Sunday, February 11, 2018

Lost things

I heard at church of the passing of an old friend of mine.  I was shocked and ashamed. Shocked because I never thought of this person as old and ashamed because over the years, I've done absolutely nothing to remain in touch.  Lives get busy, we have places to go, things to do, and I ignored a friendship that meant so much to me at one time. I will try not to make this same mistake again.

Another friend - actually someone I never met but through her writing yet feel as if I've known her forever is no longer writing. For years I've subscribed to Yankee Magazine. I'm not exactly sure why I've always loved this magazine but I just do. I can remember that it was always kept in the bathroom at my grandparents and reading it gave me a few minutes away from my brothers when I was very young and visiting my grandma and grandpa.  I can remember that the Yankee Magazine from that time was Reader's Digest sized. It had pages of advertisements for unique gifts from New England - everything from gardening equipment that you couldn't find anywhere else to pendents in the shape of a Maine lobster. But also like Reader's Digest, the size and format of the magazine has changed and is no longer pocket-sized but large, like other magazines.  It still does advertise those quaint little New England trinkets though.

For a few years, I didn't renew my Yankee subscription. I didn't have time to read them and I didn't have the money. I still don't have the money to spend but I missed the magazine - especially Mary's Farm - and was willing to give up a few coffees a month to subscribe.  I received my first magazine and noticed that the Edie Clark article this month was titled Leaving Mary's Farm. Awwwww. Edie apparently has had multiple strokes and will no longer be able to write. It's odd because I haven't read her for a while but now, I can't finish the article about the end of her career and the sale of her farm because, hmmmmm, I guess because I don't want to face another loss. 

If someone tells you that something horrible has happened, the words disappear. The feelings remain but the words are gone.  If someone writes that something horrible has happened, the words stick around and rereading them makes my heart over and over again.  But words can also soothe and I think that's why many people seek solace in poetry.  There's just something about the tweaking of words in such a way that one's life view is so affected. 

I've always felt rather sad that I don't have many friends. I think the reason for that is I'm a listener and not a talker. I am so much more comfortable listening or reading another person's words than I am contributing to a conversation. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

It's going to be a great week!

My week is off to a good start - 2 loaves of bread just came out of the oven, I have a hot cup of tea, my pups are curled up next to me.........and students have returned! I will actually have students to talk with! Granted, most of the conversations will be about which courses are open, which courses should be taken, but still, students have been gone since mid-December.  I know a lot of people enjoy the quiet time when school is not in session but not me.  One day of quiet is about all I can stand! So I am overjoyed.

It has been pretty cold the past few days which is fine with me.  Tomorrow is supposed to be a bit warmer and by Friday, near 50.  It is going to be a good week - I just know it!

Saturday, January 6, 2018


Frozen is how I wish my emotions could be described.  Unfortunately, they are not.  Before I had kids, I detested those people who allowed their children to define them.  Well here I am.  After 4 weeks of having my youngest son and my middle daughter here, I am alone once again. I've had 4 weeks of having someone to talk to, having someone to eat with, having someone to just sit with.......and I am feeling damn lonely right now. I'll get over it. Probably by tomorrow I'll be used to the quiet again. And as the dogs are all barking their fool heads off over nothing, I use the word 'quiet' loosely. 

I really hate the feeling of saying goodbye. Before you feel too sorry for me, I could see 1 of my kids within about 20 minutes, 2 of them within an hour.  But my house, except for the dogs, is so quiet.  I've read about how time flies by so quickly and it is true.  It really does feel like yesterday when all 5 of my babies were just, well, babies.  When I was their whole world, when they needed me.  And now I'm what? A safe haven? Someone to hug them? Someone to ask them if they would check the wood stove?

The truth is, my kids - even those who are still in school - are perfectly able to take care of themselves. They are perfectly capable of reaching out to me - or not - for help, for a shoulder to cry on, or just to talk.  This is how it is supposed be. This is right. But holy crap! I miss them.

So what do I do? I cuddle my puppies, I get fat by baking and baking and baking, I take solace in the fact that I can still provide some guidance to students at work, and I take advantage of any opportunity to interact with other young adults who are away from their families and may be also feeling the same type of homesickness that I feel.

I became one of those women who allowed her children to define herself. And I am so proud of that.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

It's Cookie Day!

It is my cookie day for the Virtual Cookie Exchange!

When Carol (Just Let Me Quiltmentioned she was going to do the Virtual Cookie Exchange again this year, I knew right off what cookie recipe I was going to share.  I’ve made these cinnamon crescents for probably close to 30 years. They are excellent coffee- or tea-dunking cookies. They take a little bit more time to make but trust me, they are worth it!

