Friday, July 8, 2016

Beautiful Hand Made Quilts

For those wishing to place an order for a custom made baby quilt, here are a few examples of my work. All quilts are machine pieced and hand quilted. They are custom designed for you, with your choice of colors/patterns. It takes me about 4-6 weeks to complete, depending on how many projects I have going. The price is dependent on the design and fabrics, with discounts for using my choice of design and fabrics with your color choices. The average price is $50.00 per quilt. The size is roughly 42 inches by 36 inches. I can customize the size if desired.

Patriotic four-square in borders

Lovely strips for Nina's quilt

Galaxy nine-patch, cute model not included

Pink & brown triangles, Hannah's quilt 

Rail fence pattern on Sophie's

Bricks and strips in red and teal


Sampler column pattern, Baby Luke's quilt

More bricks in strips on Faron's quilt

Addy's quilt, nine patch with borders (this was duplicating her mom's baby quilt that I made over 20 years ago!)
Detail of hand quilting on Charlotte's quilt, my favorite part!

More detail of hand quilting on Aubrey's quilt

While working on baby quilts, I always pray for the baby who will receive the quilt. So you get covered in the quilt and the prayers. There's no additional cost for the prayers!

Please contact me with any questions or to place an order. Please note, if you're looking here, it's likely I've already given you my contact information. If not, send me a message here with your phone number and I'll be in touch soon.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ma and Pa Homesteaders

Things have been really busy around Lanky Ridge Farm over the last few months. That's no excuse for how long it has been since I published an article, but I'll just acknowledge the fact and move on. You should too.

Last night as The Hubs and I settled down to rest our tired bones, I realized how far we've come. We have become quite the homesteaders. It's been a long time since we lived in the city and The Hubs was serving our country with honor and distinction.

I grew up on a farm where my parents and grandparents did most things the old fashioned way. We grew our own vegetables in a large garden. Mom and Nanny canned, pickled and jammed more than their fair share of produce. They also used what they had, and used it up. Most of our food could have been called "home-cooking" and it was from scratch. Daddy always made sure we had beef in the freezer, and hams and bacon in the smoke house. We also had fish from the river and deer from the woods. We never really needed anything.

Somehow, living in a city, we lost sight of that lifestyle. We would visit the farm and enjoy the bounty. But in our own life, that's not how we lived. So when The Hubs retired from the Navy and we built our little house on Lanky Ridge, we were determined to get back to "the way things USED to be."

So last night, the reality of our lifestyle just hit me: we've done it. Oh, we still have a long way to go to really consider ourselves completely self-sufficient. But for now, I'm going to sit back and marvel at how far we've come.

Here are the things that we have done in the last couple weeks:

  1. We've enjoyed all homemade, from scratch meals. Some examples include: baked chicken and stuffing; ham and cheese panini; stuffed peppers; spaghetti; beans & rice with cornbread; pizza; omeletes. We're using a lot of garden produce right now.
  2. We entertained some friends from out of state. This included a huge July 4th celebration with our neighbors and church family (also fireworks!). My friend and I made this awesome flag-themed taco salad.
  3. We've been taking care of our garden. This includes weeding, picking, watering, etc. We also picked, snapped and canned two canner loads of green beans; cut up and froze or dehydrated peppers (various kinds); we've frozen some tomatoes until we have enough to make a large pot of spaghetti sauce; kept the deer and rabbits away from our garden and apple trees (it's an on-going battle).

  4. We butchered some of our chickens. This is a first for us! We're so excited to have home-grown chicken in which we know what they ate (or didn't eat). And we can't wait for our other chickens to begin laying eggs!
  5. I helped my sister take some awesome pictures of our new grandson. He's only two weeks old and some pictures also included his two-year-old brother.
  6. I taught my regular Wednesday night, women's Bible study at church.
  7. We've both been working on furniture refinishing projects. The Hubs has been refinishing kitchen chairs for my mom (one at a time) and I've been chalk-painting some fun items. 

  8. We take care of all our animals: three dogs, one cat, and our chickens. With the hot weather we've been having here in Central Virginia, that has included constantly monitoring their behavior and giving LOTS of fresh cool water.
  9. We do laundry using homemade detergent and we hang it to dry.
  10. We use homemade cleaners to clean and disinfect our home.
  11. I also work a 40+ hour a week job.
  12. Since our daughter just had her second baby, we've been helping her out some. We enjoyed having our two-year-old grandson with us while the baby was born. We're always glad to keep him for a few hours if she needs help. She lives close by so it's easy to run over and offer help--babysitting, shopping, cooking. Moms are good at that!

