Monday, December 31, 2012

The end of 2012

Can I say good riddance?  2012 brought some good times and bad times.  I met a lot of new people and lost a few.  Cancer sucks big time.

I find that every evening as I lay down to sleep and say my prayers that my list of people to pray for keeps getting longer.  Some days I get quite depressed about it.  If you can, say a prayer for the following:  my mother who finished chemo and radiation for uterine cancer, Tharon who has tongue and throat cancer, Ellie who has leukemia, David who has colon cancer and his wife Samantha who has multiple sclerosis, Rick who has multiple myeloma, Michelle who has colon cancer and recently has been told she now has ovarian cancer, and Tina who has had colon cancer and also breast cancer and is in remission.

Say prayers for the families of Daria who died from breast cancer, Bill who had colon cancer, Kim who also had colon cancer and Sheri who had rectal cancer.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

God bless!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Our Christmas

We had a very nice Christmas here.  My parents were up.  Both my sons and their families came over on Christmas eve for dinner.  I cooked a turkey.  We had mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls, butter, tea, sodas and coffee.  Yummy.

We opened gifts and the granddaughters had a great time.  Here's a photo of Lilly and Dixie playing with the dollhouse.

Lilly put her baby in the highchair and when we all turned around a minute or two later Dixie had thrown Lilly's doll out onto the floor and put her own baby in the highchair!

Photo of my daughter in law, Jess, in the socks I made for her!  The heels are just a little too long/big.  I should go down one needle size on the next pair I make.

Jassmine helping me open my gifts!

Christmas day we spent with Phil's brother and sister in law.  Lovely, lovely time, and food, as usual!

I finished mom's flannel nightgown which looked really pretty on her.

Mom and dad celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary yesterday.  I was hoping they'd stay up with us until next week but dad wanted to get back home before we got even more snow here.  I can't say as I blame him because it snowed all day yesterday, all night last night and all day today.  It's beautiful but sure is a nightmare.  When Phil gets home from duck hunting today he'll have to spend the rest of the day plowing the driveway.  There's no way I'm going out in that mess.

I spent this week thinking back on where I was five years ago.  Five years ago I spent eleven days in the hospital after toxicity from chemo.  I almost died from the toxic poisoning and also from the MRSA infection the hospital gave me.  So very thankful then as now that my parents were able to get me out of there.  I know I would have died had I stayed there longer.  Thank you God for every single moment since then including the nausea from chemo.  It was all worth it and I'm so thankful to be alive!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Preview of one Christmas gift

I am ssoooooooooooooooooo behind on my Christmas gifts.  I got up at 4 a.m. to start the flannel nightgown I promised to make for my mom for Christmas.  I ironed the fabric and then cut out all the pieces realizing that I was short on my fabric.  I need at least 1/2 yard of fabric for the ruffle since I decided a flannel nightgown really needed sleeves.  I read through the pattern to make sure I understood what I was doing.  Then the fun began.  I love to sew.  I was afraid the gown would be too long (I hate lifting my gowns to go up and down stairs) so I cut it shorter than normal.  It will have a 10 inch ruffle which should make it below the knee but not dragging the floor.  Next are buttonholes and buttons.  When mom gets here I'll let her decide on how to finish the sleeves.  I think elastic would be a nice finish around the wrist.  If she's washing dishes she can push the sleeves up out of her way.  Did you notice the little touch of lace around the neckline?

I ended up finishing the sleeves with elastic after talking with mom then I did the buttonholes and added the buttons.  Hoping that Joann's Fabrics is open tomorrow morning so I can buy another yard of fabric!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 22

I finally broke down and went shopping ... at a store.  Yesterday, I went to Fashion Bug for myself a winter coat.  Thankfully, the store wasn't crowded.  It was a store closing sale with no returns.  I bought five or six items for the same amount the coat would have cost at it's original sale price.  Happy!

I managed to finish the fourth pair of socks around 1 a.m. this morning.  I washed and blocked them right after.  I'm supposed to be cleaning the house but my get up and go has got up and went.  I did vacuum downstairs.  I always wonder where can I hide all the stuff I have out?

We have a family dinner at hubs mother's house this afternoon.  I should take knitting with me.  I still have mittens to make.  I've knitted so much that my thumbs are sore.

Mom and dad are driving up Monday morning.  I have to get to the grocery store and buy a few things for Christmas eve dinner.  I have to remember to take the turkey out of the freezer to thaw!

Jassmine's dance class Christmas party was yesterday after their class performed a little recital.  I took a lot of photos.  They had a gift exchange.  Some moron parent decided that a toothbrush and toothpaste would be an acceptable gift for a preschool child.  What planet are you from because that gift isn't acceptable on the planet I'm from!  Jass got the toothbrush gift and cried.  I don't blame her one bit.  That was an awful gift to give a little girl.  It wasn't directed at her, per se, but she ended up with it.  I ran over to her and wrapped my arms around her whispering don't cry over this gift because you'll get presents and toys from Santa.  Then I said don't cry about the toothbrush because you might hurt the feelings of the person who brought that gift.  Being the awesome and thoughtful little girl my granddaughter is, she said, "What a great gift, Grandma, I love it!"  Always thinking of the other person!  Why can't adults be like this?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pre-Christmas (is this a word?)

I hate all the mad rush about Christmas.  It gets my anxiety going.  I can't do shopping at the mall.  Too many people and everyone in such a hurry.  I usually order things online.  I decided to make a few gifts this year.  So far I've knitted one pair of socks and started another pair.  I'm thinking mittens and also hats.  My mom would like a flannel nightgown so that's on my to do list.

A couple weeks ago Ralph told me that he would like for us to keep family traditions going.  When he was little we went to Phil's mom's house for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day we spent at my parents house when they were still in Pittsburgh.  After they moved, we started going to Phil's brother's house Christmas Day.  Phil's mom changed her Christmas dinner to the week before so we won't all be so rushed.  Phil and I talked it over and we'll start having Christmas Eve dinner at our house.  I've already told Joe and he's planning to come over with the girls.  Christmas Day we'll spend at Dave and MaryAnn's while Ralph's family will be at his in-laws.  Joe will be at home with the girls Christmas Day.  My parents will be up this year which will be nice.

This year marks the fifth year since my cancer diagnosis.  That first Christmas spent in the hospital was horrendous.  I'm so thankful for how far I've come since then!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

#makeitbetter #sandycraftalong

I came across a blog post about a craft-along for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
#makeitbetter #sandycraftalong

I decided to make a hat and mittens.  I started a pair of adult sized mittens for a man.  I could have made a pair for a woman but thought there might be a homeless man who needs them, too.  The pattern I'm using it called Mittens for All by Jodi Lewanda for Red Heart Yarn.  I don't have any Red Heart Yarn so I'm using 100% Peruvian wool yarn from my stash.  It's by Cascade Yarns called Cascade 220.  The yarn is nice to work with and super warm.  I didn't have size 4 double pointed needles so I went up a size and am using sizes 5 and 6.  The measurements are turning out true to the pattern but I have to say they still look huge to me.  They're 12 inches from cuff ribbing to the fingertips.

