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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Summertime Yummies

I am so happy the produce from my garden is finally edible.

I ate my first garden tomato of the season and it was mouthwatering.

I don't have a very big garden, so I don't have room to plant anything that vines.

Lucky for me, I have great friends who share.

Tonight I did my first try at zoodles (zucchini noodles).
I purchased a Vegitti, and I have to say, it was well worth the money.
I even used it to make curly fries for my hubby.
But tonight was about seeing if I could replace pasta with a veggie.
By golly, it worked.

I sauteed the noodles in a little bit of olive oil with garlic and onion.

Before I cooked the zoodles, I whipped together a homemade meat sauce.
Oh my goodness....I think this was the best sauce I ever made.

I sauteed onion and garlic in olive oil and then added a pound of sausage.
After the sausage was cooked and drained, I added a 28 oz can of whole tomatoes and mashed them up with my
potato masher. (great stress reliever, I might add!)
To that I added an 8 oz can of tomato sauce and approximately 2 TBS of tomato paste.
I stirred all that together and added a tsp of sugar, about 1-1/2 tsp of Italian seasonings 
and some salt and pepper.  I let all those flavors simmer together for about a half hour.
Then I added my secret ingredient.
Newman's Own Cabernet Sauvignon.
I let those flavors marry together another 40 minutes or so.
there are no words for how delicious this was.
Totally pulled this recipe out of the air, so I wanted to make sure I had it documented so I can make it again.

It made enough for my husband and I to eat for supper and to each take leftovers in our lunch tomorrow.

I've also been working on a little bit of sewing.

I made my first pineapple block.
(I apologize for the poor picture quality)
This is a GREAT scrap buster.  I had no rhyme or reason while sewing it.  I just pulled my scrap
bag up to my sewing machine and picked fabric as I went along.  This is a great block to sew up in between projects.  I can't wait until it grows up and becomes a quilt.

We have just a few short weeks left until Baby Boy Smith arrives.
To say I'm excited is an understatement.
This little boy is going to come into this world with so much love.
You really can't ask for more than that.
So I've also been doing some 'grandma' sewing.

The due date is August 26th, so technically it could happen any day now.  I just can't wait 
to meet my little grandson.  My heart swells every time I think about him!

I hope you all have been enjoying the produce of your gardens (or your friends/family/
It's that time of year where healthy eating is a breeze!

Until next time!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Berry Crazy

Hey friends!
I hope your weather is holding up well.
It has been horribly hot and humid here.
My garden is loving it though
and I'm really hoping for a successful tomato crop.

I was asked by an Instagram follower if I could donate an item for their 
adoption auction.  I  hate to turn anything down like that, so I let them know
they could count on me.

I decided to make the large cherry block from Lori Holt's Farm Girl Vintage book.   
To go with it, I also made a set of mason jar coasters.
There is no pattern for those.  I was totally inspired to make them

It would be fun to have this set out on a sunny day with some pink lemonade and cookies.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to make a set of these for myself, after I'm done making
them for a couple other people.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sweet Tweets for You!

Glad to be back with a more cheery post today.
Thank you all so much for the comments and emails regarding
our Sweet Sam.   They made my heart feel good.  She is greatly missed!  

I have a friend going through some life struggles, 
so I thought I would make her something to help put some sunshine
in her day.  I knew the perfect book to grab to make something quick,
yet full of cuteness.  Sweet Tweets by Erin Cox is one of the most adorable
books in my sewing library.  You can read more about it on Erin's blog HERE.

Here's what I made

The pattern is actually called Bright and Cheery Bird Pillow, which has a beautiful 
crochet edge around it.  I am not a pro at crochet, so I changed the pattern into a
wall hanging.  I definitely plan on learning to do the crochet part.  It's too cute to pass it up!

Erin's projects are all so well written and easy to follow.
It's just a sweet book full of inspiration!

I have a total crush on the free motion applique.

There's just something about drawing the design with your needle that gets me all giddy.  Especially when it turns out!

Erin's directions to help get you started with free motion applique are wonderful.  I do suggest making sure you practice a few times if you've never done it before.  I swear my lines used to look like I drank 10 pots of coffee before I started sewing.  Now they flow so smoothly through the machine that it's hard to stop!

