Outside my window...It's been a rainy week so far, and clouds and fog were over the mountains again today. A cool day in the low 60s kept us inside listening to Christmas music (yes, we start early!) while we worked on various wedding planning for Sarah and Eric.
I am thinking...of the good time of renewed friendship we had last week with our friends, Kim and Annie, missionaries on furlough from Papua New Guinea.They stopped by for an overnight visit and showed us the printed gospel of John they've recently finished for the Tami people.
Here's Kim showing Tom some scriptures:
We are so very encouraged whenever we hear of the ministry they are doing among people in a faraway village whom we will never have the chance to see or talk with. Thank you, Kim and Annie, for your faithful diligence these many years in Papua New Guinea:
I am thankful...for the couples who came to our neighborhood ice cream social on Sunday evening. A new ice cream flag announced the event on our back deck as we waited for folks to arrive:
We've wanted to bring the neighbors together for quite a while, and five families took us up on our offer of homemade ice cream with all the toppings:
The light began to fade, but everyone was having such good conversations they stayed on to get better acquainted. And a good time was had by all....
I was delighted...when my cousin and her husband came last week to visit Granny. Granny always loves company and had looked forward to Carolyn and Bud's visit for a long time:
I am wearing...a red skirt, white top, and hand-me-down leopard bedroom slippers.
I am creating...a blog post--finally! Life has been quite busy with regular life and...all things wedding related!! Checking out a wedding venue, house-hunting in Georgia with Sarah and Eric's family, furniture buying, bridesmaids' dress fabric purchasing, wedding dress fittings, considering possible flowers for the reception, and deciding on food for the guests have filled our days.
Fun Times...here are Sarah and Eric picking out fabric for free pillows to match their sofa:
Eric, his sister Abby, and Sarah also picked out some favorite colors to repaint some of the rooms in the home they purchased:
Here's Sarah standing in front of her future home:
I am going...to be one happy Mama and one sad Mama...what bittersweet days. (Send tissues, please!) For those of you who've already gone through giving your baby daughter away, please share with me how I'll ever manage to cope...especially in the kitchen!
In the kitchen...lots of pies filled the kitchen table this past weekend! A bride hired Sarah to bake 15 pies for her wedding on Saturday...apple, blueberry, chocolate pecan, and lemon meringue are pies the customer picked. Whew! I was glad when Sarah delivered all the pies intact!
I am re-living...our 35th anniversary trip one month ago. I never posted on our travels to Alexandria, Virginia, but here we are enjoying ourselves in Old Town:
In the Mount Vernon garden...while on our tour of Mount Vernon, I especially enjoyed the gardens and all the flowers on the property, even though our tour guide told us the gardens were past peak and overgrown. Here's one of the more formal gardens:
A peek into one of my days...Granny wanted me to drive her back to her hometown of South Boston recently. One of my dear friends invited us to spend the night with her. Here we are enjoying a very encouraging time with Carolyn and Garnett:
And Carolyn happened to overhear Granny say she loved buttered biscuits, so she made sure she fixed some biscuits especially for Granny the next morning. Don't they look delicious? (Thank you, Carolyn!):
Another friend and faithful blog reader in South Boston--Carolyn's sister, Doris--came over to visit while we were there (Hi, Doris!):
Recently when I wandered over to Pinterest (as we all are inclined to do occasionally), I spotted something that I totally fell in love with. Surely that has happened to you, too, right?
In this case, I read about a build-it-yourself quilt ladder which I promptly shared with the woodworker in our family. And...I justhappened to mention to Tom that I would love for him to build one for me, but not just for me, but also one as a gift for a friend's birthday and one for my sister's birthday.
In other words...three quilt ladders! Tom's Honey-Do list all of a sudden became much more than one simple ladder. And this didn't end up being the quickie Saturday afternoon project I had envisioned...these ladders took on a life of their own!