There really isn’t a story behind these cookies nor is there any great history or ancestral tie to the recipe – it was just a recipe I found, tried, and kept. I can remember getting the recipe from Yankee Magazine back when it was a smaller, Readers Digest-sized magazine. I always loved Yankee Magazine – I can remember that my grandparents always had it. I supposed because my uncle lived in Massachusetts.  There has always been something kind of mystical about New England for me. I really enjoyed reading the stories, the recipes, the ‘house for sale’ section, but mostly, I love reading the little advertisements.  There were (is) a plethora of jewelry, pottery, and New England-y things to purchase and I just loved dreaming about how cool it would be to visit Maine. Something I’ve had the fortune of doing several times since then.

Anyway – that’s what brought me to finding this recipe in the Yankee Magazine.  This may be my most favorite cookie. It is sweet without being too sweet and just a subtle taste of cinnamon.  I hope you love this cookie as much as I do.

Cinnamon Crescents

1 pkg dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups      flour
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup butter melted
2 eggs lightly beaten

filling: 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, ground nuts - I use about 1/4 cup of finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350
I used a pastry guide instead of a pie pan

  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast on the warm water and stir just to dissolve;
  2. Add flour, sugar, and the slightly cooled melted butter, and stir;
  3. Add eggs and stir until well-blended;
  4. Cover bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 3 hours - I refrigerate mine overnight; but can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days;
  5. Divide pastry into 6 or 8 parts
  6. Sprinkle some filling (not the nuts) into a pie pan;
  7. Roll out one part of the pastry and press into the pie pan. It should pressed out to cover the entire bottom of the pie pan.  You can also use a pastry cloth and roll the dough into a circle.
  8. Sprinkle with filling and nuts;
  9. Cut down into wedges and roll crescent style;
  10. Let rest for about 15 minutes; and then bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 12 - 13 minutes.
I hope you enjoy these cookies and the recipes from all the other bloggers.

If you need some new baking ideas, visit these blogs:
December 5 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Winter then fall

Anyone who knows me knows that I love fall.  I love the colors of autumn, I love the cooler temperatures - fall is perfect for me as it is for a lot of people.  Yesterday we had snow. Not much snow  - just enough that you could see it falling.  This isn't early for snow - I remember several years ago, I think it was 2010 or 11, that on October 12th, we had enough snow that it covered the ground.  But yesterday the air smelled like snow - that styrofoamy scent that reminds me of the little church my uncle would put in the front yard of his funeral home/house every Christmas, but also of snow in general.  Yesterday was clearly winter.  This morning was chilly and I had to let the car warm up a bit before my daughter and I set off for campus.  But it was sunny and happy outside!  By late afternoon, it was warm enough that I unzipped my mid-weight coat.

So today was a special treat - I'm just simple like that.  I am choosing to be happy in hopes that it rubs off on someone else.  Maybe it will have a snowball effect - kind of like that old shampoo commercial - I'm nice to someone, and they are nice to someone and so on and so on and so on.  Maybe if we all did that, if we all looked beyond ourselves, maybe we could have an impact on this crazy old world because nothing else seems to be working.

Decide to have a happy day and share it with someone else.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday morning

Mondays have a bad reputation and to be honest when there is a chill in the air, I find it hard to crawl out from under the covers to start the day.  But I don't mind Mondays - in fact, I kind of like them. I'm not the most disciplined person in the world and having to get up and go somewhere works for me. I think if today was forecast to be rainy and cool, I would be a little less enthused to get up and at 'em. 

But it is 6 am, I've been up for an hour and a half, the chicken is waiting to be let out of her coop, the cats are waiting for 2nd breakfast, the goats are waiting for something - I don't know what - and the ducks are waiting for their morning snack of dog food.

It is going to be a beautiful, happy day!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Last of the tomatoes

 These are the last two tomatoes picked from my garden.  I'm hoping they turn red but if not, I will certainly enjoy them fried and green.  Tomatoes are one of those things you just can't cheat on.  The only good tomatoes are those picked out of yours or someone else's garden.  I love those days when I walk into the break room at all to find that someone has brought in their excess tomatoes or zucchinis or squash to share.  The tomatoes you get in the grocery store at every time other than tomato growing season, just don't come close to the real thing.  Which makes me enjoy them even more during the season.

This summer I've made tomato pie, fried green tomatoes, tomato sandwiches, and tomatoes whole - just out of my hand! That's one thing nice about seasons.  The lack of something - whether it is a fresh tomato or snow or colorful leaves - just makes us appreciate it even more. 