So if you're new to free motion applique and would like to build your skill and make cute things, Sweet Tweets is for you.

I have a cute Christmas project in the works that's almost finished.  I can't wait to show it to you!

Until next time...Sweet Tweets and Sweet Dreams!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Until Later Sweet Sam

 We had to say goodbye to our sweet Sam the other day.
I hope you can bear with me as I share my memories of her.
I'm not doing this for sympathy.
I just want to document the short time we had with her, because she
truly was one of a kind.   Sam was only in our lives for 14 months, and these past 14 months have been so joyous.

When my husband said he wanted a Jack Russell for our next dog, I thought he was crazy.
Never having one before, I only knew what I heard others say.
My friend knew we were looking for one, and it just worked out that we were able to adopt Sam.
Everything just fell perfectly into place.

She was a spit fire - not in a bad way.
One of my friends once said, "She is the happiest dog I've ever seen".
No truer words were ever spoken.
She truly was the happiest dog we've ever known.
And she LOVED everyone.  It was never 'how she felt about you'.
It was just a given that she loved you at first site, as you can see from my friends below.

In a freak accident, we lost her on June 23,2016.
It was a blessing that my husband and I both got to be with her as she took her last breath.
We were the last two faces she saw as she left this earth, both of us telling her
how much we loved her and that everything was going to be OK.  You see, Sam was
incredibly special.  She was such a comfort if you were having a bad day.  She 
knew when sadness, or hurt, or any uncomfortable feeling was in  your heart.  
Sam did her absolute best to make you know everything was OK
and all you needed to do was be happy and run and jump.

She annoyed a lot of people, but to the majority,
they fell in love with her.  To all those who deliver to our house - Schwan, Culligan,
UPS, Fed Ex.....they all grew to love her and didn't care that she jumped into their vehicles.
They would give her treats and she would love them up with doggie kisses.

That is truly all Sam ever wanted to do - love you.
That was it.
She really couldn't help herself. 
She had to jump all over you and lick you to death.
It was just her.

Right now we are so lost.
Today is day two without her.
I am still in shock and walk around in a daze.
We've had to say good bye to many dogs in our 31 years of marriage,
but saying good bye to Sam has been the hardest.

I've always been a dog person and still remember my first dog, Mulligan.
I don't remember much from when I was young, but I remember my dogs!

We buried Sam by our front porch because she loved to sunbathe and
 stand guard there as well.

We'll be planting a special flower garden where she's buried.

Her personality was one of a kind.

She and Sadie quickly became best friends.

Sadie is just as lost as we are right now.

Sam was the best spooner I know. 
It's hard to fall asleep at night without having her right by our side.
I'll share a little secret.
I kept Sam's favorite toy.  An 'unstuffed' lion.
We would play tug-of-war every night with it.
But it's ears are as soft as Sam's were.
Every night when Sam would snuggle in,
I would rub her soft ears, kind of like a little kid rubbing the soft edges
of a silky blanket.
So calming, it made you fall gently to sleep.
Now I rub the ears of the lion,
because the pain in my heart is so deep,
I need the calming feeling of the soft ears to bring me enough comfort
to fall asleep.

She was also fun to dress up, like the photo below of the sundress her Aunt Sarah picked out for her.

My friend and I were discussing at work yesterday,
what the lesson was to learn from all of this.
Having Sam such a short time, there has to be something.
And really, I think the lesson is to just be happy and run and jump.
Live life to the fullest and don't take one moment for granted.
Sam was like a little person.
So unique and just loved life and people.
Her heart was always open.
 She loved with her whole heart, unconditionally,
That's what she did.

So when it's my turn to leave this earth and make my way to Heaven, this is what I hope I see waiting for me

You were so loved Sammy.
My little Stinky Winkerbean.
Until later my Sweet Sam.....


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Flower Season has Begun!

What a day.
I'm so glad the weather held off
so I could get a good start on my flowers.

I love country life.
I love old things you can turn into something cute.
I love flowers.
Oh heck...I just love life.

