Snowstorms & Dishcloths

This past Saturday we had a snowstorm, with almost 10 inches of snow.  Normally that would not be a big deal here in Pennsylvania, but the crazy thing is that it was in October!  October in Pennsylvania is normally full of fall colors, raking leaves, carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating…not snow.  But yes, as evidenced by the pictures, it’s true.

The unfortunate part is that, with the leaves still clinging tightly to the trees, the snow proved to be too much weight for many of the big beautiful trees in our area.  Many trees were fallen, branches broken and even the smaller bushes were crushed.  The butterfly bush in front of the house was bent to the ground before I ever had the chance to trim it back for the winter.  Our chestnut trees lost a few branches, as was to be expected, but the strangest thing to see was the rose bushes, blooms still intact, being completely smothered by the large grasses (also not yet cut) laden with snow.

It is amazing to me how our electronically run lives seem so silly and artificial when we find ourselves without power for a period of time!

All of the snow damage took out power to the entire area for several days, and still continues to cause problems for some in our area.  We lost power around noon time on Saturday and did not receive power back until Monday late afternoon.  Without the electricity to run our oil furnace, we did not have any heat.  Brrrr!!  Thankfully we are part of the local water system, so we had water…. very COLD water…. but at least we were able to take care of the necessities.

My daughter did surprisingly well for being an electronics junkie.  She pulled out the board games and puzzles and we had a good time playing together in the living room wrapped in our blankets.  The strangest part of not having power was the total quiet and the darkness at night.  My husband and I spent one evening looking up at the stars which were so much brighter without the usual light pollution.

Ah but sometimes power is a busy mother’s saviour.  How well I felt that when it was gone.  The power stopped when the wash was mid-cycle, so I had a load of damp clothes in the dryer and a load of soaking wet clothes in the washer.  I ended up slogging them all out to be hung on the line on Sunday.  It was sunny, but hanging wash while standing in 10 inches of snow was a new experience for me.  Also, all of the food in the fridge had to be saved somehow, so I drug the summer beach coolers up from the basement, filled them with the food, and then packed them with snow.

As some of you may know, I have always loved the “Little House On the Prairie” series, but I never fully understood how hard “Ma” must have worked until this weekend!

Anyhow, that experience is over, and it taught us some interesting lessons.  I now know to keep plenty of candles on hand, to always have a battery operated radio and alarm clock in the house, and basically to expect the unexpected.  It has taught my daughter that life without electricity is indeed possible and can even, sometimes, be fun!

Trick-or-Treat in our area was scheduled for Friday, so we had fun roaming my parent’s neighborhood with my two nephews (2-year-old twin boys) and my daughter before the snow started to fall.  My sister dressed my nephews as “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” from the book “Cat in the Hat”.  They were too cute!  My daughter had planned to go as a witch, but changed her mind at the last minute and decided to be a Devil Terminator named Bob.

Yes….she is a very imaginative child…to say the least.  But, much pizza and candy was had by all and I had as much fun as the kids just by watching them enjoy the night.

Now, onto the dishcloth tutorial I have been promising.

The Sideways Stitch Dishcloth

I used #4 worsted weight cotton with a G/6 hook

Special Note:   3dctog = 3 double crochet together – worked as follows:

YO, pull a loop through space indicated, YO, pull through two loops (2 loops on hook)

YO, pull a loop through the same space, YO, pull through two loops (3 loops on hook)

YO, pull a loop through the same space, YO, pull through two loops (4 loops on hook), YO and pull through all 4 loops

Chain 28+6 with main color

Row 1: 3dctog in 5th chain from hook, ch 1, sk next 2 chs, sc in next ch, *ch 3, 3dctog in next ch, ch 1, sk next 2 chs, sc in next ch*, repeat from * to * 5 times, ch 3, 3dctog in next ch, ch 1, turn

Row 2: sc in first 3ch space, ch 3, 3dctog in same 3 ch space, ch 1, *sc in next 3 ch space, ch 3, 3dctog in same 3ch space, ch 1*, repeat from * to * 6 times, turn

