Friday, December 20, 2013

Some Good Things

Lately I've been finding some pretty good things over at Nourishing Days.
First, let's start with this apple pie.
It's gluten free and honey sweetened.
Now I know, for those of you who aren't gluten free or sugar free, your initial response goes something like this, "Um, no. I'm pretty happy with my sugar filled, wheat crusted, delicious pie, thank you very much."
And that would have been my response too, just 6 months ago. After all, if you have something that works, why change it? But since going (almost) gluten free thanks to this, I have found that I actually enjoy being gluten free. There are some wonderful recipes out there that taste phenomenal and are actually easier on your body.
So really, if you have the chance, try this recipe.
It will knock your socks off. Not only will you only eat apple pie like this for the rest of your life (and your body will thank you with each bite) but you'll decide that the amazing crust recipe must go into the family book to be used for all future pies as well.
My second good thing found over at Shannon's blog are these.
Even if you're not off-grid and you just want to have a few reliable, battery free flashlights around, for when the power goes out....or when the power grid finally fails...ya know, whatever reason, then these little gems are great.

While these are great for indoor/outdoor regular flashlight use, they also work well for general room lighting when stood up on the flat end, with the light facing the ceiling.
I charge ours on our windowsill and haven't had a problem with them yet. Plus, they are reasonably priced. I like that. You can read Shannon's review of them here.
A few more good things...
{Clearing brush and burning it}
                      {A brother and sister on a tree daddy fell}                     

 {A seven year old boy with a torch. Wait, is that a good thing?!}
And a 7th birthday celebrated.
{A Filson hat just like daddy's}

(Sorry for the low light but my phone camera and oil lamps don't make for great photos. Oh, and by the way... yes, Shannon's pie was so good that I not only made it for a church function, but also for Layton's birthday!)

Last but not least....

I got this idea from Tonya over at Plain and Joyful Living. We had no where to hang our stockings this year and I haven't yet put anything up on our walls, so this fit perfectly. Thanks for the inspiration, Tonya!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Little Homestead Update

A quick update on the new homestead in pictures....because between our lack of good internet service and this laptop, I'm not to keen on staying on the computer any longer than I have to.
I will try my best to get some more pictures up in the next month or two. I am excited to take lots of "before" photos to then compare them in a year or two to the "after" ones!

{Moving things with Daddy's bucket truck...who needs a moving van?}

{A special little boy turning 4}

{Wyatt loving the snow}

We got our first snow back on the 6th of December and boy were the kids excited. So excited in fact that they were outside, in the dark, at 6:30am playing in it!

{The front door}

{Frozen I know why Ma Ingalls stored pumpkins in the attic.}

{All the foul have survived - so far! The off-grid brooding of baby chicks in 2014 is going to be interesting. Any ideas?}

{Snowman courtesy of Timber Ann}

{Hunting for our Christmas tree}

{We found it! Less than 200 ft. from the back of the house!}
{Merry Christmas from our family to yours!}
May the blessings of the season, the remembrance of a gift given in the form of a baby, and the joy in knowing our Lord and His Saving Grace, warm your heart and your home this Christmas.
Blessings to you!

Friday, October 25, 2013

We're Moving! And some other random things...

Wow. Where do I start? The last time I blogged anything was back in June. 4 months ago.
Part of that was due to the garden/summer season. And I knew it would happen. It does every year. My sewing machine collects dust- literally- and we spend out time outside and busy with warm weather projects.

At the ocean

Riding one of Uncle's horses
Let's do a quick recap:
Our county fair this summer was really fun. I'll have to apologize though for the lousy phone camera pictures.
Timber and her prize winning arrangement
Layton showing his calf 

The garden and green house both did well. Layton grew the best corn we've ever eaten! We got about 25 pumpkins off our pumpkin vines and our fruit trees were amazing.
The Lord really blessed us this year with a bumper crop of everything. What a wonderful last summer to remember at our old home.

Main Garden 2013 

And speaking of old homes, did you read that we were moving?
Oh, this has been such a long, patient process for our family. My husband and I have been looking at property for close to 5 years now. Looking and waiting. Waiting for the Lord to provide the right time and the right place (not to mention something affordable so that we're not in debt for very long!)

