Wednesday, December 16, 2015

White Elephant Party, Commodities and Biscotti

Its hard to believe its almost Christmas.Its been a rough year for us as for many. We've had a bad family problem that I won't go into but thank you for your prayers. Things are a bit better now but we're not out of the woods yet.

We were invited to a White Elephant party earlier this month and had a wonderful time with old friends and new. The party was started with prayer. We played games, sang Christmas carols and lots of laughter. I won the first game by naming the most Christmas carols and won a large container of popcorn! Fun!
Victor the host made a wonderful Carmel Cake, it was like eating a  candy bar, wonderful! He's an accomplished cake baker. 

The party was a wonderful relaxing evening and one I will remember for a long time.

Today I went to the monthly USDA commodity  distribution.  Years ago as a teen I volunteered handing out the food never dreaming that I would one day be on the receiving end. As I drove away from the office where I picked up a huge amount of food, I could only be thankful that we live in such a great country and praised the Lord. 
If you're reading this and are on a limited income, the commodity program really helps. This time I got a large bag of apples, two 1 gallon juice containers, rice, beans, oatmeal, 5 cans of canned chicken, 4 cans of vegetable soup, 2 lbs of raisins, canned fruit and more. It was so heavy a package, I used a grocery cart to get it to my car. The apples were locally grown and really good. The canned chicken was in large 15 oz. cans. You just have to be under a certain income level to qualify. You can find out more on the website.

Right now I have some White Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti cooling, ready for the second part of the process of being twice baked. Then I will dip one end in the melted white chocolate. I found the recipe online at  Fake Ginger. It smells wonderful as its cooling getting to be sliced and baked again.
Biscotti is easy to make and well worth the effort!
This photo is from the website, mine won't be as beautiful but I think they'll taste as good!

that's about all for today. I hope to post more often, I promise!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

             Wishing all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thanksgiving Decorations and a new family member

I thought I'd share these little figures of piligrims. Alan brought them home one day about 30 years ago and I just love them. Put them out every Thanksgiving. Nancy Huggins made the raggedy runner and it fits perfectly with the theme.

Many of our decorations were destroyed in the garage fire we had some years ago. I've been picking things up as I find them. This little turkey was found recently at the dollar store and I think it looks great with the fabric pumpkins.

Next I'll be putting in the leaf for our table and doing a table  of sorts. I have a lovely large harvest  tablecloth that was my dear mothers.  But that's for a different day, still some time before the big feast. We have been invited to a neighbors house but I still want to decorate and will have a turkey as we all love the leftovers.

I've listed all the 12 Days of Christmas cards I've got completed. I still have 3 to go, however, with the weeks flying by, I don't know if I will be able to finish the series this year. I thought I'd better list what I have got done. The 10 Lords A Leaping is a difficult pattern, a challenge which I enjoy but having to watch our grandson takes up alot of my time. Plus we have a new puppy, I really wasn't up for that challenge however our grandson loves her so, I didn't have the heart to say no.

Bella is very small, part chihuahua and part (can you believe it!) pit bull. She's a friendly sweet little thing and lively. I can't seem to get a good photo of her as she's constant movement.

  not the greatest photo, she was busy chewing on a rubber bone. She's 9 weeks old and we're busy getting her house trained which is something I'm really not good at. I'm really a cat person. So we now have 3 dogs, 4 cats, and two Bearded Dragon lizards. Phew! 3 of the cats are ours, the rest are our sons. Quite a zoo.

Here is our son with his bearded dragon in front of our house. Very calm and gentle lizard and no problem to take care of, his name is Rango and Don feeds him meal worms and crickets which he gets at the reptile store here in town. The lizard also likes greens and other vegetables at times. Don keeps him in a large aquarium in his room, with a heat lamp. He bought our grandson a baby bearded dragon which Jay called Rosy. She has her own aquarium with similar feeding habits.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

12 Days of Christmas continued

Here is the 7 Swans a Swimming, I went ahead and ordered the rest of the patterns in the series so have the complete set now.
Below is 8 Maids a Milking,

Next is 9 Ladies Dancing which I have almost completed. They are fun to stitch and I'm on a mission to have a complete set to list. If you're interested, I will offer them at a lower price per card. I usually sell the cards for $6.50 each as they take alot of work to do. About an hour or more to pick out the pattern, and then another two to three hours to stitch, plus the cost of materials and pattern.
But if someone is interested in the complete set of 12, I will offer it at lower cost. Very unique cards for your special family and friends.

 Of course, if you'd like to make them yourself, you can find the patterns here at Pinbroidery  They have many beautiful Christmas card patterns.

Monday, October 5, 2015


Hard to believe how fast this year has gone. I'm so sorry I haven't post very much the last few months. We've had alot of family problems that I won't post about but please keep our grown son in your prayers if the Lord calls him to mind.
We have the garden about finished for the year. Alan continues to rebuilt some of the raised beds. We have one left to do, however its raining! How California needs the rain! So glad for the wet stuff.

