Thursday, September 21, 2017


Yesterday was a long day.  Gary had to attend a seminar in Brandon, 90 minutes away from our home, so we were up early (before 7) and on the road at 8 am.  After 2 years of retirement we have well adjusted to the concept of not rising before 8am.  In spring when the sun is up early it is easy to get up earlier than 8, but at this time of the year, when the mornings are darker, and cooler, our bodies seem to say - sleep on...

So on the highway we went at 8 am.  It was a cool, cloudy morning, the sun was trying to break up the clouds, and it seemed like no one else was venturing out so early, as for once we pretty much had the highway to ourselves.  By the time we were half way to Brandon, the sun was shining brightly.  We got to Brandon in good time, found the Cathedral where Gary's seminar was being held, and settled in.

After the seminar we hit the stores.  I find it quite amusing, how we have changed in two years.  When you live in a large city, you so take for granted having every convenience at your beck and call.  Rural life, is a bit different.  When I make a shopping list now, it looks something like this -

window blinds - small kitchen window - 22.5 w
New jeans
Tarp - for covering the AC
Those 7W chandelier bulbs ( get lots )
Stock up on hand soap, shampoo, deodorant
New stove

In actual fact - we did get everything on this list - and more.

Did you catch that last item?  Can I shout... YEAH?  You bet I can!   I am so happy to be seeing the end of the ancient stove we acquired with the purchase of this home.  It's been a burr in my butt since we moved here.  It's replacement will arrive early in October - right in time for Thanksgiving dinner preparations!  I can't wait!

We stopped in Neepawa for supper on the way home, and arrived home tired but very satisfied with a day well spent - in every sense of the word.

And this morning - we gladly returned to sleeping in until 8 am.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Here is the Tutorial I  promised on the little jean angel.  I hope you get the chance to try making her, if you have the supplies.  If my instructions are not clear, just send me a comment and I will try to clarify for you.  If you do make one, please show us what you have done in the comment section of this thread.

So first of all you will need some supplies.  You will need a porcelain head and hand set.  If you can't find hands, that is okay - but you do need a head.  Try dollar stores, look in the Christmas section when it is up, and also check out the craft area of the store.  Other sources are thrift stores, garage sales, church rummage sales... you just never know where you will stumble upon a broken down angel.

Next you need some used jeans.   From the used jeans you need the following pieces.

Jean Material
Skirt -  one 7" x 11"
Wings  - two 6"x4"
Sleeves - two 2"x4"
Bodice - one 3.5" x 4.5"

One piece of lace or tulle material cut approx 6"x4"  for the front of the wings.  Don't buy lace - you can be creative by cutting up an old doily, or lace curtain - thrift stores have lots of things with this type of trim.

One wing cut from a light cardboard, such as a cereal box.  You can draw own on a piece of paper first. Fold a piece of paper in half and draw one wing - when you cut it out you will have the full wing.

2 pieces of chenille pipe cleaners cut 3.5"

assortment of trims and laces if you wish to embellish your angel more.

Glue gun and glue sticks

needle and thread.


Cut all pieces of jean material using above measurements.

To make the WINGS.

Take one piece of the denim wing material provided and glue the cardboard wing to the WRONG SIDE of the fabric, making sure to secure the outer edges well.  Cut the fabric around to the shape of the cardboard.

Flip the wing over so the fabric side faces the table, and now glue the second wing fabric to the cardboard facing you, WRONG SIDE DOWN.  Cut this fabric to the correct shape following the shape of the cardboard and fabric already cut.

Repeat the same process for one side of the wing using the lace or tulle fabric. 

After you have shaped the wings by cutting the fabric to match the others, take your glue gun and just make sure all the outer edges of both side of the wings are firmly attached.

If you want to attach feathers, or any embellishments, you can do it now.

Set wings aside.


Sew or glue the short edges of the skirt material together… WRONG SIDES FACING.

Turn the material right side facing and with a needle and thread gather the material along the top of the skirt, pull tightly to close and secure.

Making sure your seam will be at the back of the angel, glue the skirt into the dolls head.


Glue a chenille arm to each hand.  To make the sleeve, position the arm on the wrong side of the arm material.  Glue material to wrist of the hand and along the pipe cleaner, then wrap and roll the material around the arm and wrist until you have a sleeve.  Cut off any excess material, and glue down any areas that you missed.

Glue completed arms to the outside of the doll head at the shoulder level.  Remember to glue the appropriate hand to the right side of the body.


Here’s where you get to be creative! You can cover as little or as much of the breastplate attached to the head as you wish!  Make sure you cover the arms where you have glued them to the body, and make sure the bodice covers the top of the skirt. 