Here he is after getting the wood cut to the exact dimensions suggested on the blog where I originally saw the ladder and then carefully measuring before installing the rungs:Back into the garage to get started putting it all together:Did you notice that the ladder has moved from the garage workshop into the living room?? For some reason, I've become quite accustomed to this practice! Ahem... Below you can see all three ladders being worked on...Tom's delicately putting wood glue into the pocket holes on the back side where he'll place wooden plugs over the screws that hold the rungs to the legs:Time to put on stain! Thankfully the ladders are back in the garage for this step: And then outside on the deck. Notice Tom's high-tech system of juice bottles for holding down the drop cloth on this windy day:This last one below is my ladder. Tom's re-sanding some imperfections in the stained legs and then will re-stain. I can hardly wait until it's finished so I can put some quilts on those rungs:Like I mentioned, one ladder was for my sister's birthday. So when we went on our Spring Break trip to Georgia (Day 1, Day 2, and Days 3-4-5), it was the perfect time to bring the ladder to her.
The girls rode 8+ hours with the ladder between them stretching from the trunk to the front between me and Tom. After the History Tour in Georgia, we brought it back to South Carolina. Here's a picture my sister sent me showing her ladder already laden down with quilts:The next quilt ladder made a journey to Richmond this past Saturday when we met with our dear friends Fred and Chris for a double date at Whole Foods:Here's Chris after I gave her the quilt ladder. I think she liked it!! Since we only get together once or twice a year, she brought me an early birthday gift--a Colonial Williamsburg bird bottle! I love it!Here I am with Tom on our double date. We had a very fun time with our friends.When my quilt ladder is all finished and I've figured out where I'm putting it, I'll have to show you a picture!
rejoiced with Sarah this week who won $100 worth of quilting services for one of her quilts
enjoyed a quilting week leading up to Worldwide Quilting Day!
Here are some photos of my week:
The Red, White and Free charm pack all laid out to test the possibilities: And here are the Disappearing 9-Patch blocks all sewn together first, then cut apart, and then sewn back together again. Quilting is a crazy hobby! It's now awaiting backing, quilting, and binding: Here's the completed Row-Along quilt top which I promised to show you that I worked on with my friend, Chris. Now it needs to be sandwiched and quilted: And here's the Bee label I made for the back: I feel like I can finally check the Row-Along off my list...that was a lot of work! But...no quilt is complete without the quilting. So I'll decide how to go about that next.
Actually, I entered a giveaway over at Ruby Blue Quilting to win $100 worth of quilting services by a long-arm quilter. I so wanted to win, especially to get this Row-Along quilted now that it's finished! But if I couldn't win, then Sarah winning the prize was the next best thing!
Here she is holding up her quilt top that she thinks will be the one she sends in to be quilted. She still needs to add the borders to this, however, before it's ready to mail off: In the meantime, I took a break and started making the Snow Time quilt for Sarah. Here's an almost completed top below; the appliqued snowflakes and cardinals just need to be added.
And I'm waiting for some soft and comfy minkie fabric for the backing to arrive any day. I think Sarah will love it! And in other quilting news, this delightful package of goodies arrived from Cotton Berry Quilts yesterday! It was actually a gift to me from Christa over at Cotton Berry to make things right after a mix-up on her website. What a wonderful gesture, and I will love making the mini Puddle Jumping quilt: Check out Christa's blog to see the beautiful Fig Tree Homestead quilt (love it and want to make one!!) she finished quilting for one of her customers! I've never used Christa's services for any long-arm quilting, but I have first-hand experience that she would treat you right! Thank you, Christa!
Hey, how did this picture get in with all the quilting photos? Well...I guess while I'm playing with my fabrics, Tom's keeping busy playing with his wood! Maybe he's making something for me?
Comment and let me know what you're doing for Worldwide Quilting Day tomorrow? Maybe it doesn't even have a thing to do with quilting! That would be a shame! :) Ha!
So I thought we'd show you what our week was like here in Virginia. Mostly we stayed inside in a warm house since our area received another 6" of snow. Here's our view out the kitchen nook window at the snow-covered deck: Picnic anyone?: The fire sure felt nice and warm; and hats, scarves, and mittens were drying there after the girls shoveled and snow-blowed to get our steep driveway cleared so the guys could make it home after work:I stayed busy sewing on the Row-Along I've been working on recently. Since I'm sewing this project along with my friend, Chris, I'm finding that peer pressure can be a good thing to keep me motivated to finish. Ha!
Here's a picture below of Chris' Row-Along with her borders already finished. I think she'll be okay with me posting it. Aren't the colors all just beautiful? She did a great job!:I'm sewing my borders today and will post a picture soon!
