The Silver Lining of a Bad Cold

  
I am now on day 5 of the 2016 Family Cold Event. It doesn’t sound very long when I write it, but it feels reeeaaaallly long. So far 5 of the 8 family members living here have had it, with a 6th thinking of coming down with it today. Throw in a 7th person who just randomly came down with a stomach virus one night (which thankfully only lasted the one night), and you can see that it’s been quite a week around here!

There is a silver lining to all this downtime, though.  I’ve been able to work on some quilt projects. My sewing desk has sat gathering dust for the last few months with the holiday busyness.  I was so excited for January to come so that I could get back to sewing, but I got sidetracked with other projects and was feeling like I would never get back to my desk. Enter the bad cold, which has me down enough to not do anything tiresome, but has allowed me to sit quietly and work on my quilts. 

  
I binded these two mini quilts. They are part of a monthly red work series that I signed up for at the quilt store. I’ll share more of these in the future. 

  
What I am most excited about is starting work on this new quilt called “Prep” by Sweetwater using their Varsity fabric line. I bought this kit from a quilt store on EBay with a Christmas gift card from my son Robert. If there’s anything better than getting a new quilt kit, it’s getting one for free!

  
I love the vibrant, classic colors in this quilt, and the diamond/argyle design pattern. 

  
All of those beautiful diamonds are cut out of this Varsity layer cake, which was the first step I worked on –

  
Next I cut out all of the background triangles – all 120 of them!

  
Then it was time to sew  learn some new sewing lessons!  I expected to sit down and stitch them all together like a breeze. But I was blissfully unaware of the wolf hiding in sheep’s clothing awaiting me. You see, sewing all these lovely pieces together meant lining up all the points to match and line up perfectly – a fact I was soon made painfully aware of as I blindly sewed and ripped out my first seam. 

Long story short – about 3 hours later, after 6-8 more ripped out seams, watching a couple of online tutorials (ah, the beauty of technology!), consulting my favorite how-to quilting book (pictured below), and a couple of “walk-aways” to give my congested head a break, I finally ended up with this –

  
Pathetic I know, but I was ecstatic!!  I met the beast and came out the victor! And I learned some new skills for piecing diamonds and triangles, which will hopefully serve me well in the future – at least they’ll help me finish this beautiful quilt.   Feeling accomplished I called it a day and went to eat dinner. I must have used up all of my brain cells for the day, since it was this same night that I forgot to lock the chickens in and the Charlotte disaster occurred. 

I haven’t picked this one up again yet – hopefully I will remember what I learned when I do!  I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I can’t wait to see this beauty come together!

Have a lovely evening!

Blessings, 

Nancy

And then there were five…

  
I’m feeling a little sad today.  My sweet Charlotte (above) is no longer with us.  And it is my fault. :( I’ve been down sick with a bad cold, along with most of the rest of the household, and wasn’t thinking clearly, I suppose, and I forgot to go out and lock the girls in for the night last night.  Jeff arrived home after a long day out around dark and wasn’t really thinking about chickens either.  

In the middle of the night, it suddenly came to me that I had forgotten them.  I wasn’t concerned that they had run off – chickens are home-bodies, and just naturally return to their coop at nightfall each evening.  I wasn’t even concerned about the fact that my forgetting about them meant I hadn’t fed them for the night – they had been out foraging the yard all day yesterday and were okay to make it until morning without feed.

No, what struck a note of fear in my heart was the fact that they were out in their pen, completely unprotected, since the gate to the pen was never shut and locked up for the night – leaving the girls veritable “sitting ducks” or literally “sitting chickens”.

  
I woke Jeff up and had him keep watch from the porch (in case a crazy night creature tried to attack me), and headed out to the pen, cellphone flashlight in hand, with trepidation about what I was going to find.  Sure enough, the gate to the pen was wide open, just as I had left it earlier in the day when I let the girls out for the day.  I started counting chickens…one…two…three…four…five…I counted again…one, two, three, four, five. I shone the light all around the pen.  I noticed the waterer was knocked over, a red flag since it’s very sturdy and too heavy for the girls to knock over themselves. And then I saw the feathers, black and white striped feathers strewn around the cage – more than the usual strays that adorn the coop daily. 

They belonged to Charlotte, one of my favorites.   My heart sank.  She was our last remaining Plymouth Barred Rock chicken, my favorite breed – I’ve always loved her ruffley, black and white stripes paired with her striking red comb – such a beauty!  Her sister, Nimrod (don’t ask), had died last month after becoming ill, so I really didn’t want to lose Charlotte too!

