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Sunday, December 29, 2013

What happened to settling down for a long winter's nap?

 This is what I was doing just the day before Christmas - putting the binding on my husband's lap quilt.....I did get it done and he loves it.  I neglected to point out the quilting mistakes I made......It's just as warm whether the points all match up correctly or not!
 Did you get moose moccasins for Christmas?  I had a pair when I was a kid and I've always wanted another pair.....I only waited about 45 years!  Good things do come to those who wait.  These are so comfy and now I totally understand how the Indians could glide silently through the forest.....
 These are some of my German sewing machine attachment tins.  I do not have machines to match them all, but I do have a nice collection of vintage German hand cranks and treadles.  We find ourselves seeming quite German at times.  My grandmother (whose parents were German) sang "Oh du lieber Augustin" to me when I was a kid.  I just recently remembered that and was surprised to read the history of that song;
"Oh du lieber Augustin" ("Oh, you dear Augustin") is a Viennese song, composed by Marx Augustin in 1679.
At this time Vienna was struck by the bubonic plague (see Great Plague of Vienna) and Augustin was a ballad singer and bagpiper, who toured Vienna‘s inns entertaining people. The Viennese loved Augustin because of his charming humour in bitter times, and they called him "Lieber Augustin" (Dear Augustin). Once he was drunk and on his way home he fell in the gutter and went to sleep. He was mistaken for a dead man by the gravediggers patrolling the city for dead bodies. They picked him up and dumped him, along with his bagpipes which they presumed were infected, into a pit filled with bodies of plague victims outside the city walls. Next day when Augustin woke up, he was unable to get out of the deep mass grave. He was shocked and after a while he started to play his bag pipes, because he wanted to die the same way he lived. Finally people heard him and he was rescued from this dreadful place. Luckily he remained healthy despite having slept with the infected dead bodies and Augustin became a symbol of hope for Viennese people.




 Now that the Christmas holidays are over, I'm back to crafting primitives again.  Today I made this little wool mouse family.  Can't you just picture finding them in your pantry???
 Here's a fun name for a sewing machine - the Silent Princess!  This is what's known as a 'badged' machine - made by a major sewing machine company (in this case, National Sewing Machine Co.) but the seller could choose the name they wanted.  There is an amazing number of unusual sewing machine names out there.
 For the upcoming Valentine season, I crafted these herbal hearts.  (Try saying that really fast a few times...)
 ......a passel of barn cats,
 .....a few primitive rag dolls,
 four crows, and...........
......have been doing some thread crochet flowers and leaves in my 'spare' time!

It's been a busy season, a lovely Christmas time with lots of good meals, board games, lots of music, singing around the piano and cozy fires.  Richly blessed we are and thank God for His graciousness to us. 

I'm still trying to get used to the emptier nest that we have now that my oldest daughter has moved out.  She's just down the road, but still her place at the dinner table is empty and now her rooms are my sewing & crafting studio.  I see her every day, but it's not quite the same.  Maybe harder because she's been at home so long, but it's making me feel older.  Times they are a changin'.  

On another note, I'm enjoying Winter and wish it would slow down just a bit more!  Seems like there aren't enough hours in the day for all I'd like to accomplish.  Yesterday I cleaned out my milk room and kidding pens in preparation for the upcoming goat kid arrivals (soon!).  Today I have the sore muscles to prove it!  We've gotten two seed catalogs in the mail and we're already imagining this year's garden (always better than the last one, of course).   Before you know it, the days will be longer and we'll spend more time outside once again.    But, for now it's still Winter and the new year is just ahead.  My prayer is that everyone who reads this blog will find the peace that can only be found with our Saviour Jesus Christ who died to take away our sins.  If you don't know Him, you'd better get acquainted quick!  This life goes by so fast and all of us will one day stand before Him.  Will He recognize you?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Of gingerbread and A.A. Milne and melancholy...

 December has been a month of melancholy.  Seems an endless round of work, weather, wood.  Work because my daughter moved to her own place just down the lane, but oh the stuff to move.  Weather because it's been cold & frozen and on Thanksgiving Day (how ironic), our water line broke and we were without water until next day, then completely repaired day after that.  We had Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday.....definitely some things to be thankful for, if we weren't already.
 We heat with wood and the stove seems to devour it like melted chocolate in a desperate woman's mouth.

