Friday, January 17, 2020

Valentine Star

Happy Friday, everyone!  Well, I don't have a free pattern for you today, but I do have a new pattern up in my Etsy shop, which is almost as good, right?  It at least means I'm getting back into the swing of making patterns!

Valentine Star Tissue Box Cover, Plastic Canvas Pattern, $4 on Etsy
Here's hoping you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Winter Welcome Wall Hanging

I did it!  I finally got the Winter Wall Hanging pattern all finished and posted onto Etsy!  I've been working on this thing for... maybe two months?  That's ridiculous, considering the Spring and Fall versions took me about two weeks to finish.  I guess I'm getting slow in my old age.

Winter Wall Hanging Plastic Canvas Pattern, $4 on Etsy

Now that that is out of the way, I plan on doing some smaller, easier patterns to get myself back into the swing of pattern making!  No promises, but I may even get back into making free patterns for the blog!

Have a great rest of the week, everyone, and a fun weekend!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

What's Up Wednesday

Here we are in the first week of 2020, and what do I have to show for it?  Honestly we've done a LOT, but if certainly doesn't feel or look like it at my house.  We've been doing or fixing something every day this year, it seems, but the house is still a huge mess.  Check out my living room.  Kind of looks like I've got some dead bodies laying in the middle of the floor.

That's just my Christmas tree though, no dead bodies this time!  I managed to get all of our decor down and put away except for the tree, which I JUST got taken apart and put into the bags yesterday.  I was dead tired last night, though, so there they sit.

The reason I was so tired was because of this:

Or rather, these:

We dropped by the Amish bulk store on the way home from Chad's parents' house to pick up a gallon of molasses (for $10!  Can you believe that!), and they had bushels of apples for $5.  Five dollars!  How could I resist?  Yes, I know I already have about 20 quart jars of applesauce in my basement, and yes I know we just finished eating the apples I bought in October, and yes I know we're kind of tired of eating apples by this point.  But Five Dollars.  Besides, they were my two of my favorite kinds of apples, Macouns and Empires. 

And anyway, my mom never got any applesauce this year because I was too busy taking care of her in October/November/December to make her any.  Now she's got 6 quarts of sauce to get her through the winter.

The top picture is a new recipe I tried.  It's apple pie filling.  We don't eat a lot of sugar, but I was getting pretty tired of applesauce and wanted to try something different.  It only calls for 1/2 cup sugar per quart, and I figure I can find a way to decrease that in the future.  We also don't eat a lot of pies, but I figure I can make crisps or muffins or something with the pie filling.  If nothing else, we can crack one open and make Hobo pies in the summer around the campfire!

Why else am I so tired?  Well, on New Year's Day, we went over to Chad's folks' and had our traditional pork and sauerkraut (except it was ham this year, and actually come to think of it, his mom forgot to get out the sauerkraut.  Oh well).  Except Chad was helping his dad reattach their cupboards that were falling off the wall.  Meanwhile, I realized I had left my bag (wallet, money, credit cards, and phone included) at the coffee shop earlier in the day.  We spent the entire day worried sick out of our minds about it, but thankfully it was unmolested and I got it back the next morning.  That made me feel better about humanity! 

Chad and his dad didn't finish with their project on New Year's, so we had to go back on Saturday to finish up.  We wanted to get that done because we had our own problem!  Our freezer was leaking water, and suffice it to say that it needed a new part.  Since we're trying to save money to buy a home in the country, we've been trying to do all of our own repairs when possible, so Chad ordered the $18 part and he got to work on it.

It took him about 4 hours, but he got it done!  Yay!  Also, the freezer is cleaner than it's been in years. 

In other news, I've got two week old lettuce babies in my Aerogarden, happily growing away.

I've decided that, with all of the outbreaks of salmonella and e-coli in lettuce (especially romaine, which is my favorite), I'm no longer buying lettuce in the store.  I'll only eat lettuce that we grow ourselves, which works pretty well in the summer but is a little harder to do when it looks like this outside.