 We are purchasing a 5 acre parcel with a fixer upper, off grid home. We are beyond thankful to the Lord for His provision of this piece of land. It is going to take a lot of work and a lot of fixing (home and land wise) but we are excited about the possibilities that await us. If any of you have ever read Michael Bunker's book "Surviving Off Off-Grid" then you'll know what we are shooting for with this new homestead. If you haven't read his book yet, may I humbly suggest that you get your hands on a copy and read it. Then re-read it. And then apply it to the best of your ability.
Mason and Oakley
Mason is wearing his "mountain boy" shirt I made this summer using a pattern from here.
A few other notes...
I have read the book Trim Healthy Mama and am using the methods in it to change my eating habits. So far (about 8 weeks into it) I have lost nearly 17lbs. I am thrilled and am well on my way to being a healthier mama for my family. It was easy for me to employ the eating methods in the book since we already eat a organic/whole foods diet. All I really had to do was cut out the sugar (which everyone should do anyway) and reduce my grains significantly. I then used the way my body burns fuel (fats and carbs) in the S and E meals to lose the weight. It may sound a tad bit confusing but if you read the book, it becomes clear.

I was also supposed to cut out whole raw milk. That made me sad. So instead of being ultra strict with the diet, I now consume much less raw milk than I did before, maybe drinking 1/4 cup per day. I still want the beneficial bacteria and all the yumminess whole, raw milk has to offer, I just don't need all the fat.
We started school in the beginning of September. This year I have a Jr. (in high school), a 1st grader and a kindergartener. Wyatt is using a combo of Apologia, Rod and Staff, Journibles, and Notgrass American History.
Layton and Timber are using Heart of Dakota. Mason is just hanging out, being an almost 4 year old.

I found some of these at Fred Meyer a few weeks ago.

If there are 2 things I am a sucker for it's quilts, canning jars,.. and bowls. Wait, that's three.
I restrained myself to just purchasing the one 6-pack of them.
I canned Spiced Apple Peel Jelly in them. I used Quinn's recipe as a starting point and then altered it from there.
I took my peels and cores and poured water over them to almost cover. Then I strained that, added the ACV and a handful of cloves and cinnamon sticks. I placed a cover on my pot, brought it to a boil, turned the heat off and infused the spices in juice for about a half hour. I then strained the juice, removing the sticks and cloves. From that point I pretty much followed the instructions in the Pomona Pectin box for jelly making. For sweetener I used a combination of coconut sugar and evaporated cane juice.
From 20lbs of apples, the peels and cores made up a nice finished 6 pints of jelly.

Signs of fall
So far hunting season has been a bust. Well for the most part. My dear husband has been so incredibly busy with work this fall that he hasn't had the time to go hunting on his own. Hunting this season has included mom (me), a 16 year old, a 6 year old, a 5 year old and a 3 year old. All piled into a truck. A loud, diesel truck.
Or walking along paths, breaking sticks underfoot, jumping, laughing and generally running off anything within 500 feet of us, 2 minutes before we even get there.
So here is the fruit of our labor so far...
One Grouse.

This coming weekend is the last weekend for bucks here in Northern California's B zone but thankfully upland game bird and bear season continue.

(Oh, and as a note, the 3 year old is holding a bottle of ROOTbeer. Just to clarify.)

Roasting hot dogs

The perfect skipping rock

The Creator's creation is simply amazing. All through out the year but especially, in my mind, in the fall. The crispness of air, the changing colors and temperatures. Stunning.
Thank you, Lord.
Lastly, quilting.
I have started a bit more here and there. I wish I could share some of the finished tops here on my blog but alas, I have readers (family and friends) who will be receiving some of these come Christmas and I'd hate to spoil the surprise. It is wonderful to hear the hum of my machine again though.
I will say though that I am working on another quilt for our bed. I'm using Jenny Doan's tutorial below. It's quick and easy. When you're making a quilt to cover a CA King bed, you want quick and easy. At least I do. I dug through my fabric stash and found the perfect fabric for this quilt... Wildflower Serenade by Kansas Troubles Quilters for Moda.
Yes, I know that the line is about 5 years old but I don't try not to stash fabric unless I know I'll use it at some point in the future.
Have you ever used a tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Co.?
There is more but I won't go into it for now. If you've made it this far you must be dedicated.
 Did I hit you with enough stuff?
Thanks for sticking with me.
Hopefully I can post again before the year is over.
I hope that your fall is full of His wonderful grace and blessings!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Quilty Barn Along ~ Barn #8

