Country Girl Through & Through
I'm a country girl from the western part of Virginia in a small community of New Castle/Craig County. I've lived in Craig all my life-eighteen years with my parents and siblings and forty + years with my wonderful husband.
We have two children, a boy and a girl, and two grandchildren, all of which we love very much. We live on a 500 acre+ farm that has been in my husbands family for over 200 years. We are raising beef cattle, chickens, rabbits and a couple dogs.. We grow pretty much all we eat or harvest from the farm and I can't imagine living anywhere else.
I love to create, craft, quilt, read, write, decorate, crochet, candlewick, bake, bow hunt, cook, garden, farm animals and walking/hunting in the woods. I love sharing our home with family and friends.
I hope you enjoy the posts that I enter on my blog and hopefully will be helpful and/or fun to all that read it.
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Sampler QuiltCompletion of the King-size Sampler QuiltDecember 31st, 201871 days to go.
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Category Archives: Creativity
Winter time can get very dreary when looking out the windows. No beautiful color from the flowers anywhere to be seen. I’ll admit the snow is beautiful before the animals track through it or the vehicles drive through it but it’s not like looking at beautiful blooms in our yard.
I FOUND A REMEDY!!
Take a look at these beautiful glass flowers I created from old dishes!
Now get busy putting those old dishes to good use and think SPRING!!!
For the last four or five years I have enjoyed making personal calendars for my family and it’s a gift that they can enjoy all year-long. I’ve started calendars for this year but they are a work in progress.
I have an old computer program that I got years ago called “Greeting Card Factory” and I use it to format my calendars and I also use it when I want to make “special greeting cards. It’s awesome and I’m not sure there is a newer version on the market or not.
Once I get the main format set up I can add photos, special dates, different fonts, and the list goes on and on.
Calendars are great stocking stuffers and as I said previously they’re a gift your family and friends can enjoy all year round!! Adding family birth dates and anniversaries is a great addition and make the calendar date blocks a little large makes for a day planner, too!!
I honestly can believe the last time I posted was in September but I promise to get caught up if not by the end of today but definitely by tomorrow! Over the next two days you’ll receive several emails of my/our hectic life which has been full of hard work, fun, a few trips, more work and preparing for the winter that is sneaking up on us quickly.
For several years now I’ve been making my own cleaning supplies. I do this because over half of my grocery bill is expensive cleaning supplies and I only buy groceries maybe once a month!! I even make my own body wash and I do love it. I want first to let everyone know that I’m not the creator of all of these recipes, I follow some very frugal ladies and gents that share their wisdom with the world. Some recipes have been tweaked to meet my own needs. Tip Junkie is my favorite at the moment but I get ideas from HGTV, Real Simple, and a lot more. All you have to do is “google it”!!! My favorite make-your-own blogger is https://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/homemade-body-wash.html
Today’s recipe is for body wash and I love the commercial Dove Bodywash. I have very dry skin as I’ve grown older and my OB/GYN told me years ago that Dove was the mildest soap you can buy over the counter.
To make a gallon of bodywash you will need nine bars of Dove soap (other soaps tend to vary) and 18 cups of boiling water. I like to make a gallon at a time so I don’t run out as quickly!! All you do is get an old vegetable grater and grate the bars of soap into a pan. I tried to use a food processor and burnt it up, don’t do this!!!
When you get down to the last bar of soap to grate, put your pan of water on the stove to boil. The harder boil and hotter the water the quicker the process of melting the soap takes.
This bodywash makes my skin feel silky but not sticky or greasy and it lasts a lot longer than the commercial packaging!! Smells so feminine!
I’ll post more homemade products I personally use in future posts including my favorite window cleaner, furniture polish and floor cleaner. Let me know if you try the recipes and if you like them!
Do you like the convenience of a dish towel hanging close by in the kitchen? For years I’ve made my own hanging towels and they’re quick and easy and only take half a towel.
