My Do-Over

Earlier this week I finished my “do-over” project that I told you about in my “Sisters Day” Post and thought it only fair that I show you the results.

IMG_5973 (2)
                                                               TA DA!

No, it wasn’t really magic. In fact it took me at least eight hours over the course of two days to complete, but I am so pleased with the way this shirt turned out. It is the same pattern as the ones from my previous post, but since the pattern has three different options for lengths of the shirt I opted to make the longer “shirt length” version rather than the “crop length” that I had made before.

This time around I also went with a different type of fabric. This fabric is a performance knit, a type of fabric commonly used for making sportswear. I was a little nervous about using it but found it to be very easy to work with. It is also comfortable to wear.

My next sewing project will be a fleece bath robe, and if life goes as planned (does it ever?)  I will get it started sometime next week.

Thank for stopping by and until next time – be well. 🙂

 

Our Hearts Are Broken

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together… Author Unknown

Friday morning, November 22, 2019 our beloved Scout went to wait for us at the rainbow bridge.

I am speaking for both my husband and myself when I say there are now Scout-shaped holes in are hearts. It is through the grieving process, which has only just begun, that I have realized that we would not be suffering this pain had it not been for the joy that Scout brought to our lives. So much joy that no amount of money could have purchased. Thus the precious memories we have will mitigate the pain.

IMG_5944
Monday November 18, 2019. The Last photo I took of Scout.

I could fill a very large book with stories of our life with Scout over the past 12 1/2 years, but I have decided to share just one. The first one.

The Beginning Of A Love Story

Though we loved dogs we hadn’t had one in our home for several years. We just weren’t home enough to give a dog the kind of attention they deserved, but 2007 was a year of many changes for us. In February my husband and I got married. In March I lost the hearing in my left ear. In April we decided that my husband’s job could more than support our family and I left work to be a stay-at-home mom and full-time home manager.

It wasn’t long after I left my job that I began to think about getting a dog. I could now see many pros to having a dog. During the week days the kids were at school and I spent much time alone. It would be nice to have a companion. My hearing loss was also a concern. Depending on where I was in the house when someone came to the door I may not hear them. A dog could alert me of things like this. At the time my husband worked a job that took him away from home for weeks at a time. A dog could offer some security while he was away.

We began having discussions about what type of dog would be best. While puppies are fun and adorable there is also a lot a lot of work involved in training a puppy. Perhaps an mature dog would be better if we could find a good match. We were pretty open as far as breeds and didn’t have a problem with a mixed breed dog. I did want a larger size dog – one with a big bark.

It was June 16, 2007 when my husband, our three daughters, and I piled in the van to search for our new family member. I always remember the date as it was our daughter Hanna’s birthday. Our first stop was what I thought was an animal rescue.  From their website I was under the impression that they had several puppies and dogs up for adoption. When we arrived what we found was a doggy day care. When we asked about their adoptable dogs they only had one puppy who seemed to be a wild little thing. We all agreed it was not the dog for us. We then went over to the Macomb County Animal Shelter. I think they had two adoptable dogs that day, but again they did not seem to be a good fit.

Needless to say we were disappointed and weren’t really sure where to look next. My husband suggested the Saint Clair County Animal Shelter. I thought it was worth a try but it would probably take us an hour to get there. Since it was a time before everyone had a computer phone (I still don’t have one) I called my mom and asked her find out what time they closed that day. I don’t remember what time she said, but we had enough time to get there before they did.

I’ll never forget my husband’s words as he drove on I-94 heading for Port Huron “Lord, please help us find the perfect dog,” he prayed. I suspect my reply was “Amen” because it is my usual response when he prays aloud.

When we walked into the Saint Clair County Animal Shelter there was a reception desk to the right and to the left there was a room with a large window. On the other side of the window were the kennels where the adoptable dogs were housed. I could see and hear that there were several dogs up for adoption. While I was taking in the whole scene at once, including workers and other people who seemed to be there looking for pets, my husbands attention was immediately drawn to a dog. He said, despite being in a kennel on the other side of the window, this dog looked directly at him and barked as if speaking to him. He knew then that we had found our dog.

