A Mistake That Worked

I have joined a fabric club. Once a month I get a stack of 10 fat 1/16ths of Liberty fabric. I am really enjoying the club. I love getting packages in the mail and even more I like it when the packages are full of fabric!

So I have been making some friendship blocks with the fat 1/16ths. Mostly they are turning out lovely. The other day, while cutting, I made a mistake and since the amount I have is so little I couldn’t make it work for a friendship block but I decided to make a different block. I took an idea from Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts and made a pillow! I don’t think I will make as many as she is though. It was an easy finish and I had fun with it.

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I think I will use it on my Adirondack chair. I love those chairs but a bit more lumbar support would be nice. I reused a pillow that was in my closet and it is quite firm.

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It is a nice feeling to finish something! It is a bonus that it is pretty and useful.

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I backed it with some fabric that I had in my stash. I think I got it at JoAnn’s a few years ago. It goes well with the solid green.

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Now for a glass of wine, or maybe a cup of tea and I will be sitting fine!

Linking up with Amanda today for Finish it Friday.

Happy Quilting!

 

 

 

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The Read it First Rule

In our home there are not that many real ‘rules’. I won’t go as far as to say it is a free for all, but a lot of how we treat each other is based on mutual respect. Of course that doesn’t always happen but that is what we shoot for.

Our ‘rules’ are really actions that are strongly suggested. Usually when something is suggested there is a question asked. Like, why? As long as you answer with something other than ‘because I said so’ or ‘don’t ask me why, just do it’ the suggestion is usually taken. For example, I say, “I really would like for you to brush your teeth”.  She says, “Why?” Then I say something like “Brushing teeth prevents cavities from happening to your teeth. Do you know what a cavity is?” I am sure you get the picture of the conversation. By the end of the explanation of cavities and rotted out teeth and falsies she is usually pretty happy to brush her teeth.

We have a family rule that we read a book before we watch the movie that is created from the book. For example, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe was read (in fact the whole series was read) before watching the movie. Why? Because I said so. Just kidding!

There seems to be an infinite amount of movies out there that were actually novels first. Adult and children’s books. I could give you a list but you would tire of reading it. We don’t usually consult the list before watching a movie. Mostly we use our common sense. There have been times that we watched a movie and later found out it was a book first. Rule breaker! We do try hard though.

Recently my daughters have been reading the Hunger Games series. When they finish I plan to watch the movies with them. (I already read the books years ago to my son.) Another series that is being read around here is the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. My oldest daughter is almost through with the third one, on audio, and my youngest daughter is just starting the first. She heard there were movies and was not going to let her sister see a movie without her! Ha, the motivators. Which is one of the reasons we insist on the book first. Movies are cool. They are exciting. Entertaining. So, without our little rule they may not have read the book first. They may have just skipped to the movie.

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Other reasons for reading a book before a movie are:

We think it is better for the brain to form a picture of a story with imagination rather than someone else supplying that for you. If you are a reader you know what I mean. The way a story describes things. Like a countryside or how a person looks. I feel that is really good for your brain to create your own ‘movie’. It was pretty funny, we finished ‘Pride and Prejudice‘ a couple of weeks ago and bought the movie on Amazon. All three of us (my daughter’s and I) said that Mr. Wickham was much handsomer in the movie than we all imagined him to be.

We think that you get so much more of the story if you read it first. A movie cuts out so much. There is the risk that the movie will be disappointing because of your knowledge of the whole story. That is okay though. Remember, you have the real movie already in your head. Movies move really fast. Many times I have to use the rewind button because I am confused or missed something. If you have already read the book chances are you won’t feel as confused when you watch the movie. It is like you have some back ground information. It is like a really good trailer.

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Another reason is the whole ‘Delay gratification’ lesson. Yes watching the movie is a whole lot quicker than reading the book. (For most of us anyway) There is such a better feeling for the climax to be reached slowly and with a build up. Right? Movies are so loud and dramatic. There are lots of special effects and sometimes scary moments but it really is nothing compared to being in suspense during a book and not being able to put the book down. That suspenseful feeling when you are reading a book lasts so much longer than when you are watching a movie.

‘Reading’ in my book, pardon the pun, includes listening to the story on audio or having someone read it to you. I absolutely love listening to a story just as much as actually reading it. It is the words that matter. I have to drive into town almost every day. Having a story to listen to really makes it so less painful.