I just think that is an impressive list! It was really hot yesterday, and while I was fixing myself a refreshing mint julep (with mint from my own herb garden), I was just so amazed at these accomplishments! I hope this encourages you to become more self-sufficient. It's really in the details. Do one small thing consistently, until it becomes a habit. Then do something more. Keep going until you're saying to yourself "I've come a long way, baby."

I know for us, we feel good about what we've done. Our only regret is that we didn't do it sooner. But we're here now and homesteading feels good.  I think it looks good on us!

Please leave a comment about what you're doing (or what you want to do) to become more like a homesteader.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Few More Things

Here are a few more things that have been keeping me busy this summer:

  • My parents celebrated 50 years of marriage in June. My sisters and I hosted a beautiful gathering for them. We spent lots of time planning, shopping, decorating, preparing food and enjoying their special day. The Hubs made a delicious five-tier cake for the day.
  • Early in the summer, after Daughter S's graduation and just before Mother's Day, I treated my mom, my daughters and myself to a spa party. Two of my sisters and one of my nieces came along too. It was kind of a Mother's Day treat for all of us. We had so much fun! If you're looking for a place to get a pedicure or massage, you should check out The Spa of Buckingham.
  • My sister and I have been trading off teaching the pre-school Sunday School class at our church. That's almost a full-time job right there!
  • With the rest of my family, we hosted a farm tour and dinner for a group of young men staying at a state park in the area. These young men stayed for three weeks and worked at Holliday Lake State Park. They also enjoyed some of the recreational activities Central Virginia has to offer. They also got a look at some of the culture of our area, with the farm tour and other local attractions.
So I guess I've been even more busy that I thought I was.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Not Your Typical Back-To-School List

This is the first year we haven't sent anyone "back to school" since we put Son J on the green dot bus to preschool when he was barely four years old. That was a long time ago.  He's all grown up now and spends his time in the city, cooking up amazing treats like Danish pastries as big as my head. Daughter S graduated from college in May and has taken Little D and moved off to a different city to make the big bucks. Daughter P and her family are closer to home, but still no schooling for them either. And The Hubs and I are way passed that stage of life!

The Hubs and I at False Cape State Park
Anyway, it's got me thinking about all those years of sending the kids back to school. Back to school means the end of summer. Usually during the first couple weeks of school, kids are given the task of telling what they did over the summer. So here's a list of things that have been going on around Lanky Ridge this summer.

  • We've been enjoying our empty nest. It's been very quiet at times, but we're adjusting. We've enjoyed a visit from some great friends from Maine. We played tourist with them around the area. We took a quick trip to the beach, just the two of us. Our first trip to False Cape State Park was very nice and relaxing. We got a travel trailer and we've been spending lots of our time getting it "travel ready" and we have a fall trip planned. It will be road-ready by then.
  • For the first time in a few years, there's been a big garden at Lanky Ridge. With my busy work schedule in the summer, it hasn't been easy. We've gotten a lot canned. It works something like this: The Hubs has things picked, washed, shelled, and ready to go when I get home from work. Then we spend the evening canning and processing whatever is harvested that day. Processed jars are left on the counter over-night and cleaned, labeled and put away the next evening. We've done LOTS of green beans, some black-eyed peas, plenty of tomato sauce (both seasoned and plain), and relish. We've also frozen shredded zucchini and dried some herbs. We have more in the garden. Soon we'll can more green beans, dig up Yukon gold potatoes and sweet potatoes, and harvest pumpkins and more zucchini. There's a real satisfaction to knowing we have the food in our pantry and freezer. My go-to website for canning information? The National Center for Home Food Preservation here. And yes, my Extension Agent directed me to that website.
  • The Hubs has been spending a little time helping out people we know with computer issues. He's a whiz at that and word has gotten around. People often call him for help and he's always willing to help. They can be ornery things (computers not husbands).

  • We've both spent some time hanging out in the big cities. Whether staying with Little D when he's not feeling well enough to go to daycare so Daughter S can work at her new job, or running up to help Son J with a car break-down. Daughter S and I took Little D to see the dinosaur exhibit at a museum too.
  • Hanging out with my cousins is not something we often get to do, there are 29 of us and we live all over the world. So when our cousin came for a visit from Germany, we had to plan something special. A few of us went for a bike ride across High Bridge Trail State Park. If you live anywhere near Central Virginia and you haven't been there, you should make it a priority to go. It was so awesome. And it's always fun to hang out and reminisce about our grandparents and growing up visiting them on their farm.
  • With our newly-empty nest comes a couple empty bedrooms. So I moved my sewing room from a tiny space into a recently-vacated bedroom. The best part? My sewing room now has a window. Natural light is great for creativity, trust me! In going through my stash of fabric, I found a box of tiny squares that my grandmother had cut out and begun sewing together for a quilt. I knew it was there, but I hadn't thought about it in a long time. I've been working on finishing the quilt. It has many different fabrics and the pieces are very small.  It will be a true scrap quilt, which was her specialty. I'm thrilled to be finishing it for her. 
So that's my "what I did during summer vacation" list. What did you do this summer?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Things I LOVE