Timber inspired the making of this barn. She just said, "Mama, let's sew."
I had other plans.
But encouraging her to sew is something I want to do. I don't want to discourage it.
So, I laid all other plans aside and we set up our machines and went after it.
Here is barn #8.
I'm feeling better now about this quilt along. I'm not so far behind...only 1 barn still left to make. (The one where I need to come up with my own block for the barn wall.)
I'm working on it. Slowly.
Now it's time to get back out in the garden.
Have a great week!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Quilty Barn Along ~ Barn #7

Barn #7, you say. What happened to #6? Did I miss it somehow?
No, I'm just (again) behind on the barns and I wasn't a huge fan of the sunflower block on barn #6. So that means that I get to make my own block for that barn...which, I have....not....done....yet. Phew. Who knew it would be so much work to build a dozen barns? ;)
So, here is my barn #7, just finished today.
Now I've got to get onto barn #8 and then still figure out barn #6.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

SO Behind...Quilty Barn Along - Barn #5

Oh boy, I am so far behind on the Quilty Barn Along blocks! I just finished up barn #5 and Lori is about to post barn #8 next Wednesday.
And ya know why? Because it has officially become gardening season. Quilting season (in this house) has come to an end and I am not finding the time to sew like I do in the winter.
Here is my barn #5. One of my favorite barns yet....
The only reason I got this one done today was from the encouragement of my friend, Michelle. Her and the rain. :) Thank you, friend.
Well, I'd better get sewing on some more barns....#6, #7, and soon to be #8. Hopefully I'll see you all sooner than later!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Churn Dash Quilt Top Finish ~ WIP Wednesday

I finished up my churn dash quilt top! It came out to be 71" x 89". I still don't quite know what I'm going to use it for. It's too small for our bed and too big for any of the kids bed. I may end up just putting it at the foot of our bed, folded.
I used Indigo Crossing from Moda on this quilt.

Sorry that the picture isn't that great. The quilt is too big for my clothesline and it was cold and damp outside this morning, so it is what it is.

I'm going to be sending this quilt out to Kathy to quilt. I am looking forward to seeing what she does with it.

And in other WIP news, I got this quilt back from my sweet friend, Christa. She quilted it for me and did a wonderful job! I'm going to be entering it in a semi-local quilt guild show in May. When I have some pictures of the finished quilt, I'll share. I still need to get the binding on it. That's my WIP goal for today!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Barn #4 ~ Quilty Barn Along

Here is my fourth barn for the QBA hosted by Lori Holt. I think it's my favorite one yet! Probably because lately I'm a sucker for churn dash quilts. Which, by the way, I almost have my churn dash quilt top done. I'm hoping to share it this Wednesday.
I love scrappy quilts and this quilt, once all the barns are complete, will have a very scrappy look.
I put the borders on this block after it was finished and now I'll go back and put the borders on the first three.

If you'd like to see my previous ones, here are barns one, two, and three.
Have a great week!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Rained In...Quilting Time!

We don't ever get enough snow around here to be "snowed in" but we do get plenty of rain and this last Thursday through Sunday it rained, and rained, and rained, and rained. No one wanted to spend much time outside. So on Saturday, I sewed. All day. And it paid off.
I got a quilt top done for a special friend who just had a baby boy a few months ago. This is a very special baby that she has waited on for over 10 years. God is so faithful and good!
I made the quilt large enough so that she could use it on his toddler bed (if she chooses to.) I know he's got a while before he's in a toddler bed (he's only 3 months old now) but she has a lot of baby blankets and she has gone hard core with his cowboy theme, so I thought she may like this for the future.

I used the same line of fabric, Happy Trails from Benartex, that I used in making Mason's big boy quilt. The solid brown is a Bella Solid from Moda. 
I had a few leftover cut blocks from the quilt so I put this pillow face together. I was thinking of trying to find a pillow form for it but I think I'll just stuff it instead.

I've also got some fabric left over to make a matching pillow case too.
When everything is sewn and quilted, I'll share the finished pieces.
Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Great Charm Pack Sale!

