Friday, February 21, 2014

How Does This Happen...

Good morning... wait early afternoon :-)  I hope none of you have blown away or floated down the river in this weather.  It is very windy outside the homestead today and in the forties.  After the really cold weather we've been having I'll take it! The snow is melting and I can see the grass.  It's still brown but nonetheless it's there. lol.

First, there was a question as to what color my dining room is in my last post.  I figured I would answer here for everyone to see.  It is called Bamboo and it is an Eddie Bauer color at Lowe's.  I LOVE this color and have used it for many years.  Depending on the light it can be green or brown. 

I have so many things on my mind that I can't concentrate on any one particular thing.  I should be preparing my lecture for tomorrow, or stitching on a customer's sampler, designing new samplers (which by the way had me up late thinking of new ones), and also hoping this job opportunity works out for me.  The coordinator emailed me again last night stating we really needed to seriously talk about it. I would be able to continue to do what I LOVE just in a better capacity.  The problem comes down to money.  Would I have to take a paycut? ugghhh... Only time will tell.   So, what do I do instead of what I should I rearrange my house. lol. 

This is where it all began and how I think...  This will be picture heavy but this is how my brain works when I decorate.

This is where it all started.  I put this little "stand" together Tuesday. I stacked two boxes. I left it there thinking it would grow on me.  Well, it didn't.  I thought it was too heavy looking.

Which led to this (ignore my son's coat and boots)... oohhh ahhhh "stacky boxes" as I call them. Nope not working for me either...

Next...  Do you like my faux rosemary topiaries I found at Goodwill?  I just plunked them in some crocks I had because they didn't come with vases or urns.  I think they will work nicely for Spring don't you?  Nope... still not working for me.

Almost there... I thought getting rid of the heater for the Spring and Summer would be a nice change.  Yeah yeah I see the Christmas sampler in the back ground. LOL  I haven't put it away yet.

Final picture...

It still isn't completely done I still need to "fluff" around the ends of the bench with crocks or other stuff. Now that I see it in a picture I'm not sure of the basket underneath.  Maybe an old wood box would be better.  I also want to make a garland for the mantle with some dried stuff I have laying around here.  I just need to have Steve help me with some drilling.  I'm sure this will change many more times before it's all over.

Stay tuned as I transform my home for Spring.  I'm ready to move out the dreary days of winter and onto lighter longer days of Spring :-)

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It IS Ohio Afterall

Good morning everyone!  What a storm that came through my neck of the woods overnight.  I am so thankful I don't have to work today.  The snow waited to really come down after I got home from teaching.  There were some hairy moments on my drive home because it is all country roads and the snow had drifted across.  By my baby made it through without having to turn on the 4-wheel drive.

This is how she looks this morning...

We already had some snow on the ground, but this is how it looks out my front door...

The bad thing is it is suppose to warm up and melt all this in the next few days.  It will be a soupy mess.

My bread was a hit last evening...  I was told I need to make bread more often :-)

Now I can tell you the changes I made.  This is the original recipe.

1 1/8 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Add all of your ingredients to your bread machine as shown.  Pick your wheat bread cycle and light crust.

How about some dining room picutres?

My dining room does not look like this today because somehow someway it has become the dumping ground of everything.  I can't even see my table now!  How does this happen?  After I'm done visiting with you I must clean it up once again.  Have a great day!

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Monday, February 17, 2014

A Day Off

I know I said I'd be back over the weekend, but I was just too tired.  I worked my normal 24 hour shift on Friday, went to teach for 7 hours on Saturday, and then worked another 12 hours yesterday.  I just could not function once I got home last evening.  Yes, it may seem I'm burning the candle at both ends but I do believe a window of opportunity is opening.  You see, where I teach is our local county career center.  The man who is in charge of the safety service programs (police, fire, and EMS) used to be my EMS chief years ago.  We were talking on Saturday and I expressed my interest in really getting into teaching.  I am enjoying myself immensely.  He said that he thought that I really needed to be teaching after he saw me in action.  Then he eluded to being overwhelmed himself trying to teach and run the programs.  I offered my services for free to help him.  I told him I could file, do computer work, or whatever else he needed.  He told me he was going to take me up on the offer and that he may not be able to do the job too much longer due to the stress as he is not very young.  I am hoping this will be my window to get off the road as a paramedic and start teaching instead! Fingers crossed...

