Friday, July 31, 2015

Black and White Photos

Ansel Adams is a well known photography that captured many natural photos in black and white.  So when I am teaching a photography class this coming week, I am going to follow his examples and do some black and white shots with the students so they can see how outstanding some topics look in black and white over color.  It seems to me that some objects just stand out, pop off the page, take center stage, when you use this contrast form.  

                                         My Granddaughter, Alorah.
                                          Trees and sky.
                                          Sidewalk around pond at sunset.
                                         Wonderful Canadian geese in black and white.


In working on my Mary Jane Farm Merit Badges, I finished one on Gratitude.  I have worked on parts of it for months now.  One of the things to do for the badge was to read "The Book of Awesome".  It was very interesting.  I have also wrote notes to newspapers and friends and relatives and storekeepers to thank them and encourage them.  I enjoy writing old-fashioned notes that have to have a stamp and go by "snail-mail".  I enjoy it because I also appreciate and enjoy when people write me back.  There is just something special about holding a piece of mail in your hand that someone held in theirs and wrote to "you" on.  I enjoyed using cards that I had made from photos that I take so abundantly.  I also did a merit badge on photography.  Even with doing photography for years, there were things that I learned during this badge.  I am grateful for all the fun things that I have to do by being in the sisterhood of Mary Jane Farm.

So my challenge to all of you is to post on facebook, your blog, or by snail mail to others about being grateful for things in life.  There is so much to be thankful for.  I am thankful for all of you who will be reading this.  Blessings and gratitude to you.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


My husband and I like auctions and used book sales also.  He has a thing for purchasing boxes of old magazines such as Country Living, Martha Stewart, etc.  He never has found any Mary Jane Farm at these sales and I tell him it is because we all keep those magazines as "cherished goods".  Anyway, I have four stacks on my bottom bookshelf and take several at a time out to peruse through, keeping what I want in my idea folder stash, and putting the rest in paper recycle bin.  As I have looked through many of these magazines through the years, I got to thinking, Katie Style Country Kitchen is okay by me, and this morning as he headed out the door to an auction, I sat "working" on another cup of coffee and looking around at my kitchen.  So I am giving you a peek into my home, no magazine purchase needed...not even at auction price.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


During my last camping time, we had heat, rain, and some breeze, but you always make the best of what is given you as a farmer and that is what we did.  We enjoyed outdoors and then rested from the heat or rain inside my wonderful camper.  Daisy Mae Foxhound would watch me quilt or knit, and she most often enjoyed my tea/coffee times with some oreos, her (well, mine also) favorite break time.  

I finished my hand pieced Grandma's Flower Garden English Paper Piecing (size 1.5 inch hexagons) during this camping time.  I started it in the camper last August by cutting the squares and learning to hem them and then piece seven together to form a flower of hexagons which measured 1.5 inches each.  I used prints of the Downton Abbey fabric and background of unbleached muslin.  It is so pretty.  When I finished the last edge pieces I called my husband to tell him.  Of course, he was not as excited about it as I was.  I then had a nice glass of wine and toasted my quilt, my work accomplishment, and my Daisy Mae Foxhound.  Then I folded it up and set it aside.  I still have to put the batting in and backing all pinned together, another big step, and then hand quilt around each and every hexagon.  The final touch will be hand stitching the front and back together with a binding or just the pieces.  Lots to do yet, but the joy of quilting to me is the process.  It teaches me that all of life has process.

It has been a process for me to get to a point of retirement where I can camp, quilt more, enjoy time by myself with my Daisy Mae of course.

I also found this trip to be full of new acquaintances, women campers. I camp during the week, and there were two sites with families, two sites with fishermen, and then a site with a woman and her ten year old son, and another woman and her dear dog, Merlin.  I enjoyed getting to know Clarie and Merlin.  She was camping all the states west of the Mississippi, coming from Texas, after she retired.  We will keep in touch and maybe plan a camping meet for next year.  The newest set of gatekeepers are a couple who also love to camp,  Julie and Dianna, who recently retired.  They have camped lots and thought this a nice way to spend part of their camping days, volunteering as gatekeepers three days per week, but then being able to camp at the same site the other days through the season.  I enjoyed getting to know them and will see them through the season as I go camping in this park about twice a month.  They also have a wonderful dog named my Daisy Dog made new friends also.
Daisy Mae Foxhound after an afternoon nap.  She needs to be under the covers even in the summer, but I do have air conditioning in my camper, so the breeze was blowing on her.....excuses for my child.