Row 3 – 13: repeat pattern from row 2, after 13th row is complete fasten off

Row 14: (Working Around) join accent color in any corner stitch with a sc, 2 sc in same corner stitch space, *ch 4, sc in next space between 3dctog clusters* repeat from * to * 6 times, 3 sc in corner stitch, *ch 4, sc in next space between 3dctog clusters* continue the pattern around the original 13 rows, with 3 sc in each corner stitch, sl st in beginning sc

Row 15: (Still Working Around) sc in first 4ch space, in same 4ch space [hdc, dc, hdc, sc], *in next 4ch sp [sc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc]*, repeat from * to * 5 times, sc in first corner stitch, 3 sc in 2nd corner stitch, sc in 3rd corner stitch, sc in next 4ch space, in same 4ch space [hdc, dc, hdc, sc], repeat around working each corner in the same way as directed above, sl st in first sc, fasten off, weave in ends

This dish cloth is my favorite because (1) it is quick and easy to work up and (2) it has a feminine lacy look instead of the usual blah dish cloth and finally (3) because it is an original of my own design!

So give it a whirl and let me know how it turns out.  And, please, if I have made any grave errors, forgive me for being a beginner at this whole pattern writing thing, but also, tell me what it is that needs tweaking so that I can perfect my pattern.

Hope your week is bright and warm,



Dreams & Possibilities

Fall is always one of my favorite seasons.  I love the colors of the leaves, the cool mornings and the thought of cozying up with my family in the evenings.

This fall has been very pretty as far as colors go.  As I was driving to work this morning, the yellow, red and orange explosions of color on South Mountain were breathtaking.  I only wish I had the time to stop and take a few pictures.

Last week I helped chaperone my daughter’s school field trip to Hawk Mountain.  The drive through the country was wonderful and the views from Hawk Mountain were spectacular.  The kids have been studying raptors in Science class, so the chance to study them as they migrate south was a wonderful lesson for them.  Nothing sticks with a child like a hands-on lesson.  Unfortunately it was overcast most of the day (and 50 degrees…Brrr).  My pictures didn’t turn out as magnificent as it was to see in real life and my bum was numb with cold by the time we were done.  But it was worth it to see my daughter having fun with her friends and learning about raptors. 

We have also been spending some weekend mornings this season hunting.  Not for animals, but for a new home. 

Our current homestead is sweet and perfect  now that we have worked hard to make it just as we want it, but my husband and I would not mind having a few more acres so that we can further indulge our love of animals.  It began as a mutual dream of an older farmhouse that we could pour our creativity into restoring with a few more acres where we could raise alpaca.  And now we are starting to do the research to determine if our dream could become a reality.  We have looked at a few places, one in particular that we both loved, but we must first make sure that all of the angles are covered before we can take the plunge.  Not to mention, that though I won’t admit it to my husband, I sometimes feel a little tug at the heart strings when I look out the kitchen window and think that I may not have this view for much longer.  I know I will come to love the view at a new place, if it is to be, but I do love our little homestead on Hopewell.

So Meanwhile, at Hopewell, we have been snuggling up on the couches in the evenings with the furry ones. 

My dahlia scarf is slowly but surely getting longer, between my other projects on the hook for christmas.  Though I am sad to say that my hexagon blanket has taken a backseat these past weeks.  Now that the nights are colder, we have all agreed we really could use it, so it will be coming back out into the “Get ‘R Done” pile this weekend.

By the way, I haven’t forgotten about the wash cloth pattern.  I promise it will be my next post.

Until then, stay warm and snug!




And chains excite me!

Seriously, It’s true, but probably not in the way you are thinking.  I’m talking about crochet (of course)!

I thought I would showcase a few of my WIPs (Works in Progress) today.

Dishcloths and wash cloths are super quick to work up.  I guess these don’t really count as a work in progress (since these are complete), but there are more in the process.

These lovelies are part of my Hexagon Afghan.  I plan to connect the hexagons with a light brown and border them in off-white.  Only 50 more hexagons to go!  At 1 or 2 a day, I hope I can get it done in time for the snow to fly.