I'm working on the mate to it now.  Update Nov 21:  After finishing the second mitten I sent them through the mail to NY.  Hopefully they've been passed out to a needy person. 
I started and finished a second pair of mittens for Lilly this time in a gorgeous pink angora yarn.  While digging through my knitting needle bag (monstrously large) I managed to find size 4 double pointed needles.  Go figure.
I started a pair of socks on Monday.  I'm about 3/4 through the first sock.  It's looking pretty good.  I'm using A Classic Sock pattern by Nancy Bush.  Size 2 needles are tiny and I'm really hoping I'll be able to finish these before losing my mind.  I'm trying to make a few knitted gifts for Christmas.  I have a month.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Day After

I voted in the election yesterday and then stayed up watching Fox News until way early this morning so I could find out the election results.  I was not happy.  This morning I am still not happy.  Tomorrow, the next day and three years from now I will not be happy.  The majority of Americans voted for the person who would continue to hand them a welfare check or some form of government handout that comes from money borrowed from China.  $16 trillion dollars in debt and it just goes up but as long as "those people" don't have to repay the debt they just don't care.

I worry about my parents.  They are both retired but my dad has to work to pay bills.  Retirement and social security checks don't pay bills.

I worry about my husband's job.  He works in the financial market.  Our 401(k) took a nose dive in 2008 when Obama was elected.  It was just starting to recover.  This morning stock markets fell dramatically.  My husband works very hard for his paycheck.  He goes in to work at 7 a.m. and sometimes isn't home until well after 7 p.m.  There have been times he's worked 24 hours straight for days at a time sometimes having to sleep on the floor at work.  This is true.

Then there's my son.  He works as an electrician in the mining industry building equipment that is used for miners here in the U.S. and also outside the country.  His job depends on coal.  Obama is not a friend of coal miners.  He's said time and time again that he'll bankrupt the coal industry.  What kind of President doesn't want to see people work to provide for their families?

I am worried about the days ahead.  The next four years will be the same as the past four with our government getting larger, our Constitutional rights being taken away and more and more people struggling to survive.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

No, I don't plan to discuss how people vote or why they choose which candidate.  That's a personal decision kind of like your relationship with God.  I picked the title because that's what we call this day here in the U.S.A.

Last week I finished up on the super cute Heart Party Shrug I was knitting for Jassmine.  I used a Merino and Mohair yarn called Princess in a lovely lilac shade.  It fit beautifully and best of all, she loved it!

After dance class on Friday Jass wanted to come home with me.  Dixie stayed home.  Saturday morning Jass and I went to see Lilly; from there we went to the Pittsburgh Children's Museum.  We had a great time even though it was so cold outside.  The girls enjoyed all the activities at the museum.  Jass stayed overnight with Lilly so they could go trick or treating together.  Sunday morning we all met at Cracker Barrel for breakfast.

With Jass gone overnight I decided to start a pair of mittens for Lilly.  I finished them yesterday.  I used two strands of yarn for extra warmth.  The yarn is Alpaca from Peru in a color called Hyacinth.  The girls love their purples.  I plan to make a couple more pairs for Lilly and also for Jass and Dixie.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Late Entry

I just finished up on a knitting project I started a year ago for Dixie-Lee.  A cute cardigan with lacework and bobbles.  I was stumped about six months ago on the second sleeve.  Just hit a brain fart or something.  Had no desire to pick it back up and started sewing new projects instead of working on the cardi.

Last Friday I picked up my knitting bag as I took Jassie to dance class.  I almost had the sleeve finished while waiting.  Two nights ago I finished the sleeve and started on the buttonband.  Last night I finished up the second band and the neck.  This morning it got washed and is drying on the floor with pins in it (blocking).

The photo is from last night.  Notice the bear buttons?  So cute!

Yesterday, I received a new skein of yarn which I won from Lost City Knits.  I was SO excited to find out I had won!  The yarn is a beautiful shade of purple.  The colorway is called Young At Heart.  Trying to decide what to make.

I forgot to mention, or perhaps I forgot that I did mention, that Dr. V told me I no longer need to get a PET scan.  We'll just continue getting blood work to monitor my CEA levels every six months.  As he left, he told me to stay on the cured list.  haha  I can't tell you how much this made my day.  Five years ago was scary business!  I never thought I'd be here today and am so very thankful that I am.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I was loving all the nice, warm, summery weather we had the first few weeks in September but then, BAM!, the weather changed on me.  It has rained on and off for the past two weeks.  The leaves are falling heavily and I'm not seeing the gorgeous autumn colors we usually have.  I'm a spring and fall kind of girl.  I love when the leaves are coming out and flowers are popping up all over.  I love crisp fall days with all the beautiful colors on the sugar maples.  What happened?  One day it was summer, which I thoroughly enjoyed this year, and now it's cold, dreary and I'm feeling a bit down about that.

Last week was our four day AKC licensed field trial at the beagle club.  We also lost an older club member to death.  Very sad.  Phil and I were very close to him and his wife.  Because the funeral took place on Saturday morning none of the club members could attend because we couldn't stop or delay the field trial.  We did go to the funeral home to pay our respects.  The field trial went on and we were able to finish the trial at our club instead of having to move to another club.

We sold four of the five pups from Elsa's litter.  We decided to keep the remaining female pup.  We've named her Roxy and plan to breed her to Rocco when she turns two.  We plan to breed Opal when she comes in season.  She had a miss the last time we bred her to Harley.  We'd like to breed her to Harley again.  The pups we get out of that breeding are amazing!

Since the weather is turning so quickly we've got to finish the kennel sooner rather than later.  The radiant floor heating system is in but the hot water tanks are not hooked up yet.  We need to put up insulation and then wall boards before we get the metal kennel panels to attach to the inner walls.  We have 10 rolls of insulation and we have the wall boards.  They're very heavy.  I don't know if Phil can lift them by himself or if I can even help with that.  I'd like to buy four sets of kennel panels for right now and then the remainder next spring.

On another subject, I usually have a PET scan at the end of September.  It's once a year now instead of twice a year.  I haven't been contacted by the cancer center to schedule it yet.  My appointment with the oncologist is the first week of October.  I don't know if they've forgotten about me or are just too busy right now.  Most times I get a phone call but I've also received a scheduling notice in the mail.  If I don't hear anything by Friday I'll give them a call on Monday.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Five Years Today!

Five years ago today Phil and I were at the hospital as I had my first colonoscopy.  The doctor came in to Recovery to tell me he'd found a tumor and I needed surgery right away.  And then he left.  I never saw him again.

