Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

 On Sunday John and I made up some neighbor gifts...Candy Cane Dip and fresh Golden Delicious Apples and packaged them up along with the recipe for the dip and a candy cane.  I loaded them up into a basket.
 John and I boarded Eyeore, our Kawasaki Mule, and drove around the 'neighborhood' to selected houses and dropped off our gifts.  It sure was fun. 
One year we gave out jiffy pop popcorn....now to think about something different for next year.  Thank goodness I've got a whole year to come up with something. 

We had planned to go to Silver Dollar City this past Saturday - our annual trip to see the lights and our favorite show, A Christmas Carol.  When we got off the freeway and got into line for the City, there was a sign pointing to the right saying the regular parking lots were full and they were using alternative parking...John got a funny look on his face and I told him I was okay if he wanted to NOT go.  I almost got a whiplash when he immediately did a u-turn and started back toward home.  We were disappointed not to get to the city but certainly NOT sorry to miss out on all the crowds.  Our niece and nephew evidently were there already and they said the crowds were the worst they'd seen in a long time.  Instead, John and I stopped in Springfield on our way home at the Longhorn Steakhouse for a late lunch/early dinner.  We hadn't been there is a very long time and it was lovely to sit and chat while being served a most enjoyable meal.  We came home and watched Christmas movies for the rest of the day.  Perhaps we can get to the City before it closes for the season on Dec. 30th..if not, we will indeed purchase season tickets for next year and make sure we get to the festivals we so enjoy.

From southwest Missouri to wherever you live,  we wish you a most Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Blessed New Year. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Between the Holidays

Thanksgiving this year was so fabulous.  We had 2 of John's sisters and one nephew and his family to dinner.  John roasted a turkey on his Big Green Egg and a turkey breast on the Weber grill.  We had homemade dressing, green beans with onion and bacon, mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted brussels sprouts, candied sweet potatoes, rolls and butter, olives and pickles, cranberry jelly and cranberry relish, pumpkin pie, mince pie, cranberry pie, and pecan pie.  It's really no wonder folks gain weight between Thanksgiving and Christmas with the way they eat!

  What a lovely group of people.  So glad to be able to share the holiday with them.

     I saw this recipe on Pinterest (if you haven't tried Pinterest, you are missing out on an amazing website - and an enormous time suck!).  Homemade caramel sauce made form sweetened condensed milk cooked in the crockpot for 8 hours, then left to cool...when you open the can, it's caramel!

 Here you see Mr. Gilligan acting as the CrockPot Guard...
 It's still got another hour and 15 minutes to cook and then about an hour to cool....hoping when I open it, I will find caramel...we sure do like caramel sauce here at Pieceful Harbor...

Today was the day to decorate the house.  Well, the great room and entry and kitchen...John has our lighted deer and angel outside to put in the front garden but he hasn't done it yet.  The inside is done.  Tree up and decorated.  Stocking hung, several figurines on the entertainment towers.  I need to pick up some candles for the advent setup but then we are done.
I've got 6 friends coming tomorrow nite for a Crafty Ladies Nite.  Each of us will demo a craft, not necessarily for Christmas, and bring enough of the items needed to make the item for each of us...everyone will end up with 7 craft items to take home.  There will be tree decorations, hand scrubs, votive decorations, a lovely candy cane dip for fruit, and - well, I'm not sure what some of the others are bringing to demo.  Then we have our library holiday party on Wednesday and Bunco on Friday....I'd say this week is our party week!

If you ever get a chance, try out Facetime on the iPad to talk with long distance friends and family.  It's wonderful.  I spent 2 hours on Facetime with my friend Shelly in California this morning.  Sometimes it's actually years between visits. And sometimes it's only 5 months-like this last time.  Regardless, it was such a treat to talk to her.

Well, I'm off to sit and knit on a warm winter shawl for myself for the rest of the evening.  Thank you all for stopping by.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fall, Fall, Fall!

