Thursday, December 19, 2013

Remembering November, and Other Thoughts

If one word could described November for me,
 it's Plenty. 

*We had the precious addition of a Gran-SON, yes a BOY, on the 13th.  
Noah Bryce Edwards. 

*Mia had a trip to the ER for respiratory distress, Bronchitis.
she's fully recovered and feeling like her perfect self now

*All the Gran-kids had been sick with colds. 

*I've been watching Harper 4 days a week, she's BUSY and has learned to WALK.
She will be a year old on the 22nd!!!

*I almost warded off two attempts of the cold virus attack on myself, which sadly ended in a relentless cough for 2 weeks. 

*My baby, Beth, turned 27 on the 12th. 

*My sis, Jen, came for a weekend visit (pre-Thnksgiving) the first weekend in November.
Together we put up 3 batches of Pomegranate jam.

*I planned and executed a very successful Thanksgiving Turkey meal,
 -cooking for somewhere around 20ish adults and 6 babies-

*I cooked 2 turkeys this year- one 23lb and another 12lb
(which we demolished for turkey sandwiches on Friday) 

*I repeated the same hustle and bustle for a Saturday Ham meal.  

*Not only were the usual family members able to be with us this year, we had an extra special visit from my cousin, his beautiful wife, and their adorable 6 month old baby girl. 

*My brother, sis in law, two nephews, and my Sis in laws Mom, were able to join us this year as well.

*I cooked.
*I cleaned. 
*I took care of people.
*It's what I do. 
*It's who I am.  

*We finished the back porch addition, just in time for all the festivities, 
the weather was amazing, and we were able to fully enjoy the extra space outdoors for socializing and eating. 

*Our home was filled with love, laughter,and loved ones, making memories to last a lifetime. 
*I couldn't have asked for more. 

*Well maybe except, that I have absolutely NO pictures of any the above.
It just wasn't in me this year to take the extra time out for picture taking.
-unless you count the turkey brine in the stock pot that I made on Tuesday evening-
I started out with the best of intentions...
 Yep- it's true.

Right after Thanksgiving the weather turned COLD...

It seems each year in November I spend a fair amount of time in thought to myself.

I thought about how the last two plus years have been at home since leaving my office job...

I thought how I'd noticed the shadows in my home, as the sun changes them from day to day, especially in the late afternoons. Something I had not taken the time to notice while I was busy working.
I know that must sound a little weird, but in the absolute quiet and stillness
(you know that moment that rarely happens)
I notice how the inside looks, all the while barely noticing it for so many years.

I thought about sewing, quilting, gardening, books, and my family and all the babies that surround my daily life.
That how when I left my job I had only one gran-baby, and now I have FOUR.
Noah- 1 mo.
It's only been 2 1/2 years since then.

I thought about people who have passed through my life,
some staying that I thought would go,
and others drifting that I thought would never leave.
Sometimes, it's painful.
 I learned that this year.
It's ok, I'm ok too.

I thought about some changes I would like to make for myself.
Not big, just small things.

Learning that I just cannot be ALL the things.
Each night I pray for kindness, patience, and compassion.
Each day striving to do better than the day before. 

I thought about spiritual things....
am I religious person?- No I am not
am I a spiritual person?-yes I am
Is there a difference?
To me there is..
I personally do not feel the need for an external validation of my spirituality.
Does that make me a bad person? - No-
It makes me a quiet person...

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands. 
~1 Thess. 4:11

The Girasole Lady

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

This Fall

This Fall, so far, lots of things have been happening here at Girasole Farm. 

We are patiently awaiting the arrival of Gran-baby #4- a BOY! 
I suspect he will make his grand entrance this week or next. 

We're still working on the back porch addition, finishing up the roof. We have the posts set and the cross beams up. It's been a work in progress that's for sure. 

Caveman's last day of work for the year is November 15th, and he will return to work on January 6th. 
This is the time of year when the long, long, work days of Summer really pay off. YAY! 

We've collected wood from the mountains, and officially had our first fire in the wood stove just a few days ago. 

 I spent a day baking a cake with Laci and Mia. 
I can cook a mean pie, but cake..well... 
I'm not so good. 
I can certainly make a tasty cake, but let's just say there is severe lack in presentation.  

In my cookbook obsession, I purchased this book on cakes...
Most of the recipes make nice small 6" cakes. 
The pans used are 6" round, 3" deep, although the only pans I could find were 2"deep. 
Isn't that cake on the cover lovely?
Simple, clean, and beautiful. 
That's what I tried to achieve...
but it didn't turn out so well...
Yummy none the less. 

I had positively adorable helpers...


We had a really great time together! 
That is what really mattered. 

Then there was Halloween...
 which consisted of a Butterfly

A Little Stinker Skunk
                                                                          A Ladybug
 Ryan, Tonya,
Laci and Mia
Kristina and Harper. 