This is my Dahlia Scarf.  (My helper seems to be enjoying this yarn, don’t you think?)  I named this scarf after an arrangement of flowers from my garden that inspired the color scheme.

The next project on my hook will be made of this beautiful yarn that I scored on my first (and certainly not my last) trip to Conversational Threads in Emmaus.

I hope you all enjoyed the peek at the latest projects on my hook. Stay tuned for a tutorial for this pink dishcloth. It is my first official personal design!

Have a great weekend all!


Time Flies When Your Having Fun!

Wow, how time flies when the temperature outside is warm and inviting.

We’ve had a very busy spring and summer here at Hopewell Homestead and being a very naughty blogger, I haven’t kept you up to date on the happenings, but just to give you the general idea of our summer, I’ve put together a little picture show.

The garden really did well at the beginning of the summer.



I must have prepared zucchini in every way known to man and then I resorted to handing them out to everyone I knew.  We still ended up with more than we could handle…


We also had a boat load of tomatoes. 

We got smart this year and decided to use the turkey frier to cook down the tomato sauce.  It took two weekends to get it all cooked and canned, but we now have enough pasta sauce to last us until next spring.

In the early summer I baked quite a bit, but I just didn’t have the heart to include this beauty in one of my cherry pies….  I like to think that someone special upstairs was sending me a belated valentine.

Besides baking and gardening, I took up a new hobby this summer.  I taught myself how to crochet!

This was one of my first creations.  Who knew that You-Tube could be so educational!

It didn’t take long and now I really have the hang of it.  This is my latest creation using a really cool stitch called the Crocodile Stitch.

The texture is scale-like, and give this shawl an interesting effect.  It’s even cat approved!

Have you ever seen a cat sleep like this??  Silly Kitty!

Anyway, It wasn’t all work around the homestead.  We did have a wonderful week at the beach with our extended family.  Lots of parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins to hang out with in the waves.


But Summer doesn’t last forever and we are slowly slipping into fall here in Pennsylvania on the Hopewell Homestead.  The tops of the sugar maples down the road are starting to turn a blazing orange color and the corn is starting to turn the fields around Hopewell Homestead to a buttery brown color.  The cool air drifts in each evening, tempering the warm still left in the sunny afternoons.

Well, I hope you have all had a wonderful summer, full of fun and relaxation with plenty of time to soak up the warmth.

Check back in a day or so when I will post a little more about the latest project I have on my hook!

It’s nice to be back again in the land of blog!


The Hopewell Homesteader

Spring Fever

It’s been quite a while since I posted last.  My daughter and I have both been sick for the past week and I finally feel like we are on the mend. 

Because I’ve been stuck at home feeling bad, I’ve really got a case of cabin fever.  I’m longing for the warm spring days when I can go out in just a jacket and see all the daffodils in bloom.   Hence my latest little project.

I used Miss Mustard Seed’s inspiration for a centerpiece (found here), but added elements of spring like the tiny potted daffodils.  Then I decided instead of using faux eggs, I would try my hand at blowing and painting the real thing.   This is how it turned out…

First I needed to remove the yolk and whites from the eggs so that they would not go bad sitting out in my centerpiece.  I grabbed 3 eggs from my fridge, which just happen to be brown eggs because that is usually what I buy for my cooking, and a large sewing needle.  Then I gently pushed the needle into each end of the egg making a small hole.

I gently twirled the needle around the bottom hole to widen it just a tiny bit, then I pushed the pin into the hole a few times to break the yolk (gently shaking works well too.)

Then I puckered up and blew into the top hole.  This took quite a bit of blowing, but eventually I was able to blow the yolk and white out of the bottom hole.

Then I left the eggs to dry overnight. 

At this point, I tried them out in my centerpiece and they already look really nice, but I wanted a bit more color.

So the next day I decided to paint them using some acrylic paints and a few techniques I learned from a folk art painting book a while ago.  I decided to crackle one of the eggs in a bright blue and added a rooster image.  In this case, the egg did indeed come before the chicken (er…rooster)!

