Sunday, July 11, 2021

July Happenings on the Homefront

 Hello Everyone,

Just another monthly post from me.  

Let's start out by saying that "It's Officially Summertime."  Hooray!!!  Nothing beats the summer days, as opposed to winter here in the Northeast.  We did have quite a few above 90 degree days according to our thermometer, and on those days it's nice to have A/C in the house.  I was able to get outside in the AM to enjoy a cuppa java on the deck and head out in the evening once the sun went down a bit and the temps lowered.


"Smell the sea and feel the sky, let your soul and spirit fly." - Van Morrison

 

Into the Mystic - Van Morrison - Click here to hear the song associated with the above July-August lyrics.  Once you start the video, you can come back to the blog and enjoy reading to the song.  Warning, it starts out with a few ads!  Just hang in there and the music will start.  After his song, more music, but it's random!  Enjoy!




Let's begin with a July 4th mention.  Bernie had a few fireworks so after grilling a couple burgers and hot dogs that was our evening fun!  No loud bangs, just a showering of sparkly, colored illumination in our back yard.

We made a quick trip to the Burgh on July 3rd!  Look at that Pittsburgh Sky and a few boats on the Allegheny River.




Reminiscing my childhood years, I had been telling Bernie for many years about this Strawberry Coconut Cake that my Mom made us just once a year when fresh strawberries came into season.  He kept asking me when I was going to make one, minus the coconut though.  I didn't have a recipe so I asked my sister, Peg, if she might have had it or remembered what Mom used.  I remembered it was a very dense white cake and Peg remembered that Mom had used Softasilk Cake Flour, yes!, they do still make it!  I knew the taste of the icing and how it formed like peaks, I knew it had to be a meringue and was cooked and Peg remembered Mom boiling it and using Cream of Tartar.  So, we both searched the web and came up with what we thought was a recipe.  I made the cake and it was just like what Mom had made.  I know why it was a once-a-year cake, it took me all day just to make it.  It was delicious!!!  I, of course, had to buy a bag of Baker's Coconut, that's what Mom used, and I sprinkled it all over my piece of cake, or should I say pieces of cake.  Here is what it looked like inside and out.



My recollection is that the coconut was all around the sides of the cake with just a little sprinkled on top under the strawberries.  Strawberries in between the layers too!

With no visitors that weekend, we devoured the entire cake!  YUMMY!!!



In the garden this past month, daylilies are in full bloom.  Just gorgeous in yellows, red/yellow, yellow/red, and of course, orange.













And then these ornamental type lilies in the front yard are always a showstopper.



Next up was quilting, if you recall last blog I told you about the quilted table runner that I entered into the Kimberly's Fabric Stash contest on Facebook.  I was wrong in that you had to be a member of Kimberly's VIP Club to vote on your favorite.  Rules seemed to either change mid-stream, or just are not clearly indicated at the beginning.  Anyway, my Halloween Runner and another were neck-in-neck going into the last day.  No one else was even close to the two of us. I ended up the second place winner, or first loser, I like to say, but I was awarded $25 in store credit, which made me very happy.   Now I have a goal to reach for.  Next contest, I'll do my best to come up on top.  Those that know me well know how very competitive I am in whatever I do.  Don't get me wrong, I was happy to win, but I have a mission now to be better at the next contest.

Here is the first place winner:



And my second place winner.




I'm working on another quilt right now.  It is something new I am learning, a Dresden Plate Quilt.  I'm doing it in a patriotic theme and I hope to have it ready to debut next post.  Stay tuned for that........



Yesterday, Bernie's sisters and his Dad came for a visit and we decided to go blueberry picking.  While waiting to checkout with our oodles of berries, they had this beehive mounted and hung up.  When we get these in the trees, we usually burn them up!  Was interesting to see though.



This was a few that I took from the 5 plus pounds of berries we picked.  We had them on our cereal this morning and they are so good.

