Friday, December 29, 2017

Another Christmas Over So Soon!

It was a Merry Christmas, but it came and went so soon!

Little Penpen and the grandchildren

I've heard others say this and it's true for me, too:  I enjoy the week after Christmas the most.  There is nowhere to go, the presents are all opened, and the stress is gone.  I can enjoy my Christmas tree lights, reflect on the season,  reflect on the birth of Jesus, find the calm that I wish was there during the hectic part of the season.  

Our little brides

I'm looking forward to a new year.  The longer I am 'retired' from nursing , the more I find that I enjoy being retired.  I'm hoping for a very productive year!

Happy New Year to all!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Mr. and Mrs. Claus are Here

Look who is here to welcome everyone to our home!

This is a fabric panel I bought from ebay a couple years ago with the intention of somehow using this couple in the center of a Christmas quilt.   I couldn't see that happening anytime soon and I wanted my grandchildren to enjoy Mr. and Mrs. Claus now.

I pieced together some batting and used a blue striped sheet for the backing.   It didn't take long to sew it all together,  to do a little free motion quilting on some areas, and then pin them to the wall.  My brain is already thinking of some cute embellishments to make them  stand out even more, but that may have to wait until next Christmas.

The panel was meant to be turned into a door panel, so they are quite tall... I think they are taller than the grandchildren.  My dogs have barked at the new couple off and on all afternoon!  I'll be glad when they get used to our new house guests.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus hang on the wall in front of my little tree, which looks kind of skimpy in the picture.  I didn't dry quite as many orange slices to hang this year, but I do think it looks a little better in person.  The lights twinkle and I love the little glow in the foyer.

Avery, Chandler, and Brinley  (and mom and dad) were here for Thanksgiving and stayed a couple extra days with Grandma and Papa.  They colored these nativity scenes for me  while they were here and I am enjoying looking at them everyday.  Annabelle will be here next week and she will get to color her nativity.

She and her mommy will stay a couple of weeks with us and I am looking forward to their visit.

I don' t know how I managed to not get a picture of Avery during their visit, but  please pray for our little guy if you will, as he has hernia surgery  scheduled for next week.  This will be his second hernia repair.  He's a big boy and doesn't seem a bit worried about it.

This is Brinley Kate just before we left to go eat at my dad's house.  It was a great day... everyone was there except for April and her family, which was a huge accomplishment for us to get everyone else together at one time.

I'm sure you all are very busy too.  Take time to enjoy the little things and be 'present' in all that you do!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Cornbread, Old Faithful (s), and a Gas Station

I've never been a bread maker, although I love love love bread.  (as is evident by my thighs)  I cooked a pot of pinto beans yesterday for my husband and my daddy.  My daddy had made the comment sometime back that he didn't like my cornbread (which was a Jiffy mix) because it crumbles.  My husband has made cornbread in the past, and Daddy suggested I let him make the cornbread.  ha!

By golly, I would not be outdone by my husband!  I went straight to Pinterest and searched for Southern Cornbread.  This picture popped up and it was said to be 'grandma's recipe'.  So I went to the link here and realized I had all the ingredients, except the buttermilk.  I made it using regular milk and let me tell you, this is delicious cornbread!!!  It was crispy on the edges and creamy in the middle..... so so good!

The men loved it and Daddy went back for seconds and thirds! So yes, this is my new 'go to ' cornbread recipe.  Let hubby make it.... pffft!

For dessert, I looked in my pantry and decided to make an old school dessert:  Cherry Dump Cake.

Pinterest photo

Sometimes the 'old faithful' recipes are the best!  I didn't have any pineapple, so I dumped two single serving containers of applesauce in the bottom with the cherry pie filling.  I had pecans from my daddy's freezer, some that my mama had picked out by hand, shortly before she died.  I think we all thought the recipe was just a little bit sweeter because Mama's hands had been on the pecans.   (I only use half the cake mix; we like it better this way)

Pinterest photo

Speaking of 'old faithful' recipes, do any of you still make sausage balls?  I started making them again last year and sent several batches out as Christmas gifts to my dad's friends.  I took some to the church Christmas party and someone exclaimed "I haven't seen these in  years!"  They were eaten up in no time.  Why do we forget those yummy recipes sometimes?  What are some of your tried and true recipes?