Hannah worked in the kitchen cutting soap this week and then made new soap to fill the empty molds. She's adding some new products for market coming up next month:Today, to finish up the week, the gang drove down to Jonathan's house and worked on electrical stuff all day. Here's a sampling of what was accomplished:
Hannah started by marking centers of each room to determine where the ceiling lights will go, and then she sawed boards and screwed in light fixtures.
Jonathan worked on wiring, and Sarah drilled holes through the studs for the wires in the laundry room. This is the stage where you can work all day and see very little progress!
While the kids were over at the new construction site, Tom was here at home building a prototype of Jonathan's and Bethany's kitchen cabinet doors so they can determine if they like this style/size before he starts on the real thing: And, yes, the clamped cabinet doors are residing in the living room at the moment so the glue will dry better than it would in the cold garage.
As I mentioned in my last Sunday's post, we had a guest this past week visiting us...Tom's sister, Toots, from Connecticut. No...really, her name is Sue, but from forever ago, she's Toots to everyone. One of the places we took her around town was my all-time favorite shop, Appalachian Piecework. You've seen this shop before here on the blog...I take everyone there it seems! Come to visit me, and I'll take you, too!And here's more of the front entrance: Here's the beautiful vintage quilt that greeted us inside the door, just lovely: Here are Hannah and Sarah talking with Laurie, the owner and amazing crafter of so many of the pieces in her shop (I didn't take my camera with me...big mistake, so these not-so-good photos were all taken on my phone): Laurie is working on sanding a bracelet made from hickory to make it smooth. She also had some unique hickory baskets on display: There were so many new things to see, including some unique swinging/moveable wall quilt racks (didn't snap a picture of these) that I now want Tom to make for me. Here's a vintage fan quilt that Hannah is standing beside: The Shenandoah Heritage Market was another of our outings, and I was hoping we'd see a horse and buggy. We were rewarded with this scene: Of course, while she was here, Toots wanted to see the progress on Jonathan's house...but we were iffy on whether we could get down the driveway with all the snow we had last weekend still hanging around.
Uh-oh, looks like we're going to have to park on the country road and trek up to the faraway house...we definitely found out that Jonathan's driveway is longer than it seems when you're walking in deep snow! Here I am below trudging along, seemingly on top of crusty snow, but my boots kept breaking through down into deep drifts. Sarah is holding onto me, thankfully! The arrow is pointing to our destination far ahead: We made it! Sue enjoyed looking around and taking pictures. Here are Tom and Sue inside Jonathan's house: And a view from the porch looking back towards the way we walked in: Okay, time to head back to the car...we walked single file so we could step into each others' footprints, and then we rounded the bend below... ...to see our destination far in the distance. This was our workout for the day for sure!Still smiling after the journey: We sure enjoyed our week of food, fun games, treks in the snow, and catching up with each others' lives. Come again, Toots!
As a side note, if you missed our October post about Tom's brother, Steve, coming to visit, you can read that here. Now, we just need to get Tom's other sister, Ellen and her family, here to visit this year!
All three kids were away this past weekend, and Tom and I were left with an extremely quiet and empty house! I'm not sure I'm fond of these empty nests that I've heard so much about!
Thankfully, it was only for three days, so we decided to make the best of it and plan some adventures of our own!
To start the weekend off, on Friday I traveled to Richmond to meet my friend, Chris, for lunch and some shopping. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of us together because I didn't take any! Sad.
The time together was a real blessing because it helped take my mind off the kids' long 11-hour drive, although I was still praying for their safety throughout the day.
On Saturday Tom and I packed our suitcases and headed off to Greensboro, NC, for a weekend get-away of our own.
Here's one of the places we ended up doing some fun antiquing:
I wasn't on the lookout for anything special, but this red and gold quilt caught my eye immediately:The asking price was higher than I was willing to pay, so I inquired if the vendor could be contacted to see if she would be open to a lower price.
It always pays to ask! Not only was the vendor willing, but she lowered the price by $30! I'm happy to say that the quilt now resides at the Mountain Musings homestead and is waiting to be cleaned and displayed.
Here's an antique tablecloth that I really would have liked to purchase, especially for decorating for our Valentine's weekend guests. Again, the price was higher than I wanted to pay, so this beauty stayed at the store:And because Granny is a basket-maker, I'm always checking out the antique baskets in shops like this. Here's an egg basket we saw priced at $95! It was very well-made, sturdy, and...expensive!
