Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sewing on a Rainy Day

Sewing and computer work - that's what I'm doing today! As always, Mickey is in my lap to help with the computer work.

Luckily, he is happy on the sofa while I sew!

Yesterday I made a quick trip to Auburn - wedding stuff and a miscellaneous errand or two. Today I'm hunkered down on this rainy day and Hubby be making a trip to Auburn later today - in addition to an awards ceremony for Daughter 2, he's meeting the cottage builder to tell him how we want the closets designed.

Are you sewing today?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hexie Inspiration

I didn't have a photo to share here's a random shot of Cooper's feet. He always sleeps with all four feet close together - what a cutie!

I was doing some blog reading this morning and found some wonderful hexagon inspiration. Go HERE to read it!

Hope you have a Hexie Wonderful Day!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Weekend Busy...

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend! We began the weekend by applying a waterproofing stain to the pier Friday evening. With hubby and I both working, we finished just before dark.

Much better! Though my shoulder are sore this morning...

Saturday we worked together again, preparing an Easter lunch for our family. Cooper "helped" by stealing the aluminum foil from the counter.

Sunday morning we packed the food in a cooler and headed to Auburn, enjoying the food at Daughter 1's home. We had a lovely lunch with both daughters and their guys - and it also turned into a surprise early birthday party for hubby - presents, home made caramel cake (Daughter 2), and the works.

It POURED rain on the way home to the lake, but then the skies cleared and we were treated to a glorious sunset.

Today I hope to get back to sewing...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Meal Planning (and a Recipe!)

You asked for it! How do I plan our meals? I start with an envelope!

On the right side I jot down meal ideas for the next two weeks. On the left I list the groceries needed. If you are a coupon person, you can slip the coupons inside the envelope.

I have several favorite recipes that I make often, so a couple of them are listed. I use lean ground beef often in meals - it's great because it doesn't create much grease when browned - no draining needed.

I also use cooked shredded chicken in lots of meals. I buy several large chicken breasts, put them in the slow cooker, add water to cover and salt/pepper. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Once the chicken is cooled a bit, I divide the chicken into freezer bags, smush out the air, and seal. Then a few good bashes with my fist and the chicken is shredded - no knife needed! I keep the chicken in the freezer for future meals. I have a Pinterest file specifically for recipes for cooked chicken. Oh, and I save the liquid from the crock pot - chicken broth! I can freeze this also.

Each week I try a new-to-me recipe - sometimes I'll find a win that will become a regular.

Do I plan a specific day to make each meal? NO! I just wing it. I save that envelope - hmm...what will I make tonight? I simply make one of the items that appeals to me that day. There are only two of us, so most of my meals have leftovers. Bonus! We are very good about eating leftovers. So each recipe usually feeds us at least twice.

Also, I also keep a couple of frozen pizzas and chicken pot pies on hand - for those days when there are no leftovers and I'm simply not in the mood to cook. I also keep a supply of frozen vegetables in the freezer (broccoli, peas, etc.) to put with a variety of meals. And I always have rice and pasta in the pantry.

Below is one of our favorite recipes - instead of cooking the chicken as called for in the recipe, I throw in some of my cooked chicken. I posted this once on my old blog, but it's worthy to post again!

If anyone is interested, I share other basic recipes using cooked chicken or ground beef.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken cut into 1 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups dried orzo (pasta)
3 cups chicken broth
8 ounces jarred or fresh basil pesto
2 cups baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
2 cups grape tomatoes (or halved cherry tomatoes)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese OR 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken, salt and pepper; saute until evenly browned, about 3 minutes. 

Stir in orzo and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Remove lid; stir in pesto, spinach, tomatoes, and cheese.

Makes 6 servings.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thank You!

I shared a better photo of our new cottage on Facebook yesterday. I have had SO MANY views of the picture and such kind words of support. Thank you!

You know, we started out our married life by building a 2000 sq ft home. Six years later with two small kids, we needed more space. So we bought a 4400 square foot older home. During the 20 years we lived there, we remodeled every square inch. Then we moved to Auburn and I said, "No more remodeling!" So we bought a new home still under construction. It was 4000 square feet. So yes, this cottage is a big downsize for us at only 1600 square feet.

And why are we doing this? Are we crazy?

We decided it didn't make sense to buy another large home simply to house all our stuff. We don't need all this stuff! I'm tired of having multiple rooms that look pretty but are never used. One of our daughters is already settled with her husband in Auburn. The other hopes to end up back in Auburn in a few years. So we don't need all those guest bedrooms for them!

And then there's maintenance. All yard work is provided for the cottage - we won't even need to store hubby's lawn mowers, etc., there. This will also give him more time to do those things at the lake house. We are determined not to overstuff the cottage. We'll take just what we need.