Of course this is all opinion. My opinion. I feel reading is a valuable skill. Reading is a way to entertain yourself when technology is not available. Reading is good for your brain, body and soul.

Happy Reading!

 

 

Something New for Socks

The other day I went to AC Moore looking for mechanical pencils. While I was there I just so happen to find the knitting section. I spied some very small 9 inch number 2 circular needles. I had always wondered if it would be possible to knit socks on a circular needle but not use the magic loop method. Just one sock on a small circular needle. So, I bought the needles and that night I cast on.

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They work! Can’t tell you how I will do the heel yet, but I will attempt that tonight. Pretty sure there must be a way to do it.

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Right now my only projects are socks. I haven’t thought of any other knitting project to do since I finished my sweater. I do want something more challenging to knit, but I think it will come to me when it is meant to. I am thinking I may try cables.

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These blue and white socks are just about finished. My daughter is anxiously waiting for them.

The book ‘Sarah’s Quilt’ is quite good. Just the kind of book I love. A strong female character, lots of hard work, and takes place in the early 1900’s. There are a few things that she says that I could identify with. One in particular is she noticed her adult sons riding up towards the house. They were supposed to be in school. She asked them why they were home, and not in school. They told her it wasn’t for them. They changed their minds. They belonged there, at home. She was not exactly thrilled. I have three adult sons. I love them dearly. I miss them even more. But, (always a but) I cannot say I would be thrilled if all three decided that the big world was not what they expected and had decided to come home. I just don’t think that would work well at all. Now, maybe if there was a cabin out back or if they wanted to live above the garage that may work. Maybe. It would be great to have some extra hands around here.

On Tuesday’s I am hosting a Garden Party. You can click on ‘Garden Party’ tab on my side bar for more information. I hope to see other people’s gardens!

I am linking up with Ginny today. I am looking forward to seeing everyone’s projects and reading choices.

 

Announcing a Garden Party!

Starting today I am going to post my garden updates on Tuesdays. Do you want to join in? I would love to see your garden and how it is doing? I would love to learn about what you are growing. Has something you tried worked really well? Has something failed? Oh, I know about fails. I think we could all learn together.

We got the pea fences up! My husband made me four sets of pea fences.

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They are pretty tall. Perfect for my peas that always seem to keep growing and end up falling over and breaking. I am hoping these tall fences will take care of that.

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Here is my garden today. Pretty bare. But there is a little progress.

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Rhubarb is up! As is the garlic.

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Lettuce is just about ready to pick. Yum!

I’d love to see what you have been up to! Leave a comment!

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What’s for Dinner

The weather outside is delightful. We are shifting our time to the outdoors. The girls spend hours in the woods, making houses and forts. Tick season is here and with it nightly body checks. My husband and I worked a lot together on the garden clean up chores and changing things around in places. This is the first week of softball for the girls. That means Tuesday and Thursday have to be easy, quick meals.

With this change in season I am not so keen on making meals that take a lot of prep work. I want to be outside. I don’t want to be inside cooking. Realistically though, people still need to eat and we all love good food.

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Pizza is one of our favorite meals. Home made of course! There are lots of dough recipes online. We have used many. One day I was in town and I texted my son who was home, to ask if he could please make some dough. He said of course! He ended up putting twice as much salt in it as the recipe called for. We all braced ourselves for a salty dough, but it was the best dough ever! Now we add more salt than usual. We all love it.

Pizza is one of those things you can just top it with anything you like. Really, anything. My favorite is olive oil, mushrooms, garlic and mozzarella cheese. I usually have spinach on mine but not in the above picture.

This week I have grilled pizza on the menu. Yes, you can grill pizza and it is amazing!

Here is this week’s menu.

Monday: Chicken pieces on the grill with red potatoes and broccoli

Tuesday: Taco night

Wednesday: Ziti and sauce with sausage and garlic bread (Homemade)

Thursday: Chili in the crockpot

Friday: Grilled pizza

Saturday: Pork roast with mashed potatoes and salad

Sunday: Stir fry and Thai noodles.

Hope you have a great week!

Soaking it Up

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This week has been one of the best weather weeks since Spring started. We have been soaking it up! Taking a break from our normal activities and lessons has been just the thing for us. See all that blue under and around that big tree? Those are called Glory of the Snow flowers. They are one of the earliest blooming flowers in our area. Named appropriately because at times it will bloom even through the snow. They are very pretty flowers too. The girls and I picked bouquets of them.

