Category Archives: Scrapbook

Four years in the making…

It all started with this picture that came up on my social media feed back in January of 2015:

I LOVED how it looked like a sewn quilt, but was actually crocheted. I did some research and I think the pattern was called Grandmother’s Flower Garden… At that time, I was looking for a project that was portable with the potential to be connected into something bigger. Also, our down comforter seemed to be losing some of its warmth, so the thought of making something functional AND pretty was intriguing.๐Ÿงถ

I decided to create my own pattern since I wasn’t finding what I wanted as I searched. We found some hexagon graph paper, and Mike helped me map it out.๐Ÿค“

After researching all about different fibers, we decided to use wool.๐Ÿ‘

And even though I knew the cost to make it would be higher, I really wanted to use yarn from a smaller company. I was excited when I learned about Brown Sheep Yarn, and that a small, local yarn shop had it in stock.๐Ÿงถ

In October of 2015, we started acquiring skeins. (I could crochet 21 hexagons from each skein.) Each one was $8, so we just purchased them for the flower petals as we had the funds. We waited until we had a larger chunk saved up to purchase all the yellow at once. A benefit to this kind of patchwork project is that dye lots are really not that important. Any slight color variations wouldn’t really be noticed. We also did not assign flower colors on our graphed pattern until after I had most of the flowers done. I had no color preferences for the flower petals going into the project, but I wanted the middle of each flower to be the same yellow. I wanted the flowers to be random. (In reality, it is more like planned random, lol.๐Ÿ˜‚) I wanted there to be enough flower colors that when I laid them all out, I wouldn’t have two of the same color next to one another.๐ŸŒธ

Next, I found a hexagon pattern I liked. I didn’t want something that used a ton of yarn (like the one in the original picture), or that was complicated to make. The one I settled on only had 3 rounds, and I could complete one in under 8 minutes. It was perfect.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ (I used a size “F” hook.)

Click here for the link to its pattern.

In September of 2018, it was nearing the time we’d need to make the biggest purchase – all the green. We learned of an online warehouse inventory sale that Little Knits was having for Brown Sheep Nature Spun yarn, so we investigated the price for the 30 skeins. To our amazement, each one would only be $2.65!! We did a quick inventory of how many other colors we needed to complete the remaining flowers, and placed an order for what we needed. It was so exciting to actually have all the supplies here to complete the project!โค๏ธ

It took 16 months from that point to finish those remaining flowers, all the green hexagons, and then connect everything.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

When this project started, our boys were in their junior year of high school.๐Ÿ˜ฏ I crocheted as we watched their final two years of baseball gamesโšพ๏ธ, it’s been my travel companion in the car wherever we’ve driven for the past four years๐Ÿš—, and it was in my hands during many evenings of the colder Ohio seasonsโ„๏ธ. Many prayers, tears, laughs, and even irritations have all gone with this project. I’ve learned much about my creative abilities AND its limitations, lol. Creating the hexagons and flowers was easy. Making the flowers was easy. Connecting it ALL together was NOT. Ugh.๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Once the connecting got to the point of long, heavier strips of blanket, it was easy for me to get lost where I was on my pattern. Straight lines became “bendy,” and well…I often didn’t know which end was up!๐Ÿ˜ณ I’ll just say I’m very grateful the Lord gave me Mike to double check my work and help dig me out of messes.๐Ÿ˜† I became an expert on how to disconnect hexagons without ruining them.๐Ÿ™„ <For those who are not familiar with crochet – one wrong snip of the yarn and the entire hexagon could unravel.๐Ÿ˜ฌ>

I’ll end with the funniest mistake I made the day before completion. I was down to my final group of flowers to connect to unite the two sides of my blanket. <In hindsight, with my connecting-challenged abilities, I SHOULD have just worked from left to right.> Mike helped me line up the first flower, and went to bed. Some time between picking up both sides of the blankets and getting situated on my chair to crochet it, I must have moved the flower’s position to the wrong set of green hexagons. AND I NEVER DOUBLE CHECKED ANYTHING UNTIL I WAS DONE. I had decided I was going to stay up as late as it took since the end was so close… So at 12:30am, everything was connected, all my ends were tucked in, and I was ready to lay it out and admire its beauty…๐Ÿ™ˆ

