batiks. This is the start of my coin quilt. I have a few more blocks(7.5x10.5") to make, and then I can put it all together with strips of something from the stash- I'm trying real hard to use up what I have. I'm thinking a golden-toned neutral. I foundation pieced them using pages from my telephone book. An old telephone book. I was amazed at how fast it went. I'll treat the kids into pulling off all the paper- funny how the little ones think that is a high time!

Funny thing happened after I decided to not sell the little pocket papers... John had a friend ask for 20... so we did, and he made $3 per book- 50 cents of each sale was mine. Enough to buy more notebooks. It felt good to sew on a quilt again after these little projects. Hope everyone had a great weekend and a non-stressful Monday!!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Stuck in the middle...
clowns on the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you...
Been listening to some classic rock and thought this song fit this picture to a T. Tucked in like sardines in a can, but they don't seem to mind. My room has room darkening curtains and they like to take their naps in my bed. It was easier when we had the king-size bed. The queen size is a bit more of a challenge! I rarely let them sleep here as there is not a spare inch for Mom.
We've been eating tomatoes from the garden. So yummy. Sliced on toast or just eaten with salt, they are fantastic. Or, as Abe would say, "Fantacular!" We'll be canning tomatoes in a week or two. I love to can tomatoes- so easy compared to green beans. But I'll do both and be very happy this winter that I did. Time for naps!