After many, many years of trying, my first good biscuits!
When I look out my kitchen window and see our little church, I think about the seasons of my kids.  I think about how much time they spent in that church with people who loved, people who taught them things that I never could.  I wish that my older kids could have grown up here - I think they really missed out by not growing up in a country church or really, any church at all.

I think about our congregation about how I'm one of the younger members and there aren't many people there younger than me.  About 80% of our congregation is in their 60s and above.  I really dread the day that I look out my kitchen window and don't see cars in the parking lot and beloved church members walking through those red doors. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Return to summer

 According to our weather person, we are in store for a short return to summer. Blah. I want fall to stay.  I can't express how nice it is to not sweat a river walking to work or not being a sticky mess by the end of the day simply from existing.  I love fall - not only because of the colors, the coolness, the return to soups, and the wearing of sweatshirts - but because to me, it signals the start of the new year. More so than January 1st.  I would imagine this is true of anyone who has ever had kids. But the falling of leaves, the freezing of the earth makes me think of a colossal cleanse that will set the stage for spring and flowers and sunshine and heat to start all over again.  This time of year is perfect for me.  I am tired.  I am always tired this time of year and I'm ready to rest.  It's a good thing that it is dark when I get home from work.  It's a signal that after the chickens and goats are tended to, it is time for me to go back into the house and just rest.  That time of day - the gloaming - is perfect for reading or for grabbing a quilt in the hoop and spending time handquilting which is something that it is simply too hot to do other times of the year.   
 So I don't want to return to summer just yet. Ask me again in about six months and I'm sure my answer will be different and I will be begging not to see winter again for a while. 


I'm finally finishing up some projects hat have been sitting around.  The wallhanging above is one that I put off because I'm more of a quilter than I am a embroiderer.  I must say though, that I completely enjoyed embroidering this one.  I'm very happy with how it turned out.  I bought the pattern and fabric about 4 years ago because loving Halloween as much as I do, it really caught my eye. 
The wallhanging on the right "Falling Leaves', is a wallhanging pattern that I found in a magazine and loved.  It is somewhat of a rarity because I found the pattern, cut the fabric, and made it to completion. All within 6 weeks.

I have 1 quilt that has been 'in progress' for about 3 years and I will begin on that very soon.  It is a paper-pieced Storm at Sea and I honestly think I need my head examined for doing a pp'ed quilt of that size.  She doesn't know it yet but I think I will bribe my mom into helping me remove the papers one weekend. 
It's really a great feeling to finish up these projects. It makes me feel less guilty about starting a new project!  I also need to finish about 8 baby quilts.  I just found out that 1 of these babies for whom I was making an I Spy quilt just started kindergarten.  But even at that age, I think he will like an I Spy quilt.  Who wouldn't?

Sunday, September 24, 2017


My wicked witch weathervane

 I never could understand how someone could spend an entire day 'binge-watching' something on Netflix.  But then until a week ago our internet service was as slow as dial-up and it was impossible to watch anything on Netflix or Amazon or, well, anything!

Today I've been watching episodes of This is Us - a drama with one of my favorite actors Milo Ventimiglia. Unfortunately I've only managed to watch about 7 episodes because I have a hard time sitting still for so long and I have a tendency to nod off during television shows.

But I did manage to get a little handsewing done and I got the bobbin unit off of my little sewing machine that was given to me.  I'm hoping to get it cleaned up this week and then use it to work on my Gypsy Wife Quilt and hopefully finishing up my daughter's Storm at Sea quilt.  I will never again do a full-sized paperpieced quilt. Never. Ever.
My Alletaire is in the hoop and waiting for cold weather.
 I'm wondering how I will manage to get all of the episodes watched, the binding on my wallhanging, my pumpkin embroidered by Tuesday evening when the new season starts.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


This is my favorite time of year!  Even though today was super hot, it was absolutely gorgeous!  I am nearly finished with my fall wallhanging - I just need to handsew the binding.

A friend of mine gave me this little sewing machine - a Jolson - which seems to be from around 1949.  It is very similar to the Singers at that time.  I need to do a little research on it but it was amazing how much information the folks from my vintage sewing machine group could provide - almost as soon as I posted the picture!

It's amazing how different something looks from far away.  This wallhanging for instance, looks entirely different up close.  Looking at it from an arm's length, it seems to be a jumble of autumny fabric.  But from a distance, it looks exactly as I hoped it would.

I'm hoping to get the binding done tomorrow, my Halloween quilt blocks done, and get nearly finished with the Storm at Sea that I'm sewing for my daughter.

But tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and warm again and our home has no air conditioning.  I may very well be sitting in front of a fan reading a book all day!

Lost things

I heard at church of the passing of an old friend of mine.  I was shocked and ashamed. Shocked because I never thought of this person as old...