I'm relating to Eeyore (from Winnie the Pooh by Milne, if you're THAT uninformed!).  Feeling blue & friendless at times.  Wonder if the combination of chronic illness and the dreaded 'change of life' can do that to a person.........
 Spending too much time indoors, I guess.  Reminiscing over past years when the children were young and the calendar days were full of activity. 

Well, 'nuf of that!  Onward.
My 'new' sewing room is part studio to work in and very much a museum of relics - sewing machines from the late 1800s to the 1960s.  Lots of them.  Can you say....eccentric?
 This is a little piece of importance in my daily life.  I sit here and drink coffee, read from Our Daily Bread devotional and E-Sword (Bible online), pray for the needs that come to mind and mull over the day ahead.  I read a handful of interesting blogs, the headline events, the 10-day weather outlook and sneak a peek into the windows of my friends' homes via Facebook.  Check to see if my Ebay stuff is selling.

 Cookies are in important part of December.  Gingerbread men can chase the blues away in a heartbeat (if they had one....).


 I made and sold several batches of these guys on Ebay.  I wanted a bowl-full for myself, but I forgot and sold them all.....
 This is Dr. Zhivago.  He began to look like a Cossack from the moment I began sewing him together.   Just for the record, though I haven't seen that movie since I was a child, I remember that the scenery was amazing but the plot line was rather immoral. 

This snowman-Zhivago is a much nicer fellow.  
 In between moving my daughter's stuff out and hauling MILLIONS of sewing machines UPSTAIRS to my new spot, I also made some of these little fellers.
Then, I had an object lesson.  It started with this 1950s-60s sewing machine.  It looks great on the outside.  I cleaned and polished it up, oiled & serviced it, the cam stitch levers work smoothly and there's no rust or scum anywhere.  It is a FABULOUS machine!   Except it doesn't work.   The dumb thing is froze up solid!  I've done everything I can think of as far as freeing it up.  The only thing for it now is a vat of kerosene or some major doses of KROIL....outside.
Made me think about people.  Sometimes we look fabulous (ok, so we'll just go for neat & tidy) on the outside and most of the important things seem to be in place, but on the inside we may be hard hearted or stiff necked, or hiding other unpleasantries.   People often are not what they appear on the outside.  Before I judge people by what I see, I hope I'll think of this and pray for them instead.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This turkey didn't actually do anything different than usual right up until he was invited for dinner.  That was last year, though.  This year we didn't raise any turkeys and are having roast chicken for dinner.  I suppose I should have asked them (the chickens) what THEY were doing for their last day, but they actually came from Costco......
 This is my thimble holder.  And a squirrel.  And my hand.  The thimble holder is carved and was a gift from my husband and the squirrel I made to keep the thimble from rattling around inside it.
 It's the season for fires in the stove, homemade bread and lots of hot coffee.  Especially since we've been working on a building project, moving my sewing machine museum/collection upstairs.  Hard work, must have coffee!!!
 Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow.  Ladies (and men) all over the nation will be preparing feasts in their kitchens for all the family that will gather to enjoy and be thankful.
 Lots of feasting, then gathering to visit and catch up.
 Memories will be made, children will be reunited with cousins and play til they're worn out.  I remember the good old days of family gathering.  Now it's just my husband & I, our three grown kids and my mom for the holiday.

And this is actually my dollhouse...........
 And this is a good time to slip this picture (taken from my porch) in.  I'm rambling sort of aimlessly today, but it strikes me to do so and since this blog is mine I shall take full advantage.  You may proceed to keep reading or stop, if you like :-)
 I love the warm & rustic look of homespun fabrics.  They are the same on both sides - folk-artsy, country rustic primitive...
 I've made a few Christmas time primitives, but have been pretty much caught up in our building/moving project and my sewing & crafting area is totally a disaster right now, so no new projects will be forthcoming until I can piece myself back together!

My sewing machine collection will be able to be visible and displayed, so I shall devote a future blog to pictures of it and you can be amazed at the history and mechanics of the early sewing machine!  Be prepared to be overwhelmed!
 A primitive Christmas dress.......
 A woodsman snowman.............
.....and a cute little snowgal with a baby snowman!!!  (don't you just want to pinch his little cold cheeks????)