We stood by the window looking at the dogs for a few minutes before a worker told us we could go into the area where the kennels were. As we walked though the door towards the kennels we passed though a room where another family was being introduced to a dog. It was the dog who had caught my husbands attention. While we walked down the hall looking at the 4 or 5 other dogs that were awaiting adoption, that dog was returned to his kennel. We quickly approached a worker and asked to meet that dog. When the worker brought him in and let him off the leash he immediately rolled over on his back and wanted his belly rubbed. As the girls crouched around him rubbing his belly, and he wagged his tail in joy, I knew that we had found our “perfect dog”.

After filling out paperwork and paying the adoption fee we were told that we would have two weeks in which we could return him if thing didn’t work out. After that his license would be mailed to us.

When we left the building to get into the van I don’t know that I had ever seen a more enthusiastic dog. He jumped into the van and sat on the seat in-between the girls where he got lots of attention.

I think it was about five days later when my husband called the animal shelter and told them that we would not be returning Scout. They could sent out his license anytime. God had answered our prayer.

100_0148

100_0526

100_0377

100_0375

100_0226

100_0585

100_0499

102_0808

102_0802

102_0699

IMG_0770

IMG_0706

102_0633

We will miss you, Scout, until we meet again.

Sisters Day

Before I begin I want to apologize for being away so long. It was a couple of days ago when my most loyal reader, who also happens to be my husband and my editor, mentioned that I needed to get another post up, that I realized that it has been almost three weeks since my last post. I could come up with a whole bunch of excuses but that’s all they would be – excuses. Instead I will beg your forgiveness and hope you enjoy this post. 🙂

“Sister. She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she’s the reason you wish you were an only child.”
― Barbara Alpert

I love the above quote as it accurately describes my relationship with my sisters. Honestly there were not many days of “wishing I was an only child” and those days are long gone, but the rest of this quote describes us.

Last Friday was sisters day. What is sisters day??? It’s simply spending time with my sisters. There are no rules for sisters day because we would probably break them anyway. Sisters day might be two, three, or four of us getting together, but it is not exclusive to us sisters. There might be aunts, cousins, daughters, grandkids or friends involved. Husbands, sons, son-in-laws are also welcome if they want to put up with our shenanigan’s. 🙂

Our activities also vary but since they often include some type of crafting it should come as no surprise that last Friday we spent time shopping at Joanne Fabrics. I came home with fabric to make two sewing projects that I have planned; several skeins of yarn that I have no immediate plans for (but if you knit or crochet you’ll understand that you can never have too much yarn); and a hairpin lace loom. Hairpin lace is a method of crochet that I recently learned of and now that I have the required tools I am looking forward experimenting with new creations.  (Watch for this in future posts.)

One of the sewing projects that I have planned is a do-over. If you are a long time reader you probably remember that despite not being skilled at sewing I usually dust off my sewing machine and attempt to sew something at least once or twice a year. My sister, Kathy, on the other hand is very skilled at sewing and has been teaching my other sister, Jamie and my cousin Abbey for a while now. In September I decided to get in on the action.

Below are wo of Kathy’s recent projects.

20191116_200646
A perfect fit and the dogs name is Daisy. 🙂

 

20191115_162601
This shirt is a pattern she would like us all to try. I really like the style but making button holes is scary.

 

September Sewing

We selected a pattern for a hooded shirt that we all liked and decided that we would each make our own. Kathy had made one for herself and when I tried it on I really liked the look and the way it fit. I was very encouraged when she said it was an easy pattern to make. We then went fabric shopping and each selected our own fabrics. There were so many options and as you will see in the photos below we all had different ideas.

It was a week later when we got together to begin making them. Kathy helped us with laying out the pattern on the fabric, telling and showing us things about the salvage and the stretch of the different fabrics. She also helped with making sure that my fabric was cut properly so I could line up the squares and that the flowers on Jamie’s fabric would all be right-side-up. We also talked about what type of stitch we should use, machine settings, seam allowances, and I assured her I had a ball point needle that she told me I would need.

Before we parted that day Kathy gave us the directions for the first few steps, sewing the front and back together, attaching the sleeves then sewing up both sides of the shirt. If we had time we could complete those steps before we met again. We could also line the hood and attach it if we thought we could do it on our own. If we had questions just give her a call.