I love music....especially show music.  My father was a singer and it would have been his lifetime profession if he hadn't developed thyroid cancer when he went for a physical prior to starting a new show in Hollywood in 1956...the treatments destroyed his amazing voice...music was still a part of our life growing up....dad took up the banjo and I sang with him and his buddy when they'd 'jam' on weekends.  I'm always up for a musical movie - always!  between light jazz and soundtracks, I have a nice collection of CD's.  Now, let's move forward to a couple of years ago....I'd reconnected with a childhood friend on Facebook - Jane Warman McSpadden.  She and I spent a lot of time together during our elementary and middle school years but lost contact when we went to different high schools...I'd briefly reconnected in our mid-20's but life got in the way and we lost track again.  We didn't correspond  much on Facebook and then there was a flurry on her page - I posted on the page that I'd been thinking about her.  I got a private message from a man named Gary Mauer who told me that he was one of her former students at Thunderbird High School and that Jane had passed away the day before...hence the flurry of messages on her page.  Gary and I continued to correspond for a while and I learned that he had gone on from high school and then college in Tucson and finally, had made a career in New York on Broadway.  I learned that he was going to be near my home for a concert in Bartlesville, Oklahoma this past Wednesday and made arrangements to go to the concert.  After a most enjoyable 2 hours of showtunes and laughter, Gary and my friend, Terri, and I went to a late dinner.  What an awesome evening! 

  I had made a Christmas table runner for Gary and his wife, Beth.  And the upshot was that Gary is going to send me his collection of Broadway t-shirts to make into a quilt for them...I am so honored!  

When we built this house, our dream house, we made it single story cause stairs are so hard on old knees.  There are very few places for storage except for two spaces - one above the pantry and one above our walk-in closet on the other side of the house.  John has always had to schlep one of his taller ladders into the house and set it up so he could get into the attic spaces.  As of yesterday, the Christmas attic (so names cause the only things in there are holiday decorations) has its own ladder....installed by John and his buddy John!  

It's very solid and John says it went in easy, for the most part. 

My John plans to complete the installation of lighting in that attic space soon.  Fortunately, he wired it for lighting when he wired the entire house.  Now he just needs to finish putting the lights in and we are golden for that job.  

The next space to get a ladder is the one in our closet that leads to the major storage space....that one requires a different kind of ladder cause of space...we are researching a telescoping ladder for that space.  And then to finish the lighting.  There are plenty of odd jobs to keep him busy for the next few years!

I'm off to finish the laundry, and work on a quilt, of course.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sunday, September 27, 2015


I simply adore Autumn.  It is my most favorite season of the year.  The colours, the leaves, even the feel of the air makes me happy.  And this year, I'm showing my neighbors how happy it makes me.  I spent last Sunday decorating the front porch for the first time in years!  Those pumpkins would NOT stay stacked so I used my trusty glue gun and voila!  My Goose got his outfit changed and we are set for the autumn!

There are hazards to living in the country.  When wicked weather comes along, you can't just walk to the nearest store for groceries...you have to have prepared for the storm.  Especially ice storms.  One must lay in a supply of batteries, lamp oil, food, fill in the tubs with water in case the electricity goes out and your well pump is non-functioning.  Make sure you have warm clothes and plenty of pet food.  
There are also instances that city-dwellers just don't think of - take last Monday nite for example.  I was working in the studio and heard a thunk, clunk, dragging sound outside the window, just about where the compressor for the air conditioner sits.  John was in the great room so I knew it wasn't him.  I went out and asked him if he had heard that sound....of course, he didn't - he had the TV on and where he was sitting had several walls between him and the noise.  There have been many instances of thieves stealing air conditioners and piping in the last few years and that's where my mind went.  John went outside, in the dark, and looked around...he came back in to get a flashlight and when he went out again, our neighbors across the field were sitting on their porch and yelled at John that there was some kind of thunk, clang, dragging noise that came from near our compressor...when he went over to the compressor, he found out what the noise was.  Not going into details, suffice to say that the compressor fan blades had been stationery and a field mouse was sitting on one when the fan turned itself on.  All I could say was, "EWWWWWWW".  Leave it at that!  