My journey into cancerville was filled with terror at the thought that cancer means death and at the age of 45 I was going to die.  Every day was filled with panic that this might be THAT day.  I never heard a positive or hopeful comment from a doctor or nurse about my situation.  Everyone told me to plan for the inevitable.  Even the insurance company had a palliative care manager call and ask to coordinate my care.  Cancer is scary business.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

The only hope I felt was when I met with Dr. Arthur James Moser at UPMC and he told me that he had a plan and he thought he could help me.  At the same time he also explained that there was a man across the hall who had pancreatic cancer who he would not be able to help.  I felt a horrible stabbing pain in my gut when he said that.  While I was finally given hope the man across the hall was being told something different.

Today, and every day that I continue to wake up in the morning, I am thankful that God gave me an additional five years of life!  I continue to have a wonderful life with my husband.  God has blessed us with three beautiful granddaughters!  My parents are in good health.  Mom has gone through her own journey with cancer and after chemo and radiation she is clear!  My oldest son had his first colonoscopy.  His doctor said he had the colon of a teenager.  If that means he'll never develop colon cancer then this mom shouts Hallelujah!

So, today is a day of celebration for me.  I am a cancer survivor.  Prayer works.

Monday, September 3, 2012

What's this Grandmother to do?

Friday morning I was on the way to drop off clothes with Jassie and Dixie.  I got a call from Jassie on my cellphone asking if she could come over to visit.  I said yes and when I got there Dixie's bag was packed and ready to go, too.  Of course, later I would find out that Jassie packed Dixie's bag and there were absolutely no clothes in the bag which fit Dixie!  There were no shoes for Dixie to be found so I had to take her barefoot and the only carseat I was given for her to sit in was a booster seat for an older, larger child.  This really ticked me off!  I strapped her in the seat and away we went.  It was no time at all before she climbed out of it and was reaching for the handle to get out of the car.  Immediately I clicked on the child lockout button.  I went straight to Walmart to shop for a carseat, shoes and diapers.  GRRRR!  This makes me so mad.  I have one daughter in law who truly cares for her daughter and the other one can't really be bothered.  I don't understand this at all.  I don't know the last time the girls have been to the doctor for checkups or to get their shots.  Jassie was supposed to have her teeth fixed by the dentist over a year ago and still this hasn't been done.  I am worried that the decay from the tooth which chipped and fell out will ruin the remainder of her teeth.  She is very self conscious of her teeth and won't open her mouth to smile for photos.  How can a mother not do what's in the best interest of her child?  I can't blame the entire situation on her mother because my son should step up and take over where the mother isn't doing her job.  What can I do to make sure that my granddaughters are taken care of properly?

Friday, August 24, 2012

More Sewing

Are you tired of my sewing posts yet?  haha
I really enjoy sewing.  I follow a blogs from young women who sew for either themselves or their children.  It's inspired me.  My oldest granddaughter, Jassmine, loves dresses and usually can't wait to get something new from me.
Last week I made two nightgowns for her using vintage patterns.  I wanted them to be roomy because she kicks and rolls around so much in her sleep.  They are a size 10.  The blue one was made from a cotton percale sheet.  The pink one was made using vintage seersucker fabric.
Today I made a peasant dress which I think she'll like.  It's a size 8.  She's supposed to be starting kindergarten on Monday.  These two fabrics are from Jo-Ann's.  I added rickrack where the bodice joins the skirt and then I added a little decoration at the neck.

I think they are really cute and I hope she likes them!  Would you change anything if you had made them?  Let me know.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Vintage Thrift Store Find

I love thrift stores but I'm not really into wearing thrift store finds unless it's to cut up and use as fabric for something else. 

Today I came across a beautiful, vintage dress by Westbury Fashions circa 1950s-early 1960s.  It's a button up shirt dress with pink polka dots.  I wish I knew what the fabric was.  It's so silky.  I came across it in the store and immediately thought, "Ooooh, cute fabric to cut up!," but as soon as I got it home and laid it out I could see it was a beauty and decided to put it up for sale at ebay.

I wish I were a smaller size because I'd wear it!  It's either a size 8 or 10.  The measurement at the waist was 28 and bust 36.  LINK to ebay location.  There are a few very minute flaws but nothing that anyone would notice while you were to wear the dress.  I thought someone out there would appreciate the beauty of this dress.  I couldn't see it lingering on in that shop so I had to rescue it.

UPDATE 8-24-2012:  This dress did not sell so I'm not sure if I have the guts to cut it up and reuse the fabric or just hang onto it hoping one day someone will love it.  Killer fabric!  Just gorgeous.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

German Shorthaired Pointer Puppies

Phil and I took photos of the newest litter of GSP puppies last night.  They'll be three weeks old on Friday and man are they getting big! 

There's one male (puppy #2) and four females.  We don't plan on keeping any.  We need to finish more of the kennel building before it turns cold.  Insulation has to go up and concrete wall boards which the dogs can't chew through or destroy.  Pups have a great pedigree.  Lots of champion ancestors.  They will be registered AKC and NAVHDA.  Price is $700.  Contact information can be found with the pedigree (above).

Friday, August 10, 2012

I've been so busy

the past two weeks that I haven't even taken the time to update my blog. 

Elsa had her puppies on July 27.  One male and four females.  All available for sale.  Pick up will be around September 14. 

My parents came in for granddaughter Lilly's birthday party on August 4.  She turned two on July 31.  Nice party, super hot weather.  I took lots of pictures and the kids had a pool party!

Granddaughters Jassmine and Dixie stayed overnight because Daddy had to work. Pappy got moved to the couch and he was not happy.

I've been sewing a lot.  Made two bubble romper outfits for Lilly and one for Dixie.  Made a skirt for my mom.  It needs hemmed and the waist needs taken in a little. 

I have not been sleeping good.  I can't sleep at night and find myself exhausted and wanting to nap during the day but I'm forcing myself to stay awake. 

On Tuesday I took Leja to the vet to get her AKC number tattooed on her inner right thigh.  We do this for all our GSPs in case they ever get lost.  My two year old Kodak ESP 6150 printer / fax / scanner broke so I went to replace it with another Kodak ESP which I bought at Walmart.  I consider myself somewhat technical minded and computer literate but after four hours of trying to get the daRn thing to set up and, after going through the online error message fixes at Kodak and speaking with a technician, I decided it best to just take back to Walmart.  And, God bless them, they honored my receipt and took it off my hands and totally refunded all my money. 