There is a great sale going on right now at Craft Town Fabrics. They have a ton on wonderful charm packs on sale and if you enter the code "charms" at check out you'll get an extra 20% off!

They have....
Indigo Crossing
Welcome to Bear Country
Over the Rainbow Batiks
Audras Iris Garden
Snap Pop
Lots of Christmas charm packs
and a bunch of Kona Solid charm packs!
And more that I didn't even list!! Click here to see all of their charm packs. Enjoy!

And while you're at it, check out this giveaway too.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Barn Block #3 ~ Quilty Barn Along

My Quilty Barn Along block #3 is finished!
I changed up the block on the side of the barn for this one because I wanted to keep the barn blocks as traditional in look as possible. The postage stamp block for this barn is adorable but it just didn't have the look I wanted.
I am really loving this sew along. It is so fun! Lori is so talented with the things she comes up with!
I'm looking forward to our next block in 2 weeks.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Churn Dash in Progress

Here is one of my current WIPs.
I've always wanted to make a churn dash quilt. It's traditional, and I'm a traditional kind of girl. Once it's complete, I'll get to check it off my, "Must make one of these in my lifetime" quilt list.
I'm using Moda's Indigo Crossing Charm Packs for this and am still not sure how large I'm going to make this quilt. I have 14 blocks completed already. The finished block size is around 13" so I was contemplating making it into a quilt for our bed. The only problem is that the quilt on our bed is blue and white and tan already so it wouldn't be much of a change to put this quilt on instead of our current one.
Any ideas on what to do?

I'm linking up this week with the WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Quilter in Me

The Moda Cutting Table blog has inspired this post. It has been fun to read about other quilters and what they enjoy using as they quilt. So I decided to do something similar...a "get to know you post" quilter style!
How long have you been quilting?: I started quilting when I was about 20 (give or take a year, I really can't remember!) Since I love all things old, I wanted to own a quilt. And I wanted it to be a quilt that I made. It seemed so nostalgic, so old fashioned, so wonderful. No one in my family was a quilter. My grandmother was an occasional seamstress. So where the urge came from? I'd like to think that the Lord had it in me at just took 20 years to come to the surface.
I'll be 35 this year so I guess that puts it at around 15 years.
What kind of machine do you use?: I'm cheap. Well, sort of. Spending $2000-$3500 on a sewing machine is not my cup of tea. For that price, the machine better make my quilt for me.
So I own this. It has been the most wonderful "simple" machine I've ever had. It has so many wonderful features and allows you to FMQ! The only problem is the throat size. This machine works o.k. with a crib sized quilt but anything larger is just too much. If the throat were about 3 times larger it would be, in my opinion, the most wonderful sewing machine of all time.

What are your favorite fabrics?: Cottons... and from Moda. I'm just really picky about fabric and I have yet to find anything that really tickles my fancy beyond Moda. They always have something out that I LOVE and can't live without, so why use anything else? I will say that over the past month or so a few lines from Riley Blake have caught my eye...even one or two from Benartex.... but overall I am just a Moda girl. And my stash would prove it.

What notions top your favorites list?: Wow, there are so many that I love. I could never dwindle it down to just a few, but I will for the sake of dragging on and on.
My rotary cutter is wonderful. If I had to cut my fabrics with scissors my quilts would be a whole lot messier.
My Aurifil thread. I have tried other brands (and I somewhat like Mettler) but overall Aurifil takes the cake!
I purchased a 3-way Sandboard recently and it has become one of my favorite notions. I love it for applique and I used it just yesterday working on my Churn Dash quilt.
My seam ripper, the fact that my machine has an automatic bobbin winder and an automatic threader (all the things I take for granted!), my Omnigrid rulers, my rotary mat...............

What's your favorite style of quilts- traditional or modern?: I am a huge traditional girl. There are a few modern quilts that I like and I certainly appreciate all quilts but overall, give me traditional quilt over a modern one any day!

Do you have fabric or quilt "limits"?: Hummm, do I ever think that you can have too much fabric? That's a tough one but I'm going to say yes. But having a large stash of fabric is essential.
You can never, let me repeat - never, have enough quilts. Ever.
Enjoy your week!

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