You can make a cape top, or fit the material to the breastplate  - be creative, and if you run out of material, you can always use laces or trims to cover the areas you missed.

Add any trims to bodice, dress or sleeves now.


Position arms as you wish, and glue hands together.

Attach wings securely with glue to the back of the angel, positioning the head between each wing.  I ran a thick bead of glue down the middle of the wing, and then also attached each wing to wherever it touched the back to the angel.

Attach a ribbon for a hanger to the back of the head of the angel.


Copyright ã Dale Graumann

I am working on those kits, I will let you know where and when they will be for sale soon.

Monday, September 18, 2017


It's been a busy few days here in Dale's house.  Friday was a cool cloudy day, it threatened rain  so I decided to spend the day up in the studio.  I haven't worked on many mug rugs for my November sale, even though I plan to have a bunch done to sell, so I appliqued all the teacher ones I had cut out.  I got tired of those so I appliqued a barn one that I had designed a while back, and then I decided to design a new one.

Check out my grain elevator!

I was so happy with the way it turned out -so  I cut out a few more

And just to be silly I thought I would jazz a couple of them up a bit for the lady farmers!

These last 2 pictures are just cut - not yet sewn or appliqued.

Saturday it was still cool and cloudy, and still no rain, so I headed outside to pull my carrots, and till my vegetable garden.  Happy to say the garden is done for the season.  I might till it one more time before the snow flies, but if I don't get around to it - that's okay too.  When I came in the house, I spent the rest of the day freezing carrots, and I also finished freezing the last of my tomatoes - so the putting away of all my vegetable harvest is also over for another year.

It started raining around suppertime and continued all evening and night - so we finally got a bit of much needed moisture.

Yesterday, I was planning to applique the mug rugs I had cut out on Friday, but instead I decided to try something totally new.

On the September long weekend, my friend Louise and I went to a spectacular garage sale in Alonsa.  The couple who had the sale, spend the entire year collecting things from all over the province, and then once a year on the Labor Day long weekend, they hold a huge sale of things they had collected.

It was the best garage sale I had ever been to, and if I don't forget, I surely plan to go to next years sale with much more money in my pocket.

Louise bought a huge box of tassel's and fringe.  Gorgeous, high end stuff.  When we got home, I asked if I could have a couple of tassels to make some tassel dolls.  I had never made them before, but I had one my Aunt Margaret made for me years ago, and I had seen many over the years.  Louise kindly shared some of her loot - so here was my opportunity to try my hand at something totally new.

This is the large tassel I started with... isn't it gorgeous?

So I got my supplies and got busy...

My first one 

Looking at the picture now, I think I will nip that bodice in a bit more.

My second one

I love how she turned out, amazing what fun one can have with a tassel and bits of ribbons and lace.  How's that for a hat without a pattern.

I have 2 more of the large tassels, and a few smaller ones, so I will keep at them between other projects...

I still have a lot to complete before I am ready for my sale, but if I keep having as much productivity as I did this weekend - I just might make it.

Thursday, September 14, 2017


They are promising us several days of rain, and I am hoping this time the wind doesn't push it elsewhere.

We are very dry here.  Yesterday I walked around the yard and there are parts of my lawn that actually crackle and crunch under your feet when you walk on it - just like walking on a field of straw and stubble.

It's going to take a lot of rain to hydrate that grass and all the other vegetation out there as well.

I still have carrots in the garden, but I can't get them out of the ground - it's like they are in cement, and we have very sandy soil here.  I have potatoes that I didn't plant that have to be dug up and one renegade Zucchini plant that decided it had better show itself, after me waiting almost 4 months for it to appear.

It's time to get the yard ready for bed.  We have a big plum tree to trim, perennials to cut back, lawn ornaments to collect and stash away in the shed.  I'd like to edge all the gardens one more time before the snow flies.

That's what I love about fall  - the slowing down, the cutting back, the putting away, the cleaning up.  The end of the growth and work cycle of mother nature, and the introduction of the rest and deep sleep cycle.  I really don't know how I would function without this wonderful season.  It's the season of completion.

I would be very happy if the heat stayed away as well.  Don't you just love those cool mornings and evenings, and nights when leaving your window open a crack means you have to pull another blanket up over your shoulders?  These are the days when socks go back on your feet and sweaters come out of the closet.

These are the days of earlier sunsets, and early morning calls of wild geese heading for warmer shores.  These are the days for saying so long to precious feathered friends who have lived in our trees and bushes and grazed at our feeders - oh how we will miss their beautiful songs.