On Wednesday, the bossman said he would buy me a new printer so I took him up on the offer.  I shopped online at Office Max.  I was looking for another Kodak but they no longer sell them.  I don't have any experience with HP or Epson and the only Canon I ever had was a dot matrix printer back in 1998.  :)  I did have two Lexmarks but they didn't last past a year and I do use my printer every day.  The one we have at the office is a Brother all in one and we've had it for over six years.  All we've ever replaced, fingers crossed, are cartridges so I ordered one of those.  It actually comes with a standard three year warranty which just tickles me to no end! So here I was with two brand new Kodak cartridges and two used very sparingly. I ended up selling them on eBay. Yay! 

I had a lot of errands to do yesterday and then worked from home yesterday and all this morning.  I'm ready for a break.  It's noon so breakfast would be nice. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Birthday

I reached a new milestone in my life and can now check off the box marked 50 and over.  I'm not sad about it.  In fact, I'm VERY happy because it means I've lived FIVE YEARS past my initial Stage III Colon Cancer diagnosis in 2007.  Ecstatic!  Take that, doctors and nurses who told me I wouldn't make it!  Bam! Pow!

I had an awesome birthday!  My parents came up for my party.  Both my sons and their families were able to attend, and my mother in law was also there!  Phil had the week off for vacation and we shopped for food and cake on Friday.  Went to Sam's Club and bought way too much food.  I picked up the cutest birthday cake.  I love pink and all things girly.  I had the cake decorated with my name in pink.  We took lots of pictures.

I hadn't had a birthday party since I turned 16.  This was even better!  I'm looking forward to what God has in store for me and I thank him every day for giving me additional time to enjoy with my family.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We take so much for granted!

I've been thinking that we take so much for granted each and every day.  Family and friends. Life in general.  That we have a job or will continue to have a job.  A roof over our head.  Good or somewhat good health.  Could be worse, right?  You could be diagnosed with cancer or some type of debilitating disease.

The mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. sustained one tremendous storm with tornado-like winds called a Derecho and rain on June 29 toppling electric transmission towers and knocking out power to many counties including almost the entire state of West Virginia where most of my family lives. 

My parents in southern Maryland were without power for two days and were lucky to have friends that they could stay with, however, everyone in Summers County (WV) were without power for 12 days.  TWELVE DAYS!  Yesterday afternoon was the first time that most residents in the county had their electricity restored.

Phil and I used to do living history (pre-1840 time period) and would camp out for a weekend or an entire week on rendezvous (rondyvoo) when the boys were small but that was by choice.  We enjoyed portraying historical events.  Yet when we left and got into our cars we could drive home and have running water and air conditioning or heat depending on the time of the year.  Imagine if this had happened during the winter!  A lot of homes these days do not have a fireplace or woodstove to heat since almost every home has central heat.

During the last 12 days the weather has been sunny and hot with temperatures above 90 for most of the past week.  Imagine not being able to run water from the spigot in your kitchen to get something to drink.  Imagine that everything in your refrigerator and freezer was ruined after 24 hours.  What would you eat?  How would you keep things cold if you didn't have a bag of ice in a cooler?  If you think you could just drive to the grocery store what if the store didn't have a generator to run the store?  All of their food would spoil, too.  If you did have a generator at your home what if you ran out of gas?  What if the gas station ran out of gas?  You couldn't go anywhere and, besides, the power lines were down on most of the roads anyway.  How would you get through 12 days to take care of your family?

I read somewhere that almost all of the employees of the electric companies were working 24 hour shifts just to restore power.  This including management.  Thank goodness the union didn't decide that this would have been a good time to strike because the results could have been much, much worse.

Just remember, no matter how bad you think your day or week was, somebody had it worse.  And, be thankful what you have because it could be taken away.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony

Today we had a wreath laying ceremony at the grave of Peggy Shaw at the Middle Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Mount Pleasant.  She was only 12-13 years of age when she was shot by a war party from Fort Niagara on July 13, 1782 at Hanna's Town (outside of Greensburg, PA) after rescuing a small child.  Peggy died from her wounds two weeks later.  Hanna's Town was the first seat of government in Westmoreland County.   There's an interesting write-up about her which can be found here.

Our local Children of the American Revolution society was founded and named after Peggy Shaw in the 1950s.  A bronze marker was placed at her grave on October 14, 1954 by the Peggy Shaw Society C.A.R. and another one at the fort at Hanna's Town.  This was the first grave marker ceremony by a C.A.R. society within the state of PA.  Our ceremony today marked 58 years since that bronze marker was placed there and 230 years since Peggy was killed.  It was a joint collaboration between the local society and Braddock Trail Chapter NSDAR which sponsors our society.

After the ceremony we drove to Hanna's Town where we had a picnic lunch followed by a meeting where we installed new society officers and then enjoyed a tour of Hanna's Town.  Even at 94 degrees it was an enjoyable time.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sewing for Me

I wanted a sundress to wear during the summer. I can't ever find what I like in the stores. I like feminine dresses. Things with roses and ribbons, lace and flounce. I'm definitely a 70s kid.  I bought a vintage pattern (McCall's 5843).

I ironed the Provincial Garden fabric this afternoon and then cut the pieces while I was waiting for Phil to get home from work.  I started sewing after dinner and I finished my dress at 10:30.  It looks nice and I'm very happy with the fabric and the zipper went in very easy.  The directions were very easy to follow.  I didn't have any problems but I used the pattern pieces for a C cup and think I should have used D even though I do not wear a D cup bra.  The straps don't feel right and my bosom feels smashed.

I realize the model in the above photo is probably a size 6 and I usually wear a 12 but I wanted it to be a little roomy and comfortable so I made a 14.  I'll have to wear a minimizer bra to fit in the dress unless I magically lose weight overnight.  I wish I knew how to modify a pattern to fit my body.  If someone knows how to do this, please let me know.

Because I am short I didn't put the flounce on the bottom of the dress.  I went with version B and also made it to stop just below the knee.  Phil said it looked nice but he might just be humoring me because he was sleepy and wanted me to turn the light off.

I planned to wear the dress tomorrow to our C.A.R. event.  We are having a wreath laying ceremony at the grave of Peggy Shaw who was the young girl who was shot during the British & Seneca Indian raid at Hanna's Town.  Our C.A.R. society is named after her.  It's been 58 years since the original members of the Peggy Shaw Society C.A.R. dedicated a marker at her grave in Mount Pleasant.  Afterward we'll drive over to Hanna's Town and have lunch then tour the fort and the buildings and later we'll have our meeting to install new officers.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I was so excited today when I went to the post office to pick up our mail.  Two packages for me!  One was the Ashland dress pattern from Sew Liberated.  Yipee!

The other was a toddler dress pattern (McCall's M6529) and gorgeous rose fabric that I ordered from Auntie Chris Fabrics at Artfire.  Actually, two sets of gorgeous rose fabric!  One is Nanna's Garden and the other is Provincial Garden.

I danced around the house a little bit and then threw the fabric into the washer so it will shrink prior to cutting and sewing, and now it's hanging on the clothes line to dry. 