All the extra stuff? We'll offer it to our kids first. And we'll sell what they don't want. It's a very freeing feeling! Can't wait!

This is just outside the window here at the lake. Do you see the little birdie peaking out? Peek-a-boo!

And...the dogwoods are in bloom! My favorite!

I got lots of questions yesterday about my meal planning and cooking! (My blog went over 350,000 views earlier in the week!) I'll share the details about that here tomorrow, along with a recipe. Stay tuned!

Storms are coming in later today - I have lots of sewing planned! Should be a great day!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Busy Day in Auburn

I set out early yesterday morning and filled the day with errands and fun. First stop: the cottage! I was checking to see if they had started working on the items we've requested; nope, not yet.

In the course of the day I made a stop at both the condo and Daughter 1's home, filled up my car with gas, went to a car wash to get the pollen washed off, made a return at a clothing store, made a purchase at a clothing store,  stopped at the storage unit to measure a couple of things, visited with several friends, and bought groceries.

Oh, and there was a lunch Waffle House.

I got back to the lake around 5 pm to two hungry dogs. And I got the PILES of groceries put away.

I'm grocery shopping so much differently now - I plan two weeks' worth of meals and buy groceries accordingly. If I do need something in between, Hubby can stop and get it on his way home from work.

Today there will be sewing happening! Looking forward to that!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Azalea Season!

It's THAT time of year - the azaleas are blooming! So beautiful...

The pollen from last week is gone, washed away by the weekend rain. It's going to be a beautiful day around here.

It's been too windy to take outside photos around here for several days. Yesterday it finally calmed down. Just before sunset I took my latest Bliss section out on the pier to take some shots. Nice background!

Yesterday was productive:
1. Wrote an article for Hexie Love.
2. Machine sewed binding on a quilt - ready for hand work!
3. Sewed a table runner, basted it, began machine quilting it. 

I'm headed to Auburn today. I have another long lists of errands. Should be fun! 

Monday, March 21, 2016

International Quilting Day

Did you quilt on Saturday? International Quilting Day? I DID! I basted and quilted a lap quilt. AND I finished the next section of BLISS, patterned in Hexie Love. I left the main room for 5 minutes and someone had absconded with my pincushion. COOPER! He's such a thief.

Hubby spent the entire weekend on projects. He pressure washed the pier and deck. He fixed broken sprinklers. He put out weed and bug killer. I'm SO glad the cottage will have little or no upkeep! I'm hoping to see hubby really relax there - though he does enjoy piddling in the yard here at the lake.

So what will today bring? More quilting! Yay! I have plenty to work on today - writing the next set of  BLISS instructions, basting ANOTHER quilt, and some paperwork.

Let get to sewing!

Friday, March 18, 2016

A Bit of the Green....and Yellow Pollen

It's pollen season here in Alabama. Yuck! It covers everything. You can see all that yellow on the surface of the lake, especially around the shore.  Luckily I'm not allergic to it, but it does create a mess until a nice rain comes to wash it away.

Our green for St. Patrick's Day was not Irish, but Mexican. Works for me! We were in the mood to get out of the house - so we headed to our new favorite Mexican restaurant. And let me tell you, downtown Eclectic, Alabama was hopping last night! Haha!

Driving back home the storm clouds were rolling in - some nice rain to wash away the nasty pollen!

We're celebrating tonight! Why? Daughter 2 was matched this morning to her first choice of residency programs! Yippee! She and her fiancé are coming to the lake for dinner - fun!

Have a happy day!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Parts and Pieces

Yesterday I basted a pile of parts and pieces, ready to stitch together today. I also finished binding a quilt. I've really loved my week of yellow, with a bit of black and a few other colors.

I was in a baking mood yesterday, with a pile of over ripe bananas. I made a new-to-me recipe - Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. Yes, it tastes as good as it sounds! And the house smelled heavenly while it was baking.

Today I'll be machine stitching the parts and pieces together. And I have a quilt to baste. And quite a few dog walks...  but first I need another cup of coffee while I try to get awake.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Day Off

I spent the morning in Auburn - I had a LONG list of errands and took care of all of them. WHEW! I think I made 8 different stops! When I got back to the lake I was tired and just didn't feel like diving into quilting.

So I headed out to the deck with the dogs and a book. AHHhhh.... I'm reading The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen. "A haunting and hopeful tale of discovering light in even the darkest places." I'm really enjoying it and I'm so glad I'm making more time to read this year.

Some beautiful moss is growing just outside the house. Such beautiful color!

And last night's sunset: AMAZING!