I have lots of them and change them about every other day depending on how much they’ve been soiled. Here’s how I make them:
Then I fold them in half and cut them in half. Then I turn down the cut edge about a 1/2 inch and using a large darning needle threaded with a matching yarn, I blanket stitch the fold down. The stitches are usually about 1/4 – 3/8 inch long, longer stitches will show more and not fill in the top of the towel quite enough.
Tie off the end of the towel with a couple whip stitches and knot. From here I make a single crochet using a Size F crochet hook in each blanket stitch across the towel. At this point you can use any crochet stitch you want throughout the towel until it’s about five to six inches wide. I mix the crochet stitches on some and single crochet throughout, just depends on my mood and how fast I want to make up the towels. At the end of each row, DO NOT chain and turn. This is how you will decreast the rows to go into a point. To decrease the row, pull the yarn through two or three stitches. My instructions aren’t great but if you crochet at all you will know how to do this. For more details just comment on this post. When I get towards the end with about 6-9 stitches on the row, I add that turning stitch until I have a tab look at the end. At the end of the last row you crochet make a chain of about 10-12 chain stitches and carry it back to the start of that row and pull through your first stitch several times to make it stay.
Fold that tab over and place your button in the middle of crochet work to meet the chain. Your done! Not sure I would make a very good crochet instructor unless it was a one on one session!!
I still haven’t seen my grandson and he turned 6 months old yesterday. He’s growing like a weed and Grandmother Malone told me weighed almost 13 pounds at his last checkup. She also tells me he smiles all the time!
I made these little sets for him for Christmas and my son will take them to him in two weeks. I hope he’ll still be able to wear what I made and the things the family bought him for Christmas.
I want to make some bibs, which no baby ever has enough of, a quilt and some more hats and mittens if he’s grown out of the ones he gets very soon! I want to make him some booties but need to wait until his Dad can measure his foot for me. I’ll mail them to Grandmother Malone for him when they’re made.
My Bucket List for 2017
1st and foremost, meet my baby grandson that lives in New Jersey!
2nd Finish the snowman quilt and sampler quilt in my sewing room.
3rd Dinner once a month for my kids at our house.
4th Paint or have my living room renovated and painted.
5th Clean up and clean out my laundry room which used to be the pump room/milk house that our ancestors used to keep the milk products really cold.
6th Build up my rose garden.
7th Landscape my gazebo and put in a fire pit at the gazebo for nightly star-gazing!
Gazebo summer 2016
8th Move my chickens into their new abode.
9th Have one more yard/estate sale at the mansion with my daughter.
2016 sale went quite well and we’ll have just as many treasures in 2017!
10th Take a one-day road trip with hubby just to get away!
This doesn’t seem like a big list but finishing it within 12 months will be a huge undertaking. Wish me luck!
I made my first ever burlap wreath yesterday and it turned out really fluffy.
The wreath was very simple to make by using a wire wreath and burlap. I used this link to watch a two-minute tutorial: https://www.burlapwreath.com/how-to-make-a-burlap-wreath/. It’s so simple and to think I’ve been putting this off since last fall because I didn’t know if my brain could handle one more thing in it.
I wanted to do something patriotic for the front porch but this was just a little too plain so I decided to add a little more red, white and blue.
Elegant yet country, don’t ya think! Now I need to come up with some just as patriotic at our mailbox at the end of the driveway that won’t get blown away by the storms like we’ve been having! Oh well, I’ve got nine days to come up with something!
The brain is already full of ideas for the fall and winter and have you seen the different colors of burlap out now??? It’s amazing!! Happy crafting!!
I don’t even know where to begin. My daughter and I decided to have an Estate/Yard sale and for the entire month, we gathered, took pictures, priced, organized and prepared for the largest yard sale I’ve ever seen that was for one family. Of course, it was four generations of collections of one family, the Caldwells. It was a history of the Caldwell family that was taking up too much space and after watching my daughter dealing with my mother-in-laws estate and the clean-out of her house, I decided I would not do that to my children after I’m gone.