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Crocus’ are blooming in our yard. The Daffodils and Narcissus are almost there. All the garlic is up and I have lettuce growing in the hoops. I also have lots of over wintered leeks! I thought they were walking onions but my son said they are leeks. I am so excited because leeks are one of my favorite vegetables. Now there will be lots of leek potato soup!

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I even harvested some spinach! The gardening season has officially begun. Yesterday I planted more spinach and some Bok Choy. I really, really wanted to plant peas but it really too early for that. The seeds would probably rot in the ground at this point.  I am getting new pea fences this year. Can’t wait to use them. The sun is out and the temperatures are rising so the soil is heating up more every day.

Have you started gardening yet?

What’s for Dinner & Grilling Steak

What an amazing weekend. The weather was so fine and the company too. My two sons came home so we were all together. My sister and her husband and son came on Saturday. It had been too long since I saw her and her family and it was so nice to catch up. We sat outside and soaked up the sunshine. The boys even played a little wiffle ball. On Sunday after all the activity had settled I went on a nice long walk. I didn’t wear a coat and I actually got hot! I think I can now say Spring is really here in Maine.

Another great thing about this season is the grilling can start up in full force. Last weeks menu allowed for it and a new gas grill helped immensely. This past week we grilled BBQ chicken, pork chops and steak.

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As you can see we even grilled the sweet potatoes. Served with some nice spring asparagus this meal was a perfect meal to end the week. To top off the experience we ate outside for the first time this season!

The recipe for this week is Grilled Steak. My father really knew how to do it and now my husband does too. It is possible to mess up a steak. Even if you have a really good cut.

It is important to get a good cut of steak. We get a half a cow from a family down the road. The cows are grass fed and graze right next to a lake. We usually get beef twice a year. It usually lasts depending on the size of the cow. So good cuts of steak that we get are Porterhouse, DelMonico, and rib eye. Those are the only ones that will really be good grilled. Any other steak cut will need to be marinated and cooked low and long. There are other good cuts of steak that you can get. Ask your local butcher, or a farmer that raised beef.

Take your steak and butter it. Some people think this is weird but this is how my dad did it and how we now do it. After you butter the meat shake salt, pepper and garlic powder on it. Let it sit for a few minutes while you get the grill going. Make sure your grill is hot!

Add steaks to a hot grill and cook. Maybe keep it on there about 2 minutes or so. Then flip it over using a spatula or tongs. You never want to poke a steak because you let out all the great juices and you encourage flame in your grilling. So flip it over carefully and cook for another 2 minutes or so.

Then turn down the heat or move the meat to an indirect part of the grill. Now cook on each side again for a little longer. As you know everyone has a different preference for how done steak is. My husband likes it medium rare, which means a little red juice is still running out of it. The girls and I like ours a little pink but not as rare as my husband. You can check your steak by transferring it to a plate and cutting into it a little. My husband will take his steak off first so ours will cook for a bit longer. When it is done take it off the grill and let your steak sit for a few minutes before cutting into it. I know it will be hard but start eating your veggies first. They cool off faster anyway.

There you have it. Welcome to grilling season!

Here is our menu for the week.

Monday: Pasta with shrimp, garlic, onions, and grape tomatoes. 

Tuesday: Focaccia bread and salad

Wednesday: Garlic chicken (Indian style) and rice and cauliflower

Thursday: Short ribs, green beans, and cubed red potatoes

Friday: Fish on the grill with chips and veggie

Saturday: Pork roast with mashed potatoes and broccoli

Sunday: Tuna Noodle casserole

Enjoy your week and if you have a menu idea to share please do!

 

Friendships

I got so much accomplished this week! I made four more friendship blocks! I really had no particular plan for these blocks but as they add up I am starting to wonder. Should I make a wall hanging? I have lots of windows, but not much wall space. Maybe I should keep going and make a quilt. I have an idea of who would get it. Decisions, decisions. What do you think?

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The solids are Kona cotton. The Stars are Liberty.

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I am in love with these blocks. They are so fun and easy!

I also finished a sweater!

I snapped another picture while I was waiting for my daughter in the car. This is my first sweater and I am so happy I can now wear it.

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Now if I could get that much done next week!

I am linking up with Amanda.

 

 

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Empty Needles!