It was early to bed for me and today I'm raring to go again. I have hexies to baste and a quilt to bind! And I may bake some banana bread as well - the over ripe bananas are calling my name.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Screened Porch!

Today's curved hexie represents sitting on our cottage screened porch and reading the newspaper- you see it don't you? And yes, I'm still in YELLOW mode.

And what do we see here? Scout, the grand dog, is visiting this week. He and Cooper are best buds, playing CONSTANTLY.

Today I'm headed to Auburn - LOTS of errands and stops to make! In fact, I need to get going now. Hope you have a great day!

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Yellow Monday

I had so much happy fun yesterday with my yellow stash - I found these bicycles - perfect! And they represent something special - at our cottage neighborhood has the perfect biking roads with little traffic. We plan to take advantage and regularly ride.

While I hexied, hubby pressure washed the long sidewalk. We found that lake houses require more maintenance than other homes. The sidewalks need pressure washing more frequently because of the moisture of the lake water. There there are boats and personal water craft that need maintenance and attention. And the pier - it needs pressure washing and sometimes repair. And of course there is a lawn to mow and fertilize, bushes to trim, and appliances to repair. Speaking of which, hubby fixed the refrigerator yesterday. He diagnosed the dishwasher problem and will order the parts today. He's not an expert at appliance repair, but Google is a big help!

At the end of the day, we waited on the pier for sunset.

Hope you have a bright yellow day!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

First Daffodil!

Yesterday: the first bloom! In honor of this occasion, I've decided to work with yellows for hexies today - and maybe a touch of green to represent the stems.

I also got my first mosquito bite of the year yesterday - bring on the bug spray!

This morning I'll be doing some hand binding before I start making hexies.  Hubby is trying to fix the leak from the refrigerator and then he'll try to fix the leak from the dishwasher. OLD appliances here! There is a towel in the floor that gets moved back and forth between the two leakers throughout the day. The range is an entirely different beast - the cooktop takes FOREVER to heat up and the oven cooks really hot and fast. I'm learning to adjust! At some point the the future we'll replace them all in one fell swoop.

Okie dokie - time to get back at it! Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

In My Happy Place

My happy place is anywhere I'm sewing. And I've been getting so much done! Rain is coming in later today - hubby is outside doing yard work before it arrives. We may head out this afternoon to run an errand or two - boring stuff - new sprinkler head. But we'll probably go out for a late lunch or early dinner while we're out.

The dogs are getting into a routine here at the lake. I take them for a walk every morning around 10 am and they accomplish all the things they need to accomplish. :) There is a deck that is enclosed - they spend a couple of hours per day out there - fresh air, sunshine, a view of the lake and ducks and loons. And then another walk around 3pm and sometimes another walk around 5 pm. We are all walking more. A good thing!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Hexagons are Happening Here!

I began working on another section of BLISS yesterday. What colors to use? GREENS! I picked the greens based on this Kaffe Fassett print. There are LOTS of shades of green in this one fabric.

Piles of GREEN! I basted piles of hexies, ready to stitch together today. I also basted a quilt - so machine quilting will be happening, also.

Cooper enjoyed our hot weather yesterday - a quick dip for him. Two walks for us!

We had an unwanted visitor this morning - an armadillo. Yuck! He was under the deck. He's gone now, thank goodness. Did you know that armadillos can carry leprosy? Hubby shared that fun fact with me this morning. UGH!!!

I'm rather glad Friday is here - we have a real weekend! I see lots of sewing in my future!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Old School

The lake home where we're currently living is about 26 years old. It's furnished so that's good. And there are dishes and pots and pans - again good! Yesterday I decided to bake a cake - found a mixer in the cabinet. Yes, it's an old school mixer - but it worked! I couldn't find any mixing bowls - so I used plastic batter bowls. There wasn't one big enough so I had to divide the batter into two of them for mixing. It worked! Making do!

Lots of hexies were made yesterday! Loving this unit!

I'll be making more hexies today - can't wait to eat breakfast and get to work!

It's going to be 81 degrees here today - Spring is here and I'm glad. I'm going to have a great day and I hope you do, too!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Ready to Stitch!

I didn't have time to sew yesterday, but today....I'll sew and sew and sew! I plan to work on three different quilts today! Yippee - that's a good day! I have basted hexies ready to stitch, a quilt to hand stitch the binding, and another quilt to pin baste to ready for quilting.

Last night's dinner was a Reuben Casserole - yum! And plenty for leftovers. 

The house: we got it! We are over-the-moon excited about our new cottage! We won't close on it until later in May - we want to wait until after our daughter's wedding. Now our focus can be on her parties and other activities.  

The cottage is just what we wanted - a true Craftsman style. We'll have a great front porch and a screened porch in back. The closet space is great and we know we'll love it! 

Hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Feet Up....

At the end of a long day yesterday....feet up...on the deck. Hubby and I have made a pact that we'll enjoy sunset on the deck every day that we're at the lake, weather permitting. I need the calming effect yesterday.

Look what I did last night! I basted curved hexies! So good to get back in the swing of hexies. I hope to stitch these together this morning.

No house news - going through the dance of negotiation - back and forth. Back and forth.

Off to Auburn later today to do some wedding stuff. Hope you have a fantastic day!

Monday, March 7, 2016


Yesterday was BUSY. I started sewing early, finishing FIVE quilt tops. I put a batch of chicken and sausage jambalaya in the crock pot for dinner. YUM! After a quick lunch we headed to Auburn.

I'm kind of loving this backsplash. Most people see triangles, but of course I see hexagons! What do you see?

This is the backsplash in the home we like. Yes, we have made an offer. I'll keep you posted. It's TINY! VERY TINY! The bad part is we'll have to get rid of lots more stuff - hope our daughters want some of it. The good part is - lots less housework - yay!

A few of you have asked why don't we just live here at the lake. Good question. Yes, we did consider it. But we like to attend lots of sporting events in Auburn. And we have family there. And I have my friends there. So we think it will be a good compromise to have two tiny homes. We have totally switched directions since we first put our home on the market a couple of months ago. I think our real estate agent's head must be spinning. But she's fabulous and goes with our flow.

Today I have big plans if I can get awake. A certain little dog kept me up. We are transitioning Mickey back to sleeping in his crate and he's not too happy. He'll adjust. Anyway, I'm hoping to do lots of sewing today. And maybe some baking. And definitely a long walk - the weather is gorgeous this week - sunny and warm. The bluebirds are out and about. The loon are dipping and diving. And Mickey? He's sound asleep in my lap, catching up on his loss of sleep. What a dog...

Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Cooper's Spot

Cooper has his own special spot here at the lake - we moved a big ottoman right beside the windows so he has quite the view. 

And here's the view from above. Yes, he's happy here.

Yesterday's house hunting went well. We've found a tiny house we like. We may go back this afternoon to see it again and take some measurements.

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Productivity Abounds!

So good to be working with my BERNINA again! Yesterday I was rocking and rolling: I was 'assembly line' piecing several identical quilts at one time and I got so much done! More about these quilts later, I promise.

I also vacuumed, did dishes, and trimmed the quilt that I had just bound. I love a productive day! Oh, and I made a garbage run. We don't have garbage pick up here at the lake house. But there are dumpsters we can use at the local fire station which is just down the road. We typically run down there in a golf cart, but I took the car yesterday.

This morning we're watching Tiny House Hunting - before we drive to Auburn to look at houses. Does that give you a hint? It's crazy! We had planned to build a home in our old neighborhood. The plans had been drawn for us. We'd met with the builder. BUT...

Now we're thinking differently. After living in this tiny lake house for a couple of weeks, we realize that we just don't need so much space. Especially since the lake house will be in the family for us to use whenever. AND SO, we're looking at much smaller homes now. Maybe we will even find one existing without having to build. #goingtiny

Friday, March 4, 2016

Today's Helper

Mickey's in my lap this morning - always ready to help! We've been up and busy for hours already.

So yesterday I ripped out the binding on the quilt - remember, I did it all wrong. Then I had to press the binding again and start over. I finished stitching in on CORRECTLY this time. It took me three and a half hours! Lesson learned - I will not make that mistake again!

This morning I trimmed away the excess batting and backing - it's ready for the hand work - yippee.

Also this morning I've been printing little labels that will go on favor boxes for the wedding. Of course the ink on the printer started running out, so I'll have to get new cartridges before I finish this task.

Next up this morning? BLISS! I'm working on the next section - yay!

Hope you have a HAPPY Hexie Day!!!


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Today's Appointment

This is now our afternoon routine - a nice walk! Yes, they love it!

And here's the photo I was unable to share yesterday - turning the island into a cutting table. It works so well for me to cut binding strips on the bias.

So yesterday I sewed the strips end to end and started machine sewing it to the quilt. Looks like the quilter had some fun in the outer edge of the batting!

And so, I sewed and sewed. This quilt has a scalloped edge - my first scalloped edge. I thought I knew what I was doing. I made it almost all the way around the quilt sewing on the binding when I realized....I didn't know what I was doing. I did it ALL WRONG. Sad face from me.

And so, today instead of beginning the task of hand stitching the binding to the backside of the quilt, I have an appointment with the seam ripper. Ugh! Oh well, it happens.

Moral of the story - don't do something new when you have a headache.

In other news, we are sleeping on the new mattress - what a difference! And no headache today! Yay!