'Nuf of that mushy stuff.  On with the sewing room moving.  UGH.  November makes the bones ache...which reminds me of a poem I shall leave you with:

November

No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon -
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! -
November!

Thomas Hood

Actually, I find it to be a little on the dark side, as we all know it's an exaggeration, right???  I'm thankful for so many many things.  God has truly blessed us with joys unspeakable.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Life is short, so go eat FUDGE!

 FUDGE
Have you ever noticed that if you look at a word long enough, it starts to look ridiculous and you no longer recognize it?  Maybe it's just me, but the word 'fudge' looks silly now that I've spent a few minutes trying to color it brown and spell it correctly....Maybe I need to just EAT some more of it!
 
 Usually we don't make fudge until the Christmas season, but I started thinking about it.  And I couldn't quit!  So I made easy Four Chip Fudge from the Taste of Home books, only I used half semi sweet chocolate chips and half butterscotch chips and whole pecans.....(excuse me while I get yet another piece.....)

You don't have to use a candy thermometer with this one and it doesn't flash on you, so it's EASY PEASY. 

Easy on the lips, but hard on the hips.  (I can't believe I just said that)
 Fall is finishing up with beautiful colors.  The oak tree in the pic above is my daughter's personal tree.  She found an acorn on the library lawn years ago when she was very small.  She brought it home, planted it in a bucket and it grew.  It eventually went in the ground and grew some more.  Then, we moved and she dug it up and brought  it along.  It has now been in the ground here for almost 17 years!  And I remember how small my faith in that acorn was - I told my little child that it might not grow and she shouldn't set her heart on it!
 I've been feeling melancholy lately.  Health problems, busy schedules & building projects, a friend who died, end of summer and WAY less sunshine - all combines to make me sad. 

Yesterday I when I went out to my rabbitry, I found one of my favorite bunnies dead.  Her name was Armazindy and she loved me.  Changing seasons seem to be hard on some animals and she was fine one day and then she was gone the next.
Life is fragile and fleeting.  I hope that everyone who reads this realizes that this life is soon past and you need to reach out to God, accept the free gift that He gave us when He sent His only son to die in our place that we might be forgiven for our sins and live eternally with Him. 

This life has sadness, but many blessings besides.
 This is Armazindy.  I'll miss her.

 In between helping my daughter crochet a bazillion snowflakes for an order she got through her Ebay store, I'm still working on making primitives to sell on Ebay myself.

Right now I've been creating snowmen!  I've got lots more small ones in the makings, but the days go by so fast and are so full I can't seem to get them done!


 When I realized that time had flown by so fast and it's been a bit since I posted, I figured I'd just sit down and write something so this is a bit rambling but at least it's up to date!  I'm going to go have just one more tiny small ok, HUGE piece of fudge and so I'll sign off with this comforting verse from the Bible:
  
John 16:33
(King James Version)
 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

 WOW, what a busy month it's been!  Husband was away working, then several truck repairs, two road trips, daughter had stitches in her finger.....whew!  I am SO ready to settle back in at the farm and get back to my regularly scheduled life!

This is the top of White Pass on the morning of October 14th.  My oldest daugher & I transported 28 show rabbits from our western side of Washington to the eastern side - over a mountain pass and into apple country!
 I, of course, had to stop on the other side and gather acorns!  I ADORE oak trees, leaves, squirrels.....Didn't see a squirrel, but gathered some fabulous HUGE acorns I can use in my craft projects!  Daughter was very decent about scrabbling around on the side of the highway with for nuts.
 My mountain.  I've always lived where this mountain was in view so I feel a part ownership in it, of course.
Mount Rainier is a massive stratovolcano located 54 miles (87 km) southeast of Seattle in the state of Washington, United States. It is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States and the Cascade Volcanic Arc, with a summit elevation of 14,411 ft .  Mt. Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.  
Not only that.....it's beautiful!
 A two day trip and back home we were.  For a week.  Then off to the Seaside went my husband and I in celebration of our 34th anniversary (which is actually not for a couple more weeks...)  This was the view from our room at the Oceanview Best Western.  We had planned to stay for 3 nights, but only made it for two before we had seen everything and since we can't sit still for long, we headed back to the farm! 
 We shopped our way through thrift and antique shops while we were gone and I LOVED this sign in one of them!
 The proprietor of the shop made all this faux food herself and it was stunning and very real looking.  We had to tip the soup bowl to make sure it wasn't really soup!!
 In between truck repairs and my daughter slicing her finger with a rotary cutter (ouch) and needing stitches, I worked on primitives again.  I think the selling season for Fall stuff is pretty much passed and now I'm making stuff for the winter and Christmas seasons.  Here's a frosty snowman......
 ....and a frosty snow girl.....
 A drawer full of jolly, happy, souls.....and an ice fishing snowman!
 I'm tired and sort of stressed from such a busy few weeks so I'm taking a bit of vacation from my, well, vacations and working on my art stuff which I find to be very soothing. 