We cleaned out my house, the Mansion, and the remains of what Heather and her Dad cleaned out of her grandmother’s “stuff” and had our sale on Saturday. It included, antiques from three or four generations ago, household items from our home, Heather’s home, my husband’s grandmother and aunt & uncle, and his grandfather and great-grandfather, tools, and we filled three entire rooms of the Mansion, the front porch and the yard.
We advertised on Facebook, our personal email contacts and asked everyone to share the details. We did really well and I was blessed to see so many old friends and acquaintances including my Dad’s best friend, Bobby Rose. What a treat to have him here on the farm. There’s a wonderful family story behind this which I will share at a later date.
We worked the sale with the help of a very special friend, JoAnn, my granddaughter and one of her best friends. We were too busy to take pictures during the day but I will share a few pictures of the treasures that left the farm.
This is just a teeny-tiny bit of what left the farm. The rooms of the house were as full as we could get them. It was a beautiful day and the cleanup has begun!!
I’ve crocheted some more warmth during the winter and these were made for me.
The headband is perfect for around my ears and the infinity scarf fits over my hoodies and around my face to block the wind. I used a heavy yarn and did a half-double crochet using double strands of yarn to make them thick and warm. The scarf is wide enough to cover my mouth and nose in the frigid air. They were quick and I did them both in one night. I even made a pair of mittens to go with them but they’re not very usable when carrying in the firewood, gathering the eggs or bottle feeding calves so they stay in my dress coat for non-work events.
Here’s a closer look at the stitches I used and I got both pieces out of one skein of yarn.
Several years ago I started a new project and didn’t finish it. I recently picked it back up and wanted to share where I am now and will share the finished project in a couple of months if all goes well.
It’ll take some time but I love the look of the linen fabric and the colors just pop with that background. When finished I’m hoping to put it in a barnwood frame made by hubby.
Back in November I had asked my son for some ideas for his fiancée and he told me she love hand/homemade. I knew she love green because she is a true Irish lady. So I decided I would piece together a quick quilt for my soon to be daughter-in-law, Jennie Olera Malone. I knew I didn’t have much time to make a complicated one so I chose to do a simple stripe of most of the green fabric I had on hand.
I called a friend of mine that does machine quilting and asked her if we had time to get this ready for a Christmas gift and she assured me it would not be a problem. She said if I had everything to her by the second week of December we would be in good shape and she would have it back to me by the week before Christmas.
I pondered over the look of the quilt to be pieced and what to use for a backing which I knew would have to be ordered. After deciding what I wanted I went online to Joann’s thinking this would be my quickest option and should have it by the first full week of December. WRONG!!!
I placed the order online on November 28th and didn’t get a confirmation until December 4th. It was to be shipped FedEx from Michigan, okay this will work coming FedEx. Long story short the fabric arrived on Christmas Eve and we had our Christmas get-together on Saturday before Christmas. I took a picture of the pieced quilt and put a note with it in an envelope for Jennie under the Christmas tree. This was not a very good first Christmas from the Caldwell family to her but I think she understands.
These are some pictures I took of the finished piecing and the quilting is underway at my friends. I’m hoping Jennie will like it when she FINALLY receives the gift.
I pieced the quilt with light and dark green fabrics. It’s made to fit a king-sized bed with hangover on the sides and the length will hang over about a foot with room to tuck in pillows if she likes.
The backing will be solid and quilted with ivy quilting. It’s also the fastest quilt I’ve ever put together. I’m hoping to make everyone in the family a quilt this winter.
I’ve learned a great lesson from this. I will not order from Joann’s online again but go to the store and I will definitely avoid FEDEX!!
I’m crocheting a lot at night now. Over the last two years I’ve found and been given some white feed sacks.