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Usually it isn’t a thing we want, empty needles, but these empty needles are such an awesome thing! I am celebrating! I am so excited! I finished my Lady February Sweater!! It has taken me so long. I actually had to start the sweater over two times. It was sad both times and I was beginning to think I would never finish it. Determination took over. The yarn was pricey. The picture on the pattern was beautiful. I loved doing the Gull Lace. So many things kept me going. Encouragement from friends and family tops the list of reasons I kept going. Not one person said anything negative, like ‘maybe you should try something easier’. It wasn’t a hard pattern, but I was more or less a beginner. Really all I had knit before attempting the sweater was a scarf, dish towels and hats. I have an amazingly patient knitting teacher that helped me through all the tough spots.

I am still reading the Orchardist. It is a very good book. I just do not get a lot of time to read. It has been a busy couple of weeks and I have been tired at the end of the day. My sneaky friend must have bought me a subscription to Cooks magazine because I have been getting them in the mail and I didn’t order them. I’ll deal with her later! The magazines are really good. I like the way they make cooking seem like a science. I guess it really is in a way. Magazines are great things to read when time is limited.

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Back to the sweater though! I am so excited to finally wear it. I am wearing it for the second day in a row and I may have to wear it until it is hot outside. I have a lot of making up time for this little lady. I have to say it is the most comfortable, cozy, warm sweater I own. I am so happy to be able to say I made it myself!

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I love the gull lace pattern. Which, if I may add, I can now do in my sleep.

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I love the three buttons I chose. They came off another sweater I had that didn’t fit anymore. I really like how the sweater is open at the middle. It has a nice swing to it and doesn’t make my belly look big.

I apologize for all my gushing! I am just so glad to have this sweater on me instead of those needles!

I am linking up with Ginny today for the Yarn Along. Can’t wait to see everyone’s knits and reads. I am also linking up with Jessie and Marie’s link party.

Happy Knitting!

What’s for Dinner & Lunch Ideas

Wow, what a full weekend! Three days of dancing for my youngest daughter. She did very well and is relieved that it is over! Dancing she loves. Performing, not so much. She is a lot like me, crowds and lots of noise are not her thing. She could have opted out of the whole thing and just taken the lessons but she decided to dance with the group of girls she has been with all year. What a celebration for all their hard work.

Here we are on Monday and things go back to normal (what ever that is!) I have a whole new week of menus for you. I also decided to share with you some of the things we have for lunch during the week. Lunch is a hard meal for me. I no sooner get the breakfast dishes cleaned up and finish with the morning routine and it is time to think about lunch. I cannot tell you how many times I have groaned when someone asks if it is time for lunch. If it were me I would skip it. I would just eat an apple or a hunk of cheese or even dark chocolate. Thankfully I am not alone in this house. I am surrounded by hungry people. I guess playing musical instruments, doing math and laying in front of the woodstove reading is grueling work and makes one hungry. I guess it could be that they are still growing and I shouldn’t be. Ha.

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Since I don’t like thinking up lunch ideas I usually just grab things I see that are easy and healthy. Yes we most definitely open up a box of Annie’s mac and cheese on occasion. Yes it is quick and painless. I just don’t want to serve it every day. Protein, whole grains, and fruit top my list for lunches. One thing we have often is cheese and rice crackers. The crackers have seeds and brown rice. We will open a can of sardines and maybe a can of tuna. Maybe add an apple if someone is still hungry. It is quick, not much clean up and energizing.

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Another great idea for lunch is deviled eggs and cut up fruit. Both filling and tasty.

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Sushi is a favorite around here. I am not very good at making it though. My rice is never sticky enough and the rolls tend to fall apart. But they are very tasty! And no one refuses them. I put cucumber, carrots, bean sprouts, and avocado in them.  Sometimes I put scrambled egg in it but that is an extra cooking step and usually I don’t want to go to that extent for lunch.

If you have any lunch ideas send them my way please. We could always use more!

Here is this weeks dinner menu:

Monday: Cheesy, chicken, bacon, avocado quesadillas. Recipe here.

Tuesday: Pork chops on the grill with sweet potatoes and onion and a salad

Wednesday: Linguine and sauce

Thursday: Beans and rice

Friday: Steak, potatoes and broccoli

Saturday: Home made pizza

Sunday: Barbecue Chicken on Grill, couscous and green beans

Enjoy your week!