I've mentioned my daughter and her husband's Little Blue Gas Station on my blog before.  Finally, after much persuasion, she has decided to blog a little about it here.   I hope you will enjoy seeing what she and her husband are transforming into a cute little home!  Please leave a comment if you visit her!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Persian Pickle Club (question)

Ok, I'm always late to the party, but I recently purchased this book: The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas.

I loved loved loved the book and went online to read more about it.  I saw mention of the book being made into a movie, but never could find where it had been completed.  I could not find the movie anywhere.  Does anyone know if it was ever completed?

This book is about a quilting group and the setting is during the Great Depression.  I love reading books from this era and this one did not disappoint.  The group has a strong bond and  they definitely have each other's backs, as they keep a very big secret to protect one another.   The story line was great and it also had enough sewing in it to make me itch to pull out some needlework!

Have you read this book?  If not, you should! It is a pretty quick read.  I bought my copy from Ebay for around $3.  I'm going to read it again, to see if I can play detective and see the eventual ending, before I get to the end of the book.  It's that good!

Can anyone tell me if this book became a movie?

ps.... Persian pickle is an old time name they used for what we now call  paisley  print fabric.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Grandma Took A Trip

Grandma took a short trip to see Annabelle.

Grandma and Annabelle and Percy

Of course, I enjoyed seeing Mommy and Daddy too.

A minion, a mouse, and a daddy

Mommy has Halloween on the brain and was planning their Trunk or Treating  trips at local churches.  I would have loved to have stayed through Tuesday to see Annabelle trick or treating.

Annabelle and Bella; Bella keeps the coyotes away

But Grandma needed to get back home.  Papa and Granddaddy (my dad) were on doggie duty.  I didn't worry about the dogs as much as I do when we board them with strangers, but they were on my mind a lot.  BTW, they survived quite well without me.  :-))


I've decided that 11-12 hour drive is too much for this old grandma to do at one time.  I will either learn to fly or I will start breaking my trip to Tennessee  into two driving days.  Halfway from home,  would be in Asheville, NC and I can think of plenty to do there to break up my trip.

Happy to get the wagon ride

We had fun at the pumpkin patch and it's difficult to photograph a two year old.  I have lots of photo's, but only a few where she is actually sitting still.  We bought this little wagon full of pumpkins to take back to Annabelle's house.

Mommy and Annabelle

We had fun at Ms. Lana's farm.  She and her husband live on 300 acres of TN farmland and it was just beautiful.

sweet little goats

She raises TN fainting goats and they were super friendly.  She uses their milk to make delicious smelling soap and gave us a few samples.

Annabelle loved everything about Ms. Lana's farm.

Middle Tennessee is so beautiful!  If I had no ties to NC, I could move there in a heartbeat!  Everything looks like a painting or a photographer's dream.  It's gorgeous there, especially in the Fall.

It was a fun time with Mommy and Annabelle.  I was sad to leave them so far away from Grandma.  Life isn't always the way we had dreamed it will be, but I am thankful.  But I sure do wish they lived closer.

It was the first time I had visited them in their 'new' old store home.  It was amazing to see what they had done already and I was surprised at how roomy it felt inside.  It was a very cozy home and I love that they took an eyesore in the neighborhood and turned it into one of the cutest homes on the street.  I've been asking my daughter to start blogging again, so she can post their old store to  cute home journey.

If you click to enlarge this photo, you will see smoke coming from the tobacco barn.  In eastern NC, that would be good reason to call 911.  In middle TN, this is how they cure tobacco.  It is a common site to see smoke rolling out of old tobacco barns.  It was very interesting to me.

It was a short trip, but a very sweet trip.  Annabelle cried when I left, which made me want to cry too.  She is a fun little girl and even taught this grandma how to dance while I was there!  I had to come back home to rest.   :-))

Friday, October 20, 2017

October happenings

I found this cookbook at one of my favorite thrift stores this week.

Remember the movie about Julia Childs and the girl who cooked her way through the book?  I would love to do the same thing with this book.  Every recipe in there (almost), I would like to try.  Plus, the book has lots of pretty pictures in it!