I'm sure Granny's baskets will one day be treasured antiques like this one.Speaking of Granny....most of you blog readers may not know that almost two weeks ago she fell at my sister's house and has compression fractures in her back...again! She was in the hospital in South Carolina for a week and is now in rehab trying to get stronger after this latest setback.
I'm sure she's missing making her baskets! And I'm sure she'd appreciate your prayers for a quick recovery!
On Sunday, Tom and I visited a local church in the Greensboro area and enjoyed meeting and getting to know some new folks. We always enjoy finding other like-minded fellowships and making new contacts.
Soon we were on our way back to Virginia to...a quiet and empty house, but very thankful that we were able to spend some time alone together!
Hannah, Jonathan, and Sarah are now back home this week after traveling through much of that winter storm up north. I think after that hazardous journey they've had their quota of snow for awhile, even Sarah!
And now we're getting back to normal again with lots of activity all around! Just the way I like it! :)
Here in Virginia, we only received a small piece of the Blizzard the northeast is receiving this week, but we did have a snowy-stay-inside-day today...much to Sarah's delight!
This was a perfect day for a Girls' Day In! We'll each tell you what we worked on:
Sarah's Snow Day Quilting:This winter I have been determined to work as much as I can on the hand quilting on my double wedding ring quilt. It's ridiculous how many years it's been since I started, and it's not even halfway done yet! Over the past few weeks, it's been really nice to get back into it, even though my fingers have been a bit sore while my calluses build back up again.
And snowy days are the perfect time to stay cozy underneath a quilt inside a warm house!
Hannah's Snow Day Project:I brought out my sewing machine for the first time this winter, and after cleaning and oiling it, I began working where I left off (many months ago) on my picnic quilt. The blocks are made with old denim squares and pieces of various red/white/and blue fabrics. Getting closer to sewing the blocks into rows!
Deb's Snow Day Row-Along:
It's been quite awhile since I posted about the Row-Along I started working on last January! But what a great day to set up our machines and get busy.
I've now completed the mitten row: Here I am joining the next row of twinkly stars together:
And here's the star row added to the group:Tomorrow I'll be working on the neighborhood houses row...should be fun!
And speaking of snowy day projects...here's a new quilt kit that I'll be making for Sarah when I finish the Row-Along or if I want to take a break this week and start something different. Doesn't it suit her perfectly? The pattern is called Snowtime.
I'll post pictures when I make some headway on it!So what did you work on today? Any sewing? Shoveling snow? Baking bread?
So...here we are enjoying some delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup and the original chicken sandwich for Sarah:Hannah didn't have a freebie from Chic-fil-A, so we swung by Panera Bread to redeem a gift card she'd received.
Later we stopped by our third restaurant of the day--Cracker Barrel...no, not for another lunch...but Hannah wanted to visit the gift shop. Don't you love all those rockers on their front porch? Here's a pretty scarf that Hannah liked: And here are their spring garden items on display already...I have to say as much as I love gardening that I'd like to rest another couple of months before thinking of all that work ahead! Next stop was our local Cheese Shop for some 50# bags of flour and wheat: I always like to see the new scripture they have up on their sign:We like shopping at the Cheese Shop when it's a quiet day. Busloads of tourists, church groups, and folks from all over stop here. Thankfully, today the aisles weren't crowded: Next stop was the library for a return:And...is any outing complete without a quick run by Walmart? And then, next stop--the post office to send off some snail-mail notes to Granny. She'll be looking forward to mail day now!
And last, but not least, Hannah had a coupon for some new sunglasses. The price tag on these babies was $125!! But we got them for FREE! since Sarah recently purchased new glasses: Did you notice the red ear-warmers Hannah is wearing? My sister knitted them for her for Christmas. Here's the link if you'd like to knit some for yourself! They knit up very quickly.
Hello! And a hearty welcome to any new readers who are visiting from the blog hop, where bloggers from around the world have been posting weekly all the crafty things they're up to!
The girls and I were asked to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop by Nic over at Dragon Rambles. Nic is a quilter and an avid knitter, so check out her blog to see what she's up to. Thanks, Nic, for asking and including us in the hop!
Some of the things we usually blog about include gardening, soaping, baking, quilting, knitting, basket-making, beekeeping, house-building, and hospitality--all the fun activities that make up our slice-of-life blog.