Ugh. I couldn’t believe it.๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜‚

Needless-to-say, it was NOT finished that day.๐Ÿคช I spent Sunday afternoon, evening, and late night disconnecting the entire strip, fixing all my ends, and re-attaching to the correct location.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Last night was the first night we had it on our bed. LOVED IT! It was toasty warm and didn’t slide off the down comforter like other blankets have.โค๏ธ Now I’ll be on the lookout for a bed-skirt when we hit the estate sales. I think that would be a nice finishing touch.๐Ÿ˜Š

I’m excited to crochet some new projects now – but I think it will be awhile before I do another BIG one, lol.๐Ÿ˜Ž

Might as well end with my nerdy details๐Ÿ˜:

53 full flowers and 14 half flowers

Grand total of 875 hexagons.

875 x 7.75 minutes each = 113 hours in crocheting hexagons, and no idea how many hours in connecting everything…๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thank You, Lord, for giving me the ability to crochet. What a fun activity to keep my hands from being idle! I’ll always treasure the time that was invested in this blanket. Thank You for giving me Your Word to meditate on, personal circumstances to talk to You about in prayer, conversations I was able to have with others as I worked on it, and for the activities I was able to watch while crocheting. May the warmth of Your love be felt by each person who is wrapped up in it, for however long it lasts. Amen

A purple sweet potato pie

Our friends grew some purple sweet potatoes this year, and we were blessed to receive some of their harvest.โ˜บ๏ธ [click here to read more about Ipomoea batatas]

After we brainstormed a bit for possible choices, Mike’s mom chose a “purple* sweet potato pie for her birthday “cake!”๐ŸŽ‚

*Some funny behind-the-scenes-trivia: we actually thought these were called “BLUE sweet potatoes,” so the whole time we were working with them, we kept remarking about how PURPLE they looked!๐Ÿ˜‚ Glad to learn they are, in-fact, PURPLE!๐Ÿ˜*

I have two sweet potato pie recipes in my collection. Decided to do the simpler one here, so we could get a better appreciation of the purple color. First I washed, and then boiled 1.2# pounds of taters for about 40 minutes.

After that, I ran cold water over them and started by peeling skin off with a knife but ended with just using my hands and rubbing the skin off. Came off SO easy!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Had about 50 grams more than the one pound of sweet potatoes the recipe called for, but decided to just use it all.

Added 4 oz. of our butter and was struck by the color contrast of deep yellow & vibrant purple!๐Ÿ˜

Mixed above well, and then added the rest of the ingredients:

1c (145g) sucanat, 1/2c (4 oz.) milk, 2 eggs, 1/2t ground nutmeg, 1/2t ground cinnamon, & 1t vanilla extract. Mixed on medium speed until mixture was smooth, and poured it into the single pie crust I made before I started.

For it, I added 140g of unbleached flour to 4g of sea salt + 78g of butter and used my pastry blender to pulse it up. Added 2.5T cold water and blended it a bit more until it formed a ball. Rolled it out and formed my crust.

Baked it for about 1 hour and 5 minutes at 350ยฐ.

And here you can really see the purple vs. blue color next to this blue lid…๐Ÿ˜‰

Tasted great and was fun to celebrate Mom’s birthday with this pie!โค๏ธ

Thank You, Lord, for the gifts of family, friends, harvests, sharing, and celebrations. You weave everything together in amazing ways…Amenโค๏ธ

A trip to NE 2017

Mike’s parents invited Mike & I to go with them to Nebraska after we finished milking for this season. Mike’s brother and his family live out there, and the twins would be turning ONE!! So grateful that we could go on this journey…โ˜บ๏ธ

This post will be my “scrapbook” of the memories.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