I think in another week or so, they will be more plentiful and better picking off of a couple bushes.  I plan to go back then to get some for blueberry cake or cobbler and of course, some to freeze for later on.

Well,  (that's a deep subject) , was that a Mom or Dad saying? Think I heard that a time or two!


That is all I have to report this month.  It's raining right now, so much for yardwork today.  Guess I'll have to work on lamps and quilt a bit.   The Christmas in the Woods show is on schedule for October.  I'm thinking this is going to be a huge show this year now that we are opened up finally.  Hoping for lots of big sales!

I would like to thank all my friends and relatives who prayed for my brother, Bill's, surgery last week and for placing him on your prayer lists.  He is home recuperating and he sounds great.  Keep those prayers coming.

Please pray for your family and friends and don't forget yourself!  God Bless America!  Our country needs the prayers!

Hugs everyone!  Til Next Time!!!

Debbie






























Saturday, June 12, 2021

MAY - JUNE HAPPENINGS

 Hello everyone,

Can't believe it's been over a month since I last blogged, so I have quite a bit to cover this month.

Since my last post on May 6th, we've been busy around the house and just enjoying some really nice, warm weather.

On May 13th, we took a drive over to Geneva OH.  We happened upon Harpersfield Covered Bridge.  We stopped to take a look and take a few pictures.  Here are a few of what we encountered:


Entrance to little park


Standing at trees



Bernie took my photo



The bridge was spectacular!

In looking up more information on these covered bridges, we found out that there are actually 135 covered bridges in Ohio, with 19 of them in the nearest county to us, Ashtabula OH.  I'm thinking maybe we should make it a goal to find all 19 of them since we've stumbled on to two already.  The last one we found was the Smolen-Gulf Covered Bridge a while ago and I think I may have blogged about that one as well.

Also, in May we have a lot of wildlife coming around.  We've seen turkeys, deer, squirrels by the dozens, as well as chipmunks who choose to dig in my flowers on the deck and make a mess each night.  I've been putting Cayenne Pepper on the dirt to try to deter them little buggers!  Most recently we had a baby bunny living under our deck.  He was by himself, so I'm not sure where his Momma was, although there is a big bunny hanging out over in our neighbors yard in the evenings.  So, I just named this little guy (or gal) Bunny!  Original, I know!!  I fed him lots of cabbage and he seemed to like that.  

Bunny content with his cabbage.


Most recently he has moved from the deck and is now living elsewhere.  Guess the digs were a little too small for him since he has grown quite a bit, but he's living nearby as we see him most mornings and evenings eating blades of dandelion greens twice the size of him.

I was walking everyday down our dirt road beside the house, but NOT anymore.  If you're squeamish of snakes, you might want to buzz by this next photo.  I'll give you some space to bypass it.  I'm not a lover of snakes, heck, I don't even like them.  I dream of them after I see them, I can't watch "Raiders of the Lost Ark" because of them, but I actually took a zoomed photo of not one, but two of them.  One was large and one much smaller, probably a baby.  The large one was about 2' long and the baby maybe 10" or so.  I looked them up afterwards and they were garter snakes.  I know they aren't harmful, but I DON'T CARE!   I now ride the exercise bike in the comfort of the theater room.  NO FEAR!





















Safe to look again and continue reading blog.  Unless,......  one more reptile type photo and explanation.....

While weeding out the front of house rocks and flowers of old leaves, weeds, etc.  Using of course, my trusty claw weeder, I ran across this............  

What is it?  I asked Bernie.....





I immediately stopped what I was doing and ran for Bernie.  I told him before I began that if I saw a snake the weeds could grow feet high or more because I wasn't touching them.  He took a look and although it had a head like a snake, it had FEET!!  Yes, Whew!!  It wasn't a sneaky snake, but a salamander.  I believe it is an Eastern Redback Salamander.  They like living in damp conditions and under wet leaves.  So that's what he was doing there.  I continued with my weeding, but very hesitantly!!