By the time we met, a week later, I had completed many of the steps. The body and sleeves were assembled and the hood was lined. I had decided to wait for guidance when attaching the hood. I was glad I waited because I ran into some snags but by the time we parted that day the hood was properly attached and the band around the bottom was pinned in place – ready to be sewn. After that all I would have to do is sew the cuffs on and it would be finished. WOO HOO!

The next day, after I had successfully attached the band on the bottom of the shirt I pinned the first cuff in place and was feeling really excited as I was sewing it in place. I was almost finished! Once I had that cuff finished I held up the shirt and realized I had sewn the cuff on inside-out. Ugh! The seam was on the outside of the sleeve. I wanted to cry.

Instead I got out my seam ripper only to discover that instead of ripping out the stiches I was ripping the fabric, so taking that cuff off and redoing it was not the answer. I talked to my sister Jamie and she said she would probably sew the other on the same way and wear it like it was intentionally done that way. LOL. Since I had quite a bit of fabric leftover from the cuffs I decided to redesign them. It was already messed up so what harm could I do?

Nervously I cut about six inches off both sleeves. I then cut pieces of the cuff fabric that would fit the area that I had cut off.  I pinned them to the sleeves so that the seam would be on the inside and sewed them on. I was actually quite pleased with the results. You will see it in the photo below. In fact I liked every thing about the way the shirt turned out – except the way it fit me. 😦

Before you see the results I want to tell you that the photo of me is not very complimentary (it’s a horrible photo of me). Not only does the shirt not fit well I seem to have a Frankenstein thing going on with my hair. I was hesitant to even include it but I didn’t think it was fair to write about it all but not show the end results. So please don’t judge me on this photo.

 

IMG_5840 (2)
Abbey and Kathy
IMG_5841 (2)
Jamie and Ruth (Me)

I really learned a lot from this project. Not only about the sewing process but about the way different fabrics act. We all made the same pattern in the same size (Abbey decided not to add the band on the bottom), but each of the shirts fit differently. When I tried on Kathy’s shirt and Jamie’s shirt (it’s a sister thing you know – we grew up wearing each other’s clothes) they both fit me well. My shirt was a better fit on each of them as they are a bit shorter then I am.

Jamie, who had said several times while we were making our shirts how much she liked mine, made me and offer. If I gave her my shirt she would buy me fabric to make a new one, hence the “do-over”. Even though Jamie had mentioned liking my shirt previously, I tend to think her offer had a lot to do with encouraging me not to give up.

It is said that “practice makes perfect” and “if at first you don’t succeed try, try again” so that’s how I will be spending some of my time over the next week or so. Keep your fingers crossed that you will see an updated post revealing great results (and a better hairdo LOL).  🙂

Thanks for reading.

Have you ever tried sewing?

Do you prefer to wear prints or solids?

 

 

 

 

Our Sweet Potato Harvest

The Harvest

Growing sweet potatoes this year was really just an experiment and unfortunately one that I did not document. While I regret that I don’t have exact dates, time frames and pictures, I was so impressed with the results that I wanted to share the process.

Below is a photo of our sweet potato harvest.

IMG_5776

It might not look very impressive until I tell you that all of those sweet potatoes grew in that pot (approximately 3 gallon).

The Process

I think it was late February or early March when I noticed a sweet potato that I had bought at the grocery store was beginning to grow roots. Rather than send it to the compost heap I decided to let it live.

I poked a toothpick into each side of the sweet potato at about the halfway point then put one end of it into a large mouth jar filled with water where it continued to grow more roots. The toothpicks held the top end above the lip of the jar. It was important to keep the jar filled with water and in a couple of weeks it began to sprout leaves.

I kept adding water and the leaves grew into vines. Once the vines were over 12 inches long I cut six to eight inches off and put them in a jar of water to root. I think it was early April when I planted 4 of them in the pot filled with potting soil. I also gave some to my cousin so she could grow her own.

I kept the pot near a sunny window and kept them well watered and they continued to grow. I think it was mid to late May, when the weather warmed enough and the threat of frost had passed, that I moved the pot to our deck.