"What are we currently working on?"
Quilting...well...when it comes to quilting, the question should be, "What am I hoping to start working on soon?"
Jacquelynne Steves over at The Art of Home recently started a free block of the month project called Sew Sweet Simplicity. You can get all the details here.
I signed up right away, but somehow all the beginning information didn't show up in my emailbox. I think everything is squared away now, so hopefully I won't be too far behind the rest of the group!
Vintage Farmhouse Block of the Month...I've also been signed up for this block of the month byFig Tree Quilts and Joanna Figueroa over at Fresh Figs for several months. As you can see from the photo below (photo credit: Fig Tree Quilts), this is what the finished quilt will look like...but that's Joanna's quilt ready for quilting and binding and not mine.
So now that gardening season has come to a close, I'm planning on beginning these vintage blocks: Row-Along...and let's not forget the Row-Along I began early in 2014 with my friend, Chris. We both took a break from the rows because of our busy lives this spring and summer. This is the last photo I posted several months ago...and the last time I worked on it...heh..heh... But, break out the confetti! I'm starting the mitten row this week! Baking...Fridays always look like this in the kitchen (and even more than what's pictured here!) since Sarah has lots to get ready for the Saturday Farmers' Market. Speaking of market...the last market of the season was this past Saturday. And we all said Hallelujah! It's time for a break!
Baskets...We recently posted a picture of Granny working on three large custom-order baskets:For any new readers here from the blog hop, if you're interested in how Granny got started making baskets, Granny wrote a post about it!
And here are the three completed baskets just waiting for the customer to pick them up before Thanksgiving. I love how they turned out:The other two baskets she made that were a little too large for the customers' needs are now in her Etsy shop and ready for purchase. Here they are pictured below with bands of brown, orange, and green: And here's the other one below with the colors higher up on the basket. I love them both! Here are the latest potato masher baskets Granny made just waiting to be dipped in walnut stain. We wrote about some of her mashers in this post: Hospitality...these delightful sisters came to visit us recently, and here they are with Granny in her basket shed:
Bee-Keeping...we haven't written much about Jonathan's bee-keeping lately because, unfortunately, all the bees were lost in last year's very severe winter weather. He's planning on starting the bees again once he's not busy with building his house!
House-Building...Jonathan's house is coming along nicely. Since I last posted a picture, the shingles are finished, and the front porch is being built.
This is the newest family craft, and everyone is learning about house-building and teamwork! This past Saturday, after Market was finished, Tom and Sarah were working on the cripples...now that was a new word for me!
The next step is to get in the windows and doors before winter arrives: Soaping...Hannah is continuing to make soap throughout the busy fall/winter season, packaging orders to local stores, and gathering various fragrances of soaps for custom orders:A couple of weeks ago Hannah was in the kitchen harvesting some fresh aloe gel to use in her Skin Soother soap. She simply breaks a leaf from our large aloe plant and scoops the gel out to be incorporated into her batch of soap:Hannah was also working this past week on some handmade photo cards for delivery to Cranberry's, a local store that carries her cards: And last, but not least....
Gardening...I only recently finished planting the 38 blueberry bushes that arrived this fall. I actually only ordered 6, at least I thought I only ordered 6 bushes; and yet when the large box arrived, it contained 38 bare-root plants! What box did I check incorrectly to create that much work for me??
I shoveled topsoil and more topsoil to fill 3 extra-long raised (temporary) I-beam beds to hold all those plants! And then I planted them all and covered with a thin layer of mulch.There's so much more garden work I could do...if only it stayed fall forever!
And...if I get to it today, there are 100 bulbs to plant: "Why do we create what we do?"
If you read our blog for any length of time, you'll see we love the whole process of creating any of the crafts listed above, and we love seeing the finished products. If our craft will be gifted to someone, we love blessing them with it and seeing their joy in receiving the item.
"She...works with her hands in delight." ~ Proverbs 31:13
We mostly create to give thanks back to the Lord for giving us the talents we have to use for His glory.
If you'd enjoy reading other Around the World Blog Hop posts, just google "around the world blog hop," and you'll find blog after blog listed with their crafts and why they create what they do!
If anyone would like to participate in the hop, leave me a comment directing me to your blog so we can read what crafts you're working on!