  
I looked around to make sure she wasn’t anywhere in the cage, but she was gone, carried away by some creature of the night – a raccoon, owl, bobcat?  I checked on the rest of the girls, who were sitting quietly, three huddled together on top of the old rabbit hutch where they sleep each night, and two roosting in the nesting boxes inside the hutch. I told them I was so sorry for forgetting them… for failing to protect them…for allowing their secure home to be invaded. With a heavy heart, I closed the gate, latched it, and headed back to the house, reporting the sad news to Jeff, waiting on the porch. 

We’ve had our chickens for almost 3 years now, and it amazes me that the one time that I forgot to lock them in, a predator was ready and waiting to seize the opportunity. I thought about these night creatures, and how they survive and feed their little ones by being aware and diligent. I imagined a contented little family of wild ones being blessed by my mistake. It is God’s way of caring for his creation,  and it is a good thing, for now, until the day He puts everything to rights and the “lion lays down with the lamb”. 

  
One thing having chickens has taught me is to hold them loosely, because their lives are fragile, and can be gone quickly. It’s part of owning chickens, and I accept that.  It also is a reminder to me that God holds all of us in the palm of His hand – our every breath is ordained by Him, and is in His control. There is blessing in appreciating all of life around us and thanking Him for it!  

I will miss seeing my pretty Charlotte scratching around the yard with the other girls, but will thank the Lord that I was able to enjoy her for the time I had her. And with spring just around the corner, I’m thinking that maybe some new baby chicks might be in our “tomorrow” – definitely some Plymouth Barred Rocks!  

 
Blessings,

Nancy

 

The Simple Woman’s Daybook ~ January 26, 2016

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Here is my Daybook entry for today ~

Outside my window. . . gray skies and cooler temperatures replacing yesterday’s springlike weather, the chickens are scratching around the yard, bare branches on the trees.
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I am thinking. . . that so many things that we think are important in life really aren’t, in the scope of eternity, and that there is much peace in focusing on what truly is important.
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I am thankful. . . for Sarah cooking our dinner last night – Spaghetti & Stuffed Meatballs – it was delicious, and so nice to have the night off!
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In my kitchen. . . trying my hand tonight at Sesame Chicken, with rice and egg rolls.  Hope it turns out – I get nervous trying new recipes!
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I am wearing. . . navy polo shirt, jeans, and navy cardigan sweater.
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I am creating. . . getting ready to start a new sports themed quilt, using Sweetwater’s Varsity fabrics – pictures coming soon.
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I am reading. . . “Fervent” by Priscilla Shirer, following up on the inspiring lessons on prayer in the movie “War Room”, lots of school books with the kids – one that we’re especially enjoying is “The Happy Hollisters” by Jerry West – so much fun!
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I am hoping. . . David will feel better tomorrow.  He woke up with a sore throat, stuffy nose, and low grade fever this morning – getting some rest today will hopefully help.
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I am wondering. . . if the items I’ve listed on Ebay will sell this week.  After 12+ years of buying on Ebay, I have just recently jumped into the selling side of things.  As I go through the house, cleaning out and decluttering (an ongoing battle), I’ve been setting some things aside to list and sell – another learning process, but not too difficult so far.
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In the school room. . . fractions, insects, colonial America, astronomy, Amy Carmichael, running a fictional bookstore (accounting), early civilizations, Bible, nature sketches of wasp nests around the yard.
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Around the house. . . laundry going, kids on Nintendo and computers, one child (who will remain anonymous) is speaking in “Miranda” voice, which always cracks me up – it’s an amazing impression.
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In my garden. . . quiet and dormant for the most part, except for some hardy herbs in the herb garden.
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A favorite quote for today. . . 
“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally-and often far more-worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” – C. S. Lewis
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One of my favorite things. . . planning calendars. . .I may need an intervention,  I can’t resist them, and really, how many planners does one person really need? (less than I have).
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A picture thought for today. . .

 Unlike last week, the cozy kitties yesterday were enjoying springlike weather in the window.  They’re back in their cozy spots now, on this chillier day.

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Thanks to Peggy at The Simple Woman’s Daybook for hosting the Daybook! Visit Peggy to find more participants in The Simple Woman’s Daybook, and to see how you can join in too!

Have a wonderful day!

Blessings,

Nancy

Cozy Kitty Weather

  
Today is a bit of a gray, chilly, windy day. A definite “blustery day” as Winnie the Pooh would say. On days like this, I usually find the kitties all curled up in various spots around the house keeping warm. One of Edward’s favorite new spots to snuggle up is on the top of the love seat in our bedroom. If I were a cat, I think I’d like it too – sunk down in the pillow, surrounded by warm blankets. So cozy!  