We decided to travel a southern route west instead of driving the turnpike. Thought it would be fun to surprise Mike’s dad with a stop at the town(s) he grew up in: Piqua & Covington, OH. Thanks to the help of Andy’s older brother, we were supplied with detailed maps and descriptions on how to navigate around the area. He also shared family history with us that we enjoyed talking about with Dad. We drove by his childhood homes and stopped at the baseball field he used to play on in high school. Found out the field has been named after his old coach!โค๏ธโšพ๏ธ

This cute kittie just showed up and wanted some attention. Made Andy smile as it reminded him of one of the cats he had growing up…๐Ÿ˜ป

This outdoor orchestra shell holds many memories… Andy’s dad was a conductor/teacher and very passionate about music. It is in really good condition, and looks like it is still used today.๐ŸŽถ

Next stop was to Bear’s Mill. Found it when searching for places to visit on our route, and knew it would be a great stop for us. [Click here to see our posts about the steam powered Algonquin Mill that is near and dear to our hearts in Carroll County, OH.] Bear’s Mill is not powered by steam, however – it’s water powered, by a turbine. We enjoyed the self-guided tour. Here are some pics:

Of course you take a picture of random ducks swimming under the mill, lol…๐Ÿฆ†

I was trying to take a picture of the water below, but the sun/shadows were making it a challenge. Then I realized how cool the shadow was of Mike & I. So we just had fun with shadow pictures, lol! Love this man!๐Ÿ˜

Pictures like this are necessary when you are terrified of mice (all rodents๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ™„), so that your sons can make fun of you upon return…๐Ÿ˜

No idea why there’s a covered wagon inside the mill, lol. Appeased Mike by climbing up for a pic!๐Ÿ˜‚

Next stop was at the KitchenAid outlet store in Greenville. My family has used these mixers and many of their attachments over several generations. We LOVE our KitchenAid mixer and have been through several over the years, so it was fun to browse through their little museum and showroom.

Here’s a cute, hand-painted mixer they had on display for the holidays.๐ŸŽ„

A fun mixer we knew our patriotic son would love… ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธโค๏ธ

And our last stop of that area was for lunch at Maid-Rite. The boys had seen it featured on a tv program several years ago, and the last time they traveled to NE with Grandma and Grandpa, they stopped and ate at one. They serve a steamed, loose-meat burger. Ever since then, they have wanted Mike & I to try one. We had our opportunity, and it was a nice lunch.๐Ÿ˜‹

The outside of the building was a bit unique.๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Wondering what all the speckles are???? CHEWED UP PIECES OF GUM!!!๐Ÿ˜ท๐Ÿคข

The scenery for most of the drive was pretty repetitive: lots of flat land, grain farms, and windmill farms….

Spent the night in Hannibal, MO. Plan for the next morning was to visit the Lock and Dam No. 22 (on the Mississippi River) in Saverton a few miles south of our hotel. Read there was an observation area to see bald eagles, so we brought our binoculars to check things out. WELL, we found the area, but not any public viewing area. (And we didn’t want to spend any more time searching.) There was restricted/gated area for employees, and this funny sign. Took that as our “sign” we would just move on!๐Ÿ˜‚

Stopped at an antique mall in St. Joseph, MO to stretch our legs and grab lunch. Mike found some treasures from his favorite actor that were a bit out of our price range, lol, so we took pics instead, lol…๐Ÿ˜Ž

And finally – we made it to Lincoln, NE! What a joy to see our family and capture some moments on “film”. โค๏ธ

Had fun showing them some of our pics from home…๐Ÿ“ท

With the twins having such light hair, they match well with Mike & Ben, lol!โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

Sawyer especially loved looking at Uncle Mike’s pics from the farm and of his cousins back in Ohio.โ˜บ๏ธ

Mike’s sister flew in from Mississippi to join in on the fun, too…โค๏ธ

Feeding moving targets is quite the challenge, but Grandma was up for it!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ (Probably didn’t help that Aunt Dawn was distracting with picture taking, lol…๐Ÿ˜‰)