But it's closing in on 4pm, and I need to get some laundry in the drying and get dinner going, so I'd better wrap this up!  I hope you're all having a wonderful week and a blessed 2020 so far! 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

What's Up Wednesday

Good morning everyone!  Welcome to this beautiful new year, full of 365 shiny new days and 52 brilliant new weeks, not to mention 12 new months, all ready for us to make the very most of them all.  Is that how you feel when the new year comes around?  I didn't used to feel that way; I used to feel kind of defeated before the new year even started, having just spent the last month eating more sugar and spending more money than anyone really should.  One thing I really like about getting older is that I'm beginning to realize that the past doesn't matter as much as the present, and that to live a happy life, you need to live in the here and now.  I'm trying!

It's not Wednesday, but I feel like giving an update on my life.  It's been a hectic fall/winter, and it feels like everything is starting to calm down a little bit again and maybe I have some space to breathe (and blog!).  In October, my mom had her hip replaced, and I was her sole caregiver for three weeks, at the same time that my hubby was on a business trip (for the first week), and my grandpa kitty was very sick.  So I had to make tough choices about who and what was important in my life.  I only got to see my poor sick kitty for a couple of hours a day, and I got to see my hubby even less, but thankfully we all made it though.  Kitty is feeling better now, I got to come back home and sleep in my own bed, and my mom is recovering so quickly! 

Sunshine, on one of the few occasions I got to see him when I was caring for my mom.
Being so focused on my mom, I didn't have a lot of time to take care of my garden at the end of the year.  It was pretty impressive that I managed to get out in mid-November to dig up my carrots before they totally froze. 
This is just one carrot.
I also didn't have any time to do any crafting, which made me pretty sad.  There's something in my soul that makes me want to always be creating in one way or another, and I get really down when I can't do that.  I didn't even get a chance to cook for a long time because my mom and dad get Meals on Wheels that just need to be heated up!  I have to admit that I was feeling really sorry for myself during this whole ordeal, and unfortunately I did some emotional shopping.  I'm not proud of myself for doing that, after all, we're trying to save for a new home.  But at least what I bought will be a lifetime companion.

My precious.

Yep, I bought a dutch oven.  I'm not happy with how much I paid for it, but it is a very nice piece of equipment, and I do love to cook! 

I have gotten myself back under control now.  We went on to have a very frugal Christmas, maybe even more so than last year.  We used the rewards from my credit card to pay for the presents for the kids, and then my side of the family did a Secret Santa exchange with a $20 limit.  For Chad's side, we tried to make as many gifts ourselves as possible, including lots of jam and homemade bread.  In the end, I think we spent less than $100 on Christmas for 13 people, and the best part is that it was a beautiful Christmas.  Less focused on presents, more focused on family.  That's what it's all about.

The best present

We did buy two small additions to our Christmas decor this year.  In honor of Chad's Swedish heritage, we started to collect Tomtes, or Christmas gnomes.  I also got the tiniest Dala horse cookie cutter to use to cut out pepparkakors! 

Large gnome, small horse

I am finally getting back into my designs, too!  I've been working on a new project for the last month, and I'm happy to say that it's almost finished.  This is an addition to the seasonal wall hanging collection, and now all I have to do is finish Summer and it's all done!

Almost done!
I also started a new quilt, but it's just in the cutting out stage currently. 

There's lots more to cut out still.
I'm going to make 2020 a great year.  Another thing I've come to realize as I've gotten older is that you make life what it is.  You can't change a lot of things in your life, but you can change how you respond to them, how you think, how you feel, how you react, and if you're positive with a hopeful outlook on life, you can make it a good one.  That's what I'm aiming for this year, hope and happiness in my life as it is right now. 

Happy new year from us!

Out on a wintry hike

And may you see nothing but possibilities in the days to come!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Jar Alphabet

Hi there, everyone!  I got my act together today and got the Jar Alphabet all finished and listed up on Etsy this morning.

Jar Alphabet pattern, $4 at Etsy

Now if you want to make a seasonal jars wall hanging with your own words or names, you can! 

Ok, I'm off to go work on my cool new Halloween pattern!  Have a great rest of the week!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What's Up Wednesday

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  I bet you're surprised to hear from me!  Well, I'm surprised, too, to be honest.  After the crazy spring we had, I didn't think I'd ever get a chance to get back into blogger or even designing, but here I am! 