I decided since they were cotton they would make some strong and easy to clean scatter rugs. First I pulled out all the seams, washed them and hung them out on the clothesline to dry so they would hold their shape. Then I pressed them out with my iron just enough to be able to cut fairly straight one inch strips. I connected the strips as I rolled them into five-inch balls so they would be easy to handle and not get knotted up while crocheting.
I decided I wanted them to fit perfectly in front of the camode, shower and the sink. I took the measurements and started crocheting with a simple single crochet using a size N hook.
On the second row I started hooking in the back look of each single crochet. This gives the rug a layered look.
I decided not to dye them because I liked the look of the old feed sacks and the finished product will work in any room. I’ve washed them one time and got a sort of rag look from the pieces which makes them look even older. These rugs will take a lot of washing and last for a long time. They’re not so heavy that I can’t dry them in the dryer or hang them on the clothesline. I love the end results.
I wanted to share with you the gift that my younger brother made me for Christmas all by himself.
I’m so proud of it that it’ll probably be displayed all year!
I’ve been doing some crocheting since I retired and loving the quiet calm it provides.
I’ve made some scarves for some wonderful friends in Norfolk and just finished a pair of mittens and a scarf for myself.
Now it’s time to teach myself how to knit!!
I love to blog about things I make or decorate with and most of those ideas come from this book.
As I pull ideas from the book I’ll post about them with details. I sure hope this resolution proves to be beneficial to me and ideas for someone else.
I have a friend that lives down the road from me about a mile and she is the sweetest lady you would ever want to meet. I’ve known Linda for years and her boys and their families live close by to. Linda is also retired from Virginia Tech and we both have so many interests and hobbies alike. She is so talented and is willing to help anyone at the drop of a hat! We need more people like her in our lives everyday!!
Linda has, I think, two looms in her home and she weaves rugs, beautiful rugs. I have a loom that I bought at a yard sale for $25 but have never sit it up. Linda has told me that when I’m ready she and her husband Gene will help me and figure out if all the parts are with it. This is one of my resolutions for 2016 but first I have to clean out a room in the mansion to set it up. Looms take up a lot of room. She said she would teach me how to sit it up and give me all the basics to learn how to complete this old craft.
Last year when I was doing some “cleaning out” I found several totes full of upholstery fabric that was taking up too much space in my storage room. I gave Linda the fabric and she said she would make me a rug which was not necessary since she was helping me out by adopting all the fabric that I needed to do something with.
For Christmas, Linda made me this beautiful rug from some of the fabric I shared with her.
I’m hoping that 2016 will make me a weaver too!!
A couple of months ago my daughter was cleaning out the house that belonged to her deceased grandmother. She and her friend, Cary Melvin, were either working in the attic or the basement of the house and found two of these wooden boxes. Heather and Cary just knew it was a treasure I would love!
Fortunately the lid to the boxes was found too and we’re not sure why they didn’t throw them away but I’m so glad they did. I love to repurpose old things and some new. I scrubbed the inside and outside of this one and re-attached the lid.
Then I attached some picture hangers to the back of the box and hung it in our living room. It made a perfect display shelf for hubbies retired or unused turkey callers which made a great “turkey wall”.
The repurposed treasure looks pretty good beside the painted turkey feather hanging beside it along with a turkey beard.
Hubby was pretty impressed at this point because he was ready to use the box for kindling and couldn’t see why I was so excited about the dirty thing.
Thank you Heather and Cary for doing some treasure hunting at the home where your father was raised. I’m sure Papa Caldwell would be thrilled to know we used something he had saved for one reason or another.
I’m trying to catch up on a lot of posts that I wanted to do and just now finding some time to do it.
On Mother’s Day my children and granddaughter presented me with some awesome gifts.
My son, Shawn, handmade me some new bluebird houses and the best part is he made them with his own hands. Those are my most favorite gifts!! It means they took the time to think about what I like and gathered it for me!