In other non-pictured news-

Cousin Aletha came for a visit. 

I put up 3 batches of Pomegranate jam.

I painted  and re-decorated the Hall bathroom.

My sis and her boys came for a unexpected, Pre-Thanksgiving visit, this past weekend. 

My head is swirling with all sorts of ideas for Thanksgiving.
We are blessed enough to have some extra special family coming to be with us this year. 
My home will be full of family, friends, and LOTS of babies this year. 
Our hearts, as always, will be filled of  love, contentment, and peace. 

I see skies of blue, 
And clouds of white. 
The bright blessed day, 
The dark sacred night. 
And I think to myself, 
What a wonderful world. 
-Louis Armstrong-

The Girasole Lady

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Jelly Roll Jam Quilt/New Aprons

The Fat Quarter Shop posted a great
complete pattern and tutorial. 

I love the Fat Quarter Shop.

This is a super simple quilt, and it just so happened I had a couple of Jelly Rolls just waiting to be used. 
I've actually had them for over a year, (maybe longer) stashed in my craft room.

Don't know what a Jelly Roll is....

This pattern literally just takes just a couple of hours to make this quilt, start to finish. 

I made two of them. 

The quilts are lap size, measuring about 36x36. 
This was made from a Moda Jelly Roll, Coming Home by Deb Strain. 

I used the new Moda, Wool and Needle Flannel, by Primitive Gatherings, in black, for the backing.

The second one

is also made from a Moda Jelly Roll, Together by Brannock and Patek. 

I used the same Flannel backing as the other quilt, only in red. 

I cannot say enough good things about Moda brand fabric, 
and several other of my favorite makers. 
Yes, I have to admit it...
I'm a fabric SNOB!'

OK- I said it! 

I can't, and won't, settle for the cheaper fabric store brands. 
It's the feel, the texture, and the quality, and  that's what I choose to pay for. 
I always stick to the higher end manufactures and designers. 
Which brings me to the point of selling them.
I can't. Why?
Because I'm not so sure I could even cover my material costs in each quilt. 
Each quilt has about $50.00 of material involved. 
Which, does not include my time or thread. 
Each Jelly Roll runs about $40.00, I used half of a Roll in each quilt. 
The Flannel for the backing was $11.99 per yard, I used one yard in each quilt. 
The batting was $17.99 per bag, I used 1 bag, minus 2 feet,  for each quilt. 

So really, unless you have a fair knowledge about the fabric costs of the materials used, 
would you really be willing to pay $50.00 per quilt, or more?

I'm working on some new Aprons....

Here's a sneak peek at the fabrics I'll be using...

Another great manufacture, Robert Kaufman, designed by 

I'm making more of the smock style aprons, and will be selling them for $34.95 each. 

They will be this style

I'm currently out of the chicken print, but if you're interested in these fabrics for an Apron, 
I'm pretty sure I can get more.

If you, or anyone you know, may be interested in purchasing an Apron, please contact me directly, before I list them in my Etsy Store. 
Which has been sorely neglected these past several months. 

Have a lovely day. 

The Girasole Lady

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Apples, Apples, (and more) Apples.

When we planted our fruit orchard a few years ago (2010), we planted two apple trees, a Golden Delicious and Fuju.
This year we had a bumper crop, and even though we thinned out buckets and buckets of apples earlier in the season, we still had plenty. However, it was a hard job for our still smallish trees. We had to brace several tree branches up, so the weight of the apples wouldn't break the limbs off. 
Poor things. 

For the past week around here it has been all about apples.

Why I never invested in an apple peeler before this year, I will never know! 
This apple peeler, corer, slicer, thing-a-ma-jig is amazing! 
Who knew? Obviously NOT me. 

Last Wednesday I went to my friend, Paula's, and participated in her applesauce class she was teaching. 
Paula has a beautiful home and farm over in Gridley, 
Windmill Farms- you really should go and have a visit with her. 
Paula is a kindred spirit, and I always enjoy a good visit with her. 

It was fun to spend an evening in her kitchen, with the other gals as well, making applesauce together. 
It reminded me of what it might have been like back in the days when women folk would get together and help each other in the kitchen during the harvest season chores. 

I now have my pantry stocked with 
Apple sauce & Apple pie filling

Dried apples...
some dried with skin on...
skin off...
and sugar candied...

I cooked down a batch of apples to get the juice out, so I can make Apple Jelly tomorrow. 

Just about now I am sitting with a piece of pie, (because it is not at all possible to have this many apples and no pie) and a hot cup of tea. 

That, my dear, is all I have to say about Apples.

The Girasole Lady

Friday, September 6, 2013

Finished Quilt

Back in January of this year I decided to sew a quilt for each of my girls for their birthdays, beginning with a quilt for Kristina. 
Now I have to say that it was suppose to be done for her birthday- - in FEBRUARY! 