Recently, to promote the new Peanuts movie, there was a website that allowed one to "Peanutize" yourself....I played around with it and here you see my final picture.  

I leave you with this picture from yesterday.  It was an absolutely beautiful day in the Ozarks, sunny, temperate, with clouds skudding across the sky at a cheerful rate.  

Sorry it took me so long between posts...no excuse except blog-laziness! Forgive me!

And, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

End of August

John and I spent most of yesterday in the car, driving to Branson to pick up free patterns for the Row by Row Experience.  The program is winding down and the last day to pick up the free patterns is September 8th.  The weather was so beautiful - a lovely pre-autumn day.  Temps were lovely and the air made me feel like fall was on its way.  I decided to make some ginger cookies. 

Several years ago, Silver Dollar City opened their Culinary and Cooking School and my mom and I went to one of the first classes they had.  They taught us how to make their famous Soft ginger Cookies and gave us their recipe.  This is so simple and makes 30 regular sized cookies on 20 jumbo ones.  I was a good girl and made the smaller ones, although I really wanted to make the jumbo ones.  Here they are straight from the over.  
 John and I can both vouch that they are super yummy and soft and once you take a bite, you are instantly thinking of autumn!

I sometimes wonder how I got so lucky...Mr. Wonderful mounted my TV onto the wall of the studio so I can see it better.  It tilts and swivels so I can see wherever I am in the studio.  And I now have more room on the counter. Of course, I must be very careful NOT to put more stuff on the counter, rather, I need to purge so I have even more room on the countertops.

Not much else to tell you at this point.  Weather is beautiful.  John is home for a week, and I have plans to cook and quilt and knit all week.  What more could a girl ask for?

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mid - August 2015

Back in mid-July, I took a workshop with a friend at one of the local quilt shops...I'm a personal fan of mystery quilts.  Not knowing exactly what the design of the quilt is takes all the stress out of choosing fabrics.  In this case, one needed 2 yards of a background, 3 yards of a focus fabric, and 2 yards of an accent fabric...Easy peasy.  I decided to work entirely from stash and used fabrics that matched or slightly exceeded the required amounts.  Now, admittedly, this quilt is not exactly my cup of tea - too tame, quite frankly.  But it is pretty and soft and quite feminine.  I know it's hard to see it with all the other 'business' going on behind it...sorry about that.  But I finished the top during the class and immediately sent it off to my quilter to be quilted.  He used a sage green thread that matches the accent fabric, using a stars and loops pattern to quilt it.  I placed a binding using the same sage green fabric as the accent and it's quite lovely.  The 'flowers' resemble fireworks when you get closer so I've names this one "Hanabi" which is Japanese for firework.  

Young John came to visit this past week, a flying visit that lasted less than 48 hours.  We packed in a lot of talking and catching up and traveling through the state of Missouri.  One of his goals in life is to visit the capitol building in each of the 50 United States.  He had completed 24 visits up to his visit with me.  He was able to visit 4 more while he was here, starting with Nebraska, then Kansas, Missouri, and finishing with Oklahoma.  He made arrangements before he flew here to meet up with the Representative for the district where I live.  We left early Tuesday morning and drove to Jefferson City and straight to the capitol...Rep. Tony Dugger met us there and gave us a personal tour of both the House and Senate chambers, introduced us to several Representatives and lobbyists AND took us to meet the Speaker of the House for Missouri.  I was quite impressed.  He offered to pose for a picture - that's me, Rep. Dugger, and Representative John Knotwell III of Utah standing at the Speaker's Podium in the House Chamber.  Then he said he'd email me a copy of the picture and, within 10 minutes I got a ping on my phone that the picture was waiting in the email queue!
We then took the public tour of the capitol - there we got the history and anecdotal info that one gets on any public tour.  Then lunch and finally start our way home, stopping at 4 quilt shops to pick up Row by Row patterns and license plates...Dinner at John's favorite deli - McAllisters - and then home.