I painted them and hubby hung them for me. The purple martens are using them first but I think next spring the bluebirds will take possession. Eddie hung them all around the garden and in one of the small apple trees and the birds are loving them. My next post will show what my daughter presented me.
Thank you Shawn Edward!!
I recently inherited over a hundred old feed sacks made of muslin fabric. They had been washed but I gave them another good bath in really hot water to get them good and clean and to get rid of the aroma of being packed away for a very, very long time. They held up marvelously and now I have a huge treasure to do something with. They are not white but sort of beige/peach/pink shade of fabric.
I love to crochet and have decided to use some of the sacks to make some bath rugs. I can always dye them to suit the decor of the room or possibly bleach them to a lighter shade.
First, I cut the sacks into a continuous 3/4″ strip of cloth and wind them into a ball which gives me a 3″-4″ ball for each sack.
I’ve decided to use a single crochet stitch for the first one and use the back of the stitch for the pattern. If you crochet you know what I’m talking about and it give the line of stitches a “layered” look. For a 4 x 5 bath rug it takes about six balls of the fabric and I think it turned out pretty nice.
They’ll be sturdy and wash up nice and last FOREVER! They’re also thick enough that it’ll feel nice to step out of the shower onto it. It took about four nights, an hour at a time to finish the rug. The best part is you can put it down to take phone calls, do some laundry, give some attention to Sassy or most anything and go right back to it without missing a stitch.
All I need to do now is square up the rug which is so easy to do with this fabric. I just stretch the sack out and spray with lukewarm water and as it dries the shape retains itself. I don’t think I”ll dye this one and will make two more in the same design and color to use in the bathroom. I keep a rug in front of the shower, sink and the camode.
I think the next group of three, I’ll make my fabric strips a little more narrow and see if I get the same look and feel. I’d also like to make a couple of aprons from the sacks. There’s so many uses for a good quality fabric to re-purpose.
I’ve done a little crafting in my absence. Don’t you just love ladybugs that AREN’T alive!!
It’s much easier to handle the balls to fill the holes and to paint them if they’re cut in half first. Those suckers are HEAVY!!
Paint the bottom of the halves first and let dry overnight before adding the second and third coats.
Once the third coat is dry, flip them over and paint the top side. Also, the more coats you put on the longer they’ll last in your flower gardens or where ever you place them in the outdoors. I take mine in during the winter months and it sits on a shelf in my kitchen.
Big dots, little dots, medium dots, random or patterned, suit yourself and your whim! Make it fun!!
Now we wait for drying time to paint on the faces. This is when I start preparing their legs and antennae.
There’s such a variety of faces you can paint on them and I may do a completely different design and color on the next ones. I drill holes in the bottoms and screw the lag bolt/legs in. Then I use a very small drill bit to put two holes along the black line of their face to affix their antennae. The antenna are made from pieces of a heavy black metal clothes hanger. I curl the tope end for cuteness. They’re quick and easy as long as you don’t count the time it takes to wait for the several coats of paint to dry. Everyone loves them and their cute on the end of my porch steps, coming out of the end of a crock laying on its side, sitting on a rock or paver in the flower garden or waiting at the entrance of the yard gate!!
These two are from last year and you can see the sneakers they’re wearing. I decided to go with the bolts for their legs this year because these little guys are throughout my yard in the flower beds and the wooden legs and feet didn’t last as well as I hoped they would.
Aren’t they just adorable!! 🙂
For several years I’ve been collecting dainty ladies hankerchiefs and my mom made sure I got some that belonged to my grandmother. Some belonged to my husbands aunt and some I found at yard sales still in their original packaging. I’m working on some ideas about using them in a quilt for my guest room. This quilt would not be used a lot and the hankerchiefs will match the feminine decor in the guest room. I may use some of them in a shadowbox as well. I’ll probably continue collecting them for more future projects.