I would like to let you all know my dilemma still has NOT been fixed.  Steve, who can now be named, said he thought about it while he was building it but just kept on building.  He was going to let it go until I noticed. WHAT?!?!?!? lololol  That proves it was a ploy!!!! lolol

It has come to my attention recently that I may be becoming horizontally challenged.  How? You may ask. Well, I stepped on a scale where a teach I realized I have gained 6-7 lbs in the last couple months.  How can that be you ask?  Well, that little diet thing I did last year only lasted 1 month.  It is very difficult to be healthy when no one else in your house is doing it with you.  Today, I am once again determined.  I bought a juicer, which Steve and I swore we would use, still new and sitting in the closet.  I will use it!!!  I even went to the Amish bulk food store today to buy some ingredients for some new recipes.

I can hear you all now... uhhhh we do not believe you will be eating healthy with that donut box in the picture Mary.  lololol that is my daughter's... I swear even if I did eat a chocolate covered donut from that box this morning.  That is NOT the point!  From here on out... ok after I eat the chocolate toffee covered pretzels I bought today... I will eat healthy.  Oh wait Steve bought me chocolates for Valentine's Day... right after I finish those I will start my diet...

As you can see from the picture I bought both GMO free wheat and white flour (I know flour is not healthy for you) but I LOVE bread.  I also bought steel cut oats, flax seed, and chia seeds.  By Christmas I should look like one of the Chia Pets you see on TV with green plants growing out from me.  LOL  I have seen recipes using them as thickening agents in breakfast yogurt in a jar things.  I'll show you when I start making them.  Don't hold your breath though. 

Did someone say bread??? Oh wait that was me.  Speaking of bread I dug out my bread machine today to make some bread.  I store it in my basement and haven't used it in years.  I used to use it all the time to make my pizza dough and occasionally bread.  I had to wash a layer of dust and dirt off of my machine, but I have bread baking as we speak.  As I'm messing with the buttons my smart alack son says "Wow Mom! I'm surprised you remember how to use this."  really?!?!!? My daughter just now asked what the special occasion is that I'm making bread.  OK OK obviously it has been way too long ago that I baked bread.  Oh and by the way the roses in the background are NOT mine.  My very thoughtful son bought them for his girlfriend to take to school tomorrow for Valentine's Day, late.  They did not have school Friday or today so he will take them tomorrow. :-)

Anyway, I am using this bread recipe Honey Whole Wheat Bread from Allrecipes.  I have never made it before so I will have to let you know how it turns out tomorrow.  I made some adjustments to the recipe after reading some of the comments, so if it does not come out as a hockey puck and tastes good I will post the recipe I used  as well as show you some of my home pictures.  See you then.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014


The guilty party shall remain nameless in this post today.  An awesome idea wasn't so awesome today.  Someone around this homestead, who is very handy with tools, carpentry, and building (FYI it is NOT me lol) posed quite a dilemma for me today.

It all started with a text message today from a BFF asking if I would donate again this year to her churches auction for the teenagers mission trip.  I was more than happy to since her son was going and would get full credit for my items.  I did it last year and it was such a blessing to me to be able to help out the kids that needed the money to go. She had asked me a few days ago and I forgot to get back with her. UGHH!!! Anyway, she told me she needed the items by this afternoon.  Oh no!!!! What could I possibly pull together?!?!? I had other errands to run today so I marched myself to the basement right away to find some items to for the basket.  I KNOW I had some things down there.  I am not blessed with a ton of storage space, so I have things in my garage and in my basement under my steps.  This is where the bulk of it is stored. 

This is where the dilemma starts...

The unnamed person who is my builder here at the homestead built this wonderful coat and shoe area inside my basement door where we come in.  Isn't it awesome?!?!?  The doors cut down on the cold draft that blew up the stairs into the kitchen. The stairs are on the backside of the "wall." And we used the old doors we were hoarding in the garage to make the wall.  That builder is so smart :-)

Of course on the other side of the stairs is my beautiful fabric shelf "the builder" built for me. He even screwed it into the ceiling beams so that it would not tip over.  Oh yes, Mary, we remember that from previous posts I hear you all saying.  Right at the end of the shelf is my hot water tank.  It's barely visible, but it's there.

Now tell me what you think is wrong with THIS picture.