Fingers crossed that I am able to cut out the Ashland dress pattern and then the fabric to begin sewing.  Would love if little fairies were to come into my house and have it sewn up for me by Saturday.  giggle

Our July 4th

Yesterday started off as a beautiful morning.  The hubs brought home McDonald's biscuits which I do love.  I decided to work on an outfit out of the curtain fabric for Dixie to match her sister Jassmine's dress.  Hubs decided to cut grass.  Herein lies the problem.  He didn't use the riding mower instead he used the Swisher which looks like a push mower and is like a weed eater in that it uses a plastic-type string to cut.  He either got too close to the egress window in the basement or a piece of gravel kicked up and hit the window.  Whatever happened, the window is broken. 

Our windows were installed when we built our house in 2001.  Pella 30x36 inch casement windows.  I called Pella and they have a repair center in McMurray/Sewickley.  I called this morning and am waiting for a return call. 

When we built the house we intended for there to be two bedrooms in the basement which meant there had to be at least one egress window in each room.  It's now 11 years later.  The basement is framed but is not finished.  There's no one sleeping in bedrooms in the basement so Phil asks why we can't use glass block windows to replace the broken one.  That's a good question and, depending on how much the cost is to replace the broken window, we may very well do that. 

I have to say that I was not the kind, sympathetic wife when this all happened.  Phil was probably wishing he could take back 25 years of his life and have a do-over.

We had grilled hot dogs, french fries from the oven and microwaved veggies.  I finished the pinafore dress for Dixie.  The next one I make will have elastic in the skirt band and I'll line the front of the bodice and yoke area.  It feels flimsy.  That may just be the fabric I used which was poly-cotton.

We spent the remainder of the evening watching the National Geographic channel's Independence Day programs on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  We had thunderstorms and heavy rains which knocked out the satellite dish for a while.  I kept waiting for the electricity to go out but other than a flicker off and on it never did.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Today I dropped by to see Jess, Ralph and Lilly.  I planned to drop off Lilly's dress that I made for her second birthday party.  I held it up to her and just to see how it looked and the skirt hit the floor.  So did my face.  Ugg.  Ralph asks, "Ma, how did you get so far off from your measurement?"  No idea.  I brought it back home and spent two hours with the seam ripper.  I finally had it apart and ironed all the pieces to flatten them out.  I cut each of the three tiers from eight inches down to four and a half, then sewed the three tiers back together.  I placed the seam at the back of the skirt and then fit the skirt onto the shirt.  It looks much better now.  I think Jess will be happier now that the fullness has been taken out of the skirt.  I still hate the orange fabric but hey, that's just me.  Elmo's nose is orange so the orange fabric does go well overall.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dress from Curtains

Last week I bought those awesomely cute pink gingham polyester cotton and lace ruffle curtains at Salvation Army thrift store intending to cut them up and sew into dresses for the granddaughters.  I cranked out one dress today using a free pattern I found at the Sew.Mama.Sew! blog.  The pattern was for a nightgown but I wanted to make a dress.  I like the pattern and it was a super quick sew so I will make nightgowns, too.

Here is the dress.  It's a size 7/8 for Jassmine.  I thought it needed a ribbon at the bodice to break up all that pink gingham.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Yesterday I had to pick up dog food and decided to go to Walmart instead of Tractor Supply.  I can still use my $7 Purina Pro Plan member checks there and they've finally brought back {drum roll, please} the FABRIC Department!  They have a large bin of discount fabric which ranges from $2 a yard on up in addition to three aisles and rows upon rows of fabric.  I browsed around for a while thinking about this really lovely white cotton gauzy-type material with lace and ruffles running through it.  Reminded me of a pre-made dress or skirt but at $12.99 a yard I'll pass.

After I left there I went over to the Salvation Army thrift store looking for fabric.  I came across pink gingham cotton/poly curtains with ruffles and all cotton twin bed sheets with dancing ballerina, roses and ribbons.  Thinking both can be cut up and made into dresses for the granddaughters.  Both are in excellent condition, no stains, rips or tears.  I've already washed and they're hanging on the clothes line drying.

I read a lot of other sewing and knitting blogs including Pinterest for inspiration.  I've been checking out eBay for fabric.  I did a search on Waverly rose cotton fabric and came up with literally more than a thousand items for sale in that category. Waverly fabrics also makes sheets and a twin sheet (top or bottom) is about three yards of fabric by more than 50 inches wide.  At $3.99 for the sheet set and $7.99 for the curtains I think I made a huge score!

These are not great photos.  I took them with my cellphone.

I worked on the dress for Lilly's second birthday party.  Jess had sent me a photo a couple weeks ago asking if I could copy the dress.  She already had the shirt and a friend would embroider it.  I cut two inches from the bottom of the shirt then I started on the tiers for the skirt.  When I measured Lilly the other day I measured 18 inches from her waist to the top of her knee.  From where the skirt starts to the bottom measures 16 inches so I'm hoping (praying) it fits and looks great otherwise there will be an awful lot of time spent with the seam ripper in my future.

Below is my inspiration.

And my version. 


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Homemade Clothing

I cut out two of the patterns I bought recently.  One for a Laura Ashley-style nightgown and the other a sundress; both for me.  I bought white muslin for the nightgown.  I'm trying to decide if I want to embroider the bodice and yoke area with my sewing machine and, if so, what color to use.  I wish sewing for myself was as easy as sewing for my granddaughters.  I'm thinking I should have a dress form.  I know they're expensive.

Speaking of clothing patterns.  What exactly did dressmakers and home sewers do before paper patterns were invented in the 1860s?  I imagine prior to the invention of the sewing machine in the 1840s that making clothing for your family took a long time.  If you didn't have a store to buy fabric you'd have to weave it yourself then you'd have to design what you were going to make, measure for it, cut it out and then sew by hand.  This must be why the working class had only one outfit to wear during the week and possibly another outfit for Sabbath to wear to church.

My Granny Pack had an old Singer treadle sewing machine.  She made clothes on it and in her later years used it to piece together quilts.  Before that she pieced by hand and always quilted by hand.  After she passed away I inherited her Singer.  I was never able to get it to work and it's been in storage for 12 years.  I think of all the clothes she must have made for her three daughters and four sons. 

There wasn't a telephone in her house until after Grandpa died in 1972.  No running water or bathroom either.  You hauled water in buckets from the well and used the outhouse to do your business.  Grandpa never wanted modern conveniences although electricity did come to the mountain about 1951.  Still, she continued to use her woodstove to cook on and the electric stove during the summer.