Once we got home, we found that the air conditioning unit was on the fritz and the house was really hot!  Opened windows and called for a/c service for the next day...thank goodness the temps were getting lower after the sun went down and we were able to sleep fairly comfortably with the use of ceiling fans and opened windows.  

John left the next day to drive to Oklahoma City and then fly home that afternoon...he even stopped at a quilt shop in Okla. City and then mailed me a pattern, kit, and license plate before he toured the capitol...I'm such a lucky girl!

A/C was repaired easily and efficiently the next morning for very little money (sigh of gratitude!!!) and we are back to normal for southwest Missouri in mid-August - hot and humid! 

Hoping to show more Row by Rows that I've managed to sew up next time...I think I'm going to make up quilts that have a theme - desert, mountains, lakes, seashore....I certainly have a variety of patterns from last year and this year to fit those categories. And any number of folks have given me their word to send patterns from all over the U.S. 

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Sunday, July 12, 2015


I can not believe it's already the middle of summer...it seems the older I get, the faster time flies....And, try as I might, there just isn't any clear way to slow it down.

Mr. Wonderful was in Kansas all last week, thankfully working a job that he likes!  He's learning a lot and seems to be really happy with this company.  They pay decently and treat their people with respect and honor.  That's my kind of company!

While he was gone, I worked on a couple of things that were just hanging around...things that just needed a bit of time and they were done.  Here is one...a small quilt square I've been applique-ing by hand...then I sewed the squares together on the machine.  It measures out at about 30 inches square. I'm not entirely sure how it's going to be quilted yet...but then it will sit nicely on the table during the spring and early summer.  
I think I'll bind it in a pink - I know, pink isn't my normal colour but this just seems to be calling for pink.

John asked me to make up some spaghetti sauce this morning....here it is, bubbling away....we like our sauce thick and meaty and this will be nice for dinner tonight along with some garlic bread.  With plenty to freeze for several meals later in the summer and autumn. 
Nothing much else to tell you, friends.  Enjoy the rest of the summer, I'll post again soon.  In the meantime, thank you for stopping by.

Friday, July 3, 2015

July Fry

 That's what they say in the west...June Gloom, July Fry...and it sure is true for Arizona in July.  I spent a week there last week. It was 113 degrees when I landed in Phoenix.  My beloved desert landscape just made me happy!  I've missed it so!!!
I spent 4 days in Northern Arizona with my mom...hadn't seen her in a couple of years.  I know my brothers are keeping close watch on her but my 'daughter's heart' needed to see for myself.  One of my brothers and his family came for dinner - here is Mom, R, and Me...youngest brother couldn't make it - sigh!

I was also excited to meet up with a cousin I hadn't seen in about 35 years...met Tammy for breakfast and she came over to Mom's to bring us fresh apricots from her tree that afternoon.

 Mom and I visited with Aunt B and then went quilt shop hopping...2015 Row by Row Experience started the day I arrived. This was Arizona's first time participating.  Some really, really cute patterns -  will show them when I get them done.

On Thursday, I took the shuttle down to Phoenix and my friend Meredith picked me up.  I hadn't seen Mer since 2006 when I last went to Camp Watch-a-Patcher.  Our mutual friend, Shelly, drove over from California and the  3 Quiltateers were together again for a few days.  Mer and I went to 7 quilt shops to pick up free Row by Row patterns and once Shelly got there, we spent the rest of the time going thru the 7 bins of fabrics Shelly had brought over for us to pilfer thru....I was a good girl and only took what I could fit in my suitcase without going over the weight limit. 