My husband and I visited the Amish country many years ago and I would love to go back again.  I just love everything about it.  I love to read Amish wisdom books and Amish cookbooks.   I only paid .50 cents for this book... a happy treasure, for sure.

Daddy's baby goats are growing.  He is still nursing these two with baby bottles.  They are so cute.... they will follow him around, into his garage and prop up  on a table to see the bottles .  Adorable little things!

I'm planning a visit to see this little girl next week.  Her mommy loves thrifting just as much as I do, so we should have a fun week.  Annabelle picked out her own 'costume' while they were in Goodwill a couple days ago.

I'm almost embarrassed to share this, but do you see this pattern?  This is one of the many that I own, that I purchased for .99 cents, a long time ago from Hobby Lobby.  I never used it, never even took it out of the envelope.  Imagine my surprise when I saw how much people were paying for them on ebay.  So.... I listed mine and sold it for $45.00.  I was a little embarrassed to take someone's money , but now I have ebay money in my account to buy something else.  ha!

I've been under the weather this week and still don't feel the best.  I've been debating all week if I should see the doctor, so I can be well for my trip to TN next week.   As a nurse, I tend to wait things out, but now I am stressing about it, wondering if I should go ahead and go.  I guess there's always tomorrow.  Please pray that I can feel better!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Apples and Freezers

So, I decided to get smart and start filling up the freezer again.  I bought a few pork and beef roasts and then decided I wanted to freeze some apples.

When hubby and I moved to western NC in 1997, his supervisor and wife invited us to breakfast our first morning there.  I remember she pulled apple slices from her freezer and cooked them up with our breakfast and they were so good with our big country breakfast ! I've made fried apples a few times since then, but I usually buy them in the can and doctor them up a little.

I cooked a small batch with our supper the other night.  I left the peelings on, as an experiment, as I didn't want to peel all my apples before freezing.  Well, I decided I didn't like them as much with the peeling left on, but we ate every bite of them.   (hubby and daddy didn't seem to mind the peelings)

So I peeled apples yesterday.  I really didn't have that many, so it was no big deal.  I used this method of soaking them to keep them from turning brown. (using only salt and water)  It's a great article.

I was so happy that this method worked and my apples didn't turn brown .  Look at those pretty white apples! I took all the peelings and scraps and packed them up to take to my daddy's goats.  After about an hour, to my surprise,  those peelings and scraps had not browned either!  They had had no salt treatment! ha! Maybe it was just my apple .... they were McIntosh.  I will definitely try this method again with a different apple to see if it really works.

Now about my freezer:  I went to pull a pork roast from the freezer yesterday and guess what?  My food was thawing!!!!  It seems the temperature wants to be around 36 degrees, not enough to keep my food frozen.  I brought in my new meats and crammed them into my refrigerator freezer.  I hope we can figure how to fix the freezer and I'm glad I didn't have it full!!!

And here's my little embroidered children all framed up!  I am planning to hang them in the hallway, mainly for my own viewing pleasure.  I can't believe I waited over 35 years to frame them.  :-))

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Lesson in Humility

As most of you know, I love visiting our local Goodwill on a regular basis.  By being a regular, I am very familiar with other regulars who shop there often.  Some I greet and chat with.... others I stay away from.

There is this one little man, who I had decided was homeless... he always looked a mess, he looked dirty, disheveled, and I always wondered about his mental status.  He never bothered anyone.  Except one day, he stood near me and passed gas.... loud gas.... and it smelled terrible! I then added 'an old drunk' to my description of him.  When my daughter visited and we went to Goodwill, I would tell her "don't get near him, he'll pass gas on you.'  As we giggled and minded our own 'superior' lives.

A few weeks ago, I saw this man come into the store and buy a jacket.  He put it on while in the store and then I saw him walk to his car! hmmmm, maybe he's not so homeless, I thought.  But still.... I must keep my distance from him.  He's different.

Tuesday, as I left my local Goodwill, I needed to stop by Aldi's for a quick trip to pick up a few things.  As I got out of my car, I noticed a man trying to 'drag' himself across the parking lot using a shopping cart.  He had his left arm thrown into the cart, where a child would normally sit and he was dragging his left leg.  He was very unsteady and I thought 'this man might need help.'