This week I'm going back to my actual life, so I think I'll make bread, get my husband to butcher some rabbits so they can be canned and maybe I'll get to the pie cherries in the freezer and make pie filling.  We're going to need the freezer space in another month or so when we butcher a beef.

Our church service today was excellent and gave me some much needed encouragement and confirmation.  I'm glad to be home!

 Until next time............

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever;
One day He’s coming—O glorious day!   


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Thanks for ordinary everyday stuff!

 God painted this on the top of the car in the night.  I don't know if it took Him all night (I doubt it) but I'm gonna guess that if I tried to paint this, it would take forever.  I like that He shows His amazing-ness over and over in big and small ways to me!  I often need reminding.....

I'm so thankful that God sent His only son to die for ME!
 I wandered outside this morning during chore time and admired all the FABULOUS FALL STUFF out there.  If it weren't so cold and wet outside, I'd just stay outside as long as Fall lasts, just to enjoy every leaf, every bit of color!

I'm so thankful for the beauty that is Fall.
 My Adirondack chair was a present from my incredible offspring!  They KNEW I have always wanted one and they managed to get it home and HIDE IT until they presented it to lil ole totally surprised me!

I'm SO thankful for my kids.
 This is my beloved chore wagon!  Have you ever tried to carry a gallon of milk any great distance?  Add a stainless pail or two, a milk filter and.....you have to set it all down and REST before you get to the house!  But NOT if you own a chore wagon!

I'm so thankful for my beloved husband who bought me this chore wagon!
 This is my home.  Doesn't it look inviting and homey and old-fashioned?  Aren't my trees adorable??  Can you see my espaliered apple tree? 

I'm so thankful to live OUT IN THE STICKS in this way cool house (do people say that anymore?)!!!
 This is Paxton.  Isn't her coat shiny?  It's kind of like a new copper penny.  She's a sweetie.  She's the most 'thinking' goat we've got.  She doesn't panic if something happens, but stops and thinks before she acts.  Wish I could be more like Paxton some days!

Thanks, Paxton, for being a lesson to me.
 I watch this tree in my yard every year as it changes color almost daily.  Then comes the day when the leaves begin to disappear....
So sad, but.....

God has promised that as long as the earth is still here, there will be Winter, then Spring, then Summer and then my beloved Fall will be back and I'll get to watch this tree again!

Genesis 8:22 KJV
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease .
 This is Marcail.  She is a funny bunny and she LOVES to play games with Mama (that's me).  Every day I feed & water her, pet her, and then we play this game with her toy.  I put it on her head and praise her profusely.....she'll eventually knock it off and we do it again (bunnies don't get bored with games easily.....I guess I don't either!). 
 This is a pecan pie.  You KNOW I'm thankful for this!  

(Easy!  Put 3 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup corn syrup, dash salt, 1/3 cup melted butter in a bowl.  Stir, then add 1 cup pecans, 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 cup coconut.  Toss it in an unbaked single pie crust and bake for 44 1/2 minutes (kidding) or so until a knife inserted comes out clean.  Make a fresh pot of coffee, milk a goat and fill the creamer and you've got a fabulous dessert!!!)
 Well, my wanderings came to an end and my camera ran out of battery, so I had to come in and get on with the mundane things of life (making the bed, vacuuming the living room...) and then on to making more primitives!  Today I'm doing finishing touches on SEVEN primitive rag dolls to sell on Ebay and a basket of primitive pumpkins. 

I'm thankful for Ebay, too.
Life isn't always easy and there's so much to distract us and keep us drained, unhappy, unhealthy.....But if you look around you, I promise that you can always find something to be thankful for - maybe where you least expect it!