 This is what the living room looked like the day after Shelly arrived.  Meredith had set up some sewing lessons for me and Shel so we spent a lot of time discussing sewing v. quilting.

Our granddaughter, C, turned 10 in mid-June...she still plays with her American Girl doll (thank goodness!) so I made an outfit for her doll to go with the gift card we gave her.  I'm quite proud of this one!.
 I took the red eye flight home on Saturday...was so exhausted by the time John picked me up at the airport on Sunday morning.  Still needed to do the laundry but that was just about the only 'chores' I got done.  On Monday, I looked out the back deck and saw this...so close and all alone.  I didn't see any of the other herdmembers but I'm sure they were near.  Part of the joy of living in the country.

John got a new shirt.  And the saying tickled me.  It's so true. "Mowing. It's what I do. It's so much mower!"

Hope this makes you smile as well.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

June - New Growth

A couple of years ago, the gardeners at the library cleaned out the front gardens...they took out a whole bunch of what the locals call FireCracker bushes.  One of the girls at the library rescued them all and split them up amongst the employees.  I got 2 of them and John planted them along the east side of the garage.  They bloomed last year but this year, they took off!  A very short blooming cycle but amazing when they DO.

Several years ago, I bought John a bread maker for Christmas...due to circumstances and time, he never got around to using it, till this last weekend.  Not one to do things by half, he set the machine for extra-large and let 'er rip!  The bread that came out was amazing!  Light and fluffy and just about perfect, albeit huge!   

I'm getting excited about my vacation to Arizona in less than 2 weeks.  Haven't seen Mom in almost 2 years and I miss her tons.  And I'm really getting homesick for Arizona...even though I'm going in the middle of summer with the heat being so high in June.  Doesn't matter, I'm going anyway!  Hoping to take pictures while I'm there and will share them when I get home.

Thanks for  stopping by...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

To all the Mothers who are reading this, I am wishing you a most amazing day.  Our job is a 24 hour endeavor, one that does not end when our children reach their majority.  They are our babies till the day we pass from this earth and beyond!  We worry about them, rejoicing in their triumphs and weeping in their failures.  If we are fortunate, they love us and keep us in their lives throughout.  I am one of the fortunates.  My son, along with his amazing wife and their 5 children, are forever a part of our lives and we couldn't be more proud of them! 

Young John is in the UK this week and he tried to send me some flowers for Mother's Day...evidently it is harder than he expected to send flowers from the UK to the USA...so he took a beautiful picture of a flower cart there in London and sent it to me....imaging getting a flower cart full of beautiful flowers.....I was so touched!  Honestly, he is so imaginative....and those flowers will never die off!  Along with the picture, he sent a note - which made me cry - I won't share it, but I will cherish it forever!  

See what I got from my own Mr. Wonderful?  2 knock-out rose bushes for the front area under my studio window.  Pink and yellow....so beautiful.  Along with a beautiful card and breakfast of waffles and home-grown sausage, I'm one happy girl!

Major storms today....we sure can use the water!  John is hoping it will clear up enough later this week that he can get the raised gardens cleared and ready to plant this year's vegetables by the weekend.  Tomatoes need to go into the ground really, really soon.  As well as cucumbers, peppers, zucchinis and jalapenos.  We want to do come canning this fall and the vegetables need to be ready.  

Short and sweet this time.  Wishing you all very productive weeks ahead.  And loving family and friends.  

Oh, and Jennifer in Australia, sorry I forgot your birthday...Hope it was wonderful!

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mid-April 2015

Well, I guess spring is well and truly upon us.  Spring showers are popping up all over the place.  The other day, after getting home from work, I heard what ended up being a monstrous rain storm.  The pounding on the roof was nothing compared to what I saw when I looked out the windows.  This is looking out the back door, onto the deck and toward our grove of trees.  The camera has a much better eye than I do, evidently, cause when I looked out, I could NOT see the trees....it appeared as though tule (pronounced 'tooley') fog had set in. 
Out the front door, I couldn't see the trees in front of my studio.  The storm only lasted about 10 minutes but it sure was magnificent while it happened.

