Monday, January 31, 2011

Bracing for a Storm

It looks like we're in for a big winter storm over these next few days! This morning, the freezing rain and sleet is to begin, and that is to continue throughout the day and into tonight, before changing into snow. It is to snow all day tomorrow, and we are expected to receive well over a foot of snow by the time it is all said and done (they are currently forecasting 15+ inches for here!) And then comes the wind! Which will cause very low windchills (the air temperature itself is forecasted to be well below zero one night), and the wind will also cause significant drifting snow. Needless to say, we won't be having girls group again this week! But we were able to meet together with all of the girls last week, and there should be a post up before too long about our wonderful afternoon together.

With the storm, things could get interesting here what with caring for the animals, making sure they stay warm enough, shoveling pathways, etc., and there is the possibility of power outages as well what with snow-laden trees and strong winds and also if there are significant ice accumulations. We haven't had a storm of this significance forecasted in a long time, so it will be interesting to see how it all pans out!

Prior to this winter weather arriving, the daytime temperature got up into the 40's for a few days (which felt quite warm!) so that helped melt off a lot of our last snow, but our place is still mostly covered. And during the sunny, warmer days, I had the pleasure of hanging out some laundry on the line . . . and using the clothespin bag again, which I love! I don't know why it took me so long to make one of these as it works so well!


With all of the snow, it sure has been beautiful out, and the other morning when I was taking care of the animal chores, I went ahead and walked out to the garden to empty the compost bucket then, too. From there, I could look out over the pasture, and I had to go and get my camera! The trees were covered in a thick beautiful frost, the sun was shining, a
nd the sky was brilliant blue. By the time I got back out with my camera, some clouds were beginning to drift in so it wasn't quite as pretty as what it had been, but it was still a treat to see and photograph . . .


And then, I had the pleasure of walking along the fenceline and photographing a few other things as well . . .

I love these old fence posts! The neighbors have slowly been replacing them with t-posts, but there are a few remaining wood ones.

More barbed wire. :)

A foxtail grass seed head

Frost coated plant stems

It was so pretty how the sun was reflecting off of these frost covered grasses! Now if only the path where I had walked wasn't right behind them. :)

The tracks of some little animal

Now this last photo is kind of a curious one . . . as I was walking along photographing, I spotted this in the snow, and as it wasn't something I had ever seen before, it took just a bit to figure out what exactly it was . . .


I knew pretty quickly that the markings in the snow were from the wings of a bird . . . and as they spanned a couple of feet across, I knew it was a large one. Then with the hole in the middle, and a few other tell-tale signs, it didn't take too much to deduce that either an owl or a hawk had found its dinner here! We've been seeing a Barred Owl quite regularly on our place as of late, so I am guessing that is likely the bird that did this. Anyway, that was quite interesting to see!

Well, the clock is reminding me that it's about time now to head outdoors to care for the animals and to 'batten down the hatches' before the storm arrives! :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Brush and Some Stain . . .

. . . and the result is . . .


Two weeks ago today, I was able to stain the chair that Daddy and I had reassembled! Based on some pieces of furniture that we have, I had an idea
in my mind of what I wanted the finished chair to look like, but I couldn't really find a stain that appeared like it would match that. So I wasn't especially looking forward to trying to choose which stain to use as it looked like it was going to be a hard decision! :)

When we had been at the hardware store awhile back, I had picked up a stain that looked the closest to what I had envisioned for the chairs, and then we had a number of stains here that were leftover from other projects. So I did a small test sample of each of them on the underside of the seat, and it looked like the one that I had gotten at the store was close to what I was wanting! Thus the decision on which stain to use ended up being pretty simple. :) Now to see what it would look like when applied to the whole chair . . .

Just a note - the seat to the left is one from the other chairs

So on that Saturday afternoon (on one of the rare days when it was above freezing) with windows open and a fan blowing out one of them for ventilation, I began my first time ever staining. It was so enjoyable to do, and I loved seeing the beautiful grain of the wood come alive once the stain was applied! And I was so pleased with how the chair turned out looking with this stain!

A close-up of the front dowels (the flash reflected off of the top dowel . . . it's not really that much lighter than the other one!

The process on the other two chairs has
also now begun, as shortly after staining the above chair, I attempted to take the other two apart. After watching Daddy disassemble the last chair, I thought I would give it a try as now I had a better idea of how to do it, and I also had realized that I needed to hit hard with the mallet! Not the lighter taps that I had tried before. :) The attempt ended up being successful and now those two chairs are all apart and labeled (except for part of the backs of the chairs - I'll need Daddy's help to finish those.)