She kept house for herself up until a year or two before she passed.  She brought in her own wood and kept the stove going to heat the house during the winter.  She was in her 50s when Grandpa died.  She went to work as a housekeeper at one of the state parks.  She had never worked outside of her home.  She was a shy woman and thought of herself as "backward."  Being a housekeeper was hard work but she never complained.  I know she enjoyed the time she spent with the other women working there at the lodge.  I think the most difficult thing for her was having to ride the tram down to the cottages at the bottom of the mountain.  I'm afraid of heights.  I've ridden the tram a time or two and my stomach drops as soon as the car starts moving along the rail.

My Granny was a quiet woman.  She was kind and caring.  She was very giving and was there to help anyone who needed help.  She could drum up a meal from leftovers out of the fridge and feed a bunch of people.  I could look in the same fridge and not see anything to eat.  She once told me that when she and my Grandpa were courting he would walk 10 miles one way to see her.  To me that meant love.  Why else would somebody walk so far?

Granny made the most beautiful quilts.  I don't know if she ever followed a quilting design or thought them up herself.  Either way they were beautiful.  I have a couple that she made.  Mom has some.  My sister has one or two and my Uncle Edmund and Aunt Barb gave one of Granny's quilts to Ralph and Jess as a wedding gift.  I've made at least six quilts in my life.  Each one takes about a year to make although I still have Joe's quilt on the frame.  It's been there two years.  I started it when he was about eight years old and he's 26 now.  I know!  There are only three more rows of stars to quilt between the eight pointed stars.  I get lazy or distracted and move on to something else.  That happens a lot to my knitting projects, too.  Right now I happen to want to make clothes.  Hopefully I'll finish Joe's quilt before his girls are grown up.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Little Red Tricycle

I saw a photo the other day of a child's tricycle.  You know the one.  Every child has had a little shiny red or blue tricycle as their first bike. 

I thought I needed to buy one for the girls.  So today I bought one at Tractor Supply.  It's still in the box for now but I'll put it together in a day or so.  I can't wait for the girls to come over and play on it.  I can see it being used for years. 

I remember my boys had a little blue tricycle.  I can't remember where it came from but they both rode it and had so much fun.  I remember that we had one when we were children.  One of us would be on the front peddling while one was on the back hanging on. 

I wish we had saved Ralph's little red wagon.  It got thrown away after the garage door came down and crushed it.  That was back before garage doors had safety features to prevent accidents.  I'm pretty sure the blue tricycle was left at camp when we sold it.  Hopefully it was put to good use by other children after we left it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Retro Butterick Dress Pattern 4790

For the third day in a row I was at Joann's Fabrics today.  Friday I bought material I thought would match the Riley Blake Farm Fresh fabric.  Yesterday, I actually took the RB fabric with me to find something which matched.  Nothing matched so I looked for something complementary and found it.  I also came across the gorgeous orchid pink peony embroidered and sequined lightweight linen fabric which the sales lady said would be on sale today.  Today I went back and got the fabric for half price.  It was marked 50% off.  Originally it was $12.99 a yard and I purchased it for $6.49 a yard.  Totally worth going back for.  I thought it would be best to line the skirt portion of the dress so I picked up a matching pink anti-static polyester lining fabric.

I'm getting a wee bit nervous about this dress pattern now that I've read blog posts from ladies who've made this dress!  Most say if you're small busted the dress doesn't fit well and also that the dress is so heavy in the back from the extra material that the front rides up.  I'm not exactly small busted.  I'm a C cup which isn't large, however, the dress is held together by snaps or buttons under the bodice.  I think snaps and a tie in front would be better.  Until I figure out how to adjust the pattern to fit my body I will put it aside and work on something else.

Family Vacations

Early in our marriage and before we acquired animals we used to go on family vacations.  We toured almost all of the civil war battlefield sites down through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  We went to Virginia Beach a few times and down to Jamestown and Williamsburg, too.

My parents jumped on the timeshare bandwagon 30+ years ago.  They have a couple weeks a year at Massanutten Village which over the years has transformed itself from a beautiful sleepy little hideaway into what I think of as a monstrosity.  It's more like an urban city now.

They gave us a week at a timeshare of our choosing once and we picked Banner Elk.  I remember it being a long drive but we were very comfortable in our 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer which had air conditioning which we hadn't had in a car up until then.  This car was awesome; leather interior, fold down back seat, power windows and locks, power steering, etc.

We stayed at a beautiful villa on top of a mountain.  Looking out from the balcony we could see huge rocks and large, large trees.  A couple mornings we woke up hearing a mother bear with her cubs outside.

We planned day trips to see all the sites.  We drove to Blowing Rock then over to Boone.  We took a rather exhausting walk down to see the falls where they shot scenes from Last of the Mohicans or rather Phil, Ralph and Joe walked all the way down.  I couldn't make it.  Elevation was over 3000 feet and I was quite winded just walking.  Hiking was out of the question for me.  We went to Grandfather Mountain.  Very beautiful.

Something happened one day as we were driving back to the villa.  The car started making noises and then started backfiring.  I think it even shot flames out of the exhaust before the muffler fell off and was dragging behind us.  We made it as far as the country club type golf course where golfers stopped their game to stand and look at us making so much noise as we drove past.  At that point I felt like we were the Beverly Hillbillies rolling into Hollywood.  I was so embarrassed but not half as embarrassed as Phil having to stop the car and get out to look at the muffler and tail pipe dragging behind the car.  We sat there a while waiting for it to cool off so he could see if it could be wired back up.  That being done we drove on up to the offices and asked if anyone knew a place we could go to get the exhaust fixed.  I think the statute of limitations has expired so I can say now that the catalytic converter in the muffler had completely gone.  The mechanic reached inside and scooped out the remainder of what was once the catalytic converter and cleaned it out.  He reinstalled the muffler and tail pipe and away we went.  Never had a problem with the exhaust again.

Every time I think back on that trip what comes to mind is the very loud BOOM! followed by flames shooting out the back and both boys yelling WHAT WAS THAT?  And turning to see all the golfers just standing and staring back at us.  Lovely place North Carolina.  I wonder if they'd let us back in?

Friday, June 22, 2012

More Sewing

Winter makes me feel like knitting.  I love to curl up on the sofa and knit while watching tv in front of the woodstove.  Spring and summer I love to sew.  I haven't sewn for myself in ages.  Recently, I've bought a couple of dress patterns and one nightgown pattern for myself.  Now to find the perfect fabric! 

I have a bunch of blogs that I read every day.  Today, I was reading Melly Sews blog and came across one of the many dresses she's made for herself.  I fell in love with Butterick 4790 retro dress pattern and ordered one off eBay.  It's a wrap around dress and looks easy to make.  I love to wear skirts and dresses in the summer.  I never wear shorts and jeans make me sweat.  Yes, I know.  Ladies are not supposed to sweat no matter how much powder we pat you know where. 

I've been searching for 100% linen fabric online.  It's hard to find what I'm looking for but I'll know when I see it.  A couple months ago I did come across about 3 yards of an off white linen fabric with red camilla flowers on it.  I plan to practice with somewhat inexpensive muslin fabric first before I {EEK!} cut into the linen.