I've been doing alot of house cleaning and organizing. Also have more Christmas cards done and stitched. I'm trying to finish the 12 Days of Christmas series, and have 3 more done.

Here is 4 Calling Birds

5 Golden Rings
And 6 Geese ALaying

I just finished this one last night and haven't mounted it on a card yet. I think it turned out well. My personal favorite is the Calling Birds. I love the musical notes. Next, of course, is 7 Swans a Swimming and 8 Maids A Milking.

I'm so fond of the entire old English song as I first became aware of it, when I was in the Girls Glee Club in middle school. We learned many Christmas songs and went to different organizations to sing during the holidays. I've always loved to sing and was in church choir when I met my soon to be husband (now of 41 years) Guess singing the Easter Cantata paid off! My dad's family were all singers with many involved in choir. Guess its our Celtic back ground.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Garden, Rain and My Etsy Shop

We're refurbishing our raised beds now that the garden is finished for this year. Its quite a job and one neither of us relished but had to be done. Some of the boards were dry rotted after several years out in our wickly hot summers.  This is a finished one. We painted the boards with some redwood paint that will protect them at least for a couple more years if not more.
Alan took apart each raised bed and looked over each board. We've replaced several so far and then rebuilt them. Phew! Hard physically but good work.
This was done last week which was a hot one. The temps were in the low 100s so we tried to work early mornings and evenings. Resting during the day.
Now the rains have come and its alot cooler.
You can see the one on the right is the old one which is coming apart in places and the new one on the left. What a difference! We're planning on putting down mulch between the beds after we're done.
We had a good productive garden this year with alot of canning going on.
The strawberries didn't do well  however. We think its because our climate just doesn't work for strawberries. The garden is below street level and it is always hotter and colder than surrounding areas. Each yard has its own micro climate.  Tomatoes do really well for us as well as carrots, beets, beans, and squash so we'll concentrate on those vegetables in the future.

I've been working on Christmas cards to put into my Etsy shop. Plus I added another of the most popular card, the Shis Tzu puppy..he's so cute.

The 12 Days of Christmas cards are in the works. I have finished the first 3, its a little difficult to get them done with everything else going on.

This is an old photo, the new ones will be listed soon. I also ordered the next two in the series, 6 geese laying and 7 swans swimming. Hopefully, I will eventually have all 12 in the shop.
I also re listed the fabric Christmas tags...

Friday, August 28, 2015

August Drought

Sorry, I haven't been posting much. Just too much to do and also its been so hot. Mostly in the high 90s and low 100s. This seems to be the hottest summer we've had so far since moving here some 10 years ago now.

In spite of the heat, all the trees in the area are losing their leaves already. I always thought trees lost their leaves when the weather turned colder but such is not the case here.

It seems rather odd to be racking leaves in 100 degree weather and I wonder if this means a very hard winter.

I don't know if it has to do with the drought also, as you can see, the lawn is suffering. We do water the front lawn twice a week but in this heat, it still suffers. We quit watering the back lawn which is much larger. The water district has told everyone to cut back 50%. which makes us wonder why the city water fountains and golf courses are not cutting back. So far everyone is still washing their cars (we aren't) and watering their lawns like nothing is going on. Our water bill has dropped quite a bit but the sewer bill has risen. They still want their money regardless.

I've been canning, still have tomatoes and zucchini.  Also have started on stitched Christmas cards. I'll be putting them in my Etsy shop as they get done. I have some new patterns plus the old favorites, such as the 12 Days of Christmas. Nice to do when its too hot to go outside. I also listed some of my stitched tags, these will go fast as we get closer to the holidays so if you want some, be sure to order early.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Looking back at July

July went by way too fast for me. We've been canning like crazy. Every day is a new challenge with the hot weather but I've keep plugging along getting alot of canned goods for this fall and winter.

                                             Tomato Sauce

                                            Canned whole tomatoes
                                  Parboiling corn to put in the freezer

                 and of course, fig jam, and Alan made quite a bit of fig leather.

The tomatoes are still producing so there will probably be even more goodies for the pantry.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A "New" desk and Canning Soup

Our son found these darling little desk at an estate sale for the amazing price of nothing. Evidently, they just wanted to get rid of it but their loss is our gain. It does need a little work to repair some damage. We plan on giving it some new stain to cover up some light scratching and a few other minor repairs, I think its going to be useful for coming in the front door. The bottom cabinet has 3 shelves inside, a good place for paperbacks!

The tomatoes this year have been doing gang busters. I already canned 5 quarts of tomato soup for the fall and next will be canned tomatoes. Here is the recipe for the tomato soup. Its really delicious and so nice for a fall day.