These are the days when the long dormant knitting needles are moved to a basket on the floor beside our favourite chair, and the days when our favourite chair catches us in an afternoon nap that lasts longer than 10 minutes.

Fall - The season Of Completion - How wonderful it is, after all!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

SPEAKING OF CHRISTMAS... the last part...

Yesterday I was telling you about my childhood memories of two very special Christmas ornaments in our home.  I continue now....

I have thought of that plastic white church with the steeple many times through the years from childhood to where I am now.  I have looked for it too.

One of the reasons I love to wander through thrift stores is to discover things that link me to my past.  I have looked - but I have never found any church at all.

So I quit looking.

Last month, I headed off one morning to clean the library, and after I finished, decided to pop in next door to the recycle place and have a look around.  I haven't been frequenting this establishment as much as I used to.  The times I have been there, there has been nothing of interest to me, and I am trying to curb the appetite of the collector who lives within me.

But just the same, it had been awhile, so I stopped in.  There was nothing of interest, I could see that right away, but I kept going further until I came to the area at the back where all the dishes and things are.

And my heart stopped - I swear it did.

There sitting on the bench was a plastic white church, very similar to my memories.  Not quite the same, but close enough to bring tears to my eyes, and a flutter to my heart.  I swear, I felt like an idiot, standing there staring at this old decoration with tears running down my face.  It had a wind up mechanism on the back, that didn't work and it also had a place to insert a bulb, much like my angel.  The steeple wasn't a pointy one, but more square, like an English cathedral, and it was yellowed, probably from the lightbulb that shone through it lighting the church up.

Basically it was a wreck, and I could totally see why someone had gotten rid of it.  I had no business taking it home - but I couldn't leave it there - it was the only church I had ever come across.

I spent the rest of that day taking it all apart.  I removed the music box, and found it just needed some tightening and a little bit of adjusting... It played "Silent Night"  for me, once I got it going.

The socket for the light bulb was crushed, so I removed it.  I had a battery-operated mini light set that I had picked up at the dollar store last year still in the package.  I wound the lights tight and pushed them through the hole left by the removed socket.  The battery pack for the light set was slim enough to sit comfortably under the church.

I had my plastic white church after all these years...

Click the link below to hear and see the little video of my now restored Little White Church.


The bells you hear in the background of the video are Chip ringing the bells on one of his toys - he loves the music box!


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

SPEAKING OF CHRISTMAS - the first part....

Before I get into my post this morning, I just want to share a few pictures I took of our incredible sunset on Sunday evening.  I just about missed seeing this, as I had the living room drapes closed.  When I opened them, this is what I saw, so I grabbed my camera, headed outside and took some pictures.  The sky changed by the minute, I took over 30 pictures, and every one is different...

We have the most beautiful sunsets here almost every evening, but this one was the best yet!

Now back to my post.....

Well, we weren't really speaking of Christmas last week, were we?  But truth is, my head is already in Christmas mode -as are my hands.  This kind of happens to one, when preparing for a "Christmas " sale.

I am always ready for anything Christmas.  As you already know - it's my time to shine.  I love everything there is about the season.  The Story; The music; The Traditions; The Food; The Emotion; The Decorations; The Memories...

This post comes under The Decorations and The Memories category.

When I think about Christmas as a child, there are a two decorations that immediately come to mind.

The first is the angel that always sat on the top of our tree.  She might have been just a little plastic angel lit from within by a yellow Christmas tree bulb, but to me she was Magic!  You see our angel held a clear plastic wand... and when she was new, the yellow light from the bulb inside her shone through the wand to the end, making the tip of the wand look like it was gold.  She also had hair, and a gold metal crown on her head.  She was magic - and I loved her.

She was a giveaway customer gift at the Esso filling station that my oldest brother worked at in the late 1950's early 60's.   He brought home two - one for our tree, and the other one sat beside my bed on a table every night through Christmas.

When my brother moved away from home, he took the second angel with him, the other stayed for our tree at home.

I inherited her when my Dad sold our family home, and every Christmas for the past 30 some years, she has sat on the top of our Christmas tree.  She still has her hair, and her gold metal crown.  Her wand is there too, but every year I have to reattach it to her body, and I have noticed that the yellow light from the Christmas bulb inside her doesn't quite make it to the tip of her wand as it used to - but I still love her best of all.

The other decoration firmly planted in my memory is a white church that sat under the tree.  It too was made of plastic, and I thought the front doors opened, but that might have been the wishful thinking of a child reciting a learned Sunday school rhyme...  "Here's the church, here's the steeple, open the doors and see all the people."  Remember that one?