From there it was just a matter of keeping them watered. If we did not have rain the soil dried up quickly and the leaves would begin to droop.

It was the first week in October, when we were having cooler overnight temperatures, when I noticed that even though the soil was moist the leaves were drooping. I decided it was time to harvest them. Harvest was as simple as dumping the whole pot out then breaking up the soil and picking the sweet potatoes out.

IMG_5778

Doing It Again

Since this variety grew so well I decided to try to keep it growing. The vine was not dead so I cut some slips from it and have them rooting in a jar right now. Soon I will need to plant them in a pot of soil.

IMG_5937

Eating Them

Sweet potatoes are a great source of many of the nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy. You can learn more about that here. While searching for a link to provide you with those benefits I discovered something I did not know. Sweet potato leaves are edible. They can be prepared and eaten like other leafy greens (think spinach) and are very high in nutrients. This article explains more.

We usually eat sweet potato baked but sometimes cut it up and add it to soups or stews. I am now planning on adding sweet potato leaves to our diet as well.

Do you have a favorite sweet potato recipe you would like to share? How you ever eaten sweet potato leaves?

 

Happy Halloween

Since Halloween falls mid-week this year we decided to celebrate early. Saturday we held our second (annual) Halloween party at the farm. Some readers might remember last year we ended up holding the party in our barn as the weather was not conducive to an outdoor party.

This year although we planned and were ready for outdoor activities we again had the barn ready as a back-up plan. The weather is just too unpredictable. Guests were instructed that costumes were optional, but they should dress for the weather (which should always be the case when you visit our farm).

IMG_5890 (2)

By Saturday morning we were certain that rain would be coming later that day. Our party was to start at 2:00 P.M. and we were hoping to get some outdoor activities in before the rain came.

IMG_5861

We spent very little money on decorations. We mostly used materials we had on hand. A few things, like this skeleton (below), we picked up at the dollar store. Looks like he’s been waiting to use the porta potty for a long time. LOL!

IMG_5863 (2)

After my husband and I put the finishing touches on our Trick-or-Treat Trail I took some photos so I could take you all on the walk with me. Don’t worry. The trail was designed to be fun for children so there is no blood and gore, no Freddie Krueger, and no one chasing us with chainsaws.

IMG_5864 (2)

At the entrance of the trail was a graveyard.

IMG_5865 (2)

It was also the first trick-or-treat station. The hanging basket to the left is where the kids could pick a few pieces of candy from the basket (even the big kids got some). The headstones were made out of Styrofoam sheets my husband had collected at the greenhouse job he worked this spring. They were some type of packaging material and were dumpster bound had he not brought them home thinking we might have a use for them.

IMG_5866 (3)

I had to edit the photo in order to see the writing and some are still not clear enough to make out the words. Buried in this graveyard (starting in the back row left side) are Ben Better, the double headstone is Ima Gonner and L.L.Beback, the third one in the back row reads Here Lies Mozart, Decomposing. In the front row it appears that Ben was not buried very deep as a skull has emerged from the ground. The headstone to the right is Barry M. Deep and as you can see the last grave is vacant (notice the shovel waiting by the grave). LOL!

While the kids might have been too young to pay attention to the headstones I think the adults who accompanied them enjoyed the humor. This candy basket contained reeses peanut butter cups, Hershey’s chocolate bars, kit kats and almond joys. If you have a favorite help yourself.

IMG_5868 (2)

Just beyond the graveyard this guy was hanging out. He seemed to be the gatekeeper (minus the gate). Although he is by no means frightening, when we first hung him up, several night before the party, he looked pretty creepy from a distance, and several times in the days that followed I would be working in various areas around the farm a catch a glimpse of what seemed to be someone standing there, again very creepy. LOL!

 

IMG_5870 (2)

A little farther down the trail is our next treat station. I had discovered these two logs laying in the woods and decided to give them some personalities (faces). This basket contained peppermint patties. They seemed to be a favorite of the adults.

 

IMG_5871 (2)

As we come to the fork in the road we will veer to the right to find our next trick-or-treat station. This time it is both a trick and a treat.