I started walking towards him and immediately recognized him as the little Goodwill man.  He looked up at me and I could tell he was hot, weak, and that he had obviously had a stroke since I had last seen him.  I said 'sir, may I help you?"  His speech was slurred, but I understood him to say he needed help getting to his car, which was parked over two parking lots away.  I then said to him "sir, I've seen you around town and I don't remember you as having had a stroke .  Have you had a stroke?"  He said 'YES, this morning!"  I continued to ask questions, trying to determine if he had been seen by a doctor.  "NO, I don't need a doctor!" he said.  "I was at the doctor yesterday!"  I asked "had you had a stroke yesterday?"  He screamed "NO, I TOLD YOU I HAD A STROKE THIS MORNING!"  I told him I thought he needed to see a doctor and that I didn't feel comfortable taking him to his car.  He became angry and told me to just let him die.

I walked away, but continued to watch him from the lobby area inside the store.  He tried to take a few steps and I noticed his pants fell down; he was completely nude from waist down.  He attempted to reach for his pants, and I watched him fall onto the pavement.  I ran out of the store and told him "sir, you have got to let me help you!"

A young lady appeared and helped me to get him back on his feet and we pulled his pants up for him.  He became a little nicer at this point, but was adamant that he did not need help, he did not need a doctor, that he would rather just die.  A store manager came by and brought water and a chair for the man.  I stepped back into the lobby of the store and called 911, knowing I may really get cursed out for this measure.

I went back to the man and told him what I had done and that I felt like he needed help.  He fussed a little, but assured me he was NOT going to the hospital.

The EMS team arrived and agreed that he had had a stroke, but because he was in his 'right' mind and could answer all questions appropriately, they could not make him go to the hospital.  I asked the policeman if he could carry the man home and he replied that he could not.

I understand their position, but how can we leave a man who has obviously had a stroke, who cannot even walk without falling..... how can we leave him here in a parking lot????

I asked the man where he lived and realized it was only a few miles outside of town.  He gave me permission to take him home.  I assisted him to my car, I grabbed his paralyzed leg and put it into my car, buckled his seatbelt and off we went.

He was very nice to me in the car and he talked nonstop all the way to his house.  Even though I only understand a small part of it, I did hear him say that he wanted to die again.

God tapped me on my shoulder and said 'ask him if he is going to heaven when he dies.'  Just then, we passed a beautiful church, which allowed me start the conversation.  He told me that he did not know Jesus personally.  I told him, as quickly and as simply as I could, about how to be sure he would go to Heaven.  He responded something back to me, but I have no idea what he said.

I just know that God allowed me the opportunity to witness to this man, this man who truly wanted to die.  My attempt at witnessing was a very feeble attempt, as I stammered for words to say, but I do feel like God can use my words, such as they were.

I got the man home and offered to help him inside.  He refused to let me help him, stating he wanted to sit outside for awhile.  I helped him to get situated in a chair and went across the street to let his sister know what had happened and where his car was located.  She did not know he had had a stroke, she said he was fine yesterday.

When I drove out of her driveway to go home, I had to pass by the man's house again.  There he was, on the ground, crawling towards the steps.  I stopped again and waited for the sister.  We were able to get him inside his home, where he was once again adamant towards his sister, that he did not want to go to the hospital.

I left, I don't know what happened.  I don't know if he went to the hospital, I don't know if he died.

I  just know that God humbled this old girl on Tuesday, as my heart feels completely different towards this little old guy than it did before.

I pray that God will give me the opportunity to help others, without judgement... to see the need, to listen to HIS voice... to obey.

*** I worked for over 10 years in a nursing home, and these little hard headed patients were ALWAYS my favorites. ***

Thursday, September 21, 2017

September Busy-ness; Daring to Hope

So far September has been a very busy month.  I got smart and decided to schedule a lot of my yearly doctor's appointments, which sounds simple enough, right?

Simple enough, until they start calling me back for followups and repeat tests, etc.   Everything is ok so far, but I'm tired of running back and forth. One doctor wants to do a little surgery for me, but I'm hesitant to say yes, but afraid to say no.   Decisions, decisions!