With Valentine's Day this week, I've been thinking about things I love. There are many things I truly love, like The Hubs, the kids and the grandsons. Then there are all those other things I "LOVE." Here's my list, in an order that makes no sense at all, not even to me.
  1. Post cards.
  2. Sunsets.
  3. Vegetable soup without peas.
  4. The color orange.
  5. Fresh baked bread. Add real butter, and it's even better.
  6. Comfy jeans.
  7. Quiet time with Jesus.
  8. Lemonade.
  9. Campfires.
  10. Cowboy boots.
  11. Strawberries.
  12. Cozy quilts.
  13. Daffodils.
  14. Dark chocolate.
  15. Hand-made scarves.
  16. Yellow kittens.
  17. Picnics in the woods.
  18. Country music. Unless Kid Rock is involved, then I'm out.
  19. Maxi dresses.
  20. Good books.
  21. Flip flops.
  22. Mountains.
  23. Old-fashioned aprons.
  24. Ocean sounds and smells.
  25. The American flag.
What do you love today?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Frugal Fridays: Re-purposing

Here are some more ideas for re-purposing common items.

Cereal boxes...cut out flat sections and punch holes along the edges. Give them to your child along with a shoe lace. They can pretend they are sewing. (remember those "lacing cards" from kindergarten?

Wire coat hangers...Bend the sides in and then both bottom parts up to make a hook to hold cookie cutters, canning jar lids, rolls of tape, etc. It can be hooked into an existing peg board.

Old blue jeans...Make coin purses out of the pockets for kids. Remove two pockets from pants, sew a zipper across the top, and stitch the sides together.

Old credit cards...Make several guitar picks from one card. Make softer picks from milk-jug plastic or plastic lids.

Bacon plastic...The plastic piece that comes in the bacon can be used to make stencils, such as for painting country designs on the walls.

Old T-shirts...use an adult-sized shirt to make a child's superhero cape. Slit up the front, leaving the neck intact. Depending on the desired effect, the child can put his arms through the sleeves or not.

I've found there are many, many ways to use certain items. Blue jeans, old T-shirts, milk jugs, soda bottles, and anything that we use lots of. Chances are, if you have a lot of something, you can find something useful to make from it.

All of these ideas came from "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczyn.

Another great resource for re-purposing items is pinterest. Trust me, you could spend hours researching ways to re-use stuff.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Frugal Friday: The Tightwad Gazette

I've been slightly lacking in postings for Frugal Friday lately. So here's a few simple quotes from "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczyn. Hope ya'll enjoy!

There are multiple ideas about re-purposing items. Some of my favorites:

"A soda bottle...Make a drip catcher for a cooler that has a spout near the bottom. Cut bottle diagonally. Then cut a horizontal slot in bottle to fit over the vertical spout." Page 636

"A milk jug...Cut off and discard bottom third. Use as a microwave splatter shield." Page 637

"Old T-shirts...Cut into long strip 2 inches wide. Stretch this so that it curls to make a cord. Crochet into hot mats, doormats, and even baskets. Use colored shirts to create designs." also Page 637

"Plastic bags of all types...Collect in burlap bag and use as an archery target. Plastic bags will stop the arrow, but allow it to be removed easily." also Page 637

"Broccoli rubber bands...Use for a jar or bottle opener. Place band on lid and twist." Page 638

"Bubble wrap...Those who spend their days on their feet can use sections for insole cushioning. Lasts about six hours and doesn't pop when walking." also Page 638

In the beginning of the book, Mrs. Dacyczyn answers this question: "How do you pronounce your name? It's pronounced "decision," as in, "I made a decision to marry a guy of Ukrainian ancestry." Page 7. LOL. I just love that. She is so funny, and you wouldn't expect that in a book with this title. I also love how she refers to herself as "The Frugal Zealot."

If you don't already have this book, I strongly urge you to buy it. In the very least, check it out of the library for a while.

While writing this article, I tried to find the soda bottle dip catcher thing from Pinterest because I remembered seeing a photo of it. I was unable to find it, but I did find a million other uses for soda bottles. So if you have something in abundance (soda bottles, soup cans, baby food jars), consider searching for a re-purposing option on the web. You might be surprised at what you'll find.

Feel free to leave your own ideas for re-purposing in the comments section. We'd all love some more great ideas.