NO More Critters now............  must continue on................


From ground to air is the next happening in May.................. we've been hearing the buzzing of an engine several times over a period of a few days.  We sometimes hear the faint roar of engines, and have seen small private planes flying way above us, but this one particular day we heard the sound and we saw this big private plane doing daredevil type flying.  He would dip low and then go high in the sky.  I captured him as he rose from the ground right past the tree line.  I ran down the road to get this picture.  I got a few similar shots before he left, probably to find a gas station!  Ha Ha!!!

Daredevil Stunt Pilot


Now the end of May and yes, our temps have dipped after being in the 80's for a while.  I mean really dipped.  On my birthday, May 29th, it was down right bone-chilling cold.  My nephews were at their camp for the Memorial Day Weekend only to have any type of picnic dowsed by the cold and rain that day.  So, we opened up our barn and gave them and our neighbors a yell and voila!  Instant Birthday Party! It was nice just sitting around talking for a few hours.

Here is photo of us taken by my nephew's wife, Stella, of us all huddled around a kerosene heater.  Yep, it was that cold, 49 degrees was our high that day.  Bernie ordered a cake and sandwich ring and we enjoyed ourselves.  

Billy, Bernie, Me, Sam, Jason and George





One days planning and Voila!!


A beautiful cake too!


I actually got to celebrate my birthday twice, once at 49 degrees and the second at 84 degrees exactly a week later with Bryan and Jess.  It was a beautiful day, we were able to cook some steaks on the grill and eat at the picnic table outside.  I have no pics to show though.  Bryan took many, so I'll have to get a few from him and post next month.

Now into June, the beginning had Macy going to her vet for her teeth cleaning.  They actually put her out to do this.  She had 4 teeth pulled before, but this time she had to have 6 more pulled.  Gosh!  That is 10 teeth, we wondered if she had enough left in there to eat.  I looked it up and Yorkies, I guess most dogs, have 42 teeth in their mouths.  Her mouth isn't that big, I thought.  Here teeth are so clean now.  Anyway, she is fine now after a few pain pills and antibiotic, she's back to her old self.  Here she is with her "Lion" leg.  They had to shave it to put in the intravenous.  

Macy;s Lion Leg

Phew!  this is a lengthy post, so I'll finish up with quilting happenings.

I showed you last blog the patriotic wall hanging and small quilt hanger on our mantle, but I also completed a coffee table runner, doing the Patriotic Star Pattern.  Also, you will see in this photo the beautiful Anniversary flowers from Bernie.  I love those peachy, orange colored roses.  I carried roses, Matador Red Roses, 44 years ago on June 9. 


Table runner and Anniversary Flowers



And last, but not least,

I participated at Kimberly's Fabric Stash in a Dinner Mystery Quilt project.

We had no idea what we were making.  We were given clues as to what amount of fabric we needed, and how to cut and assemble the blocks over a period of a week or so.  I decided to do whatever it was in a Halloween theme from Moda's "Spooky Night" fabric line.  It consisted of three blocks, none of which were hard, but none that I had ever done before.  We did a nine-patch, a nine-patch with fan blade, and another with small squares in a diagonal pattern.  We had to send her the photo via her email and she will be displaying them on her Facebook page, beginning June 24, and it will be participant voting and she will be awarding store credit to two winners who receive the most votes.  I believe they are only going to be displayed on June 24th and she is awarding on her live show on June 25th.    

So, click on the link above in orange on June 24th, that says Facebook page and vote for your favorite or vote for this one:


Deb's Mystery Quilt



So, that's it for this post.  I hope you enjoyed reading about our happenings here around the homestead.  I'll be back again next month for our June Wrap-up and start of July.

In case it's after the fourth of July, have a very happy, healthy and safe 4th of July.  Independence Day!!!

Please pray for yours and our families, pray for health and healing, pray for America!


Hugs,

Debbie
















Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Merry Month of May!!!