I have decided to do more container gardening,
since that's easier to manage, which then leads to more time sewing.
(There's always an ulterior motive, right?)

 Searching around home, I found some old buckets, the boys old Radio Flyer
they had taken apart to use the wheels for one of they 'inventions' when
they were younger, an old chicken feeder, and all kinds of goodies.

I ripped out the old day lilies and gave them to good homes.
I put landscaping fabric down and then red lava rock,
and followed up with all my cool 'old' stuff.
I have to add a note to let you know I told my hubby I needed 20 bags of rock.
He thought I was a little off my rocker 
and only brought home 15.
Um...yeah....we'll be making a trip to get 5 more bags once he's done working
crazy hours.

I adore how it turned out.

I'll share a few close ups.

The bench makes a great place for the kitties to take their afternoon cat nap.
See Tom poking out there?
The action figure is one I found last year when I was digging up flowers.
My boys left behind all kinds of treasures.
He now makes sure my flowers are safe.

An old tool box filled with three terracotta pots makes for a great display.

The old roaster has housed my chives for the last four years.
They keep coming back, so they  must like it there.
A nice little garnish that also has beautiful flowers.
Win win I would say.

I have always love Spirea bushes.  We bought two of them last year
and planted them in honor of our 30th wedding anniversary.

This old basket didn't have a bottom.
So....I put it in the ground and planed zinnia seeds.
I'll keep you posted on the progress, but I think it's going to look pretty neat.

An old wheel barrel and rake that were going to be discarded.
I'll take those please.

This was a columbine the birds so nicely planted for me a few years ago.  
It comes back every year and has spread.
I LOVE it.

The old waterer (I think I've shared this before),
but it's one of my all time favorites out here. 
I just planted sunflower seeds behind it,
so I'll share those once they are
ready to show off their beauty.

The good 'ol coal bucket.
I believe Santa used it to deliver coal
to the naughty ones.
But now it can be all kinds of pretty housing flowers.

I was able to get out the furniture for the porch.
My favorite past time is sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee, 
or a glass of lemonade,
and do embroidery or read a book.

And the lilacs are in full bloom right now.
The fragrance is heavenly.

What are your gardening plans?
Let me know as I would love to hear about them!

Until next time,
here's to dirty hands, fragrant blooms, and beautiful landscaping.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A New Bag

I've been in need of a new bag to carry.
One of the perks of having a sewing room with a great 
fabric stash is that you can whip up little items like this on a whim.

I knew the kind of bag I wanted.
One that would easily allow me to find things
without having to dig to China.
One that was able to showcase some of my favorite fabrics.
One that was stylin'.

One of my blogging heros/friends is Melissa Peda
I've mentioned her a few times on my blog.
She has been such an inspiration to me through the years.
If you don't follow her, I highly suggest you start.

She blogged about a bag she had just designed,
and when I saw it,
I knew that was exactly the bag I was looking for.

Let me introduce you to Melissa's pattern, the Happy Handbag.

Melissa is such a huge fan of bold, fun print such as Amy Butler and Jane Sassaman,
She works her magic with creating designs and projects showcasing the focal points of the fabric.

I don't have a lot of those types of prints in my stash, but I knew
if I looked in my collection of Kate Spain I would find a perfect mix for this bag.
For the exterior print I used Serenade and for the interior, I used Verna.
It was a marriage made in heaven.

This bag is the perfect size to hold all that you want,
but not more than you need.

I can get carried away putting everything but the kitchen sink in my bags,
so I knew I needed to have a size limit.

This holds the perfect amount of zippy pouches.
(all received from my sewing friends, so I can carry them with me wherever I go and look slightly organized)

The pocket is just the right size to hold my cell phone and checkbook.

I've already had two request from my mom and sister to make them each one.
I have some fun ideas for them which include some paper piecing.

What I love about Melissa's patterns is they are great 'as is', or you can
use them as a foundation to build your own creative spin.
Melissa is truly inspiring and is all about helping us bring out that
creative spirit that lies dormant in a lot of us.
(speaking of myself here)

I hope you go over to Melissa's blog for a dose of inspiration,
not only with fabric, but also with yarn.  You won't be disappointed!