IMG_5874

My husband designed this basket with the glove secured in it and a fishing line attached to it. The fishing line was then run through a pulley that was attached to the tree behind it. He tied a small handle on the line and then ran the line to a stake that was placed along the path. When he pulled on the handle the glove (hand) would rise up out of the basket of candy. Very clever! This basket contained Smarties.

IMG_5876 (2)

We continue to follow the winding path through the woods.

IMG_5877 (2)

Our next trick and treat station is just ahead. This “haunted” rocking chair held a basket of ghost lollipops made from tootsie pops. The chair was also rigged with a fishing line/pulley system that allowed us to make the chair appear to be rocking on it’s own (or was it the ghosts?).

IMG_5878 (2)Another treat basket hung from a shepherds hook as we were exiting the woods. This one also held reeses, Hershey bars, kit kats and almond joys.

IMG_5879 (2)

Upon exiting the woods we turn to the right and head north along our west property line. Another treat station lies ahead under an oak tree that appears to be inhabited by bats.

IMG_5882 (3)

This basket contains white chocolate kit kat bars. As we venture up the slight hill and circle to the right we find our last trick-or-treat station.

IMG_5885 (2)

The mummy hanging on this basket is giving out cans of silly string. When the kids took their can of silly string from the basket they were instructed that they could not use the silly string inside the barn. While I didn’t see any adults take a can some how some of them ended up with it. Hmm, I wonder how that happened. 😉

IMG_5886 (3)

From this point we could now head back to the barn area where most of the other activities took place, but first I thought maybe you would like to see how the kids enjoyed their trick-or-treat trail.

IMG_5902 (3)

Our Granddaughter, Addy, picking some candy out of the basket.

 

IMG_5904 (2)

Our Grandson, Jackson, was fascinated with the hand rising out of the basket. He was more interested in how it worked than getting the candy. He did high-five the hand when I suggested it to him. 🙂

 

IMG_5915 (2)

Before approaching the haunted chair our 5 year old, great nephew, Landon turned and informed us “I’m not falling for your tricks.” LOL!

IMG_5919 (2)

My biggest surprise was how much the kids enjoyed the bats, reaching or jumping up to touch them or giving them a smack to see them fly. They spent a little bit of time playing with the bats before finishing their walk through the trick-or-treat trail.

After trick-or-treating  it was time to play on/in the straw bales.

party20197

 

IMG_5925

The rain held off for at least another hour while the kids played on the straw bales and silly string wars took place.

party20194

No one was exempt from getting “stringed”, so grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles, some armed with a can and some not, joined in the fun.

party20193

Just before the rains came my husband and son-in-law moved the straw bales to the barn porch. The straw stayed dry as did the kids as they continued to play.

The kids all looked so cute decked out in their costumes. Don’t feel bad if you don’t recognize their characters because I didn’t. I had to get the scoop from those in the know (their parents). I’ll clue you in – Landon, Jackson and Addy are characters from a cartoon called PJ Masks where three children become superheroes at night. Landon is Catboy, Jackson is Gekko, and Addy is Owlette. Kenzie is wearing a Queen Bee costume (appropriate for a visit to the farm). Queen Bee is part of a collection of doll called L.O.L. dolls.

You may remember Peanut, the cat, from the day we harvested garlic, well peanut has become a regular visitor, showing up at the farm almost daily. I had concerns about peanut being at the party because I thought he might jump on the food table.

IMG_5929

It seems that my fears were unwarranted as once the guests arrived Peanut found many a welcoming lap to sit on. Several times I spotted Addy giving Peanut kisses. It was so precious.

While all of our guests followed our instructions to dress for the weather a few came in costume as well. Jinkies! That’s Shaggy, Velma and Scooby Doo in the lower righthand photo.

In case your wondering what was on the menu we decided to keep it simple. We bought fried chicken from our local Meijer deli and I have to it admit not only did that make it easy it was also good and priced right. I made a pasta salad, we had a veggie tray with dip and cheese tray with crackers and apple slices with caramel dip. For dessert Aunt Donna made monster cookies and I made rice crispy treats. I dare say no one should have went away hungry.

It was a great day filled with food, family, friends, and fun. We couldn’t ask for anything more.

Thanks for visiting. Did you get some of your favorite candy? Would you have showed up in costume? If so who/what would you come as?