The thing is, I have scoured every Christmas picture of those early years, and not one shows the white church under the tree.  But I know it was there, because I used to lay on my belly and play with it.
This ornament is indeed just a memory, if it did exist - it is long gone.

Part 2 tomorrow.....

Friday, September 8, 2017


First of all, I would like to say thank you to all for the nice comments on my denim angels on Face Book yesterday.  It's very gratifying to hear that something I created out of basically scraps, has brought a smile so someone else.

For those of you not on Facebook - the comments were from this picture I shared on my page yesterday.  I posted this late in the day, after I managed to make 2 more angels during the day yesterday.  I called these  a "Choir of Angels", mainly because their colour put me in mind of the Cassocks and Surplices we wore in our Church choir at St. Luke's in Winnipeg.  And I don't mind telling you we sang like angels too...

I have decided to make a tutorial on how to make these angels, which I will post here on my blog for anyone wanting to try them.  The biggest challenge for you might have is sourcing the heads and hands, so if you think you might be wanting to make these, now would be the time to start checking the dollar stores and thrift shops for these items.  

Remember, you just want the heads and hands, so don't spend much on whatever you find.  The pieces I used were from dollar store angels I purchased a couple of years ago.  My family, and I'm sure the store clerk, thought I was mad buying the ugly angels that year - and I bought every one they had in the store... and believe me, I am sure they were happy to see them go.  I will be on the hunt for more this season as my supply is getting low.  Check the craft areas of thrift stores as well, you might luck out and walk home with a bag of heads.  

I am also going to put together a couple of kits which I will offer for sale, first come first serve.  All you will need is a mini glue gun and some glue sticks, everything else will be provided.

So on that note, I am closing down the studio for a few hours, I have beautiful juicy red ripe tomatoes waiting in my kitchen to be be processed and frozen.

Have a good weekend everyone, stay safe...

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Are you wrapping up your outside work for the year like me?  Are you wondering what you are going to do with your time next?

Retirement gives you those options, but here's the thing - I am busier in retirement than I was when I was working full time!

Well maybe that's not entirely true, it's a different kind of busy in that now I can choose to be be busy, when I want to be busy.  I have lots of things to do, but I no longer feel pressure to do them.  Maybe that is the difference.

When I was working full time, there was never enough time because working took up the majority of my day, 5 days a week.  Weekends I scrambled to catch up with the things I had to do, and then it was back to work again.

Not so now.  I do plan my days when I get up, but more often than not, the plan is changed by the time I have finished breakfast.

So - what IS next?

For me its not really Next - but Still.... crafting, of course!  I have rented my space for a craft sale on November 5th.  Not that this is anything new for me, but this year I am challenging myself to try different things entirely for my sale.  I will have a few of my crochet ornaments, but only a few.

For some reason crafting has evolved into a whole new experience for me.  Gone are the days when I spent a lot of money at craft stores (is there even really such a thing any more) for supplies.  Instead I have become a "hunter" of things I can use to make some something new and different.

More and more I am recycling, up-cycling... using used and sometimes new items, tearing them apart and making something else.

At the moment, my skills are being put to the test recycling blue jeans.

I am discovering that there is actually a use for every part and piece of a pair of jeans.

For instance - these are made from the pockets of Jeans, and the handle is the very heavy seam you will find in the leg of every pair of blue jeans.  I made these for my sale - they can be a cute little gift/ treat bag for a child, or  can be used as a door decoration, perhaps with some Christmas greens popping out of the top.

I made this fellow from scraps of several pairs of jeans.  You can see the different colours of blue jeans used.  His collar is from Jean shirt, and even his wrist band is a patch from a pocket.

Even the tiniest scraps can be used to make gorgeous flowers of all shapes and sizes.  This one would be suitable for a hat, or a hair band, a purse, even a jacket... and its just scraps!

Now, I am making a very large angel from a blue jean dress.  I haven't quite finished her, but late last night I was listening to music trying to slow the brain down a bit,  when I decided that the big angel needed a little sister.  So I turned the music off, went up to the studio and made this little cutie.

I paid a dollar at the dollar store for the worst looking angel ornament, only because I wanted the head and the hands.  I took took it apart, kept what I wanted and discarded the rest.  She is made with left over pieces of the jean dress, and a few scraps of lace and those rescued head and hands.  I even made the wings.

I love this new way of crafting.  Its creative - it allows me to do things, my way.  I don't need to buy patterns, expensive supplies, I just need the idea, and its done!