Phil and I went to Chili's for lunch today, then he dropped me off at Jo-Ann's Fabrics to shop while he went to Walmart.  I was looking for complementary fabric to go with the Riley Blake Farm Fresh fabric I just purchased.  The description said the fabric was teal and since I didn't have the fabric with me because it was an impromptu visit to the fabric store I bought small cuts of just about every piece of teal cotton fabric they had.  Alas, we got home and I took the new fabric pieces to match up with the Riley Blake and NO! nothing matched up!  The fabric is NOT teal!  It's more of a seafoam green.  DaRn!!!!  So now I have small cuts of these gorgeous teal colored fabrics washed and hanging on the line to dry.  They're so gorgeous I have to find something to make with them and next time I will make sure to take the RB fabric with me!

Any suggestions of where I can find light weight linen fabric yardage for dresses?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Clothing Patterns

This evening I got to rummaging around in our basement and came across a box of old patterns.  Some are dress and skirt patterns from my home ec class in high school, a bunch of old maternity patterns which I should donate to Salvation Army and, one really cute 1940s era New York Pattern Creation #1783 (Baby Romper, Pinafore and Panties Pattern) in a size 2 which just happens to be what Lilly is wearing now and Dixie will be in shortly!  I'm so excited.  I brought it upstairs and opened it up to find all the pieces are intact and the directions are included.  Yay!  Just think, this little outfit is the same age as my parents.  giggle

I've been ordering fabric off eBay.  Phil came in with the mail today to tell me that one of my goodies arrived.  HAHA  More fabric!  I came across some really darling Riley Blake fabric on eBay the other day.  It's already been washed and is sitting on the ironing board ready to be pressed.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday, Flag Day 2012

Today is Flag Day.  Last year I was speaking at the Bedford County DAR Chapter in Bedford, PA.

Today I worked from home doing billing.  The past two days I was at the office working on the computers.  We had a bad storm Tuesday night which effected the computers.  Yesterday I had to leave work early to stop by my DAR Chapter to work on the computer and printer there.  I did manage to get all three computers back up and running.  Yay!

Beautiful day here today.  Blue skies, mild weather with a slight breeze.  A high of about 72 degrees.  I have clothes hanging out on the line.  That will always be one of my favorite things.

My postman says I keep the economy running with my purchases.  giggle  Today I received a package of cotton lace from Korea.  I plan to use it on some of the girls dresses and possibly a nightgown for me.  I ordered 2 1/2 yards of white muslin from a seller on eBay and also a used nightgown pattern (Butterick 4864) which I thought was lovely.

Did I mention that my mom finished chemo?  Her PET scan showed NED, however, her doctors are scheduling her to begin 25 radiation treatments beginning this coming Monday.  It will be five per week for five weeks.  Please keep her in your prayers.  Her name is Nita.

My chickens are out running around.  The goats are laying on the grass inside their enclosure and the ducks are all in a pile next to each other in their pen.  The dogs are all sleeping right now.  Bella's puppy Rocco has learned to climb out of the whelping box and do his business outside of the sleeping area now.  Big boy at four weeks!  I put toys in with him yesterday.  A small red Kong toy and a small nylon chew bone.  Jassie and Dixie played with him on Sunday.  So cute.

I'd like to take the guys out for breakfast on Sunday (Father's Day) at Cracker Barrel or Bob Evans.  I should check with them.  Phil is on vacation again next week.  I'm looking forward to fishing the Little Juniata River one day.  I know he'd like to get in a day or two of dog training.  I may stay home and sew those days.

That's about it.  Time to hang out another load of clothes on the line!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cherry Bliss Brownies

I came across this recipe for Cherry Bliss Brownies by Lucky Leaf cherry filling in a magazine a few weeks ago.  It looked simple enough and it looked so delicious!  I got all the ingredients to make it while I was out running errands today ... er yesterday.  I decided to make it for our DAR luncheon/meeting. 

The recipe says it makes 24 brownies in a 13x9 inch pan so I doubled the recipe.  I started at 10:00 p.m. and just finished at 12:01 a.m.  It took about half an hour to make up each pan and then right around an hour to bake. 

Here's praying they taste as good as they look and that they don't get hard overnight.  I don't want to refrigerate them.  I have a tea towel over top of each pan of brownies.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


I got a text on Thursday from my son Joe asking if I'd like to have his girls for the weekend.  The appropriate response was, "SURE!," which I text back.  Chrystal dropped Jassie and Dixie off a little after 10 on Friday.  I made scrambled eggs for their breakfast, gave them a bath and loaded them up in the truck and off we drove to Warriorsmark to pick up a dog we had bred.  Two hours later and Dixie was finally asleep after having screamed most of the way up there.  I was thinking whatever did I get myself into? 

We pick up the dog and head back arriving at the house around 4:30.  At 5:30 we started to get a storm and by 6:00 the electricity was off.  Jassie started crying.  I guess she was scared because there were no lights on.  We went upstairs and the girls played with their dolls.  Electricity was back on about 8:10.

We had KFC for dinner.  We watched a little tv.  I gave the girls a bath and we were in bed by 9:30.  Not asleep but in bed.  Dixie woke up screaming just about every hour and then finally fell asleep and slept until 7:00.

I made them scrambled eggs again for breakfast then we went over to visit with Jess, Ralph and Lilly.  The girls loved playing together and I enjoyed spending time with everyone.  We got back home and Dixie fell asleep on my lap while Jass fell asleep next to us on the sofa.  They woke up when Phil got home.  Leftover KFC chicken, green beans, corn and macaroni & cheese for dinner.  Bath time and then the girls and I went to sleep upstairs around 10.  Phil slept downstairs so he could get a good night's rest.  This time Dixie slept all through the night and didn't wake up until 7:30.  Yay!

After I fed the girls breakfast this morning I gave them a bath.  Jassie had cereal and I gave Dixie oatmeal.  They love bath time.  It's more like play time because I let them take toys in the bath tub.  Dixie doesn't understand that you can't walk around in the tub.  She scares me.  I'm afraid she's going to fall in the tub!

We got dressed and loaded the Jeep then headed over to see Lilly again.  The girls had an awesome time playing together.  I think it's really great socialization for Dixie, too.  She has no one near her own age to play with.  Jassie is four years older and they don't play well together.  Lilly and Dixie are close in age. 

It's great for the cousins to see each other.  Here's a photo of my three beautiful granddaughters.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hatfields & McCoys Mini-Series on History Channel

I'd been anticipating the Hatfields and McCoys mini-series on the History Channel for a month or two now.  Phil has been on vacation, at home or "stay-cation" as I've heard it called, since May 21.  I was on pins and needles worrying that we wouldn't get home in time to watch the show or that the DVR would not record or even that the electricity would go out again as it did on Sunday!  Talk about freaking out!  Happily we were home and the planets aligned correctly so we could watch it.