Stayed in a 3 bedroom basement of an airb&b home while we were in Lincoln. Overall, a good experience (and definitely cost effective), but not without some drama/laughs. Had to get aggressive with an unwanted-banana-eating kitchen “visitor”…๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿญ๐Ÿ’ฃ

And learned our bed was held up by a lone stilt…๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿคฃ

But it did get upgraded to 4 stilts the next day.๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Did some shopping and ate lunch at Noodles with my sisters…๐Ÿ˜

Ben took Mike, Dad, & Sawyer for a drive in the country. They stopped at the Haymaker District so Sawyer could show Uncle Mike a BIG train…๐Ÿš‚

Celebrated Christmas on Saturday, so lots of laughs, games, eating, and snuggles!๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽโค๏ธ

After worship and a great message at Lincoln Berean, we took advantage of the 55ยฐ day with a walk to the park.โ›…๏ธ

And ended the day with celebrating the twins’ first birthday. First was a big family meal at Lazlos…๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ˜‹ The Grandmas: The Grandpas: Ended the day with presents, cake, and BATHS…๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ‚๐Ÿ›

The trip back home…๐Ÿš™ We were on the road early since Aunt Jenny had to leave before 5 to get to the airport. Always love catching the sunrise!๐ŸŒ…

Got to cross the Mississippi River in daylight this time…๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Stopped for lunch in Springfield, IL. Looked for something non-mainstream-chain and found Dew Chilli Parlor No. 2. (This place didn’t have old chewing gum around the outside, but it did have a neat, penny floor!)๐Ÿ™‚

Passed by a Nestle plant, and snapped a pic…because it’s not everyday you see a giant Bugs Bunny on the side of the highway, lol…๐Ÿ˜‚

Spent the night in Decatur, IN. That left us with just a 4 hour drive to get home on Tuesday. Thought about driving straight through, but decided we’d rather not arrive home completely exhausted. These bodies enjoyed the break, and felt refreshed for the final leg…๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ

Caught this fun city-sunrise pic after we left the hotel…

Mike and I LOVE finding small-town coffee shops. Both to support local small businesses and because we love coffee…โ˜•๏ธโค๏ธ

Found this gem in Downtown Decatur…

My favorite part were the loyalty mugs! My mug would be here if this was in my neighborhood – just sayin’…๐Ÿ˜‰

Kinda fun to see the line of lake effect snow ahead of you while you watch the radar on your phone…โ„๏ธ

And our final stop before home was at Bob Evans outside of Mansfield.๐Ÿณ๐Ÿฅ“

Thank You, Lord, for giving us this opportunity to travel with Mom & Dad to see our family in Nebraska. We are grateful for the clear path You set out before us, and for how You equipped our sons to take care of the farm around their work schedules at home. Though our family members are spread all around the country, You unite us through modern technology; but boy is it a blessing when face-to-face moments arise! Continue to grow each one of us closer to You with every step we take. In Your Name, I pray. Amen๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

5th calf 2015

Michael’s heifer (Banana) had her first calf this morning! {Click here to see when Banana was born.} 

Click here for another post from when she was younger.

Or here for another one.

This calf has taken FOREVER to pop out, lol… We cancelled our plans to visit with my Cleveland family on Sunday afternoon because she looked super loose and we wanted to be available to help her if necessary. But she never had it Sunday. Then we missed some baseball on Monday so we could run home & keep up with checking on her every 3 hours for any changes. But nothin’. And so went Tuesday, and Wednesday… We really felt the pull of that difficult line of where: making-yourself-available is very close to: you-are-acting-like-God-can’t-handle-this-without-you.๐Ÿ˜ณ Sooo many good life lessons from farming!๐Ÿ˜Š

And now we see a better picture of “why” Banana progressed as she did. The Lord was preparing her to have her first calf completely unassisted and without an audience. And we are pretty sure her calf is the largest one so far, as well. Mike and Michael were delighted this morning to find this in the field:

  

It’s a boy! His name is Gungi. (Apparently he is named after the only Wookie Jedi, as featured in the Clone Wars, lol.)๐Ÿ˜‰

Before we could bring those two down to the barn, we moved Han over to join Chewy and Leia next door.