Daisy Mae Foxhound and I went camping for five days at our favorite spot only 16 miles from our farm.  This pretty butterfly kept us company for two days.  We also enjoyed many wild flowers such as this large field of Black-eyed Susans which happen to have been my grandmother's favorite flower and my son is partial to them also.  I had a great plan to set up my tripod and take photos of Daisy Dog and I among the flowers, only going to the front edge as not to disrupt them.  Then when doing this "thought", I realized I would have to lift my 55 pound dear friend up for the shot.  She does not look to comfy, but we did have a great time.                                                                                                                                               

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Today I spent some time with my camera capturing the pretty flowers that my yard shows off each year.  Even with this wet, too wet, year in N.E. Missouri, the flowers have done pretty good.  Now the garden, fruit trees and even my dogwood tree have died, but like me, enjoy some of the flower power, and beauty.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Sewing Day

Sewing Day = Fun

Repurposed cutter quilts made into totes, even making a yoga mat/quilt tote and gym bag so I now can go to the YMCA in the style that Country Katie should go.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Not Old Age

Not Old Age.....I know it!!!!

Okay, I am 67 but a young 67 for sure.  I have overcome so many things in life and am a better person for it.  I am strong and well, but sometimes my body has issues.  It is, like the title, not old age, well not all of it for sure.

Today I had to have impressions on top and bottom teeth as I have some tooth lose in back and need to have some partials put in place due to this situation causing my TMJ to get worse.  We are trying to avoid surgery.  I have such a wonderful dentist who I have gone to for over 25 years now.  I know this is not old age, but old job injury.  I used to work in law enforcement and it so happens that in a fight with a man high on cocaine, I was hit several times, and once in my left jaw, thus TMJ has set in.  Well, I can report that I got in a few swings also.

I switched out all my shoes, well, keeping a few pair with good arch supports placed in them.  I now have all wonderful, but expensive shoes with help for my plantar fascitis.  This problem is not old age either.  I have begun yoga again after 20 some years and do it regularly, and have good balance, but this good balance does stretch the muscles and putting all the weight on one leg and then the other seems to have helped this situation along.  I know that the stronger I get the less it will hurt.  I also know that having these new shoes is helping.....all seven pair.

There are a few other things going on with my 67 year old body, but mostly, I am doing fantastic.  I swim laps at the YMCA and do yoga for an hour two times a week and some at home in between.  I walk my Daisy Mae Foxhound several times daily.  I camp, garden, swim in my pool at home.  I also do things for creativity like painting, sewing, quilting, knitting, and gardening and like cooking as well.  I eat right and think I am seeing the benefits of all of this, because it is not old age, it is just being 67, which is not 27.  I really don't even want to go that direction again.  In fact, 67 is a pretty great age.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Blogging Times

Blogging for My Merit Badge (MJF)

As a member of the sisterhood for Mary Jane Farm, I have worked on a number of merit badges.  I have been working for some time now on this blogging merit badge.  I have checked out sites, read so many I did like and some, well, just average.  I would call my blog just average also, but I do have fun with it.

I suggest reading a Blogging For Bliss book by Tara Frey.  It is part of what I had to read for my merit badge.  I also enjoyed reading and using Blogging for Dummies which helped me get started and continue my blogging.  

Yes, there is email, facebook, and all the others plus things like pinterest and our church even has it's own facebook page for members.  All have their place, but this blogging is something I believe I will continue more than the others.  I am hoping that I will progress in what I write and do and maybe be able to design some.

Happy blogging.

Dying for Natural Color

Dying for Natural Color

As an avid knitter, and basically a lover of yarns and color, I decided it was time, knitting for 55 years now, to try something new.  I did not want to spin, but did check it out, but I wanted to try my hand at dying yarns.  I ordered some "bare" (white) yarn and then thought which color did I want.  It came to me while cleaning wild black raspberries.  They have such a wonderful dye.  So I cooked about 1 cup of smashed berries, as not to waste too many for eating and jam, I thought this would be sufficient for my project.  I did not have a recipe, but had talked with several other people who dye things.  I proceeded to wet the yarn in the sink, and then I drained the water, poured the strained juice on the yarn and added a little water.  I did not want a really dark color, but got the result I was looking for.  I am calling it, "soft berry on the wild side" and will knit myself some socks with that I have wound it into balls.   Just fun and new.