And just for a fun shot,
my dogs, Sam & Sadie.
These girls had to pose while I was taking pictures of my bag.

Enjoy your day and happy bag making!

Thursday, April 7, 2016


I was thinking I had a few years before I would write about this,
but God had other plans.
I'm so glad He knows what's best for my family.

The moment was perfect.
My family tells me I don't always keep them informed.
(OK folks....I honestly think they tune me out and forget what I tell them)
So a couple months ago, I let them all know to plan for family pictures in October.
We had family game day at Justin and Amanda's.
The day was perfect.
Right before we ate, Amanda asked if I knew what we would be wearing
for family pictures.  I said I thought we could just keep it casual, since none of us
dress to the nine's.  LOL  She said she found the perfect shirt and asked if I wanted to see it.
Sure!'s February, and pictures are in October, but my sweet Amanda is a planner
and an organizer (which I love), so I truly was not surprised at all that she was thinking ahead.
She went back to get the shirt and came out with a bag.
Look what I pulled out.

We are going to be grandparents!!
Can I just tell you that when they told us,
I stared at the shirt and felt my heart just open up as wide as it could go.
I looked at my son and his face was beaming.
Poor Amanda...she was crying because I was crying.
My husband was smiling from ear to ear.
Jesse and Savannah we sitting on the couch in shock.
It was such a beautiful moment.
It was then I knew I could make up for all the mistakes I made as a parent.
Something overtook my soul when I pulled out this little shirt.
All I need to do is love this little baby and be there to support Justin and Amanda whenever they need it.  I will never overstep my boundaries, but I will offer unconditional love and support to help
my grandchild grow up to be the amazing person God intends it be.  My family is growing.  Each of my sons have found a great partner.   Both girls have added so much to my family.  We are blessed!  And now we get to celebrate with a baby!

All I have ever wanted was for my sons to be happy.  
That they be contributing members of society.
That they have a foundation of faith.
That they realize money is not what brings happiness.
It's not things that give a person stature.
It's what's in your heart and how you give back.
I may have failed in a few of these areas teaching them as children.
But I've let them know where I've failed and where I wish I would have done things differently.
Hopefully, as adults, they've listened to those failures.
I thought there was no greater love than when I held my sons in my arms.....
until I learned I was going to be a grandma.

Of course, I had to buy a little something right away, and what better thing than this.

Just a little something else to make it more 'real'. 
And being the quilter I am, I've already picked out the quilt I'll be making.

I've been dying to make this since I saw it! 
I have 2 t-shirt quilts to finish up for family members, and once I'm done, my sewing machine
is booked for my new grand baby!

May your day be filled with love & blessings!
Until next time!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Gotta Get Away Retreat

Do you have a favorite spot to go with your sewing sisters
to get away for a little sewing time?

We have a place that we LOVE.  The entire house is set up for
quilters & crafters and the name is perfect.

I cannot say enough good about it.  
The price is amazing.  
The location is perfect.
The set up is a quilters dream.
Linda makes sure you have everything you need.

Please don't mind the mess in the photos below.  We were in the middle of creating.
But I will tell you that this amazing place is immaculate.

I didn't get a photo of the bedrooms,
but they are perfect!

You can view the Facebook page HERE to see pictures prior to our messiness arriving.

Here are some things we made while away.

I worked on a t-shirt quilt I'm making for my niece, but needed a quick
'mojo' starter to get me going, so I made a pixie basket from the tutorial

My sister, Sarah, made a boat load of things, but I only got a picture of this 
ADORABLE baby quilt.  She drew the appliqued giraffe free hand.
How cute is this?  She never ceases to impress me.

The sewing set up is perfect. Each station has it's own design wall.
Look at what Tara has on her wall.
She is incredible!!

Here's a close up of some of Tara's yummy makes.

So that's our latest adventure.
It was a much needed, relaxing, fun, creative time
spent with two of my most favorite people,
We were missing our 4th sister (whom I kindly refer to as 'my sister from another mister')
Julie, you were greatly missed!!

If you are in the Iowa area, and need a nice retreat place,
make sure to check out Gotta Get Away
You will not be disappointed!

Until next time,
keep the creative juices flowing!