Well, it's messy for one Mary... yeah yeah ignore that... You have really ugly stair treads... I just think you are just jealous! lololol  Well, Mary I'm just not seeing it is what you are thinking.  There is no way for me to access any of my decor storage totes under the stairs. LOLOLOLOL  Neither of the walls is removable. But I see light back at the back of the stairs.  Well, that space is only about 12 inches wide.  I am NOT that skinny to fit in that space to get to my boxes. Nor am I able to fit in between my steps.  I might be able to get one leg in there,buttttt.... lol As you can see my hot water tank is on the other side.  I did not give this a thought until today that I wouldn't be able to get to my stuff. :shake my head:  I have not discussed this with my "builder" yet.  You all are the first to know of my little dilemma.

Luckily I was able to round up enough items around the homestead to include in the auction.  I just can't wait for my Steve "my builder" to come home tonight so I can break the news to him. LOL  I really NEED to be able to get to my stuff so I can redecorate if I need to. I think this may have been a plot by "my builder" to keep me from moving stuff around. hmmmm....

This has been an unbelievably busy week for me between work, teaching, taking a class, and running kids here and there.  Hopefully I will be back this weekend with some more pictures of the homestead :-)  Stay safe and warm my friends on the east coast with the storm that is moving through.

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Kitchen Rearranging

I told you this week I had a few projects to finish around here at the homestead.  It all started with painting the bathroom.  You are never going to guess that this is MY bathroom.  I'm not done so the reveal will be a little further down the line. I need a new shower curtain, decorations, and so on. 

Anyway, that led to the a kitchen clean up, living room furniture switch, then just a total rearrange of the kitchen which affected the dining room.  I could hear Steve muttering under his breath "too much stuff" lololol.  Lastly, a clean up of the master bedroom.  In amongst working Friday and teaching yesterday we managed to get quite a bit done.  In case I haven't told you I am getting my feet wet into teaching new Emergency Medical Technicians.  So far I love it!!!!  The class will last until June.  I'm helping as much as I can in between my work schedule and kid's schedules.

So, let's start with my newly decorated kitchen....

The shelves to the right in the picture that my microwave is on was in my front flower bed frozen to the ground.  We brought it into the garage and let it thaw out last night. I also used it in my booth when I had it.

I didn't like my microwave in the corner as it took up a lot of counter space.  This was the main reason for me to rearrange.

The cabinet was from my great aunt's rental house she had.  My Mom was getting ready to sell the house to the church next door who wanted to demolish the house.  So, before we did that I took this free standing cabinet out as well as all the kitchen cabinet latches and handles. 

I'm not thrilled with the microwave, but it still works and there is no need to buy a new one.  I'd love to have one above my stove, but I don't have enough clearance and then I'd have to talk the landlord into it.

Did you wonder where my computer desk is?  We moved it into the dining room.  That's another post. lol 

I haven't had much time to craft in the last few days but did receive an order for one of my hand stitched samplers.  So, that is my next project. :-)

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Thursday, February 6, 2014


My name is Mary and I'm addicted to punch needle. LOL.  I couldn't help but finish the one I was working on.  I took it to work with me yesterday and couldn't help but work on it.  However,  I did get frustrated with it at times because I kept cutting one of my threads. ARRGHH!!!! Once I start doing that I have to put it down.  I really like the colors and I think I'm going to put it on top of a box.  I first need to make sure I know how to do it.  By the way do any of you coffee stain your projects once they are finished?

Anyway, here it is... Steve bought me a new camera yesterday while I was at work so I'm still learning it.  I do believe my pictures are much clearer now.  So please be patient while I figure this thing out.  My old camera is probably 8-9 years old and only had minimal pixels and I couldn't do any editing.  OK it didn't help I spilled wood stain on it either :-/ lol  I really wanted one so that I can take better pictures for my patterns that I sell.

shhh... don't tell anyone but I think I have quite the stash of embroidery floss now.  I went a little crazy buying this last time. lol  I want to build up my stash so any time I get the urge to stitch or punch needle I have what I want and need.  I also want to try to overdye some of my thread too.  Do any of you do this?  I have several tutorials pinned on Pinterest to try.

Since I have the new camera let's revisit my first project shall we?  The coloring is still a bit too bright.  Guess I better figure that out.  lol.

Hope you have a great day. Steve and I are working on finishing up a few projects around here and I have some decorating dilemmas to solve.  I work tomorrow, but if I can't get it solved you will need to help.  I have the hardest time decorating corners and deciding on curtains.  Why is that so difficult?  We will discuss it next time. :-)

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Punch Needle Tutorial (Part 3 )

Welcome back :-)  Today is the third part in my series of how I punch needle.  Remember, I am new to this just like you.  How I'm doing it may not be the right way but it's working for me.  lol.  The piece I'm working on is my pattern, but I'm using different colors than my pattern calls for since I already made one using those colors.  These were my big purchases on Saturday while Steve and I were out. lol


Let's begin shall we?