It is now September and I can safely say that, as of this morning, the quilt is complete.

I found the most perfect flannel, plaid yellow and gray, for the quilt backing.

I did my version of machine quilting around the edges

and down along the solid strips of gray.

The quilt is lap size, and I know Kristina will have many chilly nights to snuggle underneath the coziness of it. 

I'm excited about starting the next quilt/project.
(Tonya's birthday was in August, so I'm still behind)

I'm equally excited, well maybe a bit more, about the new sewing machine I purchased last week. 
After a good deal of research I decided on the 

Janome DC2013

I absolutely LOVE it! 
You can read about it here at Janome

I bought my machine at Cathy's Sew and Vac.
Nice people and excellent customer service.
It just so happens that one of my favorite quilt stores, Honey Run Quilters, is inside the store as well. 

The last sewing machine I bought was a JC Penny model in 1977 (it was my 1 year wedding anniversary present), we paid $99.00 for it back then. 
By golly- that machine sewed lots and lots of little girls clothes, and quilts. 
Boy, did I ever get my moneys worth out of that old machine. 
 I retired the JCP machine after my mom had picked up an older Singer machine for me at a garage sale for $20.00, a very long, long, time ago. 
Most recently, I had been borrowing a Singer Simple from Beth. 

I feel like I have my first 'grown-up' sewing machine.

My gardens are frazzled by the end of Summer Blues, just yucky and weathered.
It is going to be hot again this weekend, so I'll be putting off serious gardening until a bit cooler weather.

Tomorrow there is wedding dress shopping planned!
Beth, my littlest girl, is getting married next June.

I'm happy.

The Girasole Lady

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Santa Cruz 2013

I would like to say that I have been at the Sea since my last post, but sadly, that is not the case.
Oh, but we had the most wonderful time. 
We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day, with the exception of Kristina and Beth not being able to join us...but next year...for sure. 
The sunshine was amazing, the sea air, the whooshing of the waves, all just so perfect. 

I'm fascinated by homes on the beach. 
The lives lived there, by strangers I don't know. 
This one in particular, right on the beach,
 the sand beneath your feet at the very moment you set foot outside. 

That sun porch area...oh my, oh my, the beauty it must have seen. 
Do you ever wonder what your life would look like in another place?
If this were my home, living by the sea, who would I be? 
Would I tire of seeing the beauty through those windows? 
Would I tire of the magnificent sunsets, and the music of the waves? 
Would I embrace the sun, as well as the fog and wind? 
Would I walk every day along the sandy shore? 
Would I pinch myself each day, just to be sure I wasn't living in a dream? 

My Sister and I talk, a lot... we talked about what we would do in that home, sitting in that sun room, having coffee and tea.  
If that were my home that room would be my favorite spot for sure. 

A perfect day indeed...

more pictures...

Good times. 

 Have a wonderful day. 
The Girasole Lady

Friday, August 9, 2013

Going To The Sea

“I am longing to be with you, and by the sea, where we can talk together freely and build our castles in the air."-Bram Stoker- 

Going to the Sea...
See you soon...

The Girasole Lady

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer Sewing

It's been a very, very, long tine since I have had the opportunity to sew during the Summer months.
As a matter of fact, let me give you a mental picture of how long it has actually been.

When my girls were little, I used to sew often, almost daily, during the Summer months.  
Our home, at that time, had big glass doors right off our bedroom that overlooked our back porch.
I set my sewing machine up right in front of those glass doors, as to keep an eye on the girls while they played endlessly in their wading pool, surrounded by all sorts of water toys. 
They rode their riding toys across the BIG cement patio.  
They set up 'house' and had 'tea', and even went to 'school'. 
All the while watching them create a bond of sisterhood and friendship.
In case you're wondering-that was in the early 80's and I continued for several years afterward. 

Since then I cannot recall a time that I have used the words Summer and Sewing in the same sentence. 
But now, this Summer, I have sewn.
For so many past Summer's I have been a 'full-time' gardener. 
Having a smaller garden is so much less work.  

Well, I finally got around to finishing the top. 
Yes- I sorely missed the birthday deadline! 
(sorry Kristina) 

I made a few sundresses out of the most adorable fabric. 
It's a Sarah Jane design, printed on Michael Miller fabric. 
It is called 'Children At Play'. 

 I made this Sundress for Mia. 

I had to tweak the pattern here and there for sizing changes. 

I made two similar dresses in a smaller size, but forgot to take pictures of them before I gave them away as a baby gift. 

I picked up a couple of pillows from Costco 
and made some really cute cases to cover them...

 A pillow case for Mia
and a pillow case for Laci. 

The pillowcase tutorial was amazingly simple, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. 

Enjoying the Summer days.

The Girasole Lady