All of my family is from WV so I've heard the stories about the feuding Hatfield and McCoy clans.  My family has been in that area since before the Revolutionary War.  Quite a few of my ancestors were patriots and soldiers during the Revolutionary War fighting for independence from Britain.

WV became a state in 1863 after splitting away from VA during the Civil War aka War Between The States.   My Lilly ancestors fought on the side of the Confederacy during the WBTS.  In fact, General (and later U.S. President) Rutherford B. Hayes in his diary mentions my ancestor, Pleasant Lilly, as being a bushwacker, and the Union Army burnt his cabin. 

I can certainly understand how people after the war held grudges against neighbors or even family members who fought for the other side.  It's so sad to read letters or wills where parents leave something to a son who went away to war and never returned.  The will of David Cook, husband of Nancy Farley, reads: "In the event of my son Squire Cook’s return home, I desire that all of my children shall contribute until he have an equal portion of my estate."  Squire Cook died at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863.  He was 29 years old.  He was in Captain Robert Richardson's Company G of the 24th Regiment of Virginia Infantry.  His cousin Madison Farley was the last to see him.  Squire was fatally wounded and lying on a pile of burning rails.  I tried to find where he was buried when I visited Gettysburg Battlefield in April 2011 but I had no luck.

A Cook cousin, Lisa Odom, was kind enough to transcribe a few of Squire's letters home to family.  I am thankful to Lisa for saving valuable documents which otherwise would have been destroyed.
(front page)
                                                                       Fairfax County Virginia - Aug 26th 1861

Mr David Cook and family
Pipe Stem Virginia

Dear father, Mother, brothers & Sisters

I received a letter from you a few days ago, which found me in good health, and doing as well as I could expect considering the hardships of a soldiers life, and I hope this communication will find you all in good health. Our camps moved last Friday (together with the whole regiment and two other regiments belonging to the same brigade) to this place, a distance of about 12 miles from where we were stationed for over one month since the battle of Manassas. We are now about 14 miles from Manassas and 18 from Alexandria but how long we will stay here is unknown to us. We may stay here a month of leave in a day. As it is generally believed there will be another big battle in the County before long. Our post office will be the same let us go where we will on this vicinity as Manassas Junction is our head quarters. Give my best respects to all. (Can't read) to believe me to be yours

Very respectfully
Squire Cook
(front page)
                                                                                  October the 26th 1861
                                                                                  Fairfax County Virginia

Dear father and sisters i take my pen in hand to rite you all to let you now that i am well at this time hoping few lines may find you all i have not receive a letter from you since the fiftant of sept i have rote two letters to you sence i got the last one now something a bout the times we are exspect a fight heare every day and i think it will be a bout the 28th of this month they was a fight a few day ago at leesburg and they was 500 hundred and 30 prisons taking of the yankees and we sent them to richmond i don't now how many was kill i reckon they was a few kill and if they come again they git the same that they got at Bull run it will be another Bull run fight we ar fortified this place we as a bout done the work so nothing more at this time send your letters at same place

Squire Cook to D Cook

(back page)

i have not time to rite much this time i would like to see you all once more

if god let me
i will
see you
(front page)
                                                                              November the 17th 1861

Dear father i take my pen in hand to inform you all that i am well at this time hoping those few lines may find you all well i received your letter the 15th of No and i was glad to hear from you all i am in hope that i will come home again if i could see you all i would tell you a heep a bout the times and soldiers life hope to live to git back home next spring and then i can tell more than i can know for i will see and hear more by that time i wood love to be at home a bout chrismas to take chrismas with you all and with my girl i wood love to see to see my girl again it was hard for me to part with her but we will meet again i have no news to rite at this time so i must come to a close give my best respect to the girl

Squire Cook to David Cook and Rutha

(back page)

Dear Cousin i take my pen in hand to inform you that i am well at this time hoping those few line come to hand they may you and your mother the same mary i received the 15 of No i was glad to hear that you was well mary you rote that you had to give up your and Sweet heart two mary don't grieve after your Sweet heart far he will return back again So i must bring my letter to a close rite to me as soon as you git this

Squire Cook
to Mary Farley

Dear Sisters i take my pen in hand to inform you that i have not fargotten you yet you rote that the boys talk like coming a bout Christmas and you wanted me to git a ferlow and come two you said that you had about three pecks of chestnuts a saving for us boys when we come home

Squire Cook to Mary Cook

(There was no date on this letter)
(front page)

Dear father and all the rest

I received your kind letter and was more then glad to hear from you all and to hear that you was all well. I was not well when I received your letter I had the measles but I am getting about well now. I would Be glad to see you all if I could and hope it will not be long before I can for I think we will soon whip out the yankees and come back we havent Been in any Battle yet But we have heard of several little Brushes not very far from hear we belong to Colonel Earlys Ridgament the 24th Ridgement we are at the same place we was was when I wrote before But the main Body of the Ridgement is about two miles from hear. Drewry I would like for you to be with me as you wrote that you like to fight by my side.

Dear Sisters I will write afew lines to you in answer to you little (peace?) I would a liked to be at the muster when them 32 ladies marched tell Riley and manda Emily and the rest of the famly that I would like to see them a few lines to William Hughes in answer to his few lines Chapman is not with me now Captain frenches company left our Ridgement thay are in about 6 mils from here. I hope we will git to see each other again you must writ to me for it is a satisfaction to me get from get a letter from there I am yours true friend until death.

Squire Cook

(back page)

Dear cousins I will write you a few lines. I you must tell all the girls to not forget me for I have not forgot others nor never will. you must write to me again and tell all the other girls to write I cant get time to write as often as I would like to paper and envelopes is hard to get for those is may to write so nothing more at this time but Remains your true and affectionate cousin until death.

Squire Cook to Mary Farley

A few words to Hannen I have not forgot you nor forgot the last night stayed with you and hope I will stay with you again you must write to me soon direct your letters to Squire Cook case Captain Richardson Manassas Junction Prince William County VA 24th Rigement. So I will wind up By saying I will remember you all and fight for our Country.

Squire Cook

The thing which most surprised me during the movie last night was how lawless the area was portrayed!  I had always thought the "wild west" meant Nevada, Montana, Arizona, California and such.  I never expected that to mean West Virginia.  I know the motto is Wild and Wonderful but didn't understand how wild it truly was.

I am looking forward to watching the second episode on tv tonight!

11:21 p.m. and we just finished watching the second episode.  SOOOOO disappointed because we had a fast storm move through and it knocked the satellite receiver out for a few minutes and we missed a bit of the show.  Phil set up the DVR to record it again at 1 a.m.  I plan to watch the second episode again to see what I missed!