Actually, now that it's summer, it's getting into the heat of summer, there's not a lot I can do through the afternoon.  It's 88° today with tons of  humidity, so I closed my windows at 9am and now I have to find something to entertain myself for a few hours!  We have a couple of window AC units, but here in the north most people don't have central AC.  Our way of coping is just to sit in front of the fan and read a book, or in my case, start stitching! 

Well, I guess it's time to stop rambling and get onto the pictures.  I'll let them speak for themselves!

Here's my veggie garden:

And my flower garden:

I also take care of my mom's gardens, and here's how hers are doing:

A very nice customer reminded me a few weeks ago that I was going to finish the mason jar alphabet, and I should have that pattern available in my shop in a few days!  And of course, you leave a bunch of letters sitting around with an oversized kid in the house (hubby), and this is what happens:

Finally, something that's really exciting for me, I started working on a new design for Halloween.  I'm not going to go into detail about it, but here's my sketches!

I hope you're all having a lovely summer and a wonderful Wednesday!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Updated Life Choices

Hi everyone!  I hope you're all having a lovely May so far.  It's usually such a lovely month here in western NY, though very wet!  We live very near the top of a hill, so you would think the water would run down to a lower level.  But no, in the spring, our back yard is so wet that I need to wear knee high muck boots, and even then I usually splash mud up on my pants.  It gets so bad in the back near my apple trees that I sink in an inch or two, slip and slide all over the place, and sometimes very nearly lose a boot!  Hubby and I joke that we have to attach pontoons to our lawn mower.

I love spring though, none the less.  It's a chance to get outside again after a very long, cold winter, a chance to get back in touch with nature, to put my hands in the soil, hear the birds, see the little green things growing.  It's lovely and magical. 

I have found myself wanting to spend more time on my home, my garden, and my family this spring, and less time on my designs.  It's not that I have lost interest in designing, but that I want to make the other parts of my life a higher priority right now. 

I was beginning to wonder when I should start getting back into designing when I got an email from Annie's.  Annie's is the one big company that showed interest in my designs, and I actually sold very well on their website.  They're kind of the reason why I pushed myself so hard there for a while, because they were actively seeking new designs.  Isn't that how it is with big companies, always searching for the big new thing?  Well, Annie's emailed to let me know that they discontinued about 3/4 of the patterns they were selling for me. 

At first I was kind of upset about it.  I mean, I worked really hard on those patterns and I also worked really hard to get those patterns on Annie's website...  but then I decided that maybe it was an opportunity to reevaluate my life and where I'm going.  The truth is, I wasn't very happy with where my design business was going and it was a good time to change things.

Working with Annie's really made me proud, but it was also really hard.  When I was working the hardest on my designs, it was a part time job, 4 hours a day and roughly 20 hours a week, but I'm only getting paid about 1/3 the price of even a minimum wage part time job. And because they wanted new patterns frequently, I found myself sacrificing what I wanted to design for what was easy to design.

So in light of all of this, plus the fact that I want to spend more time focusing on my home and family and garden, I decided that I'm going to shift gears a bit.  I do still want to design, but I want it to be on my own terms this time.  That will mean fewer new designs, but hopefully more interesting ones that I can really get into.  More complicated, interesting patterns.  Maybe I'll branch out into quilting?  We'll see.  Right now I feel like I'm trying to find my way, and I'm just trusting God to lead me down the path I'm meant to be on.  So I hope you'll all bear with me! 

I don't know what this means for my blog.  I do want to continue to post about my life, and I probably will post free patterns, but I don't think I can promise weekly patterns like I was doing before.  That's too much of a grind for me right now.  I have a very good library of free patterns though, so make sure to look through it!

I also want to let you all know that all of my patterns are still available in my Etsy shop.  I'm still waiting to see what's happening over at Craftsy (or Blueprint is their new name I think).  I may post my patterns there when they reopen their pattern section, but for now my patterns are only really available on Etsy.  If anyone has any suggestions of where else I can sell my designs, let me know! 

I guess that's all for now.  I wish I could say more about what I plan on doing, but right now I just don't know!  Except to say that I definitely will be working in my garden every day that I can!