The disassembled second chair

Next to do is removing the old spline from the seats which I have started working on now. These two seats have been much more difficult to do this on than the last one! It is a slow and tiring process, but little by little they are getting done. Several evenings lately have found me sitting on an old sheet on our living room floor, the chair seat in my lap, a spray bottle of vinegar nearby as well as some paper towels, and the spline removing chisel in my hand
. . .


The spline has been quite difficult to remove on these two seats, and the only way I have been able to do it is to soak it in vinegar, let it set for a bit, little by little peel off a layer of the spline, and then repeat the process until I get down near to the bottom . . .

Peeling off the top layer of the spline

Then it's time to chisel out the remainder of the spline as well as the chair cane and glue that is underneath of it, and that is hard work! At one point, after working on one spot for quite a length of time and making very little progress, I told Mom that they must have put a gallon of glue in there! And while that was an exaggeration :), there was a lot of glue in the groove and it took a long time and lots of vinegar to get it all removed.

So far, one chair seat has the groove
on it all cleaned out, and I am about halfway finished with the second . . . then it will be time to strip the stain and varnish off of these two chair's pieces, sand them, put them back together again and then stain them!


I also wanted to thank you all again for sharing so many wonderful sounding breakfast recipes and ideas on my last post! It was appreciated, and I look forward to trying them! Thank you!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Breakfast Ideas, Anyone?


There are sections of my recipe binder that are quite full, but others . . . well, they could use some help! And thus, I come to all of you blog readers for assistance! I am hoping to add to the "breakfasts" section in my binder, and especially simple, quick and wholesome dishes to make. And quick as in around thirty minutes or less to put together, or things that can be made the night/day before and can just be popped into the oven the next morning. Or things that can be made in large batches and then frozen for later use (such as pancakes and waffles.)

Even if you have ideas for something as simple as 'dressing up' oatmeal, they would be appreciated! But then again, if you have any favorite breakfast recipes, they are more than welcome :) . . . I would appreciate any and all recipes that you would like to share!



*The pamphlets in the above photo are ones that were passed down to us from my great-grandma . . . she had a large tin full of old recipes, newspaper clippings, and then advertisements and pamphlets such as the ones above, It has been so fun looking through them!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Success!

It is amazing what a little salt, a bit of fresh lemon juice, and some sunshine can do . . .

They turned this . . .



. . . and this . . .


Into this . . .


. . . and this . . .


Yes! The stains on the antique quilt are barely visible now! After researching online stain removal ideas for antique quilts, I came across one that utilized salt, fresh lemon juice, and sunshine to remove rust stains. I wasn't even sure that the stains on the quilt were rust stains, but it looked like they were, so I thought I would give it a try. So when we finally had a sunny day, salt was sprinkled over the stains, and lemon juice was squeezed onto them and gently rubbed into each of the stains. Then the quilt was laid out on a sheet in the sun (over our foot of snow :) and was left to dry.

Imagine my excitement when this worked! After the first application and drying, two of the four larger stains were barely visible, and the two largest and darkest ones (the two in the above photos) had faded considerably. So I repeated the process again yesterday, and now you can barely even see the two largest stains! Needless to say, I am thrilled!

This has been such a fun process restoring this quilt, and now with the stain removal finished and the quilt washed, all that is left is to put on a new binding (I am still looking for the right fabric for that) . . . and then the quilt will be all ready for loving use again!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Coming Soon . . .

The sewing room has been a flurry of activity lately! The table is strewn with trims and fabrics, scissors are cutting, the machine is whirring, and little by little I am getting closer to my goal . . . adding the rag dolls to the As Lilies Sewing website! The dolls will be offered ready-made (with an option of custom ordering as well), so beginning last week, I have been busy sewing dolls and clothing for them.

Right now, there are dolls in various stages of construction, several outfits have been completed, and others are either cut out or are in the process of being sewn. These dolls are fun to make, and I have enjoyed making their little dresses and pinafores!

And here is a 'photographic glimpse' into some of this busyness in the sewing room . . .

'Pieces and parts' :) . . . at the beginning of last week, I sewed the doll bodies in assembly line fashion which saved so much time! And prior to that, each of their little faces was hand embroidered.
Fabric pieces, trims, elastic, pins . . . and little by little, another outfit is coming together!

Dresses and pinafores all cut out and ready to be sewn . . . Leah and I had fun together going through all of the fabric scrap bins and choosing fabrics for the doll clothing. Her artistic eye is always appreciated when doing things like this! And then came picking from our 'stash' which trims to use . . .

A completed pinafore

Two dolls nearly finished!

So with all that said . . . stay tuned as, barring unforeseen circumstances, it shouldn't be too terribly long before the dolls will be added to the 'shop'! :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Lord of All

Several years ago during one of my read throughs of the Bible, I focused upon the character and attributes of God . . . and then in my current Bible notebook at the time, wrote out categorically all of the verses that specifically mention these things (though I am sure I missed a bunch! :) It was an amazing study and helped me to come to know so much more about my Lord in a deeper and more complete way than I had before.