I left the other two eggs the natural brown color and then  added a daisy design to one and a rosette design to the other.

With a few feathers and a little ceramic bird, I rounded out the centerpiece.

I love the added color it brings to my dining room.  It makes it feel like spring really could be right around the corner! 

Here is to hoping for more warm days ahead!

Wendy Sue – The Hopewell Homesteader

Linking up to these parties today:

Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesday

Someday Crafts – Whatever Goes Wednesday

The Thrifty Home – Penny Pinching Party

Saturday Mornings – Strut Your Stuff For February

An Accent Wall – From Drab to Fab

Do you have a wall in your home that baffles you?   A wall that makes you wonder what room it really belongs to, or what color it should be, or even what it’s purpose is? 

Well, I have one of those walls.  It is a low wall that separates my kitchen from the hall way, but the way it is made makes it stand apart from the hallway, yet it doesn’t really belong to the kitchen either.  Ughh…what to do with a wall like this?

How about making it stand on its own!  That is what I decided to do after seeing the great accent wall patterns here and here

First I needed to find a pattern that would go with my garden themed kitchen since this wall is in such close proximity to my kitchen.  I thought about using an iron gate pattern like this beautiful ironwork I saw at Winterthur.

The only problem with a pattern like that is that if I got it a little crooked it would really look like crap.  So I drew inspiration from one of my dining room chairs and chose this pattern because it would require much less measuring.

This pattern was very easy to create because it was essentially a repeating half circle.  So I measured the wall and determined that a 10 inch semi-circle would be the best fit.

 Once I had my pattern cut out of cardboard, I measured the wall and started tracing my pattern onto the wall starting at the bottom center and working upward and outward from there. 

I traced lightly with a pencil until I had the entire wall filled with the pattern.  Then using a paint that I have had for a few years (Martha Stuart Swiss Coffee – Satin Finish), I traced the pattern with a 1/3 inch width brush. 

This took a steady hand and was rather hard on the knees, but this is what it looked like after the first coat.

Once it was dry, I could tell that it definitely needed a second coat.  So I tortured my knees a while longer and prayed (while I was down on my knees anyway) that it wasn’t going to take a third coat.

My prayers were thankfully answered when the second coat was dry and I didn’t really see a need for a third coat.  Then my husband, who is always helpful when it comes to decorating matters, asked me why I painted clam shells on the wall.  HA! 

Anyway, I think it looks nice and now the wall is no longer lost in the hum-drum that is my hallway.  What do you think?  Have you ever tried an accent wall?  Go ahead and give it a try…it’s relatively easy and if it doesn’t work out, it’s easy enough to paint over.

I hope everyone had a great Valentines Day yesterday!

Wendy Sue – The Hopewell Homesteader

Parties For Today:

Coastal Charm – Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Tip Junkie – Handmade Projects and Parties

Todays Creative Blog – Get Your Craft On

And Now For Something Totally Different

OK.  So I have been promising a sneak peek at my thrift store finds, so here is what I found.

I found this great blue pattern plate that was a perfect fit for my project today, but I also found this beautiful silver plated serving spatula. 

I love the detail on it.  I gave it a good shine up and a place of honor next to my grandmothers utensils and a great spoon my daughter gave me for christmas (it even says mom).

I also found this great chair.  It has soooo much potential, but it is going to take a LOT of work. 

The springs are completely out at the bottom, but I saw a great tutorial for how to repair it.  I want to take my time with this project and get it right, so I will keep you all informed on its progress.

In other news, I have been MAD busy at the 9-5 gig this week, and with taking time out for orthodontist appointments for my daughter, I had to give up some of my precious weekend in order to make my deadline today.  I did it… but this evening everything seems to be catching up to me and now I am feeling a little sick (scratchy throat and upset stomach).  Ugh…

The highlight (literally) of my day came first thing this morning though, so I thought I would share it with you all.  It was far too beautiful not to take a picture.

   I hope everyone has a great night…off to bed for me and my scratchy throat.  I hope you all are greeted with one of these tomorrow!

Wendy Sue – The Hopewell Homesteader