 

 

 He was pretty resistant to the walk at first, and tried to play possom…๐Ÿ˜‰

 

But he eventually caught on to the idea of walking…๐Ÿ‘

 

He was a bit apprehensive of trudging through our flooded yard… But some gentle persuasion helped.๐Ÿ‘

 

He made it just fine.๐Ÿ‘ 

It’s a muddy mess right now, but thankfully that is just for a “season”…๐Ÿ˜Š 

 Then we headed back up in the rain and thunder to bring down Banana and Gungi. Pictures were difficult with all the rain and keeping feet stable in sloshy mud, but Paul did a nice job taking some pics for us since I drove the baby cart down to the barn today.๐Ÿ‘

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Made it aok! Thank You, Lord…โค๏ธ

  

Tally now: 3 boys, 2 girls.๐Ÿ˜Š 

Scripture pictures and frames

Over the past few years, we have played with adding Scripture to pictures we’ve taken as we “walk”.ย  Here is a post about the frames we made from our old pickets as 2014 Christmas gifts, and a link to a new page on this blog that will house the pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_0297IMG_2810IMG_2651You’ll notice we had to change the location of the white note – not a good idea to cover up the hole where the dowel rod should go, lol! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Since I didn’t have enough pockets for each frame, some got envelopes instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_2659Click here for a link to the Scripture pictures page on this blog…

18 years together

Had to start milking extra early today so we could make it out in time for Michael’s double header. โšพ๏ธ

I will never grow tired of sunrises… โค๏ธ

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Looking back toward the girls…

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Now I’m back at the milkhouse, looking up toward where the girls were…

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And then I glance toward Mike in the barn and I do a double take…

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I LOVE THIS MAN. โค๏ธ I love that he sees beauty where I see beauty. I love that I just caught him taking a picture of it like I was. ๐Ÿ˜ I love that the Lord has blessed us with 18 years of marriage together. ๐Ÿ’

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And I love that he txted me this picture after he took it. That he knew I’d love it. And I do. ๐Ÿ’—

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We love because He first loved us. (โ€ญ1 Johnโ€ฌ โ€ญ4โ€ฌ:โ€ญ19โ€ฌ)

Scraping marrow into beef broth – a new level of weirdness

Used up our last quart of broth last week, so its time to simmer another 4 roasters of broth. As I was straining the first two batches of broth on Monday, the strangest thing happened. All the bone marrow was STARING at me! I know, I know. I’ve seen it before, and I acknowledged it, but that was it. “Too weird. Not ready for that yet.” (I distinctly remember thinking that and even saying that to several people when it came up in conversations.)

And then it happened. Guilt. “Those articles (like this one and this one) you read a couple weeks ago DID make sense… And look at the marrow sticking out of those bones…” ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, I did it. I took a narrow knife and scraped out the marrow. Whisked it [now I blend it in my blender with a cup or so of extra broth], poured it back into the broth, and whisked it in… Funny thing is, I KNOW bits of marrow have fallen in it every time I’ve made broth. But (for me) there’s just something about taking the effort to actually do it on purpose, lol… ๐Ÿ˜

I feel like that’s what happens in my walk with the Lord, too. I can be sooo stubborn. I get into my “autopilot” mode and completely miss the open door in front of me. Or worse, I see the open door, but choose to do what I’ve always done, and miss an opportunity to grow. The cool thing, though, is that EVENTUALLY, I catch on. Autopilot goes off, and I quit fighting change. It’s always hard to see just how much pride I still have in “my way”, but it’s so freeing to finally “see it”, seek forgiveness, and continue forward with a renewed spirit to let the Lord keep me off of autopilot. Thank You, Lord, for being patient with me. Keep making me more like You!โค๏ธ

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (โ€ญPsalmsโ€ฌ โ€ญ139โ€ฌ:โ€ญ23-24โ€ฌ NLT)

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