Hi Everyone!  Happy May!!!


I have hope that May brings not only flowers, but joy and happiness, more freedom to do those things we love.  I happen to have May as my birthday month, guess that is why I love this month so much.  If you also have a May birthday, here is something to ponder:

People born in May consider themselves to be the luckiest, with levels of optimism much higher than for those born at other times of the year. And optimism is scientifically proved to make you happier, and may even lead to a longer life.  

I'm all for this.  Many people have May birthdays, I share my special day with Bob Hope, John F Kennedy, and Latoya Jackson and I were born in the same year even.  This is a milestone birthday for me much to my chagrin, I'll just say that I have received my Medicare card.  Nuff said!!!!

Let's move on, shall we?

I was slow doing anything in April, just couldn't get motivated to do much at all, but in came May and I've been on a roll now.  I have many things to show you quilting wise.  I actually began the one project in April because I took an on-line class every Tuesday night at Kimberly's Fabric Stash. She is an on-line quilt store and she also teaches classes every week.  I'm learning a lot of things from her and I just love her fabric, she sells Moda fabrics which is my favorite, not that I need anymore fabric, but I was able to learn paper piecing and learned how to make four separate blocks.  This is an easy process, just takes some time getting used to applying fabric to the paper and flipping over when you need to.  I got the hang of it quickly.  She also leaves her tutorials of her classes on-line, so you can refer back to them if you get stuck.  She taught a cute tote bag this week.  I didn't tune in for it, but if I wanted to make one, her video is there.

This first block was super easy.  Anyone can do this one, all you need is the pattern and some scrap material.  All my blocks were made of scraps.  This one was unnamed, but I call it squares within squares.



This second block is called a Pineapple Block.  It looks intimidating, but oh so easy peasy!



This one is called Flying Geese, I thought no problem, I got this one.  NOT!!!!!  This one was the toughest for me.  I had to redo it twice.  I finally got it and was glad to have this one under my belt!

And last but not least the last block is the one in the upper right corner call, New York Beauty!



 Looking at that block looks to me like the Statue of Liberty spires.  You would think that this would have been the toughest with the curved pieces, but I breezed through this one on the first try, didn't even have to do the "froggy stitch" once, you know the one I told you about many moons ago, Ripit, Ripit!!!  

I used black sashing between the blocks and on the back.  I have it all ready and sandwiched, top-batting-backing ready to be quilted, but Kim is going to teach us some free-motion quilting in the coming weeks and I want to try my hand at that during that class.

Next up, we had some warm weather last week, then the cold was coming again, so I went outside and picked some daffodils and lilacs and brought them inside.  What a delightful fragrance filled the house.


With the warmer weather we had a couple days, I moved to the deck, after swabbing the deck, I got out some of garden decorations.  These two items were gifts from co-workers years ago and they were all faded of what little paint was on them from the factory, so I got out my acrylics and re-painted them.  I like how they turned out.


First was this one, I think Macy likes it!

This one took me much longer to do, but I'm pleased with how it turned out.  The hummingbirds were a challenge.  I loved painting and accenting the flowers.

Next up, I said that I'd show you what I came up with for the wall hanging for the Memorial Day Americana theme.  I had wanted to do something else, but came across a Patriotic Panel that I must have bought years ago and since I'm trying to use up what I have, I just did it with some borders and a little stitch-in-the-ditch stitching.



By doing this fairly easy piece, I decided to work on a mini-quilt to put on my little mini-quilt stand that I've had forever too.  This one I love and I have to give credit to Carole, From My Carolina Home blog.  I've posted several things from her in the past and she is a wealth of information on things quilting, tablescapes, touring the mountains of North Carolina, and gardening.  Check out her blog, you won't be disappointed.    


Here it is on the little stand on our mantle.  I think I'm going to make three or four more of these blocks for a table runner.  Stay tuned for that one.