I had the chance to talk with a dear friend on Skype the other day and she was sporting a thumb ring.  I commented that I had wanted one for a long time and couldn't find one.  She mentioned that she'd gotten hers at a craft fair on the coast a while back but had not been able to find the vendor since cause she might want another one.  I went up to etsy.com and looked around and found a wonderful lady who makes them out of rose gold.  And only for $12.00 each!  I ordered one and it came and I am thrilled with it.  It fits my thumb perfectly and takes a tiny bit of pressure to move across my knuckle so it won't easily slide off. I might need to order another for my other thumb!  Or maybe for another finger...What do you think?  Am I old enough to be the lady who wears a ring on every finger?  

Round 3 of Sock Madness started on Tuesday, April 7th...the pattern is called Longing for Spring and it's really a lovely pattern to knit.  I'm not overly fond of socks that are knit from the toe up and this one is one of those patterns.  But the designer wrote out very nice instructions for the parts that I personally find difficult and it went along really easily.  Only 25 people were going to go on to Round 4 and I felt mostly confident that I could make that cut.  HOWEVER, Mr. Wonderful arrived home, as expected, late Monday the 13th.  I didn't really lose interest in knitting, just found that I wanted to spend more time with him than I did knitting...I found bits of time all along Tuesday and finished the pair Tuesday nite around 9:00 p.m.  Took the photo, uploaded to my project page, sent the email to the moderators and waited to hear if I had gotten (by that time) the final spot on my team.  Alas, the final spot was filled 12 minutes before my email arrived.  And I'm fine with that.  It beats the year that I missed making the next round by 27 seconds!  

Regardless of not making it to the next round, I have a lovely pair of spring socks, I will get all the rest of the patterns for the rounds including the bonus patterns, and I have Mr. Wonderful home with me!  

Went to the commissary yesterday...it's been so long since we needed to go that far for groceries.  We spent over $350.00 but that's far less than we normally spend when we go to the commissary - remember, we only do our shopping once every 6-8 weeks.  The larder is full and the cook is busy.  The dishwasher is being used for the first time in a very long time - I usually washed the dishes by hand since it was only me. 

It's going to rain today and all the chores are done and I'm going to either knit while watching TV with Mr. Wonderful or work on a quilt project or two.  He is going to BBQ some burgers (I haven't had burgers off the BBQ in 18 months) and I think I'll make a pasta salad to go with it.  

Thanks for stopping by!  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Welcome Spring!

 Well, UPS came thru...and in a very timely manner!  I came home from work last Friday and this is what I saw. They did a wonderful job of filling in the trenches and re-seeded the gouge.  We had some rain the other day and are expecting more in the next 24 hours so I suspect the grasses will begin to show really soon!  Thanks, UPS!
 It's really starting to look like spring in the Ozarks.  The fields are starting to green up, the raised gardens will need to be addressed once John gets home - NEXT WEEK!  
I finished my round 2 socks for Sock Madness in plenty of time to qualify for round 3...They were quite tight on me and when I posted the picture on my Facebook page, one of my former students sent me a message that she just loved them. I asked her what size shoe she wears and these will fit her perfectly.  I mailed them off to her and she got them in time to wear them up to Mammoth for the weekend.  
I had appointments most of today - doesn't that usually happen when one has a day off from work?  Once I got home, I found that the round 3 pattern had been released this morning!  I printed it off and grabbed the yarn and needles I had chosen for this round.  It's called Blossom and I think it will be perfect for this pattern - lacy flowers will appear on the foot and all around the leg as the pattern progresses.   While I'm certainly not very fond of knitting socks from the toe up, I can do this...I just need to be one of the first 25 knitters on my team to complete the pair.  We have 2 weeks to finish.    
Will let you know how it goes...in the meantime, thanks for stopping by.