14 quarts ripe tomatoes (Comes to about 3 lbs of tomatoes per qt)
7 medium-sized onions
1 stalk celery
14 sprigs parsley
3 bay leaves
14 tablespoons butter
14 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons salt
8 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pepper


Wash; cut up tomatoes (no need to peel them). Chop onions, celery. parsley & bay leaves. Add to tomatoes; cook until celery is tender. Put through a sieve. Put mixture back into pot. Rub flour & butter into smooth paste thinned with tomato juice. Add to BOILING soup; stir to prevent burning. Add salt, sugar and pepper. For a smoother consistency put through sieve again ( I never do this) Fill clean  jars to within one (1) inch of top of jar. Wipe of the rims, put on caps, screwing the band tight. Process in hot water bath 30 minutes. Start timing when it is at a rolling boil...
A bit of work but well worth it as once you taste this, canned soup is just not the same!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Monday

I just finished another of the Shih Tzu cards. This pattern is one of my best sellers. I finally was able to get a photo that shows the dimension of the stitching. He was really fun to stitch and ready for a new home. You'll find him in my Etsy shop.  SOLD

I'm working now on this candle mat. This one  pictured was made for a giveaway so I'll be making another one of my shop. Its called In My Garden and is from Primitive Stitches. A little primitive but nice for a garden table.

As you may know, right behind our garden and yard is a busy street. The street was only a two lane road when we moved in some 10 years ago but its been widened and now is quite busy. As our property is lower than the street, people could look over the wall into our back yard which was not a little annoying at times.
 To make a long story short, a tall wall is now being built, some 12 ft. which is blocking much of the noise. Its taken some time, at first, they said 2 weeks but its been over a month. Its done now and we're waiting for them to remove the chain link fence that was put up to give us some security until it was finished.The contractors were very nice and are even replacing some of the plants that died, put in a complete drip irrigation system and also just because, they're going to clean our patio area of all the dust from the construction, plus plant two Valencia orange trees as a thank you gift. We were assured that these type of oranges would grow here and I hope they're right.

There's the chain link and the wall..the chain link is over 6ft. so you can see how tall the wall is. Everything is very dry here because of the drought.
I'm tired of all the dust and dirt that this has caused. Even our solar panels are effected. But we're both  happy with the fact that the noise level has been reduced and we have a sense of privacy. Its really an answer to prayer as a few years ago when they widened the road, the entire neighborhood put a petition in to the city for a higher wall which was denied. God does answer prayer!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers Day

My brother posted this photo of our dad, Robert Elliot Philley. He was in the Marine Corp for 34 years and served his country with pride. The gentlest of men and a wonderful father. He passed away in 1977 too soon, and I dearly miss him every day.

I've posted before about all the letters my grandmother sent me that Dad had written during and after WWII. He was part of the greatest generation that is now sadly passing away. If your dad or uncle or brother was part of that generation, let them know how much you appreciate them. I wish I could let my dad know and have faith that one day we will meet again in a far better world. Semper Fi

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I won a Giveaway!

I entered this giveaway  on Facebook and got a message yesterday from Johanna Parker that I had won this wonderful candle giveaway! Isn't it great for Halloween? If you aren't familiar with her work, she designs  Halloween items for the home based on vintage designs.

Here is her website link, if you'd like to see more...Johanna Parker Design.......

Saturday, June 13, 2015

New Dog Rescue and Lexi

We got a call to do a lock repair job yesterday in Nuevo, a rural area north of us. Unknown to us, it turned out to be a very fun and interesting job.
As we worked,  we realized,it was a dog rescue, Miracle Animal Rescue Center! Susanne and her partner Pat run the operation. They are very nice people who love animals.  Please click on the link to see their new website. As they're just in the early stages of the rescue, they need our help and I hope to promote them at least once a week or so. I'll be sharing a dog of the week as I did before the the Sun City Rescue.

As we worked, this large gentle German Shepherd mix sat patiently outside with a huge ball in her mouth wanting to play. She's a gentle giant and I tired out long before she did throwing the ball!

Talking with Susanne, Lexi does better in a one dog household and would be perfect with older children. She loves loves her ball and to play.

          If you go to the website, she even has her own video of her playing with her horse toy. Just click on the adoptable dog link there.

They need much in the way of supplies and help. Susanne told me they need volunteers to just play with the dogs to help socialize them. If you live in the area, and would like to volunteer your time. Please go the website and contact either Susanne or Pat for more information.
They also need funds for food, vet bills and shelter costs so if you'd like to donate to this worthwhile rescue you can do that also.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sunflower Mat

I've also listed some of my stitched items. This candle mat is some of my best work and I almost didn't want to part with it. Its a  primitive summer sunflower pattern from Primitive Stitches and perfect for a summer table.

I padded it with warm and natural batting so it will protect your table. These mats are also good to put under hot serving plates.  China Lake Auctions