Here is a little more of a close-up of it.  Love this border fabric.  I purchased it from Kimberly's Fabric Stash and it is Moda.  Love, Love, Love it!!  Reminds me of the 4th of July!!


Since I really am not good with the free-motion quilting just yet, waiting for that class to come up, I decided to use one of the 260 plus designs available on my sewing machine.  I did the stars and just a simple loops and it gave this some appeal.  At least to me it did.

Well, that is what I've been doing lately.  Bernie continues to work out in the new barn.  It's looking great out there.  Cutting grass is now a priority as well.

Today I walked our main, black-topped road as the side, dirt road is mud from the past few days of rain we had.  Got in more than a half-hour and over 8,000 steps thus far, so I'm sure to make my 10,000 today for sure.

I think I'll go back outside and enjoy the sunshine a bit more.  The sky is beautiful blue with a few puffy cumulus clouds.  Wish it were a little warmer, but I'll take the 54 degrees with the sunshine.

Hope it's sunny and wonderful where you are!!  Take care, pray for everyone and our country!  God Bless America!!  Land of the Free, because of the BRAVE!!  

Hugs!

Debbie


Friday, March 26, 2021

SPRING HAS SPRUNG!

 Hi Everyone!

It's finally spring and it has certainly felt like it the past week.  It has been gorgeous here.  Temperatures in the 60's and even 70's has made way for being outdoors and in my case reading a book on the deck with Macy by my side.   Also, a few good walks down our country road just listening to the frogs croak and the birds singing.  Funny thing is that when I walk by the frogs they stop croaking and hop into the water puddle.  

I have our Easter decorations up inside and outside. I had made a wreath last year out of bath poofs.  Here's a photo of that you may recall seeing it before.


 


I also put those little plastic eggs on the bushes outside in front of the house.  I walked out there this morning to make sure they weren't scattered all over the place as we are having very high winds today as well as falling temps.  Sad thing is next Wed and Thurs they are showing snowflakes in the forecast.  Not something I want to see.  The lilacs already have some green leaves and beginning to open up a bit.  Oh NO!!!  This actually happened last year, and the blooms were fine.  I'm hoping for the same outcome this year.

Easter is only nine days away.  Early this year for sure, but hoping for some sunshine for that weekend.  

A little Easter quiz for you.  

How is the date of Easter determined?  It's, believe it or not, related to the full moon.  Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the paschal full Moon on or just after the vernal equinox.  The equinox is considered March 21 (a fixed spring date set by the Church), although in astronomy, it's not always that day.  The paschal full Moon always falls on the 14th day of a lunar month.

What folklore is associated with Easter?  Eggs!  traditionally forbidden during Lent, symbolize new life.

When dates does Easter always fall between on a Sunday?  March 22 through April 25.

Thanks to the Farmer's Almanac for those little tidbits.

I told you last month that I'd have to get cracking on my new Easter wall hanging for the living room.  I'm happy to say that I had it designed, finished and hung up the day after St. Patty's Day.  Goal met!!

Here is the finished product.



This is made with scrap material I had, used a little more yardage on the deep purple and pink areas.  I decided that using the explosion block style best suited what I wanted to achieve and it saves a lot of time as these sew up quickly.  

I want to zoom in on a block or two so I can explain what I did:



The center of the quilt was the perfect area to put a cross.  I wanted to highlight the Resurrection of Jesus, as this is what Easter is all about.  Bunnies and eggs are secondary to the true meaning of Easter.

The cross was actually appliqued in place.  I used fusible web called "Heat n Bond" to affix the cut out underside of the cross and ironed into place.  I cut out of fabric the little daffodil in the center.  This is called fussy cutting, you can see this better in the photo below of the bunny.  I fussy cut out the bunny and fused it in the same way onto the center of the block.  The egg was just cut out of fabric and appliqued as well.  Once ironed on, I needed to do some sewing around the egg and bunny to hold them into place better.  The edges will fray if not secured and it's hard to do with the fusible web.  So I picked out a stitch on my machine and sewed around the images.  This was my first attempt at applique and stitching in this manner.  I think I did a fairly good job machining it.