Even people who aren't really into crafts, and who don't want to spend a lot of money on supplies can make their own gifts this way.  
Handmade will always be better than store bought.

Coming up next...

An Angel tutorial.....

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Have you ever had a craving for something you ate as a young person - something that was prepared by someone special, in a place that is now a memory - one you now hold dear to your heart?

This happens to me periodically, and usually the dish I am craving is something that my Mother made in our kitchen at home.  Her  "Rueble" soup - comes to mind.  Okay - so "Rueble "is the pronunciation of the word for this mostly milk soup.  The correct spelling is a German word - so you can take your clue from there.

"Rueble" soup was my comfort food growing up.  It was boiled milk with some butter in it, with the little rubbery "Ruebles" floating in it that Mom made from flour and egg... sort of lumpy noodle blobs.  I am not doing it any justice at all - but it was my favourite food growing up.  I have tried making it myself, but it's one of those things that never quite measures up to one's memories!

This summer, I had a memory of Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, that my Aunt Olga made in her kitchen on the farm.  A conversation I had with her while visiting her at the nursing home here in town, might have initiated the craving.  We and a few other elderly residents were talking about cooking and baking.  Most of these women were farm wives, and they spent a lot of time in the kitchen making wonderful meals for their hard working families and friends.

For some reason this chocolate cookie popped into my head.  I was there the day she tried the recipe out for the first time.  She wasn't too sure about them, but they vanished as fast as they hit the plate.

I knew she had given me the recipe at some point, so I went looking through my recipes.

I will admit, my recipes are a disgrace.  I have no order, no system.  I have copies, hand written, torn from magazines, tucked here and there in any one of my 40 some recipe books.  Its a mess, and on this particular day -  a major frustration.

But eventually - I found the little scrap of paper with the insurance agent header on it, that she had given me to write the recipe on, while she dictated it to me.

Out came the ingredients and within an hour I had a double batch baked and sitting on my bread board.

Oh My Gosh!  As good as I remember?  I kid you not!

"Gotta save this one for a blog",  said I.   Good thing for you, I posted this picture on Facebook and someone asked for the recipe, because I typed it and saved it on the computer... otherwise this post would not be.  It seems I have already misplaced the original hand-written recipe.

So I'll shut up now, and let you get your ingredients out.  Wouldn't it be awesome to have a plate of these to greet the kids home after their first day of school today?   Hubby home from work?  Your neighbour over for tea?  Okay - never mind that - lets just go for a cookie jar full of these sitting on your counter.... you won't be sorry... except after a week of these when you can't get into your jeans!

But do enjoy.... won't you!

Aunt Olga’s Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

2 c sugar
¾ c vegetable oil
¾ c cocoa
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/3 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
 ½ tsp salt
powdered sugar (optional)

in a large bowl mix sugar and oil together. And cocoa, blending well.
Beat in eggs and vanilla

Stir flour, baking powder and salt together  add to cocoa mixture, blending well.

Cover and refrigerate overnight or until dough is firm enough to handle

 Heat oven to 350 F.  Grease cookie sheet shape dough into 1 “ balls and roll in powdered sugar (I omitted this stage)

Bake  12-14 minutes  tops will be cracked.

Makes 4 doz


Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Is it Fall?  It might not be official, but I believe it is!

Geese have been flying over headed south for over a week already,  our song birds are gone, and although the trees have not started turning colour, already mornings have a nip to them, that wasn't there a week ago.

What gardeners consider summer, is now gone, and although harvest for our farmers is in full swing, the garden harvest in now past.  That labour is over, and now one can sit back and reflect on the growing season, or maybe just put one's feet up, grab a book and take it easy for a few hours.

I am not in the reflecting stage quite yet - I still have a few things to get done in the vegetable garden.  There are a few tomatoes still clinging to the vine, in hopes of getting some last bit of colour and flavour, and a half row of carrots that I have been waiting to pull when the soil softens with some rain - but after today those too will be history.

My freezer is full of vegetables for the winter, my preserve shelf has every jar I own, filled and on the shelf, so all in all I think it's safe to say, it was a good growing season.

Our beautiful yard looks pretty tired.  Drought and wind have taken a toll on the trees and plants and the grass.  This year fall won't be a showstopper of colour in my yard... but that's okay - there is always next year.  Or maybe we will get some much needed rain, and everything will come back for it's last hurrah!  One can only wait and see.

As I slowly get back to regular blogging, I will need to gather my thoughts, go through my pictures, and make time to sit down and write.  I have some catching up to do.

So while I do all those things, I will leave you with some of my favourite images directly from my gardens...