Last evening as I reflected on Who the Lord is and His beautiful relationship that He has with His children . . . with me, His child . . . this study came back to mind, and I thought I would share what had been found . . .


The Lord is:

~the Ancient of Days

~the Almighty

~Awesome

~Blessed

~the Bread of Life

~Compassionate

~a Consuming Fire

~the Creator, the Maker of All

~Eternal

~Everlasting

~Excellent

~Faithful

~the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega

~Forgiving

~Gentle, Meek and Humble

~Glorious

~Good

~Gracious

~Great

~the Helper and Sustainer

~the Highest One

~the High Priest

~Holy and Blameless

~the “I AM”

~Immanuel

~Immortal

~Incorruptible

~Invisible

~Jealous

~the Judge

~Just

~Kind

~King of kings and Lord of lords

~the Light

~Living

~the Living Water

~Lord of All

~Love

~Majestic

~Merciful

~the Mighty One

~the Most High

~Omnipresent

~Omniscient

~the Only God

~Patient

~Peace, The Prince of Peace

~Perfect

~Powerful

~Pure

~the Redeemer

~Righteous

~our Rock

~our Fortress

~our Shield

~our Stronghold

~our Refuge

~the Savior

~the Shepherd

~Sovereign

~Truthful and True

~Truth

~Upright

~Wise

~Worthy

~the Word of Life . . . the Word of God

~Zealous


What a God we serve . . . what a God is our Savior and Redeemer! . . . so far beyond what our finite minds can hope to comprehend. And may we give our all to Him and humbly submit and walk in obedience to this awesome Lord of all . . . He has given in His Word what it is to love Him, to serve Him, to follow Him, to obey Him, to be pleasing to Him . . . may that Word and instruction always be our guide, our standard, the light for our path . . . for He. is. worthy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

There's More than One Way . . .

. . . to plow a driveway!

Looking up our driveway after it had been 'plowed' :)

As a little preface . . . we awoke on Thursday morning to nearly a foot of snow blanketing the ground . . . and that's a lot of snow for here in Missouri! It has been a long time since we have had this much, and it was so beautiful outdoors. I very much enjoyed the time spent taking care of the animal chores in the snow, shoveling pathways to everything, and then going for a walk through the deep snow later in the day . . . there were places then where the snow had drifted and was almost up to my knees!

Some of the animal feed barrels . . . after the dogs had been fed :) and thus why one of the barrels doesn't have snow on it anymore.

With all of the snow, though, something had to be done with the driveway . . . usually if we get a big snow, we just shovel it which always takes a long time as our driveway is very long! But it's enjoyable to do if not a little tiring. :) This time, though, Daddy came up with a different idea to clear the driveway
. . . as Thursday morning, we unexpectedly needed to be able to get the car out quickly so Daddy got creative!



He made his own drag! We had some large logs that he had recently cut to be used for something, so he tied one of those to the hitch on the truck, and drove around and around our driveway (it's a circle drive.) It worked so well! And before long, most of the snow was pushed out of the way, the car was able to be driven out, and we didn't even have any shoveling to do! Save at the very end of our driveway where the plow that did our road left this at the end of everyone's driveways :) . . .

This is looking from the end of our driveway to our neighbor's driveway . . . the snow was higher than this at the end of ours . . . nearly three feet!

So that comprised part of our Thursday morning! And as can be seen from the 'plowing' photos, the day started off overcast with snow falling to the ground, but as the day went on, the sun came out, and I had the opportunity to go for a walk with my camera. It was so very beautiful and peaceful out, and I thoroughly enjoyed that time . . .

Looking down our driveway

A snow-covered cedar branch

One of the many cedar trees on our place . . . I love how they look after a snowfall!


Snow-covered branches on a tree down in the woods

As is usual after a snowfall, I keep an eye out for animal tracks, but this time, the only tracks to be seen were my own :)

Looking across the pasture . . . the clouds are starting to roll back in!

The thick blanket of snow over the garden . . . I wish the photo could have captured the millions of sparkling snowflakes as the sun reflected off of them! So beautiful.

Looking from our yard down to the driveway

So that is a glimpse into what it is like around here now. :) And there is more snow on the way . . . and it looks like the snow is here to stay for awhile as there is nary a day forecasted to get above freezing in the next ten days!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

God's Handiwork

It has been rather cold here in Missouri the past weeks, with only about two days even climbing above freezing, and during that time, we've also had only a day or two where the sun peeked through the overcast skies. It has certainly made for some cold and drearier days here! Snow still covers much of the ground, and we are in for another winter storm this afternoon into tomorrow . . . so far we have had quite a wintry winter for here! It has also been well below the average temperatures for this time of year. It just makes it all the cozier indoors, though! :) And we also have opportunities to see beauty in God's creation that cannot be seen during other times of the year . . . .