So, what's next?  I guess Memorial Day will be the next change for the wall hanging.  Not sure what design I'll do just yet.  I'll share that when it's completed.

Not much else going on here, so I'll end this blog post.  I'll probably think of a million things after finishing this out, but there is always April's post.

I'll leave you with a flashback of 1980.  Easter time on Kelvin St.  Our second home in the City of Pittsburgh, Sheraden.  So happy we moved from there in 1990.

Here I am at age 24, Bryan is 1 year old in this Easter photo.  Love my little man in  his grown-up trench coat and hat!




Wish I could find another one of these bunnies!  

Take care and Happy Easter!  Stay safe and enjoy the Easter week and weekend.

Hugs to all,

Debbie

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Happy March 1st

Hi Everyone!

Happy March 1st!  Meteorologists recognize March 1st as the first day of meteorological spring, which is based on annual temperature cycles and the Gregorian calendar.  I'd love to be able to say that here in NW PA it is a balmy 50 or so degrees, but it's only 30 degrees and snowing like crazy as I type this.  We just got rid of the snow that had blanketed the ground for at least the past month, but now it's getting covered again.  With all of that, I must say that March has come in like a Lion, so it should go out like a lamb.  That phrase came out from sometime around the 18th century from old poems and proverbs, where it was eventually written into the Farmer's Almanac.  Here is a nice springtime garden photo from a few years ago.



 What were we up to in February?  Beginning of February I worked on a Quilt Hexie Jigsaw Puzzle.  I thought it was going to be extremely hard, but turned out to be one of the easier ones I've done.  I just had to build it differently in that building each hexie and then putting them all together made it go smoothly.  I actually had a lot of fun doing this one.  Thank you dear friend, Eileen, for this one!




I've been working on the Civil War Cross-stitch again.  I'm bound and determined to get it completed this year.  It is and was to be a gift to Bryan that I've been working on for more than 15 years.  Someday Bryan will receive it.  Better late than never!  I'll take photos upon it's completion.

I began working on designing and quilting the next wall hanging for St. Patrick's Day and I'm happy to say that I completed that and hung it on the wall hanging rack in our living room.  The shamrocks in this wall hanging were made entirely from scrap fabric that I had from other projects in the past.  It was a great way to use up a lot of scraps, but the hard part was that each square was only 2" and putting them together with lines meeting lines was a challenge.  I love the end result though!!







Now I need to begin to get something for Easter worked on.  Whatever I do needs to be done fairly quickly in that Easter isn't far behind St. Patty's Day.  I'd love to use up more scraps again or even yardage I already have in my stash.


Last weekend, we drove across the lake into Ohio and since it has been so cold, Pymatuning Lake, is frozen over.  There were several ice fishermen and their huts on the lake.  As I looked out the car window down far on the lake was this guy using a sail to glide him across the lake.  It is actually called ice skate sailing.  I zoomed in to get this photo and it still looks so far away, but at least you can see his red sail and that's him to the left.






Another project that was perfect for the winter weather was that Bernie took all of our slides from the carousels and transferred them to a card and I then got them onto the computer and put in files.  Now all I need to do is get each photo labeled before I forget who they were or where it was at and the year.

With that, I'm including one photo flashback to 1979.  Place is Racoon State Park.  Taken right after Bryan was born and we took him for an outing in the sunshine.  Bernie caught me and Alfie, our Lhasa Apso, picking wild violets on the trail.




Spring will be here before you know it, look at it this way, when I do my next blogpost, it will already have been Spring for 10 days!!

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay happy!!  Prayers to all!!

Hugs,

Debbie

July Happenings on the Homefront

 Hello Everyone, Just another monthly post from me.   Let's start out by saying that "It's Officially Summertime."  Hooray...