Threading your needle....

Every punch needle has a bevel on it.  That is what punctures the threads of the fabric.  Click on the picture to see what I'm talking about.  Whenever you punch the beveled edge that you see must be pointing towards the way you are stitching.  More on this later.  Up above the needle is my threader.  I know it's very hard to see. The crossover part is what grabs your thread so you can thread your needle.

One end of your threader should have a part to hold onto.  Mine is a white piece of paper.  This serves two different roles.  One to pull the thread and two if you drop your threader you can see it easily.  :-)  Take hold over your threader and starting at the needle tip push your threader through so that the end is poking out of the top.

Take the thread (all 6 strands) you want to start with and pull out some thread.  Take the end of the thread and place it in the threader at the top.

Grab hold of the end (my white paper) and pull the thread through the needle.

We aren't done yet... just one more step.

Take your needle with the long side of the bevel toward you.

Take your threader and push it through the eye of the needle as shown.  The long side of the bevel is on your right.  Take your thread and put it through the threader.  Grab the white end and pull your thread through the eye.

The tail should be coming out of the long side of the bevel.

Shew! If my pictures aren't very clear please visit this tutorial to show you how to not only thread your needle but punch needle also.  For your right handed people you may want to rely on this tutorial.  Left handed people stay tuned. lol. My pictures are not great so the tutorial may help all of you.

Now that your needle is threaded decide where you want to start.  I like to start in the middle and work my way out.  If you have a needle like mine I have it set on 1.  That tells you how long your loops will be.  Mine will be pretty short.  Make sure the bevel is facing you.  This is like you are looking over my shoulder.

Leave a little bit of tail and push your needle all the way into the fabric.  I have been reading that your finished piece will look better if you outline first then fill in.  So, this is what I'm doing.

Make sure you have some thread pulled out.  You want to keep the thread loose coming into your needle or else you may pull out your loops as you go.

Pull your needle back up just until the tip of the bevel barely comes out of the fabric and drag the tip toward you about a needle width and put it back into the fabric.  You don't want your stitches too far apart or there will be white in between that you will need to go back and fill in later.  Now, when I first started and up until now this is where I have issues!  If you don't drag your needle and you actually lift it off the fabric and then punch down you might cut one of your threads.  Then the hair pulling and screaming begins! The threads will get all bunched up and pull out.  Leave the part that is done correctly intact.  No need to pull it out just start again where you left off.  You will need to cut the remaining threads and then re-thread your needle.  TRUST ME it won't work if you don't re-thread.  Here are a couple of my first punches.  Remember this is the back of the pattern.  Your stitches look like a running stitch.  Notice I am stitching toward myself.  Keep your needle at a 45 degree angle while you are stitching.

YAY!!!! I didn't mess up and got to the point.  Now what you ask?

With your needle still in the fabric turn the hoop so that the other line is facing you.  Then the bevel should be facing you also.  Then continue stitching down the other side.

Below is a picture of the front of the pattern once both sides are punched.  I looks kind of sparse, but trust me it will fill in.

Now just keep filling in until you get to the middle.  Notice you want to keep your next row pretty close to the first.  Again it is very easy to cut a thread with the bevel not only on the row you are working on but the row beside it.  Remember this is not a race.  My pace was very slow at first to make sure my technique was right.  I also sat at a table so I could rest both elbows on the table to maintain control of the needle.  I guess if you don't drink as much coffee as I do you may not need to steady your hand. lol.  Just keep on filling in until you get to the middle. 

Then just keep on doing the same thing until all of them are filled in.  I will show you my progress as I go. 

There are plenty of punch needle tutorials out there. Just do a Google search and you should find plenty. There is a great You Tube tutorial by Lori of Not Forgotten Farm which is very informative if watching a video is easier and especially if you are right handed ;-) lol.

Well, I'm off to teach tonight, but will hopefully get to work on my project tomorrow.  Please be sure to send me pictures when you complete your first project.  I'd love to have a friend picture gallery.  Have a good evening!

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Saturday, February 1, 2014


Good morning everyone!  Today's tutorial will be postponed until next week.  Both of my kids are gone, which is a rare occasion, so Steve and I will be spending the day together shopping and prim hunting.

Here is my thought for the day...  for those who know what I've been through in the last 5 years this is so fitting...

Have a great weekend!!!!
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