I had a hummingbird fly into my house, not once, but twice in the past few weeks.  I lock my storm door open in the mornings and late afternoons, so the doggies can run in and out of the house.  My hummingbird feeder is near the back door, and lo and behold, one of the birds has entered my livingroom doorway twice.  Thankfully, it didn't go far, and buzzed its way back outside without incident.  It was pretty cool to see and made me happy.

I've been trying to decide what to do with these 30+ year old embroidery pieces I did from a magazine back in the 80's.  I used my brother's art paints, (he took art in high school) to color the blocks and then added embroidery.  I remember how much fun these were to make way back then.  I can't decide if I want to frame them and hang them in my guest room or if I should make pillows out of them and just throw them on the bed.  They aren't special to anyone except me, but I have always liked them.  :-)

I've been trying to put my livingroom back together after finally painting the walls! The former owners had painted the room a flat mossy color that was so dreary to me.  I'm so happy to have more light and a little semi gloss in the room.  I've had this pie safe forever, also bought back in the 80-90's.  It currently holds our blankets for tv watching and the covers I use to protect the furniture from the dogs.  I have since added an artificial tree to the planter stand, everything besides the pie safe are thrift store treasures.  I love the angel architectural piece.

I received this book free for participating in the launch team for Katie's new book.  Katie's first book, Kisses From Katie, was a life changing book for me.  Katie graduated from high school and instead of going to college, she talked her parents into letting her take a year off to go to Uganda, and then start college later.  Guess what?  She never came back! (yes, to visit) Katie has made such a difference to the people there and has adopted several of the children as her own.

Like many others in the group, I feel that this new book must have been written just for me.  This book speaks of God meeting us in the dark places in our lives and how it's all about HIM, and His goodness.  Katie grieved the loss of a  dear friend in this book, and it resonated with me so well, as I could feel myself grieving the loss of my own mother throughout her writing.   Just like Katie's friend, my mom is now looking into the face of Jesus, and has no more pain or worries.  This book offered much comfort to me.

This book will be released for purchase in October.  If you are looking for a good read, one that will truly change your life, I highly recommend Katie's book.   This book helps put life in perspective and  I pray that God gives me a heart like Katie.

I hope everyone is having a great month and enjoying the slightly cooler temps. (it's been hot in NC)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ta Daaa !

Ta daaa!  I say that phrase sort of  with 'tongue in cheek', but I am pretty proud that I finished this quilt that I started at least 25 years ago!

Back before I  owned internet and back when I was learning to sew, I started this little 'school' quilt for my sweet little girl, who is now 30 years old.  I dreamed that she would become a school teacher one day, because that was what I wanted to be as an adult.

Funny thing is: my little girl grew up to be a hair dresser.  My son is the teacher.  Did I tell you he was voted Teacher of the Year at his school in High Point last school year?  (side thought:  little daughter had a jumper dress made out of the chalkboard fabric too! )

This is the quilt I decided to finish without spending much time on.  Not to mention being very very frugal about it.  I picked up this lightweight quilted bedspread at Goodwill and it has fabric on both sides.  After a good wash in the washer,  I cut it down to use as backing and batting. ($4)

Here it is all pinned together and ready for the sewing machine.  This quilt is not very large and I was amazed at how easily it quilted with my walking foot!  No stress whatsoever!

The binding was made from a piece of gingham fabric I found in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby.   By the way, does gingham have a right side and wrong side?  Anyone know??  I machine stitched front and back sides of binding.... not very pretty, but like I said, I didn't want to spend a lot of time on this quilt. No hand sewing!

So that's the story of the frugal, non stressed quilt.  The whole time I was haphazardly sewing it together, I kept thinking of the ladies who made quilts that were strictly utilitarian, telling myself it didn't really matter what it looked like.  I haven't put it through the washer yet, so whether my 1990's sewing will hold up to washing and drying yet, I just don't know.   I did machine stitch around my appliqued apples, because I didn't trust my hand applique to hold up.

One more thing... guess who got a little Vit D today?  Can you see the rain coming across the ocean?  We were able to sit out for about an hour before the rain arrived, which was plenty for me.  It was a good day!