  

When he’s not in this spot, Edward is usually snuggled up next to my pillows on the bed, a spot I’m not too keen on, since I tend to be allergic to cats, but I hate to deprive him of since he’s such a sweet & timid cat. I will usually gently nudge him away from my pillow, but even that tends to make him run off. Edward was adopted from our barn when he was a little guy, and still has a bit of a fearful temperament. 

  
Here is sweet Macey, all curled up and adorable. She sleeps like this a lot and I can never resist taking pictures of her when she does!  When they look this cuddly, I just want to scoop them up and hold them, which I often do, much to their chagrin.

  

Grace is famously known around here for sleeping in any box, basket, or container that is found on the floor.  She is a funny, quirky kitty, and it’s always fun to find her tucked into a little unexpected spot.  

  
Not to be outdone by the cats, even Rowan can be found all snuggled up, enjoying a nap on a day like today.  This weather makes all of us want to stay inside and drink hot chocolate, play games, and watch movies – one of my favorite things about winter.  Oh, and sew. . . this weather definitely makes me want to sew.  Excuse me while I go thread my machine. . .

Enjoy your snuggly home today!

Blessings,

Nancy

Test Post from my IPad

  
Hello!  I am testing out blogging from my IPad mini today.  My computer is having some challenges, and I decided to see if bypassing the computer with my tablet would be a viable option.  I’ve been playing around with it to see what different buttons do and how things work.  I must admit I am proud of myself for figuring out how to link my tablet to the wireless keyboard – quite an accomplishment for this old dog!  (Edited to report that the keyboard dumped me before I finished the post – “pride goeth before a fall”!)

I will keep trying some things out, so if the blog looks weird at any point, rest assured that I am probably in learning mode (possibly shedding tears of frustration – cue the teenagers rolling their eyes) and will hopefully figure it all out shortly.  

I hope you’ll come along with me as I dust the cobwebs off my little corner of the blogosphere and dip my toes in the water of writing once again.  Maybe I’ll even take a full dive into the sea if I am able – and if this wonderful technology will agree to work with me instead of against me!

Hope all is well wherever you are!

Blessings,

Nancy

The Simple Woman’s Daybook ~ July 21, 2015

Here is my Daybook entry for today ~

Outside my window. . .a hot summer day! Cicadas are buzzing, a slight breeze is blowing, and the pool looks very inviting from my window, although it will have to wait until later in the day. The girls (chickens, not humans) are scratching around the yard, looking for a tasty morsel.
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I am thinking. . .about a plan for dinner tonight.
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I am thankful. . .for the cool air-conditioning on these hot days.
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In my kitchen. . .still deciding what to cook tonight, but Michael has requested cake for dessert, so that’s a starting point!
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I am wearing. . .lavender polo and navy capris.
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I am creating. . .finished the quilting on my small lake quilt – ready for binding today.
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I am reading. . .still reading Tumtum & Nutmeg, although I haven’t picked it up in the last few days. Perusing the new McCalls Quilting magazine – there is a beautiful red & white quilt in it called “Strawberries and Cream”.
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I am hoping. . .to get by several local quilt stores this week and check out their lovely new offerings.
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I am wondering. . .how Rowan is going to get along with his little doggy cousin, Bruce, who is coming to stay for a few days this week – it will be quite interesting, I’m sure!
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In the homeschool room. . .I am assessing which Math books I need to get ordered for the coming school year.
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Around the house. . .rather quiet for the moment – youngers watching a movie, playing Minecraft on the computer, laundry is running, I am in my room getting ready to enjoy some time with my quilts with Macey kitty (my little quilting buddy), who is settling in at the end of the bed to nap.
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In my garden. . .lots of watering is needed these days to keep what’s left alive and well.
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A favorite quote for today. . .“A soul redeemed demands a life of praise.” – Cowper
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One of my favorite things. . .My friend Lisa’s homemade dill pickles (pictured below). These are the best pickles I have ever tasted and I always get several jars from her each year when she sells them to raise money for church mission trips.
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A picture thought for today. . .

BB

Lisa’s delicious pickles ~ we have already finished off 3 of these jars!

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Thanks to Peggy at The Simple Woman’s Daybook for this wonderful meme. Visit Peggy to find the list of participants in The Simple Woman’s Daybook.

Have a lovely day!

Blessings,
Nancy

It’s National Ice Cream Day!

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There are a few hours left in the day, so you still have time to grab a cone or dish of your favorite flavor! We ran into Braum’s this evening and picked up three of this family’s favorites – Rocky Road, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Mint Chocolate Chip, as well as a box of waffle cones, and we are enjoying our Sunday night treat!

Blessings,
Nancy

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