Recently on a warmer morning when the ice wasn't terribly thick in the animal waterers, I had simply broken the ice out of Lassie's bucket and was amazed at what I saw. Beautiful ice crystals had 'grown' down into the water and many were around an inch in length and they covered much of the underside of the ice. So many intricate
and beautiful designs . . . I had never seen anything like it before! Unfortunately, I accidentally broke the largest piece that had the most, as well as the largest, ice crystals on it, but a smaller piece I was able to take photos of. The photos didn't turn out the greatest, but they give an idea of what it looked like . . .


This photo shows more of the detail that each ice crystal had - the one seen in this photo is sideways whereas many of the other ones stood straight out from the ice.

As I looked at these amazing creations, I marveled at the power and the care of God to provide for such beauty to take place in His creation. Something so beautiful created with simple water . . . and His hand is not only seen here, but everywhere if we but take the opportunity to stop and look. And in this case, if I hadn't stopped and noticed these ice crystals, this beauty would have gone completely unnoticed . . . showing that even in the simplest and most every day things in our lives, God is weaving and creating beauty and providing blessings that we may not see or even recognize. What a wonderful God we serve!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pleasantness is . . .


. . . a rocking chair, a quilt, a sewing box and supplies, and the time to quilt :)




*As a little side note, it will be awhile yet before there is another girls group post as we had to cancel last week due to a winter storm that came through here, and we are not going to be able to have it this week either as most of the girls who join us each week are sick. Hopefully everyone will be back to feeling better soon!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Little Bit of Music

Awhile back, a blogging friend had asked if we could share a few more music videos sometime, so during one of Leah's and my recent times of playing music together, we attempted to record a few songs. So . . . these are for you, Becky! :) And for anyone else who would like to listen to them as well. :)

And while the songs are not without mistakes, we hope you all enjoy them! (And please keep in mind that what we use to record these is just a little photo camera that has a video feature on it . . . thus, the sound isn't completely true.)

This first video is of one of our family's favorite hymns, "Come Thou Fount" . . .




And then another hymn, "Only Trust Him", which was shared awhile back when our whole family played it together . . .




Leah and I also enjoy playing fiddle tunes together, and the below song, which is called "Swallowtail Jig" is one of our favorites . . . it's fun to play as we keep going faster and faster until fingers can't keep up any longer! Which is the reason for the rather abrupt ending to the song. :)



Thursday, January 13, 2011

Assembling the Chair

With all of the chair pieces sanded and ready to be put together again, Daddy and I were able to reassemble the chair! We first got an area all set up, gathered the supplies that we would need, and began . . . never having done anything like this before (for both Dad and I), it was a learning experience! Though, he seemed like a seasoned pro as we worked to put it back together again. :) We had such a fun and special time together doing this!

Leah was so kind as to come in and take some photos for us while we worked, so the
se are her handiwork . . . thank you, Leah!

Daddy and I working on assembling the front part of the chair . . . here, I am wiping away excess glue after Daddy had pounded in one of the dowels

The front part of the chair was a bit interesting to put together as some of the holes intersected one another . . . at first, this was a puzzle to us as to why it would be made this way, until we realized that some of the dowels had slight grooves in them. So inside of the holes, the dowels actually intersect one another and 'lock' together! That made it a bit more challenging to get it put together just right, but it makes sense to make it this way as it would make for a more sound chair.

Figuring out which dowel goes where and which side goes in the front and which in the back . . . thankfully, I had labeled each of the dowels so we could know! The labels, though, were just abbreviations as that is all that could fit on the ends of the dowels, so sometimes it took me a bit to remember exactly what things like FSB and LSM were! :)

Pounding in another dowel . . . Right before a dowel is pounded in, we would fill the hole about half-way with wood glue. Then once the dowel was in, the excess glue was wiped off.

Holding the chair still while Daddy pounded in another dowel

Time for more glue!

It was getting exciting at this point! We're almost finished!

And the finished, and drying, result :)
(Though the seat is not attached yet . . . it won't be screwed on again until after the chair is completely dry)

This was such a fun project to work on together, and we were pleased with how it turned out! The chair is sound and sturdy now with no wobble in it. Success! We did learn a few things, though, for next time which would fix some of the 'quirks' in the chair now. Such as the back being slightly crooked. :)

Now we're ready to take apart the next chair and begin the process all over again. Then once the chairs are all to this same point and are refinished, it will be time for caning them!